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Nannies & Parents keep your children safe on the Internet!

November 7, 2018 | Leave a Comment

With the online world becoming a prominent part of children’s lives today and the age of children using the internet is getting younger. Popular games on the internet are resulting in children becoming vulnerable when at home. Because of this, Harmony at Home have created this quick guide to keeping children safe online, as it is very important that both parents and nannies are aware of the possible internet misuse.

Varying concerns of child safety:

Communication between players when gaming: players can chat to each other via microphones, headsets and messaging. Children can talk to peers from school but can also talk to strangers. Although speaking over the internet can be innocent, it can lead to cyberbullying or sexual misuse by strangers.

In-app purchasing: children can easily purchase different products and game upgrades, such as ‘skins’, without realising they are spending money. Leading to large bills on parents’ accounts. Parents are no longer in control of their finances as innocent gaming can lead to large payments.

Addictive nature of the game: arguably children are staying up all night to play their game and falling asleep in lessons. It has been argued that long sessions of game play is due to games evolving and being able to play with friends. Resulting in children becoming addicted to the continually new elements of their favourite games.

When should you report internet misuse?

If you’re worried that your child is being groomed online or sexually exploited, you should report your concerns to CEOP.

It is not necessarily easy to spot the signs of your child being groomed/sexually exploited. Therefore if you have any concerns you should call 999 or contact CEOP as soon as possible.

You should always report to CEOP if your child is or has been in contact with someone who is:

  • Chatting online to your child about sex
  • Asking them to do sexual things
  • Asking to meet up if they’ve only met them online
  • Requesting sexual pictures
  • Forcing them into sexual activity
  • Making them feel unsafe

CEOP is a command of the National Crime Agency and can investigate what is happening – your children’s safety and wellbeing is paramount. You can make a report to CEOP using the CEOP Safety Centre. https://www.ceop.police.uk/safety-centre

FORTNITE

The current popular online game is Fortnite, the game gives you the option to play singular or as a duo. The aim of the game is to be the last person (or duo) standing in a post-apocalyptic world. Fortnite: Battle Royale, sees up to 100 players pitted against each other to stay alive on an island. Players can build and demolish structures, and collect weapons, supplies and armour to help them along the way. Players shoot each other using a range of lethal weapons, but the brightly-coloured, cartoon-style graphics and lack of bloodshed mean it doesn’t feel too gory or graphic.

To play, the age recommendation is 12 and above due to ‘mild violence’, although you don’t have to provide your age when creating an account, so younger children can still log on easily.

Fortnite: Battle Royale is free to download on PC/Mac, Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo Switch and iOS devices (Apple phones and tablets). It’s coming to Android soon.

It has about 45 million monthly users worldwide including the England football team, who reportedly played it in their World Cup downtime.

ROBLOX

Roblox is a popular online game, with players as young as 5 year olds. There are over 15 million games created by users, individuals can learn and play with their friends in a family-friendly, immersive, 3D environment. Roblox can be accessed on different devices, resulting in children being able to play with anyone wherever they are. Although family-friendly, there is always a chance that strangers can connect with younger children on these different devices.

How can I keep my children safe?

Parental controls on the gaming device: most devices have options to set time limits on game play, set age limits for content and also restrict those in-app purchases.

You can visit the website ‘ask about games’ for links to detailed instructions on the device your child uses – the site covers Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Apple and Android phones, and Nintendo Switch. Ask About Games

www.askaboutgames.com/advice/parental-controls

The battles in Fortnite roughly late 20 minutes. Having this idea on how long a game lasts means you can set time limits for matches rather than a set number of hours. Resulting in your children not fixating on how long they can play.

Turn off the voice chat feature: Speak to your child to make sure they know this feature exists and encourage them to use the options below if they encounter someone who is offensive or inappropriate.

You can disable the voice chat function in the game if you:

  • Open the settings menu (the 3 lines on the right-hand-side of the screen), then choose the ‘cog’ icon
  • Select the ‘audio’ tab
  • You should be able to turn off ‘voice chat’ by tapping the arrows next to it

You can also ‘mute’ individual players in the game by:

  • Pausing the game
  • Hovering over the player you wish to mute
  • Selecting the mute button (a loudspeaker icon)

Make sure your child knows how to report inappropriate behaviour:

You or your child can report players who make them uncomfortable using the in-game feedback tool (located in the main menu).

