Just as you are...

Written by: Jen Harrison founder of The Sensitive Adult & Child (and author of ‘Just as you are’).

We asked Jen Harrison, founder of ‘The Sensitive Adult and Child’ to share her top tips for supporting children’s emotional development. Here are her honest and wise words for you. Don’t forget to order her book ‘Just as you are’ to encourage your child to love who they are.

‘Most people don’t feel accepted or good enough as they are. I used to really struggle with this. I used to believe that there was something wrong with me and that I needed to change something about myself.
I came to find that what I was really missing was the feeling of acceptance.

This is what many people are missing in their lives. They don’t feel accepted for who they are. Many have experienced others disappointment or signs of anger when they have made a mistake or inconvenienced another person and then made that other persons actions mean something about themselves. When really it’s information about how that other person is feeling.

Children hide their mistakes or want to avoid mistakes all together because they believe that they aren’t as good as others or that others will disapprove of them. This totally stunts their growth because mistakes are a part of learning and growth mindset.

We all want to feel accepted.

Let’s look at how we can demonstrate acceptance to a child by allowing them to feel how they feel in the moment.

We can say things like , “ Yes it makes sense why you would feel that way. I understand that.”

Or “ I can see that you’re feeling angry right now. That’s okay. Is there anything you’d like to talk with me about or would you like me to just simply sit with you and say nothing?”

Can you feel the allowance and acceptance in those words?

We can simply allow a child to feel. See them and accept them.

Most adults struggle with this simply because they don’t have much experience with it as a child themselves.
So as adults we are really learning this stuff now and as we learn and experience acceptance from certain people who are capable of being accepting because they’ve received it themselves, we can then pass this acceptance onto the younger generation.

It’s also important to teach children to be resilient and to change their mindset so that they can change how they feel however I’ve come to learn that this all starts with firstly feeling accepted, seen and heard.

Only then will a child feel good enough for who they are.’

The September start...

Written by: Rebecca from London’s Little Thinkers

September is looming!  
I hope up until now, you have been enjoying your Summer Holidays with your Little Thinkers and have completely, or almost completely, forgotten that September is looming. About now, the fear/excitement/nerves kick in and you start to think about going ‘back to school’, whether that be starting big school, another year group or for some starting Nursery School. 

We hope that our latest blog ‘Holiday Planning ’provided you with some simple and fun ways to keep your Little Thinker’s THINK-ing throughout the holidays!  

Lots of you have been in touch asking for tips of how best to prepare your child for starting back at school or starting school altogether. I could talk for hours about this but I thought I would cover what I feel to be the most important areas below. The most important thing is for your Little Thinker to feel well rested and to have had lots of fun and fresh air!

Embrace mistakes & Self-Confidence 

Encourage your child to start their new adventure with a Growth Mindset. As Carol Dweck states “In a growth mindset challenges are exciting, rather than threatening. So, rather than thinking ‘Oh no, I am going to reveal my weaknesses’, you say, ‘Wow, here’s a chance to grow’. I have always aimed to create a classroom (from EYFS through to KS2) where children don’t feel scared to make a mistake. We call them ‘marvellous mistakes’ so that children can embrace their mistakes and learn from them in the future. This not only builds their resilience but also their self-confidence significantly. You see children suddenly trying their very best at everything as they have lost (or never gained!) the fear of doing something wrong; with this comes an increased work ethic and incredible progress. So, before your child starts their next adventure in September, ensure that they don’t feel scared to give something a go because without mistakes we would never learn and develop. And remember always praise their efforts rather than the outcome. If they find something hard then tackle it together and praise their efforts (e.g. I am so proud of how hard you are trying). They will soon realise that even if something doesn’t come easily it is still an achievement, still fun and they will always be learning along the way! 

Recommended books to promote a Growth Mindset: 

  • Activity book: Find your Power or Stretch your confidence- Build confidence and empathy with inclusivity expert Beth Cox, Power Thoughts founder Natalie Costa and Blue Peter Book Award winner Vicky Barker. Order here.

