Enkore Kids Search

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Meeting Diapering Need #schoolofcloth

Diapers are probably the biggest required expense new parents encounter when they bring a child into their home. The weekly cost of disposable diapers while not huge for just one package, quickly adds up. From birth to potty training, it's estimated to be about $2500. For some families, the choice between that package of diapers or food or gas for the car is a harsh reality each week.

Cloth diapers allow families to save money over the long haul by making an up front investment in an item that will last through several children. For those that are having to make the tough choice between food and diapers, it's an investment they might not be able to afford. Cloth diaper closets/ banks can help fill this need by helping to get families a cloth diaper stash for little upfront cost.

Enkore Kids is starting a cloth diaper closet to help low income families in our local area afford diapers for their children . Our diaper closet will supply each family with a diaper stash that will be configured to meet their needs based on the age/weight of the child(ren) and whether or not the child(ren) will be in daycare. There are even hand-washing options for those that may not have the reliable use of a washer and dryer.

Our program provides families with a “rent to own plan” that will allow them to pay a low monthly fee until the diapers have been paid in full. Generally, it's a plan that lasts about 6 months and costs between $25 and $45 a month depending on the needs and age of the child. Built into the program is “up-sizing” the sized components of the stash as the child grows – switching out “newborn” prefolds for “infant” along with the covers, for instance, at no extra charge.

The family can then keep and use these diapers until they are done with cloth diapering and then can take advantage of our buyback program allowing them to purchase other items their child may need at that time.

While $25 to $45 is less than the cost of disposables (estimated to be about $80/month), we know even that can be a hardship for some families. Thanks to the generosity of our customers, we are able to offer a subsidy for those with demonstrable need (participants in WIC, SNAP, and/or Low Income hosing) or serving those in need (foster parents). Also, discounts on other goods will be available to qualified participants while a part of this program.

Our donated funds will not last long, so we are working now to establish partnerships with area charities to ensure continued access to this program in the future. We are also collecting donations of diapers, goods for sale and money (or store credit) from our customers if they'd like to support this program.

Our “rent to own” program (without a subsidy) is available to anyone who is interested in a way of cloth diapering their children on a budget. Families can start making payments on a diaper package even before baby is born if they want to spread out the cost even longer.

We are working to partner with area hospitals, food banks, birth circles, daycares, and other child care professionals to get word out to families that may be interested in this program.

For more information and to start the process, please click http://enkorekids.com/cloth-closet.

By Susan McCarthy
Co-Owner of Enkore Kids

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Affordability of Cloth Diapers #schoolofcloth

One of the main objections I hear from people when I talk to them about cloth is that it costs too much.

I was fortunate when I began my cloth diaper journey that I was able to find some free cloth diapers on a local online giveaway site. Without those diapers, I'm not sure I would have stuck with cloth since my options at the time were to buy diapers mostly sight unseen online. Luckily, during one of my early diapering pickups, I met a woman who was willing to take the time to explain to me how many of the inexpensive diapers in her stash worked. Cheap diapers such as prefolds and flats made it possible for me to have several changes each day for my son while I saved money to buy and try other diapers such as pockets and all-in-ones.

I often tell people when they are just beginning to cloth diaper that one of the best investments they can make is to buy two waterproof covers and a Snappi. I have shown many new-to-cloth moms who are struggling financially with the cost of diapers in general, how to diaper their children for less than $25 using towels, receiving blankets, t shirts and other items they already have at home.

Many women have been able to use these at home and save their disposable diapers for daycare until they are able to have enough easier-to-use cloth diapers to send to daycare.

I often start my cloth diaper education with the phrase – disposable diapers for one child will cost you around $3000, while cloth diapers for as many children as you have can cost you as little as $100. Most folks will quickly start to ask questions about cloth diapers on a budget and it seems to ease much of the tension once they realize that cloth diapers really will save them money.

