Tag Archives: infant

The Great E-Book Debate

The recent New York Times article “Is E-Reading to Your Toddler Story Time or Simply Screen Time?” asked provocative questions about the impact of reading e-books to children under two years old. With the e-book industry growing in leaps and bounds, and more and more titles becoming available all the time, many parents assume that if it’s available on the market it must be good for kids. We owe it to ourselves and especially to our children to consider the possible implications of our practices. Ultimately, we need to ask as a community how e-reading is shaping the experience of young readers.

Boy ReadingThe article captured the crux of the dilemma. On the one hand, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that children should not have screen time before they’re two. The AAP also says we should read to our children every day. It makes you wonder, do e-books count as “books” or screen time? More importantly, when we read e-books rather than printed books are we nurturing or impeding reading development?

There are no easy answers, as the current research lags behind practice. So it will be years before we begin to articulate impacts on lifelong reading behaviors. A 2013 study of children age three to five at Temple University, however, determined that individuals whose parents read e-books had lower reading comprehension than those who read traditional books. Temple researchers cited “dialogic reading,” or the back and forth text discussion between adult and child, as a factor contributing to reading success. The article also referred to the work of Patricia Kuhl, a director at the Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences at the University of Washington, whose research compared language learning in nine-month-old babies when taught by adults vs. DVDs. The DVDs had no impact on learning, while the teachers made lasting impacts.

Where does all this quasi-information leave us as parents and educators? We need to ask ourselves, what am I really teaching when I read to a child, in particular a child under two? Am I mindfully pulling together the building blocks of reading comprehension? Only partially. As a mother of three boys now 12, 13, and 15, and an early childhood educator, my reading goals were twofold: to pass on a lust for literature and develop a loving relationship between us.

There’s no better way than reading to your child to give them a varied and colorful vocabulary, a deep interest in story and ideas, and to build empathy with characters and people. And this covers reading no matter what the medium. If you want a curious child you need to model curiosity yourself and what better way than through sharing a text? The close physical bond of cuddling together over a book (or e-book) sets the groundwork for deep affection. Set aside the guilt. Am I reading enough? Am I reading the right books? And now, am I reading with the right tool? Sharing the wonder is sharing the wonder. Intellectual companionship begins at birth, a child and an adult learning side by side and enjoying the marvels of the world together. Let’s give the research more time to unfold before we start beating ourselves up as we enjoy (e)reading to our kids.

Diaper Bag Must-Haves For New Moms

Newborn baby and his father's hand - care and safety conceptAfter writing my last post about diaper bag must-haves for moms
with toddlers
, I realized that moms of infants need a completely different set of items in order to be prepared. When my son was an infant, I slowly learned through trial and error what I needed to have with me at all times, and what was just making my bag a lot heavier. So for all the new moms out there who feel as unprepared as I did, here is a short list of musts for every outing with an infant.

Diapers and wipes. Same as a toddler, you need these items at all times. The difference is, you need to carry a lot more! When babies are really little you never know when a blow out may occur, so it’s important to have a good-sized stash on hand.

Change of clothes. Speaking of blowouts, since diapers don’t always contain the mess, it’s important to keep an extra outfit in your bag just in case (and usually one you don’t like that much so you don’t sacrifice a good outfit!). One caveat: babies grow quickly so make sure you’re always carrying your little one’s current size. You don’t want to end up with a 3-month-old outfit for a 9-month-old child!

Extra food/bottles. Hunger seems to be everyone’s first guess when an infant cries, and nine times out of ten they’re right. Having a bottle, water, and extra formula (and this really handy formula holder) or a freshly pumped bottle of milk in your bag is a must. And of course if you exclusively breastfeed, you’re all set!

Burp cloths. Where there’s an infant, there’s spit up, so you’ll probably need one of these in your bag (and in your hand) at all times. I used to use the boring white ones when alone at home, but when my son and I were out, I wanted a prettier option. The aden + anais burpy bibs were my absolute favorite—they’re really soft, come in lots of great designs, and double as bibs when your baby gets older.

Toys. When my son was a newborn, all I needed was the motion of the stroller to keep him happy. But as time went on, Sophie, that silly overpriced giraffe that everyone buys (but no one fully understands the appeal of) is the one toy I had to have at all times. If Sophie isn’t your child’s thing, rattles, shakers, or any other brightly colored toys with different textures and funny sounds will do the trick.

