Toddle About Blog

I Want To Return To Work – Where Do I Start?

Returning to WorkWritten by Caroline Cotterell, Managing Director at HR Solutions Team Ltd.

If you’ve taken a break from your career and are looking to get back to work, it can be hard to know what you need to do, what you might have missed and even where to look.

There are many reasons why people choose to take some time away from their careers. Looking after children is perhaps the most obvious or caring for ageing parents is something that’s on the increase.

The good news is, none of these should hold you back; with a bit of planning and preparation, you’ll be workplace ready before you know it. Here are some of the key things you should think about. Continue reading

‘What if they need help?” Supporting your child with the transition to a new setting

Using a range of simple strategies will help starting a new nursery or pre-school as stress free a time as possible.

Using a range of simple strategies will help starting a new nursery or pre-school as stress free a time as possible.

Written by Mandy Grist, a Speech and Language Advisor at I CAN, Children’s communication charity.

When our little ones start at nursery or pre-school it’s a time of mixed emotions. We often feel excitement at this new phase of their journey, but this is often also accompanied by anxiety that they’re out there on their own, reliant on their own communication skills to get them through the day.

Many of us will find ourselves asking questions … ‘will they make friends?’, ‘will people be able to understand what they’re saying?’, ‘will they be able to ask for things like a snack or going to the toilet?’ and ‘how will they be able to tell me what they’ve done all day?’. This is even more the case for parents of children who struggle with their communication skills.

There is however a range of strategies that can be helpful in preparing both parents and children with transitions and can help ensure that any child, including those who struggle with their communication, can make the transition successfully. You might like to: Continue reading

MK Parents Unaware of 30 hours Childcare Grant

30 Hours Childcare GrantA new eBook has been created by Kids Play Childcare following a recent Kids Play survey revealing huge confusion concerning the new 30 hour education grant for Pre-School children, starting on 1st September 2017.

Addressing the knowledge shortfall from the survey, the childcare group’s eBook outlines the eligibility criteria for 30 hours, accessing the 30 hours and the deadlines in place to register.

The feedback from nearly 200 parents with children 4 or under in the Milton Keynes and Bury St Edmunds area (where Kids Play Day Nurseries & Pre-Schools are located) and whilst 90% of their survey were aware of the grant, a staggering 51% didn’t know the eligibility criteria, 71% didn’t know there was a deadline for the September grant and 64% were unaware they needed to apply for it and how. Continue reading

Mr Bloom Officially Opens Nature Based Childcare Hub in Milton Keynes

Mr BloomOn Saturday 15th July at 11:00am, Mr Bloom from CBeebies officially opened The Childcare Hub in Knowlhill, a purpose built childcare setting focused on nature-based play.

Cutting a ribbon from one of the high level walkways linking the Pre-School Rooms to the Garden, Mr Bloom also delighted young fans later that day with 2 live theatre shows.

Offering childcare from 6 weeks to 12 years, The Childcare Hub includes an amazing Roof Garden complete with astro turf and raised vegetable beds, as well as a beautifully landscaped garden with Story Telling Circle, Bug Hotel and Forest Schools Area.

Said Sharon Elliott, Childcare Director “We can’t wait to open our new home of nature-based play. We are all super excited and look forward to celebrating in style with Mr Bloom from CBeebies. Parents and children will also have the opportunity to explore the new play areas and plant their own Sunflower to take home and watch grow.” Continue reading

Working For Yourself: Lessons and Insights

Lynne NewboldLynne Newbould runs the Little Kickers franchise for Northampton and Rugby with her husband Antony. They were recently ranked as the No. 7 Little Kickers franchise in the world and 4th in the UK, with over 450 children attending their classes every week. Lynne gives us an insight into her journey as a self-employed mother of two.

1) Why did you decide to work for yourself?

When our daughter was 2 years old, we had the usual juggle of work and childcare.  Antony was working away/overnight often, and we wanted to find work that would be flexible and fit around children. Working for myself seemed to tick all the boxes.

2) How did you choose what to do?

