With back to school, germs are making a come back. Illnesses sweep households all over the place leaving behind tiny little reminders for you to pick up and say, "We're back..." Now, one quick way to take care of these is to pile them into the dishwasher and sanitize the living snot off of those suckers. A fun way to get your small human beings involved and to turn it into a fun lesson/play is to give their toys a bath. It is a good opportunity to talk to your youngin's about germs and how to stay healthy as well as the importance of washing hands and taking baths. You can also introduce my favorite saying, "If you cough or sneeze, use your elbow please!" (brought to you by my bestie!)
When we give my son's toys a "bath," I set the stage. I lay a towel down on our kitchen floor place a small bin or bowl filled only an inch or two of soapy water on top. I have a towel for my son to sit on and a spare at the ready. I explain to him how his toys are dirty, and they need to take a bath just like him. We scrub them down all while playing. Larger toys, we wipe down with a rag. We dry them off with my spare towels and put them "to bed" aka away. I follow it up with my all time favorite book about germs, Sick Simon. We are able to get a good chunk of his toys cleaned and hopefully, keep ourselves a little healthier!
Additional Tip For Teaching Kid To Wash Their Hands
Another trick out of my bag for kiddo's who have a tough time remembering to wash their hands or cover their nose, is glitter. It takes a small commitment from parents to allow the bane of our existence into our house, but it really makes a statement. I prefer black or silver glitter, as I find it shows up on more surfaces, but you can use any color. As we know, glitter gets everywhere! And it sticks to everything, just like germs. I like to start over a hard surface and have a small amount on my hand. I pretend to sneeze, and blow it out of my hand. It allows a visual to see how germs can fly. Then I rub it on my hand and shake their hand. They again, can see how germs spread. Let them go play with their toys and see how much it will spread through the house throughout the day. Its is quite the visual aide.
Why Sick Simon?
As I said above, my all time favorite book about germs is Sick Simon. The book is about a boy who is not feeling well but has a big game at school on Friday, so he toughs it out and goes to school. It shows the things he touches and the people he is around becoming sick and when the big game finally arrives, everyone else is out sick. Bummed out, he takes the bus home and the germs come to talk to him about how he is their hero for spreading them around. He realizes what he needs to do and washes his hands and rests over the weekend. Monday he and all of his friends are better! I love it because it shows the effects to not just Simon, but his friends and family for him not washing his hands. It is also an easy book to be interactive with and talk to your kiddo while reading.
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We love our children unconditionally and enjoy spending time with them, but sometimes you just need a break. A little time to yourself without tiny hands clawing at you and whatever you happen to be holding. Some are lucky with grandparents or other relatives near by that are happy to lend a helping hand. Others are on their own. No matter what your situation is, we all need a way to find a break. Here are my tips and tricks to finding that precious time alone.
1. Trade Babysitting with Other Parents
A great resource are your fellow parents. They understand your need for a break and a great way to help each other out is to trade babysitting. They watch your child for a few hours and in return, when they need it, you watch their children for a few hours. It is flexible on time and free! You just need to find other parents who are willing to participate.
2. Local Community Centers
Many local community centers offer day care while you are in the facility. You can use this time to sit on your laptop in a communal area, go for a swim or even work out. You do, however, need to stay in the facility. In my experience, they range in ages from 6 months to upwards of 10 years old depending on the facility. There is also usually a small charge.
3. Drop-In Child Care
Some child care centers allow for drop ins. These facilities are few and far between, but they do exist. It may be worth your time to do some research to see if this is a possibility for you. There are a couple in Denver, such as Kids Town. They are a drop in daycare for ages 12 months through 13 years.
4. Småland - IKEA's Free Play Land
If you have an IKEA nearby, you can take advantage of their free supervised children's play area. You can take your time strolling through the maze of home furnishings, relax while trying out the sofas and enjoy an affordable lunch to yourself. All while your little one is having fun playing. Children must be potty trained and 37-54 inches tall.
