The secret to Calm and Confident Parenting. An official Gina Ford website

Development Features

Tantrums and Discipline

  • Q & A with our featured author Cathy Glass. Cathy shares some of her experiences of being a foster mother and tips for bringing up well-behaved children, as documented in her parenting book.
  • The Naughty Step - its use and the alternatives: I am often asked about children's behavioural issues. Most parents are familiar with the famous "Naughty Step", and this article discusses what it is used for and other ways of accomplishing good behaviour.
  • Child Development Q and As July/August 2008 By Child Psychologist, Dr Elizabeth Collins: Child psychologist Dr Elizabeth Collins gives advice on how to deal with a toddler who doesn't like displays of affection between parents, how to cope with an uncooperative toddler and why a three-year-old doesn't interact with other children.
  • Using Time Out Effectively By Dr Richard Woolfson: Dr Woolfson gives direction on when time-out is a useful technique if used sensitively and appropriately - and also indicates when it is unsuitable.
  • Furious Fives and Stormy Sixes by Briony Jenkins: This month's features have a back to school theme. Briony Jenkins has gathered some important information about temper tantrums among 5 and 6 year olds (you thought they were just for toddlers!). There are lots of ideas and suggestions here and those of you who are going through tantrums with your two-year-olds might find it interesting as well.
  • Red Hot Tantrum Turmoils by Briony Jenkins: Briony discusses child tantrums and offers top tips on how to deal with them.
  • Tantrums and How To Deal With Them by Gill Macaulay
  • Life Coaching for Parents - Discipline by Maria Sweetman: Maria Sweetman, life coach, discusses the emotive subject of instilling discipline in your young child.
  • Life-Coaching for Parents: Making reward charts a success by Maria Sweetman. When they are used properly, reward charts can be very effective, and our life coach, Maria Sweetman, has some tips on how to make them work.
  • It's Not Fair! By Kate Bouverie: Those of you with toddlers and older children will definitely appreciate Kate Bouverie's article 'It's Not Fair!' - a very familiar expression and sentiment that we can all relate to!
  • Smacking by Gill Macaulay: Meanwhile, Gill Macaulay, one our regular contributors and part of the Editorial Team at, considers the controversial issue of smacking. Whatever your view may be on this contentious subject, I am sure you will find Gill's feature interesting.
  • Violent Behaviour in Children by Dr Richard Woolfson: We have focused, in particular, this month on the issue of discipline. To start us off, Dr Richard Woolfson has tackled the problem of violent behaviour in young children. This is not an easy subject to either deal with or talk about, and many parents are at a loss as to how to solve their child's biting or kicking. But Dr Woolfson has a calm and pragmatic approach to the problem; so whether or not this is an issue that directly affects you, do take a look at his valuable advice.
  • Discipline - The Practical Approach by Pauline Kell: Taking a more practical approach to the whole question of discipline, Pauline Kell, mother of four, reveals her tried and tested methods and offers a wealth of practical tips if you feel discipline is going awry in your family.
  • No! Doesn't Mean Have a Go! By Briony Jenkins: If you are feeling at your wit's end with a challenging little one, and are weary of saying 'No' to your toddler, you will appreciate Briony Jenkins' feature, which will remind you of the power of positive reinforcement for your children.
  • Life-coaching for parents - Setting boundaries - pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again By Maria Sweetman: Maria discusses setting boundaries for children and how to deal with this.
  • Life Coaching for Parents - Sibling rivalry by Maria Sweetman: Our regular life coach Maria Sweetman discusses how to deal with two children who constantly argue and fight, and gives some tips to help you towards a harmonious family life.

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TV and Internet

  • Television: Are you damaging yourself and your children? An interview with Dr Aric Sigman by Dawn Fozard: We have a fascinating interview to share with you this month. In 'Television: Are you damaging yourself and your children?' Dawn Fozard interviews Dr Aric Sigman, author of the controversial book 'Remotely Controlled'. Dr Sigman reveals some unnerving facts about the effects of television on both children and adults; so don't miss this stimulating feature, which has relevance to us all.
  • Less Television - More Time and Space by Dawn Fozard: Then, moving on to the area of self-discipline, Dawn Fozard has followed up on last month's fascinating interview with Dr Aric Sigman, author of Remotely Controlled. In 'Less Television - More Time and Space', Dawn describes how, in the light of Dr Sigman's advice, she reconsidered both her own and her family's television viewing habits. Find out how the changes went down with her two boys in this insightful article.

