Posts Tagged ‘Fisher-Price’

Baby girl, there’s something about you that I absolutely love.

Teaching kids to code with Codeapillar. Computer science for kids.

See, when you put your mind to something there’s no stopping you.

Teacching kids to code with Codeapillar. Computer science for kids.

You make a plan.

Teacching kids to code with Codeapillar. Computer science for kids.

And put it to action.


And if it fails.

Teaching kids to code with Codeapillar. Computer science for kids.

You try again.

Teaching kids to code with Codeapillar. Computer science for kids.

Watching your anticipation is utterly adorable.

Teaching kids to code with Codeapillar. Computer science for kids.

Teaching kids to code with Codeapillar. Computer science for kids.

And witnessing your disappointment is crushing.

Teaching kids to code with Codeapillar. Computer science for kids.

But nothing compares to the excitement on your face. When you hit the target you’ve been aiming for.

Teaching kids to code with Codeapillar. Computer science for kids.
Teaching kids to code with Codeapillar. Computer science for kids.
Never give up on your hopes and dreams.

I’ll always be here to cheer you on.

The Fisher-Price Code-a-pillar has been a fun toy for my kids to play with. From start to finish they program the Code-a-pillar to move around obstacles from one target to another. My girl seems to have found an early love of coding since she got this toy last month. Fisher-Price is challenging kids and their families to “Crack the Code” with the Code-a-pillar and begin an early love for coding and computer science. Check out their Facebook page for more details this fall. 

Learning about the world around us and what makes it work is so important to me, and making it enjoyable for my kids is something I’m passionate about. That’s why I partnered with Fisher-Price on this post. All opinions are my own.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m overthinking this whole parenting thing. Either that or my parents didn’t give a crap. No… I don’t mean that. Not really. But seriously, am I overthinking this?

Since I took a left turn down onto homeschool lane I’m constantly second-guessing myself, or wondering how I can do a better job.

Making learning fun and instilling a love of learning in our children

Part of me is all “Come on, if I’m in charge we’ve gotta knock this stuff out of the park!”

Then the other side of me is saying “No no, a big reason we’re doing this our way is to have more freedom and flexibility, slow your roll lady!”

I want to make learning fun, and help nourish a love of learning in my kids, but that’s also a lot of pressure to put on myself. So I’m just trying my best and coming to grips with the fact that some days, it might just not be as fun; but whenever possible, I want to make it enjoyable.

It’s great when we hit a breakthrough and I find a new way to teach something that’s otherwise boring. Whether it’s reading practice or counting to 100 I’ve found sometimes it’s all about the approach. Instead of just practicing reading sight words off a card, if I turn it into a “capture the card” game, all of a sudden it’s exciting for my daughter. When counting, if I have her shout out the number every time she finishes writing a row of 10, writing to 100 isn’t tedious, it’s fun. Throw in some stickers and she’s in heaven.

I guess the creators of the Code-a-pillar had that in mind when they developed a toy about coding.

My kids have adopted this thing as a new pet. It’s a toy but they’ve named her Calli. She’s a Code-a-pillar from Fisher-Price. It didn’t take long for my kids to figure out how she moves according to the order of her pieces. Well, it didn’t take my daughter long. My son throws a fit every time she takes it apart and hurries to reassemble her.

Making learning fun and instilling a love of learning in our children

Making learning fun and instilling a love of learning in our children

We have a fair share of toys, some of them educational because of tools like letter recognition, others are helpful for learning life skills, and this is a fun in between.

“Let’s get Snoop!” Lil’ J plotted yesterday evening.

Getting on the floor and playing with my kids, designating Snoop as the target then watching my daughter program the code-a-pillar to circle around the carpet and up to our unsuspecting pup–That’s fun learning.

Making learning fun and instilling a love of learning in our children

Fisher-Price sent us the toy to try, but we were having so much fun with it went online and ordered extension pieces on our own so we could have her take longer courses and make full 360 turns.

I watch as my daughter uses her hands to outline a path she’s pictured in her mind. I’m amazed at her little mind hard at work. I’m impressed at the beginning stages of coding she’s learning. I mean who knows… Maybe some day she will create the next virtual reality app craze that brings back a fad from the 90s.

