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8 Ways to Encourage Sportsmanship in Kids

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Between youth league team sports, school physical activity initiatives, and the variety of athletic lessons and skills that today’s kids participate in, there are tons of opportunities every day for kids to showcase either sportsmanlike qualities or the foibles of a sore loser.

Emotions tend to run high, especially in younger children, making it even more difficult for them to display themselves as a good sport. There are several ways that parents and authority figures can help kids to become sportsmanlike competitors; these are a few of the simplest and most effective.

1. Model Sportsmanlike Conduct – Kids learn by emulating the adults that are important to them, so it’s imperative that parents, coaches, and caregivers model good sportsmanship at every opportunity. That means applauding good plays regardless of who made them, keeping negative comments and criticisms to yourself, and never making a child feel bad about himself because of an athletic mistake.

 2. Don’t Focus on Wins and Losses – Instead of focusing on the wins and losses of a kids’ sports team, adults should concentrate on acknowledging good plays and offering supportive assistance to build skills that children are less confident in. Emphasizing the importance of playing to the best of your abilities rather than obsessing over a win helps kids feel less absorbed with scoring and allows them to be more in tune with teamwork and dedication.

3. Never Reward Excessive Aggression – A child that delivers a win through overly-aggressive conduct should be congratulated on her success, but also encouraged to do so in a manner that can’t be construed as bullying the other players on the field.

4. Instill a Sense of Pride – When children are praised and taught to feel a sense of pride in their athletic accomplishments, parents and coaches can also help to instill a sense of humility. Kids that learn the difference between confidence and cockiness are also beginning to understand the concept of sportsmanlike conduct versus swaggering conceit.

5. Emphasize the Importance of Having Fun – At a young age, even budding athletic stars are still learning the fundamentals of the game and are beginning to build the foundations of skill. Kids that feel pressured to perform beyond their means or are forced into participation are not only almost certain to grow to resent their sport, but also to become more focused on winning at all costs. Keep kids’ sports focused on having fun, working together and building skills that may be valuable in the future.

6. Don’t Coach From the Bleachers – In addition to embarrassing your child, shouting at his teammates, coaches, and the other team from the sidelines is a great way to teach kids exactly how not to behave. There’s nothing sportsmanlike about railing the other team, berating children for a fumble, or badmouthing a coach your child looks up to. Remember the first rule of teaching kids to be a good sport is to model that behavior yourself, and this includes refraining from taking on the head coach role from the bleachers.

7. Point Out Good – and Bad – Conduct in Professional Athletes – The Olympic Games and other sporting events provide parents and coaches with a great opportunity to point out stellar sportsmanship, but it can also create talking points for discussing bad conduct on the part of a professional athlete or sports figure. When major sports names make the news for either a temper tantrum or an impressive display of grace, talk about it with your kids. Ask them how they feel about the situation, creating a dialogue that allows you to both hear what your child has to say and pass along the wisdom that you’ve learned over the years.

8. Discouraging kids from looking up to trash-talking, insulting athletes who make a name for themselves by bashing their teammates and opponents is one of the most important steps to helping them learn to be good sports themselves, as children will model their own behavior after that of their heroes. While you can’t control who your kids look up to, you can calmly and gently point out their favorite stars’ attitudes, when they’re someone to look up to, and where they have room for improvement.

Remember, though; badmouthing a rude professional athlete to your child isn’t likely to be viewed by her as much different from that athlete threatening to pulverize his opponents.

Choose your words carefully, and help your kids become the best sports they can be.

 

4 Ways Moms Can Get ‘Self Care’ and ‘Me Time’

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It is a fact and even studies support the fact that raising a child or children can be  an extremely stressful and busy time. Of course, it is well worth it. Parents are proud of their children.  But given all the strain and pressure of managing a household and childrearing, it is important that moms (and dads) take time for self-care.

Self-care can be defined as care provided “for you, by you.” It’s about identifying your own needs and taking steps to meet them. It is taking the time to do some of the activities that nurture you.

Women and moms, especially, do not take time off to engage in fun activities or things they love. Many of us remember a time when we used to read for leisure. Sadly, a lot of us cannot remember the last time we picked up a good book and dug into it uninterrupted.

Here is a roundup of things you can do just for fun to let off some steam or just let go.

