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7 reasons newborns cry (and ways to make it stop!)

7 reasons newborns cry (and ways to make it stop!)

Babies don’t cry to manipulate. They cry to communicate a physical condition or emotion. You won’t spoil your baby when you respond to crying. Rather, your response gives your baby a sense of security, that she knows she’s heard and understood and that you will keep her safe. It doesn’t teach her to cry more.

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#29: How Motherly helps new mothers

#29: How Motherly helps new mothers

Parenting in the First 3 Years Podcast   #29: How Motherly Helps New Mothers with Liz Tenety, Co-Founder of Motherly   Liz Tenety, co-founder of Motherly, gives behind-the-scenes insight on trends, what she sees as a big source of struggles for new mothers,...

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7 reasons newborns cry (and ways to make it stop!)

7 reasons newborns cry (and ways to make it stop!)

Babies don’t cry to manipulate. They cry to communicate a physical condition or emotion. You won’t spoil your baby when you respond to crying. Rather, your response gives your baby a sense of security, that she knows she’s heard and understood and that you will keep her safe. It doesn’t teach her to cry more.

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#28: Exploring Parenting Styles: RIE

#28: Exploring Parenting Styles: RIE

  Parenting in the First 3 Years Podcast #28: Exploring Parenting Styles: RIE with Erica Orosco Cruz   Finding your own personal parenting style when you first have a baby takes time. There are so many people and approaches to glean from as you find what...

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#27: The 6 Stages of Parenting

#27: The 6 Stages of Parenting

Parenting in the First 3 Years Podcast   #27: The 6 Stages of Parenting   with Ann McKitrick       Just as our children are going through phases of development throughout their lives, we too are going through stages of parenting as our kid get...

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#25: How to Talk to Kids About Death with Michele Benyo

#25: How to Talk to Kids About Death with Michele Benyo

Parenting in the First 3 Years Podcast #25: How to Talk to Kids About Death with Michele Benyo   Have you had the death talk with your child yet? Maybe it hasn't come up. Maybe you think they're too young. Or maybe you were forced to discuss it after a family pet...

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#22: The Power of Smell in Attachment with Jude Stewart

#22: The Power of Smell in Attachment with Jude Stewart

  Parenting in the First 3 Years Podcast #22: The Power of Smell in Attachment with Jude Stewart Everyone knows that special newborn smell. And if you haven't experienced it yet, you've no doubt heard about it. Mothers young and old can recall the smell their...

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#20: Debunking Breastfeeding Myths with Erica Campbell

#20: Debunking Breastfeeding Myths with Erica Campbell

  Parenting in the First 3 Years Podcast #20: Debunking Breastfeeding Myths with Erica Campbell   Breastfeeding. It's one of the most controversial topics concerning motherhood. And no wonder - it's both communal and extremely personal, there are so many...

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#17: Creating a Loving Home with Deborah Farmer Kris

#17: Creating a Loving Home with Deborah Farmer Kris

  Parenting in the First 3 Years Podcast #17: Creating a Loving Home with Deborah Farmer Kris   Showing our children that our love is not based on how "good" they are is an important part of creating a lasting bond between parent and child. Not only that, but it...

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#14: The Dos and Don’ts of Developmental Play

#14: The Dos and Don’ts of Developmental Play

Parenting in the First 3 Years Podcast #14: The Dos and Don'ts of Developmental Play   We all need play in our lives. Yes, even you! It's amazing to watch babies and children play. It comes so naturally to them, whereas it seems like we as adults completely...

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#12: Trauma in Early Childhood with Holly Elissa Bruno

#12: Trauma in Early Childhood with Holly Elissa Bruno

  Parenting in the First 3 Years Podcast #12: Trauma in Early Childhood with Holly Elissa Bruno   Did your baby or child experience any trauma in early childhood? If you were quick to answer 'no', consider whether the past couple of years, living through a...

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#10: Help Your Baby Sleep Better at Night with Joanna Clark

#10: Help Your Baby Sleep Better at Night with Joanna Clark

Parenting in the First 3 Years Podcast #10: Help Your Baby Sleep Better at Night with Joanna Clark   There's nothing more frustrating as a new parent than dealing with sleep disruptions. After all, when the baby doesn't sleep well, neither does one or both of the...

