All posts by Molly Ploe

About Molly Ploe

Molly Ploe comes from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and enjoys hiking, baking and reading. Her favorite Saturday is rainy with bread in the oven and a new book.

happy grandmother with little granddaughter walk in nature

The Pros and Cons of Full-time Babysitting Your Grandkids

Many parents of adult children get excited when they learn they have a grandbaby on the way. They can’t wait to see the little one and are often anxious to find out how they can help.

Grandparents can assist in raising children in many different ways, and a common one is to give a hand in child care. There are many aspects to consider before becoming a “granny nanny,” though. Here are a few pros and cons to this arrangement:

Pro: You’re helping your child save money

One of the biggest perks is the financial savings. The average cost of childcare for infants and toddlers is $10,468 and $9,733 per year, respectively, according to a 2016 study. Further, the childcare website found that:

  • 1 in 3 households spend 20 percent or more of their annual income on childcare.
  • 40 percent of parents said the cost had caused tension in their relationships.
  • 20 percent of families had fewer children because of the cost.

Many grandparents will refuse much payment, thus reducing the cost of child care for the parents. Other types of reciprocation may include a dinner out, lawn maintenance work or gifts.

Con: You’ll give up some of your own time and money

Grandparents may wind up incurring extra expenses by babysitting full-time, The Spruce pointed out. Caring for a child may involve buying him lunch or paying for entrance into a museum. By babysitting instead of taking a part-time job or tending to a home maintenance concern, grandparents may find themselves financially worse off.

If you had hoped to spend your post-career years traveling, relaxing or taking up a new hobby, child care responsibilities may keep you from these goals.

Pro: Cognitive benefits for you and your grandchild

Some grandparents find that spending time with their grandchildren makes their childcare arrangement well worth the time. Beyond the emotional benefits, taking care of young children can help grandparents stay physically active and healthy.

A grandmother holds her grandson, both smiling.Caring for your grandchildren can have cognitive and other health benefits.

Spending time with grandchildren could also help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. One study published in the journal Menopause involving 186 Australian women found that minding grandchildren for 1 day per week was associated with positive performance on the Symbol-Digit Modalities Test and the California Verbal Learning Test, which assess neuropsychological abilities.

Another study published in Evolution and Human Behavior found that adults age 70 and older who regularly spent time with children without the children’s parents present had a lower mortality risk over a two-decade period than other adults who did not. The study also included adults with no children or grandchildren.

Grandchildren may also benefit from this arrangement. Young children cared for by grandparents may develop better vocabulary skills, The Spruce noted. And quality time with older family members can help kids learn about their roots and culture.

Con: Too much time together can reduce benefits

While spending one day per week minding grandchildren has positive effects, the study published in Menopause showed that childcare duties for five or more days per week had a negative impact on results. And, though the study published in Evolution and Human Behavior showed positive outcomes of older adults interacting with kids, it didn’t include grandparents who were full-time babysitters.

Chasing after toddlers is certainly a good workout, but doing so daily can get exhausting. Some grandparents may feel worn out by their full-time babysitting duties.

Benefits for grandchildren can also decrease over time. Kids who don’t go to daycare or play groups may miss out on developing certain social skills. Additionally, children who are looked after by their grandparents have a higher risk of obesity, The Spruce noted.

Every family situation is different, so there’s no right answer for how much time is best for grandparents to watch grandchildren. Keep an open dialogue to make sure everyone is on the same page. If your childcare arrangement isn’t quite right for you or the parent, have a discussion with your son or daughter about¬†hiring another babysitter, enrolling the child in a part-time preschool or finding another solution.

Molly Ploe comes from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and enjoys hiking, baking and reading. Her favorite Saturday is rainy with bread in the oven and a new book.

Woman greeting pregnant friend in park

5 Weird Things People Do When You’re Pregnant

Every woman who has experienced pregnancy has also had to deal with people suddenly forgetting their manners around them. Notions about respecting personal space and keeping sharp opinions to yourself seem to fly out the window when some people see a pregnant woman. Not to worry – a little warning can reduce the shock of these prenatal encounters, and we even have a few tips on how to deflect unwanted attention.

Here are five common but very weird things people do when crossing paths with a soon-to-be mother:

1. Touch your belly

Most women who have been pregnant can relate: Strangers touching your belly doesn’t get normal. But something about seeing a baby bump makes some people completely forget about personal boundaries.

