Categorized as: Parenting Tips

Organised mum: How to be one?

People always ask me…”How do you do it? 3 under 3, don’t you just want to run away and hide?” The answer is YES. Sometimes I do want to hide under my bed covers and not face the chaos of the day. How do I get through? Being an organised mum. It’s the only way to stop my house, my kids and my mind descending into all out chaos. In the last few weeks I feel like I have let the ball drop, so today I am taking my own advice and getting back on track. Here’s how I’ll do it:

1: Make a plan, write it down

There are lots of great products around to help you plan your family schedule. Kikki K has a very simple and very cheap weekly planner that I stick on our fridge. Having it visible and easily accessible is a must. For people with small children this is usually enough. However for organised mum’s with older kids The Master Plan Diary by Milestone Press is excellent. With columns for each family member and areas for meal planing it really is an organised mum’s bible. There are also millions of online printable resources to hep you organise your family. There are even charts for your kids to remember their chores, and magnetic ones that show which family member is where and when. All incredibly helpful in establishing and executing the PLAN and becoming a super organised mum!

2: Get the help you need

Make sure that you delegate. A plan that lumps everything on your shoulders is unlikely to succeed (for long anyway). For your family’s schedule to be a long term success it needs to be a plan for happiness and fun not just one that gets you to be an organised mum. So ask your self, what are your strengths and weaknesses, what do you love and what do you dread doing and delegate accordingly.

3: Ensure everyone knows their role

Having help is great but it is vital that everyone knows their role and what is expected of them. This goes for everyone from your husband, to your kids, to the in-laws. “Help” can actually be counter productive if everyone isn’t on the same page. Having printed routines for your kids that hang in their rooms and sticker charts that hang along side is a great way to get your kids to take responsibility for themselves and feel empowered and rewarded for doing so.

4: Set reasonable goals

Aiming to be an organised mum is great, but lets be honest we all have days that nothing seems to go to plan. Don’t be afraid to throw the plan out the window now and then. The important thing is to set reasonable and achievable tasks in the first place so this doesn’t happen (too often)!

5: Organising your environment

It’s very difficult to be an organised mum if you are surrounded by clutter and chaos. Sometimes simply organising your home, car or work place can make the whole world feel more manageable. This also helps you to make plans and execute them with out hassle or fuss. So plan a working bee, get someone to watch the kids and get the space around you organised too.

6: Get Motivated

If you still feel like you have no idea where to start and  you just can’t get yourself motivated and organised, then check out The Organised Housewife. This resource filled web site is run by a fellow twin mum. She has to be the worlds most organised mum. Sign up on her web site and she will send you a daily task and weekly newsletter. Most of the tasks are things that get forgotten about so it’s really handy. There are also lots of great online printable resources to get you and your household organised like never before. You can even join in a challenge like the “20 Days to Organised and Clean Your Home Challenge” and get motivated with tips and support each day.

Last week I got a great email from them suggesting a pantry clean out- HUGE SUCCESS! Now I am off to Bunnings to buy the bits and pieces to create this clever idea:

Check out the organised mum’s on Pintrest! 

Good luck getting organised mum’s!

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Save Our Sleep, AGAIN PLEASE!

I’m exhausted. EXHAUSTED. I have always been blessed with children that slept well. That was until recently….

Save Our Sleep, AGAIN PLEASE

When Charlie was born I read the book ‘Save Our Sleep’ by Tizzie Hall. At first I was a little confronted by the idea of leaving my child to cry, and by the strict routines in the book. However after 3 months of minimal sleep I became more and more willing to try Hall’s method. I was at first confused about how you “put a baby onto a routine?” But the less sleep I got and the more I read, the more I was willing to try. I implemented the strategies in the book at around the 3 month mark and surprisingly it took only 24 hours to get Charlie onto the routine . The first time I put him down to “self settle” as the book calls it, he cried for 13 minutes. I know because I followed the books advice and timed it with my iPhone, when your child is crying 10 minutes can feel like an hour, so timing the process is really important. I also followed Save Our Sleep’s advice and kept busy during those 13 minutes vacuuming, showering and making a cup of tea. It’s sounds ridiculous but it really does work, the noise seems to help the baby fall asleep and the distraction definitely helped me. I followed the books advice on making Charlie’s room dark and cool too (as it was summer.)**  I also implemented the ‘dream feed’ at 10.30pm as Hall suggests, dropping this when he was around 10 months.  I did have to stay home a bit more and structure my days a bit differently but it was well, well worth it. Importantly I decided to tackle this challenge on a day that I was feeling up to it and at an appropriate time of day. I started this process at the first nap of the day, not at 2 am when everything feels worse and harder and scarier than it really is. That afternoon Charlie only took 11 minutes to self settle and that night only 6 minutes passed until he was sleeping soundly. The following night he went to sleep without a peep and from that day forth I have been blessed with a brilliant sleeper. I now swear by the Save Our Sleep method.

