Golden Years: Five Things That Every Single Child Should Do Before They Grow Up

When you look back at being a kid, you probably have a few select memories that are really precious to you. And there’s a pretty good chance that those memories usually involve something special that you did or some wonderful time spent with your family. When you have kids of your own, it’s totally natural to want them to be able to create their own memories just like that. But all of the distractions around for kids today, it can seem like they could easily just spend their time online, never really enjoying what it’s like to be a kid. With that in mind, here are a few things that every kid should do before they grow up!

 

Go exploring

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There really is nothing like the thrill of getting lost in the wilderness. Even if that wilderness is just the woods near your house, it’s still a fantastic experience. Your kids should take themselves out into nature without any distraction so that they can really discover the amazing world around them. It’s also a great way for them to learn some independence as they navigate their way home. Of course, you’ll always be pretty close by! You want them to be safe after all. But that way they stay safe without feeling like you’re constantly hovering over them.

 

Go to a summer camp

 

Just about everyone has those memories of a fantastic summer spent at camp! Learning all sorts of new skills, making friends and just getting to enjoy the thrill of being young. A summer camp is a really wonderful way to help a child build character in a safe, supportive environment. And the counselors at summer camps are incredibly passionate people who will really help bring out the best in your kids.

 

Camp out in a tent

 

This can be as simple as setting up a tent in the yard and sleeping there overnight. Kids love being able to get out and find adventure and camping is a wonderful way to help them get that feeling while still keeping them safe.

 

Build something from scratch

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You could buy your kids all the toys in the world, and it’s never going to be quite as satisfying for them as building something with their own two hands. The fantastic thing is that it can be made out of anything. Wood, metal, even cardboard! Whatever you have lying around can be turned into something magical that your kids can be proud of. It’s also a fantastic bonding opportunity for both of you. You can guide them and offer helpful advice to help them figure out what it is that they want to create.

 

Cook their very own meal

 

There’s really nothing like the look on a child’s face when they first taste some food that they cooked themselves. The sense of pride and achievement is something that can stay with them for years. Not only that but it starts them on the road to knowing one of the most important skills that a person can have.

 

Divorce and Your Child: A Developmental Mini-Guide to Understanding Their Feelings

Divorce is, for children, a devastating experience. Most parents, fortunately, are more than ready to take time out from their own personal tensions to prioritize the task of guiding their kids through the trauma. It is important at these times to think clearly and to see things from the child’s point of view, but that point of view changes rapidly in the child’s developing mind.

It’s About Feelings

In times of extreme stress, emotions are never far from the surface. Remember that the relationship between feelings and facts is an unpredictable one, especially in a child.

Because divorce affects feelings in so many different ways, it will help if you can find an attorney who has an understanding of the way divorce affects those around, whether you are approaching an online practitioner such as www.divorceguru.com or using a family attorney.

Early Months

Up to about 18 months, a baby has very little conceptual framework to guide her. Everything is centered on the security represented by the primary care-giver, usually the mother. She responds quickly to unspoken tension and may become clingy and tearful.

Toddlers

As the toddler begins to master language, he gets a better sense of the world, but it is a world that is all about him. His parents are the two closest and largest planets in this little solar system so any disruption is going to throw him out of balance. He may retreat to a former secure existence by temper displays and regression to baby behavior.

Early Junior

The child’s imagination is growing, which means she can extend the present distress into the future and conceive of more and worse things happening. So her life can be taken up with fear. Will she ever see the absent parent again? Will both parents disappear from her life? She does not have much concept of time or distance, so separation may seem more absolute and final than it actually is. She needs her parents to be predictable and reliable.

Older Junior

As the child grows, his center of life is beginning to move outwards, but only from a secure base. If that base is challenged by parents separating, he may use his growing mental abilities to protect himself. He may retreat into a fantasy world and deny the reality of what is happening around him, or construct scenarios where he is to blame.

