Posts tagged kids

10 Easter Activities for Kids

Easter brings images of bunnies, jelly beans, crosses and spring to mind! Most families do the traditional Easter basket, egg hunt and church routine, but this Easter shake things up a bit by thinking outside of the box and incorporating a few 10 Easter Activities for Kids | @BloomMaternitymore meaningful activities into your Easter traditions.

  1. Natural egg dyes – Did you know that you can dye your eggs without chemicals? Annie’s Eats provides a list of different colors that you can easily create at home by using food to provide the color. You can find recipes for grey-blue, blue, yellow, pink and lavender.
  2. Egg dying techniques – Why not make egg dying an artistic process? Spoonful has various techniques to use for your egg dying experience, including using tin foil, string, bubble wrap, thumbprints and tissue paper.
  3. Easter egg hunts – Egg hunts are a traditional Easter activity for most Christian families. A lot of towns or churches will host an egg hunt, but if they don’t you should consider arranging one for your neighborhood or family! You can use real eggs (make sure they are hard-boiled first!) or use plastic eggs filled with various items, such as money, candy or other small trinkets.
  4. Tissue paper egg art – Egg art is an easy way to decorate your house for Easter. This simple project requires some poster board, tissue paper, a pencil and a bit of glue. Have your child cut out an egg shape from poster board, draw a design on the egg with pencil, and then, using small squares of tissue paper, the eraser end of the pencil and a bit of glue, fill in the spaces with the tissue paper to create your Easter egg!
  5. Stained glass crosses – You can easily create a stained glass cross to hang in your window with your child using tissue paper and clear contact paper. Cut the tissue paper into small shapes (have your child help, if it’s age appropriate) and cut out a sheet of contact paper. Draw a cross on the non-sticky side of the contact paper, remove the paper, and have your child fill in the cross with the tissue paper shapes. Once they are done, place another sheet of contact paper over the tissue paper and then cut inside the lines of the cross you drew on the first sheet of contact paper. Hang your creation in the window for the entire family to enjoy!
  6. The jelly bean story – The jelly bean story is a great way to represent what Jesus gave his people and why Easter is celebrated. There is a short story to print out to go along with the project and each jelly bean color represents different things, such as the sun, grace or sorrow.
  7. Envelope bunnies – Envelope bunnies are a great way to welcome guests to your home during the Easter season. Have your children help create them and then fill them with treats!
  8. Egg chickens – Egg chickens are a cute way to spruce up a hard-boiled egg for a centerpiece at your table! You can create other animals too, so let your imaginations go wild!
  9. Egg relay races – If you live in a climate that makes it possible to head outside on Easter day, consider doing some active outdoor activities with the kids. Who doesn’t love an egg relay race? You can place the eggs (hard-boiled!) on spoons and run with them (if they fall, you have to stop and pick it up). You can also pass off the egg to each other or pass the eggs down the line using only your elbows! The possibilities are endless, and the entire family can get involved!
  10. Egg bocce ball – Use your leftover hard-boiled eggs to play a game of egg bocce ball. You’ll need one white egg (the pallino) and each player will need two of the same colors of eggs to play. Roll the pallino in the grass and have players take turns trying to roll their eggs as close to the pallino as possible. The closest egg wins!

Whatever activities you choose to do on Easter, do them together as a family! As you are doing each activity, take the time to explain to your children the connection it has to Easter and the significance that it brings to the table.

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10 Reasons Kids Should Sleep in Their Own Beds

10 Reasons Kids Should Sleep in Their Own Beds | @BloomMaternityIt’s the middle of the night and you’re awakened by a sleepy-eyed child mumbling something about monsters under the bed. Then comes the request, “Can I get in bed with you?” At this point, you have three options. Say no, turn over and try to ignore the whining and tears that will inevitably follow, take the little darling back to her room and assure her that there are no monsters and risk having to spend the next hour or so cramped in a bed made for munchkins or toss back the covers and hope you don’t get kicked in the back too much as you invite your little visitor in.

Once in a while this might be okay, but on a regular basis, sleeping with the kids gets old fast. Even though different cultures may view co-sleeping differently, there are several reasons why kids should sleep in their own beds.

