A Practical Guide On "Safe and Healthy Sleep For Babies, Children and Parents”
New parents have to deal with many questions that the birth of a baby raises. How do I dress my baby properly? How do I calm them down when it's crying? How can I help my child when they have a cold? Am I a good father or a good mother? And how do you actually organise a child-friendly holiday? You may also be unsure whether your child should remain an only child or have another sibling. In order to support you during this exciting time, we have put together the most important questions and answers on this page for you.
ALL TOPICS AT A GLANCE
TIPS AND TRICKS FOR PARENTS – AN INTRODUCTION
When raising your child, you will certainly encounter many questions to which you do not yet know the answers. Especially if you’re a first-time parent, you may not yet know how to properly breastfeed your little one, how to help them with a cold, how to dress them properly in winter or treat a hip dysplasia that may be present.
With a small child, you also have to adapt learned routines such as weekly shopping or holiday planning in order to create a stress-free environment for everyone involved.
Also, as the months and years go by, you will want to make Easter and Christmas more active as your child grows and wants to explore the world.
You may also be thinking about having another child or wondering if a four-legged friend is the right companion for your loved one.
The first years of child development are incredibly exciting and sometimes exhausting for you and your little one. But with various tips and tricks you can make this wonderful time exciting and enjoy it together.
HOW DO I DRESS MY CHILD CORRECTLY IN WINTER?
Winter can be so beautiful - and also so cold! But it doesn’t work without fresh air, so put on your winter clothes and let’s go. But this is exactly where parents regularly encounter problems. What should I dress my child up for?
Understandable, as a mother you worry that your child might get too cold, but you shouldn't start sweating either. Especially with babies, it’s still difficult for the body to compensate for larger temperature differences itself. In general, the tried and tested onion look is therefore a good idea, then you can react quickly if you notice that your child is getting too warm and take off a layer. With the onion look, your child wears several layers of clothing on top of each other. The warm air that’s between the individual layers and which can circulate keeps your child nice and warm without sweating. This is particularly important if you don't just go out into the fresh air for a short time, but are out and about for a longer time and alternately come into the warm and cold, for example when shopping. Make sure your baby's hands, feet and head are adequately covered when you're outside, because that's where body heat is lost particularly quickly.
Lined winter boots, which should also be water-repellent, waterproof and breathable at the same time, are indispensable during the cold season. Sweaty feet cool down quickly and lead to colds, which is why it’s so important that the shoes are breathable. It’s often advisable to buy winter boots one size larger so that they can be worn with thicker socks on particularly cold days.
Babies in particular lose most of their body heat through their heads, which make up a significant part of their body. Therefore it's very important that you wear a warm hat in the cold temperatures. The hat you choose for your child should definitely protect the ears, as they often react sensitively to icy wind and weather.
Mittens or finger gloves? Finger gloves are more practical for children because they make it easier for them to reach for things. Getting dressed can be stressful at times. It’s best to have both options at home and then try which one you can handle better with. The gloves are often connected with a cord that is pulled through the sleeves of the jacket to keep them from getting lost.
When sleeping in winter, it’s best for your child to wear a bodysuit or underwear and pyjamas. Blankets in the cot should also be avoided in winter. It’s safer to have a suitable and warm baby sleeping bag for the winter, which keeps your child's body temperature constant even at night.
BABY CARE: WHAT DOES MY BABY REALLY NEED?
When you leave the hospital with your baby and arrive home, it becomes your responsibility to care for your baby on your own. In the early days, your aftercare midwife can show you the most important steps and give you valuable tips. Your sweetheart needs to be changed, bathed and washed regularly. In the first few weeks, navel care also plays a role and there are also a few things to consider when cutting baby's nails.
During the first attempts, the handles when changing nappies may still be a bit uncertain, but don't worry. Routine will quickly set in at the changing table, because your baby's nappy should be changed every three to four hours and, of course, after every bowel movement. It’s best to use lukewarm water and a washcloth for cleaning. It’s very important that your baby's bottom is dried thoroughly afterwards so that it doesn’t become sore. In order to make changing your baby as comfortable as possible, you should make sure that they don’t freeze. So-called heat lamps, which can be attached above the changing table, are particularly suitable for this. When you are out and about with your baby, wet wipes are very practical for changing nappies. In general, you shouldn’t necessarily go to care products such as powders and lotions, as these can also lead to skin irritation.
Bathing your baby once or twice a week is enough. Additionally, bath additives are not necessary. The room in which you want to bathe your baby should be warm and the little ones feel most comfortable with a water temperature of 37 degrees. A bath thermometer is suitable for checking the water temperature. A conventional baby bathtub or alternatively a bath bucket is ideal for bathing. In the bath bucket, your baby sits in a crouch and therefore has more support.
The aftercare midwife usually helps the parents with the navel care. Hygiene is the top priority here. Before cleaning the navel, you should always wash your hands and carefully dab any liquid in the navel region with a dry cloth. A compress prevents germs from reaching the navel. After about five to ten days, the remainder of the navel has dried up and eventually falls off. This leaves a small wound, which you should dab carefully with a cotton swab once a day. This small wound does not hurt your baby and usually heals quickly. However, if redness occurs around the navel or if blood or pus leaks out, you should take your baby to a paediatrician, as it could be an infection of the navel.
You shouldn’t cut your baby's fingernails for the first time before four weeks after birth. For this you use baby nail scissors that have rounded tips. By then, many babies' nails are so long that they scratch themselves. To avoid this, you can best pull baby gloves or socks over their hands.
