Ireland’s First Ever Parenting Expo taking place in Dublin this Year

The Parenting Expo Dublin

If you’re a parent of kids aged 4 – 18 years, you’ll want to be at Ireland’s first and only “Parenting Expo”! We all know parents are under increasing pressure in today’s busy and fast paced lives, but where do you go to get the answers to the questions you want to ask.

Unfortunately, teenagers don’t come with a manual, so as parents – especially with your eldest child you can find yourself constantly questioning the decisions you have to make..and there are plenty of them!

From how to get kids to eat healthily, to the right amount of exercise, how much social media can you allow and how do you control it, how do you pick the right schools, aftercare, second level, third level, how much discipline without putting kids under pressure, being mindful of their mental health, how to get the balance with quality family time…..the list goes on and on.

We certainly seem to have a good range of support products and services for pregnancy and baby years, but then the little ones head off to school the support seems to drop dramatically.

“The Parenting Expo” is about providing information and support to parents of children aged 4 – 18 years across all different sectors.  Some of the country’s top experts will be speaking about Nutrition, Coping Skills, Social Media and a range of other topics, in addition to a parents’ panel discussion.  A large exhibition area will feature suppliers of everything from kids’ entertainers to single parent support to healthy eating, mindfulness, schools, aftercare and much more.

This one really is all about the parents!  The Expo will take place on Friday 29th September when all the little (and big) treasures are at school so the parents can drop off, come to the Expo for some real support, information and a well-earned break and pop back to collect them at 4pm.

Even if you don’t want to attend one of the talks, parents can wander about the exhibitors area, have a coffee…and probably pick up some of the most valuable information of all…by talking to other parents!

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs has announced €4m is being provided to improve childcare services

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. Katherine Zappone, has announced that €4m is being provided to improve childcare services.

Minister Zappone says the funding will help put the infrastructure in place to support ambitious plans to turn Ireland’s childcare system from one of the most expensive in the world to the best.
The 2017 Early Years Capital Funding programme is to be made available to childcare centres, crèches and other early year services under three strands:

· Strand 1: Additional childcare places (€3 million)
· Strand 2: Building improvements and maintenance (€500,000)
· Strand 3: Natural outdoor play areas (€500,000)

Minister Zappone said;
“As Minister I am determined that we will deliver quality, affordable, accessible childcare.
Our goals are ambitious. We must lift the cost barrier which is preventing too many families from accessing services.
Today (Monday 20th March 2017) we take another step to putting the infrastructure in place to support our plans by providing €4m in capital funding – which will build on similar funding provided last year.
I encourage providers to use this scheme to increase both the quantity and quality of childcare places.
This funding is in addition to €3m we announced earlier this month to improve childcare services for children of school-going age.

As this money is being made available I am also progressing the legislation which will underpin the radical new approach to subsidising childcare outlined as part of Budget 2017.
In the coming months we will continue progressing our plans with a view to ensuring that families will start benefiting in the Autumn.”


Over 1,000 services received capital funding under the 2016 capital scheme enabling all qualifying applications to be fully funded. All of this funding has been fully utilised and as a result a significant number of new childcare places have become available to children entering the ECCE (free pre-school) programme from January 2017. The 2017 Capital programme will build on the success of last years programme and increase both the quantity and the quality of childcare places.”

Strand 1 will accommodate applications from childcare providers who wish to create additional childcare places for children in the 0-5 age range. The maximum grant available under this strand is €50,000 and is intended to allow for the full cost of a minor expansion project or the purchase of a temporary structure.

Strand 2 will provide grants of up to a maximum of €20,000 for building improvements and maintenance and is exclusively for community (not for profit) early years services. These grants are being provided to ensure that community services continue to be fit for purpose and are energy efficient. Grants under this strand will be provided for essential repairs to the existing building and facilities, replacement of the building’s fixtures and fittings, works highlighted as a direct result of an inspection by TUSLA or other competent authorities, and for works to remove internal divides or rearrange internal spaces to improve efficiency.

