1. Bye, Bye Baby Bed!

    One of the first milestones of toddlerhood is making the transition from crib to big kid bed. It’s a switch everyone makes, but how do you know when your child is ready? And how do you make it easier for them?

    Most kids make the switch between ages 2 and 3, when they are about 34 to 36 inches in height. When they can stand in their crib and potentially get out, you know it’s time.

    The first part of a smooth transition is making sure the idea appeals to your child. Toddlers tend to crave the familiar and are just starting to assert their individuality, so you don’t want to just surprise them with a big kid bed out of the blue. This is especially true if the crib is being vacated for a baby sibling. Let your toddler know they’ll be getting a big kid bed soon. Let them get involved in choosing the bed and bedding; it will up the excitement. Tell them about all the benefits: more space, no more bars, fun characters on the sheets and pillowcase.

    Don’t get rid of the crib the moment the toddler bed arrives. Having both the crib and the bed in the same room can lead the child to naturally make the move, whereas seeing the crib gone can create a bit of a shock. If your child is hesitant at first, have them simply use the bed to nap before transitioning to using it for a full night’s sleep. Move the crib out of the room only once you’re sure your child is comfortable in their new bed.

    Besides the new bed, try to keep the rest of the bedtime routine familiar. Too much change will overwhelm your toddler. Sing the same songs, read the same stories, and otherwise stick to what you have always done to get your little one in the mood for sleep. Your child may be resistant at first, but after a few weeks (at most) the crib will be a far off memory.

     

  2. These Prints Are LOUD!

    Adventurous dressers are sure to enjoy the new trend in pants: loud prints. For too long girls’ pants have been limited to conventional solid colors and classic prints, even as cuts and styles have evolved. Now children’s clothing designers are experimenting with vivid prints designed to turn heads and get attention. Girls can use these prints to create everyday looks when paired with simple shoes and tops, or go all-out with a loud-on-loud outfit. Check out some of our favorites:

    Part punk and part glam, these pants offer an edgy look. The simple cut lets the print speak for itself.

    Dazzle the eye with the turned-up pueblo print on these Coogi skinnies!

    Lavo serves up their unique take on the acid wash with these high-waisted skinnies. 

     

  3. Keeping a Journal

    Journaling can be both educational and therapeutic for kids. It’s more than just a way to practice writing; it allows kids to reflect on their emotions, an important process and something they might not ordinarily do.  

    Getting a kid to start a journal, especially if they aren’t crazy about writing, can be a tough sell. Emphasize the open-ended nature of the project. It’s their journal and they can fill it with anything they want. If they want to write about things they saw on TV or their favorite videogame, let them. It doesn’t have to be full sentences. There can be doodles. No limits or minimums on entry length. The only rule? Date all entries.

    When first introducing the idea of journaling to your child, it can help to show them a few inspiring examples. There are many great children’s books on the subject of journaling, and even more fiction books, for all reading levels, written in diary format. If you kept a journal as a kid, dig it up and show it off to your child; it might be more inspirational than you think. Also, having a cool journal can be a booster to get started.

    Although you should encourage your child to share their journal with you if they want, be sure they know they can also choose to keep it private. Part of growing up is deciding what problems to share with parents and which ones to tackle yourself. A journal is a safe space to grapple with those problems and deliberate over solutions. It’s also a space for thoughts they might never say aloud to anybody, not even a parent. If a kid fears their journal may become public, they will not be honest, which defeats the point of journaling.

    One of the best things about journaling is that it can become a lifelong project. Some people start keeping a diary in first grade and by the time they graduate college have a thorough record of their lives. Other people return to journaling in times of stress, as it helps them work through difficult times. Even if your child doesn’t keep a diary every day for the rest of their lives, you will have taught them an important lesson on recording and organizing their thoughts and emotions. 

     

  4. Brand Alert: Under Armour Is Here!

    Few brands are as synonymous with athletic performance as Under Armour. Unlike brands that cater to a specific sport, you can find Under Armour on NASCAR racers, NBA ballers, and Olympic skiers. What features make Under Armour the go-to pick for so many athletes? One reason is the performance Heat Gear fabric, designed to keep you cool and dry under pressure. All Under Armour products are designed to take a lot of abuse without wear and tear, making them ideal for your young athlete. Check out some of our favorites: 

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    It doesn’t get any more classic than this Under Armour T. He’ll feel great wearing it on top of a pair of jeans or under his school team’s uniform.

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    These pants deliver sporty comfort that gives him confidence whether he’s making new friends or leaving it all on the field. 

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    He’ll shine bright in this glow-in-the-dark Under Armour T, the right pick for night cycling, after-hours practice, or early morning workouts.

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    The bold logo on this Under Armour T lets the world know he means business.

     

  5. Let’s Make Back-to-School Better

    Making the transition from summer to back-to-school season can be stressful for your entire family. The change in scheduling, navigating a new academic environment, and other stressors often add up to a tense situation that puts everyone on edge. But back-to-school doesn’t have to be stressful. They key to success is giving your kids the right kind of support at the right time. Here are some helpful tips for easing them into a new school year.

    With younger kids, especially those starting in a new school or building, help familiarize them with their routine and surroundings before the first day. Drive or walk by the new school and point it out them. If possible, go inside. Show them where their classroom, lunchroom, and closest bathroom are located. They’ll be more confident on the first day if they’re already familiar with their environment.

