Revolution Mother

Revolution Mother

Archive of ‘Parent Advice’ category

Talking with Your Teen About Drugs

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Drug abuse is a far-reaching problem in this country, especially when it comes to teens during these tumultuous experimentation years. The good news is, the use of illicit drugs in teens has declined in the past 20 years, down to 27 percent in 2014 from 34 percent in 1997, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The same can be said for drugs like marijuana, alcohol and prescription pain killers. However, NIDA for Teens says drug overdoses account for more deaths each year than cars, guns and falls combined. As a parent, it’s imperative to talk to your kids frankly about drugs. The challenge is doing this in a way that doesn’t sound like a lecture.

Get Comfortable

According to Bay Area Recovery (http://www.bayarearecovery.com), choose a time and setting in which you and your teen are both relaxed with no interruptions. Be prepared in your mind to talk about your own experience with drug abuse, if any, to strengthen your case and appear more legitimate. Enlist the help of an older sibling or other trusted family member to provide an added layer to your conversation.

Find out What They Think

Instead of a long lecture with no feedback from your teen, ask him about his views on drugs. If he knows he can talk freely, you’ll get more out of the conversation than you would if it was one-sided. No one wants a boring lecture. Instead, ask questions such as, “What’s your point of view?”, “How do you feel about drugs?”, “Do you see this happening at school?” Check out the nonverbal cues you are getting from your teen and explore those with pointed questions.

Discuss Risk Factors

From genetics to a history of traumatic events, drug use can be more prevalent in some than others. Teens with a family history of drug abuse, those who have gone through traumatic past events, kids with feelings of social isolation, and those who are depressed are more likely to abuse drugs, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Why are Drugs Bad?

Rather than use scare tactics, make sure you discuss in rational terms why drugs can be deadly. Use statistics, true stories and even personal history to emphasize your points. Tell your teen why he should avoid drugs, which can affect anything from driving ability and personal appearance to academic life and health.

Use Opportunities as they Happen

When watching TV shows and movies or listening to songs on the radio that involve drug use, whether in a good or bad light, use those as opportunities to open up a discussion. This often works better than a staged talk on the harmful effects of drug abuse because it’s spontaneous and relevant, making it more likely your teen will open up.

Troubleshoot Peer Pressure Situations

Often times, teens may know in their heads that drugs are bad but they do it anyway because they’re pressured by their friends and don’t want to appear uncool. Brainstorm with your child exact wording or phrases they can say when confronted by friends looking to do drugs. Simple phrases like, “No thanks,” or, “I’m all set,” work well. You could also teach them to provide an excuse or diversion such as “My parents would ground me for years if they knew I was doing this,” or “No thanks, wanna go play ball instead?” Your teen should also avoid the places, times and situations when the likelihood for pressure is highest. These scenarios are great in theory, but in reality they may not play out the way you intend. That’s why it’s important to role play with your teen on a regular basis on how to develop strategies for turning down drugs, advises KidsHealth.

Starting these conversations early is key. If your teen is having trouble with drug or alcohol addiction, there are accessible treatment options to help your family.

A Bucket List for You and Your Kids This Year

If you make a bucket list for you and your kids this year, you’re bound to get lots done together. Spending quality time together is crucial, and by creating a bucket list you make sure that time is the best it can possibly be! Let’s take a look at some of the things you can include on your list, and how to make your list:

Go Hiking

If you’ve never been hiking with your kids, you’re definitely missing out on a special experience. Hiking helps you all to get a little exercise, while take in the beauty of nature. You can teach them about flowers, plants, creepy crawlies and more. Buy a book of walks or find a walk online that you can all take. There are even games you can play along the way.

Camp Out

Even if you just camp out in your back garden, camping out is a great experience for your kids to have. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, go away as a family for the weekend to a camping site. You’ll all be able to bond much better as a family, mainly because you’re in the wild with no distractions. There’s nothing quite like getting back to nature!

