Easy Ways To Help New Moms This Holiday Season

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. This post is sponsored by Huggies. All opinions are mine alone. #DiaperNeed #Hugs4Huggies #Sweepstakes #CollectiveBias

The holidays are the busiest time of the year for most people but, new parents especially, may find themselves easily overwhelmed as they try to take care of a newborn while preparing for the holidays. Since I’ve been talking a lot here on the blog about ways to give back, I wanted to suggest some ideas that would specifically help new parents. From bringing a meal to gifting Huggies diapers they can use for months to come, all of these ideas will brighten a new parent’s day.

Make them a meal.

One of the most tedious things to do every day, in my opinion, is cook dinner. After a day full of diaper changes and feedings, the last thing a new parent wants to be doing is trying to figure out what’s for dinner and how to get it on the table. Dropping off a meal that you’ve made them is such a nice gesture that will be appreciated! (One extra tip- deliver the meal in a container that they can keep so they aren’t worrying about having to get the dish back to you.)

Have them over for some adult conversation.

Parenting can be lonely so one thing you can do is invite your new friend over for some adult conversation. My mom friends saved my sanity during my early parenting years. Bonus points for providing coffee- the essential drink of parents everywhere!

Offer to watch their baby while they take a shower or a nap. 

Having a newborn is like being on call constantly. I remember when my children were young, I felt like as soon as I started to doze off, they would wake up. Watching the baby while mom or dad takes a long shower or a nap can rejuvenate her. Making time for parent’s health and happiness is important!

Show up and ask what you can help with.

Offers of help are nice but it’s the friends that show up without us having to ask that are the most cherished. Whether it’s folding laundry, washing the dishes, or running some errands, new parents probably have tons on their to-do lists they haven’t gotten around to doing yet. Helping with these tasks will give mom and dad more time to spend with baby and reduce her stress.

Gift them items they can use.

There are so many new things out there that make life with a newborn easier but I love sticking to gifts that I know will get used often- including essentials like diapers. I like to give a couple packs of diapers in different sizes and varieties to new parents. For the littlest ones, Huggies Snug & Dry are perfect because they feature four layers to absorb moisture quickly and offer up to 12 hours of protection. For older babies, there’s Huggies Little Movers that have a contoured shape and double grip strips that are designed for active babies.

Along with a soft blanket and diapers for the baby, I also love including a little something for mom or dad when I drop off a gift- whether it’s a gift card to their favorite coffee shop, a pretty smelling lotion or a mug celebrating their new title. (I can’t help it…. I’m a sucker for anything that has the word “mom” on it!)

When picking up Huggies diapers for the new mom or dad in your life you’ll want to go to Meijer because for every pack of Huggies purchased at Meijer through December 23rd, Huggies and Meijer will donate a day’s worth of diapers and Meijer will donate $1 to the National Diaper Bank Network. I love that these two companies are partnering together to give back and helping families thrive. This cause is important to me because when my boys were younger, we had very little money and there were times when I wasn’t sure how we were going to pay for our next pack of diapers or our weekly groceries. My family wasn’t alone in this need….currently one-in-three families (36%) in the U.S. struggle to provide enough diapers needed to keep their baby or toddler clean, dry, and healthy. As the founding sponsor of the National Diaper Bank Network since 2011, Huggies through its No Baby Unhugged program has provided ongoing support for the organization and has donated more than 200 million diapers and baby wipes, including critical donations during times of crisis, to those in diaper need.

You can also enter to win a year’s worth of diapers in the #Hugs4Huggies #sweepstakes! For four weeks, 2 winners will receive a year’s worth of diapers (in the form of $1,000 gift cards) and 2 winners (chosen by grand prize winners) will receive $500 gift cards. (Total 8 grand prize winners of $1000 gift cards and 8 secondary prize winners of $500 gift card.) Get more details on how to enter here.

What ideas do you have for helping new parents this holiday season? Leave a comment below or share your thoughts with me on social media!

Potty Training Children Who Have Special Needs

When I was a preschool teacher {back before I had children of my own} I couldn’t understand how children older than three were not potty trained yet. I blamed the parents and assumed they were just too lazy to potty train their kids. Here I am years later ashamed that I ever thought that and realizing how wrong I was in judging them. My oldest wasn’t potty trained until he was almost four and my youngest is three and a half and not even close to being potty trained. And that saying about karma? Yeah, I think it’s true because I feel the judgment when people realize my child in pull-ups is in preschool and no longer a toddler.

You see, what I didn’t understand all those years ago was that each child was different and though I had this list of things children “should” be doing by a certain age, it was just a loose guideline. Some children develop skills quicker and some children take longer to develop skills and potty-training is no exception to that rule.

The first time I tried to potty train Jacob he was about two. I had this idea that a sticker chart and a lot of encouragement along with making him sit on the toilet every 30 minutes were the keys to potty training success. After about a week I realized that he wasn’t “getting it” and I threw in the towel. Not only was he not realizing he had to go, but he wasn’t even realizing that he was wet or had a dirty diaper. After this first failed potty training attempt Jacob started wearing pull-ups. I figured this would be the easiest way for him to go to the bathroom if he all of a sudden felt he was starting to pee in his pants and could get to the bathroom.

