158 articles Tag kids

4 Ways To Teach Your Kids About Finances

The decision to impart basic financial lessons to your children is the right step in shaping their attitudes about money and how to spend it. A study by the Personal Finance Education Group revealed that about 98% of children from eleven to seventeen have some money of their own. Ignoring the responsibility of teaching your kids how to be financially-savvy may lead them to make unwise financial decisions with long-term impacts. Here are some ways you can teach your children about finance.

  • Do not engage in impulse buying

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Have you ever gone out shopping with your kids, and they began to hound you to purchase something entirely out of your budget? It is tempting to give in to their puppy-eyed pleas but fight it! Let them understand that you came out to shop with a budget, and anything extra would affect your planned list. Explain how it may be more beneficial to wait it out until another time. You could employ a strategy to deny the kids something else you already planned to get them in exchange for what they are demanding; this would teach them to make the right decisions. 

  • Show them their toys cost money

Are you aware of how your kids may misuse their toys and end up damaging them? Instead of cautioning them verbally, you could consider showing them how much it costs to buy them. For example, if your child has a piggy bank, make them take out a few pounds and go with them to the store to buy another set of toys. Even for a five-year-old, this practical lesson makes them feel first-hand the emotions that come with parting with money. 

  • Make your kids earn commissions; not allowances

Avoid the habit of handing out money to your kids simply because they ask for it. Regardless of how much you love them, this will make them nurture a sense of entitlement, making financial independence difficult in the future. Institute commission earnings and not allowances; when your child completes chores, you can pay them according to a set payment plan, complete with what makes them eligible for pay. However, when you notice they made an extra effort to perform their chores, add a bit more as an incentive or bonus. Doing this teaches your child that money is earned and is worth saving.

  • Use a transparent piggy bank

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It is always a great idea to foster the habit of savings in young children. However, the trick to making your child see their money ‘grow’ is by ensuring that their piggy bank jar is a transparent one; every coin or note you drop in there is a visual indicator of their ‘wealth.’ It’s a wonderful way to build their desire to grow wealth through completing simple chores or being disciplined. You can also use it as an opportunity to teach your kids strong lessons about money and finance. Consider using services such as Debt to Success System BBB and make your lessons practical and easy for your child to comprehend.

It is never too early to begin to impart simple financial lessons to your kids. Money management is a skill worth grasping very early on in life. What you should do is maximize every opportunity to make these lessons fun and practical. Remember that children learn through play.

Helping Children Through a Divorce

Helping Children Through a DivorceIf two people no longer wish to remain together, that is their business. Divorces can, at times, be messy and complicated. A couple who once felt nothing but love and admiration may now only feel resentment and spite towards their former other half. It is known for individuals to get hurt quite often during the divorce process. 

Yet, in all this, it can sometimes be the children who bear the brunt of the pain of their parents’ lost love. Child custody rights when filing for divorce can be one of the issues that causes the most friction, particularly when children are made to feel like they must choose between one parent or the other.

Whether you are one of the parents, a relative, or even a family friend, there are multiple ways in which you can help children get through the divorce process with as little trauma as possible.

Offer to Babysit

If you are an outsider in the divorce, looking after the child while the parents are at a mediation, or in court itself, can take a weight off of everyone’s shoulders. This way, children do not have to be exposed to the divorce process, and parents can take some time to decompress afterwards to limit the amount of emotional strain that their children are exposed to.  

Fun activities during this time can also help to take the child’s mind off of how their world has been disrupted, which can be great for their wellbeing. 

Open Conversation

Communicating with children can be key. Their parents may be struggling with their own emotions and stresses and, therefore, be less available to the needs of their offspring. This can be a crucial time for other trusted adults to step up and be there for these vulnerable young people. Building trust and opening communications regarding the children’s thoughts and feelings can help them to work through their feelings in a safe and healthy way. 

Keep Bickering Away

If you are the child’s parent, you may be concerned about how your upcoming divorce is affecting them. One of the crucial ways of limiting their distress is to avoid discussing the divorce around them. Likewise, ensure that you and your former partner do not speak ill of the other around the children, as this may put them in an uncomfortable position. 

Unless there is a legitimate reason for doing so, such as a parent threatening or endangering the child, there is also no reason that they should be privy to the real reason behind the divorce. A child does not need to know about any adultery, or other marital issues, and relationships between both parents and their children should be maintained wherever possible. However, you shouldn’t just brush it under the carpet – explain to them what is happening in the simplest form and ensure they know it’s not their fault.

