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Archive: January 2011

January 31, 2011

Tiger Moms and the Parenting Debate

The debate on parenting and educational best practices has been brought to a fevered pitch with Amy Chua’s views in Tiger Mother and documentary film hits Race to Nowhere and Waiting for Superman filling parent discussions. The problem is that the proposed solutions in these various media couldn’t be more diametrically opposed. Race to Nowhere condemns the “dark side of America’s achievement culture” calling for no more homework while Amy Chua claims America does not have an achievement culture at all but a lax and loose culture that indulges kids and enables them to waste time. A strict demanding Chinese style Tiger Mom is her solution. Waiting for Superman confirms the mess in our public schools and then seems to side with Amy Chua by elevating KIPS and SEEDS charter schools as solutions, which expect a lot more from every student and insist on more classroom time, more one-on-one tutoring and more homework to achieve results. With all the mixed messages, what are parents to think?

I personally believe the current debate does not help us make sense of what direction we parents should take. Amy Chua’s ideas about high expectations and assuming that a child is strong – - not fragile – - cannot be easily dismissed. Nor can the high test scores of Eastern cultures (See NYTimes article) . Yet neither can we dismiss the western or American advances in the cognitive sciences that highlights the diversity and complexity of each human mind. It indicates that minds really are all different, each possessing a different profile of strengths and able to contribute to the world in diverse ways. And it is not just about our academic profile; it is about creativity, emotional intelligence, social intelligence and practical intelligence as well as qualities like happiness, joy, compassion and wisdom. Our world is swimming in an immense diversity of professions, roles and responsibilities; yet our schools and cultures narrow intelligence and assessments down to reading, writing and arithmetic. (see Ken Robinson’s TedTalk)

The key to parenting best practices is to tune into your child’s unique mind and profile of strengths and help them become who they truly are. Assume their mind and profile is a mine rich in gems of inestimable value. Our job as parents and educators is to bring out those brilliant gifts by finding great ways to engage that mind in meaningful ways — with activities, projects, and education that challenge and cultivate that richness. We can have faith that are kids are wired to live life well. They want to master their world and win hard fought skills, knowledge and character traits. Yet, we adults in their lives do have a major role to play in helping them to pursue their dreams, to see that they can be, do and have anything, if they put their mind and concentrated effort towards it.

Contrary to some child-centered beliefs, it does not happen by letting children do whatever they want. Amy Chua is right about the fact that watching TV the amount of hours the average American child watches is not going to help. How do we parents provide the right experiences and right expectations to satisfy our universal desire to have our children thrive in a changing unpredictable world.

We need the debate to shift to ideas for how we identify what our children are interested in, what is their unique mind like and how do we provide the kind of opportunities that will strengthen their unique profile. In other words: How do we best provide an individual-centered education? Even parents of infants and toddlers have a huge role as the first and most important teacher. Most of the posts in this blog give concrete examples of how to get down on the floor with your child, enter and see the world through their eyes, observe what they are interested in and developmentally able to do, respond with appropriate exchanges and invitations to extend the play and exploration. It is never too early to get to know your child and cultivate their budding abilities.

January 30, 2011

transitioning from a crib to a bed

Here is a pretty common scenario: your wee one arrives at the foot of your bed one night or yells out to you from the bedroom door to your total amazement and horror.  How did he get out of his crib? Is he ok? How should you handle this? Is he safe in the crib?  Unfortunately, like most sleep issues, the advice is mixed.

Here is my two cents…

Unless your child is knocking on the door of his third birthday, I can promise you that he most likely is NOT ready for a toddler/big bed.  Children under three-years-old generally lack the capacity to understand and abide by rules such as staying in their bed all night long.  They simply cannot resist the impulse to get up and explore.  And so, we should not expect them to and get frustrated when they cannot.  This of course, leads to a vicious cycle of sleepless, often frustrating nights and days.

The solution is simple.  Leave all four walls of your child’s crib in tact and run to the nearest baby supply store or website and order a crib tent suitable for your crib.  Contrary to many parents fears, crib tents often give children a feeling of cozy comfort.  (Just think about all the forts you are building with couch cushions and blankets!)  Most children react very positively to this new addition to their sleeping quarters.  And, of course, the manner in which you present it really sets the tone and level of acceptance.  This is NOT a punishment. This is a safe, smart solution to a problem that could otherwise lead to unsafe outcomes (falling out of the crib or getting into things in the room/home while wandering around at night).  Plus, everyone sleeps better again.

January 28, 2011

Colour Us Impressed!

UppaBaby has a brand new look for the New Year!

One of our favourite strollers, the UppaBaby Vista is now available in two new colours: slate and wheat.

Fabulous no matter what colour you choose, the UppaBaby comes with an overnight-sleeping approved bassinet and stroller seat, and is capable of expanding to carry up to three children!

