You’d be forgiven for getting frustrated by the many cries of “I’m bored” from your child. It’s tempting to hand over a digital device to keep them occupied while we get on with the housework, some cooking or our own work at home. And while playing and interacting with your child is important for their happiness and development, sometimes it’s okay to just let them be bored, too. Here’s why.
They learn to entertain themselves
Even at pre-school age, children are capable of entertaining themselves, according to Associate Professor Michael Nagel at the University of the Sunshine Coast. Self-entertainment helps children learn to use their immediate environment to play and learn. This in turn boosts their creativity, problem-solving skills and self-esteem.
You’d be surprised at how children can find enjoyment in even the most mundane of things! Cardboard boxes, for example, can be a perfect substitute for games and videos on your phone. Letting children get bored teaches them to rely on their inner resources rather than external resources, a skill that will certainly benefit them in the long term.
Just like for adults, it’s healthy to let the mind wander sometimes - particularly in our world of constant stimulation. We all need to let our brains rest and relax every now and again.
Boredom helps teach resilience
We want children to be able to keep going when things get tough. Letting them be bored decreases their reliance on you for entertainment (cue the whines and the reach for the TV remote!). Instead, they’ll have to rely on themselves to find something to do or think about.
This free time gives children the space to explore their own activities on their terms, encouraging initiative and building the self-confidence to do their own thing every now and again. Even if that thing sometimes involves making a mess!
Boredom can help them form relationshipsInstead of losing their free time to phones, tablets or the television, letting your child become bored benefits them from a relationship-building perspective. It’s an opportunity for them to study other people - whether that’s family members or other kids - and learn how to communicate or read body language.
You might find their confidence in social interactions comes on leaps and bounds when they’re slightly out of their comfort zone and have to push themselves to initiate conversation or reflect on the behaviour of others.
It improves psychological well-being
Research from the American Psychological Association has found that people get more meaningful moments out of life when they’re bored. This is an opportunity to reflect on past events and take these insights into the future with us. In other words, when your little one lets their mind wander, they process things on a deeper level and find more significance - even appreciation - in life.
While we all want to be there for our kids, it’s important to remember they don’t need you around every second of the day. In fact, giving them this independence helps them learn how to handle things themselves - while also giving you some valuable time on your own or with your partner. 24/7 parenting can actually crank up your stress levels, which has a more negative effect on children than a little boredom every now and again.
So take some time for yourself and don’t give into their requests for constant entertainment. Your little one will thank you for it…eventually!
The rise of apartment living and the increase in screen time means children today are spending less time outdoors amongst nature. Think back to when you were a child. I bet some of your happiest memories involve playing outdoors and getting muddy!
So many young children today prefer to spend time in front of their TV or on their iPad, but they’re missing out on the benefits that using natural resources to play offers. As children explore the world, they use all of their senses - they can see colours and patterns, experience new natural textures, and smell the leaves, flowers and sea air.
Nature itself presents so many opportunities to experiment, create, play and learn. Have them collect natural resources and try some of the following games, to give your child more opportunities to develop using methods that involve plenty of fresh air - and far less time on devices.
Create a natural world
Provide kids with a shoebox or another cardboard box they can use to reinvent a new world using items they find in nature. From a dinosaur land to a farmyard and their very own magical kingdom, ask them to collect pebbles, sand, twigs, flowers, leaves and hay to build their natural world.
This game helps to inspire creativity, develop imagination and encourages them to work on their language skills as they play and tell you all about their new world!
Make cakes (just don’t eat them!)
Give children some cupcake cases and ask them to make cakes using anything they can find. Playdough, sand and mud make a good base, and they can decorate their creations using twigs (candles) and petals or shells (sprinkles).
This helps children to develop dexterity in the fingers - just be sure to supervise to make sure the cakes aren’t too tempting!
