Tips for beating the January blues

It feels like we are well into the new year by now, and often that can mean that we are starting to slow down after that new year rise in motivation and inspiration. January does present that golden opportunity of a fresh start. A chance to implement changes to a routine with children, start something new with the family, or your personal self-care and development. However, you may be feeling like you have come crashing back down to earth with a big thud. I wanted to help you take that important reality check and get back on track without letting the January blues bring you down. I hope it inspires you to get back on with whatever you are hoping to achieve, now and for the rest of the year.

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Financial pressure

One of the biggest issues all families can face at the time of year is a bit of financial worry and strain. The festive season was good fun, but sometimes the overspending can begin to haunt us at this time of the month and we can often feel overwhelmed with the bills. However, taking control of your financial situation can actually put you in a better position than you began the year in. Looking into things like repair.credit’s home page to look at options for debt. It could be to set up a saving plan so that you don’t’ have to worry about the family vacation. Or even looking at reducing your outgoings to give you some more disposable income to enjoy family days out. The main point is to not be fearful of it and to take control and get things back on track. It might suddenly feel like a weight has been lifted.

Struggling to get back into a family routine

Sometimes January can present problems for the family with the struggle of getting back into a family routine. It might be going back to school, the hustle and bustle of after-school clubs, appointments, running the house and keeping it clean. However, a routine can be great for the family, and often this time of the year is the ideal time to try new things.

Feeling a little down

You might find yourself feeling a little down and blue at this time of the year. The weather doesn’t help, the strain on the finances can be a stress and a worry. So there isn’t a surprise that you can still to feel the strain personally. There are many websites out there that have some great ideas to help you lift your spirits. Take some time for a bit of self-care and remember some of the resolutions you made for yourself. Eating better, maybe. Getting fitter perhaps. This time of year is for you as well as your family.

Too much pressure with new year’s resolutions

Finally, have you put too much pressure on yourself with your resolutions and your goals for the year ahead? Too often we can be guilty of all the grand plans and the reality is that things don’t often change overnight. Instead, relook at the things you wanted to do and make smaller more actionable targets to help you reach the end goal. It will help you stay motivated and feel inspired once more.

I hope that these tips and tricks help you avoid the January blues this month.

 

Teaching your teen about finances

Teaching your teen about finances

Before your teen leaves the nest, you simply must teach them about finances. You need to do this because if you don’t, who will? If you don’t, how can you be sure that they will learn this very important life lesson before it is too late and they get themselves into a spot of financial trouble?

Yes, you need to teach your teen about finances now, before it’s too late. And, if you’re wondering just how that is done, then wonder no more as advice on the matter can be found below.

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Teaching them how to spend and manage their money

As you can probably attest, an important part of adulthood is being able to manage money properly. So, make sure your teen knows how to do it! First of all, make sure they know how to manage and spend the money they actually carry on their person (both in the form of physical banknotes and the money on their cards). Make sure they know where to spend their money and when to spend it. Make sure they know all about moderation. Make sure they know the importance of prioritization. And make sure they know that once money is spent on one thing, it cannot be spent on another.

And, once you’ve ingrained all of these good spending habits into your teen’s head, you need to teach them how their money is actually managed. This means, most importantly, that you need to teach them the importance of their bank accounts and savings accounts and the safest ways for them to be accessed. Also, you need to teach them of the importance of protecting their bank and card details at all costs.

Let them know of the financial obstacle they are likely to face

Life is full of financial obstacles, and it is better to teach your teens about them early in their life so that they will be able to successfully circumvent them as their life progresses and later in it.

One such obstacle that you should teach them about is debt. Simply, you should be as open and as frank as you possibly can about how debt forms and how it is then managed. First of all, you should make sure they know about all the ways in which debt is formed, and that even means telling them that it will form upon them taking out a student loan. You should then teach them as best as you can about the ways in which debt is fought, such as through the taking of debt relief programs for student loans. Basically, how debt is formed and then fought should be some of the first points you cover in the financial lessons you give your teen.

