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Parent/Carer Zone: 0-4 Years

Activities and Groups

Baby and toddler groups

There's lots of activities and groups available for you and your child to enjoy. Sometimes it's just knowing where to find them so that's why we've put them all in one place for you. 

Baby Groups

Parent and Toddler Groups

Children's Centres

Play at Home

It's great to get out and about, but there are lots of simple, fun activities to try at home, which don't cost very much money.  Please always supervise your child when playing, after all you are their favourite "thing" to play with! 

Click here to see our handy leaflet: Play at Home

Websites and Apps

There are also some great websites with lots of creative activity ideas.  Here are a few that we love:

Hungry Little Minds logo

Hungry Little Minds

For more play ideas

henry logo


For lots of fun, active play ideas with your little one


Easypeasy is a great free resource for parents and early years practitioners, giving lots of simple, fun play ideas to help little ones learn as they play. To sign up please click the logo
Tony Happy People BBC Tiny Happy People can help you develop your child’s language and communication skills, so they get the best start in life.

Our ideas and activities are easy to build into your daily routine. They’re quick and inspiring, but they’re also based on expert advice and evidence.

Baby Massage

Touch & massage can really help you to bond with your baby while engaging their senses and encouraging their happy, healthy development.

Regularly massaging your baby is a way to give them much more, more bonding time, more sensory stimulation, more healthy development.

Research reveals that routine touch and massage by a parent or loving caregiver are critical to a baby’s growth, communication and learning.

The benefits of regular massage may include:

  • Help you and your baby understand each other better
  • Soothes babies and reduces crying
  • Aids digestion and helps relieve colic, wind and constipation
  • Helps babies to sleep more deeply and for longer
  • Relieves nasal congestion and teething discomfort
  • Helps develop good muscle tone, co-ordination and suppleness
  • Enhances body awareness
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Improves skin texture
  • Helps calm and relax both parent and baby
  • Boosts parents’ confidence in handling their baby

For further information, tips and techniques go to:



Breastfeeding improves the health of both baby and mum, but it’s not always easy. If you choose to breastfeed, a range of local support is available from your midwife, Healthy Family Team and via BABES breastfeeding groups. 

Before your baby is born, The Healthy Families Team will support you in a small group or one-to-one discussions. After your baby is born, they can visit you at home or see you at a breastfeeding group or community venue.

They will answer your questions, resolve difficulties you may be experiencing or just talk about how your baby's needs will change. There are also two Infant Feeding Advisors who can support those who require additional advice or support. Referral to this service is through your health professional (GP, Healthy Family Team or Midwife) or children’s centre. 

Mansfield, and Ashfield, and Newark and Sherwood, Bassetlaw breastfeeding support

Nottingham North East, Nottingham West, Rushcliffe and UHN breastfeeding support

BABES Groups

Children's Centre Services banner

Baby and Breastfeeding Encouragement & Support groups (known as BABES groups) are run in Children's Centres and offer a welcoming atmosphere for all mums who breastfeed (or mums-to-be), offering tips and practical ways of helping mums to enjoy their breastfeeding experience and to help you with any concerns. You can find a list of the BABES Groups here

Notts Breastfeeding Friendly in the Community Places:

There are a range of local venues who have signed up to being Breastfeeding Friendly places. Please click on your local area:






Newark & Sherwood


For more information visit the Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Breastfeesing Useful Information pages

Additonal information and support on breastfeeding

The First Steps Nutrition Trust has produced some useful advice for new mums , including those who are breastfeeding, available here:

Why don’t you take a look at the Notts Happy Baby Corner Facebook Page for lots of great tips and support on breastfeeding and for mums who live in Bassetlaw, there is the Bassetlaw BABES Facebook page

Off to the Best Start: a guide to help you start breastfeeding

See this leaflet for tips to increase milk production for baby.

Unicef - A video on maximising breastmilk 

National Breastfeeding Helpline

Association of Breastfeeding Mothers

National Childbirth Trust (NCT)

Returning to Work

Take a look at Katie, one of the Children’s Centre Service’s trained breastfeeding peer support volunteers talking about her experience of returning to work and continuing to breastfeed her baby.


Wondering when and how to start weaning your baby?  You should wait until your baby is around 6 months old.

Take a look at

For more information:

Contact your local Children’s Centre Service team and take a look at :

Caring for your new baby


We’ve put together lots of useful information for you on the links below, but for general information the following websites are useful.

Your midwife and obstetrician continue to care for you after your baby is born for between 2 and 6 weeks.

