26 September 2023

21 learning activities for babies and toddlers

Curious about what to do with your baby all day? Play is an important part of your child’s learning and growth – it's how they explore their environment, practice developing skills and bond with their caregivers (that’s you!). As your baby grows, playtime will evolve based on what developmental skills they are working on. Ready to get started? We…, Activities for 2-month-olds, Tap along Place your baby on their back and sing them a song. As you sing, tap the bottoms of their feet in time with the song. How your baby benefits: This game is great for developing listening skills. Your little one will delight at hearing your voice and the tapping adds a new way to experience singing songs together. Chit chat Face your baby…, Activities for 4-month-olds, Story time Read and look at baby books together. Point to the objects, animals or plants on the pages and name them. How your baby benefits: Making time to read together promotes bonding, language skills and visual development. Texture talk Give your baby different fabrics to feel and use words to describe them such as “smooth” or “rough.” How…, Activities for 6-month-olds, Let’s get rolling! Place your baby on their back or tummy on a safe surface and place their favourite toy or another baby safe object just out of reach. Encourage them to roll over to reach for the toy. How your baby benefits: This game helps support your baby’s gross motor skill development by working on a big milestone like rolling over. Go…, Activities for 9-month-olds, Copy cat Observe what your baby does and copy their actions. This lets your little one take the lead! How your baby benefits: By showing interest and placing importance in what your baby does, you’re helping them to develop their social and emotional skills. Independent explorer Let your baby explore your home on their own but stay close by to…, Activities for 1-year-olds, Hide and search Hide toys or other baby-safe objects under a towel or blanket while you play together. Encourage your little one to find it and help them if they need it by pulling it out and saying “here it is!”. How your baby benefits: This kind of play teaches your baby all about object permanence: Even if you can’t see it, it doesn’t mean it’s…, Activities for 18-month-olds, Walking buddy Encourage your toddler to walk with you in a safe space as soon as they are able. Go slowly to match their pace. How your child benefits: Your little one will feel more confident practicing their new skill with you by their side. It’s also a great way for you to enjoy getting exercise together! Make believe Encourage pretend play…, Activities for 2-year-olds, Household helper Invite your toddler to help with age-appropriate tasks around the house such as sorting clothes or serving food. Try to turn it into a game and let them know that they’re a great helper! How your child benefits: Including your child in household activities helps to foster independence and build self-esteem by letting them know…
03 August 2023

How to keep your child safe online

As your child grows, it is likely they are spending more and more time online. There are so many positive things about being online like staying connected with friends and family, pursuing interests, and being part of communities. But it is not always a safe and positive experience for children. Here's how you can help your child maximize all the…, 1. Set clear ground rules, Have honest conversations with your children about who they communicate with and how, and who can see what they post online.  Explain that anything that goes online – pictures, videos, comments, things they share with others and what others post and share with them and about them – leaves behind a trail of information about them. To make sure they…, 2. Use technology to protect them, Check that your child’s device is always updated and running the latest software, and that privacy settings are on and configured to minimize data collection so that people don’t see any information that you don’t want them to see. Help your child learn to keep personal information private. If your privacy settings are not secure, anyone can see…, 3. Spend time with them online, Create opportunities for your child to have safe and positive online interactions with friends, family and you. Connecting with others can be an excellent opportunity for you to model kindness and empathy in virtual interactions. Help your child recognize and avoid misinformation and disinformation, age-inappropriate content and content that can…, 4. Model healthy online habits, Promote positive online behaviour by practicing it yourself. Be mindful of the example you set and what you share online about your child, including their photos and videos. Encourage your child to be kind online and to support friends and family by sending positive messages or emojis. If they have classes online, encourage them to be respectful…, 5. Let them have fun and express themselves, Spending time online can be a great opportunity for your children to be creative, learn, use their voices to share their views and support causes that are important to them. Encourage your child to use resources on the internet to help them get up and get moving, like online exercise videos for children and video games that require physical…
03 May 2022

