Tag Archives: tips

Strategies for a Stress-Free Vacation

Today we have a guest post from travel expert Kendra Thornton! Kendra is a travel advocate, TV spokesperson, PR businesswoman, wife, and mama of three. Follow Kendra on Twitter @KendraThornton. I’ll let her introduce herself in her own words:  “I am a long time travel expert who has been packing my bags and traveling the world since I was 3 months old! I’ve found my utmost desire in life is right here in my own home. I have taken my excitement for travel and brought it to you with some of my favorite travel tips and tricks. Enjoy!”

Whether it is an amusing anecdote about getting to a vacation destination or the memories of a favorite sunset, family vacations are worth the time and cost.  However, a vacation with small children can be exhausting, unless you have prepared yourself with tips and tricks to help your vacation run smoothly and keep you relaxed.

1. When you are planning a vacation, try to choose your hotel based on your family’s needs.  A hotel with a small fridge can be a godsend for families with tired and cranky children.  You are able to store snacks and healthy drinks to help ward off the temper tantrums. Whether it be hiking in state parks or visiting a unique museum, a family friendly resort may be an option for you.  My family’s trip to Hawaii was spent at a family friendly resort that offered a plethora of activities for adults and children and was still ranked as a top Honolulu hotel.  Another benefit to family friendly lodging?  The amenities that appeal to children, such as an onsite playground, pool or kids club.  In addition to keeping children happy on vacation, it will also allow them to burn off energy so they fall asleep faster at night.

2. When traveling with toddlers, it’s especially important to stick to a routine.  While you may want to stay out longer at a tourist attraction, naptime and snack time are essential to children of this age group.  When on vacation, you tend to get more exercise walking than at home, and this additional exercise means that children, as well as adults, need time to rest.  Giving family members this relaxation time will make their trip more enjoyable.   

3. When you are packing for the vacation, don’t forget to bring a few essentials that will make your trip easier on you.  Zip lock bags in a variety of sizes, baby wipes, a first aid kit (with blister band aids), and your child’s favorite sippy cup will make the trip run smoothly.  Of these listed supplies, zip lock bags can be used to store dirty or wet clothes and treasures the children pick up on their adventures.  If you go to a beach or water park, slip your camera and phone inside one of the bags to prevent it from water or sand damage. You may find other items to bring as well that will help your family on the vacation.

4. If your vacation includes a long car or plane ride, you may want to think about occupying that time with technology.  Tablets can be loaded with apps that are appropriate to your children’s ages, and they can pass the travel time learning and playing with these apps. If you are worried about children breaking the iPad, there are videos on the Internet on how to child-proof it.

5. It can be difficult enough to spot your luggage at the airport when you are by yourself, but with children, it becomes a monumental task.  Tie a ribbon to your luggage to help you quickly identify the luggage and get you out of the airport and on the way to your hotel.

By implementing these tips into your next family vacation, you can help create lasting memories for your family of your stress-free and fun family vacation.


And Your Top Potty Training Tips Are …

We’re getting ready to dive into the potty training pool (which sounds gross, but you know what I mean). So I recently asked my Facebook followers to share their #1 potty training success tips to help psyche me up. The advice was so good that I couldn’t just keep it to myself!

Marlayna said:
Rewards. My daughter gets a mini M&M so she really likes going potty now. 

Lisa said:
We tried every bribe in the book. The only thing that worked was taking her to what would be her preschool and telling her she can’t go to school if she wears diapers. That was it. . .!

Jessica said:
Evan was motivated by Thomas the Train underwear. He really, really wanted to wear them, but we only let him if he was using the potty. The one thing I learned that seemed counter-intuitive was not making a huge deal out of it when they go potty. Let them know they did a good job, but if you get too excited it can cause them to be anxious next time.

Charity said:
Keep a pack of post it notes in your purse to cover the automatic flushing sensor in public bathrooms! Nothing more scary than a toilet flushing while you are holding on for your little life trying to potty!

Penny said:
My sisters and I all did the same thing – during the day, we simply put them in underwear. We didn’t make a big production of it. We didn’t reward or scold. All 6 were potty trained quickly and most never had an accident. We started when they were between 27 and 30 months.

Danielle said:
… don’t start too early (because then it’ll just take longer and frustrate everyone involved!), and be consistent. They really do just wake up one day and “get it.” 

Margo said:
Just remember it is unlikely he will still be in a diaper at 16. Which means, he will get tired of it in due time …

Nancie said:
A step stool so a big boy can urinate standing up, and paper targets to sink! Oh, and M&Ms are a very good thing.

