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New Year, New Start

I know for me and my household, we love starting fresh for the New Year. New goals, new attitude and the excitement of what the new year will bring. Sometimes, the start of a new year means the beginning of new healthy habits…such as setting BIG goals or healthier eating and exercising. This year, having a new baby in the house and having fallen off of the bandwagon with healthy eating, I want to incorporate a “clean eating” habit into our new year goals. This means eliminating anything processed such as lunch meats, cheeses, chips, etc. Instead, my plan is to make all of those things from scratch. Sounds awful and time consuming right?!? —————–>>>>>>>>>WRONG!

Creating heathy habits can be tricky in the beginning because you are adapting to something new and that can be quite overwhelming. BUT, once new habits have been instilled, that is exactly what they become…habits. If you know anything about habits, you know that they come pretty quickly and easy once they are established. So by putting in the extra time and dedication to creating the habit, you are also making that habit easy to follow…so eating clean shouldn’t be that difficult after the initial month of adjusting.

I have included a list of tips to get “clean eating” underway in your household if that is something that interests you. The reason I chose clean eating is because I 100% believe that how we feel is determined by what we place into our mouths. Our food can either help our health or destroy it (along with exercise of course). Teaching my girls healthy habits at a young age is something I deem important and at the top of my parenting list…along with many other things of course.

  • Get rid of all “precessed” foods in the house (processed is anything bought and not in its original state)
  • Shop the perimeter of the store…avoiding the middle aisles where processed foods are kept
  • Stick to fresh over canned … canned foods are typically very high in sodium and never compare to the raw and fresh
  • Write our your grocery list ahead of time and STICK TO IT.
  • Each morning tell yourself the menu (OUT LOUD)…this will help you stay the course
  • Journal everything you eat or plan on eating for the day to help you stay on track
  • Meal prep for the week on Sunday and again on Wednesday/Thursday to lessen the work load

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The Facts On Becoming Babywise

I know for me and my household, getting the baby to sleep through the night as early as possible is KEY to everyone being happy and content on a daily basis. That being said, I have incorporated the book On Becoming Babywise into my parenting style. For the first 2 kiddos, it worked like a charm and they were both sleeping through the night no later than 9 weeks. You heard me right…no later than 9 weeks!!! It was FANTASTIC! It takes work and dedication but by following the “rules” laid out for you, you too can have a sleeping baby in no time. With my third, we are starting the implementation process this week and I plan on documenting how it goes throughout the sleeping journey.

Sometimes when we start something new, it’s difficult to know where exactly to begin and what exactly to expect. After reading On Becoming Babywise, my husband and I knew we wanted to sleep-train using Babywise, but translating written content into real life application involves a learning curve. I wanted to give you a run-down of what this process looks like.

1. Mentally prepare before the baby is born.

As a basic first step, read On Becoming Babywise as a couple and then talk about it together. When both parents are on board, everything runs more smoothly. Here are a few things I try to remind myself, when sleep-training…

  • Babies will likely start sleeping longer stretches around 3-4 months.
  • Troubleshooting at various points throughout the process is normal!
  • Stay committed! You will see results!
  • It is always okay to make modifications!
  • Set the foundation! It will have positive lasting effects in the future months and years to come!

2. Start the basics at birth.

If you need to get acclimated for a few weeks before starting the basics that is 100% okay. Don’t stress! I was a nervous, anxious wreck that I wasn’t doing everything right from the beginning. It was a total waste of energy. The first few weeks won’t make or break the future. Start as soon as you mentally feel ready.

Set a morning wake up time and a bedtime. We want to set the baby’s internal clock to encourage consistent night time sleep. It’s most common to see a 7 am wake time and a 7 pm bedtime. In a newborn, you may have a slightly later bedtime for a short while to help fit in enough feedings. After a few months, bedtime can usually be moved to an earlier time.

Create a basic routine for your day. Using the wake, eat, sleep cycle, fill in your approximate times for feedings and naps. In the beginning we are all likely on an approximate 2.5 hour to 3 hour schedule. If you set a wake time and a bedtime, it’s easy to fill in the middle.

