Category: Advice

Flying with your family and tips from a mom who’s aloft a lot

Flying with your family and tips from a mom who’s aloft a lotLet me tell you the funny story of our first plane trip with Paige. She was only eight months old at the time when we flew to Durban for a wedding. I was a little anxious about the trip, mostly because I was worried her ears would hurt during landing. I suffered from ear ache as a child when flying, still do, and it is no fun. So I asked advice from other moms and went online to get some handy tips (like the ones I’m sharing below). One piece of advice is to give a bottle to your baby upon decent to help equalise their ears.

Since we were flying off for a family wedding, we were fortunate enough to be travelling with granny and cousin. I got to sit back and enjoy the flight, staring out the window, with hubby in the middle and granny had Paige on her lap in the aisle seat. Just across the aisle was cousin and behind Paige sat a smartly dress woman wearing a pair of adorable peep-toe shoes.

Paige was a star during the flight. She played, had a nap and was no trouble at all. The flight attendant announced our descent, I handed over the milk bottle and Paige happily drank away. That is until she projectile vomited over granny, across the aisle onto cousin and even into the peep-toe shoes of the lady who had the luck of sitting behind us. I could see the humour in it as, for once, I wasn’t covered in vomit. Fortunately everyone else could have a laugh about it too. Poor granny finally got to change once we retrieved our luggage. Needless to say, we did not try feed Paige a bottle on our return flight.

So maybe I’m not the best person to give advice, but another mom who’s done a lot of flying with her family is Sue Petrie, British Airways’ Commercial Manager for Southern Africa. She suggests a few proven hacks that can make your flight easier.

Booking your flight

  • Prepare ahead by checking in online. This is not only convenient for travellers of any age, it also decreases the likelihood of youngsters becoming tetchy while waiting in queues.
  • If you’re travelling internationally, check the Department of Home Affairs’ site at dha.gov.za to be sure you have the documentation you need.
  • You can reserve equipment like children’s bassinets, as well as children’s meals.
  • Remember to also check regulations on decanting liquids into small bottles, so you can plan accordingly.
  • Petrie urges travelling families to take advantage of concessions like preferential boarding and being allowed to take strollers onto the air-bridge and to the door of the aircraft.

Packing for your flight

  • While you want to pack enough supplies – you might need nappies, pull-ups and wipes, for example. Petrie advises against weighing yourself down with more than you can comfortably carry.
  • Naturally you need to pack food that’s appropriate for your child in terms of dietary needs and choking hazard. However, chewy snacks like biltong, nuts or fruit-rolls can help equalise pressure in the ears, which can be very uncomfortable.  While you want kids to stay hydrated, foods with too much sugar may make them too energetic. Try diluting fruit-juice with rooibos tea as an option.
  • “Avoid toy weapons or those with small parts. Everyone knows you can’t harm anyone or anything with a rubber Pirates of the Caribbean sword, but airport security are likely to confiscate it anyway. It’s also one of the few occasions that Lego isn’t a good idea as it, and other toys with small parts, can be difficult to retrieve when dropped aboard a plane,” says Petrie.

During your flight

  • Flying with kids can feel daunting, as though everyone on the plane is watching you and your family and expecting a noisy meltdown. Flight attendants are there to help and they’ll do all they can for families with kids as well as other passengers. Enlist their help wherever you can.
  • Few parents will allow their kids unfettered screen-time, but in-flight movies, portable CD players, smartphones and tablets can be a godsend for air-travel as the right app or game can keep a child occupied for hours. Small children may struggle to understand why they have to switch their devices off for take-off though. Packing a good portable charger, or power-bank, and headphones can also help.
  • While you want your youngster to have access to the toilet, Petrie advises against seating small children on the aisle as they may be snagged by trollies.

For more handy tips and information on travelling with kids, see https://www.britishairways.com/en-gb/information/family-travel

This is not a sponsored post. Information supplied by British Airways. Image from unsplash.com.

Party gifts for charity and celebrating Paige’s 5th birthday

Donations as party gifts The Mommy CityMy little girl turned 5! To celebrate her big day and the fact that she can hold up all 5 fingers on one hand to show her age, we threw a party with close family and friends. Paige now understands the concepts of parties and logged a request for a mermaid party a few months back. She is also a very lucky girl in that she doesn’t want for anything, and often receives a new toy and gift. I had her presents all ready for her birthday and so did the grannies, and knew she was going to be sufficiently spoilt on her big day. So we decided that on her party invitations, we would ask for a charitable donation in lieu of gifts. This decision may be controversial for some, but here are my reasons for asking for a charitable donation at my child’s birthday party.

