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Simple Tips to Make Moving out Easy for Kids

August 20, 2013 | 0 Comment(s)

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Ashley, guest contributor

A lot of kids hate the thought of moving out. When a family decides to move to a new home, children are mostly affected thus showing separation anxiety. There are many factors associated with this. Maybe you are wondering why kids dreaded the possibility of moving to a whole new environment.

Friends are the prime reason as to why children do not want to transfer to a new neighborhood. Come to think of it, kids have built strong attachment and good friendship with other kids then suddenly they will be separated. This thought is worrisome for the little children. Furthermore, being in a new environment means children will see unfamiliar faces and meet new people. This scenario often scares them a bit. But there are simple ways you can consider to make your kids fully grasp the plan to move.

 

Talk it Over Ahead of TimeMoving out can be fun and exciting for the little children if they are prepared.

One effective way to encourage your kids that the move will be beneficial is to talk about it a few months before the scheduled day. Discussing this matter will likely prepare them for the move out. Maybe they will cry or even oppose but it is natural (just let them pour their heart out). Try to explain the situation and the reason why you have to transfer to a new home. Well of course, they might not be able to fully understand all the things you will tell them but at least they have something to reason out to their friends. Tell them they can still keep in touch even if you move to a new state. Talking it over beforehand will help them get ready emotionally.

 

Discuss New Opportunities

When you discuss about the plan of moving out, give them an overview of all the possible things that might happen in your new home. Tell them they will be able to meet new friends and playmates – who can be good addition to their list of friends. If your new house is bigger, bribe them with new stuff for their bedroom. Or, you can ask them to go on shopping with you for new devices and necessities for your new home. Describe other exciting opportunities like new school and activities which they can share with their old friends.

 

Ask Kids to Help Segregate/ Pack Their Things

Once they are settled with the plan, tell them to segregate their things. Check out their stuff and ask them to give out unused toys or garments to their friends. These items can be good remembrance to their friends when they are apart. But be sure these items are still usable. Never give out torn clothes or heavily damaged toys. Segregating is a fun activity to do with your kids as you can bring back memories connected to each item.

After segregating which stuff should stay and what items must go, ask them to help you pack. Ask them to put their all their toys in boxes and label them. Every box should have labels to easily distinguish what are stuffed inside. While you hold the box flaps, let them run the packaging tape to secure the items. Isn’t it a fun activity?

Moving out can be fun and exciting for the little children if they are prepared. Whether you are moving into a bigger house in California or one of those apartments for rent in Houston, it is vitally important to consider the kids during the planning. This way it will not be that hard to convince them to move out.

 

 

Three After-school Activities That Encourage Cognitive Development

August 15, 2013 | 0 Comment(s)

Leslie Mason, guest contributor

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Any parent wants their child to be constantly learning, growing and developing, whether school is in session or not. With school starting up again, it’s time to start thinking about extracurricular and other after-school activities—hopefully choosing one that will encourage healthy cognitive development. Of course your child will have to choose for themselves, but here are three fun activities to suggest that will encourage their cognitive development:

 

Theater/Acting ClassesThere are many extracurricular activities that grow cognitive abilities the obvious way—intellectually.

There’s nothing like acting to spur cognitive development. Kids have to learn lines, react naturally in contrived situations, and reconsider their presumptions about the world. Acting, when properly directed, forces kids to become the character, putting themselves into the mind of a character with possibly different prejudices, thoughts, morals, and ideas than their own, forcing them to acknowledge that other mindsets exist.

This puts their cognitive development into what Piaget called a state of disequilibrium, which forces them to learn more about their world and helps to jump-start their cognitive development.

Maybe there’s a good children’s theater program or workshop in your area. Maybe the local high school or junior high needs one or more young children for a production. Maybe the elementary school is putting on a play. Who knows—you may be raising the next Tom Hiddleston or Meryl Streep!

 

Team or Individual Sports

Yes, you heard right—sports encourage your child’s cognitive development. It is all about finding a sport that your child is not only enthusiastic about, but also one that they are willing to stick with and become proficient in.

Sports will bring your child together with other children from all walks of life, and in most cases, they’ll have to work toward a common goal with these kids. Or they may have to learn to compete against them in a sportsmanlike way and continually adapt to improve their own performance.

It may take a little trial and error on your part to find a sport your child is willing to dedicate that much effort to, but when they find one it will be a blessing to them, their cognitive powers, and their future (say it with me now, “scholarships”).