Months later I tried potty-training him again. He still wasn’t ready and I decided at that point to wait until he was realizing he had to go before trying again. When that milestone came around it was a little bit before his fourth birthday. He started telling me when he had to go and we’d run to the bathroom. Sometimes he’d make it to the toilet and sometimes he’d just be so busy with what he was doing that he’d wait until the last minute and end up having an accident. The first weeks were full of constant reminders and multiple accidents but a month or so later he was fully potty trained and he moved on to underwear.

I really wish it hadn’t taken so long to potty-train Jacob but this was my first kid and I had no clue what I was doing {not that I have any clue now but at least I have a bit of experience}. My first attempts at potty-training were before I suspected any special needs and I think if I would have known then that he had Sensory Processing Disorder I would have waited until I thought he was ready and saved both of us a lot of time and frustration.

Lucas I think is going to be a little tougher to potty train. Lucas has SPD like Jacob but, along with having that, he also has Autism Spectrum Disorder and significant language delays. After the long journey with Jacob I decided not to push it with Lucas. At three and a half he doesn’t notice when he is wet yet and only occasionally seems to even notice if he has a poopy diaper. Children with Autism often are delayed in potty training and having SPD and language delays means that things are even more difficult because he doesn’t process senses the same as a “typical” child and can’t communicate his needs as well verbally. With Lucas I feel more confident in my parenting and accept the fact that people may judge me but I don’t care because I now know that I am doing what is right for my child and for my family instead of trying to pressure him to fit.

Here are some tips I have for potty-training children with Sensory Processing Disorder and/or Autism {seeing as every child is different these may not all work but I hope some might give you ideas of what might work for your child}:

1) Wait until they are ready. Your child needs to realize that they have have soiled themselves before they are even ready to start potty training.

2) Explain the process of using the toilet to the child. Explain step by step before, during and after. Many young children with Special Needs, and many without as well, need to know what is coming up so they can mentally prepare themselves for the task. Reading books about potty training may be beneficial, too. Here’s a list of ten books that you can read with your potty training child.

3) Provide visuals. You can type in “visual aid for potty training a child with Autism” in a Google search but here’s a direct link to one I think is a good one that you can print out and use in your home. Some children are visual learners and pictures will help greatly so they can see each step of the process.

4) Develop a way for them to notify you that they have to go potty. Maybe use sign language or have them point if they are non-verbal. A picture card may work well also so that they can give you the card when they need to go. For children who are semi-verbal maybe they can learn one word that they can use to tell you that they need to go to the bathroom.

5) Encourage your child and celebrate every victory. Even if they start peeing on the floor and you grab them and sit them on the toilet and they finish the rest in the actual toilet bowl…that’s a victory! Even if they go in their pants but then alert you that they are wet… that’s a victory. They aren’t going to be potty trained over night but instead, there are going to be a lot of small victories on the road to potty-training success.

6) Some children need motivation to get tasks done. Each child is different and therefore their motivator will be different. For some it may be extra time with a favorite toy or electronic, like my boys and their tablets or trains. For others one m&m or a sticker if they go in the potty may work. One thing I have done in the past is put old McDonald Happy Meal toys into a basket and if they went on the potty they could play with one. Since these toys had been put away it was like they got a brand new toy and I didn’t have to go out and spend extra money on them.

7) Use pull-ups that are easy to get on and off. We like the Huggies Pull-Ups because they feature easy open sides. Since he still wears a pull-up to school these help because then the teachers don’t have to take off his shoes and pants to change him.

8) Consider using a special kind of training pant that lets the child feel when they have peed. Huggies has a type of pull-ups called Cool Alert that feel cool when wet. I think this one in particular would be great for children with SPD or Autism because they can feel when they are wet with these more so than with an ordinary pull-up.

9) Make it fun! The Huggies Pull-Ups feature a favorite character, Lightning McQueen from Disney Pixar’s Cars movie, which makes wearing them exciting. They love reading books in the bathroom. We also sing random songs I’ve made up, which Lucas really likes because he loves music.

10) Understand and accept that your child is going to have accidents. With potty-training, like any learning process, it is going to take time. Your child will most likely have accidents and that’s okay. As frustrating as it can be for parents, try not to get frustrated with them because that will just make the process harder for everyone involved.

I hope the above steps have helped give you some ideas as you try to potty-train your child with Special Needs. The Huggies Pull-Ups website has some other tips and if you have any tips I’d love to hear them in the comments :)

If you are wanting to use pull-ups, Walmart has Huggies on rollback right now in stores and online for $8.97 a package! They also have Night Time Pull-Ups that are extra absorbent.

(Disclosure: I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Huggies but all thoughts are my own. #HuggiesWalmart #CBias #SocialFabric )