Sep 3

A toddler is a little orb of uncontrollable energy. The auto hyperactivity starts when he turns one and a-half years old and lasts until he is two and one-half. During this time, it’s complete chaos. You just turn around for one second and your child disappears and you’re in panic that he may have run, wandered, and have become abducted. Paranoid. And you get the feeling that you want to put a harness on your child. Of course you can’t do that, not without scrutinizing eyes, but what must you do?

Toddlerhood is a time when kids discover their identities and yearn to explore their surroundings and maximize their independence. For parents, it’s a fearful time. The kid might get hurt and the parent may feel ever more guilty for not looking after her child. There are strategies though that you can apply to help your restrain your active toddler, especially when you are in a potentially dangerous public place. This article is entitled ‘Taming the Escape Artist’. Apply these tips and never lose sight of child ever again. Note: You child still gets to enjoy his independence.

Link:
http://www.eacourier.com/opinion/editorials/parenting-tips-taming-the-escape-artist/article_0b753100-ee7c-11e1-9896-001a4bcf887a.html


Sep 2

Are you trying to become the best parent for your kids? But are you trying too hard? There is a very thin line between good parenting and Over-Parenting, and over-parenting turns out to be counterproductive for our kids than what we would have wanted otherwise.

Psychologist, educator, author, and consultant Madeline Levine points out some fallacies in some of the different ways we’re doing over-parentinghttp://www.sfgate.com/opinion/article/Over-parenting-s-faulty-logic-3779426.php. We really want to avoid these if we want our kids to truly succeed in life.

Levine also shares some tips, so make sure you check out the article. It’s a worthy read for all concerned parents.


Aug 28

Summer is great for fun but some kids’ activities could harm the environment – like water balloons. The following ideas from Margaret Hyde of Huffington Post would create the best Eco-Friendly Summer Fun for Kids without hurting Mother Nature:

1. Grow a garden play area
- Plant sunflowers to create a maze or a beautiful natural playground in your backyard. Planting a “pizza garden” (tomatoes, oregano, basil) is also a great idea. Harvest them with your kids at the end of summer and make the best homemade pizza.
2. Create a natural art box mobile
- Materials: box, translucent contact paper, string, pebbles, rocks, small twigs, flowers, and some homemade paint (egg white and red ochre blush and charcoal). View some ancient cave art pictures with your child for inspirations.
3. Make toys and crafts from boxes
- Big boxes make great puppet theaters and tunnel playhouses. Medium boxes could be made into train tunnels or matchbox car highways.
4. Add some scent to Play Dough
- Create an “Around the World” Play dough and add different spices like lemongrass and ginger for an Asian smelling clay, or cumin and turmeric for an Indian scented play.
5. Make your own water sponge toys
- Instead of water balloons, why not play with water sponge toys instead? It’s easy to throw around and leaves no rubber trash behind.
6. Do some finger painting
- No brush use but only fingers. Use non-toxic finger paint [cornstarch, water, and food color] for a fun messy activity.
7. Colored rice and pasta (using non-toxic coloring)
- Use food color and some (quick drying) rubbing alcohol for your colored rice and pasta . The kids could use these in spatial relationship play and/or crafting. Let the kids pour them into cups or use to make necklaces or to glue onto their artwork.
8. Sand box treasure hunting
- Buy some inexpensive environment-friendly toy pirate ‘loots’ (“fool’s good” pyrite) and bury them in your kid’s sand box. Have the kids dress up into pirates and let them dig up their gold.
9. Make a toilet paper tube bird feeder
- Take a toilet paper tube and recycle it by covering with peanut butter and rolling in birdseeds. It’s a worthwhile activity for kids.
10. Create a backyard beach
- Buy several bags of sand from the hardware store or local garden shed and spread it out in the kiddy pool or just anywhere you can enjoy it in your own backyard. Next, place some sea shells, sand dollars, and even driftwood you’ve collected from your previous trips to the beach. Then, take out the beach umbrella and sand toys.

Let your kids engage with fun and nature in these activities. Which of these green summertime ideas you’d be trying with your kids?


Aug 17

The relationship between the mother and father of a child greatly affects the parenting set-up for the child even after divorce or legal separation. This is especially true for ex-spouses who are court-ordered to share legal and physical custody of their child or children.

A new study by the Kansas State University has identified some crucial factors that affect how ex-partner parents succeed in co-parenting.

