PACS

Back to school – Back to reality

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Whether your child started school for the first time, moved to a new school or transitioned to high school it can be an emotional and exciting few weeks for children and parents alike. Here are our top tips for making things go smoothly. 

Drop off: If you know a child in the class arrange to meet and walk in together. Everything is less scary with a friend. 

Create a goodbye routine, whether it’s a kiss and hug, “see you later alligator”, or hi five. Practice this routine at all times when you leave your child, for example at a grandparents, at play dates, not just school. It gives them a verbal and physical reminder that your leaving but will be back again soon. 

Trust in the teachers and teaching assistants. They are complete pros at this and have dealt with children finding transition to school difficult. There isn’t much they haven’t seen before.

Less Questions at pick-up: When you ask your child about their day they may not have much to say. Some children need some downtime before the can reflect, think or talk about school. 

Don’t plan too much in the first few weeks: Wait until they are settled before signing them up for lots of after school clubs. Your child maybe very tired in these first few weeks. 

It’s a big step your parents too: You may feel like you have lost your baby, they are becoming a big girl or boy by starting school. Your pre-teen maybe transitioning to high school and your worried about the challenges and new responsibilities they are going to face. 

Have that chat with a friend or your partner, keep busy either with work, take time for that exercise class or 5 mins to yourself, you have been longing for. This allows you space not to unconsciously pass your anxieties to your child.  

Routine: It’s a word used a lot in all aspects of parenting, but that’s because it works. Its especially useful to build a routine in the first few weeks of school. You may want to make preparations for the next day part of your evening routine. There won’t be much expectations for homework in their first few weeks but it soon comes, so set some time aside each evening. Your child will be processing all the new experiences they’re having so sticking to a bedtime routine helps. Sleep is a remedy for most things.

No comparisons: “look that child doesn’t cry about school”, or “your friends are so much more organised”. Knowing your child and loving them for who they are is one of the greatest gifts we can give to our children.  We each take our own unique journey in our own time. 

In general your child and you should be well settled by half term and used to new routines.

Playgroup – Activities at home!

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During the Summer months, daily trips to the beach and swimming pool are firm favourites. But those with babies and toddlers will know that without the usual playgroups, baby clubs etc summer can be long! We’re hoping that by the time you read this article, PACS will be close to returning for the new term. However, if you need some days out of the sun before we are back, there is plenty you can do at home to keep your little one entertained.

Fun at home

Sensory boxes  / trays are a firm favourite at Playgroup and quite simple to do. One of our most popular trays has been “down at the farm.” All you need is some farm animals from your toy box, some Weetabix or Shredded Wheat for the hay bales and some chocolate cheerios for mud. Hours of fun can be had and your child can eat too! Another favourite is looking for toys in spaghetti! Buy some food colouring and dye some spaghetti and then hide some toys within it. Messy play but not a messy home.

Games are always fun and burn off energy. At Cooking Club we always play “Helen said”…how about “Mummy said” just like “Simon said!” Always produces lots of giggles. “What’s the Time Mr Wolf” is always fun too and they can practice their number skills!  

Grab a book and role play! We’re Going on a Bear Hunt is a brilliant book for this activity. If you are feeling creative, you could make some paper grass, use the cherios from your farm for mud and a fan to create wind! 

Toys always need a clean, we at PACS know that. Grab a bowl of soapy water and some toys and let them scrub away to their hearts content. Water play and the toys get a clean! We’ve found that the children love to wash their babies so it can be like giving them a bath.

Arts & Crafts are often two words that feel a parent with dread. But it can be fun and the warm weather makes it easier to do outside in a shady area so less mess at home! Painting doesn’t always have to include brushes. Try finger painting or sponges to make different shapes. Don’t throw out your recycling, keep it for junk modelling. Toddlers love boxes!

And of course the age old favourite, Cooking! Pizza faces are fun to make. Buy some pre made pizza bases to make it easier. Give the children a selection of toppings such as tomatoes, sweetcorn, peppers etc and let them create a masterpiece for their lunch.