Practise writing their name
If using paper or an iPad isn’t engaging your child as much as you’d like, they can try writing their name in the sand or mud using resources they find outside, such as sticks. Otherwise, they could collect a bunch of shells and lay them out to make the letters in their name. (Or their initials, if their name’s too long.) This is a fun way to develop their literacy and name recognition skills.
Create a treasure basket
Discover the games they come up with when you give them an opportunity for heuristic (open-ended) play. Encourage them to collect any items in nature they like (this could be leaves, flowers, shells, pebbles and anything else) and let them explore and play as they please.
Heuristic discovery gives children the chance to explore different textures and sights, and to make their own decisions to form an understanding of the world around them.
Make natural jewellery and perfume
From linking flowers together to threading shells through some string, making jewellery from items around the earth is a fun, challenging game that helps to improve hand-eye coordination as well as creativity.
Children that show an interest in your toiletries might also love to create their own perfume. Let them fill a plastic bottle with water and petals so they can work on their own “signature scent”.
To learn more about the ways we encourage children to interact with nature here at Kids’ Kampus, don’t hesitate to reach out on email@example.com or (09) 630 1454.
Dry nights can seem like a long way away. For most children, night time toilet training takes longer than day time training, and it’s normal for your little one to take months to learn to master the potty at night. For super-sleepers, potty training can last up to 2 years.
The important thing is to remember to take your time and remain positive. This doesn’t happen automatically, but if your child is showing signs that they are ready for night time toilet training, then the following tips could help you look forward to reliably dry nights sooner than you think.
Signs your child could be ready for night time trainingEvery child is unique and those big milestones happen at different times in their lives, but there are some signs that suggest your child could be ready to start night time training:
1. The importance of preparationAs with anything new, preparation is key. In addition to preparing the home (invest in a protective mattress cover, expect more laundry), you’ll want to make sure your child also feels ready. Let them know that they’ll now be going to the toilet in the night. Be encouraging and frame the entire thing as an adventure! They’re likely to feel more grown-up, so get excited with them about their new-found independence.
2. Establish a bedtime routineA night time routine is everything. Make going to the toilet a part of their routine, making sure they do a “proper wee” instead of rushing. If it helps, sit down and talk to them while they’re on the toilet, so they take their time. Remind them to get up and go to the toilet at night if they feel like they need to.
3. Monitor fluid intakeHydration is important, so avoid the urge to stop them having a drink too close to bedtime. However, it can help to make sure they’re drinking lots during the day, so they don’t need as many fluids as the evening draws in. Do avoid sugary or fizzy drinks later on in the day - stick to milk or water instead.
4. Expect accidents along the waySetting realistic expectations helps to keep frustrations under wraps when things don’t run completely smoothly. Children don’t have as much control over their bladder while they’re asleep, so even if your child was relatively quick to pick up daytime toilet training, night time training can be a longer process. Remember that wetting the bed is beyond their control, and if training is causing stress or anxiety, put it on hold and come back to it when they feel more ready.
Accidents will happen - especially during the early stages - but remain calm and reward/reassure their efforts throughout.
Speaking to Their Inner Artist: Discussing Your Preschoolers Artwork
Children are naturally curious, and having the opportunity to explore art is not only fun for them, but also educational. This free play helps them to form connections in their brain, as well as to develop fine motor skills and critical thinking.
You can further encourage their creativity by asking the right open-ended questions about their painting or drawing, to show them you support their work and help them to express their ideas.
Tell me about what you’ve made?
We know how tempting it is to ask “what is it” when you’re unsure, but this question will likely be met with a confused face or angry scowl! Instead, ask kids to talk you through different elements of the piece, to give them the opportunity to tell you what they’ve created, without causing offence.
Where did you get your idea?
Discuss their inspiration for the piece so you can understand more about their creative process. When working with a child, avoid giving them a set plan or outcome. Let them explore using their imagination, and avoid the urge to help.
Which part do you like best?
Ask them about their favourite part, and follow up with open-ended questions such as “why?” or “what makes this part so good?”. This encourages them to critically analyse their work and to learn more about their own preferences. Ask them this before giving your own positive feedback, so he or she can learn to identify their own feelings and develop self-confidence in their art without the affirmation of others.
