KM UP! E
Dorset Whatâ€™s the right age to start school? 7 Steps to a smarter child Flexible family working
The really useful magazine for parents with children 0 to 12 years in Dorset
In this issue
Work starts on new Thomas Hardy visitor centre
News & Information 02 How to choose your child’s 04 nursery What’s the right age to 06 start school?
7 Steps to a smarter child 08 Flexible Working 10 How to have a proper 12 holiday when you’re parents New Year’s Resolutions for 13 all the family What’s On 14
Front cover image - KW Photography
Work on a new visitor centre near Thomas Hardy’s birthplace has recently started to create a new welcome for visitors wanting to find out more about the writer and his love of the Dorset countryside. Expected to open this summer, the visitor centre at Higher Bockhampton, will guide visitors on a new route through Thorncombe woods to nearby Hardy’s Cottage. The project is a joint partnership between Dorset County Council and the National Trust to bring together the cottage and surrounding landscape for the first time. The £949,000 project has been made possible thanks to a grant of £495,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the development of the visitor centre and education trails in Thorncombe Wood. Built on the edge of Thorncombe Wood, where the Dorset countryside rangers’ building is currently placed, the new visitor centre has been sensitively designed to have minimal impact. To be built of timber, the new centre will have space for school and community groups to use as well as a small catering area with toilets and some retail space. There will also be space for the countryside rangers. Visitors arriving at the centre will now find an introduction to Thomas Hardy in the visitor centre, showing the author’s connections with the cottage and the nearby landscape and showing how it influenced his work. The project will also involve setting up more interactive activities and events to help visitors learn about Thomas Hardy’s life and work, as well as the conservation operations needed to look after the area.
www.kw-photography.co.uk Families Dorset Magazine Editor: Sarah Carr Tel : 07876 761623 Email: email@example.com www.familiesdorset.co.uk Next issue: March/April 2014 Booking deadline: 1 February 2014 Copy deadline: 7 February 2014
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News Smart Meters – Not So Smart By Patty Hemingway Has your energy company approached you yet about installing a smart meter? Long before 2020, the date scheduled for completion of the roll out of smart meters, at a cost of billions, you can expect the knock on the door; and the additional cost to the customer may not be the only thing you have to worry about. This next generation of power meters pose a threat to our health, and security. A film released in September 2013, in the US where the smart meter grid technology is widely used, documents the issues resulting from this wireless technology which is used to send information about energy consumption back to the provider. Data about your household is useful to the energy companies, who can choose to switch off or ration your supply remotely. Wireless transmission is vulnerable to disruption or hacking. Faults in the system have already generated bills of thousands of pounds which cannot be verified, and caused some meters to burst into flames. Families report multiple health problems as soon as the meter begins transmitting: headaches, joint pains, heart arrhythmias and insomnia are just some of the symptoms. Find out more about the effects of smart meters and wireless radiation, and watch the film trailer at www.stopsmartmeters.org.uk
Students from Hillview Primary School named Runners Up in the National Young Mathematicians’ Award 2013 A team of pupils from Hillview Primary School in Bournemouth have been named runners up in the National Young Mathematicians’ Award. The team of four year six pupils, made up of Sam Froud, Nathan Collins, Caitlin White and Ellie Brown fought off competition from hundreds of teams from across the country to reach the grand final at the University of Cambridge where they were presented with their prize by Professor John Barrow, Research Professor of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Cambridge and Lise McCaffery, Curriculum Development Manager at Explore Learning. Now in its fourth year, the competition is run by tuition provider, Explore Learning, and the NRICH Project at the University of Cambridge and aims to inspire children to enjoy the challenges that maths can bring. Lise McCaffery says: “We had almost a thousand teams from all over the country enter the competition showing just how well our finalists did to make it to Cambridge. The children from Hillview have done fantastically well to be named Runners Up and we were really pleased with the enthusiasm, focus and determination the teams had. The National Young Mathematicians’ Award is unique in that it is the only primary team maths competition in the UK where children get to challenge themselves, work as a team and really appreciate the fun that maths can bring. Congratulations to the team, they should be very proud!” Explore Learning has 85 centres located across the country, offering English and maths tuition to children aged five to 14. For more information visit www.explorelearning.co.uk
Brain Tumour Research – Wear A Hat Day Please join other families and schools (as well as companies, groups, shops and associations across the country) in supporting WearAHatDay on Friday March 28th 2014 - it’s going to be bigger, hattier and more fun than ever! WearAHatDay is the UK’s premier brain tumour awareness event, taking place every March during national Brain Tumour Awareness Month. Thousands of families and children in homes and schools across the land take part every year – wearing hats of all shapes, sizes and colours, getting involved in an amazing array of fun and inventive events, making and collecting donations from everyone around, all helping to raise awareness and funds for vital research. Brain tumours are scary – this disease is the biggest cancer killer of both children and adults under 40 yet the science is woefully underfunded, receiving less than 1% of national cancer research spend. Stand out from the crowd and wear a hat for Brain Tumour Research on March 28th. Register today for your WearAHatDay event and don’t forget to share your photos with us on Facebook & Twitter and let’s celebrate WearAHatDay together! Tel: 01296 733011 or visit www.wearahatday.org
Get them writing Christmas might have passed but give the gift of reading this New Year to your sons! Broadcaster Simon Mayo, author of the Itch series, is supporting a new drive to get boys reading and writing, as National Literacy Trust research shows boys’ are half as likely to enjoy writing and reading than girls. The trust calls for a renewed focus both at school and at home on ways to get boys into writing. ‘It’s so important for boys to find a topic that interests them before they pick up a pen and start writing,’ says Simon Mayo, whose protagonist is a 14-year-old boy obsessed with science. ‘I wasn’t particularly interested in writing at school but I was hampered by being fantastically slow. When I started writing the first Itch book it was as a short story for my son, but then I was completely captivated by the plot and characters, and the story took over. If you can grab a child’s imagination in the same way, getting them to write about a hobby or something they really enjoy doing then the whole story writing world is open to them.’ www.literacytrust.org.uk
National Storytelling Week This February brings seven days of reading, sharing and listening with the 14th Annual National Storytelling Week. From 1st -8th February, schools, drama clubs and performance groups across the country will hold events to celebrate the joy of storytelling. Over the past decade National Storytelling Week has gone from strength to strength, with all areas of the community taking part in creating and enjoying storytelling – in fact, Storytelling Week is estimated to reach an audience of 17,000 this year! Storytelling enriches lives everywhere, in nurseries and schools as well as community centres and theatres, and during Storytelling Week there will be a whole host of storytelling events near you, so why not join in? www.sfs.org.uk/national-storytelling-week
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Childcare & Education
How to choose your child’s nursery It’s one of the most important decisions you’ve made for your child in his or her life so far. So which nursery is the right one – and how do you know? Joanna Moorhead shares some tips
There are all sorts of different nurseries out there. Big ones, small ones; ones run by the local council, and ones run by independent companies. There are nurseries attached to primary schools, and there are stand-alone nurseries. When you start out looking for one, the plethora of what’s out there can make it all seem very daunting. But here’s the first, the most important, and possibly even the only thing you need to know about how to make your choice. Listen to the voice inside your head, heed your instinct about what’s right for your child, and you’ll almost certainly make the ‘correct’ choice. Because the truth, of course, is that there isn’t a ‘right’ nursery or a ‘wrong’ one; there is, however, a nursery that will suit your child best, because it will mesh in with your own and your partner’s ideas about how to raise a child, and what matters most in his or her life. All of which is why what you feel inside you about a nursery will give you the biggest guide as to what to go on.
