Browsing Category

Tips&Tricks

Tips&Tricks

Tips To Make Your Holiday Travels Easy and Safe

Holiday Travels

The upcoming season is a time of holiday travels for many as they travel close and far to visit their loved ones. Many of those travelers consist of families with young children who present their own logistical challenges. Parents have to worry about getting to their destination without getting hit by a car, lost in an airport, or finding a hotel room that’s kid-friendly.

Holiday travels

There’s also the need to keep the kids content during the journey in order to reduce fuss and stress as well as being considerate to other travelers. It’s a lot of work for a parent, but there are ways to make it a little easier. Here are some tips to help you have safe and peaceful holiday travels.

Apps for Kids

There are a lot of apps out there that are aimed at entertaining kids of all ages, and they’re found on both iOS and Android. Many apps focus on delivering an experience that’s akin to reading a picture book, use famous characters from classic books as the app theme, or provide challenges to help a child learn something new. You as a parent have to decide what apps are good for your kids, but there are so many options that finding appropriate apps is an easy task. 

Parents are right to be concerned with their children spending too much time looking at a screen and not engaging with their environment. However, some situations mean using any means necessary to keep kids occupied so parents can get everyone to their destination in one piece. Using apps on phones and tablets to keep everyone occupied is for the short-term trip, and kids can be taught that they only get unlimited use of devices during travel time.

Age-Appropriate Videos

Many vehicles come equipped with in-car entertainment systems, and there is seemingly no end to the number of videos aimed at kids on the internet. However, videos are noisy and can be distracting. Instead of dealing with endless repeats of songs and movies, get a pair of kid-friendly headphones. Headphones designed for young ears come with features such as volume limits and fit over the ear instead of fitting into tender ear canals. And they come with wireless options so you don’t have to worry about someone getting tangled up in a cord.

Find Time to Let Kids Blow Off Energy When Traveling by Car

Let’s face it: kids and inactivity don’t go well together. Keeping kids in a car for hours at a time is a sure-fire way to wind up with a cranky child who won’t cooperate. When you’re planning your trip, look for kid-friendly destinations such as a public playground or restaurant with a kid’s activity area. Set aside a reasonable amount of time for a stop so the kids can get rid of their excess energy. They’ll feel better afterward and you and your spouse can relax and focus on the road. 

Define Responsibilities Before Leaving Home

Kids will want to bring their own gear with them to keep them occupied or to keep them feeling secure. You may also want them to tote something in their own bag to spread the load. What winds up happening is there’s a lot of stuff to track and keep tabs on. You might not have the spare brainpower to know who has what at all times.

That means making sure each kid knows what they’re carrying of theirs, their siblings, and of yours before you leave home. It prevents prized possessions from getting lost in transit, and allows you to pay attention to important things like routes or boarding passes instead of digging through your own bag to find something for a child. 

Bring the Snacks Along

Snacks help grumbly tummies make it from Point A to Point B. Kids are more likely to stay content if they can munch on things while in transit and keep their stomachs from hurting. And if you have a child who’s going through a picky phase, giving them snacks to chew on is an alternative to making them wait to eat a full meal. You might not find a restaurant that serves fare your picky one will eat. 

This is another area where you’ll have to drop the rules for a while. You might not like the idea of letting your kids fill up on junk food, but you also can’t make a child wait hours to eat, either. Trail mixes and low-carb snacks help kids feel full for longer and have less sugar content. And there’s enough of the fun yummy stuff to delight a young palate and keep them munching. 

Don’t Drive When You Can Fly

Flying has its hassles that make the idea of driving more appealing. However, kids don’t do well with trips that are more than 5 hours long even with breaks. If the destination is within 2-3 hours of home and it makes sense to drive, then you should go by car. But when the distance would mean a journey of more than 5 hours, it’s better to go by air. 

Taking a flight does absorb a few hours of the day to travel the same as a car, but there’s less time spent in transit overall. If you have younger children, bring along items to help with the ear-popping at altitude, snacks to keep their jaws working and alleviate air pressure, and a tablet with child-friendly apps. Older children may need the same gear, but you can have them pack their own items and use them as they need. 

Holiday travels with kids is challenging, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Take your time planning and preparing, make sure that you’ve covered all possible contingencies, and take a deep breath when you go out the door. You’ll do better than you think you will. 

Tips&Tricks

How to Create a Cleaning Schedule for Your Busy Lifestyle

Life has a way of getting ahead of all of us. Whether it’s keeping up with your kids’ schedule or a combination of work and home, it’s easy to fall behind with the everyday, mundane tasks. Unfortunately, a cluttered, dirty home can contribute to stress, which only makes keeping up that much harder. 

