Tips for developing relationships with the other moms on the first day of school. Especially helpful for introverted moms like me.
If you read my post earlier this week, you know we had a great experience at the Pez Factory Easter Egg Hunt this past weekend. In case you missed it, you can read that post here. You can also read news coverage of the event here. However, you would also be aware that there was utter chaos and unfortunate behavior at the event as well. Mostly on the part of the parents. Thus, I've decided to compile a list of tips to ensure that you can enjoy your events with kids and make the most of your experience.
1.Read the Instructions in Advance: Before you attend an event, you should know what you are getting into. What is the setup? Is there a cost? What should you bring? In the case of the egg hunt, the directions specifically stated that there were separate start times for each age group. We also knew that the egg hunt was free but pictures with the Easter bunny required paying the admission fee to enter the visitor's center.
2. Pay Attention to the signs and Staff at the Event: As the parent, you should be paying attention to all the signs and staff members at the event. This can be hard when you are also corralling your kids. If possible have a second adult with you so that one can get all the information while the other keeps an eye on the kids. At the egg hunt, there were signs specifying which area was for each age group. Also, the staff members came around to everyone and explained that the turn out was far greater than expected and therefore, if anyone did not get an egg, staff would be giving out candy in front of the visitor's center. Therefore, there was no reason for parents to take eggs from the other areas of the field. There was also no need to push and shove to get an egg.
3. Determine the Cost of the Event and Base Your Expectations on That: Now I am not saying that free events are crappy and all good events are paid for. What I am saying is if the event is free and you get anything to take home, you are already winning. There is no need to be greedy or pushy. As far as the Pez event, the egg hunt was free. If you didn't get an egg from the hunt, you would still be walking away with free candy. Especially in the 0-4 age group, I highly doubt that it was the kids pushing to have enough eggs to fill a big basket. If you want your kid to have the experience of finding a ton of eggs and filling their basket, then you should host a hunt for them yourself. This was a community event to get to be around other kids and get a few pieces of free candy. If on the other hand you had paid for an Easter bunny buffet meal and there wasn't enough food, you might then have something to complain about. Look at what you paid and look at what you are getting and determine if it is worth it. If not, don't attend the event.
4. Assume that There Will be a Lot of People: Parents are always looking for fun activities for their kids. Especially on weekends, especially around holidays. They want their kids to get the full experience of the holiday. You should go to these events knowing that will be the case. Plan to have to wait on line. Possibly bring snacks or activities to do while waiting. If it's an outdoor event, dress for the occasion. It is your job as a parent to help your kid enjoy the experience. You shouldn't be complaining about the line or the cold. You should be prepared.
5. Remember that it is for the Kids: Remember that the event is for the kids. If they are perfectly content with their one green egg, you don't have to go around picking up more eggs yourself so that they can fill their basket. If the event is not a competition, don't make it one. My son had his eyes set on one green egg and when he got it he stopped looking. I asked him if he would let me hold it so he could get more and he decided to let that happen. However, if he had said no and just wanted that one egg, then that's what he would have gotten. A kids event is no time for parents to act on their desires. If you want to go on an egg hunt, ask someone to set it up for you. Otherwise, the important thing is that your kid is happy and satisfied.
My comments on these 5 tips obviously revolve around our recent experience at the egg hunt. However, they can also be applied to a kids event/party. Know what you are getting into and know the rules. If its not for you, then just don't go. Always keep in mind that the end goal is that your kids have fun, and not at the expense of other kids.
Hope you enjoy your next event!!
At first, when you learn that you are pregnant with #2, you think: "I've done this before" and "I know what to do" and "I won't need to buy hardly anything". But, depending on how long it's been between babies, there are things you forget, things you can't reuse, and things that the first child is still using. For example, for T, we got a convertible crib which is now in it's toddler bed form. While we won't need a new crib for #2 (the toddler bed will be converted back) we will need a new bed for T. While were on the topic, he will also need a new dresser for all his big brother sized clothes.
