Archive of ‘Parent Advice’ category
Your child’s birthday party is a milestone event that they’ll remember for years to come. Whether you decide to hold the party at your home or an outside venue, it’s important to research and plan fully, so the day goes off without a hitch. Here is a handy checklist you can use as a birthday party planning guide for your little one.
Consider the Season
The time of year in which your child’s birthday falls is a big deciding factor for many parents. This main consideration could determine where to hold the party. A beautiful late spring day would make for a nice outdoor party at your home, but what if your child’s birthday falls in the dead of winter? Do you really want 10 screaming kids in your house, messing it all up? In this case, you may want to consider holding it at a venue location where all the prep work, activity and clean up are taken care of for you. An indoor playground is a perfect choice for little ones who need to work off some of that excess energy — even in the warmer months. These parties are led by a private party host who leads all activities, plus you get access to your own party room where all preparations, food distribution, and gift opening is supervised, according to Kid Junction. Included in the price are playtime, free tokens, cake, food, and decorations and clean up, with customized upgrades available if you so choose. These types of parties are ideal because you can choose a package that works for you, your child and your budget.
Choose a Theme
Especially when it comes to younger kids, incorporating a theme into the birthday party is a great way to engage the guests and tie the whole party together. You can match all your games and activities to the theme for a well-rounded, more enjoyable party. For instance, hold a hoop-shooting contest in the driveway for a sports-themed party or create a masterpiece for an arts and crafts party, suggests Better Homes and Gardens.
Serve Age-Appropriate Foods
When it comes to food, keep it simple and fun. First off, be mindful of any food allergies that your child or any of your guests may have. This will take a little research on your part but it is absolutely crucial. In addition to the main course, such as pizza, offer snacks throughout the party that fit with your theme, such as “mummies” in blankets for a Halloween theme or beach ball cookies for a summer theme. If you can, let the guests become the chefs and have them prep and decorate their own food. You can set up an ice cream sundae bar, cupcake decorating station or make-your-own-pizza area where kids can add whatever toppings they want.
When you send out the invitations, be sure to spell out specific times for the party. This will discourage hangers-on when you really need to get your kids in for naps or have to head out to an appointment. Speaking of naptime: for toddlers, it’s best to schedule parties around this all-important chunk of your day. Skipping a nap in favor of a party sounds like a good idea at the time but it’s only setting your child up for a meltdown.
Planning is a big part of any successful kids’ party but you can pull it off with a little forethought.
Eating healthy does take planning, but when you make good choices about your protein, you can feel good about what you eat. Here are some healthy options that you can add to your diet for better nutrition, lower fat, and fewer calories. Make sure to cook them in a healthy manner with less sodium and oils, but lots of flavor from herbs and spices.
Salmon is a versatile fish rich in vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. It can be quickly broiled or grilled without extra oil for a fast meal. Cook extra to take for tomorrow’s lunch because it’s also very tasty when served cold on a salad. The American Heart Association states that shrimp and crayfish may have more cholesterol than other types of fish, but they are a good choice because they have less saturated fat than most meats or poultry.
Tuna offers high protein, vitamin B, and omega-3 fatty acids. Like salmon, it can be grilled or broiled. Tuna is often served raw, as in sushi, but make sure you get it from a reputable fishmonger who knows that you won’t be cooking it. Children and pregnant women are cautioned against eating a lot of tuna, because it may contain methylmercury, a neurotoxin that can be harmful to the brain and nervous system.
Red Meat Options
According to Berkel Sales and Service, just because you’re trying to eat healthier, doesn’t mean you have to give up red meat. A filet mignon is very lean cut of meat that is also very tender and contains nutrients like iron that you need. Buffalo is another red meat that is very lean. With only 84 calories and less than two grams of fat per three ounce serving, you can indulge without feeling guilty.
A pork tenderloin stacks in at 122 calories for a three ounce serving with only 3 grams of fat. If you’re looking for deli meat, go for lean roast beef. Check the sodium content on the package. It might be as high as 25% or more. Ostrich is the only red meat endorsed by the American Diabetes Association. It is lower in fat grams than even skinless white meat like chicken or turkey. A three ounce serving offers 97 calories, 22 grams of protein, and only three grams of fat. It’s high in iron, making it a delicious component of a healthy diet.
According to Berkel Sales and Service (http://www.berkelsalesservice.com), turkey may be the national bird at Thanksgiving, but it can be part of a healthy diet year-round. A three ounce portion of white meat, no skin has only three grams of fat, 135 calories, and vitamins B3 and B6. Just like with red meat, if you’re purchasing pre-cooked meat, check the sodium content. White meat chicken has only a few more calories at 140 per three ounce serving.
Other Lean Protein Sources
Quinoa is sometimes referred to as a grain, but it’s actually a seed. It has 8 grams of protein per cup, with other essential amino acids that your body requires. Two cups of beans have around 25 grams of protein, without added fat or cholesterol. If you’re using canned beans, rinse them before heating them up and they’ll taste better. You’ll be adding fiber to your system. Tofu is another protein source that adds nutrients without piling on calories and fat. One slice of tofu has around 55 calories with only two grams of fat.
Visiting the dentist isn’t exactly fun for adults, and is often even less fun for kids. As parents, this can be a problem. Dragging your kids to the dentist may feel like quite the event, but it’s also a vital part of maintaining overall health.
Why Dental Hygiene is Important for Children
Sometimes, it can be easy to assume that dental hygiene isn’t important for young ones. After all, they have baby teeth, teeth that are made to fall out before adulthood. However, regular dental checkups are important, beginning in the first few years of childhood.
Per the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, taking care of baby teeth is vital for several reasons. To begin, baby teeth help children to speak clearly and chew correctly. According to Cashion Dental, a provider of affordable braces, baby teeth also act as placeholders for permanent teeth, serving as paths for the permanent teeth to follow. Regular dental care of these baby teeth helps prevent decay by removing plaque and bacteria. It can also help prevent dental problems and fix minor issues before they have a chance to turn into major ones.
Taking your child to the dentist also helps instill the importance of dental hygiene; it teaches them to brush, floss, and get checkups every six months. This importance becomes greater when kids get older as sub-par dental care has been linked to other ailments. One of the biggest concerns is the direct relationship between gum disease and heart disease.
When Your Child Should First Go
According to Cashion Dental, a clinic devoted to comprehensive and preventative patient care, there are differing opinions as to when your child should first be brought to a dentist. Some dentists suggest bringing them in as soon as their first tooth appears, while others suggest a visit before their second birthday. Still, others recommend bringing kids in at the age of three. In truth, there might not be much difference in whether or not a child is brought in at 12 months or 36 months. However, waiting too long can lead to dental problems that are not easily remedied. There is a huge difference between bringing a child in for their first visit at two years and bringing them in at eight years.
Making the Trip Easier
Some children may go to the dentist easily, others may kick and scream. You can increase your odds of getting your child in the chair with ease by taking a few proactive steps. Make an appointment at a pediatric dentist’s office rather than an adult one. Pediatric dentists are generally better trained at easing the minds of their young patients. Their offices are also more kid-friendly, replete with toys, games, and visual stimuli, that are sure to put your child at ease. In addition, practice with your child. A few days before their appointment, sit down and explain what will happen. You may even want to demonstrate on them or allow them to demonstrate on their favorite doll. It is also a good idea to consider scheduling an introductory visit before the actual appointment. This is a time that allows your child a chance to meet the dentist without having anything done to them.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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!
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:
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.
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.
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.