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Guest Post: Children are curious little critters. But too much curiosity around the average home can pose a risk to our vulnerable little people. Thankfully, there are easy ways to make sure your home is a safe and fun environment for your children as they explore and grow. Here are five common health hazards for children in the home and some simple ways to safeguard against them.  

  1. Drowning

The risk of drowning in the home goes beyond the swimming pool. Any type of standing water, even just a few inches deep, can pose a drowning risk for your child. This can include the bath, toilet, water buckets and even a melted ice box in those hot summer months. Luckily, there are easy ways to child proof your home to protect against a drowning risk

  • Introduce a closed-door policy when the bathroom is not in use.
  • Always put the toilet lid down and consider a toilet-lid lock to stop those curious little fingers.  
  • Empty the bath as soon as bath time is finished.
  • If you have a pool, ensure that your pool fence is childproof and your children know how to swim.

Resuscitation saves millions of lives every year worldwide, so consider getting a CPR card in the home in case of catastrophe.

  1. Mould

Older homes can be prone to mould damage as moisture gets trapped in enclosed areas like cupboards, showers, basements and even inside old carpets. Children who live in mouldy environments face a higher risk of developing allergies and asthma later in life. There are some easy ways to reduce the risk of mould growing in the home.

  • Make sure your shower recess is given a deep clean to control mould growth.
  • Keep track of the age of mattresses to ensure your kids aren’t laying their head to rest on a secret mould infestation.
  • Always make use of exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom to keep the air dry.
  • Consider investing in a portable dehumidifier for mould-prone rooms like basements.  

And remember to keep your home well-ventilated with nature’s air-conditioner – the open window.

tookapic / Pixabay

  1. Poisoning

There’s a rainbow of products of all colours and designs on our shelves these days, from beauty products and toiletries to cleaning products. Unfortunately, to little eyes, these products can look more like lollies and sweets than toxic substances. Here are some simple ways to protect against a poison risk in the home.

  • Make sure household products like perfume, hair products, nail polish and nail polish remover are stored in a high bathroom cabinet.
  • Make sure detergent and bleach are stored well out of reach, rather than on top of your laundry bench or on the washing machine.
  • Ensure all medication is stored in childproof containers and stored well out of sight, like on top of your fridge.

Your first aid kit is essential in a catastrophe. Make sure your home has an up-to-date first aid kit and make sure you are familiar with the contents.

congerdesign / Pixabay

  1. Choking

Meal times can be messy business, but things can get really serious when it comes to choking, whether it be on edible substances or not. Small toys, jewellery and buttons as well as undigested food can all pose a serious choking risk for your child.

  • Make sure all jewellery and any other sort of smaller item like rubbers, buttons or decorative soaps are stored away out of reach.
  • Make sure kids are seated and still when eating, rather than playing, running around or lying down.
  • Pay close attention when children are eating small food that can block their airway, like grapes, nuts and chips.
  • Make sure meal times are accompanied by plenty of water to help aid digestion.

In times of catastrophe, abdominal thrusts (also known as the Heimlich Maneuver) can save a child’s life. Take a couple of minutes to familiarise yourself with the technique.

AUTHOR BIO

Sara is the marketing strategist of Survival Emergency Solutions, Australia’s leading provider of first aid products for the home, workplace, vehicle and outdoors. Their Emergency First Aid Handbook is the only book to win the Australian Design Award and has sold over 2 million copies.

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Childcare provides children with the chance to further their personal development. It is important children receive quality childcare. Childcare stimulates their creativity and equips them with many of the skills kids need for a happy childhood.
A good childcare centre should provide excellent services in five key areas of development.
These include:

  • Exercise
  • Stimulation
  • Education
  • Socialisation
  • Happiness

Read this guide for an in-depth look at the areas of development.
Tip: Read on to discover quality childcare in Perth city.

