Tag Archives: toddler

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 Musts, From an Unprepared Mom

Diaper BagI’ve never been the kind of person who carries Advil, tissues, Band Aids, or any other “just in case” item. I’m just not the type. Reaching into my bag and finding a pair of sunglasses makes me feel like I’m overly prepared. Despite my efforts (ok I don’t try all that hard) I’m not a naturally maternal person who has all of the necessities when an out-of-the-ordinary situation arises. Until now . . . kind of.

Having a child has partially turned on the part of my brain that questions whether or not I have everything I need in a pinch. If you look in my personal bag, I still don’t have any of the things I might need in case of disaster, but my diaper bag—completely dedicated to my toddler son—is a different story. Despite the fact that I live in New York City and there is a drug store on every corner, my diaper bag is filled with everything I’d need if my son was hungry, bleeding, covered in dirt, and bored out of his mind all at the same time (which is entirely possible). So I thought I’d share a few of my diaper bag must haves for every mom with a toddler—and I’m sure all of the completely prepared moms out there will have some great suggestions for me!

Diapers. If your child is under three this is a no-brainer. If you’re me, in addition to simply having diapers, it’s important to make sure that you’ve actually replenished your stash before walking out the door.

Wipes. Whether your little one is in diapers or not, wipes are an absolute must. Besides diaper changes, wipes are great for cleaning up spills; wiping high chairs, restaurant tables, or any other icky surface; and they also serve as a great substitute for tissues (since I never have them). Any other creative uses? I’d love to hear them.

First aid kit. Whether you create your own or buy a pre-packaged kit (my choice is the latter), any mom with children who can even attempt to walk solo should keep a small stash of bandages and antiseptic wipes in her bag. My son is constantly falling, so I need to be able to swoop in, Sesame Street band aid in hand, and clean up his perpetually scraped knees.

Snacks. No mom should leave the house without a snack (or five) in her diaper bag. Kids get hungry at the most inopportune times, and it’s best to have a quick fix ready to go—or whining will quickly ensue. My diaper bag is filled with packages of Cheerios, Snackimals (the Snickerdoodle flavor is my personal favorite), and Goldfish, but there is an endless supply of portable kids’ snacks available. Freshly cut up fruits and veggies are of course a great option, but that would never fly with my son.

Water. I always have one of those really mini water bottles (Poland Spring makes them) in my bag, just in case. While I try to bring a pre-filled cup for my son everywhere we go, in the event I forget and water isn’t readily available, I always have back up—and a lighter option than a full-size bottle.

Disposable placemats. I wish I thought of these myself. If you’ve never used a Table Topper, you’re totally missing out. These plastic, disposable placemats stick to the table and have fun-themed designs so kids can happily eat their finger foods on a clean surface. Not only are they great for restaurants, they come in handy any time you need to protect a clean surface from a chocolate-covered child.

An activity. Whether it’s a book, a kiddie computer, a ball, or crayons, I always feel better being out with my son when I have some kind of activity in my back pocket. At 20 months old sitting still is not his favorite pastime, so being prepared with something to play with is always to my advantage. Of course he usually wants to play with whatever is around and not actually a toy, so if salt shakers and spoons keep him busy at a restaurant, I’m game.

Hand sanitizer. New York City is a dirty place. Need I say more?

Money. I switch my bags constantly. During the week my necessities (wallet, keys, phone) are in my work bag, during the weekend they’re in my diaper bag, and if I go out for dinner or run a quick errand, they’re all transferred to a different (smaller) purse. Often I’ll leave one of my necessities—many times my wallet—in the wrong bag, so I like to keep an extra $20 bill in my diaper bag. That way, if I’m out with my son and run out of diapers, wipes, snacks, water, placemats, activities, or hand sanitizer, I can buy what I need in a pinch—just in case.

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.
mom readingerica
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.

eloise-flight

Tips for Traveling With Toddlers

The last time I travelled with my child, she was a baby who could easily be contained and managed. I recently took her to New Orleans for a few days and discovered exactly how different it is to travel with a toddler than a baby.

Here are my tips for enjoying surviving your next trip with a toddler:

What to pack
Pack at least one outfit a day, and then add spares. Your child will inevitably go through more pairs of pants than you think. Hotel rooms are often overly air conditioned, so bring warm pyjamas regardless of the season. Consider taking the car seat – it’s a royal pain to take through security, but taking it with you means you can easily grab taxis to and from the airports, which can save you a lot of money on hired cars.