Why did you include x?
Get specific with your questions and comments. Ask them about the colours, lines, shapes and textures used, to show them how you’ve paid attention to the finer details. This encouragement is key in building their self-esteem.
What would you name this painting?
Ask them to give their masterpiece a title, which can make it feel more meaningful. Naming the piece also encourages a new depth of thinking, as children will have to consider the piece’s primary theme in order to come up with a title.
What materials did you use?
Focus on the process over the finished product. By discussing how your child worked on their piece, you’re letting them know they can express themselves freely without being concerned about the opinions of others. This promotes intrinsic motivation. Without this, a child may be more likely to create something in order to gain approval from you or other carers, rather than for themselves. Ask them anything about how they developed their creation.
Where would you like to keep it?
Preschoolers are often very proud of their artwork, so let them have a say in where it will be displayed. Putting this decision in their hand stretches their imagination beyond the painting or drawing, and can instil a larger sense of pride and ownership.
We pride ourselves on providing an environment where children feel happy, protected and able to explore their creativity. Located in central Auckland, Kids’ Kampus is committed to nurturing your child’s individual qualities and potential. For more information about our curriculum, call (09) 630 1454.
“Resilience” is a quality that gives us the psychological strength to carry on when things are difficult. It’s what helps us to deal with change, loss and setbacks, and other inevitable challenges thrown at us through life.
As a parent or carer of children, we want to make sure they are equipped to make the right decisions whenever they’re feeling stressed, low, hurt, scared or lacking in confidence. That’s where resilience comes in. We can help to nurture this quality from a young age, giving them the confidence to make the right choices during difficult times to lead a full and positive life.
Let them make mistakes & learn from them
Mistakes are a part of life, so make sure your child isn’t scared to make them. Encourage them to try new things, even though they may not always work out as planned. You can also use this as a learning opportunity. Ask them what worked and what didn’t, and discuss what they would do differently if they tried the activity again.
On a similar note, try to resist the urge to do everything for them. In order to develop their problem-solving skills, children need to come up against some difficult tasks. Whether it’s tying their shoe laces or doing a puzzle, ask questions to help your child come up with their own solution.
This shows them that you believe in their ability to work things out, nurturing both their problem-solving skills and their confidence. Of course, make sure they know help is available when they do need it.
Explain their emotions to them
Labelling emotions lets kids make sense of whatever they’re experiencing. They might come up against frustration, anger or jealousy, and it’s important that they know that such feelings are normal and that they will pass.
Ask them to describe the way they feel and talk about what happened to make them feel that way.
Encourage healthy risk-taking
A healthy risk pushes a child outside his or her comfort zone, but only in an environment where they’ll come to minimal harm if they’re unsuccessful. This could include trying out a new sport or talking to a child they haven’t interacted with before.
Simply avoiding risks can promote the inner-belief that they are not capable. Children build character when they have a strong sense of self-worth and confidence, setting them up with the means to overcome challenges throughout life.
Spend one-on-one time together
One-on-time time is essential to build an emotional connection with your children, which helps them to develop coping skills and learn the value of caring relationships. This unconditional support helps children to feel empowered to work through tough situations, and seek help when they need it.
Let your little ones know you’re in this together, but that you trust them to make the right decisions on their own, too.
Teach the importance of looking on the bright side. Optimism and resilience are closely linked, so try to steer your child away from pessimistic thinking so they can naturally reframe their thoughts to consider the positive in every situation.
Good role models at home and at childcare play a huge part in building resilience during early childhood. At Kids’ Kampus, we nurture an environment that exposes children to new opportunities to socialise, discover and develop positive qualities. For more information, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call (09) 630 1454.
Our brains develop from before we’re born and into adulthood, and we’re born with 100 billion brain cells and 50 trillion neural connections (synapses)! During our first few months, these connections multiply, and by the time we’re 5, our brains have already formed 90% of connections.
