Sarasota, FL


Finding a Kid Friendly Home

June 11, 2013 | 0 Comment(s)

Alyssa Sullivan, guest contributor

Buying a new home is an exciting event in your life no matter who you are, but when you have kids and a family, there are some special aspects of a home that you need to look for. Finding the right kid friendly home can take some time, but in the end, it will pay off. Since your home is where you will be spending the majority of your time, it’s important to take the following into account when you begin your search. While everything might not always fall into place, meeting the majority of your needs will only make life easier and better for every member of your family.

The Neighborhood

One of the first things that you should consider when seeking a kid friendly home is the neighborhood that it exists in. Having a home in a safe neighborhood will make it a lot easier to keep your family and children safe overall. When looking at a neighborhood, check online to see what others are saying about the area. Look at City-Data to get detailed information and search Google to find crime statistics. Sometimes your real estate agent can help you as well if you ask specific questions about crime and other safety issues.

Look into how far away the nearest police and fire stations are. Consider driving around the potential area, or take a Google Street View tour to see if people leave things outside, like grills and bikes, or if the yards are empty. Homes that have lots of things outside, though not in a trashy way, often mean that people are not afraid that things are going to get stolen or damaged. Similarly, check into the overall look of the neighborhood. While homes might be older, well-manicured lawns show that people in the area care about what their home looks like and what the neighborhood looks like.

The School System

Chances are there are a number of schools in the area where you are looking at a home. Finding the right school for your kids is important, especially if you have young kids who will be in the school system for a long time. Check online and get information about the school that your home would be in the district of and see what it is rated as. Each state rates each school according to various factors, so make sure you are comfortable with the ratings and reputation that the school has online. Similarly, check into after school activities and other things to do around the area. Don’t be afraid to ask online for information about a given area to see what current residents think of it. Not only will this give you an idea of what’s going on, but it will help you plan ahead and get your child settled into a new routine quickly.

The Home Itself

While only one aspect of the search for a kid friendly place, the home itself might be the most important aspect of all. This is the place where you and your children will be spending a lot of time, so make sure that the home you choose is both safe and comfortable. When you view a potential home, keep the following in mind.

  • Is the home in good repair? Are there edges or other aspects of the home that would need to be fixed to make it safe?
  • Is there mold or other water related problems that could cause illness?
  • If your child has allergies, is there carpet in the home?
  • How old is the home? Is there lead in the paint of an older home you are considering?
  • Is the yard fenced in? If so, is the fencing in good repair?
  • How is the yard? Are there holes that present a danger, or other issues that would need to be fixed?
  • Are there stairs that might pose a danger to younger children? Are all railings and handrails in good condition?

Keep in mind that your child is going to grow up in the home that you choose. Make sure to take your time and seek the house that will be the best fit for you and your family. Consider, also, the potential that your family may grow. As you view potential homes, keep these things in mind, or even make a list of things to look at specifically. In the end, by remembering these simple things, you will be able to find a great home in a place that is not only pretty, but safe for your family.


The author of this post, Alyssa Sullivan, has worked for a few large moving companies throughout her twenty years in the industry. Today she offers helpful tips like these to consumers who need to relocate and don’t want to deal with too much stress.


How To Have A Safe Flight With Your Kids

June 6, 2013 | 0 Comment(s)

Mark, guest contributor

Keeping our children safe is our responsibility. Whether during a car ride, while my kids are riding a bicycle, or before, during and after a flight, safety for my children is my number one concern.

When traveling with kids on a flight, it’s all about managing things you can control so that you can handle the things you cannot control.

Here are some of the best tips that will assist you in flying safely and sanely with your kids:



The first thing you should do is take an anti-bacterial wipe and/or spray and wipe off every cleanable surface that you could possibly touch. Don’t let odd looks from other passengers stop you. If you’re fast, this process takes about a minute or two, at the most. Repeat during the journey, if you remember.


Before the take-off

Gather everything you think you might need for the first 30 minutes to an hour after the seatbelt sign turns on, and put it within arm’s reach. This includes snacks, wipes, crayons, toys, books, and whatever. Make a list of what you’ll need during this time before you leave the house so that you don’t forget anything.


Ear pressure

Babies and young children are sensitive to changes in cabin pressure. Ask your doctor if it’s okay, but I keep age-appropriate Tylenol within arm’s reach at all times. Our pediatrician advised that as soon as I see my daughter pull on her ears or complain about pressure, to give a full dose.

As we already discussed, nursing or giving a bottle to babies during take-off and landing helps their ears. Older kids can munch on snacks. Lollipops are great for this, too, because they are long lasting.



Pack more diapers than you need. This never happened to me, but in the off chance you are stuck at the gate or on the tarmac for hours at a time, you need to have enough. Your child may get an upset stomach from something he or she ate on the plane or pick up a random germ. Be over-prepared in this department.

Diaper wipes: On long haul flights, make sure that you seal your wipes packet tightly. The re-circulated air can dry them out.


In-Flight Meals

Warming bottles and food: If you ask a flight attendant to warm bottles or food, test the temperature first. They’re very busy and may not have babies at home.

Jarred baby food: If you are flying on an airline where jarred baby food is provided, you should bring your own anyway. I asked an airline if they could tell me what flavors of jarred food they had onboard and they couldn’t verify with certainty.

Even if they gave me a list of options, there is always a risk that they could run out. Plus, you don’t want your baby to try new food and have an allergic reaction at 35,000 feet.

It’s easier to keep her calm, than to have to deal with a frightened child.


On-board Entertainment

Of course, it’s foolish to assume that the movies and magazines offered onboard are going to entertain all young children, and you may need to motivate them to focus on a different kind of entertainment.

You’ll need to haul onboard toys and other gear to help you stay sane. This brings me to another point. I personally think that you must do whatever it takes for you and your fellow passengers to survive a flight together.


In Case Of A Meltdown

This is likely the best tip I have for toddlers and preschoolers. We all experience “get me off this plane” feelings and kids typically articulate them by fussing. You can’t rationalize with a toddler.

The most effective way for me to reset my daughter’s mood when she starts to fuss is by handing her a present. I started taking very lightweight, cheap presents on the plane when my daughter was about 1 year old.

And, if you think your child can handle it, wrap the presents in multiple layers. Drag the process out as long as you can. Get creative. Especially on a long haul flight, when other passengers are trying to sleep, you have to be proactive about stopping crying immediately. This is one way to do it.


For sleeping

Sleep cues: If your child has a stuffed animal or security blanket that they use to fall asleep, bring it on the plane and give it to them when it’s time to sleep. I’m sure this is a no-brainer already.

However, when it’s time to sleep (this applies mainly to longer flights) be sure to change your child into pajamas, sleep sack, or whatever they normally sleep in. Try to repeat your normal bedtime routine. This is a hassle to do on the plane, but any reminder that it’s time to sleep helps.

There’s no question that flying with kids can be stressful. I hope that you can take a little bit of my experience and make your upcoming flight a little easier.


Mark recently took his family on a holiday to Vanuatu, where he spared neither effort nor expense to keep his kids (and wife) safe.