Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Air Travel With Toddlers

If you have the opportunity to go on a fantastic trip, the first thing to cross you mind is probably not the logistics of traveling with your toddler. But once you've got your reservations made and have requested time off work, the reality sets in: You will be stuck in a closed space for hours with a ball of energy and must find a way to not only survive yourself, but keep a couple hundred other passengers from voting you off the island.

Don't worry! There are some tried and true ways that you and your toddler can survive even a long international flight. While you can't expect perfection from a little one, you can definitely make the trip easier on both of you if you use these tips:

Have a Plan

It sounds obvious, but you'd be surprised how many parents just try to "wing it" (no pun intended) when traveling with their kids. Ideally you'll know beforehand out how long your flight will be, when to expect layovers, and how likely your child is to take a nap during the flight. Write down a loose time line for yourself. Also, pack activities but don't throw them all at your toddler at once. Administer each one and keep track of the time, rationing the activities so that there is something new and fun to do throughout the entire flight.

Practice Sitting

It might feel like a pain to do this before your flight, but once you're in the air you'll be glad you practiced sitting. Start out having your child sit for five minutes at home with a book or a quiet activity, and work them up to longer periods. This is particularly beneficial if your child has not been to preschool or has any other experience being still for extended periods of time.

Pack Comfort Items

Be sure to pack comfort items for your child, particularly if you'll be flying internationally and they'll need to sleep on the flight. Change them into their favorite pajamas, bring their special blanket or stuffy toy. You can also pack their favorite snacks, bedtime books or other items that will help them feel cozy in a strange environment.

Don't Be Afraid to Ask For Help

If you're struggling with keeping your child calm or comfortable and you are at your wit's end, it's okay to ask the flight attendants or even other parents sitting close by for their help or advice. These individuals may have experience that you don't have, and you don't need to spend the entire flight in a panic because your child is stressed and acting out.

There's no such thing as a perfect trip, and every child is different. Not only that, but there really is only so much you can expect from a very young child. Your best defense against any kind of meltdown is to be prepared, but remember, it may not be avoidable. You can just do your best, hope things go your way, and ignore the stares of non-parents who haven't been in your shoes.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Spring Fashions For Toddlers

Even moms who aren't that interested in kiddie fashion pull out all the stops when it comes to spring style. Those who celebrate Easter and Passover often have special holiday occasions that require light, fresh clothing that celebrates the season. But even if you're not dressing your little one for a special day, it's so fun to see them in sweet pastels, florals, and seersucker pinstripes.

But in your excitement to find the perfect frock or shorts set, don't forget a most important element: Shoes!

Katie Bug Shoes offers adorable toddler shoes to suit even the most sprite. As the exclusive retailer of Pickles brand shoes, we are proud to say you won't find cuter shoes anywhere. Well-made, beautifully designed and fun to wear (many of them have squeakers!) your little one will not want to take them off.

Remember to measure your child's foot to make sure you're getting the right size before you place your order. Developing little feet need room to spread out along with good support. If you have any questions about shoe sizing or want to talk to us about our shoes and service, we invite you to call 913.206.7505 or email us with our form on our main website.

Have fun dolling up your wee ones this season in spring-inspired kids' fashion--and don't forget the shoes!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ten Great Books For Your Preschooler

1. One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish

Short, sing-songy rhymes about funny creatures from the imagination of one of the greatest childrens' writers in history. This is my go-to book for almost any occasion that I have to read to young children.

2. Goodnight Moon

Short, sweet, and dreamy--Good Night Moon is a standard in millions of households around bedtime. Make it a part of your nighttime ritual, too.

3. Where the Wild Things Are

This is an intoxicating story for children of all ages. A fantasy about running away after being sent to your room and romping through the forest as the King of the Wild Things--only to come home in time for dinner and snuggles.

4. Curious George Flies a Kite

George the monkey is naughty but he's so lovable and innocent, you can't help but fall in love with his antics. Kids will laugh with glee as George finds a way to get into and out of trouble with every page.

5. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

You won't be able to keep still when you ready this sassy rhyming alphabet book. And the best part is when all the letters get to the top of the tree and fall down! Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is just as much fun to read as it is for your kids to listen to.

6. The Very Hungry Caterpillar

A colorful, interactive story about growing up and changing. Little kids adore the watching the caterpillar eat his way to being a butterfly.

