A Healthy Immune System Starts with a Healthy Gut

A9RB347Did you know that your intestinal tract is home to billions of different microbes (known as your intestinal microflora) made up of bacteria, yeast, and fungi?  Some of these mi-crobes are bad and can cause illness, but some are good.  These good microbes, called probi-otics, have a positive and wide-ranging impact on your overall health.

We naturally have a mix of both good and bad bacteria in us.   When we eat fermented foods, like yogurt or sauerkraut, we ingest more even more probiotic-rich bacteria.  Taking probiotics as a supplement, however, is a good idea for most people as the amounts we get from food alone are far lower than therapeutic doses.  Even if you think everything feels fine in your gut, remember, probiotics do more than just help keep gas and bloating at bay.

Probiotics are an important part of a healthy body as they: 

• Help keep your digestive system running smoothly
• Boost immunity
• Help produce many B vitamins
• Digest lactose and some forms of fiber
• Assist in the digestion and absorption of many nutrients
• Inhibit the growth of bad bacteria

When the number of good bacteria in your intestinal tract is outnumbered by the bad you may experience gas, bloating, diarrhea, and even constipation.  These symptoms can range from mild to quite severe.  While just getting sick can result in decreased numbers of good probiotic bacteria, antibiotic use is one of the primary reasons that good bacteria gets wiped from our system.

Antibiotics treat bacterial infections, but they don’t discern between good and bad when doing their job; they just kill off all the bacteria.  This is why one of the most common side effects of antibiotic use is stomach and digestive system upset.  Taking probiotics a few hours away from antibiotic medication, followed up by intensive supplementation after completing your medication will help recolonize your intestinal tract with probiotic bacteria.

Did you know that your intestinal tract is home to billions of different microbes (known as your intestinal microflora) made up of bacteria, yeast, and fungi?  Some of these microbes are bad and can cause illness, but some are good.  These good microbes, called probiotics, have a positive and wide-ranging impact on your overall health.

While many of us try to avoid using antibiotics unnecessarily on our families and our-selves, there’s no doubt that they have their place, and when used properly can help us feel better when we need them.  Overuse of antibiotics has created a whole new strain of antibiotic-resistant bacteria called super-bugs.  Antibiotic-resistant infections cause thousands of deaths each year. Probiotics have antimicrobial activity, and some experts believe that they could play an increased role in the prevention and treatment of some of these superbug infections.

Preventing illness in the first place is the best way to avoid the need for anti-biotics. Explain the next measures to your Au pair so that she can help you in your absence   Some easy ways to keep your immune system healthy include:

• Washing your hands well (try singing “Happy Birthday” twice!). Stick with soap
and water and avoid antibacterial products. Products marketed as being antibacterial
use Triclosan as the active ingredient, which may do more harm than good.
Studies are starting to come out suggesting that Triclosan may, in fact, be helping to
create some of these superbugs.
• Avoid sugar as it suppresses your immune system for hours after you eat it and feeds
the bad bacteria in your intestinal tract.
• Ensure adequate intake of good quality protein, which is the building block for the
antibodies that fight infection.
• Choose a healthy lifestyle; the activity of natural killer cells is supported by not
smoking, getting enough sleep, regular exercise, and an increased intake of green
vegetables.
• Eat more garlic as it contains allicin, a phytochemical shown to be effective in fighting colds, flus and other illnesses due to its antibacterial and antiviral properties.
• Eating mushrooms like shiitake, cremini and many dried varieties will boost your intake of zinc and selenium, both powerful immune system supporters. Plus, the beta glucans in mushrooms will help regulate white blood cell activity.

Nutrients like vitamin C, the B vitamins, vitamin E, and carotenes are also important for a healthy immune system.  Choose to eat a variety of whole, unprocessed foods to maximize your intake of the widest range of nutrients possible. A good idea is to ask your au pair to avoid eating lots of sugary snacks  in front of the children.