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Engage in A Hobby – Either get back into something you might have enjoyed before kids or pick up a new one like embroidery, gardening, or painting. You need something that you can dip in and out of, and something that will help you unwind after a stressful day. You do not need to be amazing at it, but just find the thing you enjoy and use it to give yourself a bit of ME time.

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Start a Blog – These days blogging has become a profession for some, but it is still a great way to journal your life, your family’s life or talk about some topic that is dear to you. If you are at home, you can easily start up your own blog. You can download an app to your phone so you can update quickly and easily so it doesn’t have to take up too much of your time! You can talk about anything- your baby and children tips, easy to make dinners on a budget, home and interior advice, or even just your amusing musings on the life of a mother. It is a great way to keep the old grey matter working, and also to share your experiences with the world.

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Play Online Games – You’ve probably gotten invitations to play one of the many online games that are part of your favorite social networking sites. Believe it or not, they are not a waste of time but also a wonderful opportunity to sharpen your memory or strategy skills. These days you can also download an app to to your phone and play a great range of popular casino games whenever you want and wherever you are! All Jackpots Casino online offers a super range of all the popular casino games and it also offers great prizes and payouts as well! Who knows, you could strike it lucky. Imagine being able to win some money while just kicking back just be careful you don’t make it a habit.

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Pick Up a New Exercise Trend – Work out trends like pilates, yogilates, kickboxing, cross-fit come and go but some look like fun and once you become addicted or join a fun class where you know all the other members, you’re more likely to go often. Soon, meeting up at your fave class becomes something you look forward to while getting into shape. And if you are on maternity leave, you can also start. You may be tired and exercise might feel like the last thing that you want to do, but as soon as the endorphins kick in, you will think differently!

Being short on time doesn’t mean you don’t have time to look after yourself. The key is to find an exercise that you can do at home and even with a kid in tow!

Throw an Amazing Baby Shower With These Top Tips

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A close friend or family member is expecting a new bundle of joy, and you have the exciting task of throwing them a baby shower to remember. There are some things to consider when planning the get-together and some tips to help make the day run smoothly. You want to ensure that everybody leaves with a smile on their face.

Themes

If you know the baby’s gender already, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to stick to a traditional palette of blue for a boy and pink for a girl. However, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the classic route, and it will appeal to many. You’ll probably know the mama-to-be well enough to choose a color scheme or theme, so pick one and run with it.

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Yellows mixed with neutral tones, like gray, are a cute, contemporary option and the colors work equally as well for an incoming girl or boy. If the gender won’t be revealed until the due date, why not create a neutral theme with pops of bright color, or your color scheme could be pastels and patterns such as stripes and polka-dots. Pinterest is crammed with baby shower ideas, check them out here.

Food and Drinks

What’s a celebration without the food? Well, usually a room full of hungry people, so, you can’t let that happen and should start planning what everyone will be eating as early as possible. It’s always a very good idea to have a balance of sweet and savory items to nibble, too much of the sugary stuff can lead to a sickly feeling and a headache, so make sure there is a diverse mixture. The food doesn’t need to be over-complicated, so don’t panic, a buffet with a little effort put into the presentation will please all your guests.

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Cupcakes and sandwiches are a tasty option and simple to make; you want to give your guests food that they can pick up and eat comfortably, so soup wouldn’t be the best idea. If the idea of creating a whole table of food worries you, you can always put a “bring a plate” instruction on the invite or email; people are usually happy to do this, and it means they’ll be something everybody’s excited to eat. You might, however, be a creative whizz and you can start matching your frosting color to your themes, the possibilities are endless. Don’t forget, there are also loads of great options in stores, and you could even hire a caterer, nobody will ever know!

Obviously, they’ll be one guest who won’t be drinking alcohol, and baby showers are usually a day event, so hard liquor might be inappropriate. Keep alcohol light and fun, you could make a popular cocktail or punch and serve it from teapots for a tea party theme, or if you’re hosting in an outdoor space, why not use mason jars and decorate them to match the bunting and balloons.

A non-alcoholic drink doesn’t have to be boring either; there are an array of virgin cocktail recipes online. A large jug of water with fruit and mint leaves is another refreshing option that will look pretty on the table too. For a little more food and drink inspiration, take a look at this backyard baby shower: https://bellyitchblog.com/2016/04/inside-terricka-antonio-cromarties-backyard-baby-shower.html.

