Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Time Out Spot

If you’ve ever watched Super Nanny, you know that Jo Frost is a magician when coming to getting children to behave. One of her most used techniques is the establishment of a “naughty spot,” where she puts kids into time out to help teach them to behave. Her naught spots have taken form of a time-out stool, time-out stairs, or even a time-out beanbag. Well, now Baby Bella has a time-out spot! Super Nanny, I think you’re going to have to do some shopping at Baby Bella…

Why time-outs? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends time-outs as an effective form of discipline for some very good reasons. They caution against spanking, pointing to evidence that suggests that spanking can lead to increased aggression and anger in children and can undermine their ability to handle their anger as adults. Time-outs, on the other hand, teach children to take time to calm their body down so that they can make good choices. Indeed, I use time-outs as part of my parenting repertoire with James and I have seen them make a huge difference. I find they are especially important when he and I are really starting to butt heads and we both need a chance to gain some perspective.

The following recommendations are usually given for making a time out the most effective:

1. Decide on 3 or 4 behaviors are most important to change. These are the behaviors that will lead to a time-out. For James, we have established that that he will take a time-out if starts using disrespectful or grumpy words with us.

2. Choose a time-out spot (and with the new “time-out spot” from Baby Bella, this spot can be anywhere. And, even better, you can take it with you on trips so that you can have a time-out spot wherever you go! )

3. When your child engages in the problem behavior, give a one warning. Then use as few words as possible to explain what your little one did wrong. Ask her to go to the time-out spot. Take her there if needed.

4. Set a timer for the number of minutes your child should be in time-out. A child should spend as many minutes in time-out as she is old (so James would spend five minutes in time-out because he is 5 years old).

5. If your child gets off the spot, gently put her back. It’s generally recommended that you do *not* talk to your child as you do this, as your child probably wants attention from you at this point and if you give it to her, she’s likely to keep getting off the spot to get the attention. Most importantly, *remain calm and keep emotions out of it!* This is probably the hardest part. Restart the timer each time you put your child back. If you are consistent, it should only take a few times of doing this before your child learns to stay on the spot.

6. Once your child has remained on the spot for the amount of time required, the time-out is done. When the timer goes off, remind your child that you love her, and have her go back to playing. Discuss the behavior later, as needed.

Now that you’ve got the run-down on time-outs, all you need is the time-out spot from Baby Bella! What are you waiting for?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Into The Future

We wanted to let you know that Baby Bella Mama is going to be changing a bit, starting next month. I’ve loved getting my blogging legs here at Baby Bella Mama, but I’m moving into the future with a brand new blog. I’ll still be blogging at Baby Bella Mama occasionally, but the posts will mainly be about the awesome products at Baby Bella, with parenting tidbits thrown into the mix every now and then. I’ll continue to share my parenting adventures over at my new blog, Live Out Loud, and that blog will have a few new additions, including a broader focus and family pictures. If you liked this blog, I hope you’ll come find me at In the meantime, give those babies of yours a hug and buy them lots of good stuff at Baby Bella! :)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Top Ten Baby and Toddler Books

I *love* to read. My mom read all the time and so I think my love of reading is woven into the very fabric of who I am. And just as my mom loved to read to me, I love to read to my own children. It gives me such joy to see James sounding out his first words and to see Kasia smile at the bright pictures inside of books. Of course, I also love books in my job as a pediatric speech therapist, where we use the fun sounding repetitive books to help children learn to use words. A really good baby and toddler book is like a good song… rhythmic and predictable, so that children love to listen and, as they listen, they begin to pick out words within the patterns. Eventually, of course, children begin to “read” their favorite books right along with you. Good stuff. So, without further ado, I give you my top 10 favorite books for infants and toddlers. Enjoy!

1. Sheep in a Jeep
by Nancy Shaw and Margot Apple

2. Goodnight Moon
by Margaret Wise Brown

3. Going to Bed Book
by Sandra Boynton

4. Blue Hat Green Hat
by Sandra Boynton

5. Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do you See?
by Eric Carle

6. The Very Hungry Caterpillar
by Eric Carle

7. Guess How Much I Love You?
by Sam McBratney

8. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
by Bill Martin

9. Please Baby Please
by Spike and Tanya Lee Lewis

10. Hand Hand Fingers Thumb
by Al Perkins

Friday, June 4, 2010


I would like to be a perfect mom. I really, really would. It would be so nice. Life would be so simple. But it’s probably not all that realistic of a goal, as much as I wish otherwise. So rather than constantly trying to swim upstream, I’m starting to think that maybe I need to just accept that there are some things that I will simply *never* be good at. To help with this new goal, I thought I’d make a list of things that I am just not good at and probably never will be. Here’s what I’ve got so far. I am no good at…

* Tolerating the noise of the morning before my first cup of coffee
* Participating in unstructured free play for longer than 22 seconds
* Keeping track of my keys while managing to carry a baby and hold a 5-year-old’s hand in the parking lot
* Being a patient and loving mother in the middle of the night (and I define “patient and loving” very loosely. As in “not having the urge to smack anything or anyone when woken up from a sound sleep.”)
* Making any dinner that requires more than five ingredients or more than 10 minutes of preparation
* Keeping my cell phone out of water (washing machines, toilets, puddles)
* Getting the previous size clothes out of my children’s closets before they are in the next size
* Keeping the plants watered
* Letting my husband parent in his own way without parenting “advice” (a.k.a. orders) from me
* Finding perspective on long rainy days
* Getting the clean clothes from the laundry baskets into drawers before needing the laundry baskets for the next week’s laundry
* Keeping myself from being annoyed when I’m interrupted for the 12th time when trying to type a list of things that I’m not good at
* Forgiving myself for being annoyed when I am interrupted for the 12th when trying to type a list of things that I’m not good at

What says you?
What aspects of mothering do you find challenging?