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.
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 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 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.
We elaborated on the top 10 reasons why your child should start riding a bike below:
1. Good Exercise
2. Good State of Mind and Body
3. Strengthens Family Bond
4. Kids Have Fun
5. Save Time and Money
6. Environmentally Friendly
7. Promotes Good Citizenship
8. Builds Happiness and Confidence
It’s no surprise that starting a family has a significant impact on your diet, and it’s not usually for the better. With so many priorities, it’s very easy for parents to neglect their health, a fact reflected in a recent study that claims less than 3% of American adults live a healthy lifestyle.
Jamie Feit has been a nutritionist for over 20 years, and a mom almost as long.
If you like to snack throughout the day, don’t assume you’re a lost cause. Jamie says snacking is “important for several reasons.”
“One meal made of several components should be made for the family [for dinner]; a protein, a starch, a vegetable or salad, and a fruit.” Jamie says. “My kids love vegetables from seeing them on the table from a young age. They never liked chicken nuggets because I never made them.”
This Sunday is Father’s Day, so it’s likely you already have tentative plans to have a meal with your dad. After all, it’s been widely accepted since the middle ages that the best way to celebrate someone is to hold a feast in their honor. If you’re a little behind in your planning, don’t worry; we’ve put together these useful tips for planning the perfect meal for your dad this Sunday.
Thus, this Father’s Day we recommend taking advantage of the highly probable beautiful weather, and hosting your celebrations outside.
Fire up the grill
While it’s a stereotype that all men love eating meat, it is likely that your dad probably enjoys the occasional steak. And if you’re already spending the day outdoors, your Father’s Day feast is a terrific opportunity to fire up the grill.
Don’t fret if meat isn’t an option because you, your dad, or another family member doesn’t eat it – eggplant and mushrooms make great substitutes, and there are dozens of great recipes online for vegetarian dishes you can make on a grill. Don’t be surprised if your dad still wants to cook though; it may be his day, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to contribute. Plus, cooking on a grill is half the fun.
Beer and wine will make it fine
Whatever your dad’s beverage of choice, make sure you have plenty in supply. There is a reason alcohol is invited to almost every event for adults, but it’s not what you expect. In fact, British Anthropologist Kate Fox suggests that alcohol’s correlation with violence, promiscuity, and other anti-social behaviors has more to do with American cultural beliefs than its side effects.
The actual neurological effect of alcohol is simply a reduced ability to make associations in your mind. This may not sound great either, but it really just means that alcohol makes it easier for you to relax, because you’re less caught up in your own thoughts. So, this Sunday, be sure to pour your dad a drink, if only to help him put his mind at ease and enjoy the day.
You may wish to allot some time before or after you’ve eaten for an activity to do with your dad. If you’re not sure what he’d like to do, ask him in advance or let him choose on the day, but if you can plan the perfect activity without having to ask, it will show much you care.
It might be as simple as watching sports or playing a board game together, or giving him some time to himself to nap or read a book. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s stress-free or relaxing, and does not put pressure on your dad.
We 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.
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.”
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 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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 email@example.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.
It’s already October, and the hustle and bustle of the holidays are right around the corner. For homeowners with a family, this time of year can be very expensive. Click here for some tips on how you can save money over the holiday season:
Every year October seems to arrive earlier than expected, and the hustle and bustle of the holidays are right around the corner. What can also happen fast is how quickly your budget for fall and winter disappears before you’ve even made it to December. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas absorb enough money on their own, let alone the expenses that the harsh weather can incur during the colder seasons. For homeowners with a family, the most wonderful time of the year is also the most expensive.
Here are some tips on how you can save money over the holiday season:
Check Discount Sites & Apps
These days there are countless websites and apps that exist purely to help you save money. There are the heavyweights like Groupon and Amazon, but don’t be afraid to dig a little deeper to find those less well-known services that could save you some real dough. For example, My City Mommy is a great coupon site for moms all over the country – they have a local coupon website for nearly 40 metro areas including Saint Louis and Dallas-Fort Worth. The EZBZ Store also often has great deals on products and services that are sometimes even cheaper than Amazon.
