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The temperature has dropped, the nights are drawing in after the clock change and no doubt the sky has already been alive with bangs, flashes and sparkles. There’s something quite magical about Bonfire Night, isn’t there? With the family traditions gathering around the bonfire, sparkler clutched tightly in a mittened hand, the smell of hotdogs and candy floss drifting in the crisp air… ok, so when you’re a parent it might not be quite like that every year. In fact, we parents have a tough job on our hands tonight! Let’s face it. Fireworks are loud, sometimes scary and often at their peak right around bedtime. Because Bonfire Night is on a Sunday this year, there’s every chance you’ve already had a few going off around you this weekend. But today is Sunday. And Sunday means tomorrow is Monday and Monday is school/ nursery/ work. You’re going to want your little ones to get some sleep tonight!  We asked our lovely community for their help with this one. Here’s a really quick guide to helping little ones relax and sleep on Bonfire Night. Share with all your parent friends ready for tonight and hopefully we can all get some sleep one way or another!Helping Littles Ones Relax and Sleep on Bonfire Night_Cuddledry.com

Prepare your little one in advance

So the ground work has no doubt been done on this one already. But in case your little one is still unsure, sit down and watch some firework videos on YouTube together. Talk about the sounds they make, but also talk about how pretty they are and the colours you can see. Try to make it as fun as possible, and remind your child that they’re outside and only there to light the sky for a moment. Thanks to Holly at Thrifty Mum for this tip!

Hannah at Hi Baby Blog tells her little one that the fireworks are a ‘bang and fizz, then a pretty’- which more or less sums up fireworks we think! And on a similar note, Emily at Babies and Beauty extends the magic and tells her little one that the fireworks are Santa getting the sleighs ready for Christmas. We love love love this idea! It helps to relax her child, and builds anticipation for a familiar and happy event too. And as an added bonus, her son sleeps better as because he wants to be in Santa’s good books!

Stick to your usual routine

If you think that your little one is going to be disturbed tonight, don’t be tempted to extend bedtime until the fireworks are finished. There’s nothing worse than an overtired and over stimulated child late at night! As you go through your usual bedtime routine, you may hear some fireworks, so talk about them and if you can, spend a moment watching out of the window to take away the mystery. Keep your bedtime routine relaxed and calm so that your child is relaxed and calm too.

Make bath time fun!

We’re all about making bath time fun and Bonfire Night is a great opportunity for this. Pop a couple of glow sticks or Helping Little Ones Sleep on Bonfire Night_Cuddledry.comsubmersible lights into the tub and dim the lights for a special treat. Or take some bath crayons/ paint into the bathroom and let your child design their own fireworks on the side of the tub. Don’t worry about the mess- it all washes off! Sing songs, play games- let your child experience Bonfire Night from the safety of the bath tub- this will help to calm fears and take their mind off what might be happening outside.

White noise is your friend

Younger babies are just not going to understand what’s happening and lighter sleepers may well be woken by the fireworks as they gain momentum tonight. White noise is your friend! Not only does it emulate the sounds that babies hear inside the womb, but athlete right volume it will relax, soothe and  drown out the sounds outside. For older babies and toddlers who are either disturbed or upset b the fireworks, try playing soothing music to help them relax and to drown out the sounds of the fireworks. This tip comes from Emma at Reddy Freddie Go! and we’ll definitely be giving it a go tonight!

Eliminate the surprise element

Whatever you do, you will not be able to avoid the fireworks going off tonight. So don’t ignore them or try to avoid them thinking that your child might just sleep through them and be fine. That may well be the case! But a startled child woken from sleep thanks to loud, unexpected bangs is something we definitely to avoid. Laura at Little Ladies big World says that she never ‘sugar coats’ the fireworks- she makes sure her children know they will be loud and possibly scary so that they know what to expect. Likewise, Hayley at Devon Mama says that she keeps the general noise level on Bonfire Night a little higher than usual- with the TV on downstairs at a higher volume, and white noise or music upstairs so that any sudden noises are diluted and less of a startle for little ones. Genius!

