Are you a frugal mom or dad? Even if you answered no, I can show how to be frugal with at least one thing. Kids go through clothing just as fast as they go through water. But by being smart, as well as creative, you can make kids clothing last longer. I regularly practice what I preach on this because clothes are expensive. Who wants to buy new ones before the existing ones have been used more than a couple times? From laundering habits to crafts, there are several methods my kids and I use to get full use of their clothes.
Use fabric and accessories to extend the life of clothes they grow out of. Kids grow so fast, sometimes so much so that it seems they barely get any wearing time from their clothes. What I like to do with my kids is have a fun craft session where we add fabric and other accessories to clothing to increase the size. For instance, if jeans still fit the waist but are a little short in the legs, add some length with fabric, lace, and other embellishments. If the waist has gotten a bit too small, open up each side seam and add some fun fabric to let the waist out a little. Add matching fabric in other areas (such as the knees) that might be worn out.
Use gentle laundry products. Frequent cleaning with products that are too harsh on clothing can reduce its lifespan. Try using gentler, non-abrasive cleansers that are free of chemicals, perfumes, and dyes. This can help increase the number of wears your child gets out of the clothing. It's also better for the environment and the health of your child. Look for products made from natural ingredients. But also check to make sure those ingredients are not too harsh on your child's clothing or to the skin.
Wash on gentle cycle or by hand. Kids are already rough on their clothes as it is. Ease up on the wear and tear by hand washing their clothing or washing it on gentle cycle. Washing clothing by hand can be much gentler than other methods if done right. Try not to scrub too hard as this will certainly not help the clothes last longer. Lukewarm water is best when it comes to being gentle with clothing. Extreme temperatures can cause colors to fade. Also, if you are washing by hand, lukewarm will be gentler on your skin.
Line dry the clothing. Rather than exposing clothing to the intense heat in a dryer, try line-drying the clothing instead. If you must use the dryer, use a low heat or air dry setting. Over time, exposure to high heat can cause fading in your child's clothing. Line drying can help make the clothing last longer. But be careful of how you do that as well. If you leave the clothing in high temperatures outside or right in the direct sunlight too long, fading also may occur.
Cut it up to make new clothing. Another thing the kids and I like to do, especially my oldest daughter, is to cut things up for making new outfits. Skirt too short? Chop a piece off of another in the same condition and sew the two together for a funky look. Have a dress that's grown too short? Chop it up to make a shirt from the top half. A bottom seam will be easy to sew. Use the leftovers to add to a skirt or chop it up to make patches, headbands, and more. The kids and I always have fun doing this. It helps us extend the life of their clothing and also gives us a great family activity. Be careful when deciding who can use scissors and other sewing materials that may pose a danger.
Setting Up and Maintaining a Kiddie Pool
It's a warm, sunny day in midsummer and laughter from your backyard echoes throughout your neighborhood - or at least the block. Your two toddlers are thoroughly enjoying their kiddie pool. What you are enjoying is not only interacting with them, but also the fact that you have kept their pool safe and clean. With proper adult supervision and maintenance, kiddie swimming pools can be safe places for kids to play.
Setting it Up
Setting up a kiddie pool is as simple as filling it with water from the hose and leaving it in the sun, right? Wrong. This is where many parents and care providers make their mistake. Improperly maintained kiddie swimming pools can harbor dangerous bacteria that can actually do serious harm to children. The main thing to remember is to read the instructions that came with it. Not all kiddie pools will have the same setup directions, as they are all constructed differently.
Some kiddie pools will be inflatable, while others may be plastic or made of other solid materials. Each pool will have specialized instructions for setting it up. Adhering to those will help to ensure proper kiddie pool safety. Once that part is done correctly, simply fill the kiddie pool with water. According to the Water Quality and Health Council, tap water is already chlorinated, so extra chlorine need not be added to a small backyard kiddie pool. However, that does not mean that it doesn't need to be kept clean and sanitary.
Treatment & Maintenance
To help keep bacteria away and the pool water clean and clear, a kiddie pool should be maintained on a frequent basis. Because bacteria can easily collect in the water of a kiddie pool, it is best to change the water frequently. Younger children often have accidents, leading to contamination. To prevent this, tight plastic coverings can be worn over diapers or undergarments. However, regular maintenance still applies.
