Monday, April 27, 2009

Eight Tips For Potty Training Your Toddler

by Jacqueline Courtiol, M.A. Ed. Getting your toddler to perform toileting independently is a welcome milestone for any parent. Few of us want to be changing diapers much past the child's second birthday. However, children vary greatly in their adoption of the potty routine which is influenced by a child's innate ability, aptitude and maturity. However, there several tips and techniques you can use to hasten the blessed day when your toddler says: Mommy, I did potty by myself! 1) Get your child ready - explain to your child that it's time to do "pee-pee" and "poo-poo" in the potty. Promote the benefits of being trained such as no more diaper rash, interruptions for diaper changing, being clean and dry. Discuss training as an important stage of growing up. 2) Make it fun! First and foremost, make this a game. Children will naturally resist anything which is not framed as a fun learning experience. Use play, music, toys, and stories as part of the experience to keep the child from getting bored or distracted. 3) Create a ritual! Try to make the experience repeatable so your child knows what to expect each time and gets into the routine of sitting and staying on the potty. 4) Use props! Use of books, toys, videos and music all help create an atmosphere of fun and enjoyment which is so essential. 5) Time it right! Try repeating the process every hour for 2 to 4 minutes. If you can do this close to times your child usually has a bowel movement or urination, such as just after a meal, even better. 6) Be prepared! If you are traveling or away from home, bring a folding, plastic adapter ring that fits onto an adult toilet seat is useful. Extra tissue and wipes will be useful in bathrooms that are short on supplies. 7) Give praise! Give your child social praise for sitting on the potty patiently or for staying dry. If the potty routine is successful, consider some reward (e.g. special prize, book or foods) that are especially valued. 8) Show your child how to clean up - demonstrate how to wash hands and dry hands on a towel. Remember that training you child takes patience and perseverance. Staying on task and being consistent send an important message to your child. Above all, don't let your child feel forced. It's important to keep the whole experience fun and enjoyable for the best results. Article source: About the author Jacqueline Courtiol, M.A. Ed. is a veteran teacher, mother and business owner. She is the founder of Colic Calm Gripe Water a provider of natural homeopathic remedies for relief of infant colic and gas and are recommended by pediatricians.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Guidecraft Turns 45!

A message from Guidecraft:

It's Our 45th Birthday! Dear Friends, It's our 45th birthday and we have so much to celebrate! My father started Guidecraft in 1964 in a small woodshop, producing 10 items. I purchased the company in 1995 and have continued to develop the line, which now includes over 850 educational toys and furnishings. Our size has changed, but our mission remains the same; stay true to the tradition of smart, beautifully crafted wood products, which allow children's minds and imaginations room to truly wonder and grow. As we turn 45, we see that our best contributions lie in this commitment to continue doing what we do best, while always giving our loyal customers what they have come to expect; expert quality, excellent service and an ever growing collection of creativity inspiring products for children. Our playful furniture is a wonderful new extension of our line and we are delighted to present it to you. As I watch the next generation of Fein's play with Guidecraft products I eagerly invite you and the children in our lives to join in the fun, learning and excitement.

Thank you for your interest and enthusiasm; we are working hard to earn your new and continued loyalty. Jason L. Fein, President proudly retails these children's furniture items from Guidecraft: Guidecraft Children's Furniture Collections (all) Butterfly Circus Farmhouse First Impressions Lambs & Ivy Sports Lambs & Ivy Swan Lake Madame Alexander Major League Baseball (MLB) Moon & Stars National Hockey League (NHL) Noah's Ark Pirate Princess Raggedy Ann & Andy Safari Sunflower Tea Party

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Using Building Blocks for Structured Play

