You stay dry and baby is comfy and dry too
Gaby Logan, TV sports presenter

Nothing and nobody can really prepare you for the realities of caring for a newborn baby, and this is never more so than when it comes to bath time! Our hands free towel was invented after watching two very loving and very dedicated dads struggle with the practicalities of it all. Where to put the towels? How to hold baby without dropping said towel? How to stop the inevitable shrieks as cold air hits baby’s skin on the transfer from tub to towel… and yet those dads were determined not to give in. They knew, as we do, that bath time was one of the best opportunities for them to bond with their babies, and they weren’t going to pass it up for anything. This weekend we’re celebrating Father’s Day and in honour of that we’ve put together some really simple tips for bonding time with dad. And don’t miss our special discount on the hands free towel at the end!

Bonding Time with Dad_Cuddledry.com

Why is bonding with dad so important?

Many studies have taken place to find out exactly why bonding with dad is so important, and experts now agree that many there are many benefits to establishing a strong relationship between father and child. The studies found that babies whose fathers regularly played with them had significant physical and emotional development boosts;  fathers themselves experience less stress and more confidence, and some studies have found that this relaxed approach continues into later life too. Men who experienced a good relationship with their father are reportedly more able to deal with stress, and children who enjoy a strong relationship with dad show signs of performing better at school- being more able to form relationships with peers, and are more likely to possess good social skills as they grow up.

Top tips for bonding time with dad

Throughout pregnancy it can be difficult for dad to bond with baby because he isn’t experiencing it first hand. That doesn’t mean bonding can’t start from the very beginning though! Here are
our top five tips for dads who want to bond:

  • Talk to the bump! Lots of dads report that they spent time during the pregnancy talking to their partner’s bump, reading stories and even singing. If this isn’t for you, then try simply holding a hand on the bump (with permission, of course!) to feel the kicks and rolls as baby gets bigger and stronger. This can be an amazing way to start those special connections before baby arrives.
  • Skin to skin. Spending quality time with your baby after birth is an excellent way to bond, and skin to skin has so many benefits for both parent and child. It may be mum isn’t able to have skin to skin contact straight away, but that doesn’t mean that dad can’t. Studies have found that baby’s temperature and heart rates regulates a lot faster when they experience skin to skin with a parent, and dads who have done it are under no illusion that it’s one of the best feelings in the world. And as baby gets older, skin to skin cuddles can become a regular part of your routine, providing warmth, comfort and peace to you both.
  • Enjoy bath time. It doesn’t have to be stressful! If your baby is breastfed or mum is in charge of most of the feeds, it can be easy for dads to feel a little on the sidelines when it comes to caring for baby, especially in the early days. But bath time is one time that dad can play a really active role in, and a part of the day that so many families look forward to. Make sure that youBonding Time with Dad_Cuddledry.com have everything you need for a calm and peaceful bath time (read this post for more tips) and don’t forget your hands free towel! Take the stress away and enjoy this precious time at the end of a busy day- what could be more perfect?
  • Play! Babies and children learn through play and it’s so important for them to experience that with dad too. It can be hard when the stresses of real life get in the way, and the office hours feel too long, but try to set aside some time each day to play with your baby so that you can develop your bond even though you’re apart for most of the day. And make the most of the weekend too! A dad’s style of play can be vastly different to mum’s and that’s what makes it so fantastic and such a great way to instil confidence and comfort in your relationship.
  • Read stories. Studies have found that babies and children who are read to are more able to develop good communication and language skills, and this is something that dad can definitely get on board with. Apparently dads ask more challenging questions when they read to their children, prompting more imaginative discussions and enriching the experience as a whole. Whether this is true or not is yet to be confirmed, but there can be no denying that reading the bedtime story is a fun and special way for dad to end the day.

This Father’s Day, we’re offering 20% off our hands free towel especially for dads. Enter code EBDAD20 at the checkout before midnight 16th June to save up to £7 on a stress free bath time for dad. Pass it on!

 

 

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As most parents will know, wrestling with a slippery child is never much fun. But if there’s one thing we like here at Cuddledry HQ, it’s a challenge- and after all, our hands free towel was invented to deal with slippery babies at bath time, so never let it be said that toddlers and sun screen are a recipe for disaster! Yes, trying to keep little people safe in the summer time can be tricky, but it’s one of those things we have to just grit our teeth and get on with. So with that in mind, here are our top tips on sun safety for toddlers. Let us know if they help!

Sun Safety for Toddlers_Cuddledry.com

Sun screen every day

Experts agree that children should wear sun screen every day from April to October, and that includes on over cast days too. Sun screen isn’t suitable for babies under the age of six months, so keep this in mind, and always read the labels to check the ingredients are as kind as possible for delicate skin.

And now moving on to applying the sun screen… it’s not easy, and you’ll need to apply it at least 30 minutes before you leave the house. Lucy, at Mrs H’s Favourite Things, says she always applies sun screen before the kids get dressed in the morning and she adds sun hats and sunglasses for extra protection too.

