Now offering free access to all our articles !

We have added value for our loyal fans by making all past articles available to access free on-line! 

Our gift to you!

We are always looking for ways to improve our fans on-line experience, and, to this effect, have now introduced free access to all the interesting articles which have featured throughout the years in The Malta Baby & Kids Directory publications.

 

 

Schools http://www.maltababyandkids.com/articles.php?id=101&subcategory=&maincategory=101
Parties - http://www.maltababyandkids.com/articles.php?id=103&subcategory=&maincategory=103
Pregnancy & Birth
- http://www.maltababyandkids.com/articles.php?id=102&subcategory=&maincategory=102
Days Out http://www.maltababyandkids.com/articles.php?id=106&subcategory=&maincategory=106
Shopping  - http://www.maltababyandkids.com/articles.php?id=100&subcategory=&maincategory=100
Health  - http://www.maltababyandkids.com/articles.php?id=104&subcategory=&maincategory=104
Activities  - http://www.maltababyandkids.com/articles.php?id=108&subcategory=&maincategory=108
Travel  - http://www.maltababyandkids.com/articles.php?id=109&subcategory=&maincategory=109
Childcare  http://www.maltababyandkids.com/articles.php?id=107&subcategory=&maincategory=107
Sports Activities http://www.maltababyandkids.com/articles.php?id=99&subcategory=&maincategory=99

 

 

 Baby Swimming - The Many Benefits

  

 For many more great articles, purchase the latest edition of the book here 

 

Communication in families 

 Words by Steve Libreri – Social Worker and Parent Coach

 

Communication within the family is nowadays an important consideration. In an era of technology which is supposedly intended to eradicate all potential barriers to communication, communication breakdown sounds like quite a paradox. However, the frequency of reports and complaints by parents and caregivers about their dissatisfaction with regard to communication issues, suggests that this is in fact a real challenge faced by many families.

Difficult communication seems to be the cause of many family problems. Serious attention to this problem is therefore of utmost importance in order to achieve a positive family experience. When children are young, they absorb the cues given by their environment. This puts considerable responsibility on adults to teach by example and model behaviour.

The ultimate investment in child wellbeing is time and attention, as these give children the reassurance that they are cared for. Time for, and attention to, children also guarantees a sense of nurturing, protection and security. Being still inexperienced, children begin to make sense of the world and form the first rules and ideas about the world through their exchanges with their parents. Therefore making positive plans and interacting with children in a caring way will certainly help in teaching them that their parents are there for them. A steady relationship will form the basis of all communication in the future. So as parents, make your investments early. If your children see you as present and caring, they will reciprocate with a degree of trust necessary for future exchanges.

 

 

 

 

 Building a Safety Net 

 

This article was written by Andrew Azzopardi, consultant for ibrowsesafely.com.mtVodafone Malta Foundation

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat….the list of social media sites is already very long and as time goes on, it is bound to get longer. Parents need to involve themselves in their children’s online lives to help guide their progeny through the ever-changing cyber-world.

MCA’s latest study ‘Children’s Internet Use and Parents - Perceptions of Their Children’s Online Experience’, states that 99.4% of children in primary and secondary schools have access to the internet and 78% of children look to their parents for information related to the internet. 

ibrowsesafely.com.mt has developed 6 golden rules to guide parents. 

The keystone to putting the six golden rules into practice is laying the groundwork for an open and honest dialogue with your child. This means your children will be more likely to turn to you for support or advice if they find themselves in an uncomfortable, difficult or scary situation. This open-door policy is the best first line of defence to keeping your child safe online.

You should show an interest in the websites and social media platforms your children use and take the initiative to use the internet and learn about the latest technologies, apps and platforms. Platforms like ibrowsesafely.com.mt are a useful tool for parents to support and simplify this type of research.

Online activity should be approached very much like real life; discuss the benefits and dangers of the internet, ask your children about what they do to keep themselves safe. Sometimes they might not have even thought about safety and having a straightforward but stress-free chat about it can raise their awareness without alarming them unnecessarily.

For more detail on each of the 6 Golden Rules, please visit ibrowsesafely.com.mtibrowsesafely.com.mt is an initiative born within the Vodafone Malta Foundation, as part of Vodafone Group initiative Digital Parenting. 

 

 

 

 


The Faces of Child Abuse

Words by Daniela Farrugia Camoin

BA, MA Youth and Community Studies and Personal Performance Coach Founder of Positive Parenting Strategies

Child maltreatment is certainly not a new phenomenon.  Unfortunately it has existed since the beginning of recorded history.  Even more unfortunate is that it is on the rise across the globe.  We often associate child abuse to broken bones and bruises.  In other words, to visible scars.  Yet other than physical abuse there are other types of abuse, which more often than not go unnoticed because the scars are not as obvious.  This type of abuse includes emotional and sexual abuse and neglect.  All abuse, whether physical, emotional, sexual or neglect leave deep, lasting scars which children carry with them  into  adulthood  and  beyond  the  time  they  were  actually abused. No individual should turn a blind eye to child abuse.  It is important to break the cycle when we find out that this is actually happening.  The earlier abused children get help, the greater the chance for them to heal and not let the abuse inflict lifelong problems such as lack of trust  and  relationship  difficulties,  trouble  regulating  emotions  and feelings of being  ‘worthless’ and ‘damaged’. There are a number of common myths surrounding the tragedy of child abuse.  Society tends to think that child abuse does not happen in ‘good’ families.  However, statistics show that child abuse crosses all economic, racial and cultural lines.  Another very common myth is that the majority of child abusers are strangers to the child – yet the very sad truth is that most abusers are family members or people who are very close to the family.  Children who have been abused do not always grow up to be abusers.  Whilst the chances of the cycle repeating  itself  is  a  strong  possibility,  most  survivors  indeed  grow into  strong  adults  who  have  a  strong  motivation  to protect  their children  against  what  they  went  through  and  become excellent parents.

 

Daniela Farrugia Camoin

Email: info@positiveparentingstrategies.net

Website: www.positiveparentingstrategies.net

Facebook: Positive Parenting Strategies

 

Mobile No.: 99922137 

 

 

 

 

 

Understanding anger and supporting children to manage it constructively

 

In their development and growth, children often find themselves in stressful circumstances.  Frustration is a challenging and critical component in a child’s developmental growth, which if not overcome, will often manifest itself in outbursts of anger. 

We live in a culture where so much emphasis is placed on performance, achievement and on delivering quick results. Sometimes this is experienced as peer pressure, even more so in school.  If children are not taught constructive ways to express anger and frustration they frequently act out aggressive behavior in order to express their feelings. It is important to acknowledge that anger is a valid emotion. It informs us that something is not quite right and it is fundamental for children to know that it is acceptable to feel angry, otherwise they may turn their anger onto themselves, causing self-harm. As adults we may need to learn to listen to our children more and encourage them to manage their emotions in a way that supports healthy functioning.  

Anger is a form of distress that combines physiological and emotional arousal and often leads to conflict. Anger also controls other emotions like fear, sadness and shame that children find difficult to cope with.  Such a state of being influences their social and emotional well-being and has a direct impact on learning.  When a child is in distress, it is difficult for him or her to learn. We need to teach them how to regulate their emotional state before they can be open to respond positively or to assimilate information. 

Children thus need to develop skills that support them to manage their anger, such as learning to

- take time out

- move away from the zone of conflict

- breathe; breathing exercises help the child calm down and regulate his/her physiological state of arousal

- count to ten; this also helps to calm down and delay acting out

- become aware of where the child’s anger tenses up the body, such as in the hands, feet...

- find a positive way to release the pent up energy, like bouncing a ball or going for a run...

- find an adult or a friend to talk to

- be honest about feelings

- imagine ways that would help resolve conflicts 

- think of a good solution 

It is important to acknowledge and support their positive thinking as this will also reinforce their positive behaviour. Often, children are angry at themselves as they believe that they are the cause of our disappointments. We need to reflect on how anger is managed within the family system as well as at school since children mirror adult behaviour. If we are not too hard on ourselves and accept that we sometimes fail then we give children permission to tolerate their own failures. Our role as parents and educators is to provide a safe space where we can challenge and support them to learn and to develop into mature adults. In a constructive environment, children may surprise us with positive ways they develop to manage their anger.

Anna Fenech holds a MA degree in Expressive Arts Therapy and is a Gestalt Psychotherapist. She is also trained as a Psychotherapeutic Counsellor with children and young adults. She works in different settings and also runs a private practice working with children and adults.   

