Tag: Toddler Tips

Supporting Personality and Confidence Growth in Children

Our children are our greatest treasure and we, as parents, need to do everything in our power to provide them with an appropriate environment where they can develop their unique personalities and self-esteem and grow into strong, confident persons. Helping them develop great self-confidence means partially paving their way for happiness, well-being and a stable future. Thus, it’s essential that we help them develop their personalities, acquire a strong sense of competence and gain a realistic image of themselves and their abilities.

Express your love and appreciation

Although this goes without saying, showing your child that you love and appreciate them will greatly influence their self-image. Every child needs to feel accepted and loved by their family and later on their friends. It’s essential that your child knows that you love them unconditionally because it will help them develop a positive self-image. This is particularly important when they make a mistake or you lose your temper – your child needs to know that you love them no matter what.

Find proper educational help

Although parents are real-life super-people who manage to balance their family, personal and professional lives, sometimes they should seek help from professionals with educational experience to help their children advance or overcome certain developmental difficulties. This is of the utmost importance if you and your spouse have full-time jobs, because you need to pay special attention when it comes to appropriate childcare. Parents in Australia are supported by the early education Panania childcare centre, recognised for their focus on interpersonal relationships and social development, while providing a safe and caring environment for children. This type of childcare centre can really be a substantial support to parents and children during their upbringing. Not only do they make children feel accepted by their peers, they can also help them acquire a range of skills and start them off on the road to success.

Praise and criticise responsibly

When praising and criticising your child, you need to be very careful about how you do it because both can have negative effects on your child’s self-image. Every child is mischievous from time to time and you simply need to express disapproval of certain actions and behaviours. However, what you shouldn’t do is criticise your child and their personality. Instead, you need to focus on the behaviour itself and explain why they shouldn’t behave that way. Saying “you’re a bad boy” will affect your child’s opinion of themselves, but saying “you shouldn’t do this because…” will help them understand why a certain behaviour is inappropriate.

When it comes to praising your child, you also need to be mindful of how you do it. If you praise every little thing your child does, you’ll send a message that you have low expectations of them, which will affect their confidence. On the other hand, if you say “you’re the smartest child ever”, they will acquire a false self-image. Eventually, when they come across an obstacle that they cannot overcome, they will feel incompetent. Therefore, you shouldn’t exaggerate when you praise your child, but try to focus on positive behaviours you want to reinforce.

Teach your child responsibility

Assigning your child specific tasks and responsibilities will help them become more independent and self-assured. When you give your child an important task, you show them that you trust them with it, which sends a positive message to your child. If you give them a bit more demanding task, they’ll feel satisfied with themselves once they’ve completed. However, you should carefully choose the difficulty of a certain task – it should be neither too difficult nor too easy. If you assign them an extremely difficult task, they won’t be able to complete it and end up losing confidence in their abilities. On the other hand, if the task is too easy, they’ll quickly get bored and may even feel that you don’t trust them with more challenging tasks. Thus, you should aim for a task that will be slightly above your child’s abilities, which will give your child’s self-confidence a boost once they’ve completed it.

Parents all over the world are giving their best to provide their children with the optimal conditions for their development and these are some of the ways that can guide them in the right direction.

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Iconic Attraction Full of Knowledge, Science and Fun

“Inspiring a lifelong journey of curiosity, discovery and action to create a better future for the planet.” – Ontario Science Centre

Toronto, Canada is the city that I was born and grew up in. Therefore, it is a city that I hold dear to my heart. It has so much to offer to their residents and to those visiting from out of town. This could be why The Baby Spot (global parenting magazine) has named Toronto the city of the year for 2017.

There is so much to do and see in Toronto and one particular place that should be on everyone’s list is an iconic cultural attraction called, the Ontario Science Centre. It is full of knowledge, science and fun for everyone in the family with no age restrictions.


My family and I visited the Ontario Science Centre this past summer and I have to confess that I don’t remember ever visiting them (maybe when I was much younger on a school trip). So it was a great opportunity for my three-year old daughter and I to experience a first together.

