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10 Cleaning Tips for Children

This weekend's goal: spring cleaning! Spring is an amazing season of growth and renewal after winter’s hibernation and the perfect time to clean out all the dust and dirt accumulated during the dead of winter. If your children are able to help out with household cleaning, I highly recommend getting them involved. Kids love helping out with chores that feel like games. 

Chores are a win-win situation. Think about it: as an adult, apart from the occasional volunteering, most of the work you do requires payment. Kids quickly learn how capitalism works. Instead of giving a weekly allowance “just because”, reward them for their hard work from the start. And don’t go easy on them if they don’t perform their required tasks; if they don’t sweep they don’t get their merit points/money. I know I sound harsh here but would your boss pay you even if you didn’t perform your duties?

 

 

So for you lucky parents who have kids aged 4-5+, here are a few cleaning tips for kids:

Organize: Kids love to separate and sort according to likeness. Truthfully, all humans like to categorize and maintain some kind of semblance of order. This can apply to many different household duties but here are a few that come to mind: sort the mess of mismatched socks, sort through the chipped and cracked dishes/glasses, arrange their toys/games according to type, re-fold the mess that is your linen closet, etc.


KidKraft Storage Bins
The KidKraft Storage Shelf with included bins is one of bestsellers!
Inventory: Kids who can write love taking inventory counts. Make it fun for them: ask them to go through the pantry and list everything that is empty, half-full or unused; you can use the same type of list while going through the closet of shampoos, soaps, and hair products.
Lists: I have found that lists are essential for men. Well, my husband at least. If I ask him to “clean the bathroom” he looks at me blankly. You see, I have this “virtual” list in my head that I mentally check off as I’m cleaning but my husband doesn’t see it the same way. I’m willing to bet that many kids would feel flustered if asked to clean “something” without being given directives. I would recommend detailed lists of everything you ask. It serves the purpose of visualizing exactly how much they have to accomplish and they feel a sense of pride as they check off the items on their list.
Manageability: Make sure the chores you assign are age-appropriate. Nothing is worse than a child feeling dejected because he/she can’t perform the tasks his/her parent asks because of age. Also, make sure the items on the list can be finished in a set amount of time. A child will be get bored and/or discouraged if he/she can’t finish in about the assigned time. Obvious example: don’t have your 5 year old clean the fine china; instead, have your 5 year old clean the exterior of the curio that contains the fine china.
GuideCraft Kitchen Helper
How cute is this stool? Your kids will really feel involved being safety at counter level.
Accountability: Go over the tasks your kids have accomplished once they are finished. Humans love positive feedback and constructive criticism is integral to your child understanding how to improve his/her work. If your kid’s job was to clean the windows and they are covered in fingerprints and spaghetti sauce, I would suggest you don’t praise that as excellent work; instead, show him/her how you expect the windows to look once they are clean and have them demonstrate his/her ability to accomplish same.
Creative cleaning: This is the most obvious of chores but often the hardest to get your kid to complete. Making cleaning a “fun chore” is an oxymoron (in my view) so as parents, we need to find creative ways to get our kids involved. Have them complete cleaning chores that are in 10-15 minute segments. Also, try to get your children to value the cleaning they have accomplished; sometimes if they understand how much time it took, they won’t be as inclined to dirty it as quickly.
Real rewards: Demonstrating that their work will earn them tangible gifts is a big factor. Though some kids may appreciate the delayed satisfaction of a savings account, I’m willing to bet that most will enjoy the piggy bank of saved-up money to spend on their choice of a toy. Give them a goal chart and show your kids how each chore helps them approach their ultimate goal.
Recycle-Reuse: Spring cleaning is a great time to go through your unused items and donate to charity. I’m sure your kids have amassed a large number of toys that have not been played with in months or more. Ask them to go through their toys with the aim of donating the ones they no longer need/want. Once the pile is complete, bring them to the charity and have them hand it over. If you aren’t opposed to buying used clothing and/or toys, let your child choose a few “new” toys to bring home.
Teamwork: If you are cleaning, chances are your kids will want to help out in some way. I know as soon as I start cleaning, my kids are immediately in my way. Remember that teamwork is always faster, more productive and much more fun
Have fun: Yes, chores suck. But they are–as my mother would say–a necessary evil. Instead of dreading spring cleaning (or cleaning of any type), visualize the clean results: a fresh smelling, organized and livable home! Just as your kids like goals and lists, give yourself the same rewards. And at least try to have fun!
  • Nurzery Staff

Crib or Play Yard or Both? 8 Things to Consider

Play Yard vs Crib?

