Arts Project, Motherhood, parenting, Toddler

How To Have Fun With Toddlers – 5 Art Projects To Do With Kids

By Samantha Gonzalez.

Kids love to create. It’s in their nature. My belief is that we can all benefit from a regular dose of creativity. So here are 5 projects you can do with your kids to get those creative juices flowing!

*Note these were designed with toddlers and preschoolers in mind, but older kids would love them too, as well as their parents!”

1.) Crown decorating
For this you’ll need:
Paper (construction or printer paper works fine, but for sturdiness, we used poster board)
Paint supplies
Glue
Rhinestones/Glitter/Sequins/Anything sparkly!

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Start by making a quick measurement of your child’s head. Cut the paper or poster board that length, plus 2-3 inches. Add paper with glue or tape as needed.

Then cut a few points at the top of the rectangle. You can let your child dictate how many and what size to you if they are old enough. We want to give them as much involvement as possible!

Let them paint away!

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Wait for the paint to dry (maybe try out another project while you wait!)

Glue on the shineys

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When it’s dry, tape, glue, or staple the crown together and bow to the royalty. This is a great prop for dramatic play as well as a fun art project!

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2.) Caterpillars and Butterflies
I love this project because it does so much in one activity! Art, Fine motor skills, the science of a butterfly’s metamorphosis, and a fun toy. For this you’ll need:
Pipe Cleaners
Coffee Filters
Washable Markers
Beads
Spray bottle of water

Make the Caterpillar
First loop one end of a pipe cleaner and twist to keep the beads from falling off, then thread beads on. How much help you give will depend on the age and maturity of the child. I love teaching threading with pipe cleaners because they won’t flop or fray like string and thread will! Threading is an important fine motor skill for toddlers and preschoolers, and even older kids have fun with choosing colors and experimenting with patterns.
Once your child is satisfied (or bored) with the threading, twist off the end like you did before and bend another pipe cleaner in half around the loop and twist to make antenna. You can get creative here too by either cutting them short, twirling them, or keeping them long!
Make the Cocoon
Now take out your coffee filters and markers and let your child color and scribble. The more colors the better! If your caterpillar is longer, you might need two coffee filters.
Help the child roll the caterpillar up in the cocoon. Now is a good time to talk about the metamorphic process!
Spray the wrapped caterpillar with water. Make sure the filter gets really wet.

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I did this right before nap time so we told the caterpillar goodnight, then I came back out to spread the coffee filters back out so they would be dry by the time she woke up.

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Make the Butterfly
This part you can do alone with smaller kids so they can see the “magic” of the caterpillar turning into a butterfly. Or you can let older kids try it on their own.

Once the coffee filters are dry, twist a third pipe cleaner around the middle of the caterpillar the again around the coffee filter. And you’re done!

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3.) Love Is… Painting
This one requires a little more prep and artistic work for mom. But you’ll not only have a fun project to do with your little one, but also an adorable keepsake or gift that’s perfect for Mother’s day, Father’s day, or Grandparents.

Begin by painting a canvas a solid color. You can have the toddler help!

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When it’s dry, write on the canvas with a sharpie or paint pen.

Now paint your child’s hand and feet a contrasting color to the background and make prints in the spaces you left. For mine, the feet became the “V” and the hand stood in place of the “A”

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Let it dry, then display!

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4.) Rock Painting

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Paint is fun. But younger kids will often lose focus quickly, making you wonder if it was worth the prep and mess clean up. However, the more senses we appeal to, the longer toddlers and preschoolers will stay engaged. So for this project, we’re just going to paint. But instead of paper, pull out those river rocks you collected from your last vacation! The bumpy and rough texture combined with trying to get the smooth, wet paint to cover it, will keep the little ones much more focused. You can also provide some shineys to stick on and make some treasures to hide and search for later.

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You might even find a local rock hiding group and use the rocks there!

