Savvy parents are always looking for tricks to save time and money while becoming better caregivers. Here are six simple hacks will make you feel like a superstar parent while giving your little one the best. Read the full Medium article here.
Savvy parents are always looking for tricks to save time and money while becoming better caregivers. These six simple hacks will make you feel like a superstar parent while giving your little one the best.
(BPT) - Whether it's your first child or you've been around the baby block a few times before, having an infant in your life is an unforgettable experience. While there are countless joys you'll cherish forever, there are also a few challenges you'll likely face along the way.
Savvy parents are always looking for tricks to save time and money while becoming better caregivers. These six simple hacks will make you feel like a superstar parent while giving your little one the best:
1) Fast and tidy diaper changes
Wiggling legs can make fast messes, especially when it comes time to change the diaper. To make diaper changing quick and easy, try placing a clean diaper on the changing table before laying your baby down on the table. Remove the diaper tabs, clean your baby up, pull away the dirty diaper and instantly you have a clean diaper ready to go. You'll save time and consolidate messes in the process.
2) Clean stroller travel
Saving your back and making travel smooth and easy, a stroller can take you and your baby anywhere from the park to the mall and beyond. However, with those adventures comes all the nasty dirt, grime or worse that gets on the wheels. Before putting your stroller in your car for transport, place shower caps on the wheels. Your car will stay nice and clean no matter how messy those stroller wheels are.
3) Save money on essentials
Babies need many things and the costs add up fast. Shopping sales and using coupons is a good start, but you can save even more money without sacrificing quality by looking for store brand items like diapers, wipes and infant formula. Store brand infant formula is the ultimate parenting hack, offering the same complete nutrition as the big-name brands but saving families up to $900 a year, based on prices from an October 2019 retail price survey of assorted stores.*
*Retail prices from October 2019 retail price survey of assorted stores. Actual prices and savings may vary.
4) Streamline bath time
A warm baby is a happy baby, and what parent doesn't want to see their little one cozy and cooing? While you're bathing baby, have someone place a towel in the dryer for five minutes. Remember to never leave your child alone in the bathtub, so you'll need a partner or older sibling to do this. Once the dryer is done, have them bring you the towel so you can wrap baby in warmth right out of the water. You'll never see tears from a post-bath chill again.
5) No more noisy toys
Kids are noisy. Kids' toys that make noise can add to the commotion. Those loud bells and songs can test even the most patient parent. When children are done using noisy toys, cover the toy’s speaker with tape to avoid any excess noise. This also works if a toy is particularly loud and could use a bit of muffling, even on the low setting. A small piece of tape lessens the noise so baby can still enjoy without Mom and Dad getting a headache.
6) Stay informed
Knowing what's best for baby is a combination of using your instincts and staying informed. Having quick resources for getting useful information about important topics like health, nutrition and savings can give your parenting game an edge. For even more tips on all things feeding baby, check out the latest MommyMD Guide to Feeding Your Baby Right and visit storebrandformula.com as a resource to help make the wild ride of parenting a little bit easier.
If you're buying a car for your teen, safety is probably your highest priority. After all, teenagers aren't exactly known for their driving prowess. However, other considerations, such as your budget and the vehicle's reliability, are important too. Before you turn over a set of car keys to your family's newest driver, take the following considerations into account.
It's Probably Going to Break
Like it or not, the car you buy for your teen is probably going to break. If you're like many parents and buy your teen a low-cost car with a lot of miles on it, it'll simply be more likely to break down due to age. Furthermore, teenagers are usually harder on cars than more experienced drivers. They tend to brake harder, accelerate more quickly and disregard necessary maintenance tasks. Teaching your teen how to maintain their car will help extend the vehicle's life, but you should expect breakdowns and plan accordingly. There are some cars that are safer for teens, but you should still encourage safe driving.
Consider the Upfront Expenses
Knowing the upfront expenses of buying a car for your teenager will help you budget and prepare financially. First, decide whether to pay for the car upfront or to take out a loan. Then, consider having your teen pay for part of the cost of the vehicle. Not only will this take a little financial strain off you, but it'll build a sense of responsibility in your child. Finally, don't forget to budget for car insurance. Adding a teen driver to your insurance is likely to increase your premiums considerably.
