Revolution Mother

Revolution Mother

Archive of ‘Parent Advice’ category

5 Tips For Encouraging Your Kids To Read This Year

At a time when electronic game consoles are incredibly popular, and most kids spend their free time gazing at a computer screen, it can be exceptionally difficult to make the little ones understand the benefits of getting stuck into a good book. Telling them about how much more intelligent they’ll be in later life simply doesn’t work in most cases. At the end of the day, children like to do things they enjoy, and so it’s your job to ensure reading becomes entertaining for them. Don’t worry too much if this sounds like a difficult task though, there are five handy tips in this article guaranteed to give you a helping hand.

Personally, I didn’t read a book until the age of 23, and although I was a late starter, jumping on the literary bandwagon changed my life in numerous ways ( I would have never become a professional writer for a start). My only regret is that I didn’t start sooner, and that’s something you need to help your kids to avoid. So, if you feel as passionate as me about reading and you want some great advice that could make all the difference to their perspective, read on…

1 – Reading With Them

This is the best piece of advice I can possibly offer all the parents out there. Showing your kids how to read by thumbing through their favourite stories at bedtime and ensuring the words are expressed with excitement and enthusiasm can seriously affect the way a child feels about literature. You don’t need to recite anything long and tedious, just find some popular childrens books and select the titles you feel would be most appropriate.

2 – Alternatives To Books

If you have a child who flat out refuses to become interested in books or e books, it might be time to look at alternatives like magazines or comic books. Anything you can find that sparks their imagination and encourages them to take an interest in text will benefit them greatly in later life. Just ensure you double check age ranges to ensure everything you hand them is suitable.

3 – Making The Stories Interactive

There are some amazing interactive books out there these days, so perhaps you should take a look at some and see if any appeal. That said; you can make any title interactive for kids by simply asking questions about the story along the way and ensuring they understand everything associated with the main plot.

4 – Turn It Into A Game

A friend of mine has a three year old daughter who hates cleaning up her own mess after playing. Do you know how he gets her to tidy her things away? He turns it into a game. You can do the same thing with reading. Create a chart and put it in your child’s bedroom, then mark off books that have been read. Once they’ve been through all the titles on the list, you can reward them in some way.

5 – Let Your Kids Pick Which Books They Read

Although most of you will want your kids to read certain titles, you should try to let them make the selection as often as possible. This will make them feel more grown up and more like they’re in control of their own destiny, rather than being forced to read for educational purposes.

So there you have it guys, follow those tips, and you should find that getting your kids to read becomes a much easier task. On top of all this, make sure you become members of your local library, as this is the best way to ensure your child gets to choose from the widest selection of titles, and it also makes for a good day out every couple of weeks.

Catch you next time folks!

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Avoid Eight Common Mistakes When Buying Furniture Online

onlinePurchasing furniture in any setting can be tricky, but it is even more so online if buyers do not take proper precautions and plan their purchase thoroughly.

