Category: family life

5 Smart Travel Tips for Your Next Family Roadtrip

smart travelDoes the idea of a road trip sound great in theory, but make you groan when you consider all the details? You’re not alone.

Family road trips often sound like an amazing opportunity for quality time and bonding. But the tenth cry of “she hit me” and repetition of the Wiggles soundtrack can quickly drive you crazy.

Luckily, we’ve got all the info you need to make your family road trip a success. Read on for some smart travel tips that’ll help you actually enjoy your next adventure.

Making the Most of Family Roadtrips

A road trip is a great way to travel as a family. You have the freedom to go wherever you want and can easily pull the car over for food and bathroom breaks. You’ll also get to explore parts of the country that you would miss if you were flying to your destination.

But it’s not all fun and games, and a road trip can quickly turn into a nightmare if you don’t prepare correctly. Here are some smart travel tips to get you started:

1. Do Your Research

The best thing you can do to make your trip go smoothly? Research. Get online and find where other parents drove, where they stayed, and the activities they recommend.

Speak to other parents and get suggestions for experiences or itineraries. Keep in mind the ages of your kids (and theirs) so you can ensure you’re getting the best advice for your situation.

2. Travel With Other Parents

What’s better than a road trip? A road trip with other parents and kids. The more people you travel with, the less likely you’ll hear “I’m bored” from your kids.

You’ll also be making decisions as a team, and can enjoy a well-earned glass of wine at the end of the day.

3. Drive Safe

Before you leave, it’s a good idea to get the car checked out. Whether you have a teeny Toyota or a handicap van, take it in for a service and check that everything is working as it should.

Before you leave, check the tires. You may also want to check the back seat to ensure all windows and doors have the child safety locks activated and there are no choking hazards back there.

4. Take Entertainment

There are now more ways to entertain your kids than ever before. But even the most prepared parent can still hear whining on a long drive.

The answer? Pack more options than you think you’ll need.

However you feel about screen time, most parents allow at least an hour or two on road trips. Here are some other great options:

  • Reading
  • Family podcasts
  • Games like “I Spy”
  • Audiobooks
  • Talking
  • Looking up information about the area
  • Listening to songs
  • Writing in journals

5. Take Frequent Breaks

If you’re close to your destination, it can be tempting to keep driving, even when the whole family is tired. Instead, avoid setting a strict schedule and play it by ear.

That means regularly taking breaks for snacks and the bathroom. Encourage the kids to run around (set up a quick game of tag or race around the car), and try to stretch your legs yourself.

Smart Travel is Sane Travel

A family road trip doesn’t need to be stressful. By following the above smart travel tips, you can enjoy spending time together as a family and see the sights without losing your sanity.

What are your top road trip tips? Leave a comment below and let us know! Then, check us out for more tips on thrifty living and more!

Adventure Camp: 5 Reasons It’s Money Well Spent

camping under the starsSometimes an adventure camp offers an opportunity to break away from the daily grind. It also provides all sorts of opportunities and possibilities that families can enjoy together.

So, if you’re planning for some family adventure, don’t believe for a second that you’re throwing money down the drain. Outdoor activities offer a way to share a new story, connect, and experience the wonder of nature.

Here are five reasons why your money is well-spent when you go for an adventure.

Read on to learn more.

1. Gain New Skills

As a parent, taking your kids to an adventure camp offers them an opportunity to acquire and develop new skills. Activities, such as boating trips, rock climbing, canoeing, caving, and backpacking offer your children something new to learn and also help them build confidence.

Since they engage in these outdoor activities almost every day of the camp, they’re able to build confidence and experience a personal transformation that generally improves their life. The more kids get out there, the more they learn.

2. Connect

With today’s hard-pressed lifestyle, finding time for your kids and family can be difficult.

Thanks to adventures, you’re able to engage in real interactions with kids and enjoy some quality time together. A camp offers the time to make up for any unavailability.

You’ll be surprised to see how your kids open up and talk about their lives when they have your total concentration.

3. Give Yourself Time

The truth is, some life experiences tend to push you into a corner. When that is coupled with your daily job stress it can wreck your life.

An adventure gives you time to reflect on your life. You’re able to engage in something that you love and take your mind off life issues. Plus, it gives you a fresh and positive mindset to handle challenges in the right way.

This is the time to develop an optimistic attitude, plan your life, and re-evaluate choices.

4. Improve Social Skills

As you already know, work and school take lots of time. People hardly find time to interact with new people in an entirely different occasion or situation anymore.

An adventure camp gives you and your kids time and opportunity to interact with new people. A simple thing like asking another camper for help setting up the tent can spark constructive and productive conversations.

