Saturday, April 26, 2008

From Crib to Big Kids Bed!

When you toddler goes from a crib to a "big kid bed" it's a big deal. Let your child have a little say in the bed she'll be sleeping in and you might find the transition from crib to toddler bed is a whole lot easier.

A crib has sides and this gives many children security. Moving to a toddler bed with small rails to keep them from failing out, still works well but it may not offer the mental security that a crib did. Letting your child look at different beds and choose the one that she'd like to have her nighty-night in and you will find that the step from crib to toddler bed will be pretty seamless for most kids.

If your little guy likes firetrucks, why not go for a toddler bed shaped like a fire truck? If you have a little princess that loves all things pink, let her rest her pretty head in a bed fit just for a pink princess. There are also beds shaped like boats and for the child that likes it plain and simple, well he can have that too.

Another great idea is to establish a bedtime routine. Boundaries and routines make children feel secure and a nightly ritual of a bedtime at a specific time, along with getting ready for bed that can include a bath or shower or just washing up and brushing teeth, putting on pajamas and maybe a bedtime story or a quiet talk time and doing that every night will let your child settle into a relaxation mode for bedtime quickly.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

An Indoor Sandbox?

Yep, you read that one right. An indoor sandbox will be a great toy to keep your kids entertained on those days it's just too yucky to go outside and play. This is also a fun toy for waiting rooms or if you own a child care facility - all of these are great reasons to incorporate this fun toy.

The Happy Trails Sand Table is made by Educo and the design of this fun sandbox has been extremely well thought out. The sandbox is entirely sealed inside of a solid wooden table and there is a clear acrylic top that the kids can look down and see the sand with both vehicles and creatures inside. The vehicles and creatures are magnetic and using the magnetic hand pieces that are attached to the bottom of the sandbox, they can move the vehicles and creates all over the place inside the enclosed area of the sandbox.

Kids can have races, make designs and even arrange the pieces in shapes and forms. One to four children can play with this interesting toy at once and for added stability, the table has steel legs that can be bolts to the floor. No worrying about the magnetic pieces getting lost or being a hazard, they are firmly enclosed within the box.

This is a fun and safe toy that will deliver hours of fun for kids. If you have a group of kids that you keep as a day care or you have a waiting room where kids need to be kept busy, this is a fabulous way to do it!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Building Self Confidence in Your Child

Do you have a child that doesn't want to play with other kids or participate in activities? It may not be that your child is a wallflower, she may just lack self confidence.

Building self confidence in a child is paramount to helping her be a successful and well adjusted adult. Children with self confidence are a lot less likely to be pressured into less than positive activities by other kids once they reach their teenage years.

How to build self confidence in your child is another matter. No one has to tell you that all kids are a different. Many parents comment how their own children can be different as night and day. However, any child can benefit from a self esteem boost. Finding something the child does well and can feel that they excel at will help build confidence. When you get toys for your kids, make sure they are age appropriate as giving a child a toy that is too advanced for her learning level can lead to frustration and a loss of self esteem for not being able to "work" the toy or use it.

Art is a wonderful way for many children to develop self esteem. Show your child pictures of the works of various great artists from the past. Your child may be frustrated that her artworks don't look like photographs, and you can show her through the work of Monet or Picasso that art doesn't have to look like a photo - it's about the story the artist wants to tell.

Try various avenues such as chalk, pastels, markers, crayons and it's even better if you have an art desk that its their size. Post his or her displays her works in the place arond the house and watch the giant smiles. This will create a sense of pride and build confidence that mommy and daddy think the product is good enough to display for guests.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Rock It! with a Cool Rocking Toy

Sometimes when you're looking for a great gift or addition to your little one's toy collection; it's a good idea to think simple and forget the toys and play gadgets with all the lights, buttons, sounds, and other additions. Instead think back to some of the more simple pleasures and let your child enjoy some of the toys you loved as a child.

Rocking Toys

A rocking horse is a great example of this type of toy. The simple rocking motion is something most child find soothing and what is a simple riding toy can turn into a whole lot more as your child grows older. Think back to your own rocking horse, did you pretend you were a cowboy, messenger, warrior or other character as you "rode" your horse? The pretend play value a rocking horse can bring is endless.

Use these tips and give your child a fun toy that will let them expand his or her imagination instead of a yet another toy that is so advanced it does everything but play for the child. Give your child the gift of a toy that can literally do anything your child imagines it can - and give them the fun of a rocker!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

April is Autism Awareness Month

As a parent of a child with special needs I understand the desire to have as much information as possible on my son’s disability. This educational process never ends. Research changes and as he gets older he changes too. As new issues arise with him I find new questions to ask and I start the research process all over again. If you have a child that has been diagnosed with Autism you know how this need for information can lead you to spend hours online looking for answers.

