Fun Ways to Enjoy the Holidays With Your Children

There are many reasons why you might be looking forward to the approach of the holiday season. All of the parties, gifts, and Christmas treats ahead are likely enough to put anyone into the holiday spirit.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of Christmas, however, has to be the fact that you get to share this special time of year with your children. Passing on the love of the magic of Christmas to your kids is certainly one of the best things about this time of the year.

However, depending on the age of your children, you might be struggling to find the best ways to enjoy the holidays together. Moreover, the fact that your schedule can get quite crowded around the holidays can make it difficult for you to coordinate time together as a family.

Thankfully, there are a number of holiday activities that you can enjoy together as a family that can help you to make some memories that you will cherish for years to come. You might even wish to make some of these activities holiday traditions that you and your family enjoy every year together during the holidays.

With that in mind, here are some fun ways in which you can enjoy the holidays with your children this year.

See the Lights

One of the most magical aspects of the holidays is seeing ordinary houses in your neighborhood transform under the glow of beautiful, colorful Christmas lights. As the holidays draw closer, you will find neighborhood Christmas lights being put up all throughout your town.

In order to fully appreciate these displays, plan an evening when you and your family can either walk the streets to view the lights or take a drive together listening to Christmas music and seeing the displays throughout your town. To make this activity extra special, listen to some Christmas music along the way and make sure that everyone has a mug filled with warm hot chocolate to enjoy.

Bake Some Treats

Another aspect of Christmas that the entire family can get on board with is that of enjoying the delicious treats that make their appearance this time of year. Christmas cookies, seasonal loaves of bread, and homemade candies are all fair game when it comes to some of the more classic Christmas treats.

You can enjoy this aspect of the holidays even more together as a family by planning a day to bake up some Christmas goodies together as a family. Take some time to choose the recipes together that you will all want to enjoy the most and get all of your ingredients together.

If your children are a bit on the younger side, you might consider doing the actual baking yourself and then inviting them to come and help you decorate cookies and treats with you. Such treats can even double as nice gifts to give to friends and family this holiday season. On the other hand, you might wish to keep all of those delectable delights at home to enjoy with your family throughout the holidays.

Top 6 Toys for 3 Year Olds 2021

Do you think it has been too long since you got a gift for your 3 year old? Well then, we have just the guide for you. If you have no idea what to get for your son or daughter, then you must take a look at the top 6 toy options for 3 year olds in 2021.

A Balance Bike

Riding a bike is one of the fondest memories of childhood. Every child must experience what it takes to ride a bike. Your three year old just might be ready to take the next step of their growth. This is the best time to introduce them to a balance bike. A balance bike is the safest option as it is the easiest to ride, and can be the best fixtures to enable smooth riding.

This bike type has a metal frame, which makes it very sturdy and comes without pedals. Your toddler can learn to balance on the bike using their feet. This will be great for their learning!

Kinetic Sand Kit

The obsession with kinetic sand is real. If you want your child to sharpen their fine motor skills, then you must definitely invest in kinetic sand. It is a great way to awaken the sensory awareness in your child as they can feel the sand in between their fingers and can press it. This toy can surely keep your kid busy for hours. An investment you won’t regret.

Wallbars Nets

Is your child trying to climb walls? If yes, the wallbars would be the perfect toy for them. Your child may be super active and a toy that demands them to sit might not be the best fit for them. This is why you must consider investing in a wallbar net and they will have all the exercise they need with it.

Play Kitchen Set

Most children are absolutely fascinated by kitchens. They watch their parents cook and work in the kitchen, only pushing them to do the same. While you cannot let your toddler play with actual kitchen utensils, you can get them their very own play kitchen set. With the toy kitchen set, they can make mock food and do everything they see adults do.

Plushie

Most of us have had stuffed toys that we remember to date. It is important to have a stuffed furry friend for a child. They can think of it as a friend and carry it wherever they go.

Drawing Mat

Last but not the least, is a drawing mat. Most parents are extremely annoyed when their children write on walls, but what if they write on the floor? Get them a drawing mat and they can draw to their heart’s content without you worrying.

