Tips on Making Play Time Learning Time

All children love to play. But did you know that they naturally learn by playing? There is more to “having fun” when children play. Since they are actively making their own choices and being involved in an activity, children can discover meanings and build connections. As a parent, you want to ensure your children are getting the best educational experiences they can get, even at very early stages of life. Luckily, you can incorporate learning into your playtime. Here are ways you can extend your child’s learning through playtime.

For Two Years and Under

While you may not think babies are “playing” in the sense that a toddler would, they do experience with their senses. One of the best educational experiences for babies is a “show and tell” activity. Children start to interact with other materials as they get older, but when they are under two, you can make for an interactive yet educational experience.

Show your babies any colorfully contrasting items, or ones with lots of texture and noise. They will be mesmerized by the sight of some objects. You should have them placed within their reach, and encourage them to play with them. You can use any toy or object that is safe for their age. Many people don’t realize they are already doing activities like this.

Another way to encourage learning while playing is to “tell” them what they are doing. When your baby is playing, interact with them and describe to them what they are doing. You should show that you are curious about what they’re doing and ask them questions. For instance, if your child is playing with a red ball, you can announce, “I see you are playing with a red ball!” You could then begin to ask them questions about the activity, such as, “What does the ball do?”.

Playing With Toddlers

As children get closer to the toddler years, they begin to incorporate what they see others do into their play. They might also begin to play next to other people. If you notice your child fixating on an activity that other people are doing, you should ask them questions and encourage them to try the activity themselves. For instance, if there is another group of children working on a puzzle, the toddler may wander over and watch them figure it out. Explain to them what they are doing. “Those kids are fitting the pieces together to make a puzzle. Can you find the missing piece?”

For many young children, playtime can be an educational experience. As a parent, you should encourage your child to explore their curiosities, and be there to ask questions. The more you pique their curiosity, the more informational the experience can be. Playing can be an incredibly powerful tool for children!

Tips For Teaching Responsibility To Children

Children learn most when they experience the lessons they learn in school or childcare. Responsibility is an important trait that children should learn early on. Here are some tips on how to raise responsible children.

Be a Role Model

First and foremost, as parents, you should model responsible behavior in the home. Some simple steps are apologizing when a mistake is made, cleaning up after every mess, bringing a shopping cart back to the store, etc. Many simple moments in our everyday life require our attention, and involving your kids in them can help teach them responsibility.

Outline and Enforce Rules

Be consistent with your enforcement of rules. Make a few set rules for the house, and make sure you are consistently verbalizing them. You should also make sure you are always enforcing them for every child, and not making excuses for them.

Stay Positive

Maintaining positivity is incredibly important. When you have a chore to do, be cheerful about it when you ask your children to help. If you’ve finished your meal, say “Please put your dishes in the sink”, rather than “Why did you leave a mess?”. Positive reinforcement can be crucial when introducing responsibilities to your children. Another good tip is to involve yourself in the chore. After a meal, you could say “Let’s clean up the dishes now!”.

Parents will begin to realize that their actions rub off on their kids. When you show that you take care of your responsibilities, your children will learn just how important they are. Try to keep your kids involved in your daily activities as much as possible, as this will enthuse them to learn about responsibility.

How to To Support a Child’s Mental Health

Every parent should care about their children’s mental health. And in times like these, many children may feel stress in and out of the home. Regardless of the situations, they are facing at the moment, there are methods parents can take to ensure their children’s mental health is taken seriously. Here are some tips that parents can follow to support their child’s mental health.

Make Routines At Home

Routines are essential for children to follow, as it gives them a sense of structure and security. Many changes have been made within the last year that may have damaged this sense of consistency, such as remote learning, moving around workspaces, and other adaptations we have had to make to combat COVID-19. Try to stay consistent with your routines at home, and if they have questions about why they need to make these adjustments, provide reassurance to them. When children know what they should expect in a situation, they will feel in control.

Don’t Burn Yourself Out

As a parent, you want to care for your children. However, this can often result in neglecting self-care. You aren’t able to pour from an empty cup, so you need to make sure your mental health is in check. Practicing guilt-free self-care is crucial to prevent yourself from burnout, and it also creates a great example for the kids. Try to create a list of things to do each day to bring joy into your life, and maybe share those moments with your kids!

If you want to develop empathy and stress-management skills in your kids, you shouldn’t mask your feelings to them. If you’re having a rough day, share with your children why you feel that way. For instance, due to social distancing guidelines, many of us have not seen our family in quite some time. You might feel bummed that you missed another holiday this year, and your kids might ask why you seem so sad.

By telling them the reasons why you feel this way, you help them identify and validate these emotions. You can then create a coping strategy. For instance, while you were not able to have a face-to-face dinner with your family for Easter this year, you still managed to have a virtual meeting. The concept of reuniting the family on a holiday still exists, albeit in a different format.

Spend More Time Together as a Family

While you develop routines for your family, make sure to put effort into making fun routines. For instance, dedicate your Saturdays to exploring a new park. Look up nearby parks, or venture out into state parks. These small routines can help develop strong familial relationships as well as giving your children something to look forward to every weekend. At the end of the day, ask your children for three good things that happened today. This can help them practice gratitude.

Fun Outdoor Spring Activities To Do With Your Family

As spring begins a new season, many families are excited to finally spend some extra time outdoors. With Covid-19 restrictions still in effect for many states, many parents are wondering how they can entertain their children outdoors. Here is a list of fun and creative activities you can do with your kids outside in the Spring.

Make Your Own Bubbles

Every kid loves bubbles, but did you know that they are incredibly easy to make? The best part, you probably have most of the ingredients on hand. To make your own bubbles, all you will need is dish soap, water, and glycerin. Mix the batch up, and get ready to blow bubbles in your backyard. There are many fun activities you can play with your children, such as a bubble tag, or a freeze dance. Whoever pops the most bubbles while the song plays wins.

Do a Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger hunts are incredibly popular during this time of year, especially during Easter. You don’t need to round off some objects to have your kids find them. Instead, let them explore nature. Have them find flowers, pinecones, or even look for the perfect, roundest rock. Kids will love looking for unique items right in your own backyard, which is a great way to get them to enjoy some of the amazing beauty nature has to offer us.

Grow Veggies With Them

There is never an age that is too early to be taught how to garden. Bring your kids to a garden center and have them pick out a vegetable they would want to grow. You can teach them how to take care of the plant, from potting it to watering it, and as soon as you’ll know, it will become a bountiful crop. This can be an exciting way for your children to understand where the food you eat comes from, and it might even be the perfect way to get them to consume more veggies.

Take Spring Pictures

Many parents dread the idea of doing a family photo, especially with multiple kids. However, you can make the idea a bit more fun than just having them get dressed up and smile for a camera. Make the photo shoot a challenge by having your kids look around your yard to find the “best” spot. Then, you can take pictures in their spots. This will be perfect for updating your family pictures, but you can also do scrapbooks with them for a Mother’s Day project.