Healthy Families Team

Care after your baby is born from your Healthy Family Team. All families receive:

  • New baby review, usually when your baby is 10-14 days
  • Review when your baby is 6-8 weeks old
  • Developmental review at 1 year
  • Developmental review at 2 to 2.5 years

Download the Welcome to Your Child's First Two Years booklet - a guide to your baby’s first 1001 days, conception to two years. This booklet shows you the things to expect in the first two years of your baby's life


The Healthy Families Team will offer you additional care and support if you or your baby need it. You can also access advice and support by booking an appointment at a Healthy Family session or phoning the advice line.

The Healthy Family Teams are based at local health centres and in some local children’s centres. There is a single Healthy Family Team telephone advice number for each area.

Find and contact your local Healthy Families Team

You will be given a hand-held record after your birth, often called the Red Book. This has important information about your baby’s health and development and includes information, hints and tips.

If you breastfeed support is available from your Healthy Family Team. You can find more information here.

Nottinghamshire PHEW Groups

In the Children’s Centre Service we know that being a new parent is a wonderful but sometimes difficult time.  Our PHEW groups – which stands for Parents Health and Emotional Wellbeing - are designed to help with this. 

Children’s Centres across Nottinghamshire run these groups and you can refer yourself to them.

For more information, take a look at the PHEW Group leaflet

Baby and Us

A series of short videos from The Centre for Parent and Child Support NHS to help you feel cam, confident and connected with your new baby

1. Giving birth - your experiences 2. Great ideas for capturing your baby's magical moments, plus songs to sing with them! 3. Perfect Parent
4. Looking After Ourselves 5. Feelings 6. Managing stress as a new parent
7. Routines and Feeding 8. Routines and Sleep 9. Personality
10. Understanding Babies' Moods & Crying 11. Connecting with your Baby - Part 1 12. Connecting with your Baby - Part 2

Baby Buddy AppBaby Buddy App

Baby Buddy is a free personal baby expert - a virtual friend who will guide you through your pregnancy and the early stages of your baby’s life.

For more information about the app see the Baby Buddy information leaflet here

App Store Logo   Google Play Logo

Baby Check AppBaby Check App from The Lullaby Trust

The Baby Check app helps you to check if your baby is really ill.  It is simple to use; answer some questions about your baby's signs and symptoms of illness. Each question tests for a different symptom and when completed, a score is calculated that tells you how ill your baby is. The app then lets you know whether your baby needs to see a doctor or health professional.

App Store Logo   Google Play Logo


After School Club

After school clubs provide a safe and fun environment for your child when school closes at the end of the day. Most afterschool clubs are open until 6:00pm. The clubs are often run by schools, but can also be run by external organisations on, or away from the school premises.

Breakfast Club

Breakfast clubs give children the opportunity to eat a healthy breakfast in a safe and fun environment before their first class. Attendance of a breakfast club is not mandatory. The clubs are often run by schools, but can also be run by external organisations on, or away from the school premises.  


Childminders are self-employed childcare professionals working in their own home. Childminders can usually care for a maximum of six children under the age of 8 years, and are inspected and regulated by Ofsted or a registered Childminder Agency. Each Childminder may offer different opening times and many can be flexible to cater for your requirements by sometimes offering childcare into the evening or even overnight care. Many childminders can offer free childcare places for 2, 3, and 4 year olds.


A crèche is a facility that provides occasional care for children under eight for no more than two hours per day. Crèche’s are sometimes located in order to support parents accessing training, or learning in their community.

Day Nursery

Day nurseries provide full day care for children aged 0-5 years. Each nursery will have separate rooms for the different age groups of children, which will contain age appropriate toys, and equipment. Day nurseries are registered and inspected by Ofsted. Day nurseries offer free childcare places for 2, 3 and 4 year olds.

Holiday Care

Holiday clubs cater for school age children during the school holidays and provide a safe, stimulating and fun environment for your child to be. Some  holiday clubs are school run within the school site, or run by external organisations either on, or away from the school premises. Many Childminders also offer care to school age children during school holidays.

Pre-School Playgroup

Pre-school playgroups offer free sessional childcare for 2 to 5 years and will prepare your child for starting school. Pre-school playgroups are inspected and regulated by Ofsted.


If you would like to speak to an advisor for further information about the different types of childcare available please telephone our helpline on 0300 500 80 80


Help with Paying for Childcare

There are various benefits and schemes designed to help families meet the challenge of childcare costs. Find out more here.