Pre-Adolescent

The child is on the verge of big changes, and taking tentative steps to discover her place in the world. The last thing she needs is for her parents’ problems to take center stage in her life. So she is likely to display intense anger which can reveal itself in many ways, but at the same time she is learning to empathize and understand their pain.

Crucial Moments

The effects of a divorce can reverberate for a lifetime, and nobody handles it perfectly. For parents, an effort to understand how their children are perceiving the situation can help to ease the pain and give them the resources to move forward.

 

Joanne Morrison shares her tips and support regarding divorce and stepfamilies. She uses her own life experiences to write informative articles which appear online at family and parenting blogs as well as relationship and divorce focused blogs.

The Day My Daughter Taught Me What Real Beauty Means

As preparations are underway for the upcoming Miss Universe pageant, so is my 10-year old daughter busy primping her hair, as if she were a contestant on the show. Lately, she has been busy preening in front of the mirror, and practising her beauty queen walk down her makeshift ramp inside our cramped condo unit.

I’m pretty certain that every mom like me dreams of having their daughter win a beauty contest. Who wouldn’t want to see their girl, all dolled up and admired by a cheering crowd?

For some mothers, they feel it’s important for their daughter to have perfect doe-like eyes, or skin like Snow White’s. Others make a huge deal out of their daughter’s innocent smile or angelic voice. So many factors work together to make a beautiful girl, but what really matters to me when it comes to prettifying my daughter is hair! In my opinion, one’s hairstyle can make or break the entire look.

I can still vividly remember that horrific day when my daughter trusted her hair to the hands of the hairdresser from hell. I brought her to this salon to have her hair cut in preparation for her fifth birthday. Because I was mindlessly wrapped up in a phone conversation with a friend, I didn’t notice that the hairdresser was snipping away at my daughter’s tresses like he was Edward Scissorhands on Prozac. He cut her hair way too short.

I was about to throw a hissy fit and lash out at the hairdresser when my little girl calmly said to me, “It’s Okay, Mama. I’ll just wear a lace front wig that will make me pretty. It’ll go nicely with my birthday dress, and my friends will not laugh at me.”  And then I remembered that wig I bought just a month ago from the veryhair online store.

In the middle of that hair crisis, my daughter thought of a solution to the problem. Instead of being overcome by fury- like I was- she came up with the idea of the wig.

I felt as if a shower of fragrant petals descended upon me, washing away all my anger. I couldn’t have been prouder of my daughter at that moment. A five-year old girl just taught me the true meaning of beauty. I put priority on hair, when what really counts when it comes to beauty is the ability to handle unforeseen circumstances.

What my daughter displayed was grace under pressure. And that, my friends, is the true mark of a beauty queen.

 

Introducing Health Informatics for Kids – Wearables You Should Know About

Within the past several years, wearables have become all the rage for adults seeking more control over their health care and those who are fitness buffs looking for a way to track their progress. However, many of these very same people are parents and what they probably haven’t come to realize just yet is that there are wearables for kids too! Introducing health informatics for kids.

What’s All the Excitement over Health Informatics and Wearables?

If you look at why healthcare providers around the country are so enthused about wearables for adults, you will understand what all the excitement is at major schools like the University of Illinois that offers a masters degree in computer science health care. That is to say, health care informatics. By using technology as a means to follow patients at home, this information can be transmitted to their provider who will collect, analyze and store the data that has been transmitted. If there are any red flags the patient will be called in to be seen. Now then, just think what this means for use in children with any number of childhood diseases and conditions?

Why Health Informatics for Kids Is an Important Industry

Take, for example, juvenile diabetes. Parents always fear that their child, when not at home and under close supervision, could go into insulin shock if not watched closely. Is the teacher at school really paying attention to what that primary student is eating or drinking? Does the babysitter administer insulin in time and at the right dosages? With wearables such as DIDGET, a gadget that monitors blood glucose, parents can be assured that if levels reach warning zones, an alarm will be sounded.

