Savvy parents are always looking for tricks to save time and money while becoming better caregivers. These six simple hacks will make you feel like a superstar parent while giving your little one the best.
(BPT) - Whether it's your first child or you've been around the baby block a few times before, having an infant in your life is an unforgettable experience. While there are countless joys you'll cherish forever, there are also a few challenges you'll likely face along the way.
Savvy parents are always looking for tricks to save time and money while becoming better caregivers. These six simple hacks will make you feel like a superstar parent while giving your little one the best:
1) Fast and tidy diaper changes
Wiggling legs can make fast messes, especially when it comes time to change the diaper. To make diaper changing quick and easy, try placing a clean diaper on the changing table before laying your baby down on the table. Remove the diaper tabs, clean your baby up, pull away the dirty diaper and instantly you have a clean diaper ready to go. You'll save time and consolidate messes in the process.
2) Clean stroller travel
Saving your back and making travel smooth and easy, a stroller can take you and your baby anywhere from the park to the mall and beyond. However, with those adventures comes all the nasty dirt, grime or worse that gets on the wheels. Before putting your stroller in your car for transport, place shower caps on the wheels. Your car will stay nice and clean no matter how messy those stroller wheels are.
3) Save money on essentials
Babies need many things and the costs add up fast. Shopping sales and using coupons is a good start, but you can save even more money without sacrificing quality by looking for store brand items like diapers, wipes and infant formula. Store brand infant formula is the ultimate parenting hack, offering the same complete nutrition as the big-name brands but saving families up to $900 a year, based on prices from an October 2019 retail price survey of assorted stores.*
*Retail prices from October 2019 retail price survey of assorted stores. Actual prices and savings may vary.
4) Streamline bath time
A warm baby is a happy baby, and what parent doesn't want to see their little one cozy and cooing? While you're bathing baby, have someone place a towel in the dryer for five minutes. Remember to never leave your child alone in the bathtub, so you'll need a partner or older sibling to do this. Once the dryer is done, have them bring you the towel so you can wrap baby in warmth right out of the water. You'll never see tears from a post-bath chill again.
5) No more noisy toys
Kids are noisy. Kids' toys that make noise can add to the commotion. Those loud bells and songs can test even the most patient parent. When children are done using noisy toys, cover the toy’s speaker with tape to avoid any excess noise. This also works if a toy is particularly loud and could use a bit of muffling, even on the low setting. A small piece of tape lessens the noise so baby can still enjoy without Mom and Dad getting a headache.
6) Stay informed
Knowing what's best for baby is a combination of using your instincts and staying informed. Having quick resources for getting useful information about important topics like health, nutrition and savings can give your parenting game an edge. For even more tips on all things feeding baby, check out the latest MommyMD Guide to Feeding Your Baby Right and visit storebrandformula.com as a resource to help make the wild ride of parenting a little bit easier.
Before you face another chorus of “I’m bored” from the kiddos, consider these simple activities you and your child can do together when winter weather or schedules have you stuck indoors.
Simple STEM Activities to Do at Home
(Family Features) Winter is the season for family gatherings, snow days and breaks from school and work, but all this time indoors can lead to a serious case of cabin fever for both children and adults. Before you face another chorus of “I’m bored,” consider these simple activities you and your child can do together when winter weather or schedules have you stuck indoors.
Each activity idea from the experts at KinderCare can help children build foundational skills they’ll need for success in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) areas so you can combine fun and learning.
For more activity ideas, visit kindercare.com.SOURCE:
From the classroom to the internet, bullying can lead to children developing a poor self-image or lead to bullying others. In fact, members of Generation Z believe bullying is the biggest issue facing their generation. Consider these ideas to help your kids learn how to overcome, avoid and break down the cycle of bullying.
5 Ways to Empower Kids to End Bullying
(Family Features) From the classroom to the internet, bullying can lead to children developing a poor self-image or lead to bullying others. In fact, members of Generation Z believe bullying is the biggest issue facing their generation, according to new data.
A survey of American youth ages 6-17, commissioned by the Boy Scouts of America, the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training, found bullying ranked as the top concern for young people in their own communities, across the country and on a global scale. At the same time, 84% of those surveyed said they want to be a part of the solution.
Consider these ideas to help your kids learn how to overcome, avoid and break down the cycle of bullying:
Promote more time unplugged and outdoors. It is important for parents to promote healthy, face-to-face social interactions. Outdoor activities allow children to work together, solve problems and bond in a way that typically can’t be achieved through a screen. They also give children a break from the cyber-world, where bullying is often prevalent.
Encourage kindness. Ninety-seven percent of Gen Z members surveyed said being kind is important. Encourage kids to act on that feeling and remind them that it doesn’t take any extra energy to be kind. Serve as a role model by making kindness a foundation in your family, just as the Boy Scouts of America have done. The Scout Law lists being kind as one of 12 guiding characteristics.
Educate and equip. Parents should educate their children about why bullying is never OK, equip them with the knowledge they’ll need to recognize it and encourage them to report and safely respond to all forms of bullying they observe.
