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girl virtual learning

2020 Back to School: New Challenges for Parents

girl virtual learning

While summer is still coming to a close in some parts of the country, many states are already gearing up for a new school year. Back to school can be stressful at the best of times, but after a spring of remote learning amid the Covid-19 spread, sending our little ones back to the classroom – online, in-person or a hybrid of the two – is daunting. 

The CDC has released recommendations for schools to reopen with guidelines on social distancing, wearing masks, temperature checks and alternate schedules to reduce classroom sizes. However, balancing safety with continued academic growth can feel like walking a tightrope with so many restrictions. Below are three ways to tackle the new challenges.

Make safety rules fun

You’ve probably spent the entire summer reminding your child about the everyday precautions he or she needs to take to prevent getting sick. As they go back to school, here are some fun ways to reinforce COVID-19 safety rules: 

  • Find your child a comfortable mask and reward them for the time they wear it by doing fun things, such as playing games, coloring, reading books or dancing, while they have it on. Don’t forget to use positive reinforcement when they wear a mask. 
  • You can also make the mask itself fun by having your child decorate it to make it their own. If it’s a paper mask, they can use stickers. If it’s fabric, they can use fabric paint on the outside. Find fabrics that reflect their personality, like their favorite superhero. 
  • Washing hands thoroughly is more important than ever. Tell your child to sing a song, like the ABC’s, when they wash their hands. They can sing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” or “Happy Birthday” or another favorite – the main thing is it should be a 20 second long song to get all of the germs off. 

Listen to your child’s concerns

The question all parents are asking is how will COVID-19 impact my child’s mental health? It’s important to keep an eye out for anxiety in your child that could be a result of new protocols, including changes in sleep patterns, continually seeking reassurance despite already receiving an answer and acting out. 

Parents also have a new set of challenges with managing their own stress around the pandemic and trying to remain calm while listening to children’s concerns. In order to help support your child’s mental health about the changes at school as a result of COVID-19, parents can:

  • Encourage conversations about the new school safety rules
  • Practice the new safety rules at home to reinforce success in the classroom
  • Acknowledge and validate your child’s feelings if they are scared or anxious
  • Reassure your child that a lot of adults are working hard to keep everyone safe
  • Maintain sleeping, eating, and general family household routines
  • Facilitate age-appropriate opportunities for children to make choices, giving them a sense of safety and control

Whether your child is concerned about having to wear a mask all day or what might happen if there’s a confirmed case at school, make sure you’re listening intently, empathizing often and helping your child cope with his or her feelings in a reassuring manner.

Let your parental instincts guide you

In a time when almost any activity outside your home comes with a risk, don’t be afraid to lean into your parental instinct. With many schools offering the option of online learning, you may be keeping your kids in 100% online classes this school year or semester. Knowing how important classroom learning and socialization are for your child, you may have decided that you’ve done your homework when it comes to safely sending your child back to school.

No matter what you’ve chosen, trust your own instincts and feel confident that you’ve made the right decision for your child and your family. Try to stay positive, remember that it takes time to acclimate to change and set realistic expectations. Your example is one they are exposed to more than any classroom or teacher. If your child hears you speaking optimistically about the school year, they will adopt that attitude.

stressed parents working with baby

5 Tips for Managing Parenthood Overload During Stressful Times

stressed parents trying to work with baby

When daycares and schools close, the mental load of parenthood increases. If you’re feeling overwhelmed right now, like millions of other parents out there, this one’s for you. Here are 5 tips for managing parenthood during this stressful time.

Stay home, and stay connected 

Social distancing and “shelter in place” mandates may require us to stay in our homes, but that doesn’t mean we have to completely isolate. It’s important to stay in communication with family, friends and neighbors, as well as find ways to keep calm. Use the phone, text, video chat and email – all means possible – to stay connected to people who matter to you. Especially those who can help provide a sense of calm.

Ask for help

Now is the time to turn toward each other. We are here to help each other out, so avoid being a do-it-yourselfer when you’re not qualified. Reach out to a clear-thinking person to ask what she thinks or what he would do about stockpiling food, taking that road trip, talking to little Suzi about what’s going on with grandpa in the hospital. You may choose not to follow their advice, but it’s always helpful to have another perspective.

Don’t procrastinate about preparing

Anxiety can mount if we postpone or ignore expert counsel. Inaction will make fear grow. If you haven’t done your best to get a couple of extra weeks’ supply of food or medication, do it today. If you feel frozen, ask a buddy to push you to act and help you make wise decisions about how much you need of what.  

Remember to self-care

Now, more than ever, self-care is essential. Slow down, engage in healthy practices and try to continue regular routines that bring comfort and stability. Conversation, exercise and spiritual practices are good starting points. And don’t forget about the healing impacts of making art, singing, journaling and being useful to others. Make a point to find a little peace of mind, even if you start with just one thing.

