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Category : Kids

Have you ever found yourself saying “If you stop doing that, then I will give you what you want” or perhaps something like “Good for you”? Have you ever been confused about whether you’re bribing your kids or simply praising them… and if there really is a difference between the two?

Is Bribing Kids Part of Your Parenting Toolbox?

Bribing kids vs. reinforcement

The answer is yes. Bribery and reinforcement are two very different approaches to parenting, but they are often misused and misunderstood.  So what is the difference between the two? 

As parents, you may find yourself in a situation where your child is misbehaving or acting out in order to get what they want or simply because they are unhappy about a particular situation. In an effort to get them to stop and for you to gain control, you promise them something and state a condition. You tell them that if they stop doing the undesirable behavior, then a more desirable consequence will follow. For example: “If you stop yelling and pick up your toys, then I will give you treat.” This is a prime example of bribery.

When bribery becomes a gray area

There is also a “gray” area when it comes to bribery.  It is more along the lines of an “If/then” statement — not necessarily paired with misbehavior — used in the hopes to prevent any challenges. In order to get your child to do something or help them transition from a preferred activity like watching television to a less preferred activity like helping with chores, you state a desirable condition for them.  For example, “If you stop watching television and help me with the chores, I will let you stay up late tonight and watch an extra hour of your favorite show.”  You are on the verge of entering the bribery zone with statements like these, even to avoid an argument and the likelihood of problematic behaviors.

The problem with bribing kids

The main problem with using these approaches is that the novelty of the desirable outcome may eventually wear off and overtime bribing doesn’t work. So why do many parents use it? Well, it does work. In the moment, when emotions are running high and you are at your wit’s end, bribing can seem like an efficient way to deescalate the situation, gain control and get your child to do what you want. However, over time, by using this as an approach, we may be teaching our children to negotiate and attempt to manipulate everything they are asked to do, even when they don’t have a choice.

Turning bribery into reinforcement

So, what is the alternative? How is reinforcement a different and more positive approach to reducing challenging behavior and still being able to get kids to do what is excepted? Praising your children or providing them with a desirable item after they have engaged in a desirable behavior is considered positive reinforcement. The main difference is that you are using this approach as a means to let them know that they are doing a great job, will get rewarded for doing so which in turn, increases the likelihood that when in the same or similar situation, they will repeat the desirable behavior without you having to ask them. 

Parents can simply make a request and reinforce the times their child comply without having to state the outcome. For example, your daughter is watching television and notices that you are preparing dinner. Your daughter then approaches and starts to help you set the table. You are so happy that she is helping that you smile, give her a hug, explain how happy you are that she is helping and tell her that she can have dessert tonight even though it is week night and desserts are typically reserved for weekends. Your daughter smiles in return, asks if there is anything else she can help you with and the next night when you are preparing dinner, she immediately joins you and starts to set the table. This is the power of positive reinforcement.  No “if/then” statements or promises were made. Positive reinforcement is more than just praising your child.

The focus should be on their actions and not just vague statements.  Instead of saying “Good job!” try saying “I’m so happy that you helped me.” Positive reinforcement can take many forms — it can be verbal recognition or specific feedback/praise, access to a reward or preferred activity, and can be more socially based such as smiles, tickles, high-fives and hugs. The key is to find out what your child more readily responds to and use that as part of your parenting tool box.

Making the first moves towards positive reinforcement

You are probably asking yourself, “What if my child doesn’t initiate? How do you I get them to do the things I want them to do in the first place?” It is okay to state conditions that may include an if/then statement, however your timing is key. Too often we use these type of statements too close to the situation that may lead to undesirable behaviors.  It is also okay to remind your children of rules and expectations and of the consequences that may occur. Just be mindful of when you are using them.  Ideally, you want to provide reminders before the occurrence of or the possibility of any undesirable behaviors. The trick is to start with things that are attainable and to be consistent.

