In case you don’t remember, the groundhog saw his shadow in early February, declaring six more weeks of winter. Whether or not you trust a small animal for your weather predictions, it’s good to be prepared for those cold, snowy days that February and March can bring. When the weather is at its worst, staying indoors with small children can drive you stir-crazy fast. Here are some ways to keep your little ones entertained all day long, and hopefully keep you sane in the process.
Babies love ball. Crumple up old newspaper or wrapping paper into small, easy-to-handle balls and toss them around with your infant. A toddler will love trying to catch and throw the balls, too. Clean-up is easy: when you’re all done, bring out a paper bag and toss the “toys” into a recycle bin.
Cook your way to playtime. Playdough is a perfect standby to give to your small kiddos, but if you want to extend the playtime, consider making the playdough yourself. There are countless recipes for playdough, cloud dough, and slime that are easy to make with simple ingredients that you probably have on hand already. A big bonus to making your own playdough is that you can make it 100% non-toxic.
Have your kiddo create her own bling. Stringing together necklaces isn’t only fun (and time-consuming for the kids!), it’s a great fine motor activity for your child. It’s best suited for ages 18-24 months. Find string or yarn and large beads or thick pasta, and watch your child entertain himself.
Clean-up time can be playtime, too. Maybe not when you legitimately have to get something clean, but your little one can at least pretend to help you when the stakes are low. Give him a water bottle to spray with and some rags and watch him get down to work (and play!).
Boxes are a small child’s dream toy. Did you have a large package delivered recently? Bring the box into the living room, find a pair of scissors and some crayons, and create! Toddlers will be able to help color or design the box, and smaller babies will be interested in crawling and climbing through whatever you make. Some “Boxes for Beginners” ideas to start: a train, a ship, a playhouse, a dinosaur cave, a castle.
Never underestimate the power of a dance party. On those days when you’re stuck inside and everything feels off, a dance party can seriously help you and your baby reset. Put on music you love, or check out more adult-friendly kid bands like The Not-Its and Recess Monkey for music that you won’t mind playing on repeat.
Make your own music. If you’re feeling inspired, you can help your little one make her own instruments, like rain shakers out of rice and paper towel rolls. Or you can hand her a few wooden spoons and a set of bowls. She’ll love making “music,” and you can give yourself permission to put on your headphones during her “concert.”
Let your baby play with his food. As moms, we’re often teaching our babies not to make a mess of dinner. But if your baby is wiggly and needs something different to do, set her in her high chair and give her small scoops of food for her to play with. A dollop of yogurt, some cooked (sauce-free) spaghetti, or tiny cut-up orange slices are all high-sensory foods that she can mess around with.
Enjoy extended bathtime. Set your baby or toddler up in a warm, bubbly bath, whether it’s morning, afternoon, or evening. Let him play as long as he wants, and try giving him different toys to experiment with for water play.
When’s the last time you made a pillow fort? It doesn’t need to be a high-tech fort, but making a small structure with a few pillows or cushions can be a lot of fun for a baby. Find a sheet to hang up and watch her crawl through and explore the new environment.Reading aloud is good for you and your baby. Cuddle up together with a stack of board books and read aloud together. Babies and toddlers love all kinds of books, and they don’t mind reading the same ones over and over, which means you don’t need a huge variety. Don’t be afraid to make silly voices and sounds, either.
How to get the most out of your baby’s first birthday
Our plan for Owen’s first birthday is to keep it small and intimate, at home. It’s not just that we are working with a smaller budget. We also recognize that the first birthday is, for the most part, more for the parents and the pictures than for our little guy. That said, no matter how intimate, if you want something memorable, a little preparation can go a long way. Here are 8 tips for planning your baby’s first birthday party and how to make the most of it.
- Keep the planning simple.
Life is busy. So rather than stressing myself out about organizing the party, I want to do my best to keep things simple. Why? Because if I keep things simple and organized, I’ll be more likely to actually enjoy the party too! Our little pals and gals only turn one once, after all. Finding a venue that’s both affordable and comfortable for you and your guests is key. We plan on doing Owen’s party at home, but there are many other cheap or even free options, like parks or a friend’s backyard or house.