You can also use the ‘support’ section of the Epic Games site (the makers of Fortnite). You’re asked to select the platform you play the game on, the game mode you’re playing, and then you can select ‘report player’. You can provide more detail such as the player’s name and attach a screenshot.

Support, Epic Games

https://fortnitehelp.epicgames.com/customer/portal/emails/new?b_id=9729&q=email+us

What else can I do?

  • You can download and play the game to help you understand it
  • Talk to your child about what they’re doing online, and make sure they know they can talk to you about anything that has upset them
  • Check your bank statements and gaming system account balance regularly to look for in-app purchases you’re not happy with, and to make sure your child isn’t getting around any passwords you’ve set up

November is Safeguarding Month

November 1, 2018 | Leave a Comment

November is Safeguarding Month.

Nannies must follow child safeguarding guidelines, as it is important to ensure that all children are safe and protected correctly. Safeguarding guidelines are important among organisations, such as schools. However, it is just as important for nannies to understand the importance of safeguarding. Therefore, please help spread the word throughout November, to ensure that all children are protected and treated fairly throughout the UK.

Safeguarding means:

  • protecting children from abuse and maltreatment
  • preventing harm to children’s health or development
  • ensuring children grow up with the provision of safe and effective care
  • taking action to enable all children and young people to have the best outcomes

As well as this, nannies that are aware of the safeguarding guidelines can enhance child protection among individuals that have been identified as suffering from harm or preventing individuals suffering from harm.

We want to ensure that all nannies are aware of the importance of safeguarding and follow the guidelines set. There are many sites and resources to keep you in the loop about the proper procedure, one being the NSPCC website

Further your knowledge

Become Level 2 qualified and Harmony at Home accredited by completing our Child Protection training.

Support and promote Safeguarding throughout November

Furthermore, the West Sussex Safeguarding Children Board have created “What Safeguarding Children Means to me” speech bubbles. Print out the speech bubbles, take a picture of you and your speech bubble, send to the West Sussex board and these will be displayed throughout November to raise awareness. For more information, please follow the link >> http://www.westsussexscb.org.uk/2018/09/november-will-be-safeguarding-month/

Anti Bullying Week 2017

November 14, 2017 | Leave a Comment

We’re backing Anti-bullying Week 2017. It is being held between the 13th and 17th November and is organised by the Anti-Bullying Alliance.

You can follow this years’ Anti-bullying Weeks’ events, tips and articles with the following hashtags:
#AntiBullyingWeek #AllDifferentAllEqual @ABAonline

This year’s theme is ‘All Different, All Equal’ and we can celebrate what makes us #AllDifferentAllEqual

Why get involved in Dyslexia Awareness Week 2017?

October 1, 2017 | Leave a Comment

Dyslexia Awareness Week 2017

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

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

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

Early Diagnoses

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

Reasonable Adjustments

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

Information and Strategies

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

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

Please use the hashtag #positivedyslexia2017

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

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

Other Resources:

Barrington Stoke: Books in Dyslexia friendly fonts.

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

#positivedyslexia2017

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

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

Top Tips for Starting School

August 7, 2017 | Leave a Comment

Starting School

For children moving on to primary school it can understandably be a scary time. This is true for parents as well. Every child will have a different experience when it comes to starting school, so sometimes it can be helpful to have a ‘helping hand’ and some advice available.

Tips to help your child with the transition:

Change can be a big thing for children and starting school is a big one. It may help to start to discuss the topic of school sooner rather than later so they are aware of what to expect. To help ensure a smooth transition, have a go at:

Chatting to them about school

Ask them questions like, ‘are you looking forward to starting school?’, ‘do you have any questions?’ or ‘what are you most or least looking forward to?’. Talking to them will help them to understand what they can expect and helps to answer any questions they might have.

Reading books that are all about starting school

In preparation for the first day, have a look into some books that are about going/ starting school. These are great to read to your children over the holidays or at bed time. They are specifically designed for children to help them to understand the process of going to school.

Visiting the school

Arrange a few organised visits to the school . Visit with your child so they are able to get a feel for what it will be like before their first day.

Getting into the routine

A good way to ensure an easy transition into school is to implement a simple morning routine. Have a go at practicing getting up at a certain time, getting dressed into uniform, eating breakfast and leaving on time to help build up a strong routine. Then have a go at making the journey to school so they are able to see how long it will take. It will also give them the opportunity to see what the journey to and from school will be like each day.

