Thursday, September 27, 2007

Arts & Crafts for Little Hands

My daughter's favourite time at her day care is sensory time, she absolutely loves getting her hands full of paint, glitter, goop, and playdough. In fact she likes everything about arts and crafts. We went through a period when every time I would pick her up she would be wearing her change of clothes and still be full of paint. Her teacher told me that she liked to become one with the paint and they just could not stop her. Now she has to be changed into her arts and craft 'outfit' so that she does not dirty all her clothes.

Arts and craft is very important for young children, it is such a great way for them to learn, to explore, to imagine, to be creative and even more importantly it gives them a sense of accomplishment and confidence. I personally like to draw with my daughter and teach her about animals, shapes, colours, and all the things around her. I draw pictures for her and then I tell her the names in Spanish, this is just another tool, along with the signing and reading that I use to reinforce the language.

Here are a few arts and craft ideas:

- You can never go wrong with a box of crayons and a big pad of paper. You can draw along with your child and print the words of the object that you draw.

- You can get some construction paper of different colours and make masks. The eyes, nose, mouth, and ears can be made out of different shapes, for instance, the eyes are circles, the nose a triangle, the mouth a semi-circle and so on. This will help children learn their shapes.

- You can make just about anything you can think off out of corrugated boxes. You can make a sail boat, a car, a stove, a robot, or anything your imagination or their imagination can think off.

- Using paint is the most fun of all. You can collect leaves, twigs, use cookie cutters, rubber stamps and dip them in paint and make great works of art.

- You also can't go wrong with playing with playdough. Having different colours and letting the kids mold it, roll it out, pat it and use their imaginations to create all kinds of things is so much fun and a great learning experience.

For more great ideas take a look at an article written by Ann Douglas, she has some other suggestions that will certainly keep everyone entertained.

Allowing children to be creative is very important for their development, it will help with both their cognitive and social-emotional development. It is a fun way for them to learn valuable skills that they will use throughout their academic career.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Importance of Self-Esteem

A child's self-esteem is like a flower, and just like a flower it must be nurtured, given nutrients and kept safe in order for it to blossom. It is so important that we as parents ensure that we help our children have a high self-esteem in order to help our children succeed in this very competitive world.

I am very conscious of ensuring that my young daughter has a strong positive self-esteem because I want her to always know that she is someone who is special, loved, and capable of achieving anything she sets her mind to.

The following article written by Cassie Simons, author of 'How to Help You Child Succeed' touches on this issue and I believe provides important information on how we can help our children.

Give Your Child the Gift of Self-Esteem

By Cassie Simons

Much has been said about the "gifted child" but in truth every child is born with unlimited potential. As expressed so well by Orison Marden:

"Deep within man dwell those slumbering powers; powers that would astonish him, that he never dreamed of possessing; forces that would revolutionize his life if aroused and put into action."

This statement can be true for your child. Not just if he's a "gifted child" but any child. Indeed, perhaps we should consider a "gifted child" to be a child whose parents have gifted him with a high self-esteem.

Children with high self-esteem are happier and more successful. Low self-esteem is common in children who are performing badly at school, have behavioural problems and suffer from depression.

The Newborn

The "helpless" newborn baby actually comes into the world well equipped with the power to get what she wants. Not only do her cries bring her parents running to tend to her; she also uses her body and facial language to get what she wants. It's no coincidence that babies learn to smile while they are still very small - it is an essential tool in their armoury of communication. A baby with a disarming smile can frequently wrap mommy or daddy round her little finger!

At this early stage, it's important to respond to all your baby attempts at communication. Attend to her when she cries (this does not preclude training her gently into a stable routine), mirror her attempts at facial communication and reward the infant sounds she makes by praising her and talking back to her.

The "Can-Do" Toddler

Toddlers are into everything! They are learning so fast about the world around them and want to explore everything, touch everything and even try to eat many things.

It is such a crucial stage and one that is stifled by many parents. Yes, you need to control your child's behavior so that he doesn't hurt himself or damage valuable property. But you also need to give him opportunities to express this exploratory behavior without constant criticism and telling-offs.

Put valuables out of reach and supply your child with toys or household items that he can play with safely. Try to find time to get down on the floor and play with your toddler. Let him watch you and imitate you. He could play on the kitchen floor with some pots and wooden spoons while you are cooking.


