Are We There Yet? What to Keep in Mind When Road Tripping with Little Ones

Road trips can be a lot of fun, especially when you take them with the family. However, when you have small children, going on a long road trip may be a bit much for them to sit through. Here is a list of tips and tricks that can help make your next road trip with the tykes a pleasurable one.

Snacks and Entertainment

The main reason that taking a road trip with little ones can be a trying experience is that kids often get bored very fast. To keep children occupied in the car, you’ll need plenty of snacks, kid-friendly activities, games, and electronics. While they may get tired of the games after a while, if you have plenty of snacks for them to munch on, that can keep them distracted for a long while. You might also consider playing road trip games together like “I Spy” or trying to find all the letters of the alphabet outside while driving. Games like these can keep kids occupied for hours and are fun to play as a family.

Take Breaks

Of course, if you have lots of snacks, then you would need to take lots of bathroom breaks as well. However, don’t just stop merely to let the kids use the restroom and then to hop back on the road. Allow them time to run around a bit and to stretch out their legs while letting off some steam at the same time. This also helps to wind them down so that they aren’t so restless during the remainder of the trip.

Drive Through the Night

If your road trip is more for purpose than for a joy ride, then taking the trip at night is a good idea when you have small children. By driving at night, the children will more than likely be asleep for the majority of the trip. By the time they do wake up, you shouldn’t have much longer to drive and the games, snacks, and other items you brought along can keep them content until you arrive at your destination.

Have an Emergency Kit

When driving, there is a possibility of breaking down or getting into an accident. This is hard enough to deal with generally, but having children with you can make an incident that much more difficult. Make sure you pack an emergency kit with things like blankets, frozen juices, extra water, and food as well as whatever emergency numbers you may need. This way the little ones are taken care of while you wait for help to arrive.

Remember, the best way to keep kids from becoming aggravated, from pestering, or from being teary-eyed in any situation is to distract them. Having lots of distractions, whether that be food, games, or songs, can help make for a smooth trip and a happy parent.

Here’s another article you might enjoy: 3 Best Tips for Amazing Family Travel with Your Kids

Enjoy the Ride: Bicycle Safety Tips to Teach Your Kids

So much of our childhood memories revolve around riding our bikes. Depending on where you grew up, you may have ridden your bike to the store, in the woods or around your neighborhood. If you have a child of your own now, you may be concerned with how you can make sure your child is safe while riding their bike. You want them to enjoy this time, but you also want to make sure that your child isn’t going to get hit by a motorist or injured while riding their bike. Let’s look at some bicycle safety tips that you can teach your kids.

Set Boundaries

Your child needs to understand where they can safely ride their bike. Teach your younger children that they should ride on the sidewalk where they are away from traffic. Older kids can learn to ride in the street, but they need to learn how to be aware of their surroundings. You should also let your child know where they are and are not allowed to ride. For example, you could set the nearest corner as a boundary. They could then progress to going around the block once they have earned your trust for closer distances.

Be Seen

It’s important for kids to always be seen, so they should use flashing lights or wear something that is bright or reflects light. It’s a good idea to have your child head home before it gets dark. This will make them more visible to drivers. Teach them not to ride their bike right into a street from behind a vehicle. It’s important that a car or other bike will see them coming from a good distance away. It gives everybody time to react.

Always Have Adult Supervision

Regardless of how old your child is, they should be riding their bike with an adult until you feel you can trust them. They should have the ability to put their own helmet on, keep their balance and watch what is going on around them. Even if you’re letting your child ride a short distance down the street, make sure you are outside to keep an eye on things. This will give you peace of mind, but this is also a good way to make sure that your child is practicing good bike safety.

Being Aware of Surroundings

Some children will ride along on their bike, not noticing what is going on around them. It’s important that they know where to be riding their bike, but they should also be able to look over their shoulder and listen for a car coming. There will be hazards everywhere that they should take notice of. Have them learn to keep an eye out for toys on the sidewalk, vehicles overlapping the sidewalk and large rocks that could cause them to lose control if they go over them. Being aware of your surroundings is a great skill to learn in all walks of life.

