Healthy Living

What You Need to Know About Caring For a Sick Toddler

What You Need to Know About Caring For a Sick Toddler

Tracking PixelI received product and compensation from Mead Johnson Nutrition to create this post written by me. All experiences and opinions expressed in this post are my own and not those of Mead Johnson Nutrition. You can contact Mead Johnson Nutrition with product related questions or comments toll free at 1-888-777-3395.

What You Need to Know About Caring for a Sick Toddler

When my oldest child was not quite two years old, we took him for a train ride on a real-life Thomas the Tank Engine.

This is going to be so much fun! I remember thinking the morning of the trip. What a wonderful family excursion I’ve planned! He is going to love it! 

But he did not love it.

Quite the opposite, actually.

He spent most of the time whining to be held, then whining to be put down the moment I picked him up. He shied away from all the sights and sounds, but then cried when we took him away from the hustle and bustle.

He didn’t have any clue what he wanted, and we didn’t either.

That day my son was one unhappy child, which made me one frustrated mama. Come on, this was supposed to be FUN! I remember thinking.

After an hour and a half, we threw in the towel and headed to the car. We were all grouchy the rest of the day.

You know where this is heading, don’t you?

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Creative Ways to Use Deli Meat in Kids’ Lunches—That Aren’t Sandwiches!

Creative Ways to Use Deli Meat in Kids’ Lunches—That Aren’t Sandwiches!

Creative Ways to Use Deli Meat in Kids' Lunches—That Aren't Sandwiches!

“Can I have something different for lunch today, Mommy?” my 4-year-old asked.

When your picky-eating, routine-loving preschooler requests to switch up the lunchtime menu, you know you’re officially in a lunch rut.

That rut is pretty common at this point in the school year. We parents are feeling more tired than creative, and prepping and packing lunches is just another task we want to get done and out of the way.

Plus we want our kids’ lunches to be nourishing and nutritious; not just anything goes! Which is why when we find a suitable lunch option—one that meets the holy trinity of pleasing our kids’ picky palates, keeping them full through the afternoon, and providing them with essential nutrients—we tend to serve it over and over and over again, until they’re downright sick of it.

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4 Tricks to Soothe a Sick Child That Every Mom Should Know

4 Tricks to Soothe a Sick Child That Every Mom Should Know

Tricks to Soothe a Sick Child That Every Mom Should Know

I’m convinced that one of the toughest trials of parenthood is dealing with a sick child.

First there are the messes. Since kids are just learning the fine art of coughing into their elbow and wiping their nose with a tissue, it’s pretty much expected that the yuckiest parts of their illness will end up on their hands, their faces, and their sleeves—and most likely yours too.

Then there are the emotional struggles. Nothing tears your mama heart apart like the sight of your child feeling utterly miserable. When I was sick as a child, my mom always told me she wished she could be sick in my place. I thought she was crazy then—why would anyone WANT to be sick???—but I totally get it now.

Of course, be careful what you wish for, because having a sick kid in the house inevitably leads to germ-sharing. Without fail, the moment your kid finally starts feeling better is the moment you come down with it yourself. And parents don’t get sick days!

If you’re currently swimming in a sea of your child’s used tissues, arm yourself with these easy tips to help your kiddo (and yourself!) make it through to the healthier side.

4 Tricks to Soothe a Sick Child That Every Mom Should Know

1. Drink up.

It’s always important to keep kids hydrated, but even more so when they’re feeling under the weather. Fever, diarrhea, and vomiting cause children to lose large amounts of water and salt, and they must replenish that.

If water isn’t appealing, try liquid-heavy foods like a soothing cup of chicken soup. If your child has a sore throat, cold drinks and Popsicles will not only hydrate them, but also feel good going down.

2. Combine symptom relief with a mother’s touch.

Coughs and colds in children can be especially tough to manage because there aren’t many options available for little ones. What’s more, a persistent cough can make it difficult for kids to fall or stay asleep—a nightmare for all involved!

