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The Art of Saying No to Your Child

The “talk to the hand” strategy simply isn’t going to cut it.
The “talk to the hand” strategy simply isn’t going to cut it.

No. It’s one of the simplest words in the English language, and yet, it’s one of the hardest to say. Though, that’s debatable once a toddler picks up the ‘no’ word. In fact, many parents can vouch their toddler repetitively says no once it enters their vocabulary. However, for adults, whether it’s in the workplace or dealing with children, saying no can be difficult. Especially when those big cute eyes pleadingly stare up at you or worse yet, when the arms flail and a temper tantrum ensues.

Here are 10 guidelines in mastering the art of saying no to your kids:

  Set up ground rules. Sit down with your partner and evaluate the non-negotiable’s. Then sit down with your child to explain the ground rules or post them on a decorated poster board in an easy-to-spot place. It’s important for everyone to be on the same page to minimize frustration later.

  Tone is absolutely everything.  Remember that time when you took a picture of someone smiling, and found yourself behind the camera smiling? Or is that every time? Attitude is contagious. What’s more, children are extremely perceptive. They can easily sense when you are becoming frustrated with them. Take a breath, and address their behavior using a softer, more positive, voice. They will be more likely to respond to you. On the other hand, instead of engaging in a battle of ‘no’s’, using a stern voice is just as satisfactory in reprimanding their behavior.

  Don’t postpone. If the answer is no and will be no, don’t delay in saying so. “We’ll see” or “Maybe later” adds hope when inevitably the answer is no, setting up your little one for even more disappointment. This mantra is one I wish everyone would follow: Say what you mean and mean what you say.

  Do not engage. You don’t always have to explain your reasoning to the tenth degree. It is important to justify why the answer is no so that they will understand. However, keep it short and simple. The “but, why?” is never-ending as it is, so even if you do give a sufficient answer, it’ll never be enough.  Why even go there?

  Develop “the look”. We all have one; it’s just a matter of putting it into practice. Instead of constantly saying no, a glare will be sufficient in expressing your disapproval. Soon enough your child will understand that “the look” is the signal to stop what they are doing. This is especially useful in a public setting to avoid embarrassing your child.

  Offer choices. Instead of telling your child what not to do, tell him what he can do instead. Rather than initiating a yelling match about playing soccer in the house. Simply say, “Soccer is not meant to be played inside the house, either go outside to play or find something else to do.”

  Model behavior you would like. Whether big or small, children will inevitably mimic your behavior, so strive to be the best role model you can be. Particularly for toddlers, instead of yelling ‘no’ to the less than gentle “petting” of the family dog, grab their hand and show them how gentle they need to be. Young children are exploratory and often need guidance in what to do and how to do it. So instead of reprimanding, help them.

  Say yes to say no. With the overuse of “no”, kids can go one of two ways. The simple phrase can immediately result in a full-fledged tantrum or complete indifference as they’ve heard it all before. Spinning the ‘no’ in a positive way can assist in their reaction. For example, if you are running errands and your child begs for that ice cream cone she spotted, simply say “Yes, you can have dessert after dinner, but right now we are shopping.”

  Lose the guilt and move on. Remember, kids are quick to forget. While you may still feel frazzled and guilty for saying no, they are occupying themselves with a toy in the backseat on the drive home. Take a page out of your child’s book and put it behind you.

While the art of saying no is hard to master, it’s crucial in your child’s development and future demeanor. Trust me, it will help you in the long run, and your child’s future teachers will thank you!

The Top Baby Names of 2012

BabyCenter debuted its annual list of top 100 baby names for 2012 this Thursday.  The top ten list is strikingly similar to last year’s annual round-up. In fact, there was very little movement at all. Sophia and Aiden, once again, took all the glory at number one. For the girls top ten list, Zoe and Mia were welcomed in as Emily and Lily lost their rank from 2011. For the boys top ten list, Jack overtook Logan for the number 10 spot. Take a look at the top ten names this year.

Top 10 Girl’s Names of 2012:

  1. Sophia
  2. Emma
  3. Olivia
  4. Isabella
  5. Ava
  6. Lily
  7. Zoe
  8. Chloe
  9. Mia
  10. Madison

Top 10 Boy’s Names of 2012

  1. Aiden
  2. Jackson
  3. Ethan
  4. Liam
  5. Mason
  6. Noah
  7. Lucas
  8. Jacob
  9. Jayden
  10. Jack












According to BabyCenter’s list of hottest baby naming trends, unsurprisingly, 2012 was highly media-influenced. From Grey to Apple to Branson to Blue (apparently Beyonce and Jay-Z were on point), 2012 baby names were shaded by a compilation of the tech age, celebs, popular television series, Brits, and you guessed it, 50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James.

