The week's best parenting advice: August 25, 2021
How to pick back-to-school masks, babysitter success tips, and more
How to pick back-to-school masks
If your children will be wearing masks in school this fall, choosing the right one is key. "The most effective mask is a mask a child will wear and fits them properly," Eric Toner of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security told The Washington Post. "That's much more important than the filtration [differences] between" N95s, cloth masks, and surgical masks. Between those three choices, cloth masks are likely the most practical style for kids, especially younger kids. They're far more comfortable than N95s for all-day wear, and they'll perform better with children who lick or chew on the mask.
How to make babysitter visits a success
Bringing in a babysitter for the first time (or the first time in a long time) can be nerve-wracking, but there are steps you can take to make the sitter visit a success. For longer outings, especially with a new sitter, consider preparing an activity you know your kids will enjoy. Supply some of their favorite snacks, and set rules for behavior in front of the sitter, so they can't claim ignorance later. Make sure the sitter is well-informed about your routines, and have a straightforward talk at the beginning about the payment rate and method.
Why your toddler won't nap — and what to do about it
Napless days with kids who need to nap can be miserable. Napless weeks or months are a nightmare. If your child is consistently refusing to nap, there are several possible explanations. It could be that she's grown out of her current sleep schedule, that the schedule isn't consistent enough, or that the nap is starting too late, after she's gotten a second wind. Or perhaps he's relying on a now-missing sleep aid, or he's getting in micro-naps when you're not looking, or, in rare cases, he requires medical attention. Motherly breaks down signs and solutions to each scenario here.
Should you fly with kids during the pandemic?
Flying with children can be challenging enough in ordinary times, but should you do it during the pandemic? In a new issue of her parenting newsletter, statistician Emily Oster details relevant considerations. Airplanes are much less risky for COVID-19 than many assume, she says, because "the air filtration systems in planes are extremely good" and "airplanes themselves do not seem to be major COVID spread locations." Still, the chance of transmission isn't zero. Ultimately, Oster's advice is to examine your own risk tolerance and decide accordingly. There's no blanket rule here that will work for all parents.
How to hang out with your childless friends
If you're the first in your friend group to have children, it can be difficult to spend time with friends who may not understand the demands of new parenthood. While "trips to the local bar are going to be few and far between" for you, that doesn't mean hangouts are over, advises Doyin Richards at Slate's parenting blog. Instead of going out, ask them to come to you, perhaps after bedtime or during playtime. Having friends over to hang with you and your kids is "a great litmus test," too, Richards says, "to determine who's a ride-or-die friend."