How to Create a Kid-Friendly Backyard

Whether you are just starting your own family and you need to transform your backyard into a safe space, or you have recently movedand your new yard is not exactly conducive to play, you have come to the right place.

Creative outdoor play is crucial in the development of little fingers, toes, and, in fact, all the muscles in your child’s body, and making sure you have a fun and engaging backyard is a surefire way to get your kids moving.

kids backyard

Now, you may just think that purchasing a swing set and maybe a slide for good measure is sufficient, but there are so many more exciting ways that you can make this space more interactive for your child.

From creating water play stations to choosing the right plants to clearing trees for additional space, keep reading to discover how you can create a kid-friendly backyard without blowing your budget.

Create more space

Of course, you cannot magically make your backyard bigger, but you can make it feel more spacious. If your outdoor space is full of trees, bushes, and overgrown plants, now is the time to start clearing.

You do not need to get rid of all the trees, as a few can be used for climbing and creating fun hiding spaces (think weeping willows), but too many will simply overcrowd the space. Head to Farming Hobby to find the best electric chainsaws on the market and get sawing.

Don’t forget to keep any leftover wood, as you can use this either to heat your home or to create a fun balancing obstacle course for your kids.

Add sensory elements

Both water and sand can provide hours of endless entertainment for your kids, allowing them to explore their senses and get messy. You could make your own sandbox or purchase one if you are not a massive DIY fan. Then all you need are a few scoops or shovels, some buckets, and a few construction vehicles, and you are good to go.

For the water element, you could create a water fountain, buy a water table, or even just set up a toy car wash. It really doesn’t matter what type of water feature you choose, as kids love all water play.

Make a chalk wall

If it isn’t already, chalk should be your new best friend when it comes to entertaining your kids outside. The beauty of chalk is that it will simply wash away in the rain, so your kids can happily draw on anything and everything they want in your garden while you rest safe in the knowledge that it will all be gone with a quick blast of the hose.

If you are feeling particularly crafty, you could even create your own DIY chalk wall on a piece of wood or perhaps on the side of your garage.

Choose some kid-friendly plants

Kids are never too young to start developing a love of gardening, and helping them to learn about where fruits and vegetables come from can be really useful in getting them to eat more healthily.

Try planting a variety of fruit-and vegetable-bearing plants such as strawberries, tomatoes, peas, and runner beans.

Although you want your backyard to be as kid-friendly as possible, don’t forget that you, as parents, need an enjoyable outdoor space as well. Make sure that you leave room for a relaxing chill-out area where you can put your feet up and enjoy a nice glass of wine.

The Role of Carbohydrates in Child Development

Carbohydrates are macronutrients (sugars, starches, and fibers) that are common in vegetables, fruits, grains, and milk products. They are one of the three main ways the body gets energy and are needed for cognitive well-being and physical growth.

Recently, carbohydrates have received a bad press and have been heavily maligned – particularly in the world of dieting and health. However, the truth is they are an essential food group and should be considered an integral part of a healthy diet. Indeed, the human body is incapable of manufacturing macronutrients on its own – they can only be obtained through the things we eat. Your child’s growth and development are dependent, in large part,ona sufficient intake of carbohydrates.

Child Development

The benefits carbohydrates bring

Carbohydrates are fuel – fuel that primarily powers the nervous and muscular systems.In the same way, a car needs fuel to run, so too our bodies need fuel to function. The clue is in the name. Carbohydrates consist of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen – each of which is an excellent source of energy.

However, carbohydrates don’t just power physical functions. They are also essential for maintaining mood, memory, and basic cognitive and behavioral functions. Carbs are an essential building block of life and are necessary for growth and development.

Indeed, research indicates a reliance on carbs for energy is common across all species, not just humans. There are carbohydrate supplements for plants, carbohydrates for dogs – even gerbils need carbohydrates.

Are all carbohydrates good?

Carbohydrates come in good and bad form. Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to differentiate between the two. As a general rule, good carbs can be found in natural sources that have low levels of refined sugar and are low in calories. Natural products like fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and beans have a plentiful supply of good carbs. Unfortunately, these all happen to be exactly the kind of things kids tend to shy away from eating.

