Let’s share tips on bringing up geniuses.

We live in such a great time where there is so much information out there. The problem is, though, that there is an information overload.

Here, I’ll filter through the noise and bring you the best information I can find.

My mom always says, “Knowledge is Power. If you don’t learn something new daily, you degrade”, so

Let’s give our kids what they deserve – the life full of love, adventure and knowledge.

Are you with me?

hug your child, love your child

15 Reasons To Hug Your Child A Million Times a Day

Why We Need To Hug Our Kids DAILY

Did you know that we need 4 hugs a day for survival, 8 hugs a day for maintenance, and 12 hugs a day for growth? If it’s so beneficial for adults, can you imagine the importance of hugging on a child?

We share with you 15 reasons why you should hug your little ones daily.

Content:

Reason 1 – To Create Happy Children

Reason 2 – To Creates Optimistic Kids

Reason 3 – To Help Their Emotional Well-Being

Reason 4 – To Keeps Them Healthy

Reason 5 – To Help Them Feel Safe

Reason 6 – To Develop Self – Esteem

Reason 7 – To Help with Discipline

Reason 8 – To Help Kids Grow

Reason 9 – To Boost Their Intelligence

Reason 10 – To Relaxes Their Muscles

Reason 11 – To Build a Strong Bond Between Parents and Kids

Reason 12 – To Help Them Become Stronger

Reason 13 – To Teach Them How To Show Empathy

Reason 14 – T0 Help With Tantrums

Reason 15 – To Boost Social Skills

We often hear that parents that hug, cuddle, kiss their kids a lot “spoil” them. I think this is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard. Us as parents can’t spoil our kids with love. It’s impossible! We can spoil them by showering them with a 1 million and 2nd toy that they saw at a store and needed it right there, we spoil them by ignoring them, but we can never spoil them with love.

It is better to hug your child a 100 times a day, then giving them a tap on the shoulder when seeing them off to school.

How did we become so reserved with our kids? Where did that love shared within a family go? Did our phones take it away from us? Don’t you think we need to put our phones down, bring back family dinners and give them enormous amount of love because if not us, they will look for that love elsewhere.

Did you know that a 20 second hug helps your child be happier, healthier, smarter, more resilient and closer to their parent, and no, they won’t have dependency issues.

Have you read a book by Gary Chapmen – 5 Love Languages of Children: The Secret to Loving Children Effectively? If you haven’t, you should really consider that – it’s a great read (you can see the link to the book in the sidebar to the right)!

The book teaches us that we can show our children that we love them through the time that we spent together, words of affirmations we tell them, acts of service, gifts and physical touch. Remember, children thrive in environments where they know they are loved.

Thanks to the enormous amount of research we know that hugging your babies regulate their breathing, heart rate, blood sugar levels, temperature; then why do people think that hugging and kissing their older kids leads to spoiling them?

Do you massage your child? Therapeutic touch is so important in can’t be overestimated! I frequently massage my little girl to sleep and I noticed that it leads to a better sleep, and waking up with a smile 🙂

Did you know there was a National Hugging Day and a Global Hug Your Kids Day? Isn’t it crazy that we need to be reminded to hug? Isn’t it the most natural thing for us as humans to do?

Anyway, let’s get to the reasons for hugging. If this post leads to at least one parent hugging their child more than before, I’ll be happy 🙂

Reasons For Hugging Our Kids

Reason 1. Hugging Creates Happy Children

Thanks to the Love hormone – oxytocin that’s released with a gentle physical touch we feel loved and happy. The hormone takes away stress and puts us in a better mood. Hugging in a way is similar to meditation which teaches us to live in the moment and enjoy it. Serotonin – a neurotransmitter released when hugging keeps sad feelings away and make us happier. Don’t you just wanna give your child another reason to be happy?

Reason 2. Hugging Creates Optimistic Kids

Love hormone also promotes optimism and develops a positive mindset, so if you want your child to grow into an optimistic person, someone who always tries to find the best in a given situation, solve problems easily and help others, hug them again.

Reason 3. Hugging Helps Their Emotional Well-Being

When a child get frightened, the stress hormone – cortisol is released. Hugging helps decrease cortisol levels, increases oxytocin, and lowers systolic blood pressure in stressful situations.

Reason 4. Hugging Keeps Kids Healthy

Researches found that hugging boosts immune system and helps fight off infection. 

It turns out that hugging leads to lowering the plasma levels of thyroid hormones thus speeding up the healing process.

