11 Campfire Songs for Kids: Sing Alongs (Guitar Optional)

When it’s your turn to lead the campfire sing-along, the pressure to please everyone is high. That’s why we’ve put together this list of some of the best campfire songs, both kids and adults will love them! These classic summer campfire songs are guaranteed to stir fond memories of your own childhood camping trips, and now you can instill a love of them in your children too. From timeless classics like the Yellow Submarine to kid’s favorites like Wheels on the Bus, there are plenty of sing-alongs to choose from. 

To really create an atmosphere around the s’mores fire, bring along your acoustic guitar. A few easy chords are all it takes to create the perfect music for creating camping memories. Don’t worry if no-one in your party can play through- all these great campfire tunes can be enjoyed with or without the accompaniment. Most people will know these famous tunes, and even if they don’t know the words, everybody likes to hum along. So let’s jump in first to the best campfire guitar songs. 

8 Best Campfire Guitar Songs 

First, we’re going to list the 8 best campfire guitar songs, popular classics that most people know and love. These sing-alongs are guitar optional, as they sound great both with and without the accompaniment. We’ve included an easy chord option for most songs, meaning even beginner guitarists will be able to create a fantastic campfire atmosphere. However, don’t worry if you didn’t bring the guitar along this time. Everyone knows the tune to these hit songs, so you can create the melody and clap or stomp along. 

Singing campfire songs can be a great addition to roasting marshmallows by the campfire.

1. Yellow Submarine by The Beatles 

From the most famous English rock band of all time, the Yellow Submarine is the perfect campfire song. Originally written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and performed by Ringo Starr, this iconic tune spent a month at the top of the charts in 1966. The catchy melody and fun lyrics of this campfire song mean the kids will love it even if they don’t know it. Meanwhile, grownups will love the nostalgia of this record-breaking track. 

To play along on the guitar, you’ll need to know the G, D, C, E Minor, and A Minor chords. The tune and strumming patterns are simple, so it’s easy to provide a fun accompaniment to this song. However, the melody to the Yellow Submarine is well-known and beloved, so don’t worry if you have to go acapella. What’s interesting about the Yellow Submarine is that it was originally written as a children’s song, making it perfect for entertaining the kids around the campfire. However, the Beatles legendary musical prowess meant that this simple tune still became a number 1 hit. 

The chorus of this sing-along song is easy to learn, and even your youngest kids can pick it up right away. They’ll love to shout “We all live in a yellow submarine, yellow submarine, yellow submarine”! The verses may take a bit longer to teach your little ones, but eventually, they’ll come to love the story. The words are funny and irreverent, without any hidden meaning or deeper connotations. This means you and your camping party can enjoy this song in innocence, simply concentrating on building fond family memories. 

2. Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash

Your young girls and boys are growing up fast, but there’s still time to make connections and memories. Before they get too old to think that campfire sing-alongs are cool anymore, make sure you introduce them to this timeless classic. The Ring of Fire was one of the most major hits of Johnny Cash’s career and is a well-known song in or out of country music circles. This song was originally recorded and released by Anita Carter, however, it failed to find success. Johnny Cash then re-recorded it in his own style, adding the iconic mariachi trumpets, and revamped the record into the hit we know today. 

The Ring of Fire was originally released in 1963 and has ranked on plenty of “Best Of” lists since. Although the tune is incredibly catchy, the guitar chords for this song are very straightforward. You’ll need to know G, D, and C major to play the Ring of Fire, which almost every novice guitar player can manage. This tune from Johnny Cash is one of the most popular songs you’ll hear at the campsite, and hearing the tune is bound to attract some more camping buddies. 

The lyrics to this song begin; “Love is a burning thing, and it makes a fiery ring”, leading on to that globally-chanted chorus- “I fell into a burning ring of fire, I went down, down, down, and the flames went higher.” Even if your kids don’t know the words, they’ll definitely know the melody and give it a good shot! This great song is a summer camp classic, all campers should know this popular campsite tune. 

3. Wonderwall by Oasis

From just a few seconds of the intro, everyone can recognize this acoustic guitar song. Wonderwall is one of the most popular English rock songs of all time, reaching the top 10 in the charts in every corner of the globe. Released in October 1995, Wonderwall remains one of the band Oasis’ most popular songs and is still considered one of the best of all time by many music fans around the world. 

The guitar chords for Wonderwall are a little more complicated than the other songs we’ve listed so far. However, don’t worry if your resident camp guitarist can’t manage; such a popular song can be easily sung without music. The original chords you need to know to play this Oasis song are F#m7, A, Esus4, B7sus4, D, and F#m. However, if you really want to hear that iconic guitar accompaniment, there’s an easy version of Wonderwall. 

You’ll need to put a capo on the 2nd fret, making the chords for this Oasis tune much easier. E, A, D, G, B, and A major chords are all you need to recreate the perfect musical campfire moment. As well as providing plenty of time for a sing-song, this tune includes a guitar solo so your musician gets a chance to shine. This timeless pop song will always be a number one choice for campfires, karaoke, and just about anything else. 

4. Stand By Me by Ben E. King

One camp song that will stir deep memories in almost everyone present is Stand By Me, by Ben E King. Originally performed in 1961, this hit was also featured in the 1986 movie of the same name, cementing it in the hearts of another generation. This is one of our favorite songs to sing on a camping trip, with its heartfelt lyrics and rhythmic melody. Stand By Me was famously covered by John Lennon, and has been recorded by over 400 other artists. 

You only need four easy chords to play Stand By Me on guitar; G, Em, C, and D. You need to put a capo on the second fret to play this popular tune around the campfire. You can also play without, as most grown-ups can carry this tune. What better song to sing to bond with your family, and create life-lasting memories. 

5. Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison

Northern Irish songwriter Van Morrison’s timeless love song makes the perfect campfire sing-along. This classic rock staple spent 16 weeks in the charts and remains a favorite of music fans to this day. Brown Eyed Girl remains the most played and downloaded song from the 1960’s decade, showing just how much the world loves the charming melody. This is one of our favorite campsite songs that everyone can enjoy, every age group can join in with this campfire classic. 

Even the youngest guitarist in your group can play Brown Eyed Girl, you just need to know the G, C, D, and Em chords. To give the group a fantastic musical intro, play G C G D twice over. This reggae style tune is bound to get everyone in the camping spirit, no-one can resist the happy melody. Your own boys and girls are growing up fast, so sing this reminiscent song with them to hold on to the moment a little longer. 

6. You Are My Sunshine by Unknown

The original recording artist to sing You Are My Sunshine is a disputed area, but regardless of knowing where the lyrics came from, every child in the west learns them growing up. The happy-go-lucky lyrics say; “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are grey.” These easy to remember words are perfect for singing on your next camping trip, whether it rains or the sun is shining!

Many huge recording artists had popular versions of this classic country tune, including Nat King Cole, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, and Bing Crosby. But whether you learned this song on the radio or in kindergarten, we guarantee it will all come flooding back. Hold your little ones close as you sing “You’ll never know dear, how much I love you”, and make the most of moments such as these around the campfire. Some of the most important childhood memories are created during times like these; when families spend time together just to enjoy each other. 

7. Three Little Birds by Bob Marley

As one of Bob Marley’s most popular songs, Three Little Birds is a favorite around the campfire. You can strum along to this rhythmic reggae tune on a guitar or ukelele, or sing along without any music to the simple melody. The song is often miscalled “Don’t worry about a thing”, or “Every little thing is gonna be alright”, because of the corresponding chilled-out lyrics, but this global hit is named after three small birds who lived outside Marley’s home. 

Originally recorded in 1977, this song has been enjoyed by hippies and campers alike for decades. Interestingly, the song wasn’t popular straight away, but over the years has had several resurgences and is now a classic across generations. If you start strumming this iconic song, you’re bound to attract people from all over the campsite. Together, you can share a wholesome sing-song around the campfire. Three Little Birds has a concrete place amongst the top campfire songs of all time, so don’t omit this sweet tune on your next camping trip. 

8. Sweet Home Alabama by  Lynyrd Skynyrd 

Sweet Home Alabama is a deeply patriotic American anthem and starts with one of the best-known guitar riffs in rock and roll. If your campground guitarist can pull it off, the rest of the sing-along is a guaranteed hit. This classic folk song has been a national favorite since its release in 1974 when it earned the previously unknown Lynyrd Skynyrd international acclaim. If you’re from a southern state and you’re headed out for a camping trip, brush up on the chords and impress everyone around the campfire. 

Playing Sweet Home Alabama on the guitar is easy, you just need to know D, Cadd9, G, F, and C major chords. Check out these instructions for the iconic intro, and you’ll be away with this country classic. The lyrics “Sweet home Alabama where the skies are so blue” are perfect to sing on a camping trip, and the kids will love to sing (or shout) and sway along to the iconic chorus.

Campfire songs are fun for everyone involved and are a good way to teach kids about music history.

3 Best Classic Camp Songs for Kids

Classic rock and country songs make an excellent choice to get everyone to join in singing around the campfire, but if you really want to let the kids shine, let them lead the group in one of these traditional camp songs. With lyrics that tell funny stories of happy times, these camping sing-alongs create memories with your kids that you will cherish. You can use a guitar to guide the melody of each tune, or clap and stomp along to make your own music and have fun!

1. Kookaburra 

This Australian nursery rhyme was written in 1932 and has been sung by young children everywhere since. Marion Sinclair wrote the song Kookaburra and entered it in a competition by the Girl Guides Association of Victora, where it won and quickly spread across the globe. Girl Guides in the USA, UK, New Zealand, and Australia have been learning this classic song for generations, which remains popular because of its poetic and adorable lyrics. 

The first verse begins; “Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree, merry merry king of the bush is he”. The song continues to talk about the Kookaburra bird and his life in delightful rhymes and can be sung to a simple guitar tune. If you’d like to play along when singing Kookaburra, you need to know the C, F, G7, and C6 chords. With or without the instrumental accompaniment, Kookaburra can’t be left off your campfire songsheet. 

2. There’s A Hole In The Bucket

The classic children’s song “There’s a Hole In The Bucket” has been sung for so long that no-one really knows where it came from, but the origins are believed to be in Germany. The song describes a hilarious and infuriating problem between two characters; Henry and Liza, who cannot repair the hole in their bucket. Kids absolutely love to sing along to these lyrics and enjoy the same song that other children have for more than a hundred years. 

If you want to play along on the guitar to lead campers in the chorus, the chords are easy to master. For each verse repeat the pattern; D major, G major, D major, G major, A7, D major. It may seem slightly repetitive, but that means it’s easy to sing along to. The funny lyrics of There’s a Hole In The Bucket are a sure people pleaser on your next camping trip. 

3. Wheels on the Bus

The Wheels on the Bus is an American Folk song that has been popular in schools and nurseries since the 1940s. Children in the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, and many other countries around the world sing this nursery rhyme on bus journeys to pass the time. This traditional tune is even popular in other languages, so kids around the world can sing along to the tune. 

The lyrics simply talk about the different parts of the bus and their movements; the wheels go round, the wipers go swish, etc. Although this may seem a little repetitive to grown-ups, it’s hysterical for the kids. Children campers will love it if you play this classic around the campfire, with or without a guitar. If you have the acoustic, the chord pattern is very simple, needing only D and A major chords. 

Best Campfire Songs The Kids Will Love

Every campfire song on this list is popular enough that everyone will know the lyrics, so each one is a sure hit on the campground. From traditional nursery rhymes to classic rock records, each of these camping sing-alongs is likely to carry its own memory from each camper’s childhood or create them in the kids experiencing it now. Activities like fireside sing-songs are amongst the best opportunities to bond with your growing kids, as well as introduce some music to their lives! Whether you play the guitar or not, it’s worth taking the time to learn one or two of these songs off by heart, so you can pass that knowledge on to your kids. 

The Tween Years: What Parents Can Expect

The term “tween years” refers to a period of your child’s life when they aren’t really a child anymore, but aren’t quite a teenager yet either. These few years hold a lot of changes for the life of your family and can be an exciting yet daunting prospect. Many changes happen during this short time, from schools to brain development, to the relationship you have with your offspring. Tween years can be a challenging time for parents, but they’re much easier when you know what to expect. 

Some of the big changes of the tween years can be prepared for, so you and your kid can work through them together. However, some of the biggest challenges can only be lived through, and the best way to get ready is to be informed. When your little one starts to grow up, the physical and emotional changes can be drastic. That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide on what parents can expect in the tween years. 

As well as explaining what exactly is going on with your pre-teen, we’ll tell you the different elements to expect and prepare for. From learning to build new relationships at school to explaining the dangers of the internet, parenting a tween can involve a lot of work. However, this transitional period is one of the most vital times in your child’s life in terms of development. The reward of working through it together can build a deeper connection that will last a lifetime. 

What is a Tween?

When your child is first born, they are a helpless infant with full dependence upon parents. Babies need everything done for them; feeding, changing, moving around. Then your little one becomes a toddler and starts to walk and talk. Soon after, elementary school starts, and all of a sudden your baby is learning new things and becoming their own person. Later, the notorious teenage years bring a lot of joy and challenges for both parent and kid, and preparation for the “terrible teens” is a popular subject. 

However, there’s a transitional period between childhood and teenage years, and this is referred to as the tweens. While your kid hasn’t quite become as independent or developed as a fully-fledged teenager, they are rapidly approaching puberty. Many changes both physical and mental occur in these few years, as kids start learning how to be adults. The age group referred to as tweens can also be described as preteen or middle schoolers. 

Tweens are usually considered to be between the ages of nine and twelve.

What Age is Considered a Tween?

The term tween usually describes children from ages 9 until 12. The age where puberty and other advanced development starts are getting younger as society progresses, as this bracket could be extended to kids of eight or even seven years of age. Your child may still seem small, but at this age, they can in some ways start thinking and acting like a teenager. 

This can be a challenge for parents because all of a sudden, your sweet little one can become moody and impulsive. Even though they are not quite in the throes of adolescence, there are still a few challenges facing your kid that they need your help to get through. Building a good relationship with your tween is vital; now is the time to build the foundations for open communication in the teen years. 

