Dine-Out with a Toddler…and ENJOY it!!!

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Photo Credit: Lasting Memories Photography

There are days that I cringe when “dine-out” and “toddler” are spoken in the same sentence. Dining out with a toddler is no easy task. It is, however, a great opportunity to build skills with your toddler, and believe it or not, it can be fun and stress free. Here are a few simple tips to enjoy the dining out experience with your toddler!

CHILD FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS

It will not always be your choice where you will be having dinner. If it is your choice, try to find a child friendly restaurant (and I don’t just mean the places that have slides). There are a few things that make restaurants a little more family friendly.

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Valentines Day Cinnamon Popcorn!

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I always have the best intentions. I always want to be that Mom that brings cute gifts on Holidays for my kid’s teachers, make cute treats for my husbands employees etc…. BUT I always fall short because I simply DO NOT HAVE TIME!!! Ok…And we can admit that I am not the best baker/cook and I’m truly very non-crafty..

Can I just tell you how excited I am for my Valentines Day treat this year? It takes all of 5 minutes to prepare (minus the oven time) and is UBER delicious and fairly calorie free! My two year old and I had the absolute best time making this popcorn! It is so easy and quick to prep that it kept his attention the WHOLE time and the air popping alone was enough to entertain us for hours. I think we would have popped the entire container if we had a use for 200 quarts of popcorn!

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Bake with your Toddler…and ENJOY it!

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Baking with a toddler…..does that sentence make you cringe? Don’t worry…you are not alone! It can be messy and quite frankly..you may not come out with anything edible. BUT… baking or cooking with your toddler is a great way to build many skills! It is a fantastic learning opportunity and it is a blast!! Not to mention, it is a great excuse to make some yummy treats!!! I LOVE this Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe from Tastes Better From Scratch! There is not better time than the Holidays to start teaching them some important and memorable skills in the kitchen! With these quick tips you will be well on your way to baking or cooking with your toddler and enjoying it!!!

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How to Encourage Pretend Play

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pretend play coverIn the early Toddler months, your child should start to engage in “pretend play”. Pretend play is that awesome time when your child brings you imaginary cookies, plays with dolls (bathes, feeds, comforts) talks to toys, interacts and plays with toys approriatly etc…. Pretend play is a very important time in your child’s life and opens the door to many more imaginary opportunities later in life!

Pretend play should also be important to you!!! It helps with your child’s development, practices and teaches problem solving, teaches story telling, increases language (Especially adult world language- think, “Bye Daddy, I’m going to work”) and most of all….keeps them from getting bored!!!

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What is the M-CHAT Autism Screener?

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You may not even know that at your child’s 18 month Well Child Check your doctor will have you complete an Autism Checklist/Screener called the M-Chat. ( The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers-Revised (M-CHAT-R™) ) Yep! Its true. Most of the time, your pediatrican will quickly review the scores and only talk to you about it if there is a concern. (Note: Most pediatricians use the M-CHAT but not all).

So, what is the M-Chat? And what does it involve? 

The M-CHAT is a “Scientifically validated tool for screening children between 16 and 30 months of age that assesses the risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)” The great thing about the M-CHAT is that it was created to be administered to parents/guardians and then read and interpreted by a pediatrician.

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