Friday, May 31, 2013

TNO's May Sponsors!

It's that time again to thank all the lovely blog sponsors that keep me up and running!  Please show them a little love by stopping by their sites!
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Studio 228


Hi All!


 I'm Jodi, the owner of Studio228. I am a mother,wife, lover of all things handmade.  I got my start a few years ago when my husband brought me home a sewing machine. I admittedly let the sewing machine collect a little dust before actually learning to use it!

Studio228 is dear to my heart.  The 228 stands for my firstborn son's birthdate. At Studio228, you will find an array of things. A majority of our items are home decor related, but we do also offer kid/baby items along with custom spots if you have an idea you want us to bring to life! Keep a look out for brand new designs coming this year!
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The Savvy Craft

The Savvy Craft is a daily deal site all about support and love of all things handmade.  It is our pledge to feature only handmade craft artisans and their amazing creations.
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Growing Up Loved

I love all things involving art and home design. Math…not so much. I love to read design magazines, watch HGTV and spend my free time on Pinterest, looking for new projects to start. I wanted to add art to my home that was meaningful and served a purpose besides just being attractive. When my 8 year old daughter told me that she was fat and ugly because she had glasses and was missing her front teeth I was appalled. Here was this beautiful, smart, loving and kind little girl who was beautiful inside and out and was doubting her own self worth because of mean words from some other children. My heart broke.

I searched all over the internet and local shops to find wall art that I could put up in my little girl’s room to remind her how loved and beautiful she was on a daily basis. I was surprised at how difficult it was to locate. I decided to create Growing Up Loved to fill the need for positive and encouraging daily reminders in our homes and especially in our children’s lives. I offer affordable digital downloads of my artwork that you print yourself to save money. A new service that we are offering is our online parties. These are similar to the home parties that are so popular, but with a twist. You host your party online.  I’m looking forward to meeting you all and creating artwork for your family.


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The MB Diaries

My name is Tiffany, but around here I am the Momma Bear! I am many things, I am Mom, Wife, Blog Designer, etc... This is where I share it all. I may not blog as often as some, but when I do I like to blog about whatever is on my mind, or our most recent adventures!
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Magan's Crafty Corner

Hi, I'm Shauna! I own a little shop where I sell my handmade items called Magan's Crafty Corner. My blog is my way of showing you the behind the scenes portion of it all. I will share things from completed projects to some of my favorite new fabrics! Won't you join me in my journey of being a new business owner?

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GreatProofreading.com

GreatProofreading.com helps bloggers make money on their blogs by improving their pagerank and content and connecting them with sponsors.  We write SEO content to make your business stand out in a Google search and write email campaigns that get more clicks.  Reasonable rates, excellent relationships with clients, and a dedication to giving back to the global community set us apart from other web editing and marketing companies.  Email edit@greatproofreading.com to see how we can help you.
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Boubeads

My twin sister and I are both moms, she had a 6 month old at the time and was having a hard time nursing him because he would become so wiggly and squirmy.  One day she decided to string some cheap wood beads on some plastic cording so that he could play with something while he nursed.  I saw her later that day and thought, "Wow!  I wish I had something like that when my son was little!  Women would buy these for sure."

That was our first official day in business as Boubeads.  As we came up with prototypes we decided that we wanted them to be fashionable enough to wear outside of the house and wanted to make them something that would appeal to all women, not just nursing moms.

As time went on we decided that we would like to hand-dye our own natural beads so that we could control what colors we produced and how they were manufactured since you can't always control that with a supplier.  We really wanted to put our own touch on the product.  Bracelets and pacifier clips followed suit and they have all been wonderfully successful for us.  We find that a lot of women use the bracelets to remember which side they last nursed on by switching the bracelets from the left hand to the right hand and vice versa.

Our beads and suede are manufactured in the USA and the suede is certified to be free of lead, AZO's, PCP, mercury, formaldehyde, chromium VI, cadmium, and other carcinogenic/hazardous chemicals.  The company we buy the suede from is also Green Business Certified.