 

Intellectual Pursuits

There are many extracurricular activities that grow cognitive abilities the obvious way—intellectually. Think scholastic decathlon, chess club, and science fair. These will get your children out there meeting youngsters of their own intellectual level and force them to recall massive amounts of information while solving problems in real time, whether it be on a team, over chess boards, or while experimenting.

——           

About the Author

Leslie Mason is a homemaker and garden expert. Leslie enjoys writing, gardening, do-it-yourself projects, and fixing up the house.

Taking a New Direction as a Parent – Is Foster Care Right For Me?

July 2, 2013 | 0 Comment(s)

After the birth of our son, my husband and I couldn’t wait to continue growing our family. We loved the whirlwind that followed him around, and loved the way he could light up a room – and the lives of everyone in it.

Unlike most couples though, we took a slightly different route when it came to having a second child. We became foster carers.

We wanted to fill our home with a child’s laughter, but we also wanted to shutterstock_53357662make a difference in a child’s life. After seeing an advert on Facebook recruiting carers in our area, we jumped at the chance and haven’t looked back since.

If you’re thinking of taking a new direction as a parent, foster care could be right for you. Here, I’m going to share with you a warts-and-all account of the process to help you make the right decision – for you and a child.

1. Are you prepared for the application process?

The process to become a foster carer was unlike anything we had undergone before. The first thing to be aware of is that this is a long, daunting, challenging, and often intrusive process; something which puts many prospective parents off.

Our journey took 6 months to complete, something which we were assured is completely normal. It began with us making an enquiry online, and was followed by a telephone chat with the agency.

Before you’ve even signed on the dotted line, you need to be aware that you will receive a home visit from the agency. This is to discuss your enquiry in more detail, and get a general idea of how suitable you will be. It is at this stage that you will then complete an application form.

The assessment that follows is pretty intense, and not for everyone. Our social worker visited 7 times to carry out a full assessment of our home and suitability as carers. We also had prior training to ensure we were fully prepared.

Finally, after this stage, we were approved and told to await news of our first placement. Be under no illusions that this is a lengthy process; and something you really need to prepare for before you begin your journey.

2. Do you have a spare room?

One of the first questions we were asked when enquiring about foster care, was did we have a spare room. Even though we already had a child of our own, any foster child would need their own bedroom to sleep in. You’ll need to prove that you have the space at home to house everyone comfortably.

In the UK, there has been some concern over how ‘Bedroom Tax’ will affect foster carers; a further challenge that has been putting many families off foster care. My advice would be to see how this will impact on you, before you enquire.

3. What type of placement are you able to offer?

Another thing to consider when deciding if foster care is right for you is what type of placement you are able to offer. Fostering is not to be confused with adoption; in fact, there are a number of important differences to consider.

When we looked into fostering, we didn’t realise there were quite so many types of placement. These include:

  • Emergency Placements – These are offered on extremely short notice, and are for children whose parents have been deemed unfit to care for them.
  • Short Term/Temporary Placements – These are only a few days or weeks long, and provide a ‘middle ground’ before a child moves on to long term care or adoption.
  • Long Term Placements – These placements can last months or even years, before children are moved on.
  • Respite Placements – These placements are designed to give the birth parents of challenging or disabled children a well-deserved break.

4. Can you deal with difficult children?

Another question to ask yourself when considering fostering is: “Can I care for a child with behavioural difficulties?”

When our foster daughter came to live with us she was very challenging due to her upbringing and it took her a long time to settle in and calm down. You may find yourself caring for a child with a physical or mental disability; and you need to be able to offer the specialist care they need.

While you will receive training and support, it’s important to do your research and be sure that you can cope with anything fostering throws at you.

5. Are you willing to foster children of all ages?

When we enquired about fostering, we were surprised to learn that there is a real shortage of carers for older children.

If you’re thinking about fostering, you need to be willing to care for children of all ages, backgrounds and upbringings. Making a difference to an older child’s life will no doubt challenging, but it’s the most rewarding job you can do.

Taking a new direction as a parent and becoming a foster carer was one of the best decisions we made, and we wouldn’t change it for the world. It’s challenging; but it is truly rewarding and we’d recommend it to anyone.

——

Rachael Walker is an ex-marketing manager turned full-time Mommy blogger. When she’s not looking after her children, you’ll find her baking, gardening, and keeping fit. Find out more about her journey as a foster mother on her blog.

Taking a New Direction as a Parent – Is Foster Care Right For Me?

