Being a father can be a wonderful thing, once you get past all the gross stuff, all the stressful events, the loss of privacy, and the bewildering numbers of ways you can screw it up.
But other than those few things, fatherhood is wonderful.
Every dad has fears that he won’t be a great dad, that he’ll mess up, that he’ll be a failure. It comes with the job.
Unfortunately, what doesn’t come with the job is a simple set of instructions. As guys, we often will skip the manual, figuring we can wing it … but when things go wrong, it’s nice to have that manual to go back to. Fatherhood needs that manual.
And while, as the father of six children, you might say that I’m qualified to write such a manual, it’s not true — I’m winging it like everyone else. However, I’ve been a father for more than 15 years, and with six kids I’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t, what’s important and what you can safely ignore (unlike that odd grating sound coming from your engine).
What follows are the fatherhood tips I wish they’d passed out to me upon the delivery of my first child. It would have helped a ton. I hope they’ll help you become an even more awesome dad than you already are — feel free to refer back to them as a cheat sheet, anytime you need some help.
Cherish your time with them. One thing that will amaze you is how quickly the years will fly. My oldest daughter is 15, which means I have three short years with her before she leaves the nest. That’s not enough time! The time you have with them is short and precious — make the most of it. Spend as much time as you can with them, and make it quality, loving time. Try to be present as much as possible while you’re with them too — don’t let your mind drift away, as they can sense that.
It gets easier. Others may have different experiences, but I’ve always found the first couple of months the most difficult, when the baby is brand new and wants to feed at all hours of the night and you often have sleepless nights and walk around all day like zombies. It gets easier, as they get a regular sleeping pattern. The first couple of years are also a lot more demanding than later years, and as they hit middle school they become almost functioning, independent adults. It gets easier, trust me.
Don’t look at anything as “mom” duties — share responsibilities. While there are a lot of good things from our grandparents’ day that we should bring back, the traditional dad/mom split of parenting duties isn’t one of them. Some men still look at certain duties as “mom” duties, but don’t be one of those dads. Get involved in everything, and share the load with your baby mama. Changing diapers, giving baths, getting them dressed, even feeding them (you can give them breast milk in a bottle).
Love conquers all. This one sounds corny, but it should be at the center of your dad operating philosophy: above all, show your children love. When you’re upset, instead of yelling, show them love. When they are upset, show them love. When they least expect it, show them love. Everything else is just details.
Kids like making decisions. While it is easier to be an authoritarian parent, what you’re teaching your child is to submit to orders no matter what. Instead, teach your child to make decisions, and he’ll grow up much more capable — and happier. Kids like freedom and decisions, just like any other human beings. Your job is to allow them to make decisions, but within the parameters that you set. Give them a choice between two healthy breakfasts, for example, rather than allowing them to eat a bowl of sugar if they choose to.
A little patience goes a long way. As a parent, I know as well as anyone how easy it is to lose your patience and temper. However, allowing yourself to react in anger or frustration is not the best thing for your child, and you must remember that. That means you need to take a deep breath, or a walk, when you start to lose your patience. Practice patience with your child and your relationship, and your child, will benefit over the long run.
Sense of humor required. There will be times when your child does something that might make you blow your lid — writing in crayon all over the walls is a good one, as is dumping some kind of liquid on your couch, or sneaking out and taking your car to meet up with friends. While you need to teach your child not to do these things, it’s better to just laugh at the humor in the situation. I’ve learned to do this more often, and it helps me keep my sanity.
Read to them, often. Whether you’re a reader or not, reading to your children (from the time they’re babies onward) is crucial. It gets them in the habit of reading, and prepares them for a lifetime of learning. It gives you some special time together, and become a tradition your child will cherish. I read with all my children, from my 2-year-old and my 15-year-old, and love every word we read together.
Don’t be the absent dad. The biggest mistake that dads make are not being there for their children. Always, always set aside time each day and each week for your children. Don’t let anything violate this sacred time. And at those big moments in your child’s life — a soccer game, a music recital, a science fair — do you very best to be there. It means the world.
Let them play. Kids really develop through playing — and while it might seem obvious, you should allow them as much free play as possible. That’s aside from TV and video games (see below), aside from reading, aside from anything structured or educational. Just let them play, and make things up, and have fun.
