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Cooking for Toddlers and Babies isn’t That Hard!

Meal time can be fun!

We as parents will never be happy. When babies don't eat, we worry. When babies do eat we worry again because they don't eat the right things. When they eat the right things, they eat too much or not enough!

One very wise doctor once told me: "Children will never starve themselves". Needless to say, he told me this when I was complaining to him that my toddler daughter keeps throwing up food that was not pureed into the smoothest paste imaginable. ?She is 14 now, she did not starve. ?

I would love to share some recipes that my children loved eating when they were little. You can freeze these. One recipe that I still make is the spinach recipe and my children love it even now. I do, however, serve it with mashed potatoes and a fried egg but hey, they re eating spinach so I won't  complain. ?Each of these would also make a great side dish and if your toddlers can help you cook these, even better.

See in The Dark Puree

6-7 MONTHS  MAKES 6 PORTIONS COOKING TIME: 24 MINUTES SUITABLE FOR FREEZING

1 small onion, sliced 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 pound carrots, peeled and chopped 1½ cups Vegetable or Chicken Stock (see pages 124 and 125) ¼ cup orange juice

Sauté the onion in the butter until softened. Add the carrots and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes. Pour in the stock, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the carrots are tender. Add the orange juice and puree in a blender.  Food fact: Carrots do improve night vision. They are an excellent source of beta-carotene, the plant form of vitamin A, and one of the first symptoms of vitamin A deficiency is night blindness.

(Karmel, Annabel. Top 100 Baby Purees: 100 Quick and Easy Meals for a Healthy and Happy Babies)

Spinach and Pea Puree

6-7 MONTHS MAKES 5 PORTIONS COOKING TIME: 14 MINUTES SUITABLE FOR FREEZING

Combining spinach with a sweet-tasting vegetable like sweet potato is a good way to introduce it to your baby. You can also make this recipe with broccoli instead.

1 tablespoon unsalted butter ½ cup washed and sliced white part of a leek 1 large sweet potato (12 ounces), peeled and chopped ½ cup frozen peas ¾ cup fresh baby spinach (3 ounces), washed and tough stems removed

Melt the butter in a saucepan and sauté the leek for 2 to 3 minutes or until softened, then add the sweet potato. Pour in 1 cup water, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 7 to 8 minutes. Add the peas and spinach and cook for 3 minutes. Puree the vegetables in a blender to make a smooth consistency for your baby, adding a little of the cooking liquid if necessary.  Food fact: Frozen vegetables like peas can be just as nutritious as fresh, since they are frozen within hours of being picked, thus locking in vital nutrients. Once cooked, they can be refrozen.

(Karmel, Annabel. Top 100 Baby Purees: 100 Quick and Easy Meals for a Healthy and Happy Babies)

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Bedtime is a Nightmare!

We have several parents that are really struggling to get their children to bed in the evening. Guess what, you are not alone!

I want to share these clips with you. Supernanny is my hero!

I am a parent too and while I am a professional that "knows" what to do when children don't behave, I can tell you - it all goes out of the window when it is your own child and your "mummy" brain tells you to give in and cuddle your children so they don't cry. You feel worse than your child throwing a tantrum, Does that sound familiar?

I don't know why but my husband found following Supernanny bedtime routine much easier. So if you are struggling with your over protecting feelings, get your husband or family to help.

True story: My son refused to sleep in his own bed when he was two years old. Never had this problem with him before because my children were never allowed to sleep with us in our bed. (My husband's cousin lost her baby due to co-sleeping so I was paranoid from day one. )

I researched the topic and found Super nanny's "Bedtime Technique" bullet proof. It worked! Night one, it took me 2 hours to get my son to sleep and 36 attempts. (I remember - I had a Facebook reminder the other day of the experience I shared with my friends. LOL)

Night two, it only took 3 attempts to get him to sleep. Night three, he went without complaining. The only time he was allowed into our bed was during big storms when there was thunder and lightning. I am not an evil mum, I let him "hide" in our bed. But the minute the storm is over, he went to his own bed again.

Watch, let me know what you think, share if this worked for you, I would love to hear from you.

https://youtu.be/zb2BrbGb5Z4  https://youtu.be/LxZqkw44jOc https://youtu.be/drlDiTfpiZA https://youtu.be/MlgnWjI3EMk

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Easy Way to Sharing

Sharing is not a skill we are born with. Sharing is a skill we need to learn from a very young age. It does not come to us naturally.

Sharing goes hand to hand with empathy, caring and putting other's well being ahead of our own. We are also born with a need to survive so snatching a toy or something we want and think we need seems more natural to us than sharing. Children are giving up something they really want and feel they absolutely need.

However, children also love rules, they give them clear boundaries and self of safety. They know that if they follow rules they are safe and that the adults that look after them will be proud of them for doing the right thing.

Praise

This is where praise comes into place. Children want to please you so recognising that they did something well is so much more powerful than telling them off for doing the wrong thing, especially, if they had no idea that they were doing something wrong at first place.

Help is near though, we are professionals and we have some cool tools to help you along the way.

Set clear boundaries

Tell your child what the rule is first and remind them every day.

Stories

Are a great way to get children empathise with story characters. There are many children books out there with topic that talks about care, kindness and empathy towards others.

Timer

We use sand timers at our school. Younger the child, shorter the time on the timer. For two year olds timer should not be longer than 2-3 minutes. Time is an abstract concept and children don't understand words like "soon", "next" or "shortly". With a sand timer, they can see time flowing. When the timer is up, it's their turn. Children as young as 18 months can grasp the concept and you would not believe how patiently they are waiting for their turn. So much so that when they want a toy other child is playing with, they "self police". They get the timer and follow the "sharing rule" without the adult having to step in.

Consistency

As with any rule, be consistent. It is stressful and very confusing to children when a rule is applied one day but not the other. Children will stop believing you and won't trust you if you don't follow through.

Good Luck! We've got you!

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Toddler Playdough Fun

Toddlers followed our recipe today and made their play dough themselves! We mixed, squeezed, cut, moulded, folded and patted the play dough!

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Great Sensory Play

Making cakes and sprinkles with our colourful pasta and rice, using scoops, bowls and pans. Talking about colours, shapes and texture.

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Windmils in Preschool

We had an amazing day today. We read a story about Summer Holidays. Children were talking about their favourite holiday, beach holidays came up a lot. Some children talked about their experiences and told us that they saw windmills when they visited sea side. We all decided to make some wind mills. It was a great activity, lots practice to improve our fine motor skills!

 

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