When the twins came home they were already on a routine after spending 3 weeks in the special care nursery so I was lured into a false sense of security early on.  At 4-5 months they were sleeping through on their own (CRAZY I KNOW)! At 6-7 months I was up doing 1 feed a night each and now at 8 months (after our trip to Fiji) I am up NON STOP. Last night I was up 8 times. SOOOOOO not happy Jan! This has been going on for around 2 weeks so this week I have decided it’s time to get back to Tizzie!

I’ll update you on our progress in a week! Wish me luck!

Check out the Save Our Sleep website for more information. There are some great videos from the Save Our Sleep author Tizzie Hall and lots of products available that can assist you in safely settling your bub.

**(Tip: we decided to instal an air-con in his room but instead of getting expensive blinds installed I went out bought a ‘cut off’ piece of block out blind material from spot light. I then cut it to the size of the window and used double sided velcro tape to secure it to the window frame- instant block out=$40!)

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First Aid For Parents | Why You Need It

First Aid For Parents

First aid for parents is a must.  There is nothing worse  than having your child become unwell or worse; being injured and not knowing what to do. A few very simple skills could literally save your child’s life. Before the twins arrived I completed the St. John’s Ambulance’s course in First Aid for Parents and thank gosh I did…

The following week it seemed Charlie was trying to test out my newly acquired knowledge by trying to kill or at least permanently injure himself. He did his absolute best to remind me that parenting is not for the faint hearted.  Only a week after doing the course I had “one of those days!” What began as a normal morning soon turned into a seemingly never ending battle to keep Charlie out of the hospital emergency department.

The first incident occurred while I was preparing his breakfast. Charlie climbed onto his new trampoline and started playing happily. I put down his breakfast and turned to go outside and zip up the trampoline’s enclosure net but was too late. I had turned just in time to see Charlie dive off our trampoline head first onto concrete, roll twice and crash into his Tonka truck. My heart stopped and his tears started…. It was horrible, but the lack of a giant head wound or spurting blood calmed me down. A Freddo Frog did the trick for him. This was followed by a lecture about doing up the “zippy”.

Breathing a sigh of relief that I didn’t have to implement any of the skills I had learnt at the first aid for parent’s course, I snuck off to the toilet while Charlie watched Banana’s in Pajamas. I left the door open so I could see him. Instead all I heard was SMASH!!!! Charlie had grabbed a glass from the coffee table, dropped and smashed it. Shoeless and with my pants around my ankles I bolted from the bathroom into the living room to find him holding a huge chunk and glass and blood running down his hands. The horrible gasp of terror that escaped me frightened him and he began to cry. I carefully extracted the glass from his hands and found only a very small cut on this pinky finger. THANK GOD. A rinse under the tap, a closer inspection for glass shards followed by a Dora Band-Aid and we were back on track.

They say things come in threes, so I should have seen this next incident coming. Later that afternoon Charlie and I were at the beach when Charlie choked on a piece of apple. It’s unbelievable how quickly you can go from having fun to panicking. One minute he was running along playing and the next he was coughing and chocking. The apple had become lodged in his throat. Luckily he could still breathe but he was coughing nonstop trying to dislodge the apple. It was horrible. My new skills kicked into gear and I managed to help Charlie to cough up the apple. My adrenaline was pumping and I felt sick to my stomach but at least Charlie was ok.

The moral of the story, first aid for parents is a MUST! There are a lot of companies that provide specialty courses in First Aid for Parents, so do yourself and your kids a favour and make sure you have the skills to care for all of your kids “boo-boos!”

For more information of the St John’s Ambulance’s Caring for kids- First Aid for Parents course click HERE!

P.S Check with your private health insurance- many funds offer rebates on first aid courses.

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Online Antenatal Classes: Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond!

Online Antenatal Classes: Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond!

This week I came across a very clever idea. Online antenatal classes (pregnancy and birthing classes). When I had my first child I attended antenatal classes at my hospital but I must admit I nearly missed out. At the time my husband was a registrar  doctor at another hospital working shift work, therefore attending a class each week at the same time was nearly impossible. So instead I opted for the 2 day weekend intensive class. The only problem was so did everyone else and I had to go on a wait list. Luckily for me someone cancelled and we were able to attend and boy was I glad I did. I learnt a huge amount and much of it came into practice when I delivered my baby. It turns out that the lack of availability of antenatal classes is a huge problem. If you live in a rural area your options are even more limited. The result? Many women are left uneducated about what to expect during their pregnancy and birth.