An easy trick to get you to practice is to put 10 elastic bands around your wrist, and find 10 different situations throughout the day that you can reinforce your child. Over time, this will be come common practice and you wont need to wear the elastic bands.

I promise you, if you stop using bribery to get your kids to do what you want and instead use more positive reinforcement, then you may find parenting a little easier!

This post was provided by Janet Arnold and Francine McLeod of Finding Solutions.  

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Our team of three hit the 2016 ABC Kids Expo in full-force last month, searching for new products for kids and babies for you to love, as well as getting to visit with some of our longtime favorite brands face to face.

While you’ll be seeing some of our new favorite products popping up as upcoming holiday gift ideas and in posts as we move into the new year, we couldn’t resist letting you get your hands on a few goodies now!

2016 ABC Kids Expo Giveaway on Savvy Sassy Moms

1. Rachel’s Remedy Breastfeeding Relief Packs

It was so fantastic to meet with the founder, Rachel Jackson, at ABC Kids and to see this new product in person. This is the only product on the market that is FDA-approved, as well as being waterproof (moms know how important this is!) to give both hot and cold relief when you need it. Forget having to use a hot wet washcloth to ease your breastfeeding pain or try to figure out exactly how to put cabbage in your nursing bra for good.

Giveaway: Rachel’s Remedy Breastfeeding Relief Pads ($60 value)

2. Skip Hop Stroll and Go On-Call Hand Muff

New from one of our favorite brands to work with and visit at ABC Kids is this cozy stroller hand muff that will keep you warm during winter walks, as well as give you easy access to your phone. Because let’s be honest, we’re all checking it every other second. There’s even a port for headphones for the mamas who really want to get moving on their walk with Baby.

Giveaway: Skip Hop Stroll and Go On-Call Hand Muff, winner’s choice of colors ($35 value)

3. Finn and Emma Play Gym

Admittedly, we love everything from Finn and Emma and their play gyms are no exception. We so appreciate that they find a balance between creating a toy that our little ones love to play with and that looks chic in our home. Plus, with special attention to the materials used to make each play gym — organic cotton toys, non-toxic dyes, lacquer and stain that’s free of lead, mercury, VOCs, nickel and phthalates and more — we can’t help but love this brand.

Giveaway: Finn and Emma Totem Play Gym, winner’s choice of finish ($135 value)

4. Lorena Canals Washable Rugs

We’re not sure why it took so long for someone to invent truly washable rugs, but we’re so thankful that they did. And, that they did it so well. The Lorena Canals booth at the ABC Kids Expo was a sight to see and with their newest designs on on full display, including the Round ABC design and Azteca Collection. We love that each rug is free of toxins and chemicals, so you never have to worry about Baby’s safety.

Giveaway: Lorena Canals Washable Rug, winner’s choice (up to $300 value)

5. Dock-A-Tot Deluxe and Play Arch

If you were following the coverage of the ABC Kids Expo on social media, you probably saw the incredible balloon-ceiling booth from Dock-A-Tot. It was even more magical in person! This beloved brand announced the addition of their new Play Arch, which will launch in 2017. The new mobile toy arch allows babies to safely play and be engaged when they’re laying in their Dock-A-Tot, a brilliant add-on to an already brilliant product.

Giveaway: Deluxe Dock-A-Tot, winner’s choice of patters, plus a gift card to use for the Play Arch when it’s released (over a $200 value)

6. Just Born Sparkle Collection

Let me tell you, there was a lot of ohhing and ahhing when we visited the Just Born booth at the expo. We all fell in love with these gorgeous collections of bedding, layette pieces, nursery accessories and more, including the new Sparkle Collection, which is currently available. Everything was so luxe and soft, but at prices that didn’t make us cringe.

Giveaway: Sparkle Collection Plush Toy and Cuddle Plush Blanket, winner’s choice for both ($50 value)

7. ergoPouch SleepSuits

There were so many sleep sacks this year! But, parents know all too well that not every sleep sack is created equal. (We’ll leave it at that!) It was great to get to see the ergoPouch up close and personal at the expo. There were so many unique features we loved, including the grippy feet on the bottom of the suit for walkers and the 4-way zippers that make it easy for us to get it on and off… and not so easy for our little ones!

