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POLL #75

5 ideas for a simple animal-themed first birthday

by

Molly Balint

posted in Toddlerhood

It’s amazing to look back over your baby’s first year of life and marvel at how much has changed. I remember bringing home my daughter from the hospital that first night, overwhelmed by dirty diapers and newborn cries and the fact that my “perfectly prepared nursery” wasn’t as perfectly prepared as I thought. But just 12 months later, the milestones and magic of my baby’s life was enough to make my mother’s heart pause. So much growth and change — for my baby and for me.

I’ve always thought that a first birthday party celebrates two things: Your baby’s first year, full of unbelievable growth, and the fact that you, as parents, have made it. You did it! One year under your belts. It’s definitely something to celebrate. So when planning a first birthday party, I always love incorporating fun ideas that are special for your child, as well as sentimental touches that celebrate what a big year it’s been.

Here are a few of my favorite ideas for putting together an uncomplicated but special get-together to celebrate the bigness of your baby’s first year. 

1. Keep it simple. Yes, you may have mastered outings with your baby and making dinner one-handed, but let’s face it: You’ve still got a 12-month-old in the house. Save your sanity and keep things simple — whether that means making the cupcakes yourself, or outsourcing it to a local bakery, sending out handmade invitations or an e-invite to friends and family. The best part of the day is going to be getting together with people you love to celebrate your baby’s first year.

2. Incorporate your child’s toys and favorite things. This is one of my go-tos for any child’s party — I visit their nursery or bedroom and grab several things that are uniquely them. Maybe it’s a few favorite stuffed animals that sit on the rocker in the corner, the plastic animals that are favorites from the toy basket, or a set of wooden blocks. These items are a fun way to add some meaningful decoration to your party table.

3. Keep the snacks and foods simple and kid-friendly.  Mott’s Unsweetened Applesauce pouches are the perfect easy-to-grab and mess-free snack for the kids’ table. Simple snack foods and this bowl of cute penguin-shaped animal crackers were perfect for our animal theme. To drink, Mott’s for Tots — a fruit juice plus purified water and essential vitamins– is perfect for the small set. And of course, you can’t forget the cupcakes.

4. Add a few personalized, sentimental touches. One of my favorite things to do at a first year birthday party is to set out a journal and pen and ask guests to leave a special message for the birthday baby. Whether it’s a mini love note or a few words of advice for when they are older, it becomes a keepsake you and your baby will cherish. It’s also a great activity for guests to work on as they arrive at the party and wait for the festivities to begin.

5. Use decorations that have life after the party. Most of the decorations that I used for this fun animal-themed party are things that could go straight from the party to any child’s room. The fun pink tassel garland and felted pom-poms mix in perfectly with wall decor or can decoratively line a shelf. The bird and fox tabletop piñatas empty with a pull-string — you don’t smash them to get them open, so you can use them in your child’s room after the party is over. And that handmade invitation would be perfect framed and hung on the wall to remember the special day.

As you look forward to planning your baby’s first birthday, hopefully some of these ideas will help inspire your party prep. Above all else, keep things simple and remember, there is much to celebrate no matter how big or small your gathering.

Great tips and ideas for a simple first birthday party celebration with a cute animal theme.

sources: felt ball garland // Pink tissue tassel garland // Piñatas // Woodland invitation

Less sugar, more goodness! When you think your little one’s ready for juice, fill that sippy cup with a juice made specifically for them. One that cuts down on the sugar while adding essential vitamins. Find your tot’s flavor!

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Mott’s for Tots. All opinions are truthful and my own.

What are your favorite ideas for planning a first birthday party?

A week’s worth of preschool lunches your kiddo will love

by

Lindsay Weiss

posted in Toddlerhood

When it comes to packing preschool or day care lunch, sometimes the hardest part is figuring out what. What to put in those little containers. What won’t get sent home uneaten. What is or isn’t allowed in the classroom. That what  requires a lot of thinking for a tired mama at 7 a.m.

I often turn to pictures to tell me what to pack. I’m not kidding, I’ve started snapping quick pics of lunches before I close them up so I can remember what worked without thinking too hard. And I’ve become incredibly adept at using leftovers in the lunch box, so that food doesn’t get wasted in our house. Case in point…lunch #1.

1. Leftover Mac ‘n Cheese Lunch

Using up that last cup of mac ‘n cheese left over from last night’s dinner? Priceless. My kiddo prefers it cold (weird!) but it can go in a thermos for most kids. This meal needed some protein, so I threw in some almonds — which are allowed at our school — but some salted edamame could serve the same purpose.