Spark their imagination. Free play, mentioned above, is the best way to develop the imagination, but sometimes you can provide a little spark. Play with your kids, creating forts, dressing up as ninjas, role playing, imagining you’re explorers or characters in a movie or book … the possibilities are endless, and you’ll have as much fun as they will.
Limit TV and video games. I’m not saying you have to be Amish or anything, but too much of this type of entertainment keeps them from doing more imaginative playing, from reading, from getting outside to exercise. I recommend an hour a day of “media time”, but you can find the amount that works for you and your family.
Learn the “firm no”. While I’m all for giving kids the freedom to choose, and for free play, and lots of other freedoms, there should be limits. Parents who don’t set boundaries are going to have children with behavior problems, who have problems when they grow up. And if it’s not good to always say “yes”, it’s also not good for the child to say “no” at first … and then cave in when they throw a temper tantrum or beg and plead. Teach them that your “no” is firm, but only say “no” when you really feel that it’s a boundary you need to set.
Model good behavior. It’s one thing to tell you child what she should do, but to say one thing and do another just ruins the message. In fact, the real lesson your child will learn is what you do. Your child is always watching you, to learn appropriate behavior. Excessive drinking or smoking or drug use by parents, for example, will become ingrained in the child’s head. Bad manners, inconsiderate behavior, sloppy habits, anger and a negative attitude, laziness and greed … all these behaviors will rub off on your child. Instead, model the behavior you’d like your child to learn.
Treat their mother with respect, always. Some fathers can be abusive toward their spouse, and that will lead to a cycle of abuse when the child grows up. But beyond physical or verbal abuse, there’s the milder sin against the child’s mother: disrespectful behavior. If you treat your child’s mother with disrespect, your child will not only learn that behavior, but grow up with insecurities and other emotional problems. Treat your child’s mother with respect at all times.
Let them be themselves. Many parents try to mold their child into the person they want their child to be … even if the child’s personality doesn’t fit that mold. Instead, instill good behaviors and values in your child, but give your child freedom to be himself. Children, like all humans, have quirks and different personalities. Let those personalities flourish. Love your child for who he is, not who you want him to be.
Teach them independence. From an early age, teach your children to do things for themselves, gradually letting them be more independent as they grow older. While it may seem difficult and time-consuming to teach your child to do something that you could do much faster yourself, it’s worth it in the long run, for the child’s self-confidence and also in terms of how much you have to do. For example, my kids know how to wash their own dishes, help clean the house, clean their rooms, fold and put away laundry, shower, groom and dress themselves, and much more — saving a lot of time and work for me. Even my 2-year-old knows how to pick things up when she’s told to do so.
Stand together with mom. It’s no good to have one parent say one thing, just to have the other contradict that parent. Instead, you and mom should be working together as a parenting team, and should stand by each other’s decisions. That said, it’s important that you talk out these decisions beforehand, so that you don’t end up having to support a decision you strongly disagree with.
I recently came upon CookiesKids and WOW! So much to choose from for children! With back-to-school in full swing, I know many parents who are scrambling to get things such as uniforms, backpacks, shoes, and more for their kiddos. I know I am a ways from that, but it makes me nervous just thinking about it!
CookiesKids sent me two super cute outfits for Dylan and Riley:
I LOVE these! Very stylish. And when I saw the brand names I figured they would cost a pretty penny, but no - they are both priced well below MSRP! Now take a look at my babies in their new cool outfits from CookiesKids!
What To Do If Your Child Gets Lost At A Theme Park
Great tips by Helium on what to do if your child gets lost at a large, crowded area like an amusement park:
If your child becomes lost at a theme park, the best thing to do is to stay calm. According to the IAAPA (International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions), most amusement and theme parks worldwide have a Lost Child protocol in place. As soon as you realize a child is lost, begin following the steps for recovery.
1) Scan immediate area, retrace steps
As soon as you realize the child is missing, scan the area. Many times younger children will stop to look at something interesting. You know your child best. What distracts him? Bugs? Shiny things? Balloons? Look for anything that may have captivated your child’s attention. If you are in a souvenir shop, look under the clothing racks or where a child may be playing hide-and-seek. If there is more than one adult available or a responsible teen, retrace your steps for the last five minutes. Kids have been known to plop down when they’ve decided they do not want to go any further.
