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Apr 0
Apr 0

Entertain the Kids With What You’ve Got

You’ve been stuck inside with the kids for several days now, and you’re probably maxed out on finding new ways to play with the same stack of toys. It’s time to get creative, without having to splash out on shiny new stuff (after all, we’ve all spent a small fortune on loo roll, right?) We’ve got some creative ideas on how to entertain your kids with what you’ve already got lying around the house. 

 

Toddlers (1 to 3 year-olds): Sort it out 

Materials: Anything you can sort! We recommend beans (lentils, fava, pinto – any dried bean will do), cutlery (spoons and forks), playing cards, stickers, loose change, etc. You’ll need some bowls, too. 

Sorting activities make the best toddler games! Basically this activity is all about grabbing whatever you’ve got to hand, dumping it out on the floor and giving your toddler clear instructions on what to put where (line up bowls so they know where things should go). For example, grab the whole drawerful of cutlery and let them separate out the forks and spoons into piles (throw them in the dishwasher afterwards). You can also use loose change, playing cards, or anything that can be clearly separated out. Give your kiddo a task with a clear identifier, and let them get busy! 

You can even get creative with the housework. Do the socks need separating from the rest of the clean laundry? Do the colours need sorting from the whites? Let your little one have a go, and make sure to praise them when the task is finished. The reward could even be a game, too. Drop a bag of sweets onto the dining table and ask them to organise by colour groups before they can dig in. They’ll learn about delayed gratification and grouping before they indulge!  

 

4 to 6 year-olds: Fort Night 

Materials: No video gaming equipment required! Just gather up your spare sheets, blankets, pillows, towels, and a couple of chairs. 

The main rule here? Forget about keeping your house pristine. Let your kiddos turn your lounge into a giant play den and have a blast! Grab all your spare sheets, towels, blankets, pillows and chairs. Let them tie up the sheets, hang the blankets, lay down pillows and get creative building the best hideout ever! Throw in some cuddly stuffed animals too and really make it a “nook”. The cosier, the better. If you’re feeling extra playful, let your kiddo camp out in their fort overnight! You’ll make lasting memories of fun during this otherwise worrying time. 

 

7 to 9 year-olds: Gotta Glove it! 

Materials: A glove, pieces of fabric, needle and thread, glue, and any decorative stuff you can gather. 

Older kids will appreciate a more detailed art project, and making a ‘glove monster’ really allows them to express their personal creativity. Every family household is bound to have an odd glove lying around somewhere, right? Grab anything you can find to use as decoration – some stray buttons, yarn, an old tee-shirt or a lone sock to cut up, and let the kids get crafty! If you don’t have cotton to stuff the glove, you can use pieces of cut-up socks, or any other fabric to stuff the monster. Buttons can be sewn on as eyes or a smiley mouth, and you can also glue on any other adornments you can think of, like bottle caps, cut rubber bands, or ripped pieces of paper.  Ask your kids to use their glove monsters to put on a puppet show for you after dinner! 


This is a tough time for everyone, and we’re here to help you find ways to work with what you’ve got, as it’s a great way to model adaptability and resourcefulness for your kids. When life hands you lemons, we’re right here with you, making lemonade.

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How to Work When the Kids are Home
Mar 2
Mar 2

Tips for Juggling Work and Kids Simultaneously

Adjusting to the new normal of working from home with the kids underfoot has not been easy. No school or daycare means kids are left without any schedules, and understandably tensions are running high with everyone stuck inside all day. You might be at the end of your tether with trying to juggle work demands and the needs of your little ones at the same time. Conference calls are a whole lot more stressful if your kid’s tantruming in the background, right? Yikes.

The good news is, there are ways to make this situation better. We’ve got some useful strategies for how to juggle parenting and working from home simultaneously. We hope these tips help you feel happier, be more productive, and keep you from losing your mind.

3 Tips for Working at Home With Kids:

  1. Set a Schedule
  2. Prioritise
  3. Get 1-on-1 Time

Set a Schedule

Kids thrive on routines, and suddenly having none can result in a sense of chaos for everyone. It can be easy to descend into ‘pyjamas all day’ if you don’t establish a routine. Have a chat with your kiddos and let them take part in deciding some of the schedule. Giving your kids a sense of ownership allows them to feel more invested, which means they’ll be more willing to work with you. Make an agreement as a family about what basic things need to get done every day, like getting dressed, 2 hours of educational time, 2 hours of free play / creative time, and 30 minutes of exercise. Recognise you’re probably not going to be able to stick to a rigid schedule, but it’ll feel good to hit certain targets every day.