If you want to discourage someone from keeping their hand on your baby bump, try resting your own hand on your belly, too. This nonverbal response will cue the other person to remove their hand. Or, comment that the baby is resting or not kicking right then; they should take the hint.

2. Give you dietary advice

When you’re pregnant, it’s important to choose foods that are healthy for the baby as well as for you. There are some foods to avoid and others that you might want to include, and there are endless philosophies regarding what should or shouldn’t be on the “OK to eat” list.

Pregnant woman and girfriend expecting baby over gray
Friends and strangers alike will want to touch your baby bump.


People might raise an eyebrow if they see you indulging in¬†a small cup of coffee or question whether you should be eating that filet of salmon. If you’ve discussed diet with your health care provider and are confident that what you’re eating won’t be harmful to your baby or yourself, keep on enjoying your meal.

3. Pester you about your future child’s name

Everyone wants to know the new baby’s name. This in itself might be fine, but what isn’t are the opinions that others spew in reaction to your chosen moniker. The name you picked could have a very special meaning, be a family tradition or simply have a beautiful sound. To another, that name could have all sorts of unattractive associations – and some people aren’t afraid to share them.

Last names are another source of curiosity. People will ask if you plan on giving your child the father’s last name or yours, or if you plan to hyphenate. Writing for Romper,¬†Steph Montgomery pointed out that, when coming from your in-laws, these questions may have a distinctive connotation of guilt when you answer with anything but what they want to hear. In the end, your baby is your child; name him or her however you and your partner believe is best.

4. Ask very personal questions

To some, asking “When was the baby conceived?” or “Was your baby planned?” might seem like perfectly normal inquiries into your pregnancy, but to you, it might sound more like “Tell me about your sex life.” The personal questions don’t stop there. You may face questions like “Do you plan on having a vaginal birth?,” “Do you plan to breastfeed?” and even “How long did it take for you to conceive?”

Questions like these can feel very invasive. Much like strong sentiments about diet, another person may attempt to push their personal philosophy of the merits of certain birthing styles or other aspects of motherhood. Don’t let the opinionated get to you; if you’ve carefully decided to have a home birth, a Cesarean section or a water birth based on your own values and circumstances, trust yourself and the opinions of a health care professional you respect.

5. Compare your body to a pregnant celebrity’s body

There are few other times in your life when people will think it’s perfectly normal to compare you to the Duchess of Cambridge, Queen Bey¬†or Kim K than when you’re pregnant.

Don’t stress about these comparisons; know that every pregnancy is different. Even Kim Kardashian responded to haters who judged whether her second pregnancy was “real” based on how much weight she had gained, E! Online reported.

“Everyone’s body is different, every pregnancy is very different!” wrote the star, captioning a revealing Instagram photo leaving no doubt in viewers’ minds whether her baby bump was real or fictitious.

Molly Ploe comes from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and enjoys hiking, baking and reading. Her favorite Saturday is rainy with bread in the oven and a new book.

A young bride and her ring bearer smile for the camera.

How To Prepare Your Toddler To Be A Ring Bearer

Wedding season is coming up, and brides-to-be are forming their bridal parties and nailing down important details. Two of the cutest aspects to any wedding are the ring bearer and flower girl.

If your little one was invited to be a part of the wedding party, you’re probably gleaming with pride and excited to see your child walk down the aisle. Chances are you’re a little bit nervous, too. How will your child respond to such an important role?

Every child will react differently to this position, and there’s really no predicting what will happen on the big day. However, there are some things you can do now to get your child ready for the wedding.

Explain the role

Make sure your child knows what’s expected of him. Find out from the bride or groom if they want your toddler to carry rings, just a pillow, a flag, a sign or something else. Martha Stewart Weddings suggested giving your little one a disposable camera to take pictures with as he walks down the aisle – a fun idea to give an interesting perspective on the day’s festivities!

There are countless ring bearer ideas for toddlers. Perhaps the bride will like the idea of the ring bearer being pulled in a wagon by the flower girl (or vice versa), walking side by side with a beloved family dog or riding down the aisle on a decorated tricycle. Whatever this wedding entails, explain it to your child.

Some kids love being the center of attention, and playing the part of ring bearer or flower girl is a natural choice for them. Others, though, might be wary of walking down an aisle surrounded by grown-ups. For them to buy into the idea, give them a feeling of control over the role, WeddingWire suggested. Make it sound fun and important, then ask them if they’ll be willing to be a part of the big day.

