Author Archives: Kirsten Chapman

Five Self-Care Strategies for Your Toughest Days

And how to find your center.

Yesterday morning I found myself inert on the couch, trying to find the energy to shower and head to the office (I had slept very little due to a tough parenting patch). I know I’m not alone. Lately, I’ve watched many of my friends and clients struggle to stay afloat. Whether it’s swimming through collective stress brought on by the current political/economic climate, navigating a health crisis or loss, feeling isolated in the midst of a career transition or dealing with a difficult relationship challenge–many are living hour to hour and having a hard time seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

On a recent walk, my dear friend Nicole asked me, “Based on everything you’ve learned over the last 20 years about calming the brain and body and helping to reduce stress/anxiety, what are the top self-care practices you recommend to help people find their center on their toughest days?“ Ahhh, it felt good just to be able to pause and remind myself what I do when I’m struggling. Here’s what I shared with Nicole:

Get grateful

Voicing what we’re grateful for heightens our mood, floods our body with endorphins, shifts and broadens how we see the world and supports us in remembering what really matters. Try starting each day with a gratitude bomb; before you even step out of bed, give thanks, and then get your friends and family to voice what they appreciate.

Do less

Navigating uncertain times requires more space to breathe, feel, digest and discern. We need time to just be so we can integrate what’s happening around us and re-calibrate. Say no; overdoing is depleting. Give yourself full permission to do less.

Go outside

Time in nature–the ultimate antidepressant–positively affects our physical, mental and emotional well-being. It reduces stress, enhances our mood, helps us to “reset,” promotes creativity and problem solving, and supports work/life balance. Plant your bare feet on the ground, lie on a blanket in your backyard or have lunch under a tree. Change your environment and you’ll change your thoughts.

Move your body & breathe

Ever heard the phrase, “The issues are in the tissues”? Conscious movement gets us out of our heads and into the present moment. Yoga, qi gong, NIA and walking are particularly fortifying. Try this detoxifying breathing exercise (through your nose, mouth closed): breathe in for three, hold for three, breathe out for three. Repeat ten times

Ask for help

Cultivating the ability to ask for and receive support–whether it’s from a coach, therapist, mentor, neighbor, or co-worker–helps you feel more connected, calm and confident when facing tough times. Learning this skill can be life changing!

Written by Renee Peterson Trudeau for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

How We Raise Liars and What to Do About It

No parent wants to consciously and purposefully raise a child who lies, but the truth is our kids lie. They lie often and they lie well. Dr Victoria Talwar, a leading expert on children’s lying behavior, has proven that as parents we only do slightly better than chance (60%) at telling whether our children are actually lying to us. Where do these lies come from, and what are we, as parents and adults around them, doing to promote this behavior?

First of all, let me reassure you. All kids lie, even yours, no matter what you might think. In fact, by their 4th birthday, 9 out 10 children will be experimenting with lying. And that’s not a bad thing. It’s actually a developmental milestone to lie. Think about it, a kid has to know the truth, be able to invent a lie that is an alternative to the truth and then deliver it convincingly to the right audience. It’s an impressive accomplishment.

Kids start lying for two reasons: they want to avoid punishment or they want to make you happy. As they get older, lying becomes a way to vent frustration, gain status at school or cope with life’s stressors.

Some kids grow to be lifelong liars while others eventually stop. How do they develop into liars and why? The short answer is, we train them into it.

Sometime back I was sitting at the American embassy waiting to get a new passport for my son. The family behind me had a boy who looked to be 7 or 8. Old enough anyway to have some logic. I guess they’d been there a while because the child was getting restless and telling his parents he wanted to leave. As a response to the constant nagging his father told him ‘look, look our number is coming up!’ The kid could obviously read the numbers and as he pointed to the screen, he told his father no, there are still 4 people before us! The father, denying completely the fact that numbers are called in order and the fact that his son could actually figure out the calling system, insisted that their number was going to be called next.

More recently, I took my daughter to the pediatrician’s office to have her shots. She’s only 4 and was terrified. As the elderly man came closer with the needle, she cringed and started to cry. To reassure her, he blatantly lied: ” Don’t worry you won’t feel a thing. It’s not going to hurt at all.” He pinched her arm and inserted the needle. Her eyes widened with surprise as a scream tore from her throat.

What these kids are learning, is that adults lie to them, and that if those adults are in positions of authority, like parents and doctors, then lying is clearly acceptable.

