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All I Want for Christmas (or Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa) …

Small handmade gift boxWith the holidays looming large, fulfilling wish lists seems to be on everyone’s mind. Pop culture and TV commercials will tell you that you need American Girl Dolls, Lego sets, huge backyard playsets and puppies to make people happy. But, the bottom line is that it’s not quite that complicated.  If your child could tell you “All I want for Christmas (or Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa)”  it would things that can’t be bought in a store, online, or even with an Amazon Prime membership. At the end of the day, this is what can make your child’s holiday season complete!

Your voice: There’s nothing your baby loves more than hearing your voice as you hold and snuggle her. You are her anchor, her safe haven, her security that everything is right in her small and sheltered universe. So, as school and work schedules wind down, take some extra time to be with and talk to your baby.

Story Time: A love of learning and of reading begins early, and there’s no better academic foundation you can give your baby than to read to her. Engage your child and make it an interactive, tactile experience that not only involves words, emotions and inflection but also an opportunity to feel the book, turn the pages, and yes, even suck on a little corner here and there!

Cuddle time: Even as adults, we love some time at the end of the day to cuddle with the ones that we love. For a baby, nothing is as meaningful as that skin-to-skin connection. Whether it’s in a rocking chair or glider, right after bath time, or before bed, take some extra time to cuddle, nuzzle, kiss and love on your baby.

Music and Lyrics: Whether you’re Carrie Underwood, Justin Timberlake or just some chorus drop out who can’t hit a high note, your baby adores it when you sing to her. Whether you’re singing along to a CD, an iTunes download or just a Capella, this is time well spent with your child. As with literacy and books, you want to expose your children to music at a young age. Even if you’re tone deaf, you have the rare privilege of having a captive audience – your baby – who will hang on your every note.

Now, if you’re a mom to toddlers, you may be thinking that your child never sits still enough to hear your voice, listen to a song, cuddle or anything else – and you’d be right! So, for those moms with kids who have started walking and never looked back, we haven’t forgotten you.

Rainy Days and Mondays: Rather than staying inside and keeping dry, put on boots and raincoats during the next storm and go stomp your heart out. Splash about in puddles, make a mess and get a little wet – it’s OK once in a while!

Boxes, boxes and more boxes: If you’re like most houses in America, the UPS delivery person is visiting regularly. Save some of those boxes, packing peanuts – and especially the bubble wrap – for a December afternoon of pure fun. Build forts, rustle packing paper, snap bubble wrap and you’ll wonder why you ever bought your child a plastic toy. This is entertainment you just can’t find in a store!

Cookies! Now we understand that baking with your toddler may be the last thing your kitchen needs, but it’ll be an afternoon of fun you won’t forget. Find a simple recipe, or even prep everything beforehand. Let your toddler add in sprinkles, chocolate chips and other simple ingredients. Knead and shape the dough together, and at the end of it all, if it’s not beautiful – who really cares? It’s the season for holiday baking, and Daddy will love to come home to treats made by his little one.

A rest for the rules: At the holiday season, your house is full of “No Touch” items that are just torture for a toddler! Find one decoration, one bauble, one ornament that your little one can touch, maybe even play with and you’ll be their biggest hero!

December is a month of moving fast and furiously, but take a moment to get inside the mind of your child. And whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or something in between, think about what would really make their day. Just like our suggestions, we guarantee you won’t find them in a store!

Happy Holidays from The Baby Pibu™ Team

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