Stimulation and Education

Childcare keeps children stimulated so their brains develop and they learn new stuff. For example, playing with different shapes and colours helps kids to become more creative. The childcare environment also prepares children for school life. This is also an ideal place to introduce children to basic concepts such as counting.
A stimulated child will be more likely to enjoy their day at a childcare centre. Boredom at home can cause children to misbehave. Staff at childcare centres are experts at thinking up new ways to engage children.
Live in Perth? Stimulating activities are developing young minds at Little Peoples Place. Children grow up as intelligent and engaged young people.

hpgruesen / Pixabay

Exercise

One of the most important aspects of childcare is the amount of exercise children get through playtime. Children should exert as much physical activity as possible. This keeps them healthy, fit and in good
There are dozens of activities to keep children on their toes and energised. Whether they run around in a playground or pass a ball to one another in a circle.
Children should balance exercise with regular rest periods. This way children won’t exhaust themselves or become ill.
At childcare children are safe and supervised. This reduces risk of injury or accidents while playing.

Soledadsnp / Pixabay

Socialisation

A child’s development depends on the amount of positive daily interaction. Childcare centres allow children to join in on a wide range of social activities. They can practice their speaking skills, make friends and learn to cooperate.
Good centres also balance group activities with individual tasks. Kids receive the freedom to develop at their own pace.

Greyerbaby / Pixabay

Happiness

The four benefits above are all designed to make children as happy as possible. General happiness is a key factor in a child’s development. Quality childcare allows children to form a positive outlook on life. This is subconscious and influences their behaviour as older children and into adulthood.

dagon_ / Pixabay


Childcare is a positive experience for most children.

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By Ryan Spencer, Dymocks Literacy Expert and State Director of the Australian Literacy Educator’s Association
As a parent, one of the most important things you can teach your child is a love of books. Starting early and fostering an appreciation of the written word is perhaps the best way to ensure they will become avid readers.
But for most parents, really getting kids excited about reading can be quite the uphill battle. Parents often have to overcome their own doubts about their ability to inspire reading, not to mention the many devises and apps vying for their attention. So is there a foolproof way to help your little learner fall in love with books?
Read on for some top tips that’ll transform your children into better readers.
Read different types of books
They say variety is the spice of life and that is never more apparent than when trying to spark an interest in reading. Once your child is old enough to display likes and dislikes, it’s essential you take their feedback on board and react accordingly – otherwise their engagement in reading will drop and so too will their attitude. It pays to get kids to try different styles of books at a young age. A top tip is to theme particular nights of the week – “Oh look, it’s Mem Fox Monday!” – helping the kids get excited while also setting a reading routine.

jill111 / Pixabay


Don’t become the book police
As parents it can be very tempting to try and push your kids in a certain direction when it comes to choosing books – with the best intentions of course! When it comes to education, this temptation can be hard to ignore, with parents wanting their child to be reading the ‘right’ books at the ‘right’ age. However, by becoming the ‘book police’ you are in fact pushing your child in the wrong direction. Instead of force feeding the ‘correct’ books, allow your child the freedom of choice. You’re guaranteed to get better reading results if your child feels connected to the book.

White77 / Pixabay


Have fun and relax
When it comes to reading, fun should come first. In fact, it’s proven to be the best way to improve your child’s reading! Recent research from the Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report found that above all, children aged 6–17 want books that make them laugh, and what parents want in books for children is often the same as what kids want for themselves. On top of that, the same study found more than half of children believe reading books for fun is very important. So, like celebrated author Mex Fox says, “Don’t teach the book, enjoy it!”

semslibrarylady / Pixabay


Read Aloud to Kids
Perhaps one of the most important ways you can help your child is by reading books aloud to them from a young age. In doing this you’re displaying how much fun and intrigue is to be found in books and there’s no denying it has an important flow on. The Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report showed that 86% of Australian kids (between the ages of 6-17) enjoy being read aloud to. So get your funny voices ready, because reading just got a whole lot more interactive!
Ready to start reading with your little ones? Let them choose from a wide selection of children’s books online from Dymocks.
 

