Pets Products

How To Introduce Your Pet To A New Baby

How To Introduce Your Pet To A New Baby
Photo by Daniel Sandoval on Unsplash

The arrival of a new baby is an exciting time. But if you’re a pet owner, chances are your beloved fur baby might find this new change in routine hard to adjust to!

When you bring a newborn baby home, your pet will likely find the new sights, sounds, and scents overwhelming. If your cat or dog has never known life with an infant then this new arrival can pose a threat. While some pets are able to adjust perfectly well, others may become fearful and even jealous – resulting in behavioral issues.

Planning ahead is one of the best ways to help your pet adjust to a new baby and the change in routine that comes along with it. 

Preparing your pet for baby’s arrival

In the months leading up to the baby’s arrival, you can begin making small changes to your pet’s routine that will prepare them for when the baby is home.

One of the most important ways to prepare is by rectifying any behavioral issues such as jumping or barking. Taking your pet to obedience school or training them to stop behaviors that could upset the baby will teach them the skills they’ll need to interact safely with the new family member. 

You can also begin to introduce your pet to the baby’s room and any items such as a stroller or cot to help them familiarise themselves with all items associated with a new baby. 

Allow your dog to smell products such as baby lotion and get used to the new scents that will become commonplace in a few month’s time. For cat owners, identifying areas that are “off-limits” such as the baby’s changing table will also help to deter them from jumping up on or using these areas when the baby is home.

Introducing a baby to pet

One of the best ways to introduce your pet to your newborn is by first bringing home baby blankets from the hospital prior to your arrival. That way, your dog or cat can get used to the scent of the baby in the home.

Once you do bring the baby home, it’s important to greet your pet straight away and make it known that you’ve missed them. This will help soothe any feelings of fear, isolation, or jealousy in your pet. 

Ensure that you have a helper with you to supervise your pet as you sit down with the baby. When your pet has calmed down, you can have your helper bring them to you and the baby. Allow your pet to inspect the baby through sniffing and soft nuzzling and be sure to reward positive behavior. 

Adjusting to your new routine 

This new household dynamic can take some getting used to, especially for your pet. It’s important to look out for any signs of distress that your pet may give off such as whimpering, excessive barking, or growling. 

If this occurs, it’s important to take the baby out of the room and away from the dog. Be careful not to punish the dog. If you do, your dog will associate the baby with negativity and won’t learn to positively adjust. It can take up to nine months for a pet to fully adjust to a new member of a household. In this time, be sure to exercise the following to maintain a peaceful routine:

  • Always supervise your pet around the baby/children. 
  • Ensure quality time with your pet.
  • Get your pet used to being around the baby. Encourage curious sniffing and gentle touch.
  • Reward positive interactions (nuzzling, licking, snuggling with you and baby, etc.) with a treat or cuddles. 
  • Help your pet associate the baby with positive experiences.
  • Consult your vet for pet care advice or tips if you notice signs of continued aggression toward the baby.

The key to a safe and happy way to introduce your pet to a new baby is lots of care and attention. Allow your pet to explore these new sights and smells at its own pace, and avoid any forced interactions between pet and baby. 

Rewarding your pet with praise and healthy homemade treats whenever it demonstrates good behaviors around the baby is the easiest way to maintain a positive relationship between both. Never leave your baby alone with your pet and always maintain supervision when both are in the same space. 

Remember, the movements and sounds of a newborn can be alarming to your pet which may cause them to act in a defensive or fearful way. With time, your pet will become used to this new addition to the family and, as the baby grows, will appreciate having a new playmate! 

Education

6 Ways To Save On Back To School Costs

6 Ways To Save On Back To School Costs
Image Credit: Unsplash

School fees, school uniforms, school bags, sporting gear, school books. stationery, laptops, lunches, and transport. These days, the cost of sending your kids back to school every year can really add up. But with a bit of planning and a little foresight, it is possible to make sure your kids have everything they need for the school year ahead and without breaking the bank in the process.

With that in mind, here are a few simple ideas to help you stay on top of the costs that are normally associated with sending your kids back to school. Here are 6 simple ways you can save on back to school costs.

1. Spread out the costs

One tip is to only buy their things as they need them. For example, only buy those uniform items that your child will need for the first term.

