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Finding the best day care for your child can be a confusing, stressful process. Here are some expert tips to consider.
A high-quality day care should help children develop socially, emotionally, cognitively, and physically so that they are ready for school when the time comes. Keep these aspects of development in mind when choosing a program.
Ask family and friends for recommendations, and research options in your area. Facilities accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children meet strict standards for quality. If you are looking for a home-based day care, look for a provider accredited by the National Association for Family Child Care. The National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies provides lists of state-licensed facilities, inspection reports, state fact sheets, and information on day care and family child care regulations. There are no federal standards for day care centers, and licensing and regulations vary by state.
Children should be supervised at all times, and there should be low teacher-to-child ratios. There should be one teacher for every three to four infants or young toddlers, for every four to six older toddlers, or for every six to nine preschoolers to ensure that your child receives necessary one-on-one attention.
Classrooms should be well-organized and include a wide array of age-appropriate toys and materials. Staff should follow daily and weekly schedules that include a variety of activities, such as art, music, outdoor play, reading, and dramatic play.
Teachers’ education is also important. Teachers should have degrees in early childhood education and receive regular professional development to improve their skills.
Ask about the program’s policies on a wide variety of health and safety issues, including immunizations, hand washing, diaper changing, illnesses, injuries, and emergency procedures. All staff should have undergone a background check and should be certified in CPR and first aid. Be extra careful when looking at family child care providers, since they are less strictly regulated than child care centers.
Look for a licensed facility that asks for input from parents and staff to improve their program and offers teachers professional development. You and the staff should share the same core values and be able to communicate freely at all times to support the growth and progress of your child.
Child development experts agree that having children perform household chores teaches teamwork and a strong work ethic. Everyone needs to feel needed, and chores are a great way to build your child’s sense of responsibility and self-worth, while increasing the burden on you and your spouse.
What are some age-appropriate chores that your child can perform? The experts at WebMD have some suggestions:
Children two to three years old can put their toys away, feed pets, put their dirty clothes in the hamper, clean up spills, dust, and stack books and magazines. Four- and five-year-olds can make their beds, bring in the mail or newspaper, clear the table, water flowers, unload utensils from the dishwasher, and wash plastic dishes in the sink. A six- or seven-year-old can sort laundry, sweep the floor, set and clear the table, help make lunch, and clean his or her bedroom.
Make a list of all the chores that need to be done to enable your home to run smoothly. Allow children to choose which chores they want to do so they will be less likely to complain and try to avoid doing them. Children tend to respond well if they feel that they have choices.
Create a chores chart that lists each chore, whose responsibility it is, the deadline for getting it done, and a space to place a check mark when it has been completed. You can make two charts – one for daily chores and another for weekly ones.
Teach your child how to do chores gradually. Start out by showing the child how to do the chore step-by-step, then let your child help you. After that, allow the child to do the chore while you supervise, and finally allow him or her to do it alone, without supervision.
Make sure you set clear expectations and explain why it is necessary for the chore to be done, and set consequences if the chore is not done. Offer praise for a job well done, but don’t expect your child to do the chore perfectly right away. If the child falls short, offer suggestions for improvement, but don’t do the chore yourself. Most importantly, be consistent, and your family will be able to work together to get chores done so that you will be able to spend more quality time together.
When a friend or family member gives birth, it is a beautiful thing. Just like the new mom, you’ve been waiting nine months for the little one to enter the world. You may want to drive right over to the hospital when you see pictures of the baby on Facebook, but there are rules for doing that. Follow these tips to avoid a potentially awkward situation at the hospital.
1. Call ahead – Call first and see when the new mother would like to have visitors. The immediate family may want to spend some time alone with the baby and the new mom will be exhausted from the birthing process. Don’t show up unannounced and make your visit brief!
2. Don’t go if you’re sick – If you are not feeling well, don’t go visit the baby at the hospital. You don’t want to get the newborn sick too. Only pick up the baby if you are invited to do so and make sure you wash your hands first.
3. Don’t give advice unless you are asked – Many people might think they are an expert on how to raise a baby and feel like they need to give their two cents to the new mother. Unless she asks you for advice, don’t offer it.
4. Focus on the mother – This is a special time for the new mom. Don’t focus your conversation on your birthing experience or try to “one up” her. Everyone’s birthing experience is a little different and most people don’t want to discuss specific details about the birth.
5. Names are personal – Even if the new baby’s name is North or Blanket, be gracious with your response to it. Naming a child is very personal and can mean a lot to the parents.
