Best Developmental Toys For Babies

Best Developmental Toys for Babies - SmartMom

Providing an environment of safe, educational exploration for our babies is one of the big important tasks we all focus on as we become parents. Naturally, we all know that kids love toys – but the options are completely overwhelming! And to be honest, not all toys are created equal in terms of developmental appropriateness and educational value. Many of the toys stocked on retailers shelves appear over-packed with “learning opportunities” – think flashing lights, loud songs – but aren’t actually providing what children need in their natural developmental phases.

Babies don’t need many toys, especially in their first year of life. They learn so much through exploring their environment when literally anything can be a toy! Breaking down a baby’s first year into their developmental leaps, here are some suggestions for the best developmental toys for babies in each phase. Continue reading

How to Work on Toddler Hand Coordination

Toddler Hand Coordination - SmartMom

Picture this: You’re in the kitchen, scrambling to get some sort of dinner on the table. One thing has piled on top of another, and it’s been a hectic day. While you wait for the pasta to cook, you look out the window and see your husband playing catch with your child. For a moment, the stress dissipates and your heart feels full.

A child playing catch with their Dad seems to be a symbol of bonding between a child and his or her father. I’m pretty sure most dads want their children to be somewhat athletic if they’re into sports themselves. So spending time throwing and catching the ball is a common pastime, but teaching a toddler how to throw and catch a ball is no small feat. It can take a long time to perfect the activity and can be frustrating for both parent and child. Don’t give up! Developing hand eye coordination begins when your child is merely an infant and develops past toddlerhood. It is an important skill. Here are three significant tactics to consider when working on toddler hand coordination. Continue reading

Stimulating Your Child’s Mind: Sensory Bins for Toddlers

Sensory Bins for Toddlers - SmartMom

In my years prior to graduate school, I had the privilege of working under some amazing educators. They adhered to a Reggio Emilia model of early childhood education. This philosophy emphasizes discovery and investigation through student led projects and within a community of learners. This is when I truly gained an appreciation for the importance of sensory stimulation as a way of challenging the neural development of a child while also encouraging them to exhibit and explore their creativity! While every child may not have the ability to attend a Reggio preschool, you can do this at home! Creating sensory bins for toddlers is a great way to incorporate these opportunities into your child’s play. Your toddler will be challenged to explore their senses and be encouraged to develop their creative and critical thinking skills. Continue reading

Does Your Child Have a Behavior Problem?

Does Your Child Have a Behavior Problem? - SmartMom


As SmartMoms, we have the tendency to see our kids in a pretty biased light. They’re our babies, after all! While the bus boy at your favorite restaurant shakes his head at your little dumpling’s meltdown, you feel a mixture of embarrassment, frustration, and deep love for the little monster.

Figuring out whether you’ve got a typical kid or child with a behavior problem can be tricky when you’re a mom because 1. You don’t view them objectively and 2. There are legitimate ages and stages for things. You can’t expect a 1 ½ year old to be a master at obedience when the truth is, they’re not even sure if they have a belly button or not yet. So, how do you know if your child has a behavior problem? Continue reading

Stimulating Your Baby’s Mind: Sensory Bins for Babies

Sensory Bins for Babies - SmartMom

Summer’s here! You’ve probably got a list of all the supplies to make your summer with your little one memorable. Swim diapers, sunscreen, sun hat, and sandals. Summer is a great time for your baby to explore and learn. Your little one is developing their senses through experiences like swimming, playing in the grass, and eating watermelon! Here are some ways to ensure your summer is safe, stimulating, and a sensory experience your baby is certain to enjoy! Continue reading

Start Potty Training in 3 Days

Start Potty Training in 3 Days - SmartMom

While I was pregnant with my daughter, my 21-month old son started going to a toddler program at a local Montessori school. Children in the toddler community, who started attending as early as 15 months of age, did not wear diapers in class. Parents were encouraged to continue their child’s “toilet learning” outside of school. It took some work to prepare our home environment for my son and develop patience with new routines, but I was determined to start potty training in 3 days. However, my son was out of diapers during the day by the time he was two and completely potty trained several months later. Having him start potty training in 3 days meant he was out of diapers by the time my daughter was born and one less kid in diapers to worry about! Within two years, my daughter was out of diapers too using the same method. Continue reading

How to Help Children Overcome Irrational Fears

How to Help Children with Irrational Fears - SmartMom

When a child suffers from anxiety and fears we as parents suffer too. It can be heartbreaking to see your little one cry over issues that we, as adults, know are completely irrational. But you might wonder how to help children who have irrational fears? Things such as separation anxiety, fear of the dark, and the like are common for toddlers. However, knowing how to handle the issues by talking to your child appropriately can help ease their worries and help them overcome their fears. Continue reading

Leaps in the Developmental Stages of a Baby

As a mother lifts her baby up to play, she wonders if her little one is reaching the typical developmental stages of a baby.

“Is my baby normal?” This is a common question that parents (especially new parents) ask regarding the general developmental stages of a baby. We are always eager to check if our babies’ changes are age-appropriate and it’s difficult to resist comparing our kids to each other. Try to remember that all babies are different and the development stages of a baby can be just as unique as your little one. Below are the developmental milestones, from physical to motor, that generally occur during the baby’s first year.

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ADHD and Setting Your Child Up For Success

A girl running through a field. When dealing with ADHD, it's important to schedule and communicate effectively while planning on setting your child up for success.

I recently wrote an article, Teaching Your Child to Study with ADHD. As I wrote the article, I thought about all the aspects of school and schedules that really contribute to successful studying. In essence, a child can’t successfully study without having the foundation laid for success. But what does it look like to lay a solid foundation for a child with ADHD?

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When Baby Starts Crawling: How to Handle A Moving Baby

It's important to keep your house safe when baby starts crawling.

Every new stage of your baby’s development is exciting. Around 8 months, or sooner for some, when your little one starts crawling, you’ll discover how much fun a baby on the move can be. When baby starts crawling, this is just the beginning. They will soon be pulling themselves up and then they will literally be keeping you on your toes!

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