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By : Brendan Mitchell, 04-11-2018
10 Tips for Babyproofing Your Home
We spoke with Staci Baker from Baby Safe Homes Denver about the best way to make your home safe for a child.
10 Tips for Babyproofing Your Home

Bringing a child into your home is a beautiful experience, and just as you can expect your lifestyle to change as a result, so should your home.  As your baby develops and becomes more mobile and curious, they explore, discover, and test every corner of your home.
 
Babyproofing, or childproofing, refers to the process of altering your home to make it a safer environment for infants and small children. It’s easy to underestimate the importance of this process, so we spoke with an expert about the best way new parents can prepare.
 
Staci Baker, Owner of Baby Safe Homes Denver, is a Certified Child Safety Expert, trained in evaluating the safety and layout of homes as well as installing babyproofing products. In addition to her formal qualifications from the IAFCS (International Association for Child Safety), Staci is also a mother to four grown children, which has provided her with years of hands-on childproofing experience in several different homes.
 
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 12,000 children ages 0-19 die each year and 9.2 million visit the ER due to unintentional and avoidable injuries such as poisoning, drowning, suffocation and being struck by falling objects. 

“Accidental injury is the leading cause of death in kids up to 14 years old — and more than a third of these injuries happen at home,” Staci says, explaining why she became a childproofing professional with Baby Safe Homes Denver.  

A professional babyproofer is trained and can help you identify potential hazards in your home you may overlook and reduce the risk of accidents.
 
Baby Safe Homes Denver recommend the following ten tips for new parents who want to ensure their home is as safe as possible prior to the arrival of their child.
 
1. Install Baby Gates
 
The first thing many parents do to babyproof their home is to install child safety gates. For maximum safety, Baby Safe Homes Denver recommends installing a gate at both the top and the bottom, and doing proper research to ensure the gate model is safe and appropriate for your specific staircase.  They warn to never install a pressure mounted gate at the top of your stairs, and that installation should be done by a babyproofing professional.
 
2. Safe Storage
 
The National Safety Council warns that “more than 90% of all poisonings happen at home."
 
Baby Safe Homes Denver recommends installing door and drawer safety latches in the kitchen, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and utility rooms where chemicals, cosmetics, and unsafe or small gadgets are stored. Live and artificial plants should be removed from within easy reach, and chemicals, medicines, and cosmetics stored in a high and/or locked cabinet to avoid instances where children may touch or consume them.

Safety latches are recommended for all cupboards
Safety latches are an easy way to help prevent your child from accidentally poisoning or harming themselves.

In many cases, it only takes a microscopic amount of a common household liquid to severely harm a child, which is why this tip is so important.  Parents should also save the Poison Control number in their phone for easy access in the event of an emergency: 1-800-222-1222.
 
3. Avoid Choking Hazards
 
While avoiding choking hazards may seem obvious, Baby Safe Homes Denver points out that not all hazards are immediately recognized for the risk they can pose to a child.
 
“Common choking hazards that parents may not think of include button batteries, small stones, marbles, coins, plants, dirt, artificial grasses and balloons.”
 
They also warn of magnets, small toys, and sticky or round foods such as dried fruit, popcorn, and hot dogs.
 
4. Secure Furniture
 
While it’s no surprise that most furniture poses a risk to small children, many parents are unsure what they can do about it.

Safety straps will prevent furniture from easily tipping over
There are straps available that will prevent furniture from easily tipping over.

Baby Safe Homes Denver strongly recommends hiring a qualified professional to install furniture and TV straps that can help secure the furniture in your home and reduce the risk of a tip-over accident.
 
5. Tie-Up Blind Cords
 
Blind cords may not be the first thing you think of in your home that could be life-threatening to children, but approximately two children per day are treated in an emergency department for injuries caused by window blinds.  Tying the cords in your home up and keeping them out of reach is critical for ensuring the safety of your children.
 
6. Install Electrical Safety Products
 
While some of the risks in your home may only pose a threat while your child is in infancy, electrical safety is important for children of all ages. Thankfully, there are products available that make this tip easy to follow. For example, outlet covers are an easy to way to reduce risk, especially when you consider there are usually several outlets per room in the average home, each one of them posing a risk to your child.
 
7. Install Smoke and CO Detectors
 
While it’s clear why having fully functional smoke detectors installed in your home is recommended, the importance of having Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors are less well known.
 
“Carbon Monoxide is odorless and can be present in any home with a heat source,” Staci says. “CO detectors will alarm in the presence of the gas before more dangerous warning signs are present like headaches, dizziness and fatigue.”
 
High concentrations of carbon monoxide has been known to kill adults in less than five minutes. It is wise and economical to invest in a CO detector for each level of your home.
 
8. Practice Water Safety
 
“Drowning is the leading cause of death in children ages 1-4 and can be preventable,” Staci says, introducing her next tip: safety around water.
 
Staci explains that children can drown in less than 2 inches of water and lists several easy tips for parents to ensure their children stay safe around water.
 
“Watch your children undistracted when in or around water.  Empty buckets and kiddie pools and turn them upside down when not in use.  Close toilet lids and use toilet locks in the bathrooms.  Install fences around pools and ponds.”
 
And Staci’s most important tip for water safety?
 
“Know what to do in an emergency, call 911 and learn CPR.”
 
9. Keep the Water Temperature at 120 Degrees
 
Another hazard associated with water is the temperature.
 
“Water temperatures is recommended to be 120 degrees to prevent significant injury due to burns,” Staci says. “Water heater temperatures that are set at 140 degrees can cause scalding burns to children within 5 seconds.”
 
Staci says the easiest way to prevent this is to manually set the temperature at the source – the hot water heater. Secondly, you should always test bath water with your hand before placing your child in the tub.
 
10. In Baby's Bedroom
 
When using a changing table, Baby Safe Homes Denver recommends always using the safety strap. Additionally, lower the crib mattress sooner than later as your child begins to roll from back to tummy. 
 
By following these tips, new parents can make a proactive effort to reduce the risk of harm to their children while at home. A professional baby proofer can install child safety products correctly the first time guaranteed, and in most cases offers same day installation. 

"On average, a homeowner will spend 8-12 hours and several trips to a variety of stores only to end up frustrated because the products do not fit or are too difficult to install," Staci says. 

If you're looking to save some time and money when babyproofing your home, consider hiring a professional babyproofer such as  Baby Safe Homes Denver.  If you're in the Greater Denver area, you can contact Staci directly for an in-home consultation on (720) 504-4838.

1 COMMENTS
Baby Proofing
So funny but true having been in Seattle when visiting my friend yes I notice there are so any to indeed baby proof ones home to ensure your child is safe. You have some great inf in regards to this
Joe Plumber
07-18-2018
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By : Luke Douglas, 12-19-2017
5 Ways to Exercise With Your Kids
Showing your kids the importance of exercise is critical to their healthy development. Luke Douglas gives us some tips on how fun it can be to exercise as a family.
5 Ways to Exercise With Your Kids

Kids spend a lot of time sitting. They’re either at school, strapped to a car seat, or in front of the TV. That’s incredibly unhealthy. Kids need physical activity for the healthy development of their heart, lungs, muscles and motor skills.

