Author Archives: Amanda McKay

Descriptive Praise

descriptive praise

Descriptive Praise.. Where have you been all my parenting life?

Five years into my parenting journey and I’m still learning new things all the time. I’d never heard of descriptive praise until recently. The boys were fighting and not listening when I was talking to them and we were having a tough afternoon. That night I downloaded an audiobook Calmer, Easier, Happier Boys (she also has a non-gendered version which I’ve linked below). It was within the first hour of listening to this book that I found this hidden gem and it has made a huge difference.

calmer easier happier

Here is a little of what I learned. There are lots of types of praise and it has many purposes. Praise is when you are telling your children that they are behaving or demonstrating behaviours that you like. It is great at boosting self esteem and confidence and helping your little one feel seen and heard. But descriptive praise takes it to the next level.

What is descriptive praise?

Descriptive praise is so powerful because the child knows what it is they are doing that you like. For example if the boys are playing well and I say ‘good job boys’. They are happy and feel great but they don’t really know what it is that they are doing well. But if I say ‘it is great that you are using your gentle hands’, they recognise that being gentle to each other is good and they feel good about themselves for doing this.

boys playing nicely

The book goes further to say you don’t have to tell kids that normal and expected behaviours ‘like not hitting each other’ is great, because we can save words like excellent and great for those for really big achievements. Instead just recognising the behaviour can be enough. E.g  ‘I’ve noticed you were really gentle when you pushed your brother on the swing’ or ‘I can see you are sitting well at the dinner table tonight’. This still builds self confidence and esteem.

Anyway for us personally this has been game changing. As the book suggests we aim to do a minimum of 10 descriptive praises per child a day and you end up doing far more because their behaviours continue to improve. Often when we are now having a tough afternoon and they are fighting I realise I haven’t been praising enough the last few days. So I wait for the most mundane thing to notice like picking up something off the floor and I recognise it. Boom the behaviours all start to shift.

tummy time

I must admit, I haven’t finished the book yet but for us just this small change has made a huge difference.

And if you’re looking for the books… here they are.

Calmer, easier, happier parenting

Calmer, easier, happier boys  (the one I’m reading)

Baby’s vision development

Your baby’s vision development over time Most people are aware that babies do not have full 20/20 vision at birth. However, as a new parent, you might be unsure of how and when your baby’s vision development will occur. Let’s go through what you need to know, including a timeline for how your baby’s vision […]

Read more

When should babies start floor time?

Free the Babies – When should babies start floor time? It’s important babies start floor time from an early age. Babies are raised in a world full of capsules, prams, swings, bouncers, hammocks, docks… the list is endless. More and more parents look for items to support, hold, and comfort children that it is preventing […]

Read more

Getting your play mat to settle

How to get your play mat to settle? When your play mat first arrives you may find that you unroll it, and it re curls at the ends. This is totally normal as our play mats are stored in the rolled position in their boxes throughout the warehouse and shipping process. Play mats can take […]

Read more

Baby’s vision development

baby eye sight

Your baby’s vision development over time

Most people are aware that babies do not have full 20/20 vision at birth. However, as a new parent, you might be unsure of how and when your baby’s vision development will occur.

Let’s go through what you need to know, including a timeline for how your baby’s vision will change during their first year.

How does your baby’s vision change during those first few months?

Babies can distinguish between light and dark even when still in the womb. They see shapes at birth by following the lines where light and dark intersect. However, they must be several weeks old before they will see their first primary color, red.

Babies learn to use their sight in their first weeks and months – or, more accurately, their eyes “learn” how to see. Although each eye has the physical structure required to begin seeing correctly, the two eyes have not yet learned to function together – and this “binocular vision” develops during the first few weeks and months of life.

binocular vision

The Stages of Baby’s Development

Newborns

Initially, your baby’s vision would be limited to the space between your arms and your face (about 8 to 10 inches). This means your baby can see your face when you are holding them in your arms. These images are not yet clear though.

black and white vision

Few weeks old

By a few weeks old, babies enjoy staring at people’s faces, so make sure to allow them plenty of one-on-one attention. However, they are still unable to detect moving objects.

Baby eye contact

2-3 months old

Some babies can begin to recognize faces at this age, but their vision is still somewhat fuzzy. Although researchers are unsure how many colors newborns will see, they are expected to notice different colors around this age.

baby eyes

3 to 4 months old

Babies at this age can see several feet in front of them and across the room. At four months, the baby’s eyes can detect faster movements, sense depth, and even grasp at moving objects. You may notice them following moving objects. Their eyes are beginning to work together, and they’re learning distance perception. Babies may detect variations in color shades (especially red and green) and can start to prefer certain ones.