WHAT TO DO IF MY BABY IS CRYING?
It's perfectly normal for babies to cry, as that's the only way they can make it clear that they need something. New parents in particular are quickly worried when their baby cries a lot and they can’t calm them down directly. That too is quite normal. If you feel the same way, you should trust your gut feeling. After a while you will be able to hear exactly why your sweetheart is crying.
If your baby doesn't seem to be missing anything and is still restless and crying, it can help to carry your baby close to your body because, as already mentioned, this has a calming and reassuring effect. The body heat and the heartbeat remind them of the time in the womb.
These techniques can also help to calm your baby: steady noises (heartbeat, quiet music), a relaxing baby massage or a bath, steady movements (e.g in a rocking chair, rocking in your arms or in a stretcher).
The sucking reflex is often still very strong, which is why many babies calm down with the help of a dummy or breastfeeding. Osteopathy can also work wonders. Many babies suffer from blockages and sprains after birth, which an osteopath can gently release.
However, some babies are inconsolable at times and, despite their parents' best efforts, cry very intensely, often for hours, especially in the evening. The parents are then quickly plagued by self-doubt. "What am I doing wrong? Why can't I calm my baby down?" If your baby also cries a lot, that is absolutely no sign that you are a bad parent. If your sweetheart won't be reassured, even though they’re obviously fine, hold them in your arms and let your baby cry. Try to keep calm, because if you are very nervous, your child will feel it too.
We speak of a crying baby if they cry more than three hours a day, more than three days a week and for more than three weeks without being able to help them. This is often a great burden for the parents, they feel helpless and their strength is drained. Fortunately, there are numerous offers of help in the form of cry outpatient clinics and advice centres. If your baby is also a cry baby, you don't have to deal with it alone. If you notice that your nerves are on edge, your relatives or friends will certainly be happy to help you and take your child away for a few hours so that you can breathe deeply. A conversation with the midwife or the paediatrician can also eliminate self-doubt and reproaches.
Although the whole situation can be very distressing, it’s important to keep in mind that your baby is crying to express their feelings. Even if you can't seem to help your baby, it’s helped by the fact that you are always there for your baby and give comfort and security.
If you feel your baby is sick and might be in pain, don't be afraid to see a paediatrician.
HOW DO I MAKE MY BABY LAUGH?
You probably know the saying “laughter is healthy”. It is particularly true for babies and toddlers, as around 300 muscles are used for a baby's laughter. Happy hormones are also released during a hearty laugh, which have a positive effect on the physical development of your little darling.
This is not the only reason why it’s important that you laugh together with your baby. It's also important for your child's emotional health that you smile at them and laugh back as much as possible from day one. You will also strengthen your parent-child bond by laughing together.
You can also strengthen your baby's smile by listening to nursery rhymes, singing together and supporting them with little finger plays, or letting them dance along on your lap.
You can also make your baby laugh by tickling them. Your baby reacts to these gimmicks with a loud laugh and chuckle when you laugh and have fun together.
HOW CAN I HELP MY BABY WITH A COLD?
Babies are very susceptible to colds because their immune systems are not yet fully developed. Especially now, in the cold season, many babies struggle with a cold. This can be very uncomfortable for your baby and you will surely suffer with your sweetheart, although colds are part of growing up. The following symptoms may indicate that your baby has a cold: red eyes, restlessness (your baby cries a lot) and loss of appetite, fever, cough, stuffy or runny nose.
Since your baby's immune system is still easily vulnerable, one or two colds will unfortunately not be avoidable. In addition, the mucous membranes in the mouth, throat and nose, which are supposed to catch the pathogens, are still very susceptible. It’s generally said that every child has to fight a cold about ten times a year within the first two years of life. However, there are a few things you can do to prevent contagion. If you have a cold yourself, you should wash your hands frequently and, above all, thoroughly. If your baby already has siblings, you can tell them to wash their hands carefully and not to cough or sneeze into their hands, but rather into their sleeves or a tissue. However, cold viruses can be passed not only through physical contact, but also through the air. There is therefore no such thing as 100% protection.
It’s best to give your baby and yourself plenty of rest during the cold. Give your sweetheart a lot of closeness and security, other things may also be left undone during this time. Especially if your baby is coughing, you should also make sure that the humidity in your home is high enough. If the air in the room is too dry, you can hang a damp towel over the heater. Regular airing can also help, because this is how the dry heating air is exchanged. Long walks in the fresh air are also recommended, they will do you and your baby good.
Offer your baby plenty of fluids, water if possible. Breastfed babies do not need extra fluids during a cold. If you breastfeed, your baby also gets antibodies and thus natural protection through breast milk. Babies often suffer from a stuffy nose when they have a cold. This makes breathing very difficult for them, and problems can also arise when drinking or eating.
Many mothers swear by dicing an onion and hanging it in a sachet over the crib to relieve their baby's stuffy nose. Breast milk can also help to clear the nose. Drop some breast milk into each nostril. However, if these remedies do not have the desired effect and your baby's nose is still severely blocked, you can use a nasal aspirator or nose drops with saline solution.
If your baby is less than three months old, it’s advisable to consult the paediatrician at the first sign of illness. If your baby is older, you should visit the paediatrician if you are unsure whether your sweetheart's illness is really "only" a cold. You should also take your baby to the doctor if they are having trouble breathing, is coughing heavily and the cold doesn’t improve even after a few days, the fever continues to rise, or they feel very weak and refuses to drink.
