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The Importance and Benefits of Bedtime Reading

October 26, 2017 | Leave a Comment

Bedtime reading. An activity that many families share as part of their child’s daily bedtime routine.

But why? Why is it important to read to our children before turning the light out?

Whether it’s a short story, an educational or a chapter book, lots of fun can be had with reading.

Bedtime reading is an excellent habit to have, and here’s why:

  1. Children can learn so much

It’s true, children can learn so many different aspects from reading. A number of different life skills can be taught through books. Not only this, but it allows children’s imaginations to be opened up to a number of different things. Most children will become passionate about reading a book and will grow to love a certain character wanting to act them out or recreate a certain scene in the book.

Reading can also help children to build up and establish life values and morals. Books that are age appropriate are usually aimed to teach children different life skills. For example; how to treat others, what is important in life, and daily life events. Stories and books bring easily explain life expectations, in a way that children can grasp and understand.

  1. Children enjoy it

For many children, reading before bed, sparks a passion for books. With so many distractions in society today, from devices and tablets to television and gaming, it is important to encourage children to spend time away from the screen and get involved with reading.

  1. Establishes a bedtime routine

Bedtime reading can also help to sustain a suitable nighttime routine for your child. For some children, ‘story time’ before bed is their favourite part of the day. If you are finding that your child or charge is reluctant to go to bed, you can use this as a bribe.

  1. Special time together between a parent and their child

For many parents, bedtime reading with their child is a special time that is treasured. This is especially true for working parents, they are given the opportunity to spend time one to one with their child.

Reading with your child before bed is a precious moment that should not be taken for granted. Many children enjoy snuggling up in bed with their parent taking time out to read a story. Over time, an invaluable bond is built up.

  1. Relaxing

Spending time reading before bed, relaxes the mind and gives children the ability to switch off their brain from the day.

  1. Development

Not only is reading good for relaxing and teaching life skills, it can also help to stimulate your child’s emotion and development. Reading can help to prepare your child for their time at school, having the ability to read will give them a head start when the time comes. It is also great to continue reading throughout the duration of your child’s time at school. Children should spend around 15 – 20 minutes reading per day.

When you child is able to, encourage them to read to you. Not only does this build up their confidence with reading, but it also improves their speech development skills.

Don’t take reading with your children for granted. Enjoy these precious moments with them, watching them develop and grow. Spending time reading together before switching off the light, relaxes the mind and helps children to drift off to sleep.

Written by Emily Martin for Harmony at Home Limited. All Rights Reserved, 2017

The Top Ten Things You Should Think About When Hiring a Nanny

October 24, 2017 | Leave a Comment

If you are looking for a Nanny, consider the following to ensure the process is both smooth and successful…

  1. Using a Nanny Agency

To give you a helping hand when you are looking for a nanny, consider using a reputable nanny agency. Whether you are a busy working parent or you simply don’t know where to start with your search, an agency is there to take the pressure off you and give you a much needed, helping hand.

Using a nanny agency, means that you can give them all your requirements and expectations and they will carry out the search on your behalf. They will ensure that the nannies have been pre-screened, with a wide range of checks and reference checks carried out to ensure a safe candidate with a high level of childcare experience is presented to you.

Harmony at Home can help you to find your perfect child care solution.

Send us your requirements today!

  1. What are your requirements?

What is the job description? Are you looking for a live in or live out nanny? Would it be a permanent or temporary position? Would it be part time or full time?

Know your requirements before you start your search! Be clear on what you are looking for to ensure you don’t waste time.

  1. Are you looking for a sole charge nanny?

Will there be a parent around whilst the Nanny is on duty or will she be in charge of looking after the children on her own?

  1. What are you looking for in a Nanny?

A Nanny will become a part of your family so it is important to ensure that they have suitable characteristics. Are you looking for someone who is sporty and energetic or arty and crafty? Look for a nanny who is going to fit in with your family and who has the same interests as your children.

  1. Do you need additional help?

A nanny’s main role is to take care and look after your children. They will be responsible for the general care of your children, including carrying out all nursery duties (children’s washing, making sure the children’s bedrooms are kept tidy etc). However, you may decide that you are also need extra help with other household duties. If this is the case, consider hiring a nanny housekeeper to not only help with the care of your children, but to also help with household duties including washing, ironing, and running errands. A Nanny and a Nanny housekeeper, are 2 separate roles.