Kids earn reward points for testing their levels and to date, DIDGET is getting amazing reviews. As the combined efforts of Bayer (best known as the aspirin / pharmaceutical giant) and Nintendo, kids can either use points earned to receive new gifts or new levels on games they are playing. DIDGET is every parent’s dream when their child has diabetes and they can’t be with them at all hours of the day.

Obesity in Children on the Rise

Childhood obesity is a very real concern and since there are so many overweight children, with activity trackers and wearables that encourage them to exercise more, it is hoped that some of the problem can be alleviated. Two wearables of note are I Heart Jellyfish           and Power Key by IBitz that help track a child’s activity. The first is triggered by the child’s heart rate and the second uses vitals to encourage kids to walk, run and play more. The wearable does track vital signs to show how much activity a child is engaged it but also presents the child (and the entire family!) the opportunity to play games more – games that are part of the system.

While health informatics made possible by wearables is all the rage in adults, it is a growing market for parents of school age children. Some devices can even be used on much younger kids but the bottom line is that technology is increasingly able to warn of danger zones so as to prevent catastrophic episodes in children. Imagine the potential to eliminate SIDS by using a wearable that sounds an alarm the moment a child’s respirations slow or cease? There isn’t just one wearable you should know about but many, many if you are a parent. Thankfully experts like those produced by UIC in the masters program are helping keep our kids safe with health informatics. Kudos to the pros!

How to Teach Your Toddler to Talk

Nothing can be more satisfying to a mother’s ears than hearing her baby say his or her first words. Though oftentimes unintelligible at first, those few words mark a very important milestone in a kid’s life. They signify that transition from being a baby to toddlerhood.

In some cases where 2 or even 3-year olds can still barely say their first real word, all hope is not lost. You can do some speech therapy at home to help develop your little one’s talking skills. Here are some simple tips on how to do that:

As you bathe, dress and feed your baby, talk to him. Describe what you are doing. Use sentences such as, “I am now soaping your tummy.” “We are going to the zoo.”

Point out colors. “This ball is blue. That chair is red.”

Never underestimate the power of counting. You can sing to him as you count from one to ten. Don’t worry; your toddler won’t judge you for your singing prowess.

The key is to talk to your little one as frequently as you can. Always use speech that is clear and easy for your little one to model. He will then learn to associate words with meaning. Before you know it, he’ll be talking up a storm!

Why Is It Important for Your Child to Grow Up with a Pet?

Pets are magical creatures that bring joy. You can create great memories and have a best friend that will never leave your side. Aside from having someone that’s always happy to see you, pets serve different benefits of being in the home. Here are different reasons your child should grow up with a pet.

Strong Immune System

According to a study conducted by the Journal of Pediatrics, children who have a pet in the home have 31 percent fewer respiratory problems than children who do not have a pet in their home. Children with pets in the home have a higher immune response that makes it difficult for them to contract certain diseases.

Awesome Playmate

Pets make the best playmates. You can play indoors or outdoors and explore new things with a pet. Children who enjoy playing dress up will always have someone who’s willing to dress up and participate. This playmate is special because they can always spend the night!

Cuddle Buddy

On stormy, rainy days or when you’re ready to take a nap, you and your child have a designated pillow that also keeps you warm and cozy. If you don’t mind a little bit of drool, you and your little one can sleep the day away with your pet. Puppies are great for cuddling because they enjoy receiving attention and affection.

Self-Esteem

Children with pets have higher self-esteem than children without pets. Pets, especially dogs, give children courage and boost their self-esteem by being around. Pets are loyal and will do anything to make their family members happy. A child with a pet feels invincible.

Feelings

Pets can teach children many things, including feelings, such as empathy and compassion. Children can’t wait to hug and kiss their pet and take them everywhere they go. Pets teach children how to love and care for someone other than themselves.

Responsibility

Pets can help children understand responsibility. By giving children pet duty, such as changing newspaper or litter or giving the pet food and water on a daily basis will help children gain a sense of responsibility. It’s never too early to teach your child about responsibility.