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Party Favors And Gifts

A designated area, where guests can put their gifts is essential. It’s almost a certainty that everyone attending the shower will have bought something for the expecting mom. The opening of the gifts can be a memorable part of the party, so establish a space, with a comfortable chair, where the guest of honor can sit and be the center of attention. If you’re all within a group of friends, you can put your heads (and cash) together and get a larger, joint gift. A gift list is also a helpful way of ensuring the mom-to-be doesn’t get too much of the same, and maybe if you’re an inside source, you’ll know exactly want she needs and wants.

Picking something unique and memorable will always be appreciated, as it’s so obvious how much thought you put into choosing something special. Personalized gifts are sweet and often fun, you could pick something specifically for the expecting mom, her baby, or even the rest of her family. For example, matching personalized mugs for the parents, or customized T-shirts for the whole family would make her smile and what a great photo opportunity; for some more inspiration, have a look here:

http://www.zoeyspersonalizedgifts.com/big-sister-to-be-t-shirts/. The more thought everyone puts into their gifting, the better the memories and the more special the mother will feel.

You can be quite savvy when it comes to your party favors and gifts, and link them in with an enjoyable activity at the shower. Cupcake decorating or creating cake pops are relaxing activities and enable everyone involved to still chat, nibble and drink; they’ll also have something sweet to take home or enjoy at the party. Why not ask everyone to decorate their own paper party bags; have a craft table full of supplies, where guests can put their name on their bag and decorate it (before filling it full of cake and candy). Ensure the activity can be enjoyed sitting down and that there’s no pressure for people to take part if they don’t want to, although, the majority of folks won’t mind one bit.

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Guest Book And Photos

The mother-to-be will want to remember her special day and be able to look back on it fondly. A guest book is a perfect option for those who like to have a keepsake, and it can’t get more thoughtful than all her nearest and dearest writing their well-wishes in a book she can take home. If there are family and friends that couldn’t make the gathering, perhaps you could organize for them write in it beforehand, so nobody has to miss out. The book itself can be a simple and inexpensive notebook on which you can write the mamas name and the date of her baby shower (and maybe go over to that craft table you set up and decorate it).

Lastly, don’t forget photos! For the social media savvy, you could create a hashtag for the day, so everybody can find pictures from the day online with ease. There’s alway the option of asking guests to email you any pictures they took, so you can create a folder to send to the mama after her baby arrives; perfect for her to browse through when she’s up for a night feed!

Forget Candy and Flowers, Get Mom a Memorable Gift That Would Last

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With Mother’s Day around the corner, I just remembered a very unique idea for a grandmom, new mom, mom-to-be or any other maternal figure in your life who loves sentimental items.

Instead of flowers which will wilt, chocolates or dinner which will get consumed or a spa gift certificate for one day of pampering, consider getting something that will stand the test of time and will last?

Also, personalized items, emblazoned with the recipient’s  name or initials are also long-lasting gifts that will be cherished for years to come. Another idea is to upload a collage of your favorite photos of mom or the family and have them printed out on one of the removable personalized wall papers that the folks at WeMontage sell.

 

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Their collages are lifesize and printed on removable wallpaper that you can then frame or put up as is anywhere: the sewing room, an office, a baby’s nursery, a den or living room. It provides a wonderful opportunity to relish in past sacred moments memorialized in photos.

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That’s essential because these days, people don’t really print out photos much. Pics just live for years inside people’s smartphones or in albums of their favorite social media site.

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WeMontage also sells products like canvas wraps, iPhone cases, pillows and more. And even though it’s mad late to get one in time for Mother’s Day this Sunday, you can always show mom the collage and present her with a representation of what’s to come.

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Their products would also make great Father’s Day and Grandparent’s Day gifts. And for the new graduate, a collage from kindergarten to graduation would be a very memorable way to celebrate commencement. Boy will your graduate be surprised and excited to see this if you could pull it off!

Let the good folks at WeMontage do the leg work for you and you get all the glory and praise of presenting such an awesome gift! Start making yours here!

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These Tips Will Help You Bolster Your Family’s Finances

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Your family’s finances are always going to be important. Of course, money can’t buy happiness for your family. But it can certainly make you a lot more comfortable and provide your family with the lifestyle that you want for it. There are lots of threats out there that could have a disastrous impact on the overall health of your finances. You need to be alert to these threats and plan out how to stay as financially stable as possible.

