Category Archives: Family

4 Steps To Prepare for Adoption

If you have decided to adopt a child, you can look forward to expanding your family and making an exceptional difference in the life of a child. There are numerous things to do to get ready for your new family member. Here are some steps that can help make sure you, your family, and your home are ready to welcome your adopted child.

1. Access Expert Resources

There are several ways to go about adopting a child. You may go through your state’s foster care system. Another option is to use a professional adoption agency to help find the right child and facilitate the adoption process. Many adoption agencies in California can help with both domestic and international adoptions. While it is possible to go through the adoption process on your own, working with an agency or a legal professional may help ensure the process goes as smoothly and quickly as possible.

2. Understand the Financial Requirements

In most cases, adoption costs a significant amount of money. While the costs may be lower if you find and adopt a child through your state’s foster care system, you will likely still have to cover some expenses. International adoptions may cost thousands of dollars. Fortunately, there may be some ways to reduce costs. Some employers even provide financial assistance for adoptions.

3. Get Ready for a Home Study

In most cases, you will need to go through a home study before you can finalize the adoption paperwork. The specific requirements vary depending on state laws and agency requirements, but the general idea is to prove that you can provide a safe, healthy, and loving home for the adopted child. You may have to attend some specific training programs and complete in-depth background checks. Most home study programs also require personal interviews.

4. Talk With Your Family Members

No matter what your existing family looks like, expanding it by adopting a child will affect everyone. Your children will have to adapt to having another sibling. You may have to deal with new parenting challenges, especially if you adopt an older child or one who has a traumatic background. If you are single, you may want to talk to your close friends or extended family members, especially if you plan to rely on them to support you through the adoption process and provide occasional childcare.

Adopting a child can be one of the most exciting and fulfilling experiences of your entire life. Working with professionals, finding financial assistance, and talking with your family members are all ways to help the process go smoothly.

Worried About Caring for Your Loved One? These Simple Guidelines Will Help

No matter what health care changes might be approved by legislators or enacted at the executive level, individuals across the country will continue to struggle with determining the best path for themselves and their families. This can be particularly true when considering options for an aging loved one. Whether this describes you or someone you know, there are several important steps to take that will help put you in the best position. Find the right professionals and determine the best environment for any situation by remembering the tips outlined below.

Figure Out What You Need

Whether finding personal care or seeking a professional to treat a loved one, the choices available in any community can be overwhelming and difficult to navigate. Fortunately, online resources and other tools will help make the right choice clear. Start the search by focusing on the choices available in the neighborhood. For example, options and costs applicable when trying to find health care Bethesda MD, will vary significantly from the opportunities available in Las Vegas, NV.

Figure Out Where To Go

Upon recognizing the specific needs of the patient, it is important to find an expert staff capable of providing the right level of care while maintaining an appropriate bedside manner. Choose personalities that mesh with the individual being cared for, and select from among the most highly recommended businesses in the area. Check online for health care providers with great reviews, and begin making the calls and visits necessary to whittle down the field even further. If possible, getting feedback from friends and family members with relevant experience will further inform those making the decision.

Figure Out How Much It Costs

In any major expenditure, the bottom line will be a factor for most families. Discuss the budget beforehand and make sure any in-home care comes at a cost that fits within that financial limit. Some alternatives might be less expensive, but be sure not to skimp on the vital services a loved one needs on a daily basis.

The aging process can be difficult to cope with and often comes with added burdens on those closest to elderly individuals. When it comes to finding adequate assistance for physical and practical needs, there is plenty of misinformation to go around. Keeping a calm demeanor and maintaining a focus on the end goal, however, will equip you with the tools necessary for choosing just the right option.

Help Your Elderly Family Members Live Joyfully

Senior citizens add so much richness to life. They were once young and vibrant, traveled, had active hobbies and put a lot of time and effort into making their families and communities better and stronger. Now some of them are fighting to hold on to their independence and happiness as they age. Try a few of these tips to help them find fulfillment in their golden years.

Pleasant Living Arrangements

One of the first things that deserve attention is your elderly loved one’s home. If a senior is not independent enough to stay in their own home, even with, a good option is to place them in one of the senior communities Denver families feel good about for their loved ones. Receiving consistent care and assistance with things that have become difficult can be a great comfort.

