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KIDS

Children can be your biggest joy and building a strong relationship with your offspring can be one of the most emotionally rewarding experiences you'll ever have.

Admittedly, kids can be strange, erratic, and often hard to understand. We have included a few topics for you to read which cover Babies, Toddlers, Children and Teenagers to help you navigate their physical and emotional development. From teething to hormones, it's a rollercoaster ride bringing up children.

Babies
Toddlers
Children
Teenagers
Life Skills To Teach Your Kids


Babies

During that crucial first year of life, you play an essential role in shaping your little human being. The more you get involved in their eating, sleeping, learning and playing, the better for you - and the better for your child. Sign up for our regular emails for lots of useful advice to help you do your bit with confidence.

Boost baby brain development
New research shows you can stimulate the cognitive and emotional development of your baby by the way you two interact over the first 12 months. Gavin Evans sifts through the evidence and shows you how to do it. Read more here...


How dads affect newborn babies
Some fathers assume their role only really kicks in when their babies are weaned, but new research shows you can make a major positive impact right from the start. Find out how to give your baby a flying start. Read more here...

Your newborn: do's and don't for the first few weeks
From the nerve-wracking first feed to the constant roundabout of nappy changes, taking care of a newborn involves learning a whole new skill set. Read our tips and brace yourself! Read more here...

Babies and sleep
Listen to all the heroically nightmarish - and generally exaggerated - claims of "How I survived on 15 minutes' kip every 24 hours until our firstborn was three" and you would be forgiven for believing that chronic fatigue is a necessary condition of fatherhood. Dad-of-three Stuart Shephard looks at the downside of a newborn and offers tips on getting through it. Read more here...

Teaching your baby to swim
The most common question asked by dads once their new pride and joy arrives home from the labour ward is "now what?" Unlike an Xbox 360, newborns don't come with a manual letting you know which buttons to press to receive joy and excitement. So how exactly do you bond with your baby? Dad Info asked the experts. Read more here...

How dads affect newborn babies
From tiny newborns to strapping great teenagers, all kids love swimming. Teaching your baby to swim can be incredibly rewarding: not only are you boosting his confidence, it's great exercise, supports a healthy lifestyle, and it's also one of the best ways of spending some fun, quality time together. Read more here...

Moving from breast to bottle
Breast is best, but there may come a time when your partner and you decide to move your baby onto formula milk, or a combination both. Your partner may want your baby to be bottle fed with her expressed milk. Either way, helping your baby to use a bottle can be a challenge. Read more here...

Moving onto solid food
Weaning is all about gradually moving your baby from a milk-only diet onto a balanced diet that includes solid foods. All babies eventually need something more satisfying than the seemingly endless round of milk, even if they don’t want to give up the bottle just yet! Dad Info takes you through the transition from milk to baby food… prepare to get messy! Read more here...

Early Health Warning Signs
From common physical defects to more serious illnesses, Dad.Info looks at the main medical conditions that can affect newborn babies...

There are around 670,000 babies born in the UK every year. Most are born healthy or with conditions that are extremely common and easy to treat. Even if there is a more serious problem, modern healthcare usually has the solution and support to help you and your new family. The main conditions that affect babies are listed below, and you may like to read about other common baby illnesses.

Undescended testicles (Cryptorchidism)
Found in three to four per cent of full-term (nine months) and 30 per cent of premature males, cryptorchidism is the absence of one or more of the testes from the scrotum. The affected testis doesn’t drop down into the scrotal sack and becomes stuck in the abdomen. There is a chance that it will descend naturally over times but if not treatment usually involves an operation within 18 months.

Cleft lip or palate (also known as a hare lip)

One of the most common physical defects, a cleft palate occurs when the upper lip or roof of the mouth does not fuse before birth leaving an opening on or in the mouth. It can be repaired easily through surgery but there is usually some superficial scarring.

Club foot

Club foot occurs when the baby's feet are twisted in and down so that the soles of the feet are facing each other or turned up towards the body. It affects around
1 in 1000 babies
.
Treatments vary depending on the individual case- sometimes a series of plaster casts are used to stretch the feet into the right position or in the worst cases it will require orthopaedic surgery. Treatment can take up to two years.

Hip dislocation
Also known as developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH), this can take place in the womb or can be acquired during a difficult birth. DDH occurs in approximately
1 in 1000 babies
and is ten times more likely to affect girls.

It is treated either through traction, where a special plaster cast is fitted to realign the hip or with a harness.

