25 Top Tips For Travelling With Children!

Wednesday 5th April 2017

With the holiday season fast approaching, we here at tiddlers & nippers thought it would be good timing to share some of our thoughts and tips on travelling with children!

Travelling with children isn’t easy, well let’s face it travelling in general can be challenging! So with little ones in tow, we here at t&n believe it pays to think ahead and to be organised to help the journey go as smoothly as possible so that you don’t arrive feeling stressed at the start of your holiday.

1.      If possible, choose flight times for when your little is due to nap so that (hopefully!) they drop off on board (this doesn’t always work for instance if there is a delay! But can work really well).

2.      Explain the journey in advance to get them excited about it / prepared for it.

3.      Consider buying bulky items like nappies once you arrive to save packing space.

4.      Have two bags for food, one for the wet stuff (drinks, yoghurts etc.) and one for the dry stuff, just in case a leak occurs! This way you can also use one for rubbish and one for containers you want to keep. Oh and remember plenty of wipes!

5.      Choose healthy but tasty snacks that are minimal mess (e.g. boxed raisins), and if you have two children make sure you have two packs of each item you have chosen to avoid fights!

6.      Get to the airport in plenty of time! Don’t underestimate how long it takes to unpack and re-pack bags through customs etc.

7.      If your little one isn’t walking yet, a sling / baby carrier can be really useful for the walk to and from the plane etc. even if you are taking your buggy. You also might want to consider a lightweight fold-flat stroller type push chair for your holiday rather than taking your normal everyday one to save wear and tear (this is where eBay / FB selling groups can be very handy!).

8.      A rucksack rather than a pull-along cabin bag is easier so that you can carry baby and the bag more easily.

9.      If your child has a dummy, this can be useful for them to suck on as the plane takes off / lands to help equalise their ears. Sweets for older kids can also do the same trick.

10.   Get a few new toys / books that they haven’t seen before so they are interested. They don’t have to be expensive ones, just new to peak their interest!

11.   Stickers are great for keeping kids entertained for a while! Get their favourite character sticker book for a few minutes of entertainment! 😊

12.   Travel with boiled water in the little one’s beakers as they will normally allow that through customs as opposed to tap water.

13.   Download some TV programmes onto your tech, even if you don’t usually allow it, it can be a useful last resort distraction, as can children’s apps.

14.   If you use bottles, travel steriliser bags and tablets can be useful instead of having to look for kettles / microwaves to sterilise when you get there.

15.   Always take more nappies for the journey than you think you will need….. 😊 Oh and a change of clothes for them!

16.   Take a small pillow, it will help them to snooze more comfortable and help your arm be more comfortable if they fall asleep on your lap.

17.   Get creative! Bring pencils and crayons (ones that won’t mark the seats!) and draw imaginary pictures of your destination and the things you will see.

18.   Walking around the plane is ok (if the seatbelt sign is off! 😊). This is a great distraction technique and can tire your little one out if they are walking themselves. Plus often people on the plane want to say hello, again a great distraction!

19.   Download a baby monitor app onto your phone so you don’t have to take a bulky monitor from home.

20.   Take a travel blackout blind, the ones that stick to the windows are best as they work on most size / shape windows to help keep any early waking at bay, especially if you are all in the same room.

21.   Have a separate washbag for the children to save having to rummage around in yours when you arrive and inevitably need something for them (nappy cream etc.). It also makes older kids feel ‘grown up’ to have their own.

22.   Spray on suntan lotions are much easier to apply and rub in! We like the ‘once a day’ ones.

23.   UV protective shades you can attach to prams can be really useful if you want your little one to nap whilst you are out and about.

24.   If you normally have a routine at home, consider breaking it for the duration of your holiday so that you can be more flexible to fit things in (for instance later bedtimes to enjoy family meals together, less healthy food etc. ). Also if you are travelling within Europe, consider keeping to UK times so that you can have later wake ups / bedtimes yet still stick to normal routine.

25.   And lastly, try not to stress! Most people are very understanding when it comes to children travelling. Most people either have children themselves or know a friend / family member with them. And if they aren’t understanding, don’t worry, once you are out of the airport you will probably never see them again anyway 😊

Happy holidays everyone, from us here at t&n!

 

"What's My Age Again?..." Is There Such A Thing As An Ideal Age Gap Between Siblings?

Afternoon All! Here’s our fourth entry into the great wide blog-osphere – This one looks at the oft debated question, ‘is there an ideal age gaps between siblings?'