All of our beads are triple washed after the dyeing process to ensure that the residual color is removed.  All of our products can be washed, which is terrific considering the abuse they get put through.  We recommend washing them in cold water with a mild detergent if you would like and laying them flat to dry.  With careful washing the customer should only see minimal color fading over time.
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Daisy & June Accessory Boutique

Hi!  I am Modern June AKA Kathy but my peeps call me MJ.  I am a mom of 4 amazing kids who keep me on my toes.  I have a wonderfully supportive, crazy hilarious husband who is my rock.  And this, I have this job that started as a hobby in 2011.

I bought a sewing machine and swore to make pillows for our couch.  6 months later there were still no pillows and the sewing machine sat untouched.  I have no idea why - I had been hand sewing for years but a machine?  Hadn't touched one of those since 8th grade when I learned to make these sunflower shorts.

I finally sat down with some scrap fabric and started practicing stitches... a few hours later I made a camera strap.  A few days later another and another... not long after that Daisy & June was born.

Who is Daisy & June?

Daisy was my great great grandmother who taught me how to hand sew.  She was an inspiring woman and I named my daughter after her.  June is me.  Well, my inner self.  It took me a long time to figure out where my life was going and who I was.  Once I found my voice Modern June came out.  I have had this alter ego for almost 6 years and can't imagine my life without it.
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Thursday, May 30, 2013

TNO's Tips & Tricks 19 - Establish a welcome center!

What's the first thing you do when you walk into your home?

Put your stuff down, right?

If that's your answer, it's the same as my answer.  I kick off my shoes, take off any jackets/scarves/etc., and promptly drop my keys, mail, and purse down at the same time as I'm carrying Little Lady's car seat and helping Little Man to get his shoes off.  {I swear we have the only kid who still needs help with velcro.  Which I'll take as a positive since he can't get cloth diapers off yet!}

No matter what system you have in place, having some system to organize all your chaos is important in keeping your home put together.


In our household, we have a simple key and mail organizer purchased from Pottery Barn after we received a gift card from DH's awesome sister and brother in law.


This lovely system helps keep us really organized from the second we step foot through the door.  Keys, mail, wallet - there's a spot for everything.  One of the features I love is definitely the door that you can house small items within to keep in a safe place.  One of the things I always remember to put back into the door compartment is our pool key.  Prior to this organizer, I was constantly losing the key and having to purchase new keys from our HOA.  It helps me to remember where I put it when it always stays right in the organizer by the door.

Typically, I'm all about cheap ways to stay organized, and our PB version did cost a pretty penny, but you can find cheaper versions on Etsy or even make your own with a few pieces of wood and some hooks.  Here are a few of my favorite Etsy finds:

Courtesy of Legacy Studio on Etsy
Courtesy of cottage home decor on Etsy
Either way, having some sort of system is KEY to making sure all those odds and ends you toss the moment you enter your home don't land scattered all over your house.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The never-ending story of searching for a nanny.

For the past few months, we've been searching for a very part time nanny.

We have a good structure going on here at home with both kids, a good nap schedule, fun playdates on other days of the week that provide social interaction with same-aged peers, and because of tot school - Little Man is ahead of the game in learning, already knowing at least 8-10 shapes, at least 5 colors (and we work on that every day), a bunch of letters, and some numbers.  I'm not a huge fan of really large daycares because you typically don't know the kids your child interacts with every day.  In our case, when around a bunch of kids we don't know, Little Man started to bring home behaviors that he'd never seen in our environment from some of the other kids who were not particularly well-behaved.

Little Man working on a tot school shapes activity

Anyway, center based daycare is out for us regardless because they either require pay for more days per week than we'd need {who wants to pay for services they're not using?} or so cost-prohibitive for the time we did need that what I'd take home after paying daycare wasn't enough to warrant me working.  Having a nanny in the house would help our kids keep their own schedules, decrease the amount of sickness to which they'd be exposed (especially since Little Lady has never been sick yet in her life), and be a whole lot easier for DH and I.

