7 Tips for Traveling Safely With Kids

Traveling with your kids exposes them to new experiences that stimulate their development. Whether you are traveling to visit family or to go on your annual vacation, you do need to remember that safety is always your highest priority. Fortunately, you can help your kids have fun while also keeping an eye on their wellbeing by using these travel tips that make sure everyone arrives back home safely.

 

Know How to Manage Getting Through Airport Security

 

Making your way through airport security can be hard enough without having to struggle with diaper bags, toys and little ones. However, there are a few things that you can do to make it easier. Have your older kids wear shoes that are easy to remove as they go through the screening process such as slip-ons or crocks. Your younger children can likely keep their shoes on, but they may need to be warned about the need to put their belongings through the x-ray machine. 

 

Use the Right Car Seats and Seat Belts

 

The majority of places that you will travel to domestically have car seat laws in place, and you need to make sure that you know them so that you do not get into trouble with the local law enforcement team. If you are traveling internationally, then you may still want to use your child’s car seat as additional protection in the event of an accident. Lugging a bulky car seat around can be a hassle, so consider using an all-in-one stroller that reduces the equipment that you need to carry. Older kids should also be taught to use their seatbelts when they are in a rental car or taxi cab.

 

Never Leave Your Child Alone In a Public Space

 

Being stressed or in a hurry can sometimes cause parents to experience a lapse in judgement. However, you should never assume that your child is safe just because you are in a comfortable environment. For instance, you should not leave your child alone in the hotel lobby while you run out to the car to grab a few bags. Ideally, your child should always be within an arm’s reach in case you need to stop them from wandering or protect them from a kidnapping.

 

Discuss What to Do If They Get Lost

 

Despite your best efforts, it is possible that your child might still get lost at some point during your travels. If your child is young and mostly nonverbal, then place your contact information somewhere visible on their clothing or skin. You can even order special stickers and fake tattoos with your name and phone number on them specifically for this purpose. 

 

Older children should be coached on how to ask for help in an emergency. Talk to them about how they can identify employees at the venues that you expect to visit such as by checking for a uniform or name tag. You can also rehearse what they should say to a person in authority if they do get lost such as their phone number and parents’ names. Finally, make sure that your child knows to stay where they are if they get separated from your family. While they may need to look for an adult to help, they should not wander far from where they were left.

 

Use Caution at Swimming Pools and Beaches

 

Aquatic activities are one of the most popular things to do on a family vacation, and there is no doubt that hitting the beach or public pool is a great way to cool off and burn off your kid’s energy. However, you must always remember that no body of water is ever completely safe.

 

Do a quick scan of any public pool to check for signs that something could be amiss with the pool maintenance. Never let your child swim in cloudy water where you cannot see the bottom of the pool. You should also see a cover over any pool drains or filters. 

 

For beaches, try to choose ones with active lifeguards whenever it is possible. You will also want to give your children boundaries for how far they can go out into the water, and younger children should always be holding your hand. Remember that a beach can be overcome suddenly by rather high waves, check the weather reports before you go. You should also obey any flag warnings regarding rip tides and wave height.

 

Think About Bathroom Safety

 

During your travels, using public restrooms is usually unavoidable. Talk to your children about how to stay safe in a public bathroom. For example, you can help them look for places with appropriate bathroom dividers to protect their privacy. Your child should also be taught how to practice proper restroom behavior such as knocking and waiting to see if there is an answer before pushing open a stall door. If possible, make sure to accompany your children to the restroom, and make sure that your older kids know that you are waiting just outside the door of restrooms where you cannot go inside.

 

Identify Emergency Services at Your Destination

 

If all goes well, you should hopefully never need to take your child to the emergency room or file a police report. Yet, you should be prepared in case the unexpected happens. Trying to search for an emergency room at the last moment could delay your child’s ability to get prompt medical care. Take a few minutes before your trip to locate sources of aid that you can turn to in an emergency. You should have a list of these resources for every place that you intend to visit so that you are confident about seeking help if the need arises.

 

Taking a trip as a family is a great way to bond and build wonderful memories that you will cherish forever. Yet, the last thing you ever want is to experience an accident when your family is far away from home. By focusing on doing everything you can to keep everyone safe, you can look forward to stress-free travels that lead to only wonderful experiences for your family to remember.

 

Aquabeads For Creative Holiday Gifting #HolidayGiftGuide

 

Aquabeads arts and crafts products are new and improved as they allow for a quicker drying time to create even more incredible designs in less time.  The new sets feature an innovative Flip Tray and Bead Receiver to set art work aside for faster drying while continuing to create additional masterpieces.  This is a great gift for kids of all ages- my son is 12 and he still enjoys playing with Aquabeads. The pieces are small, so supervise small children. 

