Baby and cat lying on a bed

Babies and cats

Many people are naturally concerned about how the arrival of a baby will affect the behaviour of their cat. The good news is that cats and babies can live very happily together, provided you plan well in advance and respect the needs of your cat.

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Baby and dog

Babies and dogs

Bringing a baby into a household is an exciting but busy time. There are big changes for everyone and that includes our pets who may no longer receive the attention they are used to. Pets usually adapt very well to the arrival of a baby but it is important to plan properly and be sensible with your actions.

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parents - kids - animals - cats

Children and cats

Cats can make great first pets for kids and in some ways they are much easier than dogs, as they are nowhere near as demanding on attention and time - for a start, they sleep for around 18 hours every day!

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parents - kids - animals - choosing pets

Choosing a pet

Growing up with a pet can be a wonderful experience – pets provide children with company and unconditional love as well as teaching them responsibility and how to care for another living being.

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parents - kids - animals - dog bite prevention

Dog bite prevention

It is always with great sadness that I hear stories of children who’ve been bitten by dogs. It always seems so unnecessary and, more often than not, the dog is blamed when the responsibility really lies with the owner who has failed to train and socialise their dog properly, or the parents of the child who have not been supervising properly.

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parents - kids - animals - dog training

Dog training for kids

We are all aware of the problems that can occur between dogs and children. There are many physical and psychological injuries associated with dog bites every year and some frightening statistics suggest that the offending dog is often the family pet. Some of these interactions have resulted in the tragic death of newborn babies. Alarmed? Don’t be. The good news is that many of these incidents are preventable through good dog training for kids and socialisation – of the human family, as well as the dog!

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parents - kids - animals

Kids and Animals

Kids and animals build wonderful relationships and they often share a very special bond. With a family pet in the household, children learn how to be around animals at a young age. They also learn about responsibility through the process of looking after a pet. Find out the positive effects a pet can have on kids. Parents and children can enjoy playtime together along with the family pet – helping your kids to understand animals and their behaviour.

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parents - kids - animals - pets

Pets for kids

Pets and children can share a remarkable relationship – there is something extraordinary about the bond that develops between a child and their special playmate. Apart from companionship, there are many other benefits for children sharing their lives with a pet.

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Parents - kids - christmas ideas - first christmas

Babys first Christmas

It’s a very special time of year. Whether your new baby is in your arms or due shortly after, there is no doubt that your life has changed, or is about to change forever. For new mothers or mothers to be it can be a challenge to celebrate this time in a meaningful way. Babies are too little to understand what Christmas is about or have specific requests, so how do you create special memories for you and your baby at Christmas time?

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Parents - kids - christmas ideas - cards

Christmas cards

Writing Christmas cards is often the only way many friends and family members will catch up with each other each year. Whether it is a handmade card or an e-card, it is good to take the time to write them, as it will always be appreciated by the receiver.

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Parents - kids - christmas ideas - colouring pages

Christmas colouring pages

Colouring in pictures with your little one is a great way to take time out from the hustle and bustle of the activity of the Christmas season. Colouring in Christmas pictures can also help you explain to them some of the traditions and meanings behind Christmas, as well as working on their fine motor skills.

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Parents - kids - christmas ideas - craft

Christmas craft

Making Christmas craft with your little one has the potential to be very special time. The craft can then be used as a memento of you having spent some meaningful time together, or as gifts for family and friends.

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Parents - kids - christmas ideas - decoration

Christmas decorations

Choosing Christmas decorations and the decorating itself can be a really enjoyable aspect of Christmas. However it is very important to take into consideration that your Christmas decorations, while lovely, may not be safe or practical when you have a baby or toddler wandering round. Before decorating, take the following advice on board and follow our top ten tips for a sensational way to decorate your home this Christmas.

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Parents - kids - christmas ideas - family outing

Christmas family outings

At Christmas time there is an abundance of wonderful activities for families to do around town. As well as traditional activities, such as attending your local Carols by Candlelight or Church Services, you can start new family traditions or build on old ones.