You might ask yourself how you can get your child to be active when you personally struggle to find time for an hour at the gym. The answer is, as always – fun. You don’t have to go to the gym. Your kid doesn’t have to be signed up for soccer practice. You just need to get out with your little one and start having fun together!

Let’s take a look at the outdoor activities that are fun and good for both you and your kid.

Go for a Walk

Being active is important, but that doesn’t mean that you have to run like Usain Bolt all the time. Sometimes the simplest solution is the best. Walking was probably your favorite childhood activity even if you can’t remember it.

Wandering around with your parents or friends and conversing about many different things along the way probably influenced you in multiple ways. You’re probably the person you are because of those small, seemingly unimportant discussions that happened on a walk with your parent/s.
Do the same for your kids. Lace up your shoes and hit the road. It doesn’t matter where the road will take you; it’s important that you come home after a couple of hours feeling tired in an enjoyable way.

Dance

Kids love music. It gets them moving. And let’s be honest here, is there anything more adorable than watching your kid wiggling to their favorite tune? So, why not join them? Sure, you might not think you can dance, but that’s not an excuse. Your kid doesn’t know how to dance, and that’s not stopping them.
Play something that’ll get your hips moving and boogie! Dance, laugh and jump around. After half an hour both you and your kid will feel tired and awesome!

Skateboarding

Skateboarding is a great way to exercise with your kids


Skateboarding is a sport, a lifestyle, and a culture. It’s great for socialization and for developing balance and motor skills. Kids have been skateboarding for decades, and that comes as no surprise. Skateboarding is fun, but it’s also an efficient way to get around if you can’t drive.

You don’t have to do ollies or grind down rails in order to have fun, but, you might impress your kid with those skills, and that’s never a bad thing. But, that’s not why you should skate with your kid.

The benefits of skateboarding include:

  • It’s a full body workout – Every part of your body will be active when you’re on a skateboard. You’ll twist your body, you’ll use your arms to stay balanced, and you’ll use your legs and feet to skate in the direction you want.
  • It teaches precision – In order to nail a trick you have to be precise, otherwise, you’ll fall.
  • You will burn calories – The average person will burn 200-500 calories per hour while skating.

However, don't just step on any skateboard. Make sure it's quality and stable enough to support your daily tricks and exercises. So, be sure to research online and in stores to find that cool skateboard that will offer you safety and fun.

Chores

Chores can be fun if you do them as a family and turn them into a game. Pretend that dust bunnies are monsters and that all your kids’ toys have to be saved from them. Your little one will turn into a superhero with a broom in a matter of seconds! By doing this, you can finish your chores quickly and get your kids active at the same time.

Gardening

Gardening involves lots of effort, so team up with your kids. After all, kids are great at digging up dirt, aren’t they? Let them dig and let them help you plant new seeds. Teach them about the importance of veggies at the same time.

The most important thing to do for your kid is to be an active role model. If you present physical activity as something fun and enjoyable, your kids will too! It’s a great way to encourage them to prioritize their health as they grow up, and eventually have their own kids to exercise with. You’ll want to stay health too if you want to see those grandkids.

Looking for a local sports or exercise class to do with your kids? Try using EZBZ – the free concierge service.

1 COMMENTS
rom
This does indeed have some great information on how we can encourage our young people to work out more. having been in los angeles and working for health care agencies Los Angeles Seattle Los Angeles 24 Hour Services
Rom Herri
04-10-2018
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By : David Bender, 10-12-2017
8 Reasons to Get Your Kids on a Bike
There are many reasons you should encourage your children to start riding a bike. Click here to learn the top 8 reasons.
8 Reasons to Get Your Kids on a Bike
There are many reasons you should encourage your children to start riding a bike. The first benefit most parents think of is that it is a healthy alternative to watching television or playing video games. But cycling can also make your children feel more confident and responsible, which in turn can help improve their performance at school. Cycling together as a family is also a great bonding activity and can create some fun memories. To crown it all, cycling can positively impact the mental and physical health of both you and your kids.

We elaborated on the top 10 reasons why your child should start riding a bike below:

1. Good Exercise
When children ride bicycles, they exercise. Scientific studies suggest that kids under five years of age should be physically active for about 180 minutes (three hours) per day. Children aged between 5 and 18 should do at least 1 hour of aerobic exercise daily. Cycling is a fantastic way to achieve this.

2. Good State of Mind and Body
Just like adults, children can suffer from stress, and like any form of exercise, cycling is a sure way to relieve it. It does not matter if they are cycling for pleasure, travel, or competitively, your child will reach their destination with a smile on their face.  The regular cardiovascular exercise involved in riding a bike is great for the heart, and helps promote a child’s overall body fitness. Most cyclists can attest to feeling stronger after regularly riding a bike, not to mention increased balance, more flexibility, better stamina and greater endurance.

3. Strengthens Family Bond
Parents who love cycling tend to pass it on to their children. Once in a while, you should join them for a ride. This way you get a chance to exercise and have a family outing. You might even learn some tips and tricks from your kids. During a vacation, you could sign up for a bike tour to explore your new surroundings as a family. It’s a great way to bond as a family while meeting new people and exploring a new area or culture. Activities like this are bound to instill a love for cycling in your children.

4. Kids Have Fun
Riding a bike can be very enjoyable for adults and kids alike. Unfortunately, some parents discourage their children from riding due to the potential for injury. On the contrary, children are less likely to hurt themselves when riding a bike if they are taught how to ride from a young age. As a parent, you should relax and be confident that you trained your kids right, and also give them room to explore to their limits.

5. Save Time and Money
Ever done the math and calculated how much money you spend on gas when taking your children to and from school? Cycling is far more cost effective. Bikes cost less than cars, are cheaper to maintain, and certainly don’t need gas. Your children will also have more independence without putting a strain on your pocket. If you want to cut down the cost of your daily expenses, consider investing in a bike for your child.

6. Environmentally Friendly
Studies have shown that cycling is significantly better for the environment than driving. Because bicycles don’t use gas, they don’t emit harmful chemicals into the atmosphere. Bikes also help decongest traffic. They also don’t cause much noise pollution. Another fascinating fact often used by cycling advocates is that the materials and energy it takes to construct a single automobile could be used to manufacture 100 bicycles. Riding a bike is a small, simple way your child can contribute to making the world a better place.

7. Promotes Good Citizenship
By teaching your children to ride a bike from an early age, you will instill in them a respect for road safety and the rules and laws that need to be obeyed in order to guarantee safe travel. This will pay off down the road when you also need to teach them how to drive a car

8. Builds Happiness and Confidence
For one to master the art of riding a bike, it takes commitment and confidence. Your child will inevitably fall over as they learn to ride. They will also inevitably get better, and as their skills improve so will their confidence. Research shows that children who exercise more often reap many rewards which include; becoming more sociable, independent and have better self-worth. They also become better in their concentration, have less stress and learn better. Cycling leads to better social, mental, and general physical health.

