Charm Chameleon Chatterbox

Backup Blog

Review on Baby & Toddler Educational Videos

Baby Hambali is also homeschooling & among age-appropriateness tools we used for his HS are books, toys and educational videos. Initially, he was not so into watching videos as he is more mobile & active than his brother at this age. Plus, Baby Hambali’s attention span is lesser.But, I’m still keen on getting him to sit still (fully focus) for few minutes to enjoy the show & educational purposes in mind.Finally, now he’s addicted! Ha! Ha!

Baby Hambali : Tulah Mama nak sangat Adik tengok VCD, kan? Kang adik dah ketagih. Asal balik rumah vcd adik mesti on..bangun pagi pun vcd adik mesti on. Padan muka Mama tak dapat tengok tv…he,he..

This review is based on Baby Hambali’s preferences & from the eye of certified educator cum mother. :D

Bee Smart Vocabulary Builder

Age range : 2 months to 36months

Duration : 28 minutes

Features : This video series will helps infants begin to categorize objects & to build word meanings by providing multiple & varied examples of examples of each vocabulary word. These cognitive skills will impact your child’s language development for years to come. It is a great intoduction starter pack for setting your child on the road to learning & discovery with wonderful classical music by Mozart, Handel, Haydn & more.

Verdict: Baby Hambali can stay watching those for 5 minutes then off wandering about. I found it bored too as the background music a bit slow & no graphic illustration with bright pictures to pass on. And, I don’t get it why it must be repeated the whole session before the videos end. Baby & toddler must do revision, is it? Gosh! They should know that a very young child’s attention span is very short.

Rating : 2 star out of 5

Brainy Baby

Age range : 6-36 months

Duration : 45 minutes

Features : The Brainy Baby Learning Library is the pioneer in infant development videos. It is the first video series that can help stimulate cognitive development.

Verdict : Though the duration is long, we found it never bored us till the end. We love that it features other babies as we know babies love to watch & learn from other children at play. Also entertining as brightly colored objects help develop cognitive skills & spatial reasoning. Additionally, featuring fascinating animation with real life objects babies recognize.

Very entertaining, simple, straight to the point. I love it that the fact it has range topics chosen age-appropriateness. The background music too is catchy. Baby Hambali will dance when he heard upbeat music is on.

Rating : 4.5 star out of 5

So Smart

Age range : 3 to 36 months

Duration : 30 minutes

Features : Bright, bold animated scenes & an appropriate pace for little ones totally suits young babies. A playful music soundtrack young children & parents will love. Simple stories without any voice / narrator as it needs the parents / child-minder to do the interpretation, interaction & improvise the subject that grow with the child’s age.

Verdict : The first & foremost videos I’ve introduced to both my boys & it never failed to educate & entertain them! Hanafi loves it since the age of 4 months till now at 5 years old & his little brother feels the same way too since 6 months old till now. Feeding time would be less stressful if we just on this videos for Hambali & he seems ‘moved’ by it. I must emphasise it’s the bright illustration that captures any child’s attention span. No interruption of human voice in it!

Rating : 5 star!

Baby Einstein

Age range : Varies according to topics

Duration : 20 minutes

Features : Combined topics with funny puppet shows & sound effects, computer animated clown & captivating real-world visuals & accompanied by the beautiful classical music.

Verdict : I enjoy it too! Simple, catchy, bright illustration & this is the videos that Baby Hambali can stay watching till it ends. Very,very entertaining & educating.Must get more as varieties of topics available & age-appropriateness!

Rating : 5 star!

Hanz’s Note : Previous chat, I have shared on tips to introduce & getting your child to utilise the videos wisely. Click here :=> The Idiot Box Can Babysit Your Child.

October 23, 2009 Posted by | Hanz's Products Reviews, Just Baby, Just Toddler, Parenting in General | 9 Comments

Toddler Monthly Notes: Your 17-Month-Old

Separations & that special blankie

Has your toddler yet chosen a special teddy or blankie to help him weather life’s more stressful moments, like your leaving him with a babysitter or taking him for shots? If it hasn’t already, that special lovey or ‘comfort’ object will become one of the most important, if not the most important items in your household for some time to come.