 

 

 

 

 

Modern trends in Holy Communion Parties

 

Lately, the Maltese appear to be veering away from the traditional ,large ,over-the-top ‘wedding’ style parties which were a fashionable way to celebrate their children’s First Holy Communion a few decades ago. The new millennium has seen a backlash against the rising cost of first Holy Communion celebrations locally. Nowadays, in a collective attempt to curb the traditional enthusiasm for pomp and ceremony which normally surrounds this Christian milestone, schools are increasingly encouraged to organise a collective party on their premises. This not only aids in cutting costs for the parents of the second year students; it also encourages a sense of camaraderie amongst those involved in the event planning. The families of the child who is celebrating their First Holy Communion generally bring their immediate family to the joint party; then the parents tend to arrange a tea party directly following the church ceremony, for close family members to attend. More often than not, this takes place at home, and would last a couple of hours, since the parish generally organises First Holy Communion ceremonies on Sunday afternoons, during the school term. There would still be a couple of parents who organise lavish First Holy Communion parties individually, but these are in the minority. In this case, then customarily the entire class would be invited, along with cousins and a few friends of the child in question. Popular venues include indoor play areas, such as Playzone and Romparound, theme parks like Playmobil and activity venues –bowling, for instance. In this way, the child in question receives plenty of gifts, not necessarily religious. The children who have been invited get to run around and waste their energy, whilst their parents enjoy a rare opportunity to sit down with a cup of tea. The incentive to reign in the excessive enthusiasm surrounding First Holy Communion events comes directly from the local parish priests. One particular church in Gozo had the children wear matching cloaked gowns over their outfits, in an attempt to discourage meringue style dresses and mini groom suits in an attempt to remind participants to dwell on the true solemnity of the occasion. Announcements during Mass, in the run up to the big day, raised awareness that fascinators, hats, strapless dresses or miniskirts would not be an acceptable dress code for the mothers of the youngsters. Despite the popular tide turning away from massive celebrations, many families buckle under the pressure of conversations on the church steps regarding the outfit, and find themselves getting swept away in the excitement of the Holy Communion rush, in spite of themselves. At the very least, previously blasé couples will go out and buy new outfits for themselves and their offspring, and order a cake and catering for their family gathering in order to celebrate.  Party  venues  and  animators  have  suffered  because  of  this  contemporary  tendency  to  pool Holy Communion parties’ together-resulting in less individual bookings for them. Since most schools tend to host the party on their own grounds, thus saving on cost, conventional party venues  are  finding  innovative  ways  to  encourage  individuals  to  host  their  First  Holy Communion  parties  at  their  site,  by  offering  early booking  discounts  .The  Parent  Teacher Association often spends a large portion of their budget on animators, as ,after all,this is a party for children and the purpose of the festivity is for the children attending to have a lot of fun. 

For school based First Holy Communion parties, the services of large animation companies which cater for big groups of children are often utilised. Bouncy Castles,magic shows and high energy organized games are very popular with children of this age group. Catering, complete with staff, cutlery and crockery are outsourced which ensures plenty of refreshments for young and old alike. First Holy Communion communal parties normally follow a brief procession, followed by Holy Mass.  In short, Holy Communion parties in Malta have come a long way from the stuffy church hall, filled with aging relatives, during which the bored celebrant would receive a multitude of religious icons and Holy Bibles. Nowadays, those families concerned are focussing more on the religious significance of the occasion, and less on outdoing one another through outlandish celebrations. Long may it continue!

 For many more great articles, purchase the latest edition of the book here

 

 

Il-Quccija

 

Traditional Maltese 1st birthday parties

Of the many Maltese traditions, few have survived as successfully as the ‘Quccija’.   Before this, the word ‘Quccija’ referred to a more morbid tradition the Maltese had, that when a family member died they would donate food to the poor to commemorate the deceased.  It is not clear how it changed into the joyful tradition that it is today -  a celebration of a child’s first birthday when relatives and family friends are invited and, besides the usual party fare, a game is played in which the child’s future is predicted. It has been practiced in this way since the 18th Century.   Objects representing different professions, trades or lifestyles are placed on a tray or in a basket and the child crawls towards them.  The first object which the child picks up is said to predict that child’s future.  In the past the selection for boys was quite different to that of girls however the more modern ‘Quccija’ would include many of the same objects. 

Boys used to be presented with tools for traditional trades or professions or even a character trait.  If he picked up corn, for example, it was a sign of a liberal personality, an inkstand or pen meant his profession would be that of a notary or lawyer, if a carpenter’s tool then he would be likely to become a carpenter. There were also usually some coins to indicate wealth. 

For girls the objects tended to be a needle representing a seamstress, cooking utensils, an egg which represented fertility and also money which in those days would probably have meant making a good marriage.

In both cases there was always a religious article for example rosary beads which would indicate that the child was inclined towards a spiritual vocation.

In a modern Quccija there is no limit to the variety of objects which could be presented to either a boy or a girl.   Here are some ideas for what you can put on you child’s quccija tray, but do not feel restricted...you can use your imagination:

Calculator – accountant

Computer mouse – career in I.T.

Credit Card – banker

Musical Instrument – musician

Book – journalist/author

Chalk – teacher

Ballet Shoe – Dancer

Ball (or any other piece of sports equipment) – sportsman

Comb or brush – hairdresser

Lipstick – beautician/makeup artist

Paintbrush – artist

 

So for your next child’s first birthday party try out this Maltese tradition.  You never know it may predict your child’s future!

 

 For many more great articles, purchase the latest edition of the book here

 

 

 

    Pregnancy & Birth    

 

Maternity Bag Essentials


 

 

 To read this, and many other interesting articles, purchase the latest edition of the book here!

 

 

 

 

What I need to buy or borrow Checklist

 

 

 To read this, and many other interesting articles, purchase the latest edition of the book here!

 

 

 

The stages of Pregnancy - Month by Month

 To read this, and many other interesting articles, purchase the latest edition of the book here!

 

 

 

Pregnant? Nothing fits anymore?

 

Enjoy your pregnancy, feel and look good by the way you dress. Think about it: clothes for expectant mothers are designed to adapt to body shape. If, say, you usually wear size 12, the likelihood is that, shoulder-wise, size 12 would still fit. Maternity wear is designed to grow comfortably as the body shapes up in stages during the pregnancy.

Avoid wearing clothes in larger sizes which are not specifically designed for pregnancy. Apart from the fact that they are not attractive, they could also be harmful. Over-sized jerseys and blouses tend to droop down from the shoulders, cling to the bust and lift up round the belly. Similarly extra large trousers pull down at the back when you are sitting and put pressure on your belly.



Timing. No particular rule applies as to when to change to  maternity wear, however most women feel uncomfortable in their old clothes around the beginning of the fourth month of the pregnancy.

Bras during pregnancy and breastfeeding. These are ideal and specifically made to fit and support the breasts from the onset of pregnancy.. They are adjusted according to the changing body shape throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding. The breasts begin to gain weight, change shape and size so avoid buying under-wired or padded bras as this could cause discomfort. It is very important to be measured with the help of expert advice in this field to ensure proper support and comfort. You would also be saving money because you do not have to buy new bras every so often. Our shop offers professional fitting services free of charge.

Wardrobe. One’s life-style is personal, which is why it is convenient to find all your maternity clothing needs for any occasion under one roof at very convenient prices– be it everyday wear, special occasion or for work. Take your time to see that clothes and bras fit properly and do seek assistance from our professional, experienced sales staff.

Light exercise. It is always advisable to exercise even during pregnancy. Our shop also stocks maternity gym wear and swimsuit. Seek professional advice from our staff to feel comfortable during this nine-month journey.

Night-wear is specially designed to offer total comfort during pregnancy. This includes front-opening maternity nighties designed to be used in hospital during and after delivery and for breastfeeding.

Information. Various websites offer a myriad of information. We suggest you visit the Antenatal Unit at Mater Dei Hospital and ask for a free copy of the magazine for expectant mothers called ‘’You’re Pregnant’’. It is full of information for women having babies in Malta and Gozo. It also includes the hospital list and the forms required to apply for “Parentcraft classes”.

Special Delivery, The Maternity Shop
Tel 21484075 / 21489322
(Facebook logo) Special Delivery Maternity

www.specialdeliveryshop.com

 

To read this, and many other interesting articles, purchase the latest edition of the book here!

 

 

 

 

Postnatal fitness and wellbeing

What you need to know

 

  • Allow your body time to recover. It has undergone major physical changes during pregnancy and childbirth. If you start exercising too soon or too intensely you can put unnecessary stress on your pelvic floor and core muscles in general, which may lead to complications later on. Allow 6 to 8 weeks or even more if you had a Caesarean-section and get the go-ahead from your doctor before commencing exercise.

 

  • Regardless of whether you are an athlete or new to exercise start slowly and increase gradually. Walking is a great way to start and will get you outdoors. If you want to take a group class, find a class taught by a postnatal exercise specialist who will focus on strengthening the core muscles and minimizing stress on muscles.

 

  • Listen to your body and be careful not to overdo it. Your body needs time to heal and some women may take longer than others but that is fine; it is your body and your journey. If you have a leaky pelvic floor, a Diastasis Recti (tummy gap after pregnancy) or if there is pain anywhere, seek help and guidance from a professional dedicated to women's health, and resolve these issues before focusing on losing weight. Do not even tolerate occasional leaks when you laugh, sneeze, cough or jump as this may get worse with age.

 

  • No sit-ups, crunches or planks for the first several months after childbirth because these put too much stress on your core muscles and are not effective for rebuilding core strength.