Go to a Theme Park

Theme parks are one of the most fun days out for the family you can have. Each one has their own unique rides and attractions, so do your research first and see what’s appropriate for all of you. You could put multiple parks on the list if you really wanted!

Take a Vacation

No bucket list would be complete without the goal to take a vacation, would it? You could even have a ‘staycation’ if you don’t want to spend too much on going away. There’s no reason you can’t have a great time close to home! No need to blow your budget.

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Have a Picnic

A picnic is a simple yet perfect way to spend some quality time together. Pick a nice day and have your picnic with plenty of healthy snacks and a few treats too. Bring magazines, games, and anything else you think you could do on your picnic.

Try Out a Hobby

Why not try out a hobby together as a family? You could develop an interest in photography, flower pressing, or something completely different. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you do it as a family and enjoy it!

Making Your Bucket List Together

It helps to get everybody excited if you make your bucket list together. You can make it and decorate it in any way you like. You could use colored card, make a collage, or even use a real bucket with pretty notes inside! You can then write the date next to activities you’ve completed. There’s nothing stopping you from doing those things twice either!

I hope you have a ton of fun doing these activities with your kids. Even creating the bucket list can be an activity where you spend quality time together! Make the most of it!

 

 

Here’s How I Protect My Kids When They Go On The Internet

The World Wide Web is an excellent resource of billions of people around the world. When you need to find out information about something, you have a wealth of data at your fingertips. Unfortunately, the Internet can also be a dark place. Adult “entertainment” websites are easy to access online. And we all know that can spell bad news when children can access them.

In today’s modern world, it is necessary for parents to put measures or controls in place to filter the content their kids can see. If you are worried about what your child might be watching online, check out these examples I use with my own children:

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Have your ISP filter website access

Although not a foolproof method of protection, you can have your ISP enable Internet content filters. In the UK, BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media all offer free parental controls that get enabled on their equipment.

That means anyone in your home cannot circumvent those filters. At least, not unless they somehow contact your ISP and get them to disable the protection! The only downside to this approach is some “clean” websites might get blocked by mistake. If that happens, you can ask your ISP to whitelist the site so that it doesn’t get blocked in future.

Enable content filtering on your router

Another option at your disposal is to enable content filtering on your router. When you access your router’s admin, you can find those options under a section like “Parental Controls.”

You can fine-tune the settings so that some known website URLs can get blocked. You just need to make sure that your kids don’t know how to access the router’s admin system, or find out what the login details are.6

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One of my friends has a son that managed to do this. Things got somewhat extreme in his case as he had an obvious addition to “adult content.” The good news is places like Mt Pleasant Academy can help kids to overcome such addictions.

Enable parental controls on your devices

It’s likely you will have a plethora of devices in your home like computers, smartphones and tablets. Even today’s modern TVs have built-in web browsers! You will be pleased to know that all devices have settings where you can enable parental controls.

Put simply, they filter websites by particular words and phrases used in the URL. If you do this in addition to the other filtering tools at your disposal, you’ll have a high chance of blocking out any dodgy websites.

Use MAC filtering on your router

Last, but not least, here’s a tip for the geeky parents among us! Each device, regardless of what it is, has something called a MAC (Media Access Control) “address.” In a nutshell, it’s a unique reference ID, kind of like a serial number.

You can ensure that only devices with particular MAC addresses can get used on your Wi-Fi and network connections. That way, you can control and filter what sites your children visit on the Web.

By following the above tips and tricks, you can ensure that you’ve done your best when it comes to the online safety of your children.

 

Where do You Start When Preparing for Your First Child?

Waiting for the arrival of your first child is a very exciting time, but it’s also a very nervous time. Everyone says it, but it really is life changing. Once that baby arrives, nothing in your life will be the same again. But that’s not a bad thing! There is a lot of preparation to do before the due date though.

It’s not just you that needs to be prepared; it’s everyone and everything around you too. Some things take time and discussion with your partner, and other things can be solved with minor adjustments to your daily routine. So, here’s where you should start when you’re waiting for your first child to arrive.

