Browsing Tag

parenting tips

Need Date Night Ideas? Over 100 ideas in these 21 sites

Keeping the spark alive in your marriage is no easy task, but it’s an integral one for maintaining a happy marriage. It’s all too easy for people to get wrapped up in their busy lives and forget to make time for their spouse or loved one.  To avoid being one of those couples who drift apart after the kids are born, try adding a date night to your schedule.  It can be once a week or once a month, just make sure you pencil time in for one.  These 21 blog entries will give you some enjoyable ideas for date nights with your spouse.
Low Cost
There are many low cost options for a date night.  You can check your local newspaper to see if there are any free performances that you can attend.  Local theaters can be well performed and the tickets are typically inexpensive.  Take a sunset walk through the park or along the beach.  Take your food to go and have a picnic at the park and feed the ducks.  These seven blog posts will give you more ideas for low cost date nights.
Winter Date Night
Just because the weather outside is frightful doesn’t mean that you can’t have a delightful time on your date.  From ice skating at the park to snow tubing, you can enjoy yourself no matter what the weather is like.  Snuggling up in front of the fireplace is a romantic way to end the evening.  Check out these seven date night ideas for winter.
At Home
Whether you’re not in the mood to go out or don’t want to spend the money, there are still many ideas on how to make a date night at home entertaining.  Create a carpet picnic for dinner and enjoy it in front of a roaring fire in the fireplace.  Light the room with candles and turn on some soft music.  Watch one of your favorite movies that you own on DVD with some popcorn.  Make some room and dance with your sweetie.  Here are seven more killer ideas for date night at home.

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10 Outdated Parenting Theories

Bellyitch Rewind

It turns

out that conventional parenting techniques long heralded as law have often

proven to be less than the ideal approach. What our parents, and their parents,

held as child-raising gospel no longer holds water, according to many experts.

Here are some examples of old ideas that are giving way to new discoveries – 10

outdated theories about parenting:
1. Don’t pick the baby up every time she

– The philosophy behind this old theory holds that it will spoil the

baby if she catches onto the fact that crying will garner your attention.

Babies, in fact, do need your attention for one reason or another when they

cry, and they need to know that you’ll be there for them when they do.
2. Alcohol rubdowns reduce fevers. – They do

not lower the baby’s temperature. To compound the error of this myth, the risk

of absorption of alcohol into the baby’s skin poses an even greater danger than

the fever itself.
3. Immunizations weaken your baby’s immune

– Your baby’s immune system will naturally develop antibodies against

minor illnesses as he grows. However, immunizations against serious diseases

protect the baby from experiencing their effects as opposed to enduring them

(if they aren’t in fact fatal) just to develop a resistance to them.
4. A strict feeding schedule is essential

for your baby’s health.
– Wrong. Doctors now agree that it’s best to allow the

baby’s own hunger cues to dictate when they eat, rather than to feed her just

because ‘it’s time’. Feeding on a schedule rather than on the baby’s cues can

actually be unhealthy for her.
5. An infant should be put to sleep on its

– The logic here was that the

child would be less susceptible to choking on spit-up. However, evidence now

indicates this sleeping position leads to higher incidents of SIDS (Sudden

Infant Death Syndrome).
6. Too much sugar will make your kid hyper.

– There is actually no evidence to support this theory. The truth is that some

sugary foods lack the fiber that allows the sugar to be released gradually into

the bloodstream. That, and not the sugar content itself, is the cause for your

child’s energy burst.
7. It’s wrong to answer: “Because I said

– Truth is, there are times when this is a valid answer to settle a debate

that has otherwise been answered in detail. Once you’ve provided ample

explanation as to why something is the way it is, ending your child’s protests

by reminding him who’s the boss is perfectly OK.
8. A child’s brain is fully developed by the

age of 3.
– There are some basic skills that a child will fully develop by that

time, but her brain will continue to develop in some areas for years to come.

Such things as personal interests, skills, and abstract thought appear later in

life as a result of this continued development.
9. “My baby deserves the best.” – Not so

fast. There is a natural tendency for parents to want to provide everything

they can for their children; however overindulgence and leniency can be far

worse for them than letting them do without a few things from time to time. If

you’re going to lavish them with anything, make it love.