As a parent I used to take our daughter to various classes and activities.  At our music class one day, I realised she was the only child running around the outside of the hall, whilst everyone else was engaged in the activity. It prompted me to try and find an active class, one where she could run and use up all that excess energy.  Both myself and Antony have a sports and business management background and are huge football fans, so Little Kickers seemed a great option for all. Continue reading

Outdoor Learning at Daffodils Outdoor Nursery

Daffodils Outdoor Nursery

Research shows that time spent outdoors has a positive effect on children’s health

Daffodils Outdoor Nursery is a unique, Ofsted registered childcare setting that opened in September 2016, providing care for children age 2-5 years. Based on the border of Leicestershire and Northamptonshire, in Arthingworth, and surrounded by beautiful rolling countryside, they offer an exciting and unique opportunity for your children to experience freedom to learn in the outdoors.

The nursery is run by highly qualified staff and promotes the long-established philosophies of the Scandinavian Forest Kindergartens. Children explore, learn and develop in the outdoors, whatever the weather!

Outdoor Learning

Days are filled with activities and play that is led by the children’s interests and innate curiosity. The outdoor approach to learning allows children to learn to manage their own risks and challenges, supported by professional early years practitioners who will enhance their learning opportunities. Continue reading

Working For Yourself: The Options

Working for yourself

There are many pros and cons about working for yourself

If you want a job with the flexibility to work around your family, you will probably have considered working for yourself. There are three main models for being self-employed – here we explore the different models and the pros and cons of each.

# Option A – The Entrepreneur

You have a passion, an idea or a special talent. You spot a problem that you can solve and a gap in the market – and you decide to create a business to bring your dream to life.

For most people, starting a new business is the first way they consider becoming self-employed. It is probably the most exciting and rewarding option available. It also carries the greatest risk.

If you haven’t run a business before, you will be venturing into the unknown. It will require a significant investment of time and probably money, and you will have a lot to learn – often by trial and error. At the beginning you will be the visionary, the manager, the worker, the bookkeeper and the cleaner. There’s a lot to do, and if the business fails, it can be crushing. Continue reading

Mums Making It: Lessons In Business

Anne-Marie Martin is the successful founder of diddi dance

The secret of Anne-Marie’s success was to listen to feedback from franchises, teachers and customers

By Anne-Marie Martin is the founder and owner of diddi dance, a successful pre-school dance school with over 40 franchisees across the UK. She shares the secrets of her success.

1) How did Diddi Dance come to be?

After teaching dance to older children for many years I discovered a gap in the market for the preschool age after many parents and carers were asking me if I knew of any fun and funky dance classes they could take their toddlers to. After starting up my own preschool dance classes and having a few trial sessions I settled upon a syllabus structure that was successful in engaging and encouraging toddlers to find enjoyment in moving to music.

2) How big is Diddi Dance now?

With over 40 franchises across the UK from Aberdeen to Portsmouth, we currently cover over 30% of the UK and are expanding further every year. We are currently looking for passionate, driven individuals to open new diddi dance franchisees, in areas such as the Midlands, South West England and North West England if you’re interested! Continue reading

7 Steps To Having The Best of Both Worlds and Succeeding as a Working Mum

By Lorraine Thomas, Parenting Expert

Working mum

Juggling work and motherhood is tough – succeeding at both requires giving up on perfection. It doesn’t exist anyway.

As a working mum, you’re on the clock 24/7. It can seem there’s always too much to do … and never quite enough mum to go round. Juggling the demands of career and family is tough. We all have days when we feel we’re failing as a mum and employee. That’s natural.

There’s no such thing as the perfect working mother so give yourself a break. It’s normal to feel guilty and worry – our recent Parent Coaching Academy survey revealed that on average working mums spend between 1 and 2 hours worrying daily and 8/10 mums say they ‘often’ feel guilty. The more you think or talk about feeling tired, guilty stressed or worried, the worse you feel.

Here are my Top Tips to help you get a better life balance.

1) Look after Yourself

When you are looking after yourself, you’re looking after your family. If you are positive and energised, it will impact on all your relationships. A healthy diet, exercise and relaxation will all make a difference. Always eat breakfast, drink plenty of water and get at least 10 minutes fresh air a day. You don’t need the gym – with a child you have your own personal trainer. Take up yoga, meditation or mindfulness. Continue reading

Back to Work After Baby: Back to work tips and advice

By Jennifer Liston-Smith, Maternity Transition Coach back-to-work-family

Going back to work can be daunting after a long, or short, break for maternity leave. But navigating the minefield of questions that come with it can be downright confusing.


Childcare choices typically include relatives, friends, nurseries, nannies, and childminders. Every family will need different help so be sure to investigate what works best for you – in many cases it’s a combination.

Have a backup plan when it comes to childcare as you never know Continue reading