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When you have a newborn, the pace of development is incredibly exciting. It seems that week-by-week you discover new milestones that your little one is reaching. Maybe it’s the lack of sleep that makes time fly by, but, no matter the reason, watching your child grow right before your eyes is a fascinating and thrilling experience.

And one of the best moments is when your child looks at you and grins for the first time. This is, in fact, one of your newborn’s first ways of communicating. But when do babies smile for the first time?

Here’s a look at when you can expect to reach this fun developmental milestone, as well as more information on when your baby smiles for the first time — and what comes after.

A quick note of distinction: There are two different kinds of smiles. Babies will sometimes smile spontaneously. That is, he or she might be in the middle of a nap, and you’ll see the corners of your baby’s mouth curl into a smile. Babies will also smile socially. That is, they will see someone they know and love, and someone will do something that tickles them — and they will smile in response. This post is all about your babies first social smile.

 

Look for Smiles Between 6 and 8 Weeks

Babies actually start smiling in the womb. Crazy, hug? There’s evidence that babies begin smiling about 25 weeks into the gestational period. When you have a newborn, you may notice that he or she tends to smile while asleep. This is just the baby smiling as a reflex. In fact, babies smiling while sleeping may even indicate that baby is feeling a little gassy!

But what about the first social smile? You should look for your baby’s first social smile somewhere between 6 and 8 weeks. The social smile should come shortly after your baby starts to make eye contact and just before he or she starts to coo.

A social smile is a lot of fun, but it’s also a good sign that your child is developing. Social smile let you know that you baby can see longer distances than early on, and it also shows that certain parts of the brain are maturing.

Not to mention the best part: A baby’s smile is one of his or her first ways of communicating with parents.

 

How to Make a Baby Smile

Are you eager to see your baby smile? There are a few things you can try to coax a first smile as you get closer to that 25-week mark. Here’s a list of 5 things you can do to make a baby smile:

  1. Bubbles: Babies find bubbles mesmerizing. This is a simple and affordable activity that you can try to both pass the time and to see if you can inspire that first smile.
  2. Music: Babies love music, too, and music just might motivate a first smile. Try the Baby Einstein channel on Pandora if you’re looking for music that’s curated just for little ones.
  3. Pets and Animal Noises: Another great way to bring about the first smile is to bring out the pets. If you have a gentle dog or cat that’s patient with kids, let your baby feel your pet’s fur and look at your pet’s friendly face. If you have no pet, try making funny animal noises.
  4. Peek-a-Boo: Here’s a classic: A good, old-fashioned game of peek-a-boo is a great way to engage with your baby and maybe get him or her to smile for the first time.
  5. Fake Eating Fingers: For whatever reason, babies love it when parents fake as though they’re eating a baby’s fingers and toes. Give it a shot and, you never know, you just might see that first smile.

 

When Will My Baby Start Laughing?

So, you’ve gotten your first smile. Enjoy it! And then look forward to another fun milestone: the first laugh.

But when do babies start laughing? You’ll most likely notice your child’s first laugh somewhere around 3 or 4 months. And it’s going to be something you call in love with. There’s nothing quite like the sound of a deep and unadulterated baby laugh.

 

What if My Baby isn’t Smiling?

First things first: Don’t panic. If it’s been 3 months or more and your baby isn’t smiling, mention it to your pediatrician during a check-up. It’s most likely nothing to worry about. Babies develop and different rates.

But, in some cases, a lack of smile might be an indication that you baby is having some vision issues. Your child’s doctor should be able to provide expert guidance and allay any unfounded fears.

 

Final Thoughts on When Babies Smile for the First Time

We love to share about milestones and when you can expect to see your baby take important developmental steps. But don’t get too caught up in measuring your baby against the typical path. All babies are different, and yours might smile earlier than others while your friend’s baby takes a little bit longer.

Again, if you have any concerns about the pace of development, be sure to ask your doctor. It’s most likely nothing to worry about.

Do you have a funny or interesting first-smile moment to share? Let us know via our comments section below, or you can always use our contact page to send us a message directly.

