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What is a Doula?

July 28, 2016 | Leave a Comment

A Doula is an extra helping hand throughout your pregnancy and birth. In addition to your midwife during your pregnancy, they offer you support throughout your labour. As well as helping you during your pregnancy and birth, if you have other children they may help look after them. They will assist your partner throughout the duration of your labour. They support you after the birth with challenging tasks such as breastfeeding.

Doula; a safe and helpful way to see you through pregnancy and childbirth

Studies have found that having a Doula can shorten your first-time labour by an average of two hours. The chances of having a caesarean is decreased by 50%, and the need for pain medication is also decreased.  Not only do you benefit from having a Doula, but it has also been suggested that your birthing partners also benefit as they feel more confident when trying to participate.

Birth Doulas

Birth Doulas offer an ‘on call’ service and will be with you as soon as you go into labour. Staying with you throughout your labour and also after. Emotional and practical support will vary depending on the type of labour style you have chosen. Ensuring you are calm and relaxed throughout your labour, helping with breathing techniques. A Doula also makes sure your partner is comfortable and confident helping you stay calm and happy.

A Doula is discrete, and respects your partner. Once you are settled and happy after labour your birth Doula will leave you to enjoy your next adventure. You can book your Birth Doula here.

Postnatal Doulas

Postnatal Doulas can be booked antenatally or booked when your family may be struggling a little and need extra support. Times booked varies, they usually start within the first few months of birth.  Offering emotional, informational and practical support when needed.

One major positive of having a postnatal Doula is that their role varies. Helping you out with most daily tasks that will result in your family being happy and relaxed whilst enjoying having a new born in the house.

Ensuring you feel confident as parents together, by giving you the opportunity to spend time together talking is really helpful. Having a new baby can make life complicated.

A postnatal Doula is different from a maternity nurse, not only do they look after your baby, they offer support and help you become a confident parent.

Harmony at Home Limited. All Rights Reserved, 2016

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Making Childhood less stressful

July 24, 2016 | Leave a Comment

Life can be stressful at the best of times: even, for example, when you’re on holiday. Add children to the mix, and the result can be even more spectacular! So it’s little wonder, perhaps, that children are feeling the stress too. According to a recent study, one in ten children, aged five to 16 years, had a mental health problem that warranted support and treatment. To make matters worse, children who suffer mental health problems are more likely to develop longterm conditions in later life. So what, if anything, can parents and childcarers do to help? According to the experts, supportive relationships between adults and children, as well as a positive outlook on life, can go a long way towards making childhood less stressful. Here are a few of their tips:

Tune in to children’s emotions 

All children require strong emotional attachment with parents and carers in order to feel safe and secure in an often unfamiliar world. This is particularly true during the first three years of a child’s life. This requires clear lines of communication between carers and children, as well as consistent boundaries. Parents and carers need to know when a child requires help and reassurance, and, conversely, when a child needs space.

Look after your own mental health

Parents and childcarers have a huge influence on the outlook of the children under their care. Therefore, it stands to reason, that happy and positive attitudes towards life among adults are likely to be emulated by children. Unfortunately, however, the opposite is also true. Therefore, it’s important that parents and carers maintain a good network of support (e.g. friends, colleagues, partners, family and even parenting classes) and don’t become socially isolated.

Don’t over-organise children’s time

Modern family life can be very busy, rushing around from one activity to another—with the constant fear of being late! As well as generating stress in its own right, too many activities, according to the experts, can overburden children with the expectations of adults. Children also need time to be children, as discussed in our previous article on play. Imaginative play is a critical activity for developing both emotional self-awareness, as well as the language necessary to express it. It’s during moments of unstructured downtime that children are also most likely to open up and confide their feelings to adults.

Help children develop emotional resilience

Life isn’t easy and few things go according to plan. Therefore, in order to survive, we need to be emotionally resilient. Fortunately, this is a lesson that many children can teach each other, through imaginative play—provided their lives aren’t overly structured! However, parents and carers can also help by stepping back when life gets frustrating. Sometimes we’re all stronger when we work things out for ourselves.

