Classes & Groups

Why Moving Matters

Sitting is the new smoking. And, yet, “sitting still” is the gold standard for good behavior in preschoolers? We continually design technologies to position and do and move for us. And, yet, we expect our littles to be more independent?

Everything we do, all that we be requires movement. Yet in our culture, starting as babies and lasting through the golden years, we don’t move the way we were designed. Nor do we nourish our body and brain with the movement required for optimal health and well being. The consequences are big:

  • Flat-head syndrome and asymmetry in babies (1 in 5!).
  • Higher-level motor skills not reached in 5-year-olds, a sign they won’t be accomplished at all.
  • Back pain in elementary students.
  • High and rising rates of depression, anxiety with all the secondary consequences in adolescents.
  • The skyrocketing incidence of metabolic disease, obesity, emotional health breakdown.

The list goes on.

We are failing at nourishing our bodies and brains with the movement required for optimal health.

Only 22% of children get the required amount of exercise per day. And, it’s worse with adults…18%. But, when we design public places with escalators next to stairs (or worse, hide the stairs), is it any wonder? I frequently see people line up to get on the escalator when the stairs are EMPTY! We are waiting in line to not move even more! Doesn’t that seem CRAZY?!?

But there are solutions. Many. And everyone can find one that works for them.

You do not need to be an Olympian triathlete to reap the benefits of exercise. You just need to be aware and to choose to move.

The brain and body work together

Behavior becomes biology. Form follows function. Our skeletons were designed to walk and run. Our brains were designed to feel, to process, to plan and execute, to problem solve, to create. The “soft-wired” integration of brain and body connections is plastic, malleable, adaptable, flexible. And we change the structure and chemistry of our brain DAILY!

If we neglect one part, the other will “feel the pain.” If we feed both body and brain what each need, we don’t just survive, we THRIVE! And, the change happens as soon as you DECIDE and ACT.

So, what happens when we DO move our bodies? When we do get outside? Just stepping outside and moving your body decreases your worry and anxiety. Even if you can’t directly control the circumstances around you, you can change the way you respond. Being outside helps you to get present in the NOW. You relax, you feel connected and nourished, integrated and whole. You feel FREE and, therefore, better equipped to respond.

What else happens when you move? Here’s what the research says:


  • Enhances learning capacity. 20 minutes of exercise where your heart rate is at 70-90% of its maximum increases your focus and learning capacity for up to four HOURS afterward. Just think what our kids could learn if PE were FIRST in the day. Before-school running/ninja warrior clubs come to mind. It’s NOT just about more hours in the classroom. Let’s be strategic, effective and efficient.         >>> Get your FREE JUMPSTART PE classes HERE
  • Boosts brain drivers! Exercise modulates and enhances the activity of dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin in the brain, responsible for how we feel, think, adapt, problem solve, remember, move, and keep our brain structure HEALTHY AND GROWING. The benefits are dosage-dependent, but it ALWAYS begins with ONE STEP.
  • Improves your mood. This is a BIG one and I see it with myself, my husband and my children on a daily basis. My kids know to send me outside or to the gym when I start to “lose it.” And I know that when kid behavior gets “crazy,” outside time with them (combining movement, outdoors and quality time) is GOLDEN!
  • Increases your focus. Moms, multi-tasking is NOT something to aspire to. Sometimes it’s necessary, but it is not efficient and effective. Distractability isn’t just a “thing” for kids. Get some movement (dance, jumping jacks, high knees, mountain climbers, jumpies, you name it) and then define a “Power 20!” Give yourself ONE task and do it for 20 minutes. Be amazed at all that can be accomplished in a short time.
  • Protects your brain. Just as pumping iron increases your muscle mass, exercise in the long-run increases brain growth, especially in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. These areas are essential for executive functioning and laying down memories. The more robust they are, the stronger foundation there is for any neuro-degeneration in the future. Do the work NOW and CONSISTENTLY. I know we all say it, but you really have nothing if you don’t have your health. Take care of you, because YOU is all you have. Get moving!
  • Launches you into high performance. You need (at minimum) 3-4 times per week of vigorous exercise, 30 minutes per session. BUT, even 5 minutes is better than NONE so as Nike says, “Just Do It!” Also, if you want to be a “high performer” in your life, increase that to 5x/week!