If you are a new parent, excitedly waiting for the arrival of your little one, you may be overwhelmed by all the things you are going to need. There are a lot of baby products on the market so it can be hard to distinguish between what you really need vs. what you really want. One of the most important things you will purchase for your baby is their sleeping area. Along with the many types of cribs to choose from you also have the option of buying a play yard. You may be wondering which ones to choose and what will work best for your family. Here are 8 things to consider:

1. What is your space like? Whether you have a large room to transform into a nursery or if you are carving out space in your current bedroom, you may or may not have the room to fit a crib. If your space is small, a play yard may just be the perfect item to purchase for your baby. But if you have the space for a crib, that piece of furniture might be the best for you.

2. How often will you travel with your baby? If you are planning to travel often with your little one, having a play yard is very convenient. Not only are they easy to fold down but they are easy to assemble back up when you get to your destination. 

Super portable and ultra-light, this playpen doubles as a play area and nap space.


3. Where do you want your baby to sleep in relation to you? During the first few months, nightly feeding sessions are inevitable. A play yard is perfect for this because you can temporarily set them up near your bed. When they start to finally sleep through the night, they can go to their crib in their own room.

4. What is your budget? A crib generally tends to be more costly than a play yard. If you are trying to keep costs low, a play yard will probably be the best choice that fits your budget.

At only $57 (and free shipping!), this is the most affordable sleep areas for your infant! 


5. How long do you want your item to last? If you are looking for a bed that will grow with your child, a convertible crib will be able to do just that. There are many cribs that you can purchase that have the option of converting into a toddler bed as well as a twin bed. A play yard has a life expectancy of about a year to a year and half until your child "outgrows" it.

This cute play yard converts from newborn to infant stages and beyond.


6. Do you plan on having more children? If you are planning to have more children, having one of both may be very helpful. Your older child can move to the crib while your newborn will be perfectly happy in the play yard.

7. How mobile do you want it? A play yard is great if you want the option of being able to move your baby’s sleeping place. Many times if there are two children sharing a room, they may do just fine sleeping together at night but have difficulties transitioning to sleep during the day for a nap because they are just playing with each other. Having a play yard allows you to put a sleeping place temporarily in a different room during the day for naps.

COSCO FUNSPORT DELUXE PLAY YARD SHELLEY

 

In less than a minute, this play yard goes from 28"/10" to full-sized...and oh-so-cute!

COSCO FUNSPORT DELUXE PLAY YARD SHELLEY


8. Do you need it to double as a play pen? Maybe you just need a place where you can put your baby in to play without worrying that they are crawling off and getting themselves into trouble. A play yard is perfect for this. You can take it outside to garden and your little one can play in it while still being close to you and not getting into things they shouldn’t. I remember putting my son into his play yard as I cooked. It kept him busy while I prepared our meals and I felt confident knowing I could watch him while he played and he couldn't escape while my back was momentarily turned! 

  • Nurzery Staff

Bath Safety - 10 Important Tips

In honor of National Bath Safety month (January), we thought it would be useful to review some of the most important bath safety rules. After pools, baths are the leading cause of injury and death in the home and drowning is the number one cause of death in children aged 1-4. We know everyone is generally aware of the bath time “best practices” but it’s never a bad time to refresh those rules.

Infants require slightly modified rules depending on their age and abilities. And while it’s perfectly acceptable to bathe your infant in the kitchen or bathroom sink directly, there are infant bathtubs designed to make your life slightly easier.

