Thursday, October 17, 2013

A New Day

Hi There- You may have noticed that our old site is off-line. We are working on a few things and will be back online shortly. Love, The Social Toddler Team

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Preparing for Childbirth - What to Do Before the Big Day

Whether it’s a first pregnancy or a fifth, preparing for the experience of childbirth and bringing a new life into the world is filled with nerves and excitement. It is no wonder why with your body flooded with hormones, aching muscles and joints, and a new little person kicking and stretching in an ever-shrinking womb. Arranging as much as possible before delivery can offer some security and a give you an outlet for all of those nesting feelings.

Create a Birth Plan

A birth plan is simply a description of your preferences and requests during labor and childbirth. The birth plan should be discussed your medical caregiver throughout the pregnancy and adjusted as the pregnancy progresses to take in account anything that has come up. The plan can be added to your medical chart so you don’t have to repeat your wishes over and over during labor.

Creating a birth plan allows a mother to think through the childbirth process more completely while in a calm state. The plan will help a mother and her medical team to make decisions easier if and when the time comes. Some things to consider:

● Preferences for a pain medication during labor.
● Preferences for an overdue baby. Wait or induce labor? Discuss preferred induction techniques.
● Preferences for a breech baby. Attempt to manually coax the baby to turn or schedule a c-section?
● Preferences for a prolonged labor, complications with mother or baby, and discuss preferred necessary interventions.
● A printable birth plan questionnaire can help you organize your wishes.

Attend a Childbirth Class

Particularly for first time moms, a childbirth class taken during the last trimester of pregnancy can give a mother an idea of what to expect during labor and childbirth as well as explain some of the options, interventions, or complications she may face. A childbirth class isn’t only for first time mothers, however; it is a valuable refresher class for any experienced mother and a great place to learn about new options available during and after labor.

Immediate Prenatal Care

The main event, labor and delivery, is often the focus during pregnancy. Beyond preparing a nursery and buying diapers, the baby’s care soon after birth may be overlooked. If a new mother has specific wishes for the care of her newborn it is important to have them written down for caregivers.

● Feeding preferences, for example, does mom want to breastfeed or bottle feed and what formula, if any, is preferred?
● Some mothers are choosing to collect their baby’s umbilical cord blood after birth for cord blood banking. The cord blood is saved at a banking facility for possible future use. The stem cells found in cord blood have the potential to treat a number of diseases.
● If the baby is a boy, will a circumcision be done, and if so will it take place in the hospital or when the baby is older as an outpatient procedure?

Having many decisions made and questions answered before delivery day, an expecting mother can go into the day focused on staying relaxed and enjoying the arrival of their new family member.

This article was written by Katie Moore. Katie is an active writer within the blogging community who discusses maternity, motherhood, prenatal health, childbirth and other topics within this niche. If you have any questions or would like to connect with Katie please contact her via twitter @moorekm26.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Free Giveaway - Kid Basix Safe Sippy 2

It's been a little while since we've done a giveaway, but we are back with another amazing product. Our very own Social Toddler has been testing the Safe Sippy 2 and we wholeheartedly give this durable sippy cup a two thumbs up!!!

The Safe Sippy 2 is a stainless steel cup with dual rubber handles, and a rubberized body that protects it when dropped. The coolest part of the Safe Sippy is the swappable set of inner pieces that control the way the sippy works. Pick between the straw adapter and the sippy valve, depending on what your child prefers (and is able to use), or when traveling, use the plug to avoid spills - GENIUS!!!

The Giveaway

1 Kid Basix Safe Sippy 2 in your choice of color ($20 value)

Giveaway Rules

Please note the following:

- Contest open to Social Toddler Daily Deals subscribers only (subscribe here)
- Contest begins Wednesday Nov 30, 2011 at 12AM EST.
- Contest closes Monday Dec 5, 2011 at 12:01AM EST.
- Winner will be chosen by RaffleCopter and will be announced on Monday Nov 5, 2011 by 3:00PM EST.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Living Big on a Small Budget - If It’s Free it’s Me – or is it?

The following is a guest post from Pamela Olsen. Pamela is a stay-at-home mom with three boys and a girl all six years and under. She is the owner of The Busy Woman’s Guide to Surviving Motherhood, a blog filled with all sorts of information intended to make life as a women and mother easier in some small way. Her hobbies include blogging, couponing, scrapbooking, reading, gardening, writing and volunteering. When people ask her when she has the time for all that she simply says “I am a planner!”