SHOULD I COMBAT FEVER IN MY BABY?
First of all, it should be mentioned that fever is not a bad sign. The body fights against the pathogens by raising its temperature and thus killing the pathogens. In most cases, fever is not an independent disease, but a symptom. One speaks of fever when the body temperature rises above 38 °Celsius. This is caused by certain messenger substances that reach the brain in the event of an infection, for example, and change the natural "set value". If your little darling suffers from a fever, it perceives around 37° Celsius as too cold and reacts to this with certain defence mechanisms. These include fever and chills.
You should only give fever-reducing drugs from a temperature of 39 degrees and in consultation with the paediatrician. It’s best to measure the temperature several times a day and note the values. This way, the paediatrician can check whether antipyretics are necessary and whether your baby's illness is really just a cold.
With a small infant who is less than 12 weeks old, you should generally consult your paediatrician if the body temperature is above 38 °C. But even without a fever, a visit to the doctor can be useful, since very small children sometimes don’t have an increased body temperature, even if they are seriously ill.
So pay attention to other warning signs in babies: If your baby vomits, has diarrhoea and refuses to drink, you can assume that something is wrong. The same applies if your little one suddenly develops a rash or behaves differently than normal, possibly lethargic and dismissive.
HOW CAN MY BABY'S HIP DYSPLASIA BE TREATED?
When new parents learn from the paediatrician that their little darling is suffering from a hip deformity, they are shocked at first as it’s actually assumed that older people tend to struggle with hip problems. Hip problems in babies and children are not as rare as you might think.
How a hip deformity is treated depends on its severity. In the case of a slight delay in hip maturation, with which around a quarter of all babies are born, no therapy is often necessary. Here it’s often enough for the parents to wrap their baby more broadly using a second nappy or a molleton cloth.
However, consistent therapy is particularly important for both hip dysplasia and hip dislocation in order to prevent long-term effects. If hip dysplasia is not recognised and left untreated, it leads to premature joint wear in adulthood. Those affected suffer from severe pain due to the wear and tear of the articular cartilage and then often need an artificial hip at an early stage.
To treat hip dysplasia in babies, a so-called flexion-spread splint is usually used, with the help of which the legs are brought into a bent and slightly spread position. This forces the femoral head into the socket and promotes maturation of the joint. This splint must then be worn around the clock for a certain period of time (usually for a few weeks or even months). It should only be removed for changing and bathing.
A hip dislocation requires the hip to be relocated, which is usually done under general anaesthetic. After a hip fracture, the baby must wear a sit-squat cast for a few weeks to keep the hip joint in the correct position.
HOW DO I BEST PLAN A HOLIDAY WITH CHILDREN?
It’s unlikely you’ll want to go on holiday every year, especially when the baby is still very small or going through a difficult phase, for example teething as the family feels most comfortable in their own four walls. Nevertheless, even such a holiday at home should be planned, especially if you have older children. Otherwise, there’s a great danger that the days will just pass by in the same way, no real ideas for activities will come up and the days off will be over without feeling like a vacation. Of course, not all holiday days should be planned meticulously, so that there is enough time for spontaneous things or to rest.
Inquire in advance about the leisure opportunities in your area, you may not even know a lot. Then sit down with all family members and everyone can make suggestions for activities, especially including your older children.
You should not plan more than one activity per day, it doesn’t have to be a real trip every time, for example, an afternoon of games in the garden is fun for everyone and costs nothing. In order to be considerate of the youngest family member, only activities that do not disturb the baby's sleep rhythm should be tackled.
WHAT DO I PLAY WITH CHILDREN?
Some old children's games are still classics at every birthday party today. This includes, for example, fun games such as pot hitting. You blindfold your child and spin them a few times so that they no longer know where they are in the room. Meanwhile, the “players” line up near the inverted pot. Your child or blindfolded player is now crawling on all fours on the floor. They “feel” for the pot with the wooden spoon while knocking. Meanwhile, the other players give useful hints like "cold" (meaning "far away)" or "very hot" ("very close"). Once the child has found the pot and knocks on it with the cooking spoon, they receive a prize and end the game.
Another nice game with no indoor objects is the Chinese whispers (or silent mail). The children sit in a circle and start with a simple word or sentence. A child whispers the word/sentence softly into the ear of the next player. This is done in turn until the last player says the word or sentence they heard out loud for everyone. What sounds boring is a lot of fun. In most cases, a completely different word comes out at the end.
If you like mind games, you should try "I'm packing my suitcase" too. In this game without objects, each player adds an item after the sentence "I'll pack my suitcase and take it with me". The player whose turn it is next must repeat all previously "wrapped" items until they are allowed to name their item. Bet that someone loses the overview and no longer remembers all objects? You decide for yourself whether the players have to follow the exact order or just list all the objects randomly.
Nice games for the little ones (3-4 years) include: Lotti Karotti (from 4 years): The popular racing game. Whoever gets their rabbit on the carrot first wins. Orchard (ages 3 and up): A cooperative colour dice game. The children have to quickly pick apples, pears, cherries and plums. Tempo, little snail (from 3 years): The popular snail race classic promotes the first understanding of the rules, the recognition of colours and concentration. Uno Junior (from 3 years): The classic is also available as a junior version illustrated with animal motifs. Peep pop chicken Poop (from 3 years): a mixture of "don't get angry!" and "Memory". Magna Tiles (from 3 years): all sorts of things can be built from magnetic components, which promotes creativity and your children can also work with them on their own. PlayMais handicraft sets (from 3 years): Building blocks with food colouring coloured; With the help of a little water, the small "building blocks" soften and stick together, so that the little ones can use them to make figures and other things.