When we arrived at the Centre, I could not help but notice that there were a lot of people visiting and knew it must be a special place. One very important piece that I have to mention is that even though it was really busy, the Ontario Science Centre is so big and entertaining that we didn’t feel crowded. I think this is an amazing feature as it can be stressful to be in a place that feels overwhelming with big crowds.

We grabbed a map at the entrance which I highly recommend to everyone as it helps with guiding you through the six levels at the Ontario Science Centre. Yes you read that right – six levels of fun!

I will highlight our most memorable activities and provide a few tips along the way.

Kidspark 

Kidspark would have to be our favorite part of the Ontario Science Centre as there is a lot to do there for our toddler. It is divided into two sections which I thought was neat and a great way to space out the crowds. Kidspark is the opportunity to ‘spark’ your child’s imagination and curiosity through play, building, water, music and so much more. This is ideal for kids eight years and younger and if you are wondering if your toddler or infant can have fun, they sure can! There is a designated play area for children three years and younger which my daughter truly enjoyed.

Special Exhibition

The special exhibition hall which is located on Level 6 is a space that is changed every 4 – 6 months or so. On our trip the exhibition was the Wildlife Rescue which we really enjoyed. This special exhibition took us on a journey to Africa and Indonesia where we saw the dedicated efforts of caretakers who successfully raise and release young elephants and orangutans to the wild. We explored the innovative ways used to capture, raise and release endangered species back to the wild in the Species Recovery Center. This was very insightful for us to learn and it was great for our toddler to see. This exhibition has just been extended until October 9th so if you haven’t seen it yet, you should make some time to check it out!

TELUS Rain Forest

You don’t need to travel far to experience the rain forest ambience as the Ontario Science Centre and TELUS brings it to you. It is absolutely breathtaking and it was my favourite part of our trip. You can walk up near the waterfall and there is a bridge that you can brave to cross (I made it safely). 😉

After crossing the bridge there are some reptiles that you can see secured in their spaces and a description of what they are. You also hear thunder in the rain forest which really makes you feel like you are really there. *Momma Braga Tip: If you are looking for a great place to take some photos in, this is the place!

The Maple Leaf Forever Tree

The Maple Leaf Forever Tree is a sight to see and we really loved seeing this beauty! This tree is a sculpture created by the Ontario Wood Carvers Association from part of the silver maple tree that inspired Alexander Muir’s 1867 song “Maple Leaf Forever.” It features 35 hand-carved leaves, each depicting a historically-significant person, place or event in Toronto’s history, the sculpture is the result of more than 10,000 volunteer carving hours. This beautiful artwork was formally handed over to the Science Centre on July 19 of this year, in celebration of Ontario 150. It is definitely something to see during your visit!

The Ontario Science centre offers top science experiences, memorable exhibitions, engaging programs and breathtaking films so that visitors can do far more than observe; they can interact and participate.

We learned so much and it really got us all to think a little more. You can tell that a lot of thought and planning goes into the layout and exhibits on each level.

A really neat part of the Centre is that you can find healthy snacks to purchase and there is a restaurant on level 6 called the Valley Restaurant with yummy and affordable options to eat. But if you want to pack your own lunch you can and there is space to eat in or you can enjoy the Terrace on Level 3 where you can eat outdoors. I really love this option to bring your own food and I am sure many other families love it too!

We will definitely go back to see what new and exciting things they will have for us to see and learn. The learning opportunities are endless for any age and I think that is what we loved best. We highly recommend to put the Ontario Science Centre on your list to visit. We do recommend to check out their events when planning your visit, make sure to visit their calendar and see how you can plan your next visit.

If you are interested in purchasing your tickets online you can and if you would like to make a donation of a gift of science you can also do that. To learn more about their donation program, please click here.  Make sure to follow them on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter to see all the neat things that they are doing.

Special thank you to the Ontario Science Centre for having us and keep inspiring minds. See you again soon!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga


 

 

 

 

*Please note that this article is not a sponsored or paid post. 

