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Global Guide to Divorce

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5 Steps to Entrepreneurship for Stay-at-Home Moms

For single, recently divorced mothers, figuring out how to balance work with childcare is challenging. Maybe it’s time to consider starting your own home-based business. And with a little support from Wendi of Global Guide to Divorce, you’ll feel confident about becoming a “mompreneur!” If you’re interested in opening a home-based business, these tips will help you in every step of the process.   

Come Up With a Business Idea  

Naturally, deciding on your business idea should be the first item on your to-do list! Frugal Budgeter recommends thinking about possibilities like becoming a bookkeeper, a proofreader, a social media manager, or even selling arts and crafts.

You’ll also need to decide how you want to price your products or services. To determine how much you’ll charge, consider your own fixed expenses, the cost of any materials you’ll need, and what your time is worth based on your previous income from W2 jobs.   

Hire Freelance Help   

As a business owner and stay-at-home single mom, you’re inevitably going to have a lot on your plate — but you don’t have to handle all of your entrepreneurial responsibilities on your own! Instead, you can hire freelance experts for help.

For instance, you could work with a freelance web designer to set up your company website or a social media manager to outline a digital marketing plan. And rather than trying to design a logo on your own, you can hire a graphic designer — to illustrate, freelance graphic designer pricing is approximately between $15 and $35 per hour. To find a graphic designer (or any other freelancer, for that matter), you can browse online job platforms and check out reviews, estimated delivery times, and rates before hiring someone.

What if you also need support navigating your divorce and getting back on your feet? You can turn to Wendi Global Guide for Divorce for coaching!  

Start Networking   

Now, you’re ready to work with your first clients or customers! But how can you land those initial sales? The secret is networking. As a new entrepreneur, you need to get the word out about your business! Startup Nation recommends joining groups with other professionals in your industry. If attending networking events in person with your kids in tow would be tough, you can connect with virtual groups instead.  

Working From Home With Kids  

When you’re running a business and raising a family at the same time, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. To stay productive while working from home with your kids, Healthline recommends picking out a few quieter activities that your kids can do during the workday, sticking to a regular schedule for the household, and aiming to get more work finished while the kids are napping. If your kids spend time with their other parent as part of your custody agreement, you can also plan to get extra work done during those days. Hiring a babysitter on your busiest days is also an option.  

Bring an Assistant on Board   

If you need a hand with your business, you may want to hire a virtual assistant to help you stay on top of everything you need to do, freeing up more time for you to spend with your kids! To find a reliable assistant, you should look for someone who has fantastic attention to detail, the ability to multitask effectively, great writing skills, and basic accounting skills.

After a divorce, it can take some time to move forward in your personal and professional life. If you’re staying home with your children for the foreseeable future, starting your own business can give you a new goal and a sense of fulfillment. With these tips, you’ll be prepared to succeed as a “mompreneur!”

Are you trying to navigate life after a divorce? You’re not alone, and the resources from Global Guide to Divorce can help you make it through. Reach out to Wendi for a coaching session today.

Author Kelli Brewer is proud of her military family and is passionate in supporting military families. Together with her husband, they created DeployCare to offer understanding and support to our service members and their families before, during, and after deployments.

 

Tips for a Less Stressful Move: Advice for the Whole Family

Children Helping Unload Boxes From Van On Family Moving In Day

It’s no secret that moving can be a hassle, especially if you’re divorced, have kids, or both. Did you know that more than 15.9 million Americans moved during the pandemic, according to USPS data? Since moving is one of the most stress-inducing milestones in life, it’s important to know how to make it a more enjoyable process.

Maybe you’re leaving a small apartment to finally have more space, or maybe you’re moving across the country to start a new life after divorce. Even if your children are looking forward to the move, they probably also feel unstable as they experience a ton of changes. When you’re divorced, there are even more considerations and logistics to keep in mind.

There are plenty of stress-free moving tips you can follow that make life easier, fortunately. Although one of the best solutions is to look into the cost of hiring a moving service, if that’s not possible, at least try to follow some of our hacks that are particularly helpful if you’re a divorcee.