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Parents - kids - christmas ideas - games

Christmas games

Christmas games are a great way to burn off some of your little one’s energy in the days leading up to, and on Christmas day itself. Organising some Christmas games doesn’t require a huge amount of work and may be a great way to occupy children while your partner does some secret Christmas present-wrapping!

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Parents - kids - christmas ideas

Christmas Ideas For Kids

One day you will be looking at the wall calendar and realise that summer has started and that you have less than a month left before it is Christmas. You suddenly realise it’s time to start making some preparations!

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Parents - kids - christmas ideas - invitations

Christmas invitations

Congratulations! This year it’s your turn to host the Christmas feast. Maybe it’s brunch or dinner, or something in between. Whatever meal you are in charge of, you have lots of organising to do. The starting point is the Christmas invitations and ensuring you give your guests plenty of notice.

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Parents - kids - christmas ideas - party ideas

Christmas party ideas

As the Christmas season rolls in, it’s always a great idea to organise a Christmas party with your mother’s group or local playgroup. While your baby is usually too small to appreciate the significance of the party, it is fun for the moms to gather together and have a break from Christmas shopping and preparations.

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Parents - kids - christmas ideas - shopping

Christmas shopping for kids

With Christmas rapidly approaching, what is meant to be a festive, joy-filled time of year can often become stressful and upsetting. For parents there is often nothing more demanding than trying to organise shopping trips with their little ones in tow. It is often easy to become overwhelmed with the sheer volume of things for sale in stores. So how do you make Christmas shopping for your little ones a happy and positive experience?

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Parents - kids - christmas ideas - songs

Christmas songs

Christmas songs are a key part of the festive season. Whether it is singing the traditional carols, or trying to figure out what Christmas song will be number one on iTunes on Christmas Day, Christmas songs all play a role in adding to the fun and enjoyment of the Christmas season.

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Parents - kids - christmas ideas - stockings

Christmas stockings

Planning on how to fill your little one’s Christmas stockings can be one of the most exciting parts of the Christmas season. Watching their excited expression as they unwrap their gifts on Christmas Day can make all the effort worthwhile. So how do you go about choosing the perfect gifts for them?

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Parents - kids - christmas ideas - coping

Coping with Christmas Day

In theory, Christmas Day should be a blissfully happy day, surrounded by loved ones with everyone having a glorious time together. In reality, it can be a very stressful day. In addition to juggling the demands of your partner and little one, you may find the demands of cooking or visiting family and friends quite overwhelming.

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Parents - kids - christmas ideas - photo tips

Holiday photo tips

Even though it seems most logical to make sure that the most important part of the photo should be in the middle of the shot, often it can even be more effective to place the subject of the image slightly off centre. There is a golden rule that many photographers follow known as the “rule of thirds” – that is, if you place your subject roughly a third of the way through your image, subconsciously, a viewer’s mind is drawn toward finding the subject – making it a more appealing image to look at.

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Parents - kids - christmas ideas - homemade cards

Homemade Christmas cards

Making homemade Christmas cards is a great way to occupy a toddler or older children during the festive season. Whether you use the traditional card format and decorate it accordingly, or make something completely unique, you are guaranteed some fun together.

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Parents - kids - christmas ideas - homemade decorations

Homemade Christmas decorations

There is absolutely no doubt that one of the most enjoyable (and messy) parts of the Christmas season is making decorations with your little one. While you might not create something with a lifetime guarantee, you are certainly creating memories that will be there forever.

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Parents - kids - christmas ideas - safety

Keeping your child safe at Christmas

Christmas time is a busy one for families, and as a result babies and children are often more susceptible to injuries at this time of year. However, parents can take simple steps to ensure the safety of their children to avoid preventable and often highly distressing accidents.