Exercise is the MOST TRANSFORMATIVE thing you can do for yourself TODAY. Of course there are other physical, emotional, and psychological pillars of health required for maximum performance, but NONE of them have such a PROFOUND, IMMEDIATE effect as exercise. Take it to heart, practice it over and over, and inspire your kids to do the same.

Move Play Grow, Move for Life, Play to Learn, Grow With Love, Kinesthetic Learning, Physiological effects of movement, Mental benefits of movement, Developmental coordination

What about the flip side?

When you don’t move, you limit your ability to participate (now and in the future); your heart strains to keep the blood moving; your muscles atrophy; you experience pain; your endurance plummets; your brain deteriorates; you are weak; you have trouble playing on the floor with your babies and grandbabies; you are frail and fragile, ready to break.

Of course that’s not YOU, though…Right? The problem is, you won’t recognize any of the above until it’s reached a critical point. And you certainly won’t see the difference between where you are today and where you could be unless you commit to moving vigorously and often.

A sedentary life is unhealthy. There is no way around it. And it’s certainly the outcome your children will face if the love of moving and participating and pushing their body to the limits isn’t ingrained from an early age. It’s never too late to start, AND it’s always easier the earlier it becomes a habit.

Get out and move!

You don’t need to be a fine-tuned athlete or rugged outdoors person. If it’s  like pulling teeth to get you out the door, it’s ok. Any type of movement can inspire and make a difference. You may need to dig a little deeper to find what lights you up, but I promise, it’s there. You have a body; it was designed to move, it wants to move, you just need to find what inspires.

And, sometimes you have to climb Mt. Everest of resistance just to reach the start. If getting going is your pain point, recognize that and create a no-back-door situation so you stop fighting an unnecessary battle. Save the battle for when your body wants to quit! And, know that will power is not enough. A plan with best intentions is not enough. You need accountability.

Find a partner who won’t let you back out. A class that will charge you if you don’t show up. Add your movement time in your calendar and star it as the MOST IMPORTANT meeting of your day. Do NOT cancel on yourself. (Side note: The way you do one thing is the way you do everything. If you cancel on yourself, you cancel on others, too.)

Make it fun and inspiring, think outside the box. Parkour, pole dancing, belly dancing, surfing, plyometric routine up and down your street (that was one of my favorite workouts in college). Meet a friend. Do it with your children and make it a game.

I was trying to inspire my 8-year-old son to do pushups. He didn’t want to. I told him I’d hold a plank until he finished them. I almost died holding that plank, and eventually, he pushed up 5 times and LOVED that he “saved” me! Laughter all over.

Oh, and if you laugh during your workout routine, you engage your core up to 40% more than doing core work alone! LAUGH A LOT!

Move Play Grow, Move for Life, Play to Learn, Grow With Love, Kinesthetic Learning, Physiological effects of movement, Mental benefits of movement, Developmental coordination

Bottom line, don’t overanalyze your resistance. Just take your first step and GO! Every time you conquer that resistance, you create a win. Every win builds confidence. Every repetition builds resilience and grit. Every time you move, your body comes alive, and isn’t that what it’s all about?

Create environments where movement is inspired. The more you and your children move, the more you receive the benefits of that movement. And, the more you move, the more you want to move. Let’s all get on the spiral upward.

And, here’s the thing. It’s not just about your kids moving. It’s YOU moving WITH your kids. You don’t need to be there 100% of the time, but what they want is connection with you. Love them by moving with them, participating with them.

If you happen to coach sports, create opportunities for parents to come out and play the last 5 minutes of practice. I’ve done this for a few years now and it is  SOOOOO fun. The only rule is that parents CANNOT talk. Their children get to lead and instruct and inspire and initiate the connection with YOU!

What if my child doesn’t want to move?

Sometimes I meet a family who talks about their easy baby (sometimes labeling “lazy baby”) being content sitting still and watching. Usually, mom and dad aren’t worried. They are grateful for the break. However, in the back of my mind, I wonder, what could be possibly going on with this baby that they don’t feel comfortable moving? Often, these are the kiddos who end up having some more overt challenges later on.

