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Why snuggling your baby = happy big kids

We doubt you need another excuse to love on that baby—but here’s a big one anyway.

Why snuggling your baby = happy big kids

Humans are born ready to love and to be loved. All parents recognize the adoration reserved especially for parents: the small arms reaching up, the joy of infant and parent in their cocoon of mutual delight. Babies expect to be cherished.


This cherishing, this affirmation of the infant from head to toe, teaches the baby who he is.

In interaction with the parents, the baby learns "Yes, these are my toes, how good they feel when Dad kisses them!" and "Mom makes that happy noise when I smile at her!" The baby also learns "Mom and Dad love to bathe me, to nurse me, to care for me: I am worth taking care of. I am lovable."

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Cherishing our babies is natural, if we listen to our instincts. It is our secret weapon, the nourishment that helps them grow inside, the source of self esteem, the foundation on which their ability to love and be loved rests.

This expectation of being loved is what allows our children to learn so quickly, to risk bumps and scrapes and hurt feelings: the security of knowing that someone who adores them is watching out for them, supporting their growth.

Cherishment is the security of unconditional love.

For the parent, cherishing is reveling in being this baby’s parent, being grateful even in the middle of diapers and sleeplessness and colic that this baby was sent to these arms.

But, if we have not been cherished ourselves, cherishing can be challenging.

When we have been frustrated in our attempts to love and be loved, we may find it difficult to revel in our new baby. We may find ourselves annoyed rather than delighted by her need for our attention, angry rather than sympathetic when he howls. We may avert our eyes from her adoring gaze. We may become uncomfortable when engaged in reciprocal play with our baby and interrupt it without really noticing what we are doing, or even our discomfort.

Often, parents who have not been cherished themselves are envious of the attention the baby receives from others. These parents may insist that the baby adapt to their needs, by, for instance, refusing to adequately babyproof and then becoming angry when the baby persistently attempts to explore the DVD player or the stack of magazines.

And for the baby, what happens when this need to cherish and be cherished is frustrated? Frustration, of course, is anger. Lack of being cherished creates an angry child.

Some parents are conditionally accepting. They might adore the baby, for instance, but find it difficult to deal with her when she's angry. What happens? The baby simply rejects the parts of herself that haven't been accepted. The ability to love herself is compromised, shadowed with self hatred; she is not, after all, good enough to evoke what she needs and wants most: cherishing. As she rejects parts of herself, her emotional growth is compromised. (See the Attachment Research for more about the Resistant-ambivalent response.)

The need for cherishing, like all survival needs, doesn’t vanish when thwarted. It goes deep underground. We defend ourselves against this dangerous need that would make us vulnerable; we ward it off with anger, which eventually turns into bitterness.

In extreme cases, the hope of being loved becomes too painful, and the child defends against it by consciously expecting rejection.

We all know these children, who become experts at soliciting dislike. The famous researcher Rene Spitz said it most succinctly: "Infants without love… Will end as adults full of hate."

Luckily, virtually all of us get enough cherishment that we don't end up as hateful adults. Few of us, though, get enough of this "soul food" that we don't end up with a heart that is, at times, more hungry than we would like. That hunger, those unmet needs, are what drive all "bad behavior" on the part of our children.

Kids whose needs for cherishment are met become cooperative kids. Sure, they'll have times when they're overwhelmed by emotion, or have a hard time regulating their behavior. But these kids want to cooperate to please their parent.

Bottom line: Want to raise a happy, cooperative, responsible child? Cherish your baby.

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Meri Meri: Decor and gifts that bring the wonder of childhood to life

We could not be more excited to bring the magic of Meri Meri to the Motherly Shop. For over 30 years, their playful line of party products, decorations, children's toys and stationery have brought magic to celebrations and spaces all over the world. Staring as a kitchen table endeavor with some scissors, pens and glitter in Los Angeles in 1985, Meri Meri (founder Meredithe Stuart-Smith's childhood nickname) has evolved from a little network of mamas working from home to a team of 200 dreaming up beautiful, well-crafted products that make any day feel special.

We've stocked The Motherly Shop with everything from Halloween must-haves to instant-heirloom gifts kiddos will adore. Whether you're throwing a party or just trying to make the everyday feel a little more special, we've got you covered.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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