Best iPhone Apps for Kids

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With iPhones being all the rage, it is no wonder that people are cashing in on apps for children. Nothing can calm an impatient child quicker then turning on his or her favorite game and allowing a nice respite for an overstimulated parent.

 

There are many apps for kids, but compiled here is a list of apps that are above the rest. Whether you want to give your kid that perfect birthday party (every day of the week), or letting them learn and play with shapes, there is one for your youngster.

 

In this list there are also games that you yourself might even appreciate including Cut the Rope and Plants vs. Zombies, among many others. Just be careful, because if you are overstimulated it might not be best to you hand them the phone so they can record their voice and play it back, such as in SmackTalk. The world is at your fingertips, take a breather and let the kiddo’s enjoy!

 

Best iPhone Apps for Kids

Introduce your Kids to Gardening

Kids Love Gardening

Kids Love Gardening (Photo credit: HiroshimaGab)

When kids are young, they want to help you with whatever you happen to be working on. This is a wonderful time to get them interested in gardening. Even very young children can help you plant some seeds and wait for them to grow, and it could start them on a lifelong love of gardening. This might also help you entice your child to eat their vegetables. Letting them help you cook something that they have grown themselves will usually temp them to at least try it. After the danger of frost has passed, sowing a few sunflower seeds outside is something that your kids will love. Not only are they beautiful and easy to grow, but after they are harvested, your child can share them with the birds. Starting some seeds in the house is also fun for kids. Sometimes seeing plants growing when the weather is still too cold to be outside, will help take the edge off of everyone’s spring fever. If you plant to start some seeds inside, tomatoes are probably the best way to go. Starting a tomato from seed takes very little time and effort, and is well worth it when you harvest those first tomatoes of the season.

To make sure that your child isn’t disappointed, make sure that you purchase fresh seeds from a reliable manufacturer. While you can use any sort of container that suits your needs, I prefer to purchase the multi-cell, indoor seed starters. They usually come with the growing medium included, so all you need to do is soak them overnight and plant your seeds according to the directions. You should plant your seeds anywhere from six to eight weeks before you plan to transplant them outdoors. If you plant them any earlier, they tend to either get spindly, or root-bound.

Waiting for them to germinate is the hardest part. You should keep your plants moist, but not soggy. There should always be a small amount of condensation on the inside of the lid. Choose a nice, sunny window for your nursery. Seedlings will need plenty of light and warmth to grow well.

Transplant them outdoors after the last danger of frost, and before long, you and your child will be harvesting ripe, juicy tomatoes that you’ve grown together.

Home Schooling and Interaction

Home SchoolingHome schooling has become more popular than ever before. Public schools are not always as safe, or as learning driven as they once were. Given the many different challenges that public school can present, the fact is that home schooling may be a way in which you can control the environment in which your child learns. It can also be a means to ensure that values which emulate your own are taught, as well as additional subject matter that you may feel is important.

Home schooling means a balancing act for most parents. Unless you hire a teacher full time into your home, you are doing a vast portion of the home schooling on your own. Balancing your own work or home efforts with the classroom needs of your child is something that may present challenges in its own right.

The Challenges of Home Schooling

Another challenge that is present in the home school environment is the need for interaction between children. There are various methods that you can use to ensure that your children who are being home schooled receive adequate interaction with other children and are socially well equipped to enter the work force and the adult world.

It is a fact that kids need to interact with other children. Their need to interact with peer groups is well documented. How can you accomplish this when your child is home schooled? To some parents or home school detractors, it seems like a difficult task.

How Do Your Find Means for Your Child to Interact With Other Children?

Realistically, it need not be hard. There are various social groups which are available for kids during the summer and even the fall months. In addition, there are recreational groups which take place through the school or in the summer months that will give your children interaction with others of their own age and interests.

Seek out any outside interests that your child may have. If they are interested in dance, then make it a point to enroll them in dance classes. If crafting or sports seem to be where their interests lie, then enrolling them in music lessons or in a baseball or softball team will help them to get the social interaction that they need and teach them at the same time the value of team sports.