5.) Foil painting
This was a Pinterest find that I wanted to try. Literally, all you need is paint and foil! you can also add a little dish soap to the paint to keep it from flaking when it dries.
The foil has a fun texture and sound when touched, so it keeps toddlers engaged for longer. Remember, the more senses we can appeal to the more toddlers and preschoolers will have to keep their focus. For my little one, this quickly turned from traditional painting, to finger painting, to a full sensory exploration! Just be ready for the mess afterwards!

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Bonus Project!
If all this painting makes you think of one thing
“All. The. Mess.”
Then here’s a bonus project for you!
All you need is a zippered plastic bag and some paint. Tape helps too.
Pour a few colors of paint into the bag. I like to choose colors that mix well.
Zip the bag shut.
Tape it to the window, table, or just hand it over to the child.
Viola! Mess-free finger painting!

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Hope you enjoyed these five art project ideas for you to do with your toddler or preschooler! Check out my blog for weekly project ideas for your kids and for you. Whimsyroo.wordpress.com

ABOUT AUTHOR


Samantha is the owner of the WhimsyRoo blog and shop. The mission of WhimsyRoo is to spread creativity and whimsy to mothers and their children, no matter their skill level or time constraints!

Samantha is also a dance instructor for ages 2-18, and the mom of a beautiful three year old girl.

She can also be found on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!

Facebook – @whimsyroo
Instagram – @whimsy.roo
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food, Motherhood, parenting

A Dietitian’s Guide To Baby’s First Food

By Nurfarah Hanani Amir Hamzah.

New mothers are surely excited to see their babies had the first spoon fed into the mouth. When you had noticed your baby is ready to be introduced with the complementary food, it will be a wonderful experience for both mother and baby.

Sometimes we might feel some pressure, whether we are doing things right and not causing harm to the baby. But don’t worry, here’s some quick tips for you mothers who wanted to prepare home cooked baby’s first food.

1. Do a meal planning on weekly basis. This will save you a lot of time for purchasing and preparation.

2. Be sure that all utensils, including cutting boards, grinder, knives, and other items, are thoroughly cleaned. Best is to separate the utensils and use it solely for your baby’s food.

3. Practice hand hygiene by washing your hands before preparing the food and feeding your baby. This is to reduce the risk of infections.

4. Do not add salt, sugar or any preservatives. Do not add honey to food intended for infants younger than 1 year of age.

5. Pick one new food at a time to be introduced and combine the food when your baby knowingly didn’t have any allergies to both.

6. If any allergies symptoms emerged, stop feeding the food. Try challenge the food again, after 1 month.

7. The steps of the food texture: puree -> semi solid -> solid

8. You may start with starch and/or vegetables and when your child reach 8 months, you may start preparing some porridge with introduction of protein. However, white egg should only be introduced after 12 months.

9. Use plastic spoon to avoid injuries. The BPA-free plastic spoons are abundantly available at the retail stores.

10. Make it a fun and relaxed environment for your baby. Never put the pressure for the baby to finish the food. For working mothers, best is to do it on Saturdays as you will have 24 hours to monitor your baby’s acceptance to the introduced food till Sunday evening.

11. Never stops breastfeeding the babies even after your baby starts eating. For formula fed babies, you might need to reduce the number of feeding.

Hopefully these tips will ease your mind in starting this new adventure in your life! Remember to always have fun with food and practice balance, moderate and variety.

ABOUT AUTHOR

Farahanani is a speaker and writer while working full time as a Dietitian & Clinical Instructor.
Her day job which she has the most passion in teaching aspiring students to be a Dietitian, doesn’t hinder her from other passion in sharing dietary advices to her readers on her personal blog at farahanani.blogspot.com and guest writer at parenting magazine.
Her mission is to spread more nutrition information to Malaysian particularly Malay Speaking community since she realised the limited Malay Language articles in such topics.

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Blogging

Change Of Website Link

Quick announcement: the site link has changed from norshafawati.wordpress.com to simplemomjourney.com (yes, I have my own domain now, yay!).

No worries, if you access the site from the old link, it will redirect you to the current site.

Hope you enjoy the new look and feel. Happy reading!