When your child really needs some relief from their cough due to cold, one great place to turn is Vicks® VapoRub™—the #1-selling children’s cough and cold product for kids ages two and up.* Vicks® VapoRub™ is a topical cough medicine with medicated vapors that can be rubbed on your child’s chest, neck, and back to help relieve symptoms. The medicated vapors last up to 8 hours. (In other words, all through the night!)

Tricks to Soothe a Sick Child That Every Mom Should Know

As if the fact that IT ACTUALLY WORKS isn’t enough, there’s another big bonus: Since it’s applied topically, your children not only get relief from their cough symptoms, but they also get to feel you putting it on them.

This is so important because for many kids, there is nothing more soothing than their parents’ loving touch. Just when your kids need you most, they get to physically feel you comforting them—increasing your bond as you help soothe their coughs so they can breathe easier.

3. Relax the screen time rules.

Most of us worry about giving our kids too much screen time, and with good reason! But when they’re sick, you can throw the rules out the window without an ounce of guilt over it.

Why? Because what our kids need most when they’re sick is REST. Ordinarily we don’t want them spending a whole afternoon in front of the television; we want them up and moving and playing and learning. But when their bodies need stillness to recuperate, extra movies and shows are actually a good thing.

4. Be gentle with their irritated skin.

It’s easy to tell when kids have recently recovered from a cold because their noses are usually red, raw, and sore.

That’s because constantly wiping their nose with a regular tissue quickly leads to skin irritation, and it can be quite painful for our little ones! Parents can reduce that irritation by using a warm, wet cloth instead of a dry tissue. Gently rubbing some petroleum jelly around their noses can also help heal any dry or chapped skin.


What’s your best tip for soothing a sick child?

*P&G calculation based in part on value sales data by The Nielsen Company through its Retail Scantrack Services in the US market to which P&G subscribes for the Respiratory Care Category for the 52 week period ending 06/04/16. Tricks to Soothe a Sick Child That Every Mom Should KnowTricks to Soothe a Sick Child That Every Mom Should Know

Learn more about Vicks® VapoRub™ and pick up a coupon here! And be sure to connect with Vicks® VapoRub™ on social media to stay up-to-date on products and offers: Facebook |YouTube

Healthy Meals for Kids: Get Inspired by These 5 Global Cuisines

Healthy Meals for Kids: Get Inspired by These 5 Global Cuisines

This is a guest post from Patricia Dimick.Kids Won't Eat Healthy? Try Taking a Global Approach! Get inspired with these 5 cuisines.

Getting our kids to eat healthy food is perhaps the single most common struggle of parenting.

“My son won’t touch vegetables,” one mom says.

“Well, my daughter is surviving on crackers alone right now!” another chimes in.

“I’m so sick of spending an hour making a healthy dinner that the kids refuse to even taste!” cries yet another frustrated parent.

For many families, dinnertime has become less about bonding and more about fighting over how many bites the kids will or will not take tonight.

And yet, you keep trying, don’t you? You keep making an effort to give the kids in your life nourishing, nutritious food. Because you know how important it is.

Here’s a new strategy to try: Stop the fighting. Stop the begging and the pleading for just one more bite. Instead, put that frustrated energy into infusing your family meals with a little more creativity and fun. 

One exciting (and educational!) way to do that is by drawing mealtime inspiration from cuisines around the world. Here are some ideas to get your kids eating and enjoying good, wholesome food from beyond their own borders. More →

A Quick Fix for Cooped-Up, Wound-Up Kids (That’ll De-Stress You Too!)

A Quick Fix for Cooped-Up, Wound-Up Kids (That’ll De-Stress You Too!)

A Quick Fix for Cooped-Up, Wound-Up KidsI first caught it out of the corner of my eye: a flash of something white moving across the living room at an alarming speed.