10. Parenting comes naturally. – It doesn’t

take more than a brief glance at headlines to see the lie in this myth. In

fact, you probably wouldn’t be reading this article if it came naturally to you

either. The truth is we all need to learn what does and doesn’t work in raising

healthy children. There is no shame is seeking advice and assistance from

qualified people.
What else? What outdated theory would you add?

image: @BrandiLombas 

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Empowering girls helps reduce teen pregnancy

When  Oklahoma mom Shana Davis was in high school, 17 of the 35 kids in her graduating class were teen parents.

Davis, who attended the Cherokee County Teen Pregnancy Task Force this past Thursday night, in Tahlequah, Oklahoma said she did not want to become one of the 36-year-old grandmothers she saw growing up and be trapped in her county for life.

“I knew at a young age if I put myself in those risky behaviors, I’d be in that county forever,” Davis said. “I was determined to have more for myself.”

The takeaway from the session as summarized by The Tahlequahdaily Press:

When teens understand they have choices beyond high school they make better decisions when it comes to sex. Parents who talk to their children before they become pre-teens and teens, establishing a relationship of communication and understanding, seem to be a major factor in the success of a youth making good choices.

Empowering teens is one way to help reduce the epidemic of teen pregnancy.

Of course, sometimes parents want their kids educated but are not prepared to give answers.

Another attendee community nurse Rebekah Craig’s 11-year old son came home one day asking what “chlamydia” was. He had heard the term in the hall at school.

“It wasn’t a conversation I wanted to have on a Tuesday night,” Craig said. “But it was a teachable moment. So we talked about it.” Fortunately, Craig was educated in medial technology and had plenty tools.

Even though the focus was on empowering teen, the session was also  for parents who, like Davis,do not want to raise grandchildren while still relatively young themselves.

“It’s a lot of stress and energy to raise a grandchild or great-grandchild, and it effects it whole community,” another attendee, Wauneta Duvall said. “I see a lot of people doing that.”

Barbara Williams,  a preventionist with Cherokee Nation Behavorial Health said her mother didn’t tell her anything about sex, adding that her mom’s mom “didn’t tell her anything.”

In her sex-ed and teen prevention program, Williams said what the teens want to know and what their parents want to know are two different things.

She works to help parents talk to their teens with a goal to develop mature, goal-oriented teens, interested in college instead of boyfriends, burdened with babies.

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Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for the Expectant Mom

With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, this is the perfect opportunity to show the mom to be in your life some love! Just a kind card or letter to let them know you are thinking about them is great, but a personalized gift is a great way to support a lady who may be experiencing lots of aches and pains.
One gift idea that’s great for any mom to be is a relaxation basket. Simply purchase a good size basket and then fill it with all her favorite goodies. Perhaps fill it with her favorite bubble bath, sweet smelling lotion and super soft socks. Pick out a new book or a favorite magazine and her favorite candy treat to place in as well. If she is not much of a reader, choose a DVD and maybe some popcorn and a soda.
If a gift certificate is in your budget, you might include a spa day. Many spas offer maternity massages and this is a great gift for an expecting mother over fifteen weeks.

If a gift certificate is not in the budget, opt for making your own coupon book filled with free foot massages or a “duty free” night so she can relax in her own tub while you pick up the slack.

The key to any of these gifts is personalization. Choose items that you know she enjoys and that will help her to relax and enjoy the holiday.
Another sweet idea is to give a gift to the mom from the new baby. Maybe include a sonogram picture on a card and include the caption “You are “heads down” the best Mommy around” Love, Baby’s name. Maybe include a small basket of goodies that are from the baby such as some snacks she has been craving since being pregnant or a children’s book about a mommy and baby with a personal inscription on the inside.
Whatever gifts you decide on, this mom to be is sure to feel the love and enjoy her Valentine’s Day!

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Trend: Gender-Neutral Baby Names – Which Name Tops List?

