Tag: Toddler Tips

Fox and Raccoon | Storytime

Storytime is always an exciting time especially when new books arrive to be featured on the #MelAndNikkiReview! We love sweet and unique books as they make storytime that much special. This is why when we were introduced to the sweet and charming world of Juniper Hollow, we were in enchanted.

Juniper Hollow is where fuzzy friends abound and that is where Fox and Raccoon live. They are the best of friends and live next door to each other. They also spend every day together with the exception of today. It appears that Fox is so busy that she doesn’t have time to play.

But never fear as Raccoon is here to help! He helps her with all the tasks that she needs to do but it seems that Fox is STILL busy. Will she ever have time to stop and play with him? As it turns out, she has a surprise up her sleeve…

After reading this book a few times (almost every night) since it arrived at our doorstep, we can’t help but feel enchanted by Fox and Raccoon. Firstly, the textile art is captivating and it allows us to feel that we have been transported to Juniper Hollow. Secondly, the friendship between Fox and Raccoon is beautiful and sincere. It was heartwarming to see how much they cared for one another as the story progressed.

For this #MelAndNikkiReview, we give Fox and Raccoon 5 juniper berries out of 5! The story of friendship and love is an important message for children and it is portrayed beautifully in Fox and Raccoon. We also loved the textile art as we personally have not read books with this type of art so it was neat for us. We would recommend this book for children ages three to seven and this would make a perfect addition to storytime.

This children’s picture book is a debut for Lesley-Anne Green who is the author and she is a textile artist who creates her adorable critters using wool, thread, fabric and love. She lives in Toronto with her family and an incorrigible pug named Lola. We hope she will continue to create more beautiful books for children.

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

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

 

Top 10 Summer Water Safety Tips

With summer days ahead, we can’t help but get excited for hot days where we can dip into the water. But as a parent we also can’t help but think of water safety for our children too.

This is why we thought it would be fitting to put together a list of some tips on water safety. We have gone to the experts at Aqua-Tots Swim Schools in Mississauga to give us the low down on what all parents and guardians should keep in mind around the water.

Tip #1 – Check Before You Swim!

Always have an adult check the water prior to going in. It is important to check how deep it is and if there is anything at the bottom that can be of danger. This way it will be a safe place for a child to swim.

Tip #2 – Buddy System

There is always safety in numbers. When going into the water, always swim with a buddy. Not only is it safe but fun too! Stay within your comfort level in the water and don’t be shy to ask for help when needed.

Tip #3 – Supervise

This tip can’t be stressed enough and a great warning for all parents and guardians. Make sure there is always direct adult supervision at all times when a child is in the water keeping a close eye to help prevent any in-water incidents.

Tip #4 – Finding Your Air

Practice having your child become comfortable with getting into the recovery position and finding their air on their back (doing the back float) when trying to find their place of safety.

Tip #5 – Fishy Cheeks

Practice the fishy cheeks method – inhaling air and holding for a count of 5 to build comfort with submersions.

Tip #6 – Jumping!

Everyone loves a good jump into the water but it is important to keep safety in mind. It is recommended to practice safe entries such as feet first. Avoid deep dives and belly flops for safety reasons.

Tip #7 – Pool Exists

Not only entering the pool needs to be done with safety but leaving the pool too. For tots and school aged children, the proper way to guide them safely out of the pool is by guiding their limbs by using elbow, elbow, tummy, knee and knee.

Tip #8 – No Running

A safety rule that everyone should follow is that there should be absolutely no running on the pool deck to prevent slips and falls.

Tip #9 – Clean Pool = Safe Pool

Keep pool toys away from the pool and deck area when not in use. This will prevent accidents in and out of the pool.

Tip #10 – Goggles

Ask your child to practice swimming with and without goggles. By doing this, you are allowing your child to adapt to the various water environments and it prevents your child to develop a dependency on goggles.

These 10 tips on water safety will have your family enjoying summer with peace of mind. We can not stress enough the importance of staying safe and enjoying the water.

Did we miss a tip? If so, we would love to hear them. Feel free to leave a comment below with what tip you would include.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

This article is brought to you in partnership with Aqua-Tots Swim School, Mississauga.

 

 

The World’s First Healthy Eating Doll

We just love bringing new and exciting products to the attention of our readers especially when they have an impactful meaning. We were so intrigued when Dessi, the founder of Good For Kids connected with us to let us know about her Kickstarter Campaign which launches on May 8th, 2018.