Making simple changes like the ones above can help boost your immunity, but the infor-mation on how to maximize your intake of probiotic foods can be more confusing than helpful.  A quick walk down the aisles of a grocery store would have you believe that eating and drinking certain yogurts, cheeses, juices, and even chocolate bars will get your gut in tip top shape in no time due to their probiotic content.  The truth is, not all probiotics are created equally.  Bad bacteria feeds on simple sugars so if you’re eating a product laden with added sugars then you’re likely not getting much benefit from the probiotics that have been added.  Some of the best natural sources of probiotic bacteria include ferment-ed foods like:

• Plain yogurt (no sugar added)
• Plain kefir, a yogurt type drink traditionally made with dairy, but now also made with coconut, and even water!
• Sauerkraut
• Kombucha tea
• Kimchi
• Some cheeses

If you’re suffering from digestive upset, or trying to replace the good bacteria that has been wiped from your system after taking a round of antibiotics (remember antibiotics wipe out the good and the bad), then the amount of probiotics added to food won’t be enough.

Probiotic amounts in supplements are measured in CFUs (colony forming units) and when shopping for a good quality supplement there are a few things to consider in order to get the biggest bang for your buck.

Potency – make sure you’re getting a minimum of 100 million CFUs per dose.
Storage – most probiotics require refrigeration, although there are some products in “pearl” format that are shelf stable and more suitable for things like travelling.
Expiration date – a good manufacturer will guarantee their potency until the product’s expiry date and will list this right on the packaging.

Probiotics aren’t cheap, but smart shopping will help you navigate the supplement aisles and choose the best product.
There are many different strains of probiotics, known as species.  These strains have a variety of therapeutic effects, and some will be more helpful than others when targeting illnesses or symptoms.  There are products specifically de-signed for IBS, post-antibiotic use, and bowel disorders.  There are also products specifically geared towards children, as children’s intestinal tracts contain different microflora than adults.

When choosing probiotic supplements for your family be sure to choose the appropriate products for your needs, and if you’re con-fused work with a knowledgeable practitioner to help you make the best choice.  By taking care of your body with whole foods, making positive lifestyle changes, incorporating more fermented foods, and taking additional probiotic supplements you’ll help keep your intestinal tract feeling its best and boost your overall immunity at the same time.

Encouraging your child’s natural love of learning

A9R2CA9Nurturing a child’s love for learning begins with trust. As unschoolers, we trust our children to know when they are ready to learn and what they are interested in learning. We trust them to know how to go about learning. Parents and Au pairs commonly take this view of learning during the child’s first two years, when he is learning to stand, walk, talk, and to perform many other important and difficult things, with little help from anyone. No one worries that a baby will be too lazy, uncooperative, or unmotivated to learn these things; it is simply assumed that every baby is born wanting to learn the things he needs to know in order to understand and to participate in the world around him. These one- and two-year-old ex-perts teach us several principles of learning:

Children are naturally curious and have a built-in desire to learn first-hand about the world around them.

John Holt, in his book How Children Learn, describes the natural learning style of young children:

“The child is curious. He wants to make sense out of things, find out how things work, gain competence and control over himself and his environment, and do what he can see other people doing. He is open, perceptive, and experimental. He does not merely observe the
world around him. He does not shut him-self off from the strange, complicated world around him, but tastes it, touches it, hefts it, bends it, breaks it. To find out how reality works, he works on it. He is bold. He is not afraid of making mistakes. And he is patient. He can tolerate an extraordinary amount of uncertainty, confusion, ignorance, and sus-pense. … School is not a place that gives much time, or opportunity, or reward, for this kind of thinking and learning.”

Children know best
how to go about learning something

If left alone, children will know instinctively what method is best for them. Caring and observant parents soon learn that it is safe and appropriate to trust this knowledge. Such parents say to their baby, “Oh, that’s interesting! You’re learning how to crawl downstairs by facing backwards!” They do not say, “That’s the wrong way.” Perceptive parents and au pairs are aware  that there are many different ways to learn something, and they trust their children to know which ways are best for them.

