Posts from the ‘Tips & Advice’ Category

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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Keep the Yucky Away: 5 Tips to Avoid the Flu This Season

Flu season is starting, and that means lots of germs floating around. Babies are particularly susceptible to the flu while their immune systems are developing.

Although every child will be exposed to some germs and sickness, there’s a lot you can do to minimize it. We gathered a few top tips from pediatricians to help you avoid as many of those nasty flu germs as possible. 

Kids often seem like germ magnets, but these tips will help you fight as many sick germs as possible!

Tummy Time: When Laying Around is Actually Working!

Although crawling seems simple to us now, it’s a complex process that babies have to learn as a first step to walking. Experts say your little one’s style can be all his or her own — what matters is that he or she learns movement. And that movement starts with tummy time.

By playing on their bellies, babies develop core muscle strength that helps them learn to crawl. When you’re playing with your little one, you can place a toy slightly out of reach so he or she can experiment with moving toward the toy.

Supervised tummy time makes for happier babies and teaches them valuable skills at the same time!