The fall season brings a change in colors, temperature, and schedules for your family. It also marks the return of new television seasons. While television can give mom time to organize the family dinner, it also can take away time to enjoy with your child. We thought of some fun kitchen activities that will help mom and your child will fully enjoy!
- Cooking with your child
There are many opportunities for your child to help you create the family meal. Baby Matters blog has several meals and ideas for families to create and enjoy together. Also, you can arrange your ingredients for your child to pour into a bowl, they can help mash the potatoes, create their own pizza, and be the ultimate taste tester!
- Organizing your kitchen
Children love to play with pots and pans, eating utensils, and in your cabinet. Having your child help sort between your spoons and forks, fruits and vegetables, cups and bowls can be a great experience. You can talk about the different purposes of each item and they will feel part of the kitchen experience.
- Family Place Mats
While you cook the family meal, set your child up at the table to create place mats for everyone at the table. They can use a large piece of paper and create a themed place mat based on the meal, upcoming holidays, or whatever you dream up!
Do you have any favorite activities for your family in the kitchen?
Ghosts, witches and jack-o-lanterns are popping up around the neighborhood. A great way to decorate your own house with the help of your kids is with these homemade Halloween decorations. We have found a lot of great ideas and we hope you try some of them out.
- Halloween banners are an easy way to add some flair to your home. Party Planner Center is offering free bat cut outs to help create your banner. Add some googly eyes and the bats will really pop!
- Mini pumpkins offer a variety of options for your kids to decorate. You can paint the mini pumpkins or decorate them in a variety of ways. We loved this idea from MarthaStewart.com. Cut out a mouth on the mini pumpkin, add fake teeth, and use a pin to create two eyes.
- Using themed picture frames around your home can quickly create a Halloween feeling. We found the picture frame, above, on the blog I Heart Nap Time. Using your old Halloween photos or leave a Halloween message.
There are some Spring days that seem like an endless downpour of rain and before you know it your children are ready to climb the walls. One of our co-workers gave us her tried and true rainy day tip - a special toy box! In this toy box you have toys that spark imagination such as special coloring books, clay, Legos, dolls or cars, etc. These toys only come out when it’s been a string of rainy or bad weather days. Your children will be excited to be reacquainted with toys they haven’t seen for awhile.
What tips do you have for kids with cabin fever?
There is nothing like opening the windows and letting in fresh air and having a top-to-bottom clean house especially after a long winter. Instead of Spring cleaning being a terrible chore, it can be fun for you and your kids with these easy tips.
- Music Motivator - put on your kids favorite music to get them moving. Time passes a bit more quickly when music is involved.
- Mayor for a Day – divide the rooms of the house among your kids and let them be “mayor” of that room. They are in charge of making sure that room is in top shape. You can even give them a top hat to wear as they play the role of mayor.
- Special Prize – whoever does the best job cleaning gets to pick out what is for dinner either that night or a night that week.
- Scavenger Hunt - go to the Dollar Store and pick out a few little gifts. Hide them in the rooms the children are cleaning so that they will find them as they clean.
- Chart It - have a chart with each child’s name. As they complete a chore, they get a sticker next to their name. Whoever has the most stickers by the end of spring cleaning gets to pick out a movie to watch that night or whatever night is convenient.
Spring cleaning can also be a chemical-free experience! We love these sites for easy-to-make green, homemade cleaning products!
What spring cleaning tips do you have?
Kermit the Frog sang “It’s Not Easy Being Green”, but there are so many ways each of us can make our lives more green. This week, The Today Show featured a CA family who has created a zero waste home. We were so impressed by this family and how they were actually able to create a zero waste home quite seamlessly.
Some things we love about this family:
- Refuse, Reduce, Reuse is their mantra.
- They have reduced expenses up to 25%!
- They are leaving a legacy not only for their children, but for all future generations.
- They are very practical and have a tip section showing how all of us can work towards zero waste homes.
This family is far from deprived. They are living a very healthy, happy, fulfilling life. They have inspired us to take steps toward working to create our own zero waste homes.
What do you think? Could you live in a zero waste home?
The Journal Of Developmental Psychology published a study that showed that kids who spent more time doing household chores reported greater levels of happiness than kids who spent less time doing chores. They believe that kids who participate in family life through assigned tasks feel more valued and connected to other family members. Chores help define children’s identity and add an early sense of meaning to life.
A few tips to helping your child approach chores:
- Start young – If a child can carry, they can help out. Maybe it’s as simple as getting a paper towel roll when the other is empty or putting away toys after playtime.
- Match their skill level – You don’t want to frustrate them with a task that is too difficult. Be sure that they can comfortably perform what is being asked.
- Value their effort – They might not clean an area as perfectly as an adult would, so be encouraging rather than expecting perfection.
- Give choices - You can rotate jobs, allow them to pick chores or draw chores out of a hat.
- Don’t pay money – Mom and dad don’t get paid to fold laundry, do dishes, walk the dog or mow the lawn. It is what is expected in family life. Keep allowance separate from everyday task completion.
- Choose words wisely – Chores may have a negative connotation for some children. You can call these tasks jobs. This gives the child a sense of accomplishment because they are doing a job that helps the whole family.