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Some families don’t let expense dictate their choice of holiday; they just choose their holiday movements wisely. Indeed, making careful decisions about what you pay for on holidays means your money can take you twice as far. Try these tips next time you want to travel beyond your family’s budget; whether it be booking Gold Coast accommodation, taking a tour in China or planning a weekend stay in a city.

1. Travel in the off-peak season

Most destinations have peak seasons – often based on seasonal weather – with the region’s school holidays having an added effect. Shoulder seasons can provide windows with much cheaper airfares and hotel prices. Another benefit of off-peak travel is that crowds are smaller.

travelling with kids

tookapic / Pixabay

2. Avoid touristy areas

Travel somewhere where the tourists are less in number and the hotels cost less in price. Instead of staying in a large city, pop into the city for a day trip, and book a stint of accommodation in a not-too-distant regional town with an interesting history. As long as you are enjoying it with your family, it’s the experience, not the destination that counts.

3. Do it locally

Accommodation, tours, transport: book it locally and it can be much cheaper. Take public transport around the city, that little bit of an extra headache could equate to the cost of dinner one night. Besides, this is how you learn how a city operates, by working it out for yourself.

4. Alternative accommodation

Hotels aren’t all they’re cracked to be. Try hostels or HomeExchange.com, which has tens of thousands of members in a large range of countries who are seeking to exchange homes with other members for holidays. You can then learn about another culture from a truly local perspective.

5. DIY Tours

There is no need to take expensive tours to get to know a new place; but this means spending time doing research beforehand. Learn the facts about a city, art gallery or church, then go and see it. It can be far less stressful than trying to keep children amused and engaged during an hour-long tour.

6. Eating in

Try booking accommodation with a kitchenette. A quick dinner can be whipped up for four people for the same price that one meal may cost in a restaurant. No need to do this every night, but definitely have breakfast cereal and milk on hand, which eradicates the need to plonk the whole family down in a café each morning.

travelling with kids

innitech / Pixabay

7. Eating out

When you do want to eat out, get advice on which restaurants provide value for money. Ask fellow travelers, hotel staff or check out TripAdvisor. Research eateries on the internet which have play areas for children. Often there is a local gem, sometimes a club, which has great food at reasonable prices and fabulous climbing equipment.
Travelling with children on a budget is not as hard as it sound. Just know where you will be cutting corners, and brief the kids accordingly. Make sure you take plenty of child-appropriate entertainment for those travel lulls; because you certainly don’t want to be nagged into spending anything extra unexpectedly. Most importantly: enjoy!

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If you like a great tale with a money-saving moral to it, you might want to listen to my little story of penniless love and triumph. If you have kids you’ll no doubt relate to the predicament I found myself in.
A few years ago I lost my wallet on a Friday afternoon just before the weekend started and after the banks had closed. My husband had gone away for work to paint a large farmhouse and I was faced with an entire kids-in-tow weekend and zero dollars in spare cash to rely on.
Note: I could have scratched around the house on my hands and knees for gold coin donations from under desks and beds but I’m a mum and I was tired and ‘over it’ by the time I declared my ‘zero budget weekend’ to the kids.
My children were dumbfounded. The look on their faces, when confronted with the reality of zero dollars for the weekend, was priceless. When I delivered the news of my lost wallet to their bleeding hearts, those previously cheeky smiles had sunk back into their faces and morphed into startled Meerkats.
Meerkat family of four members
I clearly remember, as we stood staring at each other in the garden, there was a weird sense of mystery, amusement and depression all at once. We mutually believed (although no one was brave or impolite enough to say it) that we were in for a very long weekend indeed. An instant sense of boredom floated in the air like an invisible cloud of penniless gloom. It was an otherwise beautiful and balmy spring night.
Here’s a small list of the mutual (and silent) realisations that flashed before my children and me in that money-deprived moment in the garden:

Greyerbaby / Pixabay

What I / we couldn’t do the weekend I lost my wallet

  1. Buy a real coffee or a paper on Saturday morning
  2. Go to the mall to do a grocery shop
  3. Buy random small gifts for the kids while at the mall
  4. Buy a donut as a treat
  5. Put petrol in the car
  6. Buy some DVDs at the video shop for Saturday night
Kids treats

Pezibear / Pixabay

What we did do the weekend I lost my wallet

  1. Had a lovely conversation in the garden over a cup of tea
  2. Went to the beach
  3. Went on a bike ride
  4. Made pancakes with cream and jam
  5. Walked to a park
  6. Read stories and played board games

Kids activities for the school holidays

Question to ponder

Which scenario do you think the kids enjoyed better anyway?

