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6 New Year’s Resolutions Kids can make!

Bellyitch Rewind
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It’s New Year’s Resolutions season.  Adults everywhere are reflecting on the past year and looking ahead to the next, finding places where they can improve their lives.  Parents often make big plans to change habits and behaviors with this fresh start, and these plans often include their children.  Here are a few New Year’s Resolutions you could work with your child to make.

  1. Keep my belongings organized – The first thing that parents need to recognize about this resolution is that it very likely means something very different to your child.  Children typically have unique ways of keeping things organized.  This frequently stirs friction between child and parent because mom and dad might believe “organized” means that everything is folded, put away neatly and out of sight, while their child might consider things organized if he can find his underwear in the morning.  This is a great opportunity for parents to connect with their child.  Sitting down and discussing the differences between your view of organization and theirs can actually help a child if it is done though positive conversation.  Giving him freedom in this area can go a long way in helping him discover what his organization style is.  If there are rules in common areas, parents should be clear about those, but should also allow their child to control how he organizes his own space. This will help him learn to keep it all together.
  2. Drink water with every meal. Most people do not drink enough water; this is true for adults and children.  Telling a child she cannot have soft drinks or juices anymore will cause aggravation in the child and will only work to make her sneak them elsewhere.  By setting the rule that everyone drinks water with each meal, this healthy liquid is introduced without the ban on other drinks altogether.
  3. Practice the sport, art or activity of their choice for 30 min every day.  Everyone has hobbies or skills they want to improve.  Children often beg parents for lessons to learn to play piano or be in basketball, but after the first few weeks of lessons, the excitement fades when they learn they have to practice.  Parents can help their children set the goal to practice by finding their own new skill to work on. This way parents and children can work in unison to improve themselves in at least one way.
  4. I will talk to one new person every week at school.  This is a great resolution for the child that has a hard time making friends and connections.  It can seem like a leap of faith for a timid child to make new friends, which is why it is so important to start with just one conversation.  Maybe only one in every five conversations end in some kind of friendship, but then in a little over a months’ time your child will have a new friend and be confident enough to make more.
  5. I will try one new food a week.   Children tend to eat the same foods every week.  This is due in part to the fact that these foods are easy to make and because parents are tired of fighting with their children to eat new and more healthy foods.   This approach addresses the problem in steps.  It does not require the child eat entire meals that he hates, just one new food a week.  Make the new food three or four times during the week so that he gets a chance to try just one bite a few times.  Parents should try to make the experience fun and set a good example by eating the food alongside him.
  6. I will help one person every day without being asked.  Generosity is a character trait most people believe is absent in children these days.  Parents can inspire the development of this habit by encouraging their children to find one person to help or to do one helpful activity each day without being asked to do it.  Keep a chart of these activities and praise the big-heartedness that it brings. Try to avoid “rewarding” these activities with material positions because part of generosity is not expecting anything in return.  Instead give rewards with kind words and gratitude.

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Winter Maternity Fashion Tips: 25 Blogs to check out today!

Bellyitch Rewind
Being pregnant is an exciting time.  Visions of nurseries dance in

your head and it’s likely that you find yourself consumed with shopping

for onesies, stuffed animals and the perfect blanket to wrap around your

bundle of joy. You also have probably noticed that, in addition to all

of the things your baby needs, you need a new wardrobe to fit your

expanding belly as well. These days, designers have the most stylish

looks in maternity wear.  You can buy things for work that allow you to

look professional and still be comfortable or for the weekend when you

are kicking back and enjoying life.  And for that fabulous party you

have coming up, there are plenty of party dresses too.  Combine those

with comfy sleepwear and workout wear and you have yourself a whole new

wardrobe, and what’s more fun than buying brand new clothes?  You want

to look fantastic while you are pregnant right?  Check out these 25

fabulous fashion blogs that will send you in the right direction.
 
Work Wear
Sometimes it can be tough to get yourself out of bed, especially as

your body grows and changes with the baby, but keep in mind that when

you look good you feel good.  Look for clothing items that will grow

with you.  These five blog entries will show you what’s in style for

maternity work wear.
Weekend Wear
Step out in style as you enjoy life before baby.  You’ll need a great

pair of jeans and some comfy sweaters.  Tights and leggings are also a

way to stretch your existing wardrobe. Throw on some maternity leggings,

a long sweater and some boots and you are ready to go anywhere and

still be in style. Take a look at these five blog posts regarding fun

and functional weekend wear.
Party Wear
You may be pregnant, but that doesn’t mean you don’t still have

places to go and people to see.  What if you have a wedding to attend or

a business dinner on the calendar?  These blog posts will give fashion

ideas for dresses you can wear to all different types of events, from a

party to the opera.  Think haute couture is out of your reach when

you’re pregnant?  Think again!
Sleepwear
Sleeping can be difficult while you are pregnant.  You can’t seem to

get comfortable and your favorite position to sleep in doesn’t really

work right now.  With all of those sleeping hurdles you don’t want to

have sleepwear that is uncomfortable too.  Check out these five blog

posts with comfy sleepwear options.
Workout Wear
Doctors recommend that pregnant women continue to work out if they

previously followed a workout regimen. Fortunately, many athletic pants

and tops are stretchy and will allow you a little time before you need

to change anything.  But once you get past the middle of your second

trimester you may not want tight clothes on your tummy.  These five blog

posts have included some maternity workout clothes so that you can stay

healthy for the baby and for you.
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Top 10 Boy & Girl old-fashioned names becoming more popular.

