Blog : Little Lilypad Co

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The Little Lilypad is a lifestyle blog mostly written by a mum to two beautiful, cheeky and entertaining daughters. It is sometimes written by the Man on the Pad or by one of our baby bloggers. Occasionally we accept guest posts too. There is frequently talk of shoes and clothing (we love fashion and savvy shopping), chocolate (who doesn't love chocolate) education and swimming (we love this too). It is hopefully helpful, sometimes funny and always honest.

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  1. Swimming is a skill that everyone ought to learn. Unfortunately, a large number of people don’t know how to swim. Yet, many of them spend some of their free time or holidays near pools, water wells, dams, rivers and beaches. They are putting their life (and their childrens) in danger without even realising it.

    Not knowing how to swim is like not knowing how to ride a bike. It’s also one of those activities that once you learn it you never forget it. The only thing that disappears is your strength if you don’t swim often enough. Swimming is a vital life skill that can save your, or someone else’s life when you least expect it.

    Children should be taught to swim as soon as possible. While there is no right or wrong age to teach children basic swimming strokes like freestyle or breaststroke or simply being able to float on the water, parents should make the attempt as soon as possible. There’s no sense in leaving swimming lessons till your child is older if you are able to do it at an earlier stage of their life. We enjoyed years of Water Babies lessons as at this stage babies can get used to the water and become comfortable with it.

     What age should children learn to swim_

    Once a child is five or six they can join a swimming squad to improve their stroke and technique. The better the technique the easier it’s going to be to swim for them. You might even find that your child enjoys swimming very much and wants to stick with it and takes things further. Local clubs often have race nights which can be beneficial for children too.

    Getting your children in the water as soon as possible is probably the best time for them to learn how to swim especially if you live near the water or have a pool. Swimming can be a life saving skill and you want your children to learn it quickly so that they will be able to look after themselves in the water and help someone else if necessary. Teach them to swim early and you will provide them with a skill for life that they will never forget.

    Children spend 9 months in the womb completely surrounded by fluid and are not afraid of water as newborns. If a newborn baby gets water in his or her eyes they do not startle or scream. If your infant cries during a bath it is most likely from being chilly; even warm water will make them feel cold as it evaporates.

    If infants are not scared of water, why are 3, 4 and 5 years olds so terrified of having water on their faces during their first round of swimming lessons? It is because they have had their whole lives to forget what it felt like to be underwater, and the unknown breeds fear. It is also because, at bath time, parents take such great care to keep water as far from babies' and young children's heads as possible, and show great anxiety if their children get even a small amount of clean water in their eyes or mouths. This anxiety teaches children that water, especially anywhere near the face, is something to fear.

    So, swimming should start in infancy. Formal lessons, of course, are not necessary for newborns, but being accustomed to water as something to be enjoyed and respected is needed. If water accidentally gets in your infants eyes, don't act like it's a crisis. Your child will be fine, and you don't want to create a fear that will make learning to swim much harder later on.

    Parent and Tot lessons are often offered for babies as young as 3 months of age. Again, the focus is (obviously) not on swimming by themselves, or even on "dunking" but just on getting used to the water and the swimming lesson environment. Once babies' are old enough to have some gross motor control, you can get them used to water on their face by blowing in their face (to make them hold their breath) and quickly lowering them into the water and bringing them back up.  Smile and give them positive attention afterwards, and most babies will love it.

    Usually children are ready for traditional lessons at the age of 3, which is when they are old enough to follow instructions from an instructor, and capable of sitting or standing still for short periods. Many 3 year olds can learn how to swim on their fronts and backs for 10 feet or longer. It is important to start swimming lessons early to give children a better chance of survival should they ever fall into water unexpectedly, or if an accident occurs during recreation. 

    Parents must know that swimming lessons are not a substitute for adequate supervision around the water. Children under 5 years of age do not generally have the ability to calm themselves down and recall their swimming lessons in a panic situation, but as your child gets older and more proficient in the water, the likelihood of them surviving a water incident, or being able to avoid the incident in the first place, is much, much higher.

    Early swimming lessons could make all the difference when it comes to saving your child from becoming a statistic.

  2. Everything is so expensive these days so families everywhere are searching for fun things to do that are also easy on the family budget. These inexpensive and free activities are the perfect treat after working together on the family budget, and realizing that cutbacks are needed.

    20 Inexpensive or Free Things To Do with your Family

    Free Things to Do with a Family

    These entertainment ideas for kids and adults alike are generally free. Some require a little travel by car, or bringing food from home; but they are essentially free activities.

    Take a walk or picnic in the park – better yet, try a different local park each day until the family finds the very best one.

    Go window shopping at a favorite mall, antique stores, or craft fair. Leave the wallet at home!
    Camp out in the backyard, or make a “fort” inside using furniture, blankets and cushions – then spend the evening trading ghost stories.

    Volunteer on a community or charity project for the afternoon or a weekend. This activity is not only free, but a deeply fulfilling experience as well.

    Spend a long, lazy day in pajamas, reading or watching everyone’s favorite movies. Don’t forget the microwave popcorn!

    “Tour” local neighborhoods or hometown, pretending to be tourists and taking pictures of favorite places.

    Have a “teaching day” during which each family member has an opportunity to teach the others about something they enjoy – sharing a favorite hobby, a video game, book, walking trail, recipe, or anything else.

    Hold a family talent show, or host one for the whole neighborhood. Grandparents, aunts and uncles can be judges… or they may have hidden talents themselves!