By contrast, bad carbs are high in calories and refined sugars. They’re found in foodstuffs like pastries, soda drinks and processed foods – i.e. exactly the kind of snacks children love in abundance. Bad carbs are broken down by the body far quicker than good carbs, leading to a sudden rush of energy and, often, weight gain.

Do carbohydrates make you fat?

There is no absolute answer to the relationship between carbs and putting on weight. Questions of diet are rarely black and white; however, one thing is very clear – if you eat enough of any food, you’ll likely put on weight regardless of whether that’s through fat or carbohydrates.

As one might expect, weight gain usually results from consuming more energy (food), than your body uses (through exercise). Keeping a good balance between the two is the key to maintaining ideal body weight. As a rule, carbs contain fewer calories than fat(gram for gram) but that doesn’t eliminate the need for exercise.

Problems associated with carbohydrate deficiency

Not eating enough carbohydrates is the equivalent of starving the body of fuel. A deficiency in carbohydrates results in a lack of energy and can manifest itself in many ways – the most common symptoms being dizziness and mental/physical weakness. If the body is sufficiently starved of the glucose it would normally produce from carbohydrates, it will try to find fuel from other sources – normally from proteins. This can be particularly detrimental for children aged 6-16, pregnant women and athletes in training.

Carbohydrates play an essential role in your child’s healthy growth and development. While there’s no denying there are good and bad aspects to carbs, they are still critical to body functions. As with many things in life, moderation is the key.

Basic Guidelines for Creating a Good-Citizen Puppy

When you bring home a puppy or young dog you will be excited about developing a relationship with your new pet. Unfortunately, people who do not prepare adequately to train their new companions will experience frustration rather than reward in the years ahead.

Training a dog to behave appropriately can be hard work, but it is an important step toward a positive family relationship. Dogs become stressed if they are unsure where they fit into their new pack. If you approach the task with enthusiasm and you follow through with routines, you and your companion will develop trust. Try these basic-training suggestions during your dog’s first months.

puppy

Security and Happiness

In a sense, training puppies is similar to raising children. Initially focus on developmental stages rather than throwing everything at them at once. Before beginning obedience training, create a foundation that you can build upon based on maturity and previous training exercises; you must create structure. Extending this analogy, think about a good educator’s approach to a new class. The teacher strives to create an environment of trust during the first days using shared rules and guidelines, even before delving too deeply into academics. The teacher subtly socializes the students and provides a feeling of safety.

Puppies also need structure and socialization early on. Set up routines to last the remainder of their lives. These routines include feeding schedules, voiding locations, walking and exercising timings, and sleeping timetables. Be aware some of these will be adjusted over time; for example, dogs can extend the time between potty breaks as they mature. These routines are necessary since you will be toilet training and feeding your puppy from day one. Don’t forget to schedule routine play experiences too, arranging gatherings with other dogs. This activity is critical for positive social development.

At Home in a Crate

Understandably, some people believe dog crates to be confining and cruel. After all, why would dogs desire to be penned in? In reality, crates provide a sense of security akin to that of proper dens. In addition to their stress-reducing qualities, crates serve two practical purposes: They keep your puppy out of trouble while you are unable to provide supervision, and they reduce voiding accidents since dogs resist going to the bathroom where they sleep.

It may take two weeks or more for the puppy to become acclimated to the crate, but soon the dog will step in upon command and eventually choose it as a preferred resting location. Make certain to select the correctly-sized crate for your growing dog, and purchase a bed and comfort toys to place within.

Proper Situational Responses

A well-grounded dog is one that is ready for obedience training stages. The result of good obedience training is that your dog responds to your signals rather than willfully choosing to ignore them. This step is critical to ensuring your dog responds safely and appropriately to strange dogs and people, as well as to your commands; you must eliminate biting responses, in particular. Ideal training involves a combination of redirection actions and positive reinforcement.

Barking reduction best exemplifies this. Create signal words you will use to command quiet. When the dog sounds off inappropriately, use a tool such as a BarxBuddy remote, a device that produces an ultrasonic signal the dog hears, which will cause the barking to stop – note that your dog should be at least six months old before you send this intentionally-annoying sound his way. When the dog stops barking at your command on other occasions, provide treats and verbal praises. Use this sort of dual-pronged approach wherever it makes sense.