Choose a comfortable outfit

Fussy toddlers won’t want to spend the day in an outfit they hate or feel uncomfortable in. To reduce the chances of a wardrobe-related meltdown, make sure you choose your toddler ring bearer outfit wisely. Wait to make the purchase until about a month before the wedding, in case your little guy hits a growth spurt. The same goes for shoes.

Have your toddler try on the outfit to make sure it fits right beforehand, but after that, you may want to keep it in a safe place until the day of. The same is not true for shoes; let your child wear them a few times before the big day to break them in.

If your toddler doesn’t like the idea of getting dressed up, again, giving him some control over the situation could work in your favor. Let him pick out his bow tie or shoes – even having a say in the small details can help your child feel included and more interested in the role.

Practice makes perfect

The day of the wedding will be hectic, and there’s no way around that. So, make sure your child is prepared well in advance. Ask the bride or groom for the song your toddler will be walking down the aisle to. Then, play the song for him regularly. Explain what the song is and that, when he hears it, it’s time to walk down the aisle.

Leading up to the wedding, the bride or groom might plan a number of events, like a bridal shower or rehearsal dinner. If you and your little one are invited, be sure to attend and introduce your child to some of the other adults who will be in the wedding, PopSugar recommended. This will help him bond and feel more comfortable with these people. Also, if your child trusts someone else in the wedding party or in the couples’ families, that person may be able to help out on the big day.

The rehearsal dinner is an important part of most weddings, and usually everyone in the wedding party joins in to get the timing just right. Make sure your toddler practices along with everyone else.

Finally, on the big day, it’s easy for the busy grown-ups to skip a meal or forget about naptime. Chances are, though, your toddler won’t be too pleased about this. Make sure your toddler ring bearer is rested and fed before heading down the aisle.

Molly Ploe comes from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and enjoys hiking, baking and reading. Her favorite Saturday is rainy with bread in the oven and a new book.

a pregnant woman being worked on by a chiropractor

Should Pregnant Women Go To A Chiropractor?

Many mothers will agree: back pain is a part of pregnancy. Pregnant women experience many changes to their bodies in the nine months before giving birth. As the baby grows, more pressure is put on the spine and the extra weight can push vertebrae and discs out of place.

The pain associated with pregnancy can be relieved with the right method. Chiropractic care is one way expectant mothers can ease aches and other negative pregnancy symptoms.

Here’s what you need to know about seeing a chiropractor while pregnant:

What is chiropractic?

Chiropractic¬†is the art and science of identifying misaligned joints, called subluxations, and adjusting them so they’re back in place. Chiropractors can adjust joints throughout the body but primarily focus on the spine.

One woman points to a model of a spine while another woman looks on.Chiropractic care can relieve pain in the spine.

The spinal column provides a highway of sorts through which nerves travel and extend to the rest of the body. When vertebrae or discs are out of place, they can cause nerve stress, in addition to joint and back pain, which can negatively impact the rest of the body. By adjusting areas that are out of place, chiropractic keeps the body healthy, the American Pregnancy Association explained.

What should I look for in a chiropractor during pregnancy?

All chiropractors have been trained on how to work with pregnant women. However, there are some who have pursued additional training or who focus on pre- and postnatal care.

Chiropractors who are Webster Certified have learned in-depth about sacral subluxations, which can cause painful pregnancies and labors. They are also experienced in adjusting pregnant women, according to The International Chiropractic Pediatric Association.

Beyond becoming Webster Certified, it’s a good sign if the chiropractor is active with the ICPA¬†and has earned either the Certification by the Academy Council of Chiropractic Pediatrics or the Diplomate in the Academy Council of Chiropractic Pediatrics designation.

What pregnancy symptoms can chiropractic relieve?

Chiropractic care can ease back pain during pregnancy, but that’s not the end of the benefits this practice can provide. In some cases, getting adjusted can help ease nausea, especially if a pinched nerve is contributing to this symptom.

A correctly aligned pelvis can also make labor faster and less painful. On the other hand, a misaligned pelvis can make it harder for the baby to get into position for birth. Babies in the breech or posterior positions often require birth interventions like a Cesarean section; when the pelvis is correctly aligned and the baby can more easily get into position, this possibility becomes less likely.

An article published in the July/August 2002 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics reported an 82 percent success rate of correcting the breech position through the Webster Technique – which all chiropractors with the Webster Certification are trained on.

Some women even choose to have their chiropractor in the room while they’re giving birth to offer adjustments throughout the process, Modern Alternative Pregnancy noted. This should be discussed with the doctor and/or midwife.