3- 4 month

 

12 months old
Your baby is finally able to see as much as the people around her, though their eyes are still undergoing  developmental changes.

baby eye sight

Babies can’t see pastel tones 

The part of the eye which is responsible for seeing colour, is underdeveloped at birth. This is why babies show more interest in contrasting dark and light colours in the early months. This suggests that they have very little contrast sensitivity when presented with similar colours.

As a result, at birth, babies can only differentiate between red, white, and black. In terms of what newborn babies will understand, the practice of pastel tones and light colors is unrealistic. So, to encourage your babies vision development contrasting colours such as black and white and deep colours including red, green etc will be easier for your baby to focus on.

colours

Importance of Stimulation 

Your baby’s brain and eyes continue to coordinate objects to recall what they’ve seen during this crucial first year. As a parent, you may take an active role in your baby’s eye growth and well being as part of your daily routine. The appropriate stimulus may enhance imagination, attention span, memory, and nervous system function. So, make sure your kid has lots of fun stuff to look at.

Ideas to support your baby’s vision development

  • Playing with your child is, unsurprisingly, one of the easiest ways to foster vision growth.
  • Keeping your baby engaged with the world around them will help them improve vital hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.
  • Encourage exercises such as tummy time to help infants discover their surroundings.
  • Provide a visually stimulating environment including, toys, books and a play mat that encourages vision development.
  • Spend time cuddling with them, conversing with them, and playing with them.
  • Continue to indulge your kid in friendly games like peekaboo as he or she grows and develops motor skills.
  • You can also play with blocks or other construction toys together to support development.

 

Descriptive Praise

Descriptive Praise.. Where have you been all my parenting life? Five years into my parenting journey and I’m still learning new things all the time. I’d never heard of descriptive praise until recently. The boys were fighting and not listening when I was talking to them and we were having a tough afternoon. That night […]

Read more

When should babies start floor time?

Free the Babies – When should babies start floor time? It’s important babies start floor time from an early age. Babies are raised in a world full of capsules, prams, swings, bouncers, hammocks, docks… the list is endless. More and more parents look for items to support, hold, and comfort children that it is preventing […]

Read more

Getting your play mat to settle

How to get your play mat to settle? When your play mat first arrives you may find that you unroll it, and it re curls at the ends. This is totally normal as our play mats are stored in the rolled position in their boxes throughout the warehouse and shipping process. Play mats can take […]

Read more

When should babies start floor time?

tummy time

Free the Babies – When should babies start floor time?

It’s important babies start floor time from an early age. Babies are raised in a world full of capsules, prams, swings, bouncers, hammocks, docks… the list is endless. More and more parents look for items to support, hold, and comfort children that it is preventing children from simply lying on the floor to play.

Children who spend most of their day in angled seats or swings are missing the valuable opportunity to stretch, play and work on their gross motor skills. Babies need the opportunity to stretch out and explore their physical world right from the newborn stage.

Let’s learn more about the benefits of baby floor time!

floor time

Benefits of Floor Time

Growth of the Skull: 

Your baby may spend plenty of time lying down in the swing or in their bassinet or cot on their back. Spending time on the floor, encouraging the baby to move head from side to side and providing lots of opportunity for tummy time is important. A change in posture, such as tummy time, will enable the head to form into a natural shape.

tummy time

Alleviates Gas Pain:

Parents are far too familiar with their baby’s toilet routines, and gas is an unfortunate occurrence at times. Being gassy is both expected and safe. The issue is, of course, sometimes babies need some help moving the gas along. Tummy time, can help as it places gentle pressure on the tummy which can alleviate gas. Lying on the back and allowing the baby to move and kick their legs can also help move gas along.

tummy time play

Spatial Intelligence: 

Allowing your child to feel the floor and play on it will help him or her develop spatial awareness. The child will appreciate and learn to recognize the environment better and gradually as they become older will be mindful of barriers such as tables, couches, or stairs.

tummy time

Balancing Act: 

Your child can learn to balance while lying on the floor. It is a natural phenomenon for your baby to turn sideways, backward, or upwards when lying on his tummy or back.

balancing tummy

When to start floor time:

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, tummy time can begin when your baby is a newborn. Begin by putting the baby belly down on your chest or over your lap for a few minutes to get them used to the pose. Only don’t do it right after a feeding because the pressure on their full belly can cause them to spit up. You can do so while they are most awake and alert, such as after a diaper change or nap.

play mat time

Ideas to help babies start floor time

  • Get down on your belly with your face next to your baby’s face while he’s on his tummy.
  • Make silly gestures, coo, and other sounds to your baby.
  • Encourage your baby to grab for you with one hand at tummy time.
  • Also, inspire your baby to reach for you.
  • Choose toys about level with the floor to entertain and inspire your baby when he or she is on the floor. This allows your baby to reach out and explore the toy.
  • Toys that light up and make noise when touched are the best for keeping your baby’s attention and desire to reach for the toy and play with it.

tummy time

When to pick up the baby:

When your baby exhibits cues like yawning, looks away from your face or the toy, or can no longer support himself when raising his head straight off the floor, remove them from floor play. If your baby is repeatedly distressed and continues to be continues to be upset when doing tummy time, ensure you seek support from a health professional.

 

Descriptive Praise

Descriptive Praise.. Where have you been all my parenting life? Five years into my parenting journey and I’m still learning new things all the time. I’d never heard of descriptive praise until recently. The boys were fighting and not listening when I was talking to them and we were having a tough afternoon. That night […]

Read more

Baby’s vision development

Your baby’s vision development over time Most people are aware that babies do not have full 20/20 vision at birth. However, as a new parent, you might be unsure of how and when your baby’s vision development will occur. Let’s go through what you need to know, including a timeline for how your baby’s vision […]

Read more

Getting your play mat to settle

How to get your play mat to settle? When your play mat first arrives you may find that you unroll it, and it re curls at the ends. This is totally normal as our play mats are stored in the rolled position in their boxes throughout the warehouse and shipping process. Play mats can take […]

Read more

Getting your play mat to settle

Australian alphabet sage green baby play mat

How to get your play mat to settle?

When your play mat first arrives you may find that you unroll it, and it re curls at the ends. This is totally normal as our play mats are stored in the rolled position in their boxes throughout the warehouse and shipping process. Play mats can take up to a month to settle. To help your play mat to settle into the flat position quickly, there are a few things you can try.

rolled play mats

Get your play mat to settle more quickly…

Make use of heavy items such as cook books

Positioning matters. Once you have unrolled your play mat, place it with the top of the curve up so the natural weight of the play mat forces the curve to flatten out. Then sit some flat heavy items such as cook books or wooden chopping boards on the curved edge to further flatten out. The longer you leave the heavy items on the curled edges the faster it will flatten out.

Re-rolling in the opposite direction to get your play mat to settle

If you are finding your play mat still hasn’t settled after having heavy items on it. Try “counter rolling” it by rolling it back up in the opposite direction so the curl is forced backwards. Put the straps back on and leave it over night or for a couple of days to ensure that your play mat has time to lose the curl.

round road car play mat

Finally, give it a good scrunch in opposite direction 

No need to be gentle. Hold the edge of your play mat with the curl forced into the opposite direct and give it a good scrunch with your hands. You are trying to warm up the material and help the foam to lose the memory of the curl. Once you have done this you can leave something heavy while its folded in the opposite direction for a short period of time. Then repeat the above steps.

To see these methods in action check out our youtube video and be sure to subscribe to our channel here.

 

Descriptive Praise

Descriptive Praise.. Where have you been all my parenting life? Five years into my parenting journey and I’m still learning new things all the time. I’d never heard of descriptive praise until recently. The boys were fighting and not listening when I was talking to them and we were having a tough afternoon. That night […]

Read more

Baby’s vision development

Your baby’s vision development over time Most people are aware that babies do not have full 20/20 vision at birth. However, as a new parent, you might be unsure of how and when your baby’s vision development will occur. Let’s go through what you need to know, including a timeline for how your baby’s vision […]

Read more

When should babies start floor time?

Free the Babies – When should babies start floor time? It’s important babies start floor time from an early age. Babies are raised in a world full of capsules, prams, swings, bouncers, hammocks, docks… the list is endless. More and more parents look for items to support, hold, and comfort children that it is preventing […]

Read more

Preparing for childcare

childcare

It’s in the preparation… preparing for Childcare

Is your child about to start childcare? Babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers, it doesn’t matter the age starting daycare or type of childcare, the first time can be hard on both kids and parents. Preparing for childcare can help you and your little one make a smooth transition.

