Posted in: Other

hearing

When we think of hearing loss it’s usually in the context of old people, too much loud music, or noisy work environments. However, I’ve started looking for headphones for my daughter and was shocked to find out that hearing damage is also affecting young children. The really sad part is that hearing damage is irreversible – once it’s happened it’s too late.

Not that long ago headphones were for MP3 players (and walkmans and discmans before that –  BTW how utterly useless were discmans!), and so really targeting teenagers and older who should know better than to turn it up too loud. I have to admit I wasn’t one of the ones who knew better and I found out during a medical that I do have some hearing loss – certainly not enough that I really notice, although I’m sure I’ll regret it when I’m older.

Knowing this, I started to look into how to protect my daughter’s ears. With kids as young as 2 fluent with iPads, headphones are finding their way onto younger and younger children. Kids this age don’t know about hearing damage and then there are the older ones who are just as likely to dare each other with who had turn it up the loudest. This is pretty dangerous! So dangerous, that a study at the University of Leicester found that loud headphones can do as much damage as the noise from jet engines.

So how loud is safe? The European Union now have regulations which limit the volume to 85dB for portable devices, which is quite loud but not damaging like 100+dB which can easily happen with regular headphones. Thankfully, volume limiting headphones are available which will keep the volume to a safe level regardless of what they’re connected to.

There’s plenty of choice for volume limited headphones, but as my daughter loves to dance around I found a great article about wireless headphones for kids and teens. I just couldn’t go past the Puro Sound Labs bluetooth headphones as they are limited to 85dB and they look amazing! I only ordered them yesterday so my daughter is eagerly waiting for them to arrive. They really weren’t all that expensive considering the quality – I hope they’re as good in the flesh as they appear in photos.

Wired headphones are about half the price, but I know that with my daughter at least the wires would just get in the way. That said, if budget were an issue I’d choose volume limited headphones with a cable than wireless headphones without the volume limiting function. Our kids’ hearing is just too precious.

 

Posted in: Play

sandpit

Children learn about their world through various ways but most experts will agree that play time is the most important one. Through play children are able to make sense of the world around them, hone in motor skills and work out their emotions. The two most common forms of play time are structured play and open-ended play – also referred to as free play.

One would think that the two would be fairly self-explanatory, however, in today’s face-paced world the two are beginning to look quite similar.

Structured play is exactly what it sounds like. Play time that is structured around something in particular – like a sport with rules or dress-up that only involves one type of costume. Open-ended play, on the other hand, is meant to be unstructured to let the child explore their own imagination without feeling pressured to follow rules or have an expected outcome – wooden blocks, play-dough, dirt, and water are a few things that encourage this type of play.

Too many parents today feel that they are doing something wrong if they don’t have their child constantly engaged in some type of semi-structured or scheduled activity. So many, in fact, that open-ended play sessions have become a scheduled activity in their daily routines. If you do a quick Google search for the term open-ended play (or even better – search Pinterest), there are an array of play materials available to purchase online or make at home specially designed for this, and just as many articles promising easy ways to integrate open-ended play into your child’s life.

When did play time become so complicated? What happened to simply letting our kids run in the yard playing with sticks, dirt and each other while using their imaginations? In our house, structured play time is a rarity. While I understand that “need” for organized activities, I regularly encourage my daughter to use her imagination and play with random objects around our house – empty paper towel tubes, toilet paper rolls, and cardboard boxes are never garbage around here – instead of planning activities with set outcomes.

I encourage this type of play more than structure activities for two reasons. The main reason is that I feel it offers more self-learning experiences for a child than a structured activity could. The second reason is simply because I have too many things to do around my house to constantly keep my daughter engaged at all times with a series of preplanned activities. Not the best of reasons, I admit, but it is true. And, you know what? My little girl is pretty darn good at entertaining herself, in fairly creative ways, and all I have to say is “alright, go play!”. My neighbor’s child also visits often and they are pretty good at working out disputes that arise during playtime by themselves and rarely complain that they are bored.

Does this mean that we never have structured play activities around here? Absolutely not. It simply means that they happen less frequently than creative open-ended play. With all of the other strict routines in our lives, I just feel that play time shouldn’t be one of them.

Posted in: Other

babyswing

When it comes to soothing a fussy baby there are plenty of tips floating around for parents to try out. There are so many, in fact, that I could spend this entire article talking about all the different things you can try. Don’t worry, I won’t do that here. Instead, I intend to share information on the one thing that saved my sanity when my daughter was a colicky newborn. The baby swing that was gifted to us.

One of the reasons that experts believe babies “needlessly” cry in the first few months of life – meaning they aren’t hungry, sleepy or need a diaper change and otherwise seem fine – is that they simply miss the feeling of being in the womb. That theory makes a lot of sense if you really stop and think about it since the womb is all your child has known up to this point.

A few of the things your baby is most likely wanting to experience include:

  1. Closeness: While inside the womb, your baby has a limited amount of space to move around in. This means that your baby is accustomed to being in a small, warm space and the world outside the womb can be large and frightening to your baby. Usually, swaddling your baby or simply holding them closely can help recreate this feeling for them.
  2. Noise: Studies have shown that babies are able to hear their mother’s heart beat, stomach growling and blood coursing through her body. A little white noise from a fan, stereo, white noise machine or vacuum cleaner can help to settle your baby.
  3. Movement: Babies inside the womb can feel their mothers walking around all day long. While rocking your baby can help recreate this sensation for them it can become exhausting if your little one requires a lot of it.

