via In general, babies less than 1 year old should avoid chocolate, particularly, dark and milk chocolate. These contain caffeine-like substances. Caffeine is unsuitable for very small children because of its stimulating effect. As children reach a year old, they can tolerate small amounts of white chocolate, which contains less caffeine. However, even in this case, the high sugar content makes it far from ideal as a baby snack.

Babies are designed to take in breast milk or formula for the first four to six months of life. A baby’s digestive system can’t handle solid foods, including chocolate, for up to six months. You may find that even after that, it takes several months to wean your baby onto mashed solids. Babies generally start out on wet cereal and move to pureed vegetables and eventually to pureed meats and mashed foods. This process may last another six months and more. Chocolate doesn’t feature as a recommended stage in introducing your baby to solid foods.

Though no evidence appears to link moderate caffeine consumption in children with serious long-term complications, you should avoid giving caffeine products to babies. At less than 1 year old, their systems are still very sensitive. A small amount of caffeine to an adult can be a large dose for a baby. This amount can stimulate a baby and make him feel alert and uncomfortable. It might even throw off sleeping and feeding routines. A teaspoon of milk chocolate contains around 1 milligram of caffeine. A teaspoon of dark chocolate contains around 4 milligrams on average. Children less than 2 years old should ideally avoid all caffeine.

Tooth Decay
Though babies less than 1 year old have only small developing teeth, these are vulnerable to tooth decay. Sugar rapidly speeds up tooth decay because it provides a food source for acid-producing mouth bacteria. Cleaning your baby’s teeth may be difficult, so sometime the acids build up around teeth. Chocolate usually contains a lot of sugar. Giving your infant chocolate may result in some tooth problems or poor oral health.

Chocolate contains many calories for little nutritional benefit. Getting your baby used to high-sugar foods can lead to problems such as obesity later in life. Some babies even show allergic reactions to chocolate, according to the USDA’s Nutrition Assistance Program. If you notice excessive sickness or light diarrhea after giving your child chocolate, avoid offering her any more. If she develops a fever, rash or severe symptoms, take her to a doctor immediately.

via Shakespeare: Fishing with kids is a great family outdoors activity. To make the experience fun, safe and pressure free, consider these 10 steps.

Fishing means catching fish. Whether you plan to fish from a boat, shore or a dock, scout out locations where fish are plentiful.

The local tackle shop is a great place to get some help. If possible, bring the kids along when you visit the store. Have them observe while you ask for pointers on where to go, productive baits for the area, and information on fishing regulations and fishing licenses.

Organizing gear in advance minimizes stress. Check as you pack: fishing gear, snacks, drinks, water, sunscreen, bug repellant, rain jackets, hats, first-aid kit, sunglasses.

Safety must come first. Life jackets, while sometimes uncomfortable, are a must for kids around water. Hooks have barbs so should only be handled by adults. If you prefer, barbs can be pinched down. Shakespeare’s Hide-A-Hook Float is a great device that hides the hook within the bobber for safer casting.

Boys and girls alike are naturally curious, so explain how a float works and moves when a fish bites. If casting jigs, tug on the line while the child holds the rod to simulate a hit. Demonstrate setting the hook, emphasizing that like any skill, in takes time to learn.

Teach kids how to grip the handle of the rod keeping it in front of them in a 9 to 11 o’clock position. Explain how the reel handle turns and how to react to a bite.

A sidearm cast, not an overhead, is better and safer for kids. Here’s an overview:

  • Shoulder-check no one’s in harm’s way
  • Bring the rod back keeping it above the waist
  • Swing the rod forward while flicking the wrist and releasing the line prior to the rod pointing at the target
  • End with rod pointing at target
  • Offer lots of encouragement for young casters

Success can result from the simplicity of a bait and bobber on a lightweight rod. Buy a quality spinning or spin-cast combo between 3’6″ to 5′ and spool the reel with 6-pound monofilament line.

Worm and minnow soft-baits are durable and won’t spoil. Rig baits on a 1/32- to 1/8-ounce jig. Marabou or tinsel crappie jigs also work well.

A jig dangled beneath a small float and occasionally twitched is an effective tactic for youngsters. For kids who want to become more engaged, teach them a slow reeling or hopping jig retrieve.

Learning to fish takes patience. Coach kids how to slowly and steadily play fish, stopping when the fish is at the water’s surface. Encourage kids to independently land a fish quickly or to ask for help. Once the catch is out of the water and admired with photos secured, demonstrate proper release methods. If it’s fish for dinner, explain selective harvesting.

Fishing should be always be fun. Keep this objective in mind and regardless of the number of fish caught, each outing will be a success.

via Fishing. boy’s life:

You don’t need to buy expensive fishing gear for kids to start fishing. Even a simple setup can catch a ton of fish, according to fishing pro Tom Redington. The key is to keep the fishing kit small and light — light pole, light line, line bobber — and kids will have more fun and catch more fish.

Start with a small hook. Although it seems like a big hook would work better, a little hook is much more effective at catching the smaller fish and can still hook the big ones. Next, put a little split shot weight just a few inches above the hook, followed by a small bobber.

Smaller bobbers are more sensitive, so choose one that’s just big enough to hold up the weight of the sinker. Clip the bobber about a foot from the end of the line. By keeping the bobber pretty shallow, you’ll avoid snags and keep your bait visible to fish that are looking up to feed.

The line should also be light. Six-pound test is universal, but anything between four- to eight-pound test line will work great to catch crappie, bass, catfish and panfish.

An entry-level rod and reel is fine for kids or beginners. Click here for more information about choosing a fishing rod.

via Parenting Chaos: Planning a road trip? When it comes to planning a family vacation there is no such thing as being over prepared. By planning ahead parents can avoid many meltdowns and tantrums along with being ready to handle any bumps in the road.

How to Prepare for a Road Trip with Kids:

1. Pack Lightly
Traveling with kids requires packing a ton of stuff. When deciding what comes and what goes, think minimalist. A car that is overflowing with stuff will do nothing but add stress to everyone. Keep to the bare essentials and try to stick to items that are designed specifically for travel. Trust me you just do not want your car to be overflowing with junk…

(I just could not even begin to imagine traveling like this…)

2. Pack Snacks:
There is nothing worse than hungry kids. When it comes to eating on the road there might not always be a fast food joint or store easily available. Plus who really wants their kids fueling up on only fast food? A small car cooler packed with healthy snack options is an easy way to save money on your trip while making sure your family is eating right. As an added plus car coolers typically fit beautifully in between captain seats and can be used as a table space or some may even have additional cup holders.

3. Pack Quiet Car Activities:
Simple activities that your kids can play on their own in the car will be your friend! Some of our favorites for traveling are our DIY Paint Chip Puzzles, DIY Lacing Cards, and DIY Story Book Puzzles. Making your own toys, games, and busy bags for travel is an awesome way to save money!

4. Electronics are your friend!

Family road-trips aren’t a daily occurrence, because of this we are a lot more lenient about our screen time rules when traveling. There are going to be parts of your trip where there is no where to stop, nothing to look at, and bored kids. Packing electronics gives your child access to eBooks (you can find an amazing amount of eBooks for free), movies, and even educational games. Most smart phones can act as a hot spot, and most cellular plans will allow you to up data for a month (just remember to call to knock it back down after the trip)! Also your local library is a great resource for finding movies or eBooks for your trip.

5. Avoid the Flat tire!
A flat tire when traveling is already miserable. Add kids into the mix…and yeah, you don’t want to go there! No one wants to be stuck on the side of the road with kids in the car, especially when hundreds of miles away from home!

It’s always a good idea to have your car checked and tuned before you head out on a long road trip. Make sure you get your oil changed, your car systems checked, and your tires looked over. If you’re tires are getting a little bald, you’ll want to get those changed before your trip.

Sam’s Club is a great place to get those new tires. A Sam’s Club membership continues to get you unbeatable summer deals on everything, including auto & tire services! On these tire brands Sam’s Club has the best all-in price (or will match offer): Michelin, Goodyear, BF Goodrich and Pirelli. Not only do they have low prices on tires and offer a great value on their Tire Installation Package* ($15/tire, $25/dually tire) but my favorite part is that they offer emergency roadside tire service — for three years from the date of purchase, members have 24-hour toll free access for emergency tire change service! A great deal for us moms!

Other services available to active Sam’s Club Members are:

  • Tire Mounting
  • Tire Lifetime Balancing
  • Tire Lifetime Rotation
  • A Value Stem
  • No Charge Tire Lifetime Flat Repair

How Sam’s Club’s #DareToCompare offer works: Bring a valid “all-in” quote from a tire sales and installation retailer to your Sam’s Club Tire and Battery Center service counter. The quote must be printed on dealer/retailer letterhead and dated within the past 7 business days. The tire must be the same brand, same line, same load index and speed rating (service description) as the tire intended for purchase at Sam’s Club. Sam’s Club carries some club-specific tire lines – in these cases, Sam’s Club will compare the club-specific tire line to the equivalent general-market tire line.

via OUTDORIA: Ask yourself: do you want your kid to end up being the type of adult who thinks milk comes from the supermarket? Or that if they sink a line in the local pond they’ll reel in a box of Bird’s Eye fish fingers? We didn’t think so.

Fishing is almost a rite of passage for kids. Not only is it heaps of fun and a great way to spend quality time together, it helps them learn about the circle of life and how that relates to the food we eat.

Now, we’d be lying if we said fishing with your kidlets will be as easy as it is when you go by yourself. The reality is you’ll probably spend most of your time helping them cast, baiting hooks and untangling line. But fishing with your kids or grandchildren can be incredibly rewarding, and just as much fun as fishing alone or with your mates.

Focus on the kids, not the fishing
The fact of the matter is, you’re probably not going to catch as much when you take your kids along. This is especially true if they’re under primary school age. But don’t let this put you off. Remember – you’re going out there to teach your kids how to fish, not to bag a monster yourself. If they get bored and start splashing about in the shallows, try not to get all worked up about how they’re scaring all the fish away. Deep breaths people.

Besides, you want to make fishing an experience your kids enjoy, right? If you berate them every time they start getting squirmy, not only will they lose interest fairly quickly, all those happy family moments you’re trying to cultivate are going to be recalled fondly for all the wrong reasons. Hey, remember when Dad lost his sh*t at the lake, his head went purple and we cried so much that strangers kept asking if we needed help? LOL!!! Oh memories.

Sometimes it’s not just kids who need to exercise a little patience, and you know what they say about leading by example. Over time, kids learn that if they’re patient, they’ll catch more fish. So guide them in this direction but don’t worry if they don’t catch on straight away.

How old do they need to be?
If they’re old enough to stand and hold a rod, they’re old enough to fish. We’ve taken kids as young as two out for a fish. Granted, we didn’t catch a whole lot (though we didn’t always go home empty handed either) but it was still a lot of fun for all of us.

Bear in mind that if you’re taking tots along or kids that aren’t strong swimmers yet, you need to pay extra close attention to them around water. It’s all-too-easy to take your eye off them when you’re trying to untangle the bird’s nest of fishing line they’ve just created, and we don’t know about you but we’re not really keen on adding any more material to our future teenager’s arsenal of parenting faux pas. Hey, remember that time you took us fishing and I almost drowned?! Btw I need fifty bucks to get a neck tattoo.

Where can you take kids fishing?
Whether you prefer freshwater or saltwater, there are heaps of places you can take your kids fishing. The main features to look for are either railings (like on a jetty or fishing platform) or graduated banks. Kids like to get as close to the action as possible, so we’d suggest avoiding anywhere with a sudden drop-off where they could fall in if they lose their footing.

It’s also a good idea to choose a spot that’s relatively free of snags. While fishing close to structure might be a good tactic when you’re on your own, if the kids keep getting snagged it’s just going to be frustrating for everyone.

Fishing off the beach is a great way to lure the littluns – although if it’s a surf beach you’ll probably need to help them cast out over the waves. Kids can leave their rods in a rod holder and then busy themselves building sandcastles and looking for shells until they get a bite. And if they decide to abandon the whole fishing thing altogether, guess what? You’re at the beach! It’s a fail-proof day out.

Jetties are excellent places for kids to have a go at casting on their own. The railings mean there’s little danger of your kid going over with the line, and they’re also less likely to get wet fishing from a jetty than say, a beach. Getting drenched and standing around on a cold day is definitely not going to score you too many good parenting points. Hey, remember when we went fishing and I caught pneumonia and was bedridden for three weeks?

Also, because there’s often just as much action (or more) directly below the jetty as there is further out, it’s not going to matter if those little arms can only cast a couple of metres out. When they do get that fish, your kids will feel especially triumphant knowing they did everything themselves.

Many lakes and dams in Australia are set up specifically with family fishing in mind, so if it’s your first time going with your kids, hitting up a lake is about as stress-free as it gets. There are often barbecues and playgrounds nearby and some have purpose-made fishing platforms to sweeten the deal.

If you’re in Victoria, check out our guide to the many stocked family fishing lakes around the state.

Choosing fishing gear for kids
A great way to get your kids keen on fishing before you even get to the water is to let them choose their own rod and reel. There’s a wide variety of small rods designed for children in bright, kid-friendly colours that are lightweight, easy for small hands to handle, and usually come in a combo with a spinning reel.

Many cheaper rod and reel combos come ready-spooled with line. However, it’s not a bad idea to spend a bit extra and get some quality line to replace this with as cheap line is often harder to cast and more prone to tangling.

If you’re looking to get some gear for yourself, check out our guide to fishing gear for beginners.

Bait or lure?
Fishing with frozen bait is a lot less confronting for kids than seeing a live animal (even if it is just a worm) wriggle around on a hook. Also, because frozen pilchards and squid are still identifiable as animals (as opposed to strips of mullet for example) they can be a great way to educate kids about the food chain.

Soft plastics are also a good option for younger anglers, provided they’re reasonably confident casting and retrieving, as they’re not smelly like bait and the kids can change up what they’re using (from grubs to minnows for example) if they get bored.

A word on hooks
The last thing anyone wants is a hook through the finger (or ear) and when kids get excited they’re likely to start waving the rod around with the hook flying everywhere. While there’s no sure-fire remedy for this, making sure the tip of the hook is embedded in the bait is one way to mitigate the chances of an injury. While this may make it harder to set the hook when you get a fish, at least you’re less likely to go home with a new piercing. That’s right, sweet child o’ mine, you’re not the only who can claim to be ‘scarred for life’.

