Top 5 Unnecessary Newborn Items for 0-3 Months

The Top 5 Unnecessary Newborn Items for 0-3 Months

The top 5 items we found unnecessary for a newborn were a Rock and Play, Swaddle Sacks, Scratch Mittens, a Bassinet and Newborn clothes. Before our baby arrived there were a number of items people said we had to have.  We purchased or received many of them as gifts, and later wished we had saved the space and money!  Some of them might be surprising to you!  Just because we found that our newborn didn’t benefit from these items, doesn’t mean that yours wont!  Affiliate links to some of these items are included.

The top 5 times we found unnecessary for a newborn:

Rock and Play –

This was by far the one item that almost everyone we talked to said we had to have.  They said to get the electronic one that played music and rocked itself.  I can’t count the number of people who swore by Rock and Plays.  Promised it was the magic way to get babies to sleep, guaranteed it would allow us all to get extra rest, worked magic with babies who were having trouble sleeping.

It was one of the first things I put onto our registry.  And our baby could have cared less!  He was willing to occasionally hang out in it.  Even less frequently took a short nap in it.  It served as a place to pop him quickly if we needed to run out of the room, but it didn’t soothe him, it didn’t put him to sleep, and it definitely didn’t provide any extra rest for us!  The other downside is that you can really only use it until your baby is able to turn over, so it was wasted space and money for a short few month window.

Swaddle Sacks –

Another well recommended “must have”.  I do think the convenience is key when you don’t want to have to fold and tuck blankets, but another item that our babe could have cared less about.  We purchased Swaddle Sacks in multiple sizes so that he would have them as he grew, as well as different fabrics so we would have lighter and thicker options.  The velcro got stuck to everything in the laundry, which was just an added irritant.  Not only did it not help him sleep, but he was able to very easily slip his arm out of the top.  If your baby enjoys being swaddled I can see this being a great product, but it was a fail for us!

Scratch Mittens –

This was one of the last items I went out to purchase before baby arrived.  I made sure to have a couple pair in the diaper bag ready for his homecoming.  We never even put them on him once…I learned to become confident cutting or filing his nails and never had a worry about mittens.  If your baby is a scratcher, don’t waste money on mittens, just slip a pair of socks over their hands.

A Basinet –

Truthfully were weren’t quite sure what sleep system would work best for us before bringing our baby home.  Honestly every had raved so much about the Rock and Play that I just assumed he would take most of his naps in there.  We knew that in the first few months we wanted him in our room with us, so I set up the pack and play and put a basinet inside.  I figured if he enjoyed napping in there I could just carry it up and down the stairs and just set up the basinet next to where ever I was.  Once again, he never once slept inside.  He was perfectly content in the Pack and Play and it was another waste of space and money.

Newborn Clothes –

We knew our little guy was on the bigger side, but we didn’t realize quite how big!  He ended up being 9 lbs. 6 oz and wearing 0-3 month clothing and size 1 diapers.  We barely touched all the newborn outfits we had purchased or had been gifted.  I had a personalized coming home outfit that we squeezed his chunky little thighs into, but I packed away a number of untouched clothing.  Save your $ and go with bigger sizes!

Just as another disclaimer, what works for one baby (or doesn’t work!) won’t work for everyone.  Take all of the advice you receive with a grain of salt, and if there are items you’re not sure you will get a lot of use out of, consider shopping second hand!

School Lunchbox Ideas

School Lunchbox Ideas

Now that the school year is off to a start perhaps you are looking for new lunch ideas for your child.  Do you have a picky eater? Trying to branch out from sandwiches and mix up their lunch box repertoire? After working in Early Education for many years I have come up with many healthy and nut free options, since most schools are now nut free.  Here are just a few (please remember that based on the age of your child you will need to cut/slice food to appropriate size):

high-grade-stainless-steel-sealing-insulated-lunch-box-0-9l-21-15-6-5cm-free-shipping
Lunch Box Ideas

Main Options:

  • Grilled Cheese
  • Rice Cakes and Sun Butter
  • Deli Meat Rollup
  • Pasta (Tortellini, mac and cheese, spaghetti, etc.)
  • mini waffles or pancakes
  • muffins
  • Pita with hummus
  • Sweet and Sour Kielbasa
  • Quesadilla

Sides:

  • Yogurt
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Steamed veggies
  • Cheese Stick
  • Cottage Cheese
  • 3 bean salad
  • Tabouli
  • Yogurt covered pretzels
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Rice
  • Avocado slices

Why not pack your own lunch at the same time!  You’ll definitely feel like you are eating healthier and saving more money than ordering lunch every day.  Leftovers from dinner the night before are also great lunch ideas!

