What is physical activity in early childhood, and is it really that important?

We often hear messages in the media that children aren’t getting enough physical activity. But what exactly does “being physically active” mean when you are an infant, toddler or preschooler? And is it important for their health now and in the future?

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How parents can help their young children develop healthy social skills

As the new year dawns, parents likely turn their thoughts to their child and new beginnings they may experience as they enter an early childhood education and care centre or preschool. Naturally, it’s a time of reflection on the previous year, and excitement about the possibilities for the new year to come.

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Gardening with Children

Children curious, like to learn by doing, and love to play in the dirt. Working in a garden, a child can experience the satisfaction that comes from caring for something over time, while observing the cycle of life firsthand. Gardening gives children a chance to learn an important life skill, one that is overlooked in standard school curriculums. Gardening is also a great way to teach environmental awareness by exploring the workings of nature.

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Best holiday activity – spending time in nature play

Why not go for the trifecta with your children these holidays—spend quality time together, get out into nature and nurture their imaginations.  Spending time together in nature is the best gift you can give your children—it builds close bonds, is an antidote to stress, increases health and wellbeing—and many outdoor activities are free or low cost.  It’s hard to find any downside, the biggest challenge is finding the time, but it’s worth the effort.

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Tech tips for toddlers and pre-schoolers

Each year there are more new apps, ‘smart’ toys and digital technology developments aimed at children, and many parents don’t know where to turn for advice.

An early childhood educator is someone you could ask, as they will be aware of trends in how technologies can be used to help children learn and develop. They can advise you of the apps and games they use in their centre and how you, as a parent or carer, can adapt them for use at home.

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Five things to consider about glitter this Christmas

Does glitter bring to mind the prospect of shiny, sparkly, Christmassy, harmless fun? I’m afraid it is a bit more complicated than that. The popularity of glitter and the sheer volume used at Christmas presents us with a growing problem. Here are five reasons to rethink your glitter habit.

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Young children with autism can thrive in mainstream childcare

Much of the research about including children with autism in mainstream classrooms is focused on school-aged children. Growing numbers of children with autism are diagnosed in toddlerhood, so there is increasing relevance for the early childhood sector. Our new research shows, with support, educators can effectively include and teach children on the spectrum in mainstream childcare, alongside their non-autistic peers.

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Four things every parent should know about managing your child’s behaviour

Around one-quarter of Australian parents feel stressed by their child’s behaviour every day and more than one-third are overwhelmed by it. These are some of the findings released today from our latest Royal Children’s Hospital National Child Health Poll—an online quarterly survey of a nationally representative sample of 2,000 Australian households with children.

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If you can only do one thing for your children, it should be shared reading

Image: Jeremy Tarling/flickrCC BY-SA

Reading to children is beneficial in many ways. Books offer a unique opportunity for children to become familiar with new vocabularies; the type of words not often used in day-to-day conversation. Books also provide a context for developing knowledge of abstract ideas for children. When an adult reads a book to a child, they often label pictures, talk about activities in the book, solve problems together and teach them new words and concepts.

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Children's Week focus on rights of children

This is the time of year that is dedicated globally and nationally to celebrating children’s rights, talents and citizenship. Each year the theme of Children’s Week highlights a particular children’s right.

This year the theme is about children’s right to speak and be listened to.

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