  • Keep a master binder for moving. Organize all documents: contracts, receipts, and other important records in one organized place.
  • Schedule your move to happen mid-month or mid-week. There will be less traffic and the cost to move furniture might be lower during these times.
  • Be careful about how you pack! Take care of wrapping fragile or tedious items first so you’re not rushing and leaving room for error (and damage.)
  • Avoid leaks, lost items, or other mishaps by keeping expensive and valuable personal belongings close and remembering to pack items like cleaning solutions, paints, and sharp tools in clear plastic bins (rather than cardboard boxes.)
  • Be sure to organize your boxes using color-coding. Consider giving every room a different color packing label. You can download our free packing labels to add to your boxes below!
  • Make extra cash by selling unnecessary items on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist or a yard sale.
  • Schedule a pickup with WePickUp.org or a similar site if you have a lot of items you’d rather donate than sell. It’ll save you a trip to Good Will or Salvation Army!
  • Paint the move in a positive light when talking to the kids. It’s easy to constantly talk about how stressed you are with the moving process. Remember, your kids are always listening and internalizing those sentiments — try to stay positive.
  • Notify your home insurance agent to see if moving insurance is included in your policy. If not, you’ll want to look into moving insurance to protect your belongings.
  • Be prepared for inclement weather. For example, bring old towels, extra cardboard and plastic wrap to protect items in transit when there’s rain or snow.

You can find more actionable tips here, and feel free to download the printable resources below to help with the moving process: an inventory cheat sheet, contact notification sheet, and moving labels.

Author of this article is Gabrielle Gardiner. She is a Content Marketing Specialist
siegemedia.com  

 

3 Tips that Make Budget-Friendly Birthday Parties Easier for Parents

Kids look forward to celebrating their birthday party every year. If you are a parent who is working with a tight budget, however, you may not be looking forward to the costs of hosting a party in your home. Thankfully, putting together an unforgettable home birthday celebration for your child doesn’t have to cost a fortune if you use these budget-friendly tips.   

Keep Kids Busy without Worrying About Extra Expenses  

The whole point of a birthday party is to celebrate and have fun, so make sure you incorporate some savings-savvy party activities into your plans. Hosting a sleepover can offer some super creative ways to entertain all of your little guests, especially when you can put together a backyard stargazing party that’s practically free and oh so much fun! You can use a telescope you already own or have kids build their own. Party guests will be so excited to check out the stars at night, and backyard astronomy lessons are educational as well.

Looking for more activity ideas for a fun birthday bash? Check out these budget-friendly ideas, like a treasure hunt or a chance to stomp on balloons. Just be conscientious of any children who may have sensory processing issues, and try to have alternate games set up for them. Bingo and rubber duck hunts are autism-friendly activity options if you want your celebration to be inclusive of children who have special needs.  

Feed Those Hungry Party Guests without Going Over Budget  

To keep kids from getting cranky, you will want to have few snacks and beverages available. If you plan on hosting your children’s friends for a full meal, try to plan a menu that won’t break the bank but will still satisfy picky eaters. A hot dog bar is a fun way to fill those tummies, or you could go with pizza for a super easy crowd pleaser. Want to avoid the costs of a big meal? Schedule your party between mealtimes. Time is important when you have a super-slim food budget, so aim to have your event happen between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Of course, no birthday bash is complete without a cake. Instead of overspending at a gourmet bakery, go to your local grocery store and give a plain cake an easy makeover that will wow everyone. Cakes from grocery stores are less expensive, and you don’t need to worry about ordering ahead. Simply scrape off any typical store decor, and replace it with your kid’s favorite candy or cereal.  

Plan Your Party Around a Theme to Make Decorating Simple  

Planning out activities and food options will help you keep party costs under control. You can make planning easier by coming up with a fun theme as well. Some of the most popular party themes let you get as fancy or basic as you want, and you can create most of these pulled-together parties for minimal costs.

If your child loves nature, consider a magical enchanted forest theme, and use free decor, like pine cones and tree branches, to spruce up your party space. You can even use pine cones for additional craft activities, which can save you even more. Complete the look and functionality of any birthday party theme by picking up supplies to match too. You can shop online for inexpensive party kits that come with everything you need to add the finishing touches to your celebration. From fun party plates to eco-friendly straws, you’ll have all of your birthday party bases covered.   

