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Looking for some cute and creative crafts for your toddlers this Christmas? It’s time to get the glitter out!

We’ve put together some easy Christmas crafts for toddlers. Many you can create with things you’ve got lying about the house (or in the recycling).

Let your little ones have fun as they create these festive masterpieces.

1. Super soft snow dough

christmas crafts for toddlers - snow dough

This is the softest loveliest snow dough. You only need TWO ingredients to make it. And it smells divine too! Just mix cornflour and hair conditioner together in a bowl. Knead together until you have a soft ball of snow dough.

Your toddler can just enjoy squishing and rolling it in their hands. Or they could make little snowmen, like the one we made above.

2. Cork and cotton bud printed snow pictures

Easy Christmas crafts for toddlers - printing snowmen

Toddlers will love printing these cheery snowmen! Dip a cork into white paint and print three circles to make each snowman. Once your snowmen are dry, add details with felt pens. After that comes the really fun bit! To make it snow – dip a cotton bud into white paint and let your toddler print loads and loads of snowflakes in the sky.

3. Christmas Crafts for toddlers: little card Christmas trees

Christmas crafts for toddlers - little peg trees

Such a quick and easy Christmas make for little ones. Simply cut triangles from green card and your toddler can decorate them with stickers, little buttons, sequins, mini pom-poms or even balls of scrunched up tissue paper. Pop a peg on the bottom to make their little Christmas trees stand up. Your toddler will have so much fun decorating their festive trees that they might make a whole forest!

4. Twig and pom pom trees

Christmas crafts for toddlers - little stick trees

This is a lovely activity for little ones. First head on a walk to find some twigs. Then, once you’re home cut the twigs into different sizes to make branches. Ask your child to choose the longest branch to place in the middle to make the trunk. Then arrange the smaller branches, sticking out from the trunk. Your toddler can now decorate their tree by adding little pom poms, beads or buttons along the branches. Don’t forget to add a star at the top (we used a shiny star sticker!). You can either keep all the pieces in a bag or box and use them again and again as a nice activity – letting your child build and decorate their tree on a tabletop. Or, you could use PVA glue or a glue gun to stick down the branches and baubles to make beautiful pictures or Christmas cards.

5 . Glittery pine cones – an easy Christmas craft for toddlers

Christmas crafts for toddlers - glittery pine cones

This is the perfect activity for toddlers as they will have so much fun in the making as well as being delighted by the sparkly end product. Roll pine cones into the paint. While doing so your toddler can have great fun rolling them around a piece of card or paper to make snowy prints. For a bit of extra sparkle sprinkle some glitter on top of the paint, while it is still wet. You can use a glue gun to stick a loop of string or ribbon to the ends of your glittery pine cones so that your toddler can hang them proudly on the Christmas tree.

6. Toilet paper roll creations

Save those humble toilet paper rolls for some amazing Christmas crafts for toddlers. There are so many ways you can use paint, pom poms, sequins and card cutouts to make some fabulous festive creations.

Snowman:

Paint your toilet roll tube white, cut out a carrot-shaped nose and glue it on, draw on details with a black Sharpie

Reindeer:

Paint your toilet roll tube brown. Stick on googly eyes and a red pom-pom nose. Draw a mouth with a black Sharpie. After you’ve done that, glue on antlers made from twigs or pipe cleaners.

Santa:

Paint your tube red all over, except for a small circle for the face, which you can paint white. Use a cotton pad to make the beard and moustache and use Sharpies to add on the details. For the hat, cut a circle of red card. Make a cut from one edge to the centre and then roll your circle into a cone shape. Add some cotton wool to make the hat’s trim and pop a little pom-pom on top to finish off.

7. Christmas Crafts for Toddlers- Eggbox Festive Friends!

Don’t throw out that eggbox just yet! You may just have some use for them yet with this cute little Christmas craft for toddlers. Though they may need your hand with the scissors, this one is a great way to make a new friend for your children.

You will need an eggbox, paint, brushes, newspaper, glue, coloured card googly eyes, and cotton wool. If you have extras like shiny gold card, glitter, buttons or colourful pompoms then they make for excellent additions, but they’re really not necessary.

For each character, you will need 3 holders of the egg box, so make sure you have enough (It doesn’t matter if there are gaps down the sides)

Elf

For your elf, paint two of the eggbox holders a light green, and one a light pink/orange. You will also need to cut from your scraps two smaller pieces for the ears. Leave to dry, and then very carefully (on the pink/orange one) cut a hole on either side for the elf ears (you may need to do this part for your children!) and stick them in. Then, begin stacking and glueing the holders together. (I put small scraps of newspaper between each to keep them separated a little!)

Now you can start adding your features! Paint or glue on your buttons, stick on your googly eyes, your googly eyes and a bright little hat for your happy little elf.

