Halloween safety and fun!

It is that festive time of year again: Halloween! Having a family is largely about establishing fun traditions to share with one another, to embrace together. Halloween will certainly hold some of the most fun memories for years to come.

So how are you going to spend the holiday? Still not sure yet? Well you’re in luck, because today Dreamtown Kids is going to give you the low down on some fun Halloween activities, as well as some tips to partake in the fun safely! Let’s go!


Halloween Fun

But first a PSA: Kids are meant to be dressed up during Halloween, so take every measure possible to ensure optimal cuteness, adorability, and preciousness and leave no kid un-costumed…
…Because that’s kind of the fun of it! Right?!

So as a parent now, you have become immersed in the parenting world and community. That being the case, make Halloween a social one for you and your toddler. Get together with some other parent friends, and treat it as a play date for your little ones, full of holiday fun!

Trick-or-Treating
If either you or your friends have children at the trick-or-treating age, great! Take it to the streets, enjoy the fun, and take it as an opportunity to get out. By doing so, you give yourself a night out, and even more, you get to meet some other families with kids in your area, meaning a chance for your kiddos to socialize!

On the chance that everybody involved has toddlers too young to go trick-or-treating just yet, also great! Enjoy a night in with some fun activities (you don’t have to go out to have a blast)!

Saftey Note: Something to bear in mind, whether you head out or stay in, is this. Halloween has a strong tendency to encourage candy consumption. For toddlers 2-years old and under, avoid the hard candies as they can be a choking hazard. As a rule of thumb for your children, big or small, place restrictions on the amount of candy consumed, keep it in moderation.

Coloring
Studies show that 9 months to 1 year in age is a good time to introduce kids to coloring. That being the case, start the coloring in a festive seasonal setting! Halloween coloring books, online print-offs, or just plain construction paper are great ways to get your kids having a good time.

Crafting
If your toddlers are up for it, take it step beyond just coloring! Paper cut-outs, gluing, popsicle stick puppets, the list of crafting project possibilities goes on. Get your little ones having some fun making some Halloween crafts, plus, it’ll be a nice holiday keep-safe to hang on to in your kids’ memory boxes as they grow up!

Safety Note: Be sure to keep close supervision while coloring and crafting are taking place. Crayons and paste can often be confused for a gooey treat by a toddler, and colored pencils and scissors are obviously sharps. All this to say, make sure the fun stays safe!

Reading
Books are super fun, and it’s a great way to spend some time in on Halloween! There are tons of great kids’ Halloween books out there, here is a list of just a few that may be fun this year, so give them a whirl. If possible, look into books that could also allow your toddler to do some of the reading, so that they improve on that skill, and also books that incorporate math. These will all be very educational, and masked in the fun of the Halloween season… get it?.. Masked!

Sleep at a reasonable time

One final note is to be mindful of sleep. Halloween can be a lot of fun, but what’s not fun is throwing off your toddler’s sleep cycle… for them AND for you! As the night progresses, stay aware of the time, and don’t let it get carried away to where it could affect anyone’s sleep. To further improve sleep conditions, the best quality bedding is huge, especially a good toddler pillow for your little one. Have fun on Halloween, but don’t forfeit good sleep consistency.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Halloween is a great time of year to enjoy a night of fun with your little ones. From dressing up, to going out, to creative projects and more, there’s no shortage to the amount of fun you can have with your little ones on Halloween. Try some of these fun activities this year, and remember to have a safe and fun Halloween, from all of us at Dreamtown Kids!

Benefits of cotton and synthetic fabric

When it comes to your baby, you’ve given just about EVERYTHING you’ll need for them ample thought! Diapers, an obvious front-runner. Nutrition, totally of major importance. Fabric used to produce baby items, ABSOLU— okay, maybe this one didn’t necessarily come to mind right away.

The materials that you use for your children’s things, namely their bedding, is actually of more importance than you may think. So what exactly are good fabrics to look for in baby products, and why? Let’s dive in!

