To date there have been 28 deaths in 2010 of children due to hyperthermia (heat stroke) from being left in hot vehicles. This tragedy happens for a number of reasons from caretakers being preoccupied and forgetting, to children playing in cars and getting locked in. As the weather only promises to get hotter, this Tip Tuesday we want to look at a few tips to keep in mind that can help prevent this tragedy from occurring with your child.
- Never leave your child alone in a car even if you are running a “quick” errand. Cars can heat up to over 20 degrees of the temperature outside in a matter of minutes.
- Put a large doll or teddy bear in your child’s car seat when not in use so that when you do put your child in the car seat, you put the doll in the front seat next to you as a visual reminder that your child is in the back seat.
- Put your briefcase, lunch or purse on the floor near the back seat so you are forced to go to the back seat and see your child when you leave your car.
- Lock your car when it is not in use. Your car is a great hiding spot for kids playing hide and seek. They can easily get locked in your car and overheat.
- Hide your car keys so your child cannot find them & accidentally lock himself inside it.
- Make sure anyone who watches your child knows these tips and follows them.
- If you see a child left alone in a car, be proactive and call 911. Your call could save a child from hyperthermia.
What tips do you have to help prevent hyperthermia?
Did you ever feel like you can never quite get it together when it comes to the “b” word? We know the feeling and know that as a mom you are juggling A LOT so we thought for today’s Tip Tuesday, we could take a “mommy time out” to just reflect on the whole work/life balance. We are excited to have Sara Aldworth as our guest blogger.
Every mom is a working mom. Whether a full time, stay-at-home or a “9 to 5″ career mom, every mom struggles with the work/life balance. I’m a mom to 2 little girls, ages 5 and 2, and with our next baby due in November, I’ve spent a fair amount of time lately pondering this work/life balance and wondering what tweaks I will need to make this autumn!
Life seemed “easy” when my husband and I had our first daughter. Financially, it made most sense for him to be a full time stay at home parent, while I continued on in my career as a marketing professional for a boutique agency. And while I did have a meltdown moment as my maternity leave came to a close, I felt confident that my husband and I could make the transition fairly painless. I headed off to work, breast pump in hand, and plastered photos of our daughter all over my workspace. I also arranged for my husband to bring our daughter downtown to my office for a weekly family lunch date. Despite the daily time spent apart, each evening reunion with my baby girl was a joyful one and I worked hard to foster our connectedness through breastfeeding, keeping her close to me at night and wearing her in a baby carrier during the weekends when I had my entire days to spend with her.
Fast forward to baby #2! Things were getting a bit more challenging. Our oldest daughter was now 2, and true to her age, frequently testing boundaries. Having an infant on one hand and a high spirited toddler on the other kept both my husband and I on our toes. For the first time, I started to genuinely struggle with the feeling that I didn’t have enough hours in the day. As I had done with our first child, I diligently pumped breast milk while at work, further wallpapered my office with baby pictures and kept my infant daughter close to my side at night and during weekends. But when I was at home- what to do? My toddler was so anxious for me to reconnect with her, but my infant needed bonding time too. And my husband? Let’s just say our own bonding was at an all time low.
So how did we rebound from this? It wasn’t easy. I’m still not sure we’ve got it right, and I’ve definitely come to an understanding that being a parent is about both quality AND quantity time. We worked hard to involve our toddler in the bonding process with her little sister. Even a job as simple as putting a dirty diaper in the trash pail made her feel like a superstar helper. Giving our toddler her own baby doll and letting her model parenting behavior helped too. My trooper of a husband began trucking both kids downtown for monthly family lunches which became a highlight not only for me, but for my coworkers as well. And though the infamous “mom guilt” did plague me from time to time, I made sure to leave work at the office, so I could devote my full attention to our children when I was physically present with them. I also learned that during this particular season of parenting, I needed to learn how to say “no” when extra curricular commitments looked as if they would take too much time away from the family. Perhaps more importantly, I learned when to say “yes” – my husband and I started making, and enforcing, our own time. Enlisting the help of Grandma one evening a week, he and I went on dates, intent on keeping our own relationship fresh and alive.
Our third child is due near Thanksgiving. I know with his arrival will come many of the same challenges and emotions we’ve faced with our first children, plus a few more. I will continue to work full time while my husband continues on his path of stay-at-home dad. Our oldest daughter will be starting full time kindergarten, throwing a new layer of complexity on the family schedule. Can life and work be balanced? I think it probably can. But it has taken me a conscientious effort to do so and the recognition that family life, by its very nature, is fluid! Once I think I’ve got it down, I can be sure it will change again.
I’d like to hear from other moms – how do you manage the work/life balance? (Knowing that work and life means different things to different moms!)
Sara is a mom to two girls and a boy on the way. She has been working full time as a professional marketer since 1999. When not working or spending time with her family, she’s a voracious reader, enjoys a round of golf with her own parents and volunteers at her church.