Make sure the schedule is visible for everyone, and definitely add in a reward system so kids gain a sense of accomplishment. Make sure you praise them! You could offer “prizes” too. Maybe they get to bake a cake if they did well with the routine that day, or maybe they’ll respond to a sticker chart for recorded achievements.

It’s also a good idea to set up visual prompts for quiet time. If your kids are able to play on their own for half an hour, put a “Do Not Disturb” sign outside your work area, so kids know not to come in during that time. This way you can grab 30 minutes of devoted work focus, or take a video conference call. Let the kids make their own “Do Not Disturb” sign too, so if they want their own personal alone time, they feel respected. The goal is to work as a team to meet everyone’s needs as best as possible.

Remember too that this whole situation is helping our kids develop self-sufficiency. So if the schedule goes totally off the rails, remind yourself that boredom can actually be a good thing for kids!

Prioritise

The first thing to recognise when tackling work and kids all at once is that you’re not going to be as productive as you normally would be. Keep your expectations in check, and make sure you ditch unnecessary tasks or video meetings. It’s really useful to start every day by making a list of three things you want to accomplish, then do everything you can to get those done. You’re definitely going to have to roll with the punches throughout the day as stuff comes up with the kids, so it’s important to accept what you can and cannot control.

This is about adaptability, flexibility and patience. It can also be helpful to spend a little time in the evening planning out the next day, so you get off to a good start. Above all, prioritise your own sanity, and the happiness of your family.

Get 1-on-1 Time

Each day make sure you have 1-on-1 time with your kids. If you have more than one child, it’ll be especially important to offer a dedicated chunk of time to each individual, so no one feels left out. Kids are bound to be off kilter with so much immense change, and it’s important that they feel ‘seen’. Set aside a 15-minute break to get personal time with each child. Read a story, throw on some tunes and dance your heart out, or just snuggle into some hugs and ask them how they’re doing. Even a few minutes of uninterrupted, “just us” time will make a world of difference to everyone’s sense of security, which should in turn help children let you get back to work when you need to.

Make sure your kids know when their dedicated time will happen, and stick to it. For example, carve out 15 minutes in the morning for just you and your youngest, and 15 minutes in the afternoon to be with your eldest. If you give kids the contact they crave, they’ll be more likely to help you out with fewer interruptions so you can focus when you need to.


We know these times are tough, and it puts immense strain on families to have school, work, and everything in between all under one roof. Try finding opportunities to be playful, make jokes and see the positive side. Take the time to connect with extended family and friends through video chats so everyone still feels connected. Above all, be kind to yourself and try different approaches and solutions until you find what works best for your family. With a flexible approach, a positive attitude and resourcefulness, we can all adapt.

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Mar 3
Mar 3

FREE Fun Crafts to do at Home!

With lockdown in full force, you might already be feeling a little stir crazy. Juggling kids at home all day is no easy task, so we’ve come up with some creative activities to keep you and your little ones entertained. These are great projects for kids aged 4 to 10 (younger ones need a helping hand), using materials you’ll likely have around the house. If you’re tackling working while the kids are home, these can act as mini-breaks from your inbox, or as a reward to spend time with your kids when you clock out. 

Check out these 4 awesome crafts plus 1 heart-pumping exercise break, for when everybody needs to get their sillies out!

1. Hands Up: Lemon Starfish

Activity Time: 25 minutes (5-minute episode plus activity) 

Best for kids aged 4 – 10 

Materials: Lemons, watercolour paint and tissues (don’t worry: just 1 or 2 will do!) 

The Craft: Kids are guided through an art project of painting starfish and then adding in decorative detail with the help of a squeezed lemon! 

Learning Outcome: Kids find out how lemon juice reacts with paint – the results are pretty cool!

 

2. Hands Up: Rainbow Fish

Activity Time: 25 minutes (5-minute episode plus activity) 

Best for kids aged 4 – 10

Materials: Watercolour paint, salt, and tinfoil 

The Craft: Using paper and paint, kids are guided through an art project painting a pretty seascape. Add a few sprinkles of salt and some tinfoil fish, and you’ve got a masterpiece! 