July 2, 2013 | 0 Comment(s)

After the birth of our son, my husband and I couldn’t wait to continue growing our family. We loved the whirlwind that followed him around, and loved the way he could light up a room – and the lives of everyone in it.

Unlike most couples though, we took a slightly different route when it came to having a second child. We became foster carers.

We wanted to fill our home with a child’s laughter, but we also wanted to shutterstock_53357662make a difference in a child’s life. After seeing an advert on Facebook recruiting carers in our area, we jumped at the chance and haven’t looked back since.

If you’re thinking of taking a new direction as a parent, foster care could be right for you. Here, I’m going to share with you a warts-and-all account of the process to help you make the right decision – for you and a child.

1. Are you prepared for the application process?

The process to become a foster carer was unlike anything we had undergone before. The first thing to be aware of is that this is a long, daunting, challenging, and often intrusive process; something which puts many prospective parents off.

Our journey took 6 months to complete, something which we were assured is completely normal. It began with us making an enquiry online, and was followed by a telephone chat with the agency.

Before you’ve even signed on the dotted line, you need to be aware that you will receive a home visit from the agency. This is to discuss your enquiry in more detail, and get a general idea of how suitable you will be. It is at this stage that you will then complete an application form.

The assessment that follows is pretty intense, and not for everyone. Our social worker visited 7 times to carry out a full assessment of our home and suitability as carers. We also had prior training to ensure we were fully prepared.

Finally, after this stage, we were approved and told to await news of our first placement. Be under no illusions that this is a lengthy process; and something you really need to prepare for before you begin your journey.

2. Do you have a spare room?

One of the first questions we were asked when enquiring about foster care, was did we have a spare room. Even though we already had a child of our own, any foster child would need their own bedroom to sleep in. You’ll need to prove that you have the space at home to house everyone comfortably.

In the UK, there has been some concern over how ‘Bedroom Tax’ will affect foster carers; a further challenge that has been putting many families off foster care. My advice would be to see how this will impact on you, before you enquire.

3. What type of placement are you able to offer?

Another thing to consider when deciding if foster care is right for you is what type of placement you are able to offer. Fostering is not to be confused with adoption; in fact, there are a number of important differences to consider.

When we looked into fostering, we didn’t realise there were quite so many types of placement. These include:

  • Emergency Placements – These are offered on extremely short notice, and are for children whose parents have been deemed unfit to care for them.
  • Short Term/Temporary Placements – These are only a few days or weeks long, and provide a ‘middle ground’ before a child moves on to long term care or adoption.
  • Long Term Placements – These placements can last months or even years, before children are moved on.
  • Respite Placements – These placements are designed to give the birth parents of challenging or disabled children a well-deserved break.

4. Can you deal with difficult children?

Another question to ask yourself when considering fostering is: “Can I care for a child with behavioural difficulties?”

When our foster daughter came to live with us she was very challenging due to her upbringing and it took her a long time to settle in and calm down. You may find yourself caring for a child with a physical or mental disability; and you need to be able to offer the specialist care they need.

While you will receive training and support, it’s important to do your research and be sure that you can cope with anything fostering throws at you.

5. Are you willing to foster children of all ages?

When we enquired about fostering, we were surprised to learn that there is a real shortage of carers for older children.

If you’re thinking about fostering, you need to be willing to care for children of all ages, backgrounds and upbringings. Making a difference to an older child’s life will no doubt challenging, but it’s the most rewarding job you can do.

Taking a new direction as a parent and becoming a foster carer was one of the best decisions we made, and we wouldn’t change it for the world. It’s challenging; but it is truly rewarding and we’d recommend it to anyone.

——

Rachael Walker is an ex-marketing manager turned full-time Mommy blogger. When she’s not looking after her children, you’ll find her baking, gardening, and keeping fit. Find out more about her journey as a foster mother on her blog.

Teaching Children About The Importance Of Charity

June 12, 2013 | 0 Comment(s)

Mark, guest contributor

Charitable giving is one of the noblest acts a person can do. There is joy in giving and only those who give happily understand this.

Usually we can watch and hear news in the media screaming about increase in crime and acts of selfishness all day long, while there are also many awesome benefactors in the world who strive to help their fellow men, but those are stories that rarely make it in the media, unless the donated amount is obscene.

It is therefore, dare I say it – obligatory for this generations parents to teach by example to their kids about the advantages of helping other people through acts of charity.

