Metro Parent Relief

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5 Steps to Planning a Toddler Halloween Party

 

                     

5 Steps to Planning a Toddler Halloween Party

When my toddler came to me and asked for a Halloween party, I must admit I was a bit shocked.  Over the years I have had my share of hosting Halloween parties, but if memory serves me correctly, that began with my teen around 1st or 2nd grade, not as a toddler.

So I quickly put myself into party planning mode, and began with a list of To Do’s.  I wanted to share my list with others that may have signed up to host the party for the little ones for the first time.  I am hoping that with the steps to take, list of items needed, along with a few healthy, yet simple fun finger foods, you can pull it off as a successful event for your neighborhood.

Step 1List of Invitees   be sure to think of a couple of parents that would be willing to stay around to help make the party a hit.  If your child is anything like my child, she doesn’t always get along with all of the children in her playgroup, so you need to give careful thought into the children that she actually can get along with and have a good time, without unnecessary disagreements, and fits.  I have expanded my resource list given the compatibility feature to her playgroup, the neighborhood, friends at the gym, church group friends, and family.  Out of all of the group, I was able to come up with twelve girls and boys that I trust she will have a great time with, and parents that I will be able to count on to help things go smoothly.  Have fun with it, and fun with sending out the invites.

Step 2Fun Finger Foods– At every party, particularly a toddler party what’s on the menu is a major priority.  Think of fun, creative, healthy treats to serve the children during the party, and decide what times the treats will be brought out.  Take into account that some children may have food allergies, so be sure to contact via phone or email the parents of each child attending to inquire about any allergies. I think it is also very important to ask the parents to bring a snack of choice for the children, something that their child enjoys, in keeping the Halloween idea in mind.  Here are a few healthy ideas http://spoonful.com/halloween/best-halloween-recipes-gallery.  Try delegating a role for each parent to assist with; your job becomes a little easier.  Of course I would not expect to have all twelve families bring a snack; however, I would divide the attendee list, and ask some to be in charge of games, supplies, party gift bags, invitations, etc.

Step 3Costumes, Games & Stories–   Start the party by introducing each child by name, and what they have come up with for their costume.  Children love to have recognition of their costume that they’ve chosen, even if it’s the 10th idea since the beginning of fall.  In addition, there are so many Halloween games that toddlers will enjoy.  Think of both indoor and outdoor games that will keep the crowd engaged.  Here is a quick link with wonderful game ideas for this age group. http://familycrafts.about.com/od/halloweengames/ss/Pin-The-Tail-On-The-Cat-Printable-Halloween-Party-Game.htm & http://spoonful.com/halloween/halloween-games Pick a few and have fun with it.  It is also a great tradition to have the children circle around an adult after the games are over, dimming the lights, and telling spooky, yet fun stories.  Ask the parents attending of any particular Halloween books that their child might enjoy, and introduce the book as such.  For example, this book is one of Todd’s favorite Halloween stories.  This will help to ease any anxiety or jitters amongst the group, knowing that one of them really enjoys this book.

Step 4Music- Choosing the right music is important too.  Toddlers enjoy happy music, and surprisingly can learn the words to riddles and songs easily.  Here is a quick link to most popular Halloween tunes for toddlers http://www.live365.com/stations/kiddfellas.  Again, we want to keep in the “spooky, gobbling, ghostly” tradition, but in a fun way.

 

Step 5– Have Fun!  Mom and Dad enjoy the time with your child as well.  My group enjoys letting the little ones have a great time with the party starting just a couple of hours prior to Trick or Treating, and going as a group.  There are also some really creative Halloween spirits that parents can enjoy as well, here is a quick link for ideas http://www.hgtv.com/entertaining/13-to-die-for-halloween-cocktails/pictures/index.html.

 

Metro Parent Relief wishes you and your family have a Happy and Safe Halloween!

Easy Ways To Document Your Baby’s Growth

Keeping a photographic record of your baby’s growth is invaluable, but can easily fall by the wayside in the early months.  A lot of us take weekly or monthly photos of our pregnant bellies so that we can document the growth of our ever-expanding midsections and developing babies. Once baby is born, creativity often takes a backseat to diapers, burp cloths and 2am feedings. Here are some fun tips and ideas for documenting your baby’s growth that, with a little bit of planning, are fairly simple to do.

1.  We love the idea of photographing your child in the exact same setting each month.  By keeping the background constant in these photos, you can really see your child’s transformation from a baby into a toddler. Choose a setting that’s easy to recreate each month, the same chair or on the same rug.  Then, pick an outfit that you can buy in multiple sizes, like a plain-colored onesie or t-shirt.  Including a stuffed animal is a great way to add scale to the photo and it’s also something fun for your baby to hold while you take pictures.

2.  Another unique idea we adore is using a Stendig wall calendar as a background for your photos. This 36×48 calendar is a stark, neutral background that dates your pictures while allowing your little one to shine.

3.  Write your baby’s age on a small chalkboard or whiteboard and include it in your photos.

4.  Use balloons to show your baby’s age.  Adding a balloon each month makes for more and more adorable photos as the year goes on.