Learning Outcome: Kids find out how salt crystals react with watercolours!

 

3. Marvelous Makes: Spongey Snapper

Activity Time: 30 minutes (4-minute episode plus activity)

Best for kids aged 4 – 10

Materials: A sponge, white paper, a red and black pen, and glue 

The Craft: Kids are guided through this charming craft that turns an everyday washing up sponge into a super cute snappy creature! 

Learning Outcome: Kids will learn to see the imaginative opportunities in everyday items, which encourages creative problem solving.

 

4. Box Yourself Minis: Napkin Ghouls

Activity Time: 25 minutes (3-minute episode plus activity)

The Craft: Now all that loo roll you fought so hard to hoard has an extra use! Kids will transform the empty rolls into a cute napkin holder, perfect for the family dinner table. 

Materials: Empty loo rolls (the hot ticket item), paint, cardboard

Learning Outcome: Kids will learn about upcycling and finding new uses for otherwise discarded objects. Try using your new ghoul napkin holders at an impromptu “dinner party” at home!

 

5. 5-minute Fitness Break: Bear Race

This exercise is great for building core and shoulder strength. Get on all fours with your hands on the ground like “paws”, your knees bent behind you, and your hips raised. Look forward and start crawling like a bear! Race your kiddos side-by-side and see who can finish 4 lengths of the room the fastest! Make it even more fun by adding a few dramatic “roars” to your crawl. Do this for a few minutes and you’ll get all the tummy benefits of planking, in a much more playful way!

 

We know that being stuck inside can feel cramped, and we’re here to help as we all get through this challenging time. We hope these crafts help to cheer up the whole family, and keep spirits high in your household. We’re all in this together!

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Mar 10
Mar 10

Free Fun Learning at Home

As parents, we know that school closures and long days at home with the kids may feel a little overwhelming. So we’ve created a weekly guide to keep your kids busy with lots of awesome videos, games and activities that make learning fun. We’ll also give you tips on how to stay active when you’re stuck indoors. 

Each week will feature a new theme, so your kiddos can build fundamental skills across a variety of areas. Kids can navigate our games and videos on their own, and we never have in-app purchases, so you can get things done while your little ones are in good hands. 

This week’s all about CODING.

1. Run Marco game

Total activity time: 50min

Best for kids aged 6 – 11 

Learning Outcome: Kids will learn how to code! They’ll be taught how to implement command sequences, iterations, and conditions. 

The Challenge: Following a cute avatar, kids will work through a maze by coding different commands. The progression is exciting, so every level feels like a victory! 

Bonus: The music’s pretty cool too.

 

2. Little Miss Inventor Coding game

Total Activity time: 25 min 

Best for kids aged 4 – 7

Learning Outcome: Kids learn how to create coding instructions to direct a character through the game. 

The Challenge: Kids have to figure out how to code instructions for Little Miss so she can complete her gardening tasks. The game breaks down coding into understandable real-life scenarios, so it’s easier to digest. 

Bonus: The main character’s extra cute!

 

3. Citizen Code TV series

Activity Time: 5-minute episodes 

Best for kids aged 6 – 11

Learning Outcome: This show is informative and teaches kids some of the more technical aspects of the technology they engage with daily.

The series: Different aspects of digital culture are explained in short, funny ways. The show investigates topics like the dark web, big data, cryptology, cookies, social media, and other aspects of the online world. 

Bonus: Learn how to surf without falling for a hoax.

 

4. Fitness Break: Freeze Dance!

Take a break from your inbox, throw on some tunes and shake it like a Polaroid picture! The rules are simple: Rock out when the music plays, and when the designated DJ stops the music, everyone makes like a statue and freezes. It’s a great way to get everyone off the couch, and introduce your kids to some of your favourite playlists!

 

We want to do everything we can to support our community during this crisis, and we’ll do our best to make sure your kids stay happy, nurtured and inspired. Thanks for being a part of our extended family!