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Parents - kids - christmas ideas - santa

Playing Santa

“Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!” are the memorable lines uttered by Santas everywhere. However, playing Santa can be a daunting event for parents and children. For the grown ups there is the worry about what to say, and how to act around young children who may be meeting Santa for the first time. For the children, there may be nothing more terrifying than being placed on the lap of a man dressed in red and white wearing an enormous beard. So how do you get playing Santa right with kids?

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Parents - kids - reading techniques

Childrens reading techniques

Children’s reading techniques:

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Parents - kids - choosing a book

Choose a book

There’s a huge range of books available for children right from birth, but where to begin? Which one do I choose and when? Should they rhyme? What do I choose if I speak to my child in another language at home?

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Parents - kids - importance of reading

Importance of reading to your children

What better gift can we give our children than a love of reading? Teaching children to read is one thing; encouraging them to want to read is another. Obviously very young children can’t read themselves, so reading to them each day is such an important first step. Why? It gets them thinking creatively, sets reading up as an enjoyable activity, gives children an appreciation and respect for books, promotes language and vocabulary development, and allows for lots of great family time. Nothing beats a cuddle with your child while you read a book together.

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Parents - kids - reading - literacy

Literacy for kids

Literacy is an essential skill for children. Not only does it play a major role in their educational success, but it is also the key that unlocks the realm of reading and writing. Here are some tips to help make negotiating this world both successful and fun – for you and your child.

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Parents - kids - reading

Reading To Children

Reading to our children is one of the joys of parenting. It can be such a special time and a lovely way to spend quality time with each other. Reading to children helps to build their vocabulary, imagination, literacy and general language skills and it needs to be prioritised as much as their nutrition and health needs, though unfortunately, in the busy lives of most families, it can often be overlooked.

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parents - kids - travel - cruising

Cruising with kids

A cruise can seem like the perfect family holiday – the relaxation starts as soon as you board the ship, there are endless activities for the kids, and you can visit multiple destinations with only having to unpack once. For inexperienced cruisers though, it has the potential to feel more like a floating disaster, with the idea of fun in the sun disappearing very quickly. Follow our tips to avoid hell on the high seas and get the most out of your family cruise.

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parents - kids - travel - holiday

Holiday with kids

Packing to go on holiday is no longer as easy as throwing a few t-shirts and a pair of swimming trunks in at the last minute. It can help to create a list in the weeks leading up to your departure date, to ensure that you don’t forget anything. We’ve put together some ideas to help you with your packing.

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parents - kids - travel - planes

Plane travel with kids

Sometimes packing up your troubles and boarding a plane with a baby or young child seems to be the fastest way to spell trouble. But, by following these ten simple tips, you can maintain your sanity when flying with the kids these holidays.

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parents - kids - travel - tips

Travel tips

Here are some very practical tips that may just help make your holiday with your babies and toddlers run a little smoother:

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parents - kids - travel

Travel With Kids

rips away are great fun for the whole family, especially if it’s your baby’s first time away from home. Going on a family adventure is a great opportunity for parents and children to connect and enjoy each other’s company, especially when parents ten.

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Parents - kids - dining out

Dining Out As A Family

Eating out can provide families with a much-needed break from the daily grind, but sometimes it can feel as though you’re just taking your parenting challenges out in public. Whether it be for a celebration, a change of scenery, or even just a desperate escape from the kitchen, dining out with little ones doesn’t always have to be a battle. Follow our tips to increase your chances of a fun family night out.

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parents - kids - gardening - easy grow plants

Easy to grow plants

A child can be given responsibility for a particular plant in the garden. Make sure that the plant chosen is not a particularly temperamental or fragile plant. Geraniums (pelargoniums) are almost indestructible. Clumping plants like agapanthus (there are some wonderful, smaller growing cultivars) and liriope (monkey grass or lilyturf), lavender, cuphea (false heather, Mexican heather, Hawaiian heather or elfin herb), abelia and citrus, as long as they are given the most basic of care, are hard to kill.