Start a pre-sleep ritual. A 5 minute pre-nap routine and a 30 minute before-bedtime routine is simple, practical and easy to use. A pre-nap ritual could include swaddling the baby, sitting for a bit, singing a short song, and saying your sleepy words (e.g. I love you. I hope you have a good sleep, and I will see you when you wake up). A before-bedtime routine could include a bath, soft music, reading a short story, nursing the baby, and saying your sleepy words. Do what works for you.

Don’t let naps get too long. Sleeping too long of a stretch during the day can rob nighttime sleep. Limit naps to approximately 2 hours during the day. If the baby sleeps past the two hour mark, it is absolutely okay to wake a sleeping baby. If you feel the baby truly needs longer naps, feel free to make adjustments and increase the nap limit to 2.5 hours.

Swaddle. From birth to about age four to five months, a baby possesses the startle reflex, in which the baby actually feels as if he is falling. The sensation of falling causes jerking movements, and the baby will inadvertently wake up. Keeping a tight swaddle prevents babies from startling awake, helping the baby sleep both better and longer.

Create a good sleep environment. Dimming the room by closing the blinds or curtains is great a great place to start. Using a small fan or white noise machine in the room is also helpful if your baby struggles to sleep through noise.

Encourage full feedings. When the baby eats a full meal, it will be easier to make it to the next feeding time. It is also easier for the baby to complete a full nap without waking early due to hunger.

Dreamfeed. Before going to bed, we can pick the baby up without really waking him and give an additional feeding. The dream feed helps prevent the baby from waking up shortly after we moms go to sleep.

3. Start laying the baby down awake…

When you lay the baby down awake, there will likely be some crying involved. Crying should be in no way extreme or long in duration. If your baby is struggling to fall asleep on his own, reassurance and support from mom or dad is really important. Allowing your baby to become very drowsy, yet slightly awake can really help with this process. If your baby is fussing for a long time, it can frequently be attributed to overtired or over-stimulation but there are many other disruptions that may be the culprit.

It is common for Babywise parents to start somewhere in the birth to 2 month window. It isn’t necessary to choose before the baby is born; it’s okay to get to know the baby and start when you instinctively think it is best. We started at age 3.5 weeks.

Lay the baby down for a nap after meeting all of the baby’s needs (fed, changed, etc) and the baby has been awake for a bit and the baby is showing sleepy cues (i.e. a yawn, a fuss, or an eye rub). When my daughter was getting close to a nap, I would keep stimulation to a minimum. Sometimes I would just walk her around the house for a bit and hum softly.

Then I would take her to her room, close the curtains, place her in her sleep sack or swaddle, turn on the white noise, and hold her for a few minutes. Next, I would say her Sleepy Words…something like ‘I love you. I hope you have a good sleep. I’ll see you when you wake up.’ Then we would pray.

And finally, I would lay her down. On average, she would fuss from 0-10 minutes. Of course, some days she didn’t fuss at all and some days she fussed for longer. We stayed very, very consistent. And by 3 months there was no fussing before naps or bedtime at all, unless something was off such as travel or overtired or overstimulated.

You can also try ‘shush-pat’: I originally tried ‘Shush-pat’ method from the Baby Whisperer book. After preparing the baby for sleep, you can make a gentle shushing sound and pat your baby’s back while you are holding him. Then lay your baby down drowsy, but awake and continue shushing and pat his side or chest until he falls asleep. This is a great method to help your baby get used the crib.

4. Consistency is key.

This is so important. I stayed home for a few short weeks once I started to set the foundation and provide my daughter the opportunity to get the hang of it very quickly. This also prevents the baby from falling asleep in your arms or the car when you are out, allowing us to stay on schedule at least until the foundation is set. After the initial two week period, I got a little more adventurous with leaving the house. We can’t stay inside forever, right?!

Beginning to sleep-train using Babywise does involve some work, but the fruits of your labor will undoubtedly pay off. She started sleeping 10+ hours through the night at around two and a half months, which at the time, was a much welcomed change. I hemmed and hawed for a little while about letting go of the night feedings. All babies will regress at some point (i.e. teething, growth spurts, and beyond), and you will be awake during the night feeding the baby once again. In the meantime, it’s okay to give yourself permission to get some much needed rest.




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Breastfeeding…It’s What’s for Dinner!

