kids http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/1165/all en-US How to Find a Great Babysitter http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-a-great-babysitter <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-find-a-great-babysitter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/babysitter_and_child_000048728706.jpg" alt="Woman learning how to find a great babysitter for her child" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Leaving your child with a stranger can feel scary &mdash; especially if you live in a big area like we do. Here are some places to start your search for a trusted babysitter. Now get out there and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-these-6-relationship-moves-now-or-youll-regret-it-in-20-years">enjoy date night</a>!</p> <h2>1. Care.com</h2> <p>My friends overwhelmingly recommend using <a href="http://www.anrdoezrs.net/click-2822544-12141287-1435333490000">Care.com</a> to find trustworthy sitters. You can search for anything from one-night gigs to full-time au pairs and childcare centers. Post your job, browse profiles, get background checks, and then interview potential babysitters. Some features are free; others cost anywhere between $25 and $45 a month. You can also take advantage of the easy online scheduling and even pay sitters directly through the site. Care.com also offers senior care, pet sitting, house sitting, and military family help.</p> <h2>2. SeekingSitters</h2> <p>Whether you need full-time babysitting or just a night out, <a href="https://www.seekingsitters.com/memberinformation.asp">SeekingSitters</a> is a solid resource to put in your back pocket. There is a one-time activation fee of $59.99 and a monthly plan rate &mdash; but if you need frequent help, it's worth the money. The benefit? You'll get to browse profiles and create relationships with prescreened, professional babysitters in your area. The site also offers pet sitting, house sitting, and tutoring services.</p> <h2>3. Local Schools</h2> <p>Several of the teachers and helpers at my daughter's school also offer babysitting services. Ask around to see if this is the case at your child's school. Beyond that, you might also find connections through nearby high schools or colleges. Try posting an ad in the job board at your local university. You might even have success calling the preschool or childhood education departments directly.</p> <h2>4. Childcare Swapping</h2> <p>If you live relatively far away from family like we do, friends become a second family of sorts. Try swapping childcare duties with them every couple weeks so you can enjoy date nights. You may need to shift your ideal date time to accommodate everyone's naps and bedtime schedules, but it's worth the extra effort. We have also started getting close with a few neighbors who have offered to watch our daughter in case of emergencies.</p> <h2>5. Word-of-Mouth Recommendations</h2> <p>One of the most useful tools we've used to find childcare is recommendations from neighbors, friends, and other parents. This is especially worthwhile if you're not originally from the area. Once you ask, you're bound to find some good options worth investigating.</p> <h2>6. Parent Groups</h2> <p>Discussions about babysitters come up quite frequently in local parent groups or Facebook pages, and some of the moms might even offer babysitting services themselves. You'll always want to get references if you're unfamiliar with the names you see, but you can find some great care providers this way. Stuck on what to pay? You can even inquire about the going rate for sitters in your area.</p> <p><em>Where do you find a great babysitter?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-a-great-babysitter">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-on-babysitting-without-ending-up-on-the-local-news">How to Save on Babysitting Without Ending Up on the Local News</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-important-questions-to-ask-before-adding-to-your-family">5 Important Questions to Ask Before Adding to Your Family</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-unexpected-ways-stay-at-home-parents-save-big">7 Unexpected Ways Stay-at-Home Parents Save Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-time-management-skills-that-will-help-your-kid-win-at-school">10 Time-Management Skills That Will Help Your Kid Win at School</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-sibling-discounts-that-can-save-you-big">6 Sibling Discounts That Can Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family au pair babysitters child care date night kids nanny Fri, 04 Dec 2015 10:00:04 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1617987 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 More Cheap and Easy DIY Toys Kids Will Love http://www.wisebread.com/15-more-cheap-and-easy-diy-toys-kids-will-love <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-more-cheap-and-easy-diy-toys-kids-will-love" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/colorful_crayons_000051716822.jpg" alt="Creating cheap and easy DIY toys kids will love" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Looking for a great birthday or Christmas gift for your child? There are lots of toys you can DIY to give a personal touch. Check out the projects below for some major inspiration. And share your favorite do-it-yourself toy projects in the comments. (Related: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-awesomely-fun-toys-you-can-diy?ref=seealso">15 Awesomely Fun Toys You Can DIY</a>)</p> <h2>1. Colorful Crayons</h2> <p>Melt together a bunch of <a href="http://ourbestbites.com/2012/02/how-to-make-muffin-tin-crayons-and-a-printable/">old crayons</a> using <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=silicon%20molds&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=LK2BUROPZI6ZG46O">silicone</a> molds or cupcake tins. You'll be giving new life to something that might otherwise be tossed out &mdash; and even young kids can help with this project! Just take all the broken remnants, remove the paper labels, toss them in your molds, and bake at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 20 minutes.</p> <h2>2. Drum Set</h2> <p>Have a bunch of old paint cans you need to recycle? Try assembling this crazy <a href="http://www.floridaysmom.com/paint-can-drum-set/">drum kit</a>. You'll clean your cans and then give them a coat of spray paint. Attach the cans together with bolts and screws. And don't forget to add some fancy stuff like cymbals. Grab a pair of sticks to start jamming.</p> <h2>3. Felt Food</h2> <p>Here's a quiet toy your kids will play with again and again: <a href="http://everydaydishes.com/creative-crafts/diy-felt-play-food/">felt food</a>. Find a stack of felt in assorted colors, print out the free template, and get cutting. Adhere everything together with hot glue and stuff some of the foods (like bread) will <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000YZ7G44/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000YZ7G44&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=7CMLIPMBEOLX5657">poly-fil</a>. You'll make watermelon, bacon, pizza, and more.</p> <h2>4. Sand Blocks</h2> <p>Got an old Jenga game hanging around? Use the wooden pieces to make these cool <a href="http://adventure-in-a-box.com/make-rainbow-sand-blocks/">rainbow sand blocks</a>. Glue three of your blocks into an open-ended rectangle, then do it again. You'll make the rainbow sand using cornmeal and food coloring. Then, place the sand into a plastic bag and glue the bag in the middle of your blocks. Add two more blocks on top to finish the frame.</p> <h2>5. Nature Blocks</h2> <p>For kids who would rather be outdoors than anywhere else, you can make <a href="http://adventure-in-a-box.com/how-to-make-waldorf-inspired-nature-blocks-creative-challenge/">nature blocks</a>. These blocks are inspired by the Waldorf toys and are simple to make if you have access to a hand saw. Go into your yard and find branches of different diameters. Then, let them dry someplace for a few weeks. To finish, just cut them into sections.</p> <h2>6. Kinetic Sand</h2> <p>Stop spending all that money on store-bought play sand. Try making your own with this <a href="http://gimmiefreebies.com/make-your-own-kinetic-sand/">kinetic sand</a> tutorial. You'll need plain sand, corn starch, dish soap, and water. Mix everything together and consider adding some tea tree oil to the mix to keep it fresh.</p> <h2>7. Magnetic Fishing Set</h2> <p>If you have a sewing machine, you can whip up these <a href="http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2014/09/diy-toy-fishing-pole-that-reels-in-and-magnetic-fabric-fish.html">DIY magnetic fish</a>. Buy some round magnets, cut out fish shapes using scrap fabric and batting, and then sew the magnet into the fish. Make a quick pole using wooden dowels, spools, and rope. Don't forget the magnet at the end of the line so you can catch the fish!</p> <h2>8. Fruit Stand</h2> <p>Forget the play kitchen &mdash; try making a <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/pernfors88/4212633525/">fruit stand</a>. The maker of this project used an Ikea Rast table as the base. The rest is a creative mix of scrap wood, shelf supports, fabric, and little bins. Your finished product might not look exactly like the original, but the idea is to have plenty of places to stash play fruits and veggies.</p> <h2>9. Car Mat</h2> <p>This <a href="http://www.ragamuffin-baby.com/2012/09/vans-car-playmat.html">car mat</a> is absolutely adorable. The only problem is that it took the author over 20 hours to cut, sew, and embroider everything together. You can make something similar by picking up some <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00O7312OO/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00O7312OO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=QLAJSUJV67RORM44">duck cloth</a> (or other thick, sturdy fabric) at the hardware store, cutting it to size, and painting on a roadway, houses, and other cool spots with craft paints.</p> <h2>10. Hideaway Tent</h2> <p>Give your children a hideaway with this simple <a href="http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2014/07/collapsible-fabric-play-tent-for-kids.html">play tent</a>. Create a foldable A-frame using 1&quot; x 2&quot; boards and dowels. Then use five yards of fabric to sew the cover that will tie onto the frame. This project takes around three hours from start to finish.</p> <h2>11. Painted Treasures</h2> <p>Don't feel like making a toy from scratch? Try finding something old and making it new again using spray paint. This <a href="http://www.justalittlecreativity.com/2011/09/pimp-that-cozy-ride-little-tikes-car.html">Little Tikes car project</a> is amazing and only took a couple cans of paint. Clean the toy well before disassembling and painting. You can try this makeover with play cars, houses, and anything else that needs freshening up.</p> <h2>12. Play Road</h2> <p>Before you toss out your old jeans, try using them in this <a href="http://www.howdoesshe.com/easy-diy-road-for-toy-cars-made-out-of-your-old-jeans/">DIY road project</a>. After you trace a pattern for both curved and straight pieces, cut out your fabric from the old jeans. Then use glue and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001IKES5O/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001IKES5O&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=Z4K4CH2V7TPJ75D5">Mod Podge</a> to fix everything together. Paint on some yellow lines and let the races begin!</p> <h2>13. Lego Table</h2> <p>Your kid will go crazy for this <a href="http://www.chaosandlove.com/targets-toy-emporium/">DIY Lego table</a>. You'll need an old table (a square works wonderfully) and some of those <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00K5W9TLY/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00K5W9TLY&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=VDJG4GHI7R2K4CI2">Lego bases</a>. Use glue to adhere the base plates to the table and give them some extra support with a few Lego bricks on the edges. Let the glue dry, and this project is done in around 20 minutes.</p> <h2>14. American Boy</h2> <p>Boys deserve dolls too! So, when I saw this <a href="http://ginadwagner.com/how-i-created-an-american-boy-doll-for-my-son/">American Boy</a> doll in my Facebook feed, my jaw dropped. The mom took a standard girl doll (new or used would be fine), cut its hair, washed off its makeup, and dressed it in some clothes she found on Etsy. You can also sew your own for a personal touch.</p> <h2>15. Doll House</h2> <p>Make a super <a href="http://turkeyfeathers.typepad.com/turkey_feathers/2006/06/in_an_old_house.html">doll house</a> using an old dresser. You'll need a relatively tall dresser as your base, and I recommended checking places like the Salvation Army and garage sales before buying new. Leave the bottom drawers on for storage. Then take the upper drawers out to make space for your rooms. Paint and fill with doll furniture to complete the project.</p> <p><em>What are your kid's favorite DIY playthings?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-more-cheap-and-easy-diy-toys-kids-will-love">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-awesomely-fun-toys-you-can-diy">15 Awesomely Fun Toys You Can DIY</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-homemade-child-products-that-are-cheaper-and-better-than-store-bought">10 Homemade Child Products That Are Cheaper and Better Than Store Bought</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-free-or-cheap-toys-that-will-make-your-kid-smarter">14 Free or Cheap Toys That Will Make Your Kid Smarter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-cute-ways-to-upcycle-shoeboxes">12 Cute Ways to Upcycle Shoeboxes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-own-moon-sand-dirt-cheap">Make Your Own Moon Sand, Dirt Cheap</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY children crafts gifts kids playing projects toys Mon, 16 Nov 2015 11:15:18 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1612421 at http://www.wisebread.com The Real Cost of Adopting a Baby http://www.wisebread.com/the-real-cost-of-adopting-a-baby <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-real-cost-of-adopting-a-baby" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/parents_baby_shoes_000022194839.jpg" alt="Parents learning real cost of adopting a baby" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You're ready to adopt. But how much will the process cost? It all depends on the type of adoption you choose, with the price tag for adoption services varying widely.</p> <p>&quot;There are so many variables,&quot; said Jennifer Fairfax, an adoption attorney based in Silver Spring, Maryland. &quot;It all depends on what type of adoption you want and the individual factors in each case. You might spend absolutely nothing on an adoption or $50,000. It just depends on each individual case.&quot;</p> <p>To help you get started, here are some basic points to take into consideration.