Security
This is usually one of the biggest stresses of travel for us. Being prepared makes it less painful. The stroller needs to be folded and passed along the screening belt. The car seat needs to be removed from its cover to be manually inspected. Your child’s shoes can remain on, but yours must come off.

You can take a water bottle and milk bottle (both containing liquid) into the flight (just remember to show them to security).

Your child will not be allowed to carry anything through security, so take away their toys or lovies (even pacis) in advance to prevent the meltdown that happens when Dolly is ripped away and send into the black hole that is the security scanner.

Squeezy pouches are permitted onboard – just seal them in a large ziplock pouch, and only take aboard what you need, plus a few spares. Security gets suspicious of large quantities (sorry I can’t tell you the exact amount that puts you in this category!).

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The flight
What works best for us is taking a flight close to nap time. Often we can’t choose the time, but when we have choices, we like to pick a flight that is an hour or two after her usual nap. This usually ensures that she crashes pretty quickly and sleeps most of the flight, while my husband and I get to relax somewhat. She will either sleep on us, or in her own seat if we’re lucky (we did get lucky on this trip and she fell asleep in her own seat on take off! Score!). A lot of people swear by evening flights. Because our toddler is up at the crack of dawn, we prefer day flights where possible, so we can get to the hotel and then to bed at a reasonable time.

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This trip we also packed a lot of things to entertain her, once the novelty of being on an airplane wore off.  I bought a few new toys, books and stickers, and packed crayons and a small coloring book for the flight. These, combined with a few videos we’d downloaded to the iPad, entertained our toddler for the rest of the flight when she was not napping.

Snacks are another must. Bring plenty of whatever your toddler’s fave foods are, and ask the stewardess for extra pretzels or cookies. Flight crews are also happy to fill a milk bottle if you bring an empty one aboard.

Be prepared for tight, cramped, smelly spaces in the airplane bathroom when it comes time for a diaper change. Besides grinning and bearing it, there is little you can do to get around this unpleasant aspect of flying with a toddler, save for bringing a changing pad and lots of disinfecting wipes. Yuck.

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The hotel
Ahead of time, request the necessities. A crib! A high chair (if they don’t have them, consider taking a clip-on high chair with you if your toddler is still using one). Think of the sleeping arrangements when booking your room. Where will your toddler sleep? Do you need a room with a separate living area, walk in closet (that can fit a crib) or extra bathroom in which your child can sleep (Don’t judge, but we have good friends who put their toddler to sleep in the extra bathroom in their room.)?

At the hotel, child-proof everything before your toddler gets into the mini bar and grabs the mini vodka bottles with glee. The easiest way is to move everything to a higher shelf. This includes anything in the room at toddler-reaching height. Pens, phones, lights – move everything so your child can’t hurt themselves, or anything expensive in the room.

If your child still drinks milk in the morning, try to buy a carton of milk from a nearby grocery so that you don’t have to order room service every morning just to fill a bottle (unnecessarily expensive plus the wait is just too long).

If you plan on going out at night, find out in advance if your hotel uses a reputable babysitting service and if so, contact the service to help find a babysitter that you feel comfortable with. If they do not have a service, websites like sittercity.com are great, and do background checks on all of their sitters. Call a few sitters, ask for references, and the like. I like to ask the sitter to come a little earlier on the first night so that we can meet her and get a general “not creepy” vibe.

Deadlock the front door every time you enter the room if your child, like ours, is a Houdini who enjoys escaping and also, locking the whole family out when you go into the hallway to chase her.

It may or may not be necessary to child proof power outlets, depending on your child’s age. Depending on your child’s sleeping habits, you may need to bring a night light. We have this Hippo night light, which can go into the crib. Simply remove the bulb from the belly and charge it in a wall during the day.

The hotel staff
Make nice with the staff when you arrive. As a general rule, just look apologetic and act grateful, as your toddler is sure to ruin something while you are staying at the hotel. Ask the concierge to recommend kid-friendly activities in the local area, and also potential restaurants where your little one will be welcome. And if you make yourself known, they will likely dig up a special treat or two (crayons, a special coloring book) for the kiddo.

Take lots of photos and enjoy your trip!