Your nursery checklist What are the most important things you’re looking for in a nursery? Here are some things you need to think about:
Looking round To kick the process off, you’ll need to put together a list of nurseries in your area (or perhaps in the area where you work, if you’re thinking your child can be cared for at nursery while you work nearby). Comb through the nurseries in your area online; look at the Ofsted reports for any you think sound promising. Think about what factors matter most to you in a nursery (see our checklist) and then make appointments to look around a selection of those that have, or might have, vacancies. When you look round, don’t be too anxious about all the questions you need to ask or whether you’re going to miss something vital. Instead, switch on all your ‘vibes’ and take in the holistic sense of the place. Does it feel friendly, and welcoming, and a fun place to be, from what you can see of it? Do staff treat you warmly – are you convinced by what they’re telling you? Do you, in a nutshell, feel a sense of confidence about the place; would you feel confident about leaving the most important person in your life, your child, here in the care of the people you’ve met? If the answer is yes, the nursery you’ve just seen is a possible one for you; if you have any doubts whatsoever about this most crucial thing, whether you’re confident about leaving your baby there, cross it off your list at once.
*Food: how important is it to you that food is organic? Do you like the idea of nursery children eating alongside staff – ie, the family model –which some nurseries practice? *Outdoor play space: this varies hugely from nursery to nursery. Think about how important outdoor play is to your child, and decide how much importance you’re going to attach to whether the nursery has a garden, how big it is, and how many activities take place in it *Wifi: do you have worries about wifi and its potential impact on young children? If so, make sure you ask about whether there’s a wifi network at the nursery, and how extensive it is. See www.familiesonline.co.uk/radiation *Routine v Freedom: How much of a daily schedule is there? Some nurseries are quite structured, while others prefer to be child-led, with children moving between activities as they please. While freedom may seem preferable, if your child is very sensitive, he or she might prefer the security of a more calm, structured day. For more stories on choosing a nursery see www.familiesonline.co.uk
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Childcare & Education
Help with paying for your child’s nursery The Daycare Trust’s 2013 survey of childcare costs found that the average price of 25 hours of nursery per week in the South West was £110.77. That’s around £4,200 for part-time childcare for the average 38-week year – a significant amount in anyone’s book. Overall, nursery costs are rising at a rate above inflation, while most wages are stagnant. This recently led to a lot of debate about whether it was actually worth going back to work or not. Thankfully, there are a number of things that can cut the cost of nursery provision.
Free nursery places All children aged 3 and 4 are entitled to 15 hours free “early education” per week (for 38 weeks of the year), and some 2 year olds are, as well. This can be in a Children’s Centre, nursery, in some play groups, nursery schools, nursery classes in schools and academies or with a child minder. Once your child is 3, you can start claiming their free place after the following dates: 1 September, 1 January or 1 April (so if your child was born on 5 August, they could start nursery on 1 September following their 3rd birthday). For your 2-year-old to be eligible for free early education, you must be claiming one of a number of benefits, and from September 2014, the number of benefits will increase, so more 2-year-olds will be eligible. For more information on this, see www.gov.uk/free-early-education
The Childcare Element of Working Tax Credits
Nursery inspections get tough Ofsted are to toughen up their inspections of nurseries, day-care facilities and pre-schools, as figures show that over 150,000 children are enrolled in substandard settings. In future, all nurseries will be expected to achieve an outstanding or good rating, while those with lower ratings will potentially face closure. Nurseries will now be in line with schools, in that there will no longer be a ‘satisfactory’ category. Instead, nurseries considered to be under-performing must improve dramatically within two years, while those rated as inadequate will be re-inspected in a matter of weeks, with the prospect of being de-registered and ultimately closed. ‘I wouldn’t have wanted my child to go to an inadequate nursery and I don’t believe that any other parent would either,’ said Sir Michael Wilshaw, chief executive of Ofsted. ‘So we’re going to be less tolerant. When we go back to re-inspect an inadequate setting and it hasn’t improved, it’s likely that we may take steps to cancel the registration.’ This is all part of Ofsted’s overhaul of the early years inspection system, amid fears that too many young children are languishing in inadequate and substandard care. But is this move as positive as it sounds? Davina Ludlow, director of daynurseries.co.uk, said, ‘While we believe that every child deserves the very best education, we are concerned about the impact this ‘downgrade’ could have on nurseries and hard-working staff members. The change being brought in by Ofsted risks adversely impacting staff motivation, resulting in more harm than good.
You actually need to be in work to claim these tax credits, and they can make a significant difference. If you’re a single parent or a couple who are both working 16+ hours a week, check your entitlement at www.hmrc.gov.uk/taxcredits. If you’re earning less than £41,000, you should be eligible.
Childcare vouchers Ask your employer if they are part of a childcare voucher scheme, as they can potentially save you £1,000s per year! It’s a salary sacrifice scheme, which means you pay for your nursery (or holiday childcare) costs out of your pre-tax wages and National Insurance contributions, saving you lots of money. For instance, if both parents are working, pay basic rate tax and claim the maximum amount of childcare vouchers (£243 per month each), they can pay for £486 of their monthly childcare costs with vouchers, and save up to £930 each per year. If your employer doesn’t currently run a childcare voucher scheme, why not suggest it? There are lots of providers (including KiddiVouchers, Childcare Vouchers and Computershare Voucher Services) and it shouldn’t cost your employer anything. Another thing to note is that childcare vouchers don’t just stop working when your children leave nursery – you can claim them until your child is 15, and pay for holiday camps as well as other childcare providers.
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What’s the right age to start school? A fierce battle has broken out between the Department of Education and a group of campaigners who say British children are being disadvantaged by going to school aged four. Joanna Moorhead investigates. What is it that children start much too early at four, that stems their creativity and reduces their chance of good exam results further down the line? According to a growing group of educationalists, thinkers, teachers and parents, the blight on the lives of young children is...school. Or at least, it’s too much school too soon – and that, according to the backers of a new campaign, is exactly what’s happening to thousands of British four-yearolds each year. The argument put forward by the Save Childhood Movement, which is running the ‘Too Much, Too Soon’ campaign in favour of waiting until children are six before they go to school, is that young children need the chance to play, and should not be shoehorned into ‘learning’ too early. The campaigners say that in other parts of the world, early childhood is recognised as a valuable phase of development in its own right – whereas in Britain, it’s seen solely as preparation for school.
Specifically, the Too Much Too Soon campaign is calling for
They point out, too, that prescriptions of Ritalin for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, have quadrupled in the last ten years, and many believe the drug is being used to ‘normalise’ behaviour that may partly have come from having too many expectations heaped on them at too young an age. Mental health disorders among children and young people are also on the rise – again, the question the campaigners ask is whether that could be linked with early pressure at school.
Link with mental health
For the Too Much Too Soon lobby, the emphasis on formal education from a young age is part of a mindset that sees testing and academic pressure as good for young people – whereas they believe it’s harmful rather than helpful. They point out, for example, that the now-implemented Year One Phonics Screening Check in English primary schools is unnecessary and say there’s little correlation between the results of the phonics check and a child’s reading achievements at the end of Year 2.