  1. What can you offer?

Are you able to offer any benefits or entitlements to a Nanny? Are you able to offer the use of a car or a certain membership? If you are able to offer anything, this can work as a good enticement to nannies.

  1. Nanny employment

It is important to think about what guidelines you will put in place for the Nanny. You will also need to think about terms of employment for your Nanny as this is a legal requirement. You will need to agree the terms of employment before both signing it off.

  1. Nanny taxes

When hiring a nanny, you become an employer so have a responsibility to pay TAX. As the employer, you will need to ensure deductions are made from the Nanny’s gross salary and are paid to the HMRC. This can be a rather daunting process so if you are in need of some much-needed guidance, NannyTax is there for you.

  1. Salary

An important factor to consider when hiring a Nanny is how much you are going to be able to pay. Have an idea in mind but be open to this figure changing. Harmony at Home Nanny Agency can help offer advice and support when it comes to Nanny salaries.

  1. When would you like your nanny to start?

This is an important question to consider. If you are looking for a Nanny, make sure you allow plenty of time for a Nanny Agency to find the perfect candidate. Finding the perfect Nanny is not going to happen overnight, so make sure you allow a sufficient amount of time to find the best Nanny you possibly can.

Written by Emily Martin for Harmony at Home Limited. All Rights Reserved, 2017

Perfect Christmas Gifts for Children from Harmony at Home Children’s Boutique

October 24, 2017 | Leave a Comment

Harmony at Home Children’s Eco Boutique – Christmas Gifts!

Calling all parents! Christmas is just around the corner! Many children will soon be writing out their Christmas lists and letters to Father Christmas packed full of gifts and toys that they want for Christmas this year.

For many, it may be too early to start to think about Christmas and buying presents. However, gifts and toys do not come cheap, with tech toys becoming one of the ever growing trend for children this year.

With new technology being introduced into our daily lives, many children are wanting the latest gadgets on the market. However, with this being said, many children still love to receive toys and games to play with. Harmony at Home Children’s Eco Boutique has a fantastic selection for you.

Discover our full range of toys and gifts for children of all ages HERE!

Here are our top 10 toys and gifts that are perfect for Christmas this year:

  1. Wooden Dolls House – £144.00

Dimensions D:350mm H:630mm W:440mm

This gorgeous fully painted and decorated wooden dolls house is set to make the ideal Christmas present for all children aged 3 years plus. Beautifully decorated in a stunning pastel colour scheme of white, mint and green, children will be sure to fall in love. This fantastic gift idea is set to captivate children’s imaginations.

You can’t have an unfurnished dolls house, which is why this one also includes 32 pieces of wooden furniture including a welsh dresser, a table, chairs, bunk beds and a kitchen sink unit with an oven and hob. Crockery and toys are also included to allow children’s imaginations to really be creative.

To make this gift extra special, Harmony at Home Children’s Eco Boutique can also personalise it for you with your child’s name.

  1. Children’s Wooden Pirate Ship – £34.95 – £39.95

Dimensions: D170mm X H300mm X L290mm

A fantastic wooden pirate ship with beautiful illustrations perfect for your little pirates aged 18months plus this Christmas. Let your children be the captain of their own pirate ship with this fun wooden boat with all the needed features included.

2 pirates, a fabric sail, a flag, a toy cannon, a turning helm, and sliding panels all allow your children to let their imaginations run wild and become their very own pirate.

To make this gift extra special, Harmony at Home Children’s Eco Boutique can also personalise it for you with your child’s name.

  1. Wooden Shopping Till – £36.99 – £41.99

If your children love imaginative play, this is the ideal Christmas gift for them! This wooden shopping till encourages fun filled play times allowing children to pretend to be a shop owner or shopper.

This wooden till comes with all the features of a real-life cash till. With a moving till drawer, buttons, a scanner, 4 wooden cards to be placed in the display, play money and a till roll to write on, children have the opportunity to have fun creating their very own shopping role play.

To make this gift extra special, Harmony at Home Children’s Eco Boutique can also personalise it for you with your child’s name.

