Sunday, September 26, 2010

Are You Ready For Some Football?

Football season is upon us, and down in the south where I'm from, going to a college football game is a typical Saturday activity. When your family expands with little ones, does that mean you need to give up sporting events all together until the kids are older? Definitely not! Here are some tips on how to survive game day with kids.

- Check with the stadium ahead of time about rules on bag sizes, strollers and cameras (you have to capture little one’s first football game, right?) There would be nothing worse than being told in the ticket line that your diaper bag is too big and cannot be taken into the game or that strollers are not allowed.

- Speaking of diaper bags, stock yours with extra diapers or undies, a change of clothes and lots of wipes! This will have you covered if your child has an accident during the game.

- Food and drinks are a must! Plan on feeding your child (either a snack or a meal) during the game. Check ahead of time what foods and drinks are available at the stadium to determine if you need to pack your own snacks or if you can buy food at the game. Also check on the rules of bringing your own food into the game. You may be able to get away with food and snacks for toddlers and babies. Eating always allows kids to happily pass the time and will hopefully help you stay longer at the game.

- One personal tip…we took our kids to a football game last weekend and brought our travel high chair for our one year-old. He happily ate lunch and snack strapped to the stadium’s bench in his travel chair. This was key to lasting as long as we did at the game. And it was a much better alternative to holding him the entire game!

- Pick up any promotional items being passed out at the beginning of the game. It is (free) entertainment (our four year-old loved playing with the pom-poms most of the game) and a great souvenir to take home to remember your fun day.

- Consider the noise level of the game before you go. Do you think the cheering, bands and fireworks might scare your kids? If so, pack ear plugs or noise-canceling headphones to drown out some of the sound for them, not to mention, protect their hearing.

- Be flexible. Understand up front that you more than likely won’t make it through the whole game. Look at the game as an adventure and however long you make it is a success. Also be willing to walk around the stadium with toddlers who don’t want to be held for long periods of time.

- Be mindful of the weather. If it is blazing hot, bring sunscreen for your kids (and yourself!)Have them drink plenty of water throughout the game. If it is going to be cold, bring warm coats and even a stadium blanket. Protect your kids from the elements as much as possible.
- Don’t forget your sanitizing wipes! Wash their hands with the wipes frequently, and even consider wiping down the bench before you sit down if the seats look grungy.

- Change diapers right before you go into the game. Sometimes the diaper changing stations inside stadiums are less than favorable.

Are you feeling brave enough to try to root on your favorite team next weekend? If so, head to the stadium and have a great time! Give us your tips, too, on what worked/didn’t work for you at the next home game.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Getting Your Kids Ready for School- How To Beat the Morning Madness

Do you ever feel like you are running a race against the clock in the mornings? I know I do, and my daughter only goes to preschool three mornings a week! So many moms I have talked to recently feel like no matter what time they start getting their kids ready for school in the mornings, they are always running late and feeling frazzled.

How can we make the mornings run more smoothly and make the start to school days more peaceful for everyone? Here are some tips below to help manage the morning madness!

1. Do as much as you can the night before.
You can pre-pack your kids’ lunches, lay out their backpacks, and even layout their school clothes the night before school. The more you do ahead of time, the less hectic your mornings will be. If your child is particularly opinionated about what they wear, include them in the decision the night before when laying out their school clothes. Let your child know in advance that changing his or her mind the next morning is not an option.

2. Have a designated place for all “school-related” items, such as backpacks, library books, homework, notes to teachers and lunch boxes.
It will save you time in the morning so you are not scrambling to find what your child needs to take to school that day.

3. Wake up earlier than your kids.
Even if it is just by fifteen minutes, I know the mornings I rise before my kids and have a cup of coffee in solitude, I am more prepared to deal with the hurriedness of the morning time. You won’t feel as frantic and stressed out if you get that alone time. (Remember that kids can sense when you feel stressed out.)

4. Have a morning routine.
Create a morning routine and stick to it. If your kids know they have to brush their teeth, wash their face and make their bed every morning in the same order, they will less likely fight you on it and do it in a more timely manner.

5. If your child is sluggish most mornings, consider moving up their bedtime earlier.
When children constantly drag their feet in the morning and have trouble getting out of bed or sleepwalk through their morning routine, this is a good indication they are not getting enough sleep. Consider moving up your child’s bedtime by 30 minutes for a week and see if it makes a difference in the mornings. Keep moving their bedtime up week by week until you see an improvement in your child’s energy level in the mornings. You’d be surprised by how many children do not get enough sleep at night!

Here’s hoping your mornings become more peaceful and less stressed! Speaking of…I’m off to pack lunch and lay out school clothes!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Talk of the Town: What Are You Going To Be For Halloween?

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I was shopping the other day and Halloween gear was already in the stores! Can you believe it?

It’s hard to not get in the spirit of Halloween when all the stores are brimming with pumpkins, candies and costumes! So of course, my almost four year-old daughter discusses daily what she wants to be for Halloween, and it’s not even October yet! She has decided she wants to “coordinate” with her one year-old brother and dress up together (how sweet?!?!), so it got me thinking…what are some dynamic duos the kiddos could be for Halloween this year?

Here are my favorite brother and sister costumes I’ve found so far…feel free to leave in the comments section some of your favorite “couples” ideas for Halloween. Good luck finding the perfect Halloween costume for your kiddos this year!

1. Little Miss Muffet and her Spider

2. Little Bo Peep and her Sheep

3. Mickey and Minnie Mouse

4. Dorothy and The Cowardly Lion

5. Little Mermaid and Sebastian

6. Elmo and Abby Cadabby

7. Cowgirl and her Pony

8. Dora and Boots

9. Cookies and Milk

10. Tinker Bell and Peter Pan