Archive for the ‘ Your Child ’ Category

How to Decorate the BEST Nursery

Friday, October 18th, 2013

Cribs, rompers, and blankies, oh my! When it comes to furnishing the perfect room for Baby, sometimes there’s just too much décor. Take it from the lifestyle department at American Baby; we conceive a new nursery theme each month for our “Nesting” page.

So how do we manage to scout a set of items that mesh? You’d be surprised where we find inspiration.


1. It’s not about matching.
Yes, ideally you want your nursery to flow well. But that doesn’t mean it has to match to the point where all creativity is drained. The best ideas come when you make unexpected choices, like using a spotted orange crib sheet to mimic bedrock pebbles for a dinosaur theme. Definitely beats the traditional creature-filled bedding.

2. It can start with one product.
Despite how put together our layouts seem, it doesn’t take long to develop a theme. It can be sparked by anything really at a moment’s notice. When we came across this brigade of dolls, they inspired a Japanese-centered nursery that would go on to include florals and the cutest wrap dress for November–subscribers look out for your issue soon!

 

 

3. Practicality outweighs design.
Don’t just choose décor because it looks nice. Think about longevity and the drain on your wallet, too. A $300 diaper pail may match your coveted color scheme, but that doesn’t mean it’s worth it in the long run. Be sure to research multiple sources and consider timeless pieces that will last beyond your child’s early years, like cool mirrors or sophisticated lamp bases.

Before you know it, you’ll want to sleep in Baby’s room instead of your own!

Add a Comment
Back To GoodyBlog

Win an Aden + Anais Sleep Sack!

Monday, October 14th, 2013

Aden + Anais, best known for its adorable muslin baby blankets, is now giving away 10 of its muslin “sleeping bags,” or wearable blankets. These are a safe way to keep your baby warm while sleeping without using a loose blanket, which poses a suffocation risk; avoiding them in cribs is an important part of reducing the risk of SIDS. The company is running this giveaway now because October is SIDS Awareness Month, when advocates work especially hard to increase the awareness of SIDS as well as the importance of safe sleep habits for babies. Among those advocates are the CJ Foundation for SIDS, a nonprofit which has provided millions of dollars for SIDS research initiatives, support service grants, public education, and awareness campaigns since 1994. In fact, a portion of the sales of all Aden + Anais sleeping bags go directly to the CJ Foundation.

To enter the giveaway, visit Aden + Anais on Facebook. (Scroll down a bit to find the latest post about the contest.) Good luck!

Add a Comment
Back To GoodyBlog

Shop Apps and Games Better with Easy Checklists

Friday, October 11th, 2013

With the hefty mix of apps and games available, it can be hard to determine what’s not only fun, but also appropriate for your child.

If you use LeapFrog products, they’re helping parents decipher the daunting world of gaming with their recently-released Parent’s Guide . From skill-building to privacy concerns, six key points help you decipher what to consider the next time you’re purchasing Leapfrog games or apps for young ones.

Another way to keep track of kids’ games, especially for the older crowd, is a free mobile app from the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). Search for titles by age rating and filter out apps that share personal information or location. You can also flag options that contain violence, strong language or other mature content. Check out how to navigate through the app below.

If you’re still at a loss, ESRB’s Resources for Parents offers even more websites to decode everything gaming for your son or daughter.

What ways do you check for fun and safe games and apps for your tyke? Do you try every app yourself? Ask other parents for their reccs? Share your strategies below and help other parents!

Add a Comment
Back To GoodyBlog

Reading Roadblocks

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

When my daughter started kindergarden, she hated reading. There I said it.

Her teacher always sent her home with books from which she was to read for at least 20 minutes every night. But whenever she sat down with a book, I’d watch her body slump and her mind wander to far away thoughts of magical moving pictures from the glorious TV in her room.

She was no stranger to reading before she started school. She had an entire library in her room that I filled with all of the classics. I’d been reading to her since she was in the womb, and she’s always loved reading hour, which we have every Saturday and Sunday after lunch. But this was different. Being in kindergarden meant that she had to decipher the strange letters on the page on her own, and that was no fun.