 

1. Always, always watch your kids while in the bathtub.
I had to put this one first because it seems like the most logical rule to bath safety but it’s often overlooked by parents of toddler-aged children. Obviously an infant that can’t hold up its own body needs 100% supervision but it seems acceptable to leave a toddler who can walk and run in the bath alone. Please don’t leave your child/ren alone in a bathtub at any time. Government websites recommend 100% supervision of all children under 5. While it’s difficult to assess when a child is ready to bathe alone, I would say that once a child truly understands water danger, he/she is ready to be left alone to bathe.
2. Never leave an older child to supervise a younger child.
If you aren’t ready to leave your older child to babysit for his/her younger sibling, then you shouldn’t be ready to let the older child supervise bath time. It’s often difficult for a child to understand certain dangerous consequences and they do not have the skills to react to a life threatening situation.
    3. Check the water temp before putting your child in the bath.
    This is another logical one that even I have sometimes overlooked. You start the water at what feels like a comfortable temperature only to realize once the bath is ready, it’s suddenly really hot. The ideal water temperature is 98-100⁰F (37-38⁰C) for children. Adults tend to like the water warmer but children have sensitive skin that doesn’t need to be exposed to higher temperatures. We highly recommend using a water thermometer and they make cute rubber duck thermometers that double as a functional toy. But even with the thermometer, it’s still best to check the water each and every time you put your children in for bath time.

     

    4. Get all your bathing accessories ready before the bath.
    The number one reason parents step away from the bath is to get a towel, or washcloth, or some kind of favorite toy. Make sure to have everything (towels, soap, toys, shampoo, etc) available before you put your child in so you don’t have to scramble once you’ve already begun. I’m a big fan of the shower caddy and toy holders to ensure everything is organized before and after bath time. I’ve seen some really cute designs or you can simply get a plastic container at the dollar store and drill drain holes at the bottom.

     Ikea Bath Tub Hack

    How great is this bath tub hack?

    5. Buy an appropriate infant bathtub.
    I said earlier that bathing an infant in the sink is perfectly acceptable but I highly recommend buying a dedicated tub. They are designed with the correct positioning in mind and it really takes the additional stress off holding, monitoring head placement AND washing. Also, the bath can double as a toy and accessory holder once your children has outgrown the tub. If you drill drain holes at the bottom, the plastic basin can live in your tub while not in use and effectively drains/dries to prevent mold growth. The model pictured below is one of our most popular because it grows with your child from infant to toddler years.
    Safety 1st Convertible Tub

     This bath tub converts from infant to toddler bath!

    6. Empty the bath water after bath time.
    Water is a drowning hazard even if bath time is over. Even if there is a rim around the bath, toddlers are top heavy and leaning over the tub is enough to accidentally slip into the water. Children can drown in only a few inches of water. Drowning can be very quick – it can take only a moment. Young children can also drown silently, without coughing or splashing, so you might not even realize they’re in danger.
    7. Use a kneeling pad.
    Bath safety isn't just for kids! Since using a kneeling pad, I have found that my knees and back hurt much less after bath time. Before using the kneeling pad, because of the pressure on my knees from the hard surface, I had the tendency to lean forward, causing a painful and unnatural curve in my back. Now that I've been using the kneeling pad, my back is in a more natural, upright position and I have much less back/neck and knee pain. You can purchase a dedicated bath kneeling pad or you can purchase one from the gardening section.
    8. Place an anti-slip mat on the tub floor.
    The combination of soapy water makes for a slippery tub floor. Also, toddlers (at least mine) have a tendency to stand up a lot in the tub. It's likely due to their compulsion for constant motion but it makes for a dangerous situation. I have found that my kids slip much less with an anti-slip mat under their feet during bath time. Make sure to rinse it well as soap scum builds up fast.
    9. Check for mold growth.
    This one doesn't fall under the immediate safety hazard but it's certainly gross. I once cut open a rubber ducky bath toy and I found months of mold growth inside the duck. Blech! Also, my son tends to throw non-bath appropriate toys (metal cars) into the bath and I occasionally miss these during clean up which leads to rust growth. Make sure your kids use only water/bath appropriate toys and periodically check those too. Even the "anti-mold" bath toys can fall victim to the yucky black-green spores. Life hack: Try gluing the blow hole shut with a hot glue gun. 
    10. Learn CPR!
    This isn't just for bath time. This is a really important skill to master. Many of your local police/fire departments actually offer free or very inexpensive courses taught by professionals. CPR can seriously mean the difference between life or death. Remember an ambulance takes at least 5-10 minutes to arrive.
      Be safe and have fun!

