Category Archives: Infants & Toddlers (1-3)

Your Child’s Most Important Teacher

“You will not be good teachers if you focus only
on what you do and not upon who you are.”

― Rudolf Steiner

As parents our role in our child’s lives is to provide a structure in which they can feel confident and secure about their place in the world. It is up to us to create an environment in which our children see us as a loving-authority. We have all become frustrated with our children from time to time, however when we are impatient or short tempered with our children we are failing to provide them with the security they need to develop fully. The path of parenting is one of growth.

Experience the transformative power of
staying calm, conscious and connected with your children,
guiding them to become more present, resourceful and heart-centered adults.

In my own parenting journey I have been asked to investigate my reactive emotions countless times. My path has called upon me to transform my preexisting parenting patterns and investigate my own inner life. When I looked deeper into these patterns I often saw they were not rooted in the present moment but rather a result of previous experiences not fully processed. I needed to examine my reactions with awareness and loving kindness for myself so that I could be calm and present for my children.

In short – I worked on myself.

 

Our children are born with a heart that instinctively knows what is right and that instinct requires us to meet them with our hearts if they are to recognize us as authorities, guides and pathfinders.  The more confident and centred you feel in your parenting abilities, the more you will enjoy your role and your time with your kids.

In strengthening my sacred connection to myself, my children naturally fell in line with where I was at emotionally.

We can only be this guide for our children when we have authority over ourselves and our own inner lives. It is through ongoing striving to improve our inner-authority that we as parents learn to set ourselves aside and be “present,” listening with our hearts to what our children are bringing and to what they need. When you develop your own strength of will and nurture a heart and spirit connection to your parenting life, you will discover you are more proactive and less reactive. From there our own reactions come from a place of calm clarity and we are able to give our children what they need most from us: a parent who reliably holds the role of a consistent, loving guide in their lives.

Playing with purpose

5143064697_c5cf6c9cb8A trip to the store becomes so much more when you take a little extra time and go at the right time!

  • Go when your child isn’t tired or hungry
  • Talk to your child about what you need and what you are passing.
  • Let them touch the cold milk, the warm deli case, the furry sweater or the smooth boots
  • Talk to the about the steps you take when you shop, find the item, put it in your basket, carry the item to the till, pay for the item, bring it home.
  • Encourage them to help you carry & pick out the things you need and talk to the sales people you encounter.
  • Let them help pay and talk about money
  • Go home before your child is hungry or tired

What could be more exciting than a trip across the ocean to dig up buried treasure? And what if your ship turned into a deep dark cave where a dragon lived and waited? Or maybe it is a table for a tea party with your stuffed animals.

For a toddler their world can be transformed with the flick of a light switch or the dump of a box. Even a simple trip to the grocery store is exciting. They learn through their play and the environment that they are raised in. A rich environment filled with discovery, imagination and new ideas will grow an inquisitive mind hungry for more learning. Their days are made up of the moments you create whether it is baking cookies, or buying milk include them in your tasks and you will both have more fun.

This imaginitive play that goes on during the toddler years can develop our ability to reason, think logically and solve problems later in our adult lives. As your little toddler pretends to stir the pot or sweep the floor thier imagination is working on the ideas to put his teddy to bed and feed the cat lunch. Soon their toys will come alive as your child gives them a voice with a seemingly endless monolouge where there was once only shrieks of excitement.

Obstacle Course

Toddlers love to explore spaces and climb over, through, and into things. Things to try to find….

  • Stuffed animal or toy
  • Large cardboard boxes
  • Pillows
  • A large flat sheet
  • A soft ball
  • A large plastic laundry basket
  • Skipping Rope
  • Anything you think would be fun

Build your obstacle course! Get them to take their stuffed animal with them for security! Open the cardboard boxes to make tunnels to crawl through maybe get them to roll the ball through the tunnel as well, then throw the ball into the basket. Pile pillows on the floor to climb over, place a sheet over two chairs or a table to wiggle under. Get them to try and walk on the skipping rope.

Not only is it fun but it helps toddlers learn concepts such as up, down, over, under, strengthens their muscles and control over their bodies.

For more game ideas click here.