Cleaning Schedule

A solid cleaning schedule can keep you on track. Schedules let you plan the most labor-intensive cleaning on days you have more time. It also helps you divvy out chores according to which family members are available on certain days. The trick is to make a schedule part of your routine, and we’ve got some tips to help. 

Make a List

You’ll be surprised by how many cleaning tasks you really do. We’re not just talking about the daily things like wiping counters and picking up toys. We’re talking about cleaning the fridge and freezer, dusting, and sanitizing door handles too. A lot goes into the upkeep of a home. 

Start by taking a walk through your home and making a list that includes everything from sorting laundry to scrubbing the bathroom sink and dusting the baseboards. Then, separate them by how frequently you would like to have them done—daily, weekly, or monthly. 

Create a Chart for your Cleaning Schedule

The next step is to create a chart onto which you can place all the jobs from your list. Some people prefer a checklist while others do better with a calendar. You can use a combination of both if that works better for you. But create a visual representation onto which you can rearrange tasks until you find a layout that works for you. 

Doling Out the Chores

Here’s where you’ll need to do some coordinating. Take a look at your family’s schedule and arrange tasks according to when there are free blocks of time. From there, you’ll be assigning chores.

Everyone can have a few daily tasks that include picking up shoes, backpacks, or toys and one daily cleaning assignment like wiping down the bathroom counter. Another option is to have one or two family cleaning afternoons or evenings when everyone works together to check several items off the list. 

How frequently you need to do certain tasks will largely depend on your lifestyle. If you vacuum seal your meals, your freezer might be cleaner than average and may only need cleaning once every other month or so. Large families may need to include organizing the pantry once a week. Space tasks so that you’re happy with how frequently they get done but far enough apart that they don’t feel overwhelming. 

Make Adjustments

You’re probably not going to get it right the first time. If you’re working with kids, you might have to create a rotating schedule so everyone gets a crack at the least popular jobs like scrubbing the toilet. Keep an open mind (and chart that can be reprinted) and be ready to make adjustments as you find what does and doesn’t work for your schedule. 

A cleaning schedule isn’t a binding contract. It’s a set of guidelines to help you keep track of what needs to be done. It’s also a way to make sure that cleaning the home isn’t left to one person. Sharing responsibility takes the bulk of the load off your shoulders and shares it with everyone. Children learn how to take care of themselves and their possessions while partners support each other in building a supportive environment. 

Tips&Tricks

Travel During Pregnancy – Pregnancy Travel Tips

Your last pre-baby holiday? Important business trip? Whatever the situation is, the thought off travel during pregnancy can be daunting. I know it was for me and for my pregnant friends.

Lets be honest, anything around pregnancy was (is) daunting. I wish I had someone to tell me every day everything I can or cannot do while I was pregnant. Can I eat this? Can I eat that? Can I exercise? Can I do that?

When it comes to travel during pregnancy, I went to Belgium at the beginning of my pregnancy and everything was fine. My doctor told me I can go without worryinga about anything. But even though I had few opportunities to travel again, I didn’t travel anywhere later in the pregnancy, because I was too scared something bad could happen.

Well, if you are pregnant and want (or have) to travel, you don’t have to be scared anymore. As longs as your pregnancy is running smoothly, there is no reason for you not to travel.

WHEN TO TRAVEL DURING PREGNANCY

First Trimester (0 to 13 weeks) – It is safe for you to travel, but you may still be experiencing nausea.

Second Trimester (14 to 26 Weeks) – This is the best time to travel during pregnancy. Your energy has returned, morning sickness is probably gone, and it is still easy to get around.

Third Trimester (27 to 40 Weeks) – It is not recommended to travel at third trimester, especially after 35 weeks, as you have the possibility of going into labour anytime. Also, some airlines don’t allow pregnant women to board after 35 weeks or they ask for special note from your doctor.

Of course, every pregnancy is different, so you need to confirm your trip with your doctor! Travel is not recommended if you have some sirious pregnancy complications,  such as preeclampsia or prelabor rupture of membranes. Travel during pregnancy may also not be such a good idea if you are pregnant with twins.

Travel During Pregnancy – Everything you need to have in mind

  • If you’re thinking about travelling while pregnant, you should definitely have in mind your medical history, antenatal checks and any increased risks.
  • Discuss any health issues or pregnancy complications with your doctor or midwife, before deciding to go on a long trip.
  • If your doctor cleared you for travelling while pregnant, try to travel in your second trimester.
  • Make sure you pack all the required medicines.
  • Get a pregnancy travel insurance. You want to make sure that you are covered for key eventualities.
  • There is an increased risk of developing a DVT while flying, due to sitting for a prolonged length of time. Make sure that you stretch your legs a few times every half an hour.
  • Keep yourself hydrated!
  • Always wear a seatbelt while driving in a car. Fasten the lap sash under your bump and fit the shoulder sash above your bump.