</p> <h2>Foster Care</h2> <p>If you want to adopt a child who is already in this country's foster care system, you will pay almost nothing for adoption services, said Gloria Hochman, director of communications with the Philadelphia-based National Adoption Center.</p> <p>The agencies that have custody of these children are eager to place them in permanent families, Hochman said. These children do, though, often come with challenges.</p> <p>&quot;These children are often eight-years-old or older, and many are teens. Some have emotional challenges,&quot; Hochman says. &quot;If you are 14, you've lived in five foster homes, and you can't live with your birth parents, you are bound to have emotional challenges.&quot; According to the Department of Health and Human Services, in 2014 about 400,000 children were in foster care, 100,000 of whom were considered &quot;waiting for adoption.&quot;.</p> <h2>Adopting a Baby: At Home or Abroad?</h2> <p>If you want to adopt a baby in the U.S., often you can expect to pay from $20,000 to $50,000 working with an agency, Hochman said.</p> <p>&quot;There is a shortage of adoptable babies in this country,&quot; Hochman says. &quot;The use of birth control has been a factor. [Also] more women who are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-dont-actually-need-to-buy-for-your-new-baby-plus-5-you-must">having babies</a> who once would have put them up for adoption are deciding to keep them, whether or not they are married.&quot; The Department of Health and Human Services reports that <a href="http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cb/trends_fostercare_adoption2014.pdf">50,000 U.S. children are adopted every year</a>, a number that has been steady for about a decade.</p> <p>If you want to complete an international adoption, you can expect to pay from $25,000 to $50,000. The U.S. State Department reports that <a href="http://travel.state.gov/content/adoptionsabroad/en/about-us/statistics.html">Americans adopted 7,000 children from abroad</a> in 2013. As Hochman notes, adopting a baby from a foreign country often requires that parents visit that country one or more times. Parents also have to pay naturalization and immigration fees on top of fees charged by an adoption agency.</p> <p>These are just basic costs. Kevin Kenney, an attorney and adoption specialist in Prairie Village, Kansas, said that a host of other variables can either increase or decrease the costs of adoption. You might run into a birth father who contests the adoption &mdash; that can boost your costs. Your adoption costs might be higher if you live in New York City, and lower if you live in Kansas City.</p> <h2>Financial Assistance</h2> <p>There is financial assistance available for parents to help them meet the costs of closing an adoption. Some employers reimburse a portion of their workers' adoption costs, and many organizations provide adoption grants and low-interest loans to help ease the financial stress these parents might face. You can find a list of these organizations at <a href="http://www.resources4adoption.com/">Resources4Adoption</a>.</p> <p>Parents can also take advantage of the federal adoption tax credit. This credit is $13,190 as of 2015, and covers what the IRS calls &quot;reasonable and necessary&quot; adoption fees, everything from court costs and attorney fees, to travel expenses and agency fees.</p> <p>Some states also offer adoption tax credits, though not all. Check with your state to see what is available.</p> <p><em>Have you adopted a child &mdash; or are you considering adoption? What have you learned about the costs?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-real-cost-of-adopting-a-baby">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-should-your-kids-know-about-your-finances">How Much Should Your Kids Know About Your Finances?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-make-adoption-affordable">5 Ways to Make Adoption Affordable</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-season-give-your-child-the-gift-of-fiscal-responsibility">This Season, Give Your Child the Gift of Fiscal Responsibility</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-financial-moves-to-make-when-a-loved-one-dies">12 Financial Moves to Make When a Loved One Dies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-16-cardinal-rules-of-loaning-money-to-friends-and-family">The 16 Cardinal Rules of Loaning Money to Friends and Family</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Family adoption costs foster care having children kids starting a family Thu, 29 Oct 2015 11:15:57 +0000 Dan Rafter 1602087 at http://www.wisebread.com Everything You Need to Know About Cloth Diapers http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-cloth-diapers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/everything-you-need-to-know-about-cloth-diapers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/baby_diaper_change_000049964944.jpg" alt="Parents learning cloth diapering basics" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One way you can save big bucks during baby's first years is by cloth diapering, especially if you plan on having multiple children and can reuse them. Choosing cloth for your child will also save you tons of cash on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-trash-bags">trash bags</a> (not to mention heaps of diapers in the landfill). Here's the process broken down for those who might be curious or even feel intimidated.</p> <h2>How It Works</h2> <p>Many people are surprised to learn that cloth diapering doesn't take a whole lot more effort than standard diapering. You put the diaper on your child, he or she soils it, you change the diaper, and then you start fresh. The only difference is that you'll be dealing with the diapers again on the washing end. As you can imagine, getting the job done requires some planning and practice.</p> <p>The good news: laundering diapers is far less gross and time-consuming than you might think. And there are many options available to you depending on your commitment level and lifestyle.</p> <h2>Types of Diapers</h2> <p>There are a multitude of cloth diapering options, and what you choose is up to you. Some diapers have a gazillion snaps. Others have tricky Velcro closures. Some need covers. Others come in two parts. Here are the most common types &mdash; demystified.</p> <h3>1. Pocket</h3> <p>The majority of my cloth diapers were pocket style from <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=bum%20genius%20pocket%20diaper&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Abum%20genius%20pocket%20diaper&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=D32B7OKWILONMOMC">bumGenius</a>. Basically, the diaper comes in two parts &mdash; the waterproof outer shell and the absorbent insert. Our diapers fit our daughter from a few weeks after she was born until she was potty trained. Stuffing and un-stuffing does take a few extra minutes at wash time, but it becomes automatic.</p> <h3>2. All-in-Ones</h3> <p>If you choose <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=all-in-one%20diaper&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Aall-in-one%20diaper&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=7S3KD65PIFLRURHZ">all-in-one diapers</a> (AIO), you'll get everything you need in one convenient package. There's no stuffing or covers required because it's all sewn together. My only issue with AIO is that they take longer to dry than the other types. Otherwise, they're super easy to use and come in a variety of fabrics.</p> <h3>3. Prefolds</h3> <p>A lot of people picture <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=prefold%20diapers&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Aprefold%20diapers&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=556WLYXRRNKOXFJM">prefold diapers</a> when they think of the cloth process. This type is much like what your mother or grandmother may have used with pins, but it's still a popular choice today and most often the best choice for your budget. Instead of pins, you can use snazzy <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004YWKWJO/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004YWKWJO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=ZCF7D3XWJUB2Z2GH">diaper fasteners</a>. You'll cover your prefolds with a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=prefold%20cover&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=GUGNZRWDPDH45VNL">waterproof cover</a>.</p> <h3>4. Fitted</h3> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=fitted%20diaper&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=AAZBTMFBJ7NGI44P">Fitted diapers</a> also require waterproof covers. The key difference between fitted and prefolds is that they don't need folding or any special fastener to stay closed. If you choose this type, you'll have to buy different sizes as your baby grows. Each size fits a good range of weights, though.</p> <h3>5. Hybrids</h3> <p>I eventually added some <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003ZYM06K/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B003ZYM06K&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=5M6LGQVHONC6VQ2U">gDiapers</a> to my collection when we started traveling and using a sitter more frequently. As the name implies, hybrid diapers provide a mix of options depending on your preferences. You can fill the reusable waterproof cover with a disposable or cloth insert. They come in one-size and individual sizes. Hybrid diapers certainly offer the most flexibility in the bunch.</p> <h3>6. Used</h3> <p>Seriously. There are thousands of people who incorporate used cloth diapers into their stashes. In fact, that's another reason cloth is a good investment &mdash; you can sell them or reuse them when your baby is done. Check out sites like <a href="http://clothdiapertrader.com">ClothDiaperTrader</a> where you can get gently used diapers for a fraction of their original prices.</p> <h2>Smart Setup</h2> <p>Once you've chosen your diaper type(s), move your attention to your diaper station setup. Much of what you assemble will be the same as if you were using disposables. However, there are some key things that will make life easier on you and others who diaper your child.</p> <h3>1. Diaper Pail and Liner</h3> <p>You'll need somewhere to store the dirty diapers while they're waiting to be washed. We used a tall <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004L9L3KW/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004L9L3KW&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=ONSCRGLHSFCGLMP4">plastic garbage can</a> with a snap-shut cover and wheels. Instead of lining it with a garbage bag, we bought two reusable <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004Q2Z9TK/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004Q2Z9TK&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=4YMSAPCV7A6ZBOVR">diaper pail liners</a> that get washed with the diapers. Toss the diapers in the bin, wheel it to your washing machine, and go.</p> <h3>2. Prep Your Diapers</h3> <p>If you use pocket diapers, prefolds, hybrids, or anything else with more than one part &mdash; stuff it or lay it out ahead of time. I used to do this while watching television when they were fresh from the dryer. If you use all-in-ones, you can skip this step. Regardless, taking a bit of time to have everything organized is well worth it.</p> <h3>3. Diaper Liners</h3> <p>Over time, diaper creams and salves can cause the diaper to lose its absorbency. If you need to use creams on your baby, you'll want to use <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=cloth%20diaper%20liners&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Acloth%20diaper%20liners&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=F3TCUUSCVQZPT5BV">diaper liners</a> to protect the fabric from buildup. To make sure you use them, stick them somewhere next to your wipes. Bonus: Diaper liners also make cleaning up solids much easier.</p> <h3>4. Cloth Wipes</h3> <p>Using <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=cloth%20wipes&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Acloth%20wipes&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=END2OJ54XJRTHJIO">cloth wipes</a> is entirely optional. But if you're already washing diapers, tossing in wipes isn't that much more work. You can even make your own cloth wipes by cutting pieces of flannel fabric and soaking them in a gentle <a href="http://www.zany-zebra.com/cloth-wipe-solution.shtml">wash solution</a> that's just a mixture of water, soap, and oil. Keep your wipes in a plastic bag or container until you're ready to use.</p> <h2>Notes on Laundering</h2> <p>To keep your stash fresh and friendly for your child's bum, you'll want to wash every day or every other day. Jillian's Drawers, a cloth diaper shop near where I live, suggests washing no more than <a href="https://www.jilliansdrawers.com/newtocloth/washingcloth">12 to 18 diapers at a time</a>, using your machine's highest water level setting and hot water.</p> <p>Try sticking to detergents that leave little residue, fragrance, and other gunk on diapers. Skip fabric softeners. The buildup can make diapers lose their absorbency over time. You can use specific diaper detergents like <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003N0JXSO/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B003N0JXSO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=LGUI5RZZ56WNR3YD">Rockin' Green</a> or <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00F8LIZQM/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00F8LIZQM&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=H3VBRZQXI5C6AZZL">Molly's Suds</a>. A lot of people use plain Tide or <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AM16MZO/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00AM16MZO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=LVNYB2W6UHZX7W6J">Charlie's Soap</a>.</p> <p>What about number two? It's also a great idea to install a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00OKSCWN6/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00OKSCWN6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=HPMQJTMACZRZBJN3">diaper sprayer</a> on your toilet to help wash away solids before they sit for too long. It takes just minutes and can save you a big stink later.</p> <p>And when it comes to drying, the sun works wonders. If you can, put your diapers on a line outdoors and let the air freshen and the sun zap out stains. Otherwise, dry prefolds and diaper inserts in your machine. Try hanging covers and other diapers on a line or drying rack. They'll keep their integrity longer with gentler care.</p> <p><em>What does your cloth diapering process look like? Any tips to share?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-cloth-diapers">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-terrible-things-science-says-you-do-to-your-kids">6 Terrible Things Science Says You Do to Your Kids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-child-care-purchases-you-should-never-skimp-on">9 Child Care Purchases You Should Never Skimp On</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-parenting-books">The 5 Best Parenting Books</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-these-10-green-appliances-actually-save-you-money">Do These 10 Green Appliances Actually Save You Money?