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what to give to a no-gift party

As a parent, you will probably run into a no-gift party at some point and wonder "should I bring gifts or not?" On one hand, you want to show that you care for the child, but you also don't want to embarrass other parents who come empty-handed or make the host feel uncomfortable.

Here are 10 things to do when your child is invited to a no-gift party:

1. Consider experience gifts

One of the reasons that "no gift" parties become a trend is that there's not enough space for more toys. In that case, talk with the host and ask if it's okay to give a theme park pass or a museum ticket, which doesn't take up any room while giving the child an experience to remember.

2. Bring homemade desserts

Proud of your baking skills? You can offer to bake some desserts for the birthday party, which also takes some pressure off the host who's preparing everything. If you're afraid that you're not an amazing chef, fruit and veggie trays would work too.

3. Offer a gift card

Though some may think that giving a gift card shows a lack of thoughtfulness, it's probably what the host needs at that moment, especially new parents. If you want to make sure this doesn't go to another toy that takes space, you can buy the birthday child a gift card to a local restaurant or dessert place.

4. Be a helper

Another way to show your respect to the hosts is to help them set up the party or clean up the venue. Ask which one they prefer and be helpful. Throwing a party can be stressful for everyone, so it'd be great if somebody else is willing to share some of the responsibilities.

5. Donate to a charity

This is also a popular option for the host, who can send out email invitations that allow the guests to donate money to a charity. If you are not given this choice, you can donate to a charity in the birthday child's name.

6. Create a wishing tree

To create a wishing tree, you need to get a bunch of tags and write down a favorite memory or a wish for the birthday child on each of them. Then use a string to connect them and coil the whole thing around a twig. You can put the twig in a vase if you want to. Bring the wishing tree to the birthday party and see how they react to this surprise. It will surely make the birthday child feel loved.

7. Bring a card or write a letter

Bring a cool birthday card or write a letter to the birthday child can be a heartwarming surprise. There are many creative birthday cards on Amazon, such as this one that pops up like a bicycle. Other popular options include cards with the Chinese dragon, rose or cake pop-up. If your little one is close to the birthday child, let them write a letter about their friendship.

8. Do a book exchange

When two bookworms are friends, they'd love to share their favorite books. Ask your child to pick out what they would like the birthday child to read and bring it to the party. Since it's a book exchange, let the birthday child reciprocate. That way, both of them go home with something new and exciting.

9. Suggest a fiver party

Throwing a fiver party means that the host asks all the guests to buy a special gift for the birthday child together instead of giving separate gifts. If you are close enough to the hosts, you can talk to them about doing a fiver party.

10. Make crafts

DIY a craft for the birthday child would be something that the host appreciates. It can be a bracelet, an ornament for them to decorate their bedroom or a face mask. You can even use pictures of the two friends together to create something unique with your little ones.

This article was originally published on Partify and it has been republished with permission from the author.

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    Tips parents need to know about poor air quality and caring for kids with asthma

    There are steps parents can take to keep their children as healthy as possible.

    When wildfires struck the West Coast in September 2020, there was a lot for parents to worry about. For parents of children with asthma, though, the danger could be even greater. "There are more than 400 toxins that are present in wildfire smoke. That can activate the immune system in ways that aren't helpful by both causing an inflammatory response and distracting the immune system from fighting infection," says Amy Oro, MD, a pediatrician at Stanford Children's Health. "When smoke enters into the lungs, it causes irritation and muscle spasms of the smooth muscle that is around the small breathing tubes in the lungs. This can lead to difficulty with breathing and wheezing. It's really difficult on the lungs."

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    Here are tips parents need to know about how to deal with poor air quality when your child has asthma.

    Minimize smoke exposure.

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    Avoid letting your child play outside or overly exert themselves in open air.

    "Unfortunately, cloth masks don't do very much [to protect you from the smoke pollution]," Oro says. "You really need an N95 mask, and most of those have been allocated toward essential workers." To keep at-risk children safer, Oro recommends avoiding brisk exercise outdoors. Instead, set up an indoor obstacle course or challenge your family to jumping jacks periodically to keep everyone moving safely.

    Know the difference between smoke exposure and COVID-19.

    "COVID-19 can have a lot of the same symptoms—dry cough, sore throat, shortness of breath and chest pain could overlap. But what COVID and other viruses generally cause are fever, chills, vomiting, diarrhea and body aches. Those would tell you it's not just smoke exposure," Oro says. When a child has been exposed to smoke, they often complain of a "scrape" in their throat, burning eyes, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain or wheezing. If the child has asthma, parents should watch for a flare of symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing or a tight sensation in their chest.

    Unfortunately, not much is known about long-term exposure to wildfire smoke on a healthy or compromised immune system, but elevated levels of air pollution have been associated with increased COVID-19 rates. That's because whenever there's an issue with your immune system, it distracts your immune system from fighting infections and you have a harder time fighting off viruses. Limiting your exposure to wildfire smoke is your best bet to keep immune systems strong.

    Have a plan in place if you think your child is suffering from smoke exposure.

    Whatever type of medication your child takes for asthma, make sure you have it on-hand and that your child is keeping up with regular doses. Contact your child's pediatrician, especially if your area has a hazardous air quality—they may want to adjust your child's medication schedule or dosage to prevent an attack. Oro also recommends that, if your child has asthma, it might be helpful to have a stethoscope or even a pulse oximeter at home to help diagnose issues with your pediatrician through telehealth.

    Most importantly, don't panic.

    In some cases, social distancing and distance learning due to COVID may be helping to keep sensitive groups like children with asthma safer. Oro says wildfires in past years have generally resulted in more ER visits for children, but the most recent fires haven't seen the same results. "A lot of what we've seen is that the smoke really adversely affects adults, especially older adults over 65," Oro says. "Children tend to be really resilient."

    This article was sponsored by Stanford Children's Health. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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