Going through a divorce can be stressful for anyone involved, but it is crucial that children are protected from as much of the emotional turmoil as possible. Likewise, it is key that they are reassured, as often as they need, that they are not at fault, and that they are loved. 

4 Practical Tips for Hosting a Teen Party at Home

4 PRACTICAL TIPS FOR HOSTING A TEEN PARTY AT HOMEHosting a teen party at home is both fun and challenging. Fun because it is your teen’s party. You want this to be memorable for him and his guests. On the other hand, it is challenging (on your part) because of the planning and the after-cleaning you must do, especially if you hosted a large crowd of youngsters.

Here are practical tips to consider before hosting one for your teen.

Use visual effects

Visual effects like lasers and mood lights can add more life to the party and you can rent them, risk free, from a company like dj finance. It can lend a disco party vibe. On the other hand, smoke machines are also a fun addition to any party. These machines can enhance your lighting effects. You will have an instant light show that will stun your guests. Do you know that bubble machines are not for kids only. Liven up your party. Floating bubbles paired with lasers and colored lights will produce a stunning effect. Consider giving out non-toxic, multi-colored glow sticks among your guests. It is a cheap visual effect that is handy and glows for about six hours of use.

Keep guests outdoors

While it may look rude to prevent guests from entering your home, keeping guests out, and planning for an outdoor teen party may still come out more practical than ever. The pros far outweigh the cons. You do not have to worry too much about after-party cleaning and scrubbing. You save your couches and carpets from possible spills that can leave heavy stains. It costs more to steam-clean furniture than to pick up trash from the garden or mop the garage or patio floor.

If you are hiring party services like photo booth rental ny, you will have to disclose that you are planning an outdoor party. In this case, they will require clients like you to ensure that the booth is under a shade. They may also offer an outdoor canopy as added protection. Some are specifically made for outdoor use and are waterproof. It is best to choose this type of equipment. Ask installers to put it in a pretty obvious area. It will avoid the need to announce or remind guests to have their photos or selfies taken.

You might want to hire a portaloo to ensure that all guests don’t have to go into your house to use the bathroom. However, if you have a bathroom that’s accessible to guests without necessarily passing through your main living area, you do not have to rent one.

Friends or neighbors might have a garden marquee or party tents that you can borrow for the night. It will save you unwanted stress in case an unexpected drizzle happens on the night of your teen’s party.

Holding your teen’s party outdoors can be both fun and stress-free, especially after the last guest has gone. You don’t have to worry much about cleaning or accidental damage to indoor property and accessories.

Regulate background music

Parties aren’t complete without background music. Let your teen choose the music he would love to hear playing during the party. Most teens love alternative or classic rock music. While he will love to play them all aloud, you must remain considerate of your neighbors at the same time.

Know when to play music at its peak and when to tame it. Usually, you can have it downplayed when everyone is seated and conversing. When making a short speech or announcements about food and drinks, have the music turned to a low volume. Turn it to high once the guests are ready to hop in on the makeshift dance floor.

Discuss entertainment options

Get your teen involved in party planning. If your teen is a movie buff, why not help him download movies of his choice or those that he thinks his peers will enjoy. Of course, you are there to screen his movie choices. Ask for a list and assist him by compiling them. It won’t hurt to filter the list if you think there is inappropriate content in one or two movies he selected.

Does he love indoor games? Why not put up a dartboard. Bring out your pool table or card table. The party could look like a mini pub. Include pizzas and snacks to complete the pub ambiance.

If he is fond of music and loves to listen to DJs, offer to bring one in. There are a lot of disc jockeys you can hire if you are around New York. Ask him to search for dj buffalo. It is cool to be around while he is surveying the list. Remember, stay, and get involved. He will appreciate you hanging around and making yourself available when he seeks your opinion on which ones to hire.

When hiring a DJ, expect him to give you a rundown of the types of music that are appropriate for your teen and his guests. You may also suggest titles from your son’s list. Ask the DJ for a list of his collection of music. A professional one will have a ready playlist and keeps on updating it. He knows which music is trending with teens and young adults. DJs often ask for playlists not only from the celebrator before the party begins but from guests too on the day of the event.

Hosting a teen party can be exciting. Your teen won’t be young forever. Let him experience a fun night with friends. But remember that you too have to be practical. These tips will help you come up with a fantastic party without stress.

