Tag: Parenting Tips

Maya’s Big Scene | Book Review

Maya’s Big Scene sets the stage for the biggest production that Clark Alley has ever seen. A must read story for young readers!” – Momma Braga

Synopsis

Maya is a playwright with lots of ideas and BIG ambition, and the kids in her Mile End neighborhood are excited to bring her newest drama to life. It’s a play about freedom, equality and respect for all. But as her friends try to express ideas of their own, Maya demands complete obedience and loyalty. This is HER queendom after all! When Maya makes a scene, will her subjects revolt?

#MelAndNikkiReview

Maya’s Big Scene sets the stage for the biggest production that Clark Alley has ever seen. Maya is a drama queen and wants the best production for the neighbourhood. However, when she makes a big scene on getting things done her way she realizes the importance of having others contribute to the production.

This children’s story is fantastic as it opens up conversations with kids on freedom, equality, respect and working together. Nikki and I spoke about how it is important for us to respect other people and the importance of working together.

For this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give it 5 stars out of 5! We have loved this story so much that Nikki has said, “Encore” a few times and we had to read it again. This story has a comic style to it which made it fun to read and Nikki enjoyed trying to read this story too!

“My favorite part is when Maya realizes that she isn’t being very nice to her friends and that they should work together. It isn’t nice to be bossy!” – Nikki, Age 6

This book is great for children between the ages of four and eight. If you would like to purchase a copy of this book, click here.

About the Author

Isabelle Arsenault is a Quebec illustrator whose passion for illustrated books has earned her an impressive number of awards and distinctions. She has achieved international recognition and has won Canada’s prestigious Governor General’s Literacy Award for Children’s Literature three times. She received a BolognaRagazzi Award in 2017 and was nominated for the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 2018 and 2020. Three of her picture books have been named New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books of the Year. Isabelle lives with her family in Montreal.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*This book was provided in exchange for an honest review and we do not make commission off of book sales. All opinions expressed are our own.

3 Valentine’s Day At-Home Party Ideas for Kids

For some, Valentine’s Day was strictly an adult holiday. The parents went out for dinner, leaving the kids at home with a babysitter. Maybe you had a card exchange at school, but not much beyond that.

For others, Valentine’s Day was another special occasion that now floods the holiday with special memories. 

Life is too short; why not do both?

Have your romantic evening, but throw a party for the kids, too. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make a memorable occasion.

1. Decorate Cookies

I know, I know—not particularly original, but kids love decorating heart cookies. And eating them. And (sigh) making huge messes.

If the thought of baking makes you shudder, and no judgment here, you can drop a load of cash at Etsy or online bakeries for the real deal, but remember we said you didn’t have to spend a fortune, right?

Many local grocery stores have undecorated heart cookies, but if not you can always go with Pillsbury and their cut-out and ready-to-bake cookies at Target and other locations. A wonderful option to simplify.

If you want to make your own, you’ll save money and they’ll probably taste better. Growing up, you probably had the big soft cookies made with butter or margarine or the crisp cookies made with Crisco. If you want the best of both, make crisp cookies with butter frosting so you get the taste of butter. 

Yes, you can get fancier with fondant or royal icing, but these are kids. The cookies are not going to be that pretty, anyway. You might as well have an icing that actually tastes good.

If you do decide to make your own, make the cookies ahead of time and stick them in the freezer baked and ready to go. If you try to do everything on the same day, you will be too tired to enjoy an evening out with your partner.

Make the frosting ahead of time too. Pick the food colorings you want and have it ready to go in pastry bags or plastic baggies with tiny holes cut in the corner. Trust me, you don’t want the kids’ help when it involves food coloring.

Cover your children in aprons or garbage bags with holes cut out for their arms and heads.

Then take a lot of pictures as they decorate! These are precious memories in the making. 

2. Disney-fy Your Valentines’ Day Party

Of course, Disney has a recipe for Heart-Shaped Pizza with Mickey Mouse Pepperoni. And why not?

Have the kids help with the assembly part and make this festive meal while you watch your favorite Disney flic—or one that you think is particularly appropriate for Valentine’s Day. Lady and the Tramp? Tangled? Frozen 2? What is your go-to romance when it comes to Disney? 