These toys for 3 year olds are your best options. Not only are they essential for their growth but they will also keep your child occupied while you are busy doing things around the house.

5 Ways to Make Your Clothes Last Longer

There are some people that seem to make the clothes last forever. Believe it or not, there are people over 60 out there who have the same clothes they’ve had since they were 20. So, what is their secret anyway? The truth is that making your clothes last longer comes down to good habits. Here are some of the best tips for stretching the lifespan of your favorite pieces of clothing

Don’t Skimp on Quality

A lot of people go for quantity over quality, and unfortunately, it results in their clothes failing to stand the test of time. Instead of opting for cheaper clothing, try to go for quality brands that are made from solid materials. Even though it may seem like a better deal at the time, the truth is that when you have to replace your garments once or even several times a year, it will wind up costing you much more in the long run. You’re always better off spending extra for something that you won’t have to replace— potentially ever.

Know Your Wash Cycles

Some people make the mistake of assuming that laundry cycles are made for any type of clothing. The truth is that some clothes should only be washed at certain temperatures. Washing some garments on an extra hot wash can lead to your clothes getting destroyed in no time. Make sure that you know your wash cycles, and which ones are appropriate for what types of clothing. Above all, know when something can only be dry cleaned. If you put something in the wash that is dry clean only, you’ll regret it.

Wash Your Clothes Inside Out

One old but effective trick is washing your clothes inside out. When you wash them from the inside out it will preserve their color, and prevent fading, or peeling of certain materials. This is especially important for darker clothing, like jeans.

Only Use Your Dryer When Necessary

You get it, your dryer is incredibly convenient for drying clothes quickly. However, if it’s sunny outside, you’re much better off drying your clothes in the sunlight. Not only will you save yourself money on your electricity bill, but your clothes will last much longer. The high heat breaks down the elasticity of your clothing, and can even shrink it. Consider investing in a special drying rack to put outside, or simply hang up a clothesline in your yard.

Apply Stain Remover Immediately

If you spill something on your clothes, don’t let it sit there. It’s important that you treat stains with a stain remover as early as possible so that it doesn’t remain stained. If you treat a stain with a stain remover and find that the stain is still there after being washed in the washing machine, wash it again rather than dry it. Drying the clothing with the fresh stain will cause the stain to stay.

7 Top Tips to Keep Your Pet Happy and Healthy

Animals are a great addition to our home. Most pet owners see them as equal members of their households. Therefore, it’s important to prioritize their health and wellbeing so that they have longer, happier lives. Whether you are an owner of a cat, a dog, or perhaps both, continue reading for some top tips on how to optimize their health.

Register Your Pet at a Vet

You can keep your pets healthy by registering them with a local vet. Your vet will carry out regular health checks, they can advise you on matters regarding pet insurance, and help you to spread the cost of your animal’s veterinarian treatments.

Select the Perfect Pet Insurance Plan

Pet insurance can save you a lot of money on expensive procedures, although there will still be some costs. Some insurance companies offer more for your money, so it is worth using a comparison site to help you find the best deal and protect your beloved pets.

Regular Fleeing and Worming

Once you have chosen a suitable insurance plan, you will be able to get discounts when it comes to flea and worm treatments for your pet. This must be done regularly, even for indoor cats as external pests can still be brought into your home.

Spaying/Neutering

In addition to worming and treating pets for fleas and ticks, it’s advisable to sterilize any pets that you do not intend to breed. For cats, both the males and females no longer urinate to mark their territory and females will have a lower risk of ovarian cancer. Also, both genders will be calmer and female dogs will no longer experience menstruation.

Pet Nutrition

You must ensure that your pet’s dietary requirements are being met through a balanced diet. You can purchase dry or wet food, which should have informative labels on the packaging. Furthermore, you should also be aware of the foods to avoid. For example, feeding dogs chocolate can be fatal.

