Everything You Need to Do Before Your First Family Vacation Abroad

Planning your first family vacation can be both fun and stressful as there are a lot of things to consider when taking your whole family abroad for the first time. Your first family vacation will provide you and your children with memories that last forever, so it is important that you are well prepared and organized for your trip.

Family Vacation Abroad

By being organized and arranging everything that is necessary before you go away, you can focus on having a great time abroad and making lifelong memories as a family. Going abroad with your family may sound stressful and chaotic, but by following this list of everything you need to do before you go, you can have a fun-filled and stress-free vacation.

Get Passports

This may sound like an obvious thing to do before you go abroad, but it is the most important. You need to ensure that you and your family all have valid passports, otherwise you won’t be able to travel. You should apply for your passports as soon as possible as they can take some time to be processed and for you to receive them.

If you have small children in your family, then they are likely to not have had a passport before, which means you will be applying for one for them for the first time. To do this, you will need a photograph of your children that passes the regulations and guidelines. For more information on this, and the cheapest places you can get them taken, check out this article about passport photos.

The cost of getting passports for your whole family can soon add up, so make sure you add this to your budgetso that you don’t find yourself short when it comes to paying for everything.

Convert Currency

You will need to make sure that you research what currency you will require when you land at your destination. This may sound like an obvious thing to do, but when you have yourself and your children to get ready for a flight, getting the correct currency can soon slip your mind.

If you have booked your holiday through a travel agent, then they will be able to advise you of what currency you need. If not, then you can find currency information online and shop around for the best exchange rates so that you get the most for your money.

Get Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is a necessity for any trip, but especially if you are traveling abroad with your family. Some people disregard travel insurance as “something you don’t really need” but this is far from the truth. You never know what could happen while you are away, and by investing in travel insurance you are protecting you and your children from the unexpected.

You can get different types of travel insurance cover, from health cover to property cover. You will likely be able to find insurance that covers the whole family inone policy so that you know you are all protected under the same insurance. While family insurance is likely to be slightly more expensive than individual cover, it will be worth the cost if you or your children become ill while you are away.

However, you should be sure to read the small print when it comes to picking an insurance policy as some of the cheaper options have larger excess fees. This means that you must pay an amount up front in order to claim on the insurance. Some excess fees are as much as $1000, so make sure you check the terms and conditions before you sign!

Make Sure Your Accommodation is Child Friendly

When traveling as a family, you need to make sure that where you are going is child friendly. When booking your vacation, you should do some research on the area you want to go to and find which types of accommodations are family oriented. You may find that hotels in the area accommodate tourist families and have play areas and a kid’s club to enjoy.

It is important that you make sure that your accommodation is child friendly, otherwise you may have some bored and restless children to contend with during your vacation.

Similarly, by picking a hotel that is used to having families as their guests,you will have the facilities and amenities available for your children. For example, they are more likely to have baby changing facilities and offer child friendly food at their restaurant. These small touches can make all the difference when you are abroad with small children.

Research Activities for When You Get There

As well as researching the most child friendly hotels in the area, you should also do some thorough research on the sorts of activities that are local to you that your family will enjoy. Children are likely to become bored if they are in one place for the whole time you are away, so by planning day trips and evenings out, you can see more of the area while keeping everyone entertained.

Water parks are a great activity to do while you are away when you are traveling as a family as there are usually different activities available for various age groups. Older children will likely enjoy the water slides, whereas the baby pool is also available for smaller children. It is also a great way to cool down if you are going to a hot country abroad.

Check theWeather

You should check the weather forecast before you travel as a family so that you pack the right things for everyone to wear. Even if the weather is going to be hot and sunny, you should still pack something to cover your children’s shoulders up as they can be the first to get sunburnt. Also, even in warm countries you can find the evenings can be chilly, so a jacket could still be needed. Your first family holiday is about having fun and spending time together, so make sure you are fully prepared before your trip so you can make the most of your time away. /

This entry was posted in Family.

Saving Money on Furniture: Practical Tips for Practical People

Whether you just moved into a new home or some of the furniture in your current home can really use a replacement, we have tips for you that will help to shave a good few dollars from the total cost of your furniture expenses. While you could just go online or offline in search of the cheapest options available in each category, that’s a bad decision, to say the least! Buying a piece of furniture is a long-term investment and unless it lasts for years and provides you with the comfort and functionality it is supposed to, there is little point in wasting your money on it. To help you reach a middle ground and get the best of both worlds, here are a few practical tips that will help in saving money, without compromising on the quality of the actual products.

home furniture

Shop for Furniture Online

What can we tell you that you don’t know already? Furniture is cheaper online because the e-commerce sites do not have any setup costs to bear, unlike your local furniture shop. Not that online shops are run without employees or anything, it’s just that everything is shipped directly from the warehouse, which reduces the overhead costs by eliminating the need to have a showroom.