Keeping Kids Healthy At Home

It can be difficult to find ways to keep the kids healthy and active when it’s necessary to spend most of the day at home. Many parents find themselves lost for ideas and feeling uninspired. With a little bit of imagination and some supplies you probably already have at home, it’s easier than you might think to get the kids up and active. Here we have some fun ideas to try out – you won’t hear them saying “I’m bored” for a while when they are enjoying these fun activities!

Make an Obstacle Course or Play Sports

Kicking off our guide to fun, healthy activities for children is the classic obstacle course. You might be thinking you don’t have enough space or the right equipment to set one up, but it’s quite likely you have everything you need already at home. An obstacle course can be set up in the garden using various outdoor toys, and rocks can be used in the place of cones. It’s also possible to do an indoor obstacle course – encourage your child to climb on the sofa, crawl under chairs or commando crawl under a blanket. You can also set things up for them to jump over, or use simple household items like cans of food as ‘dumbbells’.

Indoor sports are also possible with a little care. The hallway is perfect for practicing batting a soft ball, or playing football with a small, soft ball. You could even set up a net on the kitchen table to have a game of ping pong!

Work or Play in the Garden

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Activities to do at home don’t have to be done inside the house – on a nice day, it’s great to get some fresh air and venture out into the garden. Kids can help with simple gardening jobs such as digging up weeds and tidying up, and they will also love to plant seeds and check on them each day. If the weather is nice, they’ll love using the hose to water the plants, and themselves!

Playing in the garden can be loads of fun too. There are many great toys out there which are perfect for using in the garden. If space and finances allow, a slide, trampoline, or swing set are great for kids to burn off excess energy. However, there are loads of great, cheaper options also available which will still entertain kids no end. Balls are always a winner amongst kids of all ages, and they will surely have hundreds of ideas on games to play with them. Simple toys such as hoola hoops always seem to be loved by children too – they are ideal for indoor or outdoor use.

There is plenty of toy ideas over at tncore.org if you’re stuck for ideas.

Follow an Exercise Video

Any kind of exercise of course comes under the category of healthy activities, but doing it from home might be new. Thankfully, YouTube is packed full of all kinds of exercise videos, many of them perfect for kids of all ages. Most of these online exercise classes don’t need any special equipment, and they can be done at any time. You can find anything ranging from aerobics to dance to yoga – there is sure to be something out there to interest your child.

Make a Treasure Hunt

Perhaps one of the most fun indoor activities to do with kids is setting up a treasure hunt! They can wait in one room whilst you prepare and hide clues, each of which leading to the next one. At the end, leave a simple treat to reward them for their hard work, such as their favourite snack.A scavenger hunt games can also be fun. Prepare a list of things for your child to find around the house, and sit back and relax as you wait for them to bring their goodies to you!.

Enjoy Active Games

Board games are a great way to pass time with the family, but there are also a few games out there which can help kids to be active. Twister is a classic, and is fun for the whole family to get involved! If you have a Wii Fit or similar, this is another great game to keep kids active whilst also having loads of fun at the same time.

Play Party Games

It doesn’t have to be someone’s birthday for kids to enjoy playing party games! There are loads of great party games which can be enjoyed on a rainy day spent indoors, and will also help get your child up and moving. Musical statues is always a winner, especially when your child picks out their favourite songs to dance to. To make it even more fun, call out the names of different statues to pose as when the music stops. Another wonderfully simple yet fun game is throwing a balloon around and trying not to let it touch the floor. This is a great game for one child to play alone or for siblings to enjoy together. The final fun party game idea is playing with and popping bubbles. Kids of all ages love bubbles – no one can be sad when there are bubbles around!

How to Keep Your Kids Entertained and Educated at Home

The recent life-changing social distancing measures that have been introduced mean that for the first time, many of us are facing the challenge of home-schooling our kids. In addition, we are needing to support our kids, who will be unsettled by the disruption to their routine and upset by the events going on around them. However, there are simple steps that we can take to help keep kids education on track and ensure that they are entertained while at staying at home.

Providing a structured routine

Ensuring that your kids have a structure to their day is vital for keeping them motivated and productive. Continuing with your usual meal times and bedtime routine is also recommended to bring your kids some normality.

Plan the day using a timetable

The classic timetable is ideal for kids of all ages to use, as it provides predictability to the day and ensures they complete all of their school work. By also including meal and snack times it can help stop kids developing any unhealthy eating habits during their time at home. Get your kids involved with writing their timetable, as there are many excellent skills they can develop at the same time.