How play strengthens your child’s mental health

Play is how young children learn and make sense of the world around them. While they are having fun, they are working on critical parts of their development like building motor, cognitive, social and emotional skills. But the power of play extends beyond early learning: it also plays a key role in building your child’s mental health – and yours…, Play helps to strengthen the bond between you and your child, Sharing in joyful moments of fun and learning helps bring children and their caregivers closer together. As your little one's first playmate, you have the ability to provide opportunities for learning and connection right at home. When you play together, you get to see the world from your child’s perspective. By providing your child with love,…, Play helps reduce stress levels, Playing games, dancing and singing are great ways to relieve stress for both your child and you. When you’re enjoying fun moments and laughing together, your body releases endorphins that promote a feeling of well-being. Even short periods of play together can serve as a powerful reminder for adults of their ability to support their child, and…, Play helps children process difficult emotions, When children are dealing with complex emotional issues, it often shows up in their play. Giving children space to play allows them to work through feelings such as pain, fear or loss while being able to still act like a child. Play gives them a way to express things they are struggling with that they don’t yet have the words to fully explain. By…, Play helps to build confidence, Solving problems and coming up with creative solutions during a game or while working on a puzzle give children a sense of accomplishment and competence. When you take time to play with your child, your little one is learning that they are valued and fun to be around. It is important that you give your full attention during playtime and invest in…
16 March 2022

Talking to your child about climate change

Climate change is happening and nearly every child in the world will be affected. Talking about climate change with our own children can feel hard for many parents. It’s natural to want to protect kids from harm and worry. But if your child is a certain age, chances are they are already hearing about climate change, whether at school, online or…, 1. Do your homework, No one has all the answers about climate change and it’s okay if you don’t either. There are many reliable resources available online including talks, videos and articles that can help you brush up on the science. NASA has some great child-friendly resources on the topic. Speak with other parents to find out how they approach the topic with their…, 2. Listen, To start the conversation about climate change with your child, find out what they already know and how they feel about the topic. You might be surprised by how much your child already knows and can express. Use it as a chance to listen to their fears and hopes for the planet. Give them your full attention and don’t dismiss or try to minimize any…, 3. Use simple science, You know your child best, so make sure the information is appropriate for them. A good starting point can be to find ways to relate climate change to their daily lives and explore the basic facts together. For example: “Humans are burning fossil fuels like coal and oil to run cars, fly planes and light homes. These all release greenhouse gases…, 4. Go outside!, Try to expose your child to nature as much as possible. Encouraging them to play outside helps nurture their enjoyment of and respect for nature. When you’re outside together pause and point out interesting sights, whether it’s a tree, a cloud, a cobweb or a bird. The simple act of slowing down and taking the time to appreciate nature can help…, 5. Focus on solutions, For every problem you discuss, try to show a solution. Explore with your child examples of people who are working on ways to address climate change. Discuss positive and inspiring stories you see on the news or in your own community. Talk about what steps you are taking as a family, such as reducing waste in your home, saving water, recycling, or…, 6. Empower action, Young people around the world are taking climate action into their own hands and to the doorstep of governments . Others are building new ways to use energy more efficiently, sharing solutions on social media and walking in weekly climate marches. Let your child know that many young people are standing up for our planet and they can too. If they…
04 March 2022

