Saturday, May 26, 2018

How to End the Pacifier Habit with Your Toddler

Pacifiers, or “binkies” are your child’s first loves. For many parents, this is the first tough decision you’ll have to make – when to introduce a pacifier, and when to take it away. Pacifiers are often used to soothe colicky babies, and it’s okay to feel relief when you hand your child a binkie mid-meltdown.

So, how do you know when the right time is to take a pacifier away? First, you should make sure you’re making safe choices when using a pacifier in the first place, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  • Look for a one-piece model because two-piece models can break apart
  • The shield should be at least 1 inch across so your baby can’t swallow it
  • Get a dishwasher safe pacifier for regular washes
  • Inspect pacifiers regularly for damage and replace them when the rubber starts to change color or tear

Weaning Your Child Off of Pacifiers

Richard Dowell, PhD, a pediatric neuropsychologist at Evangelical Community Hospital in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania says, “Ultimately, children develop higher strategies to manage their distress – usually beginning at around age two. They phase out their pacifiers as they develop skills to replace them.” recommends to start removing the pacifier in “zero-distress” situations, like when you and your child are at home, and happy. Once he or she is used to not having the pacifier at home, try to eliminate use outside of the home.

Try to replace the pacifier with a blanket, or family photo – something that will bring your child comfort as you try to get them to only use the pacifier at home.

Remember: this will be a trying time! Be patient, and don’t give in to temper tantrums. Giving the pacifier back after a tantrum will teach your child that all he or she needs to do to get their way is throw a fit.

For other tips about toddler development, check out our other blog posts and visit our website!

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Mud Pie Kitchens

Spring is finally here, and as May gets into full swing, lots of rain creates new opportunities for fun and learning outdoors for your toddler. As the seasons change, so does the environment, and so do the types of activities you can do outside with your child.

At Little Angels, we go outside every single day, rain or shine! We value outdoor play as a very important part of a child’s education, and we want to share some fun ways you can incorporate this idea at home, too.

To exercise your child’s imagination and take advantage of spring’s wetter weather, consider making a Mud Pie Kitchen in your backyard!

Outdoor play kitchens are a fun way to use your outdoor space for playtime all year long, and you can find a lot of the materials needed for this space at garage sales. You can also use real pots, pans, pie tins, and cupcake molds that you find second-hand to make the “kitchen” feel more real.

 Use wet sand or dirt and water to have your child get a little dirty and see what they can “cook” for you! Outdoor kitchens are also a great place for picnics and tea parties with friends.

Play stoves are a great addition to these spaces, but small desks or tables and chairs work just as well. This space is all about creativity, so help your toddler decorate the space however he or she wants!

For more outdoor activities and to find out how we use outdoor learning as part of our curriculum at Little Angels, check out other posts on our blog, and visit our website! You can also schedule a tour of our facility to see our outdoor play space.