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Tips for limiting your child’s screen time this summer
Tips for limiting your child’s screen time this summer

The summer holidays are here, a time when many parents understandably struggle to limit their little one’s screen time! Here are some tips from our play school near Parkmore for maintaining a healthy balance over the festive season.

  • Make a flexible plan: Whether you’d like to limit your child to one hour of TV a day or one movie a day, it’s good to communicate your plan from the start by creating a designated time slot for TV. By establishing a routine, it becomes much easier to enforce, and makes sense to your little one.
  • Play dates: Playing with friends is the biggest distraction you can offer your child, and since so many parents are trying to limit screen time, it makes sense to team up and make a plan for play dates. Try out different activities each time, like a trip to the park or zoo, to keep it fresh for yourself as well as your kids.
  • Be a good role model: As with everything else, our little ones look to us as an example of what they should be doing – and it’s difficult to help them see why the TV isn’t good for them if we have it on for ourselves all day! Try to keep up with other activities through the hours your child is up and about, and you can always catch up on your TV after their bedtime.
  • Quality counts: If you’re going to have screen time, you can make it more productive for your child by choosing great quality programmes. From kid’s movies and series embodied with positive messages, to shows that are educational or are participatory, TV can play a positive role in your child’s development.
  • Activate parental controls: One thing most parents are astonished by is how quickly children pick up how to use electronic devices, which means it’s very important to make sure parental controls are activated from a very young age! This will limit what your child can have access to in terms of apps and TV channels, as well as implementing password protection that ensures only you can access the devices.

Our play school near Parkmore: A fun, healthy environment where your child will thrive

At Doodlebugs Play School, we offer a safe, loving day care centre and crèche near Parkmore for your baby and toddler from 18 months to 4 years old. Fully supervised by our qualified, loving staff, our professional child care ensures that your little one will have fun, learn and explore the world while giving you complete peace of mind – you can see for yourself right here! To find out more about our daily routine or to visit our play school, please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.

Fun Christmas projects for you and your child!
Fun Christmas projects for you and your child!

Crafting over Christmas is a great boredom-buster that keeps little hands busy, celebrates a wonderful time of year, and even helps develop those essential early development skills! Here are some easy crafts that will help your little one have fun and hit those milestones, from our team at our nursery school near Craighall.

  • Family Christmas cards: Handmade cards are the best cards, so why not make these a family crafting project. Gather glue, wrapping paper scraps, glitter, buttons, ribbon and colour markers together in festive colours and let your kids go wild decorating cut-out cards for family and friends.
  • Santa’s plate: If you like leaving milk and cookies out for Father Christmas, then why not do it on a special plate? Pop into your local store for a plain white plate and visit your craft store for ceramic paints and get as creative as you like. If you want, you can substitute it with a paper plate and non-toxic paints.
  • Make your own gift wrap: All you have to do for this simple project is get as many meters of plain brown or white paper (the type you see in big rolls in craft stores) as you need and then set up your decorating station. One great idea is to make potato stamps in festive shapes (like Christmas trees or stars) and either buy some non-toxic paint or make your own.
  • Christmas cookies: A lovely handmade gift, this is a tasty festive treat! Using any cookie recipe you like (ginger, vanilla and plain sugar cookies work well), make your dough and cut out various festive shapes, and bake until ready. Your little one can help decorate them with coloured icing and any pretty festive toppings you like!
  • A Christmas wreath: Take a paper plate and cut out the centre, leaving the outer circular edge intact. Then it’s time for your toddler to decorate! Non-toxic paints, ribbon, glitter, buttons and cut-outs of snowflakes holly leaves and presents are all great – and cheap – decorations that will bring your wreath to life. You can hang a single wreath over your door, or connect a few of different sizes together with ribbon for a bigger impact.

Fun, friends and learning with our nursery school near Craighall

At Doodlebugs Play School near Craighall, we know that this is a critical time of learning and development for your little one. We aim to support it through a holistic curriculum that teaches through fun, safe and age-appropriate activities. With plenty of peers to play with, extensively trained crèche and professional child-care staff members to oversee all activities and a fun, childproof environment, we’re looking forward to bringing out the best in your child.

For more information on our daily routine or to visit our day care centre, please contact us today. We look forward to meeting you and having your child join our family!

