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Updated: Dec 19, 2019

I love that we’re in a time of accepting and embracing less than perfect. We are now celebrating #parentingfails and able to laugh at ourselves, be more open and honest with our friends and family, and do what’s best for us and our families, even if it’s not what everyone around us may be doing. And this should go for the holidays too!

A fun part of becoming a parent has been reflecting on my own childhood holidays, what made them magical and memorable, and hearing about my husband’s too. In my family we always opened one gift on Christmas Eve after church just before going to bed. Then we’d lay in our beds on Christmas morning watching the clock because weren’t allowed to wake my mom before 7am. I have three siblings so we used to draw names so that we only had to scrounge up enough money to buy one sibling a gift.

And now, as parents, we get to make all of these holiday-defining decisions for our children. What I mean by this is:

What types of gifts are stocking stuffers?

Do stocking stuffers get wrapped?

Do presents from Santa get wrapped?

Do the kids get more presents from Santa or from us?

Do the bigger/nicer/most desired gifts come from us or Santa?

Do we open any gifts on Christmas Eve?

And the biggest one…

How much is too much?

These are the fun little details that you grow up experiencing and assuming that every family does it the same way. For me, of course presents from Santa get wrapped (just in different wrapping paper) and they aren’t set aside separated from all of the other gifts. ALL of the gifts are beautifully arranged under and around the tree all mixed up so you have to search for ones with your name on them (that’s part of the fun!)

So now, we get to decide how our children will remember Christmas. We get to decide if they get a room full of gifts or just a couple. Will all the gifts be opened before 7am on Christmas Day, or will one be saved for that night? This is the special part of being a parent, getting to choose what works best for our family.

Some families have huge Christmases (and maybe birthdays too), and those are the only gifts that are given/received during the year. While other families may do a simpler winter holiday but then give gifts on other holidays (ie. Valentine’s Day, Easter, last day of school, first day of school, half-birthday) or just out of the blue throughout the year.

Talking about gift giving like this is another great way to reinforce the message of acceptance and diversity to our children that, “Families have different beliefs, practices, etc. This is how we do it in our family.”

I’ve heard of different “gift rules or guidelines” and, while some of them sound great and genius to me, I never actually follow any of them. A few I’ve heard of include:

“The Four Gift Rule”: Something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read.

“The Three Gift Rule”: Based on the nativity story and the idea that Jesus received three gifts.

“The Five Sense Rule”: Something they can see, something they can hear/listen to, something they can feel, something they can taste, and something they can smell.

Some families have started focusing more on experience gifts, both to cut down on clutter and also because research tells us that these are the gifts children most remember and that time spent with parents/caregivers does wonders for their development (all of which are true!).

Undivided attention and time with parents/caregivers are particularly special or harder to come by for children with siblings. This means that a solo trip to get ice cream, out to breakfast, bowling or to see a show with just mom and/or dad may be a more exciting gift for a child with siblings than it is for an only child…but, like everything, it depends on the child.

So, as the weeks wind down and the holidays are approaching, I invite you to slow down and focus on what’s best for YOUR family. Don’t focus on the latest craze around town just because it’s the craze, because that may be too overwhelming (large crowd, tons of lights, loud music) for your child. Don’t focus on what your neighbors are doing with their kids, because that could mean staying out later than usual and maybe your child really needs to stick to her bedtime routine every night. Don’t focus on carrying on traditions from your childhood that stress you out. If they don’t bring you joy now, then let them go.

Do focus on what makes you and your children feel joy. Is that watching movies and drinking hot chocolate? Is it walking around the neighborhood to see lights and decorations? Maybe it’s going to the latest craze in town because you all love activity and action. Take a moment to think about HOW you want to spend the holidays, WHAT joyful and festive look like for your family. And whatever you and your family end up doing, just make sure it works for YOU.

Happy Holidays! Be Well.

Summer Jones is an early childhood specialist that provides parents with all the tools necessary to confidently navigate their family journey through personalized counseling. For more information, visit

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If you google “how to bathe my kids,” you’ll see a never-ending number of pages explaining everything about bathing babies. Of course, giving a baby a bath is a lot more complex than bathing a toddler or an older child, but we still want to make sure we’re doing everything right when we bathe our little ones – even when they’re past the baby stage. So, I went out and researched all about bathing children three and up to put together this tubbubble blog post. Hope you enjoy it and learn something new!


We’ve heard so much about bathing kids every day and making it a part of their sleep routine that it’s strange to learn that specialists recommend not bathing small children more often than three times a week. The American Academy of Pediatrics says children between ages 6 and 11 should take 1 or 2 baths a week only.