2. Cleaning Out The Veggie Tray

I buy a huge veggie tray every week and we munch on it at dinner if I don’t have time to make sides. When it dwindles down to just a few left, I throw it in my little guy’s lunch. It is important to note, he WILL NOT TOUCH THESE VEGGIES unless there is ranch dip. Also, for protein he gets pistachios. (If not allowed, sub some edamame or even some peanut butter and more celery for dipping.) For drinks, I alternate between water and juice. I like the Mott’s because it’s a nice big pouch and is 100% juice, which means no added sugar.

3. The Last Slice Of Pizza

This is my preschooler’s FAVORITE lunch. He’d eat it every day. I cut the leftover pizza in small wedges and pair it with some apples and his favorite vanilla cookie. To keep the apples from turning brown, I have a little spray bottle with a lemon juice/water mixture that I spray on before closing them up.

4. Souper Noodle Lunch

We make a BIG pot of chicken noodle soup fairly often because we can eat off it all week. It’s such an easy thing to throw in a lunch box, especially for a kid that prefers a “hot” lunch. I paired it with some vanilla yogurt and blackberries and it all came back empty! As a side note, that Mott’s Apple Mango pouch is my kids’ absolute favorite.

5. The Hors D’Oeuvres Lunch

My kids call this the “Lunchables” lunch, because I won’t buy the pre-made version at the store. But I will give them some good crackers, real cheese, and fresh salami or sausage. Throw in a banana and some raisins and this lunch is FILLING. But somehow the cookie always gets eaten!

I find that using three containers of varying sizes works perfectly. I have two sets so I can mix and match as needed. Having the containers helps so much because it gives you a framework of “what can I fill this with?” I set them in the box, then start rummaging for things in the fridge and pantry that will fill them up and provide a balanced meal.

What goes in your preschooler’s lunch box?

This post is sponsored by Mott’s.

7 recipes that convinced even my picky kid to eat something healthy

by

Lindsay Weiss

posted in Toddlerhood

I know some of you are blessed with kiddos who are great eaters. I have two of them, and I’m grateful for how easy they are to feed. I’m especially grateful I don’t have to worry about their nutrition because, well, I worry about a lot of things and it’s nice to cross that one off the list.

I cannot take responsibility for their love of all foods though, because I also have this little hellion:

He has been given ALL the same foods as his older brother and sister and still exists on a very limited repertoire of carbs (bread, rice, pasta), milk, and a few select proteins, fruits, and veggies. I mean very few. And he is stubborn as an ox, so if there’s a showdown about food he’ll usually win.

However, because he’s my third child and I don’t worry as much about the little things anymore, I’ve been extremely patient about working through his pickiness. Over the past year, I’ve put a bazillion things in front of him, always incorporating an ingredient I know he likes, but usually blending in one or two new things. Most of those things have gone down in a giant ball of flames. But a few meals have stuck.

On the off chance you have a kid like mine, I thought I’d share some of the meals that have worked to broaden my picky preschooler’s horizon. Click links for recipes.

1. Smoothies, Smoothies, Smoothies

I do A LOT of smoothies because I can get quite a few fruits or veggies in, as well as some protein from Greek yogurt (or a little extra protein powder). Here’s the basic formula I use:

1 cereal bowl full of fruits/veggies (frozen is fine — that’s frozen mango pictured above)
1 banana
1 cup Greek vanilla yogurt
Apple juice for sweetener (I like Mott’s for Tots because it is specifically designed for tots with 40 percent less sugar and added essential vitamins.)

Blend and serve.

2. Rainbow Fried Rice

Put a plate full of veggies in front of my kids and they will eat a few of them. Put a plate full of veggies in some fried rice and they will DEVOUR all of them. Fried rice for the win! I also throw chopped chicken in this when I can. It’s one of the few proteins my little guy will tolerate, especially if it’s wrapped up in rice.

3. Homemade Mac ‘n Cheese with Chicken and Broccoli

I was 99 percent sure this would be a bust. My little guy hates broccoli. But he did eat it in this dish! Even though the dish is high in carbs and dairy, I feel so much better when it’s coupled with a protein (chicken) and a good green veggie. This is an entire meal in a bowl, which is a bonus for the chef.

4. Crispy Edamame

I made these out of desperation because all my kids love salty chips and crackers so much. I hoped if I could get the edamame as crisp and salty that they’d substitute it. I’m usually wrong about these things but, this time, VICTORY! Extra bonus because they’re full of protein!