Strand 3 provides funding for natural outdoor play areas, to create opportunities for children to play outdoors, in a way which promotes physical development, provides health benefits and facilitates children to learn about risk and challenges in a natural and safe environment. This initiative is targeted at smaller services that have not previously availed of such funding. Under early years regulations, services are required to provide outdoor space for children, and this measure seeks to improve the quality of these. Services can apply for grants of up to a maximum of €5,000.
Pobal will be responsible for administering the programme on behalf of the Department. Further details and information on how to make an application for funding will be available shortly on the Pobal website –

€3m Euro to support School Age Childcare School Age Childcare Capital Scheme

€3m Euro to support School Age Childcare

€3m Euro to support School Age Childcare School Age Childcare Capital SchemeOn foot of commitments made in the Programme for a Partnership Government, and following a period of intensive collaboration and consultation, Ministers for Children & Youth Affairs and Education & Skills, Dr Katherine Zappone, T.D and Richard Bruton, T.D, are today publishing the Action Plan on School Age Childcare.

Under the plan, funding of €3m is being made available to support the provision of services aimed at school-going children.

An Inter-departmental Group, led by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, in close co-operation with the Department of Education and Skills was tasked by the two Ministers with setting out actions for both Departments that will lead to a quality system of affordable school age childcare with a range of choices for parents and their children for childcare out of school hours.

The Group engaged with key stakeholders including school principals, parents, children and early years services during the course of their work.

As part of a wider commitment to enhance the use of school facilities out of school hours, the Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton met with education partners in a roundtable discussion held during the summer where relevant issues were discussed.

The Minister for Education and Skills is developing guidelines for the use of school buildings out of hours with a view to facilitating increased use of school buildings where feasible.

The voice of school age children was also sought by the Group and the results of a consultation exercise with children on their preferences for care and activities after school is included in this report.

The report concludes with specific actions that include the development of a clear quality framework for school age childcare, a tailored qualification for staff working in such services and other capacity building supports.  In summary, the Group found that:

·    National and international research and opinion converged regarding the need for certain fundamentals to be in place in order to deliver a range of high quality, affordable options for school age childcare that meet the needs of children and their parents.  These options must include both formal / centre-based school age care, and informal care by childminders.

·    Ireland needs to continue to invest in early years and school age care to catch up with its OECD counterparts in terms of quality and affordability.  This investment will help to deliver best outcomes for children and will encourage parents to enter or remain in the workforce if they wish to do so.

·    The quality of school age childcare is critical, and a robust system of quality assurance / regulation must be developed over time to assure the safety and wellbeing of children.  Such a system should include a comprehensive set of quality standards, and be accompanied by a compliance regime against these standards.

·    The quality and capacity of the school age childcare workforce is also critical, and efforts must be made to ensure that school age children are cared for by adults suitably qualified to meet their varied needs.  The preference of Irish working parents to date to opt for more informal care for their school age children through childminders must be acknowledged, and policy must reflect the need for quality and affordability measures to extend to this part of the sector also.

·    The voices of children and parents must be taken into account in designing and delivering school age childcare.  There is general agreement on the need to separate school activity from after-school activity, and for a focus on rest, relaxation and play/recreation.

Launching the Report and Action Plan, Minister Zappone said:

“While many parents actively choose to care for their children themselves, for many others the cost of childcare, concerns about its quality, or the limited availability of accessible options, prevents them from gaining employment, remaining in employment, or enrolling in education and training courses.  This Action Plan recognises that parents who cannot care for their children after the school day or during the school holidays need a variety of options to meet their childcare needs – options that are affordable, accessible and assure the wellbeing of their children.  I welcome the collaboration between my Department and the Department of Education and Skills in preparing this Report, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in Government to progress its recommendations.”

Minister Bruton echoed that sentiment, saying “this Report and associated actions demonstrate the value of strong collaboration across all areas of Government.  My Department and its agencies will lead on the development of a professional qualification for school age childcare workers in acknowledgement of the unique role they will play in providing a quality experience for children out of school hours.  The Action Plan contains a commitment that my Department will engage further with the relevant education stakeholders and school property owners to formulate guidelines for schools to facilitate the use of school buildings out-of-hours. I am strongly committed to working with school authorities and property owners to build on their important role as hubs for many activities within their communities including, where appropriate the provision of school age childcare.

School Age Childcare Capital Scheme

Minister Zappone also today announced €3m in capital funding to support increased capacity for the provision of school age childcare.  The new Capital Scheme will be open to both community/not-for-profit and private services and will comprise three separate strands, as follows:

Ø    Strand A: Establishment of new School Age Childcare services

A grant of up to €20,000 will be available for the establishment of new services

Ø    Strand B: Expansion of existing services

A grant of up to €10,000 will be available for the expansion of existing services.  The provision of additional places will be a criterion for this grant.