Another health related benefit of hugging is described in the Max Your Mind book. Apparently, gentle pressure applied to breastbone stimulates thymus gland, which regulates and balances the production of white blood cells which keeps you healthy and cleanses your body off disease (according to the “Max Your Mind” book (check the book in the sidebar).

Reason 5. Hugging Gives Them a Sense of Security

By hugging our children regularly we embed a sense of trust and security in them which helps them discover the world around them and learn new things easier. When they know they are accepted in their family for who they are, they learn self-worth and are not scared of communicating openly.

Reason 6. Hugging Helps Our Kids Develop Self – Esteem

Hugging helps our kids grow up into confident adults. Those kids that feel loved and appreciated tend to develop higher levels of self – esteem and increased motivation. When we hug our kids we reassure them that they are loved which helps them develop self – confidence and love themselves for who they are. Isn’t it one of the top qualities for a happy and successful person.

Reason 7. Hugging Helps Our Kids with Their Discipline

Before putting them in the time-off corner, we must give them a loving hug, tell them we love them and explain what they did wrong. If we do it this way, we have a better chance of them hearing what you have to say.

Reason 8. Hugging Helps Kids Grow

According to the studies, when kids don’t get enough physical contact their bodies stop growing normally.

Another benefit, is that hugging triggers the release of oxytocin that instantly stimulates growth by increasing the growth hormones and nerve growth factor.

Reason 9. Boosts Child’s Intelligence

There has been a numerous number of studies showing that loving your child boosts their intelligence. When children don’t get enough care and affection, it tend to lower their IQs.

For a child to grow healthy and smart, they need a sensory stimuli – loving physical touch definitely comes to help. Loving, not a come-here- let’s-hug-&-get-it-over-with one. Children need to feel they are loved.

It’s heartbreaking to learn that children in orphanages lose one month of growth for every three spent there (they later go through the growth spurts, but miss out on the growth most children experience), but as soon as they get transferred to a foster home and after having been there for a year and a half, they will have nearly caught up and the reason for that – the more loving, attentive environment.

Do you remember that experiment by Harry Harlow conducted in the middle of XX century? There, a baby monkey had a choice to be with “Surrogate Monkey” made of bare wire mesh and equipped to dispense milk, or the other one was covered with soft terry cloth. Even though the monkey would go to the first one to feed, it would spend most of its’ time with the “Soft Monkey”. Thus, he suggested that the infant love comes not purely from the satisfaction of their physiological needs, but from the emotional attachment and physical contact.

In another experiment, the research shows that children whose parents showed them love and nurture from early age have enlarged brain regions linked to learning, memory and response to stress.

Don’t you just love these moments when your child gives you one of those tight, snuggly hugs that make your heart soar up high? Imagine, how they feel when we give them such hugs?

Do you give your child enough loving hugs? The affection that you give to your little squirrels is something they will carry in their hearts forever, and will cherish even when we are no longer there. So get up at night when they cry, rock them in your arms, blow at their scraped knees and show them you love them.

Reason 10. Hugging Relaxes Muscles

Hugging relieves tension in their bodies, soothing aches and pains.

Reason 11. Hugging Builds a Strong Bond Between Parents and Kids

When we hug our child, it increases trust, reduces fear, improves relationships and bonding between us. They learn that we love them unconditionally and just because they are who they are. When they misbehave, act naughtily, they need our hugs and understanding even more. If your child is in distress, by getting a hug from you, they learn to trust you and know that you will be there for them whenever they need you.

Reason 12. Hugging Helps Your Kids Become Stronger

When our kids are in distress, high levels of cortisol and norepinephrine – stress hormones are released. These hormones can impact their mental and physical state if left unattended for an extended period of time (remember, our kids can’t regulate it yet) resulting in weaker immune system, bad memory, verbal reasoning…

Hugging releases the oxytocin hormone which helps lower the stress hormone, reducing depression and anxiety.

Reason 13. Hugging Teaches Our Kids How to Show Empathy

Kids that receive love from their parents tend to care for others more. By exchanging the energy during a hug kids understand how you are feeling at that specific moment. It shows them that love is a two way street and before asking for love one must give it first.

By learning how to emphasize kids learn how to form healthy relationships.

Reason 14. Hugging Helps with Tantrums

Some think that hugging a screaming child rewards such behavior, but that’s not the case. Our toddlers are still getting used to their bodies, learning daily about their emotions and life around them. This crazy world is too overwhelming for us, adults, imagine what our kids are going through?

They don’t know how to regulate their emotions and lose control – that’s how tantrums happen. Hugging a crying child helps them to avoid an emotional crash.

