Child Care Emergency Checklist...

With our new Au pair starting last week, I knew it was time to update our Child Care Emergency Checklist. You might not use a babysitter, care giver, family or friends to watch your children often, but there will be a time when your child is left in the care of someone else; therefore, have the emergency checklist prepared before you need it. Here are some items to include in an emergency checklist. Keep the list on your refrigerator or close to the phone and give a copy to your care giver. Child Care Emergency Checklist Your children’s full names correctly spelled. Your children’s address, ZIP code, and phone numbers. List two addresses if parents live at separate homes. Contact information for each parent, including work and cell phones, name of employers, work addresses, and hours they will normally be there. Please provide the best number to reach the parent at, for my family it is always our mobile phones. The pediatrician’s name and contact information (including address) and the same information for any specialists your children see, along with a notation on what their specialties are. Contact information for the dentist and orthodontist. Drug and food allergies your children have. Local Poison control number. Fire Extinguisher status. If you have one in the home, let the care giver know where it is located. Fire Escape Emergency Route. Medical conditions your children have, medications taken, and danger signs to be aware of for each of those conditions. Your children’s health insurance policy number, the subscriber’s name, and the address and phone number of the insurance company (there’s usually an 800 # or member service number listed on the back of the insurance card). According to Care.com, some insurance companies will allow you to order duplicate...

Choosing an Au Pair

As I mention in my last three posts about child care, this is one of the biggest decision a parent makes when it comes to the wealth fare of their child/children. I have outlined a table of alternative child care if staying at home is not option, including nannies, Au Pairs and day care. As the term Au Pair and nanny are often used interchangeably, it is worth pointing out that, in fact, Au Pairs provide very different childcare support from nannies. When deciding on child care options, I often mixed the two up, so it is common and most likely have to explain to people the difference. Au Pair is a French phrase for “as an equal” – the idea is that an Au Pair becomes a temporary member of the family. When you are choosing an Au Pair, it is recommended that you adopt a similar approach to the one you would use if you were selecting other types of in home (e.g., nannies, babysitters and/or family). Au Pairs are entrusted with the well-being and safety of your children, so it is up to you as a parent to ensure they are capable of performing the tasks involved. It is also up to you as an employer to ensure that you treat them in a fair and professional manner and that they are abiding by the local immigration laws. You can decide on the level of childcare experience and training you would like your Au Pair to have. Similar to the post about choosing a nanny, you and your family need to assess your needs before moving forward with the Au Pair process. How many hours a week will you need the Au Pair to work (from 30 hours to 45 hours)?...

Choosing a Nanny

As a parent, child care is undoubtedly one of your biggest concerns. This can be especially true if you are a two-income family, a single parent family, or in a situation in which you feel you need a little extra help.   The typical advice is to start looking for a nanny eight weeks before you need someone. Between now and then, start talking to people you know with nannies and ask where they found them, what they like/don’t like, etc. and to assess what your family’s needs are as well. Do you want a live-in nanny or live-out nanny?  A live-in nanny is someone who lives in your home full time. A live-out nanny comes to your home during certain times, and may accompany when you go on vacation. How many hours a week you will need a nanny (anymore than 50 generally is too much)? What benefits you want to give and how much vacation time? Is it important to you to have an American nanny, or will a foreigner be OK with you? What will be your parenting philosophies and how important that your nanny believe the same way? What other duties will you want the nanny to perform? Do you want someone with lots of experience and are you willing to pay for that experience? It is also important to consider this in your screening process, since live-in and live-out nannies require some slightly different arrangements. With a live-in nanny, you will need to consider the following issues:  1) Privacy: Your nanny will need her own living space, including bedroom and probably a dedicated bathroom; 2)  Time Off: Even if your nanny is living with you, you will need to provide a couple of days off for the nanny, and certain...

Child Care Alternatives If Staying Home Is Not An Option...