It warmed my heart so see that traditional names are coming back into style and are becoming more popular among parents. Babysitting.net chronicled the top 10 girl and boy names making a comeback.
Girls’ Names
  1. Anna – “Anna” is one of the girls’ names that never seems to go completely out of style. Originating from the Greek or Latin version of the Hebrew name “Hannah,” Anna means “grace” and came in at number thirty-eight on the list of most popular girls’ names in 2011.
  2. Charlotte – The French feminine diminutive of “Charles,” Charlotte’s meaning, “free man,” has masculine connotations. Still, Charlotte was the twenty-seventh most popular name in 2011 and is the name of Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze, Jr.’s daughter.
  3. Ella – At number twelve on the list of most popular girls’ names for 2011 is “Ella,” which is of Germanic origination and means “all, completely; fairy maiden.” Mark Wahlberg, Ben Stiller, Eric Clapton and John Travolta all have daughters with this old-fashioned moniker.
  4. Eva – The Latin form of the Hebrew name “Eve,” meaning “life,” Eva is eighty-third on the list of most popular girls’ names for 2011. Derivations Ava and Eve are also very popular.
  5. Grace – A virtue name meaning exactly what it says, “Grace” is number sixteen on the list of most popular girls’ names for 2011 with notable choices by celebrity parents Lance Armstrong and Christy Turlington.
  6. Julia – Derived from Latin and meaning “youthful,” Julia was the fifty-seventh most popular name for baby girls in 2011.
  7. Lucy – The English feminine variation of “Lucius,” Lucy was the seventy-second most popular name for girls born in 2011. While it may be most memorably connected to a certain flame-haired comedienne, “Lucy” was also chosen by country crooner Zac Brown for his daughter.
  8. Rose – Latin for “rose, a flower,” Rose is an old-fashioned name that has enjoyed something of a revival. At number two-hundred and ninety-one in 2011, “Rose” was the final selection of Jennifer Garner & Ben Affleck, Jon Stewart and Ewan McGregor. The presence of the boys’ name “Jack” also calls into question the influence of the re-release a certain epic film about a doomed romance on new parents.
  9. Stella – From the Latin for “star,” Stella is the seventy-third most popular name on the 2011 list. Chosen by both Paul McCartney and, more recently, Matt Damon, Tori Spelling and Dave Matthews, Stella’s popularity is still rising.
  10. Violet – Latin for the color and the flower, Violet comes in at number one-hundred and one for 2011 and was also chosen by Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck for their eldest daughter.

Boys’ Names
  1. Andrew – Meaning “strong and manly,” the name “Andrew” is of Greek derivation and enjoys a perennial popularity. At number sixteen on the list of most popular names for baby boys in 2011, one Harvard study claims that it is the most popular name for boys born to highly educated parents.
  2. Benjamin – From Hebrew meaning “son of the right hand,” Benjamin was the nineteenth most popular name for baby boys in 2011. Supermodel Gisele Bundchen and her quarterback husband Tom Brady chose “Benjamin” for their son, as did John Travolta and Kelly Preston.
  3. Charles – French from German, “Charles” means “free man” and was the sixty-second most popular name for boys in 2011. Celebrities Jodie Foster and Russell Crowe both named their sons Charles, with the shortened “Charlie” also quite popular.
  4. Harry – A diminutive of Henry meaning “estate ruler,” Harry is becoming more popular than ever due to the choices of Princess Diana, David Letterman and Billy Bob Thornton as a name for their sons, along with the immense popularity of the Harry Potter series.
  5. Henry – Enjoying it’s highest spot on the list of popular boys’ names since 1956, “Henry,” also meaning “estate ruler” came in at number fifty-seven in 2011. Julia Roberts, Minnie Driver, Heidi Klum and Colin Farrell all have sons named Henry.
  6. Jack – A diminutive of “John” meaning “God is gracious,” Jack was the forty-fifth most popular name for boys born in 2011. Matt Lauer, Luke Perry and Meg Ryan are just a few of the celebrities who chose this name for their sons.
  7. Leo – From Latin for “lion,” Leo came in at number one-hundred and sixty-seven in 2011 for popular boy’s names, and was chosen by NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon as a name for his son.
  8. Jacob – From Hebrew meaning “He grasps the heel. Supplanter,” “Jacob” was the most popular name for little boys born in 2011. Bob Dylan named his son Jakob, with Stephenie Meyer dubbing her leading werewolf “Jacob” in her phenomenally popular Twilight books.
  9. Eli – Moving from number two-hundred and thirty-five in 2000 to number sixty-five in 2010, Eli is a Hebrew name meaning “uplifted.”
  10. William – The third most popular name for boys in 2011, William is of English from German derivation and means “resolute protection.” With the marriage of Britain’s Prince William, the name has become even more high-profile.

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The Yoga Pant: 10 Reasons They’re Great for Pregnant women

There is no article of clothing a pregnant woman loves more than her Yoga or Pilates pants. It quickly becomes a staple and often worn item in a woman’s wardrobe from the moment her tiny bump starts to outgrow her regular pants and jeans.  Some women find themselves even going through several pairs of pants by the time they ultimately deliver their babies. There are so many reasons women love their Yoga pants. Here are ten of them:

10. It is usually made of a comfortable, stretchable and forgiving material.
9.  It can easily be worn under a growing belly.
8. Some merchants sell it in the maternity styles and it can fit over the belly and it still fit comfortably.


7. It can fit easily under a casual top and worn with ballet flats or boots…

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Hilary Duff does maternity casual

6. It can fit over a nicer dressier top and worn with heels or maryjanes or accessorized with a nice blazer or scarf.

Elizabeth Berkley dressed up her yoga pants while out lunching

5. It has multifunctional uses and is versatile.

4. If you stick with black, navy or dark gray, it doesn’t make our expanding hips look that  big.

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3. You can totally just go to bed in it at the end of the day if you have no energy left to take them off at the end of the day. They could double as PJs!

2. You can usually find a pair at all price points and affordable level.

These Bella pants are just $17!

But if you are serious about your yoga wear, you can splurge and get these bootcut organic Gaiam pants for $68!

