Tips to Help Ease Your Child’s Separation Anxiety

Guest Post by Vicky Keston of Gooselings

If your life with young children is anything like mine, it’s rare that you’re able to walk to the bathroom without a child attached to your legs or shower without a child or two peering through the glass. Needless to say, you need a break, but how do you get help from a babysitter when your child won’t leave your side?

According to childcare experts, children have an innate need to bond with their caregiver before they can trust them. Separation anxiety is common, but even young children can overcome their anxiety and bond with their sitter, giving you some much needed time to yourself. These useful tips will help you to understand the anxiety your child is feeling and take the necessary steps to make time away from you enjoyable and stress-free.

Tips to Ease Separation Anxiety

Find the right sitter for your child.
Interview potential sitters carefully to find one that both you and your child like and trust. Children can detect our nervousness, so your confidence in a childcare provider is important. Make the right choice by reviewing sitter background checks or paying to run one if it isn’t provided. Also check references from other parents and employers. When interviewing the caregiver, ask how she would handle your child’s separation anxiety and discuss strategies that might work best for your child. For additional questions to ask a sitter in an interview, check out this helpful article on interviewing potential childcare providers.

Do a trial run.
For the first time or two, ask the babysitter to watch your child while you’re in the home. Give them time to get comfortable together, then slowly ease your way out. Think of the preschool analogy in which teachers often tell parents to sit along the edge of the room while their child interacts with the teacher, feeling safe that their parent is in the room.

Read a book about Mommy always returning.
You can show your child that you understand her worries and assure her that your time apart is temporary by sharing books with characters they can relate to, such as “The Kissing Hand,” by Audrey Penn or “Owl Babies” by Martin Waddell. For children who are anxious about the transition to daycare or preschool, “My First at Nursery School,” by Becky Edwards is a comforting read.

Call it a playdate.
Tell your child that a new sitter is coming for a special playdate. Talk about how much fun they will have together, and discuss what types of things they can do together. Be enthusiastic. If you are nervous, your child will be, too.

Make it a quick goodbye.
When the caregiver arrives, say goodbye and remind your child that Mommy always comes back.

Create a family book.
Include photos of you, your child and the other important people in their life. It can be as simple as photos taped onto paper that you staple together, or as fancy as a photo book.  Leave this with the caregiver, so that your child can look at the photos when feeling lonely. If your child begins to miss you, ask the caregiver to help her write a letter or make a card for you.

Following these tips will help your child to build a bond and ultimately trust in a sitter, making it easier for her to be away from you. Remember that it’s healthy for your child to develop these bonds with others and just as important for you get a break.

For additional recommendations on leaving your child with a caregiver, see advice from Dr. Sears. For children starting preschool, see additional ideas at

 Find friend-recommended babysitters at

5 Lifesavers for Family Travel

When traveling with kids by plane or by car, the contents of your carry-on or diaper bag can easily make or break your family trip. Keep everyone happy on your family vacation this Spring or Summer by making sure your everyday parenting essentials are packed and within easy reach, and add a few extras that will make the ride a little smoother for everyone. We guarantee that these 5 suggestions can be traveling lifesavers.


5 Lifesavers for Family Travel

1. Super cool art supplies and an easy way to use them

Throwing a few crayons into your bag to occupy the kids while dining out is likely second nature to you by now. When traveling, you’ll need to bring in the bigger guns! We love Eeboo Scratch Paper and your kids will, too. With the provided tool, they scratch off the paper’s black coating to reveal surprising colors and designs – continuous surprises every time they make a mark will keep them doodling far longer than they do with their usual art supplies. Ideal for kids age 5+. $11.95 for 20 sheets.

via Eeboo
via Eeboo

Even the coolest paper and pens are worthless without a stable, flat surface to write or draw. Include a Dry-Erase Clipboard in your bag – it serves as a lap desk that securely anchors papers and it stashes in a bag without taking up much room. The personalization makes it extra special, and the dry-erase surface gives you one more activity to add to your traveling arsenal.  $19.95 via frecklebox.

clipboards frecklebox
via frecklebox

2. A little something to keep the littlest one happy

Babies need more than just warm bottles and clean diapers to make them happy on a long flight or car ride. Don’t forget to include some soothing entertainment in your bag. Teething babies will dig the 100 percent Silicone beads on the Chewbeads Mulberry Teether. You can breathe easy knowing that the beads are free of BPA, phthalates, cadmium, lead or any metal. The colorful “bracelet” is so cute, you can easily get away with sliding one on your wrist to have at the ready. $16.50 via Amazon.

via Amazo
via Amazon

3. Germ prevention.

Think of all the places little hands will touch in a single day of traveling  – door handles, airplane trays, high chairs, restaurant tables, even your handbag that’s been perched next to your feet on a well-traveled commuter train or plane. Ugh! Do your best to keep germs at bay by squirting busy hands with all-natural hand sanitizers that kill the bugs without spreading equally nasty chemicals. $5.95 for a two-pack via Honest Co.

via Honest Co.
via Honest Co.

