Wednesday, January 30, 2013

How to Start a Playgroup!

Have you been wanting to start a playgroup, but you're just not quite sure how? Here are a few pro tips that'll get your playgroup up and running that everyone will want to be a part of! 

Set a Date
Set an exact day and time you will have playgroup regularly. It's important to consider nap time and meal time. 

Ask other moms in your area if they want to join in! Invite mom's you meet at the park, local grocery store etc. It's smart to be inclusive and invite everyone to increase your social group! Everyone wants to be included and mostly not everyone will show up every week. 

As soon as you get a steady playgroup going and get an idea of whose a permanent participant, make a schedule that'll organize the rotation of who will host playgroup each week of the month(s).

When it's your week to host, have some type of activity planned. This provides structured learning and interaction. It can be simple or more elaborate. Either way, the kids will love it! 

The easiest way to approach snacks is to have everyone bring a snack they have in their pantry and share it at playgroup. That way it's not stressful for the host to have to worry about feeding 10 kids. When everyone pitches in, there's enough and a variety! 

When It's Your Week-Be Prepared
A great way to reduce craziness and mess is to designate one room in the house to playgroup. This way the mess is manageable, clean-up is easier, and kids aren't running everywhere! 

Have Fun
Last but not least, have fun, relax, and enjoy the company!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Resource Spotlight: Resources for Infant Educarers Approach

Resources for Infant Educarers Approach (RIE), is a non-profit organization that was founded by Magda Gerber (infant specialist and educator), Tom Rorrest (M.D., and pediatric neurologist) in 1978. The guided idea behind this organization is when adults respect and care properly for their infant that the infant will develop into an independent, and well-adjusted individual. The services offered by RIE are many different training opportunities for parents and childcare professionals to learn and participate in the RIE approach.
The first part of the RIE approach is to encourage both parents and caregivers to show respect for the baby's experience. To explain more specifically about this approach here are some techniques of the RIE approach.

Talk with your infant. RIE approach is to encourage ongoing communication with your baby. Tell your charge before you do it. For example, "I'm going to go get your binky, hold tight." This type of approach demonstrates respect for the infant and helps the child to develop predictability. 

Don't be quick to fix your infants charge as they being to fuss or cry. Crying is a way baby's communicate. It expresses how they feel or what they want. The approach for this is to acknowledge your baby's emotions, and not jump right into soothing, but rather listening to what they're expressing to you. 

Just ask if you're not sure what your baby wants. The RIE approach for this is to ask what they want. This is another way of showing respect to them. If you feed your child and they're still fussy, ask "Are you still hungry?" If they reject food, then perhaps ask, "Is your tummy not feeling well? Are you gassy?" Burp them and continue to ask them questions to discover why they're upset. By doing so, your child feels safe and understood. 

Opt for self-directed play. The RIE approach encourages parents to have your baby lead in the play experience. Magda Gerber said, "Infancy is a time of great dependence. Nevertheless babies should be allowed to do things for themselves from the very beginning." More clearly the meaning is let your baby do what interest them, allowing them to become frustrated when they fail at something, and support them as they learn for figure things for themselves. 

There are many different ways to incorporate the RIE approach into everyday interaction with your infant. RIE approach offers practical ideas for creating a respectful relationship with your infant. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

10 Ways Nannies Can Organize A Child's Toys

Do you have a nanny? If not, this article is useful for you too! Toys are constantly used and the place area can get messy if it's not organized! Here are 10 easy steps to store toys in an organized and functional manner. 

 1. Store Toys Low- It is that children important can easily fetch toys, so they don't get frustrated and feel they need to climb to reach. 

2. Use Bins and Baskets - Arrange a series of bins and baskets to contain overflow of toys. 

3. Store Same with Same - Organizing toys of the similar thing in it's own container, provides an easy access to what toy(s) the child is looking for. This method is also helpful with making clean-up time much easier!

4. Keep Shelves Secure and Safe - Prevent top-heavy tip-over shelves by anchoring them properly and not storing too much on them. This prevents future injuries of children climbing to slung-over shelves that aren't fully secured. 