2) Alert a park employee
If you cannot locate your child quickly, alert a park employee. You do not have to search for security, simply find a ride operator, food vendor or maintenance worker as each will have access to a two-way radio. The park employee can alert security and employees throughout the park. In addition, a security officer most likely will be sent to the front entrance to monitor everyone leaving.
Be able to give the park employee an accurate description of the child, including name and/or nickname, height, weight and clothing. If you have a safety word your child uses to distinguish known persons from strangers, be sure to share that information. Provide the park with a picture of your child.
3) Keep calling the child’s cell phone
If you have given your child a cell phone, keep calling it and give the number to park security. Anytime a child has been given a cell phone for emergency purposes, be sure the phone is set to vibrate in addition to the ring tone. A vibration setting can usually be felt through a pocket even when the park is too noisy for a ringtone to be heard.
4) Check Lost & Found
While the search is on, be sure to send someone to the park’s Lost & Found. Sometimes signals may become crossed and a lost child is taken to Lost & Found by a well-meaning adult before park security is alerted.
5) Cooperate with park security
It is extremely difficult for parents not to hit full-scale panic when their child is lost. Try to remember that park security is trained and experienced in these situations. Trust and follow their directions. By moving around and not heeding directions, you may hinder their search.
Consider the following safety measures and prepare children before arriving at the theme park. Preparation can be key to avoiding a lost child scenario.
6) Clothe for easy sighting
Bright colored t-shirts in orange, neon pink, yellow or lime green make it easier to see a child in a crowd. Never put the child’s name on the shirt. However, a recognizable picture like a baseball or smiley face can help make the child easier to spot.
7) Always have a recent picture
Providing park security with the lost child’s picture is essential. When you first enter the park, take a quick picture with your cell phone and save. If your child should become lost, you have a current picture and will not have to rely on memory to describe clothing.
8) Stay in touch, electronically and physically
Older children can be given a cell phone, set to vibrate to carry in a secure pocket. If you have a GPS tracking service on the phone, activate it for the day. Be sure your cell number is programmed in the spot ICE (in case of emergency.) Younger children should be made to hold an adult’s or older child’s hand when moving through an theme park. The younger child may also be happy to hold onto a baby’s stroller.
Consider using a child safety tattoo. Featured in Parents Magazine, these temporary tattoos provide an important safety message but are fun for the kids to wear. The tattoos can be ordered through online retailers like Safetytat.com. A typical tattoo will feature a cute picture and read, “If Lost, please Call (space for cell number.)” Twenty-four tattoos cost about $20, are customizable and even waterproof. If this is not an option for your child, write your cell number on a slip of paper, seal it in a snack baggie and place in the child’s pocket.
For those into high-tech products, consider a Child GPS device like the Brickhouse Child Locator with wander alerts or the Amber Alert child GPS that can be tracked via cell phone.
9) Plan and prepare kids at home
Before visiting the park, talk about park safety and rules. This is a good idea no matter what age the children are, even teens can benefit from this discussion. Print out park maps from the park’s website and designate a family meeting place should separations occur. For little kids, remind them that if they become lost they should tell a uniformed park employee about the family meeting place.
The NCMEC (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children) recommends that parents role-play with their child before visiting an amusement park regarding safety protocols. Role-play with the children scenarios on what to do if they become lost. Parents should also rehearse with the kids questions that park employees may ask and how the child should answer each question.
Despite the best preventative measures, children still get lost at theme parks. Fortunately, most lost children are found quickly and without any issue. If your child does become lost, keep your wits and follow the logical steps. With quick, calm action and preventative measures, your lost child can be found.
The idea that appealed to me most: Taking a picture before or right after you get into the park so you have a recent photo with the clothing that your child is wearing. Now you no longer need to worry about trying to remember the outfit that he or she wore that day, and it makes the job easier for park employees to search for him and her with a definite description.
Do you have any safety tips you employ with your children that you would like to share with us?
For every valid comment on this blog, we will give you a free $5 CookiesKids.com coupon via email just to say thanks! (1 per person, to the first 25 posts only.)
Are you a proud parent who is just bursting with pictures of your child on his or her first day of school? Share their Back To School Cool with us for a chance to win a $50 gift card to CookiesKids.com!