Somewhere between the ages of 15 & 19 months, a toddler becomes capable of forming a mental image of you that he can conjure up when you’re around. Unfortunately, that mental image may not always be sufficient to sustain him emotionally during even the briefest separation like you need to run upstairs to grab a diaper.

A comfort object won’t magically stop child’s tears or prevent your child from feeling anxiety, but once your’re away, it can make your absence that much more tolerable.If she can’t always rely on you to be next to her at every waking moment, well then your child may as well turn to the comfort object.

To enhance your toddler’s comfort factor when you’re not around, encourage your child to use the object for role-play. Say,”Time for Teddy to go to sleep.” Together, tuck the teddy inside a blanket, read him favourite book & give him a hug & kiss. Then allow him to help you turn off the lights & say good night.

Let your child take the comfort object along with him on those errands & trips that can seem disconcertingly unpredictable to your toddler. If you deprive him of a comfort object, you send a message that he’ll just have to cope when he’s feeling uncomfortable or you’re not around. Your child is unlikely to outgrow his object of affection at any time soon.

More comfort

Sometimes, it can seem as though your 17-month-old is on a roller-coaster ride with his emotions- deliriously happy one moment , cranky & distressed the next. That’s perfectly normal & what he needs is for you to stay close to him on that ride. At 17month, your child obviously has an intense need for a great deal of attention & affection from you. Here are few more ways to achieve that:

* Graduate to hide & seek. The simple peek-a-boo game that your child adored as a baby does’nt mean that it does’nt appreciate it any more.Chase your toddler from one room to the next. Act extremely surprised & delighted to see him.

* If you’re pregnant, feel free to talk about the new baby coming. Your 17 month old may not comprehend the event, there’s no harm in talking casually about it & sharing books with your toddler that may help familiarize the concept of becoming a big brother.

Hanz’s Share : The Lion, the soft cuddly toy & 2 pillows are Baby Hambali’s comfort object. Orang tua2 panggil bantal busuk, kan? The bantal is more towards sleeping & substitute of Lion at his Nursery as we don’t want him to bring the Lion there due to many reasons. But, to other places, yes, we bring the Lion.It does help him to understand as sometimes, we use the The Lion to teach. For example if he is reluctant to sleep, we said out loud,”Lion nak tidur.Adik tak nak tidur dengan Lion?” This gesture, to the extent, he handed his Lion to my boob so the Lion can get fair share of Nenen as well. Hilarious!! But, it does make sense.

October 21, 2009 Posted by | Hanz's Notes, Just Toddler, Parenting in General | 12 Comments

Be careful when choosing baby bottles

Getting a bottle for your baby, do look for those BPA free one.

What is BPA & why?

Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical that mimics the action of the human estrogen, can leach from polycarbonate plastic. A lot of studies has been conducted & briefly among the findings of effects of BPA found is as follows:

1. Early onset of puberty & stimulation of mammary gland development in females

2. Changes in gender-specific behaviour

3. Changes in hormones, including decreased testosterone

4. Increased prostrate size

5. Decrease sperm production

6. Altered immune function

7. Behavioral effects including hyperactivity, increased aggresiveness, impaired learning & other changes in behaviour.

8. Linked to impaired female reproductive development

9. May lead to miscarriage

10. May lead to obesity & diabetes.

If you like to read an in-depth about this, you can go to this link:-

Hanz’s Note : Orang dulu2 pakai botol kaca susukan anak. I saw one at Bangi Kopitiam among Kid’s Search Collectibles. It’s your safer bet but inconvenience somehow for out & about. Your child still needs milk eventhough you have stop breastfeeding. So, try train your child to drink milk in a cup as soon as can be.If finding BPA free is not easy, glass-based cup is the best!