By celebrating your child’s birthday at home, you’re already on the right track to stay within your budget. Make sure you save even more, and still keep everyone having fun, by using the handy party-planning tips above. After all, your guests will care much more about the memories they make than they will about how much you spend on the party itself.

This article was written by Natalie Jones of homeownerbliss.info

Co-Parenting A Teenager That Is Vaping Behind Your Back

Raising a child as a single parent thanks to divorce is no mean feat. If that child is a teenager, then things often become more complicated and you need to know how to handle it..

Take, for instance, the vaping craze that’s exploded among teens. What happens when you discover that your teen is vaping behind your back? How will you handle it? How do you and your ex work together to discover a solution?

Why is Vaping Dangerous?

You might be wondering why vaping is a serious issue. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Most parents and teens are under the impression that vaping simply involves inhaling harmless water vapor and flavor. There’s a misconception that e-cigarettes are better than conventional cigarettes.

However, while e-cigarettes are smoke and tobacco-free, most still contain nicotine. This is a dangerous, highly addictive substance that can wreak havoc on teens’ developing brains, affecting their learning ability, attention span as well as their mood and impulse control.

Additionally, the CDC reports that the vapor or aerosol from e-cigarettes isn’t as benign as once thought. It contains chemical fruit or candy flavorings that have been linked to certain lung ailments. What’s more, the nicotine in e-cigarettes might put users at risk for addiction to other drugs in the future.

Co-parenting A Vaping Teen

Teens can turn to vaping for several reasons including acting out because of divorce or because of peer pressure. Here’s how you and your ex-spouse can handle the situation:

Discuss the issue with your ex-spouse.

You and your ex-spouse need to sit down and discuss how you’re going to handle this situation. Things won’t work if one of you sees that vaping is a problem and the other thinks there’s nothing wrong with it. Get on the same page on how you’ll raise the issue with your teen, the consequences they’ll have to face and what kind of help they should receive, if necessary.

Have a discussion with your teen.

Next, have a discussion on vaping with your teen either separately or together as his parents. Avoid scolding or lecturing and instead, ask open-ended questions to initiate dialogue. This way, you have a chance of discovering the root cause of their behavior. During the discussion, educate your teen on the dangers of vaping.

Outline consequences to your teen.

For consistency, both you and your ex-spouse should agree on suitable consequences for your teen’s vaping. These consequences should be clear and should match the committed offense. For instance, you could ground your teen for some days or withdraw some of their privileges for a while. Ensure that consequences set are enforced by both of you and that rules are the same at both homes.

Seek professional help.

Finally, if you both notice that you’re not having any impact on your teen, seek professional help. It can be hard to quit vaping but it is possible as long as your teen is willing to do it. There are trained professionals who can guide your teen on how to become vape-free.

As parents, both you and your spouse should find ways to co-parent your teen through a vaping incident, keeping in mind that his well being is the most important thing.

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson, enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative work. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter

Combat Your Teen’s Narcissism By Teaching Them Sincere Empathy

Teenagers are notorious for two things—teen angst and narcissism. In fact, many parents wonder where they went wrong in bringing up their kids to become so self-centered.

The good news is, your teen’s self-absorption is not a reflection of your parenting. They are just going through the normal phases of growing up. It turns out that being egocentric is a normal part of teen development, as it helps them figure out their unique identities separate from their families.

However, normal teen narcissism should not be confused with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). The latter is a diagnosable condition and people with the disorder normally experience difficulties in having normal lives.

Also, those with NPD often struggle to maintain healthy relationships, and the disorder usually affects their education or employment. Teens who are diagnosed with NPD require lengthy treatment and a change of environment like that provided at a therapeutic boarding school.

Dealing With Your Narcissistic Teen

The key to dealing with a self-centered teen lies in building empathy. You will need to find ways to help your teen learn how to understand and share other people’s feelings. Here are some strategies that might help.

Get your teen to volunteer.

Volunteering has several benefits for teens including opening their eyes to what others go through. Through volunteering, your teen will learn how to be a giver, not just a taker. They will come to experience the satisfaction that comes with helping those who are in need.

Help them see other alternatives.

