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Tag: dads

Have (Safe) Fun in the Sun

Have (Safe) Fun in the Sun

Summer’s here, so it’s time to head outside.

But wait, you don’t want to over-expose your kiddos to the sun! Does this mean you have to stay inside all season and miss the heat?

Not necessarily. If you pick activities that allow you to protect your kids from the sun’s rays and teach them how to enjoy the sun in a smart way, then you can still fully embrace this summer fun .

To help you out, we share five sun-safe activities to enjoy this summer.

 

Enjoy a “Smart” Beach Day

Going to the beach seems like the opposite of a safe sun activity, but if you do it right, it can be a great learning tool for your child. Plus, who wants to avoid the beach all summer long?! Clothe your children in protective attire, apply non-toxic sunscreen (such as this one from Badger Balm) when needed, give them a hat to shield them from the sun and explain how each of these things will keep them safe during a beach day.

 

Have Fun With Safe Gardening

Gardening can be a great activity in the summer because it keeps kids active and teaches them about ecosystems. To make this activity safe, adorn them in sun-protective clothing and equip them with the proper personal protective equipment for gardening. Gloves and long sleeve shirts are great examples of things to dress your little one in for safe gardening in the sun. Come prepared with some facts about plants and all of the animals that benefit from them.

 

Take a Nighttime Stroll

While you want to remind your children that they can get sunburnt at any time of day, the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. To avoid this primetime exposure and still get your kids outside, suggest a walk after dinner. Your children will get some outdoor exercise and avoid the sunniest part of the day. Plus, the cooled down temperature will be more comfortable for the kids, and you won’t have to worry as much about them overheating.

 

Explore and Learn at the Zoo

There are a number of animals who have the natural ability to protect themselves from the sun. For instance, elephants, gorillas and koalas all keep themselves safe from the sun’s rays. Plan a zoo day (dressing your child appropriately and applying sunscreen), and teach your child about these animals. It will be a fun way to explain sun safety and since it involves animals, your child may better retain the knowledge.

 

Picnic in a Pavillion

Grab a basket and a blanket and a handful of healthy snacks and head out for a picnic...in a pavillion! Picnics are great family fun, and it’s always nice to enjoy some sunshine while having a meal. Find a park with a pavillion so you can set up your spread there to avoid the sun’s direct rays.



What safe sun activities do you like to do in the summer with your children? Let us know in the comments!

Tags: dads, moms, parenting

Sleep Tips for New Parents

 Sleep Tips for Parents

The first few months of a baby’s life are filled with wonder, excitement . . . and exhaustion.

We know how tiring it is to do the late-night feedings, followed by the middle-of-the-night diaper changes, and finished with the early morning wake-up calls that now consist of cries. And every day is a repeat of the day before.

We promise that one day, you’ll look back on these days and miss them more than you can handle.

But until then, we’ve got some sleep tips for new parents to make those sleepless days and nights a little easier!

 

Take Shifts.

It takes a village, right? If you’re in a position to use teamwork to your advantage, do it! Create a sleep schedule. It could be one night on, one night off or you could split the night in half. Figure out what works best for the two of you, and take on this adventure as a team.

 

When Baby Sleeps, So Do You.

Don’t underestimate the importance of catching some extra Z’s whenever the opportunity presents itself. Your nights may be difficult, but the days won’t feel as bad when you and baby share nap times.

 

If Someone Offers Help, TAKE IT.

Now is not the time to be shy or to feel like you have something to prove. If friends or family offer to watch your new baby for a little while, say YES. You need all the rest you can get, whenever you can get it. If you’re especially tired, don’t be afraid to ask for help, either. Your friends and family know this is an exhausting time for you. They want to help.

 

Go to Bed as Early as Possible.

Most newborns are up every few hours, so it’s a good idea to go to bed as early as you can. Even if you’re not sleeping, you’re still relaxing. Your body is still taking a break, which is important to your health.

 

Snack on Superfoods.