To do lists

If you are struggling to keep your kids entertained and motivated throughout the day, then try writing a to-do list filled with activities to keep any bored kids occupied. A to-do list is a perfect opportunity to get kids helping out around the house, as you could include daily chores or even get them involved with preparing meals.

Online exercise inspiration

It can be challenging to think of exercise ideas for kids outside of their regular sports and activity groups. However, to inspire you, there are many online activities for kids that will help keep them fit and active.

Try contacting your child’s current sports and activity groups, as many have created online fitness sessions that may also allow your family to join in. Otherwise, there are a great variety of exercise, yoga and dance videos on YouTube that kids can enjoy participating in. Online workouts make perfect fitness sessions for everyone who is at home with the kids that will get the whole family moving.

Online educational resources

When undertaking home teaching, the support from kids’ educational websites is invaluable. These resources ensure that any work you do with your kids follows their school curriculum and is at the correct level for your child’s learning ability

STEM Learning

The STEM Learning website provides many exciting and stimulating learning activities for kids of all ages, so if you are stuck for fun things to do then, this is a great website to visit. There are even wildlife spotter sheets and fun plant project ideas that are perfect for encouraging time in the garden. For more STEM play options, there are many suitable educational toys for 6 year olds and above that are ideal to use in combination with these projects.

Learning through craft

Staying at home is the perfect opportunity to enjoy some quality family time together and try some craft ideas. There is plenty of inspiration available on social media sites, and most activities only require items from around the home. Craft activities are a great way of recycling everyday household items such as cardboard tubes and plastic bottles. However, if you need to increase your craft range, then there are many great craft inspired educational toys for 7 year olds and below to enjoy.

Educational play

Providing kids with time to play with toys is an essential part of learning. There are many great educational toys available, so you will be able to find the perfect toys for occupying every child. For inspiration, take a look at https://www.starwalkkids.com where you can discover exciting toys for all ages.

30 days of Lego play

Lego sets come in a range of themes, making them perfect educational toys for 8 year olds and above that bring out every kid’s creativity. They are perfect for entertaining kids for hours and allow kids to design new and exciting masterpieces. If your child loves Lego, then they are sure to enjoy the 30 day Lego calendar, which sets a different Lego challenge every day for kids to complete.

Minecraft educational resources

Minecraft is the latest video game craze, which all kids love playing, and with many educational toys for 10-year-olds featuring this popular game, it can be challenging to get kids to think of anything else.

If you are struggling to get your kids to focus on their school work as they constantly want to be playing this game, then there is a compromise, as Minecraft has produced an excellent range of educational resources. Kids can choose a wide variety of lessons, including many science, history, and language topics, so you can be sure that your child will learn a lot while exploring the Minecraft website.

Helping Your Child Get Organised for Life in College

When your child has accepted their place at college, your next step will be organisation. It takes a lot of preparation to get someone ready for life at college and the sooner you can start, the better. Here are some of the things you should think about if you need to help your child get organised for their college experience.

Insurance

College can be rough without the proper protection. Your child’s laptop is likely to be their lifeline. They will use it to communicate with you and complete all their coursework. They could turn their back on it for a moment in the library only to have someone swipe it.

An easy way to protect it is to take out a student renters insurance policy. This is great as it won’t just protect their electronics when they are out and about but it will also protect their items in their dorm or student apartment. From pranks gone wrong to someone simply attempting theft, anything can go wrong. A student renters insurance policy will help keep there things right.

Storage

A dorm room has limited space. There are some storage facilities that every student has but you need to make sure that your child is making the most of their space. No matter where they end up at college, they are likely to go through several seasons and that requires clothes. On top of this, you need to account for books and other personal effects.

Under-the-bed storage will be key here. From any store, you should be able to find plastic boxes with lids and wheels. The lids will keep the contents dust-free while the wheels will allow the boxes to be pulled in and out easily. These are a great way for your child to maximise their storage despite any limitations on the space they have in their dorm. Don’t forget about separators or hanging shelves to go inside any built-in storage. If possible, try to scope out the dorm room before you buy things. This should make it easier to find items that work well with the room instead of buying superfluous items.

Cooking

If your child can’t cook, teach them how to make some simple dishes before they leave home. Even if they are headed to a dorm with a canteen, teaching them how to cook will help them get ahead. They can make friends and impress acquaintances with a whole range of different dishes.

