When asked about becoming a parent, Mums and Dads often say that it’s a lot to do with instinct, and you’ll work out how best to care for your baby as they grow. While that may be true, it’s hard not to read up on parenting, so if you can’t resist, check out Kidszine parenting blog.
Blogs on the terrible twos, teenage woes, advice on health and pregnancy, ideas for birthday parties, parenting advice on healthy eating, and family friendly holiday ideas are all here. If that wasn’t enough, there are prizes to be won too! What more could you want from a parenting website.
New research has revealed the true cost of celebrating the birthday of a child. The largest discount website in the UK has revealed that the average cost of a birthday celebration for a child under 10 costs parents over £350.
The research also revealed that parents are ending up paying much more than they have budget for when it comes to celebrating their child’s birthday. The £350 is spent on a variety of things including presents, extensive celebrations and additional activities.
The study was conducted by www.MyVoucherCodes.co.uk as part of research into the parenting habits of Britons, with 1,900 parents aged 18 and over from across the UK taking part. All parents taking part in the study had a child aged between 2 and 10 years old.
According to the results, 91% of the parents taking part celebrated their child’s last birthday with a party.
Respondents were asked to estimate how much they spent on each aspect of celebrating their child’s last birthday, and were asked to give rough spend estimates for each element they spent money on when celebrating.
According to the results, below are the average spends by UK parents on each element of celebrating a child’s birthday. All costs are based on average spend responses from the parents taking part.
Presents for child- £156.30
Party Food- £73.20
Party Activities/ Entertainment or Venue Hire- £90.20
Party Gifts- £15.92
According to the results, children’s birthday celebrations therefore cost parents across the UK an average of £357.95.
When asked whether or not they had budgeted enough money to cope comfortably with the cost of their child’s last birthday celebrations, 51% of the parents taking part said ‘no’. Furthermore, a quarter, 23%, had borrowed money, either from family/ friends or through credit, to pay for the cost of the birthday.
Mark Pearson, Chairman of MyVoucherCodes.co.uk, commented on the findings:
“Birthdays can be pricey, particularly if you’re celebrating with parties and plenty of guests. Whilst it can feel like you have to spend a lot to make it special, this genuinely isn’t the case. Looking out for deals at venues and asking for things like group booking and party discounts can help to soften the financial blow, and looking for discounts before you buy presents can do too. Do some savvy shopping, and find yourself a birthday bargain!”
If you are looking for something fun and a little bit special to do in the upcoming half term, which runs from Saturday 25th May-Sunday 2nd June, then head down to NYMR, North Yorkshire Moors Railway, where you can swap your teddy for a ticket in their great Teddy Bears Picnic which goes on for the entire week.
Throughout the duration of half term, those children who take their teddy along for a ride on the Heritage Railway won’t have to buy a ticket, they will travel free if they are with a full fare paying adult, as long as they have their teddy bear.
This event is all part of the railway’s 40th birthday celebrations and the teddy theme will be seen at every station on the line, and visitors will also be challenged to find hidden pictures of teddy bears at Goathland, Grosmont, Levisham and Pickering stations.
“Whether you are coming to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway as a fantastic way of travelling for a day out to the coast, to explore the stunning countryside of the moors, or simply for a uniquely nostalgic steam train experience, everyone is welcome, and this fun twist where children and their teddy bears travel for free makes it a great value day out for the whole family,” comments NYMR’s marketing manager, Danielle Ramsey. “Needless to say that no picnic is complete without sandwiches and cakes, and we’ve got a great selection available from each of our tea rooms along the line, or you are welcome to bring your own to eat along the way.”
Travellers leaving from Pickering Station throughout the half term break will receive an extra special send-off, with NYMR’s two costumed characters, Tracker Jack and the station cat, waving them off as their train departs the station.
“Our station cat joins us for our 40th anniversary celebrations, but as yet, we haven’t given him a name, so we’ll be asking our visitors to come up with some suggestions for a name,” adds Danielle. “Although we can only give him one name, entrants will also have the chance to win a return trip on the railway during the summer months, with five family tickets being given away during the course of the week.”
Trains depart from Pickering to Grosmont every hour on the hour from 9.00am to 5.00pm, with the 9.00am, 12 noon and 4.00pm services continuing on to Whitby. Children arriving without a teddy bear of their own can still save money on a standard ticket and take a fun souvenir home, with NYMR engine driver teddy bears available for £7.95 from the shop at Pickering station, saving between £1 and £4 per child.