5. Make Favorites Easy to Find - Most children, especially toddlers usually have their choice of toy(s). By keeping these few toys easily accessible to the child, they'll most likely not make a mess with several toys, because they have their favorites and aren't compensating for them. 

6. Put Away Special Occasion Toys - Messy toys like bubbles, dough, glitter should be used under adult supervision and is best stored where it is not a temptation for the child. By doing so, when you plan special times for the child to explore these toys/activities, the tone of excitement is much greater. 

7. Make Clean-up Part of Your Regular Routine Together - Children can expect something if it's routine. Making clean-up a regular event after playtime helps the child to understand cleaning up is part of the playing and shows they're responsible for cleaning up after themselves. 

8. Designate Toy Containers in Common Rooms - Sometimes it's effective to have toys in certain rooms other then the playroom. By having one bin for a different room is effective for corralling toys while keeping them separated from the playroom stash. 

9. Stuffed Animal Hammocks - It is common for toddlers to have a kingdom collection of stuffed animals and plush toys. But, they probably just have a few favorites. Toy hammocks are a great option for storing because you can easily put them in and put several in. It's important to place the hammocks where reckless play isn't encouraged. 

10. Label Everything - Even though your young age child may not read, labels are still the most useful organizational tool for you. It's not easy to remember which toy goes in which bin, but labels are the easy fix for that! Labeling with both words and pictures is very effective! Both labeling types also promotes word recognition.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Book Review: Animalia by Graeme Base

School age: 2nd grade +

Developmental Skill: Cognitive and reasoning skills are important in all areas of development. This helps children to thing independently, increases vocabulary and builds self-confidence as they solve problems.

Book Review: This alphabet book has extravagant, colorful illustrations. Each alphabet syncs to an animal that performs actions that start with the same alphabet letter. As an adult I found this book to be fun - It's a book for the whole family to enjoy!

Help you children find the hidden objects in the pictures. This is a great book to do with children of all ages because they can find new things each time. Besides the words listed on the page, look for other objects that start with that letter in the alphabet. When you're done reading, play the ABC game with objects around your house. Take turns finding objects that start with 'A', 'B', 'C', etc. This can be a fun game for the whole family!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Playgroup Craft: Paper Plate Peacock

Peacocks are my most favorite bird, and when I found this craft idea I was very excited! This is a great playgroup activity along with reading the book, "Three Hens and a Peacock" by Lester L. Laminack. 

Instructions to make the  Paper Plate Peacock:

Step 1: Paint top of the paper plate with green watercolor paint. I recommended to use liquid watercolors from Oriental Trading. They work really well with this craft and they last for years and years longer then standard dry watercolors. After, paint random blue strips with the water color. It blends very well and will look something like this. Then let the plate completely dry.

Step 2: While waiting for the plate to completely dry make the body/head of the peacock. The outline is mimicked after a bowling pin. Then cut out! 

Step 3: Next, add the details to the peacock body! A beak, 2 wiggly eyes, 4 cocktail toothpicks, variety of sized sequins for the spots. First apply one large gold sequin then glue smaller sequins directly on top. The sequins are a great option for the spots because they are shiny and pretty just like peacock spots!

TA DA! A beautiful peacock! 


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Indoor Activities for Children

In the dead of winter it can be challenging to entertain your child. Here are some fun, easy activities to do with your children that they will love and enjoy!

-Make a racetrack! Use masking or painters tape. Let your kids be free and creative with their pathways and routes!

-Make paper planes! Whether it's the basic plane or some fancy design from Google or Youtube, it'll be a blast!

-Make cookies with a variety of mix-ins! Use a basic chocolate-chip recipe and add mix-ins: raisins, mint chips, coconut, m&ms, reeses pieces etc. 

-Make a demolition derby! Cover the top and sides of a toy car with tin foil, making impressions on the details of the car. Take the tin foil off and smash away!

-Get hands-on with letters. Cut out letters of your child's first name out of sand paper. Have him or her run their fingers on the letters to trace them.

-Make a sensory bucket! Fill a bucket with rice and add objects such as: toy cars, beans, other toys, funnels, cups etc. This is a great activity for them to explore their senses!

