Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Beat the Heat this Summer!

Where we live, temperatures have been circling around 100 degrees and it is too hot to take the kids outside to play (unless it involves water.) In order to beat the summer heat, sometimes you have to get creative! Check out our top 10 ways to enjoy summer without melting away in the hot sun.

1. See a “dollar movie” or a free movie at a local cinema. Many theaters have a free summer kids program, too. Check out your local theater web sites for information on kids movie programs this summer.

2. Attend “story time” at your local library. Your kids will love hearing new stories, singing songs, and you can also check out some books while you are there!

3. Declare a board game day. Enjoy some family time by playing board games together in the cool air conditioning!

4. Set up your very own water park in the backyard. Have baby pools, slip-n-slides, and sprinklers going at the same time and enjoy watching your little ones run around outside while staying cool.

5. Make your own homemade ice cream. Your kids will love churning the ice cream maker, and will enjoy eating your cold treat even more!

6. Set your kids up with some (clean) paint brushes and water buckets and let them paint the town…literally! Your kids can “paint” the house, walkway, bikes, fence and porch! Throw some soap and wash rags in the mix, and you can have your very own car wash, too.

7. Host an arts-n-crafts extravaganza and invite your kids’ friends! Stock up on arts-n-crafts…crayons, markers, paper, glue, scissors, molding clay, and anything else that your kids can use to create a masterpiece. Watch your kids and their friends create beautiful artwork, and then hang their creations up on a bulletin board, refrigerator or clothes line to display for the week.

8. Throw a “pretend party.” Have your kids put on party clothes from the dress-up bin and then have the kids decorate for the party, as well as make simple, yummy snacks for the pretend party. You’ll be surprised how much fun they will have and how this one idea can take up a whole afternoon!

9. Encourage your children to write (or just make-up) a play. Have them make tickets for the play to sell to the audience (you and their favorite stuffed animals), create a stage with blankets, sheets or towels, and put together wardrobes for the “cast” from your dress-up bin. Then sit back and watch as your favorite stars put on a show for you!

10. Make homemade play dough together. It’s very easy to do and your kids will love playing with it afterwards.

All of these ideas will hopefully help you keep your kids busy and cool this summer. Good luck beating the heat!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Baby Talk

Do you ever wish you could communicate with your baby? Decipher his or her cries? Know what it is that they really want versus playing a guessing game? Well, according to Pricilla Dunstan, a Sydney, Australia mom who was born with a rare photographic memory for sounds, "all babies, regardless of race or culture, make the same sounds." She spent two years working with babies around the world and soon found a pattern in the way they cried.

Someone has finally cracked the code on how to decipher the wants and needs of newborn babies!

Dunstan found that all babies have five “words” to communicate their needs. These words are actually reflexes that occur automatically during the first three months whenever your baby needs to eat, sleep, be burped or is uncomfortable. If you can learn to recognize these sounds and respond to them, your baby will cry less, settle more easily, and have more uninterrupted sleep. WOW is all I have to say! Why didn't I know this information when my kids were newborns?

Here are the five words your newborn will say, what they mean, and how to react: (Source: Just the Facts, Baby)

1. Neh means “I’m hungry.”

When your baby is hungry, she will say "neh" or "nah." According to Dunstan, you are listening for the "n" part of the sound. She also said that "neh" is the easiest to hear when your baby is in the pre-cry phase before she starts screaming. As soon as your infant begins to cry, listen for the "neh" sound to determine if she needs to be fed.

2. Owh means “I’m tired.”

Dunstan said this sound is created when sound is added to the yawn reflex. Your baby’s mouth will also be oval shape while they are saying: “owh.” This means it’s night-night time!

3. Eh mean “I need to be burped.”

This sound is produced when muscles in the infant’s chest tighten and sound is added. Start burping your infant whenever you hear “eh.” Dunstan said you will know when to stop burping your baby because she will stop saying “eh.”

4. Eairh means “Give me some relief.”

"Eairh" means your baby has gas. Respond when you hear "eairh" by doing an infant massage technique used to relive gas pains.

5. Heh means “I’m uncomfortable.”

When your baby says, "heh," it could mean he or she is hot, cold or needs to change positions. Do what you can to make your baby feel at ease.

Now you can better communicate with your newborn! This information may bring into your home more peace, more happiness, and more sleep!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

By what age should a child express happiness?

All parents want to know that there child is healthy and developing as they should be. With so much discussion in the media about autism, many parents look for signs of autism in their children earlier and earlier than we once did even 10 years ago. One sign a lot of parents look for is the expression of emotions. Moms and dads begin to wonder, “At what age should my child be able to express happiness?”

According to Pediatric Services, the first ”real” smile usually develops sometime between 8 and 12 weeks, and it accompanied by sweet “coos” and crinkling, smiling eyes. And as most parents can attest, there is nothing sweeter than getting that first gummy grin.

The next big milestone in your baby's ability to express happiness is the first laugh, which usually happens at around 4 months of age. Physical sensations, such as tummy kisses or swinging your baby in the air, will elicit these wonderful shrieks of laughter.

As your baby get older, more subtle forms of comedy will make your baby laugh out loud. Exaggerated voices, playing “peek-a-boo,” and making a toy come to life might make your little one howl with laughter.

Every baby is different, and there is a wide spectrum of behavior considered normal in the social and emotional developmental areas. However, for peace of mind, if your baby has not hit these milestones mentioned above, make an appointment with your pediatrician to discuss any concerns you may have.

Remember, not being able to express happiness is not the only sign of possible autism. There are many other signs to look for such as poor eye contact, resists cuddling and holding, prefers playing alone, and unusually sensitive to light, sound, or touch, but oblivious to pain. There are many other signs of autism as well, and you can see a comprehensive list on the Autism Speaks Web site.

A great chart to help you know what your child should be doing not only socially and emotionally, but physically as well can be found here at the Child Care Aware Web site. This chart also shows you what your child should master and by what age in regards to language, small motor and cognitive skills.