By putting off buying the warmer items they’ll need for the winter months until the season actually changes, you won’t be hit with a big upfront expense and will have time to save for what’s needed further down the track.

Similarly, don’t buy all of the stationery items on their lists at the same time. Find out from the school when they’ll need the various books and supplies and if some aren’t required until later in the year, wait until then to purchase them.

2. Buy second hand

There’s nothing wrong with buying second hand. Used items have often only been worn for one season or used for one term and the difference in price between new and used can be quite substantial. 

Most school uniform suppliers sell second-hand uniforms, as well as new and second-hand bookshops, often have second-hand curriculum-based school books and stationery at greatly reduced prices.

Second-hand laptops and tablets can also be purchased online for much less than new and some schools even have programs where you can purchase new computers through the school at discounted rates. You could also consider getting a low-interest personal loan and paying for your kids’ technology in easy installments.

3. Buy wisely

Rather than buying items when you need them, look out for sales and clearances throughout the year and try to buy the same items at discounted prices. Similarly, if you’re buying stationery supplies, big suppliers like Office Depot will often have rewards programs or coupons to take advantage of. 

And when you buy, look for value, Good quality school wear will last a lot longer than the cheap stuff, so look for sales where quality and value come together.   

4. Label everything

Over the course of the school year, the lost property office usually fills up with a wide range of items that kids have lost or misplaced. And if you struggled to be able to afford these items in the first place, you certainly can’t afford to be paying for them twice.

So label every single thing that belongs to your child, from their uniforms to their sporting gear and laptops. Using one of those permanent markers will help to ensure that if anything of theirs is lost, it will eventually find its way back to its owner.

5. Have a budget

The key to saving is to have a budget and stick to it. Work out at the beginning of the year what your kids are likely to need for school and then use the old envelope system to put a little money aside for each item every week.

Be sure to account for every likely expense and make sure you have a miscellaneous envelope to cover unexpected costs such as excursions or school camps. 

6. Ask for help

If you’re struggling to meet all your kids’ back to school expenses, don’t be afraid to ask for help. There’s lots of assistance available and it’s just a matter of knowing where to look:

  • Get help with transport costs: If your child catches the bus or the train to school every day, student concession cards are available in most states.
  • Get help from the government: Federal assistance is available through Services Australia for children’s education and health care. Each state government also offers financial assistance to help with education costs.
  • Get help from your school: if you’re struggling to meet school costs, talk to the principal, as most schools have financial assistance programs for families.

The cost of public primary school education has been estimated at around $23,000. A survey by the Australian Scholarships Group (ASG) also found that in urban areas you can expect to pay around $4,455 a year for public secondary education and up to $30,000 in a private school. That’s a lot of money for families to come up with, especially if there are several children to be educated.

It’s hard to do much about rising school fees, other than shopping around for the lowest. But it is possible to reduce the burden of back-to-school expenses and putting these 6 tips into practice will hopefully allow you to do just that.

Education, Toy Reviews

Montessori Toys That Will Grow With Your Child

Maria Montessori developed the Montessori educational philosophy in 1897. This philosophy emphasizes hands-on age-appropriate activities for your child to nurture their physical, emotional, social, and cognitive development.

And although this child-focused educational technique was meant for classroom settings,  it’s now possible to introduce it to your toddler or baby through play. And the best way to do this is by buying your little one a few Montessori-inspired toys.

Montessori Toys That Will Grow With Your Child
Photo by Paige Cody on Unsplash

What sets a Montessori toy apart from other toys?

You may be wondering what you need to look out for to know that a toy is Montessori friendly. Well, here are a few pointers that will help you know what to look out for when buying a Montessori toy.

  • Toys made from natural materials – Maria Montessori emphasized using natural classroom materials that a child can touch, explore, and connect with. Thus, toys made from natural materials such as ceramic, metal, cotton, wood, and wool are the best. These materials are also safe for your child, and their different textures help define your child’s senses.
  • Purpose-driven and realistic toys – The Montessori philosophy emphasizes the use of realistic toys that are purpose-driven. The toys should be a representation of something real. For instance, if you were to choose between a unicorn and a rhino figurine, you should go for the rhino figurine. Further, the toy should allow your child to engage in meaningful play.
  • Simple but engaging toys – Toys that are free of distractions are the best. Think toys with no bells, batteries, or whistles. The toy should be passive, encouraging your child to manipulate it to make a sound. They should also be simple but encourage your little one to explore and engage in self-directed creative play
  • Toys that hone a skill – Montessori toys should teach your little one a skill or build on one. This helps create a good foundation for advanced learning in your child’s later years. A good example is a shape puzzle that teaches your little one concentration or shape recognition.

