Monday, April 30, 2012

Expanding reading: Get moving!

Reading can be so much fun!  We've talked about reading many time and the wonderful benefits it has for your children.  Here is a great book that has many interactive activities to help your children learn everyday and develop pre-math skills, a love for reading, matching, and colors identification from an early age.

This book is all about Dinosaurs and their CRAZY movements, so get moving with your children!!!

Here are some fun ideas:
  • Act out the words!
Let your child roar, squeak, act fierce, act meet, walk slow, walk fast, act weak and strong, measure short and long, fat and tiny, demonstrate clean and slimy, act sweet and grumpy, touch spiky and lumpy, and dramatize eating lunch. 

  • Matching Game
Match the dinosaur by color, shape, and name. 
-Green/orange with spikes-Stegosaurus
-Orange/yellow with bony head-parasaurolophus
-Small orange/yellow with long tail- deinonychus
-Green/blue with two sharp front teeth- tyrannosaurus
-Large yellow/orange with spots-brontosaurus
-Large brown spotted- allosaurus
-Flying- rhamphorhynchus
-Small yellow/green with spots- campsognathus

  •   Fossil Craft
Foil pie tins (small and large) or reusable pie plates
Large cupcake tins or other dishes that have flat bottoms and are fairly shallow
At least three small bags of plaster of paris
Measuring cup
A collection of things from nature to “fossilize” (Don’t use things that you want to save. The plaster doesn’t come off easily), and
Paints if you want to decorate them more

Mix up all of the plaster of paris, using only about 3/4 of the water it calls for. You want it to be thick.  Spread out all of your pans and fill each of them with about 1/4 to 1/2 inch of plaster of paris and let set up for a few minutes until it is a little firm.  Press your “fossils” into the plaster and let them set up for about 5 more minutes.  Carefully peel back the “fossils” to reveal the impression and then let dry for 20-30 minutes. 

  •   Field Trip
To see real bones, take a field trip over to the BYU Museum of Paleontology.  This museum is free to the public and is open from Mondy-Friday, 9am-5pm.

It is located at: BYU Museum of Paleontology
1683 N. Canyon Road
Provo, Utah 84602-3300

Friday, April 27, 2012

Eagle Mountian Playgroup

We've been talking a lot about playgroups lately, and we're excited to announce a new playgroup in Eagle Mountain!

Tuesday, May 1st at 10:00am 
 Willow Springs Condo Club house 
(3400 E. Ridge Route Rd, Eagle Mountain).  

Previously, we've discussed the benefits of playgroups through the protective factors.  However, today I wanted to share another great reason to join a playgroup.

Participating in a playgroup is a great way to be involved in your community!  Each playgroup is run by a community playgroup leader.  Those who attend the playgroup get to meet new people in their neighborhoods.  Each person who attends also gets an active role as they help provide materials, personal skills, and playgroup lesson ideas.  

Utah County has many wonderful activities and learning opportunities such as museums, art galleries, library storytime, community events, and interactive venues.  Playgroups have the fun opportunity to take field trips out into the community and explore the wonderful resources available!

Feeling apart of a community also becomes another support network.  Utah County has an abundance of free or low cost resources for families and becoming familiar with community resources can help in time of crisis.

