Positive discipline

Our children are trying to figure out the world and their place in it. They’re trying to work out what’s ok to do and what isn’t, and how to get along with other people. And they need us to help them do this; not by punishing them, but by guiding them through positive discipline.

Going to bed

By the end of the day, kids and adults alike can feel tired and grumpy – a perfect storm for things to get a bit wobbly. Having a familiar bed-time routine in place, such as bath, teeth, stories and song, can turn a potentially fraught time into a special time for the whole family.

Free range kids

Child carries piece of wood outside with smile.

For lots of reasons – the busyness of after-school activities, the prevalence of technology, parents micro-managing their children’s time, health and safety concerns, society’s view of what a ‘good’ parent is, the hothousing of kids and emphasis on academic learning and so on – we’ve seen a lessening of free play in the last 15-20 years.

Experts see this as a negative thing and are calling for a return to free play (loosely defined as ‘risky’, unstructured play with natural or re-purposed objects) because of its importance in emotional, physical and social development.

Evidence suggests free play develops independence, fosters resilience, teaches children about risk management (important if they’re to avoid real risk in the future), fosters creativity and builds confidence. More research is needed, but free play also seems to lead to better learning, better behaviour and greater brain development.

What’s not to love?!

Early maths

Puzzle numbers to help learn early maths

Maths in the preschool years is all about learning to count, right? It’s actually so much more than that! Even at this age maths is about measurement, geometry, algebra, statistics and numbers. Children come up against these mathematical concepts all the time in everyday life. You can help them get to grips with these concepts and build a strong foundation for future mathematical learning.

The importance of being active

Mum playing cricket with daughter.

Regular physical activity is essential for brain development. The more a child moves, the more they stimulate their brain. Children are born wanting to move, to explore their world and to make sense of it. And it’s up to us to make sure they have plenty of opportunity to be active.

Vinegar volcanoes

Girls excited as their vinegar volcano erupts.

Just like the real thing, the Rosies’ volcano puts on an explosive show. (Friendly suggestion: you might like to try this one outside!)

Kids in the kitchen

Jude pictured with chef Ben teaching young child to cook pasta in the kitchen.

It’s got to be a good thing getting kids in the kitchen – it sets them up with good eating habits and a love of food, and they’re much more likely to eat something they’ve helped make than if we plonk a plate in front of them!

Most kids love pasta, so our chef Ben Bayly thought what better place to start than that all-time classic, spaghetti and meatballs, a favourite with his own children. Get the kids involved with fetching herbs from the garden, grating cheese, grinding the pepper, stirring the sauce … and before you know it, they’ll be cooking you dinner!

Why preparation is key

Homemade baked beans and sausages.

Doing a bit of preparation the night before or earlier in the day can mean meals are more nutritious, less expensive and less stressful! Chef Ben Bayly has freshened a Kiwi classic – his dad’s cauliflower cheese recipe – and teamed it with some healthy, homemade baked beans and sausages. Yum!

Afternoon snacks

Mexican favourite filled tortillas.

Who doesn’t need inspiration for what to feed hungry kids in the door from kindy or school? In this Food for Thought recipe, Ben Bayly puts a Kiwi spin on a Mexican favourite – filled tortillas. It’s a dish his girls love – tasty of course, but quick, easy and nutritious too. And don’t forget that go-to after school snack – smoothies. All you need is a blender/food processor, milk, banana and berries. (Yoghurt makes a great addition too.)

Early literacy

Man reading story to two young boys in classroom.

When children start to read and write it can seem like magic.  How on earth did those little brains work to absorb all the skills needed for those complicated activities?  In reality, learning to read and write isn’t magic; it’s a process that’s well understood and carefully facilitated by you and your child’s teachers.