Creating a nuturing home environment for your child

Creating a nuturing home environment for your child

No home is perfect, but there are certain things you can improve about your own home, to make a positive nurturing home environment for your children. It can be anything as simple as making it a fun and relaxing place to be, to improving your relationship with your children. Every home is different and has lots of different great qualities, and different aspects that could be improved too. It is good to remember that no home is perfect, we can only try and improve what we have, and work on what we can work on. Having a loving, supportive environment is the key this to creating a nurturing home environment for any child. But if you do want some ideas of what you can work on, and how you can make your home a place where your child can thrive, then read on. There are so many small things you can change or improve that can make a huge difference in your child’s life. A good home environment is where your child’s future starts, and it will set them up for the best chance of being happy and successful in life. If you want to know how to make your home a nurturing environment for your child, then read on. You never know what tips and tricks you might find. Whether you are a new mom or you have a bunch of teenagers, there is advice here that everyone can take away. What will you find out?

Make a Communicative Environment

Making your home a communicative one is one of the best things you can do for your home and your children. Communication will improve your relationship with your children, and you will find as they grow older they will feel comfortable sharing things with you. Most parents will know this is easier said than done. Opening up and being the first to talk to your children is a good place to start, sharing things with them will encourage them to share things with you. Starting this from an early age will help develop this habit and make your home one where people feel they can communicate openly and freely about any subject matter. Communication takes practice before it can become natural to everyone, but talking about anything and anything is a great way to show your child that nothing is off limits and that everything is okay to talk about. When your children become teenagers and they need to talk to you about something, being communicative from a young age will help them open up when they are older and will make your life a lot easier! Every parent and every child is different but have easy conversions with them helps everyone to talk about the more difficult subjects too. Make sure you put the effort into making your home a more communicative one and this will create an amazing and nurturing environment for your child.

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Make Your Home an Enjoyable Place to Be

We don’t all have huge budgets that enable us to make the house of our dreams but making somewhere that safe and enjoyable to be should be on everyone’s list of things to with their home. Somewhere warm and cozy in the colder months makes all the difference to your home and your whole family! Having a fireplace can be a great feature to include in your home. Not only do they look great, everyone loves to gather around the fireplace. Everyone being in the same place can create a great home environment and can gather everyone around and help your family to spend time together. Having a warm and enjoyable home can make even the most aggravated person feel a lot calmer! If your home is not as quiet as warm as you want it to be Lumo Energy might be able to help you. Never underestimate the power of a warm and comfortable home, it goes hand in hand with creating a nurturing environment for your children. Make sure you consider these aspects of your home and try to improve them if you can, it will make all the difference to your home environment and might even help it become a more nurturing and supportive place for your children to grow up and thrive.

Pets

Now, pets are not for everyone and if you have allergies this will restrict what pets are available to you, but anyone can have a pet no matter who they are. Pets bring a lot of joy to people’s lives and any home feels complete with a pet there. Children of all ages want animals, and as well as being fun and a joy to be around, they can also teach your children a lot of valuable life lessons too. Having a pet means being responsible for the well-being of another living thing, and so caring and feeding it is an important responsibility and life lesson to learn. As well as feeding and grooming it, doing the less advertising jobs like cleaning out the hutch or cleaning up after your dog is something they should learn how to do in life too! Learning that being responsible for something means doing the fun stuff and as well as the less fun stuff is a valuable life lesson to learn. Pets are also a great way to teach children about empathy. Learning how others feel and putting themselves in someone else’s shoes is a valuable skill that pets can help them learn. Being in touch with how their pet feels and trying to figure out what they need or want is a great lesson to learn, especially because animals can’t communicate. If your child is shy or has learning difficulties, pets an help to bring them out of their shells. Pets are a great way to make any home environment a more nurturing one and can bring joy to your home and bring your family closer together. Make sure you consider getting a pet as it can make any home environment a really enjoyable one.

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Spending Time Together

This might seem like an obvious one but it so easy to let spending time together as a family. You work late at work a few nights a week, your partner has to leave early in the mornings and then your children go to a club the night you have free. It happens to everyone and all families experience periods like this. So what can do about it? Planning when you are going to spend time together and arranging it is probably the best way. Look at all over your schedules and see when is best for you to spend some time together, rearrange some dates so you can make one night of the week board game night. A great way to do this is simply making sure you all sit around a table and eat dinner together. Although someone’s favorite TV show might be on, they can watch that later! Having dinner around the table together means you are spending some quality time with your family and you can all chat about how your days have been, and have a catch-up. This might seems simple but it is a great habit to have and can create a great atmosphere in the home.

Take a Family Trip

This is also another way to get in some quality time with your family, and can really help to strengthen your relationship as a family. Although relaxing family holidays are great, getting involved and being active can create a very supportive environment for your children. Active holidays or adventure holidays can be an amazing way to spend time together. If your children are old enough why not go on a hiking holiday and explore nature together? Making your way across streams and discovering hidden places can be such good fun and amazing experience for everyone to share together. Active holidays mean you are all getting involved and working through things together. While a relaxing beach holiday might be what you want in the summer, there is no reason why you can mix this with exploring the town you are staying and the museums or galleries there. Every place has something unique to offer and exploring new things and places with your family are one of the best ways to strengthen bonds. When you come back from this trip there will no doubt be a positive atmosphere in the air when you get home. Having these kinds of experiences away from home will contribute towards a nurturing home environment for any family.