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Improve Your Health

Once you know you’re pregnant, the first thing to do is improve your health so that you and the baby will get through the pregnancy without any problems. You’re eating for two now, but you need to be eating the right kinds of food for two!

We all know it, but it should still be repeated. You must stop smoking and drinking alcohol as soon as you’re aware of the pregnancy. The harm both can inflict on your baby is not worth it.

Borrow from Friends

There’s a lot of equipment that goes into taking care of a baby, and that can mean a lot of spending. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Id’ always recommend borrowing items from family and friends that they’re no longer using. They’ll usually be happy to give them to you if their children have now grown up. It saves a lot of money and time shopping.

Make the Home Child-Friendly

You’ve probably organised and decorated your home exactly as you like it; that might have to be changed now though. Safety suddenly becomes a lot more important than style when a baby is on the way.

First of all, think about installing smoke alarms if you haven’t already, and add some heater guards. When they start crawling, you’ll have to make sure there are no wires or cords lying around.

Think About How You’ll Raise Your Child

There are thousands of ways in which you can bring up a child, and, of course, we all want the right one for our children. There are a lot of decisions to be made before you arrive at a final decision though.

You and your partner should sit down and discuss it. There are lots of books and guides that can help you, but sometimes it’s best to talk it through first.

Relax

With all that work and preparation piling up, it can be easy to forget to take it easy and relax. There’s no sense in overworking yourself and trying to take on too much at once; that won’t be good for you or the baby.

Let your partner bear some of the burden, you need to spend a bit of time to yourself with your feet up each day! If you do this and the other things mentioned on the list, you’ll have a smooth pregnancy and be fully prepared for the new arrival.

Missing Quality Time With The Kids? 7 Great Ideas For Staying Close

Sharing time with your family is the most wonderful event of each day, but it seems to get harder and harder to do as the kids get older. There are the same number of hours in a day, but there comes a point when you realize they just aren’t enough. When kids start school, and you are at work, it can be hard to get back to each other in the evening with enough energy to engage each other fully. Often the weekends are full of household chores and sports clubs so your time together may still be restricted.

Even though you live under the same roof, you can still feel very isolated despite having a close family. When your kids become more and more independent, they seem to prefer the company of their friends, and their sports and hobbies take up much of their time. Rather than feel glum, we give you the top seven ways to keep in good company with your growing kids:

  1. Take an interest – Ask your kids plenty of questions each week about what they are into. This is different from asking what they are up to. Instead, talk about their music tastes, and what movies are worth a watch. This will give you a springboard for a deeper conversation and before you know it, you have been sitting and chatting for half an hour.
  2. Dates – Take each of your kids out one at a time on their own, like you would a date. Visit a favorite coffee house or ice cream bar. Just the two of you together can be a great opportunity to catch up and talk about things at their level. Eventually, you can invite siblings to do the same with each other to keep their relationship close.
  3. Dog walking – Have the whole family take the dog for a walk. It gives you all some fresh air and exercise, setting good habits for life. Most importantly, you can visit places away from the house that you all enjoy and feel relaxed in.
  4. Faith – Some moms use this time in their lives to touch base with their faith at places like harvestfamilychurch.com. It also provides the rest of the family a chance to be together in a friendly setting where activities are very oriented toward the family as a unit.
  5. New hobby – If you take up a new hobby, or even an old one, you can probably find your kids will take an interest. If they are ready to find their own hobby, see if you can join in. Learn a new instrument together, or find some craft activities you can both enjoy.
  6. Board games – Sometimes affectionately known as Bored games by kids. They are great for getting you all to interact with each other.

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Source of image is Flickr.com

  1. Do the school run – Taking your kids to school instead of them taking the bus buys you those few extra minutes each day to check in with everyone.