Prior to giving birth to my third daughter, I had made the decision to attempt breast feeding once again. In the past, breastfeeding came very “UN-naturally” to me and by the third month of my first and second daughter’s life, my milk supply had all but diminished. I found breastfeeding frustrating, painful, and difficult. I truly believe my attitude around breastfeeding is what either made my experience a success or a failure. So this time around I have made it my mission to embrace the messy, focus on keeping it simple, and feed this baby like my life depended on it…or die trying.

As I approached the birth of my first daughter back in 2012, I had taken every online Lamaze class, read every “welcoming baby” article, watched every video tutorial on breastfeeding, etc. I WAS PREPARED…HAHA!!! You are NEVER prepared for the unknown and I QUICKLY found that out. What I found to be the best resource was other moms who had “been there done that!” I sought advice, help and of course a shoulder to cry on…because being a mommy is a tough job.

My first two daughters were born with Hypotonia (low muscle tone) and latching to the breast was tricky for them seeing they had very loose and low tone muscles. It affected the way they were able to latch onto me and draw the milk so that I could produce an ample supply. This third baby seems to have gotten the hang of things and her latch has been spot on since day one. It has always been a dream to breastfeed my children and I finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. I know that feeding your baby right is of utmost importance and the best way to do that is the natural way…breastfeeding. For some, this task is easy and comes naturally, paving the way to feeding success. For others, the task is painful and frustrating, causing many to “quit” early and resort to formula. I have found that support is the key to sticking with it and becoming successful when things don’t come “naturally.”

Some sites that were helpful to me (and supportive) when I was trying to figure the whole breastfeeding thing out were the following. Feel free to leave a comment below with your favorite lactation site.

  1. https://www.lansinoh.com/?gclid=CjwKCAiAx57RBRBkEiwA8yZdUA-m3NGab7dCwh8btmp4q8c__Sl46g-MvP5ns0NGohFoOze3h4f0kBoCBc4QAvD_BwE
  2. https://www.thebump.com/a/breastfeeding-tips
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/breast-feeding/art-20047138
  4. https://familydoctor.org/breastfeeding-hints-to-help-you-get-off-to-a-good-start/
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The Days Before Delivering Your Little One

Stuck, Trapped, Inevitable, Worrisome, Excited, Nervous…

It seems that the days before giving birth to a new little addition to the family can cause some pretty intense feelings…and as you can see from my personal list, the feelings aren’t always positive. In fact, I feel like this subject isn’t talked about as much as it should be. I know when I was feeling this way with my first born before giving birth, I felt guilty admitting I felt this way.

What would others think of me?

Does this mean I am not excited to have a family?

Am I alone with these thoughts?

As a first time momma, I wish the “seasoned” mother would have given me the advice I needed…such as:

These feelings are “normal,” Others have felt the same thing, the feelings shall pass and if they don’t, then you can worry…

Having a baby, raging hormones, and the inevitable change to life as you have always known it can be a bit overwhelming. Knowing that there are support systems out there, other mommas ready to help, and just an overall feeling that your thoughts are “normal” can truly make it a much easier, healthier transition to motherhood. I have attached some websites that I feel are beneficial to coping mechanisms when struggling with a bit of “depression.” These are sites that I have sought out, taken advice from and feel confident you too can utilize them for your own benefit.

  1. http://www.ppdil.org/2015/04/postpartum-anxiety-or-normal-new-mom-fears/?gclid=Cj0KCQiA_5_QBRC9ARIsADVww17iq4Q2C-_uYQ4_-LQHgElI37o0D5-lg_-9oysQzaUR2RoEluw9pE8aAgvTEALw_wcB
  2. http://www.marieclaire.com/health-fitness/a4591/pregnant-depressed/
  3. http://www.postpartum.net/learn-more/anxiety-during-pregnancy-postpartum/
  4. https://www.focusonthefamily.com/family-q-and-a/parenting/depression-during-a-pregnancy?gclid=Cj0KCQiA_5_QBRC9ARIsADVww17vkPVypofzEnmB7LsO-9Em36LIuRgCqnrc2sNAQaRDkytA_UI_rt0aAglAEALw_wcB


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Fire Safety…It’s a Must!