So much goes into properly training puppies and young dogs to fit into a new home. You may consider hiring a good trainer if you need the support. In any case, employing consistent follow-through will result in a good doggy for life.

5 Things Every School Will Need

The school a child attends will determine their education, as well as their passions, interests and friendship groups.

While many schools will have all the tools kids need to flourish both academically and socially, others might need investment or donations to provide their students with a fantastic education.

school

If you are researching schools for your children, or you want to find out how you could help a local institution, keep reading to discover the five things every school will need.

  • A Classroom Library

A classroom library is a staple feature in a school. It should provide every student with the option to select an age-appropriate children’s book to read, which can support their studies and help them to develop a passion for a subject.

Schools can also encourage learning by featuring:

  • Comfortable chairs
  • Good lighting
  • Carpet
  • A variety of fiction and non-fiction books

If your local school doesn’t have classroom libraries, reach out to the community for donations to ensure they have plenty of books to support a child’s education.

  • A Playground

A school playground will encourage children to get their bodies moving and burn off energy. Physical activity during recess could ultimately help kids feel both happier and healthier.

Plus, fun outside the classroom with other students could improve a child’s social skills and increase their focus when they return to a lesson. If your local school doesn’t have a fun place for kids to play, find out more about a high-quality playground installation.

Reach out to a local school to fund the much-needed play area or you could raise money to ensure children enjoy essential exercise each day.

  • Up-to-Date Facilities

Every school should provide its students with clean, functional, and up-to-date facilities, which will allow them to study in a safe and supportive environment.

For example, every classroom should feature high-quality chairs and desks, and a school should provide hygienic, monitored bathrooms to ensure student safety.

It should be a consideration for parents looking for the best school for their kids.

  • Class Rules

Class rules will not only provide order in a classroom, but they will teach children respect.

Classroom rules can often include:

  • Raising a hand before speaking
  • Following directions
  • Always listening to a teacher
  • Being polite and courteous to others

If a school doesn’t feature class rules, chaos could ensue, which could interrupt a lesson and impact a student’s education.

If you’re undecided on a school for your son or daughter, arrange a meeting with a teacher to discuss the institution, facilities, and the class rules, which could help you to make an informed decision.

  • Volunteers

Volunteers are vital in most schools. For example, you could volunteer to supervise a school social event, organize books in a library, or provide support on field trips.

If you want to get involved with your local school, reach out to the institution to find out how you can help. Donating a few hours of your time per week to a school could make a big difference to their students’ education.

A Guide to Becoming a Mom Boss

It might feel like a challenging feat to raise children while enjoying a high-flying career, but it is possible. You also don’t need to step outside the home to earn an income and experience professional success.

If you would like to embark on a flourishing career while caring for your kids each day, read the below guide to becoming a mom boss.

mom boss

Identify the Right Avenue for You

To become your own boss and work from home, you’ll need to identify the right professional avenue for you. For example, if you have extensive knowledge and experience in a specific industry, you could become a consultant or start your own business.

If you have experience in retail, web development, or marketing, you could launch an e-commerce website from the comfort of your home. Play to your strengths to become a successful mom boss and generate a substantial income each year.

Set Yourself Up for Success

Once you have identified the best professional path for you, set yourself up for success by creating a home office. For example, you will need a desk, a reliable computer, and various software tools to support your productivity. You also can create a home office for a fraction of the price by browsing the likes of Newegg black friday deals and coupons.

Build an Attractive Website

Every home-based business will need a website. It will serve as the virtual front door to your new brand, which is why it must be visually appealing and easy to use.

There are many website builders to help launch your new business, such as:

  • WordPress
  • Squarespace
  • Wix
  • Shopify
  • Weebly

It is also vital your site is SEO-optimized, features high-quality content, and offers clear and compelling calls-to-action.

Separate Your Finances

Don’t make the mistake of mixing your business and personal finances, which could lead to confusion. Before your new venture is up and running, set-up a business bank account to monitor your monthly revenue and outgoings.

It can provide financial transparency and prevent a costly mistake that could cause your business to grind to a halt. Plus, it will make bookkeeping and tax bills a breeze.

Make Time for Yourself

Caring for a family and running a business could affect your mental health. To lower your stress levels and enjoy a greater quality of life, you must make time for yourself each day. For example, you must stick to strict working hours and enjoy some relaxation.