Fish on!
When you get a fish on the line, let them reel it in. Nothing compares to the excitement of catching a fish and once they get a taste, any boredom they were feeling will be washed away. Be aware that some kids might struggle to use a reel with the weight of a fish on the end of the line so make sure you’re right there with them to help reel it in if needed.

Catch and release or dinner?
Always be respectful of the fish you’ve caught and make sure the kids are ready for what’s coming if you decide to take it home with you. (Pro tip: watching Finding Nemo in the lead-up = never a good idea.) A good way to gauge whether they’re ok with the fish being killed sent to fishy heaven is to ask ‘should we take this one home for dinner or put it back?’

If you decide to take it home, after you’ve established that it’s of a legal size, make sure you dispatch it quickly and humanely so the kids don’t have to watch the poor thing flapping around and slowly dying in the bucket. We’ll skip the italicised flash-forward and let that visual speak for itself.

Fishing licence
While people under the age of 18 don’t need a fishing licence, remember that (depending which state you’re in) all the adults fishing may need one. It’s always a good idea to check out your department of agriculture and fisheries website for information about species, size and bag limits within your state. Hey, remember that time you were arrested for illegal fishing? Okay, okay, that would never happen. But you get the point.

Now grab your little nippers and get out there. The memories will be worth it – the good and the not-so-good!

via skyscanner: It’s summer, and time for the big annual summer holiday! If you’re flying with kids you might be worried about arriving in one piece. What if they act up, or spend the whole flight screaming? What if you land more frazzled than ready for fun? We could say “stuff ’em” and tell you not to worry about people who tut and sigh, but we know it’s not that easy.

First of all, here’s some hope that everything will be alright: consumer champion Sarah Willingham explains why she loves travelling with her kids and how she copes on flights

Next up, some top tips from Skyscanner staff and well-travelled mums who know a thing or two about flying with children …

1. Understand the charges and regulations for each airline

If you’ve ever looked into flying with babies you’ll know that there are so many variations in the charges and regulations involved with taking your baby on a flight. Different airlines have different rules. Some charge for one thing; while with another it’s free. Check out the table below which explains all of the variations parents need to be aware of when flying with babies.

2. Plan and plan some more

Blogger Vicki from online parenting magazine Honest Mum‘s top tip for flying with kids is be prepared-over-prepared. Vicki says: “you can never have too many wet wipes and snacks! Fill your bag with snacks, games, playing cards, a portable DVD player in case the aircraft doesn’t have one and make sure you buy water once you’re through check in. I always take extra clothes and medicine, you never know when your kids might get a temperature or feel unwell.”

3. Write notes for fellow passengers

Worried the other passengers on your flight are going to hate you if your child screams all the way to Malaga? Or, even worse, enjoys a penchant for kicking the back of the seat in front. Why not follow the example of the parents who handed out bags of sweets to fellow passengers on their flight or pen them a message of apology in advance.

4. Wet wipes and Pull Ups

Cathy from says: “pack some spare clothes for them and for you – even now my daughter is potty trained, I’ve kept some emergency pull-ups. And you can never have too many wet wipes! That way if there are delays or you’re in a plane that’s stuck on the runway for ages, you won’t be panicking…or spending a whole flight smelling less than fresh after an accident or unexpected illness. You almost certainly won’t need it but it makes me feel much more relaxed, and I think my daughter picks up on that too. That way flights are an exciting adventure, not a potential nightmare scenario.”

5. Keep it simple

A game can keep kids occupied and make the journey fly by – but you don’t want to be carrying lots of equipment to make it work. So keep it simple. Easy games like I-Spy are the best. Get ideas for more simple, cost-free, games you can play with the kids on your next journey.

6. Consider a backpack for hand luggage

Gretta from says: “my kids are teenagers now, but my top tip for flying with younger children is to have a backpack as hand luggage so that you have both hands free. That makes it easier for you carry your child or hold their hand or push a buggy or show your passports or whatever else you need to do at the airport.”

7. Hold your baby up high

Ok, so this one won’t work for everyone, but some parents have found that holding their baby above their head makes them stop crying. No scientific reason we can think of for this one working but hey, if it does the trick… Not one to do on takeoff though!

![Holding a baby over your head can help calm him or her down](
“Baby in flight”)

8. Pack each child a plane bag

Katie from says: “pack them a plane bag – We have three young children and my girls have amassed many flights between them at a young age. We always pack a plane bag for them, we don’t let them see if before we get on the flight and in it are cheap pocket money toys to keep them entertained. Things you can buy in supermarkets and that only cost a couple of pounds each, like crayons, colouring books, little sets of Lego they can build and of course sweets in case all else fails! They love it and get excited to open them as soon as we are up in the air.”

9. Check the flight price for your little one

Assume your baby is flying free under 2? Double check. Oksana found she was expected to pay far more than she had imagined on one recent flight: “you may be surprised that some airlines force you to pay up to 75% for a ticket without a seat. This happened with me and my one-and-a-half year old son. In this case you don’t save money! Buy a normal ticket. At least you will get extra space – that is really valuable.”

