Parenting

The Benefits of Using Sign Language with Your Child

“Where are we going?”

“We’re going swimming.”

“Is Grandma coming?”

“No, Grandma’s at home.”

“I’m hungry.”

“Do you want a snack?”

“Yes, please.”

This is the type of conversation I have with my daughter, Eleanor, who will be seventeen months old next week. From birth, she has been learning American Sign Language (ASL), and it has opened up a whole new world of communication for us and our family.

Parent Time (& Sanity) Saver Halloween Activity

As parents we all have those days. The days when when the  to-do list seems far too long to accomplish, especially with little ones underfoot. And even though my husband and I try to include our girls in the household chores to develop their sense of responsibility and team work, there are times when it is just much faster (and less stressful) to do things ourselves. But how to keep the girls entertained? 

This activity is super simple and the girls worked contently and quietly on it all afternoon. ALL afternoon! The added bonus was that it was relatively mess free, quick to set up and we had all the materials at home!

What you'll need:

1st Birthday Party Activity Ideas

1st Birthdays are a huge milestone for birthday child and parents like! I often (half) joke with my clients that the 1st Birthday party is really a chance for parents to say "Hooray! We survived!". Whether you are planning a small gathering or a large fiesta for your extended circle of friends and family here are some fun activity ideas that can be enjoyed by guests of all ages!

Baby Safe Finger Painting (recipe via Tinkerlab

The (not so) Perfect Thanksgiving: Book Review

Pinterest, Facebook, magazines, TV shows, blogs, all of these mediums can provide parents with so many options on how to make the Holidays “perfect” it can be overwhelming. Many of us are just doing our best to get our kids to their activities on time, hope they are eating some fruit or veggies at some point during the week, and hope the underwear we just grabbed came out of the clean hamper and not the dirty hamper. The extra “pressure” to make DIY table settings, cook a flawless meal, and find coordinating outfits for the family can make most of us want to throw in the towel.

Touch and your Child's Development

When a baby is born, more often than not, doctors will immediately place the infant on the mother’s chest. These first moments of skin-to-skin contact between mother and child begin to nurture the infant’s emotional, physical and cognitive development, while strengthening the infant-caregiver bond.

Touch can be a very powerful parenting tool, especially during the newborn stage. When babies cry, they release a stress hormone, cortisol, which slows brain growth and development. Newborn babies who are held often cry less (thus releasing less cortisol) and sleep more. This relaxed state facilitates early brain development.

A simple way to stay connected

School is starting and for many families this means less time to relax together and more time apart. Parents with little ones departing for the first time to preschool or kindergarten may feel slightly sad or anxious about this big life change. Parents with older children can feel overwhelmed trying to balance full days of school and extra curricular activities with quality family time. It can be difficult to let our children go, knowing they will be experiencing many firsts without us. How can we be sure to stay connected to our children without hovering or imposing on their growing independence? 

The Clean Up Song

In this video I share my Clean Up song. I use this song in my dance programs but it can also be used at home with your toddlers/preschoolers. Using a song can make clean up time a more positive, fun experience  for everyone!

Nurturing your child's Emotional Intelligence

Intelligence quotient (IQ) and academic achievement are often focused upon indicators of potential success. However, they are not the only factors that determine how successful and happy a person will be in the future. Our ability to get along with others and maneuver through social situations can have just as much influence on our success. As parents, we can support our children’s future potential by developing their emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence can be defined as the ability to identify, assess and control the emotions of oneself, of others and of groups. It has been greatly debated if and how emotional intelligence can be measured like IQ, however it is generally agreed upon that people with greater EI are more successful.

What happened to the Awesome Moms?

Hot Mamas! Yummy Mummies! The MILF club! It seems like everywhere I turn there is a group, website, club, or network for moms flaunting how “hot” they are.

Case in point? This morning as I went through my normal “work at home” morning routine (chai latte on the couch, puppy snuggling beside me, surfing Facebook), this popped into my newsfeeds:

There’s a mixed message when celebs are paid millions to lose the baby weight after pregnancy…

This was the status update for Erika Ehm’s Yummy Mummy Club linking to this article about Jessica Simpson’s pregnancy weight gain and her recent 4 million dollar deal with Weight Watchers to lose her baby weight in a year.

Jessica's Picks: Mermaid Island, a cooperative board game

Playing board games with young can be challenging. Many children have difficulty waiting for their turn, may have trouble playing games independently if the rules are too complex, and naturally want to win. Losing can lead pouting, crying, or anger. This is amplified when playing with a sibling or peer who may not be a "gracious" winner. I have often found Bria and Malia in a full on catfight due to a "disagreement" over a board game. 

But board games have so many benefits for children! Alvin Rosenfeld explains in his article, The Benefits of Board Games,:

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