45% of the mothers from the study group have a “contentious relationship” with their exes even in the area of co-parenting their children. The mothers state that there is a conflict in the way they see their exes raise (or cannot raise) the children, and most of the women said they do not want to share custody, but only have to because of the court ruling.

On the other hand, 35% of the mothers have a “bad-to-better” co-parenting relationship with their children’s father. During the earlier phase post the separation, the relationship was contentious but improved eventually as the mothers began to think that their exes are good parents after all. The mothers also state that they were not able to have a more amicable co-parenting relationship in the beginning because personal issues were in still the way. The parents had to change this relationship for the sake of the children, hence made a conscious effort to work things out in order to succeed in co-parenting the kids. It has been found that good communication between the ex-partners greatly helps with their success in co-parenting.

Meanwhile nearly-half of the subject mothers are still in animosity-terms with their ex-partners, and they still continue to have a contentious (almost no-communication) co-parenting relationship with their exes. They do not see that cooperation and a less-conflicted relationship would help improve their current shared-custody situation.


Aug 16

Parenting children ages 3 to 8 years old can be hard not just for parents, but also for their children. For children, it is a stage of major transitions. At times they would need feelings of security and affection, and other times they would want to feel independent and test the limits within their surroundings. Sometimes, they want to find out what will or will not be tolerated. And as the kids undergo these conflicting needs and pleasures, then may throw tantrums and exhibit destructive behavior during the times when they don’t get what they want.

For parents, this is often shocking and challenging to handle. Parents may feel a loss of control and feel anger and frustration for not being able to get their child to cooperate. On the other hand, parents may sometimes also feel guilt or anxious that they may be lacking enough skills with parenting and are over-all concerned about their child’s progress (at school and whether their child is making enough friends.) With this, parents often feel confused thinking as to how much freedom and control they should give their kids. You must have frequently felt guilty wondering whether you handled a situation right or perhaps whether you have expected too much from your small child.

Parents can use appropriate discipline while also being responsive and nurturing to their kids. This can help their children learn effective ways to self-regulate and solve their problems, and in the long-term help them grow and develop to become more socially competent and less aggressive individuals. It will help advance your child’s emotional, social, and academic development, and you will feel more confident and less guilty in rearing your child.

You can read more on these principles on “Responsive and Nurturing Parenting” – HERE


Aug 15

The sky is great and beautiful this summer – Why don’t you take out your kids and have some fun outside – right in your very own backyard! Natural Parents Network suggests 5 Activities for Summertime Fun that both you and your kids can enjoy:

1. Creating a growing play pot ‘fairy garden’
- What you do is plant a sturdy plant on an extra large pot (a good height for children’s play), cover it with moss or other soft touchable ground covers, and then let your kids decorate it with small stones, pebbles, small animals, toys and trucks, and fairies!
2. Setting up a sensory playground
- To set this up, you will need to use your wading pool (without wat er). Place it outside on the grass or on the porch, or you can take it inside your living during cool or rainy summers. Now dump it with beans, rice, pillows, balls, packing peanuts, and duplos and other colorful blocks and toys. No need to fill it all the way – just a small layer on the bottom and your kids will be ready to dive in!
3. Rock painting and garden decorating
- Go on a walk to where you can find large rounded stones or river rocks you can use for this project. Wash and dry the rocks with the kids. Heat up the rocks in the oven for just a bit, at 225 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Peel some crayons and let your kids melt the colors away on the warm rocks! Decorate your garden steps or windowsill with your creations.
4. Making a homemade sidewalk or driveway paint
- Mix equal parts of water and cornstarch and add food coloring. Let your kids do the stirring. You can use painbrushes or just let your colors drizzle and drip. You can now paint the ground with your kids!
5. Painting with water
- How about painting with water? Yes, you don’t have to use paint. Your kids’ imaginations are what matters. Best of all, they can paint anything outside with this – the porch table, trellis, the fence, walkway, or even the wall and the entire deck!

What other warm weather activities can you suggest? Have fun this summer!


