News: family time

Best Snowsuits for Kids – snow play all day!

By Dallas Stevens

Eyes need protection all year round! Pair Ro·Sham·Bo Baby's children's sports sunglasses with these 5 best toddler snowsuits to keep Junior safe from head to toe.

By 

As kids get older it’s easier to send them out doors in the cold and snowy weather to play for long stretches… if you have the right snow gear. A good snowsuit can be the difference between drinking a warm beverage in it’s entirety while watching the kids romp and play from the window, and repeated blasts of cold air from the door opening and closing as the kids come in because their snow suit doesn’t fit right or their clothes are starting to get wet.

Bast Play All Day Kids Snow Suits

I know what a pain to shop for snow suits, so, to make it a little easier I have gathered the top rated snowsuits for kids on Amazon. These snow suits all have a minimum of 50 reviews and an average rating of at least 4 stars.

Top rated Snow Suits

 

Arctix Youth Overalls Snow Bib

4.5 stars with over 600 reviews- Great for everyday wear, this snowsuit has reinforced cuffs and scuff guards to prevent fraying at the ankles. They also have gaiters- an internal sleeve that fits inside the snow boots to keep legs and feet completely protected from the snow. This snow suit has elastic sides and adjustable shoulder straps for a good fit on a wide range of body types. It also come in a wide range of sizes and colors. Reviews appreciate the warmth of this snowsuit.

White Sierra Youth Toboggan Insulated Bib

4.5 stars with 200 reviews. Articulated knees, stretchy ribbed sides, and adjustable shoulder straps mean a custom fit while also allowing for range of motion. Many reviewers mentioned the high quality of materials and construction and felt that the sizing was true to fit.

Columbia Snowslope II Bib

4.3 stars with 131 reviews- Light weight and warm, with reinforced cuffs, this snowsuit is ready to see your child though more than one season of snow. Columbia Snowslope II has a unique outgrow cuff system allowing you to lengthen the legs for a longer lasting fit. Reviewers mention the ease of cleaning between uses because dirt can simply be brushed off after drying.

iXtreme Boys’ Snowbib

4.5 starts with 90 reviews- This snowsuit features internal gators and zippered cuffs to create a layered barrier against the snow. The zippered pockets and key or mitten loop make these a great choice for a day on the slops or out and about everyday. Reviews note that they run slightly large making them a good fit for huskier kids.

London Fog Classic Bib Pant with Zipper

4.6 stars with 50 reviews. A geat snowsuit, it is machine washable and features a cargo pocket on the side making it a good choice for the slopes or a everyday use. They come in a range of colors and sizes from 2T all the way up to 14/16 youth. Reviewers appreciate the quality and warmth of these snow bibs.

More top rated snow gear:

 

Hanes Thermal Underwear Set

Don’t forget a breathable base layer, these thermal underwear have flat, no rub seams and shrinkage control, however, reviewers note that these run small so you may want to order up a size or two.

 

 

Fox River Kids Snow Day Over-The-Calf Socks

A warm pair of wool socks can make a big difference in staying warm and dry while playing in the snow. These socks are made of soft Merino wool and have a flat toe seam for comfort.

OutdoorMaster Kids Ski Goggles

For kids 6 and up these goggles offer UV protection to protect eyes and can even be worn over glasses!

For more of the best snow gear for kids, check out these posts:

 

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How Busy Parents Find Creative Ways to Bond

By Gen Cohen

Use your skills, your kids' talents or pair up your interests to find ways to spend time together,

By Sarah Raymond via parenting.com

These days, a lot of parents are so overwhelmed with the daily grind that they don't have the energy to think of creative ways to bond with their children. But we talked to some busy parents who are connecting with their kids in a variety of inventive ways. We hope these parenting tips for working mothers and fathers inspire you.

Use Your Talents

Amy Reyes is a senior graphic designer for a major corporation, an illustrator and all-around talented artist, but she is also a single mother of one. To her, the hardest part of being a mom was admitting that it is OK to do something for herself; especially if it helps her to be a better parent in the long run. Her solution for creating a bond with her son combines her need to work on her own art and her desire to create something special for her son. So she has started utilizing her skills as an artist to work on her lunchnotes series. Every night, instead of writing a traditional note for her son to read the next day at school, she draws him a character to greet him during his lunch and remind him that she is thinking of him.

"As an artist and a single mom, there never seems to be enough time to fit my art in. It gets so frustrating, and it's something a lot of people don't understand. If I don't draw, I get really depressed. So the lunchnotes were kind of born out of necessity. I wanted to let my kiddo know I was thinking about him during the day, and I also wanted to draw every day," Amy says. "At the end of the evening, I have 45 minutes to myself. This way it's a win-win. I get to draw and he gets a special hello from Mom every day."

