Posts Tagged ‘Spring Break’

Childhood Sleep Issues

From the time a baby is born until he is about six months old, he requires more sleep than an adult — a lot more. Newborns may sleep between 12 and 18 hours out of every 24-hour period. After a child is about six months old, his sleep requirements are a bit higher, but very similar to an adult’s sleep requirements.  

It is of the utmost importance that parents help the child to establish a regular sleep/wake schedule as early as possible. This will make life easier for everybody in the household, including the baby. Babies, even as young as six months old, like continuity.

A regular “go-to-bed” time and a regular “get-up” time as well as a regular “naptime” will help to prevent all kinds of sleep-related problems.

There are lots of reasons why children can have sleep problems. Some of the problems are caused by physical discomfort or illness. Some sleep problems are caused by emotional or developmental problems that might seem totally unrelated to sleep. If your child is consistently unable to sleep (and consistently is the operative word here) it is best to talk to your pediatrician about the problem and have him or her help you resolve the issue.

The thing to remember is that when humans are tired, no matter how old or young they are, they sleep if they aren’t having mental, physical, or emotional pain. Sleep is natural; it isn’t a behavior that must be learned.

If you have worked to establish a regular schedule for your child (eliminated all of the foods and drinks that might prevent sleep, read him a story and tucked him in), and sleep continues to be a problem, it really is time to seek professional help. The lack of normal sleep is a symptom, not a disease.

 

TLC For Kids, Inc. has been St. Louis’ premier nanny and babysitting agency for over 30 years. TLC For Kids’ dedicated staff is ready to assist you in finding nannies, tutors, newborn care specialists, sitters and more.  Reach us at tlc@tlcforkids.com or 314-725-5660.

 

The Terrific Threes and the Frustrating Fours

Three- and four-year-olds are fascinating. They are, for lack of a better word, “becoming.” They are beginning to show their own unique personality. They are beginning to develop their sense of “self.”

Three- and four-year-olds begin to distinguish between fact and fiction, between what is “real” and what is make-believe. They begin to sort through, distinguish between, and categorize feelings, thoughts, and actions.

There is no specific timetable for development and development is not a “one-size-fits-all” situation. Children develop in different areas at different rates. Development is divided into five general categories: physical, intellectual, social, emotional, and moral. It is perfectly normal for children to make greater advancements in one area at a time.

Physical milestones:

* He’ll be able to ride a tricycle.
* He’ll be able to climb a ladder.
* He can scribble with a pen, pencil, or crayola.
* He begins to dress himself.
* He can feed himself with either a spoon or a fork.
* He is mostly toilet trained.

Intellectual milestones:

* His imagination develops and he likes to assume “play-like” grown-up roles as mommy, daddy, fireman or superhero.
* He is curious and asks a lot of questions.
* He begins to understand the cause/effect concept.

Social milestones:

* He can now accept separation from his mother calmly.
* He beings to interact with other children his own age.
* He begins to notice and imitate the differences in the way men and women behave.

Emotional milestones:

* He is becoming sensitive to the feelings of others.
* He is becoming more independent.
* He wants to please the adults in his world.

Moral milestones:

* He begins to understand the difference between right and wrong.
* He wants people to like him.
* He is gaining self-control.

 

TLC For Kids, Inc. has been St. Louis’ premier nanny and babysitting agency for over 30 years. TLC For Kids’ dedicated staff is ready to assist you in finding nannies, tutors, newborn care specialists, sitters and more.  Reach us at tlc@tlcforkids.com or 314-725-5660.

The Terrible Twos and the Terrific Threes

There’s a very good reason why we often refer to two-year-olds as the “terrible twos.” They are discovering themselves. They discover that it is possible for them to make their own choices about food, clothes, sleep, and play. The two-year-old is aware of becoming a separate and distinct human being.    

The good news is that the terrible twos only last for about a year, and even better news is that they are followed by the terrific threes.

Indications to parents that there could be a problem in normal development are if the child becomes either too easily adaptable or too aggressive. Both extremes indicate problems and should be discussed with the child’s pediatrician.