Children need
plentiful amounts of quiet time to think

“Children who are good at fantasizing are better both at learning about the world and at learning to cope with its surprises and disappointment. It isn’t hard to see why this should be so. In fantasy we have a way of trying out situations, to get some feel of what they might be like, or how we might feel in them, without having to risk too much. It also gives us a way of coping with bad experiences, by letting us play and replay them in our mind until they have lost much of their power to hurt, or until we can make them come out in ways that leave us feeling less defeated and foolish.”

But fantasy requires time, and time is the most endangered commodity in our lives. Fully-scheduled school hours and extracurricular activities leave little time for children to dream, to think, to invent solutions to problems, to cope with stressful experiences, or simply to fulfill the universal need for solitude and privacy.

Children are not afraid to admit ignorance and to make mistakes

When Holt invited toddlers to play his cello, they would eagerly attempt to do so; school-children and adults would invariably decline.

Unschooling children, free from the intimidation of public embarrassment and failing marks, retain their openness to new exploration. Children learn by asking questions, not by answering them. Toddlers ask many questions, and so do school children until about grade three. By that time, many of them have learned an unfortunate fact: that in school, it can be more important for self-protection to hide one’s ignorance about a subject than to learn more about it, regardless of one’s curiosity.

Children take joy
in the intrinsic values of whatever they are learning

There is no need to motivate children through the use of extrinsic rewards, such as high grades or stars, which suggest to the child that the activity itself must be difficult or unpleasant; otherwise, why is a reward, which has nothing to do with the matter at hand, being offered? The wise parent says, “I think you’ll enjoy this book”, not “If you read this book, you’ll get a cookie.”

Children learn best
about getting along with other people through interaction with those of all ages, including an Au pair

No parents would tell their baby, “You may only spend time with those children whose birthdays fall within six months of your own. Here’s another two-year-old to play with.” John Taylor Gatto, New York State Teacher of the Year, contends, “It is absurd and anti-life to be part of a system that compels you to sit in confinement with people of exactly the same age and social class. That system effec-tively cuts you off from the immense diversity of life and the synergy of variety; indeed, it

Finding the balance between independence and supervision

Free Rage Kids 

Finding the balance between independence and supervision

Let’s play a game. Visualize your childhood playtime routine.

A9R8F14Was it filled with running, playing and exploring in your backyard (and all your friends’ yards)? Did you ride your bike through your surrounding neighborhoods and maybe even to school to use the jungle gym ad nauseam? Were your summers permeated with spraying sprinklers, green rubber hoses, worn jump ropes, entire days spent outside, and skinned knees? Did your evenings entail playing ball outside until the street lights came on (at which point you knew you’d better get home and fast)? To many of us, this was a very close facsimile of childhood.

Today, these kids would be referred to as “free range.” Their parents would be practicing
“free range parenting” (also called “simplicity” or “slow parenting”). It often involves more unstructured free time, less of a focus on the use of electronic devices, and less hovering of parents around children as they play or make new discoveries. Children are ultimately al-lowed to explore the world at their own pace.

It is said that free range parenting is in response to the widespread trend for parents to schedule many activities and classes after school, solve problems for their children, and often “helicopter” around their children to help with any issues that arise. Others contend that this less hands-on, more independence-inducing style is simply a return to the style in which many of us were raised.

It is important to note some of the positives of free range parenting. The free range life-style allows children to develop many valuable skills, such as problem-solving, self-confi-dence, and creativity, to say nothing of the value of a well-honed imagination. Children with an active, exploratory life have lower risk of mental health and emotional issues and higher development of motor skills. It is said that the more time kids spend in the great outdoors, as well, lower their chances of developing asthma, allergies, and have a general immunity against many illnesses. They are also far better able to bounce back from the disappointments of life after gaining hands-on troubleshooting experience in their day-to-day activities.