1. And you can use them to actually do Yoga! This set sells for about 50 bucks!

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Holidays: Top 10 hostess gifts

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With the holidays upon us, party season is in full swing, and you likely have found yourself scrounging around before a get together for an appropriate gift to give the hostess. While buying a gift for a good friend who is hosting a party is easy enough, things get a little trickier if you’re just a casual friend or acquaintance of the hostess and don’t know her individual tastes well.  If you’re debating over what to bring a hostess, consider one of these top 10 hostess gifts to take to your next party:
  1. Wine – Bring a bottle or two, depending on the occasion and the size of the event.  If you are joining another couple for dinner, then one bottle should be enough.  Try to find a wine the compliments the meal if you know what you’ll be eating ahead of time.  If you are going to a big party, it might be better to bring two different bottles, one red and one white.
  2. A jar of gourmet pumpkin butter – Gourmet, seasonal foods, like pumpkin butter, can be a great and unique gift to give to someone hosting a party. Specialty food items create a talking point if nothing else, and you may introduce your hostess to her new favorite seasonal find!
  3. Set of four glasses – There are always new styles of glassware coming out, and people don’t often buy new glasses if they already have some at home.  Buying the hostess a set of four stemless martini glasses is a fun gift that she could use right away.  Even if she doesn’t like martinis she can use them for serving desserts or as decorations.
  4. Wine charms – You can typically find wine charms in a wide range of prices, so you can determine how much you want to spend on the hostess and buy accordingly.  Wine charms are quaint, and often can serve as fun conversation starters.  If you are crafty you could make your own wine charms and place them in a gift box or jewel case for gift giving.
  5. Ceramic coasters – Coasters are useful, especially for parties, and it seems like you can never have too many.  Finding some that reflect the hostess’ taste is somewhat important, so consider the types of things she likes.  Does she love light houses?  Do they drink wine?  Buy good quality stone or ceramic coasters for the hostess.
  6. Selections of gourmet salts – Flavored sea salts are an ideal gift for the foodie hostess.  These salts are interesting and would be fun for the hostess to play around with while she’s cooking.
  7. Nice hand lotion – Good quality hand lotion is something that most people would enjoy, and if you know a particular fragrance that she likes then a nice lotion can be the ideal gift.  Otherwise, try to stay with a scent that is fruity or very mild so as not to adversely affect the hostess.
  8. Tin of organic tea leaves – Tea is another gift that tends to range in price as well, and tins of loose leaf tea are generally more expensive than a box of tea bags.  Give a flavor of tea that you like and explain that you’d like to share your love of this tea with her.
  9. Flavored olive oil  Extra Virgin olive oil can get very expensive, so you will have to base your choice on your budget.  People who enjoy making their own salad dressings or dipping bread in oil will enjoy a high quality flavored olive oil.  Giving a loaf of French bread with it will allow the hostess to try it sooner rather than later.
  10. Guest soaps – Many handmade guest soaps are available in pretty packaging and would be suitable as a hostess gift.  Giving a gift like this would be a nice gesture if you were spending the night with the hostess, but would also work for a dinner party.

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Give Thanks: 15 Volunteer activities your child can do

While Thanksgiving is a season for giving, for children it ends up being a season for receiving only as many lose sight of the fact that the Holidays is also a time for appreciating what you have and about the priceless gifts of family and togetherness that have no price tag.  
Thanksgiving can also be a wonderful opportunity to  nurture a spirit of giving to others as well.
A recent Nanny Classifieds post explains the benefits of volunteering, and notes how lending “a hand to someone in need can heighten your child’s sense of self-esteem and self-worth while also providing an opportunity to possibly discover new career options on which to build aspirations.”
In it, there are 15 examples of volunteer activities that children can engage in this Holiday season and beyond to help them appreciate all they have and receive in their lives. 
  1. Collect children’s books from family and friends and donate them to a local hospital or library
  2. Sign up for a charity walk to benefit an organization or disease awareness
  3. Donate food to a food pantry by having your child pick out an item each time you shop for groceries
  4. Volunteer to serve meals to the homeless at a local shelter or food pantry
  5. Compile activity boxes, complete with puzzles, coloring books and games, to donate to a children’s center or children’s hospital
  6. Donate a few hours to picking up litter at local parks or roadways
  7. Visit a nursing home and offer to share your talents through musical entertainment or story time
  8. Deliver meals to the homebound (many food pantries offer these services)
  9. Take the kids along as you volunteer to drive an elderly neighbor to the doctor or grocery store
  10. Volunteer to feed, walk and care for abandoned animals at the local animal shelter
  11. Gather several classmates and friends to raise awareness and money to help refugee kids in schools around the world
  12. Recruit the entire family to tutor, mentor or read with younger children
  13. Work with the local Red Cross agency to give blood or organize a community blood drive
  14. Make cards, blankets and stuffed animals for sick children and donate to a local organization who provides care items to hospitals and children’s centers
  15. There are unlimited options for volunteering, both locally and nationally, that you can take advantage of to show children how acts of kindness can significantly impact someone else’s life. Find even more opportunities and learn how to brainstorm and plan family volunteer trips with the PBS Family Guide to Volunteering.
It is recommended to designate a specific day each week for volunteer activities.
“Having children volunteer helps them to get out of themselves,” New Hampshire clinical psychologist Carl Hindy says. “It teaches them social interest, empathy and awareness of others.”