OR pick one that emphasizes love, friendship, and family—like Lilo and Stitch.

Play a Disney-centric game like charades based on Disney movies, name that Disney tune, or set up a Zoom meeting with family/friends and play Disney Scavenger Hunt! You can use this online resource or make your own list of items based on the age of the children playing.

Finally, an inexpensive gift to give your children that they’ll go crazy for are these Mickey Mouse ears at Presley Couture. They’ve got every style you can possibly imagine, with a nod to your child’s favorite characters. 

We mean it. OODLES of ears that are well-made and exceptionally priced. If you end up going to the Magic Kingdom, you can take them with you and already be all Mickey-ed out before you get into the park.

3. Ding-Dong Without Ditching

Have the children make each other cards, leave them on the porch for their siblings, ring the bell, and run away.  A time-honored tradition. Even you can participate with a cute card and stickers or candy for your kids. 

Then, box up some of those cookie masterpieces you made and choose a deserving neighbor. In the end, giving makes the best memories.

No matter what you choose to do, you can start new Valentine’s Day traditions with your children to help them practice showing their love to others.

A Story of Immigration and Inspiration | Watch Me

“Watch Me is an inspiring children’s story about how immigration has made a country great. The diverse skills and cultures that we are surrounded by is what makes us all great!” – Momma Braga

Synopsis

Joe came to America from Africa when he was young. He worked hard in school, made friends, and embraced his new home. Like so many immigrants before and after him, Joe succeeded when many thought he would fail.

In telling the story of how his father came to America, Doyin Richards tells the story of many immigrants, and opens the experience up to readers of all backgrounds. Here is a moving and empowering story of how many different people, from different places, make us great. Acclaimed artist Joe Cepeda brings the story to life with beautiful paintings, full of heart.

#MelAndNikkiReview

Watch Me truly encompasses what many people of all backgrounds faced when immigrating to another country. As a daughter of immigrants, I saw the struggle to create new roots in a new country and to work twice as hard to succeed for your family.

My parents came to Canada with nothing and built a life here. I am incredibly proud that they did it and they never lost faith that they could. This is why this story really grasped at my heart strings as to see Joe succeed when everyone thought he couldn’t is a great message.

The author, Doyin, describes his own father’s journey in this captivating story with simple text and breathtaking illustrations. Joe came to America and worked really hard even when people doubted him. He became a doctor and creating roots that you can see his family is very proud of.

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give it 5 stars out of 5! 

“This land is your land. This land is our land. There is enough for everyone.”

If you would like to purchase this great book, click here.

About the Author

Doyin Richards is the author of the pictures books I Wonder: Celebrating Daddies Doin’ Work, and What’s the Difference? Being Different Is Amazing as well as a book for adults, Daddy Doin’ Work: Empowering Mothers to Evolve Fatherhood. He’s been interviewed by Today (and is a charter member of Today’s parenting team), NPR, USA Today, The New York Times, and CNN, among others. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and their two daughters.

About the Illustrator

Joe Cepeda is the award-winning illustrator of more than thirty books for children. Born and raised in East Los Angeles, he lives in LA, where he is also the president of the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*Please note that this book was provided in exchange for an honest review and we do not make commission off of book sales. All opinions expressed are our own.

Easy Oven Roast Beef Recipe

Our recipes have been very popular on our blog and I want to thank everyone for taking the time to show us the love! In today’s post, I am sharing an easy over roast beef recipe that I created by taking what I liked best from my mom and sister’s recipe.

I am a very simple person and like keeping ingredients as simple as possible. After going on Pinterest almost daily for two weeks straight to look at roast beef recipes, I just got deflated. I didn’t think I could make it as it all seemed hard and complicated. Even the ones that said, “Easy.” I combined my usual ingredients and added a little extra to really bring this recipe to the delicious level that had everyone wanting more.

