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Toddler Toys – Helping Your Child Through Their Active Years

Toddler toys are probably the most important toys that you’re going to buy as a parent. Toddlers are at an age when they are like sponges. They would absorb most things that they would encounter and it’s up to you as a parent to make sure that the things that they’ll be absorbing will contribute to their growth.

Toddlers are in the process of growing up. They won’t be satisfied with “boring” toys that they’ve had when they were babies. As a parent, you would want to give them toys that can satisfy their curiosity. A good example is a toddler’s piano. It’s a good way to introduce your kids to wonderful music. It’s also a good way for you to teach “cause and effect” to your kids. It’s only a matter of time before they realize that hitting certain keys will produce certain notes. This is why it’s one of the most popular toddler toys in the market right now.

There’s a good chance that your toddler is starting to walk already. There’s probably no point in telling you that they’ll be zooming all over the place because you know that firsthand. It’s because they’re packed with energy and you need to give them an outlet for that. What better way to do that than with toys? They’ll be enjoying at the same time that they’re growing physically. This way, you’re encouraging physical growth.

It’s also important that you give them toys that offer variety. They can easily get bored with toys and you wouldn’t want them to just throw them around. If you’re going to buy toddler toys, make sure that they can keep your toddler busy for hours. Since your child will be playing with them for hours, it’s also important that you buy something durable. This is where wooden toys can help you.

Wooden toys are durable enough to stand a hyperactive kid but they’re safe enough to be harmless toys. That’s also an important consideration because kids will explore. For example, they’ll bite toys to see how they taste like. If they’re exploring a toy, is it durable enough to stand a determined bite? At the same time, is it harmless enough? This is why you can’t go wrong with them. They can keep your kid busy and safe.

Toddler toys are about activity. There was once a time when you use toys to distract or appease your baby. But now that your baby is older, you have to buy them toys that will encourage activity. It can be something as simple as building blocks. It’s simple but the mere action of stacking them is more than enough for toddlers. It can also be something like wagons or scooters. The possibilities are endless. The important thing is they can help your toddler during their active years.

Online Auction Sellers – Seize Control Of Your Business!

As the online auction model of business continues to evolve toward a more commoditized, corporate marketplace, it is time for online auction sellers to seize control of their business, before it’s too late.

In this article we will highlight some effective steps you can take to shift control back to your own business.

Why is it so important to seize control?

There are three Mega-trends that have the potential to hurt online auction sellers:

  1. Increased expenses across all services that cater to online auction sellers. eBay recently increased their fees, Yahoo Auctions recently began charging fees for listing auctions with them. The U.S. Postal Service recently raised their postage rates. Auction Management services are increasing their fees. Free photo-hosting services now charge fees to host photos on their sites. Payment processing services have also increased their fees. It is a post dot-com-bust reality that most services that used to be free, aren’t anymore. Everywhere you look, expenses are going up. Taken cumulatively, they can eat away profits that used to be there. This fact alone is reason enough to consider developing your own online presence – apart from the online auctions.
  2. Restrictive policies by eBay. The online auction community is in an uproar over eBay’s recent strengthening of their linking policies. These rules essentially eliminate a seller’s ability to advertise their site and / or develop clickthrough traffic from eBay. The links rules were only a precursor to the new “eBay Stores”, eBay’s way of providing idealistic havens of e-commerce for their community. The new eBay Stores allow eBay sellers to set up online storefronts, which of course, have their own fee schedule! These storefronts have opened to mixed reviews. There really is no comparison between having an eBay Store and having your own online storefront. An eBay Store is like having a shop open inside of a gated community. The only traffic you’re likely to get is from other eBay members. Having your own website with an online store is like opening up shop on Main Street. You have all the traffic you are able to create and more important, you have freedom to decide exactly how you run your business. You see, in the gated community there are a lot of rules, rules designed to benefit the community at large.
  3. Corporate and institutional involvement in online auctions. This is a growing trend. Many large corporations are taking advantage of the eBay auction concept to liquidate unwanted or overrun merchandise to the masses. Even the U.S. Postal Service is involved in eBay auctions! They use eBay to liquidate items that were undeliverable or lost in the mail. Police departments are selling off seized goods on eBay. Corporations are getting on the eBay bandwagon and creating a hyper-competitive environment for some of the “smaller sellers”. Basic economics dictates that the greater the supply of goods, the lower the price of those goods.

This triple whammy of higher expenses, a restrictive selling environment and increased competition will have the effect of squeezing sellers out, unless they take action to prevent their demise.