In the Tweed region (northern NSW) the standard hospital antenatal classes are limited and only have enough positions for roughly 1/3 of the expecting mothers wanting to birth at the Tweed Hospital.  This is a problem echoed around Australia, it is especially difficult for women living in rural or remote ares to access antenatal classes. There are private midwifery services offering antenatal classes but an average starting price of $250 excludes this option for many expecting mothers.

Three very talented midwives from the Tweed Hospital in northern New South Wales have come up with the solution: Born Online. Born Online is a series of online videos that take you through all you need to know about pregnancy, your baby’s birth and about how to care for your baby once they are born. Importantly the videos cover all the normal things you should expect in a normal pregnancy and birth, but they also run through what to expect if things don’t go to plan. The videos also feature comments from both Obstetricians and Paediatricians on important topics like VBACs (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean Section). Furthermore, online antenatal classes are backed up with email and Skype support so you can ask as many questions as you like and ensure you that  the answers you receive are evidence based and from a trained midwife. . The online antenatal classes enable expecting parents to watch the classes in their own time and in the comfort of their own home. If the mother or their partner has a job that requires them to travel or is a shift worker they can still log in and watch the classes, no matter where they are in the world. A bundle package of online antenatal classes, covering all you’ll need to know costs $90 and with public hospitals charging between $60-$100 and private classes ranging from $250-$500 it seems incredibly good value.

Co-owner and co-creater of Born Online Alinta Munro said she and her colleagues often had to care for  couples who had absolutely no clue about what to expect in their birthing journey. “We found that when an emergency occurred or a change in plan to the natural birthing process, the couples were unprepared and therefore very anxious and frightened. Obviously it is near impossible to inform and educate the families during these stressful times. It became very obvious when couples had attended antenatal classes during their pregnancy. They were a lot more confident with the birthing process and what their bodies were going through. Especially when an emergency arose they were able to make informed choices and be comfortable with their care as they knew what to expect.”

Join them on facebook and check out Bornonline.com.au for more information, while you are there why not check out this amazing video of an unborn baby’s development. It’s an incredible look at what goes on inside that beautiful big belly!

If you have enjoyed this blog why not check out more of my parenting tips by clicking HERE?

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Kids And Planes … A survival guide to flying with children.

Kids and planes. Two things that I am quite sure where never meant to go together. I spent a significant amount of my childhood being dragged around the globe by my travel obsessed parents. Before the age of 6 I had lived on three continents and visited more countries than I could count. I have so many incredible memories of our adventures, so it’s no co-incidence that I have now become a travel obsessed parent. I love taking my children on adventures to far away places and I strongly believe that nothing better educates children than travel. There is only 1 problem: great trips usually begin with the deadly combination of kids and planes. When you have 3 under 3 this is far scarier than it sounds….but we’ve done it and survived!

So here are my top tips to surviving kids and planes:

Kids and Planes: Planning For Success.

It’s all about planning. There is so much to plan when organising a family holiday that the flight itself is basically ignored. Other than booking the actual tickets most parents try to avoid even thinking about the flight until they are literally walking onto the plane. To avoid a remake of the horrendously bad movie Snakes on a Plane, starring you kids, titled Kids on a Plane, follow my 6 step plan to happy flying.

1. Timing

Booking: When booking your flights travel at a kid friendly time (where possible). Having to board a flight half an hour after you child should have gone to sleep can be a nightmare. Overtired, over stimulated children at the very beginning of a flight= recipe for disaster. Try to sync sleeps and flights i.e. child wakes (either in the morning or after day nap) and you go straight to the airport. This means they are at their happiest at the airport and for take off. They are also more likely to then be relaxed enough to fall asleep naturally for their next sleep without a huge screaming scene! For long haul  flights overnight flights tend to suit little ones as there is more likelihood they will sleep for most of the flight. All day flights can be very difficult with toddlers. In saying this you should also try to take jet lag into account and depending where you are travelling to and from this can be a deal breaker for a happy holiday. So make sure you do some research and build this into your plan.

Check in: Find out whether you can check in online. There is nothing worse than having to arrive at the airport hours before your flight only to have to stand in line and then hang around the terminal with your children. Check out what your airline recommends for travel with children on their website, HERE is an example of what QANTAS suggests for parents.