Enjoy your five-a-day

The last bit of advice comes from the NHS, which promotes mental well-being by encouraging everyone to aspire to achieving the following five activities every day: being mindful, connecting, exercising, learning something new and giving to others. This advice can also apply to children. In other words, all children should be encouraged to give, share, learn, play and generally run around having fun every day! That sounds good to me!

Making childhood less stressful

Rob Hodgkison, Harmony at Home Limited. All Rights Reserved, 2016

How to keep children safe in the sun

July 21, 2016 | Leave a Comment

Summer time; a time of year to top up on your Vitamin D and a time for a clean and tidy house as children’s games can move outdoors and therefore no mess indoors! However, playing in the sun can be dangerous if the right precautions are not put in place. So here is a quick guide to make sure you know how to keep your children and charges safe in the sun.

nanny agency london keeping safe in the sun

The most common health risks from heat are:

• heat stress (children may be irritable, uncomfortable and out of character- this can worsen if they are exposed to too much heat for too long)
• heat exhaustion
• heat stroke
• dehydration

This is because children cannot control their body temperature like adults as they do not sweat like adults. Also be aware that if your child takes medication or has a disability they may be more susceptible to high temperatures.

Heat exhaustion symptoms:

• fatigue
• dizziness
• headaches
• nausea/vomiting
• red, hot and itchy skin
• signs of becoming confused
Heat stroke symptoms:
• body temperature being exceedingly high (40*c or above)
• hot, red itchy skin and sweating that abruptly stops
• fast heartbeat
• fast shallow breathing
• lack of co-ordination and confusion
• uncontrollable fits
• becoming unconscious

Here are our top tips to keep every safe in the sun:

• make a conscious effort to keep moving your children out of the sun and into the coolest room in the house and make sure they stay hydrated all day (by drinking as much cold water as possible)
• If they do get too hot, make sure you cool them down as quickly as possible. Here are a few different ways you can do this: spray your child with cool water (25-30*c), or place cold packs or bags of ice on their wrists, neck and armpits. Finally cover them in a cool wet sheet and if possible fan them
• If after 30 minutes you see no change call 999 and ask for an ambulance

When playing outdoors

• There should be no intense or strenuous physical activity on extremely hot days (temperatures reaching or exceeding 30*c)
• Try and encourage children to play in the shade, or create activity spaces in the shade so that they do not want to venture out into the sunshine
• Keep clothes loose and light, try and stay away from dark coloured clothes as they absorb heat
• Make sure they are wearing sunscreen, with minimum factor of 15 (all children are different and need different factors for different reasons)
• Keep a constant flow of cold water around and encourage children to keep drinking, make sure bottles of water are not left in the sunshine

When playing indoors

• Open your windows as early as possible all round your house, even keep them open at night if it is safe to do so
• If the air outdoors becomes warmer than the air indoors during the day, you can almost completely close your windows as this will keep heat out but also keep the house ventilated
• Keep your blinds and curtains closed but make sure they still allow there to be ventilation
• Switch off all electrical equipment as leaving them on ‘standby’ or ‘sleep mode’ generates heat
• Try and keep children’s routines as normal as possible, if they need to nap but are struggling because of the heat, still try and put them down like normal. Make sure they are still eating their meals at the usual time and encourage them to drink plenty of water

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.
Here is a link to the UK governments guide for Ofsted registered childcare providers in schools and settings.

Harmony at Home Limited. All Rights Reserved, 2016

New Standards in Paediatric First Aid

July 8, 2016 | Leave a Comment

The provision of childcare places a huge burden of responsibility on nannies and child care workers. Nothing is more important, to any parent, than the health and safely of their children. Therefore, it should be comforting news for the parents of all pre-school children that the UK Government has just announced plans to introduce compulsory paediatric first aid training for all newly qualified childcare workers, from September 2016. In a separate announcement, a new initiative has also been launched to promote a paediatric first aid ‘Gold Standard’, known as ‘Millie’s Mark’, to acknowledge child care settings that train all their staff in paediatric first aid.