Reason 15. Hugging Helps Them Build Their Social Skills

When we hug our kids when they are happy, sad, when we appreciate their help, and just because we love them, our kids learn how they can soothe a crying friends, support a friends that wins a competition, or just as a thank you gesture.

So please, don’t skip on a loving hug, your child will love that, it will help them to grow into a healthy, loving, optimistic individual and your bond now and always will be unbreakable!

If you are not a really Touchy Person and don’t know where to start, how about implementing this little To-Hug List into your daily routine?

to do list, to hud list, a list for moms

Nika’s 1st Birthday Preparations

I can’t believe how quickly this first year flew by. It feels like only yesterday I felt that pain and had no clue if that was labor or something else. I was so unexperienced, knew absolutely nothing about babies, even though I went through some pregnancy magazines, took a prenatal class and went on a Johnson & Johnson Baby Sense seminar that Konrad’s mom booked for us.

Only yesterday Nika was a tiny baby, and now she’s changing into a beautiful toddler.

The closer was the date, the more was going through my mind. I wanted to make that day extra special, because even though Nika wouldn’t remember a thing about the celebration, she would remember her feelings.

Nika’s 1st Birthday Preparations

We started planning a month in advance, but haven’t gotten to actually buying stuff and decorating until one week before her birthday. I felt overwhelmed by the amount of ideas, and didn’t know where to start.

T – 30 days

I went through some themes and chose Alice in Wonderland and a Bumble Bee themed party, which I then showed to Konrad to choose from. He didn’t like either.

Not a problem, we still have almost a month!

T – 7 days

The time was going away so quickly and we haven’t come up with the theme yet! Only 7 days to go! I kept going through ideas – Travel Party? Around the World Party? Airplane Party? Paris themed Party?

I felt we needed to come up with something related to the world because when I was still pregnant with Nika, we flew from the US to Russia to South Africa and by age one she spent a summer in Russia and flew through Amsterdam and Paris, not talking about how much we’ve traveled across South Africa. To me, Nika is a definition of a Travel Baby, so I wanted to show it with her birthday theme.

I kept going through Pinterest, Google, but couldn’t find something that would be gentle yet fun and unique for our little precious girl. Lying on the couch I was so tired of my search and was getting more and more nervous. I turned and looked at the center of our living room where all Nika’s toys were and saw IT. I saw a plastic Hot Air Balloon that was a part of a present from my parents back when Nika was still a baby. It was part of her mobile that she now used as a toy.

Lightbulb Moment!

Her Birthday Theme would be Hot Air Balloon! Super gentle, makes everyone think of traveling and fun!

Now another thing was going through my mind. I chose the theme, but what about colors? Should it be Vintage? or something bright? I started going through Birthday Invitations and came across a beautiful gold and pink one. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that combo before but it looked so right!

I finally decided on having a pink and gold hot air balloon themed party!

Step 1. Invitation

Of course, my first thing was to get the invitation ready.

This is what I came up with

Step 1 – check; I was proud of myself.

Still there was so much more to do!

T – 6 days

Since I chose pink and gold colored theme, my mother-in-law and I went to a China shop and got some lanterns, tissue paper, ribbons, and I started decorating our apartment.

First thing first, I needed to make a Number 1 out of Tissue Paper. Flower after flower after flower. Didn’t think it would be that time consuming!

T – 5 days

I made the Number 1 out of Tissue paper. Whoohoo! Good girl

tissue paper number

T – 4 days

Now I needed to make hot air balloons. We bought 3 big lanterns, 2 medium and 20 small ones. Now I needed to make a little basket, put a tissue flower in there and make a fishnet around it so the lantern looks like a hot air balloon.

hot air balloon

The process took me all the last days! Didn’t think it would take me this long but everything was done in time

T – 1 day

I made a Wish Flower for Nika. At the time of the celebration I want the guests to pass around this flower and say their wishes to Nika.

She enjoyed shaking it 🙂

Wish Flower

The balloons were done

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And I hung them in her room for now

hot air ballons

The Night Before Nika’s Birthday

I hung up all the hot air balloons, blew up balloons and we put her present in the middle. Couldn’t wait to see her face.

hot air balloons, 1st birthday

I hung the Tissue Number on the curtain rail and little hot air balloons around it. I also clipped big tissue flowers to the curtain

Processed with Snapseed.

Everything was ready. Were just waiting for Nika to wake up!

