How to make lunchboxes less of a chore…

However enthusiastic you are about food the daily lunchbox can break even the brightest of spirits. Life as a parent is already too busy to cook elaborate lunchbox fillings but that doesn’t mean they need to be dull and boring. I look to achieve just three things in my daughters’ lunchboxes: colour, freshness and simplicity. Once you focus on this ethos the daily lunchbox won’t feel like such a chore and you might even get a bit creative.
Firstly, what needs to go in your lunchbox?

1. start with carbs.

Carbohydrates such as bread or pasta should make up the back bone of the lunchbox. Don’t stress too much about this being boring or ‘samey’, children need fuel and energy to make sure they can concentrate and enjoy school or nursery. I like to add a little bit of fun by cutting sandwiches into shapes with cookie cutters as in this pink Monbento box or making cheesy quesadillas into little men (see my step-by-step in pictures below).

 

You’ll be amazed by how much your children will respond to something just cut, folded or arranged into a different shape and the Monbento range adds an extra element of discovery too with the different layers and boxes which my children love exploring.

 

2. add protein.

I aim to provide 2-3 different forms of protein per week. Make life easy though and boil eggs in advance at the weekend, use leftovers, use cured meats and fish (and remember protein can also come from pulses so hummus sprinkled with a few chickpeas also counts). I often serve hummus with the cheesy quesadilla men above and a ‘rainbow pot’ of fruit and veg to dip.)
My daughters also love leftover patties (meat, fish, veggie, whatever you have!) in ‘tacos’- just cut out a couple of small circles from a tortilla and fold them neatly into you box- top with the patties with avocado, tomato, sweetcorn + cheese (in the image below I’ve packed them with a popcorn snack and strawberry infused water in a Skiphop insulated bottle).

 

3. add 2-3 portions of fruit + veg.

Eating the rainbow is my number one mantra. No-one likes all fruits and vegetables but by looking to consume a variety of ‘colours’ from the rainbow you ensure that your family are getting as many vitamins and minerals into their bodies as possible.

The fruit and vegetable wheels below include my favourite lunchbox fillers and on a daily basis I make sure that my daughters’ lunchboxes capture at least 2-3 ‘colours’ and that they have around 2 handfuls of fruit and vegetables.

 

4. and a little something extra…..

Once you’ve covered the carbohydrate, protein, fruit and veg I generally add in an extra snack which provides additional nutrients and minerals and supports one of the main food groups already discussed. Our favourites include hummus, popcorn, dried fruit, fruit smoothies (or infused water) and homemade flapjacks or nut free energy balls.
With all the food groups covered all you need to do now is aid yourself with a few simple methods to help encourage your children to get involved.


Empower them

Getting your children involved in the daily lunchbox not only helps you out but also makes them feel empowered in choosing what you are adding. If you don’t want them to actually choose the specific foods that go in then just let them put it in the containers or choose what ‘colours’ they want that day. My daughters love getting involved with their fortnightly pasta salad- just cook some extra pasta and drizzle with olive oil. After dinner put a variety of toppings on the table and ask them to choose 2-3 to go with their pasta. Let them sprinkle it over or put it in pots so they can assemble at school. Our favourite toppings are: tomatoes, roasted peppers, peas, leftover roasted squash, sweetcorn, broccoli, cheddar cheese and mini mozzarella but anything goes!

 

DIY lunches

 

Children love to feel in control so try just putting the separate components of their lunch in the box and let them discover how they want to eat them together- this allows them to get involved and experiment with food. For children cautious about mixing food the Yumbox is great at separating the components but allowing them to see how they work together. The box below has all the components of a chicken + apricot couscous salad with watermelon + yoghurt drizzled with honey for dessert but by separating them out it seems less scary and enables them to identify each separate ingredient and explore it in their own time.


Be Adventurous

Children’s behaviour changes vastly in different environments so lunch boxes are a great way to expose them to new foods that they don’t normally try at home. Don’t go too far out of their comfort zone but present new foods in fun ways alongside foods they already enjoy.
Don’t stress

Children are largely sensory driven and respond to textures, colours and shapes in different ways at different times in their development so don’t stress or take it personally if they don’t eat something at first- its not the end of the world- try that food in a different way in a few weeks and you may be surprised by the result.

Please get in contact with any questions or even some fun lunchbox ideas!

Lyndsay@ieatmypeas.com

Essential Gear for Travelling with Babies and Toddlers

 

With the Eid break over, it’s now time to get ready for summer and the annual summer exodus, when many families resident in the Middle East take the opportunity to escape the heat and travel home to see loved ones or head off on adventures in cooler climes. Travelling with babies and toddlers can be a daunting task, especially if it is your first time travelling with children or your first time travelling with multiple children, or the scariest of all – travelling alone with multiple children!!  Being prepared both mentally and practically makes all the difference and having the right gear to hand can make or break your travel experience.