Place your baby (safely) to sleep, so you can recharge

While your little one sleeps, you will have a little time to refuel your mothering self. Take a hot shower, watch the latest episode of her favorite TV show, or even take an online yoga class. 

Colgate Mattress offers the following advice for baby’s safe sleep:

  • Your baby should sleep on a firm mattress covered with only a tight-fitting crib sheet.
  • Use a wearable blanket or other type sleeper, instead of  blankets, to keep your baby warm and safe during sleep.
  • Crib bumpers, wedges and positioners should never be used in your baby’s sleep area.
  • Do not place any other items in the crib.
  • Always place your baby on his or her back for sleep.

A note from your friends at Colgate Mattress. Do not let fear stop you from acting with clarity, compassion and courage. Unfortunate things happen, but it is still possible to move forward with love and hope.

mom valentine gift

What Moms Really Need for Valentine’s Day

mom valentine gift

 

When you have a baby, Valentine’s Day often turns into a completely different holiday. You used to celebrate by getting dressed up, going out to a nice dinner and laughing over a bottle of wine. Sometimes, you’d even get surprise flowers. 

Now, with a new, cooing family member, life has changed and the way you celebrate should too. A fancy dinner out just isn’t as easy to arrange anymore, plus babysitters are expensive and scarce on Valentine’s Day. 

So why not use this holiday as the perfect excuse to treat you to some self-love? Take some time to step away from work, cleaning, and cooking. Tend to your health – both mental and physical. Do something that truly feeds your soul, because you deserve it.

Here are a few self-care ideas to help you make the most of your self-love day:

Journal for 20 minutes. Write in a free-flowing stream-of-consciousness style. Notice feelings that are just under the surface.

Put on your favorite playlist and have a dance party. Or a crying session. Whichever works best for you at that moment.

Take time to intentionally fill your cup. Read your devotional uninterrupted, call someone you love or make yourself a nice drink like chamomile tea or hot chocolate and sip it slowly.

Schedule at least one uninterrupted hour with a close friend. Go out for coffee or a drink, go out for dinner or go for a walk together.

Make a cozy spot. Create a space or corner in your home just for you and fill it with your favorite things.

Do a short meditation. Close your eyes, breathe deeply, focus on your breath, and say, “All sounds return to the breath, all thoughts return to the breath, all distractions return to the breath.”

Do something you’re going to savor. Taking a shower, doing your nails, walking, or reading a celebrity magazine. “Savor” it instead of just “doing” it.

Delegate two things that you hate doing. Hire a professional cleaner, send off the laundry or order a nice dinner in.

Go somewhere local that you’ve never been before. Explore a new forest preserve, a new park, a new beach, a different library or a conservatory.

Go on a social media kindness spree. Use 20 minutes to post nice comments on people’s social media or through messenger.

Do a social media cleanse. Unfollow those who don’t inspire you or who bring you down.

Buy your favorite flowers. Put them all over the house in vases or pitchers and pause long enough to enjoy them all week.

 

How to Choose the Best Crib Mattress

happy baby on mattress

A quality crib mattress not only makes bedtime something to look forward to, but it also acts as your little one’s growth center and ensures safety while sleeping.

Colgate Mattress has been family-owned and operated for over 60 years and knows that selecting your baby’s first mattress can be an overwhelming task. That’s why we pride ourselves on helping you understand the differences between mattresses and what features are most important. Take a look at these quick tips as you begin to determine how to choose a crib mattress that is just right for your little one.

Look for a Firm Mattress

Whether you’re searching for a foam or innerspring mattress, look for firmness. For both types of mattresses, the general rule is: the firmer, the better. Newborns develop rapidly over the first two years, which is why you need to find a mattress designed specifically to cater to an infant’s growth. A firm and flat mattress base provides the resistance necessary for developing and strengthening muscles as an infant begins to push up, turn and eventually stand in the crib.

You Can’t Tell a Mattress by its Cover

With a mattress, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Understanding the different components inside the mattress is essential for your baby’s safety and comfort. For instance, are there any cushioning layers? What materials are used? Is there a flammability barrier? Is there waterproof backing? There’s much more to a mattress than just a cute cover. Consider an all-natural option, like the Colgate Natural I, created for the parent wanting a mattress for their baby that is made with 100% natural components for the healthiest and most comfortable sleep environment possible.

Examine the Labels

One place to start? The label. Manufacturers are required by law to reveal what a mattress is made of. Don’t buy a mattress from a manufacturer or retailer that doesn’t tell you this information through the label, in-store displays, or online specifications. In fact, you should be able to find out the components of each individual layer, from cover to cover. Colgate products not only meet, but exceed federal flammability standards.

Buy New

If possible, buy a new crib mattress. Not only does it ensure the mattress is sanitary, but you also won’t have to worry about how it was previously used or stared. One exception to the rule: if you a buy a new mattress for your first child, keep it clean, and store it in a dry environment (consider Colgate’s storage bag), then you can use it for your next child.