  • Big Life Journal for Kids - Order here.

  • Beautiful Oops by Barney Salzburg

  • Your Fantastic Elastic Brain, stretch it, shape it by Joann Deak

  • The Most Magnificent Thingby Ashley Spires

  • Ish by Peter Reynolds

Play dates: 

Play Dates are always a good way to develop children’s social skills and confidence before September arrives. If they are entering a new School or Nursery then try to set up a play date with a few of the children who will be in their class. If they are starting a new year group then try setting up a play date with a child that they haven’t spent much time with before. This will develop their confidence and make them feel more prepared for day 1 of the Autumn Term.

Independence: 

Encouraging independence and having high expectations (whatever the age) will significantly help your child in preparation for September. Remember to model everything so that you scaffold the learning and set your (realistic!) expectations. Here are some of our top tips: 

  • Dressing independently: this can be age appropriate but even children starting at Nursery can be encouraged to do aspects independently e.g. put their own coat on or pull a jumper over their head. Remember the coat trick – lie the coat on the floor with the label facing your child’s toes. Encourage them to put their arms into the arm holes and then flick the coat over their head.

  • Make them feel grown up: “Now that you are a big boy/girl can you help me to…”

  • Setting the table – give them a role e.g. can you put 1 fork by each plate. You can then incorporate age appropriate maths into this, from simple counting to multiplication (if there are 6 people coming to supper and each of them has 2 pieces of cutlery, how many pieces of cutlery are there altogether?)

  • Eating at the table together and encouraging eye contact/conversation and of course, allowing them to eat independently. Of course EYFS teachers, will support children at mealtimes too but the more independent they can be the better.

  • Tidy their room, clear away toys, make their bed etc.

  • Wash their hands independently before and after mealtime (model how to do this correctly with soap).

  • Show them their uniform (if they have one) and talk to them about how they could be in charge of setting it out each night before bedtime.

  • Include your child in the preparation for school e.g. labelling items, buying stationary etc.

  • Encourage your child to hand over the money at the counter when buying items in preparation for school. This will encourage confidence and communication skills. You can also include age appropriate mathematical concepts too e.g. handling money or receiving change/mental maths.

Remember to give children warning before asking them to tidy up e.g. ‘you have 5 more minutes and then we are going to do X’; this gives them time to adapt from one situation to another. You can always use a sand timer if this helps. If your child is engrossed in making something and has spent time doing this then put their creation to one side or on a table to show it off and so that they can come back to it later. This gives children a feeling of pride and satisfaction.

At school/nursery, for all ages, children will be expected to follow a routine throughout the day so preparing them for this in advance will be a huge support for them in September. Give yourself additional time frames when you are asking your child to do something; this will avoid frustrations and try to remember that sometimes you will have to forget perfection!!

Talk: 

For some children, the biggest fear they can face is the unknown and the change of routine when September comes around again. They just get settled with their teacher, classmates and routine and then suddenly it all changes. For this reason, open communication and talk is fundamental for children of all ages. Be excited for them but also allow them to share any worries or ask any questions. You could ask them: What are you most excited about? Is there anything you are worried about? Give them an opportunity to share their feelings.

Talk about your child’s new teacher and the expectations in that year group. I used to teach Year 2 and when I asked them what they were most excited about most said - “Being able to choose my own lunch in the dining room!”. Who would have thought that would be the highlight! Embrace change and discuss it as a family. 

For children starting at Nursery or Big School, it is crucial to speak about their new setting. Use their teachers name, walk past their new school/nursery and tell them about some of the things they will be doing. Familiarity is key.

