Video: Toddler not keen on clean-shaven dad

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Letitia Rowlands This little girl thought she was taking part in a standard game of peek-a-boo, but her dad had a surprise for her.

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Mum and two-year-old create masterpieces together

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Jen Ng This artist and mother collaborates with her 2-year-old daughter to create impressively creative pieces of art.

Finding the right balance when playing with your kids

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JODIE BENVENISTE Being too involved in our children’s play and not allowing our kids enough free time for unstructured activities can mean our kids miss out on the value that play offers.

Ready, set, get messy - for art's sake

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LETITIA ROWLANDS The soon-to-open Sydney Creative Playground will be a place where toddlers and preschoolers are encouraged to explore their artistic sides.

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Parents want highly qualified childcare workers, even if it costs more: survey

One parent survey presented to the Productivity Commission backs claims parents prioritise qualifications over savings when it comes to childcare.

JUDITH IRELAND Australian parents don't want the qualification requirements watered down for childcare workers who look after small children, a new survey says.

The new weekend playgroup for working mums

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Catherine Rodie Playgroups are great for kids and parents alike - but the downside is that they often meet during the week, leaving working mums out of the loop.

Vulnerable children at risk of missing out on early education

Almost 100,000 children from low-income families may miss out on childcare under proposed changes.

RACHEL BROWNE Experts say proposed changes to the work, study or training requirements for parents accessing childcare subsidies could see disadvantaged children losing access to vital early childhood education and support.

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Aussie toddler declared "Princess of Instagram"

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Letitia Rowlands Nevermind local parks and play centres: two-year-old Pixie Rose Curtis is more likely to be photographed on private jets and lounging by the pool at five-star European resorts.

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Why not all children's TV is created equal

It's important to know which television shows help your toddler and which ones are harmful.

It is important to monitor the amount of time young children spend in front of a screen. However according to new research, it is what type of shows children are watching which can have a big influence on their speech development.

Toddler's adorable impersonation of pregnant mum

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Letitia Rowlands Little Ellis has noticed his mum is walking differently lately, and his impersonation of her is hilarious.

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Plans to pay grandparents for childcare

Childcare: Nannies, grandparents and anyone else willing could join workers at childcare centres and family day care in being eligible for government payments.

MIKI PERKINS Under a new proposal, grandparents who obtain TAFE qualifications could be paid to look after their grandchildren.

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Toddler pleads for return of "stolen" nose

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A two-year-old's reaction to a game of "got your nose" shows it doesn't take much to make a toddler cry.

Raising kids in a 'low media' home

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Brooke Wilson Can you imagine a life without TV or computers? Some parents are opting for a low-tech, screen-free life for their kids.

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Why music is good for your toddler

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CATHERINE RODIE Listening to and playing music with your baby or toddler can be a lot of fun - and it plays an important role in early childhood development, too.

The friend everyone needs on their first day of preschool

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Neha Prakash A little girl in Taiwan was homesick on her first day of preschool, but her friend was the perfect gentleman.

Crushing childhood creativity starts young

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KYLIE ORR As a writer and a parent, I see how little creativity is valued in general. The mockery of inventiveness starts early.

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Why play-based learning is great for toddlers

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Rebecca English Letting young children learn about their world, in their own exploratory way, is at the heart of play-based learning. Here's why it's so good for your kids.

Teletubbies making a comeback

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ROSE POWELL The Teletubbies - those mysterious creatures with televisions in their tummies - will be returning to the silver screen, with the BBC ordering 165 new episodes.

How reading with your toddler makes a big difference to their school years

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COSIMA MARRINER Growing up with lots of books and being read to as a toddler have a bigger impact on the performance of a child starting school than their temperament or even their socio-economic background.

How to make eucalyptus playdough

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Winter sniffles? No problem - make a batch of eucalyptus playdough that will help the kids while they play.

Toddler set to race go-kart at Ferrari festival

Toddler to race at Ferrari festival

ANDREW MACLEAN A toddler with a need for speed will be racing around Sydney Motorsport Park as part of the Ferrari Racing Day festival.

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Two-year-old calls an ambulance and saves mum's life

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Riley Ward hasn't been talking for long, but the British toddler knew enough words to be able to ring for help after his mother collapsed.

Video: Dad turns son into action movie hero

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Melanie Mahoney Many kids would love to be an action movie hero in real life, but very few will ever be able to see themselves in movies like these.

Beautiful wooden puzzles by Berkshire Bowls

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Babyology Looking for truly original wooden puzzles that are beautiful enough to be on display? This brilliant Etsy store has got what you need.

How to support your child's learning

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JODIE BENVENISTE Our children are little learning machines - every day, and in almost every way, they're learning. And long before they get to school, all this activity helps them get ready for a more formal learning environment.