Reblog, reply, or comment below with the link to your photo entry. Mention that you are entering the CookiesKids.com Back To School Cool contest
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Upload your photo as a photo reply. [If you are on your dashboard, the photo reply “camera” icon is located in the top right corner of this post]
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Contest ends September 30, 2010 at 11:59:59 PM. Open to anyone over the age of 13. Entrant must follow or “like” our Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr account, depending on the medium of entry. Winners will be randomly chosen from valid entries. You may enter as many times as you please.
Winner will be contacted via Facebook Messages, Twitter DM, or Tumblr ask or submit, or by email with instructions for prize redemption. Three winners will be chosen, one for each site. Cookieskids.com reserves the right to end this contest at any time and to choose another winner if the original chosen winner does not respond.
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Back to School season is not the only season you find yourself rushing to the department store, hunting for fresh gear that fits your child’s forever changing body, but it definitely is the season you rack up the largest bill for doing so.
CookiesKids.com is a site dedicated to keeping your kids in the most affordable and stylish gear possible, and if you need uniforms for your kids, check them out now for special offer of free shipping on school uniform orders totaling $99 or more.
Make sure to pick up a $5 Cookie’s Kids Gift Card in the Swag Store first to save even more. The CookiesKids.com gear that can be found in the Swag Store ranges from 549 SB – 999 SB; not-to-shabby.
Anyone in the Swag Nation have any back to school shopping secrets to share? Have you found a favorite ‘back to school’ offer this year from using Swagbucks?
Well, one of these might be it, because I’ve hidden a code worth 6 Swag Bucks on the page of one of these three items. Hurry, though - you have until 11:00am Pacific time (August 10, 2010) to use it!
Caldwell School District - Shop online to match new dress code
Is your child a student of the Caldwell School District?
CookiesKids.com has teamed up with them to offer families a convenient way to shop for school clothes online. Click through to find your hand-picked school store and your special source code for free shipping and a chance to give back to your school!
I have 2 backpacks to giveaway and 2 $25 gift cards to go with them. One is for a girl and it is a Hannah Montana backpack with detachable lunchbox. And the second is for a boy and it is a Spiderman backpack with lunchbox.
Our day was made today when a happy customer sent us this lovely testimonial after we emailed her asking for her feedback on her recent order:
I am more than surprisingly impressed! I have not come across a company yet that actually took time to write a customer after the order! That feels awesome.
I cannot begin to express the loyalty your company has just retained from me from this point on. I will never shop anywhere else for my my daughters clothes. Not only did I sincerely love the clothes, they were all I expected and MORE but that you took time to ensure the order was to my liking and expectations….well that is just EXCELLENT customer service!
New Lifetime customer,
Mommy to one very perfect, precious lil girl “Christian Aliyana”
Are you a CookiesKids.com shopper? Do you have a customer testimonial or feedback that you would like to share? You can comment below or submit it here and we might feature it in an upcoming post!
1. No matter how often you bathe/shower them, your baby will try to store enough lint between their toes and fingers to knit a sweater. Get in there.
2. Always keep a couple of plastic bags (for dirty diapers or clothes that have suffered an explosive diaper) and onesies in your diaper bag and car.
3. The Hooter Hider is a must. Now that he’s bigger, a blanket draped over my shoulder won’t do it, as he moves around too much and can take it down in one fell swoop. In a crowded restaurant. I say that from experience.
4. Wash your hands more than necessary; your fingers are always in or near their mouth.
5. You can never kiss your baby too many times.
6. As your baby gets bigger, there are more and more rolls (belly, chin, arms) to clean between. Make sure you wash under their chin/neck, as they particularly like to store crumbs, lint and toys under there.
7. Baby breath is the best.
8. Don’t change the baby’s position until they start getting fussy- otherwise you’ve wasted a position. Gray goes from me holding him in ten different positions, to the activity mat, to tummy time, to the sling/baby bjorn throughout the day…but not until he needs the change.
9. Gray’s toenails grow a lot slower than his fingernails. Is this true of all babies?
10. Baby yawns and sneezes are even cuter than they sound.
11. Wash your hair and shave every time you take a shower….cause you never know when your next shower will be, or if you’ll be holding him in the shower and therefore have no hands to do anything else.