Your teen is soon to be a fully-fledged adult, and you will save them a lot of stress during this transition by getting them ready, as best as you can, for the financial world they are about to enter.

 

Things to teach your teen before they leave the nest

Things to teach your teen before they leave the nest

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Every parent out there wants to give their children the very best start in life. You work very hard to make sure they have a good education, while also spending loads of time with them to keep them happy. When it comes to leaving home, though, a lot of young adults are woefully unprepared. There are loads of little areas which need to be learned before they can safely live on their own. So, to help you out, this post will be exploring some of the less-obvious of them.

Budgeting: Being able to balance spending and saving is a skill which a lot of people simply don’t have. When bad habits are adopted early, they will be hard to drop, and the same can be said for good ones. Even if it means drawing up a plan for them, your child should have a solid understanding of their finances before they set off. This is especially useful for students or those on very low wages.

Borrowing: Getting loans and borrowing money are perfectly natural parts of life. A lot of people see this sort of action as negative, but, in the life of a youngster, it can be essential to have a way to get access to emergency funds. Credit cards for poor credit and new account holders are a great way to handle this. Limiting the amount which can be spent while giving a good safety net, these sorts of options are perfect for young people.

Moderation: Drinking, taking drugs, and experimenting with relationships are all a part of growing up. Of course, though, when too much of these things are had, they can start to become a problem. Being able to moderate themselves properly will start with childhood. Simple things, like limiting time spent watching TV or on the computer, will shape your child into someone with heaps of willpower.

Social Skills: Being shipped off to university or into a job without the ability to communicate with others will be very hard. Social skills, like moderation, have to be taught over many years, and this will start when your kid is very young. Taking them to playgroups before they are old enough to go to school is a great way to start. From there, though, you should try to give them as much exposure to others as possible.

Driving: Independence often starts with the ability to drive. Enabling them to work far away, while also giving them the chance to roam free, this sort of benefit is something a lot of modern kids have to live without. By helping your child to learn this skill; you can make their life a lot easier. Of course, though, you have to think about their budget, as a car will be expensive to run.

Hopefully, this post will inspire you to start working harder on the time you put into your child’s future. When they leave home, they will be exposed to lots of things they’ve never experienced before. While being scary, this will also be exciting, and you will be there at every step of the journey.

 

How to protect your family and reduce your worries

How to protect your family and reduce your worries

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Every parent wants to be able to protect their family, but that will always mean something different to everybody. Because the ways that we all want to work to keep our loved ones both safe and happy will vary from person to person. We all lead different lives, have different priorities, and even different ways of going about things. That’s what makes us who we are. However, no matter your background, there is something that we all have in common – because every parent will worry about their family. And while it’s never something that you can completely overcome, it is something that you can work to minimize. And to do that, you have to take proactive steps to protect your family.

Have A System

One of the main things that we’ll all want to protect our families from, is poor health. In some circumstances, you’re never really going to be able to fight off illness or even control them cropped up. But because these things are out of your reach, you’re not going to want to spend your time thinking about them. Instead, you should aim to ensure that you have a solid system with your healthcare that does combat the things you can control. With the right insurance in place, essential vitamins and supplements, and even keeping to regular doctors appointments, you should find that you’re able to ensure your family is as healthy as possible.

Find Financial Stability

Another huge family worry, and a form of protection is financial stability. This is something that we will all worry about at some point or another. Because no matter how much money you have, it’s not always enough! But, you need to work to find a rhythm that’s going to work for your family. By having security behind you, you won’t have to worry so much about issues that could crop up.

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Prioritize Security

Then there’s also physical protection to consider. And this is something that every family should put in place. From the best nanny cam and baby monitors to the right home security system and CCTV options, these can all keep your family safe. You’ll have more visibility on the safety of your home and family, and security should something happen.

Gain Trust

Trust is a huge issue across all areas of your life, but if you want to ensure that your family is always protected, you need to trust the people you let into your life. Not only your nanny or people involved with your children, but your friends or potential threats too. Because not everyone is always as the first seem.