Parents are masters of the mixed messages to kids. We tell them not to lie, then we angrily whisper at them to be polite about a present they hate; we claim they’re six when in actual fact, they haven’t celebrated their 6th birthday yet (unless we’re trying to get them in to an event for free in which case they’re under 6 long after their 6th birthday!); we encourage them not to tell on friends or siblings when someone does something wrong, teaching them that withholding the truth is in actual fact honorable.

We obviously have the best intentions. We are being empathetic, approximating, and using teachable moment to develop their integrity. They don’t see out intentions. To them, we are just blatantly lying. We don’t realize is that it takes the same emotional acuity to tell white lies as it does for the bigger lies and by modeling it for them, we are training our kids to be really good liars.

To make matters worse, when our kids are obviously lying to us or use flimsy cover ups, we find it funny or cute and we let these little lies slide (honestly, it’s exhausting to stay on top of house, kids, life and then to nit pick and how we react to a lying four-year-old).

“Did you spill chocolate milk everywhere?” You ask the child with chocolate milk dripping from her chin and covering her dress.

“No!” she says. “It fell by itself”.

“Ah! It must be the chocolate milk monster then” you reply. Which makes you much cooler than launching into a lecture. But our kids don’t recognize the coolness. They just get the message that some lies are ok.

The fact is, kids actually lie more as they get older, not less. We punish bad behavior and we let the little lies slide, so they practice telling us what we want to hear and they get better at it.

According to Dr. Bella De Paulo who studied adult deception, as parents, the way we react to our children’s lies can affect lifelong lying. So if you don’t want to raise liars, here’s a quick list of what to do and what not to do!

  1. Don’t enforce sweeping punishments for your child’s behavior. If they tell the truth, reward that over all else.
  2. Reinforce the importance of truth-telling over making you happy. They may not tell you what you want to hear, so fix your face and make sure your reaction doesn’t tell them you’re angry. Help them not repeat their mistakes instead of showing them when to lie.
  3. Applaud them when they do tell the truth and let them know you’re proud of them for that.
  4. Never turn a blind eye on the small lies they make up. Don’t laugh and dismiss them. Make sure you address the tiniest lie by letting them know lies are not acceptable.
  5. Try not to lie in front of your kids. Remember, kids do what you do, not what you say.
  6. Don’t try to entrap them or test their honesty. That will just degrade your relationship.
  7. Attenuate your tone of voice so it doesn’t carry a threat of consequences. For example, instead of, “Who on earth got red marker all over this wall?!?” try “Hey honey, this looks like your red marker on the wall. Shall we clean it up because you know we don’t write on walls.”

Written by Kat Shalhoub, PHD for The Healthy Moms Magazine and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

7 Baby Book Ideas to Preserve Your Memories of Your Little One

Have you ever looked at your baby and wished you could press pause? Maybe wish the baby wouldn't grow so fast? As conventional moms, more likely than not, we share photos and videos of our kids on social media.

Read the amazing comments and acknowledge the likes, but it's not enough. You want to capture that moment, that milestone. Well, there's something you can do about that; create a baby memory book.

While it might seem traditional and unconventional, it's a fantastic opportunity for you to capture major milestones in their lives, their first birthday, first vacation, and the likes.

Are you looking for creative baby book ideas? Well, look no further, here are seven unique ways to keep track of your little one's milestones, and preserve every precious moment.

Baby Book Ideas

The best thing about having a baby memory book is that you can relive that moment again, recreate the experience. Plus, you can easily tell your narrative or story of that day. Besides, your baby will be glad to see themselves once they grow up.

Let's dive right into these creative baby memories ideas.

1. The Story of You

Every pregnancy is different. Nausea, mood swings, and changes in the body. The best way to rekindle the moments is to start right from the beginning, at conception. They say kids develop from a pea to grapefruit and slowly to a fist, and before you know it, its nine months and the baby's out.

It will be a pleasant experience to write about your experiences from the time the baby was inside you. The first sonogram to when you knew the baby is a boy or a girl, and the last prenatal exam.

It will be an interactive journal where you can express to your baby how it felt when they kicked inside you and on the day they decided to brace the world with their presence. You can call it the baby keepsake memory book.

2. The First year

Statistics reveal that in the first year, the growth rate of a baby is double any other time of their life. Every month, the baby grows at least one inch and gains about seven ounces every week. You wouldn't want to miss out on this incredible time.