Pour some sun screen into the palm of your hand, rub your hands together and work quickly. Using long strokes, apply the sun screen to the arms, legs, torso, back and neck. Leave the face for last (that’s usually the most fun part!) and don’t forget tops of feet, tops of ears and hands too.

Talk to your toddler while you apply the sun screen, tell them why you’re doing it and let them help to rub it in too. Then apply sun screen to your own skin (so many parents forget the importance of their own sun protection!) and let your toddler help too if they want to. And don’t forget to ‘re-apply, re-apply, re-apply!’-thanks Laura (Life with Babykicks)!

Which sun screen to go for?

Laura blogs at Mummy Lala and she says she always goes for the highest SPF she can find. Experts agree that SPF50+ is probably the best choice for children, and its good to know that this will provide protection against up to 98% of the sun’s harmful rays. Again, check the labels to make sure there are no nasty ingredients that could irritate delicate or sensitive skin.

Shade, shade shade!

Avoid the sun when it’s at it’s hottest (between 11am and 3pm), and when you are outside, find as much shade as you can. Julie at Pondering Parenthood recommends creating your own shade with little pop up tents to keep cool, and Petra at A Mum Reviews also says that UV tents can be a great place for younger babies and toddlers to play while you’re outside or at the beach. If you’re out and about with the stroller, take a SnoozeShade with you to keep your toddler shaded.

Dress wiselySun Safety for Toddlers_Cuddledry.com

So you’ve applied the sun screen, your toddler has their hat and sunglasses ready and the UV tent is ready in the garden… time to get dressed!

If you can, go for lightweight organic cotton layers. Cotton helps the skin to breathe in hot weather, and dressing in layers allows you to peel some away when your toddler gets hot. Also, if you can, go for longer sleeves and trousers so that your toddler’s skin isn’t too exposed to the sun.

Kate at Family Fever recommends investing in a rash vest or long sleeved swim suit for added sun protection, and don’t forget our SPF50+ toddler poncho will help to protect delicate skin after swimming too.

Stay hydrated

When the weather is warmer, it’s so important to stay as hydrated as possible, and especially so for toddlers who tend to spend much of their time through the day running around and exerting energy. Toddlers tend to drink only when they’re thirsty, so you will need to remind them and offer water as much as you can though the day.

Kate at LesBeMums says staying hydrated is always her number one priority, and Mo at A Novice Mum says that home-made breastmilk lollies are her go to treat for hydration through the summer months. Another tip for helping toddlers to say hydrated- Hannah at Hi Baby Blog says that she makes ice lollies with fruit purees and fruit juice, and we love this idea because surely it’s a valid excuse to have an ice cream ourselves?

What are your top tips for toddler sun safety?

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Bedtime Tips for Happy Parents_Cuddledry.comBecoming a parent is a huge thing, so welcome to the club! The journey is going to be bumpy at times, and the nights will almost certainly be long… but it’s worth every bit of pain, fear and exhaustion. Honestly! One of the hardest things to come to terms with when you become a parent for the first time is the lack of sleep. Yes, it’s true what they say- babies really do cause sleepless nights, and not always because they’re waking in the night. So much changes when our babies are born; all of a sudden we have a whole brand new person to take care of, and that can be scary!

Here at Cuddledry HQ we want to bring you honest tips and advice that will hopefully ease those fears and help you along the way. This time, we’re looking at bedtime tips for happy parents- because if we get them to bed peacefully and calmly, the chances of them staying there all night are higher, right? Fingers crossed…

Have a good bedtime routine

This is a tip that almost every parent will tell you works for them. A good bedtime routine is essential for establishing a sense of calm and for helping babies to understand the order of events leading up to bedtime. Lovely blogger Kate, who writes at Family Fever, told us that a good bedtime routine has always been a vital requirement for her four children. She told us, “Try and keep to the same sort of routine every night so your little one knows what to expect,” which echoes the theory that once a solid bedtime routine is established, your baby will start to expect bedtime and the body will begin to tire in preparation for sleep.

Sharon, who blogs at Teen Tween Toddler, adds that your routine “doesn’t have to be identical everyday (as not everyone gives baths daily) but as routine as possible,” and Mo, who blogs at Adventures of a Novice Mum, believes that allowing your baby to lead the way is key to finding the routine that works for you. She told us it’s important to “study your baby/ toddler to find their natural rhythm, then build a bedtime routine around it; taking every opportunity to reinforce it. What works for one child might not work for another. Be flexible and keep your humour near.”Bedtime Tips for Happy Parents_Cuddledry.com

Great advice. Find a bedtime routine that works for you, and don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. Your baby is an individual and you know them best, after all.

Don’t stress about sleep!

