Mom started reading to us when we were still in her womb. She was determined that we would love books because she knew they would open new worlds for us. Mom made reading fun. She would snuggle with us in bed as she read our favorite bedtime stories. When we got a little older, she would read a chapter a night of a bigger book like The Secret Garden or Mandy.
Those special bedtime reading rituals are cherished memories I still have today, but they are more than memories. I continue to love reading and I’m so grateful that the good reading habits I had as a child, helped me throughout school and even now in my current career.
The holidays are a great time to start some reading traditions. A few simple tips to get your little one hooked on books!
Children under a year
- Snuggle with your child as you read to equate good feelings with reading.
- Look for age appropriate books with bright simple, pictures with few words.
- Use rhythm when you read. Clap to promote baby’s natural sense of rhythm. Brown Bear is a perfect book for this.
Children 1-2 years old
- Let your child turn the pages of the book as you read so he feels part of the reading experience.
- Use silly voices, make animals noises and add drama. It will get your child extra excited about the story.
- Make your own book with your child’s baby photos. We love Shutterfly’s albums where you can add text and pictures. Your child will love reading the story of her own life.
What reading tips do you have for your little one?
It’s that time of year where we seem to be meeting ourselves coming and going. Holiday time is fun and magical, but it can also be very stressful. A few easy tips (or reminders) on keeping the holidays as stress-free as possible.
- Be realistic – No parent can do it all. We think that somehow we have to do every activity with our children while attending office parties, cooking every possible holiday dessert from scratch, wrapping presents and decking the halls with perfect boughs of holly. It’s ok not to do everything and honestly – most people won’t notice if you don’t do everything perfectly from scratch. If you are completely stressed, you won’t be able to be present to your children. Concentrate on a few things that are important to you and your family and let the rest go.
- Put on your kiddie googles – That’s right, see the holidays through your child’s eyes. You may want to hop from house to house and fit in as much as possible during the holidays, but that may be confusing to your children if you are changing homes late at night to go to the next party. It may be as simple as explaining to them why you are doing the activities you are doing or you may want to do something special as you travel from event to event such as let them pick out the holiday song you will sing, or perhpas cut down on how many events/parties you attend, etc.
- Explain, explain, explain – The holidays mean something different to every family. Be sure to explain to your children why your family celebrates the holidays. If the holidays are part of your religious tradition, explain the religious meaning to your children. If your holidays are about gathering to share love with family and friends, explain that to your children. Don’t rely on others to explain the meaning of the holidays to them.
Most of all have fun. The holidays don’t have to be perfect – they only need to be what you and your family want them to be.
What holiday stress-free tips do you have?
PS – Don’t forget our contest to win a humidifier from Crane Humidifiers! http://bit.ly/hLfHGM
Everyone gathers around the Thanksgiving table ready to eat a feast and your toddler couldn’t be less interested in all this rich “adult” food. Or even worse – the succulent dishes are filled with nuts, shellfish or other things your child can’t have. An easy solution that everyone will love is to create your own Kiddie Thanksgiving Buffet. (Make sure you set aside small servings before nuts and other ingredients your child might not eat are added to the dish.)
Set aside in smaller dishes some of the softer kid friendly food such as potatoes, dinner rolls, stuffing and vegetables. Your child will feel like she has her own special Thanksgiving feast Kiddie style! We love Dippy Cups for kid-friendly meals especially during the holidays.
What tips do you have for making your Thanksgiving more Toddler friendly?
Last week we had a green parenting tip taken from The Eco-nomical Baby Guide book. When we posted it on our Kolcraft Facebook wall, one of our Facebook fans, shared a link to a site called ThredUP where you can exchange baby and children’s clothing.
Children grow out of clothes so quickly and the bills can add up. We loved this idea of a clothing exchange for gently used baby and children’s clothes. Check it out-your wallet and Mother Earth will appreciate it!
Thanks for sharing the site Ashley!
Yesterday we had the opportunity to interview the authors of The Eco-nomical Baby Guide. They are amazing moms who are passionate about green parenting and are determined to make green living accessible to all parents.
They have great hands-on tips in their book for green living without breaking the bank. As a matter of fact, they list ways to save money while caring for Mother Earth! We loved their tips on living cleaner and greener and wanted to highlight one of their tips on our Tip Tuesday.
- Make your own cleaning solutions. Common pantry items such as vinegar, baking soda, and borax are just a few of the inexpensive ingredients you can use to clean your house. Visit oeconline.org for a list of homemade cleaning recipes you can easily whip up yourself for pennies.
