Thursday, September 9, 2010

Recommendations, please!

One of the great things about having a blog is getting to hear from YOU all... my readers :)

I would love your recommendations for a few things:

1- Videos geared for 6-12 months old. I am not a huge fan of sitting Eliana in front of the TV, but am looking for a video or two to use with her. Not really sure what those of you with little ones recommend... Baby Einstein? Veggie Tales?

2- I would love recommendations for a good book on Christian parenting... specifically for young children/toddlers. I perused the local Christian bookstore and found a few for down the road, but as far as toddlerhood, I haven't found anything I was crazy about (at least from a quick scan).

3- Any must-have toys for 6-18 month olds? I am looking to start Christmas shopping in the near future :)

Thanks for your ideas!!


Krista said...

My 11 month old loves Eebbe (sp?) videos and Praise Baby. Pretty much anything with a baby on the screen mesmerizes him long enough for me to get dinner started!

Daddy's Dream ~Mommy's Miracle said...

1.I am putting in my vote for Praise Baby as well!!! Cayden loves them. He is also really interested in Baby Einstein videos as well ( I know that recently some were recalled b/c they don't seem to be as beneficial as the company claimed, but he likes to watch them, so we do!!)
2. Katie from had a post several months back that listed lots of christian parenting books that she recommends.
3. Cayden loves his music table, and anything else that makes music!

Amber said...

Praise baby is the way to go. My son LOVED them. He also loved the water table we got for him...we are getting our money's worth out of that. I just bought 1,2,3 discipline for Christian's supposed to be awesome!

Nap Mom said...

Activity table... you must have one.

Baby Einstein has held my son's attention for years now... and he is 2.5 years old and still loves them.

Get the Leap Frog Letter Factory DVD. She may be a bit young for it now but you will be amazed at how quickly she will learn her letters and their sounds. It is the cutest little video and our whole family sings along. It was recommended to me by a friend and I love it. I wish that I had it when my oldest daughter was young.

1st birthday gift idea - Leap Frog Birthday Cake. I saw this in a magazine and got a chance to play with it in the store. Fun! Fun! Fun!

I'll let you know if I think of more.

Unknown said...

Praise Baby all the way! My son also liked Sesame Beginnings--Make Music Together. It is baby Cookie Monster, baby Elmo.

The Titsworth Family said...

We love Baby Babble which has 2 dvds out. My daughter who is now 3.5 picked up the sign language in them super fast.

As for toys, one of our favorites has been the ball popper!
Sometimes you can find it on sale for $18 or so and both my kids & nephews have loved it!

Shaina N said...

I never let DD sit in front of a TV unless I NEED her to (I.E. to cook dinner). Sometimes, when she's completely fuss city and there seems to be no reason, I can let her watch something in my lap and she seems to be okay.

We love Backyardigans. It's a little bit old for her, but the music and bright colors hold her attention really well.

No real advice for books on parenting.

Amber Stoneburner said...

I would recommend to any parent the book "Don't Make Me Count to Three" It is about reaching our child's heart with scripture to teach them to not only act in Christ like ways but change their heart and thinking to be Christ like. It's amazing and was challenging in not only the way I raise my daughter but also in my own walk with Christ. It started reading/using it when my daughter was 3 and I wish I had found it sooner!!!

KT said...

Praise Baby is great for mom and baby!
Signing times is fun, teaches sign language and has fun music.
"Grace Based Parenting" isn't toddler specific but challenged me in my walk with the Lord and helped me set the town for our home.
"Tender Mercies for a Mother's Soul" is more about the mom then how to parent but another AMAZING book to put on your list.
Turansky and Miller have some great books. One on saying goodbye to whining and bad attitudes will give you some goodthings to do when dealing with toddlers and older.

The Crivella Family said...