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Here are just a few ways you can make your home a nurturing environment for your children. No matter how old your children are it is never too late to start making these changes. A home is the place in which you live, but it also so much more than that. Improving your relationship with your children is a great place to start. Try some of these ideas out today and see how your home can change for the better.

Life lessons every child will need their parents help to navigate

Life lessons every child will need their parents help to navigate

As a parent, the responsibility to help your kids through the challenges of life falls on your shoulders. The world can be a scary and confusing place when you’re still relatively new to it. With your experience and knowledge, you’re in the ideal position to help your kids in all kinds of ways so that they come out the other side of these things more knowledgeable. Here are the main life events and lessons that you’ll need to help guide your kids through.

Growing to Understand Empathy Better

Empathy is something that we all have to learn. When we’re young, it seems like the world revolves around us, but we quickly have to realize that there’s a whole world out there. This is a realization that comes at quite an early age, but it’s up to you to teach your children about the importance of empathy.

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Falling Out With Close Friends

Kids fall out with friends from time to time, so the first time this happens, you should be there to soften the blow. Make it clear to them that the falling out probably won’t be permanent. You could even choose to encourage them to take the high ground and be the bigger person by resolving the problem that caused the fall out in the first place.

A Death in the Family

This is one of those things that no one wants to think about but we all have to at one time or another. When someone in your family does sadly pass away, it’ll be the first time your child has experienced it. Make them part of the process when you’re choosing glass cremation art and plans for the funeral. And try to make sure that they feel able to talk to you about what’s happened. It’ll go a long way.

Hitting Puberty and Everything That Comes With It

When puberty finally hits, it can hit like a train. There are so many changes that your child will be going through and dealing with, so it falls to you to help your kids out. Try to explain what they’re going through and why it’s important. You might even want to share some of your own experiences of this. It will help them see that what’s happening is both normal and necessary.

Those Disappointments in Life

As you probably know all too well, there are many disappointments that we have to deal with in life. This is something you understand, but your kids might not just yet. You need to show them that there are plenty of ways to overcome disappointments and move on to new things. They’ll need to understand this as they enter adulthood, so help them with it when the chance arises.

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Life is all about learning, and we all do most of our learning when we’re young. If you’re able to be there for your children when they’re experiencing all of these important things for the first time, you’ll help them to make sense of the world and eventually develop into well-rounded adults.

 

Beating those baby blues: Survival tips for new moms

Beating those baby blues: Survival tips for new moms

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Motherhood is a joy. The moment your baby is born, you bundle the little cherub up into your arms and relish this new life that you have brought into the world. Your life will never be the same again, and that is a good thing. Baby is here, and your excitement will be bubbling over. And then the baby blues hit! You are fretful and anxious one moment and crying the next. Surely you shouldn’t be feeling this way; not when you have a bouncing baby to cheer you up! However, the baby blues are normal and affect most new moms. With chemical and hormonal changes in your body after pregnancy, these changes in your mood can be expected. Generally, they only last a few days until your mind and body restore to somewhere near normality, and life will go on as usual – well, with the addition of diapers, feeding schedules, and topsy-turvy sleep patterns.

While you shouldn’t worry unnecessarily about the baby blues, you can still do something to alleviate the problem. In this article, we will give you some survival tips, getting you out of that postpartum slump and reducing the fears and sad thoughts that are common to many new mothers.

Remember you are not perfect – and that is okay!

A large part of the anxiety you will be feeling is from the stress that you don’t know what you are doing. Still, you need to remember that there is no such thing as a perfect mother, no matter how much of an act other mom’s put on around you. Every new mom goes through the same worries, but it’s all part of a learning curve. Know that you aren’t perfect and you will feel better about yourself. Take as much advice as you can by all means, but don’t panic if you don’t bond with your baby straight away or you struggle to stop them from crying. This is motherhood, and it will get easier, eventually!

Surround yourself with helpful people

Remember those so-called ‘perfect’ moms who act as if they know all there is to know about child rearing? Ditch them, especially if they are making you feel inadequate with their pesky advice and eye-rolling facial expressions. In these sensitive first few days of motherhood, you need people who are going to lift you up, not bring you down. Only invite the people who love and care about you to your bedside or home, and instruct your partner to keep at bay anybody who is going to overwhelm you with their negativity.

Be realistic about your bodily changes

You have just been through pregnancy, so your body is going to change, no matter how you looked beforehand. Your breasts will grow, you will put on weight, and you will be tormented by stretch marks. These physical changes are perfectly normal, and your body will get back to its normal state eventually. Still, it is panic about the body that can fuel those difficult emotions after baby is born. You can do something about it, of course. You can apply stretch mark prevention cream during your pregnancy, as well as some healthy doses of exercise. Then after the baby has arrived, you can focus on a healthy diet under the guidance of a nutritionist, and take a mother and baby fitness class. It may take a while to restore your body to its original state, but you don’t need to worry unduly.