None of the dishes have to be that complicated. A roast chicken recipe, a dessert like brownies, and a one-pot wonder like chilli might be the perfect collection for them to be able to impress anyone they like. Make sure they have the utensils they need and have them practice each dish a few times to ensure everything is perfect.

Budgeting

College is likely to be one of the first times your child will have to manage their own money. You need to make sure that they are going to know how to handle their money without running out each month. Whether they are making a go of it by themselves or juggling a job alongside their studies, they need to know how to make their money last.

Why not get them to help out with some simple exercises like the weekly shop? This will be a great way for you to teach them some life-long budgeting skills. Give them a set amount to spend and ask them to buy enough food for a set number of meals. It will help them plan their week’s money once they are at college. You could also tie this in with the cooking by having them fully budget, plan, and make a few meals that week. Not only will you get to assess their skills, but you or your partner can take a break from meal planning yourselves.

Letting your child go to college can be a big step for both of you. As a parent, you need to prepare them for adult living as best as you can. Whether you are teaching them about budgets or finding them the perfect storage for their room, you will soon make sure that they are perfectly ready for college.

 

Homesickness Help For The Kids Out On Their Own

As the parent of a university student, you may have done everything you could to ensure they are well equipped to live independently and to use that independence wisely. However, that doesn’t always mean they’re going to have an easy time doing it on their own. Most of us experience homesickness occasionally when we’re out on our own for the first time. For many, the experience can really be crippling. If your kid is having a tough time out on their own, here are a few ways you can help them cope better.

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Make sure they leave with realistic expectations about what university is going to be

As a parent, part of our responsibility is to make sure that our kids are prepared for a prosperous future and part of that means helping them get a more informed idea of what’s going to be waiting for them when they leave home. Social media, TV, and film may have given them ideas that university is a constant party but they’re soon going to be disabused of that notion. If they were particularly looking fun to that part of uni, that twist can actually be quite shocking and disappointing. As such, it’s important to help them understand that managing a household, studying, and going to class is what they’re going to be spending the majority of their time on, and that partying isn’t quite as frequent as they might believe.

Encourage them to throw themselves into their new experience

The trepidation that your kids might feel out on their own for the first time is real and worrying, but it is also something that they can get over best with experience. Simply, if they can find the strength to go out, try new things, join new clubs, and make new friends with the help of networks like Meetup. Simply put, until they find their rhythm in their new environment and find what they like about it, most of their time is going to be spent comparing it negatively to home. When it comes to getting over feelings of homesickness, we need to get out of our own way, occasionally.

Tell them to make their own home-life schedule

One of the best ways to keep homesickness off your mind is to be busy. They can do this, in part, by enjoying the uni life as best as possible, joining clubs, going to events, and making friends. But simply getting used to a new schedule can help them move on with their life as well. Helping them put a daily routine together, including their housework, self-care, shopping, studying, and so on can help them find their own rhythm away from home. It also makes sure they don’t have too much time to let boredom settle in, which is one of the biggest catalysts of homesickness.

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Help them stay in touch with the folks back home

Reaching out and sending messages via Skype, WhatsApp, Discord and the like is one thing. But it can really help warm their heart and centre your kids to hear a familiar voice once in a while. Some kids fresh out at uni may worry about the costs of calling home in their new budget, but deals like the Smarty student campaign can make it as affordable as possible for them. You have to give them some space to acclimate to their new environment, but calling once in a while and letting them know they can call you whenever they want can help them feel extra supported out there. Just try not to do it too much or you could end up getting in the way of them acclimating.

Put down social media

It’s not just home that your kid will be missing, it’s all of the friends and connections they have made over the year that they are now far removed from. That’s an emotionally tough thing for many to deal with, and people make it much worse for themselves with social media. By browsing social media all day, they’re likely to keep scrolling through photos and posts from friends they miss, twisting the knife all the deeper. Encourage your kid to set a rule for themselves that they only browse social media for 30-45 minutes a day during a set time of the day. If they can discipline the habit of thumbing through Facebook out of their life, then they’re going to torture themselves a lot less often. Apps like In Moment can offer some valuable help in doing that, too.