Interestingly enough, not only did the likes of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele steam up the bedroom and spur on a small baby boom, it also apparently assisted parents with baby name options! That’ll be a weird conversation to have later on in life…I would love to sit in on that!

You can view the 2012 list of top 100 names here.

Is your baby’s name in the top ten? What influenced you to choose the name you did?


‘Portable North Pole’ Delivers Free Personalized Santa Messages

December is nearly here and the countdown to Christmas has finally begun…scratch that…the countdown has probably started sometime in July for most Santa-adoring children. While children around the world brainstorm their wishlist and anticipate Santa’s arrival, you can brighten this magical time even more so with the help from Portable North Pole (PNP).  If you haven’t heard of it yet, PNP is this fantastic website that allows you to commission Santa to create a video message FROM SANTA TO YOUR CHILD. It’s completely personalized with pictures you upload, and Santa even says their name! What’s more, it’s FREE.

When you create the video, you can help Santa and his elves decide whether or not the video is for a nice child, a naughty child, or somewhere in the middle. In doing so, Santa will either compliment your child’s wonderful behavior or encourage them to amp up the good conduct to get back on Santa’s Nice List before he heads out with Rudolf and the gang on Christmas Eve.

You then fill out a painless list of questions to create the priceless video. I love that it offers to confirm the pronunciation of your child’s name in case the pronunciation is complex. Then, you specify their greatest attribute, select what they want for Christmas, and choose a special effort they have been asked to make this year (e.g. eat all your vegetables, get along with your sister, etc.). I mean, if Santa can’t convince them, who can? After that, you upload a picture of your little one, either from your computer or Facebook, and Ta-Da! An amazing video that personally addresses your cutie from Santa Claus!

The only thing better than the video itself will be watching your little one’s reaction when they get to watch Santa talk to them! :)

Along with the custom-made video, PNP now offers personalized books, puzzles, letters, and more! Not to mention, the company also works to reduce their ecological footprint. As this is one of BabyEarth’s core values, we certainly love to hear that!

Visit the Portable North Pole to send a free personalized message from Santa!

The Battle on Stretch Marks: Which Product is Best?

One of the scariest aspects of pregnancy for many women, particularly if it’s their first pregnancy, is both universally-known and universally-hated: stretch marks.

Plain and simple, stretch marks suck. The pesky marks are the stretching, tearing, and eventual scarring of the skin that unkindly display on the body.  Stretch marks do not solely plague pregnant women, as many of us (women and men) have sorely found out over the years, but women are much more prone to developing them as their tummies stretch for the little guy inside.

So what do we do? We bust out the creams, and slather on butters, oils, and lotions in desperation to keep those pesky marks at bay. Our pajama shirts soak in oily residue, but it’s worth it. At least that’s what we tell ourselves.

I’ve heard of many oils and butters that are supposed to work miracles, but let’s face facts here, our beautiful youthful bodies hang in the balance! There is no time to leave it up to chance!

So which product should women turn to?

The question is always up for debate; some women swear by certain products another woman wouldn’t dream of touching. Recently, Bio Oil has come up on my radar as being a great product to use. In fact, Squidoo recently reviewed the product to see how it matched up in fighting off stretch marks and scars. According to Squidoo, however, when it came down to it, the best brands were Mama Mio and Revitol.

We weren’t surprised as nearly the entire Mama Mio brand has received rave reviews on our BabyEarth site for being the go-to product in keeping skin beautiful and stretch-mark free. One of the top products to use is Mama Mio Goodbye Stretch Marks. The sooner you use it, the better. Though it is on the pricey side, when all is said and done, the price of a beautiful body to be proud of is priceless. Not to mention, all the guesswork spent on other creams and oils may wind up costing you more in the long run.

To learn more, visit Squidoo’s full article.

Which product do you swear by to avoid stretch marks?

Baby Boy Birth Streak Finally Ends at Minnesota Hospital

The University of Minnesota Medical Center saw some unusual activity over the weekend. According to CBS Minnesota, not five, not seven, not even fourteen boys were born in a row, but NINETEEN boys were born consecutively over the course of 62 hours. Whew, “it’s raining men!”

The unusual occurrence was shocking even for the medical personnel involved. Finally, a baby girl was brought into the world to break the streak. Watch the heartwarming video below:

Nursery Décor: Wall Decals

Designing a nursery is one of the most exciting steps to check off on the pregnancy to-do list. You get to channel your inner interior designer, the project can potentially take your mind off of the pregnancy pains (maybe, it’s all about positive thinking, right?), and it allows for you and the hubby to truly gear up for the bundle of joy headed your way very shortly. That said, where do you start? Generally, most couples wait to discover the gender before diving in (or choose a neutral color if it’s a surprise!), then it goes to choosing a color scheme, the crib bedding, the crib and so on.