Despite most physical, emotional, social, and mental changes happening after 13, there’s still a lot to prepare for in this period. Once your kid reaches their tweens, they’ll begin to emotionally mature, and this can put a strain on your relationship. As many difficulties as there will be, there will also be much time for joy and celebration and your little one begins the journey to adulthood.

Puberty and Physical Changes

For reasons we don’t quite understand, the hormonal changes leading to puberty are being triggered earlier over time. There are many possible reasons for early puberty, but the fact is that parents need to be prepared earlier than ever before for the changes that this time brings. Puberty generally starts earlier in girls than in boys, as it’s common for girls as young as 9 to experience the beginning of change. 

Boys aren’t far behind either, so the tweens are definitely a time of big change for everyone. Growth spurts are often the first sign of further development, with both boys and girls experiencing them in the pre-teens. The voices of young boys can begin to break this early as well, deepening significantly in short spaces of time. As young kids begin to mature into their adult bodies, a lot of changes can happen all at once. 

When their bodies begin to grow in new ways, it can make your kids feel awkward and self-conscious about their appearance. While this is a normal part of tweens and adolescence, it’s also a great time to start instilling body positivity. The best thing you can do during this time with regards to physical changes is just to be in the know as much as possible; ensure that should your child have any questions or worries, they know they can come straight to you. 

Mental and Emotional Development

While differences on the surface like growth spurts and acne are the most noticeable parts of entering the tweens, the changes beneath the surface have a much bigger impact. The changes which bring about physical puberty also carry an onslaught of hormones, which you and your tween need to learn to deal with. The mood swings and emotional confusion of adolescence are something every person experiences, however, many adults struggle to empathize with teens and tweens. 

This development goes far beyond moodiness; after the age of eight, a child’s entire perspective of the world begins to change. Before then, most of your little one’s thoughts are entirely self-absorbed, but afterward they begin to develop an awareness of the thoughts of others. This can quickly lead to worrying about what other children think, and comparing themselves with others. On the other hand, this is a true beginning to your child becoming an autonomous being. 

Tweens can think in much more abstract ways than children and are able to use more logic and reasoning. They can have intellectual thoughts about the world and begin to form their own views and ideals. While your tween’s decision-making skills are going through huge development at this time, it doesn’t mean they’re quite ready to be independent yet. Critical thinking and reasoning skills are rapidly enhancing, but the prefrontal cortex (home of judgment and planning) is still underdeveloped. This is why we often notice tweens making immature decisions. 

What to Expect in the Tween Years 

There’s a lot that parents need to prepare for in the tween years, so we’re going to go over the most important thing for parents to expect. The better informed you are in advance, the easier it will be to deal with these changes when they come around. From the ages of nine to twelve, the social circles, environment, and the way your child sees the world all change. However, as many challenges as the preteen years bring, you can work through them if you simply face them together. 

School Changes 

One of the most obvious changes in tween years, and the most exciting for kids, is moving to a new school. The transition from elementary to middle school involves a lot of change for kids, and they need support through this process from parents. Moving to a new school is difficult at any time, but the changes that happen at the start of puberty can make it even more challenging for your tween. 

New environments, new teachers, and new classmates can all be overwhelming for a young person. Make sure you talk to your child about their day throughout the whole transitional period. You will be able to gauge if they’re having fun and making new friends, or struggling with the increased workload. Keeping in contact with teachers, as well as encouraging honest conversations about schoolwork, is the best way to help your tween when they move to a new school. 

Social Changes 

As children start comparing themselves to their peers, they begin to experience more social pressures. Rather than looking towards their parents for advice and guidance, they may be more likely to listen to friends at school. Everyone in your tweens class is going through the same troublesome changes, which can create some tough social dynamics. One unfortunate outcome of this transition is bullying, a form of abuse that can cause both physical and emotional distress. 

Bullying becomes much more common once kids are tween-age, which can be a serious problem. Bullying can affect your child’s performance in school, impact their self-esteem, and cause even more serious issues with lasting effects. If you’re concerned your tween might be the victim of bullying, make sure you approach them gently and encourage them to share their feelings. The worst reaction would be to apply more pressure regarding grades, which will only exacerbate the problem. 

Puberty and Sex Ed 

Most kids enter puberty before their teenage years; plenty of boys and girls experience hormonal changes before the age of 12. It’s common for girls to get their first period around age 12, although growth spurts and other signs of puberty can begin much earlier. For boys, 11 is the most common age to begin developing into an adult. With such young children suddenly finding themselves in the bodies of adults, sex education is required at an earlier age. 

While not all issues need to be discussed with middle schoolers, beginning to inform your tween about puberty for all genders is an important task. Explaining how, and why, your kid’s body is changing will help them through the process. Additionally, starting to introduce potentially awkward topics when your tween is young can help you both feel more comfortable in later discussions. This ease is vital to maintain open communication about safe sex with your kid once they get older. 

Gender and Body Image 

Tween girls and boys are bombarded with all sorts of messages about gender and their bodies every day. Television, magazines, social media, and many other sources have a huge influence over tweens. The pressure and expectations of conformity on young minds can be incredibly damaging, and harmful all-around. Issues about body image start to develop at this age, a problem for both boys and girls. 

Girls who have barely started puberty are objectified and sexualized, and this can be both from the media and the people around them. Even before high school, kids start to feel peer pressure to look and act a certain way, and this can extend to inappropriate behavior before sexual maturity. Teenage girls who experience objectification can suffer the repercussions for years to come, so it’s vital that parents are informed. Although it may seem vile to even consider, protecting your young daughters from the world is a huge part of parenting teens. 

Growing boys receive damaging messages in a different sort of way, but at this age, it can have an equal impact on their emotional development. The culture of masculinity impressed on tween boys tells them that emotions and vulnerability are to be suppressed. This can harm their capacity for deep friendships and relationships later in life, so it’s much better they’re taught by their parents from the beginning. 

You have to make sure your young boys know that it’s okay to express their emotions, and are encouraged to do so in an open and honest manner. If more boys learn emotional intelligence from a young age, many issues regarding the development of both genders would be reduced. The way society tells tween girls and boys they should be is incredibly damaging, so ensure that you as parents are a source of positivity and validation. 

School Work and Responsibility

Before middle school, school children have it relatively easy. They’re told where to be and when, and guided through most school work and homework. However, once your tween leaves elementary, they’ll need to take on much more responsibility. Middle-schoolers need to navigate around the building, changing classes, and making sure they’re on time. Tweens must organize their own school schedule and be more flexible regarding their work.

The additional pressure can sometimes be difficult for tweens when they transition to a higher level of education. Throughout this time, parents need to provide support, but in a way that helps kids learn for themselves. Teach your tween organization and time-management skills to help them prepare for further schooling and later life. If necessary, you can work closely with teachers or the school counselor, to make sure your tween is keeping up with the rest of their peer group. 

Privacy

One of the hardest parts of parenting tweens is accepting your child’s increased need for privacy. It can feel hurtful when all of a sudden doors are closed and your child no longer wants to share as much of their life with you. Try your best to be prepared for the inevitable; all tweens have the same need for space, it’s not personal and it isn’t your fault. 

When puberty hits, bodies change, and this can make tweenagers feel embarrassed and uncomfortable. This can lead to a desire for more secrecy, so expect a bit more distance between you and your child. Although it may be difficult, you still need to let your tween know that they can always talk to you should they need it. You may both find it difficult, but building skills in communication is the best way to improve your relationship during the tween years. 

The tween age can be difficult for any kid but being prepared as a parent or sitter will help in the long run.

Media Intake 

Modern parenting holds many more challenges than it used to because of young kids’ sheer volume of exposure to media. Kids of all ages are constantly online, accessing completely unfiltered and potentially harmful information. One of the most important jobs when parenting a tween is carefully monitoring their media intake, to ensure they aren’t exposed to inappropriate material. 

Kids on the internet can be exposed to violence, sexual content, and even predatory behavior which is far too much for them to handle. While you need to be strict in this regard, try not to be too invasive when protecting your tween. Instead, explain to them about the dangers of the internet, and speak truthfully and without condescension about the things they are simply too young to see. 

Additionally, it’s shocking how easily values and ideals are impressed upon unsuspecting kids. Keep an eye on which tv shows and commercials they see, as well as the character of friends they might have made online. As the brain develops in tween years, young minds begin to make decisions about morals and can be easily led astray. You don’t have to completely ban all questionable media; simply teach your kid about critical thinking and the validity and morality of different sources.

TV’s, computers, laptops, and smartphones can be distracting as well as dangerous. As kids get older, the temptation to ignore schoolwork and play video games or watch TV instead increases. If necessary, you may have to place limits on your tween’s “screen time”, even though it may be difficult. Parents with rapidly aging children need to be prepared for the challenges of raising teens in the modern-day. 

The Ups and Downs of the Tween Years

Although the tween and teenage years are always a challenge for parents, it’s easier when you know what to expect. Now you’re better prepared for the difficulties of parenting a tween, you can feel more at ease as your kids begin to grow up. From learning responsibility to internet safety, there’s a lot you need to teach your tween as they reach this age group. However, there’s also a lot you can learn from them, and many opportunities for your relationship to flourish. Try not to let the difficulties of tweendom get you down; focus on celebrating every little victory. 

Toddler Pillows: The Risks Every Parent Should Know About

The first few years of your little one’s life are filled with exciting and magical moments, but they can also bring anxiety and fear to new parents. Worrying about your baby is only natural, but certain risks need to be carefully addressed to protect the life of your child. One such problem area for many recent mothers and fathers is the sleep of their child, as nights are notoriously troublesome in the first year of an infant’s life.

Aside from the near-constant sleep deprivation due to hungry mouths and nappy changes, SIDS is enough to terrify any parent into wakefulness. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is a serious danger for the first few years of your child’s life, something most parents are acutely aware of. Protecting your infant when they should be sleeping soundly is vital, so read on to find out about the risks every parent should know. 

When Can a Toddler Have a Pillow?

We know that when children are young, it’s best for them to sleep without a pillow. That’s because pillows, blankets, and other crib decorations can pose a risk of suffocation. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is the name given to this phenomenon, where newborn babies die unpredictably in their sleep, often with no warning signs beforehand. While SIDS is less common than it was 20 years ago, thousands of children still die from it each year. 

Prevention for SIDS is simple but paramount. You should never let an infant sleep on their tummy, as it decreases your baby’s access to fresh air. It also increases the risk of overheating, and both of these are risk factors for SIDS. Some infants sleep much better on their stomachs, so it can be tempting to allow it. However, even a short nap on their tummy can be dangerous and potentially life-threatening. Side-sleeping isn’t safe either; just always put your baby to sleep on their back. Once they’re old enough to roll over themselves, the risk of SIDS from this cause decreases. However, there is more than one way that Sudden Infant Death Syndrome can occur. 

The complete unpredictability of SIDS is terrifying to new parents, so it’s important to know everything you can about risks and prevention. One vital element to protecting from SIDS is not giving your little one a pillow before they are ready. Official recommendations say that 18 months is enough time for your child to be ready for a pillow, but the case is different for every person. So when can a toddler have a pillow? 

Most children will sleep comfortably and soundly in their crib until the age of two. Before this time, babies are too young to protect themselves from suffocation. The mobility in their neck and development of their brain means there’s no need to add a pillow to your child’s crib before they need one. If your toddler is still comfortable sleeping without a pillow, there’s no need to add anything to their bed. 

However, once your little one is past the age of two years, they may need a chance of sleeping arrangements. Now is the time they may outgrow their crib, and need to sleep in a toddler bed instead. Around this period, watch out for signs that it might be time for your kid to sleep with a pillow. The risk for SIDS drops significantly after the first year of life, and after the second is practically eliminated entirely. At this point, you can think about introducing pillows and blankets will complete peace of mind. 

There are certain indicators that tell you when a toddler needs a pillow to sleep properly. As humans grow older, we require support for our heavy heads and necks during rest, so that all muscles can relax. Once your child is ready to sleep in an open bed, keep an eye out for these signs that they need to be more comfortable:

  • Making their own pillow: If you see your toddler using a blanket, soft toy, or their arm to support their head during sleep, it might be time to give them a pillow. The fact that your little one is making their own make-shift support for their head and neck means that they need more bedding. It’s time to support their growing head like an adult with an appropriate pillow. 
  • Sleeping poorly: If your toddler is cranky and seems tired, it could be a sign they aren’t getting enough sleep. If this is the case, and the other risk factors are eliminated, it might be the right time to give your baby a pillow so that they can be more comfortable at night.
  • Pain complaints: In a much more concerning indication to parents, complaints of morning aches and pains are a sign that a pillow could be needed. Particularly if they are located in the neck area, this is a possible sign that more support is needed for comfortable sleep. 

These potential signs of impaired sleep for your toddler mean that it could be time to give them a pillow. Always ensure the risks for SIDS are eliminated before adding pillows and blankets to your child’s bed. Remember, there is no reason to add pillows to your toddler’s crib if they don’t need it. This risk is completely unnecessary if your child is already comfortable. If you do decide that it’s the right time to introduce pillows, read on to discover what you need to know. 

Getting your toddler a pillow could be a great addition to their stuffed animals.

What are the Risks of Toddler Pillows?