New Children’s Book Speaks to Children with Allergies

The new school year has already started and if your child has an allergy you may be a lot more worried than most. Now there is a child friendly book available that explains allergies beautifully that can better help educators, children and even parents to understand.

Epic Ellie and the Invisible Dragon is a story that describes all aspects of allergies including where allergies come from and how they are triggered, how to prevent an allergic reaction and recruiting an Allergy Buddy. They use child-friendly analogies and illustrations which would makes it a great educational tool for everyone to help reduce the stigma that comes with allergies, especially food allergies in schools.

Author Sheralyn Roman learned first-hand the challenges, the lack of awareness and understanding while raising her daughter in a world surrounded by allergy triggers.

“I’ve learned through my daughter that we must empower our children, not wrap them in a protective bubble, and that other people can help ensure all children are protected through education and awareness,” says author Roman. “Many kids may feel scared by their allergies or worried they can’t participate in certain activities, like go to birthday parties or eat out at restaurants. This book is meant to inform and empower those kids.” – Sheralyn Roman

According to Food Allergy Canada, 2.5 million Canadians live with food related allergies, with 300,000 of those being children under the age of 18. Roman’s goal is to put her book in every school, library and doctor’s office to encourage dialogue surrounding allergies.

For this #MelandNikkiReview we give this book 5 S.T.A.R out of 5 (you will need to read the book to find out what S.T.A.R stands for). 😉 This is a much needed book in our communities as we should all learn about allergies even if our own children may not have them. Education is key and this book does just that! It was a well thought out story and one that will empower children with or without allergies.

If you would like to purchase this lovely book, you can purchase it through Amazon. Make sure to follow on Facebook and Twitter to see what Sheralyn Roman is doing next.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

 

 

 

 

* Please note that a copy of the book was released (PDF format) in exchange for an honest review. Views expressed in this review are of Momma Braga and were not influenced by the company.

 

 

 

Ever After Entertainment Adds Disney Magic!

“Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, and dreams are forever.” – Walt Disney

The best part about watching Disney movies is the magic that it brings through every story and character that they create. This magic can also be seen come to life when you visit the amusement parks all over the world. This is why many say that it’s an experience of a lifetime…

Just imagine being able to have this magic part of your special occasions such as your child’s birthday?!

Ever After Entertainment in Toronto is doing exactly that! They offer that magic and authenticity to your front door with princesses, fairy tale, superheroes and star war characters.

I had the honor of partnering up with Ever After Entertainment to see what they were all about and to get the first hand experience to share with all my loyal readers and fans.

This past weekend we celebrated my daughter, Nikki’s third birthday and we invited Princess Belle to join our festivities in which Ever After Entertainment made it happen for us. We were fortunate to have Belle available as we know that a Princess’ schedule can get hectic.

Princess Belle called before her arrival to let me know that she was almost at our home (I have to admit that I was extremely excited with the phone call). I got the 6 children (3 girls and 3 boys) ready to greet Princess Belle in our living room.

Princess Belle gracefully entered and all the children were in shock to see that Belle was really there. My daughter was so excited that she couldn’t stop smiling from ear to ear and said, “Princess Belle came to my party!” All the kids quickly gathered around to see what was in store for them. Belle started off with a get to know each other where she asked each one their name, age and who their favorite princess or superhero is. Each child disclosed with great delight all the information that Belle had requested (it was really cute to see!). Of course Nikki was excited to let Belle know that she was her favorite!

The next part was the enchanting singing performance and it was truly spectacular! Many of my guests couldn’t believe how beautiful Belle sung and some thought it was a recording as it was that good!

Special story time was the next activity where Princess Belle shares her story with all the party guests and it was captivating even for all the adults that were in attendance.

Then it was some interactive fun with dance freeze. It really got the children up and dancing. They all had a real blast and of course prizes were awarded at the end. But the magic didn’t end there as all the party guests got to either get a makeover or magical tattoos for those who wanted one. All our party guests wanted a magical makeover and they even got some Pixie Dust too! It was so great!