      11 Tips for Flying with Kids--yes, it is possible!

      Imagine this: your child screaming his or her lungs out (kicking, punching and a deluge of tears) in the middle of a quiet overnight flight. Your only relief? The dark cabin—at least you can’t see everyone’s dagger eyes (but you can hear it in their frustrated “tsk tsks”).

      Ahhh. Air travel with toddlers. The world is our oyster but because air travel is such a daunting (exhausting, frustrating, frightening) journey, many parents shy away from amazing vacation adventures. I know because I was one of them. My husband and I planned on going to Thailand for our annual getaway with our toddler but because the flight is so long, we ended up passing up the opportunity. Next year? Perhaps. We’ll see if we have the guts to attempt 24 hours of travel time (more than half of which is spent in a plane).

      But there is light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. We have flown with our son (albeit Hawaii and not Thailand) and it is completely doable. Here are a few tips:

      1. Don’t stress. I know. This is like me asking you not to think of a pink elephant and all you can think of is a pink elephant in a blue tutu. How about this: try not to stress. You’ve made the decision to fly with your kids and you certainly aren’t going to back out last minute so make the most of the journey. I’m willing to wager that the typical adage “the destination isn’t important; it’s the journey there” does not apply here but still, enjoy your time—you are on vacation, after all.

      2. Bring toys. And I don’t mean toys for you. Forget about the in-flight entertainment for adults. Don’t even think about opening that Kindle/iPad,etc. It’s just not going to happen. As long as you realize that from the beginning, you’ll be better off. Now, on to the real toys. Bring toys that your kids haven’t seen before but that you know they’ll like. Even if you are the “no tv” kind of parent, I highly recommend forgoing this rule and bringing your kid’s favorite program or introducing a new one.

      Here's a highly portable and creative toy for kids:

      This kept my son busy for almost 90 minutes on our flight!

       

      3. Pack light. How is that even possible with all the junk you are carrying to entertain your child in the cabin? This is a good rule for packing in general. Unless you are trekking in Antarctica, you can be pretty sure that you’ll find diapers and clothing for your child at your destination (maybe even cheaper). Is it worth the hassle of lugging around a gigantic suitcase just to be sure? Keep your carry-on bag light and manageable. You are already juggling baby/bags/passports/tickets/insanity. The “just in case” syndrome is a vacationer’s worst enemy. Pack the stuff that really matters—leave the rest at home.

      Let the kids carry some of their own stuff. Kids with a job are less likely to act out.

      4. Be on time! In fact, because you are travelling with baby, leave extra early. Don’t do as we did: late for our flight, we were rushing like idiots through security and I had a panic attack when the slow as molasses security guard decided to test every bottle of formula, lotion and doodad I had stupidly packed. We BARELY made the flight. Do yourself a favor and leave on time (or early).

      5. Pack something warm & bring food/snacks. I know this is contrary to the 3rd tip but airplane cabins can get really chilly and nowadays, there’s barely any food options, especially for kids! Don’t rely on the airline’s supply of blankets; they often run out of them. Bring something that can double as sweater (even if you go to a tropical destination, you are likely to encounter a chilly night) or fleecy sleeper. Bring plenty of snacks. Even if you don’t finish them inflight, you will certainly eat them up along the way. Keeping your child comfortable eliminates one source of the tantrums.

      6. Apologize in advance. Make friends not enemies. I once read a story online about a couple who apologized to the passengers by writing an apology note along with a goodie bag. Obviously this is not feasible for most people (and I’m sure, if the story is true, the plane must’ve been tiny) but I found that a good way of calming the nerves is to walk my son up and down the aisles to show people that the source of the screaming is a cute, innocent child (and not a demon). Once people see your darling angel they might not be as easily agitated by the eardrum shattering screeches. Well, maybe not but it’s worth a try.