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10 alternatives to use when you run out of diapers in public

diaper substitute
diaper substitute
It’s happened to me once during an overseas flight with baby: we ran out of diapers and the airline didn’t have any spare. Yikes. We had to improvise and it worked until the flight landed. Here are 10 alternatives to a diaper that mom and dad or caregiver can resort to in the rare but common chance that they’d be without a diaper in public, compliments of Nannypro.
Listed below are ten alternatives to baby diapers in a pinch.
  1. Burp Rag. I’ve used cloth diapers as burp rags, so why not the other way around? Usually they are thick and will do the trick for a short amount of time at least. If you usually use cloth diapers and have a liner, then it should work a little better.
  2. Wipes. If you have the kind of wipes that need to be wetted prior to use or if you have any wipes that have dried out, they can be used in a pinch while you pick up some more. I would not advise using wipes that are wet, as this could cause a rash.
  3. Receiving Blanket. I wouldn’t suggest using your favorite one, just in case, but if you are out and about and have no other options then this will work. Most people have a receiving blanket in their diaper bag for infants, and it is large enough that you can fold it a few times for added layers or tie it around them.
  4. Maxi Pad. This may be a little embarrassing if others see you use one; however, it is also very effective. Maxi pads are made to be absorbent and can hold enough to give you the time needed to get some real diapers. Make sure you have it secured into a diaper bottom or onesie, so it doesn’t slip.
  5. Cheese Cloth. I would recommend folding this one as many times as you can and place it in a diaper bottom or onesie, the same as you would for a maxi pad. Since cheese cloth is made to have liquid wrung through it, you want to make sure you have as many layers as possible, and don’t rely on it lasting a long time.
  6. Dishtowel. Again, I wouldn’t use your favorite one, but at least this one will be more absorbent and may buy you some additional time.
  7. Wash Cloth. Depending on the size of your washcloths, you may want to use more than one, and either fold them or wrap them around and tie at the waist.
  8. Pillow Case. Go for cotton and not silk or satin for best results. Bunch it together and tie or pin it up like a cloth diaper.
  9. Napkin. I would suggest cloth, and not paper, but again stay away from your favorites. You can couple a few together for added protection and pin up the same as a cloth diaper.
  10. Paper Towels. Notice the plural on towels as one will not cut it. I would use about four or five and fold up to insert the same as the maxi pad listed above.

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10 ways to save money at the grocery store

It’s Sunday! Grocery shopping for the week time. 
Enjoy this Bellytich Rewind
According to the USDA a family of four spends approximately $200 per week on groceries. Over the course of the year, that $200 per week adds up pretty quickly. And while groceries are never going to be something that you cut out of your budget, even the USDA admits that there is room for considerable savings.  If you were to become what the USDA considers a “thrifty” family of four you could end up saving $70 a week on groceries, which totals up to $3,640 a year!
If you’re looking for ways to shave money off your grocery bill, consider these tips.

  1. Buy beans dried instead of canned.  By purchasing dried beans and cooking them yourself you can save 60% on the total cost of beans.  You are probably thinking that you don’t have time to prepare dried beans, but if you cook the beans on the stove while you are home on the weekend, you can package them up into portions, freeze them, and then defrost them as needed.
  2. Buy generic when you can.  Buying the generic brand over the brand name food can help you save up to 50% on an item.  Macaroni and cheese is a great example of this. The name brand blue box costs $1.05 whereas the generic brand runs about $ .45.  That’s a savings of 57% on one item. 
  3. Look for locally grown, in season produce.  Farmers markets usually open in early summer and continue to sell through the fall.  Buying locally grown fruits and veggies will not only support local farmers, it will also support your grocery budget. Not to mention the produce tastes better, is better for you, and is cheaper.  Some stores will also advertise that they buy from local farmers, and these products will also be cheaper because they are plentiful and in season.
  4. Purchase meat in larger quantities.  Many times grocery stores will offer a discount if you buy a “family” package of meat.  Once you buy your meat, divide it into portions and freeze it.
  5. Compare pricing by size.  Have you ever noticed that sometimes stores put items on sale, but it’s actually cheaper to buy a larger size of the same item?  For example, if the store has ketchup on sale, 2 for $3 for the 16 oz. bottle check to see how much the bigger bottle costs. You may find that the 32 oz. bottle costs $2.75, so you can save $ .25 and only have one bottle to store.
  6. Watch the sale ads.  By buying what is on sale you will maximize your savings.  When you sit down to create the menu for the week, take a look at the sale ads for that week.  If baby back pork ribs are on sale this week it would be silly to plan to make beef ribs for dinner and pay twice as much per pound.  Maybe you are really craving pork chops, but they aren’t on sale this week and pork tenderloin is.  Making adjustments to your menu based on buying on sale can save you money.
  7. Price match ad items from other stores. Most stores will price match with the ads from other stores.  This will allow you to get the sale prices on certain items, but avoid having to run all over town picking up a few items here and a few items there.  So you’ll have a cost savings in your food and your gas expenses.
  8. Plan menus for the week ahead.  By planning out your menus in advance you will create a list of items that you need for those meals.  Buy what’s on your list and nothing more.  If you go to the store with a plan then you will be less likely to buy unnecessary extras.  Planning for the full week of menus also reduces the number of trips to the grocery store.
  9. Avoid convenience items.  If you buy your cheese in a block and grate it yourself, you will save about $3 per pound.  The same goes for any other convenience item like pre-cut fruit or pre-chopped onions; you are paying for someone else to cut stuff up for you.
  10. Use coupons.  Consumers saved approximately $4.6 billion a year by using coupons.  Keep in mind that it only saves you money if you use a coupon on an item that you would have bought anyway.  Don’t spend money on items just because you have a coupon for it.

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30 Early Development iPad Apps for Kids

Being a child is hard. The world is new, and there are a lot of things to learn. And re-learn when we get it wrong. As we grow, sounds turn into words, words gain meaning. Then people start throwing numbers at us. First they’re small numbers, then they grow. They want you to do what with them? Understand their value, their order. Add them, subtract them. Now it’s back to words, which now come in clusters called sentences. Which we have to write stories with.