Send them some home comforts

Want to really warm their cockles and help them feel like they are cared for? Then put together a care package of things from home. This is especially valuable if they’re studying overseas, as their local stores aren’t likely to carry their favourite biscuits or even a decent pack of teabags. There are plenty of guides for putting together a university care package that can give you plenty of inspiration. Just make sure your intention in supporting them is clear, not that you’re trying to make them miss home even more.

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Encourage them to look for help

You can offer them advice and a kind word where possible, but if you feel like they’re having a really hard time, then it’s important to help your kid be aware that there may people there who can better help them. For instance, it’s very likely that their university will have counselling services on hand. A lot of young people struggle with bouts of depression, stress, and anxiety when they’re away from home. Let them know that they’re not the only person who has gone through this, without diminishing their experience, that they can get through it, and that there are people and services who can help them get through it.

With the tips above, you can help your grown kids fight homesickness. However, it’s important to listen to their complaints, as well. If they have actual problems it may be that homesickness isn’t really the concern.

BrightMinds – Educational Gifts for Kids

Being a parent at Christmas can be a tough job. If Burrito Baby had her way, all of her gifts would be things that Husband and I consider cheap, plastic tat which will probably be chewed up by Maureen before New Year because it all gets left on the floor! Also, as you’ll know if you read this post, Sausage is getting  to that ‘hard to buy for’ age, which makes buying presents even tricker. We’ve always tried to find a balance between three things:

  1. Stuff they actually really want.
  2. Stuff which is good quality and will last longer than a few weeks.
  3. A combination of gifts which are fun but are also educational in some way.

Both of the girls are really fascinated by science. Just a few weeks ago, Sausage came home from school absolutely buzzing because she’d used a bunsen burner for the first time and she seems really engaged by things she’s learning in her lessons. BB isn’t quite at bunsen burner level yet, but she’s developing a deep love of all things science, mostly anatomy and nature.

A while ago, BrightMinds got in touch and asked if we’d like to pick some things from the website for the girls for Christmas, and I realised that it’s basically a whole site, dedicated to things my kids would LOVE! BrightMinds specialie in STEM toys (science, technology, engineering and maths), as well as wooden toys, role play & board games that are fun to use but also encourage learning and development.

BrightMinds - Learning Resources Anatomy Models: Set of heart, brain, body and skeleton

We opted for the Learning Resources Anatomy Models which consists of a set of heart, brain, body and skeleton models, giving children gain a deeper insight to the workings of the human body. Children learn as they build each of the models using the step by step photo illustrated assembly instructions. It’s a bit like a puzzle, but taking it to a whole new level!

I just know that both girls are going to love these and that it will hopefully help to continue to foster their love of science. At the moment, BB is adamant that she’s going to be a doctor AND a vet (hello, tuition fees!) and these models might be the thing that inspire her to make a choice. I haven’t opened the boxes yet, as I want to save them for Christmas, but you can see them through the window on the front and the quality and level of detail looks excellent.

I think these make such a great gift for the scientifically-minded kids in your life and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them. The best part is, you can still place an order all the way up to 23rd December for next day delivery, which mean you’ve got plenty of time to get some things ordered before Christmas. Don’t forget to take a look around the WHOLE Brightminds site for other STEM toys, arts and crafts kits, books and a whole load of other educational gifts which are so vibrant and fun, kids will forget they’re learning!

Top Reasons Why Dogs are Good for Kids

Top Reasons Why Dogs are Good for KidsIf you know us, you’ll know that we’re a family animal lovers. Husband and I got Chuck in 2006, just a couple of months after we got married and he wa a huge part of our lives for 13 years. We’ve had other pets over the years, too – Happy the hamster, Maureen our Staff-Frenchie-Boxer cross, Bagel and Biscuit the budgies, plus various dogs we’ve fostered over the years.

We’re huge believers that pets make a home complete and that it’s great for kids to have pets too, as it teaches them responsibility…even if it is always be cleaning out Bagel’s cage instead of Sausage! With this in mind, I thought I’d share some reasons that dogs are great pets for kids (and why investing in scratch-proof flooring is a good idea if you want one!)

Bonding

Having a pet helps to build family bonds as animals are often the focus of family activities. From walking the dog together to grooming or feeding the pet, these simple but enjoyable tasks allow everyone to slow down, enjoy each other’s company and communicate with one another.

Exercise

Having a dog means that you have to go for walks. Come rain or shine, dog need exercise, no excuses. You have to remember, that as well as for their physical health, dogs need exercise for their mental health. When they’re at home, they can’t sit and read a book or watch the TV, that’s their equivalent of getting out and having a sniff around the neighbourhood!