Find the Right Car
The car you want for your teen is probably different than the one you want for yourself. To encourage safe driving, look for cars that don't emphasize horsepower, and keep in mind that larger cars are typically safer than compacts. Newer cars generally come with more safety features than older models, but they also come with heftier price tags.
Handing over the car keys to a new driver is a big deal regardless of how prepared you feel or how responsible your teenager is. Adequately preparing yourself and your child for this milestone will give your entire family peace of mind. Know that the car you choose is likely to break down, establish a budget, and take your time finding the right vehicle for your new driver.
Making the decision to divorce is difficult. Alongside the emotional components of the decision is also the complexities of navigating the legal system in regard to divorce. There are many different types of divorce to consider and choosing the right one is crucial to making sure the journey towards divorce is as easy as possible. Here are 3 Types of divorce and what they can mean for the family.
Default divorce occurs when one spouse files for divorce but the other spouse never responds to being served. Every state has its own laws and time limitations for how long a spouse has to respond to the divorce request. After that period of time has elapsed, the spouse petitioning for divorce can file a motion of default which will allow the court to accept the divorce without the participation of the other spouse. While default divorce is a simple way to end a marriage when a spouse is unresponsive to court proceedings, it does carry some risks, primarily for the unresponsive spouse. If the court grants divorce by default, the unresponsive spouse gives up their right to contest any orders brought forth by the court. This can include any orders for dependent custody, custodial privilege and child support. This can lead to the petitioning parent being granted full custody of minor children or being awarded child support.
An uncontested divorce involves forgoing a courtroom trial and instead focuses on both spouses working together towards an agreement in terms regarding the divorce. For couples who have come to divorce as a mutual decision and can amicably divide property, determine custody and child support arrangements, an uncontested divorce is the most affordable method of ending a marriage and is often much quicker than others as well. It also allows for fair terms in regard to child custody, visitation, and support.
Collaborative divorce involves both spouses utilizing lawyers to work collaboratively in their best interests towards terms that both spouses can agree to. In a collaborative divorce, both spouses must be open to sharing all information regarding assets and finances and agree to come to terms that are fair to both parties. If both spouses cannot come to an agreement in terms, they must abandon the collaborative divorce filing, hire new lawyers and take their divorce case to trial. Collaborative divorce can be beneficial for the family as it will allow for a fair and balanced agreement regarding property allocation, minor child custody, and child support.
Divorce is never easy. However, armed with the correct information it can be a bit less painful. Aiming for the most amicable solution where both spouses are considerate of fairness and the well-being of any minor children will aid in the best resolution for all parties involved.
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Heading back to school is exciting for both kids and parents, but with all the thrill and anticipation, there can be quite a bit of stress, too. As a parent, you can approach the impending school year with a positive attitude and these tricks can help minimize stress and give your kids extra confidence when heading into the classroom.
5 Ways to Squash Back-to-School Stress
(Family Features) Heading back to school is exciting for both kids and parents, but with all the thrill and anticipation, there can be quite a bit of stress, too. As a parent, you can approach the impending school year with a positive attitude and these tricks can help minimize stress and give your kids extra confidence when heading into the classroom.
Lifestyle expert and mother of two Jeannette Kaplun recommends these tips:
Start adjusting bedtimes before school starts. It's common for bedtime rules to be broken in the summer. However, an abrupt transition to early mornings can lead to stress and irritability. The National Sleep Foundation recommends implementing earlier bedtimes two weeks before school starts and setting the alarm a bit earlier each morning for a smooth transition to the first day of school.
Curb the summer slide. Screen time isn't just for passing time; leverage technology to keep the reading skills your kids learned in the classroom sharp all summer long. A device like the Fire Kids Edition tablet from Amazon is built from the ground up for kids with a two-year worry-free guarantee, a kid-proof case and a one-year subscription to Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, giving kids access to 15,000 kid-friendly books, videos, educational apps and games. Parental controls like Learn First encourage learning before playtime and allow you to set screen time limits to help get kids back into a routine for the school year. Additionally, STEM toys and games can keep math and science top of mind during the summer months and help kids excel during the school year.