Making learning fun and instilling a love of learning in our children

Three decades into life I still absolutely love learning. I love history, learning languages, studying cultures, religions, and plotting to learn piano. I’m forever curious. I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember so I don’t know if that’s just my makeup or if it can be taught.–But I want that for my kids. I want them to feast on knowledge and enjoy studying new things and I’m thankful for tools and techniques that help make developing the love of learning easier.

I may be overthinking some parenting decisions but this is one effort I think is worth it.

Learning about the world around us is so important and making it enjoyable for my kids is something I’m passionate about, which is why I partnered with Fisher-Price on this post. All opinions are my own.

Teach programming and coding to young kids using the Fisher-Price code-a-pillar

The other day my son was playing with one of his favorite toys, his “choo choo” as he calls it. He was trying to reattach the cars to the engine hook. I sat next to him watching and almost offered my help, but instead I made myself wait a moment to see if he could do it on his own. Sure enough, after just a few moments of trial and error, he connected it by himself, and I saw a split-second look of satisfaction at his job well done. I have a tendency to want to jump in and help when my kids get stuck on something, instead of waiting to see if he or she can work it out on his or her own.


I don’t know if there is anything quite as rewarding as watching my child learn something new. Lately I’ve been trying to take a good hard look at the way I parent, and I’m trying to be more aware of the things I say, how I say it, and the things I do. My kids are at a crucial age. They’re like pliable little pieces of play-dough and I don’t want to mess them up.

I’ve been trying the same “wait and watch” approach with my daughter. Since we have our Disney trip coming up this weekend, I wanted to come up with a fun surprise reveal the morning we leave. Part of the reveal includes a letter that says “We are going to…” and then a photo on the next page with a picture of Disney World. Since she couldn’t read those words yet I decided now was a good time to practice some sight words.

To be honest I don’t know anything about reading strategy. I know someday my kids will learn how to read when they’re ready. It’ll come together. I’ve realized there’s no point in being competitive about it, the important thing is I’m there to guide them along the way when they’re excited and ready.

I wrote down those four words, and a handful more to throw her off. I was so surprised when she picked them up in one afternoon. And she pulls them out to practice every day, even asking me to write down more words she can memorize and add to her sentences. When I notice her stumbling or searching for a word I want to jump in and help her out, but I’ve told myself to back off and let her work until she asks for help.

Biracial family

There have been too many times where I’ve stressed about doing the right things. Using the right techniques and toys to help my kids become the best they can be. But as I get the hang of this motherhood thing I’ve realized it’s not so much about the specifics as much as it’s about caring, listening and guiding when needed.

It’s about reading together, and playing together. It’s about finding ways to learn in everything we do, with toys or random objects around the house. It’s about having fun, and developing a love for learning.

I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to act as a Fisher-Price Insider for the last several months, learn about the company, what they stand for, see behind-the-scenes of all the thought, work and love that goes into the toys we love. I’ve given some advice to other parents and have enjoyed sharing in the joy and struggles with you all.

Smart Stages Train

Although I’ll still be here blogging here for, well, hopefully a long, long time. My time as a Fisher-Price Insider is coming to an end. If you missed some you can read all about my posts here, and continue to reach out with your questions using the hashtag #FPInsiders. As a farewell we’d like to offer a giveaway for a Smart-Stages Train like the one my son loves pictured above, or a 3 in 1 Bounce, Stride and Ride Elephant, just leave a comment letting me know which one you’d like.

A big thanks to Fisher-Price for sponsoring this giveaway. This post is a part of a partnership with Fisher-Price as an FP Insider. All opinions expressed are my own.FP insiders logo

How are you hanging in there? Got your shopping done? Getting ready to travel? Are you surviving the holiday chaos?

I feel like every year around this time is especially chaotic for me because our wedding anniversary is two days before Christmas. Oh why oh why did we do this to ourselves?

Getting away to celebrate before kids was a piece of cake, but after, it has become quite the challenge.

I’ve learned a few tricks along the way to help get everything checked off my list so I can enjoy both our anniversary and Christmas. This year is our 10th anniversary and originally I had thought we’d have some kind of vow-renewing ceremony or something, but the time has flown by and a lot of the time I still feel like a newlywed. So, I may revisit that idea in another five to ten years.

5 tips for surviving the holiday chaos

So anyway, over the last 10 years we’ve traveled with kids and done Christmas at home. I’ve been down to the wire with shopping, and I’ve had it all done early. Sometimes I’ve just gotta decide what’s important and let everything else go. Here are five things I keep in mind as I plow through this season.