Autism Society of America

We hope that Autism World Awareness Day will make people unaffected by Autism take the time to understand that the child flapping his arms, repeating phrases over and over, or a number of the other actions that children with Autism have is not weird, but the way their body helps regulate and cope with the surrounding world. As more people learn about Autism we hope that it will lead to a greater understanding in the community. If you are not touched by this disability directly it is hard to understand. We hope that Autism World Awareness Day will lead you to take a closer look at Autism and what it means to the people afflicted with this disorder and their families.

Autism research Institute

If you want to learn more about Autism here are some links to organizations that can give you the information you need. If you have a child struggling with Autism, or you susect that a child in your family might be Autistic, you should contact your local school district. They will be able to direct you to the agencies in charge of intervention in your area. This intervention is often available at no charge.

Autism Speaks / Cure Autism Now

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act


Friday, April 11, 2008

Great Learning and Play Toys Special Needs Children

No two special needs children are alike but they do all have one thing in common, they love to play. How your favorite special needs child plays may differ from other children, but it's important that you get him games and toys that peak his interest and match his age and functionality so playtime is fun and learning time and not a frustrating experience.

A great toy that has endless learning possibilities is found in tactile discs. Often used by both teachers and therapists, the disks help the child learn to tell the difference between various types of textures. The discs are made from rubber that feels good on the fingers and there are five different textures to feel. Each disc is a separate color and one of the keys of these discs is to help children describe sense impressions verbally.

A great way to play is to ask questions and help the child learn to describe the various textures. Ask, "Does this feel bumpy?" or "Does this disc feel smooth?". Encourage your child to repeat the words while holding the disc, the connection will be made to what he is feeling as well as the word to describe it. It's a good way to start encouraging verbal descriptions of the things he feels with his hands. Each of the tactile structures is on a large disc with a smaller disc that the child may be held in the child's hands.

You can create numerous games with your child. Use the discs to teach simple textures and help your child verbalize. Move on to colors and even simple counting games if he's ready. Once he's comfortable with the discs, you can also play blindfolded games and let him "guess" the disc and it's a good way to teach him to further verbalize what he's feeling.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Jumpin' Fun!

Are your kids energetic? Really love to move around? Even though spring is here, the days are cold, wet and not too kid-friendly for outdoor play in many areas of the country. If your kids are begging to do something that will keep them on the move but outdoors just isn't an option yet, consider the fun in a trampoline.

The Kids Folding Trampoline has an easy-to-hold handle that will allow your kids to both exercise and be safe. The trampoline can be used either indoors or out and has a tough weatherproof mat and tublar steel frame with a durable coated finish. For extra safety, the padded cover around the mat cushions the frame and prevents children from stepping through the bungee cord. The handle simply screws off and the legs fold down for ease of storage. When you're ready to put this trampoline up for the day, it simply fold and you can scoot it under a bed or in a closet.

The assembly is very easy. The mat comes with a bungee cord that you simply wind through the mat and attach around the frame pulling tightly as you go around. The result is a fun and safe surface for bouncing and no springs!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Set a Good Example Yourself. Exercise Regulary

Are you sick to death of having the words "obese children" shoved down your throat. It's in the media almost every day however what the stories fail to address is that the obese children generally live in households where bad habits such as poor diet and little to no exercise are practiced by all members of the household.

Take an objective look at your child or grandchild, if he or she is showing signs of being overweight, look at yourself and ask the serious, question,"Am I contributing to my child's weight gain?" If you are, there are a lot of great ways to undo what has been done and become a good example yourself.

First of all, resolve to forgo sugary, empty calorie laden snacks. You may work and have a busy schedule but you can still make a good healthy meal. Brush the dust off the crock pot and put together some filling nutritious soups and stews. Instead of sending money each week for your kids to buy a school lunch, make their lunch at home. Include carrot sticks with ranch dressing if your kids are "dippers" and opt for making their lunches from whole grain breads and watch the amount of sugar your kids consume. Instead of chips, opt for whole grain crackers or strips of pita bread. Replace the cookies with an apple or pear. Let your kids choose strange fruits to try at the grocery store, star fruits are amazingly good!

Next, get moving. Weather won't always permit going out walking or indulging in other physical activities but you can get a treadmill and let your child do the same. It's much for fun to engage in physical activities together.

And those are just a few changes you can make that will lead to positive health choices for your child, start now and you'll be laying the bricks for good health for the future for your children.