Toddler Blog

Toddler Blog Welcomes IntuitParenting!

Toddler Blog Partners with IntuitParenting!

Toddler Blog is excited to announce a new partnership with IntuitParenting. Marissa Gold, the Founder and Chief Parenting Expert of IntuitParenting will be officially joining the Toddler Blog Team as its Resident Parenting Expert. Marissa will bring her extensive experience and passion for working with and educating parents to help shape our parenting content on Toddler Blog. Look for regular posts, open Q&As and more personalized parenting expertise coming soon.

About Marissa Gold: Marissa Gold is an expert in Brain-Based Parenting. Her unique perspective is geared to meet your parenting needs by reflecting upon age-appropriate and developmentally-relevant information which focuses on reinforcing positive and respectful parenting. By understanding the developmental needs of your child, and how to apply scientifically-reinforced information to parenting decisions, Marissa has become a respected teacher, private consultant and speaker. As the Founder of IntuitParenting, Marissa is dedicated to serving parents through private consultations; parenting groups (both Mommy and Me and Parent Education seminars without children) and school and community presentations and workshops.
Marissa received her BA at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and completed her Early Childhood work at UCLA. She is the mother of two girls, ages 9 and 6. She is “in the trenches” with you and understands your daily struggles and triumphs

Is it time to DITCH THE DIAPERS???

Question: Can you please help me with potty training? Sometimes I think my son is ready and at other times, definitely not. He shows signs that he knows and understands “the feeling to go” but won’t stop playing or often does the potty dance and then pees in his pants. Should I force the issue and put him in underpants or wait? What is the best way to potty train?

Answer: This is a great question that every parent faces with a young child. So, let’s get to it. Here’s what is tough about potty training – you can’t ever force a child “to go” it if they’re not physically or emotionally ready.  Yes, there are tricks and suggestions I can give you but if your child really isn’t “wanting” to do the “pee or poo in the potty”, it’s hard to force the issue.  Smart children know that they can control this and they CAN use it to their advantage.  As a side note, It’s VERY common with children when there has been a recent addition to the family or another big “life change”, for potty issues to become more difficult, so please keep that in mind as well.

Here are some tips to make potty training easier:

  1. Place a potty in every bathroom that your child will be using. Encourage its’ use as both a toy and a real potty.
  2. Allow child to play with dolls and stuffed animals on or near the potty. They can read to them on it, help them go to the bathroom on it and wipe them.
  3. Read potty books to your child and let them read those same books to their dolls and stuffed animals.
  4. Talk to them about the people that they love who already use the potty -mommy, daddy, big brothers/sisters, cousins, friends, etc.
  5. Let them watch you go to the bathroom.  You may have to get over being shy for just a moment but remember, you’re modeling for your child.
  6. Remind them that they will get to pick out and wear new underpants when they’ve mastered this new skill.

After doing this for approximately 2-4 weeks and when you sense that your child really understands, it’s time to start the actual potty training.

Pick a date – one or two weeks out on the calendar – and circle it to visually show your child that this is the date when they will start wearing underpants and “go in the potty”. It’s best to tie that date to something that your child understands. Developmentally, children understand schedules and timing based upon events in their life. This is called “event time”. So, tie the date when you’ll begin potty training to an event that your child knows is headed their way, such as the last day of school, first day of summer vacation, a birthday, or other special occasion.

As the day draws near, continue to talk about this exciting new change together. Speak about it positively but allow your child the space to be conflicted. It’s okay to ask them if they have questions, are feeling scared or anxious. Any and all feelings should be validated and discussed without judgement. Take your child to pick out new underpants and stickers. Together, you can create a chart that shows 21 days (or 3-4 weeks) from the day you are going to start the training. Tell your child that they will get a “potty party” once they are in underpants for 3-5 days without accidents.

When potty training day arrives, put up the chart, put them in underpants and GO! Once your child is in underpants, they’re in underpants. Don’t go back and forth and don’t allow your child to “make the rules”. Ask them frequently if they need to use the potty and keep reminding them that they’re in underpants. Remind them that this means they have to stop whatever they’re doing to actually GO TO THE BATHROOM. If they have to stop their activity to go, and they remember to do this (with your help or on their own), make sure you praise their specific efforts (i.e.. “listening to their body”). Encourage this consistently and remind them that whatever they’re playing with or doing will be there, waiting for them, when they return. Your child can put stickers on the days of their chart where they go the entire day without accident.

When your child is able to go 3 days with no accidents, it’s time for a “potty party”. Do the potty dance, sing the potty song – you get to make these up. And go for a special family walk to celebrate your child’s major milestone. You’re proud, right? Tell your child!