Preparing for The First Day at Childcare

Are you concerned about how your child will go from being in the attention and care of close family and trusted friends to a room of strangers? Will they adjust from constant cuddles in a familiar environment to a foreign space with unknown carers? The world of parenthood is full of firsts, incredible moments, and unforgettable milestones, all of which are usually accompanied by a flurry of emotions. Each new achievement is both thrilling and daunting, and enrolling your child in daycare for the first time is no exception. At least it hasn’t been with us with a full range of experiences, centers, babysitters and family daycare we have found a few tips that work for us. So here are a few suggestions for making the transition to daycare smoother for both you and your little one.

childcare

Photo credit: @playthedayaway

Transition days and play sessions

This one is all about removing the fear of the unknown. A new environment can be unsettling so slowly introducing your child and building familiarity can be one of the most powerful strategies for preparing for childcare. new environment where your kid does not know the teachers or the surroundings can be daunting. So, take it out of the equation by visiting at least once before their first day, preferably a few days in advance, to keep it fresh in their minds. While you are there try to relax and enjoy it, play with your little one and interact with other children and carers. Your child will be very good at reading your non-verbal cues so make sure they see your enjoying the experience. Furthermore, this visit also gives your child a chance to become familiar with the educators and the environment. Make sure if you are in a larger center that your child’s main educator is there when you do these sessions.  This also gives the educators or caregivers the opportunity to learn about your child and your family to help support your child as they transition.

daycare goodbyes

Preparing for childcare through talking

Communication is key. Imagine if you were dropped off in a foreign place with no idea of what was to happen. The more you talk about things, the more at ease your child will be about daycare. Depending on your child’s age, you should describe all that will happen to them. Talk through routines, what to bring and what will happen during the day. You can play pretend to introduce the concept or show them photos etc. Our local daycare center is next to a park so we started going to play at the park while the children were outside playing. This meant both Freddy and now PJ are able to watch the children playing and they want to be a part of it. In fact PJ has just started asking when will he get to start.

Build a relationship with educators or caregivers.

Before the first day, start building a bond with the teachers/caregivers this can be done through communication with the center. As mentioned transition sessions and play visits give you the opportunity to chat and find out the best means of communication. Many centers welcome you to call during the day to get feedback on how your child is going. This can help to put your mind at ease. Maintain open parent/teacher contact, ask plenty of questions, and express any concerns you might have about your child beginning childcare for the first time. Many carers now also utilise Apps such as Storypark to share your child’s day with you.

Tips for saying goodbye (don’t sneak off)

As enticing as it is to flee, it is important to always say goodbye to your child before leaving and not simply vanish! This sets a pattern for the future. It lets them know you’re going rather than scaring them when they can’t find you. For some children sneaking off can be a break in trust. However, don’t drag out the good bye either. The more confident you are, the more confident your child will be.

Bring something familiar from home.

Finally, allow your child to take their comforter, blanket or teddy to snuggle when they are homesick. It will provide them with a great deal of comfort and help the new environment feel more familiar.

It takes time to build confidence. So be gentle with yourself and flexible with the process. It does get easier!

 

Descriptive Praise

Descriptive Praise.. Where have you been all my parenting life? Five years into my parenting journey and I’m still learning new things all the time. I’d never heard of descriptive praise until recently. The boys were fighting and not listening when I was talking to them and we were having a tough afternoon. That night […]

Read more

Baby’s vision development

Your baby’s vision development over time Most people are aware that babies do not have full 20/20 vision at birth. However, as a new parent, you might be unsure of how and when your baby’s vision development will occur. Let’s go through what you need to know, including a timeline for how your baby’s vision […]

Read more

When should babies start floor time?

Free the Babies – When should babies start floor time? It’s important babies start floor time from an early age. Babies are raised in a world full of capsules, prams, swings, bouncers, hammocks, docks… the list is endless. More and more parents look for items to support, hold, and comfort children that it is preventing […]

Read more

Pretend play

pretend play

Pretend play – What is it? How do I do it? Why is it important?

“Here Mum, I made you a coffee?” PJ announced proudly as he shoved a bucket full of sand in my face. The pretend play is strong at the moment in that one, and clearly I drink waaaay too much coffee. But it got me thinking about what pretend play is and why I should encourage it… as I pretend to sip my coffee while slowly pouring it back into the sandpit.

sand pit coffee

Why Is Pretend Play Important?