The new Uppas are currently available for pre-sale, so stop by giggle Corte Madera for a test drive today!

January 28, 2011

Top Ten Must Haves!!

When it comes to taking baby home, there are a few things we recommend to have around to help make this transition as smooth as possible. The top ten items we have found most helpful are:

1. A safe infant car seat! This is essential to have to take baby home in.

2. giggle Better Basics! Having a few basics around for baby to wear ahead of time will help relieve the stress of having to go to the store during those first few weeks.

3. Swaddle blankets! Whether it be the regular swaddle blankets or even the sleepsack swaddles, these will will be used for warming, sleeping, changing, and playing

4. Burp cloths! These will save you from the unforseen spit up that can occur after feeding.

5. A bed for baby! There are many options when it comes to a bed. Whether you use a crib, bassinett, or cosleeper we have a variety of options to choose from

6. Diapering Supplies! Wipes and diaper creams are going to be on hand at all times, so stocking up is important.

7. Body Washes! When a little warm water and a washcloth aren’t enough, use mild, hypo-allergenic, anti-allergen, natural, or organic products.

8. Monitor! Keeping an eye on baby while they sleep will ease any parents mind, so we carry both audio and video monitors to give parents the option

9. Laundry Detergents! Our Better Basics clean line will keep all you clothes smelling fresh. This line is fragrance free and gentle for those with sensitive skin.

10. First aid kit! It never hurts to be prepared for a temperature or bumps and bruises. Having a first aid kit with the beginning essentials is great for the whole family.

January 28, 2011

Exciting New UPPAbaby Vista Colors!


giggle Chevy Chase is excited to present its customers with two new fabulous choices for the UPPAbaby Vista! Just in time for spring, UPPAbaby Vista is now available for pre-sale in slate and wheat. The UPPAbaby Vista offers great value and style, while being functional and versatile.

We can’t wait to see these around town! Stop by giggle in Chevy Chase for a test drive!

January 28, 2011

Baby sign language demo class


Join us for this free Introduction to Sign Language class from our friend Krista from BIEHUS Parent + Child Education (www.biehus.com).  You’ll see how easy it can be to teach your young child to sign using simple games, songs and daily routines.  Imagine the joy and relief your little ones will feel when they learn to communicate to get their basic needs met!

When: Friday, Feb 11, 2011  3pm

Can’t wait to see you..


January 28, 2011

Snow Day

As you probably know (or experienced first hand), New York has received a bit of snow in the last few weeks. The Manhattan public school kids have been left out of the Snow Day party until yesterday. So I took a bit of video of the Little Man and the downtown crew enjoying the day. An epic snow covered hill climb and then the “quick way” down. Enjoy!

January 27, 2011

Presenting the Dwell Studio Savoy Collection

giggle Walnut Creek is happy to introduce the Dwell Studio Savoy collection to our glider selection.  This beautifully designed chair has a steel mechanism that allows it to glide and swivel.   Plus, the curved tight back with buttons give it such a classic look.  The collection also has a ottoman and its all made in the USA.  So, come on by and ask us questions about our new collection.  Hope to see you soon!

January 27, 2011

Making your own healthy meal options has never been easier!

 We here at giggle realize how important it is to make sure your little ones are getting the right types of food to nourish their quickly growing bodies and making your own purees, snacks and meals is an easy way to make this happen. giggle has lots of options to help you in your healthy mission. Nothing’s easier at home than the Babycook to steam & puree fruits, veggies and meats. If you’re on the go, bring the Deluxe Foodmill to puree without electricity (it even has a cute travel tote!) Need inspiration? giggle has plenty of cookbooks to help you out! While you’re here be sure to check out our new line by Annabell Karmel—full of tools to make your job in the kitchen even quicker! If you’re transitioning to solids we’re here to help! Not only do we have the instruments, we also have our friendly and knowledgeable staff that will gladly answer questions you have on this new stage. Stop by giggle, Pasadena today!

January 26, 2011

special events

giggle Scottsdale is hosting some amazing events in the next two weeks.  We invite you and your little ones in to enjoy some enriching activities! This is a great time to meet other parents in the neighborhood, too.

Music Together® Sing-Along

First Thursday of Every Month beginning February 3 at 11am

Join Claudia of Under One Common Sky for this fun-filled, interactive music class of Music Together®. Parents and children birth to three years will learn songs while building important skills, ranging from memory to rhythm to group participation.

Yoga Demo Class

Saturday, February 12 at 9am

Give your baby an early start with the many benefits of yoga. Taught by “Yogini Jeanie” of Fitness Fusion for Kids, this class includes yoga movement, songs and infant massage for babies to enrich their development and deepen the parent/caregiver and child bond.

EVENTS ARE FREE! Call 480-922-4928 or email scottsdale@giggle.com to reserve a spot.