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Archive for July, 2010

Boogie monster? Nope! Check out this week’s “Store Spotlight” with Kids Kloset in Broken Bow, Nebraska. Shirley McGinn gets down to earth with Le Top and gives tips on how to update your child’s wardrobe this summer and what her “must-haves” are for a family road trip!

Visit Le Top’s Facebook and become a Fan to receive weekly “Store Spotlight” updates — Click HERE

1.     Are you a Nebraska native? If so, what did you do growing up as a kid in the local area? Describe the neighborhood your store is in for us. 
Shirley:
I am a Nebraska native.  I graduated from Broken Bow High School.  Music was always my love and I taught elementary music for several years.  I raised my family and then entered the retail business and have owned my own store for 10 years!  My store is located on a beautiful square, which is the center of the retail area in Broken Bow.  We have a “prime” spot [on the Square].

2.     So how did you get your start in the children’s business?
Shirley:
Well, I worked in a missy store for several years and opened a small department in the store that I worked in, and eventually out grew that space and opened my current store location.

3.     If you had to take a family road trip this summer – what 5 items could you not live without?
Shirley:
Comfortable clothes that always look fresh, plenty of cold water, games for the kids, snacks, and plenty of patience!!

4.     What is 1 tip you would give a parent on how to update your child’s wardrobe for summer?
Shirley:
Find clothes that are cool, easy to care for and feel good for a child.  Comfort is everything!

The Le Top wall features our Lot's o' Fish, Hip Hop Grasshopper, Sweatheart Butterfly, Daisy Duck, Wildflower, and Wild About Monokinis collections.

5.     Between all of the social media outlets – Facebook, Twitter, and more – what do you think about social networking and how it allows moms and dads to join cyber parenting communities where they can meet, gain knowledge, as well as get recommendations and support.
Shirley:
I think the concept is very interesting and I think the parents today are more in-tune with this type of resource.  My own children, as parents, rely on others for advise in this area and probably would use social networking to reach out to their friends.

6.     What do you feel are the three biggest keys to your success?  
Shirley:
Variety, a knowledgeable staff, and our location.

7.     If you had one piece of advice for someone entering children’s retail today, what would it be?
Shirley:
Watch the price point and the quality. Also be sure the clothing has color and style.

8.     What is your best or most memorable moment in your store?
Shirley:
We have annual style shows and getting the children ready is always fun and the kids themselves have so much fun.

 9. What collection or piece from Le Top line do you love from the Spring/Summer 2010 collection?
Shirley:
The Le Top swimsuits!

Le Top Spring/Summer 2010 Daisy Duck and Zebra Monokinis

 Kids Kloset
833 D Street
Broken Bow, NE 68822
308.872.3802
http://www.fashionisourpassion.com/

 

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We’ve all heard the phrase, “It’s just like riding a bike.” It sounds easy. But do you remember learning how to ride your first bike?  Was it easy? Did you crash? Did you cry? Did you smile with glee? Swear that you would never ride one again? Ha!

Here are some tips that may make it easier for your kids to learn to ride a bike.

Teaching Toddlers
Children can learn how to ride a bike at any age, but the younger the better. Try to start them as soon as they can walk – the hardest thing is to teach a child how to balance on a bike.

Toddlers can usually learn how to balance on a Hotwalk, a bike with no pedals, designed specifically for toddlers by Specialized. (It costs about $130 and can be bought at local bicycle shops.) This is a great first bike because it teaches kids to balance with their feet on the ground rather than on pedals.

Good Ole’ Training Wheels
Going the traditional route? There are also millions of kids who have used training wheels (also called “stabilizers”) to learn how to ride a bike successfully. Start your child on a 12-inch wheel bike with training wheels, and then slowly wean your kid from the back wheels.  It helps when you gradually raise the training wheels as your child gains confidence. The wheels should barely be touching the ground before your remove them off all together.

When the Wheels Come Off
Once the wheels come off, choose a safe site for your child’s “first ride.”  My personal favorite, which tends to be liked by many parents, is a flat, wide-open pavement area like a vacant parking lot or a school.

Here’s how you do it… hold the seat of the bike and give your child a little push. Once you give your child a little push, pedaling is KEY. Cheer your child on to keep pedaling! This is the way to continue balance. Tip: Don’t let go without telling your child. If he falls at a time that he felt he would be safe, you lose his trust. Also, it’s not safe for him to keep looking back over his shoulder to check on you.

It is natural to expect your child to fall – it’s all part of the learning experience. Make sure your child wears a helmet at all times for suitable protection. Remember – repeat, repeat, repeat! It is the key to mastering the bicycle.