10. Check in early

If you are flying with the family, or holidaying with your extended kin (sharing a villa with your sister and her five kids perhaps?) you’ll be struggling to all sit together if you leave it late to check in. So do this online as soon as check-in it opens. Unless you don’t want to sit anywhere near your sister’s five kids, that is.

11. Tell the police

Skyscanner PR Manager and mother-of-two Mary Porter has loads of tips on flying with toddlers. Our favourite is: “warn young children of the ‘Aeroplane Police’ who are looking out for badly behaved children. I am not suggesting you scare them out of their wits (and admittedly we never did explain what the Aeroplane Police actually do when they catch a naughty child). However, it proved hugely effective in stopping my toddler climbing over seats, playing with the fold down table, kicking the seat in front and all the other things that passengers around you really love.”

12. Pre-order your baby milk from Boots

Baby milk is something that always throws up questions. What can you take? Will you have to taste it at security? How much are you allowed and will it be enough? To avoid these questions did you know you could pre-order your milk from Boots and collect from a store in the airports departures? Find out here which airports are available. Alternatively check out Skyscanner’s guide to hand luggage restrictions do you don’t get caught out.

13. Be a slave to the (circadian) rhythm

If at all possible, choose flights at the ‘normal’ time your kids are meant to be falling asleep. If they’re shattered and it’s bedtime back home you might just find they’ll drop off. However, this could backfire if they’re so excited that they don’t want to sleep – tired and bratty is never a great start to a holiday.

14. Make regular toilet stops

“I don’t need to go” can quickly swing to the other end of the scale when it comes to childrens’ bladders – even the older ones. So make sure they go to the toilet immediately before getting on the plane/boat/train. Don’t give them too many fluids either or they’ll be up and down to the toilet all the way to your destination – extremely annoying for the person in the aisle seat! This is sensible advice for adults too. Drinking five pints of lager before getting on the plane is dangerous, especially if you’re held up during taxiing!

15. Play pilots

Kids scared of flying? So were Oksana Ermolaeva’s, a Skyscanner blogger for Russia who made the whole thing into a game. “I played role games with her”, she says. “Let your child be a pilot or a flight attendant. Play everything that normally happens onboard. This really helps to avoid pre-flight and in-flight panic.”

16. Arm yourself with snacks

For the ones on solid, gown-up food, make sure you pack plenty of snacks. Like an irascible cat which hasn’t had its morning Whiskas, a hungry toddler will damn sure let you know if they’re hungry. So, until the in-flight meal is served, fend them off with snacks. We won’t get into a debate here – obviously mainlining Haribo is not good for them, but unless they have a soft spot for grapes, it might be the only thing that works.

17. Never travel without an iPad or tablet

Travel blogger Monica from says: “most parents start off with good intentions when it comes to screen time for their little ones but you’re definitely allowed to let your standards slip during a flight! Load your tablet with games, songs, TV shows and Disney films to keep them entertained for as long as possible. Even tiny babies can be distracted for 10 minutes by a cartoon with a catchy song and it can be just long enough to enjoy your in-flight meal or avoid a tantrum. Try The Furchester Hotel – it works like magic for my little guy! Also invest in some kiddie headphones so you don’t annoy your fellow passengers with those catchy Disney songs.” Before you stock up on free apps to keep the kids entertained, check out our list of the best ones for your iPad or smartphone to get before you fly, guaranteed to keep children entertained long enough for you to at least eat your in-flight meal.

18. Keep them comfy

An impractically-dressed child is an unhappy child, so get them dressed up in soft, roomy layers that you can take on and off as the plane’s air conditioning demands – pyjamas are probably your best option. It’s worth taking a pillow too, so they can snuggle up in the window seat against the wall, drift off and dream of holidays.

19. Calpol can be your best friend

In the unfortunate event of your child being poorly when you fly, have handy an emergency stash (no more than 100ml obviously) of mother’s little helper, Calpol. Ear drops are also a winner for coping with altitude change.

20. Be prepared for upset tummies

The worst fear you might have about travelling with the kids could well be what if they get sick? A bit of advance planning will make this something to shrug off rather than panic over. Sounding like he speaks from unfortunate experience, Mark Logan, Skyscanner COO says: “always pack more sick bags than you think you’ll need for the drive to the airport in the hire car. And don’t pack away all of their clothes – for the same reason. Also, ensure that you bring your medical cards if you’re travelling within Europe. In my case, with three children, there’s a statistical likelihood that you’ll need it.”

21. Cuddly toys can make all the difference

Skyscanner Co-founder Bonamy Grimes has a clever solution for that desperate moment when nothing seems to make it all better: “stock up on toys, but make sure you hold back a favourite teddy that you bring out on the plane, and keep one in reserve for the way back.” There is always the risk of losing a cherished companion in transit, which is heart-breaking, so whenever you buy them a soft toy, buy two and if the worst happens, substitute New Peppa for Left-On-Plane Peppa.