Amy realizes not everyone can draw, but anyone can get on board with the main purpose behind lunchnotes: making a connection.

"Artistic abilities aren't necessary to connect," Amy says. "Don't set up a long list of rules for what you have to do in order to connect. There are endless ways to connect, and every parent has their own special something to contribute."

Besides drawing lunchnotes, Amy goes dark on electronic devices from Friday evenings until Monday mornings and makes Saturdays strictly fun days. She and her son don't do chores and do activities together.

"Put your phone away. Disconnect from your world and meet them in theirs. Allow yourself to be silly-hearted and to have fun. All they want is your time. That's it. It's up to you to decide what to do in that time," Amy says. "Childhood is short. Make that connection early—when you are in their world. And you'll still hopefully have it when you aren't anymore."

Take an Interest in Your Kids' Passions

Maria Singleton, mother of two, credits her connection to her two daughters to being "creative individually and as a family unit. I think it's important to know what your children love to do and explore those areas for deeper connections."

Her oldest daughter, a teenager, enjoys reading, cooking and sports, so Maria participates in those activities with her one on one. Her youngest has a passion for playing dolls, so Maria makes time to play with her.

"Any time I make the time to initiate the invitation to play dolls, her little face beams with joy," Maria says.

Like Amy, Maria agrees that it's important to take time for herself. She meets once a week with a group based in faith-driven studies, and she leaves each meeting "refreshed and filled with creative ways of handling the busyness and stresses of life."

Share Hobbies

Christopher Watson, a graphic designer, musician and father of three, enjoys working on creative video projects with his 9-year-old son. They enjoy creating worlds within the video game Minecraft together, and it inspired a project: a video walk-through of one of their creations. They planned out the tour, and his son did an ad-lib narration while Christopher filmed. They edited it on the computer and even composed some custom music. The end result was a fun video that they posted on You Tube.

"I think this was a great way for us to bond and complete something legit and meaningful. It was also a ton of fun for both of us. We have some other video and building projects in the works—some quick and easy and some that are more complex," Christopher says. "I think it's good for him to see the benefits of keeping at a project that takes some time to complete. I think it shows that some of the best rewards and accomplishments don't happen instantly."

Christopher spends time with his daughters a bit differently. The youngest is an active 2-year-old who enjoys playing and physically interacting with her world. Christopher isn't afraid to jump in and play at his daughter's level.

"Our time together is spent doing much simpler activities compared to the other two kids, but the connection comes from being active and involved instead of just sitting around inside," Christopher says.

Time with his eldest daughter is spent drawing or taking trips to the store together.

"I think the value of my time spent with her is the opportunity for us to talk and communicate in a relaxed setting, as opposed to the usual prodding conversations surrounding getting ready for school or bed," Christopher says.

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7 Reasons to Eat Family Dinner Together

By Gen Cohen

Research shows that sharing dinner as a family improves teenage behaviors, increases toddler vocabulary and teaches kids to eat healthier. Check out these benefits of eating with family:

By Anne K. Fishel, Ph.D. via parenting.com

Over the last 20 years, dozens of studies have confirmed what parents have known intuitively for a long time: Sitting down for a nightly dinner is good for the spirit, the brain and the body. Research shows that shared meals are tied to many teenage behaviors that parents pray for: reduced rates of substance abuse, eating disorders and depression; and higher grade point averages and self-esteem. For young children, conversation at the table is a bigger vocabulary booster than reading aloud to them. The icing on the cake is that kids who eat regular family dinners grow up to be young adults who eat healthier and have lower rates of obesity.

As a working mother, who has learned by trial and error with my two sons and husband, and as a family therapist, who asks every family about their dinners, this is what else I've learned:

1. It doesn't have to be daily.

You don't have to have dinner every night to reap the benefits. It could be breakfast, a weekend brunch, a take-a-break-snack at night or a combination of these. And there's no magic number. The point is to make a commitment to a family meal where everyone sits down to share food, have fun and talk about things that matter.

2. Play with your food.

With so much of our play now conducted online, adults and children have lost the opportunity to play with real objects that can be touched, smelled and transformed. So play together. Cooking is an activity that still involves our senses and our hands, and it is something we still can do together. You can set out salad fixings and have everyone choose vegetables to create faces, trees and cars. Play with taste by slipping in a new flavor or spice and asking everyone to guess the ingredients.