    Cheap Activities for Families

    These cheap entertainment ideas require some minor expenses- such as art supplies or recipe ingredients. They are, however, still far cheaper than taking the family to the movies or out to dinner- and more interactive!

    Create homemade artwork together to decorate the laundry room, playroom, or basement (think crayon mural, or paper-maché & coat hanger mobile).

    Host a potluck dinner party for friends or neighbors; have everyone bring a dish and a recipe to share.

    Write a family history or the story of your relationship in a sketchbook, including illustrations, leaving space to add to the story every year.

    Entertainment Outdoors

    Many inexpensive or cheap activities can be found outdoors. So, go outside and play!

    There are countless ways to enjoy the outdoors.Some require sporting equipment, which may be borrowed from friends, or purchased at a discount store to enjoy for years to come. Other ideas require nothing but a little imagination and a willing spirit.


    A few ideas for outdoor family entertainment:

    • Frisbee
    • Football
    • Softball
    • Badminton
    • Volleyball
    • Water balloons
    • Relay races
    • Tag
    • Hide and seek
    • Bean bag toss
    • Hop scotch
    • Biking
    • Walking around the block
    • Rolling down a hill
    • Cloud watching
    • Star gazing
    • Cartwheels
    • Watching the sunset
    • Watching the sunrise
    • Counting cars
    • Making mudpies

    The list of cheap activities outside can go on and on. Keep in mind that many outdoor activities are not only inexpensive, they’re healthy, too!

    Other Resources for Free Things to Do

    Of course, this article is just a starting point for fun, inexpensive family activities. For more ideas, visit the local library for free programs, resources and activities. The local paper may also list free outdoor concerts and festivals. Some activities may be posted on community bulletin boards at nearby stores, cafes, and community centres. With so many great ideas for inexpensive family fun, there is no reason to let budget restrictions keep the family from having a great time together!

  3. Anyone that has a child will have had those days where you want all the help in getting them to sleep faster. At the end of the day bedtime can be a struggle for families. When your child struggles to fall asleep quickly at night you can easily become frustrated and upset. These simple tips can help your child fall asleep faster. 

    AdobeStock_44952066 (1)

    Cutting off-screen time is a vital part of helping get your child to sleep faster. The bright blue lights of electronic devices can make it difficult for your child to fall asleep. Cutting off-screen time an hour or two before bed (easier said than done, we know) can lead to falling asleep faster and sleeping better.

    cutting down screen time

    Give your child a warm bath before bed. Warm water with or without lavender bath products are great for helping to relax your child so they fall asleep faster at night. 

    A great way to ensure that your child will fall asleep faster at bedtime is to start a calm down time an hour or two before bed. This is a time for your child to read a book, do a puzzle, or participate in a quite hobby in their room before bedtime. 

    Child Reading

    Helping your child fall asleep faster starts at the beginning of the day. Getting your child on a morning routine of waking up in the mornings can make it easier to get them to be tired and ready to sleep when bedtime rolls around. 

    Wear your child out during the day with plenty of active play. When your child is burning off energy during the day they are more likely to be ready to sleep when night time rolls around. Get your child to play outside, ride bikes or join in a sport to use up excess energy during the day to help them fall asleep faster.

    Challenging your child's mind can help them fall asleep faster as well. When your child's brain is challenged during the day it is more likely to be tired and ready to fall asleep without random thoughts keeping your child awake at night.

    Making a linen spray or running a diffuser with essential oils designed to calm, relax, and induce sleep is a great way to help your child fall asleep faster and get a deeper more restful sleep. Lavender and tangerine are both great single oil choices and several safe for children sleep blends are available on the market.

    I remember a product called Medised many years ago and it was withdrawn from the market as parents were abusing its "drowsy" properties to help their children sleep. Obviously no one advocates using medicinal measures to get your child to sleep and hopefully some of these tips can help on a restless evening!

  4. The weather at the moment can’t seem to make up it’s mind what it is doing. One minute we have glorious sunshine and the next the weather is wet and miserable. So we are looking ahead to the summer and what we can be doing now so that we can enjoy lazy summer days at home with our friends and family.

    We have therefore put together our top 5 tips for preparing your home (and yourself) for summer.

    Top Tips for getting your home summer ready 

    Check appliances are working

    Check that your fans / air conditioning units are fully working. If not, now is a good time to replace them rather than when it is baking hot and you find that everywhere is sold out. Getting them “out of season” usually means that you can get a good deal and it is worth checking out voucher sites for offers and discounts too.

    Get The Garden Ready

    When the sun eventually comes out to stay, everyone will want to be outside and if you are not enthused at the idea of regular garden maintenance, why not try some artificial grass for your garden, it is a great alternative to real grass, allowing you to enjoy summer days as well as making mowing, watering and weeding things of the past!

    Aritifical Grass

    Find out of season offers

    Like the fans and air con units, buying things out of season is the best way to get a great deal. So if you need extra picnic pieces or garden furniture, now is a good time to look for the best offers. In the height of summer, it is not only the temperatures that rise it is also well known that the prices do when there is high demand.


    We can all be a little guilty of hoarding items “just incase” we may need them but a spring clean is a great way to go into summer with a clear mind and a clear house. Summer bbq’s can sometimes lead to friends staying over and you don’t want them tripping over bags and boxes that are stashed in your spare room. Get rid of the unnecessary and it is one less thing to move / clean on a weekly basis too!


    Don’t delay till later

    Start now! It is easy to think that summer is months away but in the blink of an eye the children will be finishing the summer term and the long summer holiday will be upon us.

    Will you be prepared?