After the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome has passed, there are still several hazards regarding toddler pillows that every parent needs to know about. Even something as simple as a pillow can pose a threat to your child if the conditions happen to be right. However, all you need to do is avoid a few easy mistakes, and you and your little one can sleep soundly. Here’s what to look out for when you give your toddler their first pillow:

  • Using an adult pillow: Regular pillows are much too large for toddlers to use. Their heads and necks are smaller and so the pillow needs to fit properly, in order to provide the right amount of support. Thick and fluffy pillows pose a risk of suffocation, to the best choice is a firm and correctly sized toddler pillow. 
  • Using a pillow that’s too soft: Adults develop a preference over time as to how soft they like their pillow, but kids don’t get a choice. Using any smaller sized pillow won’t cut it for your youngster, rather specialist toddler pillows are better. These are flat and firm, ideal for providing support without risking suffocation. 
  • Using a pillow made from common allergens: Make sure you know what materials are used in both the stuffing and the filling of your toddler’s pillow. For example, natural feathers can trigger an allergic reaction in many young children, so are not often recommended for your little one’s first pillow. 
  • Using a pillow made from hazardous materials: Some pillows are stuffed with grains, seeds, beads, and other small particles. These pose a serious choking hazard and are not suitable for use by children in any way. Always make sure your choices are officially approved as toddler-safe. 
  • Using a pillow in a crib: No matter their age, if your child still sleeps in a crib, they can’t use a pillow. Although the risks of suffocation are reduced, using bedding in cribs can still disrupt sleep. Pillows should only be introduced after the child has moved to an open bed, and even then it’s not necessary straight away. 
  • Using a pillow before your toddler is ready: Even if you’ve made the move from crib to bed, that doesn’t mean you need a pillow. Children don’t sleep as deeply as adults until they reach the age of three or four, so sleeping on a flat surface is perfectly comfortable. If your child hasn’t expressed any need for a pillow, then there’s no need to rush. Until a time when using a pillow is necessary, it’s perfectly safe and healthy for your toddler to sleep without. 

What Toddler Pillow Size is Right?

The standard size for a toddler’s pillow is around 13 by 18 inches, much smaller than your standard pillow. Adult bodies can be comfortable using a range of different pillows, but toddlers need a more specific type. Using the right size and type of pillow will promote safe sleeping, and help stop any sleeping problems for your little one. Also, it’ll fit better in their big kid bed and help them feel all grown up, so bedtimes will be easier too. 

What are the Best Toddler Pillows?

When choosing the best pillow for your toddler, there are a number of elements to keep in mind. These will help decide which product works best for you, as well as eliminating any which aren’t up to scratch. These are the most important things to watch out for if you want your toddler to sleep safely and soundly. 

What to look for When Shopping for a Toddler Pillow:

  • Materials: The outer case of a toddler’s pillow should be 100% cotton; soft, comfy, and free of chemicals. Any young ones with allergies or environmental sensitivities should sleep with a hypoallergenic pillow. These are specially designed to reduce and limit bacteria and mold growth on the pillow.
  • Size: As we mentioned, a full-sized adult pillow is much too large for toddlers. Smaller heads are happy on a pillow around 13 by 18 inches in size, the perfect amount of comfort and support. 
  • Stuffing: The filling inside many pillows is now made from eco-friendly materials like buckwheat and hemp. While they are a greener choice, they pose a choking hazard for toddlers. Natural down feathers can also trigger allergies in young kids, so synthetic materials are best for your child’s first pillow. Look for a pillow filled with synthetic fibers or memory foam. 
  • Support: Children need a fairly firm pillow for their first, to provide stable support for the head and neck. Softer pillows and stuffies may be comfortable, but they don’t provide enough support to your toddler. 

We’ve selected a few of the very best toddler pillows for your consideration, and here we’ll share a bit of information on them. Each of these pillows would make a great first choice, but by reading you can select the ideal pillow for your toddler’s needs. Read on to discover a few of the best toddler pillows. 

1. KeaBabies Toddler Pillow

We love the KeaBabies “My Little Dreamy Pillow” because it’s ergonomically designed. The most important thing your little one needs from their pillow is support, and this especially tested pillow promises the best spinal comfort. The natural cotton case is soft and machine washable, easy to clean and refresh. This toddler pillow is the perfect size for your little one to take anywhere, always promising a sound and safe sleep. 

2. Dreamtown Kids Toddler Pillow

Unlike the previous toddler pillow, the Dreamtown Kids is made from a poly/cotton blend. Although we usually prefer 100% cotton for pure softness, this material is easier to machine wash and 100% hypoallergenic. This toddler pillow is the perfect size to offer optimal support to your child’s head, it’s actually recommended by chiropractors for optimal spinal development. 

3. A Little Pillow Company Toddler Pillow 

The Little Pillow Company Toddler Pillow is one of our favorites because it’s made in the USA, and even uses recycled materials! The eco-friendly stuffing of this pillow is made from 100% recycled BPA-Free plastic bottles, and it’s completely child safe. The outer case is untreated 100% cotton to ensure no exposure to nasty chemicals. Ideally sized for toddlers from 2-3 years of age, this greener option for your child’s first pillow is hard to beat!

4. Little One’s Pillow

The Little One’s Pillow goes the extra mile to make sure that your toddler sleeps as soundly as possible. If your pillow isn’t the perfect fit for your little one to sleep comfortably, the company will send you a replacement pillow with an increased or decreased amount of filling. Said stuffing is made from hypoallergenic polyester, while the case is organic cotton. This pillow was designed with the help of top pediatricians so you can be sure it’s one of the best toddler pillows.

It’s important to make sure you find the right pillow size and not give a toddler an adult pillow.

Toddler Crib and Pillow Safety Tips

Introducing your little one to their “big kid bed”, along with their first pillow, is an exciting time. However, there’s a lot that parents need to know about this transitional time. From preventing the risk of SIDS to general sleep safety, we’ll share some important advice and tips about creating the perfect sleep environment. 

When it’s time for your little one to move out of their baby’s crib, and into a larger bed, it’s important to choose a bed of an appropriate size. Many people think this process should happen quickly, at only one year of age. However, you can let your baby sleep in a crib with a low set mattress until the age of three. You shouldn’t introduce a pillow before then, as you could risk strangulation and improper toddler pillow safety. 

As your little one starts to find their feet, they might find it hard to resist curiosity. Climbing and pulling at furniture and pretty much anything else is common among toddlers, so you need to take some precautionary steps. Secure furniture to the walls so it cannot topple, including dressers, TV stands, and bookcases. You may also want to add protection like crib bumpers to any sharp corners, to prevent any accidents from happening. 

Another part of “toddler-proofing” is removing all strangulation hazards, just like with too large of a pillow. Any blind cord, electric lamp, or fragile object should be removed or placed out of reach. Any sort of tangle, suffocation, or choking hazard needs to be removed from your child’s environment. 

Toddler Pillows: The Bottom Line

The primary risks when giving your toddler a pillow stem from one of two mistakes; give them a pillow too soon, or using one that isn’t the right size. Until your little one has moved out of their crib (up to age 3) they should never be given a pillow. Even then, if your kid sleeps comfortably then there’s no reason to introduce more bedding. 

Once your child is ready for a pillow, including expressing the need and sleeping in the right bed, it’s important to make an appropriate choice. You need a toddler-sized pillow, offering adequate support for comfort and safety. Additionally, you may prefer a hypoallergenic pillow to reduce allergy risks. Any of the best toddler pillows we listed would make an excellent choice. 

Once your toddler begins to communicate, you can explain to them all about bedtime. They will be able to tell you about their comfort, while you can inform them about important safety issues. Opening communication about safety issues with young children is a vital part of raising them. All of your efforts to protect your little one are worth it to bring about the bright future ahead of them. 

20 Back to School Quotes to Inspire Your Kids

Back to school time can be both difficult and exciting, for parents and kids alike. Children aren’t always ready for their vacation to end, but the start of another school year is all about new beginnings. Plenty of fun opportunities for learning and growth await your kids in the new year, so all you need to do is remind them! There are many jobs to do during the back to school period, from hiring nannies to gathering school supplies. With so much to do, coming up with ways to get the kids excited about learning can be an extra task you don’t need. 

One easy way to get children ready for the new school year is by sharing a few inspirational back-to-school quotes with them. Here, we’ve gathered some of the best to save time for busy parents and carers. Whether they’re starting kindergarten or high school, every student can benefit from a little extra motivation. You can use these catchy and funny quotes to remind them that the new school year brings many amazing things, with a simple note in the lunchbox. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite motivational back to school sayings and famous quotes about school. From a range of famous faces including actresses and activists come many powerful nuggets of truth, which you can share with your children. Armed with these fantastically inspirational messages, getting the kids excited about the first day of school is easier than ever. 

1. “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.” – Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss was an American author beloved by generations of children, as his witty and hilarious poetry appeals to all age groups. This catchy phrase is fun enough to appeal to young children, so it’s an ideal first day of kindergarten quote. However, every student can use a reminder that they steer their own future, as they have the tools to learn and do anything. This inspirational quote is perfect for any back to school occasion, so why not hang it on the fridge for the first week of the new school year. 

2. “Education is the key to unlocking the world, a passport to freedom.” – Oprah Winfrey

Oprah’s story inspires hundreds every day across America, as her journey from poverty to incredible success is known throughout the nation. Her undeniable leadership skills, inspirational ideologies, and many enterprises in various industries show just how much we have to learn from Oprah Winfrey. This quote is the perfect back to school inspiration to teach your kids that the education they receive now paves the way for opportunities in the future. With sturdy determination and the right work ethic, they could be the next mind-blowing example of the American Dream in action. 

3. “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Who better to impress the importance of education to your children than a long-adored First Lady and United Nations Delegate. Eleanor Roosevelt made incredible contributions to global human rights campaigns and often spoke out on civil rights issues even when she was in disagreement with the President. Her beautiful quote is a fundamental truth, as those with the biggest aspirations have always been the ones to change the world. This universally-respected figure encourages your kids to follow their dreams in this inspiring back-to-school reminder, as they will lead us into the future. 

4. “Let us remember; One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.” – Malala Yousafzai

The story of Malala Yousafzai rocked the world in October 2012, and her following journey can provoke in us all a realization of the vitality of education. Girls were banned to attend school in Malala’s home country of Pakistan, but at age X she was becoming a prominent activist for equal education rights. Shock at what happened to Malala spread around the world when she and two other girls were targeted while on a bus. She suffered a bullet to the head, and while fighting for her life in hospital, support for her cause grew. 

Malala Yousafzai survived the attempt on her life and continues to fight for equal access to education to this day. In this passage (which is the perfect first day of school quote) Malala drives home a message that every schoolchild in the world needs to hear; that the privilege of education is something to be fought for, not against, as it can enable us to bring about great change. 

5. “You can never be overdressed or overeducated.” – Oscar Wilde 

This happy back to school quote is simple and to the point. Older kids who might begin to read Oscar Wilde’s work will appreciate this witty reminder that every day their knowledge is growing. The Irish novelist is often included in high school curriculums, particularly the famous Picture of Dorian Gray. Although the themes of this novel, and other of Wilde’s work, can be more mature than is appropriate for younger children, high school students have long studied his writing. Regardless, this quote is a funny quip to remind kids of any age to give the most to each day. 

Having some inspiring quotes for your kid can help them get motivated before going back to school.

6. “Be so good they can’t ignore you.” – Steve Martin

Many kids today missed out on growing up with the pure hilarity of Steve Martin’s movies, but they can still benefit from his excellent advice. In a blog post about how to become a famous comedian, Steve inspires his readers to strive for the best, as that is a sure way to succeed. Share this quote with your children for their first day back at school to help them remember that if they work hard, they can achieve their dreams. 

7. “Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.” – Albert Einstein

This quote from the smartest man who ever lived might need a little interpretation for your kids, but the message is incredibly important. The takeaway is not that lessons and learning are irrelevant, it’s that they allow you to build and pursue your own passions later on. By inspiring your kids to care about their general education, you’ll give them a much better foundation to develop other interests. 

8. “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela

From a historical icon of global change comes this forcefully inspiring quote, so it’s assumed that the words stem from a place of true knowledge. No one else could offer better advice when it comes to changing the world, and to Nelson Mandela, education was everything. This statement speaks veracious volumes, powerfully inspiring your kids to uphold their own education. Everyone involved in shaping young minds, teachers, and students, is affecting the future of all humanity.

9. “I’m not going to school just for the academics. I wanted to share ideas, to be around people who are passionate about learning.” – Emma Watson

This is the perfect back to school motivation for any fan of the Harry Potter series, as movie star Emma Watson shares an inspiring quote about her views on education. Use this lunchbox message to tell your kids that school doesn’t need to be a chore; it’s actually a great time to enjoy being around others who are learning. Together, a class of school children grows into the adults who lead our future, and it starts with the ideas they share now. 

10. “Work hard, be kind, and amazing things will happen.” – Conan O’Brien

As the host of various late-night TV shows and the star of many hilarious comedy specials, Conan O’Brien can be a pretty inspirational figure for young people. Conan said these words on his final episode of the Tonight Show, and in doing so reminded everyone of the two most important truths in life. Everyone, from new students to retirees, can benefit from hearing this advice and applying it to their everyday life. 

11. “Take your risks now. As you grow older, you become more fearful and less flexible.” – Amy Poehler

The comical star of Park and Recreation Amy Poehler provides a perfect back-to-school quote to share with kids of any age. Use this inspiration to remind your children that now is the time to try that new sport, take up a musical instrument, or even just go out and make new friends. Their minds will never be as malleable and ready to learn about the world, so don’t waste time in encouraging kids to apply themselves fully to everything they do. 

12. “This is a new year. A new beginning. And things will change.” – Taylor Swift

Pop superstar Taylor Swift shot to monumental fame and success at only 15, so who better to inspire your kids on their first day back at school. Some young people can be apprehensive at the beginning of a new semester, but a few words from this singer can help them be more optimistic. Life goes so fast in school years, and change is constant, so there are always better things on the horizon. 

13. “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” – John Dewey

As almost the polar opposite of our previously quoted figure, your kids might have no idea who John Dewey is. However, the impact he had on their education is life-changing. As a ground-breaking philosopher and psychologist, he was a leader in American educational reform. Much of the modern system’s success is down to his progressive ideas, all because of his pure belief in this truly apt motivational quote. Remind your schoolchildren of any change that the meaning of life really is learning. 

14. “Intelligence plus character-that is the true goal of education.” – Martin Luther King Jr. 

Martin Luther King Jr. was a supremely influential figure in United States history, at the head of social activism and civil rights movements of great importance. Because of this, he is an ideal role model for many of today’s young people, and many of his speeches and sayings can inspire your kids to strive for better in school. This quote is another excellent pointer to the real reason they’re going back to class; to build a better foundation for their future success. 

Inspiring quotes can also be associated with role models, which are important for kids.