But, as with most forms of parenting, opinions differ and controversies arise. With a greater awareness of child abuse and neglect, many are on the lookout for strange or “off ” behavior – such as seeing children out walking or playing without supervision of either a parent or an Au pair. Although each case and scenario is different and unique, many times we see in these news stories that the children ultimately get picked up by police and, due to proper procedure, taken to Child Protective Services before finally allowing the parents to have contact with their “missing” children.

There are two schools of thought here. One – those poor parents must have been frantic! Two – the same parents would feel worse if their children had gone missing for real. Both are completely valid points.

However, it’s important to note that America, in general, is at its safest point in years. Ac-cording to a recent child mortality report put together by numerous government agencies, childhood mortality has never been lower. In 1935, there were 450 deaths per 100,000 chil-dren aged 1 to 4, compared with today’s number of 30. Some of this can be attributed to a rise in the use of vaccines (do your homework and decide if this is right for you), but the rates have nonetheless continued to drop in recent decades. Homicide rates are at a low of 1.5 per 100,000 children under 14, as well.

Beyond these facts, though, comes the worry. It’s not just about a child’s possible death
(although that’s huge). What about an abduc-tion or disappearance? According to the FBI National Crime Information Center, reports of missing juveniles under 18 since 1997 are down 40%. This information also tells of the fact that a vast majority – 96% – of all missing person reports are runaways. A very minute percentage of these cases are what we might consider a “stereotypical kidnapping.” More details can be found through this informative Washington Post article, but the point is, basi-cally, that things are pretty darn safe on aver-age, depending on your particular life situa-tion and neighborhood demographic.

As parents, we all know that parenting isn’t “one size fits all.” Every child is unique and every parent and au pair reacts to situations differently. Hopefully, we can all agree that as long as children are in a loving, cared-for scenario – even if it’s completely different than our own – there’s nothing to worry about.

It is up to us to use our common sense and intuition to recognize when something is seri-ously wrong, or that we simply need to back off and allow other parents the courtesy to make their own choices for their families.

Home, safe home

25 tips to make your house a happy and healthy safe haven.

When you’ve got a young child, you’ve got a little adventurer on your hands, always keen to examine every nook and cranny, and to touch and taste everything he can get his hand on! But while this eagerness to explore can be great for his learning and development, it can also get him into some sticky sHome+Safe+Homeituations. According to the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, little ones from birth to fourth years account for over half hospital patients treated for accidents in the home. Burns, bumps and falls, poisoning, chocking and near-drowning are among the top type of accidents kids can encounter – but thankfully there’s a lot that you can do to prevent them. The first step when it comes to making your home kid-safe? “Get down on your hands and knees and pretend to be a child to see what kinds of mischief you might get into”, advises Christine, executive officer of Kidsafe NSW. “Until you’re down thee you don’t notice the power points, the sharp corners, the cupboard doors or the dangling vertical-blind cords”.

Here are tips that you and your au pair can follow for keeping your child as safe as can be…