In many areas, the home school is an extension of the school environment. Students who are taught at home are eligible to be enrolled in sporting teams from the school which they would attend if they were in public schools. In this way, the home schooled child is not penalized by not being able to play sports for their own area. Many different states are enacting ideas such as this to help the parents or teachers of home schooled children to attain viable social skills and give them the interaction they require for adequate social development.

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The First Day of Kindergarten-Milestones in Your Child’s Life

First Day of School Jitters – Be Prepared

The first day of school can be an amazing event for your child. In fact, it’s probably going to touch you fairly deeply as well. That first day of school for a child is magical, with new faces, new friends, and new routines. That means, it’s not only a wonderful time of learning new things, but it can be a stressful time as well.

Going to school means that for the first time, your child will be away from you for at least a half day, if not a full day of new adventures. Depending on the child, they will be eager and anticipatory, or rebellious and wanting to stay home. Even the most eager child will be slightly nervous at the thought of not having you where he or she most wants you to be.

You can help with the nerves and the concerns by working with your little ones up until that big day arrives. Your efforts will see them well prepared for the first day of school. Start at least a week before the big day arrives.

Take your child shopping and within reason, let them pick out their favorite outfit to wear to the first day of school. Select the pencils, crayons and other items they will need for kindergarten. In most cases, the school will offer a supplies list from which you may work. Have your child help you to assure that nothing is forgotten and make a day of it.

If you’ve not had a regular bed time, now is probably the time to get into that routine. Begin by waking your child up just a little earlier each morning and they will naturally be more tired in the evening, leading to an earlier bed time without the combat zones that may erupt if you’ve not taken these steps. Getting your child used to an early rising and an earlier bedtime will see them well rested for that big day.

At least one time prior to the opening day of school drive the route that your child’s bus will take, or walk with them over the route they will take to school. If your child will be walking to school, assure them that you will be with them the first day to make sure that they know their way to their classroom and other important things.

Once your child has had his or first day of school, discuss it with them. Offer some additional contact and fun that evening, perhaps even celebrating such a milestone in their life by taking them out to dinner or for ice cream. Make a tangible treat for them the first day or two so that school attendance is associated with a positive, nurturing environment at home after the day is over.

 

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Encouraging your Little One to Read

Reading is a skill that is often taken for granted. This is especially true in the technological age we live in. Children often do not take time to find out the wonders that can be found within a book. The skill of reading should be started early and it helps if the parents read with and to their kids. Some parents have their kids read to them because this encourages and helps them to develop their speed and skill in reading.

Kids who enjoy reading often start on books written about the types of things that they enjoy doing.  This will vary according to what each child likes but if reading is treated as a fun thing to do  they will be more interested in books. Turn off the computer and television to avoid distractions. Reading for fun and to learn information is necessary in today’s working world as well as school. The more kids read the better they will do in language and being able to express themselves adequately.

The chances  are good that if you read, your children will learn to read –and more importantly, to develop a love of reading and books. Encourage kids to use the library. Kids who show off their reading abilities and read to others will gain a lot from the experience. If there is an older relative who has trouble reading, have the child read to them or have the children write and read a family history or newsletter. Anything that can encourage them to read, such as games in the car with signs is also a great idea. If they have pets, get them a book about that type of pet. Hobbies are a good way to encourage reading.

If a young child has trouble or does not like to read, first check if there might be an underlying reason why. Does he or she need glasses? Are they dyslexic or just have trouble with the phonics and process of reading? There are many different ways to help with these problems if they are the cause. Just having a pair of glasses that enables them to clearly see the letters and words will be liberating for a child with eye problems. If you are driving them anywhere, play a word game and have them read signs hunting for certain words.

Most of the time if an adult they respect can spend time with a kid, reading to them or listening to them read, it will be a starting point in interest for a lifetime of learning and enjoyment. Show them how to use a dictionary instead of looking everything up on the Internet. This will help them to keep the skills sharp so that they will know how to find out the meanings of difficult words they come across when reading. Play games with words and use different words everyday and when they ask what it means explain or just hand them a dictionary. Getting your kids to read is not difficult, but like any worthwhile task it takes time, energy and imagination. So go grab your favorite book and spend some time reading with your kids.