Giveaway: ergoPouch SleepSuit, winner’s choice of patterns ($60 value)

8. Pediped Shoes

Getting to see the team from Pediped, along with all of their adorable new shoes for babies, toddlers and kids, is always a highlight of our trip to Las Vegas. We even got a sneak peek at their new limited edition collection that launches this week and, let me be the first to tell you, you’ll want these for holiday.

Giveaway: Pair of Pediped shoes, winner’s choice (up to $60 value)

Enter to win the 2016 ABC Kids Expo Giveaway

Please enter using the Rafflecopter form below. One winner will receive all eight prizes included. Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery. You must be a US resident and at least 18-years-old to enter and win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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As we edge closer and closer to cold temperatures, a fight arises in my house. Often, before school, I will notice my daughters scamper past me, without saying goodbye other than yelling across the hall. After school, I realize this is because both of my girls have forgone a jacket.

Aritzia - Winter 2016

Now, while I don’t think there is anything more chic than staying warm in the winter, my daughters could not be more embarrassed to wear a jacket to school. Throughout my day, I am constantly worrying whether my girls are wearing their jackets outdoors, and if they are, if those jackets are even zipped up. As the resident veteran mom at Savvy Sassy Moms, I now know that my girls are never without their jackets if they are able to shop for, select, and love their jackets.

As avid Aritzia shoppers, it was no surprise that my girls have chosen Aritzia winter coats, time and time again. My oldest, now 19, still wears the parka she bought from Aritzia in 2010. Not only are these coats timeless and warm, they are most definitely cool by my girls’ standards, as well as my own. They love shopping at Aritzia and I do too (but don’t tell my girls that).

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This year, my 17-year-old daughter and her friends took their jackets out on the road. I am grateful to note that the girls are warm, comfortable and fashionable. These coats will stand the test of time and continue to be worn throughout the fall and winter months.

The sales team always asks my girls about what they are looking for and selects merchandise that is geared towards their specifications. Aritzia’s team is stylish and extremely dedicated to the individuality and style of the client and well versed in their products.Aritzia Style- Winter 2016 Photoshoot

Here, Mia and her friends are ready for any outdoor adventure they choose to take on, bundled in their Aritzia coats. These jackets will allow them to explore all throughout the day, until the sun comes down. Aritzia has always been a staple in our home, and while kids continue to grow and mature, Aritzia has grown with them, outfitting them in essential basic pieces from middle school to adulthood with pieces that moms can wear, too.

Aritzia parkas, available online and in stores

From left to right:

Golden by TNA Oslo Parka in Ice White, $395
Community Autonomy Parka in Dark Olive + Total Eclipse $325

 

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Where will your children be wearing their parkas?

Photos by She Inspires Me Photography.

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We have all noticed that it  has been getting darker earlier, which means that the seasons are changing and the days are getting shorter. This weekend, we will be changing the clocks back an hour for daylight saving time… and, we will all be gaining a precious hour of sleep. If your kids are young, while you are looking forward to gaining an hour of sleep, you are likely dreading this change because we all know that even the smallest change can throw off your child’s entire sleep routine. A change in their sleep routine likely means a change in yours, and that is never good (unless by some miracle they are sleeping in). We have some tips and tricks to get you through the time change this fall.

Daylight Savings Time Tips and Tricks
Tip #1: Start early

Give yourself and your child time to adjust to the change. Instead of pretending that the time change won’t affect your little ones sleep, start preparing by putting your child to bed 15-minutes later each night for a couple of nights before the time change. If your child goes to sleep at 7:30, start by putting them to bed at 7:45 and then 8:00 and so on. If your child needs two nights per 15-minute change, then ease into it over the course of a week. If your child is still napping, don’t forget to change the timing of the naps while you transition, as well!