Santa

For Santa, paint two of the eggbox holders red, and one a light pink/orange. While you’re waiting for this to dry, maybe you’ll want to start cutting out hats and any other features you want to add for your eggcup friend! Then, begin stacking and glueing the holders together. (Again, putting small scraps of newspaper between each one helped to keep them separated a little!)

Now you can start adding your features! Paint or glue on your buttons, stick on your googly eyes, your googly eyes and a big fluffy beard for father Christmas

Christmas Tree

For a Christmas tree, paint all three of your eggbox holders green. While you’re waiting for them to dry, start cutting out the decorations you want to stick on (including your tree topper!) Then, begin stacking and glueing the holders together. (Again, putting small scraps of newspaper between each one helped to keep them separated a little!)

Now you can start adding your decorations! Paint or glue on your decorations, tinsel and whatever your heart desires!

8. Paper chain to display your Christmas crafts for toddlers

Have you got endless amounts of Christmas paintings, drawings, and crafts being made by your toddlers? Not sure what to do with these Christmas crafts for toddlers? Well, maybe the answer is as simple as getting them to make another one and turn it into something you can put on your wall this Christmas!

Simply help them by cutting out strips of two different colours of card, and passing them the glue to make some paper chains. Once you’ve made one long enough to hang along your mantlepiece or across a bannister, grab the blu-tac (or glue) cut out their shapes (if they’re okay with it!) and start adding them to your chain. Or, if you really want to keep your toddler busy, make multiple chains for multiple crafts.

Not sure what colours to use? Try picking ones that correspond with the pictures made. E.g. red and green for a Christmas tree, blue and white for a paper snowflake/snowman, brown and red for a reindeer. Or, alternatively, you can’t really go wrong with a bit of red and gold around Christmas!

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9 Magical New Christmas Traditions for toddlers

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From the Christmas Light Express to the North Pole breakfast – here are some magical Christmas traditions for toddlers that they’ll love.

Once your toddler is at an age where they really start to ‘get’ Christmas you can start some family traditions. Traditions that will become part of your own family Christmas year after year. And ones that your toddler will look back on when they are older with fond memories.

Family traditions all add to the anticipation and the build-up to the big day. They create the magic and wonder of Christmas.

Watching the wonder of Christmas through your own child’s eyes brings back so much of the excitement you too felt when you were younger.

Here are some of the new family traditions you might want to start as a family, all perfect for toddlers.

1. A special decoration each year as a new Christmas tradition for toddlers

A lovely family tradition to start is to make or buy a special decoration each year. There are a lot of different options out there! If you visit your local Christmas market, you’re bound to come across a stall or two selling personalised Christmas decorations. Or, alternatively, you could make one yourself!

You can buy little snow globe baubles where you can insert a photo of your toddler. Or why not visit a pottery painting studio so that your toddler can decorate their own bauble?

Or get the glitter out and make some of our Easy Christmas Crafts for Toddlers.

2. Waiting for Father Christmas

Much of the magic of Christmas for little ones is waiting for Father Christmas to bring presents. There are so many lovely Santa traditions that you can start.

You might hang a “Santa stop here!” sign in the garden. Or put out milk and cookies for Santa – and a carrot for Rudolph, by the fireplace on Christmas Eve.

You could even draw around a large pair of shoes or wellies and cut out foot shapes from card. Then sprinkle flour or icing sugar (or fake snow) over the footprints. Once you take away the card you will be left with a footprint or two outlined in ‘snow’ as proof that Father Christmas really did arrive!

Christmas traditions for toddlers - santas footprint

3. Christmas stories by the light of the tree

T’was the night before Christmas, and it’s late in your house. Your toddler isn’t sleeping, but who is? Your spouse!

There are some brilliant Christmas classics out there for bedtime stories just fit for your babies, toddlers and children alike. Reading books in the run-up to the big day is a lovely Christmas tradition for toddlers. Pick out all of your favourites and enjoy the look of wonderment in their eyes!

One of the lovely Christmas traditions for toddlers to start is to pick 6 Christmassy stories, wrap them and place them under the tree. In the 6 days before Christmas, your child can unwrap a book and it can be their bedtime story.

You could also take them to a group that does group reading to feel the joy with other mums, dads and tots.

Check out some of the classes we list over on Happity here!

Christmas traditions for toddlers - reading books

4. Make/buy a personalised stocking for your to create a new Christmas tradition for your toddler

Whether you’re putting presents under the tree or filling a stocking -there’s something heartwarming about having a personalised stocking for your little one that you will be able to bring out year after year. Whether you’re buying one or making one -you won’t regret getting a stocking for your toddler.

5. All Aboard The Christmas Light Express

There’s nothing more magical than seeing lots of Christmas lights twinkling in the dark skies, in the run-up to Christmas. One late afternoon or early evening you could all go on a drive around your local neighbourhood to see the sparkly trees and lit up windows in the houses and gardens all around you.