Jordan, Riley and Avery are the most popular unisex names for both boys and girls, according to data compiled by leading online business directory WhitePages.com
“We are seeing celebrities jumping on this trend. In the past year, Kristen Bell named her daughter Lincoln, Kim Kardashian chose North and Lisa Ling went with Jett, all selecting unisex names for their girls,” said Liz Powell, culture and trend Expert from WhitePages. “What’s interesting is that as unisex names grow, there are some names that seem to trend at almost an even split between males and females, including Riley, Peyton and Rowan. We expect to see this trend grow into 2014.”
This comports with Bellyitch’s own assessment last summer of the trend of celebrities giving their daughters masculine or gender neutral names. 
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WhitePages also analyzed popular male and female names and noted that traditional and biblical names John topped the list for boys and Mary for girls.
For its analysis of the fastest growing names for boys and girls, WhitePages concluded that “Chloe”  and “Jacob” topped the list over the past 5 years though an old favorite, “William” was making a comeback as well. 
Here is the breakdown of the survey:
Top 15 Most Popular Unisex Names

  1. Jordan: 73% male, 27% female; most popular in Utah
  2. Riley: 53% male, 47% female; most popular in Utah
  3. Avery: 37% male, 63% female; most popular in North Carolina
  4. Peyton: 46% male, 54% female; most popular in Mississippi
  5. Alexis: 15% male, 85% female; most popular in Washington, DC
  6. Angel: 68% male, 32% female; most popular in Florida
  7. Hayden: 85% male, 15% female; most popular in Arkansas
  8. Skyler: 66% male, 34% female; most popular in Utah
  9. Jayden: 87% male, 13% female; most popular in North Dakota
  10. Taylor: 35% male, 75% female; most popular in Utah
  11. Quinn: 75% male, 25% female; most popular in Utah
  12. Logan: 93% male, 7% female; most popular in Utah
  13. Reese: 35% male, 65% female; most popular in Utah/Reece: 87% male, 13% female; most popular in Tennessee
  14. Dakota: 78% male, 22% female; most popular in Oklahoma
  15. Rowan: 59% male, 41% female; most popular in Vermont
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Most Popular Female Names                                     Most Popular Male Names
1. Mary – most popular in Mississippi                 John – most popular in Massachusetts
2. Jennifer – most popular in New Hampshire      James – most popular in Mississippi
3. Patricia – most popular in Delaware                Robert – most popular in New Hampshire
4. Linda – most popular in West Virginia             Michael – most popular in Rhode Island
5. Elizabeth – most popular in Massachusetts      David – most popular in New Hampshire

Fastest Growing Female Names                                     Fastest Growing Male Names
1. Chloe – most popular in Washington DC           Jayden – most popular in North Dakota
2. Ava – most popular in Washington DC              Liam – most popular in Massachusetts
3. Hailey – most popular in Idaho                         Hayden – most popular in Arkansas
4. Mia – most popular in Washington DC              Noah – most popular in Oregon
5. Faith – most popular in Hawaii                          Mason – most popular in Utah
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35 Natural Newborn Care Remedies

It’s a little early for EcoFriday, but we still wanted to share a revamped version of a past post of some of our favorite newborn care tips for new moms who are wary of using chemicals on their babies. Enjoy!
1.Avoid using most baby products. WebMD advises parents to keep their newborns away from harsh powders and shampoos to protect their delicate skin and immune systems.
2.There is a right and a wrong time for infant massage. Gagazine’s article on infant massage explains how the time just after a bath or diaper change is perfect for a little touch therapy. Try to avoid touch therapy when the baby appears hungry or cranky.
3.Be gentle when cleaning nipples. When breastfeeding an infant, Medline Plus recommends that mothers prevent drying and cracking nipples by avoiding soaps and drying with harsh cloths or motions. Uncomfortable nipples negatively affect both mother and child.
4.Cleanse baby acne with water. As a residual of connecting with his or her mother’s hormones, some newborns break out into small acne patches. Avoid using oils or lotions that can irritate it further, but very mild, all-natural soaps may work in more severe cases.
5.Wash cloth diapers with baking soda and rinse them with vinegar. Avoid using harsh detergents when cleaning cloth diapers, even those without artificial dyes or fragrances. A wash in baking soda and a rinse in vinegar should suffice.