5 things your pediatrician wants you to know about coxsackie.
“It’s going around,” is a common phrase I hear from parents. Right now, the normal seasonal increase in coxsackie virus (hand, foot, and mouth disease) is in full swing and we are seeing tons of kids with typical symptoms in the office. Even the mention of hand, foot mouth disease can send typically calm parents into full panic. I’m hoping after reading this article, that parents will realize that while this illness can certainly make your little one feel very uncomfortable, it is rarely life threatening or dangerous. Typically, with some time, love and good pain control, your little one will seem back to himself in a few days.
Here’s are five things your pediatrician wants you to know about hand, foot and mouth disease:
- It’s a virus. Hand, foot and mouth disease is an infection that is caused by a virus known as the coxsackie virus. I like to tell parents, “it’s a virus with a name.” It is no different than your child having a cold, it is just a different set of symptoms. And just because a virus has a name does not mean it will make a child sicker or is more dangerous than other viruses. Fun fact: it is named after a town in upstate New York where the virus was discovered.
Shopping for a baby stroller is simple, right? You’d only answer “yes” to that question if you’ve never been stroller-shopping before. Browse online or at any baby store, and you’ll find endless options for every possible strolling wish, need, and desire. Which ones blow past the bluster and actually live up to their high praise or fancy-sounding name? Which stroller is the one that all your pregnant friends are snatching up? No need to steel yourself for hours of research—we’ve gone ahead and done that for you. Here’s what we found: the five best strollers you can buy in 2017, and who they’re most suited for.
This award-winning stroller is lightweight, compact, and made of the highest-quality materials, which means it’s tough enough to withstand any manner of city terrain.Safety: The City Mini has a five-point safety harness and 50+ UV multi-position canopy.Style: This well-designed stroller blends seamlessly into upscale city sidewalks.Weight: 17.6 lbsFoldability: Easily foldable with an ultra-compact auto-lock fold for travel or storage.Flexibility for twins or additional siblings of different sizes: A glider board is available for separate purchase, and can be attached for older siblings to hop on and scoot along.Other: The City Mini has a multi-position recline, ranging from infant-friendly full recline to slight recline for naptime on-the-go. The City Mini can become part of a travel system using a car seat adapter or additional pram attachment.Price: $259.99Bonus points: This one’s best for city-living.
The Bugaboo Donkey is a high-functioning stroller that is made to grow and adapt to your family’s ever-changing needs.Safety: The Donkey has a foot-operated brake with heavy-duty air-filled tires and all-wheel suspension.Style: We all know that strollers for multiples can be bulky or unwieldy, but the Donkey uses space efficiently and has a smart look, no matter how many diaper bags you’re towing.Weight: 33.4 with 2 seats.Foldability: The stroller is foldable and has a carry handle.Flexibility for twins or additional siblings of different sizes: The Bugaboo Donkey transitions easily from mono (one baby), duo (a baby and an older toddler), to twin. You choose the set to purchase, and when you need to upgrade the space, it’s done in a matter of easy clicks.Other: With the interchangeable seats, storage, and bassinets, there are actually a whopping 17 different configurations you can choose from, given your need of the moment. The seats are reclinable, reversible, and are carseat compatible.Price: $1399-$1979.Bonus points: This one’s best for for twins.
The Stokke Xplory looks simple enough, but its design is intended for maximum interaction and connection between you and your little one as you stroll.Safety: The stroller includes a five point safety harness and adjustable footrests and handles for safe maneuvering.Style: The Stokke has a sleek design with a minimalist feel, though it doesn’t skimp on necessary accessories like a canopy, cup holder and underseat storage.Weight: 18 lbs.Foldability: This stroller folds well and the frame is made of lightweight aluminum, which makes it easy to tote around.Flexibility for twins or additional siblings of different sizes: The Stokke is for a single passenger.Other: This stroller is height adjustable, so the child seat can be raised to parent eye level, or lowered for rest time, or anything in between.Price: $1,225.00Bonus points: This one’s best for travel.