  1. Wooden Farm House – £18.99 – £23.99

Dimensions Approximately = 17X14X 13cm

Let your little ones become little farmers this Christmas with their very own wooden farm play house. This adorable farm house makes the perfect gift for children 18 months old plus. To accompany the farm house, 6 different farm animals to play with; a cow, goose, horse, rabbit, hen and a dog.

This lovely farm house has 2 floors for the animals to explore or they can simply roam around outside. Let your children become their own farmer with this great toy!

To make this gift extra special, Harmony at Home Children’s Eco Boutique can also personalise it for you with your child’s name.

  1. Wooden Ice Cream Van Shape Sorter – £26.99 – £29.99

Dimensions: Approximately 25X14X15cm

A brightly coloured ice cream van shape sorter will make the perfect Christmas gift for children aged 3 years plus. This fun toy can be driven around and also comes with 5 chunky wooden shapes which can fit through the various shape holes to keep children entertained. Once all the shapes have been sorted into the correct holes, the roof slides of to retrieve the shapes and the fun can start all over again.

To make this gift extra special, Harmony at Home Children’s Eco Boutique can also personalise it for you with your child’s name.

  1. Song Bird Music Box – £19.50 – £24.50

A beautifully designed music box that is perfect to allow your children to keep their ‘treasures’ safe with plenty of room to fit necklaces, bracelets and more. Suitable for all children aged 3 years plus and makes the ideal Christmas gift for young girls.

This gorgeous song bird music box is decorated with bird and when opened, a bird can be found dancing to ‘Le temps des cerises’ by ‘Antoine Renard’.

To make this gift extra special, Harmony at Home Children’s Eco Boutique can also personalise it for you with your child’s name.

  1. Cascading Wooden Cars – £19.90 – £24.90

Dimensions Approximately = 14 cm x 12 cm x 47 cm

Hours of fun can be had this Christmas with this super exciting game suitable for ages 2 years plus. Watch 4 different coloured cars zoom down the track. Once one car reaches the bottom, start the race all over again.

To make this gift extra special, Harmony at Home Children’s Eco Boutique can also personalise it for you with your child’s name.

  1. Wooden Fire Truck – £32.50 – £37.50

This wooden fire truck is perfect for your little fire fighters this Christmas. Decorated in a brightly coloured red, this wooden truck comes complete with 2 fire fighter figurines and has a moving ladder and basket. Lots of fun is waiting to be had with this truck!

To make this gift extra special, Harmony at Home Children’s Eco Boutique can  also personalise it for you with your child’s name.

  1. Wooden School Bus – £25.99 – £30.00

A beautiful wooden school bus makes the ideal Christmas gift for your little vehicle enthusiasts. Complete with 12 multi-coloured figurines that fit perfectly into the seats of the bus allowing children’s minds to be filled with creativity. Lots of fun is waiting to be had with this toy, playing and pretending to drive the bus. With a removable lid, children can to get into character and enjoy being in charge of their very own bus.

To make this gift extra special, Harmony at Home Children’s Eco Boutique can also personalise it for you with your child’s name.

  1. Wooden Noah’s Ark – £32.99 – £37.99

Dimensions Approximately = 27X16X22 cm

This super colourful wooden Noah’s Ark makes the perfect Christmas present for all young children. This toy allows children to put their imagination to the test with 18 parts included as well as Noah and his wife.

To make this gift extra special, Harmony at Home Children’s Eco Boutique can also personalise it for you with your child’s name.

 

So, if you are looking for the perfect Christmas gift or are stuck for ideas, head to Harmony at Home Children’s Eco Boutique or check out their website for a spectacular range of gifts and toys.

Written by Emily Martin for Harmony at Home Limited. All Rights Reserved, 2017

Spooktacular Halloween Activities and Crafts

October 24, 2017 | Leave a Comment

Halloween season is nearly upon us. Get ready for the coming festival with your children or charges with these Halloween themed ideas that are perfect for all ages.

What you can do to get involved with Halloween this year…

Dressing up

Children love to dress up and Halloween gives them the ideal opportunity to do so. With lots of costume ideas, it can be hard to choose just one. Discover a few ideas that are perfect for trick or treating or Halloween parties.