Children with Special Needs

Children who have ADHD, Autism, and other disorders benefit greatly from being around pets. Children with special needs experience reduced blood pressure and enhanced communication skills. Pets give children with special needs a sense of belonging. There are different therapy programs that benefit both children and pets.

Being Active

Children who have pets in their home are more likely to go outside and play or exercise than children who do not have pets in their home. Having a buddy to play catch and fetch with makes things ten times more fun outside. Two is better than one sometimes.

Protection and Safety

Pets make children feel safe. Pets, especially dogs, protect their owner and their home. Whether you have an infant, teen, or everything in between, children are protected by their pets. Some dog breeds are more protective than others.

Reading Success

Children are more comfortable reading aloud to their pets than their parents. While reading to pets, children are relaxed and calm. When some children read to their parents, they are easily distracted and become frustrated. Children do not feel the need to perform to the high standards their parents set while reading to their pet. Children can take their time and sound out words until they get them right.

Less Stress

Pets have the ability to reduce stress levels of everyone in the home. Pets keep everyone calm and happy. When you’re happy, endorphins are released, making you feel even happier longer. Playing with your pet for as little as 30 minutes each day can relieve tons of stress and help household members get a good night’s rest.

Improved Social Life

Pets can improve your social life by helping you make new friends. While you’re walking your dog, you and your child can make new friends. You never know who has some of the same interests and hobbies as you and your family until you begin taking trips to dog parks and other public places pets are welcome.

Less Prone to Allergies

Aside from the benefit of an improved immune system, children who are raised in a home with pets are less likely to suffer from allergies. No allergies mean less health risks and trips to the hospital.

About the Author

Mary Nielsen is a passionate dog lover, blogger and part-time music teacher. She founded MySweetPuppy.net to share her ups and downs of being a pet parent to a bunch of adorable mutts. When she is not playing with them or teaching, you can find her experimenting in the kitchen.

Unbreakable Bond: Moms, This is How You Bond With the Kids

The bond between a mother and her children is one that can’t be broken. And, forging this unbreakable bond is something that happens at an early age. So, you need to come up with the best ways of bonding with the children and making a positive impact on their lives.

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Read to Them

You know one of the dying arts these days? Parents reading to their children. Most parents these days are too content to let their kids sit in front of a screen. As such, many children nowadays aren’t able to read very well. Educating your child to read and reading to them yourself are really important. This can increase a child’s vocabulary, excite their imaginations, and make them more creative.

Discipline is Important

Discipline plays a big role in your life as a parent. You have to be sure your children are well disciplined and that they know the rules. Kids who lack discipline at a young age will wind up being entitled and spoilt as they get older. That’s why you have to address this behavior when they are very young and make sure you nip it in the bud. Discipline teaches kids about respect and understanding and will bring them closer to you in the long run.

Spend Time Together

Spending time with your children is one of the most important things you’ll have to do as a parent. Kids need love and attention at a young age because it’s crucial for their growth and development. Children look to you as their role models and their link to the world. The more time you spend together, the more your children will learn, and the more well-rounded they will become. If you neglect your kids and don’t make time for them this will have repercussions on them as adults. Too many parents these days don’t make the time for their kids, and you’ve got to make sure you don’t make this mistake.

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Play With Them

You have to put in the time to play with your kids. Spending time together is important as well. But you need to share in the act of playing together. This means you join in with their games and embrace the way they want to have fun. It’s really important for kids to be able to play with their parents. And not enough moms and dads these days take the time to do that. Kids need stimulation and interaction when they play. And they have to be taught about socializing while they play because this will come in very important later in their lives. Also, playing with them allows them to spend time with you in an entertaining environment and ensures that you develop strong bonds.

Know When to Reward Them

You have got to know when to reward your children for their behavior and accomplishments. Now, this is a bit of an art form because you have to get it right. It’s important to recognize their good behavior and success, but you can’t always reward them. You shouldn’t get into the habit of rewarding the kids constantly for things they should be doing anyway. This will make them grow up thinking that’s always going to happen. But it is important to show recognition on occasion. You also have to choose rewards carefully. You could buy them treats, gifts of unique craftsmanship, or follow through on promises. Make a decision about what you feel the best reward will be for your children.