 

A wise man once said that a dog makes a house a home. And, if you’ve ever owned a dog, you probably agree with that notion.

But bringing a dog into a home with kids is a unique situation, one that demands a little more thought and a little more care during the selection process. In fact, it’s best to start with this question: What are the best dog breeds for kids?

We’ve got you covered. Here’s a look at the 5 best dog breeds for kids, as well as what you’ll love about them — and what might give you pause.

A word to the wise: Make sure you’re ready for a dog before you fall in love with one. As you already know, having kids is a full-time job in and of itself. Remember that adding a pet to the family as another mouth to feed, more hair to cut, additional health care bills, etc. Also, whenever you hire a babysitter, your sitter needs to be willing to handle the dog, too. And, when you go on vacation, you need to board your dog or hire a dog-sitter. These aren’t deal breakers — just be sure to count the cost and commitment before taking the plunge.

 

1. Beagle

Many parents want a smaller dog that feels manageable — one that can be picked up and carried when needed. And Beagles certainly fit that description. They are smart and generally happy, and they love to play games and go exploring, which your kids do, too, no doubt.

Known by their floppy ears, Beagles are best if you’re looking to get just one pet for the home. (Which is probably most parents.) Beagles were bred to be hunters, so they may not take kindly to a hamster or rabbit or a smaller animal sharing their space.

The best part about Beagles is that they love kids, and they are known to be incredibly gentle and calm around them. Perhaps the only drawbacks to Beagles are that they love food, they need lots of exercise and they will shed — so be prepared for bathing and brushing.

That said, if you can avoid passing along scraps from the table (which can quickly lead to obesity in Beagles), and if you can find time for regular family walks, the Beagle might be your perfect solution.

Is this breed right for you?

Choose a Beagle if …

… you’re in the market for a smaller dog that is gentle, friendly and loves kids.

Pass on a Beagle if …

… you don’t want to deal with dog hair and you don’t have time to go on walks.

 

2. Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers provide a combination that’s hard to beat in a family dog: They can be calm when indoors, but they also love getting outside and going crazy. That means a Golden Retriever can help occupy your children and keep them active without greatly disrupting your home.

This breed does deal with a range of health issues, including cell tumors, seizures and eye problems. Also, a Golden Retriever’s average lifespan is between 10 and 13 years, meaning they won’t be around as long as some other options on this list.

But Golden Retrievers are friendly, obedient and smart. If you’re looking for a dog that can sit contently at your feet on a rainy day and frolic in the grass when the sun comes out, the Golden Retriever might be for you.

Is this breed right for you?

Choose the Golden Retriever if …

… you want a dog that can be calm while inside and playful while outdoors.

Pass on the Golden Retriever if …

… you prefer a dog with a better track record in the health department.

 

3. Irish Setter

You can spot an Irish Setter by its red coat, long ears and the curious-but-loving expression on its face. As part of a family, an Irish Setter will bring lots of energy and loyalty. You and your kids will enjoy a great companion when choosing an Irish Setter.

An Irish Setter is best in a home where someone can spend time training the dog as a puppy, as well as in a home where there’s plenty of physical activity. If you have a yard and kids that have entered elementary or middle school (and that have plenty of time to run around and play), an Irish Setter might be your perfect fit.

Irish Setters can grow to be about 60 or 70 pounds, so are you choosing a much larger animal than if you opt for a Beagle or a smaller breed. But it’s hard to find a better friend than what you’ll get with an Irish Setter.

Is this breed right for you?

Choose an Irish Setter if …

… you and your family have energy to burn in making friends with a loyal dog.

Pass on an Irish Setter if …

… you don’t have a yard or it’s otherwise difficult to get outside and play.

 

4. Labrador Retriever

There’s a reason why dog parks, walking trails and homes with kids are filled with Labrador Retrievers. This is one of the smartest, sweetest breeds you’ll ever come across. There’s an issue with shedding, but the Labrador Retriever is nearly perfect outside of that.

Yes, Labrador Retrievers often come with a lot of energy and with a love of chaos, they take easily to children and also to any other pets you might have in your home. Labrador Retrievers also tend to be healthy, though you’ll want to provide plenty of exercise in order to keep their weight down.