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Going to Nursery & School

  • How to prepare for the first day of school Kate Brian looks at what you can do to ensure both you and your child are ready and know what to expect.
  • Starting nursery by Gina Ford: Gina offers some of her tips for preparing your child for nursery.
  • New Website Helps Get Children Excited About Reading & Writing: The Website, set up by Karen Wade, will be of interest to parents who are keen to help their children develop a love for books from an early age. Karen tells us more about it.
  • Languages for tots - Could your toddler benefit from foreign language classes? by Kate Brian: Kate's feature looks at how old children have to be to benefit, and takes a look at some of the advantages of early language lessons.
  • Back to school by Gina Ford: Gina offers her excellent advice for parents whose children are starting school.
  • Education and Early Years Questions and Answers - September 2008 By Lizzy D'Anna: Lizzy looks at anxiety about starting school, extra-curricular activities for kids and the value of fairy tales.
  • Education Q&A by Lizzy D'Anna: Teacher Lizzy D'Anna looks at being left-handed, parallel-playing and investigates recent research on reading-readiness.
  • Absorbent Minds: How Montessori Education Works by Kate Brian: Once little ones are ready for some kind of pre-school education there are a variety of options available, and one which is increasingly popular is the Montessori method. If you are looking for the right learning environment for your child, take a look at this interesting and informative piece.
  • Best Days of Your Life by Dawn Fozard: Our editor, Dawn Fozard, reflects on letting go as children move into the world of school in her piece The Best Days of Your Life?
  • Prepare your child for school by Helen Likierman and Valerie Muter: September is a life-changing month for so many parents as they prepare to send their children back to school, perhaps even for the first time. Indeed two members of our team, Dawn Fozard and Yamini Franzini are in the midst of this exciting experience themselves with their eldest children. With this fact in mind we have a very interesting article 'Prepare your Child for School' written by psychologists Helen Likierman and Valerie Muter, who have brought out a wonderful book called: Prepare Your Child for School: How to make sure your child gets off to a flying start. Dawn and Yamini have both found this book very beneficial and I think it will be a useful read for many parents as their contented babies are now of school age!
  • How far would you go to get your child into the primary school of your choice? by Kate Brian : Kate's article should be very useful if your little one hasn't quite reached school age, but perhaps you are beginning to think about schools in your area.
  • How to help your children with maths by Carol Vorderman aims to demystify the subject.
  • The Nursery Debate by Christina Hopkinson: Yet another great feature this month is by Christina Hopkinson, entitled 'The Nursery Debate'. Some of you may have been concerned by the latest research highlighted by Steve Biddulph and Penelope Leach on the effects of nursery attendance on very young children. In response, and to allay your fears, Christina has taken a more balanced view. Don't miss her valuable contribution to this controversial subject.

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  • How to Nurture your Child's Creativity By Fiona Campbell: Fiona offers us a host of creative ideas for you and your children.
  • The importance of reading by Dawn Fozard: Staying with books, don't miss yet another new feature this month, 'The importance of reading' by Dawn Fozard. In her article, Dawn shares her own happy memories of reading as a child and reveals how she has passed on her love of books to her two boys. Reading can be a lifelong pleasure, so be inspired by Dawn's words of advice.
  • Autumn Days in the Garden By Sarah Bloom-Davis: Our gardening expert, Sarah Bloom-Davis, has some lovely suggestions for ways to involve little ones in the garden in the Autumn, as well as some fun indoor gardening ideas.
  • Gardening Fun with your 'Little Petals' By Sarah Bloom-Davis: Sarah Bloom-Davies, garden designer, has written a lovely feature on how to encourage children to become keen gardeners from an early age. Even if you have only a kitchen windowsill to spare, Sarah has some super ideas for getting those green fingers in action.
  • Springtime and Easter fun - Creating Happy Moments to Cherish by Kate Bouverie: Kate Bouverie is a new member of the team. In this article, Kate has come up with a variety of activities you may like to do with your children at this time of year, looking back at her own childhood for inspiration.
  • Valentine Gifts Your Child Can Make To Say 'I Love You' by Briony Jenkins: Briony shows us a wealth of wonderful ideas of things to make for Valentines Day with your little ones.
  • Christmas craft activities: We have put together some suggestions for Christmas craft activities to keep your toddlers occupied and help them get into the spirit of the season. We've also included some activities that older children will enjoy.
  • Family Easter activities: We've put together a guide to some traditional Easter activities you could introduce to your children at this time of year.
  • Boredom busters for those days when you're stuck indoors. Toddlers can quickly get bored and irritable if they're cooped up inside, so we're featuring Briony Jenkin's suggestions for
  • Delia's Christmas: Food is a big part of what makes Christmas so special, and Delia Smith gives advice on planning for Christmas and seasonal cooking.

