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Why Bedtime Routines Are So Important
Parenting magazines and blog posts are always touting the latest “parenting hack” to make life easier, but some things, like sleep, don’t require “hacks” to make life easier – all they need is consistency. A bedtime routine, practised consistently will help your little ones drift off to dreamland faster and without (much) fuss. Most adults practice bedtime routines themselves, even if they’re unaware that’s what they’re doing – washing your face, brushing your teeth, reading a little – all of these things are part of a bedtime routine, so it only makes sense that children would thrive with the familiarity that a bedtime routine brings.

If you haven’t been using a bedtime routine with your little one, the good news is that it’s never too late to start. Make sure you give yourself enough time – between 30 and 45 minutes – because rushing through a bedtime routine can make everyone involved feel stressed and that’s not what we want at bedtime. You want to give your child time to get ready for bed without it being a power struggle or a race against the clock. On nights where you’re running late, and are tempted to rush through it, remind yourself that taking the time to do the bedtime routine will save you time in the long run as your child will be more likely to go to sleep without a fuss.

Bedtime routines take many shapes depending on family priorities, but generally follow a similar pattern. For a toddler, a bedtime routine might look like this:
• Bath (You don’t need to bathe your toddler nightly so this step may slide in and out of the routine as needed)
• Potty time / Diaper change
• Brushing teeth
• Choosing a favourite stuffed toy or comfort item to bring to bed
• Story time
• Bedtime song(s)
• Cuddles and quiet time
• Saying good night

Of course these steps can be done in a different order, depending on personal preference. The last step is important though, as you want to leave your child’s room before she is fully asleep. That way, if she wakes up in the middle of the night, she won’t be wondering where you went and she’s more likely to fall back asleep on her own. Bedtime routines allow you to have some one-on-one time with your child, reconnecting and unwinding at the end of a busy day. Not only will a bedtime routine help you bond with your little one, it will also help them fall asleep more easily. Now that’s a win-win!

Alanna McGinn is Founder and Certified Sleep Consultant of Good Night Sleep Site, a global sleep consulting practice. She is Representative and Director for the International Association of Child Sleep Consultants (IACSC) and serves on the faculty of The Family Sleep Institute. She and her husband, Mike, live in Burlington, Ontario with their 3 children (1+twins!) and when she’s not on route to the bus stop or tripping over fire trucks and tea sets, she and her global team are working with families to overcome their sleep challenges. You can follow her expert advice in national publications like Today’s Parent, Yummy Mummy Club, PBS Kids, and Canadian Living. Alanna strives in helping families and corporations overcome their sleep challenges and have happy well-rested smiles in the morning. You can find out more about Alanna McGinn and Good Night Sleep Site at www.goodnightsleepsite.com and you can join Alanna on the first Wednesday of every month at the Burlington location of Snuggle Bugz/Nestled for her in-person sleep clinic from 10-11am.

 

Posted in 2016, Sleep | Tagged , , |

Booster Seats are for Big Kids!

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We are continuing our conversation today about car seat safety and when to transition to the next stage of seat as well as how to safely use each stage. Today we are talking about Stages 3 and 4- Booster seats and seat belts.

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When transitioning to a booster seat, it is important to do your research as here is where children’s age, weight, and height have such a big impact on how you choose to restrain them in your car. Many people think that as soon as their child hits the 40lb minimum requirement of a booster seat that they should immediately make the switch from their forward-facing seats, however, there is so much more to this decision than just the minimum weight factor. As long as your child is within the weight and height ranges for his or her forward-facing seat and fits the car seat properly, it is safest to use that car seat as long as possible. Making the switch to a booster seat can be confusing so we are here to help you navigate when to make the switch and what to transition to.

What is a booster seat? 

A booster seat is a device used to lift your child to the position that correctly fits the vehicle seat belt across their body. The shoulder belt should be across the centre of the chest, contacting the collar bone and not the neck. The lap belt should be low on hips and upper thighs, not across the soft tissue in the child’s midsection. This is the fit that offers the most protection in the event of a collision.

Types of Booster Seats:

There are two types of stage three seats- a combination seat or a belt positioning seat.

Harness to Booster Combination Seat: this type of seat starts out as a forward facing seat with a five point harness and can later be converted to a belt positioning booster once the height/weight requirements are met. The use of a five point restraint system is recommended for as long as you can as it offers more protection in the event of a collision and is more difficult for a child to get out of or use incorrectly.

