16 August 2018

Personal Development as a Busy Mom: How Can It Be Done?

When you have a baby your life changes forever- your number one priority is now them, instead of yourself. While this is of course the way it should be, it doesn’t mean you have to give up on yourself completely. Quite the opposite, continuing to learn and develop yourself now means that later down the line when you return to full time work, you’re in the best position possible. You can earn more money which can make life easier for your family. As a busy parent you won’t have all the time in the world to devote to personal development, but it’s worth doing what you can, when you can. As your child gets older, goes to school and becomes more independent you’ll have more opportunities to work on yourself. Here are a few ideas for developing your skills, earning money or making yourself more employable in future.

Study from home
The great thing about getting educated these days is that you can do it right from the comfort of your own home. These courses are completely accredited and hold as much weight as those given by a standard university. They allow you to study in a flexible way and part time, which is incredibly useful for parents who want to better themselves but aren’t able to go back into full time education. You could do a college course, a university course or even a masters. If you have a degree in a manufacturing, transport or logistics based course for example you could do something like an online masters in supply chain management which would allow you to specialize. Regardless of what level of education you’re currently at, studying from home will help you get to the next stage which will always result in better job opportunities. If you start when your child is under a year old, by the time they’re starting school you’ll be just about ready to graduate and can start applying for jobs.

Start an online businessYou could buy or sell items, you could sell services, you could tutor (either by having people come to your home or via video chat) or you could freelance. There are lots of options for earning money from home which are flexible and would suit a busy parent. You’re the boss so you call the shots, you get to choose your hours and can control your workflow. This allows you to continue developing your skills, and could even become your full time job later down the line. Even if you do return to your old job or a regular salary job, these things all look impressive on your CV and mean you don’t have gaps in employment- even while raising a child.

Invest time into hobbiesHobbies are important for people of all ages. They can help you to develop new skills in a fun way, and having something productive to do can be great for mental health. If you have an hour or so every now and again where your child is looked after by your partner or family members, you could use this time to do something you enjoy. It could be anything from cooking classes to gardening, a sport, writing- whatever grabs your interest. More than just about having fun, hobbies can help you to meet new people and expand your skill set, hobbies are always of interest to employers and so it’s another thing that could improve your job prospects later on.

06 August 2018

A Valuable Lesson: Teaching Your Little Ones About Saving

Often, it’s challenging to budget each month and still have cash left to enjoy, and save, especially in a busy family home. However, for a young family to thrive, and maintain financial well-being and security; it’s a skill that parents need to be adept at, and pass on to their children. Young minds are impressionable, and like little sponges; therefore, the life skills you show them, will sink in and help them in their future adult lives. The sooner you teach your little ones skills with budgeting and saving their money, the better they’ll become with financial skills. Consumerism is only growing stronger, and there are more ways to shop and spend money than ever before. 

Therefore, you’ll want to equip your kids with as many money skills as possible before they head out, to study, work, and take on adult responsibilities. The following are some tips and ideas on how to begin influencing your children and their long-term financial choices, and help them budget with their allowance, so they too can enjoy a secure and comfortable future.

A Valuable Lesson: Teaching Your Little Ones About Saving

It’s Time For Responsibility

One way for your kids and teens to learn how to budget is to let them put it into practice while they still live at home. Providing weekly pocket money, or a monthly allowance, in exchange for jobs and chores will reiterate how they can earn in the future. If they want to buy something in particular; encourage them to save their own cash so that they can buy it themselves. Working towards something they want, saving successfully, and eventually going to buy it will give them plenty of positive associations with saving money, and ensure they continue their good habits into adulthood. 

Open a bank account for your kids and go through their monthly statements with them. Children and teens will soon get to grips with how and income, savings, interest, and spending will work on a larger scale in the future. Look into how goal setting works so that they can work towards something major, and they’ll feel like the money they’re saving is more than worthwhile. Providing your kids with enough information regarding finance will make sure they make smart decisions when it comes to cash in the future, and won’t be coming back to mom and dad for handouts and loans. 