Take time out to pamper yourself

Guess what – you are not Wonder Woman, so you don’t have to be on call 24/7. There are times when you will need to rest and focus on yourself, so it’s perfectly okay to ask your partner or trusted friends or relatives to watch the baby for a while. You deserve to feel good – you have been through the ordeal of giving birth after all! So, pamper yourself doing the things you enjoy, be that taking a nice long soak in the bath or spending a chill-out evening with your friends, and don’t feel guilty about it. Provided your baby is in safe hands, you can relax and enjoy time alone or with others, turning your baby blue frown upside down!

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Spend time out of the house occasionally

Particularly if your partner is at work during the day, you can become very isolated and lonely at home, despite the company of your baby. Those four walls will creep in on you, and your low mood will only be exacerbated. So, do yourself a favor (and your baby) and get out of the house. A stroll around your local area will keep your fitness levels up, and that, combined with the fresh air, will start to increase the feel-good chemicals in your brain. Spend time visiting friends too, and if you know any other new moms, visit them and cheer up their day as well.

Talk about how you are feeling

You’re a new mom, and you are supposed to be upbeat, excited, and full of gushing love for your little one. Aren’t you? Maybe, but you don’t have to be. Don’t put on an act (like those other moms) if you aren’t feeling great. Let people know how you feel, and vent your anxieties and sad thoughts to them. There are support groups available where you will meet other moms in a similar position to yourself. Your partner should also be available to offer you an encouraging arm, and there may be family members you can offload your thoughts to. In short, you don’t need to be alone, and as the saying goes, a worry shared is a worry halved!

Speak to your doctor for advice

The baby blues should only last for a few weeks. However, if you are still feeling low after a couple of months, you should see your doctor. You may have postnatal depression, and this can have negative effects on your life if it goes untreated. Your doctor will probably offer you some form of medication or suggest a self-help treatment to you, so you won’t have to suffer from the condition for long if this is the case.

Finally

If you have been suffering from the baby blues, we hope this article has been of use. Share it with other new moms, and if you have any tips that we haven’t covered, please let us know.

 

 





 

 

Does Your Child Need a Shrink, or Maybe Just You?

People from the younger generation can and do indeed suffer from mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression. Since they have neither the coping skills nor the knowledge to manage these problems by themselves, every parent should know what signs to look out for.

Of course, there’s a little hypochondriac in all of us and most parents are just a little unreasonable when it comes to their child’s welfare. If you suspect that your child may have a mental illness, there’s no reason to immediately launch into full-fledged sirens-and-screaming paranoia. Instead, take a deep breath, take stock of the entire situation, and take into account that you might well be overreacting due to your own state of mind.

Only Real Therapists can Diagnose Mental Illness

You may know your little bundle of squealy joy better than anyone and will, therefore, be the first person to notice any change in their behavior. This doesn’t mean that you can infallibly know what’s behind such changes, though: they may be a natural response to changing circumstances, your kid just having a bad day or two, or the normal speed bumps involved in growing up.

Plenty of aunts, friends, teachers and supposed “experts” will be happy to share their opinions, but how much stock should you put in these? Very often, their judgments will be backed by only a very limited amount of experience and whatever happens to be the last blog they read. Even medical doctors, who occasionally go as far as prescribing medicine for mental conditions, simply don’t have the training or outlook necessary to determine anyone’s psychological health, much less a child’s.

So, until and unless a licensed child therapist has diagnosed your offspring with a mental disease, treat them as if they’re perfectly fine. Talk to them about what may be bothering them, of course, but try to probe without prying. Most often, their worries and yours will be a thing of the past in a week’s time.

Taking a Step Back

Just in case this even needs to be said: all of our perceptions are filtered through the prism of our own mindset. Something a toddler gets up to can be cute and adorable when we’re having a good day, yet seem like one step short of pure villainy while we’re stressed out.

This tendency is perfectly natural, but also something every parent needs to be aware of and hopefully keep under control. If nothing else, there are few things more likely to make a child neurotic than dispensing praise and punishment at random, at least as seen from their perspective.

We should all keep in mind that, just possibly, the unwanted behavior we’re seeing in our child may be mostly in our heads, or even the result of our own actions. If you’re going through a rough time yourself, you have to take care of your own state of mind before you start worrying about that of your children.

Hire a babysitter once a week and go out for a date night, find a hobby you can do in short spurts while they don’t need your attention, or, if necessary, consult a therapist yourself. When other people are dependent on you, sometimes the best thing you can do for them is to help yourself first.

 

4 reasons why savings are important

4 reasons why savings are important

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One of the most important things you can teach anyone about money is the importance of saving it. Spending it on important items and keep some aside in your bank account is all well and good, but saving money is something different entirely. There are plenty of reasons why saving money is a fantastic idea, but here are four important ones.

