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Toddler - Week #56

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One year and week 4: Let's Explore the Ocean Floor!

By Jodi L. Kelley, edHelperBaby

           Your 56-week-old baby most likely loves the bathtub. Evan definitely loves to be in the water. He is better at sitting in the tub now, and no longer uses the tub ring. A few weeks ago we tried baths without the ring, and he would not sit. He kept trying to walk in the bathtub! Now, he is not trying to stand in the tub, but he does enjoy the freedom to swim around and play with toys. He has also learned to float a little on his back in the pool. We have gone in the pool at the local gym often to get him used to the water. He can get dunked quickly and hold his breath. He can kick his feet when I hold my hand under his tummy, and he now can float on his back with very little support.


Creating Good Readers:
           Good readers love to read everywhere! You should try to work books into as many parts of your routine as possible. For instance, while in the highchair waiting for breakfast, let your child look at a book. Of course, a book is a vital part of a good bedtime routine. Have you ever thought of letting your baby explore a book in the bathtub? There are many books for babies that are made of materials which will not be ruined by water. Try thinking of as many ways as you can to get your child interested in books. Most babies will think books are as fun as toys if they are always available.


Book of the Week:
            Commotion in the Ocean

       By: Giles Andreae       

       This is a fun book! It has brightly colored illustrations that will attract any young child's attention. The pages are filled with enjoyable rhyming text that almost feels as though it should be sung. On each page you are introduced to a new marine creature with a wonderful short poem. Some of the vocabulary is more sophisticated than a young child will be accustomed to, but it will allow your young child's vocabulary to grow. There are penguins and polar bears featured in the book as well, which some criticize because they are not ocean creatures per se. But young children love these animals and still will enjoy the book. If you are a beach family, you will love this amusing book!


           There are many ocean activities to do with a young child! An art activity that can be fun involves hand painting to create your own octopus. Paint your child's hands with a bright pink color and press them on a sheet of construction paper allowing the palm prints and thumbprints to overlap. Cut it out and turn it upside down with the fingers pointing downward. Now add eyes on the palms. Give your child a bingo marker so he can makes spots on his octopus.       

       Another fun thing to make is an under- the- sea texture bag. This is for you to make and baby to explore after it is created. Take a heavy duty plastic zipper bag and add blue gelatin (some instructions for this project will tell you to use blue gel toothpaste or blue hair gel; I like the idea of using blue gelatin in case it breaks open.) Now add under sea creatures into the bag. You can use gummy fish, real shells (little ones), seaweed, and whatever else you can imagine. Be sure to seal it well and even add a bead of superglue in the seal to be completely certain it will not leak. Now allow your child to play with the bag. He will love the texture of the gelatin as it squishes around in the bag.       

       Also, if you have a sandbox, you can bring the ocean theme to it as well. You can add shells into the box and allow your child to dig for them. You can also blow up small balloons (only half-way) and draw on them to look like fish-just add eyes and scales. Put these in your water table or a tub of water (still have that baby bathtub lying around with no use?) and get a small net. Let your baby try to fish the balloons out gently. If that fishing activity does not suit you, there are fishing games you can purchase. Most of these operate with a magnetic fishing pole and magnetic fish.


Rhyme Time:
           There are so many rhymes and songs to use during an ocean-themed week. You can sing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" with baby. Raffi, an enjoyable children's musician, has a wonderful song called "Baby Beluga" which is about a whale swimming in the deep blue sea. Or change your common songs to be about the ocean this week. For instance, instead of  "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" sing the same tune but use these lyrics that I made up:

        Twinkle, twinkle little fish-star

       How I wonder where you are

       On the floor of the deep blue sea

       Will you crawl over to me?

       Twinkle, twinkle little fish-star

       How I wonder where you are 


Evan's Opinion:
           This book belongs to my four-year-old daughter, Alice, who seems to enjoy it a little more than Evan. He likes the colors in the book and is drawn to the pictures, but it is a little too long for him to sit through all at once. Alice likes to hear the whole book in one sitting, so it makes it harder for me to stop and start in different places for Evan. However, it is a book with pages that can stand alone. In other words, each poem does not necessarily need the poem on the page before or after it.       

       The art activity was more enjoyable for Evan. He loves to get his hands and/or feet painted. Bingo markers are a fun way for him and Alice to paint without getting very messy. Of course, his octopus was not perfect and was nearly completely covered in ink instead of just spotted-but he had fun in the process!       

       The jello squish bag is a little messy to make and a little nerve wracking. I spent the entire time thinking it was going to break open and make more of a mess than I did putting it together. Alice enjoyed eating the blue jello and Swedish fish more than playing with her bag. This made Evan a little mad since I didn't give him any to eat. Therefore, he wasn't very gentle with his bag. I think he wanted it to open so he could eat it after seeing Alice eat it.       

       Evan loves the beach and the pool. The beach is fun for sand activities-but is a lot of work and preparation. In the pool, the balloon fish are fun. We used the skimmer to try to scoop them up. It was a little tough for Evan to operate, and I did have to be vigilant so as to not get whacked on the head with it! Alice loves those magnetic fishing games. For her, since she is older, we can make it more educational. She fishes for magnetic letters to see if she can catch the letters to spell her name.