Aug 12

You really don’t have to be bothered by kids saying, “I’m bored, there’s nothing to do” during summer. There’s a great solution for this, and it doesn’t mean sending him off to “Just go there and play.” All you need is a list of the best 2012 summer readings for kids for all ages:

BOOKS FOR BOYS:

Dan Gutman’s “Baseball Card Aventures”
David A. Kelly’s “Ballpark Mysteries”
Kevin Markey’s “The Super Sluggers”
S.J. Kincaid’s “Insignia”
Catherine Fisher’s “Incarceron”
Matt and Dave’s “Yuck” series (“Yuck’s Amazing Underpants”)
“Planet Tad”
Lincoln Pierce’s “Big Nate Goes For Broke”
Jennifer and Matthew Holm’s “Squish: Super Amoeba”
“Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers”
“Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants”
Brian Selznick’s “The Invention of Hugo Cabret”

PICTURE BOOKS FOR BOYS:

Artie Bennett’s “Poopendous”
Owen Davey’s “Night Knight”
Chris Van Dusen’s “Randy Riley’s Really Big Hit
Charise Mericle Harper’s “If Waffles Were Like Boys”
Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Licktenheld’s “Good Night, Good Night, Construction Site”
Ame Dyckman’s “Boy + Bot”
Michael Chabon’s “The Astonishing Secret of Awesome Man”
Peter Stein and illustrator Bob Staake’s “Bugs Galore”

BOOKS FOR GIRLS:

Polly Horvath’s “Mr. and Mrs. Bunny — Detectives Extraordinaire”
“Charlotte’s Web”
Lissa Price’s “Starters”
Cassandra Clare’s series “The Mortal Instruments”
Lauren Oliver’s “Liesel & Po”
“Junie B. Jones and Ramona Quimby”
“Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly School Bus”
Stephanie Barden’s “Cinderella Smith”
Jennifer L. Holm’s “Eighth Grade is Making Me Sick”
“Letters to Leo”

PICTURE BOOKS FOR GIRLS:

Matthea Harvey’s “Cecil the Pet Glacier”
Emily Redmond’s “Felicity Floo Visits the Zoo”
Jonny Duddle’s “The Pirates Next Door Starring the Jolly-Rogers”
Peter McCarty’s “Chloe”
Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s “Plant a Kiss”
Amy Beth Bloom’s “Little Sweet Potato”

Have you found any interesting titles for your kids?

Source: Summer Reading 2012: Books for Kids of All Ages (Huffington Post)


Jul 29

Kids grow up so fast! And because they do, don’t you think you should start planning to spend more time with them? Having fun with kids is one of the best rewards of being a parent. So take your time and enjoy activities with your kids this summer.

Child and Adolescent Therapist Signe Whitson from Huffington Post shares 45 Ideas for Summer Fun with Kids that parents could do with their fast growing children. Her summertime with the kids ‘to-do-list’ includes making stepping stones, having a car wash, running through a fountain, organizing a block party for the neighbors, making homemade icecream, selling lemonade at the park and donating the money to charity, catching fireflies, looking at the stars, swinging ‘so high we think our feet would touch the sky’, making swirly designs with sparklers in the night sky, roasting marshmallows and hot dogs on long sticks, wearing glow bracelets and running around after dard, planting flowers, going to a museum, blowing bubbles, swimming a lot, just lying in the hammock, and just enjoying being young spending time the kids!

Remember, children are only young once so make the most out of it. Enjoy the time with them while it lasts, especially while it’s summer. You household and professional tasks can wait. Enjoy the no-school no-hurry mornings, savor the staying-up-late-past-bedtime, and just become a kid again with your kids!


Jul 23

Do you put your child or baby on a safety seat while traveling on the plane? If you haven’t been doing so, then we think you should read Huffington Post’s passenger safety article about traveling safely with your kids when flying. The columnist notes some instances or news when the parents in a plane crash survived but not the child who was only on the parent’s lap and not restrained in a safety seat or any child restraining system during the said flight. There were also instances when children survived in a plane crash and they were found in their safety seats.

The National Transportation Safety Board or NTSB has been urging all passengers to be restrained in separate seats during take-offs, turbulence, and landing – and this doesn’t exclude children.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the FAA has also recommended safety seats for babies and children on the plane because it’s safe compared to just holding your child on your lap. It’s really worth the investment to buy your child or baby a safety seat, which by the way, you can check on the plane without a fee. Yes, airlines don’t charge parents or anyone checking a car seat on the plane.

If you don’t want to hassle bringing a carseat to the plane or airport, you can opt to buy a Child Aviation Restraint System (CARE) instead. It easily fits into a 6-inch purse, and adjusts to fit airplane seats. It can be used for kids one to four years old. You can check it out on Kidsflysafe.com.