Baby Einstein are great I think, especially the Water one, very soothing.
As for toys we got the Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Farm (they also have it in a house form they can crawl through it turn on the lights push buttons, it plays songs, counts, etc. It also gives a place to pull to stand. I think this is one of the best toys we have she is still playing with it at 16 months and was able to play with it when we got it (about 8 months)
I agree also with the activity table idea, they are great!

belle said...

veggie tales and baby einstein get my vote! but i also can't live without the leap frog learning videos and the rock and learn videos from the teacher store. all of my kids were reading by age 4... some better than others but the educational jump start has made teaching them a lot of fun.

i'm with you, we don't even have public access channels on our tv. it's just for family movies.... we've never missed it (we watch sports on justin

i also love! the books "babywise" and "babywise 2"(ezzo) as well as 123 magic (??)and have a new kid by friday(leman). and don't skip reading love languages for children! all of them are godly (though 123 magic isn't written by a christian, it is sound advice) and i've found them all to be a great adjustment to myself as well:)

but really, when all's said and done, it's great to have input and advice FROM PARENTS WHOSE CHILDREN YOU WOULD LIKE TO HAVE YOUR OWN BECOME! but never ignore your own heart. you are mommy and 9 out of 10 times- you know best because God made you that way.


becca said...

My youngest will soon be 10 months oldest is 3. Our exersaucer got GREAT GREAT use from both, giving me literally hours of happy baby time.

For TV, they both enjoy Baby Einstein and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse - lots of bright colors and music.

Honestly, my 3 year old's favorite toy when he was little was a small stuffed horse, and my 10 month old's is a small stuffed turkey from Build-A-Bear....another favorite was and still are Peek-A-Blocks. The colored and clear blocks that have stuff inside. We got ours at Target. We stay away from the toys that make noises and sounds, with the exception of the fire trucks and police cars. ;)

I've started a book by Lisa Weichel called Creative Correction but haven't gotten very far in it. I was told Shepherding a Child's Heart is really good - I own it but haven't read it yet.

Jacksmom said...

Jack loved Veggie Tales and Backyardigans. Backyardigans isn't Christian based, but it has all different kinds of music and bright colors and it was the first show he "loved".

1-2-3 Magic is not Christian based either, however it was very strongly recommended to us when we were looking for a discipline solution and to stop the whining. It is magic!

Amanda B. said...

Shepherding a Child's Heart and A Case for Kids are both good ones by the Tripp brothers. They cover toddlerhood but everything else as well. Incredible Godly wisdom. A Case for Kids is a video series though. We did it as a bible study with another couple we know.

KK said...

Calm Baby is a great DVD for little ones. It comes with a CD of the music in the DVD and I am SO thankful I had it! My son wasn't a fan of Baby Einstein, but he loved Calm Baby.

Danielle said...

Oh my word, definitely Baby Einstein AND Veggie Tales. Both are fab, though Baby Einstein would definitely appeal much more to her right now. They are so simple...usually just with music, counting, etc. and bright colored moving objects to capture their attention.

I have a 4 month old so I'm also looking into gifts for Christmas. One thing I love is Melissa and Doug stuff. :)

Unknown said...

I'll recommend Baby Einstein's My First Signs DVD if you're planning on trying to teach her any signs :) Definitely came in handy with Ethan.

Jenn - aka honey or mom said...

We like Signing Time videos, especially for teaching the little ones to communicate.

My kids love to play in the dirt, so no great toy recommendations from me.

I agree with belle, find somebody you know with kids you'd want and ask them what they do. We did and ended up really like Raising Godly Tomatoes and Shepherding a Child's Heart - and with all things, take what fits in for your family and leave the rest.

The Hull Munchkins said...

video for young kids: SIGNING TIME!!! They are so fun, great music and the kids learn sign language so quickly! Our dd has special needs and so we needed to learn ASL for her, but honestly our whole family love these dvd's!


Anonymous said...

My neice adores praise baby!

Lizzy said...

Baby Einstein is a good one. I love the Baby Sign Language one, my son is almost 17 months old and has learned a few signs from it.

Jess said...

Baby Einstein- Baby's first moves DVD. My daughter learned a lot from this movie, which I didn't expect at all. She is 21 months now and still loves it.

elventryst said...

I don't have any children, but saw this book recommended on another blog I follow:

The blogger is a pastor working in the Middle East, and his children have to be some of the cutest, most precocious kids I know.

The Akins Family said...

My son turned ONE today! AHH! And we got him the Laugh and Learn Home! It is a little pricey, but worth the money I think! He loves it and my 3 yr old loves it too. I think you could get a couple years use out of it!

Allison said...

The Signing Time videos are great and my little guy also enjoys the Baby Einstein videos.

The toy he loved last Christmas when he was 8 months and still plays with is the Playskool Busy Ball Popper. It is the one toy that seems to draw all the little ones who come over.

Paige said...

PRAISE BABY!!! And as simple as they are, Callyn loves all her rubber squirty bath toys and foamy letters. she plays with them ALL the time!!!