Enjoying your time off together

Prior to your child starting school, make plans for the remainder of the days that you have off together. Especially if your child is feeling a little anxious or worried, by taking part in a few fun activities it can help them to focus their mind on other stuff.

Not getting over emotional 

Children easily pick up on emotions. If you are anxious or worried this is not going to help your child. It is normal to feel worried for your child’s first day of school but try to relax and remain calm. This hopefully should then reflect onto your child.

 

Are you first day prepared?

Checklist: A few things to ensure…

  1. Have you bought all the necessary school uniform and PE kit?
  2. Is all their uniform and equipment labelled to prevent confusion and things getting lost?
  3. Does you child need a lunch bag or box and if, so have you got one ready?  For your child’s new adventure, it may be nice for them to have a new lunch box that they have chosen them selves.
  4. Do you need any other equipment? For example: a bag, a book bag, any stationary.
  5. Do you know who is going to be taking and picking up your child from school each day? It is a good idea to let them know each day who is going to be doing the ‘school runs’. You may have arranged for a nanny or a child minder to collect them from school each day. It is extremely important that your child is aware so they know you to look out for at the end of the day. It is also a good idea to let the school teachers know, so they can help your child find their guardian.
  6. Do you know your roll? Do you have to drop them off at the gates or in their classroom?
  7. Are the school aware of any medical conditions? This is an absolute must! The school needs to be aware of any medication to be administrated or what to do in case of an emergency.
  8. Does the school have your most recent contact information? An essential thing that needs to be done whenever you change or update your mobile number or email.

Make the Transition easier

Starting school for some children, will mark the first step to independence. For others it might just be a simple transition from Nursery to Primary School. You may be worried that your child may struggle to cope with the independence and not having you there to help carry out daily tasks.

To make the transition easier, make the necessary adjustments sooner rather than later. Have a go at practicing the tasks that you find your child struggles with in preparation for their big day. For example:

  • Going to the toilet
  • Washing and drying their hands
  • Opening their lunch box/ water bottle
  • Getting dressed after PE lessons.

Tackle any issues prior to their big day. This can help with any worry or anxiousness they might be having.

Starting school is undoubtedly a huge step. However, it is also a hugely exciting time as well. Make sure that your child has everything ready for their first day and all questions that they may have, have been answered. Enjoy the summer break and good luck to all children and parents kicking off this new adventure in September.

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

We are supporting Anti Bullying Week!

November 17, 2016 | Leave a Comment

Anti-bullying Week 2016 is being held between the 14th and 18th November with the theme ‘power for good’ and is organised by Anti-Bullying Alliance.

You can follow the Anti-bullying Weeks’ events, tips and articles with the following hashtags:
#antibullyingweek #powerforgood

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Do you Know how to help Children Love to Read?

November 4, 2016 | Leave a Comment

For the next couple of weeks the BBC’s LovetoRead campaign will be taking place and the time to start reading is now. The LovetoRead campaign promotes and encourages us to read. And for children, this is an important skill to learn and to continue with their development.  Reading is an important life skill that we must all know and on the weekend, the 5th and 6th of November, the LovetoRead weekend will arrive and the opportunity to stop what you’re doing, sit down, relax and read a book you enjoy will be here. Over the course of this campaign, it will be celebrated by many different platforms such as TV, where programmes on Saturdays on BBC 2 will be ‘Books Nights’ which shall involve reading and viewing different authors and much more. Also on radio 2, there will be a host of Authors spending time on the radio talking about their individual books and the enjoyment of reading and there will also be a social media campaign where you can communicate with fellow book readers and make or receive suggestions on books.

Here is a list of our top 5 books for Babies and Toddlers

  1. Dear Zoo – A child friendly book that allows children to lift up the flaps to discover the different animals the zoo has sent with colourful sketches and intriguing animals.
  2. Can’t you sleep little bear? – A lovely illustrated book that tells a story of how big bear cares for little bear who is struggling to sleep
  3. The Gruffalo – An intriguing story of when a mouse came face to face with different animals including a Gruffalo. With Strong colours and a clever story
  4. Dr Seuss’s ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book! – A beginning into the world of the alphabet where imagery and creativity is used to begin the learning of the alphabet
  5. Winnie-the-Pooh – In this classic tale of Winnie-the-Pooh, follow the journey to the North Pole with the other animals in this visually stunning and fun story.