Seating: These days you can also pre-select your seats online. Ensuring you are seated together as a family and that you are near the restrooms is a great idea. Some airlines will now allow you to buy a seat for your baby and bring your car seat or capsule on board ( check with your airline as many need to pre-approve your capsule). There is also the option of buying a special child restraint. If you travel often I suggest buying one of these as the adult lap belts offered on planes will do very little to protect a small child in turbulence. If neither of these options is available, don’t be shy to ask at check in whether the flight is very full and whether they are able to block off an extra seat for you. If you don’t ask you don’t get and most airlines are happy to accommodate families.

2.Packing

We have made a few mistakes in this department before, like packing the children’s Panadol in our check in luggage only to have one of the kids spike a fever half way into a flight. FAIL. Or packing so much into our hand luggage that we are barely able to board the plane and therefore run out of overhead stowage space, our feet therefore buried in junk the entire flight. Moral of the story: find a happy medium. Write a list, pack the essentials and make sure you have a bag of items that are needed at hands reach for below your seat and another of back up items that can be stored overhead. Try to make sure you aren’t laden and have hands free!

Toddlers/Children: Kids love the idea of having their own bag. A little backpack will suffice but Charlie was given a Trunki for his last birthday and it has been brilliant. Trunkies are kids suitcases that you pull along and the child rides on. They are brilliant for long walks to and from boarding gates and can be filled with lost of things to keep little hands and minds busy. You should always pack a few of your child’s favourites but packing a few new things is just as important. Things like a tub of play dough, a new match box car, a new book, colouring in and sticker books, flashcards and of course an iPad or DVD player! Remember to bring along child friendly head phones as airlines will not allow you to operate such devices without them. (We found this out the hard way!)

Babies: Pack you normal baby bag items. But ensure you have extra nappies, bottles, formula and clothes. I will never forget Charlie having diahorrea before, during and after a flight. We had used both of his spare outfits before we even boarded the plane! By the time we landed we were down to a nappy and a blanket. Running back and forward to the loo taught me to pack a “toilet” pack. A smaller bag inside your large nappy bag than can be easily grabbed and has exactly what you need for 2 changes. There is definitely not enough room in airline toilets for you, your child and a huge nappy bag! Ensuring you have enough food for your baby is also vital. Just ask anyone who has been delayed on a trip. Stranded in an airport for hours on end your options are very limited.

3. Comfort

Clothes: Dress your kids in comfy clothes, remembering that they may wish to sleep on the flight. Also remember spare clothes, even for older children. Accidents happen so be prepared! Also consider the temperature at your destination and pack clothes for your arrival. If you are likely to arrive at your destination late at night, pack your children’s pyjamas and your toiletries into a carry on bag. That way when you arrive at your destination you wont have to dig through huge suitcases to get everyone to bed. Also if your luggage happens to get lost (trust me this actually does happen) you will be able to make it through the night unscathed and hit the shops the following day.

Food: I cant tell you how many times I have heard children on planes complaining that they are hungry. Packing enough snacks in vital. Make sure you include lots of easy finger food and of course a few treats. If you have toddlers ensure you bring either a chewy lolly or lolly pop for both take off and landing – this help to relieve ear pain in small children who are unable to equalise their own ear/sinus pressure. You can actually buy products at the chemist that help with this problem but I have found a lolly works just as well. For babies ensure that you have enough food and bottles for not only the flight, but for any possible delays. It is also very important to try to either breast or bottle feed your baby on take off and landing as the sucking action helps with their ears.

Lounges/ airport hotels: If you travel often or have a long stop over you may wish to investigate the different  airline lounges available. Many have showers, beds, tv’s, internet, lots of food and even kids play areas. For long stop overs investigate airport hotels. Singapore airport in particular has several excellent hotels within the airport that you can hire at an hourly rate. Having the chance to sleep in a bed and have a shower can be heaven after a long flight.

4. Distraction and Reward

There is 1 major reasons kids and planes don’t mix: BOREDOM. Oh, and having to sit still. I always wonder why parents make there children sit still in the boarding lounge? Your child is about to be strapped into their seat on the plane, let them run wild on the mean time and burn off some energy. I literally hold running races in the long gateway corridors of airports. I want my kids to be pooped by the time they get to the plane! Once boarded I pull out a treasure trove of goodies and try to really engage my kids with fun activities. When we are both over that its time for the iPad or DVD player to babysit for a while. The most important thing is to reward your child for their good behaviour. Ie. If you sit and play play dough for the next 15 minutes you can have a special lolly. I also recruit the air hostesses and give them a book or treat and ask them to come passed and give it to my kids for good behaviour. Kids LOVE this.