-Make play-doh with your kids! Have your child add the ingredients into the saucepan and with your help heat up the stove and stir! After the play-doh is done and completely cooled, let your child pick out colors!

Velvet Play-doh Recipe
1 cup flour
1 cup warm water
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon oil
1/4 cup salt
food coloring

Mix all ingredients adding food coloring last. Stir over medium heat until smooth. Remove from pan and knead until blended and forms dough. It may take a few minutes for it to thicken. Place in airtight bag or container after and it will last a long time. 

*hint, after the base color is made and kneaded, split the dough and put a tiny bit of whatever color in and knead it more to make another color!


Monday, January 21, 2013

Making Your Own Baby Food is so EASY

Why should I make my own baby food?

1- You save money! Research has shown that making your own baby food you can save 50% or more then buying it.

2- It's a healthier choice. Most store-bought baby food has preservatives and additives. By making the food yourself, you know what is going into the food and you can be sure that your baby is getting real food and proper nutrition.

The Baby Brezza baby food maker

I have heard great reviews on the Baby Brezza! Owners of the Baby Brezza have told me they love how easy and convenient it is to make baby food! 

Tips for getting started! 

1- Prepare a variety of fruits, vegetables, meats, grain, and legumes. Prepare familiar foods to you and don't fear branching out to new foods!

2- Persistence is key. Naturally, babies will go for the sweeter foods, but don't let that stop you from feeding your baby meats and legumes.

3-Be creative. Experiment with different foods and flavor combinations. Try as many combinations to encourage your baby to enjoy a variety of flavors. 

4-Include herbs and spices. After a year it is a great option to add ground spices, and fresh herbs. Other ingredients such as; yogurt, olive oil, ground seeds and nuts add healthy fat and good flavor. 

Age-Food Reference Chart

Cooking Guidelines for the Baby Brezza

The Baby Brezza website is great resource for baby food recipes 6 months +, instructional videos about the Baby Brezza, user manuals, food preparation, feeding guide, etc.

Links to buy the Baby Brezza!
Bed Bath and Beyond

Friday, January 18, 2013

Book Review: What's Up, Duck? A Book of Opposites


School age: Preschool

Developmental Skills: Cognitive and reasoning skills are important in all areas of development. This helps children to think independently, increases vocabulary and builds self-confidence as they solve problems.

Review: The illustrations are colorful and fun that enhances learning of what opposites are demonstrated in this book.

Activity: Board books are great for a child to begin reading! With the fun animal illustrations you can help your child learn 'opposites'. When reading the book, make sure to emphasize the actions so your child understands what the words and actions mean. Try listing a word and see if your child can name opposite. "Up,      " "Hot,       ". This will greatly increase your child's vocabulary.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Playgroup Activity: The Animal Alphabet!

Learning the alphabet is an essential step of early learning about literacy. Knowing the different sounds, shapes, and names of each letter is not all there is to learning the alphabet. The function of letters in writing and knowing their specific letter-sound associations is important. Otherwise, children cannot use the letter-name knowledge they have.

Learning sounds, names, and shapes of the alphabet letters can be more exciting for children if taught in a fun, creative way! Here are some examples of the animal-alphabet letters! You can download the animal-alphabet pack for free here.


Suggested ideas for this activity:
-Have each child color the animal letters.
-The letter that is being colored repeat the letter-name and the sound it makes.
-Tell each child a sentence or short story about the animal-letter they are coloring. 


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Resource Spotlight: Love and Logic


Love and Logic curriculum, developed by Jim Fay and Foster Cline, M.D., teaches parents that you can raise responsible and respectful kids while staying calm and keeping your child’s self-esteem intact.  A great time to start applying Love and Logic techniques is when your child is 8-9 months old.  Your child does not have to be talking in order to benefit from this curriculum.

Lehi Legacy Center:
Classes are $36 and held at the Legacy Center (123 North Center St., Lehi) on Wednesday nights from 6-7:30 p.m.  For more information and to enroll call the Legacy Center at 801-768-7124.  