1. Work hard then play hard
I kind of live this philosophy all year, but there’s so much fun to be had and SO much work to do at the end of the year. My schedule hasn’t always allowed for flexibility, but when it does, I try to plan as best as I can to work ahead so I can fully enjoy Christmas with my family. Sometimes that means writing articles and blog posts at 3am so we can have breakfast with Santa the next day (I try not to sleep through breakfast).

5 tips for surviving the holiday chaos

2. Find ways to make shopping simpler
I did so much of my shopping online this year. Luckily I have Amazon Prime. When I do venture out to the stores I try to call ahead or use services that will help make my trip faster. Like Sears free In Vehicle Pick Up, Return and Exchange in Five, or Reserve It. Each of these services makes my live easier and the season a little #MoreMerry for me. I could go on and on with shopping tips, but this article sums it up pretty well.

(Click the image to see the chart larger)

3. Make a list, then check it twice
Just like Santa, I make a list, but not just for shopping, for things I’d like to do this month, and things I need to do. I love getting a photo with Santa, making a gingerbread house, and going to see a light display. Then of course I keep track of who we want to get gifts for outside of our family.

4. Travel light
I could do a whole post on traveling with kids, but the main thing I try to remember is pack light, and when possible, bring things that can serve more than one purpose. If we’re traveling somewhere without a crib and other items for my toddler I may bring a play yard that also works as a diaper changer, and a place he can sleep. This one by Fisher-Price is half the weight of other portable play yards.CHP86-ultralite-day-and-night-play-yard-my-little-lamb-d-3

5. Make and document the merry memories
Most important of it all, beyond all the shopping, and hustle and bustle is enjoying the time with my family and friends, and remembering why we celebrate this time of year. I try to document our fun through videos and lots of photos, so once all of the dust settles we can look back and smile at the good times we had. We always record some video on Christmas morning as the kids open or see their gifts. It’s adorable because throughout the year my husband will ask me to pull up old videos of our daughter (and now son) opening up her presents through the years. We’re already planning our strategy for recording one this year.

5 tips for surviving the holiday chaos


What do you keep in mind as you cross everything off your holiday to-do list? Any tips you’d share with a new parent? Everyone who leaves a comment by Christmas will be entered to win a $140 Fisher-Price Ultra-Lite Day & Night Play Yard. Good luck!

A big thanks to Fisher-Price for sponsoring this giveaway and conversation. This post is a part of a partnership with Fisher-Price as an FP Insider and Sears as a part of their #SearsBloggerSquad. All opinions expressed are my own.FP insiders logo

I started writing this post earlier today and it was pretty straight-forward and happy-go-lucky about Christmas shopping for my kiddos, but as I sat down to finish writing it now I’m full of stress and anxiety because of what happened last night. Forgive me while I try to string both stream of consciousnesses together.

I was getting the kids out of the bathtub while talking to my mother-in-law. My husband was getting us takeout to enjoy after the kids went to bed. Handling both kids before bedtime is totally normal to me so I wasn’t worried about it.

I set Big T on the bed to jump and do naked flips onto the chair while I pulled Lil’ J out of the tub. Then she ran around naked while I put a diaper on her brother. Again, this is generally normal and no one peed on the floor or my pillow so we were good.

Then we all went into my son’s room to get their PJs on. He climbed on his glider chair and started rocking. Also normal. I turned around to put my daughter’s pajama dress on when my son stood up and pushed the glider with all his strength and knocked it backwards into the wall. He started crying and I realized his fingers were caught between the glider and the wall.

I picked him up and shushed him and rocked him but he was still screaming. I got off the phone and went to kiss his hand (kisses are great healing medicine in my house) when I noticed his pinky finger was bleeding. It was smashed at the finger tip, and it looked like his nail was about to come off. But the finger wasn’t broken as far as I could tell (he was moving it). But I got all queasy and started to panic. I didn’t know if I should rinse it or bandage it or both. I ran to the kitchen to get supplies when my husband walked in the door.

I has already been saying “oh no, oh no, this is bad!” And Lil’ J had seen the damage, so when her daddy walked in she (still naked, mind you) starts yelling “Daddy you need to help! [Big T] is hurt, it’s really bad! He’s bleeding!” Not exactly what you want to hear along with screaming from the other room.