Warm-up games are great for getting kids ready for physical activity. Ball games of all kinds, such as volleyball, dodgeball or football, are suitable as a "simple" warm-up. The hide-and-seek game, in which one child looks for the others, is still a hit. In addition to playing hide and seek, children can warm up with a hula hoop or jump rope. There are no fixed rules for the latter two games. However, when jumping rope, two children can hold the rope while a third jumps. You can recite great rhymes or count by age. The players change as soon as the jumping kid makes a mistake.
HOW DO I PRAISE MY CHILD CORRECTLY?
One of the reasons many adults aren't good at receiving sincere praise is that they didn't learn how to do it as children. Of course, it's important that you reassure your child about what they're doing. However, you should keep a few things in mind so that your positive gesture does not have any negative effects later.
You can base your praise on your child as a person or on the child's achievement. Personal praise is for example "You did a great job!" This can lower your loved one's self-esteem instead of boosting it. Studies have found that children who received personal praise were less able to cope with failure afterwards.
Also, with this type of feedback, you describe the skills your child already has and don't include the learning process in which they learn new skills. This can give them the impression that you don't trust them much. As a result, your well-meaning and motivating praise can have an unsettling and demotivating effect on your child, as it assumes that they cannot change any losses. In this way, an "I just can't do it" can get stuck in their head and have a lasting effect on their ability to learn.
Another trap you can fall into is comparing your child to their siblings. If you tell them that they drew a picture much more beautiful than their brother or sister, for example, they may well see constant competition in everything they do. This can make your child a bad loser. Personal praise can therefore have a negative effect on their self-confidence.
WHY DOESN'T MY CHILD WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL?
There are a variety of reasons why your sweetheart doesn't want to go to school. One of these reasons can be that your loved one is suffering from separation anxiety because they are afraid of losing you. Since you are their caregiver, they have a very special bond with you. As your child gets older, they'll understand that mum and dad are always coming back and that they don't need to be afraid. This feeling is very complex and is biological, so it has nothing to do with school.
If your family has recently grown, another reason may be that your child is jealous of their younger sibling. After all, the younger child can be at home with mum and dad while your older child is taken to school and thus feels excluded from family life.
It may also be that your darling has problems adjusting to the new environment because it’s too loud or too hectic there. They may also have trouble making new friends or may be teased or left out by other children. To rule this out as a reason, you should talk to the teachers. They look after your child all day and experience how it behaves in the group, whether they withdraw themselves and whether there are problems in the group. They are also your child's contact person on site and often recognise whether they are over or under-challenged directly in the respective situation.
PET YES OR NO?
When faced with the decision of whether to add a pet to your family, it should not be taken lightly. Because it’s important that you are aware of your responsibility towards this living being. Even if the new fluffy roommate is super interesting at the beginning and your child assures you that they will take care of it every day, you as a parent always have a responsibility. After all, an animal must also be cared for when it is sick or when your child is busy with other things. The new companions often become uninteresting after just a few weeks. That's why it's important that you make the decision together whether you want to take in a new roommate and don't just make it dependent on the child's wishes.
Dogs and cats are at the top of the wish list but require a lot of attention. Smaller rodents are usually much easier to care for and more child-friendly than a cat or dog. Therefore, a guinea pig or golden hamster is often recommended as a so-called entry-level pet. An alternative are dwarf rabbits, which are ideal petting animals for small children and are easy to care for.
HOW HAPPY IS MY ONLY CHILD?
There are numerous prejudices about only children: They are selfish, intolerant, spoiled, cheeky, adult-oriented and somehow lonely. From a psychological point of view, however, there are no character traits that apply specifically to an only child. There are some pros and cons of growing up as an only child. For example, it’s often more difficult for an only child to learn to resolve conflicts with others. However, there are also opinions that the presence of siblings could be a possible, negative cause that is expressed in aggression or a strong urge to compete later in life.
If you have an only child, there are certain things you should consider because everything is in the upbringing and environment of the little ones. Don't overprotect your child, facilitate contact with other children, don't always let them win. Children need other children, and part of the job of being the mother or father of an only child is making sure your child doesn't grow up in a purely adult world.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD FATHER?
Fortunately, the father role has been changing for several decades. A father should no longer just be a provider, but also build a strong emotional relationship with his children and be actively involved in their upbringing. We have selected some important points for you that make a good father:
A good father prepares for the addition to the family together with his partner. He accompanies her to the gynaecologist and is already dreaming with her of a future together as a family. He is present at the birth of the child. Right from the start he tries to spend as much time as possible with his child and does so regularly.
He can do everything mum can do - except breastfeed. Swaddling a baby, bathing them, or rocking them to sleep strengthens the bond, on both sides. He is familiar with routines and celebrates them with the child: the evening bedtime routine is just as much a part of it as his going to work routine. He plays with his child and becomes a bit of himself again. He can comfort his child because it trusts him. He is a teacher for children and teaches them how to build a tower of blocks or a paper airplane, but also how to get up after failure and try again. He tells and shows his child that he loves them and is proud to have such an amazing child.
He is interested in what the child does, how they spend their time and what occupies them. He knows his child's friends. He knows what his child likes to eat, what their favourite books or films are. He also knows what his child absolutely hates.