 

  • Yes you are busy and tired, but do not let your needs become less of a priority. You need your health and sanity now more than ever! Sleep when you can; your body needs rest to recover. It also needs essential nutrients to help it heal; so what you eat really does matter. Eat real food, avoid junk or processed food and drink plenty of water.

 

  • As long as you drink plenty of water, exercise won't affect your ability to breastfeed. But you might want to avoid exercises that make your breasts sore or tender.

 

  • A postnatal massage will not only give you time to relax but will also help your body to heal, especially mothers who had a caeserean-section, have Diastasis Recti or pelvic floor dysfunction.

 

-----------------------------------------------------------

Fitmums Malta

 

Fitmums Malta

37, EB Vella Street, Mosta; Tel. 79618760

Fitmumsmalta@gmail.com; fb: Fitmumsmal

 

 To read this, and many other interesting articles, purchase the latest edition of the book here!

 

 

 

 

You are pregnant - Congratulations!

 

Developed by experienced midwives and pharmacists, our products are made from plant-based oils, which are easily absorbed by the skin, being similar to the skin’s own natural oils. All of Weleda’s products are free of synthetic fragrances, colours and preservatives. We never use raw materials derived from mineral oils, such as petroleum or paraffin which form a film over the skin rather than care for it.


 Baby Calendula

Protecting and caring from the very beginning

Nothing is more precious to you than your child. You want the very best care and protection for your little one; so skincare that has been specially formulated for the young skin of babies and children is essential. As your child’s delicate skin is thinner and more permeable than your own, products that are free of synthetic preservatives, fragrances and colourants are the natural choice. Weleda Calendula Baby Care is 100% certified natural, so you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that your baby’s skin is being truly protected and effectively looked after.

The Baby Calendula Range includes: Cream Bath; Shampoo and Shower cream; Nappy Change cream; Body Lotion and Baby Oil.

Mum-to-be

Trust your intuition and mother nature

Stretch Mark Massage Oil with sweet almond, arnica and wheatgerm oils works gently, delivering intensely moisturizing essential fatty acids that keep your skin supple and protected from drying.

Perineum Massage Oil is a pure, natural formula that nourishes and prepares the skin for birth. A massage with this mild composition relaxes the perineum area and keeps the skin in the birth area supple and flexible.

Nursing Oil 50ml Nursing Oil is a gentle natural formula created for a nourishing and soothing massage of the breasts prior to nursing. Pure, natural essential fennel, caraway and marjoram oils are traditionally used to support healthy lactation and stimulate free milk flow.


 


Available from:

Casa Natura Sliema

Good Earth Balluta Smart Complex

Nature & Spice Tarxien

Sattva San Gwann

Shanti Mosta

Natur Qala, Gozo.

 

Trade Enquiries:

Tel. 21414473,

Mob. 99804293,

E-mail health@shanti.com.mt

www.shanti.com.mt

 

 To read this, and many other interesting articles, purchase the latest edition of the book here!

 

 

 

 

 

Does your baby needs a sleep coach?

All children can have the gift of a Good Night’s sleep....and so can their parents!

 

Whether your newborn baby is exhausting you by keeping you up all night; a once-great sleeper is now struggling to sleep; a vacation in a new time zone has messed up bedtime or your toddler simply never learned to fall and stay asleep easily. Your health and your family’s wellbeing may be suffering.

 

Sleep Consultants training includes the basics of neuroscience, nutrition, breastfeeding, stimulation, behavioural therapy, psychology and other sleep related topics. The focus is on how these facets relate to sleep for infants and toddlers


Good Night Child Sleep Consultants are professional
s and undergo strict screening and education process and are specialised in all issues about sleep when it comes to babies and children. 

 

They do not follow one particular methodology, because what works for one mum might not work for another. This includes a holistic approach support for expectant mothers, parents of newborns, toddlers and even school-ready children.

 

Sleep consultants advise a start-to-finish solution for you and your family! Their services include private consultations, consultations via Skype, workshops and seminars. You will receive a personalized sleep plan (each child is different) and follow-up support.

 

A well-rested child makes for a healthy child, and a happy, healthy family.

 

To read this, and many other interesting articles, purchase the latest edition of the book here!

 

 

 

 

 

On your way to becoming a parent?

 

Hopefully this sets you on the right path.

 

If you are a first time-parent, or if you have other children, each pregnancy is a unique journey which leads to new questions, curiosities and lessons. But truth be told, the first experience remains unique and carries with it a sense of novelty which is unparalleled in later pregnancies. Everything is a first and it all feels somewhat overwhelming. The best advice is to surround yourself with resources that could assist you in answering your queries. It is always useful to seek the counsel of other parents or professionals who can offer valuable guidance in your time of questions. Some television programmes are excellent sources of information. Reading material is equally as necessary. In fact, the book you are holding is another brilliant source of knowledge. It is my hope that this very article gives you the push towards the end that you need. You may also wish to refer to an excellent online resource which is available on Facebook, namely Parentopedia. This is an online forum, operated by a group of professionals at Willingness who encourage conversations between parents. It is a useful online resource where parents can post questions and receive valuable guidance about their issues by parents and professionals alike. As you create your portfolio of resources, remember that it is normal to feel uneasy at this time. It is a time of formation for you. Remain inquisitive and ask questions. The more you ask, the better prepared you will be.

 

Steve Libreri (Msc HRM (Leicest.), BA (Hons) Social Work (Melit.), Dip PT (Open College of Exercise). Social Worker, Parent Coach and Manager of Kin Services and Childminders by Willingness.

 

 

To read this, and many other interesting articles, purchase the latest edition of the book here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

          Days Out          

 

Educational Outings for children during the Summer Holidays


 

 To read this, and many other interesting articles, purchase the latest edition of the book here!

 

 

 

 

Malta Tourism Authority list of events

 

 To read this, and many other interesting articles, purchase the latest edition of the book here!

 

 

 

 

Malta Tourism Authority list of events

 

 To read this, and many other interesting articles, purchase the latest edition of the book here!

 

 

 

 

Humorous and easy-to-read

 

 To read this, and many other interesting articles, purchase the latest edition of the book here!

 

 

 

 

Most Popular 'Children Friendly' Restaurants in Malta and Gozo

 

 To read this, and many other interesting articles, purchase the latest edition of the book here!

 

 

 

8 reasons to catch the bus with your children

When is the last time that you travelled by bus? If it’s been a while, you may have heard that all buses are now air-conditioned and fully-accessible with low floors. You may be looking for a reason to give the buses a try, so here are eight reasons to catch the bus with your children.

 1. It’s cheap!

With their own personalised tallinja card, children aged between 4 and 10 only pay 25c per trip, while children up to four years of age travel for free. Adults and students pay 75c per trip with their tallinja card, so a return trip with the personalised tallinja card will cost only €4 for a family of two adults and two children.

2. The children get their own card!

Cheaper travel is not the only benefit of using a tallinja card. If your youngsters are aged between 4 and 10, they will get their very own personalised card with their name on it. Hand it to them just before boarding the bus and watch them feel all grown up as they validate their card on the ticket machine, paying their own fare.

3. Beat the traffic!

Everyone hates being stuck behind the wheel in traffic, and this stress in this situation is multiplied when your children are bickering in the back seat. Buses are not immune to traffic, I hear you say. If the cars are stuck, so are buses, unless there is a dedicated bus lane. However, by taking the bus, instead of playing referee while keeping your eyes on the road, you can enjoy better quality time with your children.

4. See the world through your children’s eyes!

Children are continuously pointing out the different things they see, which we can very often miss while we’re driving. Travelling by bus with children can change the mundane into an adventure, as you get to experience the views through your children’s eyes. Be prepared to answer all sorts of questions, as each trip will intrigue the children in a different way.

5. Don’t worry about parking!

Once you arrive at your destination, all you have to do is gather your belongings and get off the bus safely with your children. While the trip might have taken longer due to the number of bus stops along the way, the time you save looking for parking more than makes up for it, especially if you’re visiting places like Valletta, Sliema, Mdina or Bugibba.

6. Experience Valletta!

Our capital city has loads to offer. From culture to entertainment, fast food to fine dining, there is something for everyone in Valletta. Getting to Valletta by bus is easy, with over 50 routes connecting Valletta to all the towns and villages on the island.

7. Explore new places

With over 2,000 bus stops around the island, there is a wide and varied choice of places to visit. Take route 109 to Bahrija, for example, to explore the countryside, or route 74 to see the Blue Grotto. Routes going to and from remote locations around Malta are very often less busy than others, and offer some spectacular views. Download the tallinja app to find your closest bus stop and use the journey planner to find the routes to your destination of choice. Travelling by bus has never been easier.

8. Go green!

By taking the bus you will be reducing the number of cars on the road, which in turn leads to less traffic congestion. You will be reducing your carbon footprint and setting a good example for your children. Show your children that you care about the environment by choosing green ways to travel.

Before you know it, your little munchkin will be a teenager, coveting independence. By taking your little ones on the bus, they will grow accustomed to the public transport system, learning about bus stops, interchanges and all the information that will make them confident bus users as they grow older. We can all do little things to change our future – catching the bus with our children is one of them!

 

 To read this, and many other interesting articles, purchase the latest edition of the book here!