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-you-afford-to-have-a-baby">Can You Afford to Have a Baby?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Green Living babies cloth diapers eco-friendly kids parenting reusing Thu, 08 Oct 2015 15:00:42 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1578820 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Easy Things Science Says You Should Do for Your Family http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-things-science-says-you-should-do-for-your-family <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-easy-things-science-says-you-should-do-for-your-family" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family_dinner_000037058432.jpg" alt="Mother doing what science says she should do for her family" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We'd all like to create healthier, stronger families and deeper, more meaningful relationships. Fortunately, science provides some simple things to strengthen your family bonds. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-things-science-says-you-should-do-for-your-body-every-day?ref=seealso">5 Easy Things Science Says You Should Do for Your Body Every Day</a>)</p> <h2>1. Learn to Communicate With Each Other</h2> <p>Most parents want to speak with their children more and know more about their lives (particularly in the teen years), but when your child decides to speak with you, are you ready to listen? Simplifying their experiences and emotions, or comparing their experiences with your own, may just push your child away further. Instead, let them know that you are always there to listen and help when needed. Listening attentively and uncritically is the best thing you can do for your child or teen when they want to confide in you. Once they are done talking, calmly repeat what you heard them say to show them that you are listening and understand their feelings and actions. If they want your advice or input, they will ask for it.</p> <p>Don't hold a grudge when dealing with loved ones. According to the Mayo Clinic, <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/forgiveness/art-20047692">holding onto a grudge</a> won't leave much room for happiness. Whether you've been holding onto negative feelings for the short or long-term, it only wastes time and increases stress for everyone involved. Holding onto resentment and negative feelings can even take a toll on your physical health, heart health, and sanity. Instead, talk things out and forgive, even if it's only for your own benefit. It may have all been a misunderstanding in the first place.</p> <h2>2. Spend Time Together</h2> <p>Simply spending more time together will help your family members feel closer and more connected to one another. In fact, family experts recommend <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201509/the-simplest-way-couple-boost-intimacy">sharing meals together</a> as often as possible to benefit your kids' mental health (and your own in the process). Spending as little as five minutes together over food and good conversation can help improve your overall relationship and lighten up everyone's spirits.</p> <h2>3. Get Outdoors</h2> <p>Spending time together is the first step in bonding and creating a closer relationship. Studies have shown that spending time outdoors when the weather is nice can also have a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/14/climate-health_n_4568505.html">direct effect on your happiness</a>. Find activities you can do together, particularly outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, walking, star gazing, and visiting the beach. Not only will you benefit from being outdoors, but you will also get some exercise together. Exercising has a direct effect on your health, fitness, and happiness. And getting a sweat in with family members can also keep you all motivated and on track together.</p> <h2>4. Gift More</h2> <p>You know the old saying that it's better to give than to receive? Well, it's true. A 2008 study showed that when 46 participants were given money to spend, those who spent the money on other people showed a <a href="http://www.sciencemag.org/content/319/5870/1687">higher level of happiness</a>, compared to those who spent the money on themselves. And at the end of the day, who doesn't like getting a gift from someone they love?</p> <p>Gifts don't always have to cost money. Telling someone how much you love them can brighten their day and their outlook on life. Along with giving more to others, it's important to also show your gratitude for things and people you feel thankful for. This will make your family members feel more loved and appreciated, and you can also benefit from associated <a href="http://psycnet.apa.org/?&amp;fa=main.doiLanding&amp;doi=10.1037/0022-3514.84.2.377">emotional and interpersonal benefits</a> in the process.</p> <h2>5. Smile More</h2> <p>Creating a household of positivity is key in encouraging your children. By simply smiling more and thinking positively, you can <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/pride-and-joy/201212/positiveness-part-i-strengthening-family-relationships">encourage positive emotions</a>, which have been shown to broaden thinking, improve attention spans, increase productivity, and improve family relationships. Smiling <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericsavitz/2011/03/22/the-untapped-power-of-smiling/">stimulates the brain's reward mechanisms</a> even more than receiving money, chocolate, and other similar rewards. It has even been shown to alleviate physical and emotional pain, so practice genuinely smiling more everyday.</p> <p>Everyone deals with stress, but your family should see the positive, supportive side of you. Positive psychology says that having and displaying positive emotions can have a significant impact on our physical and emotional well-being. Most importantly, smiling just shows your loved ones you care and encourages a household of positivity.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite things to do to strengthen your family relationships? Please share your thoughts in the comments! </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-things-science-says-you-should-do-for-your-family">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-time-management-skills-that-will-help-your-kid-win-at-school">10 Time-Management Skills That Will Help Your Kid Win at School</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-having-kids-makes-you-more-frugal">8 Ways Having Kids Makes You More Frugal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-a-good-workout-even-with-kids-around">10 Ways to Get a Good Workout... Even With Kids Around</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-terrible-things-science-says-you-do-to-your-kids">6 Terrible Things Science Says You Do to Your Kids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-ways-to-keep-your-family-organized">8 Easy Ways to Keep Your Family Organized</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family bonding children kids love spending time together strengthening relationships Thu, 01 Oct 2015 17:00:37 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1571272 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Genius Ways to Store Toys http://www.wisebread.com/10-genius-ways-to-store-toys <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-genius-ways-to-store-toys" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/little_boy_toy_cars_000030753838.jpg" alt="Little boy learning genius ways to store toys" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Your kid's toys can quickly take over if you don't have a great organization system. Sometimes all you need are a few bins or boxes to whip your place into shape. Here are a few ideas you can try in your own home to restore peace and tranquility to your living spaces. (Related: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-cheap-and-easy-fixes-that-make-your-house-look-amazing?Ref=seealso">25 Cheap and Easy Fixes That Make Your Home Look Amazing</a>)</p> <h2>1. Window Seat</h2> <p>Hide your toy clutter in plain sight with <a href="http://www.thriftyandchic.com/2015/03/hidden-play-area-in-plain-sight.html">window seat</a> storage. You'll need a couple of those cube storage shelves from a big box store. Line them up under a window, fill the bins with toys, and then use some decorative throw pillows to finish off the look. Bonus points if you label the containers!</p> <h2>2. Shoe Organizer</h2> <p>Is there anything a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000HM5V0A/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000HM5V0A&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=H6BRWIEZAZYBD4KB">shoe organizer</a> can't do? We use one in the playroom to hold anything from art supplies to toy zebras. The method is pretty darned easy, too. Simply hang the organizer on a closet door and fill with whatever you need to organize. By the way, I like clear organizers best because your kids can see what's in them.</p> <h2>3. Bath Baskets</h2> <p>Scroll down a bit in the link to see this genius <a href="http://8footsix.com/2011/07/bathroom-makeover-before-after.html">bath toy storage</a> idea. Basically, you pick up one of those hanging <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00851FM22/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00851FM22&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=ME3P2M3D3VUGYZFP">three-tiered baskets</a>. I've looked for them in stores, but can only seem to find them on Amazon. Then rig it up in your shower to collect rubber duckies, bath crayons, and all other fun water toys.</p> <h2>4. Puzzle Peace</h2> <p>Puzzles are seriously the bane of my existence. We used to find rogue pieces strewn about until we starting following the <a href="http://www.realcoake.com/2014/04/organizing-tips-puzzles.html">bag method</a>. Use quart or gallon zip-top bags when puzzles aren't in use. I've also seen people use pencil bags, boxes, and other containers. No matter what you choose, you won't lose that pesky last piece this way.</p> <h2>5. Storage Mat</h2> <p>We're thinking of getting our daughter her first set of Legos for Christmas this year. And I love this <a href="http://www.freshlypieced.com/2011/10/12-gifts-of-christmas-lego-storage.html">Lego storage mat</a>. You just sew fabric into a round and thread a drawstring through it for gathering. Of course, you could use the mat for storing similar blocks and trinkets. Don't sew so well? (Me neither.) Skip the fancy quilted design and stick with a single piece of fabric. A bed sheet would be an inexpensive option.</p> <h2>6. Hidden Cart</h2> <p>Make this <a href="http://www.jennaburger.com/2014/03/rolling-underbed-wood-storage-cart/">wood storage cart</a> to roll toy clutter under your child's bed. The tutorial describes how to build the low cart from scratch using wood, nails, and basic carpentry skills. I have a better idea! Find a cart at a thrift or antique store that's similar in size (even an old dresser drawer) and add wheels to it.</p> <h2>7. Car Rack</h2> <p>Place all those matchbox cars on the wall instead of in a bucket. I love this IKEA hack idea to take the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00Q4O5N6M/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00Q4O5N6M&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=4CG3TPCIJIMNOVCR">magnetic knife boards</a> and use them in the playroom. Screw them into the wall and stick up all your cars. This isn't just practical, it will also add some cool decor to the room.</p> <h2>8. Book Slings</h2> <p>I made these <a href="http://pennycarnival.typepad.com/penny_carnival/2009/02/tutorial-hanging-book-display.html">book slings</a> when I was still pregnant with my daughter. We've since moved from our old house and into a new one. I'm thinking about trying the tutorial again because I love displaying her books with the faces out versus the binding. To make one sling, just get a couple dowels, some fabric, hemming tape, and wall brackets. You'll fold over the fabric to make a channel to put the dowels through. Then use some anchors to screw your brackets into the wall.</p> <h2>9. Dollar Solution</h2> <p>If you're short on cash, you can still create a great storage system for your child's toys. Head to the Dollar Store or other discount joint and pick up some plastic bins or milk crates. Then make this awesome <a href="http://www.hometalk.com/560837/3-step-storage-solution">storage shelf</a> by mounting them all onto the wall in a straight line. You may want to use anchors for extra support.</p> <h2>10. Toy Rotation</h2> <p>Is your place a toy-explosion no matter what you do? Perhaps you just have too many things out at one time. Try these easy steps for <a href="http://handmadekidsart.com/5-easy-steps-to-toy-rotation-and-organization/#_a5y_p=1291650">toy rotation and organization</a>. Start by dumping all the toys onto the floor (no, really!). Group toys into categories. Figure out what is broken, unused, or can otherwise be purged. Then fill a couple storage containers with a variety of toys and keep them in storage until you're ready to rotate.</p> <p><em>How do you keep your kids' gear organized and out of sight?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-genius-ways-to-store-toys">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-genius-storage-solutions-for-your-kids-room">11 Genius Storage Solutions for Your Kid&#039;s Room</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-ways-to-keep-your-family-organized">8 Easy Ways to Keep Your Family Organized</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-more-cheap-and-easy-diy-toys-kids-will-love">15 More Cheap and Easy DIY Toys Kids Will Love</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-strategies-for-controlling-toy-clutter">7 Strategies for Controlling Toy Clutter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-throw-out-today">25 Things to Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Organization children kids playroom storage solutions toy room toys Wed, 23 Sep 2015 15:00:25 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1561957 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Easy Ways to Keep Your Family Organized http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-ways-to-keep-your-family-organized <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-easy-ways-to-keep-your-family-organized" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_marking_calendar_000065803191.jpg" alt="Woman finding easy ways to keep family organized" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Feeling frazzled? Me too! September means back to school and back to life without sunny summer vacations. Whether your kids are getting into their new routines or you could simply use more organization, we've found some great solutions for even the most chaotic homes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-apps-every-dad-needs?ref=seealso">6 Apps Every Dad Needs</a>)</p> <h2>1. Command Center</h2> <p>Putting your calendar, bills, and all other important things in a central location is a good start. Check out this <a href="http://howtonestforless.com/2014/09/04/kitchen-command-center-2/">kitchen command center</a>. You'll want to get one of those white board calendars and several colors of markers. Assign each member of your family a color and fill in all the month's activities. The rest of it is up to you. Folders and binders for bills, lists, and other sheets are also helpful.