15. “I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework.” – Lily Tomlin

Often, school children can under-appreciate the efforts of their teachers. The people who dedicate their lives to educating the leaders of the future deserve a lot more thanks than they get. In particular, those special individuals who really go the extra mile to make a difference to each child’s day can often go without recognition. Lily Tomlin points out that the true value of teaching is how you apply it after your assignments are finished in this inspirational first day of school quote. 

16. “The difference between try and triumph is a little umph.” – Marvin Phillips

If your kids need inspiration from someone they might see as a little cooler than bookish historical figures, why not use this printable quote from American basketball legend Marvin Phillips. This witty back to school quote is both funny and true and can spur on kids in any grade to summon that extra bit of effort. All it takes is a dedication to learning, and triumph will soon follow. Remind your kids over breakfast to sprinkle a little “umph” in their day, and a victory in learning will be right around the corner. 

17. “Dreams come a size too big so that we can grow into them.” – Josie Bisset

This simply happy back to school quote from Josie Bisset is a cheerful expression, perfect to tell your kids that no dream is too remote. Even when their aspirations seem so far away, they have no idea the person they will grow into. For many young people, it can be a true challenge to see the end goal of their education without being distracted by the seeming endlessness of education. Reminding them of the reason behind it, and the things they could achieve afterward, is a great way to motivate them now. 

18. “I’ve always loved the first day of school better than the last day of school. Firsts are the best because they are beginnings.” – Jenny Han

The older a student gets, the more likely they are to look forward to the last day of school and be less excited about the first. In this inspiring quote, the New York Times bestseller Jenny Han points out that the first day of a new school year brings so many new opportunities and experiences. By getting pumped up for new beginnings, until counting down to vacation time, your kids will have a more enriching education. 

19. “You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.” – Richard Branson

Richard Branson is one of the most successful entrepreneurs of our time, and his famous quote about school is an ideal choice to share with your kids. From him, they can learn that even the biggest challenges can be overcome if you don’t let setbacks stop you. Failure is an unavoidable part of learning and growing, it’s trying again afterward that’s important. When your kids face difficulties in their education, it’s important for them to know that struggling isn’t wrong. It’s all about the amount of effort they make to succeed, and this inspiring quote could be just what they need to hear. 

20. “The man who does not read books has no advantage over the man who can not read them.” – Mark Twain

Our final quote, from the creator of beloved children’s Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, draws attention to the value of not only going to school but using what you learn. The advantage of education is massive, and many kids around the world don’t have the same access to learning. This hard-hitting quote can inspire your kids to put full effort into using their education, as that is the only way to be thankful for the advantage. 

How to Inspire Your Kids on Their First Day Back at School

For children and young people, education can be a daunting prospect. After all, it takes a lot of effort and dedication to apply yourself every single day, but young minds need the information to develop and grow. All of these quotes can inspire and provoke deep motivation in your kids, and encourage them to enjoy their learning to the very fullest. From influential political figures to world-famous pop stars, many well-known figures offer great advice for your kids. 

Each one of these quotes about school is easily printable, so you could display it where your kids will see. Alternatively, a written note in a lunchbox with a few words of encouragement would be the ideal surprise to remind schoolkids to work a bit harder in the afternoon. There are so many ways to get kids excited about education, and it’s a vital mission if you want them to succeed. Building love and respect for learning will shape the entire future of a young person, so getting them to see it in a positive light from a young age can have an impact which lasts a lifetime. 

Is Only Child Syndrome Real? Why You Needn’t Worry

While some of us have been thinking about the number of kids we want for ages now, others have only really considered it when they began having them. And we obviously want the best for our child and for them to grow up in an environment that gives them the opportunity to develop to their greatest potential.

While nutrition and education are obvious examples, the number of children is a less obvious consideration.

But while it might not be obvious at first, we’ve all heard the stereotypes of single children. Snobbish, self-centered, less outgoing, and more difficult to date later in life. All things that, as a parent, you want to do everything in your power to avoid. So, in light of this stereotype, many people choose to avoid the one-child route, opting for at least 2 or more.

However, as with most things, stereotypes don’t usually pan out in the real world and the experts can back this up.

We’ll get into some of the research, expert opinions, and benefits of being a single child down below. But if there’s one thing to take away from all of this, it’s that being a single child is absolutely fine.

The Origins and History

The phrase “only child syndrome” has gone by many names, and the “logic” of it makes many people believe that it’s been a thing or idea forever—or at least a very long time.

As you might’ve guessed, that’s not true.

The only child syndrome theory came into being in the late 19th century in a paper named “A Study of Peculiar and Exceptional Children” by E.W. Bohannon and G. Stanley Hall from Clark University. This study is the source of the widespread mythos around the only child.

And it’s no surprise, at least if you keep in mind the language that was used.

Hall and Bohannon went as far as to say that being an only child was a “disease in itself”—strong words that don’t leave much room for interpretation. How did they come to this conclusion?

They used the results of a questionnaire (a new method for collecting data back then), asking 200 participants a series of questions. One of the questions in this study asked if the participant knew of any disadvantages or peculiarities in any only children they knew. How many answered with an affirmative response? 196.

And what were these peculiarities that the participants responded in? First and foremost, “excessively spoiled”.

But not only did the researchers’ colleagues agree with them during the time, but it was also widely accepted within society. During this era, middle-class families were having fewer children and there was a general fear that the “lower classes” would soon swamp the gene pool with their, alleged, inferior genetics.

You’re probably starting to see the issues around a study like this.

Furthermore, there was a widely held belief in the early 20th century that only children would grow up to be hypersensitive. The thinking was that if both parents concentrated all their worries onto one child, the child would grow up to have weak nerves, and potentially be a hypochondriac.

Only children are thought to be more selfish, though this trait is highly debated.

(Alleged) Characteristics of Only Child Syndrome

So, what are the details surrounding classic only child syndrome? What did Bohannon and Hall come up with, in the end? While in this day and age the theory sounds more and more ridiculous with every passing year, there is a certain (bad) logic behind these assumptions.

Foremost was the belief that only children would grow up to be selfish. This is because the child would receive the undivided attention of both parents, and essentially get whatever they want—without having to share with a sibling.

The theory also states that only children suffered from a lack of interaction with peers, namely, their potential siblings. This could not only lead to loneliness and anti-social tendencies, but it could also extend into adulthood in the form of not getting along with co-workers and displays of hypersensitivity. These social skills needed to be learned at an early age.

You may have already made the connection, but only child syndrome is a close cousin of birth order theories. We all know the stereotypes: the firstborn is the quiet studious type, the middle (ignored) children are people-pleasers and easygoing, while the youngest are the outgoing and self-centered ones. Much like only child syndrome, child order theory is debatable at best.

Issues with the Original Study

Not to mention the problems with deriving such data from a single questionnaire, but the original study done by the two researchers also faced a major problem that most people don’t have today.

It was, first and foremost, based in a rural society in which little socialization (or less) took place outside of the home. To get anywhere took a much longer time than these days, and there was just no way for children to get to know other people in some cases. Especially in the days when children were meant to work on the homestead.

Furthermore, as you may have guessed, the study has been disproven by many others. It has continued to be a topic of research, but most experts agree that there aren’t any legitimate aspects of the original study. Additionally, there is little (if any) difference between single children and multi-children families.

But we’ll look further into some studies down below.

Only Children in the Modern Era

With the continuously changing landscape of families and their makeup over the past several decades, single-child households have seen large growth.

In the United States, single-child families were at about 10 million in 1972. Jumping forward to 2018, and we now have 15 million families like these. An increase of 1.5x. What’s more, is that this has become the largest growing family demographic today. But what’s spurred on this change?

For one, it follows a much longer trend of having fewer and fewer children, at least in developed countries. But perhaps more importantly, couples are having children at later and later dates. Not only does this leave less time to have children, but it also paves the way for potential fertility issues later in life.

And lastly, there’s also the changing cultural opinion on having one child.

We can see that the original study was bathed in prejudice—not just in terms of having children, but also class. There’s been a growing acceptance of having a single child, and one of the reasons this acceptance has grown is because studies like the original have been shown to be extremely problematic with results that can be effectively written off.

Not to mention the many studies which have come since then, most showing that there is little evidence of differences between children coming from these two different types of households—not to mention that most of these purported differences are actually positives.

What the Research Says

In a data-driven society, research is king, and theories live or die based on what we find. Saying that, it’s important to keep in mind that the original was “research” as well. Not to say that it was good research, but it constituted research during the time. Just as modern studies are good research in modern times. It’s important to keep in mind that things are always changing.

Nevertheless, there have been countless studies done on only child syndrome since the first by Bohannon and Hall, and most of them have shown that there are no serious differences between children from these two different types of homes. And many of the studies that have shown this to be true, have been more closely examined and found to be problematic with their methodology.

By far the most prominent opponent of single child syndrome has been Dr. Toni Falbo from The University of Texas at Austin.

Her seminal 1986 study looked at over 200 different studies on the topic of single child syndrome, where she tried to discern if there was any difference. Her conclusion was that children with siblings and children without siblings do not differ, at least not negatively. The one difference she found was that single children tended to have stronger bonds with their parents when compared to families with multiple children.

As a single child herself, Falbo had effectively curtailed the belief that single children were somehow inferior. However, there have been more studies that have shown more.

Lower Tolerance and Higher Creativity

Studies have continued to be done since then, many finding different things aspects to consider. While some have discovered statistically significant differences between children with siblings and those without, the differences are small enough to not have to worry about. One of these studies was done in 2017 by Jiang Qiu of Southwest University, Chongqing.

The researchers looked at a sample of single children and those with siblings, in terms of personality and thinking ability.

In one of the surveys, those students who were only children received lower scores when it comes to tolerance. In this context (known as the five-factor model of personality dimensions), tolerant individuals are helpful, compassionate, and cooperative. On the flip side, those with less tolerance are characterized as egocentric, distrustful, quarrelsome, and more competitive.

The thinking ability aspect of this study used a creativity test known as the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking.

What this study found was that children without siblings happened to be better at solving problems in a more creative manner than those with siblings. Known as lateral thinkers, these children were especially proficient when it came to the testing of flexible thinking.

The researchers believed that this difference might lie in the fact that single children were forced to be more reliant on themselves, especially when it came to amusement. Having to rely more on themselves since they were born, these children became more inventive and resourceful.

Furthermore, the above findings were linked to brain scans which were done on the students. While students without siblings had more grey matter in their brains in general, they had fewer grey cells in an area that scientists associate with empathy and tolerance.

What the Experts Say

Of course, there will always be a slew of studies and research that shows one thing or the other. Which is why it’s important to also listen to the experts who might have more real-world experience.

Like all resources on the subject will tell you, you really needn’t worry about single child syndrome.

For one, single children have plenty of places to socialize, especially these days. While urban and suburban children have it particularly easy since there’s a host of daycares, parks, playgrounds, schools, and extracurricular activities to choose from. Even those in rural areas have closer ties (and more of them) these days because of better transportation methods, and even the use of the internet and social media can be a positive socializing factor. Only children have the same amount of friends as children with siblings.

Not to mention that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of factors that go into how a child will grow up.

While some studies may show some differences between children with siblings and those without, even those studies tend to show a very, very, small difference. Focusing on just this aspect alone is not a good way to emphasize the upbringing of a child.

When it comes down to it, children have their own personalities. Some will be introverted and timid with or without siblings—and either way, it’ll be okay in the end. Nevertheless, it is very easy for people to lean on the single child syndrome stereotype. If an only child exhibits any sort of negative behavior, sometimes some people attribute this to them being an only child. It’s important to remember that these negatives also exist in families with many children.

There are a variety of factors that influence a child, and to blame a major characteristic on one aspect is almost always the incorrect way of going about things.

Only children typically receive more attention from their parents, which can be a healthy thing as well.

What to Do if You’re Still Worried

There are some tips to keep in mind if you’re worried about single child syndrome and any of the purported drawbacks. But whether you have one child or multiple, these tips will always be useful.

There seems to evidence that shows that only children have a tendency to become perfectionists. This is because what they’re relating their actions to is their parents—not a peer or sibling. And, as we all know, parents/adults are going to be able to do things much better than a child. It’s important to keep your expectations in line with the appropriate age of a single child and emphasize the enjoyment of an activity rather than the outcome.

Social interaction in their peer group should also be encouraged. One benefit of single children is that they tend to have better relationships with adults and are able to speak of for themselves to a greater degree than those with siblings. This is because their main source of socialization at a young age is their parents, not a peer. While this has the benefit of creating a more confident individual, your child should also have an appropriate amount of socialization with their peers.

This is where they’ll be able to learn to take turns, share and resolve conflicts effectively—not to mention the benefits for their mental health.

Another point is to not overprotect your child. This is both true for children with siblings and without, but poses an important emphasis on the latter group. Since there is only one child, it may make sense that the parents dawdle over them rather than splitting their attention. Support your child, but also allow them to navigate some parts of the world alone.

Lastly, drawing from the point above, allow the child to make decisions on their own. If the parents are the single directors of a child, then the child might be tempted to rely on their input before doing anything. While this may be good in some scenarios at a younger age, it can be a drawback in adulthood. Prime the child for future decision-making by allowing them to make simple decisions at a young age, such as what to wear or what to play.

Final Notes on the Benefits of Having a Single Child

There a number of benefits that come along with being a single child.

Not only do these kids have better relationships with their parents, but that better relationship also gives benefits. Parents have more time and energy to put forth into the child, and a single child can sometimes have more opportunities since the parents don’t have to juggle multiple schedules.

Add to that the benefit of heightened confidence and self-esteem, along with better relationships with adults and being more articulate and comfortable when speaking to them.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you should avoid having a child with siblings if that’s what your plan was.

It’s just always important to remember that any child has the potential to grow up into any type of person and placing the emphasis on a preponderance or a lack of siblings doesn’t hold much water when one takes a closer look at things.

Baby Shoe Size Chart: A Guide to Infant Shoe Sizing

The first few months of life can be confusing for a newborn, but they can be just as confusing for the parents.

There are a million little things to find out, look at, and either buy or find. And some things are even more complicated since they either don’t work the same way as adult things or are completely different.

Shoes are one of these things.

