Tag Archives: tips

Conquering the Bedtime Battle

Sometimes getting the kids to bed is not as easy as parents would like it to be. Summer is coming to an end and that means that a routine bedtime will become a part of a preschooler’s schedule. In Step2’s last blog, Back to School Tips for Preschoolers, it was suggested that if your child has fallen out of a bedtime routine, it is essential to begin getting back on track before school begins. However, that is easier said than done.

Here are some great tips from Parenthood.com to help ease the struggle and win the bedtime battle!

1. Deal with your own stress and emotions before you begin the bedtime routine. This is a great idea! By relaxing and calming down before the potential battle may begin, it is a good to take a step back and assess how you will handle the bedtime situation. Children may resist going to sleep if they are being yelled at. The calmer a parent is, the less resistant a child will be.

2. Ease the transition to bed for your children. Warn your children ahead of time that bedtime is coming up. You do not want to completely drag them away from the television or playtime. Participating in bedtime tasks earlier on in the night may ease the transition and not surprise children that it is time for bed. Having them brush their teeth after dinner or putting on their pajamas (which means no more outdoor play!) an hour before bed limits them to what they can do to try to delay their bedtime.

3. Negotiate rules with your children. Let your children help create the rules for bedtime. However, make sure to stand your ground! Talk about the benefits of going to sleep at a good time on the weekdays so that they can have special rewards of staying up later on the weekends.

4. Create an environment that fosters sleep. If your child has toys all over their room before bedtime, they are more likely to want to continue to play and become easily distracted. Make sure a child’s toys are put away in toy chests. Also, make sure you have a good book to read to them to help them focus on going to sleep.

5. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Some days are going to be harder than others to get a child to sleep. If they are 15 minutes late for their bed time, do not stress out. However, make sure to emphasize that a bedtime routine is important to your little ones!

Tips for Getting Your Outdoor Step2 Products Ready for Summer Fun

The kids are almost out of school, temperatures are rising all across the country, and outdoor toys are being brought back outside. This means one thing – Summer is almost here!

At Step2, safety is our number one priority; so we’ve devised some tips for getting your outdoor Step2 products ready for summer fun.

Outdoor Toys

Wagons & Ride-Ons

  • Review assembly instructions [available on all product pages (example)] to verify products meet all safety requirements as installed
  • Check seat belts on wagons and ride-ons to insure that they are secure, the buckles function and the fabric is not weathered or damaged
  • Look for signs of excess wear on wagon and ride on wheels
  • Check for bent axles or casters
  • Look for cracking on any handles

 

Swings & Climbing Equipment

  • Review assembly instructions to verify products meet all safety requirements as installed
  • Check for obstacles around home playground equipment  (there should be a minimum of 6 ½ feet clearance around the perimeter of the equipment)
  • Check all hardware on climbing & swing set equipment to make sure they are tight and make sure anchors are in place and beneath surface level
  • Check swing ropes on climber/swing sets to insure they are in good condition with no signs of fraying or rotting from sun/weather exposure. If you see signs of wear, please call Step2 at 1-800-347-8372 to order a swing replacement kit.

 

Sand & Water Products

  • Make sure sandbox lids are intact to keep sand clean and critters out
  • Check umbrellas for proper installation, function and fit.  Check umbrellas for exposed metal tips or torn fabric.  Remove damaged umbrella from use.
  • Check all sand & water product plugs for wear and make sure they are inserted all the way to prevent leakage

 

Additional Outdoor Toys

  • Review assembly instructions to verify products meet all safety requirements as installed
  • Check to see if basketball/football bases are properly weighted with sand or water
  • Check for cracks in any plastic toy before use
  • Products can be washed with a mild soap & water
  • Use Armor All®* to shine up your Step2 mailbox or playhouse after washing (not recommended for use on climbing/swing equipment for safety reasons)

 

Replacement parts & decals to spruce up your products (with exception to some discontinued products) are available at reasonable prices by calling us toll free at 1-800-347.8372 Monday through Friday between 8 AM and 5 PM ET.

*Armor All® is a registered trademark of Armor All Group

What to Do When Your Child Says “Mommy, I’m Bored”

“Mommy, I’m bored…” is definitely one of the most common phrases to come out of my child’s mouth. Over the years, I have learned how to defend against the inevitable boredom that sets in after my children spend too much time playing with the same toys and games day after day. The versatility of a child activity table has been a lifesaver for me and my kids.

I have found that setting up a comfortable table that is full of different designs and colors entices my children to play and stimulates their imaginations. As the kids color books or draw, they improve their hand-eye coordination and enhance their motor skills. While they build impressive building block structures or assemble dominoes, they are nurturing skills like problem-solving and creative thinking. The child activity table is also a great place for my kids to interact with friends. They love showing off their artwork, and I love watching them build social skills.