Do meal times become an exercise of frustration as you try to get your child to eat her veggies and not be such a picky eater? You want your child to have healthy eating habits so he can grow and develop, but sometimes it seems impossible to get him to like anything that comes from a garden! My mom shutters when she remembers what a picky eater I was. She tried everything from sending me to my room if I didn’t eat, to not letting me play outside after dinner, to having me just sit there until I ate everything off my plate. (That never quite worked because I knew eventually she would have to let me go to bed. ) One day mom had the brilliant idea of letting my sister and I take turns picking out the vegetable for dinner.
I was in heaven. I knew that almost every other day, I had a choice. I finally had control over what ended up on my little Peter Rabbit plate! I was so proud of my veggie choice that I made sure to eat all my vegetables so as to prove I picked the most delicious vegetable. I was sure my whole family looked forward to my wonderful vegetable choices. I began to be interested in my sister’s vegetable choices as well and soon the vegetable wars in our house ended.
If you have a picky eater who doesn’t like to eat veggies, have her pick out the vegetable for dinner. Take it a step further and if you can, bring her to the grocery store with you and let her pick the veggies out of the produce aisle. She will feel involved in the process and most likely will be more willing to eat her veggies, because she was able to contribute and choose.
Do you have a picky eater who doesn’t like vegetables? What advice do you have to get children to eat their veggies?
- Make sure baby’s sleeping space is free from clutter – blankets, toys, pillows, etc.
- Place baby on his back when putting him down to sleep. This position reduces the incidence of SIDS. Make sure your caregivers know to do this as well.
- When traveling, it is best to bring your own playard or bassinet for baby since you don’t know how old or in what condition hotel cribs will be.
We love the March of Dimes website for great resources and tips for creating a safe sleeping environment for baby.
You are excited about your new bundle of joy and your growing baby bump is a daily reminder that you have to buy more maternity clothes, but you’d rather spend your money on baby gear. What’s a pregnant mom to do?
Known for their trendy clothes at inexpensive prices, Forever 21 has expanded their line to maternity wear. We liked the cute fashions that were all under $20.00! Our favorite was the Chiffon Flowered Maternity Tunic that would look great on any pregnant mom.
Who says you can’t be a trendy pregnant mom and save money too? With maternity wear taken care of, you can concentrate on more important things like buying the perfect crib mattress for baby.
What tips do you have to save money on maternity wear?
Michelle LaRowe, mom and nanny, wrote an article on playgroups. We thought it was so insightful that we had to share it with you.
How To Have a Successful Playgroup
With the start of the school year on the horizon, many parents of infants, toddlers and preschoolers wonder how they will keep their younger children occupied, engaged and entertained come September.
With parents often being priced out of preschools and enrichment classes for their young children, a playgroup provides a great way for younger children to practice their socialization skills, explore new environments and learn to interact in a group.
A well run playgroup:
- facilitates learning through play
- encourages budding friendships
- fosters emotional, physical and social development
Kids learn to:
- interact with others,
- practice their language skills, motor skills
- learn to function in new and challenging environments
So if starting a playgroup is something that interests you, here are some basic guidelines for starting and maintain a well run playgroup.
First define the parameters of your playgroup. You’ll need to determine what ages you’d like to welcome, how often you’d like to meet, where you’d be meeting and how long your playgroup will last. You may also want to include any basic rules or guidelines that you feel would help govern your playgroup. A list of house rules, expected behavior, safety guidelines for the location and approved snacks are great things to define up front.
Second you’ll want to set a date and time for an informational meeting. Create some flyers that advertise your playgroup and the date, time and location of your informational meeting. Posting flyers at your local library, pediatrician’s office and other places that kids visit is a great way to connect with other moms and kids of similar ages as yours. Include pull of strips with your contact information for people to take.
Third you’ll want to prepare to host your informational meeting. Offer light snacks and refreshments and make it a social gathering for parents of children of similar ages. Provide sign-up sheets that attendees can leave their contact information and the names and ages of their children. Although you may want to host the first playgroup meeting, you may also want to provide a calendar for parents to sign up to host a playgroup or commit to bringing snacks.
Follow up via email with those who attended and finalize the details of your first playgroup. Layout your playgroup schedule and encourage others to sign up to host or bring snack on available days.
Prepare your space in advance:
- Decide which areas of your location will be open to the group and childproof the space as needed.
- Put away any toys that your child may have trouble sharing and create a welcoming and friendly environment for your little guests.
- Many successful playgroups work off a theme and each meeting revolves around a preselected theme. On the farm, music and movement, colors and in the kitchen are all great themes for young kids. Be sure to leave out toys, games, books and activities that go along with your theme for kids to play with.
Create Different Stations:
- Have books in one area, blocks in another and a craft project in another provides an opportunity for kids to actively participate in playgroup together
- Great stations are made up of activities that have many parts that kids can play with together. For example, there are enough blocks for everyone to use so it can avoid kids fighting over one prized possession.
