The Gerber Life Parenting Blog

Parenting Tips

Advice for raising well-balanced children

When you left the hospital to take your newborn home for the first time, you may have hoped that the baby bag contained some kind of manual giving parental advice on how to handle the next 18-plus years. Then you remembered that babies don't come with a set of instructions for parents on how to teach a child values, resolve a conflict with a sibling or help a child study for an upcoming test. Our tips for parents can help prepare you for various situations, as well as provide ideas for activities that you can enjoy as a family.

  1. 5 Tips for a Stress-Free Summer

    May 29, 2019

    More hours of daylight and warmer weather are just a couple of reasons why summer is the favorite season for many people. For parents, however, trying to keep young kids entertained and supervised all summer long can be stressful. Finding the right balance between keeping your kids busy and your bank account healthy can help reduce stress levels.

     

    Here are some tips for having a stress-free summer:

    1. Consider a nanny or day camps to save money

    According to the Center for American Progress, the estimated amount that families in the U.S. would spend for summer childcare in 2018 was 20 percent of their income.This amount may not come as a shock, but don’t worry – there are ways to save money on summer childcare.

    Hiring a nanny could be a more economical option than sending your kids to a daycare facility. To save even more money as well as time in searching for a childcare facility, consider sharing a nanny with neighboring families.

    Signing up your kids for summer day camps through their school or the community may cost even less than a childcare facility. Not only are camps a way to make new friends, they also can help to keep your kids physically active and continually learning.

    When day camp isn’t an option, look into non-profits, such as the YWCA, YMCA or local library. You and your kids will be supporting a cause while having fun and maybe saving some money.

     

    2. Keep a daily, flexible routine

    When your kids are home for the summer, it’s important to provide them with a daily routine and to keep it somewhat flexible.

    Make sure that the routine incorporates healthy habits, chores and learning. Try to leave an hour open here and there for something spontaneous, whether it’s an ice cream run or quiet time.

     

     

    3. Poll the family for ideas

    Take some pressure off of yourself. Ask your kids what they would like to do. Ask other family members. You may be surprised by their responses and ideas, which could be simpler than what you expected or may spark other ways to have fun.

    Some of these activities may cost money, but there are other ways to have fun without burning a hole in your pocket.

     

     

    4. Enjoy a ‘staycation’

    A Harris Poll survey in 2018 found that vacations cost families in the U.S. an average of $2,256, according to a blog on Nerdwallet.com.2

    Although going away – maybe far away – with the family can offer a break from the daily humdrum, there are more affordable ways to recharge and rejuvenate and still make lasting memories.

      • Invest in some fun backyard toys.
      • Visit a town fair or enjoy a picnic in a park, a local activity that can give everyone the opportunity to get out and stretch their legs.
      • Plan a family “staycation” around day or weekend trips to places where you’ve never ventured, such as a nearby aquarium, zoo, beach, theme park, observatory, museum, hiking trails or historical sites. Giving your family a mix of physical and mental activities will keep the staycation adventurous and different from day-to-day life.

    If your list of ideas gets long, prioritize the suggestions based on what will benefit the entire family. Then, be sure to schedule each outing on the family calendar. If they’re on the calendar, you’re more likely to do them.

     

    5. Be in the moment

    If you’re a working parent, simply trying to find enough time to enjoy activities with your kids can add another level of stress.

    One way to achieve quality time is to have the family disengage with social media. Try deleting your apps for the summer. Without those pop-up notifications, you can enjoy more moments with your family.

    Remember to reserve enjoyment time for yourself, too. Family time is important, but you, too, should recharge regularly, whether with a book or by going for a walk or shopping or starting a new hobby.

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    Sources:

    1 – Novoa, Cristina, “Families Can Expect to Pay 20 Percent of Income on Summer Child Care,” Center for American Progress, https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/early-childhood/news/2018/06/11/451700/families-can-expect-pay-20-percent-income-summer-child-care/

    2 – El Issa, Erin, “Family Vacations Can Mean Big Costs and Little Lies,” NerdWallet: Summer Spending Report 2018, https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/family-summer-travel-spending-report-2018/

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  2. Earth Day Tips & Activities for Kids

    April 11, 2019

    Earth Day for Kids - child gardening

    This year on Earth Day – April 22 – an estimated billion people across the planet will take action to help preserve our planet.How can you teach your children to be environmentally responsible, and also make it fun for them?

    Here are some ways to make every day an Earth Day for kids:

     

    Plenty of outdoor time

    Even before Earth Day arrives, make sure that your children have plenty of outdoor time. Let them play with dirt, get fresh air, observe insects, and watch things grow.