Reading stories (see our highlighted story on Instagram for reading tips)

As you will see from our previous ‘Holiday Planning’ blog, reading to children develops endless learning opportunities and provides quality time with you and your Little Thinker. Reading is a huge focus of Nursery/School so support your Little Thinker by reading together in the lead up. Discuss the story, the characters, the author, the illustrations, predict, imagine and most importantly have fun! Silly character voices are the best! As Einstein said “Logic will get you from A to B, Imagination will take you everywhere!” – so read with your Little Thinkers and let the adventures begin! 

Name recognising/writing: 

Often parents panic that when starting at ‘big school’ their child will be expected to write their name. Please do not worry! This is not an expectation and your child will be guided to write their name when in Reception. Obviously, for some children they may be able to do this already in which case you can keep practising this before school. Make it fun – write it in shaving foam, create it with gems or write it with chalks on concrete but do not make it a chore. For those children, who are not yet writing their name (this is perfectly fine!!) then you can begin to support them to recognise their name. Look at the shapes of the letters (especially the capital letter at the start) and together create it using a variety of mediums (paint, shaving foam, with magnetic letters, foam letters, chalk, water etc.). Supporting children to recognise their name will help their confidence when they start at big school when they see their name on pegs, tables, bags, on their clothes etc. Create a name poster together so that they can put it up on their bedroom door to reinforce the recognition. 

Fine Motor Skills: 

See our ‘Finger Gym’ highlighted story on Instagram for some simple ideas to strengthen your Little Thinker’s fine motor skills (hand strength) in preparation for September. Whether your Little Thinker is in Early Years (Nursery or Reception), KS1 or KS2, developing these skills will have lots of benefits and for older children will make the process of writing a much more enjoyable one. These activities can be anything that gets the little muscles in your hands working: weaving, cutting, rolling, threading, lacing, sewing, stirring, spooning, tracing, beading, balancing…the list goes on!   

Finally, try to relax and trust the process of change. Your teacher’s/school will guide you through the new journey of a new classroom/school/nursery so enjoy the rest of your holidays and I hope this blog post gives you some ideas/guidance. Don’t be a stranger, feel free to contact me at any point for advice on the next September step (londonslittlethinkers@gmail.com).

Below are some simple picture books which I have found helpful before when supporting children starting school or a new year group.

Some books to read to children in preparation for September 

1.    First Day at Bug School by Sam Lloyd 

2.    Kindness Rules by Eunice Moyle & Sabrina Moyle 

3.    Have you filled Bucket Today (one of my all time favourites!) by Carol McCloud  

4.    Starting School by Janet Ahlberg 

5.    Twit Twoo School: Mouse’s Big Day by Lydia Monks 

6.    A Friend for Henry by Jenn Bailey 

7.    All the Ways to be Smart by Davina Bell 

8.    Too many carrots by Katy Hudson 

9.    Swapsies by Fiona Roberton

10.  Happy to be me by Emma Dodd  

Need advice on Potty training? Read our LLT Blog below from Expect the Best & Check out our LLT Highlighted story on Instagram

Don’t forget to download ‘Handy Hints for Starting School’ by Jojo Maman and Nana’s Manners here

Holiday Planning

Written by: Rebecca from London’s Little Thinkers (as featured on Totter & Tumble)

A few weeks ago we were asked to write a blog for Susie at Totter and Tumble and we were so honoured to do so. We hope that it helps you to plan for the Summer Holidays ahead.

The Summer Holidays are creeping up on us and some of you may be wondering how you will fill the endless Summer days with entertainment for your Little Thinkers. Well that is where we are here to help you. We promise to share ideas for you almost every day to ensure that your Little Thinker enjoys a varied and engaging break. From museums and workshops to playgrounds, adventures and educational resources, we will share them all with you! Follow us on social media and sign up to our newsletter so you don’t miss out on some holiday gems!

But for now we want to share our top 4 areas to enjoy with your Little Thinkers throughout their holiday:

Play & Imagination

Here at London’s Little Thinkers, we believe play to be the most crucial part of child development. In the words of Fred Rogers “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But, for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” I couldn’t agree with this more. Working as a teacher/headmistress has meant that I observe childhood all day and the time where children are the most focused is when they are immersed in the world of their play. They are problem solving, they are communicating, they are imagining and they are learning and it really is a joy to observe. It is our role to encourage children to break sedentary activity and promote the world of play.