When your child is pretending let them take the lead, but feel free to make suggestions and add your own ideas. If they seem stuck maybe offer a few words of encouragement or advice. Making a pretend breakfast can be a wonderful opportunty to teach manners. Dressing up a doll can be an opportunity to learn the order of how things go on. Setting up a train track and driving a train on it takes patience and many problem solving skills as they figure out how the pieces fit together and eventually how to join it all together in a loop. Learning through play is all about being together and having fun.

For more fun ideas:

Crafting with Toddlers

Fun Songs and Rhymes

Playing Games

Don’t forget my Newsletter is jam packed with ideas

For my personal accounts of our activities check out my BLOG

When you encourage your child to dream and pretend, he learns to use his imagination to see beyond what already exists, and give him the courage to explore the unknown.

– Zero to Three

Creating Crafts with Toddlers

Often parents and caregivers do not think of crafts and toddlers as being the greatest idea. But crafting with a toddler can be a wonderful opportunity to build on their fine motor skills even if the result is just a sticky glob of paper and glue. The act of picking up a piece of paper and gluing it to another piece doesn’t seem like a challenging task but for a toddler it can foster skills that will serve them well in their coming years and create a confidence and independence in an otherwise shy child. Creating creatures and faces diversifies their visual discrimination and talking about different materials will build their vocabulary.

Most of the crafts out there are designed for preschool or school age children, not toddlers. If you sign up for my newsletter you will find tons of crafts each week that you can pick and choose to make with your little one.
Below I have provided only my favorite and best recipes and tips to textile with little hands.

Kool Aid Play Dough

2 ½ Cups of flour

½ cup salt

package of Kool-aid (color and smell!)

3 tbs vegetable oil

2 cups boiling water

Mix flour, salt & kool-aid. Add vegetable oil and boiling water. Knead until ready. Store in an air tight container/locking plastic bag.

– smells really good, but probably shouldn’t be eaten. Some other ideas for scenting playdough include food extracts (almond, vanilla, lemon, or peppermint).


Kool-Aid Finger Paint

2 cups of flour

2 packs of unsweetened kool-aid

½ cup salt

2 Tsp oil

3 cups of boiling water

Stir all ingredients into the pot of boiling water. Viola! Finger paint!

-Bonus it’s scratch & sniff


Fantastic Bubbles

1 cup warm water

2 tbs dishwashing detergent

1 tbs glycerine

½ tsp sugar

Mix all together. It seems to work better the longer you let it sit. The glycerine makes your bubbles last longer and can be found at a drugstore.

Goop, Slime, or Otherwise

We all remember playing with it, it still fascinates me. Make some for your little ones.

Box of Cornstarch

1 ½ cups of water

Don’t worry if the slime is too thick, just add more water, or if its too thin, add more cornstarch.

To make it colorful, add food coloring or corn flour paint (dye can stain the hands!) You can separate it into small containers or one big batch in a large container.

Encourage your child to pick it up and squeeze it (it goes hard) and then let is slide through their fingers.


Paper Mache

There is no right or wrong way to make this (ok well there is a wrong way) but just test and see what works for you. Here is what I use)

One part flour

Two parts water

Whisk the ingredients together to get out the lumps, add a bit of salt to prevent mould.

You can also use mache as a clay or recycled soft paper –
Soak papers in water in container.

Reduce to pulp by tearing and stirring with spoon.

Drain.

Make recipe above mixing in paper.

Stir until paper mache begins to feel like clay. It will squish through wire forms. There will be some shrinking as mache dries.

Magic Sand

1 part sand

1 part tempra paint powder

Store in baby food jars with holes poked in the top and lids glued on. Use instead of glitter!


Tip: Adding a bit of dish soap or liquid soap to paint makes it easier to wash out.

We Haven’t tested these recipies yet if you use one or the other let us know how it goes!


Paper Mache 2

3 cups cold water

1 1/2 cups flour

Oil of peppermint

In a heavy saucepan, stir flour into cold water. Cook over low heat until the mixture thickens to a creamy paste. Cool; the add a few drops of peppermint oil. Use this paste with strips of paper to cover a form. Let each layer dry before adding another layer.