It’s important that your child understands the safety aspect of riding a bike. You wouldn’t put your child behind the wheel of a car and expect them to know what to do. Take the time to teach your child what they need to know. This will ensure they come home safe and sound after a fun day of being outside.

Here’s another article you might enjoy:

How to Keep Your Nursery Clean Without Toxic Chemicals

Protectors of the Roblox Universe | Lifting Simulator

Lifting Simulator on Roblox

The family that plays together, stays together… or so I have been telling myself as I have spent untold hours playing Roblox lately. Yes, I know, not really a suitable occupation for a 40 something but when your little one is obsessed by it and you want to make it as safe as it can be, you do what you can. I have to be honest here, the games become strangely addictive after a while and when your husband joins in and all of your immediate family is playing it can be quite fun.

This is therefore a review of the Roblox game, Lifting Simulator.

What does my son think?

He loves the game. In fact, he was the one who found it. He was even playing it before Denis Daily added it to his Roblox YouTube channel. We joined maybe a day later. He’s not a fan of the constant clicking and I am worried about RSI a little but it does teach him that success isn’t instantaneous. Of course, he is now asking us to click for him!

What do I think?

I am enjoying it. I like the way the game has several layers. You want to upgrade constantly to be the biggest and the most powerful using weight, genetics, and body alter but there is also the enforcement and criminal element of the game, which can be the most addictive.

When you start out you begin as a skeleton and you are weight lifting a pencil. You click your mouse to move the pencil until you have 30 coins. At this point, you have to sell your coins as you have run out of room in your wallet. You can spend or collect the money depending on your goal.

You can spend your money on three things. The first are weights and on the first run through, (I will explain this later), you have to buy each weight in the list before the next shows up. If you are fed up with emptying your wallet every couple of minutes, you can better your DNA (if only this was possible in real life). This has the effect of increasing your wallet so you don’t have to sell so often.

The third element of game play that you will spend your lifting simulator earnings on is called body alter. You can give yourself power and speed by buying this when you have enough money. The trick here is to buy enough weights to get the alter but no more in the first round. As soon as you buy the first power (freezing) then you will revert to the smallest body type and have to work your way up again. You will also lose all your money so there is use getting more than you need. For example, one on the weights cost around 100,000 but the first body alter costs 150,000. If you can reach 100,000, you may as well hang on and get the body alter and get the expensive weight later when it will be easier to get it. Otherwise, you will end up saving for the 100,000, spending it on the weight and then having to save a further 150,000. It is quicker to just save the one lot.

The next run through whether with the freezing, fire or any of the other powers, you can skip weights to get through it a lot quicker. While you could not see the entire list before, after you have bought them once, you can see them again but you will have to buy them after each and every upgrade.

Ranks

As you go through the game and do plenty of weight lifting, you will gain a rank. This is fluid and will change as you play. This is a game with no judgement you can be good or bad and there are an equal number of ranks to go through until you reach the pinnacle of your chosen side. On the good corner there is Nice Guy, Bodyguard, Protector, Guardian and Superhero. If you are neither one way of the other you may end up as Neutral or you could go to the dark side and become a Bully, Jerk, Thug, Criminal or Godfather.

You get to be these ranks by killing other players who have a better or worse rank than you … and sometimes randomly. I have been minding my own business lifting the odd motorbike when someone kills ME and then demotes me from Nice Guy to Bully. Ooh, I was annoyed. I had to go around killing other bullies and jerks to get my status back until eventually I became a Protector. Sometimes you get to keep your status but other times not. I have left a Protector but come back as a Bodyguard. Another time I left as a Nice Guy but returned as a Bully.

When we started, we were constantly killed as soon as we spawned so when we had enough clout to get ‘em back we tried to be protectors. There are a few player who pride themselves on being the sheriff and kill all the bullies and worse around. However if you get stuck with a bully rank but you didn’t deserve it they don’t know this and they will still try to kill you. Also, some good guys will be good for an hour and take the other side so you can’t trust the other players! Still, you can still make alliances and it’s a sweet thing when there’s a bunch of you keeping the peace.

