What happened to my toddler’s behaviour during lockdown?

In such confusing times for our little ones, how do we make sure we support their mental health and wellbeing?


Children’s emotional wellbeing is so important right now – they’ve amazed us all with how well they have adapted to lockdown life and now we ask of them a new challenge as we prepare to start returning to the ‘new normal’ and back to nursery and school life. In this article we’ll explore 3 key ways to support children’s wellbeing during this time and create emotional resilience for life.


1.It’s ok to have feelings

It’s easy for our imaginations to run away with us when we are feeling unsure – both as children and adults. It’s important that we listen to children’s concerns and thoughts and acknowledge the way they feel.

By doing this we teach our children that it is ok to have feelings and to talk about them – a valuable skill for managing these feelings when they are older. Try to:

  • Practice active listening and encourage children to talk about it
  • Label the feeling to help them identify it in the future
  • Acknowledge the way they feel before responding so we don’t dismiss it


Like this:

Your little one is throwing their toys and shouting because they can’t go to their Grandma’s house to see her. Give them time to explore the feeling and say what they need to say.  You could say: ‘I understand that you feel angry and sad right now because you can’t see Grandma, but throwing your toys is not going to make that feeling go away. Remember we can’t see Grandma because we are keeping her safe from the germs. Why don’t we video call Grandma so you can see her and feel happy again?’

It’s easy for our imaginations to run away with us when we are feeling unsure – both as children and adults. It’s important that we listen to children’s concerns and thoughts and acknowledge the way they feel. Click To Tweet

2.Use stories to explore

Stories and books provide a really good starting point for talking about an issue. They can often put into words and pictures thoughts and feelings that a child is not able to and provide a ‘distance’ from the topic to make it easier to explore. A good example is the story about a little elf who misses his birthday party which explores feelings of resilience and hope through a time or worry and provides some great questions for discussion afterwards.

There are lots of stories about Coronavirus that are written with children in mind, including ones explaining about the virus to help talk about the topic of the pandemic. Some of the changes the children have experienced, such as people wearing face masks and not being able to hug their family and friends, can be scary for children and it is vital that we keep open communication for them to be able to talk about these. The British Psychological Society give some great advice around talking about the coronavirus with young children.


3.Your wellbeing

Recent events around the world have caused a huge strain on us as adults, particularly as parents, and it is important we settle our own anxieties too. Children can easily sense your feelings and this can lead to feelings of anxiety and unrest in them if we forget to tend to our own self-care needs too.


Mind gives some great ideas such as:

  • Try to stick to a routine – get up at your usual time and try to go to bed on time. If you’re not happy with your normal routine now could be a great opportunity to develop a new one
  • Stay active – enjoy being outside and move as much as possible
  • Be careful with the news – it is important to stay up to date, but too much news can be overwhelming. Try to limit how much you view the news each day.

If you would like to read more about looking after your health and wellbeing or would like support, there are some useful links at the end of this post.



So much in our worlds are unrecognisable at the moment and this has been and emotional challenge for us all. But by being more aware of our own self-care and supporting our little ones to understand, express and process their feelings we can turn this into an opportunity to nurture resilient, communicative and secure children in this generation.


What have you found the most challenging aspect of lockdown parenting? Let us know in the comments below!


Useful links:

BPS – coronavirus support and advice

UNICEF – how to talk to your child about coronavirus

Partnership for children – children’s wellbeing activities

Mind – information, support and helplines


lockdown recipes

3 Recipes to curb lockdown boredom with your little one

lockdown recipes

Running out of ideas to pass lockdown with your little one? Why not try one of these fun recipes:

  1. Yummy Hummus

  2. Wicked Wrap Pizza

  3. Magic Mug Cake


Spending so much time at home staying safe with young children has presented parents of the nation with a whole new set of challenges – how do we keep them occupied all the time?! Here at Hamilton Nursery we have lots of ideas, so in this article we will explore 3 great recipe ideas that can easily be made together with your little ones to pass the time and create tasty and healthy treats.

Running out of ideas to pass lockdown? Give these fun recipes a try!

Yummy Hummus

This is a great opportunity for the children to weigh and measure their own ingredients, an important aspect of our curriculum and can be served in so many different ways. Our hummus is always a hit with our Pre-School children!


1 400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 tablespoon tahini paste

The juice of half a lemon

1 clove of garlic

Half a teaspoon of cumin

Black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons of olive oil


  1. Add all the ingredients into a blender and blend away! Keep going until a smooth paste forms. If needed add a little more oil to loosen the mixture up.

