Job applicants for World’s Toughest Job get a big shock

This might seem unrelated but I promise you will love the article and the video. First read the job requirements, then watch and enjoy!
Where? Here: Job applicants for World’s Toughest Job get a big shock

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How to cut tomatoes – Kitchen hacks

How and where do you get time to play with your kids?
You can only put this much into one day.
24 hours.
And some of that you have to sleep.
Your time and my time as well is precious.

So… We cannot inflate a day.
But you can get some additional time here and there.

It always takes me a lot of time to cook. I like doing it but I am not a chef and compared to them I am very, very, very slow. Each trick I can learn with respect to quick cooking is welcome.

So is this cool trick with tomatoes. Isn’t it great?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Don’t try it at home!

don't try it at home photo by Zahra photoCan you play with a newborn? Yes you can. Although, right here a small warning: Your baby is not a toy. You will play with it to satisfy his or her needs not yours.

If you will be playing with it, it is not because you feel like playing with a toy. It is because your baby needs you, your attention and your love.
A normal mother and father will feel affection and the need to share the precious moments with their baby.

It does not really matter if you give your newborn a baby massage, sing to it, count the fingers or change the diapers. The interaction, your voice, the tone of your voice, eye contact, physical contact, all these factors count. The baby knows you are there.
So how can you play with your newborn?
Talking to your baby is a very good start. Singing is also a very good idea.
You don’t have to dance but rhythmical movements can have calming effect.
Offering your thumb to be held by those little fingers can be equally rewarding for both sides.

As the baby grows and starts to recognize things around it you will see opportunities how to discover the world around you in a playful way. Gently swing the toys hanging from the crib carousel. Take the baby to the window, talk about what you see and point at things you are mentioning. Night lights are quite interesting to point to, just as airplanes and with some children cars. Every child is different, though and you will need to figure out what is interesting for your child. Experiment but make sure you are always in safe environment and the baby feels safe. For instance, I would not recommend throwing your baby into the air before it reached about 8 months.

One last comment here: Robin, our reader mentioned that once their baby started to smile, he loved it so much that he would mirror whatever the baby did for some time. But babies are natural gymnasts, don’t try to do what they do. They can do it. You cannot. Very much like a lot of those tricks you see on television with a warning “don’t try this at home”.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

This is it. You won’t hear from me a single word from now on

How to play with kids, talking via third party photo by Zahra photoNo, not me. But you can easily end up in a situation when your child starts hysterically crying or turns “emotionally upset”.
How do you talk to someone who does not want to answer or even listen to you? How do you talk to someone deeply emotionally struck or in pain?

I remember one occasion when our oldest ran for his life to be the first one at the ice cream shop. He tripped halfway between us and the shop and by the time I got to him he was in tears. To late to talk him out of it.

So how to break the waterfalls of tears?
Well, sometimes you can talk to the child and especially when the pain is small the diversion technique from Chris might work.

However, what can you do when talking to the child does not work?
Imagine a situation when your child thinks you caused the (emotional) pain. Whatever the situation or your real contribution, your child looks at you and the words “you are guilty” glare at you from their eyes.
Whether crying or not, the main communication channel can get blocked. What do you do then?

If the “problem is” you, you can say whatever you want. Typically the child will not listen. In the end, why should it listen to someone who is the root cause of the problem? So stop talking.

One of the tactics that we found is working is to use a third party. An authority. Pick the favorite toy of your child, use it as a puppet and pretend it is alive and then simply say whatever you need to say in third person as if the toy says everything you need to tell to the child. Surely some of it will need to be changed, the toy is not you and cannot talk as an adult but the message will get through.

Have another or maybe a better tip? Let us know!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Kitchen sink nigthmare

Ouch, where did that ketchup on your shirt come from?
Honey, you did not have it on your plate! So… oh… I see…
You have been playing with the cutlery while I have been washing your hands. These little cute fingers always find their way when I am washing your other hand.
Oh no, what else did you touch now?
Not that chili thing, no no no!
We are not finished, just stay here and don’t touch anything… please put that fork back in the sink, good boy!

Washing hands of small children can be definitely fun. In the example above at least ironically speaking ;-)

I believe that the clean sink is just a myth. Maybe you can still have a sterile kitchen with one child but with two and more it’s nothing more than a wish.
You are glad they can stand well enough on their own next to the kitchen sink. You are doing everything the fastest you can so that they don’t play with the cutlery or anything else that’s still in the sink.
And that’s exactly what they love to do and will do anything to be able to do it.

Because the tools in the kitchen are soooo interesting. Mom is playing with them all day. Dad is playing with them as well so I want to play with them too.
In the end, my parents would not play with them if it wasn’t so much fun! ;-)

Unfortunately, we see it differently. You want to protect your child and grant no access to sharp tools, you see that knife with the 6 inch blade?
And you want them to stay away from the whatever mess they can reach because you know it will end up all over the living room in just seconds.

So, what can you do?
Well, here is a very simple trick from my wife:
Teach them to rub their hands as soon as you can. It takes TWO hands, you know. ;-)
It’s fun as well, it keeps them busy and they have both hands right in front of your nose in the process.
No time or free curious hands left to play with the mess in the kitchen sink.

If you want to make it even more fun, add a rhyme. For instance “Rub and scrub, rub and scrub, ub and ub, rub and scrub, ub and ub, readyyy!” Or something that makes more sense for you and your child.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Don’t forget Mother’s Day!

Mother’s day is on Sunday 11th of May.
Did you do your shopping ahead of time?
Or are you still looking for a great Mother’s day gift?
Here are some examples for inspiration:
mothers day gift
We are looking for inspiration, too.
Let us know what would you rate as the best Mother’s day gift!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Super Super Mario

Traveling can be fun.
Or a nightmare.
Some say, depending on how many kids travel with you (amongst other factors).