Provide Outdoor Space

If you have a cat or a dog, ideally you should have a spacious garden for them to roam around and play in. Outdoor cats should have access to a garden that isn’t near a main road. However, some felines are solely indoor animals and will require high surfaces and enough space. They will also need more playful interaction to ensure they get the exercise they need to maintain a healthy weight. Moreover, all dogs must be taken outside for walks each day or permitted to play in an enclosed outdoor area.
Hygiene and Cleanliness

If you are an owner of an indoor cat, then you must clean out their litter tray each day. For dog owners, it’s advisable to bathe them once a month unless you have been to the beach or on a muddy adventure! Furthermore, cats and dogs will need brushing regularly, especially when the weather becomes warmer in spring because they molt more often.

If you are a pet owner, then follow the above advice above to maintain a healthy, happy pet.

 

Challenges You Will Face Being a Mommy and Looking After Elderly Parents

Being a mommy is the best job in the world, no doubt about it. However, things are not always perfect, and sometimes life can throw a bit of a curveball at you. One curveball that could have been thrown your way could have been the care of aging or elderly parents. Perhaps you knew it was coming and had never really prepared well enough, or perhaps you were in denial about what it would be like. Now, however, the time has come, and you are juggling being a mommy while looking after your elderly parents. There is, of course, no going back, so you have to make the best out of it.

The Challenges You Will Face and the Solutions You Need to Put into Place

You may have thought about some challenges, such as logistics, especially if you are in different states, but there may also be challenges that you may not have even thought about, such as mom guilt. Of course, most, if not all, challenges can be overcome, and with a strong support network around, you can tackle anything that comes your way. So, what challenged should you be preparing for and in anticipation of?

Mom Guilt – It is a Real Thing

Yes, unfortunately, it exists. You will be busy looking after your parents, but at the back of your mind, you will be feeling guilty about time spent away, or apart from your children. Mom guilt can eat away at you if you are not careful. Not becoming too consumed by guilt is probably your best way forwards. If you stop and think about everything you are missing out on at your own home, you may not be able to look after your parents correctly, and this would then leave you feeling even guiltier. So, be aware that you will, on occasions feel guilty. Learning to live with guilt will allow you to focus on the task at hand and ensure you provide the best care to your parents.

Not Having Enough Time to Yourself

That free time you used to get when the kids went to school or kindergarten is now gone. You feel like you are constantly running around, and you feel as though you never have any time for yourself. You need time for yourself, and it is important that you make time as and where you can. Looking at respite with Brandywine Living at a location such as Brandywine Reflections will give you some much-needed time away from your parents and away from caregiving responsibilities and duties. Time away will allow you to just be yourself and be a mommy again. If you do not create time for yourself, you will struggle to sustain what you are doing.

Feeling Overworked and Unappreciated

As a mommy, it happens regularly, and unfortunately, it also happens as a caregiver. Feeling unappreciated and feeling overworked can leave you feeling a bit down, which is, of course, not a situation you want to find yourself in. You will feel worse if your parents are suffering from a disease such as dementia or Alzheimer’s, which may even make it difficult for them to recognize or remember you. Telling yourself that you are doing your best and giving yourself a boost is the best way to approach the situation every day. Remember that your parents do appreciate you even if they never say it or show it, and, although the job is tiring, knowing that you are supporting your parents will ease the feelings and emotions you feel.

Feeling Lonely and Tired

Getting enough sleep is important. As a mommy, you need to be fresh and ready to tackle anything your kids throw at you, from life questions to homework and mountains of washing. As a caregiver to your parents, you need to have had enough sleep to tackle their house, personal care, chores, and tasks. When you are overtired, times can be tough, and you can end up feeling lonely. When you feel lonely, your emotions can get the better of you. You can feel like a terrible mommy; you can feel like an awful caregiver. So, to fight off these feelings and emotions as much as you possibly can, you must ensure you rest and sleep where you can and when you can.

Balancing and Juggling Your Life, Your Family’s Life, and, of Course, Your Parents Life!

A perfect balance does not exist no matter how hard you try. However, utilizing the time that you have, prioritizing tasks, duties, and chores, and ensuring that you spend good quality time with everyone who you love and care about will ensure that you get a near as close to perfect balance. Remember that time spent with loved ones, memories made, and experiences shared will help you get stronger both as an individual and as a family unit.