For example, you could enjoy a long, hot soak in the bath when your children are in bed. You also could book a babysitter to catch-up with friends, visit a loved one, or enjoy a date night with your other half. You shouldn’t feel guilty for practicing self-care, as it will create a happier home for your kids. A little time to yourself will provide distance from various household chores and your growing to-do list. You will feel healthier and happier when tackling an important project, caring for your children, or completing various task within the home.

How To Bond With Your Children More

As a parent, it’s incredibly important to bond with your children. It helps them to grow up feeling loved and safe, it shows them what healthy relationships are like, and it even helps them to do better at school. Yet it can be hard to truly bond, even when you desperately want to. There is so much we need to get done (or think we need to get done) in our busy lives that we can find we are all doing separate activities, and that bonding never actually takes place. Or it might be easy when the children are little, but it becomes much harder when they are growing up. If that sounds like your life, here are some great ways to bond more with your children.

Take A Vacation Together

One amazing way to truly bond well with your children is to take a vacation together. No one is going to be distracted by work or school, and you will all be able to fully concentrate on what is happening right now, right in front of you—you will all be able to enjoy the vacation to its fullest.

When you are away from home together you can experience new activities, try new food, and just be together much more than normal. Take this opportunity to find out more about your children; ask them questions about themselves because, even if you think you know them very well, there will always be aspects of their personalities or their dreams for the future that might surprise you.

You don’t have to spend a lot to go away on vacation if you don’t want to. As well as being able to use Delta Vacations coupons to save money, you could simply go on a local camping trip or go away for one week instead of two. You might even have a ‘staycation’ at home, with no work or school to think about.

Read Together

One of the major issues parents face when trying to bond with their children is the prevalence of screens in their lives; they are everywhere, and children are starting to use them from an earlier age. Although useful for both entertainment and education, children must have a break from these screens, and reading together is a great way to ensure this happens.

Schedule time each day, perhaps just after lunch or at bedtime like the traditional bedtime story, and read together. For younger children, this could be you reading aloud to them, and for older children it could just be quiet time together enjoying your own books (or the same book, which you can then discuss between you the next day, offering more chance for bonding). Children will start looking forward to this quiet time, and for many it is their favorite time of the day.

Have A Date Day Or Night

Sometimes, all that a child actually wants is some alone time together with their mom or dad. This can be hard when there are other siblings or when work takes up a lot of time, yet it can increase your bond dramatically.

Schedule in a ‘date day’ or ‘date night’ once a month. You can plan it ahead of time, make sure you have the tickets you need, or the food or the time, or whatever else it is you are going to need to make the date a success. Then enjoy that time with your child and make it special so their memories are all good ones.

This entry was posted in Family.

7 Ways to Make Shopping With Your Tween Easier

Tweens are too old to shop for, but often too moody to shop with. They’re entering that stage where they want to make all the decisions, and some of those decisions are impractical. Plus, they’d rather spend time with friends, texting and using social media, and being anywhere but with you.

Once you’ve made it clear to your tween that a shopping trip is imminent, you’ll want to plan ahead to make the experience as pleasant as possible for both of you. Here are a few tips to make wrangling and shopping with your tween easier.

shopping

1. Make Your Intentions Clear

If you’re shopping with your tween, there’s a reason for it, and you need to make your intentions for this specific trip clear. For example, explain that your tween can only take a break after getting so many clothes or other items he or she needs.  Also, ask your tween to refrain from extended texting or talking with friends while shopping, which can be a huge and time-consuming distraction. As an incentive to stay on track and complete the shopping excursion, offer a reward for following all the rules, such as going to your tween’s favorite restaurant or visiting the gaming store.

2. Make Lists

Before you go, make lists. For example, make a list of the stores you’re going to and what to get in them. If you’re really extreme, set a time limit to spend in each store you visit. Limiting your time will help keep you focused and avoid impulse buys. To entice your tween to participate when shopping in certain stores, consider allowing him or her to buy oneitem that’s not on any list.