It’s clear to see why everyone should learn how to ride a bike – Don’t let your kids miss out.
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By : Brendan Mitchell, 03-31-2017
Westchester
Joannas 'n Bananas are a musical duo popular at kids birthday parties in Westchester County, New York. One half of the duo, Joanna Levine, is a certified musical educator who also runs an early childhood foundational music program for babies and toddlers called Monkey Music’N Play. We spoke with her about how she got started playing guitar and singing songs for kids.
Westchester


Joannas-n-Bananas-logoWe spoke with Joanna Levine, one half of the kids entertaining musical duo, Joannas ‘n Bananas
, about how she got started teaching and entertaining kids with music.

After moving to New York City in 2006 to study and eventually work in fashion, Joanna Levine was struck by a sudden realization that she didn’t see a future for herself in the industry.

“I was just sort of like…who needs this cheap handbag that I’m designing?” Joanna says, looking back on her brief career. 

Joanna had always liked music. Growing up in Toronto, Canada, she spent most of her teenage years singing and playing guitar. It was only when she moved to New York, however, that she began to consider it could be more than just a hobby.

Jo + Child
Joanna playing guitar in a class for kids. 

“When I moved to New York, I realized there were a lot of people doing it that were not any better than me.”

This was something she needed to give herself permission to pursue a career in music, Joanna says.

So, after leaving her job in fashion, Joanna started working semi-regularly as a musician, taking on a string of additional part-time jobs to support herself, including working as a nanny.

“That seemed to agree with me, hanging out with kids,” Joanna says.

Not long after that, Joanna completed training at Music Together, a musical education program, and became a certified music teacher for young children. Joanna worked for Music Together for the next five years, a job that she could finally embrace with passion. 

“Young kids can be kind of magical,” Joanna says. “I get a total kick out of them.”

“There’s no filter, they do exactly what they’re feeling.”

Bananas
Joanna's husband Rob, AKA 'Bananas', of Joannas 'n Bananas

In 2015, Joanna and her husband, Rob, a fellow musician, moved to Eastchester, New York to help care for Rob’s grandmother.  After nearly ten years in the city, they were both ready for a change of pace albeit without losing proximity to their livelihood.

Moving to Westchester county also provided Joanna with an opportunity to exercise her “entrepreneurial spirit” and branch out on her own as a musical educator. And thus, Joannas ‘n Bananas was born.

Joannas ’n Bananas are Joanna and Rob’s musical alter-ego’s for when they are performing for kids at parties and events.  Joanna also runs an early childhood foundational music program for babies and toddlers called Monkey Music ’N Play, a series of classes she describes as “musical learning through osmosis.”

Every class of Music ‘N Play is caregiver inclusive, which means each child come with a parent, grandparent, or nanny who also participates in the class.

“The goal is to give the kids a good foundation in musical learning,” Joanna says. “We do that by surrounding them with a musically rich environment.”

Joanna-showing-kids-drum
Joanna showing some of her students how to play a drum. 

Joanna likes to focus on maximizing engagement so that every child benefits from and enjoys the program. Every class includes lots of musical props, a ‘Singing Storytime’ segment, a dance party, and free play.

The age of the kids in the class range from 6-months to four-years-old, and Joanna says some parents can be skeptical of what their child will get out of the class at such an early age. However, you only need to ask the parent of a child who’s completing their second Monkey Music ’N Play program to learn the profound impact that foundational music learning can have on them. 

“Just by being in the room, even if a child doesn’t have the motor skills or the ability to mirror the movements that we’re doing or sing back exactly what we’re singing yet, they’re still taking in a lot of information,” Joanna says. “Eventually they process it and output it in time.”

Joanna adds that the success of her class relies a lot upon the level of participation from the parents and caregivers in the class.

Monkey Music N Play Class
A Monkey Music 'N Play class. 

“[I lead] the adults and older kids in the room in a variety of songs and melodic and rhythmic activities. The younger kids will do what they can… they’re developing.”

“It’s a really beautiful bonding experience between the child and the caregiver.”

While some of what informs Joanna’s program comes from her experience at Music Together, she explains that her own education in foundational music teaching theory continues as she tries to constantly improve and enhance Monkey Music ‘N Play. However, Joanna is clear that she has no plans to expand her program into a franchise.

I’m a small operation,” Joanna says, explaining that this is part of the appeal to many of the families she works with.

“I am a fairly warm, laid back person, and I think that appeals to the families that have tried me and stuck with me.”

Looking forward, Joanna is excited to teach more and more, and to one day (soon!) record albums of songs for kids that will go along with her classes.

“I’m also really interested in creating and publishing a couple of song storybooks,” Joanna says. “I do a short little segment every class that we call ‘Singing Storytime’… it engages the kids like nothing else I have ever seen.”

The Monkey Music ‘N Play Spring program starts on April 18 2017 and runs for 11 weeks. You can register your child for the program by contacting Joanna at info@joannasnbananas.com or by calling her on 347-907-5865. Mention this article when registering to receive a 10% discount. For scheduling and registration, families can also visit joannasnbananas.com.

Looking for a kids class or entertainer in your area? Try asking on EZBZ, and we'll connect you with reputable local options. Download the app, post a request online, or simply call us for a local recommendation on 1-855-461-8619. 


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By : A.E. Hart, 01-11-2017
The Westchester Therapy Center Changing Lives

Sensory Stepping Stones, an occupational therapy center in Mount Kisco, New York, help individuals and families reach their full potential by offering a variety of traditional and innovative treatment programs. Click here to learn more. 

The Westchester Therapy Center Changing Lives

In a room at the Sensory Stepping Stones center in Mount Kisco, New York, a group of students are working together to train a therapy dog. Together, the students have to figure out how to teach the dog certain tasks and in doing so, they themselves have to figure out how to work as a group, communicate with one another, plan, and develop interpersonal relationships. This is one small program among many which help special needs students learn at the Sensory Stepping Stones center, where a holistic approach to treatment is the main focus instead of medication, and the environment avoids feeling or looking like a traditional school.

 School Teacher

The alternative programs offered by the Sensory Stepping Stones center help those with attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), autism spectrum disorders (ASD), nonverbal learning disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), brain injuries, developmental delays, executive functioning delays, learning disabilities, traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and many other similar disorders through a variety of programs specifically designed for a student’s maximum benefit.

Sensory Stepping Stones' programs are often used for children in grades preK through high school, but they can also be used with adults. According to Executive Director Melissa Bianchini, a former social worker who founded the business in 2011, the center has treated people from age three to ninety-three.

“At the end of the day, it’s about getting a person to a better place,” Bianchini says.

 Testimonials on the website from previous clients attest to this success.

The Sensory Learningsm Program has been informational. As a school psychologist by trade it has made me much more aware of the importance of the dominant ear & how important it is to know what ACTUAL information is sent to the brain. The first notable difference was my son’s ability to carry a tune. He has been much more aware of other’s feelings and spontaneously saying ‘sorry’ and ‘thank you’. These things did not come easy to him,” writes the parent of an eight-year-old with sensory processing issues.