The Department for Education has hit back at the Too Much Too Soon campaign, saying it amounts to a call for dumbing down. Those behind it were a “powerful and badly misguided lobby who are responsible for the devaluation of exams and the culture of low expectations in state schools,” according to a DoE spokesman. “We need a system that aims to prepare pupils to solve hard problems in calculus or be a poet or engineer – a system freed from the grip of those who bleat bogus pop-psychology about ‘self image’, which is an excuse for not teaching poor children how to add up.”
*the early years to be re-established as a unique development stage in its own right *protection for the rights of young children to develop naturally *an end to baseline testing *a new emphasis on the importance of play
Misconceptions There’s a misconception in Britain, say the campaigners, that starting early with school means settling down to learn more quickly, and achieving more in the long term. But, they say, that’s not borne out by what happens in other countries. “Children who enter school at six or seven – after several years of high quality nursery education – consistently achieve better educational results as well as higher levels of wellbeing,” said 127 senior educational figures in a letter to the Daily Telegraph in September. “The success of the Scandinavian system suggests that many problems in English education – such as the widening gap in achievement between rich and poor, problems with boys’ literacy, and the ‘summerborns’ issue – could be addressed by fundamentally re-thinking our early years policies.”
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Make the most of your Parent Teacher Meeting
shake up Will we see a revival of Charles Dickens and Jane Austen in Michael Gove’s new GCSEs?
When you head off to your parent teacher meeting it is easy to feel as if you are part of a production line. There is a conveyor belt of parents all waiting to be seen, talked to, and dispatched efficiently within the allotted 10 minute time-slot. It can all feel impersonal and rather perfunctory. Some parents dread any meeting with a child’s teacher, particularly if their own experience of school was negative. However, confident they are in a work environment, on entering a school building they revert to feeling like a child who has broken school rules and is about to face the music. For some teachers facing parents can feel just as much of an ordeal – and they are almost certainly drained at the end of an evening. Yes, there are horror stories. I know of one Headteacher so obsessed with timekeeping that all teachers had an egg timer on their desks, and he patrolled the hall, keeping a beady eye on any parent who seemed to be going over time. At the same school the tables in the hall were set so close together you could overhear what teacher’s were saying to other parents. Not really a conducive atmosphere for a private discussion about your child, but great for timekeeping! However, the vast majority of schools see you as a partner in helping your child to learn and most teachers really do care about your child’s progress. So how can you make the most of a brief meeting and come away feeling as if it has all been worthwhile? Remember that this meeting is a two way exchange of information. Start off by involving your child and asking them about their schoolwork – what they are finding easy, and what they are struggling with. Ask them if there is anything they would like you to raise with the teacher? It’s possible their answers will help focus your mind before a meeting. When there are issues at home – a family bereavement, divorce or any problems that could be affecting your child emotionally, it is important to let the teacher know. It can help them to understand your child’s behaviour or a sudden change in attitude to work. If you feel there is a problem with your child’s lack of progress think about how you are going to frame this so it doesn’t come across in a way which puts a teacher on the defensive. Acknowledge there is an issue and ask for advice on how you can
help your child at home. Most teachers will respond positively and will suggest ways of reinforcing classroom work at home. They might send home additional practice sheets, or suggest good websites for some follow up work. On the other hand if all is plain sailing and your child is doing well, you can ask the teacher about their new targets in maths or English, so that you know where they are aiming to be and can help them get there. Depending on your child, you will almost certainly have particular questions you want to ask, but some sample questions can help your thought process: •
Is my child working to the best of his/ her ability?
What are they good at and most enjoy?
Are there any areas they find difficult?
What are their targets in reading, writing and maths?
Can they concentrate and focus on their work?
Are they good at organising themselves?
Do they participate well in class?
How do they relate to others?
Does the teacher have any particular concerns?
Is there anything I can do at home to help?
There is no problem with taking notes as you go along, and if there is anything you need to follow up, check with the teacher about how you should do that. If you need to, you can ask for an extended meeting outside the usual cycle of parent teacher meetings. When you go home your child will inevitably be curious about what their teacher has said. Give them all the positive feedback you have had from the teacher – they will love to hear it. Whatever level they are working at, be open and enthusiastic about the goals set for them and talk about how you can help your child achieve them.
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In the latest in a number of moves to make GCSEs more demanding, the Education Secretary has announced the introduction of a new curriculum. Under these more challenging examinations, students will be expected to memorise maths formulae and concentrate more on spelling, punctuation and grammar, plus studying more pre-20th century authors. The new curriculum, beginning in September 2015 with the first exams being taken in English and Maths in summer 2017, has the aim of improving pupils’ achievement, compared with their contemporaries in other countries. While the maths syllabus will include ratios, vectors and conditional probability amongst other topics, the new curriculum for English literature demands students study at least one Shakespeare play, one 19th century novel, a selection of poetry, and British fiction or drama from 1914 onwards. In English language, the emphasis will primarily be on ‘unseen’ texts. ‘The new mathematics GCSE will be more demanding and we anticipate that schools will want to increase the time spent teaching mathematics,’ the Education Secretary said.
‘On average, secondary schools in England spend only 116 hours per year teaching mathematics, which international studies show is far less time than that spent on this vital subject by our competitors. The new GCSEs in English and mathematics set higher expectations. They demand more from all students and provide further challenge for those aiming to achieve top grades.’ The exams will also end the use of A* to G letter grades in favour of a numbered scale from nine to one, with nine being the highest grade. Plus, course modules and assessments will be dropped, with grades determined by only one exam for most subjects. The new curriculum for the rest of the GCSE subjects will be announced this spring.
School is about to get tougher, but there are many ways you can help boost your child’s brain power.
7 steps to a smarter child
Education Secretary Michael Gove’s plans for a more rigorous school curriculum introduces fractions for five-year-olds, a complete sweep of British history and a comprehensive survey of Shakespeare. But don’t despair - there is plenty you can do to help your children meet these tougher standards.
1. Give them a good breakfast
A high-protein diet can feed those little grey cells, increasing the size of the brain’s caudate nucleus, associated with higher intelligence. Add nuts to cereal to boost protein content of their cereals. If your child refuses to eat much, make a high-protein smoothie with yoghurt or tofu.
2. Make sure they eat their greens (and yellows, reds and oranges)
Children who eat a diet high in fruit and veg have higher IQs than those who subsist on processed and sugary foods. Start early if you want maximum benefits, although it’s never too late to turn a bad diet around.
3. Ditch dental fluorides
Fluoride is a neurotoxin accumulating in brain tissue and affecting brain development. Yet on average we ingest up to 1,000 times more fluoride than any other heavy metal through fluoridated water, food and dental products. Choose toothpastes free of fluoride and if you’re worried about your child’s teeth, get an electric toothbrush and teach them how to floss properly.
4. Feed them the good fats
Omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) in fish oils can dramatically accelerate learning, as well as protecting the brains of your children from the worst effects of junk food. Don’t shy away from fish. Although concerns have been raised about mercury levels and other pollutants, the goodness in fish outweighs any dangers. Don’t overlook saturated fats. Although received wisdom has it that saturated fats are bad for children and contribute to ADHD, they actually assist in the conversion of EFAs into the long-chain forms the body needs. Always choose butter over margarine and full-fat milk over skimmed.
