1. New Traditions for the Holidays

    Whether religious or secular, your family’s traditions are what make you unique – and they’re what your kids will remember most. But if you tried to sing “The Twelve Days of Christmas” with the kids last year, and they lost interest around “three French hens,” it might be time to consider some new traditions. Don’t be afraid to break with the old – traditions you create yourself can be even stronger than traditional…traditions.

    First, try getting rid of traditions that either aren’t fun or don’t make sense for your family. Write up a list of current holiday activities and ask all family members which activities should stay and which get the ax. Don’t forget to take your children’s opinions into consideration; they’ll be home on school vacation, and likely to overindulge on TV and cookies if they don’t have lots of fun activities to divert them. So give them diversions galore. The best are fun, inexpensive activities that involve the whole family. They can be as simple as a family board game – if it’s fun enough, the family will want to do it next year, too. Here are a few more ideas:  

    Ride around together on a neighborhood tour of lights and decorations – go by bike if the weather’s mild, by car if not. If your family likes to judge, make up some signs, 1-10 or A-F, to evaluate your neighbors’ festive displays. Will the Joneses beat the Smiths this year?

    If your family is not particularly religious, but looking for a way to celebrate the holiday season, the winter solstice – December 22, the longest night of the year – is an opportunity for festivities. Cultures around the globe observe the solstice in different ways, but many celebrations involve giving thanks for light. Why not celebrate with a family game of flashlight tag?

    Or, if you want to show some generosity as a family, give a present to someone who won’t be expecting one. Who should it be? The mail carrier? Arnie down at the town dump? That old woman with the cats? Whoever it is, make the gift meaningful. The same goes for your holiday traditions: only your family can decide what traditions are meaningful to them. And if you’re looking for meaningful gifts for the kids in your life, look no further than CookiesKids.com!       

    Sources:

     

  2. And They Call It Puppy Love …

    Surely you recall your first bout with love. The butterflies in your stomach when passing your crush in school hallways. The way you tried to act cool whenever they stepped in the room. How you’d written your betrothed’s name all over your Trapper Keeper. One day your child will experience the same wonderful, horrible feelings you once did. The signs will be easy enough to recognize: one day they’ll see a romantic scene in a movie and instead of saying “Eww, that’s gross,” they’ll say, “Aww, that’s cute!”

    In general, these feelings emerge around the time kids enter kindergarten or first grade because, as they spend more time in school and in activities outside the family, they’ll begin to feel affection for their classmates. Crushes are perfectly healthy, even at an early age; in fact, they’re a major part of your child’s emotional and social development. But as with all love, there always remains the risk of heartbreak and emotional pain, experiences that are hard for anyone to deal with, let alone children. Here are a few tips on what you can do upon discovering your little one has an objet d’amour.

    Please, no teasing, especially in front of family. Yes, you may view your child’s first crush as something that’s cheek-pinchingly cute, but bear in mind that the more you might tease, the more shame and uncertainty your child is likely to feel. It might even make them deny their feelings or be more guarded about them next time. So respect the real and intense feelings your child may be experiencing. Validate their feelings by making positive statements. Be inquisitive but not intrusive. Ask your child what they like about their crush and if they think their feelings are being reciprocated. Listen to what they have to say and show genuine interest. It may be appropriate to share stories of your first crush. It’s also important to encourage staying friends with a crush even “if” (after) the romance fades. After all, it’s likely your child will be classmates and friends with the ex-crush for years to come.  

    Crushes are a child’s first forays into the world of relationships. It’s a world fraught with complications and issues of vulnerability, desire, embarrassment, rejection, sadness, disappointment, and power. Besides being a good listener, perhaps the most important thing you can do about your child’s first crush is to set a good example through your own relationships. Your kids watch your every move – how you interact with family, friends, everyone. By setting good examples and being your child’s confidant, you’re helping prepare them for the emotional wonders and heartaches that growing up will inevitably bring.

     

  3. Hot Topic: Naptime

    Ah, naptime. Doesn’t your toddler look peaceful when they’re asleep? And a little tranquility for you couldn’t hurt either! But what if your toddler decides prematurely that they’ve gotten over napping? Or what if, on the other hand, they seem like they’re napping too much?

    Every child has their own unique sleep patterns – circadian rhythms, tied to cycles of light and darkness and a body’s “quota” for sleep. This means that children have individual needs when it comes to napping, needs you should do your best to observe and recognize. Another factor that determines when and why kids nap is cultural; if they attend daycare or you’ve established a strict napping schedule at home, a toddler is liable to follow that schedule.

    But sooner or later, most kids are going to say they don’t need to nap anymore. When this happens, you should watch for signs that your toddler might be skipping their nap prematurely: yawning, droopy eyes, crankiness, all at around the time when they used to nap. If your child gives up their nap before 4 years old, and they still exhibit these symptoms, try offering them some quiet time in their room around their former naptime. Dim the lights and leave them alone. Even if they don’t fall asleep, it can still be a recharging break. Providing a restful environment at the right times can help kids keep a healthy sleep schedule – even if they think they know better. (And this doesn’t just apply to nap-shy toddlers: teenagers who stay up to chat with their friends could also probably use a reminder that lights out means lights out.)

    But what about children who don’t want to give up their naps? 20-30% of five-year-olds still need a nap in the afternoon. Kindergartens and daycare programs often have an optional nap, but if you know your kid needs one at a certain time, a quick chat with your kindergarten teacher or daycare professional might be a good idea. If drowsiness persists when your child starts grade school, it might be wise to ask your pediatrician about it.

    The most important responsibility you have when it comes to your child’s sleep is being observant and supportive; know the signs of drowsiness so you can provide encouragement to sleep. And any kid who needs a reminder that naptime is pretty fun should get a look at our sleepwear and cuddle pillows – browse CookiesKids.com for a superior selection!

    Sources:

     

  4. Fulton Street Twilight Shopping Event

    Come shop at Cookie’s the Kids Department Store at 510 Fulton Street in the Fulton Mall this Friday during the Fulton Street Twilight Shopping Event and take advantage of our extended store hours!

    This Friday, June 18th, Cookie’s Kids and other participating Fulton Street stores will be open until 10 PM.  

    Get more shopping hours and extra savings for Fathers’ Day weekend while enjoying live music and face painting for the kids!