Monday, 28 October 2013


Which doesn’t scare the living daylights out of them!

By Caroline Crabbe, Jo Jingles (

It’s that time of year again, blood-curdling terror, potions and spells and jaw-dropping costumes which are enough to spook even the bravest of little soldiers…

But amidst the excitement of pumpkin-carving and bobbing apples, it is easy to overlook the fact that for some children, Halloween can be a little scary.  This is certainly the case for the toddler/preschool community – who are old enough to understand fear but too young to distinguish between fiction and reality.  But when you have older siblings who may be only too happy to indulge in trick or treating, it’s worth popping a few ideas in your back pocket to ensure your toddler has fun in a not-so-frightening way.  Better still, if the party is designed for older children keep the little ones distracted or out of the picture altogether.

But if you want to celebrate Halloween with your toddler, music is particularly important in helping young children to express moods and feelings so it can play a huge part in your Halloween party.
  • Avoid the musical ‘fear factor’ – When playing games like musical statues: play music which is light-hearted and fun.  Try sticking with tradition like ‘Little Miss Muffett’ or ‘Puff the Magic Dragon’ – spiders and dragons give the element of Halloween but without the fear factor. 
  • Monstrous music: have a go at making your own Halloween musical instruments and then play them along to a song.  A crisp tube and a handful of rice make a great shaker and saucepan lids make great cymbals.  Whatever you do, decorate the outside with stickers of stars and moons, cats and bats (light-hearted and fun images). 
  • Actions speak louder than words: Singing songs that include actions will help with your child’s coordination and balance as well and their sense of self-confidence.  Try songs like ‘Dingle, Dangle Scarecrow’ it has actions and the scarecrow element gives you a softer Halloween theme.  You could even get creative and change the words of some traditional nursery rhymes to use a familiar tune that younger children can relate to but with a Halloween theme! 
  • Put on a show: Another nice idea is to make scary/fun finger puppets out of felt and pieces of wool or string and anything else you can find.  Then you could stage a finger puppet dancing contest where each child wears their puppet while dancing to the music. 
  • Getting everyone moving: Some ideas for interactive fun are to play a traditional song and see how many Halloween actions you can do: such as ‘Boo hands’ get the children stretch their hands as far as they can saying "boo!!" or ‘spiders-tapping fingers’ and make them do this on a table/floor or ‘Ghost flying’ have each child hold their arms out and ‘fly’ like a ghost. 
  • A nice end: You could always create a ‘last game’ of the day by getting all of the children to ‘shake the spooky out of themselves’ – dance to a song shaking your arms and legs so you have got rid of all of the Halloween spooks!
About Jo Jingles (

Jo Jingles provides music, singing and movement experience classes for babies and pre-school children from three months to five years of age.  With nationwide sessions in more than 700 centres across the UK and Ireland and with over 90 franchisees, Jo Jingles offers well-established, structured classes that are fun, interactive and educational for little ones.

Launched in 1991, Jo Jingles continues to promote learning through music across many of the UK’s nurseries, Sure Start Children’s Centres, playgroups and mother & toddler groups. Jo Jingles Birthday parties and celebrations are also available to book and a range of musical-themed merchandise including toys, CDs and musical instruments can be purchased online at

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Clocks Go Back - Children's Sleep Tips

How to Help your Child Adjust to the Extra Hour

Many people will relish the thought of an extra hour in bed when the clocks go back this autumn. But for many parents with young children this is a far-flung dream! 7pm will become 6pm but worse still 6am will become 5am! Not a pretty thought.

Routine is key for children so making the transition as unnoticeable as possible is paramount.

So, as part of national Clocks Go Back Week, Warren Evans’ trusted Sleep Advisor has put some tips to help your child, toddler, and infant - as well as you moms and dads – manage the extra hour more easily and generally have a more relaxed bedtime.

1. Many parents have found success changing bedtime over the course of a week, or a weekend, depending on the age and temperament of your little one. For young children, it's often easiest to change the bedtime in 15-minute increments over a long weekend. If there is adjustment, then it won't interfere with waking up for school.

For babies and toddlers who nap, it's best to spread the change over a longer period of time. Depending on your child, you can change bedtime by 10 minutes per day over 6 days until you're on the right schedule.

