Let's face it, shopping for groceries can get really painful.
What seems like a quick trip can turn into something much more expensive than you planned. That's why we've tried to pull together some quick tips to help you stay on budget and save some money.
Changing just a few of your habits can help save you money at the store, while keeping good quality food on your table.
Creating a simple family budget is probably the BEST thing you can do to financially protect your family.
Here are some basic steps:
Money problems can cause big trouble in your relationships and can make your life miserable.
But, there are things that you can do now to prevent trouble from happening
As a single parent, you're responsible for making certain everything gets handled . . . including the finances.
Here are some simple tips for staying on top of your finances.
We are all very busy and sometimes feel exhausted by our busy lives. But connecting with your children doesn't have to feel like a burden. Here are five simple ways to connect with your children:
"The ground is lava!" In this game, the goal is to get from one side of the room to the other - but be careful, the floor is boiling hot lava! Use chairs, cushions, laundry baskets, or other creative objects to safely get across the lava.
"I Spy…" In this game, try to have your child guess what you're looking at based on the color of the item you see. For example, if you look at the television say, "I spy something black!" And let your child keep guessing objects until they guess the correct one.
Honesty - Provide space for your child to be honest. If your child broke something and began telling a crazy story of what happened, calmly remind them that you love them, tell them to think about the truth, and then reassure them that it's okay to tell you what really happened. It's important to not overreact when your child tells you the truth. Remember that honesty can be uncomfortable, but everyone feels better in the end.
Justice - Imagine this: you have two children playing with their toys, and then suddenly one gets angry at the other and kicks their toys away, for what seems like no reason! While it's important for the child to apologize for their unacceptable behavior, it's also an important moment to ask your child why they kicked the toys. Forcing the words "I'm sorry" does not allow a child to process their feelings. Instead, work with your child to process why they kicked the toys and their apology may become sincere.
Determination - Challenge your child to do their best and be their best. We know your child is great, and you're proud of them… but it's powerful when you provide them with honest, yet gentle feedback to push them to deliver their best. Encourage them to challenge themselves whether it's in school, on the playground, or at home. When your child receives praise for working hard and giving their best, or for stepping out of their comfort zones and trying new things, the praise holds more weight. "Great job! I know that was difficult for you!" Acknowledge their effort in difficult tasks.
Consideration - When your children start arguing, especially in public, it's easy to get frustrated. What could have been a quick grocery trip has now turned into a battle. Instead of giving up and refusing to take your children with you on the next grocery run, let your children know that you feel upset or frustrated and ask your child what they suggest could make grocery shopping a better experience for everyone. At the next grocery shopping trip, remind your children of their suggestions. It's a small step to helping your child learn problem-solving, but it allows your child to learn to consider others.
Love - Yes, your child loves to cuddle or snuggle, and may need a lot of physical or emotional attention. Don't forget that your child expresses these gestures because they need to feel love and hear that they are loved. When is the last time you hugged your child and told them you love them? Don't be afraid to express your love for your children, spouse/significant other, or relatives. When your child sees love expressed, and receives expressed love, they may just become happier children.
Try this: pack a note in your child's lunch box that says "I love you" or give your child a hug for no reason, and watch their response.
It's one of the most frustrating things as a parent: the toddler tantrum.
Tantrums and meltdowns are normal - Remember that your child is immature and they do not have the coping skills or ability to communicate exactly what it is they're feeling or needing.
But how do you handle your rising stress levels and your child's emotions at the same time?
Follow through. Reward good behaviors, and make sure that your child ultimately listens to what you've instructed. If they throw a fit because you asked them to pick up their toys, they still need to pick up their toys with or without their tantrum. Once the tantrum is over, make sure your child still does what it was you asked. If you pick up the toys for them, you have then rewarded their undesirable behavior.
This subject has been debated a lot. There's too much to include in a small article, but we can get you started.
Keep in mind that genuine discipline really has no meaning when it comes to babies. They're too young to understand instructions and expectations.
A "general" rule is that around the time a child starts crawling around and interacting with their surroundings, it's time to think about setting limits. Again, that is a general rule and your experiences might be different.
At the crawling age, it's easier to help your child stay out of trouble than to set a number of rules. At this age, they're simply exploring and not really trying to defy your authority. If they're starting to explore, try to create an environment where things are child-proofed and put away if you don't want them touching them.
You can start to use verbal reprimands like saying "no" and re-directing them, but your primary focus should be on your child's safety.
Typically, the need for discipline will show itself at some point during your child's second year. So read up and get some trusted advice before then on how to prepare for what is to come.
Reading to your child, even when they're babies, prepares them to take on the world. Reading aloud has many benefits. Here are four great benefits when you READ:
Raises their attention span and strengthens your relationship
Exercises their brain and builds their imagination
Advances them academically and prepares them for school
Develops language, communication, and vocabulary skills
Children can be happily playing one minute, and the next minute it seems they're at war with each other. While children are growing, they're learning how to process emotions and resolve conflicts. Here's a simple tool to help them - just remember to "RESET"!
Relax - When children get frustrated they have difficulty thinking clearly. Have each child take a few deep breaths until they're calm.
Express - What went wrong? Allow the child who feels wronged to tell you what happened.
Share - Ask the child who feels wronged how they feel by using "I feel" statements. "I feel mad when my toy is taken away." Then, ask the second child how they feel, when they hear how the other child feels.
Explain - Allow the child who "wronged" the other one, to explain their side of the story.
Together - Ask the children to propose solutions together so they can learn how to resolve their conflict.