I’m Harkee, a British expat mother of two and parenting blogger at AS they grow. I’m delighted to have been invited by Just Kidding to share with you the travel essentials that I’ve relied on over the last 6 years of traveling with my young family (including 14 hour flights from Australia alone with two young ones that don’t sleep much!)  Many of these items can be used over a number of years so are a very worthwhile investment into both your travel experience and your sanity!

Baby Zen Yoyo

I will start with what I consider to have been one of the best travel investments I have ever made and that is a compact collapsable buggy that will fit in the airplane overhead baggage storage. Do not underestimate the value of being able to push your child through a busy airport right up to the airplane door and having that buggy right to hand the minute you step off the plane to make the dash to passport control and the luggage belt. No more waiting around with a tired, cranky toddler for your buggy to come off the luggage belt and wondering if it survived the journey. Babies might seem small but, when you have to carry them while trying to juggle multiple passports and lift suitcases off a moving belt, suddenly such small beings can pose a big difficulty. It’s much easier to have a safe place to strap them in where they can easily nap if they want to.  The Baby Zen Yoyo is one of the most well know airplane approved buggies and can also be used as a compact stroller throughout your whole trip. There are also various handy accessories available for it such as a ride on board for a toddler or child, car seat adapters and an insect shield perfect for those tropical holidays.

Mountain Buggy Bagrider

I also love the look of the new Mountain Buggy Bagrider which is suitable for babies from when they can sit confidently unassisted to around age 3, if that had been around when my kids were younger I’m pretty sure I would have bought it for transporting them through the airport and they would have loved it. I showed it to one of my friends and she bought it straight away so I’m looking forward to seeing it in action this summer – I have always found Mountain Buggy products to be sturdy and easy to manouvre and this seems to be the same.

Ergo

Another essential bit of kit for getting a baby or young toddler around an airport is a baby carrier and I always travelled with my Ergo. When travelling alone with a newborn and a toddler it was a god send to be able to strap my baby to me and push my toddler in the compact buggy. Airports and airplanes can be busy, scary, overwhelming places for babies and toddlers and baby carriers allow a child to feel comforted by close physical contact with a parent while allowing the parent to keep their hands free to deal with everything that needs to be dealt with. Thick, comfy, adjustable straps, a head support for a sleeping baby and handy little pockets as well as different options for carrying position makes the Ergo carrier a safe comfortable ride for both the child and the parent. I used mine right into toddlerhood throughout airports, onboard planes for hours of walking up and down the aisles bouncing an unsettled child and of course at my destination as well. A baby carrier is particularly handy if you are travelling somewhere where you will be using public transport a lot as it can be more difficult hopping on and off buses and trains with a buggy.

Swaddle Designs 4 pack

The most multi-functional item I always travel with is a set of large muslin cloths. These have so many uses, from nursing cover to buggy shade, light shade, bed sheet or blanket, to mop cloth, burp cloth, changing mat and more besides. Airplane seats and blankets are usually cleaned with harsh detergents that aren’t particularly kind to babies’ soft skin. The one time I didn’t place a muslin underneath him, my son reacted to the seats and since then I’ve made sure to place the protective barrier over the seat or bassinet. The Swaddle Designs 4 pack of large muslins would be perfect for this.

Skip Hop Suite Diaper Back Pack

For my carry-on bag I always forgo a handbag or shoulder bag and opt for a backpack for both comfort and convenience. Ideally one with lots of pockets to separate the things you need, like the Skip Hop Suite Diaper Back Pack which not only looks stylish but also comes with a travel change mat, paci pocket, stroller straps, bottle bag and packing cube, all handy accessories for travel. As soon as the kids were old enough to carry their own little backpacks I got them one each for travelling and going out and about at our destination. They can fill these with their toys and entertainment for the flight and maybe a few snacks – just don’t forget to check what they packed – I remember wondering why my son’s bag was so heavy one trip only to discover he’d filled it full of wooden train toys!! Just kidding has a wide range of back packs so you can pick one suitable to the size of your child and their likes. My pick would be the backpacks from A Lovely Little Company for the many pockets, especially the side ones perfect for a water bottle, not to mention their cuteness!

 A Lovely Little Company Backpack

One of the things I get most anxious about when travelling with the kids is food. It was easier when they were nursing newborns but as fussy eating toddlers I always needed to make sure I had plenty of their favourite things to hand. Stacking pots like the Skip Hop Food Storage Tower are perfect for packing a variety of foods but also practical for snacking on the go. Pack some snacks for you as well – inevitably the baby will need all your attention just as the onboard meals are about to be served and you might miss out!