5. Orange Chicken

I noticed that my kiddo would occasionally take a piece of orange chicken off one of the older kid’s plates when we were at a Chinese restaurant and eat it. I wouldn’t consider takeout orange chicken especially healthy, but because my little guy is so starved for protein, I vowed to figure it out. This homemade version was a hit and isn’t even fried!

6. Breakfast Banana Pudding Parfaits
I make these all the time during the school year because I can make them ahead and they stay good in the fridge for a few days. My older kids will eat them on the way to school, which saves us time. So imagine my surprise when my little guy pulled up a stool, grabbed one from the fridge, and toddled out to his car seat with one so he could eat with big bro/sis in the car. I just assumed he wouldn’t eat the Greek yogurt but I WAS WRONG! He loved these.

7. Chicken, Broccoli & Bacon Fettucine

This is actually all three of my kids’ favorite meal. (It’s one of mine too.) Again, I was sure the broccoli would be a no-go for the little dude, but the creamy sauce and salty bacon really did the trick. He LOVES this dish.

What meals finally broke the barrier with your picky kid?

Less sugar, more goodness! When you think your little one’s ready for juice, fill that sippy cup with a juice made specifically for them. One that cuts down on the sugar while adding essential vitamins. Find your tot’s flavor!

This post is sponsored by Mott’s for Tots.

5 steps to planning a perfect play date

by

McKenzie Stamper

posted in Toddlerhood

Play dates aren’t what they used to be when I was growing up. This was all before Pinterest and Instagram stories. The closest thing I got to a planned play date was my mom buying me the new Lisa Frank fuzzy coloring posters for my Friday night sleepover.

Was it documented like they are nowadays? Maybe, if your parents had given in to your request for a disposable camera. Boy, have things changed!

Nowadays, there can be a bit of pressure when hosting a play date: what to eat, what to do? It’s easy to get overwhelmed, but these should be fun for everyone involved. Moms need play dates just as much as the little ones do. I have had so many over the years that I’ve reduced my planning down to 5 simple steps.

1. Pick a snack.

Think something easy, toddler-approved, and incredibly delicious (their standards aren’t very high). I have a friend who completely wowed me on our first play date with Nutella-stuffed crescents. I watched in awe as she rolled them up effortlessly, like it was no big deal. The kids and I devoured them as I thought to myself, “Did we just become best friends?” Your snack can be anything from cut up fruit and crackers to fancy Nutella-stuffed crescents. Whatever you’re feeling up to throwing together will work!

2. Bring on the juice!

Toddlers drink a lot of liquids. Make sure you have something yummy for the kids to drink. My 3-year-old can down a juice box in about 4 gulps after running around with his friends. Stick to a juice that you know everyone will enjoy, and won’t give your mom-friend a heart attack from the amount of high-fructose corn syrup involved. I like to bring along Mott’s for Tots Apple Juice. It has almost half the sugar of 100 percent apple juice, and 100 percent of your day’s vitamin C, along with vitamins A and E. My little ones’ favorite flavors are the original Apple, and Apple White Grape. They are tasty and refreshing, and I don’t have to worry about artificial sweeteners.

3. Set up a sensory box.

These things are great because they keep the kids occupied for a good amount of time. Think rainbow spaghetti, sand and little trucks, dried colorful beans and lentils, Play-Doh, even a water table with some bubbles and food coloring. Toddlers love touching and feeling new textures. (Be careful with young babies and choke-able items.) They’ll be in awe while you and your mom-friend can get in a good 30-minute adult conversation. That alone, to me, makes the sensory box setup-time totally worth it.

4. Throw down a blanket!

Whether you’re inside or outside, play dates can get a bit messy. Toddlers love to grab their juice boxes and squeeze as hard as they can while an apple juice geyser pours all over your floor. The floor you probably just cleaned right before your play date. So save your sanity and throw down a blanket.

5. Sit back and “relax”

Enjoy your time with another adult (besides your spouse). Even though it can be total chaos, it’s nice to shoot the breeze with someone who’s going through the exact same things in parenting. Share stories, vent, laugh, or even take a photo or two (or thirty).

So what about you? What are your favorite things to do on a play date?

Less sugar, more goodness! When you think your little one’s ready for juice, fill that sippy cup with a juice made specifically for them. One that cuts down on the sugar while adding essential vitamins. Find your tot’s flavor!

This post is sponsored by Mott’s for Tots. All opinions are truthful and my own.