12. Keep hand sanitizer with you at all times (especially if you’re going anywhere near a shopping cart). I’ve even found some ‘green’(er) hand sanitizers.
Have any new mom/dad advice or tips that you’d like to share? Comment below and we might feature it in a future post!
Why should you need to spend a fortune on back to school fashions and uniforms for your children?
Cookie’s The Kid’s Department Store, already known as the #1 School Uniform Headquarters in the US & the World’s Largest Kids Department store, is the perfect destination for the best deals and savings for your back to school shopping needs.
We also offer a Price Match Guarantee to always ensure that you will be finding the lowest prices for your back to school shopping needs.
To receive 10% off order: Enter coupon code EARLYBIRDSM in at checkout on CookiesKids.com. No minimum purchase required. Offer expires July 31, 2010.
To receive free shipping: Order must consist of only school uniform items with a merchandise cost of $99 or more. No coupon code required at checkout. Offer is for free ground shipping to the continental United States.
Price Match Guarantee:Click here for more information.
For those of us blessed to have a network of grandparents, great grandparents, aunts, uncles and close family friends, we can never forget how important it is to include them in photos with our children. True, we could snap pics of our little jam faces defining every facet of cuteness all day, every day, but these memories… they’re not going to make themselves! Legacy photos will forever be images that encourage us to stop for a moment and take us back: to the person, to the time and to the love.
Manual | 1/125 @ f/5.6, ISO 400
Those photos of everyone gathered and smiling at the camera are fine n’ dandy. But why not take it a step further, and document all those little times in between when everyone gathered to enjoy together, and not just for that one obligatory group shot.
1. Let them be
Manual | 1/125 @ f/5.6, ISO 400
When we first arrived, Isla’s Gran was on the phone securing some appointments. Even though Isla is very comfortable and loves being around her Gran, I plopped her on the floor with some toys anyway, letting her get used to the room and us all being there. This is especially key with children who “play strange” or adults who are easily flustered by the whirlwind activity of toddlers. If you want photos of them together, a casual, stress-free warm-up period can go a long way than an instant “shove in your face” smooch session.
2. Catch the action
Manual | 1/125 @ f/5.6, ISO 400
If you wait too long for that so-called perfect shot, babe(s) on Gran’s knee, everyone looking at the camera smiling, you could find yourself out of luck. While it’s not impossible, there are so many other opportunities you could have missed along the way. Keep shooting. Worst case scenario? You can delete bad ones later.
3. Don’t say “CHEESE” *every* time
Manual | 1/125 @ f/5.6, ISO 400
You know what your child looks like. You know what your grandmother looks like. So get pictures of what they look like when they’re together. And I don’t mean side by side, smiling for you. I mean interacting, engaging and enjoying each other’s company.
4. Keep moving. Quietly.
Manual | 1/125 @ f/5.6, ISO 400
They may not be side by side, but they’re both in the frame, without question. By moving from one side of the room to another, a new perspective was found without distracting from their playing.
5. Still think like a Mamarazzi
Manual | 1/125 @ f/5.6, ISO 400
Mind your backgrounds and details. Here I saw her hospital bed and cords were hanging about. If you want the environment of the room to add context, that’s one thing, but don’t be afraid to zoom in tighter (see below) or crop in post-production.
6. Keep everyone comfortable
Manual | 1/125 @ f/5.6, ISO 400
Kids can be overwhelming energy zappers. One thing hard for elders to accommodate is the busy nature of children, especially if there are lots to go around. Our own matriarch on my husband’s side is the proud great grandmother of six, soon to be seven little ones under the age of six. But they’re an active bunch and, while she’s tough and ready for them every time, many in her position are not.
If this had been a photo a few months ago after Gran had surgery on her wrist, we would have propped Isla up beside her, or had someone hold her close. Respect everyone’s limitations and you’ll go far in lengthening the shoot, rather than cutting it off abruptly and not getting those pictures you want for your frames.
7. Don’t fret the small stuff
Manual | 1/125 @ f/5.6, ISO 400
This photo may be blurry, but it’s a keeper nonetheless. A bad photo taken yesterday is better than none taken at all. If you don’t snap what you’d like to this time around, what a great excuse to get together again soon.
Have any photos or tips of your own for us to try? We’d love to hear from you:
You can comment down below or respond with a photo reply if you are logged into Tumblr!
