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The Useful magazine for families with children from birth to teenage
Editor’s Welcome Welcome to the ninth issue of Families Cambridgeshire - the really useful magazine for parents and children! It seems that the half term is only just behind us, and I don’t know about you but I’m already trying to plan ahead for the Easter holdiays! However, help is at hand with our comprehensive Easter Activity guide come rain or shine, and don’t forget to check our Out and About pages for more activities to do in March and April including the ever popular Science Festival. Why not log onto www.familiescambridgeshire.co.uk and join the forum to discuss what you’re doing over Easter or to make your recommendations? We’re also looking at the importance and enjoyment of exercising with your little one in our regular baby page, whether it be music, swimming, yoga or simple exercises at home, this will not only be beneficial to your baby but also to feel good about yourself! As always, I do hope you enjoy this issue of Families and feel free to contact me with any news or events that you would like to see featured in future issues. Please mention Families whenever you contact one of our advertisers. Best wishes
Cover photograph courtesy of Polarn.O Pyret
In this issue 02 Welcome and News 03 News 04 Book Review 05 Baby Page 06 Healthy Food
07 Education and Travel 08 Easter Activities 10 Mums in Business 12 Childcare Special 15 Out and About
Circulation 12,000 copies of Families Cambridgeshire available through schools, nurseries, libraries, selected shops and restaurants. If you would like copies for your establishment please let me know. Contact Sara Carr, firstname.lastname@example.org tel: 01223 319437 mobile: 07748 183700 Print: Bishops Printers Limited, Portsmouth tel: 023 9233 4900 www.bishops.co.uk. Design: Louis T Koehorst tel: 01223 576688 email@example.com
News - March/April 2011 Childcare you can trust This spring let Best Bear take the fear and hassle out of finding your childcare solution. Operating nationwide, www.bestbear.co.uk can help you find a nanny, au pair, baby sitter or even a nursery safely – they have thoroughly vetted all of the nanny agencies on their site so you know you can relax when contacting them. Alternatively, find a nanny directly by advertising for childcare quickly and easily on Best Bear’s website – browse CVs from hundreds of childcarers looking for work, and then use the site’s Reference Checking Service for complete peace of mind. This spring, Best Bear are offering a 10% discount to Families readers who would like to take advantage of their reference checking service – simply call 08707 201277 to speak to an advisor and quote ‘Families’ to ensure your discount. Go to www.bestbear.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org for all of your childcare needs.
Postnatal help While becoming a parent for the first (or second!) time can be very exciting, many of us also find it an immense challenge. With concerns over everything from breastfeeding to broken sleep, parents often need somebody to talk to, and this spring the NCT has set up a new Postnatal Line for all parents. “New parents often feel they are getting everything wrong, while everyone else has the right answer,” says Juliet Pollard, NCT Postnatal Leader. “At NCT, we think there is no right answer.” Staffed by qualified NCT advisors, the Postnatal Line offers support and information to new parents on everything from sleeping to feeding, establishing baby routines and body image after birth. The helpline number is 0300 330 0772 and is open 9am to 1pm Monday to Friday, with calls charged at local rates. “Remember, you are not alone,” adds Juliet. “Many new parents feel overwhelmed, and the NCT’s recent postnatal care survey of first time mums found that emotional support, physical care and information provided to mums was sadly lacking, leaving many of them feeling abandoned and uncertain.” For more information go to www.nct.org.uk.
Families Cambridgeshire is part of the Families Group established in 1990 and headed by Families South West. All franchised magazines in the group are independently owned and operated under license. We take every care preparing for the magazine, but the publishers and distributors cannot be held responsible for the claims of advertisers, the accuracy of the contents nor for any consequences.
Traveling this Easter? A new website has been set up to address every conceivable need of parents when traveling with little ones. From travel cots with canopies to sunshades and travel backpacks, www.contentandcalm.com is packed full of products to help your
Purple Fitness tel: 07545 284 928 www.purplefitness.co.uk ® Mention when calling to receive a free taster Boot Camp! ®
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By Joanna Parry and Sara Carr little ones remain content and calm when on the move. Content and Calm was born when founder Solvej Biddle realised there were very few products on the market designed to make traveling easy and stress-free for her and her children. Now, with the help of some of the products on the site, you can make traveling a breeze and, if you are going on holiday this Easter, check out the site’s top tips for traveling with babies and for ensuring a restful night’s sleep – for all of you! I particularly like the award-winning TrayKit – an all-in-one kid’s carry-on backpack and playtray solution. The pack can strap to train and plane tray tables as well as hang from the seat in front in a car to provide an extendable play surface with raised sides to give kids their own play space. No more toys on the floor! Pack the bag with familiar toys, pop in a few new ones and it can make the perfect holiday travel accessory. The TrayKit is available in Pink Polka Dot or Blue Camouflage for £24.99. www.contentandcalm.com
New Cafe Opens at Cambridge’s Botanic Gardens Good news! The new Garden Café in the Gilmour Suite of the Sainsbury Laboratory is now open. Andrew and his team are really looking forward to welcoming you to this beautiful new space at the heart of the Garden, where you will find homemade cakes, freshly prepared sandwiches, soups and new offerings such as savoury quiches and tarts. Do come and try it. From the terrace you get a great view of the new landscape in preparation for Cory Lawn and the carving out of a new path through reinstated lavender and rosemary research beds to Station Road. If you can tear yourself away from the coffee, the awakening of the Garden is cumulative - as well as the highlights from the last bulletin, there is much to see in the Garden this week. For full details and plot points of the highlights, please visit the Head Of Horticulture's plant picks map at: http://www.botanic.cam.ac.uk/Botanic/Trail.aspx?ix=2&p=27&pid=2839 &prcid=4&ppid=2839&edit=n