6.Train newborns for EC by laying them on diapers or pads. Elimination communication is a rather controversial practice that will not work for everyone, but this article seeks to cover a variety of viewpoints to allow parents to decide what they feel is best for their children. This tip from DiaperFreeBaby.org suggests one way to transition a newborn to the EC routine.
7.Wash newborn eyes with water. Normal tear duct issues need to be discussed with a pediatrician, but parents needing to clean their newborn’s eyes can do so by simply wetting a soft cotton ball and gently scrubbing the gunk away.
8.Use glycerin laxatives. Newborns and babies who struggle with constipation issues can have their systems unlocked with glycerin laxatives, either as a solid or a liquid. Those made with artificial chemicals may prove too harsh for their bodies to handle.
9.Use steam to unblock nasal passages. While professional medical care may be needed in instances of severe illness, parents can alleviate some cold symptoms at home. Congestion, for example, can be cleared up using the steam from a hot shower.
10.Make newborns sleep on their backs. One preventative measure against sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) involves having newborns sleep on their backs rather than their stomachs. They may feel less comfortable, but it helps bolster their chances of surviving the night.
11.Wash clothes thoroughly. Another WebMD tip, this time touting the importance of washing baby clothes in dye- and fragrance-free detergent before dressing infants.
12.Infant massage requires a calm setting. As with adult massages, Gagazine believes that the infant version of the ritual is best executed in a calm, warm atmosphere. Place the baby on a soft blanket or towel in a draftless room away from a television or cell phone, perhaps encouraging relaxation with soft music or speech.
13.Protect nipples with milk or lanolin. To prevent painful cracking, Medline Plus recommends leaving a little bit of milk on the nipple after feeding to keep the area moist. Alternately, cracking can also be avoided by applying 100% lanolin to the nipple. Never use any artificial chemicals near the area where an infant feeds.
14.Read the signs of needing to expel waste when practicing EC. When not exacted correctly, EC can lead to disgusting, unsanitary messes – and a newborns’ inability to verbally communicate only makes things more complicated. Fortunately, parents wanting to stick with the diaper-free movement can learn how to read their child’s body language and know how to properly react to the incoming flow.
15.Use natural cleaning products around the home. For added protection against contact with harsh chemicals that can make a newborn ill, take advantage of the disinfectant properties of natural substances such as vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda.
16.Prevent chapped skin with natural products. A multitude of newborn- and infant-friendly products exists to keep babies from suffering dry, irritated skin without the use of artificial chemicals.
17.Weigh the pros and cons of circumcision. Outside of a religious context, the decision to circumcise or not stands as a heavy issue with natural parents. Be sure to understand all of the advantages and disadvantages of the procedure before making the choice.
18.Clean the umbilical cord with water and a Q-Tip. Be sure to use a Q-Tip wetted with clean – even sterile – water to keep the umbilical cord free of bacteria. Alcohol, honey, and goldenseal powder work as well.