Of course there are some activities outside you can do without too much sun. A picnic in Commonwealth Park, a trip to Alameda Gardens with a visit to the Zoo whilst there and an afternoon at the library are always fun things to do.

Whilst you’ve been busy making fun at home, we’ve been busy planning next term. We can’t wait to see you all! x  

The importance of Play Groups and the “New Normal”

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One of the things that Lockdown has shown, in our opinion, is the importance of Playgroups. 

Playgroups not only provide vital social interaction for babies and toddlers but they also provide much needed social time for their parents / carers. New babies who were born at the start or during lockdown have missed out on meeting other babies, toddlers have spent months not being able to run around with their friends. Activities that we provide at PACS such as sensory play, story time, cooking, arts and crafts and of course song time give children learning opportunities and support their social development which in turn can ease the transition to school. And of course a cup of tea and a chat for their parent / carer can provide knowledge sharing and learning opportunities and create life long friends. 

As September approaches, faster than we think, what will the new normal look like at PACS? On top of what we normally do, we will ensure that all of our toys, play mats and all other items that are used throughout the session will be disinfected at the end of each session. All Government guidelines will of course be adhered too. However, in amongst the hand sanitiser and disinfectant wipes, we will of course provide a happy and safe environment for you and your children. We can’t wait to get back!    

That’s a Wrap End of term for PACS

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A time for Goodbyes and Reflection.

Playgroup sessions come to an end for summer 2021. Many of our toddlers will begin their next adventure by starting school in September. We will miss those little faces who regularly come to play and readily sing along, joyfully showing us their dance moves at song time. It has been a pleasure to watch children grow and progress through our playgroups, from babes in arms at our Bumps and Babies session, to the energetic and inquisitive pre-schoolers they have become. Good luck to parents and children as they start school in September. 

Attending playgroup is an excellent way to prepare for school. Children & parents alike form friendships at playgroup, they can often recognise a familiar face on that first day at school. Playgroup prepares a child to feel confident being in new settings, explore different play, & learn to share and take turns. One of our sessions Totally Toddlers is structured allowing children a two-hour window into a school day, offering story time, craft, play, snack and song time. 

As we come to the end of term at PACS we can reflect on the year. Normally when the school term starts in September, playgroup volunteers are ready to return with new play ideas and firm favourites alike. However due to covid restrictions our sessions returned slowly with limited numbers of children attending.  On Friday 18th of September our Friday playgroup session Diddy Discoverers returned at a new location of The Methodist church, already home to our Bumps and Babies session.  We settled into our new normal, which included a booking system to reserve places for playgroup, smaller groups, mask wearing, and cautiously cleaning equipment between each session. Despite these challenges those familiar faces little faces returned to play, and we met new families and lockdown babies. So, it continued week on week that our playgroup sessions were fully booked. 

After this initial high of our first term Gibraltar’s second lockdown began at the start of 2021. We returned to supporting parents via virtual playgroup on our facebook page, with story time, song time and cooking club. Our volunteers were once again reluctantly back in front of the camera. Our articles in the Gibraltar insight magazine allowed us to continue to reach out to parents and offer words of support.  

March 2021 saw the relaxing of covid restrictions and as before Bumps and Babies and our Friday playgroup Diddy Discoverers session cautiously returned. We were overwhelmed by the number of children wanting to attend playgroup and were fully booked week in week out. Whilst frustrations were felt, parents were patient and followed covid guidelines. 

In April our Monday session Totally Toddlers returned at the Family centre, subject to strict covid guidelines and offering very small group sessions. It was an adjustment for everyone.

Week on week volunteers felt that we were returning to the playgroup we knew and loved. Covid restrictions were relaxed, and we could offer space to more children, booking systems disappeared and finally the masks came off. It was wonderful to have the old buzz of playgroup back. 