You can on easily capture them as they grow, as they sit for the first time, as they learn to stand, crawl, and probably walk. With such growth rates, the baby outgrows their clothes so fast, all the more reason you should capture such moments.

3. Baby's First Birthday

Before you know it, the baby is one year old. What an amazing first year it was, and now it's time to celebrate. Take pictures of them in their best outfit, carrying their favorite stuffed animal.

Reaching to one year is one of the most significant milestones. That feeling of accomplishment as a mother because many others don't get to see that day. Take pictures with the rest of the family and every one of your supporters.

The baby won't remember this day. But with the memory book and a few pictures, they can relive that time again.

4. Baby's First Christmas

Ah yes! The baby's first Christmas. The time to set in the family traditions. A special time when family comes together, cook up some cinnamon rolls, and cookies with a warm cup of tea as you await Santa.

With such an abundance of joy, it would be the perfect time to get them into the festive mood. Dress them in those red elf clothes and takes as many pictures as you want. Visit Santa and take even more photos.

Capture that special moment when you're decorating the tree and playing in the snow filled with love and happiness. This will always keep the spirit of Christmas within them as they grow up.

5. My Family and Me Book

Over the years, the baby grows and loses touch with their extended family. Sometimes by bad luck, the family loses a member. That's why it's essential for you to remind your baby of the time they spent with family.

Introduce them to their uncles and aunts, cousins, grandparents, and other extended family members. Let the baby have a reminder of the time they spent with every one of them.

6. Digital Milestones

At least not all the baby book ideas have to be traditional. The famous actor Ashton Kutcher and his wife had this great idea of email milestones. This is where you create a digital account for the baby.

You can send videos, voice notes, and messages about the baby's growth over the years. The idea here us to be able to personalize every milestone in the baby's life and keeping it alive somewhere.

While some people may prefer to blog about their baby, a simple digital account can be a good idea. All the data will remain private, and when your baby is of age, you can share login details. Let them revisit their life.

7. An Alphabet Book

A great idea for a homemade baby book is an ABC book. When your baby turns three or four, they'll learn the alphabet. What a great way for them to read about the letters in the form of pictures they took with such an alphabet.

For example, you could take pictures of them in animals like the owl for letter O, a dog for letter D, a horse for H, and much more. Let them have something relatable with them in the future.

Relive the Precious Moments

The journey of motherhood starts hard but still precious, and before you know it, the baby is a tween, then a teenager, and they're off to campus. Some moments are meant to be felt more than once, so embrace these baby book ideas and create something special for that special person.

Written by Tammy Jones for The Healthy Moms Magazine and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

A Chef’s Best Tips for Raising Non-Picky Eaters

Letting them help in the kitchen may be the key.

One of my biggest pet peeves is the existence of restaurant kid’s menus. Why limit children to a basic menu of mac and cheese, chicken fingers and burgers? Kids shouldn’t automatically be put into a box that shapes them as selective eaters, when they really do not have to be. With more than 225,000 students passing through our doors each year at Young Chefs Academy, the kids' cooking school I founded, we’ve come to learn that there are many things that can be done to promote an adventurous palate and help raise non-picky eaters.

Children can become fussy eaters for a number of reasons. It can be from a parent’s influence, the style that food is served, kids being made fun of for something they brought in their lunch—the list goes on. In addition, there are many accidental things adults do that can cause pickiness. A prime example is parents who label their kids, especially in front of them. When kids are told they are picky eaters, they will believe it’s true and use the label as an excuse to not eat something.

Just as important, parents shouldn’t make a big deal when kids do eat a certain food. If they choose to eat broccoli, don’t applaud them—they should be eating broccoli! I’d veer away from making food associated with a reward process for your children.

If your kids do not like a specific food, suggest they choose how to prepare it the next time. For example, show them how to chop and sauté mushrooms instead of serving them raw. Changing the texture and consistency of a certain food can completely change one’s perception of it.

I am not a proponent of making a different meal for a child, based off of their seeming likes and dislikes, aside from what the rest of the family is eating. Encourage kids to experiment with food they may not initially like, but don't force them to taste anything. I'm a big fan of having fun and interacting with children. Their tasting of new food tends to follow naturally.

