Category Archives: Thoughtful

Things that make you go, mmmmmm

Trash or Treasure? Too many toys?

Photo by LeMast on Foter.com / CC BY-ND

It’s hard rubbish time around here. If you don’t know how hard rubbish works, let me break it down for you...

  • Your local council warn you it’s coming soon. Your street is allocated a week when you can dump rubbish too big for the bin, leaving it outside your house.
  • You start to notice the rubbish being left in neighbouring streets looks amazing. You become a dangerous driver as you veer slightly off course trying to peer into the piles.
  • Every day you narrowly avoid coming home with an old broken bookcase, a possibly flea infested armchair, a washing machine that just might work. It’s really only the difficulty of lugging it that stops you, the desire to find a hidden gem languishing on the street is unremitting.
  • The smaller items begin to make it into your car and your home. An old tire (this could be an amazing addition to my kids outside play area!), a retro fan (I could sell this once it’s cleaned up!), a rocking horse (who gave away this beauty? It’s in much better condition than the one I gave away a few months ago!)……

But the real golden finds are the toys. Oh the toys that people throw away! I’ve rescued a farmyard, a Buzz Lightyear, assorted balls, the aforementioned rocking horse, and so many more. Why are these things being put out for hard rubbish? You know what happens to the hard rubbish? It’s crushed, destroyed, wasted. It’s meant to be sorted but I’ve watched the trucks crush much of what could be otherwise. Why are people putting perfectly good toys out for this treatment?

Do we have too many toys for our children? What do they learn from seeing their belongings cast aside so thoughtlessly? Or, for that matter, from receiving ‘new’ toys for no reason other than that some well meaning parent saved it from the bin?

While I can hardly resist the lure of the hard rubbish scavenger hunt, it did give me pause when another parent asked me if we shouldn’t be hoping these second hand toys went to those who needed them, not added to the coffers of children with too many toys already.

Giving away a glut of toys may be a step in the right direction for families overloaded with stuff that brings too little joy. But give away, not throw away, seems to be the real goal here. Perhaps parents assume, reasonably, that the toys will be found and rescued when left on the street. But perhaps donating them to charity shop would serve the purpose better.

Then our children can see the life cycle of their toys ending in a gift to those more in need, and not as a cast off that hopes to be found by anyone who passes by.

What have you found in your neighbours’ hard rubbish?

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Filed under General, Just for Fun, Thoughtful

Guest Post: 6 Tips for Choosing Childcare

This week’s guest post is from Nelli Hooper, founder of  York Enrichment Childcare Centre in  Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada.

If you would like to contribute a guest post please send me a message!

One of the biggest decisions parents face is in choosing the right group childcare facility for their children. It’s hard to send your young kids to another place every day, but it is easier if it’s a place that feels like home. Here are some things you can do to make sure you make the right choice.

photo credit: massdistraction / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Don’t Wait

When looking at childcare, it’s never too early to begin. If you have a specific place or are looking at a reputable, exclusive facility, you may have to sign up months in advance. You want to know at what age they begin accepting children so you can plan your time off. The best childcare centres are usually full with only occasional openings when children graduate.

Consider Accreditation

Not all childcare centres are accredited, but many seek that status to add to their reputation with parents. A centre that is accredited has met the requirements and follows the standards and guidelines that have been put in place. In addition, it shows you that they take their centre seriously. You can contact a state agency to find out which ones are licensed and accredited.

Schedule a Tour

You will want to see the centre before you make your decision to give you an idea about where your child will be staying. You should get to see the first room they will be in and meet the caregivers. They should show you around the room and even give you an idea of the schedule your child will have. This can help you feel more comfortable leaving your child in a strange place when the time comes.

This is also your time to inspect the place. Look for cleanliness and organisation. While any place with young kids is bound to have some chaos, it should be kept to a minimum. Are kids taught to line up and take turns? You can often see this even on a walk-thru of the facility as the kids are engaged in their normal activities. Caregivers and teachers should always be actively involved with the kids.

Ask Questions

Before you take a tour, you should prepare a list of questions that you want to ask. Some of them may be for the director while others will be for the teacher.