At the end of April The Methodist Church became a permanent home to our Friday playgroup Diddy Discoverers, and offered us access to a new room which allowed for the return of cooking club. JP haulage Ltd kindly moved our equipment for free, and volunteers worked around the clock to get the new venue ready.

In May we introduced a new play session to the PACS family. Sensory Story Session runs every Thursday from 1-2, at the Methodist church catering for children 18 months and above. Sensory stories are a great way to include all the senses into storytelling. It is a relaxed session, where stories are brought to life by sensory play, and theatre. By adding sensory to a story, it can create magic and a sense of wonder.

May also saw the return of our beloved cooking club. A twice weekly class on a Wednesday and Friday afternoon. Pre-schoolers returned to making and cooking fun recipes. 

I can’t help but feel this article mainly details playgroup stopping, starting, returning gradually, ending abruptly to restart again, with covid restrictions increasing and decreasing at times. The reason for this is because this in the precise journey we have all been on this year. I think we can all agree its been quite a rollercoaster.  

There is no doubt that the pandemic has had an effect on our toddlers. We have seen an increase in children struggling to socialise. Many were extremely attached to their parents and nervous of new environments. At times children have struggled to share and there has been a marked increase in toddler behaviour of hitting and biting. 

Despite these struggles we have watched parents support their children through these challenges, and with patience & time their toddlers have grown in confidence. It is also evident that even through the challenges of covid, children find joy in any situation. Story & song time continue to be hit even if told through a mask. Whilst parents felt the challenges of the covid restrictions their children did not. Play is truly the work of childhood. 

Time to read

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In our busy modern lives, it can be hard to find time for everything but one thing that PACS believes is worth prioritising is reading with your children. Reading and storytelling with your children will promote their brain development and imagination. It also helps to develop language and emotions, and strengthens your relationships with your child.

Taking the time on a day to day basis to share stories, talk and sing together can help your child’s development in many ways. It will help your child get to know sounds, words and language, and develop early literacy skills as well as develop your child’s brain, ability to focus, concentration, social skills and communication skills. On top of this your child will learn to value books and stories thus sparking your child’s imagination and stimulating curiosity. Books can also be a great way to help your child understand new or frightening events, for example a book on potty training might help them understand, in an appropriate way, what is happening.

Sharing stories with your child doesn’t always have to be your reading from a book. Just by looking at books with your child and talking about them, can help your child’s development. They will learn by watching you hold a book the right way and seeing how you move through the book by gently turning the pages.

Reading stories with your children can also have benefits for you too! This special time reading together will help with your bonding and your relationship with your child.

The Parent and Child Society has a weekly session based all around stories and book reading. Sensory Stories are a great way to include all the senses into storytelling which can be enjoyed by parents and children alike. Stories create magic and a sense of wonder. By adding sensory to a story it can expand a child’s understanding, encourage participation and displays a sensation of reality. This session runs on Thursdays at The Methodist Church from 1-2pm for ages 18 months and above! The session will start at 1pm promptly, however The Living Room Cafe (attached to the church) is open for a tea or lunch before we begin. We look forward to you coming along to this session and enjoying the stories!


TIPS

for sharing books with babies and young children.

Make a routine and try to share at least one book every day. Maybe just before nap time or bedtime or maybe snuggling in the afternoon.

Turn off all devices and find a quiet place to read so your child can hear your voice.

Sit close together.

Have fun – make silly noises and sounds!

Talk through the pictures and encourage your child to engage with the book, for example point our colours or numbers!

Playgroup

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A great place to gain key social skills

As mothers ourselves, we’ve seen it all when it comes to toddlers behaviour at Playgroup, from them making friends and playing together as well as the not so great pushing, not sharing, hitting and biting to name just a few things.

Young children / babies crave attention. They learn from their peers and flourish on interactions that help them develop and grow. Play and socialisation in a setting such as playgroup gives a child the chance to navigate social situations such as taking turns, conversation skills, when to join in a game, emotional expression and tolerance of others.

