Parents Apps

Apps for Parents

Apps for Parents

When you’re a busy parent running around after your Little Pickle/s, time is precious – so we’ve put together our ten tried and tested free apps to give you a bit more of an easier life…and maybe even allow you a bit of time for yourself – provided you can get the pickles to nap on schedule.
Parents Apps

  • Mush – described as ‘tinder for mums’, is a site that enables mums to meet with other local mums in the area. Motherhood can be extremely lonely so if you’re looking for playgroups to attend with your little pickle or other likeminded mums to hang out with then have a look around this fab mum directory! You can download the app here – App Store or Google Play
  • Doodle –when there’s a group of you, no one can ever make the same date.  Doodle saves a huge amount of time going back and forth. Set up a poll with the date range, select the dates you can do and then send the link out to your friends. Once all participants have completed the poll, the most popular days are flagged up and ta-da that’s the date sorted – and you don’t have to be the one to pick one friend’s availability over another. Win! Get it from the App Store here and Google Play here
  • Just Eat – when you’ve had a busy day and the thought of slaving over the oven is not that appealing, reach for your phone and order in your dinner instead. Everyone deserves a treat night once in a while! App Store user? Get it here. Google Play user? Get it here
  • YouTube – whether baby is a few days old or you’ve got a wayward toddler then Youtube will be your saviour. Load up white noise for those times you’ve forgotten to pack Ewan or your myHummy sleep aids, pop on ten minutes of Peppa Pig and Ben and Holly for those days when you can’t face anymore ‘But, why mummy?’ questions or search out some educational games for when you need to get the dinner cooking! YouTube comes as standard on most smartphones but if you need a reminder, download here.
  • First Year – this app makes tracking daily activities a piece of cake! It’s ideal if you’re trying to keep, or establish, a routine with easy to input feeds/naptimes/nappy data logs. You can even track developmental milestones as well as growth charting. It also comes with a handy ‘notes’ section which is ideal for making notes to chat to Health Visitors about – or simply to remind yourself to do something later in the day! Get organised by downloading on App StoreLP~M Apps NHS
  • Healthier Together – as a parent, there are so many worries through pregnancy, birth and beyond. The Healthier Together app allows parents to symptom check or receive advice from healthcare professionals. No more scare searching on Google! You can download Healthier Together on the App Store here or Google Play here
  • Baby Buddy – what better endorsement is there than one from everyone’s favourite doctor?! Dr Ranj says ‘this app really is what I call the future of healthcare’. Designed to guide mums-to-be through their pregnancy and the first six month of baby’s life, boasts a virtual expert who you can ask a question to at any time of the day or night, daily chunks of information tailored to your stage of pregnancy or age of baby, input your upcoming appointments with reminders and there’s even a ‘What does that mean?’ section where you can find out what a word means.  Download on App Store or Google PlayLPM Buddy App
  • Canva – ever wondered how people get lovely fonts and motifs over images without paying a designer? They’re more than likely using Canva! This app has pre-set templates that are editable or you can start from scratch with a photo upload and drag and drop your chosen font over. So whether you want a fancy Instagram post, a new facebook cover photo or maybe a blog post heading then this is the app for you, download here.
  • Life cake – there’s no doubt your phone camera is stuffed full of pictures and videos from pregnancy, early baby days through to toddler and beyond, so wouldn’t it be nice to be able to share all of those photos with your selected friends and family from all over the world – in complete privacy? Introducing Lifecake! And what’s even better is that it puts all photos into date order, so even if you’re not organised – it will organise it for you. Share your link with people you want to be able to view it; no more forgetting to get photos developed for auntie Mavis, she can view them all at her leisure. App Store it here or Google Play here
  • NCT Babychange – we all quickly get to know our local town’s facilities and can quite easily navigate one-handed to the nearest baby change or mother and baby rooms, but what happens when you experience a poonami in a new area? This is where NCT Babychange comes in! It not only shows you where the nearest place is to your current location but it also features honest ratings from mums who’ve been in the same situation as you previously – so you can pick and choose which one you clear up the explosion in. There’s got to be some silver linings! App Store download here and Google Play here

LPM Apps NCT Babychange

Written by Jess from Prosecco Mum, you can follow her on all the socials below

www.proseccomum.com

www.facebook.com/proseccomum

www.twitter.com/proseccomum

www.instagram.com/the_prosecco_mum

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First Family Holiday

Packing for your Little Pickle’s first family holiday.

