Monday, July 28, 2008

Napmat: A Solution to Your Napping Nightmares?

Looking back at your childhood, you might agree that nap time was the best! Little or no responsibilities allowed you the ability to stop whatever you were doing and just go to sleep in the middle of the day. As an adult with children it is nearly impossible to take a nap during the day but imagine how nice that would be. Experts say that nap time for children is crucial. Children require naps in order to keep them alert and able to function throughout the day. They are able to learn more and their minds are able to retain more information when they have an appropriate amount of rest. A problem for most parents is actually getting them down for a nap. Sometimes it can be very difficult to get them to settle down so that they can drift off to sleep. You may want to try closing the blinds creating a cozy and quiet environment very similar to bedtime. Some children require a security item like a special blanket or stuffed animal to help them relax. Another way to spice up nap time is to change their nap time bedding. A napmat is an alternative to a crib or bed and may be just what they need to get them excited about a nap again. Napmats are comfy and cozy and allow children a new place to cuddle up and get their important rest time. Napmats aren’t just for naps at home, they are also great for naps at Mothers Day Out, Preschool, Daycare, Kindergarten or Grandma’s house.

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Sunday, June 1, 2008

School’s Out…But Your Napmat May Still Come in Handy

Summer is here and the question every mom has is, “what are we going to do all summer?” I have been asking the same question and a few of my informative customers have contacted me needing a napmat right away. So the napmat you purchased last year for school may still come in handy. I recently realized that there are preschool/mothers day out programs or day camps throughout the summer. Check with your local church programs to see if they are offering something like this a couple days a week. I have found a few church schools that offer a 5 week program with 2 to 3 days a week and some that only offer a week or two at a time. These programs fill up fast so don’t wait too long. Any type of program would be helpful to keep the kids away from the television and video games that seem to fill a lot of downtime during the summer. Some of these programs will most likely require a napmat or kindermat for rest time. This is another time you can pull out your napmat outside of the regular school year. Also, you can have your kids curl up in their napmat with a great book for some great educational downtime during the week. I just thought I would share a few more ways to utilize your napmat. Happy summer!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Party At My Playhouse - Bring Your Own Toys

A great investment for your kids this summer is the KidKraft Outdoor Playhouse. Your kids will play for hours and it is a great way to get them out of the house and away from the television. An outdoor playhouse will help stimulate their imaginations and give them the opportunity to explore in an exciting place that is just their own size. They will love their very own cabin-in-the-woods with windows and doors that really open and close. On the inside of the house a counter, storage shelves and sink create a mini kitchen where they can prepare many different pretend meals for their friends and family. Your kids can send and receive important mail using their mailbox with a red flag. There are two benches to sit back and relax on after a long day of play. The outdoor playhouse has a chalkboard placed above the door so your child can personalize it with their own name. The young explorers in your life will love their new cool hangout and parents will appreciate the detailed structure and sturdy construction. The KidKraft Outdoor Playhouse is made of weather resistant wood and requires assembly.

Be sure to remember that a napmat and backpack would be perfect for their little outdoor adventure in the woods.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Color Carriers

If your child likes to color as much as mine does, it is often agonizing to try and keep up with the crayons that always seem to find themselves a new home only after being used just a few times. The Kozy Color Carrier provides a unique and easy way for you and your child to keep up with those crayons and avoid having to continually purchase new ones.

The Kozy Color Carrier neatly stores up to 64 crayons for easy storage and transport. It is the perfect accessory for your little one to carry in the car, on the airplane, at a restaurant or anywhere! Teach your little ones early to organize their crayons and keep your kitchen drawers and purse organized at the same time. It fastens securely with a velcro closure. The Kozy Color Carrier makes the perfect big brother or big sister gift. Machine washable (You must remove crayons before washing!) and made in the USA.

Don't forget to get your original handmade designer napmats, shopping cart covers, diaper bags, baby slings and more at

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Back to PreSchool Questions Answered

School is just around the corner. Alot of children experience their very first days of school at a Mother's Day Out or Preschool program. Whether your child will be attending Mother's Day Out, Daycare or Preschool there are many important things you will need to know to ensure that your child is prepared for the first day of school. I have put together a list of frequently asked questions by parents that may help ensure a good start to the school year.

