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  • Baby’s First Christmas – Gift Guide!

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    Check out our list of must-have gifts for Baby’s First Christmas!

    Fat Brain Toys Dimpl Baby Toys & Gifts (here)

    Give the gift of sensory stimulation for baby’s first Christmas with this brightly colored and super durable toy! Babies will love poking and grabbing the colorful silicon bubbles while developing fine motor skills. Easy to take on the go and a fascinating attention keeper, this Dimpl is a wonderful gift for baby’s first Christmas!

    Radio Flyer 3-in-1 Wagon (here)

    You can’t go wrong with a classic! This multi-purpose radio flyer is a gift for babies and parents alike, as it is fun to ride in and easy to pull. It’s compact design folds for simple storage and it includes the UV protective canopy (for rainy days too). Plenty of room for 2, the radio flyer 3-in-1 can also be used as bench for seating. Buy it now!

    My First Library Board Books Boxset (here)

    It is never too early to instill a love for reading in a child, which makes this board book boxset the perfect gift for baby’s first Christmas. These brightly colored reads cover all the basics, including numbers, the alphabet and animals. Great for language development and an awesome introduction to the wonderful world of literature. Baby needs this set like yesterday!

    Spike the Fine-Motor Hedgehog (here)

    Just look at this adorable spike the Hedgehog in all of it’s colorful, fine motor glory! Watch as baby’s skills grow with this super cute peg-in-the-hole toy. The quills are easy to grasp and simple to store when play time is over. Spike is highly educational with it’s sorting, counting and color recognition building features. Exceptional!

    V-Tech Sit to Stand Learning Walker (here)

    What’s not to love about this interactive learning baby walker that features a removable toddler play panel and pretend telephone handset? Help babies learn to walk with this light up, musical push toy that sings songs and spouts fun phrases. Durable wheels work on carpet and hard floors. Intended for babies and toddlers from 9 months to 3 years old, it is also available in pink!  

    Growsland Baby Bath Toys (here)

    Bath time just got more fun with these awesome waterproof books and squeeze toys! This gift is not only educational but unique and guaranteed to keep baby entertained. The first page even squeaks when you press it! Tough but bendable, the books’ smooth edges are safety checked and mold resistant. Great value for everything included. Blub Blub gift these bath toys for baby’s first Christmas and enjoy some fun in the tub!

    Leapfrog My Pal Scout (here)

    Personalized learning, 40+ melodies and lullabies, and night time soothing are just a few of the incredible features to this multi-faceted, educational cuddle toy. Sync with a smartphone or tablet, and Scout will say your child’s name and favorite things. Bedtime just got a lot easier!

    Battat – Wooden Activity Cube (here)

    A beautifully crafted childhood classic, the Battat wooden activity cube is a must have for babies and toddlers. With 5 sides of fun and rounded corners, this child favorite will keep baby safely entertained. Playtime with this toy encourages hand-eye coordination, imaginative play and cause-and-effect. Winning gift right here!

    Melissa & Doug Nesting and Stacking Blocks (here)

    What can’t we say about Melissa & Doug? Their products are amazing. Get back to the basics with these stackable blocks with eye catching alphabet letters and animals.  And when baby is finished they store away seamlessly.  This toy is an incredible value under $10 and is guaranteed by Melissa & Doug. Talk about a no brainer!

    Ball Pit Play Tent (here)

    Kids have a mental, emotional and physical need to learn how to explore by investigating their physical environments. What better place to do it than in this stimulating and safe ball pit? They can learn depth perception and to differentiate colors. It folds up quick and easy and comes with a handy storage bag so you can take just about anywhere!

    If you liked this gift guide for Baby’s First Christmas and would like more gift ideas – be sure to read our post on 50 Christmas Gifts Under $10 (and 75+ Stocking Stuffer Ideas.)

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  • The 4 Best Takeaways From The Whole-Brain Child

    As a stay at home mom who is basically on 24/7,  I’m always looking for new methods to improve the relationships I have with my kids, and solutions for handling the big emotions that come with parenting. Most of my research pointed to The Whole-Brain Child written by Daniel J Siegel, M.D., and Tina Payne Bryson, PH.D. This practical child rearing read is a New York Times Bestseller and for good reason.