Spring is an optimistic time. Everybody is excited to see the warm weather arriving, so it’s a perfect time to connect back with your family outdoors. Consider some of these creative activities for spending time with your kids. It will keep them occupied for quite some time, and the best part is that it will all be spent outside.

Benefits of Daycare for Infants

Every parent has a lot on their plate right now, especially if they have a toddler or infant. Caring for your children can be a full-time job, and because of this, it can be difficult to support your family financially. Many families require the parents to be working adults, especially when they have little ones to take care of. There are many benefits to enrolling your children in a child care center, especially as young as infancy. Here are the reasons why you should consider daycare for your infants.

They Develop Social Interactions

Children must start socializing at an early age. When an infant is enrolled in a daycare program, they will develop social interactions much quicker, as they are introduced to so many other children. When they get to toddler age, they will find it much easier to develop friendships and communicate effectively with other children. Infant care also gives children exposure to other adults that are not paternal, which can positively challenge how they form bonds with different people. This helps the child grow and develop greater connections.

Care and Nutrition

Many parents have concerns about their child’s nutrition. They want to make sure their kids are eating healthy and getting the proper vitamins and minerals. Before the infant can make the switch to regular food, they will likely use whatever the parents provide. Once they are old enough, their meals will always be enriched with the proper vitamins and minerals to help their brains and bodies grow. Nutrition is always a priority when it comes to the meals fed to children and infants in daycare.

Builds Up Immunities

When children and infants are at home all the time, they don’t get exposure to different bacteria, allergens, and other germs. Mostly harmless, but oftentimes a young child who hasn’t left their home too often can develop reactions or get sick more frequently, as they weren’t exposed to such different germs early on. Infants’ immune systems are incredibly malleable and easily build up tolerance and immunities to certain bacteria and allergens that they are exposed to. Once school time approaches, it’s not uncommon for kids who weren’t raised in child care centers to get sick more often, especially if they rarely left their home.

The Benefits of Early Spanish Education

Introducing your child to a second language comes with a load of benefits. Not only will you give them a chance to learn another language, when they’re older, but they will also have greater access to opportunities because of their fluency in two languages. Spanish is also the second most spoken language in the US and the World, making it the best choice for your young children. Here are the top benefits of teaching your child Spanish early on.

Early Language Development Yields Higher Fluency

The most critical time for a child’s early development is typically before the age of 6. By that time, children are fairly fluent in speaking their native language. That’s because of how natural it is for them to acquire a language. So by introducing them to a foreign language while they are still developing, they will ultimately become bilingual.

A better understanding of English

Learning a second language can help you understand your native language better, especially if they share similar roots. Spanish is the Latin language, and while English is not, it still has many derivatives from Latin words. Studying Spanish can help a child understand English better and how language has evolved, which in return can improve their overall vocabulary.

More Travel Opportunities

Spanish is one of the most spoken languages worldwide and is the official language of over 20 countries. Knowing a foreign language opens up travel plans, as you will be able to comfortably explore the local culture. When your child is older, they might develop a greater appreciation for the world due to their exposure to a foreign language early on.

There is nothing more remarkable than watching your child’s language comprehension skills develop. It’s even more rewarding to see them pick up a second language, especially early on. Our Spanish language program incorporates educational lessons with exploration and play, giving kids the ability to experiment with new words!

COVID-Friendly Activities You Can Enjoy With Your Family This Autumn

COVID-19 has turned our world upside down. And now that summer is officially over, a new season is upon us, one that is typically loaded with family activities. However, With the typical events canceled, and kids getting cooped up at home with distance learning, many parents are struggling to find ideas for keeping their kids entertained, all the while enjoying some quality family time. But by following CDC guidelines closely, you can still enjoy many popular fall activities with your family. Here’s the top COVID-friendly activities you can do with your family this fall.

Apple Orchards

Every fall, one of the most popular activities is to go apple picking. However, even some of the largest apple-picking events have shut down for the year. But that doesn’t mean you still can’t find an orchard near you. Many smaller, farm owned orchards are remaining open.

To ensure there are strict social distancing measures, they may end up allowing limited tickets and have timed entries, to ensure there are not too many people going in at once. So wear your masks, and wait until you get home to eat the apples. Make sure you and your kids wash their hands and the fruit thoroughly.

Scavenger Hunts

Fall is a great time to enjoy scavenger hunting at farms as well, but because this activity requires multiple people touching hidden objects, it can be a breeding ground for germs. However, you don’t need to bring your kids to an organized hunt. Instead, you can do it at home.

This is a perfect way to keep your kids entertained and enjoy the fall weather, and you can even get more creative with what you’re hiding!

Watching Leaves Change Colors

One of the more popular fall activities is leaf-peeping (a.k.a watching the leaves change to their glorious fall colors). This is quite possibly the most COVID-friendly activity, as well as the most festive fall activity. The best part of this is that you can do this from the comfort of your car or on a bike! You can always bring your family to locations that are notable for their fall leaves, but just make sure you abide social distancing guidelines.

Going on Hikes

Fresh air is the best kind of air, and luckily hiking is a fairly social-distancing friendly activity. The best part is, you can even get your fall-peeping done too! Make sure you check which facilities or parks are open at the time, and of course, be cautious of how busy these can be. Many playgrounds will still be closed in various parts of the country, so finding a park with safe and easy trails will be an excellent option instead. Make sure to bring your own sanitizer just to be extra safe.

There is no risk-free situation for COVID-19. Of course, the best measure to combat the spread of this novel virus is to follow CDC guidelines. But just remember there are alternatives to just staying at home all day.

How to Talk to Your Children About COVID-19

It’s been nearly six months since the initial shutdowns or businesses and schools, but as we are winding down the year, children are slowly returning to the routine of things, adapting to the changing climate of the pandemic we live in. For many children who are starting childcare, they might be simply too young to fully understand the magnitude of COVID-19, and as a parent, you probably are finding it incredibly difficult to talk with them about it. So here are some easy facts that you can share with your children.

Define what COVID-19 is

Let your children know what COVID-19 is by telling them there is a germ out there that can make some people sick. You can inform them of the common symptoms–if they are old enough to understand–such as a cough and fever. You should also let them know that not everyone may develop those symptoms or any at all.

Explain how germs spread

If you have not already gone over the importance of how germs spread, now is a crucial time. Explain to them how germs enter your body. COVID-19 typically spreads to the respiratory system by touching the nose, eyes, and mouth. Some children might not fully understand what germs are, so let them know that they are so small that they cannot see it. The best way to prevent contact is by frequently washing your hands and practicing not touching your face. They should also be aware of social distancing, especially when someone has a cough or a sneeze.

