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6 Common Nursery Mistakes

Sage mom advice for what NOT to do in baby's room.

6 Common Nursery Mistakes

When it comes to nursery decor and nursery essentials, it's easy to get lost between what you need and what you want. That Eames chair is so pretty and will do just fine -- I mean, I probably won't even take that long to nurse the baby anyway. ndlet guess what... what looks good in your little one's universe doesn't always equate to essential or practical. I know from experience.

When I was pregnant with baby number 1, I had a love for all things babies and kids -- children toys, clothes, nurseries. So when it came to decorating my little bundle's nursery, I got carried away. So many things that I didn't use, not even once, and that, by the time she actually used her nursery, she had outgrown. And so, in retrospect, I wish I had made the difference between what I actually needed and what was just a cute addition to the room. Luckily, I had the chance to redeem myself, with my second baby's nursery.

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With two years of motherhood under my belt, I used my experience with Indie Rey to consciously picked each and every item for the nursery of her little sister, Sienna. Of course, every baby is different, but better prepared than not, right?

Here are 6 nursery mistakes that I didn't make the second time around.

1. Rushing to decorate her room before she was born. My firstborn, Indie, didn't even used her nursery until she was four or five months -- she slept in our room until then. So really, for the first few months of her life, all we needed were my boobs (for nursing), a nursing pillow, diapers, swaddles and water (lots of water, for me). So if, as the AAP recommends, you choose to room-share for the first few months of your baby's life, don't stress if you need more time to decorate your little one's room.

2. Buying an expensive crib and not protecting it. Guess what... Babies get teeth, and when they get teeth, they bite and chew on everything. And cribs that are made of wood make the perfect teether. With Indie, we had a crib by Oeuf, and she gnawed at it like a little chipmunk. So when I chose Micuna Life crib -- a stylish, minimalist, customizable crib that converts into a toddler bed -- I knew I wanted it for the long haul. And so I got crib protecters that I plan on putting up before Sienna can stand and use it as a teether.

3. Matching the dresser to the crib. There are so many options to choose from, so why limit yourself to a dresser that matches your crib. By mixing it up, you can not only add a little fun to your baby's nursery, but also pick a dresser that will grow with her. The Babyletto Eero was the perfect pick for us: stylish and sophisticated enough that we probably won't have to change it when Sienna grows into a toddler and even early school years. Make sure it's big enough so that you won't end up with crammed drawers. It's best to air it out if you want to organize your clothing in a way that's easy to grab.

4. Getting super-chic, not so comfortable rocking chair. Sometimes you can get so wrapped up in the look of your nursery, you forget you'll be spending hours upon hours in it. And often in your rocking chair. I was tempted to buy a new rocking chair for Sienna's nursery, but this West Elm one was so cozy, I kept it! Plus, there were so many memories made in this chair with Indie Rey that I wanted to keep it for Sienna, too.

5. Going too basic on the baby monitor. If you're not a monitor parent, then this isn't for you. But for us, a baby monitor was really important. I personally want images and wifi so that I can check on baby without having to go in the room (hello me-time and sleep training!) and so that I can also check on her when she's with the babysitter, and I am out running errands. We're trying out the Lollipop Camera, and it's a perfect fit for me to juggle Indie Rey and make sure Sienna is safe while getting her rest in her crib. You can loop it right on the crib to get a close up view - an important feature for the early months of their lives - and mount it to the wall once baby is standing. Plus, it gives you data on your little one's sleep patterns, so it's perfect for those who are wanting to sleep train.

6. A rug that's beautiful but a pain to clean. Two kids mean playtime, stains, spills... As much as you want to keep everything clean, kids live in their own world, and it often comes with inevitable messes. So this time, I chose a Lorena Canals rug, which you can wash in the machine and dried in the dryer -- perfect to clean small and big playtime accidents. to ensure I can clean the rug from any accidents easily.

Head over to www.micunausa.com for 15 percent off any order through 5/13/2018.

Annie is a mama to Indie Rey and two mini Australian shepherds, Maddie and Macaron residing in Austin, Texas. She is the founder of A Little Bundle, started as a subscription baby box turned e-commerce, and a marketing service, Unicorn & Rainbows. Annie loves traveling, online shopping, food delivery and anything gelato related.

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This is how we’re defining success this school year

Hint: It's not related to grades.

In the ever-moving lives of parents and children, opportunities to slow down and reflect on priorities can be hard to come by. But a new school year scheduled to begin in the midst of a global pandemic offers the chance to reflect on how we should all think about measures of success. For both parents and kids, that may mean putting a fresh emphasis on optimism, creativity and curiosity.

Throughout recent decades, "school success" became entangled with "academic achievement," with cases of anxiety among school children dramatically increasing in the past few generations. Then, almost overnight, the American school system was turned on its head in the spring of 2020. As we look ahead to a new school year that will look like no year past, more is being asked of teachers, students and parents, such as acclimating to distance learning, collaborating with peers from afar and aiming to maintain consistency with schooling amidst general instability due to COVID.

Despite the inherent challenges, there is also an overdue opportunity to redefine success during the school year by finding fresh ways to keep students and their parents involved in the learning process.

"I always encourage my son to try at least one difficult thing every school year," says Arushi Garg, parenting blogger and mom of a 4-year-old. "This challenges him but also allows me to remind him to be optimistic! Lots of things in life are hard, and it's important we learn to be positive during difficult times. Fostering a sense of optimism allows kids to push beyond what they thought possible, like biking without training wheels or reading above their grade level."

Here are a few mantras to keep in mind this school year:

Quality learning matters more than quantifying learning

After focusing on standardized measures of academic success for so long, the learning environment this next school year may involve more independent, remote learning. Some parents are considering this an exciting opportunity for their children to assume a bigger role in what they are learning—and parents are also getting on board by supporting their children's education with engaging, positive learning materials like Highlights Magazine.

As a working mom, Garg also appreciates that Highlights Magazine can help engage her son while she's also working. She says, "He sits next to me and solves puzzles in the magazine or practices his writing from the workbook."

Keep an open mind as "school" looks different

Whether children are of preschool age or in the midst of high school, "going to school" is bound to look different this year. Naturally, this may require some adjustment as kids become accustomed to new guidelines. Although many parents may wish to shelter our kids from challenges, others believe optimism can be fostered through adversity when everyone is committed to adapting to new experiences.

"Honestly, I am yet to figure out when I will be comfortable sending [my son] back [to school]," says Garg. In the meantime, she's helping her son remain connected with friends who also read Highlights Magazine by encouraging the kids to talk about what they are learning on video calls.

Follow children's cues about what interests them

For Garg, her biggest hope for this school year is that her son will create "success" for himself by embracing new learning possibilities with positivity.

"Encouraging my son to try new things has given him a chance to prove that he can do anything," she says. "He takes his previous success as an example now and feels he can fail multiple times before he succeeds."

There's no denying that this school year will be far from the norm. But, perhaps, we can create a new, better way of defining our children's success in school because of it.

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

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14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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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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