Yes, bedtime is all about sleep, but really don’t stress about it. You want to keep your bedtime routine as calm as possible, and if you’re uptight about the night ahead your baby is going to pick up on it sooner or later. Kirsty blogs at Life With Boys and she told us her one piece of advice for new parents would be: “Don’t stress if your baby doesn’t sleep straight away – it is not a given that just because they wake up every hour now, they will do so forever. Embrace the extra cuddles and stock up on coffee.”

Easier said than done? Yes, sometimes. But the baby days are so short (despite how it feels now!) and one day you will look back at these days with fondness- we promise! Kaye at Hello Archie agrees, and advises new to parents should “try not to stress (though it can be hard). The calmer I am, the calmer they tend to be (eventually!)”.

If you find it hard to relax when it comes to bedtime and the sleep that you hope will follow, try these tips:

  • Enlist the help of a partner or friend to help out and lighten the load
  • Take a break! If the bedtime routine is stressing you out, ask your partner to take over
  • Make time for you. We all need ‘me time’ and maybe yours is long overdue?

Forget about everybody else’s babies

Your baby is a unique individual and that’s what makes them so fantastic. We are all different and we all have different wants, needs and quirks. Please don’t worry about what everybody else’s baby is doing! If your baby wakes in the night, that is probably normal. If your baby needs you to rock her while she falls asleep, again that is probably very, very normal. When it comes to the issue of sleep, Rachel at The Little Pip says, “If it works for you it doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing.” and this is echoed by Victoria at Mummy to my Little Cheeky Monkey, who says that she swears by ‘calm down time’ so that you can “find out what works for you and your child.” Excellent advice, if you want to keep your head at bedtime.

Bedtime Tips for Happy Parents_Cuddledry.comMix it up

A good bedtime routine makes a solid foundation for babies when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep. What your routine looks like depends on you, and because of this we can’t possibly tell you what you should do each night. We can tell you that most families opt for a period of wind down time with dimmed lights and muted sounds, followed by a warm and relaxing bath, perhaps a story, a feed and then bed. But feel free to mix up the order, and remember that for some babies and toddlers, a nightly bath might not be the best idea!

Amy at The Smallest of Things told us that “Bath time hypes my youngest up (luckily enough to wear her out) but that may not be the case for everyone. So find something that works for you as a family,”. If this is the case for you- and remember that as babies get older, the temptation of splashing in the bath becomes greater- maybe you could try an afternoon/ morning bath instead?

Sleep will come eventually

Sometimes it can feel as though the bedtime routine is going on forever, with no signs of actual sleep at all. But don’t fear. As Laura at Life With Babykicks told us, ” Eventually every baby will get there, some take longer than others but they get there. You are not doing anything wrong if your baby doesn’t sleep when they are older. Keep your chin up!” and Alyssa at Mum to a Monster agrees: “They will do it when they are ready. Try not to let it rule your life. ….. *cough* my just over 4 year old has done 5 nights sleeping in a row now !!!! Never happen before !! We are all in shock.”

Enjoy the precious baby days as much as you can, and let the sleep come when it’s ready.

What are your top bedtime tips?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Most toddlers absolutely love the bath. They can’t get enough of the fun splashing games and special toys reserved for bath time. Bath time can be a really important part of the bedtime routine as it acts as a sleep cue and it’s a great bonding experience. However, lots of tots really struggle with hair washing, and some can find it very upsetting. It’s a phase that will pass but it can be really difficult to deal with when you’re in the trenches. We’ve put together this short post with ten quick tips to help your toddler relax and tolerate having their hair washed. Let us know if they help!

Ten Quick Toddler Tips for a Happy Hair Wash_ Cuddledry.com

1 Use a mild shampoo that won’t irritate their eyes.

2 Consider a detangling spray if their hair is long or curly.

3 Role play the hair washing experience and let them join in by washing a favourite bath toy.

4 Experiment with timings – some toddlers may cope better if you get it out of the way first, others may need to relax and play first.

5 Talk them through the process before and during, so they know what to expect.

6 Encourage them to look up whilst rinsing by holding a toy in the air or even putting tome glow in the dark stars on the roof.

7 Experiment with different method for rinsing their hair. Try a cup, small watering can, show attachment or jug.

8 Keep a dry towel or flannel nearby to dry their face, early and eyes after rinsing.

9 Stay calm – if you’re anxious or cross your toddler will pick up on that and the process will be more difficult for you both.

10 Be ready to keep the fun going afterwards with a warm snuggly towel on standby and a few silly games to play whilst you dry their hair and coax your tot into their pyjamas.

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Thanks to Swim and Leisure Supplies for this week’s guest post.

tips to Reduce Fear of Water For Children_Cuddledry.comLearning to swim can be a daunting task for anyone, and especially for young children. The main factor in learning to swim is overcoming the fear of the water- once the confidence has kicked in the swimming skills come naturally. Here at Swim and Leisure Supplies, we have come up with some tips to help children overcome their fear of water.