It’s Best To Lead By Example

It’s no secret that the best way to influence your little ones is to lead by example. Your kids will constantly be soaking up what you do and mirroring their parent's behavior, even if they don’t realize it, so become a great financial role model for them. Explain how your household bills work, and the reasons that you go out to work; ensure that they can grasp the idea of generating an income so that you have the means to pay for life’s essentials. 

You can pass on the knowledge about budgeting your monthly outgoings to older children and teens, so they understand how all borrowed money has to be paid back. Educating your kids on how and why adults spend their income, will ensure they’re financially savvy when it comes to leaving the family home and setting out into the big wide world.

03 August 2018

4 Common Bad Habits Kids Have That Compromise Their Oral Health

As children grow into their baby teeth and develop their permanent set in adolescence, parents often worry about the kind of habits that they may carry on into adulthood that could lead to problems later on. Fortunately, teaching children how to avoid certain habits while young prevents these possible complications from happening. It’s much easier to recognize and redirect these worrisome patterns early on, and so you should know which are considered the most likely to cause long-term damage.

4 Common Bad Habits Kids Have That Compromise Their Oral Health

Late Night Drinks and Snacks
You’re not likely to let your children stay up late on a regular basis, but there may still be family activities or special events where they get to stay up past a usual bedtime. Sleepovers, movie nights or family vacations mean fun for everyone without worrying about a usual schedule. When this includes eating and drinking after hours, it’s far more likely they may resist or skip out on brushing their teeth before a bedtime that’s not routine.

Non-Food Objects in the Mouth
While babies cutting new teeth may be known to stick anything and everything they can get their little hands on straight into their mouths, older children can also struggle with chewing on non-food items. If a child seems to indulge in specific non-food items like soap, chalk or dirt, you should consult a physician in case of nutritional deficiencies.

Teeth-Grinding and Nail-Biting
Like adults, children can find themselves biting their nails or nibbling on pencil tops without even realizing it. Grinding their teeth at night while they sleep can become a self-soothing habit during the day, as well, which increases the wear on their enamel and the strain on their jaw. This leads to possible permanent damage once their adult teeth start to develop.

Frequent Access to Sugary Foods
It may seem that all children have a bottomless pit for an appetite, but allowing them free range of the pantry can lead to dependence on junk food and the sugary treats they love the most. Sugar-based cereals and drinks are often the biggest influences on these habits, as well as unplanned and easy snacks like candy and cookies.

Proactive oral hygiene means more than just brushing twice a day. A dentist may even recommend not swallowing fluoride toothpaste and also rinsing with water in between sugary drinks like juice or even milk. However, it’s also important to keep an eye out for bad habits like those discussed above.

02 August 2018

4 Ways To Spend Quality Time With Your Teenager

Younger children are easy to spend time with – they need you with them, and they want to be with you for as much as possible anyway, so when you tell them you’re going out for the day, they will generally willingly follow. Teenagers are different. They are a lot more independent and know their own minds, and often want to be left alone. That can be a sad situation for parents who want to be able to enjoy time with their children, no matter how old they are. If that is the case for you, here are some suggestions for ways to spend quality time with your teenager. 

4 Ways To Spend Quality Time With Your Teenager

Go Shopping 
Assuming your teenager enjoys shopping, then going with them can be a great bonding experience. You can shop for anything – it doesn’t have to be clothes and shoes, but could be music, books, video games, or makeup. There might be a special occasion to be shopping for such as Christmas or a birthday or anniversary. If this is the case, make sure you listen to your teenager’s opinion about what to buy people – it will make them feel valued and make the shopping trip even better. As a treat, take them out for lunch and perhaps a pamper session while you’re out of the house. 

