Helping your child to develop confidence in the water

It’s always great fun to get outdoors in the summertime, when the weather is hot and you can visit the beach with your family and cool off. Armed with your latest swimwear outfit, sunscreen, hat and beach umbrella… plus your children, you can look forward to relaxing while your kids are swimming at the water’s edge.

However, if your baby hasn’t had baby swim lessons, or your child hasn’t learnt water safety skills or attended a swim school, jumping into the water when they’ve never been to swimming classes, can be fraught with danger.


How to build water confidence in your child

Water safely is paramount if you own a swimming pool or if you visit other people’s pools or public swimming pools or aquatic centres. You need to arm yourself with a water safety plan, so you are well aware of the dangers around children swimming.

Adult supervision is very important as swimming pools can be extremely dangerous for adults and especially children. All children, from a very early age should participate in baby swim or in a learn-to-swim swimming program so they feel water confident when swimming.

However, even if you child or toddler participates in regular swimming lessons, guardians or parents need to be very alert and vigilant about water safety when children are swimming in the backyard pool.

Parents should never leave a child unattended in a swimming pool, bath or dam.

Swimming pools are dangerous places for children and toddlers. There is always a possibility for children to drown in backyard pools if unsupervised.

All parents or guardians who have swimming pools should learn CPR skills to safeguard their children and others when they are swimming at the beach or in a swimming pool.

Most swimming pool drownings of children generally happen when there are no adults in supervision. Even if children have had swimming lessons an adult should always be present during swimming activities.

When children learn water safety skills at their local aquatic centre, they will not only become water confident but will develop a lifelong skill that they can enjoy They can encourage others to participate in swimming lessons also.

Child Safety Around Water

Even if children are attending regular swimming lessons, parents still need to be vigilant about water safety at home. Children need to be continuously and actively supervised by a capable supervisor when in or near water. Never leave children unsupervised, especially in baths. The presence of other children or the use of flotation devices should not take the place of active adult supervision. For children under the age of five, this means being within arm’s reach at all times.

Plan and Prepare for Water Safety…

  • Install secure fencing around swimming pools
  • Install CPR and a Resuscitation Sign in pool area
  • Parents need to upgrade their swimming skills
  • Never swim alone in a pool or at the beach
  • Vigilantly supervise children when they are swimming
  • Never be distracted by a phone call at a pool
  • Learn CPR skills as it may save a life



2        LEARN CPR



5        DON’T SWIM ALONE.


It’s essential that kids have swimming lessons

Swimming pools are a lovely addition to any home. However, if you have a swimming pool and you are not a proficient swimmer, you need to take adult swimming classes… and also enrol your children into swimming classes.

Adult swimming lessons as well as swimming lessons for kids are generally available at your local aquatic centre.  

Make sure your young baby has baby swimming lessons also and that everyone is aware of the water safety rules. Baby swim classes are widely available during the day and are a must for saving young children’s lives when near water.

Swim centres offer learn-to-swim lessons to the community to assist in getting babies into the pool early. They have programs that can develop skills that could save their lives. Some swim schools offer free lessons for babies 3 to 6 months old, and structured lessons for all age groups, including adults, allowing them to progress into competitive or fitness squads. Some schools also offer free CPR training to parents.

So, the sooner you enrol your baby or toddler into a swim school program at the local aquatic centre, the earlier they will learn to swim and reap the health benefit of swimming classes.

It’s an easy skill to learn and can save a life!

Not only do children need to start swimming lessons early, but they also need to continue lessons throughout their primary years. It might get challenging, but swimming is a life or death skill, especially in a beach-oriented lifestyle. Children should not only learn to swim but should become strong swimmers


Swimming is a life skill… once learnt you have it for life.

Every child needs to develop swimming confidence

Swimming strengthens a baby or toddler’s self-esteem when they learn to swim early in life as it helps them overcome the fear of water. When children participate in regular swimming lessons, they gain confidence quickly and are more willing to take on more difficult swimming challenges. As they watch other people swimming, learning new swimming techniques in the same class, they are more likely to have a go also.

When children become involved in an aquatic centre swimming program, having regular swimming lessons they learn to swim far more quickly, and their swimming confidence grows quite rapidly.

Therefore, the earlier children have swimming lessons the better. They will not only develop new physical abilities, but it will greatly improve their cognitive abilities, mood, health and wellbeing.

Swimming is an important life skill, so the earlier you book your child into a swim school, where they learn freestyle swimming, backstroke or butterfly swimming techniques the better.  They could then become part of a swimming team, helping others to learn to swim also.