Without further ado, we are delighted to introduce you all to The World’s First Healthy Eating Doll and Children’s picture book, Healthy Foods Are Fun To Eat. We got the first exclusive interview with Dessi and we are excited to share it!

  1. Tell me a little bit about yourself.

I am a big dreamer and a mom to two amazing girls. I am also the Founder of GOOD FOR KIDS, a socially responsible start-up dedicated to launching products that are good for kids. Several years ago, I came up with the idea of creating a healthy eating toy and book that can inspire children to make healthy food choices. As a mom, I’ve struggled to keep my kids away from sugary junk and to get them to eat more fruits and veggies, so I decided to turn my idea into reality. Over the last year, I put an enormous amount of effort and passion into creating “The World’s First Healthy Eating Doll” and writing an adorable healthy eating picture book. I am delighted that both the toy and the book are now ready to share with the world!

  1. How is your product going to inspire healthy eating? How will it work?

The idea behind the Healthy Eating Doll and the book is to introduce children to the concept of making smart food choices. Reading and imaginative play are two of the most formative forces in childhood and they provide a great opportunity to teach children about health and good nutrition in a simple, fun and unobtrusive way.

Summer, “The World’s First Healthy Eating Doll”, is a smart magnetic doll that can easily tell which foods are good for her. She comes with a set of 20 colorful, wooden toy foods and a cute shopping bag. Healthy foods like apples, carrots, tomatoes, blueberries and broccoli stick to her mouth so she can “eat” them. If the doll is offered a lollipop however, she will not take it. The effect of tasting and touching the foods is accomplished through the use of hidden magnets, that are safely and inconspicuously embedded in the mouth and the hands of the doll. Summer can easily pick up healthy foods with her hands and bring them to her mouth. She really knows what’s good for her!

My children’s picture book “Healthy Foods Are Fun to Eat” is also a lot of fun. The book is filled with bouncy rhymes and gorgeous illustrations made entirely of fruits and veggies. It features food art created by over 10 talented artists from all around the world! We custom-printed one SUPER large copy of the book which is now the largest known healthy eating picture book in the world😊 This special, gigantic copy will travel to libraries, schools and children’s museums to spread the positive message of healthy eating.

  1. What inspired you to come up with this idea?

I am a healthy eating enthusiast and I have always looked for ways to get my children to love and appreciate wholesome foods. Unfortunately, it’s not always that easy. We live in a world filled with countless unhealthy temptations that even grown-ups like me find difficult to resist.

I came up with the idea for the healthy eating doll and book when I saw a girl sharing a real apple with her doll and saying: “Here, eat this. It’s good for you!” It was so refreshing to see how this little mommy wanted the best for her “child”. We all want our kids to grow up happy and healthy and this beautiful experience inspired me to create the educational toy and book.

  1. Tell me a little bit about your Kickstarter Campaign and how people can help.

Right now, the doll and the book are available to pre-order on Kickstarter and I would be thrilled if you could check them out. It’s a boundless sea of information out there and Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing fundraising platform (you only get funded if you reach your minimum fundraising goal). If you like the idea PLEASE support on Kickstarter and share, share, share to help me bring this project to life!

  1. Is there anything else that you would like to add for our readers about your company?

Thank you so much for asking! We are a tiny start-up and this is our first product launch. The long-term vision is to develop the company as a specialty children’s brand dedicated to bringing great products to the market, while at the same time giving back to children in need. Our GOOD FOR KIDS business-social formula for success is simple: Good Products for a Good Cause, and we hope that we can make a positive impact on raising a happy and healthy new generation.

We just love this idea and we honestly think the design of the doll and book are adorable!

Children do mimic what they see and if the doll is eating healthy, it can definitely be a great motivator for them to eat healthy too. I know that my daughter got excited when she saw the doll’s photo as I wrote this piece and started to ask if she could get one. When I explained how the doll works, she was even more excited and told me that she wants to eat healthy too. I have to say this is a great start and she doesn’t even have the doll at hand yet! Therefore, this gets our stamp of approval!