Kitchen Tips: Get Your Kids Involved

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The kitchen can be a harried place in your home —especially just as you’re preparing a complicated family dinner. But instead of always shooing your kids out of the kitchen, you can learn to involve them in what’s happening there, when it’s suitable. Kids love being a part of something bigger and more important, so get them involved and interested in the kitchen! You’ll not only gain some much-needed helping hands, your children can develop some skills and confidence in the culinary world. Think of how much this will come in handy, when they grow up and need to start cooking for themselves!

Of course, make sure to take safety precautions: children should never be allowed to handle sharp knives or raw meat, and you’ll want them to stay safely away from the hob, the oven, or any hot dishes or utensils. You may also want to keep them away from any delicate, breakable glassware or dishware. But read on for a few ideas on how to get your kids safely interested and involved in the kitchen. Meanwhile, for other kitchen tips and housekeeping advice, click here.

  • Setting the table This is an easy task, but it adds a bit of formality which kids can take pride in. Rely on your kids to lay out the individual plates, silverware, and napkins, and they’ll learn a bit of table etiquette along the way. And with such a simple task, even the youngest or slowest child can master the art of setting the table. Just use your judgment when sharp knives or breakable dishes are involved.
  • Washing and drying dishes Even though dishwashing can be a bore, it can be made much more enjoyable if duties are split up: one person collects the dirty dishes, another soaps and rinses them, another dries them with a towel. With a dishwasher, kids can play an important role in stacking dishes and running the machine. And don’t forget: they can also do their bit in returning clean dishes to their rightful places, as long as the shelves or cupboards aren’t too high for them.
  • Helping with cooking—Cooking and baking can be a great family activity together, and kids love playing chef’s assistant. While you won’t want your kids involved in anything dangerous, they can help to stir or mix together food. Or they can measure out teaspoons and cups of ingredients, according to the recipes. This is also a great way for them to learn to follow instructions.
  • Washing vegetables and fruits This is another way kids can help out in a safe way. Rely on your kids to wash fruit and veg, or to do simple preparations like peeling oranges or snapping the ends off string beans. They’ll love the hands-on aspect of working with the fruit and veg.
  • Putting away groceries —When you’ve just come back from a shop, teach your kids to help you put away the groceries to their rightful places in the kitchen and pantry. They’ll learn to be organised, and it’ll give you a bit of a break.

These are just a few ideas, but getting your children involved in the kitchen is a great way to keep your kids active  and engaged, while lessening your workload a bit. Here’s to some fun and productive family times in the kitchen!

Why All New Mothers Sometimes Feel Like They Can’t Cope

Ask any mother and they will tell you the first baby is always the worst. This is because, as a new mum, you are clueless. You don’t know what to do or why your baby is doing what they are doing. After the fear of pregnancy and giving birth, you are left with a tiny, helpless, grumpy little bundle. Every scream and cry worry you endlessly, and none of your maternal coping mechanisms seem to work. You are not the first mum to feel like that, and you won’t be the last. The test of trying to figure it out as you go along is part of the bonding process. The harder you work for it, the more baby knows you love him.

There are times though that you feel the whole world is judging you as a bad mum. Maybe baby has a stuffy nose, or they have been scratching themselves raw. We all worry our baby is too fat or too thin or too far behind the other babies development. Worry comes with the job. All babies catch colds every month. All babies catch themselves, then scratch that same spot because it itches as it heals. All babies have chubby and thin phases. No baby will ever be ahead of the pack on everything.

If you are tired but still worrying and trying, you are being the perfect mum. You’re not going to be able to relax because your baby’s well-being is too important to you. However, there are some tips and tricks available to help you get through the tough times. Never for a second think that it’s not OK for you to nap while baby is asleep. It’s essential that you do, for your own sanity! Use a sling or harness to keep baby close while you do the chores, so you’re not using nap time to get it done.

For scratchy babies, do your best to keep nails short, by tearing ragged ends, not cutting. Also, take a look at Scratchsleeves to cover up wayward fingers and give sore skin a chance to heal. For those times when you worry about baby’s weight, keep a diary of what they eat, and what they do. You will probably find they are eating very well and are particularly active. Every time they have a growth spurt, it changes their proportions a little, and can make them look thinner. Weigh them regularly if you are concerned.

