7 MUST-HAVE ITEMS WHEN TRAVELLING WITH AN INFANT/TODDLER

I’m not saying I’m an expert at travelling with an infant/toddler, but I have definitely discovered a few techniques to make life easier on the go and figured out what items are absolutely necessary to have on hand. During this PCS Adventure, my family has been without household goods for 48 days, spent 3 days in airports and on planes, and lived in hotels for 26 days. It has been a learning experience for us all and I think everyone was pushed to their limit at one point during this adventure. We are finally in our new house, but still do not have household goods so we are back to “roughing it” in our own home. I honestly do not think we would have made it this far without the following items: Continue reading

[UPDATED]: SCREEN TIME FOR BABIES

Back in July I wrote an article about screen time for babies and how it is a big “no-no” for children under 2 years of age. As much as I wish I were updating this article with new info about how it is not only good to let your kids watch TV that young, but also recommended for admission into Ivy League schools later in life, sadly I am not. I am here to confess that I am a complete failure at this; my 1 year-old daughter loves watching Baby Einstein videos and they have made the last few weeks more bearable for everyone in this family.

If you have been keeping up with my PCS adventures, then you know that my family has been without household goods for 34 days now. The first week was especially hard because not only did we not have anything in our house, but also my husband was not home to help entertain our LO. That’s when I turned to Baby Einstein and never looked back. I stumbled upon one of the videos on YouTube and played it for her; it magically kept her still and focused for 20 minutes. I then found a whole series of Baby Einstein classics on Amazon Prime and introduced a different one each day while I cleaned and prepped our house for moving out. I even had them saved to my iPhone for her to watch on our 14+ hour plane ride and they truly were a life saver. Now that we are temporarily living in a hotel until a house becomes available, Baby Einstein videos help break up our day and keep things exciting for our LO. Continue reading

Child Proofing your Devices

A while back my friend Angela told me about “Guided Access” for the iPhone and I never thought I would need it because I didn’t want to be one of those parents who gave their child an iPhone to play with. Well, now that I have nothing in my house to entertain my little monster with I have resorted to letting her watch Baby Einstein and other educational videos on my iPhone (see My PCS Adventure for more on why I don’t have anything in my house). She absolutely loves it and it keeps her happy for a few minutes. The only problem is she wants to hold the phone and her sticky little fingers move all over the screen and close out the video. Then a major melt down occurs. By enabling “Guided Access” this problem is completely eliminated. It allows me to lock everything on the screen (or just certain features) so my kid can’t open/close any apps on my phone that I don’t want her to.


From Apple Support:

Use Guided Access with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

Guided Access helps you to stay focused on a task while using your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Guided Access limits your device to a single app and lets you control which app features are available.

You can use Guided Access to:

  • Temporarily restrict your iOS device to a single app
  • Disable areas of the screen that aren’t relevant to a task, or areas where an accidental gesture might cause a distraction
  • Disable the hardware buttons

Set up Guided Access

Tap Settings > General > Accessibility > Guided Access to set up Guided Access. From there, here’s what you can do:

  • Turn Guided Access on or off
  • Set a passcode that controls the use of Guided Access and prevents someone from leaving an active session
  • Set whether the device can go to sleep during a session

Start a Guided Access session

To start a Guided Access session, follow these steps:

  1. Open the app you want to use.
  2. Triple-click the Home button.
  3. Adjust settings for the session, and then tap Start.

Control apps, screen sensitivity, and motion sensitivity

You can use Guided Access to turn off app controls, parts of the screen, and motion sensing. Follow these steps:

To disable app controls and areas of the app screen, follow these steps:

  1. Circle any part of the screen you want to disable.
  2. Use the handles to adjust the area.

To ignore all screen touches, turn off Touch.

To keep your iOS device from switching from portrait to landscape or from responding to any other motions, turn off Motion.

End a Guided Access session

If you’re using Touch ID on your iOS device, you can use it to end a Guided Access session. First, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Guided Access > Passcode Settings and turn on Touch ID. Now, when you’re using Guided Access, you can end the session by following these steps:

  1. Press the Home button once.
  2. Use Touch ID.

If you’re not using Touch ID on your device, follow these steps to end a Guided Access session:

  1. Triple-click the Home button.
  2. Enter the Guided Access passcode.

Now I’m not exactly sure why you wouldn’t have an iPhone, but if you are like Claire and don’t have one here is how to set up a restricted profile for your Android so you can lock down access to only the apps you choose, as well as set parental restrictions for videos, music, and books.

Instructions courtesy of PC World:

Set up Restricted Profile

  1. Tap Settings > Users > Add user or profile, and then tap Restricted profile.
  2. Next, you’ll see a setup screen with the name “New profile” at the top. Tap New profile to change the name to, say, the name of your child.
  3. Below the profile name, you’ll see a list of every app installed on your device—including Chrome, Google search, the Camera app, and others that you might not want your toddler touching. They’re all switched off by default. Certain apps, like Google+ and Google Hangouts, can’t be turned on at all; for the others (like, say, PBS Kids), you can unblock access by flipping the switches next to their icons. You’ll also find a few apps with gear-shaped Settings buttons; tap to configure additional “restricted” settings, such as content ratings for movies and TV shows.
  4. All set? Tap the Back button, put your phone or tablet to sleep, then tap the user icon in the top corner of the screen (for Lollipop-enabled devices) or at the bottom (for KitKat devices). Tap the icon of the restricted profile you just created, and boom—your Android device is baby-proofed.

I’m breaking a lot of the promises I made myself when I first became a mom, like never letting my daughter play with my iPhone and no screen time for kids under two years old. I’m sure more seasoned moms are reading this laughing at me and I am sure there are many more rules I will change in the future. What are some of the things you have gone back on as a new mom?