I told him I needed help getting a bandage and he helped me tape it up. I said we could ice it but he didn’t think we needed to (it wasn’t swollen). I think I expected him to go into emergency responder mode and doctor it all up, but I guess he’s not a medical technician.

Right after we got a couple bandaids on him, Big T started to laugh and run again. I chased behind him trying to keep him still, or at least calm. He was trying to shush and cheer up his sister who was now crying because she thought we loved him more.

“No, we love you both equally,” I told her. “We just had to take care of your brother because he was hurt.” My kids are so stereotypical. Here my sun is running around laughing with a jacked up finger tip while my daughter is having an emotional meltdown (while now at least dressed in some pink pajamas) about us loving her brother more than her.

The rest of the evening before bed Big T was careful with his pinky finger. I didn’t think about it until after he fell asleep, but I probably could have given him some Motrin. I set it out in case he woke up overnight.

adventurous biracial boySo I’ve been up Googling what I should have done and many sites say call a doctor if the nail is coming off… He may need stitches so the nail grows back normal etc etc. I’m panicking that I may have waited to long to call the doctor and consequently deformed his pinky fingernail for life! What if he never finds a wife?!

This is only one example of the intense amount of stress my sweet adventurous son has put me through. Laughter keeps me from crying, because I feel like I’m constantly on edge with him, worried he’s going to do something to injure himself. From jumping on the couch inches away from a cracked skull on the tile floor (we hardly use our family room because of that now) to running in the street (front yard off limits, back yard OK). To putting small things in his mouth because he knows it makes me mad (or to him, hysterically funny). To literally finding any hidden pair of scissors and RUNNING WITH THEM. Who does that? … My son! And he may cause me to have a heart attack before I’m 30.

I shoulda kept him on lockdown in the baby carrier. This is what I get!

But maybe I’m just overprotective and used to a (now seemingly) mellow daughter. Is this normal?

adventurous adorable biracial boy

The funny thing is for Christmas we bought him a Power Wheels F-150 truck. He can’t drive it for awhile but he can sit in these things for hours (and his sister will be happy to chauffeur). Now I’m wondering what damage he could do in this thing. Of course he’ll be supervised, and to my knowledge, you can’t really run over YOURSELF with one of these things… So that’s something. Other than that I think we’ll get him some harmless bubbles. And while I’m at it maybe I can look into a toddler bubble he can live in for the next couple of years. Then maybe I can survive to see my 30s.

Normally I like to offer help and give advice but today, I need your words of encouragement. Moms of adventurous daredevils… How do you survive?


If you’re still looking for more (safe) gift ideas, and you’re looking for something that can last a while, there’s a unique feature you might be interested in. It’s called Smart Stages™ technology, and Fisher-Price has incorporated it in many of their toys.

Basically it changes the content as the child grows so you can adapt the toy to cater to the development of your child.


For instance, in Stage 1 the songs and phrases presented will be different than Stage 2 or 3. With the train my son likes to change the stage on his own. He hasn’t figured out how to do that yet with his Smart Stages Chair so I’ve kept it at a level 1 for now and play those games with him, and hopefully, as he grows the new songs and sounds will give new life to an old toy and make it one we keep around for a long time.

Now if they could just put that all in a Power Wheels car that starts as a one seater with a push-button drive, that later converts into a two-seater ride with a petal push, and eventually transformed into a full-fledged four-wheeler then I’d be set.

Hey… A mom can dream.

I’ve mentioned the Smart Stages Train and Chair in the past, comment letting me know which one you think your kiddo would like most and you’ll be entered to win one! I’ll select someone from the comments as a winner December 19th.

FP insiders logo



This post was sponsored by Fisher-Price as a part of an ongoing partnership bringing my tips to you as an FP Insider. All opinions (and typos) are my own.

The other day I loaded up on a pack of AA batteries yet again. Then spent the next half hour changing the old ones out all of my son’s automated toys. When he woke up from his nap and noticed all of this friends were brought back to life singing and dancing again, he was so excited, and might I add–entertained for the next half hour. I even taught him how to get them all going at once… And now I’m sorta regretting that.

toddler on the move

One of his favorites is a toy my dad bought him for his birthday. It’s the Laugh and Learn Puppy by Fisher-Price. Big T loves pressing the buttons, getting him to laugh, sing and rock. I never thought some day I’d be meeting the woman who designed this toy but a few months ago I did.