Admittedly, the showroom does give you that added option of seeing, feeling, and testing the furniture out firsthand, but once you compare the significant price differences and consider the fact that the products bought can be returned quite easily, it really does seem like a better deal, especially as we are trying to save money and be practical here.

Buy Everything from One Shop

The logic is simple really and applies universally to expensive purchases in particular; when you buy all your furniture from one shop, it makes it easier for the shop owner to give you a good discount. Combine that discount with the fact that furniture soldonline is significantly less expensive, to begin with, and we have a practical tip that will save you a serious bag of money!

Of course, that doesn’t mean you won’t have options to choose from though because online furniture dealers like Family Furniture have a huge collection to choose from in any department. For example, check out the Family Furniture bedroom sets on their website. The sets themselves can be customized to include or exclude any number of items and the best part is that they even have financing and leasing options for hefty purchases, which is a more practical option than having to pay for every piece of furniture at once.

Understand that Big Brand Names Can be Misleading

Any manufacturer or designer with a significant reputation will hike up the prices, without justifying it with an upgrade in the quality of the products. Anything with a popular designer house tag will cost more money than it logically should because of the brand name association alone. As we are being practical here, look for quality in smaller, but well-reputed brands, rather than going for the big names in the industry.

The quality of the materials used in the furniture is more relevant than anything else, so look at what was used in making the products instead of the brand name and you will never regret it. Making furniture by hand is an art, but in today’s world, it isn’t as hard to manufacture quality furniture, as items are mass produced in factories by mostly mechanical processes. Therefore, it makes little sense in paying significantly more for something like that.

Colors Play a Big Part in Deciding the Price

Just like the color makes a difference in the final price of the same car, the same piece of furniture will significantly differ in pricing, depending on the color. Our advice would be to stick with basic shades like black, brown, grey and white because they cost less and can go with any décor.

On the other hand, peppy, rarer colors like bright orange or deep purple will push up the price tag by quite a few dollars. While this is a list for the practical people of the world, it doesn’t necessarily mean that practical people do not have any taste either! Colorful cushion covers, contrastingly bright pillow covers and bedsheets won’t cost extra and will let you dress up the furniture without having to overspend for the sake of fashion.

Buy Second-hand Furniture

This is pretty much the last resort scenario and taking this route is only advised if you are truly short on cash or you have found something that’s worth spending money on.

Second-hand furniture is not ideal by any means, but it is possible you may strike a remarkable deal at times, although the chances of that are rare! Refurbished furniture from showrooms is a comparatively better idea, as they cost a fraction of their brand new counterparts, but they will likely not be able to offer you the same quality for obvious reasons.

That’s about it, but it doesn’t mean this is a complete list and you cannot add a few practical tips of your own to further reduce the expenses. Always remember that it is okay to wait a little while longer before going through with the purchase of an expensive piece of furniture when you are not sure about it. Most pieces of furniture are supposed to last a long time and the good ones are never really cheap, so watching TV on that squeaky and uncomfortable couch for a few more nights is a much better option than ending up with a new couch that looks like an eyesore in the living room by going against everything that the interior décor was trying to achieve! Of course, in most cases, you can return it back to the seller, but that’s one more hassle which you could have avoided just by taking your time with the decision and discussing it at length with the rest of the family. 13d2

How to Build a Relationship Between Your Dog and Your Kid

It’s often said that a dog is man’s best friend, and there are numerous dog lovers that would agree with that. Many dog owners develop a lifelong bond with their pet and it’s hard for them to imagine their lives without their fluffy pooches. If you’re thinking about introducing a new tail-wagging, cuddle-loving, four-legged furry companion into your home, you certainly want them to get along with your family, and especially with your children. There are certain rules you need to follow when building a relationship between the pet and the child – read on to learn what they are.
pet dog

Prepare your dog for the introduction

Your dog needs to be trained to welcome the attention that comes with introducing it to your child. As a dog owner, you are responsible for how your dog behaves, so prepare it for the world by introducing it to different situations and rewarding it with treats when it responds properly. Petting it while feeding it snacks is a good way to gain its trust and make it feel relaxed around people. Also, let it approach the child when introducing them – that way, it’ll be more comfortable since it’ll be making progress at its own pace.

Teach your dog how to behave properly by enrolling it in a dog training program

Enrolling your pet in a dog training program is a great way to ensure proper behavior towards the children. Families from Australia understand the benefits of having their dog trained by professionals, so many of them opt for professional dog training in Sydney – that way, they can rely on an expert to teach their dog obedience using a reward-based system. Dogs like to know what’s expected of them, so having your dog trained by the specialist in canine behavior will help both you and your dog in the long run.

pet dog

Teach your kid how to interact with the dog

It’s not just the dog that needs to be taught how to behave properly – children also need to learn the right way to approach the dog. Poking the dog or patting it repetitively on its head can be quite frustrating for the dog and make it feel threatened, so it’s more likely to start behaving defensively. To avoid dangerous situations, teach your children how to express their love for the dog – talking to it, blowing it kisses, and touching it under the chin are a few examples of proper ways to show your dog affection without exaggerating.