We encourage anyone to attend a playgroup.  Come participate and get to know your neighbors!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Teething usually starts between months four and seven. The two front teeth (central incisors), either upper or lower, usually appear first, followed by the opposite front teeth. The first molars come in next, followed by the canines or eyeteeth.
There is great variability in the timing of teething. If your child doesn’t show any teeth until later than this age period, don’t worry. The timing may be determined by heredity, and it doesn’t mean that anything is wrong.
Teething occasionally may cause mild irritability, crying, a low-grade temperature (but not over 101 degrees Fahrenheit or 38.3 degrees Celsius), excessive drooling, and a desire to chew on something hard. More often, the gums around the new teeth will swell and be tender. To ease your baby’s discomfort, try gently rubbing or massaging the gums with one of your fingers. Teething rings are helpful, too, but they should be made of firm rubber. (The teethers that you freeze tend to get too hard and can cause more harm than good.) Pain relievers and medications that you rub on the gums are not necessary or useful since they wash out of the baby’s mouth within minutes. Some medication you rub on your child’s gums can even be harmful if too much is used and the child swallows an excessive amount. If your child seems particularly miserable or has a fever higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit (38.3 degrees Celsius), it’s probably not because she’s teething, and you should consult your pediatrician.
Tips to comfort your baby:
  • If you decide to try some medication, always check with your pediatrician first. This includes any over-the-counter pain relievers such as Tylenol or Motrin. Also, check with your pediatrician before using any topical, pain-relieving gels, but beware, the pain relief doesn’t last very long and some children dislike the numbing effect just as much as the teething pain.  One other option for medication is homeopathic teething tablets. These seem to be a popular form of pain relief used by many mothers. Again, please check with your doctor before using any type of medicine.
  • Pressure to the gums seems to be most babies’ treatment of choice. As a parent, you can probably do the job a little better with a clean finger of your own. Are you brave enough to stick your finger in there? If you are, then massaging the gums will help most babies to relax. It might take a few gentle but firm rubs before your child can actually enjoy the gum massage you are providing. It will be a little painful at first but the pressure will soon help to ease the pain. If your child really seems to dislike it, then move on to something else. 
  • Some children will prefer something harder to chomp down on to help relieve pressure. It’s even better if that something is cold. Do not give your child frozen bagels, hard vegetables, like carrots, or any other solid, frozen food item. These things are choking hazards and could be very dangerous if a piece breaks off in your child’s mouth. Stick with actual teething rings made for this purpose. You can put them in the refrigerator or in the freezer. If you have put a water-filled ring in the freezer and it has frozen solid, running it under some water before giving it to your child can soften it up slightly. This is good for the younger babies whose gums are still a little delicate. 
  • If your child seems to prefer the softer items to chew on, you can wet a washcloth and put it in the freezer. Put a few of them in at once. This way, when the one he’s been chewing on is no longer cold, you’ll already have another one standing by. If you’re not opposed to your child having a pacifier, or if he already uses one, you can also keep a couple of these in the freezer. Keep a close watch on any pacifiers your child has been chewing on. If you notice any breakage or loosening of the parts, throw it away. Do not give a damaged pacifier to your child.
  • Get advice from your pediatrician if these tips don't work for you and your baby.
Teething Tips found here
How should you clean the new teeth? Simply brush them with a soft child’s toothbrush when you first start seeing her teeth. To prevent cavities, never let your baby fall asleep with a bottle, either at nap time or at night. By avoiding this situation, you’ll keep milk from pooling around the teeth and creating a breeding ground for decay.
Information found here
baby toothbrush 200x300 baby toothbrushPhoto

Monday, April 23, 2012

Safe Sleep Practices

Did You Know?

  • About one in five sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) deaths occur while an infant is in the care of someone other than a parent. Many of these deaths occur when babies who are used to sleeping on their backs at home are then placed to sleep on their tummies by another caregiver. We call this “unaccustomed tummy sleeping.”
  • Unaccustomed tummy sleeping increases the risk of SIDS. Babies who are used to sleeping on their backs and are placed to sleep on their tummies are 18 times more likely to die from SIDS.
You can reduce your baby’s risk of dying of SIDS by talking to those who care for your baby, including child care providers, babysitters, family, and friends, about placing your baby to sleep on his back at night and during naps.

Who Is At Risk For SIDS?

  • SIDS is the leading cause of death for infants between 1 month and 12 months of age.
  • SIDS is most common among infants that are 2-4 months old. However, babies can die of SIDS until they are 1 year old.

What Can I Do Before My Baby Is Born To Reduce The Risk of SIDS?

Take care of yourself during pregnancy and after the birth of your baby. During pregnancy, before you even give birth, you can reduce the risk of your baby dying from SIDS! Don’t smoke or expose yourself to others’ smoke while you are pregnant and after the baby is born. Be sure to visit a physician for regular prenatal checkups to reduce your risk of having a low birth weight or premature baby. Breastfeed your baby, if possible, at least through the first year of life.

Know The Truth…SIDS Is Not Caused By:

  • Immunizations
  • Vomiting or choking
Where Is The Safest Place For My Baby To Sleep?
The safest place for your baby to sleep is in the room where you sleep. Place the baby’s crib or bassinet near your bed (within an arm’s reach). This makes it easier to breastfeed and to bond with your baby.
The crib or bassinet should be free from toys, soft bedding, blankets, and pillows.

How Can I Reduce My Baby’s Risk?

Follow these guidelines to help you reduce your baby’s risk of dying from SIDS.

Safe Sleep Practices

  • Always place babies to sleep on their backs during naps and at nighttime. Because babies sleeping on their sides are more likely to accidentally roll onto their stomach, the side position is not as safe as the back and is not recommended.
  • Don’t cover the heads of babies with a blanket or over-bundle them in clothing and blankets.
  • Avoid letting the baby get too hot. The baby could be too hot if you notice sweating, damp hair, flushed cheeks, heat rash, and rapid breathing. Dress the baby lightly for sleep. Set the room temperature in a range that is comfortable for a lightly clothed adult.