If fecal matter is present, just removing it from the kiddie pool is not enough to ensure proper hygiene. Urine can be stabilized with chlorine. However, feces contain properties that are not easily removed in this way. Instead, the pool should be emptied and cleaned. Fresh water should then be used.
General Safety Tips
Both the Water Quality and Health Council and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have listed some general safety tips for using and maintaining kiddie swimming pools.
Things to Leave at Home on a Long Car Ride
When taking a road trip or long car ride with kids, keeping them busy is key. Having grown up in a sizable family and now being blessed with a large family of my own, I've learned a great deal. There are some things you just don't take in a vehicle when you have kids with you. I recently recommended the Best Road Trip Toys for Kids. However, some other things can be tempting to bring that are actually a bad idea. Here's what not to bring on a road trip with kids.
Puzzles a Big No-No on Road Trips
Puzzles can keep kids bus for hours on end and are highly educational. So why are they a bad idea for road trips? Way too many pieces to keep track of - not to mention the issue of where it would be assembled. Sure there are lap trays. But what happens when the vehicle is moving too much or the kids are goofing off? You got it - lots of tine pieces scattered all over the van or car and unhappy kids and parents. Save the puzzles for home or for rainy days at the hotel.
Portable Video Games Fail
Yes, I know that some moms recommend portable video games. Not this mom. If a child's head is in the video games, scenery can be missed. Also, entertainment that involves family interaction is generally the point of a family road trip. Portable video games can be a distraction to that. They also may cause arguments if there's only one device and multiple kids. It's best to leave the video games at home and enjoy each other instead.
Blocks and Other Assembly Toys Spell Trouble
Blocks and other assembly toys with multiple pieces can be a big no-no in the car with kids. Think scattered pieces on the floor and possibly kids getting hurt by tripping on them when getting in or out. Especially bad are pieces that roll, such as marbles. These may get stuck under the brake or gas pedal at the wrong moment. This scenario won't be good for anyone. Leave toys with small pieces at home and try an Etch-a-Sketch instead.
Noisy Toys Cause Commotion
Noisy toys can be great in some instances - wait, did I just say I liked noisy toys? Scratch that. Anyhow, if toys are creating a ruckus, it can be hard for the driver to concentrate. These are definitely on the list of what not to bring on road trips with kids for that reason and more. If the kids are already noisy, who wants to add more noise? Instead, choose more peaceful toys and activities. This will be more relaxing for the kids and the driver.
by Lyn Lomasi, Write W.A.V.E. Media Staff
Pile the kids, the the suitcases, and the ice chest in the car and you're ready to go on your vacation or road trip, right? Wrong. Without something to keep them busy, those kids are going to be antsy in a hurry. So what are the ten favorite busy toys on our big family's road trip and vacation list? By order choice of the kids, here they are, saving the best busy toy for last.
Busy Road Trip Toy #10: Video Games
While video games are not my favorite thing for kids to play with, they can sometimes be beneficial to keep kids busy and entertained when used in moderation. They are great for travel, only if there are headphones and a game system for each kid. Otherwise, be prepared for noise and arguments. Video games suitable for traveling can come as a low-cost hand-held with one or two games pre-installed or as a portable game system, such as the Nintendo DS or Sony PSP. These game systems will have games that come on cartridges that can be inserted into a slot for play.
Busy Road Trip Toy #9: One-Piece Puzzles
One-piece puzzles, such as the Rubik's Cube or the Tangle Jr. are great for entertaining kids on long car rides. These take time to figure out and it can be exciting for the kids as they complete each step. In addition to Rubik's Cube and Tangle puzzles, pocket-size maze and pinball games also are great one-piece puzzles.
Busy Road Trip Toy #8: Etch-a Sketch
The Etch-a-Sketch is a classic busy toy for kids and is still one of the best busy toys for long road trips. Etch-a-Sketch is a good example of a toy that is not only entertaining, but also can relieve stress and enhances creativity in the brain.
Busy Road Trip Toy #7: Trivia Cards
Most kids enjoy playing trivia games, such as "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader" or "Brainquest". Many people with kids have at least one trivia game lying around. To make a trivia game more adaptable to a road trip, simply use only the cards that come with the game or purchase the travel addition, if applicable. Leave everything but the cards at home. To play trivia in a car, just ask the questions and whoever shouts the answer first gets the point. If you choose to keep score, a notebook can be used. My kids love trivia and request it often, whether at home or in the car.
