Friday, June 29, 2012

Take a Tour with Baby :)

Just like adults, babies can get bored of their surroundings.  You don't always like sitting in the same place all the time, doing the same things, and looking at the same things, and neither does baby!  So if baby seems fussy and the usual suspects aren't the culprit, try giving baby a change of scenery!

You can try giving baby a new point of view by holding her at your eye level and taking a tour of the house; just being up off the floor can give baby a whole new perspective on rooms she sees on a regular basis!  Try also visiting rooms you don't spend a lot of time in.  Take baby in the bathroom and let her touch the bath towels and look at herself in the mirror.  Take your baby into the kitchen and let her run her hands under warm and cold water (make sure it's not hot first!) and let baby touch cold things from the refrigerator.  Let her touch books on shelves, light switches, and wall hangings (ones that aren't going to fall and hurt her!).  Go outside and try finding some new (safe) textures for baby to touch and explore.  Grass can be fun and new for little toes and fingers!  Every time you touch or see something new, be sure to tell baby all about it!  When she touches something, tell her the name, describe what she's feeling with words like "soft", or "cold".  When baby looks at objects, name them, and describe what she's seeing with words like "big" or "red".

Have fun exploring and re-discovering your home through your little-one's eyes!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Baby Songs

Did you know that music is a pre-skill to reading and language development?

There are many benefits in singing to your baby.  Emotionally, singing gentle lullabies can help soothe a fussy baby by relieving stress for the baby and the parent singing.  Singing can also strengthen bonds between baby and parents, making the baby feel loved and taken care of.

Research has shown numerous other benefits from singing to your baby.  One interesting study done by Gerry, Unau, and Trainor published in 2012 showed that actively singing can increase babies social development.  It has helped babies advance in  their cognitive development.  Babies who were sung to showed an   increase in pre-linguistic gestures such as pointing to objects.  These skills are some of the first steps babies use in communicating their needs.  
In addition, parents who actively sing to their babies can help their child learn language and early reading skills.  Blythe, the author of The Genius of Natural Childhood says, "Song is a special type of speech. Lullabies, songs and rhymes of every culture  carry the 'signature' melodies and inflections of a mother tongue, preparing a child's ear, voice and brain for language." 

Here is an example of an easy song to sing with your baby.  If you go on Youtube, there are several other fun videos by this lady.  The most important aspect is to include lots of actions and ton difference in your voice!  This will help your baby have fun and start learning language. 

Family Fun Guide on Youtube

Here are some tips to help you get started in singing to your baby:

1. Don’t get stage fright:  You don’t need to consider yourself musically gifted for your baby to reap the benefits of being sung to.  Your baby doesn’t know if you are on pitch or have rhythm.  They will feel loved and enjoy it regardless of your singing abilities.

2. Live music is better:  Just like cuddling up and being read to is better than listening to a recorded book on CD, live singing will be more enjoyable to your baby.  Make sure never to put headphones on a baby, it could damage their delicate ear drums.

3. Sing your favorites:  You don’t need to sing nursery songs like Old MacDonald if you don’t want to.  Make it enjoyable for  yourself.  You can sing along to jazz, rock, hymns, or whatever is popular on the radio.  If you love the songs, your baby will love to hear you singing them.
4. Get the family involved:  Let older siblings and dad join in singing time.  The more involved the family can be, the better.  They will bond with each other and build wonderful memories.
5. Play time:  Don’t take yourself too seriously.  Singing time can be fun and silly.  Add some actions when your baby is 3 or 4 months by laying them in your lap and helping them stretch their arms to songs like “itsy bitsy spider”.  It  will surely bring a smile to their face.  They would be happy and entertained to watch you do some actions and dancing as well.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Baby Teeth: Dental Care for Little Ones

Parents sometimes think that baby teeth aren't that important (they're just going to fall out anyway, right?), but cavities and tooth decay in baby teeth can have negative affects on permanent teeth and cause your child future problems if not taken care of!
As soon as those cute little teeth come in it's time to start your child's oral hygiene routine!  At first, you can simply use a soft cloth or gauze to (very gently!) wipe off baby's teeth after eating or a couple of times a day.  Also, don't put your baby or child to be with a bottle or sippy cup of milk, juice, or formula.  The sugars in these drinks can cause tooth decay when they sit on your baby's teeth!  Try to feed your baby before bedtime and wipe down or brush her teeth before she goes to sleep.  Breastfeeding baby before bed is, however, okay.