Meningitis
Most babies arrive healthy (half have neonatal jaundice, which usually clears up quickly). The worst-case scenario is meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes lining the brain and spinal cord.

Symptoms include a rash of reddish-purplish spots that don’t go away if pressed, a bulging soft spot on top of the head, sensitivity to light, fever, vomiting and a refusal to feed. It can be fatal (particularly meningitis C) and bacterial meningitis can cause deafness. So contact your doctor immediately.

Your baby should be vaccinated three times in the first four months - each time against meningitis C and each time a five-in-one jab against HIB (the bacteria that cause meningitis), polio, tetanus, whooping cough and diphtheria. At 12-15 months you’ll offered the combined MMR vaccine (against measles, mumps and rubella).

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Toddlers

Although their communication skills are a bit sketchy, from the age of one to four, your child absorbs information like a sponge and needs all the positive feedback and loving reassurance you can give.

Toddler-proof your home
Once your baby starts crawling, they will be like a little tornado - rushing round the house and getting into everything they can reach. This makes them extremely vulnerable to accidents - and it's up to you to prevent them. Here's a room-by-room guide to keeping them safe. Read more here...

Teaching your child to ride a bike
New research shows you can stimulate the cognitive and emotional development of your baby by the way you two interact over the first 12 months. Gavin Evans sifts through the evidence and shows you how to do it. Read more here...

Toddlers and 10 minutes:what you an do?
You may not have much time, but a simple game can bring a toddler’s day alive. Start playing yourself, drawing, painting, building, and then they’ll do it too. Read more here...

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Children

From four to 11, your child is exploring their boundaries and learning independence.
The security you provide at home, along with your ongoing interest in their brave new world, will give them the confidence they need to flourish.

The best april fool jokes
One of the best things about being a dad is the scope it offers for acting like a big kid. Actually, it's even better - acting like a big kid and feeling morally superior about it by calling it 'bonding with your children.' And one of the very best days of the year for such nonsense is April Fools day. Read more here...

Bullying – recognising and dealing with it
The thought that your child is being bullied is one of the most worrying aspects of being a dad, leaving you feeling powerless, frustrated and unable to help your child. This needn't be the case, however. Even though, by definition, bullying is something that happens to your child when you're not there, there are ways of spotting if your child may be being bullied, and positive steps you can take to bring it to an end. Read more here...

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Teenagers

Puberty, relationships and exams can make your teenage son or daughter prickly, uncommunicative and downright difficult.
Although desperate times may seem to call for desperate measures, roll with it and try to keep a level head. We’ve got the advice to make it easier...

Drugs: recognising and dealing with problems

With the media full of horror stories and sensationalist reporting, it's easy for any dad to fly into a panic when contemplating the idea of drug taking and their kids. However, the truth is that many teenagers may at least dabble with drugs, and that, of these, the vast majority will come out the other side unharmed. If you discover your teenager is one of these, the degree to which you manage to handle it calmly will help ensure a positive long-term outcome. Read more here...

Eating disorders: how to cope
Eating disorders can affect kids of any age, but are more prevalant amongst teenagers. Although they are more common amongst girls they can also affect boys. Dad Info shows you what to watch out for, and where to go for help. Read more here...

Talking to teenagers
On the one hand, there's no single right way to talk to teenagers. They're all individuals, after all. On the other, however, there tend to be set patterns in the relationships between the generations, and when that sweet, bright-eyed ball of cuteness you used to snuggle in your arms transforms into a hormonal person with their own opinions and hang-ups, it's useful to have a few pointers to hand. Read more here...

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Life Skills To Teach Your Kids

One of the most amazing things about being a dad is passing on your knowledge and helping your kids to lead fuller, happier lives. In this two-part series we offer a guide to teaching them ten key life skills, from looking after their money to being a computer whizz

From the moment they’re born, children are like sponges, soaking up knowledge in every waking moment. As they grow up they continue to learn from friends and family, books, television and at school, but their most important teachers are you and their mum. You are the most significant people in their life with the power to teach, encourage and support them right from the start.

To help you make the most of this privileged position, here are five skills you can teach your son or daughter, each of which will make a fundamental difference to their life.

Money skills
Research shows that 1 in 20 people aged 18 to 24 years old owed more than £10,000 on credit cards, overdrafts and unsecured loans (Consumer Credit Counseling Service).
Helping your children look after their finances is vital and a good place to start is with their pocket money.