SUSI said...

We only have one baby einstein DVD so far and Max does not seem to interested in it. He watches for a few minutes and then he is done.

We did just recently get him an activity table and I think it is a must. He is having a great time with it and just loves to be standing.

Heather said...

I concur with the Praise Baby Videos. My daughter also loves Baby Einstein's World Animal Adventure, Around Town (baby sign language) and Baby McDonald. I agree with not wanting her to spend too much time in front of a t.v., but as en educator, I do believe in multiple ways of learning. I think an occasional video stimulates her mind in ways a books cannot!

Jennifer said...

My girls never clicked with Baby Einstein and Veggie Tales did not hold their attention until they were much older than the early toddler stage.

My girls' favorite movies when they were babies are made by Fisher Price. They're called Musical Baby, Nature Baby & Baby Movies. We loved them.

Jenny said...

My number one recommendation for toys/activities is the Learn n Groove Musical Table ( Several of my friends had it and loved it and I finally caved and got it for Eli... I LOOOOOOOVE it. When they are still little, you take it off of it's legs and it rests on the ground... as they learn to stand, you put the legs on it and they stand up and play. There is a spanish and english mode... and a jazz mode... We got it for Eli when he was 6 months... kept it out til about 12 months... I hid it and just brought it out yesterday and now at 16 months he still loves it.

Would also HIGHLY recommend the Leapfrog Fridge Farm set....

Once she starts standing, if you want to get ANYTHING done in the kitchen, this is your way to go! Eli has played with this every day from 12 months on... and I wish I had gotten it sooner!!

:) jenny

Lauren said...

Hi, friend.

My kids liked Baby Einstien at that age. Also - some parents hate it but Yo Gabba Gabba is always a hit.

I like the book Sheparding a Child's heart. We began using that when Izzy was around 2.

I will get back to you on the toys. LOVE!

Whitney said...

My boys also love The backyardigans, lots of music and bright colors. As for toys, an Exersaucer is a must at my house! Even after they could walk my boys loved it because they could jump and spin in it. Also, when they are pulling themselves up and learning to walk it is great for that too! And any play table with music, lights and parts to play with!

Becki said...

Baby Signing Time Videos - we started these with our son around 15 months when he got them for Christmas, and he was signing in no time. He watched them until he was about 18 months. I think they are geared to start with babies at 6 months, so you could potentially get a lot of use out of them.

Classical Baby Art Show was another favorite. They also make Dance Show and Music show, but he was only interested in the Art one (since we started that one first). My in laws introduced it to him around 6 months, and he watched up until 16 or 17 months when he preferred the signing ones I mentioned above.

I agree with the Busy Ball popper and the activity table. DS used both from 6 months until at least 18 months. He's almost 2 and still loves the ball popper.

The Writer Chic said...

Praise Baby and Veggie Tale are big hits in our home.

No help on the parenting books. We are doing it by lots of prayer and the skin of our teeth!

And Seth loved his activity table and the ride on/walk behind convertible toy from FP. (I'll send you a pic if I can find one.)

FSD said...

1. Zoe LOVES Baby Einstein videos (Baby's First Sounds is her absolute favorite, even at 19 months) and we allow her to occasionally watch the Wonder Pets on Nick Jr. (she loves it!).

I'm curious to check out the other videos mentioned by the other posters.

2. No suggestions for a Christian parenting book, although I'm in the market for one, too.

3. Zoe of the favorites around here: music table (a must!), exercauser (this will keep Eliana busy...she'll LOVE it!), Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Learning Home (the door opens and closes and Eliana can crawl through it...Zoe still loves it at 19 months), and the Fisher Price Go Baby Go! Crawl & Cruise Musical Jungle (so much fun! and still a favorite at 19 months), and any push toy....Zoe loved them when she started to cruise at 10 months (she was walking in time for her birthday)

Can't wait to see what Eliana gets for Christmas! :-)

mindibz said...

Praise Baby DVD's work for us.

My 9 month old's favorite toys are pretty basic: stackable rings by Fisher Price and sock monkey jack in the box (or any jack in the box). He's recently gotten interested in the leap frog music table. And he loves his exersaucer, jumper (think johnny jumper of olden days), and swing we hung from our pergola on the patio.

As for parenting books, I haven't found any Christian baby/toddler parenting books I loved. I refer to Terry Brazelton's Touchpoints now and again for development, Good Night Sleep Tight by the Sleep Lady for gentle sleep training, and Babywise when I was guiding him towards a schedule.