Belt Positioning Booster Seat: this type of seat relies solely on the vehicle seat belt to position the child to adequately fit the seat belt. Both a lap and shoulder belt must be used with this type of seat and it is not safe to use with a lap belt only which is the type in some older cars and middle seat positions.

There are two types of Belt Positioning Booster Seats to choose from:

High Back Booster (HBB): Has side wings for torso and head to provide lateral support for a child in event of side impact collision. This also helps keep their torso and body in a vertical position while they are awake or sleeping so when the seatbelt locks up at point of impact, it contacts the strongest parts of their body, minimizing risk of injury.

Backless Booster: Just as it sounds- there is no back attached to the booster, it is just the seat portion. With a backless seat there is no lateral support, it provides only the lift to position to the right seatbelt hight but does not help support them when they are sleeping or leaning over. If a child is still and in upright position, they perform the same as a HBB, they just don’t have the support for when child is sleeping or moving out of vertical position.

imageKey Considerations When Selecting Your Seat Type: 

  • Refer to the height and weight requirements of your current forward facing seat as well as it’s expiry date to determine when you may need to transition to the next stage. If your child is well within the seat limits and fits the seat well, it is safest to keep him there until he outgrows it.
  • When purchasing your stage three seat, consider your child’s age, weight,and  height along with the new seat’s expiry date and cost. Sometimes a pricier seat gives you a longer length of use and is more cost effective in the end.
  • Be sure that whatever seat you choose is compatible with your vehicle as not all seats fit in all cars.
  • A child in a belt positioning booster has the same freedom an adult has to undo the seat belt and move/bend over within the belt so carefully consider their maturity before transitioning them out of a 5 pt harness into belt positioning.
  • If you are purchasing or using a backless or low back booster, make sure the vehicle seat or headrest comes at least to the middle of the child’s ears to protect his head and neck in the event of a crash.

Important Tips for Proper Use: 

      • Always consult your vehicle owner’s manual and booster seat user guide prior to installation to ensure you have correctly installed it for optimal safety.
      • Always use both a lap belt and a shoulder belt with a booster seat.
      • Always buckle up an empty booster seat (or take it out of your vehicle) so it doesn’t become a projectile that could hurt someone in a crash or sudden stop.
      • Do regular fit checks on your child to be sure that the belt is fitting them correctly and that it is not twisted or obstructed in any way that would prevent it from locking up in a collision.

 

Stage 4: When is your child ready for seat belt only? 

Children must be at least 4’9″ tall and typically 8-12 years old before making the switch but there are many other fit factors to consider. Your child must be able to sit up straight, with his or her back against the back of your vehicle’s seat and feet touching the floor. Your child’s legs should be able to hang over the seat without slouching. Slouching makes the lap belt move up over the stomach when it should be over the hips. The shoulder belt should rest on your child’s shoulder, never on the neck or arm. If the seatbelt rubs their neck they will put it behind their head and won’t get the protection they need on their torso in a crash.

If your child can’t sit in the right position or the vehicle seat belt does not fit properly, he or she is still too short and should stay in a booster seat for a while longer. If your child grows out of their booster seat before they are ready to use only a seat belt, there may be another booster seat that fits your child.

Remember that once you do make the switch to a seat belt, the back seat is still the safest place for children in the event of a collision. A minimum age of 13 is recommended before sitting in the front seat and though they may feel they are missing out on “Shotgun” privileges, the back seat could save their life.

Still feeling car seat confused? Visit us at one of our store locations to further speak to an advisor with any questions you have. If you live in the GTA, you can also visit us at our exclusive Car Seat Day Event on Saturday, September 24th from 10am-4pm at our head office location 1040 Sutton Drive in Burlington, Ontario. We will have special bonus offers, gift bags and car seat brand reps on site to ensure you walk away with the knowledge you need to keep your child safe. 

Posted in 2016, Car Seat Safety, Safety | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Car Seat Day 2016

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So, do we have a surprise for you! The first annual Snuggle Bugz Car Seat Day is taking place this Saturday September 24th 2016 from 10am-4pm!  

The success of our much loved Stroller Day inspired us to create a similar event completely dedicated to all things car seats!