 

Baby Activities

I have recently become a mom. It is such a wonderful, fulfilling, exhausting but yet rewarding experience that I truly enjoy. When my daughter was born I knew very little about babies, and even less about what to do with them. The more time I spend with her, the more I learn. There are plenty of baby games out there on the internet that you can easily find, but I would like to share with you my favorite infant games and baby activities for a baby development. You do not need to buy anything, you can easily find everything that you need at your place.

I am not a pediatrician so before you try any of these baby learning games, please consult with your doctor.

I know every mom wants her little precious angel to develop well that’s why I came up with this list of easy and fun games and activities for babies.

I hope you will find something that you and your little one will enjoy doing together!

1. Massage

My top favorite thing is a massage that I give to my little one every day after her bath. It’s such a great bonding experience, we look at each others eyes smiling. I just love it.

Someone (can’t remember who it was as I practically didn’t sleep those days. Midwife? Nurse? Pediatrician? one of those) told me in the hospital that I shouldn’t use baby creams and lotions in the first days of my baby’s life and let her skin produce it’s natural oils.

When she was about a month old, I started giving her a nice gentle massage, starting from her little toes, soles of her tiny feet, all the way up to her cheeks. She was suffering from winds that’s why I massaged her stomach in the clockwise motion, and after that giving her a “Waterfall belly massage” (starting from her lower ribs down alternating my hands in a so-called “waterfall motion”).

2. Aroma Balls

I love this exercise because every time we do it my little one gives me the funniest array of facial expressions.

Basically what you do is get about 5 cotton balls and put different every day scented products like toothpaste, perfume, lotions, creams, gels on them. Then you bring the balls close to your baby’s face without touching them one by one. Check your baby’s reactions to different products, see what they enjoy smelling and what they don’t like.

3. Touch That

I give my baby different items to touch, like a silky scarf, a furry toy, a plastic rattle, a soft ball, etc. When she touches and looks at the item, I tell her what it is, just talk to her. Babies learn about this world through their touch.

4. Follow Me

When she was about a month or so old, we started showing her a rattle and moving it left to right, up and down, closer to her face and further away from it. She wasn’t following it at first but with the time developed that skill.

5. Tummy Time

This exercise helps babies develop their neck, stomach and back muscles. We do this activity a lot in different variations. She could either just lie on me and look around, or I’ll put her on a bed and place a bright object just out of her reach for her to try and move herself closer to it.

6. Roll Over

After her tummy time exercise I will help her roll over on her back and back to her tummy. She really enjoys this activity and once was able to roll over to her back herself!

7. Dance With Me

I turn some classical music for her brain development, or some nice upbeat music and dance with her in my arms. I feel like this is another great bonding experience and we both love dancing together.

There are plenty more exercises but these are so far our favorite ones. I think the most important thing is to communicate with your baby. See what they like and what they don’t like. Enjoy spending this time together because babies grow up so quick! Just breathe in and savor every moment you can with each other.

 

 

 

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14 Cute DIY Ideas For Nursery

Since our little princess is on the way I decided to do some research and find some cute DIY decor ideas for her nursery. Even though we can’t change the wall color, or use nails on the walls as we are only renting this apartment temporarily, we can use pretty little things to her room.

A lot of my new friends are either expecting or recently became mothers, so in this post I will not only share the ideas for girls but also for boys.

14 Cute DIY Ideas For Nursery

1. Check out these cute pompons! They will bring a sense of a party to her nursery and to your eye 🙂

Tissue Pom-Poms

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2. Awesome and easy to make rag especially good for cold tile floors

rag rug

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3. These wood blocks add some character to the room, don’t you think?

wood block

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4. This is simply adorable, and if you are not a big fan of owls you can come up with something different using this model as a sample

owl mobile

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5. Baby wouldn’t care less about this lamp right now, but it sure will bring an extra smile to parents and visitors

lampshade

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6. Another rag which is even softer than the first

pompom rug

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7. This is a really cool idea, I saw it at a friend’s place but completely forgot about it up until now when I found it on the internet

foot print

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8. Great idea for a boy’s nursery but you can easily change it for the girl’s one with different colors

nursery wall art

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9. This is definitely among my favorite DIY ideas

nursery mobile

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10. What can be lighter than butterflies? The tutorial is for colorful butterflies, but to me the white ones look softer

butterfly mobile

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11. An awesome idea to use some space at a smaller place, or just to add extra style to it

crib skirt

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12. It can be either owls, or balloons or whatever else can come to your mind

hot air balloon mobile

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13. This is an easy and inexpensive way to make a baby gym for your little one the way you want it to be

wooden play gym tutorial

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14. It’s not really a tutorial, but a really nice way to capture the moment when we are young and the babies are little. Remember how it all started.

family-handprint

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