That means that experiences during these early years are crucial in shaping brain development. Positive experiences encourage healthy brains throughout childhood, but there are some key “sensitive periods” where brains are even more affected by positive or negative experiences.
While your child is navigating their way through the world, sensory experiences help their brain cells to create new connections, while repetition of these experiences strengthens them. This is the time your child is absorbing information and learning new skills, and so stimulating their brain is key for improving their thinking and understanding.
Ways to stimulate brain development in children
Children love to play, but it’s also one of the fundamental ways they learn. It’s vital for stimulating their imagination and creativity, as well as developing their memory and learning how to plan and organise. Play helps to develop a child’s “theory of mind”, or the ability to walk in someone else’s shoes. For example, what would this character think? or am I showing compassion for my teammate?
A child’s relationships have the greatest impact on their relationships in adult life. This includes relationships at home, but also with teachers, child care providers and other members of the community. Being attentive and interacting with your little one helps to build their brain, providing a safe and nurturing environment for them to explore their world.
3. Talking & reading
The more you talk to your child, the more brain cells will get moving, and the more they’ll absorb. By using full sentences, instead of single words or shortened sentences, you can stimulate their vocabulary. When you’re reading together, ask questions to invite discussions. Aim to answer all of their questions (we know, there can be a lot of them!) as this shows your child taking an active role in their own learning, and helps to develop critical thinking skills.
Music stimulates and engages all areas of the brain, and offers more benefits than just a chance to have fun dancing around with your child. Music experiences have been shown to accelerate brain development in the areas of language acquisition and reading skills, but can also boost social-emotional skills, motor skills, and overall literacy.
Encouraging your child to move and exercise is great for their physical development and their mood. In fact, scientists have found that the brain is more receptive to learning after exercise, and that movement enables neural connections essential for learning to take place. In both children and adults, movement is linked to better executive functions, ie. the skills we use to focus, plan and juggle information.
Of course, there are many more early experiences that can positively impact a child’s brain development, and here at Kids Kampus, we’re dedicated to providing the nurturing space that helps your little one reach their potential. To find out more about what we do, get in touch on email@example.com or (09) 630 1454.
Getting quality sleep, night after night, is important for your little ones. However, research has found that as much as 30% of babies and toddlers have trouble getting the sleep they need. Healthy sleep habits set the foundation for the next day, and a well-rested toddler usually means less meltdowns.
When your child follows a bedtime routine, they’re more likely to fall asleep quicker and wake up less throughout the night. Adopting a good routine goes beyond helping them to wake up feeling happy and refreshed. Here are some other benefits of a bedtime routine for small children.
1. Adds predictability to their day
Toddlers respond well to predictability, as it helps them feel safe and secure. When they’re constantly learning new things and taking in new experiences, it can feel overwhelming. A good bedtime routine gives your child’s mind time to rest, as it doesn’t need to be prepared to make sense of new activities. Following the same processes before lights out - such as rocking or nursery rhymes - lets your child wind down and get ready for sleep.
2. Nurtures your relationship
Just before bed is an opportunity for some great one-on-one time with your toddler, without any of the usual distractions the day brings. It should be relaxing and enjoyable for both of you, and creating this space that your toddler looks forward to often means less resistance to bedtime.
3. Sets your child’s internal body clock
Our circadian rhythm is our biological clock that lets us know when it’s time to sleep and wake up. The preparatory time before your child goes to sleep will signal to their mind and body that it’s time for bed, which in turn produces melatonin, the body’s natural sleep hormone. This helps them to nod off more calmly and easily.
4. Establishes healthy sleep habits
Without a good bedtime routine, it can be difficult to set consistent sleep habits, which are important for your child’s mindset and overall health. Although your child’s bedtime will get later as they grow older, establishing good sleep habits from an early age is something they will take with them, so they’re able to fall asleep at a regular time each evening.
