11 September 2018

Supporting Family & Friends With Fertility Problems

When it comes to fertility and pregnancy, it’s easy to presume that everyone is able to get pregnant and have kids as and when they want to, but sadly that isn’t the case. There are a large number of couples that struggle to get (or stay) pregnant, and this can take a huge toll on their mental health and happiness. 

The fact is that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, six percent of women in the US of childbearing age are infertile, while another 12% struggle to get or stay pregnant. Of course, fertility problems don’t just occur in women either, many men suffer from fertility problems just like women do. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in around 35% of couples with infertility, the man is to blame for the issue as well as the women. In around eight percent of cases, it’s the man alone that is the problem. Did you know that just under ten percent of men aged 25 to 44 in the US reported that they and their partner saw a doctor for advice regarding pregnancy and fertility testing at one point or another. 

Fertility problems are fairly common, so if you don’t suffer from them yourselves, the chances are that someone who you know and care about will do. If this is the case, it’s essential that you know how to properly support them, as couples who are struggling with infertility require a strong support network. Wondering how you can do this? Below are some tips and advice for supporting couples with infertility!

Supporting Family & Friends With Fertility Problems

Be sensitive 

It’s important to understand that for someone who is struggling to conceive, a lot of things can make them upset and stressed. From hearing that someone else is pregnant to seeing a baby on the street in a stroller. As their friend or family member, you need to be sensitive to this and do what you can to help them. 

If they share the fact that they are upset, tell them that you are there for them. Don’t say that you understand, because unless you’ve been through what they’re going through, you can’t understand. As long as they know that you are there for them and are empathetic to how they are feeling, that’s all that matters. 

Don’t minimize the problem 

Far too often people try to minimize the problem. So, a friend says that she is suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome and has a reduced risk of getting pregnant, a common response is ‘Oh don’t worry, you’ll be fine’ or ‘My friend, Lucy has polycystic ovary syndrome and she has three kids, so you will be fine’. 

These kinds of responses are not helpful as they minimize the problem. You might think that you’re helping someone with fertility problems by making out it’s no big deal but actually this only makes the situation worse, because the person is already aware that it’s a big deal and it doesn’t help that they feel unsupported by the people who are meant to care about them the most. 

Be informed 

If you want to properly support a friend or family member who is struggling with fertility issues, it’s important to be informed. The fact is that for couples who are trying to conceive but have fertility issues, having to explain time and time again what is what can be annoying and traumatic, so do your best to stay informed. 

Say, for instance, your friend says she has PCOS which is what’s causing her fertility issues, spend some time researching the condition to see what you can learn about this condition. The more research you do, the less questions you will have to ask her. 

Show support 

One of the best things that you can do to help a couple who is struggling to conceive is to show your support. There are a range of ways that you can do this, and it completely depends on your relationship to them and what problems they are having. 

For instance, if a female friend has endometriosis and is unable to carry a child so is considering surrogacy, spend time helping her to research what’s involved and how it works - to learn more about this route click here and have a read. You would be amazed at the amount of support that you can find online. 

It’s not easy supporting a loved one who is struggling with their fertility but it’s something that they will truly appreciate. Be there for them, show them that you are with them every step of the way and whatever they need you will help with.

06 September 2018

Raising Kids as a Single Parent

The struggles of raising kids all on your own will mainly boil down to time - there is simply not enough of it. We try to make a living while raising kids and preferably keeping the house neat and tidy at the same time, but how do we find time to do what we enjoy the most?

While we’d all like to spend as much time with our children as possible, it’s even harder for a single parent. You’re in good company, though, and those who have been through it before you have a lot of great advice to share.

Here is a handful of good tips on raising kids as a single parent so that you can relax a bit more and rest assured that you’re doing it right.

#1 Make the most of your time together

It may seem obvious, but we keep complaining about not having enough time while simultaneously forgetting to appreciate the time we actually have together. Try to pay attention to what you do with that time; are you spending it in front of the TV or talking to each other about your day?