Someone got my husband a short book called You Have What it Takes: What Every Father Needs to Know, and it is a really great book. Might be a nice gift for your husband.

Desiree said...

The best toy is definitely the Leap Frog Learn and Groove table. He has played with that thing since he was 8 months old, and is now almost 2!

Angela said...

I highly recommend To Train Up a Child by Michael and Debi Pearl Here is an excerpt about the book from their website: "This book is not about discipline, nor problem children. The emphasis is on the training of a child before the need to discipline arises. It is apparent that, though they expect obedience, most parents never attempt to train their child to obey. They wait until his behavior becomes unbearable and then explode. With proper training, discipline can be reduced to 5% of what many now practice. As you come to understand the difference between training and discipline, you will have a renewed vision for your family—no more raised voices, no contention, no bad attitudes, fewer spankings, a cheerful atmosphere in the home, and total obedience from your children."


Kristina said...

My little ones love Signing Time and Baby Signing Time. It not only mesmerizes them, but they pick up on the signs and are able to start communicating. It can make dinnertime so much easier!

Parenting books I love are Ginger Plowman's "Don't Make Me Count to Three" and the Pearl's "To Train Up a Child". Just a disclaimer about the Pearl's book--it is a bit out there, but many of there premises are good and a few of their ideas really worked for us. It's a pick and choose kind of thing. Best of luck!

Oh, and the cheapest place to get signing time DVD's is Amazon or Ebay.

April said...

THanks for posting this - because I myself have been in the christian store - quite disappointed to find nothing really toddler based. I have read "Positive Discipline from Birth - Three." It isn't christian based, but doesn't go against my beliefs as a christ follower. They do have a "christian" form of the book, however that was special order at Barnes and Noble, so I thought I would just try the one in the store.

I more or less wrote down the suggestions that your readers gave :) I am going to try some of the out. Thanks.

And I second (or 15th) the Praise Baby collection. My son was watching them for awhile now. He is almost 2 - nothing on tv holds him attention (not seasame street, not baby einstein etc) he is very active and doesn't have patience to watch a video. However, he does cuddle on the couch with his blanket and watch the praise baby video. If nothing else - it's great background music while he plays. can't go wrong with that collection!

Christie, Jeff and Kennedy said...

I've heard wonderful things about 1,2,3 Magic and Parenting with Grace (I think that's the title...)

I'd stay away from anything written by the Pearls. They promote abuse, and their parenting books have been denounced by the AAP.

For toys, the ball popper is a HUGE hit here too, and the magnetic alphabet toy from leap frog.

Rev. Mindi said...

I don't have any recommendations for Christian Parenting books (would love to hear some, too!) but as for shows, my son around 1 year old loved Family Feud--the bright lights, the clapping, the bells--it excited him! He is still not into Veggie Tales, but he loves Blues Clues as well as Curious George and Super Why, both on PBS (you can watch them anytime at Toys that my son liked from 6 months on were: stacking cups/rings, soft stacking blocks, LeapFrog drum, board books (he started sitting and turning the pages in books sometime after 6 months--one of his favorites to this day is Baby's First Bible from Standard), and the Playskool Ball Popper was a big hit at 18 months.

Sarah H said...

We don't do TV or videos wih Weston, so I can't give you anything there, but I must say we LOVE all of the Dr. Sears books, especially The Attachment Parenting Book and the Baby Book (which covers birth to two). Although he doesn't write outright as a Christian, he is one, and you can tell if you read between the lines. He advocates high-touch parenting, which we have found to be very beneficial.
A sturdy push toy is great for 9 months on, when they are learning how to walk. We have the VTech Learning Walker, and he loves it. Weston is also a big fan of touchy-feely books, especially the "That's Not My..." series from Usbourne.

Crissie T. said...

Hi Stacy!

I'm a big fan of the "Love and Logic Magic" series by Jim Fay and Charles Fay. They have a great book for early childhood (birth to 6 years) that I've found to be a great resource; I also love "Parenting with Love and Logic" (not sure if you've read "Teaching with Love and Logic", but very similar philosophies).

I am also surprised (appalled, really) to see some readers recommending the Pearl books; they are not being sold in major bookstores anymore because they advocate the whipping of infants, among other horrible and ridiculous things.