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Blogging

The Journey Of A Simple Girl Is Now The Journey Of A Simple Mom

Hi people! After some thoughts, I have now officially changed the blog title from The Journey Of A Simple Girl to The Journey Of A Simple Mom.

I have been using the previous title throughout my previous blogs on other platforms since about 12 years ago.

The changes felt needed, due to the evolvement of my blog posts. My blog was previously a combination of travel & life journal. Now, it is focus on posts regarding parenting, blogging & social media.

As for travel, I have a separate blog for it, which is Travel With Love. The link is jenjalankami.wordpress.com. Travel With Love focuses on the journey of my husband and I regarding travel, food & movies.

Hope you enjoy both of these blogs, and I am planning to write on more topics in the future! 🙂

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Motherhood, parenting

5 Reasons To Care About Social Skills More Than School

By Emily Edlynn.

As a child psychologist, I knew the textbook importance of all areas of child development long before I became a mother. Little did I know the real-world pressures on parents for their children to excel and reach goals that society has decided are important. When I was pregnant with my first child, living in Los Angeles, I decided we had to move when people repeatedly asked me if my unborn child was on a kindergarten waiting list yet.

In my roles both as mother and psychologist, I know these academic pressures can start really young, and parents worry about whether preschool is preparing their child enough for kindergarten. Of course, this anxiety skyrockets when these kids are in high school getting ready for college. But we may all be losing focus on what matters most for our children’s futures.

Research has shown over and over how important social relationships are across the lifespan, from infant brain development, to being an adult with lower risk of mental and physical health problems.

School matters, but relationships matter more.

Most parents I know say that what they want most for their children is for them to be happy. If that’s true, then we need to care more about how our kids are learning to interact and relate with other people, than how quickly they are learning to read chapter books and do multiplication.

5 Reasons to Care about Social Skills More than School:

1) Play Dates Over Hours of Homework

Decades of research show that social skills in childhood and adolescence are the strongest predictors of success in college and later in life. It matters more than grade point average, test scores, or sports trophies.

2) Work Hard AND Play Hard Is True

Recent research shows that academics are actually linked to social skills, so they go hand-in-hand rather than competing with each other. One recent study of kids in a social skills program in elementary school showed they improved academically after the program.

3) Let’s All NOT Get Along

We all want our kids to get along, but conflict can be just as important as harmony. Whether it’s figuring out who gets to play with the toy both toddlers want, or a fight over hurt feelings in middle school, conflict is a part of life and the better we deal with it, the better our relationships. Kids need the opportunity to have conflict to build these skills, which is more likely when they have unstructured play without adult supervision.

4) The Key to Happiness

It’s simple and common sense, but also shown in research: having close, meaningful relationships makes us happy no matter our age. We know that teenagers with depression and anxiety have lower quality social relationships, likely because their symptoms are getting in the way of socializing. In fact, a huge part of treating these symptoms is to encourage MORE time with positive friends. People with all different kinds of problems are more likely to manage these problems well when they have strong networks of support.

5) Who Am I?

Every child is figuring out their sense of self in different ways as they get older. First, young kids learn who they are outside of the family unit when they engage with the world in daycare or other opportunities without their parents. In elementary school, being around even larger groups of other kids pushes them to start identifying who THEY are with basic labels. Teenagers are famous for “trying on” different personalities as they figure out their identity in the larger world. This experimentation likely involves different kinds of friend groups. All of this identity development is a function of social relationships: Who am I with others? Who am I in this world?

There is no doubt that school is a hugely important part of a child’s development. Doing well in school earns more than a good grade point average; it builds work ethic, critical thinking skills, self-esteem, and of course knowledge.

So to be clear: I’m not saying, “Just forget about school and focus on friends!” I think many of us need to find a balance of where we are focusing that better reflects what we know about how essential social skills are to every other part of life. Although school success can pay off in many ways for our kids’ futures, it is clear that who surrounds our kids while they grow and learn, and how our kids relate to each other, matter even more.