5. Helps your toddler (and you) to relax
Your toddler is going through a major developmental stage, which can often be stressful and confusing. Providing them with stability throughout the day - including just before bed - can make them more resilient to things they’re unsure about. They’ll fall asleep more easily, which also means a more restful evening for yourself. Taking this essential time just for you usually means a better sleep, so you’ll wake up feeling more energised and ready for another busy day with your child.
Kids’ Kampus' daycare centre is located in Mt. Eden, and we provide a quality environment for the little person in your life to flourish. To find out more about enrollment, get in touch on (09) 630 1454 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Teaching Toddlers to ShareLearning to share is a key part of the growing up process. It helps toddlers to make friends, play well with others, and learn about compromise and fairness.
Of course, sharing doesn’t always come naturally, and little ones usually need some extra encouragement to learn how to take turns with toys or share their goodies. Once they do get the hang of it, you can enjoy the peace of mind that they’ll head to pre-school or their childcare centre able to make new friends and play more harmoniously.
Try out these tips to help your toddler or preschooler to learn the value of sharing.
Lead by exampleBecome a role model at home by being prepared to share things with your child that you know they’ll enjoy - be it an ice-cream cone or anything else. Make sharing fun, by inviting them to “share” the couch with you to watch a movie or talk together. The more you share, the more influence your positive habits will have.
Talk about sharing before a play dateMake sure your child understands how you expect them to behave before meeting up with friends for a play date. Talk to them about sharing their toys and remind them of the benefits of sharing. For example, let them know that their friend might feel left out if they couldn’t play together.
Take extra toys with youIf you’re meeting up with your child’s friend, try taking a few toys with you - just in case the friend hasn’t fully grasped the concept of sharing. You could leave your child’s favourite toys at home, and just take those they’re happy to play with. This might encourage the other child to also share their toys, and the interaction will be more beneficial for both.
Encourage cooperative activitiesStudies have found that children below the age of three don’t always do well in games that involve a single winner. Instead, try cooperative games or “make believe” games that aren’t overly competitive.
Remember that “sharing” doesn’t always refer to toys. Encourage children to share in activities such as painting or puzzles, where they can learn to work together as a team.
Start youngSharing often goes against a child’s instincts, and if a child isn’t ready to fully share just yet, try offering alternatives. It usually helps to start embedding the value of sharing from an early age. Once your little one is able to grasp objects, try passing them back and forth and say “my turn, your turn”. This helps them to realise that giving away their toy isn’t a permanent thing, and sharing means they’ll get it back and can enjoy playing with another child.
Give plenty of praiseWhenever you notice your child sharing, respond with lots of praise and attention. You can do this when it happens, as well as after playtime to reinforce how happy you are with their behaviour. You could even point out good sharing in other people. For example, “It was very kind of Daisy to share her toys with you.”
To find out more about what we do at Kids’ Kampus, please don’t hesitate to get in touch on (09) 630 1454 or email@example.com to schedule a time to visit.
The need to play is fundamental to a child’s wellbeing and is one of the most important ways in which children learn and have fun. In terms of language, emotional intelligence, creativity, imagination and intellectual reasoning, play is the foundation of childhood development.
Here at Kids’ Kampus, our centres have been thoughtfully designed to create a welcoming and relaxed environment for your children to enjoy a range of exciting activities that involve active engagement.
From arts and crafts to role play and gardening, learn how day to day life at Kids’ Kampus can benefit your child’s life with fun, enjoyable play and exploration.
· Getting children involved in gardening is a great way to help them learn more about the world around them and sets a clear path to environmental stewardship. By giving them a sense of connectedness to the environment, this period in their development encourages children to become caretakers of their environment.. An early understanding of caring for our environment encourages children to become guardians of nature and to interact with living plants in a respectful and peaceful manner.
· From growing and tending to plants and herbs to examining leaves and soil, gardening helps children understand life cycles and food systems. Tending a garden allows children to discover the effects of seasonal changes, learning varying weather conditions can affect the growth in their gardens, and the plants best grown at certain times of the year.