    As a parent, you also need to project confidence. Being nervous on behalf of your kids is only going to make things worse. Tell stories about how much fun you had starting a new grade. Emphasize the perks of being older, having more responsibility, and going on to bigger and better things academically.

    Though we’re biased, we recommend getting back-to-school shopping done 2 weeks or more before the first day of school. This not only gives you ample time to find exactly what you need, it also give your kids time to mentally prepare for the new school year. The moment you take them shopping, back-to-school ceases to be a far off specter and becomes a tangible event. Plus, if you go early, the hottest new trends aren’t sold out yet.

    Make sure to schedule any dental or medical appointments for at least 2 weeks before school starts, and ensure your child is up to date on their vaccines. Discovering medical issues before the start of school allows you to deal with them before your family starts juggling back-to-school responsibility. It can also help your child avoid getting sent to the school nurse’s office on the first day.    

    A successful back-to-school season is all about making kids feel excited or at least comfortable about the transition. Make the most of what remains of summer with your kids, and let them know that you’re there for them no matter what may come during the school year. 

     

  6. Back-to-School Backpack Round-Up

    What is the first thing on most back-to-school shopping lists? A backpack! You want something to help keep your little scholar organized and comfortable, but a good backpack also has to last through the year and hopefully beyond. Luckily, we carry a variety of durable backpacks, perfect for students of all ages. Here are some of our favorites:

    Why tamper with a classic? This Citisport backpack sticks to a traditional 1 compartment, 1 pocket design and pairs it with sturdy construction. A versatile choice!

    Jansport is one of the most trusted and recognized names in the backpack world, and for good reason. This teched-out pack is designed to protect electronics, perfect for today’s digital student.

    Hello Kitty fans will adore this backpack! Not only does it have a colorful graphic, it comes with useful features like mesh water bottle holders and a front pocket.

    This backpack from The North Face comes with the same quality and attention to detail you’ve come to expect in The North Face jackets. Multiple padded compartments protect and organize all their belongings.

     

  7. Plug Up the Summer Brain Drain

     

  8. The Doctor Is In!

    Doc McStuffins has quickly become one of the most popular children’s characters on TV. Doc owes her success to her cheery demeanor, broad appeal, and cuddly supporting cast. She now stands alongside Dora and SpongeBob in popularity, and even got a recent profile in this New York Times piece.

    What does your little one like about Doc McStuffins? Whatever it is she finds appealing about the Doc, she’s sure to love this Doc McStuffins gear. Check it out! 

    Doc McStuffins can keep her company every day at school with this backpack and lunchbox set. The ripstop construction is durable and long lasting.

    Doc McStuffins has the cure for the rainy day blues with this umbrella. The figurine handle is an adorable touch.

    Bad dreams? Doc McStuffins pajamas are the right course of treatment! The breathable cotton provides all night comfort.

    This Doc McStuffins cap has an adjustable Velcro strap so it can grow with her. The graphic shows both Lamby and Doc.

     

  9. Preventing Childhood Obesity

    Although the childhood obesity rate has dropped in recent years, it still hovers around 17%. That number is far too high, especially considering that childhood obesity is linked to adult obesity, diabetes, and a host of other medical conditions. What is the best way to prevent your little one from starting down the path of unhealthy eating?

    The best strategy is a long-term one that aims to increase physical activity and improve diet. Unless otherwise advised by a doctor, a growing child typically does not need to lose weight; a better strategy is to help them stop any weight gain and let them grow into their current weight.

    Your efforts should start at the kitchen table. Go online and find recipes that are healthy, enjoyable, and nourishing (hint: we post a lot of these on our Facebook page). It’s a lot of work, but the more meals you prepare at home, the healthier the food will be. Outside foods from restaurants will often be loaded with sugar, salt, and empty calories. Furthermore, try to get your child in the habit of sitting down to a real meal; constant snacking is an easy way to sabotage a diet.

    One thing you will want to greatly reduce, or even eliminate entirely, is sugary drinks. A large soda can pack the same caloric punch as a filling, healthy meal. Even things like 100% orange or apple juice, while healthier than soda and fruit drinks, can contain a lot of calories and sugar. Get in the habit of checking the nutrition facts on the back. When it comes to dessert, choose a healthy option like peanut butter on apple slices or fruit salad. You can still occasionally have cake or other sweets, but try smaller serving sizes.   

    What’s the most important thing you can do to help a child improve their diet? Make healthy eating a family project. Losing weight is easier when you have a support system. It’s also a great way to bond as a family.

     

     

  10. Brand Alert: NBA – Zipway: A Winning Combination

    What do you get when you combine your favorite NBA team’s logo with a host of fashion-forward and athletic design features? NBA – Zipway! NBA – Zipway is an official NBA brand that incorporates high-tech features, such as effortless tear-away zippers, used by real athletes. This makes NBA – Zipway the perfect brand for the fan, the athlete, and especially the fan-athlete. Let’s take a look at some of NBA – Zipway’s hippest gear:

    Why get a plain old Brooklyn Nets T when you can get this eye-catching one? It has the familiar Nets logo plus cool metallic accents and other mind-bending graphics.

    These OKC Thunder pants make it easy to transition from watching on the sidelines to balling on the court. The breathable tricot minimizes perspiration, while Velcro straps at the waistband let him get that perfect fit.

    This Knicks hoodie blows the competition out of the water. It’s covered top to bottom in the official Knicks colors, plus has tons of logos and insignias.

    Chicago Bulls fans need this in their wardrobe. The thick fleece is perfect for staying toasty while reppin’ the Windy City.