While the idea of buying shoes sounds simple at first glance, there will probably be a lot of questions that begin to arise when it actually comes to buying them. Does your baby even need shoes? How does sizing work? Is it the same for boys and girls? What do you look for in a pair of baby shoes? Are there particular characteristics you should be looking for?

Things become even more complicated with the youngest ages since they’re growing so fast—turning shoe shopping into a seemingly daunting task. The complexity is further compounded by the fact that we usually worry if a toddler can properly express their feelings about a certain size and fit.

We’ve looked at these questions, what to expect when your young ones grow older, and more, down below.

When Does Your Child Need Shoes?

While you will be able to find a shoe size to fit the smallest of feet, you probably don’t need to buy any shoes until your child begins walking.

Feet grow best when they’re not confined by shoes (and we all know how fast babies grow), so shoes are really only needed for warmth in the first few months. And even then, socks or booties will usually be more than enough to keep the child’s feet warm enough.

And even when the child becomes mobile on their feet, shoes are still only really necessary outside and in public spaces. Inside, assuming the area has been baby-proofed, shoes are not essential at all. Shoes, at least in the early stages, are only useful for protecting your child’s feet from things that might hurt them.

You don’t really want to be dishing out serious cash very often, especially in the early stages. The first few pairs of shoes won’t last longer than 2 or 3 months because of the rapid rate of growth—if the child doesn’t need shoes, then it’s usually better to not buy any.

How Does Children’s Shoe Sizing Work?

One of the biggest gripes to get around with infant shoe sizing is the different measurements and inconsistent language used between retailers and brands.

Not only that, but the age and expected shoe size will also be wildly different for children due to their own individual growth. While some brands might label the shoes by age and use wider ranges for babies (jumping by factors of 6 months, for example), some brands may have a different way of sizing their shoes.

Furthermore, brands can have varying ways of identifying what age group a shoe is for. For example, one of the more common ways is “T” delineating that the shoe is for toddlers. However, other brands may use “K” or “C”. This highlights the importance of finding the sizing chart for the brand that you’re looking at.

Most websites that sell children’s shoes have a printable sizing chart that helps in finding the correct size. All you have to do is print it out in its actual size and place your infant’s foot on the paper.

Young children’s shoe sizes will usually run from 1 to 13, with a letter that signifies that it’s meant for smaller feet. These are for the youngest children. Then, bigger kids’ shoes go from 1 to 7 usually, but this also depends on the brand. If using this system, that means that the size 1 in “big” kid’s sizes will be larger than the size 13 in the toddler sizes. That is, assuming that the shoe brand uses this system.

This leads us to the next question you might be asking—well, what even is a “big kid”?

Not only is there confusion when it comes to the actual sizes, but there’s also confusing terminology involved between brands. Different companies will use different ways to describe the age ranges, which will probably differ from brand to brand.

For example, you could have groupings such as big kid, little kid, toddler, baby, youth—it all really depends on the company. This highlights the importance of finding a sizing chart for the specific brand that you’re looking at. An even better idea is going into the store and trying out the shoes, regardless of the language used.

It can be helpful to remember that men’s shoe sizes are a continuation of children’s sizes. That means a men’s size 8 is a direct continuation from a children’s size 7. This is useful to know if the child is beginning to outgrow their smaller shoes. On the other hand (or foot), there are women’s sizes. These are sized at about 1.5 sizes larger than a man’s shoe. So for example, that means a women’s 9.5 is about the same as a men’s size 8.

Kids’ Shoe Size Charts

While terminology and sizes differ from brand to brand, it useful to use a general chart to help as a jumping-off point on your shoe-searching mission.

Keep in mind that just because a shoe is marked for a certain age doesn’t mean that it will fit your young one. After trying on a few pairs, however, you’ll get a much better idea of whether the child is either above or below average.

Below are some general size charts going from babies to kids.

Baby Shoe Size Chart: Up to 12 Months of Age

U.S. Euro Inches         CM

0.5   16    3.25 inches 8.3 centimeters

1      16    3.5 inches    8.9 centimeters

1.5   17    3.625 inches   9.2 centimeters

2      17    3.75 inches 9.5 centimeters

2.5   18    4 inches       10.2 centimeters

3      18    4.125 inches   10.5 centimeters

3.5   19    4.25 inches 10.8 centimeters

4      19    4.5 inches    11.4 centimeters

4.5   20    3.625 inches   11.7 centimeters

5      20    4.75 inches 12.1 centimeters

Toddler Shoe Size Chart: From 1 to 5 Years of Age

U.S. Euro Inches         CM

5.5   21    5 inches       12.7 centimeters

6      22    5.125 inches   13 centimeters

6.5   22    5.25 inches 13.3 centimeters

7      23    5.5 inches    14 centimeters

7.5   23    5.625 inches   14.3 centimeters

8      24    5.75 inches 14.6 centimeters

8.5   25    6 inches       15.2 centimeters

9      25    6.125 inches   15.6 centimeters

9.5   26    6.25 inches 15.9 centimeters

10    27    6.5 inches    16.5 centimeters

10.5 27    6.625 inches   16.8 centimeters

11    28    6.75 inches 17.1 centimeters

11.5 29    7 inches       17.8 centimeters

12    30    7.125 inches   18.1 centimeters

Kids Shoe Size Chart: From 6 to 10 Years of Age

U.S. Euro Inches         CM

12.5 30    7.25 inches 18.4 centimeters

13    31    7.5 inches    19.1 centimeters

13.5 31    7.625 inches   19.4 centimeters

1      32    7.75 inches 19.7 centimeters

1.5   33    8 inches       20.3 centimeters

2      33    8.125 inches   20.6 centimeters

2.5   34    8.25 inches 21 centimeters

3      34    8.5 inches    21.6 centimeters

3.5   35    8.625 inches   21.9 centimeters

4      36    8.75 inches 22.2 centimeters

4.5   36    9 inches       22.9 centimeters

5      37    9.125 inches   23.2 centimeters

5.5   37    9.25 inches 23.5 centimeters

6      38    9.5 inches    24.1 centimeters

6.5   38    9.625 inches   24.4 centimeters

7      39    9.75 inches 24.8 centimeters

How to Measure Feet

There are a few ways to measure a child’s foot in order to get the best measurements. The easier is using a foot measuring gauge, which you can either buy or readily find in any shoe store. If you’re trying to do this at home, there are two good ways to go about it.

Tracing

The most common method to use is to simply trace your child’s foot. All you need is a blank piece of paper, a marker, ribbon, ruler—and the feet of course.

Have the child stand with the back straight and heels against something solid, like a wall. They should be standing on top of the piece of paper and on a hard surface in order to make tracing easier.

Once you’ve traced the foot, measure it from the heel to the highest point on the big toe. Record the results.

Next, take the ribbon and wrap it around the foot, where the ball of the foot is located. You want to make sure that this is where you wrap the ribbon since it’s the widest part of the foot. Place a mark on the length of the ribbon that’s needed to wrap the foot, and then measure it. That’ll be the width of the foot. Some shoes are specifically made for wider feet, which is something you might have to check.

Using a Printable Guide

These are useful since you can sometimes get them straight from the brand that you’re interested in. The benefit of doing this is that you’ll be able to know to a much more certain degree whether the shoe will fit—at least when it comes to that specific brand.

The most important thing to remember with this method is to make sure to print to actual size, and not to the page fit. Depending on the default settings on your printer, it might be set automatically to print the actual size. You can also set the printing scale to 100% which will give you the real, intended measurements on the guide.

Each guide will differ slightly, but most will have a curved line at the bottom of the page where the child places their heel. It’s best to cut the paper in such a way so the bottom of the curved line sits right against the wall. This will give the child’s heel something to be supported on, giving you a better idea of the measurements.

Depending on the guide, you may or may not need a ruler to measure the foot. This will be easier to work with if you tape the ruler to the ground and also place it against a wall or another fastened surface.

After you’ve measured the foot and found out the length in regards to shoe size, it’s time to measure the width. This can be done the same way as with tracing—either a ribbon, shoelace or some other piece of string.

Things to Keep in Mind When Measuring Feet

While measuring feet and finding out shoe size is simple enough, some complications can arise and it’s best to be prepared for them.

There is a chance, especially when they’re young, that a child’s feet may not be the same length. The severity of this difference will differ from child to child, but when this happens it’s definitely best to go with the larger foot when buying shoes. Sizing up will ensure that your child is comfortable and prevent any issues arising from a lack of space to grow.

The same applies for if your child is between sizes. Always err on the side of going too big rather than too small. It’s quite common to be in between sizes, and it’ll be much more comfortable for the child to walk around in a shoe that’s slightly too big than too small.

Lastly, it’s important to remember how often to measure your child’s feet.

Young feet grow fast, especially in the first 6 years of life. A study done showed that children aged from 1 year to 2 ½ years required a shoe size change every 2 to 3 months. Following that, a change in shoe size happened about every 4 months until the age of 4. And finally, from the ages of 4 to 6, it was found that the shoe size changes every 6 months.

Therefore, it’s recommended to check your baby’s shoe size every two months—especially when they’re young. After the age of 2 or 3, foot growth significantly slows down.

When it comes to newborns it’s always good to have a nice, soft pair of house shoes.

What to Look for in a Shoe

Shoes come in all different shapes and sizes, and while you can get away with more as an adult, it’s important to find the right shoe for young ones who are at important developmental stages.

Non-skid soles are essential. Especially when your child is first feeling out upright walking, you (and they) want to be certain that they won’t slip and fall. At least not in a way that can be blamed on the shoe. Better traction will prevent unnecessary falls.

Shoes should also be flexible. A flexible shoe will allow for the natural development of the foot, rather than it being constrained. This builds off the point that young infants don’t necessarily need shoes until they’re walking around outside.

Furthermore, the shoe should be comfortable. This is really what makes or breaks any kind of shoe for whatever age group. Unlike adult shoes, however, a shoe meant for very young children shouldn’t have to be broken in to wear comfortably.

Getting the Most out of Shopping

While shopping with a young child can sometimes be a burden, you’ll definitely want your little ones alone for this shopping trip.

You’ll get a much better idea of their shoe size and what they find comfortable if you bring them along and try them out at a store. It’s also helpful to bring some of the thickest socks they regularly wear in order to properly gauge how the shoe will fit in those circumstances. If you’re buying online, try to find a store that allows for easy returns.

Additionally, don’t be in a rush. Have your child try on different shoes and walk around in them for at least a little bit. This will give you a much better idea of what they find comfortable and prevent unnecessary returns.

When trying on shoes, feel for the longest toe at the end of the shoe. There should be some wiggle room between the longest toe and the end of the shoe. A good way to check is to stick a finger in the heel of the shoe, down to the sole while the child pushes their foot to the front. If there’s no room for a finger, the shoe is probably too small.

Even If the Shoe Fits…

While you may be tempted to get used shoes for your child, it’s usually not a good idea. This is especially true for young children who are at an important point in their development. Not only could a worn shoe wear against a child’s foot, but it could also cause the child to walk or run improperly.

It’s also important to ignore fashion trends. While it may be tempting to go for a shoe that’s particularly cute, it’s best to stick to the tried-and-true methods and basics of shoes. Depending on the shoe, these often don’t have the flexibility that a children’s shoe needs.

And lastly, even if the shoe fits in the store and afterward, it’s still important to keep making sure that it fits well.

Going into the future, your child will go through many, many shoes, and each of them will be important for good development. But even in between shoe buying, it’s always a good idea to check in and make sure everything’s going smoothly.

How to Treat Baby or Toddler Constipation with Prune Juice

Poop comes in all come kinds of different shapes and sizes—a fact that’s especially true when it comes to infants and toddlers.

And as a regular movement that we all go through, bowel movements can be great tools to see if everything in our bodies is going the way it should be. For young ones at such developmentally important stages of their lives, poop is a fantastic way to see everything is going smoothly on the inside.

One relatively common issue with bowel movements is constipation.

Constipation can take the form of dry and hard bowels, having to strain when passing stool, or pooping less than three times per week. For children under the age of 5, this is a relatively common occurrence and a common reason for visits to the doctor. Prune juice—along with some other preventative and treatment measures—can be used to make pooping easier for your child.

We’ll explore some of the reasons constipation occurs, but it’s important to understand that children often have a difficult time expressing that they’re constipated. That means, first and foremost, you’ll have to be comfortable and know the signs of a potentially constipated baby or toddler.

How to Spot Constipation

There are a number of ways to spot constipation, but it’s also important to remember that bowel movements (and their dryness and frequency) are dependant on each individual. In some cases, what might insinuate constipation in one child, is a perfectly normal bowel movement for another.

With that in mind, let’s look at the general differences between normal and abnormal bowel movements.

The first week of life usually finds the baby passing around 4 liquid or soft stools a day, but this generally depends on whether the child is breastfed or not. Babies feeding on breastmilk tend to have more movements than those who are taking formula.

Following that period, the first 3 months of finds another difference between breastfed and formula-fed children. The former usually have 3 soft movements per day—but this differs greatly. While some may be experiencing one after every feeding, others might experience a movement per week.

Formula-fed children usually pass 2 to 3 bowel movements per day, but there is a difference between the formula given. For example, soya and cow’s milk-based formulas can sometimes cause harder stool. On the other hand, hypoallergenic formulas can sometimes cause looser stool.

By two years of age, an infant will usually have one or two firm bowel movements each day.

While these are good general guidelines, each child differs and it’s a good idea to try to find other symptoms of constipation.

The best way to know if an infant has constipation is if you notice a difference in the frequency of bowel movements. If the stool looks hard or pellet-like, and your child is going to the washroom less frequently, it might be a sign of constipation. Furthermore, physical pains such as stomach cramps can also be a sign.

Behavioral changes such as the child feeling less hungry than normal or irritable behavior can also be a sign of constipation. They might also exhibit holding-on behavior, such as crossing their legs, squatting, arching their back, or refusing to sit on the toilet. You may also notice a slightly bloated belly or even anal fissures. The latter are small tears of skin around the anus that cause pain or bleeding when passing stool.

One or more of these factors can be a sign that your child is constipated.

Fresh prune juice can be great for treating constipation, especially in toddlers.