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Thanks to Flickr for the pic

If you feel like you can’t do this and you’re not coping, then you are perfectly normal. Mum’s have a tough time of it when they first have a baby. Your hormones are a mess, and you are very sleep deprived. But if you are reading this, then you are probably doing just fine. If you are concerned about how you are doing, join a mother’s group and speak to your health visitor. The odd teary day is to be expected, but if it frequently happens , you may want to ask your doctor to do some health checks for you.

3 Ways to Ensure Your Child’s School is Hygienic

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Kids can transfer germs very quickly. School classrooms and play areas can house lots of germs that your kids can bring home and catch illnesses from. Ensuring your child’s environment is clean and hygienic can be a tricky task when you have no direct control over one of the places they spend a huge amount of time at: their school. That isn’t to say you can’t do anything though! Here are some tips for ensuring your child’s school is hygienic.

1. Teach Your Child

Instilling proper habits in your children will ensure that they are healthy and clean at school. Not being able to hold their hand throughout the day anymore, you can’t be sure that they’ll always do the right thing. However, you can be proactive in your approach by teaching them while they are at home. Ask your children the important questions and give them the answers they need to understand the significance of hygiene. How do germs spread? Why is it important to be clean? What is proper practice? Why should I wash my hands after using the restroom? Why should I wash my hands before I eat? Why shouldn’t I share drinks or other things with other children? This transfer of knowledge at a young age will help your children to grow with good hygiene and to be safe while you are not around.

2. Speak to the Teachers

Ask the faculty and staff about their procedures on hygiene. Do they teach proper procedures in the classroom? Do they monitor the children to ensure they are following instructions? Are there tissues, hand-sanitiser, disinfecting wipes, or power towels that are easily accessible for children to reach? How often are the supplies used and cleaned? Do the teachers practise what they teach to the kids and lead by example? Ask the teachers, but then also ask your children when they get home. You are trying to keep your children safe, so you want to make every effort to ensure the school you send them to is reinforcing this good behaviour.

3. Research the School’s Hygiene/Safety Policies

Schools should have in place a health and safety policy that outlines the proper steps and procedures for emergencies and day-to-day activities. Obtain a copy and familiarise yourself with what the guidelines say. Is the policy adequate and have you seen evidence of it being implemented in the school? Challenging a policy can be difficult, especially as a parent, but don’t be afraid to speak up if you feel an insufficient policy is putting your child and others at risk. The school’s hygiene policy should also mention what procedures they follow in terms of keeping the school clean. You can feel confident that your child’s school values hygiene as much as you do if they use a professional cleaning company that specialises in school cleaning, such as AMC Cleaning.

School is where your child will spend the majority of their day during the week, so it makes sense to want to make sure the environment is as safe as can be. Do you have any extra tips you could share with other parents who want to do so? Comment below.

3 Tips To Protect Kids From Social Networking Threats

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Kids are inherently social beings. Take a glimpse outside and you’ll see children practicing their social skills and interacting with each other. It’s only natural that they would want to use a social network. After all, their classmates have their own accounts.

Pew Research Center points out that more than 55 percent of American kids ages 12-17 use social media sites. In the UK, 25 percent of kids ages 8-12 have a profile on Facebook despite clear age restrictions. The stats depict that social networking sites are the new playground for kids.

However, there are dangers of using social networking sites that parents and children need to be aware of and address, such as:

Inappropriate content: Kids using Facebook and Twitter may come across shocking content. In March 2013, a video showcasing child pornography was shared 16,000 times and liked by nearly 4,000 users. Shocked users tweeted out their rage, and the news spread like wildfire. It took 8 hours for Facebook’s team to remove the video and all traces of it. The question: how such a video was uploaded without being detected? And what if your kid sees such a video?