Teach the importance of washing your hands

Taking practical steps will not only prevent the spread of COVID-19, but it will teach them important lessons to use later on in life. Encourage them to wash their hands frequently before meals. If they sneeze or cough, make sure they know to cover it properly, and then follow up by washing their hands.

You can demonstrate these fairly easily. An excellent way to ensure they wash their hands for the recommended 20 seconds is to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice. Get creative and have some fun!

Talking to your children about COVID-19 can be stressful for you, but it can be even scarier for your children. The importance of keeping your children calm about COVID-19 is crucial. You don’t want to cause fear in them, rather keep them informed and encourage them to do their part in preventing the spread.

Why Is It Important to Reward Kids for Effort?

Parenting is one of the hardest jobs out there. You’re responsible not just for feeding and clothing your children, but raising and nurturing them into good human beings.

Having said that, there’s no fixed set of guidelines or one right way to parenting. Every child is different, and every parent is different, and therefore, good parenting can be different for everyone.

One aspect that is a must for good parenting is rewarding children.

The Importance of Rewarding Kids

Rewarding children for certain behaviors and rewarding hard work is extremely crucial to encourage them to continue doing it. Continuously rewarding kids for good actions will motivate them to repeat them until it becomes a habit. This is especially important when kids are younger.

The first seven years of a child’s life are quite important as during this time, their brains are rapidly growing, and they’re developing vital life and social skills.
If a parent can teach good habits to their children from a young age through a proper reward system, they have a good chance of sticking with them throughout their lives.

Additionally, rewarding kids, for example, by praising a child, makes them feel good about themselves. Consequently, it helps shape their personality as they have good self-esteem and self-confidence.

Similarly, there are a lot of benefits of rewarding children. It creates a positive atmosphere. Sometimes, it can even help discourage bad behavior.

How to Reward Kids

Some parents might think that getting their children their favorite toy or the latest gadget is the way to reward them. That is not necessarily true. Giving your child a gift is an example of a tangible reward. You can reward your children through intangible gifts, such as praise.

Parents must give both tangible and intangible rewards to not make them too materialistic. A simple pat on the back or praising their actions is enough to make your child feel good and motivated to do it again.

Rewarding kids doesn’t always have to be done after they’ve accomplished something. It’s important to reward them simply for putting in their best effort too, regardless of whether they were able to achieve their goal or not.

Dangers of Rewarding Children

Despite what many may believe, there is such a thing as too much rewarding. The main goal of rewarding kids is to encourage a particular behavior or habit.

If you put too much focus on rewarding, your child might become only focused on the rewards and not on inculcating those habits. Even if it’s intangible rewards like praise, too much of it can turn your child into a narcissist.

For parents, even the smallest of good deeds and tiniest achievements by their children can make them incredibly happy and proud.

From learning to tie their own shoelaces and getting potty trained to graduating from college and getting that first job, achieving these milestones simply fills parents with pride. However, to actually get their children to achieve those milestones, parents need to reward their kids regularly.

How You Can Keep Your Children Calm During The COVID 19 Crisis

COVID-19 has disrupted the world, and many are experiencing the pangs of shelter-in-place. And because people are home 24/7 it’s causing anxiety levels to increase in adults and children. As such, parents are having to deal with their child or children’s schooling issues while trying to provide for their families. This pandemic is exceptional in its magnitude and spread throughout the world. It’s on every media outlet and it’s at the heart of every conversation especially during dinner. And due to the adjustments being made throughout the world, it has placed an increasingly amount of stress on children.

Here are a few ways on how you can keep your children calm during the COVID-19 crisis.

Remain calm. The key to having calm children during COVID-19 crisis or any crisis, is for parents to remain calm themselves. Children pick up on their parent’s behavior. For this reason, it is important for the parent(s) to remain calm in order to reassure their children that everything is okay. If you as a parent is unable to stay calm during the COVID-19 crisis, your children won’t remain calm either.

Create a sense of safety. Getting to know each other as a family is a safe haven to kids in the midst of vulnerability. Since kids are more susceptible and defenseless in many instances, it’s imperative to focus attention on providing a place of safety and giving them tangible provisions such as activities that are calming, their favorite dishes, blankets, or favorite toy used to make them feel safe or that all is well.

Limit exposure to news. News reports can be overwhelming for children especially since certain details about an event are described using sounds and images that may be a little too much for kids and can cause more harm than good. It’s also a good idea to not to depend on the news to provide your child(ren) with the updates about answers they may be seeking. Instead, get verified answers to the questions they are asking by seeking out credible sources to help you explain what is happening in the world concerning COVID-19. Let your children know that their safety is your number one priority.

Take time to listen. It’s important to give space for children to communicate their emotions and anxieties. By asking questions that allow them to give more than a yes or no answer gives them an opportunity to recognize what they want.

Tune in to what your children are saying, rather than giving them the answers allow them space to answer as they see it. Afterwards, reassure them by acknowledging what they have said and what they are feeling is normal.

Let the children play. Play is each youngster’s common type of conveying and preparing occasions. Children can recount tales about what they’ve heard and how they feel, regardless of whether they understand it or not. Besides, allowing children to play keeps them from being preoccupied with events that might be a bit too much for them. Plus, it gives them a way to release their bottled up tension and energy.

Crises have a way of affecting us and can cause a lot of anxiety especially to young people. How we cope is important not only for our well-being but for the well-being of our children. Thankfully, there are ways in which to remain calm during the COVID-19 crisis such as, remain calm as a parent, create a sense of safety, limit exposure to news, take time to listen, and let the children play.

This is not an exhaustive list of ways to remain calm during the COVID-19 crisis.

What are some of the ways in which you are helping your children remain calm during this pandemic? Let us know in the comment section.

5 Ways to Create a Calming Environment for Your Children

COVID-19 has brought a lot of added stress to the world around us, creating a lot of uncertainty and leaving everyone at home. With your children no longer at daycare or school, it can add to that stress and be tough to keep that school. Luckily, there are many silver linings we can take away from this time, a lot of it coming from simply remaining calm. As a parent, you’re going to have to take the lead and help your children make the most of the situation.

Here are some ideas to create a calming environment for your children during quarantine:

Establish a Routine

Many children are used to following a daily schedule with a majority of the structure coming from school. As long as you lock into some form of a routine, your children will become familiar with the cadence and start to take things in stride. It’s all about providing consistency and stability allowing your children to form a new rhythm while everyone is at home.

Make Expectations Clear

One thing you can do for your children is give them a goal for the day and plan far ahead so they know what to expect the next day. Don’t wait until you’re in the middle of the day to course correct, confront each day with a plan that your child can understand. It may vary based on the age of your children, but if you dig deep you can find something that works.

Be Positive

This is a confusing time for everyone, there are bound to be some hiccups along the way, but simply being as positive as possible will be the best thing for your children. They are adept at sensing stress, so being positive will help keep things as normal as possible.