</p> <h2>2. Paperwork Storage</h2> <p>And let's talk about all those papers for a minute. Kids get all sorts of permission slips, report cards, photos, and other sheets for school, dance, sports, and so on. Try this <a href="http://iheartorganizing.blogspot.com/2010/11/school-paperwork-storage.html">paperwork storage</a> idea that will ensure you won't lose a thing. Get one of those file boxes, hanging files, and some labels. You can organize by school year, month, or however makes the most sense to you.</p> <h2>3. Cubbies</h2> <p>My daughter's preschool has a whole wall of cubbies for coats, backpacks, boots, and all the stuff her classmates schlep to school. Bring this idea home by making cubbies to install in your entryway. If you search around, you'll find woodworking plans to build cubbies. You can even buy them at many stores. My suggestion? Repurpose a large thrifted shelf! This <a href="http://www.mycreativedays.com/lockers-made-from-old-bookshelf/">bookshelf turned locker</a> will hopefully spark your creativity.</p> <h2>4. Marvelous Mudroom</h2> <p>Don't have space in the house for cubbies? Carve out a spot in your garage for this awesome <a href="http://designdininganddiapers.com/2015/01/diy-garage-mudroom/">DIY mudroom</a>. Yours doesn't have to look just like the photo, but you'll want somewhere to hang your coats, another place for mittens and other accessories, a shoe rack of sorts, and maybe a large bucket for umbrellas and bigger items. Add a few framed photos for extra flair.</p> <h2>5. After-School Checklist</h2> <p>Give your child some responsibility with this <a href="http://www.prettyprovidence.com/school-checklist-kids-free-printable/">after-school checklist</a>. You can customize the sheet to list any tasks, chores, and other responsibilities unique to your family. Then frame it in a standard picture frame. Your kid can use a dry-erase marker to keep track of his or her progress. This idea would work great for adults too!</p> <h2>6. Junk Buckets</h2> <p>Finding odds and ends everywhere? I love these <a href="http://www.remarkablehome.net/2013/03/crap-buckets-for-all-crap-your-kids.html">junk buckets</a> for organization. They give you a beautiful way to collect all the, well, crap you find around your house. Get some plastic or metal buckets or bins, label them, and place them at the bottom of your stairway. Then take them upstairs each night before bed.</p> <h2>7. Cleaning Closet</h2> <p>Part of staying organized means keeping things tidy. Beef up your <a href="http://www.the36thavenue.com/cleaning-tips-diy-cleaning-closet/">cleaning closet</a> by getting some of those hanging organizers for your supplies like paper towels, window spray, antibacterial wipes, and more. You'll be able to fit so much more in even tiny closets this way. And if you have your kids help with chores, it'll be much easier for them to put everything back in place when they're done.</p> <h2>8. Simplified Life</h2> <p>If you've tried a lot of these ideas and still feel like life is crazy, try simplifying. Kate at <a href="http://www.housemixblog.com/2014/07/03/how-i-simplified-and-organized-my-house-room-by-room/">House Mix</a> went room by room in her entire house to find ways to cut back on clutter, save money, and maximize space. A lot of her efforts were trained on leaning out excess stuff that created mess and, therefore, sucked away time from more important stuff.</p> <p>Sound intimidating? Start small. I've found that even cutting down on the number of clothes in my closet has brought me greater peace on the daily. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-essential-pieces-for-your-capsule-wardrobe?ref=seealso">8 Essential Pieces for Your Capsule Wardrobe</a>)</p> <p><em>How do you keep your family organized and on task? Let us know in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-easy-ways-to-keep-your-family-organized">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-genius-ways-to-store-toys">10 Genius Ways to Store Toys</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-throw-out-today">25 Things to Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-time-management-skills-that-will-help-your-kid-win-at-school">10 Time-Management Skills That Will Help Your Kid Win at School</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-in-your-house-youre-forgetting-to-clean">9 Things in Your House You&#039;re Forgetting to Clean</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-things-science-says-you-should-do-for-your-family">5 Easy Things Science Says You Should Do for Your Family</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Home Organization children cleaning kids removing clutter simple living Fri, 18 Sep 2015 15:00:23 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1561360 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Time-Management Skills That Will Help Your Kid Win at School http://www.wisebread.com/10-time-management-skills-that-will-help-your-kid-win-at-school <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-time-management-skills-that-will-help-your-kid-win-at-school" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/little_girl_ideas_000040220958_0.jpg" alt="Girl with time-management skills winning at school" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Want your kids to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-back-to-school-shopping-tips-for-the-busy-parent">succeed at school</a> without spending every waking hour with their noses buried in books? Teach them how to manage their time most efficiently with these 11 tips on perfecting that September-to-May juggling act.</p> <h2>1. &quot;Mind Map&quot; Before a Writing Project</h2> <p>You may not have heard of &quot;mind mapping,&quot; but the concept isn't new at all. It's really just a fancy 21st &nbsp;century name for brainstorming, which we were taught as kids. Before your kid embarks on a project &mdash; particularly a written assignment &mdash; have them brainstorm their ideas, outline the steps of the project, and start organizing their thoughts into full-fledged ideas. That way, when it's time to get to the nitty-gritty of it all, the process will flow more seamlessly since all the moving parts will be in place.</p> <p>&quot;The best time-saving tip we know of is when a child has to write something &mdash; a book report, research paper, speech/presentation &mdash; is to use mind mapping,&quot; says Bryan Mattimore, chief idea guy at&nbsp;<a href="http://www.growth-engine.com/">The Growth Engine Co.</a>, an innovation agency. &quot;We have kids (and corporate innovation teams) create a mind map of what they might want to write first. It makes it a great deal easier for young and old alike to first get everything out in the mind map, so that they can write an outline and then more effectively and quickly write the piece.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Use a Calendar</h2> <p>I've used a monthly calendar to roughly plan out 30 days of advance assignments since I started my own business six years ago. I'm able to see what I've completed and what's coming up at a glance, and I can easily make room for additional assignments by moving other items around if need be. I've found this method of organization extremely helpful not only in terms of productivity, but also psychologically as the completed projects I cross off help ward off feelings of anxiety that I'm falling behind.</p> <p>Author Patty Wood suggests taking a similar approach with your child.</p> <p>&quot;Post a big school calendar above the child's desk or workstation so they have a visual of time and their assignments,&quot; she says. &quot;Have them put color stickers for tests and assignments on the due dates. When they look at any assignment, they can figure out how much work and time it will take to prepare and go on the calendar and assign time on days leading up to it. For example, if they have a speech on September 26, they can put an hour on, say, five days in the two weeks prior to the speech to get ready for it.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Prepare for the Next Day (or Week) in Advance</h2> <p>In addition to my monthly calendar, I also plan ahead on a more immediate level, like preparing my weekly meals all on one Sunday afternoon, as well as choosing and ironing that week's outfits. With all of those tasks out of the way for the week, I'm able to sleep in a few more minutes in the mornings and start my days with much less stress.</p> <p>Let your kids choose the clothes they'd like to wear that week, and invite them into the kitchen to choose what snacks and drinks they'd like in their lunches. As they get older, if this has become routine over the years, they'll eventually do all of this on their own (hopefully), so you can rest assured that your young adult is well on his or her way to being A-okay in the real world.</p> <h2>4. Establish a Dedicated Homework Time and Location</h2> <p>You'll have an easier time getting your child to do homework if you establish a dedicated time and location to do it. Once the routine is solidly in place, it will become habitual with, ideally, no after-school fuss.</p> <h2>5. Create a Checklist</h2> <p>In addition to my monthly calendar of projects, I also keep a daily to-do list &mdash; which includes both personal and professional items &mdash; to help me stay on task throughout the day. I try to plan them out in terms of the time I think each activity will take, but that's not always reliable as sometimes things don't go according to plan. Your kids can benefit from this system &mdash; and so can you &mdash; by providing them an outline of what needs to be done for the day and by what deadline.</p> <h2>6. Avoid Over-Scheduling Extracurricular Activities</h2> <p>A lot of kids get sidetracked or fall behind because of over-scheduling, and if that's happening in your family, it's time to take a step back and examine your priorities. Extracurricular activities &mdash; like sports, music, art, and theater &mdash; are important to your children's physical, social, mental, and emotional development, but not at the cost of education and overall well being. If they're doing too much in a day, and their homework or other educational pursuits are suffering, something has to go.</p> <p>Also, as a parent, stay sensitive to your child's demeanor and personality. If they're stressed out, unhappy, or constantly on edge, perhaps it's because they feel over-worked and overscheduled. Check in from time to time to see how they're doing in that regard.</p> <h2>7. Limit Phone/Social Media/TV Time</h2> <p>If you're addicted to social media, the Internet, or your e-mail like I am, you know firsthand how much time is wasted while you're on the phone and computer instead of concentrating on your work. This goes double for your kids whose hormones are raging amid all the traditional school drama that happens from pre-teen age all the way to high school graduation. To ensure their media doesn't interfere with their after-school responsibilities, limit the time they can spend on it by perhaps confiscating the devices until all homework, chores, etc. are finished, or granting them a certain amount of time to be online/the phone each night.</p> <p>You probably won't win any Parent of the Year awards in their eyes, but you're doing the right thing &mdash; and they'll recognize that someday.</p> <h2>8. Set Artificial Deadlines for Assignments</h2> <p>If your child has trouble remembering assignments or just procrastinates (like every other teenager &mdash; and adult &mdash; in the world), another potential tactic to take is to set artificial deadlines for assignments. I sometimes do this for myself if I dread a certain assignment, and I also employ this tactic when scheduling activities with my always-late husband. By creating a &quot;window of lateness&quot; as I like to call it, you can almost be sure that everything (and everyone) will be on time, or at least on the actual, much-later deadline.</p> <h2>9. Prioritize Assignments in Order of Importance</h2> <p>Kids tend to gravitate toward the easiest work there is, but that's not always the best approach to their assignments given that not all assignments are created equal. Some count for much more of their final grade than others, which makes the highly weighted projects a priority over smaller, more easily accomplished assignments. Review your child's schedule with them to go over their projects in depth to understand what they entail, recognize how much work they will require, and create a plan to meet the deadlines.</p> <h2>10. Keep a Regimented Schedule at Home</h2> <p>An after-school free-for-all will lead to certain disaster for your children in terms of their educational priorities, which is why it's in your entire family's best interest to keep a regimented schedule at home.</p> <p>&quot;To best help children manage their time effectively while in school, help them to understand and practice time management outside of the school day; this will allow them to internalize this structure and use it elsewhere, especially at school,&quot; says Dr. Lindsay Popilskis, certified school psychologist. &quot;Agree upon start and end times for academic tasks &mdash; such as homework &mdash; and fun tasks, and stick to those times. You may even set a timer for activities so that children can independently see how much time has been spent and how much time is left for each activity. With all that being said, the most important time for routine is bedtime. Without a good night sleep, children have difficulties maintaining their focus, which will not capitalize on their time no matter how managed it is.&quot;</p> <p><em>Do you have other time-management tips to help kids win at school that you'd like to add? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-time-management-skills-that-will-help-your-kid-win-at-school">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-private-schools-worth-the-money-they-demand">Are Private Schools Worth the Money They Demand?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-personal-productivity-ruleswhat-are-yours">My Personal Productivity Rules...What Are Yours?