Tip #2: Routines are key

If you don’t know by now, I am all about a bedtime routine. While you start to transition make sure to keep your bed time routine consistent. We all slip a little on the bedtime routine from time to time, but this not the weekend to do it! Start with a warm bath, read a book, have a snuggle and then off to sleep.

Tip #3: Don’t forget the mornings

You might be so focused on getting your child to bed at night, that you may not have given thought to the morning! Try and keep your mornings consistent as well. Encourage you child to stay and play in their room, or leave your little ones in the crib for a bit if they wake up early. If you use a clock that communicates to your child that it is the night time or the morning, don’t forget to the change the time on the clock.

Tip #4: Take care of you!

We have a way of ignoring the clock and telling ourselves that it’s still the old time! Instead of deluding yourself, pay attention to the clock and go to bed at a reasonable time. You never know when the little ones will start calling for you, so you better be well rested!

Tip #5: No plan is perfect

Remember: We are all human! This means that no matter how much you plan, no one likes change, not even moms. Be patient, take a deep breathe and remember, that in a week or two, you won’t even remember that you turned the clocks back. Expect an extra temper tantrum here or there or some other unwanted behaviors and try not to misdirect any blame. The only one to blame here is Mother Nature!

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This post is sponsored by Ergo for BabyCenter.

There is nothing sweeter than having a baby. Once your newborn has arrived, you tell yourself that you are never going to put her down and you take in every breath of your new baby, loving her scent and having her so close to you. But as they days and weeks go on, you begin to think about what you’re missing… your arms! They used to be able to do so much and with a new baby, you need them back more than ever to do all the laundry, make meals and everything in between!

A few short weeks after my son was born, I knew that it was time to investigate carriers. At the beginning, I just wanted to write some thank you cards while he slept on me. I didn’t want to lose having him so close to me all the time because I knew that I would blink and he wouldn’t be a baby anymore. Finding a carrier that didn’t leave me recovering with back pain for days after wearing it was a challenge… until I tried on an Ergo carrier.

I quickly fell in love with the Ergo360 and have never turned back. I am not the kind of person who likes to stay home — I am always on the go and having two kids has made me even busier. What started as a sweet boy who wanted to be held all the time, turned into a sweet busy boy who wanted to be in the middle of the action (just like his mom) and be on my hip all the time. Now he has a sister who is exactly the same! We love to travel and my separation anxiety is worse than the kids, so I like to bring them with me! Here are some of my favorite places to wear my Ergo.

Ergo-Plane

In the air

A screaming baby on a plane is no fun for anyone. Some babies hate the airplane, while others love it. Both of my kids loved being in the Ergo on the plane. I always try to book my travel around nap times because, let’s be honest, the more time you knock out on the plane by sleeping, the better!  Before I get on the plane, I put my daughter in the carrier in the front-inward carry and before I know it she is out like a light, making the boarding process easy. The support of the carrier ensures that my back is supported and that she is support as well so that we are both as comfortable as can be. Not to mention, there are times when I have traveled alone with one or both kids. Travelling alone, with a stroller, luggage, diaper bag, toys, car seat — you get the picture — is no easy feat! Less is more, and I need my hands, so the Ergo is a must.

Of course, the Ergo is not approved for use during take-off and landing, so make sure you are getting your sleepy little ones out of their carriers during those times to be as safe as possible when you travel.

Ergo-Land

On the land

From Florida to Arizona to Boston or to Mexico, wherever my travels take me, my daughter is right there with me getting the best view around! Instead of pushing her in the stroller, both she and I like it when she is worn in the front-outward carry to take it all in. One of my favorite places to wear her is on a beach in the hot sand. Walking with her with the sun on my face and the smell of the ocean is a feeling to cherish forever!

Ergo-Water

On the water

I look forward to summer trips to the cottage country every year. Parking the car and travelling by boat gives you that feeling of being detached from the rest of the world for a bit! While I love the wind blowing my hair all over the place, I always make sure Addison is comfortable and snug in the carrier at we board the boat. I put the hood up to keep her head in place and protect her from sun and blowing wind.