Should I see a chiropractor after giving birth?

Giving birth is hard on the body – both yours and your baby’s. Seeing a chiropractor after giving birth can realign any subluxations you sustained throughout labor and delivery. Chiropractors are trained to adjust newborn infants as well. They can gently find subluxations in the baby’s body and adjust them.

Molly Ploe comes from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and enjoys hiking, baking and reading. Her favorite Saturday is rainy with bread in the oven and a new book.

a toddler eating french fries

How To Dine Out With Your Toddler Without The Stress

Going out to a nice restaurant is a luxury you might expect gets pushed to the bottom of your “things you can do” list after you have a baby. Luckily, this couldn’t be further from the truth – while dining out with baby likely won’t be your top priority, there’s no reason moms and dads can’t take their little one out for a nice meal.

Of course, there will be obstacles that make the whole eating out experience a bit more difficult. That said, with a little planning, you can have a pleasant dining experience with your toddler by your side.

Picking a time

Your toddler likely has a schedule that should be followed more or less every day. You know around what time she will get fussy because she’s overtired and when she’ll be hungry. Since you have this privileged information, you can use it to plan your meal out. Choose a time that’s not too close to naptime (or choose a time that’s right after), and plan to eat at around the time she normally eats.

A toddler sits in his mother's lap at a restaurant.Bringing your child to a restaurant doesn’t have to be stressful.

Sometimes, you simply can’t plan around your toddler’s schedule. When this is the case, plan ahead. If it’ll be a longer wait to her meal time than she’s used to, pack a snack that you know she’ll eat.

Additionally, consider common busy periods for the restaurant. Stay away from these. The last thing you want is a meltdown in a packed restaurant where everyone can hear your child’s wails.

Choosing a restaurant

Consider the restaurant’s style, menu choices and general atmosphere. Some restaurants just don’t allow kids, Eater pointed out, so be sure to double-check the¬†policy before you make a reservation.

Some atmospheres won’t be compatible with your child. If your toddler feels anxious in loud, crowded spaces, a restaurant that fits this description isn’t the best idea.

Finally, think about food choice. If your child absolutely hates fish, don’t take him to the new sushi joint. Choose a restaurant that serves food that can easily be reheated, The Dahlia Scene suggested. That way, when your child gets full three bites into the spaghetti, you can take the whole thing home.

Why dine out with your toddler

With all the forethought required before you bring your toddler to a restaurant, parents may wonder, why bother? Why not just hire a sitter and enjoy the meal kid-free?

While a date night sans offspring is fun, there are numerous benefits to including your child in a few outings.

Taking your toddler out provides an excellent opportunity to begin demonstrating manners and socially acceptable behaviors. Your child will need to learn how to handle different situations sooner or later, and starting early on with low-stakes circumstances, like eating at a restaurant, can help to lay a foundation for this.

Additionally, going out to eat can help your child learn to be open-minded about new experiences, flexible routines and new foods. Even if you can’t (or don’t want to) convince your toddler to order something she’s never tried before, she can take a bite of two of your dish, Understood, a resource for parents of children with learning or attention difficulties,¬†pointed out.

Molly Ploe comes from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and enjoys hiking, baking and reading. Her favorite Saturday is rainy with bread in the oven and a new book.

a toddler crying

The Many Mood Swings of the Terrible Twos

The life of a two-year-old isn’t always easy.

One minute you might be happily coloring with your new markers, and the next your mom snatches them from your hand and scolds you for drawing on the wallpaper. At the moment, nothing can feel more devastating.

Anyone who’s parented a toddler knows what happens next. The young artist bursts into tears, possibly hits mom, throws the nearest object or runs away. Of course, as soon as she sees another cool, new toy, she’ll settle right down.

It’s perfectly normal to have a moody toddler, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating. Understanding what life is like in the world of a toddler can help you learn how to deal with terrible twos.

What is time?

Your toddler has a very limited concept of time. When he wants something, all he knows is that he wants it now. Not in five minutes, not in an hour (what’s an hour, anyway?). As such, when he doesn’t get his peanut butter and jelly exactly when he’s hungry, he may think he’ll never get his sandwich, even if you’re already in the process of spreading the jelly.

Unhappy Girl Watching Parents Arguing In KitchenAn unhappy toddler might have a change of heart when an alternative option is presented.

