New year, new start, right? Ok, maybe not new but at least better, improved start. Many of us are beginning the new year with a few goals, resolutions and decisions of what we want to or plan on achieving in the 12 months that lie ahead of us. Get healthier, learn a new language, quit smoking, start exercising or be a better parent. For those of you, who have decided to try and become better parents, you have come to the right place. Similar to last year, we have put together the best parenting blogs you should read and follow in 2017. They may offer some inspiration and maybe even help you on your way.Kidspot | http://www.kidspot.com.au |@kidspotsocialThis huge Aussie parenting portal is all about helping moms and dads solve their doubts and all kinds of problems, that come with simply being a parent. Kidspot has been around for 10 years and offers a wealth of information about anything and everything you need to know about being a good parent. No matter if you have a newborn or a teenager on your hands. Chances are, you will find an answer to your question right here. Whether you are not sure about something during your pregnancy or you just want your teen to act “normal” for a while, this is your place to go! Kidspot even offers lifestyle tips and food ideas.“In 2017 Kidspot will continue to share engaging real life stories and informative articles that make us laugh, cry or become so outraged we almost spit out our cold tea. We want to provide a supportive environment for parents to share this crazy journey.” - Melissa WilsonPregnant Chicken | http://pregnantchicken.com/ | @pregnantchickenEstablished by Amy Morrison in 2010. A very well-known and read website by now. Mostly focused on pregnant women and pregnancy in general. Packed with all sorts of topics, tips and tricks around pregnancy. Currently undergoing many big challenges to engage their readers. Pregnant chicken will try to deliver its new tools and many useful resources for the parents. There is definitely a lot to look forward to!“Pregnant Chicken is relaunching their pregnancy calendar and their new resource guide for 2017! Both stick to the Burd’s philosophy of keeping things fun and funny during pregnancy.”- Amy MorrisonDaddy Blogger | http://daddyblogger.com/ | @tokyorickyEstablished by Ricky Shetty, Daddy blogger gives you a slightly different perspective on parenting. The father perspective. The main message of this website is to inspire other parents to travel with their kids and families a whole lot more.So besides enjoying the traveling adventures, you will also find tons of parenting gear reviews, tips, giveaways and much more!“Here we are in 2017 doing a Round-The-World Trip visiting Asia, Middle East, Africa, South and Central America with 3 kids under 5 years old. Our blog has saved us thousands of dollars by getting media stays at hotels and resorts, complimentary sightseeing attractions, restaurant meals, and much more. We have worked with major Tourism Boards, Hotels & Resorts, and Sightseeing Attractions around the world. In 2017, we will continue with our family travel adventure inspiring other parents to travel more with their children. If we can travel globally with 3 kids under 5, so can you! :)” -Ricky Shetty[yikes-mailchimp form="1" description="1"]The Inspiration Edit | http://www.theinspirationedit.com/ | @inspire_editThis educative, yet funny blog written by a stay at home mom and an early years teacher Angela Milnes keeps its objective and slogan fairly straightforward; “learn through play”. Angela was born in New Zealand but is now living in the UK with her husband, daughter and a dog. Her blog definitely doesn’t lack resources; from recipes, family animals to games and ideas. She says, she loves writing this blog as it is her way of portraying honest and positive family experiences. “The focus of our blog for 2017 is sharing inspirational ideas to educate and engage children through play.”- Angela MilnesSo which one of these will become your 2017 source of parenting advice? Let us know in the comments or share your opinion with us on our BB facebook page.