Mama to Adik : Adik, Mama dah dapatkan adik botol baru, straw punyer.Nanti mesti minum EBM Mama tau! Jangan takmo2 aa…Mama pening kepala Adik takmo minum EBM tapi nak ‘fresh’ container jugak…Camno dik, Mama kan keje…sedih Mama bekalkan Adik EBM tapi Adik liat nak perabihkan…

October 19, 2009 Posted by | Just Baby, Just Toddler, Parenting in General | 10 Comments

10 Reasons To Sleep Next To Your Child At Night

1. Family co-sleeping takes full advantage of the ease of breastfeeding, as there is no need to go to another room to get one’s child. A breastfeeding mother in a “family bed” can easily feed her child without having to wake fully, and can continue to get the important rest she needs. Thus co-sleeping encourages mothers to continue breastfeeding and all of its numerous benefits until the child chooses to wean.

2. According to sleep researcher James McKenna, co-sleeping increases the chances that a parent can successfully intervene to help prevent a death, whether that is due to a physiological condition or to a physical accident. He reminds parents that “co-sleeping gives the parent the best opportunity to hear the baby in crisis and to respond.” He adds that “since protection from SIDS may be related to the frequency and duration of breastfeeding, and because babies breastfeed more when co-sleeping, this practice may help to protect some breastfeeding infants.”

3. Gaps in breathing are normal during the early months of infancy, and it is likely that the mother’s breathing provides important cues to her infant, reminding him to take a breath following exhalation, preventing a SIDS situation from developing. Even if this reminder system fails, the mother is nearby to help by arousing the infant. A breastfeeding mother and baby tend to have coordinated sleeping and dreaming cycles, making her keenly sensitive to her baby. If she is sleeping close by, she will awaken if there her baby is having difficulty. But if the baby is alone, this type of life-saving intervention cannot take place.

4. Any nighttime danger to a child is reduced if there is an adult close by. Babies and children have perished in fires, have been sexually abused by visiting relatives, have been abducted from their bed, have been attacked by pets, have suffocated after vomiting, and have died or been injured in various ways that could have been prevented had a parent been nearby to help.

5. Suffocation is often listed as a danger of family co-sleeping. However, this is a real danger in only two situations: a young infant sleeping on a water-bed, thus unable to push himself up when needed, or a parent who is too intoxicated by alcohol or drugs to attend to a child’s needs. Obviously, a child who is suffocating for any reason (such as a ribbon on sleepwear getting around her neck, vomiting during sleep, asthmatic attacks) is far more likely to rouse a parent who is sleeping nearby than one sleeping in a different room. A child cared for during the night receives constant reassurance of love and support.
6. Family co-sleeping is often misunderstood as facilitating sexual abuse of children by a parent. However, the opposite is true. Parents who develop deep emotional bonds with their children by remaining close by and responsive at night, as well as during the day, are far less likely to turn to abusive behavior of any kind toward the children they love and cherish. Conversely, the fact that a child sleeps alone has never been adequate protection against a parent who intends sexual trespass, and may even make it easier for one parent to keep such activity secret from the other.

7. Shared sleep can further prevent child abuse by helping all family members to obtain the rest they need, especially if the child is breastfeeding. The child does not have to suffer needlessly or cry to bring his mother, and the mother can nurse half-asleep. The entire family awakes refreshed, with no lingering resentment toward the baby for having disturbed their sleep the night before. An exhausted parent is far more likely to abuse a child than a well-rested mother or father who has enjoyed the presence of a happily resting child through the night.

8. Crying is a signal provided by nature that is meant to disturb the parents to ensure that the baby receives the care he needs. But prolonged crying is stressful to all the family members. The sooner the baby’s needs are met, the more rest the baby and the entire family can have, and the more energy they will have for the next day. A mother sleeping next to her baby can utilize the instinctive response a new mother has to her baby’s first whimper, thus preventing the need for the hard crying that is so stressful to the baby and to all other members of the family.

9. A deeper sense of love and trust often develops between siblings who sleep near each other, lessening sibling rivalry during waking hours. Siblings who share the night as well as the day have a greater opportunity to build a deep and lasting relationship. Babies and children who are separated from other family members during the day (parents at work, siblings at school) can partially make up for these absences and reestablish important emotional bonds by spending time at night together, and by the delightful early morning family time that is otherwise often missed. Of course, home businesses and unschooling can minimize separations and deepen family bonds during the day, just as co-sleeping does at night.