The Causes of Constipation

When trying to find out the cause for constipation, there are several different factors you can look at. They range from genetics and natural tendencies to diets and diseases. Finding out the root cause (or a combination of two) will help in treating constipation and preventing it in the future.

Genetics and Natural Tendencies

Unfortunately, this can just come down to genetics in the end. That doesn’t mean they can’t grow out of it, however. And there may also be ways to lessen the risk of the onset of constipation.

Genetics can show in children having just slow gut movement in general, and even low muscle tone. A child with low muscle tone can have trouble pushing stool out—and if this is really the cause, a diet high in fiber might be a bad thing.

Habits and Holding It In

Whether the child is doing it on purpose or not, the behavior of the child is sometimes to blame for their constipation.

For example, when a child is playing and purposely avoiding going on the toilet for a bowel movement, this can lead to the stool hardening and enlarging. Ultimately, this leads to a stool that’s much more difficult to pass in a bowel movement.

Another example is when a child first begins toilet training. They may just not like the idea of it and decide to hold it in to avoid going.

Furthermore, the beginning of school can be a big reason for holding in bowel movements. Not only is the environment new, but the toilets may be undesirable and therefore the child may just choose to stop going whenever they’re in that particular environment. They may even be told to “just hold it in” at school, which can further compound the problem. The location doesn’t even need to be necessarily unsanitary—just a place where the child feels uncomfortable passing stool.

Holding-it-in behavior might also be seen after a particularly painful bowel movement. If your child has had anal fissures and/or has had to pass a particularly large stool. That may dissuade the child from going to the washroom and persuade them to hold in, making the problem worse.

A Child’s Diet and Eating Habits

The diet is a common issue, but it can be difficult to know whether this is a problem with the diet itself, or if there should be special considerations around the child when it comes to feeding.

A common problem may be an intolerance to wheat, dairy, or both. An intolerance is different from an allergy since there is no obvious reaction that the child exhibits when consuming the product. An intolerance just means that the body might have a difficult time digesting the foodstuff, which causes constipation. Cow’s milk (or too much of it, at least) is a common problem that can sometimes fix the issue entirely if intake is limited.

But it’s not just about avoiding milk. Sometimes a poor diet can mean being constipated often. This means a diet high in processed foods and low in fiber, and fresh fruits and vegetables can sometimes be to blame for constipation. A list of foods to avoid is:

·         White bread (and products such as crackers, pretzels)

·         Bananas

·         Marshmallows

·         Ice cream

·         Cheese

·         Rice krispy treats

·         White rice

But even if the diet is doing everything right, constipation could also be the result of poor water intake. If the body isn’t hydrated properly, it has a much more difficult time moving stool through the intestines. Make sure your little one is always getting the recommended amount of water each day.

The way in which your child eats can also affect whether or not they’re constipated. For example, not chewing food enough and gulping it down in large chunks is a factor that can contribute to constipation.

Additionally, picky eating is another habit that’s hard to break and can lead to constipation. If a child does all they can to avoid their vegetables and fruits, then it might be the cause of their poor bowel movements. On the other hand, picky eating might be the cause of constipation. If the child is avoiding foods or eating less, it can mean that they’re already backed up. In this case, it’s a bad idea to add fuel to the fire and pressure them to eat.

Lastly, young children who are transitioning from formula or breast milk to solid foods can sometimes experience constipation. The first stage solid food can be mixed with more breast milk, formula, or water to prevent (or lower the risk) of this happening.

Diseases and Medical Problems

This is one of the rarer occurrences that can cause constipation, but it’s still a possibility.

This can include things such as abnormalities of nerves in the colon, abnormal development of the nerves in the intestine, issues when it comes to absorbing nutrients, and even abnormalities in the spinal cord. The child’s doctor should be the one to ultimately rule out these issues and investigate further.

Prunes: A Natural Treatment for Constipation

Prune juice has been used for a long time to treat constipation, both in adults and in children. There’s a laundry list of benefits around prunes that make it both a good natural stool-softener, but also a good source of vitamins and minerals.

Keeping that in mind, it’s important to note two things. Prune juice won’t work for all children, and prune juice should be used differently based on how old the child works—something we’ll get into further below.

Prune juice, made from dried plums, has both laxative and diuretic effects on the human body. This is partially due to the fact that dried plums have high sorbitol content. Sorbitol is a sugar alcohol that’s found in plants which works by retaining water in the large intestine, allowing stool to pass through more easily. The phenolic compounds in dried plums further compound their laxative-like nature.

There are a few things to keep in mind before diving into the world prune juice.

For one, there is a small percentage of people who are allergic to prune juice and plums, which is something to watch out for when first introducing the food to your young one. It can also cause gassiness and bloating, which can be uncomfortable.

Prune juice (and all fruit juice) are also not generally recommended for infants younger than one year, due in part to their high sugar content. However, a doctor should have the final say.

Prune Juice Use According to Age

For newborns who are younger than 2 months, it’s unusual for them to be constipated. They may cry or grunt when trying to have a bowel movement, but this is considered relatively common as they’re trying to figure out the mechanics of how everything works.

Even if a newborn goes 5 days without passing stool, it’s not considered unusual. However, if you do suspect that the child is constipated based on all the factors we looked at above, then it’s best to consult a doctor or pediatrician.

Even when infants reach the ages between 2 and 12 months, it’s still not necessarily recommended to give them any juice, unless a doctor says that it’s okay. Furthermore, if a doctor does sign off on the use of prune juice, they should also give you how much is okay for the child to ingest.

A general guideline is 1 ounce of prune juice per month alive, with a daily maximum of 4 ounces administered no more than twice daily.

It helps to dilute the prune juice with water to assist them in hydrating along the way. However, the prune juice consumption shouldn’t lessen the amount of breast milk or formula the child’s being fed.

With older ages during their toddler years—over a year old—children can be given larger doses. This will be helpful since, during this time, constipation is a lot more common for children as they move onto solid foods. However, there should still be a limit on the amount of prune juice ingested. Keep an eye on your child and if they experience any irritability, but in general, prune juice consumption should be kept to a maximum of 1 cup per day. Otherwise, the child’s stomach may be irritated.

Always make sure that the prune juice you’re buying is pasteurized. Otherwise, it can contain harmful bacteria such as E. coli.

Other Treatments for Constipation

While prune juice is one of the more effective ways to combat constipation, there’s a whole toolkit of strategies you can use to make your child’s bowel movements more comfortable.

One of the most important factors is eating the right foods—and enough of them. This includes foodstuffs such as:

·         Pears

·         Avocados

·         Most veggies

·         Lentils

·         Beans (and especially black beans)

·         Oatmeal

·         Whole Wheat Pasta and whole-grain cereals

·         Barley

·         High Fiber Bread

A well-rounded whole diet that limits the intake of processed foods and “white” carbs is the best way to make sure that one’s bowel movements are comfortable and healthy.

Adding to that, children 6 months and older can drink water—and drink water they should. It’s one of the best ways to hydrate the digestive tract to make sure that everything comes out the way it should and in a timely manner.

If that doesn’t cut it, supplements such as fiber gummies can be given to children. Fiber is a necessary ingredient to a well-functioning bowel movement, and a supplement is sometimes what a child needs to get things moving along. One should also always read the labels of products that they’re buying. It shouldn’t be assumed that certain food that sounds like it will have a lot of fiber in it, actually does.

You should always consider taking your toddler to the doctor if constipation lasts longer than three days.

Behavioral Treatments and Preventative Measures

Paired with the advice above on what children should ingest to treat constipation, there are also a few things we can do to help and prevent constipation in the future.

Tummy rubs are highly effective for getting things going in some cases. This can potentially release gas and help move the stool along. Paired with a relaxing, warm bath, an infant’s muscles may relax just enough for them to have a proper bowel movement.

It’s also a good idea to foster healthy bowel habits. For example, getting your child used to the idea of going to sit on the toilet after every meal, especially after breakfast. This can do wonders in helping to prevent their “holding-in” mindset and can prevent constipation. If one sets a time each day when a child is meant to go sit on the toilet, there’s a much lower risk of them holding out and keeping their stools in.

Furthermore, normalization of going to the washroom is also an important thing to cultivate. Especially in new environments such as school, it’s important that your child knows that they can always go to the washroom and there shouldn’t be any pressure to hold anything in.

This is compounded when a child first begins toilet training. Some may find this task daunting and choose to avoid it. But making the act comfortable and even fun can go a long way. This plays into the cultivation of healthy bowel habits because even if a child feels like they don’t need to go, it can still be beneficial for them to sit on a toilet for a few minutes at a set time each day.

Next Steps and When to Escalate

While most cases should not lead to a doctor’s visit, it’s good to know the signs of when you should escalate a case of constipation.

These signs include things such as there being blood in the stool, vomiting, or a fever that lasts longer than 24 hours. These can be signs of underlying issues that need to be fixed. Constipation in a newborn should also be considered abnormal. Lastly, sudden weight loss is another thing to investigate.

Nevertheless, for most cases, some prune juice and time will be all you need for your child to be having bowel movements comfortably once again.

Stage 1 Baby Food: When to Start, Recipes, and More

The first few years of a child’s life are an exciting time.

Their bodies go through so many changes, and it’s important to not only stay on top of things but also make sure they’re getting everything they need to fully realize their potential. Food is just one of the ingredients for a healthy child—albeit a very important ingredient.

Especially during the first few years of rapid development, it can be difficult to gauge what your child should be eating, what they are eating, and if you’re doing enough to introduce them to a wide-enough range of foods and nutrients.

While every child is different to some extent, their chronological age should tell you enough about where they should be when it comes to weaning off of breast milk. If you feel confident that your child can move onto the first stage of eating solid foods, there’s a number of things to remember when it comes to safety.

Finally, we’ll look at some recipes for your baby’s first foods, and how you know when your child is ready for stage 2.

From Breast Milk to Stage 3

While there are some basic guidelines in terms of appropriate food and age, there is no one-size-fits-all guide for introducing different children to solid foods.

There are, however, some fundamental principles to keep in mind when trying to make the switch.

Babies will, in general, be completely fine with breast milk up until 12 months of age. While the stages begin at 4 to 6 months, introducing your child to solid foods is less about nutrition and more about “wading into” the world of food that’s not breast milk. This means developing the baby’s interest in new tastes along with their oral motor functionality.

Especially when it comes to stage 1 baby food (but this is still true all the way up to 12 months), the primary source of nutrition will come from the breast milk. This is why it’s important to frame baby food as merely supplementary to breast to milk, rather than an alternative.

When first introducing a child to solids, it should be seen as more of a snack. Most ingestion should still come from the standard 24 to 32 ounces of breast milk or formula a day. Baby food will only probably amount to 3 to 4 tablespoons only once or twice per day.

The Stages and the Foods

While we’ll be focusing on stage 1 baby food here, it’s a good idea to see how it fits into the greater scheme of things. A very rough rundown of the 3 stages looks like this:

Stage 1: Purees, not much thicker than breast milk or formula beginning from 4 to 6 months.

Stage 2: Thicker consistency than stage 1, beginning at 6 to 9 months.

Stage 3: Food can include easily chewable chunks, beginning at 10 to 12 months.

While we’ll go through some good food choices down below for purees, the emphasis is on the texture rather than the contents.

One should always avoid honey in the first 12 months of life in order to avoid the risk of infantile botulism and it’s a good idea to focus on foods that are low on the allergy index. However, other than these two points, the baby food can be made out of almost anything—as long as it’s smooth, lacks chunks, and is relatively thin and watery.

It is true that in the past new parents were advised to start their children off with cereals made consisting of single grains, but thinking has changed since then and we’ve learned that it doesn’t really make a difference in what order you introduce children to food. As long as the texture is correct.

Stage 1: Baby Food 101

“So, what exactly is stage 1 baby food?”, you might be asking. Like we’ve mentioned above, they’re very thin when it comes to consistency. Furthermore, they also only contain one single ingredient and are very smooth without any chunks at all.

You can either buy them or make them at home (since the single-ingredient aspect makes things pretty easy).

And while babies can begin solids as early as 4 months in some cases, it’s a good idea to wait till 6 months. But all children are different, and if you have doubts about whether your child should be starting eating solids, it’s a good idea to consult with a pediatrician.

Remember that breast milk and formulas are much better when it comes to providing the necessary nutrients to babies. Food isn’t necessarily needed (in most cases) in the first 12 months of life. However, there is a reason that the 6-month mark is usually chosen for beginning solid food feeding.

Iron is a mineral that’s essential when it comes to brain development, and every infant builds up a store of it in their bodies during pregnancy. As their life progresses, their iron stores also deplete. While formula and breast milk are excellent sources of iron as well, it can be beneficial to boost their brain development with some supplementary sources of iron with iron-rich baby purees.

On the other hand, however, there are also risks associated with starting solid food feeding too early. Not only will the baby probably not be too interested in solid foods at too young of age but offering solid food too early has also been associated with excessive fat gain in older years. “Too early” in this case means a 4-month-old baby or younger.

How to Know When a Child is Ready to Start Stage 1

While chronological ages are a good general tool, they’re often too simplistic when it comes to gauging all the intricacies that make an individual, individual. This is why it’s important to supplement your feeding decisions not only with age but also with other developmental and social cues.

The best way to see if your child is ready to begin eating baby food puree is to notice whether they seem to be interested in everyone else’s food. If, whenever you’re eating near your child, they seem to be staring at your food—that’s a good indication that they’re ready to move onto something other than breast milk or formula.

Another sign is if they’re able to sit upright with minimal (or no) support, or if they can hold their head up with relative ease and stability.

Both of these points also play into the safety of introducing your child to solid foods.

Lastly, they should actually be able to accept a spoon (or a finger with your baby’s food on it) into their mouths. While a seemingly obvious requirement, babies do have an involuntary reflex during about the first four months of their lives. This reflex causes them to use their tongues to push out anything that enters their mouth.

Keeping Safety in Mind

When it comes to nutritional safety, keep in mind that milk still reigns supreme. Especially when just starting out with solids, make sure not to give to many “meals” per day. Your baby is still far off from the classic 3-meal day, and stage 1 baby food should be thought of as a snack rather than a meal.