Free childcare for 2 year olds

At 2 years, 15 hours per week of funded early years place is available for eligible children:


Your two-year-old child may qualify for a free early years place if:

  • your home address is in Nottinghamshire, and 
  • they are classed as a "looked after child" (a "looked after child" is a child who is (a) in the care of a local authority, or (b) being provided with accommodation by a local authority in the exercise of their social services function. The term "looked after child" would include a child who was previously "looked after" but, immediately thereafter, became subject to an adoption, resident or special guardianship order) 
  • have left care through special guardianship or an adoption or residence order.

OR you receive one of the following benefits:

  • Income support
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Universal Credit - if you and your partner are on a low income from work (this usually means a combined income of less than £15,400 a year after tax)
  • Working/ Child tax-credits and you have an annual income of under £16,190 before tax
  • The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Support through part 6 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
  • The Working Tax Credit 4-week run on (the payment you get when you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit)


  • your child has an Education Health and Care plan.

If they are two between:

  • 1 September and 31 December – Apply between October and December, eligible from January (spring term)
  • 1 January and 31 March – Apply between January and March eligible from April (summer term)
  • 1 April and 31 August – Apply between mid-May and August eligible from September (autumn term)

Please note: our system will only allow parents or Customer Service Centre to submit applications up to 16 weeks before the term in which the child would be entitled to start their free place (see dates in previous paragraph). If it is more than 16 weeks before the term start date then you will not be able to proceed with your application. Please apply at a later date in this instance.

Places are available in Ofsted-rated Good or Outstanding providers on the Nottinghamshire directory for up to 15 hours per week for 38 weeks per year (term time only). 

Apply Online or telephone 0300 500 8080

Free childcare for 3 & 4 year olds (15 hours)

All 3 & 4 year-olds are entitled to 15 hours of free nursery education for 38 weeks of the year.

This applies until they reach compulsory school age (the term following their fifth birthday).

Free early education places are available at a range of early years settings including nursery schools and classes, day nurseries, pre-school playgroups and childminders.

The free early years entitlement can be taken flexibly within the following limits:

  • the full 15 hours have to be taken over at least two days per week and a maximum of five days per week
  • a minimum of 2.5 hours can be taken in one day
  • a maximum of 10 hours can be taken in one day.

You can take the free entitlement at up to two providers.

The basic offering is three hours over five days a week, or five hours over three days a week, but many providers will allow you to take the provision flexibly, in a pattern that meets your needs. For example, your child could have nine hours at a nursery or reception class and six hours with a playgroup, day nursery, childminder or independent school over the course of two days or more.

What is my child entitled to?

All 3 & 4 year olds are entitled to 15 hours of free early learning and care, over 38 weeks of the year.

  • children who are three in January, February or March can have their free place from the start of the summer term
  • children who are three in April, May, June, July or August can have their free place from the start of the autumn term.
  • children who are three in September, October, November or December can have their free place from the start of the spring term.

You can find details of Nottinghamshire term dates on our schools page.

Additional charges 

The Provider may make a reasonable charge for meals provided to children during the day where the parent has consented to this in advance or been given the option to provide a packed lunch.

Free lunches discontinued

As of the 1 April 2017 free school meals for Early Years children will no longer be available. This is due to changes in funding.

Although this funding is no longer available for Early Years children we would still encourage you to register your child/children either:

  • on the Citizens Portal
  • by contacting the School Admissions and Free School Meals team on 0300 500 80 80.

This is for the purpose of Pupil Premium and future free school meal applications when your child is at an eligible age (this is dependant on eligible benefits).

Funded childcare for 3 & 4 year olds (30 hours)

All parents and carers who have children aged 3 & 4 are currently entitled to 15 hours a week funded childcare. For working parents, this has been doubled to 30 hours a week.

To be eligible for the increased free hours, you must:

  • earn at least £120 a week
  • each parent must not earn £100,000 or more a year

People could still be eligible if they or their partner is on maternity, paternity or adoption leave, are unable to work if they have a disability or caring responsibilities. Single parents can also apply. 

Successful applicants will then receive a code which they then take to their chosen childcare provider as soon as possible. 

Free childcare places are available at a range of early years settings including nursery schools, day nurseries, pre-schools and childminders. 

Not eligible?

If you don't meet the criteria for extended free childcare, all 3 & 4 year olds are still entitled to 15 hours of free education at a range of childcare providers for 38 weeks of the year.

Parents cannot claim their 30 hours if their child is in a full-time reception place or has reached compulsory school age.