5. Communication

Communicate with your child:We always spend the weeks leading up to any trip pumping our kids up about it! We talk about what where we are going, what we are going to do there and of course, all about the plane trip. We talk about having to wear seat belts to be safe, about having to use an inside voice and about all the games and toys we will bring. I also place Charlie’s trunki suitcase on our dining room table and fill it with goodies. He knows that he’s not allowed to open it until he is on the plane and the suspense and excitement builds and builds. On the plane we talk him through everything. Seats belts, take off, landing and of course behaviour. Children are usually very responsive if they know what is expected of them.

Communicate with others: It is really important to communicate with passengers around you and with the flight crew, especially if you are having a difficult time or their patience usually defuses the situation before people get angry. I find most people are quite willing to lend a hand, a few have been incredibly rude but there is little you can do about this. The staff on board can also be very supportive, so ask for a hand if you need it (just not in the middle of the dinner service if you can avoid it!)n the flight. Pretending the other passengers aren’t there,  or worse not asking for help when you need it, only cause more issues. If you child is having a melt down, talking to those around you and acknowledging that this is difficult for everyone and thanking them for their patience can really defuse the situation.

6. Patience and Perspective

At 35,000 feet with 3 screaming children patience and perspective are usually the first things to go out the window. So if you feel things beginning to escalate think to yourself, “…this is not going to last forever, before I know it I will be at my destination and I will be laughing at myself for getting so strung out!” Take a deep breath, find that extra little bit of patience you had hidden somewhere deep down and keep it all in perspective!

Happy travels!

Why not read more of my blog HERE!

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Feeding Twins: A Mum’s Guide to Learning to Juggle

Feeding twins is an art form. If you are expecting twins then I am sure you are wondering how on earth you will manage feeding twins??Whether you decide to breast or bottle feed you will quickly learn that it is not an easy task to do alone. So to make life easier here are some tips to learn how to juggle feeding twins.

The first thing to note when feeding twins is that you and your children may find different positions more comfortable than others. As your children grow and as your confidence grows your feeding style may also change. If you chose to exclusively breastfeed you will have to decide whether to feed the babies one at a time or together. The midwives at your hospital or your local lactation consult can assist you in learning and perfecting this. If you can perfect this skill you will literally cut your feeding time in half. Although it’s challenging it’s worth giving it a shot, not only is it the best thing for your little one’s immune systems, it really will make your life easier in the long term.

For general tips on breastfeeding check out our Breastfeeding Guide in the mimijumi Baby Centre.

If you choose to co-feed (breast and bottle) or exclusively bottle feed then you may find my experience helpful. So here is a detailed description of how I managed feeding twins!

Breastfeeding twins:

When my twins were born 5 weeks premature we made a decision (with input from our doctor) to both breast and bottle feed our twins to ensure they both thrived, we also included formula in our feeding plan from day 1.This took the pressure off me to produce enough milk for 2 babies. I must admit that my first few attempts at feeding both at once were pretty comical. I felt like I was attached to two bobble head figurines. I’d just get one one in position and the other would drop off and vice versa. I used a twin breastfeeding pillow and found this immensely helpful. Although I did eventually master the skill of breast feeding the twins at once, it was not something I enjoyed and I could not do it without someone to assist me to get them and keep them in position.

I quickly decided that expressing and feeding the twins with bottles was the way for me. I used mimijumi bottles of course, as they closely mimic breastfeeding. I still breastfed but I alternated feeds. This is basically how my day went for those first few crazy months of 4 hourly feeds!

Co-Feeding Daily Plan:

Morning feed 7 am: Twin 1 Breast, Twin 2 Bottle of expressed breast milk (EBM).

Mid morning feed 11 am: Twin 1 Bottle of EBM, Twin 2 Breast.

Mid afternoon feed 3 pm: Twin 1 Breast, Twin 2 Bottle of EBM.

Evening Feed 6.30 pm: Twin 1 and Twin 2 Bottle of half EBM, Half Formula. (By this point my milk was usually low)

Nighttime feed 10.30 pm: Twin 1: Bottle of EBM, Twin 2 Bottle of EBM. (My husband did this feed and I expressed).

Early morning feed 2.30/3 am: Bottle of EMB, Twin 2 Breast.

I used a pillow to prop the bottle fed twin up in front of me so that I could breast feed and bottle feed at once. If my back got sore or if the baby was fussing and needed a bit more contact with me I would sit cross legged and place the bottle feeding bub in the crook of my knee. Basically the babies ended up head to toe.