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Outings and Holidays

  • Theatre for toddlers - Interview with Patrick Lynch: More and more productions designed with toddlers in mind are appearing at venues across the country, and we've spoken to one of the leading experts in this field, Patrick Lynch.
  • Babies, Children and Weddings - a Survival Guide By Annabel Falcon: Annabel's feature gives you lots of useful advice on surviving weddings with children, based on her own experiences with her four small children.
  • Flying long-haul with a baby or toddler by Kate Quarry: Kate Quarry is a new contributor to Kate has travelled extensively with her twin daughters and in this article on long-haul travel with small children she share her experiences and tips.
  • The Camping book by Ed and Kate Douglas: The Camping Book by Ed and Kate Douglas aims to take the stress out of camping, helping you to make sure that you all stay dry and sleep well. We're featuring some extracts from the book with tips for family camping.
  • Skiing with young children - Q and A with Betony Garner of the Ski Club of Great Britain: Parents often assume that skiing holidays aren't suitable for young families, but Betony Garner of the Ski Club of Great Britain gives some expert advice on when children can start to ski and how best to go about it.
  • Days to Remember by Gina Ford and Dawn Fozard: Being a spectator in life can be fun, but there is nothing better than taking part. Our first new feature this month is 'Days to Remember'. In this article, Dawn Fozard and I take a look at the value of happy family days out and give tips and suggestions on where to go and how to get the best from your day. The main thing, now that summer is here, is to get out and take advantage of whatever opportunities might be available in your area and enjoy memorable times with your lovely children.
  • Travel Tips by Pauline Kell: Once you are on your way, you may find yourself worrying about all the things you might have forgotten - particularly if this is your first major holiday with your little one. To avoid this anxiety, read Pauline Kell's 'Travel Tips' before you depart! Pauline is both an experienced mother and an experienced traveller, so borrow from her and set off cool and organised.
  • Recommended Hotels and Restaurants
  • A Special Break - with the Little Ones By Kate Bouverie: If you feel like treating yourself and taking a little break away from daily life, read this wonderful feature where Kate gives us some great suggestions of hotels to visit for a bit of indulgence with your children.