You are going to be sleep-deprived for the first few months, there is no way around that. But one thing you can do is feed your body foods that keep your energy high. Some of these foods include brown rice, honey, bananas, apples, oranges, and spinach. Ask your doctor for more suggestions.

 

The first few months are going to be a challenge, but our sleep tips for new parents should help make this journey a little easier and less exhausting!
Tags: baby, dads, moms, sleep

Top Toddler Naptime Tips

Top Toddler Naptime Tips Along with the many growing pains of raising a toddler, establishing a successful nap routine can be quite the struggle. If your toddler won’t nap or if naptime is always chaotic, you aren’t alone.

While there is no guarantee that you will have consistently seamless nap times, there are some things you can take into consideration to make your toddler naptime routine easier. 

 

Listen To Your Child

Some days all your toddler wants to do is sleep, and some days they are feeling extra active and it seems as if they will never sleep. Take these moods and energy levels into consideration when it comes to naptime. It’s okay if your child needs an extra nap one day or if they won’t nap when you want them to. The more you try to force them to stay awake or fall asleep, the more they will grow to resent naptime.

 

Change The Script

The exciting thing about your child growing into a toddler is that they are starting to learn and understand speech. Unfortunately, that may not bode well for naptime. As your child ages, they may begin to think the word nap is synonymous with baby. Try to use terminology that will make them feel more grown-up, such as simply telling your toddler they need to sleep. Also, try reinforcing the fact that parents and adults take naps too.

 

Think About Your Schedule

The more your child naps at the same time each day, the more likely they are to equate that time with relaxation. Try picking a timeframe each day during which you put your child down for a nap. While, as we mentioned earlier, you shouldn’t force your toddler to nap, keeping a consistent time for naps every day will trigger your child’s body and mind to go to sleep at a certain hour.

 

Substitute Sleep For Relaxation

Sometimes, no matter how tired your child may seem, they simply won’t nap. Just because they won’t nap, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t still experience quiet time. Even if they aren’t snoozing, try reading a book or put on some calming music. While you would prefer they nap, some restorative downtime is better than no down time at all.

 

What are your tips for getting your toddler to embrace naptime? Let us know in the comments!

 

The Ultimate Babysitter Checklist

Babysitter Checklist

You found time for a night out! This is exciting, but as a parent, your mind will immediately start racing with all of the things you have to prepare for the babysitter. Not to mention the constant worry of forgetting to share pertinent information.

To ease your mind, we have created a downloadable PDF for you. Just fill in all of the important details for your sitter!

Download the PDF to Save & Print.

 

What other information do you like to leave for your babysitter? Let us know in the comments!

 

Tags: dads, moms, parenting

Single Parent Self Care

Single Parent Self Care

While all parents need to take some time for themselves, single parents especially need to make sure to carve out time for self care. As a single parent, you are always so busy caring for others that you most likely forget about yourself! But don’t be afraid to ask for help so you can indulge in some “me time” to avoid the burnout.

 

Go For A Walk

Raising your child solo, you likely run from place to place all day as well as chase them around inside. Not only are you probably craving some peace and quiet, you most likely also just want a little sunshine in your life. Whether you get a quick sitter or put your child in daycare, find the time at least once a week to take a walk by yourself. You will get to reset your mind and enjoy the outdoors.

 

Find Time For Exercise

Scheduling time to sweat it out may seem difficult to do as a single parent, but it’s worth it! Working out has multiple perks, including stress-relief and health benefits, that are especially necessary for single parents. Find half an hour to an hour for a quick exercise session, and your job as a parent may just seem a little less overwhelming. Luckily, there are many resources online to help you do stretches, workouts or yoga at home. Just search YouTube or Google to find your favorite exercise tutorials.

If you are able to get to the gym, many now have daycares who will watch your children while you exercise.

 

Go To Dinner With A Friend

Many of the best self care tips for single parents, including this one, require asking for help. As a single parent, probably the most important thing to remember is it’s okay to get a babysitter when you need to focus on you. There’s no shame in admitting that after a day of being with a child (or children), you crave some grown-up time. At least once month try to schedule a dinner with a friend or go see a movie not suitable for 4 year olds. You deserve it!