5. Kids Gyms
Many of the children's gyms such as The Little Gym and My Gym offer parent nights. These are great if you need a night free (date night?). Each gym will be different on ages, cost and times. They typically offer them 1-2 times a month. Call your local gyms to see if this is an option for you.
I hope that at least one of these option can help you find a much needed break. Comment below and let me know how you find ways to take a break and unwhined.
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1. Purchase Them Their Own Seat
When we purchased our tickets, we found a killer good deal where we were able to buy my son his own seat. The price for all 3 seat were what 2 seats are normally. Win for us and I would DEFINITELY suggest getting your little one their own seat if that is at all possible. This basically frees up your hands and allows you to have some freedom. My little one is also not very good at sitting still in our laps. We had his car seat that has straps to keep his baby bum still and in one spot (at least part of the time). It was also comfortable for him as it was his own seat and very familiar.
2. Choose Times That Works Best for Their Schedule
When we were choosing flights, we had decided to take daytime flights. It can be hard to foresee what their schedule may be like months in advanced, but I knew that my son would more than likely take one to two naps during the day and would need time to move around. He does not do well sitting still for too long. He is also a very light sleeper and was nervous that if we took a red eye, he would be up the entire time and it would start our vacation off already tired and grumpy. Many parents choose the red eye as their little one will sleep the whole time. I have talked to parents who said their kids were up the entire red eye and others who said it worked well for them. We chose to have a layover so my son could have a break and run around. I was actually pretty happy with how most of our traveling time had worked out. The hardest parts was that we had to leave for the airport early in the morning and we cam home really late at night. The layover also added to our travel time.
3. Pack Plenty of Entertainment
One thing I learned while on our flights was, just because you little one loves something at home, does not mean that they will want it up in the air. My son loves blocks and books and of course, his TV show. I planned accordingly and brought plenty of these to entertain him. He however, had different plans. He literally threw my iPad that I had packed full of shows, movies and games. He played with his blocks for a whole five minutes and was ready to move on. Luckily, I over packed. I tried one toy after the other to finally find that reusable stickers was a winner for my son. The more interactive, the better.
4. Surprise Them With Some New Goodies
When packing toys, see if you can buy them one or even a couple new toys. This should keep them amused for a little bit longer. Just about every toy I brought was new and I saved a couple for the return trip. Target has a great selection in their dollar area. We were able to find felt busy books for $3 and gel clings for $1 each. It doesn't have to be expensive, but just something that they can explore for the first time.
5. Pack Plenty of Snacks
What is one of the best distractions for kids of all ages? FOOD! Be sure to pack plenty of snacks for your little one. We packed my sons favorite snacks including, belvita bars, goldfish, oranges, popcorn, applesauce and pouched toddler food fruit & vegetables. Most pouched food including the applesauce was over the 3 oz rule, however, according to TSA formula, breast milk and juice in excess of 3.4 oz can be carried through security with additional screening. Here is their regulations. We simply put the pouched food in its own Ziploc and pulled it out like we would any other liquids. We had no problem.
6. Be Prepared to Pop Their Ears
I was worried about my son's ears. He still nurses, but he tends to be too distracted in public. I scoured the internet for remedies. One of the best finds was the go to lollipop. I used these with my son on most of the descents. He loved them and they definitely distracted him. The freeze dried yogurt bites was another treat I found to use. They help your little one salivate more which in turn, gets them to swallow and will pop their ears. The pouched foods are also good for this. These are great options for the snackers. I found that you can use children's ear plugs or 2 Dixie cups over their ear to help pressurize the air around them. I did not try either of these but did bring the materials just in case.