A hat. While a cute baby fedora may be just a fashion item, a warm hat for the winter or a summer hat for sun protection is an absolute must. And since 95% of the time I find myself running out the door in a hurry, keeping an extra hat in my diaper bag means one less thing I have to remember to pack.

Your personal problem solver. When your baby is crying, you’ll do anything to make him or her stop. My son never took a pacifier, but for some moms, it is the ONLY thing that works. I even have a friend who kept her baby carrier in her bag, as it was the only solution for moments of distress. For me, it was a white noise app on my phone. Mine was Relax Melodies, but there are tons out there. My son once sat for an hour in the car with my iPhone propped against his car seat and the sound of a vacuum on full blast. As they say, whatever it takes.

Straight Talk on Closing the “Word Gap” In Early Childhood

Straight Talk on Closing the “Word Gap” In Early Childhood

As politicians nationally emphasize the importance of PreK in preparing children for school success, there is a growing movement to focus on the first three years of life, and specifically on bridging what leaders call the “word gap.” This gap refers to the disparity in the number of words learned by children of different economic backgrounds by the time they enter kindergarten and across their lifetimes. It is a critical issue. Research shows that children who start kindergarten with fewer words are never able to catch up to their counterparts with larger vocabularies. Not surprisingly, parents and teachers can have a huge impact on children’s success by simply creating an evolving and engaging dialogue with the children during their first few years of life.

In March, The New York Times focused on the word gap when it published “Providence Talks” (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/26/us/trying-to-close-a-knowledge-gap-word-by-word.html), an article on an initiative spearheaded by Providence Mayor Angel Taveras. The program aims to grow children’s vocabularies from birth to four, particularly in families living in poverty. The process coaches parents so they actually use more words each day, measures word interactions by recording families at home, and ultimately gives children more word power for learning.

The Providence program’s aim is undeniably admirable. But as Claire Lerner, director of parenting resources at Zero To Three, the largest American advocacy organization for infants and toddlers, points out: the number of words children acquire will not by themselves create a “smart and successful” adult. She stresses, “We don’t want parents talking at babies…We want parents talking with babies.”
Lerner’s distinction between talking at and talking with babies reminds us that the dialogue itself, the interactive exchange between adult and child, is really what’s important. Children have a point of view from birth before there is any expressive language. Their gaze indicates engagement and wonder and opens up the door for back-and-forth communication. Parents can foster this communication in simple but important ways. For example, when your child notices a dog on the street, acknowledge this with words. “That’s a big dog. Do you see his black spots? Look at his feet. His nails are really long.” When we recognize a child’s fascination, we can model our own in return and become partners in observation, using language to present new words and ideas. The child’s interest lays the groundwork so next time they see a dog they’ll be able to retrieve those ideas. Some word interactions carry more weight than others.
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Providence Talks is just one of several initiatives underway across the United States aimed at growing vocabularies of very young children. To learn more you can visit:
Providence Talks at http://www.providencetalks.org/
Too Small to Fail at http://toosmall.org/mission
The Thirty Million Words Initiative at http://tmw.org/tmw-initiative/

Renee Bock is a dedicated early childhood educator, who is currently the Educational Director at Explore+Discover, a social learning center in Manhattan that is dedicated to setting the standard for infant and toddler care and education. Renee has more than a decade of experience in the field and holds a Master’s in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street College in New York. In her present position, she is helping Explore+Discover open the first of 27 New York City centers focused on children from 3 months to two years old. She can be reach at Renee@K3Learn.com.

Great NYC Kids’ Classes for Fall

As New Yorkers, we pride ourselves on certain qualities: we’re cosmopolitan, confident, and open. We love our city because of the unique opportunities it provides to experience the best in education, culture, art, and science. Of course, we want to pass those values and that love on to our children and help them take advantage of the opportunities that are available to them. We at Kidz Central Station can help! Below are our picks for the best New York City-centric classes for the Fall.

