Posts Tagged: Guest Post

7 Tips for Successful Birthday Parties

1. Do not make kids’ birthday parties too long. Kids only have a limited amount of energy and attention span before they start to misbehave and things start to fall apart.
2. Be very clear in the invitation as to whether this is a ‘drop-off’ or a ‘parents-stay-behind’ party. If you aren’t prepared to host 7 or 8 extra adults for the duration of the party, be clear up front.
3. Make sure you have enough eyeballs on hand to help you supervise the party. Extra support can come from your partner or a couple of your friends, but you will need help – especially with younger children.
4. Plan some activities. Don’t over-plan and be disappointed when kids aren’t following all of the instructions. Kids need some freedom and free-play. On the same hand, don’t under-plan and give them too much free time where they can get bored.
5. It won’t go perfectly. Just remember, it’s not so much about the game at hand, it is about everyone being together, smiling and having a fun time. So if they don’t want to play Pin-The-Tail-On-The-Donkey or they decide the magician is boring – move it along and go with the energy of the children.
6. Decide in advance if you are going to open presents in front of everyone or if they are going to be put on a table and opened after the guests leave. If you opt to open presents, be sure your child takes the time to personally thank each guest for the gift. If you have decided to open the gifts later, it is important for your child to call or send a thank you note after to acknowledge the gift that they received.

7. For the uninitiated, you might find it easier to host a party outside the home such as at the movie theatre, a gymnastics club or bowling alley. You won’t have to worry about the clean-up and there are extra staff members on hand that are accustomed to the noise and activity level.

Happy Birthday!

About the Author:

Alyson Schafer

Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada’s most notable parenting experts. She is the resident expert on The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV News Channel and CBC’s The World This Weekend. Alyson is an “Ask an Expert” Columnist for Today’s Parent Magazine, and sits on the Health Advisory Board for Chatelaine Magazine.  Alyson is the best selling author of “Breaking The Good Mom Myth” and “Honey, I Wrecked The Kids” and her latest, “Ain’t Misbehavin”.  She is an international speaker including the inaugural TEDxKids in Brussels and offers free parenting tips at www.alysonschafer.com

School’s Out For The Summer!

A big bag of lost and found items!


I know it’s officially summer when my son arrives home from school with a huge garbage bag filled to the top with his locker contents and all of his items that were fished out of the Lost and Found.

This year the haul included 3 thermoses, 3 winter hats, 2 baseball hats, 2 hoodies, a winter coat and a baseball glove (along with lots of crumpled up paper, old tests and some school supplies).  Yikes!  I long for the day that my son is more organized, but until then I’m glad we’ve got Mabel’s Labels on everything so that his stuff makes it back home…eventually!

Along with the warm weather, family vacations, and more relaxed schedules, I’m practically giddy about not making lunches every day. The fact that everyone’s wearing sandals and flip flops is a bonus too, because it means I won’t need to keep the sock basket filled.  Our family sock strategy consists of a basket near the front door filled with single socks. There’s no point in pairing them up because my kids just un-match them anyway. Rebels!

We’re looking forward to some fun outdoor activities and games, including afternoons by Grandma’s pool, backyard BBQ’s and evenings at our local Drive-In Theatre. Watching a drive in movie under the stars is so much fun and is a favourite summer tradition for us. There’s nothing cuter than seeing lots of little ones in their pajamas, swinging on the swing set and playing Frisbee while waiting for the first feature to start. Later they’ll be sleepy and cozy as their parents carry them straight from the car to their beds. Somewhere along the line I stopped wearing my PJ’s to the drive-in, but I think this may be the summer to revive that tradition. I’m not sure I’ll get carried in from the car, but it’s worth a try.

In addition to all the family fun times that summer brings, I love the quiet early mornings all to myself in the garden. It’s full of promise at this time of year, with lots of different vegetables and greens. This year we’ve got tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, bok choy, kale, collard greens, romaine and red lettuce. I’m hoping that when our kids are hungry, they’ll grab some cherry tomatoes off the vine instead of reaching for cookies (a mom can always dream!).

Garden Veggies!

What do YOU love most about summertime?  Any fun ideas to share? What are some of your favourite family vacations and summer activities for kids?

 

About the Author:

Karen Pearson is one of the friendly voices you’ll hear on the other end of the phone when calling Customer Service at Mabel’s Labels. She enjoys writing about her family, which includes a husband, 3 kids and a rescue dog from Greece.

How to Keep Your Family’s Sleep on Track This Summer (Even With Multiple Kids)

With summer approaching days are getting longer and longer. While brighter evenings can make summer barbeques and outdoor play more fun, they can also mess with our internal biological clock. Sunshine in the early morning and at bedtime can send our natural circadian rhythms for a loop. Luckily, there are healthy sleep remedies that the entire family can follow to avoid summer insomnia problems.

Summer Proof Your Sleep Environment

  • Block out that early morning sun with black out blinds or drapes. Promoting a dark cave like room is going to keep our sleep drive revved up for sleep success. Heading to the cottage this summer? Purchase a travel black out blind or for a quick and affordable solution throw some garbage bags and painters tape in your overnight bag.
  • White noise machines can help mask those early morning bird calls and noisy afternoon lawnmowers acting as sleep remedies. The consistent lull of the white noise machine helps eliminate external sounds.
  • Keep things cool this summer by layering accordingly and keep your families sleep zone between 68-72 degrees.

Bedtime Routine – It’s Not Just For Kids

Practicing a consistent calming bedtime routine with our children helps cue them that sleep is approaching. It promotes a safe and secure environment for them, one that makes it easier to fall asleep. A calming bedtime routine can work well for mom and dad too. Turn off electronics, take a warm bath, listen to calming music, or read a bedtime book before drifting off to sleep.

A Consistent Schedule Means a Well-Rested Unit

We all have a personal baseline for rest. It’s the amount of sleep our bodies need to remain well rested each night. During the summer months it can be difficult to meet our basal sleep needs. We go to bed later, perhaps wake up earlier, and when we aren’t focused on maintaining our usual sleep schedule, our family’s sleep debt can build and build leading to eventual insomnia problems.

It can be difficult remaining consistent with your baby’s schedule when you have multiple children. How can you stay on track with a newborn sleep schedule while still keeping your eldest busy and having fun? It’s something I myself struggled with my daughter when I was training my twins and there are a few things you can do to help during this phase.

Don’t Do it Alone - Get help if you can. Recruit Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles, or your neighborhood baby sitter and work them into your weekly schedule. They can keep your eldest busy and you’ll be reassured knowing you’re able to provide both the engagement for your older child and naptime for your baby.

Take Advantage of Quality Bonding Time - Use your time alone together while baby naps to work on that attachment that may get overlooked while you are busy with the baby. This is a great opportunity to focus all of your attention on them and them only. Bring out the crafts or have some cuddly storybook time. This time is all about you and them, make the most of it.

Keep Things Simple - So maybe you can’t do everything you used to be able to do when you only had one child. It’s okay to slow down and not overschedule yourselves. I always like to follow my 80/20 rule. 80% of the time you should be protecting your family’s sleep at both bedtimes and naps if they still apply. 20% of the time you can veer off course a bit as everyone is easier to manage when well rested.

 

Alanna McGinn is a mother of three (1 + twins!), Sleep Consultant and Founder of Good Night Sleep Site, and Representative and Director for the International Association of Child Sleep Consultants (IACSC).  When she’s not on route to the bus stop or tripping over fire trucks and tea sets, she’s working with families to overcome their sleep challenges.  Follow Alanna on Facebook and Twitter for daily sleep tips and advice.

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