I'm not sure how much money I saved using cloth diapers. I cloth diapered both of my children for probably 90% of their diaper wearing years so I would guess I saved in the neighborhood of $5000 between the two of them. I know that I was able to use the money I was not spending on diapers each week to do many good things for my children and my family.

The upfront cost of cloth diapers should never be something that scares someone away from trying cloth Education is the key to making people aware of all the price options for diapering their children.
By Susan McCarthy, Co-Owner of Enkore Kids
For more information on-line, see:
More questions?
  • Call us at Enkore Kids at 301-668-0837
  • Sign up for our FREE Classes. (Participants in the month of November can be entered to win one of several cloth diaper stashes valued at $100 each. Details available at the link.)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Getting Started with Cloth Diapers - @schoolofcloth

Cloth diapering ten years ago was not as easy as it is today as far as finding cloth diapers or finding reliable information. 

I began my cloth diapering journey a few months after my son was born when we discovered that no matter what brand of disposable diapers we were using, he was breaking out in a rash almost every diaper change. I couldn't stand to look at his poor red bottom any longer and so I started to look into cloth diapers. 

My first intro to cloth was my neighbor who had a few “old school” prefold diapers, pins, and a couple of covers that she let me try, but my son quickly outgrew those so I was then on my own finding more diapers. Local stores were no help, so I went online looking. I was able through freecycle to find other cloth diapering moms and meeting with them to get diapers and advice was the most important thing for me to get started. 

My stash grew in sometimes small amounts and sometime large amounts depending on if I was buying items site unseen online or getting them through freecycle or other groups. Washing was trial and error but was helped by my mother who had washed cloth diapers and gave me the advice to keep it simple and just make sure I had enough water and detergent to get them clean. 

I had read online to avoid things that could build up on my diapers such as fragrances and such. Fortunately, adding things to detergents back then was not the norm so my generic Costco detergent worked great.

Rinse, wash, and rinse was my routine and then hang to dry unless it was raining. 

 I loved my cloth and was glad to be able to save money and reduce our environmental impact while improving my children's health. 

I hope that through my classes and through our store, Enkore Kids, I can provide that word of mouth and one-on-one personal advice that was the most helpful to me when I was first trying cloth. 

Online stores, blogs, and informational websites have a place in the cloth diapering world and can help to provide information and services at odd hours or to families that live far from brick and mortar stores, but nothing can replace being able to see and touch a diaper and have a real person be able to show you how to use and adjust the diaper for your particular child. 

Also, being able to talk to other people who live near you with the same water type and same detergent choices can help cut down the time it takes to find a wash routine that works for you. 

I hope that families that are new to cloth for whatever reason can find resources to help them make the best choices for their budgets, babys and lifestyles.   

By Susan McCarthy, Co-owner of Enkore Kids

For more information on-line, see: 
More questions?
  • Call us at Enkore Kids at 301-668-0837.
  • Facebook us here.
  • Sign up for our FREE Classes. (Participants in the month of November can be entered to win one of several cloth diaper stashes valued at $100 each. Details available at the link.)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Educational Toy Ideas for the Holidays

As the Holidays approach, the most often asked question we get is: what toy is best to get for my child, grandchild, etc.

We all want what's best for our children and what's better than providing them with toys that not only entertain, but teach as well? And that's what makes the Classic Toys, “classic” - they are time tested and outlast all the fad electronic “learning” toys for kids that often end up at the bottom of the toybox or the back of the closet soon after the Holidays.

So what makes the classic toys “educational”? In truth, most any toy for young children have educational value (so long as it's safe and age appropriate), but we'll be touching on two categories of educational toys: Manipulatives and Pretend Play.

Manipulatives: Rattles, Shape Sorters, Blocks, & Puzzles

What's more a more basic toy than baby's first rattle? Rattles & other noise-maker infant toys provide baby's first experience in cause and effect: they move the toy and it rewards them with a noise. It's also builds dexterity as they learn to grasp it and pass it from hand to hand.