For some kids it comes naturally, their make believe skills are intuitive, while for others they need some encouragement. The good news (or bad news, depending on your ability to drink phony tea, or sit at mini table and be taught by your little one) is that pretend play is extremely important for children.

The growth of a child’s mental, emotional, and cognitive skills is focused on their imaginative and creative play. Children learn to socially connect, relate, and align personal feelings with the emotions of others through creative, open-ended play with both friends and family.

When a parent and child participate in safe, creative play together, there are several benefits. Early pretend play increases a child’s attention span and focus as they immerse themselves in the game. Pretend or imaginative play can also improve a child’s emotional intelligence, ability to negotiate social interactions and language development. Finally pretend play gives children an opportunity to explore and replicate interactions they have with others around them in a safe, fictional environment.

What is pretend play? 

Pretend play is known by several different names. These names include imaginative play, artistic play, make-believe play, and fantasy play.

pretend play

Simply put, it’s role-playing. It is acting out different roles and creating story lines. It is the expression of positive and negative emotions, the discovery of options, and the experience of the outcomes of various decisions in a stable, regulated setting.

Examples to get you started

Have you ever seen your kid pick up a stone and imagine it’s a speeding car or jump a Lego around the table pretending it’s a robot or ballerina? Imaginative play can also include things like: dressing up as superheroes and pretending to be mummies and daddies. Or it could be pretending to go shopping, dressing up, pretending to fly to the moon, tea parties, pretending to drive trucks in the sandpit, and pretending to play with dolls etc. Or in the case of my children it is creating a cafe from the sandpit and feeding each other or me coffees, dinners and cakes.

dress up

How to encourage pretend play? 

Children begin to play pretend between the ages of 14 and 18 months. Fortunately, they often do this on their own and don’t need anything to get started. At this stage, parents should promote pretend play by keeping a variety of fun things on hand to facilitate imagination and ingenuity, such as cardboard boxes, blocks, dolls, figurines or sandpits etc. You can prompt this imaginative play by reading books (such as Bruno’s Box), telling stories or having conversations to get them started. Then watch their little imaginations run wild.

cardboard fort

As your little ones get older, allow them to create and lead their own imaginative play. Open ended toys, dress up items and everyday household items hold the key. Items like pots, pans and utensils can provide inspiration for play time. Therefore, there may be some chaos and clutter during the game as your child takes on the role.  At the end of the day that is all part of their fun. And really, they were probably going to make the mess anyway.

Finally, don’t forget children observe what we do and pick up skills from our nonverbal signals. Let’s support their development by drinking that pretend coffee and joining in the fun!

 

Descriptive Praise

Descriptive Praise.. Where have you been all my parenting life? Five years into my parenting journey and I’m still learning new things all the time. I’d never heard of descriptive praise until recently. The boys were fighting and not listening when I was talking to them and we were having a tough afternoon. That night […]

Read more

Baby’s vision development

Your baby’s vision development over time Most people are aware that babies do not have full 20/20 vision at birth. However, as a new parent, you might be unsure of how and when your baby’s vision development will occur. Let’s go through what you need to know, including a timeline for how your baby’s vision […]

Read more

When should babies start floor time?

Free the Babies – When should babies start floor time? It’s important babies start floor time from an early age. Babies are raised in a world full of capsules, prams, swings, bouncers, hammocks, docks… the list is endless. More and more parents look for items to support, hold, and comfort children that it is preventing […]

Read more

Baby Nicknames

Patrick Jackson

Did you have a baby nicknames for your little one when you were pregnant?

With babies? Or with your little people? I must admit I used the Resume Test when we named our children… pretending that they had to fill out an application or go for a high-profile job. So our children have a formal first name which are all family names, with tonnes of scope for nicknames as we aren’t really formal people. And the baby nicknames started right from pregnancy.

We had surprises so we needed baby nicknames

With all three of our pregnancies, we did not find out our babies’ gender until they entered the world. I wasn’t a huge fan of referring to our little ones as “It” when I was pregnant so naturally a whole list of baby nicknames emerged.

Frederick aka Freddy our first child was called Jellybean, I’m not sure how it started but he kept this nickname all through pregnancy. However, once he came out all roly poly and delicious a couple of new nicknames emerged. The two I remember most were Bear Cub and Man Cub (yes, it’s a reference to the Jungle Book). Finally, these days he gets Freddy, Fred Bear, Freddo Frog and just plain Fred.