Packing for your Little Pickles’s first family holiday

Do you remember the time when you used to book a spontaneous long weekend or holiday and could throw a few things in and travel with just hand luggage? Well, those days are just a distant memory as you embark on holidays with your little pickle…and the kitchen sink in tow!

It’s an exciting time when you decide to take the plunge and leave the security of your own home, with everything in its place, and embark on your first family holiday; but that first time can also be overwhelming as you deliberate on exactly what to pack.

The age of the child can make a difference to what you pack and what becomes an ‘essential’ but here we share our top tips on what to pack for your first holiday with a weaning baby.

Feeding Essentials

If you have just started your weaning journey then you’ll also be supplementing your little pickle with breast or bottle feeding too. Luckily you can pack your boobs but for the bottle feeders amongst us then there’s a few extra essentials to remember!

    • Bottles & Teats
    • Sterilising tablets or sterilising bags

 

  • Ready made formula / powder to make up as you go (remember if you’re flying and taking this in your hand luggage then pop it into clear bags as per usual liquids – security will allow liquids over 100ml if it is for babies, but it will still go through a security search)
  • Milk powder dispenser pots are perfect for the journey as well as days away from the hotel

 

Top tip! For the journey – take or make up enough feeds, plus a couple more, in case of delays.


Food and Weaning Essentials

Plan your baby’s food around the number of days you are there and take enough for each sitting – then add a few more! We recommend taking pouches where possible and lots of snacks. Of course there will be food available, but let’s face it the majority of babies are fussy, so to rule out your baby going into starvation mode then take what they’re used to and cut out one element of stress whilst away. Breakfast is usually the easiest as it’s a home from home; cereals, toast, fruit – ideal if you are baby led weaning – so you could skip packing the breakfast items.  

  • Cup/Beaker
  • Baby bowls
  • Baby spoons
  • Spare pots to keep snacks and leftover ‘pouch’ food in
  • Resealable freezer bags to keep leftover food in or used spoons/pots
  • Disposable bibs – saves on handwashing and also lightens the load on the return
  • Cover all bibs – especially for those baby led weaners!
  • Washing up liquid to wash cups and bowls up (we told you those carefree days were over!)
  • Most hotels provide highchairs but you may want to take a travel seat or a highchair ‘insert’ to ensure that baby won’t slip from side to side

Top tip! Take more food and snacks than you’ll think you need. And remember to pack them for easy access for the journey to your destination!

Travelling and Sleeping

When you’re away, it’s hot – hopefully – and you are likely to go exploring so a pushchair is an absolute must have. A lightweight umbrella fold stroller is the most ideal to take but consider whether your child will be happy and comfortable in there for long periods of time. If you want to eat later than their bedtime, the pram is likely to double up as a portable bed for a few evening hours. A large lightweight muslin cloth can be used to drape over the pushchair to stop beady eyes gazing out at the entertainment (do be careful – ensure it is lightweight and allow for air to flow through).

Dependent on the hood on your pram, you might also need to pack the sun shade/parasol to keep delicate skin out of the sun’s blazing rays.  

A baby carrier – it may not be used when you reach the end destination, but it’s super useful for the airport/transfer part of the journey, giving you a free hand to pull the extra cases and to find passports/boarding passes quickly.

You may want to also consider a travel case if your pram is of a high value – airport handlers are known to chuck items about – even those marked ‘fragile’.

Don’t forget to book a cot or travel cot with your accommodation – we would then recommend taking your own sheets. If your baby has any particular toys in their cot at home, take them along with you – it helps to have something familiar to them on their home away from home

  • Lightweight stroller or babies usual pushchair
  • Pram case
  • Parasol or sunshade
  • Large lightweight muslin
  • Travel sleeping bag
  • Baby carrier/Sling
  • Cot sheets and linens
  • Familiar toy/blanket

Top tip! A travel sleeping bag is well worth taking, you can get your little one ready for bed before you go out in the evening and then do the ‘pram to cot’ transfer when you get back – no need to redress or cover them.