      7. Make friends with the staff. I highly recommend being overly nice to the flight attendants. If your child just can’t get enough OJ or you need a million napkins to wipe up the spilled OJ, you really want them on your side. Some airlines have perks for kids like little snacks, air plane activity kits and who knows…maybe your child could actually meet the pilot in the cockpit (if that’s even still done).

      8. Bring drugs. I know, I’m going to get in trouble for this one but hear me out: I’m an adult and I get terrible motion sickness. I know I feel much more comfortable with some motion sickness drugs in me so if your kid suffers from motion sickness, I don’t think it’s a big problem to give them some drugs to settle their stomach. Of course, it’s also a huge side bonus that these motion sickness drugs make your kid drowsy. Look, if your child is totally uncomfortable, stressing you out and screaming his/her lungs out, I really don’t think slipping them a little sleepy-aid (ONCE a year!) is going to harm them.

      9. Tire them out. But make sure you get enough sleep! Do not, I repeat, do not stay up all night packing or stressing about whether you’ve packed everything (been there, done that) and Go-To-Bed. If your child is physically tired, you are more likely to get a restful flight. I can only hope that my son is tired enough to sleep a few hours on the plane. 

      10. Stroller it. I’ve had a few friends ask me about the stroller situation. If I were you, I’d bring the stroller all the way to the gate. Airlines allow it and it’s SO much easier to get around in the airport. Also, since you are lugging all the other travel gear (read: crap), it’s nice to have your child buckled in with nowhere to run!

      If possible, bring a stroller with a one hand closing mechanism:

      At only 15 lbs and with a max child weight of 50 lbs, you'll get years of use out of this stroller!

      11. Bulkhead if you can. If you get the bulkhead seat, you really are in for a bonus. I’ve sat in the bulkhead seat ONCE and I was visibly pregnant and begged with puppydog eyes when I checked in. So most likely, you won’t be getting the bulkhead seats. If you do, you are in super luck: they have (on international flights) bassinets, super leg room, no one in front to worry about and up close and personal screens.

      Christmas Bonus!

      Make lists. Lots of lists. Lists are a mother’s best friend. I make lists of my lists. I might be joking but actually I'm not. It's incredible how much stuff you need when traveling with a child and I certainly believe in making lists to ensure you've packed every essential. 

      Lastly? Enjoy! You're on vacation. And...Good luck!

      • Nurzery Staff

      6 reasons why you need a high chair

      Introducing solid foods to your infant is a fun and exciting time for parents. Watching your child discover new tastes and textures is always a great experience and it is a unique bonding time with baby. Before having my first child, I always assumed high chairs were just bulky contraptions that served no real purpose. Boy was I wrong! Here are 6 reasons why you really need to invest in a high chair.

       

      1. They are safe. You don’t have to worry about your child falling off of or out of a high chair as long as the harness is secured. Also, for young infants who are just starting to gain more muscle in their necks, high chairs with a recline can accommodate infants from 4-5 months old. While young babies are still learning how to sit up on their own, you can rest assured that your baby will be properly supported in a high chair. Most high chairs also have a 3 point or a 5 point harness to buckle them in – perfect for any little escape artist.

      Mickey High Chair

      This Mickey Mouse High Chair has 3 recline positions for all life stages. 

      2. Easier to feed baby. When your child is in a high chair, it is a lot easier to feed them. You can face them and spoon feed them a lot easier. The high chair tray is also great to place a few tiny finger foods and allow them to feed themselves. Learning to use their fingers and feeding themselves is a very important milestone and it sets the stage for much more than eating food. 

      Safety 1st high chair

      While not exactly a high chair, this booster has the added convenience of a space-saving design. Strapped to another chair, this booster gives enough height to save parent's backs during feeding time.