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-things-science-says-you-should-do-for-your-family">5 Easy Things Science Says You Should Do for Your Family</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-panic-how-to-meet-a-deadline">Don&#039;t Panic! How to Meet a Deadline</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-having-kids-makes-you-more-frugal">8 Ways Having Kids Makes You More Frugal</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training Family Productivity children good grades homework kids planning school time management Wed, 26 Aug 2015 17:00:29 +0000 Mikey Rox 1536917 at http://www.wisebread.com 23 Relaxing Ways to Enjoy Your Kid's First Day at School http://www.wisebread.com/23-relaxing-ways-to-enjoy-your-kids-first-day-at-school <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/23-relaxing-ways-to-enjoy-your-kids-first-day-at-school" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_reading_beach_000060463902.jpg" alt="Woman finding relaxing ways to enjoy kid&#039;s first day of school" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Hear that sound, moms and dads? It's the silence you've been craving &mdash; oh, I don't know &mdash; since about 72 hours into your kids' summer vacation. What to do, what to do? You probably already have your time-to-relax schedule all planned out for the first day back to school, but if you've been slacking in that regard, here are a few ideas to make the most of your well-deserved downtime.</p> <h2>1. Hit the Beach (If You're Near One)</h2> <p>I live on the Jersey Shore and the days to enjoy an afternoon on the beach are dwindling. If you're in a beach town (or near one), get out there and enjoy the sand and surf before the chilly weather starts to roll in.</p> <h2>2. Take Yourself Out to Lunch</h2> <p>Like an adult lunch. No grilled sandwiches or ramen or Tyson chicken whatever &mdash; you know, the stuff the kids ate all summer and you nibbled on because you didn't feel like making a separate meal. Put your good pants on and have a proper lunch containing real food.</p> <h2>3. Go Back-to-School Shopping for Yourself</h2> <p>Don't you think it's just a bit unfair that you spend all that money on back-to-school clothing and accessories for the kids &mdash; because they haaaaave to have it! &mdash; and you walk away with nothing? Nope, not on my watch. Head to your favorite store and pick up something new. If you need justification for your purchase &mdash; besides the fact that you've kept the little beggars alive and well for this long &mdash; think of it as something you need for an upcoming PTA meeting, parents' night, or (most likely) a cocktail party.</p> <h2>4. Finish an Open Project</h2> <p>Everybody has something around the house that they meant to finish, but got sidetracked and forgot about. Get after it!</p> <h2>5. Meet Your Friends for Coffee (Or an Adult Bev!)</h2> <p>I mean, sure, if coffee's your thing, that's what you should order. But if you're trying to celebrate your nine-to-three freedom properly, you better make it Irish. And so you're not sipping alone, invite along a few friends.</p> <h2>6. Go to the Cinema and Catch a Movie</h2> <p>You've undoubtedly been to the movies this summer, but it was probably to see a flick about little talking Twinkies, superheroes, or dinosaurs. If there's a more &mdash; ahem &mdash; grown-up movie you've been meaning to watch, today's your day.</p> <h2>7. Crack Open That Book You've Been Meaning to Read (Finally!)</h2> <p>You brought that book everywhere you went this summer with every intention of reading it and then starting its sequel. But you never go to it because somebody was always screaming your name for mostly unimportant things that they could do themselves. Sound familiar? Now's your chance to get lost in literature &mdash; at least until mid-afternoon.</p> <h2>8. Relax on the Couch and Catch Up on Your DVR</h2> <p>Heck, even without kids, watching a ton of TV isn't something many of us do in the summer. So I know all you parents out there haven't had time to catch up on your DVR since about the third week of June. Find out what's up with your favorite characters and make some room for the new fall schedule.</p> <h2>9. Bake &mdash; Then Indulge</h2> <p>I like to bake because the end result is so delicious. If I'm baking for one to soothe my sweet tooth, I usually pick up prepared cookie dough, pop it in the oven, and stuff my face with the whole lot of the ooey-gooey confections. Along with a tall glass of ice-cold milk. And absolutely no shame. NO SHAME!</p> <h2>10. Get Intimate if You're Both Home</h2> <p>You don't need instructions for this. It's how you got into this situation in the first place. But it's still nice to have some alone time without somebody barging in.</p> <h2>11. Nap!</h2> <p>...Naaaaaaaaap!</p> <h2>12. Work Around the Yard</h2> <p>For some people, gardening is a great way to relax and think and let their mind wander. If you keep a garden, harvest some of the produce, or, since fall is just around the corner, tidy up your space a bit so raking and bagging isn't such a daunting task in a few weeks.</p> <h2>13. Go for a Walk</h2> <p>To wherever you want &mdash; around the neighborhood, downtown, to the park. Just get movin'.</p> <h2>14. Participate in a Class at the Gym</h2> <p>I love my gym classes. I never consider them a chore because they're totally fun. If you haven't checked in to any of the classes your gym offers, do it now. You could find yourself a new hobby.</p> <h2>15. Treat Yourself to a Salon or Spa Service</h2> <p>Get your hair or nails done. Schedule a massage. Kick back in the steam room and sauna. Let your cares drift away until you have to snap back to reality.</p> <h2>16. Hang Out at Your Local Library or Coffee Shop</h2> <p>I find both of these places equally relaxing. I usually take a few of my neglected magazines and sink into one of the comfy chairs for a few hours while I unwind.</p> <h2>17. Mediate/Do Nothing at All</h2> <p>I don't really know how to meditate &mdash; I mean, besides sitting with my legs crossed and chanting 'Om' (which doesn't appeal to me). However, as a former college student, I know how to do nothing at all quite well. I consider myself an English major with a concentration in Sitting and Staring at the Sky, as it were. Nonetheless, either of these activities could work for you, and I'll only look at you strangely for one of them.</p> <h2>18. Practice Your Yoga Skills</h2> <p>There are plenty of online yoga resources that you can watch so you don't even have to leave your house. Or you can find a class in your area (perhaps even at your gym for free) if you need a change of scenery. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/where-to-find-free-or-cheap-yoga-classes?ref=seealso">Where to Find Free or Cheap Yoga Classes</a>)</p> <h2>19. Take the Dog to the Park</h2> <p>You know who's just as happy that your kids are back in school? The dog. He can finally get back to his eat-sleep-sleep-eat schedule without as many interruptions. But that doesn't mean he wouldn't like a leisurely afternoon with his buddies first. Plan a date to the dog park to exercise your favorite friend while enjoying the pleasant weather and other pooches.</p> <h2>20. Pack a Picnic and Find a Nice Space Outside</h2> <p>There's no rule that picnics can't be by yourself. In fact, some of the best picnics I've attended have only had one guest &mdash; me! Pack up some of your favorites foods, bring a blanket and some reading material, and lay back and watch the world pass you by.</p> <h2>21. Drift Away in a Long, Hot Bath</h2> <p>Candles and a glass of wine are just as appropriate for a long, hot bath at 11 a.m. as they are at 11 p.m. Plus, nobody's around to judge you. Enjoy it while you can.</p> <h2>22. Pump Up the Jams and Dance Around the House</h2> <p>This summer has produced a few hot bangers that I like to shake my thang to. Turn up your Spotify and let loose in your living room. If you've never done this before, step outside your comfort zone. You'll be glad you did.</p> <h2>23. Run Away and Never Look Back</h2> <p>Or just daydream about it. You know they wouldn't last a day without you.</p> <p><em>How will you relax and enjoy your kids' first day back to school? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/23-relaxing-ways-to-enjoy-your-kids-first-day-at-school">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-ways-to-entertain-your-kids-for-free">20 Ways to Entertain Your Kids for Free</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/single-parent-try-these-10-tricks-for-entertaining-kids-on-a-budget">Single Parent? Try These 10 Tricks for Entertaining Kids on a Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-ways-to-spend-less-money-on-valentines-day">14 Ways to Spend Less Money on Valentine&#039;s Day</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-fun-and-cheap-things-to-do-during-the-weekday">8 Fun and Cheap Things to Do During the Weekday</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/45-other-things-to-do-on-super-bowl-sunday">45 Other Things to Do on Super Bowl Sunday</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Lifestyle back-to-school downtime kids parenting relaxing rest summer vacation Mon, 24 Aug 2015 11:00:30 +0000 Mikey Rox 1532897 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Financial Mistakes to Stop Making by Age 40 http://www.wisebread.com/6-financial-mistakes-to-stop-making-by-age-40 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-financial-mistakes-to-stop-making-by-age-40" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_budgeting_000033505114.jpg" alt="Couple figuring out financial mistakes to stop making by 40" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It doesn't matter if you're in your 20s, 30s, or 40s &mdash; everyone makes financial mistakes. But, the mistakes we make in our later years are often different from those we made as a young adult. Even if you've gone through some financial growing pains, there's room for improvement.</p> <p>Here's a look at six financial mistakes you need to stop making by age 40.</p> <h2>1. Buying More House Than You Can Afford</h2> <p>Some young adults rush to acquire the same lifestyle as their parents, and they get in over their heads buying homes they can't afford. I've seen it with several of my friends &mdash; they want to look like they ball, but can't maintain the proverbial court. But there's no rule that says we have to constantly move up. If you're living above your means, it's time to downsize and get serious about your money.</p> <p>Being house poor can have a tremendous impact on your personal finances. You might be able to swing the house payment every month, but if you don't have money for anything else, you're less likely to save for retirement &mdash; and there's a good chance that you'll end up with credit card debt. Besides, the cracks will eventually show &mdash; and that will defeat the purpose of why you went into debt in the first place. Not worth it at all.</p> <p><strong>RELATED:</strong> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-steps-to-finding-your-mortgage-lender">How to Land a Mortgage Lender You'll Legitimately Love</a></p> <h2>2. Tapping Into Your 401(k)</h2> <p>Twenty-something adults can afford to tap into their 401(k)s if they endure economic hardships or need cash to buy a house (although it's not recommended by most money experts). Since they're young, there's time to replenish the account. Older adults, however, don't have this luxury. If you're approaching middle-age and hoping to retire in your late 50s or early 60s, this isn't the time to play around with your retirement account. Stop using your 401(k) or IRA as an emergency fund. As an alternative, you need to keep enough cash in your liquid savings to deal with unexpected expenses that pop up. (Which, incidentally, might mean telling your kids &quot;no&quot; sometimes.)</p> <h2>3. Saving Like You're Fresh Out of College</h2> <p>When you're just out of college and starting out, you may not have a lot of cash to put toward saving for retirement. Therefore, you might contribute the bare minimum after opening a 401(k) &mdash; maybe 2% or 3% of your income. This is okay in your younger years. But by the time you hit 40, you need to step it up a notch.</p> <p>Look into increasing your 401(k) contributions to 5% or 6%, especially if you're getting an employer match. This is essentially free money that can take your retirement account to the next level. (Plus, you deserve it!) Also, consider ways to diversify your retirement savings, such as opening an individual retirement account or dabbling in other investments, like stocks or real estate.</p> <h2>4. Putting Your Child's Needs Ahead of Your Retirement</h2> <p>All parents want to give their children the best. This might be the best private schools, extracurricular activities, educational vacations, or college funds. But be careful about putting your kids' needs over your retirement &mdash; after all, you can't afford to help them if your own financial situation isn't secure first.</p> <p>The sooner you start stashing cash away for the future, the more financially stable you'll be when you leave the workforce. If you put the majority of your disposable income into giving your children the best life possible, your retirement could take a backseat to their needs and wants. And if you don't save enough, this can result in working longer than you want later in life, or having to get a job after retiring to make ends meet. Not to mention you might not be able to afford helping your children as much as you'd like.</p> <h2>5. Never Reevaluating Your Life Insurance Needs</h2> <p>Your life insurance needs can change as you get older. A policy purchased in your 20s while you were single without kids or a mortgage probably doesn't offer the coverage you need today. It might be time to upgrade your policy to ensure your family has enough financial support in the event of your death, especially if you're the breadwinner.</p> <p>There are no hard or fast rules regarding how much life insurance to get, but the policy should be enough to cover your funeral and burial expenses, pay off any existing debt, plus provide your spouse and dependents with ongoing financial support.</p> <h2>6. Getting Comfortable With Credit Card Debt</h2> <p>At this point in your life you probably recognize the danger of using credit cards. But just because you no longer rely on credit cards doesn't mean you should get comfortable or shrug off your existing balances. If you still owe thousands, paying the minimum isn't going to cut it. Like, ever.</p> <p>Develop a plan to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-do-a-balance-transfer-to-pay-off-credit-card-debt?ref=internal">get rid of credit card debt</a> once and for all. Go through your house and sell things you don't need. Instead of spending a work bonus going on vacation, use this cash to erase account balances. You can even temporarily reduce how much you're contributing to your retirement account, and use the savings to pay off credit card debt. Whatever means you need to eliminate this debt (outside of robbing a bank, of course), use it. You'll feel freer and more financially stable once that burden is off your back.