You get to keep your normal character during this game and unfortunately, my little one is obsessed by a YouTuber and will model himself on him. He’s too young to understand that people can be offended by that and I think (hope) that the guy is nice enough to understand that. We have already seen him in a previous gaming video so he’s come across him before when he was still Kindergarten age and he was sweet about it in the video.

This game is good for the whole family. There is nothing ominous about it. Our son’s chat has been disabled so he can’t talk to any dodgy people if they are on it so it’s just good clean fun. He’s learning to save and the concept of sticking up for people who can’t protect themselves because in this case they can only weight lift a pencil and he can carry a piano.

Definitely recommended for children with supervision. The supervision is for the horror stories you hear on the internet about the internet.

Happy lifting!

How to Keep Your Nursery Clean Without Toxic Chemicals

When you have a baby, you become much more aware of how clean your home is. The nursery where your baby is sleeping should be clean. This will help keep your baby happy and healthy. Frequently dusting and wiping down areas where you change your baby’s diaper is beneficial. Unfortunately, many chemical cleaning products can be dangerous to your baby’s health and yours as well. Let’s talk more about how to keep your nursery clean without using toxic chemicals for the job.

What Are Chemicals and Which Ones Are Toxic?

Chemical cleaners, if properly marked, come with diamond-shaped hazard pictograms that show what kind of hazards they pose. You’ll want to keep an eye out for ingredients such as ammonia, bleach, hydrochloric acid, isopropanol and sodium bisulfate. All of these chemicals can irritate the skin, irritate the eyes, make your baby cough and there are dangerous long term effects to worry about as well. If you see an ingredient on a product that is very hard to pronounce, chances are it’s not a good one to use. Do a bit of research on harmful chemicals before you purchase items for the nursery.

Stick With Natural Options

There are a lot of cleaning products on the market right now that use only natural ingredients to get the job done. Things like citrus oils can be just as effective when it comes to disinfecting and killing germs. Not to mention, the smell is pleasant and safe. Look for organic and natural cleaning products that advertise they are safe and chemical-free. You can even come up with your own cleaning products that you make yourself. A mixture of 50/50 vinegar and water can be quite effective for cleaning up messes. Not to mention, it’s incredibly affordable to make. You can even add your own essential oils for fragrance.

Stick to Unscented

Scents tend to be very irritating for a small child. You’ll want to keep your cleaning products as unscented as possible. Even a natural smell of orange peel or pine can be overwhelming. Just because a product doesn’t smell, doesn’t mean that it isn’t going to do a good job at cleaning things up in your child’s nursery.

You can find a number of natural cleaning products at your local grocery store or health food store. There are also a number of products available online. Just be sure to check the ingredients before making a purchase.

Parenting can be overwhelming. If you need more help, check out some of our other articles.

How to Navigate These 3 Challenges of Family Planning

The challenges faced by families in the modern era can be enormous, especially the process of planning. Balancing work life, managing interpersonal relationships of all family members and overcoming health issues related to fertility can all place burdens on parents-to-be and their children. Fortunately, with the right amount of planning and a bit of mental toughness, these challenges can be overcome. Here are a few of the most common issues facing families and some tips on how to deal with them.

Children Who Don’t Want Another Sibling

There can be several reasons why a young child may not want a little brother or sister. One of the most common of these might be the expectation of loss, which includes loss of attention, loss of access to resources, etc. Jealousy is, in fact, one of the most prevalent human emotions and is not limited to children. Research has shed some light on the psychological factors that cause jealousy in children who may be wary of another sibling joining the family. Ways to prevent this include a focus on increasing the connection between parent and child prior to and after introducing a new family member, encouraging laughter, which releases feel-good hormones in your child, and taking the time to assure your older child that he or she is needed and appreciated.