  1. Set a budget and stick with it. Going over budget is a frequent mistake, especially since there may be hidden costs associated with the furniture purchase online. Hidden costs can include tax, shipping, fitting or customization charges, and extended warranties. Carefully investigate any purchase before clicking “Finalize Purchase.”
  1. Before making any furniture purchase, measure the space the furniture must fit.
    1. Length, width, depth and height are all important when choosing furniture.
    2. Include adequate walkways around furniture and consider line of sight to important features of the room. These may include the TV, other seats and guests, doors and windows.
    3. Write down the measurements to assist with your shopping.
  1. Always comparison shop for furniture, both at online stores and brick-and-mortar stores. Make sure you are getting the best overall deal with your online purchase before you buy.
    1. Check reviews for both the furniture items and the online store itself.
    2. Purchasing an inferior quality furniture piece or furniture from a shady seller is no bargain.
  1. Take your time when shopping for furniture online and in stores. Furniture is a major home investment, and rushing to make a purchase often results in overpaying and getting items that do not work in the space. Choose quality merchandise that will last for years.
  1. Visit stores in person to test furniture items before making a purchase online.
    1. Determine how fabrics and finishes look and feel, and what colors look like in person.
    2. Measure the furniture to make sure it will fit in your space.
    3. Sit in the chairs and use the furniture to make sure it works with your body.
    4. When you find the furniture you want in a store, make a note of the brand and model number, as well as the price.
    5. Choose several acceptable furniture makes and models, in case your first choice is not available.
    6. Find the items online and compare prices there, too.
    7. Choose your best deal based on what works best for your family, your budget and your home.
  1. Make sure you are getting the best online deal by using coupon codes and discount codes if they are available.
    1. Once you have determined what furniture you want, go online and search for “coupon code” or “discount code” plus the brand and type of the furniture.
    2. Most online coupon codes for furniture are for free shipping, which can save buyers significant amounts of money.
    3. Having a list of acceptable options for your furniture piece allows you to be flexible when locating online codes and coupons for your purchase.
    4. Be sure to read the fine print of any coupon or discount deal before using the promotion code.
  1. Determine the warranty and return policies for the furniture you want.
    1. Compare policies among the online stores and retail stores.
    2. Find out if you are responsible for return shipping costs if the furniture does not fit your needs. Shipping costs for heavy furniture can be prohibitively expensive.
    3. When your purchase is delivered, open the package and thoroughly inspect the furniture before the delivery service departs.
    4. Do not sign for receiving the furniture until assembling and inspecting it. Signing for the furniture usually includes a statement that the product is adequate and free of defects upon delivery. This may make returns or exchanges much more difficult.
  1. As with any online purchase, be sure to use appropriate security measures when making your purchase.
    1. Ensure you are purchasing from a secure site- the URL will start with “https” and there should be security symbols and statements prominently displayed on the site.
    2. Do not let online sites store your credit card or bank information.
    3. Clear your browsing history and online cache after making online purchases and then restart your browser.

These steps help make it harder for thieves to steal your information or your identity.

Pain Relief in Labour: The Ins and Outs

Labour can be an uncomfortable, painful experience for many women. Of course the end result is worth it – you have your own beautiful bundle of joy! However, pain relief can be necessary, as some women find it too much to bear. There are many different options out there, from natural methods of relief to more medical forms of relief. Ideally, you should construct a birthing plan to help you, but it’s important to keep an open mind – birthing plans never go fully to plan! Here are the different methods of pain relief available to you during labour, and more information about each:

Image Author: Flickr

Self Help

Self help is a great way to relax yourself in labour, which can help you cope better with the pain. Self help includes:

  • Learning as much as you can about labour to ease your worries. Go to antenatal classes, watch programs, speak to your nurse/midwife/doctor, and read books.
  • Learn how to stay calm during the process, breathing deeply.
  • Trying different positions that feel right for you.
  • Bringing a partner or relative to support you.
  • Having a bath.

Hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy is basically being in water during labour, and this can make the whole process feel less painful for you. Ask if you can have a bath, or use a birthing pool to make things more bearable. The temperature will be comfortable but not above 37 degrees.

Gas and Air

Gas and air is a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide. It won’t remove all of the pain, but it can make things more bearable. Women usually like this method as it’s easy to use and they feel more in control of the situation. You’ll take slow deep breaths through a mouthpiece as a contraction begins.

Pethidine

Pethidine is usually injected into the thigh or buttock and can help you to relax, which will in turn help you to feel less pain. The effects last between 2-4 hours, and it takes about 20 minutes to work. There are some side effects to be aware of with this kind of injection, including:

  • Sickness and forgetfulness.
  • Can make it difficult to push if it hasn’t worn off by the end of labour.
  • Making it difficult for the baby to have it’s first feed.

TENS

Some hospitals allow you to use their TENS machines, or you’re free to rent one. They are most effective for pain relief during the early stages of labour, where pads are placed on to your back. Pulses are then sent from the machine, and these are thought to help your brain release more endorphins, lessening the pain. They are also thought to distract you from the pain you’re in and help you to feel more in control.