The Issue of Child Safety

Children have a nasty habit of getting themselves into trouble, particularly when they are very young! The world is full of hazards and even the most innocuous situations can sometimes result in disaster. Therefore, it’s extremely important to be prepared for an emergency.

Legal First Aid Requirements

The current UK legal requirement is for every childcare setting to have at least one person with an up-to-date paediatric first aid certificate. This person must to be available within the premises at all times and must also accompany children on trips. Childminders, and assistants (who might be in sole charge of children, for even a short period of time) must also hold a current paediatric first aid certificate.  However, as the recent case of Millie Thompson illustrated, in 2012, this isn’t always sufficient. Tragically, Millie passed away after choking on her lunch at nursery in Stockport, aged just nine months.

Since the tragic death of their daughter, Joanne and Dan Thompson have campaigned tirelessly to improve the level of first aid training in early years settings in the UK. The government has also consulted on the subject, in order to gauge opinion. Based on the results of this consultation, the government has just published the following response:

“Government will proceed to include, from 1 September 2016, a requirement in the EYFS that for newly qualified early years staff (with full and relevant level 2 or level 3 childcare qualification) to also hold a current Paediatric First Aid (PFA) or emergency PFA certificate in order to be included in the required staff: child ratios in an early years setting. Childcare providers will be allowed a three month ‘grace’ period to complete PFA training after starting work with a new employer.”

“This is fantastic news and a huge step in the right direction,” says Harmony a Home Founder and Director, Mrs Frankie Gray.

Millie’s Mark

In a separate development, the Department for Education has also launched a new paediatric first aid ‘Gold Standard’, known as ‘Millie’s Mark’. This new quality mark (named in honour of Millie Thompson) will reassure parents that every staff member, who directly cares for children, is qualified in paediatric first aid. This is a hugely important legacy, from a young life tragically taken, which could help save lives up and down the country.

Visit the Harmony at Home website to book your place on a Paediatric First Aid Course.

Childrens Out and About First Aid Kit Contents

Rob Hodgkison, Harmony at Home Limited. All Rights Reserved, 2016

Sporting Achievement: The Benefits of Children’s Sports Clubs

July 4, 2016 | Leave a Comment

Sports clubs can be a huge commitment for parents and child carers. From the interminable hours of watching and waiting, to the endless journeys, back and forth, ferrying children around from one venue to the next—and don’t even get me started on the weather! Many of us dream of raising the next Bobby Charlton or Jessica Ennis-Hill; but the reality is, few of us are ever likely to succeed. So, are these selfless sporting sacrifices all in vain? Fortunately, the benefits of organised sport go way beyond the track and field.

The Benefits of Sports Clubs

Children love to run around; and exercise, as we all know, is good for their physical health. In this respect, sport is no different. However, sport has the additional benefit of developing physical competencies and skills that nobody (not even Lionel Messi!) is born with. This, in itself, is an important achievement. However, competence is just one of several qualities (often referred to as the five Cs) that are nurtured and developed by sport: the others being confidence, character, connection and caring.

Through sport, children learn how to engage in positive relationships with their peers and with adults. They also learn how to regulate their behaviour and, by learning to lose, can develop psychological resilience—which can help them cope with other setbacks in everyday life. Sport can also help protect children against social isolation and improve their perceptions of self-worth. Perhaps most surprisingly, however, there is also mounting evidence to suggest that organised sport can help improve academic achievement. For example, in a recent study in the UK, children participating in organised sports (aged of 5, 7 and 11) were more likely, than their unsporting peers, to gain higher than predicted maths grades at Key Stage 2. This academic achievement, along with the other benefits of sport, may offer some consolation to many dedicated  parents and child carers. Although sporting success may be elusive, at least their children should be confident and caring—and, hopefully, pretty good at maths!

Sport_Children_Harmony at Home

Rob Hodgkison, Harmony at Home Limited. All Rights Reserved, 2016

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