We often feel that children need to fill their free time with set activities and structured learning however it is often the simplest forms that create the most powerful learning opportunities and happiness. Last week I observed my nieces (both nearly 2 years old) playing; they spent hours in the wood finding bugs, looking at & listening to birds, picking flowers, playing hide and seek and running in the grass. They were immersed in a world of simplistic yet powerful learning and it was all for free.

We often underestimate how simplicity can create the most engaging entertainment and effective learning.

I also recently observed the children in our nursery playing with a cardboard box. Some may say ‘a cardboard box? Is she mad?’ but it again leads to my belief that sometimes the simplest things can create the best imaginations. The interactions and communication that it created was magical to watch; they created their own theatre production using the box as the stage and then when their imagination was satisfied with this idea, the box was then transformed into a spaceship that took them to space to eat ice cream on the moon! A true representation of childhood at its best.

Two of favourite resources to support this learning:

1.    Play Hooray – Play Prompt Cards.

2.    Imagistones – A perfect way to ignite storytelling.

Outdoors & Exercise:

Here in the UK, we often blame the weather for not being able to spend time outside with children but through my job I witness, first-hand, children’s reaction to our view of ‘bad weather’. They do not mind it, in fact they often love it! It is therefore up to us to encourage them to embrace every season. After all, jumping in puddles is every child’s dream!

Most often or not exercise is incorporated into play for children and it is our role as adults to ensure that the Little Thinkers in our care experience enough physical activity throughout the day. The quote “adults call it ‘exercise or working out’ but children call it play” has always resonated with me. Children are naturally drawn to physical activity, so it leaves it up to us to continue to encourage the time and passion for it.  Encouraging play/exercise means that children and young people reduce the time spent sitting for extended periods of time which has endless health benefits. The NHS states that children aged 5-18 should be active for least 60 minutes a day. This is linked to better general health, stronger bones and muscles and higher levels of self-esteem.

So during the holidays, get your Little Thinker out every day to exercise and explore.

3 of our favourite London Playgrounds:

1.    The Diana Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens is a child’s wonderland with a giant wooden pirate ship as the centrepiece.

2.    The playground at the Discover Story Centre in Stratford encourages Little Thinker’s physical development and imagination through a range of engaging resources.

3.    The Children’s Garden at Kew Gardens (designed for 2-12 year olds) is a fun, interactive space for children to climb, jump, run and explore.

Communication and Language:

We recently read this powerful statement that really resonated with us:

“If you read just 1 book a day to your child they will have read 1825 books by their 5th birthday”

Reading with or to your child every day will enhance their learning and development in every way. It will boost your child’s vocabulary, it will develop their imagination, it will increase their confidence with comprehension/story writing and much more. During the holidays, continue to read with your Little Thinker and make it part of your daily routine. Vary the books (non fiction and fiction) and encourage your child to read books that are of interest to them. Take your child to your local library so they get to experience the process of choosing a book and signing it out. Ask your child age appropriate questions about the book e.g. what did you enjoy/not enjoy about the book? Who were your favourite characters? Who was the illustrator and what were the pictures like? Who was the author? What do you think will happen next? Can you spot the X?

It is never to early to start reading to your Little Thinker. Even reading to a baby has incredible benefits which will benefit the forever more. Inspiring a love of books and reading is one of the greatest gifts that you can give your Little Thinker and will prepare your child for a lifetime of learning.

Every Sunday we host an online #LLTBookClub to inspire you and your Little Thinker.  

Two of our favourite resources to encourage communication and language:  

1.    Nana’s Manners 'Conversation’ or ‘Would you Rather’ cards. Hold tight to see their downloadable ‘Handy Hints For Starting Nursery & School Guide’ (also available in JoJo Maman UK stores from 15th July for 2 weeks).