Don’t forget that most business owners know how expensive this time of year can be and are willing to offer some great discounts if it means you’ll choose them over a competitor. For example, some grocery stores will offer a free or discounted thanksgiving turkey if you purchase a certain amount of groceries from them. For families that already spend a lot on groceries, this is a perfect opportunity to capitalize. When visiting a local business, don’t be afraid to ask if they are offering any seasonal discounts or specials.
Create your own Decorations
With websites like YouTube and Pinterest, it is easier than ever for parents and children to get hands-on with their holiday decorations. Many sites provide affordable ways to use dollar stores and thrift stores to find supplies so that you can create your own decorations for your home. Creating your own decorations is a great activity to do as a family, giving you a sense of accomplishment and making the holiday décor much more meaningful.
Get Ahead of Next Year
Planning ahead is the first step to saving money, and this is especially relevant during the holiday season. Halloween and Christmas decorations are almost always on sale on the days following the holiday, sometimes with up to 80% off. In fact, these sales aren’t just for decorations – you can buy all kinds of unopened and unwanted gifts from secondhand stores in the days following Christmas for a discounted price. Valentine’s Day cards can also be purchased for as little as thirty cents on Feburary 15, so why not buy them in advance for next year?
EZBZ's free concierge service allows you to request anything and receive quotes back from providers in your area. It’s a great comparison tool to ensure you’re getting the best deal for every purchase or hire you make. In the fall and winter, it’s a great way to get quotes from snow removal services, HVAC contractors, and other professional services that can vary from provider to provider. Businesses can also only reply to you via EZBZ – your contact information is not shared with anyone so you can remain anonymous while comparing your options.
The best part is, if you hire a business through EZBZ, you'll get $5 cash back. So, if you’re looking to hire a contractor or professional service anyway, submitting a free request could end up saving you some time and money.
With some careful planning and a little research, these tips are sure to provide you and your family with a joyful & affordable holiday season. Good luck and happy holidays!
Chores are an unfortunate reality for everyone – especially for those of us that live in a house with kids. If you’re a parent, it’s important to remember that cleaning and maintaining your home should not be your duty alone. In fact, studies show that teaching children the importance of chores is vital to their development.
Research from the University of Minnesota found that chores help children build a lasting sense of responsibility, mastery, and self-reliance. The study also found that adults who began chores at ages 3 or 4 were more likely to be self-sufficient, have strong relationships with friends and family, and achieve early academic or career success than those who didn’t start chores until their teenage years.
Of course, knowing that kids should do chores, and actually making them follow through, are quite different things. Children are notorious for very bluntly voicing their objection to anything and everything that they don’t feel like doing. It would almost be admirable if it weren’t for all the screaming and crying.
Here are some tips for making average household chores more bearable for kids:
Make it a Competition or Sport
Kids are naturally competitive, so if you have more than one child, adding an element of competition to a chore is a sure-fire way to get them excited about completing the task. This can sometimes be harder to pull off than just asking, “who can finish first?”, though. The more enthusiasm you can contribute to the task, the more your kids will embrace it. Avoid rewards as well, at least in the form of money – some psychologists have suggested that money can minimize a child’s desire to pitch in, turning a good deed in to a transaction.
Watch Your Language
While you may think using slightly different words or phrasing couldn’t possibly have an impact, you may be surprised by the results. For example, studies have shown that thanking a child for being a “helper” rather than just “helping”, can significantly increase their motivation. Referring to the chores as “ours” rather than “yours” also reiterates that doing chores is a way of helping one another, rather than a mandatory duty.
We all know how powerful the imagination of a child is, so it’s no surprise that you can use it to your advantage when trying to complete some jobs around the house. Providing a story or make-believe scenario as the context for completing a job is a great way to engage younger children. Instead of washing up dishes, maybe you are the captain of a sinking ship, cleaning and offloading heavy cargo; or instead of cleaning a cluttered bedroom, you are removing land mines from a dangerous battlefield. Cater to the interests of your child/children, and it’s hard to go wrong.