Mainly, I would like to pick up a little bit of work during the week on one day {in addition to my weekend shifts that I already work} to cover some projects we have coming up and help a co-worker begin to transition into retirement.  Additionally, since we have no family here, it'd be nice to have someone we can call upon for a little bit of help every so often for things like date nights, doctor's appointments, and other random things that come up.

{Here's where I disclose that I'm on my last pair of contacts that I've stretched out wayyyy past their prime, I can't remember the last time I had my teeth cleaned, and I only get my hair cut maybe once per year.  I know, I'm totally gross.  We just have no one here that can stop by the house and watch the kids for an hour or two in order for me to do this stuff, and it's impossible to take both kids with.  Believe me, I've tried...}

We've recently interviewed a bunch of applicants to nanny our kids and so far have had not one actually work out for us, which is getting to be massively frustrating.  We've tried personal referrals to people, contacted a nanny staffing service, and messaged the heck out of a TON of people on care dot com and sitter city, to no avail.  However, in the search, we've heard lots of fun suggestions from the possible nanny applicants, including the following:

- That we should have a fence in our yard, because it's endangering our kids not to have one.  {We have a pond out back, but we also have one non-mobile baby and one mobile toddler who minds our limits very well.}

- That Little Lady shouldn't be sleeping in a Rock N' Play sleeper, because it's going to stunt her growth.

- That Little Lady should have a blanket on when she sleeps, because babies just like to cuddle up to something - and not just a sleep sack.  {Um, yep, I'm pretty sure that's against every SIDS recommendation I've ever heard.}

- That I should be cutting up Little Man's food smaller {implying that he was going to choke on the bite sizes I was giving him}

- That I should be giving Little Man castor oil to make him poop in order to potty train him more easily.

- That homeschooling won't ever be successful because children innately don't respond to their parents as authoritative figures {this was right after I went through our daily routine of Tot School activities}

- That I was offering too many options {I typically give Little Man a choice of two to give him some control over his environment}, and I should be just telling him what to do.

- And one of the biggies: when one possible nanny spent like 10 minutes asking our religion, our parents' religions, our thoughts on religion, if we go to church, etc.  Then after I'd expressed our views, she still asked to teach our children bible stories.  A half hour later she asked if she could pray in front of the kids.  

Sadly, these were only a few of the many pieces of parenting advice we were given while searching for a nanny, as there has been so much advice given I can't remember it all.  I'm sort of scratching my head in wonder where it all came from with each person, as I definitely didn't ask.  We're at a stage in parenting where we feel pretty comfortable about our style and our comfort level, and it was pretty off-putting to have people coming into our home and telling us how we should be doing things.

We're still on the hunt, but I'm not holding out too much hope at this point.

Anyone care to share how they found their childcare provider?

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Monday, May 27, 2013

The Savvy Craft Etsy Gift Card Winner is posted!

Thank you all so much for entering The Savvy Craft $25 Etsy Gift Card giveaway!  I am SO very excited for the shop to launch on Saturday!  Even if you didn't win, make sure you check out TSC this weekend!

Without further ado, the winner is....

Jackquelyn W!!!

Check out your inbox lady, you've got winning mail! :)  Check back in with me within 48 hours to claim your prize!

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

TNO's Tips & Tricks 18 - Ditch your cable!

Each month, a total cable bill can total anywhere from $30 to $130+ in my area. That doesn't include the cost to install the service or buy the boxes in some cases, and - unless you spend even more to have HBO or other channels - it often doesn't include movies either. 

That sounds like a ton of money for a service that keeps you practically tethered to your couch and dissuades you from getting out and enjoying real life, right?  

Yeah? 

That's what I thought too. So here's tip number 18:



A few years ago, we decided enough was enough.  We were paying around $120 per month for cable, DVR, and extra DVR boxes - and it was just too much.  Shortly after Little Man was born, we decided to try getting rid of cable for a few months.  At that time, we figured if we hated it, we could always turn right back around and sign right back up for cable again.