He doesn't leave his child in the dark. He informs them when he leaves, when he comes back and when other important decisions are made that also affect the child. He doesn't always give in to his child. He manages to be consistent when the situation calls for it. He feels - as annoying as the little ones can be from time to time - enriched by the child at his side.
But please don't forget: There is no such thing as a perfect father - and he doesn't have to be perfect either. What makes a good father is that he does his best and gives his child the love but also the boundaries that it needs. Read the article by our English blog writer Martin Ellis (father of two children):
WHY IS MOTHER'S LOVE SO STRONG?
We've all heard of it and you probably feel it every day when you look at your child - motherly love. But how does it come about and why is it so strong?
Maternal love refers to the emotional connection between you and your child that is caused by hormones. She is said to be the strongest bond that can exist between two people. It develops before your little darling is born and stays with you for a lifetime. This feeling between mother and child is essential for the development of your child, as it feels secure and thus develops the courage to make its own experiences in life.
The sight of your baby triggers protective instincts in you and the desire to take care of them. These instincts are evolutionary, as your child will depend almost entirely on you and your support for the first few months and years.
Since it can only express itself through crying and screaming, it depends on your loving care that puts its well-being above all else. Already during pregnancy, the strong mother feelings for your growing baby develop. For this reason, you also accept the discomfort of pregnancy and the pain of childbirth because you want your baby to be well.
The hormones prolactin and oxytocin are responsible for this. Prolactin is poured out when breastfeeding and has a calming effect. The so-called cuddle hormone oxytocin is also released during breastfeeding and other physical contact. The combination of the two hormones makes your baby feel love, safety and security. So motherly love works for both of you like a drug that nature produces to ensure the survival of your child.
The strong natural bond that exists between you and your loved one ensures many unforgettably beautiful moments and will positively influence your life together.
FATHER'S DAY AND MOTHER'S DAY GIFT IDEAS
Father's Day originally comes from the USA. It was introduced there as a counterpart to Mother's Day. On this day of honour, dad should also get a special gift. If your child is still in primary school age, it makes sense to do something together. The classic among Father's Day gifts is a home-made card. You can stick pictures of family together on this, or you can have your child draw a great picture of dad.
If your child can already write, you can write the text together and then transfer it to the card. You can of course also write the text, such as "Dad, I love you very much" or "You are the best dad in the world" in block letters on a piece of paper and your sweetheart will then copy it. It's sure to make dad's heart goes all fuzzy.
Dad is the best and mum is the best. That's why she deserves a special day - Mother's Day. Make time for mum all day long and give her a wonderful day that she will remember fondly. For example, you can let them sleep extra late and then wake them up with a delicious breakfast of pancakes or fresh rolls and a hot cup of tea or coffee. After she has been able to enjoy the lovingly decorated tray, you can hug each other and give her a big kiss. She certainly can't get enough of that and she will enjoy the time together, closeness and love. After that, your child can ceremoniously present her with their gift.
HOW DO I CHILD-PROOF MY HOME THIS CHRISTMAS?
For many parents, the Christmas season is not only contemplative, but also a small challenge. If your baby was still snoozing peacefully in your arms last year, this year it may already be exploring its surroundings confidently on both legs or they are paving their way on all fours. Everything they encounter is of course admired, touched and tried out fearlessly and with great curiosity. So that you can enjoy the festivities to the fullest and without any worries, we will go on a virtual tour of your house together and see what is particularly important when it comes to child safety.
A Christmas tree - which is better real or artificial? Every year, children's eyes light up in the face of a glittering, colourfully decorated Christmas tree in the living room. There is no question that a tree is part of it, and yet it’s important to make some precautions and decisions for the sake of your child. Your first option is an artificial Christmas tree. It doesn't shed any needles, is a lot lighter than a real one and therefore less dangerous. If you decide to buy one of these, take a close look at what the tree is made of and whether the ingredients could be harmful or cause allergies.
Option number two is a real Christmas tree. We recommend getting a smaller one and raising it on a table or cabinet. Make sure it doesn't wobble and is secure. If such a mini tree does not meet your expectations at all, then you do not have to do without a magnificent large tree. What is important, however, is a very stable foot and the additional fixation of the tree with a cord. Either you leave the lower branches undecorated, so that your child cannot get to the decoration, or you are creative and use your child's playpen in a different way and fence in the tree.
Speaking of decoration, glass balls are of course a no-go, but small plastic stars and other decorative elements that are fragile or very small should be avoided as much as possible. Don't worry, there are many beautiful kid-friendly alternatives. Figures made of wood, fabric and paper can help here, and pendants made of gingerbread are an absolute hit. Baking the gingerbread pendant is not only a great activity for you and your child to do together, but also gives your living room a wonderful Christmas scent. You can safely do without real lights on the tree and use a chain of LED lights instead. But please make sure that this is TÜV certified and hide the cables as best you can. In any case, every household should be equipped with smoke detectors and a fire extinguisher.
Be careful when handling candles! Especially at Christmas time, it’s easy to be tempted to set up a few candles in the bathroom and enjoy a nice, hot bath. If you choose to do this, only use the candles when you are in the bathroom without a child, never leave matches or lighters lying around, and keep the candles out of the child's reach after use. This generally applies to all rooms in the house.
Finally, a word about gifts and family visits. You should unpack presents with your child and then put away the packaging. Foil and ribbon could otherwise pose a hazard if the child plays with them unsupervised. The Christmas season is also a wonderful occasion to visit friends and family every year. If you are visiting elsewhere, keep in mind that other households may not be childproof. So always keep a close eye on them
HOW YOU CAN CELEBRATE EASTER WITH YOUR CHILD
Alongside Christmas and birthdays, Easter is one of the loveliest celebrations for family reunions. Easter is particularly exciting for the little ones, as they actively search for the Easter bunny and easter eggs.