Ø    Strand C: Improvement of existing services

A grant of up to €5,000 will be available to improve the quality of the service provided in existing services.

The School Age Childcare Capital Scheme will be implemented on behalf of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs by Pobal.  The Scheme, which will be administered on-line, will be open for applications in early April.

Other developments in School Age Childcare

Working Group on the Development of School Age Childcare Quality Standards

The first Action in the Report’s Action Plan is the establishment of a Working Group to develop quality standards for school age childcare.  This Group, which will be established later this month, will be chaired by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, and will include representatives from the Department of Education and Skills, Tusla, childcare providers and school age childcare specialists.  The Working Group will be expected to develop quality standards for school age childcare by September 2017.

Action Plan for Education a significant first step but delivery is key – Ombudsman for Children

The Ombudsman for Children, Dr Niall Muldoon, has said that the Action Plan for Education, published, by the Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton, marks a significant step in making our education system accessible to all children.

“The publication of an Action Plan for Education, without a doubt, signifies a commitment and an intent on behalf of Government to reform the education sector. This is very much to be welcomed, but action will be the key word I will be focussing on in this plan.

“I am very pleased to see that a number of the recommendations, including a focus on early education and the introduction of measure to support wellbeing in schools made by the Ombudsman for Children’s Office, have been included in the final plan.

“I would urge Government to leave no stone unturned to ensure that wellbeing measures are well resourced. This new culture will enhance not only the mental health of the school community, but undoubtedly the academic achievements of the student body.

“The establishment of a new Inclusion Support Service for children with special educational needs is a positive development. It is important that this service supports children with disabilities to access education, and to transition from preschool to primary and beyond.

“The Ombudsman for Children’s Office in accordance with Article 2 of the UNCRC objects to a derogation permitting schools to admit students on the basis of religion. Plans to increase the number of non-denominational and multi-denominational schools, while welcome, does not address this issue.

“A Parent and Student Charter has been long called for by the Ombudsman for Children’s Office so I am delighted to see that its development has been included. I also look forward to discussions about the role of the Ombudsman for Children in developing local decision making and accountability to parents.

“Having dealt with thousands of complaints in relation to education over the years, the Ombudsman for Children’s Office is familiar with the barriers and obstacles that exist within the education sector. I commend the Minister for the focus on increasing access to education, however the necessary resources will be needed to fund this very ambitious plan.”

New Dentinox Survey reveals pressure of parenthood

Parents are under more pressure than ever before and despite all the advice on offer, more than half admit they have been shocked to discover how demanding their new role as a first time parent can be.


 A new survey for Dentinox, the baby medicine experts, has revealed:

  • 62% of new mothers believe they are under more pressure than their parents encountered
  • 41% believe that worry is part of the job description
  • 11% of new mothers admits to feeling stressed and worried most of the time
  • 53% take a more realistic view and describe their parenting style as ‘not perfect, but pretty good’
  • 19% of new mums worry about their little one’s health and wellbeing on a daily basis
  • 22% say their child’s diet and nutrition is a source of daily stress
  • 36% said they have been stunned at the number of people who have given well-meaning but silly advice
  • The tips that mums are most likely to give to another new parent is ‘trust your instincts’ (36%) and ‘relax and enjoy your time with your baby’ (21%)
The new data also reveals some surprising insights into parental preferences and shows that many new parents are turning their back on tradition.
  • 33% of mothers now shun gender-specific toys, with most saying that young children should be allowed to play with toys of all kinds
  • Gender-neutral hues are the most popular, with 79% parents going for green, 66% opting for white and 52% showing a yen for yellow
  • 30% of new mothers are now happy to dress their little ones in black, although it is a more popular colour choice for boys than girls, 42% compared to 19%
  • Navy is also on-point with 50% of parents. 36% say they dress their daughters in dark blue and 64% of mothers’ nominated navy as one of their top choices for boys


One approach that remains unchanged for generations is the stocking of a family first aid kit or medicine cabinet. Mum of two, Dr Catherine Hood notes: “Every household has a first aid kit or medicine cabinet and when it comes to being a parent, keeping that kit or cabinet well stocked is vital. So make sure you have stocked up on those Dentinox medicine essentials which will help you and your little one through a year of firsts. Along with the first smiles, first solid foods and first steps there will be some other firsts such as colic, cradle cap and teething woes that are far from fun.”


