Toddle About Blog

Tricky Treats

Tricky TreatsNew research into trick or treating may spook health-conscious parents.

Children in the UK will eat 173g of sugar each tonight, over 600% above their recommended daily intake of 25g and the equivalent of 43 sugar cubes, nutrition experts have said.

Research into the top-selling Halloween treats found that, on average, they contain around 11.5g of sugar each. But ahead of the big night, nutrition experts at Future Fit, who conducted the research, have said that banning kids from sweet treats is not the answer.

The Halloween tradition of trick or treating is thought to have begun in the US in the 1930s, but the UK has fully adopted this trend with GlobalData reporting that close to £500 million was spent on the holiday last year.

The study took the top ten best-selling treats at a leading supermarket on the week leading up to Halloween. Researchers then worked out Continue reading

Recipe: Rice Krispie Monsters

Rice Krispie Monsters

Rice Krispie Monsters

Guest post by Annabel Karmel

Snap, Crackle and Pop – these mini monsters from leading children’s cookery author Annabel Karmel will soon get gobbled up!

Prep time: 30 minutes (excluding chill time)

Cook time: 5 minutes

Makes: 12 Rice Krispie monsters

Ingredients:

  • 100g butter
  • 200g golden syrup
  • 100g white chocolate
  • 225g Rice Krispies

Continue reading

Childcare for Working Parents Explained

Did you know that working parents now spend more than the average mortgage on childcare? According to childcare voucher provider, EdenRed, this is now the reality for many families.

With the summer almost over and the term-time regime resumed, many parents will be reeling from the burden of additional childcare costs over the school holidays.

The Guardian reports that working parents face an £800 bill for summer holiday childcare alone. Working parents on low incomes are the worst hit, as are those working unsociable hours who struggle to find childcare options outside of normal office hours.

A recent survey by children’s charity, Coram Family and Childcare, shows that childcare provision in the UK is inadequate and the cost is rising.

Many families miss out on help, simply because the government’s systems are so complex. A recent report by Money Saving Expert states that of the 1.6 million families eligible for tax-free childcare, only about 315,000 are claiming.

Availability of nursery places is also an issue – just 57 per cent of councils in England, and 43 per cent of councils in Wales have enough childcare for parents who are working full-time.

Most parents are entitled to some support when it comes to childcare costs. Let’s take a look at what support is actually on offer and how you get it. Continue reading

Playground Escapes Nearby Popular Holiday Sights

Playground Escapes Nearby Popular Holiday SightsYou may be familiar with the drill already, you’ve managed to survive getting to the airport, getting on the flight, arriving at your lodgings, unpacking all your belongings and keeping everyone together and alive for the first night. You’re now desperate to do some sight-seeing, after all this is your holiday too and it may also be your first time in a new location, be it Paris, Barcelona or Rome and you want to get some picture mementos. However, the kids aren’t as keen, after all, to them it’s a case of looking at a pointy tower for hours or walking around a dusty building made of old stone.

As most young children aren’t capable of seeing the wonder beyond their immediate surroundings, you need a way to find a balance between your holiday experiences and their child desires. If you are trying to get out to some popular holiday locations this year, consider this playground guide as your cheat sheet to allow the kids a place to let off a bit of steam while giving you a moment’s break to enjoy the scenery. Continue reading

Why Will Making Is A ‘MUST’ For Your Loved Ones Sake…and Yours

Why Will Making Is A MustWritten by Tim Mullock from Adept Asset Solutions.

Hannah’s Story

Hannah was in shock. Alan, her father, had died just three weeks ago. He was in his early 70’s, and apparently healthy. With no warning, he’d suffered a fatal cardiac arrest. Naturally, Hannah, her siblings and relatives were devastated by the loss of this wonderful man. Their sense of grief was compounded by worry. For, in spite, of being nagged by his children, Alan had always put off writing a Will. ‘I’ll get round to it soon enough’, he’d laugh. ‘Are you lot trying to get rid of me?’

A large tax bill to pay

As Hannah was soon to discover, Alan’s cavalier neglect would turn out to be no laughing matter. His situation was far from straightforward. Continue reading

Swimming & Mindfulness

Swimming & MindfulnessWritten by Jo Wilson, Swimworks.

