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Archive for April, 2011

Do You Sew?

A good friend of mine is an amazing seamstress. Sewing is her passion! Not too long ago she decided to put her dream into a reality and she started her own sewing shop on her Etsy store and is also developing and selling patterns through her website. Even if you don’t plan on buying anything from her site, you need to check it out. She gives a free sewing tutorial on her blog weekly. She teaches little tricks of the trade and even gives you step-by-step directions on how to create your own projects. Check it out!

http://www.maubys.net/

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When it comes to schedules, I love them. I cannot say enough about them. So what’s so good about a schedule?

1. Children thrive off routine. They like to know what is coming. It helps to them to feel secure and safe when things follow a routine and pattern.
2. Schedules help parents (especially mom) know when to schedule doctors visits, appointments, and outings because they know when their child is going to nap or eat.
3. Schedules help to ensure your infant/ toddler gets the proper rest with regular nap and sleep times.
4. Schedules also help to ensure that you are feeding your infant frequently to ensure proper nutrition and growth.
5. If you have multiple children, schedules are a must! They keep you from going nuts. You are able to juggle your children’s various needs and ensure they are not just roaming the house all day long. It keeps the kids happier and it keeps mom sane! The structure also helps cut down the bad behavior.
6. Schedules also help to vary the days activities up with a good mix of different types of play and learning.

I have written several posts about schedules- Check them out!

The following two links contain babywise schedules from birth-toddler:
Babywise Schedules by Month (Version 1: My Son)

Babywise Schedules by Month (Version 2: My Twin Girls)
2-3-4 Nap Schedule for Older Babies

The following two links contain schedules and toddlerwise schedules that are appropriate for an older infant and toddlers:
Structuring a Toddler’s Day (when on one nap a day)
Structuring Your Toddler’s Day (when on two naps a day)

The following two links contain schedule suggestions for how to juggle multiple children of different ages:
Newborn & Toddler Combo Schedule & Juggling A Newborn with a Toddler

The following link contains an average amount of sleep that infants and toddlers should get. Please keep in mind these are averages. Some will sleep more while others will sleep less:
Sleep Requirements for Infants & Toddlers

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I have to say, I feel like I have a pretty good schedule running for my kids every day. I like the balance of activities and it keeps them from getting bored and having too many discipline issues. See my post Structuring a Toddler’s Day for some ideas on how to create a balanced schedule for your older infant and toddler.

Where the day falls apart or does not run as smoothly is at times of transition or when we move from one activity to the next. For instance, the time in between breakfast and Independent Playtime or Structured Learning was not going very well. I was just letting the kids play in the kitchen or playroom while I cleaned up breakfast, but I found that was allowing them too much free play and often that “unstructured” time led to fights or discipline issues. I also did not want them pulling out a lot of toys and creating a mess while I was trying to clean up the kitchen and get them ready to move to the next activity. I just did not want to create more mess to clean up. I am sure you can appreciate that as a mom.

I asked my Baby Center Babywise Group how to handle these times of transition, and one mom gave me such a good idea. She told me to give them an activity to keep then occupied at the table while I clean up from the meal we just ate or while they wait to go outside and play, etc. What a simple solution, right? Well, sort of. I needed to come up with some activities that would hold my one-year old twins and my 2.5 year-old’s attention for 5-10 minutes while they stayed in their highchairs or seated at the table.

I came up with some activities that have worked so I thought I would share them with you. All the activities must be activities that your child can complete without any assistance otherwise, you will spend more time helping your child than getting ready to move to the next activity. So here are some ideas:

  • File Folder Games: Just google free preschool file folder games. You will find a ton you can print. From matching colors to counting from 1-10. Just make sure your child is able to complete these games on his or her own. You may have to play the file folder game a few times prior to using this as a transition activity so your child is familiar with how to play the game and able to complete or his own.
  • Puzzles: These are great transition activities. They are little mess, fun, and are easy to complete at the table.
  • Books: Give your child a small box of 4-5 books to look at the table during transition time.
  • Photo Album: Put pictures of your family and extended family in a photo album for your child to look at while you are moving from one activity to the next.
  • Sorting Activity: Give your child a few objects to sort into different bowls. You can use pompoms, fruitloops, different colored blocks, etc.
  • Book on Tape/CD: This is a great activity for transitions. You can rent books on tape at your local library or you can record your own voice reading a book for your child to listen to. You will need to teach your child how to turn the pages along with the read-aloud prior to using this as a transition activity.
  • Flash Cards: I bought some flash cards at the dollar store and at target’s dollar bin and punch a whole in the corner and put them on a key ring. They kids love to flip through and look at the various pictures on the flash cards. I also own some touch and feel flash cards that my kids LOVE so much!
  • Texture Box: This works well for younger toddlers. Take various different materials and textures and glue them on some index cards and store them in a shoe box. You toddler will enjoy taking them out and feeling the different textures.
  • Quiet Book: Google quiet book for different ideas on how to put together your own quiet book for your child. I have not actually made my own quiet book yet, but I have a binder with some quick activities that my 2.5 year old can do on his own, which is similar to a quiet book.
  • Matching: Give your child some cards you can do some matching activities with. There are tons of free matching games out there that you can print off the internet- just google free preschool matching games.

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I just made a really fun file folder game for my 2.5 year old son who loves garbage trucks. I plan on using this activity to reinforce how to count from 1-10. I have been also trying to create some new activities that Cooper can do quietly and independently at the table during table time, blanket time, or times of transition. Cooper loved the game so I thought I would share with all of you.

http://teachingtoddlersandpreschoolers.wordpress.com/2011/04/02/garbage-truck-file-folder-game-counting-1-10/

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