As the holidays approach, many aunts, uncles and significant others of Mom or Dad are wondering how you buy a present for a young boy. Baby gifts are easy enough as you’re really pleasing parents, but once you’re into the trickier ages of four and up, it can be hard to find a present that the boy will enjoy that won’t get you into trouble.
Avoid Picking the Wrong Gift
The wrong gift for Christmas or a birthday can have a lasting impact. An eight-year-old who receives a “baby” toy will be highly insulted and might never forgive you for the injustice. A young boy who receives a gift fit for a girl, at least in his mind, has now suffered tremendous outrage. Before grabbing the first thing to catch your eye, plan your gift-giving carefully.
Talk To The Parents If The Kid Is Not Yours
If you can, talk to the parents of the young boy. Ask about his interests and what sort of toys he’s been requesting. Don’t be afraid to branch out from toys into movies, art supplies, video games, and electronics. Of course, you’ll want to be sure you get the right game, so scope out the console ahead of time. Parents can give you ideas or even tell you flat out what to buy the child. This can be a relief, but it also takes away some of the hunt.
Research Top Toys for Boys
There are lists of popular toys that appear around the holidays every year. Top Christmas toys are popular with children of all ages and so long as you pick one that is most certainly boy, you’re likely at least close to being in the child’s good graces. The only thing that might go wrong is to pick a toy that’s insulting somehow, such as one that is too young or out of his interests. Opt for a mainstream option if possible.
Ask Other “Experts”
If you find yourself at the toy store wandering the aisles aimlessly, stop someone who looks knowledgeable in the art of toy selection and ask for help. A mother or father of a child about the same age can point out some of the most popular toys for the age group. A store associate might be familiar with the most popular items, but she might also be there earning minimum wage and not particularly interested.
Your absolute best bet is to simply follow a boy about the right age and watch his reaction. When he stops and begs mom for a particular toy, pick it up and buy it. If one boy wanted it that badly, it’s very likely another one won’t be disappointed in it either.
Easy Step By Step Instructions for Buying Toys For Boys
- Determine the age group of the child you’re shopping for
- Ask his parents for preferences and ideas
- Consult popular toy lists for ideas
- Ask or follow “experts” in selecting toys for the age group
- Buy the toy
Warnings, Advice, and Suggestions When Buying Toys
Be sure to include a gift receipt with the present. As much as you hope he’ll love it, your gift might be a duplicate or need to be returned in favor of something else.
Every parent practically holds their breath from the moment they bring their new baby home for the day they can finally stop changing diapers. A true milestone for any child, potty training can be a terrifying ordeal but truly worth the effort when you are finally successful. The most important piece to remember during potty training is not to lose patience. Your child will learn when they are ready and no amount of frustration will speed along that process.
How to Tell If Your Child Is Ready
Most pediatricians estimate that children are ready for potty training at around 18-36 months. There is a large gap in ages depending on your child. When they are ready, children will start giving you signals such as removing their own diapers, asking questions about the potty and not wetting their diapers while they are napping. These are just a few possible clues that your baby is interested in the process, the most important step in potty training. Just like anything, the potty training process is much easier if your child is interested and engaged in the process rather than fighting against it so pay close attention and create opportunities for your child to show interest.
How to Peak Your Child’s Interest in Potty Training
There are many books available to read to your child designed to help peek their interest and a variety of games and fun activities designed to make potty training more interesting. Make up fun games and rewards that will make the whole process more of an adventure for your baby. Make up a song to sing or give the child a sticker when they use the potty.
Once you have explained the many uses and advantages of that little plastic potty to your child, patience is the game. Many parents will find themselves on the floor by aforementioned plastic toilet reading for hours before Johnny actually is able to use the facilities but when he finally does, be sure to make a big deal of the whole thing, even if this means a short lived potty dance. Reinforcement is key until using the potty becomes a habit. This may happen in a day or may take months. Regardless of how long your child takes, remember they will eventually grow out of the feeling of wet or “muddy” diapers and truly want to lean so be patient.
Easy Step By Step Instructions For Potty Training
- Look for signs of readiness in your child
- Get your child interested in the potty
- Determine an award system
- Consistently use the rewards for positive reinforcement.