6. Respect the mother’s privacy – If the mother decides to breastfeed the baby while you are there, respectfully ask if they want you to leave the room during feeding time. If you are the new mom, it is always good manners to ask if your visitors mind if you feed your baby in front of them.
When you have a newborn you have to carefully give them a bath. It is the parents’ job to make bathing a safe and enjoyable experience until their child is old enough to do it on their own. Bath time can be difficult sometimes, so here are a few tips that can help ensure it doesn’t turn into a disaster.
Tip #1 – Be Prepared
Make sure you have everything you need before you put your baby in the tub. The last thing you want is to find out is that you are missing something after you already started bathing your infant. After you have everything you need you can start running the water. Stay focused on your baby the whole time, this is important for keeping them calm and happy during the bath.
Tip #2 – Keep the Bathroom Warm
About an hour before bath time you should turn on the heat or place a space heater in the bathroom. This is especially important in the winter to keep the bathroom warm. By keeping the bathroom at a warm temperature your baby will be comfortable and won’t get the chills.
Tip #3 – Perfect Temperature for the Water
It is a good habit to run cold water into the bath first and then add hot water. This will ensure that the water is always cool first and not scalding hot. This will also help you avoid a rambunctious toddler from being burned when trying to climb into the tub early. Start with cold water and then warm it up with hot water.
Tip #4 – Bath Time Entertainment
Keeping your child entertained during bath time is important. Giving your baby a bath should be a fun bonding experience for you both. When bathing a newborn, just stirring the water or gently splashing will entertain them. Once your child gets older you can add colorful waterproof toys for them to play with. You don’t want your child to associate taking a bath as a negative activity, so keep it fun and never make it a punishment.
Tip #5 – Use Proper Products
A baby’s skin is soft and delicate, so it is important to use products that are pH balanced and dermatologist tested. The products you use should protect their delicate skin, not damage it. Try to find shampoo that won’t burn if it accidentally get in their eyes and soap that is safe to use with delicate skin.
Every parent wants to keep their child safe at all times. Many parents with newborns can stress themselves out by constantly checking their baby’s crib to make sure they are still breathing. New tech gadgets are helping put new parents’ minds at ease by helping you keep your newborn safer than ever before.
Owlet Baby Monitor
This wearable “Smart Sock” slips onto your baby’s foot. It will not only track movement, but also measure information like heart rate, oxygen levels, and body temperature. All of the recorded information is transferred to your smart phone via Bluetooth so you can access your baby’s stats in real time form the comfort of your own bed.
Price – $199
This onesie that your baby wears to bed is in development right now. This wearable monitor measures activity level, sound, breathing, and much more. All of the information is sent to your smart phone and you can customize alerts so that you receive notifications about information you want to know.
Price – Unknown
BabySense Movement Monitor
This baby monitoring system only tracks your baby’s movements. It is a sensor-padded mat that your baby sleeps on top of. If there is a 20 second time period where there is no movement, the parents are alerted.
Price – $130
This product by Levana is a small mobile monitor that clips onto the baby’s diaper to track movement. If Oma+ detects a lack of movement for 15 seconds, it gently vibrates to rouse the baby. If three consecutive vibrations should occur, Oma+ will sound an alarm to alert you. The unit is safe for newborns because it uses a low-voltage battery and no radiation or frequency waves.
Price – $170
SafeToSleep Breathing Monitor
This last safety device is a wireless mobile system that your baby sleeps on top of, similar to the BabySense. The SafeToSleep, however, is embedded with sensors that monitor your baby’s breathing, sleep cycles, and sleep time. It will also generate sleep reports so you can see an overview of your baby’s general sleep patterns. All of this information can be accessed by your smart phone.
Price – $329
Summer is almost here and that means your kids are going to be home all day long. With school being out, you are going to have to come up with some ways to fill those seven hours for a few months. Take a look at some of these activities you can do with your kids to help pass the time during summer vacation this year.
Try a different and fun way to paint with your kids. Use sponges or frozen water with paint instead of your normal brushes to paint with. It might be a little messier, but your kids will be preoccupied for hours. Plus it’s fun!!!
There is no better way to cool off in the summer heat than to take a dip in a pool. You should enroll your kids in swimming classes so they can learn how to fend for themselves in the water. Whether you go to the beach or a friend’s pool, your kids will have a blast. Just make sure you keep a close eye on them!
