December 31, 2007 | Leave a Comment
With the noisemakers, confetti, balloons and fun hats and tiaras, New Year’s Eve is probably the best party around for kids. Unfortunately, by the time the ball drops, many of them are too tuckered out to enjoy it.
Enter an idea from a family in Idaho. They cleverly solved this problem by simply changing time zones, but instead of going to a new destination, they brought the destination to their home.
If you’re on the West Coast, consider ringing in the New Year Miami-style. Decorate your home with palm tree cutouts, turn on some Latin tunes and have guests dress up in swim suits and sunglasses. Serve tropical fare and drinks with little umbrellas.
For those on the East Coast, celebrate at six just like French. Have the kids don berets and celebrate the tradition of la galette des rois or the King Cake. Instead of baking a cake, you could make cupcakes. Place a small trinket or bean in one of the cupcakes (make sure all the kids check their cupcakes before eating them), then the child who finds the bean or trinket it crowned King for the night! Make sure you have a crown for the child to wear.
Whatever you do, enjoy the celebration and make it your family’s best year yet!
December 28, 2007 | Leave a Comment
Winter can be a magical time for kids, especially after the first snowfall. Unfortunately, like a new toy, winter can lose its luster with many kids. And on top of that, come mid-January, sometimes it’s just too darn cold to go outside and play, anyway.
Here are some easy, yet fun activities that will keep your kids entertained all afternoon:
Build a fort. All you really need are some chairs (just take them from the dining room table), some big blankets and a flashlight. Once the fort is set up, the kids’ imaginations will kick right in. If it’s a weekend night, consider letting your kids “camp out” in the living room at night.
Fun in the kitchen. Have your kids help you make cookies. There are quick and easy, yet still yummy, recipes out there. Once the cookies come out of the oven, your kids will want to curl up on the couch with the tasty treats and glass of milk.
Curtain call. Encourage your kids to put on a play or a variety show. Give them access to your old clothes, accessories and even make up.
Make your own play dough. All you need is 1 cup of flour, 1 cup warm water, 2 teaspoons cream of tartar, 1 teaspoon oil, ¼ cup salt and food coloring. Have your kids mix the ingredients. You’ll need to stir the mixture over medium heat until smooth and kneed it until it’s blended completely. Let it cool for about 15 minutes and your kids will be able to add food coloring and play with it for hours. Store it in a plastic bag or airtight container when it’s cooled – it will last for a long time.
Babies have a language all their own.
At first, you may not be able to differentiate between the cries: Does your baby need a clean diaper? Does your baby’s tummy hurt? Is your baby simply bored?
Learning how your baby communicates will take time. But no matter how well-versed you become at baby babble, there will be times when no matter what you do, your baby won’t stop crying. We’ve all been there.
Here are some tips when it seems like you’re all out of ideas.
Good vibrations. Try placing your baby in a bouncy chair on top of the washer or dryer while its running. Sometimes the gentle vibrations will do the trick.
Go for a little drive. Sometimes the gentle purr of an engine and motion of a car is enough to relax a baby into a deep slumber.
Soothing sounds. If you don’t have white noise machine, consider placing your baby in a bouncy chair and running your vacuum, turning on the tap water or starting your dishwasher.
Massage. Use baby oil and gently caress your baby from head to toe.
Swaddle her in warmth. Warm a blanket in the dryer – make sure it’s warm, not hot and wrap your baby in it.
A gentle breeze. Place a small fan near your baby (but not too close so that he or she can touch it) or lightly blow on your baby’s face, feet, tummy and hands.
Bathing your baby for the first time is a precious moment, but can also be accompanied by a bit of anxiety. Here are some tips to get your feet wet…so to speak.
Wait until the time is right. Do not immerse your baby in water until after the umbilical cord has fallen off and/or the circumcision has healed. You can give your baby small sponge baths during this time, however.
How often? Since your baby isn’t moving around much, you only really need to completely bathe your baby 2-3 times per week. Just make sure you’re always keeping his or her hands and face clean and that the diaper area is clean and dry.