Dress for success. There's a reason grownups tend to dress up for special events - when you look good, you feel good. Give your kids that same boost by helping them choose a special outfit for the first day of school that he or she feels comfortable and confident wearing. Shopping for clothes is an opportunity for your child to express individuality, so have fun with it. For added stress relief, lay out the complete ensemble the night before and have your child try it on to head off any concerns. If the routine works, try making it part of your nightly routine for stress-free mornings throughout the school year.
Simplify the shopping experience. Every back-to-school season comes with classroom supply lists and new wardrobe needs. A one-stop shop retailer like Amazon lets you complete your shopping on your own schedule, and its back-to-school store offers deals and a wide selection, making it easy to find everything from must-have items like binders, backpacks and shoes to fun gear such as glitter glue, donut erasers and emoji stickers that allow kids to express their personalities.
"Back-to-school shopping doesn't have to cause anxiety," Kaplun said. "By shopping online at Amazon from your phone, tablet or computer, you can buy everything you need without having to find a parking spot, tracking down a sales associate to help you find your child's size or standing in line to pay, saving you precious time. Plus, Prime members receive unlimited, free two-day shipping on more than 100 million items all-year long."
Share the excitement. It's perfectly normal for parents and kids to feel anxious about the new school year. Instead of revealing your own apprehension, share your favorite memories from your time in your child's upcoming grade. Ask your kids what they're most excited for and what they're a little nervous about and come up with solutions together.
Get a jump start on your stress-free transition back to school with more tips and resources at amazon.com/backtoschool.
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College is a significant investment and millions of families each year face the question of how to pay for it. One way students can position themselves for success is by seeking out various forms of financial assistance. These tips can help you identify and apply for scholarships that match your interests and credentials.
Finding Money for College
6 tips for winning scholarships
(Family Features) College is a significant investment and millions of families each year face the question of how to pay for it. One way students can position themselves for success is by seeking out various forms of financial assistance.
Earning scholarships can be one way to offset the financial burden, but winning a scholarship can sometimes be as competitive as gaining admission to the college of your choice. While most scholarships don’t entirely cover college tuition, they can be useful tools to help cover educational expenses such as room and board, tuition and books.
Some scholarships can be earned by meeting or exceeding certain standards, such as academic performance, while other scholarships are based on financial need or personal interests of the applicant. There’s also a wealth of opportunities that support students in specific areas, whether it be from companies, professional organizations or foundations. For example, the America’s Farmers Grow Ag Leaders program offers industry-specific scholarships each year for those looking to study agriculture-related fields.
While your academic performance, character and extracurricular resume all play a part, knowing where to look for scholarships can make all the difference when it comes time to pay for your education. These tips can help you identify and apply for scholarships that match your interests and credentials.
Complete the FAFSA
Talk to Your Counselor
Apply for Scholarships in Your Field of Interest
Don’t Overlook Smaller Award Amounts
Look for Essay Applications
Use a Scholarship Search Engine
Increasing Your Scholarship Odds
While there is no way to guarantee a scholarship to help offset the costs of higher education, there are things you can do to increase your odds of getting noticed by admissions departments and those who award scholarships. Before sending in your application, consider these tips:
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While the holidays might be the most wonderful time of the year for children, the gifting season can quickly spiral out of control for unprepared shoppers. These four tips can help you conquer holiday gifting like a pro.
4 Ways to Survive Holiday Gifting
(Family Features) While the holidays might be the most wonderful time of the year for children, the gifting season can quickly spiral out of control for unprepared shoppers.
These four tips can help you conquer holiday gifting like a pro:
Get organized. The secret to conquering the holiday season is having a plan. Take 10-15 minutes to update your calendar with all your holiday parties, family engagements, secret Santa exchanges or any other gifting commitments. Make sure to include dates, locations, times and even specifics, like themes, if they’re available. If you have multiple holiday events, you might even color-coordinate your planner for an easy visual reminder. Sync your events across all smart devices for an easy glance at the touch of a button.