  1. Art Adventures and Story Art-Ventures
    Smiling Girl CCA

Is your son or daughter a junior Picasso or Pollock? Encourage your little artist by enrolling her in a creative adventure. Claire’s Creative Adventures, based on the Upper East Side, boasts a variety of offerings for students ages 2 to twelve. Art Adventures and Mini-Art Adventures introduces children to modern and contemporary artists and gives them the supplies to try their hands at creating their own masterpieces. Field trips to city galleries draw on the wealth of art displayed around New York. Does talent run in the family? Try the Parent/Child Workshop together. To give your child some artistic inspiration, sign her up for Story Art-Ventures at Let’s Gogh Art NYC where students from ages 2 to 4 are read a popular children’s story in every session, followed by the completion of a unique art project related to the story. The class also incorporates age-appropriate math, science, writing, geography and history concepts. Depending on the theme, students might also sing, dance and play games.

  1. Little Scientists and Magical Math
    Magical Math

Many of the best minds in the country are based at New York’s myriad institutions of higher learning. If your child is a budding brainiac, check out these intellectual outings: Little Scientists, offered in lower Manhattan by Little Peep Prep for kids from 16 months to 3 years old and by the 14th Street Y in the East Village for ages 3 to 5, provides a venue for mini-Einsteins to conduct hands-on experiments and discover the natural world. If your son or daughter has more of a mathetical bent, Little Peep Prep’s Magical Math for students from 20 months to 4 years old provides children the opportunity to count, sort, match and explore a variety of materials, allowing them to naturally understand the relationship between everyday life and math.

  1. Animal CareAnimal Care

Healthy, local food is a New York obsession. We sign up for farm shares and patronize farmer’s markets, but your city kid may wonder a farm is, exactly, or maybe she’s just an animal lover. Either way, sign her up for the Animal Care class at the Art Farm in the City, an indoor organic farm on the Upper East Side. Students from ages 4 to 7 participate in a variety of stories, games, and other activities. Every session includes actively caring for the animals in the Farm’s indoor petting zoo, up-close encounters and time to record observations. Before it’s time to go, students can read an animal themed book or just relax with a favorite creature on the Farm.

4. ¡HOLA! A Playgroup in Spanish

There are hundreds of languages spoken around New York City. It’s never too early to begin teaching your child a second language; in fact, as we’ve previously discussed on Kidz Buzz, young children’s brains are primed to learn new languages. The ¡Hola! program hosts Spanish-language playgroups and after school programs for aspiring polyglots from ages 18 months to 8 years in multiple locations throughout Manhattan and Queens. The program focuses on a wide repertory of concepts to build vocabulary and help children acquire the correct use of phonetics from a native speaker while also enhancing children’s cognitive abilities, fine/gross motor skills, and social and artistic capabilities.

  1. PopFit and JumpLife KIDSPopFitphotohoopjump

New Yorkers are some of the most physically fit people in the country, but students sit in classrooms for most of the day during the school year, and with the decreasing prevalence of physical education classes in schools, it’s more important than ever to help your child stay active throughout the year. PopFit Kidssignature class, in combination with its junior class develops “The Fab Five”: Cardio, Balance, Flexibility, Strength and Endurance, in students ages 3 to 8 through energizing circuits, dynamic drills, exciting games, yoga, and more. JumpLife‘s appropriately-named kids’ class in Tribeca caters to older students, ages 8 to thirteen. The unique 45-minute trampoline workout distinguishes itself by its atmosphere of non-competition, where students can express themselves and avoid the pressure of organized sports.

The suggestions above only scratch the surface of the wide range of fun, educational, and enriching classes listed at Kidz Central Station. Kidz Central Station does the work of finding and researching kids’ classes for you. Sort offerings by activity type, age, price, schedule, and location and peruse the in-depth descriptions and reviews to identify the perfect class for your child.

Parenting Tips for Kids – Choosing a Class for Your Child

There are many benefits to enrolling your child in a class. From newborn to teens, it’s important to get your child involved in extracurricular activities. For example, music classes can help build your child’s communication skills and acting classes can help your child become a confident public speaker. Joining a sports activity can teach a child about teamwork and getting along with others, not to mention keep them active and healthy. Young children learn about being with other children and socialization. There are several important factors that a parent should think about before choosing a class for his/her child. Since we attend many classes throughout NYC, here are my 5 Tips on Choosing a Class For Your Child – a part of my parenting tips for kids series.