What to do? Don’t accept “Wait and See” as an answer. Don’t try to answer what’s going on with YOUR child by reading about other people’s children. Google casts a wide net, but it can’t go deep with you and your child. Everyone is unique and deserves to be seen as such. Schedule a screening or evaluation with a local pediatric physical therapist or occupational therapist. Get answers from the people who know infant and child development best.

Get Moving!

We are blessed to have bodies that feel, move, and connect. When we don’t move, we clog up our brain, our thoughts, and our emotions. Movement is essential to keep things free flowing. From day one until the day we say goodbye to this life, our body is our home. Honor it and give it what it needs. And then teach, show, and inspire your children the same.


Final Thoughts

If you want fun new ways to MOVE, I’m gifting you my JUMPSTART PE, Check it out HERE


Play: 9 to 12 months

Babies at 9 to 12 months are really moving and grooving! They are in to almost everything and will likely be pulling to stand, cruising along furniture, and preparing to take those first few wobbly steps! This is also a bittersweet time for many parents (myself included) as you see your little baby vertical – even if holding on to something! Typically, by 9 months, babies are sitting unsupported and reaching for toys, crawling (tummy up or down) and by the end of this stage, babies are creeping, pulling to stand, cruising, and some may even be walking. Their ability to move in new ways (crawl, stand, even walk) makes it easier to explore and helps them make new discoveries.

Play: 6 to 8 Months

Babies 6 to 8 months continue to move, play, and grow at an amazing rate!  At times, it seems as though they are learning something new every day!   Many of the same principles that we discussed in the post about play with your 4 to 6 month old continue to apply.  Here are 5 new tips to consider:

SAFETY:  A moving baby who puts everything into his mouth needs to be watched all the time because he can quickly swallow small objects or creep into unsafe places. Babies are not able to understand about danger. Lock away unsafe objects or put them high out of reach.  Many experts advise to use the TP Rule: if an object can fit through the hole in a toilet paper tube, then it is too small for a child 3 and under to play with.  If there are older siblings in the home, please teach this to them as well so they can be an active participant in determining what toys can be out when baby is playing.  PLEASE ENSURE THE SAFETY OF YOUR BABY by childproofing!  Get down on the floor, crawl around, and see what your little explorer could find!

Social: Time for play dates!  Start early – this is as much for you as it is for your baby!  People are much more interesting than things and babies love to see other little people that look like they do!  You and baby will also create lasting friendships.

Stranger/Separation Anxieties: Expanding baby’s social circle is important but be aware of his sensitivity when around strangers and when separating from mom (stranger anxiety and separation anxiety).  If you do have to leave, make sure you still say good bye and explain that you will be back.

Simple: Babies don’t need fancy toys!  They can be happy playing with a set of measuring cups, exploring plastic bowls or a spoon, etc.  The main point to remember is offering varying sizes, shapes, colors and textures.  Remember, baby is not impressed by labels or price tags!

Sun, Sand, Snow:  It’s time to get outdoors!   Baby is now old enough to be outside with baby safe sunscreen so spend time enjoying it.   Watch the trees moving in the wind and try to find birds, flowers, doggies, and other people.   Talk about you are finding as you explore the environment!  Baby loves to hear the sound of your voice and the more you speak in a happy, sing-song voice, the more your baby will listen, engage, and learn.  Try and make some of the sounds that you hear.   This is also a great time for more walks in the stroller or in the carrier.  Don’t forget other fun activities like crawling on the grass, putting feet in the sand, playing with bubbles, to name a few.

Take time to truly marvel this amazing stage of development . . . it will be gone before you know it!

Exploring outdoors 8.5 months Feet in Sand 8.5 moths Bubbles 8 months Beach Carrier Senses Crawling on Grass 9 months


Play: 2 to 4 Months

Continuing with the play theme, your 2 to 4 month old baby is definitely more alert, more interactive, and more interested in initiating exploring his world. You just need to give yourself permission to linger, to observe and to marvel. It will still take a while for him to organize purposeful movements, sounds, smiles, and coos, but if you linger it will happen. And then you will be addicted and do everything in your power to see him do it again!

