Posts from the ‘Tips & Advice’ Category

Refresh Yourself With These 10-Minute Me-Time Ideas for Busy Moms

iStock_DaisyXSmallIt’s easy to neglect yourself when you’re a mom. Your list of things that need to be accomplished seems endless, your baby requires attention, and you have countless demands on your time. But caring for yourself is part of loving yourself and loving your family. You may not have an hour to dedicate to me-time, but even a few minutes can rejuvenate your mind and body. Here are 15 ways to refresh yourself in just 10 minutes.

  • Grab your iPod and listen to a couple of your favorite songs. If you’re feeling stressed, try some soothing piano music or downtempo electronic. If you need energy, play your favorite pop songs.
  • Give yourself a facial with inexpensive, at-home products. It’s not only relaxing, it’s also good for your skin.
  • Browse a magazine that you enjoy. Reading an intellectually-stimulating article or looking through home or fashion photos can help you reboot.
  • Take a few deep breaths and stretch with your favorite yoga poses. Yoga has been proven to be good for the mind and the body.
  • Enjoy a healthy and delicious treat. Healthy food can taste good and provide needed energy to get you through your day.
  • Reflect on your feelings in a journal. Writing your thoughts down helps you think more clearly and gives you a fresh perspective.
  • Socialize on Facebook or send an email to a friend. Sometimes you just need to interact with another mom going through the same things you are.
  • Take a shower using aromatherapy products. Aromatherapy can relax you or energize you, depending on what essential oils you use.
  • Polish your nails with a cheerful color. Pretty nails will boost your mood and look nice too.
  • Take a walk through your neighborhood. If you have a dog, bring him or her along for some company, or enjoy some quiet time alone.

To be the best person you can be, you need to take care of yourself even for just a few minutes each day. You may want to set your alarm a little earlier, take advantage of nap time, or spend a few minutes before going to bed at night to refresh yourself with some me-time.

Get Organized in 2015!

After the holidays, piles of new toys, new baby clothes, new gadgets, and other paraphernalia overtake our living spaces. We’re making a resolution to start getting organized! Here are a few tips we found on how to get it done:

  1. Rotate toys. Did all the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins shower your kiddo with the latest must-have toys? If you rotate the toys on a monthly basis, baby will have new toys for months. Grab a container or two and put half or two-thirds of your child’s toys in storage for a month or two. On the first of the month rotate the toys. Your baby will think Christmas comes twelve times a year!
  2. Store or get rid of out-grown clothes. Baby grows faster than weeds in your vegetable garden. He or she probably has more outgrown clothes at this point than clothes that fit. Take an hour and sort through his or her drawers to separate the too-small from the just-right. If you plan to keep the clothes for the next baby or a friend’s child, get a box for every size of clothes and store them in an extra closet or attic.
  3. Compartmentalize. Everything inside your home needs a home of its own. Teddy bears, toys, and your growing library. Invest in some decorative baskets or containers that you can store easily on bookshelves or in cupboards. Assign every item that tends to create clutter a container. That way, when it’s time to do some picking up, everything has a place to go.
  4. Set a memorabilia system. Even before your kiddo can hold a crayon to cover your fridge with art, the memorabilia starts adding up. And it only grows as he or she gets older. Start a system now to keep items that are special to you and your child. Designate one box a year for memorabilia.

How do you stay organized? We’d love to hear!

5 Ways to Keep Your Little One Happy During Holiday Travel

Holiday time means traveling! Whether it’s across town or across the country, traveling with baby can be challenging. But you don’t have to let travel dampen your holiday spirit! We’ve collected 5 ways to keep your little one happy as you’re on the go.

What strategies and tips do you have to reduce stress when it’s time to pack the suitcases? We want to hear your ideas!

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How to Keep Your Holiday House Accident-Free

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Trees, garlands, lights, wreaths, and all sorts of festive decorations are going up over the next couple of weeks. If this is your first Christmas with baby, you might be wondering how to keep your home safe for your little one. We’ve gathered 7 holiday baby-proofing tips from Parents.com and SheKnows.com.

