Babysitting Tricks: How to Keep the Kids Busy and Happy

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So you have been tasked with taking care of your friend’s children, but you are dreading that you won’t have enough fun and games to keep them busy while you’re there. What you need are a few creative ideas that will keep those kids happy! After all, the last thing that you want kids to say is that they are bored. Luckily, we have compiled a few tips below for how you can entertain any children you are babysitting.

Outdoor adventures

If it’s the right time of year, playing outside is a great idea. Some games you can play outside are softball, soccer, tag, hide and seek, and basketball. If you have the parents’ permission, you could even take the children to a local playground. Otherwise, you can stick to the backyard or front yard. And children are incredibly imaginative, so just agreeing to play outside will likely open up a world of possibilities for them. Another great part about playing outside? It will keep the children active and hopefully ensure that they fall asleep by bedtime!

Coloring books

On the other hand, if the kids are staying inside, you can get their creativity flowing with a coloring book. With smartphones and tablets, you don’t need to worry about messy books and crayons ending up getting scrawled on the walls. You can download coloring book apps on Google Play that are fun for kids and adults and that are cheaper and certainly cleaner than ‘real’ coloring books. A coloring book app is likely to have dozens more designs than you would find in an actual book.

Board games

Board games are another great idea for doing something fun together as a group. Board games work especially great if you are babysitting more than one child and need something to keep them occupied all at once. Of course, other games are suitable for just two players, such as checkers or chess, in case you are babysitting just one child. While many families will have their own board games, it is always a good idea to bring over your own just in case.

Cooking

Children love to feel like they are helping with grown-up activities, especially in the kitchen. Cooking a meal or snack together is a lot of fun and allows children to unleash their inner chefs. Be sure to allow them to participate in stages of the cooking process so long as it is safe for them. And making simple meals feel silly—like pretending that those spaghetti noodles are worms—is bound to provide lots of delight. Cooking with children can also present a great opportunity to teach them about nutrition and how to stay healthy.

Babysitting can be loads of fun as long as you come prepared with creative ideas about how to keep the children occupied. The above suggestions will ensure that the next time a friend, neighbor, or relative asks you to babysit you will have the tools you need to make sure your babysitting time is remembered as a fun and delightful one!

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Six Versatile (Uncommon but Worthwhile) Gifts for a Budgeted Mother

~Article contributed by Amanda G.

 

Pregnancy comes with it a great deal of excitement and a twinge of realization about finances. After all, there’s going to be a new person in the household, which means the normal lifestyle and expenses need to be shifted to accommodate. The last thing an expecting mother wants to deal with are the little things since so many bigger decisions need to be made.

A baby shower or one of the early birthdays are one of those traditions which we participate in to provide the necessary resources to the mother. It’s a fun activity to sit down, talk with the expecting, and others participating; it’s a great opportunity to help a fellow loved one with those items that may have slipped their mind since they do have bigger issues to tackle.

If you’re like me and are absolutely stumped about what to get for these types of occasions, then look no further because I have you covered in the type of items that every mother could use (which may not always be on their list of wants and needs):