By Christine Knight

brunchChristine Knight is co-founder of Brunchwithmybaby.com, a site featuring kid-friendly places to eat, play and explore in New York City. Catch up with the Brunch With My Baby team on TwitterFacebook, and Pinterest. Follow Christine on TwitterPinterest and Instagram.

Helping Your Child, And Yourself, Through A Tantrum

toddler tantrum

Tantruming is not new to childhood but it seems that every day an expert has a new way to end your child’s tantrums. I say stick with the tried and true…

Before your child tantrums, think about what sets them off.  Why does he or she tantrum?  Think about where your child is developmentally.  Is your 3 year old having a tantrum because you won’t give him something he wants?  Is your 19 month old tantruming because she’s lost control of herself?

When a toddler has a tantrum it is often because they are melting down, tired, or hungry.  Whatever the cause, a toddler does not have the tools to calm their bodies and regain control on their own.  They need you.  At this age I recommend that you sit on the floor next your child, tell them you see they are having a hard time and that you are going to help them calm down.  Some like to be held, others do not want to be touched.  You can ask your child what they prefer, or just try what you think might work and see what happens.  To be clear, this doesn’t mean to give in if the child is demanding something, it just means that you are giving your child what they need.  Something, at that moment, that a toddler can not do for themselves.

As your child gets older, think about their temperament and try these techniques:

Reflect your child’s emotions.   Bend down so that you are level with their eyes.  Try saying, “You are so mad (fill in the emotions) right now.  I know you really wanted that 5th scoop of ice cream but you may not have it.  I understand that makes you feel angry and sad.”  Then move on.  Give your child a choice, should we play with blocks next or take out the crayons.

Give positive alternatives.  Explain to your child that banging that block on his infant brother’s head is not a choice, but he can bang the block on another block, or play the drums if he feels like banging.  Remind your child that banging on another person’s body is not safe.  Ask, “where do you think is a safe place to bang?”

Keep it light.  Use a little humor to diffuse the situation.  When your child is begging you not to go out to dinner, remind them that you have to come home to sleep in your bed.  Ask them “Can grown-ups sleep in a restaurant?  A car?  On the table?  No! How silly!  Grown-ups have to come home to sleep in their beds.”  We even use this idea during the separation process at school.  When your child is having one of those delightful moaning tantrums, reflect their feelings and be silly.   ”You are so mad, I wonder if you can stamp your feet as loud as I can.”

Ignore it.  There are times when a child begins to have a tantrum, that the best thing you can do is simply ignore it.  Check in to be sure your child is safe, but keep yourself out of the tantrum.  If a tree falls in the woods and there is no one there to see it…

Remove them from the situation.  This idea can be interpreted in two ways.  For some children, having a conversation with their grown-up while being distracted by the item they want, the child who has it, or something else that is happening in the environment, is just too much.  For these children, removing them from the situation can mean going into the next room to work through the tantrum in a quieter place.  That being said, sometimes there is no other option than to remove your child from the situation entirely.  If your child has gone past the point of no return, leaving will often give them the opportunity calm their bodies in a less stimulating environment and help them understand that their behavior is unacceptable.

Deciding how to deal with tantrums has a lot to do with your child’s temperament.  I say this often: Parents know their children best.  Think about your child and the way they handle different situations.  Children give us a lot of information every day, from whether they need to be prepared for something new a week before or an hour before, to how to handle their tantrums.  When a tantrum begins, assess the situation, decide on a technique, and set the limit.  Do not tolerate unacceptable behavior.  The consistency in your reactions to tantrums, as with any other behavior, will help your children develop their ability to regulate their own emotions and behaviors.  You can do this!

More questions?  Not sure how to make this work for your child? Or feel overwhelmed by the idea of trying?  Reach out!  Dana@DanasKids.com


Dana Rosenbloom has a master’s degree in Infant and Parent Development and Early Intervention and has been working with children and families for over 10 years. Dana’s Kids provides 1:1 parent education, play and behavior therapy, special education services, parent workshops and support groups, and professional development. To learn more about Dana and Dana’s Kids please visit  www.DanasKids.com.  You can also follow Dana on Facebook:www.facebook.com/DanasKids and Twitter: Danaskids

Dana’s Kids 

empowered parents, happy families.

 

 

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.