They belong to Easter like the Christmas tree to Christmas: Easter baskets. You can fill this with some treats and maybe a cuddly plush rabbit. When your little one then goes looking for eggs in your garden, they will always be happy about the little treasures.
You can also bake a yeast plait or a carrot cake together. Your child will certainly be enthusiastic about the idea if you suggest preparing a little snack for the hard-working Easter bunny. You can make the pastries in the shape of chicks, rabbits or eggs. Maybe they will also find their way into one or the other Easter basket that you hide.
The classic Easter activity is certainly egg dyeing. You can have your sweetheart paint these with finger paints or watercolours. It doesn't matter if a bit of paint lands on your fingers, as they are more skin-friendly than acrylic paints.
As soon as the colourful Easter eggs have dried, you can either decorate your bushes or your house with them or use them for egg running. Here you put the eggs on a tablespoon and run on a set route in a race. To avoid unnecessary mess, boiled eggs are more suitable for small children for this game.
A cozy Easter brunch is a good way to start the Easter holidays, or you can end the time together with a small cozy Easter fire in the evening. This makes Easter a special holiday for all the family.
HOW CAN I HELP MY BABY WHEN THEY HAVE COLIC?
Your baby cries heartrendingly after feeding and can't calm down. It seems like they have a stomach ache. If this occurs regularly, it’s likely that they are suffering from colic. Since they are worst in the first three months of life, they are also known as 3-month colic. About one in five babies are affected. As a parent, this sight will surely break your heart and you are dying to help your child.
Bloating is common in young children because their digestive systems are not fully developed. A certain digestive enzyme is necessary for the digestion of milk, which is not yet available in sufficient quantities in the first months of life. It can also happen that when breastfeeding or drinking from a bottle, they swallow too much air, causing its tummy to bloat. Occasionally, tobacco smoke and formula that foams up in your baby's stomach from additives can also trigger your baby's colic. With these, the air cannot escape from their intestines, causing pain.
Symptomatic of this pain is that your little one alternately pulls and then hyperextends their little legs, waves their arms and their tummy is hard and bloated. They clench their hands into fists and screams and cries with a painful, crimson face. As soon as the air escapes a little, it gives them some relief. Doctors and midwives call it 3-month colic when your newborn cries for more than 3 hours on more than 3 days a week for more than 3 weeks because of abdominal pain.
Since the causes of your baby's stomach pain can be different, you will have to try different things at the beginning to find out which ones help them. A possible solution is that you make sure that your child does not drink too quickly when feeding. This reduces the likelihood of them swallowing too much air, which causes pain in the tummy. In addition, eating should take place in as upright a posture as possible. If you're giving your baby the bottle, it can help if the milk you stir isn't too foamy. It is best to take short breaks from time to time during feeding so that your little darling burps and the sucked-in air can escape.
While breastfeeding, it can also be helpful if you only eat a few flatulent foods such as for example cabbage or vegetables, as you pass their effects on to your baby through your breast milk.
Another way to alleviate your baby's 3-month colic is to massage the abdomen. By gently massaging your baby's navel with your index and middle fingers, you can relieve the gas manually. The fly grip also helps your darling to get rid of pent-up air. Here they lie with their tummy down on your forearm.
You can also try giving your baby fresh fennel tea or soothing their tummy with a warm bath or a small cherry pit pillow. In addition, the physical contact and the associated closeness to you have a calming effect on your little darling. If your baby's crying and screaming continues for more than three hours, their drinking habits change, and they're not gaining enough weight, you should talk to your paediatrician about additional treatment options.
IF YOUR CHILD STAYS OVERNIGHT ELSEWHERE
There will come a time when your child will want to sleep over with a friend. For your child, this is not only incredibly exciting, but also promotes development.
Every child is different, so there is no set age at which a child can stay somewhere else. A much bigger role is played by whether your child has previously slept with the grandparents before staying at a friend's house. There are children who don't have any problems with it at all, while other children still urgently need their familiar surroundings and parental closeness, especially at night. Since you know your children best, you will also be the best judge of whether your children are ready to stay somewhere else. If a child expresses this direct wish, the parents should respond. The child is probably ready by then.
If your child has decided to stay somewhere else, you as a parent are probably asking yourself the following questions: "Do I feel good about this? Can I really trust the family my child chooses to stay with?". This is quite normal and above all it’s important to ask yourself these questions, because you not only hand over the duty of supervision, but also your treasure to someone else. Ideally, you already know the family or the person your child is staying with. If you are absolutely uncomfortable with the idea of letting your child stay with their family and lack confidence, it’s better not to allow the overnight stay.
se things should be discussed before the overnight stay: Luggage: Ask the host family in advance if your child needs to bring something (e.g. sleeping bag, air mattress). Your child's favourite cuddly toy should also be packed so that it has something familiar with it. It's also almost like sleeping in your usual baby sleeping bag or children's sleeping bag.
Does your child suffer from allergies or need to take medication? The host family must be informed about this in order to be able to respond. Accessibility: Of course, your child should always be able to reach you. Be sure to leave your phone number with the family they are staying with so that you can be reached if there are any problems. However, precise planning is not required. For your child, the overnight stay is a great adventure and the many new impressions that they gain are exciting and also positive for development. They gain new experiences and even if everything runs completely differently in the family than at home, it’s not so tragic as long as the other family is child-friendly.