Will my child nap at school?

The answer to this question will depend on your specific program. Depending on how many hours your child attends school may determine if they will be napping. If your child will be eating lunch at school and they are in a Mother’s Day Out program then most likely he or she will go down for a nap or rest time after lunch. For all other programs usually the one, two and three year old children will nap everyday. However, it is important to check with your specific program as there are cases when Kindergartners still have a rest time. Usually your program will require that you provide a napmat and blanket for your child to rest on. There are a few different styles of napmats available on the market. The three most common are the all-in-one napmat, covers for Kindermats and the traditional sleeping bag. You may want to check with your individual program to determine if your school has a certain preference for the type of napmat you bring for your child. Most schools suggest introducing the napmat at home a few weeks before school starts. Also talk with them about how they will use the napmat at school for rest time. This will help your child adjust to napping at school. Also, a couple of weeks before school starts most programs suggest adjusting your child’s schedule to be similar to the school schedule. Most programs take a nap, after lunch, at about 12:30.

Does my child need a backpack?

Yes and make sure you provide a backpack that is big enough to easily hold a lunch kit, a folder, a jacket and a change of clothes. It is also important to make sure everything is labeled with your child's name.

What should they bring for lunch?

It is important to pack a nutritious lunch that your child can easily eat on their own. Be sure to include foods containing Vitamins A and C and try not to send soda or candy. Also keep in mind that most programs are unable to heat up lunch items. Children in preschool classes gain independence when they are able to open containers, unpack and pack up their lunch. These skills are taught and encouraged at lunchtime and you can help your child succeed by letting them do this at home. Mother’s Day out students are usually required to bring a sippy cup for lunch and one for snack. For the younger children a sippy cup is preferred over a juice box as they tend to have a difficult time opening them on their own and they can be more messy.

Does my preschool child need to be potty trained?

The answer to this question is most likely yes. This is another situation when we highly suggest checking with your program. Some programs have limited schedules, equipment, and activities that do not allow the teacher to change diapers or pull-ups. It is a general rule that in these programs your child should be potty trained if they are entering a 3 year old class. A child who is successfully potty trained wears underwear (not pull-ups), can communicate his needs to his teacher, and displays independence in the bathroom. You can help your child by dressing them in clothes that are easy for them to pull up and down. Also at home encourage independence with pottying and always make sure they are washing their hands. Boy’s restrooms usually have regular potties and urinals in them. Boys gain more independence when they are able to use a urinal. It is important to take time on meet the teacher night to show your child around and specifically point out bathrooms. This may help your child to feel more comfortable with that part of their routine at school. For the one and two year old classes you will probably need to provide diapers/pull-ups for your child. The teachers are always willing to work with you and your child as you begin the potty training process. Most children will learn faster by watching their peers who have successfully mastered pottying.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Nap Mat: Is It The Right Choice For Your Napping Needs?

For your child’s rest time at pre-school, daycare, or even at Grandma’s or home, nap mats are a great option for a familiar, comfortable place to rest or nap. Many early childhood centers now require parents to furnish naptime bedding which must be taken home and washed weekly. Nap mats are a neat, compact solution for required rest time at school, and using the napmat on the weekends for home or travel rest time creates continuity for children that signifies comfort and familiarity.

There are several napmat options available, and most can be customized with the fabric of your (or your child’s) choice, and monogrammed for easy recognition by caretakers. The following three types of nap mats are the most popular and versatile for resting at school, home, and while traveling.

The All-In-One Nap mat:

The all-in-one nap mat includes, as its name implies, a connected sleeping mat, pillow, and blanket. Easy to wash, roll, and carry with a shoulder strap, the all-in-one napmat is a hassle-free way to carry bedding. Some all-in-one napmats include a removable pillow insert, and most are secured when rolled up with Velcro closures. The ideal napmat’s blanket will be connected at the bottom of the sleeping mat, rather than on the side, to ensure toes are covered. When it comes to cleaning your all-in-one, just throw the entire napmat in the wash; there’s no chance of missing a blanket or pillow when washing, drying, or rolling it up early on a Monday morning. All-in-one nap mats are usually well padded and are great for resting on cots, mats, rugs, floor, or beds.

As with the majority of nap mats, most all-in-ones can be customized and personalized.