Perhaps the best thing about Labrador Retrievers is that they simply love humans, adults and children alike. They are always out to please the people they live with, and you’ll find that the Labrador Retriever is among your best bets when looking for a dog the whole family will love.

Is this breed right for you?

Choose the Labrador Retriever if …

… you want a loving dog that will take quickly to any environment you throw him or her into.

Pass on the Labrador Retriever if …

… you can’t take the shedding or if you’d prefer a smaller dog for your family.

 

5. Rescue Mutt

Rescuing a dog is one of the greatest gifts you can give. Find a rescue mutt, and you may just secure a friend for life.

Make sure to talk to the workers at whatever shelter you visit to find a rescue dog. A mutt is a bit of a mystery. You won’t know for certain about shedding, typical behavior, allergies and other issues, because there’s no breed history to reference. The workers at shelters love their guests, though, and they can no doubt give you a rundown on your preferred rescue mutt when you identify him or her.

It’s a good idea to look for a mid-sized dog when browsing at the shelter. A small dog might get injured by overly playful children, and larger dogs can be hard to squeeze into your growing household.

Conventional wisdom holds that a dog breeder can give you a great dog. But dogs are just as unique as children. That is, you never truly know what you’re going to get. So visit your shelter, meet some available dogs, and take a risk by giving a rescue mutt a home.

Is this breed right for you?

Choose a rescue mutt if …

… the idea of giving a home to a dog in need makes you all warm and fuzzy.

Pass on a rescue mutt if …

… you prefer the relative certainty of knowing a dog’s breed and the tendencies that come with it.

 

What to Look for in a Dog Breed

Not interested in any of the dogs mentioned above? That’s just fine. There’s no shortage of breeds to consider when you’re looking for a dog for your kids. Here are 4 essential characteristics to look for, no matter what kind of dog you’re interested in:

  • Size: You may first think that a smaller dog will be easier to manage. But it’s best to look for mid-size or even larger breeds, as these dogs will be able to hold their own with kids who don’t know better than to poke and prod their pets.
  • Energy: One of the great things about getting a dog for your kids is that a pet can help them burn energy. You want to find a breed and a dog that is up for running and playing — in general, one that can keep up with your kids.
  • Intelligence: A dog should always be trained when kids are in the house, and some dogs are easier to train than others. Look for a breed and for a dog that’s going to be eager to please its owner and willing to listen to commands.
  • Temperament: Most important of all, look for a breed and for a dog that is incredibly friendly. You want a dog that’s not only friendly with your kids, but one that’s also friendly with your visitors. A friendly dog makes life so much easier.

In addition to these characteristics, come up with your own. You may want a dog that doesn’t shed or a breed that’s known for remarkable health. Use the characteristics above and your own personal wants and needs as a checklist when considering dog options.

 

Final Thoughts on the Best Dog Breeds for Kids

Here’s one last thought before you make your selection: You want a dog that’s going to love you and your kids, but you need to be prepared to give your dog a lot of love, too. Kids take up a lot of time and energy. Make sure you have some leftover to give your dog before you take him or her home with you.

Do you have a completely different dog breed that you would totally recommend for families? If so, let us know in the comments section below, or send us a message via our contact page.

 

Having a baby at home means you’re often cooped up. In fact, parents of newborns often leap at the chance to get out of the house anytime their babies aren’t sleeping.

But what temperature is safe to take baby outside? In the dead of summer, it can simply grow too hot for a baby to spend much time outdoors. And the same goes for winter — there are plenty of cold days when it’s just too frigid for your baby to leave the warm confines of home.

To help you know when it’s too hot and when it’s too cold, here’s a look at how to handle extreme temperatures with your baby.

Always remember that everything is relative. If you live in Texas, it can get too hot for your child even in spring and fall. And, if you live in Minnesota, it can get too cold for your child even as summer draws near. You can’t assume it’s safe just because it’s a traditionally temperate time of year. Keep on eye on the thermometer, and always look for the warning signs listed below.

 

How Hot is Too Hot for a Baby?