The benefit of a swimming exercise program with a swim kids club is that it a great way for children to have lots of fun, meet new friends while swimming and at the same time strengthening their muscles.

Developing and building friendships at a local aquatic centre keeps children socially engaged and strengthens their health and wellbeing. Being socially engaged increases their self esteem as well helping them feel important.

When children join a swimming team at a swim club they can participate in a competitive swimming program or develop more skilled swimming techniques at different swimming levels to improve their swimming techniques.



Swimming is one of the best ways to keep fit, not only for toddlers and children but for adults as well. Those who participate in swimming exercise gain so many health benefits as it helps keep their muscles strong and flexible, increases lung capacity and keeps the heart strong and healthy.

When wearing the correct swimwear, swim workouts while swimming in the ocean, doing open water swimming sports at your local aquatic centre, using the lap pool, applying different swimming techniques are all excellent ways to keep the body fit and healthy.

Some public swimming pools offer different lap pool lanes for varying swimming proficiency levels to practise and improve freestyle swimming skills.

Swimming classes are an excellent way for kids to keep fit and healthy as it improves the heart and develops lung capacity. Many kids who are overweight try swimming for weight loss, as it helps stabilize their weight while improving their health. The more kids are involved in a swim school program, the fitter they will be.

Older people often engage in low impact swim workouts, exercising the joints while keeping them moving freely.  Many doctors recommend low impact swimming classes for a quicker recovery to many sport injuries, especially knee joints.


Beaches are always great places to visit or camp nearby when on holidays and swimming is such a fun thing to do while at the beach. When children participate in a swimming program, swimming lessons or just swimming in the ocean, children will always enjoy themselves more with their friends and family.

Kids building sandcastles on the beach, jumping waves, practising their surfing and swimming skills, become fitter, happier and healthier children. They will be exercising, making new friends, while having lots of fun… and creating memories.


Swimming is a wonderful sport that can fit into most lifestyles and can be used to keep fit and active at any age. Swimming can also be included in many other sports such as water polo, surfing, lifesaving, scuba-diving and triathlon.

In Australia, swimming is not only a sport, it’s a way of life… it’s in our DNA.

Australians spend a great deal of time around water. Learning to swim is a life skill, and children who can swim are 70 to 80% less likely to drown. The Australian Water Safety Council’s aim is for 100% of children to be able to achieve a base level of swimming and survival skills before leaving primary school.

So, enrol your child in a swim school program!

Read more about Child Health and Nutrition

Music Education for Children

music education

Music and your Child’s Education

For kick-starting your child’s music education, probably the easiest instrument to learn is the guitar.  Your child can learn to read music while they gain satisfaction from guitar playing. 

But they may prefer to play the piano and desire keyboard lessons.  The piano may not be the easiest instrument to play, but will be very useful in teaching music and musical appreciation.

Ukulele playing is another way in which kids can learn music.  So why not help them to learn ukulele, along with keyboard lessons.

Yamaha Music Schools

Yamaha Music Schools are in many states and are set up for teaching music to young children.

If you help your kids to learn music, it will benefit their overall development in many ways.

Teach Children Singing

It’s always enjoyable to hear kids sing.

To teach children singing is also a good way to develop their musical appreciation. 

If you find a suitable song to sing to baby, you will cultivate musical interest from a very early age. 

Our Story

When choosing a school for our two children, I looked around.  As well as having a good all-round education program, the school needed to have an exercise program, a sports program… and they needed to have music. The school that I chose was one that had classes in musical instruments. The children could choose an instrument for themselves.  There was an opportunity for our children to learn an instrument at school and participate in the orchestra.

The school was very much orientated to the arts.  We felt that this was important for our children.  It was a child centred school with a broad music program, and we felt this also was important for our children’s education.

The school’s singing program included various singing groups.  The school had choirs of different levels and they held competitions between singing groups. Our girls were very much involved in the school choir, as well as the smaller singing groups.  This was a great learning experience for them.

Your Child’s Music Education

To get your children singing, they too could become part of a choir. Or they could look for the easiest instrument to learn and have a lesson once a week at the school. 

They could learn to read music.  They could have guitar lessons or learn to play the piano.  Our children learned the saxophone and the flute.  They learned to read music and played in the school orchestra. 

Music Education at Home

Your family might be musically orientated, so allowing your children to experiment, see what instrument that they might like to play, provides the opportunity to expand their talent right into adulthood. You may, as a parent or guardian, play an instrument at home, and you could teach your children an easy guitar riff or basic chord piano playing.   

Besides having the opportunity to play a particular musical instrument, it’s important, for an all-round education, for children to be able to appreciate music, listen to relaxing music and find the music that they enjoy most.