7. Are You My Mother?

The poor baby bird is on the search for his mother--and children love watching as he mistakes everything from an airplane to a sleeping dog--only to finally be reunited with his real mother much to everyone's relief!

8. The Rainbow Fish

Learning how to share your gifts is the lesson of this beautiful, colorful book. Follow along as Rainbow Fish gives away his treasured, glittering scales to his friends and become happier along the way.

9. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Everybody has bad days, even preschoolers. Your little one will learn how misery loves company when he reads about Alexander's bad day. This book has been a favorite among youngsters since it was first published in 1972.

10. Stellaluna

Stellaluna is a baby fruit bat who gets separated from her mother and taken in by a family of owls where she feels like the odd one out. Eventually she's reunited with her mother and realizes she's perfectly perfect--for a fruit bat!

Does your preschooler have a favorite book that is not on our list? Leave a comment and let us know!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Eat the Rainbow!

Some parents are lucky enough to have kids who will eat anything. Others need to get creative in order to assure their little ones are getting all the nutrition they need. While most kids would rather eat macaroni & cheese than salads, you might try convincing them to "eat a rainbow." That is, serving them foods that represent all the colors of the rainbow. The more vividly a fruit or vegetable is colored, the more powerful its phytonutrients are.

Make it a point to go shopping with your little one and ask them to help you pick out colors from the rainbow from the produce aisle. When you get home, wash the veggies and fruits together and slice them up and arrange them in a sampling tray so you can try everything.

Need suggestions for fruits and veggies to make your own rainbow? Try these:

Red: Cherry tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries, and red bell pepper.

Orange: Oranges (of course!), carrots, cantaloupe, orange bell pepper, and sweet potatoes.

Yellow: Bananas, lemons, squash, yellow bell pepper, pineapple, and corn.

Green: Spinach leaves, green grapes, celery, avocado, broccoli, peas and zucchini.

Blue & Purple: Blueberries, blackberries, eggplant, grapes, and plums.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Choosing a Baby Sitter

In centuries past, families lived together in large groups and children were cared for communally. But today's nuclear families often live isolated from their relatives and the child care rests solely on the shoulders of the mother and father. With so many demands on their time, parents may find themselves in a situation where they need an extra set of hands.

Furthermore, it is important for moms and dads to spend time together as a couple, and an occasional date night means someone has to be available to help watch the kids. That's why it is so important to have babysitters you can trust and rely on.

There are professional child care services which can provide you with home child care on a regular basis, but these can be expensive and you might find that you only need someone occasionally. In that case the best place to find a babysitter is through referrals of people you trust. If your neighbors or co-workers can recommend someone, you will have at least some assurance of the professionalism and reliability of the person you are considering. If no one close to your can refer any options, consider asking at your local church, community college or other institutions where people can be reliably located.

Regardless of how you find your candidate, you want to sit down and talk to them in person before you agree to hire them. Ask questions about how they might handle certain situations; be sure they are mature, understand your needs and are willing to be flexible with your schedule. You also want to be sure that the payment is discussed beforehand to prevent any misunderstandings.

It is a good idea to look for two or three babysitters that you can alternate or call on if one of them is already engaged or unavailable when you need them.

Finding a babysitter can be a project that takes a little time, but the alternative is completely unacceptable. You must have help when you need it, so sit down and talk to your spouse or partner about what you are willing to pay, and what requirements you both have for a sitter. Once you've found the support you need, you'll be amazed how relieved you'll feel.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Grow Your Own Treehugger

I was lucky enough to get a copy of this book last month and I've spent several days leafing through it. Grow Your Own Treehugger by Wendy Rosenoff is actually more of a workbook and is meant to be used as a jumping off point for more than a hundred activities that are suitable for kids ranging from toddler hood to pre-adolescence.

Grow Your Own Treehugger combines two things that young kids love: interactive fun and learning about the planet. The projects are simple enough that young children can grasp them and can be done with common items from around the house. Each project has step-by-step instructions which make it fool-proof even for parents who may not be "crafty."