Safe Sleep Environment

  • Place your baby in a safety-approved crib with a firm mattress and a well-fitting sheet (cradles and bassinets may be used, but choose those that are JPMA (Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association) certified for safety).
  • Place the crib in an area that is always smoke free.
  • Don’t place babies to sleep on adult beds, chairs, sofas, waterbeds, or cushions.
  • Toys and other soft bedding, including fluffy blankets, comforters, pillows, stuffed animals, and wedges should not be placed in the crib with the baby. These items can impair the infant’s ability to breathe if they cover his face.
  • Breastfeed your baby. Experts recommend that mothers feed their children human milk at least through the first year of life.

Talk About Safe Sleep Practices With Everyone Who Cares For Your Baby!

Is It Ever Safe To Have Babies On Their Tummies?
Yes! You should talk to your child care provider about making tummy time a part of your baby’s daily activities. Your baby needs plenty of tummy time while supervised and awake to help build strong neck and shoulder muscles. Remember to also make sure that your baby is having tummy time at home with you.

Tummy To Play and Back To Sleep

  • Place babies to sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of SIDS. Side sleeping is not as safe as back sleeping and is not advised. Babies sleep comfortably on their backs, and no special equipment or extra money is needed.
  • "Tummy Time" is playtime when infants are awake and placed on their tummies while someone is watching them. Have tummy time to allow babies to develop normally.
Information found here

Friday, April 20, 2012

Help Me Grow Event

 Help Me
 Grow 3rd Annual Family Event!
Come learn how you can turn Books, Balls and Blocks into fun educational activities in the home at our Third Annual Help Me Grow Family Event!
Saturday, April 28, 2012
from 9:30 a.m.—12:30 p.m.
Register at www.unitedwayuc.org
Families with children ages 0 to 8 are welcome!

UVU Center Stage, 800 West University Parkway, Orem
Questions? call 801-691-5322

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Playgroup: Whip up a memory game!

 Let's face it, kids outgrow stuff really fast! Blue jeans, shoes, and even games that were once exciting! One way to stay ahead of the boredom as they tire of the same toys and games is to make your own! One of my quickest playgroup games yet was started and finished in probably half an hour! I made it for the St. Patrick's Day activity, and although we didn't end up having time to play it, I was still so amazed at how quickly I could make a custom game for the occasion! Here's how I did it.

I started with 8 1/2" by 11" white printer papers and full sheets of orange construction paper, both cut in half. The construction paper is larger so it makes a nice border, and makes it so the kids can't see the marker bleeding through the back of the white paper!

Next, draw rough pictures of whatever! I did some green squiggles, a leprechaun hat, a 'March 17' calendar date, a 4 leaf clover, gold coins, a pot of gold, and a rainbow. And seriously..they don't need to be works of art! The pictures need to be simple enough that you can recreate it once. )Or better yet, draw one and have your child draw it's mate!) Be as detailed as you want, as long as the kids can recognize the matching pairs. Simple shapes and colors are effective!

Here's a sample of mine:
 See how easy!!

 After drawing the pictures, I mounted them on the orange construction paper with rubber cement. Tape or Elmer's glue would work just as well!

Let it dry, and you're done! Kids will love the larger cards, and enjoy walking around to turn them over. And really, you can customize this completely! Use your kids' favorite TV show characters, letters or numbers, shapes, stickers, whatever! Be creative! You're sure to be met with big smiles.

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for next semester's playgroup activities with Brooke, the new playgroup specialist!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Child Laughter

What's better than making and hearing your child laugh?! Not many things are better than hearing the giggles and joyous laughter of a child. Laughter's ability to diffuse stress is just one of many reasons why it's a critical part of a child's development. Having a sense of humor plays an important role in developing self-esteem, learning to problem solve, and honing social skills, explains Louis Franzini, PhD, author of Kids Who Laugh: How to Develop Your Child's Sense of Humor (Square One). "It's one of the most desirable personality traits," he says. "And parents can, without a doubt, help foster it." Happily, it's one skill you'll reinforce with pleasure. Here's how to tickle your little guy's funny bone as he grows.