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Parenting Tips for Kids – 5 Tips on Choosing a Class for Your Child

1.  Find something your child is interested in. When looking for a class, your first step is to look for something that your child would be interested in. If you have a newborn, then look for a class that you would enjoy for bonding with your little one while also meeting new moms. It’s important to find something that you child will like because you want him/her to look forward to the classes every week. The more that the class interests him/her, the more likely he/she will become involved and dedicated to the class.

On KidzCentralStation.com, you can sign up for free trial classes to ‘test and try,’ before paying and committing to an entire semester of classes. Ask yourself: Does you kid interact well with the instructor? Were the other moms in the class fun and friendly? What the place clean and inviting?

If you DO love the class, don’t forget to come back and leave a review on our site so other moms like you looking can see how much you enjoyed it!

2.  Ask friends for recommendations. Your friends and other moms are a great resource when looking for a new class for your child. Many of your friends are likely to have taken classes in your area, or have friends who have taken classes. Even striking up a conversation with other moms at your local playground is a good way to do some research. They are the people that can give you honest feedback and reviews on classes in your city. When it comes to moms, the word on the street is golden – don’t be afraid to ask!

 3. Look online in your search. The internet is a great resource for finding just about anything you need, including classes. You can search many of the facilities in your city that provides classes for your child. KidzCentralStation.com is another great resource for searching for classes in New York City. It allows you to search for classes  based on certain criteria including age, day of the week, time of day, class type, price and more. Like I mentioned above, it also has reviews of classes from other parents.

Some other great resources to use when scouring the web?

Mommy Nearest (A FREE app you can download that is location based. You can pull it up to find open spaces and parks ‘on the fly’ as well as kid-friendly restaurants, changing tables and more!)

–  Well Rounded NY Is a great place for pregnant and soon-to-be moms to get started. They offer tons of tips and information on everything and anything during pregnancy, including prenatal classes like yoga!

Big City Moms  Lots of great parenting resources – directly curated for us Big City Moms. They are also the masterminds behind the Biggest Baby Shower, which I highly recommend you check out!

parenting tips for kids 

4.  Make sure it works with your schedule and budget. You might have found the perfect class for your child, but you want to make sure that it fits your schedule and your budget before you enroll. Make sure that it is on a day of the week that you have free and that your child will have no problem attending during the week. If you have a baby that still takes a nap during the day, do not schedule a class that will interfere with that! The last thing you want is for your little one to attend a class tired and cranky. You guys are there to have fun!

 5.   Have fun! Yes, have fun! It might sound simple, but one of the very reasons that you want to enroll your child in a class is to have fun. You want it to be a class that he/she looks forward to every week and will tell all of his/her friends about. You know that your child is really enjoying a class when he/she can’t stop talking about it.

So put down the cell phone, kick off your shoes and spend those 45-60 min bonding and having fun with your child. Remember – they watch you and look up to you, so if they see you having fun they will too!

Children Approach Museums with Excitement and Know-how!

Claire’s Creative Museum Adventures Brings Children’s Art Education to NYC’s Museums and Galleries!

Are you a NYC family wanting to expose your children to the fascinating world of art around you that they can enjoy?  Do you have friends or family members traveling through NYC seeking a truly memorable cultural experience together?

We all know that New York City is known for its culture and the arts.  It’s world-class museums and galleries provide an extraordinary opportunity to learn!  So how can your child take advantage?

Creating unique professional artist or theme-based visits that are educational AND entertaining is not an easy feat!  First, children tire easily.  Even getting to the artwork can be intimidating in large museums, especially those like the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  And how do you know where to begin?

There are ways to demystify not only the museum, but also the art processes, while making them easy to understand and fun to learn!  Following a few simple rules can help.

For many museums, just getting to certain galleries can be a hike.  First, know where you are going before setting out.  You don’t want your child to see it as a chore if you have to cover too much ground.  Pick a small section each visit to explore more fully.

Next, select just a few pieces that are in close proximity with each other, which provide ample learning opportunities based on one theme. Locating the artists with something in common helps to bring home specific ideas, without wearing out your child.

Many artists may seem too sophisticated to share with kids.  Not so!  Breaking down the art processes of artists and making them easy to understand and fun to learn can be exciting!  Of course ages and special interests are important to consider for each visit; Explaining color theory to a 4 year old by using the Impressionists may be too much, however, Ellsworth Kelly or Roy Lichtenstein is a great start.  Balance and line exploration using Calder’s mobiles, or even metal-working with pieces from David Smith and John Chamberlain, is a pragmatic way to teach.