Skip Hop Food Storage Tower

As well as the gear there is also the basics you need to pack like wipes (I always packed an already open pack that was half used so it wasn’t so heavy to carry), nappies (I split these out into a few in the nappy pouch (or just a ziplock bag) which I can just grab and take to the loo and a back up stash in the bag to refill) and nappy sacks which can be handy not only for nappies but also any soiled or wet clothing. Talking of soiled or wet clothing, don’t forget to pack a change of clothing for you and your partner as well as the little ones as you are likely to be caught in the line of any fire!

Of course the most important thing to be sure to take with you is a bucket full of patience, a sense of humour and the knowledge that no matter how difficult the journey, you will get to your destination eventually and the family time out of the summer desert heat will all be worth it!!

Have a great summer everyone and safe travels!

Harkee x

Understanding Ramadan as a Child

 

We spoke to our team member Radwa Ali to discover her experiences growing up and learning about Ramadan.

When did you first start to understand Ramadan?

Growing up Radwa saw her parents fasting every Ramadan. Around the age of 8 I started imitating them when they were praying, even if I didn’t understand what they were doing. The same with fasting: I saw my parents not eating during the day, so I tried not to eat for as long as possible either. It started like that and from there on it became little habits.

What was Ramadan like as a kid?

Ramadan was really fun as a kid, it was such an experience. Growing up as a girl especially, I helped my mom a lot. She would start her day by thinking what she would make for Iftar that evening and spend the whole day preparing. During preparation of Iftar I learned how to cook certain dishes. I always liked spending time with my mom during Ramadan food shopping, cooking and preparing for Iftar

At Iftar we always had a lot of visitors: friends, family or colleagues of my dad that maybe didn’t have wives living with them to cook. The spirit of Ramadan for me is bringing people together and that is what makes Ramadan so beautiful. In high school my whole class would raise money to buy food to give to those in need. Coming together and doing so much good is just something you don’t see enough of outside of Ramadan.

What’s your childhood memory of Ramadan?

My childhood memory of Ramadan is hearing the Adhan, because the prayer is so much louder and all the mosques go at the exact same time, which is so beautiful. Our whole home was always decorated with stars and the moon, you would see them everywhere.

I was raised in Saudi-Arabia, during Ramadan they would set up special souks there. These souks are different from the mall-like here in Dubai. There was one souk in particular that my family would visit during Ramadan. This souk sold all sorts of stuff, including Ramadan sweets and related stuff.

How did you experience Eid as a kid?

During the last 10 days of Ramadan, families start getting ready for Eid. My mother used to change the whole interior of our Saudi home, from furniture to curtains. Together with her friends my mother would make a lot of Eid cookies, my share of cookies was always gone fast because they were so delicious!

The morning of Eid we would wake up to the smell of oud, an Arabian perfume. My parents would come in and wish us a happy Eid. We would get up and get dressed for the occasion. Then my dad would come up to us and give us some money, which we call ‘Eideya”. He wouldn’t only give money to us, but to every family’s child we visited. It’s a part of the giving tradition; you can’t visit someone’s home empty-handed. The rest of Eid we would spend receiving guests and visiting friends and family’s homes ourselves. Sometimes we went to a theme park or some other fun activity to celebrate Eid.

The more you grow up the more you learn from your family and Ramadan becomes something that’s a spiritual journey.

Winter Travel Safety Tips

 Travel Checklist Before Hitting The Road

Britax Winter Travel Safety Tips

We know that you want your little ones to stay cozy during the winter months, but big coats can affect the fit of the car seat harness during travel.

Even though the harness may seem snug on your child while wearing a coat, in the event of a crash, the coat could compress, creating slack in the harness that allows your child to move about in the seat.

So how can you keep your baby safe and comfortable during this chilly weather?

Start with the Pinch Test

First, it’s important to know how to tell if your child’s harness is tight enough, whether they’re wearing a winter coat or a t-shirt. To make sure your child’s harness is snug enough, perform the simple Pinch Test before you start your travel:

  • Secure your child in the car seat and buckle the harness as usual.
  • Using your thumb and pointer finger, try to pinch one of the harness straps at your child’s collar bone level.

If you’re able to pinch the strap, the harness is too loose. You should not be able to pinch any excess webbing.

Check the tightness of the harness strap every time you buckle children into their car seats, especially when they are wearing heavy coats.

Check your child’s coat

Now you know what a properly snug harness looks like. You can check if your child’s coat is acceptable to wear in a car seat:

  • Secure your child in the car seat while wearing the coat in question.
  • Properly tighten the car seat harness around your child until the harness webbing cannot be vertically pinched at your child’s collar bone.
  • Remove your child from the car seat WITHOUT loosening the harness system.
  • Remove the coat and secure your child back in the car seat WITHOUT adjusting (loosening/tightening) the harness.