I turned to see my 4-year-old spinning around as fast as he could while whipping a stuffed Dalmatian along with him—undoubtedly just winding up to throw it.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa!” I started to protest, but it was too late. “Puppy dog” (as my kids so creatively named the Dalmatian) slipped out of my son’s little grip and went flying across the room—and smacked my 1-year-old in the face.

She was fine, of course. More stunned than anything else.

I felt frustrated with my son for playing too rough indoors, and muttered something about how he could have really hurt his little sister or broken something expensive (like the TV—gasp!).

But I quickly softened when I considered the circumstances that led to the dog-spinning incident:

A few days of cold, winter weather that limited outdoor play.

Hours spent hanging out in the same 2 rooms of the house, with the same old toys.

Pent-up little kid energy that just had to get OUT. 

It was definitely time for mama to intervene. 

So I did, with a strategy I always keep in my back pocket for moments like these—moments when the kids are experiencing that dangerous combination of being too cooped up and too wound up at the same time: More →

How to Make the Most of After-School Time With Your Kids

How to Make the Most of After-School Time With Your Kids

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Schreiber Foods, Inc. All opinions are entirely my own.

How to Make the Most of After-School Time With Your Kids

Even though my son is only in half-day preschool, I have already learned the power of the after-school hour.

That snippet of time between the end of the school day and the beginning of dinner or evening activities is a critical time for families who are able to be together then. It is a daily opportunity for us parents to reconnect and bond with our children, and a chance to set a positive tone for the remainder of the day.

But of course, thanks to too much homework, too tight schedules, and too much fatigue all around, it can also be a time of serious stress and frustration.

If your after-school time is feeling heavy on tension, demands, and strained conversation—and light on connection, family engagement, and energy—consider incorporating these three best practices into your after-school routine. More →

3 Compelling Reasons Families Should Switch to Natural Personal Care Products

3 Compelling Reasons Families Should Switch to Natural Personal Care Products

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Tom’s of Maine . All opinions are 100% mine.

My first child was only a few days old, just home from the hospital, when I had what I’ll call my “ingredient list awakening.”

We were preparing to give him a sponge bath and pulled out the conventional baby soap we’d been gifted at my baby shower. I glanced at the back of the package and my eyes got huge. What the heck is in this stuff? What exactly am I about to put onto my newborn baby’s skin???3 Compelling Reasons Your Family Should Switch to Natural Personal Care Products

The next thing I knew I was in full-on panic mode, running around the house critically inspecting the packages of all our personal care products. I had always been pretty conscious about the ingredient lists on prepared food items, but hadn’t given a second thought to things like shampoos, deodorants, and toothpaste.

Now, admittedly, panic is probably not the best response. But I’d place bets that I’m not the only person who became a parent and suddenly grew hyper-aware of everything we as a family were putting in and on our bodies.

If your family is still hesitant about jumping on the natural personal care product train, here are 3 reasons you should strongly consider getting on board.

3 Reasons Families Should Switch to Natural Personal Care Products

1. Avoid the artificial onslaught.

The truth is that almost everything has something artificial in it these days. Artificial flavorings, artificial dyes, artificial ingredients, and on and on.

It’s almost impossible to avoid this stuff completely, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take precautions when we can—especially because the long-term effects of everything artificial are still widely unknown. I’d rather be on the safe side than look back a few decades from now and say, “If only we had known then what we do now.”

One the areas we’ve completely committed to going natural is toothpaste. Our personal favorite brand? Tom’s of Maine.3 Compelling Reasons Your Family Should Switch to Natural Personal Care Products

Tom’s of Maine products are free of artificial dyes, fragrances, flavors, and preservatives, so I feel peace of mind using them myself and on my children. The best part is that there’s a toothpaste for everyone in the family: We use Tom’s of Maine Toddler Training Toothpaste for my 1-year-old, Tom’s of Maine Children’s Toothpaste for my preschooler, and Tom’s of Maine Luminous White Toothpaste for us grown-ups.  3 Compelling Reasons Your Family Should Switch to Natural Personal Care Products

The Luminous White toothpaste is one of the new Made to Matter® products handpicked by (and sold exclusively at) Target. It’s Tom’s of Maine’s most advanced natural whitening toothpaste that’s safe for enamel, and gluten and paraben-free.