The obvious benefits of swimming have been long understood and recognised. Physically, swimming strengthens the heart and lungs, builds muscles and improves balance and coordination. There are also social benefits as it allows children to observe others, make friends and learn to take turns. From a safety perspective, even babies can practise the skills needed to turn to the side, back float, rotate and pull themselves up onto the edge of the pool.
But swimming can give so much more, both to yourself and your little one. I would like you to consider the powerful notion of mindfulness – learning to relax and live in the moment.

In today’s busy world, swimming could have an even greater role to play in teaching parents to live in the moment and connect with their children. The practice of combining essential life skills with mindfulness focuses on facilitating strong, powerful bonds between you and your child. Continue reading

Top Tips to get your Child Ready for Primary School!

Top Tips to get your child ready for Primary SchoolWritten by Parentkind.

It’s nearly time for your child to start school! You’re probably feeling excited and maybe a little nervous about preparing them for this next big milestone. We asked charity Parentkind, for some top tips to help you get your child school ready this summer…

  1. Speak positively about school

Over the summer, you can focus on helping your child feel happy and confident about starting school by speaking positively about your own experiences, as well as those of their siblings, friends or extended family. Make it fun by sharing pictures of you in your school uniform, or by showing them your old school books, so that they have an idea of what to expect. Continue reading

Reach For The Sky….. And The Trees, The Soil And Vegetable Patches

Reach For The SkyWritten by Northampton High School.

The digital revolution is very much here. The impact of advancing technology is improving our day to day living and we can see it everywhere we go. But at what cost?

The term ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’ – coined by American author, Richard Louv, in 2005 – has now been widely taken up to describe the detrimental effects, on physical and mental health, of children’s disengagement from nature.  The stats paint a stark and concerning picture – with a third of under-16s being overweight or obese and an ‘epidemic of mental illness’ afflicting the young (leading to around 35,000 children in England being prescribed anti-depressants).  In response, many organisations, such as the National Trust, have taken up the cause of re-engaging children with the Great Outdoors.

Schools and Nurseries are, of course, crucial to the success this endeavour. Forest School is a brilliant starting point.  Much more than an outdoor education programme, it is a fully integrated and structured programme of activities, underpinned by a wealth of research and risk assessment and combining elements of bushcraft, skills-building, adventure, environmental awareness, character education and personal well-being.    Continue reading

My 2 Mums – How Times Have Changed

My 2 MumsJesse Toksvig-Stewart talks about what it was like to grow up with gay parents.

I was chatting with my step sister recently. We were discussing all things about everyday life, catching up. She’s still at school and I asked her how everything was going. She announced to me that there was another child in the year below who had two mums. I was so pleased to hear that  she had an ally at school. This was something that I never had at all growing up.

It is not really that long ago that being a gay man was illegal in the UK. The de-criminalisation act of homosexuality was put forward 1967. It is so shockingly close to our noughties decade, that people are somewhat in disbelief that it took so long.

The world is changing and people are becoming more accepting than they were when my parents or I was growing up. I’m 30 years old and still get moments where people say to me, “I don’t think that I have ever met anyone with lesbian parents before”. It is still unusual. My parents were at the forefront of same-sex parenting in the late 80’s. They didn’t know anyone else who was gay or lesbian and had babies. I guess this is where you can say that the times have really changed. Continue reading

How can I make the upheaval of moving home less stressful for my Child?

Moving house as an adult is one of the most stressful things you can do. There’s so much to organise, there’s costs to think about, and of course the emotional upheaval of the entire process can be exhausting. But what is it like for your child? To your child, you and their family home are the centre of their universe, and it’s difficult for them to imagine much else. So how can we help our children to better understand and find the moving on of moving house less stressful? There are a few tips that can help along the way.

Get on Their Level

The things that you’re worrying about in relation to what your child is worrying about in regards to the move are probably worlds apart. Whatever you do, a great place to start is by being honest with them and making them feel as included as you possibly can, without allowing them to share your worries. Something commonly found here, is that children will ultimately gravitate towards focusing what they may lose in the move such as their friends, their current school, and their current bedroom. Distracting from this and guiding them towards focusing on the positives of moving to a new home such as gaining more friends and a brand new bedroom is a great way of encouraging them to turn their nerves and sadness into excitement! Continue reading