Oven Roast Beef

INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

  • Marinate your oven roast a day prior to let the meat soak in the ingredients for best taste.
    • Wash roast well.
    • Then make cuts in the meat on top. I sliced a bit into the meat but not all the way through. This way the ingredients can get into the meat and the juices will flow while cooking.
    • Place the roast in a roasting pan.
    • Add your ingredients: salt, black pepper, chopped garlic cloves, paprika, Half cup of red wine and half cup of water. Measurements for the ingredients are based on what you normally use in your meat marinating.
    • Remember to add ingredients on top and bottom of the roast. Then massage it into the roast all over. This was fun!
  • Cut the onions into rings and spread them on the roast and within the roasting pan. It will float in the wine and water that was used.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of butter, one bay leaf into the roasting pan and drizzle olive oil on roast an in the pan.
  • Place it in the fridge with a tin foil covering it until you are ready to cook the next day.
  • The next day remove the pan from the fridge and after the oven is pre-heated (475 Fahrenheit), place it in the oven with the tin foil still wrapped.
  • Place timer for 60 minutes. Once the time is up, turn the oven roast over to cook the bottom side.
  • Place timer for another 60 minutes. Once the time is up, remove it from the oven.
  • Let it cool it down so it is safe to cut. Once it is, you can slice the roast beef all the way through. This is a great way to determine if you need to cook more to ensure that it cooked to your liking.
  • We like it well done so once it was sliced, I placed it back in the oven for another 30 minutes on one side and then flipped them for another 20 minutes (All timing can vary depend on ovens).
  • Once complete you can remove from the oven and it can be ready to serve with a side of your choice. I kept some of the sauce from the pan and onions onto the tray to keep the flavor. 😉
  • Optional – we made some gravy to add over the roast beef and I used roasted potatoes as the side for my family. This was a great hit!

And there you have it, Momma Braga’s Oven Roast Beef! Give it a try and let me know what you think of it!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

Momma Braga

 

5 Ways to Improve Your Child’s Health

For any parent, your children are the most important part of your life. You no doubt want to protect them from harm and ensure they lead as healthy a lifestyle as possible.

Children are increasingly leading unhealthy lifestyles, consuming junk food, indulging in sedentary habits, and spending too much time on their smartphones. The effects of these behaviors are being seen in rising levels of obesity, illness, and mental health problems in young people. 

Our physical and mental health plays a huge part in almost all aspects of our lives, from eating to sleeping to how we entertain ourselves. And as a parent, it is up to you to ensure your child maintains healthy habits and behaviors. A young child might not have the best understanding of how their actions will affect their minds and bodies in the short and long term. 

So what can you do to help? Here are five excellent ways to improve your child’s health.

Set a good example

Your child looks up to you and is likely to see your behavior as something to emulate. If you smoke, drink, and spend your weekends scrolling through Instagram in front of the TV, your little one will not see this as bad behavior. It will be the norm. Make sure that none of your bad habits rub off on your children by taking extra special care to avoid them. The best solution would be to eradicate your bad habits entirely, by quitting cigarettes, reducing your alcohol intake, and deleting your social media apps. But at the very minimum, you should ensure you don’t indulge in any of these behaviors in front of your child. Set an example by exercising, eating healthily, and engaging in more wholesome activities like reading.

Cook healthy meals

What you put into your body plays a tremendous part in your overall health. If your child eats chicken nuggets and fries every single night, they are going to be unhealthy and have an increased likelihood of obesity and sickness. Cooking healthily can be both cheap and delicious, and is easy if you follow some of the many nutritious recipes you can find online. Many parents worry that their child won’t eat fruit and vegetables, but dietary preferences are generally learned rather than innate. If you raise your child to eat good food, they will grow up enjoying it and will adopt this behavior into adulthood. If you struggle to get your kids eating well, try to involve them in the cooking process to make eating healthily more exciting and interactive.

Limit their device use

Children these days spend an excessive amount of time staring at their phones and playing video games. This can have enormous effects on their physical and mental health, leading to issues such as obesity, impaired academic performance, postural problems, anxiety, and depression. One of the most effective steps you can take to improve your child’s health is to limit the amount of time they spend on their phones. Set dedicated times such as meals and before bed, when phones are not allowed, and encourage them to spend their free time with more productive hobbies like reading and playing board games. When they go off to school, there’s little you can do to stop them from feeding their screen addiction, but there are numerous monitoring apps you can install on their phones that will tell you what they’re getting up to. Read more on Family Orbit’s official blog.