In my prior post about Child Care Can Be Controversial, I mentioned several alternatives if staying home with your baby is not a feasible option. To follow-up on that post, I provided a table below that compares the benefits vs. disadvantages of three (Nanny, Au Pair and Day Care) options side-by-side. Good luck with choosing your child care. Please stay tune for follow-up post on How to Find a Nanny and/or an Au Pair and the cost analysis between the two. [ws_table id=”1″] Disclaimer: I don’t work in child care services at all. I am a mom that likes to share my experiences and those of others in hopes it makes your child care decision making process more...

Great Baby Shower Gift...

With baby shower seasons  just around the corner it is only appropriate to talk about one of the best baby shower gift a new mom could receive. Yes, generally speaking the expecting couple registers at stores that are specific for babies or have a large baby selection (Buy Buy Baby, Babies R’Us, Target, etc.) or online retailers (Amazon, Diapers.com, etc.) and friends and families usually purchase their gifts off the couple’s registries. However, one of the best gifts I received at my baby shower was a basket full of everyday items that mom and baby need after the baby is born; usually items that mom and dad are not thinking about until the baby arrives. To help prepare the new family for their arrival, consider putting a gift basket together of the following items with a note that says, “All the things you need, but don’t know yet.” The new mom and baby will greatly appreciate the gift. Butt Paste – Awesome diaper rash cream. Price  is approximately $7.19 for a 4 oz. tube. Gripe Water – Completely natural product which is great for curing hiccups and relieving gas pains in newborns. C2 had hiccups starting at one week old. Price is approximately $7.00 per bottle. Baby hair brush and/or comb – Price is approximately $4.99 per set. Baby Nail clippers – Babies nails grow so quickly, we were cutting C2 nails once a week, so he would not scratch up his face.  Price is approximately $2.29 per set. Baby Wipes – Always in need of these. Boogie Wipes – Developed by moms tired of chasing runny noses, Boogie Wipes® are the latest innovation in a moist wipe product. Price is approximately $3.79 per box. Aquaphor – Fragrance-free, preservative-free formula for baby skin care...

Child Care Can Be Controversial...

With the summer right around the corner, parents are starting to think about summer child care options especially for parents of young babies and toddlers.  There are so many options available, but they all come with a price. Although, child care is truly a decision between two parents, it is amazing to me what a hot and controversial topic child care is. People from all walks of life like to chime in and tell you what are the best child care option for you and your family. Some people say, “Be a stay at home mom and it will solve your child care issues.” I can go on and on about why this is not feasible for all; in addition to, pros and cons to almost every child care option (family care, day care, nanny, nanny shares, Au Pair, in home day care, and etc). But this is not what the post is about; it is just a few of my thoughts on child care options and what we found works best for our family. Being a stay at home mom/dad is not necessarily financially feasible option for every family or is not the best for “you” as the parent mentally. I use the word “mentally” meaning that some people (both mom’s and dad’s) are better parents if they work or have another purpose other than being “mom” and or “wife” (whether that be in the home or not).  People might disagree, but I believe a lot of women do not take this into account or factor this into their decision of being a Stay at Home Mom (SAHM); therefore – for some – their self worth tends to suffer and overspills into other areas (e.g., relationship with your spouse). I did extensive research...

2012 Stroller Friendly Races Jan17

2012 Stroller Friendly Races...

[category_specific_rss_menu] *Updated April 22, 2013 For a comprehensive list of 2013 & 2014 stroller friendly races, please see the Stroller Friendly Race Calendar.  We currently have more than 1000 races listed and adding approximately 20 races weekly. *********** January 17, 2012 Stroller friendly races are hard to find. While many races discourage or outright prohibit the use of jog strollers during the race, I have found several races that offer special start times to strollers and some that encourage all family participation. Although, in search of stroller friendly races, I have not found one comprehensive list anywhere. Sites such as Running in the USA, Active.com, or Runner’s World do not have a search filter for “jogging strollers”, so in order to find out if races are jog stroller friendly, you have to contact each individual race director. As you can well imagine this is a daunting task, especially for parents who are trying to plan out their race schedules for the year.  Don’t get me wrong, I do plenty of races sans jog stroller – my husband and I switch of race days or get someone to watch our son – but, there are times it is nice to bring him to “race”.  As you know, for whatever reason, not all parents have the luxury of having someone else watch their child, so racing without them is not an option. One note:  I do encourage anyone racing with a jog stroller to abide by Jog Stroller Racing Etiquette. This is very important not only for the safety of you and your baby, but also for the other runners. I began doing research on stroller friendly races and reaching out to the race directors of each race so I can develop a 2012 stroller friendly...