Encourage Communication

Another great way to ensure that you can keep everyone happy, healthy, and protected, is via communication. It’s hard to know what is going on in people’s lives. From your husband, to your parents, to your teens – everyone faces battles. But it’s essential that you all work together to get through them, rather than suffer in silence alone. Strong communication can often keep everyone sage and away from their own worries.

Dressing your child for winter

Dressing your child for winter

It may feel like winter has been here for a while, but the truth is it’s just getting started. It’s important to wrap up warm during the winter period, helping you to stay healthy and happy through to spring. It’s up to you to dress your children in the right cold-weather clothes, but there some stylish and practical pieces around at the moment to help make it a little easier. Take a look at these top tips for dressing your child this winter.

 

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Dress them in plenty of layers

Layers are important for helping to keep your child warm and can be taken off easily when they get too hot after running around or walking to school. If it’s particularly cold out, you might want to consider putting them in a thermal vest – especially if they’re going to be outside a lot. Check out this fantastic guide to layering for children which has ideas for use all year round, ideal for helping you plan your child’s wardrobe.

Always add a hat

Beanie hats are perfect for winter. They’re cute and functional and come in so many great styles. Let your child choose their own beanie, something that they’ll want to wear throughout the winter. There are some great styles for kids featuring animal ears, pom poms and others that are right on-trend right now, so hopefully, they’ll be more willing to wear theirs when they leave the house.

Don’t forget gloves

It makes sense to invest in a few pairs of gloves to get through the winter season. Children are notorious for losing small items, and gloves are up there at the top of the list. Keep gloves in their coat pockets, in your handbag, their school bag, and the car – you never know when you might need them. There are some amazing mitten/finger glove combos available as well that offer double protection for those really cold days.

Invest in good outerwear

Kids grow, that’s something that won’t change – so it’s important that you kit them out in the right outerwear each year, which is going to require a shopping trip. You’ll want to invest in some good outerwear that not only offers warmth but could guard against harsh winter rain too. Take a look at the selection at Nickis – they have some practical but stylish pieces that will be sure to keep kids warm. Investing in better-quality pieces means that they’ll last longer, and could be passed down from older to children to younger ones.

 

Dressing your child for winter is simple when you’ve got all the right items at home. When you know you’ve dressed them for the elements, you’ll feel much happier when they go to school or head out to play. Want more practical winter parenting tips? Check out this great guide to driving with children in winter. With the holidays just around the corner, it’s a good time to think about winter wellbeing for your family to make sure everyone can enjoy the holidays.

 

The worries of having a parent reaching their twilight years

The worries of having a parent reaching their twilight years

When you have kids of your own, you find yourself thinking about the future a lot more often. We want to make sure our children are as best prepared for the life to come as possible. Then we get to thinking about the parents who hoped the same for us. As the average lifespan continues to increase, we’re ending up with more and more of our own folks in old age. But how is an adult child supposed to cope is the old status quo starts flipping and they find their parents start to need a little help instead?

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Staying in touch

Social isolation is a very common factor in later life, as our social circles often begin to shrink dramatically as we age. We lose touch with old friends, we survive them, or we simply have barriers that stop us from keeping in touch. You can help by, for instance, finding organized social groups for a parent, or you can just make sure that their family fills more of their social space. You can help them keep in touch, too. For instance, if they’re not able to keep up with modern communicative technology, then you have to help them find solutions like Snapfon, cell phones with major accessibility overhauls that make them much easier to use. A healthy social life is essential in our later years for mental health and acuity. Don’t let your parents’ be isolated.

Ensuring their health

As we get older, we become more and more likely to become afflicted by a variety of health issues. However, many older people no longer feel confident, comfortable, or willing to see the doctor alone. In some cases, it’s due to a decline in cognitive ability, meaning some may not be inclined to understand instructions. It’s important to have a conversation with our parents about their health. It may very well turn out they could some extra help such as keeping a schedule of appointments or even being accompanied to the doctor’s office. In other cases, medical devices like Lifestation can give a child peace of mind that if there’s an emergency, their parent will be able to alert healthcare professionals with little effort.