Fun events for families this festive season
Fun events for families this festive season

Johannesburg Area:

  • Christmas Village at Montecasino: Discover a traditional European Christmas Village in the heart of Sandton! With a huge range of gift and food stalls, entertainment and festive décor, this is a great treat for the family. It’s on from 29 November to 3 December.
  • Aladdin: This magical Disney musical comes to life at the Irene Village Theatre in Centurion, featuring top local talent. It’s on from 2-16 December.
  • Beach Festival: The seaside is coming to Joburg! This much-loved annual event is great for kids of all ages – and adults – and is hosted at the Silverstar Casino on the West Rand.

Cape Town Area:

  • Kirstenbosch Summer Concerts: Pack a picnic and enjoy a live outdoor concert on the lawns of South Africa’s National Botanical Gardens. It’s the perfect opportunity for kids and adults to relax, enjoy the beautiful weather and local music. They’re on from 20 November – 2 April, with Christmas carols on 15-18 December.
  • The Frog Prince: Artscape Theatre in Cape Town is hosting a wonderful production that your kids will love, an entrancing fairy tale about a prince who is turned into a frog! This is on from 9-23 December.
  • Christmas concert: There are many Christmas concerts held in the Cape, but one of our favourites is held at Groot Constantia. Ideal for the whole family, the Annual Festive Concert of the Cape Town Symphony Choir is all about enjoying Christmas carols and picnic baskets as you relax in some of the Cape’s most beautiful surroundings.

Durban Area:

  • Sinbad the Sailor: Nothing is more fun for little ones than a traditional panto, and this year’s offering from KickstArt is a fun romp around the Seven Seas. It’s on from 1 December – 7 January.
  • Al Ansaar Souk and Trade Fair: With everything from live performances and kiddies rides to cooking demonstrations and shopping stalls, this fair has something for everyone. It’s on from 22 December – 1 January.
  • Umgeni Steam Railway: A beautiful journey through the valley on an amazing steam train is something to remember! It happens on the first and last Sunday of each month, and there’s a special Christmas Carol journey from 15 – 24 December with Santa!

Loving, professional child care near Hurlingham for your little one

At Doodlebugs Play School, we offer a safe, educational day care centre and play school near Hurlingham for your baby and toddler from 18 months to 4 years old. Fully supervised by our qualified, loving staff, our professional child care and holistic educational curriculum ensures that your little one will have fun, learn and explore the world in a safe and caring environment. To find out more about our daily routine or to visit our nursery school, please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.

Packing tips for your summer holidays!
Packing tips for your summer holidays!

For many parents, the most intimidating part of having a little one is the amount of stuff you need to take with you everywhere you go! And at no time is this truer than when you are packing to go on holiday. As we all get ready to hop in the car and travel to see family and friends this festive season, these tips from our play school in Sandton will help ensure you have all the essentials.

  • Lists, lists, lists: When it comes to travel prep, lists are your friends, so start making them up a few weeks before the big day. Use one to keep track of how many outfits/nappies/etc. your little one goes through per day, to help you calculate your packing requirements.
  • What you need in the car: Make a checklist of all the things you’ll need close at hand, including food, an extra set of clothes, eating utensils, nappies, sippy cups, and lots of hand wipes. A good idea is to have an extra outfit or top for yourself as well, just in case there are any accidents.
  • Portable changing equipment: You never really know when a dirty nappy is going to strike, so a well-equipped diaper bag is essential. Along with nappies, you can include a disposable changing pad, plastic bags for nappy disposal, wipes and bum cream, as well as a favourite toy or blanket as a distraction.
  • Safety, comfort and entertainment: Make sure your car seat is properly installed and ready for your little one, and that it’s positioned on the right-hand passenger side in the back seat so that the passenger in the front can easily reach over to your little one. Don’t forget a blanket and favourite toy for comfort, as well as a sun screen to block out light from the car window. Audiobooks make wonderful entertainment for long drives, and little ones often fall asleep just to the sound of the voice reading the story, so it doesn’t necessarily need to be a kids book.
  • Think travel-size: Most parents prefer to buy their kid’s toiletries in bulk, but this makes them a challenge when it comes to packing. Rather, if it’s possible, buy an empty toiletry travel pack from your pharmacy and fill each bottle with a small amount of shampoo, moisturiser and other toiletries. This is ideal if you aren’t going away for long, or if you can stock up at your destination.
  • Call ahead: If you’re staying at a hotel, resort or even an AirBnB, they often have useful kid’s equipment on hand, including travel cots, feeding chairs and other essential but bulky items. Using their equipment will go a long way to saving on space and hassle while you travel, so call ahead and see what they can offer you.

Visit our play school in Sandton and give your little one the best start in life!