Cotton

Cotton is obviously a crowd favorite for many people. It is a trusted material for many and is widely used, and for good reason! And it goes without saying that this is without a doubt a fabric that you want to have in your trusted arsenal of materials for your baby products. Here’s why:

Soft
“Oooh” and “aaaah” are words that come to mind when you don a nice cotton garment or slip into a cotton blanket! Right?! This is what makes cotton such a wonderful material to have in the mix for your baby’s bedding. Put it this way, if something feel rough or scratchy to you, you’ll notice that you don’t throw a fit over it… Your baby, on the other hand may have an entirely different response!

Flexible
So thinking of a fabric, especially when it’s being used for an application such as bedding, there are things to keep in mind. Part of what makes babies so adorable is their squirminess by nature. Rolling, crawling, etc, and that doesn’t stop once they go to bed, oh no! To have a bedding material that can ebb and flow with your babies nighttime movements will be a good thing to ensure optimal comfort for your baby and protection against wear for those sheets.

Environmentally Friendly
Let’s not forget about the great fact that cotton is a natural material! From the Earth it comes, making it low impact in production. In being a natural material, this also means that it is biodegradable, recyclable, compostable, and will not linger around the planet after it has run its course.

Synthetic

While cotton is a great product that we have all come to know, love, and trust, there is also a lot of merit to synthetic products such as Polyester, and more!

Durable
To have to constantly buy replacements for things, especially for your baby, would become EXTREMELY expensive and would prove to be EXTREMELY wasteful! That being the case, synthetic materials are a great supplementary addition to products like bedding, and they will give the added edge of durability and longevity.

Quick Drying
When you have a baby, one thing you can know for certain is that you are going to be doing a lot of laundry! Between clothing, diapers (if reusable), and bedding, your washing machine will be put through the wringer. A great relief would be having materials that could dry quickly and get back to work right away. Synthetic materials give you exactly that!

Inexpensive
Parenting can be an expensive endeavor, and being able to save wherever possible is a win! That being said, synthetic materials can have a tendency to be more affordable and overall less strenuous on your wallet. Then you can apply those savings towards other things that you’ll need for your little one! Can’t argue with that!

Conclusion

In conclusion, you may not have given much thought to the materials being used in your baby’s bedding in the past, but it’s good information to know that could help in terms of getting the most out of your products, doing it at the best price point, being environmentally aware, and much more! To get the best in baby and toddler bedding, look no further than Dreamtown Kids!

Easy lunch ideas for toddlers.

As a parent, a primary goal of yours is to do all you can to set the groundwork for success for your little one in all ways possible! One way you do this that makes a particularly large impact is by means of how you nourish your child, fueling them right… simply put, FOOD! Ensuring that your toddler is receiving both what they need nutritionally for their daily schooling as well as the means to set good habits for the future is the goal.

Sometimes, parenting life can get a little crazy, and coming up with good, healthy meals for your little one’s school lunch box can be hard to manage. For that reason, today, Dreamtown Kids would like to provide some options for quick, easy to prepare lunch ideas to keep your youngster running strong, day after day!

Food for Thought
What you’ll want to provide in these lunches is two-pronged, something with the nourishment to propel your kiddo through the rest of the day while being something that they’ll actually want to eat. With a lot of kids being more on the ‘picky’ side when it comes to eating, making sure the food you give them is something they’ll realistically want to eat, and not just leave untouched come lunch time, is important… or else they won’t eat it, and even a well-balanced meal does no good if left uneaten.

