It happens more than we care to admit. Sometimes our lives are just not that exciting to our kids and they get bored easily. Or maybe it’s been raining for days on end and the kids are suffering from cabin fever. That’s it, we will just say that is what it is. When my kids announce loudly (it’s always loud and dramatic, isn’t it?) how bored they are, I have an activity jar of things they have to do. It doesn’t matter what they pull, they are committed to doing it. Here are suggestions of things you can put into the jar and save your own sanity in the process.
Kid’s ain’t cheap, and it gets worse as they get older. Nothing hits harder than when your child learns to drive, and when they are ready for college. For me, adding my child to my car insurance was filled with “my baby is growing up” emotions stabbing my heart and “how on earth are we going to afford this” on repeat through my head. They are normal, but you’ll need to find ways to tackle these thoughts. Here are some ways I learned to save some extra cash on car insurance for teens.
We all know that there are countless reasons why family dinner is so important to the health of your family relationships. The problem is, life gets in the way. Soccer practices, recitals, rehearsals, meetings, clubs, and spiritual engagements can clog our calendars in a heartbeat. Rather than focus on the actual food, I wanted to share with you the ways you can focus on the importance of family dinner and bringing back the tradition. Hopefully, these suggestions can help you manage your family a little bit easier.
The open enrollment period for most companies and for those who buy plans through the Affordable Care Act is about to end. Insurance decisions are particularly challenging for parents. Kids get sick and you never know when your kid will break a bone or have another injury.
Bringing home your baby from the hospital is a joyous occasion, but it’s also scary, especially for first-time parents. You may be even more scared if your child has health issues. For this reason, many parents turn to baby monitors for help. The Owlet Smart Sock 2 is the most unique type of baby monitor on the market. Created by Kurt Workman, Zack Bomsta, and Jordan Monroe, the Smart Sock is getting rave reviews after just a few years on the market. Is the Owlet worth it? Here’s what you should know.
Children of the 70s and 80s rode in the front seat of the car with their parents and sometimes in the back of a truck unrestrained. Nowadays, we know it’s safer to make sure our children are properly restrained. From the time a child is born until the child is between eight and ten, parents need to have a car seat.
Around 16 percent of child abductions each year take place at the victim’s home. Many parents take home security measures but fail to recognize that the children must be involved. While it’s instinctual to impart lessons on how to react to strangers in public, what to do when there’s an earthquake or how to respond to a threat of fire, teaching kids to deal with the possibility of home invasions is not always something that crosses the mind of parents or guardians. Here are just some of the reasons why you need to teach children about home safety and necessary precautions.
Photo courtesy of OpenClipart-Vectors via Pixabay
Your home security alarm system will be useless
You took the extra effort to install a Honeywell home security system. You even scoured the market for the best system available. Yet you could be missing one important detail: teaching your kids how to actually use it.
As much as you’d like to, it’s not always possible to be by your kids’ side. Unfortunately, they’re not always safe, not even at your own home. So make sure they can protect themselves even when you are not home. Explain to your children how your home security system works, and carry out a hands-on demonstration for good measure. Also, take the time to explain what the security system is for, and why it is important that they know their way around it. Emphasize just how they should respond to an emergency situation when you are not around.
If you are subscribed to a third-party monitoring service, make sure your children know the passcode. To ensure that they remember the passcode, have them repeatedly recite it back to you. Don’t forget to properly educate them about the dangers of giving out the passcode to the wrong people. Also, most security alarm systems are connected to a phone. Teach your children how to respond to a buzz from the security company, be it a legitimate threat being reported or a mere false alarm.
Photo courtesy of Neshom via Pixabay
Doors and windows are often taken for granted
Keeping doors and windows locked is one of the most basic and important steps in home security, yet it’s also one of the most neglected. This is especially true now that children are more distracted than ever, what with all the gadgets, video games, and Internet stuff keeping them preoccupied. One of the best ways to ensure they keep doors and windows locked is by helping them make a habit out of it. This way they could have it in their system and start doing it on automatic mode. Remind them as many times as you can to lock the door behind them after entering or leaving home. You should also teach them to constantly check doors and windows while at home.
Unlocked doors and windows are practically an invitation for unwanted invasion. Make sure your children understand this.
