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6 Car Seat Cleaning Hacks for Busy Parents

6 Car Seat Cleaning Hacks for Busy Parents

Whether it’s sticky from spilled juice or stinky from a diaper explosion, a dirty car seat is every parent’s nightmare. Here are 6 easy tips for cleaning your child’s car seat, as well as a look at what you can do to prevent a mess in the first place.

1. Don’t procrastinate.

Dry messes like cracker crumbs aren’t urgent, but wet messes should be addressed promptly—ideally before the mess dries. Promptly remove the car seat from your vehicle, and then take off the cover, straps, and buckles. It’s smart to keep a car seat cleaning kit stored in your car’s trunk for these kinds of occasions.

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2. Read the manual for cover-washing guidelines.

Use baby wipes or a damp rag to remove as much loose material as possible from the car seat cover, then check the car seat manual for detailed laundering instructions. Most seats with removable cotton or synthetic covers can be washed in cool water on a gentle cycle, but your specific seat may need different care. After washing, flatten the cover and let it air dry.

3. Tackle smells with time in the sun.

If the car seat cover has an odor even after washing, place it outside in the sun for a few hours. To hurry the deodorizing process along, you can also lightly spray the cover with a homemade deodorizing spray made of 10 drops of tea tree oil, 10 drops of lavender essential oil, and 16 ounces of water.

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4. Use a gentle soap to clean the harness and straps.

Never attempt to clean the car seat harness or straps in a washing machine, as this could damage them and reduce their effectiveness. Instead, dip a rag or soft cleaning brush into a bowl of cool water and baby-friendly detergent, and start gently scrubbing in small circles at the top of the harness, working your way down. Try not to soak the harness or straps; dampen them just enough to remove stains and loosen particles. Let the harness and straps air dry.

5. Wash buckles in tap water.

Dirty buckles don’t just look bad. They can also become safety hazards if crumbs or sticky spills keep them from latching properly. Before cleaning dirty car seat buckles, check your manual’s restrictions. If the care instructions allow, place the buckles in a cup full of warm water, taking care to keep any connected harness or straps out of the water. Gently shake the cup to help dislodge any food or other items trapped in the buckles. Remove the buckles immediately and let them air dry.

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6. If all else fails, buy a replacement.

You want your child to be as comfortable as possible in their car seat, and that means it should be clean and odor-free. If the car seat can’t be cleaned safely, or if odors remain despite your best efforts, consider buying a new car seat or purchasing replacement parts. Most major car seat companies sell car replacement seat covers and harnesses. Never buy a car seat or replacement parts secondhand.

Preventing Future Car Seat Disasters

Let’s be honest; keeping a child’s car seat clean is nearly impossible. But there are a few things you can do to help minimize the mess and avoid potential catastrophes.

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  • Use a seat protector: Easy to clean and durable, seat protectors are a must-have accessory for any vehicle that transports kids.
  • Keep a small trash bin in the back seat: A mini trash can is a lifesaver when it comes to keeping your kid’s car seat—and your car—clean.
  • Stock up on baby wipes: Keep a few packs of baby wipes stored within your child’s reach and encourage their use.
  • Buy multipurpose sickness bags: Purchase a pack of multipurpose sickness bags — they’re leakproof and odorless.
  • Use snack containers instead of plastic bags: Help prevent snack spills by putting goodies in travel-friendly snack containers that are suitable for their age and development level.

Do you have a tip or trick for keeping your child’s car seat spotless? If so, share in the comments!

Featured photo credit: Child Car Seats via childcarseats.com.au

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Published on November 7, 2018

How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

In 2016, it was estimated that 1.7 million children were being homeschooled in the U.S, roughly 3.3% of all school-aged children.[1] Although this may not sound like a big portion of the population, the growth rate of homeschooling has been 7 to15% per year for the last two decades.

The burgeoning numbers are not a coincidence. There are tremendous benefits to homeschooling, including one-on-one teaching, adaptability to individual needs and learning styles, a safe learning environment, encouraging learning for knowledge rather than grades, and tailoring a curriculum to the child’s interests.

Is homeschooling something that you have been considering for your family? With all of the tools and resources available for homeschoolers in the 21st century, it may be easier than you think.

How to Homeschool (Getting Started)

After thinking it through, you’ve decided that homeschooling is the right step for you and your family. Now what? Here are the first things you should do to get your homeschooling journey started on the right track.

Figure Out the Laws

Homeschooling is regulated by the state, not the federal government. The first step is to find the current and accurate legal requirements mandated by your state in order to educate your child legally.[2]

The regulations can vary widely, from strict guidelines to no guidelines at all. However, don’t be overwhelmed by the legal jargon. There are many resources and local communities for homeschooling families that can help you figure out the logistics.

Decide on an Approach

Every child’s needs are different. This is your chance to choose the homeschooling style or combination of styles that best fits your child’s learning style and interests. A brief description of seven different homeschooling methods are listed below.

Supplies/Resources

Often times, purchasing a homeschooling curriculum is done too early in the planning process, resulting in buyer’s remorse.