Freddy

Patrick also had nicknames during pregnancy. With him I called him Little One a lot but he also got Jellybean and Munchkin as well. All pregnancy I was convinced we were having a boy so we had to put a lot of time into choosing a boys name as we’d already used our fave. What got us over the line with Patrick was our love of the nickname PJ. So Patrick Jackson became PJ, Peej, Peejy Parker (no idea where this came from), and Peaches.

Patrick Jackson

Ruby, is still really new to this world. Again she got jellybean, but I also just referred to her as little baby throughout the pregnancy as she felt smaller. Already she gets Baby Girl, Big Girl, Ruby Rubes and the other day one of her brothers accidentally called her Ruby Boobie. Hopefully that one doesn’t stick.

Baby nicknames

Whether your baby’s nickname was Munchkin, Bear or Baby Bear, we’d love to hear what nicknames you used. Tag us on Instagram (freddy.and.co) and share your nicknames.

Descriptive Praise

Descriptive Praise.. Where have you been all my parenting life? Five years into my parenting journey and I’m still learning new things all the time. I’d never heard of descriptive praise until recently. The boys were fighting and not listening when I was talking to them and we were having a tough afternoon. That night […]

Read more

Baby’s vision development

Your baby’s vision development over time Most people are aware that babies do not have full 20/20 vision at birth. However, as a new parent, you might be unsure of how and when your baby’s vision development will occur. Let’s go through what you need to know, including a timeline for how your baby’s vision […]

Read more

When should babies start floor time?

Free the Babies – When should babies start floor time? It’s important babies start floor time from an early age. Babies are raised in a world full of capsules, prams, swings, bouncers, hammocks, docks… the list is endless. More and more parents look for items to support, hold, and comfort children that it is preventing […]

Read more

Mother’s Day craft: A gift Mum will cherish

Mother’s Day craft ideas

Mother’s day is just around the corner and we believe that most mums would prefer to receive a gift that has been handmade by the kids rather than a costly, generic store-bought gift. That means it’s time for Dads, partners and carers to get into the crafting spirit and assist the children with making a unique, homemade gift for mum using our Mother’s Day craft ideas.

We know that may not come easily for some and so we have compiled a list of ideas to help you on your way. There are simple craft ideas that the little ones can make to more detailed craft ideas for the older kids.

MUMMA BEAR CRAFT CARD

Do your kids love to call Mum ‘Mumma Bear’? If yes, this bear card is simple to make and will fit perfectly with the name.

What you need:

1 x coloured cardboard – to form the base of your card

1 x white piece of paper

Craft supplies, googly eyes, pom poms etc.

Textas, pencils, crayons or paint

Glue and scissors

Directions:

Design and draw a bear or print one like this on your white paper.

Colour your bear in with textas, crayons, pencils or paint.

Cut your bear out and stick it to the front of the coloured cardboard.

Decorate your bear with googly eyes, pom poms or any other craft supplies on hand.

Finally, add your message to the inside of the card.

CANDLE MADE OF CRAYONS

This is a two-in-one  project: it creates an adorable candle for Mum while also using crayon nubs that are too tiny to colour with. Make sure to include Mum’s favourite colours.

What you need:

Wax (candlewax, beeswax or paraffin)

Wicks (make sure the wick is right length for your bottle/jar)

Double sided adhesive sticker (for attaching the wick)

Old Crayons (paper removed)

Glass jar / old jam bottle

Directions:

Using the double sided adhesive, attach a wick to the inside base of your jar.

Separate your crayons into similar colours.

Follow the instructions on your wax to melt it in small batches adding a crayon colour to each batch. E.g. blues to the first batch.

Once the wax/crayon mix has melted, holding on to one end of the wick, gently pour the wax into the jar.

Once you’ve poured a layer, place it in the refrigerator to set.

When the layer is cool and firm, repeat with the next crayon/wax colour and layer.

Continue until there is no more room for layers.

MOTHER’S DAY MASON JAR VASE

Decorate some old mason jars with paint and children’s imprints.

What you need:

Old jars of various sizes

Paint (not water based)

Ribbon/string etc

Small card

Directions:

Add some paint into the inside of the mason jar. Swirl it around until the entire inside of the jar is covered.

Pour out any excess and allow to dry over night.

Once the base coat is dry, allow the kids to paint their hands with another contrasting colour and place their hands on the outside of the jar. Allow the jar to sit while drying.

Create a card with the children, adding their message to mum. Using a nice ribbon or hessian string, tie the card to the neck of the jar.

Add some flowers for a nice finishing touch.