As your child gets older, use a soft bristled tooth brush to clean her teeth a couple of times a day.  Fluoride can be toxic and cause spots on teeth in large amounts, so use a tooth paste that is safe for children, and help your child learn not to swallow the tooth paste.  Until your child is about 3 years old she needs help to clean her teeth well, and then you should still keep an eye on her tooth brushing, to make sure she's getting those teeth nice and clean!  You can try letting your child brush all by herself in the morning, and then have mom or dad do it before bed. If your child tends to focus on the front teeth and misses all the rest, you can try playing "find the hidden teeth!" to get her to clean all her teeth.  You can use "disclosing tablets", which, when chewed show color on any plaque that is left behind after brushing.  This can be a fun way to help your child understand why she needs to brush and get everywhere!

As soon as your child's teeth begin to touch, it's time to start flossing!  Using plastic flossing tools can be very helpful when flossing with a little one.

No matter what, you may run into resistance when it comes to teeth brushing, but starting at a young age can help a lot!  Let your child watch you, your partner, or an older child brushing teeth even before baby has teeth.  Babies are very interested in everything you do, so let them see you modelling the behaviors you want them to have!

Info taken from: http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/tc/basic-dental-care-infants-and-children

Friday, June 22, 2012

Texture Crawl

Looking for something new and fun to do with baby? Sometimes mommy needs a change (let's face it, there's only so much peek-a-boo, and "so big" you can handle in one day!), so here's a fun, super easy activity you can do with baby!!

What you'll need: 

Safe materials with interesting textures, such as a rubber floor mat, carpet samples, silk scarves, chenille rug, bubble wrap, a piece of corduroy, velvet, satin, sticky side of a piece of contact paper, and of course, your baby!


Scatter the different materials across the floor and let your baby crawl across them.  Get on the floor with baby and as he moves from one to another, talk to him about what he's feeling.  Use words like "cool", "smooth", "bumpy", or "soft" to describe the different textures.  If you have pre-crawler you can do some tummy time and baby can feel the interesting textures on his tummy, hands and legs, just be sure to never leave baby alone with anything that could hurt him!  You can also help baby to feel the objects with his hands, feet, and face.  If your baby can stand, you can put different objects on a table or couch and let baby feel the textures from that angle. 

Just have fun helping your baby to explore his world!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Chirp Chirp: Bird watch!

Summer is a great time to explore the many different kinds of animals in our environment.  The past few weeks we've talked about ocean animals, bugs and farm animals.  This week we thought we'd talk about birds!

We started by reading this funny book.  It's all about a bird who has a bad day, but runs into lots of other animal friends that cheer him up.  This book is great because it helped us as we compared animals.  Help your child classify animals by asking them simple questions like: Do birds have fur or feathers? (see if they can think of any other animal with feathers) Do birds fly or swim?  What do birds eat?  What sounds to birds make?  This will help your child understand the different types of animals and perhaps the similarities and differences. 

We then talked about the different kinds of animals that have feathers; ducks, swans, peacocks, flamingos, chickens and had fun making the sounds of all those birds!

Then we made this fun craft! It's super easy, quick and lots of fun!

-Empty toilet paper rolls
-Peanut butter
-Bird seed

Coat the toilet paper roll with peanut butter and roll in birdseed.  Tie a string through so you can hang it on a tree limb.

After we made these fun bird feeders, we went outside to hang them up.  We also had the kids look for birds, luckily there were tons of birds outside to see!  We talked about size difference, which sounds went to which birds and colors.  The birds were even nice enough to leave us some feathers on the ground!   The kids loved this activity and had a lot of fun looking in trees for nests.