Unlike Mathematics or English, charity is not a life lesson that translates to a specific curriculum. Teaching your children about charity is not as easy these days where all the value seems to be on having more and better and newer things, and thus requires discipline.

There are several ways you can teach your children how to be charitable without having to focus on negative things that could leave the child disinterested.

 

Donating clothes

Once in a while take some time to go through the closets in your home and fish out clothes that you no longer wear or need. These clothes can be given to a children’s home or go to the needy.

When you are doing it, encourage your child to do the same. Allow them to let go of old toys they no longer play with. For the maximum effect, be there with the children while they do it and make sure they are aware of the difference they will make.

Encourage them to let go of the items they could really be attached to, explaining the impact they could have on someone else’s life. Take your child with you to the charity where you will drop your stuff, and if at all possible make sure your child actually sees the difference that their toys can make in the life of another child.

 

Helping the neighbors

It is advised that you regularly engage in service oriented projects. Rake leaves out of the elderly couples backyards. Bake cookies and cakes for the people that bring you mail, milk or other deliverables, it will make their day.

You could also make food and take it to the homeless feeding stations in your community.

 

Donating blood

When going for blood donations, take the children with you. This will cause them to view you as a role model. Talk to them about the reason for giving blood and the importance of it.

 

You can have fun

It doesn’t all have to be about giving up stuff or enduring pain while giving blood. You can also play charitable house lotteries or car lotteries in which you stand a chance to win a house or a car, all the while knowing that, even if you don’t win, your proceeds are going for a good cause.

 

The importance being charitable

These simple acts may seem very minor, but the impact they will have on the child later in life is priceless. This way you will raise children who are sensitive to other peoples’ plights. The children will also value acts of sharing instead of buying into today’s capitalist mindset.

Additionally these acts of kindness will definitely make a huge difference in the society at large. The world will be a much better place for all of us.

——

Mark is a father of two great kids whom he wants to grow up in equally great people, so he teaches them important life lessons while he still has influence on their development.

Tie Dye With Kids

June 11, 2013 | 0 Comment(s)

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Long hot summers can be hard to fill, with children on your hands and most activities costing way too much to make a regular occurrence it can be hard to think of exciting things to fill their days.

Bonding with children is unique and special, and something necessary to forge a happy familial relationship. It shouldn’t need to cost money, simple things like going for a walk, cooking together or just eating together can be great to build memories, what’s more they are both fun and healthy.

Sometimes though, the weather can affect certain free activities, as can children’s concentration. They can enjoy lots of things, but do need variation and change to grow and develop. So, creative crafts are a great way to develop children’s interest in different activities and help them find what they enjoy and are good at.

Tie dying is simple, easy, fun, and creative! What’s more the result is something you can use or wear, meaning your child has a great time and a great object at the end of it.

Equipment List

Garment

dye

rubber bands

rubber gloves

a plastic bag

a bucket

salt (can increase intensity of the color)

For the garment always go for plain, it can be anything, but I usually opt for a plain white t-shirt as the effect looks great, it’s a good size and there is nearly always one lying around.

The clothing dye you buy depends on what colors you’d like to create. This chart shows which dyes create which colors when mixed together.

tie_dye_tips

You can buy dye at a supermarket, at a specialty craft shop or online, but it is available for just a few dollars and shouldn’t cost the earth. You can buy specially pre-mixed dye from shops if you would prefer. Always make sure you read your dye label to check for specific instructions as there may be some equipment it requires not listed here. 

Once you have your equipment you’re ready to go and get creative.

Wash your garment before you begin so there is a clean surface for the dye to sink into.

Fold and tie your garment as desired. Do this by tying sections of the t-shirt with rubber bands and twisting the garment. There is no right or wrong way to tie dye, it is about having fun and being unique so don’t get too tied up with getting a perfect circle in the center. If your child wants a certain pattern you might want to do some small test strips on unwanted fabrics to work out how that pattern is achieved.

Once your dyes are prepared from the packets instructions, you are ready to get going. If you are going for a mix of colors it is best to start with the lightest first, then either rinse or wait between different colors depending on the dye instructions. The actual dying doesn’t take long but some dyes need to be left for 24 hours until they are ready to be rinsed. 

The glorious thing is that every item you tie dye, no matter if you use the same technique and the same dye, will turn out different. It is a great way to teach your children about how they are unique and everyone is different. It is also great to learn about different colors, science behind chemical reactions and color combinations as well as being an arty and creative activity. Meaning, there is something of interest to practically every child.