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#8: How to Manage Tantrums & Meltdowns with Diane Goyette

#8: How to Manage Tantrums & Meltdowns with Diane Goyette

Parenting in the First 3 Years Podcast #8: How to Manage Tantrums & Meltdowns with Diane Goyette   Tantrums can be very triggering, leaving us feeling bewildered, impatient, overwhelmed, helpless, and ready to throw in the towel on this whole parenting thing....

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#7: Is She a Good Baby? Exploring Infant Temperaments

#7: Is She a Good Baby? Exploring Infant Temperaments

 Parenting in the First 3 Years Podcast #7: "Is She a Good Baby?" Exploring Infant Temperaments with Ann McKitrick   There’s one question people commonly ask new parents that I can’t stand. And that’s, “is she a good baby?” Everyone wants an easy baby! But that’s...

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#6: How to Hygge with Your Baby with Maria Dior

#6: How to Hygge with Your Baby with Maria Dior

Parenting in the First 3 Years Podcast #6: How to Hygge with Your Baby with Maria Dior   Denmark has repeatedly been voted as having the happiest people in the world. It may be due to this thing called hygge (pronounced hoo-guh), which is a Danish term that means...

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#5: Tips for Parenting a 2 Year Old

#5: Tips for Parenting a 2 Year Old

Parenting in the First 3 Years Podcast #5: Tips for Parenting a 2-Year-Old with Ann McKitrick   People's opinions about parenting a 2-year-old are no big secret. After all, toddlers have a bad rap. Maybe you've even had someone say to you, "just wait until...

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#4: Phones and Screen Time for Babies

#4: Phones and Screen Time for Babies

Parenting in the First 3 Years Podcast #4: Phones and Screen Time for Babies with Ann McKitrick   Screen time for babies is a tricky topic. Babies and toddlers know, just as we do, that there are so many fun things to do with a phone! Maybe you're trying to work,...

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#2: What Makes Babies Laugh?

#2: What Makes Babies Laugh?

Parenting in the First 3 Years Podcast #2: What Makes Babies Laugh? with Ann McKitrick     Just like everything else when it comes to children, humor is developmental and amazingly enough it starts really early in life! Babies laugh before they talk, which...

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#1: Why “Baby Talk” is Good for Language Development

#1: Why “Baby Talk” is Good for Language Development

  Parenting in the First 3 Years Podcast #1: Why Baby Talk is Good for Language Development with Ann McKitrick     We all know that people use a different tone of voice when they talk to babies, like what we would typically call ‘baby talk’. Researchers have...

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#0: Trailer for Parenting in the First 3 Years

#0: Trailer for Parenting in the First 3 Years

  Parenting in the First 3 Years Podcast #0: Trailer with Ann McKitrick   You know, there’s a transition that takes place when we become a parent. It looks different for everyone and it’s not just one-and-done. It’s a transition that repeats itself in every stage...

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Why your toddler needs to play with puzzles

Why your toddler needs to play with puzzles

  Why should you get some puzzles for your toddler? Play is essential for toddlers - it's how they figure things out. They need opportunities to play with good toys and materials and use their imagination. Puzzles fit the bill! They provide lots of learning - from...

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Can toddlers write?

Can toddlers write?

Can toddlers write? As soon as your little one becomes interested, you can give them some big paper and a marker to get them started. Learning to make a mark on the page is actually an important part of early literacy, which begins in the first three years of life....

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How to make playdough with your child

How to make playdough with your child

Making playdough with toddlers. We had a tray on the shelf with all the playdough ingredients and made a fresh batch about every 2 weeks. When I was a teacher, our class loved making playdough. We pull out the tray of ingredients and the kids would take turns dumping...

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Why you should have a tea party

Why you should have a tea party

Tea parties. We started them early on at our house. I think it started that time I spotted Good Mood Tea at Whole Foods. I bought a box for the next time the crankies set in. Because um, that happened often with three kids under age four. I bought it for myself, then...

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How to Sanitize Your Baby’s Toys

How to Sanitize Your Baby’s Toys

Do you need to sanitize your baby's toys? Um, yeah. Today I was scrolling through facebook and saw a picture of my friend's baby wearing a cute little outfit she'd made by hand. In the background their dog was licking a baby toy lying on the floor. This is why we need...

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What new parents need to know about loveys

What new parents need to know about loveys

What's a lovey? It's a blanket, a teddy bear or some other object that children attached to. They use loveys to comfort themselves at bedtime and in other situations where they feel the need for something cozy and familiar.  The psychological term for this is...