Picture Coasters

These picture coasters are always a winner with mum and grandma.

What you need:

Glazed white tile or pre-made coasters.

Felt furniture adhesive pads (if using tiles)

Children’s pictures printed smaller than tile

clear glue

Clear varnish or clear enamel paint

Process:

Print the children’s photos and trim to size

Glue photo to the center of the tile and sit to dry

Once the photo is in place the glue has dried paint a thin layer of enamel across the top to seal

Whatever craft option you decide to make, we are sure Mum or Grandma will love their Mother’s day craft creation.

Make sure you share your creations with us by tagging us @freddy.and.co on Instagram or Facebook.

Descriptive Praise

Descriptive Praise.. Where have you been all my parenting life? Five years into my parenting journey and I’m still learning new things all the time. I’d never heard of descriptive praise until recently. The boys were fighting and not listening when I was talking to them and we were having a tough afternoon. That night […]

Read more

Baby’s vision development

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When should babies start floor time?

Free the Babies – When should babies start floor time? It’s important babies start floor time from an early age. Babies are raised in a world full of capsules, prams, swings, bouncers, hammocks, docks… the list is endless. More and more parents look for items to support, hold, and comfort children that it is preventing […]

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Baby Led Weaning

food to mouth

Baby Led Weaning

Let’s talk baby led weaning and the introduction of solids to your baby. Weaning your baby off milk or formula and introducing solid foods is one of the biggest milestones in your baby’s first year!

If you were to google ‘how to introduce solids to a baby’, you are bound to find many different recommendations and suggestions which can become confusing and hard to determine which one is right for your and your baby. While many parents decide to introduce solids as purees, there is another approach you can consider which is baby led weaning.

baby broccoli

WHAT IS BABY LED WEANING?

In a nutshell, baby led weaning is the introduction of solids by allowing your baby to feed themselves finger foods right from the beginning. This means skipping the puree spoon feeding stage.

HOW TO KNOW IF YOUR BABY IS READY FOR WEANING?

One of the main concerns you might have about baby led weaning is when to start. It makes it all the more complicated when the recommendation for transferring your baby on to solids is an age range between four to six months.

Here are a couple of different signs you can look out for to know if your baby is ready for solids:

Your baby has good neck and head control

They are able to sit on their own or in a highchair / bumbo

Your baby keeps mouthing their hands or toys

They are reaching out or showing interest in your food

baby in chair

THE BEST BABY LED WEANING FOODS

Start simple by offering single ingredient foods for three to five consecutive days. This allows time for your baby to show any signs of allergies or intolerances.

Remember, you’re simply getting your baby used to new nourishments, textures and foods. Try not  to panic if she isn’t eating a ton from the very start, your baby will let you know if they are hungry. Most of the eating is only for play and to become accustomed to the experience.

THE BENEFITS OF BABY LED WEANING

It gives your baby the opportunity to experience a greater variety of textures and flavours.

It’s an early and vital step for your baby to learn self regulation – figuring out how to stop eating when they feel full.

Your baby will also develop hand eye coordination and fine motor skills by figuring out how to grasp food and move it to their mouth.

It’s a lot more manageable to adjust what you are eating to suit your baby than to make a separate meal.

While your baby is eating, you can eat too.

food to mouth

ENCOURAGING GOOD EATING HABITS FROM AN EARLY AGE

Baby led weaning teaches your baby good eating habits from an early age – sitting up straight, feeding from a spoon, resting among bites and stopping when they are full.

Good eating habits are being encouraged during this process however make sure you are prepared for and embrace the messy plate, gooey hands, sticky hair and sauce covered face during this process. Find a designated space for your baby to eat that is an area that can be cleaned easily. The Freddy and Co Playmat is a great spot for your child to sit and explore different foods. They are non toxic and because they are waterproof and easy to clean playmats, you don’t need to worry about how much mess they make or don’t make as a quick wipe with a damp cloth with have it cleaned up in no time.

picnic

Descriptive Praise

Descriptive Praise.. Where have you been all my parenting life? Five years into my parenting journey and I’m still learning new things all the time. I’d never heard of descriptive praise until recently. The boys were fighting and not listening when I was talking to them and we were having a tough afternoon. That night […]

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Baby’s vision development

Your baby’s vision development over time Most people are aware that babies do not have full 20/20 vision at birth. However, as a new parent, you might be unsure of how and when your baby’s vision development will occur. Let’s go through what you need to know, including a timeline for how your baby’s vision […]

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When should babies start floor time?