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. Working Mother

Pickiness often comes from attention-seeking behaviors. One of the best remedies is to involve kids in the food-making process. Children will become immersed in the creation and steps of making a meal and their perception of certain foods takes a back seat. The focus is taken off the food itself and shifts to the child creating their own meal for themselves. Never in a million years would a parent think that their child would come home after one of our classes and proclaim their new love for lemon grass soup or rhubarb! This stems from utilizing children’s sensory experiences. Have them pick out the veggies from the store, wash them, chop them and prepare them. You will be amazed at what they will end up eating—and thoroughly enjoying.

Also, encourage your child to cook with other kids. Children will listen well and get onboard with an idea if it comes from their peers. Sign up for your own kids’ cooking class, host a cooking birthday party or have a cooking playdate. Kids can experiment and encourage each other to try something new together.

Lastly, never forget that it is okay to not like certain ingredients. Adults are just the same! Pickiness will fade away naturally. A great way for children to expand their palates is through trying new foods with the family. Choose new ingredients from the grocery store to test at home. Experiment with new and adventurous ways to prepare different ingredients and get involved in the kitchen together. Most importantly, have fun!


Julie Burleson has served as Young Chefs Academy Founder and CEO for 14 years. Julie owned and operated two culinary businesses prior to franchising the Young Chefs Academy model and set out on a mission to teach children the joy and value of cooking. She was the recipient of Best Feasibility Plan from Baylor University’s John F. Baugh Center for Entrepreneurship and is a proud member of the IFA (International Franchise Association).

Written by Julie Burleson for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

6 Easy Holiday Decorations Kids Will Love to Make

Boost creativity along with family togetherness by getting your children in on the decorating action.

Children develop an understanding of the world through the senses. The changing seasons provide a great opportunity to engage them through the sights, smells, sounds, tastes and feels of fall and winter, as we decorate our homes to reflect the seasons. This year, don’t resign your little ones to school crafts and jack-o’-lanterns—get them involved in decorating your home. Whether it’s baking cookies, hunting for leaves or planting evergreen branches, there are plenty of opportunities for the entire family to get involved in your home’s holiday decor. Here are some inspiring decoration ideas that are kid-friendly and family-approved.

1. Hang Autumn Leaf Wallpaper

Go on an outdoor trek with your children and collect bunches of colorful leaves around your yard, street or even at the park. Press them under a book overnight, then glue them to cut squares of textured paper. The result will be stunning enough to stay up year-round.

While you’re out collecting leaves, grab a few extra to adorn your mantel. Twigs and leaves add a natural, whimsical element to existing fall decor and give your children a fun way to put their stamp on your home.

2. Arrange Decorative Pumpkins and Gourds

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. Working Mother

Let your kids have fun and pick out their favorite pumpkins.

Photo: Julie Ranee Photography, original photo on Houzz

These lumpy, bumpy gourds add festive fall color, and the unique textures make them fun and interesting for little kids to check out. Decorations that engage the senses are always a plus.

3. Explore the Wonder of Japanese Washi Tape

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. Working Mother

The designs are endless with this versatile tape.

Photo: Pullga, original photo on Houzz

Washi tape—decorative Japanese tape made of paper—is a great tool for kid-friendly decor. I love how this homeowner made a simple vignette with a washi tape tree on the wall. It is easy to use, is incredibly affordable, makes a big statement and comes down without a fuss. There’s no need to stop at a tree with this stuff—encourage your kids to create snowflake, star and present shapes out of washi tape, too.

Encourage your children to go beyond traditional holiday colors. Give them free rein and see what creative color schemes they can create with a little low-VOC paint, some supervision and a few tree branches or blank ornaments. Who knows? They could come up with the star of your home’s holiday decor.

4. Get Creative with Classic Candy Canes

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. Working Mother

Make sure to save one for a treat after you’re done.

Photo: Michelle Edwards, original photo on Houzz

Some of the best holiday decor is the simplest. Give your children some candy canes (maybe one or two extra for snacking) and craft glue to turn something as simple as a white candle into a colorful holiday accent. This easy DIY project satisfies both the taste and smell sensory categories—once you light the candle, it’ll give off a slight peppermint scent.

5. Pick a Bunch of Branches

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. Working Mother

Perfect for your favorite ornaments.

Photo: Planet Fur, original photo on Houzz

This decorative branch makes me think of adventure! Just imagine the fun you could have while hunting for the perfect collection of twigs or branches with your children. Add simple store-bought or homemade ornaments, or let your children paint it with kid-friendly paint.