What do you think about travelling while pregnant? Did you go anywhere while you were pregnant? If you did, what did you do to stay safe? What steps did you take before your journey to make sure everything will be ok? Please share!

Tips&Tricks

A Cleaning Checklist for Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Tasks

Keeping your house clean can be hard and tiring. Cleaning is probably not one of your favorite chores, but in order to keep the house nice and tidy, everybody needs to clean and tidy up once in a while. A cleaning checklist can help!

A Checklist Can Be a Helpful Tool

A cleaning checklist can be a helpful tool in keeping track of the cleaning process. Having a cleaning checklist helps you keep track of what still needs to be done and makes the task of cleaning much simpler to manage.

One of the benefits of keeping a checklist is to stay organized. You check off the things you’ve already done and take note of what needs to be done. Another benefit of a checklist is that it improves productivity, helping you complete tasks more efficiently and quickly, with fewer mistakes.

Here’s A Good Checklist to Get You Started

We came across one of the best printable cleaning checklists online at Smart Robotic Home. The checklist is split into daily, weekly, and monthly tasks.

It is further divided into different areas of the house that need to be cleaned: the kitchen, living rooms, bathrooms, garage, bedroom, and yards. You can customize it the way you want and clean according to your preferences.

Cleaning a house can be a daunting task, but it needs to be done or else the mess will just add up. A checklist can be a very handy tool when cleaning since it keeps all the tasks you need to finish organized.

Checklists will also motivate you to do the tasks on hand, so you will less likely procrastinate and actually do something.

Learning to clean with a checklist may help to stay organize and keep track of the places you still need to clean. Who knows, maybe you’ll even start to like cleaning the house!

Tips&Tricks

Recommended Reading for Slow Readers

Reading slowly can be a concern, both for children and parents – after all, being behind the curve in school often puts children in an uncomfortable place. For parents, it may be frustrating to work with your children to try to help them catch up. Often, if a child is behind, they may avoid trying to catch up for fear of embarrassment or out of frustration.

slow readers

As a parent, it is important to remind your children why reading is important – after all, today pretty much everything we do requires some level of reading. Putting reading in a positive light – especially reading books, which has been scientifically proven to improve children’s overall ability to learn, as well as teach them important skills such as empathy and relationship building – is an important job for parents to take on.

However, no matter the reason your child is reluctant to read or struggles to read, there are a variety of books that will help slow readers feel motivated to read and engage them with the material in front of them. After all, the best way to promote learning is to make learning fun.

Recommended Reading for Slow Readers

Here is some recommended reading for slow readers:

Books for Reluctant Readers

There are several series of books that children who are reluctant to read will find amusing, for quite a variety of reasons. IT is important to make sure you find a series your child likes – one that they find engaging and funny, so they do not feel that reading is a chore. Below are a few options parents and teachers have recommended for helping keep kids interested in and motivated to read.

I Had A Favorite Dress by Boni Ashburn Age 4-6

I Had a Favorite Dress is a wonderful book for young readers, having a poetic literary theme, this book is about adapting change and holding on to special memories. It engages the reader with its beautiful illustrations and creative changes. With 32 pages, each page has less than a paragraph to read.

Wayside School Series Ages 8-12

These books have been around for quite some time and are still popular among many students. The books tell the tale of a wacky school, where interesting things are always bound to happen. With a cast of relatable characters and an amusing plotline, this series does an excellent job of keeping kids interested. The overall language of the book is easy to read, with sentence structures complex enough to engage your children, but not enough to frustrate them – making it a perfect choice for children who struggle to read.

Zita The Space Girl Series 8-12

Graphic novels are often easier for children who struggle to read to interact with, as they provide more pictures and tell the story in a different way, while still providing text to be read. Zita, in this series, is a space adventurer who travels to distant planets. The story itself is easy to read and helps engage children in the reading process.

Teens

Unboxed by Non Pratt

For older children, Non Pratt is a fantastic author. This book is aimed at teenage kids but designed with one thing in mind – making books for children who have dyslexia easier to read. The story itself follows the adventures of four children who uncover a box of letters left by a deceased friend – and an additional letter, which leads them on a secret journey. It is an easy to read story for children who may struggle with traditional books and continues to engage children who may be reluctant to read.

The Hate You Give

The Hate you give is a young adult novel about 16-year-old Starr Carter who is balancing two worlds. This is a great novel that discusses race and the world we live in today. It is an easy read as well as an informative read.

Other Resources

While there are books that may be helpful in attempting to engage your children when it comes to reading, we understand that isn’t always enough. Furthermore, we understand that in some cases, it can be hard to handle assisting your kid on you on their journey to read.

That is why Youth Villages provides resources for families who struggle with children who have special needs and traumatic pasts. While resources like this aren’t always what fits best for your child if your child suffers from a learning disability, institutions such as these are able to assist in finding the right path to helping your child be successful.

