Archive of ‘Parent Advice’ category
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.
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Board games – Sometimes affectionately known as Bored games by kids. They are great for getting you all to interact with each other.
Source of image is Flickr.com
- 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
When it comes to looking after our kids, we all want to do our best. There isn’t a corner of the world that a mother wouldn’t go, to make sure that their kid gets the best start in life. But with budget constraints and conflicting opinions on what is right and wrong, it can often be hard to know which way to turn.
As a new mother, you will have to buy hundreds of things. In the end, it can be tempting to buy whatever’s in front of you, just to avoid having to spend more time shopping. There are certainly instances in which that is a fine philosophy. After all, it’s better to spend time with your child rather than standing around in the supermarket wondering which type of bib would suit them best. But there are other times when it’s worth thinking through a big purchase and spending that extra bit of cash in order to get some peace of mind.
And there are often times when quality is supremely important. In many cases it can be worth investing that extra bit of cash in order to get this vital quality assurance. And perhaps the best form of quality assurance comes from knowing that your new purchases have been handmade.
Handmade items have a load of different advantages to them. First of all, you know that the materials will be safe and healthy for your child. With plenty of knock-offs and cheap imitations rolling off of the assembly lines abroad, many of them use materials that are unsafe for children.
If the item is handmade then you know someone has safely handled it before, and you also know that they company making it cares about their materials. Powell Craft stockists, for example, will have more information on their products than your average discount supermarket will have. Using this information, you will be able to make sure that the items that your child uses every day are completely safe.
You should also be thinking about durability. Obviously your child will be growing a lot over their first few years. Many mothers take this to mean that they should be buying anything too expensive, as it will simply be grown out of in a month’s time. But there are items, such as cribs, that are worth investing in. A handmade crib will last an extremely long time, and will often have an extensive or lifetime guarantee. As a bonus, you will also be able to pass it on to other mothers when it is their turn.
Handmade toys will also have a certain charm to them. They will be simple and timeless. They will also be completely free of all of the choking hazards that often make it through safety checks in modern toys. As a further bonus, toys such as this are likely to last a very long time. This means that as your child grows up you will have a few mementos of those first happy years.
Christmas vacation is an exciting time of the year. It means two or more week where your kiddos are out of school and home to enjoy the holidays. But this special time can get a little crazy with stir crazy children trapped in the house all day and growing a little wild. Here are six fun activities to plan with your munchkins during this winter break.
1. Set Up Craft Time
Most kids have an amazing artistic side, and with school out of session, they will be ready to show off their glue stick skills home. Pull out the construction paper and scissors for a fun family craft time. Research a few printables or other winter craft ideas online and let your kids go crazy with creativity.
2. Cooking School
With holiday baking and warm winter recipes, this break might be the perfect time to teach your youngsters some basic culinary skills. Cover everybody in an apron and set to work. This can be a prime opportunity for reinforcing their fledgling math skills with instruction or reminders about measuring cups and spoons.
3. Pick a Read Aloud Book
The importance of reading out loud to little ones can’t be overstated. Winter break is a perfect chance to enjoy quality time and a classic story. Use the break from schooldays and homework to read with your kids. Get together and pick out a favorite chapter book like The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe or The Wonderful Wizard or Oz. If your family enjoys the mornings, cozy up around a cup of hot chocolate and read a chapter. If you are night owls, then start a routine of reading a chapter or two before bed. If your kids are excited to see what happens next, read in the morning and at lunch and at night!
4. Do You Want to Build a Snowman?
They’ve been singing that question around the house and in the carpool and at school all year long. Now, as the snow begins to fall, it is finally time to head outside with your kids and sculpt your very own snowman. It is an annual tradition for most families living in colder climates. And if you reside in a sunny spot, maybe opt for constructing a sand castle together.
5. Family Movie Night
Another great way to engage with kids is over their classic movie or TV show. With channels from Mississippi Direct TV Service or other Direct TV providers, you and yours can enjoy classic holiday movies and all of your children’s shows. When you know a great program or film is about to air, gather everyone together and cook some homemade popcorn. Bundle up on the couch with blankets and pillows and enjoy being together.
6. Build a Blanket Fort
One the most fun growing up experiences consists of indoor construction. Blanket forts are so much fun to create, whether you are eight years old or 48. Gather sheets, blankets, chairs, brooms and other prospective building materials and set to work as a team. See your children generate their own ideas and lead a group effort while learning what works and what doesn’t hold up structurally.
With these six winter time activities, your family will be happily entertained this winter break. And you will be able to enjoy the special memories made this holiday season.
Image from reading4rigor.com and sheknows.com
For many children, a deep love of animals begins early on in life. As a parent, you know it’s important to teach your children to love and respect both their pets and the wildlife around them. It’s an excellent outlook to have in general, but can also foster skills that will help your little one to succeed in an animal sciences career down the road. If, “Mum, I’m going to be a veterinarian when I grow up” is something you hear all the time, this post is for you! These six helpful tips will provide you with ways to foster those skills throughout childhood and beyond.
Encourage Good Grades
This may not seem like a very fun way to encourage your child–especially if you tell them how important it is to stay on top of boring homework before going out to play. Good grades from very early on is one of the best ways to guarantee success when applying for a veterinary programme down the road.
Most are extremely competitive, taking only applications that can show an ability to maintain scores from the early grades on. After year 10, this becomes even more important. With major universities like Edinburgh limiting slots in order to gain more foreign students, your child really needs to be the full package.
While you’ll probably have to tag along if your child is fairly young, volunteering is an excellent way to prepare for a veterinary career path. PBS has an excellent blog post that details how other children offer their help.
Volunteering instills the idea that service toward the community–and the beings within it–is important. Offering your time at a local shelter, pet shop or animal clinic is a fantastic way for your little one to get their feet wet while still providing a much-needed service.
That being said, volunteering can have some drawbacks. Very young children may have difficulty understanding that, sometimes, sad things happen in these environments. While that’s no reason to avoid jumping in altogether, consider your child’s personality before signing them up. If you think seeing sick animals or learning of an animal being euthanised will discourage them or upset them a great deal, it may be best to wait a couple of years and try again.
Walking dogs or petting cats at your local RSPCA is an excellent place to start. These animals need love, too!
Adopt a Pet
Dogs are synonymous with childhood. If you had a pet dog as a child, then you undoubtedly know the sense of loyalty and responsibility it can foster. If you haven’t already, adopting or rescuing your own dog can be an excellent way to further that love of animals.
According to the RSPCA, owning a dog can encourage the development of social skills and teach little ones about the value of clear communication.
But it’s not enough to just adopt a puppy–make your little one an active part of the process right from the beginning. That means choosing a good breed, learning about feeding the pet a healthy diet, and attending vet visits. Grooming, walking and training are all valuable learning experiences, too.
When You Can’t Adopt
Can’t adopt your own pet? There’s still plenty of opportunity to play with the pets of others. Help your child to create a pet-related business by walking local dogs for a small donation to the RSPCA. Or, just visit local dog parks. You can also find scheduled dog walks in your area using the My Pawson Dog Friendly website, and other similar sites.
Being the Mum or Dad of a budding veterinarian won’t always be easy. You’ll undoubtedly run into some difficult situations along the way. But the joy and excitement of seeing your little one unfold their wings over time is absolutely worth it.