Baby Steps

Just like when we taught our children to walk, we did it in small stages at a time. The same applies to getting the children confident in the water. Start off by encouraging your child to sit on the edge of the pool or even the bath with their feet in the water. The bath maybe a good place to start with this step if you are really struggling as a big public swimming pool along with the smell of chlorine and the splashing around maybe too much for your child take in. Once they are confident with their feet in the water, encourage them to go in the pool a little further whilst constantly giving positive encouragement.

Fun in the Water

This tip again is one which you can try out at home, use bath toys to help your child take their mind of actually being in the water.tips to Reduce Fear of Water For Children_Cuddledry.com Items such as bubbles and water squirters can take the fear away or even purchase a paddling pool in the warmers months and adding their toys there all help to assuring your child that there is nothing to be scared of. If you then decide to make the jump to a public swimming pool, it is best to check the timetable of the leisure centre and participate with your child in a general swim as normally this will include floatees and a range of swimming training aids such as kickboards and inner tubes which can be used.

Top tip – Purchase a unique swim poncho for your toddler or if you are on a family holiday and would like to protect your child from the sun once they get out of the water you can also purchase a UV towel which are both available on this website.

Taking Swimming Lessons

Enquire with your local swimming centre about potentially enrolling your child into swimming lessons. These are led by professionals who are trained in helping young swimmers reduce their fear of the water and increasing their confidence with a range of activities to enhance their swimming skills. The key is the encouragement and not giving up as swimming lessons are there to help. It may take some time but along with the support from yourself and the instructors, your child will never want to get out of the water.

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Baby’s first Christmas is always hotly anticipated. It’s such an exciting time of year anyway, so its little wonder that people get in to a frenzy when you add a shiny new person to the mix!
If you’re a new parent it can be easy to get overwhelmed by all the gifts, well-wishers and expectations of the season, so here are our top ten tips for having a wonderful Christmas with your new bundle. Plus, we have a copy of Holly Willoughby’s Truly Happy Baby book and a gorgeous Cuddledry hands free towel to giveaway… read on to find out how you can enter!
A truly happy baby's first christmas_Cuddledry.com
Relax
Make sure to chill and take it easy! ‘Tis the season for running around like a headless chicken, but you’ve got enough on your plate. Don’t agree to attend every possible event- enjoy some quality time on the sofa with your little family.
Chill
Don’t worry if no-one manages to get out of their pyjamas on Christmas Day! Surely this is the one day of the year where its perfectly acceptable to do just that! Trust us, now is the time to just enjoy the little things.
Focus on your family unit
It’s totally okay to want some peace and time away from the extended family. If this is something you’d like, then chat to them about it in advance so it’s not a shock. Maybe you can come to an agreement about Boxing Day instead?
Write a gift list
Have a think about what gifts would be practical from family and friends. You know they’ll ask, so come up with a few ideas. The cuddleduck is a great option because it’s a bath toy and a safe teether in all in one- and let’s face it, it’s super cute too!
The thought counts
Why not make some keepsake gifts for family and friends? We’re thinking salt dough ornaments of little foot prints, photo collages and more. The kind of gifts that truly last a lifetime.
Start a new tradition
Christmas is a wonderful time to form your own special family traditions. Maybe you’d like to pick out a special tree ornament for baby, or go to the local carol service. Just because they’ll sleep through most things doesn’t mean you can’t start forming the traditions that will shape your family for years to come.A Truly Happy Baby's First Christmas_Cuddledry.Com
Don’t go overboard
Try to resist buying absolutely everything that catches your eye. Baby is easily pleased, you’re all she really wants. There really is no need to go mad and over spend.
Be realistic
Don’t set your expectations too high, just because it’s Christmas. Be realistic. Your baby might not really be very interested in some of their gifts and she might find to many visitors overwhelming. Take your cues from her, and go with the flow as much as you can.
Get snap happy
Take all the photos you can, and don’t forget to make sure you’re in some of them too! This is a precious occasion and you don’t want to spend it all behind the camera. And don’t forget to snap a shot of little one in their cuddledeer towel!
Enjoy
Above all, enjoy every minute with your sweet baby and don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
Bonus tip…
One last piece of seasonal advice we’d like to give you: don’t forget about yourself. Sure, your little one is the focus but it’s important to take time for YOU too. Why not see if someone can take baby for a walk while you relax with a cuppa and write some Christmas cards, or have a bath? Pass baby over to Dad in the evening, paint your nails or have a little pamper. You deserve the break too!
 WIN-2
At Cuddledry we know that happy mums and happy babies go hand in hand, and that’s why we’ve got an extra special giveaway for you this Christmas. We’re huge fans of Holly Willoughby’s Truly Happy Baby book, and we’d like to offer you the chance to win a copy! And seeing as we know how happy the Cuddledry hands free towel makes you guys at bath time, we’re going to pop one in to the prize bundle too. It couldn’t be easier to win. Simply enter your details into the form below and we’ll cross our fingers for you!
Terms and Conditions are on the Rafflecopter form. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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This week we have another guest post for you, this time from The Baby Swimming Shop. As you know, here at Cuddledry HQ we are huge advocates for getting little ones into the water as early as possible, and helping them to learn the joys of swimming. But with that comes the responsibility of ensuring they are safe at all times in the water. So here are some essential guidelines on water safety for families. Please read and share this summer!