Parenting: Get Into It!

marissa@intuitparenting.com

 

About Marissa Gold: Marissa Gold is an expert in Brain-Based Parenting. Her unique perspective is geared to meet your parenting needs by reflecting upon age-appropriate and developmentally-relevant information which focuses on reinforcing positive and respectful parenting. By understanding the developmental needs of your child, and how to apply scientifically-reinforced information to parenting decisions, Marissa has become a respected teacher, private consultant and speaker. As the Founder of IntuitParenting, Marissa is dedicated to serving parents through private consultations; parenting groups (both Mommy and Me and Parent Education seminars without children) and school and community presentations and workshops.

Marissa received her BA at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and completed her Early Childhood work at UCLA. She is the mother of two girls, ages 9 and 6. She is “in the trenches” with you and understands your daily struggles and triumphs

 

TAKING IT OUTSIDE! A Quickie Toddler Outdoor Activity Guide

Sensory Bin Pic

Have toddler and need a fun activity to do to get that little one in the fresh air? Look no further! Here’s your quick reference guide to TAKING IT OUTSIDE! And many of the props mentioned below can already be found in your house or at your local bargain store. So get to playing!

Make your own sensory bins! You can fill one with a few inches of water and a second with dried lentils or sand. Let the kids use measuring cups and funnels with it. I’m never surprised at how long sensory bins keep toddlers engaged. There’s so much to feel, explore, and learn as they splash, pour, and play!

Use a parachute! They may be too big for most indoor playtime, but they are perfect taken outdoors. You’ll just need an extra helper (maybe an older sibling) to help raise and lower the chute. Your little one will love dancing underneath the rainbow of colors. Or you can also have your tot sit on top of it while you shake it below them, making waves!

– Use pots and pans, shaker eggs, or toy instruments to make your very own marching band! Play with different speeds as well as curvy backyard paths. Stomp your feet, bang your instruments, and make a loud ruckus that being stuck indoors wouldn’t allow you to.

Blow bubbles! They never get old. Race to pop them with your fingers or have your kiddo lie on their back on a beach towel and try to pop them with their toes! For big bubble fun, fill a kiddie pool (or large container) with bubble solution and grab some giant wands from your local toy store. The whole neighborhood will want to come over for the bubble magic!

– Do some messy painting!  Use a large craft paper roll tucked under 2 lawn chairs a few feet apart. This oversized canvas will inspire even your littlest Picasso. Brushes, stampers, and Qtips all work great, but the best part is you can even use bare feet to paint! Just rinse those little toes in one of your plastic bins before going back home to keep the messy adventure strictly outdoors!

– When the weather gets hot, the smart get spray bottles! Get them from the 99cent store and use to water plants. Or encourage your little to cool off each individual body part. Sing “Head Shoulders Knees & Toes” as you go! And if you want to get even more more creative, add a little washable paint to your spray bottle to “spray paint” onto paper.

Plan a Scavenger Hunt! Seek out small household objects (just like you would with Easter eggs). Take turns hiding and seeking the different items on your list. Or simply use chalk to draw pictures for the your tot to “seek.” Hop to the yellow sun, run to the letter A, skip to the smiley face! Let them tire themselves out before nap time!

Growing with Little Duck Organics!

Mighty Oats

We make it our job to keep you up to date on the best healthy products we discover as our toddlers eat, explore, and grow their way through each day.

Our favorite newbie is Mighty Oats instant cereal by Little Duck Organics. It’s part breakfast, part nature activity. Yup, a two in one. We’ll explain…

First, there are three adorable cups of instant, organic cereal that you simply add hot water to. Portable, delicious, and EASY. The cereal cups are a mix of whole oat flakes, super grains like amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, and more. Plus they’re full of blueberries and cinnamon. Kiddos 4 months and up can enjoy.

Next, the box that contains it all is made of carrot seeds! You soak the box in water for one hour, plant it in your garden, then water it daily to grow your very own carrots. How cool is that? A nutritious breakfast that will keep your tot full (and a gardening activity to keep them busy!) until lunch.

We love teaching kids about nature and nutrition. They’re naturally curious about the world around them and getting them involved in growing their own food will make them healthy eaters for life. …Now if only Little Duck could get them napping as fabulously as they’re snacking.

Spring Cleaning In A Snap!

As an expectant mama-to-be, I’ve been obsessing over getting my house clean for the new babe’s arrival! But add on top of that, a newfound paranoia about the the type of cleaning supplies being used. So I starting asking more experienced Moms what to do to get my Spring cleaning done in a snap, using the best products for me and the baby. One name kept coming up, Homejoy.

Homejoy is a new cleaning service made especially for busy moms. So I decided to give it a whirl. Homejoy’s simple, speedy booking system (I did it on my phone!) instantly matches you with verified, rigorously screened cleaning professionals. I was also happy to find out that I could request non-toxic cleaning supplies or even provide my own.