Nebo School District:
English and Spanish classes are $20 (book included) and held monthly in various locations within the Nebo School District.  For more  information call Monica Hullinger at 801-354-7483 or visit this website.

Free Resources are available at Love and Logic.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Fishing for Numbers Activity!

Creating a fun and motivating technique for learning can enhance your child's interest and excitement. Here is a great activity, "Fishing for Numbers," to have your child learn their numbers! This is also a great activity for improving your child's fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and color recognition!


    Items needed:
   -bowl or bucket
   -magnetic numbers
   -popsicle stick
   -magnetic whiteboard (optional): used for organizing       letters

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Busy Body Book by Lizzy Rockwell

School Age: Second to Third Grade

Developmental Skill:  Gross Motor skills target the large muscle groups such as arms, legs and torso.  Develop these skills by jumping, throwing, running and kicking.

Review:  A very active and educational book that goes through what your body can do.  This book talks about the many different things that our bodies are made for.  It also has great picture maps of the body and the different systems (nervous, muscles, bones, etc) but in a simplified way so children can understand.  It is a fun and energetic book.

Activity:  Get active with your child!  Play outside!  Using sidewalk chalk, make a hopscotch course.  Have your child hop with both feet onto each number.  Have them also count the numbers out loud while they hop.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

What is a Playgroup and Why is it Important?

Playgroup is a group of children who meet at a set time on scheduled days to learn, interact, and play together. It can be structured or non-structured play (songs, dance, games, activities) that is organized and facilitated usually by an adult. Playgroups are a great opportunity for you and your child to be involved with others in your community.
 Playgroups are important for children because they learn important social skills, learn to understand emotions,  develop motor skills, problem solving and creative skills. Play is an important outlet for children because they can express themselves and build confidence.


Welcome Baby has four playgroup locations. Three of the locations vary each season. Provo's playgroup location is listed below. For more info on the locations of our other current playgroups please call, 801-691-5320.

Provo  (Friday at 11 a.m.-12 p.m.)
South Franklin Community Center
750 South 650 West in Provo
Kids 5 and under and their parents!

To sign up to join a playgroup please click on the link below and fill it out!
Playgroup form


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Ready to Learn Class

Ready to Learn is a national literacy initiative hosted by PBS Kids Raising Readers that focuses on building reading skills in the home, in school, in child care, and in the community.  This initiative, which is funded by a grant from the United States Department of Education, is developing exciting games, television programs, websites, and easy-to-use learning resources which will help children be better able to learn to read.
As part of this initiative there is a Ready to Learn class held once a month at the Utah County Health Department for parents and children.  This class is free, open to anyone, and is held every 3rd Wednesday at noon.  In this class there is a parenting workshop taught by a child development professional and at the end of class each parent is given a free new book and activity to take home.  It's a great way to learn new skills and parenting techniques as well as meeting new people in your community and bringing home a free gift!

To learn more about Ready to Learn visit:  PBS Kids

Monday, January 7, 2013

Why Parenting Is More Important Than Schools

There is so much going on the world today and it has parents worried.  What can we do to ensure that our children are getting the proper education?  How can we know that they are being taught correct values?  There are so many other outside influences that can have a major effect on our children.  Especially, when it comes to school.  School is a huge part of a child's life everyday.  And there is continuous disagreements between school boards, parents, and the government on what should be taught.
However, as much as school is an essential part of a child's life, there is one factor that makes a bigger difference when it comes to education.  Parents.  According to recent studies, in an article posted by Time Magazine, they are finding that "parental involvement--checking homework, attending school meetings and events, discussing school activities at home--has a more powerful influence on students' academic performance than anything about the school the students attend."  Studies have also found that "the effort put forth by parents (reading stories aloud, meeting with teachers) has a bigger impact on their children's educational achievement than the effort expended by either teachers or the students themselves."
So we can't leave it all up to our child's teacher.  A parents efforts make a huge difference on how their child will do in school.  Parents need to be continuously looking for the leaning opportunities in everything they do with their child.  Find ways to incorporate learning and then show support and excitement for what they are accomplishing at school.  What we do in our own homes is more important to education than what is actually going on in the schools.  It can be difficult in our crazy, busy lives to do these things but as we do it will have a long lasting effect on the future generation.  Parents matter.