Kids can make Aquabeads creations from included templates or their own imaginations. They place beads onto the layout tray, then spray with water to fuse the beads together, letting them set with time.  Once dried, the creations can be shared with friends and family. 

best gifts for kids

 

Kids can get started with the Beginners Studio. They can create designs even faster than before using the flip tray to let one creation dry, as they work on another. With more than 840 shining jewels and solid beads in 16 colors, there are plenty of options for creative play. Beginners Studio includes the case, flip tray with bead receiver, sprayer, bead pen, template sheets and instructions to ensure kids have everything to get started. As kids collect studios for more fun, they can connect them for easy storage and travel. Beginners Studio, Ages 4+/ $19.95

art toys for kids

Kids can double the fun with the Deluxe Studio as they can now create fun 3D designs with 2 flip trays This Deluxe set contains more than 1,300 jewel & solid beads in 24 colors, a container, and two flip trays and bead receivers, rainbow bead pen, easy trays, sprayer, template sheets & instructions. This set connects to the Beginners Studio or Glamorous Designer Set for even more fun. Deluxe Studio, Ages 4+/ $29.95

frozen toys

Just in time for the premiere of Disney’s Frozen 2 on November 22nd, kids can craft their favorite Frozen characters of Arendelle with included templates featuring Anna, her sister Elsa and friend, Olaf! To play, place beads onto the layout tray, then spray with water to fuse the beads together and bring the artwork to life. Once dried, the character creations can be shared with fellow movie fans, friends and family. Aquabeads Frozen 2 Character Set for ages 4+/$9.95.

Gabb Wireless Black Friday Special #BlackFriday #GiftGuide

Review of the phone to follow shortly, but as of now, I can highly recommend this service. It’s perfect for kids and families.  Check it out, and this is a really great deal. Perfect time to buy.

Thanksgiving evening until midnight on Black Friday Gabb Wireless is giving away a Gabb Z1 smartphone with the purchase of a Gabb Basic service plan. The Black Friday offer is available at GabbWireless.com using the onsite promo code and is limited to 5 lines per family.

Make Lunchtime More Fun with Lunch Pets™ (and a #Giveaway )

Lunchtime is always an adventure with the all-new Lunch Pets™! These huggable, plush pals are the perfect snacking companions for a child on-the-go. From school to dance practice and everything in between, Lunch Pets are sure to keep your child smiling and their lunch at the desired temperature. 

kids lunchbox

We recently took ours on a road trip to a theme park, and it did it’s job. My son didn’t whine (too much) about carrying it, and when he got annoying about it, we just clipped it to my bag. It clips easily to strollers as well.

These furry friends come in 4 styles – SnackyCat, Tumicorn, HungryPup and Munchosaur – and kids can pick their favorite cuddle buddy to spice up any lunchtime routine. The machine-washable  (hang to dry) lunch bags feature an easy open flap to securely hold their food and insulated storage to keep lunch fresh, Lunch Pets are both cute and functional. The Pets paws even snap together to make a handle or attach to your child’s bike.

kids lunchbox

Lunch Pets are recommended for children ages 3 and up and are available at Amazon and www.lunchpets.com.

One of you can win one of your own. Which will you choose? You can enter by using the RC form below. Good luck.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Child-friendly travel: The initial checklist

There was once a time where travel was a simple affair. Then, the kids came.

Few would disagree that this brings a different complexity to enjoying your holiday. Now, you’re perhaps not choosing destinations based on vibrant nightlife, but more on what it takes to keep the little ones happy.

Of course, planning such a getaway is easier said than done. This is what today’s guide is all about, as we look at four areas you should be looking to keep on top of as you plan your child-friendly holiday.

Consider Cities Like Portsmouth

If you are planning a trip to the UK, you might have your heart set on London – and this isn’t a surprise.

However, when traveling with your little ones, a degree of common sense needs to enter the picture. It’s cities like London which bring crowds of tourists and if your family is young, this is something that is going to be difficult, and stressful, to deal with.

It means that this presents the perfect opportunity to think outside the box. Consider somewhere like Portsmouth, which still has plenty to do but without the tourist-heavy crowds which can really weigh your trip down.

Stay longer in each location

For those of you who might be looking at staying in several locations across your trip, this point is for you.

Again, if we return to your younger days, there’s no doubt that “city hopping” was a big thing. Staying a day or two in one city, before jumping to another, was the fashionable thing to do.

Unfortunately, such an approach doesn’t work quite as well with little ones. This is the exact way to prompt more stress; the process of moving between places isn’t easy and needs to be reduced by any means possible.

As such, try and stay longer in each location. It might mean that you don’t manage to tick off each and every destination on your list – but trust us, it will save you in terms of stress.

Be shrewd with your baggage

Next, it’s time to be shrewd about your baggage. As we all know, as soon as parenthood comes upon us, a trip to the shop becomes a huge adventure. It means that many of us automatically think that we should consider packing up everything we have with us for our trips away.