We then took the party outside for the signing of Happy Birthday which Nikki loved! Nikki even shouted out, “Come Belle. Come with me outside!” We all sang Happy Birthday and then the most special moment happened when Nikki was crowned and made into an honorary princess. I have to admit my eyes were teary as I saw my little princess filled with such joy with her very own tiara and certificate.

Then everyone had a chance to take a picture with Princess Belle before she had to return to her Princess duties. We even had a few adults at the party sneak in some photos and selfies before she left. Of course Momma Braga had to take a picture too as she has been my favorite princess since 1991 (the original release year of Beauty and the Beast).

“We believe in making dreams come true by inspiring the imagination of children, both young and young at heart.” – Ever After Entertainment

 

We all said good-bye to Princess Belle and every guest talked about how great the experience was. From the youngest at 3 to the youngest at heart at 65, it was enjoyed by all.

So what can I possibly say about this experience and what score does it get on the #MelandNikkiReview?

It was a superb and magical experience and we rate it a 5+++ stars out of 5! Highest rating to date on the #MelandNikkiReview and has made it onto the #MommaBragaRecommended list.

Ever After Entertainment provided us with superior service from start to finish. They offered us Disney magic that one would only think could come true in dreams. Princess Belle made my daughter the happiest girl in the world and as a parent that is the only thing I could ever ask for. The pure joy and entertainment she received tickled my heart pink! Not to mention the joy she provided to the older guests who were big fans of hers. She not only made the birthday girl’s wish come true but to many others too (like myself). The princess party program was perfect and kept the children highly entertained! If you have been to a kid’s party, you do notice that it can be a little hectic. But for that one hour it was organized and filled with admiration.

Ever After Entertainment offered so much more than a character to celebrate a special occasion. They offered an opportunity for the adults to feel like a kid again and to the children, that dreams can come true if you believe.

If you are looking for entertainment for your child’s party or even for special event like a bridal shower, look no further as Ever After Entertainment is the top choice. They offer different types of parties that you will need to check out such as the Princess PartyFairytale Party, Superhero Party, and Star Warrior Party. There are so many options and no matter which one you pick, it will not disappoint! Make sure to book in advance and you can check out their pricing here. You will need to tell me how you enjoyed your party as I would love to hear about it! I am already thinking about which one I want next year for Nikki’s birthday and maybe for my own. 😉

Special thank you to Stefanie and Princess Belle from Ever After Entertainment for allowing us to imagine, “Far off places, daring swordfights, magic spells, a prince in disguise.” – Belle

Make sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Google+ to see all the dreams they are fulfilling.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga


 

Welcome To The Threenager Stage

Today (August 1st) is a special day in our household as we celebrate our daughter, Nikki’s third birthday. It’s all about celebrating her and how special she is to us. It is also a great day to celebrate us as parents as we have had another year of parenting.

This past year we have seen our daughter bloom into her own personality and see her language skills explode with delight. It is amazing how much one can grow in a year and we have loved every minute of it. I think our favorite part of her growing up has been her ability to communicate with us and I do love her why and what questions on absolutely everything that we encounter on a daily basis. Why do I enjoy it? It makes things exciting and better yet, it gets me to question what, why and where myself. It almost brings the child in me to embrace curiosity again. Of course, it has also been the year of the terrible twos and one filled with changes such as our big move from our condo space to a home of our own.

There have been a lot of ups and downs through year two but we wouldn’t change it for anything in the world. Now we are entering year three and I have been told to be prepared for the “Threenager” stage.

So what is the Threenager stage? The Threenager is that age when your three-year-old continually acts like they are going on 13. They have an attitude for miles, a stubborn streak, and want what they want and when they want it. It really does sounds like a teenager but in mini form.

I feel that I have seen sprinkles of some these traits already and am curious as to what else would be in store for us this year. All we can do as parents is help guide her along the way and embrace the parenting journey with our ball of energy that we call, Nikki.

