Let's not forget the little ones as we prep the older kids for preschool. Younger kids need to feel special (or at least not neglected) during this hectic time of year. I've got a few ideas to keep baby happy and healthy.
The Baby File: All the Lists, Forms, and Practical Information You Need Before--and After--Baby's Arrival is just the thing. ($14.36) Worrying about permission slips, homework and playdates can take up a lot of brain space. To keep things in check, I'm using this book to keep my little girl on track. The Baby File takes you from conception through solid foods--with all your questions answered and places to jot down feeding schedules, naps and so much more. I asked Amanda Dobbins, the mastermind behind The Baby File to send me some helpful ideas to make baby's life more smiles than screams:
1. If you pack lunches at night, it's a great time to also re-stock baby's diaper bag with everything he needs including a teething biscuit or satchel of cheerios. Chances are, baby is going along for the ride quite a bit as the rest of the family gets back in school mode.
2. If you have a bunch of baby-related to-dos such as making a doctor's appointment, registering for a music class, updating health forms with daycare, etc, schedule a chunk of time, maybe an hour, when you can devote yourself to these tasks and get it all wrapped up for the month. That way, you won't have a nagging feeling that you're forgetting something -- and you won't be.
3. Back-to-school is a hectic time. Your attention will be divided and your baby loves your attention. If you can, take 15 minutes a day that are just for you and baby. In 15 minutes you can read a few board books, play a favorite game (peek-a-boo?), or even give a relaxed bath where you are focused completely on your little one. This means no big kids, no answering the phone, no checking email. You may enjoy hitting the pause button on a hectic day even more than your baby will.
I'm also popping some Neat Solutions Biodegradable/Disposable Stick-on Placemat ($8.99) for meals on the go. I plan to spend some one-on-one time with my baby while the bigger girl is off to school. I can set baby up with some Cheerios on a clean surface while I enjoy a sandwich and start to teach my littlest one about the art of conversation.