4. Mini backpacks loaded with loot.

The experts at Conde Traveler suggest giving each child their own backpack to carry. Before they leave home, load it with loot you can buy from the $1 isle, including toys and activities to keep kids busy on the plane or in the car. Your best bet are stickers, coloring books, mini notebooks, and trinkets. Make a deal with the kids before you leave home – the content is theirs as long as they carry the bag and don’t open it until you give them the green light. Skip Hop Zoo Pack Backpacks starting at $14.29 via Fat Brain Toys.

via Fat Brain Toys
via Fat Brain Toys

5. Emergency Kit

No matter how much you hover, someone is bound to end up with a scraped knee, itchy bug bite, or a fever… and hopefully nothing more serious. Be prepared by having a mini first aid kit stashed in your bag. The Red Cross has a handy list of what to include in a standard first aid kit for the family. When traveling with little kids, remember to include Baby Tylenol, Benadryl for an allergic reaction and plenty of bandaids. Turn to quick ship sources for a handy take-along emergency kit designed for easy travel. Medi Buddy First Aid Kit available for $6.99 via Amazon.

via Amazon

No matter how well you’ve prepared, your sanity might need a bit of lifesaving of its own, once you arrive at your destination. Remember that nothing beats a babysitter! UrbanSitter has you covered in major metropolitan areas nationwide. Book one for a night out or a few hours to yourself.

Tips for Helping Kids Adjust to Daylight Savings


For most of the country, it’s time to turn the clocks ahead one hour this weekend, as we officially move to Daylight Savings Time, Sunday, March 9. Interestingly, newborns don’t seem to be affected by time changes. However, the hour change tends to take a toll on children. According to child healthcare experts, it can take kids a few days to adjust to a new sleep schedule, leaving parents with tired, cranky kids on their hands. Fortunately, there are simple tips you can follow to help your kids adjust to the change as quickly and easily as possible, so you can both get the sleep you need.

julia-Exhausted sleeping toddler

Tips for Helping Kids Adjust to Daylight Savings

  • Don’t wait until Sunday to deal with the change and its consequences. Be prepared and have a plan for how you’ll help your kids adapt to the extra hour.
  • Consider starting on Thursday. Drop their bedtime back 15 minutes each day so that by Sunday night, they are ready to go to bed when the clock says their usual bedtime, even if their body clock think it’s an hour early.
  • If you don’t start Thursday, push bedtime back an hour Friday so kids have an extra weekend night to adjust to the change.
  • Don’t try to give kids extra help getting to sleep. Keep to the usual routine, no matter the time. They may not fall asleep right away, but getting them in bed will encourage their minds and bodies to relax a little earlier.
  • It’s often hard to convince kids that it’s bedtime when it’s still light outside. Try making bedrooms darker with blackout shades or blinds, or skip the nightlight.
  • Don’t overstimulate kids in an attempt to tire them out for an earlier bedtime. Overtired kids often have meltdowns and trouble falling asleep, rather than falling asleep easier.
  • Wake them up at their normal times. Don’t let them sleep later to make up for lost sleep.
  • Same goes for naps. Stick with the usual nap times, and wake them from their nap time at a normal time.
  • Falling asleep an hour earlier often means waking an hour earlier. Discourage kids from waking too early by letting them know what you feel is an acceptable time to start the day. Suggest they read in bed or play quietly until it’s time to get out of bed.
  • Consider putting a digital clock in your kid’s room and letting them know when it’s ok to leave their bed in the morning. Kid sleep training clocks are especially helpful this time of year.

The best way to help kids get the sleep they need is to be regimented about bedtime and bedtime routines. Kids always benefit when they know what to expect, and can easily grasp the idea that having a bath, brushing teeth and hearing a bedtime story signals the end of the day, regardless of the time or caregiver. If you haven’t already established a bedtime routine, now is the time to do it. Both you and your kids will get the rest you need to start enjoying the longer days!

What are your tips on getting kids to adjust to Daylight Savings? Share with us in the comments!