Home Hints In The Kitchen
1. Be food safe. TheUp_and_Away_Posterre are 5.4 million cases of food-borne illness in Australia each year, and kids are particularly vulnerable. The bacteria that cause food poisoning like to grow between 5° and 60°C, so keep hot food piping hot and store cold food at 4°C or below. Keep ready-to-eat and raw food separate during preparation and storage, wash hand before and after handling food, pay attention to use-by dates and be sure to cook meats thoroughly.
2. Keep it clean. If you have an au pair tell her to wipe down all kitchen surfaces as you go, particularly where raw foods have been prepared, to help limit of spread of bacteria. It’s best to have one sponge or cloth for surfaces and another for dishes and to change these regularly. Pop them, wet, in the microwave for a couple of minutes to help zap the bugs.
3. Put things on the back burner. “Since there are so many hot things in the kitchen, it can be a pretty dangerous place”, Christine notes. To prevent accidents, put pots and pans on the back burner or turn the handless away to stop your little one reaching for them. “Children around nine to 15 months ae starting to pull themselves up and may grab for these. They might also use the hot oven door”, Christine says, adding that stove guards can be a good investment for this reason.
4. Look it up. Installing childproof locks, latches or brands on cupboards and drawers in the kitchen, is an important safety measure. This can stop your child from using drawers to climb to dangerous heights, from getting his hands on sharp utensils and household chemicals such as detergents, and helps keep other items, such as plastic bags, out of harm’s way.
5. Bring out the barriers. “If you can, keep your child out of the kitchen all together with a gate or barrier”, Christine advises. If you need to spend time in the kitchen, keep him quietly occupied with crafts in your line of sight, or find something for him to do in another area of the house that’s close by.

Home Hints In The Living Room
6. Bet on barriers. “It’s important to use a barrier or gate to prevent younger children from going up and down any stairs,” Christine says, as topples and tumbles are very real risks. ”When it comes to the balustrades, make sure your child can’t get stuck between the rails, can’t climb on them or slip under through them”, she adds.
7. Be on dirt alert. When you have time to get on top of household chores, try to vacuum carpets and wash floorboards, as little kid get really up close and personal with these surfaces! Watch your use of harsh cleaning agents that might leave chemical residues, and think about a “no shoes” policy for your house – it’s a great way to keep (or at least limit) dirt, muck and pollutants from getting in.
8. Show socket safety. All unused power point and strips should be blocked with power-point covers, Christine advises, which will stop you littlie from poking thing into them. Having safety switches installed that switch the power off if there is a fault can also help prevent electrical shocks.
9. Go on lockdown. Climbing and clambering kids get hurt from toppling furniture or other items, says Christine. Make sure furniture is sturdy and not-top-heavy to limit the chances of toppling, and secure items to the wall with ‘L’ brackets where you can. Also watch heavy objects on top of furniture that could easily fall onto your child – secure the TV with a strap, keep big or breakable objects in cabinets and try to avoid decorative tablecloths or other dangling items that could be pulled on to send items falling.
10. Be (smoke) alarmed. Smoke alarms are an important measure in keeping the whole family safe. Have them installed on every level of your home, particularly near the bedrooms, and be sure to test them regularly and change the batteries often.

Home Hints In The Bedrooms
11. Change the bed. If yawesome-safety-wall-decorations-for-kids-room-decorour toddler is still in his cot, he may develop a habit of climbing up and over the cot rails when he wants to get out, which can lead to falls. While there’s no set age for making the transition from cot to big bed, most kids are ready around the age of two. It’s a good idea to choose a bed with small side rails to stop him from rolling out of it.
12. Careful of cords! As the Child Safety Handbook published by the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne notes, dangling curtain cords, phone cords and straps, ties and strings on clothes and toys can pose a strangulation risk. When it comes to window cords, these should be kept shorter than 30 cm and well off the floor. If you can’t cut or exchange window cords for rods, secure them with a cord clips or wrap them around a cleat, and keep your child’s cot or bed well away from them.
13. Have high standards. Particularly if you’re getting it second-hand from eBay, friends or the op-shop, make sure all furniture meets current Australian Safety Standards. You can download a great ACCC booklet from www.accc.gov.au/content/itemld/993087 for all the need-to-know details.
14. Watch windows. “Children can fall out of a window which is open more than 10 cm, even if a fly screen is present”, the Children’s Hospital at Westmead warns. As part of its “Kids Can’t Fly” campaign, the hospital recommends all windows have locks fitted to stop them being opened more than 10 cm, or have window guards installed. Also watch where you position cots, beds and objects kids can clamber on top of in relation to windows.
15. Play safely. When it comes to storing toys, your littlie’s toy chest should have lid support so it doesn’t slam shut on his tiny fingers and ventilation holes should be climb on in a find himself stuck. The toys themselves should have no small, sharp or breakable parts. Follow the age recommendations and check regularly for wear and tear.

