Why Is Natural Parenting Essential for Dads

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Why Is Natural Parenting Essential for Dads

Have you ever noticed that conversations about parenting too often focus solely on mothers? Of course, in part it makes sense: the mother is the person who carried the baby for nine months, and the person who breastfeeds. However, other than that, there is no particular reason why a mother’s role should be so jarringly greater in a child’s life, compared to the father’s. Just as they need a mother figure, kids need a healthy father figure for ideal development. There is no reason whatsoever why a father wouldn’t take part in attachment parenting together with his partner, and there are many numerous benefits both for him and his baby.

What exactly is attachment parenting?

Why Is Natural Parenting Essential for Dads

The term natural parenting or attachment parenting might sound like some sort of a new fad, but in fact, it’s as old as time. In simple terms, it’s the practice of raising children in a way that promotes closeness and strengthens the parent – child bond. The most common principles of natural parenting include co-sleeping in a safe and controlled way (precautions are necessary in order to minimize chances of SIDS), breastfeeding on demand, babywearing and respectful disciplining. Natural parenting is based on recognizing and striving to meet the needs of every member of the family. Of course, that might sound exhausting if it falls entirely on the mother, which is why the role of the father is to create a support network and share the responsibility and duties in as equal a way as possible.

How can dads get involved?

Why Is Natural Parenting Essential for Dads

Of all the aspects of attachment parenting, only breastfeeding is exclusively the duty of the mother. However, if the baby is bottle fed for any reason (whether with formula or pumped breast milk), dads can share those duties too. Some dads choose to co-sleep with their kids – and, if you take certain precautions, the practice is perfectly safe. What is more, kids who co-sleep with their parents tend to wake up less and establish better sleeping habits. The aspect that dads seem most comfortable with – in fact, they relish it – is babywearing. It gives them the chance to spend time in close proximity to their child. Physical touch is a powerful tool for forging a loving bond. Babies, from the earliest days, love exploring the world around them, but they also thrive best when they feel safe and loved. The best way to provide that safety is physical contact. Every dad can explore the different possibilities of babywearing and choose the one that works for them. Some opt for a comfortable baby carrier, others prefer baby wraps.

What are the benefits?

Why Is Natural Parenting Essential for Dads

The benefits of attachment parenting are numerous and immediate. The most important is, of course, the establishment of the father as a warm and close caregiver, instead of a distant breadwinner figure. The second, extremely practical reason is that all moms, however strong they are, need a break sometimes. Too often, mothers work too hard to keep their families happy, without actually providing themselves with even the most basic nourishment. They sleep too little, eat on their feet, sometimes they don’t even have the time to shower or wash their hair. Their social life too often just flies out the window. When dads also take up babywearing, feeding or co-sleeping, moms can finally get some much-needed time for themselves. Not only does attachment parenting feed the love between father and child, it also positions the mother and father as equals, and strengthens their relationship too. The whole family will be able to flourish through mutual support, and the father, unlike in so many traditional scenarios, is there to witness every single moment.

At the end of the day, everyone benefits from a strong bond between the father and child. Many dads experience a feeling of being on the outside, looking in, especially with the first baby in the family. The bond that instantly forms between mother and child is so strong that it can leave dads feeling excluded and even jealous. On the other hands, moms are too often exhausted and feeling at the end of their tether. Natural parenting gives dads the tools to get involved and help create a safe, loving environment where their kids can thrive.

Mama -To-Be Tea Sampler

4 Ways to Stay Fit on a Family Trip Abroad

4 Ways to Stay Fit on a Family Trip Abroad

With all the responsibilities that traveling involves, including your papers, insurance, tickets, accommodation, local sightseeing tickets, and other important details, it’s almost impossible to think about maintaining your fitness regime while visiting another country with your kids. In all fairness, that’s difficult even in your hometown when you consider all the things parenthood involves on a daily basis!

Still, people have tried and succeeded in staying physically active while traveling. So, before you pack your bags and make peace with the fact that you won’t be able to work up a sweat during your travel, take a look at these simple tips on incorporating a workout into your trip without compromising your family fun time!