Laugh Track
As anyone who's watched Comedy Central can attest, humor takes a wide variety of forms -- in word play, visual jokes, or simply using the element of surprise. But most experts agree that the root of humor is taking something in its familiar form and turning it upside down or making it offbeat.
That's why very young babies really don't have a sense of humor -- they're still learning how the world looks, feels, and sounds in an ordinary context, so they don't "get the joke" when something's out of whack. Hence, a baby's first peals of laughter at around 4 months tend to be a response to arousal. A ride on a bouncing knee, for instance, gets a laugh because it's physically stimulating.
But just a few months later, funny sounds coming from a toy will evoke a smile or a laugh. Starting around the 6-month mark, babies have enough information about the world around them to be surprised -- and delighted -- at the unexpected. "Infants experience pleasure from processing information that's a little bit new and a little bit similar," says Paul E. McGhee, PhD, a developmental psychologist and author of Understanding and Promoting the Development of Children's Humor (Kendall/Hunt).
Peekaboo becomes a funny-bone favorite now, and almost anything that is decidedly out of their ordinary realm of experience gives kids the giggles. Adam Perlman loves to pretend to drink out of a sippy cup just to get his 1-year-old son's reaction. "As soon as I put it in my mouth, Charlie cracks up," says the Randolph, New Jersey, father of five. "I'm his favorite comedian!" Understanding that Daddy is a grown-up and doesn't drink out of sippy cups is where a child's sense of humor begins, explains McGhee.
A leap in cognitive development during your child's second year enables him to grasp auditory and visual jokes, explains Kimberly Zimlich, MD, a pediatrician in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. "By their second birthday, kids have a basic mastery of simple rules and patterns. Hence, they appreciate the humor in breaking them," she says. If, for instance, your child knows for sure that the cow says "moo," she might find it very funny if you took a stuffed cat or dog and made it say "moo."
As language skills develop, word play becomes a big part of toddler humor. Anything that rhymes is funny to 2-1/2-year-old Piper Samuels. "She also thinks it's hysterical to sing in a goofy voice," says her mother, Dina Petringa, of Alameda, California.
A child's sense of humor really takes flight when she starts enjoying imaginative play around age 3. Preschoolers love to make their own jokes -- showing up in Mom's high heels to get Grandma laughing, changing the ending of a favorite song to nonsense words, or even telling silly knock-knock jokes (though sometimes with completely indecipherable punch lines!).
Watch this video for a laugh! 
Information found here

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mr Steve Event

A few months ago, we had a great event with Mr. Steve.  The families that attended had lots of fun and Mr. Steve was so entertaining!

Here is a fun video showing all the fun activities!

Happy Reading!

Strengthening Families

There are activities parents or grandparents can do with their children to help strengthen their bond, if they are separated in any way. Military families, families of divorce, parents who travel often for work, or family members who live away from children or grandchildren can participate in various activities to create valuable memories with each other. For more information about military families and ways to meet the needs of young children click here. Here is just one activity to create a lasting memory and bond with your child:
Dream of Me:
Age: Toddlers and older. Children too young to hold a pen can participate with the help of their parents.
Items Needed:
  • 1 Pillowcase for each parent
  • 1 Pillowcase for every participating child
  • Fabric markers (one box for every 5-6 children) or Fabric paint
  • Cardboard cut to the size of a pillowcase and 6-8 cardboard cutouts so multiple pillowcases may be worked on at a time
  • Art smocks, 1 per child
Cover the table with plastic or butcher paper. Insert cardboard sheets into pillowcases to keep colors from bleeding to the other side of the fabric. Parents and children can decorate pillowcases for each other with fabric markers or paint. Explain to children, when the parent or family member is away, the child will have the pillowcase that the parent made for her, and the parent or family member can take the pillowcase the child made for him. Encourage children to decorate the pillowcase however they like. If desired, the child can have a parent write a special message on the pillowcase. Parents should write the date somewhere on the pillowcase so parents can remember when this keepsake was completed. Children who are too young to draw on their pillowcase, but want to participate can have a parent help them trace their hands and feet on the pillowcase. Be creative in creating memories for young children and connecting him to his parent who will be away. This pillowcase is a way for a young child to have a visible memory of his parent as he sleeps at night. If pillowcases are not available, parents can use t-shirts to decorate. Pillowcases can be hung on the wall to be preserved and the child can look at the pillowcase and cherish it for the rest of his childhood.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

