Trouble-shooting toddler social skills

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Louise Wedgwood Chances are your toddler's behaviour is all completely normal - but here's how to tackle some common social problems.

Why watching TV can actually be good for toddlers

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Gemma Taylor New research shows that after watching an educational children’s television program, toddlers can learn to count to five and read a simple map.

5 ways to keep toddlers and preschoolers busy

Finger painting is a great way for your child to experience sensory play and to encourage fine motor skills.

Jennifer Chung If you have both a toddler and a preschooler, we have some fun ideas to keep them both busy.

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Video: Toddler sings the very metal alphabet

The very metal alphabet, as sung by a two-year-old.

Staff writers This little girl wasn't content with the regular alphabet song, choosing to put her own spin on it – a very metal spin.

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Cheap summer activities for the under 3s

Chalk + driveway = lots of fun for little kids.

LETITIA ROWLANDS It's that time of year when playgroups, gymbaroo, dance lessons, music classes and all the other activities that keep toddlers busy each week take a break for the festive and new year period.

Tiny golfer won't let disability hold him back

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LETITIA ROWLANDS When Joe Morrisey and his wife Marcia found out their unborn son would face life with a physical disability, they were understandably concerned about what his future might hold.

Is e-reading to your toddler story time or just screen time?

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Douglas Quenqua When reading increasingly means swiping pages on a device, and we're advised to read to their children early and often, should parents be turning to e-readers for storytime?

5 secrets I learnt from early childhood educators

Advice from the experts: help, but don't rescue.

LINDY ALEXANDER Early childhood professionals make it all look easy, but they have many tricks up their sleeves to help raise happy, well-balanced children.

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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.

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.

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Playgroups

Discuss your Playgroup experiences or find a Playgroup near you.

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.

Five ways my second pregnancy is second best

As I roll into the second half of "Pregnancy: The Sequel", here is breakdown of the differences I have found thus far.

Domestic politics

Why I felt guilty about having a cleaner

Coming home to a clean house was a pleasure – and yet, I felt uneasy.

'Ugly' hearing aid ad leaves parents fuming

When Alecia Donoghue found out her baby would need hearing aids she worried about him becoming the target for schoolyard bullies.

Have you seen these missing children?

The Australian Federal Police has released the following information to locate some of Australia's missing children through the Family Law Court.

Margarita time

Keira Knightley welcomes first child

British actress Keira Knightley has become a first-time mother.

IVF patients in the dark over which clinics are least successful

Couples with fertility problems have little way of knowing which IVF clinics are the best performers despite significant differences between clinic success rates.

Couple forced to defend their decision to become parents

They met, fell in love and got married. Then, just like couples everywhere, Simon and Vicky Moore decided it was time to have a baby.

The one parenting tip that made all the difference

Amongst the useless, ill-informed advice we're given as new parents, many of us also receive nuggets of wisdom that make our lives just that little bit easier.

Five lies you tell yourself when you're pregnant

You can see it all now: glowing mumma with her gorgeous babe ... you know exactly what you're going to be like. Or perhaps you know exactly what you're not going to be like.

Family expecting fourth set of twins

A couple is expecting their fourth set of twins in five years.

The day my daughter almost drowned

We had six adults standing there, so I felt like I could relax a bit. After all, what could go wrong with so much supervision?

Sydney siege survivor names baby after victim Katrina Dawson

A Sydney barrister who survived the Lindt cafe siege has named her newborn daughter after her best friend who died in the tragedy.

The universal working mother experience

These days mothers need more than just traditional career advice.

Obama feels full force of toddler tantrum

Shopping centres, restaurants, the White House ... the list of places toddlers like to throw tantrums is endless.

Banishing bloat

How to avoid a bloated tummy

Here are some foods to eat in order to escape feeling ghastly and gassy.

The great new picture book for anxious kids

My son is a worrier by nature. I learnt long ago that it was completely pointless to say to him "Don't worry about it!".

Budget stripped more than $15b from families

The combined impact of the two budgets for low and middle income people was "devastating", new analysis by the Australian Council of Social Service shows.

Pregnant women urged to get flu shots

As the winter chill starts to arrive, NSW Health is urging pregnant women to get their flu shots.

65-year-old gives birth to quadruplets

A 65-year-old German woman, who already has 13 children, has given birth to quadruplets.

What you need to know about pregnancy and health insurance

It's not just waiting periods that couples need to consider - there are other factors to consider when thinking about health insurance.

Yummy mummy

Nicole Trunfio breastfeeds baby on Elle magazine cover

Australian model Nicole Trunfio has taken the concept of multitasking to a fashionable new level for Elle Australia.

Warnings after baby girl died while sleeping in bouncer

Parents have been warned about the dangers of letting babies sleep in bouncers and swings following the death of a three-month-old girl.

Coping with fatigue as a parent

Sleep deprivation is a real hazard of caring for a baby. But there are ways to manage the challenges of fatigue better.

A very 21st century issue: parents, parks and smart phones

It's not all the parents, and it's not all the time, but there is often at least one doing it. And sometimes, that 'one' is me.

Appliances

Faulty washing machines linked to house fires

More than 80,000 faulty Samsung washing machines pose a fire threat in homes throughout Australia despite a nationwide recall of the machines.

7 things you might not know about postnatal depression

Despite its widespread nature, there is still a great amount of mystery surrounding PND - and it's important to try unravelling as much of that as we can.

Seven questions you should be asking about your health cover

If the last time you assessed your health cover was five years ago, there’s a chance it may no longer suit your needs. To ensure it’s still right for your family, click here for seven questions to ask.

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What's hot on EB

How to use gas effectively in labour

Many women in labour don't use gas effectively and suffer more side effects than benefits. Here's how to get the most out of this pain relief option.

'He has gastro but that's okay, right?': sick kid etiquette

We cannot place all children who are sick in a bubble till they recover, but we can give other parents a choice about exposing their kids to them.

Welcome to Winter

Now that the colder months are here, Essential Baby as all the information you need for staying healthy and happy during the chilly season.

Ada Nicodemou: 'I can never be completely happy again'

Home and Away actress Ada Nicodemou has opened up about the loss of her stillborn baby.

10 things to consider when you're thinking about trying for a baby

Before you start tracking your menstrual cycle and reading up on the best positions to get pregnant, there are a few other things you may want to consider.

How special surgery and IVF can create a post-vasectomy baby

Cricket legend Glenn McGrath and his second wife Sara are expecting their first child together, thanks to IVF and a delicate surgical sperm retrieval process that helped the couple to conceive.

Belle Gibson's mother 'disgusted and embarrassed'

The mother of disgraced wellness blogger Belle Gibson has accused her daughter of lying about her childhood in an attempt to garner public sympathy.

Doctor's mobile phone 'left inside c-section mum'

A new mum claims a doctor left his mobile phone inside her after delivering her baby via caesarean section.

I'm a mum and I'm following my dreams

I want my kids to know that no matter what happens in life, you can still be who it is that you've always wanted to be.

Those first daycare days

I had this innate 'mum' moment the other day.

Top baby names

Baby Names

The numbers are in and we can now bring you the 2014 top baby name list for Australia.