7 tips for managing toddler tantrums

by

BabyCenter Guest Blogger

posted in Toddlerhood

By Bethanie Garcia

When I was pregnant with my first child, I got some great parenting advice — probably the best I’ve ever received. My mom said to me, “Parenting is hard. Worth it, but hard.” At the time, I thought, “Uh, okay? Thanks for the encouragement, Mom!” But after three kids, I hold that advice close to my heart. It helps me know I’m not the only one facing parenting battles. I’m not the only one at my wit’s end. I’m not the only one trying not to go crazy.

Lately, the parenting battle has been tantrums. Every child is different and every mom or dad parents a different way, but no one is immune. Tantrums come in all shapes and sizes and can turn even the sweetest littles into little monsters! My almost-3-year-old is the sweetest child on the planet. She’s always been a mama’s girl and I thought she was perfect — until she turned 2-and-a-half. She and her older sister gang up on me and coordinate their tantrums to occur at the same moment. At first, it was miserable. There was no turning back and nothing worked.

But after a few years of parenting, I’ve learned a few hacks that can prevent a tantrum or sidetrack a child in the midst of one.

Here are my go-to’s:

  1. Coloring books: Have a coloring book and crayon set nearby. Sit your toddler down with the coloring book and crayons and walk away. Walk into the next room and take a breather.
  2. Mott’s for Tots Apple Juice: Mott’s is basically my secret weapon. It’s fruit juice plus purified water and essential vitamins. My kids can’t get enough. In the midst of a tantrum, tell your children to take three deep breaths and give them a cup of juice. (I even have a glass of juice myself!)
  3. Change the setting: if you’re in the living room, move it to the playroom or bedroom. If you have a really small house, walk to the park.
  4. Take a field trip: Even just heading into the backyard helps my kids get some of that potential tantrum energy out.
  5. Dance it out: Sometimes, there’s no avoiding the inevitable tantrum. So instead of fighting it and getting frustrated, I crank up some dance music and jump around with the kids. I can almost guarantee that your angry child will start smiling and dancing with you.
  6. Bath time: If all else fails, I run a lukewarm bath and let the kids play with their favorite bath toys.7. Quiet time: If your kid has already had a nap (which is the most usual response to that mid-day tantrum in our house), try quiet time. They can sit on their bed and read a book or play quietly in their room until they “feel better.”

Tantrums are inevitable, but having a backup plan always helps. Remember, parenting is HARD, but we are all in this together!

How do you handle toddler tantrums?

 

Less sugar, more goodness! When you think your little one’s ready for juice, fill that sippy cup with a juice made specifically for them. One that cuts down on the sugar while adding essential vitamins. Find your tot’s flavor!

****

Bethanie-headshot-500x500Bethanie is a California-born and -raised blogger, living in the hot Arizona desert. She has three kids, ages 3 and under. She met (and fell in love with) her husband in high school. She blogs about life, style, and motherhood at TheGarciaDiaries.com. You can often find her online shopping (when her hubby’s at work, of course), catching up on KUWTK, or wrangling her kiddos — all while wearing her favorite mom-themed graphic tee with a highly caffeinated drink in hand!

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How to stay sane on a day trip with your baby

by

McKenzie Stamper

posted in Toddlerhood

Taking a day trip with your baby can be pretty intimidating, even disastrous if you do not come prepared. Going out with a baby unprepared is like going to the beach mid-summer without your sunblock. In other words, you will get burned…badly! It can turn a fun day into a stressful downward spiral.

Something I learned along the way is to keep a basket, oversized bag, or box filled with essentials in my car. I call this my go-bag. I started out with a large beach bag, and have since moved on to a basket. I recommend anything with handles as it makes for easy maneuvering in and out of the car, and back into the trunk area. My go-bag has made life so much easier, and gives me more time to enjoy outings stress-free with my sweet babies.

My go-bag also eliminates stops if the kids get hungry, soak their outfit (my 3-year-old has a habit of lying in puddles at the park), or if I run out of diapers or wipes. Spilled coffee on your shirt in the car? Forget having to just deal with it; you’re already prepared with an extra change of clothes.

One item I am constantly having to replenish: Mott’s Unsweetened Applesauce pouches. My kids slam these like nobody’s business. It’s the one item I have learned to buy in bulk, otherwise I get some really unhappy children. These pouches are a quick and easy snack, and I don’t have to feel bad about my kids constantly eating them. They have a good amount of vitamin C and there’s no added sugar unlike most kid-favorite snacks. Shhh, don’t tell my kids!