What are some steps you can take to avoid being an Online auction casualty?

  1. Begin today to “think outside the auction box”. That is, develop an attitude that the online auction goldmine might end tomorrow, so you are going to take the right steps TODAY to secure your future. This is especially important for those sellers who depend 100% on their online auction income!
  2. Begin today to make plans for developing your online presence, away from the online auctions. Developing your own website is only the first step towards online success. Getting traffic to your site is really the key that many people ignore, to their dismay. Developing traffic takes time and knowledge.
  3. Build, manage and maintain a customer list. Every marketing expert worth his or her salt will tell you that your customer list is EVERYTHING. Maintaining your customer list and staying in contact with your customers is one way to explode your sales. (even if you are selling items not related to what your customer initially purchased!) So much of selling has to do with breaking down that trust barrier. Once you’ve established a successful relationship with a customer, most of your battle is won. The worst thing to do would be to drop the ball and not re-contact that customer in careful, but constant ways, always affirming the original purchase and informing them of new opportunities.
  4. Find the tools necessary to take your business to the next level. This step will take some research, but it will be well worth it. Today, you can find software that will dramatically simplify your life, from autoresponders (automated e-mail response) to bulk e-mail programs (that help you do a mass e-mail to your customer list) to search engine submission programs. (that help you increase your positioning on the search engines) If you are in any type of business that requires continuous education of your customers, a Newsletter program (which not only mails out your Newsletter, but handles unsubscribes automatically) would be a great benefit. Having a Newsletter is one of the best ways to stay in constant contact with your customers and keep them informed about new trends in your industry and new products that have debuted.
  5. Learn. learn and learn some more! When I first got online a few years ago, I was intimidated by everything Internet. I knew I wanted to bring my collectible toys business to eBay and I had some theoretical knowledge about it, but had never done it before. As I threw myself into books and websites related to what I needed to know, I came to a very profound discovery. It’s all there! Everything you could ever want to know about making your business successful on the Internet is available all over the Internet! Some of the information was free, some of the information cost money and some of it was downright expensive! But one thing was always true – it was all there. Even more important, I found out that there are all kinds of people that are willing to help you with any type of problem or roadblock you may face, you’ll find them in the appropriate Message Boards. Everything you need to know to become successful is there, waiting to be discovered!

You will only lose at your online business if you fail to take the steps of

  • learning
  • testing
  • implementing and
  • improving

As the three Mega-trends of increasing costs, restrictive policies and corporate involvement in online auctions continue to invade the once-safe world of the online auction seller, the people that take the steps outlined above will be the winners in the online business world.

Keeping Busy With Your One Year Old

Can you believe it has been a year already! By 9-12 months your child is probably keeping you on your toes by crawling, climbing, and walking. Your baby is starting to do things on their own and may actually verbally communicate to you what their needs are. They have their favorite toys by now and the best toys for these energetic months are toys that encourage discovery and movement.

Toys that assist your baby in standing are great for helping them to get on their feet and practice balancing and moving with the toy. Push toys have all kinds of functions and range from a push car to a container that will pick up their toys. You may find that once they realize their new found freedom your baby may start pushing everything that is movable in the house. Tables, boxes, and even the family dog are no exception (poor doggy). As a parent, you need to be aware of potential harmful objects that may fall and injure your baby if they are to push something and knock it down. You also need to make sure that all push toys are sturdy enough and will not slip out from under your child.

Your child may be ready to explore the world of outside toys and is probably starting to realize how much fun the great outdoors can be. Throwing balls with your child encourages them to practice walking to an object and squatting to pick it up and throw it back. Rolling the ball is good for interaction and promotes concentration. Little fun gyms for them to climb on make a great outside toy and can even accommodate younger siblings or playmates. A sandbox can keep your child busy for hours by building mounds of sand or making molds. A sandbox should be used under constant supervision because you do not want your little one eating sand for snack! But don’t forget the must have outside toy of all time is the swing. Babies of all ages will love swinging in the outdoors.

There are some things we do as parents that can accommodate any age and that is reading and talking to your child. These are things that really help your baby’s mind progress and can assist in a better understating of their environment. Sometimes the best way for babies to learn new things is to watch other people and children, because one year olds are great in mimicking behavior and movement. You may find your baby pretending to talk on the phone or cook in a pot or pan. An activity table is still a good choice in providing your child with different level of toy in one area. Making it through the first year seems like a whirlwind and a milestone for parents but is worth every step.