Have you ever heard of “Safety City?” It is a week long summer camp many cities offer to teach kids road safety and fire safety. The program is detailed, aggressive with content and effective. My 5 year old daughter attended this past summer (it is a program for children entering kindergarten) and to this day still sings the songs and jingles they taught the kids.

Fire safety is one of those topics I can be pretty strict about. Checking your fire alarms consistently, practicing what to do in case of a fire in the house or if you yourself get caught on fire, and staying safe are all MUST conversations when having children in the household. Talking frequently about what to do in emergency situations only helps the child if something like that were ever to occur.

I have attached some pertinent information along with some tips and “talking points” with kids around fire safety. I would love to hear your feedback on the list and what you would add to it. Also check out the following site for additional resources. http://www.firefacts.org/

Fire Prevention

Of course, the best way to practice fire safety is to make sure a fire doesn’t break out in the first place. That means you should always be aware of potential hazards in your home.

Start by keeping these tips in mind:

Electrical Appliances, Cords, and Outlets

  • Are your electrical appliances in good condition, without loose or frayed cords or plugs?
  • Are your outlets overloaded with plugs from the TV, computer, printer, video game system, and stereo?
  • Are you overusing an extension cord?
  • Do the light fixtures in your home use bulbs that are the correct wattage?
  • Does your home contain GFCIs (ground fault circuit interrupters) and/or AFCIs (arc fault circuit interrupters), which prevent electrical shock and fire by shutting off faulty circuits?

Look around your house for potential problems. And unless you’re a trained electrician, be careful about do-it-yourself electrical projects. Studies have shown that many home fires are caused by improper installation of electrical devices.

Other tips:

  • Replace or professionally repair any appliances that spark, smell unusual, or overheat.
  • Don’t run electrical wires under rugs.
  • Make sure lamps and night-lights are not touching bedspreads, drapes, or other fabrics.
  • Use caution when using electric blankets.
  • Don’t let kids use kitchen appliances by themselves and supervise any art or science projects that involve electrical devices.
  • Cover any outlets that are not in use with plastic safety covers if you have toddlers or young children in your home.

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Let’s Talk Dental Health

It was a SHOCK to me when I found out that my first born was late to the game of getting her teeth checked by the dentist. I thought for sure waiting until she was almost 4 years of age was “safe” and what every other parent did. What I didn’t realize is that all of my other mommy friends had been taking their littles to the dentist starting at a very young age…say…18 months. YIKES! This made me think and reevaluate when the right time to take my second born would be. I did some research and found some answers to many of my unanswered questions.  What better way than to compile all of my questions and sought out answers here to help someone else who may have those same questions.

  1. What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a family dentist?

Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. A pediatric dentist has two to three years specialty training following dental school and limits his/her practice to treating children only. Pediatric dentists are primary and specialty oral care providers for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health needs.

2.  When should I take my child to the dentist for the first check-up?

In order to prevent dental problems, your child should see a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears, or no later than his/her first birthday.

3.  Are thumbsucking and pacifier habits harmful for a child’s teeth?

Thumb and pacifier sucking habits will generally only become a problem if they go on for a very long period of time. Most children stop these habits on their own, but if they are still sucking their thumbs or fingers past the age of three, a mouth appliance may be recommended by your pediatric dentist.

4.  Toothpaste: when should we begin using it and how much should we use?

The sooner the better! Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. Parents should use a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste to brush baby teeth twice daily as soon as they erupt and a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush. Once children are 3 to 6 years old, then the amount should be increased to a pea-size dollop and perform or assist your child’s toothbrushing. Remember that young children do not have the ability to brush their teeth effectively.  Children should spit out and not swallow excess toothpaste after brushing.

5. How safe are dental X-rays?

There is very little risk in dental X-rays. Pediatric dentists are especially careful to limit the amount of radiation to which children are exposed. Lead aprons and high-speed film are used to ensure safety and minimize the amount of radiation.


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Over-Scheduling Your Child

We have all done it. I know that with my youngest, between play dates and extra-curriculars, we were always on the go. I dealt with meltdowns, tantrums, etc. just to fulfill the daily activities I had planned. Don’t get me wrong, I love to stay busy, but when it came to my second daughter, I decided to change the schedule up a bit. We have played more at home, said “no” to more play dates than “yes,” gone to less scheduled activities and enjoyed being each others’ company. The conclusion I have come to is that tantrums are less frequent, meltdowns are non-existent, and the one-on-one time I am getting with my second born is priceless.