Teens have a way of assuming other people’s behavior is somehow related to them. For instance, your teen might think that the teacher who gave him a poor grade doesn’t like him. So help your teen see that while his conclusion is a definite possibility, there could be other alternatives as well.

Don’t overindulge your teen.

Set limits on how much cash or presents you give your teen and avoid showering them with too many lavish experiences or gifts. Those only reinforce the notion that their self-worth lies in material things and showing off to others. Instead, teach your teenager that self-worth comes from the inside out and help them develop confidence in their abilities.

Limit their social media use.

Social media can encourage your teen to become superficial and obsessed with having perfect looks or material items. Limiting their screen time is a good place to start. You can also encourage them to take up other pursuits and hobbies that will help them become well-rounded teenagers instead.

Don’t shield your teen from failure.

Another excellent way to fight your teen’s narcissism is allowing them to face the consequences of their actions and not shielding them from life’s failures. Allowing your teen to experience disappointment and failure once in a while is actually good for their healthy development. Just remember to equip them with the necessary problem-solving skills to address situations on their own should they get into trouble.

While it’s normal for teens to be a little narcissistic, you should still encourage your teen to change their behavior by instilling the values of empathy in them.

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson, enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative work. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter

4 Key Life Skills To Teach Your Son When His Father Is Not Available

thumbnail__4KeyLifeSkillstoTeachYourSonifDadCan'We all wish our kids could have two solid, involved parents. But sometimes that just doesn’t happen. Regardless of the reason why their father isn’t in the picture anymore, it can feel as thought his place in your child’s life falls on your shoulders. That is a lot of responsibility, especially if you have a son. How can you teach him the same lessons that his father should have taught him?

The truth is that you may be able to teach him even better. There are some life lessons that go beyond how to shave, or the right way to tie a necktie. Lessons that are uniquely suited for a mother to pass down to her son, to make him a better man.

Expressing Emotion

Boys are taught from a young age to be “tough”. They aren’t supposed to cry, get too close to anyone, share how they feel…it is a toxic and unfair image that I have tried hard to break in my own sons. But the world is harsh and that message is so prevalent that it can be difficult to reach them.

As a mother, you can instill sensitivity and empathy in your son and show him that it is OK to have and express emotions.

Respecting Women

There is no doubt about it, there is a serious issue in our youth of how women and girls are portrayed. It is a battle that has been fought for many years and will continue to be. Whether because of pornography, modern media or just an incorrect view of a woman’s place in the world, we seem to be going backwards at times.

You can be a champion for respect, teaching your son how to view women in a healthy way and to treat them with the courtesy they deserve.

Trust and Dependability

A man’s word is all he has…that is a saying my dad used to say and I believe it firmly. Your son should know that if he wants to be trusted he has to show that he is dependable. If he lacks a steady fatherly role in his life, this may be an easy lesson to teach him, as he has seen the impact first hand of a lack of dependability and trustworthiness. You can also utilize the examples of wonderful father figures that surround your child to illustrate these key aspects needed in a man’s character.

Education

This one is a no-brainer. The importance of education, especially in today’s world, can’t be overstated. You should work with your son to see this critical idea. Be involved with his education and help him in his goals.

So many single mothers lament the lack of a father in their child’s life. But your son couldn’t be luckier…he has you! You can teach him those critical life lessons and help him to grow into the man you know he can be.

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson, enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative work. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter |

 

 

7 Tips for Taking On Parenthood When You’re Living With a Disability

7 tipsWhen you’re about to be a new parent, it can be tricky to truly prepare for what lies ahead. But there are a few things you can do ahead of time to prepare. Here are seven steps you can take when you’re going to be a new parent and are living with a disability.

Talk About Parenting With Your Partner  

If you plan on parenting with a partner, it’s a good idea to sit down and really hash out what parenthood means to each of you. Talk about how tasks will be divided and what roles you expect each other to play. Discuss different parenting techniques and make final decisions together. Getting on the same page before your baby is born will diffuse any additional tension during an already stressful time.  

Set Budget Goals But Be Prepared for Surprises  

With a new baby on the way, you’ll want to set a budget. Expect monthly expenses to increase, and factor in new items, such as baby clothes, bottles, and diapers. Try to set aside some savings to cover any sudden financial issues. If you’re receiving any benefits, figure out if there will be changes to your benefits if you’re having a child, and don’t forget to review your health and life insurance as well.