 

Get Up Early For “Me Time”

Getting up a little early may not seem like your favorite idea because it’s less sleep, but even getting up just 15 minutes before your kids can have a huge impact on your day. Use that time to drink coffee, read or just relax so you aren’t immediately thrown into the chaos as soon as your feet leave your bed.

 

Single parents, how do you practice self care? Let us know in the comments!

Tags: dads, moms, parenting

Wind It Down Tips For Parents

Wind it Down Tips for Parents

Winding down isn’t easy for anyone, especially for parents. Not only do you have to attempt to relax after a chaotic day of managing kids, but your children’s ability to wind down at night also directly affects how calm your evening is. Because of this we came up with five wind it down tips specifically for parents so you can enjoy more relaxing pre-bed rituals.


1.) Set Aside Time for Yourself After They Go To Bed

Once your children go to bed, it’s easy to want to just go straight to sleep yourself. While this may seem like the best bet in the short term, you may find that your racing mind can interrupt your sleep patterns. Try to take an hour or so to read, journal, take a bath or listen to calming music before you make your way to bed. That way your mind will have a chance to take a break before you do the same with your body.


2.) Make Sure They Relax

The less chaotic getting your children to bed at night is, the easier it will be for you to wind down. As parents, you know it’s not always possible to have a completely seamless time getting the kids to go to sleep, but the more structure and routine you implement, the easier it will be to make it a smooth bedtime  transition. If they go to bed easy, you will be less wound up before your own bedtime.


3.) Spend Quality Time With Your Partner

Not only should you take some time out for yourself after getting the kids to sleep, consider carving some time out with your partner, friends or family. Whether it’s doing a puzzle with your spouse or calling a family member to catch up, making some time for those other than your children will put your mind at ease.


4.) Make Time for Yourself During the Day

Winding down is not just about the actions you take right before bed. As a parent, there is no shame in recruiting help with the kiddos for even just an hour a day. Use that time to go to the gym, do yoga, or partake in whatever activity will reset your mind and body to equip you to handle anything that comes your way for the rest of the day. The less stressed you are during the day, the easier it is to wind down at night.


5.) Plan Family Meals Appropriately

After a long day, it’s typical to find the easiest thing in the cupboard to make because you simply don’t have the time to make a more elaborate meal. While you don’t have to slave away in the kitchen, eating an unhealthy, large and processed meal right near bedtime will make it harder for not only your children to fall asleep, but you as well. Making small changes to improve your family’s dinner habits will have a positive effect on everyone’s sleeping habits.

Parents, what winding down tips do you use? Let us know in the comments!
Tags: dads, moms, sleep

6 Times Parents Were Thankful For Sleep

6 Times Parents Were Thankful For Sleep

We’re in a thankful, grateful mood this season, and we asked our readers about times they were thankful for sleep as parents. Read on to hear the stories and be sure to share your own!

1. When They Can Get Some Uninterrupted ZZZs

Laura M. says, “When I had a stomach bug and hubby let me sleep all day and night. It was two years ago and I still think about it.”

Renee C. says, “My husband works shifts, and when the baby has a rough night my husband will take her in the morning so I can actually get some uninterrupted sleep. It’s the best.”  

Cindy H. says, “I was in the hospital with my newborn for three days all alone and probably got four hours of sleep the whole time. I was so thankful to finally get some sleep once I was home with my husband.” Sarah C. says, “The time I collapsed into my hotel bed at a conference after a three week sleep strike conducted by my three year old.”

 

2. When Baby Sleeps Through The Night

Ariel F. says, “I’ve been grateful for every night since my son was 18 months old and he started sleeping through the night. Before that, he woke up every 90 minutes.”    Shanan W. says, “My kids are only 14 months apart, and my newborn son slept a solid six hours a night right from the start. I felt like he was my reward for surviving the long nights with my daughter.”  