In some cases, the tears will stop as soon as you hand your toddler his lunch (or whatever it is he’s asking for). In many other situations, your toddler is making a request you can’t oblige. No, he can’t play with your kitchen knife. No, he can’t have candy before dinner.

Being told “no” isn’t fun, but luckily you can use that limited concept of time to your advantage, Parents explained. You can’t take him to the park right now,¬†but he can play with his dinosaurs or his blocks. A new distraction becomes his new focus, and he’ll be happy once more.

Learning words takes time

Your toddler knows exactly what she wants. Unfortunately, she might not have the vocabulary to dictate that want. Even if she does, it might come out sounding like slurred and garbled nonsense. If parents had a nickel for every time they asked their child “what?,” they’d have very heavy pockets.

Not being able to clearly express their wants and needs is the source behind many toddler meltdowns. When your 18-month-old wants a cup of apple juice, but doesn’t know the word “apple” and can only ask for juice, she feels frustrated when she’s handed a cup of orange. She might yell, cry or throw the juice on the ground.

In time, she’ll learn the word “apple” and know how to ask for what she wants. Until then, be careful to communicate the names of her favorite items whenever possible to help her learn. When you pick up the apple juice, say “This apple juice is yummy” or “Do you want the apple juice?”

Additionally, teaching your child some simple baby signs can help alleviate language frustrations, LiveStrong explained. For example, to sign for “apple,” make your hand into a fist with your index knuckle extended. Touch the knuckle to your cheek and twist.

Emotional intelligence doesn’t come easily

When something has upset your toddler, all he knows is there’s a burning rage inside him. He might not know the words “mad,” “sad” or “frustrated.” He probably doesn’t know how to properly express those emotions, either; he’s only just developed them, after all.

Help your toddler learn about his emotions and how to display them. When his older brother knocks over his block tower, he feels mad. He might pick up his blocks and throw them at his brother. Tell your toddler, “That must have made you feel really mad.” Vocabulary will help your child understand that feeling mad is normal. Teach him that’s it’s OK to feel mad, but not OK to throw blocks.

Help your toddler learn about all his emotions, not just the negative ones. Help him identify when he’s happy, excited, sad, frustrated or mad. In time, he’ll not only learn how to determine his own emotions, but he’ll also start recognizing these in others – the first steps toward developing empathy, Parents noted.

Dealing with tantrums isn’t easy, especially when you’re in public or witnessing the third meltdown of a very tough day. It’s important to let your toddler know that throwing a fit isn’t the way to get what he wants.

Wait for him to calm down, then get to the bottom of the problem. In time, your toddler will develop a bigger vocabulary, a realistic concept of time and the emotional intelligence to stay calm, even when frustrated – it’s all a part of growing up.

Molly Ploe comes from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and enjoys hiking, baking and reading. Her favorite Saturday is rainy with bread in the oven and a new book.

Depressed woman in bed watching tv on smartphone

What is Gestational Diabetes? How Does It Affect My Baby?

Many women worry about complications during pregnancy that can have a lasting effect on their babies or their own bodies. For about 18 percent of women, one complication is the development of gestational diabetes, according to U.S. News and World Report.

Most people know what diabetes is: the body’s inability to either produce¬†enough insulin to process blood sugar or it’s a resistance to insulin, leading to unhealthy levels of sugar in the blood. Gestational diabetes regards the same issue, but refers specifically to this problem showing up in pregnant women.

Who can get gestational diabetes?

Any woman can get gestational diabetes, and many times, its symptoms are unrecognizable or nonexistent. However, women are more at risk for developing gestational diabetes if they:

  • Are older than 25.
  • Have a family history of Type 2 diabetes.
  • Had gestational diabetes with a previous pregnancy, or gave birth to a baby 9 pounds or larger.
  • Are obese.
  • Have prediabetes.
  • Have a history of polycystic ovary syndrome.
  • Previously had a stillborn baby.
  • Are African American, Hispanic, Latina, Asian, Native American or Pacific Islander.

Gestational diabetes generally develops or begins to show signs around 24 weeks of pregnancy, according to the American Diabetes Association. Doctors typically begin testing for it between 24 and 28 weeks because it’s at this stage in pregnancy that the placenta begins producing large quantities of hormones, some of which may lower women’s tolerances of insulin or blood sugar, according to the American Pregnancy Association.

How does gestational diabetes affect the baby?

Many women with gestational diabetes give birth to happy, healthy babies. However, having this condition does pose some risks to the baby. The most serious risk is the baby being stillborn or dying shortly after birth, according to MedicineNet.