Busy Road Trip Toy #6: Pencil & Word Puzzles
Crossword puzzles, tic-tac-toe, word searches, Sudoku, and other pencil puzzles are great for road trips. Not only are they fun for the kids, but they can also be educational. Pencil puzzles are a sure bet in our household when it's time to choose busy toys for family road trips.
Busy Road Trip Toy #5: Mad Libs
Mad Libs are technically a pencil puzzle, but since they are so fun, our family would give them their own category. You can either purchase a Mad Libs book or take along a notebook and make your own. Either way, this is a great way for a family to get in some laughs together. Some of the stories can really turn out hilarious. We like to keep the best ones for reading at a later date when someone needs a good laugh.
Busy Road Trip Toy #4: Journal
Not only are journals a great way to keep kids busy, but they can be dual-purpose by providing a source for the family to look back on for memories. Plus, it gives parents that fun, but sneaky way way of fitting in that writing practice kids should have every day.
Busy Road Trip Toy #3: Books
Reading should be a huge part of a child's life. It's needed for so many daily and life activities and responsibilities. A road trip is a great time to fit in some extra reading. Letting the kids pick their own books can help ensure that they will actually read them.
Busy Road Trip Toy #2: Coloring Books & Crayons
Coloring books and crayons are always a big hit for road trips with kids. Most kids enjoy coloring and it's a fun, yet calming activity that will keep them busy for a while. To throw in some education with it, just choose coloring books accordingly, such as a shapes and colors one for preschoolers or or a world geography one for teens. Yes, many teens do still color. And who are you trying to fool anyway? Many adults do also.
Busy Road Trip Toy #1: Mom
By kids choice, the best road trip toy of all is mom. No kidding. Yup, that's right. The best toy is free. Depending on your family, a dad or a big sister could hold this position instead. This is the person with all the jokes, songs, silly stories, scary stories, and creative ideas. No packing is needed for this busy toy. Feel free to substitute as necessary.
What Not to Bring on a Road Trip With Kids
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
*One or more products or companies may be mentioned in this post. The author may benefit from affiliate sales, if applicable sales are made. However, the author did not receive any direct compensation or monetary benefit from mentioning these products.
It's common for some parents to allow their children to walk to school alone or with friends. However, the world is evolving. Things are not how we were as kids. Parents need to be more proactive and alert. Part of that includes walking them to and from school - or at the very least having another adult do the job. This is especially true for those below high school age. We can't shelter our kids, but we can't be irresponsible with them either. My children are currently homeschooled. However, when they did attend public school, walking to school without adults was not an option.
1. Your child may not be as responsible as you think. Just because your child behaves like the perfect little angel in your presence doesn't mean she can do no wrong. It's only natural for children to be curious about things. Your child might wonder if it's a good idea to ditch school, stop at a corner store, or worse - cause fights with other kids. If you walk to school with your child, this can deter such things from happening, at least during the time period where it's least likely that other adults are around.
2. Kids walking without parents are more vulnerable to pedophiles and other criminals. Pedophiles, kidnappers, and other criminals look for children that are walking alone - especially children without adults around. They are a much easier target than kids with supervision. To keep your kids safer, consider walking or biking to and from school with them. If you are not available during those times, choose another responsible and trusted adult to do so.
3. If your child's friend is mischievous, your kid gets in trouble too. So, your kid is uber-responsible? So what. He or she cannot stop the actions of friends in many instances. If your kid's friend gets into some trouble, your kid also may be associated with the misdeed. It's much safer to be sure adults are around so that these things don't happen.
4. Walking to and from school is great for family time and saves on gas. You and your child can talk about family issues, school, hopes and dreams, or anything else. This is a good opportunity to get closer and learn more about each other. Plus, it's great exercise and saves on gas. Good for the Earth, your wallet, and the family's mental health.
5. Walking with your child helps you get to know their school environment better. By being proactive and accompanying your child on the school walk, you get to know more about their friends and learning environment. Observe who they talk to, invite friends over, and watch what the teachers and administrators are doing before and after school. This helps you stay in touch with their school life without being too intrusive.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Lyn Lomasi is founder and owner of the Brand Shamans network. She is your brand healing, soul healing, marketing & content superhero to the rescue! Running a network of websites, tackling deadlines single-handedly, and coaching fellow writers, brands, & entrepreneurs to be thought leaders is her top priority.
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