2. Steer clear of unnecessary irritation. 

There’s nothing quite like a newborn baby’s skin. The sweet smell, the perfect softness—it’s intoxicating!

But all that sweetness and softness means that babies and kids usually have extra sensitive skin. Skin that you can’t put just anything on.

Switching from conventional to natural personal care products means you lessen the chances of your kids’ skin getting irritated and having an adverse reaction. Same goes for the grown-ups! Even if you think you don’t have particularly sensitive skin, transitioning to natural products could make you realize you do. You just didn’t realize the impact harsh conventional products were having.

3. Protect the planet for your kids and grandkids.

For many, it’s all too easy to dismiss environmental concerns as someone else’s problem—that someone else being a future generation. But becoming a parent forces you to challenge the “me! me! me!” attitude and instead confront the problems our planet is facing.

I know that when I look at my kids, I desperately want them (and their kids) to have a beautiful earth to live on. Trashing the place is simply no longer an option for me. Yes, a whole lot of damage has already been done, but that doesn’t mean we should give up. Choosing to switch from conventional to natural products can make a big difference!

Tom’s of Maine believes in healthy, human, and environmental goodness. They don’t just respect the natural world—they love it. And that love shines through in how they select ingredients, manufacture their products, and package them for purchase. 


Be sure to check out the other Tom’s of Maine Made to Matter® products sold exclusively at Target: Wicked Cool! Deodorant for boys and girls and Men’s Naturally Dry Antiperspirant in North Woods. They’re a great way to start your family on the path to natural personal care products.  3 Compelling Reasons Your Family Should Switch to Natural Personal Care Products 3 Compelling Reasons Your Family Should Switch to Natural Personal Care Products

Does your family use natural personal care products? 

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3 Steps to be Fever-Ready With an Infant

3 Steps to be Fever-Ready With an Infant

This is a product-provided, sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of FeverAll® Acetaminophen Suppositories. The opinions and text are all mine.

3 Steps to be Fever-Ready With an Infant

I can remember it so clearly because it was one of my first “parenting fails.”

We’d taken our first child for a train ride on Thomas the Tank Engine. He was a few months shy of his second birthday and officially train-obsessed. I’d been planning the trip for weeks, we’d have to drive over an hour to get there, and I’d carefully arranged his nap times around the experience—so he could be well-rested for all the FUN I was certain we’d have.

So I was understandably exasperated when fun turned out to be in short supply.

My son was extra whiny from the moment we arrived, acted like he couldn’t care less about Thomas, and wailed at the top of his lungs on our way to visit Sir Topham Hatt. He kept asking to be held, but then squirmed uncomfortably in my arms whenever I picked him up. Nothing suited him. After a mere 90 minutes of this “fun,” we all decided enough was enough and packed up and left.

I’ll admit it: I felt very frustrated and annoyed with my child that day. Come on, buddy, we’ve been so excited for this day! Just have FUN, for pete’s sake! 

So I felt downright rotten when—you guessed it!—my son spiked a fever that night.  More →

12 Painless Ways To Be a Greener Family

12 Painless Ways To Be a Greener Family

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Scott Tube-Free. All opinions are 100% mine.

12 Painless Ways to be a Greener FamilyEvery morning, after I’ve scooped my morning yogurt into a bowl already filled with fruit and granola, I have an important decision to make.

Am I going to rinse out and recycle the empty yogurt container, or save a few seconds in my busy morning and toss it in the trash?

Some of you might be horrified that I even consider pitching it, but the truth is that I struggle with this daily. Deep down I believe in being environmentally friendly, but in the moment I sometimes choose the easier option because life is hectic, and I also believe in cutting myself some slack.