2.    Mrs. Wordsmith Resources encourage children to learn new words in a fun and interactive way with hilariously illustrated products.

The World Around Them:  

Has your child got a holiday project? If not, why not set a fun project of interest for you and your Little Thinker to do together. Make this fun, interactive and engaging! Could it be that your Little Thinker loves football? So you can do a project all about football – visit a football pitch, go and play football at a London park, make your own homemade football, research football around the world and go and watch a football match? Take photos and write about each adventure along the way. Or Maybe your child loves flowers so you could visit Kew Gardens, make a floral head crown together, go to a florist and create a bouquet and plant your own favourite flowers. The opportunities are endless but the most important thing is to make this project fun and allow your child to lead it, with inspiration from you along the way! You could buy your child a disposable camera to capture these moments and then take them to get these photos printed (or of course use your iphone camera!).

Children’s desire to help the community can be quite inspirational so why not encourage your Little Thinker to host a bake sale or a car boot sale to raise money for a charity of their choice. This will give them a greater understanding of the world around them and what they can do to help!

Remember not to underestimate your local area and how your Little Thinker can learn from it. Children have an admirable ability to learn from and enjoy the simple things in life.

Potty Training - Has your Little Thinker reached this stage?

Written by: Chris and Rose from ‘Expect The Best’

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“My child was potty trained in two days at 14 months”. How many times have we heard people claiming that their child nailed potty training with apparent ease and long before anyone else had even begun to think about it? Now, of course, we are not suggesting that there aren’t some lucky parents out there who have had an easy time potty training their little ones. However, often we have found that the opposite is usually more accurate for most families. Potty training is a subject that we feel can cause a lot of stress and worry for parents. There is always an underlying current of competition to make sure that your child is potty trained the fastest and the easiest.

For some parents it can be an emotional subject, potty training can feel like a step towards real independence from you where before they relied so heavily on you for that particular need. Don’t beat yourself up if you feel like this, try and embrace this new and exciting chapter in the journey of parenting.

Let’s first address what all the books mean by “Is your child ready to potty train?” it is absolutely vital that you remember that every child is different, every child will go at their own pace with potty training and forcing the matter, because we feel we have to, is not beneficial to anyone. So, relax. We are here to help you move away from the parental guilt that we believe so often governs all aspects of parenting and help you feel more confident to tackle potty training as and when you feel your child is ready. 

The first stage of potty training in our eyes starts from the get-go. Creating a positive narrative around all aspects of going to the loo. After all, it’s totally natural and we all do it. When we talk about creating a positive narrative we start by looking at the language we want to promote when changing nappies, for example we like to encourage parents/caregivers and anyone in between to avoid using words such as ‘dirty, stinky, disgusting’ when we pull faces (even as a joke to make our children laugh) what we are actually teaching them is that their bowel movements are something to be ashamed of. We want our children to feel proud of going to the loo and not scared, sometimes if a child feels ashamed, they can start to withhold bowel movements.

Change it up use language and phrases like “doesn’t your tummy feel good now” or “great work going to the toilet” or “that’s so healthy for your tummy”.

At around 18 months, or earlier if you think your child is ready you can put a potty in the bathroom. It helps if your child can get used to the idea of a potty before they even sit on it. That way it isn’t a scary foreign object. If you have older children who are already potty trained it’s a great idea to get them to show your little one what to do. Another useful tip is to take their nappies off for different periods during the day in the run up to potty training so that they can get used to the feeling of the air in that area. You can always offer them the opportunity to sit on the potty before bath time as another way to help them get used to it.

Books are a fantastic resource for potty training. We love the Princess Polly potty books or the boy equivalent. In this case a gender specific book is helpful because it can be very different, just as it is different from child to child.

Also, using a book to make a story bag is another fantastic resource to have. Grab a bag and fill it with lots of different toys that represent potty training. Such as a potty, loo roll, knickers and a favourite doll, or soft toy as props. This way they can learn through imaginative play without feeling pressured.  