5 Ways to Spend Less When Shopping Online

One of the top resolutions for the New Year is to spend less and save more. We’re doing more and more of our spending online – shopping for everything from diapers to groceries to new workout gear, including booking and paying sitters! Here are 5 tips for saving money when shopping online.

via colecamp
via colecamp

5 Tips for Saving Money When Shopping Online


1. Use Coupons

Did you know you’re more than likely to find a coupon or promo code by spending a few minutes searching online before checking out at your favorite sites? According to, more than half of online shoppers redeemed a coupon code and more are expected to use them in 2014. If that’s old news to you and you can’t remember the last time you purchased online without a code, how about this tip – many sites will allow you to “stack coupons,” which means you can use more than one coupon code per purchase. The trick, according to savvy cyber shoppers, is to enter them in the right order. A percentage off coupon goes first, followed by dollar amount codes. Not all retailers permit this, but many do and many more are getting onboard.

2. Don’t Pay for Shipping

Make a commitment to never pay shipping fees. Many online retailers will offer free shipping if you spend a certain amount. In that case, wait to buy until you need (or can afford) enough to hit the target. If that’ s not an option (you needed it yesterday or can’t find it locally) search for free shipping coupon codes. Also, there’s always Amazon Prime!

3. Register with Favorite Sites

Many stores will give you a discount just for registering with their site. Unfortunately, you often have to wait a day or two before you receive their email with promo code. Plan ahead.

4. Don’t Forget to Use Your Gift Cards

Money Watch claims that more than 20 percent of gift cards are never used. Make sure that those you may have received as gifts this year don’t go MIA in the bottom of the junk drawer. Beware that many cards, usually the kind that are redeemable at multiple retailers, charge purchase fees and/or charge either “dormancy” or “maintenance” fees after the first year. Yikes! If you’re not sure how to spend the cards you have – perhaps they aren’t for the store of your choice – consider using one of the many services out there that buy and  resell gift cards, such as CardPool. They allow you to get cash back for your gift card and you can to buy others’ gift cards at a discounted price.

5. Shop for Babysitters By Rate

UrbanSitter offers a nifty feature that allows you to search for a sitter who is not only close-by or a favorite of a friend, but who also charges a rate that matches your budget. Rather than booking a sitter offline and waiting until the often awkward  moment at the end of the job when you ask how much you owe her, avoid surprises and book her, and even pay her online. is always ready to meet your childcare needs–any season of the year.

How Technology Can Help Solve 5 Common Problems of Busy Families

 You may be able to take some comfort in knowing that you are not alone in your struggle to navigate the often wild and rapid waters of everyday family life.

There are five common problems most parents confront in their day-to-day lives that can be at least alleviated, if not solved, with the help of an app. We’ve scoured, reviewed and talked with parents to find favorite apps that could bring a welcome, helping hand to your world.

Five Apps for Busy Families

1. Managing your family’s activities and calendars.

UpTo Modern Calendar
UpTo Modern Calendar

Chances are you have your preferred calendar method pretty down pat by now, whether it’s a paper day planner, Outlook, Facebook or another calendar you can access via your mobile device. All are tried-and-true, obviously effective methods of keeping your calendar. But when it comes to keeping track of calendars for several members of your family, you may benefit from taking it a step further.

A popular go-to calendar app is Cozi, an awesome solution for organizing your day-to-day calendar in a simple format, adding after-school activities, meals, to-do lists, chores, social events and more with ease. But, there’s a newcomer that’s caught our attention as a real productivity booster. UpTo is an app that streams public calendars, such as college and pro sports schedules, TV show schedules, new movie release dates, concerts and other important events you’d like to be reminded of, and lists them alongside your own events. So, you not only remember to take your son to the dentist, you also don’t miss the season premiere of your favorite TV show or your alma mater’s big game. You know, the important stuff.

2. Getting a decent dinner on the table.

Epicurious Shopping List and Recipes
Epicurious Shopping List and Recipes

Stop scouring the Web for what to do with those chicken legs you bought on sale or for that fantasy recipe that you’ll be able to whip up in minutes. Epicurious Recipe and Shopping List app is a one-stop-shop for nearly any recipe you could need.

It’s a virtual smorgasborg of more than 30,000 recipes pulled from around the world, all of which are divided into categories that are organized by skill level and theme such as Quick and Easy and Kid-Friendly. Not only can you find recipes on the go, you can also add ingredients to a shopping list and save your favorite recipes. It’s quick and easy to pull up the shopping list when you walk into the grocery store. You’ll be instantly prepared to pull off any dinner, last-minute throw-together or otherwise. If you prefer to have a hard copy of your recipes while you cook, there’s the Epicurious app for an HP printer that enables you to send recipes directly to your printer.