Main Course
The main course, the star of your toddler’s lunch! This will be the center of their meal, so stack it high with the things that will fuel them right! Some easy-to-prepare options are:

  • Turkey & Cranberry
    Give your little one an exciting flavor profile with this one! Turkey to grow them big and strong, dried cranberry to add a nice sweet addition, and even throw some sliced almonds and a leafy green of some sort to add some crunch!
  • PB&J
    A timeless classic, and for good reason! Peanut butter for protein and good healthy fats, whole grain bread for complex carbs, and jelly for that hint of sweetness that your kid will love! Feel free to get a little experimental too, adding fruits into their PB&J as well, such as sliced pears or bananas, nothing but options and customizability.
  • Ham & Cheese
    A loved sandwich is lunchrooms everywhere, hot or cold! Ham and cheese, the two main ingredients here, will fill your little one up with protein! Swap out different cheeses to keep things interesting, and add pickles or other toppings based on your child’s liking.

Sides/ Snacks
Supplementing a really creative main course option, like the ones listed above, with a healthy side and snacks for other parts of the day will round off your child’s nutrition, and keep them full for the rest of the day to come! If you provide something fun for the main course of their lunch, it’s okay to go a simpler route on the sides. Here are a couple options:

  • Carrots, Broccoli, Cucumber, Plantain chips, Sliced Apples, and more!

And for some of these, why not pair them with a delicious dipping option?

  • Honey, Hummus, Guacamole, Yogurt, Peanut or Almond Butter.

YUM!

And if you’re looking for some classic, creative snack options, here are a few to get started:

  • ‘Ants on a Log’, ‘Cauliflower Popcorn’, ‘Trail Mix’.

Ultimately, there’s nothing but options!

Conclusion
In conclusion, you want to ensure that your toddler is fueled properly as they go through each and every school day, and more, you want to know that you’re setting them up for good eating habits for the future. By following some of these options and incorporating creative ideas of your own into the mix, you’ll be on the right track! For more ideas on food and all things parenting related, look no further than the pros at Dreamtown Kids for tips and insights!

How to transition your baby into a crib

The time has come, your baby is getting bigger, and you’re approaching one of the first big transitions of your little one’s life: the transition out of a bassinet or cradle into their crib. Sleep is a comforting state for your baby, and to be thrust into a new, unfamiliar setup for sleeping can be really daunting to a young one. However, as much as they may fuss, YOU are doing it with their best interests at heart. So how do you tackle this major change-up? Let’s talk over some strategies!

#1 Just Do It!

You’ve finally managed to figure out the trick to helping your kiddo knock out for the night. You’ve become a pro at it, as a matter of fact! And now you have to completely recalibrate by moving your baby into a crib?! Oy vey! We understand, it can be difficult, but the first thing to bear in mind is to just do it! Start making the change even if that is a gradual one — which it should be. Your baby will adapt and the whole fussy stage will be a thing of the past in no time!

#2 Gradual Process

We said ‘gradual’ a moment ago, but that is such a key element, that we want to really drive that point home! While the decision to make these transitions needs to be an immediate one, as previously mentioned, once actions are put in place to make the transition from bassinet or cradle to crib, you’ll want to do it in gradual ways. A shock value, or sudden adjustments, aren’t going to prove very helpful. A couple ways to be gradual are:

  • Naps in Crib: Simply getting your baby accustomed to their new sleep arrangement is crucial. So for that reason, whenever they’re getting ready for a nap, if you’re home, go ahead and put them in the crib for that, as opposed to staying comfortable with you on the couch, etc.
  • Hope for the Best, Prepare for the Worst: As you may have assumed, being placed in the crib for naps or for bedtime may not render the best response out of your little one. While there are cases where babies will be entirely unfazed by their new sleep setting, others may cry… and cry… and cry. If crying is the result, unfortunately, sometimes you may need to let it run its course. Your child will need to develop an adaptation to being in this unfamiliar space. As a parent, you learn to distinguish between your baby’s cries, so if something becomes concerning, obviously address it, but otherwise, see if they can adjust.
  • Positive Reinforcement: Positive reinforcement is a super powerful tool, when utilized correctly. If you comfort your baby when they are ‘crying wolf’, so to speak, you will be positively reinforcing to them that whenever they cry, you’ll be there to save the day! What you can do, instead, is for the ‘cry wolf’ cases, simply wait until it has run its course, and then enter the area providing a hug or some physical contact to reinforce that they are okay, and subconsciously that they did a good job of adapting to their crib setup.