5. Chuck them outside
Children stay indoors so much these days that many of them are low in vitamin D, which can lead to high blood pressure, rickets and unhealthy bones. Vitamin D is also crucial for the development of the nervous system, including the brain. Make sure children are outside for at least 15 minutes a day, and unless they burn easily, don’t put sunscreen on them until they’ve been out in the sun for at least 10 minutes.
6. Keep metal out of their mouths (and everywhere else)
Don’t allow your children to have ‘silver’ fillings - ever. Research has found a direct link between levels of mercury in the mother’s hair at the time of birth and the likelihood of the child developing ADHD. Like fluoride, the aluminium sulphate present in our water supply has also been found to cause brain damage. Besides aluminium, children with developmental and behavioural problems may have high blood concentrations of lead. Never cook with aluminium utensils and opt for an under-sink filtration system that removes all heavy metals like lead from the water supply. If your house is old, check what your pipes are made of.
7. Encourage them to meditate
5 Kiddy Brain Killers 1- Junk food
A diet heavy on fish fingers and fastfood burgers prevents the brain from generating new nerve cells. Aside from lowering your child’s IQ, fast food increases the risk of severe asthma by a whopping 39 per cent in teens and 27 per cent in younger children. Researchers have found a clear association between eating fast food and immune-related diseases like asthma and eczema.
2- Fizzy drinks
Keep soft drinks out of the kitchen. A can of drink contains 10 teaspoons full of sugar!
Wheat (as well as soy, barley and rye) has high levels of glutamic and aspartic acids, which can affect the brain’s neurons, causing overactivation of nerve-cell receptors. The antioxidant agents in wheat called ‘phytates’ interfere with vital minerals that are essential for the growing brain.
4- Chinese takeaways and kiddy sweeteners
The flavour enhancer monosodium glutamate (MSG) and the artificial sweetener aspartame are both lethal to children’s brains and can disrupt certain brain pathways, causing memory loss. They can also cause hyperactivity, low intelligence, poor school performance and irritability. Watch out for sweetened items like kiddy vitamins, gum or juice drinks. And whenever you order a Chinese, ask them to hold the MSG.
5- Mobile phones
Some 200 studies confirm the damage to the growing brain caused by mobile phones. In addition to facing a greater risk of brain tumours children who grow up using mobile phones can suffer from learning difficulties, attention deficits and sleep problems. Try to limit the use of phones and never let your child keep one next to them when they are sleeping. Inform yourselves: read our Special section on the topic www.familiesonline.co.uk/radiation
Meditation appears to permanently enhance brain receptivity. Besides increasing mental ability, meditation also seems to integrate emotional and cognitive processes, so aiding intuitive learning.
It’s well worth reading the full-length version of this article. It can be found on www.familiesonline.co.uk This story was first published in the magazine What Doctors Don’t Tell You, available in selected retailers like WHSmith or by subscription. It is a real eye opener! See www.wddty.com
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Banishing the wet monster:
How to help your child overcome wetting the bed By Elisabeth Dolton Wetting the bed has been the hardest childhood ailment for my children to grow out of. Banishing that wet monster did not come easy and we are not alone. Although all children eventually gain bladder control at night, they do so at different ages, and many children over the age of five still frequently wet the bed. In fact, around 1 in 7 children aged five, and 1 in 20 children aged ten, are frequent bedwetters. Why children wet the bed is hotly debated. The majority of bedwetting is inherited. For three out of four kids, either a parent or close relative also wet the bed in childhood. Other causes are overactive bladder syndrome (involuntary passing of urine), or not enough hormone that regulates urine production. Researchers have found that deep sleepers are more likely to wet the bed, as the brain doesn’t get the signal that the bladder is full. Children sometimes don’t go to the toilet due to fears such as being scared of the dark. Starting to wet the bed especially after being dry can be due to emotional problems such as stress and anxiety. Although rare, constipation, diabetes, or an infection can cause bedwetting. Experts agree there is no one single cause of bed-wetting, and there are a number of methods that can help.
Support Parents may be embarrassed to broach the subject, but your GP can take blood and urine tests to rule out any illness or infection, or refer you to a clinic. “We went to see our child’s teacher,” said Sarah, with 7 year old Isabella “and discussed how children asked and went to the toilet. We asked her to help ensure our daughter went to the toilet regularly.” Exercises There are specific exercises that can strengthen or expand a child’s bladder. “Our doctor suggested that when my son needed to toilet, I make him wait at least 10–20 minutes longer. This helped his bladder expand,” said Lisa, mum to three boys. Another exercise is when they are on the toilet have them go, then stop for a few seconds, then go again, so that they are strengthening the muscles.
Medical treatment In persistent cases, desmopressin, a manufactured form of the hormone that decreases urine production, can be prescribed. The effects are short term and the problem likely to reoccur when treatment is stopped.
Top Tips •
Complementary and alternative therapies
Several complementary and alternative therapies have been tried including acupuncture, chiropractic care, and hypnosis. While some parents have reported great improvements it is not a fix all. Behaviour therapy For younger children motivating them with a sticker chart and rewards is effective. Selfawakening therapy helps older kids recognise when their bladder is full. A simple selfawakening routine may be just before they go to the toilet during the daytime, they lie down in their bedroom, pretend to sleep and think about their full bladder and needing to go.
Drinking and eating “Avoid or limit foods that are spicy, or high in sugar or fat, including fizzy drinks,” says Alyson Carter, a Registered Nutritional Therapy Council Practitioner. “These foods can irritate or inflame the bladder, loosening the muscles, making it harder for a child to keep control.” Fresh foods, and calming foods such as oats, are recommended. Alyson also advises restricting fluids from around 1 ½ hours before bedtime.
Lifting and night pants Waking your child to go to the toilet, and wearing night pants can increase confidence and help for sleepovers. However some believe these should be avoided because they interfere with the child’s individual motivation to wake up and use the toilet.
Re-training Bedwetting alarms specifically help train your child to wake when they have a full bladder. The alarm’s sensor detects dampness and eventually, the child’s brain learns to pay attention to bladder signals and wakes up naturally before wetting the bed. “They have been so easy to use, the girls had no problem with them and the message really got through,” said Kim, mum of two daughters. “The results were amazing. Not every child will react so quickly, but I would highly recommend giving it a try,” Sam. There is no doubt bedwetting feels embarrassing to talk about and it can be stressful, but every year 15 percent of children who wet the bed, become dry, with no intervention. They will all outgrow it eventually, but if you and your child are motivated to get dry, choose your method and stay positive. It worked for us. Thanks to Alyson Carter, Registered Nutritional Therapy Council Practitioner, www.nut4life.com
Make the bed in several layers, alternating a fitted sheet with a waterproof pad. This allows you to quickly and easily remove the wet items and avoids the need to re-make the bed Leave dry pyjamas and towels out. So that a child can find them easily Make sure there are no hidden fears or problems about getting up at night. For example, fear of the dark or spiders, getting up from a top bunk, etc. Try leaving the bathroom light on and keep a clear path to the bathroom. Protection. Use waterproof covers for the mattress and duvet, and use absorbent quilted sheets. A moisturiser cream is useful to rub on the skin that is likely to become wet, to prevent chaffing and soreness. Set a reward for your child of getting up at night to use the toilet. Instead of focusing on making it through the night dry, help your child understand that it is just as important to wake up in the night to use the toilet Bedwetting can damage the child’s self-image and confidence. Prevent this by being supportive and reassure them that bedwetting is common and that they will overcome it Try to be sensitive to any family or school disruption that might be stressful to your child. Do not tease or allow siblings to tease a child who has wet the bed Encourage your child’s co-operation to be dry at night. Give simple explanations about what is happening and the bladder works. Go to the toilet before going to bed. Encourage your child to help change any wet sheets. This will increase their awareness and may give them extra motivation for them to get out of bed and go to the toilet to avoid the chore of changing the sheets.