Toy recommendations for Eliana at 9-12 months: push toy, Laugh and Learn Table and ball popper (come over and get ours--LOL!), Haba wooden blocks, Melissa and Doug wooden "chunky" puzzles, musical instruments, and shape sorters. :)

We didn't do videos, but I can say we LOVE the Praise Baby CDs!

Dani said...

My little girl is just a few months older than yours. We have a Praise Baby DVD and That Baby DVD (which is a lot of fun). We don't use them often and I almost always sit with her.

I will second the Don't Make Me Count the Three ... it was a very good book.

Drama Queens said...

We love love Growing Kids God's Way for discipline and his toddler targeted book called Toddlerwise by Gary Ezzo. We have used it with all 3 of our kids and the results are proof for us! Good luck!

Melissa Blair said...

I have used the Signing Time series with all of my kids. Not only is it full of entertaining songs, but it teaches children sign language. My oldest was able to communicate with us easily before she was a year old. Simple things, of course, like she was hungry or wanted milk, or that she was sleepy. There are a lot of other benefits to teaching your children sign language (and learning it for yourself too). Check out more on their website

jmh said...

Aaaaah! Eliana is precious!! (I say Aaaaah because it makes me want another that size;) and my little Hunter weighed 16lbs 1oz at his 1 yr check up so I loooove the tiny sized cuties!).

As far as video suggestions, I tried them all. And by age 15 months or so, Dora was a household name. And the theme song still drives me batty! So, I think you are so smart asking for recommendations. I hope someone (I haven't read the comments) will suggest something that will save you from the annoying little girl who walks through the woods with a monkey and no parental supervision;)

I love to read and loved "Bringing up Boys" by James Dobson. Might not help for Eliana but I bet anything he writes would be wonderful. See if he has any good toddler-specific reads. I just finished "Scream Free Parenting" myself. Not that I scream much or that it would apply for you now - but it does challenge readers to look at reactions and I think that's good at any stage.

The best toddler toys we had weren't toys at all. Things like big boxes my husband would bring home from work that we made playhouses and crawl through obstacle courses out of were a HUGE hit at the crawling age. There was a "ball popper" toy, though, that both my kids as toddlers loved and would laugh SO hard at. It was Playskool maybe...?! It played music while air "popped" plastic balls out of a hole on top. I have no idea why that was so entertaining but it was really cute and a hit for both our kids. Bouncing Tigger was also a favorite. 6-18 months is such a sweet, sweet stage!!

I bet Isaac smiles when he sees Eliana and her little bitty personality. I can see him whispering to be good to mommy and daddy, in her ears, as she sleeps. Bet she smiles when she hears him too. They are both such beautiful children, Stacy:)

much love ~ Julie B.

Cecilia said...

I don't have recommendations from personal experience, but I have kept a list of things based on friends recommendations. I'm going to get Praise Baby DVDs and Signing Time as they have been recommended to me several times over.

I don't have any book to recommend, I have a wide range of friends and parenting book advice tends to get personal for people I've learned :).

Anne said...

I love "Don't Make Me Count to Three" by Ginger Plowman. If you get it from, they send a wall chart that is very handy. Wish I had it when I became a mom 23 years ago!! :)

Timberdoodle is also great for wonderful toys and games. I have loved them for years because of their thorough, detailed reviews of all their items. They also have things sorted by ages--very helpful.

We love Wedgits for little people!

Kelly @ Sufficient Grace Ministries said...

Anything by James Dobson is wonderful! I love all of his books training children. God always uses his calm wisdom to bring me peace when I am weary. As Eliana grows, his books on discipline may be helpful. He also has a book, Bringing Up Girls...(obviously, I have not read this one, but have read the counterpart for parents of boys). Dare to Discipline, Hide and Seek, and others have been a blessing for me...good common sense, biblically-based suggestions. I would also reccommend subscribing to the Focus on the Family magazines. They also have age appropriate advice for all stages of parenting.

Blessings to you as you soak in this season...

Michelle R said...

Neither of my kids really got into DVDs at that young of an age. Lydia loved Max Lucado's Hermie videos starting at about 2. Veggie Tales were over her head til about 3.
As far as parenting, we read Babywise when both kids were infants, and then Shepherding a Childs Heart for the toddler years and beyond. LOVE Ted Tripp.
I recommend the Leap Frog music table. You can buy it now for the floor, since the legs detach, then when she's pulling up she'll love standing at it.
Hope this helps!