Well, it doesn’t have to be like this. Let’s not forget that the more things you take, the more stressful trips become. There are more things to lose, and tired shoulders don’t play well into anyone’s mood. Ultimately, you need to remember that if the worst does happen and you desperately need a particular item, you can simply buy it in your destination country anyway.

Plan your flights around sleep patterns

Of course, this final point can sometimes relate to your budget. After all, we all know how flights at certain times can shoot up in price.

Nevertheless, if you do have the luxury of choosing, try and plan your flights around sleeping patterns. If you know that your little one sleeps on the plane, try and opt for a night flight. Alternatively, if you know they are going to be awake for the entire flight, going for the opposite course of action should be your way forward.

Dream better with these Children’s bedroom alterations

Your child’s bedroom should be a space that relaxes them and makes them feel safe and comfortable, to promote a restful night’s sleep. Tweaking their bedroom space can not only help to boost their sleep quality and duration but it can also help them to dream easier. The longer they sleep, the more REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep cycles they will have, and dreams typically happen in these cycles. Bedroom furniture experts, Room to Grow, share their top tips on how you can optimise your child’s bedroom space for sweet dreams:

 

 

  • Eliminate clutter

 

Your bedroom is your sanctuary, and your children’s is theirs; it should be a relaxing and peaceful space. Clutter can distract from this and make falling asleep difficult. Spending the time to put things in their rightful place can have a big impact – make use of drawers, wardrobes and shelves! If you still find yourself struggling for space, check out the cabin beds for sale from Room to Grow, the useful integrated storage space will ensure clutter is a thing of the past!

 

  • The darker the better

 

Light and darkness are powerful cues that let our bodies know when it’s time to rest or to get up for a new day. The Sleep Foundation advise that light in the bedroom impacts quality of sleep; artificial light after dark can make it harder to fall asleep and to stay asleep. So, consider replacing your child’s curtains with blackout blinds to help keep their body in sleep mode. 

 

  • Invest in quality bed linen

 

When choosing your child’s bedding, as well as looking out for trending unicorn or space designs, it’s also important look out for fabrics with moisture-wicking properties such as cotton, silk and linen. These will absorb excess moisture and keep your child comfortable throughout the night. Synthetic materials have the opposite effect and can actually trap moisture, making them warmer, and disrupting sleep.

 

  • Comfortable mattress

 

A comfortable mattress is key for a good night’s sleep. The Better Sleep Council recommends mattresses are replaced every 7-10 years depending on comfort and support. Ask your child about their night’s sleep, if they wake up feeling achy, it may be a sign the mattress is lacking in support and is due a replacement.

 

  • The view from their bed 

 

Repositioning your child’s bed to offer a clear view of the door is an easy to make change and a simple calming technique. The Healthy Home explains it’ll help your child to drop their guard and to feel they’re in a protected space, hence, feeling they can relax into a peaceful night’s sleep. 

 

  • Bring the outdoors to the bedroom 

 

Not only do plants look great, but some can even help you sleep! Jasmine and Lavender are both known for their relaxing properties, making them an ideal addition for your child’s bedroom to help them wind down during their bed-time routine. Alternatively, a low maintenance option would be an Aloe Vera plant, known as a medicinal plant, it produces oxygen at night and will improve the air within their bedroom making for a more restful slumber! 

 

  • No screen zone

 

Televisions and the light they emit are not conductive for a good night’s sleep. Specifically, the ‘blue light’ they produce, which boosts attention and reaction times is counterproductive to getting your child to sleep. The National Sleep foundation has shown that the light suppresses melatonin production, making it harder to get to sleep and reducing the quality of sleep. 

To promote a sleep haven and the likelihood of good dreams, it is advisable to make the bedroom a ‘no screen zone’! Instead, mount a scenic, relaxing canvas to the wall – seeing something gratifying or inspiring before your child shuts their eyes will lessen any anxiety.

 

5 Point Checklist for Mountain Adventures with Your Kids

Heading to the mountains with your kiddos in tow can provide a lot of fun adventures. Whether you’re looking to go during the winter months for some skiing excitement or you prefer to head out with nicer weather for a fun hike, there are plenty of options to choose from. However, no matter which option you decide to choose, it’s important that you take all necessary precautions. After all, mountainsides can provide additional challenges for those little ones, so be sure to follow this five point checklist for mountain adventures with your kids.

 

  1. Food and Drink

Your child requires sustenance and hydration, and whether you’re on the mountain in cold or warm weather conditions, it’s important you have plenty of food and drink on hand. You know your child best, so you should plan your schedule and food/drink supply accordingly. For instance, if you know your child needs snacks throughout the day, you should prepare to bring plenty of snacks along for the trip. In addition, you may also want to consider keeping your mountainside adventures shorter in duration so you have time to head back to the hotel/cabin for a rest. When you can plan food and drink ahead of time, you can help alleviate any instances where your child has a temper tantrum on the edge of a mountain because they’re hungry.