Further information and help ERIC - Education and Resources for Improving Childhood Continence www.eric.org.uk www.uofmhealth.org/health-library www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Bedwetting www.webmd.com/features/bedwetting
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Aiming to work flexibly? Think carefully before you ask your employer. By Mandy Garner, editor of Workingmums.co.uk This year the right to request flexible working, which has previously only applied to parents and carers, will extend to all employees. Employers can turn down a request on any of eight grounds so it pays to think carefully before you lodge a request. Below are some tips which might get you the flexibility you need.
1. Check out what your company’s policy is on flexible working. All companies are obliged to consider flexible working, but they are not obliged to agree to every request. However, some companies are more innovative in their policy on flexible working and may already have trialled different forms of flexible working from the usual ones of working different shift patterns or cutting your hours. For instance, they might offer term-time only working or working from home or annualised hours. 2. Be clear about the hours you want to
work and how you want to work them, for instance, could you do some of your work at home in order to cut down on travelling time? Look at your childcare options too and ensure they fit with your working hours. Can you afford to work part time? Or does working full-time and paying full-time childcare work out to be uneconomical? Can your partner also go part time so you can split the childcare or picking up times?
3. Once you know the hours you want to
work and how, make a business plan which emphasises the advantages for both you and the company of working this way. For example, you could say there are aspects of your job – research, reading, data
input – that could be done better at home with no other distractions around. Think through the logistics from both your and your employer’s perspective and prepare a compromise solution. Give yourself plenty of time for negotiations. It is best, for instance, to at least open conversations on flexible working before you go on maternity leave rather than a week before you return, even if your situation or ideas about working patterns might alter after the birth.
4. Talk to other people in your company
and elsewhere who have negotiated flexible working and ask them about their experiences and tips.
5. Put your request in writing to your line manager and sign and date the letter. 6. Your employer then has 28 days to
arrange a meeting with you to discuss your request. Be calm and business-like in your negotiations. Don’t lose your calm if they turn you down flat [this is actually proof that they are not abiding by the legislation as they should at least consider your case properly and give you reasonable grounds for turning you down].
Similarly if they do not reply to your request, this goes against the legislation. Try to preempt any concerns they have and suggest ways that you would address them. This is where a compromise suggestion may come in handy or you could propose that you work the new pattern for a trial period, subject to review. Your employer should reply in writing within 14 days of the meeting.
7. If you suspect your manager has not
followed procedures properly or has not given due attention to your case, make an appeal to his or her line manager within 14 days of receipt of their decision. Reasonable grounds for dismissing requests for flexible working include that it would have a detrimental effect on other staff or on the company’s ability to meet customer need, but these need to be fleshed out.
8. If this appeal is not successful, you could
lodge a claim with an employment tribunal on the grounds of sex discrimination, particularly if the decision forces you to leave your job. Mandy Garner is editor of Workingmums.co.uk, Jobsite and community for workingmums. Visit the site to search for flexible jobs, or to find advice on flexible working or starting your own business.
Opportunity Sizzle is a rapidly expanding, home based business operating in an industry that has grown despite the recession. Are you facing redundancy? Do you need a career that you can work around your family or are you just looking for an extra income? If you are hardworking and enjoy helping people this could be for you. We are now looking for motivated, positive and enthusiastic people that would like to earn £300 - £4000+ pm around their existing commitments, no boss, no targets and no qualifications required. Successful candidates will receive award winning training and on-going support. To find out more please visit: OpportunitySizzle.com or mail@OpportunitySizzle.com
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Baby Science Baby Science - Improving learning and wellbeing through understanding development The Babylab at Birkbeck is always welcoming new recruits and we are now specially inviting all those babies who have an older brother or sister with ADHD and/or autism. Harry is 14 months old and, like many babies of his age, he’s busy toddling around, rolling cars down a chute and smiling towards mum and dad in excitement every time the cars reach the floor. But how did he learn to recognize mum and dad, and to correctly say the word “car”? Why did it take him 12 months to attempt to say this word, while Ella took 14 months? Harry and Ella are helping to answer questions like these during their visit to the Babylab. Harry is taking part in an eye-tracking study. We can see what grabs his attention when watching short movies or cartoons, because his gaze is “tracked” continuously by sensors that capture the light reflected by his eyes. Meanwhile, in a different room, we can see Ella’s brain activity while she is enthusiastically communicating with a researcher. Centrally located in London, the Babylab is part of Birkbeck College and has, for the past 15 years, been busy figuring out how babies talk and walk and, more importantly, why some babies and children struggle with
reaching these milestones. Researchers at the Babylab have shown that even at 6 months of age, infants that later develop symptoms of autism have difficulties interpreting another person’s gaze direction. This may explain why they later struggle with language, as gaze direction often tells infants what it is that we are talking about. For more information on this research see: http:// www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-16740758 In the New Year, the Babylab is launching a new study! STAARS (Studying Autism and ADHD Risk in Siblings) will follow the development of children that are at genetic risk for two common developmental disorders – autism and ADHD. Families from all over the country that have an older child with autism AND/OR ADHD and a new baby are welcome to join this study at any point between finding out they are pregnant and until their baby is 14 months of age. The babies will visit the Babylab a few times until their 3rd birthday. At every visit they will take part in a variety of studies very similar to the ones Harry and Ella have done.
If they are tired they can have a nap while their parents fill in questionnaires or discuss their child’s development with the team of researchers. At the end of each visit children will receive a Babylab participation diploma and a very fashionable t-shirt (like the one Harry is wearing in the photo)! The Babylab reimburses all travel costs. By studying these babies’ development early in life we will better understand how autism and ADHD develop, and this will help to diagnose these disorders earlier, and provide earlier and more effective interventions. Researchers at the Babylab work hard to design clever and fun studies but, ultimately, it is the babies that are of most help! If you are expecting a baby or have just given birth please do not hesitate to contact the Babylab about the STAARS Study if you have an older child with autism and/or ADHD. For further information visit www.staars.org or tel: 0207 079 0761
Hi kids, parents, grandparents, teachers – and book lovers everywhere! I’m Ed and here is my New Year book selection for you to enjoy. The books are all available online and from good bookstores. Ed’s Reading Room is an exciting free online book and story club for primary children in homes and schools.
