Archive for the Child Care Category

Oh baby, oh baby! It’s Cold Outside!

Let’s be honest, baby oh baby it’s cold outside! Winter is this amazing time of year that brings food, fun and family together, but the temperatures are dropping. Dressing a baby, or toddler, in the winter can be quite the task. Are the clothes too tight? Are they comfortable?! Are they sweating under here?! Can the cold air still get to them?!

 

So many questions right!? Well here are five tips to keep your bundle of joy warm in the winter time.

 

  1. Layer! Layer! Layer!

This trick will be your best friend and save you time and time again. Let’s start with the basics, a onesie or t-shirt, then a one-piece of leggings and an outer shirt. Pair that with socks and boots and you’re in for a treat, and your little one will be all cozy.

 

  1. What’s one more item!?

One of the good rules to follow is plus one. So you dress your baby, or toddler, in a similar outfit to what you’re wearing and just add an extra piece on top of that. Simple right?! Here’s an example. If you have on a button up, jeans, socks, boots and a jacket, simply dress your child the same and just add a hat.

 

  1. Let’s cover that gorgeous head of hair!

Your child’s head should always be safe from the cold. So why not get a cute beanie or hat with a chin-strap to ensure your child’s warmth?

 

  1. Check the feet and stomach!

When checking the temperature, always make sure it’s not too hot or too cold. A good way to check on this is check for the toes, if the toes are cool (not cold) and check the belly for warmth. It’s an age old trick that works every time!

 

  1. Breathe!

It’s going to be okay and you’re going to have questions, after all that’s what blogs, forums, mom and dad groups, and other sources of information are for. Everything is going to be alright and you’ll get through this winter just fine.

Helping Your Child Recognize Their Feelings

Not too long ago it was thought that the conventional wisdom was that babies were pretty much blobs who didn’t think or feel much before they could speak in words around the age of two.  Such an idea that a six-month-old could feel fear or anger, no less sadness and grief, was preposterous.  But thanks to an explosion in research on infancy in the last 30 years, we now know that babies and toddlers do feel deeply. Starting in the earliest months of life, well before they can use words to express themselves, babies have the capacity to experience peaks of joy, excitement and elation. They also feel fear, grief, sadness, hopelessness and anger—emotions that many adults understandably still find it hard to believe, or accept, that very young children can experience. Research has also shown that children’s ability to effectively manage their full range of emotions—also known as self-regulation—is one of the most important factors for success in school, work and relationships into the long-term.So the critical first step in helping your child learn to cope with her feelings is not to fear the feelings, but embrace them—all of them. Feelings aren’t right or wrong, they just are what they are. Sadness and joy, anger and love, can co-exist and are all part of the collection of emotions children experience. When you help your child understand his feelings, he is better equipped to manage them effectively.

One major obstacle in doing this which I see quite often in my work with parents is that they are operating under the assumption that having a happy child means he needs to be happy all the time. Muscling through difficult experiences, mastering struggles, and coping with sadness and grief builds strength and resilience, and is ultimately what brings children a sense of contentedness and well-being.

What can parents do?

  • Starting in the earliest months, tune in to babies’ cues—their sounds, facial expressions and gestures—and respond sensitively, which lets babies know their feelings are recognized and important. This might mean stopping a tickling game with a four-month-old when she arches her back and looks away, signaling she needs a break. Or taking a nine-month-old to the window to wave good-bye to Mom when he is sad to see her leave for work.
  • Label and help toddlers cope with feelings. Emotions like anger, sadness, frustration and disappointment can be overwhelming for young children. Naming these feelings is the first step in helping children learn to identify them and communicates to children that these feelings are normal. This might mean acknowledging an 18-month-old’s anger at having to leave the playground, validating a two-year-old’s frustration at his block tower repeatedly falling or empathizing with a three-year-old’s sadness that his grandparents are leaving after a long visit.
  • Don’t fear the feelings. Feelings are not the problem. It’s what we do—or don’t do—with them that can be problematic. Listen openly and calmly when your child shares difficult feelings. When you ask about and acknowledge feelings, you are sending the important message that feelings are valued and important. Recognizing and naming feelings is the first step toward learning to manage them in healthy, acceptable ways over time.
  • Avoid minimizing or talking children out of their feelings. This is a natural reaction—we just want to make the bad feelings go away. “Don’t be sad. You’ll see Joey another day.” But feelings don’t go away; they need to be expressed one way or another. Acknowledging a child’s strong feelings opens the door to helping her learn how to cope with them. “You are sad Joey has to leave. You love playing with him.  Let’s go to the window to wave goodbye and make a plan to see him again soon.” When feelings are minimized or ignored, they often get expressed through aggressive words and actions, or by turning them inward, which can ultimately make children anxious or depressed.
  • Teach tools for coping. If your 18-month-old is angry that playtime is over, guide her to stamp her feet as hard as she can or to draw how angry she is with a red crayon. Help a two-year-old who is frustrated at not being able to get the ball into the basket brainstorm other ways to solve the problem. Take a three-year-old who is fearful about starting a new school to visit his classroom beforehand to meet the teachers and play on the playground so that the unfamiliar can become familiar.