Photo courtesy of Maklay62 via Pixabay
The basic concept of stranger danger
While most kids understand that talking to strangers is a major no-no, many throw caution to the wind when they’re in the comfort of their own home. Remind them that the old stranger danger rule applies to people knocking at the door as well. While it’s easy to assume that refusing to open the door to strangers would come naturally to kids, you must avoid getting complacent. It’s actually common for children to open the door without checking who’s behind it, as their first instinct is often to avoid being rude to adults.
Repeatedly emphasize to your children that checking who’s at the door is important before opening it, and that they must never open it to people they do not recognize. Teach them to make it clear to the person knocking that there’s an adult at home. Tell them to also check with the adults first before opening the door, even if it’s someone they know.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay via Pexels
Children need to know they have 911 to turn to
It’s likely your children already understand what 911 is for. But unless you’ve gone out of the way to talk to them about it, steer clear of assumptions. Take the time to sit down and actually have the conversation. Explain to your children when the best time to call 911 is and how to go about it. Many parents have been saved by their own children, even by really young ones, by a simple 911 call. So make sure the idea of 911 is deeply ingrained in your children’s system.
Photo courtesy of Ongchinonn via Pixabay
Dangers lurk on social media
Dangerous strangers are not always at the door. Sometimes they’re on social media, accessing your home via your kids’ gadgets. It’s easy to assume that kids are on the Internet watching wholesome shows, playing games or simply talking to their friends. But kids are naturally curious, and could easily give in to the attraction of the unknown.
Majority of 10- to 12-year-old kids are already active on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, in spite of the platforms’ age restrictions. Predators and burglars alike are taking advantage of this. For your kids’ safety, it’s absolutely important that you stay on top of their Internet use and that you remind them of the dangers online. Make sure that you act as their ally so they do not end up feeling suffocated and rebellious.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay via Pexels
Security should be a family affair
Your security efforts will be most successful if the whole family is involved. As young as they are, children can compromise your home’s security because of their innocence and vulnerability. So keeping them involved and educated is not optional, it’s absolutely necessary.
Arrange family meetings where you discuss essential safety skills. Make it as engaging as it is somber. Above all, instill the importance of staying secure without instilling fear. Being fearful and panicky will only exacerbate the danger, and that is no way to live. It’s especially toxic for children. So tread wisely when instilling security lessons.
That being said, have regular security drills at home. For one, teach your children not to reveal to strangers that their parents are not home. Set up role playing games that will teach them to respond to situations where they have to talk to strangers on the phone or at the door. Also, make it absolutely clear that they can’t announce on social media that their parents are not home. And take the time to create and discuss emergency plans for situations like home invasions, fires, and natural disasters.
Your home is your place of solace, as it ought to be. But don’t let this lull you into complacence. Teaching your children the value of home security and the ways to deal with possible threats will go a long way in keeping them safe. Your children are your greatest treasure and should be guarded in all the ways possible.
Some people shop all year long for Christmas. Others wait until December 24th. Wherever you fit in that spectrum, you still want to score a deal. Americans spend $830 billion on Christmas, according to a 2013 statistic. If you’re looking for cheap Christmas gifts for kids, then here are five tips that will help.
(Got any kids 5 and under? Here’s a great list of gift ideas for them!)
If you’re a fan of Amazon, especially around the holidays, then check out SnagShout.com. It offers hundreds of deeply discounted products you can purchase in exchange for a review.
How does SnagShout work:
- Browse their merchandise to see if there is something you’d like to purchase. Often these products are marked 60% to 90% off. Some products are even free.
- You’ll be given a specific SnagShout code to enter at check out.
- These are Amazon products, so you’ll be automatically transferred to Amazon to complete your purchase.
- Once you’ve received and tried out the product, you must leave a review on Amazon to complete your agreement with SnagShout.
- After that, you’re permitted to shop for your next SnagShout product.
Giving SnagShout products as gifts is tricky since you do need to leave a review. I’m certainly not suggesting you lie because that’s unethical and could get you banned from SnagShout. The best solution is to purchase the item for your child, let him play with it, then ask what he thinks. You could also purchase an item of which you’re already familiar and leave a review based on what you already know.
Off-season clearance racks
Fall and spring are great times of the year for garage sales. Every changing season brings a deep discount (i.e. end of summer, back to school, end of winter, etc.). If there are huge discounts on summer clothes during the fall, then you could score some big savings on next year’s summer wardrobe and give them as Christmas presents.