Two weeks before the party, I took the kids to our local animal welfare to meet the dogs and cats. I explained to Paige that for her birthday, we would ask her friends for pet food so we could feed the animals. It was agreed that the dogs were noisy, but the cats were really cute. I then had to decide on the wording for the invite. As I was inviting close friends and family, I felt confident that they would be understanding of my request and were all animal lovers. Even so, it took some time before deciding on asking for “No gifts please. Donations of cat/dog food for animal welfare welcome”.

At the party, Paige was understanding and received the donations in good spirit, but loved opening her own presents even more. She is still young, and a balance needs to be struck between learning to give and receive. She did enjoy taking the food to the shelter and seeing all the dogs and cats again. Once again, consensus between Paige and Ethan was that the dogs were still too noisy, but playing with the kittens was the best. Staff at the animal welfare were very grateful for the donation, and their Facebook post thanking Paige had a great response. I hope to make this a birthday tradition, and encourage the children to select a charity of their choice each year. If you would like to do the same, I share some ideas and suggestions on how to make it fun for everyone.

Suggested charities and organisations:

  • Animal welfare organisations are always in need of food, bedding and toys
  • Fire departments need bottled water, energy bars and drinks, chocolates, and sunscreen
  • Child welfare organisations need clothing, bedding, toys and toiletries
  • Local creches and schools need stationery, toys, soap and toilet paper
  • Libraries and schools welcome donations of books for learning

Party tips:

  • Give your child a choice of local charities in your area to choose from.
  • Incorporate your chosen charity into the theme e.g. a Fireman party. For older children, let them build or make items which can be donated e.g. dog kennels or colourful posters for classrooms.
  • Visit the charity before and after the party, so your child can learn about where the gifts are going and how they will be used.
  • Start the tradition for all family birthdays and occasions.

How to ask for donations:

  • Make it a choice. Some guests may prefer to give a gift of toys or clothes rather than a donation. Always be gracious and appreciative of any gift received.
  • Choose a charity that your friends and family would support. Be understanding that not everyone may support the same cause and would prefer not to make a donation.
  • Don’t ask for cash. I like to bring a gift to a party, and my children like to hand over the present to their friends. It’s also rewarding to pile the donations up for everyone to see and appreciate. If guests offer a cash donation, assure them that it will be going to the charity.
  • Send a thank you message with a photo of the donations. Paige was thanked on the charity’s Facebook page and I sent the image to all her friends and family at the party so they could see that their gifts were donated.

Please feel free to share your thoughts and suggestions on asking for donations instead of gifts at parties.

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Water safety and making a splash this summer

Water safety with Huggies® Little Swimmers® What a wonderful summer we have had so far. There has been lots of sunshine (though we could do with more rainy days) and fun to be had outdoors in the garden, pool and at the beach. Over the season the kids have been slathered in sunscreen, squeezed into sunsuits and topped with hats. Then off to the beach we go for as long as it takes to tire out the kids (and mom) and we are ready to come home for snack and toilet time. At least Ethan still wears Huggies® Little Swimmers® so we don’t have to worry about accidents whilst we are out. The swimming nappies are made from a unique material that does not swell when wet, are a snug fit and has fun Disney graphics, including Finding Nemo and Finding Dory.

Paige and Ethan are still learning to swim, so we have to keep an eye on them anytime we are around water. Even if your children are strong swimmers, you still need to remain vigilant. You just have to read the many sad stories of drowning at home and outdoors over the summer holiday, to be reminded of this.  Huggies® Little Swimmers® shared with us some water safety tips by Sarah’s Swim Academy, based in Craighall Park.

Water safety tips:

  • Be Attentive: never turn your back on a child while they are in or anywhere near water.
  • Arms Reach: always keep a hand on babies and toddlers while in the pool and the bath even strong swimmers under 5 should always be within arm’s reach of an adult.
  • No dunking: never dunk a child under 3 years of age. Younger children can swallow large amounts of water and this could lead to drowning or secondary drowning. This experience might actually increase your child’s fear of swimming.
  • Teach safety basics: teach your child the pool safety basics when s/he’s a toddler. This includes the following rules:
    • Climb in the pool backwards, never climb in forwards or jump in
    • Do not run near the pool and;
    • Never enter the pool or go near water without an adult present
  • Take swimming lessons: if you’re not a swimmer yourself, it’s a good idea to take lessons and learn how to swim to aid your child in the water if necessary. All children should learn how to swim as this can save their lives. Swimming lessons teach children to back float which enables them to call for help if they fall into the pool. Lessons also teach children to reach for a pole or noodle offered to them if ever struggling in the water.
  • Learn CPR: attend a first aid course and know the difference between the types of drowning:

Different types of drowning:

Know the difference between drowning, dry drowning and secondary drowning and what symptoms to look out for.