I want to emphasize up front that I believe discipline is very important, because I don't want you to think in any of what follows that I'm advocating spoiling your child. Some parents call this "allowing the child to enjoy the freedom of youth." These parents are entitled, of course, to raise their children however they wish.

But if you want your child to grow into a successful adult, you would do better by teaching her firmly what is and isn't acceptable in present day society. And, just as importantly, helping her to learn self-discipline and that you will support her in achieving anything she wants, as long as she does so ethically.

Discipline should be sensitive, thoughtful and appropriate. You should strive to never lose your temper but to discipline your child calmly and firmly. When is discipline appropriate? When your child's actions (or lack of them) may harm herself or others. When is discipline not appropriate? When it is purely for the parent's own selfish preferences.

Talk to Your Child

Positive talk with your child and generally within the household cannot be over-emphasized. Avoid criticism wherever possible; it is praise that produces good, successful behavior. Be sure to find at least one thing to praise in your child every day. Even better, give praise as often as possible.

Are you having problems finding good behaviors to praise? If so, give your child a task to do that you know he is capable of. Children love earning their parents' approval. Also remember to praise your child for trying, on those occasions that he is not successful.

Set a good example; talk about your goals and successes, and teach your child by example to accept compliments gracefully. Resist the temptation to put yourself down when you are complimented - instead, say a simple Thank You. That's an important sign of a healthy self-esteem.

The other side of the coin to talking is, of course, listening. It is very important to listen to your child. When there is something he is upset about, don't sweep it under the carpet by saying "Don't be silly!" Whatever it is might seem totally trivial to you but often all your child needs is for you to empathise. "I'm sorry you feel sad about that." He may then come up with a solution, or put the incident behind him without further help. Or, you can suggest a solution.

The Power of Desire

You can give your child the best possible schooling, teach all the important techniques of success, encourage goal setting and set a fantastic example. But that is not enough! All these good things have one vitally important pre-requisite. Before you can achieve anything, you must know what you really, really want.

A burning desire is the first, most important and essential step towards any major achievement. As a parent, you are in a unique position to influence another person's desires - your child's. By the time they reach their teens, you will have lost this influence to a significant degree, as young adults are swayed much more by their peers' opinions than their parents'.

So make the most of the early years by instilling positive, beneficial desires in your children. The desire to do well academically could shape your child's further education and career much more than her innate ability.

How can you instill desire? Telling stories is a great way. Children love stories! Be creative and tell stories where the hero or heroine has a burning desire for something, overcomes challenges and set backs, and achieves the desired outcome. Try telling stories where a child achieves academic success, which in turn results in something even more desirable. For instance, one story could tell of a child who has a burning desire to travel to the North Pole. She succeeds academically and thus wins an award, which makes her dream come true. Tailor the stories to your own child's life and experiences as much as you can.

The famous author Napoleon Hill used story-telling to instill in his almost-deaf son both a burning desire to hear, and a firm belief that his disability would actually bestow upon him a great advantage (although at the time even his father had no idea what that advantage could be). By the time this boy left college, he had against the odds acquired a hearing aid that enabled him to hear clearly for the first time in his life. More remarkably, he had justified his father's belief by securing a marketing position with the hearing aid manufacturer to bring the same benefit to millions of other deafened people.

"Gifted child"? Give your child the gift of self-esteem, and you will give him the gift of happiness.

Cassie Simons ( is the author of "How to Help Your Child Succeed", a revolutionary approach to guilt-free parenting. Positive Parenting, Gifted Child - Visit today for the secrets of raising successful children.

It is just incredible how important a child's early years are for their development. Parents have a great deal of responsibility, it is very important for us to ensure that we watch how we communicate, discipline and act with our young children. This responsibility is something that we must not take lightly as it can have such far-reaching effects.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Consistency, Consistency, Consistency

I have found it extremely important to be as consistent as possible with my daughter. It all began when we were learning to breastfeed those first days, weeks, and months together. Being consistent was also what got us through the difficult time of sleep training, and now as she is entering her toddler years, it is our saving grace.

That is why I wanted to share this article by parenting expert Michael Grose.