Now that you know what to look for when buying Montessori toys let’s look at a few amazing Montessori-inspired toys you can get for your child.

Grabbing toy for babies who are starting to reach for things 

  1.  Manhattan toy Skwish natural rattle

This rattle and teether toy is perfect for your little one who is yearning for something to hold and touch. The toy is lightweight, making it ideal for tiny hands to grab, plus its unique shape makes it easy to reach. Besides, it produces a gentle rattling sound that allows your little one to explore sounds and understand cause and effect. 

The fact that it’s made from wood with a smooth and baby-safe water-based acrylic finish makes it safe for your little one who is teething. This is also a toy that won’t break when banged as it’s made from quality and durable wooden material.

Rattling roller for crawling babies

  1. PlanToys wooden rainbow baby roller with sound

Is your little one just starting to crawl? Then, it would be best if you got them a toy that encourages their gross motor skills. 

This wooden rainbow baby roller from PlanToys is perfect for tiny hands to pick up, plus it’s beautiful when it rolls, keeping your little one interested. 

Moreover, this toy has a rattling sound that ensures your baby doesn’t give up crawling even when the roller rolls away. The wood sound is soothing and not distractive. 

The rainbow colors further stimulate your baby’s sight, and since this product is made from quality chemical-free rubber wooden material, you can rest easy knowing it’s safe and it will serve many generations. 

A memory toy

  1. Montessori and Waldorf Inspired Sea Life Matching and Memory Game – 18 Piece Set

This matching sea life matching and memory game from Playskills Toys is perfect if you want to encourage your child to concentrate or focus on a task. 

This game also improves your child’s short-term memory and nurtures their creativity. Since this memory game is based on linking two related images, your child’s visual discrimination will also improve.

The 18 piece set of sea animal cards are made from non-toxic wood, so you don’t have to worry about your child getting sick after putting one or two cards in their mouth.

Letter writing toy

  1. Montessori Safari Animals 

These wooden safari animal figurines keep in line with the Montessori principle of giving your child lifelike playthings to spark their creativity and interest. 

With a realistic-looking lion or giraffe, you allow your child to experience what a real lion looks like before visiting the zoo. It also becomes easy to name all the animal body parts if you’re homeschooling. Besides, since your child is also supposed to match the figurines with similar-looking flashcards, they learn to concentrate, which improves their memory.

This sturdy set of safari animals and matching flashcards is made from natural wood with a non-toxic child-safe paint finish. It’s best suited for children who are age three and up.

Final thoughts

In closing, this isn’t a comprehensive list of all the Montessori toys available in the market. But these five toys and games are some of our highly recommended Montessori-friendly ones.  Besides, they are suitable for different age groups, making them ideal if you have children of different ages in your home. Get your child one of these toys, and we can bet they will fall in love with it.

Healthy Living, Pets Products

Springtime Health Hazards Your Dog Needs To Avoid

For most of us, spring is our favorite season. We can’t get enough of the warm days, spending time in the garden, not to mention the barbecues. But for your dog, the spring season poses many hazards. To help keep your four-legged friend safe, healthy and happy, here are ten things to look out for and your dog needs to avoid as you enjoy this year’s warmer season.

Springtime Health Hazards Your Dog Needs To Avoid
Photo by Joe Caione on Unsplash
  • Holiday treats

Easter and Passover are some of the holidays we celebrate during spring. You may be tempted to give your dog a slice of ham, a shank bone or other human foods during such celebrations – especially if you have lots of leftovers. But unknown to many pet owners, ham, among other fatty meat and cooked bones are all harmful to your furbaby.

Additionally, foods that contain grapes, raisins or sultanas can lead to kidney failure in your dog. You should also be cautious of Easter treats such as candies, chocolate eggs or anything with dark chocolate. Chocolate is fatal to your pup. So is xylitol – an artificial sweetener found in gum which can cause seizure and death.