If gift cards and online shopping are your preferred methods for finding cheap Christmas gifts for kids, then look up Swagbucks. This is one of the most popular survey + reward sites because it offers a wide variety of ways to earn. They include:
- Searching the Web
- Online shopping
- Watching videos
- Playing games
You could earn points the next time you shop online at Toys R Us, Target, Old Navy, or the Disney Store. Cash in your points for free gift cards for Amazon, PayPal, Walmart, Target, Visa and more.
Click here to sign up for your free Swagbucks account.
Cheap Christmas gifts for kids come in every shape in size. One of my favorite things about Pinterest is that there are so many options for making awesome gifts for your awesome kids. Not everything is cheaper to make at home than it is in the store. However, I encourage you to at least consider this route, especially if time is on your side. I made a no-sew blanket for each of my babies, and could easily work on it while I watched a movie. Fabric stores often have coupons for supplies, so I saved money and gave my kids something homemade they’ll have for a long time from their not-that-crafty mom.
One of the coolest gifts you can give your kids is the gift of experiences. Groupon is a great resource for discounted events and adventures. Search “Groupon + Your City” to find some kid-friendly events happening near you.
Do you start Christmas shopping before or after Thanksgiving? Tell us in the comments below?
Image Credit: Andrew Neel (UnSplash)
This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, Kids Ain’t Cheap will receive a commission, but we only recommend products that we know and love. Thank you for your business!
Although I’m not sure I remember every car I’ve driven over the years, I do remember the first one. It was big, green, and nearly as old as I was. But, it was mine.
It was my brother’s car first, purchased before he went away to college. Once he graduated and got a job, he bought a newer one and turned the keys, and the car, over to me.
My family didn’t have much money. I was sure I wouldn’t have a car at all until I could save enough to buy one myself. Therefore, even though I didn’t pay for it myself, I still appreciated my car and tried to take care of it.
Not all of the kids I went to school with had cars back then. Times have changed, though, and it’s almost expected now for parents to provide their kids with a car.
But maybe buying your teenager a car isn’t the best thing you could do for them. Here are 5 reasons you might not want to buy your kid a car.
1. They Need to Learn How to Earn What They Get
One of the reasons you shouldn’t buy your kid a car is because they need to learn how to earn what they get. Part of your job as a parent is to teach your kids responsibility.
Of course, you should provide for their basic needs, such as housing, clothes, food, etc. But giving them everything they want in life is not going to teach them to appreciate what they are given.
You could argue that they will have to pay for the gas and any repairs but not the actual car. Even with those financial responsibilities, it may not be enough to teach your kids that they get what they earn for themselves.
There is a saying that if you “give a man a fish you feed him for a day but if you teach a man to fish you feed him for a lifetime”. Applying it to this situation means giving your kid a car isn’t the best thing you can do for them.
2. They may not Take Care of it
Another one of the reasons you shouldn’t buy your kid a car is because many teens are not good at taking care of their stuff. If yours is one of them, do you really think it’s a good idea to spend thousands on a car for them?
Before shelling out a ton of money on a vehicle, consider whether or not your kid is ready to take responsibility for the car. Talk to them about changing the oil, filters, wiper blades, and other regular maintenance.
If it is clear your kid expects you to pay for repairs and give them gas money you can certainly say no to the car.
3. It Could Help Them Build Credit
Putting your kid in debt at a young age isn’t necessarily the ideal situation. For one thing, you will probably have to co-sign the loan. But perhaps it’s a better option than buying your kid a car and paying for it yourself.
A loan could work to their advantage when buying their own car. If they are responsible in making their payments on time, it can help your kid build their credit for future purchases.
4. Is it the Best Use of Your Money?
Buying your kid a car may not be the best use of your money. This is just one more reason you shouldn’t buy your kid a car.
For instance, you might be able to take the money and invest it for your future retirement. Or, pay down debt instead of buying your kid a car.
5. It May Cause Them to Study Less
If your child is given a car, it may lead them to feel like they are free to come and go as they choose. This is especially true if you have not given them strict rules on when they should be home at night.
With too much freedom, your teen may spend less time on the things they should be doing, such as studying. This could cause their grades to drop and threaten their ability to get into a good college.
So, what do you think? Should you buy your kid a car?
Jeanne is a married mother of 2 grown children who works a full-time job, has two side hustles, and also helps out occasionally on the farm she and her husband own together. Her background is finance and medical office management, and she hopes to help others improve their finances and change their futures.