ABOUT AUTHOR


Dr. Edlynn is the author of The Art and Science of Mom parenting blog. She is a child psychologist and mother of three children, ages 8, 6, and 3. Her mission is helping families find calm in the chaos of modern parenting by blending science and instinct. She can also be found at Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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Learnings, mindfulness, Motherhood

4 Easy Ways to Mindfully Address Emotional Toddlers

By Sharon Silver.

Toddlers. They’re a mix of hugs, kisses, love, screams, messes, resisting, and fun, fun, fun!
They are something else, too. Developmentally, toddlers think, and act, much more like babies than kids.

Many parents think toddlers are capable of Stopping. It. Right. This. Minute. They aren’t. And when a toddler doesn’t respond the way a parent wants them to, the parent reacts, and the toddler reveals just how young (s)he really is by falling into puddle of tears on the floor.
Toddlers are also a walking bundle of conflicts, contradictions, and frustrations. Let me explain.

Your toddler sees his favorite toy across the room and begins walking toward it. Then he looks up and sees you, his beloved parent.
He stops.
He wants his toy, and he wants his parent.

Since toddlers live in the moment, and see life through literal eyes, he believes he must choose between his beloved toy or his beloved parent. He’s conflicted.
He wonders, “Should I pick up my toy, or get a hug from my parent?” His mind races between both options, parent or toy, toy or parent? Since he doesn’t know how to decide, he plops down and begins to tantrum or cry.
A version of this happens all day long, in situation after situation. It’s frustrating for the toddler, and can cause a parent to react and demand that a child stop the fuss Right. This. Minute.

All parents want to stop reacting and parent more mindfully. Here are four steps to mindfully address emotional toddlers.

Step 1- Triggers

Since reactions are motivated by triggers, then the first thing wise parents do is ask themselves, “Why am I reacting the way I am?” “What belief do I hold that is motivating my reaction?” Where did I learn to believe that?” Most often you’ll find the answers to those questions in the way your parents handled your intense emotions as a child.

Step 2- Feelings

Most parents hold the belief that the best way to stop emotional toddlers is to stop the feelings or control the situation. Since newly-verbal toddlers can’t fully reveal what’s upsetting them, trying to control or shut down the feelings only makes things worse.
A more mindful approach is to let your child experience whatever they’re feeling. Do not abandon your child. Stand or sit near them or pull them on your lap, if they’ll let you, as long as they don’t hurt you or themselves. Do not try and talk to them when they’re fully emotional. If you have a child who needs to hear your voice, simple repeat, “You’re okay,” over and over again, until the child begins to calm down.
Doing this teaches a toddler that feelings don’t stay this intense forever, they do subside. It also models for a child that my parents can remain calm, even when I can’t, so that must be the way to handle big emotions, calmly.

Step 3- Connecting

As soon as your child has released their rage, then anger, then mad, and moved on to sadness, it’s time to connect. Toddlers are a bit too young to grasp the full concept of deep breathing, however, you can, as they get older, teach them to take a few deep breaths to calm down.
This is also the time when you want to be empathetic and supportive by mirroring and putting into words what they’ve just experienced. You might say, “You wanted the toy, and you wanted me to hug you. You didn’t know what to choose first. That was hard, so you cried. I understand. You’re okay now. Would you like a hug?”

Step 4- Using a Mindful Teaching Authority™

You might be wondering, “When do I teach her not to do that again?” First, let me say, this will happen again, it’s age appropriate. Toddlers are just learning about life and need repeated experiences in order to learn all the details about situations. Parents need to accept the fact that teaching something once is not realistic.
Using a mindful teaching authority means using age appropriate ways to teach kids what you want them to do next time.
Since toddlers live in the now, they need to be taught what to do instead as soon as they calm down, so the details about what happened, and how to do it differently next time, can be connected in their mind.
You do that by asking them to repeat the situation that frustrated them in the first place. You might say, “Sweetie, are you ready to try getting the toy again? Go pick up your teddy and bring him with you as you come get a hug from mom.” This shows him/her that you can have both things at the same time.