In order to express I hired an electric hospital grade Medela pump which was cost effective and extremely efficient. After each feed I would express the alternate breast and ensure the breast I had just used to feed was empty. This took under 10 minutes.  If I was feeling tired and my milk was low I was not scared to use 1/3 formula as a part of the bottle feed. This brings me to a very important point- the importance of being flexible. Sometimes one twin would be fussy at the breast or refuse the bottle. Having a plan is great but being flexible and able to change the plan is even more important when it comes to feeding twins.

If this all seems very confusing and overwhelming don’t panic, instead buy a white board. Yes a white board! We had one hung over each of the twins cots and would record who had been fed what, when and how much. We also kept track of sleeps and nappies this way. It may sound ridiculous but ask any twin mum and you will hear stories of accidentally feeding one twin twice!

I continued this routine for the first 3 months. After that I went to 100% bottle feeding. I still expressed but slowly increased the amount of formula and decreased the amount of times a day I expressed. When I progressed to solely bottle feeding I lay the twins on a pillow in front of me in order to prop up their heads and avoid milk running into their ear canals. I would feed both twins at once in this position.

For more general tips on bottle feeding why not download our Bottle Feeding Bible?

I know of many twin mum’s who have managed to continue to breast feed for much longer than I did and I also know of many who have chosen to formula feed from day 1. I strongly believe that it is what we feed our children’s souls, not their tummies that truly matters. So resist the urge to criticise, stress and judge yourself and others and rather go with what will make and keep you and your babies happy!

If you need support breastfeeding contact the Australian Breastfeeding Association.

For support with bottle feeding we suggest joining the Facebook Group Bottle Babies.

If you have had or are expecting twins I highly recommend joining the Australian Multiple Birth Association and joining their Facebook page for 24/7 mum to mum advice.

Before you know it your twins will be big enough for solids and then the fun really starts!

If you enjoyed reading about feeding twins why not check out some more of my blog by clicking here!

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Activities For Toddlers: Stimulate Their Body, Mind and Soul.

Activities for Toddlers:

Toddlers are little bundles of energy! Keeping them out of mischief can be difficult, if there is one thing I have learnt it’s that bored toddlers = TROUBLE! It’s much more fun to use your toddlers endless energy for “good” and not “evil.” You can’t always go to the beach or the park, sometimes kids need structured activities and interaction with other children. So here is a list of some of the best activities to stimulate your toddler’s mind, body and soul.

Mind: Visit your local library

Your local library offers a range of free activities for toddlers, from sing along nursery rhyming sessions to book clubs and dress up story times. They also have special sessions for children with special needs and information evenings for parents on a wide range of topics.  Even a simple visit to the library to choose and hire books is an adventure for a toddler and can easily become a part of your weekly routine (it also makes for a great rainy day activity!). Encouraging a love of books from an early age will have great long term benefits for your child, so sign up to your local library today.

Libraries are run by local councils, here are links to some of the most popular activities in each area : Gold Coast, Sydney: Marickville , Waverly (Bondi), East Gardens, Melbourne: Toorak, Geelong,  PerthAdelaide.

Body: Enrol in swimming lessons

Tragically drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in children under 5 years old in Australia. Teaching your child to swim from a young age is vital and a skill for life. I have started all three of my children at swimming lessons at 6 months of age. Swimming lessons are great activities for toddlers. Toddlers gain strength, coordination and confidence from swimming and boy oh boy do they sleep well after a swim class!!! Make sure to choose an accredited swim teacher and remember practice makes perfect so don’t just rely on the teacher to do all the teaching, visit the pool with your child and practice together!

You can find your local ‘Swim Australia’ accredited swim school by clicking HERE.

Soul: Music Classes

The benefits of exposing your toddler to music are unending. Music has been proven to help with memory and language skills and can even help to tame a wild toddler. Allowing your child to physically and vocally express themselves to music is a great way of channelling their energy. It can even help to teach them to express their emotions. Try playing different music (soft, loud, fast slow) and get your child to dance “how the music makes them feel.” You can also set the mood in your home with music, soft soothing music for rest times and fun energising music for play times. Enjoying music can be very creative and can be an excellent bonding experience for you and your toddler. Music classes take all these benefits to the next level. I took my so Charlie to Kinder Musik classes for a term (10 weeks) and since then we have implemented many of the concepts, games and songs we learnt into our daily lives.

If you would like to find a music class in your local area click HERE.

Want to read about more than just activities for toddlers? Enjoy more of my blog by clicking HERE!

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What Do Newborns Need | The Unexpected For The Expecting

What do newborns need?

This was one of the first things I thought when I fell pregnant with my first child. My desire to hit the shops was rivalled only by my desire to pee, constantly!