Let us know how you get on tonight- tweet us @Cuddledry or pop over to Facebook/ Instagram to share your tips and tales.

 

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We recently conducted a parenting survey- HUGE thanks to all of you that took the time to answer!- and we’re so excited to be able to share the results with you over the coming weeks. There’s no doubt that the pressures of modern parenting affect our everyday relationships and have a huge impact on the way we bring up our kids. This week we’re looking at work life, and what it means to be a Flexi working parent. Let us know what you think- catch us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram!

What it Means to be a Flexi Working Parent_Cuddledry.comjuggling game

Parenting is a juggling game. But you don’t need us to tell you that! According to our survey, a third of us send work emails from the loo, one in five of us log in during bath time and one in eight of us use soft play centres as a chance to catch up on work. Sound familiar?

We’re always juggling. It’s hard sometimes to keep our heads above water but there can be no denying that the juggling game of Flexi working is a solution many families welcome. Flexi working now means that more parents are able to work around their families- never missing sports day or having to take unpaid leave if a child is poorly. Despite the juggling, there are serious advantages to this way of working!

Hannah, who works with team Cuddledry and blogs at Hi Baby Blog told us,

“I think allowing employees to work in a flexible capacity means you foster a supportive relationship. Taking the time to accommodate employees needs with regards to flexible working often leads to greater job satisfaction. I think people who feel valued and considered work harder and better.”

Unfortunately, as highlighted by the recent campaigns Flex Appeal and Clean Up The F Word, there are still many employers who are yet to see the benefits of this way of working. Lauren, freelance marketer and blogger at A Scrapbook of Our Lives, told us

“Pre kids both my husband and I were hotel managers for the same company but at different sites. My company wouldn’t consider a job share for either of our positions to allow for more flexible working so I took a lower role (& salary) and eventually left. It took me a long time to come to terms with the ‘loss’ of my management position and I feel the lack of flexibility shown by my company had a big hand in that.”

A day in the life of a flexi working parent

Just as you’d expect, a typical day in the life of a Flexi working parent is long, busy and often unpredictable. 14% of us have taken a child to a work meeting, 32% have taken a work call whilst cooking or cleaning, and 14% of us have hosted a conference call from the kitchen. Flexi working parents will always be on the school run, but they’ll most likely have already done a couple of hours work before 9am. They’ll be at the school gates at the end of the day, but they’ll have their phones with them because no doubt someone will need something at some point before they get home. Flexi working parents will be back at it again after the kids are in bed, making the most of the quiet time before it all starts again the next morning.

But would they change it for the world? Probably not. As parenting expert Liat Hughes Joshi, author of New Old Fashioned Parenting and How to Unplug Your Child, says:

“Whilst it can feel stressful to ‘juggle’ sometimes, overall I think it’s fantastic that parents today have the opportunity to combine work and parenting more easily. 15 years ago, we would have had to make a stark choice between the two – flexible working in this way simply wasn’t an option – but the explosion of technology over the past decade has made it possible. “

Take the stress away

As with any job, its not always possible to take the stress away completely when it comes to Flexi working. But there are some tips we can take on board to make things a little easier. The team here at Cuddledry consists mainly of Flexi working parents who juggle all things cuddly with their own home lives, and have done so for years. Cuddledry co-creator Helen has some great advice for Flexi working parents:

  • Think flexibly: Working flexible hours means you don’t have to draw a line between your ‘work’ and ‘parent’ self – I often have the best ideas whilst walking the dog, having a shower or driving back from the school run.
  • Know your boundaries: Whilst flexi working gives you the freedom to flex work around family life, it’s also important to know when to switch off – work can be full of ‘urgencies’, but try to remember that it is just work!