Here is a list of our top 5 books for Pre-schoolers/Primary School Children

  1. Don’t be Horrid, Henry! – In this fun tale of Horrid Henry when Perfect Peter is born, Horrid Henry is trying his best to get rid of him but not succeeding. This book is perfect for early readers, with fun pictures.
  2. Mr Tickle – This funny book is perfect for early readers looking for a challenge while having some fun enjoying the comedy and images of Mr Tickle
  3. Fantastic Mr Fox – This challenging book will really push your child’s reading skills with an interesting tale of “farmer versus vermin”
  4. Mary Poppins – The classic Story of Mary Poppins, a special nanny that uses the art of magic to make this story a very exciting read, this story is one to really intrigue your child and further their skills in reading.
  5. Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone – In this incredibly popular story that follows the character Harry Potter on his adventure into his First Year at Hogwarts. A much more difficult read but one that will sure improve your child’s reading skills and challenge them to a much longer book.

Harmony at Home Limited. All Rights Reserved, 2016

readers

Are you Big School Ready?

August 14, 2016 | Leave a Comment

Be Big School Ready with our Guide

Starting school is a new experience that everyone, child or parent, experience in a different way. No school journey is the same and therefore you sometimes need a helping hand when starting the process. If you have never experienced your child starting school for the first time, then this guide is a quick and easy great read for you.

School being a positive topic of conversation

Some children struggle with change; understandably school transitioning is a difficult time.  However, the process of change can be simple and easier to deal with if they are tackled with early, by making the topic of school a daily or weekly positive conversation within your household through many different activities.

Here are six simple yet useful tips:

  1. Changing their bed time book to their new school’s brochure. Creating excitement and a positive image, just like a bed time story.
  2. Highlighting that their friends from Pre-school or childminders are going to be there, and discuss all the fun things they will be able to play with together. Demonstrating that there isn’t going to be a massive change
  3. Create a game out of their new morning routine: waking up, having breakfast and getting dressed into their new uniform. This means they are practicing their new routine but it is also made fun & exciting
  4. Ask them questions- How do they feel about school? Are there any concerns or worries? & even better, let them ask you questions. But make sure you don’t display signs of nervousness, as they will pick up on that.
  5. Start discussing the school transition early, starting sooner rather than later means the move is less drastic. Plus, it makes the future change easier for both of you to get prepared for and used to.
  6. Look back at old photos of yourself at school or their older siblings- demonstrating that everyone has to go to school and that everyone has fun

Be Prepared

If your child has never attended childcare or pre-school before going to big school, they may struggle with the adjustments of not relying on their parents all the time. To make the adjustments easier, you can focus on and practice the hardest tasks:

  1. Lunch Time- Whether they have packed lunches or canteen, spend time practicing feeding themselves. If they are going to have a lunch box, make lunch at home fun by letting them have their lunch out of their new and exciting lunch boxes
  2. Washing & Drying Hands- Make sure to highlight hand washing, school is busy and a rush therefore highlighting hand washing is important as they will very easily forget during the excitement of new friends and lunch time, especially if their mum isn’t nagging them to wash their hands!
  3. Using the Toilet- Spend time practicing the easiest and most efficient way of going to the toilet, e.g. undressing and re-dressing themselves, and wiping correctly
  4. Personal Hygiene- Discussing simple things like using a tissue when they have a runny nose or sneeze and putting their hand over their mouth when they cough. Plus, washing their hands after blowing their nose, sneezing and going to the toilet
  5. Keeping Tidy- Tidying up at the end of the day, or before lunch will be an important part of their first few years at school. Therefore, emphasizing keeping their bedrooms clean or tidying up their toys at the end of the day is an easy way to ease them into cleaning up after themselves at school
  6. Responsibilities- As they get closer to school, you could start giving them little jobs around the house to highlight their importance and also to show them that they will have to help others when at school
  7. Getting Dressed- Learning to get dressed without their parent’s help is very important as they will have physical education some days and therefore will need to be able to get themselves ready quickly.