 

 

 

 

Heritage Malta

Heritage Malta Student Membership Scheme encourages students to get to know about the history and cultural heritage of our country

 

In its efforts to increase accessibility to all museums and sites, recently Heritage Malta launched a new membership scheme open to all Primary level students. The demand for Heritage Malta’s Student Membership Scheme is very encouraging and applications are still open for those interested.

The Student Membership Scheme was launched with the collaboration of the Ministry for Justice, Culture, and Local Government and the Ministry for Education and Employment.
The Heritage Malta Student Membership Scheme is meant for students at primary school level and will serve as a test for future projects. The scheme provides free entrance to Heritage Malta sites (except the Hypogeum) to all primary school students. It also offers a 50% discount on the entrance fee to up to two adults accompanying a student. Cardholders can benefit also from discounts at museum shops and activities or exclusive events organised specifically for members.
The Heritage Malta Student Membership Scheme instils interest and encourages students from a very young age to get to know about the history and the cultural heritage of our country. Apart from that, this scheme enhances the family bond as it stimulates an ideal family recreational activity.
 
 All those interested may apply online at
http://heritagemalta.org/student-membership/
 

 Head Office

 

Ex Royal Naval Hospital

 

Triq Marina

 

Kalkara KKR1524

 

Malta


 

Tel: (+356) 22954000

 

Fax: (+356) 21222900


Email: info@heritagemalta.org

www.heritagemalta.org
 

 To read this, and many other interesting articles, purchase the latest edition of the book here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hospital Bag

 Ensure you have everything you need for your little one’s arrival with our hospital bag edit. Shop carefully for selected unisex essentials and multipacks that are easy to care for and gentle on your baby’s skin, as well as discover our new Dreamskin® range to protect delicate and sensitive skin.

Organising your baby’s wardrobe can be stressful, especially when you’re starting from scratch. An 8 piece starter set is perfect for newborn babies and will make a lovely present for baby showers and christenings. The set includes two sleepsuits, two bodysuits, two sets of mittens, a hat and a bib. Made from pure cotton that’s comfortable against delicate skin, the set includes all of baby’s essentials.

  Muslin squares are a daily must have for your little one. Made from pure cotton for extra softness, they come in an assortment of stripe and rabbit print designs, and plain white. They are fully machine washable and tumble dryer friendly for week-to-week convenience.

 Bodysuits are ideal everyday basics when dressing your little one. Made from pure cotton for a comfortable feel, our long sleeve bodysuits are tumble dryer friendly for added practicality. Featuring nickel-free press stud fastenings to prevent irritation, and envelope necklines to make dressing easy

 As a baby’s skin is often subject to irritation and sensitivity, our DreamSkin® technology is specifically designed to soothe the skin and help the baby sleep soundly. Made from pure cotton which is gentle against baby’s skin, our soft sleepsuits incorporate DreamSkin® technology to protect delicate and sensitive skin. The sleepsuits also feature press stud fastenings through the centre for easy dressing.

 Just like us, your little one will need a supply of socks from day one. Cotton rich with added stretch, our comfortable socks come in single packs as well as a practical pack of five with fold down trims.

 F&F is an international fashion brand for Men, Women and Kids at affordable prices.

 

 
 

 

  

 

 

 Mums... Pamper Yours

 

Moms are busy ladies and unfortunately, pampering is usually the first thing they sacrifice when they're swamped. Myoka Spa Breaks are the perfect way to rebalance the body and revive the soul. The best thing for busy moms to do is to take a little time out of each day to dedicate to themselves and their well-being. Some spa treatments are not as time consuming or expensive as one would think. We think that manicures, pedicures and massages are some of the top treatments for moms because they fit their lifestyles. When you are recovering from your baby's birth, a massage, facial or other treatment can truly lift your spirits. Mummy-to-be massage People have espoused the therapeutic benefits of massage therapy since at least 3000 B.C. but the  practice  for  pregnant  women  and  their  newborns is  a  fairly  new  discovery  for  many women. Pregnancy massage can bring relief to some of the most common complaints of pregnancy including heartburn and indigestion, hemorrhoids, morning sickness/nausea, sinus congestion, high blood pressure, and varicose veins.  Inner peace relaxing massage This  Massage  relaxes  muscles,  increases  circulation  and  lowers  stress  hormones, bringing  relaxation  and  stress  relief.  All body systems appreciate treatment after nine months of change, culminating with the delivery of the greatest miracle in life. Adding myofascial release and craniosacral therapy reaches deeper into the body for more complete healing.  Postpartum depression is a more serious, longer-lasting condition that affects 10-15% of mothers.  Studies show massage to be beneficial for treating postpartum depression.

 

Leading light massage Residual body aches from pregnancy are normal. Adding breastfeeding and childcare can intensify arm, shoulder and back pain. Massage is an effective holistic approach that relaxes muscles and relieves pain without medication.  Lymphatic drainage massage Body fluids need to find balance after pregnancy, in which there was an increase of about 50% in fluid volume.  This Massage increases circulation and lymphatic drainage to facilitate elimination of excess fluids and waste products. Massage helps hormone regulation, which also decreases swelling. Continue your high fluid intake for healing and lactation, even though you may still have swelling.For more info about our spa treatments please call the Myoka Lotus Spa on 21 370 163. We will assist you to design package around your budget and concerns ;-) www.myoka.com

 

 
 

 

  

 

 

My Malta

 

Claire Bonello is the mother of a 5 year old girl and a mischievous 3 year old boy. Claire is a lawyer and a newspaper columnist with The Sunday Times of Malta. She lives in Sliema, close to the sea and her favourite haunts. 

Around the Island with Claire Bonello

Here are Claire’s suggestions for great family outings.

Sightseeing: ‘One of my favourite places is the Chinese Garden in Santa Lucija. The children are fascinated by the set-up and the Oriental décor and there’s a lovely lawn to play on. The garden is closed off to traffic and children can be monitored at all times making it safe.’

 

Eating Out: ‘A very convenient place to grab a pizza or good salad is Amigos in Sliema. Besides serving excellent food, the atmosphere is laid-back and casual making it kid-friendly.’

Days Out: ‘The recently-opened Ta Qali Adventure Park makes a great day out as there are loads of different swings, climbing frames and water features to keep my children occupied.’

 

 
 

 

  

 

 

 

Brain Health

 

For many more great articles, purchase the latest edition of the book here

 

 

 

 

Tips for keeping your home safe for kids


 For many more great articles, purchase the latest edition of the book here

 

 

 

 

 

Immunisation


 

 For many more great articles, purchase the latest edition of the book here

 

 

 

 

 

 

FAQ's about children's teeth

ASK THE DENTIST

 

1. WHEN SHOULD WE BEGIN USING TOOTHPASTE AND HOW MUCH?

A very small amount of toothpaste recommended for the child's age group can be used as soon as teething starts. A soft toothbrush for applying this, combined with a regular daily routine, goes a long way towards establishing positive lifelong oral hygiene habits 

2. HOW DO I KNOW MY CHILDREN ARE GETTING THE RIGHT FOOD FOR THEIR TEETH?

This is quite simple really- sugar is public enemy No1. While it is relatively easy to identify sugary foods, it is less straightforward to recognise foods with hidden sugars in them: almost all processed and preserved food, sauces such as ketchup and barbecue sauce, frozen vegetables, fruit juices - including those which declare "no added sugar", and also all carbohydrates which are broken down by saliva into sugars. 

While it is impossible, impractical and even unnecessary to eliminate sugar totally from a child's diet, it is imperative to limit the number of times teeth come into contact with sugar during the course of a day. Identifying foods with hidden sugar in them should be relatively easy to achieve 

3. WHAT SHOULD I DO IF MY CHILD FALLS AND KNOCKS OUT A TOOTH WHETHER IT IS A PERMANENT OR BABY TOOTH?

When a tooth is knocked out of its place completely, acting speedily is essential. Do not rinse the tooth but place it in fresh milk and call the the dentist immediately. Should milk not be available, place the tooth between cheek and gum. Generally permanent teeth can be treated and fitted back in their place. The dentist can decide whether to re-fit baby teeth or not, usually depending on how close the tooth is to being changed. If it cannot be re-fitted, the baby tooth can easily be used for stem-cell harvesting 

4. HOW CAN I MAKE MY CHILD MORE COMFORTABLE ABOUT VISITING THE DENTIST?

Start them early! Children can be taken for their first check-up as soon as the first baby teeth are through. For most, these early checks serve as familiarisation visits and the child will never associate their dentist with discomfort. They also serve to inform parents about the state of oral hygiene of their child. Where discomfort is already present- toothache, accidents etc -, it is imperative to avoid negative statements "this won't hurt a bit......" and encourage the child throughout any procedures "you'll feel better soon...."

Dr Joseph Xuereb - Savina Clinc - Dental and Implanatology Centres - www.savinadental.com Victoria, Gozo, SkyParks Buisiness Centre, Malta International Airport


 

 

 

 Activities

 
 

The discussion that needs to happen

 How to engage with technology as a family

  There can be no argument about the pervasiveness of technology in today’s world. Whether at work, school or home – it is everywhere. And as technology evolves, it becomes ever more accessible and affordable. The advent of touchscreen devices has done away with the need to read letters on a keyboard or to have hands big enough to grab a mouse. Children are essentially ‘born ready’ to engage with technology. All they need to do is point and touch.