There are lots of money saving faux pas we all make. One is thinking something is a great deal just because it’s free. I am sure you have heard the expression “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” The concept to grasp is that you always have to forfeit something to get something else. You may not have to pay for the meal but you do have to eat what they give you, and spend your time to get there, be there, and get back. The whole point behind the expression is to have people think beyond the dollar amount of the “free” item to the actual cost.

A lot of marketing uses the word “free” to entice you to show up. They get you in the door hoping you will find at least one other thing to buy. Really think about the slogan – BUY one GET one free. That means you have to spend money to get the free one, and this is something that somehow doesn’t always occur to people. The marketers are banking on that fact. You always need to think twice before jumping on a “free” deal. Sometimes you have to perform a service or task – say a survey or taste-test. So it really isn’t free – you are working for it. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when five minutes of your time filling in tiny bubbles on a survey is worth a free full-sized bottle of shampoo but think twice about 10 minutes for a small sample of a product. I once spent an entire afternoon standing in lines at a Safety Fair to get bicycle helmets, life jackets and rain slickers all for free for all four of my kids. I felt it was time well spent because the quality of the items was high – all name brands. A friend of mine disagreed, which is fine. You have to make the judgment for your self.

The message I am trying to get across to you is that you need to keep an eye out for the hidden cost. Sometimes it will be that you are indebted to the giver of the free item. I am sure you know some person that will bring up those free dishes they gave you every chance they get. Sometimes you sacrifice your norm to get something free – forcing your children to eat gluten-free cracker when no one has a gluten issue just cause they were free. Sometimes you put in time and energy. Sometimes you use the gas in your car. This is a simple matter of checks and balances – do the costs outweigh the booty at the end of the day??

Monday, August 29, 2011

Tips for Fostering Your Little Reader's Skills

The following is a guest post submitted by Sarah Morris for Primrose Schools - offering the best in child care and early education

Studies indicate a strong link between academic achievement and literacy. Early exposure to concepts in print often predicts later academic success. Literacy experts suggest parents read to their child as early as possible. Parents who express enthusiasm about reading help instill a lifelong appreciation of the written word. A particularly young child may not yet comprehend sounds and letters, but he can read his mother's facial expressions as she points to the pictures in a book. Likewise, a child readily learns that words read from left to right as she watches her father guide his finger across the page.

If you want your child to embrace reading, provide daily supplemental reading at home. Learning does not just occur at school after all. Robert Needleman, M.D., author of Dr. Spock's Baby Basics advises parents to make reading a part of each day. The very act of reading to your child in a manner that conveys pleasure is enough to encourage enjoyment of books in general.

As children mature, they develop greater control over the types of books they would like to read. Encourage this independence as it provides a good indication of a child's preference for reading. In the meantime, select books with small repetitive or rhythmic words and dynamic illustrations. Since children tend to like hearing the same stories over and over, you should choose books that you will enjoy reading again and again. If you pick out books that you enjoy, you are more likely to read with animated expression. Your child will pick up on these visual and auditory cues and develop a positive association with books and reading.

Apply any of the following tips to create an environment that fosters a young reader:

• Read to your child on a regular basis, starting in infancy.
• Choose age-appropriate books that encompass an array of topics
• Encourage older children to read aloud as often as possible.
• Ask your child's teacher or school librarian for a list of recommended books
• Visit the local library and participate in reading programs
• Pack books in your travel bag so you always have something to read

In order for children to make sense of a world full of language, they must receive ongoing support. It is important to provide an environment where children are surrounded by books and reading. Home reading helps children develop important literacy and language skills they will use throughout life. In an acute sense, reading provides contextual clues and exposure to grammar and sentence structure. In a broad sense, reading encourages the value of education. Children who learn the importance of academics usually strive to perform their best in school and beyond. Get your child started on a lifelong journey of reading today.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Living Big on a Small Budget - Paying Down Your Credit Card Debt

The following is a guest post from Pamela Olsen. Pamela is a stay-at-home mom with three boys and a girl all six years and under. She is the owner of The Busy Woman’s Guide to Surviving Motherhood, a blog filled with all sorts of information intended to make life as a women and mother easier in some small way. Her hobbies include blogging, couponing, scrapbooking, reading, gardening, writing and volunteering. When people ask her when she has the time for all that she simply says “I am a planner!”

