Bacteria can be found everywhere and therefore it is important to keep your family safe from germs that can contaminate your home and cause nasty infections. Keeping your home germ free will protect your loved ones, minimize the risk of infections, and ensure that your family stays healthy. This does not mean that you have to live in a sterile environment. However, good home cleaning is essential for preventing the spread of bacteria that do not only cause unpleasant smells, but also illnesses.

Germs can survive for long periods of time, up to 48 hours, on surfaces around your home. That is why it is so important to keep household surfaces, door handles and floors, and objects that we often come into contact with free of germs by disinfecting them on a regular basis.

Bathrooms and kitchens are the two areas within your home where germs can spread the fastest, and where extra caution must be taken in terms of sanitation and germ protection.

Kitchen Hygiene
It is important that you clean surfaces and door handles daily by using a disinfectant. Make sure that your sink is always spotless and germ free as bacteria can easily transfer onto your food, dishes, tea towels and kitchen cloths. Don’t just rinse the sink, sanitize it properly by using bleach or a disinfectant. Wash your hands before preparing meals with a good sanitizer to prevent germs from spreading, and wash food, especially vegetables and meat, before you start preparing a meal. Soak your kitchen sponges, tea towels and dishcloths in bleach to kill germs, and change them regularly. Never leave dirty dishes standing for too long, and wipe surfaces clean directly after accidental spills, before food preparation and directly after meals. Clean out the kitchen dustbin daily and disinfect the inside of the dustbin with bleach. Also make sure that your fridge is cleaned and sanitized on a regular basis.

Bathroom Hygiene
Disinfect all surfaces in the bathroom, especially the toilet. After you use the toilet brush, rinse it properly and dry it before you store it away. Always clean baths, showers, basins and toilets with a disinfectant to ensure optimal germ protection, and keep all surfaces as dry as possible, as germs breed easily in damp. Keep your bathroom dry to prevent mould and mildew from forming, as it is a breeding ground for germs that can be harmful to you and your family. Wet bath mats are the ideal places on which germs can thrive. Wash bath mats weekly and put them out in the sun to dry. Store toothbrushes in a bathroom cupboard as water can splash on them and contaminate them, and never share personal items such as toothbrushes, towels and face cloths with other members of the family. Finally, be sure to always wash your hands after using the toilet.

Proper hygiene and a germ free environment are essential to your baby’s health. Taking good care of your new infant’s laundry is important to ensure that your baby stays healthy and happy. So, the question is, is it safe to use fabric softener on your little one’s clothes? You have to keep in mind that your baby’s skin is very sensitive and that it is common for them to get skin allergies that can be caused by the ingredients in laundry detergents and softeners. Even a minor skin allergy will make your little one feel uncomfortable. Avoid any detergents or softeners that can be harmful. Avoid detergents and baby fabric softener that use perfumes or dyes. Rinse your baby’s clothes thoroughly to ensure that no residue is left. If your baby has allergies, you can rinse baby clothes twice to ensure that all of the detergent has been washed out completely. Keep in mind that liquid fabric detergents and liquid fabric softeners are easier to rinse out than powder detergents or detergents that also include softener.

As with detergents, fabric softeners can irritate your baby’s skin. You can use a baby safe fabric softener on clothes that is safe for your baby’s skin, but a fragrance free or dye free fabric softener, that you can use for the whole family, is a much better choice. Wash your family’s laundry in the same detergent and softener that you use for your baby’s clothes. You have to keep in mind that your baby comes into contact with you and your family’s clothes as well, so it is important that all clothes are washed in a detergent and softener that are safe for your little one.

All baby clothes should be washed before use as germs and harmful chemicals in the fabric can cause diseases and skin allergies. Buy a mesh bag for all those tiny items that tend to get lost in the wash, such as socks, booties and mittens. Fasten all of the buttons and clips and turn all garments inside out to avoid the clothes getting damaged in the wash. Read the labels on baby clothes carefully and follow the instructions. Wash the clothes in cold or luke warm water as hot water is harsher on fabrics and can cause clothing to shrink. Many mothers hang baby clothes inside to avoid sun damage, but hanging baby clothes outside in the sun also helps to get rid of germs and improves the smell. However, don’t leave them on the washing line too long as the sun can also damage the fabric and cause the colors to fade.

There is also a belief that it is better to dry baby clothes in a drier as the heat will sanitize the clothes. Whatever drying method you swear by, always ensure that baby’s clothes are properly dry before folding and packing them away, as germs can breed in moist clothing.

Being a new parent can be intimidating, but it need not be. With a wealth of information pertaining to baby care out there, we narrow down the top tips for feeding, bathing and laundry care.

Feeding – From Breast to Bottle

Breastfeeding is, as put forth by a great many doctors and baby care experts, the best way in which to feed your baby for the first few months of his or her life. Breastmilk is the most nutritious option for baby and the act of breastfeeding allows mom to form a bond with her little one right from the start.

With that said, there are instances or occasions when bottle feeding may be preferable. In order to spread out nightly feedings between mom and dad, mom can express breast milk for dad to feed to baby when it is his turn to heed the little one’s cry. When baby gets older, infant formula may be introduced. If he / she is to be taken to daycare in the near future, parents may want to get him / her used to bottle feeding at home first.