Having a Bit of Freedom

Letting loose, not having any responsibilities, and being a little bit carefree is what you crave. Having a bit of freedom, leaving the children at home with a responsible adult, and getting out of the house and away from all of the commitments you have is sometimes just what you need to do. Having a change of scenery, doing something different, and even getting in outside help to assist you with your parents will give you breathing space. Breathing space will help you feel like you again and allow you to be a fantastic mommy again.

The Feeling That You Are Not Doing Enough for Everyone

The ultimate challenge you will face is the feeling that you are never doing enough, no matter how hard you try. Caring is hard, being a mommy is hard, and unfortunately, there will never be a perfectly balanced match that results in you feeling fantastic. Doing the best that you can do, being there at all times for your children, and being there for your parents is what you need to focus on doing. Just being there is enough for your children, and it is enough for your parents, so remember this in times of self-doubt or worry.

 

Prepare your child for in-person learning: PPE and social emotional skills

When you consider your child’s return to in-person education, ask yourself what is in their best interests. This standard that divorce lawyers use for child custody cases is also relevant here. The goal is to get them relaxed, ready, and inspired to return to campus. This article is one of a two-part series. The second article will focus on academic skills.

Build on Experience

If your child was able to engage in in-person learning in the spring or over the summer, ask them what elements were helpful. Maybe they calmed down by bringing a stress ball or stuffed animals to school for those tough moments. Perhaps it helped them to have a journal to write down their thoughts about the pandemic. It may be a good idea for you to give them a note in their lunch every day. Think about what is possible to help your child improve their mental health without a significant addition to your workload or budget.

Review Safety Protocols

See if your child’s teacher or school has a new digital presentation ready to familiarize children with back to school routines. If yes, go over this with your child several times before school starts. If not, see if you can volunteer to help make such a presentation. If the teacher or school just has suggestions at this point, make flashcards to test your child.

Act out certain scenarios. For example, role play with your child to see what they will do when someone accidentally gets too close or coughs on them. Have your child learn to be polite and say things such as, “I would like some more space” and “Can you please distance yourself socially?” If your child is young, practice routines with them. One enjoyable one is waiting in line for extended handwashing while socially distancing from you.

Check Their Personal Protective Equipment

Go over with your child what PPE they need to be safe at school. Items include a mask, hand sanitizer, and perhaps gloves for certain tasks. Practice using these items, such as taking gloves on and off without tearing them. Make sure they have multiple masks to take with them to school.

Show them where they should put the masks in their backpack. Review rules such as, “Don’t share a mask with a friend. You can give a friend a disposable mask, but then they have to keep it.” Make sure they know you are giving them extra masks in a different place, such as the side pocket of a backpack.

Outreach to Counselors and Teachers

Learn the identity of your child’s school counselor and psychologist. The school counselor is usually there to see a child with everyday concerns. A psychologist often has the job of seeing students with serious mental health concerns and testing for issues like autism spectrum disorder. Ask them what they did over the summer to learn about serving children’s needs during the pandemic. Learn how often they will be available for your child. Also sign any necessary permission slips for their services.

It is helpful to tell your child’s counselor and teacher about concerns your child is experiencing. For example, your child may have problems telling a teacher when they have too much work on their plate. Ask if it’s possible for your child to reach out to a counselor or another person about matters like this if necessary.

Also ask what you may be able to do to volunteer with “class talk” workshops by a counselor. You may be able to do a lot, such as collect supplies for arts and crafts or make a poster with other parents to show your support for students. Let your child’s educational and mental health team know you are there for them. Your child has a greater chance of success when others can count on you to be responsible, thoughtful, and responsive.

 

How to Prep for After You Have a Baby

For many, having a child is a wonderful thing, and it’s something they have been looking forward to for a long time – perhaps well before they actually conceived a child. However, as much as it is a beautiful experience, it can also be overwhelming, and you’ll need to ensure you have everything in place for once the baby arrives so that everything is a lot easier for you and you can concentrate on this new chapter of your life. Read on for some useful tips on how to make these preparations and what you should be putting in place.

Make Time To Rest

Having a baby – actually giving birth – is a traumatic event for the body, no matter what the mind might think. You have to go through a lot to ensure your baby arrives safely, and you won’t just be able to pick up and carry on with everything you need or want to do moments after the baby is born. You’ll need at least a few days to recover, and if you have had a c-section or any complications during birth, you will need a lot longer – perhaps even months.