Save the date and join us at Snuggle Bugz headquarters – 1040 Sutton Drive, Burlington. 

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As you know, Child Passsenger Safety Week 2016 began this past Sunday. The focus being to help educate families on topics surrounding car seat safety. Here at Snuggle Bugz, we believe that education is the key to car seat safety! Our goal is to help Canadian families  foster a better understanding  of car seat safety,  ignite a passion so that they too will become car safety seat addicts and help spread the word so that we can keep kids safe when travelling.

So needless to say if you are considering an new infant, convertible or booster car seat it is the perfect day to visit the event and have all your questions on safety and compatibility answered!

Here are some of the highlights of this one-day event:

  • Amazing offers available only at the event! Exclusions apply.
  • Meet & greet with brand representatives on-hand to compare your favourites and answer all of your questions.
  • Free Gift Bag when you register at the event (Hurry, it is while supplies last!)

Since this is a new event for everyone, except for our Stroller Day veterans,  we have put together some tips on how to get through the event with the absolute most fun:

Rain Rain, Go Away!
Not going to lie, we obviously would rather it be sunny and warm, but in the event that we cannot control the weather, this event will happen should it rain. We have tents and umbrellas and an indoor area that will be our saving grace should it downpour. Fingers, toes, even eyes crossed the clouds hold back until 4:02pm. Dress according to the weather!

Line Ups
Avoiding the lineup is always a big question people ask! If you do not like lines than we don’t suggest coming first thing in the morning. This is usually where the morning early bird line forms. However, come as a team, especially if you have a young child with you. One person stands in line, while the other browses around, takes a break, or pick up a delicious treat from the on-hand food truck! If you don’t need to take your car seat home with you that day, it is usually best not to stand in line and skip some of the hustle and bustle! Usually by 2pm (nap time) things slow down till around 3pm. Then from 3-4pm there will be another last minute rush again!

Stock Availability
Don’t panic if your car seat is not available to take home the day of the event. While we do our best to have as many car seats available as possible, we will run out of car seats at some point during the day. When this happens, you will be able to special order the car seat you have chosen and pick up or ship to you at a later date – estimated time of arrival of your special order will be determined at time of purchase.

Payment
Please note that this event we will only accept Cash, Debit, Master Card, and Visa. AMEX and Gift Cards will not be accepted. Be sure to plan for this accordingly. We do not want any sad faces on Car Seat Day!

We can’t wait for September 24th and hope to see all your smiling faces too! If you have any other questions you need answered before Car Seat Day, be sure to leave us comment a below or chat with us on Facebook.

 

Posted in 2016 |
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Blog_EssentialsWithEmily_KindergartenHeaderTransitioning to Kindergarten Essentials

So the day has come and gone, and your little one is officially in school. Or as my kids call it, “Big Kid School”. As kids are all unique, each one will adjust and assimilate at a different pace and in their own way, but here are a few things I think each family can do to continue to smooth over the transition in the month to come.

Normalize their entry to school

You can do this by bringing it up in casual conversation, always keeping things light. Talk about other kids they know who go to school, or what school they attend. Keep school on your lips, but in a light way. Even remember back to when you were first in school and tell your child what you loved the most. Buy a book or two that involves the main character going to school, if you don’t yet own any. Lastly, walk by their school as often as possible so they are familiar with the building and going there from your home. It will make the first day much less intimidating.

Play School!

Kids comprehend their surroundings internally and often express their thoughts through play. Watch and see what tones and storylines they come up with when they are playing school. Our daughter helped us understand that she worried the teacher would be mean, by acting that out innocently as she played. She never mentioned this verbally, but it became clear that she was afraid that she wouldn’t like her teacher. After watching for a few minutes we were able to interject and say, “Oh but wait, most teachers are the nicest people you’ll ever meet – especially kindergarten teachers! So the teacher in your game is very unusual.”

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Get them involved in preparations

It’s easier to buy most of your things online once the kids are in bed, am I right? And while I still mostly go this route, when we were helping our oldest wrap her head around the upcoming school year, we made sure to involve her in all the shopping. I brought her to the store with me for supplies; let her pick out her own backpack, and a few extra staples for the fall season. Continue brainstorming ideas for lunches and snacks, and let your child be involved in meal prep.