Why consistency is important but makes parents feel bad
By Michael Grose

Being consistent when children are less than perfect can make you feel dreadful. However consistency is one of the most important elements in the relationship with your children, but it is the one most frequently overlooked.

Consistency means dealing with the little misbehaviours and not letting them grow into bigger behaviours. It means saying no to children's constant requests for five more minutes of television at night or a third serve of ice cream. It means following through and allowing children to experience a consequence when they misbehave every time. It doesn't mean if children arrive home after dark from a friend's place you ground them sometimes but at other times you just voice your disapproval. That type of inconsistency makes you responsible for children's misbehaviour and teaches children nothing about accountability.

Consistency also means that both parents have a similar approach to behaviours. If mum is too strict and dad is too lenient children will know who to go to if they wish to take advantage. They will soon play one parent off against each other. If a child wants to get away without doing a job or stay an extra hour at a friend's place just ask dad because he is easy-going. Even if you are separated, talk about your approaches to discipline and find some common ground. Agree on such issues as family rules, pocket money, and guidelines for going out and suitable consequences for misbehaviour.

If you disagree with a partner's approach do so behind closed doors. When unplanned situations occur don't be afraid to tell your children that you need to consult with your partner before making a decision. Children will realise that you are working as a team and that you are making a considered approach to their behaviour or request.

Consistency, like routines, are often sacrificed by busy working parents and put in the "too hard basket". When we are tired, stretched and overworked the last thing we want to do is engage in a battle with children over what are sometimes petty issues. You may have spent the whole day dealing with difficult customers or colleagues only to come home and find that you have another battle on your hands with equally belligerent children. So to avoid an argument, a tantrum or tears you give in to your child's unruly behaviour or unreasonable request.

But being consistent and holding your ground is a smart long-term strategy. Kids learn quickly how far they can push a parent before they give in. If you give in occasionally they will learn that if they push you hard enough and long enough you will cave in. So consistency is about being strong and holding your ground. That is hard work because the average child will push parental boundaries about 30per cent of the time and more difficult kids push your boundaries twice that much. It is hard work being consistent but good parenting demands it.

This article was written by popular parenting expert Michael Grose. For great ideas on how to raise kids visit

Ensuring that I only speak Spanish to my daughter is one area that I need to be more consistent in. It is a challenge for me and it is something that I am always working hard on, and something that will always be ongoing for me and her.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Toddler Years

I came across this very useful excerpt from a booklet that gives some tips on how to approach the discipline of your toddler. My daughter just turned two years and we have had a taste of her toddler ways for some time now. Without a doubt these tips are very very useful.

Top Ten Tips For Disciplining Your Toddler
by Claire Albright

How can I support my toddler's spontaneity while supporting his need to learn to behave in ways that will help him to get along well in relationships and at school? How can I discipline my toddler without causing him to feel shame?

1. Learn to say "no" in a firm, peaceful way that carries authority but not anger. This parenting skill will help you to cut short years of power struggles with your child and will help your child to feel secure in knowing that there are limits. Strong-willed behavior and temper tantrums can be encouraged by a "no" from a parent who doesn't sound convincing.

2. Stay with your child when they are in "time out" so that they don't feel abandoned. Many parents leave the area, which can make a child feel rejected.

3. Follow through, no matter what, if you say that there will be a consequence for misbehaving so that your child does not learn to manipulate you. If you change your mind after a child protests, you are encouraging your child to protest even more in the future.

4. Pick one or two target behaviors to focus your discipline on at a time, such as not playing with their food. It is usually more effective to completely train your child in one or two areas than to try to train them a little bit in many different areas.

5. Be the boss and don't be ashamed of being the boss in your relationship with your child. If you are not the boss, they will step into the power vacuum and this may have long term negative consequences. You could even say to your child occasionally, "I am the boss."

6. Discipline your child in your loving, caring environment. Otherwise, they may learn discipline from frustrated teachers in the less caring and loving environment of school.

7. Present you child with small choices if you are in a lot of power struggles with your child. "Do you want to wear the white shirt or the blue shirt? Do you want the carrots or the peas?"

8. Remember that consistent discipline is a safety issue. There will be times that your child's obedience to your input can save them from danger. The best time to prepare for a dangerous situation is before you are in a dangerous situation.