Practice Self-Care

When you and your children have downtime, do things that you can both enjoy and bond over. If you can co-parent, make sure you and your spouse take turns giving you a bit of alone time so you can be refreshed a little bit doing something you enjoy.

Know When to Bend the Rules

When the situation calls for it, try to be as flexible as you can. If you can end your work day a bit early to do something fun with your child, take that opportunity. Reward good behavior by getting creative. Doing this will boost morale around the house and enhance overall positivity.

5 Tips to Effectively Teach Your Child Through COVID-19

COVID-19 has left children quarantined with parents at home with schools and day care centers closed across the country. There is a lot of uncertainty now, but we have no choice to move forward as best as we can. Now that your children are at home with you, there are certain actions you can take to ensure that they’re continuing an enriching learning experience. Here are some tips to keep your child stimulated through quarantine.

Take Things Slowly

It will take some time for your children to get used to school at home. The best thing you can do for them is to calmly give them the information you need while slowly building their routine. Make sure you give them time to decompress. You may be feeling anxious now, but try as much as you can to not pass that onto your children.

Develop a Schedule

Preparation is key when it comes to trying to make things as regular as possible during these rare circumstances. When there’s no schedule for your child to follow, simply take matters in your own hands by giving them a structure to follow every day. An important component to remember is to give your children some outside time as they’ll need it to not feel so isolated. If you’re working from home and can swing it, this would be great to spend this time together.

Find Online Replacement Activities

Outside of school work, there are probably multiple activities that have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Luckily, there have been many people and organizations that have stepped up to the plate. A great way to enrich your child’s day-to-day experience is by enrolling them in a couple of these activities. If your child’s instructor or coach is offering these classes, take them up on it as it’s an excellent way to keep them learning and engaging with their peers.

Let Your Children Use Creative Outlets

This is a tough time for everyone, but there are activities your child can learn and/or participate in that can help them calm their nerves. These are activities such as music, journaling, and art. This will allow them to properly state their feelings about COVID-19 and how their life has been impacted. They could also discover a new passion or talent!

Be Realistic

Make sure to keep your expectations tempered. Quarantine is not a competition, don’t put all of your energy into one activity and burn out. Just focus on doing the best you can and don’t compare your child’s progress to that of other children. Staying calm is the most important thing you can do to assure your child that everything is going to be just fine.

The Top Back to School Tips for Parents

Summer coming to an end means one thing: it is back to school season. It’s an exciting time, but many students dread the return of a new school year because it can be very stressful. However, it doesn’t have to be a negative experience for your children, as there are ways that you as a parent can help make the transition from a relaxing summer break to a busy new school year a smooth one.

Make Mornings Easy

Starting your children off on a peaceful morning routine can result in a relaxing yet focused day for them at school. To start, make sure you are up and ready at least 20 minutes before your children. It’s smart to plan their outfits and breakfast so they don’t feel rushed and anxious before the school day has begun. You should also implement a “no electronics” rule before bed and right away in the morning to avoid any distractions that can cause them to delay the newly established routine.

Get Them the Right School Supplies

Make sure you are reviewing the list of supplies that are provided by the school or a new teacher. Your children must have access to them from day one. This emphasizes the importance of preparation, and your child will surely do much better school the more prepared they are. You can make the shopping experience more positive for your child by splurging a little bit on a fun folder or notebook. This makes the object much more exciting to use and your child will cherish it over the first option.

Establish Consistent Regiment for Homework

A full school day isn’t short, so it can be hard to get your children to do their homework immediately following their home arrival. This can make them feel burnt out the minute they get home. If they wait too late into the night, they might not have enough time to finish their homework. This could lead to the development of bad behaviors such as procrastination or not doing the work at all. To avoid burning your children out, you should give them a short rest period before they start their homework. A substantial half-hour break right after they arrive from school is the perfect amount of downtime. Make sure your child has a clean workspace and can easily access the utensils (pens, markers, etc.) necessary for getting the work done.

Update Your Calendar

While many schools and school districts provide an academic schedule that highlights key events, it is vital to highlight your children’s homework due-dates. Some teachers will give a monthly or weekly calendar, but that can change. Ask your children about more significant projects and make them on your schedule. The more you’re made aware of their schoolwork, the more accountable the child will feel for its completion.

What Are Some Great Winter Activities for Kids?

The winter doesn’t have to be a time to hunker down indoors and stay warm. There is plenty to do and see, even if the weather is a bit crisper than you would like. It doesn’t seem like kids even notice the cold if they’re having fun, anyway. Here are some fun winter activities you can do with the kids.


Sledding is an old classic. There’s nothing better than zooming down the hill on your platform of choice. Just make sure that you go to a hill that’s safe, and that everyone is bundled up properly, since there will be much time spent in the snow. Smaller children should only ride with an adult.


Skiing is great fun for the whole family. You can go cross-country skiing as a group, or go downhill skiing on the appropriate skill-level hill. It may seem difficult for those who haven’t tried, but after a quick lesson, everyone can get the hang of it quickly.


Snowboarding is like skateboarding on the snow. Lots of kids love this activity because it gives the opportunity to try out tricks and stunts. Kids as young as 5 can strap on a board, but this activity is a favourite for tweens and teens. They have the muscles and the balance to stretch the limits of what they can do.

Snow Angels

This one is good for kids (and adults) of all ages. Make sure everyone is wearing a full snowsuit, and get them to flop down in the snow on their backs. Then they can move their arms above their head and their legs back and forth. For more fun, you can decorate the angels with fun colors and even clothes.

Don’t stay inside all winter. Brave the cold and enjoy all their is to do with your family.

Child Development: 5 Essential Tips

Child development presents itself from early infancy all the way into the adolescent stages. Children are naturally curious about the world around them. By the time your child begins to crawl, numerous things at once will draw their attention. This is true even if it’s not particularly interesting to adults.

This natural curiosity is a gift, but can sometimes be exhausting to keep up with. While it can take a toll on parents, it’s important to keep facilitating this curiosity as children continue to age. Here are some incredibly valuable tips to enhance the lives of children through their development and facilitate proper growth.

Be a Good Role Model

Young children look up to their parents as role models. The way you conduct yourself in many given situations will be reflective of their behavior as they age along with their outlook on life. Try to think and behave as positively as you can, and your child will follow in your footsteps.

Actively Listen to Your Child

Let your children know that they can come to you whenever they need to talk with you about something. It is common for parents to become angered when your children ask an influx of questions. It all stems back to their natural curiosity. It can take some patience, but it’s important to answer as many of these questions to your children as possible. In these moments they are trying to be sincere. These moments should be valued.