Close up of male doctor holding document while sitting with pregnant woman in clinic
Gestational diabetes may cause complications with delivery.

The baby is also at higher risk of:

  • Jaundice.
  • Respiratory distress syndrome.
  • Shoulder dystocia (when the baby’s shoulder gets stuck in the birth canal).
  • Spinal development abnormalities or other congenital malformations.
  • Heart disease.
  • Neural tube defects.
  • Having low blood sugar immediately after birth.

The baby is also more prone to having a higher birth weight Рas much as 9 pounds or larger Рwhich can complicate delivery even more. Such complications may include needing a Cesarean section, early labor and preeclampsia.

Finally, a baby born to a mother with gestational diabetes is also at a higher risk of becoming overweight or developing Type 2 diabetes later in life.

Are there gestational diabetes symptoms?

Not always. Additionally, some symptoms of gestational diabetes may be brushed aside because they are incredibly similar to symptoms of general pregnancy – like feeling fatigued or a frequent need to pee. However, if these symptoms seem excessive, it may be worth bringing up with your doctor. Additionally, if you experience any of the following, consult your doctor:

  • Blurred vision.
  • Sores that heal slowly.
  • Excessive thirst.
  • Tingling or numbness in your hands and feet.

Many women who develop gestational diabetes will return to a normal ability to process glucose after giving birth, but they are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes in the decade after having their baby.

Is there a gestational diabetes test?

There are two types of gestational diabetes tests doctors can administer. For both, you’ll drink a sweet liquid that may make you nauseated. About an hour later, you’ll have your blood drawn and tested.

The first type of test conducted is a glucose challenge screening test. The lab technician will track your blood sugar levels to determine whether your body is processing the sugary drink normally. If you are, you probably don’t have gestational diabetes.

If your tests show abnormal results, your doctor will likely administer a second test for confirmation: The glucose tolerance test. The process is a bit more involved and will give a more accurate reading.

What is a healthy gestational diabetes diet?

Nutrition and exercise is the best way to prevent and manage gestational diabetes. Mediterranean-inspired diets are often used for preventing gestational diabetes, which include lots of:

  • Lean meats.
  • Whole grains.
  • Plant-based foods.
  • Fresh fruit.
  • Healthy fats, like extra virgin olive oil.
  • Unprocessed foods.

Starting early is best – women who aren’t yet pregnant but are trying to have a baby may want to start making healthy changes in their lifestyles even before they conceive. This will make for both a healthier pregnancy and a less difficult diet change after pregnancy.

Molly Ploe comes from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and enjoys hiking, baking and reading. Her favorite Saturday is rainy with bread in the oven and a new book.

Little boy in gift box crying at Christmas.

How to Have a Happy Holiday Without the Toddler Tantrum

The holidays are upon us, which means it’s time to get moving: You’ll need to buy gifts, prepare dishes, arrange travel plans, decorate your home and choose the perfect outfits for you and your toddler to attend the big family holiday celebration.

All this commotion is a lot to wrap your head around – so just consider how overwhelming it may be for your little one. Whether this is your toddler’s first, second or third holiday gathering, it’s still new and exciting and perhaps a bit nerve-wracking, too. Throw in a skipped nap time and a few too many Christmas cookies and you have a recipe from an all-out temper tantrum.

Every parent has been there; the toddler is dressed in an adorable holiday outfit but her emotions don’t quite match the cheery look; the onlookers casting side-long glances at the whole show while they chat.

This situation is best avoided; here are a few tips on how to stop temper tantrums from adding stress to your holiday season:

Minimize overstimulation

One big reason the holiday season tends to bring about more tantrums than usual is the sheer amount of stimulation at every turn, A+ Solutions pointed out. Bright, blinking lights fill the streets, stores and probably your home, too. Large crowds feel scary for a tiny tot, and the noise that comes along with those large gatherings doesn’t help in making it feel more friendly.

Overstimulation during the holidays can lead to temper tantrums.Be sure to fit destressing time into your busy holiday schedule to minimize overwhelming situations for your toddler.

Encourage calmness by trying to space overwhelming situations apart, with breaks in between to settle down. This may mean not going on hours-long shopping sprees or limiting the number of holiday parties or events you bring your child to.

As an adult, it may not seem obvious which situations will be more overwhelming to your toddler. Pay close attention to her body language and the way she’s reacting to everything. If you sense a tantrum is near, take a break from whatever it is you’re doing and find a quieter space to relax in.