There are five general areas of development: physical, intellectual, social, emotional, and moral. There is, of course, no specified or RIGHT order in which children develop. Remember that each child is an individual, and the following is only a general outline of the development expected of two- and three-year-olds.

Physical development:

* Coordination improves and physical activities include: running, climbing, kicking and throwing a ball, pulling and pushing objects, etc.
* He handles and manipulates small objects like buttons, zippers, pencils, etc.
* He feeds himself with a spoon.
* He helps to dress himself.
* He can build a block tower of six or seven blocks.
* Will gain control of bowels and bladder.

Intellectual development:

* He is very curious and explores the world using all five senses.
* He can make sentences of three or four words.
* He can sing simple songs.
* He can keep simple rhythms.

Social development:

* He is still wary of strangers and clings to his mother.
* Attempts to imitate adult activities like washing dishes, mopping floors, applying makeup, shaving, etc.
* He can participate in simple group activities like listening to a short story.

Emotional development:

* Begins to assert himself and says “no” frequently.
* Shows emotions by laughing, squealing, throwing temper tantrums and crying hysterically.
* Develops fear of such things as animals and loud noises.

Moral development:

* He wants to “be good.”
* He still can’t keep promises.

Teaching Good Manners

Good manners makes other people like a child, but maybe it’s more important that good manners make a child like himself and give him confidence. Nobody wants to embarrass themselves by committing a faux pas. So the question is, how does a parent go about teaching a child good manners?  

Actually, teaching good manners begins early and almost naturally. We teach our little ones to use the “magic words” (“please” and “thank you”) as soon as they master “mama and dada.”

Young children imitate what they see the adults in their world do. Imitation is the way children learn. If they see their parents using basic good manners, they will use good basic manners themselves.

But the finer points of good manners must be instructed. When instructing a child in using good manners, it is important to use positive teaching techniques rather than negative reprimands.

Good manners sometimes are governed by the words we choose to express thoughts. Your little darling might say, “YUCK! I hate this slimy green stuff!” Wait to correct him and at a later time and in private you tell the child that it would be more polite to say, “I really don’t care for spinach.”

It takes time and patience to teach a child to have good manners. You aren’t going to cover the spectrum of good manners in a day of instruction, no matter how intense. Teaching good manners goes on and on. As situations are presented, you teach the child the most polite way to handle them.

And when you know that your child knows how to use good manners, you need to expect him to use those good manners all the time. Good manners can become a good habit and help your child to become confident in himself in social situations.

The Wonderful Ones and the Terrible Twos

Children who are between the ages of one year and three years are referred to as a group as “toddlers,” but there is a great deal of difference between a one-year-old and a three-year-old. Here we’ll just discuss onesies and twosies.  

The main job of a one-year-old as he progresses to being a two-year-old is to establish self-awareness, develop speech, become responsive to others, and begin to get the basics of self-control.

When a child is between the ages of one and two, parents can begin to take note of indications of developmental problems. Excessive adaptability problems become apparent; withdrawal, passivity, fearfulness; obsessive head banging, finger sucking, rocking; lack of interest; and being overly rebellious. If any of these extreme behaviors are noted by parents, they should be discussed with the pediatrician.

Physical development between one and two years includes: * Learning to walk * Learning to climb * Pushing and pulling objects * Stacking one object on top of another * Removing clothing

Intellectual development between one and two years includes: * Begins to explore the world around him * Used all five senses to learn about his world * Begins to learn and say names of simple objects * Can form simple one- or two-word sentences * Begins to enjoy and maybe imitate simple melodies and rhythms

Social development between one and two years includes: * Becoming possessive of his own possessions * Enjoying interaction with familiar people * Waves bye-bye and begins to accept separation

Emotional development between one and two years includes: * Begins to develop trust * Throws temper tantrums * Is usually happy but can become angry * May become frustrated

Morals begin to develop at about age two and are indicated by the child becoming sensitive to and seeking the approval of the adults in his world.