Do Errands 
Errands need to be done, even if no one particularly wants to do them, and if you can take your teenager along with you, it will make the tasks a lot easier. Firstly, you’ll have someone to talk to, and this will show your child that you enjoy their company and want to be with them. Secondly, errands will teach your teenager responsibility, and how to successfully run a household. These are skills that will certainly come in useful in the future when they head off to college or have their own home. Eventually you can ask your teenager to do these tasks on your behalf, and they will feel appreciated and like an adult, which will also make them feel happy. 

Do Something They Like 
Spending time with your teenager should be as much about them as it is about you. There might be something you are keen to try, but if your child doesn’t want to do it, then it will be difficult to persuade them otherwise. Instead, as what it is they want to do, and try to accommodate it. They might want to see a particular band in concert, so you could check out ticketsales.com, purchase tickets, and go along with them. They might want to try a new activity, or start an evening class. These are all things you can do together. 

Driving Lessons 
Something that most teenagers will want to do when they reach the right age is to learn how to drive. This is something that, with a lot of patience and care, you can do for them, and it will give you the perfect opportunity to spend time with them. Make sure you are confident in driving yourself so that you can properly teach them safely, of course.

23 July 2018

Can't Cook, Won't Cook: Mistakes You Don't Want To Make When Cooking With Children

Any parent should know that cooking with kids is essential. Think back to your childhood. Weren’t baking days the best? There’s just something about the fast-fire creation of food which appeals to kids. They don’t have to wait for hours to see their painting dry, or undergo grueling creative work before they see a result. Instead, they can mix all the ingredients and see a final product in usually less than an hour. What kid wouldn’t like that?

Very few. Hence why you should hit the kitchen often with your children if you don’t already. What’s more, you should do this from a very young age. Though you won’t be able to trust them with a whisk, even toddlers can get involved. Just helping to hold the spoon or sort the decoration could feel like a whole load of fun to them. So much so that it’s worth embarking on this activity at least once a week.

Of course, as with anything, there are right and wrong ways to cook with your children. To make sure you get this right, we’re going to look at a few of the wrong ways to go about this, and the ways you can avoid them.

You’re missing out on the learning opportunities

We know what you’re thinking; how much learning can there be in cooking? Sure, your kids might gain some basic food prep knowledge, but that’s about it. Isn’t it? Most definitely not! In fact, as can be seen from sites like www.zak.com, there are a load of learning benefits to cooking with your kids. At least, there are if you make the most of them. In truth, cooking can be a lesson in everything from sharing to basic division. And, most importantly in the modern age, cooking can help your kids understand the nutritious content of their food. The trouble is that, if you approach this as a ‘bit of fun’, you’ll miss out on those learning opportunities. Instead, make sure to turn this into the lesson it could be. Let your kids cook together, and show the importance of sharing responsibility. Teach them about halving recipes, and how to work out which ingredients they’d then need. You could also take the time to speak about general nutrition. Talk about the benefits and harm of certain ingredients as they go into the recipe. Make sure you kids know what each food type does and doesn’t do for them. Before long, your little ones will know a whole load more than just how to cook a new recipe! What’s more, you’ll likely find that they’re receptive to these lessons because you wrap them up in a fun activity.

You only ever make sweet snacks

Many parents also only make sweet, unhealthy bakes with their kids. Whether it’s basic cupcakes, or a quick batch of cookies, most of us turn to sweet treats when our children hit the kitchen. But, this is terrible news for obvious reasons, especially when about one in every three American children is obese. And, of course, we’re not saying you can never bake cakes with your little ones. This is an easy recipe for kids to grasp, and there’s nothing wrong with a treat on occasion. But, if you’re cooking with your kids as often as you should, it would be a bad idea to make sweet treats each time. Instead, don’t be afraid to branch out into more healthy savoury options. They may seem daunting with young chefs in the kitchen, but as can be seen from sites like www.kitchenstewardship.com, there are plenty of easy options, including rice dishes and options like mac ‘n’ cheese. Even if you do like the sweet stuff, stick to healthier alternatives. Choose muffins over cupcakes, and granola bars over chocolate brownies. This will help with those nutrition lessons we mentioned above. It'll also ensure your kids develop healthy cooking habits from the very start. And, did we mention this will help your waistline too?