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We just had to share a photo of this beautiful princess sent to us by one of our fabulous Facebook fans.

Our Le Top Darling of the Day, Quinn, looks sweet as can be in her Le Top Botanical Garden long sleeve print knit dress (sans footless tights) from our fall 2010 collection. Thanks for sharing and keep them coming…

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As he delicately placed eight mini doughnuts on a plate, he proudly announced,

I made my own breakfast!

–Patrick, age 4

Editor’s Note:
Please spread the giggles by sharing your funny quotes with us!

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This weekend I took my daughter on a play date with two other kids. Both of the children were from her daycare (she’s now in preschool). She had not seen one of them for 3-4 months and the other child, Lilah saw briefly a few weeks ago. They all love each other very much and couldn’t wait to play together, but what I found through this experience and by asking other parents, is that three can be a crowd. One child always seems to be more in demand. The other two may feel left out, jealous, or not have a partner. Though this is normal (especially with younger children) it may be helpful to have an even number of children on a play date. It doesn’t mean there is a guarantee of no problems, but hopefully with more friends there are more options. 🙂

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SHOP LE TOP’s FALL 2010 COLLECTION HERE
ENJOY FREE GROUND SHIPPING*

Whenever I think about hiring or trusting a nanny today, images flash to my mind of the funny nanny cam used in the movie “Meet the Parents” to spy on Ben Stiller. Never seen the movie? Not to worry, the point is – how do you trust your caregiver with your child and do you need to be watching them? Basically the majority of my childhood, I grew up with various nannies – some GOOD and some BAD. My first piece of advice as a person who grew up with caregivers…take your time finding one!

Finding the right nanny to care for your most prized little one is one of the first – and hardest – decisions you may make as a parent.  There are many things to consider, such as – Do you want a daycare environment or a private nanny at home? Do you have family member who can help part- or full-time?  How much can you afford? What kind of coverage will you need? Try to get a clear picture of what is most convenient and fits your family’s structure, and it will help you target your search and cause you less stress during the process.

In regards to the trust issue at hand – it may be that you’re going back to work after maternity leave, or you may be taking on part-time work and need to find someone to watch your children while you are not home. Whatever the case, you can’t just snap your fingers and Mary Poppins arrives. It’s not enough to just wish for Mary Poppins or Nanny 911— you need to do your research.

Unlike other professions, there are no national standards in the United States for nanny training, and there is no state or national group in charge of regulating job performance. Therefore, it is imperative that parents thoroughly interview and screen a potential nanny before she begins caring for their children. The easiest way to verify the background of a candidate is to hire a high-quality nanny agency.

If you can, find an agency that belongs to the Alliance of Professional Nanny Agencies, a professional group that requires members to conduct rigorous background checks. Agencies usually charge 10 percent of a nanny’s first-year salary, plus a $100 to $300 application fee. If you decide you are going to do your own background checks, it’s imperative that you know what to look for and what to ask about. And even if you do use a nanny agency, you should know what makes up a good background check.

When hiring a nanny or babysitter for your family, always check references and employment history. Additionally, always TRUST your instincts. Don’t worry if you’re alone in your hesitation; if you’re not feeling completely satisfied with any single aspect of your nanny’s application or it just doesn’t feel right, move on to another candidate.

Below are some good questions to ask or create a DIY application for nanny candidates:

Experience & Training Questions:

  1. How long have you been a nanny
  2. How old were the other children you cared for?
  3. Do you have any formal early childhood development or childcare training?
  4. Would you be willing to take classes to further your education in childcare?
  5. Do you have emergency training?
    CPR: yes / no  First-aid: yes / no
    If not, would you be willing to take CPR classes and first-aid training? yes / no
  6. What would you do if my child was sick or had an accident?
  7. Would you mind if I ran a background check on you? yes / no

Philosophy Questions:

  1. Why are you a nanny? Why are you looking for a new position?
  2. What do you like about the job?
  3. Describe your ideal family/employer.
  4. What do you like least about being a nanny? Do you have any special peeves about parents/children/pets?
  5. What are your beliefs about childrearing?
  6. What do children like best about you?
  7. How do you comfort children?
  8. How do you deal with separation anxiety?
  9. How do you discipline children? Give me an example of a previous discipline problem and how you handled it.
  10. What are some of the rules you’ve followed in other households that you think worked well?
  11. Which rules haven’t worked for you?
  12. Would you be willing to follow my rules and disciplining/comforting strategies even if they’re different from yours?