Younger kids love the outdoors. There is a natural attraction between children and the earth, so use that to your advantage. Create a small garden with your kids that has different plants and vegetables. Give them the responsibility of watering them every day. Your garden doesn’t have to be perfect, just make it fun and let them explore the wonders of nature.
4) Family Field Day
If your kids are starting to get tired of going to the same playground or parks, take them to some local museums and historic attractions. There is nothing wrong with an educational day when school is out!
5) Read a Book
Many children are mesmerized by the internet, television, and video games these days. Try to get your kids excited about reading. Give them incentives for reading books during the summer. Reading is so important because the more they read they more they will know. If you can, try getting a Kindle to help connect the gap between books and technology.
6) Movie Night
It is always fun to take your kids to see a new movie at the theater. There are always plenty of new kids’ movies that come out in the summer that even you will enjoy. If you are on a budget watch some classic movies at home on the couch!
Here is a great way to keep your vehicle clean and bond with your kids. Have everyone pitch in on a nice day to clean the family car. Have fun with it, if your clothes are soaking wet when you finish, you are doing it wrong!
8) Cook Together
Bake a cake, come up with your own recipes, or cook a meal together. Your kids will not only like learning how to cook different things, they will be more likely to eat it if they were a part of making it.
Pregnancy is a beautiful thing, but during the summer it can be more difficult than ever. High levels of the pregnancy hormone progesterone leads to higher metabolic and resting heart rates, and increased blood flow. All that leads to your body temperature being at its highest, then add in the hot summer sun and you could be in for a difficult few months.
Here are some tips for staying cool during your summer pregnancy:
Tip #1 – Avoid Direct Sunlight
You may have the urge to bronze your skin and get that summer tan you love. However, you should try to avoid direct sunlight as much as you can. Hormonal influences leave you more prone to overheating and sunburn. If you do spend time in the sun during your pregnancy, go early in the morning or later in the day when the sun isn’t as strong and apply lots of sunscreen.
Tip #2 – Drink Plenty of Fluids
The hot weather is going to make you sweat, so you need to avoid dehydration by drinking lots of fluids. You should be drinking at least 8 glasses of water on a hot day. Juice, milk, and sports drinks are great options too because they will help replace the electrolytes you lost. Try to avoid diuretics such as soda, coffee, and tea.
Tip #3 – Eat Lighter Meals
Eating lighter meals more frequently can help keep your metabolism working steadily. Eating small, healthy portions will help keep you cool. Stay cool even more by having popsicles or frozen fruit juice.
Tip #4 – Cut Down the Swelling
Late pregnancy symptoms like swelling will only get worse in the summer. The hot summer sun will cause you to swell up more than you normally would. Cut back on excessively salty foods like chips or popcorn to help reduce the bloating from water retention. Keeping your feet elevated will help too because it will improve circulation.
Tip #5 – Go Swimming
Taking a dip in the pool will not only be cool and refreshing, it will help reduce summer pregnancy back pain and swelling. Don’t have access to a pool? Take a cool shower or bath.
Tip #6 – Wear Proper Clothing
You can avoid overheating by wearing natural, breathable fabrics like loose-fitting cotton or linen. Wear light colors as opposed to dark ones and wear open-toed sandals with straps for added support.
A new study published in Pediatric obesity found that by babies who are formula fed are at higher risk of becoming obese by age two. Formula fed babies were found to be two and a half times more likely to be obese than babies who are breast fed during their first six months of life.
The study involved over 8,000 babies. Researchers also found that there were two other feeding patterns that increased the threat of early childhood obesity. Feeding your child solid foods before four months increased their risk by 40 percent, and putting them to bed with a bottle increased their risk by 30 percent.
Does formula make babies fat?
Research has shown that breast fed babies are less likely to become obese, all the reasons for this link are not known. Lead study author Ben Gibbs, Ph.D., said;
“While there are nutritional differences between formula and breast milk, there is also a cluster of unhealthy feeding behaviors that can go along with using formula, such as the expectation that the child should finish the bottle. It’s like insisting that kids clean their plate at mealtime, which teaches them to ignore their natural hunger signals.”
There are substances in break milk that help infants know when they are full. Babies will just stop nursing when they are full during breast feeding. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that you should exclusively breastfeed your child for the first six months.
Are you over-feeding your baby?
Many parents who feed their baby formula often make the mistake of constantly giving their baby a bottle at the first signs of fussiness. Many times the reason for their behavior is not hunger related. Your baby will turn their head away from the bottle or start chewing on the nipple instead of sucking when they are full. Pay attention for these signs if you formula feed your baby to avoid over-feeding them.
