By Gen Cohen
By Gen Cohen
Before we dive into this helpful article by Colleen Lanin, it's important to note that whether your vacation goes to beach or snow, protecting your kid's eyes is extremely important, and Ro·Sham·Bo Baby's baby polarized sunglasses are perfect for the job! Check out our pink and white kids' Wayfarer sunglasses!
Have a fun and stress-free vacation with baby by navigating on-the-go naps, time differences and cramped hotel rooms.
By Colleen Lanin via parenting.com
Does "vacationing" with your baby sound like an oxymoron? As someone who has ventured on road trips, beach getaways, cruises and more with my two kids, and who is writing a book about family travel—The Travel Mamas' Guide—I know that vacations now are not as easy as they were prebaby. And while there are tons of tips on how to get there, there's not much advice for how to manage once you arrive. A few simple tricks have saved some of my family's trips.
Just as important as what you pack—and you can check out get-ready checklists here—in my opinion, is how you unpack.
Do it immediately
As soon as you arrive (unless someone in the family is overly cranky or tired), set up your room to make it as close to home as possible. Put the baby in the playpen or hotel crib with a pile of toys and occupy an older kid with a coloring book. Or have your partner take the older sibling out to get the lay of the land while you unpack. Settling in will help you remain organized (and sane) throughout your stay.
Designate a baby-changing station
Bring a box of wipes, lay out a changing pad (I like to put a disposable changing pad on top of a hotel towel) and stack a bunch of diapers in one area. That way, you won't need to chase down the diaper bag when that first big poop occurs.
Create a play space...
Stash toys and books on a low shelf or in a drawer, or keep all the playthings in one corner. Creating a place for your baby to play will make the room feel homey and keep it from looking like a disaster area.
...and a kitchen
Even if your room doesn't have a kitchen or bar area, establish a spot where you'll keep bottles, dishes, baby food, snacks, formula and dish soap. Sometimes the bathroom is best if it has the only sink in the room.
Your baby needs her naps, but you don't want to spend your whole vacation watching her snooze. Follow these strategies for squeezing in that daytime sleep:
When my daughter, Karissa, was a baby, she wouldn't nap in a strange crib while on vacation. So we planned our days around taking long walks with her napping in a stroller. Some moms advise bringing the lightest, most compact umbrella stroller on vacation to save room, but I always pack a stroller that reclines completely to make stroller slumber easier.
Wear your baby
If your baby doesn't sleep well in a stroller, try a front carrier (like the BabyBjorn) or baby backpack. If you've never used one at home but think it might be convenient on vacation, try it out a few times before you leave. Not all babies will like it, and it might be too hard on your back.
Go for a scenic drive
Try taking leisurely drives to check out the area while your baby naps in the car seat. And on some trips, you can coordinate drive time between destinations with sleep time.
Take turns nap-sitting
If your tot isn't an in-transit sleeper, don't be afraid to schedule naps back in the room. While it's a different vacation rhythm than you're probably used to, an a.m. break and midday siesta can be relaxing for you, too. Just consider your baby's napping style when booking accommodations; if you'll need to return to the room often, a hotel near the beach may be a better bet than a spot farther away, even if it's a bit pricier. If you can, book a room with a balcony or patio so the parent "on duty" can enjoy the outdoors, too.
One of the most worrisome things about traveling with a baby is getting your tot to sleep in a new place. Here's how to up your odds of at least a few peaceful nights:
Do some trial runs
If you're bringing a portable travel bed, have your baby sleep in it for a few nights before you leave. That way, it will feel like a familiar, comfy spot to go night-night on vacation.
Give it a few days
While it can be tempting to throw in the blankie and drive home in the middle of a sleepless vacation night with an inconsolable baby, I implore you to power through. Eventually, babies will adjust to their new surroundings and schedule, and sleep. If you can survive a couple of nights, I am (almost) willing to promise happy vacation days ahead.
Book the right room(s)
If bedding down in the same room means no one will get any sleep, consider booking a suite or connecting rooms. A suite may offer the convenience of a kitchen area, but connecting rooms may afford more space at a cheaper price.
Stick to the routine
If your baby's bedtime ritual at home includes a bath, lullabies and a bottle, do the same on vacation to make up for the change in location.