Emily M. says, “When my first born was about 9 months old, we went out for a family dinner and one of us gave her a tiny sip of pop to see her reaction to the bubbles. Big mistake. She was up until 1am bouncing off the walls, but she slept until 9am the next day. I’ve never been more thankful.”  

Andrea H. says, “I’m thankful [daughter] is a good sleeper. She fusses at first but when she’s down she’s down! And our other daughter is up all night singing to herself, running around her room, coming into our room…I’m grateful the older one sleeps so I can take care of our other daughter and new baby without having to worry about all three of them at once.”

 

3. When They Reconnect

Elizabeth S. says, “When baby sleeps, parents can reconnect with each other and refuel their relationship. For example, snuggling on the couch and watching Stranger Things 2 in one weekend” 

 

4. When They Get A Good Routine Going

Maggie B. says, “When we switched from bedsharing to having our son in his own bed. The lack of kicked kidneys was amazing.”  

Clarissa O. says, “I worked eight-hour night shifts after my first child was born, and I was a zombie the whole time. I feel like I missed so much with my son because I was so exhausted all the time. I switched shifts when I was pregnant with my daughter and was able to get a more consistent sleep schedule. Having a consistent routine made all the difference and it made me a better mama.”

 

5. When They Know Baby is Okay

Amy C. says, “My little one had reflux as a baby. Before we knew her medicine was working, I would sleep in small increments and wake up alarmed, always worried she would be choking. After a month of her reflux being under control, I was finally able to sleep without someone watching her.”   Genevieve M. says, “Our kiddo was sick and throwing up all day. We were so thankful when he finally slept.”

 

6. When Their Child Wants a Good Snuggle

Alx G. says, “My daughter is a total daddy’s girl and merely tolerated me until she was about four. After spending a week in the hospital with her newborn brother, we were finally home. I was in the spare bedroom on the main floor with the baby since I couldn’t go upstairs while I recovered from an emergency C-section. I was trying to get him to sleep, and my husband told our daughter it was almost time for bed. This normally meant she would go upstairs, but she climbed into bed with me and her brother. She put one hand on him, patting him gently, and used her other hand to wrap my arm around her. She said, ‘Don’t make the baby up, mama? Don’t make the baby up, please?’ I realized she meant herself, that she didn’t want me to make her go upstairs. We all fell asleep snuggled in that bed. It was Valentine’s Day and I spent the night sleeping with my two biggest loves that I fought 13 years of infertility to get.”  

Tracy T. says, “I was pregnant with my daughter, and so very very tired. I had fallen asleep on the couch on my side while my husband made dinner. When I woke up, I had a blanket over me and my toddler snuggled up between me and the couch. My husband said that my son had grabbed a blanket, told him mama was asleep, and got him to help cover me up. Then my son snuggled in with his own blanket to nap with me.”

5 Instagram Accounts That Celebrate Dad Life

dad life

We rounded up 5 Instagram Accounts you should follow right now to see these guys totally nailing fatherhood.

How To Be A Dad

Charlie and Andy at @howtobeadad are the two friends behind this awesome #DadLife brand, which includes more “what not to do” advice than actual tips on how to be a dad. Plus, a healthy serving of snark and humor. They have fun while handling the journey of fatherhood as best they can.

Fatherhood Without Fear

You’ve heard of Birth Without Fear? This is the dad version! Follow @dontforgetdads to see amazing photos of new and seasoned dads experiencing this crazy thing we call parenthood. There are some amazing photographs on this account, we can’t get enough.

Nerdy At Home Dad

James Estrada - @nerdyathomedad has been living it up as an at-home dad since 2012 and shares photos of daily life with his kiddo, J. His blog even features a weekly comic written and directed by his son. The force is strong with this dad.

Inside Martyn’s Thoughts

Delivering a mix of homeschooling and parenting advice, Inside Martyn’s Thoughts is the blog of a stay at home dad who handles the day to day like a pro. His blog and Instagram are full of recipes, education tips, and parenting lifestyle anecdotes. It’s a great mix of topics and you can follow @mr_kitney.