Well the truth is, there’s no perfect gap, is there… if you’re blessed with more than one child, you will always find a way of making whatever age gap work (and do you know what, children of all ages have 1 major thing in common… they all like to play!). However below are some musings from us on some of the benefits associated with larger and smaller age gaps, we hope you enjoy the read!

 

The benefits of close age gaps:

  • A broadly held view on siblings with a close age gap is that it’s really helpful longer-term, as your children will be interested in similar things at similar times – toys, clubs, activities, entertainment, etc. (making it easier for parents logistically!).
  • A close age gap may well equate to a very busy few years, but at least you get the ‘baby stage’ out of the way in one go, instead of having to revert back to nappies, bottles and sleepless nights at a point in life where those things are probably a distant, fuddled memory.
  • All the baby info and ‘know-how’ will still be fresh in your mind… Like how to sterilise, knowledge of feeding patterns, and using all that baby gadgetry you haven't quite forgotten about, etc. You will also likely still remember where all of the baby classes / activities in your local area are and what days in the week they take place.
  • The arrival of a new baby where the elder is a toddler may help your toddler to become more independent more quickly, as they begin to identify as a big boy or big girl (and not a baby… someone else has now taken that role)!
  • We’ve heard it said that a closer age gaps might mean your children become really bonded and form a very close relationship in the long term, as they will spend their formative years going through similar experiences at similar times.
  • It may reduce the risk of jealousy where there is a new arrival, because your eldest is still young enough not to fully grasp the concept of what the new addition to the family represents and so is a lot more accepting.
  • It might also be cheaper as they will both be interested in the same toys, games, etc. And for the fashion-conscious baby/toddler, all those hand-me-downs are still going to be relevant!
  • It can also be more logistically straightforward from a childcare perspective, as they’re likely to be doing the same thing at the same time, e.g. both in nursery, meaning only 1 drop off / pick up.
  • A closer gap may also be a help from a career perspective. If you are returning to work and have now passed the ‘baby stage’, you may feel like you can focus on your career forward more quickly.

 

The benefits of larger age gaps:

  • There is a school of thought that says… a larger age gap is better because your elder child is more independent and so more able to do things for themselves, making it easier for you to focus on your baby’s needs (for example there could potentially be less danger of being regularly elbow deep in double nappy trouble!).
  • The older your first child, then the assumption is that they are more settled in their day-to-day, they sleep better, they can easily let you know what they want and are generally more contented (i.e. a little bit easier than a new born!). So in turn, you as parents may also be well rested (having caught up on all that lost sleep first time round) and generally better prepared for a new arrival.
  • An older child may be better able to grasp the concept of a new sibling and therefore be more accepting more quickly, reducing the risk of sibling rivalry.
  • If your eldest is already at school when the new arrival comes, it also means you may have the chance to spend more quality bonding time with your new baby (as you did with your first).
  • With an elder child, it can be easier for them to get involved and help-out with the new arrival… running upstairs for a nappy or helping to tidy up. This can help them to feel special, create acceptance and so could help build a very special bond between siblings.
  • Larger age gaps may mean they are interested in different toys at different times, which might mean less arguments!
  • Lastly, from a cost perspective, it can end up being cheaper as you don’t have to ‘double up’ on all those expensive items such as baby car seats, cots, etc. You can just hand them down from eldest to youngest. Also nursery / childminders can be expensive, so having an older one at school could help with this. And where both children are still with a nursery / childminder at the same time, you often see preferential day rates being offered!

 

Have you recently had a new addition to the family? If so, the tiddler tracker might be very useful! It’s a handy, user-friendly baby journal for tracking feeds, sleeps and changes. It allows you to record 24 hour totals so that you can track daily progress and (hopefully!) see a routine emerge over time. Even if you aren’t following / establishing a routine, the tiddler tracker can be a handy way of helping you to remember the last feed / sleep time, or just track your little one’s development for posterity, as well as being a useful record to share with heath care providers during check-ups / appointments.

 

We hope you liked our blog! Do you have any ideas for another blog topic you would like to see? Let us know by emailing your suggestion to…  hello@tiddlersandnippers.com

t&n

 

"Hello, Pleased To Meet You!..." Introducing New Baby To An Elder Child

Wednesday 2nd February 2017

hello and welcome to our third blog! This one’s explores the theme of introducing a new baby to their sibling. We hope you enjoy the read!

We here at tidders & nippers have some first-hand experience of the anticipation and challenges of bringing a new baby home to an unsuspecting toddler! And we also know how stressful it can be for parents. Us parents – still firmly gripped by that that sleep deprived, adrenaline driven new-born joy overload – maybe don’t always have the head space to think about new baby integration and making things as easy as possible for that (big) little person waiting patiently at home!