This is why it’s so important to allow your body to heal. You’re already going to be tired, especially because babies don’t sleep through the night since they need to feed a lot more often than older children, so take the opportunity to rest whenever you do have the chance. The house can be messy for a little while longer, and although your friends and family will want to see the new baby, if you need to rest, they must understand. The more you can rest at the start, the sooner you’ll be back on your feet.

Make Things Easy

Before you give birth, there are many things in life that will seem easy and that you just don’t even think about. After you give birth, these easy tasks become much more difficult, perhaps because you don’t have the same amount of time or because you’re over-tired and can’t focus properly.

Make things as easy as you can for yourself so that you don’t have to add any additional stress to your life. Use One day lenses, for example, so that you don’t have to spend time cleaning them, or set out a week’s worth of clothes in advance, so you don’t have to think about what you’re going to wear. There are many other ideas you can implement too. These might be small things, but they’ll make a big difference and help you feel much more in control so you can deal with parenthood in the best possible way.

Stock Up On Food

As we’ve mentioned, finding time for yourself with a new baby is not easy, and so you may not have a lot of time to prepare proper meals in the first few weeks. This could lead you to indulge in takeout or skipping meals altogether, and these are not good ways to get healthy and prepare for parenthood.

Instead of this problem, prepare the food before the baby arrives. Batch cook some quick and easy meals and then freeze them so that you can simply defrost and warm through and have something great and healthy to eat. Or speak to friends and family; they will want to help out, so let them and ask them to bring you meals to ensure you keep your strength up.

 

3 Things To Keep In Mind As You Sleepwalk Through Your First Few Weeks With A Newborn

Being a new parent can be a very overwhelming and challenging time. Even if you have already had a child before, each baby can be vastly different and require you to learn or relearn parts of the newborn experience. So to help make things easier on everyone in your home during this period of time, here are three things to keep in mind as you sleepwalk through your first few weeks with a newborn.

Make Their Transition Easier

The transition from the womb to the outside world is shocking for babies. Because of this, if babies find this experience too jarring, they may be very hard to soothe.

To combat this, it’s wise to try to make this transition as easy as possible by recreating the environment that they were used to being in the womb. Usually this includes things like wrapping your baby snuggly in a swaddle, keeping their sleep area dark, and having white noise or background music going. All of these things will remind your baby of what it was like being in the womb and will help him or her to feel safe and comfortable finally being outside the womb.

Accept Help Around The House

After just having a baby, you’re not going to want to do much more than sleep and take care of your little one. So while you might think that you have to have everything else figured out as soon as you get home from the hospital, nothing could be further from the truth. And in reality, people don’t expect this from you. However, they do expect you to be able to ask for the help you need.

Even if accepting help is normally hard for you, if someone offers to give you a hand when you’re in the newborn weeks, take them up on their help with keeping things going around your house. Ask them to help with making meals, taking care of older children, cleaning up, and running errands. And if you need some extra hours of sleep, there’s nothing wrong with getting an extra hand caring for your newborn, either.

Find Sustainable Ways To Soothe

When you’re bleary-eyed from a lack of sleep and your little one seems to be struggling in this area too, you might be tempted to do anything possible to calm your little one. And while this might be necessary in some situations, you’ll want to be careful about creating soothing habits that you can’t sustain.

For example, if you have to be contorting your body in a weird position or bouncing on a yoga ball to get your baby to calm down for the first few months of life, your body isn’t going to be happy about this. Rather, try to create soothing habits that are easy to do, like singing a song, rocking in a chair, using white noise, and more.

If you’re worried about the first few weeks with your newborn or are really struggling during this time currently, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you get through these long days and nights.

 

How to Save Money on Family Life as Your Kids Get Older

It can be difficult to juggle giving your kids the best life possible and ensuring that you can keep within your family’s budget. However, as your kids get older, they often become more expensive. Therefore, you need to find ways to both manage their expectations and to cut down on the amount that you are spending on your lives together. This guide will go through some of the best ways that you can do this.