 “After the Sensory Learningsm Program I have noticed that my daughter takes notice of more of her surroundings (larger field of vision). She is also much more inquisitive about people and places. She is using more sentence structure and engaging in more conversation. She is able to communicate her feelings more,” comments the parent of a six-year-old child with developmental delays.

 “The Sensory Learningsm Program has changed my life for the better. I’ve been given the opportunity to be a better person and follow through on the goals I’ve set. Before this program, every and any interruption prevented me from getting through daily tasks and clouded my better judgment. This would drain me mentally and physically. It is amazing having a second chance to a better life. Sensory Stepping Stones has allowed me to have this, drug-free. I am forever grateful!” adds a thirty-eight year old with ADHD and anxiety.

Stationery

Bianchini’s background in psychology, neuroscience, anatomy and physiology got her interested in  neurological processing and sensory integration, which in turn found her working as the Educational Director at a sensory integration clinic in Arizona, before moving to New York to open one of just thirty such centers in New England.

 “I wanted to be hands on,” she explains. Her strong background in brain processing lead her to starting post graduate work at Arizona State University in neuroscience, anatomy and physiology, but she found her calling working with people.

“The brain interested me, but helping people interested me even more,” she says. “If there’s a problem, there has to be more than one solution.”

With a staff of trained professionals including social work and occupational therapy (OT) services, graduate level assistants, and between four and five undergraduate and graduate students, the Sensory Stepping Stones center is able to address many issues traditional school programs can’t, and all of its programs are backed up with clinical studies showing their effectiveness.

 “We expect everyone to just ‘get it’ and it just doesn’t work that way,” Bianchini explains.

 By using a variety of components specifically aimed at a student’s needs, the student learns how to improve him or herself. There is no other program like it in the New England area. “When we work the program, we really try to push the neuroplasticity of the brain for noticeable changes,” Bianchini explains.

Those solutions can be found in the variety of holistic programs, which do not focus on medication, offered by the Sensory Stepping Stones center, including:

  • Sensory LearningSM, an intensive multi-modal intervention addressing auditory, visual, and movement issues in students with conditions including dysfunctional sensory integration, sensitivities to light, sound or motion, delays in motor skills, irregular sleep/activity patterns and sensory processing issues. The program does require some inpatient training and has different plans for adolescents and adults. 
  • Interactive Metronome, which uses game-like programs designed to use helps students with conditions such as ADHD, dyslexia, autism, auditory processing disorders, and reading disorders increase their ability to focus and control impulsivity and aggression. Participants learn to filter out visual and auditory distractions and increase body awareness and mental focus. 
  • Cognitive/Memory Training, used to improve skills including attention, reasoning, memory, self-esteem, listening skills, eye-hand coordination, impulse control, and quick processing speed. This type of training is aimed at students who have cognitive impairments including, but not limited to, ADHD/ADD, brain injuries, psychological disorders, learning delays, and schizophrenia. 
  • Neuro/Bio/Educational Feedback, used to improve focus, attention, academic performance, social interaction, and behaviors like hyperactivity and and ADHD with both peers and family. 
  • Reading Development utilizing both phonics and reading comprehension presented in a hierarchal structure that addresses different issues as the student gains mastery. 
  • Peak Performance Training, aimed at athletes. According to the website, “When participating in the Peak Performance Training program, the individual can receive a complete and specifically designed training program encompassing visual tracking, sport specific balance/coordination, sensorimotor integration, mental and muscular endurance and neuropsychological functioning.”

Child using tablet (Stock photo)

Additional therapies offered include: 

  • Clinical Canine Intervention, described above. When the therapy dog, provided and overseen by Heidi Bonorato, founder of Giving Retriever, LLC, is trained, the dog goes to a family whose members have impairments or physical disabilities. 
  • Speech, language and feeding/swallowing disorders treated by Speech and language therapist Laura R. Bacon, M.S., CCC-SLP. 
  • Social skills and processing groups using small groups of three to eight children at a time to target behaviors including taking turns, cooperation, communicating effectively, problem solving, awareness of personal space, active listening and conversational skills, understanding other’s emotions, understanding one’s own emotions, conflict resolution, anger management, and dealing with teasing and bullying. 
  • Parent support groups and programs give parents the support and information they need to understand their child and his or her issues. One support group includes a therapy dog. The Sensory Stepping Stones center also offers free monthly informational meetings for parents. These meetings are run by specialists or center staff. 
  • Timocco, “a cutting-edge virtual motion gaming system that accelerates the development of motor and cognitive skills including bi-lateral coordination, crossing the midline, hand-eye coordination, attention, posture, visual discrimination, early learning, communication, short-term memory and teamwork skills.” 
  • The Listening Program, an at-home program using sound stimulation auditory training to improve active listening and auditory perception for those with auditory processing issues. 

Smiling young girl

Diet is another important aspect of the programs at Sensory Stepping Stones center. Bianchini explains, “We work with nutritionists and other specialists. What we put in us affects our reactions.” She encourages parents to make healthier choices, and if they need additional help, directs them to additional resources.

The center’s Pinterest has boards for sensory room ideas, food, kid’s activities, parenting tips, books, and tools and toys for kids. Their Twitter feed provides encouraging messages and informational links.

In addition to Bianchini, Bonorato, and Bacon, the Sensory Stepping Stones staff includes Audrey Curley, a licensed and registered pediatric occupational therapist; and Irvine, a Golden Retriever therapeutic dog that knows over ninety different skills to help the disabled. Irvine had previously worked with the Wounded Warriors in the Service Dog Training Program at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

The most common question Bianchini gets from potential clients and parents is about the research behind the range of different programs used by Sensory Stepping Stones. When clients and parents meet with Bianchini, she provides them with packets documenting the research. “I want them to get comfortable with the research and the facility,” she explains. There are also links to the programs used on the website.

The most rewarding part of starting and running Sensory Stepping Stones is, “When a family member comes back and is now excelling in school and sports when they couldn’t before,” Bianchini says.

The center is a private, fee-for-service business, which means they are unable to work regularly with local schools. They depend on word of mouth to attract new clients, and sometimes a leap of faith from potential clients not familiar with the center’s holistic practices.

Tim Fitzgibbons, who has a son with sensory issues and step-son with special needs, said, “I would recommend it, depending on what (parents) have already tried and what they can afford and the other circumstances in their lives.”

He added, “There’s certainly many ways to reach kids who are in the areas they're interested in and (the center is) one of of them. I don’t know if that would work for everyone, but it might work for some people.”

If you’re interested in learning more about Sensory Stepping Stones, please contact them directly. You can reach them on (914)-244-4101 or by emailing info@sensorysteppingstones.com.  They pride themselves on getting back to you within twenty-four hours and will do a complete assessment to find out which programs will benefit you or your family member best.

Looking for another type of business? Try posting a free request on EZBZ for what you need and where you need it, and we'll get you quotes from providers in your area. Try it out today at myezbz.com.