Encourage physical activity

Every child should have a physical hobby, whether it’s football, dance, gymnastics or running. It doesn’t matter whether your child is a star on the soccer pitch or lacks coordination; there will be numerous forms of exercise you can do together as a family. Try out a Saturday morning parkrun, go for long weekend walks. or find a local sports club for them to join. Just a few hours of exercise a week is enough to build good habits and make them stronger, fitter, and healthier.

Set a sleep routine

Sleep is one of the most underrated aspects of good health, and it is essential for everything from academic performance to physical health to mental wellness. If your child doesn’t get enough sleep, they might do badly in school and be more susceptible to illness, stress, and obesity. Set a sleep routine to ensure they go to bed and wake up at a similar time every day. This way, you know they are getting their eight hours a night and will feel much more rested and healthy in the morning. 

5 Rules for Helping Your Child Deal With Divorce

Every year, thousands of marriages end in divorce, and while the experience is painful for partners, the emotional pain can also be incredibly damaging to those who don’t have a say in this life-changing decision – the children.

It is the role of the parents, both of them, to try to minimize the damage that’s often a part of the process, and help their children cope with divorce more effectively. Below, a couple of steps you can take to help your children through this difficult period in life.

Let your child know they’re loved

image source

From anxiety and depression to frustration and anger, there are a lot of negative feelings that surround the process of separation and divorce. Different kids will interpret them in different ways depending on their age and personality. Some may learn how to cope better with stress and become more tolerant individuals later on. Others, however, may start to blame themselves for their parents’ divorce, which can be detrimental to their self-esteem.

Regardless of your child’s initial reaction to the news, you need to make it clear to them that your decision to go separate ways does not change the way you feel about them. Let them know they’re loved, and provide reassurance if the other parent doesn’t show the same level of commitment.

Keep the lines of communication open

As a parent, you want to keep the lines of communication open during this difficult period and encourage your kids to talk. Let your children know that they can rely on you whenever they feel like talking to you, feel sad or confused, or simply need to ask you something.

They will be disappointed, angry, and sad, and they will probably wish for their parents to reunite. Your job is to allow your children to express their feelings, whatever they may be. Giving them the option to voice their emotions will help ease their frustration and help them feel empowered. Whatever you do, don’t downplay their emotions – it shows that they shouldn’t feel the way they do. Instead, let them know that their feelings matter. It’ll help teach your children to confront any negative feelings they have instead of avoiding them, which will only help them later in life.

Seek help to deal with your own painful feelings more easily

image source

Separation and divorce are just as stressful for the parents, and things such as custody, property, and financial problems only make the already overwhelming process even more challenging and painful. Finding effective ways to cope with divorce stress is essential during these difficult times, and keeping yourself healthy, both physically and emotionally, is important now more than ever.

If you know someone who went through this, consider talking to them. It can help you adjust to the situation and provide you with some valuable insights. You can also look for support groups, seek help from friends and family, and visit a therapist or a counselor. By dealing with your own painful feelings in a healthy way, you’ll set an example for your kids, and they’ll follow suit and adjust to this big change in the same way.

Make the transition as peaceful as possible

Despite the efforts to maintain their marriage, more couples are choosing to go their separate ways, and the divorce rates around the world are increasing. While the number of divorces involving children has dropped significantly over the years in places such as Australia (from 67.6% in 1975 to 47.1% in 2017), there are still thousands of marriages that end each year.

When ending a marriage seems like the only option, finding a trustworthy legal professional such as a reputable family lawyer in Brisbane can aid couples in navigating divorce-related matters and help them achieve a fair outcome. With a reliable professional by your side, you can deal with challenges more calmly and effectively while also being able to focus on the bigger picture and look to the future, thus making the transition as peaceful as possible.

Do your best to maintain your daily routines

image source

Divorce is a life-changing event and it can really make the children feel like their life has turned around 180 degrees. This is why remaining consistent with routines is so essential during this difficult period.