As new parents, we’re super excited about the new arrival, but also really worried about whether our eldest child is going to love baby as much as we do, and not feel threatened or jealous. We are by no means experts on this topic, but thought we’d share our experiences and the advice that we’ve accumulated! Hopefully you find our musings helpful as you go through this exciting transition with your family. We hit a few humps in the road, our eldest was still very young when we brought bubba home, but it was all worth it to see how close our little one’s are now and to watch them play together like best of friends... most of the time anyway!  

 

In Advance:

  • Buy / borrow a children’s story book about having a new brother / sister. There are lots of good ones on the market and reading through it with your eldest can help them to acclimatise to the exciting idea of a new brother or sister. Generating excitement and interest could help your toddler become more quickly accepting of the new addition.
  • Buy / borrow a doll which you can use to pretend to feed / change nappies etc., so your eldest can get used to the idea of not all the attention being on them. You can also ask your eldest to help you with caring for the doll, praising them when they do so that they get used to the idea that helping with a baby can be fun!
  • Regularly introduce your eldest to the changes you’ve made in the home ahead of baby’s arrival. Whether it’s a newly kitted out nursery, arrival of a moses basket or cot, or the re-emergence of general new-born paraphernalia (bottles, baby grows, etc.).  This can help your eldest become acclimatised to the idea of change and again generates interest & excitement.

 

Bringing Baby Home:

  • If you have had your baby at hospital / not at home, when you bring your new baby home, if possible have family / friends bring your eldest in once you are settled. That way you can greet them excitedly and then bring them in to meet the new baby, rather than the new baby being brought into where your eldest is and taking all the attention away from them. Make sure to give your eldest lots of attention (even though friends and family may be focused on the new baby)
  • Perhaps ask a grandparent (friend / auntie / uncle – delete as appropriate!) to make sure your eldest has all their attention during the introduction. This will help them feel as though they are still a very important little person!
  • Think about giving your eldest a present from the new baby to help them feel special and to bond from the get go.

 

Afterwards:

  • When baby is sleeping, try to spend quality time with your eldest doing something they enjoy.
  • When feeding your baby, maybe try reading a book to your eldest.
  • Praise and encourage your eldest to ‘help’ you with baby, getting nappies for you etc.
  • Taking time to listen to whatever your eldest might have to say about how they’re feeling can really help, knowing that with time the relationship will settle in.
  • Using a sling can be a great way of keeping baby close but also having your hands free to play / look after your eldest.
  • Playgroups / classes can be a great way for your eldest to feel like you are doing something fun for them, and can be interesting stimulation for your baby (although it is hard to find ones that fit in with feed / nap times!).
  • If your eldest isn’t at school, perhaps consider using some form of childcare for them at specific (short-ish) points during the week, so you get some special alone time with your baby, the same as you did with your eldest!

 

Have you recently had a new addition to the family? If so, the tiddler tracker might be very useful! It’s a handy, user-friendly baby journal for tracking feeds, sleeps and changes. It allows you to record 24 hour totals so that you can track daily progress and (hopefully!) see a routine emerge over time. Even if you aren’t following / establishing a routine, the tiddler tracker can be a handy way of helping you to remember the last feed / sleep time, or just track your little one’s development for posterity, as well as being a useful record to share with heath care providers during check-ups / appointments.

We hope you enjoyed our blog! We will start working on our next one soon, stay tuned!

t&n

Thoughts On Returning To Work

Tuesday 10th January 2017

hello and welcome to our second blog! This one is all about exploring the theme of returning to work following parental leave. We hope you like it!

If you are thinking of going back to work (or have recently returned to work), although we recognise the experience is intensely personal and different for everyone, here are some tips from us here at tiddlers & nippers that we think could be useful in helping to make the transition a little easier….

