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Mamma Musings

Mamma Musings

Is Your Garden Prepped For The Winter?

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With the arrival of the colder weather, trees’ leaves have already begun to fall from their branches, potted plants have begun to die, and it has become simply too chilly to spend any amount of time in your garden. It’s understandable, though, that you want to preserve your garden for the winter season in order to keep it looking presentable and to reduce the amount of work you have to do when it comes to making your garden look beautiful again come springtime. Get ready for the cold weather by reading these tips.

Mow the lawn and trim the hedges

Lawns and hedges don’t grow nearly as much in the winter as they do in the summer because of the extreme cold. Before the onset of exceptionally cold weather, take advantage of the opportunity to trim your grass and cut your hedges one last time to ensure that your garden remains nice and tidy throughout the winter season. Trimming your hedges back significantly will give you more than enough time before they need to be done again in the spring. Using treatments such as evergreen to treat your lawn can help to keep it in the best condition possible.

Out with the old, in with the new

Plants and trees may have died due to the cold weather, and now is the time to remove them so your garden doesn’t appear untidy in the winter. You should also prepare ahead if you plan to conduct any landscaping work in your yard next year, such as updating your garden furniture or purchasing a new shed, so that you can have a bin hire ready when springtime rolls around. Get rid of the old so you can make room for the new when springtime hits!

Plant evergreen trees

Your garden may look a little sparse in the winter after you remove all of the dead plants, but if you’re entertaining guests, you’ll want to make it look its best. Plant some evergreen plants in your garden to keep it looking good even if the leaves start to fall on other shrubbery.

Accessorise your winter garden

Certain people simply enjoy being outside regardless of the weather, and if you’re one of those people who enjoys being outside in the fresh air, it might be a good idea to invest in some of the following winter accessories to make spending time in your yard that little bit more enjoyable:

  • A clay fire burner for an open fire where everyone can snuggle up and enjoy the conversation.
  • If you don’t want to use a clay fire, consider a patio heater.
  • A gazebo providing weather protection, particularly against the wind and rain.
  • Outdoor fairy lights to add a festive touch.

A small amount of work now will ensure that your garden is ready for winter and will spare you from a lot of work in the spring.

Note: This is a collaborative post 

Mamma Musings

Tips For Going Back To Work After Having Children

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If you have just been on maternity leave, it can be a real struggle heading back into work. You are likely in two minds, with part of you being pleased to get back into doing what you used to do and having adult company, while the other half of you is wondering just how you will cope without your baby by your side all day. It’s important to remember that both of these feelings are completely normal for every parent that is heading back to their job after having children. To help you ease back into it, we have put together some top tips for going back to work after maternity leave.

See if there is any additional training you can do to brush up when you go back 

When you have been out of work for a while you can find that you feel a little rusty. This is why it could be a good idea to see if there is any training you can enrol yourself in to brush up on everything. There are many types of training out there including virtual and on-premises, as well as simulation as a service which is essentially a cloud-based service used for decision-making and training. Speak to your employer and see what they can recommend for you.

Get into a routine at least a week before you go back to work 

When you are staying at home all the time it can be easy to not have much of a morning routine. Once you are heading out to work, it is important that you get a routine in place to help you all settle in. Make sure you try and wake up at the same time that you will need to be up for work and have a trial doing the morning run such as breakfast and getting dressed. If you will be dropping your little one off at nursery or to a relative to look after them, practice how long this will take you and when you will need to be there in order to be on time for work.

Be gentle with yourself

The first few days and even weeks are always going to feel strange, so try not to be too hard on yourself. Give yourself time to get used to the new routine and way you structure your days and if you find it stressful try to remember this is normal. Focus on making the most of the time you are with your family and give yourself some down time when you can relax too – it’s going to be tough getting back into work especially at first!

These are just a few top tips for going back to work after having children. It is always going to be a big step, but soon you will find you get into the swing of things and juggling life just as you used to. Have you recently headed back to work after maternity leave? How did you find it? Do you have any tips for Mums?

Note: This is a collaborative post

Mamma Musings

Helping Your Child Develop their Problem-Solving Skills

In life, we all encounter problems. To raise an independent child, it’s important to develop their problem-solving skills. This can be rather difficult to teach as there is no set way to solve a problem. However, at its crux, problem-solving consists of 6 main areas. Teamwork, research, emotional intelligence, risk management, decision making and creativity. 