To learn piano or learn guitar?

You might find that your kids are particularly orientated towards guitar playing or perhaps the drums.

Or they might like to learn piano.  Give them the opportunity to have some lessons, see where their talents lie and expand their music education.  

Learning an instrument is just as important as learning a sport activity. It gives the child a sense of pride in knowing that they have achieved something in themselves.

Or they might be in a singing group or a choir. This opens up avenues to them whereby they can present their particular talent to an audience and this is good for their self-esteem and their overall well-being.

They might love to sing and their singing needs to be developed. Their voices can be developed. Singing and being in a choir is very good for their overall development. … and they have a lot of fun together.  Playing any type of music, if it’s done in an organised group activity, will introduce them to new friends and they might form great bonds of friendship that can last a lifetime.

Choosing the Best School For Your Child’s Music Education

When choosing the right school for your children, you need to look for a school that’s heavily orientated around education, music, sport, the arts and the fun and enjoyment of mixing with lots of friends while gaining a good education.

Remember that when learning an instrument, children get to know others and mix with friends, which is good for their social interaction with other children.

Benefits of Music Education

Music education is important for building a child’s self-esteem, their character and their general health and well-being.  Music helps them to become more confident. They will enjoy playing on their own and can present solo performances, participate in choirs, and play musical instruments at school and at home.  

All of these activities will build their self-confidence and give them a great sense of self-respect.   

So, teach them to read music.  Commence the guitar lessons.  Buy them a piano to play and get your children singing.

Learn more about Child Education

Teaching Your Children Cooking

children cooking

Kids love to cook, and teaching them to cook from an early age introduces them to a variety of different foods so they develop a greater appreciation of taste, feel, size, and smell when preparing fresh food and when enjoying the results of their efforts.  Kids are more likely to eat what they have cooked themselves and are more willing to try a wider variety of foods.

children cooking

The best way to teach kids how to cook and encourage their love of good food is to let them help in the kitchen from an early age.  Children will have a better understanding of food and how it’s prepared.  You never know, by getting junior cooking early, your child may become a kid chef in the family.  Also, allowing kids in the kitchen expands their language skills around words such as simmer, sauté and blend.  If you are teaching a child baking, they will need to learn safety and the very important aspect of hygiene.  

Teaching children cooking empowers them with better knowledge of where their food comes from, which foods come fresh and why some foods need to be stored in a fridge.  Getting children cooking helps them understand which foods come in tins, bottles, in a spice jar and what foods are bought fresh.

A simple meal that’s an easy dinner for kids to cook may become a regular routine, eating food kids can make.  And keeping junior cooking will develop his skills for the long term. One recipe that would characterize easy cooking for kids, as well as being snacks kids can make, would be kids cookie biscuits that could well become a favorite.


Some parents don’t allow their kids in the kitchen, however there are several ways to teach your child baking.  It’s even possible to teach baking for toddlers to learn to make simple meals.  If you play at cooking with toddlers, you never know, your child may quickly develop into a kid chef.  Cooking with pre-schoolers can be fun and they are sure to learn some basics as they watch you in the kitchen.

You can allow older kids in the kitchen to participate when you are cooking, while making an easy dinner for kids to eat (or a quick healthy kids dinner).  This shows them how delicious, healthy, quick and easy kids’ meals can be made.

As an educational program, many schools have kitchen gardens, so kids can learn about cooking using the herbs and spices fresh from the school garden.  If the school also has a cooking program, teachers can explain the benefits of certain foods as the children are involved in choosing the plants to use in cooking.

Vegetable Garden

Cooking encourages children to eat healthy meals as well as experiment while being creative.

Cooking Class



You may wonder what would be an easy dinner for kids to learn to cook or what would be the best cookbook for kids to use to learn how to cook.   It may not even be necessary to use a cookbook for kids to follow, as they may be able to learn to follow simple recipes that you may already know.  Kids love to cook. It’s simply a matter of finding food kids can make.

How are you going to get junior cooking?  Why not start with a simple breakfast kids can make.  Your kids cook real food, even if they are simply boiling an egg.  

Further down the track, you may let your kids cook dinner.  But before that, there are many simple lunches kids can make.  There are even some recipes kids can make on their own.  If you decide to teach your children cooking, they will have a skill for life.

When kids cook real food in the kitchen, they will no doubt like their food better, but will also understand where food comes from and how its prepared.  Getting children cooking may even help them to develop their own recipes kids can make on their own.  Simple things kids can cook are kids’ cookie recipes. (Why not teach your kids cookie baking).

Kids love to cook but first they need guidance and proper safety instructions, before starting.