Dry drowning is a result of breathing in water, which causes your child’s vocal chords to spasm and close after s/he has already left the pool. It closes off his/her airways, making it difficult to breathe. Symptoms of dry drowning usually happen right after the incident in the water.

Secondary drowning occurs where your child’s airways open up, allowing water into his/her lungs where the water builds up. Secondary drowning symptoms generally start later, within 1-24 hours of the incident. Symptoms to look for are:

  • Persistent coughing
  • Rapid shallow breathing, nostril flaring or where you can see the child is working harder to breathe
  • Sleepiness
  • Forgetfulness or change in behaviour
  • Vomiting

Stay safe this summer and enjoy many fun times with the family.

This is not a sponsored post. Information provided by Huggies® Little Swimmers® – Love splash time together. Image my own.

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Making school lunchboxes fun and menus for mom

Packing school lunches is one of a my least favourite chores in the morning. Scratch that. Unpacking and washing lunchboxes after school and finding food uneaten, is an annoying chore. At least I’m almost guaranteed that their yoghurt pots will be empty. Preparing a variety of healthy foods and snacks each day, which your children will eat, can be a task. I’ve got another 16 years of school lunchboxes to pack so I best get used to it and have some fun with it as well.

Making school lunchboxes fun and menus for mom

If you are looking for food inspiration, download this lunchbox menu planner and shopping list. I’m sure you will find fun, healthy food and snack ideas for your kids. To keep lunchtime from becoming boring, mix up your routine and use different character and coloured containers. Choose healthy options and limit treats to once a week. Ask the teacher as to what children can and cannot bring to school. Here are some more tips to keep lunchboxes healthy and fun.

Show them love

  • Write post-it notes with little messages or reminders to kids. Use fun shapes, colours, character speech bubbles etc
  • Use food colouring pens to write on sandwiches
  • Stock up on character reusable straws, forks, spoons
  • Mini character napkins
  • Stickers for when they finish their food

Fun tips

  • Wrap sandwiches in sheets from a favourite comic, foil, coloured cling wrap, tie with ribbons, use left over ends of funky gift wrapping paper
  • Pastry cutters transform sandwiches into a treat – use a knife tip to make dots, eyes, mouths etc
  • Use a natural food dye pen to write on sandwiches
  • Put fruit cubes/cheese chunks in an ice cream cone

Practical tips

  • A chore making a fiddly sandwich filling or dip? Make enough and you’ve a healthy baked potato filling or toast topper for a lunch for you or a late supper – two jobs done and everybody eats well
  • Keep a drawer in the kitchen for lunchbox ‘creation’ from dye pens, stickers, funny pots, bottles and containers, cutters etc
  • Get used to freezing. Invest in good zip-bags
  • Kids love leftovers and can be made healthy by adding veggies to noodles or rice etc

Healthy snacks for kids

This is not a sponsored post. Content supplied by Danone. Making school lunchboxes fun and menus for mom Making school lunchboxes fun and menus for mom

Work from home jobs and insuring your business

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Work from home jobs and insuring your business by The Mommy City“How can I stay at home with my children but still help support my family?I see this question asked a lot amongst parenting forums and as a work from home mom, I can tell you it is hard work but it does have its benefits. My advice if you want to make working from home a success is to have a solid business plan, stay organised, have a good support network and treat it like any other business. Even though you work from home, you are running a business and that means you need separate business insurance. Now you can add business insurance to your King Price portfolio as they have expanded their insurance coverage to offer affordable cover for the risks associated with running your own business. Here are a few career options for you to consider, and what potential risks you need to protect yourself against.