It’s perfectly possible to keep your business in good financial shape if you work hard and take the right steps. But getting on the right tracks can be hard if you’ve never paid too much close attention to your money and financial management in the past. You should let the detailed and helpful information below help you out and get you on the right tracks. Start reading all about these issues now.

If You Take Risks, Make Sure They’re Calculated

There is nothing necessarily wrong with taking risks when you are managing your family’s finances. But there is certainly something wrong with taking risks that are not calculated. When you fail to take calculated risks, you will put yourself and your family at danger. For example, choosing to invest is not a bad thing. But if you are taking big risks without really knowing what you’re doing, you will make mistakes that lead to disaster. So, next time you take a risk with your finances, make sure that it’s calculated in advance. The alternative is not worth thinking about.

Know Your Limits and Stay Within Them

Every family has a certain set of limits that it needs to be aware of. You can’t afford to live a life of luxury if your income doesn’t match up to that. One rule you should always live by is the rule which says you should never finances your lifestyle with borrowing. Yes, you can sometimes finance one-off payments or purchases through borrowing. But financing your general lifestyle in that way is simply unsustainable. It’s not something that you can afford to do at all if you’re going to live in a way that is financially stable and secure. It’s important to be aware of that. Be mindful of opportunities to offload expensive and unnecessary luxury items. Check your local listings or online sell apps for entries that state “we buy junk cars” or something similar to get cash fast to put aside. 

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Take Every Opportunity to Earn a Little More

Your main income doesn’t necessarily have to be your only form of income. There is nothing stopping you from going out of your way to earn a little bit more. For example, you could choose to do some extra hours at work. You could choose to do some babysitting or dog walking in the local community. All of these things help you to make money. Or maybe you have a hobby or artistic interest that you can use to sell some things to people. Do whatever you can to expand and increase your overall income. It could make your family life that little bit more comfortable.

Save for Your Children’s Future Education

There are some things in life that parents are expected to help out their kids with. These days, education is very expensive. And if your child wants to go to college in the future, they will either by lumbered with vast amounts of debt or you will have to help them out a little. It’s up to you which route you take, but it makes more sense for you to start saving for your children’s future education right now. If you start while they’re young, it will be easier to raise a decent amount by the time they do go to college.

Learn to Plan Better

Planning is perhaps the most important thing of all when it comes to managing your family’s finances. Many people would say saving is most important, but that’s where I disagree. Planning always has to come before saving. And if you don’t plan things out in the right way, you won’t be able to save and spend in the right way either. So, never underestimate the importance of planning out your financial situation in the right way. If you don’t want to do this alone, it will be perfectly possible for you to find a financial planner to help you.

Give Some Thought to Cybersecurity

There are so many threats out there on the internet, and some of them can have a big impact on your financial situation. If you fail to counter the cybersecurity threats that are lurking out there and waiting for you to slip up, you will be caught out sooner or later, and that’s not what you want to happen. You can use Bitdefender online coupons to get a more affordable deal on a good antivirus software. It’s important to put these basic protections in place. Educate yourself as well; it could be the thing that helps you to avoid cyber threats and scams.

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Put the Right Insurance Policies in Place

Insurance is really important. If something happens to your house, your car or one of the family’s main earner, you need to be able to cope and keep your finances balanced. By having the right insurance policies in place, you can make sure that’s the case. You should have home and contents cover, life insurance and car insurance. All of these things can help protect you in the event of a major disaster. And it will mean that the consequences of those disasters won’t have to be paid for by money out of your own pocket.

Keep One Eye on the Future

The future might seem like something that’s way off in the distances, but it’s coming our way fast. When it comes to managing your money and balancing your accounts, you need to always have one eye on the future. For example, do you have a plan for how you’re going to get by financially when you enter retirement? Do you have investments that are earning you extra money? There are many future financial concerns that you need to be thinking about and making plans and arrangements for. It’s something you’ll be happy you did later on in life.

 These are the 8 Essential Items You Need for Your Newborn Baby

To a lot of brand new mothers-to-be, having a new baby is a scary.

Often, friends and family tell you that you’ll be overwhelmed (which you will be!), and try to give you advice on what items you should have ready for when your new one comes into your life.

You’ll get advice about a lot of items people think you should have but in reality, there are really just 8 vital items every new mom should have for their newborn baby. Although all a baby needs is love and warmth, here are some items which will make your life much easier!