A durable jogging stroller, the Bumbleride Speed is made for heavy-duty use for on-the-go parents.Safety: A five-point harness, air-filled tires, foot brake, and all-wheel suspension make sure you’re in control of your little one’s safest ride.Style: Eco-fabrics and an aluminum frame show off the intention that was put into designing this stroller. No matter where you use it, the stroller has a nice look that meshes function with style.Weight: 24 lbs.Foldability: The stroller folds easily and stands up folded (one of those little-known stroller perks!) but the large wheels do add a small amount of bulk.Flexibility for twins or additional siblings of different sizes: The Bumbleride is for a single passenger.Other: This is your go-too jogging stroller and has several accessories that can be used for a day outside, like attachable parent pack and full rain cover.Price: $549.Bonus points: This one’s best for your outdoorsy lifestyle.
This versatile stroller combines form and function into a multitasking piece of gear that you’ll keep for years, no matter how your family grows.Safety: The stroller has a five-point safety harness and shock-absorbing rear and front suspension for a smooth, safe ride.Style: The UPPAbaby has a classic design that won’t go out of style.Weight: 27.5 lbs.Foldability: A one-step fold easily collapses the stroller for transport or storage.Flexibility for twins or additional siblings of different sizes: The Vista is a multitasking godsend for mothers of multiple children. It easily expands to accommodate a baby and older sibling, with additional adapters. It also accommodates twins, allowing for two bassinets or car seats to attach to the frame. The Piggyback ride-along adapter even lets you transport up to three children at once.Other: The UPPAbaby Vista includes a bassinet that can be used from birth, along with the toddler seat and frame, so there’s no need to get a new stroller as your baby grows. It has an extra large storage basket along with removable, washable fabric that’s easy to clean.Price: $839.99 - $879.99Bonus points: This one’s your “forever” stroller.
It’s a new year! Fashions change, pop culture trends emerge, and the latest favored baby names emerge on every expectant parents’ list. In 2016, classic names like Sophia, Emma, Olivia were all the rage for girls and parents loved names like Aiden, Lucas, and Jackson for boys. Which baby names will trend this year? And which are our favorites?
Aria: This name has a classic feel with a uniqueness that many traditional girls' names don’t possess. Bonus points for giving this name to a baby in a musical family.
Mia: Rising on the top-names lists in 2016, Mia is a playful and feminine name for a 2017 arrival.
Matilda: According to nameberry.com, Matilda was the 75th most popular name of 2016, but we think this vintage name will be trending soon, especially given its literary allusions.
Luna: In Latin, Luna means “moon,” and its dreamy origin makes it a compelling name choice for 2017 babies.
Grace: We love the strength and beauty of the name Grace, a classic virtue name. With the resurgence of old-fashioned names, Grace has enjoyed a rise in popularity in the past several years.
Azalea: Flower names are always in style, and Azalea is a unique choice for those trying to stay away from the regular floral standbys.
Embry: This is a lesser-known name of 2016, but we like to think its originality is its charm. Embry works well for parents who love Emily and Emma, but want to avoid the super-popular names.
Jade: Strong and short, the name Jade is has a powerfully evocative quality to it. It’s no wonder: according to nameberry.com, the jade stone is said to spread wisdom, courage, and clarity.
Zoe: This name has enjoyed an upsurge in recent years. Not only is Zoe a newly popular choice in the U.S., parents in Spain, New Zealand, and France are also fond of the name.
Declan: In 2015, Declan was hardly on the radar and has enjoyed increased popularity in 2016. Irish names have surged in approval for little lads, and we think it’s time for the name Declan to shine.
William: A traditional name that withstands the latest fads, William is a top pick for princes and regular folk alike.