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Be Consistent

One of the big mistakes that parents often make is to be inconsistent in their approach to parenting. This is a mistake because it gets confusing for their children. They need consistency to familiarize themselves with the way you parent. This means you need to follow through on threats you make, as well setting boundaries. Find a style of parenting that works for you, and stick to it. The worst thing you can do is chop and change the way you are with the kids. This is okay occasionally, and when they are younger. But, if you do it too much then you’re going to find that the children disengage, and they won’t take things you say seriously. Consistency is the key to success in anything, and parenting is no different.

Prepare for Tantrums

As your children get older, the number of tantrums they have is going to increase. As they get more and more hormonal, they will start to treat everything like it’s the biggest deal in the world. Now there are many ways you can tame your children’s temper tantrums. But this will become increasingly more complex as they get older. And you need to be aware of the fact that these tantrums are going to occur. The best way of bonding well with your kids is to make sure you understand their tantrums and try to understand their emotions. If you can deal with these things well, then you’ll get on better and develop a better relationship with the children.

Find Out What Works for You

There’s no formula for how to be a good parent, though people may tell you otherwise. It’s about being there for your kids and treating them well. But, it’s also about making sure you find what works for you as a parent. Something that is effective for other people and their kids may not work on your kids. The best way to bond effectively and be a good mother is to determine what works with your children and then use the techniques you need. This helps you I understand your kids on a deeper level and allows you to bond with them better.

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Parenting is one of the hardest things in the world, but it’s also one of the most rewarding. And you need to make sure you give yourself the best possible chance of being a good mom. The thing is, there is no guidebook to raising children. Sure, there are plenty of parenting books that give you the basics. But no one knows your kids the way you do. And you can use this knowledge of them to ensure you bond with the kids as much as possible.

3 Simple Lessons to Teach Your Kids About Saving Money

Many families approach money management as an adults-only affair, but there’s no reason you can’t make finances a family activity. Encourage your children to get involved with family spending and saving, and you can teach them valuable lessons — like the three presented here — that they’ll carry with them into the future.

Comparison Shopping

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Shopping is a dreaded chore for many children, but you can turn these necessary trips into a learning experience by getting them involved in product selection. Show your children how similar products can have different price points. With older children, you can show them how to calculate the price per item to accurately compare a package of six granola bars compared to a box of 10.

Take the lesson further by purchasing two or three different brands for the same item and holding a taste test at home. For example, “You save $2 on the generic cookies, but can you taste the difference?” Have teens do some advanced math to figure out the cost of homemade treats compared to their store-bought counterparts. Your children will begin to see those shopping shelves a bit differently.

Budget-Building Basics

Show your children how to build a budget. List your essential expenses such as rent, utilities, groceries, and gas. Subtract these expenses from the monthly income and see what you have left. Discuss as a family how you’d best like to spend the surplus. Talk about putting money in savings for emergency situations, then set an exciting goal for any funds that go further than these needs.

Once your children realize that extra funds are going into a jar for your family’s summer vacation, then they may think twice about asking for fast food that will exceed the grocery budget. You can also encourage children to help you cut your utility bills by adjusting the thermostat to ease the strain on your HVAC system or using less water with shorter showers. If your bills go down, put the excess funds in with the “fun” money.

Personal Money Management

Give your child an allowance for special extras such as toys, craft supplies, or treats. Determine which privileges you’re still willing to pay for and which fall squarely on your child. While you don’t want to take away essentials such as school supplies, you can easily get rid of ice cream treats in the freezer and ask your child to pay for these extras.

Walk your children through the process of setting a goal by determining what they want to save for and how to price that item. Figure out how many weeks of allowance are necessary to reach this goal and ask your children to save toward the big prize instead of spending the weekly allowances on tiny treats. Although the lesson is small and simple, it can help create a smart attitude toward money.