Epidural

An epidural is a local anesthetic, and numbs the nerves that carry pain impulses from the birth canal to the brain. An epidural can give complete pain relief for most women. It’s helpful in women who are having a very long labour, or those who are getting stressed. There are side effects, including:

  • Loss of feeling in your legs.
  • Dropped blood pressure.
  • Prolonged second stage of labour.
  • Finding it difficult to pass urine.
  • A sore back.
  • Headaches.

There are other methods of pain relief available during labour, but the methods above are the most popular. Discuss other methods with your midwife or doctor and decide what’s best for you!

3 Ways to Keep Your Family Safe

3 Ways to Keep Your Family SafeAfter watching the local news for a half hour, many parents will be afraid to let their kids leave the house. But even inside, there are plenty of dangers lurking. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a bodyguard or an IT professional to keep your family safe and be a great parent. Here are three key areas to focus on family security.

1. Keeping Intruders Out

There are lots of practical steps to secure your home front and protect against theft and criminals. Simple things like regularly checking your locks and bolts and making sure your house remains well lit can go a long way in deterring intruders. Small solar lights can light up walkways and steps to help light the house.

Today, most houses have armed security systems with burglar alarms. You can install a great surveillance system that allows you to check in on things from your mobile device when you are out. For finding more details about home security systems, click here.

2. Staying Safe Online

Perhaps the biggest threat comes from inside the home. The Internet is full of predators and hackers from around the world who want to get into your house to steal valuable information and do other malicious things through the web.

Regularly talking to kids and teens about computer use is one of the best ways to open up communication about safety on social networks, games and websites. A good rule is to place the computer in the living room or other high traffic area where parents can keep an eye on the screen. With mobile devices and laptops, it can become more difficult to monitor. Some families decide to rule out using devices in bedrooms. Others install browsing programs like Safe Eyes that protect against explicit content.

Some families meet together to sign a contract about how they will help protect each other from the unfriendly presences on the Internet. The Family Online Safety Institute offer its own family contract to clearly outline how parents can help protect kids and how kids can be wise with their computer use.

3. Don’t Talk to Strangers and Other Rules

Finally, it is important to educate your children about safety when they leave home. A good guideline is to begin by fostering good channels of communication with your kids so that they talk to you about any questions they have or situations that make them feel uncomfortable.

Dr. Laura Markham recommends several rules for every family.

•Prioritize your child—one of the best ways to protect them from predators, bullies, drugs, etc.

•Teach kids how to swim

•Let your children know that their bodies belong to themselves only

•Help your kids develop healthy judgment about places and people

The world can be a scary place, but with these important guidelines to follow, you can help keep your family safe and happy.

Image from http://www.baystatehealth.com

Creating the dream bedroom for your child

bedroom

Image by MAZZALIARMADI.IT 

A child’s bedroom is a really important place for most children, and if you can decorate it in a way that they like, so much the better. Giving children their own personal space that they have some element of choice and control over can really encourage them to show their independence, in the way they use and look after that space.

Not every child can have their own room, but it’s still possible to personalise their space in a shared bedroom. There are so many beautiful items of furniture and accessories for children’s bedrooms that you could really go to town on decorating and furnishing the room just how they’d like it, but it’s also possible to achieve a lot through accessorising too.

How much input you allow your kids to have on how their bedrooms will look depends on how old they are. For babies and toddlers, you call the shots, obviously, but when kids get a little bit older, they might have quite strong views on how they’d like their bedroom to be. Of course, it’s up to you whether you allow them free rein in choices for their room, but you should always exercise the power of veto over any outlandish decisions that you don’t want in your house. Ideally you can strike a balance so that they have some freedom of choice which will make them feel important and know that their opinions are valued.

bedroom2

Image by jingdianjiaju 

If you don’t know where to start, take a look at sites like http://www.gltc.co.uk where you’ll see a whole range of different room sets, with themes to suit children of all ages. You could choose bedroom furniture that will see a child from being a toddler through to their teenage years – opting for classic wooden beds and wardrobes, for example. But there are also sports car and princess beds, as well as high beds and bunks. If you go for the classic furniture choice, you can always change the accessories, fabrics and soft furnishings to change with your child’s taste over the years. It’s far easier to replace a rug and curtains than it is to buy a whole new set of furniture!