Friday, January 4, 2013

Book Review: Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox & Helen Oxenbury

School Age:  Infant

Developmental Skill:  Social and Emotional development is foundational to all learning and can easily be described as regulating our emotions, understanding our emotions, showing emotional attachment and working well with others.

Review:  A cute book that talks about how even though every baby is different everyone is essentially the same.  A great book for a parent to read to their little one and show how much they mean to them personally.

Activity:  Count your babies toes and fingers while you read to them.  Make sure to kiss their nose!  When changing your child, during bath time or as your dressing your child, repeat the rhyme for them to hear new sounds and the song of language.  This will be a great bonding experience and will help your child with language development.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Time Capsule

Make a Time Capsule about 2012!

Time capsules are a great way for you and your kids to remember years past.  Find a shoe box, cookie tin, egg carton, etc to store things that will help you remember 2012.  Start a tradition and create a time capsule every year.  You can even do this as a playgroup activity and have all the kids get involved.  Have them decorate their container however they'd like and then add memories.  It can have pictures, baseball cards, a CD they listened to all the time, or little toys/trinkets.  Basically anything that will remind your kids of the things they did and accomplished that year.  Add a letter to themselves that tells about them and your family.  Have them answer questions (like the ones below) each year and then compare multiple years in a row as they get older. 
1. What is your favorite color? 
2. What is your favorite toy? 
3. What is your favorite fruit? 
4. What is your favorite TV show? 
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? 
6. What is your favorite outfit? 
7. What is your favorite game? 
8. What is your favorite snack? 
9. What is your favorite animal?
10. What is your favorite song? 
11. What is your favorite book? 
12. Who is your best friend? 
13. What is your favorite sport? 
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? 
15. What is your favorite drink? 
16. What is your favorite holiday? 
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night?
18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday?
20. What do you want to be when you grow up?

Have fun!  And create memories that will last for years to come.

Dear Harrison Blog

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Overcoming Fears

There are a lot of things to be scared of in this world.  I personally have a fear of sliding on ice in my car.  It is something that I can't have control of if it happens.  But I don't let that fear stop me from driving in the winter time.  I just take necessary measures to get over my fear (slow down, get snow tires, etc).  Kids can grow up with multiple fears.  To them, the world is a big unknown place and without proper understanding of some things a true and honest fear can set in.  Fear is normal for children. Normal fears for children can range from things like the dark, bugs, and dogs to rejection, failing, and not being accepted with their friends.  Your job as a parent is to help them in handling their fears as best as you can.
There are multiple things you can do to help your child cope with their fear.

1.  Be patient with them.  You may not understand their fear and it can seem ridiculous but to them the fear is very very real.  Don't push them to hard to do something they just aren't ready for.  Do things little by little taking small steps.

2. Find out how the fear started.  Talk to them about what caused them to be afraid.  What do they think is the worst thing that can happen?  That can help you know how to approach the situation.

3.  Read about the fear.  If the fear is bugs.  Look up a book about bugs and check it out at the library.  If they are afraid of failing find a cute story that goes along with that and how to deal with making mistakes.  The more knowledge someone has about something generally the less scared of it you will be because you understand it more.

3.  Have them write about their fear in a journal.  If they are to young to write them have them draw a picture of it and how it makes them feel or dictate to you what they feel and you can write it down for them.

4.  Slowly introduce them to the real thing.  If they are scared of dogs get them a dog stuffed animal that they can learn to love.  Then go to someones house that has a dog and watch it through the window in the backyard.  Then introduce them to a small calm dog in a comfortable environment.  Go at their pace.  Never force them into a situation that will only continue the fear.
They may totally get over their fear and not even remember being afraid of the dark when they are older.  Or they may never get over their fear completely but they will learn to at least tolerate it and not let their fear control their life. Help give your child the courage they need to see the harmlessness of their fear.  But in spite of everything show them love and support and that you will always be there for them even when they are afraid.

Stress Free Kids