She once started to say “I hate rea-” to which I gasped and forbid her from ever having such thoughts. As an English major and a lover of books, this was like a punch in the stomach for me. I felt a sense of loss for all of the amazing stories she might miss out on; all of the lives she wouldn’t live if this feeling continued. Dramatic, I know, but it’s really how I felt.

So of course I did what every wise, all-knowing mother does when she encounters an obstacle: I called my mom.

“Being a mom means being a teacher,” my mom said. “Put your teaching pants on.”

Apparently moms have all kinds of pants in an invisible mom-wardrobe that we just have to whip out and pull on when called for. So I did.  I pulled on my teaching pants, and they weren’t comfortable, but they fit.

After watching her read each day, I took to the chalkboard in her room and made lists of word families that I noticed gave her trouble.

Practicing “ou” brought mountains and clouds to life on the page for her. I bought books that were fun, like We Are In a Book, by Mo Willems. She cracked up reading that one and asked for more of his books. One Saturday I encouraged her to write a letter to her favorite author, and a week later she received her first piece of mail – a response from Mo Willems himself. He thanked her and promised to keep writing “Funny jokes to make her laugh.”

It took some time, but soon enough, she was reading books at home that were well beyond the reading level that her teacher was assigning.

Now as a 1st grader, new books have become rewards for completing her chores and finishing other books.

Some of her favorites are Amelia Bedelia, and The Show Must Go On. She recently finished  The Adventures of Captain Underpants (in 2 days) and I challenged her to read Wayside School is Falling Down in 1 week. On the line – the entire Captain Underpants box set.

I’d be lying if I said that my daughter loves every book that she picks up. She’ll still swap a book for the TV if the story isn’t funny enough, but she’s come a long way from the days of (almost) hating to read. And I get to put the teaching pants back on the hanger during reading hour.

 

Add a Comment
Back To GoodyBlog

Don’t Miss the Premiere of PEG + CAT on PBS!

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Math just got a little more fun with PEG + CAT, the new animated series from PBS KIDS. The show premieres this Monday, October 7, and promises to make problem-solving skills a breeze for your preschooler.

In each 30-minute episode, Peg and her lovable sidekick Cat encounter dilemmas that require some big thinking. Whether they’re trying a hand at adding and subtracting or learning broader concepts like size and geometry, the pair never back down from a number challenge (or a catchy learning tune). With backdrops like a pirate island or futuristic planet, the program proves math can be exciting and happen in the most unexpected places.

PEG + CAT comes at a vital time when children’s math skills are in dire need. National assessments have shown that 60 percent of students are performing below proficient levels in math by the fourth grade, according to the 2011 National Assessment of Education Progress Report.

Another inspiring element of the show: The main character is a young girl. While women make up 48 percent of the workforce, only 23 percent are in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math). Let’s hope a character as spirited and outspoken as Peg will be inspiration for boys AND girls everywhere to get their brains calculating.

Beyond math, PEG + CAT shows young ones the process of trial and error, such as figuring out multiple ways to move 100 chickens back to their coop. She may not get it right the first time, but Peg eventually learns from her mistakes and seeks help from friends along the way, both awesome life skills for the real world as well.

Want to get a sneak peek this weekend? Visit the show’s interactive website pbskids.org/peg, where you can also find local listings for the show, or download the PET + CAT Big Gig app for games and learning resources now.

Check out the video below to see how PEG + CAT was created!

Add a Comment
Back To GoodyBlog

Tia Mowry: “I’m a fun mom and I’m a hot mama!”

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Flu season is approaching, but that won’t stop Tia Mowry. Parents chatted with her upon the launch of a new flu vaccine and she shared tips for dealing with a sick baby, having a different parenting style than her twin, Tamera, and she let us help her cement her upcoming Halloween plans!

P: What makes you so passionate about this health issue in particular?