Our children’s emotional reactions trigger our own emotional reactions, which can lead to a knee-jerk need to rescue or “fix” whatever is causing our child distress. But it’s important that we manage our own feelings and avoid this temptation, as it creates a missed opportunity to help children learn strong coping skills. Instead, see these experiences as teachable moments to help your child learn to name and manage the emotions—positive and negative—that add depth and color to our lives.  Show your child that a full, rich life means experiencing both the ups and the downs. Feelings are not “good” or “bad”—they just are. You are your child’s guide in sharing the joys and coping with the challenges. And it starts on day one.

Baby Play – Developmental Activities for Your Baby

baby activities, tummy time

Tummy Time
Tummy time is one of the earliest ways your baby will learn to play. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises that infants always sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of SIDs, but they also recommend that babies get plenty of tummy time when they’re awake and alert enough to play. Tummy time helps develop your baby’s neck and upper-body muscles for better head control and also helps prevent the back of her head from becoming flat. The AAP says you can begin tummy time the first day your baby is home from the hospital. Place her on her tummy for three to five minutes at a time, up to three times a day or as often as she seems to enjoy it. Increase tummy time as your baby gets older and stronger, and place toys in front of her to encourage reaching, creeping, and eventually crawling. 

baby activities, fun with faces

Fun with Faces
Babies love to explore the world through touch. Allow your little one to feel the different parts of your face and his stuffed animals’ faces with his hands. Say the names of the parts of the face as he touches them, and direct your baby’s hand to touch his own nose, mouth, ears, and more. Guide your baby’s hands to your face while you speak and make facial expressions so that he can get to know how we use our faces to communicate. 

baby activities, fun with boxes

Babies and Boxes
Boxes are so much fun! There’s no need to buy fancy blocks to build your infant’s motor skills. Wrap up some smaller boxes (such as cereal boxes or shoe boxes) with recycled newspaper or wrapping paper and allow your baby to handle them and learn to rip them open. She will love the sound of the paper ripping as she pulls on it. She will also enjoy stacking boxes, knocking them over, and rebuilding the stack with your help. 

baby activities, pull toy

String Along
You can turn just about toy into a pull-along toy. Simply attach a piece of yarn or a shoelace to your baby’s toy truck or the arm of his stuffed animal, and encourage your little one to give it a tug. He’ll be delighted to see the effect of pulling his toy on a string! As he begins to crawl, put the string just out of his reach so that he has to move to grab it and reel-in his toy. 

baby activities, silly time

Silly Stuff
What could be better than making your baby laugh? It’s not just good for your soul — it helps her develop her sense of a humor, which is an important part of human communication. Pay attention to whatever your baby finds funny, and repeat it. Use props like funny hats, big sunglasses, and mirrors to make your baby giggle. 

baby activities, feeling textures

Testing Out Textures
As your baby begins to scoot and crawl, try laying rugs, blankets, or items with different textures on the floor for him to explore as he travels across them. Nubby carpet remnants, sticky contact paper, and noisy bubble wrap are just a few ideas. Also, carry your baby around and help him feel the textures of different surfaces, such as a cool brick wall or a round staircase banister. 

baby activities, bath toys

Water Play
Splish splash! You don’t have to save water play for bath time: Fill a small plastic tub with water and various squirty toys, plastic cups, kitchen ladles, and other items that you and your tot can use to make a splash. Non-toxic bubble bath adds another fascinating element to water play. Just remember never to leave your baby unattended near water, even for a moment. 

baby activities, point and learn

Pointing Power
It’s not polite to point — unless you’re a baby (or playing with a baby)! Carry your baby around and point to different objects and things while saying what they are. Even if your baby isn’t showing signs of speaking or making many sounds yet, he is listening and observing as you speak. Point to things and ask, “What’s this?” You’ll be amazed one day when he is able to answer you! 

baby activities, soft catch

Floating Catch
Get it! Gentle games of catch give babies a thrill — and help develop their hand/eye coordination. Gather some lightweight, colorful scarves and toss them in the air so that they float down in front of your baby and she can attempt to grab them. If you don’t have scarves, you can use non-toxic bubbles in your game of catch. 

baby activities, kitchen fun

Cupboard Fun
If your baby is on the move, he’s surely curious to raid your cupboards. Instead of making them all baby proof, leave one designated for play — it’s a great way to allow some controlled exploration in the kitchen. Put some pots, pans, wooden spoons, and other safe objects within their baby’s reach so that he can entertain himself while Mom or Dad is busy in the kitchen. You probably have a talented little drummer on your hands! Before you know it, baby will be stirring up imaginary meals, modeling his parents. 

baby activities, three toys

That Makes Three
Hmm… which toy is the best? Give your baby two toys so that he’s holding one in each hand. Offer a third toy so that he can practice his decision-making skills: Should I exchange one of my toys for this other one? Can I try to hold all three?! It’s a physical and mental exercise for your little guy.

baby activities, reading to infant

Baby Bookworm
Reading is a fun escape and a mellow form of play — a great habit for a child to get hooked on at a young age. Hearing new words and seeing colorful pictures will stimulate your baby’s brain. At the end of a busy, playful day, make reading a bedtime story part of your bedtime routine, and carry it through to the toddler years and beyond. 

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