The signs of potty training are quite straight forward.

o   Pulling at the nappy

o   Asking to go the loo

o   Being dry for long periods of time.

o   When they tell you that they are going in their nappy, or they are able to identify what is in their nappy.

When you see these signs, we suggest that you wait for about a week or two, just to make sure that the signs are consistent.

When you feel your child is ready; get them to choose some pants and after they have woken up pop the pants off you go. At first, it is a great idea to have timer set for every 20/30 minutes and ask if they need to potty or loo. Alternatively ask them to sit on the potty about 15 minutes after having a big drink. As the days go on then this time is likely to get longer, and you will start to be able to work out if there is a pattern. If you are using a timer, then make sure you explain to them exactly what is going to happen when the timer goes off. It is important that you don’t over ask or become agitated if they refuse to go. What we suggest is that the first day or two you encourage them to go every 30 minutes, but if you can see that most of those 30-minute slots result in nothing you can extend them.  Also, if they refuse to sit on the potty, explain very calmly that it is okay, but we are going to try again in 10 minutes. Some children need to feel the sensation of being wet before they really grasp the concept. Celebrate every wee and poo with a sticker or you could do a marble jar.

It’s a really good idea to have spare pants and clothes in a basket downstairs so you can encourage them to help in getting changed if they have accidents. You can also pop a dirty laundry basket beside as well so that they can pop their wet/dirty clothes away as well. Accidents are completely fine. Just stay calm and never get cross with your child if that happens. If, your child is doing a wee/poo in the middle of the floor, try not to pick them up and rush them over to the potty because the sensation of being picked up and rushed somewhere whilst going for a wee can be really alarming and distressing for children. Just accept that they have had an accident and say “it is okay, next time let’s try on the potty. Why don’t you have a sit down on the potty now and see if there is anything else still to come”. If you find that they are getting really upset when they wet themselves, don’t be afraid to call potty training off. Often children come back to it themselves but in their own time.

At nap and bedtimes move way from nappies and get pull ups and call them sleep time pants. Being dry at night will come much later on.

Things to remember, some children need to be taught the concept of pushing a poo out. You can encourage this by getting them to squat down, ask them to put their hands on their tummy and feel the sensation of what happens when they push down into their bottoms. Sitting on a bouncy ball can also help them to learn to relax in that sitting position.

For those who are also having problems, sometimes giving them a drink of water on the potty whilst rubbing the soles of their feet can help.

We suggest you find a little song or book that can help keep them on the potty for a bit longer. Also remember that sometimes when they have done a wee, they may need to sit there for a little longer just to make sure they are really finished.

Top tip for training boys to stand is to put a cheerio or something a long those lines in the bottom of the loo for them to have something aim for.

Remember to be kind to yourselves, celebrate the wins and trust in your instincts!

Check out more advice from Chris & Rose on their website here.

7 ways to keep children active at school by The Children's Physio Ltd.

Written by: Ruth from The Children’s Physio Ltd.

With the final school half term looming just around the corner, give yourself and your little one a giant pat on the back and let out a big triumphant breath! You have almost made it through the school year and summer is within sight. Time Flies! 

School holidays are a great time to let your children have some fun, be more active and generally let loose after a busy school term. But what happens when the holidays are over? Here at The Children’s Physio we often hear how difficult it is to keep your children active whilst they are in school and doing long days and with ever increasing busy schedules how can you ensure your child is getting the right amount of exercise?

It is recommended that children aged 5-18 years should be doing 60 minutes of exercise every day to stay healthy and keep fit. An hour on top of an already hectic school routine can be hard to find the time for, but exercising everyday doesn't have to be a chore. Here are some ways you can encourage your child to keep active and exercise during the school day, whilst still having fun... 