2) Choose the “Tag This Photo” option that is below the photo to the right
3) Tag your name on the item that you wish to win
4) You’re now entered!
Contest ends 11:59:59 PM EST on July 31, 2010. Must be over 18 and have a shipping address in the continental United States to enter.
The winners will be chosen from the tagged listings on each item for a total of four winners for this contest. Cookieskids.com will then message each winner via Facebook Messages with instructions on how to redeem their prize.
Fun Summer Activities That Help Develop Fine Motor Skills
Running out of ideas for fun yet educational summer activities for your small child? Connie McCarthy from SchoolFamily.com featured three enjoyable outdoor summer activites that help develop fine motor skills. They require no paper, pencils, or electronic devices!
Activity One: A beach pail and a small, clean paint brush (about 3 inches wide, the kind used for indoor trim.)
Fill the pail about ¾ full of clean water
Let your child “paint” on the back side of your house, garage, or shed.
The up-and-down and side-to-side motions will help your child strengthen muscles needed for drawing, printing, and other fine motor tasks. Children love to see the “paint” disappear as it dries. This activity keeps young children productively occupied for a long time!
Activity Two: Thick sidewalk chalk (available at Wal-Mart, Dollar Stores, etc.)
Let your child draw and write on the driveway, sidewalk, or patio. Encourage big pictures, letters and/or words. (For example, a “Welcome Home” message to a returning family member.) Their art will last until the next rainstorm!
Activity Three: A can of shaving cream and an old tray or cookie sheet
Once outside, fill the tray or cookie sheet with shaving cream
Let your child draw using their finger, or a small Popsicle stick. They can draw pictures, write their name, practice capital and lowercase letters, or write words in the shaving cream. Your child can erase by smoothing a hand slightly over the cream.
Clean up is easy with the hose or a bucket of water.
Take advantage of the good summer weather and let your child learn while playing outside!
SchoolFamily.com is the only website focused exclusively on helping parents help their kids make the most of their school year. By providing families with expert insight, information and resources, SchoolFamily.com serves to help parents set their school-age children up for year-round success in school. SchoolFamily.com is a property of School Family Media Inc., a marketing and media services company focused exclusively on promoting and enabling practical and meaningful parent involvement at school.
Easy, Affordable, School Uniform Shopping At CookiesKids.com
School uniforms are a vital part of back-to-school shopping for many households. CookiesKids.com, the #1 school uniform headquarters and leading kids’ department store, is the place to go for quality children’s clothing at affordable prices.
CookiesKids.com is known for offering easy and convenient shopping at affordable prices. Our online shoppers will find an easy-to-use online store with the ability to search and shop by categories such as size, sex, or clothing style, all in the comfort of your own home. Fashion-conscious shoppers will appreciate the Search by Brand feature. CookiesKids.com is a leading kids’ fashion retailer, carrying many well-known school uniform brands such as French Toast, Universal School Wear, US Polo Assn, and Dickies.
It’s easy to select the exact school uniform you need on CookiesKids.com. Detailed product descriptions, multiple garment views, and brand-specific size charts help you make an informed decision. If by chance you should happen to need an item not listed in the size or color you want, let us know and we will try to custom order it for you. Our customers across the country can get the same quality selection and service online as they would in any of our brick and mortar stores. We ship to anywhere in the United States at reasonable shipping costs. All school uniforms orders $99 and above ship for free!
Our clearance section is packed with even more affordable pricing for brand name school uniforms and kids’ fashion apparel. While most stores offer outdated and out-of-season items for clearance, CookiesKids.com offers name-brand items that are appropriate to wear as soon as it ships for up to 90% off retail price.
CookiesKids.com is committed to offering you the best prices for quality children’s clothing. We offer a price-match guarantee for up to 7 days after your online purchase. If you find a lower price anywhere else on a new identical item, we will email or call you and beat the price!
CookiesKids.com is the online version of Cookie’s Kids, the trusted kids’ school uniform and branded urban fashion clothing store. Customers travel from miles around to Cookie’s Kids for the best deals and selection on quality children’s clothing. Cookie’s Kids thanks our long-standing customers and welcomes new shoppers who want to buy the best school uniforms and kids’ fashion clothing under one roof.