How to support your child during conflict and crisis situations

When you find yourself facing the unthinkable, having the right words to say to your child can feel like an impossibility. We spoke to UNICEF’s child psychology and mental health expert Dr. Marcia Brophy to provide guidance for parents in an emergency situation., How can I protect and guide my child when I am feeling scared myself?, Feeling scared is a natural reaction to an abnormal situation – for both you and your child. Check in on your children in an age-appropriate way and give them space to openly and freely share their thoughts and feelings. Because children pick up on emotional cues, whether it’s through body language or facial expressions, trying to keep as calm as…, What are some ways to calm myself and my children?, Deep belly breathing is very helpful and is something you can do together with your older children. If you have a younger child, you could make it into a game: Every hour on the hour, see how you can calm your mind and body down by slowing down your breath. If you feel like you are losing your temper, try giving yourself a 10-second pause and, if…, We had to leave our home. How can I explain this to my child?, Try to share information in advance, in an age-appropriate way, as much as possible. This gives your children time to process their feelings, and children process things slower than adults do. If you have to evacuate, try laying things out in steps: “we’re going to put our things in our backpacks and we’re going to have to move to a safer space.”…, My family has been separated. What should I say to my child?, Let your child know that their loved one is doing everything they can to get back to them. You can be honest that you don’t have an answer right now, but that you are using every opportunity to speak to an organization or an agency to find out more, and you will share information with them as soon as you know. If possible, having a quick phone…, One of our loved ones has been killed. How should I tell my child?, If someone close to you and your family has died as a result of the crisis you are in, the most important thing is not to hide or delay the truth. It is natural to want to protect your child, but it is best to be honest. Telling your child what happened will also increase their trust in you and help them to better cope with the loss of their loved…, We have been hearing a lot of explosions. What can I do for my children while this is going on?, If possible, try to talk to your children in advance, in an age-appropriate manner, about the possibility of this happening and what you will do when it does. You could tell your child: “There are going to be some really loud noises that we’re going to hear, and when that happens, we’re going to move into a safe space, and we’re going to stay…, How do I explain the horrible violence being committed around us to my children?, For younger children, it is important to explain that unfortunately in the world, there are people who do bad things sometimes, and that’s what’s happening right now. Assure them that it has nothing to do with your family or you as individuals. Reassure them that there are many people around the world who are working hard to try to stop these bad…
01 March 2022

How to talk to your children about conflict and war

When conflict or war makes the headlines, it can cause feelings such as fear, sadness, anger and anxiety wherever you live. Children always look to their parents for a sense of safety and security – even more so in times of crisis. Here are some tips on how to approach the conversation with your child and to provide them with support and comfort.…, 1. Find out what they know and how they feel, Choose a time and place when you can bring it up naturally and your child is more likely to feel comfortable talking freely, such as during a family meal. Try to avoid talking about the topic just before bedtime. A good starting point is to ask your child what they know and how they are feeling. Some children might know little about what is…, 2. Keep it calm and age-appropriate, Children have a right to know what’s going on in the world, but adults also have a responsibility to keep them safe from distress. You know your child best. Use age-appropriate language, watch their reactions, and be sensitive to their level of anxiety. It is normal if you feel sad or worried about what is happening as well. But keep in mind that…, 3. Spread compassion, not stigma, Conflict can often bring with it prejudice and discrimination, whether against a people or country. When talking to your children, avoid labels like “bad people” or “evil” and instead use it as an opportunity to encourage compassion, such as for the families forced to flee their homes. Even if a conflict is happening in a distant country, it can…, 4. Focus on the helpers, It’s important for children to know that people are helping each other with acts of courage and kindness. Find positive stories, such as the first responders assisting people, or young people calling for peace. The sense of doing something, no matter how small, can often bring great comfort. See if your child would like to participate in taking…, 5. Close conversations with care, As you end your conversation, it’s important to make sure that you are not leaving your child in a state of distress. Try to assess their level of anxiety by watching their body language, considering whether they’re using their usual tone of voice and watching their breathing. Remind them that you care and that you’re there to listen and support…, 6. Continue to check in, As news of the conflict continues, you should continue to check in with your child to see how they’re doing. How are they feeling? Do they have any new questions or things they would like to talk about with you? If your child seems worried or anxious about what’s happening, keep an eye out for any changes in how they behave or feel, such as…, 7. Limit the flood of news, Be mindful of how exposed your children are to the news while it's full of alarming headlines and upsetting images. Consider switching off the news around younger children. With older children, you could use it as an opportunity to discuss how much time they spend consuming news and what news sources they trust. Also consider how you talk about…, 8. Take care of yourself, You’ll be able to help your kids better if you’re coping, too. Children will pick up on your own response to the news, so it helps them to know that you are calm and in control. If you’re feeling anxious or upset, take time for yourself and reach out to other family, friends and trusted people. Be mindful of how you’re consuming news: Try…