  1. Keeping it Safe – When it comes to infants, sleeping with your child can be dangerous. There have been cases where a parent has inadvertently smothered their baby by rolling over on the child during sleep. While it may be convenient to keep baby in bed for feeding, it is best to put him back in his crib or bassinet afterward.
  2. Get Some Sleep! – Yes, Mom and Dad, this means you! It may seem like it’s worse to let your child cry herself to sleep every night, however, with proper sleep training, it won’t be an every night experience. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need at least seven hours of sleep. The ramifications of sleep deprivation are not pretty and will definitely have adverse effects on other areas of life. Starting off the day as a grumpy parent is just one of them.
  3. Making Sure Your Child Gets Enough Sleep – On one hand, it may seem like he’s getting a wonderful night’s sleep while you are wrestling the covers back from him or taking his elbows and feet out of your side. On the other hand, consider that your child may be having a difficult time getting to sleep in the first place and is then waking up in the middle of the night to come to your room. He probably is not getting the quantity or quality of sleep he needs either. Now there’s a grumpy kid in the house to contend with along with a grumpy parent.
  4. Setting Much-Needed Boundaries – Sharing a bed with the little one is a game most parents play reluctantly, but they get coerced into playing by children who simply don’t want to sleep alone. These kids figured out that if they play their cards just right, they will be able to work their way into Mom’s and Dad’s bed and sleep there cozy comfortable all night, thus demolishing any boundaries parents have managed to set.
  5. Avoiding Co-Sleeping Stigma for Kids – For older kids, sleeping with parents can be a source of embarrassment and shame. Toddlers don’t have peers that will humiliate them for sleeping with their parents. School-aged children are susceptible to all kinds of ridicule from peers, and the older they are the worse it can get.
  6. Establishing a Firm Routine – Part of setting boundaries for kids is having a regular routine. The routines establish a framework that kids come to rely on. They know what to expect and they know that the rules will be enforced. This is especially important for children who require more structure.  Having a regular bedtime routine gets your child prepared for entering a good night’s sleep. It can also be a quiet time of bonding for you and your child, making co-sleeping unnecessary.
  7. Maintaining Your Own Privacy – You have a right to privacy in your bedroom. Night visitors can spoil romantic interludes and once the mood is broken, sometimes it can be difficult to get it back. It’s virtually impossible if your night visitor is there to stay!
  8. Helping Your Child Learn to Self-Soothe – If your child becomes dependent on sharing your bed in order to sleep properly, what happens when you cannot be there? There may be times when circumstances arise in which you will not be available to sleep with your little one. It is far better for your child to learn to sleep in her own bed than to have to worry about how she will get to sleep when you’re not there to sleep with her.
  9. Helping Your Child to Embrace Growing Up – In many homes, the arrival of the big kid’s bed is a quite a big deal. It signals a rite of passage in a way. It’s the movement from babyhood to being a big boy. Helping your child see this as a positive, important step in growing up and encouraging him to sleep in his own bed will help him in his discovery of autonomy. With your encouragement, he will also feel very proud of himself for taking on the challenges of being a big kid and learning to sleep alone.
  10. Avoiding a Crowd – When one child becomes accustomed to sleeping with you, the rest of your brood could easily follow suit. You could find yourself with a very crowded bed and a lot of sleepless nights, or children that feel excluded because they’re not in on the slumber party.

Sleep training at an early age can lead the way to restful sleep for you and your tot. There will, of course, be times when your presence is called for out of compassion for your youngster. Consoling your cherub in the face of night terrors, bad dreams or monsters in the closet and cuddling with your little one till he falls asleep is therapeutic and comforting. For the long haul though, and for your own peace of mind and cheery disposition and that of your child, everyone should sleep in their own bed.

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How to Get Your Child to Eat Vegetables Without Complaining

How to Get Your Child to Eat Vegetables Without Complaining | @BloomMaternityWith childhood obesity rates in the United States skyrocketing, it should come as no real surprise that more American kids are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and other health problems related to poor dietary habits than ever before. Unfortunately, getting picky kids to willingly eat vegetables instead of the high-fat foods that are actively marketed towards them can be quite a challenge. Most modern parents are well-acquainted with the struggle of maintaining a healthy diet for their children in a society that seems determined to provide them with more sugar and empty calories than nutrition, but there are ways to help your children form good eating habits.