Are you looking for the perfect activity to do with your kids this Sunday in honor of Independence Day?
Creative Kids Ideas is featuring adorable and easy to follow crafts ideas to create with your children that are perfect simply as a fun arts & crafts activity or as something cute and homemade to use as decoration at your Fourth of July celebrations.
Patriotic Party Wand
This cute star-shaped party wand is perfect for kids to wave at an Independence Day party, parade or fireworks display. It’s made from simple, inexpensive craft supplies, such as a wooden skewer, pipe cleaners (red, white and blue ones, of course!), felt, ribbon, and craft glue.
Are you looking for a patriotic craft project suited for older children (or adults)? This Fourth of July Flag Planter is an excellent choice. Made from recycled materials (a 2-liter plastic bottle and a small cardboard box), wooden craft sticks, acrylic paint and glue, the sturdy planter will provide hours of fun to create and years of Americana decoration as it houses your favorite plants and flowers.
Kids will get a bang (Get it? Bang. Firecracker.) out of making and playing with this fun noisemaker designed to look like a firecracker. Again, this project uses recycled materials and items commonly found around the house – a paper towel tube (a smaller firecracker can be made by using a toilet paper roll); crepe paper; plastic covers (from milk jugs or juice bottles); pipe cleaners; craft glue; and beads, bells, pasta, rice (or anything else that makes noise). The finished product will be a fun, safe way for your kids to make noise during a Fourth of July celebration. It also serves as a playful addition to an Independence Day party, as a party favor or decoration.
Uncle Sam Hat
Get your children involved with Fourth of July home decorations or party preparations by enlisting their help to make this whimsical addition. All that is needed to make an Uncle Sam Hat is one recycled plastic container with a lid (like one used for sour cream or cottage cheese), felt, and craft glue. To add a fun twist to your Independence Day get-together, create a group of these Uncle Sam Hats and fill them with them with party favors or candy, and give them out to your guests.
Complete instructions on how to make the patriotic wand, flag planter, firecracker noisemaker, or Uncle Sam hat, can be found by reading Jo Brielyn’s article, Fun Fourth of July Crafts for Kids.
Do you have an article idea, craft idea, book, or product related to Independence Day or patriotism you would like to share with the readers of Creative Kids Ideas? Emails are always welcome at Admin@CreativeIdeas.com or you can comment below!
Creative Kids Ideas is a resource website for kids, parents, teachers and family members that offers fun ideas and tips for building creativity and learning.
Tamara from Mamarazzi & Co. always posts extremely informative tips and tricks on how to make everyday photos unforgettable memories.
Recently, she posted her tips on how to get a toddler interested in looking at the camera when you want to take a picture:
I hate to admit it, but there is definitely a reason cheesy mall photographers have giant stuffed animals they wave frantically above their heads. Sometimes, gimmicks are totally necessary.
This is an oldie, but I told Ben here (my bestie’s oldest boy, and two at the time) that there was a fish swimming in my lens, and could he find it for me. He caught on pretty quick, but I managed to get a few of these just for fun before losing his faith and trust in mankind for good.
If she’s saying nuh-uh, you’ve definitely got a steeper hill to climb. You could try:
Showing her a picture frame and asking her if she’d like to help you put an extra special picture in it, one even more extra special than the rest, and to help she has to look up, smile nice, or whatever you’re hoping for.
Showing her a photo album and asking what photo she’d like to see in there next.
Approach the task at hand at her most amenable and happy time of the day.
Ask her to play ‘peek-a-boo’ with the camera around a corner while you’re ready and waiting to snap away.
Ask her where she’d like to have her picture taken, and let her choose the setting such as her bed, the backyard, etc.
I have a camera that I got at a yard sale for $2 that doesn’t work, but I let kids under 4yrs play with. I let them “take” a picture of me, and then me of them, back and forth and turn it into a game they feel a part of. We just sit across the floor from each other and I make like I’m shocked if they try to shoot me before their turn, which usually results in giggles.
Change and surprise by the angle, meaning get down on the floor with her to play or try an aerial shot.
Get your settings perfected on an inanimate object before turning your attention to her every time so she doesn’t tire while you sort your buttons.