Share Your Emotions

Children are really just smaller adults. They can tell when you’re feeling good and when you’re feeling lousy. Let your children into your life by letting them know what’s on your mind and good times and in bad. Even though your children might not know what to do on the surface, their presence and their knowledge that you’re not on your game will help them gain understanding. They may even find creative ways to make you feel better.

Go Outside

A great component of child development is to help your child appreciate the outdoors. There are so many things about the world your child can learn by being immersed in nature. So many skills they can develop by not constantly looking at screens. This is a chance for parents to escape the hectic nature of their day and simply be present with their child. Whether you’re going on a hike or simply playing soccer in the backyard, make sure your child spends a considerable amount of time outdoors.

Set Rules

It is important to set limits with your kids. As a parent one of your main responsibilities is to set your child’s expectations for the real world. Early childhood are incredibly formative years, and it is up to you to set appropriate guidelines for your child to follow. These will be incredibly valuable to your child as they grow up. You don’t have to be strict, but they should be sturdy. Rules are meant to guide your child. They are not meant to constantly punish them. Be sure to act accordingly.

Help Your Kids Avoid Getting Sick With These 6 Tips

Winter means many wonderful things. The crisp air, fun in the snow, and drinking hot drinks after coming in from the cold, just to name a few. Unfortunately, winter also brings with it some unpleasant things, not the least of which is illness. Colds and the flu are very common in winter, especially among kids. Here are some ways to keep your kids healthy during the colder months.

Hand Washing

Hands are constantly collecting bacteria, so they should be washed often. The best way to encourage kids to wash their hands is to make it fun. You can buy fun-smelling soaps, or even a motion sensor dispenser, to make it more interesting to wash up.


Sometimes it might not be possible to wash with soap and water. Hand sanitizer will kill germs and bacteria on your hands when you are in a pinch and there is no sink nearby.


Make sure your child dresses in layers during the cold season. For one, you do not want them dressing too lightly. You also do not want them dressing too warmly, because they might sweat which will cool when they take their coat off. Layers mean that your child can have the right level of covering at all times.

Covering Up

It is very important that kids, or anyone for that matter, cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze. If they use their hands, then they will end up touching door knobs and other things that will spread the germs to others. They should use the crook of their elbows.

Tissues Everywhere

Make it easy for your kids to have tissues at hand so they are not using the backs of their hands. You could have a box open in every room of the house so they will never have to go looking for one. You can also send them to school with smaller packs, and put those little packs in their coat pockets as well.

Keep Them Home

There is no reason to send them to school or to do activities when they are sick. The best way to get over a cold is with rest. Not only will it allow their weak immune system to do its work, but they also will not be a risk to others.

If you are interested in learning about Today’s Life Schools & Child Care’s Minnesota day care services, feel free to contact us online or call 952-358-2020.

What Are The Benefits Of Day Care Centers?

Ever since the industrial revolution, when not only the world changed, but attitudes towards gender roles started changing, day care centers became essential for many households with two working parents. No longer was it just about the man going to work to bring home the bacon. More and more women needed to leave the home to help provide for the family. Now, day care centers play a vital role in our economy as they allow both parents to make money and have satisfying careers. Here are some other benefits.


While the parents might be out of the home, that does not mean that the kids cannot have a home-like environment. Day care centers are often set up like a home, and the kids are provided with care, attention, and healthy meals.


Learning is a big part of every day care center. They provide age-appropriate activities and lessons that help the children get prepared for their school years to come. They can get a head start on their alphabet and number literacy. Parents can certainly teach these things, but day care centers are staffed by professionals.v


Day care centers provide an opportunity for children to learn how to work in groups, and get along with others. These are vital skills to have once school starts. They will learn to adjust to different personalities, and share toys and other items with others without fighting.


With all the learning and sharing, there’s still plenty of time for fun! They play games, read stories, do crafts, and spend all day being engaged. They make new friends that in some cases, last for life. The staff are professionals in child development and also very knowledgeable about activities for kids.


When you are choosing a facility, it’s important to take a few things into consideration. This means that you must visit the center to see how it operates. When you are there, ask about group sizes, and how many kids there are per class member. You will want to make sure that your child will not feel too uncomfortable or be lost in the crowd.

A day care center can help a family reach financial goals and help provide children with an excellent quality of life. If you’re deciding whether or not to send your kids to day care, remember these benefits.

If you are interested in learning about Today’s Life Schools & Child Care’s Minnesota day care services, feel free to contact us online or call 952-358-2020.

Fun Things For Kids To Do In the Fall

It is that time of year again when the kids go back to school, the air has a particular crispness, and the leaves start creating a beautiful mosaic of colors. The time between what can be extreme heat and extreme cold is the perfect time of year for playing outside. With that in mind, here are a few fun things your kids can do during autumn time.

Playing in the Leaf Piles

Remember being a kid and jumping in freshly raked piles of leaves? Kids still love to do that! Instead of being annoyed at your hard work being ruined, you can simply rake it all up again to continue the fun. You can create several piles, or one large one. Having several piles makes it a perfect spot for a game of hide and seek. Forts, beds, and other imaginative creations are all just at the swipe of a rake.

Collecting Leaves

The one thing that is unmistakable about fall is how beautiful it is because of the colorful leaves. Grab a basket or a bucket, and search for different types of leaves all over the neighborhood. Your child can collect different colors and different shapes. You could even hold a competition or a scavenger hunt for several children. This is a great learning opportunity, as you can teach them about trees from which the leaves came, and how the leaves will regrow in the spring. Collecting leaves is the first step to creating a fun leaf-based craft.

Tree Planting

Trees don’t just get planted in the spring. There are many places where the fall is the best time to plant a tree. That way, it will already be a little bit mature when the growing season starts in the spring. Kids can dig the hole and help put the tree in. Then they can refill it, and watch the tree that they planted grow throughout the years. You can even give them the responsibility of watering the tree, even if it doesn’t really need it.

As you can see, there is so much for your kids to enjoy in the fall. Get out there and have some fun!

How To Talk About Safety With Your Child

There are many things that we need to teach and demonstrate to our children as they grow up. One of the most important is safety. Part of a nurturing and loving parental relationship is keeping a child safe from harm, and as the child gets older, making sure they know how to keep themselves from harm, too. That means you will have to provide correction when they do something that is unsafe. Here are some ways that you can effectively talk about safety with your child.

Talk About The Behavior

When a child does something wrong, our first instinct is often to scold them. The important thing is separating the behavior from the child. Talk about the act, and the possible repercussions, but do not describe the child as “naughty” or a “bad listener”.

Speak, But Also Listen

While you certainly want to provide information, you also should make sure that you are listening to the point of view of the child. If they are old enough, get some feedback about why they did what they did, and do your best to get to the cause of the actions.

Stay Positive

The focus of any conversation about safety should be on teaching, not on disciplining. If your child does something unsafe, like runs into the road, only raise your voice if there is an emergency and you need them to move quickly. Otherwise, remove them from the dangerous situation, and talk about what they can do next time to be safer.