Find a Family Competition Calling all families in need of spending quality time together in 2011! Recent research has stated that an average UK family spends just 49 minutes a day together. On the 21st March 2011 the Cairngorms Attractions Group, made up of 7 top family attractions in the Cairngorms National Park, want to find the family most in need of some quality family time with the Find a Family Competition. The winning family will receive: 3 all expenses paid weekend breaks to Aviemore – with train travel from Scotrail, and bed, breakfast and dinner for all the family at the 4 star Hilton Coylumbridge Family passes into each of the 7 outstanding attractions – allowing visits to the UK’s only resident polar bears, rides on the UK’s highest railway, excitement on the Runway Timber Train Rollercoaster, quad biking and feeding red deer A £500 Trespass clothing voucher Car hire
Hand Held video camera To enter, simply explain in the most creative way possible, why you deserve to win the prize at www.daysoutcairngorms.co.uk The competition opens on Monday 21st March 2011 and closes on Friday 29th April 2011. Winners will be notified by Friday 6th May 2011. Marc h/ A pri l 2 0 1 1
Shepreth Wildlife Park See our front cover for the fantastic offer for children to visit Shepreth Wildlife Park for free, including the fabulous Ringo’s Play Barn. Simply present the voucher by 31st March and for every paying adult, one child goes free! www.sheprethwildlifepark.co.uk
ElectroMagnetic Radiation dangers We reported on the danger of mobiles and WIFI to children in our last issue. Did you know cordless phones are just as bad? - if not even worse? Do you have cordless phones at home? If you use a cordless home phone the radiation pulses 24/7 and penetrates walls and ceilings. If you sleep next to or in a room above the base station your sleep patterns will be disturbed and your melatonin production will be affected. Headaches and misbehaviour in children are other side effects. Inform yourselves! There is loads of evidence out there. If you are pregnant you need to pay even more attention. For convenience we've put up the must watch videos, recent articles in the media and a forum on www.familiesonline.co.uk/radiation
Peter Andre is back and 'Here To Help' SINGLE PARENTS in a new ITV2 show. Nothing can prepare you for being a new Mum and Dad but what happens if you’re a single parent? Are you struggling to bring up several children on 5 hours sleep a night? How do you cope and what advice and tips would you like to pass on to others in your situation? If you’re a young single parent with a story to tell, Peter Andre and his team would like to hear from you. If you would like to apply to take part in the show please email Peter’s team on email@example.com or call a member of the team on 01628 506655 (Don’t forget to leave your name and number) Please note all 01 numbers are charged at the same rate as local or 02 numbers. All pay as you go mobiles will be charged at the local rate. Please also note we will use your data for the purposes of selection for the show, but we cannot guarantee that you will be contacted.
Book Reviews Reviewed by Emilie Amos
Baby’s Here! Who Does What? By Duncan Fisher Published by GS Press RRP £8.99 (All the profits from this book go to fund Family Info Ltd) Duncan Fisher suggests challenging tradition, taking a step back and looking at ways to accommodate both parents. Sharing care, something I think every new parent should look at. He is humorous and points out; the unrealistic ideas prospective parents have, the rut that can so easily develop, and the valid point; “If we haven’t been hands-on with the little ones, we are rarely in a good place when it comes to dealing with stroppy teenagers”. So true. He looks at the laws around paid leave and how both parents can work and it’s all laid out in short burst chapters with excellent summing up.
Families rating: 5 out of 6
Cyberbullying By Vanessa Rogers Published by Jessica Kingsley Publisher RRP £9.99 This is an informative book that once dipped into makes it feel like an essential read. Described as a valuable resource particularly to people working with children and teens, it soon becomes apparent that it would be useful for all parents. It is packed with practical exercises that explore different hypothetical scenarios; how to deal with all kinds of cyberbullying and how to deal with being the bully. It is punchy and inventive helping young people face this issue without being alarmist. I found some of the cyberbullying examples mirror recent cases in the press and this makes it very real.
Families rating: 4 out of 6
Emotional Healing For The Inner Child (A Survivor’s Guide To The journey Of Life) By Anne Cummings Published by The Book Guild Ltd RRP £17.99 Is the way you react to your children because of your own childhood and upbringing? Do you feel inhibited by some things, possibly associating it unknowingly, with something that happened to you? Have you got the right work/life balance? Anne Cummings takes us through various stages of our lives likening it
to a ferry crossing, looking carefully at the beginning and the various calms and turbulences along the way. Initially sceptical about reading her book, it intrigued me. I felt like I was being counselled as I read it, even though at times, I felt slightly overwhelmed by some of her references to different psychology studies. Reviewed by Rosie Elphinstone
Families rating: 6 out of 6
Maths For Mums And Dads By Rob Eastaway and Mike Askew Published by Square Peg RRP £10.99
their separated/divorced parents’ two homes. Strategies are given as to how to negotiate with their parents; how to become more organised; how to save money; and how to become an expert packer. It gives tips on how to reclaim a sense of self, gain more independence and generally feel less confused. The text has a compassionate tone, and sprinkled throughout are answers to questions that readers might have, as well as snippets of advice from teenagers who have found what works best for them.
Families rating: 4 out of 6
The Second Baby Survival Guide Many adults claim that they are ‘hopeless’ at maths, convincing themselves they are in no position either to understand or help their children with maths homework. This book sets out to challenge that premise and to clarify mathematical principles. It suggests that learning should be fun but that anything worth learning requires effort. Problems are there to be solved – not getting it right first time does not translate into ‘incompetence’. Whether it removes the terror for the maths phobic, I am not sure, but I have greatly enjoyed this book and have found it enlightening, challenging, instructive and fun, and would highly recommend it to any parent wanting to increase their knowledge and confidence in maths.