10. Studies of adults in coma have shown that the presence of another person in the room significantly improves heart rate, heart rhythm, and blood pressure. It seems reasonable to assume that infants and children derive similar health benefits to having others in the same room with them.

A child who is cared for during the night as well as the day receives constant reassurance of love and support, instead of having to cope with feelings of fear, anger, and abandonment night after night. Children who have felt safe through the night as well as the day with a loving parent close by become adults who cope better with the inevitable stresses life brings. As John Holt put it so eloquently, having feelings of love and safety in early life, far from “spoiling” a child, is like “money in the bank”: a fund of trust, self-esteem and inner security which the child can draw on throughout life’s challenges.

Hanz’s Note : This great article was written by Jan Hunt from The Natural Child Project. Thanks for sharing this great article and I love to share all about natural parenting here, from today onwards.

October 7, 2009 Posted by | Attachment Parenting, Hanz's Notes, Just Baby, Just Toddler, Natural Parenting, Worth-read Articles | 9 Comments

Toddler Monthly Notes: Your 16-Month-Old

Teaching the rules

* Be clear. Learning social rules, such as “Don’t bite”, “Stop making a mess” is particularly long & ongoing process. Toddlers have a short attention span, they respond best to concise & straightforward language that honestly convey your feeling.

* Let him experience consequences. Let’s say your toddler had just hurled the cereal bowl to you, rather you immediately clean up the mess, handed a napkin to your child & tell him to clean it up. It is best he can feel the effect of any havoc he wrecks.

* Redirect. If your child is making bonkers over some thing, move on to something else.Let your child go on with the tantrum & simply ignore while at the same time, you show he can have another thing or another choice to do something else. Don’t let him get his way all the time because you can’t stand the tantrum.

* Try a time-out. When all the former strategies fail, set time-out for two minutes in any designated time-out spot.Sometimes, you need two minutes away from your child too to cool off & collect yourself.

Building your toddler’s confidence

Your toddler always craves your approval. Here are few constructive ways to give it to him.

* Show him how to help you. An example is like cleaning up. Plenty of praise & positive feedback can influence child’s behaviour. It is also can give confidence boost from the feeling of mastery he achieves.

* Show him how to be resilient. Your toddler learn from how you react to certain situation when emergency or crisis arises. Show him to be quick to administer the hurt & pain like getting help rather than crying of self-pitiness. This builds his character on how to handle difficult situation.

September 30, 2009 Posted by | Child's Play, Early Childhood Education, Hanz's Notes, Just Toddler, Parenting in General | 1 Comment

Teach your child how to expand use of sign language

There’s never too early or too late to learn signing yourself and then teach it to your child.

As a parent, you can begin using simple signs with your babies and toddlers just as they would spoken words. Identifying favourite foods or objects with a single sign is a good way to start. Holding up a stuffed toy like lion and making the sign for ‘lion’, or pointing to Papa while signing ‘father’.

Using signs labelling emotions & feelings is a logical next step. Signing ‘baby sad’ or ‘I’m happy’ can affirm your young child’s perception of what is happening in & around them. It won’t be long before your child is offering up signs of their own to communicate how he is feeling in the moment.

Learning signing is a good way to help your child become multilingual.

Children of preschool age group are actively expanding their receptive skill. They will be able to understand signed communication quite naturally with practice. Finding songs to sing, sign & dance to will help remember signs & provide a great deal of fun.

An older child can serve as a model for a younger brother or sister by identifying familiar objects with sign. Learning to fingerspell, or spell out words using the signed alphabet, can assist your child in learning the alphabet & later in learning to spell. Signing the alphabet while signing letters uses both sides of the brain & maximizes learning. Practicing spelling words by finger-spelling is a fun way to learn spelling.

Older children can also enjoy sign language. Having a secret ‘second’ language to share with others can build friendships. Learning & teaching others how to sign at this age coincides with a child’s developing sense of self as an individual with special skills & talents.

Sign language can also be a fun way to enrich the relationship between you & your child. Incorporating a few key phrases into your everyday family such as ‘Don’t forget to brush’ or ‘I love you’.