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Mar 13
Mar 13

What to do When We’re Worried

“We all have our worries, some big and some small.  But too many worries are no good at all!” – The Wolf and the Baby Dragon

Life has its ups and downs, and occasionally fretting is normal for everyone. But sometimes kids can be weighed down by worries, and as parents we can feel helpless to soothe them. Especially during these times of intense media coverage of the pandemic, grown-ups and kids alike could be feeling quite unsettled. It may be instinctual to tell our kids that ‘everything’s gonna be alright’, or simply to insist that they ‘calm down’ because we have no idea what else to say. It can also be tough not to give in to panicking ourselves. Navigating through worries can be challenging, and it’s important to find a way to respect our little ones’ feelings without empowering their fears.

This week we’re continuing our article series with children’s author Avril McDonald, who shared 3 strategies for how to handle worries. We hope these suggestions can help you and your family feel calmer and more assured, especially during times when those around you may be giving into fear.

3 Ways to Manage Worries

  1. Share Your Worries
  2. Practice Gratitude
  3. Draw a Line in the Sand

 

 1. Share Your Worries

As the saying goes: a worry shared is a worry halved. It’s important to teach kids to express what they’re feeling and talk about their worries. Sometimes just getting something off our chest alleviates a lot of the concern, and it’s good practice to let kids know that you’re there for them and can be a good listener. Encourage kids to tell you what’s wrong, and let them know that you can ‘hold their worries’ for them. Kids may feel better just by telling you what’s wrong and trusting that you’re offering a ‘safe space’ for them at any time. 

Although talking is a great way to share what’s on our minds, there are also creative non-verbal ways for kids to lighten their emotional load. You could make a Worry Box and put worries inside it, or make your own Worry Monster who can gobble up pieces of paper with worries on them. For little kids who can’t write yet, you can ask them to draw their worries, and explain that once the worry is on paper, it doesn’t have to live inside them anymore. 

2. Practice Gratitude 

Worry can’t exist if you’re focusing on gratitude. As humans, we’re designed to think the worst, but that’s not very helpful in a world that’s full of a lot of scary news. Try teaching your kids that if they focus on what they’re thankful for, their fear will get smaller. Model gratitude every day, so your kids witness it. Verbalise what you’re thankful for, and appreciate the good things that happened in your day. If kids hear that you’re honing in on the positive aspects of life, they’ll tend to follow suit. For a fun way to remind us to focus on the nice stuff, try making a Rememberlutions Jar (which is like a gratitude journal, but in a jar!) 

3. Draw a Line in the Sand 

This exercise will help kids to visualise what it feels like to calm down and take a step back from their fears. Actually have your kiddo physically draw a ‘line in the sand’, using their finger and tracing a line on the ground. It’s a signal for them to take a break and take charge of how they feel. It’s a good idea to involve your kids in a conversation about how they can choose to walk away from their worries for a while. Establishing a figurative boundary can help kids to better understand this concept and make them feel empowered.


 

For a beautiful way to encourage your kids to take stock of all they are grateful for, check out this “Stars in the Night” poem. We love the idea of thinking of our family, friends, and favourite experiences as a warm cup of hot chocolate! You can also watch Avril’s storytelling of “The Wolf and the Baby Dragon”, to open up a conversation about sharing your worries and letting go of fear. 

 

 

Speaking with Avril reminded us that even when facing times of extreme worry, you can build coping strategies to feel better. We might not be able to have a calm day all the time, but we can model these techniques and encourage our kids to step back and give their worried minds a rest. We hope you can focus on the positives and feel empowered and inspired, even during these unsettled times. 

 

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Mar 14
Mar 14

Building a Coping Kit

Anxiety is a natural part of our survival instinct, and we’ve all experienced it. Our bodies and brains kick into ‘fight or flight’ mode when we’re faced with a threatening situation, which was useful back when we were fighting off sabre tooth tigers, but is less relevant nowadays. The trouble is, sometimes we see the “tiger” when there is none, and we may feel a sense of overwhelming worry that doesn’t match the danger level of the situation. When this happens, our systems can set off false alarms that make us feel anxious even without a viable threat that could actually hurt us. 

When kids experience anxiety, parents may try to solve their problems, avoiding triggers or trying to engineer a worry-free life. But rather than trying to shield our kids from anxiety, the more useful approach is to help kids learn how to manage these feelings, and give them a coping kit so they can build resilience. 

We’re continuing our 5-part article series on how your little ones can tackle big emotions, and this week we’re focusing on anxiety. We spoke to children’s author Avril McDonald, who has some useful tips on strategies for anxious kids. 