    To experience empathy for our environment we need to be in it. So, let your children’s imagination run free by frolicking in the rain, collecting rocks, going on a scavenger hunt, or collecting different plants, flowers, leaves, or other things from a garden.

     

    How to Respect Nature

    Help your child understand the important roles that certain plants and animals play in the food chain. Bees are a great place to start, since so many plants and animals rely on pollination for food. Without bees, it is reported that 332,000 plant species could be in danger since they depend on insect pollination.2

    You and your child might decide to plant a bee-friendly flower garden, to provide forage and help keep the bee species alive. Certain flowers such as Black Eyed Susan, pansies and lavender, and herbs such as oregano and thyme, attract bees, which through pollination and the food chain helps animals and other creatures to survive, too.

    Another fun and helpful activity you can do with your child is to plant a tree in the backyard, since trees create oxygen for everything living nearby. You also could build bird feeders to sustain our winged friends, or set up a bird bath to help keep them clean. Both are fun and easy to do, making these great Earth Day activities for preschoolers and older kids alike.

     

    Recycle Routinely

    Kids learn through repetition, so by recycling things daily you can set a good example for your children. Teach them how to properly recycle paper, plastics, metals, glass, and other recyclables on your town’s list.

    However, keep in mind that not all paper, plastics or other objects are recyclable. Items such as food-soiled containers, used tissues, tiny pieces of plastic, and broken glass should be thrown out with the regular trash, or according to your town’s recycling list.

    Many items can be reused, such as paper and plastic bags. You can show your child how to put bags to good use by taking them along when you go shopping, to reuse instead of relying on new bags.

     

    Reuse with Purpose and Creativity

    Not only can repurposing help to reduce waste; it can also spark creativity. “Reuse projects” – which can come in handy, particularly on rainy days – can keep children creatively busy with  arts and crafts.  For example, your child could use photos from old magazines to create collages or other art, or could make a bird feeder out of plastic soda bottles.

     

    Ways to Conserve Energy

    Remind your kids to turn off the TV when they’re not watching it, and to turn off the lights when leaving a room. This good habit helps not only to cut down your electricity bill, but also to help your child understand the proverb, “waste not, want not.”

    The best way for your children to become more Earth-friendly is to be Earth-friendly yourself. Set good examples daily to help raise a responsible, respectful kid.

     

    SOURCE:

    1 – “Earth Day – April 22,” Earth Day Network, https://www.earthday.org/earthday/

    2 – “What You Need to Know About Bees and How You Can Help to Protect Them,” Earth Day Network, https://www.earthday.org/campaigns/endangered-species/bees/

     

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  3. 7 Things Millennial Parents Are Doing Right

    December 18, 2018

    No matter which generation we’re a part of, we want the best for our children and we’re willing to put in the work to make that happen. However, the United States is a very different place from what it was 20 or 30 years ago.

    Millennial parents have challenges, resources and opportunities that their parents never faced or envisioned, which has led to some very big differences in how millennials approach parenting.

     

    1. Starting families later

    new parents - woman checking pregnancy test

    The current median age for getting married is 30 years old, compared to 23 years in the 1970s.1 With more women pursuing careers and with prices and expenses increasing, family life seems to be put on hold.

     

    2. Better informed

    millennial parents - couple cooking

    With so much knowledge at our fingertips thanks to the internet, today’s parents are searching for how-to tips for parenting. Millennials are strategic thinkers, interested in what has worked for other parents and what hasn’t.  Google found that three out of four parents are open to parenting tips they find on YouTube.2

     

    3. Dads are stepping up

    millennial parenting - dad playing with child

    Nowadays, new fathers play a bigger role at home than did previous generations of dads. They strive to be “perfect” and are interested in learning everything they can about parenting.As super dads, they are more involved with tasks like baby-proofing, changing diapers, making important purchasing decisions and more.

     

    4. Health conscious

    millennials - woman running with dog

    Millennials tend to be more health conscious than previous generations.  They carry their health consciousness into their parenting style, aiming to serve as positive, healthy role models.

     

    5. Dialogue is a priority

    millennial dads - father talking with son

    Millennial parents look for ways to be more “present” and involved, and let their kids be part of the decision-making process. Breaking away from “helicopter parenting,” they give their kids choices. Instead of pushing them to strive for perfection, they keep it real by having candid conversations with their little ones.