Therefore, spending time teaching them how to get dressed is very important and can be done when they are practicing their new morning routine (in the section above)

Your own ‘Personal Survival Checklist’ for the weeks ahead

  1. Knowing drop-off and pick-up times
  2. Where the drop-off and pick-up points are
  3. Who is picking up and dropping off your child: if you have a childminder do they know that they are doing school runs, and does your child know who will be picking them up. In the first few weeks, teachers will be very aware of who is picking up and dropping off their pupils. Therefore, its best to also make sure they are aware that multiple different people will be collecting/dropping-off your child.
  4. Do you have all the necessary equipment and uniform- PE Kit, book bag, enough school uniform etc.
  5. Do you know if school canteen is provided or if your child has to take their own lunch? If you have to provide a lunch, do you have a lunch box ready and are you aware of other school children having allergies and therefore are aware of foods you can and cannot pack in their lunchbox.
  6. Is everything name ready? Making sure every piece of uniform and equipment has your child’s surname on it is a great way of making sure nothing of theirs gets lost or taken by another pupil by accident. – this is also a great way of helping your child learn their own name, and can be something you practice over time.
  7. Finally, do you know what day school starts and what time? Some school’s may do half days to settle their pupils in, therefore make sure your work timetable is ready for the first few weeks ahead

What to Expect During the First Few Weeks

Every child reacts differently in their first few weeks, so there are different things you could expect:

  • Influenced by Other Children-

As they are starting a new school and meeting new children, they can easily be influenced by other children and therefore be prepared for answering back or saying things they would never normally say. But you can nip this in the bud by highlighting the fact that this behavior is not tolerated at home etc. If their behavior is really worrying you, feel free to go into school and speak to their teacher about these changes.

  • Expect Behavior Change-

Some children may find it difficult to deal with the transition of being away from their parents for a long period of time. So be prepared for your child to become clingy and upset in the mornings when saying good bye, or not wanting to get up and get ready for school.

  • Finally, remember to keep an open mind and be prepared for all different eventualities.

Remember that every child reacts differently to big school and some will find it easier than others, but if your child is struggling, don’t let this stress you out as over time they will quickly adapt and fit in well.

Harmony at Home Limited. All Rights Reserved, 2016

be big school ready school holiday nanny, afterschool nanny childcare london

Once upon a time….

January 22, 2016 | Leave a Comment

The Ancient Roots of Bedtime Stories

Next time you settle down to read a bedtime story to your child, you might want to reflect on the following tale….

Once upon a time, in a language now long extinct, your ancient ancestors may have shared the same, or very similar tales with their own children, as they huddled together around an open fire.

Results from a study, published this week, suggest that some of our most popular folktales, such as Beauty and the Beast and Jack and the Beanstalk, have ancient roots (pardon the pun!) which may date back to the Bronze Age—when giant beanstalks covered vast swathes of Europe! For many researchers this is a surprising result; as, previously, most traditional folktales were thought to have originated in the 16th and 17th centuries. However, these results point to an ancient oral tradition in which stories have been passed from one generation to the next for up to six thousand years. Although the characters and settings of the stories may have changed, the plots have remained largely intact; despite a huge diversification in the languages and cultures that now share them. It’s only in relatively recent times that these stories have been finally committed to paper.

As well as the great cultural and historical significance of this finding, folktales also have an important educational value. For example, storytelling is well known to have an important positive influence on language development and comprehension among young children. Many folktales also carry a strong moral message. For this reason, they continue to provide a huge source of inspiration to modern authors. For example, the plot of the Gruffalo is derived from a folktale from China. In an age of rapid social change and technological progress, it is comforting to know that the weird and wonderful imaginings of our ancient ancestors can still educate and entertain and, in some cases, scare the living daylights out of 21st century children!

Reference

Sara Graça da Silva, Jamshid J. Tehrani, 2016. Comparative phylogenetic analyses uncover the ancient roots of Indo-European folktales. Royal Society Open Science.

Rob Hodgkison, Harmony at Home Ltd. All rights reserved, 2016.

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Government Consultation

January 15, 2016 | Leave a Comment

Wraparound Childcare and Holiday Clubs

Our recent article, Childcare Information for Parents, highlighted the lack of information currently available to parents regarding wraparound care (before and after school) and children’s holiday clubs. In both cases, this is largely down to a lack of provision. Well, perhaps someone in government has been listening, as the Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, has since announced a consultation in this area, which could give parents the ‘right to request’ wraparound childcare and holiday care for all children from Reception to Year 9. In order to help deliver on this request, childcare providers would have the ‘right to request’ the use of school facilities and buildings when the school is not using them.

The government is currently seeking the views of parents, carers and schools in order to help formulate their plans. Therefore, if you would like to contribute your views, please use the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/wraparound-and-holiday-childcare

This consultation continues until the 29th of February 2016.

Rob Hodgkison, Harmony at Home Ltd. All rights reserved, 2016.2015-10-25 12.39.07

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