kids

From allergies to play dates: 7 parenting hacks to get you through the social season.

Zyrtec Kids
Thanks to our brand partner, Zyrtec Kids

With the inevitability of summer well on the horizon, our kids are out and about more often. While that usually comes hand-in-hand with enjoying fun adventures with the family, it also tends to add a whole lot more to our to-do list. 

Wait, what time do I need to drop the kids off at so-and-so's house?

Have I packed enough games to keep them busy during the roadtrip?

What happens if they get lost in the crowd?

While I haven't exactly mastered the best way to make kids happy during the social season (I mean, what parent actually has?), I feel like I've managed to pick up a few tricks along the way that has definitely made it easier. 

Here are my top 7 parenting hacks that make surviving the social season a piece of cake.

1. Boxes are your friend.

Okay, I know it sounds weird but stay with me for a second. In our household, we love a good box. Whether it's a box for organisation or a box to spark creativity, we love them.

The first box, what I call the 'dubbing artist' box, is my kids' favourite and proves that cardboard boxes are the thing of the future!

It's the best way to keep your little ones busy, no matter where you’re going; friend’s house, café, garden, etc. Bring a cardboard box along and pop each child in their own box. Add crayons to the mix and let their minds run free. 

It's such a simple idea, but so fantastic for them to explore their own creativity, use their fine motor skills and just give us parents some quiet time!

Image: Supplied.

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We're also partial to a thing we call the 'adventure box' and we keep one of these in the boot of our car. 

It has pretty much everything we’d need for a spontaneous adventure or play date regardless of weather — picnic rug, swimmers, towels, change of clothes, spare shoes, hats, gum boots, puffer jackets, picnic ware, snacks, etc. We are always prepared for an adventure! (Side note: the adventure box is not just for the kids so fill it up with your knickknacks too!)

2. Help in a bottle.

While allergies aren't always seasonal, our little loves' hayfever tends to play up more often when we're out and about. We never want to comprise family time out in the sun so we've quickly learned what works.

Our go-to allergy medication is Zyrtec Kids. Specially made for their age group, the kids love the flavour and BONUS, it comes with an easy-to-use measuring spoon. It's also free from sugar, lactose and gluten which is a win for any parent of a child with dietary needs.

It provides 12 hours of long lasting of relief from hayfever and allergy symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, post-nasal drip, watery and itchy eyes, as well as hives and itchy skin rash. This is SO important to us because it helps our kids get back to playing as soon as possible which means we can rest easy knowing they're not missing out on any adventures.

As we like to spend time outdoors, it's always reassuring to know that it's effective against seasonal allergens such as grass, tree, and weed pollen. 

It also works a treat year-round against allergens like dust, pet dander and mould which is super important when the kids have playdates — while they absolutely love hanging out with their friends' pooches, it can very quickly lead to allergy symptoms. 

We've found that the best way to ease this is by using Zyrtec Kids. It's a win-win for both of us — the kids get to go on their playdates and we rest easy knowing that they're not going to spend the whole time sneezing.

It's something we also always keep on hand — especially on road trips, holidays, park hangs and beach days. It makes our day easier knowing that if Nia or Noa were to have an allergic reaction, it will easily be treated thanks to all the benefits of Zyrtec Kids. 

3. Road trips can be survivable.

Road trips can either be fun or the bane of your existence (especially if your kids are determined to test your patience).

To prevent the temptation to fight, put cardboard dividers between them! In no time, they will be missing each other. 

Keeping them entertained can be tricky but we try to avoid relying on devices for too long. Instead, we hang a shoe organiser over the back of the seats with a variety of different toys and activities. Kids can easily access what they want to play with. 

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Image: Supplied.

We also love using the car as a new favourite venue for our picnics. On a nice evening, we often pack our dinner, drive down to the beach with the kids, find a good spot with direct views of the beach, and then open up the boot for a car picnic! We put on some tunes and just watch the sunset while eating our dinner. 

4. Always have a meeting spot.

Whenever we go to crowded places such as markets, we have a ‘meeting spot’ in case Nia gets lost in the crowd. What usually happens is, as soon as we get there, she picks a stall or store. (This is a good way to give her some autonomy too.)

We then agree that if she gets lost, she needs to make her way to that stall and that we would meet her there. We practise this every single time we get to a crowded place.

5. Beach trips.

We spend quite a lot of time at the beach, so we’ve got into a good rhythm of not taking half the beach home with us! 

We have a large container in the boot and a water bottle. Once we’re all done at the beach, and back at the car, we pour the water into the container, splash our hands and feet in the container, towel dry, and we’re done! Our other option is always baby wipes.

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Another good trick to keep in mind when you go to the beach is to pack a nappy. It may sound strange, especially if you don't have a bub, but it's actually the best hack I've ever heard.

A friend of mine once told me this little tip, and my jaw dropped, and continues to drop when I share it with others. To keep your valuables safe at the beach, wrap them in a nappy so it looks like a large soiled nappy! No one will want to touch that, and you can truly enjoy yourself without having to check if your phone is still where you left it! 

6. Own the outdoor playdate.

Sometimes keeping the kids entertained can be a bit of a challenge, especially when you've exhausted all possibilities. Here's a few of my favourite ways to keep them busy and enjoying the outdoors:

  • Host a car wash with buckets, sponges, bubbles and lots of little hands to help!
  • Have a dance party! You just need to find a good Spotify playlist to blast from your phone. 
  • Pop your camp tents or beach tents in the backyard to turn into fortresses.

We always used to worry about these type of outdoor activities with the kids' allergies, but Zyrtec Kids has quickly rebuilt our confidence in allowing the kids to get back to what they enjoy most.

7. And even own the indoor one too.

We know sometimes it's hard to keep the little ones in one place for long. That's why it's always great to get them outside, but sometimes, for whatever reason, you've just got to keep them in the house.

I've found that the best way to do this is to have plenty of activities on offer. Here's a few of our favourites:

  • Check out YouTube for some amazing craft ideas — I usually set up my laptop on the table and have the kids follow along with the video.
  • Set up a little scavenger hunt! All you've got to do is come up with a list of items for the kids to find and whoever grabs the item first, wins a point.
  • Set up a mini stage and host a karaoke session (Disney songs tend to be our forte).

Zyrtec has allergy solutions for the whole family, so that you and your kids can get back to life fast. Find Zyrtec Kids and the whole Zyrtec range at your nearest Chemist Warehouse or pharmacy.

Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist talk to your health professional.

Feature Image: Supplied.

Zyrtec Kids
Zyrtec Kids provides Fast Acting Allergy Relief for your little ones, allowing them to get back to being a kid fast! Specially made for kids, Zyrtec is easy to take - with measuring spoon & drops dispensing options. Zyrtec provides long-lasting 12 hours of relief from Hayfever & Allergy Symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, post nasal drip, watery & itchy eyes and hives & itchy skin rash. It’s effective against seasonal allergens such as grass, tree and weed pollen AND all year around allergens like dust, pet dander and mould. It’s also gluten, lactose and sugar free!