Use the buddy system. In Scouting, the buddy system pairs kids together to help ensure the well-being of one another. This approach is used for practical and safety reasons that can also be applied to everyday life. A pair or group of kids are less likely to get bullied, and buddies can be supportive by being an upstander.
Explore differences. As a family, look for ways to get involved in activities that include families from different backgrounds and cultures. Introducing kids to ideas and lifestyles different from their own can be an enlightening experience, and that knowledge can help break down some of the barriers that contribute to bullying, such as fear and misunderstanding.
Learn more about ways Generation Z and its supporters can help put an end to bullying at Scouting.org.SOURCE:
Boy Scouts of America
Science shows that human brains grow faster between the ages of 0-3 than at any later point in people’s lives, forming more than one million neural connections every second. Nurturing relationships, early learning experiences and good health and nutrition influence all areas of a child’s development, setting a strong foundation for the rest of his or her life. In order to help make babies a national priority, consider letting your policymakers know you care about the policies and programs babies need for strong starts to their lives.
Pushing for a Strong Start for Babies
(Family Features) More than 10,000 babies are born each day in the United States. Where they are born and where they live during the first years of their lives can make a difference in their chances for strong starts.
Science shows that human brains grow faster between the ages of 0-3 than at any later point in people’s lives, forming more than one million neural connections every second. Nurturing relationships, early learning experiences and good health and nutrition influence all areas of a child’s development, setting a strong foundation for the rest of his or her life.
According to the “State of Babies Yearbook: 2019,” published by Zero To Three, an early childhood development nonprofit organization, babies in many states face persistent hardships that undermine their ability to grow and thrive, such as staggering child care costs and lack of comprehensive paid family and medical leave.
“Families are struggling every day, in every state, and we are urging our leaders to act,” said Myra Jones-Taylor, chief policy officer of Zero To Three. “Most of our investments in early childhood start too late, at age 4 or older. By that time, some of the most important years of brain development have passed. Today’s babies become tomorrow’s workers, parents and leaders. Now is the time for policymakers on both sides of the aisle to make every baby a priority through policies built on the science of brain development and budgets that put babies and families first.”
To help ensure a brighter future for all babies, the organization is working with Congress through events like “Strolling Thunder” to help drive support for policies and programs that prioritize the needs of babies, toddlers and their families. Its policy agenda includes establishing a comprehensive national paid leave program that provides adequate time off to care for newborns or newly adopted children, and allows families to take leave if their child or another family member is experiencing a serious illness; expanding access to quality, affordable child care by increasing investments in the child care system while also working toward a comprehensive, long-term solution for working families; and increasing investments in programs that support babies’ healthy development, such as Early Head Start, and infant and early childhood mental health.
“As a director of an early childhood education program, I can speak firsthand to the struggle associated with providing high-quality care and education programs for young children while balancing that against what parents can reasonably afford to pay for child care,” said Jessica Carter, a “Strolling Thunder” parent from North Carolina. “As a mother of two, I can also speak firsthand to the fact that if I did not receive discounted tuition at my center, I would not be able to afford child care costs and would be forced to stay at home with my children. As a result, our family would not have affordable access to health care. Further, our children would not benefit from the social and educational benefits they receive in a group care setting.”
In order to help make babies a national priority, consider letting your policymakers know you care about the policies and programs babies need for strong starts to their lives, and join the team that’s fighting for their futures at thinkbabies.org/strollingthunder.SOURCE:
Zero To Three
Being stuck inside with a baby during the colder months can leave even the most seasoned parents feeling a bit stir-crazy. Consider these activity ideas that you and your baby can do together no matter the weather or where you’re traveling.
Building Babies’ Brains
(Family Features) With all the stress of a new school year, it can be difficult for students to readjust to a healthy routine, but many experts agree that sleep is among the most important parts of that routine. Numerous studies demonstrate that children who sleep better learn better.
While you're busy shopping for pencils, book bags and notebooks, remember that a good night's sleep should also be at the top of your list this season. Make the transition easier with these five tips from Dr. Sujay Kansagra, director of Duke University’s Pediatric Neurology Sleep Medicine Program and a sleep health consultant for Mattress Firm:
Ease into earlier bedtimes. For many children, the sudden shift to an earlier bedtime and wake-up call can pose a big challenge. Children who were accustomed to falling asleep later at night during the summer will have to slowly adjust their body clocks to move bedtime earlier during the school year. To ease children into the earlier sleep schedule, start moving bedtimes earlier by 10-15 minutes each night until reaching your end goal.
Ensure a comfortable sleeping environment. Pay attention to factors like lighting and noise. It may be necessary, especially early in the school year when the days are still long, to add blackout curtains to help block bright light. If noise is a factor, consider adding some soft background music or a sound machine to serve as a buffer so other noises are less intrusive.
Be sure the bed is up to the task. Another environmental consideration is the bed itself. Mattresses are not always top-of-mind as you consider back-to-school shopping, but when sleep can have such an impact on your child's educational performance, the right mattress can help ensure students are getting quality zzz’s at the start of a new school year.