3. It's doable.

Despite parent's hectic work schedules and kids' busy extracurricular activities, it's very doable to have nightly dinner. The whole process of cooking and eating together can take just an hour (less than 30 minutes to cook and the average meal is 22 minutes*), and that hour is transformative. If we still planted vegetables, played instruments for our entertainment and quilted on the front porch, we might not need family dinners, but it's the most reliable time of day that we have to connect with one another. When kids feel connected to their parents, it's like a seatbelt on the potholed road of childhood.

4. Try new activities and share talents.

Dinner can be a great place to try out new behaviors. A family dinner is like an improvisatory theater performance. The family shows up night after night, and as a group they can try out new ways of interacting with one another. Or, one member's behavior can set off a cascade of others. For example, a family might agree to refrain from making any negative comments at the table and see what happens. Or, a teenager might be invited to make a family dinner or to create a musical soundtrack for the meal.

5. Share your family history.

The dinner table is the best place to tell stories, and kids who know their family stories are more resilient and feel better about themselves. Most inspiring are lemonade-from-lemon stories, stories about adversity where a lesson is learned, or negative events that transform into something good. Stories help us make sense of the world, and they help kids connect to something bigger than themselves. Tell stories about yourself and other family members when they were the same age as your children. Tell stories about romance, first jobs, immigration, how names were chosen, a childhood pet, a favorite recipe or kitchen disaster.

6. Stay connected.

Table conversation is one of the richest language experiences you can provide for your children. When else do we sit and talk for several minutes, offering lots of comments and explanations on one topic? Try asking questions that go beyond, "How was your day?" For example, instead ask everyone to tell a rose (something positive) and a thorn (something negative) about the day, as well as a bud (what you wish will happen tomorrow).

7. It's good for you, too.

Rituals like dinner, which punctuate a world that often feels frenzied and out of control, are good for adults, too. Knowing that one part of your day is going to unfold in basically the same way, day after day, is comforting.

So, I'm ringing the dinner bell and inviting you and your family to come to the table. Dinner is more than a feeding station. Food will bring the family to the table, but it's the conversation and stories that keeps us there. In an hour, you can create comfort, fun, play and meaningful conversation—one meal at a time.

Anne K. Fishel, Ph.D., author of "Home for Dinner: Mixing Food, Fun and Conversation for a Happier Family and Healthier Kids," is the director of the Family and Couples Therapy Program at Massachusetts General Hospital and an associate clinical professor of psychology at the Harvard Medical School. She is the cofounder of The Family Dinner Project and writes the popular blog "Digital Family" for "Psychology Today." You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

*Ramey SL, Juliusson HK. Family dynamics at dinner: A natural context for revealing basic family processes. In Families, Risk, and Competence, Lewis M, Feiring, C. (eds.) New York: Rutledge, 1998.

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10 Summer Activities For Kids Under $10

By Gen Cohen

Finding enough activities to keep kiddos busy throughout the whole Summer can become exhausting — and expensive. Save some money (and your sanity) with a few fun activities that cost almost nothing to set up and carry out. But remember! Sun protection for your kids' eyes don't have to be expensive either. Browse our baby and junior sunglasses to learn more!

Read through for 10 inexpensive summer activities for kids under $10 that they — and your wallet — will love.

  1. Berry picking. Rather than picking up overpriced berries from the grocery store, visit a local farm to pick your own to give your kids something fun to do.
  2. Fly a kite. A cheap kite won't cost you an arm and a leg, but it will definitely lead to hours of fun. There's nothing more exciting for kids than watching it fly in the sky!
  3. Water balloon fight. Grab a big bag of water balloons, spend an hour frustratingly filling them up, and watch as your children's smiling faces getting hit by balloons makes it worth the trouble.
  4. Paint pet rocks. Instead of using expensive arts and crafts kits, grab cheap paints and have your kids collect a bunch of rocks in the yard to decorate as their "pets."
  5. S'mores party. Buy some graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows, and start a fire in the backyard pit to make a delicious Summer snack.
  6. Pool noodle racing. For a fun indoor game, cut a pool noodle in half, lay the halves next to each other with the opening up, and use them as a racetrack for marbles.
  7. Build a moat. Using a roll of aluminum foil to hold the water in, let your kids go crazy designing a moat with the foil all around the outside perimeter of your house.
  8. Tarp 'n' slide. Slip 'N Slides can be expensive (and get ripped by the end of Summer anyway). Purchase a big tarp and pair it with a hose to give your children the gifts of slipping and sliding.
  9. Colored tape racetrack. Using colored tape on any floor, create a racetrack for your kids' cars (older kids can design the track themselves!).
  10. Make a soap cloud. Grab a bar of soap, throw it in the microwave to make it expand, and use cookie cutters and food coloring to make fun soaps to play with in the bathtub.
Image Source: Shutterstock

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The 9 Moms You'll Meet at the Pool This Summer

By Gen Cohen

 

The one thing these 9 types of pool moms should have in common is caring about sun protection for their children. 