Guest post- Water Safety for Families_Cuddledry.comThe summer holidays are in full swing, and with them is the promise of fun in the sun and in the water. As a nation, during summertime we like nothing better than messing about in the sea or splashing about in the pool. In reality, water and children can often be a daunting prospect. Children aged 0-10 (or even older depending on your child’s individual swimming ability) should always be supervised around water- pools, lakes, rivers and ponds can pose threats for all water goers.

According to the National Water Safety Forum around 50 children drown each year in the UK, many of them on holiday and during the summer months. Young children are especially at risk because they can drown in less than 2 inches (6cms) of water. To help you have watery fun this summer, we’ve put together a handy list of the main water dangers to be on the lookout for and steps that you can take to ensure that you enjoy the water safety.

The pool:

The most obvious water danger, from private villa pools to the local recreation centre or hotel pool, swimming pools pose the same dangers.

Shared pools at hotels, apartments and holiday parks:

They might seem safe but hotel and holiday resort swimming pools can often be very deep and some are not lifeguarded so it’s essential you make sure your children are competent swimmers and are closely supervised around the water. These kinds of pools are usually very overcrowded in peak season so park your sunbed near to where your children are playing and take-it-in turns to go into the pool to supervise the kids to ensure that no-one gets into difficulty. Put 0-7 year-olds in a float suit for a little peace of mind.

Private pools at villas or small holiday complexesGuest post Water Safety for Families_Cuddledry.com_

Most private villa pools or pools at small residential complexes are highly unlikely to have a lifeguard present. Check there are water safety rings or other emergency floatation aides available before you use the pool. Also, find out if there is an emergency phone near the pool, check that your mobile phone is working and note the local emergency services numbers. If you are renting from a holiday home owner, check the status of the current pool safety facilities. We learned the hard way when we stayed at a complex that had a description on the website detailing a large lifeguarded pool for residents, but on arrival the complex was rundown and there had not been a lifeguard on duty for more than 5 years, nor any working safety equipment.

Pool safety advice

Beware of slippery surfaces as children can fall over and hurt themselves. Jelly shoes or pool socks can prevent slipping around the pool edge. If they want to jump in, encourage them to jump into the water away from the edge as much as possible, so that they don’t bang their heads. Kids shouldn’t run or push around the pool and told not to dive in areas that aren’t marked for diving. If a storm comes, vacate the pool immediately!

The Beach:

Sea

The sea is great fun to play in however strong currents, cold temperatures and rapidly changing tides can pose a huge threat to even the strongest swimmers. Beware of large waves and don’t stand with your back to the water because a sudden wave can knock you over.

If you have older kids in your party, teach them that if they’re caught in a rip current or undertow, they should swim parallel to the shore or tread water and call for help. Make sure you always have them in view.

Warning flags

Pay attention to any flags and notices along the beach that warn you about tidal activity and other hazards. Watch what the locals do on the beach. If it seems that the locals are getting out of the sea, you do the same.

Rocks

Guest post: Water Safety for Families_Cuddledry.comTry to discourage older children to jump off rocks into the sea as there can often be rocks concealed beneath the surface of the water that can cause serious injury. Toddlers love rock pool and climbing on rocks, but again, stay with them as rocks can be sharp and slippery. Everyone loves a rock pool, right?!

Jelly fish and debris

Portuguese man-of-war stings can be very painful so tell kids to watch out for them in the water and to tell an adult immediately if they’re stung. Its best if kids don’t jump on them either, as stings can still be active. During or after storms, wood, rubbish and sometimes dangerous debris can land on beaches and float in the water. Tell your kids to watch out for rubbish and debris and make sure toddlers don’t stand on the jelly fish or throw rubbish washed up.

Inflatables and lilos

Used in pools and the sea, these toys can overturn without warning, trapping young children beneath the surface. Rip currents and coastal winds can sweep a child on an inflatable out to sea very quickly, and they can also get pushed against rocks.

Waterparks:

Waterparks are a great family day out and are for the most part, safe places to play. They do, however, pose the same risks as swimming pools with some extra ones on top. Waterparks are always lifeguarded and have strict safety regulations. Read all official signs before letting your child on any rides as they have age, height, weight, and health requirements plus different depths of water. Watch your children constantly: don’t trust the staff alone to keep them safe. Water slides and rides can lead to high-speed collisions that can go unnoticed by busy lifeguards. When using waterslides, children can become disorientated when re-entering main pool or emerging from the water, so it is essential your children wear floats and/or float suits whenever possible.

