Why paternity leave benefits the whole family

What are the primary benefits of taking paternity leave?


As a new parent, it is likely that you have a fair number of challenges to undertake. This means getting yourself ready to face up against many things that are brand new to you – diapers, late nights, spit up!! If you are find yourself struggling, then you might wish to make the most of your
paternity leave

As a parent, you need and deserve time, support, and freedom to enjoy these crucial early days of parenting. With more and more parents – male and female – realizing the benefits of paternity leave – especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic when work is such a primary focus for so many – there is a requirement to fully understand the impact that paternity leave can have on your household.

In the past, parental leave was left to the mother while the father would spend time working, living as normal a life as can be. However, there are clear signs that paternity leave could be a huge benefit for both parents. By fathers taking on a more robust number of caregiving responsibilities in these key early months, the benefits extend far beyond avoiding burnout and high stress levels.

Most studies show that men who take paternity leave benefit massively from the break. While some worry it could be detrimental to their career futures, most have found it offers a better work-life balance whilst being able to help out more at home, strengthening relationships with both the child and mother.

Paternity leave isn't only beneficial to dads

It’s proven that paternity leave is beneficial in any family setting. 

There are a great number of benefits that can stem from both parents taking leave in those early months. Some of the benefits include, but are not limited to:

Better relationships at home

Having a child is a huge undertaking, and in the past, this would mean the mother takes on the brunt of the early childhood pressures, while fathers – or partners – would tend to still work, meaning they didn’t face the same challenges when arriving home. After work, the majority of the challenges in raising a baby are handled – the day is nearly over.

However, most studies point to fathers finding it universally positive to have more time to spend with both mother and child. They are more invested in those early days with the child, and thus they can feel the active impact that having a child has on their own life. This is very important as it helps both parents to feel the weight – and benefit – of responsibility.

Better mental health

The mental toll that can come with dealing with a newborn baby can be massive. From ensuring that postpartum care is made easier for the mother to helping out with the tasks needed to run the house, there is less of a toll taken on the body of the typical caregiver for the child.

Instead, with both parents at home and capable of handling the care that is required, there is a greater chance for tasks to be shared and the weight to be balanced. Both parents benefit from not trying to take on too much; now, one parent isn’t entirely focused on at-home care while the other is totally focused on bringing in money.

Instead, it allows the balance to be better shared so that both parents can feel like they are positively contributing.

Forming a family dymanic

A major mistake that stems from spending too much time working in those early months is the lost opportunity to form a lifelong bond. They might not even remember these moments clearly later in life, but those early moments of love, care, and attention from both parents can be essential for forming that loving, happy bond with both parents.

This allows for a more equal household role, yes, but more importantly it sets a clear dynamic that the child will be raised by both parents, not by one parent whilst the other works. This allows both parents to learn the key facts to raising a child as a duo, instead of one parent trying to work out everything on their own.

Setting the stage for the future

These key benefits also ensure that when the time comes for the child to mature and move on to preschool or childcare that they have a more seamless adjustment. When a child is used to being in a single-parent setting for most of early life, being put into a new situation can be very worrisome for a young mind.

Creating an environment where the child feels supported by multiple parental figures makes the transition to kindergarten and beyond a much easier experience. For parents who worry about having a symbiotic connection to their child that makes it hard to move on with key factors in life – such as attending school in early years – the ability to have both parents there to offer support actually reduces tension.

Now, with one parent not being tethered to the child whilst the other parent is less visible, it is much easier for both parents and children to have a more comfortable, less dependent relationship.

These factors matter a great deal when it comes to raising a child. Paternity leave is a huge part of helping ensure there is a strong support structure at home. Your job and career matters, but as a new parent you have just started the biggest, most rewarding job of your life!! Why miss out on those special beginning months of your new, unforgettable experience as a parent? Take paternity leave if you can!

Music with Mr. Rioji at Big and Tiny Santa Monica

Today, at Big and Tiny Santa Monica, we explored through music with our favorite music teacher Mr. Rioji! Music class is one of our favorite enrichment activities at Big and Tiny. 

First, we learned all the names of the instruments. Mr. Rioji brought guitars, drums, ukulele’s, shakers and more!! After learning about each instrument, we learned how to hold the ukulele.

We also learned how to drum on the congas. Mr. Rioji let Boone, Alma and Cove play on the big conga together! After learning how to use the instruments, we listened to some of our favorite songs including Rocket Ship, Firetruck and Bumble Bee. All the kids and educators sang along!  

Mr. Rioji gave us colorful ribbons to fly through the air as we ran around and danced while he sang. We love learning and playing though music. 