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How to choose toys for babies

How to choose toys for babies

We've got a closet full of toys upstairs in the kids room. When the grandkids are here, they spend LOTS of time playing up there! In fact, sometimes when we're FaceTiming now, I'll walk up there and we'll "visit" the toys and they get so excited! 😂  If you were here,...

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How to make your own toddler books

How to make your own toddler books

It’s one of those things that connects us all. We love to look at pictures of people we love! How about making some toddler books with pictures of familiar people and places?

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Pregnancy Cookies

Pregnancy Cookies

What’s the difference between a pregnancy cookie and a regular cookie? Do labor cookies really make your labor begin?

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Reading supports emotional development

Reading supports emotional development

Make reading a part of your daily routine. You’ve heard about the importance of social-emotional development in the first years. But what does that actually look like in the day to day? Social-emotional development includes your child’s experience, expression, and...

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How to read books to your baby

How to read books to your baby

There's not much better than snuggling up with a good book. It's one of my favorite things, especially when I'm snuggling with a child. 🥰 If your brand new to parenting, you may feel unsure how to go about reading a book to a baby that's so young they can't talk yet....

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How to Choose Books for Your Baby

How to Choose Books for Your Baby

When do you really need to start reading to your baby? Now's a good time! Early literacy begins early. Research shows that newborns are born equipped to respond to the language they've heard in the womb. They've been listening to you all this time and they love your...

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Tips for great sleep patterns for your newborn

Tips for great sleep patterns for your newborn

It's one of the first things people ask, "Is he keeping you awake at night?" (Um, yes he's awake at night, he's a newborn) This week I sat down with Joanna Clark of Blissful Baby Sleep Coaching to talk about sleep patterns for newborns. I asked her what you should...

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How to Choose a Day Care Center for your Baby

How to Choose a Day Care Center for your Baby

  Talk about adulting. This is it. Likely one of the first big decisions you'll make when you become a parent. It's a decision that will deeply impact your family, especially your baby. The folks who care for your baby while you work will become your partners in...

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4 Questions about babies and pandemics

4 Questions about babies and pandemics

Oh my goodness... I don’t know about you but it feels to me like unknowns of COVID are lasting a lot longer than I expected. As this all unfolds, new parents are faced with questions that weren’t even in our grid 8 months ago! Pregnancy can be filled with a lot of...

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Newborn Care: Q&A

Newborn Care: Q&A

Every baby is unique, and you are the expert on your own child. I do everything based on a career in early childhood education, coaching early childhood teachers and parents.

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Toddler Fun With Boxes

Toddler Fun With Boxes

Are you looking for fun activities you can do at home with your toddler? Learn about how you can use shipping boxes to create fun activities for your toddler.

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Feeding Your Newborn Baby

Feeding Your Newborn Baby

How do you know if your little baby is taking in enough formula in order to get what they need nutritionally to grow? In this article, I will talk about some guidelines to follow that will help you decide on how much to feed your baby.

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Labor Stories

Labor Stories

I love labor and delivery stories. Every story has the features of an exciting docu-drama — the inklings of early labor, the wondering of “should I call the doctor?”, “should we just wait or go ahead and go?”  The thrill of the birth and the flood of emotion that follows. Then the calm after the storm as everyone, including baby, begins the process of healing and resting up from the experience of labor/delivery and settles into the new life of being a family. One of my favorite labor stories comes from my friends, Glen and Laura.

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Bond With Your Baby and Help Them Grow

Bond With Your Baby and Help Them Grow

For many new parents, the first time they hold their tiny bundle of joy triggers an instant bonding. In the early years, a baby’s brain grows rapidly making millions of neural connections, so a variety of experiences and exposure aids physical, cognitive, social and language development. Read about a few ways in which bonding and baby development in the early years can go hand-in-hand.

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Playing Peekaboo With Your Child

Playing Peekaboo With Your Child

Do you have a young child and wonder why they love to play Peekaboo? Read about why they love to play this popular game and how it helps with their development.

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Why Do Toddlers Bite?

Why Do Toddlers Bite?

Do you have a toddler that bites others and don’t understand why? Learn why biting is a part of a toddler’s development and suggestions that you can do for when it happens

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Giving Toddlers Choices

Giving Toddlers Choices

Are you tired of your toddler constantly demanding that they get their way ? Learn about how offering choices can help reduce the amount of arguing.

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4 Ways to help your little extrovert thrive at home

4 Ways to help your little extrovert thrive at home

Social distancing is easier for some of us than others. Especially our children. For those on the more introverted side, they're delighted to stay home and hang with the family. They are content! For your children who are extroverted, it’s a little like torture not...