Find A Cause

If your child does something unsafe, take a look at the whole situation. What caused it? Did he not know any better? Was she distracted? Did you perhaps say or do something that caused them to act that way? Sometimes finding the cause and eliminating it will prevent the issue from reoccurring.

Never Forget That We Are All Human

It is highly unlikely that you are a perfect person, and have always been a perfect person. We have all made mistakes, especially as children. It is therefore unfair to expect our children to be perfect. They will make mistakes, and it is important that you work with your child, not against them, to eliminate the safety issue and prevent it from ever happening again.

Now Enrolling Toddlers & Preschool Age Children!

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Today’s Life Schools & Childcare is devoted to providing the highest quality care and education for every child. Our curriculum for all age groups is built on enduring child development principles. Explore our infant, toddler, preschooler, pre-kindergarten, Spanish language, summer fun and enrichment programs.

Four Developmental Benefits of Dramatic Play

Four Developmental Benefits of Dramatic Play

According to experts, dramatic play is any type of play where “children assign and accept roles and act them out”. This means that whether your child likes to pretend to be a doctor or wants to be a mechanic working the big wheel, they’re engaging in dramatic play.

But dramatic play is about more than just play. In fact, there are four developmental benefits of pretend play, including:

  1. Intellectual – Dramatic play is known to help children solve problems, negotiate, organize and plan.
  2. Physical – Most play also increases motor development, strength and coordination (depending on the activity).
  3. Social – Social development means being able to share, take turns, cooperate, negotiate and handle disappointment when it happens.
  4. Emotional – Emotional developments might include feelings of protection, a sense of self and individually as well.

At Today’s Life Schools & Child Care, we focus on dramatic play, making our classrooms and facility a great location for your little one!

About St Patrick’s Day

Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated each year on March 17th. In Ireland, St Patrick’s Day is both a holy day and a national holiday. Saint Patrick is a patron saint of Ireland as he was the one who brought Christianity to the Irish.

According to the legend, St Patrick used a shamrock to explain about God. The shamrock, which looks like a clover, has three leaves on each stem. Saint Patrick told the people that the shamrock was like the idea of the trinity, that in the one God there are three divine beings: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The shamrock was sacred to the druids, so St Patrick’s use of it in explaining the trinity was very wise.

Although it began in Ireland, St Patrick’s Day is celebrated in countries around the world. People with Irish heritage remind themselves of the beautiful green countryside of Ireland by wearing green and taking part in the festivities.

St Patrick’s Day is usually celebrated with a parade. The one in Dublin, Ireland is known to some as the Irish Mardi Gras. But the one in New York city is actually one of the biggest. It last for hours. Two Irish wolfhounds, the mascots of the New York National Guard Infantry regiment, always lead the parade. More than one hundred bands and a hundred thousand marchers follow the wolfhounds in the parade.

Saint Patrick and the Snakes:

Another tale about Patrick is that he drove the snakes from Ireland. Different versions of the story, tell of him standing upon a hill, using a wooden staff to drive the serpents into the sea, banishing them forever from Ireland.

One version says that an old serpent resisted banishment, but that Patrick outwitted it. Patrick made a box and invited the snake to enter. The snake insisted it was too small and the two argued. Finally to prove his point, the snake entered the box to show how tight the fit was. Patrick slammed the lid closed and threw the box into the sea.

Although it’s true that Ireland has no snakes, this likely had more to do with the fact that Ireland is an island and being separated from the rest of the continent the snakes couldn’t get there. The stories of Saint Patrick and the snakes are likely a metaphor for his bringing Christianity to Ireland and driving out the pagan religions (Serpents were a common symbol in many of these religions).

Sharing these fun stories with your children most always leaves them wonder.

5 Ages Of Brain Development

Throughout our life, starting at conception week 4, our brain continues to undergo growth and changes. Here are the 5 steps our brain develops into:


By the time we take our first breath, the brain is already more than 8 months old. It starts to develop within four weeks of conception, when one of three layers of cells in the embryo rolls up to form the neural tube. A week later, the top of this tube bends over, creating the basic structure of fore, mid and hindbrain.

From this point, brain growth and differentiation is controlled mainly by the genes. Even so, the key to getting the best out of your brain at this stage is to have the best prenatal environment possible. In the early weeks of development, that means having a mother who is stress-free, eats well and stays away from cigarettes, alcohol and other toxins. Towards the end of the brain-building process, when the fetus becomes able to hear and remember, sounds and sensations also begin to shape the train.

In the first two trimesters of pregnancy, though, development is all about putting the basic building blocks in place: growing neurons and connections and making sure each section of the brain grows properly and in the right area. This takes energy, and a variety of nutrients in the right quantity at the right time.



In childhood, the brain is the most energetic and flexible that it will ever be. As we explore the world around us it continues to grow, making and breaking connections at breakneck speed. Perhaps surprisingly, learning, memory and language begin before we are even born.

During the prenatal period, up to a quarter of a million new cells form every minute, making 1.8 million new connections per seconds, though about half of the cells will later wither and die, leaving only those reinforced by use. From birth, a child undergoes more than a decade of rapid growth and development, in which every experience contributes to the person they will become. So what can a parent do to help maximize the potential of their child’s brain? A nurturing environment and daily individualized communication. Negative and/or harsh treatment may come with emotional consequences in the future.



Teenagers are selfish, reckless, irrational and irritable, but given the cacophony of construction going on inside the adolescent brain, is it any wonder? In the teenage years, our brain may be fully grown, but the wiring is certainly a work in progress.

Psychologists used to explain the particularly unpleasant characteristics of adolescence as products of raging sex hormones, since children reach near adult cerebral volumes well before puberty. More recently, though, imaging studies have revealed a gamut of structural changes in the teens and early 20s that go a long way towards explaining these tumultuous teenage years.

Jay Giedd at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and his colleagues have followed the progress of nearly 400 children, scanning many of them every two years as they grew up. They found that adolescence brings waves of grey-matter pruning, with teens losing about 1 percent of their grey matter every year until their early 20s.

This cerebral pruning trims unused neural connections that were overproduced in the childhood growth spurt, starting with the more basic sensory and motor areas. These mature first, followed by regions involved in language and spatial orientation and lastly those involved in higher processing and executive functions.



So you’re in your early 20s and your brain has finally reached adulthood. Enjoy it while it lasts. The peak of your brain’s powers comes at around age 22 and lasts for just half a decade. From there it’s downhill all the way.

This long, slow decline begins at about 27 and runs throughout adulthood, although different abilities decline at different rates. Curiously, the ones that start to go first – those involved with executive control, such as planning and task coordination – are the ones that took the longest to appear during your teens. These abilities are associated with the prefrontal and temporal cortices, which are still maturing well into your early 20s.