My brothers and I had the most amazing rooms when we were little. As far as I can tell from pictures, we had THE coolest rooms. In short, my dad is an artistic mastermind, and he had hand-painted beautiful murals on the walls of our rooms. I’d like to pause right there and say my mom is equally crafty and wonderful, assisting me in slathering glitter all over my wall when I was a pre-teen. Oh yes, I had spectacular taste. But that is a totally different topic…

Anyways, the most memorable mural for me was in my brothers’ room. It was adorned with a rainbow of every relevant Disney character at the time. Literally. It was awesome. I remember that being an intricate part of the room. We would stare at it in awe and learn the characters and animals that way. Not only did the mural add to the décor, the inclusion of art and/or visual stimulus was extremely important to our cognitive growth. In short, designing a nursery can be fun, but don’t underestimate the power you hold in helping your baby learn and grow as well.

Granted, not everyone is so artistically-inclined, I get that, which is why wall decals are the next best option, if not the best option, in spicing up a nursery. Even if you are quite the artist, wall decals are great because they can be removed at any time! Not to mention, they are inexpensive so there is no need to commission an artist and break the bank.  Though especially ideal for apartment living, they are equally as wonderful for in-home use as well. When your little tyke gets older (faster than you’d might like), it will be time to graduate to a bigger bed with different bedding and inevitably, the decal may not fit with the overall theme any longer. That’s not a problem, as you can take it off without damaging the walls and having to repaint.  For those of you who are keeping the nursery gender-neutral, the wall decal can be the perfect addition to personalize the room even more once the baby arrives.

Whether you choose zoo animals, Thomas & Friends choo-choo trains, or a beautiful tree, wall decals are the perfect décor addition to any nursery. For a full listing of our wall decals, visit

How to Share the Wishbone: A Thanksgiving Tradition

Holiday traditions are the special moments that truly bond families, even if they also stir up an argument.  With another Thanksgiving come and gone, you may have dealt with one tiff that plagues families on Thanksgiving. The wishbone tradition.


Now, you may think I’m late on this post, but in my house, we wait for the wishbone to be dry and brittle enough to easily crack. Plus, the greasy fingers excuse is off the table. Anyways, I’ll admit it, I am borderline crazy when it comes to superstitions. You better believe I handle mirrors extra carefully to ensure that I don’t shatter a mirror that will also shatter my life’s prosperity for the next seven years. I also make a wish after every eyelash, birthday candle, and shooting star (even if they are only airplanes flying past in the night-sky…it’s all about perspective!). Therefore, I understand that the wishbone is a special case. It comes around once a year and there is only one of them to be fought for amongst the family.

Traditions are meant to be fun and bring family closer together, so how do you mediate the situation when there’s more than two kiddos vying for the wishbone? Or, say there isn’t an argument about who gets to participate in the wishbone tradition, but you have to deal with the tantrum that comes afterward when someone gets the short-end of the stick bone?

Here are some tips in dealing with the wishbone tradition that could break the family harmony on Thanksgiving (pun intended!):

  The wishbone tends to snap on the side that looks weaker. So, if you are up against your little one, it’s time to let the competitive side go and allow for an easy win for your kiddie.

  If there are only two little ones vying for the wishbone wish, talk to them beforehand to remind them that it is just a silly tradition, and that even when one of them inevitably loses, it’s important to be a good sport. There is always next year.

  To piggyback off that, this is a great opportunity to teach and/or reinforce the importance of sharing.

  Or, if the tough love strategy isn’t up your alley, tell them they can still make a wish with their wishbone piece. After all, the wishbone does have a little bit of magic to allow for wishes to be had!

  What if there are more than two vying for the wishbone? If you have a large family, it’s time to set-up a cycle. Unfortunately, that means not everyone can participate, but it will help to know that the child left out gets to go next year.

  With that said, for any child who has to wait their turn, give them an important job that will satisfy their need to be included. Whether it’s referee or the one who gets the first piece of pie, they will feel special.

  However, I think my favorite remedy to the wishbone dilemma is this: Make chocolate wishbones so that everyone can participate! 1. Everyone gets to play. 2. Chocolate is delicious. And 3. Refer to number 2.

