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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.

Tips for Making Meal Times Easy for Toddlers!
Tips for Making Meal Times Easy for Toddlers!

For many parents – and toddlers – meal times can be a challenging and overwhelming experience. Here are tips, from our play school near Craighall, to restore peace, reduce fussing and make meal times easy again.

  • Plan:

Take one day of the week and dedicate a few hours to planning and preparing the week’s meals. Toddlers don’t eat a huge amount, so it’s easy to make meals ahead of time and store them in the correct portion sizes in the freezer. Simply defrost and warm up the food and you’re good to go!

  • Limit choices:

Too many options are simply going to overwhelm your little one and make your life more difficult. It’s easier on you and your toddler if you limit their food choices and don’t let them learn to hold out for their favourite food. This not only makes meal times easier to plan for, it also helps your child to develop good eating habits.

  • Set boundaries:

It’s a well-known fact that children who know what to expect feel more relaxed and confident, which is essential to a peaceful meal! Some good rules to include are:

  • Meals to always take place in a high chair at set times of the day,
  • No distractions like TV or iPads nearby, and
  • That a parent always sits with them and focuses on their meal regardless of whether you are eating or not.
  • Fresh flavour:

Babies, just like adults, love flavour! New flavours and textures also provide sensory stimulation, helping your little one learn while providing essential nutrition. Different vegetables, fruits and proteins are all helpful to your child’s growth. Serving them in a child-friendly, cut-to-the-correct-size portion, gives your child a chance to explore new tastes. Just remember to limit additives like salt, sugar and sauces.

  • Snack sensibly:

Snacks can quickly ruin even the healthiest appetite, so be sure to keep them limited to certain times of the day well before meal times. The best snacks are small in quantity, healthy and free of additional sugar, salt and additives. Good snack choices include teething biscuits, apple slices, strawberries, carrot sticks and mashed banana.

Healthy habits and learning through fun 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!

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.

Tips for building your child’s confidence
Tips for building your child’s confidence

A healthy sense of confidence and strong self-esteem is essential for living a life of mental health and becoming an active, positive member of society, so it’s no surprise that this is such an important part of childhood development. Here is some helpful advice from our nursery school near Craighall to help build these traits.

  • Love and affection: It might sound obvious, but expressing your love and affection for your child is a great foundation for their self-worth. Holding your baby, hugging your child, and telling them you love them all reinforce the relationship of unconditional love that they need to build a confident foundation.
  • Meaningful praise: Praise is very important for building confidence, but don’t praise something unless it is deserved. It’s just as important to give positive feedback on achievements as it is to gently and kindly teach your child that it’s okay not to be the best at everything. This encourages them to develop the drive to put practice and effort into developing their own skills and valuing hard work.
  • Encourage independence: It’s instinctive to want to rush in and save our children from every single thing, but this can make your child fearful and scared of failure. A good way to help develop independence and a sense of adventure is to set your child up in a safe environment where they can make decisions on their own. For example, making sandwiches together for lunch, trying new foods, or exploring a child-friendly park while you watch from a safe distance.
  • Be consistent: Rules and boundaries are an important part of raising a child and, when they know what is expected of them, they feel confident in what they are and are not allowed to do. These rules change from family to family, and should change as your child grows, but as long as they are applied consistently your child will feel secure.
  • Be a good role model: Parents are the most influential role models for children, and they will try and mimic what they see in you. Focusing on body positivity, believing in yourself, rewarding yourself for achievements and practicing on yourself what you are trying to teach your children will help them develop that confidence in themselves.

Teaching confidence and self-esteem in a fun, loving 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 and 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!

Breastfeeding? Read this childcare advice!
Breastfeeding? Read this childcare advice!

For working moms, going back to the office after having a baby can be a very tough decision – and if you breastfeed your child, that can mean extra complications when you drop them off at day care. Here are some tips from our childcare centre near Hurlingham.

  • Talk to your care provider: Some child care centres are experienced at dealing with this issue and others are not, so it’s important to inform them that your child will require breastmilk while at day care. They need to know how to store it, how to prepare it for your baby and how much your baby will require through the day.
  • How much breastmilk is needed through the day: This differs from baby to baby, and will affect how much you need to pump and provide each day. On average, babies drink about 700-750 ml a day. For a typical day at day care, you may need around 300ml of breastmilk depending on your child, if they are going through a growth spurt, and their feeding schedule. Some moms can pop in and breastfeed at lunch, which is a great way of reducing your need to pump and bonding with your baby.
  • Top up in the mornings: One good idea is to try feed your baby at the day care when you arrive in the mornings, even if you have already just fed your child. Again, this reduced your need to pump, makes it easier for the day care, and means fewer bottles to clean, fill and store.
  • Label everything: Talk to your child care centre about how you should deliver your child’s bottles, the labelling they require and their policies on storing excess breastmilk on the premises, as some are unable to do so.
  • Practice makes perfect: This is a big adjustment for any mom as well as your baby, so start to ease into the process of pumping, storing breastmilk and bottle feeding your baby at least two weeks before day care starts. Some babies have difficulty adjusting to bottles and some moms struggle getting enough milk out with a pump, so this is a good time to get used to the process without putting yourself under more pressure.

A crèche and playschool near Hurlingham filled with fun and love!

At Doodlebugs Play School, we offer a safe, educational day care centre and play school near Hurlingham for your baby or children 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.

How to help your single child become a social superhero
How to help your single child become a social superhero

Building social skills is an essential part of early childhood education that teaches them how to seek and develop relationships with peers, teachers and other people around them. Every child develops at a different pace, but there are some things we can do to help guide children in this area. Here are some tips from our play school in Sandton.

Developmental milestones for social skills in children

In order to recognise if your child is struggling or not, it’s important to know how their social skills should be developing. Generally, 2-3 year old children can seek attention from those around them, and initiate it through verbal or physical interaction. For example, saying “Hello” or bringing a toy over to play with. They usually look at the person who is speaking, take turns talking and respond to interactions appropriately, like laughing at something silly.

3-4 year olds are a bit more advanced in this area, able to take turns in games, play-act with toys in an imaginative way as though they are alive, and use more words to explain what they want from another person.

Play dates are essential for social skills development

Having the time and space to play with another child is one of the best ways to supervise and encourage socialisation, especially if they don’t have siblings. This should be used as an opportunity to teach manners, to take turns and share with others. The key is to make it a calm but positive event, and to start with short play dates at a time of day when your child is alert and rested. Talk through the play date with your child, explaining what is going to happen and how fun it will be. You can set out an activity that both children will enjoy, and keep an eye on their interactions together.

Any minor setbacks like not wanting to share or grabbing something out of the other child’s hands should be treated as a learning opportunity where you can gently explain the right thing to do. This is a good way to teach empathy (for example, asking your child how he or she would feel if the play dough was snatched out of their hands), social overtures (for example, how to ask mom for something without interrupting), and taking turns (for example, waiting until their friend has finished with their biscuit before resuming play time).

Our play school in Sandton helps your child reach important milestones

At Doodlebugs Play School, we offer a safe, loving day care centre and nursery school environment in Sandton for your baby 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. To find out more about our daily routine or to visit our nursery school, please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.