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Getting your little one to sleep like a baby can be a lot easier said than done. Huggies has compiled articles, advice and answers on how to get both you and your newborn snoozing soundly.

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Toddler Playdates: The Fun Starts Here

Sick of hearing "He took my toy!"? Here’s how to keep the good times going—and the whines at bay.

Leave them alone. "I try not to dominate playdates, which starts with being in a place where the kids can be safe without the mommies having to hover, like someone’s backyard or a local children’s museum or activity center," says Traci Rieser, a mother of one in Austin, Texas. "The kids learn to work things out between themselves. Of course, stepping in is sometimes necessary, but the kids have more fun when we let them explore their surroundings and relationships themselves."

Don’t sweat the sharing. "Sharing is not in a toddler’s vocabulary—this stage of development is still about parallel play," notes Julianna Lichatz, a Carbondale, Colorado-based movement teacher and play expert. That means toddlers may play beside each other, but they don’t really play with each other. "So while explaining and encouraging the concept of sharing is constructive, forcing it on small children is not." Kids start getting more interactive around age 3 or 4.

Distract! "A bottle of bubbles is like magic for toddlers: It can put an immediate end to a dispute over this toy or that toy," says Jenni Brighton, a mother of three in Homer, Alaska. "Logic and reasoning won’t work with a 2-year-old, but bubbles work every time."

Get physical. "Crawling, climbing, and rough-and-tumble play are ideal for toddlers’ developing physical coordination and senses," says Lichatz. "Toys that children can move—like push toys, balls, trucks, or cars— engage toddlers in this way, and are also great for imaginative and cooperative play."

Take it outside. "I’m part of a local mom’s group. Once or twice a week, a few of us will get together for an impromptu playdate at a nearby park or playground," says Pinky Yoshimoto, a mother of one in Waipahu, Hawaii. "It doesn’t require any serious planning or cleanup, which is great for me, and my son loves it!"

Have a theme. "We’ve created a playgroup with three other families—we all met in daycare several years ago—and come up with creative activities for each get-together," says Liz Weirshousky, a mother of two from Bethesda, Maryland. "We recently did a cake-decorating party, where we bought little round cakes from the supermarket with plain white frosting. Each kid got to add colored frosting and sprinkles to their hearts’ content. It’s a blast!"


What to do during your Spring Staycation

Everyone feels like celebrating when the weather starts to warm up. But even though many people may take a holiday vacation at this time, not everyone has the luxury of being able to take off for an extended spring break trip.

So if you’re not going to be jetting away to some exotic locale—no worries! What matters most is quality time with your little ones, family and friends. Here are some fun ideas to help you celebrate springtime a little closer to home.

Swim in the hotel pool.
Even if you’re not traveling, you can still experience the favorite part of every toddler’s vacation—swimming in the pool—without paying for an expensive hotel stay and meals. Many upscale city hotels and country resorts offer reasonably priced day passes that are made for people who just want to use the pool facilities and skip the overnight stay. With just a little research, you could find the perfect spot for a hotel pool getaway near you. Have worry-free water play with Huggies Little Swimmers disposable swim pants​, now with your child’s favorite characters.

Go on a baby animal safari.
Springtime means babies in the animal world. Head to your local zoo, or a farm or nature center, and spend the day exploring to see if you can spot any newborns. Load up a backpack with safari gear such as binoculars, a magnifying glass and a mini notebook and colored pencils for drawing. Point out interesting animal behaviors to your little one and compare and contrast the care the baby animals receive to how you took care of your child when he was a baby.

Get your hands dirty.
If weather allows, get in the dirt outside and plant something. Playing with dirt and mud is a great hands-on sensory activity for toddlers. You can also do this activity indoors by planting seeds in pots and talking about how plants grow. By checking the pots every day, you and your toddler can watch the entire life cycle of a plant unfold, by watching the seed develop into a seedling and eventually an adult plant.

Host a “springathon” playdate.
Reach out to other moms and parents and invite them and their little ones to an extended playdate. After playing outdoors, serve up a simple spring-themed lunch by using flower shaped cookie cutters to make a variety of sandwiches, then serve up a salad of spring greens and help the kids make their own flower pot dessert. Wrap things up with a story time activity, featuring spring-themed books read by the parents in the group.

Make a bird feeder.
Early spring is actually a great time to feed the birds in your neighborhood because there aren’t many natural seed sources available for them at this time. And don’t worry, making your bird feeder doesn’t have to involve using a hammer, nails and wood. There are lots of toddler-friendly ideas available online that require little more than birdseed, twine and peanut butter or vegetable shortening.  You can use empty toilet paper rolls, pinecones and even hollowed out orange rinds to create your birdfeeder and have lots of springtime fun. 