They will need to…

  • Wash hands properly before preparing the kitchen space ready for cooking.
  • Find the stool for standing on, putting on the all-important apron.
  • Tie their hair back.
  • Find the correct mixing bowl, tray for oven baking, oven safety gloves, spoon for mixing, kids cookie cutter… all before starting.  
  • Start collecting all the basic ingredients for things kids can cook.  
  • Measure the correct cup quantities of flour, butter, eggs, sugar, sultanas and cornflakes.

Children cooking need to have clean hands, a clean bench top for preparing easy food kids can make and always clean up hands and the kitchen when child baking is finished.

With the increased interest (these days) in eating healthy foods, there are more kids in the kitchen cooking than in previous generations.  Kids are coming up with their very own family recipes while taking on more responsibilities in the kitchen. Some of these kids can be encouraged to develop their own children’s cookbooks with many recipes that are easy cooking for kids to tackle, plus an easy dinner for kids to follow and understand.

Many children find that cooking develops more responsibility which in turn DEVELOPS THEIR SELF-ESTEEM.  With more kids in the kitchen, new skills are being learnt, new responsibilities are being taken on, as they are also developing their own creative new skills such as cutting, mixing, weighing and cooking different foods.

All kids love to cook, they just need guidance and proper safety instructions before starting.


Safety in the kitchen is paramount when anyone is cooking… especially when using sharp knives, hot water and steam from cooking vegetables, ovens and other equipment. It is always recommended that every kitchen have a Fire Safety Blanket.

So, children cooking always need supervision. Kids need guidelines and rules about which pots, pans and utensils they can use.



Food safety guidelines for children cooking

1 Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water

2 Tie hair back, perhaps wear a cap, apron and gloves

3 Food surface cleanliness, for food preparation

4 Teach knife safety and utensils and which ones to use

5 Separation of raw meat poultry, seafood with fresh food

7 Teach cooking equipment, oven and utensil safety

Tip: Remind children cooking to wait until food is cooked before sampling.

With children cooking, they will soon develop a love of food and better appreciate the effort involved in the preparation of a delicious meal.  And remember, make it fun.  Take lots of pictures and create memories for you and your children to cherish!

So what are things that kids can cook?  Quick and healthy kids’ dinner recipes are a great place to start.

Here are some ideas for Easy Meals Kids Can Make

If you would like to learn from Jamie Oliver cooking with kids, click here…

Read more about Fun Activities for Kids

Image of fun activity

Home Schooling

easy peasy homeschool

Home Schooling

The Challenge for Parents and Children

Due to the Covid-19 Virus, home schooling has been thrust upon many parents and teachers for the first time and this can be very challenging for many.  Often, space in the home becomes a premium, along with quiet places to think clearly without disruption or distraction.

home schooling

When both parents are also working from home and also have work requirements… zoom calls plus important emails, reports and deadlines to attend to, dealing with young children or teenagers can all become very challenging.

Teachers at school are also finding their feet when preparing home-school schedules and sending out multiple home-school transcripts across their varying student classes.

Learning from home also creates challenges for children in staying connected with their friends, as well as learning and developing socially.  For some children, distant learning creates feelings of isolation, not being able to have the usual fun and sport activities that they would have when playing with their friends at school.  However, home schooling or remote learning can constitute creative and fun learning experiences for children as they may well pursue new interests and overcome challenges when faced with home-schooling requirements.

Learning from home will no doubt enable them to develop initiative, be creative and be more responsible.  Home-schooled kids often develop and take on more responsibilities around the home.  These new skills might be growing some vegetables at home, helping in the kitchen or perhaps creating fun projects for themselves and other members of the family or their friends on line.

homeschool curriculum



Children learn best with structure, routine and clear guidelines about what is expected of them.  This helps builds confidence and feelings of security, which avoids uncertainty and makes for fewer upsets.

1 Create a warm and pleasant atmosphere

2 Be your child’s coach, with lots of encouragement

3 Focus on effort, with words of affirmation

4 Build confidence

5 Be gentle and allow feelings to be expressed

6 Allow for the challenging moments

7 Focus on the positives and building relationships

all in one homeschool


Whether you have young children, teenagers or uni students at home… whatever age, home-schooling can take time to adjust to.  When distant learning, everyone needs a routine to follow, to keep in the swing of things.

Therefore, it’s best to create a family routine.  The result will be …

better concentration,

less chance of distraction,

developing better learning abilities,

a positive impact on your child’s education.

Children can more easily study from home with a simple home-school routine. Keep the same routine.  Get up at the same time each day.  Get the kids up and dressed.