FOR AGES 5-7 YEARS My Hamster is a Spy
by Dave Lowe (Templar £5.99)
ED SAYS: ‘When Ben Jinks’ house is burgled his superbrainy hamster decides they need to do some surveillance – or at least snooping, like in their favourite television programme Spy Gang. Ben soon finds that spying isn’t as cool as he first thought. But they think that Ben’s scary teacher meeting the school bully’s brothers may be a good lead and the unusual pair hatch a plan to catch the criminals. ‘Will Ben be able to explain that his hamster is a genius and is able to talk? This is a very funny story for boys and girls to enjoy reading on their own or reading together.’
Claude on the Slopes
by Alex T Smith (Hodder £7.99)
ED SAYS: ‘Claude, the most charming dog you could ever meet, and his best friend Sir Bobblysock are amazed to see a blanket of snow covering the street. They soon realise that they are going to have an exciting day with a snowball fight, sledging, building a snowman, skiing – oh… and causing an avalanche. ‘Curl up in the warmth and be amused by this super snowy story and laugh out loud at Claude’s latest hilarious adventure. This book with its fantastic illustrations is a delight from start to finish.’
FOR AGES 7 YEARS PLUS Layla Queen of Hearts
by Glenda Millard (Phoenix Yard
ED SAYS: ‘Griffin Silk’s best friend Layla is like a gift to the Silk family after Griffin’s little sister Tishkin went out of their lives – and Layla delights in the time she spends with them all. For Seniors’ Day at school, Griffin says Layla can share his grandmother Nell but, much as she adores Nell, Layla longs for someone special of her own to invite. This is when Miss Amelie comes into their lives and brings something unique to the children. ‘This is a wonderful tale about the power of friendship and a small but life changing miracle. The warm-hearted story is accompanied by lovely thoughtprovoking illustrations.’
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Stay Where You Are and Then Leave by John Boyne (Doubleday £10.99)
ED SAYS: ‘The hard times and struggles of the First World War are seen through the eyes of young Alfie Summerfield whose father has gone to fight for his country. As time passes and with no more letters home, Alfie thinks his father must be on a secret mission. He by chance gets a lead as to where he might be and, troubled and bewildered, he is determined to find out what has happened to his father. ‘This moving story is brilliantly written and will be appreciated not only by older children but also by adults. It is sure to linger in your heart and mind particularly as WW1 is commemorated this year.’ January/February 2014
How to have a proper holiday
when you’re parents
Everything changes when you have children, and nothing more than your annual holiday. But there are still ways to feel as though you’ve had a break, says mother-of-four Joanna Moorhead It’s still got the same name, but once you’ve got children your fortnight in the sun isn’t really a holiday any more. Not a holiday as you once knew it, anyway. Gone are the days when you could laze around a pool all day, with no bigger decision than how early in the day to have your first beer; gone, too, the days when you could party through the night and stay in bed until 11am if you wanted. No: once you have kids, what a holiday actually means is more work than usual, with a different backdrop. Why more? Well, there are new hazards to negotiate, especially if your children are tiny (windows they could fall out of, swimming pools they could fall into, the need to be on constant watch for different dangers). And, unlike at home, you don’t have your usual safety nets in place to make things easier: no childminder, no friends round the corner, no teenage babysitter down the street, no playgroup. What’s a time-starved couple, who still like the idea that a holiday might deliver them some time together a deux, some time alone to ruminate and read, and the occasional opportunity to try out watersports or the spa, to do? The good news is, there are ways round the difficulties. The caveat is, none of them are problem-free.
Solution number one:
Solution number two:
Solution number three:
Take the grandparents
Have a shared holiday with another family
Take a paid childcarer
The pros: They’re free! Grandparents pay their own way on holiday (well, most do) – and some are even going to treat you quite a bit while you’re away. I’m joking, of course: grandparents are a cost-cutting way of making your holiday more like a holiday; but the main advantage of them is they genuinely love your children, and they’re going to enjoy being with them, and vice versa. The cons: Not everyone has a great relationship with their parents or parentsin-law. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself whether you’d have holidayed with them before you had kids. If the answer is absolutely not, maybe think again.
The pros: You can’t get out as much once you’ve got kids, so taking friends means you’ve got built-in entertainment. If you’re self-catering, you’ll find you can get a better deal on a luxurious big property – your money goes further, in other words. And, of course, the big advantage is that your kids will have friends too. The cons: You thought you knew your friends but believe me – you’re going to know them a whole lot better once you’ve holidayed with them. And you might not like everything about them. In fact you’re almost guaranteed to have the odd quibble – and maybe an all-out row (especially over children and how you deal with them). Are you sure your friendship can stand it?
The pros: You’re paying, so you get to call the shots. You want a few free hours every afternoon, or two nights out in the week – you’ll get them. Your childcarer, unlike friends or grandparents, has taken this on as a job, and is likely to have experience and ideas up her sleeve about how to keep your kids occupied. The cons: It’s going to be expensive – you’ll have to pay for your carer’s flights, living expenses, and a salary (or pocket money if you’re taking an au pair). A paid carer means you’ll have a ‘stranger’ on holiday with you. It might be hard to get family time away from the carer, especially as she won’t know anyone where you’re going and might not want to explore the resort on her own.
Solution number four:
Go somewhere with a kids’ club A holiday with built-in childcare is ideal for families who don’t want to take extra people with them, but who really want some ‘me time’ and some ‘couple time’ as well as plenty of time with the children. A kids’ club will provide supervised activities for the children for part of the day or on some days of your holiday: usually, they’re organised by age group, and what the activities consist of will depend on the ages and stages of the children. A kids’ club has the added advantage of giving your children the opportunity to make new friends, and these friendships can spill out of the kids’ club to provide playmates for your children when you’re by the pool or on the beach as well. Kids’ clubs don’t have to add hugely to the expense of a holiday, especially if your children are past babyhood (clubs for infants invariably cost more because of the higher adult-to-child ratios). Many campsites, in Europe as well as in Britain, have excellently-run kids’ clubs, some on a drop-in basis, others bookable in advance (it’s important to be very clear about availability, because the last thing you want to do is book somewhere with a club and find out when you arrive that there are no places left). If you’re looking for a holiday with a kids’ club, do as much research as you can into exactly what’s provided: the key ingredient is that your children enjoy the club, and want to go there.
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New Year’s Resolutions
New Year’s Resolutions for all the family The secret behind keeping your New Year’s resolutions is not to aim too high – the more realistic and do-able the resolution, the easier it’ll be to keep it. This year, resolve to make one or more small changes that will bring your family together and give you a stronger, more positive outlook as a group. Here are a few of our favourites:
Stop shouting! No-one likes to be shouted at, and no-one likes to live in an angry atmosphere, so make the change yourself. Resolve to keep your cool and talk out any problems. Anger only breeds resentment, which can lead to long-term family rifts - talking, in contrast, leads to better understanding and closer families.
Focus on the positive Resolve to look on the bright side in 2014 – it’s better for you and sets a great example. Seeing the silver lining to every cloud helps people cope and doesn’t need to be unrealistic.
Get out in nature
There are so many proven benefits of eating a regular family meal together, from better manners to happier kids. Turn off the TV and mobile phones and concentrate on talking, laughing and sharing – even if it’s only once a week, for Sunday lunch.