Warnings, Advice, and Suggestions When Potty Training
Don’t ever feel as if you need to rush your child, they will make it obvious when they are truly ready to start learning and the process will be that much easier for you both. Make the training process fun and don’t lose your cool!
You might have begun thinking of names while still checking your ovulation calendar, but regardless of your early planning, choosing the right name for your baby requires more than dreaming – especially if your want your child to have a unique name.
The Common Baby Name
There is a name or twenty that appears everywhere across the globe. Lists of popular baby names by year confirm that certain names are popular year after year and if you choose that name for your child, there is almost certain to be many others that will have the same name in every class he attends. For some children it is comforting to not stand out, but for others, it is frustrating to share a name with virtually everyone they meet. Parents will need to make this decision themselves. Is a common name the right one for your child?
How Unique Is Unique When It Comes to Baby Names?
Many parents decide that they prefer a name that is different than their child’s future classmates. They want something unique, but there are many degrees of different when it comes to naming children. Names are not being developed from pieces of fruit and seemingly random combinations of letters from the alphabet.
Being different is one thing, but being outlandish might be something else entirely. When selecting a unique name, always pay attention to how the name is sounded out. If your child will have to correct everyone he meets on the correct pronunciation of his name, the bloom may fall quickly off that particular rose.
Many parents choose a moderate form of unique – a unique spelling of a more conventional name, or a name that is easy to see and spell that just happens to not be heavily in use.
Unique Spellings of Traditional Baby Names
If you like a particular name, but want your child to have a different slant to it, simply change the spelling. Granted, it will likely be spelled wrong on nametags the majority of the time, but Jaykub rather than Jacob might be just what you need to satisfy your unique urge.
Old Baby Names
Another trend to find uniqueness is to examine the names of the past to find those that aren’t heavily in use. Charles was a popular name for boys decades ago, but is rarely used today, for example. In girls, this trend is so popular that the classic names such as Anna and Hannah are becoming the most common names selected by parents.
Special Applications For Baby Names
And then there are the names that come from other forms of inspiration. Perhaps the city where your baby was conceived would make a perfect name or the name of the street where you brought your little one home. Fruit, colors and other common features of the day might be inspiring as well. Keep your eyes open to see what you might use as the perfect unique name – you’re bound to find much more than you bargained for.
Easy Step By Step
- Decide on how unique you want your child’s name to be.
- Look for unique spelling as one option of how to make a name unique.
- Research older baby names that haven’t been heavily used for generations.
- Use your surrounding and virtually anything else as inspiration for baby names.
Warnings, Advice, and Suggestions
Always check the names to see if your baby’s initials spell anything embarrassing and remember to try out mispronunciations of the name to rule out anything embarrassing there as well.
Selecting a baby name can be challenging if the two parties don’t agree right away. When faced with problems over baby names, there is only one thing to do – compromise.
Discuss Your Wishes for Naming Your Baby
In a rational setting, which can be hard to find when dealing with riled up emotions and pregnancy hormones, discuss the criteria each party would like to have for the name. Try to avoid using particular names, but tell what matters most. For example, one person might want to try only very unique baby names to be different, while the other might want to use a family name to honor relatives.
When you discuss criteria, it becomes easier to see where you might have commonalities. There might be a variation of a family name that is unique, for example. Working together to find it certainly beats arguing about a handful of preselected names over and over again.
The Great Naming Compromise
If you’re simply not finding common ground or can’t help but resort to pecking at each other, resolve to solve the problem with a true compromise. Use any resource you like to create a list of ten to twenty baby names you like. Your partner will do the same. When the lists are created, and this could take days, swap lists.
Without making any comments or disparaging remarks, simply cross of names you absolutely can’t fathom. If both parties have reached to find as many names as possible in a wide variety, there should be some names left on both lists. There might even be an accidental overlap. If there are names on both lists, you have a compromise in minutes. But if you have names remaining on both lists, you have a place to start at least.
Making Small Changes to Names
Working with what is left on the two lists, begin combining, rearranging and practicing different spellings or variations of the names until both parties are satisfied. You can do the lists multiple times as well to help narrow down your new lists of choices. When it’s all said and done, you should be able to find a name you can both handle for your precious baby.
Easy Step By Step
- • Discuss what’s important in the name rather than the names themselves.
- • Look for similarities in your criteria to search for names together.
- • If that doesn’t work, make a list of twenty baby names you love. Your partner does the same.