Find your go-to gifts. As an adult, deciphering what kind of gifts a child wants in this digital age can be tricky. Some classics like brick toys are still a hit with kids of all ages. Studies show that 60 percent of children love playing with brick toys and more than half of parents love that their kids do, according to Mattel Global Consumer Insights. Try product lines like Mega Construx and Mega Bloks, which combine the fun of brick toys with popular franchises to create exciting products for kids. Find more holiday gift ideas at shop.mattel.com.
Wrap gifts early. Now that you have your plan in place, save time by purchasing all the gifts you will need for the holidays and wrapping them at one time. Prevent the stress of a last-minute gift wrap run by pre-wrapping gifts and simply labeling them with removable sticky notes.
Build a gifting closet. Once you have your gifts wrapped and ready to go, consider using an old crate or storage container and turning it into a “gifting closet.” Insert dividers to separate the gifts by age range and set aside your treasure trove in an easy-to-reach storage area. You can even use this closet year-round for birthdays and other gifting events. On the day of the party, simply open your gifting closet, grab a gift for the right age and head out the door.
Another option to save time and money this holiday season is to enter for the chance to win a gifting closet with $1,500 worth of MEGA products to help you conquer the gifting season. To enter the sweepstakes, post an original holiday photo to Instagram or Twitter with a short caption that includes why the entrant likes to give or receive construction toys as gifts. For full details, visit rules.prizelogic.com/MegaSocialSweeps.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images.SOURCE:
(BPT) - Senior year: It's a time to finish college applications, solidify friendships and look forward to the freedom and the responsibility that come once that final bell rings. A lot of feelings surface during that final year, especially for parents. While your son or daughter might be overjoyed to finally fly the coop and live independently, you'll probably be dealing with your own mix of emotions, and you'll want to be sure they're ready to begin college in the fall.
For families with a child headed to college, senior year is best thought of as a transition year. Plan ahead to make sure your family stays on track.
To help you and your child with a successful transition, here's the essential list of landmarks on the road that will take your child from a senior in high school to a freshman in college.
1. Apply yourself in the fall
The journey to college begins early, and by the fall of senior year in high school, your child should be in full transition mode. They should be finishing campus visits and finalizing the list of colleges where they want to apply. Make sure they've spoken with admission counselors, thoroughly researched schools they're interested in and have everything they need to complete their college applications.
Keep tabs on important deadlines and stay organized to avoid missing any critical due dates. For example, will they want to apply early decision or early action? If so, make sure you have weighed how this could impact your financial plan for college.
2. Focus on financial aid from the start
For many parents, one of the biggest anxieties around college is the cost. Don't forget that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) opens on Oct. 1, and some aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Make sure you submit the form as soon as it's available.
Because everyone has different needs, figuring out how to finance your child's education requires some research.
At College Ave Student Loans, you can find private loan options for parents and students. Even if you're not ready to take a loan out yet, parents and students can try out the fast and easy pre-qualification tools to find out if their credit pre-qualifies for a loan, and what interest rates they could expect, all without impacting their credit scores. Calculators are also available to help you explore your options and see how you can customize the loan payments to fit your budget.
3. Spring time is decision time
Early in the spring, your child will start to receive their first acceptance letters. Once they've heard from all of the schools where they applied, they'll have a big decision to make.
They need to do more than just decide which school to attend; they'll also need to send in a deposit, complete their housing form and accept financial aid packages.
A crucial step in this process is comparing award letters from the colleges where your child has been accepted. In reading these letters, pay close attention to how schools list the total costs. For instance, some schools will subtract the awarded loan amount from the total cost of attendance, while others will not. This could make the net cost of some schools appear less than others when in reality they are not, so take your time reading the documents.
4. Tie up everything in the summer
Before they head to campus, you and your children should create a budget to keep tabs on college bills. This will help you to stay on track financially and set the right expectations about how they need to manage their money.
You can help your soon-to-be freshman by working with them to outline a monthly budget that will take into account expected and unexpected expenses. Take a look at their financial aid packages and any income they might be earning and block out the monthly mandatory expenses. Then decide how much money they can spend on things like entertainment.
If you find that scholarships, grants and federal aid don't cover everything, private loans could be one solution for some college-bound students.
For parents and students, senior year is an exciting period. Knowing what steps to take and staying ahead of financial matters with useful tools like the ones at College Ave Student Loans can help make the transition easier for everyone.
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