Interest

Savings accounts with decent interest rates will mean that your money grows without you needing to lift a finger. The more money that is in a savings account, the greater the interest. It might seem like a small amount at first, but if you save money each month into this account, then it can grow and grow. All of this and you don’t have to do a thing. One thing that you should probably do, though, is change your savings account if the interest rate drops. This way you will constantly be getting the largest amount of interest possible. Using interest rates cleverly can earn you a lot of money without needing to do anything.

It Is There Just In Case

Savings are useful because they mean that you have money outside of your current account. This means that if there is an emergency, then you don’t need to take a small loan to cover the cost. For example, if you have been saving money then you will be able to cover the cost of getting your car fixed, buying a new fridge or plenty of other things without panicking about where the money is coming from. Saving money allows you to plan ahead and feel reassured that you have money in case of an emergency.

Allows You To Afford Expensive Things

If you want to be able to afford to buy a house in the future, then you will want to start saving money as soon as possible. In order to afford a deposit, you are going usually going to need somewhere between 5 and 20% of the total house value. This means that you are going to need to have saved a lot of money up to be able to afford the deposit. If you regularly make payments into a savings account, then over the months and years this will add up to an amount that you can use to buy yourself a house. Without doing any saving, this would otherwise be nearly impossible.

Retirement

Retirement might feel like a lifetime away, but saving a tiny amount each month can make a massive difference when you retire. If you keep a retirement savings account and only put the cost of a few cups of coffee into it each month, then by the time you come to retire you will be surprised by how much is in it. You will be saving such a small amount that you will hardly notice not having it, so it is well worth investing into your retirement. It is good to start as young as possible for the largest gains.

3 tips for getting your teen road ready

At some point in the future, all parents will have to think about helping their child to pass their driving licence and get on the road. The issue is that most people have no idea where to start when it comes to assisting their loved ones. So, use some of the tips below to ensure you give your kids all the support they require.

 Take them out in your car

 Alongside their official driving lessons, parents should consider taking their kids out for a drive whenever they get a spare few minutes. Try to head to shopping center car parks and places where there isn’t a lot of traffic. Those extra hours spent in your vehicle should mean your little ones pass their test as quickly as possible.

 Test their theory knowledge

 It’s vital that all drivers understand road theory, and there are many textbooks and smartphone applications available to assist with learning. However, parents can help their kids by testing them during the evenings before they go to bed. Make sure you get involved!

Get them a car

 Human beings are sometimes like donkeys in the fact that you have to dangle a carrot to get them to move in the right direction. Getting a car for your child ahead of time could encourage them to get on the road much faster than they otherwise would have done.

 So, now you just have to put that advice into action to ensure your child passes their test. You can also check out the infographic below for information on the most cost-effective ways to get a car.

 

Created by auto.loan

Pregnant ladies: Are you “mom bod” ready?

Pregnant ladies: Are you “mom bod” ready?

Most women are warned time and time again of just how hard pregnancy and giving birth can be on the body. Even when the birth itself is relatively straightforward and trauma-free, it’s a fairly dramatic time for the body. The new mom bod isn’t just one that isn’t quite as tight and toned as it used to be. You can face a plethora of changes that can range from curious to downright worrying. Here, we’re going to look at some of the changes you can expect, including those that no-one has told you about.

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What not to worry about

Immediately after giving birth, there are going to be a few noticeable differences. For instance, you might find yourself losing more hair than ever before, with a pillow that’s littered with it. When you’re pregnant, your body is full of hormones that tend to reduce the natural hair loss we all have, making it noticeably more voluminous. The accelerated hair loss you might see after is just the body catching up with itself. The same is true for increased nighttime sweating. Your body is still storing a lot of fluids and it will take any opportunity to discharge them. Just in case you weren’t aware, permanent increases in breast and feet size is also to be expected.

After the motherly glow fades

The same brew of hormones that keeps our hair thick and glossy will also give us the “glow” that many people notice on pregnant women. However, it’s not often as pretty after we’ve had the baby. Melasma, also known as the “mask of pregnancy”, is the most common, manifesting as patches of more pigment in areas of the face. This discoloration never truly goes away but does fade over time and can be helped with better skin protection from UV rays and a diet rich in vitamins C, A, and E. There are other skin conditions common after pregnancy, such as hormonal acne, facial spider veins, and dry skin. These are all temporary, however. Dry skin can be treated immediately, while the former two may take months to rebalance.

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Activity is never not important

Heavily pregnant mothers should get plenty of rest and make sure they’re never pushing themselves too hard. However, the idea that you should have no exercise during pregnancy simply isn’t true. Certain pre-natal exercises can help you deal with the stresses of being pregnant and even help ease the process of birth. Post-pregnancy, you should visit MomsIntoFitness.com for help to get your body back to good condition. It’s not just about looks, but about helping to restore energy reserves and stamina after birth. Many mothers do suffer a general deterioration in physical health because they don’t exercise after pregnancy. Exercise will also help you lose the mom belly, but don’t think about trying to rush that. The increased size of the uterus has a lot to do with that belly and it needs time on its own to shrink back down.