School has begun

The transition isn’t over once they actually start school – it’s just beginning. Kindergarten teachers understand the whole month of September to be a transition for the child and they will often be extremely laid back with the children the first month. October is often the month where teachers tighten up on rules and expectations, as the kids have had time to adjust to the new environment. This means for the whole month of September, your child should be gradually easing in to the new way of life at school. You can help them by asking pointed questions at the end of the day and then again a few hours later. Right after school you’ll get passion and a fresh memory, but they’re also usually really tired and hungry. Once they’re in the their comfort zone at home, they may be more reflective and less emotional. Avoid general questions like “how was your day”, which will almost never yield more than a simple “fine” in response.  Instead, try, “did anything happen today that scared you?” or “what happened today to make you laugh?”

Starting school is a giant leap for our little ones, and it’s bound to be met with the whole gamut of emotions. It’s your job as their parents to be even tempered, positive, and light hearted about the transition, but never forget empathy, too. It is scary and hard being in a new place with a room full of strangers, so don’t be so positive that your child feels alone in those emotions. Also, as hard as it can be, try to keep it together on their first day of school! For all of us criers out there (and I may be chief crier!), this is a challenge. But save the tears for once you’re home or at work, and instead let them see your happy encouraging face as you send them off.

Emily is a Montreal-based writer and blogger, but most importantly, a mom of three littles (age five and under). She geeks out over cloth diapers, lattes, and will do just about anything to travel. You can find her on Instagram @emmorrice where she profusely overgrams pictures of her meals, kids and city. 

Posted in 2016 |
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It doesn’t take much to discover that the world of strollers and car seats can be very overwhelming. Every parent has something that they highly recommend, along with something that they suggest you steer clear of. So, when it comes to picking a stroller and car seat combo, how do you know which choice is the best for your family?

I’ve had the wonderful opportunity of working in Snuggle Bugz stores for a number of years and have been able to connect with many parents navigating through the early stages of parenthood. What is the number one question most advisors get asked – Where do I start?!

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Already assuming that safety is priority, here are my steps for choosing a combo that is the best fit for your family and lifestyle.

1. Identify your lifestyle and stroller needs!
– Do I have limited space to store my stroller, whether it’s at home or in the car? Once in the car, do I have room to store anything else?
– Do I spend the majority of my time walking on paved or unpaved surfaces? Trails, hikes, paved roads, malls etc.
– Are we planning on having children close in age?
– How much weight am I comfortable lifting when folding and loading my stroller?
– Do you need something with a lot of storage for shopping or bringing everything with me?
When you’re prepared to answer questions like these, advisors can quickly narrow down the best options that will, or will not work for you! Which brings us to step # 2!

FB_BJ_CityMiniGTSale_600x600   B-Ready
 

2. Quickly remove options that won’t work for your family in order to drown out the noise.
Not everything is going to work for your lifestyle, and sometimes things that won’t work are much easier to identify than things that will. Narrow down the overall selection to three strollers that look promising. From there get into some serious details about each!

Here are some questions to get you started:
– What is my budget?
– What kind of tires does the stroller have?
– Can I adjust the height or position of the handlebars?
– Can I fold the stroller unassisted, or even with 1 hand?
– Can I carry the stroller?
– What colour options are available?
– Can I recline the seat for my child? Will they be comfortable as they grow?
– Is the footrest adjustable?
– What infant car seats are compatible with each of these strollers?

3. Determine what car seats are compatible with your top 3 stroller picks and do some research.

Not all car seats are created equal, and it’s important that you are confident in the decision that you make for your growing family. Make a list of the car seat options that are compatible with your top stroller picks.

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From there, take some time and jot down some of the features that are listed online, or on the car seat’s tags. Here’s where the research comes in!

It’s okay to be unfamiliar with all of the lingo and terminology, but definitely worth it to figure out what it all means! Especially when it comes to the safety of your precious cargo. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Snuggle Bugz is a community where we get to learn and explore together. The more questions you ask, the more you know.

Some things you may want to ask about:
– Side impact protection
– Anti-rebound bars
– Recall history
– Height & weight restrictions
– Length of use with infant

4. Take your pick!
Once you’ve decided on a car seat that you feel safe putting your little one in, and confident using, pair that with your top stroller pick and voila, you’ve got your own perfect travel system!

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Posted in 2016, Car Seat Safety, Strollers |