Mom, you told everyone! Kids Privacy Online...

Being that Educause, a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology, coined January Data Privacy; it got me thinking about kids’ privacy online.  With so many people blogging about their day-to-day lives, especially new parents wanting to document their child’s milestones online and share them with family; I wonder how we go about ensuring their privacy online. As of July 2011 according to Mashable, the two largest blogging sites Tumblr and WordPress.com, together hosted more than 20,958,182 blogs (Tumblr had 20,873,182 blogs and WordPress.com’s had approximately 85,000 blogs). So to me, the question arose do you have “rules” about what you will and will not post in blogs, forums and other online spaces such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, Babycenter.com, etc.? Someone once told me that anyone could find out anything about me because my life was so public on the web.  I said, “Yes, you can, but there are a lot of things you will hopefully never find out about me because my husband and I have  house “rules” for social media (more guidelines because use of mobile technology and social media change daily) about how, what, where and when we choose to share our personal information. As my hubby and I have become more actively engaged in social networks and in combination with the our son’s birth, we decided it was time to have family “rules” (guidelines) for social media.  Our rules are constantly  being revised based on new security and privacy issues that arise daily, especially with regards to our son’s privacy online. According to comScore.com, social networking sites now reach 82 percent of the world’s online population, representing 1.2 billion users around the world.  In my opinion, that is a...

Kid Friendly Hotel Will You Be Staying At One?...

Is the hotel kid friendly? Traveling with your baby and/or toddler and planning on staying in a hotel? Kristy Wood, one of my favorite guest bloggers, and I have developed frequently asked questions to make sure the hotel you plan on staying at is kid friendly. If this is the first time staying in a hotel with your baby, make sure you ask the hotel the following questions or be sure to check their website for the accommodations before booking your reservation.  By finding out the answers to the questions before you arrive, will make for a more pleasant first time experience for your entire family, plus you will be more prepared. Do you have refrigerators in the standard rooms? If not, be sure to ask if they could put one in for you. A refrigerator is essential if you are breast feeding and you need to store breast milk. Or you have a toddler that is already on whole milk and you need to keep some at your disposal. In my experience some boutique hotels might not provide refrigerators in the rooms, but they will put your breast milk in their kitchen refrigerator. If they do, be sure to mark the cooler well with your last name and identify it is breast milk. Do they have a crib available to use or rent? This is only essential if you are planning to not bring your own pack-n-play or another sleeping device.  Ensure you ask them how old the cribs are and if they know when they were purchased.   From experience, I found that higher end hotels generally have the newer cribs ones that have not been recalled, but with lower end or cheaper hotels they have cribs that have been recalled or the...

Infant Packing Where Do You Start?...

  Traveling with an infant can be very stressful especially with a new born not knowing what to pack and how much to pack.  For me, it was the first time I had to worry about packing for someone other than my husband and me. I was told that I needed to bring two outfits per day in case my son had a blowout or threw up.   Wow, that is a lot of clothes.  Like a new mom, I took the advice only to realize after several trips that I did not need two outfits per day and came home with a lot of clean clothes. OK, maybe that is not such a bad thing on the laundry front, but not good in trying to minimize bags. This is great advice, especially if you are traveling via car and you have no place to wash laundry, which the first couple times we traveled via car this was the case for us.  But in order to reduce my luggage, I developed my own rule of thumb, one and half outfits per day.   For example:  a six day trip, I would take 9 onesies. I am no pro at traveling, but we have done several long road trips with our son including a 50 hour car ride in 10 days and crossed 13 states, so after preparing for that trip, I feel more equipped to provide a infant packing check list. I developed an infant packing check list of necessity items that I needed  to remember when traveling with my son. Your list will become more modified and honed over time based on your baby’s needs and yours, but hopefully, this is a good starting point for you.   For additional packing resources check out BabyCenter.com....