Behavioral Control Not Emotional Control
Regardless of how fun you can make your household chores, you’re still going to hear some complaints. But that’s okay – kids are entitled to complain. Trying to coerce your child in to enjoying a chore, using guilt, or any other emotional tactic can have an extremely detrimental impact on their mental health.
Instead, as a parent it’s your job to calmly explain that if they’re living in a house, they have to contribute to the everyday maintenance requirements. This parental advice will help them for many years to come, in particular when they move out and have their own home to look after.
While a recent study showed that over 80% of adults participated in regular chores as a child, only 28% of them reported asking their own children to complete chores. This is one of the few generational differences in parenting that is predicted to have a negative impact on the development of children in the modern era.
By requiring your kids to help around the house, you can have a very positive impact on their future development. By making chores bearable, you make life easier for everyone now.
While summer is well and truly upon us, many families are yet to come up with activities that will keep everyone entertained. As anyone who is a parent knows, this can be harder than it sounds. There are always lots of summer events and activities available for young children, but what about parents, or families with teenagers? They should be able to enjoy the summer too without having to ship the younger ones off to summer camp. We’ve compiled a list of summer activities that will keep the whole family happy:
The great thing about camping is that it usually provides a plethora of different activities to keep every member of the family entertained. If you’re camping near a body of water, swimming should appeal to kids of all ages. For parents and older kids, why not hire a boat or some kayaks? Kayaking can be incredibly fun, not to mention great exercise. However, make sure when camping that you invest in a tent big enough for your whole family. You’re inevitably going to be in close quarters by sharing a tent, but anything too small will quickly feel stifling in the summer heat. Other necessities include insect repellant, sunblock and plenty of food and water.
Go to the Beach
The beach is the classic summer destination for almost everyone during summer, and it’s not hard to see why – as we mentioned, all kids love swimming, not to mention playing in the sand. Teenagers and adults can find also find some additional thrill in the ocean that they won’t find in a lake or pool. You can also just lie down on the soft sand with a good book, and soak up the sun’s rays. Of course, there are some potential downsides to a day at the beach as well: sun poisoning, sand everywhere, stings or insect bites… But it’s also entirely possible to avoid these with the proper precautions.
They say the best time to learn how to ride a bike is when you’re a child. A family bike ride is a great way to exercise together, and for younger kids, it is an introduction to a skill they will retain for the rest of their life. Showing children at a young age how fun and beneficial exercise can be is a great way to teach them how important it is to prioritize your health and wellbeing. If you have an emotional teenager or two, aeorobic exercise like bike riding can be a great way to blow off some steam, and because exercise releases endorphins in the brain, it’s also a great way to fight stress or negative thoughts.
If your kids love nature or adventures, going for a hike should be in your summer fun program. Hiking combines adventure, exercise and relaxation as it allows you trek through the forest until you find a nice picnic spot or lookout. Arm yourself with nice hiking boots, proper clothing, and of course the "spirit of adventure". Also, don’t forget some sandwiches and water as you will need them after trekking for a few hours.
These are just some of the outdoor activities your family can do this summer to have some fun and spend some quality time together. If you’re looking for something in particular, for example local boat or kayak hire, or open camping grounds, consider submitting a free request through EZBZ. We will connect you with local businesses and service providers that can make your summer truly memorable.
There is a common misconception that yoga is only for women in their mid-late twenties. This is just as false as the stereotype of the typical yoga-lover – a hyper-spiritual hipster obsessed with coconut water.
For the majority of people that do yoga – made up of men, women, and children - it really is just exercise; a fun, calming, and effective way to keep your body fit and healthy. It can also have positive effects for your mental health – just like any exercise, yoga triggers a release of endorphins inside the brain.
Unfortunately, it’s easy to be put off by the culture commonly associated with yoga, and many don’t realize that there are classes catered specifically to them. I’ve detailed below some of the yoga options for everyone in your family.
