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Marina

Tips&Tricks

Surviving a plane flight with a toddler

As an expat family we have early accepted the fact that most of our holidays will be spent visiting family back in our home country, especially after we got a baby. My mom would kill us if she didn’t get the chance to see her granddaughter every couple of months. Sometimes I don’t have time to call her on video chat for two full days, and she is already ready to call the police to check on us. But that means that every few months we have to survive a plane flight with a toddler.

If you are actually one of the lucky ones that can actually choose where to go on holiday, check out our old blog post about planning a holiday with toddler. I will have to wait a little bit longer for that.

plane flight with a toddler

While she was a baby, she was a perfect travel companion. By the time plane lifted from a ground she was already fast asleep and she would stay like that almost until the end of the flight. Now, it is more difficult. She is more active and interested in everything that is happening around her, especially in other people. Stalker vibe is strong in her.

Plane flight with a toddler

  1. Always try booking a direct flight

Layover is already hard enough when travelling alone, but with a child can be a horrible experience. They are already nervous and confused, you want to make this experience as fast as possible. If you have to choose a connection flight, make sure that you have enough time between the flights so they can relax, have a meal and run around for a bit.

  • Don’t pack light when it comes their essentials

Always, but always bring enough pacifiers if your child is using it, and then bring some more. Usually, I always have at least one in my bag, but when travelling I pack backups everywhere. My bag? Check. Suitcase? Check? Diaper bag? Check. My husbands’ backpack? Check. The same thing goes for their favourite toy. Always pack a spare one unless you want to end up with an unhappy child. I don’t have to even tell you about spare clothes in their diaper bag. You know that they will have an accident the only time when you don’t bring a change of clothes.

  • Protect their ears during take-off and landing

In order to help them through pressure changes, you should make sure they are either sucking or chewing during the take-off and landing. You have few options, you can either breastfeed, give them a bottle of formula or breastmilk, Sippy cup, pacifier or even something to eat like a cracker or a cookie.

  • Organize the flights so they correspond to your child sleeping schedule

If you have this option definitely use it to make your life easier. This is the best way to make sure your flight goes as smoothly as possible. Your child will sleep happily during the flight and you can also get some downtime.

  • Bring entertainment

 You know what child likes the best, so make sure you pack enough of the toys that can keep them entertained if they decide they don’t want to sleep. For us the winners are the quiet books and drawing board or sketch pad.

Do you have any useful advice I can use on our next trip?

My Journey

5 types of parents you can meet on the playground

The playground. My worst nightmare and a greatest saviour.

If you are a parent, then you are already familiar with the benefits of playgrounds, especially if your kid is not going to kindergarten or school. Not only your child can learn to interact with other kids and practice their social skills but they can also get much needed physical activity. Added benefit is definitely the fact that you can finally get a breather from being the center of their world and main conversation partner. But for me, a socially awkward individual, the playgrounds can be a nightmare because I never know how to act among the other parents who always look more parentish.

But this is why I spend more time observing so I can bring you the list of the parents you can meet in the playground.

  1. Alpha mom

Alpha mom scares me so much. She is prepared for any kind of situation and she is in total control every minute they are in the playground. Not only that she will have all the best snacks, enough toys for everyone but she will also be ready for any accidents. First aid kit? She has it. Poonami? Don’t worry, she has a change of clothes. Kid wants to eat something you never heard of before? She will have it in her bag. She knows all the good parenting techniques you heard of and probably invented some.

  • Joiner Mom

She is always there with her kids no matter if their child is playing football with some other kids, or going up and down on the slide. She will be right next to them to offer a supportive hand. More often than not you want to push her off the slide because she is making it impossible for your child to get near it, or she is taking the last available swing, but it is actually admirable how involved she is.

  • Encouraging dad

My husband belongs in this category and he is embarrassing me every time we go to the playground. It doesn’t matter what is she doing, he will be there encouraging her. You can do it! You are doing amazing! That is the best way to climb up the step! You are a champ! That is the best pile of mud I have ever seen! The downside of this is that Emily now believes she is a Superwoman. The toddler area of the park is not enough for her anymore, now she is tackling the equipment for older kids. 

  • Ultra-protective dad

They have a special place in my heart. You can always hear them running around the playground and their constant flood of warnings. Be careful! Watch where are you going! Don’t go there! Are you cold? Are you warm? Are you thirsty? Watch your step! You can almost hear their raising heartbeats every time their kid starts to run.

  • Competitive mom

No matter how hard you try to avoid them you will never succeed. They will always manage to sneak up on you and then the questions will start. How old is she? Is she speaking? Going to potty? Knows the alphabet and all the numbers? Can name all the presidents? No? Her kid knew that since he was 8 months old. But don’t worry, she has a friend who was in the same situation. I wasn’t worrying until just now, thank you very much.