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1.Crib and mattress: You will surely want a place for your newborn to sleep in. Whether you’re planning on cuddling them next to you for the first few weeks, or want to have your baby sleeping in a crib, you just need to remember that they spend around 16 hours per day snoozing. It is therefore imperative to check that their crib or mattress meets safety standards. You can choose between the variety of Moses baskets, bassinets, pack-and-play, or co-sleepers.

2. Dresser: This item is guaranteed to make your life easier. Featuring generous space for storing clothes, diapers or blankets, a dresser will save a lot of space, and make it comfortable for you to find items at the click of a finger.

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3. Car Seat: In many countries (including the United States), it’s illegal to have a baby in the car without a car seat. Needless to say those car seats provide added comfort and most importantly, safety, but no need to guilt-trip yourself into buying anything expensive. Just choose something which meets current safety standards, and you’re good to go!

4. Stroller: There is a variety of strollers available in today’s marketplace. Nonetheless, you will always hear moms talking about needing to have enough undercarriage space (designed for storing diapers, milk bottles or chocolate snacks- those ones are just to keep you going!)

5. Bouncer or Swing: Many moms like having one or the other. Whether you just need 5 minutes to lay flat on the floor and think of the sleep you’re losing, doing laundry or just making dinner, it’s nice to see your little one bounce around.

6. Burp cloths: This may be a touchy subject for a new-mom: your newborn is going to spit-up or vomit in the future. Quite a lot as well. You will want to be prepared, so always have a clean supply of 15-20 burp cloths.

7. Diapers and wipes: The trick with diapers is, when you think you’ve got enough, get more! There is no possible way you can estimate how many diapers you’ll need to change, so better be well prepared and have a little arsenal of diapers just ready for the battlefield!

8. Baby Monitor: As a first-time parent, you may find great comfort in having a baby monitor which will allow you to get some sleep without having to check on your beautiful new one every 5 minutes. Products nowadays have evolved, ranging from simple monitors with integrated sound systems, to high-tech ones with motion-detectors.

Other items Worth Mentioning

Hands-free baby carrier: This item might be a bit strange, as I’m still unsure if the baby likes the closeness of hearing their parent’s heartbeat, or parents just love snuggling up with their little ones. Regardless, whether you’re on your way to the grocery story, taking your dog out for a walk, or just need to snuggle, you can rely on this product.

Breast pump: Establishing a milk supply can sometimes be difficult. In this case, buying a breast pump may come in handy. However, if you’re unsure which one you should choose, why not rent a hospital-grade one? The benefits include the fact that it’s returnable, efficient and clean.

Diaper bag: The best diaper bag has a few characteristics which you won’t want to overlook. Waterproof/microfiber materials mean that you’ll be protected from different environmental factors, and that the items inside your bag will remain intact, as desired.

Items Not Worth Your Money:

Baby clothes: Chances are everyone knows you’re having a baby. The easiest thing for friends and family to get you is cute little-people-sized clothes. So don’t waste your money on them, you’ll have plenty of other expenses.

Toys: For the first months of their life, your newborn won’t be able to separate a car from a giraffe. In addition, your family will make sure your baby will always have a stuffed little friend next to them, so don’t worry about that.

To sum up, there are many items available in today’s market, making it very difficult for a first-time parent to know what to choose, and where from. These items can be separated into three categories: 1. Must haves, 2. Optional items, 3. Not needed items. However, as mentioned in the beginning of this article, knowledge will come with time, and all a baby really needs is the comfort of your presence, and the love you can offer.

7 Tips for New Moms Returning to School After Baby

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You don’t have to let the fact that you had a baby before or in the middle of college deter you from returning or starting. Despite all the obstacles and challenges associated with returning to school after a baby, if you put in a plan, you certainly can do it and findAnanny.com wants you to use these beneficial suggestions to get it done.

1. Build a Support System – The most important thing for a student mom to have in place is a strong and reliable support system. Not only will you need help with childcare and managing the needs of your new baby while keeping up with your studies, you’ll also need a shoulder or two you can cry on when things get difficult. Finishing school as a parent will be a challenge, and having a few people in your corner can make all the difference.