Parents/Carers will be able to check their eligibility online and will be required to re-check their eligibility every 3 months. Should Parents/Carers be found to be ineligible upon re-checking, the funding for the additional hours will continue for a grace period of at least half a term

Date of ineligible decision Grace Period end date
1st Jan-10th Feb 31st March
11th Feb - 31st March 31st August
1st Apr - 26th May 31st August
27th May - 31st Aug 31st December
1st Sep - 21st Oct 31st December
22nd Oct - 31st Dec 31st March

Can I use any childcare setting that I like?

If you are entitled to the free entitlement you will be allowed to use any childcare setting – the only requirements are that the provider is Ofsted registered and approved to offer Free Early Education (FEE) places, and that they have space to take your child.

Can I split the 1140 hours over more than one setting?

Yes, parents are allowed to split the free childcare across providers. Providers can only refuse this if they have a legitimate business case for why they cannot allow split hours.

Can I use my free childcare across the whole year?

Yes, the extended childcare offer has been introduced to support parents to have better access to more flexible childcare whilst at work and to enable you to increase the number of hours worked. This means you can use your childcare to cover school holidays if needed. If you use your childcare in term time only (38 weeks per year) you will be entitled to 30 hours free childcare per week. If you use it over the whole year (52 weeks), you will be entitled to approximately 22 hours per week.

My child has special needs – will they receive sufficient care in the additional funded hours?

Every family should have access to good quality childcare that meets their needs. The Government are introducing a Disability Access Fund (DAF), this is a one off annual payment to the childcare setting (if a child takes their funding at more than one setting it will be the parent/carers choice as to which setting receives the additional funding).

How do I apply for the additional hours childcare?

Parents/carers should apply during the term that their child turns 3 so that funding can begin at the start of the following term.

Applications can be made at;

Upon successful application parent/carers will receive an eligibility code to give to their chosen childcare provider. Parents may receive eligibility codes before their child is three but they can only start claiming their 30 hours place the term following the child’s third birthday or the term following the date the eligibility code was issued (whichever is the later).

Date of 3rd birthday Date eligibility code issued Funding available from
17th July 1st August 1st September
17th July 12th September 1st January

If a child is taking up their universal 15 hours entitlement and a parent becomes eligible for 30 hours part-way through the term, the parent can start claiming their additional hours from the start of the term following the date on which they received their code.

For further information and support please contact us on 0300 500 8080


Children's Centre Services

Children's Centre Services

A Children’s Centre is a place, or group of places, where local families with young children can go and enjoy facilities and receive support that they need. Sometimes support may be offered in the home.

The facilities and activities are designed especially for parents expecting a baby, or those with a child under 5 years old.

Their staff are fully trained to deal with individual needs a child might have, and work with many partners to ensure they can support families in whatever area they need.

For more information about services and to find your nearest Children’s Centre Service team visit the Children's Centre Services website

You can also look at the Notts Help Yourself Children's Centres Pages

Your Child's Development

Supporting your child's development

Everything that happens to a child within the first few years of life shapes their future success. Early experiences influence how well children do at school, their life-long health and wellbeing, and their achievements later in life.

Monitoring your child’s progress, providing a good learning environment at home, and going to high quality early years childcare settings are key to ensuring your child has good development.

You can support your child’s development by:


Easypeasy is a great free resource for parents and early years practitioners, giving lots of simple, fun play ideas to help little ones learn as they play.  To sign up please click on the following link:

Look, say, sing, play

Look Say Sing Play

Right from birth, every time you talk, sing or play with your baby, you're not just bonding, you're building their brain.

NSPCC have teamed up with Vroom™to give you some fun and easy tips to help you bring even more Look, Say, Sing and Play into your daily routine with your baby.  For children aged 0-2.

When you sign up, they’ll send you a new tip, tailored to your child's age, each week.   Sign up at

Early Years Settings

Enjoying some time in an early years setting can benefit all children. Children aged 2, 3 and 4 who spend time in an early years setting will have opportunities to:

  • Make friends, to share and take turns
  • Communicate with others and listen to them
  • Be independent and become aware of other’s needs

The impact of these experiences is long lasting. They give children confidence and help to prepare them for school and beyond. Visit the childcare pages on Notts Help Yourself to find a childcare provider near you

Child development, early learning and the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

Children develop more rapidly during the first five years of their lives than at any other time.   Children learn and develop through playing, exploring, being active, creative and being asked questions to help their thinking

These booklets, from the charity 4Children, have been written to help parents know what to expect during these important years by focusing on the seven areas of learning and development which are covered in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)  which is followed by all early years childcare providers including schools.

What to Expect, When?