How to Help Your Colicky Baby

Does your infant have a regular fussy period each day when it seems you can do nothing to comfort her? This is quite common, particularly between 6:00 p.m. and midnight—just when you, too, are feeling tired from the day’s trials and tribulations. These periods of crankiness may feel like torture, especially if you have other demanding children or work to do, but fortunately they don’t last long. The length of this fussing usually peaks at about three hours a day by six weeks and then declines to one or two hours a day by three to four months. As long as the baby calms within a few hours and is relatively peaceful the rest of the day, there’s no reason for alarm.
If the crying does not stop, but intensifies and persists throughout the day or night, it may be caused by colic. About one-fifth of all babies develop colic, usually between the second and fourth weeks. They cry inconsolably, often screaming, extending or pulling up their legs, and passing gas. Their stomachs may be enlarged or distended with gas. The crying spells can occur around the clock, although they often become worse in the early evening.
Unfortunately, there is no definite explanation for why this happens. Most often, colic means simply that the child is unusually sensitive to stimulation or cannot “self-console” or regulate his nervous system. (Also known as an immature nervous system.) As she matures, this inability to self-console—marked by constant crying—will improve. Generally this “colicky crying” will stop by three to four months, but it can last until six months of age. Sometimes, in breastfeeding babies, colic is a sign of sensitivity to a food in the mother’s diet. The discomfort is caused only rarely by sensitivity to milk protein in formula. Colicky behavior also may signal a medical problem, such as a hernia or some type of illness.
Although you simply may have to wait it out, several things might be worth trying. First, of course, consult your pediatrician to make sure that the crying is not related to any serious medical condition that may require treatment. Then ask him which of the following would be most helpful.
  • If you’re nursing, you can try to eliminate milk products, caffeine, onions, cabbage, and any other potentially irritating foods from your own diet. If you’re feeding formula to your baby, talk with your pediatrician about a protein hydrolysate formula. If food sensitivity is causing the discomfort, the colic should decrease within a few days of these changes.
  • Do not overfeed your baby, which could make her uncomfortable. In general, try to wait at least two to two and a half hours from the start of one feeding to the start of the next one.
  • Walk your baby in a baby carrier to soothe her. The motion and body contact will reassure her, even if her discomfort persists.
  • Rock her, run the vacuum in the next room, or place her where she can hear the clothes dryer, a fan or a white- noise machine. Steady rhythmic motion and a calming sound may help her fall asleep. However, be sure to never place your child on top of the washer/dryer.
  • Introduce a pacifier. While some breastfed babies will actively refuse it, it will provide instant relief for others.
  • Lay your baby tummy-down across your knees and gently rub her back. The pressure against her belly may help comfort her.
  • Swaddle her in a large, thin blanket so that she feels secure and warm.  
  • When you’re feeling tense and anxious, have a family member or a friend look after the baby—and get out of the house. Even an hour or two away will help you maintain a positive attitude. No matter how impatient or angry you become, a baby should never be shaken. Shaking an infant hard can cause blindness, brain damage, or even death. Let your own doctor know if you are depressed or are having trouble dealing with your emotions, as she can recommend ways to help.  

Information found here and

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Playgroup: A Hippity Hoppity Easter Hunt

I realize that all of our holiday activities are posted a little too late to be incorporated into your celebrations this year, but it's still good to share our creative ideas, right?? And maybe we'll be able to inspire some belated parties. Just maybe.

We started our Easter-themed activity with the Little Critter's celebration of Easter, complete with egg hunt, and a Blue's Clues book about a game of Hide-and-Seek. As the playgroup leader, I have noticed that kids pay attention best during storytime when they are given something to do. Interactive stories will capture their interest! In this story, Blue hides in various places, and the kids help me find her by pointing to her on every page. This made it not only easier to tell the story with everyone sitting down and listening, but also make it more fun for them to be a part of the action!

I showed them the Easter baskets we would be making for our Easter egg hunt later, and we got to work!

Materials used:
  • Brown paper sacks. We cut them at the bottom and folded them over for the base of the basket, and cut the left over part of the page vertically to make one long strip, folding it hamburger style to make a long basket handle.
  • Crayons and markers to embellish our baskets, creating weave marks, eggs, bunnies, and designs.
  • Yarn and stickers for decorations!
  • Staples. We stapled the strips so they wouldn't separate at the top, and also stapled the handle to our baskets. We also had glue, but staplers seemed more sturdy!
The kids were so creative, and each basket was a little bit different!

Next we had the kids line up in the hallway while the Easter bunny's helper (aka my husband..everyone knows the Easter Bunny doesn't come early!) hid the eggs. I gave each of the kids a small handful of green paper shreds as "grass" for their baskets. This was easily done by putting green construction paper through a paper shredder machine!

They were so anxious!

And everyone was off!


The kids helped one another find one egg that was filled with a small handful of Skittles, some stickers, and an apple-shaped eraser. They put them in their bags, and I also gave them two chocolate-shaped candies to fill up their baskets a little more.

There was a lot of social interaction today, and the kids got some practice being patient, kind, and helpful to one another. I accidentally only brought one stapler today, and with so much need for it there was a lot of waiting and finding other things to do while it was being used, and the children were also very patient while the eggs were being hidden.

Find ways to let your kids practice being patient, even if it is not a strength for them quite yet! Parents can model patience by remaining calm and happy during waits, preoccupying themselves to help kids understand that waiting time can still be useful, asking kids riddles to keep them quiet and thinking, playing I-Spy with item in the room, chatting together about the day, drawing a picture for grandma, taking turns making up the next line of a story, or doing simple math problems. Options are endless! It can be hard for kids to learn this important lesson, but it is an essential life skill that will serve them well later in life. Kids aren't born with a large amount of patience, and your example means a lot to them!

