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:
Rapid shallow breathing, nostril flaring or where you can see the child is working harder to breathe
Forgetfulness or change in behaviour
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.
1000 days. This is the length of time from the start of pregnancy to a child’s second birthday. That sounds like (and often feels) like a long time when you are taking care of your family and baby, as they grow to a cute and curious toddler. Looking back at the 1st 1000 days of both my children, it went so quickly and shaped them into the little people they are today. Ethan is 3 years this month and Paige turns 5 in January.
The quality of care and nutrition you and your child receives during these 1000 days has an important impact on the rest of their lives. I knew that eating right and feeding my child was important, but I didn’t appreciate the full impact it can have on their later development. We are providing our children with the essential building blocks for brain development, healthy growth and a strong immune system. If a child does not receive proper nutrition during these 1000 days, it can cause irreversible damage to their brain development and bodies.
Benefits of nutrition and healthcare:
If you have ever been without a meal for a day, you will know how hard it is to concentrate and what little energy your body has. Hungry children are more likely to have a worse school performance, than learners who have proper meals in the day. This will impact their future work prospects and ability to support their families. Healthier children and adults also place less of a burden on a country’s healthcare system.
Children who get the right nutrition in the 1st 1000 days are:
10x more likely to overcome life threatening childhood diseases
More likely to have healthier families of their own
More likely to go on to earn 21% more in wages as adults
More likely to complete 5 more grades in school
You can start to see from the statistics, the long term impacts and benefits healthy nutrition and healthcare play in those crucial two years.
Ajuga and making a difference:
Accessibility to healthcare is a key issue for pregnant moms and children in South Africa, especially in rural areas. Cipla Foundation recognises these challenges and established the Ajuga initiative which provides fire-resistant structures to local communities. Knowing that these 1st 1000 days are crucial, Cipla ensure that all children at their early childhood development centres receive pre-school education, nutrition and healthcare for at least two years. These children are given a chance to grow up as healthy and caring people, who will become good parents and community members.
These children and caring individuals like Mama Martha at an Ajuga centre in Gugulethu, also need your help. You can show your support for their good work by donating to the Cipla Foundation. From as little as R75, you can contribute to a child’s access to crucial childhood development services. Or educate a child for a whole year for R1080. Be Santa this Christmas, and donate here.
* Research supplied by Cipla Foundation. Find out more here.
Believe me when I say we have tried a bunch of different window shades for the backseats of the car. Keeping the kids happy and safe is top priority. That, and doing whatever I can to keep them quiet or sleeping in the car. We first tried the suction shades with the cute characters on them. You know, the shades that scream baby on board and make your car an undeniable mommy wagon. The problem with these shades is that they don’t fit the whole window and there is inevitably light shining though to wake baby. So you try position two shades in the window, each at different angles and shove down in the frame to stop them popping off. That works for a bit, until your child figures out how to pull them off the window. Paige also soon figured out how to tear off the last window film I bought. Then there are the stretchy mesh shades that eventually wear and flap around, and you need to get the exact fit for your model of car. By far, the best window shade we have used is Magic Mesh.
Personal choice plays a big part in deciding what shade would best suit your car and lifestyle. There are pros and cons for all types of window shades, and they all work to a degree. Magic Mesh, however, has ticked more of our boxes than any other shade and we can recommend it. We have been using them for around 6 months now, and it still looks like new. Here’s what you need to know:
Pros of Magic Mesh
It doesn’t obstruct the driver’s view. I have found certain shades distracting whilst driving, but this mesh is easy to look through and you don’t even notice it when looking at it from the driver’s seat.
They come in fun designs which the kids will enjoy from the inside, but won’t be seen from the outside. Dad will probably appreciate this feature most as he may not want your child’s favourite Disney characters on his car. The window looks like it has a tint on it and it’s a little harder to look in from the outside. It’s also easy for your kids to see through the mesh so it won’t block their view either.
It fits the entire window so your child can’t pull it off. It’s thin and allows the window to open and close.
Safe to use on smash and grab. I was a little hesitant at first, and I haven’t tried removing the mesh to try find out, but apparently it has no effect on existing tints and films.
Provides 100% coverage and UV protection.
Cons of Magic Mesh
I can’t say I enjoyed applying the mesh, and the second window came out better than the first. There is a videoto guide you through, however it is still a little fiddly. I found it easier when I traced out the window shape using a sheet of newspaper first, adding an inch all around. I then used this pattern to cut out the mesh before applying to the window. The time spent applying the mesh is fortunately a once off, and you never have to touch it again.