A 2 to 3 month baby smiles and coos, holds his head more steadily in midline, and controls gross shoulder movements to reach his arm in space towards something interesting. His favorite toy is still YOU, but you can also introduce bold colored or simply patterned books or toys (or safe Christmas ornaments). His gross reach into space will be more like a punch with a closed fist (no controlled grasp with hand yet), but when his hands are closer to his body and face or on an object, they will open and scratch at the surfaces.

I caught my husband playing with Kellan on the changing table, giving and receiving “body blows” with right and left jabs and hooks. I LOVED seeing this because Neil entered Kellan’s world. He observed what Kellan was doing and gave meaning to it. Kellan’s blows knocked Neil a few paces backwards or to the side, and with every repetition, Kellan understood more and more that his movements were affecting his environment. He was in control! Smiles and coos followed. No laughs yet, but we are waiting to hear Kellan’s first giggle!

A 3 to 4 month baby definitely exhibits more control, keeping body symmetrical right and left, top to bottom. Reaching is more refined and, when body is supported, head control is great with very little wobbling! This all translates into more refined play. Baby will turn his head to your voice, follow you with his eyes, reach for and briefly grasp objects. Expect more cooing and smiling. And his favorite toy…..YOU! Faces fascinate baby, but if you need to step away, try placing baby near a mirror so he can see himself!

Babies at this time are busy exploring all that they see. Because head control is greatly improved, eyes have the opportunity to fix themselves on different objects to study them. You will find baby staring at you and if in the right position, different parts of his own body (which he considers to be completely separate from himself). Though he can’t yet do it by himself, if you bring his feet into view, he will study them like they are the most amazing phenomena ever. This often elicits gross reaching and swiping at them. Self-discovery is so important, and this age is a perfect one to start “naked playtime.” Take his clothes and diaper off and in a warm room on a blanket or floor mat, place him on back, tummy and side and let him move around and explore in the buff. He will get his hand-to-hand, hand-to-chest, hand-to-face/head/mouth. If your house is just too cold, linger a little longer in the bathtub for the same experience.

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Other ideas include music and singing, starting peer time in playgroups (babies LOVE other babies…and it’s a great time for moms/dads to get together), reading (never to early for this), and lingering with the daily tasks. Your play will come naturally if you really observe your baby, enter his world and help him make sense of it. Be respectful of his needs and follow his cues, whether he wants more intense sensory experiences or to calm down a bit. Sometimes it can be a challenge to read your baby and know what they need, but through daily play and interaction, you will continue to know your little guy and love him that much more!

What are some of your favorite play activities at this age?

Buy This: All About Timing

Timing of gifts are as important as the gift itself. The ages stated on toys are both for safety and for children’s cognitive abilities. Buy one too early and you might frustrate your child; buy one too late and they’ll be bored. This is another reason to purchase toys that appeal to all ages, inspire creativity and imagination, and can be played with differently as your child grows and matures. This post discusses Stacking Cups and Push Toys.

A toys that works at most ages: Stacking Cups

– 4-6 months: watch parent spin them on floor, reach for them as grasp emerges, mouth them
– 6-7 months: Bang two together with one in each hand
– 7-8 months: Passing single cup hand to hand
– 10 months: Container to put things in
– 12-14months: Rolled on floor, picked up from floor, playing hide and seek for the cup, using as a container to put things in AND dump them out
– 15-17 months: Stacking
– 17+: Stacking higher and higher and KNOCKING it over in fun, novel ways :-), sorting, more complex games! Watch your child play with them to give you ideas how to jump in, join THEIR world and help expand it.

A toy that should be delayed before introduced: Push Toy

A push toy often has 12 months of age associated with it, but that is assuming your child is walking. A push toy should NOT be introduced before your child is walking independently. Many people believe that it can be a walking aide that teaches a child to walk. In fact, it encourages movement compensations that impede independent walking and encourages taking forward steps with heavy leaning on hands. Walking with a push toy before independent walking is also a safety hazard because the child cannot control the speed or direction of the toy, which can get away from them. Their protective extension (arms forward to break a fall) is not yet fast enough to always help them catch their inevitable fall.
However, once a child is walking well, push toys are FABULOUS! Small grocery carts can be filled and emptied and transported place to place. Parents can make the cart heavy by placing gallon cartons filled with water into the basket (or allowing kids to use many small water bottles so they can do the heavy lifting), requiring stronger pushing and pulling. Obstacle courses can be set up to steer in, out and around, encouraging problem solving with the inevitable crashes (and, unbelievably, providing a foundation for prepositions in language!). It is also a great core workout–just think how much your abs need to work to steer those wayward grocery carts in the store! And of course, it allows your little one to do a “mommy/daddy” job and trains them for using the “customer in training” carts at the stores!