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By : Ashleigh Brown, 12-08-2015
Choosing the Best Childcare Option
Whether you're going back to work or taking a much needed night out, deciding what kind of care or who will care for your child is far from an easy decision.  With so many different child care options to choose from, the task can be over whelming for any parent. Likewise, children can also be overwhelmed by the experience of being dropped off or spending most of their day with someone other than a family member. Below I will provide a quick breakdown of childcare options available:
Choosing the Best Childcare Option
Whether you're going back to work or taking a much needed night out, deciding what kind of care or who will care for your child is far from an easy decision.  With so many different child care options to choose from, the task can be over whelming for any parent. Likewise, children can also be overwhelmed by the experience of being dropped off or spending most of their day with someone other than a family member. Below I will provide a quick breakdown of childcare options available:
 
Mother's helper
A mother's helper is a child care provider who helps watch and entertain a child during the day while a parent is still home. This enables the parent to concentrate on or have assistance with other tasks while still also being available for the needs of their child. The age of a mother's helper is usually younger than the average nanny. The typical mother's helper is in Jr. high or high school and will work after school, weekends, or on school breaks. Because of the lack of experience of watching a child on their own, rates can go from free (because the teen knows they need this experience) to just a few dollars an hour. Best bet in finding a mother's helper, is to ask trusted parents in your circle who have tweens or teens looking for experience. 
 
 
Day care centers 
A day care center provides child care in a non-residential drop off facility. Some day care centers allow short, hour-by-hour drop-in care, but most provide a full day of care that includes activities, naps, and possibly outings. There is also the option of a family day care, where care is provided in some one else's home. Family day cares can be more cost effective and are more than likely conveniently located in your neighborhood. They often have fewer children in their care, which can make children more comfortable because of the home setting. This will also help when you make the transition into a day care center. Family day cares often do not advertise much, you can find them by word of mouth or by submitting a free request to myezbz.com.
 
 
Babysitter
A babysitter is an individual you hire by the hour to care for your child, typically on less frequent occasions. A baby sitter may watch the child at your home or theirs. Baby sitting is often a side job for many sitters, as they often work at another job, go to school or have their own family they need to dedicate more of their attention to. A sitter's responsibilities often include preparing food, assisting kids in getting ready for bed, helping with homework, and providing transportation to or from school and activities. 
 
Nanny
A nanny is a more hands-on childcare provider, with an ongoing regular and more involved relationship with the family. Nannies not only have childcare experience, but many have degrees in child development or related fields, or are parents whose own children have left the nest. They will engage in developmental activities as well as cook and clean for the family. When it comes to rates, expect them to be higher than your typical baby sitter, averaging $10 to $25 an hour. If you want someone to take care of the background checks and reference checks, hiring a nanny agency will be a great option. You can find help with www.myezbz.com/moms.
 
Au Pair
An au pair is a person from a different country who provides live-in child care for a family. The au pair is often considered a member of the family and not just hired help. Au pair's duties are very similar to what a nanny would provide, do not usually include  house cleaning.  The family provides room and board as well as stipend, which is a form of salary. Stipend is often separated from wages, because it does not represent payment for work performed.  There are also agency fees, families must find au pairs through approved agencies that are regulated by the U.S. department of state.

There are still even more options for childcare to what I provided, including family support, before and after school programs provided by lcoal school districts, community clubs and groups, employer sponsored programs, etc. The important thing to consider is what amount of time and support you need and explore options from there. If you need any assistance you can always submit a free request to www.myezbz.com/moms
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By : Elizabeth Humbal, 11-16-2015
Childproofing Safety at Home
Babies are naturally curious and they grow fast in the first year. They learn the world around them through tasting, touching and feeling. On average, babies start crawling at 8 months, meaning that the baby can move from here to there in a blink of an eye. Keeping your baby from accidents is no easy task. Chances are that your baby will spend time wadding around your sitting room, nursery, kitchen, fireplace and other places that could pose a threat to your baby’s safety. Baby-proofing your home inside and out is one of the most significant steps towards keeping your baby safe.
Childproofing Safety at Home

Babies are naturally curious and they grow fast in the first year. They learn about the world around them through tasting, touching and feeling. On average, babies start crawling at 8 months, meaning that the baby can move from here to there in a blink of an eye. Keeping your baby from accidents is no easy task. Chances are your baby will spend time around your living room, nursery, kitchen and other places that could pose a threat to your child’s safety. Baby-proofing your home inside and out is one of the most significant steps towards keeping your baby safe. It gives you peace of mind that risks are minimal even when you leave the child with grandparents or babysitters who may not be fully up-to-date or familiar with safety risks. Within this article I’ll point out a number of things to keep in mind when baby proofing your home. 

The items you need to be conscious about are those that pose a potential risk to your baby. This list is long! It should include: sharp edged furniture; electrical outlets; cords; appliances; exercise equipment; doors, including locks and knobs; flat panel televisions; fireplaces, glass; baths; toilets; swimming pool; stairs; cabinets; closets; bookcases; medicine; toiletries; detergents; animals and rubbish bins among other items.

As a parent you may not be aware of all safety hazards. For this reason it is often beneficial to hire a professional to baby-proof your home. You may be shocked at how many things you didn’t think were potential threats to your child! Baby-proofing professionals are trained to spot dangers that don’t occur to most people. They also have access to safety equipment difficult to find locally in stores. Hiring a professional child proofer provides comfort and peace of mind. He/she will also offer you and your family educational safety tips. 

When hiring a child proofer, ensure that the company is experienced and reputable. Though price should not be the first consideration, ensure that company will do the job at a fair price. They should also present as highly aware of the latest safety hazards and the solutions. Once you hire a baby proofer, ensure that they properly inspect all areas of your home for potential hazards. Then with your approval, they will order and install the necessary safety supplies.

Some examples of the common safety measures they will implement will include:

  • Adding padding to sharp edges and corners of furniture and ledges
  • Installing safety gates at the bottom and top of staircases
  • Installing safety latches on cabinets, drawers, closets, and toilets.
  • Putting up additional fencing, including a swimming pool safety fence
  • Installing doorstops to protects a baby from getting caught
  • Mounting or securing flat panel televisions to prevent tipping.
  • Removing all accessible cords from the baby’s reach
  • Installing safety guards on windows
  • Installing carbon monoxide detectors
  • Adding bins with childproof lids for storage of potentially hazardous items
  • Putting covers over bath taps.

If you need help finding a childproofing specialist you can submit a request free request for assistance through EZBZ.