We have joined an independent school in Surrey to share tips on how to develop your child’s problem-solving skills. 

Brainstorming

Lateral thinking is the ability to create new solutions by looking at a problem in different ways. This can help your child to overcome problems that are difficult to solve. To exercise this skill, ask your child brainstorming questions. This could be a question like ‘how many jobs require driving and what are they?’. There are very different ways to answer this question, prompting your child to think about all of the possible answers.

Group Sports

Sport is a good way to teach children how to work effectively in a team. Although it might not seem as obvious, team working is vital to problem-solving. It allows you to gain a better understanding of a situation, find help and collaborate with others.

Theorising Outcomes

Forward-thinking is an essential part of problem-solving and to correctly solve a problem we need to consider how suitable the solutions are. This involves an element of risk management and to get your child to practice this you can start with play. What would happen if they were to remove a block from a building they’ve built or if they balance too many things on top of each other? These are all things that you can explore together.

Emotional Intelligence 

Recognising emotion can allow children to understand problems better. By teaching your child what body language means. By knowing that another child is sad, your child can understand why they might not want to play and think of what to do to help.

Note: This is a collaborative post

Mamma Musings

Learning To Love Exercise

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If you want to achieve and maintain good health, exercise has to be a regular part of your schedule. Working out can help you to feel as right as rain by managing your waistline, promoting cardiovascular wellness and so much more, but actually encouraging yourself to get up and get moving is a totally different story. Finding the motivation that you need to learn to love exercise can be tough, and it’s all too easy to give up on your exercise regime to give in to laziness, but you’ll soon begin to feel the effects unless you make a conscious effort to change. Fortunately, figuring out how you can learn to love working out doesn’t have to be as difficult as you might expect, as there are in fact just a few key tips and tricks that you can make the most of to make exercise an enjoyable part of your daily schedule in no time at all. So, if you would like to find out more, then simply read on!

Find A Fun Exercise Routine 

One of the best ways to help yourself to better enjoy exercise is through finding a fun and enjoyable routine that you actually like completing. Forcing yourself to take part in a strenuous activity that you do not receive any kind of satisfaction from is no doubt going to drag your motivation levels down to an all time low, so you must make an effort to source more exciting and engaging activities that match with your unique wants and needs. You can find an aerobic dance class at your local sports centre so that you can throw some shapes to lose a few pounds, or even explore sport based challenges for charity that require regular training to help you meet your goal. There’s no need to try and get through a grueling workout when you could be doing something that you genuinely like, so why not begin your search for your perfect workout routine now? 

Fill Up With The Right Fuel 

Eating very little or consuming nothing but junk food can affect your ability to exercise quite dramatically, as the food that you eat directly converts into the fuel that your mind and body utilizes for energy and strength. This is why it’s absolutely vital that you can fill up with the right fuel that’s rich in a variety of different vitamins and minerals to provide you with everything that you need to smash your workout to the best of your ability. Eating a healthy diet will help you to feel renewed and revitalised, and it can even improve your quality of sleep too. Each of these features contribute towards your ability to exercise properly, as having a belly full of nutritious food and a good night’s rest will feel noticeably better than an interrupted sleep and a fast food burger.

Learning to love exercise has never been such a simple task when you can make the most of the brilliant ideas described above. 

Note: This is a collaborative post

Mamma Musings

What Does It Take To Make Your Home Safe for Your Young Kids?

We all want to be able to create a safe environment for children. And whether you need to upgrade your home or there is a baby on the way, now you have to think about looking at it from your child’s perspective. Young children are naturally curious individuals, so you need to assess your home from specific dangers. There are more children taken to hospital arising from an accident in the home than anywhere else. And there are many ways for us to make a safe home for our children. Here are some of the following. 

