7 daily ways to help your kids unwind—no screen time necessary

3. Make it a family event—you need this, too!

7 daily ways to help your kids unwind—no screen time necessary

There are a few times a day when my children are like small tornadoes circling throughout the house. It never fails that those times are usually after school, before nap time and before bedtime… Especially before bedtime. I know that it’s perfectly healthy for kids to be busy, but it’s also really important that I give them enough time in the day to unwind and relax.

Not only is this beneficial for their growing minds and bodies, but it also helps them lean the joy of getting lost in a good book, coloring their little hearts away or engaging in imaginative play. So, at least for these periods of time, screens are off-limits.


Here are a few screen-free ways you can help your little one unwind:

Free play: You may not think of play time as “unwinding,” but it is an essential way for kids to take their minds off life—and is quite important to their ever-growing little minds. I always make sure our afternoons have plenty of time when the kids can just be kids.

Get lost in creative work: Whether it’s in coloring, crafting or just in their imaginations, letting kids drift off to a state where time disappears is a wonderful way to unwind. (Especially if they felt scored for everything during the school day.) I love peeking over the top of our playroom steps and seeing my 4-year-old in his own little world.

Make it a family event: One of the best ways to help little ones unwind is to unwind with them. After dinner, I like to play a game with my oldest, take a walk around the neighborhood or throw a ball back and forth in the backyard. It helps him burn off the last bit of the day’s energy and helps me to settle down for the night, too.

Extend the bedtime routine: Bedtime can be a real challenge around here. It never fails that my sweet boys seem to catch their second winds about 10 minutes before it’s lights out. Setting a routine has been a lifesaver in those hours before it’s time to call it a night—and I like to extend it when we really need some time to wind down. We do the three B’s around here: A nice warm bath, followed by their favorite book and then bed.

Play some calming music: I find that playing soothing music during quiet time helps both of my children. Even my older son still loves a good rock-a-bye baby rendition.

Do some meditation: A few simple breathing techniques work wonders for children! I will often have mine lay down and ask them to listen to themselves breathe. A few giggles usually let loose, but after a few minutes they are relaxed and calm. I’m often amazed by how well this works!

Give them light massages: Sometimes it’s tough to get those little babes down for the night, but one things that has really helped my 9-month-old is a light massage with a lavender-based lotion. Babies always seem to get excited once they get out of the bathtub and a light, warm rub gives their little bodies a calming sensation.

Giving our little ones opportunities to unwind is so important for their bodies and minds. Balance is key with kids—and encouraging these techniques can help make those difficult hours of the day easier on them and you.

These are the best bath time products you can get for under $20

These budget-friendly products really make a splash.

With babies and toddlers, bath time is about so much more than washing off: It's an opportunity for fun, sensory play and sweet bonding moments—with the added benefit of a cuddly, clean baby afterward.

Because bathing your baby is part business, part playtime, you're going to want products that can help with both of those activities. After countless bath times, here are the products that our editors think really make a splash. (Better yet, each item is less than $20!)

Comforts Bath Wash & Shampoo

Comforts Baby Wash & Shampoo

Made with oat extract, this bath wash and shampoo combo is designed to leave delicate skin cleansed and nourished. You and your baby will both appreciate the tear-free formula—so you can really focus on the bath time fun.

Munckin Soft Spot Bath Mat

Munchkin slip mat

When your little one is splish-splashing in the bath, help keep them from also sliding around with a soft, anti-slip bath mat. With strong suction cups to keep it in place and extra cushion to make bath time even more comfortable for your little one, this is an essential in our books.

Comforts Baby Lotion

Comforts baby lotion

For most of us, the bath time ritual continues when your baby is out of the tub when you want to moisturize their freshly cleaned skin. We look for lotions that are hypoallergenic, nourishing and designed to protect their skin.

The First Years Stack Up Cups

First year stack cups

When it comes to bath toys, nothing beats the classic set of stackable cups: Sort them by size, practice pouring water, pile them high—your little one will have fun with these every single bath time.

Comforts Baby Oil

Comforts baby oil

For dry skin that needs a little extra TLC, our team loves Comforts' fast-absorbing baby oil aloe vera and vitamin E. Pro tip: When applied right after drying off your baby, the absorption is even more effective.

KidCo Bath Toy Organizer

KidCo Bath Organizer

Between bathing supplies, wash rags, toys and more, the tub sure can get crowded in a hurry. We like that this organizer gives your little one space to play and bathe while still keeping everything you need within reach.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

Becoming a mother has been life-changing. It's been hard, tiring, gratifying, beautiful, challenging, scary and a thousand other things that only a parent would ever understand.

It is these life-changing experiences that have inspired me to draw my everyday life as a stay at home mom. Whether it's the mundane tasks like doing laundry or the exciting moments of James', my baby boy's, first steps, I want to put it down on paper so that I can better cherish these fleeting moments that are often overlooked.

Being a stay-at-home-mom can be incredibly lonely. I like to think that by drawing life's simple moments, I can connect with other mothers and help them feel less alone. By doing this, I feel less alone, too. It's a win-win situation and I have been able to connect with many lovely parents and fellow parent-illustrators through my Instagram account.

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