When is it too hot for your baby to be outside? Generally speaking, your baby is going to have a hard time cooling him or herself down once the temperature surpasses 80 degree Fahrenheit.

Why is it so hard for babies to cool down? First of all, they don’t sweat like adults do. And we underestimate just how much a nice sweat helps us cool down. Babies suffer heat stroke much more quickly than do adults, and they can also become dehydrated much more quickly than adults.

But it’s impossible to keep your baby inside at all times when the temperature rises into the 80s and above. So here are a few tips to help your baby keep from overeating if and when you do need to be outside:

  • Stay Hydrated: Your baby needs to eat as much as possible on hot summer days to ensure that he or she stays hydrated. Check the diaper often. If your baby isn’t urinating or has not urinated in a while, he or she may be getting dehydrated.
  • Keep the Air Moving: It may be tempting to place a blanket or some other covering over a stroller to block the sun. But, more dangerously, these coverings actually limit airflow. Try to keep the air moving by finding shady spots that don’t require anything to cover a stroller.
  • Avoid Body Heat: The baby carrier can create too much body heat and leave your little one feeling limp. Try to avoid it, if at all possible, on hot summer days.
  • Dress Appropriately: Stick with lightweight and light-colored clothing. What your child wears can greatly influence whether or not he or she overheats on a hot day. Also, consider putting your baby in a hat with a wide brim to help keep the sun away.
  • Find Some Shade: Shade is a must on hot days. The temperature can shift greatly simply when you move in and out of the shade, so find a nice spot under a tree where you can feel the breeze and enjoy the day with your baby.
  • Use Plenty of Sunscreen: If your baby is under 6 months, use some SPF 15 on just his or her hands, feet and face when you can’t avoid the sun. Sunscreen isn’t typically recommended for babies under 6 months, but it’s needed in direct sun situations.

Also, remember that the effects of heat will be felt more greatly when there’s direct sunlight. If your neck of the woods is experiencing a particularly hot time of year, try to limit outdoor hours to before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m. That will at least keep your baby from being exposed to the most intense sunlight of the day.

 

How Cold is Too Cold for a Baby?

Any temperature below freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit) should be a red flag for parents. You can limit your time outdoors to a few minutes when the temperature is between 20 and 32 degrees Fahrenheit, but consider staying indoors altogether if the temperature is in the teens or lower.

If the temperature is cold but slightly above freezing, you can spend more extended time outdoors, as long as you take the right precautions. Here are a few ideas for keeping your baby warm on cold winter days:

  • One More Layer: Take into account what you need to wear to stay comfortable on a cold day, and then add one more layer to that for your baby. If you’re wearing a long-sleeve shirt, a coat and a hat, maybe add a sweater in between the shirt and coat for your baby. This rule of thumb should help your baby stay comfortable even in temperatures hovering around freezing.
  • Take Advantage of Body Heat: You want to avoid body heat in summer, but it’s one of your baby’s best friends in wintertime. Consider breaking out the baby carrier so that your bodies are close to one another and sharing heat.
  • Short Bursts: No matter how cold it is, always consider spending time outdoors in short bursts. Have some fun outside, then come back inside to warm up. Repeat as needed.

Always watch for warning signs, no matter what precautions you take. What kinds of warning signs indicate your child is too cold? Look for shivering, as well as cold or red hands, feet or facial features.

If your child does become too cold, try to avoid rubbing your hands on his or her cold spots — this could damage the skin. Instead, use washcloths soaked in relatively hot water to help warm your baby. If your baby fails to warm up after getting into warm, dry clothing, call your doctor.

 

Final Thoughts on What Temperature is Safe to Take Baby Outside

When in doubt, play it safe. Your baby is so precious and so delicate. While he or she is often resilient and able to keep up as needed, the hottest and coldest of days pose special challenges that require special accommodations from parents.

If you ever become concerned that your child has grown too hot or too cold, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a medical professional. Again, it’s far better to play it safe than to risk the wellbeing of your precious baby.

Have you had an experience with a baby getting too hot or too cold? If so, let us know about it via our contact form, or you can always leave a comment in the section below.