Parent's Guide to the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework

Health and development reviews:

You will receive a 12 month review from the Healthy Families Team

You will receive a 2 to 2.5 year review from the Healthy Families Team including an assessment of your child’s social, emotional, behavioural and language development. If your child is in an early years setting they will also have a 2 year progress check.

Download the Welcome to Your Child's First Two Years booklet - a guide to your baby’s first 1001 days, conception to two years. This booklet shows you the things to expect in the first two years of your baby's life


If your child needs extra support with any area of learning your Healthy Family practitioner and your early years childcare provider will work together with you to agree appropriate support. This is known as an integrated review. 

Your Healthy Families team can offer support around health, wellbeing and development including sleep, toilet training, feeding and healthy eating, language development  and much more.

Developing Life Skills

Book Trust Logo

BookTrust, the UK's largest children's reading charity, has put together a booklist for parents/carers to enjoy with their small children about starting school and the skills they will need, such as going to the toilet, brushing their teeth, putting on their shoes.

These books are brilliant for helping toddler and pre-schoolers (ages 2-4) develop everyday life skills.  For more information take a look at

Being a Parent

A series of short videos from The Centre for Parent and Child Support NHS with strategies to help make family life less stressful

1. Are you the perfect parent? 2. Looking after yourself IS looking after your children! 3. Understanding our children. Parenting strategies that help reduce tantrums and raise happy children
4. Communicating with your child in a way that helps them LISTEN better and TALK more 5. It's PLAYTIME! How to play with your child to help their development. 6. This is not regular play, this is CHILD-LED PLAY - play to help child development
7. Labels stick - how to talk with your child to increase their self-esteem and confidence 8. Tips to change your child's behaviour that actually work! 9. Your child's behaviour is a way for them to communicate with you. Learn what their behaviour means
10. Discipline your child in a way that will change their behaviour but protect their mental health 11. Your Discipline Toolbox - Part 2. How to maintain consistent boundaries and say "no".
12. Your Discipline Toolbox - Part 3. How to make your household rules stick
13. Listening part 1 - Communication 14. Listening part 2 - Getting children to open up 15. Listening part 3 - Reflective listening

Your Child's Behaviour

Most children have times when their behaviour can be less than “perfect” – this is a normal part of growing up, but for mums, dads and carers, it can cause challenges, especially when their child’s “tantrum” takes please in a busy supermarket, with on-lookers watching. 

Don’t worry, we’ve all been there and although children don’t come with a “User Manual” there are some tried and tested tips that can help you manage your child’s behaviour and how you react to them.

The most important thing is to stay calm, count to ten, have realistic expectations so you don’t put pressure on your child and yourself and praise the behaviour you want more of.  This leaflet gives more information.

Your local Children’s Centre Service can offer lots of support and advice, including one to one family support within your own home and groups such as Incredible Years, EPEC Being a Parent and Solihull Approach.

Finddetails of your nearest Children’s Centre here

The Healthy Families Team (who used to be called Health Visitors) can also help.  


A few sources of information for Dads to introduce you to the world of parenting.

Tony Happy People

Dad Life from BBC Tiny Happy People

From pregnancy, the birth, supporting your partner, becoming a Dad, worries, top tips and Dad hacks.  Here are a range of helpful videos to guide you.


Dad Pad Logo

DadPad is the essential guide for new dads, developed with the NHS. Vsit


Fatherhood Institute logo

Fatherhood Institute is the UK's Fatherhood Think-and-do Tank. Visit


Dads United logo

Dads United has forums for discussion and help and support topics for new fathers.  Visit

Dads Matter UK logo

Dads Matter UK provides support for Dads worried about or suffering from Depression, Anxiety and PTSD. Visit

Family Support

Here you can find some useful sources of support:

Money Advice

Lots of families may need advice on money due to the Covid-19 lockdown. 

For free, impartial guidance, take a look at the Money Advice Service’s website

You can use their Money Navigator tool for instant feedback with actions you can take.


This service offers free support and guidance on all aspects of family life to parents and carers across England and Wales. Helpline, Befriending and Counselling support are available via telephone, email and text message. The service is free and available 6pm - 10pm on weekdays and 10am - 1pm on weekends.

Call: 0808 802 6666
Text: 07537 404 282

Other useful contacts can be found on the Nottingham Safeguarding Children Partnership website


  • Bullying
  • Online Safety
  • Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP)
  • Family Lives
  • Barnardos
  • Kidscape
  • Missing Person Helpline
  • National Drugs Helpline
  • NHS Direct
  • Parents against Child Sexual Exploitation (PACE)
  • Women's Aid Federation
  • Parents Centre
  • Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme (Sarah's Law)

Parent Talk from Action for Children

Action for children's parent talk






Down-to-earth parenting advice you can trust

Action for Children are on hand to support parents, when you need them.