Begin teaching your children about money at a young age, even if you’re using only play money and prizes in the earliest stages. They’ll begin building smart habits that will make them savvy savers and careful spenders as adults.

5 Easy Ways to Keep Your Kids Healthy

All parents want to support their children’s health, but you can easily overlook the little routines that lead to healthy minds and bodies. If you find that your days seem to spin away in a chaotic whirl of homework, carpools, and cartoons, you might be missing out on some of the following five easy ways that you can keep your kids healthy.

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Engaging in active outdoor play offers several benefits compared to sitting at home with a tablet or television. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends at least one hour of physical activity every day for children and adolescents.

While spending time outside, children will soak up beneficial vitamin D, stretch their muscles, and enjoy the fresh air. Get your kids involved in the garden, and your outdoor time can foster a healthy interest in fresh produce and teach them about nature. Playing sports also encourages teamwork and dedication.

Take a Soak

Make bath time extra beneficial by tossing a handful of Epsom salts into the water. This addition can help address magnesium deficiencies, soothe skin conditions, and improve allergies or asthma. Soaking in warm water with Epsom salts added will soothe sore muscles, reduce the effects of adrenaline, calm anxiety, and help promote a good night’s sleep.

Clean Up Your Indoor Air Quality

Although you’re probably mindful about cleaning up dust from flat surfaces and dirt from your carpets, you may not be as diligent about keeping these same hazards out of the air.

While dirty air is more difficult to see, you can easily feel dirty air. If you have poor indoor air quality in your home, you may experience headaches, fatigue, and respiratory problems. You can keep your family healthier by addressing your home’s indoor air quality. Change the filter in your HVAC system once a month, schedule annual HVAC system maintenance visits, and install a whole-house air purifier to keep your indoor air fresh and breathable.

Incorporate a Smart Sleep Schedule

Sleep is crucial for young bodies. Tired kids are listless and moody. Incorporate a regular bedtime routine to help everyone wind down so that they’re ready for sleep at the appointed hour. This routine may include a bath, story, or back rub. Shut off electronics at least one hour before bed to create a less stimulating environment.

Dine as a Family

Family dinners will improve your child’s health physically, socially, and emotionally. Research has shown that children have lower rates of obesity when they regularly enjoy family dinners. Eating together gives you the chance to expose your children to new foods and encourage good eating habits. People tend to eat less when they’re engaged in a family meal around the table than when they’re munching mindlessly in front of the television. You’ll also enjoy a great chance to bond with your kids when you eat together.

The smart strategies above are easy ones to bring into your household. You don’t need to invest in new gadgets or download the latest app to improve your family’s health. Make these quick fixes for improved wellness now.

Students of Strength – A Tutor in your Pocket

Asking for help is something that I as a single mom should practise more often. After all, it does take a village to raise a child.

In the case of tutoring my middle schooler, I have always done that on my own. Whenever exam days loom over the horizon, I hit the books with my daughter. Unfortunately though, our study sessions almost always end up in hair-pulling episodes (my own, of course) and pencil-breaking meltdowns. In short, I get impatient when tutoring her. That goes to show how effective a teacher I am!

So I was only too ecstatic to discover a gem on the internet. It’s called Students of Strength. It’s an app-based tutoring service where tutors are available 24/7. They work with Tutors from top Ivy-League schools (Harvard, Notre Dame, Brown etc…).

With the convenience of an app you can forget about the hassle of driving your child to a tutoring center, back and forth. All you need is your laptop or phone. What’s nice about their software is it’s user-friendly, fun to use.

SOS offers affordable subscription plans, and proceeds from each subscription purchase go directly towards helping them tutor kids from less fortunate families. That definitely makes the grade, I must say.

In this day and age when you can virtually have access to anything, Students of Strength comes in real handy. For us who are in dire need of quality tutors for our kids, help is just a mouse-click or a finger-tap away.