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parents - kids - gardening - activities

Garden activities for kids

Here are some simple and easy activities for you to do with the kids:

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parents - kids - gardening - lessons

Garden lessons for kids

The best way to teach children about gardening is for parents to show the way by gardening themselves. Try to make gardening a family activity. It is curious how many families will take a great deal of trouble to make sure that responsibility for domestic household chores is not gender related, but are content to have outdoor activities such as gardening seen as something that ‘only dads do’.

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parents - kids - gardening - safety

Gardeneing Safety

Throughout their growing years children are learning the rules of life. This applies just as much to gardening as to any other activity.

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parents - kids - gardening

Gardening With Kids

Gardening with kids can be a fun pastime and a great way for parents and children to get active outdoors – whether it be playing in the garden, starting a veggie patch, learning about birds and insects, or collecting bits and pieces for making crafts. There are many fun activities and projects you can try when it comes to gardening with kids.

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parents - kids - gardening - grass heads

Grass heads

Growing grass heads is an easy, fun activity for kids, and you could find out from your local nursery about other gardening projects that you can do with your children. Here are some simple directions for how to go about it.

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parents - kids - gardening - outdoor

Outdoor play the natural way

There is no denying that young children enjoy playtime at the local playground, but are our modern day offerings of metal, plastic and rubber all there really is to outdoor time for children? If a child could choose, what would their outdoor play space look like?

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Parents - kids - family shoot

How To Organise A Family Photo Shoot

As a parent you will often find that you are usually the one behind the camera. While you will probably have lots of photos of your little one, it can be a bit more of a challenge to organise a family photo shoot. It’s a good idea to arrange one of these each year to ensure you can treasure the memories of your child. Rather then being behind the lens all the time, you can capture some special moments together as a family.

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Kids rainbow birthday cake

Kids birthday cake

The birthday cake becomes the focal point of a party with everyone gathered around to sing Happy Birthday to the birthday girl or boy. Here are a few ideas for different cakes that you can make.

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Brightly coloured items for kids party activities

Kids party activities

You don’t have to fork out hundreds of Rand to make your child’s birthday party a great one. All it takes is a bit of creativity and you can engage all the little party guests (adults too) in fun, unique and memorable activities.

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Family celebrating with kids party food

Kids party food

General tips

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Kids playing party games

Kids party games

We’ve provided some party game ideas with basic instructions below and given some tips on what games are suitable for each age group.

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Kids birthday party

Kids Party Ideas

The decision to host a child’s birthday party can lead even the calmest of parents to head straight to the bedroom for a little lie-down. Visions of long-suffering clowns, jumping castles and Shetland ponies with an overactive bowel are enough for many parents to just give the whole idea a big miss. But you don’t have to be the world’s number one organiser for your child to have a memorable time.

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Kids party celebration

Kids party supplies

Take a look at these great ideas for your party. By using the “colouring in” option you get to add that personal touch to your cards.

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Kids having fun at a party

Kids party tips

General party ideas and tips:

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Girl blowing bubbles at a kids party venue

Kids party venues

There are many alternative venues available now for children’s parties. Here are a few ideas:

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Parents - kids - me time

Me time with baby

Once your little one is on the move, it means you have a trusty shadow accompanying you with everything you do. So how do you look after yourself and get some ‘me time’ with your little one in tow?

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Parents - kids - reading - numeracy

Numeracy For Kids

Numeracy is a vital tool for children. It plays a crucial role in aiding children’s progress at school and is a valuable life-skill all children need. We asked an educational consultant for tips on what to do to develop a child’s numeracy skills - primarily from learning through play.

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Parents - kids - shoe shopping

Shoe shopping guide

It’s an exciting time when you decide to buy your baby some shoes, but when is the right time for them to start wearing them and what are the right kinds? And as they grow what are the potential problems to look out for?

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Parents - kids - another baby

Considering Having Another Baby

Whether it’s strangers in the supermarket, your mother-in-law or that little voice in your own head, there comes a time that you get asked about having another baby. Here are some things to consider about having another baby

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