The social benefits are broad and far-reaching, especially for kids. A camps sleepaway sets a new course in their development that hopefully helps them communicate effectively and exercise teamwork.

5. Self-Dependence

With today’s environment, parents tend to be overprotective of their kids. One disadvantage of overprotection is that it denies teens an opportunity to make their own decisions and be responsible.

Allowing your teens to attend a summer adventure camp helps them to be independent. They’re able to explore and exploit their personal strengths to grow into responsible adults. Being alone can empower them in ways you can’t imagine.

Enjoy Your Adventure Camp!

An adventure usually offers a challenging and exciting experience. The benefits you and your family will enjoy after the camp will make each dime spent well worth it.

It will help to forge new relationships and support social development of kids. They will also experience extraordinary changes and learn lifelong lessons.

Do you have any thoughts on the adventure of camping? Share with us in the comments!

5 Unseen Benefits of Kids Sports

kids sportsOver 36 million kids play organized sports. Participating in sports can be a great way for kids to compete and stay active. But there’s more to it than wins and losses.

Kids sports are good for young people for a variety of reasons. Here are five you may not have thought about.

Exposure to a Diversity of Other Kids

School tends to group children by geography and age. Sports can expand the social circle significantly. Most youth sports put a range of ages on the same teams, and the kids can be from anywhere.

Knowing other kids from a variety of social, economic, racial, and religious backgrounds make a big difference in how your children grow up. Compassion and understanding for others develop naturally when you work and play together.

Playing Various Roles

Your child may not normally have a chance to be a leader, but in sports they can become the captain. Even a kid who is shy can come out of their shell in a team environment.

A naturally aggressive kid may find themselves on the bench at times. Children who play multiple sports are especially likely to have a variety of experiences – they may excel in baseball but struggle in soccer. The different environments are a good experience.

A Boost in Self Esteem

Someone who struggles academically may find his or her niche in sports. It can help those who don’t fit in traditionally to discover a way to express themselves and excel in a new area.

The praise and encouragement that kids get from coaches and teammates can bring out the best in a child. You may find that your kid blooms and becomes a whole new individual because of participation in kids sports.

Understanding the Value of Money

Kids sports are expensive, but a lot of young people don’t realize it right away. However, being involved in sports can help your child understand more about the value of money.

If he or she wants the best basketball shoes, something else may have to go. Helping children understand tradeoffs using sports is a great way to expand the benefits beyond the playing field.

If your kid is involved in multiple sports, help them understand the tradeoffs. If they want to travel for volleyball, you can let them know that they have to stay local for gymnastics, for instance.

The Development of Healthy Habits

Being successful in sports requires exercise, healthy eating, getting enough sleep, and more. These healthy habits don’t just happen during childhood. They can go with kids for the rest of their lives.

Habits are things that you get used to, that are so normal to you that they are second nature. When the choices that seem normal to your child are exercise, solid rest, discipline, and right eating, he or she is set up for a successful adulthood.

Are You Ready for Kids Sports?

Getting children to be involved in sports can be challenging for parents, especially if there’s a lot of travel. Be sure to talk to your kids about the choices they need to make regarding time and finances. Having them understand the trade-offs makes decisions easier.

Some parents decide to have kids only participate in two out-of-school activities a year. Others are committed to providing as much diversity as possible.

There’s no right answer – it’s a choice as individual as your family. How do you balance sports for your children? Let us know in the comments!

4 Senior Care Options for Your Aging Parents

young and elderly womenOver 12 million American elders need long-term, specialized care each year.

If you’re looking into senior care options for your family, the emotional stress it causes often makes it difficult to know what to do next.

Depending on the type of care they need and their current health, there are a few different paths you can take. In this post, we’ll take a look at four of the most common senior care options.

1. Moving In With You

If your parent is still mentally functioning well, but you’re concerned they may fall or be unable to complete basic tasks for themselves, consider having them move in with you.

That way, you’ll be able to engage with them on a daily basis to ensure their mental state stays strong for as long as possible. This also means you’ll notice right away any sign of mental or physical decline.

Depending on your availability throughout the day, your own physical strength, and your current number of dependents, this may or may not be possible.

Involve every member of your household in the decision to have an aging parent move in with you, and be clear about the responsibilities it would entail.

2. Visiting Nurses In The Home

If your parent wants to retain a certain level of independence, or if you’re unable to provide a safe space for them in your own home, visiting nurses are a wonderful option.

Essentially, these Registered Nurses will come to your parent’s home, provide any necessary medical attention and assistance, and ensure that your parent is still functioning well enough to live on their own.

They can also assist with basic daily tasks such as meals, bathing, and light exercise.

Of course, since these nurses don’t provide full-time, live-in care, it’s a good idea to take other precautions to help your parent keep their schedule on track. Getting a day clock for seniors can help them to remember important appointments, to take their medications, and more when help is not around.