Timing is key when first introducing toys. Appropriate expectations for play will help you to make smarter selections. Kids are always drawn to novel things, so rotating toys every few weeks will rekindle interest in old toys and give you an opportunity to see how they approach their toys differently. Ultimately, engage with them in the play: first observe what they are doing, join in to be with them in the moment and then help them expand OR be amazed as they push YOUR limits!

Have fun! Play lots! Be SILLY!

Guest Post: YOU are the BEST Toy

Christmas is nearly here! Soon, you and your little ones will likely be knee deep in toys, wrapping paper, and fun! As we bring our Buy This/Not That Series to a close, we have a guest post from a wonderful speech and language therapist. In this special post, Miss Lori reminds us all of something very important, a message that can carry us throughout the years.

When thinking about what toys to pick for your child, keep in mind that it is not the toy itself but what YOU do with it that brings the magic to the play. Ultimately YOU are the best toy for your child. From the very beginning stages of development, it is the relationship YOU create with your child that supports the development of his or her creative mind. YOU bring the play to life whether cradling your baby in your arms, banging on a pot with him while singing your favorite tune, or all dressed up as a princess in her favorite castle. IT is YOU that helps your child make connections, build experiences and help get the ideas flowing. With time, you will start to see your child bring in their own ideas from their own experiences and begin the process of thinking, learning and creating.

Here are just a few ideas for toys/household items that will facilitate the fun, creative play above:

Infant: Laundry basket, Books, Stackers/nesters, any time/anything that supports face to face interactions with your child! Get down and view the world from their eyes!

Toddler: Pots/Pans, Hats, Buckets/Balls, Bubbles, Bowls, Beads, Blankets, YOU!

Preschool: Tents, Puppets, Plush Toys, Boxes, Dress Up (be creative with what you have!), YOU!

Embrace the magic of your child and see the world through their eyes! Thank You Miss Lori for this reminder!

By: Lori Jenkinson, SLP-CCC

Buy This…If You Can: The Changing Table Challenge

This title takes on many meanings. From a baby that does not like being placed on his back, getting dressed or undressed, to the wiggle worm who just cant seem to be still enough to get business done, to the balancing game of whether to dodge or catch pee, poop and spit up! Changing can really be a challenge.

But today we are going to focus on the actual table. My sister had the first baby in our family, in Belgium. I went to visit and the MOST fun place to play with baby was on the changing table. It was oriented so that the head was up, feet were down and the “changer” was standing at baby’s feet. There were necessary items logically placed and within reach and baby followed my every move, looking back and forth, up and down as I went about the business of cleaning, diapering and donning clothes.

After the business was done, we stayed to play. I played peekaboo using her feet, I watched her facial expressions and mimicked them, utterly enthralled when she engaged in a true “conversation,” and I watched with awe as she tried to organize volitional movements with her head, arms and legs. A diaper change that can last as little as a couple minutes turned into a 20 minute play time session. It was wonderful!

Fast forward 2 years when I became pregnant and went searching for my changing table. Much to my dismay, there was not ONE SINGLE TABLE in the United States that was oriented with baby’s head up. ALL of them were sideways, designed for “changers” to stand at baby’s side. I finally found one from a manufacturer that is now out of business (see photos). It is a separate top that bolts onto the dresser and into the wall for safety. It then folds out or back when you need to have easier access to the top drawer.

Why is this important? When you stand at baby’s feet, you are encouraging symmetry, with baby looking down at you (downward visual gaze). As you move about, baby looks left and right and back to center again, practicing holding midline positions. Standing at his feet, you notice asymmetries in baby’s head/neck and body, whether they are tilted left or right or resisting looking one way or the other. Because baby is on an elevated surface rather than on the floor, it’s better on your body and therefore easier to engage baby in conversation. In addition,using a flat pad rather than one with a trough and raised sides allows baby to roll sideways rather than blocking movement.