 

But as parents, we also know that technology can present huge challenges. We are happy when a tablet or phone acts as a pacifier, but complain when children do nothing but play on their devices. We might invest in educational apps, but do we follow up to see what educational progress the child is making? Is more technology always better?

 When family time is essential,the automatic reaction seems to be to ban all electronic devices. But is this the only way? How can we make the best use of technology? Do we need to focus on the skills that children learn at school, or do we also need to make sure that parents are not lagging behind? Are games like Minecraft just games, or can we use them in fun ways that the whole family can enjoy and learn from?

 These are just some of the many questions that will need to be discussed. We cannot escape this – whether we are children, teachers or parents. The question is not about whether we need to find new ways to engage with technology, but simply about how and when to do so. At EasyPeasy Coding we strive to find the most innovative answers to these questions.

 
 

 

 

Gems of Malta

 

  Words by Yolande Kleinjan   

Four years ago I moved from the Netherlands to Malta with my husband and two sons (they were 6 and 9 at the time). The first summer I explored the island, together with my two sons. They had, after all, a never-ending summer of 3 months! As a semi - tourist we visited all the usual places. But I wanted to do different stuff, go out, feel nature, have long walks, go hiking, exploring beaches, sneaking through caves and looking for fossils. I wanted to discover the beauty of Malta, far away from the crowds and off the paved roads. Having said that, walking is surely the best way to explore. ''The feel of a country under your fingertips, against your cheek, through the soles of your feet - this can only be done by walking''.

 

Spring

 

Spring for me is the favorite season of the year. But be aware! Before even noticing it, hot summer is already around the corner. It can happen that you change your winter wardrobe into summer wardrobe within one week. So we have to enjoy spring as much as possible. Mtaħleb is for us the best place to enjoy spring, it is one of the highest points on the island and is situated by the cliffs at the North West of Malta. The area is covered with beautiful red, yellow, pink flowers. This is the perfect place for the kids to find amazing fossils. There are many cliff sites in Malta, but what is special about Mtaħleb is that there is a gorge (small opening in the cliffy rocks) from where you can descend down the cliffs by the sea.

 

 

 

 

It is quite exciting as you walk close to the edge of the high cliffs of Malta. Fishermen are trying to catch some fish with  their long fishing lines all the way down to the sea. We love to have a picnic here.  A picnic with an amazing view and a breathtaking sunset.

 

Summer

 

During summer we are most of the time enjoying sailing. But even in summer there are days when you prefer to stay ashore. This is an ideal time to explore Gozo.  You don’t need to walk far to find the path which leads you to Mġarr ix-Xini.  The walk is truly breathtaking. Starting the walk from Mġarr fishing hamlet, past the Gozo ferry, you wlll find a path under Fort Chambray bastions. All the way towards Mġarr ix-Xini you find a really beautiful gem of nature, sea, flora and history. My boys love to play around the Mġarr ix-Xini tower and the gorgeous beach beneath it. In Mġarr ix-Xini you will find a lovely small restaurant where you can enjoy fresh fish, while the kids are exploring the valley or are swimming in the crystal clear blue water. When you still have some energy left you can continue going uphill to Ta’ Ċenc wilderness. You can enjoy the breathtaking views of the islands and the highest cliffs in Gozo. It is full of lizards and even sometimes we meet a shepherd with his flock. The path will eventually lead you to Xlendi bay, where you can take the bus back to Mġarr. 

 

Autumn

 

 

In autumn when it is not too hot anymore and it starts to get a bit greener, one of our favorite spots is the area around Girgenti. In this area you will find so many aspects of beautiful Malta.  Park your car at Buskett Garden, where the kids can play around. Then follow the road which leads to Clapham Junction. Here you can find the pre-historic cart ruts, which is quite interesting for the kids. Every time we try to figure out how they were created. And I can tell you they come up with some interesting theories! But so far no one has ever found the answers for these cart ruts, only questions. In this area we also found a big cave, where it is paradise for the kids to play around. From there you can walk along the Roman Quarries towards the beautiful green valley of Girgenti. A lot of food we eat on this island must come from this fertile valley. In autumn the air is drenched with orange fragrance. Oranges and lemons are all around you.  When the kids are still not tired you can climb the Laferla Cross, which is situated on the highest hill in Malta. You can find our names next to thousands of other names marked at the base of the statue. 

 

Winter

 

 As we live in the South of the Island, we love to go out for an afternoon in the area around St. Peters Pool. One of Malta’s best kept secrets is the Delimara area, just off the  picturesque fishermen’s village of Marsaxlokk. This swimming spot is the  perfect example of an unspoiled beach and an excellent place for snorkeling. There is not even a kiosk where the boys can moan about snacks or drinks. It is called a pool because it looks like a natural swimming pool carved into the rocks. But the area is not only perfect for swimming, it is also great for hiking. When it is too cold for a swim we love to walk from Marsascala to Marsaxlokk and visit the famous market on a Sunday morning. The countryside between the two harbour towns of Marsaskala  and Marsaxlokk, provides some of the most spectacular walking tours in the South of Malta. On our explorations we found the Tas-Silg archeological site, which is not accessible for the public, the Victorian Tas-Silg Fort, now  a dogs' home, St. Paul's Battery, where we were able to make out where the large guns had once been placed to protect the bay and a very difficult to reach deserted (stone) beach, which is an adventure in itself for the kids.

I’m really honoured that I can share my favorite spots with you, but please promise me one thing when you visit them. Be mindful of these spots and keep them clean. Looking forward to meet you somewhere!

 For many more great articles, purchase the latest edition of the book here

 

 

 

Tax Deductions for Children's Cultural & Creative Courses

 

Fees paid for Children’s Cultural & Creative Courses

If your child is under sixteen years of age you may be entitled to a tax deduction. If the cultural or creative course is registered with the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts you can claim a deduction against your chargeable income for the amount of  fees paid up to a maximum of one hundred Euro. Forms can be downloaded from www.ird.gov.mt and www.maltaculture.com.  For more information you can contact the Inland Revenue Department on freephone 8007 2297.

Ħlas fuq attivitajiet kulturali u kreattivi – Tnaqqis tat-Taxxa

Jekk it-tfal tiegħek huma taħt is-sittax-il sena, tista’ tkun intitolat għal tnaqqis fit-taxxa. Jekk l-entità kulturali u kreattiva li fiha jattendu t-tfal hija rreġistrata mal-Malta Council for Culture and the Arts, int tista’ tingħata tnaqqis fuq il-qliegħ taxxabbli fuq il-ħlasijiet imħallsa sa massimu ta' mitt Ewro. Il-formoli jistgħu jiġu mniżżla minn www.ird.gov.mt u www.maltaculture.com. Għal aktar informazzjoni tista’ ċċempel lid-Dipartiment tat-Taxxi Interni fuq freephone 8007 2297.  

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Top free places to go with the kids  

as voted by Kate de Cesare, Claire Bonello and 4 kids 

 

Yummy Mummies Kate and Claire manage to juggle work, kids and, of course, not forgetting, their husbands. As busy parents we all know that time spent with the kids is precious time not to be wasted but savoured. Kate and Claire have been gallivanting across the country with their kids on behalf of the Malta Baby & Kids Directory and have come up with their list of favourite places to go with the children and lo and behold, all without spending a penny!  Try them out and see what you & yours think.

1. Buskett - ideally not on a Sunday - but especially in spring, autumn or a sunny winter day... it makes for a great 'adventure' for the kids and gets them walking a little - they can climb trees, count tadpoles, run about and picnic in a very nice picnic area. It’s safe and large enough to make each trip slightly different. A great place for children to delight in and parents to relax and unwind.

2. San Anton Gardens - a beautiful classical garden with lots to see including cats, turtles, ducks, various fountains... area in front of the steps to the palace is nice for a picnic... lovely place to walk and for the kids to run around, shaded and safe.

3. Independence Gardens - convenient - has some shady bits... kids love the cat bit and the fountain bit... they can ride bikes, play on the swings... can have a coffee after and the kids can run about.

4. Golden Bay – a super destination – children everywhere have always loved building sand castles… just take care to cover them with high factor sun screen in the searing summer months.

5. Chinese Gardens in Santa Lucija – This is a quiet spot of green amongst the hubbub where parents can relax while their children play safely and clamber on the rocks within the Chinese pagoda.

6. Kennedy Grove - Not on a Sunday, but during the week when the world & his wife isn't there! It’s fun for the kids to play in the grass and climb trees and it has a nice picnic area. Not a huge space but very pleasant.

7. Swings outside Mdina – A good place to romp before indulging in chocolate cake at one of the Mdina cafes. 

  For many more great articles, purchase the latest edition of the book here

 

 

 

Baby Development 

 

Many of us spend the majority of our lives thriving to improve our communication skills for professional and personal reasons.  