Looking for more mindful concepts to help you with the toddler years? Check out When Development is Dressed as Misbehavior. This audio/video shares little known insights into the rapid, often intense, development that occurs between 18 months to age 5.

ABOUT AUTHOR

Sharon Silver is a mom, parent educator and public speaker and founder of Proactive Parenting. She is also the author of Stop Reacting and Start Responding: 108 Ways to Transform behavior into Learning Moments

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babywearing, Motherhood

How To Choose The Best Baby Carrier

by Dr Izam Suziani

You’re in your third trimester, and you’re looking for the best baby carrier to help you take the baby out when you need to.
You have a newborn in the house. It was such an enjoyable moment until your husband has to go back to work, your confinement lady is gone, and you’re left alone attending your baby who wants to be held all the time.
You are stressed and your milk supply has gone down. You want to increase skin-to-skin time with your baby, but you have other things to attend to and you’re feeling exhausted.

Here are just a few examples of situation when you wished you had an extra pair of hands. Whatever your reason is, this question often comes in mind- HOW DO I CHOOSE A BABY CARRIER?
Well, there are a few factors to consider when deciding on your first (or “best”) baby carrier. The most important 3 are:

1. ERGONOMIC
When purchasing a carrier, check that the carrier allows your baby to be in this position. It is best if you could try them with your baby in it.
An ergonomic carrier simply means 2 things:
It keeps your body and baby’s body in the natural positions
It is comfortable for both you and your baby

Baby’s natural position
Baby’s BACK/ SPINE, which is naturally in a C-SHAPED CURVE

Picture credit to Baby Doo USA

Baby’s HIPS, which is naturally in a SPREAD SQUAT POSITION

Picture credit to International Hip Dysplasia Institute

2.SAFE

“TICKS” Rule for Babywearing Safety must be adhered to at all times when the baby is in a carrier. So, when choosing a baby carrier, ensure that all 5 criterias are met.

Picture credit to UK Sling Consortium

Check your baby frequently and adjust your baby’s position accordingly whilst in a baby carrier.

Another important point is ALWAYS BUY AN ORIGINAL CARRIER. Baby carriers can be a bit expensive, but what is more expensive than your baby’s life? Please do not buy FAKE CARRIERS because although they are kinder to your pocket, there have been cases where buckles break and stitches come off, which resulted in falls and detrimental consequences to the baby.

3. APPROPRIATE FOR BABY’S SIZE & CONDITION

We all wish there is ONE carrier that will fit from newborn to toddler, right? Let’s be realistic- it actually depends on your baby’s size and growth, and how long you wish to carry him/ her for. Some carriers might last that long. Then again, it depends on what purpose it has to serve and the duration, as these are subjective.
The tip is: find a carrier that FITS. If it’s too big (your baby is ‘drowning’ in the carrier), it’s dangerous. If it’s too small, it might not be supportive enough (which is also dangerous) and you might end up with back pain too.
If your baby requires special care i.e. premature baby/ syndromic/ other health issues, please CONSULT A BABYWEARING CONSULTANT before purchasing your baby carrier.

I hope this article will help you choose your best carrier. Remember that there is actually no “best carrier”- a baby carrier might suit your friend very well, but it doesn’t mean it will suit you too. Also remember that a carrier of YOUR choice might not be a carrier of YOUR BABY’S choice! Your baby has a say too, as your baby is going to be in it as much as you are. HAPPY BABYWEARING!

P/S: Specially for the readers of norshafawati.wordpress.com, enjoy 10% off retail price when you shop at shopee.com.my/babywearingmalaysia! Key in voucher code “BABYSHAFA”. Applicable to all items in the shop. Offer valid from today till 1st August 2018.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr Izam Suziani binti Ismail
Certified Babywearing Consultant & Medical Trainers Licence
Trageschule UK

Owner of Babywearing by Baby Ultra
http://www.babyultra.com.my
FB https://www.facebook.com/BabyWearingByBabyUltra/
Ig @babyultra

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