If the buckle and chest clip are still secure without the coat, and the harness webbing CANNOT be vertically pinched at your child’s collarbone, then the coat is acceptable. If the harness webbing CAN be vertically pinched, then the coat is too thick and should not be worn with the car seat.

Try some other options

If your child’s coat is too bulky when worn with the car seat, consider alternatives for warmth:

  • Preheat your vehicle.
  • Put a coat on your child backwards.
  • Drape a blanket over your child.
  • Consider a coat made out of very thin but warm material.

Blog published originally at Britax Tips and Advice

View our selection of the safest car seats at Britax Car Seats At JustKidding Middle East

Winter Feasts For Baby By Beaba Babycook

Step up your baby food making game with Beaba Babycook and create Insta-worthy baby meals in minutes!
Recipe Notes: Always, please check with your pediatrician before introducing new foods to your baby


Chicken, Leek & Rosemary Purée

Recipe adapted for Babycook from Little Foodies

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups chicken breast cubed
1/2 cup leek chopped
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
Instructions 1. Put chicken, leeks and rosemary in the steamer basket.
2. Pour water into tank (level 3).
3. Start the cooking process.
4. When the chicken, leeks and rosemary are cooked, put them in the blending bowl, reserving the cooking liquid.
5. Add the olive oil and some of the cooking liquid to bring the purée to the desired consistency and blend.

 

 


Baby’s Beef Stroganoff

Beaba Babycook Beef Stroganoff
Good to Know: Not only is beef an easy meat for tiny tummies to digest, but it is also an excellent source of iron, zinc and vitamins B12 

Ingredients
1 cup potato skin removed and cubed

1/4 cup carrot peeled and sliced
1/2 cup tomato cubed 1/4 cup white onion skin removed and cubed 3 ounces Beef cubed

Instructions
1. Put the potato, carrot, tomato and onion in the steamer basket.
2. Pour water into the tank (level 3).
3. Start the cooking process.
4. When the vegetables are cooked, put them in the blending bowl and pulse once.
5. Put the pulsed veggies in a separate bowl to the side.
6. Put the beef in the steamer basket.
7. Pour water into the tank (level 3).
8. Start the cooking process.
9. When the meat is cooked, put the meat and vegetables in the blending bowl.
10. Add some of the cooking liquid to bring the purée to the desired consistency and blend.

 

 

 

Baby’s Baba Ganoush


Ingredients

1 cup eggplant sliced
1/3 cup red pepper sliced
1/3 cup green pepper sliced
2 tablespoons basil chopped
1 teaspoon olive oil

Instructions
1. Put the eggplant and the peppers in the steamer basket.
2. Pour water into the tank (level 3).
3. Start the cooking process.
4. When the eggplant and peppers are cooked, put them in the blending bowl, discarding the cooking liquid.
5. Add the basil and olive oil to the blending bowl and pulse blend until smooth.
Recipe Notes As always, please check with your pediatrician before introducing new foods to your baby.

 

 

Chicken, Pepper & Corn Purée


Ingredients
1 ounce chicken cubed
1 cup corn
1 cup red bell pepper sliced

Instructions
1. Put the chicken, corn and pepper in the steamer basket.
2. Pour water into the tank (level 3).
3. Start the cooking process.
4. When the chicken, corn and pumpkin are cooked, put them in the blending bowl, reserving the cooking liquid.
5. Add some of the cooking liquid to bring the purée to the desired consistency and blend.

 

 


Turkey, Carrot and Parsnip Purée

 

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups carrots sliced
1 1/2 cups parsnip cubed
1 ounce turkey cubed
1 teaspoon Butter

Instructions
1. Put the carrots, parsnip and turkey into the steamer basket.
2. Pour water into the tank (level 3).
3. Start the cooking process.
4. When the carrots, parsnip and turkey are cooked, put them in the blending bowl, reserving the cooking liquid.
5. Add the butter and some of the cooking liquid to bring the purée to the desired consistency
and blend.

 

 


Sweet Potato Hummus


Ingredients
1 cup sweet potato cubed
1 8 ounce can chickpeas drained
3 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon agave (optional)
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Instructions
1. Put the sweet potatoes in the steamer basket.
2. Pour water into the tank (level 3).
3. Start the cooking process.
4. When the sweet potatoes are cooked, put them in the blending bowl with the rest of the ingredients.
5. Blend until the consistency is smooth.
Recipe Notes Create this recipe as an adult or older child appetizer/snack by adding some pita chips!