  1. What is the ratio of teachers to children?
  2. How many children will be in your child’s class?
  3. What training and certification have the teachers had?
  4. Is there a lot of turnover?
  5. Do the children have a schedule?
  6. How is discipline handled?
  7. Are there opportunities for parents to talk to teachers?
  8. How do you handle special situations such as food allergies and special requirements?

Ask About Parent Visits

Find out if the childcare facility allows parents to visit their children. They may require pre-planned visits while some may be more laid back and allow you to drop in. However, all centres should encourage parents to stop by at appropriate times. Some examples include on holidays, for classroom parties, or even for breakfast or at snack time. These visits allow you to see how your child handles the childcare setting on a daily basis.

Ask Around

Find out from friends and other parents what they think of certain childcare centres. They will tell you the good and bad about where they send their kids. You can also ask other people that work with kids. Library personnel, paediatricians, church teachers, and others can provide valuable insight on the best places to send your child.

Take the time to learn about the childcare centre where you plan to send your child. Since they spend the majority of their days in this place, it should provide them the stability and love that they need to grow and develop into happy, healthy kids.

Nelli Hooper is the proud owner of York Enrichment Childcare Centre located in Richmond Hill, Ontario.  Her program has an excellent facility and is setting the standard for childcare within York Region.  Please visit her website at http//www.yeccdaycare.ca to learn more about childcare and how it can benefit your child.  

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Filed under General, Guest Post, Thoughtful, Tips and tricks

Time to turn off the TV?

Photo: Getty

When the toddlers I care for have had (what I’ve decided is) enough TV I often tell them their favourite characters are going to sleep. If they ask for TV when I don’t want them to watch I’ll say again that so-and-so is sleeping.

Should we encourage children to believe the characters on TV have lives we can’t see? Should we molly coddle them with these ideas when we really just want to say “no”?

I’m ok with limited TV for children but definitely don’t want them watching all day, or becoming less able to be entertained without the screen on. Perhaps the best way to keep TV from becoming so central is to keep the characters the children watch from becoming too real, like playmates they can’t wait to see again. Dora’s not sleeping – she doesn’t bloody well exist!

What do you think? If your young children watch TV, what do you say to them to discourage them from wanting too much?
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Television makes toddlers aggressive: The Telegraph

Television addicted 2 year olds don’t even know their own name: Eco Child’s Play

Why it’s really not so terrible to let your toddler watch TV: Huffington Post

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Filed under General, Just for Fun, Thoughtful

4 Steps to flexible working for mums

This week’s guest posting is from the Australian Fair Work Ombudsmen. In Australia tens of thousands of pregnant women and working mums report discrimination in the workplace each year. Make sure you know your rights.

fairwork.1
 
If you would like to contribute a guest post please send me a message!

It is not surprising that parents sometimes struggle to handle their work responsibilities and be with their child the way that that want to be; especially in the early years.

Managing the needs of your toddler is a demanding task. A day at work might be more structured and predictable than a day with your family. Or it could be the other way around. Every family and workplace is different and it is good to think creatively about how you might balance the two.

The Fair Work Ombudsman’s working parents campaign is all about making sure parents and their employers understand their rights and responsibilities. If you’re unsure of where to start, visit fairwork.gov.au/workingparents to access information and resources including helpful checklists and templates.

Working parents in Australia have entitlements such as the right to safe work during pregnancy and parental leave to be with their new baby. They can also request flexible working arrangements that will help them accommodate work and family life.

The National Employment Standards provide the right to ask for flexible working arrangements. Flexible working arrangements can include things like changing your hours or patterns of work or working from home. These requests can only be refused for certain reasons.

Follow these steps when negotiating an arrangement to suit you and your workplace

1.     Discuss

Think about a solution that suits the business as well as your own needs. You might find it helpful to discuss your ideas with your employer before making a request. A conversation can give you both enough lead time to make suitable arrangements for you and your workplace.

2.     Request

Write to your employer (via email is a good idea). Outline the arrangement you think can work and offer reasons for the change. There are request templates available at fairwork.gov.au/workingparents to help you get started.