By contrast, on US-designed tables, babies are typically positioned head to our left or right with little alteration. You are looking sideways at baby’s body and baby is always looking sideways at you. Given that we are very one-side-dominant adults, we tend to have a preference for which side we like to approach, so we don’t often change the way baby faces. Also, it’s tough to place your baby’s head on the spot his bottom was a few hours before. These changing tables facilitate asymmetry and imbalance, and if you do not engage in the switching which side baby’s head is on, baby is overdeveloping one side at the expense of the other.

I would LOVE to say “Buy This,” but I cannot find it! The challenge, therefore, is to FIND a changing table manufactured in the US that allows us to change at baby’s feet and is wide enough to safely allow movement side to side. I’m searching for a company that OR a person (who might want to start a company). Please, share your knowledge! Many babies and families will be thankful!

Buy This: Baby Proofing Services or Items

Though the general theme for our pro/con equipment recommendations is “less is better” in order to allow for more independent, self-driven exploration and development, the first priority is always safety.

Babies are little scientists and will explore every nook and cranny. Once they start rolling and crawling to get from place to place, your cute little blob that could be placed on a mat before can now not be out of your immediate sight, lest they get into some sort of trouble. This is when containers look really attractive, because we are exhausted supervising every second and cannot possibly be within arm’s reach all day long. BUT, rather than spending money on these devices that restrict movement, create a safe place where baby can explore. A large play yard is a start, but soon baby will want to explore his house! The entire house! And he will find his favorite spots, usually the most dangerous ones you never knew you had! This is where baby-proofing your house is essential. There are many do-it-yourself guides and products, but it might be worth having professionals come in and help to identify the risky areas you never knew you had.

In Greater San Diego area, Baby Safe Homes is a great company that comes in and performs an evaluation/inspection and installation (should you choose) the same day. Disclaimer: Move Play Grow has no financial ties to Baby Safe Homes, but I personally used them to baby proof our house and they were wonderful!

So, whether you choose to perform this task yourself or to outsource it, baby proofing BEFORE your baby becomes mobile is essential. Most accidents that occur with babies are preventable. Thoughtfully making your house safer will help relieve your anxiety about allowing baby to be the scientist he really wants to be!bday baby

Be Happy! Be Safe! Be Explorers!

Buy This…Not That: Play Table vs. Jumper

BUY THIS: Play Table

This type of toy is fairly new on the scene. I had one for my son and loved it. Even though it does have quite a few cause/effect buttons, sounds, etc. which can be overwhelming at times, I look past that due to the versatility of it! Below are three common uses:
1.) Legs Off/Flat on Ground. This is great for babies 2 to 6 months. Baby can activate it during tummy time, once he learns how to weight shift, and can also easily push buttons when sitting independently. Always make sure you supervise your little one as baby will likely bonk his face into the table during tummy time or tumble forward if a new sitter! If your baby is not yet sitting independently, you can provide assistance by supporting/putting your hands on the trunk. The lower your hands are, the harder he will have to work!
2.) Table with legs on/All 4 sides accessible: Your baby is ready for this around 9 to 12 months – when they start standing with minimal support and cruising. When baby is just starting to stand, he will likely lean on the table quite a bit so wedge the table in a corner (like between couch/wall) to prevent table and baby from toppling over! Baby will become more skilled at pull to stand and more controlled when squatting to sit back down. Eventually, you may notice a step or two to each side – that’s the beginning of cruising!
3.) Table Placed near another surface (couch): Your baby will likely be ready for this around 10 to 12 months. This may likely be the first time you see your little daredevil attempt to take steps on his own to reach the other surface. Creating safe opportunities to transfer between surfaces (especially YOU!) and allows your baby to build more and more confidence to eventually let go and step where he desires to go!
Although they may come with a few too many bells and whistles, these play tables meet other requirements to make it a great toy to have as your baby grows: can be played with in multiple positions, can be played with in multiple ways, appeals to many senses, etc. Look for them on Craigslist, garage sales, or baby resale shops too. Most parents won’t realize how versatile these tables are and you can score a great bargain! Check out the other creative ideas in this link  and always remember to supervise AND PLAY with your little one during these play table activity times!