Since that time, we've saved a TON of money and never looked back.

Being parents of two small children, we never get to watch anything in real time anyway.  Typically most shows air right around the bath time and bedtime of our two babies, making it pretty difficult to watch.  Even when we would have the opportunity to watch a television show, neither DH nor I want to spend the time watching commercials.  Back when we had DVR, we'd start shows 15-20 minutes after they'd began to air as they were recording in order to fast forward through all of the commercials.  So, no matter when we watched a show, we always relied on a recorded version of it regardless.

Now, we're able to watch those same exact shows without paying hundreds of dollars for cable each year by using services from Netflix and Hulu.  Each month, we pay about $16 total between the two services in order to watch all of our shows {like The Office, Parks & Rec, Revenge, Once Upon a Time, etc.} on our time whenever we'd like, just as we used to use our DVR.  Only, this way, it's almost $100 less per month.


{Plus, DH's awesome parents bought him an Apple TV for Christmas last year, which lets us watch all of our programs with one click of a button in a friendly user-interface for Netflix and Hulu!}


Image courtesy of apple.com
The absolute only thing that we miss is that DH doesn't always get the best reception for the basic channels and doesn't have all the sports channels, so - unless he goes out to a bar or friend's house - there are times when he'll miss a game or two.

One other huge positive of cancelling your cable service and subscribing to Netflix, Hulu, or both, is the lessening or complete lack of commercials.  When we watch a show on Netflix, there are no commercials.  When we watch a show on Hulu, there are very minimal commercials.  While it's great for me to have to watch less commercials, I find it to be extremely beneficial when I want to watch something with Little Man.  There are no outside influences that he "needs" a new, cool kind of toy.  There are also no influences to want to eat this or that kind of junky food.  {Especially since there have been recent studies linking commercial advertisement to things like obesity, violence, or later substance abuse.}  Thankfully, both Netflix and Hulu provide children's programming with no ads whatsoever, so he is able to watch a show with no interruptions and no advertisements at all.

Honestly, if you're used to watching TV all the time, it may not hurt to try it for a month.  If you hate it?  You can always go back to getting cable again.  But if it ends up being not so bad, you can save yourself a ton of cash and maybe get off your couch a little more, too!


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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Screen Time for Toddlers - The Bad & The Ugly

This week's posts focus all about young children and screen time.  You can find my other posts about the general guidelines of children's screen time, the amount of screen time our toddler has, and my take as a speech therapist on the good options in young children's programming at the links shown.  As for today, well, let's get into the bad and the ugly - those shows that I'm just really not that into for my toddler.

Before we talk about the bad & ugly though - I'll start out by going through just a few shows that aren't particularly offensive to me as a parent and speech pathologist, but that aren't good enough to make my list of the top five shows I'll let my son watch without me.  Some of these shows are extremely cute, enjoyable enough that I don't mind watching them, and have the typically toddler theme units to help your toddler learn specific concepts and vocabulary, but I just find there to be better options if I'm not right there.  I will definitely watch some of these shows with Little Man, but I make sure that I'm there and interacting with him the entire time, pointing out what is happening, working on new vocabulary words, or identifying new concepts.  Those shows on my "Meh" list are as follows:

- Bubble Guppies 
- Curious George
- Sesame Street 
- Jake & The Neverland Pirates
- Little Einsteins
- Handy Manny
- Doc McStuffins
- Phineas and Ferb {This one gets equally as many great reviews as it gets bad ones from what I've heard, but I don't love it for the fact that it seems to be teaching the same theme - over, and over, and over again.}

There are a few other shows that hit my middle of the road category that I wanted to go into a bit further.