#3 Experimentation & Considerations

One final thing to keep in mind is that any major transition will never be solved with a one-size-fits-all approach. As you go through this transition, be sure to experiment with different options. For instance, if you notice that that putting your baby in their crib for a nap after they have already fallen asleep leads to them waking up crying, maybe try putting them in their crib for a nap before they have actually fallen asleep. This is just one example of exploring the different options. The goal isn’t to stubbornly abide to an approach that you think will work in the end, but to find a solution that WILL work, achieving the end result of your baby’s sound sleep in their new sleeper crib. If that mission is complete, then you did it the right way for your baby!

A good consideration is to think ahead to the next big transition. Don’t fret yourself over it, but just have it in mind. It’ll make the transition easier when it actually arrives! As you’re going into the crib transition and are thinking into the future when a two-year-old bed setup enters the equation, neck support will begin to be something to think about. Look to Dreamtown Kids‘ pillows to help provide that support when the time comes.

Conclusion

In conclusion, transitions are not always easy for your baby. But their vital steps in their life that need to be taken one way or another, with bassinet and cradle to crib transitions being no exception! Take some of the ideas expressed above and give them a go for yourself, and for all other guidance with your little ones, remember to always look to the pros at Dreamtown Kids!

Tips to help with first day of school “anxiety” for parents AND kids

This time of year right now, a lot of youngsters are either getting in gear for their very first day or school or have possibly already started schooling! Whether the first day is around the corner or your little one is already a little ways into their school year by this point, one thing is for certain, anxiety is REAL! The anxious, unsure feeling that stems from beginning school is something that affects your little ones, you as a parent, and the relationship between you and your children. Today, we’re going to dive into some ways to combat that anxiety so you can all face the school year as best as possible!

Parents

As a parent, you feel most comfortable when you are in control of the circumstances surrounding your children. This, without a doubt, will make it hard to give up some of that control as you send your child to school for the better part of the day, every day. Since you will have a hard time controlling what goes on during the school hours, the best thing you can do is a two-prong approach of proactivity and reactivity. Let’s talk about that.

Proactivity
As you’re preparing for the first day of school, or for any single day of school for that matter, taking a proactive approach in instilling the right values and information in your child will prove highly effective! Taking the time out ahead of that first day, or before any given day, to excite your child for upcoming friend-making and learning, as well as prepping with some practice in these fields ahead of time, will help them view the overall schooling experience as one to look forward to and enjoy. This will render them more engaged and successful, relieving you of some of that anxiety.

Proactivity Measure #1:
Find out if classroom rosters are available before the start of the school year. In doing this, you can try to connect with other parents and get play dates arranged, that way your little one at least feels comfortable with a few of the other kids in his or her class even before the first day of school. If the school year is already underway, all the same, get those play dates going!

Proactivity Measure #2:
Inquire in advance as to what some of the in class lessons will be, and see how you can begin to introduce those ideas to your child ahead of time. Being in a classroom after becoming accustomed to being home and around family for all this time can be daunting, and having some level of familiarity with what is happening in the classroom will be beneficial!

Reactivity
Remember that old commercial with the pitch “set it and forget it”… well shaping your child doesn’t quite work this way. While the proactive measures will be helpful in setting the ground work for how your child feels in the school setting, maintaining that level of comfort in the learning space will only be achieved by reacting accordingly to how they are doing in school based on that initial direction they were given by you.

Reactivity Measure #1:
Talk to your kid about their day. Simple as that. Create a warm environment with them, where talking about the intricate details of the day is welcome! Since you can’t necessarily be with them in the classroom all day, you might as well get to know what goes on during their time away at school. This will also help you be reactive in the event that there is something your kiddo is having a difficult time with in school.