 

 


Freestyle Pizza


Ingredients
1 thin crust pizza dough ready-made or homemade dough
7 ounce can tomatoes crushed and strained
1/2 cup zucchini cubed
1/2 cup eggplant cubed
1/2 cup yellow pepper cubed
1/2 cup red pepper cubed
1/2 clove garlic minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pinch oregano
1 cup cheese shredded
1 packet mini mozzarella balls
Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Put the vegetables in the steamer basket.
3. Pour water into the tank (level 2).
4. Start the cooking process.
5. When the vegetables are cooked, remove from the basket.
6. Heat the olive oil in a pan.
7. Add the steamed vegetables with a pinch of oregano and saute for 2 minutes.
8. Unroll the pizza dough and cut into desired shapes: you should be able to make 8 mini pies. Place a small amount of strained tomato, vegetables and shredded cheese on each. Decorate with 1/2 a ball of mozzarella cheese. Add salt and pepper.
9. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and dough is crispy.

 

 

Baby’s Potato Gratin French Style


Ingredients
1/2 cup potato cubed
1 tablespoon onion cubed
2 tablespoons roquefort or gorgonzola cheese crumbled

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Put the potato and onion in the steamer basket.
3. Pour water into the tank (level 3).
4. Start the cooking process.
5. Mix the onions with the cheese.
6. Layer potatoes in the bottom of an oven-safe ramekin and coat them with the onion-cheese mixture.
7. Bake for 15 minutes, or until top is golden brown.

 

 


Winter Fruit Compote

Ingredients

1 cup apples cubed
2 tablespoons dates sliced
1/4 cup raisins Instructions
1. Put the apples, dates and raisins in the steamer basket.
2. Pour water into the tank (level 2).
3. Start the cooking process.
4. When the apples, dates and raisins are cooked put them in the mixing bowl, reserving the cooking liquid.
5. Add some of the cooking liquid to bring the purée to the desired consistency and blend

 


Pumpkin Pie Baby Purée

 
Ingredients
3 cups apples cubed
Approx. 1 cup banana sliced  
1 cup sugar pumpkin cubed Instructions

1. Put the apples, banana and sugar pumpkin in steamer basket.
2. Pour water into the tank (level 3).
3. Start the cooking process.
4. When the apples, banana and sugar pumpkin are cooked, put them in the blending bowl, reserving the cooking liquid.
5. Add some of the cooking liquid to bring the purée to the desired consistency and blend.

 

 


Ginger Cookies

Ingredients
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup Butter
2 Eggs
1/2 tablespoon créme fraiche
1 tablespoon flour sifted
2 tablespoons sugar

Instructions
1. Put the flour, sugar, and butter in the blending bowl. Pulse twice.
2. Add the creme, spices, and eggs and pulse twice more.
3. Transfer the dough to a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap.
4. Let the dough rest for about 3 hours in the refrigerator.
5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
6. Roll the dough out so that it’s 1/8 – 1/4 of an inch thick.
7. Cut the dough with cookie cutters and place the cookies on a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
8. Bake for approximately 15 minutes

Gifts For Mums, Babies and Toddlers: The Ultimate List

Ultimate Holiday Gift Gudie

The Ultimate Gift Guide

A list of gifting options with free delivery* and gift wrapping!


For new mums:


1) Medela Swing Breast Pump

Gift for mums: breast pump
Medela Swing Breast Pump

Being in the industry for more than 50 years, Medela is therefore a go-to brand for new mums. Further more raved by for its portability that it easily fits in a tote, it also is super easy to clean!

Because its extremely lightweight and uses both adaptor and batteries, its perfect for use at home or on-the-go.
You’ll definitely be crossing one off your mummy best friend’s wishlist with the Medela Swing and a big red bow.

2) SkipHop Diaper Bag

 

SkipHop Diaper Bags

From stylish to sleek to classy and trendy. Skiphop has a wide range of fashionable totes fit for every woman’s style and all while fitting every essential with her. We love the selection over at Skiphop.

They have both trendy styles and multipurpose functionalities (check out the SoFo bag backpack-shoulder bag configuration!)

3) Doona Car Seat and Stroller

Infant car seat and stroller
Doona + Car Seat and Stroller

It is just heaven sent that a car seat can also become a stroller in a push of a button and that’s all thanks to Doona! The perfect car seat for newborns up to 15 months old.

The much buzzed-about Doona Infant Car Seat and Stroller will make you any mom’s new bff.

4) Limited Edition Beaba Babycook in Rose Gold

Baby food maker
Rosegold Beaba Babycook

Nothing better says “You are extremely special” than a limited edition item. One of our bestselling innovations, the Beaba Babycook preps fresh baby food in just minutes!

On top of that, it comes in a gorgeously stunning rose gold color. Definitely will compliment any mummy’s kitchen!