</p> <p><em>Are there other financial mistakes we need to stop making by age 40? Let me know some of your suggestions in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-financial-mistakes-to-stop-making-by-age-40">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-mistakes-to-stop-making-by-50">5 Money Mistakes to Stop Making by 50</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-increase-your-net-worth-this-year">10 Ways to Increase Your Net Worth This Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/use-the-8020-rule-to-maximize-your-financial-opportunities">Use the 80/20 Rule to Maximize Your Financial Opportunities</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-these-7-money-moves-now-or-youll-regret-it-in-20-years">Make These 7 Money Moves Now Or You&#039;ll Regret It in 20 Years</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-financial-decisions-youll-never-regret">8 Financial Decisions You&#039;ll Never Regret</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance debt kids life insurance money mistakes mortgage retirement Mon, 10 Aug 2015 09:00:14 +0000 Mikey Rox 1519218 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Back-to-School Shopping Hacks for Big Savings http://www.wisebread.com/6-back-to-school-shopping-hacks-for-big-savings <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-back-to-school-shopping-hacks-for-big-savings" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/child_back_to_school_000038781424.jpg" alt="Kid going back to school shopping and getting big savings" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Back-to-school season has many parents pulling out their child's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-back-to-school-shopping-tips-for-the-busy-parent">school supply</a> list and dreading the impending costs. But never fear: whether it's the simple pack of pencils, or the expensive laptop computer, here are six shopping tips to help you maximize your savings.</p> <h2>1. Avoid Cartoon Characters</h2> <p>When shopping for your child's backpack, binder, and accessories, avoid items with a cartoon character plastered on them. This includes Disney, Pixar, Nickelodeon, and Cartoon Network characters of all shapes and sizes. They're almost always 25%&ndash;30% more expensive than products without any characters or themes on them. If this is a big deal for your child, simply buy some cheap stickers of their favorite characters and let them decorate their stuff to their heart's content. When it comes to backpacks, look for quality &quot;character-free&quot; brands like <a href="http://www.amazon.com/mn/search/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=fitbit&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=4ADGQGYVZS2ZRUYM">Timberland</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=jansport%20backpack&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=BVBD7NVJ2BEAD655">JanSport</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=rockland%20backpack&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Arockland%20backpack&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=UGJXUCE7VY3P7YQ4">Rockland</a>, and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/mn/search/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=jansport%20backpack&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=OOTLXTVPHQHQ5236">Embark</a> that will easily last the entire school year, and often many more.</p> <h2>2. Always Shop Your Backpack First</h2> <p>Before you visit any store or website, consider &quot;shopping&quot; your backpack, closet, and desk for school supplies. Take your child's back-to-school shopping list and look for items you already own which still have shelf-life remaining. You'll often be amazed at the items you can cross off your list without spending a cent. Items to look for include things like pencils, pens, markers, notebooks, and rulers. My wife and I often stock up on school supplies when we find deals and forget that we buried them in the desk drawer or stashed them away in a closet somewhere. If this sounds like something you'd do as well, be sure to check what you have at home before you head to the store.</p> <h2>3. Get a Price Match if an Item Is Sold Out</h2> <p>The last few back-to-school shopping seasons have shown terrific deals from office supply stores like Staples, Office Depot, and OfficeMax. This year will be no different. For example, Staples is already advertising $.50 bottles of glue and $.68 for a dozen pencils. But the rub on these deals is they are often of very limited in quantity, and sell out quickly, as they're nothing more than loss-leaders designed to get you in the doors. So if you walk into an office supply store and the deal you're looking for is already gone, take advantage of the price match policy at Walmart and Target and get the same low price. You can also bypass the office supply store altogether and take the ad directly to Walmart or Target for your price match. Here is what you need to know:</p> <h3>Walmart Price Match Policy</h3> <p>While you're not required to take the office supply ad into Walmart for verification, it will greatly speed up the process if you do. Walmart will match the lower price as long as the item is identical to what they stock. This includes size, quantity, brand, and color. If the price match reduces the Walmart price by more than 50%, it will require a supervisor's approval.</p> <h3>Target Price Match Policy</h3> <p>Simply take your office supply store ad to the Target &quot;Guest Services&quot; desk and they'll help you with your price match. Item must be identical and the price must be clearly stated on the competitor's print ad.</p> <h2>4. Look for Tech Discounts for Students</h2> <p>If you're in high school or college, and shopping for a laptop or tablet for school, be sure you take advantage of student-specific tech discounts. Here are a few to be aware of.</p> <h3>Best Buy College Student Deals</h3> <p>College students can sign-up for free and get exclusive <a href="http://www.bestbuy.com/site/global/college-student-deals/pcmcat276200050000.c?id=pcmcat276200050000">Best Buy deals</a> and coupons. Expect student discounts on laptops, MacBooks, backpacks, and even dorm room stuff like microwaves and coffee makers. Best Buy reserves the right to require documentation showing that you're a current college student. Tip: Having a .edu email address always gets you in the program.</p> <h3>Dell University</h3> <p>Get exclusive student deals on new laptops, desktops, and electronics through <a href="http://www.dell.com/learn/us/en/6099/campaigns/welcome-to-dell-university">Dell University</a>. Savings are typically in the 15%&ndash;20% off range compared to the price of not being in the program.</p> <h3>Apple Store for Education</h3> <p><a href="http://www.apple.com/shop/browse/campaigns/education_pricing">Apple education pricing</a> is available to college students, parents buying for college students, faculty, homeschool teachers, and staff at all grade levels. You can currently get $200 off a new Mac and up to $20 off a new iPad.</p> <h2>5. Shop Alone If Possible</h2> <p>This tip is not very popular with many kids. But if you're back-to-school shopping for younger kids, you'll often be better off doing it alone. Keep in mind that your goal is to get in and get out of the store and pay the least amount possible on quality products. Kids can often throw you off your money-saving mojo and talk you into the Disney <em>Frozen</em> binder or the LeBron James Nike backpack that'll be marked way up. Having three kids of my own, I speak from experience on this one. Leave them at home and maximize your savings. Let them organize and decorate the back-to-school items once you get home and they'll still feel a part of the process.</p> <h2>6. Never Buy Everything From a Single Store</h2> <p>The single best way to make sure you pay <em>more </em>than you should on back-to-school supplies is to stroll into one store and buy everything on your list. Doesn't matter what store it is. The fact of the matter is that you might get some deals, but you'll inevitably pay full-price on quite a bit of stuff. Instead, I recommend perusing the sales flyers as they come out and buy only when you find a deal on something you need.</p> <p>With a little bit of planning and smart shopping you can save a good chunk of change on your back-to-school shopping this year. This is especially true if you can hold retailers to their price match policies and take advantage of student discounts when buying tech. Happy savings.</p> <p><em>How do you save money when stocking up for the new school year?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-back-to-school-shopping-hacks-for-big-savings">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wise-bread-reloaded-back-to-back-to-school">Wise Bread Reloaded: Back to Back to School</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/its-not-too-late-to-save-on-back-to-school-shopping">It&#039;s Not Too Late to Save on Back-to-School Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-on-school-supplies-without-going-crazy">How to Save on School Supplies Without Going Crazy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-paths-to-a-greener-back-to-school-season">6 Paths to a Greener Back-to-School Season</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-places-to-get-student-discounts">9 Places to Get Student Discounts</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping back to school backpacks kids school supplies student discounts Tue, 04 Aug 2015 17:00:15 +0000 Kyle James 1507395 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Terrible Things Science Says You Do to Your Kids http://www.wisebread.com/6-terrible-things-science-says-you-do-to-your-kids <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-terrible-things-science-says-you-do-to-your-kids" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/unhappy_kid_000011364070.jpg" alt="Parent doing terrible things science says they do every day" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In all likelihood, you are probably already a pretty good parent. I'll bet you limit video games, provide healthy meals, get your kids to scheduled doctor's visits, help with homework, and the like.</p> <p>New science, though, thinks you can do a little better. Do any of the six <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-4-worst-mistakes-good-parents-make">parenting subjects</a>, below, ring a bell?</p> <h2>1. You Don't Let Your Child Self-Soothe</h2> <p>Have you tried teaching your baby to self-soothe? It occurred to me to research this concept after my friend, a grandmother, related how her daughter has to lie down with her two-year-old to get her to nap, and then again to get her to sleep at night. Among my co-workers, neighbors, and friends are women whose children sleep with them in their bedrooms, on cots, or in their beds. They also sleep with their children in their children's rooms. My neighbor's daughter has a charming room, but she will only sleep on the living room couch. The phrase (and I know this is harsh) &quot;the inmates are running the asylum&quot; comes to mind.</p> <p>&quot;We, as parents, think our job is to make sure the baby is not crying,&quot; says pediatric nurse Jennifer Walker, RN. &quot;That's because we associate crying with the fact that we are doing something wrong and we need to fix it,&quot; she says. &quot;Babies are designed to cry. They can be perfectly diapered and fed and still cry like you are pulling an arm off...&quot;</p> <p>Many parents are vehemently opposed to the practice of self-soothing, calling it a myth, or &quot;harmful.&quot; And, you know it's not fun. Even if you know your baby has been fed, burped, changed, and is in comfortable bedding, listening to them cry is extremely upsetting. We used the <a href="http://www.drgreene.com/qa-articles/when-baby-wont-go-sleep-her-own/?tid=207">Dr. Greene method</a> and yes, it was extremely difficult, but it worked.</p> <p>&quot;The difficulties begin when the child's sleep patterns begin to interfere with the lives of the other members of the family unit. For example: when the mother is ready to return to work and needs to sleep, herself, or when marital tensions arise because of a lack of privacy in the bedroom,&quot; says Dennis Rosen, M.D. &quot;At that point, it's absolutely reasonable to <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sleeping-angels/201405/teaching-child-self-soothe-not-everyone">reconsider the existing patterns</a>, and to find a different way of doing things that works better for everyone else. And that usually means redefining, and setting limits, which is a normal part of <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/parenting">parenting</a>.&quot;</p> <h2>2. You Don't Insist on Your Child's Recess</h2> <p>I'm an adult, and I could barely manage to sit through a boring hour-long webinar last week. Fortunately, I could get up and take a walk afterwards. But what if you are a kid who feels fried and fidgety? Who ever thought parents needed to be concerned with their children having recess? Guess what: <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/07/08/why-so-many-kids-cant-sit-still-in-school-today/">Recess is disappearing</a>.</p> <p>Even pediatricians in the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend recess. Dr. Robert Murray, a pediatrician and professor of human nutrition at the Ohio State University, stated that &quot;Children need to have downtime between complex cognitive challenges.&quot; Interestingly, structured time (like a gym period or an organized game) is not a substitute, because it is still considered to be instructional time.</p> <p>Childhood obesity rates have more than <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/obesity/facts.htm">doubled in children</a>, and quadrupled in adolescents, in the past 30 years. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends an hour a day of exercise for children. If your child's school has reduced or eliminated recess, how will that help this issue?</p> <p>It may be time for you to get involved in a discussion about the benefits of recess at your child's school, and how you, as a parent, can help. And if the school won't change, perhaps you ought to consider supplementing their play time with some daily &quot;at-home&quot; recess.</p> <h2>3. You Aren't Insisting They Do Chores</h2> <p>Your own parents and grandparents probably insisted on chores, and so should you. Psychologist Richard Rende is the author of soon-to-be-published <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0399168966/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0399168966&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=OZ5B3SUFPJKHBT27">Raising Can-Do Kids</a>. His research indicates that &quot;...various types of housework are correlated with better academic performance and social relationships, increased professional goals, and good mental health in adulthood.&quot;</p> <h2>4. You Stopped Reading to Your Kid</h2> <p>Many parents read to their babies, toddlers, and school-age children, and that's great. However, according to educator Jim Trelease, you <a href="http://www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/read-aloud-to-children/">shouldn't stop reading</a>.