  • Reduce the risk of fire. Artificial trees should be marked “fire-resistant.” Live trees should be fresh and green, not dry. To tell if a live tree is fresh, just tap it on the ground —if needles fall off, keep looking.
  • Make sure lights are all in good condition. Frayed wires, broken sockets, and loose connections are all signs that lights shouldn’t be used.
  • Secure the tree. Tugs from baby can send a tree toppling. If you weigh the tree down with bricks at the stand or use an extra tie-down, you can prevent a crash. Also consider putting a playpen or other obstacle in front of the tree to keep your little one from trying to climb.
  • Keep all ornaments out of baby’s reach. Little ones shouldn’t be able to reach tree ornaments, or they’ll want to take them down to play! As a precaution, make sure all ornaments are non-breakable.
  • Stow all cords and wires. Baby shouldn’t be able to access cords or wires because they’re a choking hazard. Make sure all cords and wires are tucked away.
  • Skip the poisonous plants. Poinsettias are perfect, but amaryllis, mistletoe and holly are toxic.
  • Use festive placemats instead of tablecloths. Little ones can pull tablecloths, sending dishes and cutlery down on top of them. With placemats, you get to keep the Christmas theme, without the risk!

You don’t have to sacrifice the Christmas cheer to keep your little one safe and happy! Planning ahead with these tips will keep your holiday house accident-free.
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Let Dad Keep Your Little One Entertained While You Shop Black Friday

It’s sale season! And if you’re one of those people who wouldn’t let anything keep you from the Black Friday deals, you might need some ideas on what to do with your little one while you shop. Most men don’t love shopping, so try pitching one of these ideas to your partner to give you time to snag the special savings.

  1. Toddler Dance Party. Who doesn’t love a dance party?! Dads and little ones can bond and have a blast at the same time. Just put on your tot’s favorite music and get down!
  2. Story Time. Most little ones are happy to listen to stories and will sit mesmerized while Dad reads to them. Gather some picture books and let baby see the colorful images during the story.
  3. Build a Fort.Remember how much you enjoyed making blanket forts when you were little? Let Dad take it to the next level with these super cool ideas!
  4. Special Toys. Save some toys that you bring out only during Daddy playtime. Baby will look forward to his or her favorites and they’ll make it that much more special.
  5. Day Out With Dad—If Dad doesn’t mind the traffic, he can take the little one on a fun adventure—to the park, the children’s museum, or to see the latest kids’ movie.

With these ideas, Dad will be thankful he doesn’t have to spend all day in the stores, baby will have a blast, and you’ll be able to score those crazy-good deals! A win for everyone!

When the Weather Outside is Frightful: Ideas for Indoor Exercise

The temps are dropping, the wind is picking up, and some parts of the country are starting to see snow and ice —it’s that time of year again! It’s almost impossible to make yourself get out in the weather. But you can stay fit and healthy through the winter, and you don’t need expensive gym equipment. Here are some indoor exercise ideas to keep you warm while working out!

  • Bodyweight strength training with baby—You can do planks, squats, push-ups, and more, all while watching your little one! Parents.com shows how to make it simple.
  • Online exercise TV —Whether you’re into yoga, barre, intense cardio, or strength training, there’s an online exercise program for you! Gaiam, DailyBurn, and FitnessBlender offer low-cost or free workouts you can stream.
  • Yoga for mom and baby —Yoga is nourishing for your joints and muscles, and it will relax you on days you’re stressed. MindBodyGreen has some wonderful ideas on integrating yoga and bonding with your little one.

How do you handle fitness during the winter months? We’d love to hear your ideas!

 

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Tips for Easy Holiday Entertaining with Baby

Entertaining family and friends during the holidays can be stressful enough on its own. Add a baby to the mix, and your stress level can go through the roof if you try to take on too much.

But holiday entertaining can be simple and enjoyable for both you and your guests. Here are a few tips to keep everyone smiling.

  • Make a list. With everything from cleaning the bathrooms to cooking favorite dishes, you’re not going to be able to remember everything! Write your tasks down so you can relax and know that nothing will be forgotten.   large_3447058308
  • Cook ahead. Many things can be made ahead, like desserts, cookies, and sauces. Freeze them and just pop them in the microwave or oven when you’re ready for them. medium_4311836838
  • Ask for help. Why should you do all the cooking? Ask each guest to bring something along, and your to-do list will drastically shorten.
  • Don’t think your meal has to look like a magazine photo. Even if you could make your holiday table look like those on the covers of magazines, everything is going to get messed-up as soon as everyone sits down and digs in! So don’t pressure yourself with fancy table decorations and making sure everything is pristine.
  • Enlist a family babysitter. Ask your sister, mom, or cousin to watch baby while you get some things done. Just set up the playpen close to the holiday action, and the babysitter will enjoy it too!
  • Keep the dishes to a minimum. Who says you have to use fine china? Use cute holiday-themed paper plates to save yourself the time of washing loads of dishes. 24949249
  • There’s no shame in going store-bought. You don’t have to make everything from scratch. Or anything from scratch! Do what you need to, and don’t feel guilty —there’s no reason to!
  • Take some time to reflect. Thanksgiving is a time to think about the good things in your life. Don’t allow holiday entertaining to let your mind become consumed with stress and steal that opportunity from you. As you go through the days, let your mind focus on the things you appreciate.