What tips do you have for children helping around the house?
We love our pets and our children, but when we hear the tragic news of children being mauled by pets what is a parent to do? A few things to keep in mind so both your child and your pet can be safe.
Teach Your Children NOT To Run Away from Strange Dogs
Your instincts may tell you to “scream and run”, but that will set off the dog’s “prey response.” Instead, teach your child to use a loud, firm voice and tell the dog to “go home”. If the dog is just curious and watching your child (ears perked, tail wagging, relaxed stance) tell the child to walk away calmly. If the dog is standing in a threatening manner with ears laid back along his head, body tense, tail up (may or may not be wagging slowly) tell the dog to “Go lay down” in a firm voice, do not yell, do not scream. Any sudden move may trigger an attack. Tell your child to start to walk away slowly.
Never Approach a Pet When It Is Eating
Every child should know to leave a pet alone when it is eating. Animals are protective of their food and may snap at, bite or claw at someone who tries to disturb them while eating.
Give Your Pet Space
Your pet should have a place it can go where it cannot be bothered: a pillow, a crate, a doghouse, whatever. This place should be totally off limits to kids and adults.
Never Leave Your Child With a Pet Unattended
Even the friendliest pet will bite if it is in pain or just had enough. Teach your child to be gentle and respect the pet just as she would respect any member of the family.
More tips for pet safety can be found on the ASPCA website.
What tips do you have for pet and child safety? Please share them with us!
You want your baby’s room to be peaceful, beautiful and above all safe. Our friends from Horizon Window Treatments have written a few tips to keep in mind when you decorate baby’s room.
- The window treatments in your baby’s room are going to control how much natural light is let in through the window. Obviously, trying to get a baby to sleep during the bright light of day is very difficult if you don’t have something covering the window. Your options here are going to depend on where in the house your baby’s room is located. White sheer curtains should be sufficient if the baby’s window does not receive direct sunlight at any point during the day. However, if it does, it is probably best to go with a heavier, dark-colored curtain instead.
- Another thing to take into consideration is noise. This may not be a problem if you live in a more rural area, but if you live in a big city and your baby’s window faces the street, noise reduction is definitely needed. There is no such thing as a soundproof curtain, but curtains made from felt or velvet have been found to reduce noise. The only downside to noise reduction curtains is that they aren’t that elegant looking and tend to be rather expensive.
- The most important factor to take into consideration when deciding on window treatments for your baby’s bedroom is safety. You want to avoid floor length, trailing curtains pooling or lying in a puddle on the floor as the baby might try to pull up on them. Also, stay away from anything that comes with a long cord as there have been a number of cases of children accidentally strangling themselves on the cords that are used to control blinds and shades.
- Finally, always make sure there are no loose hardware pieces, holdbacks or curtain rods that could fall on your child.
Do you have any window treatment tips that have worked for you?
Share them with us in the comment section!
Special thanks to Horizon Window Treatments for their expertise on window treatments for baby’s room!
Spring brings flowers, budding trees, birds singing and… cleaning! Whether you are someone who likes to do major cleaning a little at a time or all at once, it can be a challenge to get children to help out. We decided to dedicate this Tip Tuesday post to spring cleaning and how to make it as fun as possible for you and your children.
Make Spring Cleaning Fun:
- Host a cleaning party complete with music. Let your kids chose a special cleaning outfit (make sure it’s clothes you don’t mind them getting dirty), give them party hats and blast music throughout the house. End the party with a special treat to celebrate your clean house.
- Have a cleaning contest. Divide into teams. Each team takes a room and cleans it. The team that cleans the fastest and the neatest wins. The prize for the winning team can be that they pick the dinner menu for a night during the week.
- Make cleaning a scavenger hunt. Hide prizes in the rooms or within projects that have to be cleaned. For example, if you have a lot of laundry to fold, hide a prize in a sock in the laundry pile. If you have several rooms to clean, hide prizes in the hard to clean places of the room. Prizes shouldn’t be expensive. You can hide a small amount of money, an inexpensive prize you buy from the Dollar Store or a little coupon valid for special time at your child’s favorite park, etc.
- Create a surprise cleaning jar. Put pieces of paper with jobs written on them in jar. Each person picks a job out of jar. When one job is finished, the person gets to pick out another “surprise” job out of the jar.
What ways do involve your children in spring cleaning?
Share your tips with other parents in the comment section!
One of my favorite memories from childhood is my mom reading to my sister and I before bed. We would pile into my sister’s bed with mom in the middle so we could see the pictures in the book. We loved how mom would take on different voices for the various characters in the book. It was a cherished time when we had mom “all to ourselves.” As an adult I realize we pretty much always had mom “all to ourselves,” but there was something special about story time. It was that “sacred time” set aside for snuggling and entering into new worlds of imagination through stories. And it was just for us and mom – no telephone or TV could interrupt us.
It’s never too early (or too late) to start reading with your child. Hold your baby and cuddle as you read. Your baby will then start to associate reading with positive feelings of being warm and safe.
What bedtime rituals do you remember from childhood? Have you continued something similar with your children?