Instead of expecting your infant to shift her internal clock and adjust to a new time zone, shift your day: Stay up later or get up earlier than usual by a few hours.
Meals on Wheels
Sampling local cuisine and splurging on restaurant meals are vacation pleasures I refuse to give up. Dining with babies can be done.
Breakfast in Bed
Because our times to swim, hike, shop or visit an aquarium are limited by morning and afternoon naps, it makes sense for the entire family to eat something quick in the hotel room. So we pack plenty of ready-made breakfast foods like mini-bagels, cereal bars and fruit (bananas, apples).
If your baby drinks formula, it helps to pack more than you think you'll need. To save space, empty powdered formula into zipper-lock plastic bags. Or order heavy staples like diapers and formula—even baby shampoo—from a site such as diapers.com or Babiestravellite.com that will ship to your destination (and since you won't have to carry the formula, consider splurging on the ready-to-feed type).
Nurse wherever you feel comfortable
You can breastfeed anywhere you are legally allowed to be.
Bend the rules
To enjoy dinners out, you may have to encourage what you would normally consider bad behavior. I don't let my kids watch TV while eating at home, but we always bring portable DVD players when we eat out. Putting on some Sesame Street for them allows us to actually taste the food we're shelling out big bucks for.
Sure, a romantic dinner would normally be at 8 p.m., but by dining out at 5:30, you'll likely have an empty restaurant, room to park your stroller, and a short wait for your food. Alternatively, if your newborn loves to sleep in her car seat, make later reservations and then feed her a bottle or nurse her while you wait for your appetizers. Hopefully, she'll be out for the rest of the meal.
Now, go enjoy! Toss out all your old ideas about what a vacation should be and embrace the new craziness that is traveling with a baby. Laugh at the fact that you're at the local playground by 6 a.m. and in bed for the night at 8 p.m. Consider all the gear and baby-lugging as great vacation exercise. And then savor going back home to "regular" life that much more.
Colleen Lanin is the creator of Travelmamas.com.
By Gen Cohen
To jumpstart your routine, try practicing these family yoga poses by using the "Twelve Days of Christmas" song or with the acronyms PEACE, LOVE, and JOY.
While the holidays are meant to bring feelings of love and cheer, they can also be a stressful time for many. Too many activities, even if they are fun ones, can be overwhelming and leave both kids and adults feeling frazzled rather than fulfilled. Taking the time to practice a few minutes of yoga every day during the holidays can go a long way to help alleviate the stress of the season.
More and more people are beginning to recognize the many health benefits of yoga for adults, but what they may not realize is that kids who practice yoga can receive the same advantages. Some of the diverse benefits include developing discipline, increasing focus and concentration, building balance and flexibility, promoting calmness, and easing stress.
Remember to pick a quiet place to do yoga, and focus on breathing in and out through the nose while practicing the postures; doing so increases lung capacity and helps prevent the fight-or-flight response that occurs from mouth breathing. Hold the poses anywhere from 8-15 seconds. Since it takes time to get into the poses, counting should begin once you are in the posture. As you get more proficient with the poses, you can slowly increase the time spent holding them.
To jumpstart your routine, try practicing the postures as a family by using the "Twelve Days of Christmas" song or with the acronyms PEACE, LOVE, and JOY. Start with the pretzel pose on the first day; on the second day, add easy pose; and gradually add all the poses to have a 12 posture yoga routine at the end of the 12 days. Let's get started with our 'Twelve Days of Christmas' yoga poses:
Twelve Days of Yoga
- On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, the pretzel pose to twist and feel free.
- On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 2 easy poses, and the pretzel pose to twist and feel free.
- On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 3 airplane poses, 2 easy poses, and the pretzel pose to twist and feel free.
- On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 4 cobra poses, 3 airplane poses, 2 easy poses, and the pretzel pose to twist and feel free.
- On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 5 elephant poses, 4 cobra poses. 3 airplane poses, 2 easy poses, and the pretzel pose to twist and feel free.
- On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 6 Jack-in-the-box poses, 5 elephant poses, 4 cobra poses, 3 airplane poses, 2 easy poses, and the pretzel pose to twist and feel free.
- On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 7 otter poses, 6 Jack-in-the-box poses, 5 elephant poses, 4 cobra poses, 3 airplane poses, 2 easy poses, and the pretzel pose to twist and feel free.