Home Hints In The Bathroom
16. Simmer down. The Child Safety Handbook notes that “the best way of preventing scalds in the bathroom is to reduce the temperature of the hot tap water at the basin, bath and shower to 50°C”. Tap covers that stop tots from turning taps on and off are another good idea. Make sure that your au pair is careful when she puts the kids in the shower.
17. Be mindful with medicines. Keep medicines in a child-proof box in a cabinet at least 1.5m off the ground so they’re out of reach and out of sight of curious hands and mouths. While you’re at it, lock away mouthwash, nail polish remover, hair dye and the like, along with sharp objects such as nail scissors and razor blades.
18. Wash well! Hand-washing is so important! Little kids often fall sick when faecal bacteria end up in their mouths, so teach your littlie how to wash his hands well after using the toilet, touching pets and being out and about. Hands should always be scrubbed well before eating, too.
19. Don’t slip ‘n’ side. “The bathroom is a wet, slippery place with lots of hard surfaces and slips and trips can happened for adults as well as children”, Christine warns. She suggests using non-slip mats and to plan, plan, plan. “Bathtime is an event, so you need a little ‘event management’! Have the towels ready, something to mop up splashes and clothes nearby”
20. Be on water watch. Supervision in the bath is paramount. Ignore phone calls and stuff going on in other rooms of the house when your tyke is in the tub – she should never be left unattended. Toilet water can also prove problematic, so keep the lid closed and consider a child-proof latch.

Home Hints In The Yard
21. Put it away! The Royal hausbauChildren’s Hospital Melbourne reports that a third of home injuries to children under five years occur in the garden or garage. A good first step in preventing accidents is to securely lock away tools, ladders, gardening instruments and other such gear so that your child can’t get to them.
22. Be sensible with poisons. As well as storing these correctly (in their original containers, well away from your child’s sight and reach), use them wisely. Snail pellets shouldn’t be used in the garden, for example, as your child or pet might mistake them for a snack. And if you’ve had to use any pesticides, herbicides or other chemicals, don’t let your littlie out there to roll in them.
23. Weed out nasty plants. Some plants are poisonous if eaten or prone to causing irritation when touched, so be careful what you let grow. “On our Kidsafe website, www.kidsafensw.org, we have information about what plants to avoid and your local council will also have this information”, says Christine.
24. Avoid driveway accidents. It’s a scary statistic – according to Kidsafe, one child is run over in the driveway of their home each week in Australia. Always have someone (like an au pair) holding your child’s hand or holding close when the car is being moved in or out of the driveway. It’s also wise to discourage playing near the driveway and to make access   to it difficult with fencing or gates.
25. Be water wise. All pools and spas should be surrounded by a well-maintained fence with a self-locking gate, and even inflatable pools that exceed 30cm need a barrier around them, too. It’s best to empty, deflate and store these safely when not in use to prevent water puddling in them, Christine reminds. “Also be careful of pet bowls, bucket and other containers that may be able to fill with water when it rains. Little children are very top heavy and can drown in very small amount of water”.

Screen Time Limits

Screen Time Limits

Too often parents and Au pairs take responsibility for their kids’ screen-free time by structuring activities for them. They think that if kids are upset or bored without electronic entertainment, they must provide another activity for them to do. But this is just another form of rescuing. When parents are quick to step in with activities to distract kids from boredom or anger about not having their screens, they inadvertently rob children of the opportunity to develop problem solving skills and resilience.