2. Create a Routine That Works For Your Family – There is no hard-and-fast rule about how you have to structure your household routine, especially when your little one is still an infant. Find a schedule that works for you and build around it. If online classes are more conducive to learning and completing assignments than a traditional classroom setting, that’s the best solution for you. On the other hand, getting out of the house and interacting with your classmates may help you manage the demands of parenthood more easily. Whatever works for you is the best solution, regardless of how well it would work for someone else

3. Set Realistic Goals -You may have planned to take on a full course load before your pregnancy, but that may not be realistic after the birth of a child. Rather than setting goals that aren’t feasible and being disappointed when they prove to be a bit more than you’re ready to handle, take your time and make a plan that you can actually adhere to. Celebrate each milestone along the way and stay focused on each smaller goal as they approach

4. Work Out a Reasonable Timeline- Finishing school on the standard time table may be out of the cards for you as a new mom, and that’s okay. The goal is to finish, so take the time to figure out when you can realistically complete your studies. You may have to shoulder a lighter burden in terms of classes and finish later than some of your peers, but you’ll still leave with a diploma, which is better than trying to take on too much only to end up burned out and frustrated enough to quit school altogether. You may also have ideas of returning to school days after the birth of your child, however, that may not be possible. Finding the right time to return to school after you recover from delivery and have bonded with your new baby may be a bit more complicated than simply returning as soon as you’re discharged from the hospital.

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5. Find a Caregiver You Trust – Your child will have to be cared for while you’re at school since you won’t be able to take her to class with you. To make the transition into school after becoming a new parent, you’ll need to make sure that you’ve found a childcare provider you absolutely trust and have no qualms about leaving her with. If you’re distracted and worried about your child’s safety while you’re in class, your academic performance probably won’t reflect your actual abilities.

6. Prepare for a Bit of Separation Anxiety -Regardless of how excited you are to get back into school after your maternity leave ends, you will feel at least a little bit of separation anxiety until you adjust to the idea of no longer spending the entirety of each day with the fascinating little person you’ve created. If you’re prepared for the stress of leaving your child in someone else’s care and understand that it’s just temporary, it can lessen the sting and help to make that pain a bit more manageable.

7. Don’t Be Scared to Adjust Your Schedule – As a new mom and a student, your schedule may have to be adjusted a few times until you find the one that works for you. Making adjustments is not the same as admitting defeat, so don’t be afraid to finagle things until you find the methods that work best for you and your new family.

The Things You Have to Consider When Picking a Child Safety Seat

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Congratulations!

A baby is on the way! Paramount on the list of concerns for a new parent is safety, and safety concerns will start sooner than you might initially think: on the car ride home from the hospital as your new baby takes his/her first ride in a car seat.

Choosing a car seat can be a daunting task; have you seen the size of the car seat section at your local baby supply store? It is huge, with multitudes of seats to choose from, ranging anywhere from $40 to several hundred.

So how do you choose the right one?

Budget: Because car seats can range from well under a hundred dollars to several hundred, many people automatically assume more expensive must mean a better seat. But this is not actually true. One seat that is frequently recommended by Child Passenger Safety Technicians as easy to use and install runs right around $40.

All seats must pass the same basic set of testing standards and ultimately the best seat is the one that is installed and used properly, so take an honest look at your budget and then find a seat within that budget that fits your child’s needs (see below) and your vehicle well, have a CPST teach you how to install it and always use it properly. Visit www.car-seat.org to find a CPST near you.

Age/Size of Child: Even the best car seat is useless if it is the wrong seat for the age and size of your child. Many seats are labeled in ways that are misleading to parents. For example, many booster seats say on the package 30lbs-100lbs. We all have seen one year olds who are pushing 30 lbs. That does not in any way mean that a one year old is ready for a booster seat—many children are not ready for boosters until age seven or eight because size alone is not the determining factor. So do some research and figure out what seat (infant, convertible, forward facing, harnessed booster or unharnessed booster) is best for your child based on both their age AND their size.

As of 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children under age two stay in a weight appropriate rear-facing car seat or to the maximum weight and height limitations for their car seat for maximum safety and head/neck protection.

For some children, this may mean rear-facing until age three or four. A good place to start is the NHTSA website. In addition, since many harnessed car seats (often called a harnessed booster) now offer weight limits up to 80-85 lbs, it is wise to consider extended harnessing for your child for ultimate protection. There is a reason that even race car drivers use this kind of harness—it helps keep the passenger in the safest position and protects them better.