But, please do give them an extra bath if:

They’re dirty - e.g. after playing in the mud

They went to a pool, sea, river or lake

They’ve gotten sweaty or smell bad

A dermatologist has recommended specific bath times due to a skin treatment


The sebaceous glands in our skin produce a light yellow, oily substance called sebum. That – combined with sweat – creates a thin film on top of the skin called the acid mantle. The acid mantle protects the skin against contamination by bacteria or pollutants and against drying out. It’s important to maintain it, especially for our children whose skin is much thinner and delicate. This is one of the reasons we need to pay attention to the products we use when we wash our kids. We tend to think that lots of lather means we’re getting them clean. But, the lather in most products is produced by strong surfactants like Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS) that penetrate the skin and hair, destroying the acid mantle and creating dryness. The length of the bath can also affect children’s skin. It’s recommended to bathe them between 10 to 20 minutes so kids can enjoy it, get clean, but their skin doesn’t dry out.


There are many factors we need to pay attention to regarding bath water:

Quantity: It seems like very little, but we should only fill the bath tub up to the children’s belly button. This is mostly for safety reasons, but also because that quantity of water is more than enough. We don’t need to waste.

Temperature: bath water shouldn’t be too cold or too hot. The recommendation is 98 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The older the child, the hotter the water can be. But grown-ups should normally not go higher than 104 degrees to avoid circulatory problems. With that in mind, consider that we need to keep it much lower than that for kids. Actually, the biggest risk here is burning their skin. You can try using a thermometer, but don’t trust water thermometers 100 percent because they’re not very precise. Try the water out before letting them in. Elbows are recommended for that. We’d love to see a picture of that, so please take a picture of you trying to measure the water of a half-filled tub with your elbow and share it with us ( – pure contortionism!

Safety: Experts recommend you stay near your kids while in the bathtub until they are eight years old. So, get all that is needed like towels and your tubbubble before bath time begins. Don’t forget you can enjoy that little time while they are bathing for yourself – read a book, surf the internet, write that last work email – but stay near the tub. Also, the water should be let out as soon as bath time is over.


One of the most stressful parts of bathing kids is washing their hair. First, hair does not need to be washed every time they take a bath (thank goodness!). Twice a week or when the hair is dirty/greasy is more than enough.

Second, here are some tips to avoid crying, screaming and “suffering” during your kid’s hair wash:

If the problem is shampoo getting in their eyes - Always use tear free shampoos (don’t forget to choose SLS-free products).

Make funny hair styles and have a small mirror next to the tub to show them.

For older children, ask them to look at the ceiling and use a cup to rinse their hair. You can even put a sticker on the ceiling over the tub for them to look at.

Try making them wear swim goggles. It sounds extreme, but it’s super fun. If washing the back of the head is too difficult, ask them to wear the goggles without the strap and make them “stick” with suction.

If the problem is water getting in their ears (yes, this can be a “thing”), ask them to cover their ears with their fingers while rinsing. Use ear plugs. They may even float on their back making it super easy to rinse the shampoo off. Don’t forget that, depending on what you put in the bath water, you need to rinse the hair and body with fresh water.


Some children go through phases where they don’t want to take baths (or showers). Either they are so happy playing or they really don’t see the point of “losing time” to get clean. To avoid having this problem, make bath time so appealing that they’ll want to jump right into the water.

You can use one – or better – a combination of the following:

Bath toys that can be rotated to avoid them getting bored. Include things that are not bath toys like plastic pots, spoons, old shampoo bottles…

Invite a friend or sibling to up the fun. In the tub, especially for small children, the premise applies that the more, the merrier.

Add tubbubble to make bathing an experience while cleaning and moisturizing.

Hope you enjoyed reading! Next time, I’ll write about natural bath and beauty products – what they are and why it’s important for us to use them, especially for our children. Let us know if you have questions or topics you would like to read about! All products are SLS-free and especially created to be gentle to children’s skin and care for it naturally. tubbubble does not contain dyes. All colors come from gardenia fruit extracts. It does not stain skin, tub or towels. If your children are bathing with tubbubble, you don’t need to use extra soap, rinse them or apply lotion after bathing. That’s not only good for them, but so much less work for you!

Raquel Neumann is the founder of Tubbubble Bath, a provider of all natural bath products for children ages 3 and up. Shop bath salts, bubble volcanos, bath toys, and more at

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The holidays are a magical time and it gets even better when you have a little one at home to experience the beauty of the season through their eyes. But sometimes the holidays can bring anxiety, especially around your child’s sleep schedule. Here are some tips for keeping your holiday sleep on track.

  • Choose activities wisely. For a couple years in a row you may have to sit out of some of your favorite outings and choose to only participate in a couple. While this is a bummer, remember it is temporary.

  • Find times to sleep wherever you can. If your child needs to skip a nap, don’t be afraid of an early bedtime. Early bedtimes are my favorite tip to sneaking in more zzz’s and preventing overtiredness.

  • Get guests involved in your sleep routine. A lot of children have FOMO when it comes to going to sleep when fun is happening in the house. Combat this by asking your family and friends to do story time or come in to say goodnight before lights out.

  • If all else fails, stay calm and do your best. Falling off track happens but what you do after the chaos is most important. Once the holidays are over get right back on track and stay consistent. End any bad habits that were started immediately and don’t look back. You can do this!

Molly Tartaglia is a certified sleep consultant and at Bonne Nuit Baby. She works with exhausted parents around the world to get their kids’ sleep back on track. Reach out for support at or

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