A few dress up ideas to get you thinking…

  • Cat
  • Spider
  • Pumpkin
  • Ghost
  • Bat
  • Witch
  • Wizard
  • Mummy

Pumpkins

When you think of Halloween, a pumpkin is probably one of the first things that comes to mind. It may sound daft, but a lot of fun can be had with a pumpkin! Why not have a go at these fun pumpkin activities…

  • Decorating – Have a go at decorating a pumpkin by using a selection of paints and materials. Get creative and see who can come up with the funkiest design.
  • Carving – If you decide to have a pumpkin outside your house to entice in trick or treaters, get your children/ charges involved and see who can create the best design. Have a go at carving different shapes and faces and see whose is the scariest.
  • Cooking – If your children/ charges love to bake, have a go at making delicious pumpkin soup, a pumpkin pie or some yummy muffins. With so many recipes to choose from, there are lots of ways to use up those leftover pumpkins.

Halloween Crafts

Have fun with these creepy craft ideas…

Pumpkin Stamps

What you will need:

  • An apple
  • Paint – a selection of colours
  • Paper or card to print on
  • Decorations – a selection of materials or colouring tools to decorate with when the paint has dried.

Cut an apple in half and apply a decent amount of paint to one side

Press down onto a piece of paper

Remove the apple and you should be left with a pumpkin shape

Wait to dry and decorate.

Satsuma & Munchkin PumpkinsAn easy, inexpensive craft idea…

All you will need for this easy, fun craft is a couple of satsumas or munchkin pumpkins and some permanent markers or googly eyes depending on preference.

Have a go using different colour pens and creating different designs.

We had a go and this is how ours turned out:

Cardboard Bats

What you will need:

  • Black cardboard paper
  • Googly eyes
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Extra decorations – optional
  • Sellotape
  • Sticky dots

All you need to do to create this simple craft is grab some card, cut in into A5 size and wrap it. Make sure you secure with some sellotape.

All bats need wings, so once you have created the body, add a pair of wings and decorate as you please. Draw on some features and use pipe cleaners for the ears and feet!

We had a go and this is how ours turned out:


Paper Plate Spiders

What you will need:

  • Paper plates
  • Black paper or cardboard
  • Pipe cleaners – have a go at using different colours for each spider
  • Googly eyes
  • String
  • Glue

To create this creepy craft, simply cut away the outside of a paper plate. You can either choose to paint this black or cut out a piece of card to stick over the top.

Once you have you body, don’t forget about the legs. Spiders have 8 legs and pipe cleaners work perfectly. Secure them down with some sticky tape and add some creepy eyes.

You may decide to create a small hole at the top of your spider to attach some string. This is a fun way of bringing your spider to life!

We had a go and this is how ours turned out:

String Spiders Web

What you will need:

  • Lollypop sticks – have a go at using different colours. Orange and black work well
  • Black string – have a go at using different colours to create different effects.
  • Sticky dots or sellotape

Every spider has a web! Have a go at creating your own one.

All you have to do is stick together 3 lolly pop sticks in a ‘wheel shape’ manner. Once you have secured these down, grab some string and start wrapping it around! Once you have finished wrapping, secure down with a sticky dot or some tape.

We had a go and this is how ours turned out:

Paper Plate Ghosts

You will need:

  • Black cardboard
  • Paper plates
  • A white pen (alternative colours can also be used)
  • String
  • Glue

If you have extra paper plates lying around, why not create a ghost out of one. Simply grab some black card and cut out a ‘ghost like’ template and assemble to the plate.

Decorate by adding different materials or colour in using a selection of different colours. Lots of fun and creation to be had!

To bring your ghost to life, create a small hole at the top and thread through some sting.

We had a go and this is how ours turned out:

Whatever your plans are this Halloween, have fun and enjoy getting creative making a variety of different art and crafts!

Written by Emily Martin for Harmony at Home Limited. All Rights Reserved, 2017

Christmas Letters, the perfect activity for Nannies, parents and children

October 13, 2017 | Leave a Comment

Christmas is coming! Nannies be prepared with our quick guide.

The festive season is nearly upon us. Don’t let your children or charges forget to write their letter to Father Christmas and his Elves to inform them of what they would like to receive for Christmas this year.