Most child activity tables are also low maintenance. I find it very easy to clean up spills, wipe off marker and fold it up for easy storage. I would definitely recommend that any parent or grandparent set one up. It is a great tool for fostering ingenuity and helps keep the childhood years free from boredom.

When is it Appropriate to Allow Toddlers to use Ride on Toys?

Ride Ons
Toddlers are by definition, on the go and toddling around. You know all about it, since you’re one step behind them, keeping them safe. While many toddlers have mastered getting around, how do you know if they’re ready for a ride on toy? The best way to determine if your child is ready is by assessing the physical development of your child and also being aware of the age appropriate guidelines of the toy.

After your child has reached certain developmental milestones, they are likely ready to play with ride on toys. The American Academy of Pediatrics lists several movement milestones for toddlers, including:

- He / she can walk unassisted
- He / she can kick a ball
- He / she can climb on furniture and other objects
- He/ she can climb stairs
- He / she is beginning to run

The other important factor in determining if a ride on toy is appropriate for your toddler is to understand the age appropriateness of the toy. Pay special attention to the age guidelines listed on the packaging of toys and evaluate every toy’s compatibility with your own child’s development. By making sure your child is old enough to play with a certain toy and meets the developmental readiness of toys, you will help avoid injury.

We’ve put together a few tips to help recognize if your toddler is ready for their very own ride on toy and ways to keep them safe while riding:

  • Make sure the ride on toy is used in a safe environment – one free of stairs, streets, water and sharp hills. By noting your child’s environment while they are on an age appropriate toy, you ensure their safety while in your care.
  • Read the manufacturer’s guidelines for safe use, the information there can help alert you to potentially unsafe situations.
  • Make sure your child is using the ride on toy properly. By keeping your child positioned on the toy correctly, you decrease the chance of injury. Additionally, make sure your child holds on to any handles properly. The handles on Patches the Rocking Horse are a good example of this.
  • If restraints are provided, as in some wagon toys, utilize them to keep your child safe while the ride on toy is in motion.
  • Provide constant supervision. We all know children love to explore, and they like to do it quickly! Stay in an area where you can easily supervise your child on their ride on toy. For example, while your child is on the Extreme Coaster, make sure you are there to to help them get on the toy safely and stay on the toy until the ride’s end.

If you find that perfect toy, the one you know your child will love, make sure she’s old enough to understand how to use it safely, stay with her while she rides and enjoy the time you get to spend with your child having fun! Kids only have one childhood – celebrate it with Step2!

Teaching Kids Kitchen Safety

Kids love to mimic adults and, during this time of year, adults tend to spend a lot of time in the kitchen preparing holiday meals. Before inviting the kids into the kitchen, it’s important to talk about kitchen safety with them.

Teaching kids kitchen safety is beneficial on numerous levels. Being safe in the kitchen is important, because it keeps children from getting hurt. However, it also provides them with the opportunity to help mom, dad, grandma, and grandpa while they are cooking. It isn’t necessary to make your children afraid of the kitchen to teach them safety. There are much more fun ways to do this, such as by giving your child a play kitchen on which he or she can learn!

Having a play kitchen can teach your child about stove tops, ovens, cooking times, pots, pans, and techniques, all while teaching them appropriate kitchen safety. They’ll then be able to learn about kitchen safety through play. Because it’s fun, the information will stick better. They won’t be afraid of the grown-up kitchen, because their play kitchen will have made it a fun place for them, but they will respect it, and that’s key.

There are many kitchen sets for kids; you can even get one that resembles the layout of their own kitchen. Get some play food as well, so your child can cook while learning the proper safety measures!

Ornament Keepsakes of Favorite Toys Make Parting with Them Easier

At the Afternoon Playdate BlogHer ’11 event in August, we met Leanne, owner and editor of the blog Rave and Review. She shared with us how much her children enjoy Step2 toys, but as time passes, it’s hard to keep these products in her house once the kids have outgrown them. So to capture the memories of her children’s favorite toys, she makes ornaments for her Christmas tree.

“I started doing these a few years ago as a tribute to my kids’ favorite toys so when we eventually had to part with them we would still have a fun little keepsake to remember all the hours spent playing with them,” Leanne said.  “Now it’s become such a tradition that I get requests from other people asking me to make their kids favorite toys, too.”

Much to our surprise, she offered to make us an ornament of a Step2 kitchen. And look what arrived at our office the other day:

Package

Inside Box - Rave and Review

(side note: How cute is this packaging?!)

Inside Packaging - Rave and Review

Inside we found a miniature version of the LifeStyle Classic Cuisine Kitchen. We think it’s pretty spot on! Leanne even captured the “woodwork” and fruit baskets.

Comparison

“Since our first toy ornament we ever made was a Step2 kitchen, I thought it would be fitting to send you one to enjoy, too,” she said. Well, we are so thankful for this Christmas gift. We have already put it on our office tree.

Rave and Review ornament on tree