 

TLC For Kids, Inc. has been St. Louis’ premier nanny and babysitting agency for over 30 years. TLC For Kids’ dedicated staff is ready to assist you in finding nannies, tutors, newborn care specialists, sitters and more.  Reach us at tlc@tlcforkids.com or 314-725-5660.

Back to School Checklist

Families everywhere are getting ready for the beginning of the new school year.  Here are some helpful tips from Good Morning America parenting expert Ann Pleshette Murphy so you can be prepared for the first day.

1. Start readjusting to a school-year bedtime now.

2. Hang a family calendar and color-code everyone’s activities.

3. Gather all school forms as they arrive.

4. Book babysitters now for your school’s parents’ night and other dates when they’ll be in-demand.  Call TLC for Kids to help with all your babysitting needs.

5. Create a family station where you can find what you need as you head out the door.

6. Set up an in/out box for school forms.

7. Look at online organizational websites.

8. Discuss goals for the year.

9. Institute a night quiet hour.

10. Reach out to your child’s teacher.

 

Good luck on the first day.  Don’t forget to post your first day of school photo’s on our Facebook page for a chance to win $20 credit towards any TLC for Kids agency fee.

 

TLC For Kids, Inc. has been St. Louis’ premier nanny and babysitting agency for over 30 years.   TLC For Kids’ dedicated staff is ready to assist you in finding nannies, tutors, newborn care specialists, sitters and more.  Reach us at tlc@tlcforkids.com or 314-725-5660

 

Six Back-to-School Lunchbox Ideas

It’s time for your child to head back to school. You roll your eyes, because that means coming up with a new lunch five times a week, for the rest of the school year. What’s a parent to do? Here are some ideas for creative and healthy lunchbox ideas that you can send to school with your child.

  1. Bento Boxes

Bento boxes are originally from Japan, and they are a very creative way to serve your child food. There are containers especially made for this purpose, or else you can simply use a variety of boxes in an assortment of sizes that you already have.

Bento box food is generally shaped to look like flowers, animals or cartoon characters. The sky is the limit as far as creativity. There are plenty of websites dedicated solely to this artistic endeavor. Check them out and make your child’s lunch fun each and every day.

  1. Pasta

Pasta is an easy and quick lunchbox idea. Make a batch early in the week and then load it up with various vegetables and sauces to make many different options. You can pair spaghetti noodles with green peas and Parmesan, or add broccoli and a simple yet delicious tomato sauce to pasta shells.

  1. Sandwiches

Sandwiches have been an old lunch standby for as long as most of us can remember, but they are not to be scoffed at. There is almost nothing you cannot add between two pieces of bread that does not automatically become delicious. From peanut butter to BLTs, sandwiches filled the lunch boxes of our own childhood and continue to do so for our children.

Keep them fresh by storing any vegetables or other moist food in a separate container, so your child can put it all together directly before consuming it. Add new tastes to expand your child’s palate and prevent boredom, such as wasabi or sriracha mayo.

  1. Veggie Burritos

Why not turn an old favorite into a new lunch idea for your school-age child? Veggie burritos are easy to make and easy to store. What’s not to love about that? Simply choose a type each of beans, veggies, cheese and sauce, and then wrap it up. Your child will never get tired of all the options and combinations available.

  1. Soup

Soup is another great lunchbox standby. With all the thermoses and container options out there, it is easy to find something to keep it in, even keeping it warm until being eaten. A broth filled with numerous kinds of vegetables such as cauliflower, carrots, broccoli, zucchini and onions is healthy and lasts well in a lunchbox. Simply add a piece of bread and a few cheese sticks for a healthy, well-rounded meal.

  1. Salads

Salad is a great lunch option, and it does not have to be boring. Load it up with chickpeas, nuts, seeds, and top it off with a healthy dressing for a lunch your child will thank you for. There are now salad storage containers sold even at the big box stores that have special compartments to fit all the components of the salad – even tiny squeeze bottles for the dressing.