(Don’t mind my unintentional side-eye)

Beth Hageman is a toy designer at Fisher-Price and when I met her at the headquarters, she showed us some of the toys she designed and what goes into making a toy. They’re like human elfs. I had no idea all of the testing and trials that went into bringing a toy to life. It takes about a year from brainstorming to showing up on store shelves. I had no idea so many things went into designing a toy. Like how much it will cost, how they’re actually going to make it, will it fit on a store shelf?

She says since she’s become a mom, her approach to making toys has changed a little.

“I feel like I understand a little more on another level emotionally,” She said. “I get it now, how awesome it is when your child is engaged with a toy and is playing or figuring it out.  How I was so proud of the time I watched her figure out the shape sorter or start to wiggle to a favorite song in a toy.  Or wow, how fast they grow up and you want this toy to last!”

After this trip I kinda felt as if I had met a celebrity. And I was truly impressed with all the love and attention that goes into planning each toy. Beth mentioned she put her daughter’s favorite song (the Itsy Bitsy Spider) in one of the toys she was designing–Who wouldn’t?

So now when my son goes over to the bench we have lined with his favorite singing animals, I smile when he reaches his favorite and think to myself I know who invented that!

FP insiders logo



*This post was sponsored by Fisher-Price as a part of a multi-month partnership bringing my tips to you. However all opinions and typos are my own.

From time to time I’ll get an email asking me questions about my kids’ birthday parties. I know, I’m as shocked as you are. I’m not the best at party planning, but I find myself very handy when it comes to delegating duties and hijacking other people’s parties and making them my own. According to Pinterest pins, I seemed to pull off his party better than her party, but what do they know?

So if you’re getting ready to celebrate your baby’s first birthday, have no fear, today I’m going to reveal the secrets to planning a first party with the least amount of stress.

There are a few things to decide before you even begin the planning process.

planning First birthday party1. Do you want to go all out (meaning a theme, some decorations, several attendees), or do something low key (a few guests, a small get together or celebration)?

2. How much do you want to spend? Have a budget in mind so you can make shopping decisions easily.

3. What’s most important to you? Keep this in mind as you plan.

Once you’ve answered these three questions you can get to planning. Decide on a location, make a guest list, and start making a shopping list. For each of my kids’ first birthday I wanted to be able to invite all of our friends and family members and make it memorable (for us, cause let’s face it, they aren’t going to remember). Here are my 5 party-planning tips to keep in mind for a first birthday party.

1. Location Location Location
Since Lil’ J has a summer birthday, we did her first birthday party outdoors at a splash pad. I didn’t need as many decorations since we were at a park, and there was lots of entertainment. We still had a theme, but aside from the food and goodie bags, it wasn’t a huge display.

bday-party-21Big T’s party was at our house, but I had a blast decorating for it, and having a specific theme. It was the first party we’d had at our house (because we had just bought it a few months earlier) and I loved not being tied to a small window of time for party set up and take-down. Don’t stress too much about entertainment because kids are plenty happy just being out of their own house and being kids.

2. Keep It Simple Where You Can
After you’ve identified what’s really important to you, keep things simple where you can. Whether it’s with Facebook and Evite invitations instead of the paper kind, or buying the cake instead of making it yourself. I also hit up the Dollar Tree before going to the big box party stores for supplies because I could find a lot of what I needed there for $1.

3. Timing

Keep in mind nap times and your child’s mood before and after. We tend to plan the parties either in the morning before nap time, or in the afternoon, just after nap time. I usually don’t schedule them to last much more than a couple hours because it seems to be plenty of time for play time and cake, and the kid’s attention spans are good for about that long.

4. The Perfect Gift
You know your kid best, and chances are you have an idea of what your child would love for their first birthday. I, however, have been surprised with what stood out for favorite gifts for my kids. I tend to lean towards toys they will love and use for a while and typically don’t go all out on an expensive gift since the party in a way, is the main present.

I like a variety of toys from simple to the more advanced. Are you going to surprise him before or after the party? We tend to open gifts after the party and save more time for playing, but some people like to watch the birthday boy or girl react to the gift.

One of my favorite gifts for Lil’ J was a wooden peg toy set. A friend of mine painted it herself, and it was a long-loved toy teaching colors, hand-eye coordination, and matching skills. Lil’ J loved taking the little “people” out and putting them back in over and over. You can pick up these plain wooden pegs at a local craft store and paint them assorted colorful colors. I actually am working on a new set for my son now.