You can make this experience even more exciting by making a ticket out of gold card and announcing to your toddler that they can step aboard the ‘Christmas Light Express’. You could wear a Santa hat and decorate the inside of the car with tinsel. Throw in some yummy drinks and snacks that they can enjoy on the journey. This will build up the magic even more!

Team Happity have said across the board that it’s one of their firm favourite Christmas traditions for toddlers – and older kids love it too!

christmas lights - toddlers first christmas

6. New Christmas tradition for toddlers: Visiting Santa’s Grotto

There are many places where your toddler can go and see Father Christmas in his grotto. At some, they may even be able to see his reindeer too.

Grottos are pretty booked up this year but if you can get a slot it’s totally worth it for that magical feeling of standing in Santa’s Grotto and seeing your lovely little bundle of joy staring up at Father Christmas in wonder. You’ll keep hold of the photo you take that day for far longer than you expect!

The big man himself- Father Christmas! Ready to say hello on toddler's first Christmas

7. Advent calendar and a reverse advent calendar

Toddlers will love opening the doors of an advent calendar and finding out what’s inside. At this age an advent calendar with pictures to reveal is perfect. It also helps your little one see how many days are left until Christmas. For them, the wait can seem to last forever!

Another idea to add to our list of Christmas traditions for toddlers to start is a reverse advent calendar. To make one you can stick four wine bottle holders together so you end up with a box with 24 sections. Use a pen to write numbers 1-24 on the sections. Each day your toddler can help you place one item into your reverse advent calendar. The idea is you fill your box with items and – when it is full – take it to a food bank or charity. It’s a really nice way to teach little ones about the joy of giving and thinking of others at this time of the year.

Christmas traditions for toddlers - advent

8. North Pole Breakfast as a new Christmas Tradition for toddlers

You might want to start Christmas day in a magical way with a North Pole Breakfast. You could make pancakes and use whipped cream and strawberries to turn them into Father Christmas and serve with a glass of milk or a hot chocolate. An exciting breakfast is a good way to refuel after your (no doubt) super early start to the day! And it makes a nice break before opening more presents or visiting Grandma.

Father Christmas pancake for a toddler's first Christmas

9. Snuggling up to watch a festive film

Christmas just doesn’t feel like Christmas without enjoying some festive films. There are some lovely Christmassy animations that little ones will love. Here are just a few:

  • The Snowman
  • Trolls Holiday
  • Olaf’s Frozen Adventure
  • The Snowman and the Snowdog
  • Arthur Christmas

There’s nothing lovelier than putting your PJs on and watching a festive film with the Christmas tree lights twinkling.


We hope you enjoyed our list! If you want to see some Christmas content from us, our lovely parents and some fabulous classes, jump over to Instagram and check out the tag #HappityChristmas

From all of us at Happity, we wish you a Happy Holidays and hope that you have a wonderful time this Christmas season! 💝

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9 Brilliant Benefits of Baby and Toddler Classes

Toddlers are brilliant little people. They live in the moment and have NO filter – always telling it like it is. And we think they can teach us a thing or two about how to live. We should all be a bit more toddler – here’s why!

You think you’re amazing 100% of the time

Toddlers have a total belief in themselves. They know how amazing they are and that self confidence and belief shines out of them. Self love is a brilliant thing. And if you can recognise your strengths it can take you a long way. Of course life has a way of knocking us down and making us doubt ourselves – especially once we become parents. But – you’re amazing! Know it, believe it and own it!

If you don’t want to do it – say ‘No’

cute toddler

My niece who is an adorable threenager has a phrase which she pulls out every time she doesn’t want to do something: ‘Don’t want it, don’t like it, not playing!’

What a brilliant attitude!

Of course – sometimes – she has to do it anyway (and let’s face it lots of her resistance is about things like brushing her teeth and taking baths – which she just has to go with!)

But this toddler approach is something we should all keep in mind. How many times have you agreed to do something just because you were too scared to say ‘No’?

Saying ‘No’ more often can be a good thing. It can take off the pressure of doing too much. And relieve anxiety.

So – be more toddler – and, if you don’t want to do it – say ‘No’

If you fall down, get back up again

When toddlers stumble they might cry but – after a quick cuddle – they immediately get back up and try again. And it’s a life lesson we can all learn. Don’t fear failure. We all mess up. When you do, dust yourself down and get right back up again.

Be more toddler and live for the moment

be more toddler

Toddlers live in the now. They don’t look back or worry about tomorrow. It’s all about the present.

In short, they’ve mastered mindfulness!

And that’s something that can benefit you. Live in the moment. Take in the sights and sounds around you right NOW! Be present and be mindful.