And that’s just the beginning. There’s a lot to learn in our early years on which our later years rely upon. Fortunately, today’s children have tablet computers like the iPad. In addition to the touch features being incredibly addictive, there are thousands of apps that making learning fun. In no particular order, here are 30 fun and educational iPad apps aimed children in the “early childhood education (ECE)” group. Definitions vary, though it covers kids about 3 to 9 years of age.
Notes to parents and guardians:
  • Several of the app publishers listed here are members of Moms With Apps, who promote best practices for children’s apps.
  • All prices are in U.S. dollars, though some publishers are outside the U.S.
  • Check iTunes profile for a given app to find out the minimum version of iOS your iPad needs.
  • Where age range listed here for an app does not match the iTune profile, note that the range here was provided privately by that app publisher as more accurate than iTunes’ age categories.
  • We suggest that you preview apps in private before allowing your children to use them.
  • Accompany children during their first few uses of an app, to show them how to use it, to answer questions.
  • Some parents like to establish certain parts of the week and day/ evening for when tablet use is permissible.
  • Tablets — especially iPads — can be addictive. Monitor your children and make sure they balance their time with physical activity, and that they are not downloading apps on their own.
  • Some experts believe children under four years of age should not be overly exposed to tablet computers.

30. TinyTap

TinyTap
Are your kids bored of their iPad apps? TinyTap lets them make their own, share them with others, and play games made by thousands of other users, including teachers. Games can be educational, including for learning math, words, grammar and more. Add images, record questions in audio and more. TinyTap can be used by children 6 years old and up to create games, and by kids one or older to play. It’s also a great app for teachers who want to create custom games for their young students. In-app purchase modules for various topics including farm animals, dinos, music and more are available.
More Information:

Publisher/ developer website

iTunes profile page

Age range: 6+ to create, 1+ to play

Price: Free

29. Quizmaker

Quizmaker-1
Quizmaker is an app developed by a Occupational Therapist working with special needs children in a German school, and her son. The app has two modes: quiz taking and quiz making. The former lets kids take quizzes, and the latter lets parents and teachers create custom picture quizzes about the subjects their kids enjoy. Add audio instructions for each question, as well as a set of “positive” and “negative” feedback audio recordings that play depending on who a quiz question is answered. Create quizzes with one or more multiple choice questions and add pictures (3 choices per question) for the answers. Pictures can be from your Dropbox account, the iPad’s gallery, or fresh from the camera. Use your own backgrounds for quizzes, or download a set of free backgrounds right from the app. When you’re done creating a quiz, you can export it (and others) to Quizmaker format and share that via email.
More Information:

Publisher/ developer website

iTunes profile page

Age range: 4-5

Price: $2.99

28. Scavenger hunt for kids (I Spy for Kids)

Kids17Fun_Scavenger-Hunt-1
Scavenger hunts are fun, but they can also be educational, if you plan them that way. The “Scavenger Hunt for Kids (I Spy for Kids)” iPad app lets teachers and parents create scavenger hunts that can include numbers, shapes, and letters of the alphabet, as well as other objects. Add items to a hunt by typing in a sequential list of items to search for, and adding pictures and images as aids. Kids check in with the adult on each item they find. So kids learn while combining physical effort to find items.
More Information:

Publisher/ developer website

iTunes profile page

Age range: 5+

Price: $0.99

27. Pick ‘n Seek

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Pick’n’Seek is a virtual hide-and-seek game for toddlers. Parents take a picture of their child with the app, adjust the pic, and voila, an animated digital version of appears. The digital child then goes and hides in various screens, and the real child tries to find themselves (At Home, Vehicles, Outdoors, Toys). For shy children that do not want their picture taken, parents can use an animated face as well. The app has four animated animal friends, and nearly 60 card game images. In addition to stimulating the imagination of children, it teaches them about shapes and sizes, movements and speeds, simple vocabulary words and more. There’s also a free lite version if you want to try the app before purchasing.
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Age range: under 3 years

Price: $2.99

26. Build A Scare

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Build A Scare lets kids create unique “monsters” by dragging and dropping various elements to form faces. Spin the wheel to determine the number of appendages your monster will have. There’s a puzzle feature that you can use to create a jigsaw puzzle out of a freshly created monster — or from your iPad’s photo gallery. The app’s not just for fun. Inspired by methods used by a teacher with her students, Build A Scare teaches kids also learn to count, as well develop 2d spatial perception and their imagination.
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Age range: 3-6 years

Price: $1.29

25. Willie’s Bone

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Willie’s Bone introduces kids to wiener dog Willie and his pug pal Paul as they go searching for Willie’s lost bone. As Willie and Paul find a farm, kids learn about what’s at a farm and what goes on there, including learning about farm animals, eggs, milk, wool, fruits and more. The interactive story also has companion games to be played separately, which teach children about colors, concentration, memory and other skills.
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Age range: 4+

Price: $1.99

24. Teacher Tilly – Puzzle for toddlers and preschoolers

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The Teacher Tilly puzzles app (one of several Teacher Tilly apps) teaches 2-4 year olds problem solving, sorting, organization and other skills through a variety of puzzles. The included puzzles have voiceover tips from “Teacher Tilly,” which helps kids learn vocabulary. (The iTunes profile says that the app is used by speech therapists to aid children in practicing new words.) Solving puzzles wins virtual balloons, and you can create new puzzles from photos. Coloring pages are available for download and printing as well.
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Age range: 2-4 years

Price: $1.99

23. Annie’s Picking Apples 2

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Annie’s Picking Apples lets kids navigate an animated squirrel along different spots on a map. When you stop the squirrel on a puzzle piece, you see a 2d jigsaw puzzle board. Stop on a colored circle and play a variety of math games. One is a counting lesson where you pull different colored apples from trees into the right baskets — teaches counting up to 20. Another is an animated conveyer belt system with different sections, which teaches sequences. There are a total of 27 “worlds,” and adults can set the difficulty level and set the amount of play time. Kids can practice in four languages: English, Spanish, French and German.
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Age range: 3-7 years old

Price: $2.99

22. Hanna & Henri

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Henri gets out of bed, happy that its Saturday. Today, there’s a 7th birthday party for his best friend Hanna’s. You can help Henri get dressed by dragging and dropping items of clothing onto him from his closet. Next, help Henri pick a toy gift for Hanna from the toy story and get it wrapped. Before Henri goes to the party, he has to put a few things away in his bedroom first, by dragging and dropping them into the right box. The Hanna & Henri app combines these sorts of exercises with games, to teach children a variety of things including sorting and counting, as well as simple tasks.
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Age range: 3-6 years old