From the age of 0-2 children tend to focus more on toys than other babies / children. Obviously, there is some interaction but generally they are more interested in their parents / carers rather than children their own age. When they hit the age of between 2 – 3 they slowly begin to play independently from their carer and interact with children their own age. This is a great time to introduce them to different social situations. However, be prepared that during this transition period, children may act out. It is perfectly normal for a child to hit, scratch, pull hair and bite another child. This is not to say that this doesn’t cause you as a parent immense stress. But always remember that you are not alone.

Often a child chooses to act this way, as a way of communicating. They are not able to verbalise in the same way as adults, so chose this way to get what they want. As we all know, its not always easy to share! It can be tempting to stop taking your child to playgroup when they go through this phase. Believe me, there were many, many occasions when I thought it would be much easier to stay home rather than taking my biting, hair pulling, hitting two year old to a playgroup! But the only way they will learn to play is to stick with it and continue to put them in social situations. They in turn will learn from those around them. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any techniques you can try;

What should you do if your toddler hits?

· Remove your child from the situation

· Discuss alternative ways to act

· Provide emotional support

· Prevent the hitting before it begins (sometimes there are obvious signs)

What should you do if your child is pulling hair?

· Teach them how hair should be handled

· Ask them how they would feel if they had their hair pulled

What should you do if your child is biting?

· Be calm and firm. Address your child with a firm “no biting” or “biting hurts”. Keep it simple for them to understand

· Comfort the other child to show your toddler that their actions have hurt someone

· Offer alternative ways to interact with their peers

· Remember that biting is a normal part of childhood and not to blame yourself

Obviously, each tactic applies to all of the above. Whatever their behaviour is, get down to your childs level and explain calmly but firmly that their behaviour isn’t acceptable and explain its wrong. When your child is acting out in this way, it’s a good idea to become their shadow within social situations so you can prevent the worst from happening. This can prevent a situation from occurring in the first place and you will learn the cues that you child might react badly and remove them temporarily from the situation.

As a parent / carer its always a good idea to talk to other parents / carers about their experience. It was a huge relief to me to know that other people were going through the same thing. I often just wanted to cry but talking as a Mum of a now 12 year old who did all of the above, I can confirm that they do grow out of it. Its just a hard phase to deal with!

Always remember that here at PACS, we are not here to judge. We are always on hand to lend an ear and offer a hot cup of tea. We’ve all been there and have come out the other side. Now if anyone can help with the pre teen stage, I’d certainly love to hear from you!

Back in Business

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We are delighted to make two exciting announcements! Firstly, after a year, the Family Centre is reopening which means that our Monday session can reopen! This group will now be known as Totally Toddlers! To begin with, strict COVID restrictions will be in place, therefore we will have a booking system. Please check our FB page for more details on how to book, timings etc.

And our other exciting news is that PACS will be making our move to the Methodist Church permanent! The team at the church and the Living Room café have been a great help and support with helping us to get back up and running during the Covid restrictions. As before Bumps & Babies will run on a Wednesday morning from 9.30am and Playgroup will run on a Friday mornings. Timings for all of our groups will confirmed on our FB page.

We are aware that, like us, you are keen to for Cooking Club to return. Please be assured that we are working very hard to make this happen and hope to make an announcement soon. Alongside plans for our cooking session to return, this move enables us to expand what sessions we can offer and hope to be offering not only additional free play sessions but specially designed craft and sensory sessions! We are hoping after a difficult 2020 that this year will continue to allow PACS to offer not only our previous session but much more to the local community.
Of course, being back in business means that we are looking for some more volunteers to help us run our sessions. PACS is completely funded by attendee donations and manned by volunteers who give up their time to run sessions and therefore we are always on the look out for new people to join our team. All volunteers are offered training and support and the children are always happy to see you! If you think you could offer up some time then please get in touch with us at pacsgib@gmail.com.

We look forward to seeing you all soon and hope to offer a bigger and better PACS!