bedroom3

Image by amy.gizienski 

Storage is always an important factor in a child’s bedroom –they accumulate a lot of stuff over the years. If you can provide them with good storage units, then there’s no excuse for a messy bedroom! The wooden shelving units that you can fill with canvas drawers are a really good idea, as some can be left empty and used as shelves for books or to display trophies and ornaments, while others can have coordinating canvas drawers in them to store clothes, toys, etc. These can also be replaced to match your child’s different tastes as they grow.

Whatever you decide to do to decorate a child’s bedroom, getting them involved in some way can make it a fun project that both you and they will enjoy.

The Truth About Labour: What to Expect

Nearly every mother to be will have doubts about what exactly is going to happen during labour. You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t! However, we’ve managed to get in touch with a load of new moms, and they’ve filled us in on what was most surprising to them during their labour. We’ve compiled a list of those surprises especially for you, so you know exactly what to expect when your little one is on the way! Here it is; the truth out labour…

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You Might Get Sent Home

First time moms who arrive at the hospital with contractions might be surprised and dismayed to find that they get sent home. The first part of labour where you’re waiting for cervical changes can take 2-3 days, so if you’re in this stage it’s likely you’ll spend the time at home. By staying active at home you can speed up the process!

You Might Not See Your Doctor

New moms can be surprised when they realise that their doctor doesn’t stay with them through the whole birthing process. Instead, you’re much more likely to see the midwife from beginning to end. Remember, you’re not the only one in labour, so your doctor could be with someone who is much closer to delivering than you.

You’ll Probably See Lots of New People

It totally depends on how long you’re in labour, but you might see many different faces before your baby comes in to the world. Hospitals usually work in shifts, so if you’re in labour for 36 hours you could see 3 nurses and 3 doctors before your baby is born. More people will be in the room when you’re about to deliver.

Epidurals equal Catheters

You might not already know that epidurals require you to have a catheter inserted into the urethra. This is because the nerves in the lower half of your body will be blocked, making it too difficult for you to get up to go to the toilet. You’ll also be given the epidural with plenty of liquid in a drip, so you’ll no doubt need to go after you’ve had it. A catheter will be there until you have to start pushing, so you can go right where you are. A tens unit will be a more natural way of relieving pain, so discuss this with your doctor or midwife if that’s what you want.

You Won’t Be able to Control Your Bowel

Yes, it does sound gross and embarrassing, but 80% of women can’t control their bowel movements during childbirth. You shouldn’t worry though, as the hospital staff have seen it all before and clean it up so fast that you won’t even notice it’s happened.

Everyone Has a Different Labour

Every single woman has a different experience during labour. You can speak to as many people as you like, but your experience will be totally unique. You should prepare yourself for what to expect, but don’t stress too much over the fine details!

7 Car Shopping Tips For New Parents

Going out car shopping is always a fun time as you get to check out all sorts of different car models from different car dealers and private sellers until you end up choosing ‘that’ car!

Just because you are a parent, or you are expecting a newborn soon, doesn’t mean that you still can’t have fun when you go out shopping for suitable family cars!

Image via Flickr

If you are in the process of looking around for a family car, here are 7 helpful tips to ensure that you choose the right car for you and your family, rather than a car the salesperson wants you to buy!

1. Don’t buy a car until you buy a baby seat first

This might sound a bit odd, but let me explain! A large number of people tend to buy a family car first and then a baby seat later on, but the trouble with this is you have no guarantees that the car seat you want to buy will fit your car correctly!

Consider taking the baby seat with you when you go to view cars, so that you can see whether the car is suitable for your baby seat or not.

2. Let your baby test the car out

Should you have a newborn in tow, it is the perfect opportunity for you to fit a car seat into the car you want to buy and strap your baby in so that you can check out whether the car is right for you and your baby.

