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Category: Brain development

Tips for successfully weaning your baby
Tips for successfully weaning your baby

Weaning your infant can be a challenge, but these tips from our crèche near Parkmore will help make this a smooth transition for you and your little one.

  • The right time to start weaning: Guidelines promote exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of your child’s life, and a combination of breastfeeding and solids up until one year. Weaning can take place after that, or you can continue for as long you feel comfortable with it.
  • Health and change: Breastfeeding is comfort as well as nutrition, and it’s a good idea to start the weaning process when your child is feeling healthy and settled. Big changes like starting crèche, moving to a new house and new routines, or feeling unwell can make weaning more difficult.
  • What your baby wants: The most important factor in this process is your baby, and the best time to start weaning is when your little one shows interest in it by seeking out other foods/comfort, or can start drinking from a cup. Some children start this at a year or earlier, while others only start self-weaning as toddlers.
  • Mother-led weaning: If you’re unable to breastfeed your child through the day, you can start the weaning process yourself by slowly reducing the frequency of breastfeeding and introducing pumped breast milk or formula. The key is to do this very slowly at one feed a day and increase the bottle feeds over a few weeks.
  • Shortened nursing time: This is another good strategy where you can reduce breastfeeding time per session. For children over 6 months, you can follow a short breastfeeding session with a healthy, age-appropriate snack, formula or pumped breastmilk. It’s easier to start this strategy with daytime feeds and slowly move towards decreasing night feeds.
  • Postpone feeds: This strategy relies on your baby getting hungry enough that he or she will eat their food/have a bottle, but it’s important to time these just right. If they get too hungry, they’ll be frustrated and impatient, and mealtimes will be a struggle.

Peace of mind for you and your baby 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.

How to get a handle on toddler temper tantrums
How to get a handle on toddler temper tantrums

We’ve all seen it happen – a toddler having a screaming, sobbing meltdown, often in a public place, as parents struggle to calm their child. In fact, it’s what most of us reading this have put our own parents through! These tantrums are difficult to deal with, but here are a few tips from our play school near Craighall to help keep them under control.

  • Remember that they are natural: Between the ages of 1-4 years, children are learning how to communicate effectively. But because they haven’t mastered these skills yet, they can get frustrated – resulting in a tantrum. This is all part of the natural learning process, and keeping that in mind can make them much easier to deal with.
  • Normal tantrums or troublesome tantrums: Research has shown that around half of toddlers throw one or more tantrums a week, and this is considered fairly normal for this level of development and can generally be ignored as a real behavioural issue. However, if tantrums are far more frequent and far more intense, it’s best to take a closer look at what is triggering them and how they are being dealt with.
  • What triggers the tantrum? Knowing what triggers a tantrum is an important part of dealing with them effectively. While they may seem to come out of nowhere, the main triggers tend to be change and testing the rules. Other factors like hunger, frustration or tiredness can quickly escalate the situation, so keeping these under control can help reduce the frequency and intensity of tantrums.
  • Don’t give in: Unfortunately, the easiest way to stop a tantrum is to give your child what they want, but this isn’t a good strategy in the long term. Not only will it disrupt the rules and limitations you have set in place for your child, it will also encourage him or her to throw more tantrums in future. This will quickly become a difficult cycle to break. Not giving in will show your child that this strategy doesn’t work, encouraging them to try something else instead.
  • Stay calm: This is very challenging, but staying calm and showing your child that their tantrum doesn’t affect you is important to stopping this behaviour. Sit and hold your child and tell them you love them but you can’t give them what you want. You can even remove him from the situation and take him somewhere quiet and calm to give him a time-out, like sitting in the car for a few minutes if you’re at the shops.
  • Be positive: Learning these communication skills is hard work, so praise your child when they stay calm and do the right thing in a situation where they could’ve thrown a temper tantrum. This shows him that the right behaviour gets rewarded and builds a positive feedback situation rather than leaving him frustrated.

Holistic childcare from 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 nursery school 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!

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.

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.

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.

How to Support Your Baby’s Language Skills Development
How to Support Your Baby’s Language Skills Development

Parents play one of the most critical roles in helping a child’s language development. With the right support, your little one can make significant advances in this area, such as:

  • A wider vocabulary,
  • Better grammar, and
  • More advanced communication skills.

Here are tips on how to best support this learning, from our day care near Hurlingham:

  • Talk:
  • Children primarily learn by listening to you talk. So, it’s important to make this part of your daily routine. Luckily, they aren’t fussy about what you want to talk about! You can talk to them about the food they’re eating, their bath time… even talk to them about whatever it is that you’re doing, as you’re doing it. You’ll be amazed at what they pick up!

  • Tell stories:
  • Making up fanciful stories is an entertaining way to help stimulate your child’s imagination and language skills. Pick something that focusses on your child’s interests and isn’t too scary. Let them ask lots of questions about what happens next and who the characters are. And have fun!

  • Music:
  • Singing along to songs is lots of fun – adding music and movement are a great way to add another dimension! You can find lots of songs online and in kids’ stores that are interesting and appropriate to your child’s age., Look for ones that teach all sorts of useful things like how to brush teeth, play new games or make new friends!

  • Correct, don’t criticise:
  • Getting grammar or words incorrect is a natural part of the learning process, but correcting it properly is important. Rather than telling your child that they are wrong, repeat what they said back to them with the correct word or grammar and ask them to repeat it to you correctly.

  • New experiences:
  • Exploring the world is key to language development, so add lots of variety into your child’s daily experiences. Parks, play dates, new activities and day trips all help your child discover new things to talk about, learn about and get interested in.

Help your child grow and learn at our day care 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 playschool, please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.

Helping your play schooler develop good sleeping habits
Helping your play schooler develop good sleeping habits

Healthy sleeping patterns are important at any age, but they’re even more important for pre-schoolers. Not only does their lack of sleep affect parents, it also makes learning and skills development more difficult for your little one. Here are some tips from our play school near Parkmore for overcoming these challenges.

How much sleep does your pre-schooler need?

Between the ages of 2 and 4, your child should be getting between 10 and 14 hours of sleep a day. This can include a nap in the afternoon, but as your child gets older they may not feel the need for one. Generally, children in this age group will go to sleep between 7:30 and 9, and wake up between 6:30 and 8.

How to support good sleeping habits

Sleeping patterns can change due to growth spurts and stress, leading to restlessness, nightmares or frequently waking up. Here are some tips to help you and your child get some much-needed rest:

  • Consistent bed time: Choose a bed time and stick to it. This will help set your child’s internal clock and make it easier for your child to fall asleep quickly, as well as prevent overtiredness.
  • Make a bedtime routine: Repeating a nightly routine helps settle your child into the mind-set needed for restful sleep. Try to include 3 or 4 soothing activities at least an hour before bed time to calm your child down for the night. This can include a bath, changing into pyjamas, reading a story, cuddling, singing a lullaby or other quiet activities. Making it the same every night means that your child can anticipate what is happening, which helps make falling asleep easier.
  • Calm and quiet: An emphasis on calm, quiet and soothing activities can be helped with a few sensory items that reinforce the bedtime ritual. The smell of lavender, a special night light that softly lights the room or a specific snuggle blanket for story time all help support your bedtime ritual.

Learning through fun and friends at our playschool near Parkmore

At Doodlebugs Play School, we offer a safe, loving day care centre and crèche near Parkmore for your baby or children 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.