Love from all the Team @ PACS


Benefits of Reading

With research showing that children nowadays read less frequently than previous generations, the good news is that the UK’s National Literacy Trust Children has found that children turned to reading even more during lockdown because for some of them it provided refuge during the difficult time, supporting their mental wellbeing and enabling them to dream about the future

Children grow up with a continuous stream of entertainment including endless TV channels, on-demand streaming and numerous digital devices. For most children screen time is habitual and they would prefer to play video games than to pick up a book. 

One huge reason that children don’t like to read is that unfortunately many parents don’t read themselves and are rarely seen to have a book in their hands, and this filters down to the children. Reading aloud to children from an early age is so important and kids can learn to have a lifelong relationship with the printed word if they start young. 

What can you do as parents if your child just isn’t motivated to read? 

Make time for reading in their busy schedule and allow it to become a relaxing and enjoyable time.

Set aside a regular time to read aloud with your children.  

Create a cosy space where your child can settle down and spend time with a good book.   

Select a humorous book aimed at your child’s reading level and read the first chapter aloud.

Children who read for pleasure have increased concentration, memory, confidence, greater self-esteem and general knowledge. Make sure that reading is still valued and let it flourish, even if your kids are avid gamers, and they will reap the benefits as they grow up.

1 Child + I child = One panicking parent

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So, you have decided to have baby number two but now you’re starting to panic about how your going to cope with two children. This month the Parent and Child Society Gibraltar (PACS) is here to offer some guidance on how to make the transition easier.

If you thought having your first child was challenging and changed your life wait until you have your second one. Adding a second child to your family is just as hard but less daunting! There is no longer one child to take care of, feed, wash and entertain and the chores and household organisation has also doubled. Although we will not lie, adding a new child into your family can be hard it is important to remember that you coped from being child free to a parent and you will find your parenting groove again. 

Maybe when you were a parent of one child you could still preserve a lot of your pre baby lifestyle however with two children to look after it is hard to feel that you exist as an individual rather than a parent. With one child you can take down time for yourself however with two you may feel that you are constantly bouncing between two activities as one child sleeps another one wakes up. The best advice PACS can offer is to take a deep breath, trust that you have got this, and it shall pass. And when you find 5 minutes of peace take it the dishes or cleaning can wait. 

Adding a second child to the family does not only have an impact on you as a parent it has a massive impact on your first born who suddenly must share your attention. It is important to try and involve your first born in your pregnancy so that they can prepare their selves for the arrival of their new sibling. Explain to them that the new baby will not mean that you love them any less but there will be times that they will have to share your time. Once baby has arrived it is important to find a way to share your time between your children. This might mean while feeding your new-born you have your older child snuggling into you while you look at a book together. Experts also think spending special time with your firstborn away from the infant and outside of the home if possible can help, for example let granny or granddad look after the newborn while you take your first born for a special trip to the park. This will help them to still feel that they have your attention. If you can involve them in the baby this will also help get them used to their sibling. Get them to help change the baby’s nappy or give the baby a bath. And while they are helping don’t forget to thank them and praise them for that help, e.g. “Thanks for helping get that nappy you were super quick and helpful” this will help your older child feel more comfortable with helping and included. Another good hack is to look at getting your older child a few new toys that they can do 100% on their own, e.g. puzzles, sticker books etc. These can help keep the bigger one entertained while you need to focus on baby. 

The main thing to remember is that the first few weeks and months will be stressful, and you may feel that you have not got it all together, but remember that you are still learning and forming a bond, not only with your new baby but a bond as a new big and better family unit. So, drop the mum guilt and remember you are doing a great job. Also do not forget PACS is here in Gibraltar to offer you support at our play sessions, so once you are ready bring along you little ones to a session and introduce them to the fun and games we have each week! We have volunteers on hand to hold a baby, lend an ear, order a tea or just play with your toddler.

In Gibraltar, the Parent and Child Society have been offering playgroups to the community for the last 10 years. The Society offers several different sessions suitable for all children under the age of 5. So, although it could be scary to come along to a new place, we encourage you to take the plunge and come see what we do at our sessions. For all the dates and times of our current sessions please follow us on our Facebook page Parent and Child Society Gibraltar. 