Families rating: 5 out of 6
Stress-Free Parenting in 12 Steps By Christiane Kutik Published by Floris Books RRP £7.99 Modern day parenting, with all the pressures of 21st century life, is undoubtedly stressful and I value any book that successfully advises how to avoid the pitfalls that exacerbate the stress levels. This book does so very well, largely because it draws on sound, traditional values with clear roles, rules and respect. Each chapter starts with a familiar challenging scenario; the author then demonstrates how deftly to handle these potentially stressful situations, remembering that the parent should always remain in control. I found this book deeply insightful and the advice, in its simplicity, so helpful and achievable, and I would highly recommend it. Reviewed by Emilie Amos
Families rating: 5 out of 6
Split in Two By Karen Buscemi Published by A & C Black RRP £5.99 This book, aimed at the teen market, helps the reader to learn how to split their time between
By Naia Edwards Published by Rodale RRP £10.99 Clear and informative, this guide provides helpful advice for parents considering — or already on their way to — having more than one child. Different temperaments, different routines, and different sleep patterns all come to mind during the first few months following my second child’s birth. I had naively thought that it would be easy with a second child as I knew what to expect, and that the new baby would magically slot in. This book suggests many coping mechanisms, which include planning a sibling strategy; understanding rivalry issues; managing sleep with two; and looking after two or more children while sustaining your marriage.
Families rating: 4 out of 6
Babynomics: Money Saving Tips for Smart Parents By Madeline Thomas Published by White Ladder Press RRP £9.99 If you are shocked by the terrifying fact that it costs up to £200,000 to raise each child until the age of 18, then this book is definitely for you. It illustrates how you can cut the alarming cost of bringing up children so you can give them the quality of life you want. Great money-saving tips are given, including how to feed a family of four for under £50 a week and how to organise a memorable birthday party for under £30. Invaluable advice is also given on financial topics ranging from statutory maternity pay to making a will.
Families rating: 5 out of 6
For more book reviews by real parents go to www.familiesonline.co.uk/reviews Ma rc h /A pri l 2011
Baby Care Baby Exercise – not just a fad by Joanna Parry
In recent years, new mums have found that there has been an explosion of classes for babies, give their little one a good start in life are looking from baby massage to music, to yoga, swimming and developmental play signing to singing, gymnastics to classes for their tots. yoga. Many of these classes are valuable both for baby’s I Start with a baby massage class, where simple massage techniques help stimulate your development as well as a way of baby's senses. Many local health services run meeting other mums, but recently free massage classes and there are plenty of research has been undertaken that private classes around too pushes the importance of some of these classes to the fore, with the theory that I Baby yoga is a great way to encourage babyexercise in infancy is vital in maintaining a parent interaction. Through free-flowing child’s lifelong health. This may seem like a fad, movement, touch and sound, babies learn but concerned parents are flocking to exercise better coordination, sitting and standing classes catering for children of all ages, techniques and motor skills. Proponents of including those too young to even crawl. yoga say it also helps alleviate problems such
The science According to some paediatric experts, parents who use prams, playpens, car seats and bouncing chairs for hours at a time may be delaying not only their child's physical development but their mental development too. "The need for even the very young to be physically active is something parents often don't understand," says Jane Clark of the University of Maryland, USA. "The earlier infants and toddlers get exposure to daily movement and exercise, the better the likelihood of healthy development in later life." In fact, regular exercise in the very young encourages the kind of development that may be critical for health in later life, as during infancy the brain is developing pathways and connections to the muscles. Children who do not get enough exercise may miss out on the chance to make the strong kinds of brain-muscle connections that make physical activity easier, more enjoyable and more likely to become a life-long habit avoiding obesity and other weight-related conditions. The lesson learned – keep your baby active and it will set them up for a healthier life.
Early Days Although it may not seem like much, a newborn baby's daily routine of changing, bathing, crying and growing is enough exercise for them. In fact, a newborn is exercising many of its muscles in the very act of feeding at the breast, and crying is important for the lungs and diaphragm and plays a large part in the development of the baby’s musculature. One exercise you can do at this stage is baby massage, a great way to physically and emotionally bond with your baby, and a soothing and relaxing experience for babies. You can do baby massage at home or in a class - for tips go to www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/.../babies_ massage or www.makewayforbaby.com/massages.
Exercise classes Once a baby reaches 4 months, there are a plethora of baby exercise classes out there. This doesn't mean your baby needs to take weightlifting classes down the gym (in fact, there are no dumbbells involved at all!), but parents keen to
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as colic and constipation. "You do things like bend their legs, push their knees up to their chests and make hip circles," says Sally, mum of two. "You can be surprisingly firm as you move them around as they are so flexible, and they seem to like being manipulated." Pauline runs fun and relaxing classes which include yoga-based practices for grown ups and babies to do together. She believes that this can help strengthen the body and develop co-ordination, improve sleeppatterns and aid digestion. For more information conatct Pauline on 07985 947 328 or firstname.lastname@example.org
I Swimming – babies are born with natural
swimming reflexes which, if not developed, they lose at 8-10 months. Swimming not only helps with bonding, but exercise in the water is particularly good because it supports the weight of the baby. Check out www.splishsploshswimmingschool.co.uk www.waterbabies.co.uk and www.babyswimming.co.uk for classes.
I Baby gym classes have sprung up across the
UK in recent years, with sessions from as young as 3 months. What you get depends upon where you go, but many have ball pits, trampolines, basic gymnastics equipment, crawl tunnels and soft play areas to teach babies and toddlers about rhythm, movement, coordination skills and dance through a series of fun tumbling exercises.