Nannies and parents, if you are looking for the perfect activity to do with your charges after school, have a go at writing a letter to Father Christmas.

Christmas is a very busy time for Santa and his Elves. He needs plenty of time to get gifts sorted and wrapped and make sure his sleigh is prepared for the long journey ahead. Not only has he got to get all of this sorted, he will be busy replying to all letters he receives. So, make sure your child or charge sends theirs in by Friday 8th December 2017, to receive a reply don’t forget to include your name and address!

Royal Mail Letters:

If you are sending your letter off to Father Christmas via Royal Mail, please address your letter to:

Santa/Father Christmas

Santa’s Grotto

Reindeerland

XM4 5HQ

If your child or charge has already sent off this years Christmas list, or is perhaps too young to write a letter to Santa, fear not! You can arrange for them to receive their very own letter from Santa!

Charity Letters:

Have your child or charge receive a letter from Father Christmas by creating one via the NSPCC.

You can order a letter and choose from a number of different templates, just by making a small donation to a worthy cause.

There are a number of different templates to choose from depending on the age of your child or charge. Once you have selected your template, have fun personalising your letter to make it special.

This is a lovely way for children to receive their very own letter from Santa.

Give it a go and have fun personalising your letter for your charge today >>> https://letterfromsanta.nspcc.org.uk/

Create your own:

You may decide that you would like to create your own letter on behalf of Father Christmas. Have a go at designing and personalising your own letter for your child or charge.

Don’t forget to leave out those ‘special treats’ for Father Christmas and a couple of carrots for his reindeers! I have been told that Santa is quite partial to a mince pie or two.

christmas activities for nannies

Caring for our Planet

October 13, 2017 | Leave a Comment

Caring for the Planet

Climate change is happening and lots of environmental issues surround us each day; rubbish on the streets, shortages of water, and a rise in pollution. Unfortunately it is more or less impossible to solve the issue of global warming and climate change. However, by implementing small changes into your day to day routine and trying to live as Eco-friendly as you can, can help to result in a global change.

Eco – Friendly Parenting

Our world is full of harmful chemicals and toxins, so it can be helpful to know the changes that you can make to try and implement a greener lifestyle. We are able to offer advice and guidance on this through a number of different areas enabling natural parenting.

  • Natural baby care
  • Eco friendly nappies & nappy services
  • Eco friendly baby products, toys and clothing
  • Organic weaning
  • Natural Nurseries

To find out more about our natural parenting service, click here. You will also be able to book a consultation with a qualified Norland Nanny.

Encouraging children to care for our Planet

Children are the next generation, so it is important that they are aware how they can care for the planet. Encourage you children to have a go at:

  • Recycling – Encourage your children to recycle old materials and resources. You may have an area in your house when all recycling goes. Make your children are aware of this so they know that they don’t have to just put everything in the bin. It may also be a good idea to have a list of items that you can and cannot recycle with pictures. Children may find it easier knowing what they can and cannot recycle with the use of visual aids.
  • Re-using – See if your children are able to re-use materials instead of wasting them. This ties in with recycling items. Instead of throwing old materials away see if they can be re used for something else instead. Paper is a good example of this; instead of throwing away and old piece of paper, simply turn it over and use the other side.
  • Turing off the tap when cleaning teeth – making small efforts like this will slowly but surely reduce the amount of water wasted.
  • Picking up litter & using bins – Encourage children to always ensure they are using bins provided instead of dropping or leaving litter on the floor. If you spot any litter on the floor, try to make a conscious effort to pick it up and put it in the bin. No one likes to see litter lying on the floor, not only is it unattractive but it is also harmful to the environment.
  • Environmental projects – Encourage children to get involved with their very own environmental projects. For example: growing their own vegetable garden or creating a natural garden. These are fun ways for children to engage and get close with nature.

Many schools are now trying to be Eco-Friendly and are encouraging children to get involved. Children like to share what they are doing at school, at home. This is hugely important as it allows the message to spread around. Passionate children are able to make a difference.

Ecological Footprint Calculator tool

A great tool you can use with your children is an Ecological Footprint Calculator. This tool is hugely beneficial and can help them to gain a greater understanding about the impact of global emissions. Once you have filled out all the questions you are able to see your results. Talk them through your results and see if they are able to understand.