And then you have me. Hiding somewhere in the corner pretending to read a book or being “super busy” on my phone, actually keeping an eagle eye on Emily and doing everything I can to stop myself from becoming an Overprotective dad.

Reviews

5 Best Bedtime Stories For Toddlers – Ranked by Emily

Recently we have moved to a two-bedroom apartment which meant Emily finally got her own room, so we had to do some changes regarding her sleeping arrangements. Before we would settle her on our bed, give her a bottle and soon she would fall asleep while holding our hand. Then we would just transfer her to her cot and she would continue until the morning. Perfect, right? But as she was getting bigger and heavier it was getting harder and harder to transfer her to the bed, especially when you are short as I am. You don’t want to know how many times I almost ended up in her bed with her. Even if we wanted to continue with the process it would be impossible to transfer her from one room to another without her waking up.

best bedtime stories for toddlers

This is why we decided to create a new routine. As an avid book reader, I couldn’t allow not to include books in our bedtime process. What I didn’t know yet was that Emily will become as crazy about books as I am. She will touch all the books she owns, take one, change her mind, take another one, change her mind and then choose the perfect one which she will then proudly hand to me.

Best bedtime stories for toddlers

In her expert two-year old opinion these are the best bedtime stories for toddlers ranked from the best to almost the best.

  1. “Say Goodnight to the Sleepy Animals” by Ian Whybrow

Why did it deserve number one position? Story is about cute ginger cat that goes to say goodnight to other animals like the dog, fox or bunnies and other. The main reason she likes it is because on every page there are soft to touch animals she can pet while I read her the rhymes.

  • “Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes” by Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury

This book teaches them that babies all over the world might look different and live in various circumstances but they still have things in common, like having ten little adorable fingers and ten little toes. Her favourite part of course is when the books tells about the baby that is “mine all mine” and she gets “three little kisses on top of her nose”.

  • “Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown.

I think this book is a staple of bedtime stories all over the world. It is a story about tiny mouse going to bed and saying goodnight to all of things in his room. She really likes the rhymes and of course saying goodnight to all the things in her room after we finish the book.

  • “Room on the Broom” by Julia Donaldson

This is a story about the kind witch and her cat who after losing hat, bow and wand not only get some help but also companions on their broomstick and the adventures they have. She loves the illustrations in this book and laughs on every page while watching witches’ adventures.

  • “I Love My Mummy” by Kelman, Marcy

If I am honest, this might be my favourite. It is a story about little squirrel that lists all the reason she loves her mummy and we like it because it says about all the things parents do for their children during the day, and it just makes me warm around my heart.

Which bedtime stories your toddler prefers?

Tips&Tricks

How to survive washing your toddler’s hair

I don’t know what it is with toddlers and hair washing, but most of them consider it equal to murder. If you have one of those perfect toddlers that don’t scream murder the moment they realize it is time for dreadful hair washing, just keep on scrolling. You don’t want them to get some ideas. Just retreat quietly and don’t even mention to them that hair washing could be a problematic experience. If you are not one of those lucky parents, stay with me. We will think of something together.

How to survive washing your toddler's hair
Photo by kelly samuel on Pexels.com

You have a couple of strategies to survive washing your toddler’s hair.

  • Just don’t wash the hair.

First and the one my toddler prefers is to just forget about it. It is already been a week since last hair washing? Just sniff them, if they don’t smell bad you just bought yourself another week. Unfortunately, it is not a really effective solution as eventually, you will have to tackle the dragon, and it will be anything but calm and relaxing experience you wish for.

  • Involve them in the process.

What I have noticed with Emily is that she is more willing to cooperate if she has a choice, so we make bath time full-on immersive experience. She gets to choose the shampoo and the towel we will be using, which toys will join her during the bath time and even in which colour we will change the bathwater too.

You can even get them to practice hair washing on one of their dolls. Help them to wash the doll’s hair while you lead them through it and it might make them more comfortable when it is their turn.

  • Find out what is making them scream less.

Emily is willing to jump out from the bath head first if we dare to turn on the handheld shower. The moment she hears it she is an uncontrollable crying mess while if we try rinsing with a jug of water, she will cry just for a second and then continue to moan and whine.  The alternative is not ideal as she is still not happy to wash her hair, but it is making her less annoyed and more cooperative. Last time she even took a small cup and tried to rinse her own hair which is a win in my book.

Some kids also hate leaning the head back as they don’t feel safe, and they will be happier to lean forward. Just make sure you place a dry cloth over their eyes to make sure no water gets to their eyes. Hopefully, after a while they will learn this helps and they will hold it without any help.

  • Never let them leave the bath while they are still crying.

The most important thing you need to do is to make sure they associate bath time with fun time, if you allow them to leave the bath while they are still crying, they will always associate it with being unhappy. If they just make a fuss when washing their hair but love taking a bath, try to wash the hair at the beginning and then bring on the fun. Give them different cups to play with, rubber ducky or any other bath toy. If you want my suggestion, invest in Bath crayons. They were a complete game-changer. Now she will cry during the rinsing, but stop the moment she gets her hand on the bath crayons.