For more information, please call 01751 472508, or you can book tickets online at www.nymr.co.uk
Dr Hilary Jones GP, the well known health editor on Breakfast TV, has visited 2 schools in Doncaster this week in order to launch a new scheme that aims to encourage more children to drink milk at school.
During the visits to Balby Central Primary School and Bentley High Street Primary School, Dr Hilary participated in special assemblies as well as talking to the children, parents and teachers about the importance of drinking more milk at school and the educational and health benefits of doing so.
“Milk is a very important part of overall nutrition for children, providing them with a wide variety of minerals, vitamins, protein and other nutrients to keep them healthy,” explained Dr Hilary.
“It is packed with vitamin D, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin B12 and potassium and while children are drinking milk they’re less likely to consume less nutritious drinks such as fruit juice and fizzy drinks.”
Head teacher at Bentley High Street Primary School Janis James added: “We were delighted to welcome Dr Hilary and the Civic Mayor of Doncaster, Councillor Christine Mills, to the school yesterday to celebrate the introduction of the new scheme.
“Milk is one of the few drinks permitted at school by the Children’s Food Trust and drinking milk after an active playtime is one of the best ways of keeping the children hydrated and getting them ready to learn again.”
Since 15th April leading school milk supplier Cool Milk has been working in partnership with Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council and local dairies to supply free and subsidised school milk to children in pre-schools, nurseries and primary schools.
Peter Dale, Director of Regeneration and Environment at Doncaster Council, said: “This new partnership is great news for Doncaster schools and local milk producers – it means that schools will continue to get milk from local cows, supporting our local economy and ensuring kids stay strong and healthy.
“Cool Milk will help ensure the continued smooth running of this fantastic service which hopefully more and more children will benefit from.”
Cool Milk currently supplies over 24,000 education providers from Land’s End to John O’Groats with free school milk.
Managing Director John Sedgwick said: “Many parents don’t realise that their child is entitled to free or subsided milk at school, which means lots of youngsters are missing out on their entitlement.
“Our aim is to make it easier for nurseries, schools, parents and local authorities to benefit from the Government scheme by taking away the administrative and financial burden. Cool Milk is also keen to promote the health benefits and social opportunities that school and nursery milk has to offer, which is why we invited Cool Milk’s Medical Advisor Dr Hilary along.”
During his visit to Balby Central Primary School as well as talking to pupils and staff, Dr Hilary also met some of the parents. Head teacher Pete McGuigan said: “We are keen to support the provision of free and subsidised milk at school as we want the children in our care to have the best possible start in life.
“The pupils, staff and parents all enjoyed meeting Dr Hilary and we hope this will encourage even more parents to sign up to the scheme.”
If you are the parent of one of those children who is forever leaving their gym kit, reading book or lunch box at home, or takes it to school to bring it home with bits missing, then you will love the invention from Orkid Ideas that is called TomTag.
TomTag is effectively a brightly coloured daily checklist, personalised to fit in with your child’s personal timetable, and it attaches easily to a school back to show them what they have to take with them to school that day as well as what they need to bring home again.
The 6 plastic tags are very robust and there is one for every day plus one marked ‘daily’ and each of them have enough space for up to 6 plastic buttons.
You just choose the appropriate pictures from the 160+ water-resistant stickers included, stick one on each button, click them in the tags and attach to your child’s school bag using the strong loop provided. There are even some blank stickers that you can draw on in case none of the pictures cover what you are looking for.
” For many children, remembering everything they need to take to school and bring home again is a daily challenge. For many parents, it’s often faster and easier to pack their bag themselves. But this is really only a short-term fix as children need to feel a sense of control and ownership of their things to help them get organised, become more independent and make morning routines easier” says TomTag inventor, Clare Cusack. “The back-to-school season can be a challenging, stressful and emotional time for families, so this year we wanted to make sure we made it easier for parents and kids to get back into the swing of school.”
The TomTag pack costs just £9.99 and comes complete with everything you need. A must-have purchase for all kids going back to school this autumn – and we know a few mums who might get one for their husband too!
For more information and to purchase TomTags visit http://www.orkidideas.com,
Bananagrams.Inc have just released 2 supersized versions of their best selling word games, and they are set to be the must have outdoor fun for 2013, be it in a garden or a school. Both games are ideal for outdoor play that is both fun and innovative, and will be a real hit at barbecues, on trips to the beach, lunches at beer gardens and even at the playground.
Available now in UK stores, Jumbo ZIP-IT, which took second place at the inaugural Outdoor Toy Awards, is a large scale version of the 2 player, fast paced crossword race that can be played in only 20 seconds whilst Jumbo Bananagrams is a huge version of the original word game that is an international phenomenon.