Plus, some day clocks also allow you to send photos to your parent, so they can feel connected to the rest of the family even if you live far away.

3. Nursing Homes

Nursing homes combine a sense of community with individualized, around-the-clock care.

They are a wonderful option for parents whose health is rapidly declining, but whose cognitive functions may still be in fairly good shape.

Nursing homes provide meals, outings, evening activities, and medical care. However, due to the unfortunate rise in elder abuse at some nursing homes, it is imperative that you do your research and demand to speak to the children of other residents.

4. Hospice

If your parent is terminally ill, then hospice may be the best choice to ensure that they can spend their final weeks in as little pain as possible.

We understand that the decision to place a parent in hospice care is one of the most difficult choices you will make in your lifetime.

However, hospice staff and doctors can help with both the medical and emotional impacts on both your family and your parent. You can also elect to have hospice care brought to your own home or to the environment where your parent feels the most comfortable.

Which Of These Senior Care Options Is Right For You?

Your parents devoted so much of their lives to caring for you. Now, it’s time for you to return the favor.

Of course, the options listed here can be expensive. Spend some time on our website to learn more about how to save money to ensure your parents get the best care possible when they need it.

Tips for Home Staging When You Have Kids

cheap homesKids are messy.

Every parent knows the daily struggle of keeping their house clean. It can be an uphill battle trying to keep your hallways clear and your carpets free from uncapped markers.

More often than not, a messy household is nothing to worry about. That is unless you’re selling a house.

Staging a home is an important step for anyone looking to maximize their value on the market. In fact, staged properties spend 73 percent less time on the market than unstaged properties.

Are you looking for advice on staging your home? It can be difficult, especially with kids running around. Read on for some inexpensive, child-proof home staging tips.

Get Creative with Storage

There’s no way to have a perfectly clean house. That’s especially true when you’re a parent.

It might seem like an impossible task to hide all of your kid’s belongings. But you might be surprised at how much you can store away.

Think about a couple of unused spots where you can stash items before a showing. Your kid’s items don’t need to be put away perfectly. Rather, just stash them away in a temporary spot that unlikely to be inspected.

In addition to finding hidden storage areas, you should look to maximize your traditional storage methods.

Try finding bins with lids. No matter how cluttered they are inside, they’ll look organized to a potential buyer.

Declutter as Much as Possible

Clutter is a big factor in making places look disorganized. But decluttering can be difficult if you have kids.

Packing up personal items is a great way to make a home look desirable. By removing clutter, prospective buyers find it easier to envision themselves living in a home.

Temporarily remove your kid’s items during staging. You should aim to minimize pictures, toys, art supplies, and other junk sitting around the house.

Your kid might be upset to see their toys stashed away. Remind your child that it’s only temporary and that they will get their items back soon.

Try to keep your kids occupied during staging if they’re still upset. You can give them just one or two toys to keep them distracted when there are visitors. Then you can unleash their clutter when the time comes.

Make Your House Adult-Friendly

Look: You’re not trying to sell your house to a whole family. But many parents still fall into the trap of trying to make their house look kid-friendly.

The best way to approach staging is to leave as much empty space as possible. That way, buyers can generate their own ideas about how the house fits into their vision.

During the staging process, you should do your best to prevent kid messes that can negatively impact your home’s best selling points.

You should also convert kid playrooms into a staging area during this process. Try to leave these rooms free of toys and kid decorations in lieu of more traditional items, like furniture and art.

You might also get more value out of converting the kid’s bedrooms into something more neutral. Do so by hiding away toys and using calming color schemes.

These tips should help you get an offer that reflects your home’s true value. You want to make sure that when potential buyers use a mortgage calculator, that they are seeing that your home is worth the money.

Home Staging Hacks

Juggling kids and a move can be a difficult task. By using these tips, you can help make sure that you’re prepared to properly stage your house.

Do you have more questions about parenting? We’re here to help. Contact us today to get the advice you want on our site.

 

5 Fun Kid-Friendly Tips for Your Wedding Ceremony

wedding decorationsRing, ding, ding! Your big day is coming. Whether you’re planning your wedding ceremony or renewing vows with the love of your life, fun decorations are in order.

Wedding and renewal ceremonies don’t have to be super traditional anymore. Couples are encouraged to show off their personality and have a lot of fun. After all, it’s supposed to be the best day of your life.

Don’t settle for boring white linens and flimsy paper streamers if that’s not what you want. If you prefer flash, style, and fun, you’ve come to the right place.

Read on for five fun kid-friendly decorating ideas for your wedding or renewal ceremony.