  • Start Early – Introducing your toddler to fruits and vegetables rather than chicken nuggets and French fries can make instilling good habits much easier as they get older. Breaking a bad habit is much more difficult than avoiding the acquisition of one, so limiting your little one’s exposure to unhealthy convenience food from early childhood is best.
  • Limit Unhealthy Purchases – Convincing a child to eat his carrots is sure to be difficult when he knows that there are tater tots in the freezer. Limit the availability of unhealthy options, and make a habit of preparing healthful fare at every opportunity. When there are unhealthy, albeit appealing, foods lurking in the pantry, kids aren’t as likely to complain and beg for those things.
  • Model Good Eating Habits – Kids mimic the adults around them, and they quickly pick up the habits that their grown-up loved ones exhibit. Bemoaning the necessity of a diet rich in fresh produce and vocally yearning for a drive-thru cheeseburger won’t help your child appreciate healthy food as a tasty and nutritious choice, it’ll make eating well seem like an unpleasant task. If choosing broccoli over chili dogs is a chore for you, it’s best to keep that attitude from showing when dinnertime rolls around. Remember, you can’t expect a child not to complain when they hear you doing just that.
  • Be Firm – When a child throws a tantrum and refuses to eat her vegetables, many parents simply relent to avoid difficulty. Though it’s infinitely easier to cave under pressure and provide your child with the unhealthy foods she demands than it is to stand firm, it’s ultimately detrimental to her health and discipline to continually give in to her. Forcing a child to choke down foods that they truly dislike, however, will only breed resentment. Experiment with different preparations, combinations, and types of vegetables until you find what works for your family, and resist the temptation to take the easier path. When good habits have been established, the number of dinnertime complaints will drop dramatically.
  • Get Kids in the Kitchen – Young children love to help, and meal preparation is no exception. Furthermore, the feeling of accomplishment that comes from knowing that they aided in the creation of the meal makes healthy food more appealing. The ability to make good choices stems from a good education, and that education begins in the home. Rather than making the kitchen off-limits for your kids, get them in on the action and take every available opportunity to teach them about the importance of a good diet.
  • Presentation is Key – Even adults are likely to turn their noses up at poorly presented, unappetizing fare, and kids tend to be far pickier. Getting kids to willingly eat their vegetables can be as simple as presenting them in a way that’s both tasty and aesthetically pleasing.
  • Adopt a “No Hiding” Policy – Sneaking vegetables into foods that your kids already love will certainly make them a part of their diet, but it won’t help them acquire the good eating habits that are essential to maintaining health as they get older. Kids will still plead and pout when spinach shows up on the dinner table, regardless of how much you’ve been hiding in their smoothies.
  • Start and Maintain a Family Garden – Researchers at the Department of Endocrinology at the Mayo Clinic have determined that kids who are actively involved in maintaining a family vegetable garden are more likely to enjoy the results than their non-gardening peers. Even a small plot can help generate excitement and make kids eager to eat food that they’ve helped to grow, so consider starting a garden if at all possible. In addition to boosting kids’ likelihood of willingly eating fresh produce, gardening also serves as a physically active hobby.

Kids who have grown accustomed to a diet comprised mainly of processed food will almost certainly be resistant to a move in a healthier direction initially. Though complaints will be common when you first begin to integrate fresh produce after a long period of unhealthy eating, it’s important to maintain a firm stance. In no time at all, your kids will be on a path to healthier eating without complaints.

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8 Ways to Reduce the Cost of Medications for Kids

8 Ways to Reduce the Cost of Medications for Kids | @BloomMaternityHealth care costs are soaring higher every year, and as they do many American workers are watching their health insurance coverage simultaneously diminish. In this economic environment, many families are forced to find ways to cut medical costs wherever and however they can. Consider these eight ways to reduce the cost of their kids’ medications.

  1. Generic Alternatives – Any medication that your child might need will almost always have a generic equivalent that can be substituted for the name brand version at a cheaper cost. Ask your child’s doctor or pharmacist if going generic is an option.
  2. Start with Samples – You don’t necessarily have to buy an entire month’s worth of medication that’s been prescribed for your child all at once, especially if there isn’t a specific medical need for that much. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if they have any free sample packs.
  3. Buy in Bulk – On the flip side, if you’ve been prescribed a medication for your child that you expect she will need for an extended period of time, try buying a 3-month vs. a 1-month supply. Medications are often cheaper per dose in larger quantities.
  4. Larger Dosage Sizes – Another way of reducing your per-dose expenses is to buy a larger dosage size than the prescription and then split the pills to match the prescribed dosage. Here again, the larger pills are often cheaper per milligram than the smaller versions. You’ll need your doctor’s permission before going that route and the medication needs to be conducive to easy splitting.
  5. Shop Around – Like everything else, prices vary for medications. For instance, Wal-Mart pharmacies have a $4 prescription plan for 30-day supplies, and $10 for 90 days’ worth. Sometimes referred to as a 4/10 plan, this doesn’t require insurance. You can find a list of medications and available doses here. Ask your pharmacist if they’ve got a 4/10 plan.
  6. Mail Order – This is rapidly increasing in popularity as a means for purchasing prescription drugs at a discount. You can find deals for a 3-month supply of a prescription that for the cost of only one co-pay.
  7. Coupons – Yes, drugs have them too. You may be able to get them from your doctor or find them online. Check the website of the drug’s manufacturer too. You can save a bundle with coupons.
  8. Discount Cards – Certain groups and organizations offer memberships which afford their members discounts on certain products. You may already have a means to save on your child’s medications right there in your wallet, next to your hard-earned cash.