3. Check out Euro NCAP safety test results

Safety is the top priority when it comes to buying a family car, so before you even head out to look at a particular car you should do some research online first and find out how well it has done in Euro NCAP safety tests.

4. Sit in the back of the car

Rob from http://www.cardealwarehouse.co.uk/ recommends that any parent should sit in the back of a car that they are thinking of buying so that they can see whether there is enough space for parent and baby to sit in the back of the car.

5. Consider 4×4 cars

Most families will end up buying estate cars or people carriers, but you should also consider 4×4 cars such as the Land Rover Discovery and the BMW X5. Generally, taller cars are easier to get babies, children and cargo in and out of than ‘lower’ cars like estates, for example.

6. Try to fit your pram or stroller in the boot

Some people opt for buying smaller hatchbacks due to budget constraints or parking limitations where they live. It is important that you buy a car that you, your baby and children, and your pram or stroller can all fit into simultaneously!

7. Check out online reviews from the motoring press

Before you buy any car, you need to determine how reliable it is going to be. Websites such as Parkers are a great free resource for information pertaining to reliability and cost details on a number of popular car models.

Achieving A Happy And Healthy Family

Achieving A Happy And Healthy Family

A parent’s greatest wish is for their children to receive everything they have ever wanted. Even though it is a part of life, parents hate seeing their children hurt, be in pain, or suffer from sickness.

Creating a healthy family atmosphere can provide children with a happy, healthy life.

Family Physician

A key to maintaining a healthy family is to have a family physician. Because a child’s health is extremely important to their growth and health later on in life, having a personal family physician ensures parents that their children are being taken care of. Furthermore, concierge medicine doctors, because of the personal relationship, allow parents to feel at ease when the doctors are giving a check up to their children, for it feels like a family member is looking after them.

The Importance Of Nutrition

Kids can be picky making mealtimes difficult with their stubborn attitudes. With guidance and creativity from their parents, children will find healthy foods they absolutely love—and can’t get enough of.

First and foremost is breakfast. It truly is the most important meal of the day because it dictates the rest of the day. Children and adults need a high fiber breakfast in the morning to give them the energy and nutrients to complete the rest of the day. Even if it is a mad dash to be on time to school, it is essential to take the time to grab a healthy breakfast. Skip the Pop-Tarts and instead stock the kitchen with whole-grain waffles, bananas, yogurt, oatmeal, etc. All of these items can be quickly cooked and eaten on the go to school.

For dinner, involve children in the cooking process. Whether it is simply asking them to choose from a few healthy recipes to giving them tasks to complete in the cooking process, children will be more likely to eat something they have had a hand in.

When it comes to dessert, children should learn about moderation. Instead of allowing children free reign to sweets all of the time, create designated times when sweets are allowed. Whether it is a weekend special or a Wednesday after school treat, having a set time will teach children to choose sweets in moderation.

Being Active

With all of the technology available to kids today, natural outdoor activity is not so natural anymore. Whereas children used to spend hours outside playing and using their imagination, many times they stay inside to play video games.

Involve children in sports or plan family time to take evening walks, hikes, or bike rides. Go to the park and play baseball, soccer, or spend time on the swing set. Children learn by example, thus spending family time in activity together will teach children how much being active is and will carry on with them as they grow.

Time

Apart from physical health, children need to nurture their emotional health. Children adore their parents and need time with their parents. No matter how busy and hectic life gets, time with children should never be cut short.

Having a healthy environment will teach children how to have healthy, happy life.

Image Source: http://www.kidspot.com.au

A Guide to Making Childbirth as Stress-free as Possible

Pregnancy and labour can be a stressful time, although they can also be happy and joyful. Bringing a new life into the world is something very special, so you’ll probably want to make the labour as stress free as possible if you’re expecting the pitter patter of tiny feet sometime soon. It’s normal to feel scared and apprehensive, but by reading our guide on making your childbirth as stress free as possible, you’ll feel much better about the whole thing and it’ll be over before you know it! Here’s what to do when the big day comes:

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Use a TENS Machine

Obstetric Tens machines can be a massive help during childbirth. It’s a natural way of relieving pain, but it can help you a substantial amount when in the throes of labour. They are perfectly safe and can even be used with other pain relief methods! Make sure you get yours from a reputable supplier, and test the Tens machine as soon as you receive it so you don’t get any nasty surprises while in labour.