I Catherine Clough runs Monkey Music in
Cambridgeshire Obviously Monkey Music is primarily a Music class but within each structured class there is a section called ‘Time To Move’ where parents and carers help the babies exercise gently. In later classes toddlers are encouraged to move around the room and each session starts with ‘Let’s Warm Up’ a song which gets the body ready to move by swinging arms and stamping feet. Check out www.monkeymusic.co.uk or call Catherine on 01353 668622
Exercise at home Baby exercise classes may be fun, but some can cost upwards of £10 per session and with many
of the free, SureStart-organised classes rapidly disappearing, filling your baby’s day with a range of activities can become expensive. The good news is there are plenty of exercises you can do with your baby at home. 3-6 month old babies:
I Lie your baby on a blanket and put toys in
front. Encourage your baby to reach and try to grasp them. A baby gym with hanging toys is great too.
I Finger pull exercise – put your baby on their
back and offer your two fingers. When they catch them successfully, lift your hands. Most of the time your baby will leave your hand quickly, but as you play they will hold tighter and hang on for longer.
I Play peek-a-boo or other games that will encourage your baby to imitate you.
I Give your baby supervised tummy-time every day to help with crawling
Any kind of movement that your baby enjoys is good - bouncing on your knee, standing with support or "flying" through the air all helps to strengthen their bodies. Older babies:
I Sit your baby on the bed with your hands a
few inches away. When your baby inclines to one side, help them sit upright again. This will help with balance and develop trunk strength.
I With your baby on their tummy, roll a ball so
they have to extend their arms to grasp it and roll it back to you. Alternatively, sit facing each other with your feet touching and roll the ball back and forth, stretching in the process.
I Practise rolling in both directions I Your baby’s attempts to crawl will help them exercise as they work to push themselves forward. Motivate baby to move by clapping your hands and motioning to come towards you.
I If your baby is trying to stand, encourage them to move towards you.
Remember, whatever exercises you do with your baby, they will enjoy it. "These activities are not done to babies, they are done with babies,” says Francoise Barbira Freedman, the founder of Birthlight, a charity which runs infants' yoga and aquatic classes. “The aim is to help parents bond with their new child, and to instill an enjoyment of exercise from the start of life. For more tips on exercising, playing and bonding with your baby and for more baby exercise classes go to: www.birthlight.com www.babybuilders.com www.familyfitnessexpert.co.uk ww.kidsexercise.co.uk www.tumbletots.com www.babysensory.com
What’s your child eating? By Nicola Baird
What you offer for dinner is an unexpectedly Encourage kitchen skills as if you were on a TV cookery show. Make simple way to keep your family from battering your child the shopkeeper, head chef or run their own café. Dress Mother Earth. Homemade Kids author Nicola them up as super-hero waiters – or even fashion a Katie Perry Baird offers some ideas how cooking can be lollypop crown with your pre-teen- if that makes the task more fun. relaxing, creative and a lifesaver. Quick tip The most basic survival skill you can teach your child is how to eat healthily, because it ensures that they can choose, cook and grow the right stuff. Ideally, you seed this by giving your child a long start on breast milk. But even if the breastfeeding went painfully wrong, you can still provide really good, early food lessons by helping your toddler/child to identify all sorts of foods at shops and supermarkets. Go to a farmers’ market and enjoy looking at the fruit and veg. Do taste tests: slice up two apples and see which tastes sweeter, nicer, redder? The more curious you are about good eating, dealing with waste and finding meals that suit your budget, the more your child will learn.
Pin up a list of meals you and the kids can make together, such
as pancakes, scrambled eggs, guacamole, beans on toast. Or let them follow a recipe for dinner (eg, Jamie Oliver’s). Try growing some herbs, cut and come again salads or supereasy veg like chard (it’s a bit like spinach) and radish. Or suggest their nursery/school does this.
Parents are champion food worriers. For anyone up to speed on food there can be debates about what’s best to buy, with the classics for eco eaters being local versus organic, fair trade versus the air miles that onion/banana/apple has travelled. More pragmatically there’s also the choice between packaged versus homemade.
Quick tip Quick tip Use up leftovers (loads of ideas at www.lovefoodhatewaste.com) Try to eat food that’s in season. In March there are still carrots and
and compost all kitchen stuff/veg garden waste that you can’t eat. When dinner isn’t a mad rush I get my girls (now 9 and 12) to look in the fridge and suggest what we can make for dinner. Visiting boys get the same challenge. Get in the habit of bringing your own sandwiches/wraps/banana bread so no one gets so hungry that you have to go to the café. Thermoses, insulated mugs and refillable bottles to keep your water intake up are useful, while plastic tubs and Tupperware double as a blackberry/mushroom/leftovers holder too.
potatoes but April is known as the hungry gap in the UK – because the autumn produce has been eaten up and the first of the new crops, such as wild garlic and spring onions, are not yet harvested. It’s easy to eat seasonally if you order an organic veg/fruit box. Or ask a greengrocer what they’ve got from the UK/Europe. Beat air miles by freezing berries in the summer and then chuck them in smoothies all year round.Or make homemade ice lollies out of smoothie mixture.
So what is good food? New York Times best-selling food writer Michael Pollen’s great advice is to “eat food, not too much, mostly vegetables”. He clearly wasn’t feeding a toddler or teenager. It’s so unfair: we want to raise our kids healthy but they won’t eat up their broccoli. For the little ones the answer is to use tricks: challenge your toddler to eat up their peas using a fork, or their fingers, or with their eyes closed, or with chip sticks. Bet they can’t do that and if you’re lucky the dish may soon be finished. Or try pureeing into a sauce, or add some carrots and celery to a tomato sauce base for spaghetti. Learning to cook is best done watching, tasting and joining in. By cooking up some meals for your family and getting your toddler to stir a mix, or wipe the table, or find a saucepan, big wooden spoon or the olive oil, you will be subtly teaching your child to cook. You may find you get better at multi-tasking in the kitchen, especially if you stock up on plastic containers and a hand blender to create home-blended purees, soups and stews which can then be stored in the freezer.