By making small changes we are able to help contribute to a more Eco – Friendly planet and a greener lifestyle. Encourage children to get involved and inspire the next generation.

Written by Emily Martin for Harmony at Home Limited. All Rights Reserved, 2017

Encouraging your children to eat healthy Food

October 13, 2017 | Leave a Comment

Healthy Eating and children

Trying to get your children or charges to eat healthy can be a constant battle. Children protest and refuse different things but eating their fruits and vegetables always seems to be on every parents list.

Children need healthy and nutritious foods in order to grow and develop. Most of the time parents and child carers have the right intentions of giving them the food that is good for them, however it is not always that simple.

The good news is, that there is a few things you can implement to encourage your child healthy.

Eat together

Children are usually more willing to try new foods when eating together as a family. This may not be possible to achieve every night as you may have a busy schedule or your child may be young so needs to eat earlier. However, take it gradually and may be try eating together once a week. Children are often influenced by what they see others eating so try and be a good role model to them by eating healthy. This will hopefully encourage them to do the same.

Be a creative chef

Be clever and sneaky. Try to swap out and disguise healthy foods with in your meal. If you have a ‘fussy eater’ within your family, this is the perfect way to get them to try new foods without them even knowing about it.

Let your child/ charge choose

Children tend to eat the foods that they choose. Offer a variety of different healthy foods and snacks and allow them to decide what they like and don’t.

A great way to teach children all about healthy eating is by taking them along to the supermarket and allowing them to choose from a variety of healthy foods/ snacks. Children are more likely to eat food that they are drawn to.

If you child/ charge is old enough, encourage them to help you out in the kitchen with the food preparation. Allowing them to get involved in the preparation can increase their interest and encourage them to try out new foods and flavors.

Be positive

Don’t give up, remain positive and optimistic. Understand that sometimes these things take time. It may take several attempts for them to try it before they grow to love it. It is important to never force your child/ charge to eat something they don’t want to. Go with their pace and always remain positive and optimistic.

Avoid bribery

Try and withhold offering bribes to them. Instead of offering bribes, offer foods that they do like alongside new ones to try and encourage them to try something new.

 

Written by Emily Martin for Harmony at Home Limited. All Rights Reserved, 2017

Why get involved in Dyslexia Awareness Week 2017?

October 1, 2017 | Leave a Comment

Dyslexia Awareness Week 2017

Why get involved in Dyslexia Awareness Week 2017? As a mother of a Dyslexic child I know that it is important to create a Dyslexic friendly society, and Dyslexia Awareness Week is the perfect opportunity to do just that! There are plenty of ways to get involved and plenty of resources available on the internet and in local Libraries, and schools.

The British Dyslexia Association has lots of ideas on their website, along with free downloads and a free toolkit. You can check out the daily themes from the British Dyslexia Association here.

I found the following important when I realised that my son had problems with reading and writing and recall;

Early Diagnoses

If you think that your child is having difficulties, don’t leave it to late! I found a local independent Dyslexia Consultant, who gave full diagnostic testing, alongside a plan of action for the school to follow. With this in place we could access dyslexia friendly teaching and support.

Reasonable Adjustments

It’s really important to ensure that all reasonable adjustments are made by school, society and at home to help your child reach their full potential. Don’t be afraid to ask for changes to be made!

Information and Strategies

Never underestimate the amount of information available out there! Along with strategies, the volume of information out there will best prepare you and will help you to create an accessible learning environment for your child, and will also help you to educate others on the importance of creating a Dyslexia friendly society for all!

This special week is a fantastic opportunity to share knowledge, and to support and learn from those with Dyslexia.

Please use the hashtag #positivedyslexia2017

The British Dyslexia Association: www.bdadyslexia.org.uk

dyslex.io, a one stop site for everything you need to know! www.dyslex.io

Other Resources:

Barrington Stoke: Books in Dyslexia friendly fonts.

Nessy Learning, fun interactive computer learning for children in Primary schools: www.nessy.co.uk

#positivedyslexia2017

This special week is a fantastic opportunity to share knowledge, and to support and learn from those with Dyslexia.
Please use the hashtag #positivedyslexia2017

Written by Frankie Gray for Harmony at Home Limited. All Rights Reserved, 2017

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