All three of these sensations can be achieved through the use of a baby swing – which is great if your child is like mine was and needs all three at once. These days, many baby swings can be set to rock from either side-to-side or front-to-back, play an array of music and white noises and have harnesses that provide ultimate safety and that feeling of being snug that your baby desires.

Those things are all important to consider when choosing a baby swing. The most important, however, is the amount of space that you have to set it up in. For instance, putting a large swing in an area that can’t fit in comfortably can not only damage the product but can also potentially cause injury to your baby.

Baby swings are available in 3 general sizes – full size, mid-size and travel size and I found Amazon to be a great source of products and information, with the full range found here. Some of the travel size swings look good for a compact space, but make sure to check that it’s available with an AC adapter as some only run on batteries which can be inconvenient and expensive. Take your time reading through the customer reviews and you’re sure to find something suitable.

Posted in: Other

Huggies-4

Pull-ups – should you use them or not? The most common complaint among parents who choose to use pull-ups for potty training is that their child will not transition to using the toilet instead of relying on the pull-ups. We really struggled with this so if your little one isn’t progressing past the pull-ups you’re not alone!

There are a few reasons this can happen:

  • They aren’t completely ready yet. In this case, it’s a good idea to back off for a little bit and try again when they are a little more ready.
  • The child starts using them as diapers; soiling the pull-up and then putting on a new one without being prompted to. This can happen because a child is “too busy” playing to remember to go on time or because the child enjoys the act of getting dressed without help.
  • Sometimes children have fears about using the potty. This is completely normal. Talking about the potty process and reassurance should help ease their fears.

However, pull-ups can be a very useful tool to aid you with potty training your child.

Tips for Success

  • Be sure your child is really ready – once they show signs of basic readiness (knowing they need a diaper change and being able to tell you, being able to pull up and down pants, being able to follow simple directions, showing interest in using the potty, etc.) most kids are ready to transition from diapers.
  • Let your child pick them out – if your child is ready for potty training it can be a good idea to let them help choose pull-ups and underwear that they like and would want to wear more than a diaper.
  • NO MORE DIAPERS – make a big deal of getting rid of any remaining diapers, how proud you are that they are ready to move on to something made for bigger kids (not babies), and how you will only be using pull-ups from now on until they are ready for underwear (Big Kid Undies). Don’t go back to using diapers as this can be confusing to your child.
  • Make frequent bathroom trips – when starting out, take your child to sit on the toilet every 10 minutes – even when you are not at home. When you feel they are ready, go every 15 minutes instead and so on. Whether or not anything happens, be positive and praise your child for sitting there and trying.
    Reward them – the reward can be whatever works for your family (small toys, a few pieces of candy, stickers, or just praise) but definitely reward your child every time they try – and when they are successful to use the toilet.
  • Don’t shame or punish accidents – this can cause a child to associate the act of going potty in general as a bad thing, which can prolong the process. Instead, clean up the mess and remind them they need to use the toilet next time.

For us, I think it made the whole process much longer. Some swear by them but others are adamant pull-ups shouldn’t be used as you can see here.

The most important thing to remember while potty training is to be patient and consistent. Each child is unique, which means that what works for one child may not work for yours. Even if you need to take a break remember, it will eventually happen when your child is ready.

Posted in: Sleep

bed-image

Adjusting to a new baby at home can be a rather exhausting experience for many parents, for a variety of reasons. The most common complaint among new parents, however, is that they aren’t getting enough sleep.

One solution to this problem can be to co-sleep with your baby. Yes, you read that right. When done safely, and correctly, co-sleeping can be an option to consider. The choice is up to you and what your families needs are, however, there are some pros and cons to consider before deciding on whether to co-sleep or not.

Co-sleeping Pros

Many who choose to co-sleep say that some of the benefits include:

  • Creating stronger bonds – co-sleeping allows extra time and closeness between parents and their baby and it allows a parent who works all day a chance to cuddle and bond with their little one.
  • Facilitates breastfeeding – it can help breastfeeding mothers by making feedings much easier during the night. They also say that their babies tend to nurse longer and that their milk supply benefited too!
  • Better sleep for baby – having your baby sleep with you can help them to wake up less often, and for shorter periods of time when they do wake.
  • Potentially lowers risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) – this is also not scientifically confirmed, but supporters of co-sleeping believe that having baby within arms reach leads to quicker response times if a problem arises which, in turn, leads to less infant deaths.

Co-sleeping Cons

Those who are opposed to co-sleeping have several reasons for doing so, which can include:

  • Less sleep for everyone – having a baby in your bed can restrict your range of motion, which can make sleep uncomfortable or nearly impossible. Having your baby close can also cause you to be overly attentive to every whimper and meaning your baby actually sleeps less.
  • Dependency is created – some argue that co-sleeping makes it harder to leave your baby with a babysitter or relative since they may depend on you to lay with them to sleep. This can also make it extra hard to transition your child to their own bed when the time comes.
  • Affects your (ahem…) sex life – having your baby in bed with you kills any chance of intimacy. This is always going to be a tricky situation and sometimes resentments about can arise.
  • Higher risk of SIDS – if sleep safety measures aren’t being taken, co-sleeping may lead to a higher incidence of SIDS. This is especially true for babies who are premature or have low birth weights, as well as for parents who are heavy sleeper, or drink alcohol and then lay with their child.

The choice to co-sleep is not one that should be made lightly. It is a decision that should be made after weighing all of the pros and cons and then assessing your own family’s sleeping needs. When done correctly, it is certainly a terrific way to get a little extra rest in.

Posted in: Uncategorized

I know it’s produced by Huggies but I still cried!