  • Allergies

Seasonal allergies are common to dogs. Some of the common triggers of such allergies during the spring season include:

  • Pollen
  • Grass
  • Dust
  • Mould
  • Plants

You may notice your dog has a skin itch, runny eyes, inflamed skin, hair loss, ear problems, sneezing or sniffling due to a springtime allergy. Itchiness is also a sign of food allergies in dogs, so make sure to take your pooch to the veterinarian if he or she exhibits any of these symptoms so you can get to the root of the problem. 

  • Heatstroke

Warm weather means more time spent outdoors or in the garden. Make sure your dog doesn’t suffer from heatstroke by giving him or her plenty of water and ensuring rest in shady spots when outdoors. Even animals who spend most of their time indoors may be overexposed to heat and UV rays. This can be a concern to animals who love to sleep by the window. Overexposure to UV rays can also cause skin cancer, so ensure you keep your pet safe from too much exposure to sunlight.

Moreover, don’t be tempted to leave your dog in the car at any time as the car can heat quickly which can lead to serious health issues.

  • Spring flowers

Cats and dogs spend a lot of time in the garden during spring. Watch out for certain spring flowers that may be poisonous to your pet. Some of these flowers include:

  • Lilies which are poisonous to both dogs and cats
  • Azaleas which are toxic to dogs and cats
  • Daffodils especially the bulbs have lycorine which is poisonous to your pet
  • Sango palms which cause liver failure and death if ingested by your pet
  • Tulips that have most of their toxin in the bulbs
  • Rhododendrons
  • Begonias which can cause burning and irritation of the mouth

Dogs that ingest any of these poisonous flowers may develop drooling, diarrhoea or vomiting signs immediately or a few minutes after ingestion. Take your pet to the vet if you notice these symptoms or if you’re worried that your dog may have ingested any of the named flowers.

dog safety
Photo by Pope Moysuh on Unsplash
  • Wild animals

During spring, many of the wild animals that were hibernating come out to enjoy some warmth. If you need to take a walk with your dog, ensure he or she is always on a safe leash or harness. 

Furthermore, don’t leave your pooch outside unmonitored even if you live in urban areas as he may wander off. Some of the wild animals you need to be on the lookout for include:

  • Hawks
  • Foxes
  • Coyote
  • Venomous snakes
  • Bugs
  • Cleaning chemicals

If you intend to do spring cleaning this season, be careful not to expose your dog to harmful chemicals such as chlorine, bleach, and ammonia. Such chemicals, if ingested by your pup, can cause stomach problems. 

Ensure you keep the cleaning supplies in a separate room where your pet can’t access them. You also need to dispose of all the trash in a timely manner.

  • Weekend warriors injuries

Your dog may not have had a huge amount of outdoor exercise during the colder months.  During spring season ensure you don’t subject him to too much exercise and outdoor activities at once, as this can result in weekend warrior injuries! Reintroduce your dog to his outdoor activities gradually until he or she gets used to a high level of activity and can handle it.

  • Open windows

Open windows bring in fresh warm air during this season. However, ensure that your high-up windows have secure screens to protect your pet from a fatal fall. Open windows also present an exit opportunity for your pup. Thus, ensure that your pet has an identification tag just in case he chooses to use your unscreened window to get away and gets lost.

dogs outside safety
Photo by bradley pisney on Unsplash
  • Insect bites and stings

Pets are also susceptible to insect bites and stings during spring as they may be outdoors more often. Besides, insects and other bugs are all over during this season. If you’ve got a bad flea problem, then you’ll want to know what kills fleas on dogs instantly. In this case, you’ll need a flea and tick preventative that kills adult fleas, kills flea eggs and stunts the growth of the larvae and pupae stage fleas.

Insect bites and stings can be fatal to your dog as they can cause anaphylactic shock. If you suspect your pet has an insect sting or bite, take them to the vet immediately.

  • Fertilizers and insecticides

Spring is a great time to do some gardening. However, fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides can prove harmful to your pet.  Some of these fertilizers have coffee grounds, cocoa shell, or snail and slug pellets which are all toxic to your pet if accidentally ingested. If you notice your dog has muscle spasms, incoordination, twitching, seizures and tremors, they may have ingested a harmful chemical, and you will need to take them to the vet immediately.