Teach your kid rules and responsibilities that come with owning a dog

Your kids might enjoy playing and running with the dog, but there’s much more to owning a pet than that. It’s a good idea to involve them in bathing, walking, and feeding processes to teach your kids how to take care of their pet. Moreover, make sure to set some ground rules: tell them they shouldn’t touch the dog while it’s sleeping. Also, children should never pet a dog that’s chewing a bone or playing with its toy – it will interpret that action as a threat and will react accordingly.

kids with dog

Supervise and manage the interactions between the dog and the kid

Kids need to be under parental supervision when playing with the dog, especially if they’re just starting to familiarize with each other. Babies and toddlers require special attention when interacting with the pet since small children have a tendency to touch and grab items that others are holding. Animals can be unpredictable sometimes and may interpret our intentions differently than we expect them to. That’s why guiding and managing the interaction between the dog and the kid is an essential part of building a positive relationship between them. Building a quality relationship between your child and the pet is a long, but worthy process. By using our tips, taking necessary steps, and teaching both your child and your dog proper behavior, you’ll be creating a harmonious environment you and your family can enjoy. r

4 Things To Expect During The Third Trimester Of Pregnancy

Your third trimester of pregnancy is the final stretch.  There will be all sorts of excitement surrounding the impending birth of your new baby.  However, along with the blissful anticipation may come a considerable amount of emotions and physical challenges.  

You may be tired and ready to get it over with, and eager to finally hold your baby in your arms.  However, the best way to make it through the challenges of the third trimester is to anticipate them.

Here are some of the most important things to know about what to expect during your last three months of pregnancy.  

Nesting

As your baby’s due date approaches, you will feel a strong urge to start creating your “nest.”  That means you may begin obsessively cleaning, buying all the latest baby products, and creating your space for your baby when they arrive.

It’s a natural instinct that most mothers can expect during the last few months of pregnancy.  Sometimes it doesn’t happen until the very last leg, so if it hasn’t happened yet by the first seven months, it will likely begin soon.

Contractions

Leading up to your birth your body will start to experience light contractions known as Braxton Hicks.  They are your body preparing for labor and may feel like a sharp tightness in your lower abdomen.

You might feel these mild contractions as a slight tightness in your abdomen. Although a lot of women confuse them with labor, they’re not quite as intense.

If you suspect that what you’re experiencing is not Braxton Hicks, and is, in fact, premature labor, then you should contact your doctor immediately. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Difficulty Sleeping

The first and second trimesters are nothing compared to the sleep difficulties you will experience during the third trimester.

You will likely have a sore back due to the pregnancy hormones, and your hips will feel stretched and achy.  These changes in your body can make sleep a real chore. 

Sure, everyone says “Get plenty of sleep before the baby comes!” However, it’s a lot easier said than done.

Although there’s no easy fix, you can ease your discomforts by investing in a quality mattress and a pregnancy pillow.

Heartburn

If you’ve never had heartburn before, chances are that you probably have it now.  When you’re pregnant, your hormones relax the valve which rests between your stomach and esophagus.  As a result, your stomach will release acid into your esophagus resulting in painful and uncomfortable heartburn. To reduce heartburn, you should avoid eating spicy foods, citrus, and heavily fried foods.  Your doctor may recommend certain medications to help ease your symptoms as well. iority39 \lsdlo

Nine Ways to Improve Lower-Than-Usual Grades

Even the brightest and sharpest of students can sometimes find themselves underperforming. Often, it’s due to the student getting stuck in a rut with their studies and progressand being unsure of what to do next in order to move forward. If you’re usually a straight-A student but have recently noticed a drop in your grades but aren’t sure what to do, the first step is to work out the possible reasons why you may be underperforming, and then work out how to tackle the problem. Here are some of the best things to do if you’ve noticed your grades declining and want to improve them.

kids education

#1. Adopt a Positive Mental Attitude:

First of all, the way that you approach your studies and improving your grades can make a huge difference to the result. Try not to be too disheartened by any grades that were lower than expected. It’s only human to react by being disappointed with yourself, but don’t let yourself feel defeated because of it. Instead, try and put a positive take on things and use your less-than-expected grades to work out what you could have done better, and turn the experience into a learning curve for yourself.

#2. Work Out When You’re Getting Behind:

Before you can put together a workable plan of action, you’ll need to work out which areas you are falling behind on so that you have a target in mind. It’s a good idea, at this point, to speak with a teacher or lecturer and go through your recent work so that they can help you with any areas that they think need to be worked on the most. If your work is graded with comments, now is a good time to thoroughly go through the feedback that you have received from assignments and exams, so that you have a clearer idea of what you are doing well and what needs further work.