I found several great “baby needs checklists” and purchased accordingly but it wasn’t until I had my son that I realised what his and my true needs really were!

So here is a list of the 12 things I didn’t know I need until I NEEDED them:

1. Lansinoh Nipple Cream

Great for healing sore or cracked nipples this cream is a breastfeeding MUST HAVE. You can even begin using it before your baby arrives to prepare your nipples for breast feeding. This cream is available at most supermarkets and chemists.

2. Bottles, Mimijumi Not So Hungry

I had decided I would breastfeed, but when things didn’t go according to plan I was very grateful that I had been given a newborn starter pack at my baby shower, especially since it was 2 am….
Click HERE to view the range.

3. “Yucky Bits” Cloths

Everyone gets caught up buying gorgeous wraps and bibs but forgets that lots of yucky stuff comes out of both ends of a baby! Buying old fashioned diapers (square soft towel like cloths) can be extremely useful. Placing these under your baby for each nappy change will save you from washing your change tables covers after EVERY change and help with spit up during feeds. Tip: Buy a different colour for each “end,” green for poop, white for milk dribble.

4. Baby Sleep Suit: Ergo Baby Cocoon

In hospital I was taught to wrap my children in muslin wraps. What they didn’t explain to me was what to do with a baby that loves the feeling of being wrapped but constantly wriggles out of the wrap, no matter how tightly they are wrapped to begin with. The Ergo Baby Cocoon is made from organic cotton and mimics the feeling of being wrapped but is impossible to wriggle out of! A simple zip makes it easy to use and hidden buttons means you can choose to have your baby’s arms in or out. They also come in different warmth ratings for cooler or warmer times of year.
You can view the Ergo range HERE.

5. Electronic Baby Swing

We all know babies love to be held and rocked. I made the initial error of thinking a newborn would be too small for a swing and then found myself wandering the aisles of Toys R Us with a 2 week old baby. I was exhausted from constantly holding my baby and needed a solution! An electronic Fisher Price baby swing saved the day. Not only did it swing on its own, it played music and had a built in mobile. Each evening I would place the swing at the entrance to the kitchen and Charlie would happily sit and swing while I cooked dinner. This turned “arsenic hour” in to happy hour!

6. Baby Nail Clippers

No one old me what sharp nails babies have! My son had scratched himself so badly by the time he was a week old, I had to put mittens on his hands 24 hours a day! When I finally found the courage to try to trim his nails I realised that I would need a specialist baby sized clipper. My adult clippers were almost the size of his entire arm! Once I purchased a clipper designed for use in newborns I actually found the process quick and easy and we were able to get rid of the mittens!

7. Bumbo (Baby seat in image above)

Designed for infants from 3 months old this clever lightweight contraption replaces the old fashioned high chair. Bumbo is plastic and therefore easy to clean, they are inescapable and help your baby to build strength in their back and eventually learn to sit up unsupported. Bumbo is fantastic for cafes and travel and take up a lot less room than a traditional highchair. We place our twins in theirs at the dinner table and try to eat dinner as a family as often as possible. We also check them in when we fly. They are super lightweight which means they can come with us where ever we go.
Check out their website HERE.

8. Baby Einstein DVD Pack

How do you entertain a newborn? You can’t stand around singing, reading and cooing all day long. The Baby Einstein DVD’s are specially designed to engage but not overwhelm or overstimulate young babies. Beautiful images from nature are set to classical music while cheeky puppets and children play with everyday items helping your baby to discover more about the word they live in. My children LOVE these DVD’s!

9. Airwrap Cot Bumper

The SIDS foundation does not recommend the use of traditional fabric cot bumpers. It wasn’t until I was being woken up each night to find Charlie had wriggled his way out of his wrap and had a limb caught between the cots bars that I decided I had to find an alternative. The Airwrap is a safe alternative with breathable mesh weaving between your babies cots bars keeping little limbs safely out of harms way whilst not posing a suffocation hazard.

10. Baby Friendly Floor Mat

Tummy time is really important for newborns, placing your baby on carpet can be really unappealing. Having a safe place to allow your baby to explore their surrounds is really important. I found that once your baby learns to roll most baby play mats are too small. Buying a larger foam mat that remains in their play area means that you can place your baby on the floor knowing that the area is clean (you can wipe these mats with a wet cloth) and safe if they happen to roll (the rubber cushions against any bumps or tumbles!).

11. Bath Thermometer

How hot is too hot? How cold is too cold? These days technology has the answer, no longer are mums stuck with dipping their elbow into a bath to check the temperature. There is now a wide range of bath thermometers available that are both inexpensive and easy to use. Most look like bath toys such as rubber ducks and show the temp on a digital display when submerged in the water.