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Contented Lifestyle

  • Bringing up an only child: Q and A with Bernice Sorenson
  • Only children - interview with Ann Richardson of Being an Only: We've spoken to Ann Richardson, a counsellor and psychotherapist who runs an organisation called Being An Only. Ann works with adults who grew up as only children and she discusses the consequences she has observed.
  • Living on the edge by Briony Jenkins: This leads me on to our first new feature, 'Living on the edge' by Briony Jenkins. Briony has gathered together some wonderful tips and ideas from mothers around the world on how to cope with the stress of children and focus again on the joy that they bring.
  • Author Interview - Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall: Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall has written three books about being a grandparent, and now she even runs a website for grannies. She talked to us about the secrets behind the Good Granny's success!
  • Interview with Penny Oates, Author of 'How to talk to your child': Penny has written a fascinating book about communication in families, called How to talk to your child. This article contains some useful advice from her book.
  • Mummy told me not to tell by Cathy Glass: The latest book in the series about her experiences as a foster parent.
  • Working successfully with a parent coach by Linda Russell: If you are considering calling in an expert to help you deal with parenting issues, do take a look at Linda's feature first.
  • Life Coaching for parents - Managing Christmas: Life Coach Maria Sweetman considers how to manage your children's expectations when you are planning Christmas on a budget.
  • Getting ready for Christmas: A little forward planning can help make sure you enjoy Christmas yourself and prevent you getting overwhelmed and trying to do too much.
  • Life-Coaching for Parents: Have yourself a merry little Christmas By Maria Sweetman: Maria Sweetman explains how to cope when your partner's parents don't share your views on how to look after children and their routines, and her suggestions should help you all to have a happy, calm festive season.
  • Some things you may not know about Christmas by Kate Brian: Kate looks at some of the more unusual aspects of the season, and you're sure to find something here that you can surprise your friends and relatives with over the holiday period.
  • This Christmas - More Stuffing and Less Stuff! by Dawn Fozard: Dawn, as a mother of two young boys, has written 'More Stuffing, Less Stuff', which is a very personal piece about how to make Christmas fun and memorable, without drowning in the sophisticated commercialisation of it all. I am sure you will find all of these features interesting and helpful as you strive to create the Christmas you want for your families.
  • Be prepared... to enjoy Christmas by Gill Macaulay: Gill Macaulay tackles the subject of preparing for Christmas. Her personal survival tips on gift shopping, food preparation and pre-planning should prove invaluable - just don't leave it too late before you read it!
  • How to remain calm when you are hosting Christmas: Life coach Maria Sweetman offers some advice.
  • How to put the magic back into Christmas: As we get older Christmas can lose some of its magic...
  • Life Coaching for parents - Relationship difficulties by Maria Sweetman: When you're focused on a new baby or young children, you may find that you don't make time for your partner and in our regular life coaching session for parents, Life Coach Maria Sweetman looks at how to deal with relationship troubles.
  • Making time for you: It's not always easy when you're busy with a baby or toddler, but our special feature Making Time for You will inspire you to recharge your batteries so that you can be prepared for anything!
  • Life Coaching for parents - The importance of being good to yourself By Maria Sweetman: Our Life Coach, Maria Sweetman, explains why it is so vital to find some time for yourself in your schedule, and gives some helpful advice on how to achieve this.
  • Thrifty Chic - Interior Style on a Shoestring by Liz Bauwens and Alexandra Campbell: Our featured book Thrifty Chic gives some advice on new looks for your home. It explores the latest trend in interior design, and covers ways to update your decor on a tight budget. We've spoken to one of the authors, Liz Bauwens, who gives some tips on interior style on a shoestring.
  • Spring Cleaning: This feature aims to inspire those of you who may be wondering where to find the time or energy for a major clean, with tips to help you sort through your clutter and give your home a fresh, new feel.
  • 'Family Garden - simple steps to success' by Lia Leendertz : We're featuring a lovely Royal Horticultural Society gardening book called Family Garden, which looks at how to create a garden for the whole family to enjoy.
  • Mother's Day - a great idea, but where did it come from? Although we're all familiar with how we celebrate Mother's Day, this feature takes a look at how the idea of Mother's Day came about in the first place.
  • 1001 Ways to Get in Shape by Susannah Marriot. Susannah looks at the ways you can get fitter and more active as part of your daily routine. Here are some tips from her book.
  • Become your own cash cow: How to make a success of being self-employed by Briony Jenkins: The idea of trying to set up your own business can be daunting but Briony runs through the things you may need to consider before going ahead, and includes lots of useful tips, advice and contacts.
  • Life-Coaching for Parents: Teaching children to value money - Happiness is the journey, not the destination by Maria Sweetman: Our life coach has some ideas to help young children learn to have a healthy respect for money.
  • Money Saving Tips: Here are some of the things you can do to relieve the pressure on your bank balance whilst still enjoying life to the full.
  • Make your own Valentine's Day Chocolates: There's nothing like a home-made gift for showing someone how much you care. Take a look at our delicious chocolate recipe!
  • Life coaching for parents - Beating the Winter blues by Maria Sweetman: Maria Sweetman offers help and advice to anyone suffering from the New Year blues on how to build up your enthusiasm for 2009.
  • Top Tips for Managing your Day by members: We have compiled this very useful feature from members' suggestions. You'll find some great tips on how to get through the household chores, cooking and cleaning as quickly and efficiently as possible, which should leave space to make a little time for you somewhere in the day.
  • Top Tips from the Contented Baby Community: Of course, it is not only our guest writers who are in a position to offer advice. In 'Top Tips from the Contentedbaby Community', we have extracted some of your best tips on travel, housework and a variety of baby issues for members to read again and benefit from. The message boards are such a valuable source of information and advice that it would be negligent not to highlight some of your gems of wisdom.
  • Your Questions by Frances Howard-Brown