The first is Yo Gabba Gabba.  I know this is a huge hit for many parents and kids, but for me it falls right into the middle.  I love how expressive the facial expressions are made on the characters - you can visibly and plainly see when they are upset or happy.  I also love the themed units and their use of song to teach concepts.  As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, Little Man knows when I softly sing the tune of "Inside voice - quiet" that he needs to decrease his volume or whisper if we're trying to walk past Little Lady's room without waking her.  It's a great, fun method of teaching simple concepts to use song.

But what I don't like is the transitions from segments on the show and the seemingly unrelated content in each episode.  Each episode has random transitions of children riding toys around the screen as well as video game clips that have absolutely nothing to do with the theme of the day.  There are also a bunch of segments such as funny faces and Biz's beat of the day that also don't even remotely related to their main topic.  It may be hard to understand for younger kids why that material is at all relevant to what they're watching, when really - it just isn't.

Another show on my Meh list is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  I used to really like MMC, but after watching a bit, I realized the amount of possible learning to come from the show compared to the amount of time spent watching the show was not a good ratio.  The concepts taught are also very basic and limited, and suited to very young toddlers.  One other thing that bothers me a bit is the character Pete.  I don't hugely love that he is constantly trying to steal things from the other characters and is just, in general, not a great guy, but whenever Mickey or any of the other characters refer to him, it's "our friend Pete."  I'm not a fan of the fact that it shows kids that their friends can walk all over them and have no ramifications for it.  {For the same reasons, I'm not a huge fan of Dora the Explorer and Swiper.}


The third on the middle of the road shows I wanted to talk about today was Eebee baby.  I've had a few readers ask me specifically about this show.  To be honest, I'd never heard of it until asked to talk about it in this post series.  From the limited amount of episodes I was able to watch on Netflix, it seems like Eebee baby is a show to help children learn through action by completing tasks such as water play, scooping, turning dials, fastening, etc.  Overall, before I go into the specifics - this show is kind of creepy.  Eebee is an odd creature and they don't talk very much during the show - which as a SLP I don't love.  However, the play they're modeling is very age appropriate for older babies and younger toddlers, and the tasks are fun.  I think my main concern is that this is NOT a show to just set your toddler down in front of and walk away.  To learn much of anything from this show, it'd be more appropriate to play the show and then immediately do the same activities shown.  In that thought though, you're probably going to have to demonstrate how to play anyway, so maybe just watching Eebee baby yourself for the ideas and then playing those activities with your child would be the best option.

So let's talk about the Ugly - those shows I'm against showing to my toddler as a SLP.

1. Any show made for adults {The Simpsons, Family Guy, American Dad, etc.}


This should go without saying.  Really, it should.  But sadly it doesn't.  {Sigh.}

For many families with whom I've worked, putting on one cartoon is the same as putting on any other.  But cartoons made for adults are just that - made for adults.  The consuming of alcoholic beverages or using illegal substances, overt sexual themes, violence, poor language, and just in general inappropriate content matter is just the tip of the iceberg with these shows.  While it's great for a laugh after your children are asleep, for the love of all that is holy - please don't play these shows while your child is watching.

2. Teach your child to read {Or any other DVD program that claims to teach your child something out of their developmentally appropriate timeline}

Any program you buy claiming to teach an infant how to read, speak, or do cartwheels is probably a waste of money, bottom line.  There is a reason children develop at a certain rate, and their cognition can only stretch so far out of those parameters.  Additionally, I'm against any program that advocates ignoring the AAP's recommendation for no screen time before the age of two, especially if it requires hours upon hours of screen time per week.  It just isn't a good option for your kids.  If you're concerned with their development or believe your child is not on track, please contact your pediatrician and ask for a referral to be evaluated by your local speech, occupational, or physical therapists!

3. Barney & Friends

Barney is an example of how not to help your child develop socially and emotionally.  In most situations, Barney responds in ways that I don't find pragmatically appropriate, glossing over the children's feelings and concerns, or giggling through hurting himself or being upset.  Also, if you watch an episode of Barney, there is never any real tension between characters or any need of conflict resolution.  It does a poor job of displaying actual possibilities of interaction between the children pictured, showing that everyone always gets along in perfect happiness with each other.