Infertility

Women in the western world face fertility issues frequently. This can be due to age, health conditions, diet, stress and other factors. Many health professionals specialize in helping couples struggling to conceive. Strategies such as tracking ovulation and lifestyle modifications, as well as taking medication, can help. Sometimes, though, naturally conceiving a child is simply not possible. In these instances, couples may consider procedures such as egg donation. This refers to the process of taking an egg from a donor and implanting it into the mother’s ovaries. Although egg donation is an involved and often expensive process, it is a viable alternative to natural conception. According to Baby Steps, egg donation can be a six-month process or more, so couples should take time constraints into consideration if they are interested in this option.

Balancing Work Life

Women who have established careers often face difficult choices. Choosing between a career and a new family can be a tough decision. Increasingly, families rely on dual incomes to make ends meet, and personal accounts of work-life balance struggles are well-documented. Many people report that managing time throughout the day is a major contributor to stress and burnout, which can be even more difficult to manage with a new baby. Communication between members of the family is essential to maintaining harmony and a sense of common purpose. Proper financial planning is a major tool for preventing conflict and reducing stress in a new family. Discussing priorities in terms of family life versus career can go a long way in protecting the long-term mental health of all family members. Creating and sticking to a family schedule can also help organize time and prevent conflict.

Many resources are available online to help cope with the challenges faced by parents and their children, and counseling with a trained professional is sometimes necessary. However, these obstacles can be overcome with dedication and perseverance when everyone is on the same page.
Parenting is no easy task. If you need more advice, check out some of our other articles!

Why We Stopped Using Amazon Prime Video

Child watching television

We’ve been having a bit of a problem with the old television lately. It’s not that it’s gone kaput or anything although it does have a few gremlins, (it seems to be crashing a lot). However, this is not what this post is about. Our adorable little six year old has discovered narrated video games on Amazon Prime Video.

I have made my peace with him playing games. I see a lot of benefits from him playing these on the PlayStation. From his hand-eye coordination, his problem solving, strategic thinking and even his reading but I see no benefit from him watching other people playing games on the television. There is one caveat, I don’t mind him watching the Minecraft Videos with Stampy Cat as there is usually some science angle to them.

Now whenever he is given the tablet or PlayStation time he is constantly narrating what he is doing. His social skills have taken a dive and I’m a little worried. This has prompted us to ban Amazon Prime Video from our house. To be honest we don’t tend to watch it anyway. We buy Amazon Prime for the postage not the streaming service. The only thing I watched it for was Lucifer and that’s gone to Netflix so there is no point in keeping it.

Should he be having screen time at all?

Imaginative Play
Imaginative Play from Pexels.com

I’ve read some articles in the past that advocate cutting screen time altogether but I genuinely believe that everything is good in moderation with the obvious few exceptions, (poisons, playing chicken walking across the road etc). I really don’t mind him watching television as long as there is some educational aspect to it. This could be social or science or problem solving. It has to be something. The Stampy videos show how to program using Minecraft, Ninjago shows team work and social skills, his games are all about problem solving. These are things I can get behind. The whole video game narration thing? – not so much.

How is the absence of Amazon Prime Video going?

So how is it going? I’ve upped the reading time and I swear the tantrums have gone down a bit. My nerves are a lot better. Listening to the same inane description of game play for the fiftieth time really made me tense up with frustration. This was followed by Mario Cart and my stress levels went through the roof. It is all banned now and we are finding new ways to entertain ourselves which is leading to a happy mummy and better behaved little boy.

Should we cancel Amazon Prime?

We won’t do this simply because we need it for the postage. If Amazon were ever to unbundle the streaming service from the postage then we would stop it. We’ve removed the icon from the menu on our television so our little one can’t find it. We’ll obviously still have it but we will have to jump through a couple of hoops to get to it. By the time our son works out how to do this hopefully he will have grown out of the phase.

Takeaway Thoughts

While I honestly believe that our son should be able to do what he wants, it has to be within limits, I have to be the dragon on occasion and ban things which are unhealthy. We won’t be using Amazon Prime Video for the foreseeable future as it will be too much effort. We will probably start watching it if some amazing show comes on and our friends rave about it but apart from that the choice that comes with it appears dire (for us) and in my eyes, inappropriate for my child at least.