photo credits (from top): Nick Bastian Tempe, AZ, missteee,  armigeressStudio 5,

Teaching to Share: Activity Ideas for Happy Play Dates 

Sharing isn’t a natural instinct for most of us. When we’re in the toddler stage, we want everything for ourselves, so sharing is a skill that has to be taught.

We’ve gathered a few ideas to help you make those play dates happier and more enjoyable for everyone, as you teach sharing.

  • Understand developmental stages. Babies under 2 aren’t yet ready to share. Their little brains aren’t capable of thinking how others feel. It’s hard to wait, but let your little one play alongside friends, rather than expecting them to play with them.
  • Model sharing. Little ones learn by watching. When they see you sharing, they’ll try to emulate. If you use the word “share”to describe what you’re doing, your tot will pick it up even faster.
  • Encourage almost-sharing. Many times children will show a toy to a friend, but not quite let it go. They’re making progress, so you can encourage that behavior by praising them for showing the toy. Later, suggest that your little one go get the toy he or she showed to a friend and let the friend play with it.
  • Set a timer. Tell your tot that you’re going to set a timer for 10 minutes, and when it goes off it’s time to let someone else play with the toy.
  • Set expectations. When you head out to a play date, tell your little one to “Get 3 toys you won’t mind sharing with your friends.”If an incident arises at the play date, remind your tot that these are toys to share.
  • Put away special toys. We all have special items we don’t want to get damaged. Kids are no different. If you’re hosting a play date, let your tot know that he or she can put away super-special toys for safekeeping. But those toys can’t come out while the visitors are there.

Have you come up with successful ways to encourage your little one to share? We’d love to hear your tips!

Too Many Toys: Clearing Up the Clutter

Nearly every mom has experienced it: toys overflowing from bins, closets, and boxes. Little ones get tired of toys after a while (sometimes after not so long!) and pull out more, so toys start creating clutter.

What to Expect has some great tips on how to teach tots to take care of their toys and clean up. Here are our favorites, plus one of our own.

  • Schedule just a few cleanups. It’s impossible to keep everything looking photo-ready. Pick two or three times a day to clean up, and create a routine for your little one. If things get really out of control, you can always add in extras as needed.
  • Be flexible. Sometimes the castle just has to get finished being built, and putting all the blocks away will mean starting over the next day. It’s a good idea to occasionally make exceptions for in-progress projects. You may even want to set aside an “in-progress” corner to keep it contained. 
  • Keep it fun. Cleanup becomes a game when you work together! Set a timer and see how quick you can complete the task, sing silly songs while cleaning, or create games out of cleanup time to make it easier.
  • Break up the work. If things have gotten really messy, divide up the task into smaller sections. Then tackle one at a time. It will be much more manageable for both of you!
  • Donate unused toys. Sometimes little ones just outgrow toys. One day they love a favorite, and the next day they completely lose interest. If you have toys that have been collecting dust, you can share the love by donating them to a local charity.

How do you handle cleaning up the clutter? We’d love to hear your top tips!

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Safe and Spooktacular: 5 Halloween Safety Tips for Tots

What’s more fun than dressing up as your favorite animal or character and collecting candy?! Halloween is a favorite holiday for many little ones, and it’s easy to forget safety in all the fun.

Here are five safety essentials that you’ll want to include in your spooky celebrations:

  • Stay away from flames. Jack-o-lanterns are cute but there’s fire inside! Billowy costumes can catch on fire, so be aware of the type of costume you choose and keep away from open flames.
  • Be visible. Darkness comes early this time of year, so be sure you can see your little one at all times with reflector tape on his or her costume. You can also head out early while there’s plenty of light.
  • Keep costumes short. Long hems can cause falls, so stay with something short.
  • Enforce a no-running rule.It’s difficult for drivers to see small children at night, so keep them close to you at all times and enforce no running.
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  • Use non-toxic face paint instead of masks. Masks make it difficult for little ones to see and breathe, so stick to non-toxic makeup for kids.

Halloween can be a fantastic, fun holiday for everyone as long as you keep it safe! What other tips do you have to share?

 

 
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