The book is large, colorful and easy to read. It is a perfect tool for parents and teachers alike who want to encourage environmental awareness and teach science in a fun way. Check it out and grown YOUR own Treehugger!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Toddlers & Tiaras

The blogosphere is all abuzz about the TLC series Toddlers & Tiaras--a reality show about the people and children involved with children's beauty pageants. What do you think?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

5 "Steps" to Buying Kids' Shoes

Once your little one has taken their first steps, it is time to buy them shoes. Most parents buy kids' shoes based entirely on the way they look, however there are five important things you should consider before you choose their shoes:

1. Measurements

Your little one's feet are still developing, and you want to make sure they are getting the support they need while they practice walking. Measuring your child's feet will make sure you are buying the correct sized shoes and will make sure they are comfortable for those tender little toes. For simple instructions on how to measure your child's feet, check my instructions on the main Katie Bug Shoes website.

2. Prices

Kids' shoes run from the very cheap to the ultra expensive. However, once you've found a middle ground and a style of shoe that you are interested in buying, you can shop around and look for the best deal online. Considering that you have to buy new shoes for your toddler every few months, it definitely pays to get the best deal possible.

3. Friends & Customer Reviews

Before you settle on a pair of shoes, talk to your friends and see if they have experience with them. You can also read customer reviews online and find out if there are any reoccurring issues with the shoes you are considering.

4. Your Kids' Opinions

Your kids are the ones who have to wear them, so make sure they are comfortable enough. Ask them if they hurt, or if they feel good. Ask them if they think they look nice. A child who loves their new shoes will want to wear them everywhere they go; but if they don't like them, you'll be fighting them to wear them every step of the way (no pun intended).

5. Trustworthy Retailers

Make sure that the shoes you buy are from trustworthy retailers (online or off) with a good reputation. Check their return policy before you buy, find out what their shipping costs are, and note how communicative they are when issues arise.

As always, we hope you'll consider Katie Bug Shoes when shopping for your toddler's shoes. We are happy to answer any questions about our line of quality, stylish shoes for your little one.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Beautiful Baby Search - 2010

Have you entered your little on in Regis & Kelly's Beautiful Baby Search 2010?

There are thousands of the cutest babies, toddlers and preschoolers you'll ever see! Check out all the contestants on Parenting.com's website.

I'd love to hear who your favorite entrant is! Leave me a comment and link back to their page.

Poll: Your Kids' Shoes!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Bedtime Rituals

By the time children reach toddlerhood, most parents have learned that the best way to manage them is through routine. Children (and most adults) thrive when they know what to expect, and routines also give a sense of security. At no time is this more true than at bedtime.

Getting children to sleep can be a real struggle. Their little minds race and the thought of missing even a moment of the action can seem like torture to them. Having a sweet, simple ritual for bedtime will help them settle down even when they don't want to admit to themselves they are tired.

A bedtime ritual can take the form of a story, a prayer, or singing songs. Some families make their own fun little rituals that are unique to them. For example, one family I know recites names of the members of their family tree, and sometimes tells stories about these different relatives which fascinate the children and give them a history lesson to boot.

The nighttime rituals can also include performing the same actions before bed. Your little one can brush their teeth, get a drink of water in a special cup, and get clothes ready for the next morning.

How ever you choose to structure your children's bed time, never forget that even the most mundane activities can be memorable and give you a chance to bond with them.

What kinds of bed time rituals do you have with your children?

Monday, February 8, 2010

What is the Government Doing With Your Baby's DNA?

I found this very strange article on CNN this week which discusses a little-known fact about infant DNA being stored by the government. Here's an excerpt:

Newborn babies in the United States are routinely screened for a panel of genetic diseases. Since the testing is mandated by the government, it's often done without the parents' consent, according to Brad Therrell, director of the National Newborn Screening & Genetics Resource Center.

In many states, such as Florida, where Isabel was born, babies' DNA is stored indefinitely, according to the resource center.

Many parents don't realize their baby's DNA is being stored in a government lab, but sometimes when they find out, as the Browns did, they take action. Parents in Texas, and Minnesota have filed lawsuits, and these parents' concerns are sparking a new debate about whether it's appropriate for a baby's genetic blueprint to be in the government's possession.

Did you know about this? Because I didn't. I don't think I'm opposed to the DNA being stored and used for science, but it certainly seems like parents should be informed and give their consent for such a think. Don't you?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Joy of Squeaky Shoes

One of the best thing about selling kids' squeaky shoes is seeing how much fun little ones have in a new pair. Katie Bug Shoes has an entire line of stylish squeaky shoes that make learning to walk about a thousand times more fun.