How to protect your baby from obesity
There are many things you can do to protect your child from becoming obese. Here are a few:
• Avoid feeding your baby solid foods before 6 months.
• When you do introduce solid foods, start with vegetables and cereal, and other foods that aren’t sweet.
• When they do start eating solid foods, stop feeding your baby when they start pushing the spoon away.
• Do not give your baby sugary drinks, they are the #1 cause of childhood obesity.
• Make sure your baby gets lots of opportunities to be active.
Sleep is very important for infant growth, as well as physical and mental development. Infants will generally sleep about 18 hours of the day. By the time they are four months old, a baby’s sleep cycles include active sleep and quiet, deep sleep. The active sleep phase is important to the development of learning and memory, while during the deep sleep phase human growth hormone is release to help the baby grow.
While sleep is an important part of a baby’s life, it can be dangerous. Providing a safe sleeping environment for your baby is a must. As a parent, you can play a key role in creating a safe sleeping environment for your child.
• The safest way for babies to sleep is on their backs. The stomach-down position can put pressure on their face and cause them to re-breathe air that does not contain enough oxygen. When a baby sleeps on their back it reduces the rate of sudden infant death syndrome and sudden unexpected infant deaths.
• What they sleep on matters. Your baby should sleep on a firm surface with a fitted sheet. Avoid loose bedding in their crib and don’t put your baby to sleep on a couch or sofa.
• A safe sleep area looks plain. There should be no pillows, blankets, quilts, or stuffed animals. All of these things can obstruct a baby’s breathing or create a low-oxygen environment.
• Avoid overheating. Infants can’t remove their clothing when they become hot, so it is best not to bundle them up in a warm room or during hot weather.
• Keep cords and strings away from your baby’s sleep area. Avoid any strangulation possibilities by doing this. If your baby uses a pacifier, make sure it does not have a string on it.
• Keep the crib away from the wall, windows, blinds, and curtains. This will help protect your baby from getting trapped or entangled.
• Use a crib that meets safety standards. Check with your baby’s health care provider and parent education resources to find out about product safety. Make sure there are no recalls on the products you buy for your baby.
• Keeping your baby’s sleep area in the same room as where you sleep is beneficial. They will be close to you and you can easily check on them during the night. Make sure they are sleeping on their back and check to make sure they do not feel hot.
Babies seem to grow up so fast. You probably remember the first day your baby started crawling around and causing trouble. Now you might be anxious about them getting to their biggest milestone of all, learning to walk. Every baby is different, but here is how to know when your baby is ready to walk and how to help them learn!
When will my baby be ready to learn to walk?
Walking is a major milestone because it marks a time where babies become more independent and explore their world in a new way. They will be developing new muscle groups they didn’t use before and be very clumsy at first. Your baby will most likely start walking anywhere between 8 and 18 months, it all depends of genetics, level of determination, and physical strength. Every baby is different and yours will start trying to get up on two feet once they are ready.
Tips for helping your baby walk
You may see a few clues that your baby is ready to walk. If they are using furniture to get around or trying to take a step before falling down, they are probably ready. Here are a few things you can do to encourage and help your baby walk.
Use a push toy – A push toy that resembles a vacuum or lawnmower can be great for helping your baby walk. Walkers will keep your baby contained, while a push toy won’t. A push toy will help build up arm and leg strength, while maintaining a wider stance for balance. They will also encourage problem-solving skills that help a baby walk, like turning around or backing up. When your baby is using a push toy offer words of encouragement and praise!
Safe-proof the cruising area – Cruising is when your baby uses furniture to aid them in traveling around. By creating safer surroundings in the cruising areas you will protect them from potential falls and make them feel safer, which will make them more willing to keep trying. Secure any heavy furniture, cover exposed outlets or sharp table corners, and install baby gates wherever cruising is off-limits. If your baby does take a spill, stay calm because it will make them feel okay about getting up and trying again.
Know what can hold them back – There are certain things that can actually hinder your baby’s attempts to walk. Help your baby walk without socks and shoes, this will create better balance and allow them to develop stronger muscles in their feet, ankles, legs, and hips. Avoid walkers because they can be dangerous, will encourage babies to walk on their toes, and hyper-extend their lower legs. Also, try not to hold your baby or hover too much when they are cruising. Babies learn by trial and error, so let them make mistakes!