If you would like to support the Kickstarter campaign, make sure to visit them here. Also follow them along on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

We would like to give a special thank you to Dessi for giving us at Momma Braga the first exclusive interview on her great product!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

Eggspiring Easter Hunt For Newborns

Easter egg hunts are fun to do and one that we enjoy doing in our home. With my daughter being three, her understanding of the Easter Egg hunt is impeccable especially if it involves finding chocolate. This makes the preparation for the Easter Egg Hunt easier but with a new addition to the family I had to think of a way to involve her as I would hate for anyone to feel left out (my newborn niece won’t notice but I will). 😉

My sister is the much more creative one and she has always come up with ways to make holidays and occasions fun for my daughter so this time I wanted to do something special for her daughter this Easter season.

I thought long and hard about how I can incorporate a newborn friendly Easter Egg Hunt and after a trip to my local dollar store…I came up with a simple way and it was going to include the parents!

I am calling this activity, “Eggspiring Easter Hunt.” So how does it work? Let me give you my simple instructions for some Easter fun for all.

Eggspiring Easter Hunt

This Easter Egg Hunt will involve the parents to do the hunt on behalf of their newborn but of course they can carry their baby with them as they search. There will be decorated eggs hidden in the areas that you have picked for the hunt. As each egg is found, there will be an inspirational quote attached to each one. These messages can be kept to inspire the baby as they grow. These can be used as good wishes for the baby.

Instructions

  1. Purchase Easter eggs that are either already decorated or that you need to decorate yourself. We purchased our ready decorated Easter eggs from our local dollar store.
  2. Come up with some inspirational quotes to add to each egg. We used some classic Disney inspiring quotes as they mean a lot to our family.
  3. We added the quotes to a bunny shape template. Once the quote is added you can cut out the bunny and if you have an older child, they can color it for the baby. If you would like a printable template, click here.
  4. Attach the bunny with the inspirational quote to each egg. We used a pipe cleaner that we attached to the string already on our eggs.
  5. Then on Easter, hide them when the parents are not looking. 😉
  6. Then start the Easter Hunt magic. Watch as each message is read out loud and see the parents enjoy the inspiring wishes for their newborn.

With these steps above, you will have included one of the youngest members of your family and even though they may not know exactly what is happening. They will appreciate the thought as they grow with the inspiring messages around them. But this too will make the parents of the newborn glow with love. I know this is how my sister will feel.

We can’t wait to try this activity out this Easter and spend some great family time together. That is the one thing that I love the best about the different occasions we celebrate as we get to spend time with those that we love and care for.

If you are celebrating Easter, I would love to hear from you on how you are celebrating in the comments below.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga


 

 

 

Adventures In Veggieland Takes Us On A Taste Bud Adventure

Melanie Potock is no stranger to the Momma Braga audience as we have featured her and her amazing books a few times and we just love her!

Therefore, I am delighted to say that Melanie is back but with a new and exciting book called Adventures in Veggieland. This new book is designed to help your kids learn to love vegetables with 100 easy activities and recipes.

We were excited for this book ever since we got a sneak peek of it!

Now I get to introduce all of you to this great book! Adventures in Veggieland takes us on a trip to healthy eating and it is done in such a colourful and fun way.

The book is divided into four parts: Winter Vegetables, Spring Vegetables, Summer Vegetables and Autumn Vegetables. This was very creative and makes the book flow nicely.

Throughout the book, Melanie gives parents a great resource and tool to be successful in making vegetables part of your family meal. Melanie states to just follow the “Three E’s”:

  • Expose your child to new vegetables with sensory, hands-on, educational activities. Such as create Beet Tattoos and play Cabbage Bingo!
  • Explore the characteristics of each veggie (texture, taste, temperature, and more) with delectable but oh-so-easy recipes such as Parsnip-Carrot Mac’n’Cheese and Pepper Shish Kebabs!
  • Expand your family’s repertoire with more inventive vegetable dishes – including a “sweet treat” in ever chapter. Enjoy Pears and Parsnips in Puff Pastry and Tropical Carrot Confetti Cookies!


Even though this book is around getting your children to enjoy vegetables, it is also great for us as adults too. Recently, we have started to make better eating choices for ourselves so the timing of this book was perfect!

Now we couldn’t do a review on an activity and recipe book without trying any of them. So we did! We of course are ready for Spring and Summer weather so we picked Asparagus (Spring) and Bell Peppers (Summer) to try out.

