Posts

Checklist for Babysitters

 

Having a babysitter checklist is the perfect way to make sure your sitter has all the information they’ll need at their fingertips. When taking care of children—knowledge is power. What and when should they eat? When is bedtime? How much screen time is appropriate and who should be called in an emergency? You know how long it took you to learn what works, and it’s important to pass this on to caretakers to have peace of mind that your kids are safe and having fun while you’re out.

A comprehensive and helpful checklist will give you something to go through with the babysitter when he or she arrives. Whether you are leaving your kids for an evening or a long weekend, you can use this checklist to make sure everything is set in place while you are away:

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the following list of information should always be left with a babysitter:

  1. Parents phone numbers
  2. Neighbors phone numbers
  3. Pediatrician
  4. Fire/Rescue
  5. Police
  6. Poison Help Line (1-800-222-1222)
  7. Home phone
  8. Home address

Checklist for Parents:

  • Meet the sitter and check references and training in advance.
  • Be certain the sitter has had first aid training and knows CPR.
  • Be sure the babysitter is at least 13 years old and mature enough to handle common emergencies.
  • Have the sitter spend time with you before babysitting to meet the children and learn their routines.
  • Show the sitter around the house.
  • Point out fire escape routes and potential problem areas. Instruct the sitter to leave the house right away in case of fire and to call the fire department from a neighbor’s house or cell phone.
  • Discuss feeding, bathing, and sleeping arrangements for your children.
  • Tell your sitter of any allergies or specific needs your children have. Leave a note with your children’s dates of birth and approximate weights in case these are needed by medical professionals.
  • Have emergency supplies available including a flashlight, first aid chart, and first aid supplies.
  • Tell the sitter where you will be and when you will return.
  • Be sure any guns are stored unloaded in a locked cabinet, and lock and store the ammunition in a separate place..

Provide and install appropriate car safety seats and booster seats if the sitter will need to drive the children in a car.

Checklist for Babysitters:

  • Be prepared for an emergency.
  • Always call or text for help if there are any problems or questions.
  • Never open the door to strangers.
  • Never leave the children alone in the house – even for a minute.
  • Never give the children any medicine or food unless instructed to do so by the parents.
  • Be patient with a child who is unhappy or who cries when the parents leave. Try a different activity, read a book to the child, or suggest playing in the yard. 
  • If a baby is crying and cannot be soothed, it is OK to put the baby in a safe place, like a crib, and walk away for a few minutes.

More Checklist Tips:

Contact information for you and your partner

Have your sitter put your and your partner’s cell phone numbers in his or her phone. If you’re a single parent, provide your sitter with the phone number of someone trusted and local who they can call if you can’t be reached. If you don’t text, let your sitters know so they don’t send you messages and then wonder why you don’t respond.

Emergency contact information

Post a list somewhere obvious – like on the fridge or by your landline phone, if you have one – with fire, police, doctor, poison control, and hospital numbers. If your children have specific medical insurance numbers, provide those as well. If you’re going out of town or won’t be accessible, it’s smart to designate one or two neighbors, friends, or relatives as local contacts. Leave their names, numbers, and addresses. That way your sitter has someone to turn to in case of minor mishaps, such as a pet that gets loose or a power outage. Also, leave your street address (including floor and unit, if you’re in an apartment) to give to fire, police, or medical personnel in an emergency.

A mapped escape route

In case of fire or some other crisis that requires hasty evacuation, your sitter should be aware of all the possible exits from your house. Also make sure she knows where to find the fire extinguisher, the first-aid kit, the circuit breaker, the water shutoff, and a flashlight.

Medical information about your baby

If your child has any allergies or other medical conditions or needs to take medication, tell your sitter about it in advance. Also spell out any additional health problems – such as a bad case of diaper rash or a tendency to spit up food. Also, just in case you or your contact person can’t be found in an emergency, leave a healthcare authorization form that allows your babysitter or childcare provider to get medical attention for your child.

Food and drink list

Don’t leave this to chance. Your sitter may not be aware of foods that pose choking hazards. Leave specific instructions outlining what your baby can and can’t eat and drink. And if the sitter will be preparing formula or giving your baby expressed breast milk, explain exactly how to do it.

Activity schedule

Your baby will feel more comfortable sticking to his usual routine, so let your sitter know what time he eats his meals, when he goes to bed, and how his bedtime routine works. If you usually read to him from a particular book, for example, let them know and leave it out where it’s easy to find.

Finally, it’s wise to let your sitter know about any special words for favorite toys or security objects.



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.