Back to basics

One of the most common aches related to pregnancy is back pain. After all, you’ve been carrying a growing baby for nine months and, postpartum, you will be carrying them in your arms a lot. If you have back pain, there are plenty of factors to consider. Changing to a comfier bed and a chair that offers more support, for instance. Massage therapy and low impact exercises like gentle yoga can help de-stress the muscles and build a little strength and posture so your lower back doesn’t have to take all the strain.

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Shutting off the waterworks

It’s one of the slightly more embarrassing sides of having pushed a living human being out, but a lot of women suffer from incontinence for some time after pregnancy. There are a lot of different reasons for this as FitPregnancy.com shows, the most common being that this particular part of the body has been under a lot of stress and might be weaker than before. Kegel exercises can be hugely effective for managing this issue. However, if there’s considerable pain or discomfort while you pee, it might be the sign of a urinary tract infection or something else that warrants seeing your doctor.

The other kind of leaking

Not every woman suffers from temporary incontinence after pregnancy. The vast majority of them, however, will soon experience the well-known milk leaks from their breasts. Even women who don’t breastfeed are still going to be rather full of the stuff, so leaks are to be expected. Some only leak for a few weeks, others will keep leaking for months. There’s nothing wrong with them, so all you should really think about doing is anticipating them and making them a little less noticeable. You can stem leaks when you feel them coming by applying pressure to your breasts by hugging them with your arms. Otherwise, it’s a good idea to start choosing clothes that can disguise wetness. If you do leak, don’t use disposable nursing pads which can keep your nipples damp, resulting in soreness and infections. Use cloth pads instead.

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Not in the mood

It’s not as high a priority as some of the other issues on the list, but many women grow concerned about having a much lower sex drive after pregnancy. But there are plenty of reasons you might not be in the most intimate of moods. New mothers suffer plenty of stress and worry, for one, aided by hormonal fluctuations, as Parents.com states. Breastfeeding can also decrease estrogen levels in the body, which can go on to lower your sex drive. Instead, focus on non-sexual intimacy such as massages and cuddling in the meantime. In a few months, your level of desire should right itself. If it doesn’t, then see your gynecologist.

Just as it’s important to keep a close eye on your health and bodily changes during pregnancy, you should be acutely aware of any differences after you’ve had your baby. Never hesitate to ask your doctor or midwife about those changes, either. Many of the examples listed above are considered normal, but that doesn’t mean that you should skip getting a professional opinion on them.

Important things to teach your children about finances before they grow up

Important things to teach your children about finances before they grow up

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As a parent, one of the best things you can ever possibly do for your kids, apart from loving them and providing for them while they’re young, is to give them a solid grounding in managing money and achieving financial stability.

Knowing how to manage money wisely is a skill that could help us all to avoid a lot of difficult situations throughout our lives, so it seems strange that so few of us take the time to sit out kids down and tell them about budgeting, the pros and cons of credit and how to manage one’s finances so that one is never short of money.

If you want your kids to grow into responsible adults who don’t struggle with money worries more than they really have to, here are some simple things you should aim to teach them about money before they grow up and leave home:

No One Owes You Anything

One of the most important lessons anyone, let alone children, can learn about money is that no one owes you anything. A lot of children right now are growing up in environments where their every whim is catered to, and they always get what they want. These kids are going to have a rude awakening when they grow up and realize that they have to make it on their own. That’s why you should, right now, start drumming into them the fact that, if you want something, you have to be willing to work for it. You can do this by giving them an allowance only after they’ve completed certain chores and doing so will stand them in good stead for the future.

Debt Should be a Last Resort

With the exceptions of things like mortgages and student loans, which actually enhance life for most of us, and make us better able to reach financial stability, debts are something that should be used as a last resort only when absolutely essential. If you do take out an online loan, buy something with your credit card or borrow money from someone, then you will have to spend many months and years paying back not only your debt, but also the interest it accrues, which is why you should build up an emergency fund to cover any unexpected expenses. Sources of credit are always available should they really be needed, but it is never something that should be relied upon over and above good personal financial practices.

Everyone Should Have an Emergency Fund

When you’re young, you feel like nothing bad is ever going to happen to you and you tend to live in the moment. This isn’t a bad way to live, and I’m sure we’d all be happier for our kids to think in this way than for them to worry endlessly about the future, but when it comes to money, things are a bit different.

If you want to do your kids a really big favor for the future, start talking to them about the importance of putting a little money away each month into an emergency fund, which will cushion them should a financial storm hit which requires them to find a significant sum of money fast.

Money Can’t Buy You Happiness

Having enough money to pay the bills, put food on the table, and yes have a few of the finer things in life is what most of us strive for and to the extent that it keeps the wolves from the door and stops us from struggling it can buy us some happiness, but if you use money and buying lots of unnecessary stuff like designer clothes, flashy cars and overly expensive vacations in a bid to beat the blues and boost your mood, it is almost certain to fail. If you’re unhappy or depressed, you’ll still feel just as blue wearing a Prada dress as you will find a simple outfit and you might have the added worry of being short of funds, or even worse in debt. This is something that kids need to understand as soon as possible if they are to avoid going a little crazy in the spending stakes when they start earning their own money.