- On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 8 Ys for yoga, 7 otter poses, 6 Jack-in-the-box poses, 5 elephant poses, 4 cobra poses, 3 airplane poses, 2 easy poses, and the pretzel pose to twist and feel free.
- On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 9 lion poses, 8 Ys for yoga, 7 otter poses, 6 Jack-in-the-box poses, 5 elephant poses, 4 cobra poses, 3 airplane poses, 2 easy poses, and the pretzel pose to twist and feel free
- On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 10 oyster poses, 9 lion poses, 8 Ys for yoga, 7 otter poses, 6 Jack-in-the-box poses, 5 elephant poses, 4 cobra poses, 3 airplane poses, 2 easy poses and the pretzel pose to twist and feel free.
- On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 11 volcano poses, 10 oyster poses, 9 lion poses, 8 Ys for yoga, 7 otter poses, 6 Jack-in-the-box poses, 5 elephant poses, 4 cobra poses, 3 airplane poses, 2 easy poses and the pretzel pose to twist and feel free.
- On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 12 eagle poses, 11 volcano poses, 10 oyster poses, 9 lion poses, 8 Ys for yoga, 7 otter poses, 6 Jack-in-the-box poses, 5 elephant poses, 4 cobra poses, 3 airplane poses, 2 easy poses, and the pretzel pose to twist and feel free.
PEACE, LOVE and JOY acronyms
P is for Pretzel pose
E is for Easy pose
A is for Airplane pose
C is for Cobra pose
E is for Elephant pose
L is for Lion pose
O is for Oyster pose
V is for Volcano pose
E is for Eagle pose
J is for Jack-in-the-box pose
O is for Otter pose
Y is for Yoga pose
Images provided by ABC Yoga for Kids.
Teresa Anne Power is an internationally recognized expert on children's yoga and the author of the bestselling and award-winning book, "The ABCs of Yoga for Kids," which has been translated into four languages. Her newest book, "The ABCs of Yoga for Kids: A Guide for Parents and Teachers," is coming out on Kids' Yoga Day, which is on April 8, 2016. For more information, visit ABC Yoga for Kids.
By Gen Cohen
This list is popping with inspiration, just like our fun kids' sunglasses are popping with color, and they fit perfectly under the tree, too! Check out our blue color changing sunglasses that will delight kids of all ages! Cute Christmas ornament crafts and gifts kids can make from our favorite craft blogs.
By Gen Cohen
Your baby shower helped supply you with what you need for the first year of baby's life, but what about when you start the toddler years? Here are 11 must-have products to help you make it through with ease. Pssst! Be sure to read this list of 11 must-have toddler products all the way to the end!
Make handwashing even easier by attaching a faucet extender to the bathroom sink. The Aqueduck Single Handle Faucet Extender is a two-piece system that brings the water flow closer to the front of the sink and provides an extension to the faucet lever so kids can turn the water on and off easily after going potty. ($24.95)
Make sure those first steps are well supported. The soft soles of Robeez Shoes for toddlers promote balance by flexing and bending with each step. As a bonus, the elastic ankle feature ensures the tiny shoes stay in place, even on the most curious toddler. ($26)
Bye-bye bottles. Growing kids need to learn how to hold and drink from their own cups. Start with a Playtex Sipsters Stage 1 cup that features a soft silicone spout that makes it easy to transition from a nipple to a straw. The break-proof cup is molded to fit tiny toddler hands. ($7.99/2-count)
As soon as the potty becomes interesting, introduce your toddler to his or her first pair of washable big kid underwear. Gerber Training Pants feature covered elastic waistlines, making them easy for kids to pull up and down. Tucked inside are 100 percent cotton panels to absorb accidents. These training pants are available in sizes 18 months, 2T and 3T. ($15.99)
Bed Side Rail
After you've upgraded your crib escapee to a big kid bed, keep her safe with a protective side rail. The Babies R Us Extra Long Swing Down Bedrail features a 20-inch tall protective barrier that stretches 56-inches along the edge of the bed. When morning comes, simply fold down the rail until nap time. ($32.99)
Make evening and morning visits to the potty simpler with two-piece PJs that pull off and on easily. Carter's offers several adorable cotton top and polyester pants sets to keep kids warm and ready to use the potty at a moment's notice. ($15.99)
Potty Training Seat
Keep your little one safe and cozy during their time on the big potty. The Disappearing Potty Seat attaches to your existing toilet seat and tucks up into the lid via magnets when not in use. The slow-closing lid keeps little fingers from getting pinched. ($49.95–$59.95)