6. Create a One-of-a-Kind Christmas Tree

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. Working Mother

No watering needed!

Photo: Julie Ranee Photography, original photo on Houzz

Spur children’s creativity by encouraging them to use everyday items in unexpected ways. This holiday tree made of straw hats is a great example. I love how this clever display can be dressed down (as with the straw hats in this photo) or dressed up (by using top hats, bowlers or other fancy hats).

Some other fun ideas:

Fill the Front Porch With Festive Gourds
Sketch Out DIY Ideas on a New Drawing Table
Stylish Plant Stands to Hold Holiday Arrangements

Written by Summer Baltzer for Houzz for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

6 Holiday Backdrops for Taking Family Photos at Home

Give that mall Santa the year off—these photo ideas will make your holiday cards highly personal and truly memorable.

Sure, you could make the trek to the mall or a local photo studio, but if you feel like taking things into your own hands this year, we have nine fun, easy and creative ideas for taking holiday pictures at home. Enlist a friend to help (offer cookies as a bribe) or teach yourself to use the self-timer, and you can have Christmas card photos done in an afternoon—without leaving the house!

1. Deck the chalkboard wall.

Have a chalkboard wall at home? Consider it your personal photo booth—drape it with a festive garland or strand of lights, and write your holiday greeting right on the wall. Then all you have to do is smile.

2. While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads…

Have the wee ones pile into bed with festive jammies on, and snap a picture while they pretend to sleep. It’s even cuter if they peek.

3. It’s lovely weather for a wagon ride together.

Load a tiny tree into a red wagon, and have your littlest one either sit in or pull the wagon.

Outfit suggestion: holiday pajamas, plus an extra-long red and white striped knit scarf. This would also work with a pretend truck or car.

4. Baby, it’s cold outside.

Bundle up and haul the troops outdoors to your front porch or backyard. Have a fire pit? Light it up! If not, stack some firewood behind you to set the mood. Warm your hands with mugs of hot chocolate or apple cider with cinnamon sticks. Definitely invite the dog.

5. I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus.

Grab your sweetie and drape yourselves in a strand of old-fashioned Christmas lights—the multicolored kind with extra-large bulbs. Set up your photo shoot near an outlet so you can actually have the lights on. Santa hat optional.

6. Silent night.

Want the focus to be on your house? Take a photo in the early evening, from the outside looking in. Wait until after dark and the contrast in lighting will be too great—aim for early dusk. Focus through a window on the big indoor Christmas tree or place a smaller, potted tree outside, draped in twinkling lights.

Written by Laura Gaskill for Houzz for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

6 Holiday Backdrops for Taking Family Photos at Home
6 Holiday Backdrops for Taking Family Photos at Home

Montessori-Style Toys Foster Independence and Imagination

You’ve likely heard about Montessori education, which was developed by Maria Montessori, an Italian physician and educator. This alternative education approach builds on the natural tendencies of children.

Montessori features readily available realistic play materials that are designed to help children relate to and process the world around them.

The Montessori Method of Teaching

Montessori education involves playful hands-on learning — children teach themselves through active exploration. The approach is:

  1. Child-centric: Children are eager to learn and absorb the world around them. They are encouraged to play with age-appropriate items to help them learn from their environment and grow in independence.
  2. Present tense: Children may repeat an activity over and over. A child is welcome to continue an activity for as long as they wish. In this way, the Montessori environment prioritizes the present and doesn’t look to the future or the clock to determine what comes next.
  3. Reality-based: In the Montessori environment, you rarely find fantasy-oriented play. Instead, children are encouraged to use age-appropriate items that have a real-life purpose. For example, they have access to plastic knives to cut real bananas and feed themselves (versus feeding fake bananas to a stuffed animal).
  4. Freely chosen: The Montessori setting offers a variety of materials for children to choose from (but not so many that they feel overwhelmed by the clutter). Children select activities that make them happy and keep their attention. Once they disengage from their selected activity, they choose another and work with it for as long as they wish.