Thanks for reading! Follow us today!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Car Seat Safety

Car seats are so important for babies and children, but it can be a hard task to pick out the right car seat for your vehicle and child. Car seats are essential if you want to leave the hospital with your new little bundle of joy. If your baby is going to travel in a car, by law she must have an appropriate car seat. 

All infants and toddlers should ride in a Rear-Facing Car Seat until they are 2 years of age or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat's manufacturer.  You can purchase a Rear-Facing Only, 3-in-1 seats, or Rear-Facing Convertible Car Seat. Baby car seats have evolved in recent years, with bolder designs and new features adding to their versatility. Make sure to read the owners manual with your car seat to find out if it will be safer to have the handle down on the car seat while your child is in the vehicle or if it is safe to have it in the upright position. 
The priority with all car seats is safety, so check the seat will be secure in your car. Some manufacturers list compatible vehicles on their website. It’s also crucial that you know how to install the seat, so ask for a demonstration. It is estimated that 80% of car seats are used incorrectly. Have your car seat inspected to make sure it is installed and used correctly. Click here to make an appointment to have your car seat inspected. 

Car seats may be installed with either the vehicle’s seat belt or the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system. Both are equally safe, but in some cases, it may be easier to install the car seat using LATCH. LATCH is an attachment system for car seats. Lower anchors can be used instead of the seat belt to install the seat and may be easier to use in some cars. The top tether improves the safety provided by the seat and is important to use for all forward-facing seats, even those installed using the vehicle seat belt. Read the vehicle owner’s manual and the car seat instructions for weight limits for lower anchors and top tethers.
Vehicles with the LATCH system have anchors located in the back seat, where the seat cushions meet. Tether anchors are located behind the seat, either on the panel behind the seat (in sedans) or on the back of the seat, ceiling, or floor (in most minivans, SUVs, and hatchbacks). Car seats have attachments that fasten to these anchors. Nearly all passenger vehicles and all car seats made on or after September 1, 2002, come with LATCH.
Most car seats have a base that stays in the car. Parents ‘click’ the infant carrier onto this to secure it. A few car seats also have the option of a base, fitted using the adult seat belt. 

Newborn seats have a three- or five-point harness; the latter can feel more secure. 

Means you can use the infant carrier as a rocking seat for your baby out of the car. 

Some seats have an adjustable back so you can alter the position your baby sits in. 

For car seat recommendations for children from birth to 12 years old click here. Some information found here. For further information on car seats click here.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Opportunities to Volunteer with Welcome Baby!

Would you like the opportunity to volunteer? A chance to help provide support to new families in Utah County? Well, you are in luck! The Welcome Baby Program is looking for new volunteers to do home visits throughout Utah County, from Lehi to Payson! It is wonderful that our program has expanded so much, but we need help to reach all the families who are interested in receiving 1 time and long term visits! If you are interested please submit an application! We would greatly appreciate your help to better our community! 
Mission Statement
Become a Volunteer

Become a Welcome Baby volunteer home visitor and enjoy the fulfillment of strengthening families in your community. Have fun interacting with parents and their new babies, bringing new information and activities while sharing insights from your personal experience. You can make a difference in the lives of families in Utah County!
Welcome Baby is a home visitation program sponsored by the Utah County Health Department and the United Way of Utah County.  We train volunteers to visit new parents in our community. We offer two volunteer opportunities: (1) Long term visits to families and (2) One-time visits to families.
Click here to submit your application and to find out more information about home visits.

Easter Craft and Treats!

Are you looking for a cute craft to do with your little ones for Easter? Here is a simple and fun craft! 
All you need is: 
White Paper
Kid Friendly Yellow and Orange Paint
Glue Sticks
Yellow Feathers
Googly Eyes
1. Start off by painting yellow ovals. You might need to lightly draw one with yellow crayon for your kids to fill in with paint.
2. Next place the feathers on your chick with a glue stick, and paint on some legs, hair and beak. Don't forget your googly eyes! You're all done! Let your kids have fun with embellishing their pictures! Your kids can hang their pictures on the wall/fridge or they can fold their picture in half and give it to someone as an Easter card. I mentioned in my St. Patrick's Day post about children developing fine motor skills, this activity will also help your children develop and strengthen their fine motor skills by painting and gluing. 
Yummy Easter Treat that is Easy to Make!
All you need to make this treat is:
As many Ice Cream Cones as you want to fill
Jelly Beans, the more colors the better!
A small knife to carefully cut two holes into the sides of each ice cream cone
Apple Licorice, any Licorice would work. Tuck either end of the Licorice into the holes to serve as an edible handle! Ta-da! Now you have a new take on a spring tradition! These mini baskets will add a bright touch to your kitchen table and are fun for kids! You can have your kids help you by putting the jelly beans in the ice cream cones and have your kids put the licorice in the holes you cut in the cones.
The last treat you can make is a little more difficult, but definitely super cute! It will take a lot more steps to make so click here for the ingredients and directions on how to make these Easter Egg Treats!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Playgroup: Popcorn Popping!