Ride it out. Could and probably is a stage, and it should pass. In the meantime, keep taking a billion and one pics but keep it light, fun and not ‘in her face’ so she doesn’t start to feel it’s a chore.
Have any toddler photos or tips of your own for us to try? We’d love to hear from you!
You can comment down below or respond with a photo reply if you are logged into Tumblr!
Calling all parents and caregivers! You are responsible for children’s sun-safety, so be sure to brush up on your knowledge of sunscreen this year! According to Health Canada, “Exposure to UVA and UVB radiation can cause skin damage, eye damage and weaken the body’s immune system.” But our bodies need vitamin D, so exposure to UV rays also helps us pump up our vitamin D too.
Parents and caregivers play an important role in the development of sun-safe habits. Everyone wants to stay outside, playing all day and enjoying the sun. That’s ok, but be sure to take steps to protect yourself and the kids for the future.
Try to time your outdoor time before 11am or after 4pm, when the sun is the least harmful
If you’re out in prime-time, stay in the shade as much as possible; if you’re in the sun, cover up to protect your skin
Use sunscreen that’s SPF 15 or higher and ‘Broad Spectrum” for protection against UVA and UVB rays
Apply 20 minutes before you go out, and reapply 20 minutes after you’re out to ensure proper coverage
If you go swimming or work up a sweat, reapply often to ensure you’re always covered
Make sure you get all the sensitive parts: lips, ears, nose… and feet if you’re like me!
Remember these tips to ensure that you can have fun all summer!
About this Cookie’s Kids Mom
Martha Scully is the owner and founder of CanadianSitter.ca and CanadianNanny.ca. When she is not helping thousands of parents across Canada find childcare, she is raising her two busy daughters in beautiful Nanaimo, BC. She has been featured on CanadaAM, in Today’s Parent, the Globe & Mail, as well as being selected as the 2008 SavvyMom Entrepreneur of the Year.
Wicked Good Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding Cups. They’re from the book, Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey Treats for Kids by Jill O’Connor and just as good as their name states. Jill sent me and my niece a copy of her book as a little thank you for a post I did inspired by her Cheesecake Pops. We had a hard time deciding which recipe to try first, but we kept coming back to these pudding cups. They were really fun to make and even more fun to eat. You’ll see what I mean in a minute. And the best part… I didn’t have to do any of the work. My little helper did it all.
Tumblr Thursday Guest Post By Cookie’s Kids Mom Amy Wang
A Vancouver mom sends this question: “Sometimes pre-teens and teens can throw their own version of a tantrum: out of control, yelling, slamming doors or worse. What’s the best method to help defuse this situation in an older child (short of handcuffs) and turn it into a life-learning moment?”
For an answer, I turned to Allan Cordova, a child psychologist at The Children’s Program, a private clinic in Southwest Portland, and a father himself.
Cordova says the best time to think about defusing an adolescent tantrum is before it happens. “Prevention is often the best strategy,” he says. “Once something’s up and running, it can be really difficult to change the course of it.”
Setting ground rules: Parents may want to consider tackling the issue of tantrums when their teens are in a good mood and open to talking. Cordova recently counseled a teen and a parent who agreed to use a “safe word” during disagreements: “If either one of them says it, that’s going to be a signal that they need to take a step back and calm down,” like the bell in a boxing match signaling the combatants to go to their corners.
Parents also need to keep an eye out for patterns — are there certain situations that trigger tantrums? If so, there may be something deeper going on that needs to be addressed, perhaps professionally, Cordova says.
How to defuse: Cordona has a few “don’ts” for parents who find themselves in the midst of a tantrum:
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Have you ever sat and watched a puppy? A puppy will run and roll around willy-nilly, sniff whatever it can, paw or lick anything that comes close. The puppy is playing, but it’s also learning about its environment.
Toddlers are sort of like puppies in that way. Play is a much more important learning tool than flashcards, “get smart” videos, computer games, and the like. Through play, toddlers learn about shapes, colors, the spaces around them, relationships with siblings and peers.
They practice interactive skills with their stuffed dolls and animals. They learn new words (up, down, swing, mine), learn to exercise their imaginations, and get a chance to work out feelings they can’t yet verbalize. They learn about fear, for instance, when climbing on a playground structure, or they learn about excitement the when they go down a slide.
Play is a toddler’s job, and the more yours can do it, the better.