While everyone ate their bird shaped rice crispy snacks, we read this fun book.  If you haven't read this book, you need to!  This personality packed pigeon is so smart.  The kids really had fun with it and really liked the ending.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Easy or Difficult: Baby Temperaments

Is your baby mellow? Does he fall asleep easily and stay asleep with out much trouble?  Or is he active, driven, and does he wake himself up all the time?

Maybe it should make perfect sense, but parents are often surprised to discover that their brand new little one has a very unique personality, starting even before they are born!  Your baby is an individual right from the start, even your children will vary baby to baby!

Some infants are very mild and quiet, and some are loud and constantly needing attention and stimulation.  Some babies are cuddly and some prefer their space.  If your baby has been around very long, you have probably already observed your baby's personality, and you are on a journey to discover more and more of this new, adorable little person!

If your baby has an "easy" temperament, it's obviously going to be easier and feel more rewarding to be a parent to him.  These babies are generally more even tempered, easier to get on a schedule, and can often sooth themselves well.  Sometimes parents feel like easy babies don't need them.  These babies are often a lot less demanding, and because of that parents tend to forget that they need stimulation too!  These babies still need parental affection and attention, even if they don't ask for it constantly.

If you have a needy baby with a "difficult" temperament it's so easy to wonder what you are doing wrong as a parent and wonder why the people around you seem to be having a more positive parenting experience.  As much as you love your child, it can be draining and discouraging to be a parent to a needy baby, especially if there are a lot of easy babies around you.  It is important to know that it's not your fault and it won't last forever!

These babies are often very active, seem restless, and they may sleep for only short periods of time.  They may react very strongly to discomforts and have a difficult time soothing themselves.  They need a LOT of parental attention.  If your baby is naturally fussy and has difficulty calming down, avoid too much stimulation and learn to recognize when your baby is starting to get over stimulated.  Learn when you need to give your baby alone time, before he gets too fussy.  If your baby is sensitive to changes in routines, make sure that your days are not too busy or filled with lots of changes.  Try to stay calm with your baby; make sure you get a break if you need one!  Ask a family member or another trusted person to take the baby for awhile so you can regain your "calm".

The most important thing to take from all this is that there is no "one-size-fits-all" parenting technique for all babies.  There is no "right way" that is guaranteed to work for every child. No matter what the books say, what your friends think, or what your mother may tell you, your baby is a unique individual and you have the wonderful opportunity to be the expert in your baby's needs!  Take the time to discover your baby's unique needs and traits and figure out what works for your child.  Think about your child's personality when caring for him and keep in mind that your baby's temperament might be very different from your own!

Above all, love your child, let him teach you about his needs, and you will be greatly rewarded!

Info taken from:
Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5 (Copyright © 2009 American Academy of Pediatrics)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Last Minute Father's Day Gifts!

Father's Day is tomorrow, what are you doing for the daddies in your life?  Breakfast in bed? Giving him a tie?  Well here are some (cute!) last minute gift ideas for dad!!


This is a really cute, and free, printable from Create.Craft. Love.  You can print it from the link, or if you want to get really crafty, you can print the poem on card stock with your with your little one's very own foot prints!  Use it on a father's day card for daddy or grandpa, or even frame it for daddy's desk!


Another free printable from Kinzie's Kreations, this one is great if you have older children who can tell you what they think about their daddy :)  I love these!  I think it's so funny to hear what a three year old loves most about his or her daddy, and it'll make a great memory ten years from now!



 You'll need a frame, a camera, and a photo printer (or send it to get printed at your local store!) for this one, but you can find step by step instructions and even the cute word art at Positively Splendid!  So cute! They even have one that says "Grandpa", "Papa", "Dad", etc, depending on what you call the special guy in your life :D

Have an awesome Father's Day and no matter how you do it, make sure let the special guys in your life know how much they mean to you!!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Ten Tips for Getting Daddy Involved!