Can’t be moved between cars. Once applied, it cannot be removed and reused. We waited until we bought our new car before applying.
They are pricier than other shades. It’s worth it though. You can buy them from Kids Emporium stores or online.
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.
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
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
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
This is not a sponsored post. Content supplied by Danone.
What is the most you have spent to keep your kid’s happy and entertained? I’m guessing it’s a significant amount of money and you thought it was worth every cent? Whether it is the latest toy, entrance fee to an attraction or the three scoop ice-cream cone your toddler insisted on getting but never finished, the costs all add up during a month. So when I can get a pick of kids series and movies with ShowMax to keep them entertained for only R3,30* a day, I think it’s a bargain. It’s even cheaper than those awful R5 coin machines we try avoid at the shops. We pay our R99 p/m subscription with eBucks so we don’t even notice the expense. There are other payment options including card payments, PayPal and prepaid vouchers (nice Christmas stocking filler). For data, Telkom’s Entertainment Bolt-on is good value – you get 100GB for R99.
ShowMax is even more kid friendly since launching their profiles feature. One of the main concerns for kids viewing TV and the internet is the potential access to adult content. Now you can set up different profiles for each member of your household with optional pin security. Parents can set parental controls depending on the age of the children: teens, older kids or younger kids. This means that children will only be able to access content that is suitable for their age group and the pin security ensures that they won’t be able to change these settings.
To keep the peace in the house, ShowMax allows for simultaneous viewing for two different profiles on separate devices. Mom can watch The Good Wife on the iPad whilst the kids can watch their shows on the TV. If you are already a subscriber, be sure to update your app to benefit from these new features.
So what are my kids watching right now? Popples is Paige’s new favourite, and there are always new shows being added. Fireman Sam, Thomas & Friends and Dinosaur Train are also hit series in our house. My kids usually watch the same show over and over, but if you are looking for variety, the Box Set collections groups similar series together by theme.
Watch all the shows and try out the kid friendly features for free. Sign up for a 7 day free trial and decide whether you think it really is value for money.
* Calculated over a 30 day month at a R99 p/m subscription
I prefer Spring and Autumn best in Cape Town. This has a lot to do with liking jeans and T-shirt weather best, and it’s a lot less windy. I get to pack away the bulky winter jerseys, my fluffy gown and the thick bedroom duvet. This year I didn’t do a big Spring clean because, well, it’s a whole lot of work and we have been working on the house throughout the year. I did, however, give my bedroom a mini makeover with a new duvet set and scatter cushions from Volpes. I also painted my side tables with Annie Sloan chalk paint to match. The painting only took two episodes of The Good Wife and it really has made a difference to the look of the room. For on top of my side table, I bought a beautiful trinket box with lid to store my cables and chargers.
My mini makeover has made a big difference in the feel of the room and my winter duvet can now stay in the cupboard for next season. If you are looking to do some Spring sorting of your own, I have some pointers and a few items on my wish list.
Bring Spring into your home:
Change your duvet inner for a lighter option. Consider whether 100% cotton, feather, micro-fibre or a multi-season inner is best suited to your needs. Volpes has a new range of Tencel duvet inners and pillows made from a botanic fibre extracted from the pulp of sustainable grown eucalyptus trees that offers exceptional moisture management.
Pack away your winter blankets and opt for a light throw. I still like a blanket on my bed to cuddle up with whilst reading, and it adds colour and texture to my bed.
Give your room a mini makeover with a new duvet cover. This small change will have a big impact on the mood of a room. My favourite Volpes duvet sets from their Spring range include the Edison Duck Egg Blue (top left), Swallows (top right) and Chevron in Mint (below left). Their Spring collection was inspired by ‘air’ and have used light fabrics and textures, pastel colours and feather inspired prints. Design style is such a personal choice and as you may have noticed, I’m a fan of blues and neutrals. There is however styles suited for all tastes and budgets, and I’m pretty sure you will find a duvet set in the Volpes collection you will want to fall asleep under.
Buy black-out curtainsfor the kid’s room. As summer approaches, sticking to bedtime routines is harder with the sun up earlier in the morning and later in the evening.
Clear the clutter by sorting through your items and tossing or recycling what you no longer need. I love the wire baskets from Volpes as they come in a variety of sizes and ideal for neatly storing magazines, toys and laundry.
Bring the scents of Spring in the home with a reed diffuser. They not only look pretty, they give your home it’s own personal scent.
“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?