- • Swap lists and mark off names you hate from your partners lists.
- • Look for commonalities and names you both like to begin working toward a solution.
Warnings, Advice, and Suggestions
Naming your baby can become an emotional battle. Rather than fighting against each other, work together to dig through tens of thousands of names to find one that you both like at least a little.
Unless you plan to invite your child’s class to her birthday party, you might consider bringing a small treat to her class lunch during school hours as an opportunity to celebrate. Of all the parties your child might have for her birthday, a class party at school is simple to arrange.
Talk to the Teacher about the Birthday Party
Before making elaborate plans for kids birthday parties, you must speak to the teacher. Schools are creating rules and guidelines for birthday parties to help organize events and keep them from becoming outlandish. In some cases, for example, you can’t use your favorite cookie recipes to make special treats for the class, the goodies much be store bought to ensure they meet more stringent health codes. Allergies are a consideration as well.
Think Individual Thoughts
Rather than bringing a cake to school, think of serving the children individually. Large cookies or cupcakes are much easier to handle than a sheet cake that would have to be cut and served. Sheet cakes also present problems for teachers who must deal with the inevitable bickering amongst students over who gets the edge pieces and who got the pink flower versus the yellow one.
Offering the class a bakery box full of cupcakes is a nice way to make things as uniform and individualized as possible. If cupcakes are discouraged or you want something a bit cleaner, considering a bakery box full of brownies or cookies, but be sure to avoid nuts as they are a common allergy.
Always Include Napkins
When you go to serve your treats, you’ll be listed among the teacher’s mortal enemies if you forget napkins. Bring colorful birthday napkins for serving and cleaning up crumbs, but as those flimsy napkins aren’t especially effective at wiping up icing or other sticky messes, include a roll of heavy duty paper towels as well.
Stay and Help
Unless you have a very good relationship with the teacher, arrive just prior to the lunch or snack time with the treat and then stay and help serve and clean up. In most cases you won’t need to arrange more than the treat, but you can pack small gift bags or provide juice boxes as needed. All of these are simple to arrange and can be done in a single afternoon. Yet your child will be greatly respected and appreciated on her special day – if only because everyone likes a cupcake at lunch.
Easy Step By Step
- Talk to your child’s teacher about birthday party policies.
- Plan to serve individualized servings of the treat.
- Include napkins and any other plastic utensils necessary.
- Stay and help with the clean-up.
Warnings, Advice, and Suggestions
Have your child help distribute the cupcakes during lunch. As she helps to serve, she can show how glad she is to share her birthday with others.
When considering nursing your newborn, the most important aspect in your overall success will be having the baby latch correctly. An improper latch can make newborn nursing extremely painful and the baby can have a hard time getting proper nutrition. Start your road to a year of baby nursing by learning to latch your baby to the breast properly.
Get in Position
For proper nursing, mom should be sitting upright supported by a seat cushion or pillows. When possible her feet should be elevated as well. Use a nursing pillow to bring the baby up to your breast – never lean over to put your breast at her level. This is a recipe for aches and pains. Sit back, get comfortable, arrange your pillow around your waist and pick up your baby.
There are two different positions that are best for nursing a newborn baby. The first is a football hold where the baby’s legs go under your right (or left) arm with her tummy facing your rib cage. Her body curves around the side of your body and you hold her much like you would a football.
The second position is to cross your baby over your chest with her tummy on yours. Support her entire body with your arm underneath and your hand helping to hold her head. This is the ideal position for learning to latch your baby on properly as you are holding her with the most control. Be sure her body is facing in completely with her mouth in line with your nipple.
Open Her Mouth Widely
Get her to open her little mouth in a big O. You can do this by tickling the side of her cheek with your pinky while you hold her head. Hold your breast with your other hand. When her mouth opens wide, quickly insert your nipple.
Your baby should hold most of the nipple in her mouth including the tip and the areola. The tip of the nipple should be pointing up to the roof of her mouth so that she can “milk” the breast with her tongue while sucking. When she is latched properly, you will feel discomfort initially as the sensation is rather strong, but you should not feel horrible pain that you would if she were holding your nipple incorrectly in her mouth.
Easy Step By Step
- Hold your baby correctly.
- Bring her to your breast
- Encourage her to open her mouth widely
- Place your nipple in her mouth including much of the areola.