Create a comfy environment. Bath time should be calm, relaxing and focused. Make sure there are no distractions and make sure the room temperature is around 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Check the bath water with your wrist or elbow, just like you would check the temperature of a bottle. It should be warm, not hot. You really only need a few inches of water.
Keep supplies close at hand. Gather everything you will need ahead of time and keep everything close by.
Never, ever leave your baby alone in a bath. Also, make sure your tub is the right size for your baby - consider purchasing a tub with an insert so that it’s easier for you to keep your baby’s head out of the water.
Consider your baby’s gentle skin.You’ll want to use a gentle, unscented soap when washing your baby. You can get baby soap or use a brand like Dove or Neutrogena. Don’t use much soap and avoid scrubbing.
Make it fun. While you’ll definitely introduce more bath toys as your child gets older like cups and rubber duckies. For the first few baths, consider something simple like a washcloth for your baby to suck on. Also, you may want to sing to your baby or put on some gentle, relaxing music.
How to recognize and treat frostbite.
What is frostbite?
Frostbite can be a very serious condition. It occurs when the skin and outer tissues become frozen and most commonly affects the extremities – the fingers, toes, ears and nose. Kids are more susceptible to frostbite because they lose heat faster than adults and they’re a little more determined to weather the cold and prolong their winter fun.
What to do:
Frostbite requires immediate emergency medical attention and is characterized by gray or white waxy skin that goes numb and feels hard. It can also be accompanied by blisters.
If you believe your child is suffering from frostbite get him into warm clothing and take him immediately to the emergency room. If you believe his feet are also frostbitten, carry him to the car. If you cannot get to a hospital quickly or if you need to wait for an ambulance:
• Give your child something warm to drink.
• Immerse the frostbitten areas in warm water – around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. For the nose, ears and lips you can apply a warm compress for thirty minutes.
• Never use direct heat or a heating pad.
• Do not rub the area as this can cause even more damage.
• After the skin thaws, apply a sterile dressing to the areas and in between the fingers and toes if applicable. Have your child keep the thawed areas as still as possible. Thawing can be accompanied by a good deal of pain and tingling.
Keep them toasty in smart fabrics & lots of layers.
The youngest and oldest among us are most susceptible to the effects of inclement weather. From hypothermia to frostbite, winter’s chill can cause serious harm.
Here are some tips to keep your young ones warm and toasty all season long:
A good rule of thumb is to dress children in one more layer of clothing than adults would dress in the same condition. Your goal is to not only keep them warm, but more importantly, dry.
Use several thin layers consisting of clothes like:
• Thermal long johns on the top and bottom. One-piece pajamas will also work in a pinch.
• Flannel shirts, turtlenecks and wool sweaters.
• Wool socks.
• Waterproof boots – make sure they have a good lining and that they fit correctly. Boots that are too tight restrict blood flow, which causes feet to become even colder. Fit your child’s boots so there’s room for an extra pair of socks.
• Mittens – these are better than gloves because the fingers stay close together creating their own warmth. Mittens that have gloves underneath are also a good option.
• Hats – avoid ear muffs or headbands. You lose most of your heat from the top your head. Make sure the hat also covers the ears.
December 6, 2007 | Leave a Comment
When you have a new baby, you probably don’t want to travel for the holidays, nor do you want to host large affairs with extended family. Most of your friends and relatives will realize this and understand.
So how do you commemorate your baby’s first Christmas in a low-key but meaningful way?
Record everything. You baby won’t remember his or first Christmas so you’ll want to take a lot of pictures and video footage to share with him or her at a later time. You may even want to start a scrapbook for holiday mementos like wrapping paper, gift cards and special photos. Write up a little description about the celebration. You can turn this into a baby’s first holidays book for other celebrations like Easter or Valentine’s Day.
A journal for you. Consider keeping your own journal to write down your feelings, emotions, funny anecdotes or other things you want to remember and cherish.