Interesting Outings

Seniors tend to spend a good deal of time sitting and staring at their television sets. Make sure they get out once in a while and get some fresh air and sunshine. Take them for a walk or a ride or to sit in the park. Treat them to lunch out, a movie, or a visit to the zoo or a museum – anything that will give them a pleasant change of scenery and some mental stimulation.

Good Health and Nutrition

Ensure that your elderly loved one is getting a varied and healthy diet. Get them some vitamin supplements if needed, to round out their nutritional quotient. A bit of exercise can also help with maintaining balance, muscle strength and mental acuity. Adequate sleep is just as important, so make sure their mattress is comfortable for them, that they are warm enough and even consider one of those relaxing herbal teas to help them sleep.

Friends and Family

No one likes to go it alone and that especially includes seniors. A visit from a friend, grandchild, or other family members can be the highlight of their day. Spend the time visiting, writing letters for them or reading them a book or the newspaper. Play a game of cards, work on a jigsaw puzzle, or watch their favorite television show with them. Any time spent in pleasant socialization is good for both their mental and emotional health.

Spending time with elderly loved ones can feel like a privilege, not a chore. Remember all the things you love about them and help them to continue making happy memories.

How to Co-Parent Effectively

Divorce is a messy, tense experience and the situation can be even harder when you have kids. Children tie you and your ex together forever so you must learn to co-parent effectively even after the two of you have parted ways romantically. Your children still love both parents and will enjoy spending time with each of them, so it is important for you to put their happiness first and create a custody plan that everyone is happy with. Here are four tips to help you develop a healthy, functional co-parenting relationship with your ex.

Be Cordial

Your ex is probably not your favorite person and it can be tempting to talk negatively about him or her to your kids. This is detrimental to your kids because your ex is still the other parent. Letting emotions take over while you are communicating with your ex quickly causes problems to escalate, so you must learn to be cordial to each other. This may feel impossible, especially at first, and you may feel the need to use mediators and lawyers to smooth over conflicts. A law firm such as Cordell & Cordell can help you navigate the custody process and find an arrangement that suits everyone. The Cordell & Cordell team can ensure both parents get a fair amount of time with the kids.

Communicate

You have to learn to communicate with your ex in a way that is beneficial for both of you. There will always be information about the kids that needs to be shared, from medical issues to problems at school. To make communication easier, you should decide on a method that works for both of you. Some people prefer to limit non-emergency communication to the pickup and drop-off meetings and want to talk about the information in person. Others want to communicate via text or email so they can keep a record of what was said and limit personal interaction. Regardless of which communication method you choose to use, the important thing to remember is to ensure your interactions always center around your kids.

Make Important Decisions Together

Kids benefit from consistency and routine, so they need to understand that the same basic rules apply at both parents’ houses. If one parent is more lenient than the other, children will likely turn to that parent for large requests. However, granting a large request without consulting the other parent will cause friction in the relationship. You should always discuss major decisions such as whether to buy your teenager a car or whether your young child is ready for summer camp with the other parent. This show of respect will make your co-parenting relationship smoother. However, it is important to remember that not every decision has to be made together.

Be Flexible

While you should stick to your custody arrangement as often as possible, it is important to remain flexible and show the same respect to your ex that you expect in return. If your ex wants to attend a special event that only occurs while the kids are in your custody, you may want to consider trading nights or coming up with an alternate arrangement. Being flexible keeps the communication lines upon and reduces the risk of one parent becoming resentful.

Co-parenting can be difficult but learning to do so effectively is in the best interest of your kids. Use the four tips to make the process easier but above all, remember to put your kids first. Their needs and emotions should always be prioritized by both parents. When you help kids adjust to this new lifestyle and make them feel loved by both parents, they will thrive.

Why Send Your Child to Camp?

Camp may not seem like a worthwhile investment when there are so many other ways your child could spend their summer. But kids can learn so many new things while spending a week or more at a camp. Everything from meeting great friends to trying something like rock-climbing or horseback-riding for the first time can happen at camp. Of all the many great benefits of sending your kid to camp, here are three that you should consider.

They Will Meet New Friends

For many kids, especially the more extroverted ones, making new friends is one of their favorite things about camp. For more introverted kids, this may be more of a stressor, but it can also help them work past their inhibitions. Because children are placed into bunks or cabins with a handful of new kids for a week at camp, they can learn to find commonalities quickly, develop friendships that go past that one week, and, as a result, strengthen their social skills.