You may also want to consider having a monthly outing for playgroup where everyone attends the local park, library or museum together. This is a great way to secure group rates at local attractions.
After your playgroup meeting, follow up with those on your contact list and let them know how fun your playgroup was and when your next group will be. Invite them to join the fun!
With a little planning and preparation starting and maintaining a playgroup for your young child can be a cinch. Affordable and fun, playgroups provide a great way for kids and moms to connect.
Written by Michelle LaRowe
You spend most of your day making baby talk with your baby and you cherish the time you have with her because you know soon enough she will be going to school, graduating…you get the picture. In the meantime, however, you are craving a little more communication with adults. You could try a meet up group, but maybe that’s not your thing.
Here are a few ideas where you might find other moms and dads like you who would like to meet other understanding parents and don’t mind if the conversation is interrupted with a diaper change or feeding time.
- Parenting Yoga Class - get fit and meet other parents!
- Park District Activities - experience new adventures (most of them for free) while you meet other parents!
- Movie theaters with Kid Friendly Movie Times – enjoy a movie in a cool theater and meet other parents!
- Gym Classes - help baby develop basic skills while bonding with other parents!
If you need a break from baby babble but don’t want time away from baby, meeting other parents can be the perfect solution.
What tips do you have for connecting with other parents?
Ready to have some summertime fun with your kids that won’t break your bank account? Join the National Wildlife Federation for their Great American Backyard Campout this Saturday! Just think – you and thousands of other families will all be celebrating an event that helps kids appreciate the outdoors and healthy living. You can campout as a family, you can organize a campout with friends, neighbors – the sky is the limit!
Register at backyardcampout.org. Once you sign up you get resources such as camping tips, campfire songs, packing lists, activities, etc.
We love how camping promotes children having the opportunity to be “unplugged” and connect with nature. To celebrate the Great American Backyard Campout, we are giving away a Jeep Wrangler All Weather Umbrella Stroller. All you have to do to enter is post your Great American Backyard Campout photo in our Magical Moments online photo album. We will pick a winner on Monday, June 28th. We think our Jeep strollers are perfect for the outdoorsy family who is on the go and fit hand in hand with the Campout!
Will you be camping under the stars on June 26th?
- It takes 20-30 minutes for sunscreen to kick into full gear. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before your child goes outside instead of when they are heading out the door.
- It’s easy to forget to put on sunscreen especially when kids are excited to jump in the pool or run in the yard. Make sunscreen application part of your child’s daily routine when they are getting dressed so you don’t forget.
- Be generous in applying sunscreen and don’t forget ears and the back of the neck!
- Create a game of applying sunscreen. Make up a silly song about sunscreen and have your child wiggle his toes when you are applying on his feet, shake his arm before you put it on his arm, etc. It will be like your very own sunscreen hokey pokey!
- Don’t be afraid to try different sunscreens. Some kids prefer the spray sunscreen, others like the lotion or gel. See what works best for your little one.
- Choose a sunscreen that provides broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection.
- Have shade time where your child takes a 10 – 30 minute break under a tree or umbrella so she isn’t in the sun continuously.
- Re-apply sunscreen every 2 hours if your child is in the water or sweating.
- Check with your doctor first before applying sunscreen to your baby or child with sensitive skin.
- Kids learn by imitation. Be sure to always put sunscreen on yourself and your child will pick up on your healthy habits!
What sun safety tips do you have?
Summer brings extra time to be outdoors, to play, to picnic and to read! Good reading habits are developed during your child’s early stages of development. By encouraging your child to read, by setting time aside to read to your child or have your child read to you and by taking them to bookstores or the library, you are instilling in them the tools for good reading skills that will carry them through school and their adult years.
One way to make a trip to your local library or bookstore special, is to have your child design his or her own canvas bag for books. We love the inexpensive bags at Oriental Trading.
What you need:
- Canvas bag
- Non toxic fabric markers or paint
- Disposable table cloth to cover the surface where your child is designing his or her bag
- Encouragement and imagination
Ask your child how he or she would like to decorate their special book bag. Perhaps they would like to draw a character from a favorite book or make their own version of modern art and splash different colors on the bag. You can also change things up by decorating with felt or foam cutouts or embellishments that you can buy at any craft store. You can also make your bag decorating into a party by inviting over a few of your child’s friends to decorate bags with you.
Plan a trip to your library or local bookstore so your child can carry their books in their newly decorated bag. By using this bag just for “book trips” you are teaching your child that book time is special.
A few other benefits of having a special book bag:
- Storing library books in bag between trips will help them not get lost.
- Walking to your library or bookstore will add a touch of fitness to your day. You and your child will have the double benefit of exercise and reading time!
- Using a canvas bag instead of plastic will teach your child about being green.
What ways do you make reading time special for your child?