Hot Holiday Clothing Essentials

So you’ve imagined yourselves lapping up the sun, but now the day’s getting closer you’re starting to think more practically. Remember those carefree holidays we mentioned? Babies aren’t great in the heat, so you can wave goodbye to hours basking in the sunshine around the pool. But no fear, there are many ways to keep baby cool in the heat and ensure your first family holiday is memorable for all the right reasons!  

  • Sun lotion/block – Factor 50. Check the UVA rating on the packaging has 5 stars (or at least 4)
  • UV swim suit/swim vest and sun hat with neck collar
  • Night time babygros/PJ’s – likelihood is that the air conditioning will be on in the room and, so it will be cooler than back home
  • Lightweight dresses / trousers – linen is a lovely cool fabric. Make sure that they are not too tight – nothing worse than a hot and bothered baby
  • Swim nappies – if you plan to be at the pool every day then plan to take at least four nappies per day. There’s nothing worse than a ‘code brown’ and it’s even worse when it’s from your child!
  • Float seat – babies are like eels at the best of time, so to ensure no nasty accidents happen in the pool, pack a swim seat to allow them to bob around safely
  • Pool toys
  • Pop up UV tent – takes away the worry of baby being out in the sun as you frantically search for some shade, this way they can relax inside with their toys or enjoy a nap, whilst you enjoy a few rays
  • Magicool / Water spray. Pushchair fan

Little Pickle's Holiday

Top tip! If you have room in your case, take a small paddling pool with you. It’s ideal to have by your sun lounger with a little bit of water for baby to play and splash about in and keep cool


Other Must Takes

  • Baby monitor
  • Wet wipes – ideal for wiping sandy hands and melting icecreams, as well as wiping down tables and highchair trays
  • Antibacterial wipes / gels
  • Toys
  • Travel changing mat
  • Travel adaptors
  • Travel wash – take a few tubes! For weaning babies, there’s sure to be some of the orange stains on bibs, collars and sleeves – don’t leave them to grow mould during the week, put them into soak and hang out in the sun
  • A mini chemist – calpol, thermometer, saline drops, plasters, rehydration sachets
  • EHIC cards
  • Comforters and/or dummies
  • Nappies
  • Nappy sacks
  • Sudocrem
  • Moisturising creams – the pool chlorine can dry out skin
  • Rug for baby to lie/sit on
  • Camera (and charger) to snap all of your happy memories

Top tip! The sunshine is amazing at bleaching out stains from clothes and bibs so be sure to make the most of the rays.

Lastly, and the most important, be sure to enjoy your holiday and make the most of being away from your everyday life. For the little things you may have forgotten, don’t panic – you will be able to buy most, if not everything, whilst you’re away.  We wish you a happy holiday!

Written by Jess from Prosecco Mum, you can follow her on all the socials below

www.proseccomum.com

www.facebook.com/proseccomum

www.twitter.com/proseccomum

www.instagram.com/the_prosecco_mum

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October Half Term Ideas

October Half Term Ideas

The beginning of October has gone and my children only have 8 more days at school before it’s half term!! How did that happen? I am now racking my brains for ideas how to keep the Pickles entertained. So thought I would share my October Half Term Ideas with you all.

It will be nice to have a week and a half again with no routine. No 6 am wake ups to get my eldest 2 to the bus stop by 7.30am.

Now I need to decide what we are going to do with the days that the pickles are off school. Well, my bank balance is still recovering from the summer holiday. Plus having to buy school uniform, shoes and bus passes, for the kids return to work last month. Also with the festivities only 11 weeks away (Sorry, if like me you are trying to ignore this!) I will be watching the pennies to go towards Christmas surprises.

Luckily we have National Trust Membership and lots of NT properties close to home. If the weather is fine we can go and explore some of the houses and gardens at local NT properties. One of our favourite NT properties is Stourhead, it always looks lovely in the autumn so definitely worth a trip. 