We parents know our time is precious and we need information (that can sometimes be scarce) as well as inspiration for our parenting. Benjamin Button has picked the best mummy and daddy bloggers out there and this is what they are going to write about in 2016: Dad and Buried | dadandburied.com | @DadandBuried Mike Julianelle with his hilarious daddy blog will get a new kickstart in 2016. „I’m expecting another kid in January, so my blog is sure to be loaded with stuff about that, from remembering all the baby stuff I’d forgotten, to dealing with suddenly having two kids, to never sleeping again for the rest of my life. Hopefully I’ll be able to write about my sons bonding, and their positive relationship, and maybe even my 5yo settling down and not being such a pain in the ass anymore? That would be great,“ says Mike. He will have further milestones in his family life which will be fun to follow: his 5 year old son will enter first grade, which will surely bring new material. And Mike will also be turning 40. Looks like 2016 at Dadandburied.com blog will be a great source of inspiration for parents with babies and pre-school kids as well. Family Focus Blog | familyfocusblog.com Family Focus Blog will continue to feature parenting articles that share personal tips and hot topics in parenting. „You will also find more healthy family recipes and family friendly craft projects. Family travel destinations will be highlighted,“ says Scarlet Paolicchi. For shopping- eager mums, of course there will be even more shopping tips and an increased focus on fashion. Familyfocusblog.com will be again a number one choice for mums with little free time. I Am Not the Babysitter | iamnotthebabysitter.com | @MsJamieLynne The blog will contain it’s normal eclectic mix of parenting articles, humour, lifestyle, etc. but you can look forward to kicking off 2016 with a parental philanthropic focus! „We anticipate early 2016 focusing on our nonprofit work. We have a nonprofit organization called Raise It Up that was started by iamnotthebabysitter.com’s founder, Jamie Grumet,“ shared Nikki Waring. The team recently went to Lesbos in Greece to a Syrian refugee camp and will be returning there at the beginning of 2016 to provide relief aid. „We also have sustainable garden projects coming up in Africa as well,“ added Nikki. Parents who want to see the world outside of their safe neighbourhoods should definitely stick to this blog. [yikes-mailchimp form="1" description="1"]Daddy Blogger | daddyblogger.com One of the most watched fathers in the US – Ricky Shetty – has big plans for 2016. „We are launching our brand new website FamilyTravelBloggers.com on Jan 1, 2016 focused on inspiring parents to travel more with their kids. We will be doing a one year adventure from Vancouver overland through the US, Central America, and South America with 3 kids under 5 years old,“ reveals Ricky. You might check the website and maybe see Ricky live in your city. Besides that, with Ricky you will always get great tips on how to spend your family holiday. The Good Men Project | thegoodmenproject.com Thegoodmenproject.com is more than a blogging platform, and indeed it is worth reading it all. We focused on the Dad and Family part of it. It is not, and will not be in 2016, only a parenting forum, it is specifically one which examines the involvement of men as fathers. „We will spotlight the men in our world who have expanded their complete, emotionally holistic selves to innately express the depths of present and eager parenting. We will expose gender role restrictions as useless paradigms and create a new vision of male individuals who can explore and express the gamete of their talents, instincts and compassions freely and with strength — all to the benefit and inspiration of their families and children,“ says Robert Watson. The Good Men Project is revisiting the daily parental routines and focuses on the core of becoming and being an extraordinary parent. Robert adds: „We will reflect a world where a woman can be accepted as a competitive, viable candidate for the most powerful job in the world, and at the same time be one in which a talented, vibrant, valuable man can see his mandate is staying home and nurturing his children as their primary stay at home parent.“ Crazy Adventures in Parenting | crazyadventuresinparenting.com If you have a few minutes off from the kids each day, it is totally worth it to spend it on crazyadventuresinparentingblog.com blog. Mum of seven great kids, Lisa Douglas, is sharing here not only fun stories or recipes. Tons of useful tips on spending time with kids, weight loss or even crafts especially when they are described in a very personal and informal way will cheer up any mum. Lisa is planning to return to „old school blogging“ for 2016. She is missing the times where she used to pour her heart out. „It was about our unique voices and opinions being shared. I got to know many bloggers back then, as they got to know me, because we shared from our souls and laughed when it was funny, and cried when life became hard and unbearable. I want to some how get back to that,“ says Lisa. Fingers crossed for her and for all parents who love blogs that help them to become better than they were yesterday!