Avoid bright light prior to bedtime. Aside from your window, there are also other sources of light that can affect sleep. Several studies have shown that excess screen time just before bed can have a negative impact on the brain’s ability to transition into sleep mode. Try curbing screen time well before bedtime, or if your child must use screens, engage the night-reading feature, which alters the hue of the light for less impact.
Develop a consistent nighttime routine. A routine performed 20-30 minutes prior to bed every night can subconsciously ease children’s brains into sleep. A ritual that involves bathing, brushing teeth, talking about the day’s events, discussing what’s ahead for tomorrow and quiet time with a book are all ways to unwind together and slow down those active minds for a transition toward a peaceful night’s rest.
Remember that sleep is vital for memory retention and cognitive performance. Without it, children may experience behavioral problems and other difficulties in school. Find more resources to help improve your kids’ sleep, including tips on how to purchase a new mattress, at DailyDoze.com.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
Things to consider when researching child care providers
(Family Features) Finding the right preschool or care provider for your child doesn’t have to be a daunting process. Because your child’s early years are crucial in his or her development, choosing the right child care facility is one of the most important decisions you can make to prepare him or her for both school and adult life.
While most parents start the process by asking friends and family for recommendations, keep these tips from the child care experts at KinderCare in mind when searching for a child care center:
Find Locations Along Your Existing Commute. The rhythm of drop-off and pick-up will soon become a reality of your days, so take into account how a new routine will impact traffic and drive times during your commute. Looking into child care facilities near your home or office, or along your route, can be a sanity saver, especially on those mornings when you’re rushing out of the house behind schedule.
Do Your Research. Child care has come a long way in the past couple decades, and nationally accredited centers like KinderCare can provide everything your child needs to reach his or her potential. Awarded by an independent organization, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, accredited centers meet rigorous standards in everything from teacher qualifications to curriculum to safety. A simple search online can provide a list of accredited centers near your location of choice.
Make a List of Requirements. Before you tour a facility, it can help to find your focus. Make a list about what you need from a program, what you want for your child and any concerns you may have, no matter how large or small. For example, consider potential concerns like kindergarten preparation, teachers’ management of conflict between children and more. Use your preferences to guide conversations when you’re ready to take tours.
Take Tours. Once you’ve narrowed down your list to a few preferred facilities or programs, schedule tours to check out the spaces, meet the directors and watch how the teachers interact with the children. Keep your requirements in mind and look for clean, safe facilities that focus on nutrition and encourage exploration and reading while building a sense of belonging. If you’re still on the fence or need more information about one or more centers, don’t be afraid to go back for a second visit and ask more questions to ensure you’re picking the right place for your family.
Trust Your Instincts. After taking tours, you may have a lot of information to process. Narrowing down what’s right for your family can seem overwhelming at first, but asking yourself questions such as these can help you in the long run: Did you feel listened to, heard and understood? Was the center warm and welcoming? When in doubt, trust your gut. This is your child, after all, and you know him or her best.
Find more tips and information to help pick the perfect child care center at kindercare.com.SOURCE:
(Family Features) Just when it seems like you have gotten into your summer groove, it’s time to get back into your school routine, which can be cause both relief and stress at the same time for parents and students alike. Even if your kids are fairly adaptable, big changes like heading back to school after a summer of limited scheduling can be stressful.
Head off potential problems as you transition into the busy back-to-school season with these family-friendly tips to get everyone back on the school-time track:
Set a Family Schedule
Rather than rushing into school season all at once, try to plan your schedule ahead of time. Easing into school season can make for a much smoother transition. This means gradually tapering off later bedtimes and enforcing an earlier wake up call. If meal times have gotten lax, it’s also a good idea to start working back toward your school-time schedule.
Getting everyone up and on their way can be one of the greatest challenges on school days. Serve breakfast, pack lunches and make it out the door with a cup of still-hot coffee with an option like the Chinet Comfort Cup insulated hot cup. It’s designed to help keep drinks the perfect temperature while remaining cool to the touch, and with the snap-and-go lid, you can avoid messes during busy mornings.
From weekly meetings to extracurricular activities and weekend sports, try using lists and charts to stay organized. Especially as kids grow older and their activities lists and school deadlines expand, keeping track of everyone can become a real chore. Find a place in the house where you can post calendars and lists that everyone can see. Try color-coding by child or type of activity (school, work, sports, etc.) for extra organization.
List Family Goals
Have each person in the family list out his or her goals for this school year. They can be small or challenging, but it can give everyone something to strive for. It’s also a good way to remind kids about family values like encouraging one another and making time to support everyone’s individual interests.
Buy Supplies Ahead of Time
Don’t wait until the last minute to search for school supplies like notebooks, pencils and paper or the bigger ticket items like backpacks. Seeking out necessary items ahead of time can alleviate the stress of not being able to find what you need, and spreading out purchases over time can eliminate a major one-time hit to the family budget.
Find more ideas to ease your family’s transition back to school at MyChinet.com.SOURCE:
American Academy Of Pediatrics
Back To School
Centers For Disease Control And Prevention
Early Childhood Education
High School Prom