Ask yourself some questions about your recent performance, too – have your grades been consistently lower than you would like them to be, or are there certain subjects that tend to suffer more than others? It can be a good idea to take a look here at all your grades from the past few months to see if you find any patterns. That will help you get a better idea of what to focus on first.

#3. Ask Questions in Class:

You may be listening and taking notes in lectures and seminars, but don’t be afraid to go one step further and be the student who puts their hand up to ask questions. If you’re not sure about something, don’t let it go and hope that you will figure it out later. Your professor will always be happy to explain something differently or go into further detail for any students who ask for extra clarification. In addition, asking questions in class can spark healthy discussions and debates amongst students, which can be great for getting different perspectives on a particular subject or topic.

#4. Get Organized:

Clutter of any kind can seriously get in the way of our ability to perform and operate efficiently. So whether you are feeling mentally or physically cluttered at the moment, taking some time to make some space and get organized can be immensely helpful.

Let’s start with physical clutter. If your desk is full of papers or you’re struggling to keep on top of things in your room, then taking some time to tidy up and clean can be a great start to getting back on top of your studies and academic performance. A neat, tidy, and clean environment has fewer distractions and enables you to think clearly, and if you’re currently trying to work among piles of books, papers, clothes and more, you’ll notice a massive difference straight away.

On the other hand, you can have a tidy environment but if you’re trying to do too much at once, this can lead to a lot of mental clutter. Go through your appointments and commitments and see if there is anything that you can leave out. For example, if you have a hobby that you do several times a week or a part-time job, it could be worth considering cutting down your shifts or spending less time on your hobby for now, to free up time to work on your academic priorities.

#5. Improve Your Note-Taking Skills:

Have you ever tried to read back through your notes in a lecture, only to find that you don’t understand them at all? Not taking good enough notes is a common reason for underperformance at school or college, so taking some time to boost your note taking skills will certainly pay off. If you can, take notes using a laptop instead of by hand, as hurriedly scrawled notes from a lecture can be difficult to make sense of when you try and read through them later. You may also want to consider recording your lecture – get permission from your professor first; most don’t mind, and many encourage it – as this gives you something that you can listen back to later rather than simply relying on rushed notes.

#6. Use Essay Writing Tools:

Whatever subject you are studying, chances are that essays and written assignments make up a large part of your grade. Insufficient essay writing skills can certainly bring your grades down, even if you have a solid understanding of the topic that you are writing about. The good news is that there are plenty of things that you can do to improve your essay writing technique, and many tools available to help you get better at it. For example, this essay checker tool will automatically help you find spelling and grammar mistakes and gives automated feedback as you write, to help you get a better result. You can also find several handy online tools to help you with essay referencing of books, journal articles, websites, and more – another area that can easily be improved to help you get better results on essay-based assignments.

#7. Know Your Learning Style:

The reason that you are falling behind with your studies and grades could well be that you are trying to learn using a style that just isn’t for you. People vary when it comes to how they learn best; for example, some students prefer to read information, others will retain it better by writing it down or typing it out, and others learn best when they hear it. Some people work better on their own, whilst others prefer to study with a friend or within a group who can motivate them and share ideas. It’s a good idea to consider your past work and look at when things have gone well. When you’ve obtained a high grade, did you do anything differently? Do you feel that you take information in better when it is given to you in a certain way, compared to others?

#8. Give Yourself Time:

Rushing to revise for an exam or get an essay written at the last minute can often be a recipe for disaster. The best way to make sure that you are giving yourself the best chance at getting great grades is to give yourself plenty of time to prepare and revise. In fact, you could even start working on assignments from the moment that they are assigned; this way, you can write as you learn and pick up more information from the relevant classes and lectures. If you have practice exams, treat them just as seriously as you would do if they were a real one. This will give you a better idea of how you can expect to perform in the real thing and make it easier for you to determine which areas need to be focussed on during revision sessions.

#9. Consider a Private Tutor:

Last but not least, if you are still struggling to improve your grades on your own, you may want to consider hiring a private tutor to offer additional support and guidance. The good news is that you don’t always need to hire a qualified teacher or professor; often, students can benefit from the help of older students who’ve completed more of the program, or you can often find online tutors who can help you via webchat and video chat, at a much cheaper price than hiring somebody to come and help you in person. Alternatively, many schools and colleges offer extra-curricular classes, study support groups, and even summer schools that you may wish to think about joining in with in order to get the additional support that you need without a hefty price tag. Don’t forget about the power of the internet, either – a study group on social media or a school forum can be a great place to ask for help, get advice, and share ideas. Noticing your grades drop can be stressful for any students, but there are many great strategies to help you get back to the top of your game. ne(d.reso