Ergo-Everywhere

EVERYWHERE

Wherever life takes us, my carrier is just a reach away. Whether it be to the mall, apple picking in the fall, walks through the ravine in the winter or to an amusement park in the summer, one of my kids are bound to be in the carrier! As they get bigger, I wear them in the hip carry just as I would without the carrier.

Where do you baby wear?

This post is sponsored by Ergo in partnership with BabyCenter. All opinions are my own.

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If you give a mouse a brownie (1)

As educators, we are always keeping up to date with the best books for our kids. There is nothing we love more than a trip to the bookstore to see the newest picture books on the shelves, then bringing them home to read to our children.

Oldies, but goodies

There are some books that we read to our kids that are just as good as when we heard them when we were children! I remember listening to If You Give a Mouse a Cookie over and over again. The story always sparked my imagination and encouraged it to run wild. Reading this book to my own children, years later, does the same thing and I love watching my kids guess what Mouse will want next! While Jonah is only 4-years-old, we have read the book countless times because when we finish reading the book, he always asks me to read it again. My kids are huge fans of the series and are no stranger to all of the characters: Dog, Moose, Pig and Cat.

When we put our teacher hats, this book brings forth classroom activities that stimulate language, mathematic skills and sensory-motor activities. I have used this book to bring families into the classroom as part of my school outreach program. Parents and children always see to get something out of this series and, of course, the children want to hear the stories again and again.

New release

We were thrilled to hear about the release of the newest addition to the series, If You Give a Mouse a BrownieMouse is back in this delicious new story in the #1 New York Times bestselling “If You Give” series, which has sold over 14 million copies, from author and illustrator duo Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond. This book is also the first one to feature Mouse in 14 years, which we couldn’t be more excited about! With its rhythmic text and circular tale, If You Give a Mouse a Brownie is perfect for beginning readers and story time for both my children. As we read the book over and over again, they are able to use the beautiful pictures to help them predict what will happen next.If you give a mouse a brownie

Books aren’t just for bedtime

Reading books is one of the best ways to interact with your children, but when you can take it to the next level of interaction, your kids really love a book. When the word “brownie” is in the title, you can just guess what’s coming next! After reading the newest addition to the series, we were in the kitchen in no time, mixing up our own batch of delicious brownies! Books bring families together and the list of benefits of reading to your children goes on and on.

If you haven’t read any of the books in the “If You Give” series, you are missing out! If You Give a Mouse a Cookie is a must, and as of October 18th, you can purchase If You Give a Mouse a Brownie to add to your collection.

We love the series so much that we will be giving away a copy of both books on the Savvy Sassy Moms Instagram account, along with a $50 Visa card for you and a friend to help build your library! Thanks to Harper Collins for sending us a copy of the books and providing the prize pack for the winners. Enter now by clicking on the image below.

If You Give a Mouse a Brownie Instagram Giveaway

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Everyone at this time of year is in back-to-school mode, including us doctors. While the house might be quieter during the day, I can tell you that both my office and emergency rooms across the country reflect what has come to be known as the “Week 38 Phenomenon.”

Asthma Flare Ups

Research has shown that hospitals see a sudden spike in emergency room visits for both children and adults who suffer from asthma in mid-September and the beginning of October, just where we are right now in the calendar, sees this flurry in flares. Why? There are a number of reasons why. Among them, viral respiratory infections begin to rise and kids in close contact at school spread these viral infections from one to another… then kids bring the infections home to their adults. In addition, there are also allergens in the air and children are exposed to children who may bring allergens on their clothing from home, such as cat allergen, dog allergen and the like.

Asthma  affects millions of kids and many do not have control of their asthma.  It is the number one emergency room visit for kids. About 25 percent of all children’s asthma hospitalizations are known to occur in the five week period after kids go back to school. Often over the summer, kids can become complacent about taking their asthma medication. Couple that with close crowding, virus transmission and allergens to create what many have called the perfect storm for an asthma flare.