Classic Slime

Kids love to play with slime. To make it add cornstarch and a little water from the tap, and stir well. Continue to add water until you get the right consistency (it should be fairly stiff when rolled in the hand, but melts through the fingers when not rolling). Don’t worry if the slime is too thick, just add more water, or if its too thin, add more cornstarch. To make it colorful, add food coloring to the water before adding.

Some Simple Craft Ideas to get you Started

tinfoil robot craft

Toilet paper tube robot

  • Tinfoil
  • Toilet Paper Tube
  • Glue
  • pipe cleaners
  • buttons, foam, paperclips, accesories…

Squeeze glue on the toilet paper roll or give your toddler a glue stick. Let your toddler wrap the tube in tinfoil. Decorate him with extra tinfoiled paperclip arms (unfold and edge and jab it into his side, pipecleaners for antenae, foam buttons, let your child be creative.


easy fridge maganet picture frame craft

Picture Frame Fridge Maganet

One of my favorite and easiest crafts

  • cardstock (junkmail works well!) or cardboard
  • strip off a sheet of peel & stick maganet
  • decorations, glitter, paint, shapes, fabric whatever you have on hand.

From the cardstock cut out a rectangle 5.5″ x 7.5″ wide, fold in half gently and cut a hole slightly smaller than a 4×6 photo. Give your child a glue stick and whatever you have and let them go nuts decorating their picture frame. They will love to see it on the fridge holding up pictures of them and your family.

building a scrap or bit box for crafts

Scrap or Bit Box

All you need is a box, one that fits on a bookshelf or whereever will be easily accesible to you to throw extra bits & pieces in.

The fun comes in covering it with paper and decorating it with bits that you are going to put inside, buttons, fabric, knick knacks, milk jug lids, paint, glitter, wallpaper, tissue paper, what ever is around your house that may make a good craft someday.

For more ideas on storing and collecting your craft supplies check out my newsletter.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, there is so much you can do and explore through crafting. My newsletter is filled with TONS of craft ideas and inspirations so check it out and join the fun.

Games to Play with Toddlers

Our generation is often referred to as the ‘TV generation’ and we are in danger of raising our kids to follow in our sedentary footsteps. Physical activity isn’t just good for you, it also makes kids tired and gives them an appetite (What parent doesn’t have troubles with meals and bedtime?). So there are lots of reasons to get out there and get active and here are some ideas to help you do it.

Little Toddlers

  • Obstacle course – see Filling the day
  • Blowing Bubbles for him to chase in the yard, park or playground
  • Playing Hide and Seek – little toddlers love this game even if they don’t hide.
  • Go Swimming – nothing tuckers you out like swimming

    (in the summer put a wading pool out back toss in some recycling ie. containers, and let them go nuts.)

  • Go for a leisurely walk – point out things that you see, let your toddler touch fences & trees.
  • Dance to the Music – burn off steam with some dancing to your favorite music

Older Toddlers

  • Games like Hokey-Pokey and Head & Shoulders are great now that the little guy can move without falling over
  • Tag with a friend outdoors
  • Simon Says & Follow the Leader – let your child be the boss
  • Add a new dimension to dancing by playing ‘Freeze’ or ‘Statue” every time the music stops you have to stop too.
  • Wrestling or Roughhousing does have it’s place in the fun pile. Try to get hats (or socks) off of each other without losing your own!

The most important part of playing with your toddler is that you both have fun. Playing games encourages independence and fosters self confidence in budding personalities. Have fun and let your child take the lead.

For more game and outing ideas check out my newsletter

Little Toddlers 12-24 Months


Teetering & Talking

A whole new world has opened up for your young toddler in the past few months. A little personality has emerged and grown from the tiny person you once held so gently in your arms. In the next year they will learn to communicate with you through gestures and words. They will discover how to walk, run, jump and climb (not necessarily in that order!)

Your child’s bond to you has formed over the past year and will continue to strengthen as he beings to understand his world and how things work. He will mimic you as he plays, sometimes taking the lead and sometimes needing a little bit of help. Little toddlers can’t really understand the concept of sharing quite yet although many parents will be quick to tell you of heartfelt moments of generosity that their children showed. They are repeating your actions and learning from you so keep up the good work.