With all the options available, there is no reason for your child to get bored with their school lunches. Thanks to a variety of storage options, your child’s lunch can safely wait for lunch break and not even go bad. Fill up your child’s lunchbox with healthy meals to keep your child fueled all day long.

TLC For Kids, Inc. has been St. Louis’ premier nanny and babysitting agency for over 30 years.   TLC For Kids’ dedicated staff is ready to assist you in finding nannies, tutors, newborn care specialists, sitters and more.  Reach us at tlc@tlcforkids.com or 314-725-5660

Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products You Can Make Yourself

You don’t have to give up a clean and fresh-smelling home to become more eco-friendly. You can clean your home with ingredients you already have. Baking soda, water, and vinegar are the most frequently found ingredients in most eco-friendly household cleaners. Give some of these a try.

Window Cleaner

If you like shiny windows, mirrors and glass surfaces, then you probably need to make an eco-friendly window cleaner. It’s super easy; you simply need a glass spray bottle and equal parts glass vinegar, water, and isopropyl alcohol. Use a reusable lint free soft cloth to clean surfaces. You can also use old newspaper to bring a shine to your glass and mirrored surfaces.

Floor Cleaner

If you have laminate floors, use the same recipe for windows, but add a few drops of dish soap to help it work better. You can also add some olive oil to help condition the floors if they are made from wood. If you dry after washing, the shine will show even more.

Furniture Polish

You can make a very useful and earth-friendly furniture polish with two simple ingredients. Mix 1 part cold pressed olive oil with 1/2 part lemon juice. Use very sparingly to polish clean furniture to a beautiful sheen. You can clean the furniture first with 1 cup distilled water mixed with 3 TBS distilled white vinegar. The trick is to use a soft cloth, and to dry thoroughly when finished.

Sparkling Pans

If you have metal or stainless pans, you can quickly whip up an eco-friendly cleaner each time you want to clean up the pans. Do not make this in advance. A good tip is to have some baking soda in an old Parmesan cheese shaker at the ready near the sink. Shake on your pans as you wash them. You can add a little hydrogen peroxide to kick it up a notch.

Silver Cleaner

Baking soda is good for a lot of things, including cleaning silver. Make a paste of baking soda and water, in about equal amounts. Apply to the silver with a soft microfiber cloth (or extra soft baby toothbrush for silver with intricate designs), making small, circular motions. Once covered, rinse and dry silver.

Soap Scum Killer

You know that horrible scum that gets in your bathtub and bathroom sink? You can get rid of it naturally and safely. In a glass beaker, mix 1 cup of distilled white vinegar with 1 TBS cornstarch. Heat until it’s hot and comes to a boil; mix quickly, being careful not to splash it. It’ll look kind of like a gel-like substance. Using a funnel, pour into a glass spray bottle, then add 2 TBS dish soap and shake well. Spray on the area, let sit for a few minutes, then wipe clean with a soft cloth. Rinse and dry.

Get Rid of Lime Deposits

It’s easy to get rid of lime deposits by just using plain, distilled white vinegar. Spray on the deposits and let sit, then use a soft cloth to wipe down until dry. No need to rinse. To get the lime deposits off faucets, just use an old plastic grocery bag and fill with vinegar and tie to the faucet. Leave overnight if desired.

Clean Your Stainless

To clean stainless you have several choices. You can use distilled white vinegar on a soft cloth. This is the best choice for large appliances like refrigerators or the stove. For your stainless sinks you can use a paste of baking soda and water, but be sure to rinse very well and dry to ensure that you’ve removed all the cleaner.

These ideas are easy to use and you likely already have most of the ingredients on hand. Buying these ingredients in large quantities will save a lot of money and be a lot better on the environment than prepackaged chemically-laden cleaners.