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19.Make homemade nasal drops. Combine saline and water together for nose drops suitable for safe cleaning of a newborn’s clogged nasal passages.
20.Extra water works as a laxative. As an alternative to glycerin laxatives, consider feeding a newborn a little extra water to unbind the constipation.
21.Bathe conservatively. WebMD recommends that newborns receive a gentle sponge bath 2 to 3 times a week, as washing them too much compromises the health of their skin. Use either no soap or extremely mild, natural soap to prevent any dermal irritations.
22.When massaging, always keep at least one hand on the newborn. According to Gagazine, parents should leave at least one hand on their child at all times in order to maximize the effectiveness of touch therapy.
23.Avoid “baby bottle tooth decay.” Breast milk makes for one of the healthiest, most natural ways to keep a newborn healthy and strong, but blending it with foods and drinks pumped full of refined sugar actually expatiates the process of tooth decay.
24.Know how to properly store soiled cloth diapers. Become familiar with the wet pail and dry pail methods of containing the odor and bacteria associated with cloth diapers. Wet pails must be contentiously kept covered in order to prevent drowning.
25.Keep the crib nearby – even at night. The American SIDS Institute recommends parents allow their newborn’s crib to remain in their room for the first 6 months of life, as dong so greatly reduces the risk of suffering the condition.
26.A little sunlight can clear up jaundice. A little extra bilirubin is normal in newborn infants, and a bit of time in the sunlight – no more than 10 minutes, with 5 minutes each in the front and the back – can clear up any jaundice that may crop up. Of course, a physician should be consulted if it doesn’t clear.
27. Stick with soft clothing. According to WebMD, dressing children in clothes cut from coarser materials heightens the risk of eczema, rashes, and other uncomfortable skin conditions. Organic cotton, bamboo, ore hemp are all extremely appropriate choices.
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28.Avoid using lubricant on the head. Due to the sensitivity of infants’ skin, it may be a good idea to only use natural lubricants with a pediatrician’s permission. If they give the go-ahead, do not use any oils or lotions on the baby’s head.
29.Use BPA-free bottles. Some mothers do not produce sufficient milk for their newborns, no matter how hard they try. In these instances, they will want to use BPA-free bottles to keep their babies properly fed without worrying about problematic chemicals leeching into the formula.
30.Avoid baby wipes. –When cleaning the baby after an accident and subsequent diaper changes, WebMD advises parents to use with a dry, soft cloth rather than commercial wipes that may contain harsh chemicals.
31.Know how to trim nails. When clipping a newborn’s nails, be sure to use special trimmers or scissors to prevent any unfortunate injuries. Cut along the natural lines when it comes to fingernails, but go straight across when doing the toes. On both, make a contentious effort to push down the pads of skin away from the nail to further reduce the risk of an accidental cutting.
32.Never clean the inside of a newborn’s ear canal. Parents may clear wax away on the outside of a newborn’s ear using extremely gentle swabs with a Q-Tip. Sticking it inside the baby’s ear canal, however, runs the risk of causing permanent hearing loss. Pediatricians will be able to give more information on removing internal excess wax without exacting any damages.
33.Make homemade baby shampoo. For instances when water may just not be enough, parents may want to whip up a batch of this all-natural baby shampoo to scrub out the germs without causing skin issues.
34.Use natural insect repellent. Many companies sell products that repel mosquitoes and other pests without the use of harsh chemical blends that will irritate a newborn’s skin. Seek these out – they usually contain eucalyptus and lemon and often come formulated especially for people under 12 months.
35.Pat dry – don’t rub. When changing diapers, WebMD thinks that parents need to spritz their newborns with clean water and pat dry rather than rub to keep skin from becoming too irritated.


Top 10 Things you should NOT say to a woman after revealing the name she’s picked for her baby

No matter what names you and/or your partner have narrowed down to possibly name your child, at some point you will inevitably be greeted with a frown, shriveled brow, upturn lip and nose possibly followed by the following words: “you’re going to name him/her that?”
Save yourself the heartache, stress and need to “read” someone the riot act about how you don’t care if s/he like the name you’ve chosen because after all it is YOUR CHILD and not theirs…DON’T EVEN BOTHER SHARING IT.
If someone considers it rude that you politely say, “we’ve narrowed it down, but have decided not to share until we make up our mind.” 
Once the baby is here and you announce his/her name, at that point it is too late for the Peanut Gallery to offer any unsolicited advice.
Most people are ashamed to utter the words, “You should’ve called him/her ______” because at that point the interloper should just be mesmerized by a beautiful bundle of joy snuggled in your arms and not be concerned with whether the baby will be teased for his/her name, if the initials are all wrong, or that it doesn’t look good on a resume and the child won’t get a job.

Good people of the world, we know your intentions are good, but a simple smile and nod is more than an adequate response even if you don’t like the name. But of course if you do, please speak up and say so! 

10. You’re going to name him that? This passive aggressive retort is just plain rude.
9. Why didn’t you select a name that means something? You mean the fact that I took my time to come up with the name isn’t meaningful enough?
8. You know she’s not going to get a job if an employer sees that name on a resume? I guess that is the risk s/he’s going to have to take 15 years from now. Who knows maybe people will realize that bizarre names like oh..Obama and Oprah and Barack can do a decent job. I was at an event yesterday and this woman named “Singleton” was getting an award for being the best executive VP in some company. Now if a woman with that name can get somewhere…I say employers are starting to look past the uncommon names. Ha. I jest.
7. You should’ve named him after your mom/dad? Um I don’t think people are naming their kids Agnes, Merle, Herbert and Dottie any more, but thanks for your suggestion
6. Did you consider a Biblical Name? One shouldn’t assume that the parents would feel comfortable picking a name after the bible if they don’t even go to church regularly, or are oh I don’t know…Buddhists!
5. You want her to be Teased at school naming her that? Why do we assume the worst in children? We use our adult brains to find the meanest taunt that the nastiest child could use hypothetically use to tease another child, failing to realize children are not as mean as we remember and there are loads more different names floating around schools these days than before. Children may just be used to the “off the beaten path” names being heard on the play grounds.
4. Those initials when strung together spell ____. Good thing these days, most people don’t really do monogrammed towels or cuff links for our children for that to be a problem. I don’t recall how many occasions people are judged by what the initials of their names spell out.
3. How do your parents feel about that name? Again, since this is not THEIR child, people don’t really take that much stock in whether their parents approve or not, unless there are some deep rooted, unearthed approval issues and at that point, do you really want to trigger those skeletons?
2. How long did it take to come up with that? Why ask? Was it a competition? Do people get a prize for taking months to whittle down a name. I really don’t get that question at all.
1. Boy is that an Ugly name. No explanation needed.