3.     Respond

Once you have sent the request, your employer must respond in writing within 21 days saying whether they accept or refuse the request. If they refuse, they need to explain why.

4.     Negotiate

Whether your employer agrees or disagrees with your request, flexibility arrangements will require ongoing negotiation. If the initial arrangement is not suitable, follow the process again and see if you can find something that works for everyone.

Information about your rights as a parent from pregnancy, to your child’s first year and beyond is available at fairwork.gov.au/workingparents.

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Filed under Around the Web, General, Thoughtful

Baby and Toddler Toileting Gadgets – crazy or genius?

peepee-teepee (1)

Every now and then someone comes up with a new piece of gear for baby and toddler care that is pure genius.  When they first invented the baby monitor I’m sure parents everywhere were relieved to be able to move their ear away from the nursery door. When non spill valves were added to sippy cups toddlers rejoiced at the freedom to upturn their drinks with wanton abandon. But when some bright spark started selling the Peepee Teepee, basically a little hat for your baby boy’s penis, not everyone was convinced.

In fact, there are hundreds of innovations aimed squarely at your baby or toddler’s toileting habits. But since we’ve got some of the basics to a fairly fine art (think disposable nappies, baby wipes, portable potties…) there are still entrepreneurs out there pushing at the glass ceiling of baby ablutions and eliminations. 

Here are three baby and toddler toileting gadgets that just might be crazy enough to be genius. Unless they are just crazy.

Baby Bathroom Harness

Baby-Keeper-Basic

The Babykeeper is a harness for a baby aged 6-18 months that is designed, not to be worn by an adult, but to hang over the door of a public toilet.

This one’s more about your toileting habits, but if you’ve ever had to go to a public toilet with a baby you know the choices you’re faced with are all crap (pun intended!). You can leave your baby in their pram just outside the locked door where they will no doubt be abducted and raised by a cult. You can leave the stall door open with the pram just outside so the cult members coming to use the public bathroom can watch you wee. You can try and cradle your baby in your lap while using the toilet, and probably drop them, Baby 59 style, straight into the bowl. Or you can set them on the floor and pray the germs are no worse than anywhere else your baby sits (side-note: apparently they probably are actually no worse than anywhere else).

This over-the-door-harness may make you feel slightly as if you’re treating you baby like a handbag, but provided you don’t forget to collect them as you leave, may just be the answer to the question: “What happens if I can’t hold it until I get home?”

iPad Potty

ipad potty

The iPotty is a plastic potty with an activity stand for an iPad attached.

Though there is what seems to be incessant talk about whether or not toddlers and young children should use technology like iPads (note to self, write post about whether or not toddlers and children should use technology like iPads) the fact is, millions do. Much advice about potty training centers on the dual issues of keeping the child actually sitting on the potty long enough to see some action, and finding the experience rewarding, or at least not finding the experience upsetting. Having a TV show to watch or an app to play with while learning to use the potty addresses both issues smoothly and simply.

You may cringe at the idea of introducing your child to iPads in general, let alone encouraging them to hunker down on the loo staring at a screen for long periods of time, but when your toddler starts asking to use the potty instead of weeing on your lap or smearing poo on the walls above their cot I suspect it won’t seem such a problem.

Toddler Urinal

toddler-urinal

The Peter Potty website announces that it is the world’s only flushable toddler urinal. It is exactly what it sounds like, a urinal small enough for the smallest of urinaters, and adjustable as they grow.

Children of both sexes are usually taught to wee sitting down. But many little boys want to stand, like they see their Daddy doing. An adult toilet is too high for a toddler to wee into standing but a regular potty on the floor is too small to aim at. You either have to resign yourself to urine all over the bathroom floor or insist your boy sits to wee until he is much taller.

Adding a urinal to your bathroom at home may seem like overkill, but despite the instinct to link them with the smell of stale urine and the general distaste of some public men’s bathrooms, the toddler urinal could be be best way to keep your bathroom floor wee-free while keeping your little man happy.

Join the discussion below, are these gadgets crazy or genius?

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Filed under Baby Product Advice, Babycare Advice, General, Just for Fun, Thoughtful, Weird and Wonderful