Look for Discounts on Clothes

As your children get older, they will begin to grow out of their clothes more often. It may start to seem as if you have only just bought them a whole new wardrobe before they are yet again complaining that their clothes do not fit. You should consider making your clothes shopping cheaper by looking for discounts on some of the biggest and high-quality brands in the USA. For instance, Giving Assistant offers a range of discounts on brands that sell girls clothes.

Cut Down on Treats

Many parents get into the habit of buying their children a little gift whenever they visit a theme park or zoo. However, these days out can be expensive in their own right, without having to worry about the cost of souvenirs. Not only this, but treats like ice cream and snacks can also be expensive. Then, rather than gifting your child a little something whenever you leave the house, you should consider swapping this with an allowance that they can save up themselves and spend on whatever they want.

Look at Your Food Costs

Your kids will inevitably begin to eat more as they get older, and this can make your food bills shoot up. Although you might not believe that you are unable to cut down on an essential, you can easily minimize your food costs by swapping luxury brands for the supermarket’s own products. You should also consider opting for easy meals with fewer ingredients once or twice a week and consider bulk buying if you have a large family.

Minimize Birthday Expenses

Raising a child is expensive, and birthdays can make bringing up a kid even more so. Many parents believe that making your child’s birthday extra special means spending as much on them as possible. However, rather than spending hundreds of pounds on gifts and an extravagant birthday party, you should consider ways to minimize these expenses. For instance, you might consider inviting a few guests to your home, asking guests to pay for themselves, giving your kid one or two presents that they desperately want, and cooking them their favorite meal at home.

Vacation at Home

Going on vacation when you have kids can drain your bank account, especially if they constantly want to go to expensive theme parks. However, most kids will not care whether you head abroad for your vacation or not. Therefore, you should consider going on a trip within your own country, or simply taking some time off work to spend with the kids during the summer and taking them to fun places each day.

 

5 Tips for Hiking with Children

There are plenty of ways that kids can enjoy while indoors. One of them is by having indoor soft play equipment for the home. There are blocks, slides, steps, and other soft play equipment to use inside the house so children remain active. However, it is also suitable for them to try some outdoor activities once in a while. It will allow them to explore nature and learn new things. Hiking is one of the activities to try.

You can go hiking with the entire family, even with little kids. It requires planning and a lot of patience, but it will be worth it. You can bond together, stay physically active, and the kids will also experience something new. If this is your first time doing it with the children, here are some tips to make it enjoyable and safe.

Choose a short trail and one close to home

Search for hiking trails that are near your place so that travel time will not be too long. Most kids don’t like long drives. They can get bored, and they will no longer be in the mood for the hike once you reach your destination. Since it’s their first time, a short trail will also be ideal, so they don’t have to walk too far. Choose one that will lead you to a gorgeous view, so they will love what they will see.

Brief everyone before the hike

Have a family meeting and tell them what they need to remember for the hike. Give them an easy-to-read trail map, and show them where you will go. Each member should have a whistle. Teach kids how to use it, especially if they accidentally get separated from the group. You don’t want that to happen, but you also want them to be prepared if it does. Remind them to ensure that they keep close to the group and not stray away.

Bring plenty of snacks and refreshments

Kids can get hungry and thirsty with all the walking and moving around. Hungry little ones can get cranky, and it can lead to a meltdown. Take breaks and let them eat and drink to fuel up. It will keep them energised throughout the hike, and everyone will be happy.

Layer up and wear comfortable footwear

Comfortable clothes and footwear are essential so that the children can move freely and with ease. Let them wear layers of clothes to keep them warm if it’s chilly. Then, if it gets hot, you can easily remove the layers to let them feel cooler.

Let kids take their time

Take your time and follow their pace. Children are naturally curious. Allow them to explore their surroundings and discover things. But, again, remind them to still stay close to the group. Keep an eye on them to make sure that they do not go too far. A buddy system is also an excellent idea. Pair one member of the family with another so they can look out for each other.

Make the first hiking experience of your children fun and memorable by following these tips. Aside from the safety measures mentioned, bring a first aid kit too. It’s better to be ready for unforeseen circumstances.