Play time is Special time

  • Pushing, pulling, opening, turning, all of these things make excellent work for little hands. Toddlers love to discover toys like books, boxes, buckets and buttons make excellent playthings.
  • When you toddler is a bit older and not putting everything in their mouth, you can start doing crafts such as finger paint and play dough with them.
  • Anything that your toddler enjoys is sure to be done again, and AGAIN and AGAIN, but they are learning through all this repetition. They are also harboring the answers in their growing brains, self confidence grows as they begin to know what you know!
  • Talk to your toddler and continue that play by play of the world by naming objects, actions their colours and names.
  • Sing a song with your toddler and listen as they try to mimic the words and tune back to you. They are sure to have favorites and will quickly learn the words to them. Many toddlers love to dance along with their favorite music. So get up and dance!

There will be moments when you don’t quite know what to do with that little bundle of energy, but that is what this site is all about – here are plenty of ideas on playing with your toddler.

Toddlers 24-36 months

The Perils of Potty Training

We in the western world are living in a disposable diaper culture, while cloth diapers are making a comeback the vast majority of children are in disposable diapers. The biggest problem that you will encounter because of disposable is that it isn’t a big deal to be wet. Your toddler knows he’s wet. He knows that he peed but the reality of it is, “Who cares?” His pants aren’t wet, his butt isn’t wet, his socks aren’t wet so what is the big deal?

This is a tough subject. Some kids easily potty train in a matter of days (some months). Some will do it themselves and one day just decide that it is time for panties. Others take a little more work (a lot more). I had a heck of a time with my daughter who pooped and peed on the potty at 11 months but was not completely potty trained until she was nearly 3 (after many many months)

Here are my tips

  • Be consistent

    – whatever path you choose stay the course for at least a month if not two months. Changing and inconsistency just seems to confuse your child and leads to problems.

  • Relax

    – don’t push it, don’t get mad (that one was hard for me), don’t compare or threaten. If she has an accident calmly and quietly make her clean it up.

  • Put your Child in Control

    – I have learned that parenting is about slowly relinquishing control in baby steps, potty training is one of those steps. Give your child the tools they need show them how to get on the toilet, get their pants off, wipe, close the lid, flush, wash their hands. If they have an accident they wipe it up with a towel, put it in the laundry, get changed, put those clothes in the laundry, put new clothes on, etc.

  • Easy Clothing

    – this is important. It isn’t fair to expect a 2 year old to get out of a pair of overalls, jeans with a button or stockings in time to go to the bathroom. Elastic waistband pants or dresses are ideal. If it is summer, let them run around naked. Onsies are definitely OUT.

  • Accessibility

    – remember to take them potty before you go somewhere. When you get to a new place show them where the toilet is and tell them it is ok to ask to go. Often my daughter would have accidents when we were out and about, but once I started showing her that there was a bathroom where ever we were she would ask to go.

Of course nothing is written in stone and every child is different. Both of my kids were in cloth and had peed and pooped on the potty by the time they were 6 months, so unfortunately I do not have any advice for getting that first pee, which is a big ice breaker. Just keep things light and breezy. Stick your 14 month old on the potty in the living room and play together. Feed her crackers and water until she pees and when she does clap your hands and say yay! But don’t go overboard.

I got both of our kids to poop when I figured out how to see when they were doing it, I would whip off the diaper and run to the potty, sit in front of them and make grunting noises and funny faces. Eventually their urge got the better of them and they pooped. Good luck and don’t stress about it too too much, the wide majority of kids are potty trained by the time they enter kindergarten. All kids are different so keep trying.

Toddlers Trials, Tests and Tribulations

“kids are tests” />

Lets face it. Kids test your patience. Whether they are toddlers, school age or teenagers they seem to know how to push your buttons. Between tantrums, outlandish demands and a never ending stream of questions toddlers somehow find ways to delight and defy our hearts and imaginations. Parenting is a challenge, one that doesn’t come with an instruction manual though you can find you fair share of books and advice on the topic knowing whose advice to take can prove harder than the parenting itself.

