Welcome to ABC Magazine

The longest established, best-read, free parenting magazine in the South.

ABC Magazine is the FREE local parenting magazine offering practical parenting advice to everyone with young children. From babies to big kids!

 ABC Magazine

winter 2017 edition

Competitions

ABC have lots of fantastic competitions again in this issue

Enter now for your chance to win fabulous prizes

enter

Directory

Find activities, businesses and services in your area

Sussex directorySurrey directory

Events

Fabulous things to do this summer in Sussex & Surrey

Sussex eventsSurrey events

 Recent Articles

How to survive your child’s birthday party – planning, celebrating and beyond

By | parties, Relationships | No Comments
by Lucy Gill
Manager, Gymboree Play & Music Surbiton

The special day has finally arrived after what seems like months and month of planning and preparation. The three tiered ‘Peppa Pig’ cake is in the fridge, the ‘Paw Patrol’ balloons are filled with helium and the entertainer is armed with all three verses of your little one’s favorite ‘Mr. Tumble’ song.

What could possibly go wrong?
Shock, horror, it’s the morning of the party and your darling child tells you that; Peppa Pig is no longer cool, they now hate Paw Patrol and have apparently never even heard of Mr Tumble! In fact, they now want a Superhero party just like Sally had last week!

How do you react?
Full on panic and a crazy dash to the supermarket? A last minute Internet order to try and make sure your little one has everything they could possibly want? Or take a breath, smile and think “actually, none of that really matters”.

Yes, you’ve spent a small fortune to make this party ‘the best one yet’ but remember, with all your friends and family in one place, your child surrounded by presents, cake, food, balloons and a day dedicated just to them; this is definitely more than enough love, fuss and attention they need.

Having worked as a party leader for many years, I am going to give you my top tips on how to survive your child’s birthday party.
• Send out your invitations in plenty of time. The competition for that Saturday afternoon slot can be tough; don’t risk leaving it to late and being disappointed.
• Consider sharing the day with a friend. Birthday parties can be expensive and lots of planning, why not share the load?
• Don’t focus too strongly on one theme. Children tend to change their minds very quickly. Think of a theme that can be easily adapted, examples are jungle safari, football, pirates and princess or under the sea!
• Don’t go overboard on the food. I have often seen more food provided at a children’s party than on offer at a wedding buffet! Think about what your child has for lunch; add a few treats – that’s all you need.
• Provide some nibbles for the adults. This is a nice touch as sometimes a bag of rice cakes and a few grapes might not suffice.
• Dress your little one appropriately for the activities planned. Although you want to put your little one in an amazing outfit for everyone to see, make sure they can still move around and make the most of their party.
• Don’t forget the candles, matches and a knife to cut the cake, these fundamentals can be easily missed!

Lastly, don’t be shocked if your child, screams, cries, completely ignores the entertainer or even falls asleep. We see it all, just relax and remember that everyone goes through it one way or another.

It may sound cheesy but you are doing a great job and the reality is, how much you spend on the party bags or how big the venue is, doesn’t reflect what a fantastic parent you are, and it certainly doesn’t reflect how much you love your child.

Don’t forget, when your child’s birthday is approaching, and you’re looking for somewhere to celebrate their special day, Gymboree Play & Music creates great value, tailor-made parties for under fives. Please get in touch with your local branch, we would love to help you celebrate
and creating lasting memories!

Why we love baby, toddler and preschool swimming

By | children's health, Health, Sport, swimming | No Comments

  – read this and you’ll be in the pool before you get to the end!

by Vicki Bates
the little swim school

My journey with swimming started when one of my best friends, Briony, who now runs Wet Wet Wet swim school told me that I had to take my three month old baby daughter to Little Dippers – no ifs, no buts, I had to. Now, she can be a bit bossy at times, but this was insistent – she didn’t really talk about it in terms of benefits (well, apart from the sleeping baby afterwards) more what an amazing experience it was. Anyway, we went and from the first lesson I was hooked – Coco loved the water, I loved the fact it was warm and even more I loved the half hour of just focusing on my baby – no phones or daily life distractions. After a while I started working for Little Dippers and became even more amazed when I learnt about the myriad of benefits of baby and preschool swimming. I then started the little swim school, and for over thirteen years now have continued to love being part of this amazing experience.

The benefits are well documented now, but I never miss a chance to quickly re-cap in case it encourages a few more people to try it. The biggest and most obvious reason is water safety and literal life-saving training. I will never forget the first time I saw a toddler fall into the pool, turn round, swim to the side and climb out exactly as she had been taught in her lessons. I couldn’t believe it and this is all the more amazing when put into context with current ASA research, documented recently in the Guardian, showing that 45% of 11 year olds still leave primary school unable to swim. I know there is a huge call for schools and the government to do more – recently supported by Prince William, but it’s such a positive move to take your child to swimming lessons – and even if you can’t afford to join lessons, take them swimming yourselves. To be part of teaching a child skills that could save their life, or the life of another is truly special.

Other benefits include physical fitness – many of our children are now classed as obese, and with many under twos using digital gadgets on a daily basis, we need to make sure that we do all we can to encourage our children to be physically fit.

Studies have shown that if good habits and attitudes to physical exercise are started in early life they are much more likely to be carried on into teenage and adult life. As a parent of a teenager and an eleven year old I see first-hand how sedentary some children now are and always encourage mine to move as much as they can – they are both still very physically active with hobbies they started before they were three, so preschool really is a good time to start good habits.