Our hummus is great served as a dip with vegetable sticks, as a sandwich filler or stuffed in peppers or portobello mushrooms!

TOP TIP: Try different variations when making our hummus, add beetroot for a delightful bright pink version or roasted red peppers for sweetness. You can even add cocoa powder and honey for a sugar free sweet dessert version!

Wicked wrap pizzas

Get that takeaway feel but with an easy to make and healthier alternative! For more about healthy eating for your little one check out our food and nutrition blog post.

Serves 4


4 wholemeal wraps

4 tablespoons of tomato puree

100g of grated cheese of your choice – we like a mix of cheddar and mozzarella!

Half a red pepper, diced

Half a red onion, diced

Half a courgette, diced

1 low salt vegetable stock cube

Sprinkle of mixed herbs


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees
  2. Heat a frying pan on a medium heat and add a little oil. Put the pepper, onion and courgette in the pan and sprinkle over the stock cube. Fry until the veg is soft.
  3. Place each wrap on grease proof paper on a baking sheet. Mix the tomato puree with a little water and the herbs and spread it over each wrap in a thin layer.
  4. Evenly distribute the cooked veg over each pizza and sprinkle on the cheese
  5. Bake in the oven for approximately 8 minutes until the cheese melts and the edges crisp up
TOP TIP: support your little one to have a go at chopping their own vegetables, the more ownership they have over preparing the meal the more likely they are to eat it!

Magic mug cake

A simple sweet treat for after dinner – and it’s low in sugar too!

Makes one mug cake


30g all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

¼ teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon of honey or maple syrup

Tiny pinch of salt

60 ml milk

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

A few drops of vanilla extract

A few chocolate chips (optional)


  1. Grease the inside of a mug with cooking spray or a little oil
  2. In a mixing bowl mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder until well combined. Add the milk, honey or syrup, oil and vanilla extract and mix until fully combined.
  3. Pour the batter into the mug and sprinkle with chocolate chips if using these.
  4. Put the mug in the microwave and microwave in 30 second intervals until the cake is just set
  5. Remove from the microwave (WARNING: the mug will be hot), allow to cool a little and enjoy!

TOP TIP: Try different types of mug cake using the same basic recipe, maybe take out the cocoa powder and add cinnamon or maybe grated carrot and ginger for a carrot cake.

Interested to know how we are preparing for life after the pandemic, see some of the steps we are taking.

Are you looking for more recipe ideas for your little ones? We love these ideas from the National Childbirth Trust!


By Rachael Atkins

Contact Nursery Image


Please share this post with anyone who might be interested. 

If you would like to know more about meals in Hamilton Nursery or if you are looking for a place, we are open and would love to hear from you.  Please call 0116 274 3090

Our response to COVID-19

We know that nursery life is going to look a little different for a while, as we begin to welcome children and families back to the nursery. Whether you are an existing family returning or someone looking for a nursery place we would like to keep you informed and reassured about the steps we are taking to ensure the safety of all practitioners, children and families.

Children’s welfare

  • We will be using a contact free infrared thermometer to test the temperatures of the children, the carer dropping them off at nursery and all staff on arrival. If the temperature 37.8 degrees or higher, we advise you to return home as per public health guidance.
  • Our outside pathway to the nursery now features footprints at a two-metre distance to support social distancing whilst waiting to be let into the nursery.
  • There will be a portable handwashing facility outside the front door, parents and carers are asked to wash and dry the children’s hands prior to entering.
  • A member of the team will welcome children in at the door, parents and carers will not be permitted to enter the building.

Staff protection

  • All staff will be supplied with suitable PPE at appropriate times.
  • Staff uniform will be fresh each day and will remain at nursery where it will be washed at 60 degrees. Staff will therefore be asked to travel in different clothes and change on arrival.
  • Staff will be washing their hands routinely and at appropriate times and hand cream will also be provided.
  • Staff break periods will be staggered to allow social distancing in our staff room and they will be asked that where at all possible they stay on site during breaks.
  • Staff will be asked to have indoor and outdoor shoes to prevent the spread on germs.