  • Have confidence in yourself. Remember that you were amazing at what you did before, and you will be amazing again! The only thing that has fundamentally changed about you (apart from your new addition/s!) is that you have a whole host of new / freshly honed skills that you can now bring to the table that will be useful to your employer / workplace. For example:
  • Networking & Relationship Building – remember all of those NCT coffee’s, meet ups at parent / child groups etc.! All those interactions with new people, talking about new topics and building relationships and friendships!
  • Researching – can you recall those frequent late-night baby feeds spent searching the internet for solutions to sleeping / feeding problems, or looking for the best baby products to buy!
  • Learning New Information & Concepts – if, like us, you read a few (or lots!) of baby books, just think of all the new topics you now understand and can speak eloquently on! Not to mention the medical knowledge you may now have about pregnancy, childbirth and nursing!
  • Negotiation – nothing builds this skill better than negotiating with a toddler having a tantrum!
  • Multi-tasking – changing nappies whist simultaneously brushing your teeth and ordering your online shop? Sound familiar?! Arguably no-one is better at multi-tasking than a parent!  
  • Being Organised – even getting out of the house with little ones requires the organisational skills of a seasoned project manager! Remembering nappies, bibs, snacks, wipes, toys, changes of clothes…. etc etc!
  • Don’t be too tough on yourself, there isn’t a magic formula to making it work, and no-one we’ve met has ever felt they have got it 100% nailed. All too often we can feel guilty that we are not spending enough time either with our children or on our work. Just know that there really is no such thing as work/life balance, it is more important that we feel like we have the right sense of work/life blend and that there will be times when one or other parts of our lives need to take priority, we should feel empowered to make the decision as to when those priorities are and act accordingly.
  • Give yourself a break; the pace of working life again can feel daunting at first; just know that your first few months will be an adjustment period, just like when you join a new organisation or take on a new role, allow yourself those few months to get back up to speed. If you’re going back into the same organisation you worked for before, we bet you’ll find that some things may have changed, but lots of things will also have stayed the same.
  • Workplace flexibility:
  • If you need it, be open and honest with yourself about the type of flexibility you will need at the outset (although this can, and likely will, change over time as your children grow), initiate an open dialogue with your employer.
  • Once you have agreed on the flexibility you need with your employer, be open with your team and colleagues about it. This is important because firstly you have an opportunity to be a role model for others who want to take flexibility (not always for childcare reasons!), but secondly because you will feel less guilty if everyone knows your working patterns and can help you to be successful in them.
  • Have contingency plans in place. Think through what will happen if something goes wrong with your regular childcare, your car breaks down, trains are delayed or if you children are sick. This will help you to feel more at ease when you are at work and more able to focus.
  • If you do have to commute, if you can, maybe try to use the time for some ‘me’ time such as reading a book, blog or the news or even just relaxing with a coffee rather than working.
  • Get a buddy / mentor at work who is also a working parent. They can be a useful sounding board or support for you during good times and the also the tougher ones.
  • Try not to let others influence what you feel to be right for you. In our experience, lots of people around you will have an opinion about parents who work, some of those opinions are entirely valid and should be listened to, but try to focus on what feels right for you as a family. One of the most important things for children is happy parents, and if that is a parent who works, then that is right for your family. Feel confident in the decision you make and proud to share it with others, you may help them in their decision making, and again be a role model.
  • Lastly think about applying the 80/20 rule. Know that no-one is happy at work 100% of the time, if you can feel happy and fulfilled in your work for around 80% of the time, then know it is the right option for you and your family.

 

We hope you enjoyed the blog! We’ll start working on our next one soon, stay tuned!

t&n

 

P.S.

Recently returned (or deliberating a return) to work? Perhaps you are planning for your little one to go into childcare so they can broaden their interactions, or maybe you are looking for a little time to yourself to focus on other things…. Whatever the reason, the tiddler toddler tracker may be for you! It's a handy, well thought-out and user-friendly tracker, designed to ensure you feel connected to everything your little one has been up to while they are away from you!

Welcome To The Tiddler Blog

Monday 9th January 2017

Hello World! Its a Monday, its raining and you're probably suffering from a severe bout of back to work blues! Anyway, despite all of that, we really appreciate you taking the time to have a read...

At tiddlers & nippers we're not just focused on baby / toddler products, but also on anything that makes life easier (even just a tiny bit) for parents with young children, whether its advice, tips, recommendations, or anything in between. Having 2 children under the age of 3, I'm all too familiar with the challenges that mums and dads across the country face on a daily basis. In fact, I'm SO familiar I now choose to break things down into basic statistics... Here's what it took to get out of the door this morning... 3 nappy changes, 1 bottle of milk, 2 changes of clothes (fashion conscious toddler), 1 refused meal, 1 story, 3 tantrums, 2 teeth brushing sessions, 1 day bag packed, 1 day bag repacked (no sleeping bag)...

Anyway, I make the point because we intend to use this blog page to share not just anecdotes and experiences, but also real life guidance, support and suggestions on how to navigate the constant juggling act that is parenting in the 21st century.

Please look out for our first post on making an effective and impactful return to work following parental leave.

Bye for now... t&n