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  • Tip for Entertaining the Kids

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    Parent Hacks offers this great tip for occupying the kids for a while: Dump out the entire toy box and let your kids rediscover some forgotten toys.

    We do this all the time. I buy large boxes of diapers, and we save the empty boxes and store a majority of the toys in them. We leave out only our oldest son’s current favorites, but he sometimes goes to the boxes and asked to go through them. This system keeps our house looking somewhat neat, makes it a lot easier to clean up, and provides easy entertainment.

    Some Potty Training Tips

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    We’re really earning our potty training stripes right now, so I have a couple more tips:

    • Those expensive potty wipes for kids are worth considering. I used to think the companies were trying to brain wash parents into spending more money, and they definitely aren’t necessary if money is tight. And if I had a daughter, I’d probably use regular toilet paper on her after she peed. But after a poop, the wipes make cleaning a little easier and I worry less about possibly hurting my child. And anything that makes the experience a little easier is worth it to me.
    • Take those bathroom rugs out. Especially if you have a boy, but probably even if you have a girl. Before we removed ours, the rugs in both bathrooms got peed on. And there was a close call with a bit of residual poop that fortunately landed on the linoleum instead of the rug. I figure I’ll be able to have rugs in my bathrooms again in, oh, three or four years.
    • It is not easy putting a diaper on a child while he’s standing up. We didn’t think we were quite ready for pull ups, so we didn’t use them. But then we had a couple of leaky diapers due to faulty fastening, all because of the difficulty in putting a diaper on a standing child. So our new strategy is to use pull ups if we’re out of the house, so that it’s a little easier to use the potty. But we still use regular diapers at home.

    Keeping Your Child Safe in a Parking Lot

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    Parent Hacks offers two ways to keep your child safe in a parking lot while putting groceries away: (1) play “assume the position,” i.e., have your child stand with his hands on the car and legs spread as if he were about to be searched; or (2) strap your child into his car seat before putting the groceries in the car.

    Personally, I prefer to keep Alex in the shopping cart while I put the groceries away, but maybe that doesn’t work as well with an older child. I also tend to carry Alex in parking lots if we’re not using a shopping cart. As to parking lots in general, I have a friend whose two-year-old tended to take off until she was so vehement about the necessity of holding hands that it’s the one place where he knows it’s absolutely non-negotiable and never puts up a fight.

    What do you do?

    Great Tip for Photographing a Baby Who Won’t Stay Still

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    The Practical Archivist has a great suggestion (along with a classic example) for getting that photo (sorry this one’s too late for Mother’s Day but it’ll work for Father’s Day!): disguise the mother as a chair.

    Via Parent Hacks.

    Parenting Tip: Try Those Free Classes

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    In my area, there are several Gymboree knock-offs, as well as a real Gymboree location. Earlier this week, my son and I attended a free trial class at My Gym, which claims to be “The Worldwide Leader In Children’s Fitness.” The class was for “Waddlers,” or crawling and newly walking babies.

    It started with a “warm-up” in which parents moved the babies’ arms and legs. Most of the 45-minute session was unstructured, so the babies could do what they wanted. At various points in the class, the instructors set up apparatus for swinging, balancing and rolling. The babies were also free to climb on the various mats, jump on the trampoline, or play with any available toy.

    I thought my son would love it because there would be a huge room for him explore and things to climb on, but he surprised me by not really enjoying it much at all. We had a similar experience with Kindermusik as well.

    Obviously, as parents we want to encourage our children to grow and learn and develop, but I’m finding that the growth and development seems to happen at each individual baby’s pace, regardless of whether the baby’s in daycare, spends all day with mommy, or attends various classes. I think that when he’s older, my son might actually enjoy a class like My Gym … but then again, maybe not.

    Every place I’ve called offers a one-time free session, so before you spend money on a series of classes, attend a trial class to see if your child really enjoys it.