Price: $4.99

21. Cavity Dragons Jr

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Can’t get your little ones to brush their teeth? Gooseling’s Cavity Dragons Jr. app could help by showing them what happens to teeth without brushing. (Or, depending on the age of your kids, try one of the other Cavity Dragon’s games from Gooseling.) One game in this app shows a set of teeth with food residue. Animated dragons also shoot fire onto the teeth. To win the game, help the fireman with his toothpaste hose clear out the spots of food. If you’re too slow, a cavity forms and the tooth goes gray. Get too many gray teeth and they all fall out. Another game has a fireman riding a toothbrush like a skateboard, whom you have to help clean the teeth. Win virtual stickers as rewards, complete a tooth puzzle, and help decorate the fire station. Gooseling also has a free Fire Station Cavity Dragons iPad app in the Apple App Store.
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Age range: 2-5 years old

Price: $2.99

20. Spellyfish Phonics – Short A Words

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Pyxwise’s “Spellyfish Phonics – Short A Words” is one of several apps in a series, aimed at teaching spelling and phonics and aligned to Common Core. This one focuses on English words that are short and have the letter ‘a’ in them. Children can choose which word puzzle group they’d like to solve. E.g., “_an” words (end with “an” and are three characters long). Spellyfish the jellyfish gives animated commentary, explaining the word to be spelled out, and its context. As each letter is tapped, Spellyfish sounds it out as relevant to the world, effectively teaching phonics. For more advanced tests, there are Spellyfish apps for kids 5-6 and 7-9 — in all covering Kindergarten to Grade 5. Pxywise also has a Simplex Spelling series, and there is a free Simplex Spelling Lite that has reverse phonics.
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Age range: 4-5 years old

Price: $2.99

19. Tiny Robot Maker

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On the surface, Tiny Twiga Studios’ Tiny Robot Maker app seems like it’s just about robots. However, there’s more to it than that. Kids get to play with robot illustrations, and mix and match parts, while also learning about color, shape and even parts of the human body. Tiny Robot Maker also has a free mini-coloring book with a birthday card that can be downloaded and printed out, as a supplement to the app.
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Age range: 2-5 years old

Price: $3.79

18. Little Digits

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The Little Digits app makes counting to 10 fun by taking advantage of the iPad screen’s multi-touch gestures. While in counting mode, tap the screen with one finger to indicate the number 1, then tap with two fingers for number 2, and so on. (Turn off “multi-touch gestures” in the iPad’s settings.) Kids can do addition and subtraction math the same way, simply by tapping the screen with the correct number of fingers. If there are too many or too few fingers, the animation shows the number of fingers and plays a sort of low horn sound. For the correct fingers, there’s a pleasant xylophone sound, and the illustrated numbers dance.
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Age range: 2-5 years

Price: $1.99

17. Story Dice

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Story Dice by Thinkamingo possibly has one of the simplest interface of all apps in this list. Still, that simplicity leaves room for storytelling that ranges from simple fun to complex. Use the Settings to set the number of dice (2 is default, 10 is max). Now tap the screen or shake the iPad to “roll” the story dice. Play charades, sing a song, say a poem or make a story out of of the images showing on the story dice. There are 170 pictograms in all, sourced from The Noun Project. In addition to helping children who are having difficulty reading but who understand images, this app can be used by adults as well.
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Age range: 4+ years

Price: $1.99

16. Sign Me A Story

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Designed for use with special needs children or those with language/ hearing challenges, the Sign Me A Story app teaches kids to communicate through sign language, and reading through story and video. The first story, “GreenBeanies – One Cool Cat,” is free. Tap an emphasized word in the text of a screen to see a video that teaches how to sign that word. Story one teaches 14 signs, including morning, day, eat, happy, home and others. The second story, “GreenBeanies – Two Magical Hats,” teaches an additional 12 signs and is available through a paid in-app purchase ($1.99). (Story three to come.) The stories are interactive and meant for children at the higher end of the ECE age range, though some younger children may enjoy them as well.
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Age range: 6-11 years

Price: free

15. Peekaboo HD

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GotClues’ Peekaboo HD teaches children animal names and sounds through different categories. The Farm module is included in the app and includes rooster, cow, duck, horse and more. The app gives animated clues to children on where to tap to reveal the animal whose sound they’re hearing. Additional modules available for purchase are Jungle and Safari (releasing Jun 2014). For languages, you can choose one free option from English, Cantonese, German, Mandarin, and Spanish, then buy more languages later. (Danish is an option in some of the games)
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Age range: 2-5

Price: free

14. Animals Flip and Mix- ABC Cognitive Game

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PlaneTree’s “Animals Flip and Mix- ABC Cognitive Game for Kindergarten and Preschool Kids Explorers” app, or Animals Flip and Mix for short, consists of a fun mix-and-match feature where kids can interchange three parts of the illustrated screen to create new creatures. The goal is to match top, middle and bottom parts of the screen by swiping each part left or right until the differently colored syllables match. While trying to match the parts, kids can create creatures that are combinations of fruit and animals — over 2,000 combinations in total – as well make up fake words from the syllable combos. When the three parts match, the apps shows a different interactive puzzle or animated scene for each word. Animals Flip and Mix teaches motor skills and visual perception, matching, spelling and more.
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Age range: 4-6 years