Work from home jobs

  • Bridal florist: if you are creative, organised and love design, you can set up your home based florist and help make someone’s special day even more beautiful. No two weddings will be the same, and you will get to keep up to date with latest trends and event design. The arrangements and set-up are time consuming though, and you will work most weekends. Business insurance considerations include the costs of damage of flowers and accessories during transit, or for wilted flowers if your fridges fail.
  • Caterer/baker: since parents end up spending so much time in the kitchen cooking, why not make a living from it? Whether you decorate birthday cakes and cupcakes, cater for events, or bottle jams, you must prepare all food according to food safety standards in a hygienic kitchen. Business insurance can cover you in the unfortunate event of food and drink poisoning, foreign objects found in food, spoilage due to improper storage or temperature control.
  • Hairdresser/beauty salon: if you are a trained hairdresser or beauty therapist, you could set up a salon at your home or offer a mobile service. Since you are working with chemicals and there are risks of infections, your insurance should cover public liability as well as your equipment and product stock.
  • Graphic designer: I recommend you have the necessary qualifications and practical experience before embarking on a freelance career so that you have knowledge of the industry, running a business and potential client base. Majority of your work can be done after hours once the kids have gone to bed, though you will need to meet with your clients periodically or use video conferencing on Skype. You will need a good computer and software, which should be insured along with the recovery and loss of your data on business premises.
  • Photographer: my friend is a photographer and I know how much her camera and equipment costs, and it is more than you may think. Whether you do photo-shoots at your home studio or do location shoots, consider the appropriate insurance for replacing the equipment should it be damaged or stolen, and the loss of images. Imagine if, for whatever reason, you lost all the photos from a wedding or birth, events that cannot be repeated? You would need to do whatever you could to either recover the lost data or compensate your clients, which can be covered by business insurance.
  • Sales: online and Facebook stores are fast becoming popular amongst work from home parents, as well as the traditional franchise and agent opportunities, selling beauty products, clothing, toys, accessories and weight loss products. Your stock is valuable, and theft and accidental damage could mean a big financial loss, and since these are business goods, your home contents insurance may not cover it. Ensure you have adequate contents insurance and increase your home security to protect your business assets.

Liability and your business

For all occupations, you need to ask yourself these three questions regarding business insurance:

  • Do my clients visit my property? Then you should consider public liability insurance.
  • Do I employ someone? Then you should consider employee liability insurance.
  • Do I use my car for business purposes? Ensure you have adequate car insurance that covers business use. Visit King Price for more helpful advice on the risks and challenges facing your business, and what types of cover you need.

All the best for starting up you own business and juggling work and family. It can be hard work, but also personally and financially rewarding. What advice do you have for other work from home parents? Work at home as a caterer and protecting your business by The Mommy City Work at home as a graphic designer and protecting your business by The Mommy City Work at home as a florist and protecting your business by The Mommy City Work at home as a photographer and protecting your business by The Mommy City

My 7 top tips for surviving a summer pregnancy

Sponsored Post7 tips to survive a summer pregnancy - The Mommy City

That’s Ethan in my belly there. Four days later and he was born just before Christmas. It’s a busy time for birthdays and celebrations in our family, also with Paige celebrating her birthday in January (for her next birthday she’s having a mermaid theme party – it’s already decided!) Having kept my cool for two summer pregnancies, I have some great tips to share on how to survive the hot months.

7 Top tips for surviving a summer pregnancy

  • Summer time usually means a busier social calendar with braais, holidays, and a wedding invitation or two. Be careful not to exhaust yourself and don’t feel bad if you have to cancel to stay at home with your feet up. Avoid midday events, keep a camping chair in your car in case your need it and let your guests know that you may need to leave early.
  • Speak to your doctor first before making plans to travel over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, especially during your last few months of pregnancy. If you do travel, save the addresses and telephone numbers of a local doctor and hospital, in case of an emergency.
  • Eat healthy and drink water. Swop hot and greasy foods for small, frequent meals of fresh fruit and vegetables. If you are feeling tried, cool down by adding a few ice-blocks to your Mom2B Pregnancy Shake and enjoy. Good for moms and babies, the Mom2B pregnancy shake provides yours and your baby’s nutritional needs. Available in 3 flavours: velvet vanilla, chocolate delight and saucy strawberry. Each tin contains 8 servings. Mom2B products are available at selected pharmacy and retail outlets nationally.7 tips to survive a summer pregnancy - The Mommy City
  • Buy a fan or air-conditioner for home and work. I remember the one day I was so hot I put the humidifier in front of the fan and filled the room with a gentle cool mist – it was glorious. Keep a spray bottle of water near you for when you need a refreshing spray and cool down. Wrap an ice-pack in a towel and place behind your back or head. This works just as well for when baby arrives. Place the wrapped ice-pack between your body and sling, so you can hold baby without overheating.
  • Buy some hairclips and keep your hair up and your fringe out your face. Not only will you feel cooler, when baby finally arrives they won’t be able to grab and pull your hair – ouch!
  • Get your bikini on and take a swim. I embraced by preggie body and took a dip in the pool whenever I could. It feels so good to float and a nice way to cool off. Just be sure that the water is safe to swim in.
  • Pack away your black clothes and wear loose, light coloured maternity wear. Avoid synthetic fabrics and step out in a comfortable pair of shoes.