You don’t have to resign yourself to high medication costs. Instead, try to find different ways where you can reduce the price. Health care coverage may be diminishing, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune to stay healthy.

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How to Save Money on Kids Clothes

How to Save Money on Kids Clothes | @BloomMaternityIt’s no secret that having children is expensive. From the cost of diapers to the expense of extracurricular activities as kids get older, it seems as if they’re always on some new path that costs money. Some of those kid-related expenses are completely unavoidable, but others can be circumvented with a bit of creative thinking and a determination to not waste money. Kids’ clothes can be a major drain on your budget, but there are ways to cut clothing costs down to a manageable level.

Be Reasonable About Babies

When you first learn that you’re expecting a brand new bundle of joy, especially as a first-time parent, every tiny shoe or ruffled onesie seems like a non-negotiable expense. Realistically, however, you won’t need to stock up on piles of high-end infant couture. In a matter of months or even weeks, infants and toddlers will outgrow their clothing. Furthermore, they’re still too young at that age to be consumed with the idea of fitting in with their fashionable peers. While there’s nothing wrong with a few indulgent special occasion purchases, you should keep in mind when you’re shopping for babies and toddlers that plain, durable and inexpensive items are much smarter purchases.

Hit the Sales Rack

When the new season’s shipments come in, most of a store’s stock goes to the sale rack. If you’re lucky, you can snap up a few items that are still serviceable for a while until the weather actually changes. Stocking up on essential items at deep discounts keeps your kids in clothing from the stores they love, without forcing you to pay the full ticket price.

Discount Shops

When higher-end stores purchase too much, they generally dump the stock on outlet and discount stores like T.J. Maxx and Ross. Hitting those stores and others of their ilk can help you dress your kids to the proverbial nines without breaking the bank. Snapping up stylish clothes at bargain prices helps you save more money while satisfying tweens’ and teens’ need to stock up on items of recognizable branding.

Consider Consignment

While kids aren’t known for taking particularly good care of their clothing, you can score gently worn items at nicer consignment shops for a fraction of their original price. In some cases, you’ll even find items with the retailers’ tags still dangling, an indication of another mom whose enthusiasm for purchasing the best clothes outstripped her child’s ability to wear them all before going up a size or two. When you’re shopping consignment, be sure that you give any item you’re thinking of purchasing a thorough once-over before taking it to the register. If you miss a stain, tear or hole, you probably won’t be able to obtain a refund, as most consignment store purchases are final. By keeping an eye out for defects or signs of wear, you can walk out of a consignment store with a huge haul for pennies on the original-retail dollar.

Consider Purpose When You’re Checking for Quality

An item isn’t a bargain if it falls apart after one wear, even if it costs next to nothing. That being said, you should consider the purpose an article of clothing will serve when you’re checking the garment’s quality. Play clothes that you’ll send your little ones out to make mud pies in don’t have to stand up to the same scrutiny as a dress reserved for special occasions. If an item is cheaply priced and isn’t overly flimsy, it may still be a worthwhile purchase, especially if it’s only purpose is to keep your child from exposing himself as he climbs a tree or goes bananas with finger-paint. Play clothes don’t have to have a designer label, but they should be durable enough to withstand more than one trip to the playground.

Swap and Share

If you have friends and family members with children the same age or roughly the same size as your own, you can establish a system of swapping and sharing outgrown clothing that eliminates the need for some purchases. Saving money through these types of arrangements allows you to make the pricier purchases for special occasions without doing serious damage to your household budget.

In-Store Credit Cards

Most major retailers offer in-store credit cards that you can use for discounts on your purchases, ostensibly saving money on the clothing that you buy for your kids. Be aware, however, that all of those special-offer savings and customer loyalty discounts go out the window if you don’t pay the balance off before interest charges kick in. While it is a method of saving money on clothes, taking out store credit is something you should do sparingly and with caution.