Price: $1.99

13. Montessori Numberland

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Montessori Numberland is a counting app from 3 ELLEs, an award-winning developer of educational mobile apps started by Montessori teachers in 2010. Through a series of illustrated screens, the app teaches numbers, counting and quantity simultaneously. Children can trace the number in the direction shown by the arrows, as well as tap the same quantity of something displayed on the screen — such as five seagulls, four blocks, eight leaves, etc. Other apps in the 3 ELLEs Montessori series include Montessori Letter Sounds (ages 4-7), which has phonics in English, Spanish, French and Italian; Montessori Geometry (ages 5-10); Montessori First Operations (ages 5-7), which teaches addition and subtraction; Montessori Math: Add & Subtract Large Numbers (ages 6-9); and Montessori Math: Multiplication (ages 6-10).
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Age range: 3-5 years

Price: $0.99

12. Community Helpers Play & Learn Free

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Paper Boat’s “Community Helpers Play & Learn” app teaches children about the people in various community-centric professions. This includes teachers, postal carriers, firefighters, farmers, and more. The free version includes four people (doctor, police officer, mechanic, plumber). There are two modes: Learn and Play. In the Learn mode, kids can tap a person to find out about their profession, and tap on various items that person uses to learn about those. In the Play mode, kids can play drag-and-drop learning games, such as helping the plumber fix some pipes, or helping a police officer with the description of a suspect. Community Helpers was featured by Apple in the “Best New Apps and Games” category.
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Age range: 2-6 years

Price: free

11. Lasso Kid

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Kidcore Game’s Lasso Kid is a free app that teaches hand-eye coordination/ fine motor skills and memorization, as well as logical thinking, sequences, intersection and more, through a series of illustrated screens that require kids to connect animals of the same type together with a virtual lasso. If an animal is not lassoed, it runs away. New activity levels are unlocked as one is completed. The difficulty level of each subsequent exercise increases, so older children can still be challenged. Parents can signup for free access to the Kidcore Web site for tracking their child’s progress in the app, set daily usage limits and more. Or skip that and add player profiles. Players can use one of the pre-loaded illustrated human or animal icons or add a photo.
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Age range: 3+

Price: free

10. Writing Wizard

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Award-winning educational app publisher L’Escapadou’s Writing Wizard app helps kids learn handwriting of letters of the alphabet through tracing, as well as words and phonics with voiceover audio. Kids learn to write letters of the alphabet through animated clues showing the order of strokes. Sound effects and special graphics make learning more fun, and chidlren collect stars for completing exercises. There are four interactive games included in this app, which was featured in the Apple App Store. Parents and teachers can get involved by creating word lists and customizing the app in terms of text font size, writing instrument style and ink color, drawing difficulty, speed and more. Adults can also track a child’s progress (unlimited users), change letter sounds, indicate upper and lower case letters and more.
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Age range: 2-8 years

Price: $2.99

9. Night Zookeeper Teleporting Torch

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Wonky Star’s award-winning “Night Zookeeper Teleporting Torch” helps kids creatively through an ongoing series of drawing and writing missions. (The app asks adults to register so that kids can receive daily updates for drawing and other creative missions.) The drawing interface has unlimited ‘undo’ capability, making it easier for kids to improve their drawing and painting skills while having fun participating in a world of time-traveling elephants and giraffe spies that defeat Fear Monsters. Don’t be surprised if you hear your child roaring, as that’s the secret to unlocking special stories. Parents and teachers can participate through the online dashboard
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Age range: 5-9 years

Price: free

8. Splash Math – Grade 1 to 5

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Splash Math is a multi-award winning app series used by over 4 million children (on iPads, laptops, and desktops) in 8,000 schools, and is aligned to Common Core math standards. The series covers grades 1 through five, and each grade app has a paid and a “lite” free version. The “Splash Math – Grade 1 to 5″ app is free and a good intro into the series. For evaluation, you can skip the sign-up and try it out. Set up the app for your child by entering their name and grade level. Lessons are self-paced, interactive and give rewards in the form of points, games and other prizes. Explanations are given for wrong answers, and new math topic categories are unlocked as points are accumulated. There are too many topoics to list here, though in the free version, you’re only getting a preview. If you want more, from this free app, you can make in-app “lifetime” purchases for each grade, as well as a parent subscription.
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Age range: 4-12 years

Price: free

7. GOZOA – The Key Quest

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The “GOZOA – The Key Quest” app teaches kids by combining gaming paradigms such as a quest with object physics, math questions (counting, addition, subtraction, multiplying, division, times table, digital and analog time, etc.). By winning prizes and points, and finding keys, you complete parts of the quest and unlock parts of the goal — which is to help Gozoa free his friends who have been locked up in a castle. This is just one of several Gozoa apps, with a free “GOZOA – Play & Learn Math Lite” app that uses Angry Birds-style physics and teaches numbers (tracing, counting, etc.) and math.
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Age range: 6-11 years old

Price: $1.99; has free lite version

6. Kindergarten Math Standards

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Maypop Designs’ Kindergarten Math Standards app is one in a series aimed at different age groups. This one is for Kindergarten students, roughly 4-6 years old. It teaches topics for numbers (recognition, counting, sequencing, addition, subtraction, base 10, etc.), geometry (colors, shape, size, positioning, direction, patterns, outlines, etc.) and measurement. There are slideout panels that explain how a game is played. Complete a game and win points that can be applied to revealing sections of photographs from around the world. Kids can play solo or in groups (default four profiles; add more if necessary). Parents and teachers can configure what topics to include and which to turn off, to customize learning.
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Age range: 4-6 years old

Price: $2.99

5. State Bingo and Road Trip US

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State Bingo and Road Trip US app gamifies the learning of geography topics, with a focus on Common Core standards. In addition to a study map that shows the different states and some important tidbits per state, there’s a State Bingo game in three levels of difficulty, a road trip game between regions, and a timeline serially revealing which states joined the the United States of America — with one state added every time you complete a challenge and “send a state to statehood.” State Bingo asks a question about a state (abbreviation, capital, scrambled letters, lakes, weather, crops, etc.) and a 4×4 grid of states to choose the answer from. Once you get four states in a row answered, you win. In the Road Trip game, you move between adjoining states towards your goal. Get a question right and you advance. Get it wrong and you have to answer another question. See your hits and misses when you’re done, then check the Statehoods feature to see which state joined the union next.
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Age range: 7+ years old