Seeing them cared for

It happens at different rates for different people, but all grown children have to consider the question of when their parents may lose enough of their independence that it becomes time to consider seeing if they need any help maintaining their own care. The choice of acting as a caregiver, hiring a caregiver or determining whether your parent might be better looked after in a retirement home is a difficult one. You have to talk to them and consider their wants but also consider the time and money available to you. Regardless, we have to keep an eye out and begin to notice when our parents become less able to take care of themselves.

It’s important to have frank, but sensitive, conversations about your parents’ needs as they age. Depending on many factors, they might be much more independent than you think. However, one thing is for certain, there are many older parents whose needs are going unmet, so we have to try harder.

Keeping your dog happy and mobile into old age

Keeping your dog happy and mobile into old age

It seems like only yesterday that you were bringing home an adorable, weeks old puppy into the family home. But time, as it always does, has marched on, and now that puppy is undeniably a fully grown dog. While you’ll have enjoyed sharing the dog’s prime years with him or her, there comes a time when your pooch will entering their twilight years. However, just because your dog is “over the hill” doesn’t mean that they can’t have fun. It just means that you’ll have to manage their health a little bit more, and ensure they have everything they need to stay happy and mobile.

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 Recognize Their Age

 Your dog will age much faster than you do, as we’re sure you know. As such, it’s important to keep his or her age in the back of your mind, especially once they reach ten and beyond. Then, their body will begin to age more quickly, and they won’t be able to do all the things they used to do when they were a rambunctious pup. They might not look old, but they’ll begin to feel it in their bodies once they hit their second decade.

 Get the Right Food

 There are two common problems when it comes to older dogs; they’ll either eat too much and not get enough exercise, which results in their begin overweight; or they lose their appetite and lose weight. It’s extra important that you keep a close eye your pet’s food habits. If you think their food is no longer working for them, then try something new. A dog will never eat the same food throughout its entire life.

 Think of the Weather

 Your dog will always feel the weather more than you do, but this is especially true when they reach an older age and don’t have that inner fire – or coolant – burning to keep the effects of cold and hot weather at bay. It’s warm, then make sure they’re never kept in the heat for too long. When the weather turns cold, you’ll need to manage their temperature a little bit carefully, too. If you take them for a walk, make sure they’re not able to stay still for too long, as this will cause their joints and muscles to stiffen up.

 Take the Pain Away

 Your dog will suffer from all the usual aches and pains. Alas, they won’t be able to tell you where and when it hurts; you’ll just have to keep an eye on their body and look for any changes. If you notice a soreness or a swollen area, get some anti-inflammatory drugs from Vetiq and take the pain away. Beyond that, it’ll be about making sure they’re able to be in comfort when they’re at home.

 Productive Exercise

 Finally, it’s crucial that your dog continues to get exercise, even in their old age. But be careful: too much can be just as damaging as too little, so don’t push your pet to do too much, and call it a day when they get tired.

 

 

Do babies need so much STUFF?

Do babies need so much STUFF?

Babies are small, beautiful and frustrating little beings. You plan and prepare for them and you get your home ready for them. It’s only after you’ve set up the nursery, planned the bedside crib and sorted out the clothes you need that you realize the sheer amount of money you’ve just spent on the smallest addition to the house. It really begs the question: do babies need so much stuff?

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The truthful answer is that half the equipment, toys and clothes you’ve just spent money on aren’t necessary for the baby. The gadgets like these and the gizmos like these are all a wonderful way to get parents to spend money. Most people find that when they are preparing for their first baby, the overwhelming feeling of shock and surprise gives way to buying a lot of baby things they never use. The baby bath with the built-in thermometer? You find that a year later, still in the box, because you got into the tub with the baby on your chest for closeness. The bottle warmer that was gifted to you? Still in the box because your baby took to breastfeeding like a champ. There are a lot of gadgets out there that are offered to new parents, when really, all the baby needs is you!