The cleaning team that came to my place was awesome. They didn’t leave until the house was in perfect condition from top to bottom (I could get used to this!) and they did it all with a smile. They even talked to me about easy ways to keep things tidy between their visits. Plus they shared areas to focus on keeping spick and span for babies and toddlers. (i.e.: Clean floors are a mama must since little explorers will always find something icky to eat off them.)

I started thinking how a session with Homejoy could be the perfect, out of the box baby gift for my equally preggers girlfriend, as well as for my friend who has a newborn AND a toddler to run around after. The only downfall is that it’s certainly addictive. Who knew the grout between my tiles could get so sparkly white? Go to www.homejoy.com/socalmoms and claim $25 discount on your first appointment (or simply type in “SoCalMoms” at check out). Happy Spring!

 

Sneak Peek: Mamas & Papas Urbo2 Chestnut Tweed Stroller

Job perk #274: We often get sneak peeks of the latest, hottest baby and toddler gear before it hits the market. This week we got to test run the new 2015 Urbo2 Stroller by Mamas & Papas. We’re fans of this vintage-inspired British line because there isn’t a cheezy primary color or character to be found in any of their collection. It’s chic without being stuffy and they feature all the modern conveniences we need as Moms with a classic throwback look. Our new favorite is the Signature Edition Chestnut Tweed Urbo2. Said with a fabulous faux British accent, naturally!

So first, why we fell in love…. The “tweed” fabric is actually wipeable and accented with a quilted hood and copper accessories. It’s got a fully reversible reclining seat so babe can face you or outward. There is an easily accessible basket beneath to store goodies or go shopping. Plus, as a (slightly paranoid) new mama-to-be, I like the sunshade, insect net, and peek-a-boo window.

Now, why it can be hard to love a Brit… Mainly, the price. This is definitely a high-end stroller with a retail of about $670. So the Urbo2 is not an extra, convenience stroller. Mamas & Papas do offer their new Armadillo XT at a lighter price, but once you’ve gone tweed it’s hard to go back. We have to love our stroller as much as our favorite, go-to purse — Because as a Mom, it’s the accessory we’ll have with us the most, well besides the babe himself.

A More Challenging Choo Choo!

When we can’t pull our toddlers away from their favorite toy, we can try changing up how they use it! One toy can always be used in a multitude of ways to make it more developmentally stimulating.

Today we’re exploring an old favorite, the Toy Train Track, to make A More Challenging Choo Choo!

– Play with color! Connect all of the red trains, then all the green, etc.

– Make a pattern! What if you linked a green then a red then a green — What color would come next? Older toddlers will benefit a lot from starting to build and recognize patterns!

– Never stop counting! Can we connect just two trains? How about three? Four? Have your little count as you go.

– Practice listening skills! Call out Red, Green, or Yellow Light and have your little adjust their trains’ speed accordingly.

– Play with speed! Can your tot practice restraint and drive her train in slow motion? Then try filling up the gas tank and taking a super speedy loop around the track!

– Change direction! Practice going backwards when someone calls out Reverse!

– Go off railing! Why not make your own track together on a large piece of butcher paper? Winding roads and a great view make for one exciting trip!

– Time for a wash! Take your favorite toy outside with a bucket of water and washcloth. Watch your little’s face light up with delight as you get your trains all spick and span!

 

 

Getting Toddlers To Try New Foods!

Getting toddlers to try new foods is a superhero task! But we are here to help you get your tot tasting a variety of nibbles in no time flat. Read on for our best, tasty tips!

Try and try again. Toddlers take quite a few times to get used to a new texture or taste. Try every day for two weeks straight and eventually, an odd food will start to become familiar and less intimidating to them.

Display it in a new way! Chunks of apple may not be a hit, but some littles will love apple slices, or a peeled apple whole, or even applesauce. And never underestimate the power of a funny shaped cookie cutter to make foods seem more enticing!

Talk it up. Before trying a raw carrot stick, build up the anticipation. i.e.: What color is that cute carrot? Is it hard or soft? I think that baby carrot is going to make a crunch sound when you bite into it! Do you?

Offer more than one newbie at a time. Play with offering two new foods on a dish in the same meal. As long as you also offer a side you know he loves, having two new options is great because you don’t know which newbie he will be drawn to.

Enlist a sous chef. Getting kiddos involved in picking and prepping food will definitely lead them to wanting to try the new dish they’ve helped create!

Sauce it up. Broccoli may become appealing when dipped in a favorite hummus or mixed in to the old standby, mac and cheese. A favorite sauce can make all the difference when first introducing something new.

Pair similar foods together. If your little nugget loves cauliflower, mix in a bit of broccoli with it. Pair nectarines with fuzzy peaches. Similar textures and flavors make new foods less scary.