At Doodlebugs Play School, we offer a safe, loving play school in Sandton for your baby from 18 months to 4 years old. Fully supervised by our qualified, affectionate staff, our professional child and day care centre ensures that your little one will have fun, learn and explore the world while giving you complete peace of mind. To find out more about our daily routine or to visit our nursery school, please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.

We answer the most popular questions asked by new parents!
We answer the most popular questions asked by new parents!

Here are some answers to some of the most common questions asked by new parents, from the team at our crèche near Parkmore.

Is my baby eating enough?

If you’re breastfeeding, it can be difficult to tell just how much food your little one is getting. And for formula-fed babies, the tin is simply a guideline. The best way to tell if your baby is eating enough is through regular weigh-ins that your paediatrician can schedule. They can also tell you how much weight your child should be putting on, what you can expect and give you advice on how to increase feeds.

How do I teach my baby to sleep at night?

Infants will wake up for feeds and nappy changes, but there ways to teach your child to sleep predominantly at night – being diurnal is something they have to actually learn! During the day, be energetic and upbeat, and go outdoors with your baby. At night time, lower the lights and choose calm, soothing activities like a gentle bath and lullaby. This will start teaching your baby what’s expected at different times of the day.

How can I bond with my baby?

Despite popular thinking, bonding doesn’t always happen instantly, and new parents shouldn’t worry. Take a slow and gradual approach to bonding with your little one and remember that you’re adjusting to a big change in your life, so don’t be hard on yourself. Some activities that can help the bonding process include breastfeeding, carrying your infant in a close-body carrier, spending time with your child in the calmer parts of the day, and even giving yourself a time-out to relax and re-energise.

What is the right age for starting crèche or day care?

If you ask this question, you’re going to get a lot of different answers, but if you are returning to work or want your child to attend day care, most specialists agree that it’s best to avoid crèche when your baby is less than 6 months old. The best advice we can give you is to choose a facility that specialises in your child’s age group, however, as they will have the training, equipment and expertise to give your child the right support – and to give you peace of mind.

Meet our talented, loving team at our crèche near Parkmore

At Doodlebugs Play School, we offer a safe, loving day care centre and crèche near Parkmore for your baby and toddler from 18 months to 4 years old. Fully supervised by our qualified, loving staff, our professional child care ensures that your little one will have fun, learn and explore the world while giving you complete peace of mind – you can see for yourself right here! To find out more about our daily routine or to visit our play school, please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.

Great tips that will help your infant sleep through the night
Great tips that will help your infant sleep through the night

Sleep is important for parents and babies, keeping us physically healthy and mentally fit. It’s also critical for your infant’s brain development, as this is the time when new neural pathways are strengthened as they learn new skills. Unfortunately, many new parents struggle to get a good night’s sleep. Here are some tips from our day care near Craighall for getting your infant to sleep through the night.

  • Swaddling: For newborns and up to 4-5 months old, swaddling is recommended by baby specialists. This method of wrapping your baby prevents their instinctive startle reflex from jerking them out of sleep. If you don’t know how to swaddle your baby properly, ask your paediatrician or nurse to show you this useful technique!
  • Create a routine: We are all creatures of routine, and by associating specific activities with bedtime, parents can help infants get into the right mode to fall asleep. Try quiet, quick activities, like a warm bath and putting on soft pyjamas followed by a lullaby. The last part should always take place where your baby is going to sleep.
  • Strategic nappy changes: Nappy changes are not something most infants enjoy, and feeding is far more soothing, so change your baby’s nappy before you do your late night feed. This will help calm them and make falling back to sleep much easier.
  • Teach them to self-soothe: This is essentially about teaching your little one how to fall back to sleep by themselves. Lay your baby down to sleep when he is drowsy but not yet asleep. If you hear gurgling, wait and see what happens rather than rushing back in. If your baby cries, wait a few moments to see if they can fall asleep and then go in and soothe your baby for a few minutes without picking him up (only do this if he is very upset) and see if he calms down. Repeating this will help teach your little one how to fall asleep independently.
  • Comforting smells: If your baby is over 6 months, you can give them a bedtime comforter like a soft toy or blanket. This works best if it smells of you, so keep it with you for a few hours. If your baby is younger than 6 months, these comforting objects are a health risk, so it’s better to include your scent in a different way – for example, making sure the swaddling blanket smells like you.