Other things that may or may not be reusable are clothes. Some are too stained and damaged to save, others may be gender specific. So how do you check what you really need?
My method is to pretend like this is a first baby and download an app or printout a baby registry list. You can find registry 101 lists here: http://www.thebump.com/a/registry-101. Then check off the things you know for sure you don't need to re-buy for example an infant carrier, and infant car seat, high chair, bouncer, etc., i.e. anything that is reusable and not gender specific. For items you will be passing down, adjust the listing to your needs. So I will cross off crib and write toddler bed and next to dresser, I will write "for T". These are things we will still need to buy before #2 comes around.
Some of our clothes and towels and accessories are gender neutral. So they can for sure be reused. If you find out the gender of baby #2 in advance this can help you finish off your shopping list. If your second person is the same gender as your first, there may be very little to buy in regards to clothes. If not, you can sort through what you have saved from number one and then update your registry list to reflect what you already have.
No matter what the gender, we definitely plan to have a new theme for baby #2's nursery, so bedding and changing table covers will be replaced either way. We will also be replacing our baby monitor which T broke one day by spiking the monitor across the living room...
My favorite site to register on is Amazon's Baby Registry. They just have everything. We plan on registering for a few things for T too! We want him to feel like a part of the celebration and not be left out. We will also be registering for some items at a brick and mortar store as we know some people prefer that. (I can say that I'm not one of them, but we like to accommodate.)
As a busy mom who works full time, sometimes its hard to motivate yourself to cook a full meal or even cook in the first place after a full day of work. We need go to ways to make dinner fast and easy. Sometimes dads are able to pitch in. Sadly, in my house that is not the case. My husbands culinary skills are not the most robust. He can boil water and make a mean grilled cheese though...
OK. So based on the title of this blog, clearly we're busy. We're parents and workers and family members and we have our own interests to pursue. We have bills to pay, houses to clean, food to make, and a laundry list of other things that we need to do in order to keep of family organized and running smoothly. All these things however, cut into the most important time we have, family time.
As I see it, we have 2 options here: do some of these things as a family, or let some of them slide. Only some. Admittedly, there are certain things that we can't let slide and aren't appropriate family time activities. Like paying bills. I have yet to find a useful way to include my toddler in that and it is definitely not something we can let slide. But a lot of our other tasks can be made into family activities.
Laundry, for example. In our house the break down is my husband loads the washer and dryer and T and do the folding and putting away. I always let T help me. Sometimes its actually helpful and sometimes its not, but we have fun either way. When I fold my husband's and T's t-shirts, T's job is to identify the characters on the shirts. Sometimes he wears special laundry time attire for this job, i.e. one of my husbands shirts. Another T job is to sort out all the socks so that we can match them and roll them up. He thinks its a game. He gets to work on his matching skills and we get to have fun together, AND the laundry gets done! Win-Win-Win!!
Another family time activity can be putting toys away. T and I play different games depending on what we have to clean up. Sometimes we have races to see who can clean up the fastest. Sometimes we put all the toys of a certain color away first and then move on to a new color. Sometimes we let some toys help us put away other toys. For example, recently Sulley assisted us in putting away our puzzles when were done playing with them.
A few other family chores include setting the table and dusting. T is excellent at bringing dishes and utensils from the kitchen to the dining room table. He also loves to dust. If he sees you with a dusting cloth, we demands a wipe so he can clean as well. We like to have dusting races and see who can clean their half of the table first. We also test each other to see if we can remember how to put things back the way they were. As long as its a game, it doesn't feel like doing chores!
Some things that slide: sweeping under furniture, sometimes the dishes, a full cleaning of the bathroom, definitely cleaning above windows and light fixtures. The thing is, I am OK with that. My house doesn't need to look like a museum, we live there and it should look like it. I would rather sit on the floor and play Legos than make sure my sink is constantly empty. Being busy means you have to prioritize, and for me, my priority is having fun with my toddler before he's not a toddler anymore.