How to Prevent Your Children from Finding Hazards

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The reality is that there are so many different hazards in the property. The best thing that you can do first of all is to prevent any potential hazards by addressing what is already around. When it comes to electricity, you need to make sure the wires are hidden behind heavy furniture or concealed, but also now is the perfect opportunity to check the safety of these items. This is especially true if you live in a rented property, and the pandemic has meant that nobody has come out to check these things. You can hire an electrician to conduct an electrical installation condition report (EICR), and the EICR price is fair in comparison to most standards. But it’s also peace of mind knowing that you’ve had someone truly assess the electricity in the property. With regards to other hazards, you need to have plenty of locks, for example, keeping first aid supplies in a locked cupboard, having padlocks on cupboards with hazardous substances, and making sure that these are all stored safely out of your children’s reach.

Preventing the Risk of Drowning

It’s important to remember the children of babies can drown in as little as 5 centimetres of water. When your children are in the bath or playing near water, you have to be vigilant. When your children are having a bath, you’ve got to stay with them. If your children sleep under the water, they won’t make a noise, and so you may not be aware if your child gets into trouble. Additionally, you should wait until the water has drained completely before leaving a room. You may think that bath seats are a good thing, but the problem with bath seats is that they are prone to tipping over. When your child is having a bath, the best thing for you to do is to have a non-slip bath mat on the bottom, and fill the water very shallowly. But also remember other water hazards around the house, such as garden ponds or any containers or buckets. It’s important to make sure that these are always empty.

Preventing Burns and Scalding

Younger children are more prone to burning and scalding than older children. The biggest culprit of scalding is hot drinks. To prevent scalding always make sure you keep mugs away from any surface edges. It’s also worth noting that you should never pass a hot drink to a mother who is breastfeeding because even the smallest drop could scald both the mum and the baby. A hot drink can scald a child 15 minutes after being made, so when in doubt, keep it out of reach. When it comes to burns, make sure that you are keeping the appliances serviced. If you have a fireplace, make sure that it is serviced and checked according to the manufacturer’s instructions. You should also make sure that there is a fireguard, and make sure that there are no items up on the mantelpiece that will be tempted for your child. It’s also worth remembering that in case of fire, always have an escape route planned. Planning and preparing is always the best way to make sure that you can all get out in an emergency.

Preventing Suffocation

For younger babies, it’s important to give your child a safe sleeping place. Babies are best to stay in cots. And while you may think that the child is sleeping on you, you can put them on the couch, the best thing to do is to put them in the cot. If you let them sleep on the sofa, there could be large gaps and big cushions which could be dangerous. Also, make sure that any nappy bags or plastic bags are kept out of reach. When in doubt, make sure that you tie a knot in the top of his plastic bags as this will stop your child from trying to open them.

So, before you start redesigning your garden and renovating a property for your young children, the best thing to do is to make sure that it is safe first and foremost.

Note: This is a collaborative post

 

Mamma Musings

What To Think About When Working From Home

With working from home becoming more popular now and also a lot easier for those with children in which they cannot get childcare, it is understandable that more businesses are allowing people to work from home. With its popularity it is understandable that some who would not be used to working outside the office and with no colleagues could take some time to settle in and may not know what they can do to help them work from home.

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If you are going to be working from home or you are thinking about it and you are unsure what you need to think about and what you can do to make it easier for you then hopefully, these few tips will help you to understand and think about it more so you can get started.

Have a dedicated office space

An important part of being able to work from home is having a quiet space to work, if you do not have somewhere to work without distraction it will be hard to stay productive while working. Try and get a room or space in the house for a desk and chair for you to work at or if you have the space and money look into getting an office put in the garden maybe find out about modular office buildings and whether there is a way to have a pod put in the garden for you to work in. Having that space is crucial to productivity while self motivating and working from home, you also need to make sure you have good lighting, an air flow if needed from a window and also heating should it get cold, you need to think as if this was an office outside your home how would it feel and be to work in.

Actually get ready for work

Too many people when working from home will not start their day getting ready for work; they will just stay in pyjamas or comfy clothes as they are working from home. This may work for some but for a lot of people they just cannot concentrate and stay productive when not dressed or ready for work, so make sure you get yourself ready as if you were going into the office, that way you will feel better and stay more productive.