Swimming is also good for brain development with research from Newcastle University showing that swimming lessons increased children’s maths’ grades and other research has shown that although most of our brain cells are formed before birth, the majority of the connections between these cells are made in infancy and the toddler years.

Over the years our customers have also told us how swimming lessons have also helped their children’s confidence, social and friend-making skills and sleep; we love it every time we get a good review or a happy parent on the phone – an excited parent whose water adverse child has turned the corner and is nearly swimming or whose water baby has been snorkelling at the age of two and now swims unaided! It makes us really happy and feel really lucky to be a part of something so special. Our teachers often tell us the same so I asked a few of them to put in to words why they love being a preschool swimming teacher and from the responses it seems like it is one of the best jobs in the world!

Hayley: “I have been teaching preschool swimming – parent and baby – for over six years now, and I never get tired of watching swimmers achieving their goals and knowing that I had a part to play in the process. The smiles on the children’s (and parents) faces when they swim for the first time is priceless and something that you don’t get in every job. I love making the children laugh and encouraging them to try skills for the first time – growing in confidence. This is the most rewarding job I have ever had and I don’t think I would find anything else that comes close!”

Jo: “This is very hard, so many reasons…In particular I enjoy a child who is petrified of water and working out a system where they can become comfortable within the pool environment and then progress them to swimming. I like seeing how much the children enjoy the activities we plan, when it goes well. I enjoy seeing the parents’ face the first time a child swims a distance on their own or jumps in for the first time. It’s amazing how quickly children develop amazing skills within the water if you manage to explain it just right so they understand what they have to do and if they can’t get it, working out a different way to explain it.”

Rachel: “Here’s why I love my job – I have always been a passionate swimmer and I really wanted to pass on my love of the water to children, and teach them to be safe too. I never quite realised how rewarding this could be until I started with a group of swimmers at the age of 12 to 13 months old and watched them develop into competent and safe swimmers. I am a big kid myself, so find that by making lessons fun, as well as progressive, you can really grab the children’s attention and they learn through playing in the water. I feel very lucky to have this job!”

Well, if you haven’t dashed off to the pool yet and you want any information about baby, toddler and preschool swimming or to book some lessons, do call us at the little swim school on 01273 207992 or visit www.thelittleswimschool.co.uk

ABC Magazine on Twitter

 Subscriptions

Annual ABC Subscriptions are available and make a lovely gift for new mums.

Subscribe Now

Where to get your free copy

The best place to pick up your free copy of ABC Magazine is via one of our advertisers who are listed in our Shopping & Services Directory.

Pick up locally

Alternatively, ABC Magazine is available to pick up from libraries, hospitals, baby clinics, playgroups, shops and selected supermarkets.

The local information magazine for parents

in print, online, plus free social media

Every issue of ABC Magazine is packed full of local information and practical parenting advice to help you find what you need and where to buy it, ideas on what to do and where to go, where to find this and that – all child related and child friendly!

Loads of articles, great competitions, true-life stories, health updates, all sorts of parenting advice, facts and figures, ideas to fill your days and masses of useful practical parenting tips to help put you on the right road for early parenthood.

ABC Magazine covers all manner of child-related issues and parenting advice as well as subjects such as Health & Beauty, Diet & Fitness and Fashion & Interiors.

Local editions

ABC  publishes two editions in the UK – Sussex and Surrey

Join in

 Have you got a story to share with ABC readers? We would love to hear from you…

Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter 

Published three times a year

Each edition of ABC Magazine is published three times a year, out and about on 1st of March, July and November

ABC is available to pick up FREE via local hospitals, doctors’ surgeries, baby clinics, libraries, shops, schools, activity classes, playgroups, selected supermarkets and the majority of our advertisers.

 is FREE

and will remain so as long as advertisers are aware of the magazine that local parents read!

Please mention ABC when replying to adverts, give copies to your friends, and help to spread the word!

 Read the current edition online

ABC Magazine Sussex

ABC Magazine Surrey

 Testimonials

What our advertisers say about ABC Magazine

I am delighted to be advertising in ABC Magazine again, you are simply the most effective way to get all the bookings I can handle for my children's party company. ABC is 'the bible' for parents of small children and the most friendly and supportive company to do business with.

Pinkle’s Puppets07904 208135

ABC Magazine has proved to be the perfect place to advertise our Monkey Music classes. Parents know and trust the magazine and we have received a high number of enquiries through advertising in it.

Monkey Music01825 760970

Gymboree Play & Music consistently advertises with ABC Magazine in Sussex as we find it to be the most comprehensive and well-written magazine for families in the area. The readership is extensive and we find that parents read each issue cover to cover.

Gymboree Play & Music 020 7258 1415

The only two forms of advertising I would highly recommend for a successful business are ABC Magazine and word of mouth!

Rox School of Dance & Drama01273 208513

Starting out as a new business this year it was really beneficial to receive lots of new customer enquiries after they saw our ad in ABC. We were so pleased with the response and the friendly service from the team that we have signed up for another ad this quarter with ABC!

Caterpillar Music 01375 859850

"I have had more enquiries this month than ever before! I will certainly be keeping the ad in for another year. Well done to you on the success of the mag.

Kingswood Specialist Cleaning 020 8405 9229

I've been really pleased with my advertising in ABC, and of course the opportunities for editorials. We would like to continue for another year. I've had some excellent feedback from my parents about the magazine and often from parents I show around the nursery.

Hopscotch Day Nursery 020 8770 0761