Furthermore, when you’re introducing a new type of food to your baby (in puree form), it’s important to wait for 3 to 4 days between each new introduction.

This is so you can probably gauge any adverse affects the foods might have. If a child has been fed 4 or 5 different new foods in the span of 2 days, it’s going to be much more difficult to find out which food it was that caused the reaction.

A couple more safety tips include:

  • Keep in mind that the child should be sitting in an upright position, so as to lower the possibility of choking.
  • Don’t put solid foods inside of a bottle—either use a spoon or your finger.
  • And of course, no honey before the age of 12 months!

Keeping these things in mind, your child should grow strong and healthy in no time!

How to Start Offering Solid Foods

Depending on the child, any new change might be met with swift avoidance—and this is no less true when it comes to food. Thankfully, there are a few tricks you can use to make the transition easier for your child (and yourself).

Adding breast milk or formula into the puree is a good way to get the child used to the texture and taste. It’ll also help in working up to more solid food. Stage 1 baby food shouldn’t be much thicker than formula or breast milk by itself.

Another good way to progress to solid food is by giving a child some milk or formula beforehand. When they’re relaxed, well-fed, and happy is the time when young ones will be more open to trying new foods—and that extends to adults as well.

If the child seems to be turning their head away from the food, they might just not be ready. Try again in a few days or try to offer a different type of food.

But now the question is, what can they actually eat?

Homemade Baby Food Recipes

While there is no evidence that suggests whether one food group should be introduced before another, it is recommended that these early pureed foodstuffs contain a significant amount of iron, protein, and zinc. An example could include iron-fortified baby cereals (that are single grain, such as rice cereal) and even pureed meats that are rich in iron.

Furthermore, when making your own baby food, it’s important to keep to the single-ingredient principle—at least when first introducing solid foods. This will give you a much better idea of any likes, dislikes, and food allergies that your little one might have.

And since the ingredient list is so basic, you’ll find that the recipes are as well. Boiling is necessary for some of the ingredients, and a food processor will definitely help out as well. Here are some of our favorite ingredients to use in stage 1 baby food.

Avocado: Healthy for all ages, not just for kids, the avocado is an amazing source of healthy fats, vitamin A, and fiber. It’s also easy to prepare since it’s naturally very soft—just remove the pit and take out the flesh. If you need a thinner consistency, add breast milk or formula.

Sweet potatoes: Excellent sources of vitamin C and A, sweet potatoes are a delicious treat. You’ll need to peel and either steam or boil these. Once cooked through, a blender will make short work of them. You will probably need to adjust the thickness by adding in milk or formula.

Apple puree/applesauce: A very healthy snack that’s more than just great baby food, it’s recommended that you boil the apple flesh until tender. Use a food processor or blender to break them down and add formula or breast milk to find the right consistency.

Butternut squash: A great source of potassium (and sweetness), butternut squash should be cut in half and baked face down after scooping out the seeds. After it’s baked, scoop out the flesh and find the consistency that you’re looking for.

Banana: Similar to butternut squash in that they’re also sweet and a rich source of potassium, bananas are fantastic when it comes to having baby food on the go. Easily mash-able, all you need is a little bit of water, formula, or breast milk to get the right consistency.

Carrots: Also a favorite when it comes to baby food, carrots provide a good source of beta-carotene. Just steam or boil them until they become soft enough to blend or mash and add an appropriate liquid for the right consistency.

Mango: Rich in vitamin C, mangoes are delicious as well. Make sure you have one that’s ripe enough or put in the blender or food processor for long enough to break it up. Afterward, just add formula or breast milk for the desired consistency.

Peaches: Both a good source of fiber and vitamin C, all you need to do to prepare these fruits is to remove the pit and steam them over boiling water. Blend and add appropriate liquid to get them to a nice thickness.

The Other Option: Baby-Led Weaning

While the above methods and practices are the most popular when it comes to introducing solid foods to babies, there is another option that’s been gaining popularity: baby-led weaning.

This method completely forgoes the idea of baby foods, purees, and stages when it comes to feeding babies. Rather, it’s based on the principle that a baby should be able to eat solid, non-pureed finger foods right from the beginning, at around 6 months of age.

Possible benefits include having the child become more used to different food textures at an earlier age. Not only will this potentially help them gain independence, but you also won’t need to prepare any special food for them—just make sure that it’s cut into small enough pieces. It’s also purported that children who are weaned with this method are less likely to become fussy eaters.

Furthermore, this method also claims that children who feed themselves are more likely to be able to control their appetite when they’re older—minimizing the risk of obesity later in life. While there is some research that suggests this, other research does not find a connection. What is clear, however, is that more research needs to be done in order to find a clearer picture of baby-led weaning and any effects it might have on development.

One negative that comes to mind is the risk of choking. This, however, doesn’t seem to be a major issue with baby-led weaning. What’s of greater note is that baby-led weaning diets seem to consist of less iron-rich foods, along with less iron, zinc, and vitamin B12.

The Next Steps

If your child has been doing well with stage 1 baby foods, it might be time to look into advancing their progress to stage 2.

Stage 2 foods are usually of a thicker consistency than stage 1 foods. Furthermore, they may contain a few, small mash-able pieces in them. More importantly, this stage is still for those children that are not quite yet ready to chew. Along with the thickness comes more variety. Foods in stage 2 usually have multiple ingredients and spices that can make them tastier.

The estimated age of when a child should be ready for stage 2 is anywhere from 6 to 9 months. However, what you’re looking for is that they’ve been consistently taking any food that has been offered to them in stage 1, and not shying away. Additionally, you should have noticed that their oral motor skills have been continuing to develop.

After this comes stage 3, where the real variety comes in. Food can now be given with soft, small chunks rather than solely purees. But remember, breast milk or formula should be given up until 12 months of age.

Although every child is different, following these general guidelines and keeping track of your child’s progress will guarantee good nutrition and overall health.

What is a Receiving Blanket? And Should You Get One?

As a first-time parent, you might be shocked at the amount of products there are for your new baby. Even when it comes to blankets, there’s a number of things to look for.

The first baby-centric blanket you might’ve been introduced to already is the receiving blanket.

The iconic pink-and-blue cotton receiving blanket is the one that’s first used to dry and warm newborn babies in the hospital. But while they’re standard items in the maternity ward, their uses extend much further than the first day of life.

Useful for a wide variety of applications—including swaddling and burping—receiving blankets are workhorses in the nursery. But even when your child’s grown and doesn’t need it anymore, you’ll still be able to utilize them.

Not to mention that they make a terrific keepsake and reminder for when your little ones were little.

What is a Receiving Blanket?

As we mentioned, receiving blankets are the ones first used to swaddle, dry, and warms newborns (hence the name).

While hospitals usually have the iconic pink-and-blue cotton blankets, they came in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Usually coming in packs of 3 or 4 when bought in a store, they’re most often either squares or rectangles. The most common size is 30 inches by 30 inches, but some may be larger at 30 by 40 inches.

The fabric they’re made of is usually flannel, cotton, muslin, and sometimes even bamboo. What’s most important is that it’s soft.

It’s a good idea to start with at least 3 or 4 of these receiving blankets since they’re very functional and practical items to have. For example, you can have one in your diaper bag and another one around the house when the other gets too dirty to use.

But why exactly would you want one?

A receiving blanket can be a great addition to your baby accessories.

The Benefits of Having a Receiving Blanket

First and foremost, a receiving blanket is useful in swaddling a baby, effectively keeping them warm and dry.

Although it’s first used right after birth, the benefits of swaddling your baby in a receiving blanket extend much further than. The material not only provides some insulation and heat for the baby, but it should also be thin enough to be breathable and allow airflow to prevent overheating.

A baby blanket is also useful after a bath. This is an especially fragile time since the baby comes out of a warm bath into a cooler air temperature which can be bad for catching colds. With a receiving blanket, however, the baby can get dry and retain some of that heat after a bath.

A baby receiving blanket is also a fantastic way to block out any sun or rain, especially in a stroller. It’s recommended that you keep one close by, or even in your stroller, if there’s ever a surprise rain shower or if the sun is shining particularly hot on a day.

Furthermore, swaddling and snuggly wrapping a newborn is a simple and effective way to keep them calm and feeling secure. Cuddling and swaddling is a fantastic method for calming down a baby.

But not only are they useful when covering up from the sun, they can also be used when breastfeeding for some extra added privacy as a nursing cover. Their small size means that it’s easy to take them with you wherever you go and can help out in a pinch. Furthermore, they’re also very useful when it comes to cleaning up any spit or dribble afterward.

They’re also extremely useful as changing mats. If you ever need to establish a clean changing space to change your baby’s diaper, a receiving blanket is an excellent tool to have. This can mean placing it on not very sanitary areas such as the changing tables in public restrooms. Or, you can put it somewhere that you want to prevent a diaper mess from happening, like a bed.

But that’s not the only messes they can prevent. While there are specific burp cloths sold as well, a receiving blanket is an excellent alternative—especially for those very messy eaters. Even if your baby isn’t particularly messy, a receiving cloth still provides amazing coverage because of its larger size. Babies spit up a lot, and a receiving blanket will keep your baby clean and neat—even against all odds.

If you opt for a slightly larger receiving blanket, it can be easily utilized as a playmat. Although you probably have some space at home for your baby to play in, a receiving blanket can be useful when visiting a friend’s place or even going to the park. Once again, their compactness helps when it comes to bringing one around wherever you go.

And finally, a receiving blanket is awesome as a security item. There might be no better option for a security item than a blanket. But not just any blanket—a blanket the baby has had since birth.

But, as with most things, all receiving blankets are not built equal.

The Types of Receiving Blankets

One of the more common receiving blankets is the flannel variety. Soft and usually patterned, they’re very useful when it comes to burping, swaddling, and even as a stroller cover.

Muslin blankets are often larger and softer than the flannel variety—and the more you wash them, the softer they’ll become. But not only are they soft, but the cotton they’re made out of is also breathable, effectively preventing any overheating. Paired with their ability to keep babies warm during the winter months, this is a perfect addition to your baby item collection.

There are also polyester varieties that come with the benefit of being cheaper in price, and they often have beautiful patterns on them.

Lastly, we have organic receiving blankets. They have the benefit of being hypoallergenic in some cases, while also being extra soft and cozy. They tend to not stretch or wrinkle, and they’re breathable and warm enough for all seasons.

How to (Safely) Use a Receiving Blanket

A blanket might seem like a harmless object that doesn’t come with any intrinsic dangers, but there are some safety guidelines one should follow to avoid putting babies at risk. These are necessary things to keep in mind when taking care of your own child, and having other caretakers also be on the same page as yourself in terms of safety.

If your child is under the age of 12 months, all blankets should stay out of the crib—not just the receiving blanket. This stays true whether your child is playing inside of the crib or napping.

Blankets, at a young age, increase the chances of smothering and suffocation, and also sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). But blankets aren’t the only things that should stay out of the crib in order to make the crib a risk-free environment.

The keep-things-out-of-the-crib rule also applies to items such as bumper pads, soft toys (and other soft objects), pillows, comforters, and sheepskins. When it comes down to it, the only thing in your crib should be your child to ensure that your baby sleeps soundly.

What About Keeping Them Warm?

More than anything as a new parent, you want your child (and yourself) to get enough sleep. So, it’s valid to worry about your child’s comfort when they’re trying to sleep—you wouldn’t them to be too cold to fall asleep.

However, babies can get the level of warmth they need without anything else being in the crib.

First and foremost, it’s important to keep the room’s temperature at a comfortable level, around 70 to 72 degrees. When dressing your little one for bed, make sure they’re cozy, but don’t put on more than one extra layer than they’d normally wear.

Fabrics like cotton are not only soft enough for your baby, but they also breathe well which allows your baby to better moderate their temperature. Popular choices include things like sleep sacks, footie pajamas, and swaddles—but whatever you opt for, you still want to be checking in on your child every now and then to make sure they’re not overheating or too cold.

A good way to check is by placing your hand on their chest. If it feels too warm, they might be overheating. Obvious signs of this are a red face, sweat, and a quicker rate of breathing. On the other hand, if the baby’s chest feels too cold, then that’s probably a sign they’re chilly.

Swaddling should also be stopped once the baby begins rolling over on their own.

When is it Okay to Place a Blanket in the Crib?

Over the age of 12 months is usually when babies are able to have blankets in their crib. This is because by that age they usually have the necessary dexterity and strength to move blankets away from their face if it becomes necessary. This dramatically reduces the risk of SIDS.

But even when your baby is over their first year in age, make sure they’re not too heavy and thick. They should never be swaddled in thick, heavy blankets since this increases the chances of overheating, which in turn increases the risk of SIDS occurring.

How to Choose the Right Receiving Blanket for Your Baby

So, you’ve been convinced of the practicality and usefulness of always having a receiving blanket nearby—but how do you pick the right one for your child?

Chances are you’ll probably have received at least a couple at your baby shower, but it’s always a good idea to stock up before your baby arrives. Not to mention that the wear-and-tear of daily use will inevitably make short work of the thin fabric.

Other than a soft, thin, and breathable fabric, the choice of receiving blanket comes down to personal preference. Size is also something that you might consider looking into, but most receiving blankets come in 30-inch by 30-inch sizes, give or take a few inches. Otherwise, there’s a plethora of available designs, colors, and patterns to choose from.

But before you go out shopping for the perfect receiving blanket, you should also keep in mind the swaddle blanket!

The Difference Between a Receiving Blanket and a Swaddle Blanket

While “receiving blanket” and “swaddle blanket” are often used interchangeably, there is an important difference, as the names suggest.

First of all, swaddling your baby refers to the act of wrapping your baby in a thin blanket for the purpose of making them feel calm, safe, and secure. As with most things, however, it’s important to utilize common-sense by not leaving swaddled babies unattended, and not over-swaddling. A swaddle blanket is made specifically with this purpose in mind.

Receiving blankets tend to be smaller than swaddle blankets. Furthermore, swaddle blankets are normally made from muslin, and they’re shaped in a way with which to make swaddling easier. They usually also come with some kind of clasps or Velcro to make it easier to swaddle a baby with.