Having a routine to follow provides a sense of security, familiarity, and comfort – things that children desperately need when dealing with such a major life change. Therefore, do your best to maintain your daily routines – stick to your schedules, minimize abrupt changes, and keep things predictable. Doing so will reduce the risk of negative behavioral changes and help your kids overcome this particularly sensitive period.

Wrapping up

Getting divorced is a decision that inevitably creates a lot of stress and tension, especially when it comes to ending a marriage with children. It is during these times that children need their parents’ love, support, and understanding the most. If you follow these five rules, you can help your kids adjust to the new situation, overcome negative emotions, and look forward to the future after the divorce.

 

About the Author

Claire Adams is a personal and professional development expert who believes that a positive attitude is one of the keys to success. She enjoys life to the fullest in the healthiest way possible and loves to share her insights into parenting, education, and entrepreneurship. She is a regular author for Ripped.me and you can find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Key Tips To Move With Kids

Moving can be a difficult challenge for anyone, add kids to the mix, and you’ve got a recipe for an even bigger challenge. Thankfully, there are many great ways that you can incorporate kids into the move without too much difficulty. These tips are sure to help you, regardless of the age of your kids. We’ll start with specific age brackets and go from there for our tips. Remember, the sooner you can begin packing, the easier your move is going to be.

Ages 2 And Under

This is perhaps the toughest yet easiest age bracket to deal with when moving long distance. Kids ages 2 and under aren’t quite aware of what is going on, and your biggest challenge will be keeping them occupied long enough to get a few boxes packed each day. Start by setting aside the central area of your house. This area should be in or near the main room you’re going to be working in for any given day.

Child gates, play yard areas, or even a small stack of boxes that won’t injure your child are ideal ways to section off an area. Place a few rarely used toys in the room to entertain the kids. Kids have a few favorite things at this age; try to find those few toys and incorporate them into your area, overcoming the obstacles of long distance moving with kids.

Keep a running dialog going with the kids while you’re packing, and usually, you’ll be able to pack a small box or two at a time or maybe one large-sized box.

Ages 3 To 7

This is a fun age, and you can get help from this age bracket. Talk to the kids about what is going on, “We’re moving to a new house soon, and we need to pack up your toys so you can take them with you,” “Would you like to help me pack this box?”.

These are ideal ways to incorporate kids into the move and get them to help you get things packed up. Another fun idea is to give each child a crayon of a different color and allow them to decorate their specific boxes. Younger children can draw pictures on their boxes, while older children can write their names on their boxes.

Kids love to help, and it will keep them busy to have them pack a few of their favorite things and identify which boxes are theirs. Kids will usually tire of this after a time and either take a nap, watch a program on television, or need to be redirected.

Ages 8 To 12

This age bracket is very similar to the ages 3 to 7 age bracket; however, you can begin to give them other household items to pack. Consider a small bookshelf or other items that are relatively easy to pack. Set a goal of so many boxes for each child or allow to close in age children to have a contest to see who can pack the most in a set amount of time.

The more you involve your kids in the move, the more excited they will be about leaving their old home and friends. Be creative and consider the kids’ ages when you’re coming up with ways that they can help you in the move. Throw a going-away party and allow them to invite a few friends. Take plenty of pictures.

Ages 13 And Up

This age bracket is perhaps the most helpful of all. At this age, you can assign them specific areas of your home to help pack up. Start with their room and go from there. Not all kids in this age bracket will want to move, and you may have to deal with some teenaged angst.

Be creative and remember you were once that age and try to deal with each specific issue as it comes. Focus on fun and make the move an adventure, and you’re far more likely to get more cooperation. You can also sometimes put an older child in this age bracket in charge of a younger age bracket or divide them into teams and team them up with a younger child for a “contest” to see who can do the most in a specific room. When teens feel important, you’re going to get a lot more cooperation from them.

More Key Tips To Move With Kids

A going-away party allows kids to feel like they have some closure on the move. You should also consider taking them to tour the new home and choose their rooms if it’s possible.

Find fun things for them to do in the new area so that they won’t feel so bored. Maybe they’re closer to a park or another area where they could meet new friends. Pay a few visits to these areas so that they feel connected and look forward to the move.