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Kids don’t want a lecture!  Since there is no teacher like doing, actually making artwork in front of a piece of art is instrumental for kids!  Knowing what materials work best, and which ones are appropriate in a public space, is also not easy.  That’s often where experts come in.  You may not feel comfortable bringing in recycled materials to discover El Anatsui’s magic, however, you can never go wrong with pencils, colored pencils or wire for your first endeavors as a parent.

Be sure to switch it up:  construct, collage or create colors with separate visits.  Since a child’s attention span is short, each project needs to be divided into simplified steps, and include more than one simple hands-on project.

Some great first galleries I would suggest are the modern painters at the Met.  There are beginning discovery lessons in line, shape and color here like no other!  Then those lessons can be applied to more artists, once digested.

Keep it simple and fun.  You want your child to be eager to not only go to see art, but excited by the process…  and if you become a learner with your child along the way, you’ll see them making connections and coming to their own conclusions you would never have thought of!

Don’t miss out on the amazing educational opportunity to discover art with your child by using your city’s resources.  You may also wish to take advantage of an experienced and engaging tour leader to illuminate your experience.

By Claire Munday, Founder of Claire’s Creative Adventures, LLC for kids ages 2-12.  Museum and Art Adventures uses NYC’s modern, contemporary and multicultural art resources to go beyond school curricula to “demystify” artists and their processes. Children (and their accompanying adults) are introduced to modern and contemporary artists as well as diverse cultures, based on current exhibits from the myriad of NYC museums and galleries, providing all of the supplies, education and entertainment while actively engaging the children in the fantastic world of art from museum arrival to departure… Click here to book your next tour or class!

 

 

Swimming Classes for Babies

swimming classes

Growing up in the country, we learned how to swim by jumping in our pond. You couldn’t see anything in the muddy waters – you just jumped and hoped you missed a frog and a rock. Once your feet hit the slimy, gushy ground, you were up, out and repeat. Even though the East

River presents the same look – dark, dirty and you want to jump and not land on anything – especially nothing dead or contaminated, I would rather Maximo’s first swimming classes experience not be so – well, adventurous.

So where do you go when you want to find the best (and cleanest) swim class in NYC? Kidz Central Station of course! And the popular vote went to Physique Swimming – with a huge rate of moms booking consistent classes. That must mean they like them!

This is NYC –  every mom knows some things CAN be questionable. So I took one more blind leap and booked Maximo’s first swim class.

Swimming Classes for Babies by Physique Swimming at the Mercedes Club

(original post and review found on MommyNearest.com – read the original post here).

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First impression upon walking in
Very clean and fancy, but didn’t come off as very kid-friendly. It was an upscale, luxury sports club and I didn’t exactly see any other strollers lurking around. But the staff was extremely friendly and walked me into the locker room to show me where everything was and how to get to the pool. Strollers are big and bulky, and I got a couple ‘too bad you have a kid’ smirks from the young, rich clientele walking in with makeup, who could more likely use a cheeseburger instead of a treadmill. But I am never one to be intimidated, so I dressed Maximo into his suit via the stroller , rolled him right out to the pool area, and parked my City Mini. I always hate the feeling of not having to push myself and the stroller into areas where I’m not sure if it’s allowed. But I figure when it’s just me, and I have all this stuff and a squirmy toddler, it’s do first, ask later.

We walked over to the edge of the pool where I see one other mom and a little girl floating in the water already. I ask if they’re in the class and they’re excited there is another mom to join them! Well, at least we’ll get a lot of one-on-one attention!

The Class
The swimming teacher was super nice. She totally took into consideration that it was Maximo’s first time in the water and went slow to introduce him to floating and kicking. Luckily for me, Maximo loved it. It took him a few minutes to understand what all this water was – but once herealized I wouldn’t leave his side and he could float and kick happily – he was smitten.

We started with the basics – floating on his stomach and trying to kick. After that, floating on his back (definitely didn’t like this as much) and looking up and singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Then we had a little floaty fish we would throw and ‘swim’ to get.