There is a great website for new moms that can help walk you through what you need for your first child. By the time you get to your second child, you don’t buy half the things that you did the first time. The rocker that the advert promised would be loved by your new baby is untouched, because actually, they prefer you to do all the rocking and screaming when you put them down. There are devices that mimic the heartbeat sound inside the womb. There are ergonomic baby gyms that play to every single sense and if you don’t have one, you’re frowned at because why wouldn’t you want the absolute best for your new baby?

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The truth here is that the only ergonomic device your child needs is you. They have spent nine months hunkered down in your womb, listening to your voice and smelling your smell. The idea that you need to tuck them into a 2.5TOG sleeping bag in a separate room with a cot that is alarmed to tell you if they have moved, is one that has only come about in recent years. The creators of all these gizmos have called it nesting; and if you’re not nesting by kitting out the nursery with the latest furniture, then are you a good parent?

Of course, you are. Babies need love, warmth, full tummies and clean bottoms. They don’t need an attachment to the pram to rock them to sleep. You don’t have to feel inadequate for the latest and greatest toys and accessories because the accessory that they love the most is you. Say no to the stuff. Boycott spending your cash on things that aren’t needed and have an amazing time bonding with the newest addition to the family.

Spot the signs of mental illness in children

Spot the signs of mental illness in children

Mental illnesses affect people of all ages, but we tend to associate them with adults more than children. This is because adults are more likely to express their feelings and let on that they have mental health issues. You’ll often come across an adult saying they’re depressed or have anxiety, but it’s incredibly rare to hear a child say any of these things.

More to the point, adults are more aware of mental health compared to kids. Children aren’t taught about mental illness, so they have no idea when they’re suffering. However, the fact remains that children do still suffer from a range of mental health problems, often from a young age. As such, you have lots of kids with mental issues that don’t know they’ve got problems so can’t ask for help. This leads to the issues developing even deeper, and they grow up with severe mental health problems that are harder to cure.

Keeping all this in mind, I think it’s important we learn the telltale signs of mental illness in children. If you have kids of your own, you will find this incredibly useful for caring for their health. It’s also handy if you work with kids as a childminder, teacher, nanny, and so on.

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Mood Swings Before School

Children can suffer from a range of different mental health disorders. However, anxiety disorders are probably the most common. This includes general anxiety, fear of social situations, or obsessive-compulsive disorder. A child that has any mental issues related to anxiety are likely to experience severe mood swings, particularly in the morning before school. They could be happy in the evening, still be a bit happy when they wake up, then all of a sudden flip when you get near the school gates. They don’t want to go in, they don’t want to go to school, and they’re visibly upset every morning.

Children who have anxiety don’t like going to school because it triggers their mental illness. The stress of working combined with being forced into social situations causes feelings they don’t like. Naturally, they have no idea what these feelings mean, they just know they don’t like them, and that they get them at school. So, they don’t want to go at all.

If you see your child or a child you work with, get really upset every morning before school, it could be a sign of a mental health disorder. Thankfully, kids can get help overcoming anxiety to the point where they’re comfortable going to school. As with all health issues – mental or physical – the sooner it’s treated, the easier it is to overcome.

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Bad Concentration

In general, young children aren’t the best at concentrating when they’re doing school work. However, the older they get, the better they become at this. Furthermore, they might struggle to concentrate when doing work, but they’ll concentrate fine when doing something they love.

But, if you come across a child that can’t sit still for more than a few seconds, regardless of what they’re doing, it could be a sign of a mental health problem. Primarily, it’s a sign of a highly common disorder called ADHD. I’m sure you’ve heard of this before, it’s when children have problems with their attention and are very hyperactive. They can’t help it, but it’s a problem that affects their lives and can make it hard for them to go to school as they distract others and don’t do any work.