So what are your top tips for staying cool during a summer pregnancy?7 tips to survive a summer pregnancy - The Mommy City 7 tips to survive a summer pregnancy - The Mommy City

 

A promise to drive responsibly and the #CarseatFullstop campaign

#CarseatFullstop I love my new car. It not only takes me from A to B, it is also comfortable to drive, I get to listen to the radio and I can go just about anywhere when it’s in 4×4. I’ve got it kitted out as well – real mommy wagon style. Baby wipes in my front drinks compartment, tissues in the middle drinks compartment, spare clothes and jackets in the boot, window shades and car seats for the kids. What is not lost on me though, is that I’m driving over a ton of olive green metal and parts, propelling forward between 1 – 120 km/h. My car can take me places, but it can also take lives if I’m not driving responsibly.

Before drivers get behind the wheel, we all diligently take lessons after passing our learner’s exam. We learn how to parallel park and do hill starts, even though it terrified us and our driving instructor. We passed our driver’s test, posed for identity photos and proudly showed our friends and family our shiny new license. Every year we renew our car license, keep our car road worthy, and insure it in case of an accident or theft. But at what point do people stop following the rules of the road? Why do some drivers feel they can pick and choose which rules to follow and feel justified in breaking the law? I’m asking because if we are going to make South African roads safer, we need to understand the human factors which cause 80-90% of road accidents each year.

As part of the #CarseatFullstop campaign, we are raising awareness of road safety and the importance of buckling up your kids. As I mentioned in my previous campaign post, one of my greatest fears whilst driving is the amount of distracted drivers I see on my daily commute. Those drivers seem to have forgotten that they too are driving a big hunk of metal which will kill it’s occupants, other road users and pedestrians, if driven irresponsibly. Instead of paying attention to the road, they are texting, smoking, intoxicated and doing whatever they shouldn’t be doing, whilst at the wheel.

There are some worrying and very real facts that go along with my observations. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), South Africa tops the list of drunk-driving related deaths in the world. According to the 2015 Global Status report on Road Safety, 58% of road deaths are alcohol related. You may not get behind the wheel drunk, but you have little control over other drivers on the road. Strapping your child into an age appropriate car seat can reduce the risk of death by 71 % for infants and 54 % for toddlers. I’m particularly cautious driving after sporting events, long weekends and around holidays.

We all have a story to tell about someone close to us who has either died or left permanently disabled from an accident. I have seen the pain that it causes, we all have. We know the risks. We studied for our learners, took our test and felt all grownup when we started driving without our L plates. We felt a sense of responsibility when driving, and promised our parents we would drive safe. So at what point do people ignore the real life tragedies and forget everything they have learnt? I would like you to please make another promise. To promise your children that you will buckle them up in an age-appropriate car-seat or booster seat. To make a promise to your children’s grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends and teachers, that you will protect them, as they are loved by many. We want to see all children safely strapped in, not just 15% which is the current statistic.

#CarseatFullstopIf the #CarseatFullstop campaign matters to you, please LIKE #CarseatFullstop on Facebook, please SIGN UP for the newsletter, please FOLLOW on Twitter, please FOLLOW on Instagram or on Google+. Please invite your friends and family and colleagues to these platforms. And when you read the #CarseatFullstop stories, please hit the share button.

#CarseatFullstop – no excuses, no ifs or buts. Always, every time.

If you have an old car seat you are no longer using, please drop these seats at a Volvo dealership or get in touch with Wheel Well. Previously owned car seats are cleaned and refurbished by Wheel Well so that they can be donated to families in need. Every child deserves to be safe in a car, and together we can make that happen.

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#CARSEATFULLSTOP IS SPONSORED BY VOLVO CARS. YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE FREE CHILDREN AND CARS MANUAL HERE.

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