This is also a time when your child become more empathetic & increasingly aware of the needs of others. Finding a deaf friend or visiting a club for the deaf can expand your child’s view of the world & can build compassion for others.

In other words, sign language can be an important interpersonal skill.

September 3, 2009 Posted by | Attachment Parenting, Baby Sign, Just Baby, Just Preschooler, Just Toddler, Natural Parenting | 3 Comments

~Jom Main Air Bersama….Contest by Kakyong ~ : Double Water Fun

Q : What do you get when you put one hot mama and a cheeky toddler into one small kiddies pool?

A : The answer is DOUBLE AWESOME FUN!!

The Hot Mama : Hanz
The Cheeky Toddler : Hambali (aged 1+)

Read : The Mama was trying to persuade the curious yet scared toddler to enjoy the water. Luckily, Mama had this ideaa bubble pump to the rescue!

To those Mama or Papa out there who might having some issue on getting your kids to love water, here’s some idea that might be a solution. All these ideas applies to either toddler or preschooler or both:-

  • Make bath-time fun by getting some bath toys for your kids to play with
  • Bubbles – lots of them. Give your kid to try different medium to make bubbles such as sponges of different sizes, varieties plastic pots to fill with and even wooden spoon so that your kid can reduce the bubble foam to water again by stirring.
  • Empty shampoo and washing up bottles with lids so your kid can work out how to get the water in the bottles by squeezing it and letting go, then have fun squirting the water out.
  • Explore floating and sinking – Have many items even natural materials such as sticks, barks, leaves and pebbles and ask your kid to predict which will sink and which will float.
  • Washing stuff – Any toy that needs a wash can go into the water for a scrub. Your toddler even your preschooler will enjoy doing this important work. He can use a washing up sponge or soft brush.

Be alert however parents that water, how cheapest source of activity and easily available can impose danger to your kids. Safety precaution must be taken note as listed below:

  • Younger children shouldn’t be left unsupervised around water even if they know how to swim.For toddler, he could drown in a few inches of water in a few minutes!
  • Put old towels on the floor under your kid’s water-play area. This will prevent him slipping and also aid cleaning up.
  • Do not let your child play around any water (lake, pool, ocean, etc.) without adult supervision (even if he is a good swimmer).
  • Don’t allow running or rough play around the water.
  • To those who has swimming pool, childproof your swimming pool with a fence around your backyard and a fence (at least 4 feet high) around the pool, with a self-closing, self-latching gate. Also consider having a phone poolside and learning CPR in case of emergencies.

Hanz’s Note : The chat above is for sharing & our submission for the contest organized by Kakyong. For details, just click the banner below, also available on this Chatterbox’s left sidebar.

A peek on contest gift sponsors…..

August 24, 2009 Posted by | Child's Play, Hanz in Contest, Hanz's Boys, Just Preschooler, Just Toddler, Parenting in General | 4 Comments

Toddler Monthly Notes: Your 15-Month-Old

Social life with a toddler

If you are currently looking for playgroup, you are in the right track. If you haven’t done so yet, consider this month the ideal time to introduce a playgroup to your toddler. He is not ready yet for interactive play with another child, yet, chances are other little kids fascinate him and he can learn practice social skills in a playgroup.

Let’s face it. It can do wonders for you, too. At last, a regular scheduled time to hang-out with other moms and engage in adult conversation, where the moms compare about bedtime battles and finicky eating and the endless cycle of messes. Even better, it is an opportunity to share common fears and anxieties about whether we’ll ever get on our career tracks.

Getting to know them

If the idea of a playgroup interests you, here is what you might consider:

* Get to know other moms. Be on the lookout around your neighbourhood.The truth is the other will probably just eager to meet you and other moms of same age kid.

* Don’t worry too much about space to host a playgroup. Most of all you need a warm and loving atmosphere plus safety where the kids can explore.

* Keep the numbers down. With more than five or six kids, the children tend to feel overwhelmed and over-stimulated. Small group gives the children a better chance to bond with another and easier to the moms to control.