Encourage your kids to save 25% of their pocket money. They will develop the savings habit early on and will be delighted to see their money earning interest.

Most importantly, teach them to ask themselves whether they really need that new toy or game. If you help your kids differentiate between what they want and what they actually need, you’ll take the pressure off them when they’re older to buy things they can’t afford.

The Dad.info website has a very extensive and useful guide to dealing with money related issues. Read more here...

Cooking
Teach them the basics from an early age and they’ll grow up cooking for themselves – and you, if you’re lucky.

Ask them to weigh and measure ingredients for you and teach them to chop soft foods like banana and avocado with a blunt knife. Teach them the difference between foods that are undercooked, burnt or ready to eat. Show them how to season food, mix vinaigrette and make gravy. Teach them to smell, taste and test as they go along.
Make pizzas with them by buying ready-made bases and letting them experiment with toppings. Read more here...

IT Skills
Although it won’t take long for them to be more techno-savvy than you, in these high-tech days it’s a good idea to get them started young. Try the following:
Help them handle a mouse by teaching them what it’s for, how to use it and sitting with them as they learn. Put a coloured sticker on the left button to differentiate it from the right. If kids are learning to spell, let them practice with a word-processing program.
Turn off the monitor and get them to spell their name. This is a great way to practice touch-typing. Teach them how to troubleshoot. Show them how to shut down and restart, and teach them commands like Control + Alt + Delete. Read more here...

Managing conflict
Disagreements and arguments are part of everyday life. And the best way for your kids to learn how to manage them is through your example. Kids often watch what their parents do. So If you shout and scream, that’s what your kids will do too. You need to be able to talk, negotiate, listen and explain yourself – with other adults and your children. Then they will learn to manage conflict in the same way. Read more here...

Public speaking
Here are some tips to build your child’s confidence at speaking in public. Get them to stand up and speak to you, reciting a poem or just telling you about their day. Expand this out so they tell other family members about a recent sporting event or school activity. Get them to write down what they are going to say – this helps them to plan their speech and become familiar with the words. Encourage them to look up and speak with confidence. Tell them to practice speaking to a mirror first – a technique used by Winston Churchill, one of the great public speakers. If they have to speak at school, get them to focus on the back wall, so the audience doesn’t seem so scary.

Handling emotions
Powerful emotions like anger, jealousy or fear can feel out of control and overwhelming for young children. Try never to tell your kids they’re naughty or bad for feeling angry or jealous. Let them know it’s fine to be scared of some things.

Road Safety
One child is hurt on UK roads every 16 minutes. To make sure your son or daughter isn’t one of them, start teaching them when they’re a toddler. Always cross the road at the safest place – like a subway, footbridge or zebra crossing – and explain why you are crossing there.

Teach your child the Green Cross Code – Stop, look and listen! Practice on quiet roads near your home, first crossing together, then letting your child lead you across, and finally letting them cross while you wait behind, watching carefully.

Teach older kids too.
Children aged 12 to 16 are most at risk of being killed or seriously injured by traffic accidents - make sure they take road safety seriously and keep talking to them about the dangers.

Ensure that whenever your child is out on the road they’re constantly aware of what is happening around them and aren’t distracted by iPods, mobile phones or friends.

Making good friends
Friendships are a great source of strength for children and help them develop the social skills and self-confidence they’ll need for later life. Some children find making friends easier than others, but if your son or daughter needs a little encouragement, there’s plenty you can do to help. Teach them social skills and sociable behaviour – for example, explain how to understand verbal and non-verbal clues like someone smiling at them. 

They may be misinterpreting these clues and missing the opportunity to make friends. Teach basic social rules, like not to snatch things or hit others, and how to share and co-operate. Make your child’s friends welcome in your home – don’t judge their choices too harshly or make them play with children you choose.

Find local activities
where your child can make friends outside of school, like Cubs or Brownies, a drama group, gymnastics, football or swimming lessons.

Hygiene
This may seem trivial, but teaching kids to stay clean and smell good will have a huge impact on their friendships, education, career and romantic prospects in later life – as well as avoiding infection when they’re young. Start by making bath time a fun, integral part of family life, by singing songs and playing with bath toys.

Allow your kids to play outside, but explain why you need to clean soiled bodies and clothes afterwards.

Encourage them to maintain their own hygiene and let them help with the laundry and housework.

When they’re older, let them choose their own deodorants, shampoo and shower gel – this will encourage regular bathing.

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