Arts & Crafts
· Letting children have fun with drawing tools and paints supports their development of self-expression and an understanding of artistic perspective.
· Taking part in art & crafts allows children to experience the world around them in a sensory manner and stimulates exploration.
· This also encourages children to learn more about colours, mixing and making new colours, as well as tidying up after themselves.
· We give your children dedicated time and space for imaginative play – something we deem essential to their development!
· Giving children the opportunity to use their imagination enables them to develop both their literacy skills and intellectual reasoning. They will also learn about different professions.
· Not only will this help boost their confidence and their sense of self-esteem, it also provides opportunities to create their own fun when dealing with boredom.
· At Kids’ Kampus, your children will never spend all day in just one room as we aim to replicate the freedom and comforts of your family home. By carefully utilising all areas of our houses, children remain engaged as they choose from a variety of spaces to work on projects, eat, and play.
Interested in enrolment at Kids Kampus or would like to learn more about what we do, please don’t hesitate to get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on (09) 630 1454 to schedule in a time to visit
Encouraging child exploration is beneficial for building the foundations of a child’s life, which is why creating a safe environment within the home is extremely important.
Allow your child to learn, develop and play in a safe and sound environment by learning more about potential hazards, then preventing, and removing them. Not only is safety about supervising your child and creating a risk-free environment, but also teaching your child to understand what’s safe and what’s not.
Read on to learn more about child safety within the home.
Preparing your home
As your child develops and learns to climb and open things, you’ll to look out for new
potential hazards that you may not have noticed before you became a parent. Dangling cords, electrical power points, sharp furniture and poisonous household chemicals are just some of the everyday items that could seriously harm a child.
Things to consider around the house:
· Strangling/suffocation: ensure that your child is unable to reach anything that could potentially get caught around his/her neck, such as dangling cords, curtains, blinds, wall hangings or hanging mobiles.
· Electrical safety: use power point protectors and safety plugs to ensure that your child can’t put anything in a powerpoint.
· Poisoning: use child locks on any cupboard doors full of potentially harmful liquids and poisonous chemicals such as bleach.
· Burns and scalds: prevent harmful situations by supervising your child, and keeping them away from hot surfaces, drinks, Food and baths. When running a bath for your child, either install a mixer tap pre-set to a safe temperature as the bath fills or, if running separate hot and cold taps simultaneously, ensure that the bathroom is a “No Zone” while the bath is filling. Many children have drowned and/or sustained serious burns by deciding, unknown to their parent, to get into the bath unsupervised, before the water temperature has been checked that it is safe. Hot tap water burns cause more deaths and hospitalization than burns from any other hot liquids in young children.
The most common cause of injuries in children in New Zealand is falls. While the occasional fall is a huge part of growing up, one split-second accident could cause a seriously harmful injury.
Learn how you can help prevent dangerous falls:
· All furniture in the home should be ‘child proof’, sturdy, or anchored to the wall to prevent it tipping, falling or injuring your child. We also recommend padding or removing sharp edges e.g. the corners of a low glass or hardwood coffee table.
· Install safety gates and child locks at the top and bottom of your stairs, as well as on entrances to balconies and outdoor areas.
· Be sure to install security latches and locks on all windows to prevent your child from falling out when he/she starts climbing.
Play equipment and toy safety
Children should be able to have fun and enjoy their toys, however choosing suitable play equipment is vital to the safety of your child.
When you purchase toys, consider the following:
· Choose the right type of toys for your child’s age. Note that the younger or smaller the child, the larger the toy should be, to avoid them putting toys up their nose, in their ears or swallowing them.
· Make sure you choose options with smooth edges.
· Ensure that paints and filling used within each toy are non-toxic
· We recommend opting for toys that allow your child to play imaginative and creative games such as toy phones, dress-up costumes, farm sets and kitchen sets.
Here at Kids’ Kampus, we offer a warm, open and safe environment for your children to develop and grow. For more information, contact us on email@example.com.