At the time that school would normally start, ensure that the kids get their books out or computers at the kitchen table or the study desks.

Tip.. Set firm limits but don’t be too strict.  Eg “You can’t use your iPad until your work is done”.


simply homeschool

1 Establish good habits

2 Organise your desk, books, computer etc

3 Get up at the same time each day

4 Always get dressed

5 Be ready to start the school home program

6 Schools have been preparing materials around the curriculum, so follow their guide.   Create a chart for what is expected from school

7 Establish regular breaks with the usual snacks and drinks

8 Allow regular play and free time activities. Children work best in the mornings…  concentration levels wane towards the afternoon

9 Discuss schoolwork and how it fits into everyday life.  Children love helping and being involved and learning practical skills.  For small children, it might be a practical maths lesson… “2 eggs plus 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup of dates, 1/2 cup melted butter, 2 cups of crushed biscuits = how many cups?”   Cook and eat the yummy result.

10 Keep the same routine for each day around the school learning time. This will be easier for children, when they go back to formal classes at school, to more easily slot back into the school timetable.

11 Set firm limits, but allow lots of fun activities, relaxation and family time.

12 Be prepared to make some sacrifices but more importantly, build family relationships and have lots of fun.

learning from home

It’s very important that children continue with their education, even though learning from home may be challenging for everyone.  Parents may be required to assist their children when following the home-school curriculum program.  However they are not expected to become a home-school teacher, but merely to guide and encourage their children as they follow the home-school schedules.

Read more about Child Education

Teaching your Child to Read

Reading to your child

Sometimes the best thing you can do for your child’s early literacy development is simply to let them play. Turn off the TV and anything battery operated then let your child pick up their toys, build blocks or duplos, or manipulate puzzles or game pieces. Not only are you giving your child the gift of childhood, something we so often fail to do in today’s hectic, achievement-oriented world, but you are actually helping them build skills that are key to learning to read and write.

Hand-eye coordination is a necessary skill for written language and the best way to help your child develop this skill is to let them play with toys and activities that involve looking at, using, and discriminating a number of elements. Puzzles are obviously a great activity for this but so are manipulative toys such as blocks and Lego.

My son just spent over an hour this evening playing dominoes with his father — OK they weren’t so much playing as setting up complex patterns and then knocking them down — but I didn’t tell them they were engaged in a pre-literacy activity. They were just having fun together.

Studies have shown that spending time on hand-eye coordination activities improves children’s ability to learn to read and lessens the difficulty they face during the process. In fact engaging in a variety of craft activities, which most kids love, can be very beneficial so add play dough, stickers, and glue sticks to your list of educational supplies.

Research shows that early practice of hand-eye coordination activities reduces the risk for reading difficulties.

Activities to Encourage

Reading activities

Puzzles help develop hand-eye coordination because learning to control hands and fingers according to information received from sight is a coordination skill that aids children in early attempts at reading and writing.  Determining which piece goes where, working to fit pieces into place by making adjustments, and seeing a sequence develop in an organized pattern can be a great learning experience as well as very satisfying for children.

Puzzles, matching games, and the like are also important to help children learn visual discrimination. Visual discrimination is the ability of the brain to quickly tell the difference among visually similar letters, like “p,” “b,” and “q” or between words such as “was” and “saw.” Students with difficulty making these distinctions often struggle with learning to read, write, and spell. Playing games, engaging in activities, or with toys that help children discriminate among similar objects can be fun for the child and help them master an important preliteracy skill. My son loves to help his father sort change before rolling it to be deposited at the bank. Sure, we could use an electronic sorter but our son loves to engage in the activity and it is a valuable learning experience for him.

Visual discrimination can often be learned with your child’s existing toys. Matchbox cars, dolls, and action figures all offer the opportunity for your child to learn visual discrimination.

Encourage children to work their wrist and finger muscles as well as work on their coordination and small-motor skills to help prepare them for the handwriting practice in their future. Activities to help with these goals include legos and other building sets, playdough, puzzles, pegboards, beads and other table toys. These fun, natural activities help children improve their cognitive and fine motor skills without frustration or boredom.

My son engages in many activities every day that encourage hand-eye coordination and visual discrimination. I don’t suggest the activities to him.  I make the toys and manipulatives available to him and he chooses them on his own. The activities vary he may go an entire week building and rebuilding his wooden train set every day and then the next week his Magnetix set dominates his play time.  Some days he plays with both together and pulls in his Duplos and wooden blocks for added fun.  It doesn’t matter to me which activity he chooses because I know he is having fun, challenging his imagination and learning.

Discover more ideas for hand-eye activities for children