Archive for Posts including video

Do you reward your kids with sweets? How much is too much?

Do you reward your kids with sweets? Do you send them to school with sweets? Do you ever think about how your relationship to sweets was formed when you were a child, or how you’re helping your child form their relationship with sweets now? Watch the video for a compelling conversation on these questions, and at the end grab a tip on how to read nutrition labels for sugar that you may not know.

Want to start making some healthy lifestyle changes with our help?

New mum, click here.

Busy with work, click here.

Are you putting your oxygen mask on first?

Only hours away from our return flight from Spain this summer, I found myself Googling symptoms for heart attack in women, just to reassure myself that the pain in my chest was probably nothing. What I read was not clear enough to stop worrying and I very nearly had my husband take me to the hospital. Instead we went for a walk on a pier and I thought I was going to faint. After a good doze of the fresh ocean breeze, I started feeling better and the pain in my chest as well as the dizziness faded away. Things that had gone through my head were very scary. The scariest thought of all was ‘who will look after my children if something happens to me?

Everyone knows that when the oxygen masks in an airplane drop from the ceiling you need to put your own mask on first and only then help your children, right? So why is it that in ‘real life’ mums seem to forget this very important rule all too easily? We seem to always be busy with looking after everyone around us that we either tend to forget ourselves or simply run out of time or energy for taking care of ourselves. If you are anything like me, you are enjoying looking after your children, spending time with your partner and your job gives you additional satisfaction, so you might not even notice that you are neglecting yourself.

Why am I telling you this? I’m telling you because I thought I was doing great. I started my business to create the flexibility to look after my children. Driven by the love for my family and the passion for my business, I kept stretching myself beyond my limits. And that despite the fact that I can count the number of nights my little girl has let us sleep through in the past 20 months on my two hands. The heart attack scare of this summer was a big wake-up call for me. I’ve had a check up with the doctor and it appears that the symptoms were indeed caused by exhaustion.

What have I done about this? First of all I got some help. Living far away from family, we had to be creative and found the solution in Granny Aupair. So we now have a Swiss ‘granny’ live with us for 5 months to help me with the children and the household. The difference she is making to our lives is amazing. I feel much better and can be there for the children in a much more relaxed way. We are laughing much more together now :-).

Secondly, I had a conversation with my friend, Luci, about risk factors for heart disease and what she told me made me aware of how important it is to put on our own oxygen masks first once more. She told me about some new research findings you might not know about. Due to my own experience, I feel very strongly about sharing this information, watch my video interview with Luci to learn more.

If you would like someone to help you feel taken care of this winter and holiday season, join us on our Winter Self Care Boost program. In this program we’ll help you cruise through this winter glowing with energy and maintaining your weight with ease. In one of the 5 online video classes we’ll help you create simple habits to tamp down the stress and help you sleep better, at least if you are not woken up by a baby in the middle of the night :-).

The Winter Self-Care Boost Program

Begins on November 17th. 

Early Bird pricing ends November 15th.

If we have enough participants, registration will close on Nov 15th.


Bring music into your child’s life continued

A little while ago I encouraged you to bring music into your child’s life. In that earlier blog post I promised tips for musical instruments for young children.

Here is a selection of purchased instruments which both of my children and the babies in my live baby signing classes have always enjoyed playing with.

Introducing your children to music brings along more than just the music making experience. I will explain more about this in the following video. In the video I will show you several purchased instruments as well as tips for home-made instruments. Enjoy!

I have searched Amazon UK, Amazon Germany and Amazon US for sets of musical instruments. I found by far the best selection (also including most reviews) on As the sets mainly include plastic instruments, I have added a few wooden items separately. I only know a few of the items personally so I recommend you read other parents’ reviews.