Hopefully, some of these tips will work for you also so you will finally be able to relax during the bath time, but if you have any suggestion please share it with us. We need all help we can get to survive this toddlerhood.

Ideas

5 Redecoration Ideas For Kids’ Bedrooms

In this short guide, we’ll take a look at ways you can revitalize the look of a bedroom and make it more suitable for children.

Here are some great redecoration ideas for kids!

Beds

For one, you should consider whether the bed should be replaced. Do you have two children in one room? If so, how about fitting a bunk bed? For many kids, this can be a fun and exciting addition to a room plus it will save on space! Another way to save space using a bed is by purchasing one with built in drawers.

Better Organization

You could also make a child’s bedroom more spacious by better organizing items such as through keeping more of their toys and objects at a height, particularly those that are used less. Vertical storage is also a great way to save on space.

Walls

How about the walls? You may want to repaint the room or add fresh layers of wallpaper. It’s preferable to have light welcoming colors in a child’s bedroom whether it is aqua, beige, yellow, light green or sea blue. It might also interest you to have stickers added to the walls such as of your children’s favorite TV shows or video games. Kids can of course be picky so for anything specific like this it might be best to involve them in the conversation first! My daughter is obsessed with pink, so for now we went with pink decorations.


Lightning

When it comes to lighting, a bedroom should feature three types of lighting; general, task and accent. General lighting provides the majority of the room’s illumination. Examples of this type of lighting are ceiling-mounted lights and LED down lights. As for task lighting, examples include table lamps and pendants lights while wall sconces are a popular form of accent lighting. 

You might also like to have color and brightness adjustable smart lights added to the bedroom. These can be set to change in accordance with the time of day so that it can make it easier for your children to fall asleep in the evening time.


Flooring

What about the flooring? Perhaps you’d like to fit new carpet to create a soft underfoot and add to the environment in general. Timber floorboards may be too harsh or formal for a child’s bedroom. Further, the cost of carpet fitting is relatively low and it’s easy to find in a wide range of different colors. This way you can find the perfect look for your child’s bedroom!

As you can see, there are many ways you can remodel a kid’s bedroom. Keep an open mind, and consider your budget options and requirements. Then do some shopping around to find the perfect fittings and appliances! Do you have any redecoration ideas for kids to share with us?

Ideas

How to survive a rainy day with a toddler

Kids are miracles which is why every parent can tell you at least 5 amazing things about their child from the top of their head. We love them so much that we would without any second of doubt push our partner in front of the bullet to save our child.

But that doesn’t mean you don’t want to strangle them every once in a while. Every good parent knows that the key to staying sane is balance. 


The main thing that puts my balance and sanity in question is rainy days.  They are bored, they don’t know what they want to do, every suggestion you make is not the correct one, and you just want to have a lazy day but there is no way that could happen.. On a sunny day or even on a cloudy day you can take them out of the house, let them run wild and watch with glee as they become tired so you can have your peace and quiet. No hope of that when the rain decides to join the party.

Activities for a rainy day with a toddler


So what can you do to keep your sanity on a rainy day with a toddler and keep them busy at the same time? Sadly, taking a sip of wine every time your toddler says mom is not one of the approved activities.

Finger painting

All-time favourite in this house is finger painting. First thing first, take a garbage bag and cut it with scissors along one side and create a protective cover. You will need this. The paint will end up everywhere, and when I say everywhere I mean everywhere.

Now give them some paper, paint and let them enjoy it. Not only you are helping them discover their creativity, but this is an extremely calming opportunity for you too. You can even make your own finger paint and put everyone to shame. Or you can buy it and still say that you made it by yourself. I will let you decide for yourself which option I choose.

Playing with water

Water play is another win. Again take our precious garbage bag and protect everything that needs protecting. Fill the bowl with a bunch of shower gel or shampoo and water to create foam. Pop in some toys inside and show your toddler how to wash them. This ensures at least 30 minutes of fascinating playtime.

Building

Building is one more activity that will never get boring. Gather all the legos or bricks that you have and let them discover their inner architect. Or if you are in my house, let your kid discover their inner demolisher. Her favourite thing is to wait until I finish building my masterpiece and then she channels Godzilla and destroys everything.

Who cares about the rain – let’s go out!

But even though my toddler likes all of these activities her favourite thing is still to put on a raincoat and wellies and go look for puddles. No, you are not taking your kid out in the rain, you are teaching them physics. Every action has a reaction. You jump in the puddle, water splashes out. Physics, didn’t I tell you? 

If you are interested in more indoor activities for a rainy day with a toddler, check out our old blog post with a bunch of ideas!