2. They Go Tech-Free

There is no doubt that society is becoming more and more centered around technology. Children as young as a year old can be seen playing with tablets and cell phones. As a result, many kids may not be getting the right balance of physical activity in their lives. This could lead to a bevy of health problems later on, from obesity to depression to struggles in the classroom. However, camps provide a great opportunity for kids to ditch their phones, tablets, and computers and get their hands dirty! By attending an adventure camp or a youth sports camp, kids can get active and remember what it is like to simply go outside and play.

3. They Learn Independence

When kids are dropped off at camp, they can suddenly find themselves in a position to make far more decisions than they might make at home. Of course, this depends on the camp and the age of the camper, but often times campers will have a chance to choose between different activities, foods, and games. This gives kids the chance to practice independent decision-making and learn to put themselves out there, all valuable skills that can benefit them greatly in life.

It can be incredible to see the difference a week or more at camp can make on a child. They may go into the week shy, uncertain of themselves, and uninterested, but come back enthusiastic, refreshed, and full of more self-confidence. No matter what camp they attend, kids can really benefit from getting outside, trying new things, and meeting new kids their own age.

How to Help Your Child Keep Up in School

Students fall behind in school for a number of reasons. Even the most intelligent students can struggle at times, but what do you do to help your child during this time? First and foremost you want to make sure there is not an underlying cause. If there is something going on at home or outside the classroom, you’ll want to take care of your child emotionally first. However, as school gets more challenging, many students just need a little extra help understanding certain concepts. Here are some ways you can help keep your child from falling behind.

Hire a Tutor

Hiring a tutor is a great way to keep your child on track. You can either hire someone to work one on one with your student, or you can try out small group tutoring. These usually take place at a learning center where students are grouped according to grade level. It is a good idea to check with your child’s teacher first to find out what they need the most help on. Reading programs often focus on reading comprehension, while math programs go over everything from addition to order of operations. This way you can find somewhere that can follow along with the school’s curriculum and focus on the concepts your child needs the most help on.

Give Extra Practice

It is never a bad idea to give your child a little extra practice at home. You want to make sure they have time to play and go to different activities, but try to set aside some time for school work as well. This is especially beneficial during the summer when children tend to forget what they learned throughout the school year. You can visit your local learning or book store to find workbooks for your little one to do. You can also print off worksheets online.

Use Online Programs

If you look online you will find plenty of websites that provide additional help for your student. You can also download apps for your child’s tablet. These are often fun and interactive, so you may even end up having a hard time pulling your kid away from them. You’ll just want to make sure that these sites and apps are safe and secure for your little one. Read reviews and do some research beforehand. You can even ask your child’s school or teacher for the ones they recommend the most. School’s often have a list of apps and sites that they approve, so you know these will be safe.

If you see your student struggling, it is best to intervene as early as possible. Concepts, especially in math, build on themselves, so if your child doesn’t understand one thing, they may have a very hard time getting anything after that. It is never a bad idea to give a little extra practice at home even if your child isn’t behind. Students often forget a lot of what they learned over the year during the summer break, so this is a great time to provide your student with some extra work at home to get them ready for the next school year.

4 Tips for Hiring Your First Babysitter

Even though most parents look forward to some free time away from the little ones, leaving children can be a stressful experience for moms and dads. Whether you are looking for regular care or just an occasional babysitter to call as needed, there are a few important steps you can take to ensure your child’s wellbeing and give yourself the peace of mind you deserve.

Make a Stress-Free Introduction

It is always a good idea to introduce a potential babysitter to your child before leaving them alone together. Invite the sitter to your home and allow individual playtime with your child or infant. You can use this time to relax or get work done, ut remain in the house, and occasionally observe how the sitter and your child interact with one another. The sitter should be calm and gentle while maintaining control of the situation. This is a good opportunity for your child and the sitter to get to know one another and for you to be easily accessible in case the sitter has questions or concerns. You should also familiarize your sitter with the layout of the house, and show him or her where to locate any necessary items.

Check Background and References

Talking to references and running a background check is a crucial step before you entrust anyone to care for your child. It is a quick and simple process to run a criminal background check online. This is the best way to obtain verified information on a sitter’s history. Also, be sure to ask any potential caretaker for multiple references. Get a first and last name for all references, and take the time to contact each one.

Set Clear Expectations

Defining your needs and expectations upfront can save you and the babysitter a lot of hassle and stress down the line. It is important to be clear about little things, such as wanting the sitter to give the child a bath before bed or clean up any toys used during the day. Things that may seem obvious to you may not be obvious to the new caregiver. As you establish a list of rules and guidelines, try to walk yourself through a typical day in the shoes of someone who is unfamiliar with your home and your child’s routine.