Browse articles on the most common parenting questions from experts (including Covid-19, emotional well-being, behaviour and learning, nutrition and healthy eating and sleep) or talk one-to-one with a qualified parenting coach about anything that’s worrying you.

It’s all free, and no topic is too big, small, or embarrassing.

Visit the website:

Direct Help & Advice charity

Flyer for the advice line of the Direct Help & Advice charity

Family life can be put under lots of different stress factors.  If you need advice and guidance on issues including housing, debt and money advice, getting back to work or mental health issues Direct Help and Advice is a charity who can help. 

See the Advice Line Flyer for more details

Health and healthy lifestyles

Healthy Start Vouchers

Healthy Start Welcome logo

If you are pregnant or have a child under four years old you could get Healthy Start vouchers to help buy some basic foods. This important means-tested scheme provides vouchers to spend with local retailers. Pregnant women and children over one and under four years old can get one £3.10 voucher per week(From April 1 2021 the value of vouchers is increasing to £4.25 per week). Children under one year old can get two £3.10 vouchers (£6.20) per week.

The vouchers can be spent on:

  • Plain cow’s milk – whole, semi-skimmed or skimmed. It can be pasteurised, sterilised, long life or UHT.
  • Plain fresh or frozen fruit and veg (fruit and vegetables with no added ingredients), whole or chopped, packaged or loose.
  • Infant formula milk that says it can be used from birth and is based on cow’s milk.

To find out if you qualify go to

To apply online go to - since 6th April 2020 you no longer need to get a health professional to sign your application.

Healthy Start Shopping

Where can I spend the vouchers?

You can find out which shops near you accept the Healthy Start Vouchers by following this link and typing your postcode into the search box:

Healthy Start Vitamins and Vitamin D

Healthy Start Vitamins

Healthy Start vitamins are available for:

  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women
  • Babies, and children up to 4 years old

If you are eligible for the Healthy Start scheme you can also get free Healthy Start vitamins from your local Sure Start children’s centre or health centre, and it’s important you use these. 

If you’re not eligible for the Healthy Start scheme, you can buy Healthy Start vitamins at a small cost of £0.80 for the women’s supplements and £1.60 for the baby and children’s drops from your local children’s centre or health centre.

Healthy Start women’s vitamin tablets contain:

  • Folic Acid: reduces the chance of your baby having spina bifida, a birth defect where the
  • spine doesn’t form properly
  • Vitamin C: helps maintain healthy tissue in the body
  • Vitamin D: helps your body to absorb calcium and so supports your baby’s bones to develop
  • Properly

Healthy Start children’s vitamin drops contain:

  • Vitamin A: for growth, vision in dim light and healthy skin
  • Vitamin C: helps maintain healthy tissue in the body
  • Vitamin D: helps top keep bones and muscles strong and healthy

Who should take Healthy Start Vitamins?

  • All pregnant women
  • All breastfeeding women
  • Babies from 6 months old (who are having less than 500ml (one pint) of infant formula a day)
  • Children aged 1 to 4

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important for everyone, but especially for the groups listed above, as it helps to keep bones and muscles strong and healthy. Healthy Start vitamins include Vitamin D - if you choose not to take Healthy Start vitamins we recommend you and your family takes a Vitamin D supplement.

Where can I find more information?

Speak to your midwife, Healthy Family team or children’s centre.

The First Steps Nutrition Trust has produced some useful advice for young children aged 1 – 4 years, available here:

Staying Safe in Hot Weather

Sun Safety for Babies

Keep your baby cool and protect them from the sun.

  • Babies less than 6 months old should be kept out of direct sunlight. Their skin contains too little melanin, which is the pigment that gives skin, hair and eyes their colour, and provides some protection from the sun.
  • Older babies should also be kept out of the sun as much as possible, particularly in the summer and between 11am and 3pm, when the sun is at its strongest. If you go out when it's hot, attach a parasol or sunshade to your baby's pushchair to keep them out of direct sunlight.
  • Apply a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 to your baby's skin. Make sure the product also protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Many brands produce sunscreen specifically for babies and young children, as these products are less likely to contain additives that might irritate the skin. Apply the suncream regularly, particularly if your child is in and out of the sea or paddling pool. 
  • Make sure your child wears a sunhat with a wide brim or a long flap at the back to protect their head and neck from the sun.