There is only one thing that you need to remember – LOVE – you love your kids and they love you. A toddler hug can make the worst of days seem not so bad, a little “It’s ok Mommy” goes a long way toward getting through the next tantrum. So how do you deal with those ‘trouble spots’? Those moments when you want to look the other way and pretend that isn’t your child who peed on the floor, or is screaming “no, no, no, no” well….here are some thoughts on a few subjects (:

Songs for Older Babies

Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake

Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake baker’s man,
Bake me a cake as fast as you can,
Pat it and roll it and mark it with a “B”,
Put it in the oven for baby and me,
(REPEAT)
Put it in the oven for baby and me,
(REPEAT)

Once I Caught a Fish Alive

One, two, three, four, five.
Once I caught a fish alive,
Six, seven, eight, nine ,ten,
Then I let it go again.
Why did you let it go?
Because it bit my finger so.
Which finger did it bite?
This little finger on the right.

Baby learns through repetition. When you’re playing games, singing songs or reciting
    rhymes with baby, repeat them over and over again

I See a _______ Outside

(sung to Farmer in the Dell)
I see a dog outside.
I see a dog outside.
Height-ho away we go,
We’re riding in the car.

(substitute the word “dog” for things you can see out your window while driving)

London Bridge

London Bridge is falling down,
Falling down, falling down,
London Bridge is falling down,
My fair Lady.

Clippety Clop

(tune – Row, row, row Your Boat)
Clip, clip, clippety clop.
Clippety, clippety clop.
The old gray horse goes up and down
Until it’s time to stop.
(Bounce baby slowly on your knee while
singing)

I’m Hiding

I’m hiding, I’m hiding,
(place a small blanket over baby)
And no one knows where,
For all they can see,
Are my nose and my hair!

You found me, you found me,
(remove blanket from baby)<
You figured out where!
Now you can see me
From here down to there!
(point to baby’s head and then feet)

Two Little Black Birds

Two little black birds
(hold up two fingers)
Sitting on a hill
(make a hill with your hands)
One named Jack 
(hold up one finger)
One named Jill 
(hold up the other finger)
Two little black birds
(hold up both fingers)
Flew away
(move hands behind your back)
Jack flew back,
(bring back one finger)
Then came Jill.
(bring back other finger)

They’re a Part of Me

I can make my hands go clap, clap, clap
Clap, clap, clap,
Clap, clap, clap,
I can make my
hands go clap, clap, clap,
They’re a part of me
……&#8230I can make my tongue go click, click, click.……&#8230
……&#8230.my lips go kiss, kiss, kiss……..
……..hands go bye, bye, bye………
……….feet go tap, tap, tap………..

Bumblebee,Bumblebee

(make a bee with your pinched fingers to buzz all around)
Bumblebee, bumblebee,
Buzzing all around,
Bumblebee, bumblebee,
Buzzing on the ground.
Bumblebee, bumblebee,
Buzzing up so high.
Bumblebee, bumblebee,
Buzzing in the sky.
Bumblebee, bumblebee,
Buzzing past your toes.
Bumblebee, bumblebee,
Buzzing on your nose.

I Love You

(sung to Skip to My Lou)
I love you, yes I do,
I love you yes I do,
I love you, yes I do,
Here’s a kiss that’s just for you!

Let’s Put on Our Socks

Hickory, dickory, dock
Let’s put on our socks,
We’ll walk around
Without a sound
When we put on our socks

This Old Man

This old man, he played one.
He played knick-knack on my thumb
With a knick-knack-paddy-whack
Give a dog a bone.
This old man came rolling home

…..he played two ….on my shoe;
….he played three ….on my knee;
…..he played four ….on the door;
….he played five….on a hive;
…..he played six ….on some sticks;
….he played seven ….up to heaven;
…..he played eight ….on the gate;
….he played nine…up my spine;
….he played ten ….once again;

Baby Massage Basics

I am sure by now that you have heard all the information about the wonderful effects of massage on your baby. Taking the time to massage your baby will give you a deep feeling of closeness and can become another way of soothing him when he is older. The power of touch has long been regarded as healing, powerful and is practiced all over the world.

Remember that you don’t have to massage him for him. It’s is ok if you do it for you too!

Tools

  • Oil
  •    – grape seed, calendula, sesame (something light and mild)

       – avoid nut based oils like peanut and almond.

  • Warm room
  • A cozy towel
  • A loving touch

A few cool massage sites :

   Massage ABCs

   10 Steps to Massage

   Some cute recipes for babies

How-to Give an Infant Massage

The best time to massage is when is convenient for you. I find in the tub works best for me since I bathe with my babies and this was a fun way of getting in all those nooks and crannies.