Free the Babies – When should babies start floor time? It’s important babies start floor time from an early age. Babies are raised in a world full of capsules, prams, swings, bouncers, hammocks, docks… the list is endless. More and more parents look for items to support, hold, and comfort children that it is preventing […]

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Top 5 Messy Play Activities

Sensory Bin

Top 5 Messy Play Activities

In this blog we talk about our top 5 messy play activities. Messy play is made up of mud, sand, dirt, leaves, goop, foam, paint, water, and grass.  Whipping up a mess is fun. It is also beneficial to your child’s growth. It strengthens their senses, improves their hand-eye coordination, and helps them build fine motor skills. The sensory play focuses on stimulating touch, sight, and hearing as those senses are most accessible. Here are the top 5 messy play ideas to spark your kid’s imagination.

GIANT SENSORY BIN

A giant tangible bin will help keep the grass, toys and fun contained and let your little one dump, toss, and play the entire day!

Sensory Bin

Materials List

Plastic Tub

Grass

Leaves, Rocks and Sand

Toys

Basket

You can put pretty much anything into the sensory bin. The sensory bin will help your child explore using their senses.

CHIA SEED SLIME: TASTE TEST SAFE SLIME

This one is a fun slime that is great for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers. It is safe for little ones to explore and even taste without having to worry about nasties. And playing with it is addictive for you too!

CHIA SEED SLIME

Chia seed slime directions

Add 2 tablespoons of chia seeds to 1 cup of water and give it a whisk. Cover in plastic wrap and leave overnight to soak (or for a minimum of 2 hours) *optional to add food dye and flavour / scent extracts.

Move to a larger bowl and slowly add 1 cup of cornstarch until desired consistency is achieved.

Add more or less cornstarch for different textures, ideally you want it slimy but add enough cornstarch so it doesn’t stick to your hands. You can use this slime as a play activity on its own or as a base for small world sensory play.

Now that your slime is done, stretch it, squish it and have lots of fun.

BALLOON PAINTING – Messy play activity

This activity promotes a fantastic sense of spatial awareness. It’s a fresh and exciting take on painting, which is a favourite past time for most kids.

paint play

What you need: 

Balloons

Child-friendly paint

Cardboard or large sheets of paper (easel pads, for example)

Large safety pins

A funnel

How you do it: 

To begin, fill the balloons with paint. You can use a funnel for a cleaner outcome, or you can join in on the sensory fun by filling the balloons without a funnel.

Close the top end of the balloons with a knot and poke holes in the balloon’s bottom with a safety pin. Allow any blunders that may arise while the children apply paint to the cardboard by squeezing it from the balloons.

RETRIEVE ANIMALS

Hide big toy animals in the mud or sandpit and allow your child to discover and dig them out with their fingers and toes. By naming each animal that they recover, they can improve their listening and language abilities. Also, count the number of animals that they find!

hidden toys

PLAYING WITH SPAGHETTI AND PASTA

Number 5 of our top 5 messy play ideas is playing with spaghetti as it is always a big hit, and it’s so easy to do! It’s great for improving fine and gross motor skills as well as pincer grips. Cook until just done, drain, and add some food colouring if you’d like to brighten it up a little. How much fun!

spaghetti play

Finally, Manage the Mess with These Waterproof Play Mats!

If the idea of messy play makes you feel super uncomfortable, you no longer have to go around cleaning. The Freddy and Co Playmat is water resistant and easy to clean. The reversible design means that once your child has grown out of one side you can turn it over to use the other.

To shop the Freddy and Co range of playmats click here.

picnic baby playmat

Descriptive Praise

Descriptive Praise.. Where have you been all my parenting life? Five years into my parenting journey and I’m still learning new things all the time. I’d never heard of descriptive praise until recently. The boys were fighting and not listening when I was talking to them and we were having a tough afternoon. That night […]

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Baby’s vision development

Your baby’s vision development over time Most people are aware that babies do not have full 20/20 vision at birth. However, as a new parent, you might be unsure of how and when your baby’s vision development will occur. Let’s go through what you need to know, including a timeline for how your baby’s vision […]

Read more

When should babies start floor time?

Free the Babies – When should babies start floor time? It’s important babies start floor time from an early age. Babies are raised in a world full of capsules, prams, swings, bouncers, hammocks, docks… the list is endless. More and more parents look for items to support, hold, and comfort children that it is preventing […]

Read more