Spending time around the dinner table is just one of many ways to appreciate each other a bit more. Make the most out of every moment by reading stories during bedtime, chatting on your way to kindergarten or school, and initiating a singalong in the car.

These are the little moments that actually count, and if you spend the time wisely, you’ll soon realise that you actually have a bit more of it than you thought.

#2 Save the negative talk for someone else

While it is good to give your children responsibility as they grow up, it’s never a good idea to give them more responsibility than they should have at their age. This means that the negative talk about your ex-partner should be saved for those expert divorce solicitors, and complaints about bills can be saved for your friends.

Try not to burden your children too much although you’d like to give them responsibility. It’s true that most children understand much more than we think when times are tough, and it’s fine to let them know if you’re struggling - but keep your sense of humour, and don’t make them feel like the situation is hopeless.

#3 Remember structure and routines

When you have so much to do and barely find time for all of it during your week, it’s easy to let those structures and routines fall apart for a while. Focus on making your children stick to theirs, however, as they need them in order to stay healthy and happy. 

It’s a great way to spend a bit more time together as well, by the way, by taking part in their bedtime routines with those stories. 

Raising kids as a single parent is definitely a challenge for most people. By simply reading this article, it already shows that you’re trying your best, though, and your children will value the effort you put into it when they’re all grown up.

24 August 2018

Tea, Time and Thoughts: How to Care for Your Elderly Family Members

You always used to rely on your parents for everything when you were little. You looked up to them so much and thought they always had the answers to all of your questions. Now that they are getting considerably older you have noticed a change in them; they are quiet, withdrawn and a little needier too. You do everything you can to keep your kids healthy so what about your parents? You realize it is now your responsibility to take care of them and make sure they always have everything they need. Caring for an elderly family member can be a daunting task, but often all it takes is a little bit of time, some thought and an occasional cup of tea.

Find Professional Care

Seeking out support from experts in care might just take the strain off you, especially if your elderly relatives have special health needs that are concerning to you. There are many senior care services out there who can visit their home daily, give them company, medication and even ensure they have meals cooked for them. Look around your local area and see if you have any services that could benefit your family.

Tea, Time and Thoughts: How to Care for Your Elderly Family Members

Factor Them Into Your Day

Are you popping to the shops? Going to a doctor’s appointment close by to their house? Calling in for a quick chat and a check up with them is the best way for you to make sure they are okay. If they live further away than this you might have to plan special visits, but make sure you organise this with them in advance so that they know you are popping round.

A Cup of Tea Could Mean the World to Them

It is true that loneliness can damage your health, so imagine what a quick cup of tea could do for your parents. Perhaps one of your parents recently passed away and you are worried about the other being lonely; simply stopping by for a cuppa would make their day so consider doing this more often.

Research Local Groups

If you are worried about one of your parents getting lonely, then there are some amazing support groups out there that can help get the elderly out there and socialising. Perhaps your local church holds a coffee morning once a week or there is a flower arranging club your mother has always wanted to join. There is bound to be a group to suit their needs so try and encourage them to get out there and meet new people.

You never want your parents to feel lonely or isolated in their old age so now is the time to go that extra mile for them. You realize that you can’t do everything for them, but just a helping hand now and then would really go a long way. Whether you need to look into professional care for the long term or you find a local support group for them to visit, you can make a huge difference to their quality of life. So take the time, put in some thought and drink lots of tea with your parents; it will truly mean the world to them.

22 August 2018

3 Reasons Why You Should Focus on Giving Your Kids Low-tech Toys

3 Reasons Why You Should Focus on Giving Your Kids Low-tech Toys

We live in a seriously technology-obsessed age, where most of us seem to struggle to make it through a day without constantly staring at our smartphones every few minutes in order to keep up to date with our emails, or the latest developments on our Facebook and Instagram accounts.
That’s not to mention the fact that, when we arrive home from the office, we’ll routinely spend our evenings slumped in front of the TV watching our favorite shows, if not sat at the computer, Googling random facts and bits of trivia.