Montessori Toys for Babies and Toddlers

Baby trying to open a door with a toy key

As a parent, I think it’s important to foster a Montessori approach from day one. We don’t have to wait for kids to enter preschool to help them develop their:
· Independence
· Imagination
· Self-discipline
· Love of learning

All you need are a handful of appropriate toys and daily interactions with your baby! At Kleynimals, we’ve designed several of our toys to mesh with the Montessori philosophy (and other holistic-education philosophies like Steiner and slow-learning):
· Flatware: In the Montessori environment, children feed themselves from a very young age. Self-feeding helps foster independence and fine motor skills. We designed our flatware to fit perfectly in baby’s hands.
· Keys: Babies love to play with metal keys. At first, it might be the sound or cool touch that interests them. Eventually, they may put them to use to “unlock” things around the house. We designed our clean key animals to stimulate the imagination and improve gross and fine motor skills.
· Rattles: As with our keys, the sound and cool touch of our stainless steel rattles will capture your baby’s imagination. Your child can wear the jangles around their wrist, so they feel like they’re wearing the jewelry mom does (Tip: You can also wear them as a bracelet when your child isn’t using it…no one will know!).

While my kids enjoy Kleynimals toys (obviously!), I know we aren’t the only company out there making Montessori-inspired baby toys and learning toys for toddlers. We make our toys from non-toxic, dishwasher-safe stainless steel, but other safe options include wooden puzzles, stackers and activity boxes. I also love wooden brushes with natural bristles.

Shop the Kleynimals lineup of Montessori toys. And give them as gifts whenever you can — I guarantee they will bring joy to the recipient over many years.

Christening Keepsakes Fit for a Prince

Baby grasping metal toy keys

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s baby, Archie, was christened earlier this month. Archie’s baptism made headline news, as it should be for every baby — what a milestone! 

A christening, which usually occurs alongside a baptism, offers the infant a Christian name. This ceremony is a momentous occasion for many faiths because it symbolizes the child’s admission into the Christian faith.

Baby Christening Gifts

What we didn’t hear about with Archie’s christening were the gifts he received; I can only imagine the grandeur. If you’ve been invited to witness or partake in a christening ceremony, you’ll want to bring a gift that is as meaningful as the occasion. You can do a google search for ideas including books, artwork or stuffed bears. 

I believe a christening is an occasion that calls for the timeless allure of silver. It is so appealing and so meaningful, but it’s also unrealistic because you have to keep it polished. And, let’s face it, rare is the parent that allows their child to manhandle silver. 

So when I say a baby christening is worthy of silver, I mean something that looks and feels like silver — but without the drawbacks.

Baby Christening Gift Ideas

Below are my top three baby christening gift ideas. They are all things babies love to play with and enjoy. How can I be so confident? Because I make them! 

I designed these Kleynimals to be “practical” christening keepsakes that stimulate a baby’s sense of sight, touch and sound:

1. Kleynimals Clean Key Animals

These non-toxic stainless steel toy keys have no sharp edges. They are dishwasher safe, making it easy for you to keep them germ-free. As a bonus, you can order them with personalization, which is perfect christening gift for a baby boy or baby girl.

2. Kleynimals Flatware Sets

Our flatware is the perfect size for baby’s hands and helps them master the art of self-feeding. Babies know when you’re using metal, but they’re using plastic; our utensils make them feel like the big deal they are. 

3. Kleynimals Stainless Steel Rattle

Remember the polished silver rattle you received as a christening keepsake? Probably not, because your parents tucked it away in a box on the shelf. But babies will remember their heirloom-quality Kleynimals rattle.

If and when you need a baby christening gift — for boys or girls — consider Kleynimals. You can shop on our website. I’m tempted to send Kleynimals to little Archie so he has a gift he can actually enjoy. (I’m betting most of the offerings got tucked away in a royal closet.) 

Autism Toys Help Kids (and Adults) Regulate Behaviors

As of 2018, the prevalence of autism was one in 59 children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s reporting. A majority of people on the autism disorder spectrum have some level of a sensory processing disorder that makes it difficult to process sensory inputs like sights, sounds or touch.

If you’re the parent of an autistic child, you probably know that an autistic person’s brain receives and processes stimuli differently. Autism can make it difficult for your child to respond to stimuli the way a person who isn’t on the spectrum would.

Early intervention for autism using sensory toys

Early intervention with sensory integration therapy is remarkably effective at helping the autistic population handle everyday stimuli. Sensory toys that are fun and exciting help motivate kids (and adults) to engage in the world around them. Therapists use sensory toys for a variety of needs:

  • Occupational therapists use sensory toys, such as fidget toys, to develop fine motor skills, gross motor skills and social skills.
  • Applied behavior analysis therapists use autism toys for pretend play and to teach cause and effect.
  • Speech therapists use autism chew toys to encourage communication and for oral stimulation.