Both games are perfect for innovative outdoor play at summer barbecues, daytrips to the seaside, beer-garden lunches and in the playground or, if the Great British weather disappoints, equally fun on the living room floor or in the classroom.
Jumbo Bananagrams (RRP: £54.99) features 144 waterproof, three-inch square tiles packaged in a funky giant yellow banana-shaped tote bag. Requiring no pencil, paper or board, Jumbo Bananagrams is addictive fun and educational play for kids age five to 105 at home or on the go. Players race against each other to build giant crossword grids and use all their letter tiles.
Jumbo ZIP-IT (RRP: £54.99) is an exhilarating high-speed crossword race featuring 24 beautiful wooden lettered two-inch cubes and coloured scoring zips that come built into the pouch. To play, each person takes 12 cubes and races to form his/her own crossword grid using any side of the cubes. The first player to use all his/her own cubes calls “ZIP!” and marks a point by moving his/her own zip up the pouch. The first person to score 10 points calls “ZIP-IT!” and wins the game.
A new selection of discounts of relevance to parents available from top internet retailers.
Retailer: Tesco Direct
Discount: Get £10 Off Baby and Nursery Orders Over £50 with Voucher at Tesco Direct
Retailer: Land’s End
Discount: Get 20% Off Plus Free Delivery with this Discount Voucher at Lands End
Discount: 3 For 2 Plus Free Delivery and Free Returns on Everything Using Voucher Code at Joules
Discount: Free Delivery and Returns on all Orders at Boden
Retailer: La Redoute
Discount: £15 Off Plus Free Delivery on First Orders of £30 at La Redoute
Discount: 10% Off First Orders at M&Co
Retailer: The White Company
Discount: 20% Off Selected Summer Essentials Plus Free Delivery at The White Company
There are so many different sets of parenting rules being tossed at parents left and right that sometimes it can be very difficult to figure out which ones to pay attention to. The good news is that there are a few things that you can safely ignore without too many dire circumstances.
Every first time parent starts out by cleaning everything with a sterilising product, cleaning all baby toys, and sterilising almost all pacifiers. The good news is that it is safe to drop this obsession with cleaning without worrying about any damage to your child. Some habits, like popping a child’s pacifier into your mouth first to clean it off may actually benefit your child. Studies are finding that this very practice might help prevent asthma, eczema, and allergies!
Right up in line with being a clean freak is being a germ freak. Many parents toss their children’s toothbrushes after their child gets a cold or the flu. There is a very slim chance that they would even re-infect themselves and in most cases bacteria will not stay on brushes. Scientists investigated colds and strep throat as part of a study and found that in most cases the germs do not stay on bristles so there is no reason to continually replace perfectly good tooth brushes!
Another thing you can ignore is the urge to wake your child up early on the weekends. Many parents feel like they have to in order to keep their children on a routine, but studies have found that teens that got more sleep were less likely to be overweight. So if your child wants to sleep a few hours on the weekends and there is nothing they have to do just let them.
Following the success of Team GB’s Bradley Wiggins at the Olympics last year, the UK saw a huge rise in the numbers of people taking to their bicycles for their commutes and for pleasure. Unfortunately, as the numbers of cyclists increased, so did the numbers of accidents. Although most cycle accidents end up being not too serious, the potential for injury is high and some have resulted in serious consequences and even fatalities.
Following this spike in cycling activity and associated accidents, The Times questioned whether cycle helmets should be made compulsory on Britain’s roads. As part of their investigation, the news agency cited a Department for Transport report, which showed that 10% of cyclists treated in hospitals following an accident had suffered, “injuries to a part of the head which a cycle helmet may have prevented”.
More worryingly, the report found that 10 – 16% of fatalities could have been avoided if the victim had been wearing a well fitted, good quality and good condition helmet.
The case for wearing a helmet is clear and when it comes to our children’s safety there really is no reason not to insist one is worn. Going cycling without a helmet risks everything from a mild concussion to serious Traumatic Brain Injury, which could change both their lives and their family’s lives forever.
Buying the right cycle helmet
Choosing and buying a helmet of the right size and quality is essential when looking to protect our children on the road. Sending them out with a poorly fitted or inappropriate helmet is as good as sending them out with nothing at all. In fact, in some cases, it could make the situation worse, as slippage can cause abrasions to the throat from the strap. Here are some key elements to look for when choosing a bike helmet for your child:
- Fit: Fit should be snug but not so tight that it pinches. Once the strap is done up, the helmet should not move around when the head is shaken.
- Shape: Everyone has an individual shape to their head and each manufacturer has a unique head shape they design to as well. This means it is important to take your child to the bike shop and try on all the helmets to see which design suits their head shape best.
- Padding: Pads and lining are more about comfort and sweat absorption than anything else. Children’s helmets often come with a variety of pad sizes and thicknesses, so you can use these to make it as comfortable as possible for your child. However, these should not be a substitute for a well-fitting helmet.
- Shell: The shell should be polystyrene, designed to absorb impact in the event of a crash.
- Outer shell: The outer shell is usually hard plastic, designed to keep the polystyrene together in the event of a crash.
- Ventilation: Ventilation is there to help your child’s head stay cool, even on a hot day. Good ventilation is more for comfort than safety, but is a nice addition when investing in a quality helmet.
- Straps: The straps are designed to keep the helmet in place. They should be adjusted to be firm and so that the chin strap is fitted snugly around the ears. They should prevent the helmet from rotating and exposing the vulnerable forehead.
Colour: With a child’s cycle helmet, it is a good idea to consider visibility in low light when choosing a colour. If your child is set on a ‘cool’ black helmet, try to pick one with reflective stripes around it, a built in rear light, or even apply some reflective stickers yourself to improve visibility.
Foods that are being markets at children in supermarkets across the UK are actually less healthy than the ones being marketed to the general public. This is according to a team of researchers from the University of Hertfordshire, who are questioning whether more stringent guidelines could be needed when it comes to regulating foods that are marketed for children.
With childhood obesity still on the rise right across Europe, there has been a lot of attention focussed on governments to try and pressure them into reducing the amount of advertising for products that have high salt, fat and/or sugar content and aiming them at children. While snack foods such as soft drinks and confectionery have been under the microscope, this research deals with totally different products.
This study found that foods marketed to children that are often considered to be ‘healthy’ foods, such as yoghurts, cereal bars and ready meals, were still found to be higher in fat, sugar and salt than those marketed to the general population.
Dr Kirsten Rennie, from the University of Hertfordshire’s Centre for Lifespan and Chronic Illness Research, said: “Consumers may think that foods marketed for children, using cartoon characters and promoted for lunchboxes might be healthier options than the equivalent foods marketed more for adults. In fact we found that it was the opposite. Foods like yoghurts and cereal bars often had substantially more fat and sugar per 100g than similar adult-version products. This is very worrying and does not help consumers’ confidence in choosing appropriate healthy foods for their children.”
Nutritional data was collected on yoghurts, cereal bars and ready meals from seven major UK supermarkets and categorised as children’s or non-children’s products based on the characteristic, promotional nature or information on the product packaging. Fat, sugar and salt content was compared per 100g and per recommended portion size.
Dr Angela Madden, Principal Lecturer in Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Hertfordshire, said: “This study was co-ordinated by one of our students, Amy Lythgoe, who graduated with a BSc (Hons) Dietetics in 2011. Amy and the research team have provided some useful new evidence which will help parents become aware that choosing foods that are marketed to children may not be the healthiest option. This is an opportunity for food manufacturers to look at their child-orientated products and think about how they can improve them.”
The research paper “Marketing foods to children: A comparison of nutrient content between children’s and non-children’s products” is published in Public Health Nutrition Journal.
Toy retailers are getting additional pressure placed on them by mother’s health advocacy groups to stop creating products that have chemicals that could be potentially harmful. Chemicals such as phthalates and Bisphenol A are still common materials used in plastic toys even though there are links to the chemicals and neurological effects, cancer, and fertility issues.
In 2007 Arnold Schwarzenegger passed a law in California in the US that banned the use of phthalates but since then only some local bans have been enforced. However, in the last few years more nad more health advocacy groups are taking a stand with mothers in an uproar over child’s manufacturers that are still using the chemicals.
Most parents think that they can purchase any toy at the store because they hear about regulations all of the time so they think that it is safe to buy something if it is available. However, mother Bobbi chase Wilding and group activist stated that it is hard to tell at the store whether a product is safe or not and without the right research it might very well not be. She added that since manufacturers have over 80,000 chemicals they can choose to use they oftentimes will just swap out a toxin that has been attracting bad publicity.
Mother Alexandra Zissu started actively looking into chemicals in toys almost a decade ago and today only buys toys made with organic materials. She explained that although people are becoming more aware of the damage that negative chemicals can bring with them, there are still not enough natural alternatives on the market to offer people choices.
In addition, many of the ingredient lists or toy packaging slips do not say what chemicals have been used in the manufacturing process making it hard for even discerning parents to make the right choice.
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