Mom Tip: Do not store your box of Mott’s pouches on the bottom shelf of your pantry. It took 2 days for me to realize my 3-year-old had been sneaking these up to his room and hiding the empty pouches under his bed. There were 7 of them under there; so, yeah. Luckily they are unsweetened, so I don’t feel too bad about it.

I have two children, 1 and 3-and-a-half years old. For the most part, they both like the same stuff, so I don’t have to pack too many different items. Also, since I keep my go-bag in my car, it makes for really easy rides when you’ve got back seat screamers. Just pass them a pouch, and voila! Silence.

Remember to keep things in your go-bag that won’t spoil. When I get to our destination, I usually take out what I need for my stroller or diaper bag. When I get low on certain items, I replenish them when we get home.

Bonus: You’ll get brownie points for being mom of the year from Dad and your babysitter for having a go-bag!

Here are some items I suggest keeping in your go-bag:

• A picnic blanket
Mott’s Unsweetened Applesauce
• Juice boxes
• Water
• Change of clothes for each child AND Mom
• Diapers and wipes
• Snack bags with dry snacks for babies and Mom
• Sunscreen
• Hand sanitizer
• A toy or ball
• Fruit snacks (for bribing purposes)
• Tylenol (for Mom and the kids)

And if that doesn’t keep you sane enough, I suggest making yourself a nice big cup of iced coffee and turning on your favorite playlist. Always does the trick for me.

What items keep you sane on an outing with your little ones?

No room for added sugar. Kids love Mott’s Unsweetened Applesauce because it’s delicious. Parents love it because there’s no sugar added. Explore Mott’s Unsweetened Applesauce flavors, available in convenient pouches and cups.

This post is sponsored by Mott’s. All opinions are truthful and my own.

Images by McKenzie Stamper

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10 things you absolutely need when leaving your house with a toddler

by

Tabitha Blue

posted in Toddlerhood

You’d think that once your baby’s out of the infant phase, you’d be able to leave the diaper bag behind. Not so! Your bag will be lighter (yay!), but no mama wants to be stuck without a few toddler essentials when away from home. And by “essentials,” I mostly mean snacks, because really that’s what makes a kid’s life go round. #AmIRight?!

After you’ve had to lug around a package of diapers (because we all know newborns go through them like water), two changes of clothing, multiple creams, bottles, and more, it feels SO great to be able to downsize a little. As our babes grow, so does their independence, and that means we get to pack a little less. So here are the essentials you need in an efficient toddler bag:

  1. Start with a great bag: Lots of pockets are a plus, and backpack straps make life (and chasing a toddler) that much easier. I’ve had my leather Lily Jade bag through two kids now, and it’s worked great for me in all stages.
  2. Snacks: As I mentioned before, snacks are pretty much the center of a toddling babe’s world since a full belly usually means a happy baby. Pouches, sippy cups, and puffs will be a life (and sanity) saver. Lately my littles of all ages have been loving Mott’s Unsweetened Applesauce pouches. Since they’re available in a variety of flavors, the kiddos have something to choose from, and I certainly appreciate that there’s no room in them for anything but the good stuff: no added sugar and no artificial sweeteners, flavors, or colors. Pouches are totally my go-to, since they’re easy to throw in the bag, don’t have to be refrigerated, and my kids seriously get excited to eat their fruit!motts for tots for your toddler
  3. Diapers: Okay, so diapers and wipes are still a must. And really, even as a toddler potty trains, wipes will still be an essential for a long time; sticky fingers are not a welcome friend. The good thing is that as our little ones grow, fewer diapers are needed, leaving more space in our bags for things we actually need, like a wallet and phone.
  4. Ointment: I make my own ointment with coconut oil and essential oils, but you should bring along whatever balm works for you. All-in-one balm or ointment can be used in multiple ways and cuts down on the clutter. Ours gets used for diapers, cuts, stings, boo-boos, dry skin, and more.
  5. Notepad: Organized mamas need something to take notes, make lists, and write down reminders. I do frequently use my phone for this, but sometimes a good old fashioned pen and paper is faster and more reliable. Another plus? Hand over a highlighter and it will keep my littles distracted and quiet if I need to focus on something else for a few moments.
  6. iPad: Have you ever tried going out to eat with wee ones? Or have a long car ride in your future? Sometimes their favorite sing-a-long will actually give you a chance at an adult conversation…you know, with other live adults!
  7. Sun protection: You never know when an impromptu playdate at the park may happen, and it’s best to be prepared to protect that sweet skin.
  8. Clothing: While carrying around two extra outfits isn’t really necessary at this point, it is still helpful to have an extra top, and if your little one is potty training, an extra set of bottoms as well. For this, just choose non-bulky clothing that’s easy to roll up so you have more room for other essentials.
  9. Sanitizing spray: Instead of carrying sanitizing wipes, hand sanitizer, and more, I usually keep a small spray bottle of sanitizing spray close by. We make ours with witch hazel, essential oils, and water and use it to spray dirty hands, tables, changing tables, shopping carts, and more.
  10. A small pouch: It works wonders for those few extra things you may need, like lip balm, pain reliever, hair ties, and coins. I also like to keep a small scarf or blanket handy just in case a little someone gets sleepy or wants to nurse, a restaurant or store is cold, or we make a stop at the beach and need a “towel.”