      3. Helps practice and develop good dining habits. When in a high chair, your little one is learning how to eat at a dinner table. This is by practicing good dining habits. They start to understand what meal times are and when we eat throughout the day. When sitting in the high chair they will learn to anticipate that now is eating time and will be less resistant to eating in the future. This is especially important to develop early on because toddlers are notoriously picky eaters! (Trust me, I have one!)

      Cosco Simple Fold High Chair

      This high chair is great because it folds flat in seconds and its maximum height is 50 lbs!

      4. Easy cleanup. This sounds like a no brainer but trust me, kids make huge, out of this world messes with their food. I found the messiest stage was between 12 months to about 2 years, peaking at 18 months and the ease of high chair clean up was a lifesaver. High chairs have a special layer of plastic that makes clean up a breeze (try to get dried up puree off a wooden table--it's a nightmare) and they are often equipped with machine washable padding and dishwasher safe trays. 

      Safety 1st Clean and Comfy Booster

      This is a such a neat idea: easy to clean booster with an included adult chair protector. 

      5. Helps develop independent eating habits. Having your child in a high chair is a great way to help them develop independent eating. It is here that they can learn how to use feeding utensils such as spoon and fork along with bowls and plates. The high chair tray makes all of these items much easier for them to get a hold of. This is great for gross motor development.

      Foundations Secure Sitter

      This high chair enables children to safely self-seat with minimal assistance from parents or caregiver, which builds self confidence in the child while minimizing back strain for the parent or caregiver.

       

       

      6. Easy to Supervise. Having a child in a high chair makes it very easy to supervise them. They can’t crawl or go anywhere and you can keep them busy in a high chair with food while you work on something else such as washing the dishes after a meal. I have many fond memories of strapping my son into his high chair while he munched on cheerios and he and I "cooked" together. Many toys are made specifically for high chairs with suction cups that allow parents to stick the toy to the tray.

      SAFETY 1ST SNACK & SCRIBBLE BOOSTER CHAIR

      This booster has a cool built-in toy tray for your children. 

      The tray is easily removed once food is ready to be served. 

      Have you seen our Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse Branded Merchandise?

      Are you the ultimate Disney fan? Do you love the adorable Minnie Mouse pink bow and Mickey Mouse's ears? Then you should check out our Mickey Mouse and Minnie branded merchandise! These items are not only stylish but they are branded by everyone’s beloved childhood character. But beware, these items are selling out! So make sure you pick up your favorite Mickey Mouse or Minnie Mouse items as soon as possible.
      In the Mickey Mouse items, they showcase classic colors of red, white, black and gray. This is the Mickey design you'll remember from your own childhood. With Minnie Mouse branded items, they are a beautiful classic color pallet of pink, white, black and gray. Beautifully crafted with high quality fabrics and sturdy plastic, these items help you bring the Disney magic with you all the time.
      You can purchase Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse items in an infant car seat, travel system, booster seat, convertible car seats, booster car seat, high chair and play yards. Purchase them all to have a full cohesive look when it comes to all your baby gear. The sets are meant to be paired for your baby girl or boy.
      What makes these Mickey and Minnie branded items even better is that they are priced great. They are all very affordable and well made. These items will last you past the duration of your little ones younger years and can be passed down to their younger siblings. Be sure to check your child's car seat's expiration date--those do expire.
      Mickey Mouse highchair
      One of the best Mickey Mouse branded items is the flat fold high chair. This design is made to be sturdy but also to be light weight enough so that you can easily move it around your kitchen and dining area. You can also fold this high chair flat, which makes it perfect for storing when you need it out of the way. The Mickey Mouse image adorned seat pad is very easy to wipe off, even for the messiest of messes. Your little one can sit comfortably in this high chair as it has a 3 position adjustable tray and has a cup holder that helps them avoid drink spills (big bonus!). A 5 point security harness helps parents feel secure that their child is safely protected in their high chair and will not fall out.
      Children love seeing their favorite familiar face. There is just something about the Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse character that all children love. Our Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse branded merchandise is one of our best sellers for a reason. Mickey and Minnie have stayed popular for so many years because they are truly universally loved and timeless characters.