You're probably wondering.....
           Question: "Is it a good idea to teach a baby to swim?"       

       There are opposing views to answering this question. We own a pool, so I feel like it is very necessary for Evan to be comfortable with the water. I felt like it was a must for him to understand how to hold his breath under the water. I did this by counting to three and blowing in his face. When he gasps for a breath, I dunk him quick. He is held very snuggly so that he does not get scared. It is scary at first, but after a few times, Evan seemed to know I was not going to let go of him and I was not going to leave him under for more than a second. I also acquainted him with the edge of the pool. I take him over to the edge and have him hold on. I never let go of him, but I do try to make it so that he feels the edge is supporting him entirely. As I said earlier, we have also mastered kicking the feet and are also working on being able to float on his back. Some people feel it is not a good idea to teach babies these skills. Most of the time, their opposing view is based on the idea that parents will not be as cautious with their child around water. Water is one of the most dangerous things for a baby. Drowning accidents account for too many infant deaths. Whether you decide to do any swim training on your own or with a professional, there are safety tips you should always adhere to regarding the water. Of course, you should never leave a baby unattended in or near any water-a pool, a bathtub, or even a bucket. Do not leave even for a second. Just answering the phone can result in the death of a child. At thirteen months it feels like baby is better able to sit in the tub which makes it more tempting to run to answer that phone; but it just is not worth the risk! You also should not put a child in the pool without you. Do not put a child in a floating device and think it is safe for you to be outside of the pool. You should go into the water with the child so that your full attention is on the safe enjoyment of the water. Often people think someone else is watching a floating baby. Mommy thinks Daddy is watching-but he thinks she is attending and an accident happens. Babies can tip in those floats and not be seen. Even a swim-trained baby will not be able to float on his back if he has flipped in a float. It is safer for you to be in the pool with the baby. After all, the swim should be about having fun- together! Making this decision is a very personal one for your family and should be given a great deal of thought. But whatever you choose, always practice safety around water!


Fun in the Tub
By Nicole E Nappi, edHelperBaby

         At this age, most babies really enjoy bath time. Although this can be a fun and exciting time, it is extremely important that bath time be taken seriously. The tub should be as baby proof as the rest of your home. Be sure to have a faucet cover on at all times when your child is in the tub.  These covers come in all sorts of fun shapes such as rubber ducks, dolphins, whales and other sea creatures. They are really cute and can be a source of entertainment for your child as well as a safety precaution.  If your baby no longer uses a bath seat or ring, you should be sure to have a nonskid mat in the bath or better yet use an inflatable bath that fits inside your tub.  Inflatable baths are great because it keeps your child far enough from the sides of the tub that he or she will not easily bang their head yet it allows them the freedom of swimming, sitting or laying in the bath like a big kid. There is plenty of room for toys in an inflatable bath as well. It is easily cleaned and can be kept inflated in a closet or standing up in the tub. The cost for most of these inflatable bath tubs is anywhere from $10.00-$25.00.

Exploring We Shall Go
By Gabrielle Browne, edHelperBaby

           Your toddler loves to explore. Anywhere, anytime, his main goal is probably to find out what is going on. Parents can aid this time of exploration by providing safe places to roam. Obviously, child-proofing the house is a given but leaving safe yet new items out for tiny hands to grasp helps in his or her learning.       

       Most toys are plastic but parents can provide household items like pots, wooden spoons, pot holders, silverware or anything that would normally not be in a toy box. These new, everyday objects give your toddler a chance to be creative and explore new shapes, textures and uses of items.


Try Cloth Diapers on for Size
By Nicole E Nappi, About my child Austin

         When I first had my son, Austin, the thought of cloth diapers repulsed me. Infants dirty so many diapers each day, especially those infants who are breastfed. Their little systems are nonstop. When Austin got a bit older, he developed more of a "potty schedule" and now that he drinks milk and eats table foods he is pretty much like clockwork. I decided that this would be a great time to try cloth diapers. Yes, it is more work but think about the benefits such as fewer diapers in our landfills and more money in your pocket! A box of Huggies diapers containing 168 size 3 diapers costs $39.99 before tax on www.diapers.com. This is a great deal, but if your child uses about eight diapers each day for roughly two and half years the cost is nearly $2,000.00! I bought Austin five BumGenius all in one, one size fits all (7-35 lbs. adjustable) cloth diapers for $80.00 on www.amazon.com. They are so soft. You can tell that Austin loves the feel. They fit great as well. We have not had any leaks. I was worried about how well they would wash but they came out spotless. I was amazed! I started with five to make sure that I liked them.  I plan on buying another five today. They are a fantastic investment.

New Routines, Interrupted
By Gabrielle Browne, About my child Nate

           This week allowed Nate the chance to be very flexible. We had just begun using one sitter when she went on a planned family vacation for the week. Luckily, Mom did not have to stay home because we found a former student to watch him for the week. She could not watch him all five days so Nate bounced from her to another friend to yet another caregiver. In five days, he had three different babysitter experiences. Through it all, he showed amazing ability to be flexible to new situations. I think the fact that Mom and Dad were calm in the midst of new arrangements helped keep Nate calm, too. Next week, we are back to our "old" routine!


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