  • Footwear – Kids grow quickly and although they don’t exactly enjoy socks as a gift later in life it’s still a great one, overall, because it’s an essential piece of apparel in most climates. A pair or two of seamless socks are a great gift because they’ll grow with the child thanks to a lack of traditional heels; it’ll also be great because they use fibers which prevent the “stink” you’d get with normal cotton. Socks may not be the most thrilling gift but they’re certainly ones that’ll last.
  • Smartphone – A tech device so early on? YES! You can limit smartphones so that children are only able to access information and apps which you deem appropriate. You could use these permissions to setup the device so it has educational apps and access to content that will help them excel in school; it takes a little configuring but smartphones are perfect for youth because it keeps their interest and provides a wealth of new information to learn and grow.
  • Board Games – There are hundreds of board games available online that aren’t readily found in the major retail stores. What’s neat about these games is that many have educational undertones such as teaching mathematics. Classic board games are also fantastic for bonding experiences along with the learning process; these continue to deliver many years after they’ve been purchased which makes them a great gift!
  • Savings Bonds – Most gifts given during the early years are those which will probably be quickly discarded because the child ages so quickly and changes taste. However, a savings bond can be a great alternative to your normal gift because it can be purchased and provide decent returns when they’re ready to enter college. Take what you would from the normal purchase of gifts, move it over to an account, and by the time they’re personally financially responsible they will be reaching their adult lives with a major one-up.
  • Family Tree – How many do you know that have gone through the process of building a family tree? I doubt very many if none. A family tree is quite an interesting gift because when they come of age where they care about history they will naturally want to understand their family heritage; you could be there providing it to them (and the rest of the family in the meantime). Taking it a step further and digitizing it or having it bound in a family book can turn this gift into a family heirloom they’ll cherish forever; it’s certainly unusual but one that will be amazing further down the line as they age.
  • BIFL Items – BIFL or ‘Buy It For Life’ are items which are offered through companies that honor their guarantee for life. As long as you can prove you’re a customer you can receive replacements for any faulty item or worn out piece. Yes, this is aimed at the child but it doesn’t mean you can’t put it into action. Items like shoes, backpacks, and tools fall under this category which may be right in line with what they need over the years. Being able to offer them items that are in the BIFL range means it’s a gift that keeps on giving – way better than a cheap, plastic item that’ll break a few months later or become outdated. It not only keeps their long-term expenses down but also educates them about the value of a quality brand.

Over to you – what are the best gifts you’ve doled out during a child’s birthday? What made them especially helpful (as you noticed) down the line after the pregnancy? Help us out and leave your suggestions with a comment below.

~Article contributed by Amanda G.

My list of must-haves for new babies

You guys, I’m on baby number three. If I thought our house was loud or life was busy before… now I’d describe is as simply chaotic! When this baby joined us last summer, I asked friends for tips and I quickly got things organized so life with three kids could continue more smoothly (and with less stress, haha). We got hanging organizers for the closets to put out sets of clothing, hooks for backpacks and totes, cubes for shoes, and more handy tricks.

Through the years, I’ve also learned to rely on

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National Breastfeeding Month!

Nearly five years ago, on August 6, 2011, the month of August was officially declared National Breastfeeding Month by the USBC (United States Breastfeeding Committee). In fact, the first full week of August is recognized across the World as World Breastfeeding Week. To celebrate these wonderful movements that further breastfeeding awareness, I would like to share some wonderful products with you that help make breastfeeding a breeze!

First up, Milkies Milk-Saver! One of the big fears for breastfeeding mamas

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Effective Deterrents to Drug Use in Teens

Submitted by Amanda G.

As a parent, one of your hardest jobs is going to be keeping your kids away from drugs and alcohol. This is the tightest tightrope you will ever walk; yes, even more fraught than talking to your kids about sexual activity. Why? Because the peer pressure surrounding drug use is often far more heavy than the pressure to engage in sexual activity.

At first blush that feels extreme, right? Surely the pressure is heavier than joining in on drinking or drug use? But as anybody who has ever been a

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What is a Genetic Counselor?

Article contributed by Amanda G.

If you are thinking of having a baby, or if you have already received the wonderful news of your pregnancy, you will most likely be doing some research on how to maintain a healthy pregnancy. You may have questions regarding your health and the health of your baby throughout the pregnancy.

Genetic counselors work with you to answer these questions and can also help you through decisions such as whether or not you should receive prenatal testing based

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Talking to Your Teen Driver About Injuries: What They Should Know

Article contributed by Amanda G.

Sometimes it seems that you almost need a graduate degree in psychology to be a good parent.

Raising a child to grow up to be a happy, productive, prosperous, and benevolent person is difficult enough, but raising one in a modern world teeming with hidden social dangers raises the ante even higher.

Theoretically, the formal operational stage after 11 years old should be the easiest. After all, the formative years of developing logic are now behind you. Now it’s only a matter of refining what they know rather than

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