3. Set a Budget

Whether you set a budget per store, per item or for the whole trip, it’s an excellent strategy to avoid overspending. For example, abudget at the top of each list can help you keep things on track. Plus, budgeting can help you be a good role model by demonstrating to your tween how to be smart with money. If there’s something outside of the budget that your tween has to have, consider buying it in exchange for chores or take it out of your tween’s allowance.

4. Be Flexible

If you finish your planned shopping early, be willing to go in and look around stores that your teen enjoys. If you haven’t set an allotted time for the entire trip, you can do this in between the stores on your list. You never know, shopping in new stores might yield something you need at a better price. Plus, you’ll make your tween happy and show you’re willing to be fun and compromise while enforcing the rules of this trip.

5. Consider Online Shopping

Online shopping only has one downside, being that your tween can’t try on any clothes you buy. This can be easily combatted by shopping a few weeks before you need to and making sure the online retailer you buy from has a return or exchange policy.

With online shopping, you can skip a time-consuming outing. You can also skip public arguments. And it’s much easier to track your budget while shopping online. Even better, your tween might find items that are more unique, such as tween dresses, that are different from what the mainstream brick-and-mortar stores sell. Go to a nice café with a laptop or get takeout, sit down and shop. Being tech-savvy might even score you some points with trendy tweens.

6. Keep Your Distance

Rule one about shopping with tweens as a parent: You know nothing. Rule two: You’re totally embarrassing. So, backup a few steps. And when it comes to the changing room, concede that it’s off-limits. Make a deal that you won’t come in the changing room if your tween will step out and show you the items he or she likes. Make your arguments against specific garments then, but avoid voicing opinions that sound too forceful or biased.

7. Talk About Manipulative Marketing

Marketing targets tweens as much as teens these days. The latest trends are heavily marketed as must-haves, and they’re everywhere. But as a parent, you know what’s marketing manipulation, and you know what won’t last. Before heading out on a shopping trip, talk with your tween about how tweens are being tricked into buying what they don’t need, and in a few months, won’t want. Because you’re a parent, however, your opinion might not be wanted. To your child, you’ll probably sound ridiculous, and maybe even mean, but he or she might still absorb what you’re trying to say and not be so susceptible to manipulative marketing tactics.

Signs Your Child Needs a Bigger Room

There comes a time when it seems like your kid is growing out of everything they have. Their shoes need replacing twice a year, their clothes don’t fit, they’ve been in and out of phases with different books, games and TV shows and they’ve got a new best friend every week.

One aspect you as a parent should be keeping your eye on is when they’re outgrowing their bedroom too. It could be that they need a bigger room, a bigger bed, a new theme, or more storage space — or, indeed, a complete clear out.

kids bedroom

There’s too much clutter

A telling sign that your child has outgrown their room is that there is too much clutter everywhere. Children naturally have a right to be messy. You really expect that shirt to go back on its hanger? It’s clutter such as personal belongings, presents they’ve received or school bits and bobs that you need to look out for. These are typical objects that will be lying on the floor and around the bed not because your kid hasn’t put them away, but because there’s isn’t anywhere for them to go.

When this reaches unmanageable levels, moving them to a bigger room in the house or having a complete clear out and reorganization might be necessary.

They’re getting frustrated

Another sign to look out for is that your child is getting frustrated with their room. If it is messy, if they don’t have space to put anything or they’re simply feeling cramped inside their four walls, it is only natural that they will get aggravated. If your kid is complaining about their room or you hear them venting to another family member or their friends that their room is too small, you could consider an upgrade.

They’ve started spending more time there

This is more at your own discretion, if you think your kid needs it. When children grow up, they naturally start spending more time in their room. If their room is cramped and childish while they are beginning to need increased space and a more adult tone to their quarters, it could be time to size it up or at least redecorate it. Ask your child if they want it repainted or if they want some of their furniture replaced. It can be an activity you do together to bond and give them a better place to study, listen to music and call friends.

They’re rearranging it

Finally, it’s possible that your kid will take matters into their own hands. If they are so fed up with their old room that they have started to reorganize it themselves, then it’s probably a sign they want something new. If you have the funds and the space, give your child’s bedroom an extension. Contact a roofing company and the other relevant professionals to get the job done properly and to give your kid the luxurious space they deserve.  Whatever the reason and whatever signals your child is giving off, giving them a new, bigger or simply reorganized bedroom will benefit them in the short and the long term. They will be ecstatic with their new space and can help you pick out the color of the walls and its new furniture. As they grow into a teenager and an adult, they have a room more fitted to their needs.