We’ll be doing a 5-part article series with Avril to address real-life situations kids may face, and the simple coping strategies to deal with them. This week we’re focusing on self-confidence.

4 Top Techniques for Handling Anxiety

  1. Reframe – turn fear into fun
  2. Change the channel – self regulate your emotions
  3. Learn about your brain – the ‘cheeky monkey’/ ‘wise old owl’
  4. Role play situations – create an action plan

 

1. Reframe 

The reframing technique is about teaching kids that they possess the power to control their fears by creating their own interpretation of a scary situation. “Kids are wired for story,” says Avril. “If you incorporate a story and encourage them to use their creativity, they’ll respond much more.” You can tame fear by imagining something different and bringing in humour. 

For example, if your child has a nightmare about a monster, ask them to visualise it getting smaller and smaller until it’s the size of a mouse. Then make it wear a sparkly tutu. Or visualise throwing slime all over the monster. The more wacky and inventive, the better. Make sure to add details. What colour is the slime? Does it make a squishy sound? This is a good strategy kids can use anywhere, at any time. The power of their imagination gives them a sense of authority over their fears. They get to be in charge of the story. 

2. Change the Channel 

Sometimes when we feel anxious about something, we can become fixated on it, which makes it difficult to focus on anything else. It’s a good idea to help your little one decide if what they’re worried about is something that can be solved, or if it’s beyond their control. For example, if they’re worried about a spelling test, then practicing the words makes sense, and could help. But if they’re worried that it might rain tomorrow and ruin a sports event, that’s not a problem anyone can solve. Talk to your kids about how sometimes things are out of our hands, but we do have the power to control how we respond. 

When kids are feeling “stuck” in their anxiety, let them know they are in control of “changing the channel”, just like they would on TV, to shift their mood. Giving kids a sense of autonomy over their feelings can help them to regain control and switch to a happier/calmer station, so to speak. 

One of the best ways to help kids change the channel is to get active. Throw on some tunes and dance! Or run around outside. Or distract their mind by playing a game or drawing a picture or building something. Do something new! 

3. Learn About Your Brain 

“You’re never too young to learn about your brain,” says Avril. She believes that if children are introduced to some of the ways our brains work from an early age, they can start on their journey of understanding themselves, why they might feel and/or do the things they do, and how to self regulate their emotions. Although our brains are very complex, kids as young as three can understand the simple concept that we actually have two key different ways that our brains function. 

The Cheeky Monkey and Wise Old Owl 

You can explain this to kids by telling them that one part of our brain is a bit like a cheeky monkey. It’s where all of our feelings come from, like love, joy, happiness, fear and anger. Sometimes the cheeky monkey part of our brain can get a bit too excited. If it feels scared or angry, it might want to scream and run away, or say unkind words. The cheeky monkey part of our brain is like a puppy that needs training. We can train our cheeky monkey to make sure that if it gets too excited, we know how to let it rest and calm down. 

Another part of our brain is like a wise old owl. It’s clever and calm and can make rational decisions. The wise old owl can train your cheeky monkey so that when a feeling comes up (even if it’s a negative one), you can do something really good with it.

Ask your kids to talk about a time when their cheeky monkeys did something that was not very nice, and ask them to brainstorm what their wise old owl would have done instead? Share stories of your own with your kids, about times when your cheeky monkey took over. Let your children know that our wise old owls can help us ‘change the channel’ when we feel anxious. 

The main idea here is that when we know why anxiety happens, it’s easier for us to manage it. If you’re looking for a more in-depth description for older kids, check out this article from Dr. Hazel Harrison.

4. Role Play 

One way to help kids cope with anxiety is by preparing for the event they’re feeling anxious about. It’s important to wait until your little one is calm so that you can role play at a neutral time. Act out the situation they might be concerned about (like the first day of school, a sleep-over at a friend’s house, etc) and ask your kiddo to participate in practicing how to appropriately calm down. Role-playing can also include practicing worst-case scenarios so your kiddo feels ready to act when in the moment. It will arm your child with an action plan so they feel more in control when an anxiety-inducing situation strikes. 

Help your kid come up with a script of what to do. For example, if they’re anxious about meeting new friends on the first day of school, you could act out the scene. Rehearse an opening line your child might say to another child. By previewing an activity that scares them, kids may not be as easily overwhelmed when it comes time for the real thing. You can’t predict absolutely everything, but getting a general sense can help kids feel more comfortable overall.