Fathers play a vital role when it comes to raising children, but it's so easy for dads to feel left out or unimportant in the early years.  Moms tend to take over when it comes to baby (we can be a little overprotective when it comes to our little ones!) Yet there are many things that fathers can and should contribute to raising baby, such as protection and security, physical activities, experiments with games and new skills,  emotional stability, and lots of fun!  Sometimes it's just a matter of learning what you can contribute as a dad, and for mommy, letting daddy have some room to do his thing!  

Here are some good tips to help dad get a little bit more involved in baby's early years :
Tips for Dads
  • Read and talk to your baby. Children love the sound of your voice.
  • Get comfortable with all aspects of caring for your child, even changing dirty diapers.
  • Play with your baby. Your baby needs your special insight and full attention.
  • Assist in the feeding process.  If the mother is breastfeeding, sit close as she feeds, talk to both mother and baby, and burp the baby after.
  • Create a routine with your child.  Take time to rock your baby and give mom a break!
  • Make time for you baby, children need consistency and quality time.
  • Remember to have fun! Parenting can be overwhelming, but jump in and enjoy every step of your baby’s development.

Tips for Moms
  • Hang back. Letting your partner take over some of the regular baby duties is a good first step to helping the two of them connect. Just as important: Don't hover around him when he's with the baby. It may be tempting to rescue your child when he's fussy, but if you fall into this pattern, you'll likely erode your partner's self-confidence and your baby won't get used to being comforted by him.
  • Don't criticize. It takes practice to learn how to care for and interact with a baby (even if your baby is only a few weeks old, you've had a lot of time to figure it out!). So don't scold your partner for doing something that's just not your way.
  • Trust him. You may feel like Mommy knows best, but give your husband the chance and he may surprise you with  solutions for burping your baby, keeping him entertained, and more. Focus on the giggles!

Source: http://www.parenting.com/article/dads-and-babies and Keeping Your Baby Healthy

Dads are Important!

All men are partners in parenting. Conscious Fathering classes help new dads begin their journey to fatherhood with an understanding of basic childcare skills and a philosophy that  will last a lifetime. 

So what is Conscious Fathering exactly?  

Conscious Fathering is a proactive approach to new fatherhood, and it’s more than just infant care! It’s about building a definition that empowers men to feel as though they can do this, they can be and good fathers, and they can do it from the very first moments of their baby’s life.

This class offers men insight into preparing for those precious first few months of a baby’s life. It covers how to meet the baby's basic needs: to be fed, burped, comfortable, rested, and responded to when they cry.  This is great opportunity for daddies-to-be!

We also discuss how to begin to develop your own definition of what kind of father you want to be and how you want to interact with your child. Our children need fathers as much as they need mothers, and fathers’ involvement in the lives of their kids is an integral part of healthy development. How you care for your child from the very first day will build the foundation for your relationship through the years. Are you ready to embrace fatherhood, immerse yourself in your child’s life, and strive to be a true partner in all aspects of your child’s development?

Fathers will learn how using “Parenting C.P.R.,” a philosophy that teaches dads (and moms) to be “consistent, predictable, and reliable” in meeting the needs of their children. Every attendee receives a doll they can use during the class! They learn that a baby has five basic needs, that these needs create a cycle of care, and that their job is to not only react to their baby’s needs, but to anticipate what the next need may be. In using the dolls to practice with, they can simulate holding,  burping, changing, and swaddling a baby. A lot of emphasis is placed on caring for the crying infant. Different ideas for soothing baby are discussed –in addition to making sure everyone caring for the baby has a plan to deal with frustration. 

This 2.5 hour class is offered every month at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, Northwest Plaza, Classroom 6.  Classes are held on the first Saturday of each month, from 9:30 am- 12 noon.