A year ago I remember going to meetings on crutches as I was recovering from a knee operation. It was very hot, however, these were meetings that were worth the sweat. At this time in 2014 we started under the project name Mamawatch.me. The first business plan was written and as well as product discussions the first five of us also discussed some deeper topics, for example: how can we use this project to help other people? Not just as customers, but even supporting them with money…if we make some one day. We agreed to give away 50% of net profits to children who were “not so lucky” in their life – whether due to disease, family circumstances or something else. Only when I look back do I see that this was one of the crucial moments that formed the team – many people who came across us joined, left…or didn’t even consider joining based on the overall atmosphere and culture which was forming near a chocolate factory in Bratislava. The year passed by very quickly. It was filled with lots of ups and downs. Ups – like new prototypes, great customer feedback, workshops with our mentors, or even a love that appeared in the team – were the fuel. Downs – like technical issues, lack of money, the failure of CrocoDuo, our test campaign or wrong turns – made us stronger. Once there were 12 people on board dedicated to helping as much as they can. Now there are 7 people who form the core team and a few helpers who dedicate the time they can. Everybody who came (even if they left) brought something important and irreplaceable: Lukas brought great ideas about the video before he left for studies in the US. Amir set up the first prototype on bananapi and set the road for the technical development before he moved to another project in Prague. Michal started to set the brand identity of Benjamin Button before he realised he was involved in too many projects. Nela – besides the great b-day cake and cookies she made – brought the name Benjamin Button after she heard the idea for the first time because it reminded her of the movie and novel. Andrej brought financial planning and some new features for the device, and also started to work on the intelligent software. He left after receiving an offer from his friend’s software company. Martin prepared some great tools for our crowdfunding campaign including mailing lists, strategy, media and PR list. He left to start his own advertising agency. Two of our programmers Andrej and Miso taught me that the best motivation for IT guys is money, indeed. So who stayed? I would call them heroes, or maybe fools. I don’t know anyone else who would work on a project without getting paid for so long. I don’t even know whether, if I tell it to my grandkids one day, they will believe it. Andrej, my classmate from secondary school, and his company eSense Slovakia were the first who believed in button. I can’t even count how many times he came up with great philosophical questions, technical solutions and even marketing ideas. There is no field he would not comment on or cover. He is a true artist and technician in one. Ivo was an architect with a 3D printing and rapid prototyping company next door. And a fresh father. He got the Bb idea so quickly…and came up with designs that we can hold in our hands so rapidly that I felt like Alice in Wonderland. Miska was called to help with branding and graphic design. Our promising beginning was interrupted by her not comings to meetings. However, before Christmas she came with work that totally blew our minds. Also she turned out to be very empathic and she would catch the best feedback from the focus groups we did. Vlado had a rapid start preparing all the documents for software development. Even thought he had to finish his university studies, he was always there if we needed to fix some web bug and he offered some great critical thinking points that helped us to stay on the ground. Michal helped a lot in putting the PCBs and other hardware together for prototypes, especially those which went for software development. Miro would probably even risk his life to make b a success, sometimes he couldn’t help more that he already did, but would still love to. He will be a pillar for our production. Peter joined recently and he made Bb not a Slovak start-up anymore. His comments questions and advice are priceless. He always hits the mark! Robo is on standby for our quality assurance and production set up. As an engineer in automotive and electronics he comes with some great contacts and ideas. Boris is also on standby ready for the online sales and affiliate program….in Barcelona. David helps from time to time with online marketing and social media. He always brings a simple solution to a complicated problem – punk style :-). During our team meetings we have always had a reason to laugh. We also imposed some traditions to help with discipline and motivation…and they are funny. Any team member who is late for the meeting must sing. A song of their own choice. Praise the lord some of us remember some folk songs. But this is not the worst torture we undergo. All of us have sacrificed something we love until we launch the campaign: Ivo is avoiding McDonalds food, Miso gave up on chocolate and I for example gave up on pistachios! Heeeeeelp! I wrote this look back blog to say THANK YOU to this amazing team. It is an honor to work with you and to learn from you every day. You are my heroes, and I believe soon you will become heroes to tens of thousands of great parents and happy kids! A big thanks goes to all of our mentors and stakeholders for all your help and valuable feedback, we are all humble students of yours: our families, Tomas Baran, Janco Benkovic, Feri Borsik, Jon Bradford, Rasto Brencic, Julo Budaj, Petra Drozdova De-La-Fere, guys from eSense Slovakia, Marian Gazdik, Robo Grencik, Palo Hlubina, Vilo Janac, Andrej Kiska, Katka Kovalcikova, Maja Koczova, Sisa Kusnirova, Tinka Licko, Igor Matlon, Andrej Mosat, Simon Sicko, Lidka Sirotova, Ivo Stefunko, Ludo Srenkel, Vladimir Synek, Rado Tausinger, Michal Pastier, Jan Pop, Christoph Raethke, Viki Reviliak, Mato Rudinsky, Rado Vasina, Peter Vidovic, Alex Wayenberg, Peter Zalesak, Mr. and Mrs. Zathurecky, Dodo Zemla, and many more that I have forgotten to mention. But we love you anyway :-*