What if you have a guest child staying overnight for the first time? Stay calm and don't make too much effort. It’s easiest if your family life is as it has been up to now.
What problems can there be?
Homesickness: Many children get homesick when they stay somewhere else. First, try to comfort your host child. If they can't be calmed down, it's best to let them call their parents. You can then decide together whether the child wants to stay or be picked up.
Illness: Understandably, sick children prefer to be with their parents. If your host child suddenly falls ill, you should inform the parents and, if possible, bring the child back or have it picked up.
Quarrels: Most children make up as quickly as the bickering begins. But if you notice that the fronts are hardening, it can help to ask what happened and to mediate between the brawlers.
Basically kids love to have friends stay over or stay somewhere else themselves and it's also a great experience every kid should have.
SHOPPING WITH CHILDREN: TIPS FOR STRESS-FREE SHOPPING
Whether it's for the weekly shop or a short trip to the supermarket - for children, a shopping trip is often as exciting as a trip to Disneyland. For parents, the shopping spree often means a nerve-racking test - especially when their own child stops at every corner and puts a number of sweets in the shopping trolley. In the worst case, the shopping spree ends with pouting faces or whiny children who don't want to wait any longer at the checkout. But that doesn’t have to be the case: the “supermarket adventure” can be tackled in a relaxed manner with children if you follow a few basic rules.
Here are some tips to avoid stress:
Children should be full and rested, so go shopping after eating and bedtime
Avoid large supermarkets and peak times, as this overwhelms the children
Do the big shopping without children and take the little ones with you on smaller purchases during the week
Small rewards such as letting the children choose their own food when shopping or stopping at the playground on the way back
Involve children when they are old enough. Let them look for certain goods themselves in the store or help put them on the conveyor belt. My boys love using the fruit and vegetable scales, for example.
Important: If your child nevertheless has a fit of screaming or behaves badly, the motto is to remain headstrong . Of course, staying calm when your child is crying or screaming is easier said than done. Nevertheless, you should always remember that you are not doing your child any favours if you constantly let everything go and never say no. Even if your child throws themselves on the floor and whines, you should stick to your agreed rules and communicate this in a calm but firm tone ("we said we'd just pick one chocolate together").
If your child still can’t be reassured, it’s good to explain why sweets don’t end up in the shopping trolley. Does the chocolate damage your teeth or do you already have dozens of bars lying around at home? Children often show understanding as soon as they are given a reason. Conversely, you should also show understanding for your child. Sometimes even we adults find it difficult to resist certain "temptations" from the shelf. Children, who sometimes cannot fully understand or control their emotions and actions, are even less able to do so.
Did the bulk purchase work wonderfully with your child? Then nothing speaks against giving the child positive feedback. Let your little one know that you're happy about their "help" and offer a small reward. This doesn't necessarily have to be an unhealthy candy bar. Instead, your child will certainly be just as happy about an "extra" round on the playground. Many children also love it when they can help unpack and put away the goods they have bought at home.
TRAVEL WITH BABIES AND TODDLERS
Traveling longer distances can be very exhausting even for adults, and if you add a baby or toddler to it, it can be a big challenge. When traveling with a baby or toddler there are many things to consider and it’s vitally important that the little ones are comfortable throughout the trip.
Arriving at the airport, the long wait begins before things finally get going. Especially with small children, the waiting time until the start can be nerve-wracking. Many children get distracted by watching the planes with them. Sometimes they don't even notice how time flies. Find out if there are separate play areas for children at the airport. Then the little ones can really let off steam before the flight and get rid of their excess energy. Many airlines allow families with children to board the plane first. The advantage is that you can settle down in peace and stow your hand luggage, but the children find it uncomfortable sitting for a long time before they can finally set off. They become restless and want to move. Many families therefore handle it in such a way that one parent goes on board, while the other parent only joins in at the end with the child, so they don't have to spend any more unnecessary time in the cramped plane.
Many babies and toddlers have sore ears during takeoff and landing. To prevent this, it’s helpful to put nose drops or nasal spray in both nostrils half an hour before take-off and landing. This equalises the pressure and the little ones don't feel any pain because the connecting passages between the middle ear and the paranasal sinuses are widened. For babies, breastfeeding, the bottle or the dummy can also help. If your children are a bit older, they can chew gum during take-off and landing.
Prepare a so-called Goody-bag for your child with a small toy, biscuits, a Pixi book or other surprises. Children love to unpack and play with new things. This will definitely distract and keep your child busy for some time. All the necessary nappy changing items should not be missing in your hand luggage, and you should also pack a small blanket or an extra jumper, as it’s very cool on the plane.
Bring a laptop or tablet so your child can watch a movie, play a game, or read an e-book to them during the trip. Don't forget to charge all the electronic devices you need in advance and download any apps.
Most parents opt for night flights for longer flight times. The advantage: if you fly at night, the little ones often sleep through the flight, and their sleep patterns don't get disturbed. If you fly during the day, it’s advisable to book a window seat. So there is a lot for the little ones to observe during the flight.
It's true, as soon as you have children riding in the car, driving behaviour changes. At least that's how it should be. People don't drive as fast anymore and also less aggressively, because people are aware of the responsibility for the small lives of people in the car.
The best and safest place for the child seat is on the back seat behind the passenger. In this way, the mother or father can occasionally check on your baby while driving without much effort. At the same time, boarding and alighting takes place on the safe side away from the road.