Turning off the TV is a challenge for many kids and families. Have faith in them to
work through this “suffering” to feel more capable in managing their time. When you
have faith in your children to handle their feelings, they will learn to have faith in themselves, too. It is important that parents do not make children suffer, but sometimes it is most helpful to “allow” them to suffer with support.A9R8F0E

Parents and Au pairs in Australia too often (in the name of love) want to protect their children from struggle.
They don’t realize that their children need to struggle, to deal with disappointment, and to solve their own problems so they can develop their emotional muscles and the skills necessary for the even bigger struggles they will encounter throughout their lives.

When allowing children to suffer…

1. Express empathy. “You are really angry about not being able to play your video
game right now. I understand.”
2. Avoid lectures.
3. Do not rescue. It’s OK to feel upset.
4. Let them know you have faith in them to figure out what to do.
When a child “suffers” because she can’t watch the show she wants, allowing her to
endure this experience can help her develop her resiliency muscles. She learns that she
can survive the ups and downs of life, as well as the decision of what to do with her
time when there are no screens to watch.
The support parents and Au pairs can offer is to validate her feelings, but avoid solving the ultimate problem of what to do instead. Say, “I can see this is very upsetting to you. It can be disappointing when we don’t get what we want.” Period. Some parents overdo validating feelings; they go on and on with the hope that validating feelings will take away the suffering.

Validate a child’s feelings and then allow her to recover from those feelings. Then comes
the tough part— no rescuing and no lectures.
Simply have faith that she can get over her disappointment and figure out what she
can do with herself. Children will learn to get past the disappointment of reduced screen time, and they will be able to develop their imagination and creativity in solving the problem of, “What should I do?” Parents and Au pairs just need to provide an atmosphere of loving support that does not include “bawling them out” (lecturing on how many other toys, games, crafts, and activities there are available to do), and “bailing them out” (fixing their boredom by providing a new activity). Have faith in your children; they will grow stronger for it.

Decide What You Will Do

You have set a limit on screen time with kindness and firmness. You have faith in
your children to handle their unhappy feelings about the limit. Now comes the part where you must decide what you will do. Rather than rescuing a child from solving their problem of, “Now what can I do?” when the screens are turned off, have faith
in them to work it out themselves. Since this usually takes time, it is helpful for you
to decide what to do that does not include lectures or rescue in the presence of their
turbulent feelings.

• “No TV until after homework is done. I will be in the kitchen making dinner.
Anyone is welcome to come work in there with me.”
• “You may watch a half-hour of TV. You can turn it off when the time is up, or I
will.”
• “Everyone must turn their phones off during dinner. I will put mine away and
meet you at the table.”
• “We’re not going to play video games today. I am going for a bike ride and
would love for you to join me.”
• “We have discussed the responsibilities that go along with the privileges of
having electronic equipment. When you don’t keep our agreements for the
responsibilities, I will confiscate the equipment until you are ready to try
again.”
• “I know you are disappointed and I’m going to give you a big hug; so you’d
better run if you don’t want one.”
Stating what you will do allows children to decide what they will do in the face of a
limit that has been set. You are communicating, “I decided what I will do; what will
you do?” They may continue to cry, complain, and have difficult feelings about the
limit, and that’s OK. They may simply need more time to express and recover from their
disappointment. By deciding what you will do, you are providing an example, while
ultimately turning the decision over to the child.

Miriam Aubert – Needs of School aged children and childcare

Miriam Aubert – Needs of school-age children
Miriam Aubert – Needs of school-age children

When children have started school, their needs change dramatically. They have begun to grow and mature and will be experiencing a certain amount of independence while being away from their main carers for much of the day. Although children of school age still require love, affection and continuity of care, they also need the following;

– A quiet area to reflect on the days events, to do homework or to simply enjoy some quiet time.
– A carer who is aware of what goes on in the school and is capable of planning their activities around the school curriculum. For example it is helpful for carers to know, in advance, what topics or themes are being studied at school as these can then be extended in the childcare setting to enhance and build on the child’s knowledge. It is important of course that the carer does not repeat what has already been taught in school as this can become boring and repetitive for the child.