Here is some great play along music you can download from iTunes:

  • Ma Ma – Sally’s Music Circle (2:40)
  • Farm Song – The Laurie Berkner Band / Rocketship Run (2:33)
  • Kitchen Wrap – Sally’s Music Circle / Two Little Kitty Cats  (2:15)
  • Three Little Birds – Elizabeth Mitchel / You are my Little Bird (2:35)
  • Bubble Bath – Mr. Richard / Polka Dot Puzzle (1:56)
  • You Are My Sunshine / Open Up Your Heart – Anne Murray / There’s a Hippo in my Tub (2:47)

Go to the first blog post Bring music into your child’s life.

If you have any suggestions for musical instruments (purchased or home-made) or fun play along music, please do share.

Bring music into your child’s life

Here are two things about music I didn’t know before I had children:

  • every child can learn to sing in tune and hold a beat (as long as they are stimulated by active music making and are exposed to role models who actively make music)
  • you can be a powerful role model for your child regardless of your musical ability

I was not exposed to much active music making when I was a child and I was certainly not great at singing in tune. I have always enjoyed moving to music but only discovered a passion for singing when I had my son. With my lack of musical ability, I only sang to him when I could not be overheard in public.

Early childhood music education

When Tristan was about 8 months old I found out about this wonderful early childhood music programme called Music Together which offers music to babies and toddlers in a very playful and non-performance oriented learning environment. I enrolled Tristan and myself in this programme and we followed the classes for two years. It was wonderful to see him grow not only in terms of musical skills, he also developed self-confidence and social skills through being part of a group of adults and children of mixed ages.

I was also amazed about how easily Tristan picked up the English songs (being raised with German and Dutch). As a nice side effect, I also improved my musical abilities and gained self-confidence about singing in public (just as well, as I do use singing and music as a powerful tool in my baby signing courses :-))

Having learned so much about music and the effects of active music making, I have been exposing my daughter, Briana, to music from the moment she was born. The first few months I mainly sang to her and as soon as she was able to hold objects with her little hands I started offering her small instruments and made music with her. She particularly enjoys playing the drums, the piano and the xylophone.

She has also just discovered her love for dancing. Watch her rocking around the Christmas tree:

Today I took Briana to her first Music Together class and she curiously explored the new environment and happily tried out some new instruments.

From the days when Tristan and I went to the music classes (and thanks to the permission of the other participating parents as well as the lovely teacher Mariëtte Jansen) I’ve put this video together for you:

Health and social benefits associated with music making

Last but not least, I would like to share some health and social benefits associated with music making:

  • From a health perspective, music has been found to: enhance cognitive development in children, exercise the brain, help fight memory loss, reduce stress, lower blood pressure and even stave off depression.
  • Some of the social benefits of music making include: inspiring creativity, increasing productivity, building confidence and creating social connections/bonds.

Watch out for a continuation of this post with ideas for musical instruments (bought and home made) as well as tips for great play along music available on iTunes. Click here for the continuation of this blog post.

By the way, I have not been asked to write this post nor am I receiving anything in return, I am sharing this information with you because I truly believe in early childhood music education. Other programmes I have heard of are Kindermusik and Musik Garten.

I would love to hear about your music making experiences in your family.

My baby daughter telling me about rain, lights and bed time

I will never cease to be amazed by the comprehension of a baby. Babies’ cognitive capabilities are so easily underestimated simply because of the absence of language. It doesn’t have to be that way – babies can communicate long before they can speak, we just need to give them the tools …

My baby daughter has a 15-sign vocabulary at 10 months

Signing allows us to get and insight into our babies’ thoughts which is so much more than a wonderful experience:

  • my 10 month old daughter uses signs for words she recognises in a conversation, which tells me that she is attentively following what we are talking about
  • every time she wakes up (in the morning and after her naps) we look through the window together and I tell her about things we see; as it has been raining a lot recently, I have used the sign for rain a few times during our ‘window-moments’. Yesterday morning I said ‘Shall we see if it’s raining?’ and Briana immediately signed ‘rain’, leaving me stunned. Today she asked for ‘more’ when I took her away from the window 🙂
  • she excitedly points to the ceiling light, signing ‘light’ telling me that she finds light fascinating; knowing that she is preoccupied with the light, she puts me in the position to engage in a conversation about the light (repeating the sign for ‘light’) which in turn makes her smile
  • when she’s finished her evening milk (signing ‘milk’ while she is waiting for me to prepare her bottle and continuing to sign ‘milk’ while she is drinking), she happily signs ‘bed’ telling me that she knows it’s time for bed

Briana only just turned 10 months and she already has a vocabulary of 15 signs (hello, good bye, milk, eat, drink, more, all done, cracker, dog, sleep, bed, light, shoes, hat and rain); how wonderful is that!

The method I use to enable my daughter to share her thoughts, is the method I teach in my courses, so you too can enable your baby to communicate before s/he can speak.

What other mums say about the course:

>>This has been a great course, it has opened my eyes to baby signing, something I really had not thought about before. The e-course format works really well for studying in the evenings and for practicing with my daughter during the day. Thank you for opening my eyes to signing and for improving communications in our family<<

Mette, mama of Zoeli

>>With my husband as a witness, Lena signed ‘milk’ this morning already sitting up in her bed  and smiling at the day. And yes, she wanted to drink ‘more’ at breakfast when I latched her on. We are stunned. The course helped me realize that my baby daughter already wants to tell me so many things (what she sees, hears, feels, wants to know, needs,  …). I also enjoyed the more general parenting (non-signing related) tips included in the course.<<

Elke, mama of Lena

>>I was at the sea during the holidays and Eva signed ’eat’ four times. I was very surprised and happy!!<<

Marilaure, mama of Eva

>>Every day is a surprise signing with Luka. Today we had a wonderful experience while skyping with my mum and grandma: I started to kiss Luka all around his neck and cheeks to make him smile and as soon as I stopped  he signed ‘more’!  I’m really enjoying the signing with him…<<

Adriana, mama of Luka

>>I really like the online nature of this course, and I think it’s great that you’ve maximised social media, internet and modern technology to bring the most to each part of the course.<<

Grace, mama of Louis

>>Diana, the course is great, I’m really enjoying it, you are very clear and I’m sure that in a few weeks I’ll be able to understand and communicate with my daughter.<<


>>Very clear and encouraging. Thank you<<


Her brother calls her ‘princess’

Tristan hugging Briana

When I’m having trouble getting Tristan out of bed in the mornings, I know what I need to do. I have his 9 month old sister, Briana, do the waking up. I put her in his his bed, belly on belly. While she starts crawling all over him and gently (or sometimes not so gently) discovers his face with her little hands, Tristan’s arms reach out and fold around his little sister giving her the most loving hug. All this while his eyes are still closed, then I see a beautiful smile on his face and I know the day can begin.

This morning scene lets my mother heart overflow with joy; and it could so easily be different. Briana has been a cry baby until very recently and it’s been very hard on all of us but I feel especially hard on Tristan. Not only did he have to share mummy with his little sister; no, his little sister asked for so much of mummy’s attention that there was so little left for him. Far too many times I snapped at him simply because of the nerve-wrecking crying (or rather screaming) and the sleep deprivation and not because he deserved it. Screaming through countless dinner times, too loud to have a conversation. Plenty of bed time stories cut short because I could not read louder than Briana would cry. He could have so easily blamed it all on his sister. So you can imagine that I’m thrilled to bits when I see how much he loves her. Since she is better he calls her ‘princess’. Isn’t that the sweetest thing?