We first tried the Asparagus Logs which were a lot of fun to do. The beauty of each activity and recipe is the wealth of skills that each one provides to you and your little one.  For example in the Asparagus Logs provides a description, benefits and how to use the vegetable. Then you have your list of what you need and instructions on how to complete the activity and it is neatly divided on who’s responsibility it falls under (love that!). Then there are some tips and there is a brief description of how your child benefits from this activity – genius!

Nikki and I loved this activity and Nikki loved the feel and texture of the asparagus as she was building. It was a great activity to introduce her to this new vegetable.

“Always celebrate each tiny step and focus on the fun.” – Melanie Potock

The next one we tried involved one of our favorite vegetables, Bell Peppers! So we combined that with another love of ours which is kebabs. This one was a recipe and so simple to follow. Nikki loved helping put the bell peppers onto the skewers and it was delish!

I am sure we will be trying a lot more in the days, weeks and months to come. It is a great addition to our kitchen and our health thanks Melanie Potock for putting together another great resource for families to thrive.

So what do we give Adventures in Veggieland? We give it 5 veggies out of 5! It truly makes veggies fun and not so scary after all. If you would like to purchase this lovely book, please click here.

“Melanie Potock truly takes us on a taste bud adventure with this book! She offers amazing tips, activities, and recipes to make eating vegetables so much more fun for the entire family. A great resource for all parents.”
Melanie Braga, owner of Momma Braga, 2017 Blogger of the Year, and assignment editor at The Baby Spot

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

Sesame Street Live Brings Back Fond Childhood Memories

Sunny Day
Sweepin’ the clouds away
On my way to where the air is sweet
Can you tell me how to get?
How to get to Sesame Street

The theme song to one of my favorite shows growing up warms up my heart as I attend Sesame Street Live with my three year old daughter. Never thought that we would be able to enjoy a classic together but here we are at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga for Sesame Street.

We first attended the pre-show (this is in addition to the event tickets) and we were very excited as this was a surprise by my sister-in-law who got us tickets to go. There were activities to do like dress-up, crafts, tour of the stage (this was done group at a time) and meet and greet with Big Bird.

We had a blast at the pre-show and my favorite part was meeting my childhood favorite, Big Bird! Nikki’s favorite was touring the neighbourhood and seeing Abby. She was so excited to see Abby and was screaming really loud to get noticed. It was too cute!

After we did all the activities, it was time to find our seat for the main event; Sesame Street Live.

The lights dimmed and it was show time! We saw many of our classic favorites like Grover, Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, and Cookie Monster. There was also some of the next generation classics (ones that I didn’t grow up with) such as Elmo, Abby Cadabby and Rosita. It was full of learning, fun and dancing. After all it was a dance party. 😉

It was a very entertaining show and we loved every minute of it. We didn’t expect anything less since this is Sesame Street and it has been a classic for generations. They didn’t miss a beat with their positive messages and making learning fun. For this #MelandNikkiReview we give Sesame Street Live 5+++ Elmo tickles out of 5! It truly is a great show to watch for the whole family as it is one that many generations can enjoy together.

While there was a party on stage, there was one happening in my heart as I reminisce my childhood and embrace my present; parenthood.

Momma Braga, Nikki and Auntie Amanda

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

Myfunvelope Brings Creativity Right To Your Door

Have you ever wonder what crafts or activities that you can do with your child? Have you looked for a craft subscription option to help you?

There is a solution and an affordable one. Let me first introduce you to Kyla.

Kyla is a mom of six wonderful children in Saskatchewan, Canada. Five of her children were all under the age of five and it was a bit of a challenge as she needed to find ways to keep her older children engaged in activities. Kyla thought that a craft subscription would be a perfect solution to help her. However, after a lengthy research she found very few affordable options were available in Canada. Therefore, she began prepping little crafts in snack bags to give to her children and they LOVED them! This is where the idea of “Myfunvelope” bloomed. Kyla wanted to offer the opportunity for other moms to access an affordable monthly craft subscription and this is exactly what she did.

Myfunvelope is for children ages three to nine. Every month your child will receive a funvelope in the mailbox. They will discover and have fun with four unique craft projects that follow a fun monthly theme. They will also receive a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) activity for hands-on building that is fun and sometimes hilarious! Markers and scissors are also provided with your package and the cost of this no tie-ins subscription is $18 on a month-to-month basis. All children can enjoy the activities every month as the themes are never holiday related to make it inclusive for all.