What was in your lunch box today?

Here are some of our favorite lunch boxes – amazon links:


Rainbows and Pots of Gold in Preschool!

There is nothing like an upcoming holiday to get Preschoolers over the moon excited.  One of my favorite ones is St. Patrick’s Day.  Even if you don’t celebrate holidays at your school, or in your home, there are so many awesome themes that can be incorporated into a March curriculum.  The first round up I did was on Rainbows and Pots of Gold.  Enjoy!

slide_405688_5064572_free
One Artsy Momma’s fruit loop Rainbow

One Artsy Momma creates a super simple but really fun Fruit Loop Rainbow!  I’m sure kids would love snacking away as they create, but this is also a great way to practice sorting colors, following the order of the rainbow, and strengthening those fine motor skills.

DSC_0187edit_zps8e33800f
Shamrock Necklace by Mamas Like Me

Still have fruit loops left over?  Try making these awesome personalized Shamrock Necklaces by Mamas Like Me.   Your children will definitely strengthen their fine motor skills as they work to string fruit loops on a necklace.  And what a fun necklace it is!

slide_405688_5064566_free
Q-tip painting with Make and Takes

I love this adorable and, relatively, mess free Q-tip rainbow painting!  Make and Take taped together q-tips and added paint for a simple way to create the rainbow.  You could use q-tips individually to, but this is a neat way to swipe just like a paintbrush.  And think of how mess free it can be compared to finger painting!

slide_405688_5064554_free
Pot of Gold from B-inspired Mama`

This is a great little Hand Print Pot of Gold from B-inspired Mama.  Definitely starts to get messy when you add in painting hands, but kids love to see their handprints turn into art work.  If you don’t have the foil wrappers it would be super easy to make the gold coins out of something else as well.

slide_405688_5064586_free
Pot of Gold from Babble

Here is another, less messy, take on a Pot of Gold from Babble.  Using pre-cut pieces of tissue paper is a super simple way to create the rainbow.  Children will again have the opportunity to sort by colors and follow the pattern of the rainbow.  Instant art!

slide_405688_5064548_free
St. Patrick’s Day Book Mark from Teaching my Friends!

This is such a simple but adorable bookmark!  Paint chips that you can find at any Hardware store are great for projects.  Children will also get to see the various shades of a color and how the all come from the same family.  You could use hole punches, stickers, stamps, or anything you want really to decorate.  And then a little rainbow ribbon flare at the top, ta-da!  Children would love creating book marks to use!

end-of-the-rainbow-pot-of-gold-st-patricks-day-craft-for-kids
End of the Rainbow Twirler by Crafty Morning

There are so many things you can create from paper plates, and this one is great!  Crafty Morning painted a paper plate rainbow style first, and then cut it in a spiral.  Children can have a blast painting, and when it dries, you can help with the cutting.  It would look awesome hanging from the ceiling!

slide_405688_5064550_free
Streamer Rainbows by Happiness is Homemade

Another great project to hang from the ceiling or windows!  Happiness is Homemade uses half a paper plate, streamers and cotton balls.  Almost all of the materials you probably have hanging around the house!  It’s a simple project with a great end result!  Children of all ages will love the 3D effect and the moveable streamers.

How do Infants and Toddlers Use Books?

Last time I talked about some of the things we can expect Infants and Toddlers to learn through the use of books.  I ended by saying that we cannot expect Infants and Toddlers to sit for a story like Preschoolers, so what exactly do we expect for them to do with books?  That is a really good question!  Lets talk about some age appropriate uses for books.

Just like Infants and Toddlers aren’t able to sit for a story like preschoolers, they also aren’t able to use and appreciate books in the same way that preschoolers or older children are.  Infants and Toddlers explore books differently, oftentimes with their mouths, and that is completely ok!  As their senses are developing they want to explore their world through all of their senses.  Having plastic books or sturdy board books will allow for mouthing without destroying pages.  Another great idea are bath books, mouth away!

http://amzn.to/1OJtcCc
Bath Books are a great alternative to young children who are exploring their world by putting everything into their mouths!