22. Take a break

Initially this one may seem to add even more stress to your journey, but it does makes sense. Oksana says that for her kids, several transit flights work much better than one long haul. “Kids have time to move (run, jump) in airports, which they can’t onboard.” Probably best not use this tactic if they don’t like the take-offs and landings, or have a habit of getting lost in airports, though.

23. Use the time to get creative

No matter how much you love them, a bored child is a pain in the rear. Here are items for keeping the terrors from the perils of boredom:

  • Notebook and pens or pencils
  • Reading books or a Kindle
  • iPod/headphones: if music be the food of a happy child, play on!

24. Remember the wonder of flying

Flying is fun. In fact, flying is amazing. Remember that your little ones don’t associate budget airlines with baggage restrictions and commuting for business – they’re probably quite excited about going up in the sky. So you should be too. “Don’t forget that flying was once wondrous. To them it still is, so point out the small houses, the clouds, the setting sun…” says long-suffering Skyscanner Chairman Gareth Williams. And if you’re desperate, get them to count how many passengers are on the flight. We kid you not, this has been known to work a treat!

25. Take care of yourself out there

While pouring all your efforts into project managing your offspring’s on board, in-transit behaviour, don’t forget to look after your own wellbeing and comfort. Take care of yourself and the rest will take care of itself. If you are in good form, you’ll be far more able to cope with the inevitable tests thrown at you by your errant charges.

via Fisher: If you’re wondering when to start reading to your baby, it’s great to to do right from the start! Here’s what to know about your child’s early development when it comes to reading, listening, and following along with stories.

You don’t have to wait until your child is talking; even from early infancy, reading to your baby begins to teach her to recognize the sounds and rhythm of language and to feel that cuddling with you and reading books is comforting and fun. Reading is also a great way for fathers, grandparents, and older siblings to bond with the baby. Studies show that children who are routinely read to from a young age develop improved language skills and increased interest in reading, which helps improve their readiness for preschool and kindergarten. Try to make reading part of your daily routine with your baby—for example, at bedtime. You can start out reading for a few minutes at a time, and extend to longer reading sessions as your child grows older and develops a longer attention span. Find a comfortable place to read and turn off other distractions such as the television or radio. Make the story come alive by using different voices for different characters, and even acting out parts of the story.

Children can be interested in different types of books depending on their age, development, temperament, and life experiences. Babies like books with interesting things to look at and touch; toddlers also like books that make noises and have fold-out sections they can lift to reveal hidden surprises; and preschoolers appreciate books with more elaborate pictures, rhymes, funny words, and interesting stories. Children may be enthralled with books about animals, trucks, princesses, baseball players, or children like themselves. Try out different books with your child to see what he enjoys. There are the time-honored favorites like Dr. Seuss’s Cat in the Hat series as well as many new books. Check out your local library, bookstores, and friends’ bookshelves.

Here are some tips for reading to your child:

Birth to 1 year:

• In the early months, hold your baby close and read, talk and sing to her.

• By 3-6 months of age, your baby will start to enjoy looking at mirrors and pictures of faces, shapes, colors. She will begin to make sounds, reach out and touch the pictures. Choose books with interesting pictures and textures.

• By 6-12 months of age, your baby will sit in your lap, look at the pictures, touch the book, and put the book in her mouth. Use plastic and cardboard books, and point to and name the pictures for your baby.

1-2 years:

• From 12-18 months of age, your baby might enjoy choosing the book from the shelf, sitting and holding the book, and turning the pages. Follow your child’s interest in reading for as long as the book holds his attention. Ask “Where’s the doggie?” and let your child point to it. Ask “What does the doggie say?” and let your child respond.

• From 18-24 months of age, your child might begin to name familiar pictures and fill in words in familiar stories. She might even “read” to her dolls or stuffed animals and recite parts of stories. When you read, stop to ask your child, “What’s that?” and give your child time to answer.

2-3 years:

• Your child will be able to handle books with paper pages. She understands how the pictures go with the story, and may look for her favorite books and favorite pictures. Be prepared to read the same book over and over. Ask her questions about what’s happening in the book, and relate the story to her own experiences, “That truck looks just like the garbage truck that comes to our house!” Try dropping some words from the end of a rhyme and let her fill in the missing word.

3 years and up:

• Your child will be able to turn pages one at a time. He can listen to longer stories and retell familiar stories in his own words. He will also start to recognize letters and numbers. Ask him questions, “How many balls are there? Let’s count them!” “What’s happening now? What’s going to happen?” Look for books that teach children helpful lessons for making friends, going to school, etc. Encourage him to tell, draw and write his own stories.

via The YMCA of Austin: Summer is not over yet! Your flip flops may have seen better days, but you can still take steps to keep the fun going as we celebrate Family Fun Month in August. Now’s the time to squeeze in a few more family memories before the new school year starts. Here are a few ideas to get you going—and don’t worry: none of them require a drop of sunscreen!