However, as we looked at above, receiving blankets can be used to swaddle as well.

Whether you’re thinking of getting one or the other, or both, comes down to what you’ll be using your receiving blanket for most of the time. If your aim is to swaddle, and convenience is important to you, we recommend that you invest in a swaddle blanket. Receiving blankets on the other hand are beneficial due to their versatility. Not only do they swaddle, but they do a whole lot of other things as well.

It would probably be beneficial to first get a few receiving blankets and see where things go—do you normally find yourself swaddling with them and do you have trouble with swaddling? If so, a swaddle blanket is a good investment to make that’ll help make things more convenient and save you time and energy.

Re-Purposing a Receiving Blanket

There will come a time, alas, where babies will no longer be babies, and therefore, will have no more need of a receiving blanket.

Although a hard pill to swallow on its own, the bad news stops there!

A receiving blanket can be repurposed into a laundry list of different functions, almost as long as the number of functions it has as a receiving blanket. Here are just some of the things you can do with your old receiving blankets, even if you’re not the DIY type:

Make them into banners and garlands:  Decorate a room by cutting these blankets into strips and tying them together—made super easy by their thinness.

Furniture covers: Along with putting them on car seats, a receiving blanket will go along way in preventing potential stains and damage, whatever the source might be.

Cleaning rags: Speaking of preventing stains, receiving blankets are also a fantastic choice for cleaning up day-to-day spills and messes around the house. You can even use them as aprons or bibs for your little ones when doing crafts or art projects, making clean-up that much easier.

Car rags: Adding to the point above, you can also keep them in the car for any emergencies or messes.

Mementoes: A receiving blanket on its own is a fantastic memento for you and your children to have as they age. It’s something that doesn’t take up much space, and you can keep it somewhere safe through the years easily. Or, if you’re the craftier type or want them in a more prominent location, you can also make quilts out of them. Additionally, you can also try your luck at making some stuffed toys or pillows for your growing children.

Not only is a receiving blanket versatile in its own right, but it can also be utilized in so many different ways they’re almost always worth the money. And even when your child is done with them, it’s easy to find a second life for these blankets somewhere around the house.

The Verdict on Receiving Blankets

These blankets can be used to dry, warm, swaddle, and can even prevent a child from overheating. They’re essential when it comes to cleaning up messes or when trying to make a soft, clean environment to either change a diaper, or to play in.

While they come in various styles, the most important aspects to look at are the size, fabric, and thickness. While most come in 30-inch by 30-inch squares, they can also be found in slightly varying sizes. Above all, make sure the fabric is breathable, thin, and soft, to be confident that your child is as comfortable as they can be.

While a swaddling blanket might make your swaddling needs easier to accomplish and with more effectiveness, nothing can quite match up to a receiving blanket when it comes to versatility. And not only is that versatility apparent in its own lifespan, but it also extends much further into the future.

Much like Douglas Adams claimed that a towel is the most useful item for an interstellar hitchhiker to have, you’ll probably find that the same can be said for a receiving blanket and a parent taking care of their newborn.

When Do Boys Stop Growing?

Even though they seem to get taller every year without fail, boys do, in fact, stop growing.

But unlike with girls who usually stop growing around age 14 or 15—or 2 to 2 ½ years after the first menstrual cycle—boys’ height-limiting age is more difficult to pinpoint. Nevertheless, the growth curve starts flattening from ages 18 to 20.

However, boys can stop growing anywhere from 17 to their early 20s in some cases.

To better understand the mechanisms at play behind their vertical development we’ll take a deeper dive into how they differ from girls, how puberty plays a part, and what to do if there are suspicions of a boy not reaching their potential height.

From Baby to Adolescent

The first few years of life are when some serious growing takes place. Children average 4 inches of growth from year to year, up until about the age of 4. From 4 years old onwards, the rate of growth decreases until they hit their pubertal growth spurt. This pre-puberty growth rate is usually in the ballpark of 2 to 2 ½ inches per year.

Then, puberty hits.

For girls, this happens from the age of 8 to 13, and for boys, it generally happens sometime between ages 9 and 14. While girls grow from 3 to 3 ½ inches per year during their growth spurt, boys can grow 4 inches per year. Children will usually reach their adult height from 4 to 5 years after their peak growth surge.

But while girls stop growing around the age of 14 and 15, boys can keep growing into their early 20s in same cases—but growth generally stops around the ages of 18 to 20. Another difference is that most girls hit their growth spurt significantly earlier than boys, about 2 years in fact. This means that many girls are taller than boys in early adolescence.

The timing of puberty, along with the genetics of the parents, both determine where a boy will fall on the growth curve. These genetic factors are intertwined with a number of environmental factors that all work to determine the height of a boy at any one age.

And while it might be more difficult to determine exactly when a boy stops growing, it’s safe to assume that the growth curve almost entirely flattens by the time boys reach the age of 20—with some exceptions growing into their very early 20s.

What is clear, however, is the close link between puberty and growth.

Height and Puberty

A conversation about height cannot be had without taking a look at puberty and the changes which occur during this time for boys. Nevertheless, it’s almost important to remember that each child has their own individual development timetable.

This is especially true when it comes to boys going through puberty since there’s such a wide variability because of their dramatic growth.

As most of us know, puberty for boys does not happen with a surge of hormones—specifically, testosterone. This flood of hormones is what spurs the changes in boys that usually happen between the age of 9 and 14.

Pubertal Changes for Boys

Along with height, there’s a number of changes that come along with puberty in boys.

One of these changes is the growth of pubic hair. Hair grows at the base of the penis and begins to darken. It spreads over the upper thighs and up to the navel throughout puberty. It’s also important to note that pubic hair begins growing before other body hair on the chest, underarms, and face.

The testicles and scrotum also begin to grow, almost doubling in size throughout puberty. The scrotal sac darkens and the testes hang lower, along with hairs appearing.

This change is paired with other body composition changes that come with a more thickset physique. Boys, unlike girls, tend to layer on muscle as their body goes through puberty, giving them a heavier look. Girls on the other hand tend to layer on fat to their body composition. Both sexes will have their bones become denser, all the way into their early 20s as well.

Voice changes also occur during this time. The voice may begin to crack as the voice box grows throughout puberty. This usually happens after the peak of the growth spurt. Along with voice changes comes the growth of the penis. The adult penis size can be developed anywhere from age 13 to age 18.

Furthermore, boys also tend to develop breast tissue during puberty. This is because the male hormone, testosterone, converts to estrogen inside of the body due to a chemical process. Estrogen is the female hormone, which can give boys going through puberty, breast buds. This is called gynecomastia—a condition that usually resolves itself within 1 or 2 years of developing. If this condition either occurs too early or sticks around late, then it’s recommended to consult a doctor.

The Tanner Stages

The Tanner stages are a way in which we can measure the development of an adolescent boy. It specifically looks at two things: pubic hair and genital development.

These stages consist of five different levels, all corresponding to different testicular volumes, penis sizes, and the amount (and type) of pubic hair. Stage one corresponds to no signs of puberty in the boy, while stage five means that the body has fully grown into its adult form.

Using the Tanner stages along with the growth chart, a doctor can see how far along a boy is in their development during puberty. Both of these things can be useful tools in determining whether a boy is on track, or whether extra tests and steps should be taken in order to make sure everything is going smoothly.

Height During Puberty

There tend to be the boys who mature early, starting around the ages of 11 or 12. Then there’s those who mature later, around the ages of 13 or 14.

Whether the boy falls into the former or the latter group doesn’t matter all that much, since both groups tend to gain the same average amount of inches in height. The one difference is that those who mature late tend to grow faster in order to make up for the time they’ve lost.

The average age-adjusted height that American men will reach from 20 years old onwards is 69.1 inches, or just over 5’9”.

On the other hand, at age 10 (which is one of the earliest starts for puberty), the median height for boys will be 54.5 inches.

The Center for Disease Control’s male growth chart is a fantastic way to gauge how tall a boy might grow, and for how much longer. But speaking of estimating heights, there are two ways to go about it.

Predicting Height

While there is no way to predict height that’s 100% accurate, there are two commonly used methods that can get results that are close enough to be useful.

The first method, which is the most popular, is the “mid-parental height calculator”. As the name suggests, it takes the heights of the parents of the boy to predict his potential height. While it exemplifies the importance that genetics play when it comes to height, it’s also very inaccurate. If you do use this method, be sure to keep within a ballpark range of minus 3 ½ or plus 3 ½ inches to your final height.

The way this method works is by adding 5 inches to the mother’s height and then adding that sum to the father’s height. When you divide that number by 2, it will give you the mid-parental height estimate.

So, for example, let’s take a father who’s 5’10” and a mother who’s 5’5”.

With the mother’s height of 5’5”, add 5 inches to 5’10”. Adding that to the father’s height of 5’10”, you get 11 feet and 8 inches. Dividing this number by two, you get your estimate: 5 feet and 10 inches. But as we mentioned above, keep in mind the significant margin of error. The true height could really be anywhere from 5’6” to 6’2”—especially keeping in mind the number of variables that come into play when deciding the height of a person.

This differs from predicting a girl’s height. If looking to predict the final adult height of a girl, you would subtract 5 inches rather than add 5. But in general, the taller the parents, the taller the child will be.

The Growth Chart

The other method which seeks to find an estimated height is the growth chart.

This method is as simple as checking out the CDC’s growth chart for boys between the ages of 2 and 20 and then following the line depending on what percentile the boy falls into. So, for a 10-year-old boy in the 50th percentile (half of all boys are shorter), he would stand at 61 inches tall.

Following the curve on the chart, one would expect that the boy reaches an adult height of 69 to 70 inches, or about 5’9” to 5’10”.

The chart can also be used for showing potential adult weight—this also depends on percentiles and curves but is more dependant on diet and activity levels.

What’s most important to note is that it doesn’t matter in which percentile the boy falls into, but it does matter that they stay in their percentile. What does this mean?

Consistency is important, and it’s important to take note that boys are following their curve. If a child drops from the 50th percentile to the 20th, there might be some underlying causes that need to be fixed right away. It’s also important to note that the growth curve is less exact at younger ages, and boys are more prone to jumping around percentiles when younger. However, an older adolescent should stick to their percentile consistently.

There’s a number of reasons why a boy might not be following their respective curve.

What Affects Height?

Genetics are the most important indicators of height—if the father and mother are tall, chances are the child will be tall as well. But that’s not the end of the story, there’s a number of reasons why a boy might be shorter (or taller) than expected.

One of the most important of these “nurture” aspects is the nutrients that adolescents consume. Children who are living in poverty and malnourished may not reach their full adult height growth during puberty. It goes without saying that the human body needs the proper macronutrients, the proper ratios of macronutrients (fats, carbs, and proteins), vitamins, and minerals, in order to properly develop and function.

The time when a child is developing, especially during puberty, is an essential time for proper nutrition to take place in order for the child to fully maximize their potential growth. Even if a boy does not show any deficits when it comes to body weight and height, it’s a good idea to check the growth chart to make sure that everything is on track.

But even if an adolescent may have been malnourished early on during puberty, it is possible for the body to bounce back in its growth when a proper, well-rounded diet is introduced again before adulthood.

Other Factors that Affect Height

There are some medications that can slow down growth. One of the most prominent examples is the overuse of corticosteroids. This medication an anti-inflammatory agent that aids in asthma and arthritis. However, if used excessively during puberty, it also has the potential of slowing down growth.

It should also be noted that those diseases that require corticosteroids can also negatively affect growth. Some studies have also shown that ADHD medications can possibly slow down growth, but the research doesn’t show a consensus with results so it’s also a better idea to consult with a doctor first.

Long term chronic diseases can also have a negative impact on potential growth. This includes diseases such as celiac disease, kidney disease, and cystic fibrosis—among others. All of these can result in shorter potential adult height. Cancer is also among these diseases, with children who have battled it ending up shorter in their adult lives.

Hormonal imbalances may also negatively affect growth in adolescent boys. For example, low thyroid or low growth hormone levels can have detrimental effects on height in puberty and going forward in adulthood.

Lastly, there are genetic conditions (other than those outlined by the mother and father) that play an important role in the potential height of a boy. For the most part, these are considered atypical conditions that play a negative role in height. This includes things such as Noonan syndrome, Turner syndrome, and Down syndrome—all leading to shorter children.

On the other hand, we have a condition known as Marfan syndrome. This syndrome affects the connective tissues within the body and can be life-threatening in extreme cases. But what makes it unique is that children with Marfan syndrome actually grow taller than expected, with longer fingers and arms.

Boys that have healthy diets typically tend to grow more than those who don’t, though genetics are the most important factor.

How Growth Problems Can Be Detected

As we mentioned above, the best way to see if a child is growing normally is to check their growth curve. If they’re staying consistently within their percentile, then everything should be fine—even if they’re relatively short.

It’s more of an issue if the child seems to be crossing percentiles. But even then, this is more common during the early years of puberty and is usually a sign of a constitutional growth delay—otherwise known as being a “late bloomer”.

However, it’s possible to detect potential problems by noticing any chronic problems that might be occurring, such as vomiting, fever, diarrhea, weight loss, poor nutrition or appetite, or a significantly delayed puberty. If these issues are noticed, it’s best to go to a pediatrician to make sure that the child is on track according to their growth records and the CDC growth chart.

At a clinic, further steps can be taken to determine whether there’s a problem.

Most commonly, a bone age test is done. Using an x-ray, the bones of the child are compared to the bones of other children at certain ages. What is looked for in these circumstances is that the bone age matches up to the chronological age of the child.

While girls usually continue growing until a bone age of 14, boys tend to stop growing after a bone age of 16. If the bone age in the x-ray seems to be significantly less than the chronological age of the child, chances are that the bones will continue to grow after the age that one would expect the child to stop growing.

Making Sure Your Child is on Track

What’s most important is to keep track of a boy’s height as he goes through puberty. With a solid height history and a growth chart at your disposal, it becomes easier to make sure that everything is on track.

Like any person, developing or not, it’s essential that a growing child gets a balanced diet, plenty of rest, and enough physical activity.