Utah has taken a turn for BEAUTIFUL lately! The sun has been shining, the air has gotten a touch warmer (on good days), and the sky is crystal clear. Pops of yellow, pink, and white buds and blossoms have started showing up everywhere, adding some needed bursts of color. I think spring is here to stay!

I really wanted to incorporate these wonderful changes in nature into our activities at playgroup, so that's exactly what we did! Our latest activity was centered around the budding excitement of spring! We started off by singing some songs, and of course, Popcorn Popping on the Apricot tree was one of them. We read two books that helped us get in the mood for a spring time activity: The Very Hungry Caterpillar, the beloved classic by Eric Carle, and I Am a Leaf, an early reading book documenting the journey of a leaf through the seasons.

I asked the children what they thought of the song "Popcorn Popping," and what it meant to think that there was popcorn on the trees. I showed them a small branch of pink blossoms I had clipped from a nearby tree earlier that morning and held some popped popcorn in my other hand and let them observe both. We talked about both of the items looking fluffy because of either round petals or popcorn-y goodness, and to help them get a better vision of the idea (and to take advantage of the gorgeous weather!) we took a little fieldtrip out of our playgroup room to find a 'popcorn tree'!

We stood and looked up at the beautiful blossoms and sang the song again.

What a beautiful day!!

After our little fieldtrip, we ventured back inside to make our own little version of popcorn trees, using popcorn, of course! The kids used brown markers and crayons to draw the trunk and branches of the tree, glued small pieces of fluffy popcorn to create blossoms, and ripped small pieces of green paper to show the budding leaves. These tasks helped the kids sharpen their fine motor skills by picking up small objects with their fingers and putting them in place. It has been exciting to watch the children get better and better at crafts since I started running the playgroups in January! Moms are good helpers, and can ease the frustration as kids develop these skills.

The finished products!

We finished our craft early, so we did a parachute toss using a couple yards of light cotton fabric, a small ball of yarn, and a tiny rubber duck. Each child took hold of the outside of the fabric, we counted to three, and pulled up on the fabric. The kids LOVED this. The younger ones got such a kick out of the moving fabric, and the older kids raced to retrieve the flying objects. We got everyone laughing, and I would suggest this to anyone who has access to a bunch of kids, a soft toy, and a blanket. It was a hoot! In addition to being quite hilarious, this activity can also help with gross motor skills and hand-eye coordination. All in the form of play!

Other tips from our playgroup activity:
  • Winter is over, and kids can finally get outside and play again! With many distractions offering easy indoor entertainment such as TV and video games, it is important to stress the importance of playing outdoors in the fresh air. Invite your kids to play a game of tag, toss a ball around, go for a walk, or jump rope while the sun is shining and the air is warm. Kids learn from example, so as they see you enjoying the time outdoors, they will value it more and learn to choose it themselves as they grow up.
  • Popcorn is a low-calorie, low-fat whole grain! It is a good one for kids, as long as you supervise small children to prevent choking, and is one that kids tend to LOVE. Butter is the one vice of most microwavable popcorn options, and the easiest way to avoid the added fat and calories is to air-pop your own popcorn! This way you have the option of how much (or how little) butter you have, as well as dressing it up or down with cinnamon sugar, favorite candies (my mom loves popcorn with skittles!), or taco seasoning! Be creative!

Thanks for stopping by! Follow us today! 

Interested in joining a playgroup? We currently have SIX in operation, and we'd love for you to join us!
Email us at baby1@unitedwayuc.org and we will get you connected with a playgroup nearest you, or help you organize one of your own!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

New Orem Playgroup!!!

We are excited to announce a new playgroup starting in Orem this week!  
We've talked about the Protective Factors and the importance of Social Connections,
and playgroups are a great way make social connections in your community.

This new group will be starting this Friday and we're excited about the fun lesson plans,
activities, and location.  The focus of this playgroup is to help children be prepared
 to enter Kindergarten through fun interactive activities.

Anyone is welcome to attend!

Friday, April 6th
10:00 am
Kids on the Move
475 W. 260 N. Orem, UT
Mulch-purpose room
*Weekly playgroup will be held every Friday at 10:00am*

Come enjoy FREE activities, singing time, snacks and playtime.

Bring a friend and come have fun!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Birthing Plans

cute idea! 