Not a National Trust member then I’m sure you will have a nearby park or woods. Where you will still go and have some autumn fun. If the leaves are dry the Pickles can collect a bag full of leaves and twigs as they make lovely pictures, this will give us an indoor activity if we have a wet day.  Although I am not a fan of walking in the rain I will have to brace myself if it’s  rainy as we all of wellies, raincoats and the 2 littlest Pickles both have rain trousers thanks to Dry Kids.

Now that the Pickles are a bit older on a fine day we will go the park with some bats and balls to have a game of rounders or cricket, although we don’t stick to the rules or are too strict on scoring as this prevents battles. It’s just so that they can all run around to let off steam and wear them out.

We have a subscription to Now TV  so love to have a film marathon, with buckets full of popcorn. Nothing like a lovely lazy film afternoon to relax and recharge our batteries.

When I was little we used to have indoor picnics on autumn afternoons. If you cook with your Pickles then this could fill a lot of the day as you could make cakes, sausage rolls, cheese straws etc with them and then have these at the picnic. Cooking isn’t my thing so I will get the picnic bits at the supermarket or just raid the fridge and do with what we have at home. 

I think am going to try an Indoor Treasure Hunt if it’s the weather isn’t on our side this Half Term. Now my children’s rooms are always untidy. It seems that as soon as I finish tidying it and walk downstairs the toys and books throw themselves on the floor!! So I am going to make a list, for each Pickle. For example, they can find a Barbie with clothes on, a red car. They will have to collect 10 things each and get a prize for doing it nothing massive. But before they get their prize they will have put their items away in the right place 1st.

My last saving grace for a wet half term is our local scrapstore. The pickles can go and have a rummage, picking up all sorts of bits for crafting, including big sheets of paper to stick the bits onto. At our local one, we can fill a bag full of goodies for a minimal fee. Coming home with enough to keep the Pickles amused for ages. There are now Scrapstores all over the UK, so I’m sure there is one local to you.

Well, I hope these ideas will help you have a great half term. I have now reminded myself of all the great things we can do and am actually looking forward to having the Pickles at home again.

Written by Jessamine aka Mummy Pickle, you can follow our families half term adventures over in Instagram

 

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family decluttering tips

10 Family Decluttering Tips

Life can be hectic with your Little Pickles, work and other commitments. Sometimes the house can get a little neglected and before you know it chaos has struck. So we thought we would share 10 family decluttering tips.

  1. Get the Little Pickles involved. – Sometimes the kids can be very helpful. So take time with them to go through toys and clothes they have grown out of. Once sorted you can put away for younger siblings, pass on to friends and family or ready to sell. They can also help put the things they want to keep away too.
  2. Schedule Times to do it and keep to it – The weeks can whizz by and before you know it there is more and more clutter builds. So pull out your diary and set some days or a couple of hours aside to have a clear out.
  3. Assign a home for everything – Most of us are guilty of having a pile or two of things that have no designated home. Change that make sure every item you own has somewhere to live. Then when you are tidying it will be put away instead of moving from one place to the next.
  4. Break it down into small steps – When you think about all the jobs that need doing it can seem pretty daunting. So make a list and break jobs down into small more achievable steps. It’s always great to tick lots of small jobs off than waiting ages to tick off a huge task.
  5. Nothing on the floor – A clear floor a clear mind, a room can instantly look much tidier if the floor is clear. So once the kids have finished playing encourage them to tidy up. Clear those shoes from in the hallway, pick up that used mug or plate.
  6. Have an in-tray and out-tray – As your pickles grow the forms seem to be never ending. Whether it is school trip letters, clubs enrollment forms or that tax credits return. Pop them into the in-tray and then you know where they all are. Once they have been completed pop in the out-tray ready to be returned or posted. When your pickles are older it can be their responsibility to empty letters out of their school book bags themselves.
  7. Make a list of target areas – you might have a problem area in your house. I know ours is our hallway, as it is so easy to walk in the door and dump shoes coats. Or create a pile of things to go up on the stairs. If you have an area that bugs you make it a priority to clear it once and for all and lay down the rules to keep it clutter-free.
  8. Clean up after meals – it is so easy to have your tea then feel full and want to just chill on the sofa. When you get up to go to bed there’s nothing worse than seeing the dishwasher still needs packing. If you clear up straight a meal then it may make you feel better.
  9. As your Little Pickle grows out of clothes and toys sort them – there are a huge number of parents that tell us they put everything their children have grown out of into the loft or garage without sorting. Sort things ready to sell as you go, then once you book a table it is a case of turning up on the day, unload your boxes and make some money.
  10. Make all the beds every morning – this one is self-explanatory and simple, but can make a huge difference. It’s much nicer to climb into a made bed every night. Even a toddler can kind of straighten their bed up every morning.