Kindermat Covers:

Kindermats, the plastic tri-fold resting mat, are used in many childcare facilities and usually require customized bedding. If a Kindermat is provided or required, there are a variety of covers and bedding sets available. Kindermat covers fit over the mat like a fitted sheet or pillow case, and are easy to put on and remove; many covers also include Velcro attachments for securing the napmat onto the Kindermat. There are both padded and un-padded options for the fitted mat available. In addition, there are all-in-one napmats for Kindermats that include all of the pieces, as well as sets including separate matching pillow and blankets. Kindermats and their covers can be folded compactly for travel and most can be customized and personalized.

Sleeping Bags:

Sleeping bags are another very popular choice for rest time, traditionally used for camping or slumber parties for older kids. There are now many other smaller options out there for young children, although they usually remain true to the original design. They zip your child up snugly for cozy naptime, although very few include pillows. Sleeping bags also tend to be thicker than other types of napmats, so in warmer climates, children may get too hot. Sleeping bags are still the ideal for camping and some overnight situations, but due to their thickness don’t roll up as compactly as other types of nap mats. Unlike other nap mats, many sleeping bags are available in water resistant fabrics, which again, lends to their desirability for outdoor or tent sleeping. Sleeping bags are easily washed and, as other napmats, many can be customized and personalized.

As you can see from the above three options, there are many great nap mats available for your child’s rest time. Whether for use at home, at a childcare facility, or for travel, a nap mat can help your child recognize when it’s time for rest and quiet. If your child is old enough, involve her or him in picking the fabric. With all of the pattern and color options available, shopping for your nap mat can be great fun both of you.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Grocery Shopping Cart Seats: The Dirty Little Secrets

Unbeknownst to most parents, many grocery shopping carts and restaurant high chairs are covered with numerous, and potentially harmful, germs. Just imagine how many children have left their saliva and mucous on the handles and bars of the carts and chairs. The worst scenario involves parents touching multiple, leaking packages of beef and chicken to find the “best package,” then putting their hands back on the shopping cart handle. My husband and I noticed how often our first child would bite and chew on whatever was in front of him, whether grocery shopping cart handles or high chair rails. It bothered me and I had to figure out a way to protect my child from all of the harmful germs.

During my research, I came across a report on contaminated shopping carts. In 1998, Doctor Kelly Reynolds, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona, visited six Tucson supermarkets while doing research to determine how certain bacteria find their way into people’s homes. “I decided to pay special attention to contact points that were frequently touched by shoppers but rarely, if ever, cleaned,” says Dr. Reynolds. “When we asked supermarkets how frequently shopping carts were cleaned, the answer often was, almost never.” In her investigation, Dr. Reynolds discovered that twenty percent (20%) of the carts tested positive for bodily fluids, blood, mucus, saliva or urine, which could transmit infectious germs.

Another story I came across was from Linda Yee, a reporter with KRON (Channel 4), a television station in San Francisco who went to the Department of Public Works and watched workers wearing bio-hazard suits remove trash and human waste from shopping carts collected on the streets. KRON-4 randomly selected and tested several of these carts and found that half of them tested positive for fecal coliform, the bacteria derived from human excrement, as well as fecal strep and E.coli. Yee found that when these carts were returned to the supermarkets they were immediately put back in service without being cleaned!

How many times have we exposed our children to harmful germs and didn’t even know it? There are different types of shopping cart seat covers and restaurant high chair covers designed to protect our children from these harmful germs and bacteria. I have discovered two general designs: 1) minimum coverage and 2) full coverage. The bare minimum coverage shopping cart seat covers really only cover the bar or handle around your little one, but they are small and can easily fold up to about the size of a diaper, which is convenient. The full coverage shopping cart seat cover design is usually made with a thick batting material in between to cushion baby’s bottom. Additionally, the elastic sewn in allows you to stretch the material around all four sides of the shopping cart seat, as well as, mommy’s handle. I have recently noticed a new double or twin version of these shopping cart seat covers on the Sam’s and Costco double seat shopping carts.

Finally, there are many different manufacturers of shopping cart seat covers each with their own unique design and features. However, the end result is still the same which is to protect your little shopper from the germs and harmful bacteria found on dirty restaurant high chairs and shopping carts.