 

Note: Many ideas are adapted from: http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2013/06/homemade-all-natural-cleaning-recipes.html

TLC For Kids, Inc. has been St. Louis’ premier nanny and babysitting agency for over 30 years.   TLC For Kids’ dedicated staff is ready to assist you in finding nannies, tutors, newborn care specialists, sitters and more.  Reach us at tlc@tlcforkids.com or 314-725-5660

The Benefits of Unstructed Playtime

TLC Nanny AgencyI recently came across an article about the importance of free play for kids. The article stressed the importance of play for kids and how it links to their educational, social and physical development.

It’s clear that playing helps a child’s physical development. Gross motor skills are strengthened when kids have time to play and run around. But, did you know that play time can also improve a child’s communication and literacy skills? Play time on a playground with other kids or with a nanny teaches a child how to communicate and share. Play time also teaches kids how to interact with other people and read social cues. Woodbury School is showing kids how to turn imaginative play into plot lines. The schools teachers write down the ‘stories’ the kids are telling. The teachers read the stories back to the kids and then they learn to read them to each other.

The article goes on to say that young kids today have less and less time to play freely because of the emphasis on academics and structure in daycares and preschools. Hiring a nanny to take care of kids in a home instead of a structured daycare can give children more time to play freely. Nanny’s are able to give children one-on-one play time that can grow a child’s imagination.

To read the article in it’s entirety click here.

To learn more about hiring a nanny for your family visit the TLC for Kids Website.

Teaching Your Children about Safety

Kids are often very curious and sometimes aren’t very aware that there are numerous dangers surrounding us every day. It’s important that we get our kids to be conscious of dangers to help keep them safe. Listed below are steps to ensure that your children are conscientious about their own safety in and around your home.

  1. Teach your children how to make emergency calls in case of a serious emergency. Ensure they know the difference between someone needing help and calling about a minor issue like one of their toys being lost. Teach them the emergency numbers and have them posted in a visible location. Ask them frequently to recite the emergency number of 911 so it’s second nature to dial, even when they are scared and panicked.
  2. Review the emergency exit plan with your children frequently. In case of a fire, ensure that they know how to get out of the house and where they should meet once they’re outside. Practice this monthly because for many, doing is better than telling as they learn and know it better by doing the action.
  3. Teach your children about when to feel uncomfortable in certain situations. Ensure that they know to stay away from strangers. However, do it in a way that they aren’t scared of every person they meet. Teach your child what a stranger is and avoid teaching them that all strangers are dangerous, since this is not the case.
  4. Teach your children about what a dangerous situation will look like. Teach them that if someone they do not know tries to take them somewhere, they should run away screaming, “Someone’s trying to take me!” or something along those lines, to let others know they need help.

Also teach them that if someone is chasing them, they should run into a safe place. A safe place is any place that has multiple people inside – like a grocery store or a library, for example. Another situation may be when someone is trying to physically harm your child. Some parents don’t believe in this but teaching your child some self-defense skills may be something to think about. Teach them to poke a harmful guy in the eyes or kick them in the knee.

  1. Teach them what a stranger is. Giving them a private family code word that will be used if they are ever picked up by someone they are unfamiliar with can be helpful. They should never get in an unfamiliar vehicle, even if it seems innocent enough. If someone tries to get them to go in a vehicle, then they should leave and find a trusted adult right away.
  2. Always have a recent picture of your child with you. If they were to ever go missing, show the picture to the police so they can help you find them. Keep the info about your child up to date. Know their height, weight, eye color, and any birthmarks they may have. This will also help the police to find your child.

The safety of our children is so important. It’s important that we teach them how to be safe, especially in situations where we aren’t there. Remember though not to scare your children about certain situations. You don’t want them to fear every person they see, but you do want them to be aware of the people and their surroundings. When your child is safety conscious, you help to decrease the risk of anything happening to them.

 

TLC For Kids, Inc. has been St. Louis’ premier nanny and babysitting agency for over 30 years.   TLC For Kids’ dedicated staff is ready to assist you in finding nannies, tutors, newborn care specialists, sitters and more.  We place in St. Louis, Atlanta and Miami. Reach us at tlc@tlcforkids.com or 314-725-5660

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