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.

Managing a Major Move with Young Children

A major move can be really stressful for anyone. If you’d like to make it even more challenging, add a few young children to the equation. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to successfully complete a move, keep your children entertained and maintain a sense of peace. There are a few tips you’ll want to employ as you move forward. Consider these four.

1. Plan ahead.
You don’t need to hire someone to help you clean out boxes if you do it in advance. If you decide that you’d like to move in the next year, begin to declutter. Don’t wait until you’re two months away. Take time to go through boxes to throw items away and sell things. If you’re able to put yourself in a position to tackle one box a day, you’ll be in great shape. Wait until the kids go down to bed. Spend thirty minutes to an hour on one box, closet or area. You’d be surprised how much you can tackle within a few months when you dedicate a little bit of time each day. Plus, you would’ve done all of this while the children were asleep. Use your phone or a calendar to keep yourself on track.

2. Create an organized schedule.
When things begin to get a little hectic in the days before the move, find ways to create a schedule for the children. Most children (and adults) thrive on routines. Knowing this, create a schedule for them. Once they get out of school, give them different activities to work on each hour. If they decide that they’d like to spend more time on a particular task, this is fine. After all, the goal is to keep them occupied. Activities like painting, coloring and other arts projects are great for creativity. If your children love puzzles, set up a station for puzzles and popcorn. As dinnertime gets closer, they can enjoy dinner and a good movie. As you’re able to finish up your moving tasks, you can join them.

3. Consider hiring a babysitter.
A babysitter is a godsend when you’re trying to get the children out of the house while you manage errands and more. Sometimes, it can be stressful to stay on top of everyone’s schedule and a move. If you know that your children are in the care of someone you trust, you’ll be fine. Plus, a babysitter isn’t just helpful for the times when you’re taking care of moving details. A babysitter is helpful when you’d like to get away from all of the chaos to take a break. At least once a week, make sure you’re doing something to pour back into yourself. Meet up with a friend to enjoy a delicious lunch. Head over to the salon to get your nails done. Go to the spa to receive a nice massage. Whatever helps you to unwind and maintain a sense of calm is good to include. Once you incorporate the elements of self-care with a major move, you’ll be able to approach the situation with a clear and peaceful perspective.

4. Hire movers for the big day.
When you have to do a lot of heavy lifting, it’s very easy to get exhausted, flustered and frustrated. This is why it’s best to hire a great moving company to take care of the heavy lifting. When you’re moving local, many people assume that you don’t necessarily need the help of professional movers. Though you might not be driving across the country, your furniture still needs to get from Point A to Point B. Plus, movers are really beneficial because they lift heavy items for a living. They understand how to properly manage and lift without causing damage to their bodies. If you try to lift the couch and load it onto a moving truck, you could pull a muscle or put too much pressure on your back if you don’t do it properly. Don’t put yourself in a position to harm yourself. Plus, while the professional movers are taking care of the heavy items, you can spend time with your children in the other room.

If you don’t make a plan, you’re asking for a chaotic experience. If the move is unexpected and you have no choice but to make things happen quickly, consider getting help from people you trust. Close family members and friends can either babysit or take over parts of the move so that you’re not as stressed. Before long, you’ll be settled in your new place with the kids in tow.

Portable North Pole Toys for the Holiday Season #GiftGuide

Portable North Pole (PNP) brings the magic of Christmas to life with personalized video messages and calls directly from Santa to children young and old. Children (and parents) have sent more than 210 million videos globally since they started 10 years ago.

New for 2018 – the10th Anniversary of Portable North Pole- a line of adorable products, toys and plush dolls that lets kids live the magic of the season while encouraging good behavior:

  • NEW! Letters to Santa Kit: Take your personalized video to the next level using the Letters to Santa Kit, as the included video message reply will include your child’s hand-written letter. Each kit comes with stationary, envelopes, festive Christmas stickers and an officialNorth Pole post office stamp and ink pad. MSRP $12.99.
  • NEW! Twenty-Four Sleeps Until Santa Christmas Storybook:Kids count down the days of December with Santa! Every page offers the “Search and Find” game where kids hunt for Santa’s missing keys and a merry advent verse to read each day. Plus, the book can be personalized with a child’s photo and details. MSRP $12.99.
  • Do-Good Elf:Inspires learning about the true spirit of the holidays by encouraging kids to teach their elf the difference between naughty and nice.