The big surprises that come with small packages

The biggest surprise for new mothers was how tough it is to care for a little one, with just over half (51%) admitted the demands of parenting came as a shock. Other top tales of the unexpected are:

Strength of feelings for a little one: 42%

How many people give well-meaning, but silly advice: 36%

How many strangers feel entitled to offer advice: 35%

How well they coped with the delivery: 33%

How much babies can communicate at an early age: 32%

The pain of childbirth: 26%

The pain of post-birth contractions: 20%

How often nappies have to be changed: 16%

The sticky black poo babies have in first few days: 13%





Dentinox Medicine Dispenser: Designed by a doctor, the Dentinox Medicine Dispenser is the simple, soothing way to give a pre-measured dose of medicine to a baby aged three months and upwards. Your baby can passively suck the medicine through the orthodontic silicone teat or you can deliver the full content of the medicine chamber simply and quickly using the unique plunger.


Dentinox Infant Colic Drops: Containing Dill oil, Dentinox Infant Colic Drops are suitable from birth and come with a handy syringe for easy application. The drops can also be added to your baby’s bottle to help relieve their discomfort, providing effective relief for those trying, colic episodes. (Contains activated Dimeticone). Always read the label.


Dentinox Teething Gel: Suitable to use from birth, this soothing gel, which can be applied every 20 minutes if necessary, gets to work swiftly, providing effective pain relief. It’s sugar free and contains an antiseptic. (Contains Lidocaine Hydrochloride and Cetylpridinium Chloride). Always read the label.


Dentinox Cradle Cap Treatment Shampoo: Suitable to use from birth and mild enough to use as an everyday shampoo once the cradle cap has cleared up. Dentinox Cradle Cap Treatment Shampoo can help maintain a healthy scalp and hair. (Contains Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulpho-Succinate and Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulphate). Always read the label.


Dentinox Eye Wipes: Suitable to use from birth and containing a sterile saline solution, Dentinox Eye Wipes are designed to gently cleanse a baby’s eyelids and lashes, safely removing sticky residue and refreshing a little one’s eyes. Great to use when out and about too. Dentinox Eye Wipes are not a medicine.


For further information and advice visit

Kidsflush, the brand new toilet flushing solution for children

Simple Innovation That Makes Flushing The Toilet Easy & Fun For Children

Kidsflush, the brand new toilet flushing solution for children, makes the boring and sometimes difficult task of flushing the toilet fun and easy!

How many times have you come to use the toilet only to find your child has left you a little surprise?

After spending months mastering toilet training it can be rather dismaying to find that your little ones don’t seem to want to flush the toilet after using it. Well Kidsflush is the fun and simple solution to this every-day problem.

Kidsflush, the brand new toilet flushing solution for childrenBorn out of the frustration of finding numerous unflushed toilets in his house, father of three Jamie Lawlor decided to come up with a solution and after researching the topic and talking to lots of parents, Jamie discovered that not only do children often forget to flush the toilet but many actually haven’t developed the necessary strength and motor skills to allow their little fingers to properly push the button. This can result in the creation of a bad habit which they can carry forwards into the future even after they have developed these skills.

Jamie came up with the idea of creating a large, colourful, easy to flush button that fits over the traditional push button and makes it much easier for little hands to get the job done.

Kidsflush raised button means children can flush using the palm of their hand rather than their fingers and this allows them to push down without difficulty. As well as making flushing easier, Kidsflush also encourages kids to flush by playing an optional trumpet fanfare each time the button is used, which can be turned on or off at any time. These innovations transform the mundane and difficult task of flushing into something that kids will find easy and fun.

Kidsflush easily fits over any top flush button and is secured with suction cups so can be applied with no tools or modifications to the toilet and removed at any time.

With Kidsflush, not only do kids have no excuse to leave the toilet unflushed but their friends will think they have the coolest toilet around!

Be one of the first to get your little ones hands on Kidsflush by pre-ordering through the Kidsflush crowd funding campaign from the 17th of January.

Kidsflush crowd funding campaign will run from the 17th of January – 15th of February 2016 on Kickstarter. Kidsflush will retail at £9.99 (€13.50) but you can take advantage of great pre-order promotions during this period. Orders will be shipped out at the end of March 2016.

Register your interest now for pre-orders at to get an early notification in January and be the first to access all the best launch offers.