Be an example. Kids want what we eat! So offer your tot a taste off your plate and the odds are stacked in your favor that she’ll want to try it too!

Take turns feeding one another. It may sound silly, but practice being the feeder and the one being fed. Kids usually get such a kick out of this that they’re willing to try a food out of their comfort zone to keep the game going!

Remember what you can control and what you can’t. You can choose what foods are offered to your little. But you can’t really control how much he eats. Pick your battles knowing that this too is temporary.

Be patient! Toddlers asserting their opinion and will is a crucial part of development. And though it may make meal time a bit tricky right now, that same independence and strong opinion will be to their advantage later in life!

 

Raising A Book Lover!

Us grown ups know the value of books and want our our littles to become avid readers! But how do we start our kids off in the right direction when they are still too small to sit still? Here are some quick tips to Raising A Book Lover! 

– Set aside a special reading time each day in a special place in the room. Even if you only get through 5 pages, you’ll be setting up a routine that will quickly become a family tradition.

–  Let your toddler choose which book to read. Even if it’s “Goodnight Moon” for the hundredth time! Repetition is great for little minds, though admittedly a pain for adult ears.

– Ask questions as you go. It keeps them engaged and gets them moving! Can Caleb spot the cow? Can he moo like a cow too?

– Try books on tape in the car. See if your child can practice their listening skills and follow along!

– Visit the library! A giant room full of books is even more exciting than a small shelf of them. Fuel her curiosity with a trip to your local branch for story time.

– Foster an understanding of the words on the page. Let him show you the cover and turn the pages in the right direction. Then use your finger to follow along with the text as you speak it out loud.

– Create a reading chart. Every book you read together earns your little a star sticker, and  stickers are an easy way to keep keep young ones motivated. Watch as your chart fills up!

– Think beyond the book! Grocery lists, scavenger hunt clues, and handwritten letters are all wonderful ways to encourage a love of reading in your toddler!

Guest Blog from Marissa Gold of Intuit Parenting

My Husband has a third appendage…and it’s battery-powered.
Recently my younger daughter asked me why Daddy always had his phone with him. I paused, thought about all of the politically correct answers I could give her.

They went something like this:
“Daddy owns his own business and needs to be accessible.”
“Something important may happen and Daddy needs to find out immediately.”
“Daddy isn’t on the phone, it’s just nearby, in case…”
I even contemplated:
“Daddy is addicted to Trivia Crack”. Okay, maybe I didn’t…well…

Then I thought about it some more and realized that there wasn’t a single excuse I could provide to my young daughter that would make sense to her. Mainly because it doesn’t make sense in a child’s mind, why anything and especially a phone, would be more important than her.

Remember the song, “Cat’s in the Cradle”? Listen up moms and dads: we’ve become the epitome of the words sung by Harry Chapin. Our children are growing up too fast and before you know it, they’re gong to be asking for their own Nano, smart phone, e-reader and/or tablet. We wonder why these material items are so important and lusted after by them, don’t we? Well, why shouldn’t they be? From a young age, they see us literally connected to our e-devices at all times.

I’m sure you’ve heard this one before: Keep in mind what you say and do (at all times) in front of your children because they’re constantly watching you. Well, it couldn’t be truer if you have a 2-10 year old. They’re picking up your words, habits, sayings, morals and everything that you do. So, if you want to ensure you have a child who one day makes time for you, start by turning off that smart phone, put down your tablet, disconnect from the computer and pay attention to your child. Right now, what is most important is your presence. Quality time together. Believe it or not, that’s what they want. They want your presence more than any material item you could ever give them.

Slow down, disconnect, talk and just “be” – together. Model it and you’ll get it in spades, back.
Parenting: Get Into It! www.intuitparenting.com

Thanks to Marissa for joining us on Toddler Blog Today! She will be dropping in from time to time with brain based parenting expertise. Let us know what you think in the comments and whether you struggle with being present for your kids?

About Marissa Gold: Marissa Gold is an expert in Brain-Based Parenting. Her unique perspective is geared to meet your parenting needs by reflecting upon age-appropriate and developmentally-relevant information which focuses on reinforcing positive and respectful parenting. By understanding the developmental needs of your child, and how to apply scientifically-reinforced information to parenting decisions, Marissa has become a respected teacher, private consultant and speaker. As the Founder of IntuitParenting, Marissa is dedicated to serving parents through private consultations; parenting groups (both Mommy and Me and Parent Education seminars without children) and school and community presentations and workshops.

Marissa received her BA at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and completed her Early Childhood work at UCLA. She is the mother of two girls, ages 9 and 6. She is “in the trenches” with you and understands your daily struggles and triumphs