Conclusion

Ultimately, there are a wide variety of resources available to help reading for slow readers – what is most important is focusing on what your child needs to be successful. If you are worried that you won’t be able to provide the resources needed to see your child do their best, you can always reach out to agencies such as Youth Village who are willing to help you help your child.

Brittany Waddell is a contributing writer and media specialist for Youth Villages. She often produces content for a variety of parenting blogs.

Tips&Tricks

How to Make Homemade Laundry Detergent? (Without Borax!)

Switching from store-bought laundry detergent to homemade version is an easy choice. Do you know why? It’s because many DIY alternatives are equally effective without a high price tag. If we want to teach our kids to save money, we need to show them good example.
So don’t you think you should learn how to make homemade laundry detergent?

The only thing to keep in mind before I begin is that this homemade liquid laundry detergent recipe is suitable for just HE (high-efficiency) machines. Now let’s discuss some essentials involved with the process.

Laundry Soap vs. Laundry Detergent

Detergent and soap are two different products, aren’t they? Laundry soap consists of oils and fats that have a base or an alkali. Some soaps also contain a combination of coconut and olive oils blended with a water base and lye.

On the contrary, laundry detergent has a synthetic quality that serves a particular purpose. This includes dissolving in either cold or hard water. You will come across many articles titled “How to make homemade laundry detergent?” that list natural soap recipes. And that’s because natural laundry detergents are not as common.

A good smelling laundry detergent is available at any local store, right? It falls under the category of laundry detergents, which is why I would like to call my version DIY laundry detergent.

Why switch to natural laundry detergent?

Making the switch to a homemade version means avoiding harsh chemicals, additives, colors, and fragrances. On top of that, homemade detergents/soaps are not as expensive as the regular, store-bought options. And they’re easy to create as well!

It doesn’t matter if this is your first time or if you never thought that you would be doing something like this. Living life in a sustainable manner is not only a great idea but also a healthy one. It keeps both you and the environment in good condition.

And the best part is that switching to homemade laundry detergent requires little effort. Plus, you don’t even need to spend on expensive ingredients to complete the task.

How to make homemade laundry detergent?

Before I list down the ingredients, let me tell you something about borax. Many people prefer homemade laundry detergent without borax. It’s because borax doesn’t have a good reputation for being safe. And when you have a safer alternative such as washing soda, why add a harmful ingredient like borax to your homemade version!

What you will need:

5-ounce soap (3 bars, one should contain coconut oil), finely grated

6 cups of washing soda

Lemon essential oil (optional)

Additional ingredients:

OxiClean Free or peroxide

Food processor

Wool dryer balls

Downy ball (optional)

White vinegar (non-GMO)

The method: How to make

  1. The first step

Cut the soaps into tiny chunks and add them with washing soda to your food processor.

  1. The second step

Blend the mixture until it turns into fine powder. Don’t forget to place a towel on top of the processor. This prevents the powder mist from escaping into the air.

Let the powdery paste settle for a while before you open the container. Otherwise, you’ll be left with a lot of powder on the kitchen counter.

  1. The last step

Pour the prepared detergent into any clean container. And add at least five drops of the essential oil to each load along with the detergent while washing.

The method: How to use

The instructions listed below are suitable for the top loader and not front loaders.

  1. Use 3 tablespoons of the homemade laundry detergent for every load. When washing with cold water, it’s necessary for you to dissolve the detergent in a small bowl of hot water. So at such times, what you can do is begin the load with hot water so that the detergent dissolves before you bring in the laundry.
  2. Then add five lemon essential oil drops. The oil acts as degreaser.
  3. With whites, pour half a cup of peroxide or an Oxiclean scoop into the washer’s bleach compartment.
  4. The next step is to add half a cup of vinegar into the machine’s fabric softener slot or the Downy ball.
  5. To make the laundry extra soft and reduce drying time, bring in the wool dryer balls.

That’s All Folks!

So did you find the answer to “How to make homemade laundry detergent?”

The DIY recipe discussed above works for HE (high-efficiency) machines. And that’s because the detergent has a low-sudsing quality. Also, the bars of soaps are finely grated before you use them to prepare the homemade laundry detergent. So there’s no doubting the safety of the detergent for HE designed washers.

Before I wrap it up, I would like to add two more conclusive points. The first one is that you need to use half the amount when working with HE machines. And the second important thing to remember is to check your washer’s company manual. It’s because, sometimes, the use of certain ingredients nullifies your product’s warranty.

It’s better to be safe than sorry, right?

I hope the instructions discussed in the article were easy to understand and follow. And I hope the content helped in solving your problem.

Was there anything that you didn’t like or would like to add? Please drop in your thoughts and comments in the section right after the article.