Live Simply

Life can seem pretty complicated at times, and we are all constantly bombarded with goods and services that promise to make our lives a little easier, but you know what? Nothing Makes live easier than living simply, buying only what you need and what you can afford, with the occasional(affordable) indulgence thrown in. If you live simply, you never have to worry about being over your head in debt, keeping up with the Joneses or trying to earn ever larger sums of money – you can just kick back and enjoy life.

Take Care of Your Credit

Kids need to learn that there can be lifelong repercussions to going crazy with credit cards or living on debt. They need to know that if you ruin your credit score by the time you’re 21, it could take a decade or more before it recovers and that means that you might not be able to get a home loan, car loan or even certain jobs, particularly those in the financial sector because of it. If you need to use credit, then you must be confident you can pay it back and make every effort to do so if you don’t want to mess up all areas of your life for years to come.

You Shouldn’t Judge People on Their Wealth

Judging people by how much money they make or how little they have in the bank is something that only shallow people do, and it is much more important to judge people on their character, which actually matters, than whether they have the latest car or the most expensive clothing. Teaching your kids this could help them to avoid the well-worn path of getting into more and more debt to keep up appearances and outdo their peers.

A Big Salary Isn’t Everything

Although earning a good living is something we should all strive for, a good living doesn’t necessarily mean the biggest salary you can get, and actually, it can often be worth taking a lower paying job that you love if it means you’ll get out of bed happy every day, enjoy your work and get to spend more time with your family.

Saving for the Future is Something You Should Do Now

If your kids start saving towards their future as soon as they have access to their own money, life will be easier, they won’t have to work quite so hard in the future, and they won’t have to worry about their financial future at least. So, teach them the value of saving as soon as you can!

Teach your kids these simple truths about money and chances are they’ll grow into bright, confident, money savvy adults – what more could you want?

 

 

YOU’RE doing GREAT!

So the other day I walked past the bathroom mirror and almost passed out at the sight of my own grossness. Yes, it happens to the best of us. As I sit here I am currently un-showered and actively avoiding the pile of laundry over in that direction. Don’t look.

This horrific reality and my realization that Pinterest is just there to make me feel bad about myself, has prompted me to stop being so hard on myself and give me a good ‘ol pat on the dirty sweaty back….

And I’m giving you one too! I’m over on KidsGoals.com handing out virtual hugs and cookies and telling you that YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB, MOM!

A Mother’s Story: Down Syndrome

A Mother’s Story: Down Syndrome

I have always loved to have guest writers here on my blog to highlight other mothers in an effort to educate and enlighten not only myself, but all you wonderful people as well. Today we are hearing from my husband’s cousin who at exactly 2 weeks to the day after my Audrey was born, their family welcomed little Lacey into the world. This is the first time Kelley has spoken so candidly and openly about what it was like to hear the diagnosis and how it changed their family forever. At the end I am including the speech her 11-year-old daughter Sydney wrote about her baby sister for a school speech contest…and it won first place. 

I was shocked when Nicole asked me to write this post for her blog because let’s just say writing is not my thing. I was also nervous because I didn’t want people to get the wrong idea about how I felt about my daughter the day she was born.  But I feel there are other parents in the world that need to know it’s ok to have certain thoughts, feelings and fears when it comes to having a child with special needs. And know that regardless of her diagnosis, you will love your child unconditionally and take on anyone that will doubt her abilities.

Let me be very clear here, I have loved my daughter from the first time I found out I was going to be a mother for the third time, but the time after her birth was probably one of the hardest I have had to endure (with the exception of the recent loss of my father). This is my story on how I dealt with my daughter being born with Down syndrome.

March 24, 2010 at 6:31 PM I became a member of “The Club” as my friend Kelli likes to say. It’s not a club I planned to become a member of and it’s a club that caused me many tears that first year after becoming a member. You see, that night I gave birth to a healthy baby girl with Down syndrome.

To say it was a total shock would be a lie, you see 20 weeks before that night I received a call in my office from my doctor to say that my QUAD screen was positive giving me a possible 1 in 90 chance that my unborn baby would be born with Down Syndrome. At this point the doctor needed to know what I wanted to do since I had refused all genetic testing at the beginning of my pregnancy. Please know that abortion was never a thought in my mind and thankfully I had a wonderful doctor who never once suggested that I abort my baby. My husband and I had decided on genetic counseling and then genetic ultrasound, from there we would decide if we wanted more testing.

The week before Thanksgiving we went for our genetic counseling and genetic ultrasound. I had prepared myself with a list of questions I could ask regarding terms like nuchal fold thickness, cardiac abnormalities, duodenal atresia, hyprechogenic bowel, bilateral renal pyelectosis, brachiocephaly, or choriod plexus cysts. All markers that were typically seen with an unborn baby with Down syndrome.