Yoga for Kids
The benefits of yoga to children are so numerous that many schools now offer it as a form of physical education. It’s easy to see why – unlike other forms of exercise you may find in the school yard, it is non-contact, non-competitive, and a great way to relieve stress. Children often suffer from anxiety and stress at school, and this could be exacerbated by sports that are competitive or physical in nature. Yoga’s calming, meditative qualities means it can help kids relax and stay healthy, which isn’t exactly a perk you get from football.
Yoga for Men
Yoga has a long and rich history, although only recently has it been primarily associated with women. In fact, it’s more common for men to practice yoga in India, where it originated. Convincing a modern man to take up yoga really shouldn’t be that difficult; it has proven to be effective at keeping you fit, improving your sex life, and relieving stress. If there’s any man in your life not sold by those points, send him this article from Men’s Fitness that details 9 reasons why he should reconsider yoga.
Yoga for Seniors
For many people over sixty, sports and exercise become nothing more than a memory. With an increased risk of falling over and injuring themselves, seniors can be hesitant to try anything other than walking to get exercise. Yoga is a great alternative for seniors who would like to keep their bodies fit without putting themselves at too much risk. You don’t need to be able to twist yourself like a piece of rubber to do yoga, although it will improve your flexibility. By keeping fit as you age, you give your body a fighting chance at staying healthy.
There are also plenty of yoga options for women, particularly mothers, in any stage of life, such as prenatal yoga, postnatal yoga, mommy and me yoga… The list goes on! Check out www.myezbz.com/category/yoga-classes to find out about the local options for you, and your family.
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
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.
A game truck – also known as a video game truck or party truck – has a very simple
concept. The truck comes to you, and provides a small space for a party to play video games. The trucks are typically air-conditioned, contain several flat screen TV’s, and a large array of video games to choose from.
GameTruck®, the primary franchise of party trucks in the U.S., also offer a laser tag truck. The laser tag truck provides equipment and instructors, although still requires the host to provide a large space. Game trucks are a little more convenient, as they provide a self-contained space…Something which translates for many parents as somewhere they don’t have to clean up.
Children, obviously, love the concept. Video games are a great stimulus for a child’s imagination, and are universally adored by most kids, however they also often attract criticism for their association with anti-social behavior and unhealthy addiction. A game truck combats this stigma, as it actually encourages socialization, and its presentation – a glamorous truck that’s only temporarily available – instills the belief that video games are a treat, rather than a habit.
Parents are embracing the trend too. Game trucks take away a lot of the responsibility of hosting a party – providing space, music and entertainment, and cleaning up afterwards – and are typically affordable: a two-hour game truck party is typically priced between $300-400. You can read one mom’s promising review of a game truck party here.
If you’re not a fan of video games, a game truck is probably not for you. Plus it is possible to host a small children’s party, and keep it below $300 – although that can take time, effort, and impressive budgeting skills.
While they are increasing in popularity, game trucks are still rare – even if you have heard of them, the assumption is that they are wildly expensive. Whether you’re a fan of video games, or still unsure, it is always nice to know what your options are.
If you decide you’d like to hire a game truck, submit a request to www.myezbz.com and we can help you find a local truck, today.
Nutritionists have a healthy regard for food and its life-sustaining properties and are able to give advice on diets for a range of concerns. They are primarily concerned with the prevention, avoidance and treatment of illnesses through proper dietary care. Nutritionists assess the diets of patients and clients suffering from medical disorders or other concerns and suggests better and useful ways of fighting various health problems by adjusting and modifying the patient's intake of certain food items.
Nutritionists work towards completely eliminating or curing health problems like overweight, diabetes, allergies, and obesity. Like all other health professionals, nutritionists are motivated by a concern to improve people's quality of life and they do so by educating people about healthy eating habits. If you are overweight or obesity is your problem then it's advised to consult a nutritionist.
A nutritionist has the knowledge and experience that go hand in hand to tackle any of your health related problems. If you have an illness that you think you are struggling with then, it's advised to seek professional help. A nutritionist must have seen people with your body type before due to the vast experience in the field and it is easier for him/her to suggest you a diet plan that can fight your illness as well as keep you fit.