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Ways to nurture your child while you work

Ways to nurture your child while you work

You have new coworkers. As we navigate the challenges of coronavirus and its implications to daily life, it’s important to keep something, or rather someone in mind. And that’s your kid. It’s a big adjustment for you, moving from everyday go-to-work life to figuring...

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Stages of parenting

Stages of parenting

I was recently in Minneapolis, hanging out with the grandkids. I get up there a couple of times of year - usually once in the dead of winter and once to enjoy their beautiful summertime.    One way I cement a long distance relationship with them is to have consistent...

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The secret to a happy baby (it’s you!)

The secret to a happy baby (it’s you!)

You are really, really important to your child.  You see it in the way your baby gazes at you, prefers you over others and cries when you leave. We know we’re important in our child’s life but do we truly understand this?  Attachment researchers tell us that we become...

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Love on that baby

Love on that baby

Love on your baby. Then they'll be really smart.   Love is in the air. Even though Valentine's day focuses on romantic love, it’s a great time to hone in on the love connection between you and your child.    It’s amazing to realize that your child’s brain...

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How to make mom friends

How to make mom friends

When I became pregnant with my first I quickly realized how few friends I had in the same boat. The handful of friends I had with kids lived in different states and I found myself scrambling to find friends undergoing the same life transition. Having a community full...

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Tips for new parents

Tips for new parents

5 tips for new parents Anytime you begin a new job there’s a period of orientation. And depending on the complexity of the work you’ll be doing, you might have months of training before you’re on your own with full responsibility. When you become a parent, while...

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3 Reasons newborns are irresistible

3 Reasons newborns are irresistible

We really can't help ourselves. Something inside us kind of melts. Have you ever noticed the feeling you get when you see little tiny puppies or kittens, or even a baby elephant at the zoo? Or had complete strangers stop to talk to you as you walk your puppy? We...

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3 Ways you can actually see brain development happening

3 Ways you can actually see brain development happening

Recently I had the privilege of presenting a training to over 150 Head Start teachers in Houston. The topic was understanding autism and we covered lots of information about neurological development that happens in the first several years of life. One of the word...

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Cheers to parenting!

Cheers to parenting!

I love new beginnings. Today we not only ring in a new year, but a new decade. Your baby will be doing all kinds of things in 10 years!  As we begin the new year there are so many things to think about. Goals, intentions, dreams and visions.  I don't know about you,...

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Gift ideas for new parents that won’t break the bank

Gift ideas for new parents that won’t break the bank

Holiday shopping can be one of the most stressful parts of the year as we look for ways to stretch budgets a little further to buy the gifts we really want to give. If you need to save money but have a long list of people to buy for, it’s a good idea to check online...

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5 Amazing ways your newborn communicates

5 Amazing ways your newborn communicates

That little person is very tuned in to you. From the moment they're born, babies are ready to listen, respond and try to figure out how to be in relationship with you. Research gives us really interesting insight into how equipped newborns are to do this. Let's take a...

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What to do with a newborn

What to do with a newborn

I was surprised at the amount of downtime I had with a new baby. I remember the first few months of staying home with my first baby. I assumed I’d be swamped with my new tasks of parenthood: nursing around the clock, diaper changes, rocking baby to sleep, etc....

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What happens when a child puts on a costume?

What happens when a child puts on a costume?

What's going on in that little mind? If you are one who joins the celebration of this holiday, you’ve probably got a costume for your child and depending on their age, they either tolerate being dressed up (or not!) or love putting it on and instantly becoming the...

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5 important things that happen in the first two years

5 important things that happen in the first two years

The all-important first two years Your child's early learning and development has far-reaching implications for the future of the economy, the political climate and international relations. Crazy to think that what you do each day as a parent has that kind of...

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How to help your child adjust to childcare

How to help your child adjust to childcare

This year while my daughter goes to morning preschool, I’ve been looking forward to exercising for a bit at the gym. The only problem? My two year old. My darling, highly-attached, cries-if-I’m-gone-for-two-minutes two year old. I knew dropping off my kiddo at the gym...

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When Parenting Fears Overwhelm

When Parenting Fears Overwhelm

I’ll never forget the stress I felt about miscarriage when I was pregnant. Every day I worried the pregnancy might end. I remember counting down the days to when I’d be past the first trimester, longing for it to come. I was sure once I made it past that date, my...