TM: I’m a busy mom. I’m always on the go. I’m an entrepreneuer, I’m a wife, I’m a sister, I’m a working mom, but my family’s health is my number one priority and my health is my number one priority. To be honest with you I never realized the importance of the flu vaccination, but after really understanding how the flu can take a huge toll on the entire family—because we all know once a mom is down or sick it’s instant chaos—I realized that it was really important to make sure that flu vaccinations were a part of my family’s annual routine.

P: What would you say to the mom who is nervous about vaccinating her child?

TM: When we think about vaccinations, we think about needles. Needles aren’t, I don’t think, anyone’s best friend. That creates a sense of fear when it comes to vaccinations. One thing I love about FluMist Quadrivalent: it’s needle-free. You know you’re not going to have a crying child leave the pediatrician’s office, which is a plus. (Editor’s note: The flu mist is for children ages 2 and up.)  The other thing is, it’s FDA-approved, and when I know things have been FDA-approved I feel ok about that. I want to protect my child in the best way that I possibly can.

P: When Cree does get sick, what are your non-medicine ways to help him feel better?

TM: The first thing that I do when my son gets sick is give him extra extra extra love and extra attention. Kids get scared. They don’t know what’s going on with their bodies and things are happening that doesn’t normally happen, they’re sneezing, they’re coughing and they get scared. Just to support them in a way that they feel comfortable, whether that’s letting them sleep with you, taking a nap with them, doing soft gentle things with them, I think is beneficial.

The other thing is: Vick’s has always been huge in my family. It just helps. I actually put Vicks on the bottom of his feet, it helps with coughs and it really really works. Instead of just applying it on the chest or the back, I apply it on his feet and put little socks over. Then I get a humidifier going and he’s fine.

P: Speaking of mom advice, you came out with your book of pregnancy tales and advice last year. What is the single most valuable piece of advice you want pregnant moms to know?

TM: The most difficult thing for me was worrying that everything would be okay. The best thing that I could say is “just relax.” I know it’s easier said than done and I’ve been through it already, but the more relaxed you are the better it will be for you and the baby. Don’t get on the internet and try to look at every wrong possible scenario that could happen. And sleep while you can. Everybody would tell me this, but I would not listen. Make sure you get as much sleep as you possibly can because when you become a mom—sleep, what? There is no such thing as sleep.

For moms in general, follow your instincts. I believe we have been born to do this, to be moms. We’re natural nurturers, so trust your instincts. Go at your own pace. I never realized how much judgment comes with certain parenting styles. Do what’s best for you and your family and that’s ok. If you are an attachment parent and you have the type of style, that’s fine. If you’re not, that’s fine. Don’t judge other moms. I think that’s the worst thing you can do to any mom and any child. Whether it’s breastfeeding, not breastfeeding, attachment parenting, co-sleeping. Every parent has their own journey.

P: Your sister, Tamera, is also a new mom. Are your parenting styles similar or different? 

TM: My sister and I have very different parenting styles. I’m definitely more of the attachment parent. I sleep with my son. I pay close attention to his emotional needs. If I could have breasfed until he was 2, I would have. I loved breastfeeding. That’s why we came out with Need Milky, because I was devastated that my milk dried up after three months. I’m not going to spank my child. I don’t believe in spanking. I was spanked as a child, so I have an interesting perspective about that. I do believe in setting boundaries. I think a child definitely has to understand their boundaries because when they go out in the real world not everything is going to go their way, but I don’t think that spanking is a form of discipline that works for everybody.

P: As twins and as co-stars you are so close, how do you deal with a clash about parenting styles?

TM: I’m going to be honest, that’s why I say “don’t be judgmental.” Sometimes I would think “Oh my gosh, are you judging me? Are you judging my parenting style? Do you think I’m not a good mom or a good parent because I’m co-sleeping with my child and you’re deciding not to?” We’ve realized that we have different lifestyles. There’s a reason why I do what I do. I work a lot. When I’m gone from my child, to then be able to sleep with him and to be able to feel his hand on my face and to hear him go “Muhmuh” in the middle of the night it melts my heart. Whereas, Tamera, she’s more at home so maybe she wants to have a little break. What helped us with that clash is not judging one another. We do what we do because it’s what’s best for our families, not that we believe one is the right way or the wrong way of parenting.