Have the right equipment

Make sure you have the equipment you need to do your job, you need to have a stable wifi connection and also have the right computer you need to work. Try and set up your space as if it would be the desk in your office at work, make sure you have the same things you would have there. Some firms may actually provide you equipment but others may expect you to have your own equipment so double check first before you set up. You should also make sure your office furniture is correct, have a suitable desk and suitable chair especially if you are going to spend many hours at it.

If you are thinking of working from home or have been asked to and you are unsure how to prepare and what to think about when looking to work from home then these few tips should give you some ideas of what to think about and help you get your preparations started.

Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

Working Moms: Do We Ever Get a Break?

If you are a working mom, you are probably dealing with some challenges. The main one may be balancing work and motherhood. How do you create time for your children, your work and still have time for self-care?

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In Ireland, the Workplace Relations Commission enforces the various laws that promote gender equality and prohibit any form of discrimination against women in the workplace.

Yet, in spite of such bodies and the various employment laws protecting working women, mothers are still facing bias in the workplace. They miss out on promotions, are paid less, or are often denied requests for a flexible work schedule when pregnant or require time to recover after having a baby. 

This discrimination faced by working mothers is often referred to as a ‘maternal wall.’

Some of the reasons employers use to discriminate against working moms include; they are more likely to miss work or are unlikely (due to their family commitments) to work as required at the office.

The situation has forced many moms to quit working to raise their children. Mothers who remain at work despite discrimination, have to deal with the daily difficulties. This is highly unfair. Moms need to achieve their career goals too.

Employee rights for working moms

We need to answer the question, ” How can we as mothers avoid discrimination at work and achieve our career goals without neglecting our families?” The answer is by using our employee rights.

Employee rights are regulations that protect you against unfair treatment from your employer. Ireland is especially fair to expectant and working mothers.

Maternal rights for working moms

In Ireland, your maternal employee rights as a working mom start before delivery. You are entitled to reasonable time off for medical checkups and to attend antenatal classes.

You should also get maternity leave to recover from childbirth and bond with your baby. Working moms are entitled to 26 weeks of maternity leave to deliver their babies. Two of those weeks can be taken before the child’s birth. 

Mothers who choose to adopt a child are allowed 24 weeks leave from the date the child comes home. 

Of course, benefits are essential when you have a new baby to cater to and medical bills to pay. You can guarantee yourself some maternal or adoptive benefits by contributing sufficiently to your social insurance. 

Your rights after maternity leave

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There have been cases of women getting back to work after the birth of their child only to find their job status has changed. They are either downgraded in terms of their position or pay.

No employer should downgrade your job status or pay because you had a baby. 

The Maternity Protection Acts 1994  protects a mother’s right to be treated as she was before delivery. 

Therefore, after your maternity leave, you have a right to get back to your former employment position. In case your post is filled for any reason, your employer should offer you suitable alternative employment.

The Equal Status Acts 2000-2018 also forbids any bias based on, among other things, family status such as pregnancy. It promotes equal opportunities at work and advocates for family-friendly work practices. 

Therefore, taking time off work to deliver your child does not give your employer the right to mistreat you once you report back.

If you need time away from work to breastfeed your child, you can rely on Section 9 of the Maternity Protection (Amendment )Act, 2004,  to fight for your breastfeeding rights. 

It allows women who’ve delivered within the last six months time away from work to breastfeed, thereby helping them transition back to work without worrying about their babies.

Balancing work and family

Apart from laws that support moms, more companies in Ireland are adopting fair employment policies for working mothers. 

Some offer in-home child care benefits or on-site daycare facilities at work. Others allow moms to work with flexible schedules or remotely from home. 

Pic Credit: Unsplash

This is a most welcome trend that is providing a more inclusive environment in the workplace for mothers.

If you work for a company that doesn’t provide support to mothers, your employer may be ready to make your schedule flexible or give you a chance to work from home if you negotiate. Try it!

Are you facing discrimination at the workplace?

If asking or negotiating for your rights doesn’t work, fighting for them may be your only remaining option.

Although women are known to avoid actions that make waves in the workplace, many are now coming forward to sue unfair employers.

As a working mom, you deserve to work and raise a family without feeling like you need to let go of one to accommodate the other. As you have seen, several laws in Ireland protect you from bias at the workplace.

Therefore, if you face any workplace discrimination and asking for your rights does not lead to any changes, pursuing legal action is an option you should consider.