You wake up too early, rush through the morning rituals and push your kids to the edge just to make it to the airport. The taxi is late. There is a huge queue in front of the check-in desk. Sure enough, with small kids you cannot check in online and even cannot use the self service check-in machines… So you have to wait and move centimeter to centimeter towards the check-in. Aaargh… Right when you think you are almost there a big group of people squeezes between you and the security check. Bah… You make it and then… You have to wait because the plane is delayed.
Your kids sleepy, already tired, hungry – who would even think about eating before they normally wake up – and thirsty – you can’t take any liquids with you and I don’t know if you noticed, but water is never quite right with kids ;-) so you end up in buying something sweet which in turn makes them only more thirsty.

Right, there you are, finally sitting at the gate. And now what happens. Your kids suddenly switch into overdrive and start running around. Try to tame that unleashed power… You pray they do not break a window or do not spill the water you managed to get for them on one of the other travelers…

But while all of this certainly happens daily this story can still have a happy end.

Maybe the way we did it. I picked up our youngest and let him walk on the bands in the luggage reclaim hall. He walked on it just like you would on the treadmill – you know that fitness machine – and while walking at a steady pace he would remain at the same place until… until the first piece of luggage arrived. You can imagine the looks of the other passengers when they looked in amusement at the toddler walking and now with the luggage coming in the toddler jumping just high enough to avoid touching it
We played this game for about 20 jumps when our luggage came and we did not have to wait anymore so in total we did not play all too long.
Our score was high though. All the kids entertained as well as some of the passengers.

I would not do this with older kids for several reasons. One, you need certain muscles to lift them in the air with stretched arms. Two, for spectators some things are more fun than others.
Yet with very young kids everybody will enjoy it and sometimes you can turn even the deepest frown into a smile.
So, would you play this game with your kids? If not, find out more about a “less bewildering” alternative of this game is in my other airport article.

And by the way, if you would like to play yourself, get one of these from Amazon ;-)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Escalator fun

Escalator fun How to play with kidsDescending with a smile. Or ascending. Can it happen to you? Sure it can.
Imagine yourself standing on a step of an escalator in a shopping center.
Imagine you are the only one because it’s just that time when the shopping center is pretty much deserted and everyone is having their lunch or a dinner at home and the crowd will only hit the stores in another thirty minutes.
And then you suddenly pass the point when you see what’s happening at the end of the escalator where the steps magically vanish under the ground.
This is what you would see: a toddler barely able to walk practicing “the walk” on the last few centimeters of the escalator and surely enough held by an adult. Walking in the opposite direction of the escalator.
Now, that would be me ;-) And any one of our kids.
All the kids loved it and only allowed me to step aside and let the people ascending or descending to pass. Then we had to go back and they walked and walked and walked, trust me I got fed up with it sooner than they did.

Ace up your sleeve (especially fathers): while she does the shopping, you do the walking with the kids.
Ace up your sleeve (all parents): this is a very nice attraction for kids at an airport when you have to wait for hours for your connecting flight, the nice thing is you can use a moving walkway just like an escalator.

escalator warning - it can also go wrongA few warnings and some precaution is necessary. Escalator is primarily not a toy and can be dangerous.
Make sure you are very, I mean very stable and with both your feet on the ground before placing a toddler on an escalator. It can be fun but definitely do not try this when you (yourself) don’t feel safe on an escalator.
Hold your child by both hands.
Do not stretch your arms too far as this would undermine your stability and keep your child close to the end of the walkway.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Kids have this in them, just cultivate it

Every single child is creative.
We probably cannot match them in this but we can do our best to keep up with them. Look what October Jones did.

You can have the same kind of fun yourself with your kids on a long journey in a train or an airplane. (Please, please, don’t tell anyone I came up with that idea! ;-) )

What you will need is to print out (or draw if you are good enough at that) a few notoriously famous comics characters on a small piece of paper – travel version small enough to comfortably take with you but big enough to do the trick.

One like this can make your long journey just a tiny bit shorter ;-)
How to pass time on a train when commuting - invented by October Jones

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Chef

How to play with kids - the chefKids are driven by curiosity. That’s perfectly ok as long as you are not cooking or baking. Curiosity will drive them to the oven and they will do anything possible and everything impossible to touch the hot parts of the oven or open the door and peek inside. You can fight it but under normal circumstances if you have more than one child, they will keep trying and ultimately drive you crazy. They will win. They will get to the oven and they will burn their fingers.
Well, they will unless…
Unless they already know what is “hot” like.
Or unless you find something else that will attract them more.
The bad news is: they see you cooking every day and they learn by repeating what they see. They are bound to repeat also this activity whether you like it or not. They want to know what’s cooking like.
Pencils won’t do.
Play dough won’t do.
And Lego won’t do.

So you have a choice, face the damage when they discover what’s hot like, let them drive you crazy or drive them through the process of cooking.
I prefer the last alternative.

So how to play this cooking game with kids?
Today we played it together. Myself and two kids. While impossible or net practical in real life, I had two chefs.
I let them cook. Don’t get me wrong, they did not touch the hot pans. Instead:
They brought everything they wanted to cook and I approved or disapproved some of the ingredients.
They could stir (not both at the same time and only with a very long spoon).
They could smell all the spices (turned out to be a lot of fun and small discoveries).
They could measure – if you can call it measure ;-) – and add salt.
They could tell me when to add more water.
They could tell me what they like and what they don’t.
They could taste and test if everything is as it should.
And they had a lot of fun and so did I. A lot better than frustration you get when you are chasing kids away from the kitchen.

So… what are you cooking tonight? And how can you involve your kids in the process?
Happy cooking! ;-)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment