Friday, 14 July 2017

The average cost of a baby's first year

This fun infographic breaks down the average costs and needs for a baby in their first year, and it's a fascinating look at the costs that you can expect when you have a baby, and a reminder of how it all adds up! 

I hope that you find it interesting!

The average cost of a baby's first year

Infographic source - Busy Bees Child Care. Discover your local Busy Bees Nurseries.

Monday, 24 April 2017

David Walliams to read the CBeebies Bedtime Story

On 29th April 2017, author, actor, comedian and presenter David Walliams will make his debut on CBeebies Bedtime Stories in the first of three stories that he has recorded for the channel.

Tune in to hear him read "The Bear That Went Boo!" - the story of a cheeky polar bear cub who lives at the top of the world surrounded by snow and ice and loves to go Boo!

David Walliams CBeebies bedtime story

David Walliams also has a new book to be published in May. "World's Worst Children 2" is a collection of short stories featuring five beastly boys and five gruesome girls, illustrated in full colour by Tony Ross. I'm looking forward to sharing it with my children!

Saturday, 22 April 2017

How does birth order affect your career path?

As the oldest in a family of three, and knowing how different I am to my siblings, I'm fascinated by how birth order can affect personality. A recent study released by Disney has shown how the order in which children are born can have a significant impact on their future career. The research was commissioned to celebrate the close sibling relationship between Anna and Elsa from Disney’s film ‘Frozen’ and was led by psychologist Emma Kenny.

 The research showed that first born children were 29% more likely to become astronauts, and also tended to gravitate towards science and engineering careers. Middle children were more likely to become a company CEO, perhaps because fighting for attention as a middle child leads to competiveness, flexibility and diplomacy.

The incidence of Olympians is also 41% higher amongst middle children than might be expected from an average family. Younger children are proportionately 50% more likely to head towards a career in classical music, and the perfectionist and mature personality traits of only children appears to make them more likely to choose careers as artists.

 Families with a larger number of children than the average were more likely to produce explorers, like Christopher Columbus who was one of five siblings, and sea captain Sir Francis Drake who grew up as one of twelve.

Anna Hill, Chief Marketing Officer at Disney comments: “Frozen’s Anna & Elsa are two iconic siblings Disney is celebrating, with this research we seek to acknowledge the positive differences between siblings and the strong and lasting influence they have on one another.”

 Psychologist Emma Kenny comments: “The research conducted over the last month has shown that birth order is a significant factor in determining employment role types between siblings - overall there are far more typical cases than exceptions. As with Disney's film Frozen, the destiny of two siblings can be very different, however all siblings have an innate bond which should be celebrated.” Disney’s smash hit Frozen film celebrates the relationship between princesses Anna and Elsa, two sisters with vastly different personality traits and champions a new kind of true love story between two siblings.


Video source - Frozen Siblings Day from Taylor Herring on Vimeo.

*This study analysed the family structures from a random sample of 550 participants and results of the statistical analysis were found to be significant amongst each group. 

*The study analysed the proportion of each type of sibling in each sample group and compared this against what would be expected in a normal family to determine if the results were representative and therefore demonstrated a significant difference 

*The Average UK family has 2.44 children 

*Average family statistics were drawn from The Office of National Statistics 

*In some instances, family size was also found to have an influence, for example, in the scientists and engineers sample, scientists were found to come from much larger families than average (4.66 children rather than 2.44 in the average family). A similar effect was observed in the sample of artists.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Book review - The Lost Kitten by Komako Sakai

The Lost Kitten is a new picture book from Japan's leading illustrator, Komako Sakai. The story is about a tiny stray kitten that turns up on Hina's doorstep. Hina and her mother take her in, take her to the vet, make her home and learn to care for her. But then one day the kitten goes missing.

The Lost Kitten by Komako Sakai

It's a very sweet little story, and the illustrations are beautiful. They really bring the characters and their emotions to life. It's a lovely book to share with your child.

The Lost Kitten picture book

I received a copy of this book to review.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Lovely new picture books for young children from Gecko Press

Today I'm sharing two gorgeous new picture books for toddlers from Gecko Press.

Bathtime for Little Rabbit by Jorg Muhle is a very sweet, interactive board book for the very youngest toddlers, and especially perfect for those that have a reluctance when it comes to bath time!