In these past 3 weeks, Briana has truly blossomed. She is now actively using four sings, so she can tell me about ‘dogs‘, wave ‘hello‘, let me know when she wants to ‘drink‘ and tell me when she wants ‘more‘. She started to crawl, she eats finger food all by herself, she consistently stretches her arms high above her head to the question ‘How tall is Briana?’, she roars like a lion when you ask her ‘What does the lion say’ and she will happily clap her hands to the German children’s song ‘Backe, backe Kuchen’. She takes her milk from the bottle and mostly falls asleep by herself (I used to feed her to sleep on the breast) and since daddy has taken over the night shift, she now only wakes up once or twice for a sip of water and goes back to sleep (we’ve come from me feeding her 4 or 5 times per night to avoid her screaming). We finally have time and energy to look at books, sit on the floor to play with her toys, make music and explore this wonderful world together.

At the weekends, Tristan now gets his good night stories after his sister has gone to sleep and we cuddle up in his bed together. We also made and decorated biscuits which he thoroughly enjoyed :-).

I feel blessed with my family.

See Tristan and Briana playing the bongo drums together:

Briana signing 'drink'

How tall is Briana?


And last but not least, see a happy little girl make some of her first crawling moves:

I love Nemo!

During our last stay with my grandparents in Germany (I turned 8 months when we were there) everyone seemed to be tapping their thighs when my hairy friend Nemo was around. I had no idea what that was all about but thought that maybe Nemo likes it. As I’m crazy about Nemo, I decided to join in.

After a while I noticed that they were still doing it when they only talked about Nemo and he could not even see it. Hmmm, so you tap your thigh when he is around and when you talk about him, ok, I can do that too.

Back home, I tried it out when I saw a picture of Nemo and mummy got all excited. Saying ‘yes, that’s right, honey, that’s Nemo and he is a dog’ while tapping her thigh again. So then I was wondering what would happen when I tap my thigh when I see a picture of a different dog and put it to the test: it produced the same excitement with mummy! I’m getting the hang of this, whenever I see a dog, I can let mummy know by tapping my thigh, fantastic!

Yesterday, I spotted a dog on mummies Facebook page (I was sitting on her lap), so I tapped her thigh to let her know. It was a funny looking dog though with red reindeer antlers on his head :-).

I can teach you too, watch me in this video.

Winners of 10 free passes to online course

Thank you to everyone who participated in my raffle for a free pass to the online course Understand Your Baby’s Thoughts – 5 Simple Sings that open the Door to Your Baby’s Mind.


And here are the winners’ names: Adriana, Angelina, Christine, Elizabeth, Elke, Marta, Mette, Ruth, Shadae and Therese.

As promised, here is the video of the draw:

If you submitted your name for the raffle and are not among the 10 winners, I would like to offer you a place on the course for 27€ instead of the regular 37€. Please contact me via my contact form if you would like to register.

I’m looking forward to getting started on Monday, 12 November 2012. As you know, the course is delivered online and you can work through each of the 5 modules from the comfort of your home at a time that is convenient for you.


Finally sitting up!

My little daughter, Briana, is six months old now and she is so excited about being allowed to sit in her high chair. If it was her choice, she would have been in that chair much earlier :-). For me the chair came together with introducing solid foods to her. She is still a little wobbly but loves eating from a spoon and drinking from a cup. And I love the fact that she is facing me at meal times. This opens up a whole new possibility for signing with her and I have introduced the following meal time signs: eat, drink, more, all done. When she is not distracted by her brother, Tristan, she is fascinated with my hands. I’m soooo curious as to when she will start to sign back and what her first sign might be.

See Tristan signing ‘eat’, ‘more’, ‘all done’, ‘cracker’ and ‘down’

Determination at 12 months

When Tristan was a baby he loved crackers. He loved them so much that he could  master an approximation of the sign for ‘cracker’ and say the word at 12 months. One day, he desperately wanted to get up onto the sofa, signing and saying ‘up’ and getting frustrated about the fact that no one helped him up quickly enough. Finally on the sofa, he pointed to a plate with crackers on the coffee table followed by signing ‘eat’ and ‘cracker’.

I managed to get all of this on video. I put the camera down to give him a cracker so unfortunately you can not see the smile on his face when he had finally gotten what he really wanted.

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