    Photo of woman reading The Whole-Brain Child.

    This post may contain affiliate links, which means that we may receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase using these links.

    The 12 no-drama discipline strategies laid out in the book are game changing. The illustrations and relatable narratives offer parents an effortless implementation and are easy to follow. However, the most beneficial piece to this read was the information regarding brain science and the many links to child emotional development. The authors provide a thorough explanation as to why children are at times highly emotionally reactive and how to better understand their struggles.

    Overall, The Whole-Brain Child can help foster happier and healthier kids which is what we all strive for. Here are the 4 Best Takeaways from The Whole-Brain Child.

    1.) Integration – The Many Parts of the Brain

    Most of us understand that the brain has many different parts with many different functions. There’s the logical left brain and the emotional right brain. There’s an instinctive reptile brain and a mammal brain that helps us foster emotional connections and relationships. New research shows that all of these components of the brain need to work well together in order to flourish and thrive. This concept is called integration.

    Because the human brain isn’t fully developed until the age of 20-25, we can’t expect the littlest among us to be experts in brain functions such us emotional intelligence or sounds decision making.

    The book notes that because children are right brain dominant, they aren’t experts in getting messages across without mastery of the left brain logic. As a result, it is difficult to explain how they’re feeling. This is often the cause of a tantrum or meltdown. Parents can integrate the the child brain by providing them experiences in which the many parts of the brain can collaborate.

    The book expands on these experiences and gives various strategies for integration. However, simply understanding the composition of the brain allows parents to nurture the child brain more effectively.

    2.) Attunement – Allow them to Feel Felt

    “When a child is upset, logic won’t work until we’ve responded to the child’s emotional needs first,” -The Whole-Brain Child

    I love this quote directly from the book. When we respond to our child’s tantrum with a logical answer, it probably won’t connect because the child’s emotional needs are commanding the brain in a way that is all-consuming. That is precisely why responses such as (below) don’t resonate.

    • “You’re fine.”
    • “It’s not a big deal.”
    • “Calm down.”

    Help your child feel heard and felt by affirming their feelings (no matter how irrational), not invalidating them. Assuring a child that they’re not alone and  that we want to know whats happening on the inside can help calm the situation. Once their emotional needs are met, it will be easier to break through to the developing logical left brain, to work through the problem.

    For more on appropriate responses to tantrums read our article 5 Simple Tips for Taming Tantrums.

    3.) Traumas – Name Their Pain

    When a child experiences a trauma, a parent’s first instinct is to avoid it or distract the child from re-living the experience. But due to the inner workings of the developing brain, it’s important to talk about the trauma in order to overcome.

    This section of The Whole-Brain Child points out that while we don’t want our children to hurt, its vital for them to have these experiences to learn how to heal and grow. Traumas should never go unresolved. Recount the fear and walk through it together.

    Trauma is a word that is often misunderstood. Trauma doesn’t have to be the death of a family member or a scary car accident. It can be any deeply distressing or disturbing experience. For children, a perceived trauma can be something that an adult would find silly or irrational. Examples of child trauma:

    • Getting sick at preschool or daycare
    • A scary encounter with an animal
    • A toilet overflowing
    • Falling off the playground

    Though these situations may sound minor, something as simple as a toilet overflowing can create anxiety or discomfort in a child that needs to be worked through.

    4.) Morality

    “A sense of not only right and wrong, but also what is for the greater good beyond their own personal needs,” -The Whole-Brain Child

    This one resonated with me, as its one of the most important values I wish to instill in my kids: a strong sense of morality. The book explains that a well integrated upstairs brain with the following attributes culminates in morality.

    • Sound decision making
    • Controlling emotions and the body
    • Self-understanding
    • Empathy

    A great way to exercise this part of the brain is to place a child in scenarios in which they practice good decision making. A few examples of hypotheticals (that kids love) directly from the book:

    • “Would it be ok to run a red light in an emergency?”
    • “If a bully was picking on someone, would you intervene?”
    • “If you found a toy at the playground that didn’t belong to you, would you take it?”