Be more toddler and dance like no one else is watching

When a toddler hears music (and even when they don’t) they break out all their best moves with no inhibitions! We say – take a leaf from their books – and dance like nobody’s watching. Wherever and whenever! Find those joyful moments in your day and boogie!

Every day is a new day full of promise

Toddlers wake up (too early, admittedly!) and embrace the day. They bounce with joy ready to face a whole new adventure.

It’s a brilliant approach.

And something we could all learn from our positive thinking little humans!

Always stop to notice the little things

toddler holding flower

Toddlers can be entranced by the smallest things. The littlest magical moments in their day. They look down and look up and notice the clouds and the insects crawling along a wall. They really stop and notice the magical moments in their day.

If we can take a leaf from their books and stop to notice the little things too, we can share their wonder of the world and feel happier.

Be more toddler and never stop learning

Toddlers learn something new every day. And relish it.

We should all never stop learning and discovering and challenging ourselves. It’s exciting and inspiring.

Whether it’s learning a new recipe to cook, starting a new class to learn a new hobby or visiting a new place – keeping on learning makes life richer.

Clap yourself – and expect others to clap too

Toddlers don’t hold back when it comes to celebrating their wins. And we should do the same. The little wins (like getting through one of THOSE days!) and the big wins.

We should celebrate our strengths.

And make sure we tell other mums how great they are too!

The toddler years

We can all agree that toddlers can teach us a lot about how to approach life. But because they feel things so much they can also struggle to regulate their emotions. Tantrums are part and parcel of the toddler years. Here are some top tips to help little people handle their BIG emotions

Cherish the magic moments with toddlers – like this one! It is bound to make you smile – check it out now

If you’re looking for fab classes where you and your toddler can have heaps of fun check Happity for those near you

There will be times when your baby or toddler is clingy and demands your attention a lot. It can be tough as a parent to have a clingy toddler. It can be tiring and wearing – we’re all human after all!. Dr Zara Rahemtulla, a clinical psychologist from Gentle Journeys shares her top tips on why little ones can be clingy and how best to deal with it.

What is clinginess?

If you’ve got a clingy toddler, you’re not alone! Clinginess is extremely common and is a behaviour that all children display at some point during their development.

Examples of clinginess are: when a child cries and shouts because they have to separate from their parent (e.g. to go to nursery, or parent goes out to run errands, etc.), they want their parent’s attention more than usual, they are constantly seeking physical contact with their parent (e.g. more hugs or physical touch), they want to be in the same room as their parent all the time and/or they act younger than their age at times.

Clinginess vs Separation Anxiety Disorder

Clinginess is different from separation anxiety disorder, which is a significant fear or anxiety of strangers and the child cries inconsolably and shows extreme distress in these situations. (NICE, 2020). Mild forms of separation anxiety can occur in children and is usually something that naturally passes, however if this is prolonged and is getting in the way of your baby/child having new experiences then it is important to check this out with a health professional.

Clingy toddlers: It is developmentally normal for a child to go through?

Sometimes it can feel like there is no obvious reason for clinginess, and other times there can be clear reasons for the change in your child’s behaviour. Levels of clinginess can also be related to your child’s developmental stage; for example, children can become more clingy around 8-10 months, 2 years and 3 years old.

This is often due to them making big developmental leaps and becoming more independent in various ways. For example, around 8-10 months babies may be crawling or walking, at 2 or 3 years children often become toilet trained and around 2-3 years children may start to separate from their parents, attending nursery or pre-school. All of these events can feel exciting to a toddler, but also overwhelming and strange at the same time, which can trigger increased clinginess to their caregiver.

Another important reason why your child might become more upset when you have to leave their side is when there are significant changes to their routine or daily life. For example, the arrival of a new sibling can be a particularly big upheaval for the first born as they now have to wait longer for their parents’ attention, there is less focus on them and their needs and they have to share their parent’s love. This is a life event that takes some time to adjust to, and it is very common for toddlers to become more clingy, tearful or angry at this point.

The impact of Covid-19 and clinginess in toddlers and children

Of course the single, biggest change to our lives has been that of Covid-19. We have all had to stay at home and stop socialising. What we knew as our familiar, daily routines have been completely turned upside down. We have been at home for a year, and the idea of going out and socialising again can be both exciting and scary at the same time – for both adults and toddlers alike.

As we gradually come out of lockdown, it is normal and expected for babies and toddlers to show more clingy behaviours and become more upset or distressed when their parent(s) tries to separate from them. For those babies whom have spent over a year in the care of only their parents or a few close adults, going to a baby group, nursery or a social gathering may feel a little daunting and it will take time for them to integrate these situations into their ‘new normal’ and feel at ease within them.