If you still want to take your baby with you on the front passenger seat, you must ensure that there is no airbag or that it is switched off. The pressure of the inflating airbag in the event of an accident could seriously injure or even kill your child. However, ADAC recommends always taking babies and small children in the back seat.
WHY MUSIC IS IMPORTANT TO CHILDREN
Music is important to children for several reasons. On the one hand, the melodies actually make you smarter because they promote further development. On the other hand, happy children's songs lift the spirits and lower the stress level. We take a closer look at the topic and explain why the motto "practice early" is never wrong in music education.
Whether through songs, dance or instruments: children benefit from music in many ways.
Studies have shown that music improves language development. Well-known children's songs expand the vocabulary and teach the little ones speed and intonation, which are important for language acquisition.
Later, children benefit from pieces of music by memorising them and thus training their memory. Even science has shown that children who sing every day do significantly better on tests than their non-singing peers.
Depending on the music style in question, calming pieces can also be used to defuse conflicts and establish routines. A good example of this is the daily bedtime song, which helps toddlers to sleep soundly and banish the worries of the day.
You are doing everything right if you introduce your child to musical sounds at an early age. Babies already react to certain sounds and rhythms in the womb - and are even able to recognise them later intuitively. Even in babies and infants, these sounds reach the nerve centre, where they activate the reward system and counteract fears. Infants and toddlers learn through wrap-around games that combine text, song and movement.
From the age of two to three, children slowly develop a feel for sounds. They learn to distinguish between the different rhythms and love to sing and clap. Therefore, at this age, the focus should be on movement and dance games that encourage accompanying singing and clapping. At this age, children should also get to know different noises and sounds in order to train their musical ear. Balloons, empty bottles or whistles and recorders are suitable for this. Thanks to these materials, the little ones playfully learn how to produce sounds. These exercises create an initial awareness of noises and tones - and later make it easier to use instruments.
TIPS TO PROTECT YOUR CHILD FROM CORONAVIRUS
As a parent, you are always concerned about the welfare of your child. If they're sad or sick, you want to do whatever it takes to make him feel better. In times of the Covid-19 pandemic, your concern is likely to increase further. To protect against the coronavirus, the government has taken some precautionary measures. But you can also pay attention to various things yourself to protect your child from illness.
The most effective protection against the virus is wearing a mouth and nose cover. Your child should in the shopping centre or on public transport.
Also, encourage good personal hygiene. Washing hands should also be a matter of course when there is no pandemic, but these measures are particularly important in the current pandemic situation. Your child should wash their hands for at least 20 seconds—that's the length of the song "Happy Birthday." You can sing this together and thus develop joy in the common routine.
It may be that your child is unsettled by the effects of the pandemic and doesn’t know how to behave. Therefore, give them a lot of attention and talk to them patiently and age-appropriately about the topic. Listen to them and answer their questions. Explaining to them why they can't see their friends as much right now can help them understand the situation.
In the event that your sweetheart should show symptoms, you should isolate them to be on the safe side. If you find yourself in quarantine together, it can be helpful to establish a daily routine despite the unusual isolation. This can help keep your family life harmonious even though you spend all of your time together.
If you stick together and show understanding for each other, you will also be able to cope with the strenuous times of the Corona pandemic and enjoy the time together.
BREASTFEEDING: HOW TO BREASTFEED PROPERLY
Breast milk contains all the nutrients your baby needs to grow big and strong. It’s essential for your little one, especially in the first months of life, as they have to learn and grow many things during this time. To help with this, there are a few things you can keep in mind when breastfeeding.
Your baby is able to suckle immediately after birth because it has already practiced this in the womb. Your body can also instinctively provide it with the breast milk it needs. You can tell your child wants to be breastfed when they stick their tongue to their bottom lip, turn their head from side to side, clench their small fists, or cry. To satisfy this hunger, you should make sure that you are feeding your child correctly and that you are in the correct breastfeeding position.
Before you go, find a quiet, maybe even slightly darkened and distraction-free place that is warm and comfortable. Then find a breastfeeding position that is comfortable for you and your baby. Most women use the cradle hold with your baby in your arms. It should be able to move its head freely without overextending itself. Your nipple should be level with their upper lip so that they can enclose it completely in the mouth.
First, your baby drinks one breast empty, then you can offer them the other if still hungry. If there are longer pauses in sucking or your baby releases the nipple, you can assume that they have drunk enough. After that, you should make sure that your baby burps. To do this, carefully lift them up and put them over your shoulder. Sometimes a little tap on the back can help to get rid of sucked air.
WHICH DRINKS ARE GOOD FOR MY CHILD?
Playing, romping and discovering the world make your child thirsty. That's why it's important to drink enough. But which drinks should you give your child and which shouldn't?
Because a toddler's body is made up of up to 85% water, they should drink at least ten ounces of fluids a day to keep their cells functioning properly and their organs nourished. To quench their thirst, you can offer them tap or mineral water, fruit and herbal teas, and highly diluted fruit juices – at least in a ratio of 1:1.
Water is still the best natural thirst quencher, as the nutrients ingested through food swell up in the stomach and can thus be better utilised. It also helps to strengthen the natural feeling of satiety. Make sure that the water is not too cold for your child when drinking.
However, you should not give your darling something to drink, such as cola or lemonade, as they do not quench the thirst and have a very high sugar content. This can lead to obesity and, in the worst case, type 2 diabetes. Therefore, pay attention to which drinks you give your child to drink so that their body is optimally supplied for the small and large adventures of everyday life.