It is important for expecting mother's to have a birthing plan so that their labor and delivery can go as they would like it to. Of course, mother's need to be aware that their labor and delivery probably won't go exactly as they wish, but it helps to have a birthing plan so the doctor or midwife has some direction from the mother. "The birth plan is an ideal way to communicate her preferences, so the mother-to-be can fully focus on the amazing process of birthing a baby," says Dr. Coral Slavin, doula and owner/director of Well-Rounded Maternity Center in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. Photo
Some things to consider while creating a birth plan:
  • Labor Preferences:
 This step includes choosing where to give birth, hospital, birthing center, or home, and who delivers the baby, an OB-GYN, family practitioner, or midwife. Mother's should also consider if they would like to be able to move around, use a rocking chair, birthing ball, or other means of movement while in labor. Mother's should also consider how the want the lighting, if there is any music playing, aromatherapy, preferences for television, being able to eat or drink, and who to have present in the delivery room. Photography and video preferences can also be addressed, whether the mother is comfortable with it and if the hospital will allow it. 
  • Monitoring Preferences
"Some women worry about their baby's heart rate, especially through contractions, and would prefer to have continual monitoring despite the fact they are bedridden," says Jennifer Hunt. "Others prefer to have the freedom to move around."
  • Induction:
Induction choices include: stripping membranes, artificially rupturing membranes (breaking the water), medications like Pitocin or Cytotec, and natural methods like walking.  "There may be restrictions to your requests, such as no food or drink, continuous monitoring, or confinement to bed, once you have pain medication or labor augmentation," says Dr. Slavin, who advises women to consider delaying these choices as long as possible.
  • Pain Medication/Anesthesia
"There are three main choices in pain management during labor—natural pain management, narcotics, and epidurals," Hunt says. "Most women will go into labor with a strong sense of what kind of pain management they plan to use."

Narcotics lessen pain but may have side effects. Epidurals eliminate pain but confine the mother to bed. Mother's need to consider this when making choices and remember, she doesn't have to choose now. Mention on the birth plan that she'll ask for pain relief when/if she desires some.

  • Cesarean Preferences:  
 "With one in three women currently giving birth by Cesarean section, it is important for parents to consider what would make their birth experience more meaningful if they should have a C-section," Dr. Slavin says. Mother's can choose if they would like to be awake during the C-section, if they would like a mirror to watch the delivery, having the baby placed directly in their arms after the deliver and if they would like their partner or family in the operating room. 
  • Episiotomy Preferences:
Mother's need to discuss episiotomies in advance so they know their physician's practices. "It would be unfortunate for a couple to feel strongly that they would like to avoid an episiotomy only to learn in month nine that their provider does them routinely," says Shelly Holbrook.

Remember, an episiotomy can become necessary if quick delivery is needed. "I had a really empowering birth that was exactly as I had envisioned it," says Sarah Rose Evans. "The only thing that didn't go according to plan was that I had an episiotomy, but after 40 minutes of my baby being stuck in the same place, I told them, 'Just cut me already!' I was glad I'd made the decision, and that I wasn't pressured into anything."
  • Delivery Preferences: 
This step involves delivery positioning and support. "The so-called 'normal' way to deliver—lying on your back—works against gravity, so many women prefer to deliver squatting, in the hands-and-knees position, or in a birthing pool," Hunt says. "Mom can also choose who she wants to help during delivery and what type of help she wants, for example, holding her legs, supporting her while squatting, sitting behind her while in the pool, etc."
  • Immediately after delivery:
Mother's can choose who is to cut the umblical cord, where the baby is to be placed (on the mother's chest), whether to keep the placenta, and when to breastfeed.

  • Postpartum
Mother's can choose if they want the baby in their room with them or in the nursery full time or part time. 

  • Breastfeeding:
If the mother's plan is to breastfeed exclusively, make sure to be very specific about it in the birth plan. "If you would like to make sure that the nurses do not supplement the baby with anything other than your breast milk if you are unable to nurse right away, you should make sure that you include that on the plan," Holbrook says.
Other choices related to breastfeeding are whether or not to allow the baby a pacifier and whether the mother would like a lactation consultant to help out.
  • Circumcision Preferences
Discuss circumcision options with the baby's pediatrician prior to the baby's delivery. Mother's may also want to confirm who will be doing the circumcision—the baby's pediatrician or the mother's OB. Aside from the decision for or against circumcision, there is also the option to have it performed while in hospital (if available) or having it performed as an outpatient at a later date. Whether the baby receives a local anesthetic for the procedure may also be an option. 

  • Other Requests:
This can include who the mother wishes to be in the room before and after delivery (friends, family, other children, etc.) and anything else important to the mother's plan. Remember, birth plans should be thought of as a request list. "Chances are, there will be a few twists and turns in there that you don't expect," Holbrook says. "As long as you can keep an open mind with those expectations, you will have a more satisfying experience."

Winter maternity photos by White Photographie Photo
Information found here