We got to try this month’s Myfunvelope and I have to say it was a great one! It is superhero month and my daughter loves superheroes!

The first thing that our daughter noticed was the cape and mask which was the first to go on (and stayed on for hours after)! Then we got to try the fun activities throughout the weeks.


There was the Pop-Up Superhero Activity, Superhero Straw Shooter, Superhero Magnet, Cape and Mask and the STEM activity was creating a flying superhero to measure distance. That one was really fun!

What we loved about the craft package was that it had everything that we needed to do all the activities. It saved us a lot of time and running around in getting any of the little things needed to make craft success.

For this #MelandNikkiReview, we give “Myfunvelope” 5 super powers out of 5! If you would like to try this subscription it is super easy to start! All you need to do is sign up and let the crafting begin! Don’t forget to follow Myfunvelope on Facebook and Instagram for some great crafting ideas!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

Aqua-Tots Swim Schools Mississauga Is Like Family: Introducing Alannah

Aqua-Tots Swim Schools Mississauga is a great school to help teach your children the important skill of swimming. This is why this year (2018) we have partnered up with Aqua-Tots to bring informative pieces about what they offer to the amazing readers of Momma Braga.

This month we decided to get to know them a little better and this is why we interviewed Alannah, the General Manager of Aqua-Tots Swim Schools Mississauga.

1. Tel me a little bit about yourself.

My name is Alannah and I am the General Manager at Aqua-Tots Swim Schools Mississauga. I was a competitive swimmer for 13 years and became a swim coach and lifeguard for more than 10 years back in Montreal where I am from. Teaching swimming is a huge passion of mine and I love being in and around the water.

2. How long have you been with Aqua-Tots Swim School?

Aqua-Tots Mississauga has been open for over a year, and I was here from the very beginning…before there was water in the pool! I started as the Aquatic Manager for the first year where I ran the Aquatic Program and helped train all of our Water Safety Instructors and Deck Supervisors. As of January 1st, 2018, my role has changed, and I am now the General Manager! I love learning about this side of the business, and meeting all the new and recurring families on the other side of the pool glass.

3. What inspired you to get a position with Aqua-Tots Swim School?

Swimming is a huge passion of mine, and with a degree in Recreation Management, it seemed like the perfect mix of my two passions. Also, after meeting the owner of Aqua-Tots, Lisa Morlock, I fell in love with the whole idea, the curriculum and her vision of what she wanted to share with the community to improve the whole swimming lesson experience.

4. What do you love the best about your job?

There are several people and moments that really make me love what I do. The culmination of all these things truly make it feel like so much more than just a “job.” Sometimes it really feels like home. I love getting to teach children how to swim and see their smiles and pride when they achieve something that they thought they could not do. I love working with such a kind and professional team that makes everyone happy every day. I also really enjoy that I am always learning, whether it be about the business or new and exciting challenges and opportunities that arise to always keep me on my toes. I look forward to every day!

5. What has been your most memorable moment working at Aqua-Tots?

My memorable moments are always the same. No matter the child and no matter how long they have been swimming with us, my favourite part about teaching swimming is when a child gets released in the water and starts kicking and swimming on their own with so much confidence! This moment coincides with the parent’s reaction to this skill and the excitement surrounding their son or daughter being able to swim on their own whether it be two feet to one metre! Those moments will never get old.

6. What do you like best about the programs at Aqua-Tots?

Having taught lessons for other organizations, I can truly say that the curriculum at Aqua-Tots is very well put together and executed. We specialize in teaching young children who are just beginning to adjust to an aquatic environment, right up to age 12. Seeing the curriculum really click with children and watching their advancement in skill and confidence is greatly rewarding. Routine is important in the lives of children and we try our best to add this type of your weekly activities. The consistency of the instructors also helps as they get to know the kids and can really push them to what their abilities can be. I also love that in each level children can be in three different phases; Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. This helps guide the instructors into pushing the children to their mastered skills for each level and keeps everyone progressing.

7. Why is teaching swimming to children important to you?

I grew up swimming and it just became a natural skill that I thought everyone knew. It only hit me when I went to a friend’s birthday pool party and realized that not everyone knew how to swim. I was so young at the time, but I remember it so vividly. I continued swimming competitively and eventually became a lifeguard. Throughout my lifeguarding years I never would have thought I would have to jump in so often for children and adult non-swimmers. Swimming is a life skill and is so important for many different reasons; mental health, physical health, social and personal goals, but it is mainly important to me from a safety perspective. Aqua-Tots Swim Schools is a great tool for children of all ages to get to their best swimming selves.