3 Tips For Helping Your Child Pick A Musical Instrument To Try

For most parents, their kids will start an instrument for one of two reasons: either you’ve encouraged them to try it out or they’ve expressed an interest in music on their own. Regardless of how you’ve all come to this decision, if your child’s ready to start learning a musical instrument, the first thing you’ve got to do is pick the right one for him or her to try. So if you’re both feeling lost about where to begin, here are three tips for helping your child pick a musical instrument to try.

music

Consider Their Age First

When your child is young, the instruments that they might be best suited for will likely be limited. Some instruments might be too big while some might be too complicated. To start off easy, Dr. Robert A. Cutietta, a contributor to PBS.org, you might want to steer your child toward piano or violin. Even if your child doesn’t end up wanting to play the piano or violin for the rest of their musical career, the skills they will learn starting off with these instruments will help them jump to other, more complex instruments in the future. And because violins and pianos are easy to rent or buy, it should be relatively easy for you to acquire one of these instruments for your child to learn with and practice on.

Expose Them To Various Instruments

Sometimes, it takes seeing or hearing all types of instruments for you and your child to find one that really speaks to him or her. So if your child isn’t sure exactly what instrument to play yet, Anastasia Tsioulcas, a contributor to NPR.org, suggests that you take your child to a musical “petting zoo”. This experience will allow your child to see, touch, and hear all types of instruments in an exploratory way. This type of experience might be just what your child needs to find something that piques their interest.

How An Instrument Will Match Your Child’s Personality

In some situations, you might want to help your child pick an instrument that will match his or her personality. While some instruments stand out from the others, create a lot of noise, or can easily be played on their own, other instruments are more suited to working with others and blending together to create something beautiful. Because of this, Kelly Wallace, a contributor to CNN, suggests picking something like the flute, saxophone, or trumpet if your child is more outgoing and likes the limelight. If your child is wanting to learn to play an instrument but hasn’t yet decided which one, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you find the right fit for your musical kid.

6 Simple Ways of Encouraging Your Kids to Get Out in the Yard

Ensuring that our kids are getting enough exercise isn’t easy. Most of us will settle for them at least spending a few hours outdoors now and then, even if they aren’t exercising particularly hard. The easiest place to get your kids outdoors is at home in your yard. Here are six things that any parent can do to get their kids to spend more time in the yard.

Create a Sensory Experience

Different children learn and engage with the world around them in different ways. Some children are visual learners who learn by observing; others learn through doing things for themselves. If you can create a yard that appeals to all of your children’s senses, you will not only have all the bases covered, but you will end up with a yard that will be the envy of all the other parents.

There are numerous things you can do to create more and more varied sensory experiences for children in your yard. For example, why not take your children to the gardencenter with you and let them pick out some plants and flowers that they like. Whether they respond to the aesthetics of a plant, its texture, its smell, or anything else about it, getting your kids involved in choosing what you plant in the yard will foster a connection between them and it.

It’s not just plants that can be used to create a more diverse sensory experience in your yard. Yard ornaments and water features can also be very appealing for children of all ages. Again, involving them in deciding which ones you buy will inevitably create an attachment

The more varied the sensory experience you can create in your yard, the more attracted children will be to it. Turning your yard into a sensory paradise is sure to draw your children outside way more often.

Get Creative (Literally)

Even better than letting your kids help pick out yard furniture and ornaments, you can allow them to design some of their own. There are a number of ways that you can go about this. You can either buy blank ornaments and let your kids loose on them with paints and crayons, or you can make some yard decorations from scratch.

Kids love arts and crafts, if you can work arts and crafts into most things, you will find kids are a lot more interested. Terracotta pots are cheap and easy to decorate, all you need to do is give them a base coat using emulsion beforehand. Once your kids have finished their decorating, apply a layer of varnish to ensure that it sticks and can survive the elements.

Create Soft Surfaces

Kids love to run about and play, almost as much as they love falling over and colliding with one another. A soft surface can make a lot of difference; grass and dirt are certainly much gentler than concrete or brick. If your yard is currently entirely or mostly concrete, stone or another hard surface, you can put down soil and grow areas of grass relatively quickly and easily if you know what to do.

Sod is used to establish a lawn quickly. Sod is used in all areas but is especially useful in areas where seed can’t be used, for example, where the seed would simply blow away. Look for a business like this company operating in your area and offering sod suitable for your yard. You can easily increase the amount of soft surfacing in your yard.

Yard Games

Home playground equipment is relatively cheap these days and makes for a much more interactive yard experience for kids. If you’re willing to splash out on one of the more expensive options, you should be able to find the kind of equipment that will regularly tempt your children out into the yard.

As well as equipment like swings and climbing gyms, you can also find a number of games designed for children to play in the yard. Some children are perfectly happy with something as simple as a ball to throw around outside. If that applies to your kids, don’t over complicate matters! If your kids just want a ball to throw around, then make sure they have the best darn ball you can find.