Episodic memory, which is involved in recalling events, also declines rapidly, while the brain’s processing speed slows down and working memory is able to store less information.

So just how fast is the decline? According to research, from our mid-20s we lose up to 1 point per decade on a test called the mini mental state examination. This is a 30-point test of arithmetic, language and basic motor skills that is typically used to assess how fast people with dementia are declining. A 3 to 4 point drop is considered clinically significant. In other words, the decline people typically experience between 25 and 65 has real-world consequences.



By the time you retire, there’s no doubt about it, your brain isn’t what it used to be. By 65 most people will start to notice the signs: you forget people’s names and the teapot occasionally turns up in the fridge.

There is a good reason why our memories start to let us down. At this stage of our life we are steadily losing brain cells in critical areas such as the hippocampus – the area where memories are processed. This is not too much of a problem at first, even in old age the brain is flexible enough to compensate. At some point though, the losses start to make themselves felt.

Clearly not everyone ages the same way, so what’s the difference between jolly, intelligent oldie and a forgetful, grumpy granny? And can we improve our chances of becoming the former?

Exercise can certainly help. Numerous studies have shown that gentle exercise three times a week can improve concentration and abstract reasoning in older people, perhaps by stimulating the growth of new brain cells. Exercise also helps steady our blood glucose. As we age, our glucose regulation worsens, which causes spikes in blood sugar. This can affect the dentate gyrus, an area within the hippocampus that helps form memories. Since physical activity helps regulate glucose, getting out and about could reduce these peaks and, potentially, improve your memory.


Stay healthy!

Cold Weather Rules & Tips

Whether winter brings severe storms, light dust or just cold temperatures, the American Academy of Pediatrics has some valuable tips on how to keep your children safe and warm. We follow most of them here at Today’s Life, most of them I say because children will never be going outside in temperatures under 15/20 degrees here at the center and at those temperatures; children would not spend more than 10/15 minutes outside. But read below and see what you can get out of it:


What to Wear

  • Dress infants and children warmly for outdoor activities. Several thin layers will keep them dry and warm. Don’t forget warm boots, gloves or mittens, and a hat. Choose boots that are large enough to comfortably accommodate two pairs of socks.
  • Remove drawstrings from clothing which may get caught on tree branches or play equipment. Replace with Velcro.
  • The rules of thumb for older babies and young children are to dress them in one more layer of clothing than an adult would wear in the same conditions.
  • When riding in the car, babies and children should wear thin, snug layers rather than thick, bulky coats or snowsuits.
  • Blankets, quilts, pillows, bumpers, sheepskins and other loose bedding should be kept out of an infant’s sleeping environment, which we follow here at Today’s Life, because they are associated with suffocation deaths and may contribute to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). It is better to use sleep clothing like one-piece sleepers or wearable blankets is preferred.
  • If a blanket must be used to keep a sleeping infant warm, it should be thin and tucked under the crib mattress, reaching only as far as the baby’s chest, so the infant’s face is less likely to become covered by bedding materials.


  • Hypothermia develops when a child’s temperature falls below normal due to exposure to colder temperatures. It often happens when a youngster is playing outdoors in extremely cold weather without proper clothing or when clothes get wet. It can occur more quickly in children than adults.
  • As hypothermia sets in, the child may shiver and become lethargic and clumsy. Speech may become slurred and body temperature will decline in more severe cases.
  • If you suspect your child is hypothermic, call 911 at once. Until help arrives, take the child indoors, remove any wet clothing, and wrap him/her in blankets or warm clothes.


  • Frostbite happens when the skin outer tissues become frozen. This condition tends to happen on extremities like the fingers, toes, ears and nose. Skin first becomes red and tingly, then gray and painful and finally white, cold and hard without pain. Blistering occurs after the skin thaws.
  • Playing in temperatures or wind chills below -15 degrees Fahrenheit should be avoided because exposed skin begins to freeze within minutes.
  • Prevent frostbite by dressing in layers, covering all body parts when outside in cold weather. Bring children indoors if clothing gets wet.
  • If frostbite occurs, bring the child indoors and place the frostbitten parts of her body in warm (not hot) water. 104 degrees Fahrenheit (about the temperatures of most hot tubs) is recommended. Warm washcloths may be applied to frostbitten nose, ears and lips.
  • Administer acetaminophen or ibuprofen (consult your doctor or pharmacist on dosage) when you begin rewarming because as the skin thaws pain occurs.
  • Do not rub the frozen areas.
  • After a few minutes, dry and cover the child with clothing or blankets. Give him/her something warm to drink and seek medical attention immediately particularly if blistering occurs

Winter Health

  • If your child suffers from winter nosebleeds, try using a cold air humidifier in the child’s room at night. Saline nose drops or petrolatum jelly may help keep nasal tissues moist. If bleeding is severe or recurrent, consult your pediatrician.
  • Many pediatricians feel that bathing two or three times a week is enough for an infant’s first year. More frequent baths may dry out the skin, especially during the winter.
  • Cold weather does not cause colds or flu. But the viruses that cause colds and flu tend to be more common in the winter, when children are in school and are in closer contact with each other. Frequent hand washing and teaching your child to sneeze or cough into the bend of her elbow may help reduce the spread of colds and flu.
  • Children 6 months of age and up should get the influenza vaccine to reduce their risk of catching the flu. Around 80% of all influenza illness generally occurs in January, February, and March.

Winter Sports and Activities

  • Set reasonable limits on outdoor play to prevent hypothermia and frostbite and make sure kids have a place to go warm up when they get cold. When weather is severe, have children come inside periodically to warm up.
  • Alcohol or drug use should not be permitted in any situation. They can be even more dangerous in winter activities like snowmobiling or skiing.

A few tips that we hope will help and answered some of your questions.

Teething: What To Expect

Somewhere between 2 and 12 months (or later), your baby’s teeth will make their grand, grumpy entrance. Here’s how to read the symptoms of teething along with remedies to ease baby’s discomfort.

When your baby’s first tooth shows up, you might be taken by surprise (“Ow! Was that just a bite?”), or you might just finally understand what all those surefire teething signs — drooling, night waking, crabbiness — were pointing to. Every baby experiences teething differently: Some have virtually no symptoms, while other babies experience teething pain for months. Fortunately, there are some signs to watch for as this developmental milestone approaches that can help make teething easier for your baby — and for you.

When Do Babies Start Teething?

Most babies grow their first tooth around 7 months old, although there’s a wide variation in timing of teething. For example, some babies grow their first tooth as early as two or three months whereas others don’t get one until after their first birthday. Teething symptoms, however, can precede the actual appearance of a tooth by as much as two or three months.

In What Order Do Teeth Appear?