For a great way to introduce your kids to the Reframing technique, watch Avril’s storytelling of “The Wolf and the Shadow Monster” below. For more strategies on how to handle big emotions, check out the range of Feel Brave videos and songs on the Azoomee app. 

Speaking to Avril reminded us that in this hectic and overstimulated world, we could all use a bit more calm. Hopefully these strategies will help both you and your child to build a coping kit for anxious times. We’d love to hear from you. Let us know how your kiddos have used their cheeky monkeys and wise old owls!

Avril McDonald is the best-selling, award-winning author of the Feel Brave series of books and founder of www.feelbrave.com which aims to give all children access to tools that help them manage tough emotions and reach their potential. Avril resides in Australia with her partner and their two children, three cats, and one very large dog.

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Mar 13
Mar 13

What’s Your Hidden Talent?

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we’re featuring the fantastic ladies on the Azoomee team. We’re international, we’re women, and it just so happens that we have some pretty cool hidden talents. Introducing Azoomee’s fierce and fabulous female forces! 

Estelle Lloyd
Co-Founder and COO
From: Fontvieille in Provence, France 
Hidden Talent: Giant slalom racing, which is downhill skiing. As a teenager, Estelle was one of the fastest Giant Slalom skiers in France! 
Crystal Nunn
Senior Visual Designer
From: Suffolk, England
Hidden Talent: Anything with wheels! Crystal rides motorcycles, does roller derby, and goes on trips that include over 70 miles of cycling a day.
Susan Horsup
Office Manager
From: Thurrock in Essex, England
Hidden talent: Puppetry! Susan can skillfully operate a host of puppets, ranging from cuddly bunnies to monsters.
Phoebe Field
Project Manager
From: Deep Sarf Landaaaaannn
(South London, England)
Hidden Talent: DIY! Phoebe once successfully replastered a damaged wall and fitted a new skirting board with ‘mitre joints’. She’s also skilled at customising office chairs, from ‘boring zone’ to ‘throne’.
Nika Kuznetsova
Project Manager for TV
From: Moscow, Russia
Hidden Talent: Bilingual in Russian and English. Nika has even taught English on the Galapagos Islands! She can also rock out on the flute and used to be in an orchestra.
Cerys Hughes
Junior Content Manager
From: Abergavenny, South Wales
Hidden Talent: Fluent in Welsh. She can even pronounce this: Llanfair­pwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch. Cerys can also twist her elbow round really far, and she has a ‘nose like a bloodhound’.
Elena Wurlitzer
Senior Creative
From: San Francisco, California, USA
Hidden Talent: Tap dancing! Her favourite move is the “double wing”, and she participated in tap dance competitions across the United States. Unrelatedly, Elena also has double-jointed thumbs. 
Zahra Sharifasgari
Software Engineer
From: Tehran, Iran
Hidden Talent: Trilingual in Persian, Arabic, and English. She’s also fluent in Body Language, which is perhaps the most descriptive form of communication! Plus, she can cook a mean fried egg.

 

 

We’re honoured to have these amazing women on our team, and we’d like to celebrate all the other talented ladies out there too. Happy International Women’s Day! 

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Mar 13
Mar 13

Raising Confident Children

“Behind every child who believes in themself is a parent who believed in them first.” – Matthew Jacobson 

As parents, we want to help our kids feel confident so they can handle challenges without fear. But sometimes it can be tricky to know what to do when our little ones face difficult situations, like not being invited to a party. Ouch. It can be easy to rush into protection mode with our kids, but is that really the right approach for inspiring confidence? 

We spoke to author Avril McDonald to learn how to navigate these sorts of parenting bumps. Her book series Feel Brave is designed to help 4 to 7 year-olds explore emotional intelligence and positive psychology. The books help children deal with self-confidence, anxiety, bullying, worries, change, loss and grief. This collection of ‘little stories about big feelings’ can help children develop the resilience they need to effectively cope with these important issues as they grow up.

We’ll be doing a 5-part article series with Avril to address real-life situations kids may face, and the simple coping strategies to deal with them. This week we’re focusing on self-confidence.

What do kids need to be Confident?