I’m not saying that my parenting technique is the best that is out there…I am merely stating what I have witnessed between the two extremely different approaches I have taken with my own two daughters. I encourage you to take a moment and think about your child’s life. If it’s hectic, sit down together and decide where you can cut back. If it’s overly structured, set aside time for blowing off some steam.

Things we enjoy: Riding a bike, taking a walk, playing a game, listening to music, or just doing nothing for a while. I have noticed that it gives my kids some much-needed downtime. And never forget how important it is for kids to simply get together to play. Kids need time to just be kids.

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The Importance of Kids Napping

My kids have always been great sleepers…I tend to say it’s because they both have hypotonia (low muscle tone) and that causes them to sleep well. Maybe that is the reason, or maybe it is because I take a “no excuses” approach to nap time and the importance of it. I carve out time in the day where my girls (ages 5.5 years and 3 years) must take a nap to rejuvenate themselves. Sometimes I think maybe I should let up a bit and then I am reminded that them resting for a length of time each day is of utmost importance for their growing and developing bodies and minds. This information, found from http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/naps.html, further proves my thoughts and theories on kids napping. I encourage you to read through the site and familiarize yourself with the importance of sleep in growing young children.

Sleep Needs by Age (Taken directly from kidshealth.org)

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer regarding how much daytime sleep kids need. It all depends on the age, the child, and the sleep total during a 24-hour period. For example, one toddler may sleep 13 hours at night with only some daytime catnapping, while another gets 9 hours at night but takes a solid 2-hour nap each afternoon.

Though sleep needs are highly individual, these age-by-age guidelines give an idea of average daily sleep requirements:

Birth to 6 months: Infants require about 14 to 18 total hours of sleep per day. Younger infants tend to sleep on and off around the clock, waking every 1 to 3 hours to eat. As they approach 4 months of age, sleep rhythms become more established. Most babies sleep 9 to 12 hours at night, usually with an interruption for feeding, and have 2 to 3 daytime naps lasting about 30 minutes to 2 hours each.

6 to 12 months: Babies this age usually sleep about 14 hours total for the day. This usually includes two naps a day, which may last 20 minutes for some babies, for others a few hours. At this age, infants may not need to wake at night to feed, but may begin to experience separation anxiety, which can contribute to sleep disturbances.

Toddlers (1 to 3 years): Toddlers generally require 12 to 14 hours of sleep, including an afternoon nap of 1 to 3 hours. Young toddlers might still be taking two naps, but naps should not occur too close to bedtime, as they may make it harder for toddlers to fall asleep at night.

Preschoolers (3 to 5 years): Preschoolers average about 11 to 12 hours at night, plus an afternoon nap. Most give up this nap by 5 years of age.

School-age (5 to 12 years): School-age kids need about 10 to 11 hours at night. Some 5-year-olds might still need a nap, and if a regular nap isn’t possible, they might need an earlier bedtime.

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The Importance of Reading to Your Kids

So our oldest daughter decided about a year ago that she no longer enjoyed reading. It was the “boring” thing to do, it took away from play time and getting her to  read on her own was, well, an impossible task. I found myself asking why other kids LOVED books and my daughter was turning up her nose at the thought of cracking one open.

Being a former teacher, books are OOBER IMPORTANT to me. For one, I know that statistics prove the more your read to your child and have them read to you, the more they learn. Reading is linked to vocabulary development, cognitive understanding, and overall growth in academics. So why is my oldest daughter displaying distaste toward reading?

I did some soul searching and came to the realization that I was to blame. I was pushing books on Annora and making her feel overwhelmed by them. You see, reading to your child is one of the most effective way to build the “language” neural connections in their growing brains as well as the strong base for their cognitive development. She sensed the “push” and decided to push right back…typical first born right?!?

A study was made in Rhode Island Hospital to compare two groups of eight months old – one group was read to often as babies, while the other was not. It was shown that those who were read to have their “receptive” vocabularies (number of words they understand) increased 40 per cent since babyhood, while the non-reading group increased by only 16 per cent.

