Here are some of our favourite childcare tips:
- Reserve babysitters well in advance for December's big days and nights out particularly New Years Eve.
- When organising events book your babysitter as soon as the date is confirmed, especially if it is a Friday or Saturday night.
- When buying a backpack for your child no matter what type of backpack you buy, children should carry no more than 20 per cent of their own weight on their back.
- When eating out with children don't let the waitperson serve meals to the kids first. If you do, the timing will be messed up: They'll lose patience before you've finished your main course.
- When leaving your children in the care of a babysitter have the following information written down and readily accessible in the event of an emergency: family name, children's names, house address with nearest cross street, instructions on how to contact you, phone number(s) of close relatives and neighbours, doctor's name and phone number. Think about leaving the phone number of where you are heading to as an extra precaution.
- Speed up the morning dressing process for little ones by laying out their clothes in the shape of a person the night before - that way everything is accounted for and children learn quickly how to dress themselves in an orderly fashion.
- For a child with tummy ache from party food or overexcitement use camomile tea and enjoy a cup yourself!
Rainy day tips for little ones:
- Create a comfy story reading spot with cushions in a partially screened off area.
- Tape a long piece of paper on the floor for a group crayon activity.
- Create “cubbyhouses” under tables with large sheets and add a picnic basket, a selection of picture books or a music CD.
- Use the weather as inspiration for arts and crafts. Paste confetti as raindrops, cotton wool as rain clouds, threads of white cotton as rain.
- For something more upbeat, why not have children’s disco and work off some of that energy.
Six simple reminders about children and cleaning safety:
- Install childproof locks on cabinets that contain cleaning products. Never assume a cabinet is too high for a curious, climbing toddler.
- Keep all household products in their original packages. Packaging includes useful first aid information in the event of accidental exposure or ingestion.
- Don’t leave cleaning buckets unattended. Even those with a small amount of liquid pose a danger to "top heavy" toddlers. If the child falls into a bucket, it may not tip over and he or she could drown.
- Schedule cleaning during "down times" such as naptime or when children are in school, or on a play date.
- Avoid distractions or interruptions when children are present during cleaning. If you answer the door, take the child with you. If the phone rings, let the answering machine do its job.
- Post the Poison Info Centre phone number 13 11 26 by every land phone in your home and save it on your mobile phone.
Dental tips for children:
- Begin brushing children’s teeth as soon as the teeth appear, with only a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Ideally, flossing should begin when two adjacent teeth touch. • Children should visit the dentist no later than six months after the first tooth erupts, or before the child’s first birthday.
- Parents should not give an unattended or sleeping child a bottle with milk or juice; instead, children should drink water to prevent tooth decay.
- Dental sealants are an excellent way to prevent tooth decay in children. The dental sealant procedure takes only minutes, is painless, is less than half the cost of a filling, and is virtually 100 per cent effective at stopping decay.
- Children involved in sports need proper mouth protection to prevent mouth injuries, knocked-out teeth, and possible concussions. Ask your dentist about customised mouth guards.
- If a child, or an adult, has a permanent tooth knocked out of his/her mouth, follow these procedures: gently rinse (not scrub) the tooth off and place it in a cup of warm milk (salt water is the second best choice; plain water, the third best), call the dentist and bring the child and the soaking tooth in immediately for implantation and stabilisation.