Do Your Research

The more prepared you are, the better. If you can research and find out everything there is to know about what to expect, you’ll feel much better about the whole process. You should be aware of all of your options, familiar with the environment you plan on giving birth in, and research what is going to happen. Speak to friends and family that have given birth, read books, and use the internet!

Create a Calming Environment

By creating a soothing environment, you’ll feel much calmer when you go into labour. Check to see if your hospital offers an alternative delivery room, as these are sometimes made to look more homely than a traditional delivery room. Take some pictures from home, a portable stereo, and anything else you think will calm you on the day.

Meditate

Many people are now trying something called hypnobirthing, which helps ladies in labour put themselves into a deep state of relaxation. You can take classes for this, or even try visualisation on your own. Picture happy places, picture a wonderful labour where you hold your baby in your arms, anything that keeps you calm and focused.

Use Water

Warm water can really offer relief as it eases discomfort and can loosen tense muscles. You can usually find a specially designed tub for labour, but make sure you arrange this kind of birth with your midwife first.

Do The Things That Make You Feel Better

You may have attended birthing classes that taught you ways to calm yourself and help you to feel better, but at the end of the day you need to go with the flow to have a stress free labour. If squeezing a pillow makes you feel better, do it. Some women even find that lying on a cold floor helped!

Women’s bodies are built for childbirth, so you shouldn’t be afraid. Try some of the methods above and you’ll have your newborn baby in your arms before you know it!

The Healthy Way to Lose Your Baby Weight

All new mums seem to have issues with losing weight after giving birth to their little baby. Those who don’t could be considered not human! Muscles and skin are stretched during pregnancy, and that’s why it can be so hard to snap back into shape after giving birth. But don’t worry – all hope is not lost! There are plenty of ways you can lose your baby weight, the healthy way:

Image Credit: Flickr

It’s so important that you try to lose your baby weight the healthy way. You should never deprive yourself, and make sure that you’re giving your body everything it needs to function – especially if you’re breastfeeding your baby. Obviously being a mum will be your top priority right now, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to get back to your healthy self. You’ll feel much more confident, have more energy for your baby, reduce the risk of anxiety and depression, and feel much better in general.

Exercising

Obviously, exercise is one big way to lose weight after having your baby. Where you start totally depends on how fit you were before the pregnancy, but you’ll need to be careful and get the go ahead from your doctor before doing so. You’ll then want to build up your exercise program slowly until you’ve improved your endurance and stamina. You could try yoga for exercise that will strengthen your core, and walking is great too.

Stay Hydrated

It’s very important to stay hydrated, especially if you’re breastfeeding. You should be drinking around 2 litres of fluid per day, and this could include tea, coffee, fruit juice, milk, and water. Water is probably the best option however, as it doesn’t have any calories or added ingredients!

Eat a Healthy, Balanced Diet

It’s important you eat a healthy, balanced diet. Starving yourself will do your body no good – your metabolism will slow down as your body goes into starvation mode, you’ll be more likely to binge later on, and you won’t have the energy to properly care for your baby. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, lean meat like chicken and turkey, fish, nuts, eggs, sweet potatoes, Greek yogurt, and whole grain bread to watch the baby weight drop off. There are some diet shakes out there that could assist you to burn fat, but stay away from the likes of Slim Fast and Weight watchers as they have rubbish ingredients. Eat healthy, whole, natural food!

Get as Much Sleep As You Can

Sleep plays a big factor in weight loss and how our bodies work, although it’s not always easy to get a quality sleep when you have a new baby. Sleep deprivation has been linked to eating more calories, so try to get 8 hours of sleep per night. Sleep when your baby is sleeping for the best results!

To lose your baby weight the healthy way, it should help you to remember that this isn’t a short term plan. You should be looking at this as a change of lifestyle in order to see great results. Consistency will help you spring back into shape!