Include it in your itinerary

If you’re visiting the French countryside or a Swiss mountain range, there will be countless options for hiking, biking or even mountain climbing for the bravest among you! For example, there are family-friendly trails in Austria that can be physically demanding, but you can always hire an experienced  professional, who’ll help you to enjoy the local wildlife and beautiful landscapes.

Then again, playing football on a Copacabana beach with the locals or fellow travelers can be a memorable experience, a perfect chance for you to embarrass yourself in front of your kids and an ideal way to work out while experiencing life in a new culture. What more could you ask for from a perfect family vacation?

4 Ways to Stay Fit on a Family Trip Abroad

Exercise before breakfast

Even though you might try to use jetlag as an excuse, or the fact that you can’t be held accountable for your own actions before that first cup of coffee, including a quick bodyweight workout is a perfect way to turn your exercising into a travel habit. If there’s a park or a beach right next to where you’re staying, you can step out for a quick jog, and a few sets of pullups and pushups.

Make sure to include a brief warmup and cooldown routine to complement your exercises because you don’t want to get injured during your stay in a foreign country. Moderate morning workouts can give you the perfect energy boost for the rest of your day and help you manage your weight when you’re tempted to dive into insanely large portions of the local cuisine.

Explore local options

Visiting a completely new, exotic destination can tempt you away from your regular fitness routine, but there are creative ways you can use the local offers and turn it into a fun activity you won’t even perceive as an exercise plan! For example, visiting Australia usually ends up with entire families hurrying to see the monumental city architecture, unique culture, and untamed nature as much as possible.

To get an even more intimate taste of the Aussie lifestyle, join the local runners on the gorgeous Sydney or Adelaide coastline, explore their pristine parks. However, if you insist on sticking to your original fitness plan, you can look for some local fitness trainers in Adelaide that can motivate you and make sure you don’t skip a single workout in your routine!

4 Ways to Stay Fit on a Family Trip Abroad

Get your kids involved

If you’re traveling with toddlers and very young kids, it can be tricky to include them into your exercise regime, simply because they wouldn’t be able to keep up and you’d have to keep an eye on them all the time, making it almost impossible to stay true to your plan. However, some kids are tireless dancers and they can always challenge you to explore new moves and steps that a typical grownup would never think of.

Luckily, there are other ways you can use your traveling time to work out. The local playground is a perfect field for you to experiment with your training and include your kids in the process. Mix and match various activities to get the most out of your journey while still staying active. A good example is taking your kids for a long walk and taking photography breaks that will give them just enough time to rest. Playing volleyball or water polo as a family, or swimming with your kids can be surprisingly taxing and fun at the same time!

4 Ways to Stay Fit on a Family Trip Abroad

Whether you decide to keep your kids busy with drawing or playing in the sand while you and your better half find an innovative solution for working out, or you decide to motivate them to tag along, there is no valid excuse for taking a break from your fitness routine while traveling as a family.

Think and plan ahead, research the country you’re visiting and you’ll find a perfect way to keep those pesky pounds at bay. Who knows, maybe you will discover a new fitness passion during your travels and learn a new skill that you can continue perfecting even when you return home.

How to Keep Your Kids Safe and Sound in the Backyard

How to Keep Your Kids Safe and Sound in the Backyard

I have another great guest post from Zara Lewis to share with you today!  Zara always writes the best posts and provides great information to her readers.  Enjoy!

How to Keep Your Kids Safe and Sound in the Backyard

With spring just around the corner, we yearn to go outside and spend time outdoors as much as possible. Children are the first to be drawn outdoors, and you cannot really blame them. Indeed, a hot season brings a set of outdoor activities, but the problem is that it also comes with safety concerns and hazards. Numerous injuries occur in the backyard, where parents foolishly assume their kids are safe. Well, they have endless curiosity and possess near-infinite amounts of energy, which may put them at a risk of a serious injury.

Weather conditions

Hence, outdoor activities call for special precautionary measures. The first thing to realize is that nicer weather does not imply risk-free conditions. First off, spring brings forth such weather conditions which usually cause allergy symptoms. Children with asthma, pollen, and insect allergies are specifically prone to such problems. Thus, consult with a doctor, get proper medication, and try to avoid allergy triggers. Summer is also accompanied by its own risks, most commonly sunburn and heatstroke. This is the time for sunscreen, shades, hat, as well as bottles of water for hydration.