Another sense that these young children are developing is their hearing.  Books that have sounds and songs are great!  They will oftentimes be more engaged, and they are also learning cause and effect.  What happens when I turn the page?  Music starts to play!  What happens when I push this button?  I hear a squeaking noise!  Learning to manipulate these elements of books will take practice, let your child explore them freely.

Many children will enjoy being read to, and now is a great time to make story time interactive.  Engage your children letting them complete stories, point out illustrations, find things on the pages and answer questions.  “Can you find the blue car?” Try to relate elements back to them.  “The caterpillar is eating strawberries, just like you eat strawberries!”

Young children will also start to learn how to manipulate books, usually by turning pages back and forth.  They are developing their sense of sight and increasing hand eye coordination.  They will start to feel a sense of accomplishment, and you will probably notice that they start to gravitate towards books more frequently!

A great way to engage young children with story time is to create your own picture books.  When they see familiar places or faces they will give out a contagious excitement.  You can relive your enjoyment of reading with your children.

As always, leave out appropriate books that are easily accessible for your child.  Enjoy when you can spend quality time reading together.  If you find that your child is getting bored, or has a short attention span, that is perfectly ok and completely developmentally appropriate.  Don’t force books on them, let it be a choice, and when they loose interest allow them to move on.

These moments you spend with your children will go a long way towards increasing their vocabulary and language.  Even if they are too young to be expressing themselves, they are internalizing what you are saying and doing, their brains are developing at a rapid rate, and new vocabulary words are being discovered and internalized.  Early Literacy can play a huge role in language development.

As children get older, you can expand their learning by using activities that relate to stories they are reading.  Come back later this week for some great book activity ideas!

What are Infants and Toddlers learning through books?

“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents” – Emilie Buchwald

When books are introduced at the infant age it is not with the expectation that children will sit still to read them, but more with the purpose of introducing literacy and creating a “normalcy” to having books available.  Why do we have books for young children if they aren’t able to use them “appropriately” yet?

Books are used for a number of reasons.  Obviously the most important being literacy and language.  Books are a great resource for teaching vocabulary and language concepts, which in turn helps to promote cognition.  Before babies are even able to talk, they are benefiting from hearing you read and are internalizing the words that you are using.  As they get older they will start to learn that the words and pictures together are telling a story.

Books can be used as a great sensory tool, particularly for Infants and Toddlers.  Babies and young children like to touch and taste, so books with textures, sounds, moveable and pop up pieces can all incorporate meaningful sensory experiences.  Older Infants and Toddlers are developing motor control, which can also be incorporated as they learn to manipulate different pieces of various books.  Sometimes just being able to pick up the book and pretend to turn the pages is satisfying enough! Squishy, colorful and fabric books will particularly enhance sensory experience for young children.

Books can help support emotional development in children.  As I talked about in a previous post, children have a sense of accomplishment when they master something.  Books with repetition are one of the best way for children to master a story, and gain that sense of accomplishment.  This can strengthen their sense of self and build positive esteem, snowballing into that positive emotional development.  Books are also a great way to incorporate conversations about emotions.  For example by using the book “When Sophie Gets Angry – Really, Really Angry…” by Molly Bang.  Conversation starters are almost built in!  “Why is Sophie feeling angry?” “What do you do when you’re feeling angry?”

51S6Bi9BWOL._SX424_BO1,204,203,200_

Another added benefit to reading with young children is the social aspect.  If you are reading individually to your child you are teaching them that they are important and you want to spend your time with them.  That individual attention can be invaluable.  In a group setting, reading stories with a small or large group can still give that individual attention and feeling of importance to children.  Sometimes children might look at books together, or sit near each other and look at different books.  Again, this gives that social interaction and shared experience around a love of reading.

When children observe adults reading for fun, they internalize that reading is fun, important and beneficial.  It is impossible to read too much to a child.  Remember to have appropriate books located in accessible and various locations.  The more you read, the more you will start to see your child gravitate towards books, even when you aren’t initiating the story time!

We cannot expect Infants and Toddlers to sit for a story like Preschoolers, so what exactly do we expect for them to do with books?  Tune in later this week for my explanation!