Consider Training and Experience

Any qualified caregiver should have CPR and First Aid Training. It is also a good idea to match your sitter’s age and experience level with your individual situation. If you simply want someone to play with the child while you are nearby, a younger sitter may be a good choice. If the babysitter will be doing a more extensive parenting routine, an older teenager or adult may be more appropriate. Similarly, a sitter who only has experience caring for older children may not be the best fit to watch a newborn infant. Assess each potential babysitter according to your needs.

The right babysitter can make a world of difference in the lives of both parents and children. Parents can find time for social activities and date nights, while their child builds a fun relationship with a caring sitter. It is best to begin your caregiver search early, and follow these tips to create a safe and smooth transition for everyone.

Strategies for Optimizing Your Child’s Education

All parents hope that their children grow up to be happy and successful in life. Of course, one of the most important factors for a successful life is a quality education. The right education will help your child gain the skills, social experiences, and knowledge necessary to excel in the professional world. Here are some key strategies for optimizing your child’s education.

1. Consider College Preparatory Schools

One great way to optimize your child’s education is by sending them to a college preparatory school. This step is important because a preparatory school will provide your child with the instruction and resources necessary to ready them for college material. When you start your search for the ideal college preparatory school, be sure to consider Landon School. A Landon Education will provide your student with the knowledge, extracurricular activities, social experiences, and teacher guidance necessary to promote optimal learning outcomes.

Teach Study Skills

In addition to considering the value of sending your child to a college preparatory school, make sure that you are teaching your child study skills. Taking this course of action will empower your child to learn how to master material so that they can perform well on exams. There are numerous study skill strategies that you can teach your child, including the value of creating flashcards that can be reviewed during spare moments of free time. Another study skill you should teach your child is the value of underlining or highlighting key passages so that they can be quickly referred to. Also talk to your child about why cramming does not work and how attempting to memorize information at the last minute prevents the data from being absorbed optimally and properly.

3. Emphasize Good Health

Another strategy you should implement to ensure that your child remains on the road to excellence in the academic sphere is emphasizing good health. This technique is incredibly important because practicing good health enhances memory, improves self-confidence, and boosts energy levels. All of these factors can contribute to your child performing well in school, so make sure you’re teaching them the value of healthy behaviors such as regular exercise. Talk to your child about how exercise helps boost metabolism and facilitate the weight management process that will decrease their susceptibility to obesity. Some of the exercises your child may want to engage in include:

  • Basketball
  • Weight-lifting
  • Softball
  • Football
  • Cycling
  • Running
  • Yoga
  • Tae Bo
  • Pilates

In addition to emphasizing the value of exercise, make sure that your child knows the importance of eating well. Talk about the different vitamins, minerals, and nutrients found in certain foods. Also provide your child with healthy alternatives to energy-zapping junk foods like candy bars and soda. One delicious, nutritious snack that many children love is trail mix. Pack this type of snack as a healthy alternative to the foods that your child might purchase from the vending machine in school.

Don’t Delay: Prepare Your Child For Academic Success Today!

If you’re serious about ensuring that your child does well in school, now is the time to implement the techniques that will make success possible. Use some or all of the techniques outlined above to get your child on the road to academic excellence immediately.

4 Human Foods You Can Safely Share With Your Dog

As a pet owner, you do everything you can to ensure that your four-legged family member lives a long and happy life. That includes feeding them a healthy diet. Your dog would be happy to lap up anything that falls on the floor while you are enjoying a meal, but did you know that many of the foods we humans eat are actually harmful or even toxic to dogs? Here are four human foods you can safely share with your dog the next time they’re begging for your snack.

4 Human Foods Dogs Can Eat

Whole Grains

Whole grains, such as oats, barley, and brown rice, are good for both you and your dog. Cook them so that they are easily digestible and leave them unseasoned to avoid causing digestive issues. So if you make yourself some oatmeal for breakfast in the morning, feel free to make a little extra for your most loyal breakfast companion.

Keep in mind that dogs are carnivores. Grains should make up no more than 7 to 10 percent of their total diet. If you use a commercial dog food, check the grain content to make sure that you aren’t accidentally giving them too much.