As our children grow older, we will spend many hours helping them to develop good communication skills and supporting them in situations where they have misunderstood others or been misunderstood themselves.  

During the vital first year, when the brain is developing more than any other time there is so much we can do to help our babies develop vital early communication skills. Babies learn, develop or acquire language through sensory experiences that involve verbal interactions with adults.

 

Early nurturing is so important. Babies have an amazing capacity to learn, but because parents or practitioners may not know what to look for, skills and capabilities may go unnoticed. One of the most exciting advances in child development has been the discovery that babies actually learn before they are born. Even more amazing is the fact that during their first year, babies learn more than at any other time in their lives. Babies are so clever, and their first year of development offers parents and practitioners a significant and remarkable opportunity to enjoy the learning potential of these incredible beings right from the start! 

By the first birthday, the baby's brain has doubled in volume as a direct result of the trillions of connections made between the brain cells. This is the importance of introducing a rich variety of sensory experiences at every possible opportunity. Dr Lin Day (PhD, Dip. Ed, BSc, PGCE, M. Phil.) 

Claire Savona ~ Baby Sensory Malta

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My Malta

 

Married to Robert and the mother of 2 wonderful children – Kristina 14 and John 7, Andrea forms part of the Malta Baby & Kids Directory and www.maltababyandkids.com team. Andrea is a dedicated and inspirational mother and when not taxi-driving the kids to their various activities her passion is preparing jams and chutneys or baking and cooking using the freshest ingredients purchased directly from the farmers in her neighbourhood in the quaint village of Qrendi. 

Around the Island with Andrea Critien

Here are Andrea’s suggestions for great family outings.

Sightseeing: ‘I wouldn’t mind taking the kids on all the latest and fancy sightseeing excursions, however there’s always a budget to adhere to so we try to include sightseeing spots in our nature walks, our adventurous picnics or exciting camping trips. Living in Qrendi is a blessing; there are so many awesome sights and plenty of nature walks to choose from. My absolute favourite one is Blue Grotto/Wied Babu promenade in Żurrieq, Ħagar Qim, Mnajdra, Maqluba, Qrendi, where we walk along the recently refurbished Wied Babu promenade down to Wied iz-Żurrieq and, weather & budget permitting, we catch a luzzu trip to the Blue Grotto and nearby caves. Otherwise we stop at one of the many cafés then carry on our steep walk up the promenade to Ħagar Qim and down to Mnajdra temples, take a rest on the rocks then pursue our trek until we reach the deep natural crevice, Maqluba, in Qrendi.

‘On a balmy summer’s night we enjoy a walk along the Senglea waterfront which has amazing views of the restored Valletta Waterfront Pinto Stores and Fort St Angelo just across the water then we proceed through the city’s narrow streets. We sometimes either take a boat ride around Grand Harbour or just around Senglea and Vittoriosa creek.’

Eating Out: ‘We rarely eat out as both Robert and I enjoy our cooking and love to entertain both family and friends. However if I had to choose where to eat out, I’d definitely pick Palazzo Parisio for a lavish tea time treat. We also enjoy Fontanella in Mdina or Bobbyland in Dingli for hot chocolate and cake. Pizza would have to be at Margo’s in Mistra Bay, apart from being really tasty the surroundings just complete the perfection. On summer weekdays we either nip down to Wied iz-Żurrieq or enjoy a pizza down at one of the many pizzerias at the Senglea Waterfront, were John can talk to people while they’re fishing or watch football on the big screens. However when we’re eating out with my large family (17) we tend to eat at tal-Kaptan at the Valletta Waterfront which is great for kids as the aquarium inside keeps them entranced for quite a while, at least until the food arrives at the table.’

Days Out: ‘We’re blessed with a mixture of places on the island. In summer we enjoy scrambling down to one of Selmun’s or Mellieha’s hidden beaches that fortunately can only be reached on foot or by boat. Sometimes we catch an early boat to Comino to swim in the Blue Lagoon before the crowds arrive for the day, then we walk across the island and stop for a swim at various bays, and perhaps hire a pedal boat to explore the caves – you can choose to take packed lunch or you may have snack at the hotel cafeteria.

‘In the Autumn/winter the boots and anoraks come out and we go on long country walks in Qrendi, Siggiewi, Fomm ir-Riħ or on warmer days we enjoy picnics in Mtaħleb, Miżieb, Manikata, Buskett, depending on the weather.  

‘We also enjoy flying our kites at Ta' Qali or Ħal-Far on very windy days. There are also the Wirt Artna or Heritage Malta Sites that hold regular open days of their various sites and when possible we try to take advantage of these events. 

‘There’s no excuse not to go out in Malta, we’re lucky to have great weather, short distances and a wealth of natural and historical venues to visit. We refer to www.maltababyandkids.com regularly as events are updated daily and there are so many to choose from! Your weekends with the kids will never be the same again!’

 For many more great articles, purchase the latest edition of the book here

 

  

 

Ideas to keep kids active 

 

Get adventurous and become a Dolphin or Cub, Guide or Scout. Guiding and scouting are an Education for Life. They complement the school and the family but fulfil those needs not met by either. They develop self-knowledge, the need to explore, to discover, to want to know. Their non-formal education programmes are full of progressive activities based on the interests of girls, boys, young women and men. Activities in contact with nature, a rich learning environment where simplicity, creativity and discovery come together to provide new adventures and challenges. (Activities – Adventure Clubs section)
 
With encouragement at home and at school, children progress rapidly from the scribbles and paint blobs from their playgroup days to more skilled forms of creativity, such as painting pictures and constructing models. So assist their imagination and guide your child to express their inner self through one of the many art and craft or ceramic sessions available.  (Activities – Art & Craft section)
 
Kids look forward to bath time so why not try a bath bomb session. Whilst a fun activity that creates a useful product, making bath bombs can be a lesson in science – the fizzing reaction is the same type of reaction that occurs in carbonated beverages. (Activities – Art & Craft section
 
Children simply love stories. Story time is an exciting time for children who are always ready to have their imaginations stimulated. Refer to the animated reading sessions listed in this directory. For the more intent readers with an insatiable appetite for books head down to your local library or Malta’s Public Library in Floriana. (Activities – Libraries section)
 
Most toddlers and kids enjoy playing with musical toys such as xylophones, whistles and drums, so enrol in one of these joyful classes. It is toward the end of primary school that a child takes up music seriously so choose a music school that can advise you on choosing the instrument to which your child is best suited. (Activities – Music Lessons section)
 
Dancing improves muscular control and co-ordination in young children and can be fun. Malta has an amazing number of dance schools to choose from. Read through our dancing pages … (Activities – Dance section)
 
Playing and acting are physical accomplishments developed by toddlers and are used in more skilled and interesting games as a child grows up. Imitation is also a part of development and a child expresses this by dressing up and acting a part of their own mind.  Check out classes available in Malta. (Activities – Drama section)
 
 
With the Mediterranean surrounding the Maltese Islands it provides some of Malta’s most popular playgrounds. If water is to be enjoyed in safety children must be completely at home in it. All children should learn to swim. Swimming promotes health and gives great pleasure. It is inexpensive, can be enjoyed by everyone and can open the door to numerous exciting activities such as sailing, surfing, diving, canoeing, water skiing, water polo, competitive swimming and more. As swimming is not always taught in schools it is up to parents to help their children to learn to swim. (Sports Activities - Swimming section).
 
 

 
 

 


 
 
 
Childcare
 

 Traumatic injuries to children's teeth

 

 

 

 

A day in the life of… Andrea Cassar

 

Where do I begin!! My days are very hectic but I wouldn’t want to change them for anything in the world.

 

My typical day starts at 6 am. My alarm goes off and every day I realise that I didn’t get enough sleep. Yet sleeping that extra 20 min is not going to change anything so I cuddle up with the kids - who during the night have ended up in my bed - and wake them up with lots of hugs and kisses to get them up in a good mood.

 

I get up, and start dragging them out of bed for showers… while my husband prepares the lunches. We get the kids ready - Isaac for school, and Eve to come with me to the office. I shower quickly, dress and get my make-up done hoping that my tired, puffy eyes will smooth out by the time I get to work.  Every morning it’s a struggle between getting to work at a decent time and eating breakfast with the kids.

 

For some reason it feels that in the morning the clock ticks faster than usual, and no matter how much I prepare the night before, I’m always running late… 

I bundle both kids into the car and hit the road to try to get to Isaac’s school in time.

His school is on the other side of the island, so it takes me an hour in traffic to get there. After I drop off Isaac in Birgu, I head to my office in Marsa where I start my long day…  

 At work I am blessed with the flexibility of having a baby sitter to take care of Eve so that she’s still around me, which relieves some of the guilt of not spending the whole day with my little one.

My day at the Shipyard is full, then at 1.45 my alarm goes off to collect Isaac from school and we head back to the office where home work is done and we all have lunch together while I continue with my work. After, we all head home to meet daddy.

 I put food in the oven and spend the rest of the evening playing with the kids and spending quality time.  After I cuddle up with the kids in bed, to make sure they are fast asleep, I start my preparations for the next day.

 One thing that never changes is the nonstop pace of holding down a career and a household.