I'd heard recently that the show had been a bit better in these aspects from a friend, so we gave it another shot.  In the one episode I watched with Little Man {the only episode of Barney he's ever seen}, the children were about to construct an airplane out of boxes and "fly" it.  The children assigned themselves characters: the blonde girl as the flight attendant, the brunette, white boy as the pilot, and the hispanic boy as a passenger going to visit his grandmother.  As that point, because of those gender and cultural stereotype and roll fulfillment as well as the poor social/emotional example, we turned off the TV and went to play with some toys.  Sorry, Barney.  You failed your second chance.

4. Caillou

This is another show we'd actually never watched, but in preparing for this post I did a bit more research.  I'd heard from other parents that it was a terrible show, and - after watching - I have to agree.  Caillou comes off as ungrateful and whiny.  He (she?) treats his parents poorly and they tend to be somewhat of pushovers in the show.  After watching several episodes, I hadn't heard the words please, thank you, or I'm sorry once, though they would apply in several situations.  For all the possible lessons a child could learn from this show, I still wouldn't choose it as a good or even middle of the road option.

5. Sponge Bob

As for Sponge Bob, this article from ABC News sums it up quite nicely.  Starting off, Sponge Bob was "made to entertain 6 to 11 year old children, not made to teach preschoolers," per Jane Gould - a senior VP at Nickelodeon.  So, it isn't even made to teach older children, just to occupy their time.  Which, if you've read my previous posts - you know that I'm not a fan of that other than occasionally and with good quality content.  Sponge Bob does not have quality characters, has fast transitions which I find to tax cognitive processing, and shows content that I find to be inappropriate for both preschoolers and older aged children in terms of social interaction, ability to transfer to real life scenarios, and poor connection to loud and distracting music.

Funny story though, the study I cited above used watching Caillou as one of their control groups as a good example of toddler programming...  {double sigh.}

So there you have it.

When we are looking for television programming in the Naptown Organizer household, these are the shows upon which we never land.  Tune in tomorrow for my Tips & Tricks post on how to cut your television bills while at the same time keeping your children healthier at the same time!  Later on in the week I also have posts lined up discussing how to decrease your child's current TV obsession and how to teach your child using the television!

In the meantime, do you agree with the bad & the ugly programs I've listed above?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Screen time for toddlers - the good of children's programming

If you've been stopping by the blog this week, you've already seen my post on the general recommendations for children's screen time or television time as well as how much we personally use screen time here at the Naptown Organizer household.  In today's post we're going to continue on the technology trend and discuss some of those good types of media to which you can expose your toddlers.

{Many of you responded to my Facebook post on this topic either on the thread or through private message inquiring about specific shows and I'll try to mention those shows in today's and tomorrow's posts!}

Before we start, though, I just want to say one thing... don't let your kids watch junk just to occupy them every day for large periods of time!  This has to be the most important tip.  If you're having your kids zone out in front of the TV with junk playing, they're not going to learn anything from it.  I promise you that I have days just like every other mom does when I need a half hour of TV time to be able to eat a meal and use the restroom without a small hand tugging me in the other direction to play.  When I have those days, I'm choosing something that could actually enrich my child's learning instead of just giving him something to do.  Here are (just a few) of my favorite shows and why I expose my toddler to them:

1. Thomas the Tank Engine


While I'm not a huge fan of Thomas personally {he really is the cheeky one}, there are excellent lessons to be learned from this show in terms of cognitive and social development.  Thomas tends to be a slower moving show, mostly without extraneous clips or information.  The narratives are slow with many pauses, which gives children a bit more time to process and understand what is being said.  In terms of specific benefits, children who enjoy the show can learn colors as each train has a bold, clearly recognizable color with which it is associated.  Children can also learn numbers, as many of the trains have numbers painted on their sides.  But one of my favorite parts about Thomas the Train shows is the emotions displayed.  Clear, often exaggerated displays of emotion on each train's face are showed throughout the clips and episodes, often accompanied by simple, relatable phrases such as, "Percy was mad!"  By allowing our children to learn the small details in facial expressions as related to emotions, we're furthering their social and emotional development.

2. Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood


Since this is a fairly new show - and we don't have cable - I haven't seen a lot of this one just yet.  But, there are many reasons why I'd click to this show over another, and here's why.  First off, above all else, I love how great of a character Daniel's father is.  In many shows, the father figure is glossed over and the mother is the only one shown, and I think that's putting our kids at a disservice.  Daniel's father is present just as much as his mother, and is just as emotionally present as his mother as well.  It's an excellent example of each parent being as connected and loving to their children as the other is.

Also, aside from the relevant themes for a young child (such as visiting the doctor, having a babysitter, using the potty) as in most preschool cartoons, their use of song is a great addition to aid your child in learning.  Many of the episodes have a specific song used to remind Daniel of task sequencing and task transitions.  For example, one episode details bedtime, in which Daniel rehearses a song with his father about "Bath time, pajamas, brush teeth, story and song, then it's time for bed," or something like that.  Don't judge - those songs can stick in your head, okay?  By using song, we can help more effectively transition our children between tasks as well as help them to more easily remember expectations in certain situations.

{If you see a random mama walking around a store with a baby strapped to her front and a toddler strapped to her back singing "Inside voice, quiet, inside voice" in a hushed whisper, you will know it's me!  Also, ten points and cookies to anyone who can identify from which show that song comes in the comments below!}

3. & 4. Wild Kratts / Octonauts 


I'm a huge fan of both of these shows for a the same reason - they expose my toddler to things that he'd never be able to learn in our daily life.  Both shows highlight specific land and sea animals in a way that appeals to children, both in real video representations as well as fun cartoon characters to keep their attention.  Both shows share details about animals that - while currently above my two year old's level of understanding - will soon be really interesting facts for him to learn.  I often learn something new from each show just as my child does!

5. Word World

One of the main things I love about Word World is that there is actually some research behind the show.  The Department of Education completed a (funded) study that the show actually promotes pre-literacy skills in older aged toddlers, increasing skills such as oral vocabulary, ability to read words highlighted in the show, and even phonemic awareness for children with English as a second language.  The way that Word World practices not only specific letters but puts them together visually to make a word - and then goes one step further by that word actually turning into the item itself - is an excellent visual representation for children to understand the connection of the letters and words to the concept of an item.  We've watched the show several times here when Little Man has seen letters he knows and identifies them up on the screen, as they're displayed long enough and emphasized enough that he is able to process it as a single part before it becomes the word unit.

Runner up?  Super Why
I love Super Why for some of the same reasons I love Word World, as it targets literacy skills and pre-reading skills.  It falls in my runner up category because it just isn't one of my most enjoyable shows to watch with my child as a personal preference.  Whatever your preference may be, it's a great option in young children's television!

There are plenty of options in toddler programming, but those are my top five picks of shows that I'll turn on when my toddler has some screen time.  I will say though, that as we don't have cable {I'll mention a bit more on that later this week in my Thursday Tips & Tricks post}, I do miss out on some shows, and I'm not always aware of the newest shows coming out on screen.

*Of note- just because your child's favorite show didn't make my top 5 list doesn't make it a bad show!  There are plenty of shows that are appropriate for toddlers, but just don't teach very much at face value unless you're taking that material and making it a lesson after the show.  I'll get into some of those shows tomorrow!  My top five shows are the ones I'm more likely to turn on if I can't be sitting next to Little Man and watching with him, because there's a higher likelihood of him learning something from these shows without me right there interacting with him while it's on the TV.

My next post will highlight the television shows for younger children that I consider to be in the middle and on the bottom of my list, check back in tomorrow for more information!

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*All images from this post were courtesy of pbs.com or wikipedia.com
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