UrbanSitter Mobile
UrbanSitter Mobile

3. Staying connected with your spouse.

We’re a bit partial to this one, but it’s so good at simplifying your life as a parent, we have to toot our own horn and remind you of it again – The UrbanSitter iPhone App. It’s incredibly valuable to be able to find and book a babysitter, even exchange logistics with her, while on the go.

You simply use the app to see who is available to care for your kids when and where you need her, read profiles, check parent reviews, and send him or her an instant request.

It’s an app that can put the spontaneity back into your life, ensuring that you never have to turn down an invitation for a dinner with your spouse or a coffee with a friend.

4. Taking care of a newborn while juggling an already hectic life.

“Momnesia” may not be a medically documented condition, but forgetfulness and that feeling of losing track of what you were in the middle of doing is a reality for most parents – first-times and old pros, alike.

Baby Log

Keeping track of all the necessities, such as when and how you last fed your baby (bottle or breast), when you changed a diaper, how long your baby last slept, and when you need to do it all again is mind-boggling – especially to sleep-deprived, pulled-in-every-direction parents.

Baby Log is an ultimate baby log app. It holds unlimited data for all your baby’s activities, and can be used for multiple babies, too. Let it keep track of it all, so you can enjoy a bit of peaceful time with your baby, instead of fretting over the schedule. It also offers a nursing or nap timer, and provides a place to record milestone, growth or precious moments.

5. Archiving the memories so you don’t forget a minute.

When it comes to dealing with the masses of artwork and school projects that flood your home once you have a preschooler or school-age child, many parents are fans of Artkive. It allows you to take photos of your child’s masterpieces, share the work and archive it so you can show your grandkids what their Mom created when she was three.


But what do you do if your little one isn’t yet producing any art, yet the pressure of just keeping up the baby book is enough to put you over the edge? Meet Moment Garden. It’s an app that allows you to keep pictures, track weight and growth, record all trips to the doctor and keep first-time events of your baby on your phone, and privately share them with your closest family and friends. With a single click, you can even turn your Moment Garden into a Moment Book, a beautifully printed book like that baby book you never had time to finish!

We’d love to know which apps you find indispensable in the fight to keep your head above water in the fun, but sometimes frantic world of parenting. Give us a shout!

Find and book trusted babysitters at UrbanSitter.

Start the School Year Off on the Right Foot: 3 Strategies to Tame Morning Chaos

photo by D Sharon Pruitt

With a new school year right around the corner, we’re working on the UrbanSitter Back-to-School Handbook. Our guide will help you ease into fall, step by step, without the stress and with plenty of confidence and style.

This week, we show you how to tame morning chaos before it starts. We’ve identified three challenges that have a way of sabotaging even the most prepared mom’s morning routine, and have provided simple strategies to stop them in their tracks.

3 Simple Strategies to Put an End to Morning Chaos

If your house is like ours, you know the drill. There are far too few minutes between the early wake-up alarm and carpool takeoff. It’s no fun to start your day screaming at your children while you crawl around the floor trying to find a missing shoe, scratch out a permission slip, or pack a lunch.

Follow these 3 strategies to put an end to the chaos and send your kids off happy and well-prepared:

1. Avoid the wardrobe battle once and for all. Determine where you stand in letting your kids choose their clothes, communicate the rules and stick to them.  Experts say it’s important to set parameters for what kids can wear to school, but to also give them options to give them a sense of control and help them learn to make decisions. Letting them have a say also builds confidence and a sense of personal responsibility.

  • Make peace with whether simply clean and comfortable is good enough for you or if you demand a bit more of your prodigy’s    appearance.  We guarantee you haven’t heard the last plea for wearing snow boots in the summer, a size-too-small Christmas dress in September, or a pair of Cars pajamas for a play date. Let them show their personality and style as long as if feels appropriate to you.
  • Take the time to choose an outfit you both agree on before bedtime, rather than five minutes before morning carpool.

2. Corral everyday necessities and find them a home. Command stations keep handy everything your family needs to get out the door each day. There’s no more last-minute searching if you designate a permanent spot for backpacks, lunch boxes, permission slips, homework, carpool notes, and clothes for after-school activities.  Don’t forget to include a spot for a packed and ready-to-go diaper bag. Pick a system that works for you:

  • Hooks and a shelf with bins for each child.
  • Cubbies or lockers.
  • A basket near the door, or if you’re lucky enough to have one, a coat closet with plenty of space for everyone.
  • And for all, a designated drawer for paperwork the teacher sends home, and email folders for digital communication for each child.