2. Plan days with heavy activity in the morning, particularly physical activity, and then a more relaxed and calm afternoon for the days on which you are putting the bedtime later. If your young baby is particularly sleepy you may even need to introduce an extra power-nap in the late afternoon.

3. During the transition, keep lights bright and curtains open a little longer to encourage children to stay awake for longer. Make bath time a little longer to help stretch out the time.

4. Be sure that windows have black-out shades for the morning time so the light is blocked out and children are not woken up earlier than they should be.

5. Over the days you change bedtime, be sure to change bath time, naptime and mealtime to match the new routine. If the bedtime changes are gradual - say 10 minutes over 6 days - then change the other activities by 10 minutes as well.

6. Be sure to adjust your own schedule in the same way you change your children's. It will make the routine move more easily for everyone.

7. If you have a child who wakes up early naturally, then you may need to look at adjusting the bedtime over a longer period to ensure the extra hour is fully accounted for. Or if your child is a late sleeper, and you need more time to get ready in the mornings, then you may find moving the bedtime back a half hour rather than an hour will help.  

8. If your child is older, you can offer rules that support the change in routine. Some parents use clocks with a sun and a moon and tell the child that they must stay in bed as long as the moon is out. Some use this as a way of reinforcing the lesson of telling time with the rationale that certain times are for playing and others for staying cozy under the blankets.

9. To ensure a calm and peaceful bedtime, always be careful what your child eats close to bedtime. Do not allow children to have drinks that contain caffeine and or food and drinks that contain lots of sugar, especially late in the day, as they can effect the ability to fall asleep. Milk contains tryptophan, which increases the amount of serotonin a natural sedative. This is why a lot of old folk remedies include warm milk. A banana with milk provides vitamin B6, which helps convert the tryptophan to serotonin. Another fruit to consider is Cherries, which contain melatonin, which the body produces to regulate sleep.

10. If your child has difficulty going to sleep then try relaxation exercises to help your children to get themselves off to sleep more comfortably. For example try
tensing and relaxing each limb / muscle of the body in sequence to teach them how to let go of tension and bring their focus into their body. Also teach them to breath from their
diaphragm by placing you hand on their belly as the breath in and out. This will help them relax more easily. 

Regardless, any disruption tends to be temporary. Most infants and children get back on schedule within 3 days to a week.
Warren Evans, the London bed maker, has teamed up with Belsize Health, the complementary health centre, to bring you national Clocks Go Back Week, running from 21st to 27th October.

As part of this week, free, professional advice from holistic practitioners on how to sleep better throughout the autumn and winter months will be available at

Thursday, 3 October 2013

ABC make it 1,2,3!

ABC, the Sussex based free parenting magazine, scored a hat-trick by scooping their third major award in 12 months on Friday night when they won the NatWest Small Business of the Year Venus award at the glitzy event held at the Brighton Metropole Hotel.

Rachel Boyle (bottom right) with the other Venus Award nominees

On 27th September following thousands of votes, hundreds of nominations and applications with a frenzy of excitement and enthusiasm the winners of the Brighton NatWest Venus Awards were announced. Tara Howard has with the help of other local business women, created the Venus Awards to recognise local business women across the UK. The moment you walked into the room you were hit with an array of emotions. The thrilled, excited and glamorous business women all gathered waiting to hear the winners announced and hopefully to collect an award.

Rachel Boyle, MD and founder of ABC said "I am so proud of the team and all our achievements. These awards are recognition that we're getting it right. Right for our clients and right for our readers - I'm absolutely delighted for everyone involved."

Rachel Boyle
As a business ABC is great because it offers a unique package: a tri-annual publication, which is part directory, part information source and part light entertainment. Readers therefore read the magazine cover to cover, and then keep their copy long-term for reference, which gives advertisers excellent value for money. 

NatWest Venus Awards, were set up in 2009 by Tara Howard, to recognise the hard work, effort and skill that it can take women to successfully juggle business with other commitments.

ABC are able to add this third award to their two previous successes - in November 2012 Rachel Boyle was awarded Business Woman of the Year by Johnston Press and in May this year the hard work of the ABC Social Media team was recognised by winning The Purplebiz UK Business of the Day Twitter Award. ABC make it 1, 2, 3!

Team ABC! From L-R Stacey Renphrey, Tania Ford, Iain Boyle & Wiebeke Vuursteen