Guest post: Water Safety for Families_Cuddledry.comWatch out for these other holiday watery hazards:

– In the bathroom – the loo, bede, bath, sink

– Out and about – Fountains, inflatable ‘paddling’ pools, large puddles, waterlogged fields, ponds and ditches filled with rainwater

– Leisure – Spas, jaccuzis and hot tubs

We’d always recommend packing an baby inflatable ring too.

What are your top tips for water safety this summer?

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Guest post: Why Every Child Should Learn to Swim_Cuddledry.comHere at Cuddledry HQ we believe that a baby’s love for the water should be nurtured and that’s one of the reasons why we are such huge advocates for splash time! Whether in the tub or in the pool, getting in and having a good old splash is great fun, and we think that swimming is such an important life skill to have too. So why should your child learn to swim? This post explains more….

Lizzy Bullock is an expectant mother and WSI-certified swimming instructor with over a decade of experience working with infants, children, and adults. Lizzy currently works as a swimming instructor and staff writer for AquaGear, a swim school and online swim shop, and today she’s written on why every child should learn to swim. Enjoy, and let us know what you think!

 

With spring break in the rear view mirror, summer is just a hop, skip, and jump away. If you’re scrambling to concoct the perfect recipe of activities to keep your kids active, safe, and engaged, then add swimming lessons to the mix!

Swimming lessons are the perfect recipe for summer fun, but provide your child with a host of other benefits as well.

  • Swimming lessons foster social development

From the minute they’re born until the moment they set foot in daycare, kids spend the majority of their time with parents, brothers, and sisters. Group swimming lessons create a social environment that helps kids succeed. During lessons, children learn to communicate with others their age, share pool equipment, take turns, and make new friends. In addition to the peer benefits, kids learn to vocalize their needs to non-parent adults, which promotes good manners, speech skills, and self-control. The pool becomes a practice arena for honing social competence, which paves the way for kids to dive into the deep end in school.

  • Healthy habits for lifeWith spring break in the rear view mirror, summer is just a hop, skip, and jump away. If you're scrambling to concoct the perfect recipe of activities to keep your kids active, safe, and engaged, then add swimming lessons to the mix. Swimming lessons are the perfect recipe for summer fun, but provide your child with a host of other benefits as well.Swimming Lessons Foster Social DevelopmentFrom the minute they're born until the moment they set foot in daycare, pre-K, or kindergarten, kids spend the majority of their time with parents, brothers, and sisters. If they don't have siblings, they're already at a social disadvantage when the kindergarten doors open. Researchers at Ohio State University found that school-age children who grow up with one or more siblings have an easier time forming friendships, expressing feelings, and resolving conflicts with classmates. In contrast, only children consistently rank lower in these same social skills.Group swimming lessons create a social environment that helps kids succeed. During lessons, children learn to communicate with others their age, share pool equipment, take turns, and make new friends. In addition to the peer benefits, kids learn to vocalize their needs to non-parent adults, which promotes good manners, speech skills, and self-control. The pool becomes a practice arena for honing social competence, which paves the way for kids to dive into the deep end in elementary school.Healthy Habits for LifeFor better or worse, lifelong habits are formed when kids are young. Kids who start swimming at an early age discover the joy that comes from physical activity. By adopting this exercise habit, they'll reap lifelong health benefits.Because water is 800 times denser than air, it provides a fun strength-building medium. Performing any stroke engages muscles throughout the body - particularly the core, legs, and shoulders. Strong core muscles are especially helpful for stability, balance, and spinal health. Plus, the anaerobic exercise boosts lung capacity and cardiovascular efficiency. Strengthening these muscle groups creates conditioning that kids can later draw on in soccer, baseball, and other sports. If your child takes to the water like a fish, all the better. Swimming scholarships are available nationwide and, when the time comes, a great stroke can mean the difference between community college and a private university.Boosting Bodily Awareness & Self-EsteemThink about the awareness you have about how your body takes up space as it moves through the world. It's called "proprioception." Studies find that babies who spend time swimming before the age of two develop this bodily awareness to a greater degree than those who don't. This cognizance allows children to become more creative, capable, and observant adults. Buoyancy provides the ultimate freedom of movement, giving kids the power to bend and flex in ways they never thought possible. Plus, they can try out new moves - like tumbling, handstands, and "flying" - in what feels like zero gravity. Bouts of self-doubt are an inevitable part of childhood. Learning to swim helps to replace doubt with confidence. Simply trying new things is enough to boost a kid's self-esteem, not to mention the thrill of facing new challenges, conquering personal fears, and making friends. In swimmers, that attitude has staying power. Time and again, swimmers score high in body confidence studies.Easing Pain and AnxietyMost children love the water. For kids who have conditions like ADHD, autism, cerebral palsy, rheumatoid arthritis, amputation, or partial paralysis, spending time in the pool can impart spectacular benefits. When hydrostatic pressure envelops children, it promotes blood flow while simultaneously triggering a natural response that slows the heart rate. This soothing effect can alleviate pain and calm hyperactivity. Plus, the body's buoyancy in water makes swimming more accessible for kids with chronic pain, joint problems, low muscle tone, and restricted movement.Most land-based sports were out of reach for a student of mine who has cerebral palsy. She was quickly able to master floating and locomotion in the water, and her newfound proficiency bolstered her morale and brought her out of her shell. Former students with autism have found a sense of serenity in the water, perhaps due to its texture, light reflection, and tranquil sounds.Safety FirstHere in Florida, we're surrounded by water. Backyard pools and ponds are as common as palmetto bugs, and nearly everyone lives within a few miles of a canal, ocean, lake, or river. With water so ubiquitous, the Sunshine State is a great destination for year-round fun. Unfortunately, our proximity to water also translates to the highest rate of accidental drowning in the country. One of the best ways to avoid that unspeakable tragedy is to teach your child to be respectful of and exercise caution around water. The bottom line is that it's not enough to teach kids to swim. They need to know the basics of water safety. Imagine a child who is totally fearless around water. They jump in without protesting and submerge fully. If they haven't been taught how to return to the side, their natural reaction is to wait for mom or dad to scoop them up. There have been countless times when I've seen a child confidently jump into a pool, and then witnessed the dawn of realization that comes when they have no idea what to do next because mom's not there to grab them. It would be like teaching a teen to drive but neglecting to mention the brake pedal.Reputable swimming lessons will always include water safety. Your child should be taught to tread water, return to the side independently, and roll to their back if they become tired. In addition to in-pool skills, the Red Cross method incorporates Whale Tales safety lessons, which range from swimming with a buddy to wearing a life jacket to rescuing others safely without entering the pool.Just as you have an emergency plan for fires or floods, your child should know the plan for water-related incidents. Ensuring that your child is equipped to deal with being pushed into a pool, falling off a boat, or being pulled away from shore by a current is part of the value delivered by swimming lessons.Water safety is a cornerstone of swim lessons, but it is only the tip of the iceberg. With summer just around the corner, swim lessons will provide your kids with a host of other physical and psychological benefits. Once they learn the basics, swimming becomes a means for kids to bond with their parents, siblings, and friends. Unlike many land-based sports, swimming teaches an essential skill. A child who can swim can go to water parks, play in the surf, snorkel, tube, and dive - giving families more opportunities to spend time together under the summer sun.