P: It’s interesting because obviously you came from the same family, but have very different interpretations of the events that you both experienced and how that translates to your sons.

TM: It shows how your children are watching. My sister’s way of parenting is very close to my mom’s way of parenting, whereas I’m like the free one. I’m the free bird. I like to try different approaches and have a mind of my own in a way. So I say, “Ok that worked for you, but I see it differently.” It’s interesting when you have your mom saying, “Honey, why does your 2-year-old still have a bottle.” And I say, “If he wants to have a bottle—this is what I mean by listening to him emotionally—he can have a bottle.” I know he’s not going to be 9 years old with a bottle, so if he wants to suck a bottle right now and that’s bringing him comfort, that’s fine. I trust my child in his development.

P: Speaking of age and developmental milestones, I know that Cree is 2. What is your favorite thing about this age?

TM: My favorite thing about this age is that I can now communicate with my child. I can kind of understand what he’s saying. There’s a lot of babbling. I love the way when I’m driving and we’ve been in the car for about an hour and he wants Mommy’s attention he says “hand, hand, hand” and I can reach back and give him my hand. I like the way I’m able to understand him more, he’s able to understand me more. I like the way he’s able to have his own point of view now or his own interests. He likes Curious George. He likes Thomas the Train. He was not too fond about the Chica show. That’s fine. I like that. Little bits of his personality are coming out.

P: Now that he’s vaccinated and there is no fear of going out and catching the flu, what is your favorite autumn and winter activities that you’re looking forward to sharing with Cree?

TM: My son loves being outside. He’s living up to his name, Cree, after a tribe of Native Americans who were warriors who would travel around the world. He always wants to go out and about. We love going to The Grove in L.A. For winter there is Santa Claus and there’s this big huge tree and he gets to meet Santa Claus, so that’s what I’m looking forward to. I also just got him a new wardrobe at Zara. I love ZaraKids. He’s looking like a little Jay-Z, he has on these puffy bubble jackets with these cool corduroy pants and boots. I can’t wait to dress him in fun fall clothes.

P: Speaking of dressing up, Halloween is upon us. Do you have a costume planned for him? 

TM: I have to tell this story. I was working last year for Halloween, I was doing Baggage Claim. My husband took my son around the block for Halloween. My husband dressed as Mario and my son was dressed as a frog. It was so cute. For the other one he was a boxer—I had to get him more than one because it was his first Halloween. This year I think I want to be a Geisha with the whole makeup, but I don’t know what Cree could be.

P: Maybe a little sushi roll?

TM: Oh that’s such a good idea! That is so cute. And then what should my husband be? A samurai!

P: Will he go trick-or-treating with his cousin or is Tamera’s Aden too young?

TM: He will be dressed up and I think that will be great. I’m thinking about having a huge Halloween party at my house and having all cool punches and desserts and food that’s very Halloween-themed. That’s what I want to do.

P: I know that Instant Mom is coming up. Is your character’s mothering anything like what it is with Cree, or maybe when Cree gets older?

TM: I think where Stephanie Phillips’ parenting skills are right now is kind of like how I was when I first had Cree. When you’re a new mom, you’re a fish out of water. You don’t really know what you’re doing. It’s trial and error basically. You can read all these books and get advice, but you kind of have to go through the experience yourself. So it reminds me of that, when I was a new mom. People would say that I’m a fun mom and I’m a hot mama and Stephanie is that. She is a hot, fun mom. She definitely has not lost who she is and her essence as a woman now that she’s become a mom and that’s how I am. But I add a lot of my own personality to my character, that she is just a lot of fun but when it comes down to discipline she’s serious with the kids. She feels “I know I’m your mom and you want me to be your friend, but at the same time I’m the mom.” But for me, my goal is to be the best mom I can possibly be.