Reactivity Measure #2:
Although homework may not exactly be a part of the picture in a lot of introductory schools, there may be some activities to take home and work on. Be a part of that process, wherever possible. It will help you to see how your child is grasping what they are being taught, and help you instill those ideas even further.

Reactivity Measure #3:
Another great way to do this is a method that Dreamtown Kids has actually mentioned once before, but it’s worth reiterating. That is to develop a great rapport with your youngster’s teacher or teachers to see the day-to-day and long-term progress that you kiddo is having socially and fundamentally. Establish a relationship and engagement with those who are helping educate your child, and you all can work as a team to achieve that.

Kids

While you, as a parent, view this transitional period one way, your child sees it in a totally different scope. It’s been a while since we’ve had our first school days, and it can show by the way we forget just how it feels and what helps in navigating the situation.

While the above mentioned ways to alleviate anxiety work well for parents, children don’t approach this anxiety in the overly-analytical way that us adults have to. They aren’t inconvenienced with such complexities, and they simply feel what they feel. The one thing that will help them overcome any anxious feelings — parental support, you doing what you can do to make the process as comfortable and rewarding for them as possible. And if you look to the aforementioned methods, everything will go superbly!

Conclusion

In conclusion, the first day or school or the first period of school for your little one can make for a lot of anxiety on your child’s part and your part alike. Doing whatever you and you child can do to make the transition as smooth as possible will be a big win, and starting with the tips listed here will make for a great foundation! To find out more ways to transition your child into their first school experience, look no further than the pros at Dreamtown Kids.

Sending them off to first day of school!

A lot of the fun that comes with bringing up a child is getting them prepared for all of those important milestones in their lives. There are going to be a lot of those days throughout their lifetime, but one of the first big events they’ll experience in their tiny little lives will be when they start getting prepared for their first day of school, how exciting! While exciting and bound to be a fun time of friend-making and learning, let’s make sure all of the administrative stuff to get your little one ready is addressed so things go as smoothly as possible. So here are some things to do in preparation for the start of school.

Tip #1: Fueling Up for Success

When you were getting ready for those Summer road trips with your little one, what was the first thing you would do before hitting the open road? That’s right, you’d fuel up! The same way, your child needs to be properly fueled for a big, excited, strenuous, and exhausting day. Make sure you start each day with a healthy and balanced breakfast that will give them the energy they need for a big day. And do the same for lunch, pack them something that will keep them powered-up and engaged through the hump! Some introductory schools at this level may provide meals like breakfast and lunch, but certainly don’t leave that up to chance, the success of your child’s first day (and every day thereafter) depends on it!

Tip #2: Learning Preparation

Going into a learning setting without any sort of warmup could prove extremely overwhelming to your child. In preparation for school, be sure to engage with your child in some of the intro-level learning that will take place. One key activity is reading. For your child to be familiar with reading, books, and stories will be one step amongst many that will make for a smooth transition into school. Based on the level of learning, some fun math activities could also prove helpful.

Being prepared with skills is important, but don’t stop there. Also be prepared with the tools for success. A proper backpack and supplies will ensure your child is ready for whatever task lies ahead of them. Be sure to also check any school resources you receive to see what they provide in the classroom as well as what they recommend to have ready come the start of the school year.

Tip #3: Tending to Emotional Needs

  • Tip #3.1: One thing that is going to be especially tough for your little one getting started is becoming accustomed to the idea of being away from home for hours each day. The key is to give them something that gives them that at-home comfort while they are away at school. In the event that nap-time is a part of the day, which is most likely will be for that first year at least, a great way to achieve this is by sending your youngster to school with a pillow for that time of the day. The simple addition of one small thing that feels like home will work wonders!
  • Tip #3.2: Talk with your child. Sure they’re young and may have a tough time grasping a lot of what is about to happen with school, but having a simple discussion will prove beneficial and make school feel familiar by the time they walk into the classroom. Also, make it a point to express the positives of school. Kids can often at a young age develop an inexplicable disdain towards school and to provide a positive framing for it will make their time more enjoyable from the get-go.
  • Tip #3.3: Tending to the emotional needs of your child doesn’t end at just speaking with you child. You’ll also want to speak with the person or people with whom your child is spending hours each day – his or her teachers. As you drop off and pick up your child each day, make an effort to engage in some level of communication to get an understanding of the teaching style, how your child is progressing, and being able to further reinforce consistent teaching outside of the classroom setting.