    By challenging kids to think critically about decisions, and by guiding them through these scenarios, we allow them to build the morality necessary to make good choices. Being able to assess the implications in any situation is a crucial life skill and is important in helping children develop sound decision making skills.

    We hope that our 4 Best Takeaways from The Whole-Brain Child left you wanting more! You can purchase this essential parent read below.

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  • The Best Baby & Kids Pajamas Under $20 on AMAZON

    I am that extra mom that coordinates my kid’s pajamas with holidays, books, hobbies, you name it. And because they’re always growing out of their jammies (and we wear them a lot in this household) I’m constantly checking around for good deals on quality sleepwear. Furthermore, Amazon offers some great brands for super cheap and admittedly I LOVE the convenience. Below I’ve listed my favorite brands and what I have found to be the best baby & kids pajamas under $20 on Amazon! Happy shopping (and hopefully sleeping!)

     

     

    Picture of the best children's pajamas under $20 on Amazon

    This post may contain affiliate links, which means that we may receive a commission if you make a purchase using these links.

    I can’t get enough of these puppy PJs from Spotted Zebra and I just ordered them for my son! Bonus buy – these are less than $10 and come with the short sleeve option which I love.

       

    How cute are these Bunny sets for Spring? Order now in time for the Easter holiday and have the kiddos open their baskets in style, or have the bunny bring them on Easter morning.

       

    We are a books-to-bed family and nothing gets my oldest pumped for reading like pajamas that match the book we snuggle up to at night. Purchase the books along with the PJ set and it serves as an awesome gift as well. Click here for Llama Llama Red Pajama and here for Brown Bear Brown Bear.

      

    Leveret is one of my FAVORITE brands because of the adorable patterns and the no slip footies. My youngest son is beginning to pull up on everything and the extra grip is a safety plus. I’ve ordered several pairs, and in fact have a matching pair for myself! They also come tag-less for littles with sensitive skin. I have featured the mermaid pattern here but be sure to look at the other patterns available.

    Burts Bees – not just the creamy chapstick in your purse! These are 100% organic cotton and also have the no slip footies. More patterns available for this one as well.

       

    These Avauma sets are the most expensive on the list but I love how cozy and simple they are. These thermal pajamas will stay warm on cold nights and hold their structure well through many rounds in the washing machine.

       

    We hope you found some new Pajamas to lay the kids down in at night! Be sure to check out our 10 Easy Easter Crafts and Activities for Preschoolers

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  • Product Review: The DocKATot

    For the expecting mama: this is a must read product review!

    “I love the DockATot so much that I bought it twice.”

    Not because I wanted to, but because we left ours at home after driving four hours to the outer banks for a week long vacation, and we knew how vital the DockATot was for our son’s sleep (and thus our survival) while we were away. 

    This glorious baby sleeper is safe, portable, washable, versatile and stylish. The DockATot is worth every penny and is a registry must have. I’m able to carry & quite literally dock it throughout the house as he naps during the day and he sleeps soundly, nestled in its soothing comfort at night. Both guaranteeing incredible value, the Deluxe is geared towards babies 0 – 8 months old, and the Grand is designed for toddlers aged 9 – 36 months. 

    Because I hadn’t heard much about it, while pregnant I posed a question on Facebook about the necessity of the dockatot and I was shocked at the amount of positive feedback I received from other mamas on my feed. So convinced I needed it, I added it to my registry and my friends (who are angels) gifted it to me at my shower. The DockATot is available in a variety of styles. The covers are removable and washable which is HUGE because my baby is a big spitter and has the occasional blowout.

    “This glorious baby sleeper is safe, portable, washable, versatile and stylish.”

    Great for co-sleeping and crib to bed transitions, the DockATot allows for a safer and more comfortable way for families to share sleeping quarters if they so choose. Additionally, it’s ideal for bed transitioning, thanks to built-in sides that allow young children to settle more easily in a bigger bed. The DockATot Grand gives little ones a snug sense of security in a new sleeping environment.

    My only complaint is that I didn’t have the DockATot for my firstborn! For more information click here. Happy sleeping, Mamas.

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