To our daughter Nikki, Happy 3rd Birthday! We wish you the sweetest birthday filled with lots of love to make you feel as special as you are to all of us. You light up everyone’s heart with your contagious smile and your kind nature. We love your spunky personality and independence which will help you grow into a strong person. Always believe in yourself even if you feel it is impossible. And know that momma and dada will always be here and support you in all your endeavours.

Looking forward in seeing what year three will bring us all and see how much more my daughter will blossom.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

5 Tips For A Trip To The Zoo

By: Karen Silva
Twitter

The zoo is one of my favorite places to go! It’s an amazing feeling to see all the wild animals in person and not to mention that the zoo if full of interesting facts about these animals too. When I found out that my sister wanted to take my niece to the Toronto Zoo, I just had to tag along. However, I knew that going with a two and half year old you just can’t pick up and go, so we had to make sure we were well prepared for the trip.

Here are my top five MUST haves that you should bring with you when going to the zoo. However, if you have never been to the Toronto zoo I suggest you check out their website first.

Stroller or Wagon

We all know that the Toronto Zoo is full of all sorts of creatures, which means there is a lot of walking involved, so make sure you bring a stroller or wagon for your little one. They can get restless and tired throughout your visit and having one of these with you will not only make their visit more comfortable but will work great if they want to take a nap. It will also help you carry items you decide to bring or buy while you are there. Also be sure to check out the zoo train, in my opinion it is worth every penny and is great for younger children. It goes around the whole zoo leaving you at designated areas where you can see other animals. In case, you do go on a very hot day, this ride is very refreshing.

Food/Snacks and Water

The great thing about the Toronto Zoo is that they allow you to bring your own food and drinks as they have great picnic areas that you can eat at. Now it may seem easier to just bring a cooler with ice with you; however the reality is you won’t want to lug that around with you, and you have to remember that the zoo is a big place and requires a lot of walking. Bring simple things like sandwiches, snacks and water bottles. If you want to keep things cool keep a cooler in your car and make the trip back if you wanted or bring ice packs in a large lunch bag. Some great snacks for your little ones that’s easy to pack is Gold fish crackers, grapes, bananas, etc. There are also some great places at the Zoo that you can stop in to purchase food and drinks too.

Protective Gear

As we all know the sun can be quite dangerous when being over exposed, so it is important to put on the sunscreen before heading out and pack some to re-apply after lunch. Even on cloudy days the sun is still doing its job and often times the sun may peek out later that afternoon, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. Also make sure that you are all wearing comfortable clothing such as running shoes, light colored and light material clothing; as well as a hat and sunglasses. Dressing appropriately will make your whole experience more enjoyable. Trust me, I made the mistake once wearing flip flops to the zoo because it was so hot but in the end my feet were killing me from all the walking because my feet weren’t properly supported.

Capturing the moment

You want to remember this day so make sure that you take lots of pictures, not just of the animals but of you and your family. As a family you can write a list of the animals you want to see and/or take pictures of and make it a goal to check off each one. Also be sure to check the zoo’s gift shop, they have great things in there that you can purchase as a souvenir.

 

Smooth Good-bye Transition

Sometimes kids are so exhausted with the whole experience and spending hours at the zoo that leaving shouldn’t be a problem. However, we do have to keep in mind that some children may not want to leave and will pout, kick and scream to stay. In case this happens, I will share with you some smooth transition ideas that will help you all go from the zoo to your cars without fighting tears.

If you are planning on visiting and purchasing something from the gift shop, be sure to save that for the very end. It will give your child something to look forward to and will keep them distracted with a new item all the way to the car. If you’re on a budget make sure to bring along one of your child’s favorite toys; however leave it in the car. It could be used as motivation to go back to the car. At the end of the day you know your child best so you can use the best tricks that you know will work for you in that situation.

I believe that the Toronto Zoo is a great trip to take with your children. It is not only very informative but an amazing experience for children to see these animals in person as appose to seeing them on the T.V.