Be Flexible With Your Schedule

If you live with a disability, you may be used to a certain routine. Know that children, and especially newborns, will cause some serious changes to your daily schedule. It may take time to work out a normal sleep pattern, and your life will revolve around feedings and care. Clear out your calendar for the first few weeks and don’t make any other plans except for parenting.  

Max Out Accessibility in Your Home  

Make sure your house is safe and ready for you and your baby. You’ll need to focus all your energy on the new little one, so take steps now to increase accessibility. If you haven’t already, think about replacing steps with a ramp, purchasing expandable hinges for doorways, and even installing skid-resistant flooring. Preventing accidents, like slips and falls, will make life as a parent easier and can make your home safer for a growing baby as well.  

Start Small Practices to Relieve Stress  

Any parent will tell you that nothing will stress you out quite like a new baby. So try to get yourself in the habit of practicing stress-relieving self-care now. You’ll likely be short on time when you bring your new baby home, so find brief, effective methods to relieve tension. Work on a little meditation routine or practice some acupressure on yourself. Minimizing stress will help you parent more productively.

Plan Out Meals for Those First Few Weeks   

Having a new baby will leave you with very little time to cook. So it’s smart to set up some quick, easy meals ahead of time. Prepare some casseroles and throw them in your freezer, or bag up some simple crockpot meals. If you have family and friends nearby, you can also ask them to organize a “meal train” to keep your family fed. Keeping speedy meals and convenient snacks around is a lifesaver for busy new parents.  

Find Help When You Need It  

Every parent needs help from time to time as we settle into our role. If you feel overwhelmed, think about calling a friend or family member to help you out with tasks around the house. You may even want to think about hiring someone to help you out, especially during the initial adjustment period. To a new parent, help can be priceless.

Every new parent feels some anxiety at first. With practice and planning, you’ll start to feel better soon. Know that you are fully capable of taking on this task. Congratulations on your new family member and welcome to the wonderful world of parenthood!

Author of this article is Ashley Taylor   ashley@disabledparents.org

5 Steps Parents Can Take to Improve Their Family’s Financial Health

5 steps

Raising a family is expensive. If you have kids or are expecting your first, that’s not news to you. Some days it feels impossible to afford the bare necessities of food, clothing and a roof over your head. However, as a parent, you also need to think about your family’s overall financial health.  

If you haven’t given serious thought to financial planning, now is the time to start. The sooner you get a handle on your finances and start saving for the future, the more financially secure your family will be. Here’s where to start.

1. Assess Your Income

Does your current income allow you to live comfortably and achieve your financial goals? If not, increasing your income should be at the center of your financial plan. While you can always cut expenses to save money, a higher income is the best long-term solution to financial security. Start thinking about ways you can earn a raise, find a higher-paying position, or pivot your career to increase your income.

2. Examine Your Debt

Most families have some debt (about 80 percent, according to USA Today). That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but if your debt is preventing you from achieving other financial goals, you’re using credit cards to spend money you don’t have, or you’re struggling to make headway due to high interest rates, you need to take action about your debt.  

List all your debts including outstanding balances, interest rates and minimum monthly payments. Putting it all out in front of you allows you to assess the state of your debt and devise a repayment plan that lets you get ahead. If you find it difficult to keep track of all your accounts, consider debt consolidation. Consolidation combines unsecured debts like student loans, credit cards, and medical bills into a single monthly payment so they’re easier to manage. However, debt consolidation isn’t guaranteed to work in your favor. It’s important to understand the process and how it will affect your debt before choosing to consolidate.

3. Create an Emergency Fund

Everyone needs an emergency fund, but it’s particularly important for parents. An emergency fund enables you to cover minor emergencies without fretting over the bill and remain stable if your job situation changes. Calculate how much money you’d need to cover three months of expenses and set aside funds each paycheck until your emergency fund reaches that number. If you’re a single-income household, aim for six months instead of three.