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A curriculum is not always needed for homeschooling, and other types of free or less structured resources are readily available.

Find a Community

Getting connected with a community of homeschoolers is one of the most important parts of building a successful and thriving homeschool environment for your kids.

Look for communities online for virtual support or a local group that you and your kids can interact with. Partnering with others fosters better socialization skills for the students and provides opportunities for field trips, classes, and outings that wouldn’t have otherwise been a part of the homeschooling experience.

7 Different Homeschooling Methods

1. School-At-Home

Also known as Traditional homeschool, School-At-Home uses essentially the same curriculum as the local private or public school but at home.

The lessons can be completed independently, but more commonly, they are administered by a parent or a teacher-facilitated online school.

  • Benefits: formal standards, wide selection of curricula, same pace as peers, short-term friendly
  • Drawbacks: expensive, inflexible, time consuming, parent can get easily burnt out
  • Resources: K12, Time4Learning, Abeka

2. Classical

One of the most popular homeschooling methods used, it borrows educational practices from Ancient Greece and Rome. Subject areas are studied chronologically so that students can understand the consequence of ideas over time.

Socratic dialogue fosters effective discussions and debate to achieve beyond mere comprehension. There is often a strong emphasis on Great Books[3] as well as Greek and Latin.

3. Unit Studies

Rather than breaking up education into subjects, unit studies approach each topic as a whole, studying it from the perspective of each subject area.

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For example, a unit study about animals could include reading books about animals, learning about the classification of animals, figuring out which animals live on which continents, etc. This method is often used as a technique in other more comprehensive educational methodologies.

  • Benefits: promotes thinking about concepts as a whole, not monotonous or redundant, student-directed, bolsters weaker subject areas, beneficial for teaching multi-age students
  • Drawbacks: incomplete, knowledge gaps, curriculum-dependent
  • Resources: Unit Study, Unit Studies, Unit Studies Made Easy, Konos

4. Charlotte Mason

This Christian homeschooling style utilizes shorts periods of study (15-20 minute max for elementary, 45 minute max for high school), along with nature walks and history portfolios.

Students are encouraged to practice observation, memorization, and narration often. With a focus on “living books” (stories with heroes, life lessons, socio-ethical implications), reading plays a big role in this student-paced teaching style.

5. Montessori

Maria Montessori developed this method through working with special needs children in the early 20th century.

With a primary focus on the student setting the pace and indirect instruction from the teacher, this approach includes free movement, large unstructured time blocks (up to 3 hours), multi-grade classes, and individualized learning plans based on interests.

6. Unschooling

Unschooling is a learning model largely based on the work of John Holt.[4] The teaching style focuses mainly on the students’ interests, putting priority on experiential, activity-based, and learn as you go approaches.

For basic skills such as reading, writing, and math, a systematic technique is employed, but testing and evaluations are typically not utilized. Teachers, in general, play more of a facilitator role.

7. Eclectic/Relaxed

As the most popular method of homeschool, eclectic homeschooling is child-directed, resourceful, and non-curriculum based.

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Parents can sample any combination of homeschooling methods and styles or resources. One growing sector of eclectic homeschooling combines part homeschooling with part traditional schooling.

How to Facilitate Homeschooling with Technology

One of the reasons homeschooling is more feasible than ever before is due to the accessibility of tools and resources to enhance the learning process.

Email

Email is a tool that has really stood the test of time. Invented in 1972, it is still used today as a primary means of communicating on the Internet.

It is a great way to share assignments, links, and videos between parent and student.

Google Drive/Calendar

Google Drive offers a multitude of essential programs that can come in handy for homeschoolers, such as Docs, Sheets, Slides, and more.

With its sharing capabilities, easy accessibility, and auto-save ability, it’s easier than ever to organize and complete assignments. It will improve students’ writing and typing skills, as well as eliminate the need for paper.

Google Calendar is an excellent tool for tracking assignment due dates, planning field trips and activities, and developing time management skills.

Ebooks

Rather than invest in physical copies of books, ebooks are a wonderful option for saving money and space. There are plenty of places that offer a free or paid subscription to a wide selection of ebooks:

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E-Courses

When a structured curriculum is necessary for teaching a certain topic, an e-course is the way to go.

From watercolors to calculus, there are e-courses available about almost everything. Including different teaching styles that vary from the parents will encourage students to learn in different ways.

The visual and auditory stimulation will also be beneficial in helping students understand and retain the concepts being taught.

Some recommendations:

Youtube

Youtube is not just a platform for music videos and cats doing funny things. There are a number of Youtube channels that produce quality educational videos, free of charge.

Creating a playlist of videos for various topics is a great way to supplement a homeschool education.

Some recommendations:

Final Thoughts

Homeschooling in the current age looks much different than it did ten years ago. There are more options and more flexibility when it comes to educating kids at home.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the idea of homeschooling your children if it could make a positive impact on your family.

Featured photo credit: Hal Gatewood via unsplash.com

Reference

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