3,370 childcare workers have to sign on dole over summer costing €7.2m to the exchequer

Today, the day the Dail breaks for summer holidays, Early Childhood Ireland reminds TDs and Senators of the unacceptable situation that 3,370 childcare workers have to sign on dole over summer costing €7.2m to the exchequer

With the Dail officially breaking up for summer holidays today, and the Seanad finishing next Wednesday, Early Childhood Ireland is sending a reminder to TDs and Senators that over 3,370 people – that is almost 14% of the total workforce of 25,000 childcare workers in Ireland – had to sign on the live register in the summer of 2014, at a cost to the exchequer of €7.2 million, with similar levels signing on this summer.

Meanwhile, owner/managers of the preschools already closed for the summer are unable to draw down any dole payment and with no money coming into their service over the summer they get no pay for all the paperwork / preparation they do to get ready for the new term starting in September. This is due to the fact that the ECCE (free preschool scheme) contract is not fit for purpose right now in terms of capitation or duration which forces early childhood care and education staff onto the dole over the summer months.

Early Childhood Ireland is urging all politicians to consider this unacceptable situation and what it says about early childhood education as a profession and to take the time over the summer recess to analyse the recommendations of “Footsteps for the Future – Increasing investment in Early Childhood Education” launched this week and available free online at

In a note issued to Senators and TDs today, Teresa Heeney CEO of Early Childhood Ireland says, “There is a lot of work to be done pre budget on moving Ireland to where we should be in terms of investing in this critical area of early childhood education. We certainly won’t stop campaigning over the summer and we will be in touch with all political parties and independent deputies and senators.”

Minister Reilly publishes Adoption Information and Tracing legislation

27th July 2015
The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Dr. James Reilly has today published the General Scheme and Heads of the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill. The bill was considered at Cabinet last Wednesday and the government has agreed to refer the bill to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children for pre-legislative scrutiny.
The new legislation, which will provide a statutory basis for the provision of information related to adoption, will be both prospective and retrospective. Efforts have been on-going for many years related to the provision of a statutory entitlement to identity information and this new legislation represents a key step forward.
Speaking at the launch Minister Reilly said “Today marks a major breakthrough in dealing with the complex challenge of providing a statutory entitlement to identity information for adopted persons. The Bill will give an adopted person aged 18 years or over, who was adopted prior to commencement of the Bill, a statutory entitlement to the information required to apply for his or her birth certificate, following a request to the Tusla, the Child and Family Agency.
The Minister stated “In drafting the legislation we faced a particular challenge in the attempt to reconcile an adopted person’s request for information about his or her identity with the right to privacy of his or her birth parent.  We recognised that adopted persons are a unique part of this process and the information that they are seeking is about their own identity. A birth certificate is an important piece of identifying information that is shared by an adopted person and his/her birth parents. We are distinguishing it from other identifying information which can be more readily characterised as belonging to one or the other.”
The new proposal includes a contact preference mechanism that will operate alongside a undertaking by adopted persons not to contact his/her birth parents. In addition there will be an offer of guidance and support from Tusla social workers to both adopted persons and birth parents.
There will be an initial period of one year after commencement of the Bill for an awareness campaign, to publicise the provisions of the Bill and to allow birth parents to indicate on the Register if they want “No contact at present” or otherwise, before the adopted person will have a statutory entitlement to their birth certificate under these provisions.

The Minister emphasised
“While this Bill is about providing a right to information it is critical that birth parents’ constitutional right to privacy is protected. I believe that by allowing birth parents an opportunity to specify the extent of contact, if any, in addition to the other safeguards to be put in place will ensure that this important right is protected.”
The Bill also provides for a copy of a birth certificate, an adoption order and other information to be provided to an adopted person whose adoption was effected after the commencement of this Bill, following application by that person.  It provides for the sharing of information about a child who was adopted, between birth parents and adoptive parents, where both parties agree. In addition, it provides for information to be given to an adopted person whose adoption is registered in the Register of Intercountry Adoptions.
The Bill provides that persons who were the subject of “informal adoptions” and “wrongful registrations”, and birth parents of these persons, may avail themselves of information and tracing services and be provided with information, where such information is available.

The Bill provides for the establishment of the Adoption Information Register and for the safeguarding of all adoption records to be operated by Tusla, the Child and Family Agency.

The Minister said “I have been working in cooperation with the Attorney General to develop this scheme. The draft Heads now prepared involve a scheme that will greatly improve access to information, including provision of an adopted person’s birth certificate, with appropriate protections and an appeal mechanism to protect the rights of all parties.  The proposals are the result of an intensive effort to identify a means of dealing with the significant legal and practical challenges that arise.”