4. Budget for Childcare

According to Care.com, one in three families spend 20 percent or more of their income on child care. This makes childcare one of the biggest household expenses that parents face and affording it requires careful budgeting. Even when one parent stays home to care for children, there’s a loss of income to account for. Examine your budget to find areas where you can cut expenses and consider flexing your work schedule to reduce the amount of paid childcare needed. Parents can also save money by signing up for a Flexible Spending Account or using the child-care tax credit.

5. Prepare for the Unknown

Life throws a lot of curveballs. When you’re a parent, it’s up to you to be ready for them. Life insurance and a will are two things every parent needs to protect their family from the unexpected.  

Life insurance pays out a death benefit if the policyholder passes away. With a life insurance policy, your family has money to pay for a funeral and stay afloat following a loss of income. However, life insurance alone isn’t enough. You also need a will that names guardians to care for your children if you pass away. Writing a will is complicated, so it’s best to consult with a lawyer.

Author of this article, Tilda Moore, researches and writes about educational resources for openeducators.org. She is passionate about helping parents and teachers in providing kids with the best education possible. She works directly with teachers and other public education groups to ensure they are working toward our vision of constructing a reliable database of verified information

 

7 Things Single Parents Must Do to Keep Their Sanity with Teenagers

7 Things Single Parents Must Do to Keep Their Sanity with TeenagersBeing a single parent to little kids ain’t easy. Being one to teenagers? Even harder. For most parents this is uncharted territory that comes with a whole new style of stress that is so different from how parenting was before the dreaded thirteen benchmark was breached. It doesn’t help that we so often try to compensate as single parents by trying to be Super Mom or Super Dad and do it all.

You have a lot on your plate, but it is crucial that you still take some time for yourself. Otherwise you can be sure of burnout nipping at your heels. This will make you a less effective parent and a more stressed person, in general.

Here are seven things you can do to keep your sanity through the teen years, by making some adjustments to your priorities.

Find The Humor In It – Next time you are getting ready to confront the kids, save your breath. Try and laugh it off and let it go. It saves you time and stress.

Don’t Panic – Tempted to fly off the handle and begin panic-fixing all the issues your teen just brought you? Go for a walk. Cool off. You will probably find a better solution that won’t take so much effort.

Let Them Fail – It is ten at night and your teen just told you they had a science project due. Don’t come to the rescue, sacrificing your sleep to get them out of the bind. Let them fail…it is a good life lesson.

Start Giving More Responsibility – Don’t have any time to take for yourself? Start handing more responsibility to your teen. Not only does this free up your schedule, but it begins to prepare them for the adult world they are rapidly approaching.

Balance Parenting With Friendship – You are their parent, not their friend. Right? Well, you can actually be both. By looking at the time you spend with your teens as also being pleasant time with friends, you may find yourself relaxing more in their presence.

Have “Office Hours” – Obviously, important matters have to be addressed right away. But short of that, set times when you are “in the office” and times when you are “out of the office”. When you’re out, they fend for themselves.

Get Active and Stay Active – Yoga, running, swimming, hiking, sports, weight lifting…whatever if it you enjoy that keeps you active, get out there and do it. Not only is this great “me” time, but it is a way to stay healthy, relieve stress and improve things like sleep and energy levels.

Having teenagers is stressful, but it is also an opportunity to begin taking better care of your own needs. By taking some time for yourself you will be a more effective parent and happier, healthier and ready for anything thrown your way.

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson, enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative work. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | LinkedIn

 

Banish First-Day Jitters: Tips for Heading Back to School

tildaWho doesn’t love the magic that only summer vacation promises? However, as those relaxing summer days come to an end, it’s never too early to talk and listen to your children about their hopes and concerns for the first day of school. First-day jitters are normal for kids and their parents. Often, it’s the fear of the unknown and those “what-ifs” that jangle the nerves. Incorporate these suggestions as the summer’s end marches closer.

Out with the Old  

Set aside a day or two to go through last year’s clothing and supplies to see what works; make piles of items to keep, toss, and donate. Check with local churches or other organizations to find back-to-school supply and clothing drives; donate your child’s outgrown and gently used things.