Technology offers many amazing benefits, but it’s important to maintain the right balance between the hours we spend staring at screens, and the time we spend engaging with the world more directly. While adults can be expected to strike this balance, kids are another matter.

Research suggests that children who spend too much time staring at screens may suffer various serious developmental issues. Here are a few more general reasons why you should focus on giving your kids low-tech toys to play with.

Imagination is one of the greatest gifts in life and deserves to be nurtured

Have you ever stopped to consider the fact that all of the great inventions we enjoy in the world, including our computers, are the result of people’s imaginations in one way or another?

Everything that makes its way into the physical world of human artifice is first a thought floating in someone’s mind. Imagination is, therefore, one of the greatest gifts in life — and it deserves to respected and nurtured.

“Old-fashioned” low-tech toys force a child to engage their imagination in ways that video games simply can’t.

Low-tech toys encourage your kids to interact with the world

One of the insidious things about digital technology is that it allows you — or your child — to get completely lost in the world of cyberspace, to the extent that you barely notice the real world all around you, if at all.

Low-tech toys, on the other hand — things like dolls or a wooden baby walker — require interaction with the wider world. Even the most imaginative child will be hard-pressed to sit and stare blankly at their favourite toy for hours in the way they would with the TV or computer.

Instead, it’s much more likely that they’ll take their toys “for a walk”, or build a fort for them in the garden and stage mini battles, or do any number of other activities which involve engaging with the wider world.

Low-tech toys encourage social interaction with others

When children are playing with low-tech toys, they will often be more inclined to include other kids in their games, and to create a shared world of adventure in the process.

If your child is preoccupied by an iPad on the other hand, it’s likely that they won’t have any trouble at all remaining completely solitary throughout the entire “play” session.

Get your kids some low-tech toys, and put them in environments where there’ll be other kids for them to interact with.

20 August 2018

3 Life Lessons Your Kids Will Learn While Camping

As a parent, you want your kids to learn as much as they can. You provide them with opportunities like extracurricular activities and interesting books to help them learn. However, one experience that can help teach them lessons that they’ll need to rely on throughout their life is camping. Here are four things that your children can learn while participating in this activity.

A Bad Experience Can Be Made Positive
Not every day in life is perfect and the same goes for camping. You might end up stuck in your tent on a rainy day or a scary encounter with a snake that has come slithering through the campground. It’s a plain and simple fact that things can go wrong in both life and camping.

However, learning how to deal with such mishaps is a very important thing. Lead by example and help your kids take any unexpected downward turns into positive experiences. On a rainy day, for example, your family could cozy up in the tent or camping trailer together telling stores, playing card games, and readying stories with funny voices).

It’s Important to Take Time for Each Other
If your family is like most, then parenting seems to be all about juggling a bunch of different—and, often, conflicting—schedules. You might even find it hard to be able to sit down for a meal together during the week. When you plan out a camping trip, however, everyone has to set aside a portion of their schedule so that the family can spend time together.

Plan some meaningful activities that allow everyone, including both young and old, to be involved. For example, you could spend time cooking, hiking, using bows and arrows, and fishing. Whatever you do, just make sure that everyone is together. Don’t let anyone sneak off to the tent to be by themselves unless it’s for a much needed nap.

You Don’t Have to Be Glued to Your Electronics to Have Fun
This is a lesson that both adults and kids can learn. While going camping, leave behind all unnecessary electronics. That means no laptops, tablets, or gaming devices. Cell phones should only be used to take pictures and not for texting or social media purposes. Adults should let their bosses and coworkers know that they won’t be accepting any work-related calls or texts while camping. Teens might need to make a similar announcement to their friends.

To help your kids enjoy camping without electronics, plan a lot of fun activities. Yet, don’t be so overwhelming by creating an exhausting itinerary. Be flexible! Encourage your kids to be adventurous and come up with their own impromptu experiences as well.

These three lessons are only a few of the many lessons that your kids—and your entire family—will be able to learn by going camping. So set aside some time for an upcoming weekend and go camping together—you won’t regret it!