Price: $2.99

4. My First App Vol. 3 Airport

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Apppmedia’s “My First App Vol. 3 Airport” is an award-winning app that teaches children about various of airports and what goes on there. The app offers a combination of jigsaw puzzles, pattern matching by comparing two similar but different illustrations, visual motor and motor planning skills through a game where players have to drop balls into specific holes on a board by tilting the iPad, and more.
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Age range: 2-4 years

Price: $1.99

3. Playground 1 – 12 Fun & Educational Games

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Jan Essig’s multi-award-winning “Playground 1 – 12 Fun & Educational Animal Games for Toddlers and Children” app, or Playground 12-in-1 here for short, combines twelve different games that teaches while it entertains children. Playground 12-in-1 consists of 12 different games that teach shape and image matching, patterns, counting, coloring areas with brush and paint bucket, erasing, music and more, while helping improve fine and visual motor skills, logic, and problem solving. Kids can play solo or with a playmate, and parents can set a timer for play durations. Featured by Apple as a Best New App. Other apps in the series include Logic Playground and Preschoolers ABC Playground, both meant for 4-7 year-olds.
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Age range: 3-6 years

Price: $3.99

2. Love, The App

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The “Love, The App” app deals with more serious lessons for children, such as tolerance, understanding, friendship and of course love. The app is meant for older kids in the ECE range and is based on an illustrated book of the same name from 1964 by Gian Berto Vanni. “Love, The App” incorporates a variety of transitions between pages, ensuring that the reader participate by interacting with various little cut-out windows and sliding elements that give slight animated hints as to what has to be moved, towards the inevitable message of love waiting at the end of the story. The app won the 2014 BolognaRagazzi Digital Award for 2014.
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Age range: 9-11 years

Price: $4.99

1. My Beastly ABCs

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An amusing way to learn the ABCs, using the names of monsters, mythological creatures and historic figures. It’s an animated story, with goofy monsters, and the rhyming, rhythmic narration is fun even for adults. For an ABC book app that’s 39 pages full of whimsical characters and only $2.99, you can’t go wrong. Makes us wish we had iPads when we were kids.
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Age range: 4+ years

Price: $2.99
reposted with permission from Early Childhood Degrees

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10 foods to think twice about before giving to your child

When your child begins to eat solid food, it’s important to remember that just because his palate is expanding, there are still a variety of foods that aren’t suitable for him to eat at such a young age. Due to choking hazards, allergy concerns, and your toddler’s nutritional needs, some foods should be banned from your little ones plate until he’s older. You should avoid giving these ten foods to your toddler, and should carefully consider whether you want to introduce some of them into his diet at all, even when he’s older.
  1. Tree Nuts – Tree nuts, like pecans, almonds, and walnuts, should never be given to a toddler. The reasons for this policy are two-fold, due to the choking hazard that they present and their place on the list of most common food allergens. Children with food allergies often react negatively to tree nuts, and it’s not a good idea to introduce them when your child is still so young, especially if tree nut allergies run in the family.
  2. Peanut Butter – Ingesting a small amount or coming into contact with peanut butter can be harmful or deadly to an allergic child, and peanut allergies are among the most common in young children. The thick consistency of peanut butter can also present a choking hazard to toddlers that don’t have any known peanut sensitivities, making it wise to hold off on introducing this kid favorite until your little one is a bit older.
  3. Soft Drinks – Keep Kids Healthy recommends that toddlers only have four to six ounces of fruit juice each day, and never soda or other soft drinks. These sugar-laden beverages can be harmful to little teeth, are filled with empty calories, and often contain caffeine – a stimulant your toddler probably doesn’t need.
  4. Hard Candy – Hard candies, which are usually little more than a mix of solidified sugar, artificial flavoring, and coloring agents, are an unwise choice for your toddler’s diet due to the high choking risk that they pose, as well as their lack of nutritional value.
  5. Hot Dogs – Generally made from highly-processed meat and filled with sodium and additives, traditional hot dogs may not be the best choice for your child’s diet. If you do decide to feed them to your toddler, however, it’s imperative that you slice hot dogs lengthwise before serving them. Coin-shaped slices, a popular choice because they’re easy for little fingers to maneuver, pose a very serious choking risk and are among the most common causes of fatal choking incidents.
  6. Low-Fat Milk – Seattle Children’s Hospital recommends that children under one year of age avoid having cow’s milk entirely, and that kids under two years of age steer clear of drinking low-fat, non-fat, or reduced-fat milk. Toddlers need some fat in their diets for a variety of reasons, not least of which is their neurological development. After your child reaches two years of age, your pediatrician may or may not recommend a switch to low-fat or skim milk.
  7. Popcorn – Popcorn can be tricky for adults to eat because of the pesky bits of kernel that can stick to your teeth and throat, and are even more dangerous for kids. Because partially-popped kernels can be very hard, and fully-popped ones can present a choking hazard as well, your toddler should not eat popcorn. Additionally, microwaveable popcorn brands are almost invariably awash in a sea of chemicals, some of which can be harmful.
  8. Eggs – Because egg whites can cause upset stomach and skin complaints in some toddlers and whole eggs are a very common food allergen, it’s best to avoid eggs until your child is a bit older and you can safely test for signs of an allergic reaction.
  9. Honey – While it’s not altogether common, honey contaminated with bacteria that causes botulism can lead to a very serious illness. After toddlerhood, the likelihood of your child contracting botulism from ingesting honey is very slight, but it’s best to avoid this natural sweetener altogether until then.
  10. Fish – Some types of fish can be quite high in mercury, and exposure to them can be toxic in large amounts. Fish is also a relatively common allergen, so it’s best to skip those fish sticks until your child is well past toddlerhood. Even then, opt for types of fish that aren’t known to be particularly high in mercury.

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