It can be so hard to know where to draw the line, but making sure you have a designated work space that you can close the door on at the end of the day is a great place to start. List Hughes adds her tips:

  • Be prepared to fully unplug when it matters: Whether it’s your child’s sports day or a parents evening, there are times when you will want to turn off your phone and put your out of office on. That’s ok, and you should feel comfortable about doing this.
  • Accept that things don’t always go to plan with family life: As a parent, there will be days your child is off sick or the nursery is closed. The unexpected will happen, so try to be prepared for this with contingency plans.
  • Build some ‘me time’ into your daily routine: Juggling work and parenting can be stressful, so make sure there is still some time for you. Whether it’s a 30 minute run or taking half an hour to read, find something that works for you which can be realistically built into your day.

 

 

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We know a thing or two about bath time here at Cuddledry HQ- in fact, we’re a bit of an expert when it comes to all things splishy- but that doesn’t mean we can’t still learn a little more. When it comes to bathing your baby, it really can be daunting if you’re not confident in what you’re doing. We should know- grappling with a slippery baby is the very reason why Cuddledry was invented all those years ago! We’re here to make it all a little easier, and we care about what real parents think too. So we got in touch with our lovely blogger community to ask them what their biggest worries were when it came to bath time, and in honour of Baby Safety Month we thought we’d share them with you, along with some answers that will hopefully ease your mind a little. Read on for our top bath safety tips.

Baby Safety Tips: Bath Safety_Cuddledry.com

What is your biggest concern when it comes to baby safety at bath time?

Lucy at Mrs H’s Favourite Things told us that her number one fear at bath time is scalding. Its really important to make sure that your baby’s bath temperature is right, because scalding is a very real danger at bath time. The water should be warm, but not hot and the best way to check the temperature is with a bath thermometer. Current guidelines advise that the ideal temperature for a baby’s bath is between 37 and 38 degrees C. If you don’t have a bath thermometer, you can check the temperature with your elbow or wrist, and always make sure you swish the water well to disperse hot spots. Lucy tells us that she always tests the water with her wrist, as it tends to be more sensitive than her elbow. We say, go with whichever method suits you well, but always check! It’s also a good idea to add an extra splash of cold once the bath is ready, so that the taps aren’t hot to touch and little fingers won’t get burnt.

Julie at Pondering Parenthood tells us that drowning is her biggest fear at bath time, and Vi at Dancing in My Wellies says that slipping under the water is hers. Both very common fears for many parents at bath time, and luckily an issue that you can address quite easily.

  • For younger babies, reduce the chances of slipping by using a Cuddledry hands free towel to safely lift your baby from the bath. Always keep hold of your baby during bath time, and make sure that they are secure at all times. You can use safety certified bath seats if you want to, but they’re not mandatory and you do still need to hold your baby throughout bath time.
  • Never ever leave a baby unattended at bath time.
  • Never leave a child in charge at bath time. An adult must always be supervising.
  • Use a bath mat in the bottom of the bath to stop older babies from slipping. If you don’t have a bath mat, lay a small towel on the bottom of the bath to use as a mat instead.
  • Wash your baby before they get into the bath, to reduce the risk of the water becoming soapy and slippery.
  • Pop a wash mitt or flannel over the bath taps to reduce the risk of injury if your baby does slip and fall against them.
  • Make sure that the bath is not too full- around 6-8cm for babies, and waist level for older babies and children.

Read our full article bath safety tips here.

We’ll be chatting about baby bath safety during #BabyHour tomorrow at 11 over on Twitter. Join us if you can!

 

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Here at Cuddledry HQ we are passionate about what we do, and pretty confident that every bath time can be a happy bath time! We know that the number one concern of many new parents is how to get baby to sleep well at night (I mean, sleep deprivation is nobody’s idea of fun, is it?), and we’d love to be able to help with that. We’ve written before about how a good bath time routine can help to relax and soothe, but did you know that baby massage can also help? Studies have found that babies who have a 15 minute massage either before or after their bath are more able to fall asleep – and stay asleep!- at bedtime. It’s got to be worth a try, don’t you think? Here are our top three tips for getting started on baby massage. Let us know what you think in the comments.Baby Massage: Top Three Tips for Getting Started_Cuddledry.com

Benefits of baby massage

There are so many reasons why incorporating baby massage into your bedtime routine can work wonders for your baby’s night time sleep! Here are just a few benefits:

  • Better sleep
  • Improved digestion
  • Helps to soothe symptoms of teething
  • Aids in circulation

Three tips to get started…

If you can get to a local baby massage class then great, but if not don’t worry. There are lots of really good videos and websites out there- have a quick google and spend some time reading up on the basics. And when you’re ready, hopefully these tips will help you.