What is asthma?

Asthma is a two-component disease. Many of the symptoms of cough, wheezing and shortness of breath are caused by narrowing or constriction of the bronchial breathing tubes that happens when the muscles around the airways becomes tight. Then, the airway lining can become swollen and inflamed leading to mucous production. This too narrows the airway.

Asthma triggers include air pollution pollen, certain foods, spray-on deodorants, perfumes, dust, exercise, tobacco, smoke, mold and pets.

Some of the signs that asthma is flaring includes the need of more reliever medication, a cough, nausea or light headedness, and difficulty in sleeping. The 30-second asthma test can identify whether or not you might be having a flare. This is a test developed by GSK that has been validated.

I think my child is having an asthma flare-up

Treatment of asthma is designed to reduce the inflammation on an ongoing basis with the use of inhaled steroid medication. This preventive medication is critical to ongoing control of asthma. Dilators can be long acting or short acting. There are many medications on the market to control asthma.

As a parent, it is important to make sure your child is taking their medication regularly. Often when a child feels better, they stop taking the medication. Your child’s teacher should be informed about management of asthma for your child including the use of rescue medication should they have a flare. Make sure you talk to your child about the importance of hand washing. Education for all is important.

Dr. Marla Shapiro is a family doctor and a specialist in preventive medicine and community health. Don’t miss her tips on how to prevent your kids from getting the common skin condition, molluscum contagiosum.

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Moving, in general, can be the best/worst experience. There’s the packing and the purging and the tape… so much tape. But, on the other side, you also get a new house and new spaces to decorate, which is worth the rest of it. I think I could be considered a chronic mover. In my eight years of marriage, we’ve moved eight times. And I won’t go into how many times I moved growing up. So basically, moving and me are besties.

Recently, my family moved into a new house. This move was a bit different because I had two kids that were old enough to know what was going on. Even having moved so many times, this move felt like a completely new experience as I navigated packing, purging, physically moving our stuff and settling down with two child “assistants.” I made some mistakes and I had some sweet victories. Here’s my best advice for moving with kids.

6 Tips for Moving with Kids

1. Make a “priority box” and put the wine glasses in it

This is my no. 1 tip to anyone moving. Take a box and write Open First on it. Then, throw anything in there that you have to have within 24 hours of moving. Now you know where all those important odds and ends are. Mine had some paperwork, my computer charger, extra sippy cups, dark chocolate M&Ms and wine glasses in it. Oh, and don’t forget the corkscrew. That’s an amateur mistake.

2. Buy more boxes than you think you’ll need

I went back to the box store four times during this move. Kids have a lot of stuff. They hide it away in the deep dark crevices of the closet and you don’t realize how much there is until you start packing it. Toys are big and oddly shaped so they take up a lot of room in boxes. And don’t get me started on my shoe collection. I actually mislabeled some of the boxes so my husband wouldn’t realize how many there were. Which brings me to my next tip…

3. Pack while your husband isn’t home

If you’re like me, you may actually own way more stuff than your husband does. He doesn’t need to know that you have a collection of 17 cake stands or that you enjoy hoarding party supplies in the spare bedroom closet. Pack that stuff when he isn’t home. What he doesn’t know can’t hurt him… or you.

4. Hire movers

I know what you’re thinking, “That’s just extra expense.” Just wrap it into the cost of having children. They don’t really need to go to college anyway. If you have kids, you’re officially too old to ask your friends to help you move in exchange for pizza and beer. Do you want to help people move? Probably not. Don’t do that to your friends. Also, it’s really hard to juggle watching and entertaining the kids while carrying a king size bed up the stairs.

6 tips for moving with kids

5. Don’t let the kids in on your craziness

This is actually a serious one. Moving can bring on stress and anxiety. If your kids pick up on it, they may feel sad or nervous about the change. I wanted my kids to be excited about the new house instead of sad about leaving the old one. We let them pick out new bedding for their rooms and talk about what colors to paint the walls. My son, who is a little older, loved feeling like a part of the process.