Ways to support your toddler through clinginess

1. Start by leaving them with someone familiar

If you know you will be separating from your toddler soon, build up to this and start by leaving them with someone who is familiar to them. Start by leaving them for a few hours, then gradually longer, for an afternoon and then the whole day. Similarly, when at home, try popping out of the room for a very small amount of time and coming back, whilst at the same time saying “mummy is just going into the kitchen and then I will be back”. Talk to your child whilst in the kitchen so they know you are still there.

2. Talk to your child beforehand

No matter what age they are, always try and talk to your child about what will happen, before you are due to leave them. This gives them time to process what will be happening and ask questions or get reassurance from you before they separate from you. Bringing up the topic a week in advance and then mentioning what will happen in the few days running up to the event will help children prepare.

For example, “tomorrow mummy is going to be out for the day and grandma will be looking after you. She is going to play with you lots while mummy goes out. Then I will come back and make your dinner and put you to bed”. Giving children a reference point to when you will be back is really important. If they know that you will be back at dinner time, they will hold this in their mind.

3. Do not sneak out on your child

 It can be tempting to sneak out and avoid saying goodbye to your little one when you leave. Letting them know you are going and will be coming back is so important to them so they can hold this in their mind while you are away. If they don’t get to say goodbye to you they will be wondering where you are, why you left and if you are coming back, which can distress them even further.

4. Don’t dismiss or ignore their clinginess

Dismissing or ignoring your child’s plea for you will actually just make their clinginess worse. This is because clinginess is triggered when a child is feeling more vulnerable or less confident, therefore they need the extra support and acknowledgement from their caregivers at this time. Giving them those extra cuddles, instead of pushing them away, will actually reassure them and give them more confidence in the long run, leading them to be less clingy!

5. Use a transitional object

Clingy toddler - how to understand and manage clingy toddlers

A transitional object is an object that your child can have in replace of you while you are gone. It is often an object that smells of you, so your child can be comforted and reminded of you if they miss you. A scarf, t-shirt or another item that has your scent is useful here.

6. Use games and play

Play is such an important tool for children. They will often ‘play out’ their difficulties or worries and this can be really cathartic for them. For example, it might be peek-a-boo for your 10 month old helps them establish when mummy/daddy disappears she/he comes back, or your toddler pretending to be a baby helps them come to terms with jealous feelings about a new sister or brother arriving and sharing their parent(s).

7. Listen and acknowledge their feelings

clingy toddler

Your child may tell you with their cries or words that they don’t want to leave you. One of the most helpful things you can do to help a clingy toddler is genuinely listen to your child as they express themselves to you, and acknowledge their experience. Their feelings are so big for them in these moments, but research has shown that when a child’s feelings can be heard and empathised with by their caregiver, feelings of distress do decrease. If you can get down on your child’s level, touch them in a gentle way and say, “you really don’t want mummy to go. I understand darling. It is hard to leave mummy/daddy sometimes”, “you’re feeling so sad that mummy has to go out. You will miss me. It’s normal to feel like this.”

8. Being aware and managing your own response

Try to make saying goodbye to your child a positive experience, however worried or sad you might be feeling about your child’s tears. By giving your child a positive experience of a goodbye and reunion they will remember this and feel more confident during the next separation.  Perhaps separations are tricky for you as a parent in some way and this might be important to reflect on, so you can be aware when these feelings arise for you.

If you feel like you would like more support with understanding your child’s clinginess, or you have worries about separating from your child, please get in touch with us at Gentle Journeys, www.gentlejourneys.org. Instagram Gentle_Journeys or Facebook GentleJourneys

Maariya Arshad, mental health expert, shares her top tips to help little kids manage their big emotions.

Little children have BIG emotions and they don’t have the words to describe them or the experience to understand them. As every parent who has seen their child have a tantrum or be overwhelmed by anger or fear will know! 
When your child is crying a lot or having a lot of anger outbursts it can feel pretty overwhelming for you as a parent too. But how we respond can make a big difference.

Teaching our children Emotional Intelligence

Teaching our children Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is all about helping them to deal with and express their emotions in healthy ways. When it comes to our children, being emotionally intelligent affects:

  • How the communicate
  • The way they socialise
  • How they control their own emotions
  • Their ability to adjust to change
  • How they make decisions
  • The way they see their own self-image and self-worth

By teaching our children how to be emotionally intelligent at a young age, we’re setting them up for success in almost every area of their lives! Helping kids learn how to manage their emotions can truly help them to shape their future!

The 8 big emotions little children have

We all know that little kids have big emotions. All children have 8 primary in-built emotions. Primary emotions are those emotions that all children experience without being taught about them; these are:

– anger
– sadness
– fear
– joy
– interest
– surprise
– disgust
– shame

8 ways to help your little child manage their BIG emotions

1. Label the emotion

There are 2 easy techniques for teaching your child to label emotions.