</p> <p>&quot;People often say to me, 'My child is in fourth grade and he already knows how to read, why should I read to him?' And I reply, 'Your child may be reading on a fourth-grade level, but what level is he <em>listening</em> at?'</p> <p>A child's reading level doesn't catch up to his listening level until eighth grade. You can and should be reading seventh-grade books to fifth-grade kids. They'll get excited about the plot and this will be a motivation to keep reading.&quot;</p> <h2>5. You Don't Let Them Experience Failure</h2> <p>It's so hard to see your child feeling sad, or disappointed, when things don't go their way. I really think it's just as painful for the parents. My mother used to tell me, &quot;well, life is full of disappointments,&quot; and she was right, it is. However, if you don't allow your child to fail, feel sad, and deal with things on his or her own, the child doesn't learn how to build resilience. Being able to roll with the ups and downs of life is a necessary skill, and they can't learn that when &quot;everybody gets a trophy.&quot; Sometimes you fail, and you feel bad. What happens next? You lick your wounds, gather strength, pick yourself up, and try again. Kids need to learn that, as painful as it is for the parent.</p> <h2>6. You Don't Let Them Suffer the Consequences for Wrong Actions</h2> <p>Kids are going to make bad choices occasionally. They want to test boundaries, try the &quot;easy way,&quot; or prove their independence. When they are caught, though, it isn't up to the parent to &quot;fix&quot; that mistake.</p> <p>&quot;Parents tend to worry about their child's <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-verge/201411/natural-consequences">ability to cope</a> with life's natural 'negative' consequences,&quot; writes Mendi Baron, CEO of Evolve Treatment Centers. &quot;In fact, today's parents, in an effort to be helpful and involved, actually impose themselves to minimize natural negative consequences so that their teen can avoid the subsequent discomfort, pain, and shame of his actions.&quot;</p> <p><em>Readers, do you agree, or disagree, with any of these suggestions?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-terrible-things-science-says-you-do-to-your-kids">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-cloth-diapers">Everything You Need to Know About Cloth Diapers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/having-a-baby-nine-financial-considerations-for-new-parents">Having a baby? Nine financial considerations for new parents</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-things-science-says-you-should-do-for-your-family">5 Easy Things Science Says You Should Do for Your Family</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-a-good-workout-even-with-kids-around">10 Ways to Get a Good Workout... Even With Kids Around</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-time-management-skills-that-will-help-your-kid-win-at-school">10 Time-Management Skills That Will Help Your Kid Win at School</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family behaviors children kids parenting tantrums Thu, 30 Jul 2015 17:00:20 +0000 Marla Walters 1508690 at http://www.wisebread.com 14 Free or Cheap Toys That Will Make Your Kid Smarter http://www.wisebread.com/14-free-or-cheap-toys-that-will-make-your-kid-smarter <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/14-free-or-cheap-toys-that-will-make-your-kid-smarter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/child_playing_toys_000046742926.jpg" alt="Child playing with educational toys made at home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It may seem like you need to spend a fortune on educational toys for your kids these days. Heck, many stores have entire sections devoted to learning aids cleverly disguised as playthings. All that stuff is great, but you can beef up your child's smarts with some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-diy-crafts-that-will-save-you-money">awesome DIY projects</a>. You'll spend much less money making things at home, and frugality is a great lesson to teach children at any age.</p> <h2>1. Sensory Tables</h2> <p>Bring your child's preschool favorite to you own playroom with these <a href="http://www.ringaroundtherosies.net/2012/04/diy-sensory-tables.html">DIY sensory tables</a>. Construct a simple wooden base out of pallets and plop in a plastic bin. You can fill them with rice, dried beans, or whatever else you like. And if you're looking to do this project on a dime, skip the table and just place the plastic bin on a waist-high surface.</p> <h2>2. Alphabet Board</h2> <p>I love this <a href="http://nicandkate09.blogspot.com/2011/08/alphabet-board.html">alphabet board</a> project because you could take it in so many different directions. Just mount a metal oil pan on your wall to create a magnetic surface. The author cut up an alphabet poster and glued it to the pan. Then her child used magnetic letters to match. You could repeat with numbers, maps, or anything else you're looking to teach your child.</p> <h2>3. Felt Board</h2> <p>Here's a similar idea <a href="http://buggyandbuddy.com/make-your-own-felt-board-tutorial/">making a felt board</a> versus metal. Cut a piece of felt so it's a bit larger than a cork board. Then use an X-Acto knife to size it perfectly before spraying with adhesive and pressing onto the board. Once it has dried, you can use homemade felt cut-outs to explore a variety of subjects.</p> <h2>4. Emo Dolls</h2> <p>Teach your child about facial expressions, emotions, and even empathy with these <a href="http://www.danyabanya.com/diy-educational-toy-emo-dolls/">DIY emo dolls</a>. Making them couldn't be easier. Take two types of cardboard tubes that are different sizes (toilet paper and cling wrap, for example). Cut them to the same length. Then cut a circle (face) into the larger one. Draw different faces on the smaller one. Nest them together, and you're done!</p> <h2>5. Sight Word Rolls</h2> <p>Use a similar approach for these <a href="http://laughingkidslearn.com/2013/06/word-rolls.html/">sight word rolls</a>. Cut varying lengths of tubes in different diameters. On one tube, write the first part of a word. One the second, the rest of it. There are many different ways to form your words, and this author started with consonant blends and digraphs.</p> <h2>6. Sewn Letters</h2> <p>Those of you who sew will love this <a href="http://www.chicagonow.com/quilting-sewing-creating/2013/06/fabric-alphabet-toy-letters-tutorial-diy/">plush alphabet</a> project you can make using leftover scraps of fabric. Simply cut squares of fabric, sandwich in some batting, and then sew around a stencil guide. Cut out the letters using pinking shears so there's no fraying at the edges.</p> <h2>7. Sponge Letters</h2> <p>Not so crafty? Try cutting <a href="http://www.learning4kids.net/2011/08/16/alphabet-sponge-letters-bath-time-fun-2/">letters from clean sponges</a> instead. The advantage here is that you can take them into the bath. You could also use them as paint stamps. Here's a free <a href="http://www.learning4kids.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Sponge-Alphabet5.pdf">alphabet template</a> you can print off and use as a guide.</p> <h2>8. Inventor's Box</h2> <p>Older kids will go crazy for this <a href="http://www.ehow.com/ehow-mom/blog/build-stem-skills-at-home-make-an-inventors-box/">inventor's box</a>. Fill a plastic bin with old electronic items, like a flashlight, keyboard, clock, radio, or whatever else you can find at yard sales and thrift shops. Then let your child independently explore. The author suggested taking a flashlight apart and letting your kid put it back together.</p> <h2>9. Memory Game</h2> <p>This <a href="http://www.dandee-designs.com/2011/05/shapes-colors-memory-game.html">memory game</a> is something fun you could scale up or down for your child depending on age. Take wooden disks (you can find them at most craft stores) and cut out wool felt shapes in all different colors. Adhere the shapes to the wood and play.</p> <h2>10. Tide Pool</h2> <p>Create your own ecosystem with this <a href="http://buggyandbuddy.com/tide-pool-science-experiment-kids/">tide pool</a> project. You'll fill a metal pan with rocks, mini plastic marine animals, and sand. Then add water to the pan, noting which animals are covered by the water as it rises. Then slowly remove water and watch the tide in reverse.</p> <h2>11. Geoboard</h2> <p>Work on fine motor skills and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning with this <a href="http://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/diy-simple-geo-board-for-fine-motor-skills-fine-motor-fridays/">homemade geoboard</a>. Grab a slab of wood at a craft or home improvement store, then mark off a grid in pencil. Hammer nails into the corner of each marked square. Then give your child some colorful rubber bands to create shapes, letters, or whatever else.</p> <h2>12. Giant Puzzle</h2> <p>Rainy days call for creativity. This <a href="http://www.two-daloo.com/diy-giant-block-puzzle/">giant block puzzle</a> will come to your rescue and challenge your child's spatial and problem-solving skills. Take shaped blocks (or other toys) and trace a bunch on a large sheet of paper. Then give your kids the blocks and let them figure it out.</p> <h2>13. Handwriting Tray</h2> <p>If your little one is just starting to write, try this <a href="http://thismummaslife.com/2013/02/28/diy-salt-tray-and-alphabet-cards/">handwriting tray</a>. The author recycled wooden toy packaging for the tray. The letter cards are made of thick watercolor paper. Once you've finished writing all the letters, fill the tray with salt or sand and let your child write using his or her finger or a q-tip.</p> <h2>14. Color Classifier</h2> <p>Work on advanced color recognition with this <a href="http://www.walkingbytheway.com/blog/shades-of-color/">shades of color</a> activity. Pick up a variety of paint chip cards at your local hardware store, cut them up, and store in a zip bag. Create a quick chart on a plain piece of paper and let you child try putting the chips in order based on gradation.</p> <p><em>Do you have a great project to share? Leave a note in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-free-or-cheap-toys-that-will-make-your-kid-smarter">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-awesomely-fun-toys-you-can-diy">15 Awesomely Fun Toys You Can DIY</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-more-cheap-and-easy-diy-toys-kids-will-love">15 More Cheap and Easy DIY Toys Kids Will Love</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-homemade-child-products-that-are-cheaper-and-better-than-store-bought">10 Homemade Child Products That Are Cheaper and Better Than Store Bought</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-ways-to-help-your-child-get-the-best-education">Frugal Ways to Help Your Child Get the Best Education</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-toys-and-games-you-can-make-at-home">10 Fun Toys and Games You Can Make at Home</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Family educational kids learning playing toys Thu, 30 Jul 2015 15:00:12 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1502076 at http://www.wisebread.com 20 Cheap Fun Things to Do With Kids This Weekend http://www.wisebread.com/20-cheap-fun-things-to-do-with-kids-this-weekend <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-cheap-fun-things-to-do-with-kids-this-weekend" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kids_summer_water_balloon_fight_000062702582.jpg" alt="Kids paticipating in cheap summer activities this weekend" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>School's out for summer for a few more weeks, which means <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-a-good-workout-even-with-kids-around">the kids</a> are about to tear your house apart in three&hellip; two&hellip; one. Unless, of course, you help them channel that boundless energy elsewhere with these cheap or free things to do with kids this weekend.</p> <h2>1. Investigate Summer Programs at Your Local Library</h2> <p>Believe it or not, your local library still exists &mdash; and it probably has a whole calendar of activities planned for the summer. Pop in on your ride home from work one day to pick up a schedule to see what programs your kid might like.</p> <h2>2. Take a Hike on Nearby Trails to Search for Wildlife</h2> <p>Even if you live in a big city like I do, you can find well-worn hiking trail that provides a bit of the great outdoors without going too far from civilization. On this hike, let the kids take a camera so they can capture the various wildlife and insects they might encounter along the way.</p> <h2>3. Set Off on a Playground Hopping Adventure</h2> <p>Take that bar-hopping concept you know so well, apply it to playgrounds, and you've got yourself a lively afternoon of exercise for the kids and a bit of bench relaxing for yourself.</p> <h2>4. Visit a Nearby Transportation Hub and Watch the Vehicles</h2> <p>When I was a kid, my grandparents would take me to all kinds of places to watch various kinds of transportation. We'd sit outside of airports to watch planes take off and land, hang out in Baltimore's Inner Harbor to watch the boats, or spend a couple hours at the B&amp;O Railroad Museum learning about old trains and even taking a quick ride on one. Even though those examples are specific to my childhood, you can likely find some version of these activities in your neck of the woods that'll create lifetime memories for your brood.</p> <h2>5. Splash Around in a Public Fountain on a Hot Day</h2> <p>This is equally as fun for the kids as it is for parents &mdash; if the fountain allows adults to participate. A few summers ago I spent a hot day in Boston and headed straight for the Copley Square Fountain. I had a blast, and it looked like all the ankle-biters did too. Do a quick search online to see what your area has to offer.</p> <h2>6. Head to Your Local Lanes for Free Bowling</h2> <p>For several years now,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.kidsbowlfree.com/">KidsBowlFree</a> has offered free bowling for kids at participating centers during the summer. It's actually a fairly generous program, which allows two hours of bowling per day per child. That's not to suggest that you should shuffle your kids off to the local alley every day to get them out of your hair, but, you know, when you've had enough it's not a bad way to let them wear themselves out.</p> <h2>7. Pop Into Your Town Cineplex for Low or No-Cost Movies</h2> <p>Legit &mdash; I kind of want to have a child (or at least borrow one part time in the summer) so I can take advantage of the low and no-cost movies available to kids and their parents. Lots of theaters &mdash; most national chains, actually &mdash; participate in this <a href="http://freebies.about.com/od/familyactivities/tp/free-summer-movies.htm">freebie program</a>, and the screenings are titles in which your kids will definitely be interested. Find these cheap or free screenings at theater near you.