Add a Comment
Back To GoodyBlog

Baby Miracles With Hilaria Baldwin: “Birth Was Absolutely Incredible”

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Hilaria Baldwin wife of Alec Baldwin

Interview by Ilyssa Panitz

Hilaria Baldwin would have to agree with the old saying that good things happen in threes. She just released her new Fit Mommy-to-Be prenatal DVD; her husband, Emmy-winner Alec Baldwin, is set to become the host for a new talk show on MSNBC; and — last but not least in the trio of bliss — the couple’s baby girl, Carmen Gabriela, made her big New York debut on August 23. Parents.com caught up with the new working mom a second time to find out what motherhood is like in the fast lane. (Read a previous interview with Hilaria about pregnancy and fitness secrets.) Follow her on Twitter @hilariabaldwin.

If you had to sum up the birth of your child in one word, which one would you pick?

WOW. There isn’t one word that is strong enough to describe the feeling. Birth was absolutely incredible. My husband said it was a miracle, and I agree that it was pretty miraculous. I didn’t realize I could love something so deeply.

Some new moms write down when they feed the baby and change her, and how long she sleeps, so they can learn their child’s pattern. Have you done the same? What is Carmen’s schedule?

I was writing everything down at the beginning, especially before she gained back her birth weight. Now I am at the point where Carmen and I are in sync with each other, so I no longer have to write everything down. Carmen wakes up around 11 P.M. and then again around 2 A.M. and 5:30 A.M.

I read that baby Carmen has her days and nights confused. How are you coping with the situation?

We had some nights that were rough. She is up every two to three hours because she needs to eat, but she also likes to hang out and spend time with us.

What has been the biggest adjustment you had to make?

I am definitely sleeping differently, but I think my last trimester prepared me for the lack of sleep, because I was waking up all the time needing the bathroom! (Laughs) Aside from the sleep issue, I’ve also had to adjust to having another person in the house. My little person has needs, and because we love her so much, we want to cater to her every single need and make her as happy as possible. Another thing I have adjusted: priorities. I used to run to this meeting and that meeting, and now my life revolves around home, where we build everything around Carmen’s schedule.

What books or websites have you found useful?

When I was pregnant I read, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel. If I have any other questions, I go right to the Internet or I ask my baby nurse or my mom.

What books do you like to read to Carmen?

Are You My Mother?, by P.D. Eastman. I even read it to her in Spanish because I want her to speak Spanish. When I read this book, Carmen just coos, shifts her head from side to side, and smiles.

Your husband has been down the baby road before, so has he given you any advice?

It was so long ago — it’s really apples and oranges. He feels that this is a brand-new experience. But you can tell he has done this before. He’s so at ease when he holds the baby. I honestly feel like we are both new parents who are taking this journey together.

 

Photo credit: Acacia/Arthur Cohen

Add a Comment
Back To GoodyBlog

Your Biggest Behavior Challenges: Send Us Your Videos

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

mom video taping childWhether it’s poor manners, slacking on chores, or forgetting to feed the dog, most kids dodge responsibility from time to time. If you can catch your kid in the act on camera, we can help! Share short videos—2 minutes or less in length—of your child’s biggest behavior challenges with Parents, and selected submissions will received personalized expert advice. Send your video to myvideo@parents.com, along with your child’s name and age and your daytime phone number, to enter.

Here are some best video practices to get you started:

  • It’s fine to film on your phone—in fact, it’s encouraged!
  • Set up your shot as if you were taking a photo.
  • Make sure there is plenty of light. Turn on several lights, if you are inside.
  • If you shoot handheld, use two hands to steady the phone. Or, use a table or a book to prop your phone up, to have a completely steady shot.
  • Audio is key. Make sure the phone is close enough to your kid so that you can hear him. And don’t be afraid to have your child repeat something he’s said.

Submission of your material constitutes permission for Meredith Corporation to allow its use in all media.

Image: Mom video taping child via Shutterstock.

Add a Comment
Back To GoodyBlog