Miryam Aubert – The important needs of Toddlers when choosing childcare

Miryam Aubert
Miryam Aubert – needs of Toddlers when choosing childcare

As with babies, toddlers require:

– Continuity of care;
– Affectionate, responsive carers with plenty of patience and energy. Toddlers can be very demanding and not all carers have the stamina to deal with children of this age;
– Regular routines in familiar surroundings. toddlers like to know what to expect and are happy when the day’s routines follow a certain pattern;
– A stimulating environment. This is essential for toddlers in order for them to be suitably entertained and to prevent them from becoming bored;
– Opportunity to converse. Toddlers ask endless questions and your child’s carer will need to be patient.

Miryam Aubert – The important needs of babies when choosing childcare

Babies have several key needs that you must ensure your chosen carer can provide in order for your baby to be happy and settled.

Miryam Aubert
Miryam Aubert – needs of babies when choosing childcare

Babies need:

Affectionate, responsive carers. Babies thrive in settings that provide them with the love and affection they crave. The carer you choose must genuinely love babies in order for your child to receive the cuddles and interaction that they need. The carer must be a responsible person who is capable of responding to your babies needs.
A regular routine which they know and understand. Babies are creatures of habit and they feel safe, comfortable and secure in familiar surroundings when following a predictable routine.
Plenty of communication. Although babies cannot talk they can converse through eye contact, touch and verbal noises. The carer you choose should be patient and willing to spend time with your child in this way.
–  A stimulating environment. Babies need to be stimulated in order for them to grow and develop. A safe environment which give them access to age-appropriate toys and equipment is vital.

Miriam Aubert – The needs of your child

Miriam Aubert
Miriam Aubert – The needs of your child

Before deciding which type of childcare you need it is important to first look at your child’s needs. the key factors you should consider when choosing childcare are:
– The age of your child;
– The temperament of your child;- any worries or concerns you may have regarding your child.

The Child’s age

As children grow and progress their needs change drastically. The childcare that you initially thought was wonderful for your tiny, helpless little baby may not appear quite as perfect when he has developed into an articulate toddler in need of stimulation and entertainment. Continuity of care is important for the care of young children and it is therefore important, when choosing childcare initially, that you think about your child’s current and future childcare needs. In order to ensure that the choice you make for your child’s care when they are a baby remains suitable throughout their childhood, it is essential that you evaluate the arrangement carefully and make sure that your child will not outgrow the chosen setting.

Evaluating the Character and Temperament of your Ideal Au pair

Character and temperament of your Ideal Au pair

There are other qualities you want to consider besides values, orientations and caregiving style. These qualities observable from appearance and those qualities you learn about from her behaviour.4

I’ve found it best to ask parents ‘’if the ideal candidates came into your home today, who would that person be? What is about her that makes her seem so ideal?

For some parents it is Mary Poppins. For others it is someone they know. You might find your self saying ‘’if only my mom could be my Au pair, life would be so easy! Or ‘’if only my best friend could do this, i would feel so reassured!’’ Equally important are identifying people you could not imagine as your Au pair. What is about these people that make them less ideal?

Here are some areas you may want to consider when evaluating fit:

Age; Does chronological age matter? Consider this in terms of activity level, stamina and maturity. Will she have to carry your baby up and down stairs on a regular basis or run after an active toddler? Does she have enough life experience to assure you she can manage the challenges she will encounter? Is her personal life stable enough to ensure predictable employment with you for as long as you need her?

Grooming: is the way she dresses consistent with how you want your family to be seen by others? Is there a certain code that is important for you?

Language: Can you understand each other well? Can you talk easily about the how’s and why’s of your child’s day?

Temperament: is she active and outgoing? Quiet? Formal with close boundaries or wear her heart on her sleeve? Does her temperament complement or run counter to yours? What about your child’s?

Communication: Does her style of communication complement yours or is it difficult to understand her ideas or to follow her line of thought?