Have you ever seen a kid in squeaky shoes? They love them! Check these videos out:

Television for Kids - Mixed Messages For Parents

When it comes to raising children, there are a million opinions on the "right" way to do it. But it is almost universally accepted that television is bad for kids. Or, at the very least it should be considered a last resort. The general consensus about television for kids is summed up in this post on KidsHealth.org:
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that kids under 2 years old not watch any TV and that those older than 2 watch no more than 1 to 2 hours a day of quality programming.
The first 2 years of life are considered a critical time for brain development. TV and other electronic media can get in the way of exploring, playing, and interacting with parents and others, which encourages learning and healthy physical and social development.
Most of us start out as brand new moms thinking that we'll NEVER let our kids watch TV. But after a while, it seems foolish not to at least once in a while. Before you know it, they are being educated and entertained by the likes of Elmo, Moose A. Moose, Dora and the rest of the gang. Watching these shows, you are constantly reminded by the networks that their shows are "like preschool on tv" and are "educational programming."

It is no wonder that many parents feel conflicted. If television is so bad for kids, why are there so many shows--in fact networks--dedicated just to pre-school programming? Why do young children seem to learn valuable information so quickly from watching TV? How can children's educational television be both harmful to their development and based on the research of educators and childhood development specialists?

These are difficult questions to answer--so I'm putting it to you. What do you think the real impact of television is on young children? Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts.

Photo Credit:

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Taking Time For Yourself

This evening I ran across a couple different blog posts about ways moms can take better care of themselves. Despite the fact that we all "know" we should be doing it, I wonder how many of us really do take time out for ourselves? I don't mean going away for the weekend with your girlfriends. That would be nice if you can swing it, but in reality, that's a rare treat.

I'm talking about taking time for yourself each day or throughout the week, and doing something that rejuvenates you. A hot bath with some luxurious bath bomb; an uninterrupted cappuccino with a cheesy fashion magazine; a lunch date with a friend that doesn't involve high chairs and booster seats; or your favorite craft/hobby. Those kinds of things.

Taking time for yourself as a mother isn't about being selfish. It's about refueling and making sure you have the energy and enthusiasm to take care of your family without cutting corners. We all have lofty goals for our selves, our children, and our marriages. But reaching those goals takes personal power. If you spend every waking moment of every day giving, you will become depleted and everyone will suffer--not just you.

Personally, I like to take an hour and go to the book store. Maybe grab a cup of coffee or tea and browse. I might buy something, I might not. If I'm feeling particularly decadent I'll buy a piece of cheesecake from the cafe and indulge.

So, my question for you today is: What do YOU do as a mom (or dad) to recharge your batteries and make sure you're in top form for your family?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Kiddie Style From Head to Toe

Its pretty obvious that I love kids' shoes. After all, that's my business. But nothing makes a pair of children's shoes look cuter than some stylish duds to go along with them. Adorable kids' clothing doesn't have to be pricey. In fact, thanks to websites like Etsy.com, independent designers of clothing for infants, toddlers, and older children have a forum to sell their beautiful handmade garments. Here are some of my favorites:

Vintage Lucy's

Her clothing incorporates the darling retro prints with modern designs, perfect for today's little hipster. There's even some pieces for adults! Super cool.


Got a little hippie baby? Check out the tie dyed creations from Twirly Toes. Kids love the bright, funky colors which will inspire them to be creative. Its affordable and you don't have to worry about them getting paint on their clothes--it'll just blend in!

Suzie Qt's

These are classic kiddie clothing designs with simple, traditional lines. She'll even monogram them for you for heirloom quality!

For the Love of Smocking

If your daughter is a little doll then these smocked dresses are a perfect fit for her. Floral prints, lace collars, and traditional smocking made by a real live grandma. Kids clothes don't get any more precious than this.

Lily & Ebony

Boutique style clothing, hand crafted with amazing detail and brilliant fabrics at prices that are far less than you would pay in a boutique. Dress your darling up in these whimsical, girlish fashions.

Of course, there are hundreds of talented designers in this online community, so if you have a favorite that isn't mentioned on this list, leave me a comment and let me know who you think makes the cutest handmade kids' clothes on Etsy.com. And, as always, if you are looking for adorable kids' shoes for your little ones, visit my shop at KatieBugShoes.com.