Image : Getty


Add Swim Diapers to Your Summer Diaper Bag Essentials

With summertime in full swing, chances are there’s plenty of sunshine and water play in your family’s plans. Whether your baby or toddler is in a pool, the ocean, or a lake, a swim diaper is a water play essential. Keep your little one’s bottom covered and comfortable while making sure the inevitable messes stay contained.

Why use swim diapers? Unlike regular diapers, swim diapers are made specifically for use in the water. They don’t absorb liquid like everyday diapers so they won’t swell up in the pool, and that also means they won’t contain urine. What they do do (no pun intended) is help prevent the spread of fecal contamination and E. coli by keeping the inevitable poopy diaper contained. By helping to prevent the infection-causing bacteria from spreading in the pool, everyone stays healthier.

Disposable swim diapers come in various sizes and pull up easily, making it a cinch to slip them on right before your little one goes into the water. But since they don’t absorb urine don’t switch them out for regular diapers until your child is ready to go in the water. They should be changed as soon as they are soiled, preferably away from the pool area in a bathroom or designated changing area. Disposable swim diapers should be thrown away after every incident, and a new one put on baby before their next water activity. If you’re at a beach or lake, you can put soiled diapers into an empty baggie until you have access to a garbage can. Swim diapers come in cute styles and patterns, but you can easily put on a bathing suit bottom right over them.

You should check your baby’s diaper every 30 to 60 minutes. Keeping the pool contamination-free benefits everyone and helps keep a healthy swimming environment for all to enjoy. If you’re potty training you may want to use a swim diaper just in case, but take your toddler to the bathroom for potty breaks on a regular basis.

Many public swimming areas, especially public pools, have their own rules about swim diapers. Some require different types of swim diapers or an additional swim pant, and regulations about where to change dirty diapers are usually posted.  You can always call ahead to find out if your destination has specific rules about swim diapers.

Be sure to include swim diapers in your diaper bag this summer so you’re always ready for your baby to join in the fun at the pool or beach without worrying about creating a poop-tastrophe!

Image: Getty  



Baby Travel Checklist


Infant Care Basics


Shamelessly Mushy Things I Do With My Baby

“When my son was a baby, I’d gleefully announce ‘Kiss Patrol!’ and kiss him all over his belly. Now that he’s 10, I yell, ‘Kiss Patrol,’ chase him around the house, tackle him, pin him down, and kiss his belly. Each time it gets harder to do, but I still win!”

—Sherry Belul, mother of one, San Francisco, California

“When Evan was a baby, I’d squish his cute little bottom and tell him he had sweet cheeks. It definitely made an impression on him! When we were at a wading pool when he was 2, he walked over to a little girl, patted her, and called her sweet cheeks! Me and the other mom both cracked up.”

—Shana Davis, mother of two, West Linn, Oregon

“Our first son was 9 pounds when he was born. He was cute as a bug, so we called him ‘Buglette.’ When our second son started to walk, his toddling gait was so cutely troll-like that we came up with an appropriately cute troll-like nickname: ‘Shtunkles.’ My wife and I still use those names, in various forms, for codes and passwords in our lives!”

—Jamie Felberg, father of two, Lubbock, Texas

“I’ve always been partial to belly smooches—the more lip-smacking the better. My baby’s reaction? Big belly laughs, of course!”

—Bob Brody, father of two, Queens, New York

“Once in awhile, I throw on my swimsuit and get in the tub with my son. He loves it when I squirt water at him with this little whale toy. It’s just good, clean fun—literally!”

—Michael Kline, father of one, Woodland Hills, California

“You know that teardrop divot between your nose and your upper lip? On my twin baby boys, they are absolutely irresistible kissing spots. I swear, I must kiss their upper lips a million times a day.”

—Melissa Clark, mother of two, Rapid City, South Dakota


Learning to talk tantrum

The two types of tantrums

Many experts believe there are two distinct types of tantrums: manipulative and spill-over. A manipulative tantrum is one your child uses to get his way and gain control over you. These tantrums often take place when your child wants something and you say no. Your child then throws a tantrum to force you to change your mind.

A spill-over tantrum, on the other hand, happens when your child becomes overwhelmed by a flood of feelings, senses and stimuli that he can't control. These tantrums are unintentional and nonmanipulative. Children who are highly emotional, ultra-sensitive and easily over-stimulated tend to have spill-over tantrums. Both types of tantrums can occur in children of different ages, but they need to be handled very differently.

Manipulative tantrums

Your first step is to determine which type of tantrum your child is having. If your child is yelling and screaming because you won't let him have ice cream, this is probably a manipulative tantrum. In that case, ignore it. Walk into another room and leave your child alone to yell without the benefit of an audience. If you're out, take your child to the car and let her scream there.