 

About the Author

Karen Braga graduated from Sheridan College with an Early Childhood Education Diploma. She worked with children for about five years before expanding her skills in Administration. Karen is a loving Godmother/Auntie to one. Combined with her ECE background and passion for DIY projects and baking, she has recently become an expert writer for mom blogger, Momma Braga. Karen hopes by sharing her knowledge, tips and tricks, she can bring families together through her creative ideas.

5 Fun Activities For A Rainy Day

By: Karen Silva
Twitter: @Karenbabydoll22

Some parents cringe when it starts to rain as they worry about their children having meltdowns from being indoors all day or at the thought of them getting messy in rain puddles. But really there is no need to fear if you can make it a fun day for them and for yourself.

Here are my top five favorite activities to do using simple recycled material that is perfect for a rainy day.

*Please use your best judgment on which tasks you may need to assist your child with*

Talent Show

What you will need: Empty tissue box, paper towel roll, elastic bands, tape, straws, caps from jars, popsicle sticks, rice and decorative materials (for example: markers, paint or stickers).

Throwing a talent show will not only keep your kids busy for a long time but it will get them to show off their talents. You can make fun instruments and more using recycled items if they want to show off their musical skills.

To make a guitar, glue the paper towel roll onto the side of a tissue box. Then stretch out the elastic bands over the opening and tape it into place. To make a flute, get a bunch of straws and cut them from smallest to largest; then tape it all together. To make a mini guitar, first wrap the elastic bands over the cap, then glue the popsicle stick to the cap of the jar. Finally, to make the shaker, cover one side of the paper towel roll with paper and tape, then fill it with rice and cover the other side. Don’t forget to decorate your instruments, then its lights, camera… Action!

Bowling

What you will need: Ten empty water bottles, a ball, paper and decorative material (for example: markers, paint or stickers).

First decorate all ten empty water bottles. If you do not have a ball you can always use a yarn ball or make one with crimpled up paper wrapped in tape. If you want to make this game a little more challenging you can add some water into the bottles to weigh it down.

*Fun tip: You can paint the empty bottles with glow in the dark paint. Then all you need is a black light and you have your very own glow in the dark bowlerama.*

Painting like a Pro

What you will need: A few water bottle caps, a large container cap and hot glue.

First, cut a hole in the large container cap, large enough to fit your child’s thumb. Then once that is done, hot glue the water bottle caps to the large container cap. Fill the caps with different colors of paint and then they will have their very own paint palette.

Sink or Float

What you will need: Half of a soda bottle and decorative materials (for example: markers, paint or stickers).

First, cut the soda bottle in half and tape the top so it isn’t sharp to the touch. Then decorate it as your boat. Then together think of some items that you want to put in it to see if they’re going to sink the boat or if it will float. You can write these items onto a piece of paper to record your results. Example of items you can use for this game is an eraser, paper clip, a bag, rice, marbles, stones, etc.

Octopus, Bubble bees and Butterflies? Oh My!

What you will need: Toilet paper rolls, googly eyes and decorative materials (for example: markers, paint or stickers).

Making little characters out of toilet paper rolls is not only fun but a great way to decorate your bathroom. To make the bumblebee have your child paint the toilet paper roll with yellow paint. Once that is dried, they can paint on the black strips. Finally cut out the details with construction paper to add on and glue on your eyes. To make the Octopus, first paint the toilet paper roll and then set it aside to dry. Then with scissors cut slits on one end of the toilet paper roll and bend them to make the legs. Then decorate it together and don’t forget to glue the eyes.

Even though it may be gloomy and rainy out doesn’t mean that your home has to be. Creating fun art activities and games to play around the house will keep your kids happy and entertained. If you decide to do any of these ideas or others on a rainy day, I would love to see them. You can tag me on Twitter @Karenbabydoll22.

 

About the Author

Karen Braga graduated from Sheridan College with an Early Childhood Education Diploma. She worked with children for about five years before expanding her skills in Administration. Karen is a loving Godmother/Auntie to one. Combined with her ECE background and passion for DIY projects and baking, she has recently become an expert writer for mom blogger, Momma Braga. Karen hopes by sharing her knowledge, tips and tricks, she can bring families together through her creative ideas.