Loading...
Browsing Category

Parenting

Quarantine and Holding It Together: Moms Really Deserve This Mother’s Day!



Happy Mother’s Day!

Today more than any other Mother’s Day, you moms out there deserve this day! In the age of COVID-19, moms have been put to the test and stressed to the max!

I shared an empathetic poster from a parenting group the other day to my personal Facebook Feed which a lot of moms could relate to and it got quite a bit of likes.

When I went to the original post’s comment section, I discovered it littered with commentary by dads and others who were lambasting the post for not including dads and for it not being inclusive of parenthood.

One said that the post perpetrated a stererotype that mothers were more responsible for parenting and that the message was wrong. I was upset. While parenting is indeed not a thing moms alone are responsible for and we, as a society, should not insenuate that moms alone should bear the burden of motherhood, I see nothing wrong with acknowleding the present day facts.

It is a true fact that during this pandemic when a lot of governments around the world, in states, provinces, counties and localities, have issued global “Stay Home” orders, mothers have been given the extra responsiblity of keeping their household together!

And it’s not like they haven’t always bore that burden, often times at the expense of their own self-care and sanity, but they’ve done it without complaint, and often times, without enough gratitude from those who they are dedicating their love, affection, and patience to.

So yes…let moms be recognized for their endearing devotion to being the champion, cheerleader, teacher, chef, entertainer, educator, and more.

I love Today Show’s special tribute to mom from their kids and so I am sharing it here for us all to view and appreciate! Happy Mother’s Day Quarantine Moms! You deserve an extra shower of appreciation today!

Whether you’re expecting, a new mom or a veteran mom, old, young, poor or rich you deserve a day to acknowledge your role as a mother!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Whether you’re an expecting, brand new, or veteran mom, rich, poor, old or young, you deserve acknowledgment today!

Study: Parents Respect Teachers More, Think They Deserve More Pay

Just in time for National Teacher Appreciation Month which starts tomorrow, a new study finds that parents have a newfound respect for teachers and more believe teachers should be paid more.

As parents take on new roles as educators, a new report found that brand new homeschooling American parents have changing attitudes towards teachers.

In the survey of 2,000 of parents who are newly educating their children at home due to the COVID-19 outbreak , 80 percent indicated they have have newfound respect for teachers; 77% believe that teachers should be paid more; 69% believe being a teacher is harder than their current job; and 53% will take a greater interest in their child’s education after the stay-at-home mandate concludes. (VIDEO)

“We’re happy to hear so many parents saying they appreciate teachers more, and have greater respect for them,” says Jan Richards, Head of Education at educational STEAM brand Osmo, which conducted the study.

While many parents aim to balance study with play in their child’s daily regimen, the majority (68%) worry they are running out of ideas to keep their children occupied, 75% worry their child will fall behind on educational milestones, and 75% feel overwhelmed trying to balance their child’s education with their own work.

Top subjects parents want kids to continue learning during this time include math, science, history, phonics, reading, music, physical education, and art. 80% would pay to have their child utilize an educational program while at home; and 36% admit to using games on tablets/mobile devices to keep kids educated and engaged.

“The data validates the significant opportunities for STEAM companies like Osmo to keep delivering more learning content,” says Osmo CEO Pramod Sharma, whose products are used in over 30,000 U.S. classrooms and 2.5 million homes. “We’re actively working on creating more offerings.”

Osmo recently released a free, unlimited use Projector App for educators to broadcast their physical desk to students, and will soon release additional technology.

10 Mother’s Day Gift Ideas You Can Get Even During Qurantine

Mother’s Day is coming up, believe it or not. I know it’s probably something that may escape the minds of family members given the global stay home orders and how our days and weeks are blending into each other.

If you have a first-time, veteran or mom-to-be in your life and you are  racking your brains looking for ideas and suggestions on what to get  her, here are 10 mainly free or relatively inexpensive ideas you can pull off without leaving the house!

