Keeping My Little Ones Healthy, Happy, Calm, and Cool This Summer

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Compensation was provided by Go & Grow by Similac® via Mode Media.

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I’m pretty sure my babies belong in Alaska. Or, maybe, Maine. Better yet, somewhere that’s just really temperate and mild with constant breezes and minimal moisture. One thing is for sure: They do not belong in the blazing heat and harrowing humidity. Alas, we live in the suburbs of New York City, and the summer months are brutal, balmy, clammy, sweaty, and sticky.

Don’t get me wrong—I looooove the beach, the pool, the sun, and the sand. I looooove carnivals, picnics, playgrounds, and amusement parks. I loooooveall things summer! I just don’t looooove how my 18-month-old can’t go for a car ride without sweating through her outfit, her onesie, and her size-four diaper. Like, literally, her hair is plastered to her head and face by the end of 10-minute errand—and that’s with the air-conditioner running at full blast.

Meanwhile, my three-year-old son gets flushed and flustered after mere minutes of activity in the heat. They’re just not made for the unrelenting sun. So I’ve learned that I have to be very prepared and careful when I bring my “indoor babies” out among the natural elements. I’ve discovered that the key to keeping my little ones calm, cool, and collected (emphasis on cool!) this summer is keeping them healthy, happy, and entertained.

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Splish-Splash Water Play
We’re lucky to have a pool in our backyard, but I’ve got to be honest: We really only use it on weekends. It’s too difficult and stressful for me to give both kids adequate attention when I’m by myself. So I give my kids daily “summer baths” instead. Around 4 PM every day, when there’s a slight breeze in the air and my littles are just hitting that dreaded witching hour, I fill a baby pool up with coolish water and let them soak in their suits. They splash around and play with water toys for a few minutes before I add bubble bath. They have so much fun; they barely realize they’re getting clean! Win-win.

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Hydration, Hydration, Hydration
I know, I know… Hydration—it’s no major revelation. But I often find that I need to remind myself to slow down and drink up. So I have to be even more vigilant about my toddlers when they’re busy playing outside. I admit that convincing my young kids to drink water (instead of juice or milk or chocolate milk!) can be a bit of a challenge, but I’ve found ways to “trick” them into wanting water. First, I use special “fun” sippy cups exclusively for H2O. I also make a big carafe of fruit-infused water—this keeps them (and me!) coming back for more.

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Healthy, Fresh Foods
Little Miss P is a picky eater—to put it mildly—so she doesn’t make mealtime all that easy for her mama. Still, I’m embracing the summer and allowing her to take charge. She’s eating lots of fresh fruits and veggies—and I can’t complain about that. Plus, she’ll suck up all of the refreshing yogurt she can get her hands on. (And hands in!) She might not go for the entrée we put on the grill, but, as long as she’s healthy and happy and getting what she needs, I’ve stopped stressing. (Besides, who really wants a hearty, heavy meal on a 90-degree day?!)

One way to add key nutrients to a your toddler’s diet is with Go & Grow by Similac® Food Mix-Ins™ for food. These individual packets have a nutritious punch and can be sprinkled, cooked, or baked into just about anything—from oatmeal to pasta to hummus to pancakes to cookies. Each packet of Go & Grow by Similac® Food Mix-Ins™ has 3 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, 13 essential vitamins and minerals, and OptiGRO, Similac’s unique blend of DHA, lutein, and vitamin E. The single servings make them easy to grab on the go; and, better yet, they have no artificial colors or flavors. Plus, they’re non-GMO.

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This recipe calls for spaghetti, a favorite jarred marinara sauce, ricotta cheese, and a sprinkle of parsley. I stirred a packet of Go & Grow by Similac® Mix-Ins™ into a half-cup of marinara, and then slowly added the sauce to a cup of cooked noodles. Next, I mixed in a heaping scoop of ricotta until it was evenly distributed. Finally, I sprinkled on a pinch of parsley—because it never hurts to expose little kids to a little color!

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Comfort First
I love me a cute over-the-top toddler outfit as much as the next mom, but I’ve learned that, during the “dog days” of summer, comfort needs to come first. Breathable fabrics, simple onesies, lightweight tee shirts, cotton bottoms, and easy-breezy one-piece rompers make for a simple summer uniform. Practicality trumps trends on a sweltering day. If my little one is not comfortable in the heat, she will most definitely not be a happy camper.

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Set Expectations—Everything in Balance
I admit that I often have lofty goals. I want to do everything to make the summer fun, exciting, memorable, and epic in the little eyes of my little people. But, the truth is, they’re young and, well, I’m tired.

Yes, we’ll go to a waterpark one day. But the next—you better believe we’ll be sleeping in (ha!) and staying in our pajamas. Sure, we’ll go outside and work up a sweat and run through the sprinklers for an hour. But then we’ll go back inside, put on some Netflix and enjoy the AC. Of course, we’ll eat lots of healthy, fresh meals, but we’ll also indulge in the occasional cone.

It’s all about balance when you’re juggling little kids with big expectations. And I’m learning to be present and enjoy the moment instead of sweating the small stuff. Because there will be plenty of sweat to go around this summer. And my job as Mom is too keep my cool—so my babies will too.

Go & Grow by Similac® Mix-Ins™ for food and Toddler Drinks are secret weapons for adding nutrition to toddler meals!

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