Teaching Picky Eaters Positive Food Behaviors: Part 2

child wont eatIn the Part 1 of this series we covered the first 5 tips to help parents teach their children to have different attitudes towards food and subsequently, open their minds to an expanded variety.  I hope they were helpful!  In this post we’ll cover the next 5 tips to turn, what can be a frustrating experience, into a time that’s enjoyable for the whole family.

Just to review:  First things first, I’m not a doctor.  If you have concerns about your child’s nutritional intake, you should always check in with your pediatrician.  Make sure they are pleased with your child’s height and weight, and go from there.  Understand that young children have different nutritional needs than adults.  They are full of energy with little bellies.  What, how much, and when we feed them, should look different than what we feed ourselves.  Over the years I have found that multiple small meals works well for young children.  You can Google information regarding specific food suggestions and nutritional requirements to meet a young child’s needs.

Your next 5 tips:

6. Snack Wisely: Snacks during the day can be a part of the multiple, small meal setup for young children.  Offer fresh fruit or a ¼ of a sandwich.  It takes a little planning, but on-the-go snacks don’t have to be carb-only.  Try to be aware of frequently offering your child snacks during down time (rides in the stroller, waiting for a turn on the swings, etc.).  If you child is snacking all the time, they aren’t going to want to eat at meals.

7. Explain Your Pouches: If you’re using food in pouches (“Because it’s the only way they’ll eat a vegetable!”), talk about what’s in the pouch.  The same goes for sneaking spinach, or any other food, into sauce, pasta, nuggets, etc., it works for the moment, but it’s not taking advantage of the teachable moment.  We want children to be aware of the variety of things they eat and enjoy, and the foods that they may want to try going forward.

8. Acknowledge Preferences: We all have favorite flavors and textures, including our young children.  This is an opportunity to help your child think about what it is about particular foods that they like and feel attracted to.  Focus on the positives.  When adding new foods, use this information.  Start with something familiar, but different.  If you child likes strawberries, you might add strawberry jam.  Combine that with the cream cheese they already like, and you’ve got a new sandwich option.

9. Offer Variety: At each of the major meals, offer 2 familiar foods and 1 new one.  If doing this for 3 meals sounds overwhelming, start with one, but remember that consistency helps shape behavior.  Rotate through their familiar foods.  You don’t need to offer a large amount of the new food…just enough for a taste.  If they want more, they’ll let you know!  Now here’s the tricky part: don’t insist they eat it.  For some children leaving a new food on the plate, smelling it, touching it, licking it, and talking about it are huge successes themselves.  Remember, we are not trying to force them to eat new foods; we are trying to help them have positive behaviors around food.

10. Back Off: Once the plate is in front of them, let them eat.  In whichever order, foods in any shape of recognition, or lack there of.  If you hover or insist, your child is likely to become more resistant.  That type of behavior also sets them up to be stubborn right off the bat at the next meal, rather than keeping them open to the possibilities of trying and liking something different.  Children at this age like to feel a certain amount of autonomy.  Use this time to talk and connect! This is a good time for some of that conversation about how food benefits their body and recognition of flavors, colors, shapes and textures: salty, sweet, yellow like the sun, crunchy, etc.  But it’s also a great time to talk about things besides food: their day, their thoughts, and your plans for later or tomorrow.  Be social at the table but not a nag.  How would you like it if someone did that to you?

BONUS: (Because it bears repeating) Be Patient And Positive: Change takes time.  You are teaching your child to have a new attitude towards food.  This is exciting!  Once you’ve taken the battle out of it, made it seem intriguing, an opportunity to be grown up and make some choices, they will want to try new foods.

Remember having a young child who is a picky eater is not unusual.  But battling with a young child over food can lead to bigger issues.  So check in with the doctor to make sure your child is on his or her appropriate growth curve and whether a multivitamin would be beneficial.  Concentrate on new behaviors surrounding food rather than focusing on eating more in quantity and variety.  You can both do this!

Have more questions or want support with changing your child’s behaviors around food, get in touch! Dana@DanasKids.com

Dana Rosenbloom has a master’s degree in Infant and Parent Development and Early Intervention and has been working with children and families for over 10 years. Dana’s Kids provides 1:1 parent education, play and behavior therapy, special education services, parent workshops and support groups, and professional development. To learn more about Dana and Dana’s Kids please visit www.DanasKids.com.  You can also follow Dana on Facebook: www.facebook.com/DanasKids and Twitter: Danaskids

Dana’s Kids

empowered parents, happy families.

 

 

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!

 

 

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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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.