Photography is the magic of capturing the moment. The beauty of a moment is turned into a memory which can stay with us forever. One of the most precious periods for personal photography is capturing the early stages of childhood which we do not remember at all. It is not just visual proof that reminds us that we were once children; it is a unique mix of emotions, innocence and gestures. What is the most appropriate period for taking pictures of a child? As far as newborns are concerned it is in their second week. The babies fall asleep easily and we can create beautiful pictures of them taking a nap. Keep your camera ready – after they awake with their eyes wide opened and full of surprise, you can capture some nice facial expressions. A great period for taking artistic photos of a baby is from the 3rd to the 5th month. At this time the babies react nicely to different sounds which attract their attention. We can use either baby rattles or some melodies from the mobile phone to make them turn our way and giggle. Maja, professional photographer and Bb friend (whose picture illustrates this post), gave us this advice: “I personally prefer singing and making some animal sounds. Babies usually stay in one position – the one we have placed them in, so it is really easy to arrange the photo scenery. The infants cannot walk or crawl away, which ends approximately within their 8th month of life.” Photographers as well say that the best scenery is usually outdoors. Hard to tell why – besides the atmosphere, fresh air, colors, the matter of fact is that people – both parents and kids – are somehow relaxed and natural. Kids love to play and be outside and the pictures taken can usually tell a whole story about their playtime. “For smooth cooperation I can only advise bribery” says Maja, “Give the child a chocolate, toy, biscuit or even a simple flower and I can ensure you that finding the best shot will become much easier.“ Some might think that taking pictures of your child or baby is taking the moment away from you, because you are not cherishing it enough. However, the focus in finding a great shot and detail makes even an everyday situation special. The rule of thumb for baby pictures is easy – just enjoy it, enjoy the moments, even if your baby is crying. That is worth capturing as well! And do not forget to get back to your pictures after some time…
If you scroll back in your memories, which was the first moment you remember? Asking myself the same question, I think, I remember my first steps when I was around 1 year old, but then I can only recall some ‘adventures’ with my parents and grandparents at the age of 4 or older. Now, having two kids, it is such a pity they will not be able to remember all the funny situations, lessons and emotional moments spent with their parents. One and a half years ago (when my kids were age 2 and almost 4) I started to write them little diaries. If there is some situation or moment worth keeping, I write it into my Google doc called Lili memories/Didi memories (you guessed right – Liliane and Diana are the two main heroes of those diaries). When browsing the web, I found some interesting facts why we and our kids rarely remember our childhood. In addition, the fact that we do not remember is not quite true. For example as infants we are aware of the past, as many experiments have shown. Babies in those experiments were not able to speak but they could imitate. Even a 6 month-old infant repeated a three-step sequence that was shown to him the next day. A 9-month-old infant repeated the same sequence a month later. Our brain focuses on developing the semantic memory – that’s how we learn to talk and build a vocabulary. But at the same time our brain is not developed enough yet to organise our memories in time and value, we do not have all the language needed to represent the experience. Since our nascent neural structures (especially hippocampus and prefrontal cortex) are not developed enough, our early childhood memories are erased after some time. For example, children at the age of 2 were witnessed to retain memories when they were half of that age, but they will not be able to keep these memories into adulthood. On average, we can have some first early fragmented memories at the age of 3 years and 6 months. And this is usually found in women, as they are bit more developed as compared to men at that age (huh, I think this gap lasts until we reach 100 especially in interactions, that can be so elaborately explained. The memories are stored as stories, narratives, but at an early age parts of the „story“are stored in different parts of the brain – easy to speak: visual pictures are stored on the other side of brain than sound for example. And hippocampus (which is not very developed at age 0-4) puts those parts together into very complex parts. Hippocampus then starts to tie the parts of information together properly after age 3. Nevertheless, a large majority of parents are trying to store the nicest moments of their kids’ childhood – camcorders, cameras etc. The trick with this equipment is that it’s not always there when we need it…and even if it’s there, the time we need to turn on the camera is usually the time when the ‘best part’ is over. On top of that, I noticed as a parent that I am distracted to record the moments and do not really cherish them. I am just a man, focused on one thing and so I focus on filming…and the whole experience is kind of passing me by. I do not even want to think about how much I missed when I was away– work, business trips, gym etc. All of this brought me together with some good friends to solve this problem for once and for all – the problem of my kids not remembering and me not experiencing those special moments. Since May 2014, we are developing a micro video camera with all kinds of features so you never miss out on any important moment. It will be a wearable camera for children and parents alike, and a clever nanny in one. We are just a few steps away in making Benjamin Button (how we call this little miracle) work and we want to make sure we are going in the right direction… Thank you all for your feedback and questions!