For more information

Keeping your baby safe during hot weather advice from the NHS

Baby summer safety advice from the Lullaby Trust 

Sun Safety for Children

Take extra care to protect babies and children. Their skin is much more sensitive than adult skin, and damage caused by repeated exposure to sunlight could lead to skin cancer developing in later life.

Children aged under 6 months should be kept out of direct strong sunlight.

From March to October in the UK, children should:

  • cover up with suitable clothing
  • spend time in the shade, particularly from 11am to 3pm
  • wear at least SPF30 sunscreen

Apply sunscreen to areas not protected by clothing, such as the face, ears, feet and backs of hands.

To ensure they get enough vitamin D, all children under 5 are advised to take vitamin D supplements.

Guidance on how to look after yourself and your children during hot periods of weather can be found on the NHS website

Sunscreen and sun safety advice for adults and children from the NHS

Staying Safe in the Sun advice leaflet from Health Visitors

Guide to staying safe in the sun from the Health For Kids website

Grown-ups advice

Kids advice

Here's a sun safety heroes video

Physical Activity Guidelines

The government has issued infographics as an update to guidance released in 2011.  The overall message remains the same: any activity is better than none, and more is better still.

The guidance advises on safe levels of activity for pregnant women and new mothers, and the many benefits that this can bring as long as they listen to their body and speak to their health professional. A moderate amount of exercise for new mothers is proven to help them:

  • regain strength
  • ease back pain
  • reduce the risk of gestational diabetes

New advice is also available to encourage good development in babies and children, with the UK Chief Medical Officers recommending lots of ‘tummy time’.

As much active play as possible in children under 5 is encouraged, and older children are recommended to be active for an average of 60 minutes a day across the week.

10 Steps for a Healthy Toddler

See the poster below for some quick tips or follow this link to download a Healthy Toddlers booklet

10 steps to a healthy toddler








Movement is Life - a video on the importance of children keeping active

Notts Summer Staycation

Notts Summer Staycation





Notts Summer Staycation is a set of resources aimed at providing children and their families with a series of ideas to help them to stay active over the Summer.

The activities start at home and thereafter are focused on exploring the outdoors in your local area.

There's an appendix at the end for you/your children to record what they've done over the summer in a diary format.

Please adhere to government guidelines relating to COVID-19 while undertaking any activities.


Lots of parents wonder when and how to start weaning their baby (introducing solid foods) - with so much conflicting advice available it can be very confusing.

You should wait until your baby is around 6 months old - this gives them time to develop properly, so they can cope with solid food.

Take a look at this video for lots of top tips:

For more information:

Contact your local Children’s Centre Service team and take a look at

Healthy Portion Sizes

Children need foods from the four main food groups, in the right balance and in the right portion size.  Knowing how much of each to give your child is not always easy.  The British Nutrition Foundation have produced some guides to help.

Portion sizes guide poster

The 5532-a-day poster is a quick guide to portion sizes

Portion sizes guide booklet

The 5532-a-day Perfect portions for little tums booklet provides more detailed information and gives a greater range of food examples


Immunisations in the first few weeks are delivered by your GP, you can find out more in this useful guide:

Childhood immunisations for babies and children up to 5 years are delivered by your GP, you can find out more information about when they are due from these leaflets .

Flu Vaccination

For information about the children's flu vaccine visit

Government is encouragng parents to get eligible children vaccinated against flu in 2020 because people at risk from flu are also vulnerable to the complications of COVID-19 and children under the age of five have the highest rate of hospital admissions due to flu.

See the Government leaflet Flu: 5 reasons to vaccinate your child

For more guidance for parents and carers download the leaflet Protecting your child against flu

For a simple guide to which flu vaccine you child should get click the image below:

Which Flu Vaccine

Local Library Services

Register at your local Library and claim your free Bookstart pack:

Mental Health

Support for parents worried about their child's mental health.

Happy Maps

Happy Maps logo

Information and advice for parents of all ages from babies to young adults.

If you're worried about your child's behaviour or mental health and not sure what's normal ? Or wondering whether to see your GP?  Or you've been referred to specialist services but there is a long wait ..... or perhaps you've been told the problem isn't quite serious enough to be referred. Then this website can provide you with some support:

Mood and emotional health - parents

Having a baby affects your mood and emotional health, and some mums can develop post-natal depression. It’s important to talk about how you’re feeling, and help and support is available from your Healthy Family team.