Elaine said:
… I just started offering underwear or pull-ups, and eventually they chose underwear. Plus I would do a lot of asking during the day if they want to go to the potty. No rewards other than a lot of jumping up and down and clapping!

Thanks to everyone for such great, tried-and-true advice!


Halloween Safety Tips

Be sure to share these Halloween safety tips from the Polly Klaas Foundation with your little “monsters” to help keep them safe from the real life ones.

Halloween Safety Tips

  1. Have older kids take along two or more friends trick-or-treating. If your child is 12 or younger, you or another trusted adult should go along.
  2. Remind your child to stop only at houses that are well-lit and stay in neighborhoods that are familiar.
  3. Have your child carry a flashlight.
  4. Tell your child to NEVER enter a person’s home or car for a treat.
  5. Get to know the entire route trick-or-treaters intend to follow and agree with your child on a specific time to return home.
  6. Tell your child to stay on the sidewalks and only cross the street at intersections.
  7.  Make sure your child’s costume is flame resistant, allows for safe walking, is easily visible at night and does not obstruct sight. Consider putting reflective tape on your child’s costume and bag to increase visibility.
  8. Tell your child not to eat any treats until they return home. Inspect all treats and dispose of anything that seems to have been tampered with.
  9. If anyone bothers or approaches your child, remind them to take 3 steps back, yell “NO!” and run away quickly. Tell them to seek out a group of trick-or-treaters accompanied by an adult and tell what just happened.

Founded in 1993 in memory of 12-year-old Polly Hannah Klaas, the Polly Klaas Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to children’s safety, helping to find missing children, and advocating for public policies that promote child safety and welfare.


Preparing for Delivery Day: Quick Tips and Helpful Hints

May is Pregnancy Awareness Month, so today’s post from guest blogger, Katie Moore, is in honor of all mamas-to-be. Katie’s blog,  Moore From Katie, covers all things mama and baby, so be sure to check it out!

Bringing a new life into the world takes a lot more planning than simply prepping the nursery.  Healthcare, both pre- and post-delivery, should be the main focus of every pregnancy. There are several standard steps you can follow to help make sure you are ready for delivery day.

Find the right doctor

It may be necessary for you to interview several doctors before finding one that has a similar birthing philosophy.  Some doctors offer scheduled cesarean procedures while others opt for natural childbirth whenever possible.  Be sure to research patient opinions and board certifications on any doctor up for consideration.

Decide where to have the baby

Unless you live in a rural area, there are probably several different options for birthing facilities near you.  There may be a birthing center that serves your local area, a hospital with a maternity ward, or even a midwife who specializes in home births.  It’s important to plan ahead with your doctor or midwife to determine the location for your delivery.  Not every doctor/midwife has privileges at every hospital.  Keep discussions open about the options in advance to avoid unpleasant surprises when the day comes.

Write up a birth plan

Before ever stepping foot into a birthing center or hospital, it’s a great idea for you to have a birth plan drawn up that details your preferences for labor and delivery.  Generally less is more, so the plan should not be too complex but should provide a general outline for how you want your labor and delivery to be handled.

Pack a bag

Putting together an overnight bag for the hospital stay is another must.  Make sure to pack a at least one change of clothes for yourself, clothing for your baby, a toothbrush, breastfeeding paraphernalia (if you plan to nurse), slippers and entertainment in the form of a book, music or movie.  For a more comprehensive packing checklist, click here.

After the birth

There are some other considerations to take into account immediately after the baby is born.  For example, is the baby going to be vaccinated?  Will the baby be fed with breast milk or formula?  Will you be collecting the baby’s cord blood for cord blood banking?  Knowing the answers to these questions in advance can save you a lot of stress.  Vaccinations are universally performed in the hospital, often within hours of birth.  If the hospital is not notified in advance that a baby should not be vaccinated, it is likely the infant will be vaccinated almost immediately.  Of course, no mother can know in advance whether breast-feeding will be successful, but you can decide whether or not you are going to try.  If you decide to bank your baby’s cord blood for future medical treatments, it should be collected soon after delivery, so the hospital will need to be aware of your plans in advance. Forward thinking and early planning can help make delivery a breeze and allow you to spend the first few hours after birth blissfully cuddling your new baby rather than making stressful but important decisions.

Katie Moore is a blogger who discusses maternity, motherhood, prenatal health, childbirth and other topics within this niche.  Visit her blog,Moore From Katie, or follow her on Twitter @moorekm26.