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  • 6 Tips to Encourage Independent Play in Babies

    Encourage Independent Play in BabiesAs much as we love our kids, at some point we have to put them down just so we can get some things done. It’s also good for their health and development if they spend some time occupying themselves. After all, you can’t be by their side their entire life. If you think your baby is ready to starting playing independently, here are some tips.

    1. Meet all baby’s needs first. It’s tough to expect a baby to try something new if something is bothering him. Before asking he play by himself, make sure he’s not hungry, thirty, wet or tried. He should be just coming off a nap so his mind is fresh.

    2. Change environments. Your baby can’t complain to be bored like a toddler, but if he’s staring at toys or his play mat uninterested, try switching rooms. If you give him something new to do, he’ll likely start playing again.

    3. Provide open-ended toys. Some toys (like game sets) have very specific ways of playing with them and you can’t really deviate. But toys like blocks, play houses, dress up clothes and art supplies offer endless possibilities and your baby won’t become bored so quickly.

    4. Make sure you are providing attention. You’ll find it hard to get your baby to play independently if he is starved for attention. Make sure you are giving undivided attention several times a day so he always feels it’s available from you.

    5. Stop by often. When your baby is playing independently, stop by every few minutes to jump in on the action. Do this especially when he begins to seem unsettled. Each time you step away, stay away a few minutes longer. This will teach him that solo play time is safe and mom/dad is always near.

    6. Give a quick how-to. Your baby might not be aware that he can play with toys by himself if you’ve always done it with him. Show him how to bang his piano or bounce a ball. This will encourage him to try.

    7. Make toys easily available. We love a tidy, organized home, but it doesn’t do your kids any good if they can’t access their toys. Keep them low and in containers kids can access whenever they want. Will this mean you’ll have rooms strewn with toys? Yes, probably, but it’s good for their development.

    8. Encourage their favorites. If your child shows an interest in a particular toy or topic (like birds or outer space), make sure there are plenty of play options that relate. Your child is likely to play by himself if he’s really interested.

    luxe floor pillowGuest Blog by Cindy Perry, Inventor of the pello, Luxe Floor Pillows

    Cindy, a Texas girl, put herself through college working at a children’s library and sewing at night. When she met her husband and had her two boys, she decided to stay home to care for them while designing window treatments and bedding.

    When Cindy’s first son was learning to sit up, he would always fall through the pillows she set around him, hit his head, and cry. Besides, setting her child down on the hardwood floors on just a blanket always seemed so cold. Using her years of sewing and design skills, Cindy took inspiration from a woman in her breastfeeding class and got to work. With some scrap fabric and a few tweaks, pello was born! pello is a luxefloor pillow that helps children feel safe, warm and protected.

    For more information, visit mypello.com.

    Interested in writing a guest blog for Swanling? Send your topic idea to pr@swanling.com.

    All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Swanling makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, current-ness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

  • Attachment Parenting and the Slumber Sleeper

    Every parent has been in this situation before.

    (Note: This is not our video. We do not advocate the use of bumpers in a crib and such a practice is discouraged by the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) safe sleep recommendations.)

    Sometimes our little ones just want to be cuddled. They don’t have any physical needs as long as they are fed, changed and clean; but they long for the closeness of mom or dad. They long for that feeling of comfort and security they felt while in the womb.

    Sometimes no sophisticated gadget, swing, or vibrating lounger will make your baby happy. He or she just wants to be in your arms. As parents, when our children should be sleeping alone but can't sleep and want to be held, especially at nighttime, parents are often temped to give in and bring them into the parents' bed. Unfortunately, parents should avoid giving children this type of "sleep crutch" as it will only prolong the child's inability to sleep independently.

    As our children's emotional wellbeing is so important and as even small infants learn early on how to get mom and dad to surrender quickly, few parents have ever been fans of letting children cry themselves to sleep. However, co-sleeping and other "sleep crutches" such as the late night rocking chair are of little or no lasting value to either the parent or child. So, how do we face this challenge? Isn’t there a way to offer the child an independent, yet safe sleep environment that allows them to feel comfortable and secure while at the same time allowing the parents to get a much needed good night's rest?

    With the current movement in attachment parenting, shown by the rise in baby "wearing" and co-sleeping; parents of today are obviously seeking this closeness. However, when faced with numerous studies showing tragic results to infants from co-sleeping, parents today must consider alternate, thoughtful and safe practices such as those recommended in the AAP guidelines for sleep.

    The Slumber Sleeper was designed to allow the baby to always feel cuddled and secure. It simulates the comforting experience of being in mom's or dad’s arms and is similar to the enclosed feeling they enjoyed in the womb and early infant swaddling. When the child awakens, they are aware of the soft touch and secure comfort of the special fabric. This bypasses their immediate need for a parent's touch. As they recognize the feeling of warmth and security, they are soon back to sleep. The Slumber Sleeper is just like a little slice of sleep magic.