A great book to read if you are interested in building blocks is The Complete Block Book by Eugene Provenzo. There is a wealth of information in this book about the historical emergence of building blocks as an educational tool, as well as detail on studies showing how building blocks develop children’s social, cognitive, and motor skills. The following is an edited list of structured block play ideas from the book to enjoy with your children. 1. Practice shape words - put a handful of blocks into a bag and have the child pick each out one by one. Have the child describe it to you without looking! Have the child only use the sense of touch and his vocabulary to describe the block. 2. Make your own shape sorter - Have the child choose about 6 blocks and then have him trace them onto a piece of paper. Color in the shapes according to the colors of the blocks that were traced. Let the child then match up the actual blocks with the tracings. This is a great activity for practicing small motor skills and involving 3 fun activities- tracing, coloring, and block play. Make sure to rehearse shape and color names! 3. Learning “attributes” - Take 20 blocks of different shapes, sizes and colors and have the child sort them into groups by a like trait. Don’t tell the child how to sort them! Then, have the child explain why he sorted them the way he did. Younger children are only able to sort by one attribute-color! Older children will be able to sort by shape and size. You can see how your child’s cognitive skills develop over time with this exercise. 4. Domino effect - Have your child collect 10 or so same size rectangular blocks and set them up so that toppling the first will create a domino effect. Children love watching the dominos fall and it teaches them cause and effect. This exercise also helps develop small motor skills. 5. Seriation - Have your child take a set of blocks and place them in size order. For younger children start with only 2 blocks as this is a very difficult task for them. Gradually add blocks to the set. Placing things in order (seriation) is the skill developed through this exercise. Also, visual discrimination is practiced. 6. The pattern game - This is especially fun with older children. Take a group of blocks of varying sizes and colors. Create a pattern with 2 blocks and have the child copy it. Once the child copies it correctly add another block. Have the child copy that as well. Develop a pattern, do not build a structure. Once you have something like 2 red blocks, 2 green blocks, 2 red blocks, have the child guess what will come next. Older children will see the series developing and anticipate the next block or two. This game develops seriation and visual discrimination. 7. Math made easy! For many children math can be made simpler by having them use concrete objects to represent numbers. With a set of blocks a child can set up 2+2=4 by counting out two blocks and counting out another 2 blocks and then joining the piles together to count 4 blocks. Early math skills are made easier by concrete representation. And remember, if your child can add, he CAN subtract! Just show him. Note: These building block activities are by no means intended as substitutes for free and open ended play by the children. Instead consider these ideas as part of structured lessons and alternate ways that building blocks can be used in an educational setting, or even at home:-) To Find Building Blocks at Blocks & Building Toys or Wooden Blocks

Friday, April 3, 2009

Major League Baseball Furniture for Little Fans!

The "Boys of Summer" are here! It's the time of year for baseball! Guidecraft has teamed up (pun intended!) with Major League Baseball and created an exciting chidren's furniture collection that is hand-carved, and hand-painted. These are OFFICIALLY LICENSED which means the team colors and logos are spot on!
There are 29 Major League Baseball teams to choose from and has them at the lowest allowable Internet prices.
This Complete Room Decor for your child is exceptional quality and worthy of being passed down from generation to generation.
You can purchase a FULL ROOM or buy pieces separately.
  • Toy Chest
  • Step Stool
  • Storage Step Stool
  • Director's Chair
  • Table & Chairs Set
  • Clothes Tree
  • Table Lamp
  • Rocking Chair

Experience the quality construction and functionality of each piece. What could be more fun for a child than to have their own room or play area capture the look of their favorite baseball team? is offering the lowest allowable Internet prices on the MLB Children's furniture and ALL Guidecraft Children's Furniture.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Top Spring Toys & Books for Preschool Kids!

I just can't wait! After the kids have been cooped up all winter we are all just bouncing off the walls to get outside again.
Here are our Top 10 Toy Picks for Spring: 1. Plasma Car available in blue, red, or pink. The perfect outside ride-on toy!
2. Sand Play Kit by Haba A note about the Haba Beach toys: they last and last and last. These are not throw-aways! Just don't lose them and you'll have them for years to come. 3. Haba Mole Diggers Dig fast with this inventive toy!
7. Dora the Explorer All Sports Set Includes 4 soft balls a soft bat and glove too!
And, for those rainy Spring days (yes, it's inevitable), some great books with Springtime themes:

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Happy April Fool's Day...Now Let's Trick the Kids!

I always feel like a fool on April Fool's Day because I always forget! I just opened one of those trick emails..they got me! It was from I have to say that despite them making me feel foolish today, I really do love that product. Although it's out of the realm of our usual conversations I thought I would mention to you how fantastic that product is. It makes life EASIER! If you have a computer at work and one at home, for example, you could have access to both of them at any time. When I'm home I can log onto my office computers and work as if I'm on one of those desktops. Try it: and you'll love it! Now onto kiddie things...Do any of you like to fake out the kids on April Fool's Day? I see lots of parenting magazine articles that show "tricky" foods. They make a food out of one thing BUT it looks completely like something else. Try this link to Family Fun Magazine for some great suggestions: Some are gross, most are funny, and all will surely trick those little ones! Happy Fooling :)
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