How to Keep Your Kids Safe and Sound in the Backyard

Treacherous waters

Backyard swimming pools are particularly dangerous for kids. Infants and toddlers can drown in much less water, which means their access to the pool must be restricted at all times. And once they are old enough, kids can learn how to swim and tread water safely. Still, swimming alone and without adult supervision or a lifejacket is not advisable. Also, note that the area around the pool is slippery and gives rise to the falls. Fortunately, you can use a non slip mat as an easy and inexpensive slip resistant solution. They come in various sizes and are intended for wet and outdoor areas.

Protective surfaces

This brings us to the point that in order to prevent other falls, one has to ensure that the outdoor furnishings have a soft surfacing underneath it. Sand, rubber mulch, pea gravel, and wood chips mitigate the impact from falling, unlike grass and dirt. The depth of the surface material depends on the height of the equipment. Swings, for example, require deeper surfacing, which should extend twice the suspension bar.  In addition, all equipment which features moving parts is to be located separately from the rest.

How to Keep Your Kids Safe and Sound in the Backyard

Equipment inspection

Generally, playground equipment and toys are of different sizes and proportions and are typically designed for three age groups: infants and toddlers (under two years old), preschoolers (2-5 years old), and school-age kids (5 to 12 years old). Apart from adhering to this strict rule, it goes without saying that the maintenance, as well as durability and quality of equipment, are paramount to its safe use. Moreover, inspect everything thoroughly and double-check that there are no pinch points or spaces that could trap a kid’s head, arm, or some other body part.

Gear up

Furthermore, the equipment should be placed in the shade, away from the pavement, fences, trees, walkways, etc. All protruding bolts and screws must be covered with plastic safety caps and permanent equipment anchored to the ground. Of course, children also ought to know how to use the equipment properly. And in case they play sports, make sure they wear protective gear. Helmets, for instance, are an absolute must for bicycles, roller skates, ride-on toys, and skateboards. On the other hand, safety straps are a good way to secure children in strollers.

How to Keep Your Kids Safe and Sound in the Backyard

Play by the book

A backyard is always preferable to unattended, impromptu playgrounds, especially if it is properly maintained and fenced. Running into surrounding traffic, though, is one of the most dangerous risks when it comes to the yards. Thus, keep the gates locked and install childproof latches for extra safety. Likewise, children have no business wandering around places like sheds, garages, and barns. Finally, check out the area where they play and remove any sharp objects, tools, branches, rocks, tree stumps, trash, animal feces, etc.

A safe haven

Playing in the backyard is a natural pastime for many kids, but it requires careful monitoring and planning. Prevention is, hands down, the best strategy to ensure safety, so keep your eyes open for faulty equipment, careless behavior, and improper surfaces. Remember that children of different ages have varying developmental needs and abilities. Assemble a safe outdoor sanctuary for children to learn about the world, get active, enjoy fresh air, and have loads of fun.

Keep the lawn maintained

Sharp objects aren’t your own worry in the backyard.  Rodents, snakes and pests such as fire ants and mosquitos should also be considered when keeping your backyard accident proof.  Fortunately, proper lawn care practices can solve most of these problems.  The lawn should be mowed with a sharp mower blade at least once every two weeks.  Neglecting to do so and letting grass grow taller than six inches creates the perfect camouflage and habitat for snakes and rodents.  A lush, green and healthy lawn also has softer grass and is easier for children to run barefoot across.  To keep your lawn healthy, remember to never cut off more than a third of the grass blade at a time and water the lawn at least one inch every week.  But be careful which days of the week you water the lawn to avoid fines. For example, in Cincinnati home owners can only water their lawn depending on which day of the week it is.

 

If you liked Zara’s post above, check out her other guest posts she’s provided to Go Ask Your Daddy:

Sandwich Generation’s Problem – Coordinating Family and Parents’ Care

Many thanks again to Zara Lewis for providing this guest post!

