Imaginative play is more than just fun and games. In fact, young children learn by expressing their imagination. Picture a child caring for a doll or stuffed animal, or a child pretending to be a fireman and saving the day. These children are creating life-like scenarios and acting them out. With pretend play, children are able to take on different roles, giving them the unique opportunity to learn social skills, problem solving skills, communication, and empathy. How can you encourage your child to use their imagination? Join the fun! Observe your child’s interest and get on their level, sit face to face with your child and imitate his actions. Keep it simple and take turns. Your child will likely mimic your actions as well. Let your child’s imagination run wild and get playing today!

The first three years of a child’s life is a critical time for brain development. Within the first three years, a child’s brain grows at a phenomenal rate and absorbs much more than we can even assume. By the age of three a child’s brain is twice as active as an adult (which may explain that short attention span)!

It’s no mystery that having conversations with your child beginning at early infancy is beneficial to their brain development.  From “goo goo and gaga” to your child’s first words, there are many things you can do as a parent to help our children learn how to communicate. Here are three tips for boosting your child’s brain development through language.

  1. Read to your child daily. Introduce new words, books, and bright pictures that catch their attention.
  2. Expose your child to new lullabies and music. Children often respond to music and rhythm before they begin to pick up words. 
  3. Narrate daily activities. Give your child a “play by play” of daily activities, this will allow a child to listen, understand, and make connections. Eventually your child will be telling you what is on the day’s agenda.   

From the moment your child wakes up in the morning to the time they go to bed at night, you should be engaging and conversing with your child. A child has the ability to hear thousands of words a day that will help them learn, understand and communicate as they grow. The more speech your child hears the better opportunity they have to learn and understand language.

The thought of speaking to your infant shouldn’t be a silly one, soon enough your child will be responding too! Keep it up and the results will show!

Making friends as a new mom is not always an easy feat. It’s like standing in the cafeteria on the first day of school surrounded by strangers wondering where you fit in – but this time you’re at the playground and you have a baby with you and you’ve just sang “The Wheels on the Bus” for the 1000th time, and you just want to have an adult conversation. Is that too much to ask?

Whether you’re at the grocery store, the playground, or The Little Gym, as a new mom you’re constantly scoping out potential mom friends, eager to strike up a conversation about ANYTHING. No matter where you are, making new mom friends does not have to increase panic or stress. Here are 5 tips for making mom friends with ease.  

  1. GET OUT OF THE HOUSE. No seriously, how are you going to meet any awesome new mom friends if you stay cooped up in the house all the time? Put yourself out there by getting involved in a mom’s group/mommy meet up. Enroll yourself and your little one in the Parent/Child programs at your local The Little Gym. Or head on over to the playground and scope out a mom that looks like you may have something in common with. It could be the start to a beautiful friendship!
  2. Find a friend? Get her contact information! Don’t be shy; finding new mom friends is like dating… if you find a mom you like get her number so you can see her again. If you guys don’t connect the second time around you can’t say you didn’t try! 
  3. Plan a play-date. Find a mom you like? And she has a little one the same age as yours? SCORE! Plan a play-date; this is the best way to get moms talking – to each other.
  4. Plan a “Mommy” play-date. Find a sitter or get your significant other to take the baby reigns, it’s time for a mom’s night out. Grab some drinks or dinner and enjoy a kid free night with your new friend. Moms deserve off nights too!
  5. Be yourself. This is the best way to find genuine friends that will last a lifetime.

Finding new mom friends may not always be simple, but having one, two, or five mom friends may make your days easier. Next time you’re at the grocery store, playground, or even your local The Little Gym, don’t be shy – strike up conversation and see where it takes you! There are plenty of fish in the sea and soon enough you will have a group of great mom friends that will last a lifetime.  

Parents are a child’s greatest influence. As a parent, there are many things you can be doing to establish and strengthen your child’s confidence. Here are 6 tips for strengthening your child’s confidence.

  1. Consider the compliments you give your child. Words of praise mean more when they refer to a child’s specific efforts or new abilities. Try using Specific Positive Feedback to focus on specific feedback rather than simply saying “Good Job”.
  2. Nurture your child’s special interests. Every child is unique, as parents and caregivers it is your job to help your children feel confident about those interests.
  3. Provide endless encouragement for your child. Your child will never forget the way you make them feel – that’s why it is important to be supportive of your child. Encourage them to reach for the stars!
  4. Do not label your child as anything – this may limit them and the way they feel about themselves as they grow.
  5. Extend trust in your child and let them make decisions.
  6. Focus on the glass half full – teach your child optimism. Teaching your child how to have an optimistic mindset will allow their confidence to shine! 

Building self-confidence begins very early in life, it is important to set your child up for success. Use these simple tips to help your child become more confident. 

The times, they’re changing, and it’s becoming even more difficult to keep our kids engaged, happy, and well out of our hair. I know I’m not alone when I say that I have used my friends: television, computer, and tablet as a distraction for my children when I need 30 minutes of peace.

As parents, we know it’s not always easy, but are kids being exposed to too much technology? According to The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children spend an average of 7 hours a day using media including television, computer, internet, video games, and cell phones. In an ever growing media driven world, it’s becoming even more important to make sure your child is getting active every day.

So, how can you encourage your child to get active? Show them that being active is fun! Exercise as a family by going for a nightly walk, jog, or having a family soccer game in the back yard. You can also get your children involved in activities outside of the home, (like The Little Gym!) to help them appreciate a healthy and active lifestyle for years to come. Whether you’re running, jumping, or tumbling, get moving with your child to build the foundation for a lifetime of healthy habits!

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