We had already had a regular ultrasound but we never were able to find out the sex because this baby was very active. Throughout, I kept saying ‘an active baby is a healthy baby!’ And I couldn’t help but laugh when they told my husband Jeff and I that we will be adding another daughter to the two we already had. We never cared if it was a boy or girl, we just wanted our baby to be healthy and because they did not find any strong or soft markers we decided not to have a risky amino.

I wish I could say I enjoyed my last 20 weeks of my third pregnancy but that would be a lie. My gut instinct told me to be prepared even though the only thing that was positive was my QUAD screen. I worried myself sick those last 20 weeks. I was sick all the time, I gained a significant amount of weight and cried a lot in the shower.

The day I went into labor with my baby girl I had pink eye and bronchitis. I delivered via c-section and when the nurse brought Lacey Catherine into the recovery room I knew that my world would forever be changed. I would never be the same person that had walked into that hospital just four hours ago, laughing carelessly about the crazy day we had. No, I was now going to be a mother with a child with special needs and I would never again look at things the same. Words that never bothered me before would make my skin crawl because I now had a daughter with Down syndrome.

I didn’t want to open my mouth and say anything because then I knew it would all really be true and I didn’t want it to be. I didn’t want to join “the club”. I just remember feeling like the recovery room was getting smaller and smaller with each breath I was taking and my anxiety was taking over. I wanted to get up and run away pretending this day never happened but because of the spinal block I couldn’t move. I thought if I could just close my eyes I would wake up and hopefully this nightmare was over.

All of our immediate family got to see Lacey and no one said anything so I thought maybe I was crazy and she was normal. Even Jeff had stayed quiet. But when I saw the look on the nurse’s face and the doctor came to talk with us I knew what he was going to say. At that point I just wanted to scream, cry, hit something and argue that the ultrasounds didn’t show anything.

I was in total shock and I couldn’t stop thinking about how everyone would react to the news. I remember thinking how she will be treated differently, all because she has this extra chromosome. People will not love her the way they love her sisters. Will they even want to hold her? Will she know if they are not comfortable with a baby with Down syndrome? I didn’t want people to make fun of my daughter or call her “retarded” or whatever other horrific things people say. I don’t want people to look at me with pity because I had a baby born with an extra chromosome. I remember being wheeled to my room and I kept saying to myself, “You are not going to cry” because Lacey’s sisters will not understand why their mother would be so upset.

My sister-in-law took the girls out of the room, so we could tell other family members the news. I never did cry in front of anyone, I felt I had to show I was strong and that I could handle this. I remember looking at my husband and it was the first time I saw him cry and it broke my heart into a million pieces because I feared it meant he wouldn’t love her.  Man, how wrong I was. Jeff cried because the ultrasounds never showed anything was wrong and he was angry. But he soon shook it off and from that day on he has been totally in love with his little miracle. Jeff has said we can handle anything they throw at us, so we know Lacy will be fine because we are her parents. I remember thinking all she needs is love from us and everything else will fall into place.

Soon after she was born there was a concern from the Doctor about Lacey and I remember hearing the word Leukemia being said. I was in such a daze I didn’t understand, but basically the Doctor said that Lacey’s white blood cell count was up and that she was also showing immature white blood cells in her blood and her platelet count was low.

In the end, Lacey’s body fought back and her counts went back to normal but my greatest fear is because of this my daughter now has a 30% increased risk for developing a type of Leukemia called nonlymphoid by the time she is three years old. We recently had her tested early and at this time her blood count is normal. I can deal with her extra chromosome but I can’t imagine watching my baby girl go through chemotherapy. That is a bridge we will pray we never have to cross. The other issue we had during her first 6 months of life was trying to keep weight up. She had lost almost 2 pounds and we had to go to the Doctor every week. It’s funny to say now but we would cheer if she gained an ounce. Then we went to Florida when she was 6 weeks old at which time she gained 2 pounds while we were gone and from there she continued to gradually gain weight.

Lacey was also born with a few heart defects but at 6 months of age her PDA finally closed which meant no heart surgery. There were many other tests we had to have that first year: hearing, vision, blood work to check her thyroid. These test she continues to have every 6 months. It seemed like the time we would spend that first year at Dayton Children’s Hospital in Dayton Ohio would never end. At four weeks old Lacy began seeing a developmental specialist for physical and occupational therapy and continues to receive these therapies in addition to speech therapy.

The whole first year there are a lot of things we had to learn and go through which at times were very confusing and frustrating. I didn’t join a support group, because that is not my thing, but I know for a lot of people it’s helpful. I am just not a ‘support group’ kind of person and chose my own way of dealing with what my family was going though.

One of my best friends happens to be the President of the Miami Valley Down Syndrome Association and she has been an amazing support system for me. I also started to research and read different books regarding Down syndrome. One that I found that helped me with the guilt I was feeling over my own emotions was The Year My Son and I Were Born: A Story of Down Syndrome, Motherhood and Self-Discovery by Katheryn Lynard Soper.