Whatever your reason is for reaching for the bottle, healthcare authorities recommend the following to keep your baby safe and healthy:

– Choose the Right Bottle: You will require several bottles and teats for bottle feeding and, whilst no bottle or teat type is necessarily superior to another, you should opt for the simplest bottle shape on the market. Hygiene is of the utmost importance when it comes to baby feeding and some of the ‘cuter’ bottles tend to have nooks and crannies that can be difficult to reach when cleaning and thus harbour harmful germs.
– Sterilize the Bottle: Remember to buy sterilizing equipment and ensure that the bottle and teat are sterilized before each and every feed.
– Position Baby Comfortably and Upright for Feeding: Be sure to support baby’s head so that he or she can breathe and swallow comfortably.
– Maintain Eye Contact and Enjoy the Moment: Allow plenty of time for feeding, think of feeding time as a time to bond with baby.
– Keep the Teat Full and Wind Baby if Necessary: Keep the teat full of milk or formula to avoid having your little one suck in air. If he / she does seem to stop sucking with some feed left in the bottle, hold him or her upright and gently rub his or her back to bring up possible wind.

Bathing – Safety First

Bathing can, once again, be an excellent time for parents to bond with the new addition to the family. Experts recommend the following tips for keeping infants safe and comfortable:

– Constant Presence: Do not, under any circumstances, leave him / her alone in the bath for even a second.
– Temperature: Test the water temperature with your wrist. When in doubt, opt for lukewarm-babies and toddlers tend to prefer a cooler bath than most adults do.
– Not Too Deep: The fill level of the tub should be no more than 10 cm, aim for between 5 and 10 cm.
– Use a Mild Soap/Shampoo: Only use soap and/or shampoo designed for infants. If his / her skin is sensitive, you can wash him or her with plain water as well, just be sure to clean skin folds properly.

Laundry Care – Cut Detergent by Half and Choose Fabric Softener Wisely

Insofar as washing baby’s clothes and bedding is concerned, you should halve the amount of detergent that you would normally use to wash a similar load of your own washing. In fact, you can even cut the ‘dosage’ by ¾. If you are concerned about baby’s clothes and bedding not being cleaned properly, simply wash in hot water. Also remember that there is a difference between fabric softener and laundry detergent. In simplest terms, detergent simply washes laundry, whilst fabric softener conditions it. In order to keep baby’s laundry as soft as possible, you may thus want to opt for a good quality baby fabric softener. Be sure to look for a fabric softener specifically intended for baby, and check the label to ensure that the product has been dermatologically tested to indeed be mild and suitable for infants.

Summer is has arrived. This means more family bonding time. For many families, a trip to the mall is the likely destination. However, you can take family bonding to another level a healthier level. Here are suggestions on how to turn family bonding time to fitness time.

Hello Outdoors!

Forget about the malls, there are so many places you can go to and so many things to do than just hang around the shopping mall. Families can bike together. Parents can teach their kids how to ride a bicycle, or take them out for a ride. A pit stop at a beach for a refreshing swim (another great fitness activity) can help soothe summer’s heat.

Have you been to a park near you lately? It’s a perfect place to play catch or football with your kids. Even a healthy run and kids love to run, they’re like cheetah cubs can be a fit family activity.

Another activity is kite flying. You can either buy a kite or make it from scratch. Either way, make assembling the kite a family activity and take turns flying it in a park or near the beach.

Playgrounds are something that has been lost because of digital games. So if you find one, encourage your kids to discover the joys of having fun in a playground.

As you bond and have a great time outdoors, just remember that your kids should wear the right clothes and footwear. Light clothes will prevent them from feeling uncomfortable because of the sweat. Lightweight but footwear tough with good support will protect their feet no matter how active they are. Although shoes are a common choice, try sandals and slippers for a more refreshing experience. If you’re not familiar with good sandals for children, try Lotto kids sandals. The brand offers sandals which is readily available at online shops.

Hello Home!

Let’s say you’re not able to have outdoor plans for some reason. Don’t worry there’s plenty of worthwhile things to do inside your home or in your backyard.

Chore Tag Team. No doubt, parents love it when kids do their chores. Kids, of course, hate it. So hit a compromise by doing chores with your kids. For example, cleaning isn’t really fun. But when you clean together, not only will you get to bond but burn calories as well. Make it a contest too. Who makes the floor shine more? Who raked the most leaves? Even the simplest chores can be fun when done with family.

Backyard Bonding. Because of gadgets and the Internet, kids have forgotten how awesome the backyard is. The backyard, as well as the space between your house and fence can be magical if you know how to use it. Play tag, catch or put an inflatable pool and go swimming. You can make an obstacle course by using recyclable materials. Have you ever made your own castle without using sand? Use boxes and other discarded materials you find around the house. Just carrying the boxes out and looking for materials can make your kids more active. The great thing about being stuck at home is kids get to use their imagination to make use since there are limited options.