Even if you’re upset by the move, try not to show it to the kids. You want their cooperation, not their angst. The more you can make the move look like a fun adventure, the more cooperation you’re going to get from the kids.

These tips will help you to move with your kids and enjoy your move without a lot of difficulties. Even the most challenging child can be coerced into helping you if you apply a few of these tips.

Celebrating Halloween with Indoor Trick-or-Treating

This year Halloween may look really different for some as many may choose not to go out trick-or-treating. However, this does not mean you can’t celebrate Halloween at all this year.

2020 has been a year of changing traditions to make it as normal as possible for our little ones. I remember changing around Easter to make sure the magic of the Easter bunny was still much alive in our home, even if our family couldn’t be together to celebrate. Now with Halloween just around the corner, I will be bringing the fun of trick-or-treating with a little twist to my daughter.

Let me introduce you to our idea, Trick-or-Treat Hotel.

Halloween Baking

Before we undertake our spooky adventure, we will be warming up with some Halloween baking. Halloween is always much more fun when baking is involved and we can have these yummy treats once we are done.

Remember to just have fun and no need for masterpieces especially since it will all be eaten anyways. 😉

Halloween Crafts

Once your baking is complete, you can move on to some crafts as this way your child is busy creating art while you set up your trick-or-treat hotel.

We got some Halloween crafts from our local dollar store which does not need any adult supervision. A couple of the crafts that we will be doing are Halloween ornaments and a Halloween photo by using Halloween stickers to create our scene.

Trick-or-Treat Hotel

This idea came to me during our play of hotel in our home. So I have incorporated that idea with trick-or-treating. We will be transforming our bedroom floor into a hotel. We have four doors on this level and all these doors will be closed.

Each door will have a Halloween inspired sign and you can create these yourselves with construction paper and a string. You can place these on all the doors. We used words that Nikki can read on her own, this way she is practicing her reading skills along the trick-or-treat road.

As Nikki approaches each door, she knocks and says, “Trick or Treat.” Then we open the door and inside she will find a note that will either say, “Treat” or “Trick.”

Treat Note

If the door reveals a “Treat” note, then you will need to find the treat in the room. Special bonus is that the notes will have a number on it (math equation) and that is how many treats need to be located in the room. Great way to have your child practice with their math skills too. 😉

Trick Note

Halloween needs to have some tricks too as we can’t always have treats. These notes will have instructions on what trick to do. For example, do 10 jumping skeleton jacks. Keep it fun, light and a great workout. Makes up for not walking the distance to get treats in your neighbourhood.

Halloween Family Movie Night

Once all doors have been explored, you can have a relaxing night with a family Halloween movie night. Always have your child pick the movie to make sure it is one that does not scare them. There are many great options available on Disney Plus. That is our go to for family friendly movies.

That is our Halloween plan this year and one that I know won’t scare me by the end of the night. I am a bit of a scary cat so the idea of an indoor trick-or-treat is ideal for me. Either way, I know this will be a memorable Halloween for my daughter and we will make the best of it.

We would love to hear what you are doing this year in the comment section below. Remember whatever you decide, stay safe and have a Happy Halloween!

-Momma Braga

 

VTech Smart Wi-Fi Video Baby Monitor is Must Have For New Parents

“VTech Smart Wi-Fi Video Baby Monitor is the must have item for all new parents. Get some rest and peace of mind knowing that you can see your little one with a click of a button.” – Momma Braga

VTech Smart Wi-Fi Video Baby Monitor

The VTech Smart Wi-Fi Video Baby Monitor allows you to check in on your little one from virtually anywhere – at home or remotely on your smart device. The HD camera uses your home’s Wi-Fi connection to capture movements and sounds. Watch your child in real time on the parent unit, or on the MyVTech Baby app in high definition. When viewing on your iOS or Android device, experience crystal-clear, high-definition video. The two-way talk back feature allows you to comfort your baby from the parent unit or your smart phone.

The VTech Wi-Fi Remote Access Video Baby Monitor features a built-in night light, soothing sounds and lullabies that play right from the camera unit to help baby sleep tight. This fixed baby camera has a wide-angle viewing up to 110 degrees to watch over your little one from anywhere in the house or out in the yard. Even after dark, you’ll be able to see your baby clearly thanks to automatic infrared night vision. Plus, the built-in temperature sensor will let you know with an alert if the nursery is getting too hot or too cold so you can adjust the thermostat.