 

It can be a real shock when you open the dryer and find hot, dry clothes covered in chunks of blue or red or pink crayon. In fact, it’s such a shock that your first impulse may be to take the entire load and dump it into the trashcan.

Don’t do that. The clothes are salvageable.

Are wondering how to get melted crayon out of clothes? You’re not the first. And we’re glad to provide the solution. Here’s a look at the materials you’ll need and the steps you must take when you need to get melted crayon out of clothes.

This method works best for top-loading washers. If you have a front-loading washer, though, there’s a slightly modified approach that we share at the bottom of this post. You’ll need the same materials, but then scroll down to the bottom for special instructions.

 

The Materials You’ll Need

There’s nothing extraordinary on this list. In fact, you should be able to find everything you need right in your kitchen and laundry room. Here’s the list:

  • 1 large pot for boiling water
  • ½ cup of vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons of dish soap
  • 1 wooden spoon
  • 1 top-loading washer

That’s all you need. Read on to learn the steps you’ll need to take to get melted crayon out of clothes.

 

1. Boil Water

Start by boiling as much water as possible in your largest pot. Don’t boil so much that you can’t carry it to your laundry room, though, because you’re eventually going to pour this into your washer. Get it as hot as possible while staying as safe as possible. No clothing is worth you get scalded by boiling hot water.

 

2. Load Clothes Into Washer

Now add your crayon-stained clothing to the washer. You can do a load of any size, though it’s best to try this with a handful of articles at a time — not too big and not too small.

 

3. Create a Crayon-Cleaning Concoction

Add the half cup of vinegar and 5 tablespoons of dish soap to the washer, and then pour on top the boiling water. Also, add your detergent in whatever amount you would typically use for a load that size.

 

4. Move it Around a Little

Here’s where your wooden spoon comes in handy. Now it’s time to mix up your concoction a little bit, stirring until you feel like your getting full coverage for each ingredient on each article of clothing.

 

5. Let the Clothes Soak

Now let your clothes really soak it in. If you want to boil more water to add, that’s fine, too. How long should you let them sit there and soak? At least 15 minutes — but not much more than that. You don’t want the water to start growing tepid on you.

 

6. Run Your Hottest Cycle

Now, start your washer on its hottest possible cycle. By this time, you should have really weakened the crayon clinging to your clothing, and a nice and hot cycle is really going to blast the stains and help remove them.

 

7. Repeat as Needed

If you don’t get perfect results, try again. Who knows? It might take a cycle or two before you fully get the crayon stains out of your clothing. But, follow these steps enough times, and you’ll eventually get to your ultimate goal — returning the clothes to their previous condition.

 

Don’t Forget Your Dryer

Don’t forget to take a look at your dryer. If melted crayon has stained your clothing, there’s a good chance that it’s stained your dryer, too. You may be able to use a fingernail or another edge to scrape away the stains, or you may need to try some sort of cleaning solution. Either way, it should be easier to remove the stains from your dryer than it is to remove them from the clothing.

 

For Front-Loading Washers

The steps are only slightly different for front-loading washers. Here’s what you’ll want to do, using the same exact materials as listed above:

  1. Sanitize: Set your washer to “sanitize,” and then load your crayon-stained clothing.
  2. Add Vinegar and Soap: Add your half cup of vinegar and your 5 tablespoons of dish soap.
  3. Soak: Run your soak cycle for about 20 to 30 minutes.
  4. Add Detergent: Add detergent now.
  5. Run Hot Cycle: Run your hottest cycle.
  6. Repeat: If needed, repeat to get better and better results.

The front-loading washer method works, but it’s the top-loading washer method that’s going to give you the best results. If you have a choice between the two, choose the top-loader.

 

Final Thoughts on How to Get Melted Crayon Out of Clothes

Here’s one final thought for you: Don’t forget to laugh. These moments with kids can be incredibly frustrating and incredibly challenging. But someday your kids will be gone and you’ll miss them and you’ll wish for an opportunity to go back in time and clean melted crayon out of your clothes.

Have another idea for how to get melted crayon out of clothes? Let us know in the comments section below, or send us a message directly through our contact form.

 

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