5) JustKidding Gift Vouchers

European Baby Brands
JustKidding Babystore

If you have that one friend who is awesome, fun, really great but a bit indecisive and hard to read, worry not. We’ve got you covered! Why not get her vouchers for our JustKidding Babystore?

With the best European baby brands all under one wing like Bugaboo, Stokke, Uppababy and more, she’ll surely find something she would love!


For babies:

1) Oribel Wonderland

Play center and table for baby and toddlers
Orbiel Wonderland Activity Center

Educational and fun and even timeless, the Oribel Activity Center has several educational and sensory toys for baby. Furthermore, it converts into a table for future use!

Because it is a gift that will be around for years, it is a surefire gome staple. Always there to remind him as he grows who his coolest and funnest parent/aunt is.

2) MudPie Clothing

Christmas Gear for babies
MudPie Holiday Baby Collection

Fun and colorful, cheerful and festive, we absolutely adore the seasonal collections from Mud Pie. In comparison to what is in the market, the cozy, comfy Winter selections are extremely stylish and unique. It will truly make any baby the star of any party!

3) Sleepyhead

 

Baby bed
Sleepyhead

This baby bed is both a gift for mum and baby! The Sleepyhead’s tailor-made for baby design makes sure that wherever baby sleeps, he is warm, snug and cozy with its womb like shape and snuggly borders. It also is perfect during bottle feeding to boot!

For kids

1) Berg Go-Karts

 

Toddler toys
Berg Buggy Karts

Never has a child run out of energy all throughout the day. Because we always have those fun, active and sporty kids on our list, we definitely recommend the Berg Go-Karts.

Because they come in two styles, they are adorably styled perfect for both boys and girls aged 2-5 years!

Other than having easy steering control kids would enjoy, dads would definitely love the them because their EVA tires too because they never go flat!

2) CarGo

Car Seat and Travel Bag
CarGo Car Seat and Trolly

Every child loves to bring a few toys around. Be it at school or to a quick grocery run, always. Gift him the power to convince mum to let it all happen. Also a car booster seat, the CarGo is also a pull-along storage bag for toddlers to store snacks, toys and whatever his heart desires. All without mummy’s objections!

3) Nobodinoz Teepee

Teepee for toddlers
Nobodinoz Teepee

A play tent that fits up to three, the stylish and modern teepee doubles also as the perfect storage. Therefore, the gorgeous nursery piece is definitely something mum and toddler would be thankful for!

Perfect for slumber parties with friends or playtime with mum and dad. The Nobodinoz Teepee is a timeless gift for any toddler and child of any age and any style.

All orders from www.justkidding-me.com are eligible for free gift wrapping this holiday season! We also have free delivery to Riyadh, Dubai and Doha for orders above 150! Your festive Christmas shopping is just a click away!

Gifts Ideas: Perfect Toys For Every Kinda Toddler

Because picking gifts for toddlers and kids may be the biggest puzzle in completing one’s Christmas to-do list, let us help out and make it easier! We created a selection of gifts which are perfect for every kind of toddler because they are both fun and educational and furthermore, timeless because of the top craftsmanship by Melissa and Doug, they will hence last for generations and generations!


For the Car-obsessed Toddler

gift
Melissa and Doug Parking Garage

Every car-loving toddler and child would love to own and have this gift because it is tons of massive fun!  With elevators to raise cars and various levels and even ramps to speed around with, your little toddler will be a parking pro in no time!

And in addition, there’s even plenty of parking for the rest of his tucks and cars. A parking booth and attendant, a gas pump and a car wash complete the wooden play set.

For The Little Princess
Gift Melissa and Doug Fold and Go Princess Castle

This gorgeously crafted and designed Fold and Go Princess Castle is perfect because it has anything and everything she would desire. With the dreamy exterior, furniture, and even a prince for her princess.

Compared to traditional play sets, your little little royalty and princess-in-the-making will definitely love this gift that she can easily bring and  carry her play castle around with its convenient carrying handle and she can also enjoy it with playmates and friends.


For the Future Chef

GiftMelissa and Doug Cook’s Corner Wooden Kitchen

Since he loves to decorate and help around, this wooden play kitchen is probably the best ever gift to get! Because this kitchen has it all: from a removable sink and three-burner cooktop to an oven, refrigerator, storage shelves, “cutting board,” and a real and working timer. This play kitchen has the perfect ingredients so he can enjoy hours of pretend-play fun and creativity!


For the Budding Foodie

GiftMelissa and Doug Scoop and Serve Ice Cream Counter

Scoop and Serve is the perfect gift if she loves to eat, and to bake, and if you’re catching the signs of a little food blogger-in-the-making. Furthermore harness the talent and makings within with a scoop and serve Ice Cream Counter set.