I’m no psychologist, but I think the internal discomfort this causes me is called cognitive dissonance.

Part of the problem, I think, is that I’ve bought into the myth that being green requires a complete lifestyle overhaul.

I’ve convinced myself that if I truly showed more care to the environment, it would totally alter my schedule, my day-to-day activities, and my budget.

But that’s not really true.

While a total lifestyle overhaul is probably ideal, small changes—painless changes—can actually add up to a big impact on the environment.

Here are some of the practically effortless adjustments we’re making in our family to show a bit more care to our earth.

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5 Ways to Save Money While Keeping Your Family Healthy—Plus a Chance to Win $400!

5 Ways to Save Money While Keeping Your Family Healthy—Plus a Chance to Win $400!

Thanks to United Healthcare for sponsoring this conversation.

5 Ways to Save Money While Keeping Your Family Healthy

I stood in the produce aisle of the grocery store having a little debate with myself while my infant smiled at every shopper who walked past our cart.

Should I buy more than one package of the organic berries? I asked myself. 

On the one hand, I’m always encouraging my preschooler (and myself!) to snack on healthy foods like fresh fruits and veggies. So stocking up on those options is a must.

But on the other hand, I’d blown through my grocery budget the last few trips and was really trying to rein it in this time—and those berries were not cheap. 

It’s a struggle most parents can relate to.

We want to do the best for our children and families; we want them to be as healthy and happy as they can be.

But we also don’t have unlimited funds in our bank account to make it happen.

The good news is that getting and staying in tip-top shape doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Here are five little tricks that can boost your family’s health without breaking the bank. More →

10 Tiny Changes That Make a Big Impact on Your Family’s Well-Being

10 Tiny Changes That Make a Big Impact on Your Family’s Well-Being

My husband and I were recently discussing the fact that we’ve both pushed our health to the back burner for far too long, and we’re really starting to feel the effects.

“But getting to the gym regularly just feels impossible right now,” I sighed, thinking of the effort it would take to figure out what to do with both the 3-year-old and the infant every time I wanted to break a sweat. “And most nights we have all of 20 minutes to try to make a nutritious dinner,” he added.

But we agreed that complaining about the problem wasn’t going to solve it, so instead we made a list.

Not a list of our grand, someday health goals (like run another half marathon or expose our kids to every type of vegetable on the planet), but rather of itty bitty changes that could help all of us feel a whole lot better. Then we committed to tackling each item on the list one by one—assuming that as we did, we’d slowly start to build up our healthy habits, which cumulatively would make a big impact.

It’s a logical plan, yes, and also one that’s backed by research.

A 2012 study from the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation found that small changes really can make a big impact on your health.

“Every increment towards a healthier lifestyle makes an improvement,” explained the study’s lead researcher. “You don’t have to be totally perfect starting right this very second.”

Want to make your own list of small (read: totally doable) changes that will make you and your family healthier? Here are 10 ideas to get you started.

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Work-Life Balance Tips You Probably Haven’t Heard Before

Work-Life Balance Tips You Probably Haven’t Heard Before

Thanks to Eyezen glasses for sponsoring this conversation. 

5 Work-Life Balance Tips You Haven't Heard Before

If you’re a working parent, you’re certainly no stranger to work-life balance tips.

There are countless articles and books out there ready to teach you how to juggle it all effectively. They’ll tell you to let go of your perfectionist tendencies and recognize that you can’t do it all. They’ll tell you to schedule some “me time” every now and then. They’ll tell you to do just one thing at a time because multi-tasking is the enemy.

Not bad advice, certainly. The trouble is that we’ve heard those tips so many times they’re starting to lose their meaning. 

We read the articles, think about the tips, and yet nothing in our lives really changes.

That’s why I want to shake things up a bit with these 5 work-life balance tips that you probably haven’t heard yet. More →