Most importantly, don't give in to the tantrum or you'll just encourage your child to have one the next time she wants her way. After the tantrum is over and your child is calm, explain, in no uncertain terms, that her behavior was absolutely unacceptable, then give her a consequence like taking away her favorite toy for several days, or removing a special privilege. Firmly tell her that she is not allowed to behave this way, and if she ever does again, there will be an even stronger consequence, like taking away her favorite toy for a week or more, or perhaps losing it completely.

Tell your child that you expect better of her and that you were extremely disappointed in her behavior. During this whole discussion, use your firmest voice and demeanor and look her square in the eye, but maintain your composure.

If you yell and express extreme emotions as you're telling your child how you expect her to behave, you'll be giving a mixed message: do as I say, not as I do. Hard as it may be to remain calm, doing so is essential. If you need to go into another room and take deep breaths before speaking, do so. Get a drink of water, breathe deeply and make a calming statement in your head like, "I can handle this." Then talk to your child.

Remember, you are the model for your child's behavior. One more caveat. If you say you're going to take away a favorite toy if your child throws another tantrum, do it. Not following through will only reinforce the fact that your child can manipulate you with tantrums.

Spill-over tantrums

Spill-over tantrums are entirely different. If your child fits the earlier description, he may very well be caught in the syndrome of feeling overwhelmed by his own emotions and losing control without wanting to.

Imagine it's been a really stressful week and your child has had a long and over stimulating day. It's past his bedtime and as he walks toward his bed he accidentally knocks over a Lego airplane he just put together this morning. He starts wailing uncontrollably, gets louder and louder, and can't seem to calm down. Before long, he's flailing around, completely out of control. This is a spill-over tantrum.

Here are some suggestions that will help you handle it and soothe your child at the same time:

  • Do what you can to quell the flood of emotions. In this case, helping him put together his broken airplane might work. Try to rectify the source of the problem if at all possible.
  • Stay close to your child if you can. Let your presence be a calming influence while he's experiencing such intense emotions. Sometimes leaving the room will add to your child's upset in moments like this, so take deep breaths and try to keep your own composure. If you can't, ask your partner to stay near your child instead.
  • Give your child space if he needs it but don't leave him completely alone. If you sense that being too close is only making him react more intensely, move away but stay nearby, at least where he can see you.
  • Touch your child gently if he allows it. Try hugging or stroking to calm him down. Let him put his head in your lap or lean against you and whisper soothing words to him like, "Mommy's right here. You're going to be OK." Try to remain calm even if he keeps crying.
  • Use a firm but gentle voice and tell him to stop after about 10 to 15 minutes. Have him take a series of slow, deep breaths to regain his composure. Breathe together if you can. This might be enough to calm him down.
  • Don't allow him to do anything destructive during his tantrum, no matter how upset he is. Make sure he knows ahead of time what is acceptable and unacceptable. Hurting himself, others or property are all unacceptable behaviors. After he calms down, give consequences if he has broken any rules.
  • Talk afterwards and help your child identify the feelings that brought on his tantrum. Help him devise a plan for next time, like letting you know when he's feeling overtired or in need of a break. Be on the lookout for situations that could trigger him, and do what you can to stop things before they get out of hand. Know when to seek professional help. If you do all these things, and the spill-over tantrums continue, try keeping a journal and noticing what tends to set your child off.

If all interventions fail, you might want to consult with a professional who can offer further guidance. Sometimes emotional and/or physical factors can be the source of the problem. Early intervention can be a big help.


Books: Good to Read, Good to Chew On

Some research says that six-month-olds are not ready for books, which I personally disagree with.

I haven't had the luxury of doing an enormous study but I did read to Cedar practically from birth and by a year and a half he'd sit and look at books on his own. Now have a six-year-old who really loves story time. So I'm going with the earlier you start the better.

However, there's a difference between reading to your baby and making reading time fit your baby.

For instance, while your little one is still into eating rather than reading make sure you offer her books she can safely nibble. There are plenty of baby-proof, rip-free, fabric and soft plastic books out there. She can see words but not seriously harm the book.

Look at the book; don't simply read. It's okay to flip through a book and just talk about it with your baby or toddler. Ask questions about the pictures or place your finger on a picture or word and say it.

Grab a good mix. I've never limited the books I've read to Cedar by reading level. If he picks out a book "meant" for three- or nine-year-olds I don't argue. He loves books for many age groups and is even starting to like books with few pictures like Where the Sidewalk Ends.

Don't say no to repeats. Your baby and soon-to-be toddler will fall in love with certain books and you should read them over and over if that's what she wants. The first word Cedar ever recognized and pointed out on his own was a hard word. It was "Harold" which is likely due to the fact that he's made me read Harold and the Purple Crayon about 1,345 times.