Even if you admit to being a food evangelist it pays off not to be too dogmatic. That’s because if you boast on the first day of school that the only food that has passed your toddler’s lips is organic this or homemade that, you will soon alienate lots of friendly families who might have enjoyed play dates, childcare swaps or been brilliant members of a babysitting circle. All of us are parents just doing our best, and there are many reasons why some people cannot take so much time or money sourcing or preparing their food.
Nicola Baird’s newest book is Homemade Kids: thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children (Vermilion, £10.99) or have a look at the blog at www.homemadekids.co.uk Ma rc h /A pri l 2011
Education News – March 2011 By Joanna Parry Forget Protesting – Start Saving With the recent student protests against increased tuition fees still rumbling around us, more and more parents are growing concerned about their children’s future education. As a result of the higher tuition fees, plus exploding living costs, students now face the prospect of finishing university with total debts of well over £30,000. Although the Government insists that students won’t have to begin repayments until they are earning a decent wage packet, and that poorer students will be better off than they were under the previous Government’s fee structure, it is still a terrifying figure to be faced with. With such huge sums of money looming in front of parents, many are deciding to start saving now. But the figures are jawdropping: if you want to provide your child with the money to leave university debt free, you need to save at least £200 per month from your child’s birth until their 18th birthday (assuming inflation of 2.5% pa and net investment returns of 5.5% pa). And if you don’t start at day one the figures are even worse - delaying the start until your child’s 5th birthday means that you would need to save a whopping £377 per month! Perhaps it’s time to open that Child Trust Fund…
Girls develop faster than boys We are all aware of this universal truth, but now figures published by the Department for Education show that more than 50% of five-yearold boys are making too little progress. The data is based on teachers’ observations of hundreds of thousands of five-year-olds, and come to the conclusion that more than half of all boys in England are not making good enough progress at school by the time they reach the age of five. The children were tested for 13 skills, covering their physical, intellectual, emotional and social development, with those that achieved at least six points for each skill as well as scoring well in the social and emotional development category said to be reaching "a good level of development". The data showed that 64.9% of girls achieved a good level of development in the tests in 2010, compared with only 46.8% of boys. A spokeswoman from the Department for Education said, “There are still too many children starting school without the solid foundation they need to succeed. In particular, we are concerned that boys continue to lag behind girls even before they start school, especially in writing." Marc h/ A pri l 2 0 1 1
Tried and tested places to stay with children By Helli Roberts
A very Scandinavian experience We recently got back in touch with nature and stayed in a log cabin in the ancient Forest of Dean. There are miles of trails to explore through England’s largest oak woodland and along the banks of the river Wye it is an outstandingly beautiful location. The children were persuaded to get active collecting haycorns as we ‘hunted’ for wild boar. Unsurprisingly ‘Piglet’ proved illusive but we returned muddy and happy to ease aching muscles in our outside hot tub. It was sheer bliss to lie in steaming water gazing up through the tree canopy whilst sipping a glass of wine. A very Scandinavian experience. The cabin was cosy and well equipped with children’s games and DVD player. If you need more entertainment you can enlist the help of the forest rangers to build a survival shelter, discover mini beasts and learn orienteering. Forest Holidays also have cabins in Cornwall, Yorkshire and Scotland - we shall definitely be returning. Tel: 0845 1308223. www.forestholidays.co.uk
And a very British experience The family owned Runnymede Hotel has a wonderful location right on the Thames near Windsor and is the perfect place to stay if you want to extend a trip to nearby Legoland or Chessington – or just feel like escaping the city. In the summer it is a joy to laze on vast bean bags on the river bank whilst the children play giant Jenga and swing in hammocks. In the winter the spa’s pool provides entertainment along with the Wii and toys in the children’s games room. I managed to sneak in an indulgent massage! Our well-designed family room had floor to ceiling windows perfect for lying in bed whilst watching boats navigating the lock. The hotel’s boat is available for hire if you too fancy messing about on the water. Children are well catered for with early ‘ducklings dinners’, welcome activity packs and endless bags of bread to feed the ducks! Tel: 01784 220960. www.runnymedehotel.com ® ®
By Joanna Parry
Time together Wheth e Easter weekend, or a full-time mum desperate to fill a long school holiday, here are a few ideas to try out with your children. With a bit of planning and a few inspired ideas, you can avoid the tantrums and arguments and tear your darlings away from the TV and the Wii and enjoy the Easter break, rather than finding yourself counting down the days until school starts again!
Plan the day The holidays are a great time to bring back some of the old fashioned games and spend real time with your kids. It can be hard at first, throwing yourself into games and activities, but this is the stuff that childhood memories are made of. It is important to plan your day: write out a holiday timetable of activities such as painting and board games for the morning and playing in the garden and a small amount of TV in the afternoon. If you let them drift from one cartoon to the other they’ll get frustrated very soon!