Nature Spotting

Buying a simple guide book to enable you and your children to identify common plants and animals found in and around your garden, which could prove to be a fantastic investment. Many of these books allow kids to tick off anything they identify and make the process more interactive. When your children are able to identify the things around them beyond abstract labels like ‘tree’ and ‘flower’, they will feel a much greater attachment to the outdoors.

Once you and your kids start thinking about all the different examples of nature that can be found within the confines of your yard, you will realize just how many there are. Creating a lasting bond between your child and the nature around them has never been more important. Future generations will face complicated environmental issues and need to make sure that they are adequately equipped to deal with them.

Stargazing

Like nature spotting, stargazing enables your children to look at the world around them and know exactly what they are looking at. Whereas looking at flora and fauna will teach your children about the surrounding nature, teaching them stargazing will allow them to look up at the night sky and see all the wonders it has to offer.

There are a number of stargazing apps available that allow you to point your smartphone at the night sky and see an augmented reality overlay. This overlay shows what stars, constellations and other celestial objects are visible in the night sky. This is a really great and interactive way of teaching your children about the night sky. Encouraging your kids to fall in love with the great outdoors will benefit them for their entire lives. Not only is regularly getting outdoors important for our mental and physical health, but environmental issues are alsogoing to become more important in the future. Foster your children’s love of nature now by turning your garden into a playtime paradise.

Tackling the Tough Questions Kids Will Inevitably Ask

Any parent will tell you that kids seem to grow up so fast. As quickly as life can seemingly fly by, it becomes even truer when you watch your children grow up in the blink of an eye. These cute bundles of joy will soon be crawling, then walking, then heading off to their first day of school. It’s in many ways bittersweet to see this transformation: to know that you’re doing everything you should be for your child but to also know that one day they will grow up, move out and start their own families.

mom

Certain moments in a parent’s life illustrate just how quickly they seem to grow up – one such example is when one or more tough questions are asked. No parent wants to be caught flat-footed by a difficult, uncomfortable or otherwise sensitive question being posed, so knowing how to respond in advance just makes sense.

There are several common, tough questions that your children will inevitably ask: let’s look at them and help you prepare for how to answer them.

Death and Loss

While death may be inevitable, we do not come into the world with an inherent knowledge of our own untimely end. The concept of death and loss are particularly difficult for younger children to understand until they experience it first-hand, but there’s a decent chance questions about this subject will arise beforehand. They can arise when a loved one passes, or even when you and/or your spouse are pre-planning future funeral arrangements. If you are planning for a funeral in advance,then browse these options.

In these cases, it is a perfect opportunity to give them insight into the process and potentially make things easier to understand if/when a loved one, friend or other family member passes. Depending on your specific religious or spiritual beliefs, answering this question may be simpler than some others on this list. However, regardless of belief system, it’s important to be clear in the answers.

Psychologists recommend affirming that death is indeed forever; anything that leaves this world does not return to it. Providing simple explanations of death (without being overly graphic or grotesque) can also be helpful and can easily be explained by summarizing that everybody passes at some point once they reach a certain age.

Children may also feel profound sadness or even guilt in some cases. By explaining that it is not their fault and that their sadness is not permanent, you can make the process easier when it involves a parent or family member.

Sex, Sexuality & Gender

Many parents will tell you that answering questions about the birds and the bees is among the most uncomfortable and awkward experiences they’ve ever had. Explaining perfectly normal yet sensitive biological processes to children can be tough, but we often underestimate the ability for children to understand and process information. In short, they’re not going to think of it as a big deal in the same way you do.

While sex, sexuality, and gender are not always related to each other, a question about one certainly presents an opportunity to cover all of these subjects in one fell swoop. With this subject, in particular, it’s always advised to use age-appropriate terminology and explanations. Children as young as toddlers can be made to understand issues pertaining to sex, sexuality, and gender – and there’s a good chance that they are going to ask about one or more of these things by the time they’re ready to get on the school bus.

A variety of age-appropriate sex talking points are available to guide you, depending on how old your children are when they ask. You may even wish to take the initiative and proactively bring this topic up. After all, it’s only a matter of time before he or she asks what is the difference between private parts on boys and girls, why two men or two women are holding hands while walking down the street, or how he or she got here in the first place.

Mythical Beings

Children have wild imaginations – and we as parents (and society at large) contribute to that immensely. Children will naturally make up their own stories and adventures, but when it comes to stories about Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny, we have full control over when and how to address this information.

Even for parents who don’t tell these stories to their children, they will inevitably hear about it at school and from other friends. In many ways, deciding how to handle this issue early on will make all the difference in terms of whether this is a tough conversation. An increasing number of parents are choosing not to mislead their children regarding these mythical beings – which can put them at odds with other children who do not believe the same.

Many parents who do have to have this conversation use it as an opportunity to connect it with growing up. You can also explain that the nature of these beings – loving, given creatures – actually lives within each of us and that it’s our responsibility to make these things happen.