Sandwich Generation's Problem – Coordinating Family and Parents' Care

What does it mean to be a part of the sandwich generation? Basically, you find yourself in a position when you have to take proper care of your own kids as well as your elderly parents. It’s not something that should be thought of as a bad thing per se, but it is what it is. And it comes with a bit more responsibilities for you. If you have some difficulties in coping with this situation, I’ll be glad to share some of my experiences with you. I hope that you’ll find the following text helpful.

Strict schedule

I can’t stress enough how useful it can be to have a clear schedule and week plan when you’re stranded between your own family and parents, let alone other chores and tasks. Of course, you won’t be able to follow the schedule perfectly every time, but the biggest concern when you have many things on your mind is the possibility to actually forget something. If you use to-do lists and reminders on a daily basis, you’ll be able to tend to various tasks more diligently. Also, I found that time stamped to-do lists work great in minimizing my tension and reducing anxiety. Once you put everything on paper, you can clearly see that there’s enough time for everything and everyone in your day.

What does it mean to be a part of the sandwich generation? Basically, you find yourself in a position when you have to take proper care of your own kids as well as your elderly parents. It’s not something that should be thought of as a bad thing per se, but it is what it is. And it comes with a bit more responsibilities for you. If you have some difficulties in coping with this situation, I’ll be glad to share some of my experiences with you. I hope that you’ll find the following text helpful. Strict schedule I can’t stress enough how useful it can be to have a clear schedule and week plan when you’re stranded between your own family and parents, let alone other chores and tasks. Of course, you won’t be able to follow the schedule perfectly every time, but the biggest concern when you have many things on your mind is the possibility to actually forget something. If you use to-do lists and reminders on a daily basis, you’ll be able to tend to various tasks more diligently. Also, I found that time stamped to-do lists work great in minimizing my tension and reducing anxiety. Once you put everything on paper, you can clearly see that there’s enough time for everything and everyone in your day.

Be honest and open

You may be a people-pleaser, but if you realize that there’s no way to get everything done and to fit a ton of duties in one day, simply don’t do it. This is especially true for sandwich generation comrades who have small kids. And just like you love your child, your parents cherish you and their grandkid the most. Don’t feel pressured to visit your folks every single day if you can talk to them and explain what problems you’re facing. On the other hand, if your kids are old enough to go to school on their own, they will also understand that you can’t devote all your time to them.

Living conditions

Be honest and open You may be a people-pleaser, but if you realize that there’s no way to get everything done and to fit a ton of duties in one day, simply don’t do it. This is especially true for sandwich generation comrades who have small kids. And just like you love your child, your parents cherish you and their grandkid the most. Don’t feel pressured to visit your folks every single day if you can talk to them and explain what problems you’re facing. On the other hand, if your kids are old enough to go to school on their own, they will also understand that you can’t devote all your time to them.

If you’re worried about your parents living alone or are totally against retirement homes, there’s nothing wrong with having your parents live with you. But, it’s essential that you really think this decision through. Is your home spacious enough for two new members? Is it safe for them? What does your family have to say about this? Having your parents stay at your home is very cost-effective but it also means that you will all be living under one roof. Are you ready for that? On the other hand, your parents might enjoy a retirement home more. If you can talk to them about this, by all means do so. If your parents suffer from serious health conditions, it really may turn out to be safer for them to be under constant supervision in a retirement home.

Stay responsible

If you decide to live with your parents or if they’re persistent in their decision to live in their own home, home care services can be a true life-saver. This was definitely the best possible option for me, since it allowed me to spend more time with my spouse and children without worrying too much about my mom and dad’s health needs. It can get really hard on you when you have to face the fact that they are old and weak. Expert services in this area are a must if you truly want to provide the best possible care for your parents. I found immense support in kind professionals who provide home care in San Jose and thanks to them, I managed to get my family life back to normal.