Having a new baby can be a wonderful time but it is also very challenging for parents, it’s normal to experience changes in your mood and mental health, but sometimes they can be more serious. These feelings can also affect your partner. It’s important to talk about how you’re feeling with your Healthy Family team, and your family and friends.

You can find out more information about the range of emotions you might experience and when you might need some additional help from these websites:

Postnatal depression and perinatal mental health

NHS Postnatal depression

Lets talk wellbeing

Insight Healthcare

Trent PTS


Partners need to look after their mental health too, as having a new baby in the house can be a lovely, but challenging tim.  Take a look at the information MIND have put together for Partners

Parent Health and Emotional Wellbeing (PHEW) Groups

Nottinghamshire Children’s Centre Service :   Lots of parents need a little support from other mums and dads, especially when they have a new baby.  Contact your local Children’s Centre to discuss the help they can offer such as PHEW Groups (Parent Health & Emotional Wellbeing).  To request a service, take a look at … or for more information, take a look at the PHEW Group leaflet

Family Action Perinatal Support Services

Take a look at this video from our friends at Family Action to hear other parents talking about their experiences:  

Perinatal Support Services - Family Action short film


Safer Sleep

Lullaby Trust

The Lullaby Trust have pulled together lots of information and advice giving you simple steps for how you can sleep your baby to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) which is commonly known as cot death. It can give you the peace of mind to enjoy this special time.

The Lullaby Trust's advice is based on strong scientific evidence and should be followed for all sleep periods, not just at night.

If you have any questions about SIDS or safer sleep, please call their information line on 0808 802 6869 (lines open Monday-Friday 10am-5pm).

What is SIDS?

Safer sleep publications

The best sleeping position for your baby

Sharing a room with your baby

Co-Sleeping with your baby

The safest room temperature for babies

The best matress and bedding for your baby

Smoking around your baby

Dummies and SIDS

Swaddling your baby and using slings

A clear cot, is a safe cot

Reducing the risk of SIDS for premature babies

Using e-cigarettes around your baby

Safer sleep for twins

Sleeping products

Safer sleep advice for cold winter nights


Watch this video on safe sleep:


People working with children can access training on safer sleep from the NSCB website:


Lift the Baby for safer sleeping

Lift the baby logo

Some great tips on safer sleeping in this video aimed at new Dads:

For more information visit the Lift the Baby website

Sleep Problems

The Children's Sleep Charity

Children's Sleep Charity

We understand how difficult life can be when your child has a sleep issue. Our aim is to support families to get a better night’s sleep by offering workshops, clinics and written materials.

Useful leaflets for parents can be downloaded here

Information on training courses for parents can be found here

Call: 01302 751416




Bath, Book, Bed routine from the Book Trust

bath, book, bed logoA regular night-time routine can help with improved sleep in young children.  The Bath, Book, Bed routine from the Book Trust is a simple plan that can help with a better night's sleep for the whole family.  You can download the Bath, Book, Bed booklet here and visit the Book Trust's website for more advice from top experts with recommendations on how to keep the routine going and suggestions of favourite bedtime stories at

Speech and Language

Nottinghamshire's Language for Life is there to support children under 5 to acquire the speech, language and communication skills they need for life. Support is available for families and professionals.

On the Language for Life website you'll find:

Have a look at the fantastic website Hungry Little Minds.    Watch this video from the Hungry Little Minds website of a baby "talking " with his dad ....


Starting School

Your Child's Journey to School is a guide to preparing your child for nursery and school and has milestones for 2, 3, 4 and 5 year olds to help you prepare your child.

BBC Bitsize Starting Primary School - online resources from the BBC to help support you prepare you child for primary school


Here's some helpful tips and tricks to help your baby when they start teething

Tips and Tricks

Protecting Against Tooth Decay

Guide for parents:

Teething tips and tricks

tooth decay guidance parents

Toilet training

Most parents start thinking about potty training when their child is between 2 and 2 and a half, but there's no perfect time. Some people find it easier to start in the summer, when there are fewer clothes to take off and washed clothes dry more quickly.

Try potty training when there are no great disruptions or changes to your child's or your family's routine. It's important to stay consistent, so you don’t confuse your child.

There are a number of signs that your child is starting to develop bladder control, you can find out more here:

More toilet training support including videos, guides to download, and FAQs can be found on the ERIC website


Find Us on Facebook

Facebook is monitored during office hours Monday - Friday, however if your enquiry is serious, urgent or involves personal details, we advise you to contact the team on 0300 500 80 80 or email:

Follow Us @NottsCC


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