12. Teething Toys (Sophie Giraffe- image below)

Two of my children had teeth at four months of age. Many new mums don’t realise that teething can occur this early. Thus buying good quality teething toys is important. My children all LOVED the Vulli Sophie Giraffe. 100% natural rubber, Sophie is phthalate and PVC (vinyl) free. The Sophie Giraffe is specifically designed for small hands and is easily cleaned in water.
Click HERE to learn more about the Sophie Giraffe.

I hope you enjoyed my page on what newborns need. Read more of my blog by clicking here!

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How To Get Kids To Eat Vegetables

How To Get Kids To Eat Vegetables | My Cheeky Cheese Sauce

How to get kids to eat vegetables you ask? Hide them! If you are like me and struggling to get your toddler to eat vegetables then I have the perfect solution. This cheese sauce can hide a wide range of vegetables, is tasty and can be as simple or as complex as you choose! All kids love to dip their food into sauce and all kids love cheese! This recipe takes advantage of that and packs a nutritious punch!

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 300-400 mls milk (approx)
  • 1 Head of Cauliflower (steamed or boiled)

Method

  1. Melt butter in saucepan on a medium heat, add flour and fry on low heat. A dough like texture will form, do not allow it to brown.
  2. Add milk in very small amounts whisking continuously until a creamy texture is seen. You may require more milk. Note that once cool the sauce will thicken.
  3. Steam your cauliflower (or other chosen vegetable) and then strain it.
  4. Add the cauliflower to the sauce and blend with bar mix or in blender. You can choose to add salt to taste. I tend to leave it out for young children.
  5. Serve over just about anything.

Notes

  • Charlie loves cheesy sauce with chicken dinosaurs or lamb chops, roast chicken or even steamed fish. The sauce makes the meal a bit healthier than it would be on it’s own, and most importantly for Charlie, a lot tastier!
  • Remember you can use any vegetables you like. Brocoli and carrots work really well too and the sauce can be frozen for future use. Simply store in 1 serve sized containers (for up to 2 months) and re-heat in your microwave or on the stove top.
  • For those “I couldn’t be bothered” nights- this packet stuff (below) works just as well! Just pre- steam your veges, combine with a bar mix or blender, heat and serve.

So now you know how to get kids to eat vegetables! If you would like to learn more about how to get kids to eat vegetables check out my other recipes for kids.

 

 

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Best Books For Newborns

Best Books For Newborns

Here’s a list of the best books for newborns, after all it’€™s never to early to get your kids into books. NEVER! From the day Charlie was born we have been reading to him and now it’€™s one of his favourite activities. How and what to read to a newborn is actually trickier than you would think, so we have compiled a list of the best books for newborns. No matter what you read your baby will benefit from the one on one time with you and you will be creating a routine and encouraging a love of learning. But it is important to understand that a newborn’€™s eye sight isn’€™t as developed as ours. They can only see about 30 cm from their face and while they are able to see some color they find it difficult to differentiate between shades and tones. Books with black and white images and images with sharp outlines are therefore the best books for newborns. Your baby’€™s eyesight will continue to develop over the first 6 months of their life enabling them to see bright colours by around 2 months of age, and then lighter shades of colour over the following months. Their length and depth of vision will also gradually increase. For these reasons it’s very important to choose age appropriate books for your baby.

It’s also very important to look at how and where you should read to your baby. Make sure that you are both comfortable and relaxed. After a feed is usually a good time (full tummies make for happy babies!) and reading before bed is a particularly good way of encouraging a good bed time routine. Make sure that when you read you use lots of vocal and facial expression and point out things on each page to your child. It’s also a good idea to take your infants hand and encourage them to touch the things you are describing. Before you know it they will be touching the images and naming them all by themselves!

Here are some of the best books for newborns:Dad reading one of the best books for newborns to charlie

  • Mesmirised, by Katey Love
  • Black on White, by Tana Hoban
  • Look at the Animals, by Peter Linenthal
  • Faces For Baby
  • Captain Calamari’€™s Treasure Hunt- Lamaze Soft Activity books
  • Fuzzy Bee And Friends
  • Baby Einstein Playful Discoveries Series
  • The ‘€œThat’€™s Not My’€ Collection
  • 10 Little Fingers, 10 Little Toes, by Mem Fox
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle

Also try this site, they have all the best books for newborns! http://mesmerised.com.au/

I hope you enjoyed this post on the best books for newborns! You can see more of my posts HERE

 

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