Ornaments. Buy a special ornament or make one to celebrate this special day. If you have other children, have them make their own ornaments in honor of the new baby.
Start a new tradition in honor of your baby. This could be a special dessert you make every year, a special story your read or a Christmas carol you share with him or her every year.
Don’t forget the siblings. Not only do you want to get the siblings involved so they don’t feel left out, but do something special just for them, as well. Perhaps the older child or children can help make Christmas cookies or play a specific role like helping to open the gifts.
Christmas is a wonderful time for kids and when they are old enough to understand it, you may want to bring Santa Claus into the picture. But what’s the best way to go about it so that you can create a meaningful tradition really make your little ones believe in the magic of Santa?
Take them to visit Santa at the mall. Try to stand nearby so you can hear what your child asks for. Make sure to take lots of pictures, too.
Help them write letters to the North Pole. Fulfill their written requests on Christmas morning – as long as they’re within reason and budget.
Consider your wrapping paper. Wrap the gifts from Santa and your gifts in different paper. Kids are smart and will notice the details and inevitably ask questions.
Christmas treats. Have your kids help you make some cookies for Santa and his reindeer. Leave them out with some milk – and make sure they’ve been eaten before the morning. You could even leave a little thank you note from Mr. Claus.
Be Stealthy. Sneak the presents downstairs and don’t get caught! If you’re in a place with snow, consider making some tracks on the lawn that could resemble eight reindeer and a sleigh.
November 30, 2007 | Leave a Comment
Childhood obesity is a major problem in this country. While junk food and fast food are certainly part of the epidemic, you can’t overlook the fact that kids just aren’t as active these days.
Television, DVDs, computers and video games can lure children into the house and render them immobile for hours at a time. While some of these activities may be good for their minds, they’re certainly not good for their cardiovascular health.
School-age kids needs at least one hour of exercise a day and shouldn’t be inactive for more than two hours at a time. But remember, exercise doesn’t mean you have to be running on a treadmill or the elliptical machine; it’s about getting your kids up and moving.
Consider these activities that are fun for the whole family:
• Scheduled walks. Instead of plopping down in front of the television after dinner, take a walk together. This will aid in digestion and tire them out before bed.
• Family game days. Organize a family softball game, kickball game or even game of tag. Invite your children’s friends.
• Sign up for a class. Many martial arts schools offer classes that families can take together like Tae Kwon Do or kickboxing.
• Bowling. Set a date every month to take the family out on the lanes. It’s fun and in most places, inexpensive.
November 27, 2007 | Leave a Comment
An ongoing battle of seemingly epic proportions, this choice haunts new moms and can turn into a vicious morality debate with finger-pointing and endless attempts at justification on both sides.
In fact, according to a recent survey, there is a widespread belief that the parents of today don’t measure up to the parents of 20 to 30 years ago.
For proponents of stay-at-home moms, this is because too many women decide to return to work. For proponents of working moms, it has nothing to do with that, and in fact, being forced to stay at home can be more detrimental to the mother and as a result negatively impacts her parenting.
So, what’s a new mom to think? Mothers who want to return to work feel just as guilty as moms who don’t return to work but secretly want to. Most experts agree that there really is no right or wrong answer. There are hundreds of arguments on both sides to justify the choice.
The key is to do what you think is right, not what your friends or neighbors think is right. It’s a personal choice that can be tailored to your suit your needs. For example, for moms who want or need to work but are also concerned with spending too much time away from their child:
• Consider part-time work if finances or career forward motion are issues.
• Talk to your current employer about the possibility of working remotely a few days a week.
• Look for an opportunity that allows you to work from home.
For moms that want to stay at home, but are also concerned about feeling trapped by being at home all the time:
• Consider volunteering at your child’s school.
• Help out other moms who may need it – carpooling, occasional babysitting, etc.
• Explore new interests that may not have been feasible while working full time.
Most importantly for both camps, remember that you can always change your mind. If your initial choice doesn’t feel right or if you feel its hindering your child’s development or your own well-being – then try another option.