5.  Spell out your child’s age with alphabet blocks (you can include his name and milestones too) on a white blanket or sheet. Lie or sit your baby next to them and take pictures quickly before she starts to play with your backdrop.

6.  Monthly onesie stickers are really simple and easy to use and are a perfect way to document your baby’s first 12 months. There are so many designs and colors to choose from, simply stick these on a onesie and snap away.

For the best results, commit to a schedule (be realistic) and stick to it! Be consistent. Take many more photos than you think you’ll need.  Enjoy the process, and have fun!

Follow us on FACEBOOK! Check out our posts to see these ideas and find even more creative ways to document your child’s growth.

Giving Back With the Whole Family

Have you found that finding the time to spend quality one on one time with an older child while caring for an infant or toddler overwhelming?  We’ve assembled a great list of volunteer opportunities in our area that welcome younger children and families. Get your entire family to work together, or, use a service project as an opportunity to get some one-on-one time with an older child. Your children will learn invaluable lessons about helping others and contributing to the community and your family will enjoy doing something for others, together.

Color A Smile (online) – Any age. Your child can draw or paint an original picture or a coloring page, which you then mail in to the Color A Smile office. They will distribute the artworks to nursing homes, Meals on Wheels recipients and individuals across the country who they believe would benefit from a masterpiece.

Capital Area Food Bank (DC and NoVA) – 12+, 12-16 year old volunteers must be accompanied by an adult and must have a waiver allowing participation. The mission of the Capital Area Food Bank is to feed those who suffer from hunger in the Washington metro area by acquiring food and distributing it through its network of partner agencies; and educating, empowering and enlightening the community about the issues of hunger and nutrition. Volunteers are needed in the DC and NoVA Warehouses to help in the areas of: packing and sorting, stocking floor, loading docks, and administrative work.

Earth Sangha (NoVA) – Minimum age is 8. Earth Sangha operates an ecological restoration program to restore native forests and meadows, stabilize streams, and control invasive alien plants in the Washington metro area. Volunteers will help plant native plants, trees, grasses, shrubs and wildflowers in grassland, forests and meadows. Volunteers are also needed to help control invasive plants.

Maddie’s Blankets (NoVA) – Great for young children, you simply have to be able to tie a knot. Make comforting fleece blankets for animals in shelters and children in foster care.

Claude Moore Colonial Farm (McLean) – Children under age 12 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The mission of the Claude Moore Colonial Farm is to educate the public about American agriculture through active participation and involvement in an 18th century low-income family farm and related programs. Volunteers will dress in period costumes and portray farmers, merchants, artisans, and musicians of the 18th century.

A Forever Home (Chantilly) – Minimum age is 12. Children 12-14 must be accompanied by an adult. A Forever Home is a dog and cat rescue organization whose mission is to find permanent, loving homes for animals in dire situations. Volunteers are needed to assist in foster homes, as transporters for adoptions and vet visits, handlers at adoption days, and helpers at fundraising events.

These are just a few ideas to get older children involved with activities that have a purpose.  We encourage you to reply with any additional ideas, or groups that you wish to suggest to other Metro Parent Relief families and friends.  Summer is about enjoying time with outside of the rigorous school schedule, learning about our environment and community, and enjoying family, so make the most of it!

 

Documenting Your Baby’s Growth

Keeping a photographic record of your baby’s growth is invaluable, but can easily fall by the wayside in the early months.  A lot of us take weekly or monthly photos of our pregnant bellies so that we can document the growth of our ever-expanding midsections and developing babies. Once baby is born, creativity often takes a backseat to diapers, burp cloths and 2am feedings. Here are some fun tips and ideas for documenting your baby’s growth that, with a little bit of planning, are fairly simple to do.

1.  We love the idea of photographing your child in the exact same setting each month.  By keeping the background constant in these photos, you can really see your child’s transformation from a baby into a toddler. Choose a setting that’s easy to recreate each month, the same chair or on the same rug.  Then, pick an outfit that you can buy in multiple sizes, like a plain-colored onesie or t-shirt.  Including a stuffed animal is a great way to add scale to the photo and it’s also something fun for your baby to hold while you take pictures.

2.  Another unique idea we adore is using a Stendig wall calendar as a background for your photos. This 36×48 calendar is a stark, neutral background that dates your pictures while allowing your little one to shine.

3.  Write your baby’s age on a small chalkboard or whiteboard and include it in your photos.

4.  Use balloons to show your baby’s age.  Adding a balloon each month makes for more and more adorable photos as the year goes on.

5.  Spell out your child’s age with alphabet blocks (you can include his name and milestones too) on a white blanket or sheet. Lie or sit your baby next to them and take pictures quickly before she starts to play with your backdrop.

6.  Monthly onesie stickers are really simple and easy to use and are a perfect way to document your baby’s first 12 months. There are so many designs and colors to choose from, simply stick these on a onesie and snap away.

For the best results, commit to a schedule (be realistic) and stick to it! Be consistent. Take many more photos than you think you’ll need.  Enjoy the process, and have fun!

Follow us on FACEBOOK! Check out our posts to see these ideas and find even more creative ways to document your child’s growth.

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