537681_543116985699885_1459151832_n. . . NOT THAT: Doorway Jumpers

These jumpers look like so much fun and many parents think it is a great way for baby to exercise and gain strength in their legs. Although the American Academy of Pediatrics does not take a stance on the use of jumpers, the Consumer Products Safety Commission has banned many jumpers for design flaws.

Consider the following for your baby:

*The primary reason to avoid: RISK OF INJURY. Babies often jump too forcefully and hit their heads on the doorways or, even worse, cause the apparatus to come dislodged and crashing down. There are also other physical and developmental reasons why we recommend choosing a different product.

*Babies are often placed in them before they are truly excellent independent sitters causing baby to hang in the sling seat. This puts undue stress on their hips. Because babies tend to jump forcefully in these things they do not learn slow controlled movements needed for walking. These jumpers do nothing to develop strength in the core and leg muscles for balance and walking since the movements are fast and ballistic instead of slow and controlled. And, since baby is supported, there is no need to use any type of protective or balance reactions as would be needed in the beginning stages of standing and walking.

There are better choices out there! If you really need a place to “put” your baby, consider the old fashioned “play pen” (pack and play) or simple floor time where they can reach for objects, roll, creep and crawl!

Buy This: Toys to Encourage Movement

We love toys that encourage movement. Yet, if you think about it, you can make many toys encourage movement. Think about using bean bags, puzzle pieces, blocks, or stickers as a means to encourage physical activity with your child. Set up puzzle pieces at one end of the room and the puzzle board on another. Have your child do a different animal walk to retrieve each puzzle piece! Side walk chalk can be used to draw hopscotch boards, obstacle courses instead of simply drawing! Bean Bags serve as wonderful items to search for in a scavenger hunt!

Consider the “old school” toys for encouraging movement as well: balls, jump ropes, riding toys. With movement, encourage use of the arms and legs to build strength in the large muscle groups but also to work on developing balance and coordination. Jump ropes can be used as snakes to jump over and lines to walk along!


Buy This: Multi-Purpose Items

Buy this: items that serve more than one purpose. As discussed earlier, infant positioning and alignment are important but often overlooked. One item that accomplishes all these criteria is a U-shaped head support pillow that cradles baby’s head in car seat, keeping it in midline. Car seats often have infant inserts, but they rarely keep baby’s head from falling to the side. These pillows, when used correctly, successfully do so most of the time.
This pillow also serves as a great prop for tummy time for younger babies up to 5 months. It lifts baby’s chest slightly, not overextending her back, helping her weight to shift backwards towards pelvis. It hugs her chest to prevent rolling to the side. It provides a barrier to keep elbows in line with or in front of shoulders.
I love finding truly useful, multipurpose items that are reasonably priced. The infant head support pillow fits these criteria beautifully.

Buy This…Not That: Stocking Stuffers

Next up in the Buy This/Not That Series . . .
Stocking Stuffers (or Gift Bag Loot)!

BUY THIS: For Toddlers on up, consider purchasing items such bubbles, kazoos, water bottle with straw, water flutes, or crazy straws. The common theme of these items is that they require a child to either blow or suck to complete the task. The benefit for YOU: blowing and sucking activities are great ways for a child to calm down, transition, or get organized! For example, a child who plays a song on a kazoo will likely calm down a bit due to the blowing and humming required. Blowing and sucking activities also help with oral muscle control, eye tracking, to name a few.

For babies, consider items such as rattles, teethers, board books, bathtub toys, music, or feeding supplies. Baby is still too young yet to grasp the concept so take the opportunity to stock up on some baby items that will be needed in the future. However, he will likely enjoy discovering what is inside!

NOT THAT: It’s simple – candy and sweets! Purchasing the items above saves you from the proverbial “sugar crash” and meltdowns because the entire stocking of candy cannot be eaten that day! You also get items that serve multiple purposes, provide developmental stimulation, and even may calm your kiddo after a long day of celebrating! As with all items, please supervise your child carefully!

Happy Stocking Stuffing!

The content on this website is based on Wendi’s personal and professional experience and general research. It is not meant for individual medical diagnosis or treatment. If you are concerned about your child, please consult with your primary physician and/or therapist.