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Unlock what your child reveals through their artwork

Unlock what your child reveals through their artwork

A given for many parents is a refrigerator plastered with photos and children's artwork. You can learn a lot from their drawings.   Children’s art gives us insight into their development - the way they hold a marker, the amount of space they use on a page, the...

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Becoming a parent

Becoming a parent

The moment a pregnancy test is positive or the foster/adoption approval comes through, you begin to wonder... What am I going to do? What does it feel like to be a parent? How will I be the same and how will I be different? Will I still be able to be spontaneous, do...

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How to raise kind kids

How to raise kind kids

We all want to teach kids to be kind and compassionate with others.  When does this begin? When they start playing with others? When they have the cognitive capacity to share? Does it happen naturally or do you have to 'teach' it? Recent research tells us that infants...

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3 Things That Every Parent Does Naturally

3 Things That Every Parent Does Naturally

Even people who say they have "no clue what to do with babies" will instinctively do exactly what's necessary to enhance development as they singsong talk, make faces and gaze at their face as they hold them. We act differently with infants than we do with adults or...

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Helping children feel safe

Helping children feel safe

The adults in a child’s world must protect them from too much information and from too much emotion that they can’t understand or process. 

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The slow-fast experience of parenting

The slow-fast experience of parenting

How does time go slow and fast at the same time?   I love the Slow Food Fast recipe column in the Wall Street Journal. It features recipes from notable chefs across the country representing traditional and regional cuisines - recipes simple enough to cook at home...

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6 Things to know BEFORE your baby begins child care

6 Things to know BEFORE your baby begins child care

Odds are, someone else will care for your baby at some time in the first year. The average length of maternity/paternity leave in US is 12 weeks (often unpaid) with many moms returning to work when the baby is 6 weeks of age. In fact, of the 12 million infants and...

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24 One-minute parenting lessons it took a lifetime to learn

24 One-minute parenting lessons it took a lifetime to learn

We had 3 babies in four years. Then when those 3 were teens, we started fostering babies. And while I may have thought I was ready to be a parent with that first pregnancy, I was not. No matter what you think you already know going in, the experience of being a parent...

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July 4th Fun!

July 4th Fun!

Last minute thoughts as you celebrate July 4th...   In our small town there's quite a to-do about July 4th! The barricades have been set aside for about a week now in preparation for the annual parade that draws tons of folks from the surrounding areas. My...

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Parenting 101: Expectations vs reality

Parenting 101: Expectations vs reality

All I ever really wanted to be when I grew up was a mom.   Like many little girls, I played 'house' all the time as a kid, treating my baby dolls with love and care, teaching them and handing out discipline when they needed it.  As a teenager, I did lots of...

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International travel with a baby

International travel with a baby

Travel. What a fun thing to do with your baby! But sometimes it can be a little tricky. We just got back from a vacation to Italy. Wow, what a wonderful experience! Not sure I’ve ever seen so much beauty and history (and so many people from all over the world) in one...

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4 Easy ways to encourage pretend play

4 Easy ways to encourage pretend play

Cadence loves to pretend to be “Grump Cera”, a baby dinosaur from the movie Land Before Time and she’s got it down! For over a year she's focused on this one character, honing her dinosaur skills as she plays. Note how she holds her body, kicks her foot slightly about...

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10 Reasons to go on a walk with your baby right now

10 Reasons to go on a walk with your baby right now

Today’s a good day for a walk. Lots of good reasons to do so – most importantly for you, it’s good for the soul to get outside! And for your kids, whether they’re walking on their own two feet or riding in a stroller, there’s so much to learn from a simple walk around...

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Making the most of all those diaper changes

Making the most of all those diaper changes

How to Support Your Baby’s Developmental Growth During Routine Diaper Changes! 5000.  That’s the average number of times a baby will have their diaper changed in the early years. Good grief, that’s a lot of diapers! Let’s not even go there about the money spent – just...

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Lining up blocks… what does this tell us?

Lining up blocks… what does this tell us?

Block Play! Last week we got to hang out with Megan, Josh, and the grandkids! We live far apart so when we spend time together, it’s really special. And of course, since I love all things child development, it’s fun to see how the kids have grown, what they like to...

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About me


I’m a child development specialist, parent coach and teacher trainer. I’ve cared for countless babies in child development programs, plus 3 kids, 3 grand babies and 5 foster babies! I LOVE babies and would come hold yours if I could. ❤️

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