Barbeque! Although it won’t be much in terms of physical activity. A barbeque is a great bonding activity for the family. Not only will you be able to teach kids how to grill, but show them healthy foods. Have you ever tried grilled vegetables? That could be something different for your kids. Want to really surprise them? Grilled dessert. Grilled pineapples are a lot sweeter because the natural sugars are caramelized. Try other fruits as well. This will get your kids minds off ice creams and other sweets.

Whether it’s indoor or outdoor though, make the most of the time spent with your family. There’s nothing better than a fit and happy family.

At a young age, your child gets their habits from their parents. So if you teach them a lot of good things, they can learn to make it a significant part of their lives, and maybe even carry it on when they’re adults. And one of the best things you can teach your child is to take care of their health, eat healthy and stay fit. What’s the best way to teach kids about fitness?

Make food fun
One of the most difficult things to do is to teach children how to eat healthy. You rarely see a child choose vegetables over mac and cheese, right? What the best thing to do? Make food fun. Thrown in some carrots and broccoli in the mac and cheese. Make cute and fun food designs combining their favorite and healthy foods. How about a lunch that look like a panda? Or a meal which look like the logo of their favorite superhero? That way, they’ll know that healthy food isn’t boring and eating it does not have to be a task. Furthermore, encourage them to drink more water, regardless if they are active or not.

Be clever with fitness
Fitness activities do not have to seem like boot camp for kids. It should feel as normal, and as fun, as possible. So be clever with fitness. Take your kids outside and teach them how to jump rope. Play catch or tag, Frisbee or even a sport. Kids will get fit while having fun in the process, they also look forward to the next play session.

Forget about technology
It’s not just adults who have a fixation for technology, television, the Internet and social media, kids are also being influenced. Although technology has certainly made our lives easier, it has made a lot of people less active physically. And kids can pick up on that even at an early age. Make it a point to turn off digital devices like tablets, computers, smartphones and television and encourage children to play and explore.

Do it as a family
Bonding time isn’t just about going to the mall or watching movies. It can be about being fit. How about biking together? Running or brisk walking on the park? Being with family makes the activity more fun for children. Don’t be surprised if they start to look forward to more family activities. After all, kids crave structure and bonding moments.

Get them new gear
Kids get excited when they have new stuff. It makes them curious. It makes them more acceptable to new things. Nowadays, even big brands like Reebok, have shoes and clothes for kids who want to engage in sports or be active. The kiddie gears have the same benefits as its adult counterparts, so you know children are taken care of. The funky designs and colors also appeal to children. You can check out a Reebok shop online if you want to know more.

Encourage your kids to join events in school
Schools offer a lot of sports and activities which help kids to be more active. Encourage your kids to join and support them as they participate. Also, look for neighborhood activities your children can participate in.

Be a role model
The best way to teach kids about fitness is by being a role model. Show your kids how you enjoy being fit. Show them you’re eating the healthy foods which you’re suggesting to them. Children learn not just by experience but from the important people in their lives. So if they see how significant fitness is, they will be more encouraged to participate. Be a role model for your kids to emulate.

Finally, be supportive, positive and patient. You can’t force your kids to eat healthy or enjoy exercise. Otherwise, they will learn to dislike the idea.

As a parent of young kids, you’ll know how difficult it can be to keep their busy minds amused, especially at birthday parties and especially when the cake and ice cream induced sugar highs kick in.

If you just so happen to be the host of one such party, remember: panic slowly, plan appropriately and impress the other parents by pulling out all the stops with these cool kids games!

Mind the monsters
This game is fun for everyone and pits the kids versus the adults. The only thing you’ll really need to play this game is a wide open space and your best monster impersonations. What you need to do is get all the kids to line up on one side and have two or more adults morph into monsters in the middle.

The objective of this game is for the kids to get to the other side of the area without being caught. If they’re caught, then they too become a monster and should behave accordingly. The remaining kids keep running back and forth until only one survivor remains.

The lava leap
Some of the best party games involve getting kids to use their imaginations and this one will definitely prove amusing.

In this game, you’ll want to litter a wide open area with pillows, duvets, blankets and other squishy things. Then, add a little drama and tell the kids that the floor is molten lava: the more convincing you are, the better they’ll respond.

Then, equip each kid with their own pillow to use as a bridge between the bigger islands. To win, the kids have to work together to get from one side of the room to the other without any casualties. If someone falls into the lava, they have to start over.

Move to the music
Similar to musical chairs, the objective of this game is to move to the music until the music stops. Then, depending on the age of the kids, they can either sit down as quickly as possible or freeze in position. The last dancer to freeze or sit down is eliminated until one little lad or lady is left.

Additional provisos can be included to maximize the amusement, such as freezing into the form of an animal, object or letter.

Water balloon pinatas
This game is great for those summer birthday parties where the kids and parents don’t mind getting a little drenched.

All you need to do is fill a bunch of balloons with water, string them up in the garden, give the kids a long, blunt object and let them swing for the fences. Continued adult supervision is recommended, however, as kids do tend to get carried away with the good ol’ pinata. And make sure you’ve got plenty of pinata replacements because the kids will surely enjoy this one.

No matter the age, season, or occasion, there are numerous ways to keep the kids amused. All it takes is a little bit of imagination and some elbow grease.