Supported early learning and development at our play school near Craighall

At Doodlebugs Play School near Craighall, we know that this is a critical time of learning and development for your little one. We aim to support it through a holistic curriculum that teaches through fun, safe and age-appropriate activities. With plenty of peers to play with, extensively trained crèche and professional child-care staff members to oversee all activities and a fun, childproof environment, we’re looking forward to bringing out the best in your child.

For more information on our daily routine or to visit our day care centre, please contact us today. We look forward to meeting you and having your child join our family!

Imaginary friends: Worrisome or wonderful?
Imaginary friends: Worrisome or wonderful?

Have you ever heard your child chattering away into thin air? Or have they spoken to you about games they play with a companion that doesn’t exist? Your child has an imaginary friend! While many parents become concerned about these creatures, characters and confidants, the reality is that imaginary friends are a healthy part of early childhood development. In fact, they can boost the development of many essential skills! Here’s some more information on these fantasy friends, from our play school near Hurlingham.

How common are imaginary friends?

Most children act out their imagination by creating games and events with their toys, stuffed animals and dress up clothes, but almost 37% of children take this a step further by creating a fantasy friend. These can be human, animal or a creative mixture of both, and can be present singularly or in groups. These friends are often incredibly detailed and vivid when described, from how they look and how they behave to rules they follow (they only like juice or turn purple in the sunlight or you have to sing a certain song to invite them over).

Why do children invent them?

Contrary to popular belief, research has shown that children with imaginary friends are not necessarily more lonely or isolated than other children. In fact, these children often have better social skills than children who do not have them. Occasionally, they can appear after a traumatic event, like the loss of a parent, and psychologists say that they are a very helpful coping mechanism in those cases.

What are the benefits?

Studies have shown that children with imaginary friends are usually:

  • More sociable and have better social skills
  • Have high levels of creative thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Have stronger language skills and are able to articulate their thoughts better
  • Have better self-esteem

Come play and learn at our play school near Hurlingham

At Doodlebugs Play School, we offer a safe, educational day care centre and play school near Hurlingham for your baby and toddler from 18 months to 4 years old. Fully supervised by our qualified, loving staff, our professional child care and holistic educational curriculum ensures that your little one will have fun, learn and explore the world in a safe and caring environment. To find out more about our daily routine or to visit our nursery school, please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.

How to teach your child all about self-control
How to teach your child all about self-control

One of the important parts of early childhood development is learning self-control. Children are impulsive by nature, but life is all about taking those impulsive urges and channelling them into the self-discipline they need to become productive, balanced and happy individuals. Self-control isn’t about willpower or even restraining their lively spirits – it’s about teaching them the tools they need to make situations work to their advantage, to help them reach their goals. Here are some tips for teaching your child how to properly exercise self-control, from our nursery school in Sandton.

  • Age-appropriate learning: Brain development determines when your child has the ability to start learning to control their impulses. The part of the brain responsible for these behaviours, the prefrontal cortex, develops slowly from 6 months old and only reaches maturity in your child’s mid-20s. This means that you can only expect to start teaching self-control through the toddler stages, and that a lot of patience is needed to stimulate these neural pathways and develop these skills.
  • Develop trust: Young children start developing their self-control when they can trust that it will be rewarded. For example, asking your little one to sit on a chair and wait while you fetch the food they want is rewarded when you hold up your side of the bargain – bringing the food. Trust like this soothes anxiety and impatience, allowing your child to develop the skills to wait patiently because they know that this is how they will get what they want, and each time it happens, this behaviour is reinforced.
  • Being a role model: Parents are the primary role models for kids, so we have to keep a close eye on our own behaviours to ensure that our kids are learning good skills from us. For example, when we react angrily or personally to challenging behaviour, we are teaching them that this is the right way to react. It takes a lot of effort, especially when it’s been a rough day, but taking a deep breath and regulating your own emotional responses will pay off in the long-term, as your child will start to copy your self-control.
  • Repetition: This is the primary way that children learn, and it applies just as much to learning self-control as it does to learning to clap hands, sing a song or speak. Every time the skills are repeated and copied by your child, it strengthens the neural pathways in their brain responsible for learning in this area – and the more often you do it, the stronger and more resilient they get.

Age-appropriate, holistic learning at our nursery school in Sandton

At Doodlebugs Play School, we offer a safe, loving play school in Sandton for your baby from 18 months to 4 years old. Fully supervised by our qualified, affectionate staff, our professional child and day care centre ensures that your little one will have fun, learn and explore the world while giving you complete peace of mind. To find out more about our daily routine or to visit our nursery school, please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.