Fisher price laugh and learn chair fisher price laugh and learn chair

A more advanced toy that’s fun for new 1-year-olds is the Laugh and Learn Smart Stages Chair. My son loves anything with music, and small places to sit, so this was an immediate win for him. I love that the features and games on it adapt to his age as he gets older. For instance right now on Stage 1 he does little prompts with animal sounds and noises. Stage 2 has more Q & A prompts with pointing out numbers and shapes, and the third stage encourages imaginative play.

Toys like each of these are fun in different ways, and sure to keep their interest for a while.

5. Capture the Moment
preview Jayda turns 1 253_edited-1

Birthday Card 1

With each of my kiddos I wanted a whole photoshoot to celebrate reaching their first birthday. For Lil’ J we had a cake smash photoshoot, and for Big T, we set up a photobooth that went with the theme of his party. During the party you may want to hand your camera over to a friend so you can focus on enjoying the party yourself. You don’t have to go all out, taking some pictures as he or she dives into for some birthday cake may be all you want. But please, please don’t forget to get a shot of you with the birthday child. I am still so upset that I forgot to get a family shot of us together on Big T’s birthday.


Did I miss anything? Do you have tips for planning a first birthday party? Let me know what you think in the comments. Everyone who comments before November 22nd will be entered to win a Fisher-Price Smart Stages Chair like the one I mentioned above.

Good Luck!

Tips for PlanningFP insiders logo



This post was sponsored by Fisher-Price as a part of a multi-month partnership bringing my tips to you. However all opinions and typos are my own.

5 Child Development Lessons: Things I wish I had known when I first became a mom.

It feels like just yesterday I was here on my blog asking advice about when to have a baby—Wondering if I should wait a few more years or just dive in. I can’t believe six years of blogging has gone by. Now I’m asking advice about things like homeschooling and Disney trips, and I’m able to give a little advice in return about things I’ve learned along the way.

I’m no expert, and really, I think each mom is an expert with her own child. I know I’ve learned the hard way that every child is different. I expected my second child to come out much like the first, but aside from their good looks, they’re very different.

I’ve learned a few other lessons the hard way and I’m going to share them with you and hopefully spare some greener parents some of the trouble I’ve experienced.

1. Every Child Learns, But They All Learn Differently and at Different Paces

I had a bias in believing first born children are superior. I’m the oldest, my husband is the oldest. We’re both awesome. My daughter is awesome. Then I had a second child and my second baby has been just as splendid as the first. Yet, there are still times I wondered if her first-child genes give her an advantage. For instance, I have a video of her saying many of the words she knew at 19 months, here it is so you can witness it yourself: (excuse my wrong-angled iPhone video, this was before I wised up).

Big T is almost 19 months and while he can say a handful of things, they are different things, and probably not as many as Lil’ J could say. Now that I think about it, to be fair, I think I’ll record one with him soon.

5 Child Development Lessons: Things I wish I had known when I first became a mom.

5 Child Development Lessons: Things I wish I had known when I first became a mom.
The thing is, comparing one child to the next, isn’t entirely beneficial. My son may not be as verbal as my daughter was at his age, but he’s developing faster in other ways. He can climb ladders (I don’t recommend you typically allowing this), throw things right into the middle of my forehead from a distance, lock doors, flush random objects down the toilet, and climb into the bathroom sink all by himself. All sorts of things Lil’ J wasn’t interested in at his age.

Big T is what I like to call an inquisitive toddler, who is very interested in cause-and-effect kinds of scenarios. ‘Hey, if I throw this piece of food, Snoop will come and get it!’ type of thing.


5 Child Development Lessons: Things I wish I had known when I first became a mom.

I interviewed Dr. Deborah Weber, Head of Child Development at Fisher-Price about babies and their development and she told me children may develop skills faster or slower than others and still be growing just fine. “What’s reassuring is that children develop at their own pace and reach milestones at different times,” she said. She said even her daughter is a classic example because she never crawled, but just scooted. While she was the last baby to walk in her group of friends, she still learned how to walk, just at her own pace.

I’ve learned to let go of the major milestones and realized my kids are ok. I’m doing ok!

2. Pay Attention. No Really… Pay Attention. They’re Learning More Than We Know

While I’m over here worrying about my son picking up on new words I’m trying to teach him, I’m missing new things he’s trying to teach me.