  1. Do-nothing day—plenty of moms would love to spend a day not having to lift a finger or spend the day doing just what they want to do. So give your mom a card that tells her she is entitled to a day off—and be sure to honor it!
  2. At Home Spa day—since she can not go to the spa, bring the spa to her. Check out my recent posts with several at-home pantry, fridge and kitchen cabinet ingredients spa recipes.
  3. A clean car—Mom’s car can get downright disgusting after shuttling kids around all the time. So grab the kids and have them help you wash the car.
  4. Customized necklace—May isn’t a good month to buy jewelry because stores often hike prices in anticipation of Mother’s Day. However, you can find affordable necklaces with charms that can be engraved with children’s names online at Etsy.com.
  5. Photo mug—plenty of companies create mugs with photos on them for about $11 online from a popular chain store like CVS online. This gift is ideal for grandmothers who appreciate a creative way to show off pictures of the grand kids.
  6. Plants and flowers for the yard—rather than a bouquet, buy a potted plant, flowering bush or tree that will last for years. Or let Mom buy plants for the garden and then plant them for her.
  7. Photo album—most of our photos are now digital and we rarely print them out. So get some photo paper from Target, Walmart or Amazon and print out your pictures at home, put them in an album and let mom enjoy looking at them the old-fashioned way.
  8. A clean house—give Mom a break from her daily chores and do them for her (the way she would want them done). Wash the dishes, do the laundry, sweep the floors and make the beds.
  9. Frame the kids’ art—Moms will surely get a few pieces of handcrafted art from the kids for Mother’s Day. Make it easy for her to display and store them with a frame that lets you do both!
  10. Make a donation in Mom’s name—for the Mom that already has everything, make a donation in her name to her favorite charity or motherhood-related organization.
  11. Bonus idea—Take the time to sit down with your mom and ask her to share family stories that you can record or write down in a journal that can be shared with other family members.

Now that dads cannot rely on the kids to make her a handmade card at school, it’s time for them to get on it and start planning! Hopefully, these 10 tips will help!

Pediatricians Worry Parents Aren’t Bringing In Kids for Vaccinations



As parents and pediatricians try to figure out how to keep kids healthy during a pandemic, immunization may be one of the victims of the coronavirus.

More than 117 million children in 37 countries may miss out on receiving the measles vaccine because of the “challenging period” created by the outbreak, the Measles & Rubella Initiative said in a statement this month.

Pediatricians in the U.S. are reporting a drop in immunizations, too.

During the week of April 12, the number of MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) shots given to kids dropped by 40% compared to the week of Feb. 16 when COVID-19 was not yet widespread, according to PCC, a Vermont company that develops medical record software for pediatricians.

Those figures don’t measure how many kids are overdue for their first dose of MMR, “the real red alert number,” said Chip Hart, director of PCC’s consulting wing. Children should get two shots of the vaccine.

Skipping the measles vaccine is of particular concern because the highly contagious disease has made a comeback in recent years.

continue reading

How to get your newborn to sleep through the night

Every baby is different, so it’s only natural for some to have a more difficult time with nighttime sleep than others. Some babies take to it very well and at a very young age are able to sleep through the night with only the occasional wakeup. Others, however, require a lot of patience and guidance in order to get to point where they can sleep all night. But in every case, there are things parents can do to make things easier for the baby as well as for themselves.

If your baby has trouble sleeping through the night and you are ready to move to the next stage, here are a few tips that may help.

  1. Have a routine: To ease your little one into sleep, establish a nighttime routine that you follow without exception. This might include a bath, reading time, and the last feeding of the day. Do whatever works best for your family. Just make it consistent, and make sure it differs from other routines you have through the day.
  2. Discourage nighttime feeding: Very early on, it is perfectly natural for an infant to require several feedings during the night, and this can continue for many months if it is not too much trouble for the parents. But if are ready for better nighttime sleep and your child is old enough, you can begin phasing out these feedings. Keep track of how much your baby eats and how much she requires, and make sure she gets enough during the daytime hours while gradually lessening the nighttime feedings.
  3. Position the baby well: To minimize the risk of SIDS, most medical authorities recommend placing the baby on her back at bedtime for the first nine months of life (some recommend longer), and this advice is worth heeding. But when the baby gets old enough to move around at will, there is little you can do to control her position. The good news is that she will naturally find the position in which she is most comfortable and in which she will sleep best. So when your baby is old enough, give her the freedom to find her preferred positions.
  4. Try different outfits: If your baby seems to wake up a lot, this could be a sign of discomfort resulting from his sleep outfit. Try different things, and make sure you experiment with each item enough nights to draw a conclusion about whether your baby likes it or not.
  5. Control room conditions: Also try different conditions in the room where your baby sleeps. Perhaps he does well with a little bit of noise, in which case you can use a fan or a radio to make some gentle white noise. Also make sure you try different temperatures. Childcare experts generally recommend dressing babies a little more warmly than you would dress yourself, but this is not a blanket rule, and some babies tend to get hot in normal room-temperature conditions.
  6. Learn baby’s back-to-sleep habits: Watch your baby for several nights to see how she typically reacts when waking up in the middle of the night. If she wakes, fusses for a moment, and then goes back to sleep, make sure you allow her to do this instead of interrupting her natural process. On the other hand, if you can learn to recognize when she is unlikely to get herself back to sleep, you can get to her early and minimize the amount of time she is awake.