Out and About with Toddlers – Fun Activities in The Sandton Area
Out and About with Toddlers – Fun Activities in The Sandton Area
  • Yeesh! Fun for kids:
  • This is a two-storey, fun-filled adventure playground that is limited to children aged 12 and below. With a soft play structure, painting corner, baking station and more, your child will have a blast! There is a mini play area ideal for kids aged 4 and under to explore and a place for parents to relax and enjoy themselves. All areas are fully supervised at all times.

  • Kloofendal Nature Reserve:
  • Great for adults and kids, this nature reserve is all about exploring the great outdoors and learning about the environment. Appropriate for all ages, this trip is best enjoyed by kids who enjoy getting involved and getting their hands dirty with activities like learning about birds and bugs, panning for gold and even star-gazing. With wide open lawns and beautiful scenery, it’s also the perfect spot for a picnic.

  • The Pottery Junxion:
  • Located in Edenvale, this is a great outing for children who like to get crafty and creative. Simply choose your pieces of pottery, your paints and go wild! The pottery will be fired in a kiln for you and you can pick up your mementos after they are finished. This is ideal for kids and adults of any age. It is a fun way to capture your baby’s hand prints and foot prints and create a lasting memory.

  • The Sandton Field and Study Centre:
  • Here you can enjoy the River Café or pack a picnic and enjoy the sunny winter weather. There are plenty of play areas, including a sand pit and jungle gyms, as well as the lovely fields to enjoy. There are no child minders here, however, so you’ll need to join in to keep it a fun and happy experience!

  • The Mami Paradiso Centre:
  • Located in Randpark Ridge, this centre offers a Mommy Wellness Spa (open for dads too!) for essential pampering, as well as plenty of fully-supervised activities for little ones. There’s a restaurant with a play area, music activities for kids and shops where you can stock up on maternity bargains, kids’ clothes and much more.

Learning through fun at our play school in Sandton

At Doodlebugs Play School, we offer a safe, loving play school in Sandton for your baby from 18 months to 4 years old. Fully supervised by our qualified, affectionate staff, our professional child and day care centre ensures that your little one will have fun, learn and explore the world while giving you complete peace of mind. To find out more about our daily routine or to visit our nursery school, please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.

Biting: What Does This Behaviour Mean? What to Do About It?
Biting: What Does This Behaviour Mean? What to Do About It?

Although parents are often horrified to hear it, biting is a common issue for toddlers. It’s upsetting to children and parents alike, but it’s also an important learning opportunity for your child. Understanding why it happens and responding to it properly is the best way to prevent this behaviour. So, here is helpful advice from our child care centre near Parkmore:

Why do toddlers bite?

Toddlers bite for two reasons:

  1. They are either trying to cope with a challenge, or
  2. Trying to fulfil a need.

Some common examples of this include:

  • Frustration
  • Need for oral stimulation
  • Need for personal space
  • Pushing boundaries to see what will happen
  • They are tired or over-stimulated
  • They are teething
  • They are struggling to express themselves

How to correct biting behaviours

Contrary to popular belief, harsh discipline or punishment is not going to correct biting. That being said, you should always tell your child that biting hurts and is wrong. The only way to effectively change this behaviour is to understand what is triggering it and correct the underlying issue. For teething children, this can be as simple as offering an appropriate teething toy or teething biscuit when you see your child starting to fuss.

For older toddlers, finding an appropriate outlet for their feelings is the more effective route. This way, they can have a healthy outlet for their energy, frustration or emotions that has a productive result. Some examples of this can include:

  • Teaching your child how to verbally express his or her emotions,
  • Teaching them to share toys and space, and
  • Making sure that they have enough sleep and nap times through the day.

Once you identify what makes your child want to express themselves through biting, you can focus on preventing bites from occurring in the first place by putting effective boundaries and strategies in place. This isn’t just about preventing upsets with other children, it’s about developing empathy and social skills in all children – a fundamental part of learning and succeeding in life. Dealing with biting can be difficult for parents, but it’s a natural issue that toddlers face. With the right support from parents and caregivers, it can be corrected and prevented in a gentle, effective and loving way.

Teach your little one to learn and succeed at our child care centre near Parkmore

At Doodlebugs Play School, we offer a safe, loving day care centre and crèche near Parkmore for your baby and toddler from 18 months to 4 years old. Fully supervised by our qualified, loving staff, our professional child care ensures that your little one will have fun, learn and explore the world while giving you complete peace of mind – you can see for yourself right here! To find out more about our daily routine or to visit our play school, please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.