Unless you're one of those lucky moms who live by a beach, odds are, you and your kiddos will spend quite a few days at the pool this Summer. Full of lifeguard-suited teenagers, gangs of splashing kids, and moms jockeying for the best lounge chairs, the pool can make for a totally fun or completely stressful experience, often depending on the age of your kids and your own pool personality. As a mom of a 4-year-old fearless, but not yet competent, swimmer and an 18-month-old wild man, a day at my local pool usually instills more feelings of anxiety than excitement for me. Will my daughter listen when I tell her to stay close? Answer: almost definitely no. Will my son's swim diapers hold up? So far, thankfully, yes. While taking my kids to the pool can certainly be stress-inducing, it's almost always good for some people watching, and I've noticed nine distinct types of pool moms. Which one are you?

  1. The completely overwhelmed mom. She's toting a baby and a toddler, and she's not yet sure whether this trip to the pool was a great idea or the worst one she's ever had. (Her husband advised her to rethink the plan multiple times.) She spends two hours chasing her toddler around the shallow end while her baby tries to pull down her swimsuit top then decides to call it a day.
  2. The golden years mom. She's sitting in a lounge chair, reading the book of the Summer, with not a care in the world, except whether her iced tea might be running low. Her strong-swimming children are quite content playing with their friends all day while she reads, chats with friends, and maybe takes a dip or two. The kids find her when they need money or a snack, she obliges, then they head out again. She's the standard all other moms are trying to reach.
  3. The well-stocked mom. Need sunscreen, swim diapers, goggles, or pool toys? She's got them all, plus cut-up sandwiches, juice boxes, and even an extra towel or two. She puts a lot of thought into packing her extralarge pool bag, and this year, she added a cooler to the mix. Waters and freezer pops for everyone!
  4. The gym-rat mom. She spends nine months of the year Spinning, running, and doing interval training so that she looks amazing in a bikini, and now is her time to show off that body. Feel free to express your jealousy; she doesn't mind at all.
  5. The lifeguard mom. She isn't really interested in getting wet, but she doesn't trust her kids left to their own devices. You'll find her standing sentry on the side. If only the real lifeguards would lend her a whistle.
  6. The sun-worshipping mom. A former tanning-booth devotee, she's here for one reason and one reason only: to get a tan. Like the gym-rat mom, she's probably wearing as little as possible, both in terms of clothing and SPF. By mid-Summer, she'll be almost uncomfortably brown, and she'll love every single tan line.
  7. The sunscreen-wielding mom. This mom believes in applying 50+ SPF as often as possible. You'll often see her chasing around her kids, who are also wearing full-sleeved rash guards, floppy hats, and water shoes, with hands full of lotion. Otherwise, you'll find her safely ensconced under an umbrella.
  8. The deep-end mom. Who says kids should have all the fun? You'll find this mom in line for the slide, playing games in the deep end, and doing laps during adult swim. A former camp counselor and swim-team member, this is the season that she loves most, and she's soaking up every minute.
  9. The time-to-go mom. She's been trying, unsuccessfully, to round up her kids for more than an hour, and really, "It's time to go." But maybe, just maybe, she'll bring them back tomorrow.

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10 Nursery Storage Hacks to Help You Save Space

By Gen Cohen

Caring for your baby inevitably requires a whole bunch of stuff, and it isn't easy to fit all those necessities into a smaller nursery. Not to worry — if you're working with minimal space, there are some simple hacks and products to help you keep your baby's items organized. Keep reading for a look at 10 smart space saving nursery ideas for smaller spaces, and then get inspired by checking out kids' rooms you need to see to believe.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Lisette Mejia

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36 of the Best Gifts For Infants (besides our shades)

By Gen Cohen

Baby's first holiday or birthday can't pass unnoticed. Though they may have more fun with the box than anything in it, there are still plenty of fun gift ideas to add to their toy chest. From activity gyms and bead toys to an adorable rocker and the softest play mat ever, here are our 36 favorite baby gifts for this year!

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Skip the Gas Station With These Healthy Road Trip Snacks For Kids

By Gen Cohen

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