  1. A strong sense of self and belonging
  2. Clear boundaries
  3. Playtime with friends / Playtime alone
  4. A personal passion
  5. A self-assured stance

 

These five fundamental pillars can help you raise confident kids:

1. A strong sense of self and belonging 

“Every human being has to feel a part of a tribe. It’s programmed into us. And you have to feel that you’re contributing to something.” – Steven Hatfill 

“Unconditional love and a sense of who we are and where we come from gives us emotional strength,” Avril says. “We can build this through talking about where we are from, building family trees, and creating traditions and rituals.” A sense of belonging is a human need, just like the need for food and shelter. Feeling accepted by others can help us cope with painful emotions, and belonging to a group can boost our self esteem. Helping our kids to feel a part of the ‘tribe’ can support them on the road to higher confidence. 

Let your kids know they’re accepted, that they are valued, and that they are contributing in their own unique way to the family team. You might also want to consider helping your child find an extracurricular group or club to join so they can meet new kids and feel a sense of belonging outside the home environment too. 

2. Clear boundaries 

“What you allow is what will continue.” – Anonymous 

“When we model boundaries, for example: ‘If you do that, you are choosing to have time out,’ then actually following through on those consequences, we are teaching our kids to have good boundaries themselves,” Avril says. “Then, when another child or adult tries to pressure them into doing something they feel uncomfortable with, they will feel confident in pushing back and making their boundaries clear, as opposed to feeling vulnerable or getting into situations that go against their values.” 

Avril believes that enforcing clear boundaries in the family household will help children make the right friends, because they’ll feel empowered to stand by their choices. By modeling self-assurance in our own expectations, we show kids that they too have a ‘voice and a choice’, and they’ll be more likely to set healthy rules of engagement in their own lives. That’s definitely a sign of confidence. 

3. Playtime With Friends / Playtime Alone

“Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning.” – Mr. Fred Rogers

“It’s very important to give kids enough real-life play practice time, so they can act out adult’s role modelling,” Avril says. “Kids need to create responses, test the water, and try things for themselves.” Social playtime can build confidence because when kids play together, often there is less direct supervision or interaction from adults. Kids can’t rely immediately on an adult telling them what to do, and instead they have to organise themselves. This means kids will need to gain the confidence to take leadership roles, voice their opinions and think independently. Playtime lets kids practice life skills and communicate effectively with others. 

“I was never less alone than when by myself.” – Edward Gibbon 

It’s important for kids to know how to make their own fun. “As parents, we are often worried about our children playing on their own,” Avril says, “but if they are content with their own company, they will never be alone!” There are many benefits to kids playing alone. Their imagination and creativity will be sparked, they’ll develop better self-direction skills and they’ll be able to innovatively solve problems. Kids who are accustomed to entertaining themselves will develop the abilities necessary to face challenges in life. Self-confident kids are less susceptible to peer pressure, and are more likely to be a positive influence on others. 

4. A Personal Passion 

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt 

If you have more than one child, you’ll know that sibling comparison is often unavoidable. One child might be naturally gifted in one area, which can cause another child to feel inferior. This can happen in peer groups too, regardless of whether kids have siblings or not. 

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein 

It’s important to help kids discover their own personal passion, and celebrate what makes them unique. Everybody has a special talent! “Especially in cases where kids might be comparing themselves to others, it’s key to take time to think outside the box and identify your kid’s ‘super power’,” says Avril. By exploring their own interests, kids can develop a sense of identity, which is a fundamental part of building confidence. Additionally, seeing their talents grow will raise self-esteem. If you’re looking for a book to get your kids thinking about their passions, try “Penguin’s Hidden Talent” by Alex Latimer, which follows the story of a penguin who goes on a journey of self discovery to find his own talent. Avril recommends this book, and we absolutely love it! 

5. A Self-Assured Stance 

“A hero can be anyone.” – Batman 

When your kiddo is feeling unsure, encourage them to pose like a superhero! Show them how it’s done and ask them to join you. Place your hands on your hips, spread your legs, lift your chest, and gaze up to the sky. In as little as two minutes, a superhero stance can elevate your confidence. It actually triggers hormone production and creates chemicals in your body that make us feel more self-assured and strong. So strap on that imaginary cape and strike a positive pose! 