1. Balloons Aren’t Just for Kids

Balloons aren’t just for birthday parties anymore. A tasteful display of balloons will give your wedding a happy, fun, and whimsical feel.

You can decorate with some gorgeous rose gold monogrammed balloons or you can use large balloons to give your flower girl and ring bearer a modern twist. The kids will love it!

2. S’more Love for Everyone

After a whirlwind day of pictures, dancing, smiles, and maybe a few mishaps, you and your dearest ones will be spent. Everyone might have rushed through dinner in order to get on that dance floor.

Send your guests home with a late-night snack and a smile. Get crafty and put together little s’mores grab bags for them to take on their way out.

Use clear plastic bags, fill with all the s’mores necessities, and tie it off with some twine. Add monogrammed tags if you want and BAM! Delizioso!

3. Keep the Kids Together at the Ceremony

Love rocks!

Set up a little table for the kiddos to sit, snack, and craft together. You don’t want restless kids running around your wedding with nothing to do besides getting into trouble.

Here’s an idea: Get a pile of smooth rocks together (a great task for groomsmen to help with) along with some painting supplies. Make sure the paint is washable since these kids will be wearing their Sunday best.

Let the kids paint their own love rock! They can take their painted rocks home with them or leave it for the happy couple as their own special keepsake. Stick them in your garden for a little reminder of the best day ever.

4. Put It All on the Table

Don’t forget the table settings. Decorate the many tables at your ceremony with flowers, succulents, party favors, table runners, and confetti.

Going for a customized look? Try an easy DIY table runner or try something clever like covering your tables with origami creations you and your bridesmaids folded.

Incorporate an aspect of your ceremony into your decorations. Many couples have a special, meaningful moment where they seal their commitment to each other with something like unity sand. Put extra sand in small vials and use them as your seating arrangement markers.

5. Vintage Teapots and Vases

If you’re looking for a vintage chic vibe, take a stroll through your local thrift store. Find unique vases, teapots, saucers, and cups to decorate your table settings.

Try using unconventional items to hold your succulents and flowers, like these cute teacup succulent pots.

If you don’t want to take all these items home with you, let your guests keep them. They’ll love the sweet reminder of your big day every time they look at their new plant.

What are some fun wedding and vow renewal decoration ideas you have come up with? Let us know in the comments below!

5 Good Reasons to Buy Pets for Kids

pets for kids It’s obvious that children love animals. From toys to clothing to movies, animals are everywhere!

Even more than animals in general, kids love their pets.

There’s a reason why veterinarian is always a top answer when kids are asked what they want to be when they grow up.

Getting pets for kids can benefit them in so many ways. In this article, we’re breaking down the top five reasons why.

5 Benefits of Pets For Kids

Pets teach kids valuable lessons and life skills. Plus, they just make them so happy. What’s cuter than kids and puppies together?

Here are the best of those lessons, life skills, and joys!

1. Companionship

It’s no secret that pets and their owners experience a special bond. This bond gives both parties a sense of companionship. This companionship can be particularly comforting for kids.

It’s been proven that pets help reduce stress levels, likely because of their non-judgmental affection.

Kids are comfortable in front of their pets, even when it comes to developing skills like reading.

Reading to pets can help kids feel more confident when reading aloud. It helps shelter pets feel less anxious too.

2. Socialization

Interacting with pets helps kids learn how to socialize with humans too.

Kids, especially infants and toddlers, often find a connection with pets that is much easier to navigate than the complicated social world of humans.

Studies show that kids with pets often develop higher levels of self-esteem. This is likely due to the sense of competency that results from successfully taking care of another being.

3. Responsibility

It is important for kids to learn the effects of their actions, specifically the importance of responsibility.

Assigning a child with the responsibility of caring for their pet gives them the appreciation that they won’t get from completing other chores: the animal’s love.

The fun aspects, like play time and meal time, are great for young kids to take on. As they get older, it’s also good for a kid to learn the less fun responsibilities, like cleaning up after the pet. This helps to teach them to put in the work for the things they love in life.

4. Nurturing

Having to remember to care for another living being is a great lesson for a child’s developing mind and developing ego.

Kids who learn to instinctually care for a pet at a young age have a leg up in developing their sense of empathy.

Plus, the practice of being a caregiver builds instincts that we keep for a lifetime.

5. Family Bond

A pet that the whole family cares for can help strengthen the bond between family members.

Families grow closer with the shared experiences centered around the pet.

Even if a pet isn’t conducive to your lifestyle, animal centered activities can still help the family bond.

For example, a trip to an Interactive Aquarium can give the whole family new shared experiences outside of the day-to-day activities of school and work.

There You Have It!

Pets for kids can be a great developmental tool and a great way to make them happy all in one.

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