Reading all the information you are given is a great help but honestly, I could live with out the scary stuff that may, or may not, happen to my daughter. I just wanted to enjoy her and I was afraid that maybe reading everything would take that away. It can be overwhelming all the things you need to be aware of but we have truly been blessed with the state of Lacey’s health.

People should not mistake having Down Syndrome with not being healthy.  My daughter is very healthy. She has met a lot of her milestones and in some areas she has surpassed them. She rolled over at the age of 2 ½ weeks and never stopped. She walked by 17 months. She said “love you” at seven months to her dad. I laugh because they have always said “she will be slow” but anyone that knows my daughter knows that being slow is just not in her, she has one speed; fast. Her biggest delay has been in her speech but sign language has helped with the lack of verbal skills.

Lacey is an amazing child and I used to feel guilt over the many tears I cried because of her diagnosis but in the end it was because of the ideas that society has placed on people with Down syndrome, that sadly, I also believed. Once she entered our lives and showed us a new way to live I don’t believe that way anymore and I will take on anyone that even thinks about doubting my daughter’s abilities.

I am a one Mama Bear you don’t want to mess with when it comes to my baby girl. Lacey has more determination than any child I know and she is out to prove to everyone that she is not a Down syndrome child but a beautiful little girl who just happens to have Down Syndrome. It’s so hard to believe it’s been almost three years since I received news that my daughter may be different. The thought of that scared me more than anything in this world, but since that time there have been so many other things in daily life that have changed that perception. I now realize this diagnosis is not the end of the world and no one has any reason to feel sorry for us because our daughter was born with an extra chromosome. If you could just see or hold my daughter just once, you would understand that to know her is to love her.

Lacey is our ray of sunshine and she brings so much joy and love to our family. I know there have been many people who have wondered and we have even been asked, “If you had the choice, would you take away the down syndrome?” Here is my answer; If we took away Lacey’s Down syndrome then she would not be Lacey. What I would like to take away is people’s stereotypes about what Down syndrome looks like.

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

Please enjoy the amazing speech that my 11-year-old daughter, Sydney gave at her school, which won her a speech contest.

Speech Topic:  A time when volunteers made a difference.
By: Sydney Yontz

Have you heard of Down syndrome?  I learned about Down
syndrome nine months ago, when my parents told my sister and me
about our 2 year old baby sister, Lacey.  When she was born my parents
never told us that she had Down syndrome.  I knew she had to go to
the doctor and have therapy a lot, but I just thought something was
wrong with her heart.  When my parents sat my sister and me down to
explain it to us, they told us that she had Down syndrome, which meant
she had an extra chromosome, and that she may be slow to learn things
like walking, talking, and reading.  The easiest way to explain Down
syndrome is to say my sister was born with 47 chromosomes instead of
46 like me.  She has 3 copies of her 21st chromosome.  I only have 2.

The Buddy Walk is a group that is working to bring awareness
about Down syndrome to the public.  The Buddy Walk was started in
1995 by the National Down Syndrome Society to raise awareness and
acceptance for people with Down syndrome.  The Buddy Walk is
organized by volunteers.  These volunteers get people involved to walk,
raise money, and raise awareness about Down syndrome.  These
people do not get paid any money to do this.  The payment they get is
the satisfaction of seeing all the smiling faces from the children and
adults during the event.

My mom’s friend, Kelli is the President of the Miami Valley Down
Syndrome Association.  She said they raised over $80?thousand dollars
last year for their Buddy Walk in Dayton.  The money will go to help
fund programs like summer camp, help parents pay for therapies, and
this year they will be buying iPad’s for some families. They also give 7%of the money they earned to the National Down Syndrome Society and
this money is used for research.  Nationally, the Buddy Walk raised over
$11?million dollars last year to help provide programs and services.
Back when the Buddy Walk first started they only had 17 walks
throughout the whole United States, but last year they had over 300,
and even had their first walk in the country of Japan.

So, what has the Buddy Walk done to change America?  Last year
alone, there were almost 300?thousand people that participated in the
Buddy Walk to raise money for Down syndrome.  But more importantly,
these volunteers helped raise awareness and educate millions upon
millions of others about Down syndrome.

So, why is this awareness about Down syndrome so important you
ask?  As my mom says, “my sister is part of the lucky 15% born with
Down syndrome”.  Yes, I just said my sister is lucky to be born with
Down syndrome…  You see, nearly 85% of parents when told their baby
will be born with Down syndrome, will choose to have an abortion.
Which means that the parents will end their baby’s life before it is even
born.  I can’t imagine my sister not getting a chance to live.  And I can’t
imagine my life without my sister.  She is the best sister in the world
and I love her so much.

One of my biggest fears for my sister is that someone will make
fun of her as she gets bigger, and the Buddy Walk is doing a great job in
promoting awareness so that one day my sister will be accepted by
everyone, and no one will call her mean names and make fun of her.  I
also hope that one day, with the help of the Buddy Walk that those 85%
of parents who are going to choose to end their baby’s life will go down
to zero.  Those babies deserve to be lucky too, just like my sister.