Plan and Adjust Those Schedules  

Many kids scale back extracurricular activities during the summer. As late August approaches, tackle logistics by sitting down with everyone to coordinate each day. Use a dry-erase weekly calendar to track activities. Discuss educational nuts and bolts like homework routines so they’re kept consistent. For older kids and families, synch everyone’s calendar apps so you’re all on the same page. If your kiddo plays a sport or has a job, make sure to account for the time those activities require while also ensuring your child gets enough sleep.

Easier (If Not Happier) Mornings  

Elementary-aged kids need at least 10 hours of sleep each night. Before school resumes, start your kiddo on a regular bedtime and wake-up routine to reduce first-day stress. Pack lunches and backpacks, and lay out outfits the night before. Plan breakfasts ahead of time, too.

Back-to-School Prep  

Not much trumps the excitement of shopping for brand new school supplies. Get the kids involved! Schedule a date day to take your kiddo shopping for new clothing and shoes; make it extra-special with a “just the two of you” lunch or ice cream treat to celebrate a new beginning — and all those new supplies and clothes!

Many school supply lists include a request for headphones. Many over-the-ear options, which are better for little ears, are relatively inexpensive; you can find a good pair for less than $100. It’s a worthwhile investment your kiddo can use while listening to music, playing online games, or completing online exercises for school.

Help Calm Anxiety  

When your child’s a bit anxious about his new teacher or new school, stay positive. Attend an open house, especially if it’s scheduled before the new year starts, so you and your child can meet the new teacher and get acclimated to the school. Encourage your kiddo to get excited about the new year by reminding him about past trips, projects, and fun events — and upcoming opportunities to learn cool stuff this year.

Know other kids in your child’s class? Set up a few playdates before school’s back in session so that the kids can reconnect. It’s a great way to rekindle friendships, especially if the kids haven’t seen each other all summer.

Smoothing the Transition for Younger Students  

Younger children who are moving to a different school or starting school for the first time have other fears and anxieties that you calm with these suggestions.

If your kiddo attended the same school last year but has moved to a new grade/new teacher, remind her of the routine, and invite her to share the differences and fun changes to anticipate. If it’s her first year, visit the school a few times — check out the playground and see if it’s open and whether you can take a tour, even if you’ll attend orientation. The more she sees the school, the less she’ll worry on the first “official” day.

Create a goodbye routine that may include a special goodbye phrase. Plan something special to celebrate the end of the first day — a plate of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies waiting at home or dinner at her favorite restaurant.

Although it’s still too soon time to trade swimsuits for backpacks, remind your kids that the upcoming school year promises a different kind of discovery, exploration, and fun — and that nerves are normal, too!

Author of this article, Tilda Moore, researches and writes about educational resources for openeducators.org. She is passionate about helping parents and teachers in providing kids with the best education possible. She works directly with teachers and other public education groups to ensure they are working toward our vision of constructing a reliable database of verified information

 

Tips On Finding Summer Programs For Children

Summer is here and the yearly dilemma for parents can be what to with the children. Many single parents rely on school and after care while they are at work. When school is not in session, this can be a challenge. Non-profits can offer summer programs at low cost to fill this gap. An accountant mentioned that summer programs can be eligible for a “Child independent care credit” when a working parent has an income. This means that some of the money spent on programs counts as child care for a tax break.

A rabbi whom I interviewed, suggested calling one’s local synagogue or Jewish Community Center (JCC) to see what is being offered for children. She said that there were sleep-away camps, particularly in the Northeast. A woman at the JCC, said in larger communities there are day programs. The JCC can also be a resource for what else is available where one resides. The Protestants and Catholics have Vacation Bible School which gives parents a break when they need some child care.

There are non-religious options, such as The Boys and Girls Clubs. The one I contacted charges $700 for the entire summer or $350/month. This is all day sessions which includes food and many activities. Local community colleges and recreation centers have their own programs which can be a little less than other day camps. There are programs for special interests, such as chess camp, with a low fee so that all can attend. These people do it for the love of chess (or whatever it is) and to get youngsters excited about it too.

Summer provides the chance to take advantage of the special family events around town. Go to street fairs and festivals to enjoy the lively atmosphere, music and great food. This is almost like being on vacation in Greece, Africa or other exotic locales. Many parks have concerts which is a nice opportunity to have a picnic with the kids. Some cities show movies outside with food carts nearby. Play tourist in your own city. It is amazing how many people have not been to museums, the planetarium, zoo or other attractions right on their own door step. Go to a larger metropolis nearby or the countryside for a change of scenery. There is an artist colony on the periphery of our city. My sons and I feel as if we have been on vacation after browsing through the offbeat shops and indulging on homemade ice cream plus other treats.