8. Anything else you would like to add?

Come check us out! Everyone who works here is helpful and smiling. We are always raising the bar to make it a great experience for our families.

Special thank you to Alannah for her time and allowing us to interview her for this special piece. Our daughter Nikki had the opportunity to have Alannah for one of her classes and Nikki really enjoyed learning from her. Therefore, we know how great she truly is and it is no surprise that she is now the General Manager of such an amazing swim school.

Alannah is a perfect example of how amazing and caring the staff are at Aqua-Tots Swim Schools. They truly care about teaching your child such an important skill and they treat everyone who visits their school as their family.

If you would like to learn more about Aqua-Tots Swim Schools feel free to contact them at (905) 848-2782.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

This article is brought to you in partnership with Aqua-Tots Swim School, Mississauga.

 

 

The Skating Journey…Tips For The Non-Skating Parent

Living in Canada, we all have developed a thick skin to deal with the cold winters and we are well known for our love of hockey. Therefore, it isn’t uncommon to have our children learn an important skill, skating.

Now I was born and raised in Canada but this was one skill that I was not encouraged to learn so I never really tried and never felt that I was missing out. Then I met my husband and he was all about ice hockey. He played for fun and I found myself at the arenas cheering him on. I started to feel a little left out at this point so I asked my husband to teach me how to skate. We were still dating at this point so I am figuring he wanted to impress me so he sweetly accepted my request to teach me.

Long story short, skating wasn’t for me as for some odd reason I couldn’t skate and talk at the same time. Therefore, I decided that I wasn’t meant for the ice world but enjoyed watching others skate while I sit with a hot chocolate in my hands.

Even though skating wasn’t for me, I still had interest in having my daughter learn the skill. We waited until our daughter was good and ready to learn so this year was the year to start. My mother-in-law looked into skating lessons at our nearby community centre and enrolled our daughter in class.

We have been going once a week for 30 minutes, the last four weeks. The lessons are quick and since our daughter is under the age of four, she needs to be accompanied by a skating parent so this is where daddy comes to the rescue.

Since I am the non-skating parent who has been watching from the distance, I thought I should provide some tips for parents who want their child to learn skating. These tips will hopefully better prepare you for the journey.

Research and Register

One of the first tips is to look into different programs and classes that are available at your local community centre. Ask all the questions that you need to beforehand to help make it a more successful experience for you and your child. Ask what is needed for the class and any restrictions that you should be aware of. There is a fee in our community so make sure you know what they are in your city.

Be Prepared. Equipment and Safety

Shopping for the appropriate clothing and equipment needed for skating is very important. Your child will need: appropriate skates (lace ups are recommended for beginners), splash pants to wear over the child’s pants, warm jacket, gloves and of course a helmet. You can always ask a personnel at the store to assist you in finding the appropriate skates and helmet that fits your child. Safety is a must!

Lower First Class Expectations

The first class is going to be very hard for your child and it might also be for you as the non-skating parent. My daughter did not do well in her first class. She was frustrated, scared and was unsure of what was going on. There were a few tears along the way from my daughter and from myself. By the end of the class, my daughter expressed how much she didn’t like skating and she didn’t want to try again. This of course broke my heart as I think we all expected the best experience of her life and we didn’t prepare her well enough for the possible disappointment of how difficult it would be.

Lower your expectations and don’t put added pressure on your child before their first class. Discuss with them how it will be hard at first and there will be some falls along the way. However, with some practice and patience it will get better. This discussion helped us convince her to try again the next week.

Provide Encouragement and Support

It is important to encourage and support your child on the sidelines. They will find you as they are learning to skate. Try to establish eye contact with them as soon as you can. Smile and give a thumbs up to encourage how well they are doing. It is remarkable to see  your child’s face light up when they see you and how proud you look to see them getting better.

It is also important to mention that if your child is not enjoying the activity at all then it may not be for them. Know that it is perfectly ok and a child should not be forced to do something that they do not like doing. If it becomes forceful than it will not be enjoyable for anyone.

