New Year’s Mom-Solutions

2017

December is always a whirlwind month! There’s the shopping, decorating, wrapping, baking… plus concerts, parties and the visit to Santa. Not to mention, a mom’s year-round duties don’t stop during the holidays. There’s still cooking, cleaning and chauffeuring to do!

Now that the month (and the year) are winding down, take a moment to stop thinking about everyone else around you and focus on yourself. It’s time to make some New Year’s Mom-solutions!

Here are a few ideas for moms in 2017:

Don’t Phone It In
Family time is a gift, and it’s all too easy to miss it because your face is buried in some form of technology. I know moms who insist the family dinner table is a phone-free zone. I know another mom who just needed to uninstall her favorite app because her Facebook feed was distracting her from the faces in front of her. I know you’ve heard it before, but it’s true. That email can wait so your kids get your full attention.

Partner Up
“The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” Author John Wooden wrote these words, and, trust me, it goes both ways. My husband and I make it a point to strengthen our relationship by spending time together, just the two of us. Whether it’s a weekend getaway, a dinner out or an intentional date night at home after the kids go to bed, make time to strengthen your relationship with your partner in 2017.

Pitch Perfect
And I mean pitch it – as in throw it away! No family is perfect, and accepting that may be the key to finding happiness. A study from the University of Washington found women who believe they can be SuperMom are at a greater risk of depression than moms who admit they can’t do it all. So, leave the dishes sit in the sink; let the kids wear pajamas to the grocery store; even (gasp!) turn on the TV for a relaxing movie night. Work hard and do your best, but don’t demand perfection from your family or yourself.

Make a Judgement-Free Zone
Since we’re giving ourselves permission to be imperfect, let’s give other moms the same courtesy. Whether we’re debating breast vs. bottle feeding, sleep training methods, TV time or any other parenting topic, it’s so easy to get caught up in the “right” way to do things. Give your fellow mom some grace. She’s trying, just like you are. After all, we’re all in this crazy parenting thing together!

Happy New Year!

Harmful Chemicals Found in Baby Teethers

Heads up, parents! Even if you’re checking product labels, it may not be enough to avoid exposing kids to harmful chemicals. A recent study found the chemical BPA in dozens of baby teethers – even those labeled as “BPA Free” or “Non-toxic.”

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I talked with News12 about safe alternatives for parents. Click here to watch the video.

Celebrate the Season Around the World!

Decorating a tree and making homemade ornaments are just a few of the ways families can celebrate the holidays. I talked with KARE11 about five activities you can do with your kids to teach them how others around the world are celebrating the season!

  1. Pine Cone Christmas Tree (Germany)
  2. Christmas Tomten (Sweden)
  3. Diwali Lantern (Festival of Lights/India)
  4. Lion Mask (Chinese New Year)
  5. Toilet Paper Menorah (Jewish Holiday Hanukkah)

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Click here to watch the interview.

Holiday Travel with Kids

upload-1Whether you’re going over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house or perhaps hopping a flight to a warm weather destination, families traveling for the holidays have one thing in common: the struggle of keeping kids entertained while they’re contained on a plane, train or automobile.

We moms who’ve made a trip or two have a trick or two up their sleeves. When our family takes a vacation, there are a few things I always make sure to pack:

Mini White Boards
These pack a double-dose of child entertainment! First, kids can draw and erase their white boards over and over to their hearts’ content. Second, they’re magnetic. Try packing a bag of letter magnets kids can arrange into words. If they’re younger, find some magnets of their favorite characters so they can create and act out scenes.  

Mom’s Bag of Tricks
I always keep a bag packed with little forms of entertainment: age-appropriate books, puzzles and Play-Doh. The trick is to keep switching out your distractions before the kids start getting antsy. You don’t have to break the bank here. Little coloring packs from the dollar section will work great for a short amount of time.

TrayKit
The TrayKit is handy for keeping kids entertained. It’s a backpack that also provides a place for kids to play on an airplane tray table or on their laps in the car. When you open it up, it makes a tray with raised edges, so nothing falls on the floor when you’re traveling. My girls like to pack theirs with little toys, markers and other coloring gear. You can watch their YouTube video to learn more about TrayKits.

Portable Placemats
These won’t keep kids entertained, but they sure will be helpful as you travel. Whether you’re using the tray table on a plane or stopping at a restaurant, it’s a great idea to have some portable placemats to keep kids from eating off a dirty surface. Not to mention, it’s much easier to clean up!

Don’t forget to pack extra clothes, in case of an accident or for kids to layer if they get cold or hot. And, of course, the essentials like diapers, wipes and plenty of snacks – for the kids and for yourself. No one likes to travel hangry!

Surviving Cold & Flu Season

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December is here- and with it comes the dreaded cold and flu season. Many moms of babies and toddlers will spend the winter feeling like they’re fighting an uphill battle against germs, but there are some tricks that can help put the tissues away!

Wash, Wash, Wash Your Hands
Hand sanitizer may be convenient, but it is not a substitute for good, old-fashioned hand washing! It’s important to teach kids the right way to wash their hands – with soap and warm water and for the appropriate amount of time. Singing the Alphabet Song or Twinkle Twinkle Little Star teaches kids the right length for hand-washing. It also adds a little fun to get kids excited about washing their hands. Even babies should get their hands washed before and after eating, as well as before and after diaper changes.

Toys Belong in Hands – Not Mouths!
It is natural for babies and little kiddos to stick things in their mouths- fingers, toys, remote controls, basically anything they can find! But this time of year, parents should try their best to keep things away from not only kids’ mouths, but also their noses and eyes. If a toy has slobbery germs all over it, sanitize it before letting a friend or sibling play with it. Another good tip: toddlers can conquer the fork and spoon! At Little Newtons, we teach kids at a young age how to use utensils to avoid spreading germs from hand to mouth at mealtime.

Educate About Elbows
To quote Elmo, “sneeze in the bendy place!” That’s right, our friends on Sesame Street have advice on the proper way to sneeze. (Show the video to your kids by clicking here!) Kids as young as 16 to 17 months can be taught to sneeze and cough into their elbows. There are also several great books on the subject- check out “Germs are Not for Sharing” and read it with your kids. The best ways are for parents to be good models and through continuous reinforcement.

Make Good Choices
It’s important to keep up other healthy habits- especially during the cold and flu season. That includes getting a good night’s sleep and a daily dose of exercise. Don’t be afraid to run around outside and play in the snow – just make sure the kiddos are bundled up. Jackets should be zipped, hats and mittens should be on to fight against catching a cold.