Divorce and Separation

Immensely tough to talk about among any family, the nature of divorce and/or separation can be a traumatic experience for children of any age. Whether you and a spouse are in the process of separating or have recently parted ways, children are bound to ask questions about this upheaval whether you bring it up or not.

While the youngest of children may not innately understand what is changing, even toddlers will quickly figure out that something is happening. As a parent, it is your responsibility to convey first and foremost to the children that the divorce or separation is not their fault. It’s imperative that both parents convey a uniform message to the children in order to avoid any unnecessary trauma.

Depending on age, answering why this is happening should be as straightforward as possible. You can explain that people grow apart, and sometimes they are no longer capable of living together amicably. Life is filled with tough questions, and growing children are bound to ask many themselves. You can be prepared for the most commonly asked tough questions: by knowing what to expect, you’ll be better prepared to field any inquiries from those inquiring minds with less awkwardness and better clarity.

The Benefits of Teaching Kids About Raising Cattle Humanely

One of the most beautiful aspects of life in the 21stcentury is the sheer availability of information on literally any subject you can imagine. This has led to an amazing awareness of the world around us unlike any seen in any previous generation. Sometimes referred to as the Age of Information, the era began in the 1970s as personal computers and cable television became readily available to households around the world. This led to a period of time we are now living in called “The Age of Awareness” and why it is so important to teach our children about the world in which we all live.

Yes, kids can boot up a computer long before they enter kindergarten, but it is vital that we, as parents, teach them the value of the information they are being exposed to. We are legally (and morally!) responsible to guide them in understanding the information they are being exposed to. So it is with animals and the cattle we rely on as a food source. If you are a concerned parent seeking to help your children understand the benefits of raising cattle humanely, here are a few interesting tidbits you might like to know.

Farms Can Be Certified as “Humane”

Before getting into some of the benefits of raising cattle humanely, did you know that in the United States a farm can be certified as being humane? It’s true, and if you’d like information on what this involves, check out the nonprofit group and their certifiedhumane.org website. This particular organization inspects farms and how animals are raised from birth through slaughter before being issued a certification. The reason this certification is important will become a bit clearer as you learn the benefits of raising cattle humanely. These are the benefits you want your children to learn as well!

A Reduced Risk of Bacterial Infection in Meat

How many times have you read the news that there is a major recall of beef due to such things as Hoof and Mouth disease?There is much evidence indicating that those animals allowed to be free range are less likely to contract this highly communicable disease. The theory is that they are not all sharing and eating out of the same bins and therefore less likely to pass on the disease if they should get it. Humanely raised cattle are never fed animal byproducts so are less likely to contract this deadly disease as well. You should understand that Hoof and Mouth can be fatal for humans and why the concern when it has been found in meats from any particular farm or slaughterhouse.

Better Quality Meat

While children love to visit farms and pet the animals, one thing you may want to start teaching them from a young age is the benefits of reducing dietary fats to prevent illnesses like cardiovascular diseases. It has been proven that free-range, grass fed cattle like Criollo produce meat which is tenderer than most and much less fatty. If you’d like to learn more about hardy cattle like Criollo, you should take the time to read more here. It’s interesting to learn the history of cattle like these and how they actually fare better when being allowed to roam freely, grazing as they need rather than on man’s schedule for ‘feeding time.’

Better for the Environment?

At this point you may be asking yourself how humanely raised, free range cattle can be better for the environment. Actually, there have been studies that indicate that cattle allowed to roam freely to feed use far fewer fossil fuels. Think about this for just a moment. Those animals that are fed grains consume fossil fuels in a number of ways. Primarily it would be the gas or diesel used to bring grain to their feeding stations but also it would be the electricity used in barns where those grains are stored. Most barns are hooked up to electrical wiring so that is an issue as well. Also, it may be a fire hazard in regions prone to fires such as Western states like California that see much more than their fair share of wildfires annually.

Anticarcinogenic Properties of Grass Fed Cattle!

While little children may not appreciate the fact that grass fed cattle have anticarcinogenic properties in their meat, it is something you may want to talk to teens about. Grass fed cattle have higher amounts of vitamins E and A which are potent antioxidants and now known to be cancer fighting agents. Interestingly, free range cattle contain hither amounts of CLA, conjugated linoleic acid, that helps the body burn fat and boosts the immune system at the same time. One of the best sources of CLA occurring naturally would be grass-fed beef. Now, that’s interesting! On the one hand you are told to avoid red meat because of the risk of coronary heart disease, but when it comes to grass-fed cows, it’s another story altogether.