Activities at home With a little thought, you can come up with dozens of fun things to do at home, from building castles out of rubbish to dens in the garden, but when you run out of ideas, here are a few more. let your hair down and release your inner-child. Roll around in the garden with your kids, make mud pies, dig for worms and make dens out of sheets and washing lines. invest in some Play-Doh, art supplies and face paints and get creative hardboil some eggs and paint with food colouring. When they are dry they are great for egg rolling - if you haven't got a hill, a slide will do! water painting - paint with a clean paintbrush and a pot of water outside on walls, paving slabs, fences. It’s very effective and the sun removes the evidence! put a cloth on floor as a picnic rug and serve lunch on living room floor. Or in the garden. home camping – hang a tablecloth over furniture, add a torch and a sleeping bag and have some fun!
decorate biscuits by mixing icing sugar and water in a bowl to make runny icing and decorate with sprinkles or smarties. pass the parcel. Why save it for parties? Your kids can do the wrapping too using old newspaper, with prizes as simple as a sticker or packet of raisins. make pasta jewellery roll a sheet of newspaper into a ball and play volleyball over a washing line. make salt dough with 3 cups of plain flour, 1 cup salt and 1 cup water. Model it like playdough and dry out finished models in a cool oven. Then paint and varnish. treasure hunt - hide toys or sweets around the home and give your kids clues to find them. Kids like setting the hunts too. Alternatively, devise a nature trail where they have to find a series of items such as different coloured leaves. set up a home cinema in your living room: close the curtains, rearrange the furniture, make tickets and prepare snacks before putting on your favourite DVD. apple bobbing. Float an apple in a bowl of water and get your kids to try to bite it without using their hands. If you don't mind mess you can repeat the game with a chocolate or grape in a bowl of flour! hit the park and get active. Borrow the nearest friendly dog and go for a walk, or set up an obstacle course in the garden with buckets, chairs, tables, gardens rakes…anything goes really! the holidays are the perfect time to clear out old toys or games and replace them with new finds from the charity shop or swap with friends. Take the chance to reintroduce some traditional board games and toys into the mix. encourage your kids to dig a vegetable patch of their own in your garden. If you don’t have any outside space, make a mini garden by filling a plant tray with earth and arranging small sprigs of leaves, daisies and grass over the soil. Try small pebbles for paths and foil for a pond.
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Invite their friends over
When you’ve run out of ideas, invite your children’s friends over to play. You may think double the children means double trouble, but it’s often easier for them to have playmates around to entertain each other. It also means they will get invited back, giving you a muchneeded break! My daughter loves putting on fashion shows with her friends - we try to keep it to the dressing up box otherwise she’s under the strict rule of tidying up her wardrobe afterwards! They love making each other up and doing each other’s hair then raiding my shoe cupboard.....the icing on the cake are mummies joining in at pick up time!
www.rspb.org.uk/youth/makeanddo/index.asp www.allfreecrafts.com www.familyfun.go.com/ www.golondon.about.com/od/aprilannualevents/tp/eastertop10.htm www.kidsturncentral.com/links/esitelinks.htm For more ideas on things to do over the Easter holidays look on www.FamiliesOnline.co.uk
Try Something New! How about Art Classes? Annabel runs classes in Cambridge and uses a huge range of materials with some fantastic ideas. 01223 324030 www.annabellee.net
Fun Sports Days Phil Kinsey runs fabulous Sports and Activity days over the holidays in Cambridge. For further details and times contact Phil on email@example.com
Don’t interfere If you have more than one child and they are playing nicely together let them get on with it. You don’t have to be involved in everything they are doing!
Give them some jobs to do for pocket money Children like to earn their own money and to get a bit of responsibility – they will often jump at the chance to do a chore that you have been putting off for ages. It always amazes me how much my children enjoy hoovering the stairs!
For a fun day out, why not try..... The Socklings Club An exciting new venue is developing, called 'The Missing Sock', situated near Stow-cum-Quy. 'The Missing Sock' branded as the Finding Place, described by the Socks themselves as a Serendipitous Second Home. A novel idea has evolved within known as the the Socklings Club, an activity Sunday lunch to involve children of all ages who participate in the hosting and the lunchtime entertainment. On their first lunch visit the children are given a Sock passport card and asked to identify themselves with a Sock name, their card is duly stamped with the first sock, each visit earns another stamp, when the card is full with six socks the child and the child’s guest of grandparent or adopted grandparent eat free for Sunday Lunch. The fun starts from midday when willing early arrivals are given an apron and hat, hosting the tables with hand washing and welcome games. Pizza and fairy cake making is available for the older children. Each youngster is encouraged to bring a sock puppet to start a puppet show or can decorate one on arrival. The older children can assist with the management of the day, organising post lunch games and helping out with the animal care The Sunday family lunch experience at 'The Missing Sock is much more than a kids club or a conventional family Roast Dinner. With the Sunday Buffet lunch you are guaranteed satisfaction of curiosity, quality and quantity of good food, tasting as many dishes as you wish. A cultural eating experience from the traditions of a Sunday Roast to international tasters from Africa, Asia and Europe. A right quirky place to chill, an alternative mix of British and international cuisine. When the sun shines the outside stage will be available for busking talent. More information go to www.themissingsock.co.uk or call 01223 812660.
Give them a treat Take them on a trip to a theme park, swimming pool or cinema as a special treat. Make full use of local resources to find out what’s going on in your area - there are always free activities and events going on during school holidays. Visit your local council's website and or parenting sites for ideas. And don’t forget to check out our ‘Out and About’ page for further ideas, or why not share your own on our forum at ‘www.familiescambridgeshire.co.uk’
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Mum's in business ! r e l s e Gi n w Da
course provides me with a secure income, with the potential to develop a bigger business in time. I feel like I’m heading towards ‘having it all’ in terms of personal and professional fulfilment.
Any bad bits? I have to be disciplined, focused and self-motivated to make the business work, so timemanagement and multi-tasking are skills I have had to hone, but as a result I now achieve so much more in a working day.
Tell us a bit about yourself. My name is Dawn Giesler and I live in Cambridge with husband Nick, and children Sol (12), Leon (11) and Rosie (9).
What is your business ? Aurora Life. I am an independent distributor of aloe vera health and nutritional products for Forever Living.