People who want to cut down those extra pounds they gained should consider opting for a healthier lifestyle. They can lose those extra pounds not just be eating healthy but also by doing some exercises. A nutritionist can advise you which exercise would suit you best as per your body type, your diet plan and the illness you have.
Another benefit of consulting and hiring a nutritionist while dieting is that if a nutritionist sees symptoms of your illness getting worse due to dieting, he/she can immediately take steps or suggest you to see a doctor. A nutritionist can also suggest you an alternative diet plan or exercise if the existing plan doesn't suit you.
Weight loss can be tough and difficult to continue for a long time, but many people succeed with only determination and persistence. The worrying part that comes after losing weight is not to gain that fat again. This fear can be subsided by nutritionist's advice and food plan. You will keep all that weight off till you follow a healthy diet pattern and by exercising regularly.
There are many boot camp sessions, fitness and training centers which assist overweight people in losing their weight and hiring a nutritionist will carefully guide on which sessions will suit you most. If you want to lose weight in a way that interests you most then you can join a dancing centre, yoga classes or laughter therapy. Whichever way you choose to lose weight, in the end it is your effort that scores result and keeps you fit.
A nutritionist helps you live a good and healthy lifestyle, hence you ought to find yourself one to make sure your body is fit and strong making cut short hospitals bills by preventing diseases through nutritionist’s guidance and advice
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 contain tons of vitamins and minerals including fiber which are important for young growing bodies.
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.
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
-Whole Grain Chips
-Pre-sliced Veggies with Ranch or Hummus
-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!
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!
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!
It never ceases to amaze me the number of people who declare themselves to be green-minded or focused on environmental sustainability, yet don’t reflect their sentiments within the majority of their own actions. It’s a little bit of the “do as I say, not as I do” mentality, which is really a shame given the easy changes than can make each and every one of us a little bit more green.
Take every day garbage disposal for example. If you really examine your usage, how much is really pure trash and how much is recyclable? Do you recycle? Or, do you mix everything together, assuming someone else sorts it later? (If you are that person, a little secret for you… 99% of the time, they don’t sort it and it ends up polluting a landfill). According to the EPA, the national recycling rate is 34% which seems a bit low to me, for what we all can be doing.
In my house, trash amounts for only a quarter of what I dispose! I know this because I live in an area that requires I take my own sorted trash to the dump, or pay a hefty price to have someone else do it. It doesn’t take much effort at all and at the end, I get to feel as if I’ve done my part for the environment. At least I can feel good about being 2x ahead of the national rate in my own home!
Recycling isn’t just about trash. It is about making smart choices about what can be reused and how. Here are some easy suggestions a family can enact to recycle and also conserve:Beverages: If you enjoy a daily hot drink each morning on the way to work and commute in such a way that bringing your own mug works, do it. The same holds true for bringing your own re-useable water bottle. This is part recycling and part conserving, both these actions prevent trash from mounting up! If you do purchase your coffee in a disposable cup, pay attention when you receive a double cup. Do you really need it? Can you save it for your next on-the-go hot beverage?
Paper: Have a bunch of print outs or junk mail? Every sheet of paper has 2 sides and unless you’re writing correspondence or creating documents to be shared with others, that’s still good paper for children’s crafts, scratch notes, etc. Even better, challenge yourself to go digital and avoid printing things as frequently as possible and unsubscribe from those mailing lists that litter your mailbox.
Parenting: Opportunities to recycle abound when you have kids and a little creativity. Left over poster-board quickly converts to being a mailing envelope! Coloring book pages make creative wrapping paper. Clothing and toys can be swapped with friends, family and even strangers as children age out of them; join a local parents group on Facebook, there are parents who can use them!
Food: Learn how to really cook. Doing so enables the ability to use left overs and straggling ingredients in brilliant ways to make the next meal. This type of recycling can really make you feel good too! There is a sense of pride that comes from knowing you’ve used all the food you’ve purchased, rather than discarded a significant portion of it.