Nursery life

  • We will reduce the number of toys and resources available to the children to allow these to be rotated, upon rotation they will be sterilised at our sterilising station in the foyer.
  • Children will be divided into small groups or ‘bubbles’ of no more than 6 and will remain with two practitioners for the duration of the day. Lunch for the children will be staggered to allow space at mealtimes, and for the moment meals will be served onto individual plates in the kitchen rather than the children self-serving as they usually would.
  • The children, along with the staff, will wash their hands regularly at appropriate times.
  • We will not have communal sand, water or messy/malleable play as this can harbour germs. There may be occasions where children have individual play stations for these types of play, but this will be disposed of and thoroughly cleaned after each child.
  • Dressing up clothes will be limited and washed regularly in line with rotation of toys.
  • We will separate the classrooms into zoned areas where children will spend time with their ‘bubble’ and then rotate, with each area being cleaned in between.
  • We will follow the COVID-19 response to illness if any symptoms arise whilst on site. There will be a separate room for any staff or children who show any symptoms where they can wait until they are collected or are able to go home. This will be thoroughly cleaned after use.
  • We request that parents provide clean and washed indoor shoes and separate outdoor shoes.

End of the day handover

  • Parents will be asked to estimate a collection time either on drop off or via our Famly app system to allow us to get the children ready and out into the foyer to be collected.
  • Children will wash their hands prior to exiting the building.

For further information about our risk assessment or policies please follow this link or ask any member of staff.

Our facebook, twitter accounts and this website will be updated regularly in line with the latest guidance and any further steps we take. On these platforms we will also be able to show you some of our new measures in action as well as lots of activities and ideas for home learning.

Hamilton Nursery approach to healthy eating

Food and Nutrition for Babies and Toddlers

Food and Nutrition for Babies and Toddlers

Babies, toddlers and pre-school children grow and develop quickly and we have to ensure they get the right nutrition, energy, calories and nutrients they need. Healthy eating is crucial for children’s development and something we really value. Here at Hamilton Nursery we love food and are keen to share that love of food with all our children.

It is also an important time for children to learn about what they eat. This knowledge enables them to develop good habits of consuming healthy foods. Children should have a varied diet they can enjoy with the whole family. We know it can be hard as parents to know exactly what our children should be eating (and in what proportions) to get the right nutritional balance.

A varied selection of menus in collaboration with parents

We like to keep our menus exciting and current to support the children to develop a positive relationship with food and nutrition. To do this we reassess our menus every six to eight weeks.  Staff involve the children and their families in this process.

Recently we used our online platform to open up conversations about what children like to eat at home and what recipes are always a hit. After collaborating with our families, we incorporated these ideas into our menus and are lucky enough to have some parents coming in to host cookery sessions with the children soon.
Why don’t you try out one of our latest recipe cards here.

Role models and routines

Food is freshly prepared in our kitchen and delivered to the classrooms. Once there the children independently self-serve their meals. This promotes self-confidence and develops the children’s knowledge of healthy choices, portion sizes and recognising when they are full.

You can carry this on at home by giving children small responsibilities to make mealtimes exciting. Try getting them to set the table for everybody and count how many plates they need. They can also help to prepare parts of the meal.

Nurturing an understanding

Responsibilities like these are an important part of children’s development as they make sense of the world around them and learn to be healthy, happy and active adults.

Here at Hamilton Nursery Leicester we plan activities to develop children’s understanding of food and where it comes from. We also discuss how we can reduce waste and how we can make good choices about the foods we eat.

Our nursery chefs schedule time to cook alongside the children. This helps them to think critically about where our ingredients come from and how they will make us feel when we eat them.

When hunger strikes…

An important part of this growth and development is for children to recognise how hunger feels. They need to know when they have eaten enough and feel full. It is important to keep this in mind when planning snacks into the children’s day. This is something we consider when planning our menus.

Annabel Karmel recommends keeping snacks such as vegetable sticks, rice cakes, bread sticks and cheese prepared and handy for when hunger strikes. You will find these types of ingredients featured on our menus.

Health and wellbeing is a huge part of our ethos. If you are looking for a nursery place here at Hamilton Nursery, Leicester, why not give us a call or book a visit and you may even sample a little of one of our delicious meals!

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Hamilton Nursery Christmas Fair

Hamilton Nursery is having a Christmas Fair and Family Fun Day on Saturday 14th December 2019 from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. Santa said he is coming, there will be decoration making, Christmas stalls, Christmas arts and crafts and hot chocolate with marshmallows. It’s also a great opportunity to meet our fantastic team and explore the wonderful nursery. ALL FREE!
Join our guest list here

Hamilton Nursery Christmas Fair and Fun Day