Bathtime for little rabbit book

Children are encouraged to follow along with Little Rabbit while he enjoys his bath, and help him by lathering up the bubbles, wipe the water off his nose, and blow to dry his ears at the end. The simple language and pictures are perfect for reading aloud to little ones, and it would be a lovely book to share at bedtime.

Bathtime for little rabbit

My Pictures after the Storm by Eric Veille looks at the concept of 'before' and 'after', using fantastic illustrations to look at a series of pictures before and after something has happened.

My pictures after the storm

For example, what happens after a storm, after an elephant has passed by, or after the hairdresser. There's plenty of scope for discussion and lots of humour in the illustrations and text.

My pictures after the storm book

I was sent these books to review, Amazon links are affiliate.

Monday, 30 January 2017

A new e-book from Twinkl - Ronald the Rhino

As a parent I'm a huge fan of Twinkl Resources. Twinkl offers a huge range of educational resources for schools and parents to download, covering just about any theme that you can imagine. Some of the resources are free, and some are available to subscribers only, with packages starting at just £2.50 per month.

Twinkl have recently published a new eBook - Ronald the Rhino - which is available for subscribers to download and share with their children. It's a Twinkl original rhyming story, and each page features a hand drawn image to illustrate it. The story follows Ronald the Rhino, who isn't happy because he doesn't feel as special as all the other animals that have their own unique trait. He tries to copy the other animals but he still isn't happy, until his animal friends teach him how special he really is.

Ronald the Rhino from Twinkl

To accompany the story, Twinkl have produced a wide range of resources for children of all ages. The youngest children can retell the story using Ronald the Rhino Sequencing Cards, having fun with the Ronald the Rhino Colouring Pages or practice their scissor skills with Ronald the Rhino Cutting Skills Activity Sheets. Slightly older children will enjoy exploring different words and phrases linked to the characters with these Ronald the Rhino Character Description Activity Sheets, or trying a Ronald the Rhino Count and Graph Activity Sheet. There are also reading comprehension sheets, activity sheets to help children draw the animals themselves and many many more - have a look at all the Ronald the Rhino Themed Resources here.

I am a Twinkl Blogger and have received a Platinum Plus subscription in exchange for sharing their resources with my readers.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

How to use a sleep training clock for an early rising child

A sleep training clock is a very simple invention, but remarkably effective. It is a way of helping a toddler understand the difference between night and day, and helping them to stay in their bed until morning. There are various sleep training clocks on the market, but they all feature some kind of device which tells the child when it is time to get up. This might be a picture on the front that changes, or some kind of coloured light signal.

You can achieve the same effect more cheaply with a lamp or some fairy lights on a timer switch, but buying a clock especially for the child makes it seem much more special. Some of the clocks also come with a bedtime story book which can help a child to understand the concept behind it.

If you have an early riser, it's very tempting to set the clock for your preferred wake up time one morning (perhaps 7am or so) and assume that they will just stay in their bed until that time. Unfortunately you need to put in a bit more work than that. We had a lot of success with our sleep training clock, so here are some tips to help it work for you.

  • Your child needs to be old enough to understand the concept. Certainly at least 2 years old, and probably a little older.

  • Use the clock in conjunction with a bedtime routine that is already in place, for example bath, milk, teeth, story and bed.

  • The clock may have a demo mode. Use this to role play with your child during the day - let them pretend to go to sleep, then get them up when the clock signals that it's morning, then back to sleep again when it's 'night time'.

  • Begin by setting the clock for a time before your child usually wakes. Then you may like to reward your child, perhaps with a sticker, because they have stayed in bed until morning.

  • Move the time forward on the clock very slowly, perhaps by just a minute or two each day or five minutes each week.

  • If your child wakes or gets out of bed before morning, return them to bed and keep re-inforcing with them that they should stay in their bed until the sun comes up.

After buying a sleep training clock, our early mornings went from 5.10am until 6.30am, sometimes later. If you are struggling with an early riser I would really recommend one, and good luck!

We used a Gro-Clock Sleep Trainer , which we liked because it came with a bedtime story book. You can read the story to your child, and when you reach the appropriate moment your child can press a button to put the sun to sleep. There are also lots of different sleep training clocks which work in a similar way and you might want to consider to match the interests of your child - here are a couple of different ones:

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