- The point of the nipple should be facing up toward the roof of her mouth.
Warnings, Advice, and Suggestions
Always break the seal your baby creates before removing your breast from her mouth. Do this by slipping a pinky in the corner of her mouth. Keep positioning your breast until she gets the latch correctly – never settle, you’ll regret it.
If you’re asked to be Santa at a Christmas party or decide to surprise your family on Christmas morning, you’re actually taking on a rather significant role – especially for small children. Being Santa Claus is more than throwing on a Santa suit. You’re taking on a full persona.
Don the Apparel
Start with the required apparel. You’ll need a Santa costume – the more elaborate, the better. Be sure you have the red jacket and pants, fur lined hat, black boots and belt. A good belly is a wonderful asset, but can be faked as necessary. If you happen to have a face full of whiskers, you’re a shoo-in, but if not, a fake beard will do. When fully costumed, you should be decked in Santa’s gear from head to toe. Grab a velvet bag full of gifts and you’re ready for the proverbial sleigh.
Take on the Role
Looking like Santa is one thing, but to truly be convincing to small children, or especially entertaining to adults, you must take on the role of Santa and never leave it. Even if you’re suffering from too much eggnog, keep that smile on your face as you Ho-Ho-Ho your way from child to child. Be grand in your gestures and exuberant in your attitude. Your character is one of perpetual happiness and good cheer. Feel it, be it.
If you’re playing the role of Santa for hours on end, it can be easy to lose focus and slip into your normal speech patterns or show a bit too much of that eggnog induced attitude. Grit your teeth and keep up the joyous exterior – you’re bringing light into the hearts and minds of children or at least keeping the party entertaining.
Easy Step By Step
- • Find a high quality Santa Suit
- • Don a bit of extra padding and a fake beard as necessary
- • Put on your happy face and leave it there as long as necessary
- • Never break character or you risk scarring a child for life!
Warnings, Advice, and Suggestions
Before you put on your full Santa gear, stop by the restroom. Sitting around in layers upon layers of clothing with children and even adults hopping onto your lap isn’t the greatest for a full bladder.
If you’re more interested in entertaining your children at home on Halloween than visiting the neighborhood, your best options are to find things to do together as a family. Cooking fun Halloween treats together is a great way to bond and spend time as a family this Halloween.
Your first step will be to find appropriate Halloween recipes. As many Halloween treats such as chocolate spiders and caramel apples can be made in large batches, you might consider inviting your child’s best friend or a small group of friends over as well for a Halloween party instead of trick-or-treating if you prefer. Otherwise, gather a collection of recipes and necessary ingredients before Halloween night.
Prepare for Family Fun
Halloween is most special in costume, so before starting your family Halloween fun, everyone should change into a costume. Once everyone is ready, set out your recipes and ingredients and let all your family members focus on baking different things together. The more projects you have going at once, the more people can help and the more fun the family will have together.
Prepare as many treats as you can – keeping the number reasonable for the size of your family and gathering, of course. Then, while you wait for the food to bake or set, take on another family activity. Carve the jack-o-lantern or watch a fun Halloween cartoon together. When the treats are ready, bring them in and everyone can grab a few while they enjoy a Halloween classic.
It goes without saying, but when you have a Halloween adventure this grand, you must document the occasion. Take plenty of pictures and maybe even videos. You might add those videos to the stack of materials to watch NEXT Halloween!
Easy Step By Step
- Find fun Halloween recipes that are kid-friendly
- Gather necessary ingredients and costumes before Halloween night
- Plan a fun family evening full of baking and movie watching
- Enjoy the treats as they are ready!
Warnings, Advice, and Suggestions
Young children can enjoy baking as much as older ones. Be careful to give them tasks that don’t put them in harm’s way and use this family fun in the kitchen as a time to teach them about safety issues in a fun, yet meaningful way. One night of staying up late for Halloween will be especially meaningful to the younger crowd – almost as much fun as Christmas.
There is nothing worse than a rude child except one that has no idea how rude he is. Parents are responsible for teaching their children manners and when parents fail; the child suffers in our society. Here’s how to teach your child manners.
From the time he is born, you should be demonstrating the way you want your child to behave all of the time. Make “please,” “thank you,” and “you’re welcome” natural parts of your child’s vocabulary. Watching you use the phrases is the most powerful motivation to use them himself.