Getting to School:

Avoid the dreaded school run! Instead of taking your child to school in the car or on the bus, encourage your child to walk or cycle to school. You could even talk to other parents who live close by and start a group so you can all stay fit and active and get to school together. After eating a healthy breakfast, exercising before school will help to stimulate brain cells and get your child alert and ready to learn. If the distance is too far, try getting on/off public transport one stop earlier than usual to get those important steps in.

 School Bags:

Here at The Children's Physio we are often giving out lots of advice regarding the correct school bag for your child's height and age. School bags filled with heavy books are often a major cause of back pain and fatigue in children. Do a quick check of your child's school bag to make sure it is no bigger than your child's back and that it has wide, adjustable straps. Make sure your child is only carrying what they need for each day to reduce the weight of the bag, you would be surprised how things can build up over time.

 Posture:

Being active keeps muscles fit and strong and protects your child's joints. Weak muscles can lead to poor posture, and poor posture can cause severe back pain. In school encourage your child to sit upright in their chair with a straight back. Not only will this help them stay more alert in lessons but it will prevent them getting stiff and sore.

(At London’s Little Thinkers they use the phrase PPP - when children hear this they need to consider their POSTURE, the POSITION of their paper/chair & make sure they are holding their PEN correctly)

 Make the most of Lunchtimes:

Lunch breaks should be fun and a chance for your child to take their mind away from the classroom. The complicated maths class or confusing science lesson does not need to be focused on during lunch. Getting active and doing some fun activities can help them relax and refocus ready for the afternoon. Ask your child's teacher what options there are during lunch breaks and encourage your child to take part.

No outdoor space?

No problem! Here in London there is an ever increasing demand on outdoor space and sadly lots of schools do not have a playground. Worry not, there are plenty of fun activities children can do indoors. Lots of schools are setting up lunchtime yoga groups, martial arts or using the school hall to allow for indoor play and games. Some London schools even organise daily walks to local parks. Have a chat with your child's teacher and see what can be arranged to provide your child with fun, stimulating, physical activity. 

 Sports Clubs:

These are a great way of keeping active, having fun, increasing self confidence and making friends. See what kind of clubs your school offers and sign your child up.

Movement/Brain Breaks:

It is advisable your child gets up to move and stretch during long lessons and homework sessions. This can help improve energy levels and prevent your child experiencing pain and stiffness.

Keeping your children fit and healthy can be more fun than you think. Do you have any suggestions that you have found work for you and your child? If so comment below and lets get sharing ideas to keep children fit, healthy and happy!

The importance of pretend play by Play.Hooray

Written by: Claire at Play.Hooray

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It’s good to pretend! Pretend play can be so powerful. Have you ever spotted your little one pretending to be you? It’s amazing what they pick up on! Your habits, phrases and the things that you do! That’s because children are always watching. They’re watching you because they are learning from you and learning what it is like to be a person in this world.

When children have the space to pretend, they can take on a new role or character from fiction or from real life situations. It allows them to practise and try to make sense of the world around them.

Pretend play is the most effective when children can relate to it. When they’ve experienced it for themselves. That’s why Early Years settings set up home corners because it is what young children have experienced the most. They know what to do in those situations and how to play.

Then if you want to introduce a new type of pretend play, it’s always best to go for something else they have experienced. Going to a shop or in my case it was always the Post Office as my son used to come with me everyday to take your orders!

Role Model/Scaffold their play

Keep your pretend play set ups simple and relatable. Oh and always remember, never assume they know how to play with it. No matter how many times they’ve been to the shops, it’s so important if you set up a shop, that you take the time to sit down and demonstrate how to play. How to be the cashier and how to be the customer. What do they do? What do they say? Take the time to model it for them and play with them. Trust me, they will thank you for it.

What does your little one like to pretend? And don’t worry if your child chooses not to engage in pretend play, not every type of play is for every child, and that is ok! and if you are looking for pretend play ideas your little one can relate to, don’t forget the pretend playPROMPTS are in the shop. Order here.