Playing in the pool with a toddler can often mean frequent potty breaks. Keep trips to the bathroom quick and simple by slipping your little one into a two-piece swimsuit. The Cabana Life Swim Shorts and Rashguard Set also offers long sleeves for optimal sun protection. ($32.90)
Once your toddler discovers how to make those little legs move, he'll be everywhere! The Graco Molded Step Stool makes it easy for him to reach the big potty, wash his hands at the sink, help you at the kitchen counter, and get in and out of his big kid bed. This stool offers a no-slip grip for tiny toes to stay put and a non-skid bottom to keep the stool securely in place. ($14.19)
Bathtub Spout Cover
Rub a dub dub, if you don't want any bumps in the tub, cover the faucet. The Kel-Gar Tubbly Bubbly elephant- or hippo-shaped bathtub spout cover allows water to flow while protecting your toddler's fingers from hot metal faucet spouts or accidental bruises and bumps when playing near the fixture during bath time.($12.59)
Table Booster Seat
When your baby outgrows his high chair, move into an elevated booster seat. The Graco Blossom Booster Seat features safety straps to keep kids in place and a removable back insert to help safely position your child as he grows and fills the seat. This portable booster seat is perfect for use at home, in restaurants, or on visits to see friends and family. ($29.99)
...and bonus item, of course unbreakable toddler sunglasses from ro·sham·bo baby, like these teal kids' wayfarer sunglasses (pictured)!
By Dallas Stevens
Helpful Holiday Tips
December 11th, 2015 (Reposted from The Parenting Guide, Inc)
The holiday season is supposed to be “The most wonderful time of the year.” But for some, it’s quite the opposite and the holidays can actually be more like the most miserable time of the year.
Steve Siebold, a psychological performance and mental toughness coach who is author of 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of The World Class, says, “The change from everyday routines, the large gatherings, the decorating, shopping and more can make many people feel overwhelmed and stressed this time of year.”
His tips to reduce the stress of the holidays and make it more enjoyable:
- Slow down: Life is challenging enough as it is, and with all the extra commitments and things that have to get done this time of year, it can cause panic and chaos for even the most mentally tough people. When you find yourself moving a million miles an hour, take a step back and slow down. Instead of getting overwhelmed in everything you have to do, focus on one task at a time. Looking at one thing in front of you compared to the big picture makes it much more manageable.
- Ask for help: There’s no reason you have to do everything by yourself during the holiday season. Ask for help. If you’re hosting Christmas dinner, for example, ask your spouse or children to help with the shopping, coking, decorating, setting up the guest bedroom, taking out the trash, walking the dog, etc.
- Don’t feel bad about saying ‘No:’ There’s only so much time in a day, and with all the extra commitments at the holidays, don’t feel guilty about telling people ‘no.’ A very simple response to soften it is, “I would normally love to help; however, I already have so much on my plate right now. I’ll have to pass on the offer. I would love to help another time.”
- Take a break: If the holiday season gets to be too much, take a break. Put everything down for a day and go do something you really enjoy. If you feel a day is too long, take 30 minutes to an hour and go for a walk, spend time doing something fun with a friend, take your kids to the park, read a new book, work on your business plan for the New Year, watch TV or whatever it is that will take your mind off of the holidays.
- Talk it out: It’s never a good idea to keep your feelings bottled up inside. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed out, talk to a close friend you can confide in, a therapist or try journaling. In fact, become your own best means of support and talk to yourself. Put things in perspective and tell yourself the craziness of the holiday season will only last for a few weeks and then life goes back to normal. Tell yourself it’s only temporary and that you can hang tough a little longer.
- Lower your expectations: Many people have ridiculously high expectations of what the holidays are supposed to be like. Stop paying attention to what you see on TV. Stop being influenced by those holiday catalogs. Take the pressure off and just let the holidays play out naturally.
- Focus on being rather than doing: One of the best ways to find happiness this time of year is to focus on being rather than doing. Make a list of the 10 things you are most grateful for in your life, and review them every morning for the month of December. Monitor how this simple activity impacts your emotions.