A welcome return

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We have everything crossed that by the time this article is published, we will be up and running again. 

As you can imagine, we are keen to return to normal as soon as possible. But history tells us that going back to “normal” is a huge adjustment for babies and toddlers. Playgroups can be overwhelming especially if you have been in lockdown. Our Playgroups are a great way to slowly introduce your child to a social situation in a safe environment with you, as their carer, being available. When we returned after the last lockdown, we found that many of the children found being in a social situation quite stressful having spent weeks on end at home with no interaction with other babies / children. We were able to cater our sessions to ensure that the process of attending these groups eased them in slowly to social interaction again.

Time to play leisurely alongside one another, some sensory play, story time and song time, which always proves to be a firm favourite. All of these activities are of course optional and time spent sitting on their carers laps whilst soaking it all in also helped. By the end of term we found that all of the children were happy to socialise with their peers again and playgroup was a very positive experience. When we return, we will once again ensure that we provide the same environment to ensure that the children have another happy experience with us.

What we offer!

Before March 2020 we were operating four groups per week these were…..

Mondays – Monday playgroup has always been a firm favourite. On arrival at The Children’s Centre in Mid Harbour the children are read a story which is a great way to start the week. After some free play we offer a craft which is normally themed with the book we are reading. We then provide a healthy snack and song time! The children leave happy which in turn makes us happy! *This session takes place from 10.00am – 11.30am.

Wednesdays – Wednesdays at PACS are a little bit quieter. From 9.30am until the last baby leaves we take a corner of The Living Room Cafe at The Methodist Church and run Bumps & Babies. This group is aimed at new and expectant mothers to give them an opportunity  to meet other mothers in a safe environment whilst their baby happily plays. Our volunteers are mothers themselves and are on hand to offer an ear / support whenever it’s needed. Once allowed, we will also be offering sessions where local health providers, such as health visitors, will come in and talk to the mum’s and offer help and advice where needed.

Fridays – Fridays have always been our busiest day of the week. From 9.45 – 11.45am we offer a playgroup session. Upon arrival the children are able to play to their hearts content. We’ve found that the children and carers prefer a less structured session on a Friday. Half way through the session we offer the children a chance to participate in some sensory play. These vary from activities such as a “jelly flood” or a chance to plant some flowers in some mud…which usually means chocolate cheerios! We then offer a healthy snack before finishing with song time. Tired but happy the children head home unless they plan to attend our next session of the day…

From 12.30 on a Friday we offer the very popular Cooking Club. During this session the children, with help from their carers, are taught to cook something which they can eventually take home. We try to ensure that what we cook is always healthy…but of course we make sure that some weeks it includes chocolate! Once the Cooking is finished, the children have some time to play before some much loved games such as “What’s the Time Mr Wolf”. This session is aimed at slightly older children, many of whom will have been at pre school / school before they come. It’s always a great way to end the week!

In the autumn term in 2020 we continued to offer two smaller Playgroup sessions back to back on a Friday and Bumps & Babies all of which complied with the Covid regulations.

With Gibraltar on track to start reopening soon, we hope that PACS will be able to follow suit. Despite being in lockdown, we have continued to work behind the scenes creating new ideas for our sessions and coming with ideas for some new sessions. We hope to be back bigger and better sometime soon. Watch this space!

*Please note that all of our sessions are run purely by volunteers. Apart from Cooking Club which costs £2.50 per session we only ask for a donation to assist with our running costs during the other sessions. 

Cooking club

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Children learn so much better from doing an activity than watching or reading. That is why cooking with your children can make such a difference to your child’s life. Not only will you be teaching them a valuable skill that they can use throughout the rest of their life. You will find that you will naturally be teaching them mathematics, reading, science and so much more! Moreover, you will also have a great bonding experience and build a lifetime of memories. 