After we danced and sang, Freddy said “Watch me play the guitar, Mrs. Tressa!” and started singing twinkle twinkle little star.

What a fun day!! 

Making Lanterns with Mr. Anthony & Hello Bello

Learn how to make fun & creative lanterns with any type of paper – use old art projects, magazines, or construction paper. All you need is a pair of scissors, paper and tape for this fun craft! 

MATERIALS

1. Scissors
2. Tape
3. A piece of 8.5 x 11 paper (better if it’s colorful with patterns! Can come from a book or magazine 🙂

STEP BY STEP 

*Make sure to watch the video above with Mr. Anthony for context:

1. Cut one 1/2 inch strip from the shorter end of your piece of paper and save it for later! (This will be your handle)

2. Fold your piece of paper in half right down the middle  (horizontally)

3. Cut thin strips almost all the way to the top while leave a small space uncut (.5+ inches work!)

4. Optional: Sing itsy bitsy spider with Mr. Anthony while cutting!

5. Cut a small piece of tape, unfold your paper and place rolled tape on 2 of the 4 corners.

6. Fold the paper in half taping each end together so the lantern is complete!

7. Take the first strip of paper cut in step 1 and tape this strip to either side of the top of the lantern to become a handle.

8. Hang your lanterns anywhere! We like to put them in the trees outside 🙂 

Thanks for making lanterns with us, friends!

Preparing your children for returning to school post-pandemic

As a parent, it is quite likely that you are wrestling with the concept of sending your children back to school as the pandemic begins to ease. For many, though, sending their kids back into school or daycare while COVID-19 is still in the area can feel stressful and disconcerting. We know that you might be going back and forth with the pros and cons of sending them back to school…

 That’s why we wrote this blog! To help you visualize what life is likely to be like for the little ones on their return, here are some of the things to think about:

While not every school or daycare facility will be in the same position, most children will be facing a pretty drastic change from what they will be used to. Some of the main concerns and changes include:

  • The first concern that most parents have is the idea of sending their children back in the pandemic due to the educational challenges. For one, your children are going to be dealing with logistical changes such as check-in stations. For a young child used to a more freeform education, it can seem odd.
  • Another big change will be the need to wear a mask, even during class. Many children find the wearing of a mask quite uncomfortable, while it can cause anxiety in others. For many children, it is simply something else to wear, but for others it can cause a lot of issues regarding their comfort.
  • Classrooms are likely to be very different in their layout and their numbers, too. Children might have to get used to people they have befriended being moved into other smaller-sized classrooms. Also, classrooms will be modified to ensure minimal contact, thus harming social interaction.
  • Indeed, many children might not even be returning to school and/or daycare full-time. Many facilities are taking on a gradual return, trying to give as many children as possible a shot at some education a few days per week. This is another logistical challenge that can make it hard to arrange routines.
  • Expectations will change, too. For younger children who have missed out on crucial development time, it will be a hard ask to make up for that lost time. For older children going back to later school years, the expectation will be to achieve the best grade they can with reduced opportunity and time.

As you can imagine, each of these challenges are likely to cause a fair few issues for most children. They are likely to find it hard to adjust and adapt to such massive changes from what school was like beforehand. As a parent, then, your duty is to help support your child and ensure they can endure these changes until normality resumes.

Should I send my child back to school/daycare?

While that is a decision that only you can make as a parent, there is a crucial reason to consider a return. For one, most facilities are working harder than ever to create COVID-friendly facilities that should minimize transmission and combat the fear of it being spread across the school.

The main reason, though, comes down to the health and well-being of the children themselves. A child needs to be taught, to be given the chance to learn, and to grow. Crucially, though, children need social stimulus outside of the family home; they need to be around kids their own age!

That is why, as a parent, you might wish to put even more emphasis on a return, even at a part-time level. Being around other children on playdates, during daycare, and even simply in the classroom is essential for a young child. They need those early life interactions to build their own personality, thought process, and mentality. Missing out on that could be pretty severe for most children.

And, after the challenges of the last year, a bit of normality might go a long way to helping your children recover quicker from the stress of 2020 and 2021 (so far). While school and daycare might not be totally normal given all of the changes and challenges listed above, it’s more normalized than being at home all day.

Nobody can make this decision for you, but you should be looking to find the best situation for your own child! 

Make a 2021 intention frame

Set your 2021 intentions by framing your wishes and hanging them in your bedroom – don’t by shy, wish as much as you want!

MATERIALS 

Popsicle sticks
Glue
Paint
Buttons
Yarn
A photo of your intentions and wishes

STEP BY STEP 

Decorate your popsicle stick in anyway you like! Be creative!