Pay attention to diet

Food is often the focal point of many holiday gatherings, featuring decadent roasts or hams, a plethora of sides, endless desserts, and candy literally hanging from trees in your own home. While you may be looking forward to it all, consider your toddler’s palate: Has he ever had ham prepared this way before? Is he familiar with your aunt’s famous green bean casserole?

Toddlers tend to be picky eaters, and new foods don’t always go over so well. Especially when your little one is already overwhelmed by everything going on, she may not be willing to have a taste of something new. Keep this in mind when preparing holiday foods. Even though it’s a good idea to introduce new foods to your toddler, timing is key, Dr. Sears pointed out. Experimenting with new tastes and textures during an already stressful situation may not work out well. Be sure to have one or two items you know she likes within reach. You may even include them¬†in the dinner line-up.

With the sea of new foods to try, you can bet there’s one category your toddler will be drawn to more than the others: the plate of cookies. While the holidays are often a time of indulging in many sweets, it’s important to pay close attention to your toddler’s diet. One too many sugar cookies (or candy canes, pieces of pie or bowls of ice cream) can cause a sugar crash and lead to a temper tantrum.

Introduce your guests

If you’re hosting a holiday celebration, you’re probably frantically making sure every dish is ready, the decorations are up and the home is clean enough for your guests. Between the harried preparations, the ringing of the doorbell and the parade of unfamiliar faces entering what your toddler regards as the safest place he knows, hosting a holiday celebration might seem like a scary situation.

To make the influx of people into your home seem less alarming, take the time to introduce your toddler to each new house guest, Dr. Sears suggested. Explain how you know or are related to each guest.

The holidays are a time of celebration, sharing and caring. But for a young child, they can also be a time of overwhelming situations, noise and rooms full of strangers. Understanding how these elements can trigger a temper tantrum can help you avoid a holiday meltdown.

Molly Ploe comes from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and enjoys hiking, baking and reading. Her favorite Saturday is rainy with bread in the oven and a new book.

a family eating together

Is My Toddler Eating Enough?

Toddlers are known for their picky eating habits. It can be hard to convince your little one to eat a full meal, much less one that’s healthy for them.

As a parent, you know the importance of providing your child with the right nutrition to grow into healthy, happy adults. On the other hand, you also know that proper toddler nutrition, portion size and diet will be different than that of a grown adult – but how different?

Here, we’ll walk through the basics of toddler nutrition so you can ensure your child is getting the right vitamins and the right amount of food.

Portion size for toddlers

After your baby was born, he was in full growth mode. Your infant needed between 35 and 50 calories per pound to get enough fuel to power that growth. However, now that the rate of growth is starting to slow down, your pride and joy will need closer to 40 calories per pound to sustain himself, according to Parents Magazine.

This means if your toddler weighs…

  • 25 pounds, feed him 1000 calories per day.
  • 30 pounds, 1200 calories per day.
  • 35 pounds, 1400 calories per day.
  • 40 pounds, 1600 calories per day.

Variety in vitamins and minerals

Nearly every food packaging intended for healthy eating will boast of the number of vitamins and minerals found within. But do you know what vitamins and minerals – and how much – your toddler needs to support physical and mental development?

Toddlers need healthy foods for proper development.It’s important to make sure your toddler is getting the right nutrients to support growth.

According to BabyCenter, the top 10 important nutrients for a young body’s development are:

  • Iron to bring enough oxygen to their muscles.
  • Calcium to support strong bones.
  • Vitamin D to support calcium absorption.
  • Essential fatty acids to build strong immune, nervous and cardiovascular systems.
  • Magnesium for a healthy heart and bones.
  • Potassium to promote healthy blood pressure and water balance.
  • Vitamin A for healthy eyes, hair and nails.
  • Vitamin C to encourage tissue, red blood cell and bone repair.
  • Vitamin E to limit free radical production.
  • Zinc for a healthy metabolism.

Because different foods will have greater amounts of certain key nutrients than others, it’s important to include variety in your toddler’s diet. Pediatrician Dr. Rajiv Chhabra recommended in an article for MyCity4Kids that parents focus on deriving these key nutrients from real foods rather than vitamins or supplements.

However, because this can be challenging when dealing with extremely picky eaters, a nutritional shake mix to blend with milk can have a few advantages, including a delicious flavor your toddler will love and added vitamins and minerals to close any nutritional gaps.