In this month’s article PACS’ own cooking lady Helen Mumford, reflects on the benefits of cooking with your little ones. 

For the last seven years I have been known as the cooking lady as I have been running the PACS weekly cooking session. Many times have I been told that I must be crazy to spend time with 16 under 5-year olds with knives trying to create something edible. However, I know from my own experience that these classes are teaching children key skills and although what we produce may not be Michelin starred it is always a yummy and fun time. 

Cooking with children can be chaotic but it can also be great fun. As adults we can find preparing the daily meals a chore but for children it is a great opportunity to spend time with adults while gaining experience in understanding the importance of healthy eating and balanced diets. At our cooking sessions we encourage children to try foods that they wouldn’t normally experience, and we have found that when a child is involved with the cooking process, they will be more willing to experiment with food. Over the last seven years I have had many a parent say to me “my child never eats that at home how have you managed to get them to eat it?” There’s no real secret, as an adult you wouldn’t eat food placed in front of you that you had no understanding of, this is the same for children if children know what is in their food they are more likely to eat it. 

Most people would not dream of letting little children loose with a kitchen knife to help prepare food at home. At cooking club, children are provided with specially designed safe chopping knives that they can use to chop up the ingredients. The action of chopping and dicing has a huge benefit to your child’s development of motor skills. 

Cooking together is also a great way to help children learn to follow directions. Not only are they following a recipe, but they also learn that things have to be done in a certain order to bring out the best result. So whether you’re making biscuits or a family dinner, walk your kids step by step through the process so they understand why things happen. Cooking can also help with a child’s reading. Whether they are reading the recipe, or you are reading it together there is a lot of reading involved. This can help build your child’s vocabulary skills as well as opening them up to words and vocabulary that they would not normally hear in the classroom on nursery environment. As well as reading, cooking is full of mathematics. Your child can learn adding, subtraction, fractions, and multiplication all in the kitchen. This can be from measuring out ingredients to cutting up portions but more than that cooking together can make maths more fun!

However, the greatest benefit of cooking together is the emotional bond that can be formed between the adult and child. I can still remember many happy times cooking together with my grandma and mother baking and cooking a range of recipes. 

I started running cooking club because my child enjoyed it so much. I can still see that the time spent teaching my children to cook has been beneficial for all of us when we need quality time together. Even now that my children are bigger we still join together in the kitchen to make something together.

So be brave, get your aprons on and head to the Kitchen to get baking!


The thought of cooking with your young children can fill some people with dread and others images of traditional quality family time together. For the last seven years the Parent and Child Society has been running a weekly cooking club for up to 16 children under the age of five years. Over the years we have seen the many benefits that cooking with young children can have.

Here are some of PACS favourite recipes that you can try at home and you will find videos of our cooking lady demonstrating more recipes on our Facebook page, Parent and Child Society, Gibraltar.

Veg Packed Pasta Bake

• 300g cooked pasta
• ½ courgette
• 1 red pepper
• 1 yellow pepper
• 3 mushrooms
• A small tin of sweetcorn
• A carton of Tomato Passata or Frito
• 50g grated cheese

Place the cooked pasta in a large oven proof dish. Let your child chop up the courgette, peppers, and mushrooms into chunks. Mix in with the pasta. Sprinkle on the sweetcorn and mix. Pour over the tomato passata covering all the pasta. Sprinkle the grated cheese on top and bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 200.

Hint – if you kids aren’t fans of the chunky veg then puree it with a blender with the passata before adding to the pasta.


Brownies

• Cup of butter – then melt
• 1 Cup of white sugar
• 2 Eggs
• 1 Tsp vanilla extract
• 1/3 Cup of cocoa powder
• Cup of plain flour
• Tsp salt
• Tsp of baking powder

Heat the oven to 175 and grease with butter and flour an 8-inch square tin. Melt the butter and mix in the eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract. Add in flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder and mix. Place in the oven for 25 minutes – do not overcook. Let it cool then cut into slice – Enjoy!

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