1) When your child is crying, you could say: “I know you’re sad.” Or if they’re scared, you could say: “Are you feeling scared?” Or when they’re happy you can say “You’re so happy!”

2) When you’re watching TV or out in public, and you see somebody showing emotion: acknowledge it. If someone is crying you can say: “they are very sad” and the same for scared, happy etc.

Overtime your child will be able to identify these emotions for themselves, which is the first step before they can verbally communicate their feelings with you. As they get older, you can start bringing in a greater range of emotions.

2. Validate their feelings

It’s always useful to note that often when a child feels indifferent towards a situation, they won’t say anything, but when they’re feeling a strong emotion, that’s when they will tell you about it.

So if they have told you something is “unfair” draw on your own experiences of when you have felt something is unfair, and feel that with them. You can do the same for when they are happy, excited, sad etc. This is also a great way of validating their feelings and developing a stronger relationship with your child.

3. “Use your words”

Little girl yells out! Help little kids manage their emotions

When children are starting to get frustrated, they will often show this through their non-verbal behaviours (certain noises and actions). So if your child is at the stage where they are starting to speak, encourage them to “use their words”. This technique:

– redirects their attention and focus away from the overwhelming feeling
– teaches them an alternative, healthy way of expressing their emotions
– helps with their language development
– overtime it makes it easier for you to respond to their needs, because they are able to tell you, so less guesswork will be involved.

4. Create a quiet place to help kids manage big emotions

Have a quiet place they can go to when they need to calm down. This isn’t the same as a naughty corner. This space is specifically for the purpose of teaching them to deal with their intense feelings. It can be a chair at the dining table, the corner of a sofa, anywhere that can be quiet and calming. 

In this space, think about bringing in some techniques that might help them calm down. For a toddler, you might want to teach them breathing exercises, e.g. breathe in for 4 seconds and breathe out for 6 seconds – repeat this 6-10 times. You could put out cards that show images of different emotions, and ask them to let you know how they feel by holding up one of the cards. You could even have soft play toys that they could use as a stress ball.

This is a technique they can use into adulthood, where when they’re overwhelmed, they can take themselves away from the situation, and employ healthy coping strategies.

5. Make a safe space to talk and help kids manage their emotions

Mother and child are hugging, encouraging being open about emotions and creating a safe space.

Create opportunities in your day/week where your child can speak to you about anything they are thinking and feeling. You could do this as a family at dinner time, or spend 5-10 minutes every day or a few times a week with each child on a 1:1 basis where you ask them to tell you things they like, dislike, feel, etc.

When you first begin this practice, they may not be able to fully verbalise their thoughts. But that’s okay. Use this time to turn this practice into a habit, and overtime you will have developed a stronger relationship with your child, because they’ll start to see this 1:1 time with you as their own “safe space”. After a while, it will become easier for you to identify areas of their life they may emotionally be struggling with.

6. Model big feelings that little kids have

Children learn a lot more from how we behave and respond, than from what we say. Use this as an opportunity to develop your own emotional intelligence. Be honest with yourself about how you are when it comes to:

– identifying your emotions
– managing your emotions
– how you express your happiness, sadness, anger and frustration

If there are any areas that may need some work, take steps to start working on these, so that you can then model emotional intelligence to your child.

7. Each kid is different and need help to manage their emotions in different ways

Keep an eye out for specific things when it comes to your child:

– what are my child’s triggers?
– what makes my child feel better?
– does my child need to be informed when a change is coming?
– are there certain sounds, textures, toys or people my child likes/dislikes?

Observing these things can help you to settle your child at difficult moments in a calm and stress-free way. Also, remember that if you have more than one child, the answers to these questions are likely to be different for each child, and the answers may also change as your child grows and develops.

8. BIG feelings that little kids have: managing tantrums

Child is sitting in the middle of a road experiencing a tantrum.

When a child is experiencing a tantrum, they’re feeling very overwhelmed, and in that moment they are struggling, emotionally and physically, to handle what they are feeling. Where possible, try to identify the early signs of overwhelm before it occurs and use some of the techniques mentioned above. However, if in this moment we have passed the point of rationalising and teaching, and our child is in the middle of a tantrum; it may be best focus on protecting their physical safety.

Intervene if your child’s tantrum is causing physical harm to themselves or anyone else. However, if they are safe, observe their tantrum from a safe distance. As soon as the tantrum has passed its peak, you will notice that your child gradually begins to show signs of calming down; even if that shift is a subtle one. This will be your cue that within the next few moments your child will be receptive to you intervening again.

It’s normal for little kids to have big emotions

Remember that even despite your best efforts, sometimes toddlers will still respond in explosive ways. This is perfectly normal, and know that the work that you’re putting in will help to minimise how long the tantrums last, and reduce how explosive they might be.

Best of luck on your parenting journey!