Your kitchen isn’t suited to the cause

Another mistake is not to suit your kitchen to this cause. Too often, this will result in a reluctance to cook at all. Even if you do get around to it, an ill-suited kitchen could lead to a frustrating experience all around. To make sure it doesn’t happen, consider how you could suit your kitchen to your children’s needs. For one, you need to make sure your kids can actually reach the countertop on which they’re cooking. If they have to stand on stools, you’ll make life more difficult while also creating a hazard. Instead, consider investing in a small work surface for younger children. Something as simple as a plastic table should do the trick here. Then, you can make sure they everything they need within easy-reaching height. If your children are older and able to reach your kitchen counters, think about the counters themselves. When it comes to cleaning, wooden counters could be a challenge for youngsters. And, you don’t need us to tell you that improper cleaning can lead to bacteria. By comparison, something like the granite worktops found on https://worldstonegroup.com would be a much easier wipe-down option. Think, too, about your kitchen appliances. If you have sharp knives on display, consider putting them up high and out of sight so that you don’t have to worry. Consider, too, replacing things like your whisk with kid-friendly options which leave less chance of an accident. With all these measures in place, cooking with kids will be a much more straightforward process, and a safer one, as well.

You don’t give any real responsibility

Another mistake would be not giving your kids enough responsibility when they’re cooking. As well as undoing any learning potential, this could lead to frustration and boredom. Admittedly, when your kids are younger, you may want to remove specific responsibilities. For instance, you may find it easier to measure ingredients beforehand. You’ll also need to double check mixtures are whisked enough and so on. But, it’s crucial you give back responsibilities like these as your kids get older. After all, they can’t learn about maths benefits if you do the weighing for them. You’ll also find that older children will be less willing to get stuck in if they don’t feel challenged. So, with each year that passes, add these new responsibilities to the cooking process. While you may still want to oversee things, your role should become increasingly back-seat as your kids learn. Be there to give them advice, but otherwise let them experiment. Over time, you could even let them choose to add or remove ingredients as they see fit. There may be some disasters along the way, but you know what they say; you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs. And, you can’t make a capable cook without letting them follow their own path.

You rush the process

You’re a busy parent. You’re balancing work, kids, and life. So, yeah; you rush things sometimes. And, cooking is often one of them. Are we right? Of course, we’re right. But, rushing the cooking process is yet another mistake. For one, rushing can lead to errors which will knock your children’s confidence and waste ingredients. For another, rushing undoes any benefits of cooking sessions. Kids may love cooking because it provides fast results, but rushing is still a mistake. So, only ever hit the kitchen when you have plenty of time to dedicate to the cause. Make this a priority and plan it into your schedule. Then, sit back and let your kids take their time. As well as giving them more appreciation for cooking, this can help them learn those lessons we spoke about. If you’re rushing, you’re less likely to take time teaching about food nutrition and are more likely to take over when things aren’t moving fast. Instead of making cooking fun, this will create a tense atmosphere which no one enjoys. So, slow down and let the process unwind in its own time.

A final word

So, those are the things you shouldn’t do. But, whatever you do, don’t let this list put you off entering the kitchen with kids in tow. To ensure we end on a positive, let’s round up some of the things you SHOULD do for a productive cooking time -

  • Schedule plenty of time to cook
  • Look for healthy recipes which are easy to make
  • Ensure your kitchen is fit for purpose
  • Suit responsibility level’s to your child’s age
  • Take the chance to teach all lessons possible
  • Research nutritious content of ingredients before starting
  • Remember to have fun, and make sure your kids have fun, too!
You see; it really isn’t so hard to get this right. And, if you keep this article in mind, your kids could well become the next Rachael Ray or Gordon Ramsey. Even if not, they’ll at least know how cook themselves a healthy meal and work as a team. Which is nearly as good, isn’t it?