Life With Micah

Mike Quinones uses his website and Instagram to share the day to day raising of his son Micah, who is a serious cutie and who has Down Syndrome. Get your daily dose of adorable when you follow @lifewithmicah.

We hope you found a new account (or five!) - share your own recommendations for #DadLife accounts with us so we can fill our feed with awesome dads.

Please Note: The viewpoints of these Instagram accounts do not necessarily reflect the viewpoints of Lullaby Earth or Safe for Home Products LLC.

Tags: dads, parenting

Interview With A Stay At Home Dad

Stay At Home Dad

In a month that’s all about dad, we celebrate all kinds of fatherhood! Good dads deserve our respect because they’re helping raise the next generation of happy, healthy kids who will grow up and make big changes. Lots of people imagine dads going to work and supporting the family financially, but there’s also a growing number (an estimated 1.75 million in the US) of dads who stay home and support the family in less typical but no less important ways. We reached out to talk to at-home dad Ryan. R, who takes care of his kids at home each and every day.

Ryan is 38 years old and has a degree in Video Production and Recording Audio Engineering, but his career path was varied with all sorts of jobs over the years, most not even related to his degree. When he told his wife he wanted to stay home with their first child, Ryan had an excellent job with great benefits, good pay, the works!

He says, “It wasn’t like I was in a job I hated and couldn’t wait to get out of - I left a good job to take care of my boys.”

We asked about when, how, and why Ryan and his wife decided he would be a stay-at-home dad. Ryan said that when his wife was about five months pregnant with their first baby (L, now three and a half), “we realized daycare was going to cost almost as much as our mortgage payment. We could have afforded it with our income at the time, but we were planning on more kids later. After a second child, the cost of daycare just wouldn’t be worth it.”

Ryan’s own father was a temporary stay-at-home dad while recovering from an injury and unable to work, and Ryan always appreciated that time with his dad. It wasn’t something strange or outside of a gender role to him, it was just normal - a parent taking care of his children. Ryan says, “I’ve always liked the idea of staying at home. I have a ton of respect for all stay-at-home parents, mom or dad.”

At-home parents are subject to flack from friends and family, since “mommy wars” and mom guilt are ubiquitous. A mom who works is seen as selfish (hardly!), while a mom who stays home is seen as decadently not doing anything all day (seriously?). Both of these stereotypes and assumptions are dead wrong, and stay-at-home dads are subject to some of the same issues.

Ryan remembers, “We went to our baby shower and I was talking to her uncle. When I told him I was going to stay home with the baby, he laughed. He thought I was joking.” Ryan also says that he got just as much negative feedback from women as he did from men. “It’s not seen as a ‘manly’ job.”

After a brief chat about how raising your kids is about the most fatherly thing a dad could do, and how that could possibly be seen as unmanly, we chatted about stay-at-home dad challenges and the best parts of being an at-home parent.

The conversation about people’s expectations and stereotypes continued into our chat about the challenges Ryan faces on a regular basis. He says, “The world expects women to be stay-at-home parents. It’s understood that it’s what a mother is supposed to do. I get a lot of comments like ‘When are you going to go back to work and give your wife a chance to stay home with the kids?’ that assume she wants to stay home and my role is at work.”

We talked about the isolation that is so prevalent among stay-at-home parents regardless of gender. “I absolutely feel isolated. The only thing I miss about having a job is the adult interaction with somebody who doesn’t care about the wheels on the bus.” He’s joined a stay-at-home dad group on Facebook but hasn’t had luck with in-person meetups.

“When I take the kids to the park, the moms don’t talk to me. The moms usher their kids away from mine because it’s ‘weird’ for me to be there.” He even tried to join local stay-at-home parent groups, but hit a wall there too. “I’d be okay if I could get into a parent group, but nobody would take me because I’m a dad. I reached out to 20 groups in the area, and they all wouldn’t take dads.” When we asked if he had thought about starting his own group focused on dads he said, “I’ve thought about it, but I’m a little busy!”