The most common first teeth are the two in the bottom center, followed by the two in the top center. Then, the pattern goes outward with lateral incisors, which are in the next spot over, followed by the first molars, or the molars closest to the opening of baby’s mouth. Then come the canines on either side of the lateral incisors and last are the second molars in the very back. See the American Dental Association’s tooth eruption chart.

9 Common Teething Symptoms

Your little one is not likely to understand why he feels so achy, why he keeps waking up in the night with soreness in his mouth or why his chin is so itchy. So here are top teething symptoms to keep an eye out for:

  1. Drooling. It’s hard to believe so much fluid can come from the mouths of tiny babes, but teething stimulates drooling, and the waterworks are on for many babies starting from about 10 weeks to three or four months of age. If you find that your baby’s shirts are constantly soggy, fasten on a bib to keep her more comfortable (and cleaner), and gently wipe her chin throughout the day to stave off chapping.
  2. Teething rash. If your teething baby is pouring out prodigious amounts of drool, the constant drip may cause chafing, chapping, redness and rashes around her mouth and chin (and even on her neck). Patting away the drool will help prevent the rash. You can also create a moisture barrier with Vaseline or Aquaphor, and moisturize with a gentle unscented skin cream as needed. Have some nipple cream (like Lansinoh) on hand? It’s great for protecting tender baby skin, too.
  3. Coughing and/or gag reflex. All that drool can make babies gag and cough (you’d choke too with a mouthful of spit). It’s no cause for concern if your baby has no other signs of cold, flu or allergies.
  4. Biting. Pressure from teeth poking through under the gums causes baby a lot of discomfort — and that discomfort can be relieved by counterpressure (aka, biting). Teething babies will gum whatever they can find, from teething rings and rattles to your soon-to-be sore nipples (if you’re breastfeeding) and fingers.
  5. Crying. Some babies breeze through teething with nary a whimper, while others suffer from a good deal of pain due to the inflammation of tender gum tissue — which they feel compelled to share with you in the form of whining or crying. First teeth usually hurt the most (as do the molars, because they’re just plain bigger), although most babies eventually get used to what teething feels like and aren’t quite so bothered later on. Talk to your doctor about when to offer pain relievers like infant acetaminophen.
  6. Irritability. Your baby’s mouth will ache as that little tooth presses on the gums and pokes up to the surface, and, not surprisingly, it’ll probably make her feel out of sorts. Some babies may be irritable for just a few hours, but others can stay crabby for days or even weeks.
  7. Refusal to feed. Uncomfortable, cranky babies yearn to be soothed by something in their mouths — whether a bottle or the breast. But the suction of nursing may make a teething baby’s sore gums feel worse. For that reason, teething babies are fussy about feedings (and get more frustrated as neither their discomfort nor their hungry tummies find relief). Babies eating solid foods may also refuse to eat during teething. Keep at it, and call your pediatrician if the strike lasts more than a few days.
  8. Night waking. The teething fairy doesn’t only work days. As your baby’s teeth begin to emerge, her discomfort may disrupt her nighttime slumber (even if she previously slept through the night). Before offering comfort, see if she can settle herself back to sleep; if she’s still restless, soothe her with patting or lullabies but avoid a return to nighttime feedings (which will come back to haunt you when teething is done).
  9. Ear pulling; cheek rubbing. Teething babies may tug furiously at their ear or rub their cheek or chin. The reason? Gums, ears and cheeks share nerve pathways, and so an ache in the gums (especially from erupting molars) can travel elsewhere. (Babies with ear infections will also yank on their ears, so do check with your pediatrician if you suspect your baby may be bothered by more than just teething.)

The type and severity of these symptoms vary wildly from baby to baby — for one baby, teething means lots of discomfort and big-time tears, while another child might breeze right through to a mouth full of teeth without a complaint.  Still, you can expect to see at least some, and maybe many, of these symptoms (some of which can precede the actual appearance of a tooth by as much as two or three months — so hang in there Mom!).

The 7 Best Teething Remedies

While you can’t take on your baby’s teething discomfort, you can help take it away with these mom-tested remedies:

  1. Chewing. Teething babies love to chew, and for good reason: The gumming action provides counterpressure, which relieves the aching pressure of new pearly whites pushing up and out into the mouth. Bumpy rubber teething rings, rattles and other teething toys work well (including — your baby has probably figured out — the plastic bumper on a crib rail). Chewing is even more effective when the object is cold and numbs the gums. Keep a supply of teething toys or wet washcloths in the fridge, rather than the freezer — very cold comfort can hurt sensitive gums just as much as an erupting tooth does.
  2. Counterpressure. Your clean finger, teething toys with nubbly edges or a soft, wet toothbrush (no toothpaste) rubbed firmly on baby’s gums can provide the same soothing counterpressure. Your baby may balk at first because it seems to hurt initially, but it soon brings relief.
  3. Cold drinks. A bottle of icy cold water can offer chilly relief to achy gums for babies over six months (when water can be introduced), or, if baby doesn’t take a bottle, give (ice-free) water in a cup.
  4. Cold food. Like icy food to rest gums on, chilled food to eat, such as yogurt, blended peaches, and applesauce (once they’ve already been introduced to your baby), can be more appetizing than warm or room-temperature foods, and can ease achy gums. Or give frozen fruits like bananas and plums in a baby feeder mesh bag (so large chunks of gummed-off food can’t pose a choking risk), but only under adult supervision and with baby sitting or propped upright.
  5. Pain relief. If chewing, rubbing and sucking chilly foods don’t do the trick, break out the baby acetaminophen — but only after checking with your pediatrician.
  6. Comfort. Extra snuggles, extra kisses and lots of patience are what a teething baby wants most.
  7. Avoid numbing agents. Using rubbing alcohol on your baby’s gums is a no-go, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns against topical numbing agents, which can put children under age 2 at risk for reduced oxygen levels in the blood. The FDA also recommends against any herbal or homeopathic natural teething meds, especially since some contain an ingredient that can cause heart problems and drowsiness.
  8. Avoid amber teething necklaces. They don’t work, and they can pose a choking hazard.

What not to worry about: Teething can cause bleeding under the gums, which may look like a bluish lump in baby’s mouth. It’s nothing to be concerned about and can be relieved with cold counterpressure using a cool wet washcloth.

While some parents swear that low-grade fever and diarrhea are teething symptoms, doctors are divided on whether that’s true. But like inflammation anywhere else in the body, inflamed gums can sometimes produce a low-grade fever. So if your little one does develop a temperature of less than 101 degrees while he’s cutting a tooth, it could be caused by inflammation of the gums and is not a cause for concern. If the fever continues for more than three days, or if it’s higher than 101 degrees or accompanied by any other symptoms of illness, call your pediatrician. The same goes for diarrhea, which some parents speculate can be caused by all the extra drool that gets swallowed when a baby is teething. It’s nothing to worry about, but if it lasts for more than two bowel movements, give your child’s doctor a call.