6. If at all possible, find something for the kids to do on move day

Kids watching all of their belongings being broken down and moved is a little tough on them. My daughter cried every time she saw a piece of furniture or box leave the house. She’s only 2-years-old and she didn’t understand that they were literally just moving it into a different house. She basically thought someone was stealing all of our stuff. It was miserable. If at all possible, have the kids go somewhere else during the actual move — school, grandma’s, a friend’s. Even if they don’t get emotional, you’re going to have enough to deal with on move day.

At the end of the day, everyone will survive the move. There may be some tears shed and a few broken dishes, but as long as everyone gets to come home to the same house that night, I’ll call it a victory.

Have you had the joy of moving with kids? Was it stressful or was it a breeze?

This post was contributed by Lindsey McPherson, owner of The Nashville Mom. You can find more from Lindsey on Instagram.

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ABC Kids 2016

Follow us for the ABC Kids Expo 2016

It’s that time of year again!

The Savvy Sassy Moms team is at the ABC Kids Expo 2016 and we’ll be live on social media all week to bring you the hottest trends, new releases and coolest products in the world of baby gear and products for kids.

Make sure you’re following along on Instagram, where we’ll be hosting flash giveaways, live from the expo floor, as well as on Facebook, where we’ll be hosting live coverage straight from the booths of some of your favorite brands.

And, don’t forget to check back on November 1st when we’ll be featuring some of our favorites in a fun ABC Kids Expo 2016 giveaway!

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As you get back into the swing of things and the excitement of the new school year begins to calm, the requests for extra-curricular activities begin to roll in. How do you know how much is too much, when signing up for extra-curricular activities? How can you tell where their talents lay?

Over Scheduling Your Kids

Let your children take the lead

If your children are asking for specific programs, let them lead the way. Don’t push them into your favorites… you should probably wait for them to signal their own readiness to try something new. I always thought that my daughter would be a terrific ballerina, but when she got to the dance studio, decked out in her adorable ballet outfit, she always sat on the sides — she really didn’t want to be there, nor did she feel comfortable.

If you see that your child is talented in a specific area, hone in on it. And if you see your child kicking and screaming at even the mention of going to a certain program, it is probably best to veer away. With that said, sometimes it’s the program that isn’t the best fit, not the activity. Last year, I took my son to skating and each week was a fight. He is so determined to play hockey, so I had to give skating lessons another try. This year, we tried a different skating school and he is a different kid! He looks forward to going every week and we can already see the improvement in his skills. Every program and teacher is different, so look at all of the variable before throwing in the towel.

After school doesn’t mean academic-free

If you see your child struggling in a certain subject at school, like math, it is probably best to include that as an extracurricular. Although it may be a war every week to get them to go, it will probably be worthwhile in the end. It’s also nice to sign them up for something they like alongside an extracurricular they don’t exactly enjoy, in order to balance things out.

Signs Your Child is Ready for Extra-Curricular Activities
Narrow it down

Give choices to your children. They won’t be able to do every program out there — with so many leagues, lessons and activities to choose from the choices are endless and trying too many activities might lead to failure. If your child is in kindergarten, you will be the one making most of the choices. Choose based on your child’s interest, listen to what they are saying they want to participate in as well as what you feel they will be good at and find a happy medium! Many programs have a trail class — take advantage of them to see if it’s the right fit for your child. If your child is older, they may feel overwhelmed with the conversations going on at school and all of the exciting options, which may make it hard for them to choose what to participate in without over-doing it. With that said, many programs are seasonal, so sign up for a session this fall and try something new in the winter!

Remember, it is also important to have quality time with your children. Children of today can often be seen talking about their busy itineraries and full schedules after school. Play still plays an important role in your child’s ability to foster relationships and understand how the world works around them. Some children need to be in a variety of programs to foster their needs and talents, but remember every child is different! Programs can instill skills that your child will have for life and may hone in on in their life later on.

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