Fidget and spinning toys motivate autistic kids to modify behavior

Parents of autistic kids can use fidget toys or spinning toys to capture their child’s attention and deepen their relationship. They serve as a great reward when your child performs a task or modifies their behavior to be more desirable.

One prominent study showed that, after sensory integration therapy, kids ages 6 to 12 exhibited decreased autistic mannerisms, such as:

  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Repeating words or phrases
  • Being easily startled
  • Repetitive movements, like hand flapping or jumping

What makes Kleynimals products among the best toys for kids with autism?

Kleynimals Jangles®, Keys and Rattles are the ultimate toys for autistic children because they serve many needs — bracelet, rattle, chew toy and fidget toy. The interplay of the stainless steel materials is unexpected and delightful. As a result, with a single toy your child is processing multiple sensory inputs: Sound, sight and touch.

Helping people with developmental disabilities, like autism, is a core part of the Kleynimals mission. Since 2011, we have relied on the support of developmentally disabled adults at The Providence Center to help us prepare our product for retail.

If you are looking for autism toys, you can shop on our website. BTW, Kleynimals aren’t just for kids on the autism spectrum — they also make a great gift for adults on the spectrum. (For that matter, they’re great for any kid or adult who likes to fidget!)

Stainless Steel: A Modern Spin on Traditional Baby Shower Gifts

We’re in the thick of fulfilling orders for baby shower gifts right now — it got me wondering how baby showers came to be. Through a little research, it seems celebrations of mom- and baby-to-be have been building steam for millennia.

Baby Shower Gifts: How Did They Originate?

In ancient times, people honored moms with a meal on the tenth day following the birth of their baby. But they gave gifts to a ‘Birth Goddess,’ rather than to the mother. It was during the Renaissance period that new moms began to be honored with gifts such as food, clothing and paintings.

Food played a more prominent role during the colonial times when birthing parties were held in the home of the expectant mother. Guests would feast on ‘Groaning Cakes’ (the scent of it baking allegedly eased labor pains) and ‘Groaning Ale’ as a show of sympathy for what the mother-to-be was enduring.

Fast forward to the Victorian era: During this time new moms were honored during a tea after the baby was born (a welcome change, I’m sure, to hosting family and friends while in labor). By the early 1900’s the baby shower as we know it began to take shape. New moms received handmade gifts and grandparents would typically offer gifts of silver.

Timeless Gift Ideas for a Baby Shower

Today, the baby shower can be as simple as a few friends over for tea, or it can be an elaborate affair for the mom-to-be’s closest 400 friends. Food is rarely in short supply, but clever, unique gift ideas are harder to come by. Many shower-goers fear their gift might be outgrown before a baby even gets to wear it.

I find most people want to give a gift that will be cherished, without being untouchable (ahem, sitting on a shelf or behind glass doors). There is still an allure to silver, but it’s not as desirable a baby gift as it once was. At Kleynimals we honor the tradition with stainless steel jangles, rattles, keys and baby silverware.

And babies love metal items — they are shiny, they make noise when banged together or on a table and they are cool to the touch (a real treat for teething babies with sore gums).

Stainless steel Kleynimals give all the benefits of silver, including the timeless feel, without the impracticality, like endless polishing. Because you can personalize many of our Kleynimals with engraving, they make a treasured gift that will last a lifetime. And they are versatile: They make a great baby shower gift for boys or girls.

The Best Gifts for Baby Showers Come With a Stamp of Safety

I learned early on in this venture that not all stainless steel is created equal. Most stainless steel is made overseas (usually in Asia). Since babies and toddlers touch and mouth their Kleynimals all day long, I wanted to be sure I sourced safe steel from the USA.

Safety is important not only to me, but to the gift giver and to the parents-to-be receiving them. You’ll know you’re getting an authentic Kleynimal because we stamp them with our fun characters: Eli the Elephant, Gus the Giraffe, Leo the Lion, Pippi the Polar Bear, Scout the Snowshoe Hare, and Otto the Snowy Owl.

For your next shower, feel confident that, with Kleynimals, you’re bringing a safe, heirloom-quality gift.

You might also consider bringing a Groaning Cake for a good laugh. I found this recipe online, and I’m dying to try it (with or without the ale)!