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Study: 64% of Adults spend more time with their computers than their children-Tips on How to Save Time

A recent study found that 64% of adults with children under 18 spend more time with computers than family or close friends.
The Crucial.com commissioned research determined that people spend 4 days a year waiting for their computers to catch up with them, meaning for programs to load, desktops to boot up.
Lifestyl expert, celebrity trainer Kathy Kaehler offers powerful tips for how parents can get back some of that lost time and FOCUS!

This is a good one! Check it out:

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MLK Day of Service is Coming: 6 Websites to help you find volunteer opportunties

1963 and 2013 photo of the crowd at the Lincoln Memorial for the March on Washington – ABC7/WJLA
Last year marked the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
Each year, January 20th is considered MLK Day of service and people nationwide are encouraged to volunteer and teach their children about community service. 
Here are some links to some websites that will help connect you, wherever you live in the US with volunteer opportunities near you. You can filter by activity and by appropriateness of the project for kids’ participation. 

Good Luck searching! Thanks for your service!

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A Balanced Approach to Kids’ Screen Time: 4 Tips

Bellyitch Rewind 
Screen time is a fact of life. Like the rest of their families, most babies, toddlers, and preschoolers in this country watch videos and play with computer games and apps—and they enjoy it. And many parents struggle with that fact. We agonize over the amount of screen time our kids get and fear its impact. We  judge ourselves by the hours spent or unspent in front of the TV or computer, and we judge others.
Parents need breathers, and parents need showers and a video can grant you a little time—no one, we said, is going to die if you “plop the kid down” in front of a video or the television once in a while.
And how many times a day does the average parent hand over a cell phone to a child in a stroller, in line at the grocery store, at a restaurant, or in the car seat? It’s a research study waiting to happen.
There are mixed messages from psychologists, the American Academy of Pediatrics and others out there when it comes to screens and kids, here are four tips that encourage a balanced approach:
1. Use screens to enhance reading together, not to replace it. It’s obvious that a video doesn’t replace a bedtime book, but the app and ebook options are more tempting, and less clear. Reading together is sharing—but tapping the laundry basket icon to make a cat appear over and over again is more akin to singular play than reading books. If you’ve set out to read one on one with your child, then read.
2. Encourage sociability. No one would ever tell you to stop handing your child a board book in a restaurant—why are we suggesting that the Cat in the Hat app is any different? Consider this: anywhere your toddler expects to get that phone—whether it’s serving as book, video player, or game—your preschooler, and then your child, will expect to be engaged by a gadget. If there are people around, let’s talk.
3. Plan for a “Balanced Media Diet.” Too many apps and not enough books isn’t good for you, just like too many carbs and no protein isn’t healthy either. While books are great, kids also need to play with blocks and play dough and run around outside. Even Cookie Monster has declared that a cookie is a “sometime thing.” While Cookie Monster’s evolution may border on sacrilegious, screens, too, are “sometime things.”

4. Look for ways to make screens about reading. When the little screens are in their hands, or the big ones are calling for their attention, do look for ways to connect the world on-screen and the world of reading together. Favor ebooks over apps for reading together, and apps that develop literacy over those that don’t (more on that in the app section). Choose videos that spring from books over those that don’t.
Partially excerpted with permission from Susan Straub, KJ Dell’Antoniaand Rachel Payne‘s Reading with Babies, Toddlers and Twos: A Guide to Laughing, Learning and Growing Together Through Book.

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