Don’t be in a rush to move “up” to the next style of seat. Each step “up” is actually a step “down” for safety.

5 Ways to Protect Your Mental Health After Baby Comes Home

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Today is Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, a day established to raise awareness of the existent or mental health challenges among children and  we moms.

When an individual becomes a parent or caregiver, their occupations drastically change and it can be overwhelming,” says Theresa Carroll, OTD, OTR/L, Clinical Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy at the University of Illinois in Chicago and also a volunteer Babywearing Educator with Babywearing International. “Many find themselves having to sacrifice self-care, leisure activities, work, and even education to prioritize the new occupations involved in caring for a newborn.”

Occupational therapy practitioners are experts in activity (occupations) participation such as self-care, work, and play, and can help new parents and caregivers compensate and find balance by promoting healthy routines to preserve mental wellness.

In honor of today, the American  Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) offers evidence-based tips for new caregivers to promote mental and physical health and well-being:

1. Increase skin-to-skin contact. Physical contact between caregiver and child promotes physical and mental development for baby, and elicits good feelings for the caregiver.

2. Wear baby when safe. Wearing a baby in a carrier or wrap promotes physical development including head control and understanding of the world around them. It also gives caregivers the opportunity to participate in occupations such as household chores, tending to older children, and leisure such as walks.

3. Connect with others. Join a parent group, playgroup, moms’ club, dads’ club, parenting support group, stroller exercise group, etc. for support. Many local libraries hold free weekly events for young children, which offer structured play for both parent and child, and informal networking for caregivers.

4. Set realistic expectations. Caregiving is not all giggles, hugs, and “I Love Yous” all the time. Some days, the dog is barking, the baby is crying, the toddler is having a meltdown, the sink is full of dishes, and the laundry seems never-ending. Sometimes, juggling work demands or little sleep and continuing to breastfeed can seem impossible.

5. Understanding that most parents feel this way and are going through these changes can help.

Accept help. Understand that accepting help with daily activities is not admitting defeat. Assistance from others can offer time to participate in self-care and health-promoting leisure routines. “Taking care of yourself as a caregiver translates to the mental wellness of the child,” says Carroll. “Allowing others to care for your child so you can take a shower, go for a run, or read a book can be beneficial to both caregiver and child.”

“Occupational therapists understand the benefits of engaging in meaningful occupations for mental health,” says Carroll. “Helping caregivers establish routines that facilitate the balance of caregiving, self-care, and leisure can promote mental wellness for both the caregiver and the child.”

AOTA is a supporter of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day on May 4.

According to SAMHSA, more than 1,100 community-based mental health services and supports providers, community programs, schools, and collaborating organization affiliates from across the country are estimated to be celebrating this annual observance.

How to Thrift and Upcycle like a BOSS! (GUIDE)

Bellyitch Rewind

thrifting and upcyling

Saving money is trendy, believe it or not and so is Thrifting! When thrifting for larger items that you may fix up, polish, reupholster and DIY (Do-It-Yourself) into a new masterpiece, it’s called Upcycling!

Rare finds like vintage armoires and antique dressers are among the best pieces of furniture to repurpose, collect, or display in your home. But even ordinary used furniture and housewares can be transformed into unique and functional pieces! Collecting and repurposing furniture and household items is all the rage right now. Images of refurbished and made-over salvaged pieces can be seen splattered all over Pinterest and Facebook.

Since part of an upcycler’s job is turning trash into treasure, it’s important to learn the ins and outs of thrift shopping. If you are new to this, knowing where to begin can be tough. This guide helps you learn what to look for while thrift shopping, where to go, thrift shopping etiquette, and money-saving tips for garage sales and estate sale shopping. It also includes suggestions on what types of housewares are easiest to upcycle, and types of furniture that are best for beginners to refurbish or make over.

Do Your Research

Start by conducting some online research. A great source for finding estate sales in your area is Estatesales.net. This site offers photos, maps, and directions, and you can search by city or county. Other sources are your local PennySaver magazine and Craigslist. Craigslist has a section for local garage sales, and under “for sale” there is a section called “free.” You can find real-time curb alerts in your area. You can also download a Craigslist app to your phone to make treasure hunting easier.

To find the best places to go, ask your friends and join social media groups. Goodwill, for example, has a vast selection of housewares available most of the time.