For a great conversation starter about what to do if your little one is feeling left out, check out Avril’s storytelling of “The Wolf is Not Invited” below. For more strategies on how to handle big emotions, check out the range of Feel Brave videos and songs on the Azoomee app.  

Speaking to Avril made us realise that self-confidence is the foundation for everything. We’re inspired to model self-confidence more, and we hope you are too! The more we do, the more our kids will realise they are a lot braver than they may know.

 

Avril McDonald is the best-selling, award-winning author of the Feel Brave series of books and founder of www.feelbrave.com which aims to give all children access to tools that help them manage tough emotions and reach their potential. Avril resides in Australia with her partner and their two children, three cats, and one very large dog. 

 

 

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Odd Squad Games Blog Banner
Feb 13
Feb 13

Maths Made Fun with Odd Squad Games

Getting your kids excited about maths might not be the easiest thing to do. That’s why we’re particularly happy to share some new games that’ll actually get your kids stoked about numbers without any pleading from your side. Odd Squad games incorporate equations in clever ways that’ll have your kids eager to play more. As busy parents, it’s great to give your little ones activities they love that also boost their maths mojo. So go ahead and take a break from trying to remember long division (without pulling your hair out), and check out these games instead: 

Odd Squad - Pienado Image

Pienado – What do you do when there’s a tornado made of pies? This game asks players to plug the pienado forcefield with appropriate shapes. Avoid getting smashed by an onslaught of messy blueberry pies by filling in the geometric gap with the correct shapes. A fun ‘beat-the-clock’ game mixing flying desserts, extreme weather, addition and shape combinations. 

Odd Squad - Puppy Quest Image

Puppy Quest – All the agents have been turned into adorable puppies! This game gets bonus points for major cuteness, as the player is tasked with the mission of turning back the pups into people. Using adorable puppy toys to encourage the furry friends back to headquarters, this game teaches addition and grouping in a super cute way. 

Odd Squad - Creature Duty Image

Creature Duty – Kids have to take care of a variety of creatures, making sure to recognise what shape of food they prefer, and being tasked with dividing meals evenly. It’s a fun way to teach kids about shapes, pattern recognition, and division. 

Odd Squad - Down The Tubes Image

Down the Tubes – Kids will learn how to use rulers, measure out accurate spaces, and add different measurements to make up a whole. The characters in the game shoot through tubes that the players have built by calculating what measurement of tubing to include, which is a cool way to teach fractions and addition! 

Odd Squad - Sector 21 Image

Sector 21 – It’s a mission in Sector 21, the biggest, oddest, most unexplored area in the world! Players are asked to head there to find where a bunch of creatures are hiding. Using a “Creature Find-o-nator”, kids will navigate through a colourful forest to locate the hiding creature. It’s a great way to learn map reading and build a sense of direction. It’s also extra fun when the creatures do silly things like cry tears of delicious strawberry low-fat yogurt! 

We hope your kiddos have fun dodging flying pies and shooting through tubes, all whilst learning some new maths skills. Let us know what you think!

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Random Acts of Kindness Day - Hope Works Blog Banner (1)
Feb 11
Feb 11

Hope Works Encourages Kindness

It’s Random Acts of Kindness Day, and we’re delighted to announce our partnership with the Hope Works project! Children’s broadcasters and media companies from around the world joined forces on an ambitious collaboration with global reach. Hope Works is a collection of short films offering stories of hope and inspiration, designed to inspire the values of tolerance, compassion and understanding in kids. 

We’re excited to share these heartfelt videos, which help young people feel hopeful about the world around them. The stories connect to what it means to be human, and feature a range of characters that are relatable for kids and parents alike. With themes like “The Power of Why” and “Active Compassion Mode,” these stories illustrate the message that ‘little things can make a big difference’. 

Like Sesame Workshop’s “Spread Kindness Around the World”, which features puppet characters showing small acts of kindness and igniting love all over the world. 

And Big Bad Boo’s “Balloon Girl”, which focuses on a young girl who gives up her cherished red balloon in order to soothe a crying baby. 

Or Corrinne Averiss’ “Move Mountain”, which is a touching story about a mountain whose greatest wish is to see the sunrise… but he’s facing the wrong way! His friends decide to put on a show for him to illustrate the glory of a sunrise. 

We’re thrilled to offer all 12 Hope Works videos for free on the Azoomee app. Happy Random Acts of Kindness Day!

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