Humanely Raised Cattle a Win-Win Proposition

No one likes to think about the cruel ways in which many farms raise and slaughter their cattle, but it’s a sad reality in much of the country. In the West where Criollo (mentioned above) cattle are predominant, it’s nice to know that there are farmers who take the time and initiative to raise cattle humanely for their benefit as well as ours. It is never too early to begin teaching our children that there are ethical and humane ways to do just about everything in life. We are, after all, living in the Age of Awareness which means that society has developed a social conscience somewhat lacking from the Me Generation onwards. Not only is the meat healthier, but cattle are less likely to be stressed and can live a peaceful, more natural existence than those herded and fed grains at prescribed times daily. These are just some of the benefits of humanely raised cattle but enough to show you just how important it is to teach kids from a young age the benefits of living naturally – that includes animals as well as people. A lesson they deserve to learn.

How to Keep Your Kids Occupied Throughout the Summer Vacation

Once school is out and the summer vacation season is in full swing, there is lots of time that you will need to fill to keep your kids occupied. If you are struggling with ways to keep your kids entertained, here are a few fun activities that you can do to prevent your children from getting bored.

Encourage Creativity

Arts and crafts can be a great way to bring your kids’ creative side out. Making simple crafts such as paper chains can provide multiple hours of fun and enjoyment, allowing you to get on with household chores. If you are leaving your kids alone to make a masterpiece, ensure there are no sharp pieces of equipment lying around. There are all sorts of household items that you can use as arts and crafts such as toilet paper rolls and empty tissue boxes. With no limit on imagination, the possibilities are endless!

Summer Vacation

Coloring and Painting

If you have young children, giving them blank paper or coloring books can be another great way to keep them occupied. Make sure to provide plenty of crayons and felt tips so they can draw or color. If you don’t mind them making a mess, painting may be another fantastic option. Letting your child’s imagination run wild can give them the freedom to express themselves. Also, any creations they make can be stuck on your fridge or a wall to show them how proud you are of their work.

Use Music

If your kids love to dance, why not put on some music, and encourage them to come up with their own dance routine? There are plenty of music games that you can play too, such as musical statues, which involves everyone dancing until the music stops. Musical statues can be enjoyed by adults too, meaning you can play the game as a family. If you have household chores that you need to get on with, ask your kids to make up a dance routine that they can perform for you once you have finished.

Board Games

Board games that your kids won’t need much help with can be incredibly useful in trying to keep your kids occupied so you can get on with cleaning and other duties. Try to refrain from using difficult board games like Monopoly, unless you have an older child there to help teach the younger ones how to play. There are a variety of card games specifically designed for kids that they may enjoy playing too. If you don’t have any board games on hand, you can teach them various games that don’t require any equipment or materials such as SimonSays, or I Spy.

Play Outside

Once the summer vacation has begun, there are more reasons than ever to head outdoors with your kids. Getting some fresh air and exercise can be hugely beneficial, ensuring you all get your dose of vitamin D. There are tons of sports that your kids can play outside such as football, playing on a trampoline or playing fun games with each other such as hide and seek. If you have a large garden, you may want to purchase an inflatable swimming pool that can provide hours of fun filled entertainment for your kids.

Funny Pranks

There are tons of funny and harmless pranks that you can play on your kids to keep things interesting over the summer vacation. Many kids love humor, so playing hilarious pranks on them can be another way to prevent boredom. Whether it be covering tape over the remote or placing a fart scented candle in the home, it will be hard for you not to laugh! You can discover more unique and quirky scented candles that can be a great gag gift for your kids or other members of your family.

Movie Night

Drawing the curtains, dimming the lights and arming yourself with a wide selection of films and tasty snacks will mean that you are all ready for a family fun movie night. Once the day is over, you will want to have entertainment options for your kids at night. Therefore, having a film night can be a great way to bond as a family, allowing you all to watch some exciting and entertaining flicks. You will need to pick movies that are age appropriate and some level of compromising may be involved to ensure you all enjoy the film.

Fun Day Out

If you live in a town or city, there are tons of fun activities that you can do as a family. Whether it be visiting a local museum or amusement park, many attractions are designed especially for kids. If your kids are into history, consider natural history museums that are filled with exciting exhibits on dinosaurs and Egyptian mummies! If you are on a budget, you can have just as much fun visiting a park with your kids where you can bring along a tasty picnic for you all to enjoy.

Summer Camp

With a range of summer camps that cover all sorts of topics, you are sure to find a summer camp that will interest your child. Whether they love to play sports or learning new languages, you can be certain there is a class or camp available to allow them to hone in on their passions. Summer camps can be a fantastic way for your kids to engage and make new friends. Many schools provide summer camps or programs, so ensure you contact your kids’ school to check what sort of classes are available. Make sure to start your search as soon as possible as places can fill up very quickly. Thinking of activities and games that your kids can play will ensure they stay entertained throughout the summer vacation season. While the thought of having to keep your kids occupied throughout the whole three months can seem daunting, having a plan in place and arming yourself with some summer strategies can make a big difference and ensure your kids are in for a fun summer ahead.