Highlights

  • Free live remote access via smartphone and tablet
  • High-Definition, 5-inch color LCD screen
  • 1080p full HD video quality
  • Built-in night light on camera
  • Wide-angle viewing up to 110 degrees

#MelAndNikkiReview

The VTech Smart Wi-Fi Video Baby Monitor is truly the must have gift for all new parents as it provides you with that extra peace of mind when your child is asleep. The video quality is above any quality that we have ever seen, even in the dark as it offers you top of the line light vision! This baby monitor is convenient as you can see your child right from your phone/tablet. Just like with many amazing things from the VTech brand, the monitor can grow with your baby.

You can easily place the monitor in a room where you can view your child to ensure that they are safe. Therefore, this monitor can work for children too. Did we mention the sound quality is amazing and you can program the monitor to record when motion is being detected. We also love the lullaby feature that it offers. It sure comes in handy when you are tired and are on the 20th lullaby to get your little one to sleep (been there and done that!). 😉 It offers everything that a parent would want in a monitor and more. You can adjust the sound and you are even notified of the room’s temperature. So many amazing features and all at your fingertips! VTech has done it once again by taking everything a parent would want and deliver it with style. We do love the look and style of it and it goes so well in a baby or child’s room.

Our Rating

Therefore, it is no surprise that for this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give it 10 stars out of 5! It is the must have technology for your home as it gives you amazing features and the peace of mind knowing you can easily see your baby during the night. I know as a parent, I spent many sleepless nights to check on my daughter to see if she was ok. If I had this baby monitor at my fingertips six years ago, I know that my night sleep would have been so much better. 😉

If you are looking for the perfect gift for a new parent, then this is a great gift idea.  The VTech Smart Wi-Fi Video Baby Monitor will be available soon and it is exclusive to Babies’R’Us. If you would like to learn more, click here.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*Please note that this product was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own.

Pro-Development Play That Every Child Should Experience

While play for play’s sake is undoubtedly important, we also want to make sure that our children are getting the kind of development that helps foster them and makes them more likely to grow up happy, competent, and successful. As such, you might be wondering which toys are most likely to help them as they grow up. The answer isn’t as simple as picking out one single best toy, however. Here, we’re going to look at a range of options, each of which might be able to help your child develop in the direction that you’re aiming.

Link – Pixabay License

 

Teething and grasping toys

If your child is teething, then offering them some ways to help them soothe their pain is going to offer both you and them a little respite. However, rather than simply getting a teether alone, or something solely for teething like a pacifier, you can get something that engages their teeth and their hands at the same time. Teething and grasping toys have been becoming a lot more popular over the past few years. So long as they’re lightweight enough, they’re highly versatile and can help children develop some fine motor skills. Many of them are also multicolored, meaning that they can also help with colour recognition. That way, you can offer your baby some peace for their sore mouth while also getting their brain working.

Books that sing or speak to them

While reading to your own child and singing to them is vitally important when they’re young infants, you should also consider giving them toys that make noises and speak to them. Things like interactive books with nursery rhymes or recordings of lullabies can help get them used to communication at a very young age. The more you engage a child’s social side at their youngest, the better they will be able to grow their communication skills over time, as well. Interactive story and singing books combine this need by giving them things to reach for and touch, which helps develop motor skills such as their spatial awareness.

Play water mats

Water is a very entertaining plaything for young children, indeed. For one, sensory play is greatly important to their development, as we’re going to take a closer look at later. However, for young children, one of the big benefits of an age-appropriate water mat is that it encourages the extremely important activity of tummy time. Tummy time helps physically develop your child so that they can start to sit up, walk, and crawl. Furthermore, tummy time improves their ability to move around using their own arms, motor development skills that will continue to be more crucial as they get older. A good water mat combines tummy time with sensory play while offering your child a safe environment to play with water.