Here’s what you need to do to create chocolate wishbones:

  Melt down chocolate, whether it’s over the stove (place a bowl over simmering water to melt it without burning the chocolate) or in the microwave (heat the chocolate in increments, stirring in between so it doesn’t burn).
  Grab a baking pan and line it with wax paper. The pan isn’t essential but it does allow for a flat surface that you can easily move while the chocolate is cooling.
  Then, use a spoon to drizzle the chocolate on the wax paper, creating the wishbone shape. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect, use a toothpick to shape the edges and cut off any rogue drizzles. It will dry and easily crack off.
  Allow the chocolate to cool completely before pulling the “wishbones” off the wax paper.
  Store in a cool place, especially during the Thanksgiving preparations when the oven also serves as a heater.
  Then, bust them out after dinner for an even sweeter take on the wishbone tradition. What’s more, there’s multiple, so everyone wins!

Do you and your family partake in the wishbone tradition? How do you manage it?


Step2 X-Rider Recall

November 27, 2012. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the company, Step2, has issued a recall of about 15,500 X-Rider children’s riding toys.

The X-Rider children’s toy has been recalled due to it’s susceptibility to falls. Though it does meet stability standards, there have been four reported incidents after children have leaned too far over the handlebars, causing them to fall forward over the handlebars and injure themselves. All consumers should take the toy away immediately and stop use.

To receive a free replacement toy, contact Step2 toll free at (866) 860-1887, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST Monday through Friday, or go online at and click on the Product Recall link near the bottom left of the page. There will be a form to fill out to complete the process. For more information, you can also visit the CSPC.


‘The Parent Rap’: A Lyrical Success

“The Parent Rap”, via Bluefish TV, has gained virality as of late for its witty parenting humor and juvenile musicality. Though the duo may not be musical geniuses ready to take on the likes of Jay Z or Eminem, they certainly come close to lyrical masterminds in their rap of all things parenthood. Whether boasting of their sandwich-making capabilities or asserting “mom and dad[‘s] need to clean da house”, this song is sure to resonate with parents worldwide.

With over a million views, “The Parent Rap” is definitely a success in humorously capturing the essence of parenthood. Personally, I have to say I enjoyed watching mom “make it rain” with coupons and the reference to the terrible tie collection that every father gains throughout the years from their loving kiddos.  Sorry, Dad.

We want to hear from you! What do you think about “The Parent Rap”?

How to Keep Your Relationship Strong While Taking Care of a Newborn

Just when you think you’ve got your relationship all figured out, a little bundle of joy comes along and turns everything upside-down-in a good way.  Now that the focus turns to your little baby, those special moments with your spouse or significant other become fewer and farther between. You may even start to wonder how your parents made it out alive with multiple children when you are only dealing with one little baby.

As you might suspect, it can take a little more effort than usual to care for your marriage or relationship when you are now caring for a newborn. Here are some of my favorite tips on getting through the struggles, sharing the responsibility, and finding that special time together once again.

  In the earliest days, realize that those 12 diaper changes will drop down to 8 or 10 in a matter of mere months.

  Also realize that, while you long for those blissful nights of uninterrupted sleep, you will soon find your newborn having more ‘awake time’ during the day, requiring more of your attention and fewer naps over time. Relish those early days in the sleep-eat-diaper change cycle! In any case, don’t let your cranky mood transfer into your relationship.

  Don’t fret about not knowing your baby’s cries yet, and especially don’t get frustrated with each other when both of you are genuinely trying to help. It comes in time and once you know the hungry cry from the tired cry, from the wet cry from the burp cry, your life does become much easier. And, your baby soothes a lot easier, too!

  Discuss a division of responsibility that works for you both. You can take turns getting up in the night if your baby is bottle-fed, or swap weeknights for weekends, depending on maternity leave or being a full-time parent.

  Don’t sweat the small stuff. Try to avoid fighting about the baby if you can help it. Let the stress roll off your back and keep moving forward toward each new day.

  As most new parents realize, it is very easy to constantly talk about the baby, and very little else. Make the effort to talk about your interests, hobbies, and feelings. With more than most of your time dedicated to the baby, it will serve as a little “mental break” and allow for both of you to feel wanted and appreciated.

  Get creative about your time together with your mate. You may not have the same freedom as you used to, but you can take a page from your baby’s book and nap while she’s napping—so snuggle up on the couch with your sweetheart and enjoy a cozy nap together.

  Above all, don’t give up on your date nights. As soon as you feel comfortable leaving the baby for a few hours, have one of your parents or a trusted friend, family member, or sitter come and watch your little one so you can go catch a matinee and lunch or even just a glass of wine and dessert.

If, after all of these tips and tricks, you still feel your relationship is a bit neglected, remember—this is only temporary. Before you know it, your newborn will be leaving for their first day of school as a tear rolls down your cheek… Soon enough, regular date night’s will be back in full-swing, and maybe even an adults-only vacation will be on the horizon (if not, it should be!).

How do/did you keep your relationship strong as a new parent?