 

  1. Clothing

It’s very important to put your child in the right type of clothing when you are taking a mountain adventure. Before you pack for your child or get them dressed for the day, it’s very important you take into consideration the following:

  • Weather
  • Outdoor pests
  • Temperature changes based on incline

The outside temperature and weather at the time of your adventure will make a difference in how you dress your child. Be sure to have items on hand like wool socks to keep their feet warm (especially in colder conditions). If it’s raining, you’ll want to ensure they have waterproof clothing on, and if it’s hot, make sure they’re not overheating.

 

In addition to the weather, you also need to consider the outdoor pests. For instance, will you be hiking in an area that is prone to poison ivy, ticks, or other hazardous animals, plants, or pests? You need to know this information to ensure your child is dressed appropriately to keep them from coming into contact with something that’s potentially dangerous.

 

Finally, your child’s clothing should also accommodate changes in temperature based on incline. For instance, you may start out in an 80-degree location, but as you continue to climb, the temperature may drop significantly. If your child is dressed only for that 80-degree weather, you could put them at risk for hypothermia without the proper attire.

 

  1. First Aid Kit

Whenever you are doing anything adventurous with children, it’s very important for you to have a first aid kit on hand. While you hope to never need it, it’s always better to have this on hand just in case of a fall or scrape. Covering a small scrape with a bandage and some ointment could be the difference between your child continuing on the adventure or screaming to go home.

 

  1. Safety Gear

The type of safety gear you will need for your mountain adventure will depend on the age of your child, their behavior, and your actual adventure. For instance, you’ll likely need more safety gear for a young child who is prone to walking away while hiking on a steep mountainside. Consider having items where you can strap your child to your chest (if they’re young enough) or having a tether that connects you to your child. You’ll also want to make sure your child has the right footwear, as it’s important to have climbing boots or snow boots to handle the different weather and terrains. Before you take your adventure, it’s a good idea to head to a local outdoors retailer to ensure you’re getting all the right items.

 

  1. Education

Before you head out on your mountain adventure with a child, it’s important you get all the education you possibly can—for both you and your child. Be sure you have a solid understanding of the area you’re visiting and what exactly you’ll be doing while there. You should also have an understanding of any possible risks or threats to you and your family too. Once you have the basics, be sure to educate your child as best as you can. Make sure they understand how they need to wear certain clothes/gear or that they cannot walk away from you. The more you talk to your child about the adventure, the safer they will be.

 

When it comes to taking mountain adventures with your kids, be sure you have this checklist in place before you go.

 

The New Mojobot Available Now on Kickstarter

It may seem that board games are becoming a thing of the past, as most kids these days would rather play video games or apps. As parents, we can use this technology to help our kids learn and develop skills that they will be able to use in our tech-driven world.

The new Mojobot is the world’s first tangible coding robot and board game that makes it easy for adults and kids to learn the core principles of coding and robotics.

Mojobot is a multiplayer game where players compete to undertake Missions and earn star points. It is equipped with many features such as lights, sounds, sensors, motion, and actions. Mojobot can even pick up tokens, carry them around and deliver them to different locations. It allows kids to get away from the screens and have a hands-on experience learning a valuable skill while having fun at the same time. And the best part is that the whole family can enjoy it together – it’s great for ages 4-99+.

The Mojobot is available now for backing on Kickstarter. The Mojobot Basic Kit includes the Mojobot robot and the Main Console as well as the coding tags, cards, tokens, storybook, map, and charging cables. You also have the option to purchase the Mojobot Extension Kit which will get you an extension console, logic coding tags, additional cards, a book, and a paper origami box.

Basic Info About Mojobot

Mojobot picks up Tokens using a magnet and solenoid actuator. For communication with the Console there is a Bluetooth chip. The robot uses the differential drive and has two wheels and motors for navigation. Mojobot has a microphone which can record sounds and also act as a sound level sensor. The recorded sounds can be played back using its speakers.  Mojobot’s eyes are LEDs that can show different expressions. The tail light can be commanded and changed to different colors. In front of Mojobot there are infrared sensors that can detect distance and presence of objects. Mojobot has infrared navigation sensors that ensure that Mojobot will always move correctly to each location in the map. The infrared sensors will detect the marked square pattern on the corner of each block in the map. This means you can code Mojobot to move in an infinite square loop and still keep its correct position.

Tangible Coding

Tangible coding solutions have been shown to be more effective for teaching, as it is more attractive and easier to play than alternative screen based coding. Having physical coding pieces that kids can touch and feel helps to improve their engagement and memory. Coding and computational thinking is an essential skill for our present time and will be even more important as we progress into the future.