So, I took some advice from friends, family, and resources and backed off our oldest daughter. I gave reading a rest and what happened next was beautiful! Her appreciation for literature grew on its own with the consistent read alouds and exposure my husband and I gave her.

Reading to your child does not only benefit his language development. It is only one among other very important benefits:

  • Reading to your kid makes you bond with him, and this gives your child a sense of intimacy and well-being.
  • The intimacy of reading to your kid is such a pleasurable experience to him that he will have a positive attitude towards reading as he grows up.
  • It calms your child, especially when he is fretful and restless.
  • It promotes increased communication between you and your child.
  • Preschool children who are exposed to language by hearing words that are read to him and in conversation tend to do well in school.
  • Many studies show that students who love learning and do well in school were exposed to reading before preschool.
  • Your baby learns early the basics of reading a book, that words represent sounds and concepts, words are read from left to write, and stories continue when you flip the page.
  • It promotes longer attention span, which is an important skill for your kid to be able to concentrate.
  • It builds listening skills and imagination.
  • Your young child learns about colors, shapes, numbers, and letters, while your older child discovers an expanding chain of knowledge.  His interest in cars, for example, will expand to his interest in trucks, and other transportation like planes and rockets, and soon he will be reading about outer space, science and technology, and so forth.
  • A study published in Perspectives on Psychological Science in January 2013 concluded that “reading to a child in an interactive style raises his or her IQ by over 6 points.”
  • Books teach your child thinking skills early. When you read to your child, he learns to understand cause and effect, he learns to exercise logic, as well as think in abstract terms. He learns the consequences of actions, and the basics of what is right and wrong.
  • Books teach your child about relationships, situations, personalities, and what is good and what is bad in the world he lives in.  Fantasy books provide material for his imagination and free play.  Fairy tales fascinate your kid, and help him distinguish between what is real and what is not.
  • When your child reaches a new stage in his growth, or experiences a new and unfamiliar situation, reading to your child about a story relevant to his new experience can relieve his anxiety and help him cope. For example, if your child is stressed about his first day in school, or about moving to a new location, you can read a book to him that shows that these should not be painful experiences.
  • According to a study published in Pediatrics, children who had been exposed to home reading showed significantly greater activation of a brain area that is “all about multisensory integration, integrating sound and then visual stimulation,” according to Dr. John S. Hutton, the lead author and a clinical research fellow at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Reading to your child build brain networks that will serve him long-term when he transitions from verbal to reading.
  • Your child learns early that reading is fun and not a chore. When your child grows up, you will not be stressed about getting him to read, as reading has become, for him, a pleasurable habit.



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Playing Games With Your Kids

In our house, we are in a stage where board games are a hot commodity. My girls LOVE Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders, Headbandz, Guess Who?, Enchanted, etc. Basically if it is a board game, we are all in! I love that we can turn the television off, relax with one another, have some good laughs and enjoy the company of being a family. I believe this art of “gaming” is transforming into an art of “video gaming.” Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and place for video games (we aren’t in that phase of life and probably won’t be anytime soon) but there needs to be a consistent push for parents to require “family time” on a weekly basis. If we allow kids to isolate themselves at an early age, I believe it only hinders the future relationship parents will have with their children.

Delise is three and is the perfect age to begin playing board games and card games—especially if you like these kinds of games, too. Board and card games help teach your child about aspiration, success, and disappointment. They gain experience with both winning and losing—and learn that no matter what the result, next time they try they’ll begin again with a clean slate. Games also give you the opportunity to teach your preschooler about rules, about integrity and honesty, and about luck. Games also can help increase your child’s ability to focus their attention. Nearly all games, for example, involve taking turns, sharing dice or a spinner, waiting for your turn, patience, and learning how to be a good sport. (When you play games with your child, try to emphasize the fun of game as much as possible, rather than focusing on “who’s winning.”)

Besides helping to acquaint your child with “life lessons” and to practice valuable social skills, most good children’s games also afford preschoolers the opportunity to sharpen certain academic skills.

In introducing board and card games to your preschooler, choose the simplest ones first. If your child has to master a complicated set of rules before even playing the game, she—or you—will soon lose patience with it. Games that involve moving pieces around a board in a race to the finish, spinning a spinner or throwing dice, and counting up as high as six provide the perfect introduction to board games.