3 Tips For Having Your Kids Share A Bedroom

Whether you live in a small home with limited space or you just want your kids to experience sharing their space with another person, many families wind up with their kids sharing a bedroom at one point or another. But while this might seem like something inconsequential to you, for your kids, this can be a hard adjustment.

kids bedroom

To help make this easier for everyone involved, here are three tips for having your kids share a bedroom. 

Get Them Used To Sleeping In A Similar Environment

While most everyone sleeps in the same general type of environment, your kids may have gotten used to sleeping in a certain atmosphere that might not be conducive for everyone. For example, one of your kids might like sleeping with a nightlight while the other needs it to be pitch black.

In a situation such as this, Dr. Craig Canapari, a contributor to the New York Times, recommends that you spend some time getting your kids used to sleeping in a similar environment before you put them in the same room. By having each kid compromise a little and change their sleep environment to better fit their new roommate, you’ll have kids who fall asleep and stay asleep even while sharing a room with another person. 

Give Them Their Own Space

Just because your kids will now be sharing the same room doesn’t necessarily mean that they need to share everything within that room. In fact, you should try your best to give each of your children some of their own space and instill a sense of respect for others’ space as well.

One simple way to do this, according to Matthew Utley, a contributor to Father.ly, is to give each child some physical boundaries in their room. While their bed can be one of these boundaries, you could also consider separate areas for their toys or clothes. To make this even easier, you may want to get your kids bunk beds so that it’s harder for them to encroach on each other’s sleeping space as well as to leave more room within their bedroom. 

Consider Different Bedtimes

Unless your children are very close to the same age, What To Expect shares that there could be some benefit to staggering your children’s bedtimes as they share a room. By allowing your older child to stay up slightly later than your younger child, they may have an easier time calming down for sleep and fall asleep faster on their own.  If you’re wanting to transition your kids into sharing the same bedroom for the first time, consider using the tips mentioned above to help make this experience as seamless as possible for everyone in your household.

This entry was posted in Family.

Why you need a family doctor

Everyone knows how important it is to make sure that their family remains healthy. However, it’s inevitable that they’ll pick up illnesses and injuries on their way through life. So, who do you go to when they need medicine or to clean up wounds before getting stitches? Many of us will have the same answer: your family doctor.

family doctor

Not every family will visit the same physician every time they need to see a medical professional, though. Some may not realize the benefits of having a family doctor – so here are five reasons why you and your children will benefit from seeing the same person at each appointment.

They know your personal and family history

Your doctor will get to know every part of your medical history when they treat you for a number of years. It means they have the chance to monitor your health over long periods, can keep an eye out for red flags with medications, and are able to make accurate diagnoses.

Seeing multiple generations of the same family will also help support your doctor when recording your history. If, for example, both you and a parent had the same disease at a young age, then your doctor may recommend genetic counseling and offer a screening plan for all those in your family who may be at risk of developing the same illness.

They can follow your life cycle

Your physician will treat toddlers, teens, young adults, middle-aged people, retirees, and even those in their 90s and older. They may see the same patients for decades – and this is typical for family doctors. They can treat any number of conditions at any point in your life, too.

They’ll find the right specialist for you

If you have a condition for which you need to see a specialist, your family doctor will help you to find one who will fit your needs and personality. So if a physician has a cardiology patient who prefers conservative treatments, for example, then they may look for a cardiologist who has a conservative-first approach as opposed to aggressive treatment. This can be part of the comprehensive health care you get from having a family physician, so you can receive the best care.

They treat you, not just the issue

Your family doctor will give you holistic care, meaning they will treat you in the context of all aspects of your life and not just the issue – such as how your family or your work might be affecting you. Good primary care will attend to your mind, body, and relationships.Remember that your family doctor will treat all your health concerns. These may be chronic or acute, emotional, or linked to your relationships.

Your family doctor will help you choose your best options They will know you well, so they will be the best doctor to help you with making personal health choices. They will go through what information you may have read, what advice you may have got from acquaintances, and opinions you may have received from other physicians.

This entry was posted in Family.