Then we played Maximo’s favorite – Humpty Dumpty. You sit them on the side of the pool, and lean them towards you. Count to three and have them jump into the water with you. Then – Maximo did something I didn’t expect his first time – he went underwater! (If you blow in their face right before they dunk, they automatically hold their breath.) He popped up and looked around – a little surprised, but overly excited to do it again!

swimming classes

Overall Experience:
I wanted to make sure it wasn’t just a fluke experience. Our buildings pool is finally open for the summer, so I took him him down yesterday right before it closed to let him try out some of his newly learned skills. And he took to them just like a fish! In fact, he didn’t even want to get out this time. Ahh, to be a kid again! Talking to my other mom friends, the consensus is that all their kids loved the classes too – and they have started their babies as early as 6 months! Moms also let me know that they played the same games as we did – so it’s going to come down to WHO is teaching your class, not WHAT they are teaching. So make sure you and your baby like working with the instructor!

I highly recommend Physique Swimming classes for babies because they are totally professional and I felt safe with Maximo in the water.  They were really nice and patient – I never felt rushed or stressed. And they hold their classes in reputable, clean pools in the city – aka – no new germ friends to tag along home.

Author: Stephanie Barnhart
Stephanie Barnhart

Stephanie is a published author—featured in the New York Times, NY Metro Parents Magazine, PARENTGUIDE NEWS, as well as an #expertmom for MommyNearest.com, and contributing author to KidzCentralStation.com and Kidville.com’s Voices of the ‘Ville — author and speaker/consultant on motherhood and the importance of marketing and research in a business arena, specifically online. She also owns her own social media company, www.socialmindedmediagroup.com

Tips to Choosing Kids’ Classes

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You’re at the park pushing your baby on the swing. The mom next to you with a baby who looks similar in age smiles. You smile back. She asks your child’s age. She mentions her son is just a few weeks older than your daughter. A familiar conversation ensues in which you bounce back and forth between bottles, naps, separation anxiety – all of the usual suspects. Then the question pops up that never fails: “What classes is she enrolled in?”

When we were in our teens it was “Where do you go to school?”, our 20’s was “What bar did you go to last night?” and for parents it is “Where does your baby take classes?” or “Where does your child go to preschool?”. As a maternity consultant, I get asked this question a lot. People want advice on the best facilities. Some moms believe classes are the gateway to Harvard. Others choose to opt out of them all together and find free, fun city activities. I see both sides. As a working mom away from her children eight hours a day, I wanted them to have a consistent routine of activity. Although I felt classes were important, I aimed for quality over quantity.

Classes are a great way to not only provide social interaction for your child, but for you as well! Being home with a baby/toddler all day can be isolating. Classes provide a structured schedule in the week and get you out of the house. Mommy-and-me classes give you focused one-on-one time with your child without the everyday distractions. In addition, classes foster muscle coordination, music and art appreciation and social development. While I do not feel it is necessary to have your child’s schedule jam-packed with multiple daily activities, I do value providing a few diverse options for older babies and toddlers as well as a preschool or preschool alternative for two & three-year olds. There is a myriad of options for classes across the city. Here are some tips for choosing them:

1. Research the classes in your neighborhood. Use word of mouth first for what your mom friends prefer and then narrow it down by proximity to your home, budget, and schedule.

2. Request a free trial. If you are going to invest over $500 for a semester of classes, make sure you know what you are getting. Try a few out to see what feels right.

3. Choose a class that will not interfere with your child’s nap schedule. For a toddler with two naps, try one in the late morning between the naps. For an older child with one lunchtime nap, aim for morning or late afternoon. For the over-three set, try a preschool program earlier in the day so they are energized.

4. If you are looking for a healthy balance, choosing one gym class and one music class per week is a good start. These build different skills and won’t become too redundant. Some facilities offer longer classes that combine both physical skill-building and art, which is a great way to break it up.

5. Get involved. The best thing about classes is sharing the experience with your baby/child. Play with the instruments, sing the songs, be silly. Before you know it, they will be attending classes or school without you and you will miss it!

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6. Don’t always feel you have to keep up with the Joneses. Your child is not going to be the next Bill Gates because you enrolled them in classes while they were still in the womb. Do what makes the most sense for your family – not just what others tell you to do.