To register for classes or for more information click HERE!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Spiders, Bees, and Insects

Kids LOVE bugs!
Anytime you combine kids and bugs, it's always a good time.  I had my own children find some real spiders and insects, and put them into some special made insect containers to let the kids observe them up close.
Then I told my children that the daddy long-leg spider got out because someone left the container open, and their reaction was priceless!

We sang the itsy-bitsy spider and read some books on spiders and insects.
Did you know? That the vast majority of spiders are harmless to humans.  They also reduce the pest population around your house, garden, and garage areas. 

Many spiders use webbing to ensnare their prey. Their web designs vary between different species of spiders.  Some spin circular webs, funnel webs, crazy erratic nonsensical webs, or some don't even spin webs at all.

We also talked about BEES!
There are about 20,000 different types of species of bees in the world.  Bees live in colonies and there are 3 types of bees within that colony. The queen bee, worker bee, and the drone.

Did you know? Bees make honey to feed their young and so that they have something to eat during the winter.  They also see all colors except for red.

A great online insect resource for kids is www.pestworldforkids.org/bees.html

I had some plastic bugs that the kids loved playing with, and asked them to identify the ones they knew. These kids know a lot about different kinds of bugs!
Craft Time!
We made our own spiders that were delicious to eat.  All you need is:
  • Giant roasting marshmallows
  • Pretzel sticks 
  • Toothpicks
  • Small marshmallows
  • Mini Reeses Pieces (find these in the baking aisle next to the chocolate chips)
  • White frosting
  • Chocolate sprinkles
Use the pretzel sticks as the legs, and stick the toothpicks on top for the antennas with a little marshmallow on top.
Next use some of the frosting at apply the mini Reeses Pieces for the eyes, and you can also frost the back of the marshmallow to add "hair" or the chocolate sprinkles.  Or if they wanted to made it a lady bug, use the Reeses Pieces as the spots.

Here are the children from both Springville and South Franklin playgroups making their own insects!
It was so much fun playing with bugs and insects. The children really enjoyed this activity and its really easy to make at home.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Having Fun in the Sun (Safely!)

Summer is so much fun!  It's time to get outdoors after a long winter and enjoy some fresh air and sunshine!  Unfortunately, a sunburn can make for a pretty painful end to a long day of playing.  So, make sure with all your summer time activities you are taking steps to protect your baby's (and your own!) skin.

Young babies especially have a hard time with sun.  If your child is under six months old, try to keep them out of direct sunlight.  Find a place under a shady tree, use an umbrella, or make sure the canopy on your stroller is up.  Cover baby's head with a hat--a light colored hat with a brim will keep baby's face in the shade and it's great if it covers baby's ears too!  It's best to dress your child in clothes that are light weight and in light colors (to prevent overheating), but will cover and protect the most amount of skin.

For young babies (under 6 months), sunscreen can be applied to small areas of the body that aren't covered by other clothing (such as the backs of the hands, tops of feet, face, and back of neck).  Older babies and children can have sunscreen applied to all areas of the body (just be careful of those sensitive eyes!).  If your baby has sensitive skin (and many babies do), consider a sunscreen that has zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.

Always apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before going out in the sun, and make sure you rub it in well everywhere that will be exposed to the sun.  There are places that often get forgotten, like the backs of the knees, tops of feet, or the ears, so make sure they don't get left out!  Reapply at least every 2 hours to ensure that you are getting the protection you need.

Once your child is covered head to toe (remember, you can get a sunburn even on cloudy days), get out there and enjoy your summer!!

Source: Fun in the Sun: Keep Your Family Safe (Copyright © 2008 American Academy of Pediatrics)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Orem Summerfest


Looking for something to do this weekend?  Get your family out and about at Orem's Summerfest!  Events are happening today (Friday, June 8th), and tomorrow (Saturday, June 9th) at Orem's City Center Park (next to the Orem Public Library).  There will be free children's crafts at the north pavilion, today from 2pm-4pm and tomorrow from 9am-1pm.  There will also be balloon tying, face painting, car show, parade, carnival, and fireworks!  For a schedule and more information click here: Schedule of Events.