Once the glitter/paint is dry, stick each popsicle stick to each other, over and under.

Add jewels or any other decoration as desired.

Choose an image or a photo of what you wish to demonstrate next year. We chose circle time with friends and my favorite teacher – but you can pick anything you wish for: a new puppy, more playdates or more time in nature.

Finally attach ribbon or string for hanging.

Make your own snow globe!

Who doesn’t love a snow globe? Creating your own truly is the gift that keeps on giving!

MATERIALS 

A mason jar
Epoxy glue
Glycerin Glitter
A figurine of your choosing
Distilled water

STEP BY STEP 

Glue the figurine to the inside lid of the mason jar using the epoxy glue. Let it dry.

Fill the mason jar with distilled water (almost to the top).

Add glitter to distilled water.

Add two healthy pours of glycerin.

When the lid is dry screw on to the top of the jar.

Give it a shake and watch it snow!

Make your own polar bear with funky hair!

Use what nature gives you to fashion your own polar bears! See below to find out more.

MATERIALS 

1 Paper plate
White flowers or petals: hydrangeas, carnations or other
Black market pen
Elmer non toxic glue
White paint
Scrap paper

STEP BY STEP 

Cut and add some ears to the back of the plate. You can use glue or tape.
Draw on a face with a sweet polar bear smile.
Glue leaves or flowers across the forehead to make a crown.

Make your own Penguin

How cute are these?
Why not get creative and add colored beards, hats and hair to create a whole family for adorable little pebble penguins.

MATERIALS 

A rock
A cotton ball
Orange construction paper
Googly eyes
Glue
Scissors

STEP BY STEP 

Cut out a diamond shape and two triangles from the orange construction paper. Set them aside.

Glue the cotton ball three quarters of the way down the rock.

Glue the googly eyes above the cotton ball.

Fold the diamond in half and glue above the cotton ball.

Add the orange triangles underneath the cotton ball as feet. Set aside to dry.

Once dry your penguin is ready for play! We’d love to see what you make! 

Make your own Winter Ornament

Need more ornaments around the house? Who doesn’t!?
Check out our youtube video and follow the step by step below to guide you through this delightful winter project.

MATERIALS 

White craft glue 
15 to 20 pieces of wagon-wheel pasta (mixture of large and small) per ornament White acrylic paint 
Paintbrush 
String or ribbon 

Optional: 
Glitter 
Adhesive-backed rhinestones

STEP BY STEP 

1 – Glue your popsicle together in the shape of a snowflake. Paint white and let dry. 

2 – Glue each pasta edge together directly onto the popsicle sticks. Paint white and let dry. 

3 – Add your string or ribbon so you can hang it from a window or a tree! 

4 – For extra Christmas cheer, mix glue with water (one-to-one ratio), paint onto pasta snowflake, then sprinkle with glitter. Let dry. Attach rhinestones to a few points on snowflake. 

Team Spotlight – Mr Anthony

Mr Anthony has been in the Big and Tiny family since the very beginning. He was one of our first educators when we opened our Santa Monica location in 2018. He’s also a regular fixture on Big and Tiny’s Youtube channel and IGTV with Zoom classes, arts & crafts videos and more!

What’s your favorite thing about working at Big and Tiny?
My favorite thing about working at Big and Tiny is watching little ones grow from diapers/babbling to walking and saying their first words. And as they grow parents watch with tears of joy in their eyes. 

What are your passions and hobbies?
My hobbies are making people laugh/smile, writing poetry, learning/exploring different cultures, dancing, traveling, and making kids become their best free selves! 

You were doing all the Zoom Classes over lockdown, what was the biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge over zoom classes during lockdown was keeping everyone’s attention, children and adults alike. I overcame this by keeping my energy high and having everyone engaged verbally and physically. I would have my kiddos introduce their favorite toys and talk about it to their friends. I would also play games that had them interact within their surroundings like a scavenger hunt – find something red in your room and bring it to the camera or instructional physical songs that had everyone get up and dance! 

I would  also engage the parents by asking them questions and also making jokes that would make them laugh, after all they were in the zoom each day too! 

You have recently been recording Big and Tiny’s arts and crafts videos! What fun! What is your favorite activity to do with kids?
My favorite activity to do with my kids are sing-alongs! I love to sing in a circle, hear the kiddos sing with joy, and perform the song with hand gestures and dancing!

What life lesson have you learnt from working with little ones?
A life lesson I learned working with little ones is definitely taking a step back and enjoying life unraveling in front of us. Kids have the immaculate ability to live in the presence, pouring water from one glass to another is magical. Life is magical, as adults we tend to forget and lose sight of the magic. 

IMG_0506 2