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Kinetic sand

One of the most important parts of development at an early age is getting a good idea of your own senses. The better we develop these senses as youngsters, the more benefits it can have for us in later life. How we interact with different materials and objects with different properties as children helps us get a better idea of how different forces work on those objects. For instance, playing with kinetic sand can help us build nerve connections in the brain when we are younger and can encourage scientific thinking and problem-solving. One of the best ways to understand how the world works is to get hands-on with it, after all.

Board games

While it’s important to choose the age-appropriate examples for your children, and some children might not be old enough to have the attention span to sit down for them, board games are generally great for childhood development. They are one of the kids toys that helps teach them about structure and rules in the greatest depth. This can be something as simple as snakes and ladders for children who are just getting into school, or chess as they’re getting into their adolescent years. More complicated board games then go on to help teach them about problem-solving and creative thinking, which can help them excel in the school and beyond. They’re also a great way to teach healthy competition in a stress-free environment so that they’re better able to deal with it elsewhere.

Creative play

Whether it’s things like markers, crayons, non-toxic paints or otherwise, let’s not underestimate just how important it is that you encourage your child to be creative. From as young as one year old, they are going to love getting hands-on and seeing all the things they can draw, paint, and even build. Creative play has a range of both intellectual and physical benefits. Learning to draw, for instance, helps to develop mathematic abilities in children at a very young age by helping them see, learn, and create shapes, as well as seeing how sizes and sorting works. The motor skills that get built up through drawing can be incredibly important for their ongoing physical development, as well. Creating with a range of materials is best.

Pic – Pixabay License

Playing pretend

It might seem like playing pretend is nothing more than just a fun pastime, but the truth is that it has a great impact on a child’s ability to use their imagination to come up with creative ideas. Furthermore, playing with dolls and teddies also helps them develop their social skills. By interacting in different scenarios and relationships, it gets them thinking about how people act with one another, allowing them to better intuit social situations as time goes on. This can then help them better co-operate and compromise with their friends as they get into school. They will better understand social cues, different tones, and even improve their language development by talking to their own toys.

Building blocks

From toddlers to teenagers, there are different kinds of building blocks that incentivize learning more effectively than the vast majority of toys out there. Early age building blocks improve motor skills such as hand-eye coordination, ensuring that children learn how to reach out, place, and balance blocks so that they do not tip over. This exercise also stimulates their creative learning, getting them to think about and imagine how block placement will affect the overall structure. Of course, as they get older and the blocks can get more complex and create increasingly diverse and complicated objects, they get to thinking about long-term planning and improve their overall creative thinking. Playing with building blocks alongside your child also helps teach them how to share and how to take turns in play.

Balls of all size

Physical development is just as important a part of play as the mental side is. The sooner that you get your child involved in physical activity, the better. This applies to more than just fine motor skills like hand-eye coordination, as well. Getting up, running around, jumping, and the like are all going to help them physically develop so that it becomes easier to incorporate fitness into their lives as they get older. There is all manner of toys that can help with this, such as ride-on toys, tunnels, slides, and the like. However, one that combines the physical activity with the fine motor skills, both of which your child needs, are balls. No matter the size, so long as they are age-appropriate, balls can be some of the most beneficial toys for your child to play with.

Pic – Pixabay License

Early age computers

There is a lot of debate that goes on about just how much contact we should be letting our children have with technology and at what age they should be having that contact. There’s a good reason for this debate as well, as there’s increasing concern that technological addiction and the sedentary lifestyle it can involve is bad for the health of your child in a wide variety of ways. However, there is no denying that technology will play an increasingly large role in daily life and the working world as time goes on. Early learning computers can help children start getting used to this technology so that they take to it much more easily as they get older.

Other children

It’s not all about the toys. It’s important that you find the opportunity to have your child play with others. Many of the skills mentioned above, such as the ability to communicate, to read social cues, and to share while playing, aren’t going to be fully developed unless they’re tested out there in the field. Solo play and playing with family is important, but playing with new friends and other children will help your child get used to other relationships, as well. It’s recommended that you get them playing with other children before they get to school so that they can integrate and socialize more easily.

Of course, play and toys aren’t the only ways to foster the development of your child. Providing a safe and positive home that engages and encourages them is just as essential, but the examples above can at least help.