By 9.30pm I try to watch a movie, but according to my husband I usually crash out on the sofa only to wake up and realise the movie I’ve been longing to watch is over…

 In truth my days are very varied. On top of it all, I somehow manage to fit in my television series ‘Liquorish’ as well as other multiple activities, working at night and from home whilst the kids are sleeping. Its crazy… but it works!!

 

 

 
 

 

 

Deciding on childcare 

 

Deciding on Childcare - Where do I start?

Choosing the right childcare may seem like a daunting task, especially if it is your first time. In today’s society, where it is becoming increasingly common for mum to return to work after maternity leave, having to rely on childcare is not an easy decision. Trust your instincts and carry out some research into childcare  centres to help you make an informed choice.

What are the carer-child ratios?

According to the national standards for childcare provisions the following ratios apply;

Age birth - 12 months - 1 carer to 3 children

Age 13 months - 24months - 1 carer to 5 children

Age 25 months - 36+ months - 1 carer to 6 children! 

Is there financial help towards my childcare costs?

Yes, there is! The government introduced a free childcare scheme in April 2014, whereby qualifying parents are entitled to free childcare based on the condition that both parents are either working or training. Application forms and a list of registered centres can be found on www.education.gov.mt. For further information and eligibility contact childcare@gov.mt or 2598 2174 / 2598 2772.

What will my child be doing in childcare?

Apart from being fed and changed he/she should be in an environment that stimulates his/her development. It is important that children at this age are shown adaptive prosocial skills by learning the concept of being kind to others and sharing. A childcare centre that promotes such social behaviours prepares your child for kindergarten. Ask your childcare centre about the ways in which they promote prosocial behaviour. ! 

Will they learn anything?

Of course they will! No matter what age your child is, they predominately learn through experience, social interaction and play. Ask your centre if they promote educational aspects to play. For example, do they introduce key themes through crafts or activities? Perhaps the introduction of colours through a block sorting activity. When children are exposed to themes through the use of play they are more likely to remember the theme as it was an enjoyable positive experience ! 

Mrs Georgina Fardoe 

MSc Child & Family Psychology

Childcare Centre Manager

Orange Tree Childcare Centre

 

Sqaq Il - Hofra, Gharghur +(356) 2713 4813  +(356) 9977 2080

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

Free childcare to help families achieve a work/life balance

 

 

 The Free Childcare for All scheme, is a budgetary measure for 2014, announced by the Ministry of Finance and implemented by the Ministry for Education and Employment.  The Scheme started  in April 2014, with more than 95 % of the registered child care centres applying to form part of it. New child care centres opening in Malta and Gozo are also registering to be part of the scheme.  The primary aims of the scheme is to both provide a more equitable and affordable provision of early care and education to all children irrespective of financial means and social background as well as to increase the active participation of females in the labour market. The proposal has already proved a success with childcare centre providers prepared to invest in facilities and expand. The educational aspect of the initiative would be given priority, so that children enjoy a stimulating educational experience to serve as a stepping stone for their future educational attainment.

This initiative represents one of the Government’s major economic reforms, and through it, the Government is both increasing the female participation in the labour force, and also strengthening the country’s skills as the initiative is also available to those parents seeking to further their education.

Actions set out in this scheme include:

·   Families with both parents in full-time or part-time employment or in education will benefit from free childcare.

·    Parents will benefit from the equivalent  of their working hours as well one hour daily for commuting, together with an additional 10% of their working hours in childcare services per month.

·      Parents who are students studying on a part-time basis will be entitled to 20 hours while those studying full-time will benefit from 40 hours.

Application forms and a list of all childcare centres registered in the scheme can be downloaded from the website www.education.gov.mt. For further information on the scheme and eligibility please contact us on childcare@gov.mt or 2598 2174 / 2598 2772.

 

  For many more great articles, purchase the latest edition of the book here

 

 

 

Temper Tantrums in Kids

 

Temper tantrums are considered an essential part of child development which are expected to emerge during the toddler period (18months -3years). This period is a time of intense physical growth accompanied by increased activity. During this developmental stage, the child is expected to establish a distinct self that is separate from her parents. This explains why the child starts to assert herself where her favorite word becomes ‘no!’. Apart from the need to take more control over herself, this behavior may also stem from the frustration caused by an incomplete and unbalanced development of expressive language skills when compared with their more complete receptive language skills.

Toddlers tend to understand complex sentences however they are still very limited with regards to their communicative ability which many times does not exceed 2-3 worded sentences. Although temper tantrums are notorious to parents as their authority is being seriously challenged, if parents remain firm and in control the toddler will leave this stage with a secure relationship with her parents, trusting them to establish boundaries. How to cope with temper tantrums Address the behavior as soon as it starts without getting angry or giving in to your child. Say to your child, "When you stop crying we'll talk about it and see what can be done."   Then walk into the next room. Show love. It's okay to hold your child if she comes to you during a tantrum and she's too young to be left alone, but don't respond to what she wants until she calms down. Get some privacy. When in public ignore any glares you get, take your child to a private corner to wait for her to calm down. Tell her, "I'll sit down with you until you stop screaming." If she doesn't stop crying or screaming after three or four minutes, take her home. Parents need to learn how to deal with their own frustrations and anger in an effective manner. "Monkey see, monkey do." Have realistic expectations. Expecting a toddler to remain seated and sedate during church service or while in a fancy restaurant will only lead to frustration for both age groups.

Help your child find the proper verbal way of expressing their frustrations. ("I know you are mad that I won't give you more time on the swings, but it is time to go home and eat”) Preempt and Plan ahead. For example, "We have to stop watching TV when the timer rings for the second time.” This gives the child the opportunity to assert some control over the situation and develop an alternative approach to a frustrating event. Toddlers crave control. Allow simple choices that you can live with. For example, "Do you want some apple or banana at lunch?

 

 For many more great articles, purchase the latest edition of the book here

 

 

 

Baby Sign Language 

 

From the moment babies are born, they start to communicate by using sound and
natural gestures.  Baby Sign Language exploits this natural ability of babies and uses sign language to encourage two-way communication between parents and babies, before the babies can talk.
 
Baby Sign has been steadily gaining in popularity worldwide and has many benefits to
both the parent and the child.  As these benefits are becoming more widely recognized, more and more parents and childcare professionals are signing with their babies... so what is it all about and how can you get started?
 
The Deaf community has always signed with their children, so "baby sign" has always been around.   But more recently people have started to discover the benefits of using baby sign with hearing babies.
 
Research has shown that by using baby sign language with hearing babies before they can talk, you can increase IQ, self-esteem, communication skills, parent/baby bonding, and decrease tantrums and frustration.  With all these benefits, it's no wonder that baby signing is gaining popularity.
 
Baby sign language is based on adult sign language but with more flexibility so some signs are changed to make them easier for little hands to copy.  Everyone can enjoy the benefits of baby sign as it is very easy to learn and fun to practice.
 
Many people are still weary of baby sign language because they think it is a fad or only for deaf children.  Some people even think that by using signs you will somehow delay your baby's speech development.  All of these misconceptions have been proven wrong by extensive research carried out in America.  In actual fact using baby signs helps your baby develop communication skills and speech earlier that non-signing babies.
 
Just think - babies start to communicate from birth.  They start by using eye contact and facial expressions and as they gain more control over their bodies they may wave or clap hands.
 
By about 6 months your baby will have developed the motor skills needed to make signs, by 7-8 months your baby's memory will have developed enough to use the signs consistently.  However, your baby's vocal muscles will not have developed enough for comprehensible speech until about 18-24 months old!  That means you could have been communicating with your baby a whole 18 months earlier!
 
QUICK FACTS
 
•         You can start signing with your baby at any age - some parents start from birth.  A good time to start is around 5 months.
 
•         Your baby will probably sign back between 6-8 months, when his memory will have developed enough to store and use the signs regularly
 
•         Babies need 4-6 weeks to learn their first signs and to start to copy them back to you, so you will need to be patient.
 
•         Once a baby has learned his first signs, he will learn the next ones more quickly.
 
•         Baby signing does not delay speech - quite the opposite has been proven to be true.
 
•         By signing with your baby you are giving him the very best start in life, by giving him tools that allow him to communicate his needs to you without unnecessary crying and frustration.
 
HERE ARE JUST SOME OF THE PROVEN BENEFITS THAT BABY SIGNING CAN BRING:
 
•         Increase your baby's IQ
 
•         Improve your baby's language and communication skills
 
•         Strengthen your parent/baby bond
 
•         Reduce tantrums and frustration
 
•         Build your baby's self-confidence and self-esteem
 
Sylvana Brannon
 

 
 

 

 

The notion of child-care 

 

Children deserve the best possible care for their well-being and development. It is imperative that safe and developmentally appropriate children’s services are available to promote the holistic development of children and their families. 
 
The traditional aim of a child care centre is to provide a place for working parents to leave their children during working hours. However in actual fact, childcare centres cater for the formative years of a child s’ life. In this regard, the facilities aim, and are indeed obliged to provide an educational programme as well as a safe environment conducive to the well-being and education of, as well as emotional development of, the child. 
 