The Do-Good Elf catches you doing GOOD vs. other elves that “spy” on you and report bad behavior back to Santa…

Comes with four (4) personalized videos where Santa checks in on the child teaching progress and more. MSRP $24.99.

  • Karamelli Santa’s Sweetest Baby Reindeer Plush and Okida Santa Playful Husky Puppy Plush: Children teach their cuddly baby pet about the spirit of Christmas. MSRP $12.99.

All toys will be available across North America at most Walmart locations and at Walmart.com this fall.

Get Cooking With Pop Oh Ver

My kids love to play pretend! From princess adventures to playing school; the seem to have the most fun when they make use of their imaginations. Playing in the kitchen has always been a big hit with all of my kids. When they got to try out a few fun sets from Pop Oh Ver they declared them all to be a lot of fun for their little kitchen play sessions.

My youngest daughter is all about sandwiches, so she was more than happy to get her hands on the Pop Oh Ver plus play food set . It has all the fixings to make a soft and squishy sandwich. She has had so much fun offering her little brother sandwich after sandwich and a hotdog here and there too.

The Pots and Pans set and the Master Chef set have been intriguing to my oldest daughter, who loves to help mix things up in the kitchen. I love that the pots and pans set contains a nice assortment of kitchen necessities to keep the kids entertained, and playing with enough variety to mix things up and enough toys to go around with 4 kids! The Master Chef set is a cute addition to the kitchen. I love seeing my kids dressing up like a little chef!

The Pop Oh Ver Counter and Stove set are so much fun, and I love that they pop over a kitchen chair to create a super fun way to play, even with limited space. This would be a perfect gift idea for children that live in apartments or smaller houses this holiday season!

We loved the assortment Pop Oh Ver offers as well as how cute and squishy the play food is! We have been pleased with these toys and would happily recommend them to other families. Pop Oh Ver play food has quickly become a favorite for me personally because it is so child friendly, that all of my kids can enjoy it, even my little two year old!

Greg Page, The Original “Yellow Wiggle” Has a New Project #WhatIsYourChildWatching #ad #ExploreDiscoverAndGrow

Greg Page, the origional “Yellow Wiggle” of “The Wiggles” Children’s TV show and music, recently awsnered some quesitons for us about his new project, “Explore, Discover, and Grow”. Here’s what he has to say.

greg page

What will it take to launch “Explore, Discover, and Grow”?

Explore, Discover and Grow is a massive project which is going to take a lot of passion, hard work, dedication and some money to bring it to life!  We are working at the moment to “pre-sell” as many subscription packages as possible so we can gauge the demand for the product. This will also enable us to get started on production for the series before we launch the mass-marketing campaign next year.  It is also a major objective to give the people that back the project in its development phase, a major discount on the content that will be offered when we go live with the series next year. Essentially, if you get in now, on the ground level, we will be rewarding you with the equivalent of a 50% discount on what you would otherwise be paying if you subscribe when we are live with the program next year.

What made you want to work in children’s entertainment?

It’s an interesting question – and it probably sounds a little trite, but I just had this feeling inside me from a young age that I was going to be on stage, and then as I got older, the feeling turned to being in the education field.  As the “universe” would have it, I met Anthony Field (the original, and still-current Blue WIggle) and he suggested that I get into early childhood teaching, as it involved a lot of music and creativity – for the child and also the teacher!  So I went along to check out the early childhood diploma course that Anthony was doing at the time, and that sealed it for me. I think I had found my calling, and after seeing what was achievable with The Wiggles and how we applied our teaching knowledge to entertaining children it has been a passion of mine ever since – to create entertainment that is purposeful and delivers outcomes for children.

What was life like after leaving “The Wiggles”?