Answer

You are right – the second scenario.

Here’s the point and the moral to this little tale

You can have more fun without money than with it – and the quality family time is priceless.

And, just in case you were wondering

Yes I did find my wallet. It had fallen behind the washing machine!
Duh mum….
Do you have any ways to have fun with kids without money? Please share your thoughts in comments below.
More things to do with the kids these school holidays
 

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Homes get messy when there’s a lack of systems and storage to keep areas free. I’ve been getting pretty frustrated lately because due to our renovation project and the lack of built-in storage and places to put things right now – I’ve been running around like a madwoman trying to contain all the items a nice built-in wardrobe or cupboard normally would! I’ve been driven mad by this and with a little bit of time up my sleeve (due to the school holidays) – I’m taking control! This is the first in a series of posts on how to get your home in order if you have a lack of storage, whether you are renting or in a renovation like me. First stop is my back to school project – the kids homework station. Prior to creating this beautiful room (which I am now so in love with – I want to use and live in it myself) our living room and second living area was a mess. We were struggling on school mornings because all my kids’ important and regular items were at the end of a long hallway and far from where we would regularly use them.

See below for the inspiration, tips and my experience with building this lovely room for my kids.


How to create an awesome kids homework station

Organise pens, pencils and stationary items


Portable ideas

My home’s hallway is so long I clean my home with a trolley! I love the functional and time-saving ability of a trolley. Trolley’s are also great if you are limited on space or you need to move your office around from time to time, which can be the case in modern space-deprived living areas.

Children need inspiration too

Just like adults, kids need daily inspiration and motivation. Make your kid’s homework station a colorful and happy place to visit. Personally, I didn’t want to put too many distractions in the room and as you’ll see below, I’ve maintained the happiness without the clutter! However, depending on the needs of your child, place wall charts or items according to what they might be studying or focusing on.
IMG_8102


Sort similar items or shapes together

My big tip for home organisation generally is to sort similar items or shaped items together. For example:
  • Put crayons with crayon
  • Colored pencils with colored pencils
  • Markers with markers
  • Place long thin items like rulers in one spot for example
  • Place square with square and round with round

You get my drift…
IMG_8113


Give each child their own area

I couldn’t really achieve this in the small space I had, however I each child did receive their own seat, which was great! We have to be grateful for the little mercies 🙂 Still, my space looks cute and it is highly unlikely both my children will share the homework station at the same time due to their age differences (10 and 4). Do what works for you and your space.

 IMG_8107

Create the space away from bedrooms

Kids bedrooms get messy on a daily basis. The goal should be to create a separate space for the homework station so kids will always have a clutter free zone when doing home.
IMG_8115


Create a great system for completing and returning notes and homework

This is a great idea, which I hope to implement soon. Mine will include homework only as I prefer to keep kids notes on my desk for when I need to do admin. I keep a folder for each child on my office desk so I can quickly check what needs to be done for them – when I am organising other family administration jobs.
IMG_8109


Create an easy to access spot to place homework books

Alternatively do something cute like this. A simple space for kids to place their homework once taken out of their bags.


If you don’t have the space create a simple portable and personlised solution to keep your child focused

If you are very short on space you can easily make your child’s homework more enjoyable by creating a little box like this. This can be placed on the kitchen counter or dining table for when your child is doing homework. Setting up little systems like this will help your child feel focused, happy and loved!


Create a tidy solution for digital devices

This is an absolute must in a modern home. Personally with all the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi an Wireless out there – I’m not sure why there are still so many cords in my house! However, scroll down to see the two simple solutions I achieved with t