Jul 21

It’s often a dilemma for parents to get their child into the carseat. It just takes forever! Here are a few tips from the article, “Ten Tips to Relieve Toddler Carseat Woes” from Natural Parents Network (We’re using our own examples though):

1. Relax. (It just makes things easier.) Then give it some extra time. This would really help to get to your destination on time and without having to stress too much getting the child into the carseat.
2. Talk over the plan to your child before getting into the carseat. “We’re now going to van. I need you to get into your carseat fast so we could arrive in your ballet recital right away.”
3. Turn it into a game. Pretend you are going to ride a horse, or, you scoop him up playfully and lovingly and place him or her in the carseat (this work well on smaller children), or you tell him ‘We need to go quick, we need to save the princess!’ You could even encourage his imagination by pretending he is a pilot in a cockpit.
4. Prepare a fun activity he could do in the car. (Eventually this will make him look forward to being in his carseat.)
5. Use a reward system. For instance, you’re child often asks for his favorite candy and you tell him he’ll get his treat when you’re already on your way, or after you’ve arrived at your destination.
These are just some of the tips that could help you make things easier to get your child in his carseat. You can read NPN’s entire article HERE


Jul 16

Kiddie apps and games are great practical ways to keep kids and small children entertained while traveling. Keeping them busy during your trip will minimize the noise, tantrums, and just keeps them happy all throughout your plane or road trip. Here are a few suggested apps and offline games you could get for your child: Zingo to Go, Scribblenauts, My Playhome, and Highlights Hidden Pictures.

If you’re traveling with more than one child, then these two ideas are sure ways to give them some fun ways to interact: 1) Checkers for iPad, and 2) Encouraging them to record videos of each other while singing and then later, having them to play it back much to their hearts’ content.

If you want quiter travels though, then engage them in PopMath, Comic Book app, Who am I, Dinosaur Chess, or Doodle Buddy, or just get them a wonderful picture book.

If you’re traveling with your kids with gadgets, the important thing is to let them create fun memories – but make sure you have them turn off their toys once you arrive at Grandma’s. Let them participate in the gatherings and let them spend the in-between sessions by talking with the other family members, exploring, and playing with Gramps or Uncle John.

Keeping their electronic toys shut off and reserved for only during the trips in the car or plane will also keep them excited for it, compared to if they were playing with the gadgets the entire time of vacationing.


Jul 14

We’re pretty sure you’re familiar with this situation – Boarding on the plane with your child or baby, and everyone’s eyes are on you as if saying ‘Oh no, please Lord, don’t let Mrs. Woman-with-Baby sit right next to me.’ It’s not like mothers traveling on the plane with their kids have the plague right? Yes, they might cause other passengers a few, or frequent – “distractions” – but people can deal with it, right?

Devon Corneal, from HuffPost Parents share in her article “Babies on a Plane” why she thinks it’s NOT such a crime to travel with your kids (on airplanes, or other public transportation). She points out that kids have to be kids, and while parents are responsible for keeping their kids calm and occupied throughout the flight, we should still give them some allowance to make a few booboos.

Parents of course need to apologize to other passengers for these slight mishaps, and should even instruct their kids to say ‘sorry’. Letting your child say, ‘Oops, sorry’ when he spills a drink or bump into the person sitting next to him really means a lot to minimize the tension.. The point though is, slip-ups like these do happen in public transpos and that EVERYONE can cause distractions during travel and NOT JUST children. Sometimes, really, we just have to deal with everyone.


Feb 2

The latest edition of the Child Well-Being Index (CWI) is out, and it ranks what states are best for raising children, looking at categories such as Family Economic Well-Being, Educational Attainment, Social Relationships and more.  New Jersey came in at number one and New Mexico was at the bottom of the list. Do you want to see how your state stacked up? Check out the best states for raising kids.


Jan 20

Does your child need a role model? Experts say yes, and even if you don’t believe it, chances are your kids are going to find someone to look up to. If you’d rather them not decide they want to be just like a drug-pumping athlete, a foul-mouthed rapper, or attention-grabbing reality star, there are a few things you can do to help guide kids to the right role models.


Jan 2

Ear infections are very common in children, especially this time of year. They are one of the main reasons why many kids end up visiting their doctors. They can be painful for kids and a tough task for parents to conquer, so it’s always best to be prepared. Here’s what you need to know about children’s ear infections.


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