How did you get started? Since having children, like many parents, I have struggled with the work/family/child-care dilemma. In the past I have worked as an employee, both full-time and parttime and on a self-employed basis yet I never seemed to find the solution, so when and old flatmate introduced me to the company it seemed ideal.
What does the future hold for the business? The business I work for is ethical and fun. It’s in the organic and wellness sector which is of huge importance to me. The products are fantastic and developing regular customers who are prepared to endorse them helps, plus the support and encouragement of my family has been essential. I’m now looking to grow the business, ideally with a few team members.
What is the best bit about what you do? I love the team spirit. The business is organised so that it is focused on working together for mutual advantage. The company provides training, mentoring and networking opportunities and of
How do you fit work around family life? I now work part-time from home and only the hours that suit me. This flexibility means that I can work, manage the children’s activities and run the house; it does take some jugggling but it’s now all on my terms.
What advice would you give other mums looking to work for themselves? Really consider the hours you can commit. Stay focused and have a strong motivating factor. Consider the support provided by your company in terms of training and personal development.
As a special offer, mention Families to Dawn to receive a 5% discount on Aurora Life products. If you are interested in joining the Aurora Life team contact
Dawn Giesler, Aurora Life 07967 199465 or firstname.lastname@example.org www.auroralife.org.uk Ma rc h /A pri l 2011
! Mum's Time
1st Floor Grand Arcade Cambridge, House of Fraser Norwich, polarnopyret.com
www.whitehallschool.com email@example.com (01487) 840966
Mother’s Day Treats
Mothering Sunday comes but once a year. So why not treat your mum to a special day. Mum won’t mind if it’s a day of pampering or just a cup of tea in bed. Here are some ideas:-
A lie in! Make mum breakfast in bed. This can be anything from smoked salmon and scrambled eggs or just tea and toast. Accomany it with her favourite glossy magazine or newspaper and a flower from the garden.
Help her Make sure that you make your bed, fold your clothes or put them in the laundry basket and put away your plates and cups. Any thoughtful chore will make your mum smile on her special day.
Pamper her! Run mum a bubble bath and let her relax, maybe with a glass of chilled wine and a scented candle (get dad to light it!). Or for real indulgence why not try:Holistic Harmony, Fair Street, CB1 1HA www.benicetoyourself.com Elaje Hair and Beauty, Homerton Street, CB2 8NX www.elaje.co.uk Dragonfly at Burwash Manor, Barton, CB23 7EY www.dragonfly.com The Sanctuary, Grand Arcade, Cambridge, www.thesanctuary.co.uk
Spoil her with a lunch Help Dad make a lovely Sunday roast, whilst mum puts her feet up or try the following:The Oak Bistro, Lensfield Road, CB2 1EG www.theoakbistro.co.uk The Red Lion, Grantchester www.redlion-grantchester.co.uk d’Arry’s Cookhouse and Wine Shop, King Street, Cambridge www.darrys.co.uk
Spoil new mums and mums-to-be this Mother’s Day with a bespoke party or hand-picked gift from
The Ultimate Baby Shower Company
The UK’s premier online resource for baby shower planning, baby shower essentials and inspirational gifts including hand crafted cupcakes, luxury cookies, gorgeous gift sets and products to pamper mum. This Mother’s Day new mums and mums-to-be can enjoy a bespoke baby shower with a quintessentially British feel. A completely new concept to the UK, The Ultimate Baby Shower offers mums a truly unique experience with parties created specifically for the individual mum and accessories, games and gifts picked for her personality. Held at one of six stunning venues or at mums’ own homes, each party comes complete with tiers of mini sandwiches, teas and coffees, scones, baby-themed cakes and cookies plus favours for each of the guests to take home and a special gift for the new mum or mum to be. What’s more, The Ultimate Baby Shower’s specialist online store provides family and friends with an extensive range of stunning gifts and essentials and an online gift list service means each mum and mum-to-be is sure to receive exactly what she wants for her big day.
w w w. t h e u l t i m a t e b a b y s h o w e r. c o . u k
Give her a present Mum would be happy with a homemade card (perhaps you could write a special poem for her), or some paper flowers or if you want to push the boat out, try:Boudoir Femme, Kings Street, Cambridge www.boudoirfemme.co.uk Fulbourn Florists, Burwash Manor, Barton, CB23 7EY firstname.lastname@example.org
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childcare 2 We’re all in this together – we’ve all heard that, many times, from our politicians about our country’s financial problems. But from April, if you’re a working parent you could be forgiven for thinking you were maybe taking more than your fair share of the hit. Why so? Well, that’s when cuts to state-funded help with childcare announced in last year’s comprehensive spending review start to kick in: and what they’ll mean is a cut in income of up to £1,300 a year to some families in London, according to the thinktank Resolution Foundation.