Also because she can play around with this gift while it secretly trains her to up her food styling game. And as a result, flawless Instagram and foodie blog shots for the future.

For Everyone’s Best Friend
GiftMelissa and Doug Wooden Town Play Set

Does he love to socialize and organize, conceptualize and materialize? He’ll definitely love and adore this wooden town play set.  The playset is perfect. Because it has a huge collection of 32 pieces of play things and accessories, it contains everything and beyond.

Furthermore, endless possibilities and limitless creativity. Compared to apps, its best to interact with your toys by hand. With wooden buildings and trees, to street signs and more, means he can stack and count, and even set up for hours and hours of endless learning and fun!

 

Interview With Dr. Sarah Rasmi- Family and Parenting Psychologist

Inspired by the loving atmosphere she was raised in, Dr. Sarah Rasmi grew a strong interest in family relationships and child adjustment during her graduate studies. Accomplishing her Master’s thesis and Ph.D. dissertation, her passion grew alongside her desire to share her findings and expertise with others. She does this by publishing scientific studies on parenting and families and writing for mainstream media outlets.

 

If you characterize your parenting approach, how would you describe it?

I try to take a positive approach to parenting. My focus is on three things: connecting with my kids, setting a good example for them, and responding to them with respect, empathy, and love instead of anger and frustration.

Some days may be harder than others but the good thing is that there are lots of simple techniques that we can use to parent in a more positive way. I share these in my parenting skills workshops.

What do you consider as the biggest challenge in parenting?

The biggest parenting challenge is to manage our expectations. Being ‘good enough’ is much better than chasing perfection.

For example, all kids eat junk food sometimes, get dirty sometimes, and have big, public tantrums. That doesn’t make us bad parents – it just makes us human. The sooner we accept this, the better.

Failure is a part of life and we need to teach our children that it’s ok to fail sometimes. Since we’re not perfect, we shouldn’t expect them to be either.

It’s more important to reflect on our failures and try again. Research shows that this makes our kids more resilient and better adjusted throughout their lives.

What is it like being a mother?

Being a mother is the hardest and most rewarding experience of my life. It sounds like a big cliché – but you just can’t understand it until you have lived through it.

Nothing will prepare you for the joys (and hardships) that come with being a parent. I became stronger and more patient than I ever thought I could be. Being a mother is central to who I am as a person, but I try not to forget the old Sarah.

This means carving out child-free time with family and friends, as well as maintaining some of my interests. It’s not always easy – but it is possible. I’ve supported many parents through this process. I am here to support parents who are struggling with this balance through my parenting services.

Which to you has been the most challenging stage of a child’s development?

I have a toddler and teenager at home, so I get this question all the time. In my experience, every age and stage is full of excitement and challenges.

Truth be told, the issues are largely the same – it’s the context that differs. I’m facing two sets of sleep issues right now: One kid wants to wake up early, the other one wants to stay up late (later than me!). I’m also dealing with two sets of school issues: One child is adjusting to nursery, the other one is wrapping up middle school.

Why is that parenting can be so difficult and when do we typically experience this?

Parenting is inherently difficult. We have these beautiful little humans to care for and mould. We have big dreams and high hopes for them. We do everything we can to give them a path to health, happiness, and success.

The responsibility is both awesome and terrifying. As I mentioned previously, it becomes a little bit easier when we accept that we won’t be perfect. We will make mistakes. The key is how we handle them.

How do moms know how to reinforce a house rule or just let it go?

We have to balance setting rules with giving our kids some freedom and flexibility. I recommend setting a few key rules that are consistent with your family’s values, rather than a laundry list of things that don’t matter as much.

The key to enforcing these rules is being consistent. They’re more likely to listen to us when we respond to them with respect, empathy, and love instead of anger and hostility. I teach these skills in my parenting workshops.

As parents where should our primary focus lie?

Our primary focus should be fostering and maintaining a strong parent-child bond. Research shows that this connection has a profound influence on our child’s adjustment, achievements, and relationships later in life. We can strengthen our bond through talk, touch, and play.

What advice do you have to give to modern parents – our readers?

Looking after ourselves gives us the energy we need to look after our kids. It’s important to make time for your own interests and prioritize your own well-being. Connecting with other people is a great way to do this, as we know that social support is the key to happiness. Above all, remember that you’re doing a great job. Parenting is tough work – we all make mistakes. Don’t worry about being perfect, you’re more than ‘good enough’!

About Dr. Sarah

Dr. Sarah Rasmi is a Canadian psychologist (Ph.D.) and professor with a passion for supporting families. She works with parents across a range of family, relationship, and well-being issues, as well as those who want to learn new skills. Dr. Sarah is a widely published author, international speaker, and university professor. She also consults with government entities, corporations, and schools. Learn more about Dr. Sarah Rasmi. She regularly posts about parenting and families on her blog, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts.

