The summer holidays aren't far away and your kids will want to get out and about and enjoy the great weather but how far do you let them go alone and what time of day/night do they need to be home?
As scary as it may be, parents need to talk to their kids about people who might want to hurt them. The best way to protect your children is to get them involved in their own protection:
Parents need to be aware of possible predators. Typical signs are: someone who seems too good to be true, who offers extensive help to your family, who knows too much about your kids or kids in general, especially if they don't have children of their own. You should know all adults who you allow to have contact with your child.
Talk to your kids about pedophiles as soon as they can understand what you mean. As early as 3-5 years old, when kids begin to interact with the world, they're subject to being victims.
Tell your child you love them no matter what. Remind them that they can tell you anything and you will still love them with all your heart.
Don't be afraid that you're scaring your kids, but don't ask them to deal with adult issues either. Speak to them in age-appropriate language and give them instructions about what to do. They will feel empowered by knowing how to protect themselves. Be careful sharing your own experiences if you were a victim of sexual molestation, for example. Providing too many details and rehashing the tragedy can create a sexually charged environment and be harmful for your children in the long run.
Kids need to know that they have the right to say no, yell, or ask for help. It may contradict what they know about respecting adults, but if they feel threatened, they have permission to make a scene, or to run away to a public place. And they need to know they won't get into trouble if they were wrong. Let them know that no one has the right to hurt them. Teach your child to call you if a stranger arrives when there are no other adults around.
Make sure your kids know what is acceptable behaviour, and what is out-of-bounds. Make sure they understand that there are private areas of their bodies that no one else should touch.
Rehearse your child's response to danger. If he/she doesn't practice it, your child won't really know what to do. Telling your child to yell for help isn't enough. In the face of danger, a child could forget, so rehearse, role-play, and practice what your child should do.
Remind your children that predators don't necessarily look scary or strange. A dangerous person could look like the person next door, or even be someone they know.
Fussy kids? Bored babies or toddlers? Here are some tips to help entertain those kids while babysitting.
Make a Fun Bag , include items such as colouring sheets, crayons, stickers, books, games, puzzles, crafts, movies and (if allowed) a few snacks to nibble on. Remember to keep your bag age appropriate.
Play Games. Find out their favourite games, whether it be board games or otherwise and play those with them
Consider baking if you are allowed or perhaps have the ingredients for no bake cookies for something different to do.
If you are making food with the kids, eg lunch let them be involved, stirring the drinks, putting the fillings in sandwiches. This will also help teach them valuable skills. Alternatively, if you are washing the dishes let them help, they love the soapy water and can feel a real sense of achievement. Perhaps have a small reward as a thank you for them for helping you clean up.
Finger-paint with the kids. Many kids enjoy finger-painting, but parents often shy away because of the mess. Dress the kids in old clothes and cover a table with newspaper. Bring a variety of colors of finger-paints and paper and let the kids' creativity emerge.
Make or bring along playdough and cookie cutters. Create a scene or story you can act out for Mum and Dad when they come home.
Make a homemade pizza. Purchase individual sized pizza dough that is ready to be used and lay out a variety of toppings for the kids. Help them spread the tomato sauce onto the dough and then allow them to personalize their own pizza. Healthy toppings might include olives, mushrooms and peppers. Cut into shapes for them to be creative. Offer a variety of cheeses.
If you can get outside then do so, go to the park, walk the dog, play ball games. However, if you do need to stay indoors play games such as singing, dancing or musical chairs.
For a movie treat pick a movie the kids want to watch, beforehand issue tickets and set up bowls of popcorn. Perhaps make a tent set up over the TV and area around and fill it with cushions and balloons. Then be the ticket collector on the door, give out the popcorn, turn out the lights and enjoy a favourite movie!
Play “Do Not Laugh”. Sit in a semi-circle and make funny faces or sounds. Whoever laughs first must do the same with you and the last one left is the winner!
Teach them a new song, Old MacDonald had a Farm is always fun to introduce a whole range of new animals, the ABC song or bring along some songs they may not know. Or even better, if you have any musical talent, why not make up a new song together!
Create a scavenger hunt for the children. Hide prizes throughout the house and give them a clue as to where the first prize is located. With the first prize will be the next clue as to where the second prize has been hidden. Continue this process for five to 10 rounds. Prizes might be anything from candy to small toys, or whatever you have on hand that the kids would be excited to find.
Read. One of the greatest pleasures for both babysitter and their charges is to curl up and enjoy a favourite book.
Summer is always a great time to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. There are some wonderful parks and gardens around the country and lots of things for the kids to do apart from just enjoying being outside and so today we are featuring just a couple of the larger gardens you may want to visit while out and about with the family.
The Wintergardens are a feature of the Auckland Domain with the Auckland War Memorial Museum sitting at the highest point. There are formal gardens, duck ponds, large green open spaces edged by mature trees, bush walks and statuary. The 75ha park has been developed around the cone of an extinct volcano. The 'tuff rings' created by volcanic activity thousands of years ago can be seen in the land contours and forms a natural amphitheatre with about 10 hectares developed as first-class sports fields.
Hamilton Gardens are easy to reach on State Highway One just south of central Hamilton and have a wonderful selection of themed gardens. They have a wonderful Discovery Trail for the kids, also great Bingo fun for the kids as well as a Fantasy collection including mythical beasts in their Children's Tudor Trail
Christchurch Botanic Gardens
Founded in 1863 with the planting of an English oak tree, the Christchurch Botanic Gardens are extensive and contain an impressive array of plant collections that delight at any time of year
Wellington Botanic Gardens
Always a beautiful place to visit, from 2017 the Wellington Botanic Gardens will be extra special for kids with the arrival of a new Children's Garden. This will be a “living classroom” will be a fun place for children to learn about the plants that provide our food, clothes, houses and medicine. The Botanic Gardens also offer self-guided activities for the kids to enjoy.
So make sure you get out and about this summer and forthcoming April holidays and enjoy our parks and activities ...
They come around four times a year and next thing you know holidays are here again! We keep you up to date on great holiday activities, school holiday programmes, different ways to keep the whole family entertained, also term time topics, and educational advice and support!