</p> <h2>8. Beat the Heat at an Indoor Play Area at a Nearby Mall</h2> <p>Too hot outside? Let your kids burn off a few dozen summer junk food calories at the play area at the local mall. These areas are mostly for toddlers, so if you've got big kids give 'em a few bucks for a matinee or the food court so they can do their own thing.</p> <h2>9. Catch a Major or Minor League Baseball Game</h2> <p>One of my all-time favorite summer activities as a kid &mdash; and even now as an adult &mdash; is spending a few hours at the ballpark. Most MLB teams have inexpensive kids' tickets (or free tickets for kids younger than a certain age), and the price is even more affordable to watch MiLB in action. Wise Bread has more tips for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-complete-guide-to-saving-at-americas-baseball-stadiums">saving at America's baseball stadiums</a>.</p> <h2>10. Check the Air Show Schedule to Find One Near You</h2> <p>If you want more of a spectacle than watching airplanes take off and land at your nearby airport, find an air show in your area. These stunt flyers are sure to impress, and it's honest-to-goodness fun for the whole family. This&nbsp;<a href="http://www.airshows.aero/Page/ASCalendar">air-show calendar</a> will help you plan your trip.</p> <h2>11. Find a Fun Pool for Refreshing Playtime</h2> <p>Most neighborhoods have a public pool for the kids to cool off in during the summer months. If that's not an option, perhaps you have a friend or family member who's lucky enough to have a pool in their backyard and willing to let you use it.</p> <h2>12. Pack a Picnic and Enjoy it on the Beach</h2> <p>Beaches &mdash; both along the ocean or surrounding a lake &mdash; offer hours and hours of fun. Bring along all the sand essentials &mdash; shovels, pails, boogie boards, sunscreen &mdash; and let the kids run wild. Pack a picnic with their favorite lunch foods to keep them satiated and out of your hair.</p> <h2>13. Set Up Water Games in the Backyard</h2> <p>When splashing around in a pool isn't an option, get creative with backyard water fun. Turn on the sprinklers, set up a slip-and-slide apparatus, or have a water balloon battle. There are lots of great ways to get wet and have fun without ever leaving home.</p> <h2>14. Invite Your Kids' Friends Over for Crafts and Snacks</h2> <p>There's hot and then there's too hot, so it's not a bad idea to have a plan B if the temps outside are too much for your little ones to handle. On days like this, invite over your kids' friends, set up a couple craft projects, and serve a few snacks so everyone can stay occupied, creative, and cool.</p> <h2>15. Break Out the Board Games on a Rainy Day</h2> <p>You can almost bet that when the weather is unbearably hot, there's a storm a-brewin' to break the heat. When the skies open up, hunker down and introduce your kids to a few of your favorite childhood games that don't require batteries, plugs, or controllers.</p> <h2>16. Look Into What's Happening in Your Neighborhood Park</h2> <p>All the open space should be put to good use, and most areas take great advantage of its green space. Visit your town's website or stop by your local library or town hall to browse a calendar of what's coming up that your kids might like.</p> <h2>17. Visit Some of the Free Attractions Your Town Has to Offer</h2> <p>Do you know what's fun and free in your town? You may think that there's nothing to do that doesn't cost anything, but I can assure you there is. Dig into the Internet to find these special spots that'll entertain the kids while saving you dough.</p> <h2>18. Go on a Mini-Excursion to a Nearby Town You've Never Been</h2> <p>I love to explore, and sometimes I hop in the car with a friend and we visit a not-too-far-away town we've never been to check out the shops, have lunch, and just hang out. Kids can enjoy these mini-getaways too with advanced planning to find things to do that complement their interests.</p> <h2>19. Visit Your Local Retailers' Websites for Cheap Activities and Workshops</h2> <p>A few major retailers (and probably some of your mom-and-pop shops, too) understand that it's a full-time job trying to keep your kids occupied and out of trouble while school's out for summer. That's why they offer classes and workshops for kids to keep their little heads thinking and hands moving.&nbsp;<a href="http://workshops.homedepot.com/workshops/kids-workshops">Home Depot</a> and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.michaels.com/classes-and-events/classesandevents">Michaels craft stores</a> are chief among the retailers that host these type of events, but you can find a bevy of <a href="http://freebies.about.com/od/freestuffforkids/tp/classes-for-kids.htm">more free classes</a>.</p> <h2>20. Put Together a Backyard Campout</h2> <p>Save yourself all that hassle of packing and lugging your camping gear around this summer by setting up a campout in the backyard. The kids will have a blast because they can invite over a few of their friends to join in the fun, and you can rest a little easier since you'll have all the modern convenience of home to pull it off without a hitch. Ghost stories and s'mores will be required.</p> <p><em>Have any other cheap fun things for kids to do this summer? Let us know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-cheap-fun-things-to-do-with-kids-this-weekend">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-awesomely-fun-toys-you-can-diy">15 Awesomely Fun Toys You Can DIY</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-amazing-board-games-you-can-diy">8 Amazing Board Games You Can DIY</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-free-or-cheap-toys-that-will-make-your-kid-smarter">14 Free or Cheap Toys That Will Make Your Kid Smarter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-money-making-hobbies">10 Awesome Money-Making Hobbies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-fun-frugal-things-to-do-tonight-besides-watch-tv">25 Fun, Frugal Things to Do Tonight Besides Watch TV</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Family cheap fun kids low-cost playing summer Fri, 17 Jul 2015 09:00:10 +0000 Mikey Rox 1486789 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Life Skills for Working Moms http://www.wisebread.com/10-life-skills-for-working-moms <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-life-skills-for-working-moms" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_pressure_stress_000025928475.jpg" alt="Woman learning helpful life skills for working moms" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I was a working mom, myself, for 18 years. I won't kid you: It wasn't easy. A lot of it is a blur. So, I polled my co-worker moms, friends, and neighbors to see what skills they need to keep the &quot;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-legit-ways-for-stay-at-home-moms-and-dads-to-earn-some-extra-cash">working mom</a>&quot; machine running. Here are some of the top life skills they rely on day in and day out.</p> <h2>1.The Ability to Find Support</h2> <p>&quot;I'd be so screwed if I didn't have my family close by.&quot;</p> <p>All moms interviewed cited the &quot;ability to find help&quot; answer as their most-needed skill. My group relied on husbands or partners, family members (usually their own mothers), babysitters, daycare, after-school programs, neighbors, and friends to help take care of children. A sick kid meant taking time off, but if that wasn't possible, they relied heavily on spouses or family. Struggling the most in my group was &quot;S,&quot; a mother of three, going through a difficult divorce without family close by. She gave credit to her boss, who allowed her to work flexible hours or occasionally work from home.</p> <h2>2. The Ability to Deal With Guilt</h2> <p>&quot;I feel so bad when I don't spend enough time with my son.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Even though she was whiny, I sent her to school, and it turned out she had a double ear infection.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;I was late to pick him up at daycare, and he was the last one there. I felt so bad.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;I was off work and had to ask for people to cover for me.&quot;</p> <p>Guilt is a powerful emotion. Every working mom I talked to had experienced it, and I know it well, myself. What I found encouraging, or healthy, was that the moms were able to articulate that emotion, discuss it, and then move forward. Even though they all experienced guilt, they weren't letting the negative emotion dictate their lives.</p> <h2>3. The Ability to Find a Family-Friendly Workplace</h2> <p>&quot;It's so wonderful when my boss lets me work from home.&quot;</p> <p>In the group of moms interviewed, most were happy and engaged in their work. The mom with the best situation teaches at a community college, where she also has access to an on-site preschool for her daughter. She enjoys flexible hours, particularly in the summer, and a good salary.</p> <p>The moms who worked for larger corporations appreciated their benefit packages, but complained of the paperwork involved in obtaining time off. Working in smaller offices meant having more work or responsibility, but some moms appreciated that they could just &quot;make up time&quot; and not have to clock in or out. Only one in the group was unhappy with her work situation, but was reconciled to staying in it for the pay and benefits for the time being.</p> <h2>4. The Ability to Schedule Everybody</h2> <p>If you need a person on your staff capable of scheduling, hire a mom. The collective ability of my group to meet work deadlines, get multiple kids to various activities, and handle everyday life is impressive. All owned smartphones, which they credited for keeping things straight. Several also had calendars on refrigerators. Many glowed about teachers who would answer texts, or schools that had online homework portals where they could check on their kids' progress. Today's moms are hardwired.</p> <h2>5. The Ability to Carve Out &quot;Me&quot; Time</h2> <p>&quot;Some days, going up the stairs is the only exercise I get.&quot;</p> <p>Alarmingly, the entire group of moms I talked to was pretty much ignoring exercise. There simply seemed to be no time. If a co-worker dragged them on a quick walk during break, that was it. After work, everyone piled into their cars, picked up kids, and went to after-school activities. This was followed by dinner, baths, homework, and bed.</p> <p>Still, they managed to carve out little bits of time for themselves. Some enjoyed reading magazines on their lunch breaks. Others looked forward to hair or manicure appointments, or visiting with other moms while waiting at soccer, little league, or dance lessons. Many watched reality shows (&quot;I know it's totally fake, but it's my guilty pleasure...&quot;) or playing games on their phones. &quot;K,&quot; a champion multi-tasker, said, &quot;I put the baby in the stroller, attach the dog leash, stick a beer in the beverage holder and we go walk and unwind.&quot;</p> <h2>6. The Ability to Delegate</h2> <p>In my little group, the husbands/partners do almost all of the cooking. Kids over eight do laundry, or fold clothes. Older children make their own lunches, or buy lunch at school. Some do a little yard work or feed the family pets. Clearly, being able to delegate chores at home is a skill that working moms need. You can't do it all yourself.</p> <h2>7. The Ability to Say &quot;No&quot;</h2> <p>Happily, if my group was any indication, today's moms have learned that sometimes &quot;no&quot; is the answer. While they still expressed some guilt about not being able to work overtime, fill in a shift, take that PTA Treasurer job, or bake cookies, they were able to say &quot;no.&quot; when needed. Family has become priority #1, and they all knew how to set boundaries. Also interesting was the fact that, rather than traveling to work meetings, more were utilizing webinars, Skype, or conference calls. &quot;There is no reason I need to drive an hour to sit in a meeting,&quot; said one, &quot;when we can just bang out the details over the phone.&quot;</p> <h2>8. The Ability to Cope With the Difficult Times</h2> <p>&quot;I am being pulled in so many different directions.&quot;</p> <p>Who has it the hardest? Having been there myself, I'd say it's the sandwich generation. These are the women trying to work, take care of children, and take care of parents. K, for example, has three children under the age of 11, works fulltime, and her mother is beginning to experience dementia. Her life involves constant caretaking. She has also had to quickly become an expert in insurance programs, various care facilities, and in-home nursing. She and her husband frequently &quot;tag-team&quot; each other just to get through the day.</p> <h2>9. The Ability to Reconnect</h2> <p>&quot;I never knew I'd learn how to keep score for baseball!&quot;</p> <p>My moms group figured out that they needed to spend time with their families, and I think they have surprised themselves by learning new things in order to stay connected. These moms are cool &mdash; they learned about little league, rodeo, dance, band, etc. &mdash; along with their partners and husbands, and now the whole family is together, no matter what the activity.</p> <h2>10. The Ability to Keep a Sense of Humor</h2> <p>&quot;I'll look back on this and laugh, right?&quot;</p> <p>It's true. I can laugh now about how upset I was at the time about dealing with head lice, or projectile vomiting, or that time when we forgot to pick her up at school. It helps a lot to have other moms to talk to for encouragement. Kids are going to do some dumb things, too, and they're going to occasionally embarrass you, but if you can keep your sense of humor, you'll be all right. Here's just a little more humor:</p> <p>&quot;Being a working mom is not easy. You have to be willing to screw up at every level.&quot; &mdash; Jami Gertz</p> <p><em>What working mom life skills do you find essential?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-life-skills-for-working-moms">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-moms-should-do-before-returning-to-work">6 Things Moms Should Do Before Returning to Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-employers-for-single-parents">The 7 Best Employers for Single Parents</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-never-to-bring-up-in-a-job-interview">5 Things Never to Bring Up in a Job Interview</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-high-paying-jobs-for-introverts">The 10 Best High Paying Jobs for Introverts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/crime-scene-cleaner-and-4-other-trades-that-pay-surprisingly-well">Crime Scene Cleaner and 4 Other Trades That Pay Surprisingly Well</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building Family employment kids life skills working moms Tue, 14 Jul 2015 13:00:15 +0000 Marla Walters 1484701 at http://www.wisebread.com