What to Bring

Preparation is key when thrift shopping. Keep a small bag in your car for planned and unplanned shopping trips. Here are a few things you should keep inside this thrift shopping emergency kit.

A Thrifter's Emergency Kit


Source: Fix.com

Tote Bags: Many estate sales and garage sales do not provide bags. Keep a few neatly folded in your emergency shopping kit.

Newspaper: Newspaper or scrap packing paper comes in handy for delicate items.

Measuring Tape: Keep a small tape measure to ensure accuracy when shopping for large items.

Screwdriver: For large items that may need to be disassembled to fit in your car.

Cash: You shouldn’t necessarily keep a wad of hundreds in your emergency kit, but keep in mind that most estate, garage, and yard sales will be cash-only.

Wish Lists: It’s important to remember your needs versus your wants. It’s never a good idea to shop frivolously. Even if you are getting a good deal, it’s good to know when to say no. Keep two lists – what you need and what you want – to prevent overspending.

List of Measurements:This is handy if you are furniture shopping. If you are looking for the perfect chair for your living room, for example, make sure you know the dimensions you need. This way, you’ll be certain your new piece will fit perfectly.

Before heading out to find the perfect coffee table to paint or armchair to reupholster, be sure to measure your room. Measure its length and width, as well as any relevant wall space. Consider doors, windows, fireplaces, and existing furniture. It helps to make a rough sketch of your room and placement of your furniture. Don’t worry – it doesn’t have to be to exact scale, but this way you’ll have a better idea of what fits before making an ill-fitting purchase you may regret.

Standard Measurements for Living Room Furniture


Source: Fix.com

Thrift Shopping Etiquette

Now that you are armed and dangerous, thrift shopping etiquette should not be overlooked. Here are a few helpful hints to keep in mind. Estate sale shopping is a little different than thrift store shopping. There are two schools of thought when it comes to upcycling at estate sales. You can get there early and be the first person there, or wait and go at the very end. Getting there early is good because you will have the most selection. However, if you wait until the end you have the most negotiating power. If you are just browsing, you may benefit from waiting until the end and finding an awesome deal, but if you have a specific item in mind, your best bet is to get there first.

Next, be sure to shop with heightened sensitivity. Estate sales are often conducted by someone who has lost someone that they love; the items on sale have meaning to the seller. Finally, have fun and be patient. It may take a few estate sales to get used to the process.

Money-Saving Tips

Just because you are “thrift” shopping, doesn’t mean you are always getting the best deal. Use your smartphone to compare prices to equivalent and newer items that are similar. Second, be aware of sales. You can call ahead to your local thrift or donation stores to find out about upcoming sales. For example, Goodwill stores have a special “colored tag of the day.” Look for the colored tag and get 50 percent off. Third, if you see a chip or other blemish you can easily repair, don’t be afraid to respectfully ask a thrift store clerk for a discount. Nine out of ten times they will give it to you! Finally, be nice. Try not to play too much hardball when negotiating at yard sales and garage sales, especially if it’s early in the day. It won’t be well received. Simply ask, “Can you tell me your best price for this?”

What to Look For

Estate sales, garage sales, and thrift stores are great places to get inspiration and find your next DIY project. With a little preparation, knowledge, and fortitude, you can find hidden gems and turn someone else’s trash into treasure. But for beginner upcyclers, perusing cluttered shelves and tables can be overwhelming.

Sturdy glass vases, containers, baskets, and wooden bowls can be easily painted, frosted, wrapped, decoupaged, or embellished. They can be used not only for flowers or fruit, but for storage, organization, and gift wrapping as well. Mirrors and frames can easily be transformed and repurposed as well.

Upcycled Creations Before and After


Source: Fix.com
Small furniture pieces like chairs, side tables, accent tables, stools, and ottomans are great pieces for newbies to make over. Examine the piece before you buy it. Make sure it can be easily taken apart and put back together. If it looks too difficult, pass on it until you are more experienced. For upholstered pieces, if it smells bad, just say no and move on. Some smells are impossible to get rid of. Also, do not pay attention to the color or fabric. It can always be changed. Rather, look for the shape, lines, and curves that interest you. Small scratches and blemishes can be easily repaired as well.

Your trash to treasure adventure can now officially begin. You know where to look, what to bring, how to act, and what to look for. Ready, set, thrift!