Lean Protein

Of course, you already know that dogs love meat. That does not, however, mean that all meat is good for dogs. Fatty cuts like bacon and rib eye should be avoided. Raw or under-cooked meat can be just as bad for dogs as it is for people, so stick to fully cooked meat, cut or ground into small chunks that is easy for them to chew.

Non-red meats like poultry and fish are also great for dogs. Salmon is an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which help keep your dog’s coat shiny. Chicken is a good occasional substitute for your usual dog food. Just boil it and add it to some plain white rice for a wholesome dinner your dog will eat right up.

Fresh Vegetables

Vegetables like carrots, broccoli, cucumber, and green beans add crucial fiber and vitamins to your dog’s diet. Serve them raw or lightly steamed with no added oil, salt, or seasonings. If your pooch has trouble chewing big pieces of vegetables, shred or cut them up into smaller chunks. Keep in mind that these are general guidelines and suggestions. Every dog is unique, so keep an eye out for veggies that may lead to tummy trouble.

Peanut Butter

This is one tasty treat you can feel good about giving your dog. A tablespoon of raw, unsalted peanut butter delivers healthy fats and vitamins. A quick warning: be sure to check the label for xylitol, a natural sweetener that’s toxic to dogs.

Now that you know which human foods dogs can eat, it’s also important to know which human foods to keep away from dogs. Beef and chicken bones can splinter, causing serious injury. Chocolate, grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, avocados, onions, garlic, yeast dough, artificial sweeteners, coffee, and alcohol are all harmful if ingested. If your dog gets a hold of something dangerous, find a vet right away. If you’re away from home or it’s after regular business hours, Kuddly can help you connect with a veterinarian from anywhere and at any time of the day or night.

By keeping a variety of dog-friendly foods on hand, you can prepare meals that everyone in the house can enjoy — and feel good about slipping your beloved furry friend an occasional treat under the table.

Petco Repeat Delivery Makes Stocking Up on Pet Essentials Easier Than Ever #PetcoDelivers

This blog post is part of a paid Megan Media and Petco Repeat Delivery blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.

There are a number of unspoken rules you come to live by when you have a pet in the family. If you happen to have four cats like I do, they include keeping your cool when you’re abruptly woken up by them running over you during 5 a.m. playtime; adjusting to the early morning breakfast demands that come with bops on your head, whiskers against your nose, or when that doesn’t work, having your eyelids licked (always a fun time!); and the one-sided agreement that you are responsible for doling out pets and cuddles on their schedule, never yours.

cats

And then there’s knowing that you are almost always, without fail, running out of something.

Four cats go through a lot of food and litter, and I can’t tell you the number of times I have gone to scoop a litter box or groggily walked to the kitchen still half-asleep after being woken up by a cat demanding breakfast to find that I was running low or was completely out of the supplies I needed. When you live in a rural area about 20 miles away from the nearest pet supply store, it isn’t always easy or even possible to quickly run out and grab something you need. That is precisely why I was so thrilled to find out about Petco’s Repeat Delivery service, and instantly became a loyal customer.

Petco makes stocking up on pet essentials easier than ever by delivering everything you need to keep your pets happy, healthy, and taken care of right to your front door. You don’t need to go into a Petco store to get started, or even have a Petco near you. Simply navigate their website to shop for your pet’s favorite products, like litter, food, treats, catnip, and more, choose how often you would like your supplies delivered (anywhere between every two weeks to 12 months), check out, and wait for your delivery. Talk about a better system than realizing you’re out of something your pets need last minute and having to drive 20 miles to the nearest store and back!

So Phresh Dual Odor Guard Scoopable Cat Litter

Petco Repeat Delivery

The process is so easy and takes just a few minutes, plus Petco stocks a wide assortment of brands, including specialty brands, so you can rest assured knowing that you will still be able to give your fur babies the very best, which is what we all want for our pets. Repeat Delivery also offers savings that really add up, with discounts of up to 20% off select items and everyday free shipping on purchases of $49 or more.

There are a few exclusions to scoring free shipping — for instance, it doesn’t include cat litter, namely because have you ever had to lug around a bulk-sized box of cat litter? It is heavy! However, by planning our delivery schedule accordingly, it can still be an awesome savings, plus I won’t have to pick up those heavy boxes or pails more than from my front door to the litter box, which is great. And if you realize you need something sooner than the schedule you had originally set your deliveries up for or wanted to put off a shipment, you can do so easily by accessing your Petco account.

Would Petco Repeat Delivery make your life as a pet parent easier?