  1. Make a blanket fort. This is a classic, and you can make the fort as big or small as you like. Start in the morning and designate the spot as the day’s reading nook. Pile on the pillows and turn it into a nap corner.
  2. Create a summer memories time capsule. Collect photos, write down stories and toss in a few souvenirs to preserve the good times for enjoyment later. Mason jars and shoe boxes make great capsule containers.
  3. Bake cookies together. Whip up a batch of sugar cookies and let each family member personalize their treats with icing and sprinkles. Even simple shapes like circles and squares can be decorated to become monograms or emojis.
  4. Mix your own soap bubbles. This recipe makes a great hard-to-pop batch: 1 cup water, 2 tablespoons dish soap and 1 tablespoon glycerin. Experiment with different bubble wands made from drinking straws, pipe cleaners or the top half of a water bottle.
  5. Hold a family game night. Enjoy the classics or try something new. Don’t forget to think outside the box and include games like charades, hide-and-seek and balloon volleyball.
  6. Set up a build-your-own meal. Each family member can have fun designing their own plates. Some ideas include funny-face pancakes with pieces of fruit and whipped cream, pizzas with veggie and pepperoni shapes and frozen yogurt sundaes with all the trimmings.
  7. Turn an everyday dinner into a fancy affair. Pull out the cloth napkins and candlesticks. Toast each other before you dine. Even pizza looks better by candlelight!
  8. Have a water fight. Once the sun goes down, take the gang outdoors for fun with super soakers and water balloons (or use sponges for a more environmentally-friendly option). Set up a slip-and-slide, if you’re feeling extra peppy.
  9. Go star-gazing. Try to find constellations. Take a drive outside the city for best viewing. The annual Perseid Meteor Shower peaks on August 12. Even with the moon three-quarters full, you can still expect to see about 40 to 50 meteors per hour at the peak.
  10. Keep the fun going. Give each family member strips of paper to write down things they like to do. Put the strips in a jar and as the year goes on, pull out a strip and make it happen!

via LIFECHO: We try to answer the question What is the Role of a Parent? by taking into analysis the biological, psychological, social and financial dimensions. The parents’ roles are of the maximum importance for personality development of the children. Basic traditional roles of being a parent are: nurture and educate children, discipline them, manage home and financially support family. Modern roles brought an active participation of fathers in children care. The main idea is that parents must be child centered and should aim to optimal growth and development of their children, to help them have satisfactory biological, social, psychological and emotional growth.

Take Care of the Biological Needs of Children
The first role of the parents is to take care of their child’s biological needs. Providing physical care to fulfill the needs of the child imply: proper food, fresh air, good lighting, enough sleep, recreation time, etc.

Provide an Optimal Environment
You have to provide a safe, nurturing and supportive environment that allows the children to grow healthy. For an optimal development, children need: adequate physical home environment; a tolerant and positive atmosphere; conditions for positive changes and improvements; opportunities to explore and experiment in his environment; consistent routine; etc.

Protect Your Children
Make sure their environment is safe. You have to protect your children, to warn them by telling what is safe to do and what isn’t, before they venture out on their own. Teach your child the difference between right and wrong, and that wrong may be harmful both for him and for others. Your goal is to protect your children from dangers to which they may be vulnerable and to keep them safe. Also children feel safe when there is continuity and consistency in daily routines, and especially when there is a loving atmosphere.

Teach and Educate Your Child
To raise your children properly, your duties aren’t limited to food, shelter and protection, but also require you to teach and educate them, to shape knowledge and character, to prepare your child to face the real world. So another parent’s role is to make possible learning of such actions as walking and talking, reading and writing (to facilitate learning of these activities, a parent must have patience and understanding). The main goal here is to provide the children with the best possible education. A parent has to be a fine observer (to have an overview of their children’s behaviors, moods and activities) and instructor for his children. If you want to be successful in this process of education, you have to be a model for your child. Especially be a gender model for the child and show him or her how to be a man or a woman. Teach your children about what is at the core of masculinity or femininity (see gender roles in the family).

Give your child various opportunities to finally become a healthy member of the community. To successfully integrate your child into your community, you should give him the knowledge of your community culture so that he will have the needed information and skills to grow up into a adapted adult. It is very important to guide your children toward social adaptation and integration. To help your kids develop appropriate coping skills and help them gain independence, explain and carry out tasks with your child. You also must be an advisor and a checker for homework. Take the time to explain. What is the role of a parent question doesn’t imply that there is just a single and essential role. There are many roles of being a parent and some of them are essential, while others are secondary.

Provide Guidance, Direction, Assistance and Help
Sit back and listen to your child, abstain from imposing your point of view and just offer appropriate direction and guidance. Another important role of parent is to provide guidance and assistance in the process of personal development and growth. The most effective way to help children is to advise them instead of commanding and to guide the progress of child development without doing his work (help them cope, but don’t solve yourself their problems). Give them a sense of direction and provide sufficient support to succeed and to feel that they are the source of the achievement.