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  • A Day in the life of a Nursery nurse: The nursery nurse explains how her nursery works, and gives an inside view of the busy life your children may be leading when you leave them for the day.
  • Choosing Childcare - safe in their hands? by Briony Jenkins: Meanwhile, on the site, as your little ones grow and develop, we are aiming to include more features and questions on toddlers over the next few months. We also plan to take a closer look at parenting issues that I know are of concern to you. Our first new feature of the year is 'Choosing childcare' by Briony Jenkins. In this comprehensive article, Briony examines the different types of care on offer and takes a detailed look at the questions you, as parents, should be asking before making any childcare decisions. I know a number of you are considering your arrangements as you prepare to return to work and I am sure this article will be helpful to you. It will also be of interest to mothers who may be considering using a nursery or childcare for the first time, so do take a look if you are at this stage.
  • Should Someone Else Look After Your Child? by Christina Hopkinson

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Play and Activities

  • Play for Better Behaviour by Charlie Taylor: Charlie Taylor, Author of Divas and Dictators, Head teacher and father-of-three explores the importance of play.
  • 26 Secrets for Perfect Playdates by Briony Jenkins: Briony's article is full of ideas to make sure your child's first play dates are a roaring success, and you won't be stuck for things to do after reading what she has to say.
  • The Importance of playing with your child by Elizabeth Collins: Elizabeth discusses the importance of adult playtime with children. In this article she also provides some pointers on appropriate playthings for children at various stages.
  • Rainy Days and Mondays by Briony Jenkins: Briony Jenkins' lovely article "Rainy Days and Mondays" is full of suggestions on how to bust boredom when you and the children are cooped up inside together.
  • Birthday Parties (For the Faint-Hearted) by Gill Macaulay
  • Birthdays for babies and toddlers by Gina Ford: Gina writes about how to be flexible with routines for birthday parties.
  • Christmas baking for toddlers: There is nothing quite like the smell of Christmas babking to make your home smell seasonal.

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Green Parenting

  • Green Parenting by Christina Robert
  • Eco House Book by Terence Conran: This feature focuses on The Eco House Book by leading designer and retailer Terence Conran. The book is packed with tips for having a greener home whether you're just doing a spot of redecorating or considering major alterations, and we've taken a look at some of the suggestions.
  • Calculate your Child's Carbon Footprint by Briony Jenkins: Instead of counting the monetary value of raising your child, why not consider the environmental cost and calculate your child's carbon footprint? Briony provides lots of tips for easy ways you can make changes in your daily life, to reduce your child's carbon footprint.

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Behaviour and Anxieties

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  • Hayfever: Some children start suffering with hay fever when they are still young, and it can be distressing and debilitating. Recognising the symptoms and knowing how to prevent exposure to the risks can make all the difference.
  • First Aid tips: Many minor accidents do occur at home, and it is important to know what to do if your child is hurt. The Head of First Aid at the British Red Cross talks about basic first aid skills.
  • Swine Flu and your family: We have put together a special feature on the swine flu pandemic. We explain the symptoms and what to look out for,

    and also give details of how to find out all the latest news and information.