For better or for worse, lifelong habits are formed when kids are young. Kids who start swimming at an early age discover the joy that comes from physical activity and by adopting this exercise habit, they’ll reap lifelong health benefits. Because water is 800 times denser than air, it provides a fun strength-building medium; performing any stroke engages muscles throughout the body – particularly the core, legs, and shoulders. Strong core muscles are especially helpful for stability, balance, and spinal health. Plus, the anaerobic exercise boosts lung capacity and cardiovascular efficiency. Strengthening these muscle groups creates conditioning that kids can later draw on in sports.

  • Boosting body awareness & self-esteem

Think about the awareness you have about how your body takes up space as it moves through the world. It’s called “proprioception.” Studies find that babies who spend time swimming before the age of two develop this bodily awareness to a greater degree than those who don’t. This allows children to become more creative, capable, and observant adults. Buoyancy provides the ultimate freedom of movement, giving kids the power to bend and flex in ways they never thought possible. Plus, they can try out new moves – like tumbling, handstands, and “flying” – in what feels like zero gravity. Bouts of self-doubt are an inevitable part of childhood; learning to swim helps to replace doubt with confidence. Simply trying new things is enough to boost a kid’s self-esteem, not to mention the thrill of facing new challenges, conquering personal fears, and making friends.

  • Easing pain and anxiety

Most children love the water. For kids who have conditions like ADHD, autism, cerebral palsy, rheumatoid arthritis, amputation, or partial paralysis, spending time in the pool can have spectacular benefits. When hydrostatic pressure envelops children, it promotes blood flow while simultaneously triggering a natural response that slows the heart rate. This soothing effect can alleviate pain and calm hyperactivity. Plus, the body’s buoyancy in water makes swimming more accessible for kids with chronic pain, joint problems, low muscle tone, and restricted movement.

  • Guest post: Why every child should learn to swim_Cuddledry.comSafety first

Reputable swimming lessons will always include water safety. Your child should be taught to tread water, return to the side independently, and roll to their back if they become tired.Water safety is a cornerstone of swim lessons, but it is only the tip of the iceberg.

With summer just around the corner, swim lessons will provide your kids with a host of other physical and psychological benefits. Once they learn the basics, swimming becomes a means for kids to bond with their parents, siblings, and friends. Unlike many land-based sports, swimming teaches an essential skill. A child who can swim can go to water parks, play in the surf, snorkel, tube, and dive – giving families more opportunities to spend time together under the summer sun.