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childcare choices

Childcare Choices

Coffee and cake, nice long walks with your baby, the maternity clothes are back in the loft and you’re now getting at least 3 hours of solid sleep a night. That can only mean one thing, time to think about returning to work.

Maybe you‘re a dad who has been able to enjoy some extended paternity leave with your little one too, whatever the case,  have you had time to consider childcare options?

If you are planning to go back to work and need an idea of what’s available, take a look at the brief list of childcare choices below.

Day nurseries

  • full day care setting
  • all year round
  • cater for children from 3 months- 5yrs.

Pros:

A child gets to socialise and interact with other children.

Learn social skills such as sharing, turn taking.

Picky eaters are more likely to eat when other kids are eating the same thing.

A Wider variety of toys to play with.

Cons:

Knowing that your child might have more fun without you.

If your child is unsettled at first, it’s the most horrible feeling leaving them crying and walking away.

Illness! Both a pro and a con! Kids are more likely to pick up childhood illnesses at a day care setting than if they were at home. But it gets it out of the way early so they don’t have much time off when they go to school.

 

Pre-schools

  • sessional day care
  • times vary from 9am-12pm/ 3pm, generally on a term time basis
  • cater for children aged 3-5yrs.

Pros:

Shorter sessions

Linked to local school or nearby

Cons:

Term time only

The shorter sessions may not fit in with your work hours.

 

Childminder

  • Home based setting.
  • full day care, all year round.
  • ages 3mths-5yrs.
  • the option of school drop off and pick up for an older sibling.

Pros:

Children get to interact with older and younger kids in the same group setting.

More opportunity to do day trips and have quiet sessions when needed.

A Smaller group of children.

Home environment.

Cons:

If the childminder is ill / on holiday, they may not have a backup childminder available to help.

 

Nanny

Looks after your child(ren) in your home on the hours you agree to.

Pros:

Maybe more flexible with hours if you do shift work or are running late.

Help around the house with nursery duties

Could be cheaper than other childcare settings if you have more than one child.

Cons:

If the nanny is sick, parents will have to find alternative childcare at short notice.

Lots of 1:1 time can make the child more needy and which could take the time to adjust to independent play.

 

Au-pair

Lives in your home and helps with childcare and general household duties.

Pros:

A lot cheaper than other childcare settings

May have a second language to teach the children

Cons:

Not usually qualified in childcare

There could be a language barrier

 

Grandparents

We love grandparents! They are such valued people who can enjoy quality time with their grandkids, (including bending the rules and spoiling the kids), while you’re at work. Perhaps a little overnight stay here and there too.

Pros:

You know exactly who is caring for your kiddies and have unconditional love for them.

May be able to be flexible on days

Usually free – just the odd bunch of flowers or treat to show appreciation.

Cons:

May not stick to the rules which can lead to your child playing one off against the other!

There is funding available to help with some childcare options and depending on your circumstances.

Low-income households may be eligible for 15 hours of childcare for their 2-year-olds, take a look here for more info.

Check out the 30 hours free childcare info to see if your family are entitled to it.

You may find that your company are considerate regarding your childcare arrangements and offer flexible working.

Keep an eye out for our future blogs where we will be looking more in depth at each setting.

Written by Gemma our Dorset Organiser

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