Author: Kelly Pence

Mamma Musings

Expand Your Business Using These Essential Strategies

In a Global Banking and Finance Review, it was discovered that 42% of  companies are more inclined towards expansion. Better yet, this group of businesses prefer to extend their services overseas. For entrepreneurs, business growth and expansion leading to maximised profits is the ultimate goal for operations. However growing a business can come at a cost. Using a basic metric – do you know how much a new customer acquisition costs? If not I suggest investing some time in familiarising yourself with customer acquisition cost ecommerce, as you expand it is possible that customers start to become more expensive to reach therefore it is an important metric to consider when planning to expand your business.

While some failed at it, others have succeeded. So, what advantage did the latter have over the former? Here are tips to guide you as you consider expanding your business.

  • Introduce innovative products and services to an existing mix

factory floor meeting

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Even in a lacklustre economy, you can still be innovative enough to grow your business and end up beating competition while at it. Nobody wants to struggle to grow a business; introducing new products and services to your existing mix can be a daring business move, especially when you have no idea how the market will receive it.

As a precaution, you must first conduct market research to determine what your customers want. It’d be best to also research into how much your existing market is willing to pay for a new product or service, as it’ll be ineffective to decide by yourself to introduce a new product without the assurance that it’ll be accepted.

Some notable corporate giants failed terribly with new products they assumed would beat the existing competition. For example, in 2006, Microsoft hoped to beat Apple’s iPod with the introduction of the Zune. They however failed to research the iPod’s weaknesses instead of just outdooring a product to compete. The result? Zune wasn’t a bad product per se, but it failed abysmally. Other notable examples are:

  • The HP Touchpad – hoping to rival the iPad.
  • Amazon Fire phone – ventured into becoming a smartphone powerhouse.
  • Cosmopolitan Yogurt – The Cosmopolitan Magazine hoped to veer into edible products.
  • Franchising

The main idea behind franchising is to expand into new territories. Admittedly, it’s a pretty expensive and quite complex procedure, but the benefits are immeasurable when done right. Franchising is only an excellent option when you have a recognised brand. More so, you must be convinced about your business systems and how effective they can be if legally replicated by other people in different places.

Usually, under a franchising model, you permit others to adapt your business models as they sell your branded products. Franchise Direct offers you a consolidated platform through which you can find a plethora of franchise opportunities. Another thing worth mentioning is that franchising adds more credibility to the brand, and benefits from royalties and fees.

  • Networking

networking

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Consider networking as the intricate weaving of different threads that make up a fabric. In business, networking cannot be overstated; the business relationships you keep with clients (existing and potential), colleagues, other professionals, etc., will inadvertently become the support your work needs. The purpose of networking is to gain significant insight into what makes a business successful.

Furthermore, by your association with others who succeeded in growth and expansion, you stand a better chance of learning valuable lessons first-hand. Did you know that regular business networking elevates professional and personal profiles? Ultimately, that contributes effectively to your business growth.

In due time, your diligence will pay off as your business reaps fruits. While expanding your company, avoid losing sight of current operations. Additionally, be mindful of internal and external influences that could hinder your business expansion plans.

Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

6 Ideas for the Best Gifts Your Kids Will Love

We all know kids can be picky. But, it’s the worst when you have no idea what to get them for a gift! So we’re here to help you out with some ideas that are sure to please any kid in your life.

#1 A new set of Legos

For kids who love Legos, there is the Lego Creator 3in1 Pirate Boat set which includes a pirate ship, boat, and treasure chest all in one kit. The kit comes with over 800 pieces, so it will keep their attention for hours as they build it themselves.

#2 A Smartwatch

kid reading

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We recommend getting them a smart watch for kids. These watches come equipped with GPS tracking for those of us who don’t want our kids glued to screens all day. That way, you can know where your kids are at all times. They also come with various customizable apps and features that will keep them entertained for hours on end!

#3 A board game can play together as a family or with friends

If your kids like board games, a good option is the Monopoly Junior game for ages six and up. This game offers two difficulty levels, so it’s perfect for families with different playing abilities or parents who want to help their kids learn how to play while they’re still young.