5 Child Development Lessons: Things I wish I had known when I first became a mom.

My mom and sister moved to Austin earlier this summer. He LOVES Grannie. Well one day when we’re at home he keeps saying my name “MOM… MOM… MOMMIE!!” I kept answering him “Yes… Yes?… YES?” Trying to figure out what he was asking for. It wasn’t until my mom came over later that evening that I realized he wasn’t saying “Mommy” but “Mahee” …His way of saying “Grannie.”

Now when he sees her van, or we drive by her house, or if he sees anything that reminds him of her he’ll say “Mahee” and I know what he means. He’ll even take me around the street to a house that has a front door that looks a lot like my moms. He’ll walk right up and before I can catch him, knock on it. Now I’ve recognized that he’s just trying to get to grandma’s house, and quite frankly, I’m pretty impressed that he can put it all together.

Dr. Weber says these are the type of moments that help you realize your child is learning. “You’ll know that your child has learned a concept when they cannot only show you something on a toy, but also in the world around them.”

5 Child Development Lessons: Things I wish I had known when I first became a mom.
3. My Child, is a Playground Bully

My son isn’t really a bully per say, but I’ve recently noticed he doesn’t really like to share. When my daughter would stand and give an incredulous look if another kid took a toy from her, my son will get an angry cry, and probably try to snatch it back. I’ve only ever heard him say the word “no” when talking to another child encroaching on “his” playthings.

5 Child Development Lessons: Things I wish I had known when I first became a mom.

This week on our neighborhood playground he started to shove a little girl (bigger than him) who was trying to climb up with him. I immediately removed him from the situation and explained (as best as I can to this little guy) that we’ve gotta share. Apparently we still need practice in this department.

“Taking turns talking and singing into the toys, then encouraging trading toys is a fun way to introduce sharing at playtime,” Dr. Weber told me. “As you play with your toddler you’ll find that natural opportunities for teaching social skills simply appear.”

Needless to say, we’ll be adding in some pretend-play involving plenty of sharing scenarios.

4. Learning Can (and Should Be) Fun

Earlier this year I agonized over which pre-school to enroll Lil’ J in. I toured a few and ultimately decided on one where she’d go part-time and get to exercise, play and learn at the same time.

My kids will have 18+ years to sit in a classroom or lecture hall and learn the boring way. Right now it’s about having fun, plus it’s legit. Children learn best in this playful environment. “The more children play, the more they learn,” Dr. Weber said. “They find out about themselves and about the world they live in, in the most natural way.”

5 Child Development Lessons: Things I wish I had known when I first became a mom.

5 Child Development Lessons: Things I wish I had known when I first became a mom.

5. Basically, Just Have Fun With It

When I sit down with Lil’ J and practice reading books, she’s likely to get bored fairly quickly. But when I make it a game with her wooden letter blocks or we role-play with her dolls, she’s all in. When we play “I Spy” we look for things that start with a letter or sound.

My son loves learning through music, motions, and dancing. If I sing “head, shoulders, knees and toes” he’ll get into learning about his body parts. The little Laugh and Learn table we have that sings a “Hello, Bye Bye” song is what finally got him to say and wave bye bye.

“Providing a well-rounded toy box gives you a variety of ways to encourage development of different skills,” Dr. Weber said. “You’ll help your child get ready for school-and for life. With help from you—giving plenty of hugs and positive responses to encourage learning along the way.”

We have balls, blocks, cars and trains; play kitchens, dolls and books, all good for different lessons and loads of fun.

5 Child Development Lessons: Things I wish I had known when I first became a mom.

What lessons have you learned as your child has gotten older? Leave a comment then click the Rafflecopter button and you’ll be entered to win a Fisher-Price Smart Stages Train. My son loves it because it moves, plays music, and he can set it up and drive it off of things. Watch this video featuring a super adorable little boy you may recognize playing with the fun toy you can win.

5 Child Development Lessons: Things I wish I had known when I first became a mom.
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A big thanks to Fisher-Price for letting me pick Deborah’s brain about what all the fuss is about with baby toys, and for reminding me I’m doing an OK job as a mom. I’m honored to be an FPInsider working with the company for the next several months sharing what parenting lessons I’ve learned (and am still learning). Join me in the conversation on Twitter or Facebook using the Hashtag #FPInsiders or just hit me up here. Opinions (and typos) are mine alone.FP insiders logo

Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget


I'm a part-time journalist, full-time wife and mother striving to make the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day.

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