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By : Elizabeth Humbal, 09-23-2015
Benefits of a Private Coach to Sports Players
Employing the services of a private coach to give your competitive sports playing child private lessons can improve his or her skills to a significantly extent. A private coach has enormous experience in a specific sport and therefore the ability to identify and fix tiny errors that the player could be making. As much as your child’s existing team coach may have the same level of skill, his focus is on the overall team, with all team members sharing the coach’s attention. The time and focus the team coach has may not be sufficient to correct errors or refine skills of all players. One-on-one sessions with a private coach offers helps to quickly identify bad habits and reinforce proper techniques, so your child can achieve success.
Benefits of a Private Coach to Sports Players

Employing the services of a private coach to give your competitive sports playing child private lessons can improve his or her skills to a significantly extent. A private coach has enormous experience in a specific sport and therefore the ability to identify and fix tiny errors that the player could be making. As much as your child’s existing team coach may have the same level of skill, his focus is on the overall team, with all team members sharing the coach’s attention. The time and focus the team coach has may not be sufficient to correct errors or refine skills of all players. One-on-one sessions with a private coach offers helps to quickly identify bad habits and reinforce proper techniques, so your child can achieve success. Hiring a private coach could be one of the most rewarding gifts you can give your child. Here are some of the benefits of a private coach to sports players: 

Extra attention:

It may be a bit challenging for a team coach to give all the team members extra attention identify their weaknesses and advance their skills personally as compared to a private coach. A private coach becomes fully conversant with your kid’s skills and hence is better placed to critique and improve their skill at the kid’s pace. The child will get detailed instruction that is best suited for their particular skill without struggling to keep up with the teams pace.

Relationship:

In most experiences the coach or expert a child has a relationship with is the same one the child learns most from. The close relationship of a kid with an expert not only develops the kid’s skills but also his or her mental abilities. Athletes have been shown to respond better to coaches who care about them and can communicate with them.

Excellent practice:

You child may be trying to sharpen their skills in a team but using the wrong fundamentals without the team coach identifying the root problem. This may lead to wasted time and in some cases, reduced interest and commitment to their practice. An experienced private coach can instill correct basic fundamentals necessary for your kid to work from.

Optimized time:

While training as a team is important, a child can accomplish a lot and see greater results in a short period of time through private training.

Dedicate time:

A kid’s life usually involves multiple activities like family events and friends all of which may overshadow the child’s practice priority. Setting aside private practice time encourages the child’s commitment; with a third party is involved the child is less likely to lose focus on their sports practice. 

Less argument:

As kids grow older their enthusiasm for sports may vary as other things catch their attention, causing arguments with their parents, their teammates and other peers. Hiring a private coach may eliminate these arguments as children show respect and trust for an outside expert’s opinion.

A private coach is fully equipped with training tools that help your child develop fundamental skills and the right attitude to sports. Exposing the your child to positive mentors who teach the value of hard work will definitely shape their life forever. Make an informed decision to better your kid’s career by hiring a private coach. 

If interested in finding a private coach for your child, you can always submit a free request to www.myezbz.com.

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By : Margaret Hansen, 08-06-2015
Helping Kids Transition Back to School without Stress
Back to school season is a time of mixed emotions for both parents and kids. Parents may look forward to more time to themselves, but that comes at the cost of the leisurely summer hours spent making memories with their kids. Kids may look forward to a new year and to seeing their friends again, but will also dread the loss of freedom that the school year brings. There are many things parents can do to make this time of year easier on their children, and consequently, less stressful for themselves. Parents can ease their kids back into school by planning ahead, and by managing their own stress and expectations.
Helping Kids Transition Back to School without Stress
Back to school season is a time of mixed emotions for both parents and kids. Parents may look forward to more time to themselves, but that comes at the cost of the leisurely summer hours spent making memories with their kids. Kids may look forward to a new year and to seeing their friends again, but will also dread the loss of freedom that the school year brings. There are many things parents can do to make this time of year easier on their children, and consequently, less stressful for themselves. Parents can ease their kids back into school by planning ahead, and by managing their own stress and expectations.

A change to routine can be anxiety inducing for kids. Parents can respond to this by understanding it will be stressful for their children and planning accordingly. There are many things that can be done prior to the school season starting to help gradually accustom your child to the idea of going back to school. Start by discussing the positive aspects of going back to school a few weeks before school begins. Remember the the good times from past school years can help frame school in a positive light for your child and can help them look forward to the experience instead of dreading it.

Parents can also helps their children prepare for school ahead of time by adjusting schedules prior to the beginning of the school year. Typically in summer, kids tend to wake up later in the day and go to bed later at night than is possible during the school year. 
Again, this should be started a few weeks before school resumes. Start sending your kids to bed a few minutes earlier, and waking them up earlier each day, until they are back on their school's schedule. By doing this gradually, the shift will be less of a shock to them when they go back to school.

For younger kids, it can also be helpful to visit the classroom before school starts. This can particularly ease the experience for kids who are just starting school and may not know what to expect, but is also helpful for kids who have moved recently, and are anxious about starting a new school. This will give your kids the opportunity to adjust to their new surrounding prior to the chaos of the first day of school. Contact your school ahead of time, so you can ensure your child's teacher will be there to introduce themselves.

Another way to help your kids adjust to going back to school is to be mindful of your own stress and expectations. Parents may feel stress related to their children returning to school for a variety of reasons. It may be feelings of sadness tied to the loss of precious time with children, or anxiety when recalling a child's past struggles with classroom performance. When children sense their parents are stressed, it can increase their own anxiety. Parents can manage this by having an attitude of mindfulness regarding their concerns for the upcoming year. Be aware of your stress and acknowledge it, and it will be easier to control.

The back to school season is a time of change and transition, and with change comes anxiety. However, parents can moderate the stress of the transition by preparing their children before school starts, and by addressing their own concerns in a productive way. It also helpful to keep in mind the old adage "this too shall pass" when dealing with stress over transitions. Before long, your kids will be caught up in school and friends, and time in the classroom will be routine once more.
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By : Victoria Reynolds, 07-27-2015
Diet Tips for Children with ADHD / Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, also known as ADHD is one of the most common conditions that affects the youth of the world. ADHD essentially makes it harder for children to sit still and pay attention to anything for extended periods of time. There can be any number of causes for ADHD and while diet hasn't been found to be a direct cause or solution, certain foods have been known to increase or decrease the impact of ADHD. As with most conditions, ADHD can be controlled by medication but the extra aid from a healthy diet never hurt anyone.
Diet Tips for Children with ADHD / Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, also known as ADHD is one of the most common conditions that affects the youth of the world. ADHD essentially makes it harder for children to sit still and pay attention to anything for extended periods of time. There can be any number of causes for ADHD and while diet hasn't been found to be a direct cause or solution, certain foods have been known to increase or decrease the impact of ADHD. As with most conditions, ADHD can be controlled by medication but the extra aid from a healthy diet never hurt anyone.

What Kids With Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Need: 
These are all important for developing a healthy body and mind which are especially important for those affected by ADHD.

Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and Vegetables are well known sources of tons of vitamins and minerals that not only kids but adults need to have in order to maintain a healthy body. These are great to have on hand as little snacks as the human body will often crave vitamins that it need which can often just be confused for sugar cravings. These cravings can be amplified by ADHD so keeping them to a minimum is a must.

Whole Grains
Whole grains contain tons of vitamins and minerals including fiber which are important for young growing bodies.
Protein

Protein
Protein is important for growing strong muscles and tissue. Protein is often found in red meat, poultry, and fish. But try to avoid processed food which can contain tons of other chemicals and far less protein than normal foods.