Maariya

You can find more parenting tips as well as advice and support for mental health, productivity and lifestyle advice from Maariya in her You Tube Channel – Insightology.

For tips on how to help your child through the pandemic read our advice from a clinical psychologist.

Read more:

Parenting in the pandemic: the impact on new mothers

Top teething tips – the best ways to soothe your teething baby

7 ways to help your baby or toddler cope with the pandemic

Are you worried about how lockdown is affecting your baby or toddler’s mental health? If so, you’re not alone.

Recently there was a viral video of a little girl walking along the street, stopping every few steps to ‘clean her hands’.  It had the caption: ‘When your first year of life is 2020 was all about HAND SANITIZING’.

She’s adorable, as toddlers are when they copy what they see Mummy or Daddy do in their play. 
The video taps into one of the biggest things parents worry about right now, which is how growing up in a pandemic will affect our babies and toddlers.

Growing up in this ‘new normal’

The world our babies and toddlers are growing up in one where adults wear masks and keep their distance. It’s a world based within their own homes, where they only have their parents for company: a world where they only see Grandma and Grandad on Zoom or through a window.

In many ways it is one of the invisible costs of the pandemic. Will growing up in this strange new ‘normal’ have a lasting effect on our baby or toddler’s development and mental health?

Mums and dads are feeling the stress too

baby and toddler mental health

Living through a pandemic has taken its toll on us all. Some days feel OK but others feel rubbish. 

Parental guilt is not a new thing. Right now we are feeling it in spades, worrying about whether our children will pick up on our anxiety and if it will it damage them?

We always urge mums and dads to banish any guilt they feel. Right now – that’s even more important. 

One of the best things we can do to help our children is to take care of ourselves and make sure we are OK. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed at times. So when you do, take time to escape in whatever way you can. That might be taking a few deep breaths. Or it might be carving out time in your day to unwind in whatever way you can. 

Emily Tredget, from Team Happity says:

It is important to remember that in keeping our babies healthy and well, we need to first remember to keep ourselves healthy and well. Often we forget about ourselves, but like on an airplane, we need to put our oxygen mask on first.

Your baby and toddler’s mental health

Little ones don’t have the vocabulary or the emotional maturity to explain their feelings. Often they show you their feelings through their behaviour.

baby and toddlers mental health

You are enough!

One of the most important things to remember is that you are the centre of your baby or child’s world. Your love, time and attention is what they need. And it’s what will make them thrive. 

Lockdown days have a peculiar sense of time. Spending it together can benefit your child.  

You are enough. None of us expected to be parenting in a pandemic and we have to be kind to ourselves.

Top tips to help support your baby & toddler with their mental health:

  • When you pass people in the street on your daily walk say ‘Hello’, smile and wave. Chances are they’ll greet you back. Even though we’re all keeping a distance you will be teaching your child to welcome the people they meet in their day to day lives and showing them how friendly they are.
  • Welcome everyone who knocks on your door with a big smile and tell your child who they are and why they are at your door – whether it’s the postman delivering letters or the delivery man dropping off food. Even in a mask and at a safe distance they will more than likely enjoy getting such a warm welcome and chat to your little one.
  • Your baby or toddler often shows their feelings in their play. Watch what they do and join in. For example, if your toddler pretends a toy cat or dog is sad and needs care, get down and play along with them – talking about how the toy is feeling and how you both can help them feel better.
  • Verbalise their feelings. If your child is sad or withdrawn put their feelings into words. This shows that you understand and care. For example you might say: ‘I can see you feel cross right now because we can’t go out and play. Why don’t we choose a jigsaw or toy to play with together?’
  • Talk about the people you see in books and on TV. Focusing on how friendly they are and talking about all the kind people we meet, who help us.
  • Show your child photos of their extended family. Babies and toddlers are drawn to faces and can recognise them if you show them often. Say the names of your family as you point to the photos. Your baby and child might not get much out of a Zoom call or Facetime with Gran and Grandad but it’s another way of showing them the faces that will be an important part of their lives.
  • Join in online baby & toddler classes. We KNOW they’re not the same as face to face classes but they are the next best thing in lockdown. And your baby or toddler will be super engaged and love them. They also break up the long and lonely lockdown days for you too. Find loads to choose from and book them on Happity.

How to help your kids during the pandemic  

And a must-read for all parents: Keep calm and carry on (with Covid 19)

Gentle Journeys support parents in the early months of parenting. Find out how to access their support.

How many times have you had a bored little one on your hands and needed to find something that would keep them stimulated and engaged? Well, if you have ever found yourself googling for ideas, it’s very likely that the phrase “sensory bin ideas” has popped up at least once!

There are a lot of benefits to making a sensory bin for your child. Not only is it quick, cheap and easy, but you’re opening up your child to a whole new learning experience!

This weeks article has been written by a wonderful guest author, content creator at speech blubs: Liz Talton! Enjoy!