Step back and facilitate children find out independence, allow and encourage them to be independent, help them handle and balance their needs for independence and dependence. Understand their need to be independent without loosing all your authority. When children show a certain level of responsibility and independence extend their privileges and freedoms, but hold them back when their behavior go wrong. At an early stage you make decisions for your children, but at teenage just assist them to decide (provide the wisdom to make themselves the final decision). Assist your child in the achievement of a task; help him only when necessary and only as far as needed. Familiarize your children with the diversity, pros and cons, and benefits of the most relevant ways to make a living, but let them to choose their own career. Ask various questions to get the child to discover exactly what it is he wants to do or be.

Support and Motivate the Child
If you want the child to be successful and to achieve his goals, encourage and motivate him. Positive motivation and encouragement is a must, love your kids both when they succeed and when they fail. Provide empathic encouragement as a reward for an achievement, but also to minimize the frustrations of failure. Teach the child to look at failure as a situation of learning and not as a tragic situation. Listen and be supportive, encourage instead of crushing child’s capacity to say no, at all costs. Motivate and persuade children to achieve more than they thought possible. Motivate the child and even gently push him to strive ever harder, if you want him to gain a strong will.

Don’t think that your children are sufficient to themselves and that they will grow up into strong young adults by themselves! Children should be personally motivated and trained to achieve their tasks. In short, you must be the personal coach of your kids: hearten the positive, temperate the negative, be active and influence your kid development. Praise your child, not only his behavior!

Take Care of the Social Emotional Skills
Another duty of you as a parent is to help your child to acquire emotional wellbeing. There are positive factors, such as: praise, encouragement, calm talk and response, affectionate attention, etc. that will help to build healthy emotions. Strive to eliminate negative factors such as will annihilation, sarcasm, neglect or bullying. Each child is unique, don’t compare your child with others (especially when you observe a weakness), rather help him deal with being different and even encourage him to be unique. Assist children in learning how to express their feelings and desires and help them develop healthy relationships. Socialize your child.

Monitor the emotional development of children and keep away main traumatic events that can negatively affect their emotional dimension. Assist child develop a positive self-perception, a strong sense safety and make sure they feel loved, if you want to raise an emotionally healthy young adult. Be calm and emotionally supportive. Teach child how to control and change their thoughts, emotions and behaviors.

Discipline Gently
Understand what the child is communicating directly or indirectly by his attitudes and behaviors. A major aspect of the parent’s role is to establish and maintain order in family by requesting a certain level of discipline. Always have a calm reaction, respond consistently, appropriately, and sensitively and gently give a corrective feedback to your child when his behavior is inappropriate. A calm and emphatic talk helps children become conscious of their mistakes. An upset reaction increases the tendency of child to defend him. You have to do what is best for your children, rather than overlook their ways of behaving in order to meet your need for silence. Practice a gentle but firm style of discipline.

Set boundaries and limits to control the children, impose ground rules and standards if you want to cultivate a good will. Build your authority, take charge and when limits are transgressed, issue ultimatums, enforce discipline and impose consequences. Don’t provide approval, praise or rewards when child’s behavior is inappropriate. Also parents’ duty is to warn their children to set aside games and TV until homework is finished. If you want to master the art of gentle discipline you have to acquire effective parenting techniques.

Finally, as a parent you have to be strong and do your best for your children even at your own cost (put your children position first). Be a giver rather than a receiver, give and go on giving, but at the same time demand (role of the child may be that of succeeding in school and of respecting the ground rules of family). You also have to continually learn, improve and optimize your parenting knowledge and skills. We tried to answer to What is the role of a parent? inquiry by describing the most important roles of being a parent and hope you will benefit our tips.

via newsner: Are you the kind of parent that’s always hugging your kids? If the answer is yes then don’t stop doing what you’re doing.

According to new reserach, physical affection during a baby’s development period is even more important than we thought.

The more you hug a baby, the more their brains grow, according to a recent survey from the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio.

125 babies, both premature and full-term, were included in the study, which looked at how well they reponded to being physically touched.

The results indicated that premature babies responded to affection less than babies who were not born premature. What was also revealed however, was that babies that were subjected to more affection by parents or hospital staff showed stronger brain response.

According to researcher Dr. Nathalie Maitre, this last revelation tells us that something as simple as body contact or rocking your baby in your arms will make a big difference in how their brains develop.

“Making sure that preterm babies receive positive, supportive touch such as skin-to-skin care by parents is essential to help their brains respond to gentle touch in ways similar to those of babies who experienced an entire pregnancy inside their mother’s womb,” Maitre tells Science Daily.

Basically, affection is vital for the development of the brain. So, cuddle and hug your babies as much as you can – and don’t forget to share this research to show everyone out there how important it is to be loving to our children!