Good luck, new parents! We hope you get some rest…and baby too!

 

The 3 Step Guide for Setting Up Your Quarantine Homeschool

students

students

By now, most parents are a month or more into being Homeschool families and many have been given the news that school will not resume for the school year.

With this reality solidified, now is a great time to get organized for this last quarter. During this time, we are all sharing one office space and need to keep our files separate and organized from other members of the family.

Here is one suggestion on how to accomplish this task:

STEP ONE

Find in the home or purchase from Staples, Walmart, Target  curbside pick up or Amazon, one mega 3 inch three ring binder and purchase  thin one-subject spiral notebooks to go in it.

Purchase matching color-coordinator two-pocked three-hole punched folders to accompany each subject that will be placed behind each notebook.

In the left pocket of each folder, insert the class syllabus/agenda for each week . The right pocket will be used to hold loose-leaf notes and print outs.

The notebook  should used for note taking on one side of the pages only and dated at the upper right hand corner so your child can keep track.

STEP TWO 

FAMILY ORGANIZATION MATERIALS:  Because the entire family will need to organize time in the shared office space, dueling times on the computer on zoom office meetings or distance learning sessions, a large central family calendar is a must have.

It’s great for the entire family, for accountability sake and so everyone is tune in to the duties and obligations, and assignments of everyone in the household, use or repurpose the following: 

A Large Central Family Calendar to hang in the kitchen or family room where everyone can see it.

On this large calendar, put important dates including virtual doctor’s appointments, quiz and project deadlines, online tutor and rehearsal schedules and more.

If you have more than one child, like we do, dedicate a different colored marker color for each child and family member so they can easily see what applies to them with a glance.

This large calendar may help your child or children organize in their mind(s) as well as let you know who has what exam coming up or assignment due and when too.

STEP THREE

A Storage Bin: Find an unused bin in your home or, if it is financially feasible, order one from Staples, Walmart, Target or Amazon

Get a bin with multiple compartments that can store paper, notebooks, blank flash cards, pencils, pens, markers, crayons, staples, glue, scissors, compasses, protractors, rulers and all the materials that may be needed for homework or a short project.

It takes away the time wasted looking for a sharp pencil that children use as an excuse to procrastinate from starting. Have this storage bin be located in the designated study area or nook in your home.

A Weekly Calendar: Like the monthly calendar, the weekly calendar should be updated each Sunday before the new week with tests, quizzed and other due dates. . Have your kid or kids review your class notes from the previous week to see if you need to add any school activities.

Timer: Use a timer on your smart phone and set it for 15-20 minutes of uninterrupted study, then allow for 5-10 minutes of break to help a child who has a tough time concentrating and working non-stop.

You can also purchase a timer just for this purpose.

It’s also great for kids who have or are borderline ADD/ADHD and/or have executive functioning disorder. Children with these conditions require more frequent breaks.

Daily To-Do List: Some children need daily reminders of what to do each day and even though you tell them, they forget.

Having a fixed daily schedule up on or near the fridge in the kitchen or other heavily traveled area is a good idea.

Ours include minutiae: Bathe, brush teeth, put on deodorant, dress, brush hair, eat breakfast; and after school and after library: undress, hang up uniforms, dinner, get forms signed, pack backpacks and knapsacks for the next day and leave by door, unpack lunchboxes and dump uneaten stuff and trash, warm milk, reading or practice instrument, quick study, bedtime.