Prepare for Skating Tiredness

Skating is hard work and it involves a lot of balancing (from what I can see at a distance) so it is no surprise that your child can become very tired from it. Therefore, it is important to be aware and prepared for it. Unfortunately, our class is in the middle of the day which can be challenging at times as we find that our daughter gets exhausted but a nap is not ideal since it is late in the day (it would spoil bedtime).

Tip would be to try to book a class that would fit into your child’s routine or if you can’t then try to maybe schedule a quick nap before the lesson. Worse case scenario is that you will have a cranky preschooler for the rest of the day until bedtime but try to make the best out of it. What I try to remember is that proud smiling face looking at me on how she is learning to skate. 🙂

Enjoy the Skating Journey

Skating is definitely a journey as there are ups and downs while your child learns this special skill. But my tip is to enjoy every minute of it, even if it is on the sidelines.

As soon as your child starts to skate on their own (even for a little bit), its that special moment that your heart had been waiting for. The utter proudness in their face when they realize that they are doing it all by themselves, is what special memories are made of. We recently felt that when our daughter started skating on her own and after class said, “I did it! I am awesome!”

These are my top quick tips on the skating experience from a non-skating parent. Even though I don’t know how to skate or understand the steps in learning. I am there on the sidelines cheering and supporting my daughter along the way. I am also cheering for my husband who is there by her side to help her on the ice.

I get to capture the moments on video and photos which I can then show my daughter on how well she did. It is a great opportunity for her to see her improvements and in her words how awesome she is. 😉

Our skating journey has become a family experience as we watch a little girl bond with her dad on something that he has loved since he was a child. In turn, we watch his parents (the little girl’s grandparents) hearts fill with joy as they see their once little boy as a man teaching his daughter how to skate. That is the memory that I will hold onto forever and makes sitting at the sidelines all worth it.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

Bringing Simplicity Back Into Playtime

Smart Simple Toys – PlaSmart Inc

When did toys become so complicated and where did the imagination of play go? I have asked myself this on numerous occasions (more so on birthdays and Christmas) when I see my daughter open all her gifts of toys. With each unwrapping, the toys look more sophisticated and more high-tech. Then I reminisce on the days where I played with the most simple to use toys and they were my very favorite.

Those toys allowed me to imagine, inspire and learn on my own. It was such a simple time. This is why when I was introduced to PlaSmart Inc last year, I was intrigued to what they were offering.

PlaSmart Inc is a global toy distributor specializing in smart, simple, toys and games. PlaSmart began its journey to worldwide success with the introduction of The Original PlasmaCar in 2003 and today its products can be found in more than sixty countries on five continents.

PlaSmart’s innovative and quality products have won numerous and prestigious toy awards. The company focuses on toys that develop motor and dexterity skills, balance, creative and imaginative play, hand-eye coordination, problem-solving skills and, of course, entertainment.

So what did we try at Momma Braga? We actually won the PlaSmart’s Smart Mat in a Twitter chat last year and we were super excited. Not only because we never win anything but that we were looking for a mat for our daughter’s playtime.

When the Smart Mat arrived and we unwrapped it, our first thought was wow! We have seen many playmats and in all honesty they don’t give you the quality that you need for a young child’s rough play at times. However, the quality of the Smart Mat was really great. You can tell that it is durable and it was a great size mat too!

We opened it up and placed it on the ground and my daughter was so excited to have a place to sit and play on. We couldn’t help but fall in love with the design of the mat which is called Happyville. Not only can you play using the design as your background but you can use the Smart Mat for so many purposes. There is never a limit to a child’s imagination which makes it so fun!

We have had the Smart Mat for almost six months already and it has been amazing for us. It is durable, very easy to clean and easy to store. It is also suitable for kids of all ages! We truly love it and it still looks as great as when we first got it.

So what does PlaSmart’s Smart Mat rate on the Momma Braga meter?

We give it 5+++ Smarts out of 5 for the durability, size, quality and the easy clean up. It truly is one of the best mats I have seen and I have seen many. Smart Mat is very colorful and very appealing to the eye. This is one mat that I don’t think I could ever part with and if you are looking for a great mat to invest for your little one, then don’t look any further than PlaSmart Inc. 

PlaSmart Inc is bringing simplicity and the fun of imagination back into playtime and I commend them for it! Make sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest to see the latest to inspire young minds.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

– Momma Braga