Shape Sorters, Blocks, and Stacking Toys are great for older infants starting at about 18 months. Shape sorters work on identifying shape and manual dexterity to get them to fit the rights slot. Blocks can introduce pictures and the alphabet and teach cause & effect (build it & knock it down). Stacking toys introduce order.

The most popular manipulatives are puzzles. There are puzzles that are age appropriate from 12 months to 12 years and up. It doesn’t really matter how many pieces or what the picture, puzzles can teach many skills kids need to succeed.

First, and most obviously, puzzles teach subject matter. A child can learn something about the pictures that he is creating. Extensive vocabulary can help a child read at higher levels, especially in the middle school years and beyond.

Puzzles teach other language skills as well. When a parent and child do a puzzle together, the parent may help the child by suggesting: “turn it around” or “put it next to…” These are great directional words.

Children can also learn adjectives such as straight, curvy, round, red, blue, etc. Another language skill is categorizing. This means sorting objects or ideas in to groups that have a common theme.

Try this idea with familiar peg puzzles: Take 2 or more puzzles with different topics and scramble the pieces. Have the child sort the puzzle pieces into piles. You can provide (or ask the child to provide) a heading for each pile. This is a foundation skill for organizing facts for paragraph writing and constructing essays.

Puzzles also help children develop visual skills needed for reading. Simple infant and toddler puzzles can teach a child visual matching skills that can be transferred to reading tasks. Simple puzzles teach children to match one picture to its mate. Sometimes the pictures can be identical and other times the child must match a picture to its outline. Jigsaw puzzles also require visual closure skills. Children need to use clues from the surrounding pieces to choose the piece that fits. This teaches our brains to “size up” the whole picture- important for being able to "fill in the blanks" for reading difficult text and for life.

Finally, puzzles can teach good study skills. They require the child to get organized before starting a task, such as turning pieces picture-side up or sorting out straight edges. Children learn to develop a strategy: should I start by completing a focus object and working my way to others or should I do the edges first?

Puzzles teach perseverance, as a child has to try piece after piece in a particular spot, possibly many different ways. If the missing piece is not found, the child needs to decide to try another area. Lastly, puzzles teach older children how to manage long-term projects. Working on a puzzle a little bit each night can lead to a great accomplishment.

When selecting puzzles for young children, consider many things. Puzzles with pictures that interest the child are motivating. Also consider if the child has the visual skills and dexterity to complete the puzzle. Or maybe this puzzle will be one that he does with his family. There are many different kinds of puzzles so every age can be challenged and successful.

Pretend Play:

Make-believe play is more than just fun, it helps kids:

-Explore imagination

-Think in the abstract

-Acquire language skills

-Build social skills

-Problem solve

-Understand someone else’s perspective

-Learn essential life skills from adults

-Discover leadership skills

-Safely explore the world beyond

-Acquire confidence and a sense of self

The more open-ended the toy, the better. For example, a Dora Doll will likely be used only in associate with Dora story-lines. Which is fine, but a generic doll can be used for a lot more and requires more thought from the child to come up with stories.

There are several types of pretend play, and all should be encouraged:

Imitating mom & dad: taking care of the kids, shopping, going to work, playing with make-up, etc, help them learn the roles they will fill later in life. Provide your child with props that will let them pretend to be you: baby doll, shopping cart, kitchen, purse/wallet and the like.

Playing dress-up: Get the most out of your Halloween costumes and choose dress-ups that your child can play with all year. Grown-up clothes are also great dress-ups- just be sure they know what's available to them and what's not.

Acting out real-life stories & make-believe stories: School, doctor, bank, and favorite stories from books, tv, & movies encourage cooperative play with others, taking turns, and vocabulary.

Creating make-believe spaces such as sofa forts & box houses may encourage the budding architect in your little one and performing for an audience by singing, acting in skits, and directing puppet theater will build your child's imagination and confidence.

At Enkore Kids, we have plenty of toys to choose from in both categories discussed here: Manipulatives & Pretend Play. Ask to see our Melissa & Doug catalog or checkout our selection in the store and on-line at www.enkorekids.com today.

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