Fitting in Fitness

Becoming a parent changes your entire life. Obviously, you have a brand-new, little person (or more!) to love and cherish. You learn quickly that things you used to take for granted like sleeping all night and traveling without a lot of extra gear are things of the past. Another thing most new parents learn is that it’s harder than ever to stay in shape. While you know that being fit actually gives you more energy to meet the new demands on your time, finding the time to get and stay that way can seem like an impossible dream. Don’t let your fitness fall to the wayside. Get creative and figure out what works best for you.


If you have a new baby or multiple small children, getting to the gym can be as much of a workout as the one you have planned in the weight room. If a child is sick or especially grumpy, you may end up skipping your workout altogether. Many families opt to bring the gym home instead. Spend time researching the best home treadmills for your and your partner’s fitness goals. Vow not to use the treadmill as a makeshift clothing depository. Consider adding free weights and some yoga to round out your dailty routine.


Try to find two daily times where a workout might be possible. Many people prefer to get up early and workout before the rest of the family is up and moving. Others prefer to workout once the kids have gone to bed for the night.  Still others use daily nap time as their chance to boost their endorphins and get their blood pumping. Pick two times so if your first choice is interrupted for some reason, you have a Plan B in place.  Stick with it! Once you’ve been following your new routine for a few weeks, you’ll be reluctant to give it up. Not only is getting and staying fit important for you, think of the great example you’ll be setting for your children.


Real Rooms for Real Kids

Parents differ on many, many subjects when it comes to kids. However, if you ask them about the state of their children’s bedrooms, most will heave a sigh and say, “It’s a disaster.” The problem is universal. It is not tied to size, expense or even supernaturally messy children as much as it is often the result of poor design. Bedroom design for kids requires three things: 1) The ability to think like a kid. 2) The ability to put down that picture of a perfect child’s bedroom in the fancy catalog and live in the real world. 3) The ability to do what works for the space you have now – not the space you wish you had.


  • Make a Five Year Plan
    • It’s nice to plan a dream nursery but choose your furniture wisely. Can a dresser double up as a changing table? Can the crib convert to a toddler bed? A twin bed? When planning your nursery envision how the pieces you are choosing can be used over the next 5-10 years. For example, you may love the look of a tall dresser for a baby’s nursery. If you expect to teach your five-year-old to put away his own laundry, that tall dresser is going to be a problem.


  • A Place for Everything
    • Most of us want our kids to take care of their possessions and to keep their rooms fairly neat. Get down on the floor and walk around the floor on your knees. Can your child reach the bar in his closet? Can he reach the things on his bookshelf without climbing? Are their easily identifiable bins for things like building blocks, doll accessories, toy cars, etc.? If not, rethink how your child’s room is organized. It has to make sense and be accessible to him if you want him to keep it neat. Use space under the bed for storage bins. Lower the closet bar so he can reach his own clothing. String a clothesline for art projects. Look at the world from your child’s level and you’ll see all kinds of possibilities.


  • Conquer clutter
    • Clutter is a fact with children. Pick two times a year to spend a morning helping your child declutter their bedroom. It’s especially useful to do this before big holidays and birthdays. Go through everything in the room – start on the floor and work up. Decide what stays, what gets donated and what is trash. If you develop this habit and stick to it, you’ll find it much easier to keep chaos under control.


A bedroom design for kids can be pleasing to you and functional for them with a bit of thought and planning.


Who’s Minding the Baby?

As a parent, you are well aware that nothing can replace your own eyes and ears. You are the best baby monitor for your child. However, having a new baby does not mean that the rest of your other responsibilities disappear. You will need your sleep more than ever. Getting regular showers is nice as well. For these and other reasons, most parents choose to use a baby monitor to act as their eyes and ears (and even voice).  With over 1900 choice on Amazon alone, though, it is hard to know how to choose the right monitor.


Narrow your choices down. Decide what features are ‘musts’ and which are ‘nice.’ Many of today’s monitors have video options with cameras that can be moved remotely. There are also significantly less expensive audio monitors. Is it important to you that you can see your sleeping baby? If so, the video feature is going to be a ‘must’ for you. With the video monitors there are systems that allow you to use your phone as a viewing device or a separate monitor. There are even monitors that check the temperature of the baby’s room.


If you are comfortable simply being able to hear your child when he cries, consider the less high-tech audio monitor. Many of these monitors come with a parent control that gives you the option of “real” sound, a vibrate alert and a flashing light.


Other options to consider when choosing a baby monitor include: wireless versions, monitors with a frequency over 900 MHz (to avoid interference), a prominent low battery light and, on video monitors, an option to dim the screen at night.  Once you have the monitor, spend some time practicing using it before the baby arrives – use it on the dog or on your goldfish. You’ll be glad you practiced when the monitor alerts you in the middle of the night – you won’t waste time fumbling with dials and switches.


A baby monitor is not a substitute for you or other adult supervision. It will, however, give you peace of mind when you have to leave your sleeping baby upstairs while you work or rest in another part of the house. Having a reliable monitor at your side will allow you to focus on the task at hand while your baby naps.