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How children learn through play

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JODIE BENVENISTE Our kids do need to learn how to read, write and add up, but they also need to learn many other life skills. And all of these can be learned through play.

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Children's books for soon-to-be big brothers and sisters

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Stephanie Owen Reeder Babies can be cute and cuddly, but their arrival can sometimes cause friction with older siblings. Reading picture books that deal with such issues can help.

Welcome the Brown Wiggle

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"Who ever thought they'd get to hang out as a Wiggle, even if it's just for a day or two?" asks a New Zealand radio personality who has been named the guest Brown Wiggle.

Daycare and separation anxiety

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My toddler is starting daycare again soon and I am dreading the first few weeks because I know it is going to be a running battle. What can I do to try and prevent his anxiety?

Mum's open letter to businessman who entertained autistic daughter on flight goes viral

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AMBER ROBINSON Shanell Mouland's open letter "Dear Daddy in Seat 16C”, about a man who entertained her three-year-old daughter on a US Airways flight, has gone viral - and finally reached the businessman himself.

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Vaccine objectors rise as parents skirt 'no jab, no play' law

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Cindy Ngo Conscientious objection to childhood immunisation is on the rise as parents exploit a loophole in the new ''no jab, no play'' law that allows unvaccinated children to be enrolled in childcare centres.

5 tips for parents of children with port-wine stains and other physical differences

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Martha and Grant Griffin Our son was born with a port-wine birthmark covering the right side of his face. Here are our top tips for helping parents of a child with a vascular birthmark or physical difference.

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Review: Wet'n'Wild Sydney with babies and toddlers

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LETITIA ROWLANDS While my five-year-old son and I were looking forward to a visit to Wet'n'Wild Sydney, I wondered what the park would have to offer my 21-month-old son. As it turns out, I didn't need to worry.

Should we teach our children to say 'sorry'?

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Andrew Whitehouse When Early Childhood Australia asked if children should be required to say sorry after doing something wrong, even though they may not understand what the word means, the reaction was swift, furious - and divided.

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Review: We're Going on A Bear Hunt stage show

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LETITIA ROWLANDS It's a favourite adventure for children of all ages - and now 'We're Going on a Bear Hunt' is live on stage at the Sydney Opera House.

The risks of overpraising young children

Praise children for who they are not what they do.

PINKY MCKAY And it’s not only TV celebs who gush, ‘you are amaaaazing!’ It seems as though everyone is saying it, everywhere we go, especially parents.

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My children watch too much television

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Kiran Chug If children are meant to have no screen time before they are two, I'm a terrible mother.

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Emma 'the girl with the bow in her hair' ready for new Wiggles tour

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Mike Mather Only one of the original members remains in the new-look Wiggles, but newbie Emma Watkins is actually an old hand, writes Mike Mather.

Toddlers in a tizz over Peppa Pig Live!

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CHRISTINE SAMS Her live concert has sold almost 90,000 tickets in Australia so far, with sales topping $4.5 million. When a new piece of her branded clothing was released in Target last week, it sold out overnight.

Music to their ears: what's your family's soundtrack?

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KYLIE ORR I’ll be sure to ground my children's musical interests in some history - depending on your tastes, you may say it is a history of the rubbish I used to listen to - but what will they remember the most?

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Touch and grow for iTots: a third of toddlers have used mobile devices

Charli Meldrum aged 3 from Northmead pictured with her ipad

Tamar Lewin A survey has found that children under 2, on average, spend an hour a day in front of screens.

Five reasons why toddlers are actually pretty awesome

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Sharon Paterson Smith Despite the tantrums and tears over anything and everything I'd much rather be here than where I was two years ago - in the land of the newborn.

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VIDEO: Adorable toddlers slug it out

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Staff writers What’s cuter than one toddler dressed in a tae kwon do outfit? Two toddlers who are not only dressed in protective martial arts gear but are squaring off in the world’s most adorable fight.

How Dolly Parton is helping Australian children learn to read

Lynne Trenerry with her 4 year old grandaughter Kayla.

Rachel Browne, Lara O'toole Toddler Kayla Browne's world is being rocked by the arrival a of a new book every month.

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Parents under pressure to educate babies

Portrait of Paul and Angela Taylor with their children Mia and Ned.

RACHEL BROWNE Exercise classes for brain development, language programs for a love of learning, DVDs to enrich and entertain: today's parents are bombarded by products to give their child every chance at future success.

Letting toddlers call the shots

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Maria Guido There is a new breed of toddler on the loose; he has discriminating tastes, he makes decisions, and he weighs in on conversations that no toddler has previously been asked to participate in.