Now, let’s get organized and getterdone! No more excuses for being organized! Do it today!!!!!

Good luck, parents!

Tax Day: What Families Need to Know About Student Loan Interest Deductions

Photo by Olga DeLawrence on Unsplash

Since 1998, the number of Americans claiming the student loan interest deduction at tax time has more than tripled, from less than 4 million to more than 12 million. Yet Congress hasn’t increased the maximum deduction in almost 20 years, and fewer than one in three student loan borrowers claims it.

An analysis of more than than two decades of IRS data reveals some surprising facts about who benefits the most from the student loan interest deduction:

  • All told, Americans have deducted more than $165 billion in student loan interest payments at tax time, with the average deduction climbing from $460 to $1,089
  • Married couples filing joint returns represent only about one-third of all tax filers, but claim roughly half of the nearly $14 billion in deductions awarded each year
  • Millennials claim nearly two-thirds of deductions, but deductions awarded to taxpayers 55 and older are approaching $2 billion a year
  • Although the tax break is fairly well-targeted at the middle class, one-fifth of deductions go to families making $100,000 or more

Here’s what you need to know about the value of this “above-the-line” deduction to different borrowers, and how to claim it.

How the student loan interest deduction works

If you’re paying interest on student loan debt, federal or private, you may qualify to deduct up to $2,500 in student loan interest payments from your income and earnings. Depending on your tax bracket, the reduction in your adjusted gross income (AGI) can save you up to $550 on your tax bill, although the average savings is closer to $200.

The student loan interest deduction is an “above-the-line” adjustment, meaning you can claim it even if you don’t itemize your deductions. So even if you’re like most taxpayers and just take the standard deduction, the student loan interest deduction might still save you money.

If you’re single, the deduction starts phasing out if your 2019 adjusted income is above $70,000, and you can’t claim it at all if you make more than $85,000.

The 2019 limits for married couples are a little higher, with the phaseout starting at $140,000. Couples making more than $170,000 can’t claim the deduction at all.

The student loan interest deduction benefits the middle class

 

Deductions by income ($13.69B)

Deductions by income ($13.69B)No adjusted income 0.73%$1-$10,000 2.12%$10,000-$19,999 5.18%$20,000-$29,999 8.39%$30,000-$39,999 11.61%$40,000-$49,999 13.21%$50,000-$74,999 24.96%$75,000-$99,999 13.43%$100,000-$200,000 20.36%

The student loan interest deduction is targeted at the middle class, with nearly two-thirds (63.3%) of deductions claimed by taxpayers earning $30,000 to $99,999. Source: Credible analysis of IRS data.

Married couples claim half of all deductions

Married couples filing jointly account for only about a third (35.8%) of all tax returns, but represent close to half (45.7%) of all claims for the student loan interest deduction.

 



Not only are married couples filing joint returns more likely to claim the deduction — 10.5% did so in 2017, compared to 7.6% of singles, and 5.7% of heads of household — but they’re awarded larger deductions. Married couples claiming the student loan interest deduction were able to deduct $1,154 from their income, on average, compared to $1,067 for single taxpayers and $897 for heads of household.

Because married couples are more likely to file claims and are awarded larger deductions, they captured 48.4% of student loan interest deductions awarded in 2017, totaling $6.63 billion.

Married couples can only claim the student loan interest deduction if they file joint returns. That means in some cases, both members of a marriage may be paying down student loan debt.

That’s one explanation for the higher prevalence of claims and bigger deductions awarded to married couples. But higher income limits — $170,000 for married couples, versus $85,000 for other taxpayers — are another factor.

How to Minimize Kids Sugar Snacks During Quarantine

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

During quarantine, there are a lot of snacks being consumed because why not? We’re not going anywhere and snacking is something to do. However, we know that it is not necessarily a good thing.

If you’re a parent, at some point, you’re going to want to pull back on the sugary snacks a little.

The American Heart Association recommends that children consume less than 25 grams of added sugar per day.  That’s exactly six teaspoons.

In her new picture book Mommy Can I Eat This?health coach Maria Sofia reminds both parents and kids that it’s okay to enjoy sugary treats from time to time, as long as they do so in moderation.

