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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Parties for the under 5's

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

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

Win a Mountain Buggy Swift

To celebrate Essential Baby reaching half a million Facebook fans, we have a Mountain Buggy Swift to giveaway to a lucky fan.

Shopping with kids: breaking the pester-power cycle

You're out shopping with your little one and they're incessantly whining that they want a treat. It's easy to say no ... the first time, at least.

eBay jacket may hold clue to murdered girl's identity

A jacket similar to the one found with the remains of a brutally murdered little girl in South Australia has been identified on eBay.

New mum forced back to work early due to paid parental leave 'technicality'

Shelley Parker had to keep driving buses until the date her baby was due and will have to rush back to work at the end of this week after being denied paid parental leave on a "technicality".

Pregnant Amanda Palmer poses naked for book drive

It has to be the most original way ever of promoting a children's book donation day.

The conception dilemma facing many parents today

Some parents who conceived through a sperm donor will be wary of telling the child, while others prefer to deal with it early on. But recent research suggests it makes little difference either way.

The wedding photo the bridesmaid would rather forget

We've probably all seen a passed-out bridesmaid at one wedding or another, but it usually happens towards the end of the night.

Pregnant TV meteorologist takes on haters

Pregnant TV meteorologist Katie Fehlinger has hit back at haters who called her a "sausage in casing".

Honest words from first-time mums

I didn't want to say anything negative to my pregnant friend, but I wish I'd been more honest.

Adorable baby experiences rain for the first time, couldn't be happier

Harper had seen rain from the comfort of indoors before, but had never had the pleasure of being outside and experiencing it first hand.

What it's really like to start a family in your fifties

Many people suppose that it must be much more tiring to have a baby in middle age, but all the mothers in the playground look exhausted, whatever their age.

'Biggest hypocrite ever': Josh Duggar admits to Ashley Madison account

An American reality TV star has been busted with a cheating website account, according to US media.

Long recovery ahead for girl hit by car weeks after baby brother's death

A little girl is more alert and starting to talk after being hit by a car a week ago, but still faces a long recovery.

How to react when a toddler lies

Q: My almost-3-year-old is starting to figure out that he can lie when asked if he ripped the book, threw the food, hit his brother, etc. Totally normal, I know. How do we respond?

The circular experience of a Centrelink client

A mum-to-be experiences the frustration of dealing with Centrelink, myGov and everything in between.

Kelly Clarkson announces live on stage: 'I'm pregnant!'

Singer Kelly Clarkson has announced she is pregnant with her second child during a concert in Los Angeles.

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How to search the leaked Ashley Madison data

At least three sites are republishing Ashley Madison's user data on the public-facing internet.

Mum dances her way through labour

There are a fair few ways to distract yourself and beat pains while in labour, but it's probably a rare woman who chooses her dance her way through it.

'Rest in peace, my little lion': premmie baby Jacob passes away

Baby Jacob, whose photo of him born at just 27 weeks was deemed 'too graphic' for a fundraising site, has died.

Mum killed three young sons 'to help her daughter', prosecutor says

Niall Pilkington's death last summer apparently raised little alarm in Bellefontaine, Ohio. Tragic accidents happen, after all.

Shorter women have shorter pregnancies: study

When a group of researchers studied nearly 3500 mothers and their babies, they noticed a curious pattern.

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Preschooler hit by car shortly after baby brother's death

A mother has had a frantic race to the hospital after her daughter was hit by a car, just four weeks after her infant son died.

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