Meal ideas for toddlers

It can be hard to know how many calories, vitamins and minerals are in each meal or snack you offer your child. Here are a few facts to give you a good idea about the nutritional value of these popular toddler foods:




Just one more bite

Through the struggle of trying to get a toddler to eat all of what’s on her plate, it can be easy to overlook a very natural reason she’s not eating: She may simply be full. If your toddler insists on not finishing a meal, don’t try to force it. This could lead to poor eating habits later on, Parents pointed out. If your toddler complains of being hungry an hour or so later, give her a snack and take note for the next meal time.

Parents additionally advised against using food as a bribe as well as bribing your child to eat more, as these practices also promote an unhealthy relationship with food. While it’s important to ensure your child is eating enough healthy food, it’s best to teach your toddler how to identify the “full” feeling and to teach them to stop eating when they’ve had enough.

Molly Ploe comes from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and enjoys hiking, baking and reading. Her favorite Saturday is rainy with bread in the oven and a new book.

A pregnant ethnic mother is doing yoga with her young toddler girl

Indoor Pregnancy Workouts To Try This Winter

When you have a baby on the way, it’s important to stay as healthy as you can. One aspect of this is exercising regularly. However, some moms-to-be worry that the motion of a good run or the intensity of lifting weights may be too much for the little one growing inside.

These concerns can be pushed aside for the most part; generally speaking, working out while pregnant is not only acceptable but encouraged. According to the American Pregnancy Association, pregnancy workouts can benefit soon-to-be mothers by:

  • Reducing back aches and swelling.
  • Preventing gestational diabetes.
  • Increasing energy and improving mood.
  • Encouraging better sleep.

Exercising while pregnant may also tone the muscles needed during delivery, promoting an easier labor, though not every mom’s experience is the same.

While the benefits of working out sound great, for the woman going through pregnancy during the winter, it can be hard to know what you can do. With the bitter cold and icy sidewalks, walking or jogging outside may not sound all that appealing. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to maintain fitness indoors.

Core workouts

There may have never been a better reason to strengthen your core muscles than pregnancy. These will support your baby throughout the term¬†and are key to labor and delivery. Additionally, engaging your core muscles in your pregnancy workout plan can help avoid diastasis recti – a condition many mothers experience, which pulls the ab muscles to the sides so that even when their abs are toned, there’s still a bulge over their belly, BabyCenter pointed out.

When doing ab exercises (in general, and especially while pregnant), it’s important to make sure you’re engaging your core muscles correctly. In the case of a diastasis, doing traditional crunches and improper core workouts can actually worsen the problem.

Exercising can promote a healthy pregnancy and delivery.Soon-to-be moms can encourage a healthy pregnancy and delivery by working out.

Here are a few exercises that Fit Pregnancy reports will strengthen your core and are appropriate for the pregnant body:

Leg lifts

Lie on your side with your head supported by your forearm. Bend your bottom leg to a 45-degree angle and straighten your top leg. Stabilize yourself with your other arm. Lift your top leg to about hip height, then slowly lower it. Repeat for the number of reps you’re comfortable with, then switch to¬†the other side.


First, get into position: put your hands and knees on the floor, your back straight. Lift your knees so you’re supported by your forearms and toes. Don’t let your butt lift or your belly sag; hold for one to two breaths. Work up to being able to hold the pose for up to five breaths.

Improve your balance

As your body changes, you may start to notice your balance is a little off. This is normal; your body is growing in size and weight every day! A few indoor exercises incorporated into your pregnancy workout routine can help you regain a sound awareness of your center of gravity.


Anyone who has taken a dance class remembers this one. Using a chair, table or barre for support, stand with your feet hip-distance apart. Turn your toes and knees out 45 degrees. Slowly bend your knees, lowering yourself as much as you comfortably and safely can, then slowly rise back to standing position. Keep your core engaged and your back straight during the entire plié. Repeat for the number of reps you feel comfortable with.

Single-limb stance

Dignity Health pointed out that balancing on one leg can help you become balanced in your changing body. With a table or chair for support just in case you waver, lift one foot off the ground and hold your balance for any length of time you prefer. Repeat on the other leg.

During pregnancy, your body will be in constant change. Your little one is growing and developing inside, and within nine months’ time, he or she will be ready to greet the world. Until then, your body is your baby’s sanctuary. Staying fit is one way to encourage a healthy pregnancy and delivery.

Molly Ploe comes from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and enjoys hiking, baking and reading. Her favorite Saturday is rainy with bread in the oven and a new book.