It may seem odd but it is important that you look at your baby’s eyes while massaging him. It will help develop the bond and a sense of trust.

Pour a dime of oil onto your hands and rub them together over top of your baby as you look into his eyes. Depending on your baby you can lightly move your hands all over his body to start or, do broad circles over his chest. (remember not to massage a baby’s tummy until after he is 4 weeks old)

Use a gentle touch and lightly but firmly rub in small circles and long gentle strokes up and down her body and legs.

You can gently massage her face if she will let you. Don’t forget all the parts – forehead, sinus, temples, cheeks, chin, jaw, ears and neck.

Try to keep one hand on your baby at all times, stroke down with one hand and bring the other back to the top.

Mostly just enjoy yourself. Don’t fancy too much about technique or thoroughness. What is important is the loving touch you share with your baby.

The more you massage the more relaxed baby will be for the massage, hum, sing and talk with your baby as you massage. Relax together and stop if your baby wants to stop. Some children never really fancy it all that much, while others love it.

Here are some books that you might enjoy:

The Calming Power of Touch

A Handbook for Loving Parents

Soothing Strokes for Healthy Growth

Songs for Little Babies


Twinkle,Twinkle Little Star
Twinkle, twinkle little star,
How I wonder what you are.
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.

Twinkle, twinkle little star,
How I wonder what you are.
(repeat)

Rock a Bye Baby

Rock-a-bye baby
on the tree top,
When the wind blows
The cradle will rock.
When the bough breaks,
The cradle will fall,
And down will come baby,
Cradle and all.
(repeat)
Down will come baby,
Cradle and all.

Baa Baa Black Sheep

Baa baa black sheep have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir,
three bags full.
One for my master
and one for the dame, and one for the little boy who lives down the lane.
Baa baa black
sheep have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir,
three bags full.


“Love grows from the closeness that you establish though hugging, praising, and talking with your child.”


Hush Little Baby

Hush little baby don’t say a word,
Mama’s gonna buy you a mocking bird,

And if that mocking bird don’t sing,
Mama’s gonna buy you a diamond ring,

And if that diamond ring turns brass,
Mama’s gonna buy you looking glass,


And if that looking glass gets broke,
Mama’s gonna buy you a billy goat,

And if that billy goat won’t pull,
Mama’s gonna buy you a cart ‘n bull,

And if that cart ‘n bull turn over,
Mama’s gonna buy you a dog named Rover,

And if that dog named Rover won’t bark,
Mama’s gonna buy you a horse ‘n cart,

And if that horse and cart fall down,
You’ll still be the sweetest little baby in town.

Hey Diddle Diddle
Hey diddle diddle
The cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon.
The little dog laughed to see such fun
And the dish ran away with the spoon!


“Playtime should be a happy time. Use a variety of facial expressions, voice patterns and hand gestures as you play with baby.”


Cry Baby Bunting
Cry Baby Bunting
Daddy’s gone a-hunting
Gone to fetch a rabbit skin
To wrap the Baby Bunting in

Mama’s Little Baby
Mama’s little baby a kiss can blow
(blow a kiss)
And rub noses just like so.
(rub noses with baby)
Two little hands can clap, clap, clap,
(clap baby’s hands)
Ten little toes can tap, tap, tap
(tap baby’s toes)


Little Boys & Girls

What are little boys made of?
Snips and snails,

and puppy dogs tails
That’s what little boys are made of
What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice
and all things nice
That’s what little girls are made of

Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake
Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake baker’s man,
Bake me a cake as fast as you can,
Pat it and roll it and mark it with a “B”,
Put it in the oven for baby and me,
(REPEAT)
Put it in the oven for baby and me,
(REPEAT)
Diddle, Diddle, Dumpling
Diddle, diddle, dumpling, my son John,
Went to bed with his trousers on;
One shoe off, and one shoe on,
Diddle, diddle, dumpling, my son John!
This is the Way Baby Rides

This is the way baby rides,
Baby rides, baby rides.
This is the way baby rides,
Bouncy, bouncy, bouncy.
Bounce baby slowly on your knee while
singing