One of the most important lessons that I have learned over the years of paying credit card bill is this – just paying the minimum on all your cards really doesn’t get you anywhere. A very small portion of that minimum payment actually goes to pay down the principle (the amount you owe the company). A majority of the minimum payment goes to the interest you have racked up by “borrowing” the money from the creditor and not paying it back right away. The whole point of credit cards is to spend money that you don’t have at that moment, but you promise to pay back in a timely fashion. But the longer it takes for you to pay it back, the more it will cost you, which is exactly why the credit company is willing to take the risk of loaning you the money to begin with

So if you have amassed a few different credit card or loan accounts, it might become daunting to try to make any headway. The most important thing to remember is that unless you win the lotto tomorrow, it’s going to take a little time to pay it all off but if you make a plan – and stick to it – it will happen. Here’s how to get started:
• Sit down and make a chart of all your creditors with a column for each of the following – balance, limit, minimum payment, average finance charge each month and interest rate.
• Then do a little math to determine which one is costing you the most in the long term and then rank the rest from highest to lowest.
• Starting from the top of the list, start paying down by simply paying $5 or $10 above the minimum payment each month and continuing to pay the minimum on all the rest. If you can afford more great, but do not over extend yourself. You will be surprised to see how much faster your balance will drop then when you just paid the minimum.
• Once that card is paid off, do not close the account. You must have active credit to get new credit.
• Then take the amount you were paying on that credit card and add it to the minimum payment due to the next creditor on your list. You already had it in your budget and now you can really make a dent in your debt.

As I said, this will not happen over night, but once you get through one card, you will see things speed up. Another key point is to try not to accrue any additional debt while you are doing this, because that just defeats the purpose.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Living Big on a Small Budget - Interest Rate Decrease

The following is a guest post from Pamela Olsen. Pamela is a stay-at-home mom with three boys and a girl all six years and under. She is the owner of The Busy Woman’s Guide to Surviving Motherhood, a blog filled with all sorts of information intended to make life as a women and mother easier in some small way. Her hobbies include blogging, couponing, scrapbooking, reading, gardening, writing and volunteering. When people ask her when she has the time for all that she simply says “I am a planner!”

When you look at your credit card bill you are probably always shocked by the amount next to “Interest”. And it is highly unlikely that a credit card or loan company is going to just offer up a lower interest rate because they are nice. The interest is how they make their money – why would they willingly give that up? However, it never hurts to call up and ask for a decrease because even one or two percent can be a big savings. If you have been paying at least the minimum due, on time every month for the last six months or more, you may qualify for a lower interest rate. When you call, politely ask to speak with someone that is authorized to lower your interest rate – some companies require that you speak with a supervisor. Some companies require you to submit your request in writing via snail mail while others might ask that you submit your request at their website. You may have noticed that sometimes after an extended period of good standing with a creditor, the company increases your spending limit. This is the perfect time to call and ask for a rate decrease instead. They have already made the decision that they “like” you so just ask to be rewarded in a different way. If you want to play a bit of hardball – mention the number of offers you get in the mail each day offering a lower interest rate and 0% on balance transfers. Often they will oblige your request in fear of losing your business. You may be wondering why it would be important to have your interest rate lowered. It can save your hundreds, even thousands of dollars over time. If you have a credit card balance of $5000 at a rate of 12% you will pay a minimum of $600 in interest each year. If you lowered your interest rate to 10% you could save $100 in that year.

It truly does not hurt to ask the creditor to lower your interest rate. The worse that can happen is that they will say “no”. Then you are no worse off than you were before your called. Should you get a “no”, ask what you would have to do to get a lower interest rate. Some times you just have to wait a few more months. Or maybe if you pay $5-$10 over you minimum each month for a period of time, they will give you a percent or two.

A quick note about those offers you get in the mail – practically daily, these days. First, always read the fine print! It might offer a 0% introductory APR – but read further, because it could shoot up to a whopping 23% after one year. Also keep an eye out for “annual fees” – as much as $100 you pay each year, just to carry the card in your wallet. And if you are not interested in the offer, don’t just toss it but shred or burn it – this is how thieves get credit in your name!