“How was school?”
“What did you learn?”
“Well, how was your test in science?”
Sound familiar? Sometimes getting your child to share what is going on in their world can be no small miracle! Enter the Chat Pack for Kids. This amazing little box contains 156 creative questions to ignite your child’s (& your) imagination. All you do is pull a card, share the question and watch the conversation begin!
I LOVE the Chat Pack for Kids. We have used it when sitting around the campfire, to start dinner conversations and during long car rides. (It’s a great way to end the continual “Are we there yet?” questioning.) It’s so fun to ask a question and get insight into how your little one thinks, imagines, hopes and dreams. Everyone has fun answering these questions no matter how old they are. The best part is that is often leads to quality conversations with your family.
We have also used them for parties – even had the Chat Pack at our wedding! We had them at the tables and it was a great ice-breaker for people who didn’t know each other and even those who did. They were an instant hit.
We love the Chat Pack for Kids so much that we are giving one away. All you have to do is answer one of the Chat Pack for Kids questions posted below by leaving a comment. Random.org will pick a winner. For extra entries, you can like us on Twitter & Facebook & leave a comment on our blog that you have done so. Contest ends Tuesday, November 9th at noon CST.
Questions to answer:
If you could pick 1,000 of anything red what would you want most of all? –Chat Pack for Kids by The Question Guys
What particular quality above all others do you look for when choosing your friends? –Chat Pack for Kids by The Question Guys
Does it seem that your baby will only fall asleep if he is in your arms? One way to soothe your baby to sleep without having to hold him until he falls asleep, is to swaddle him with arms down in a blanket or onesie that has your scent. This will give baby a reminder that you are always with him.
To get your scent on baby’s blanket or clothes, just hold it or wrap it around you for a couple of hours while you watch TV, are on the computer or relaxing.
What tips do you have for a baby who has a hard time sleeping?
It’s that time of year again when there are runny noses and scratchy throats as cold & flu season begins. A natural remedy for your child’s scratchy throat is as close as your cabinet!
A study at Penn State College of Medicine found that honey was more effective than cough medicine for treating a child’s cough. Honey coats the back of the throat soothing it and stifling coughs.*
What are some of your favorite natural remedies to fight cold & flu from getting the best of your child?
*Because honey can cause botulism in infants, never give it to a child under a year of age. As always be sure to check with your pediatrician when your child is sick.
Princesses, ghosts and other creatures will soon be going house to house for trick or treating. Whether your child is dressing up as a cuddly or a creepy critter, a few Halloween tips can keep this holiday from being a scary one.
- Makeup vs Masks – Make sure your child’s costume is safe. Masks tend to inhibit vision which can be especially dangerous for little ones who are already a bit unsteady on their feet. A great alternative is to use age-appropriate makeup instead of a mask.
- When the Sun Sets – If your child is trick or treating at night, be sure he has reflective tape on his costume, a flashlight and knows safety rules before he heads out.
- Costume Material - Your little girl couldn’t look more precious as a sparkling princess, but nothing will make her Halloween more scary than an itchy costume. Be sure to try it on beforehand and if the netting or material is itchy, see if leggings, tights or a shirt underneath will take away the scratchy feeling.
- Simplicity is Key – Cumbersome costumes on your little one can make it more difficult for him to enjoy Halloween. If he is tied down by an intricate costume you will be spending more time fixing it than allowing him to just have fun. A simple outfit will make him feel dressed up but still free to play and enjoy the holiday.
- Size Matters – Costumes that are too long- whether that be a long dress, cape, or accessory- can be a tripping hazard for little ones.
- Little Ms. or Mr. Manners – Halloween is a great time to reinforce manners by making sure your child always says “thank you” after he receives his Halloween treats. If your child grabs a handful of candy instead of one piece, remind her of the importance of sharing with the other children who are trick or treating.
What tips do you have for a safe and fun Halloween?
The toddler years are filled with growth and new discoveries. While your toddler discovers her voice and learns new vocabulary, her favorite word may fast become, “NO!” With every “no” your toddler is finding and asserting her independence. While this is a natural growth stage, it can try your patience on your more frazzled days.
A wonderful way to divert from the stream of “no’s” is to give your toddler a choice between two options so she feels that she has some independence.
- Would like Cheerios or fruit for breakfast?
- Would you like to walk and hold mommy’s hand or be in your stroller?
- Would you like to take a nap or have a time out?
Be creative, tap into your parenting genius and you will see you can reel in your toddler’s string of “no’s.”
What creative toddler tips do you have?