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Ethical dilemma

Come scream with me

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Jodie Noyce When a couple's Sunday brunch is disturbed by a screaming child, they step in - but would it have been more peaceful not to?

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Video: Eagle snatches toddler in Montreal

Staff writers Watch the terrifying moment that a Golden Eagle swoops down and snatches a toddler in its talons.

The fun thing no parent talks about

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DOM KNIGHT Dom Knight says there's a secret parents know about raising children, but they're hogging it all for themselves.

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Starting pre-school: what you'll need for the first day

Marion Turner So your child is making the transition to Preschool. You finally rang around all the child care centres you registered with when your baby was still in the womb and got the offer of the three days you require – albeit not the 3 days you had hoped for!

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Parties for the under 5's

Our forum for the under 5's parties - share your ideas, themes, cakes, stories.

Got questions?

Chat about your toddler's health, sleep, behaviour, eating habits and more with other parents in the Essential Baby forum.

How to tell if your child has a speech or language problem

 Left untreated, children who start school with speech and language difficulties face an increased risk of reading and writing difficulties, more bullying, poorer peer relationships and less enjoyment of school. So, what should parents expect of children at different ages?

Finding your tribe as a new mum

How was my renegade mother's group different from my first? They were my kind of people. My tribe.

Following your child's emotional roadmap

Psychologist Angharad Candlin will guide parents through their child's emotional development during her seminar at the Essential Baby and Toddler Show in Sydney this weekend.

Delivery room surprises: when gender predictions are wrong

Out of all the questions asked of mums-to-be, “Do you know what you're having?” would be right up there in popularity. Sometimes,

The fertility battle we don't talk about

“You’re nowhere near menopausal,” my doctor cheerily informed me, and my heart sank. I don’t want to live with worry about pregnancy anymore.

'My morning sickness was so bad I'm not having any more kids'

“All the horrible stuff was totally worth it to have my son. But there is absolutely no way I could go through it all again.”

The 'no children' wedding invite

It was the wedding of one of my oldest and dearest friends, and she had invited me to be her bridesmaid. It was quite an honour. But there was one problem.

Baby Dylan recovering well after spending five days alone

 For up to five days he lay alone after his mother died of a suspected drug overdose, but eight-month-old Dylan Micallef has made an incredible recovery.

Win a $200 Pumpkin Patch voucher

Fill out this quick survey and tell us in 25 words or less your best pregnancy or parenting tip - you'll go in the draw to win a $200 Pumpkin Patch voucher.

The mystery of William Tyrell, little boy lost

The question remains: How does a little boy simply vanish without a trace?

Woman fights off robber, then gives birth

A thief in the US got more than he bargained for when he try to rob a woman who was nine months pregnant because he figured she would be an easy target.

Video: Two-year-old tells mum off for laughing at her

This little girl is not happy that her mum started laughing during her performance - so she tells her exactly how she feels about it.

Download now: Essential Kids Activity Finder app

Got bored kids? Quickly find the best activities for kids wherever you are in Australia with the Essential Kids app.

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What's hot on EB

Losing yourself to motherhood

While watching your baby grow into a unique little person is exciting and wondrous, the intensity of meeting everyone else’s needs can ever so sneakily overtake your own needs for self-care.

Tearing during delivery: the facts

Almost all women will experience bruising, grazing or tearing after a vaginal birth. Depending on the degree of tearing, there are various treatments available.

6 tips for a day out with a baby and toddler

Outings can be lots of fun with the kids, but there are inevitable challenges. Here's some information about days out to help you be a little more prepared.

Why I invited a dozen people to watch my son's birth

I sent invitations on burgundy scrapbooking paper stamped with a field of poppies, and told each person why I wanted him or her there. I warned that there would be nudity.

Getting labour started: tips for a natural induction

When your baby’s due date comes and goes without so much as a pop - let alone a bang - it can be disheartening. Mums and a doula share their stories of natural inductions.

7 mistakes old hands make with new babies

As I sat across the table from my friend – me, a seasoned mother of three; her, a brand new mum – I thought of all the mistakes an old-hand parent can make when visiting a newborn baby.

That's my boy: a dad's diary of the first 4 months

Unbearable anxiety, unspeakable joy, constant exhaustion and bouts of frustration ... The many shocks of first-time fatherhood resound in a dad's diary of his son's early months.

One of the most important things a new mum can do

Finances may not be as cute as a newborn, but with many women’s working arrangements changing post-baby, monetary matters need attention too.

Does this baby say 'I love you'?

She's only 10 weeks old, but this baby is already dividing people around the world.

Personalised baby gifts

We've scoured the internet to find gorgeous personalised keepsakes and nursery decor to record baby name and dates. They make great gifts for christenings, name days and birthdays! (All prices in AU.)

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