* Separate slowly.Tried few simple strategies to let your toddler able to mix around with other without force.Perhaps let him get familiar with the surrounding, you be friends with other toddler and so forth. The rule of thumb is to let your toddler relax and you be supportive.

* Know when to bow out. While an occasional bad day, if your child seems irritable and unsettled, then perhaps he can have time-off. Skip that playgroup day. If this happen too frequent, perhaps your toddler is not ready for playgroup and tried again in another few months time.

Group games

Playgroup does’nt have to mean moms over here, kids over there. Try these activities for everybody at your playgroup.
=> Turn on some music and have a mother-child dance-a-thon.
=> Have a mommy petting zoo. Each of the moms can pretend to be different animal so the kids can hear funny animal sounds.
=> Hold a puppet show.

Going out

On nice days, hit the playground or the zoo. Visit children’s section of a bookstore.Even if he is not interacting directly with others, he’ll be experiencing the sights and sounds of the outside world so that it too comes expereincing the sights and sounds of the outside world and becomes familiar and safe.

Most of all relish this month as you and your toddler spark new friendships that may last for years to come.

August 21, 2009 Posted by | Hanz's Notes, Just Toddler, Parenting in General | 1 Comment

Parenting Toddlers & Parenting Preschoolers Book Review

Getting a good bargain of long-searched items feels like getting a windfall. The moral value of the story, always believe in your sixth sense! You will thank your hunch for that! It did mine last night. 😛

These two books was such a ‘steal’. Correct me if I’m wrong but most of the time, you found parenting books usually thick and dull. Always put you off despite you desperately needs some guide in your parenting job.

Just about 100 pages for each books, written by our truly Malaysian, nevertheless she is someone very well-known in Early Childhood Education and parenting matters, our dear Ms Ruth Liew. She sounds familiar? Of course! She has her own column in Star newspaper.Does ‘Childwise’ that appears every Wednesday on that national daily rings a bell? She’s a regular columnist on that for over ten years and these books was published in year 2003. Long ago but the content is not outdated, you know.

I have been looking for this book for ages and in fact I highlighted my frustration to her via FB (add her in my FB community), she did promised to let me know where I can get a hold of her ‘baby’ but guess she’s just forgotten about it.Can’t blame her, she is very busy with many things. I met her before as I attended one of her workshop which was Montessori Beginning Maths Workshop years back.She got ‘spunk’ style, I tell you. Full of confidence.Splendid workshop indeed. Strongly recommended if you want your kids to be whiz in maths, you may consider Montessori approach. Very systematic and step-by-step, important for concept grasp excellency.

Back to her books. I managed to read one chapter of each book few hours ago and boy I’m glad. I simply love how Ruth made those question knots unfolds. Ruth is a US-trained child developmentalist.Besides being a Montessori course trainer, she is also Early Childhood Care and Education Consultant.She is also one of regular contributor writers in Parenthink magazine.

Briefly inside Parenting Toddlers, some of topics being exposed are Bedtime routine, feeding, toilet training,tantrum (the terrible two’s), siblings issues, separation anxiety, discipline, suitable activities, guidelines on nurseries & playgroups and time-out for parents and there’s more.

Then, about Parenting Preschoolers, some points to ponder are preschooler common behaviour, discipline, tuning in to the preschooler, moral guidance, how to choose the right preschool, building self-esteem, home-made games ideas, learning math at homes, healthy and fun cooking, homework, difficult behaviour, personal safety and..gosh lots more!!

All these years, I love to collect Ruth’s Parenting articles which I think might benefit me some day and yes, it has proven its reward as from time to time revisiting those articles provided me some assistance.

Who said parenting job is easy?You will never stop learning. You grow together with your child, aren’t you?

Hanz’s Note : Those who live / work nearby Kota Damansara, go to the Giant Store fast if you keen to get the hold of this book. I strongly recommend it. Plenty still available in the bookstore beside the post-office. Plus, the bookstore is on sale and these book is 12% discounted!

August 19, 2009 Posted by | Hanz in Reading, Just Preschooler, Just Toddler, Parenting in General | 3 Comments