Make sure you have everything you need before you start

The last thing you want when you’re trying to give your baby a relaxing massage is to have to keep disrupting it all because you’ve forgotten something! Much like when you give your baby a bath, it’s a good idea to have everything you need within reach and ready to go. Grab a warm towel and a changing mat with liner to lay your baby on. You’ll also need some organic massage oil and some clothes to dress your baby in when you’re finished.

If you use a Cuddledry hands free towel you can lift your baby for a warm cuddle as soon as the massage is finished. This will help prevent your baby from getting too cold, and will help to maintain the calm atmosphere you’ve worked so hard to create.

Keep it short and sweet

Your baby might need a little time to get used to massage as part of the bedtime routine, so take things slowly. Just as you would during bath time, maintain eye contact and watch for cues that might signal your time is up. Some babies will only tolerate a massage for a few minutes, and others will be happy there for much longer. Allow your baby to lead the way and always bring things to an end if she lets you know enough is enough.

The idea is to make massage an enjoyable activity to help strengthen the baby/ parent bond, so don’t force it.

Keep all movements slow and gentle

Baby massage is a wonderful sensory experience for both baby and parent, so keep this in mind. If you’re short on time and stressed about it, neither of you will feel the benefit. You might need to adjust your routine a little to fit in a massage, or postpone for another day when you know you have enough time. Don’t rush it!

Keep all your movements slow and gentle, and allow your baby to full relax and enjoy the experience.

We’d love to hear about your experiences with baby massage. What works well for you? How old was your baby when you introduced it as part of your bedtime routine?

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Hoorah! The summer holidays are here and now we have a glorious six weeks stretching before us, filled with days and days on end of sunshine, fun and laughter. Right? Well, that’s the plan anyway! The thing is, we know as well as anyone else that the summer holidays can actually be a lot of hard work when it comes to keeping the kids entertained without losing our sanity. That’s why we’ve put together some excellent low cost summer fun tips for little ones- let us know if you try any and if they kept the kids busy!

low-cost summer fun_Cuddledry.comOutdoor fun

As it’s summer, the chances are high that your little ones are going to want to spend as much time outside as they can- and that often means whether it’s sunshine or rain! Luckily the summer months tend to be warm even if they aren’t dry, so our advice is to get as much outdoor fun as you can! Fresh air helps to boost endorphins and will help children sleep when it comes to bedtime, so don’t be afraid to get your wellies on if you need to! Some ideas to try:

  • Puddle splashing! Cheap, easy to do and one of the best ways to entertain kids when the weather isn’t great.
  • Water play! Whether it’s the water table or the paddling pool, kids love to play with water! Dry off afterwards with a swim poncho or a UV poncho for sun protection.
  • Messy play in the garden. Al at The Dad Network uses a Tuff Spot with different themes to inspire a little creativity- and all the mess is outside, which is a bonus!
  • Scavenger hunts- such an easy and cheap way to play! You make your own, with either words or pictures, or you can take Leslie’s advice and join the Woodland Trust. Leslie’s shared more reasons why the £1.50 membership fee is a great idea in this post, along with some other fab low cost summer ideas- be sure to check them out.
  • Pack a picnic. Sarah at The Herniman House says, “Even the same park you visit every day on the way home from school is new and exciting with a picnic! Parks, the beach, the garden or even in the living room if the weather is rubbish. The kids LOVE it and it’s a lot cheaper than having to buy food when you’re out.”- we couldn’t agree more! Our top tip: get the kids to help make the food too.
  • Build an obstacle course. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but it’s always a great way to get kids moving and having fun outdoors.
  • Outdoor art. Need we say any more? Take the paint, chalks, crayons and glitter outdoors and keep the mess away from the house.
  • Visit the park. If your children are anything like mine, they’ll never tire of swings and slides so if you’re at a loose end pop down for an hour or so this summer.