Kidz Central Station is your go-to resource for NYC classes. They make this process a whole lot easier and seamlessly guide you to the perfect class for your child. Here are some other recommendations from a NYC mom of two:

1. NY Kids Club – at 18 months, my son loved their combo class of music, art and gym

NY Kids Club

2. Playtime with Sammie & Tudie – known as “the power couple of the clowning world”, Sammie & Tudie host classes/events all over the city, featuring magic, storytelling, songs, and activity play for ages 1-4 and their prices can’t be beat. Both my children adore them.

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Playtime with Sammie & Tudie

3. Yogi Beans – around 18 months, my son took “Me & My Bean Yoga” at this adorable Upper East Side studio and came home proudly demonstrating downward dog and namaste.

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Yogi Beans

4. The Art Farm in the City – for my son’s first separation program, we chose The Art Farm on the Upper East Side. He thoroughly enjoyed spending two three-hour days there a week with their warm staff, diverse curriculum, and who can turn down playing with farm animals in the city? Their classes and playgroups are excellent as well.

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The Art Farm in the City

Lauren Deneroff is the founder of Wife to Mom Consulting (www.wifetomomconsulting.com), a maternity consulting and baby planning firm in New York City. Wife to Mom Consulting offers services to expectant and new moms such as new parent coaching, registry guidance, nursery design and preparation, baby gear education, and organizational services. Lauren lives in Manhattan with her husband, Joe, and their two children, Brody, 3 & Harper, 1 and is happy to share her consulting and mommy advice on Kidz Buzz!

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Our New Series– Classes with our Kids

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We are excited to kickoff our new series Classes With Our Kids today July 22, 2013 which features different parents writing about their experiences taking classes with their kids. As a new parent I loved knowing that once a week at a set time I would be in a group of other parents of children about the same age as my daughter. It was a nice break as a new parent to be able to connect with other parents and share stories and get advice.

I also loved watching my daughter see new things and people and hear music. Taking classes with her allowed me to see the world though her eyes. It was such fun to see her excitement over bubbles and her ability to eventually say “bubbles” by the end of the semester. As she got older, it was interesting to see her develop skills and interests. She enjoyed art in preschool and we fostered this enjoyment by enrolling her in an art class.  She made friends in her art class with other children who also enjoyed art.

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Kidz Central Station invites parents to share their experiences of taking classes with their kids and any tips they would like to share with other parents.

Please email us at info@kidzcentralstation.com if you would like to guest post on this topic.

By Lauren Pohl, the founder of Kidz Central Station a site which helps parents find, compare and enroll in tons of classes, camps and activities in NYC and other areas.  She is the mother of 2 young children. 

Benefits of Outdoor Play for Kids

Playing outside every day is good for the body and the mind.  Being outside for playtime has many benefits for children and we listed a few of our favorites here:

  1. Children can see the community they live in.  By going outside to play, children see other people who may be the same or different from them all living in one area.  You can even pack some gloves and a trash bag and pick up trash on your way there and back.  Children feel more included when they helping pitch in.  Of course, never let your child pick up any sharp objects, even with gloves!
  2. Children are encouraged to use their imagination.  With everything made in miniature version, it is fun and healthy for children to use their imagination to create a “cake” by mixing “ingredients” with a “spoon” they found outdoors.  This is actually an early form of problem solving!
  3. Children have the opportunity to exercise.  Everyone, even children need exercise.  While we go to the gym for an hour (more like forty minutes) our kids need room to run and jump and climb and there is no better place than outdoors in your local park!
  4. Children learn social skills.  The park and playground are for everyone, which means children must learn to take turns, wait and play by certain rules.  This is something we can tell our children, but really this all takes practice.  An even better bonus?  There are new and different people every time you go, so your child may have to learn different social adjustments each and every time!
  5. Children learn to try new things.  Remember the first time you went across the monkey bars alone?  This is a great chance your child to feel accomplishment when they master something that was challenging.  Nothing builds self-esteem like real accomplishments.  Just remember, it’s important that your child feels a tad frustration to feel like he/she accomplished something!

So now with a few reasons why being outside is a must, make sure your child gets some time every day to play outside!

By Shannon Drummond, founder of The Play Champs.  The Play Champs offers outdoor classes to build child development in local parks throughout New York City.