It’s been proven that playing and learning outdoors has profound benefits for children, but most of them don’t have the freedom that was taken for granted just a generation ago. Get outdoors as much as you can (why not join the National Trust and take advantage of their gorgeous grounds?), and improve your family’s health and wellbeing. You could even take a leaf out of the book of Tim and Kerry Meek, from Nottingham, who set their two daughters (aged 8 and 10) 100 challenges, such as canoeing down a river and sleeping under the stars. Their inspirational blog is at dotrythisathome.com.
Make one night of the week Family Games Night
Take on a charity challenge
The humble board game has many benefits - it brings the family together, it teaches sharing, counting and turn-taking, and most of all it’s fun! Wean the children off their screens for one night and get them around a table, and you should soon see an improvement in everyone’s mood.
Give any fitness goals a boost by getting the family involved in a team challenge for charity. Not sure what to do or who to support? Try www.charitychallenge.com or www.timeoutdoors.com/challenges/ UK-challenges. The idea of raising money for a worthy cause will help you all pull together through the tough bits.
Healthy Activities in 2014 at Moors Valley Country Park www.moors-valley.co.uk Verwood Buggy Walk Mondays, 10.00am-11.00am A free volunteer-led walk designed to improve your health and run every week to help you establish a regular exercise routine. A great opportunity to get out in the fresh air and meet new friends whilst getting to know your local area better following the quiet footpaths through Verwood. This walk is especially designed for parents with little ones; all routes are suitable for buggies. Led by trained volunteer Health Walk Leaders, these free walks run every week to help you establish a regular exercise routine. Participants are invited to stay for optional refreshments after the walk (charges apply). Ideal for beginners there is no need to book for these walks, just turn up. Please meet at The Hub, Brock Way, 15 minutes before the start time of the event, BH31 7QE.
Fitness Buggy Workouts Tuesdays & Thursdays 10.00am-11.00am £4.00 per person Specially designed exercise classes for parents with babies incorporating basic exercises and stretches. A combination of stretches and exercises aimed at getting you back into shape. These sessions allow new parents to meet other parents while resuming a regular exercise routine and enjoying the fresh air with their little ones. Please meet at the Information Point in the Visitor Centre 15 minutes before the start time of the activity. Please note: all participants will be required to complete a short health questionnaire before they take part in their first activity. All participants must have had their 6 week check-up at the doctors before taking part in this activity.
Please note: all participants (including children where applicable) are required to fill in a short health questionnaire before the start of their first activity.
Get back to Health Walk Mondays 10.30am - 11.00am A free volunteer-led walk designed to improve your health and run every week to help you establish a regular exercise routine. A great opportunity to get out in the fresh air and meet new friends whilst following the quiet footpaths through the Park and Forest. Led by trained volunteer Health Walk Leaders, these free walks run every week to help you establish a regular exercise routine. Participants are invited to stay for optional refreshments after the walk (charges apply). Ideal for beginners there is no need to book for these walks, just turn up.
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Family Night Riding – Wimborne Thursdays 6.30pm-7.30pm £4.00 per person Adults and children 10 to 14 years A chance for parents and their children to have a go at night riding. An exciting opportunity to experience the thrills and adrenaline rush of riding the tracks and trails around Wimborne at night. There are three meeting points for these sessions: Badbury Rings, Pamphill and the Heron Drove car park (opposite the turning for Sturminster Marshall). Please meet 15 minutes before the start time of the event. Booking essential. Powerful ‘Exposure’ night lights and helmets are provided. Please bring your own bikes.
Out & About Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre for the Arts, Kingland Road, Poole, Dorset, BH15 1UG 0844 406 8666 www.lighthousepoole.co.uk
8 January - 30 April
Story & Creative Play Are you a creative adult who wants to encourage your child’s imagination? We will have time to play, explore story settings, sing and dance to music and develop your child’s language and confidence. 8 January - The Fish Who Could Wish by John Bush and Korky Paul 22 January - The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr 5 February - Whatever Next! Jill Murphy 5 March - Little Red Riding Hood 19 March - Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? by Eric Carle 2 April - Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers 16 April - Wolf by Sara Fanelli 30 April - Jack and the Giant Age guidance 18mnths - 4 years Performance: 11am-12noon Tickets: £5 Children, accompanying Adult free
Anne of Green Gables Lucy Maud Montgomery’s best selling novel “Dear old world, you are very lovely, and I am very glad to be alive in you” A train pulls into Avonlea station and deposits its one passenger – a small, smiling but lost girl. The Cuthberts are looking to adopt a boy to help on their farm, what they get is Anne; a girl withbright red pigtails, a vivid imagination and a fiery spirit. Anne turns a rural community upside down with her passionate nature, joyful honesty and infectious energy. Join Anne and a host of memorable characters in a story about family, friendship and the fun of childhood. Suitable for all the family, ages 5+ Performances: 3pm and 6.30pm Tickets: £9 Family ticket for 4 - £32
The Thrill of the Orchestra Come and be thrilled and amazed at the sights and sounds of orchestral instruments in action. Join the Mini BSO in a celebration of music that includes arrangements from the orchestra repertoire and a work written especially to demonstrate the fun and excitement of playing musical instruments. And watch out! You will be joining in too! A morning of participation and inspiration through live music. Performance: 11am Tickets: Adults £7, Children £4 Family Ticket for 4 - £20
Friday 14 February
Three Colours Bask in a world of colour in this interactive performance which explores vibrant sensory worlds. Three Colours places you and your children at the centre of the experience, gently drawing you into wonderful imaginary landscapes where you can swim with fish, feel frogs nibble your toes, catch grasshoppers and listen to a gentle heartbeat … all magically created out of the colours of light. With the use of projection, light, puppets, music and dance, this immersive performance promises to delight and tickle the imagination of the young. Performances: 11am & 3pm Tickets: £7.00
Tuesday 18 February
Nobody Rides the Unicorn Magical… spellbinding… exquisite puppetry Superbly crafted puppets, original live music, beautiful sets, lyrical words and song, and moments of unexpected magic blend to tell this touching tale, based on the book by Adrian Mitchell. Age guidance: 4+ Performances: 11am & 3pm Tickets: £7.00
We aim to be as accurate as possible but the listings are compiled several weeks beforehand and may be subject to change. Please contact venues in advance to check details and prices.
Thursday 20 February
Who’s Been Sitting In My Chair A delightful and playful version of a well-known tale – with porridge and bears and onetwo-three chairs. A tale that’s not too BIG and not too small but just right. Mind you, telling this story is not so easy when it’s wintertime and those sleepy bears just won’t wake up from their dreamy slumber. But spring in the air puts a spring in all our steps and one little girl with golden hair is always a step ahead. And when Small Bear gets lost, we all have to go on a bear hunt! With original music, this play is for everyone who can count to three – especially if you’re aged 3 to 7! Performances: 11am & 3pm Tickets: £7.00
Charlie and Lola’s Extremely New Play Based on the characters created by Lauren Child adapted by Jonathan Lloyd Charlie and Lola are completely excited to be back on stage with their Extremely New Play – and this time they’re bringing along Sizzles the Dog! If you liked Charlie and Lola’s Best Bestest Play, you will love this extra special, brand new show. Enter a magical journey through the seasons, as Charlie and Lola discover that everything is different and not the same. What happens when Lola and her best friend Lotta say they will honestly and promisedly look after Sizzles? And follow Charlie and his best friend Marv on a Pirate Squidbones adventure! Playful, funny and full of surprises, this extremely new play about friendship and adventures is a treat for everyone. Performances: Fri 11am & 1.30pm, Sat 11am, 1.30pm & 4pm, Sun 11am Tickets: £14.00 & £12.00 Discounts available for Children, Students, Seniors. Families please call the ticket office to book 0844 406 8666
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Throughout Jan & Feb
Stick Man Trail Moors Valley Country Park www.moors-valley.co.uk Follow the trail markers through the Park and Forest and discover the wonderfully woody bits of trees. Based on Julia Donaldson’s popular book, this self-led interactive family trail includes building a twig tower, creating a mini den, listening to the sounds of the woodland and making a stick man to take home. Pick up a trail card from the Visitor Centre between 9.30am and 3.30pm £2.00 per trail card
Exhibition – British Wildlife Photography Awards Moors Valley Country Park www.moors-valley.co.uk Free event for all ages Stunning wildlife photography from some of the best photographers in the UK; on display daily in the Visitor Centre until 9th March. The British Wildlife Photography Awards were established in 2009 and aim to recognise the talents of photographers practicing in the UK and highlight the diversity of Britain’s natural history. Now a National touring exhibition, Moors Valley is thrilled to be a host venue once again. Expect stunning imagery and exceptional quality photography.