3. No more last-minute lunch making. It’s a daily challenge – packing a simple (fast and easy-to-make), healthy lunch that your kids will eat. Make it easy on yourself.  Get your kids to help pack their own lunch after dinner the night before, or better yet, have your sitter tackle the task with them. Stick with one of three formulas, along with a reusable drink bottle:

  • The Classic: Sandwich, fruit/vegetable, something savory (crackers) and a taste of something sweet. Packs nicely in a traditional lunch along with reusable sandwich and snack bags. These by Lunchskins are now available at Target.
  • Leftovers: Basically a bit of last night’s dinner balanced with whatever it takes to make it just as appealing as last night. A small thermos jar is handy for warm or cold meals. Check out these customizable picks.
  • The Bento: A little bit of this, and a little bit of that.  Makes it easy to please picky eaters, feed them healthy food, and provide some variety. Love these eco-friendly, very cool bento boxes.

In the next weeks before the first school bell rings, we’ll also show you how to send your crew back in style, choose after school activities that stimulate rather than stress your kids, offer lunch ideas that will make your kids the envy of the lunch room, and prepare for the endless barrage of birthday parties that is about to come your way!

Back to school means back to routine! Make date nights a part of your weekly routine by scheduling a regular babysitter online with UrbanSitter.

UrbanSitter’s Handbook for Family Road Trip Survival

photo by D Sharon Pruitt

Before you hit the road with your kids this summer, we’re arming you with 8 Indispensable Road Trip Survival Tips.

Following these tips will go a long way in creating a memorable, happy time with your family on the road!

  1. An arsenal of Apps for Kids. It’s likely that even your preschooler knows his way around your smart phone. Preload your phone with apps that meet your personal criteria – age appropriateness, educational, or just pure attention-grabbing fun. CoolMomTech offers a whole section on Cool Apps for Kids. What if you have one phone and three children? Work on taking turns and time-telling skills by having the other kids watch the clock to see when it’s their turn or find a game that allows for multiple players.
  2. Road trip games. Go old school with the standbys from your own childhood. Have kids scout and keep track of animals or certain color cars; count state license plates; fill in Mad Libs or play “I Spy” or “Twenty Questions.” Cater to the age of your children by tweaking the games. For example, have older kids log their findings, categorize, and compete against each other.
  3. Gadgets and electronics. It likely goes without saying, but just in case – don’t leave home without videos. Whether you have DVD players in your car, a laptop, an iPad or portable players, the videos they play will buy you hours of peace. Portable game players (Nintendo DS, Leapster, smart phones) are also good bets. Don’t forget the headphones!
  4. Survival Totes. Pack a small backpack for each child. Include paper, printouts, markers, mini dry-erase boards and pens, playing and flash cards and small toys that you can wrap and dispense throughout the trip. Don’t forget hand wipes, Kleenex and, of course, a first aid kit in your own arsenal.
  5. Summer reading programs. Sign your kids up for a summer reading program through a school, local library or an online program such as the Scholastic Summer Challenge. It will keep your kids motivated to read, and what better time to hit the books than during a long road trip. Many programs offer reading lists, making it quick and easy to load up your e-Reader or iPad with something for everyone before you hit the road. Don’t forget to bring board books tots can thumb through and listen to parents read, as well as books-on-tape for longer stories the whole family can enjoy.
  6. No mess snacks. Pack individual servings of age-appropriate finger foods such as pretzels, crackers, cereal, popcorn and nuts (for older kids). To avoid the fast-food meal traps, bring a small cooler with sandwiches, fruit, pre-cut veggies, yogurt or cheese sticks. Giving each child his or her own water bottle to replenish at rest stops makes more sense than hauling a slew of juice boxes and cans.
  7. Journal or scrapbook the trip. Create a scrapbook of your family vacation. Have kids add drawings of places they’ve seen or fun facts they’ve learned along the way, and paste ticket stubs and other mementos. Put your kids on assignment with a small camera. You can print photos at your destination using an inexpensive pocket printer and paste the prints in the book on the return trip.
  8. A sitter to take over when you arrive! Let’s face it. No matter how much you’ve prepared for your road trip and no matter how much you love your children, you’re bound to need a break. Did you know UrbanSitter can help you line up a perfect sitter away from home? Log onto UrbanSitter to view trusted sitters, read local parent reviews and book a sitter in one of a dozen U.S. cities. It’s a much more personalized and often less expensive way to book childcare than booking through a hotel. Think how nice it will be to have a bit of well-deserved grown-up time in your destination city!