Now, you do still find some adults with this problem, but it’s more common in children. This is purely because adults that had this issue as a kid probably got help to deal with it. As they grew up, they learned to control their symptoms and not let ADHD damage their life. If you spot a child that seriously struggles to concentrate, it could be because they have this mental illness.

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Changes To Their Eating Habits

A lot of people don’t realize this, but eating disorders fall under the category of mental illness. Anyone with an eating disorder is affected by a problem in their mind that forces them to think a certain way about how they eat. This leads to people either over or under eating. Eating disorders are common in children, particularly young girls.

The biggest telltale sign of an eating disorder is a change in the child’s eating habits. If you notice a child suddenly stops eating their food or is constantly binging, it may be a problem. Lack of eating is perhaps the most serious sign here, as it’s very unusual for a child to just stop eating. A change in eating habits is normally accompanied by physical changes such as rapid weight loss or gain. Look out for both as it could be a warning sign.

As mentioned before, dealing with a mental issue earlier in someone’s life will yield the best results. It’s important you step in and take action if you see your child change their eating habits dramatically. Talk to them, see why they’re not eating, and take them to get professional help.

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Social Awkwardness

Normally, children are more than happy to talk away to anyone they meet. If you have kids and have ever taken a bus journey with them, you’ll know they love talking to strangers. Children don’t tend to be socially awkward, which is why a child showing signs of this should be questioned.

A socially awkward child can be a sign of mental health problems such as Aspergers or autism. Issues like these can later develop and cause feelings of depression or anxiety, so they should be taken seriously.

My advice is to watch how your child interacts with other kids, are they playful, do they sit on their own, do they look awkward? If they seem to have trouble talking to anyone or interacting with others, it might be worth seeing a doctor and taking autism tests.


Spot the signs of mental illness in children, and you can help deal with issues before they develop. Share this article with other parents or people that work closely with kids. It’s important we figure out mental health problems from a young age!

 

 

How to make a small home work for your large family

How to make a small home work for your large family

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Large families with two or more children tend to struggle when it comes to finding somewhere to live. If you have a large family and are living in a small home, you’ll know how hard life can be. There doesn’t seem to be any space, and you feel like you have to move into a bigger house. This can cost way more money and be completely unaffordable.

What can you do? Well, you could start saving for a bigger place to live, or you could make more out of what you’ve got. Keeping that in mind, I have some advice that all families can benefit from, particularly large ones living in a small home. Read on, and you’ll find out how you can make a small home work for you.

Sharing Bedrooms

It’s highly possible for a family of five to survive with only two bedrooms. Especially if you have young children between the ages of around 0 and 10/11. All you have to do is stick all your kids in the same bedroom, so there’s no need for any extra rooms. Now, you could have a room spare to turn into a playroom or something more practical for your family. How can you fit three kids in one room? It’s easy if the room isn’t large enough for three single beds, then you’ve got triple bunk beds to help you out. This gives all three kids a bed and frees up loads of space in their room too. So, they can rest comfortably, enjoy a cool bunk bed, and have plenty of room for activities.

Smart Storage

One of the worst things about having a large family is that you make a lot of mess. Having multiple kids means there will be loads of toys everywhere, and your home gets cluttered up easily. To solve this, you need some smart storage space. Buy things that have dual functions and serve a primary purpose while doubling up as storage. I’m talking about a footstool that opens up to reveal storage space or a bed for you and your partner that has storage underneath. Find ways of storing all the clutter out of sight, and you will make your home feel much bigger.

Open Plan Living

This final tip might take some work, but it’s well worth the hassle. Instead of spending money on a new home, why not invest in a renovation? Design your home, so you’ve got an open plan living design going on. Your dining area opens up into your lounge, and it creates one gigantic area, compared to two separate rooms. As a result, you feel like you have way more room and you don’t feel as crowded and cramped. It helps your house feel less claustrophobic

By applying these tips to your home, you can make a small house work for your large family. Now, you don’t have to worry about finding somewhere larger to live – at least not until your kids are more grown up and can’t share a room. But, by then, you should have enough savings to make a move without worrying about money.