Healthy Fat
Fat is often targeted as an enemy in every single diet on the planet. Although too much fat is bad for obvious reasons, the human body actually needs certain types of fat such as: monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids


Foods That You Need To Avoid:

Although not much research has been done into specific foods that can cause increases in symptoms of ADHD, there have been several studies that have pointed out general groups that should be avoided by kids with ADHD. By avoiding these foods you may notice some symptoms decrease or go away completely.

Avoid anything with caffeine in it for starters. Caffeine will only put your child's brain into overdrive and make them more hyperactive.

Avoid foods with artificial food coloring in them such as many of the products that are often marketed toward children. These have been known to cause hyperactivity and jumpiness in many children.

Saturated fats, hydrogenated fats, and trans fats are some of the bad fats that should be avoided unlike the healthy fats talked about above. These can cause obesity and high cholesterol which will discourage movement which is important for children. 

Without being able to move around, children's hyperactivity will remain in their brain and make it harder for them to focus rather than "get it out" as physical activity.

Avoid processed foods like fast food that will often contain tons of sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats that will be awful for your child's diet.

How to Snack Smart:
In order to keep your child on a healthy diet, it's important to make sure that it's easy for them to access healthy foods. Keep some of the following on hand at all times and you will have a health food loving kid on your hands.
-Real fruit, pre-sliced and packaged into Ziploc bags
     -Homemade Smoothies
     -Homemade Popcorn
     -Whole Grain Chips
     -Pre-sliced Veggies with Ranch or Hummus
     -Yogurt
     -Homemade Trailmix
     -Homemade Oatmeal
     -Whole Grain Cereals


Some Other Tips:
Make sure to keep a regular schedule with meals and snacks planned out for specific times. This type of routine is really important for kids with ADHD and will help make this change easier.

Stick with it! Change will definitely be hard at first but with a little practice you will start to see results. Good Luck!

If you need help finding a nutritionist or specific food item, you can always submit a free search request to myEZBZ.com or the EZBZ App!
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By : Victoria Reynolds, 07-22-2015
The Importance of Childhood Socialization
Why the playdate? What activities are best for children? These are questions that all of us parents seem to ask ourselves at one point or other. Should the kids be in sports, classes, play groups, or something else? Two of the most common activities for parents, especially those with toddlers and early elementary students, are the playdate and the "mommy and me" class.
The Importance of Childhood Socialization
Why the playdate? What activities are best for children? These are questions that all of us parents seem to ask ourselves at one point or other. Should the kids be in sports, classes, play groups, or something else? Two of the most common activities for parents, especially those with toddlers and early elementary students, are the playdate and the "mommy and me" class. Why is that, though? Why can't the children just play in their own neighborhood like we did as kids? Why do we need to have special "dates" set up for them? I never went on a formal playdate when I was growing up, and I was always so busy! It felt like kids were always around to play with. Well, things sure have changed since those days!

It takes only a small glimps of the news and mommy blogs to realize our neighborhoods don't feel safe anymore, with all of the crimes against even the smallest of kids, its easy to feel the need to be with our children at all times to protect them. But, this gets difficult to accomplish while still getting our own work done and responsibilities taken care of. Too often, busy and tired parents respond to this conflict by plugging the child into the TV, Xbox or the computer. While these can be educational and entertaining, they lack opportunities for in-person socialization, something that has been proven as critical for development. It seems that everyone has heard of the child who wasn't socialized. You know the one -- the kid who won't share, who doesn't know how to play with other kids at all and who needs to be with mommy or daddy all the time. Childhood socialization is a way to avoid those things. This is true for only children as well as those with siblings. Children who are in daycare are more exposed to socialization lessons and opportunities than their stay-at-home peers, but it is still much like interactions with siblings. The best way, in this writer's experience, to give a child a well-rounded socialization experience is to vary the children that he or she plays with. 

Why vary the playmates? We all know how comfortable we can become with our best friends and those that we interact with regularly. We do not stretch our experiences until something new is in our world. For our children, this is playmates, and the best way to approach playmates that most parents are comfortable with is the playdate, or the "mommy and me" class. The next question to come up is how to find and set up these interactions. Many of the playdates that evolve tend to be with classmates, or the children of parents' friends. These are usually things that the children are asking, or nagging, for, which makes it easy to remember, as long as the parents have contact information for one another. Mommy and me classes are not usually as easy to find, but to the parent who is looking, they are still many places. The value of a class over a playdate is that the class is organized to teach the child and the parent a skill or a topic, and there often exists a fluidity of other family involvement, meaning that it is not always the same participants. The child (and the parents) are always meeting new families to interact with.

Childhood socialization is a facet of childhood that follows every person into their adult life and helps to "color" how the adult version of the former child will interact with others. Those who were at home and with parents and siblings with very little outside interaction learned well to interact with that select group of people, but are often unable to form more substantial bonds with those that they come across in later life. We need to help our children to socialize, and it is best to start at a young age. Two of the "safest" ways to encourage this, as well as to be able to choose those that the child socializes with are through playdates and "mommy and me" classes. Try it! You will probably like it!
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By : Cassandra Finley, 07-20-2015
How a Husband and Wife Successfully Juggle Work and a New Family
Often times, it is easy for new parents to forget about themselves and their partner as they put the children as the top priority. Not only does this lead to unhealthy and unnecessary feelings of jealousy and abandonment, it destroys the parents’ relationship and their individual self-esteem. This is the story of how one couple has infused their relationship with structure and love to juggle all of their responsibilities.
How a Husband and Wife Successfully Juggle Work and a New Family

When baby Dan came, the relationship between my husband and I took a drastic turn. This is certainly not news; we have heard success and failure stories time and again, from both our extended families and friends. My husband Jerry and I often dismissed the gloomy cautionary tales; we often shook it off and said 'We will be different.' However, with Jerry chasing deadlines for his marketing projects and me managing my own handmade jewelry business from home, things got a bit out of hand. A couple of months ago, when Dan was six months old, Jerry and I sat down for our own 'professional review' of our performances as new parents. 

It came to our attention that baby Dan was doing fine, but our relationship wasn’t. Not centered merely around the (lack of) fun time in the bedroom, Jerry and I were having increasingly frequent arguments; some ending up in crying fits on my part and others silent treatment on Jerry's part. The calm and reasonable talk we managed to have two months ago has proven extremely helpful at resolving our issues; we came up with a few pointers for ourselves. I thought it would be helpful to share our story for our fellow new parents. Remember, you are not alone!

Communication is key

This statement might be as cliché and overused as it can get, but it is a cliché because it is true. Communication takes on a whole new level of meaning when baby Dan cries his lungs out at 3 a.m. for his night feeding or changing of his diapers. On many nights, our overly exhausted bodies make following the tried and true fundamentals of good communication an Everest size feat! It is difficult not to keep score and too easy to make up excuses and accusations when your heads are throbbing and eyes burning from lack of sleep. This goes to all baby and non-baby related tasks in the household. Jerry and I, being organizers by nature, draw up schedule for each week and stick to it. We discuss our individual plans every Sunday night and talk through the whole thing before going to bed. Any amendments to the master schedule must be discussed 24 hours in advance. It may sound rigid, but organizing our home similar to a business has been working for us. It's really a matter of establishing processes that fit your personalities as people and parents.