If you’re worried about your parents living alone or are totally against retirement homes, there’s nothing wrong with having your parents live with you. But, it’s essential that you really think this decision through. Is your home spacious enough for two new members? Is it safe for them? What does your family have to say about this? Having your parents stay at your home is very cost-effective but it also means that you will all be living under one roof. Are you ready for that? On the other hand, your parents might enjoy a retirement home more. If you can talk to them about this, by all means do so. If your parents suffer from serious health conditions, it really may turn out to be safer for them to be under constant supervision in a retirement home. Stay responsible If you decide to live with your parents or if they’re persistent in their decision to live in their own home, home care services can be a true life-saver. This was definitely the best possible option for me, since it allowed me to spend more time with my spouse and children without worrying too much about my mom and dad’s health needs. It can get really hard on you when you have to face the fact that they are old and weak. Expert services in this area are a must if you truly want to provide the best possible care for your parents. I found immense support in kind professionals who provide home care in San Jose and thanks to them, I managed to get my family life back to normal.

I really want to make a point that even if you are a mature adult with no kids, but still have to take care of your folks, you too belong to the sandwich party. We’ve all been there and in all honesty, I can’t tell you whether it’s harder to think about yourself and start your own family, or to ignore your needs in fear of neglecting your parents. The best advice I can give you is to do what I did – when you feel it’s time to have kids, do it. Your parents will be happy about your decision as well.

The Fall Outdoor Activities to Entertain Bored Kids

The Fall Outdoor Activities to Entertain Bored Kids

Fall is a beautiful season and for some people, it’s the most beautiful of them all. If you want your kids to associate fall with something fun and entertaining instead of just boring rain and start of a school year, make sure to provide them with various activities that will allow them to experience fall to the fullest. Not only will the kids benefit from spending time in the fresh air, but they will also be able to learn something new while enjoying themselves.

Leafy fun

It’s time to rake some leaves! While the process of raking might sound boring to adults, for kids, it’s only the first step of great fun. If you have trees in your yard, allow your kids to rake the fallen leaves and then play with the pile and leap into it. True, throwing the leaves around will require some additional work later on, but the fun is worthy of extra chore. If you don’t have any trees in your yard, feel free to take your kids to the nearby park, where they can make their own leaf piles and toss them around. Don’t worry about them getting dirty. There are various benefits for children in that respect, too.

The Fall Outdoor Activities to Entertain Bored Kids

Garden time

Fall is a perfect time to plant some flowers, bushes and even trees, and kids absolutely love taking part in such activities. Therefore, make sure to invite them along when you go gardening. You can also use this opportunity to teach the kids about flora and get them interested in the world around them. Moreover, you can suggest them to decorate the garden with help of their own creativity. Ask them to paint the pots, make plant signs or pick stones and other details that would perfectly decorate the garden in an autumnal fashion.

Fly the kite

Fall winds are simply made for some great kite flying. Don’t forget to mention this activity to your kids. You can have a lot of fun, and especially so if you choose to make a DIY kite together. That way, you can add some fall details such as fallen leaves and unique personal drawings that would make any child enjoy kite flying even more. Not only is this amusing, but kids will also spend some time in the open, running around and pulling the string, which will significantly improve their balance, fitness skill and eye-hand coordination.

The Fall Outdoor Activities to Entertain Bored Kids

Color hunt

Like a scavenger hunt, a color hunt is a really entertaining activity thanks to the wide spectrum of fall colors everywhere. Pick a color and instruct your kids to collect as many natural things in that color as possible. Leaves and flowers that they pick up can also serve you as a great educational tool for teaching them how to recognize different types of plants. If you set a timer for search time and invite your child’s friends to join in, this can soon become their favorite pastime.

Detective play

Fall provides great insight in nature’s life cycle as well as the behavior of different animals that kids can easily spot in parks and even small local forests. If you want to get this knowledge closer to your kids and make it fun for them, organize detective games that would require them to take notes of their findings. Kids can do their investigating on foot or, you can suggest them to ride their bikes or hop on a self balancing scooter, which will make their detecting even more efficient. This will only make them more interested in the game and get them to become more serious about the whole activity, which will turn out to be very beneficial for them in terms of educational and physical development as well.

The Fall Outdoor Activities to Entertain Bored Kids

There are many ways that you can provide your kids with necessary fun during the gloomy fall days if you make them look at things nature puts before them with different perspective. It’s important to keep them company for a while and show them how enjoyable a certain activity is, because you’re the one kids look up to and they’ll gladly accept to try and get immersed in an activity that seems to be amusing for their parents, especially if it involves the outdoors, moving around freely and discovering new things.