Toddler Diaper Bag

So what about you? What are some of your toddler diaper bag must-haves?

This post is sponsored by Mott’s®.

No room for added sugar. Kids love Mott’s Unsweetened Applesauce because it’s delicious. Parents love it because there’s no sugar added. Explore Mott’s Unsweetened Applesauce flavors, available in convenient pouches and cups.

The no screen guide to entertaining your toddler

by

Tabitha Blue

posted in Toddlerhood

We’ve all fallen guilty to it — it’s so easy to let screen time give us that break we need. And you know what? It’s okay! We all can use a break now and then. Yet in an ongoing battle against mindless entertainment for our kids, we find creative ways to keep it all in balance. Less television and internet means a better quality of life for us all.

When we turn off the screen it can encourage us to be more intentional, more productive, more interactive. Your family can enjoy the happy moments, instead of letting them slowly fade into the background of a TV show or video game.

So while the struggle is real we never give up. This is not a win-or-lose battle. It’s a tug-of-war, a balancing act of give and take. We may lose some ground occasionally, but we never give in, we fight on to be healthier, more active, and enjoy life together more.

Here’s our No-screen guide to entertaining your toddler.

Play with food.

You don’t need anything crazy or expensive to keep your little one entertained. Food is all it takes, especially when you let your toddler play with it. Set out a tray of their favorite snacks, all cut up and ready to be devoured, or serve lunch deconstructed and let their creativity flourish. You can start with building towers, counting games, sorting colors… just get in there with them and show that it’s okay to play, at least when Mommy says.

Get outdoors.

When my littlest ones get restless, we get out! Pack up some favorite snacks and a drink (we like Mott’s for Tots Apple Juice, yay for 40% less sugar!) for when everyone inevitably gets thirsty.  Strap them in a stroller, and go for a walk. Or if you’re feeling a little more adventurous, find a new park, hit up the zoo, go on a nature walk, find animals in the clouds together, search for rocks or sticks…you don’t have to have an arsenal of toys available; just use nature — bubbles are great for toddler outdoor time too. The fresh air and sunshine will usually brighten everyone’s mood and wear your little ones out (meaning better naps and a good night’s sleep).

Clean the house.

Yep, it might seem counter-intuitive to clean with a toddler on your heels, and really it doesn’t need to be the deep-cleaning you probably wish you could fit in, but kids LOVE to help clean! Indulge your little while they’re still willing to lend a hand. Give them a broom, a spray bottle, or a damp rag and sing songs together while you clean up.

Take a seat.

While it feels like we never really get a chance to sit down and relax, there are SO many ways to entertain a toddler while we sit. Books are a chart-topper, but don’t miss out on all the other snuggling opportunities: sing songs, tell stories, look at baby photo books, play “I Spy” while you teach colors and shapes, let them brush your hair, take pictures together; the possibilities seem pretty endless. And hey, you get to put your feet up for a bit too!

Make it rain.

Okay, okay, I’m not talking about actually making it rain, but I’ve long lived by this rule: “When you have a crab, take it to water.” Meaning, when my kids get crabby, I find some kind of water for them to play in. It could be a bin with an inch or two of water and a few small toys, some days it’s turning on the sink water to a trickle and letting them splash, maybe it’s a trip to the pool or beach, or a great excuse to get the bath going (P.S. they LOVE a good kitchen sink bath!). One thing for sure, it almost always cures those toddler blues. Or at least wears them out enough for good sleep.

What tips and ideas do you have to help curb the brain drain?

This post is sponsored by Mott’s for Tots.

Less sugar, more goodness! When you think your little one’s ready for juice, fill that sippy cup with a juice made specifically for them. One that cuts down on the sugar while adding essential vitamins. Find your tot’s flavor!

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