Oliver: Much like the uber-popular female counterpart, Olivia, Oliver is a lively name with a vintage air to it. Nameberry.com notes that it was very well-used in medieval times, but fell out of favor after the rule of Oliver Cromwell.
Noah: This is a popular name with biblical roots, and though it’s been trending for awhile, it has tremendous staying power.
Hudson: Hudson is well known as a surname and as the NYC river, but it’s becoming increasingly well known as a first name, too.
Vaughn: The meaning of the name is “small,” but we think this name makes a big statement.
Bodhi: Bodhi comes from the Sanskrit word for “awakening” or “enlightenment” and is a meaningful choice for a 2017 baby.
Knox: Perhaps most known from Fort Knox, Kentucky, the name has been used as a surname for centuries and has a rare ring to it.
Wyatt: The meaning of this English-origin name is “brave in war,” and had become more well-known in the last several years.Lincoln: The name Lincoln has been slowly rising in popularity over the past several years and is most likely to stir up thoughts of former presidents.
A unisex baby name is an excellent choice for your 2017 new arrival. Maybe you’re waiting to discover the sex of your baby, or perhaps you’d like a name without unyielding feminine or masculine associations. Whether you’re leaning toward the classic and traditional or the cutting-edge and funky, there are plenty of fabulous unisex names for every little boy or girl. We’ve rounded up our 15 favorite unisex names for you to add to your baby name shortlist.
Avery: This name has been rising in popularity over the past ten years and has been materializing all over popular culture. Avery is of English origin and means “ruler of the elves:” a whimsical choice for either sex.
Parker: Another name of English origin, Parker is an occupational name meaning “park keeper.” To date, Parker is used as a name for both boys or girls in nearly equal measure.
Sawyer: The name Sawyer might evoke images of Mark Twain characters, but Sawyer is being given to girls with nearly as much frequency as boys in recent years.
Albany: Place-based names always have a dedicated following, and Albany (of the New York state capital, of course) is a unique and stately choice.
Hadley: This name means “heather field,” and while Heather is more associated as a female name today, Hadley can easily go either way.
Cyan: The color cyan is a gorgeous greenish-blue, and the name is equally mysterious and rare-sounding. “Cy” as a nickname could also work well for either gender.
Addison: Addison has been rising on the popularity charts in the past few years. Though its meaning is “son of Adam,” it’s been used across the board for girls and for boys.
Lyric: This name works wonderfully for music-loving families especially, or for any parents who want a melodic name for either boy or girl. The name originates from the Greek word for “lyre” and has strong musical connotations.
Reese: Thanks to actress Reese Witherspoon, this name is slightly more popular for girls than for boys, but it is still a definitively unisex name. The name Reese means “ardor,” which is a captivating association for both genders.
Marley: The name Marley is a unique choice for boys and girls, and though it is not in the lists of trendiest names, we think it’s due for a comeback. Meaning “pleasant seaside meadow,” the name Marley has a calm and distinctive ring to it.
Merritt: With roots as a surname, Merritt has enjoyed a small surge as a unisex first name. With an unmistakable classic flair, the name Merritt can also be spelled Merit, as in the noun meaning “advantage” or “virtue.”
Kai: A bold name, Kai is a multicultural unisex name that boasts different meanings. According to nameberry.com, Kai means “sea” in Hawaiian, “forgiveness” in Japanese, “food” in Maori, and “willow tree” in Navajo.
Shiloh: The name Shiloh comes from Hebrew origins and is actually a Biblical place-name. It’s a relatively uncommon name, which is perfect for parents who want a rarer name for their baby girl or boy.
Sage: On the other hand, the name Sage is increasingly popular and is given in equal measure to both boys and girls alike. This monosyllabic herbal name is striking and fearless, and immediately brings to mind wisdom and great intellect.Morgan: Welsh in its origin, Morgan has climbed the charts as a girl's name more quickly than for boys, but is beginning to even out. The name has many connotations, from Arthurian legends to the Morgan horse, yet remains a familiar name for boys and girls.