Sensory bins are an incredible way to introduce new textures and imaginative play for children. But for those kids with autism and sensory processing disorder, sensory bins are a useful form of therapy. If you have no clue about how to make sensory bins, there are easy sensory bins to get you started!

When I first started doing sensory bins for my son with autism, I had no idea what to put in a sensory bin. So, my research began! When researching sensory bin activities, I kept a couple of things in mind:

  1. I needed activities that introduced him to a variety of textures to desensitize him
  2. I needed the sensory bin activities to be as easy as possible

With those two points in mind, I have plenty of easy sensory bin ideas to get us started!

A small toddler playing with in a sand sensory bin

1.     Sensory bin idea, or doing the washing up?

For this sensory bin, take dish soap, water, and fill a plastic bin until the water is full of bubbles. 

Then add in plastic utensils and dishware (the kind of play toys that come with a plastic kitchen set). Have your child “wash the dishes” with a scrub brush. You can even extend this sensory bin activity to include a drying station with dish towels and a drying rack next to the sensory “washing” bin.

This is an amazing sensory activity because it combines a sensory experience with household tasks to teach early responsibility.

ideas for sensory play

2.     Shredded Paper Sensory Bin

Simply take some old bills through a shred machine, then take the shredded paper and place it in a plastic bin. Now, get creative! You can add plastic animals, trucks, cars, cups, and more. Although this is a simple ingredient sensory bin, your child will need a significant amount of imagination to play.

3.     Flour Pit

ideas for sensory play

Flour makes a terrific dry ingredient to add to any sensory bin activity. But to make it as simple as possible, just pour a desired amount of flour into a bin. The amount you want depends on the size of the container you are using. However, there should be enough flour for your child to make small piles with it.

This sensory bin is called “flour pit” because along with flour a child uses small construction vehicles for playing at a “construction site.”  

4.     Letter Hunt and Numbers Game

Letter hunt involves searching through a sensory bin for plastic letters or alphabet letters from a wooden puzzle. All you need to do is fill a container bin with one of the following dry ingredients:

  • Rice
  • Black beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Bowtie pasta

You can even color the rice ahead of time with food coloring, but always make sure the rice is completely dry before using it for a sensory activity.  Alternatively, you could add plastic numbers andhave your child retrieve the numbers in order. In other words, you can use this idea to create a counting game! For younger children, you can add the numbers 1 through 5 or 1 through 10 to make it simpler to complete the activity. 

While you can add visual stimulation with colored rice, the dry ingredients also make noise when moved to create hearing stimulation as well.

A baby/toddler enjoying a sensory bin with fish figurines and rice inside!

5.     Scoop and Pour

By the name of the sensory bin, you have probably guessed the activity. Simply add a dry ingredient like black beans, then give your child large plastic spoons and ladles along with an ice cube tray.  After that, all your child must do is scoop and pour the black beans into the ice cube tray. You can also do this same activity with your child’s favourite cereal. It will be completely taste-safe!

ideas for sensory play

6.   What a lot of “Smashing” Sensory bin ideas!

Speaking of cereal, another great activity is a “smashing” sensory bin. This activity is great for children needing help with fine motor skills or for kids who like destroying things! Take cereal like Cheerios or Fruit Loops and supply your child with a small plastic or metal hammer. Place the cereal into a plastic bin and instruct your child to smash each circle one at a time.

My son loves this activity. Mainly because he really enjoys destroying things and seeing how they are put together. 

This is an activity that allows him to appropriately destroy something. Plus, all the mess stays contained in a shallow plastic container. Three cheers for easy cleanup!

Your Child’s Interests Provide Fun Sensory Experiences

When you start learning about sensory bins, there is an overwhelming amount of information out there!  However, once you learn some key ingredients, add in your own creativity, and your child’s interests’ sensory bins become a fun multisensory experience for both you and your child.

If your child is on the autism spectrum or he/she has sensory processing disorder, sensory bins are an easy way to slowly expose your child to new sensory stimulation because they lessen an overreaction to sensory input. Plus, providing these experiences gives your child a healthy outlet to help manage anxiousness related to external sensory input.

About the Author

Liz Talton is a mom of 2 wonderful boys, has a Masters in Psychology. She advocates for her son with autism. That’s why she joined content creators at Speech Blubs, a speech therapy at-home app that helps many kids with speech difficulties produce first words and sounds.

Want some more ideas of what to do with your kids?

If you enjoyed this lovely article, perhaps you’d love some of our other blogs! We have a great collaborative blog, “A-Z of ideas to keep pre-schoolers entertained this Summer” that was made with the help of our lovely Parent hub facebook group. Or, if your little one has a birthday coming up, perhaps these birthday party ideas will help!

Hope you have fun with your brand new sensory bin ideas!