Get away, whether it is to the shore, lakeside cabin or a farm nearby. My mother took me to Wildwood, New Jersey every summer. Swimming in the ocean and walking along the boardwalk created lasting memories for me. When parents and other relatives live out of town, going for a visit can be an affordable adventure. There are new places for the kids to discover. My sons were thrilled to visit a farm near the city where my mother lived. The tractor and fabulous milkshakes were an extra bonus. They picked blueberries and strawberries which is not possible on their home turf. What may seem like a mundane activity to you can be a unique experience for your child.

Some single parents send their children to their parents for a chunk of the summer and use that time to work extra hours. They accumulate more time off to spend with their youngsters upon their return. Or, when their offspring is with the other parent, they put in overtime and have more days off with the little ones. My mother sent me to sleep away camp for several weeks every summer and worked during that period. I had a blast and she was off when I was home. Camps can be pricy, so perhaps make them a special treat and not the main course for their summer break.

A young teenager may be too old for summer programs and too young for employment. Parents in this case recommended a membership to the local pool or recreation center. This gets them out of the house and interacting with others. Some children’s museums and other program invite this age group to be a junior intern and entertain the young campers. My sons did the summer reading programs at our library with other activities, such as magic shows. Young teens were on hand to make this program a success. These individuals can be volunteers for various charities during their summer break. My sons volunteered with a cat rescue group and that encouraged me to become one too.

Make the most of each moment during the summer, because one day your little ones will be in their twenties just as my sons are now.

My article was originally printed in DivorceForce   www.divorceforce.com/   Affected by Divorce? Join DivorceForce, the online community committed to empowering those affected by divorce. Many helpful articles for those facing divorce.   @divorceforce (Twitter)

5 Simple & Fun Family Bonding Activities

5 Simple & Fun Family Bonding Activities - Copy (2)   Ways To Bond With Your Children

Did you know the number of divorces has gone down since the 1990’s? It’s true, there are fewer divorces now in the United States than there have been in two decades. But that is little comfort to families who go through it and you might be feeling as though your bond with your children has been compromised in the face of the emotion and stress even the most amicable splits bring.

It is important to nurture your family with quality time. Not only will it help to keep your family close during hard times, but give your children the support they need to adapt and grow. It brings positivity to their daily life (and yours).

Here are five easy, fun activities that you can do with your family to help bring you closer together.

Cook a Meal

Every week my family and I spend the evening making individual pizzas with our favorite toppings, then after dinner we watch a movie. It is the perfect weeknight activity that gives us a chance to spend time together, talk, and do something relaxing at the end of a long day.

Cooking a meal is such a simple way to connect and a lot of fun, too.

Take a Hike

Living in Utah, I consider myself so very lucky. We have trails everywhere, gorgeous mountains, endless lakes…it is an outdoors lovers dream. We try and get out once a month to hike a new trail all together.

It is an adventure each time and my kids love taking pictures on their phones to post on Snapchat to their friends. It has even gotten a few of their buddies involved and hiking with us!

Find the natural beauty where you live and explore it as a family.

Game Night

Whether it is video games or board games, a bit of friendly competition is a lot of fun. There are so many options, as well. RPG tabletops, card games, multiplayer video games…you can find several that will tickle your family’s fancy.

You just might find that game night becomes the favorite night of the week!

Volunteer Together

A less popular, yet amazing, option for bonding time. Volunteering is a way of helping a cause, doing some good, assisting others and still spending time together. All while teaching lessons of empathy and gratitude.

Soup kitchens, nature cleanups, animal shelters…you can find something that works for your family.

Find Local Meetups

Families will often get together for fun activities as a group a few times a month. That might be potluck dinners, park days or local events. It is worth checking websites like Meetup.com for information on what is happening in the neighborhoods around you.

All it takes is a bit of time and creativity and you will be overflowing with ideas on how to spend time and bond with your kids!

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson, enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative work. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | LinkedIn