    It is important for our children to learn early on about sleep independence and have the opportunity to sleep train properly. The value of good sleep habits for children and the positive effect of well rested parents, can go a long way to promote and maintain an atmosphere of patience, leading to a happy, healthy home environment. The Slumber Sleeper is an excellent tool to help families successfully achieve that coveted goal.

    safe sleep solutionWritten by Joanna von Yurt, Co-Founder and CEO of Swanling Innovations Inc.

    Joanna von Yurt is the mother of three intelligent, sensitive, and compassionate girls (who all want to be mommies when they grow up). She is first AND foremost a mom! Professionally, however, she is an accountant, controller and serial entrepreneur.

    Joanna has a degree in Psychology from Harvard University with an emphasis in child psychology. She worked as an infant caregiver for 12 years and interned as a Child Life Specialist, family/social therapist, and assisted in clinical studies involving children’s personality and social psychology.

    Joanna has a lifelong passion for childcare and child safety. She enjoys sharing her experiences with other parents about sleep routines, attachment parenting, safe sleep guidelines, and children’s natural sleep patterns. Her company, Swanling Innovations, is committed to producing modern, safe and innovative products that meet the expectations of discerning parents. The Slumber Sleeper™ is a 4-in 1 safe sleep solution (mattress protector, flat sheet, fitted sheet and sleep sack all in one) designed to help keep your baby safe, warm and centered.

    Joanna always says that a well-rested child and well-rested parents add up to a happy family!

    Visit www.swanling.com for more information.

    Interested in writing a guest blog for Swanling? Send your topic idea to pr@swanling.com.

    All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Swanling makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, current-ness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

    Photo Credit: Geoff Livingston via Compfight cc

  • Managing Separation Anxiety

    Managing Separation AnxietyBabies under six months old get by just fine without mom and dad for a night or two, but by seven or eight months, they have learned object permanence. Object permanence is the concept that things and people exist even when they are out of our sight. Baby knows you’re somewhere, so he feels stressed because you aren’t with him. If your baby fusses and struggles when you leave, here are some tips on dealing with his separation anxiety.

    1. Create a good-bye ritual.

    Create a simple ritual that you perform every time you leave for the day. Make it something memorable. You could sing a short rhyme, give hugs and kisses, and then leave. Do not return. If you return because you see or hear your child crying, you’ll just make it harder in the long run.

    2. Practice leaving.

    Games like peek-a-boo help and “Where’s Mommy?’ give your child some separation practice. Practice leaving for short periods of time by going into the other room while another caregiver watches baby. Perform your good-bye ritual and step into your bedroom for a few moments.

    3. Socialize with the sitter.

    Ideally, your regular daycare provider would be someone you interact with often, like a grandparent or close friend. You want baby to be close with this person so he doesn’t feel alone when you leave. If you’ll be putting your child in daycare, opt to spend a few hours at the facility with baby so he spends time with the care providers.

    4. Provide a consistent pattern.

    Kids thrive on predictability. If you usually drop your child off to daycare in the morning, continue this routine even on days where you don’t work as early.

    5. Offer a sense of control.

    Ask your child if he wants to play with the blocks or the coloring books when he gets to daycare. It doesn’t matter what he answers, but by choosing something, he has gained an element of control over his day and won’t feel powerless.

    6. Keep calm yourself.

    If your child sees you struggling with the separation, he isn’t going to handle it well himself. Keep your emotions in check and stay positive.

    7. Meet all of your child’s needs before leaving.

    Separations are harder when your child is hungry, sick, tired or needs a change. Solve all of these problems beforehand and leave when your baby is usually happy and alert (typically mornings).

    8. Send some favorite items.

    If the separation is taking place outside the home, pack along some favorite items that make baby comfortable.

    pacifier holderGuest Blog by Julie Tabor Thompson, Founder & President of Bounce Innovations, Inventor of PullyPalz

    As a mother of two, Julie found she was continuously retrieving dropped pacifiers, because even though they spit them out, they still want them immediately! She called it "the pacifier game," and, at times, it was difficult to play. One day, she thought, 'I wish somebody would invent a ...' A what? What could make it so babies can keep up with their pacifiers? Clips help parents keep up with pacifiers, but they don't help the baby. Babies don't understand when it's behind their shoulder or around their side. As they say, out of sight, out of mind. She started by making the first prototype in her kitchen (which included melting molding plastic, an instruction manual for her sewing machine, and YouTube videos). Several designs later, the PullyPalz were born... The first ever pacifier toy that - with the help of baby's interaction - keeps pacis coming back!

    Her goal is to offer unique products that make life and parenthood just a little easier, and ultimately more enjoyable. Compatible products (teethers and toys) will be coming to market soon. Julie also offers product development and consultation services for other aspiring entrepreneurs.

    For more information, visit www.pullypalz.com.

    Interested in writing a guest blog for Swanling? Send your topic idea to pr@swanling.com.

    All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Swanling makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, current-ness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

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