We’ve all read blog posts mapping out our best chance for productivity, right? Ever read one and just think, “Not a chance”? As moms, juggling our kids, errands, hobbies, business, etc. turns our quest for productivity into a search for the Holy Grail. Therefore, we’re going to spend today looking at a realistic daily schedule for stay-at-home moms.
A Daily Schedule for Stay-at-Home Moms – Hot Mess Moms Welcome
The other day, I read a post by a successful online entrepreneur who is also a new father. John Meese structured his schedule around what he calls “The Perfect Day.” Here is a quick overview:
- 6:00 AM – Wake up, exercise, eat breakfast
- 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM – Work
- 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM – Lunch, rest, recharge
- 2:00 PM – 6:00 PM – Work
- 6:00 PM – End of Day – Family time
I really do think that would be the perfect day. I mean, a two-hour lunch break to just read a book? Or even nap?
The problem is, this beautiful schedule is simply unobtainable for stay-at-home moms. It’s not Meese’s fault; he didn’t write it for us. But too often, I think we see this as the ONLY option and throw in the towel when we can’t keep up. How can a stay-at-home mom physically get up at 6:00 AM and expect to get something done after waking up three times in the night to soothe a teething baby?
And approximately how many lunch breaks do you get, mama?
How about that “work until dinnertime” notion? Guess who’ll be right at your ankles every seven minutes asking for a snack if you’re not in the kitchen working on dinner?
Hear me out. Til my dying breath, I’ll tell the world that being a mom is the greatest gig in the world. But if I want to find a balance that actually fits my lifestyle, then I need to let go of a few expectations.
Here are a few examples.
Letting Go of Expectations
You can’t expect to function with the same schedule as a breadwinner. If you signed up to be the stay-at-home mom, then your priority lies with the munchkins. Do you still deserve time to yourself each day to recharge? ABSOLUTELY. You just need to find it in different ways. Sometimes, that means swapping childcare with another mom once a week. It might mean establishing quiet time every afternoon if the children don’t nap anymore so you can have an hour to yourself. You could even hire a sitter to watch the children one day a week if that’s what it takes to give you balance.
You can’t expect the schedule you implement today to still work in three weeks.
When I first became a freelance writer, I made a simple goal to write each morning at 6:30. That worked for approximately two weeks until my infant began teething through the night and my toddler suddenly wanted breakfast at 4:00 AM. I was a hot mess trying so hard to stick to my writing schedule. Changing my plans felt like failing, but you know what? It’s exactly what needed to happen. So, I extended myself some grace, slept when my kids slept and started swapping childcare with a friend to accomplish my writing tasks.
Now, let’s take a look at a slightly more realistic daily schedule for stay-at-home moms…
A Daily Schedule for Stay-at-Home Moms to Fit Your Lifestyle
Pre-Breakfast – Tend to yourself – Whether that means to sleep in, read, exercise, shower, or just sip coffee in silence.
Morning – Tend to your family – Spend this time intentionally caring for your little ones: i.e. Make breakfast, get the children dressed, make crafts, go on playdates, visit a library.
Lunch – If you’re planning time in the afternoon for your hobby or at-home business, then find creative and simple finger foods to make for lunch. An elaborate, three-course lunch will zap your afternoon energy reserves faster than a hailstorm. Use wraps to make PB&J roll-ups, for example. The less clean up, the better.
Afternoon – Naptime/Quiet time – Once the kids are down for naps or have a few activities to play quietly in their room, it’s time to clock in. If your kids are anything like mine, then they like to sneak out of their rooms and check if quiet time is done approximately 18 times, no matter how nicely (or firmly) you ask them to stop. If that wrecks your concentration like it does mine, then leave the heavy focus for child-free time. For example, I can email, design social media graphics, or outline during quiet time, but I can’t write a chapter in my book.
Evening – Family time – Maybe your brain is able to function once you’ve cooked dinner, fed the family, cleaned up, bathed the kids, read them stories, and said good night, but I’m absolutely FRIED after 8:30 PM. My best move is to hang out with my husband watching Netflix or read a book. If you can work on your hobbies and interests, then go for it.
By the way, if you’re looking for ways to make money from home, check out these 14 jobs that are worth a stay-at-home mom’s time!
This daily schedule for stay-at-home moms is obviously just one broad stroke of the paint brush. Your life and your interests will look differently once applied to this list. Therefore, let’s hear how you find the most balance in your week.