 

zlbio

Zara Lewis is a mom of three kids, a designer, freelance writer and a contributor to Go Ask Your Daddy.  She is passionate about traveling, hiking, cycling and yoga, and loves to write about things that are a part of her life that inspire her, mostly parenting, relationship and healthy lifestyle topics.  Zara is also a regular contributor to other blogs such as highlifestyle.com.

Finder her on Twitter: @ZaraELewis

How to Get Your Kids Dressed for Special Occasions (Dos and Don’ts)

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Making Memories Last Forever

 

How to Get Your Kids Dressed for Special Occasions (Dos and Don’ts)

Getting dressed for special occasions is difficult for adults, imagine how it can look for kids, who despise everything formal and uptight (for a good reason too). Still, although not very pleasant, it’s a necessity, and if you do it well, you can end up with a lot of amazing photo memories and a special occasion with no incidents. The difficulty of this challenge and its successful outcome will, of course, depend on the age of the kid and your proficiency in buying kids’ clothes. However, there are some general tips that should help you succeed.

Dos:

Choose Comfortable Clothes

Regardless if you’re going to a black tie wedding or a cousin’s birthday, the clothes you choose for your children shouldn’t restrict their movements too much, or cause any kind of discomfort, because that will only annoy them and soon enough, you’ll see them screaming around and asking for new outfits. So, you should always opt for soft organic cotton, without any wirings, or tight belts. Also make sure you choose the length that enables them to run. They will do it anyway so what’s the point of stopping them – just make them safe.

Ask the Kids about Their Opinion

There are no precise rules about determining at what age should you let the child decide what to wear, but as soon as you feel your kids can understand where are they going and learn some of the basics of the fashion, you should allow them some independence in choosing their outfits.

Rent Formal Clothes

If you are going to some “ultra-fancy” event that doesn’t happen very often, like a wedding for instance, you shouldn’t spend a ton of money on dresses for the girls and tuxedos for boys. After all, they’ll probably wear it only once, and the next time you need something similar, they’ll outgrow it.

How to Get Your Kids Dressed for Special Occasions (Dos and Don’ts)

Opt for Neutral Colors

When the kids outgrow their clothes, especially if they’re formal things worn once, you can easily resell them in some of the consignment stores or online secondhand shops. That’s why it is better to opt for neutral colors which will appeal to other parents and kids. This can be especially useful when it comes to elegant flower girl gowns and equally stylish kids’ tuxedos, since you can get a good price for these pieces even after they were worn.

Don’ts:

Buy All the New Stuff

Just as you can resell the items you’ve bought, you can buy secondhand pieces to save money. It doesn’t even have to be an entire outfit – maybe just a dress, t-shirt or jewelry. Don’t think that buying pre-loved items makes you a bad parent.

Buy Just the Right Size

If you find an outfit that fits your kid perfectly, it is quite possible that in a matter of couple of months, that will no longer be the case. It is always better to size up for one number, so that the clothes are wearable the following year, and maybe even the one after.

How to Get Your Kids Dressed for Special Occasions (Dos and Don’ts)

Use too Many Accessories

Sure, tiaras, watches, necklaces and other things can look really adorable, but in the long run, they’re not very functional, and not even necessary. In most of cases the kids will just take them off (sometimes even before someone gets the chance to capture them with a camera), so they’re really just wasting your money.

Buy Uncomfortable Shoes

Shoes are everything. If they are pinching and hurting your kids’ feet, they will insist on taking them off, or they’ll be anxious throughout the day. So, no matter how nice the pair of glittery flats or leather Oxfords look like, it is best to opt for kids-appropriate anatomic shoes.

Now when you have everything worked-out, you can go have fun and make some memorable family portraits with your charming little ones.


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Zara Lewis is a mom of three kids, a designer, freelance writer and a new contributor to Go Ask Your Daddy.  She is passionate about traveling, hiking, cycling and yoga, and loves to write about things that are a part of her life that inspire her, mostly parenting, relationship and healthy lifestyle topics.  Zara is also a regular contributor to other blogs such as highlifestyle.com.

Finder her on Twitter: @ZaraELewis