If not careful, however, the weekly discussion can turn into a heated argument over whom does more with plenty of finger-pointing. When communicating frustration or negotiating, I've found it is important to put myself in Jerry's shoes before making demands; Jerry does similar. We avoid attacking each other, especially with back-handed comments. We also leave the ego out of it, as parents we are officially equal in our responsibilities. Remember this isn't really about winning an argument, that misdirected focus doesn't help a family flourish in the long run.

You (and your relationship) are as important as the kids

Often times, it is easy for new parents to forget about themselves and their partner as they put the children as the top priority. Not only does this lead to unhealthy and unnecessary feelings of jealousy and abandonment, it destroys the parents’ relationship and their individual self-esteem. 

I can still remember that moment of pure horror when I looked at the mirror three months after giving birth. I had basically let myself go for the most part of it; and it took me a while to fully notice the shaggy split ends on my head, the whole new set of wrinkles, and my alarmingly jaded look. It does not take much time to schedule an appointment with the hairdresser or hit the gym once or twice a week for a yoga lesson. With better physical and mental well-being, parents can much better cater to the needs of their baby, and as importantly, partner. So do not hesitate to call up a babysitter for an hour or two if a bit of exercise or a little pampering on a spa visit allow you to return to your child and your job fresh and vitalized.

Try a little tenderness

Nothing inspires and renews your passion as good quality time together. Jerry and I decide to set aside every Friday night and Saturday morning as our alone time, when we can have a little date night or simply order some Chinese and curl up on the couch watching an episode of How I Met Your Mother for the tenth time. It was difficult for me at first to be romantic again, after giving birth, I was not feeling exactly as sexy as I used to be. It took a bit of time and effort to spend time together, but it is all worth it by the end.

More importantly, small gestures go a long way. A ten-minute shoulder massage before bed can be both relaxing and sensual at the same time. After our little talk two months ago, Jerry and I introduced a positive-incentive system to our household task scheduling. Instead of constantly nagging and complaining, a little appreciation by making tuna casserole for dinner (Jerry’s favorite dish) is in order when Jerry volunteers to take over dish washing duty for the night. Just be spontaneous and have some fun with it!

If you need help with juggling the various responsibilities of your home and expanding family, remember you can always submit a request to www.myezbz.com for assistance!

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By : Kristen Glehan, 05-20-2015
Teaching Children the Value of Money - One Mom
There are a lot of things we are taught in school, other things we learn from our parents and yet many more we pick up on our own. In my case, learning about money and investing came by way of the latter. This isn’t to say I had bad parents, because I didn’t. My parents did a phenomenal job with so many things, including stretching a dollar about as far as is possible.
Teaching Children the Value of Money - One Mom


Years ago when going through a divorce, I read a couple of books by financial author David Bach, including Automatic Millionaire and Smart Women Finish Rich. During that period of significant life change, I felt it was a valuable moment to regroup and look ahead financially. While I found a lot of the information in David Bach’s books useful, I also found myself with a recurring question: why didn’t I learn any of this when I was younger?

There are a lot of things we are taught in school, other things we learn from our parents and yet many more we pick up on our own. In my case, learning about money and investing came by way of the latter. This isn’t to say I had bad parents, because I didn’t. My parents did a phenomenal job with so many things, including stretching a dollar about as far as is possible. The two critical components I believe I missed out on however, were developing a true understanding of the value of money and the many reasons to save, rather than spend. My parents were very generous and that generosity insulated me from gaining a real understanding of both. While I watched my parents struggle from rags to riches, throughout it all, I never wanted for anything. They found ways to take care of me and make my childhood fun filled even when struggling to pay the most basic of bills. My mother was something of a money magician, clever and capable of making it appear seemingly out of nowhere.

As a parent now, I want to be sure my daughter has a different experience. While I’m equally generous with her, I don’t insulate her as much. I let her know about the limits of a paycheck and the many choices a person needs to make when supporting herself. While she is only 10, I’ve already instilled a very important lesson:

We spend first on the things we need, then we can spend of the things we want.

I’ve reinforced to her that each time we spend, we are making active choices and reducing the availability of money for the next experience; I let her participate in the choices that directly impact her. For example, recently she wanted weekend music and swimming lessons. While I was more than happy to encourage these experiences, the money I’d spend on them each Saturday matched what I’d typically spend on the same day’s family fun. She needed to realize this and understand we’d have to cut back on other things. While of course she felt the pinch, she also seemed to appreciate the experiences a little bit more than she might have otherwise. She recognized two things: first, that these activities had a real value and second, that she had the ability to assess whether the value was greater or less than something else she wanted. In the end, she decided to re-up one of the lessons and forgo the other in favor of something else.

Recognizing her ability to make smart decisions with the money we spent together, I decided she was ready for a weekly allowance. Though, rather than requiring my daughter do chores to earn it, I gave her another simple requirement:

Just be responsible.

I let my daughter know that responsibility is something we all must actively take charge of as we grow. I defined what I felt it meant to be a responsible 10 year old. It included things such as making her bed, brushing her teeth, brushing her hair, flushing the toilet after use, picking up her clothes and toys, and clearing her dishes, etc. These weren’t chores I explained, she didn’t have to do anything for anyone else; she only had to do very typical everyday things to take care of herself. As long as she was prepared to take that responsibility seriously, she should also have the opportunity to make her own choices with some money. So, she earns a small amount each week for this and I only rarely have to remind her of these things. It has been a joy to see the great sense of pride and independence she feels every time I hand over her allowance.

Taking this even a step further, right after initiating the allowance I introduced my daughter to the concept of saving by opening a bank account for her, with an initial $20 deposit. I got her an old-fashioned, traditional passbook account, which lets her quickly see the balance grow with each subsequent deposit. She loved it. But, she did some quick math in her head and didn’t see the point of sticking her money in the bank, rather than in her wallet. Good point, I realized! After all, it isn’t as if there are enticing interest rates or significant incentives for a child to save for a rainy day. So, I developed an incentive. I created what I call the mommy match, which is akin to an employer’s 401k match.

I told my daughter I would match whatever she put in her bank account, dollar for dollar, for the first year she has the account. The only requirement I gave her was that she needs to leave the money in there. I explained this would be her long-term savings account and that such savings are for more significant events. I told her that adults save for emergencies, retirement or to buy a home and I reminded her that I went through a period of unemployment but was able to continue supporting us because I had my own long-term savings account. I let her know that as a child she doesn’t have to worry about these things but, one day she might want to buy something very expensive, or to take a special trip. A light bulb went off and this made sense to her. She was up for it and every week she makes an active choice whether she will deposit her allowance for long term, or keep it in her wallet. Sometimes she surprises me and hands me several weeks’ worth of allowances for her long-term savings. Or, she makes a rule for herself that anytime she gets a $20 bill it will automatically go into her bank account.

Whether all of this will have a lasting impact on my daughters understanding of and value of money remains to be seen. As they say, time will tell. For now however, I like to think I’ve given her the initial building blocks to a strong financial foundation.

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