Conclusion

In conclusion, your child is getting ready for a very big milestone in their life, the first of many as a matter of fact! Being sufficiently prepared for this day will be key in ensuring the success of this next big step! These tips will prove helpful moving forward. To learn more about become prepared, as well as gaining the tools for success, contact Dreamtown Kids today!

The Pros and Cons of Co-Sleeping

When you bring a newborn into the world, you’ll have a lot of questions regarding best practices for all things from nutrition to hygiene and more. One area of infant care where you will definitely need some guidance is with sleeping arrangements and the consideration of co-sleeping. Today, we’re going to talk over some of the pros and cons of co-sleeping to help you understand if this would be an ideal practice for you. Let’s get started!

Pro #1: More Sleep for Your Little One
Your baby is going through a lot in his or her life at this point, and will need all the sleep they could get. Co-sleeping could be a great way to achieve exactly this! By being in close proximity to Mom and Dad, optimal comfort will be easy to achieve and sleep can come more easily. Furthermore if baby should need anything in the night, you can be there in a pinch to tend to those needs, bringing us to our next pro.

Pro #2: More Sleep for Mom and Dad
As a parent, you have the toughest job in the world. That means you’re going to need your rest, so you can keep doing the best job possible. Co-sleeping will help in this. By having baby nearby, you’ll shorten your travel time every time you need to nurse him or her back to sleep, change a diaper, or otherwise. Also, can literally rest easy having you little one close by where you know they are okay.

Pro #3: Closeness among Parents and Little One
To co-sleep means to be closer in proximity, and to be closer in proximity naturally has the effect of becoming closer in bond. You will have more opportunities to be around one another, become more familiar, and become more comfortable in doing this, so don’t be surprised if your parent to child bonds are strengthened as a product of co-sleeping!

While these are just a few of the pros of co-sleeping, there are still some potential cons to keep in mind when considering this practice within your own parenting.

Con #1: SIDs, Sudden Infant Deaths from Bed-Sharing
The first con is less of a con for co-sleeping and more of a con for a practice that is often confused for it, bed-sharing. While co-sleeping, or the act of sleeping within close proximity of your baby, is a good idea with lots of benefits, bed-sharing can be very risky. Whether it be due to an accidental parent roll-over, hair or threads getting wrapped around fingers or toes, or other potential things, there definitely notable consideration that come with the notion of this perceived form of co-sleeping.

Con #2: Intrusive to Mother and Father Relationship
While co-sleeping can oftentimes strengthen the relationships parent to parent and parent to child, there are times where a negative effect may be observed. Sometimes the act of having the little one in the room every night could make for less opportunities for parents to be intimate with one another. It’s advised that, while co-sleeping, to maintain good communication about relationship needs and make sure that everyone remains comfortable and happy with the arrangement.

Con #3: Parental Dependency
There is a chance that in applying co-sleeping practices, you baby may become a co-sleep-dependent toddler, becoming fussy at the notion of sleeping on one’s own. To prevent the occurrence of this, conduct thorough research into the best age to switch from co-sleeping to separate sleeping and monitor your situation well to see what you and your child may need in this circumstance.

In conclusion, there is a lot to learn in being a parent, and sleeping arrangements are certainly no exception to the seemingly-endless questions. To learn even more about topics surrounding co-sleeping, contact Dreamtown Kids for the best in child nurturing insights!