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10 Things Kids Born in 2013 Will Never Know

10 Thinks Kids Born in 2013 Will Never Know | @BloomMaternityWhile there’s no denying that progress is a wonderful thing, the rate at which the world is changing is creating an environment in which objects that were commonplace to today’s parents will be virtually unheard of when their babies become adults. These are 10 simple things that Generations X and Y took for granted, but are likely to be complete mysteries to children born in 2013 as they reach maturity.

  1. What the “Save” Icon Actually Represents – The little square icon that denotes a the “save” feature in any word processing program is immediately recognizable to today’s adults, but children born in 2013 will never understand that it’s designed to resemble a 3.5 floppy disk. In a world of flash drives, the icon now symbolizes a piece of dead technology.
  2. How to Operate Rotary Phones – Unless one of today’s babies has a great-grandmother that’s still holding on to an old rotary relic, there’s little to no chance of them ever encountering one outside of old movies. By the time the infants of 2013 are adults, in fact, they may not even remember a time when homes had landline telephones at all.
  3. Why VHS Tapes and VCRs Used to be Amazing – As cloud storage becomes the wave of the future, even physical copies of DVDs and CDs are becoming rarer. The same VHS tapes that Gen X-ers grew up collecting are little more than relics now, meaning they’ll be all but unrecognizable to the generations of tomorrow.
  4. What Pagers Were – If you’re above the age of 25, you probably remember a time when cell phones were prohibitively expensive and pagers were all the rage. These days, you’d be hard-pressed to find a pager that’s still in operation.
  5. The Joy of Cassette Tapes – Spending an evening meticulously crafting a mix-tape playlist or waiting for hours to catch your favorite song on the radio so that you could record it onto a cassette is probably a cherished memory. It’s also one that today’s kids will never be able to fully understand, because cassette tapes are all but extinct.
  6. How to Use a Card Catalog to Look Up a Reference Book – When kids need to find a fast fact or research a report today, they turn to the Internet and their favorite search engine. The art of searching through a card catalog to find the reference book you’re looking for, and then combing through it for information, is one that will likely be lost to a significant portion of tomorrow’s youth.
  7. What it Was Like to Get Lost – When every phone has GPS capabilities and every child has a phone, it will be difficult to understand that people were still routinely getting lost or writing down questionable directions as recently as the early 2000′s.
  8. What the “M” in “MTV” Stands For – Kids of the 1980′s and 1990′s remember a time when the lineup of MTV still consisted largely of music videos, with a few reality shows and special programming aired sporadically. Today, there’s almost no music on what was once Music Television.
  9. How to Execute a Perfect Prank Call – Before the advent of caller ID, kids would get their kicks with a few good-natured prank calls. It’s a pastime that’s ethically dubious, but isn’t likely to even exist by the time today’s little ones are teenagers.
  10. How to Use a Phone Book – With directory assistance at your fingertips and every smartphone featuring a web browser, when was the last time that you even opened a phone book? By the time your children are adults, they may not even remember a time when the phone book was still delivered to every door.

Realizing how many of the things you’re familiar with will be archaic to your children can understandably make you feel old before your time, but it’s wise to keep in mind that technology is progressing at an unprecedented pace these days. By the time today’s babies are adults, there are likely to be many more innovations that change the way society operates until they’re replaced by something smaller and better.

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Chuck the Yuck!

Morning sickness sucks. Motion sickness sucks. But what really sucks is when you have to throw up say in your car or on a plane or out in public!! Some people I know have children that get sick just driving around town in the car. This particular mom keeps a lovely bowl or maybe it was a jar in the back seat for junior to get sick in. Yuck. But, I have been there before. One weekend we were headed to West Texas, just a mere 7 hour car drive and my oldest daughter woke up sick. We got her in the car and handed her several 13 gallon trash bags. That is all we had. Ridiculously large, not very convenient and super wasteful. Thankfully my daughter only threw up 2 times and then she was ok. Sure wish we knew about Chuck the Yuck!

Chuck the Yuck Vomit Bags!

Chuck the Yuck Vomit Bags!

Chuck the Yuck is a hip line of barf bags, designed to dispose of all pregnancy and kid-related yuck. From morning sickness and motion sickness, to everyday yucky stuff like dirty diapers and half-eaten ice cream cones, Chuck the Yuck is a convenient and stylish way to catch and toss it all.

The fold-over twist closure ensures that they are smell resistant, and the watertight lining keeps the yuck where it should be…in the bag. With Chuck the Yuck in your diaper bag, stroller, handbag and car, you will always be prepared for life’s yuckiest surprises!

Get your 5-pack of vomit bags today! Know someone who just found out she is pregnant? These would make a really funny gift!!

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