 

 

Back-to-School Must-Haves

Are you ready for the big day? School bells will be ringing and buses will be at bay. As the first day of school comes getting closer and closer, make sure you’ve got everything prepped and ready for your child as he starts school.

Step 1: Selecting the Perfect Backpack

MadPax Backpacks
SkipHop Backpacks

There are so many school bags out in the market but only a selected few are specially crafted for children. Other than having cute and spunky designs, specialized toddler and children brands craft the right straps, sizing and material to perfectly cater to a child’s physique with padded straps and limited weight capacity. Shop from reputable kids brands to make sure your child gets the backpack properly suited for him.

Step 2: Snack Time Essentials
Make sure your child enjoys a hearty meal by packing his lunchies with love everyday

3 Sprouts Insulated Lunch Bag

– Lunchbag: An insulated lunch bag keeps your child’s meal hot or cold to make sure he enjoys it fresh when the lunch bell rings

Monbento

– Snack Box: A snack box with a divider lets him gobble down a fun variety you can mix up for to surprise him with everyday

SkipHop Water Bottles

– Water bottle: Water bottles with flip straws are great for mess free drinks. They can even perfectly match his SkipHop Backpack.

Step 3: School Supplies
This lot may be tricky as the recommended supplies vary per school level but the most essential for all are: pencils/pens, notebooks, coloring materials, non-toxic adhesives and child-friendly shears.

OMY Coloring Pens

Step 4: Comfort Toy

Melissa and Doug Soft Toys

For some kids, starting school will be an adjustment either uncomfortable or exciting, make sure he has something dear to hold to help him with the anxiety he may face or something he can share around with new found friends.

Step 5: Just-in-case Checklist

Jottum

– Spare Clothes
Pack light clothing just in case of any spill or art-related accident that might come your child’s way

MiFold Grab-and-Go Car Seat

– Pocket-sized Car Seat
Unplanned carpools are nothing to worry about if your child always has a handy car seat booster in his pack

Preparing for school need not be nerve-wrecking and stressful! Get ready ahead of time and just follow these steps and cross of these lists, and you will be guaranteed a hassle-free first day for you and your child.

A Middle Eastern Summer: Tips for Babies & Toddlers

 

Summer is here, and it’s here to stay! Summers in the Middle East last for months, sometimes even half the year. But fear not, with these tips in mind, it will just pass like a breeze. Just stock up on these summer essentials and your little ones will have the time of their lives!

 

 

 

  1. Stay Hydrated Intense summer heat may be too overwhelming for your little ones. When outdoors, make sure to keep them hydrated to help keep their body temperature regulated at all times. Always pack boxed juice drinks whenever outside or fresh bottled juices or water, which would be much better. Stainless steel bottles are great for keeping drinks cool amidst the heat.

    Skip Hop Zoo Stainless Steel Straw Bottle
  2. Eat Up If you’re not a fan of the thought of taking too many potty trips, fruits are also excellent sources for hydration. Watermelons, grapes, and oranges are ideal and easy to pack. A great hack to take your summer pack further up a notch is freezing grapes and storing them in insulated lunch packs and viola- mini fruit lollies/popsicles that are not just fun, cool treats but also 100% healthy.

    3 Sprouts Lunch Bag
  3. Dress Cool Light mesh fabrics are perfect for summer; thin layers lets you stay cool and lightweight fabrics are very breathable and doesn’t trap any heat, allowing air to circulate & move freely through the fabric. Cotton, linen or chambray onesies and coordinates are also other good options. Opt for colors that are bright or white as these reflect sun light while dark colors absorb heat.

    Jottum One Piece
  4. Sun Protection Use hats, umbrellas or canopies as a protective layer against sun rays. Choose sunscreen that is specially formulated for babies and kids’ sensitive skin and uses natural ingredients. Though SPF lotions and creams may be a good option, an added external protective layer is still best. Clip on umbrellas and detachable extendable sun canopies for strollers are a definite must have accessories.
    Stroller Summer Cover

    Naif Sunscreen (for the sensitive skin of babies and kids)
  5. Indoor Fun Beaches and pools aren’t the only destination for families to cool down. In the Middle East, the heat may be intense but we adapt tremendously. Indoor theme parks, forests and adventure zones are a widespread and with summer at bay, so are promotions for entrance fees and packages that are better than usual. Also, why not stay creative at home with fun educational toys? A toddler’s imagination can travel so far with playful bonding with their mums and dads or toddlers alike.

    Melissa & Doug Corner Kitchen