#4 New books for their favorite series

Nothing says “I love you” like a book. It’s a simple gift that can be shared and enjoyed by kids of all ages. It’s always exciting when new books are in a series, so you know your little one will be excited if they’re given something from their most loved book!

#5 An art kit

Paint, brushes, and canvas so they can create their paintings or drawings- If your kids have been begging for an easel for the longest time, we recommend getting them one that will keep them busy with this craft while still being easy to clean up afterward such as the Art Easel by Melissa & Doug. Art set for children contains projects like drawing on rocks, painting on paper bags, or making mosaics out of recycled materials which helps foster creative thinking skills while instilling an appreciation for nature’s beauty at the same time!

#6 A Puzzle to put together on rainy days

Kids love puzzles! They can spend hours trying to figure out the perfect way to put them together. Puzzles are also great for teaching kids patience. A puzzle kit with many pieces they have never seen before, so they get curious about how each piece goes together.

Conclusion

Finding the perfect gift for your kids can be hard. So what is the best gift you can give your kids? Is it a new toy, game, or book for them to enjoy and learn from this holiday season? We think that all of those ideas are great choices. But we also want to offer some other suggestions that will help keep their creativity flowing and stimulate their brain in different ways. We hope these ideas have helped!

 

Note: This is a collaborative post

Mamma Musings

Dentist Approved Snacks That Promote Healthy Teeth in Kids

What we eat can significantly impact our oral health. If we eat too many sugary treats, plaque can quickly build up and metabolize the sugar into acids. These acids then attack our natural tooth enamel, resulting in cavities or worse – tooth loss. 

While as adults we have probably already experienced a filling or two and know the importance of keeping our teeth happy and healthy, kids have all of this to come. To give them the best chance of a healthy smile, it’s a good idea to start early with encouraging and discouraging certain snacks. 

It’s worth mentioning, however, that although the below foods are okay, it’s still recommended that parents try to limit snacking to avoid kids becoming dependent on sweet treats and food between meals. When kids do have high sugar snacks, parents should encourage them to brush their teeth straight afterwards.

Dentist approved snacks for kids:

  • Wholegrain crackers with cheese
  • Veggie sticks like celery, carrots and cucumber
  • Broccoli trees
  • Air popped popcorn (not store-bought toffee options!)

    dentist

    Pic Credit: Pixabay

  • Fresh fruit
  • Low sugar yogurts 
  • Calcium-rich dairy
  • Baked tortillas or chips
  • Nuts and seeds

Although some of these don’t sound like the most fun, there are plenty of ways to make healthy snacks more enjoyable for kids. They might kick up a fuss now, but they’ll thank you later when they grow up with strong and healthy teeth. 

Don’t give in to busy schedules

From football practice to dance recitals, it can be easy to top up their energy in between with cereal bars, chips and other quick snacks. And it’s not actually the snacks or sugar that are bad; it’s the bacteria within our mouths that cause the damage by feeding on sugary treats to create enamel-attacking acids. Sugar-free alternatives to their favourite candies and snacks can be an easy switch that will save them trips to the dentist in the future. Alongside this, try to avoid stocking up on on-the-go snacks that definitely don’t make the approval list: 

Snacks without dentist approval:

  • Sugary, chewy sweets and lollipops
  • Ice creams and cakes
  • Muffins and bagels
  • Sports energy and isotonic drinks
  • Highly acidic snacks like pickles or grapefruit
  • Refined carbohydrates like crackers

If you find that eating too many of the above snacks has caused irreparable damage naturally, then, fortunately, there are still options for you. Chester Springs dental implants specialists have plenty of advice on preventing tooth decay for adults and kids, as well as top treatments that can help you get that smile. 

Starting early with healthy eating habits can do your children a world of good. By teaching them the importance of brushing their teeth at least twice a day and encouraging them to eat healthy snacks over their sugary counterparts, your kids will enjoy a lifetime of healthy smiles and laughter all around. 

While the above dentist approved snacks are pretty common sense, they can help both kids and adults prevent tooth decay while also providing the body with all the nutrients you need to grow big and healthy. To avoid giving in and grabbing fast food options when ferrying the kids around, make sure you plan ahead and prep snacks for the whole family to enjoy. 

Note: This is a collaborative post