Daily Routine Questions:

  1. What will my child be doing on any given day? (Click here for our daily log sheet.)
  2. What are your favorite activities to do with a child the age of mine?
  3. If I’m working in the house, will you be able to keep my child happily occupied without involving me?

Logistics Questions:

  1. Do you have future plans (school, job, marriage, etc.) that would put a limit on how long you expect to be a nanny?
  2. Do you have a well-functioning car, with appropriate safety belts and room for car seats? yes / no
  3. Do you want a live-in arrangement? yes / no
  4. If it’s not a live-in arrangement, where do you live and how would you get to work?
  5. If it were not a live-in arrangement, would you bring your own food or expect meals to be provided?
  6. Do you smoke? yes / no
  7. Are you willing to do light chores while our baby is sleeping? Which ones?


  8. Do you have any personal responsibilities or health issues that could interfere with a regular work schedule?
  9. When would you be able to start working?

  10. Would you ever be available to work evenings or weekends?
  11. Would you be available to travel with our family for weekends/vacations?


  12. When do you expect to take a vacation of your own?
  13. What is your salary range?

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It came up in conversation with a few parents this past weekend when it would be best to make the big switch from a crib to a “big kid bed.”  Many parents feel that a crib is great because their child has slept in one for months (sometimes years) and they are safe and contained at night (so why move right?), but at some point, it’s time to have your little one move into a “big kid bed.”

Commonly, kids make the move anywhere from 18 to 30 months, but as many parents know, every child develops differently and the adjustment can take more than one night or week. Even if your child still seems content in his crib, he or she may have outgrown it.  Generally, if your child is 35 inches tall or the railing reaches mid-chest level, he or she could scale the crib railing at any time, and probably needs more room to sleep comfortably too.  On another note – some parents make the switch to a bed impending the arrival of another baby. If this is your situation, make the switch at least six to eight weeks before you’re due. You want your toddler well settled in his new bed before he sees the baby taking over “his” crib.

I looked into some tips to make the change a little easier on you (and catching your “Zzz’s” at night!). By planning ahead and anticipating the trouble spots, you can make the transition trauma-free!

Talk about a bed while your child is still in the crib.
Start the conversation casually. Say something along the lines of, “You’re getting so big. Pretty soon, we’re going to have to get you a big-boy bed, like the one Mommy and Daddy sleep in.” By making the bed a symbol of growing up, you can turn the move into a celebration, and not a loss.

Make the decision.
Whether it be moving your child from a crib or your bedroom to a bed depends on a few variables, including determining if your child is ready to sleep alone. In many instances, the crib or co-sleeping is a nurturing, comfortable place, and you may need to sell your child on the idea.

Safety first!
Children who can pull themselves over a guardrail or shake the railings is a sure sign that the crib is no longer a secure place. Another signs of a toddler outgrowing the crib is when they wake up and wiggle around and hit the crib railings.

Choosing a bed.
During the changeover, take your child’s age into consideration when it comes to selecting a bed and determining its placement. To ease the transition, put your toddler’s new bed in the same place his crib used to be. Get your toddler excited about having a “big-kid bed” by taking your child with you to pick it out, if you’re buying it new, or by emphasizing its previous owner if that person is someone your child knows. For example: “This was Cousin Josh’s bed and now it’s yours! You’re almost as big as him now!” Let your toddler shop with you for new sheets featuring his favorite characters, and encourage him to show his “big-kid bed” to visiting friends and family. 



Moving rooms.
If your child will be sleeping in his own room, a low-to-the-ground toddler bed, which uses the child’s crib mattress and similar bedding is a good option. Adding railings to a toddler bed can also allow an extra element of safety between the bed and the floor.

Be firm about staying in bed.
When it’s bedtime, keep your nightly routine the same, but get your child accustomed to sleeping alone by sitting down or snuggling in the new bed with him or her and perhaps reading a few books as he or she drifts to sleep. If he seems anxious the first night, promise that you’ll check on him in a few minutes — and return when you said you would. If he gets out of bed to come find you, Dr. Shaw recommends saying calmly, “It’s time to go back to bed” and walking him back to his room. If you give your child lots of extra attention or cave in to his demands for a story or glass of water, you’re setting yourself up for weeks of bedtime chaos.

Reflect and celebrate.
Finally, remember that the switch from a crib to a bed is a milestone in your and your child’s life. It’s one more sign that your baby is growing up. It is nice to reflect on when you first set up the crib for your little one, and then go have a private celebration of your own (maybe a glass of vino!). However, stay patient throughout the transition process, and recognize that independent sleep might at first seem scary to your child. Be compassionate to your child’s needs and go with whatever works best for him or her.

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