The promotion of such child care centres is being taken on the realisation that the sustainability of a country’s economy and social fabric depends on a strong work force where qualified, skilled and competent workers are given opportunities to find employment while at the same time start a family and enjoy family life. Thus, child day care centres provide the peace of mind for parents that their children are in good hands, in a safe and stimulating environment whilst being nurtured by qualified carers who are aware and have a sound knowledge of children’s development and needs. 
 
An intelligent and balanced use of child care is shown to benefit the child but one cannot adopt a one size fits all situation. Child care should be seen as an extension of parental attention, in fact it should serve as a continuation of what parents or primary care givers are obliged to provide at home. Frequent meetings with the provider as well as discussions on what works best for the child will guarantee that the child’s stay is a happy one.
 
These centres are filling the gap which traditionally was fulfilled by the grandparents who acted as the primary babysitters. However this trend is on the decrease due to the fact that the grandparents themselves might still be of an employable age. Apart from helping in reaching a work-family balance, childcare research has shown that high quality care can impact positively upon children's intellectual, linguistic and social skills.
 
As with any other service, child care needs to be regulated and monitored to ensure that the set standards are upheld. The Welfare Services Assessment Unit (WSAU) within the Department of Social Welfare Standards has been entrusted with the inspectorate role. In fact the WSAU inspects, monitors and assesses child day care services. The centres are expected to apply for registration with the Department which provides the necessary guidance. This registration procedure is intended to reassure parents who choose Registered Child Day Care Facilities for their children that the facility is striving to operate according to a set of established standards in the best interest of their children. 
 
In Malta, the publication of the National Standards for Child Care Facilities in 2006 was intended to ensure a better, safer and healthier environment for children. Prior to 2006, childcare provisions were not regulated, thus, the purpose of regulation and the setting of standards for this particular sector provides quality assurance for children attending such facilities and reassurance for their parents.
 
The level rating for the qualifications and the occupational standards for child carers and managers relates to another very positive recent development. This was launched by the Ministry for Justice, Dialogue and the Family together with the Ministry for Education and Employment so as to ensure that qualified persons are working within the centres as required by the 2006 National Standards. One can appreciate that the well-being of children cannot be left to chance and although the providers do have a leeway in the way they operate the facility, it must be kept in mind at all times that such services are being given for the benefit of the ultimate beneficiaries, that is, the children.   
 
Currently, there are 67 registered facilities, 47 of which are privately owned, 4 are run by the Church, 7 which are public-private partnerships and 9 Foundation for Educational services (FES) centres provided by the government which also provides means testing and thus caters for families with low incomes. The notable increase in registered child care centres reflects the demand for such centres as well as the measures taken in order to meet these demands. With this objective in sight, national funds as well as European Regional Development Funds (ERDF) have been made available to these child care centres to improve their services as well as encourage new ones to start operating.
 
Government’s commitment is to promote a view of childhood as an important phase of life in its own right and not just as preparation for adult life. Children must be allowed to live in the present and to realise their full potential. These are the aims underlining the National Children’s Policy which shall be launched shortly by the Ministry of Justice, Dialogue and the Family. The objectives outlined centre around the child as the holder of rights, and a subject liable to vulnerability. Ultimate success can be realised if children themselves feel the positive change.
 
Dr. Sandra Hili Vassallo – Director DSWS
 

 
 

 

 

Measuring up to our siblings 

 

We are born into our family and the relationships within weave the fabric of life. Children learn social competencies and social norms through their interactions with parents and siblings and family life becomes a complex, dynamic experience that has a direct influence on how they feel about themselves. The need to feel loved and to belong is innate – it is a primal need for every individual. For young children, the developing self is fragile and is easily damaged. The way a child sees himself or herself deep inside depends on the way significant people in their life react to them. Initially, their self-esteem forms in relation to parents, caregivers and siblings and sibling rivalry is inevitable. They tend to compare themselves to the more admired and favoured sibling. Our role as parents is to provide a ‘secure enough base’ that becomes a platform for future relationships. The family becomes the safe playground where they learn to feel competent, valid and to tolerate difference. It is the quality of our relationships that matter. Children want to feel loved and love is also spelt T-I-M-E. Balancing out time with each child individually also helps them feel validated. There is less need to compete for attention, thus reducing sibling rivalry. Meeting a child’s emotional needs helps him/her overcome potential feelings of inferiority. Challenging behaviour can occur when too few emotional needs are being met, such as the need for
Attention
Acceptance
Appreciation
Affection
Approval
Encouragement
Respect
Support
Comfort
Security
 
Every child’s needs also depends on his/her experience in the moment and when caregivers are attuned to such needs, the child feels seen and met. On the other hand, emotional withdrawal can be devastating. Children who feel loved and secure are better at forming healthy relationships. They feel less threatened, are more confident to explore new things, are less likely to be bullied or be a bully and more able to say “No” to peer-pressure when they are older.  
 
Anna Fenech holds an MA degree in Expressive Arts Therapy and is a Gestalt Psychotherapist.  She is also trained as a Psychotherapeutic Counsellor with children and young adults.  She works in different settings and also runs a private practice working with children and adults.  
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sport Activities 
 

Fees paid for sports activities - Tax Deductions

 

If your child is under sixteen years of age you may be entitled to a tax deduction. If the sports activity entity your child attends is registered with the Malta Sports Council you can claim a deduction against your chargeable income for the amount of fees paid up to a maximum of one hundred Euro. Forms can be downloaded from www.ird.gov.mt  an www.sportmalta.org.mt or collected from Cottonera, Marsa and Tal-Qroqq Sports Complexes.

Ħlas fuq attivitajiet sportivi – Tnaqqies tat-Taxxa Jekk it-tfal tiegħek huma taħt is-sittax-il sena, tista’ tkun intitolat għall-tnaqqis fit-taxxa.  Jekk l-entita’ sportiva li fiha jattendu t-tfal hija irreġistrata mal-Kunsill Malti għall-Isport, int tista’ tingħata tnaqqis fuq il-qliegħ taxxabli fuq il-ħlasijiet imħallsa sa massimu ta’ mitt Ewro. Il-formoli jistgħu jiġu mniżżla minn www.ird.gov.mt u www.sportmalta.org.mt jew inkella jinġabru mill-Kumplessi Sportivi tal-Kottonera, tal-Marsa u tal-Qroqq.

The Inland Revenue Department has recently issued a booklet outlining various deductions of fees paid in relation to:

1. School fees paid to private independent schools and/or kindergarten centres   

2. Fees payable for the services of a facilitator 

3. Fees paid for child-care services 

4. Fees paid for sport activities

To check whether your school and/or childcare centre are registered and to see if you are entitled to the above deductions, phone IRD Call Centre, Tel: 2296 2296 or Freephone: 8007 2297 or visit website http://www.ird.gov.mt

Id-dipartiment tat-taxxi nterni, reċentament ħareġ ktejjeb li juri it-tnaqqis ta’ ċerti miżati mħallsa li huma relatati ma’:

1. Miżati ta’ skejjel imħallsa lil skejjel indipendenti u/jew Kindergarten centres

2. Miżati mħallsa għas-servizzi ta’ facilitator

3. Miżati mħallsa għal servizzi ta’ child-care

4. Miżati mħallsa ghal għal attivitajiet ta’ sport 

Biex tiċċekkja jekk l-iskola jew childcare centre tiegħek hijiex irreġistrata u biex tara jekk intix eliġibbli ghal għal dan it-tnaqqis, ċempel IRD Call Centre, Tel:  2296 2296 jew Freephone:  8007 2297 jew żur is-sit http://www.ird.gov.mt

Malta Sports Scholarships were launched for persons wishing to specialise in training in a sports discipline or academically in a subject related to sports. Everyone can apply for the scholarships, including young persons. Where a child still attends obligatory education, they have to make separate arrangements to continue with their schooling in a school in the country where they would be studying or training. Application forms may be downloaded from www.sportmalta.org.mt or an email sent on sportsscholarships.mede@gov.mt

Malta Sports Scholarships gew imnedijja għal persuni li jixtiequ jispeċjalizzaw fit-taħriġ f'xi dixxiplina sportiva jew akkademikament f'suġġett relatat mal-isports. Kulħadd jista ' japplika għall-boroż ta' studju, inklużi persuni żgħażagħ. Fejn wild għadu jattendi edukazzjoni obbligatorja, huma għandhom jagħmlu arranġamenti separati biex ikomplu bl-edukazzjoni tagħhom fi skola fil-pajjiż fejn huma jkunu ser jistudjaw jew jitħarrġu. Formoli tal-applikazzjoni jistgħu jitniżżlu minn www.sportmalta.org.mt jew tista’ tibghat tibgħat email fuq sportsscholarships.mede @ gov.mt

 To read this, and many other interesting articles, purchase the latest edition of the book here!

 

 

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Malta Baby & Kids Directory is created by mums for mums and childcarers.
Lisa Grech is the founder of the Malta Baby & Kids Directory and website. Together with Denise Briffa and Crysta Darmanin we combine work on the publication and website while bringing up lots of children (seven between us!).


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