     

    6. They don’t define themselves as only a mom or dad

    millennials - woman painting

    “Millennial parents can do it all,” the saying goes. They prioritize their kids while still doing other things that make them happy. 75% of millennials say they’ve “continued to pursue personal passions” since becoming parents.3

     

    7. Saving more for the future

    saving money - piggy bank

    Once kids come into the picture, it seems like saving for retirement is kicked into high gear. To put this in perspective, boomers are saving about 5% of their income for retirement. But the Millennial generation is saving twice as much, with a very financially responsible 10% of income going into retirement savings!4

    And, of course, any sound retirement plan includes life insurance, so that spouses and children are financially protected if the unexpected happens.

     

    Wrapping it up…

    Yes, the parenting world we live in today is very different from previous generations. And Millennials may not be doing things the same way their parents did. New challenges require new approaches, and millennial parents are rising to meet those challenges. They seem to be doing parenting right.

     

    1 – “Millennials Coming of Age,” Goldman Sachs, 2015,  https://www.goldmansachs.com/insights/archive/millennials/

    2 – “Marketing to Millennial Parents? Here’s How They’re Redefining Parenting for Their Generation,” Think with Google, March 2017,  https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/consumer-insights/marketing-millennial-parents-youtube-insights/

    3 – “Millennial Dads Turn to Digital in Their Moments of Need” Think with Google, June 2015,  https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/consumer-insights/millennial-dads-turn-to-digital-in-moments-of-need/

    4 – “Millennial Parents Outpace Gen X, Boomer Parents on Retirement Savings,” Nerdwallet survey conducted online by Harris Poll, Aug. 2017, https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/investing/parents-retirement-study/

     

  4. 5 Easy DIY Halloween Costumes and Decorations

    October 10, 2018

    Halloween is in HOW many days? Don’t worry, we have some last-minute costume and décor ideas that can make you look like a pro and that you can make with your child. If you’re putting things together in a hurry and on a budget, no problem. You could use materials from around the house to create a masterpiece.

    Here’s some costume inspiration for busy parents:

    1. The Mummy

    Use an old sheet or a roll of gauze bandages to give your child a “preserved” look. If using a white sheet, rip it into long strips. Wrap the strips or the gauze around your child in two sections – top and bottom – keeping the top separate from the bottom (you’ll thank us later for this tip). Dab smoky eye shadow around your child’s eyes and a little on the cheeks.

     

    DIY Halloween Costumes - child mummy costume

     

    2. The Superhero

    Start with leggings and a matching T shirt. You’ll also need some spare felt, safety pins or fabric glue, child-safe scissors and a solid-colored blanket or sheet. First, cut out a large letter –– from the felt, then attach it to the T shirt with safety pins or fabric glue. Cut other pieces of felt into strips and turn them into a belt, headband or eye mask. Add a solid-colored blanket or sheet and you’ve got a Superhero cape.

     

    Halloween Costumes - boy in DIY superhero costume

     

    3. The Emoji

    Got a yellow T shirt in a size that’s too big for your kiddo? Perfect! Next thing you’ll need is a printout of “emoji” facial expressions. Then, attach the selected emoji to the T shirt with glue or safety pins, or use a stick-on emoji. If you have several yellow T shirts, you could make more emoji T shirts and have the whole family go trick-or-treating as every mood.

     

    Halloween Decorations - cutting paper

     

    Don’t let your Halloween creativity stop with the costume. It’s also easy to give your house or apartment a face lift before the trick-or-treaters arrive. Here are some options:

     

    4. Wicked Welcome

    Turn your front door into a spooky or silly face that can catch the eyes of passersby. All you need is some white or colored paper, tape, child-safety scissors and imagination.

     

    Halloween front door decoration

     

    5. Eerie Entryway

    Transform your entryway into a critter cave. Begin by stretching cotton batting into long pieces, then positioning them in the entryway to create fake cobwebs. Sprinkle plastic or paper spiders throughout the cobwebs for a Halloween-style, spine-tingling effect. Finish the look by hanging cut-out paper bats from the ceiling.

     

    Halloween pumpkins on front porch

     

    A Word on Safety

    Halloween is a lot of fun for you and the children, but it’s important to play it safe.
    – Remember to keep your pathways cleared and well-lit for trick-or-treaters.
    – Make sure that your kids are visible when trick-or-treating at night by attaching reflective tape to their costumes.
    – Don’t forget to check the candy they bring home!

     

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  5. Paid Maternity Leave Infographic

    February 6, 2018

    Despite the fact that it happens every day around the world, having a baby is a big deal! Babies, while so small, have a big impact on the lives of new parents. And what’s more, this impact radiates out, touching careers and even our national economy!

    Click below to see why Paid Maternity Leave is so important for parents, employers, and the country at large.

    Maternity Leave Infographic

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