 

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There’s no doubt about it. Parenting is hard work. There are the sleepless nights, the dirty nappies, the tantrums and the messy mealtimes. But if you think that’s all there is to it, you couldn’t be more wrong! We took to Twitter to ask our followers what they loved about being a parent, and the response we got was amazing. So is parenting the hardest job in the world? Maybe. But if anything is worth doing, it’s worth doing well, and it’s likely to be a challenge too.

Parenting: The Hardest Job in the World?_Cuddledry.com

“It makes me proud to see my daughter grow and develop new skills, and seeing how kind she treats other kids.”

As parents, we want our children to be happy and to grow and develop into kind and happy people. @wavetomummy told us that her daughter makes her proud every day and @GreatNorthMum added that “Seeing my biggest boy make his baby brother laugh and show him so much affection”  makes her heart melt. And we’re not surprised! Kindness is important. And knowing that you passed that on is something very special indeed. As our friends at @BabaandBoo say, “when their teachers say that they are a joy to be around and are kind to their classmates. Makes me burst!”

From a tiny baby, to a tiny person, these little people never cease to amaze us! What does your little one do to make you proud?

When someone meets your child with their grandparents (whilst I’m at work) and remarks at how well behaved & polite they are!”

We’re with you @Mrsshilts, it’s always nice to know they can behave well without you too! Because no matter how hard we try, we can’t be with them all the time.Parenting: The Hardest Job in the World?_Cuddledry.com We have to loosen the ties and let them grow, let them explore. Let them be their own person. So it’s always a bonus when you discover that the person you made is actually really nice!

But all of this is not to say that our little angels don’t have their moments too. We all do! Kids are still learning and let’s face it, there are many many rules out there to follow. We all have bad days, and kids are allowed them too. It’s how we react to them that leaves an impression. The lovely Fi at @childcareisfun believes wholeheartedly in celebrating every small achievement:

“Every little success and every precious moment – no matter how small, makes me feel wonderful and incredibly proud to be a parent.

That pride and happiness is bound to rub off on the children too, so keep it up! Lizzie at @firstooth agrees, stating that “their achievements big and small” make her proud every day.

So is it really the hardest job in the world? It’s exhausting. It’s emotional. It’s hard. But the hardest job in the world surely has to be knowing when to let them go. These days, while they’re little, are so intense. But they don’t last long, and before you know it they’re long gone. So cherish every moment. Have an extra cuddle tonight. Read an extra story at bedtime. Spend a little longer listening to your toddler’s tales of the day. It’s all worth it.

Cuddledry has fallen in love with Instagram! We love sharing photos with you, and we love the little community we’ve built up over there too. And what makes our day more than anything is seeing your little ones dressed up in their Cuddledry finest! So we thought we’d send out a plea for you to share more of your precious snaps with us- and celebrate with a little giveaway too!

Win an Accessories Bundle on Instagram_Cuddledry.com

Not on Instagram yet? Here’s three reasons why you need to set up an account today!

It’s a beautiful way to preserve memories

Instagram is micro blogging at its best. Snap a photo on your phone, upload it and remember it forever. The beauty of Instagram is that it allows you to preserve a moment in time forever, with a caption as long or as short as you please. And while life may not be beautiful all the time, your Instagram feed can be! AvidInstagrammers may share only the most polished of snapshots but in our opinion, there’s nothing wrong with that. Life is filled with splendid moments that deserve to be collected and protected for all of eternity.

It’s fun!

Liven up your photos with different filters, use add on apps to create captions and layer text… anything goes! Instagram is a fun way to socialise and a if you get involved in a community the possibilities are endless.

It lets your personality shine

Because its visual, Instagram allows users to be more creative and to share images that represent their interests and hobbies. So your personality shines through and your photos reflect what matters to you. Whether its food, animals, babies… Instagram makes it all look beautiful and stores your favourite photos in one place. We love being able to bring you snaps from the Cuddledry collections and we hope our personality comes across in them too!

Follow us on Instagram!

Want to be in with a chance to win an accessories bundle? Included is one natural sea sponge, one Cuddleduck, one bamboo hand towel and one Cuddletwist hair towel. And to win you just need to follow three simple steps:

Win an Accessories Bundle on Instagram_Cuddledry.com1. Follow @Cuddledry on Instagram

2. Share a photo of your little one with any item from our collections- and don’t forget to tag us!

3. Tag three friends and ask them to do the same

That’s it! The giveaway starts at 1pm today 10th March and ends at 1pm Thursday 24th March. Good luck!

*Terms and Conditions*

Open to UK residents only

Giveaway begins 1 pm Thursday 10th March 2016 and ends 1pm Thursday 24th March 2016

One winner to be drawn at random within 48 hours of giveaway end

Winner to be announced via Instagram

Our decision is final

One winner to win the Cuddledry accessories bundle, prize is non transferrable and no cash alternative offered

Not associated with Instagram

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