Indoor funlow-cost summer fun_Cuddledry.com

Sometimes little ones like to stay inside, and sometimes the weather is just too bad to venture out for long. But that doesn’t mean that they need to climb the walls with boredom. Here are some of our favourite indoor activities for little ones:

  • Lego. Never fails.
  • Painting. If you don’t mind the mess, then go for it.
  • Make a den. Sometimes just a bed sheet across two chairs with a couple of cushions is enough!
  • Get a cardboard box. Seriously, children love them! There are so many things you can do with a cardboard box, you won’t ever want to throw them into the recycling again! Read this post from Kids Activities blog.
  • Story time!
  • Check your local children’s centres for free activities over the summer. Julie at Pondering parenthood says, “We’re taking advantage of as many of our children’s centre’s free activities as possible. We went to bounce and rhyme at our local community centre today and it was lovely.”
  • Get creative and make a list of things to do… it might sound strange, but some kids love to plan out their activities for the summer, so take advantage of that and let them help to make a really cool list! Amy at The Smallest Of Things says, “Create your own summer adventures list with a piece of card and some felt tips! The children can get involved and you can be as creative or uncreative as you like.”- sounds good to us!
  • Make a boredom jar. Victoria at Mummy to My Little Cheeky Monkey told us, “I’ve done one with James and he gets to pick an activity when Freddie is napping. Today we made paint stamps from cardboard and milk bottle tops so tomorrow at nap time we are going to paint with the stamps.” Get the children to pop activities down on paper and the next time they tell you they’re bored, they can pick one out.

So what are you up to this summer?

 

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It has to be said that we LOVE bath time here at Cuddledry HQ, and we like to think we know a thing or two about it too. So what does your bath time routine look like? Whether it’s splashy chaos or bubbly serenity, a good bath time routine is essential if you want little ones to enjoy being in the tub. So we asked a few mums and dads what they thought made the perfect bath time routine, and we’ve added a few of our own too. Let us know what you think!

Tips for The Perfect Bath Time Routine_ Cuddledry.comBe consistent

Human beings are creatures of comfort, and we all respond well when we know what to expect. So consistency is key if you have a little one who needs convincing that bath time is a good idea. Stick to the same routine in the same order every time so that your child knows what to expect and when.

Stay calm

Bath time can be exciting! But consider this: if both you and your child are full of beans and splashing water everywhere, how are you going to restore calm when its needed? Most families tend to do bath time just before bedtime, so the last thing you want is a child bouncing from the ceiling when you need them to relax! Likewise, if your child isn’t a huge fan of bath time, staying calm is imperative if you’re going to hep them relax.

Avoid meltdowns when it’s time to get out

Lucy at Hello Beautiful Bear tells us that she regularly gives her children updates when it’s almost time to get out of the bath, to avoid upset when the time comes. Her little ones love bath time so much that a ten minute and five minute warning helps to eliminate melt downs and makes the whole process a lot easier. If your little one loves bath time this much, we can also recommend our toddler towels to make getting out of the tub just as much fun as being in there!

Be prepared

A number one tip from Caroline aka Mrs Magovern, and one that we swear by here at Cuddledry. Caroline says, “Get everythingTips for The Perfect Bath Time Routine_ Cuddledry.com ready for during and after bath time before getting your little ones in the bath. Lay out towels, pyjamas, nappies etc so you can give baby your full attention and feel relaxed.” and we couldn’t agree more.

Invest in some good quality bath toys

Bath time means fun time, and because little ones learn best when they play it makes sense to extend the learning whenever you can. Good quality bath toys can make all the difference, especially for children who become bored very easily. Parents love our Cuddleduck because it’s made from 100% natural rubber and is safe for babies to chew, plus there’s no hole so no mould either.  You can also bring things like jugs, sieves and colanders into the bath too- all are great for pouring and sprinkling, which toddlers seem to love!