Chancellor George Osborne announced last year that the percentage of childcare costs recoverable through the working tax credit system would be reduced form 80% to 70% this month. But, says the Resolution Foundation, many families are still unaware of the changes – and, says its chief executive Gavin Kelly, those on middleto-low incomes are the ones likely to find the losses hardest to bear. “Many parents find support with childcare costs absolutely essential to staying in work, and the big worry is that some will now find that work doesn’t pay,” he says. And he points out that, coming after recent rises in travel costs, the cuts come at a time when families are feeling the pinch very hard indeed. After all, for working parents childcare cuts don’t just represent a loss of income: they force parents to think about whether working when their children are young is actually worth the effort at all. Given that the government is committed to helping parents to work if they want to, that doesn’t make much sense. To be totally fair about it, of course, a two-parent family should view the costs of childcare as a proportion of their joint income. But in practice, how it’s seen by most couples is as a proportion of the mother’s wage. And if the proportion of that income spent on travel, lunches and childcare becomes too high, then many mothers start to think: what’s the point of carrying on working? After all, life is hard enough when you’ve got a small child or small children; if the money you’re bringing in is making a big material difference to your family, then it’s worth it. But when it ceases to do that, you might as well reduce the stress in your own life and increase the amount of time you spend with your child or children, and quit work. The problem in the UK, as compared with many other countries in Europe, is that childcare costs already eat up a huge proportion of a family’s income – 33%, according to recent figures from the OECD, compared with 4% of a family’s income in Belgium, 11% of a family’s income in France, and even compared with 19% of a family’s income in the US. And many campaigners argue that failing to invest in childcare, and so reducing the proportion of a family’s income spent on childcare, is failing the long-term economic future of the country. After all, working mothers are extremely valuable to the economy: they’re paying into their pensions, they’re learning new skills, they’re keeping their confidence up, and even if they only tread water while their children are young, they’re keeping connected with the world of work in a way that will make it much easier to up a gear when their children are at school. From the government’s point of view, of course, the changes to working tax credit are all part of a cuts package that has to affect everyone in the land. This month’s changes to the childcare element of the credit will save £270m next year, rising to £385m by 2014-15. The policy is one of several deficit reduction measures which will hit families, including an end to the £250 child trust fund for new babies, and the cutting of child benefit from 2013 to families where one parent is a higher-rate taxpayer.
2 childcare Having a job when your children are young just got more expensive. Jo a n n a M o o r h e a d ex p l a i n s why.
Whatâ€™s especially unfair is that, if women leave the workplace when their children are tiny, they often find their working choices hugely reduced when they try to return to work three, or five, or even ten years down the line. And given that weâ€™re being encouraged to anticipate living longer, and working for longer, that makes no sense. The cost of childcare: what mums say Iâ€™ve got two children aged two and three, and to be honest I reckon it costs me to work. Around 70% of my income goes on childcare, and the rest is eaten up in travel, lunches and clothes to wear for work. I keep telling myself that itâ€™s a long-term investment in my capacity to work when the children are older and at full-time school, but there are days when that rings very hollow indeed. The truth is that itâ€™s a real slog, working so hard when youâ€™ve got small children...somewhere in your mind you know theyâ€™re happiest when theyâ€™re with you, and you know youâ€™re happiest when youâ€™re with them, and if youâ€™re not even making money out of it, there comes a point when you think: why bother. (Julie, 37, works in marketing) Iâ€™ve worked out that unless I can earn at least ÂŁ35,000 a year, itâ€™s simply not worth going back â€“ so, for the moment, Iâ€™ve decided to stay at home. What worries me is how Iâ€™ll get back into the job market â€“ I feel that while Iâ€™m at home Iâ€™m not getting the kind of experience employers are interested in, and that my confidence will be much-diminished by the time Iâ€™m ready to put in job applications again. Like many working parents Iâ€™d rather work part-time than full-time, but working part-time means an even lower salary, and you still have to get yourself into the office, buy lunches and so on, and that costs a huge amount. What I need is a system under which my children could get good, affordable childcare so that I could at least keep my toe in the water with my job, for the long-term. (Suzy, 34, former curator) So what can you do? Having an Au Pair is a relatively cheap way of providing childcare, however you must be able to offer accomodation, meals and some pocket money (minimum ÂŁ65.00 per week) in exchange for approximately 25 hours a week, this can include childcare, babysitting an light housework, but bear in mind that au pairs are not permitted to have continuous sole charge of children under the age of two. Aupairka Agency is a swift, reliable and consistence Aupair Agency. They deal on placing Aupairs all over the United Kingdom. They believe
that they can take the hassle of finding an Aupair from you, guaranteeing you with a suitable candidate. Here is what Anna from Ipswitch said of our agency: â€œI heard of Aupairka Agency through a friend of mine. I gave them a call and the lady I spoke to took my details and within days she got back to me with portfolios of matching candidates, where I chose the most suitable candidate for me. I was very happy with their servicesâ€? NCMA is the National Childminding Association. It has a wealth of information for parents on choosing and working with childminders and nannies, and on setting up a childminding business. 0845 8801 0044, www.ncma.org.uk Best Bear explains the differences between all types of childcare. There is the option to advertise your childcare vacancy, search candidatesâ€™ CVs, or find a recommended local agency, www.bestbear.co.uk SureStart has clear explanations about the different childcare options, how tax credits help with childcare costs, and an online link to the Children's Information Service, which lists registered childcare providers, www.surestart.gov.uk Best Bear Reference Checking â€“ Exciting News! We launched our Reference Checking service last year to help parents have peace of mind when checking references for childcarers and nannies. Due to the demand for our service, we have been able to reduce the price down to just ÂŁ25+vat per reference, or ÂŁ60+vat for three references. Our service is now even more cost effective so why not let Best Bear do the running around chasing references, providing you with peace of mind and reassurance that you are employing the right person for your children. For further information please see http://bestbear.co.uk/referencechecking-service/ More information Daycare Trust http://www.daycaretrust.org.uk/ Working Families http://www.workingfamilies.org.uk/ Childcare tax credits: http://www.direct.gov.uk/ Aupairka email@example.com 01992 715 122
Itâ€™s a refreshing change: to have a choice of hundreds of holidays that are recommended by other families who have been there and experienced them
We cater for 2-5 year olds in a fun, stimulating and multicultural environment. Excellent Ofsted Reports Committed & Professional Established over 45 years
All Staff Fully Qualified Safe and secure Good outdoor facilities
Come and see for yourself Make an appointment
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Please telephone Principal: 01223 356565 4a Millington Road, Newnham, Cambridge www.millingtonroadnursery.co.uk
s Au Pair s Motherâ€™s Motherâ€™s Help s Au Pair Couple s Housekeeper s #2"