7. Bring a Stroller or Carrier for the Airport
Airports are busy and there is so much hustle and bustle, it is nice to have a place to put your little one that is safe and close by. We had planned to use a car seat carrier that basically turns your car seat into a stroller, however, we forgot it when we were leaving for the airport and we had to carry both our child and his car seat through the airport. This was an such a hassle and carrying my son in addition to our backpacks was a lot throughout the day. On our return trip, we made sure to bring an umbrella stroller that was an amazing resource. We were able to strap our car seat to it and either my son would ride in it or we could use it to haul our bags. All you do is gate check them. In other words, check in at the counter when you get to your gate. You will get a tag to attach to your stroller. Leave it by the door to the plane and it will be right there as you exit when you land.
8. Research The Airports
Before we left, I research all the airports we would be traveling through. Just a quick look at their layout as well as what resources they may have. This was one of the biggest pay offs. First of all, it is nice to know exactly where you are going. We knew roughly how far we needed to walk between gates. We also discovered that the Seattle airport has a great kids area. This was the perfect find to keep our son busy and to burn off his energy on our layovers. Many airports offer areas, whether, big or small, for kids. You can also look for kid friendly dining or open areas to let them run.
This is the hardest off all of these to actually pull off. Traveling with a little one can be stressful, but take it one minute at a time and try your best to just go with the flow. Your little one will be able to sense your anxiety, which in turn will increase theirs. Just remember, that once you get home, they will get back on their schedule eventually and all will return to normal. If you can not get them their own seat or they end up being awake through an entire red eye, you will survive. You got this! Have fun!
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We were preparing for our first overnight trip (staying in a hotel) with our son, who was just shy of 16 months. He is at that age where he needs something to keep him busy and quickly switches his interest from one thing to the next. Toys were a must! I knew that I didn't want to over do it, as is my usual, so I came up with a game plan.
I went to IKEA and purchased one of their food storage container sets. It was 17 pieces for around $5. They came in a variety of sizes that would allow for different toys (plus extra containers for packing snacks). I chose a few toys that I wanted to pack and found good containers for them to fit in. To help us keep track of what we brought, I taped a post-it to the front with what was in each container as well as the quantity. This part was especially useful when we were packing up all of our stuff and realized we were missing a ball. It had found its home under a chair in the room. The containers stacked nicely in our suitcase and made our lives just a little easier. Another bonus was that his toys had a home in our hotel room, so we had a place to put them once he was asleep. This was a great trick for so many reasons.. I hope that you find some sanity in your next vacation with this simple travel trick.
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When my son was a newborn and I was overwhelmed by all of the advice coming my way, there was one thing that stood out above the others. This has saved me so many times from *bigger* messes. It is the pull down onesie trick. Simple, but I have been surprised how many moms do not know these great words.
You know how on a onesie, the shoulders have the fold overs? These are made so that you can simply pull them over your little ones shoulders. This is a life saver when your munchkin just blew a big one all the way up their back. Instead of having to finagle the poo covered onesie over their head giving them a new hairdo, you can just simply pull it down and in the process, help wipe them down a little bit. It helps to contain the chaos.
Thanks to these great words of wisdom, I have never had to clean poo off of my sons head, face or hair. I am so grateful for that. So if you have a little one, or know someone with a kiddo in diapers, spread these words so moms everywhere can avoid the dreaded poo hair!
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One of my sons favorite foods is peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. He can really power down a whole sandwich, and at the same time, squishing every last drop of jelly and peanut butter into places we shall not name. He tends to get more of them when he is teething because they are soft and don’t bother his poor little gums. The trick that I have began using to help with the chaos that accompanies a pb&j sandwich is as simple as a veggie cutter. I found a set of 5 on Amazon for just over $5, and they are such a great tool to use with kiddos. Just an added minute or two of prep will save me so much time in clean up. It turns his sandwich into perfect, cutely shaped, bite sized pieces. Plus, my son loves to play with the shapes and we can use this opportunity to discuss what each shape is while he is happy sitting still.
This little $5 investment can also be used for many additional thing besides just sandwiches. As their actual purpose, you can cut vegetables into shapes. Maybe actually convince them to EAT THEIR VEGGIES!!! These little cutter can be used far past toddlerhood and make a great addition to making those pinterest worthy lunches once they are in school.
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