9. Do not feel obligated to explain your rationale for the things that you ask of your child every time that you ask something of them. Many parents fall into the trap of explaining the rationale behind all of their requests, usually because they want their child to feel respected. Unfortunately, this often leads to the child learning how to manipulate their parent by acting like the rationale is not compelling enough to justify cooperating with the parent's request.

10. Focus on "first time" obedience. Your child is old enough to learn this concept. It is not helpful to your child to have you repeat yourself over and over when it is time for them to come to dinner, have their diaper changed, etc.

Written by Dr. Clare Albright, Psychologist and Parenting Coach who can be reached at Excerpted from her booklet, "100 Tips for Parents Of Two Year Olds".

All the tips that Dr. Albright has outlined are certainly ones that I have put to work. I found that the hardest one to stick to was #10, it is really hard to stop from repeating yourself. What I like to do is think of myself as a "broken down vending machine", I tell her things once and then if she keeps asking I try to distract her with something else or change the topic.

Another thing that I have found to be really important and would highly recommend, is that you should really make the effort to get down to their eye level. This can make a great deal of difference, when my daughter is acting up and is whining, I get down to her level and tell her that I can not understand her because she is whining and that she must speak in her calm voice and use her words. She hates it when I do this, but I stick to my guns and in the end she will calm down and "calmly" tell me what she wants.

Without a doubt there are good days and bad days but what helps is to stick to the game plan. Just like the sleeping problems, the potty training and the picky eating, this too shall pass. It is all part of the exciting adventure of being a parent.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Tiny Love Has Arrived At

The wonderful toys from Tiny Love have just arrived at Tiny Love is well known for their innovative and original soft developmental toys, they are also the creators of the 7 Elements System™ which is a benchmark for the developmental milestones that are typical of the natural phases that babies go through simultaneously during their first year of life.

We are excited to be carrying a variety of their award winning toys which are very popular with babies and toddlers. From mobiles to grasping toys to activity mats to books, we have something that will captivate your child's imagination and helped in their development.

If you are in search of a mobile for your little one, look no further than Tiny Love's Symphony-In-Motion-Farmyard Animals mobile. Great features of this mobile include captivating music from Bach, Mozart and Beethoven which will help develop baby's sense of hearing. It also has 4 different types of movement and motion that will capture baby's attention and encourage them to follow along. As the child grows they will learn about cause and effect each time they press the buttons on the base of the mobile and music plays. This mobile is a beautiful addition to any nursery.

The Developlay Activity Center is another exiting toy that will be played with over and over again. The activity center has two sides with each side having age appropriate activities that are designed for different aspects of baby's development. This toy will have baby pulling, pushing, grasping, spinning, looking, listening and laughing at all the interesting things offered by the Developlay Activity Center. A great toy that will stimulate baby's senses, encourage the development of their fine motor skills and cognitive development.

For fun play on the go, the Fruity Pals are a great choice. There is Andy Apple and Anna Banana, with both having hidden surprises that will help baby develop their sensory and fine motor skills. The Fruity Pals offer a full sensory experience with their bold colours and lovable faces. Along with their fruit-like figures and human characteristics such as mouth, feet and arms they will encourage baby to be creative, imaginative and play.

Tiny Love toys are not only beautiful, extremely fun but also ecourage baby to learn and grow. To see the full line of toys that we carry, you can stop by the Tiny Love page at

Tuesday, September 4, 2007 Safety Policy

To our valued Customers,

As a result of the recent toy recalls we have received inquiries regarding the safety of the toys that we carry. Please be assured that the safety of all the children (including ours) who enjoy our toys is of the utmost importance to us.

At we take pride in providing toys that are of the highest quality, bring delight and enjoyment to children and help in their development and growth. All our toys are purchased from respected companies in the toy industry. In addition all the manufactures have passed and in many cases exceed the safety standards set out by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and the European Union (EN71). As a result we are confident in the safety of the toys that we carry.

In order to provide our valued customers as much information as possible about our products we have provided manufacturing location for all our toys. We have also created a new method of searching called 'Made In', this will give you a list of all toys manufactured in a particular country. With all these changes we hope to provide you with as much information as possible to be able to make an informed decision when purchasing toys at

Please contact us should you have any other inquiries or comments.


Karla Zamora