Mini Explorers Avon Heath Country Park www.dorsetforyou.com 10am-11.30am, £4 Ignite your toddler›s interest in nature with Avon Heath›s rangers through inspiring activities, games and trails such as wildlife cookery, animal hide and seek, bug snap etc. Free hot drink for adults in the cafe. For 2-5 year olds (with an adult). Booking essential. To include your event in our What's On guide, send your event details to: email@example.com January/February 2014
Out & About 17 – 25 JANuary
TREASURE ISLAND Regent Centre, Christchurch www.regentcentre.co.uk Prepare to buckle your swash as the award-winning Highcliffe Charity Players find all the hidden treasure in their eagerly awaited New Year family panto, Treasure Island. So it’s all aboard the good ship ‘Hispaniola’ as we set sail for a boatload of fun in this much-loved pirate adventure. Young Jim finds a treasure map in an old chest and sails for Treasure Island. But Long John Silver and silly pirates Brass and Knuckles are after the treasure too (boo!). Fab sets and costumes, dazzling show numbers, slapstick humour and audience participation. (Oh yes you will!) Tickets: £9.50-£13.50. Groups: 1 free ticket in every 10 purchased. Purchase 20 or more tickets and get a free tub of vanilla ice cream with every ticket
Superslam Wrestling Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre www.bic.co.uk Tickets Prices £15 Superslam wrestling returns after a lengthy absence to the Pavilion Theatre theatre for a great afternoon of action, thrills and spills that will have the whole family on the edge of their seats from the sound of the first bell at 3pm start time. This 2 hour family friendly wrestling bonanza is a live version of what kids all around the world enjoy on televised events on the tv screen. Top American wrestlers will be in town on Sunday afternoon January 19th @3pm start-time. to face a team of British wrestling stars in the squared circle for a night the kids will be talking about for weeks after the event. For its return to Bournemouth a special family friendly price has been arranged with the promoters and kids can buy tickets for only £10 with adults seats also available on the offer deal along with the very popular family ticket bargain buy.
16 – 24 February
UK Dance Championship 2014 BIC Windsor Hall www.bic.co.uk £10.00 - £40.00 For full details please visit the website.
Dinosaur Zoo Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre www.bic.co.uk £12.50 - £15.00 Direct from Australia, Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo brings these awesome prehistoric creatures to the stage as you’ve never seen them before, up close and personal! From cute baby dinos to teeth-gnashing giants, meet the most recent addition to the Dinosaur Zoo, a carnivorous theropod known as the Australovenator, the most complete meat-eating dinosaur skeleton yet found in Australia. Observe and interact with these extraordinary life-like dinosaurs in this entertaining and highly imaginative live show. But watch out - not all of these ravenous reptiles are as tame as they seem! Children can watch wideeyed from a safe distance or dare to get right up close to the creatures.
FROM 8 February
FARMER PALMER’S FARM PARK www.farmerpalmers.co.uk 01202 622022 Farmer Palmer’s Farm Park is packed with fun-filled attractions and adorable animals. Their attractions are designed specifically with under 8’s in mind and are guaranteed to keep your little ones entertained throughout their stay.
15 -23 February
Woodland Explorers Durlston Country Park www.durlston.co.uk 10.30am – 3.30pm Come and try out these rucksacks full of activities and games. Please Book. £4
Welcome to the wonderful world of plants! Marwell Wildlife www.marwell.org.uk Take part in our themed crafts and enjoy our animal talks.
Treasure Trail Avon Heath Country Park www.dorsetforyou.com Anytime between 11am and 3pm £2.80 Your treasure awaits you, but first you must embark on an adventure across the heath and through the woods in search of clues in order to unravel the wildlife riddles for your prize at the end.
Teddy Zip Wire Challenge Corfe Castle www.nationaltrust.org.uk 10am - 4pm Free Event (normal admissions charges apply) Back for half term by popular demand, bring along your own brave teddy to have a go at the fearsome zip wire challenge. We will also have our family trail and costume tent to enjoy.
Go Wild Studland Beach www.nationaltrust.org.uk 10am - 3pm Free event (normal admission charges apply) Self led den building, wild art, orienteering, geocaching, £2 trail and two £10 bookable bushcraft sessions. More Information: Studland Office, 01929 450500
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Paultons Park open for February half term Entry Price and times: Please check the website for details www.paultonspark.co.uk Contact: 023 8081 4442
Nestbox Building Avon Heath Country Park www.dorsetforyou.com Anytime between 11am and 3pm £8 per box Get hammering and help celebrate British Trust for Ornithology›s National Nestbox Week. Take home your own bird box and complete the nest box challenge. All children should bring an adult. Booking essential.
Prints and Plastercasts Avon Heath Country Park www.dorsetforyou.com 11.30am-12.30pm (collect plastercasts later) £3.75 Can you tell the difference between a fox and dog print? Discover more about tracking animals and make a plastercast of an animal print on the park to take home. All children should bring an adult. Booking essential.
Durlston Time Travellers Durlston Country Park www.durlston.co.uk 2pm, £3 Family Event. Games & activities, as you take a trip through time into Durlston Past. Booking essential.
21 - 22 February
The Family & Work Show Excel, London www.theworkandfamilyshow. co.uk Taking place beside the hugely successful Baby Show. The event will give working parents and career break women all the practical advice, whilst giving the chance to speak with experts about creating an ideal work-life balance, mix with family friendly companies. January/February 2014
15% Exclusive discount for Families readers on all orders placed during January and February 2014. Quote FamiliesJ14
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Photography by Erica Mulford Photography. Baby bonnet Emily & Evelyn
Maths & English tuition centre For 5 to 14 year olds of all abilities t Courses mapped to the National Curriculum. t Adapts to the individual needs of your child. t Convenient for families - Open 7 days a week. t Award-winning tuition - voted Education Investor Supplementary Education Provider of the Year. “Explore Learning members’ improvement in maths was 30% higher than that of the comparison group after controlling for gender, age, year group and special educational needs.” Independent Efficacy Study by the Institute of Education at Reading University (2013). See www.explorelearning.co.uk/efficacy.
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