Keep books within easy reach but make book rules. I'm pretty chill and we don't have all that many rules at my house. But since Cedar was a baby, I have stressed that he doesn't hurt books EVER. You don't color in them, rip them, step on them, etc. I have always kept his library of books where he can reach them and he's never hurt one yet. If you make books important, your baby will realize from the start that they are.

Don't just read at bedtime. Read as often as possible and give books, not toys, as some of your baby's birthday and holiday gifts.


The Best Ways to Play with Your Newborn

Get him on his tummy. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends placing your baby on his stomach two to three times a day in order to strengthen his neck muscles, starting with the day you bring him home. Place toys just slightly out of reach so he can try to swat at them. Start with three to five minutes, and work up to an hour of tummy time a day. And if he wails when he’s on the floor? Place him on your chest and engage him with a toy or your voice.

Put bright-colored socks on his hands and feet. “One of the first skills babies develop is tracking things with their eyes,” explains Roni Leiderman, Ph.D., dean of the Mailman Segal Institute for Early Childhood Studies at Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Bright, busy fingers and feet will definitely capture his attention.

Do peek-a-boo. This game teaches babies object permanence—the concept that people and things still exist, even when you can’t see them. “All of my kids loved this classic fave starting when they were a couple of months old,” says Kim Kempinski, a mom of three from Phoenix, Arizona. “We would put blankies on our heads and pull them away. Worked like a charm every time!”

Break out a mirror. Babies love looking at faces. And why shouldn’t they? There’s a cutie pie staring right back at them! You can also stand in front of a mirror together and mug it up.

Sing, sing a song. “Your baby loves to hear your voice,” says Leiderman, “because he recognizes it from when he was in utero.” Jaime Robinson, a mom of two from Alpharetta, Georgia, sings "Hush Little Baby " to her 1-month-old—inserting whatever catches her eye for the “Mama’s gonna buy you a...” part. Says Robinson, “Last time, we ‘bought’ a lawn mower, falling leaves, and an angry cat!”

Get down. Not sure what to do today? Just hang out with your baby on the floor. It doesn’t matter whether you’re shaking a rattle, making funny noises, or just gazing into each other’s eyes, says Leiderman: “In the end, you are the best toy for your baby.”


Can cleaning really be fun?

If you're one of those moms soldiering through the dirty dishes and clothes on your own, you might want to get your kids in on the act. If for no other reason than it will lessen your workload, teach them a bit of responsibility and you might actually have some fun in the process.

  1. Create supplies that are kid friendly

    According to The Maids Home Services, moms shouldn't expect their kids to use adult tools to clean. Instead, they offer some easy ways to assemble kid-friendly tool alternatives. Use an ice-cream pail for mopping chores or shorten an old mop handle or broom to make it kid-sized. Fill a squirt gun from a solution of a gallon of water and a drop of dish soap and let kids squirt windows and mirrors and wipe dry with paper towels. Moms can also cover kids' hands and arms with dad's old athletic socks, squirt the socks until lightly damp with an all-purpose cleaning solution, and send them off to dust around the house.

  2. Make cleaning a game

    To get their kids excited about cleaning, moms can give their kids grill tongs and challenge them to pick up toys and put them in a toy box or bin only using the utensils. Moms can keep score and see who wins! The Maids Home Services also advises moms to crank up some fun music to help their kids get their groove on as they boogie around the house cleaning.

  3. Create a reward system

    According to certified professional organizer Scott Roewer, president of Solutions by Scott, moms can encourage their kids to clean by offering a reward. Mr. Roewer suggests dropping beads in a jar for all tasks completed, and the child with the most beads in their jar during a specified time period earns a special privilege. Perhaps the child will get to choose the family's Friday night dinner or they'll get to stay up an hour longer on the weekend.

  4. Allow your children to choose what they want to clean

    Mr. Roewer advises moms to make a deck of cards (out of 3-inch by 5-inch index cards) and put chores on one side of the cards and decorate the other side for fun. Moms should also include some cards with sayings like "Get out of jail free" or "Day off for the queen" or "Sorry, draw again." Moms should then let their kids pull the cards out of a stack to determine their chore for the day.

  5. Let the little ones help sort and group

    Toddlers especially like sorting and grouping objects, says Mr. Roewer. Therefore moms should encourage them to take on tasks like sorting their own laundry into lights, darks, brights and whites, and helping empty the dishwasher.

  6. Clean with your kids

    Moms should ask their kids to help them instead of telling them to go clean up the living room, says Mr. Roewer. Moms can also use the time they're cleaning together as an opportunity to have a conversation with their child about their day or what's going on with their friends.

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