  • 1001 Natural Remedies by Laurel Vukovic : We're featuring a few sections from Laurel's book that we thought you might find helpful with natural remedies for common complaints such as headaches.
  • Breast cancer- a family affair by Briony Jenkins: Briony has written about her experiences of living with breast cancer. Briony explains openly and honestly how the family coped with her diagnosis, and how those around her pulled together to help her get through her treatment.
  • Travel sickness - prevention and treatment: Although most children do grow out of it eventually, travel sickness is an extremely common problem. We've put together some tips on ways that you may be able to prevent sickness in this very useful feature.
  • Homeopathic remedies by Sarah Purcell: Homeopathic remedies have proved to be popular with parents over the years, and Sarah's feature looks at some of the remedies often suggested for young children.
  • Things you don't want your toddler to bring home: Unfortunately, many children do bring home nits, head lice or other such problems from nursery, playgroup or primary school, and we have some tips on how to identify them and what to do.
  • Could a healthy diet put your child at risk of tooth decay? by Kate Brian: Kate looks at tooth decay. You may be surprised to learn that when it comes to children's teeth, some of the snacks we think of as healthy could do more damage than chocolate.
  • Eczema: Our feature contains information and advice for anyone who is trying to cope with childhood eczema.
  • The Wheels on the Rotavirus go round and round by Mindy Cockeram: Rotavirus is a common cause of diarrhoea and vomiting in babies and small children. Mindy explains what happened when her daughter became ill with this and how to prevent it spreading to the rest of your family.
  • Our Teeth and Dental Decay by Mamta Shah: Mamta, BDS MFDS, explains what tooth decay is and how best to avoid it.
  • The Best Ways to Sooth Eczema by Sarah Purcell
  • Baby and Toddler First Aid by Jo Waters: With the weather keeping us all indoors at this time of year where accidents can easily happen, and at the peak season for colds and coughs, we wanted to think about health and, specifically, first aid. Jo Waters has put together an excellent summary of advice for coping with a wide variety of emergencies from febrile convulsions to anaphylactic reactions. Many of you might have learned first aid at school or in the Girl Guides but if you haven't practised it for a while, it will ease your mind to refresh your knowledge. Toddlers might enjoy practising the recovery position with you. Be careful not to frighten them, and take the chance to teach them something new.
  • Your Questions on Vaccinations
    Answered by Sarah Purcell: I've seen on the message boards that many of you have questions and concerns about the new policy for immunising your babies. Our health expert Sarah Purcell answers questions and, we hope, helps put your minds at rest.
  • Keeping Smiles White by Sarah Purcell: The summer allows us to relax a little with our eating habits. Perhaps we enjoy more picnics or snacks on the move, as we get out and about. While treats, such as sweets or ice cream, can be enjoyed in moderation, it is still worth remembering your children's teeth. Our second feature this month is 'Keeping smiles white' by Sarah Purcell. Having spoken to members of the dental profession, Sarah gives advice on when to start brushing, the causes of erosion and decay, foods to avoid and the order in which your children's teeth will appear. Getting into a good dental routine with your child now could save many problems in the future.
  • Healthy Travel abroad by Jo Larkin: For those of you about to travel with your little ones, we have some excellent health advice from Dr Joanna Larkin on how to enjoy healthy travel abroad with young children. Dr Larkin advises on reciprocal health arrangements between countries, vaccinations and what medicines to take with you, amongst other things. So if you are heading off, do add 'read this feature' to your holiday list.
  • Have a healthy summer by Sarah Purcell: Our second new feature is 'Have a Healthy Summer' by Sarah Purcell. Sarah looks at the various hazards of summer, in particular sun damage, and gives some very sound advice to help ensure that your summer is problem-free.
  • Safety tips for Christmas by Frances Howard-Brown: Frances, with her vast experience as a nanny, has written two features especially for Christmas. The first is 'Safety Tips for Christmas', which looks at the additional hazards at this time of year for young children, many of which may not have occurred to you.
  • Nursery Nasties by Sarah Purcell: Sarah discusses all the illnesses that children may bring home from nursery. Learn to recognise common symptoms and what action to take.
  • Winter Survival Guide by Sarah Purcell: Winter can signal the start of one long round of colds, coughs and sleepless nights, which often results in parents falling ill too. Sarah has lots of advice to help your little one get through the cold and cough season.
  • Could it be Asthma by Sarah Purcell: This article serves to highlight what asthma is and how it is caused, as well as giving advice on how to recognise it and how to treat asthma attacks if they occur.
  • Coping with Chickenpox by Sarah Purcell: Chickenpox is a common childhood illness that most children will get at some point, so it is important to be prepared for the time when your own little one gets those itchy spots. Sarah's article highlights all the important things to consider when caring for your child with chickenpox.
  • Too Sick for Nursery? By Sarah Purcell: Sarah's article will tell you exactly when you must keep your children at home and when it is appropriate to send them in, including information on when and for how long nurseries will exclude recuperating children.
  • Coping with Croup by Sarah Purcell: Our health expert, Sarah Purcell, offers a wealth of advice on how to identify croup and how to care for a child suffering from it.

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