Clothing: According to the EPA 12 million tons of textiles end up in landfills, contaminated and unable to be reclaimed/ recycled. It’s so easy to avoid contributing to this. Participate in clothing swaps with friends, and families, or donate excess clothes to one of the many local organizations set-up to take them, such as Goodwill or the Salvation Army. If you do submit clothes to town collections for textile recycling, make sure they don’t get wet or exposed to moisture that can generate mildew.
If you’d like some help with recycling or trash removal, you can always submit a free request via www.myezbz.com to be connected with a local waste professional.
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.
Nearly every kid on earth looks forward to a birthday party thrown in their honor. For some kids, any party will do; just make sure to have cake and the standard three Gs: guests, games and of course, gifts! But for others, evolving interests drive the party requirements and many parents feel like pulling their hair out as the requests increase proportionately to their children's ages. Here are some tips for keeping it stress-free.
Nearly every kid on earth looks forward to a birthday party thrown in their honor. For some kids, any party will do; just make sure to have cake and the standard three Gs: guests, games and of course, gifts! But for others, evolving interests drive the party requirements and many parents feel like pulling their hair out as the requests increase proportionately to their children's ages. Here are some tips for keeping it stress-free.
Plan far enough in advance, 4-6 months
Many parents remember growing up and planning their own birthday parties the month before they occurred. Invitations were handed out at school or mailed for summer parties and all went smoothly. There was often one parent on mission control who was home enough to manage things; there was only a single way to RSVP and guest nearly always did; and kids lives weren't heavily scheduled. Nowadays families are busier than ever, so reserving 4-6 months of advance planning, preserves sanity.
Pick a date and time wisely
Some parents believe the majority of kids will show up regardless of the date and time selected, but that isn't always the case. Plenty of parents have learned this the hard way. Choose a date and start and end times to enable the best opportunity for guest to share in the occasion. The party doesn't need to be scheduled for the exact birth date, or even the same week. Try and avoid observed religious holidays of potential guests, high travel periods and times when team games are likely to occur.
Choose a theme, make sure it's one you can execute, then stick with it
Kids interests change with wind. That doesn't mean the party theme has to. Pick a theme your child loves and run with it. As long as it isn't too immature or fleeting, chances are they'll still like it enough four months later. Resist the urge to change to the latest big thing. As musician Rick Danko use to say 'go with your first thoughts, they're usually your best thoughts.' Whatever theme you pick, just do the research and make sure you can execute it. Some character themed parties can be significantly harder to pull off than parents realize!
Figure out exactly what you need at the start
This may seem obvious, but many parents don't give it much thought until the last minute. If planning to use a venue, find out exactly what is included with your reservation; There are many places that supply everything except the cake and party favors. If you're doing it at home or the venue doesn't supply anything except for the space, give thought to what you will need in the way of food, decorations, entertainment, favors, etc.
Make a master list with 4 main components :
1. Things to schedule
2. Things to buy
3. Things to make or assemble
4. Guests to invite
Lists are among the best time management tool for busy parents and the four categories above cover everything you need for planning a party. By organizing items in this manner, you can quickly cross things off and move onto the next priority. It also makes sense to add in deadlines or timeline lines to complete, to really keep yourself on schedule.
Simplify wherever you can
Unless you're on an uber-tight budget, it can be a wise to outsource some of your party needs. Planning on serving lunch? Pick up ready made pasta or pizza, or even better, have it delivered! Not an adept baker? Buy a cake. It's likely to cost a similar amount once you add up the cost of ingredients and value of saved time. Planning on making favor bags? Consider skipping them in favor of giving the kids small gift cards to iTunes, or bulk purchased movie tickets. They're cool, save time, cost about the same and kids love them!
Enlist friends and family for help when needed
The expression 'it takes a village to raise a child' isn't far from the truth. If there are friends and family available to help or lean on, take advantage of the offers and then repay in kind at a later date. No parent is going to be knighted or sainted for being a martyr for their child's birthday celebration.
EZBZ understands how stressful planning a child's birthday party can be and we would be more than happy to help you find the things you need. Just submit a request for whatever it is via www.myezbz.com or the EZBZ App