Teach Manners All the Time
When it comes to manners, there is no time like the present. Go out of your way to be courteous and explain what you are doing to your child. This is especially effective when those around you are not particularity courteous as it often shames them into behaving a bit better. Encourage table manners every time you eat and use tissues to wipe noses and hands to cover coughs. The earlier you start and the more consistent you are, the faster your child will begin to demonstrate the kinds of manners you’d like.
If manners become a battleground, your child will almost always win. You can’t force willing politeness, so stay cool when your child is struggling to remember his manners. Take him aside and remind him how he should behave in simple, non threatening terms. Then praise him every time you see him do it correctly. You might sound like a broken record, but he’s getting the message loud and clear.
In today’s society, we as parents are limited on the methods or extent that we are allowed to punish our children. However, we are still responsible for our children’s behaviors. This can leave parents feeling extremely frustrated and often helpless. While not taking sides on issues that are better left to politicians, I am a strong believer that kids can learn from, and be punished for, negative behavior without the need to for physical punishment.
As a mother of 4 children I have faced almost every possible situation that would require me to punish one of my children. There have been times that they have tested my patience and self control.
I believe however, that they are as well behaved as they are in part because I have chosen to not use physical means of punishment. In fact, it is important to note that different behaviors warrant different punishments. For example: When my oldest daughter takes advantage of her cell phone privileges and calls her friends or accepts phone calls from her friends when she is suppose to be in bed, she loses her phone privileges. While if my youngest son were to run out in front of the street he would receive a verbal scolding and be put in time out.
The severity of punishment also depends on how many times an offense was committed.
The First Offense:
Let’s take the example of my daughter using her cell phone when she is not supposed to. On the first offense she will lose her phone for 1 day. Children are very intelligent and often explaining to them why they are not allowed to do something will prevent repeated offenses.
The Second Offense:
Kids are kids however, and if you are a parent you know that there are times when you simply cannot get through to your child on an adult level. In this example, increasing the duration of the original punishment will usually suffice. Removing cell phone privileges for 2 days or more can often “stress” the seriousness of your point of view. Be aware however, once you enter into this phase of the punishment, you are beginning a battle of wills. Children often “test” their parents and will not follow your rules simply as a way of contesting your authority. Most often they do not even realize why they are not obeying. This is yet another reason to avoid physical punishment if possible.
Regardless of the age of the child, removing an item or activity that they like for an extended period of time is punishment enough. My youngest child has special needs and for some children you will need to be especially patient.
NOTE: It is important to mention that during the second phase of punishment, consistency on your part is paramount. You MUST follow through with any warnings or threats that you have issued. This can be difficult, especially when it would be easier for you to “give in” to you child. For example: If your child has a birthday party coming up and you know that even if you tell your child that they may not attend because of something they have done, but you intend to let them go the whole time, you are not doing anyone, especially yourself, any good. If you tell your child that they cannot go to the birthday party, you need to have already decided that they are not going to go and expect them to beg, plead and cry when the day comes and stick to your guns.
The Third Offense:
The third offense is the most important and severe offense, requiring unique and inventive ways to punish your child. At this point, your previous methods of punishment have not worked and you need to think outside the box to find an effective way to impart the importance of being obeyed. All “testing” of the parent is done and this is the point where you put your foot down and take severe, but gentle, action.
Let’s refer back to the example of my daughter using her cell phone at the wrong time. At this point, I have expressed my expectations and demonstrated that not obeying my rules results in negative consequences for her. Having removed the cell phone for a few days at a time I have demonstrated that continuing the wrong behavior results in her losing the cell phone. For the third and FINAL offense I remove the cell phone permanently. All privileges are revoked and the cell phone is cancelled or sold.
It is important to note that the third offense is the last offense. Your punishment should reinforce that concept, removing the ability for your child to repeat the offense.
In time, your child will learn that once they reach the second offense, they had better not “test” you any further. You will start to see that, while they will continue to challenge your authority through the first offense, your child will rarely repeat the behavior a second or third time.
Again, it is important to mention how important consistency and patience are. Just as you are training your child to follow the rules you set, you must also train yourself to follow through and remain calm. You should NEVER lose patience with a child. Stick to your rules and punishments and over time, your child will begin to comply with your rules without thinking about it.