He struck up a weekly game night with some friends and now he has an outlet where he can get out and interact socially without having to be in dad-mode. He says, “It’s as important for the parents to socialize as it is for the kids.” Time alone with his wife is important too, and Ryan makes sure to get a date night on the books at least once or twice a month. He spoke a lot about how much he values his wife’s support.

“She’s 100% supportive of whatever I want to do. When I said I wanted to stay home, she said OK. She’s always right there on board.”

He says it’s hard sometimes because “when [L] sees me all day, he gets a little tired of me and he wants mommy. But other times he hugs me and says ‘You’re a good daddy, daddy’ or tells me he loves me.”

Discussing the best parts of being a stay-at-home dad, Ryan says, “When you’re working with them on something - letters and numbers, walking, anything - when they start to get it and do it on their own, it’s really rewarding. It’s something they’ll know or do for the rest of their life, and they learned it from you. It’s amazing. It’s awesome.”

Speaking of teaching the kids new things, we asked if Ryan planned on homeschooling in the future. “Absolutely not,” he says, “I’d like to say that I’d do it right but I don’t think I’m the homeschooling type.” He is, however, very attracted to the idea of staying home to manage the house while the boys are at school. “The longer I stay at home, the more I like the idea of being the PTA dad, the house-husband, the community dad. I want to be there when they get home from school and be there for their activities.”

In closing, Ryan had this to say about staying home to care for his children as a stay-at-home dad: “It’s the hardest job I’ve ever had. But it’s also the most rewarding job I’ve ever had.”

Thank you for chatting with us and talking about your experiences as a stay-at-home dad, Ryan! We appreciate all your hard work.

Tags: dads, parenting

First Time Dad Tips

First Time Dad Tips

To celebrate the upcoming Father’s Day holiday, we checked in with the dads in our community to ask them what advice they’d give to a new father or dad-to-be. See what they had to say, and add your own advice! Rock on, dads.

On the Postpartum Period

“Ask her what she needs, and OFFER to change those diapers, especially during her postpartum recovery. Oh, and smell that baby noggin as often as possible.” Ben C.

“The first couple of weeks are just about survival.” David M.

“Help your wife with everything.” John S.

On Bonding

“It’s hard sometimes to have mom get so much time with the baby. Whenever you can, pick them up and cuddle them, go the extra step. It’s hard to see them only be comforted by mom, so if you make yourself as involved as possible then you’ll be able to soothe them too. Speak up for yourself, you matter too.” Justin G.

On Sleep Deprivation

"Get any sleep disorders checked out by a doctor ASAP.” John M.

“It seems obvious, but always remember that you are a team. Nobody is going to be sleeping well for the first few months, and mom least of all. That lack of sleep can make it hard to remember that raising a kiddo is a group effort. If she needs a night off from feedings to recharge, prep the coffee pot and let her sleep. Inversely, don’t fight her when she tells you to take a nap or a night off.” Scott M.  

On Feeling Like You Don’t Know What You’re Doing

“It’s normal to be scared and you’re going to make mistakes. Nobody knows what they’re doing. You’ll also never love anything ever again as much as your kids. You don’t know unconditional love until you have kids. The baby literally comes out doing nothing but eating, pooping, and crying, and you are proud of those moments.” David C.

“Just about anybody can become a father. That’s an easy road that doesn’t require much from a guy. It takes a ton of patience and hard work to be a dad. There will be so many moments when you feel like you’ve got it all wrong. Those moments are like blades of grass and it feels like there are a lot of them. But the great moments when you feel like you’re doing it right are like trees in a forest. They’re scattered here and there but they’re tall, strong, and the roots grow deep. Makes it worth it.” Jorge G.

“Breathe. You won’t break them. Just be there and do whatever you can.” Justin H.

“Don’t panic.” John O.

Share Your Stories

Any seasoned dads out there? Share your own advice for new dads so they know they aren’t alone!

Tags: dads, parenting