Responsibility

The daily commitment of caring for an animal is a great way to teach kids the importance of dependability and responsibility. To be a dog’s provider is an honour that requires a lot of patience and work. We make sure that Sausage and BB help to keep Maureen’s water bowl clean and refilled, put her food down, and make sure her bed is nicely plumped up for her to rest in.

Mental Health

It’s actually been scientifically proven that spending just 15-30 minutes with your dog can help you feel more calm and relaxed, reducing stress and increasing happiness. Playing with your pup increases your brain’s levels of dopamine and serotonin, both of which are neurotransmitters associated with pleasure and tranquility. Just having a dog around can give your mental health a huge boost.

Comfort

Having a dog can be a huge source of comfort in so many situations. When my kids are ill, Maureen (as did Chuck) will always be the first one to sit with them while they’re recovering on the couch, she’s always there with face licks when the girls are crying and she lets us know if anyone o much as breathes wrong within a 100m radius of the house. She’s a huge source of comfort for us all and loves nothing more than a snuggle with her pack…except maybe for a 5 mile walk where she gets to chase pheants!

5 Basic Money Saving Tips that Really Work

Photo by Ibrahim Rifath on Unsplash

A lot of people assume that if they want to accomplish incredible things with their cash, they need to be saving hundreds of pounds worth of income every month. However, this isn’t really true. The fact is that just a couple of pounds placed into a savings account every week can make a huge difference to your finances in the future.

Rather than letting yourself get overwhelmed by the idea that budgeting has to mean changing your entire lifestyle, why not make some basic changes to your relationship with cash that really work instead? Here are some top tips to get you started.

  1. Think Bulk, Not Brands

When you’re shopping for essential items like toilet paper, tissues, and even cleaning supplies, it’s easy to get carried away looking at brand names and packaging. However, it’s important not to let the good marketing brainwash you. Instead, look for opportunities to save some extra money by buying supermarket-brand options in bulk.

More often than not, you’re going to get the exact same experience from a supermarket that you would get from a big-brand company, but you’ll save a fortune on the packaging. Remember, you can always buy extra of the things you always need in when they’re on sale, so you don’t run out too.

  1. Rethink your Electricity

When you start searching through your monthly statements for opportunities to save, you’ll notice that you spend cash in some areas more often than others. For instance, a lot of us overspend on food shopping, but we also tend to use a lot of our cash on gas and electricity. If you’re paying over the odds for your electricity, start by looking at offers from other providers to see if you can get a better deal. At the same time, you can also think about exchanging some of your high-consumption appliances with energy-saving alternatives.

While buying a new fridge, washing machine and other essential utensils might require you to take out a loan initially, it will mean that by the time you’ve finished paying what you owe, you’ll have much lower bills.

  1. Stop Over-spending on Drinks

Sometimes, it’s easier to see how much you spend on food from takeaways, restaurants and cafes than it is to recognise how much you’re spending on drinks. How often do you buy yourself a bottle of cola when you go shopping on a weekend to keep you going until you get home? How much do you spend on a morning coffee when you’re on your way to work.

Invest in a reusable water bottle and take it with you wherever you go. Not only will you have an instant source of hydration when you need it, but you’ll also get a health boost by switching away from sugary and caffeinated beverages too.

  1. Prep your Meals in Advance

Next time you’re going shopping at the supermarket, make a list of all the meals that you’re going to make for that week. This will help you to make sure that you’re not overspending when you’re walking through the aisles. However, it will also mean that you have everything you need to start prepping your meals in advance.

While spending an afternoon cooking and chopping on a Sunday might not seem like much fun, it will mean that you have all the food you need ready and available to throw into the oven when you get home after a long day at work. Pre-prepped meals make it much less likely that you’ll end up turning to a takeaway for food.

  1. Make Saving Automatic

Finally, if you’re the kind of person who finds saving difficult, then why not simplify the process by making it completely automatic? Take a look at your budget and find out how much you can afford to put into a savings account after your bills are paid for. Then, you can set up a direct debit that moves your money into your savings account before you have a chance to spend it.

Making saving automatic will reduce your risk of spending the cash that you wish you had put aside for later. At the same time, it also means that you don’t need to think about saving at the end of each month. Just make sure that you come and re-check your budget every once in a while to make sure that the amount of cash you’re putting into savings, and the cash you’re using elsewhere still makes sense.