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Trick or Treating Safety Tips

Trick or Treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat! Yep, that’s the saying I remember the most from my days of roaming neighborhoods to fill up my plastic pumpkin full of goodies and treats! Well, I’m sure I never thought about safety on Halloween as a child but now that I’m a parent the safety of my little ones is certainly at the top of my list!

I would love to take this opportunity to share a few trick or treating safety tips:

1. All of the little goblins should be accompanied by a responsible adult goblin. If you have a few older kids going along you may want to have them assist you in keeping a eye on the smaller children. I find that my older kids enjoy the responsibility.

2. Have each kid wear something that is reflective as well as something that lights up after dark. Glow in the dark necklaces, light up shoes, or something as simple as a flash light will work perfectly.

3.. Plan your routes in advance. Your children probably have already set the objective to get as many treats as possible so why not help them achieve this goal? Visit well lit subdivisions so that you can visit as many houses as possible in your time frame. Also, keep in mind that some towns have curfews in place on Halloween night.

4.. Charge your cell phone. If your children have a phone make sure it’s charged as well.

5. This will probably make you the bad guy, but always instruct your kids to refrain from eating any of their treats until they are inspected by YOU!

6. When picking out a costume for your little one you want to try and stay away from capes that may drag the ground behind them. If there is a mask with the costume make sure the mask doesn’t restrict their visibility or breathing. Make sure that your childs shoes fit, you don’t want them coming off during this experience and falling behind the pack.

7. Most importantly, only trick or treat at houses who have a jack o lantern lit outside or who have their lights on. If a house has all of their lights turned off then it’s usually a sign that they don’t want to be bothered.

Tiny tinkerbells and small superheroes are all looking forward to Halloween this year not only because they get to dress up in costumes but also because of the treats! As a parent, you might even want to dress up yourself! Just remember it’s your job as a parent to make your child’s halloween a memorable event but also to make their trick or treating experience as safe as possible.

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Happy Crib

Once you bring home the crib, it is hard to resist decorating it for your soon-to-arrive baby. Most people enjoy shopping for crib sets that match the overall decorative theme or color scheme of the baby’s nursery, but it’s important to know which items can actually go in the crib and which ones may present a safety issue. More importantly, how do you set up the crib so it is comfortable for your newborn?

For starters, when you first bring home an infant they are not going to care much about what you have sitting in the crib. The extent of their concerns is being dry, well fed, warm, and comfortable. There are three things that will ensure the crib is comfortable enough without being a danger: the mattress, the blankets, and their clothing.

So many people just walk into a nearby store and pick up a crib mattress without realizing that there are actually different types. You have to make sure the size is right so the mattress hugs closely to the crib and avoid rounded corners. A round corner leaves a small hole in the corners where an arm or leg could easily get caught.

There are also different types of crib mattresses these days, such as latex or memory foam. What matters most for an infant is a firm surface where they have some cushioning while still having adequate body support. They can’t support themselves very well in the beginning, so this is very important.

It is tempting to pile on the blankets, stuffed animals, and other comfort items, but those things should be removed when you lay your infant down to sleep. Stuffed animals could be a safety hazard once your baby starts to roll around and many professionals now believe blankets have no place in the crib at all. The best way to make sure your infant stays warm is to use a blanket sleeper over their pajamas and make sure the temperature in the room is kept warm. This way, they only need one very light blanket or none at all.

For an infant, what you put on them is even more important than blankets and toys. Make sure their diaper is dry and their clothing is soft and dry. Make sure they are dressed warm, but not so warm they will overheat or become agitated. New parents may have to keep an eye on their baby at first to judge how much clothing is appropriate. As they get older they will be more interested in the play items that strap to the side of the crib (especially mirrors) and possibly a mobile, given it does not dangle down where the baby could get caught up in it.

On a final note, what do you do if none of these precautions work? What if your baby simply won’t go to sleep? There is a lot of controversy over whether parents should sleep in the same bed with an infant, but for safety and practical reasons it is best not to do so. The chances of rolling over on a small infant are always present, especially when you are an exhausted new parent. Also, it is hard to break a child from sleeping with a parent so they will sleep on their own when they are older. Try training your infant to sleep in their crib, using a rocking chair or pacing the room with them and then gently laying them down.

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