Mix up the timings a little

Bath time doesn’t have to be at the end of the day! Petra, who writes at A Mum Reviews, tells us her top tip for bath time is to “keep it short and sweet and to do it in the day not at night. Everyone is happier and less tired and stressed in the day and it’s so much more enjoyable then!” It makes sense too. Sometimes babies and toddlers benefit from a cooler bath on hot days, and sometimes a relaxing bath is a great way to diffuse irritable tempers too.

Team work works!

The lovely Emily, who writes at Emily and Indiana tells us that in her house dad “usually does the ‘fun’ and washing, and then I’ll get them out and dry them. Makes it a lot easier when you’re doing more than one at a time!”

Get in and share the tub

One of the best ways to bond with your child is by enjoying lots of skin to skin time when you can. Al at The Dad Network tells us he bathes with his little one almost every day and wouldn’t change it for the world.

 

 

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Ah, summer is wonderful! The sunshine, the raised temperature and the lighter evenings… unless you’re parent to a newborn perhaps? Here at Cuddledry HQ we know how daunting it can be to bring a new baby home from the hospital, and when you factor in hot and sweaty temperatures vs safe sleep guidelines it can become quite stressful indeed. We’ve put together a few tips to help you when caring for a summer newborn- let us know what you think. Please note though, we’re not experts and we always recommend you speak to your midwife/ health visitor/ GP if you have any concerns at all.

caring for a summer newborn_Cuddledry.comDress light

It goes without saying that your summer newborn doesn’t need as many layers as babies born during the colder months. That said, remember that babies cannot regulate their own body temperature, so you need to keep a check on how comfortable your baby is in the layers you’ve used. It’s also a good idea to keep a check on the room temperature as your baby sleeps too. According to the Lullaby Trust, an ideal temperature is between 16 and 20 degrees C. Read more on safe room temperatures here.

You can check whether your baby is too hot in whatever you’ve dressed them in quite easily:

The best way to check on your baby’s temperature is by putting your hand on the skin on their tummy or the back of their neck. Don’t use their hands or feet as a guide as they will always feel cooler than the rest of their body.

If your baby is too hot you will feel the skin is hot, slightly clammy or sweaty, and you will need to remove some layers. (Lullaby Trust )

Hannah at Hi Baby Blog says that her advice would be to “dress babies in clothes that are loose, not fussy and made from cotton if you can. Size up if you have to.” 

Keep baby hydrated

Your baby might want to feed a little more during the summer months, and this is normal. It’s important to keep your baby hydrated as much as possible, so offer as many feeds as you can through the day and night. According to the NHS website, the signs to look out for in a dehydrated baby are:

  • have a sunken soft spot (fontanelle) on their head
  • have few or no tears when they cry
  • have fewer wet nappies (nappies will feel lighter)
  • are drowsy

(NHS)

Kate at Family Fever adds, “If you’re breastfeeding, you may find they have more, shorter feeds for the thinner, more watery foremilk which keeps them hydrated.”

Swap things around if you need tocaring for a summer newborn_Cuddledry.com

Amy at The Smallest of Things says that if you need to swap rooms around for a while, then do it. Always allow your baby to sleep in the coolest part of the house if you can, and in with you at night time. This might mean moving rooms for some families, but let’s face it the heat waves in the UK rarely last too long so it shouldn’t be too much of a disruption!

Enjoy bath time

While it’s true that we sweat more during the summer, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your baby needs more baths when it’s hot. That said though, a cooler than normal bath can be a great way to bring comfort when the weather’s really warm. Remember that a newborn’s temperature can drop quite quickly and cannot be regulated, so don’t go for cold water (warm is best) and don’t prolong time in the water too much. Have a hands free towel to hand so that you’re ready for cuddles when your baby needs them. Read more on tips for bathing a newborn here.

What are your top tips for caring for a summer newborn?

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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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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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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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