Life after The Wiggles was tough – I had been removed from what was essentially all of my adult life – my passion and my driving force.  I was also going through a marriage breakdown which was affecting me greatly, so I was battling a number of factors. But, I knew that life could, and would be good again.  I met someone who I had known in school, and we started dating and then finally married. This lifted my spirits incredibly and then finally, I was able to start creating content for children again after 5 years of being out of The Wiggles.  That period where I was unable to work in the field of children’s entertainment was difficult, because that was all I had ever known. I tried other things which didn’t work out for me, and then, I got back to doing what felt right. I have now been a co-creator or creator of over 40 brands, with 2 of them being aired on national broadcasters, and 4 in co-productions with animation studios.  So, it has been a long road to get back to doing what I love, and I am SO excited to be producing content that is going to really restore a balance in children’s screen-time diets with Explore, Discover and Grow!

Are you still in touch with any of your castmates?

Not often, they are still very busy.  And the funny thing is that it was never normal, or usual for us to contact each other outside of the business of The Wiggles!  Not that we weren’t friends or friendly, it’s just that was the way it was – we spent SO much time together on the road, that when we got home to Sydney, we would just stay out of each other’s pockets.  And when I got sick and left the group, it kind of just stayed that way really – the guys were touring and they would check in on me every now and then, but then I got “better” and kept doing our own things.  I see them maybe once a year and do “reunion” shows of the original lineup of The Wiggles for the original fans who are now in their 20’s – we play at licensed venues here in Australia where our “over-age” fans can now enjoy a drink while they watch The Wiggles perform live!  I must say it is a strange thing, but it is a LOT of fun, because we just deliver a 100% Wiggles experience – keeping things on the same level that we did for these fans when they were 3 or 4 years old – and they love being able to reminisce about their childhoods.

How has life changed since your diagnoses of autonomic neuropathy/ dysautonomia?  

Things are back to normal for me.  It’s one of those things that I have had all my life, and just thought everyone felt the way I did in certain situations.  There’s no doubt that years of touring and losing sweat from my body affected me greatly toward the end of 2006, and that was undoubtedly compounded by the event so my personal life.  However, like a lot of things, once you finally get a diagnosis and you understand what you are dealing with, things can be managed, and it doesn’t affect me at all today with what I do in my life.  I am very lucky, and I believe that everything happens for a reason. That part of my life led me to a new chapter of my life where I am able to create again, with a new vigour and energy that I didn’t have before.

Was your family musical?

My mum played piano from a young age, and we had a piano in the house from the time I was about 7 years old.  My sister learned piano and did a few grade exams, but gave up. I learned guitar from age 6, but never really practiced enough , or properly which I now regret, as I am nowhere near as good on the guitar as I think I would have been had I practised harder, but hey, you live and learn – sometimes!

Have you ever performed for adults?

What was that like for you personally in comparison with performing for children? Yes, I have performed for adults, and it is a very different experience.  I enjoy it, but it is different. I am lucky that most adults know me from The Wiggles so I can fall back on my WIggles persona a little bit, which is easy to do, because it is inherently my persona I guess anyway!  But it does make it easier to break the ice in those performance situations where people might be a little bit like “OK, this guy can sing and dance for kids, but is he going to be able to entertain me?” – and hopefully I do!

What do you see yourself doing next?

I think I will always be creating for children, and trying to find ways that are enjoyable for them to learn new things – either about the world or themselves.  The world is in a funny situation right now I think. We are tying to progress things socially, culturally and technologically, and I think that sometimes we forget the basics of what makes us who we are.  There is no need for pushing boundaries for the sake of it, and I guess I a bit conservative when it comes to children’s edutainment – if it ain’t broke, then why fix it? There are a raft of educational shows that worked for children over the course of many years – shows that were not fast-paced, and allowed children to digest the content easily.  It seems that a lot of content these days is more about the quality of the production rather than the content, and I think that’s a shame, so I am going to be sticking to my path on this as I feel it si the right thing to do for the best interests of the children! I think this is my life, and my passion!