Anonymous strangers: You may have heard of the ‘stranger danger’ term, but kids may be threatened by those who are familiar to them. However, social networks make it easy for perpetrators to pose as others, or leave anonymous private messages. Pew Research Center reveals that 32 percent of online teens were contacted by someone with no connection to their social circles, and 7 percent said they felt uncomfortable with the initiated contact.

Social networking stalking: Posting images can reveal a lot of information about what your child’s private life looks like, including the school they attend, what their place looks like, or information about their family. Social networking stalkers may even approach your child and use techniques to lure them into real-life meeting, or steal some private data of your kids to torture them online.

Protecting kids against social networking dangerous

Luckily, parents have a several tools and options to protect their kids from social networking threats and increase security on devices kids use to access social networking sites. Here are some of them:

Configure privacy settings: Most social networks have privacy settings. Ask children what social networks they use, and talk to them about the importance of privacy, both online and offline. Set their personal information to private and explain them that you’re trying to help protect their information. Parents also have the option of purchasing internet security software that scans privacy settings on Twitter, Facebook and other networks to ensure there are no security lapses. Some of these offerings may also offer a secure web browser to ensure safe web surfing for children.

Discuss social media use: Have the conversion about dangerous of using social media sites with your kids early on. Tell them what is appropriate to share online and what isn’t, and most important whom to share the information with. Teach them not to engage in conversations with strangers, especially those older than the kids. It’s also a good idea to teach them about how to report abuse on Facebook and other social networks. Refer them to the Family Safety Center on Facebook, where there is a wealth of advice for parents and children alike.

Keep regular checks: That’s the rule of thumb. If your kids are going to use social media networks, they must allow you in their social circles and you must be diligent in monitoring what they share/post and following their activity. Making kids agree to be followed can be an uphill battle, so try appealing to them by reminding them that what they post online can be seen by anyone. In order to protect their online reputation, they must allow a parent/guardian to monitor their social media activity.

 

Top Changes You Should Make To Your Home After Having Children

If you’re lucky enough to have just welcomed a new life into the world, you will have your work cut out. Looking after small children can be an incredibly stressful job. Not only that, but you may have to make lots of alterations to your property in order to accommodate them. We all know how prone kids are to accidents, and so it’s important you limit the chances of them being seriously injured. Most of the changes you need to make are pretty simple. You just have to think like a child in order to work out which areas of your home are most dangerous. While common sense is the best solution, you might like to consider some of our suggestions…

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Jessica Pankratz

Invest in slipcovered furniture

The chances of your child dropping or spilling something on your furniture stand at somewhere close to 100%. For that reason, you need to invest in some new products that can be cleaned without too much hassle. Slipcovered furniture companies provide excellent items that have removable covers. That means you can take them off and wash them without having to pay for a specialist. While you might have to spend a lot of money for the best quality furniture, it’s most certainly worth the expense. Just ask any other mother on your street.

Cover those sharp edges

Small children slip and fall all the time, and that is why it’s vital that you cover all the sharp edges in your home. That is especially the case if you have marble countertops in your kitchen. Thankfully, there is no need to get the sander out and round them off. In fact, you can get some cheap products that solve the problem. Most of them are made of rubber, and they are fitted over your sharp edges to ensure anyone bumping into them leaves uninjured.

Look for alternative lighting solutions

We all know how difficult it can be for a small child to fall asleep in the evenings. So, it might be sensible for you to look for some alternative lighting solutions. Adding some lamps or dimmer switches could help you to create a more relaxed atmosphere. In turn, that could mean your child get to sleep much faster. The last thing you want is to deal with a kid that refuses to close his eyes because you are in a brightly lit room.

Install a stair gate

Children are not capable of walking down stairs safely until they are at least a couple of years old. However, most of them will attempt to do so regardless. That could lead to them getting hurt, and it could result in a lot of worrying medical visits. To eliminate the possibility of that happening, you must install a good quality stair gate as soon as possible. If nothing else, it will give you peace of mind.

So long as you make all those basic changes to your home, you shouldn’t encounter too many safety issues. We hope your child grows up to become a healthy and well-balanced individual.

Good luck!