 In fact, she says, moderation is preferable to deprivation. How do you teach kids moderation and enforce it over time? She offers these three great tips

Take the “one bite per day” approach

Practice with a chocolate bar.  Rather than eat it all at once, break off a piece to have each day.  Determine in advance how many pieces there will be, and how many days the chocolate bar will last.  Set that expectation – and stick to it.

Play the Sugar Cube game

One sugar cube is equal to one teaspoon of sugar.  Allow your kids a total of five sugar cubes’ worth of sweets per day, using sugar cubes to demonstrate how much has been consumed.  Kids can save cubes up for a special treat, but must give cubes up if they eat too much sugar in a given day.

Reward moderation with non-food treats

Instead of putting surplus sugar cubes toward a big dessert, put them toward a special outing or event, such as a day at the zoo or an afternoon at the movies.  Make sure to bring your own snacks!

Good luck!

4 Natural Ways to Induce Your Labor

Premature birth may worry you as it worries most expectant parents but becoming overdue can also bring its own concerns and difficulties. As you become larger, sleeping can become more challenging. It becomes increasingly more difficult to get into a comfortable position as does breathing as your lungs become more crowded due to your overgrown uterus. If your baby stays in too long then there are risks associated with this, most commonly that your baby could pass meconium. If you find yourself overdue and are seeking advice to naturally help induce labor then the following is a list of ideas to do exactly that.

1. Sex– is often prescribed by doctors to help induce labor because the prostaglandins in semen help soften and prepare the cervix to dilate.

Herbs – hundreds of years ago midwives used herbs to prepare mothers for pregnancy, labor and birth. This was before the invention of pitocin. You must be very cautious with herbs of any kind as they can cause great damage if the correct dosage is not administered. Black cohosh, available in capsules or teas is commonly used to induce labor and can be with or without alcohol. During birth, black cohosh can help strengthen and regulate uterine contractions. Other herbs which have similar effects are red raspberry leaf and false unicorn root. These particular herbs have natural chemicals which are released into the woman’s body and stimulate the baby to encourage her to move and get positioned for birth. Herbs should not be used until the cervix is ready to open as they will not work until then. Beware of some herbs which can be dangerous to you or your baby such as aloe vera, bungleweed and pokeroot as these are some of the herbs that can cause premature birth or birth defects. Always consult a doctor before self-medicating with herbs. Primrose oil is used to induce labour as it has a comparable effect to semen in the cervix by softening and ripening it.

2. Castor Oil – is taken by some women as a natural method of bringing on labor. The theory being that the diarrhea and cramping it causes also causes contractions that can induce labor. It is unpleasant to taste but two tablespoons can be mixed into another drink such as a juice. It is advised to consume castor oil in the morning as you will be woken in the night with the cramping and diarrhea if you take it in the evening. There are risks with taking castor oil such as the expectant mother becoming dehydrated because she has diarrhea and also it increases the risk of the baby passing meconium while still in the uterus.

3. Nipple Stimulation – for hundreds of years nipple stimulation has been used by women to help induce labor. It has an effect of releasing a natural form of pitocin called oxytocin. Similarly to pitocin, oxytocin triggers contractions that can bring on labor. This method for naturally inducing labor is only effective near to your due date and when you are ready to give birth. Before forty weeks, it is not advisable to induce labor. The nipples can be stimulated manually or a breast pump can be used. Care needs to be taken as your uterus can become hyperstimulated. Only stimulate one nipple at a time and rest immediately once you notice contractions. Wait at least fifteen minutes after the contractions have stopped before resuming. If you do not get any rest between contractions other problems can arise.

4. Be Active – whilst most doctors advise you to slow down and reduce your activities as you approach your due date, it is also helpful to remain active as long as you do not cause yourself any stress. Walking a wee bit more than usual and slowly swinging your hips from side to side can help induce labor by stimulating your baby and getting her moving into the birthing position. If you fancy some fun, sex is always a good idea as I mentioned before because along with semen helping the cervix to soften, the female orgasm produces a hormone which aids childbirth.

Other methods women have used include acupressure and eating spicy foods, but watch out for possible nausea with spicy food and medical research has not yet supported this idea as definitely being beneficial.