It's been said that families that eat together stay together, because eating together makes your family:
Stronger: Eating together creates a stronger family bond. When your family eats together, you help develop and maintain healthy relationships and nurture a deeper belonging. Routine meals also allow your children to grow a better sense of reliability and security in you.
Happier: Eating together can help your children become happier. When children feel a sense of belonging, they may have less desire to seek belonging with a wrong crowd. Allowing family time to talk about each other's day at the dinner table creates a space for your children to feel they are important.
Smarter: Eating together can help improve your child's performance in school. Children grow by listening to the adults express their opinions and ideas, and the dinner table is a safe space for children to express their own opinions or ideas. Once your child has grown comfortable expressing opinions or ideas, they may gain confidence to do so in the classroom. When you eat with your children, you can ask them about any upcoming deadlines for school tests or projects that you can help them with.
Healthier: Eating together encourages better nutrition. Dinners together at home are more likely to include the five food groups, such as vegetables, fruit, dairy, grains, and proteins.
Sensible: Eating together saves time and money. You don't have to drive anywhere to wait on a table, and you don't have to spend $20 on a plate of spaghetti, when you could make 5 plates of spaghetti for the same price.
Discover: Eating together allows families to explore new recipes or flavors that they can all try together. By eating together, you can introduce new foods to your children easier. Studies have found that children who tried new foods as a family were more likely to enjoy the new food item, than the children who did not.
It's very common to worry about struggles or dangers your child may or may not face as they grow. In a recent poll on BabyCenter.com, 2,400 parents listed expectations, stranger-danger, accidents and injuries, bullying, and weight concerns as their top five fears.
Here is a quick look at each fear and what you can do to conquer that fear:
Expectations - It's natural to want your child to reach their potential and have the best opportunities in life. Parents are admittedly afraid that their child may not succeed due to financial disadvantages, or economic uncertainty - and that is completely normal for a parent to fear.
The reality: The current economic climate is scary. The cost of living is increasing and the rate of unemployment is, too. The world seems very competitive and it's easy to fear that your child may struggle, especially if you have.
The solution: Allow your child to gain independence and resourcefulness, and teach your child basic life skills. These three things will help your child to do well in school and life, and can open doors to opportunities as they grow.
"Stranger-Danger" - It's a basic parental instinct to want to protect your child, so the fear that someone may hurt or harm your child is common. We see and hear horrible stories of bad things happening to children and naturally want to protect our own.
The reality: National research done by the Crimes Against Children Research Center has shown an overall decline in child maltreatment.
The solution: Stay in-tune to your child's needs and build a strong relationship where your child will feel comfortable talking to you about issues they may experience, and teach your child the differences between appropriate and inappropriate contact.
Accidents and Injuries - Children can be clumsy, imbalanced, and a little too adventurous at times. It's natural to fear your child getting injured - especially when that injury or accident is caused by someone else.
The reality: Motor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of injuries or death for children in America. However, most of these injuries or deaths were preventable. According the National Highway Traffic Safety, these injuries or deaths were primarily caused by a child either not being in a car seat or using a seat belt, or the child was in a car with a driver who was under the influence of substances (alcohol or drugs).
The solution: Ensure your child is safely secured in the vehicle before you drive and always make sure your child is transported by a sober driver. If you're unsure how to secure the car seat in your vehicle, most local hospitals, fire stations, and law enforcement agencies can assist.
Bullying - It's common to worry about whether-or-not your child will be liked at school or on the playground.
The reality: Bullying is a rapidly growing issue among children in America, so much that about 1 in 7 students from kindergarten to high school has either bullied, or has been the victim of a bully at least once. Bullying can lead to issues with self-esteem, school performance, and mental health issues, and sometimes the biggest bullies are the ones that have been bullied before.
The solution: Never treat your child violently, or allow others to treat them that way. It's important to be proactive in teaching your children to treat others with kindness and how to react to those who treat them or others unfairly.
Weight Concerns - Worrying about whether your child will struggle with obesity, anorexia, or other disorderly eating habits is a common concern.
The reality: Obesity and severe weight loss are serious risks for children. According to the Center for Disease Control, obesity in children has tripled in the past thirty years, and more young children are developing anorexic or bulimic eating habits.
The solution: You can help your child make healthy food choices and habits by encouraging a healthy diet and active lifestyle. Limit the amount of sweets, fruit juices, and processed foods, and replace them with vegetables and fruits. Instead of focusing on weight or calories, focus on developing healthy relationships with food, which in turn will lead to healthy eating habits.
As always, the greatest influencer on your child is you, the parent. Don't forget to spend time with your children and reinforce how much you love and cherish them.
It's perfectly normal for you to have fears about parenting. Everyone does.
And those fears can change over time as you and your kids grow.
Here are some simple tips that can help you navigate this process no matter what your fears are:
Remember, the healthier you are emotionally, the more you can help your child.
It seems like time is one of the things we never have enough of. As a parent, time flies by. One minute you're bringing your little one home from the hospital, the next minute they're headed to college. Where did the time go?
While they're still young, here are a few things you should always make time for:
Make time to play their games
Ask your child to teach you a game. Be forewarned, most children like to change the rules of the game while you're playing, and it might make the game longer… don't get frustrated! Instead, make that time to enjoy their wild imagination!
Make time - to take your time
If weather and safety permit, take a walk with your child. We're always rushing around and forget to take important moments to slow down and spend quality time with the people we love the most. When you make time - to take your time by slowing down and not rushing, you show your children the importance of spending time with each other.
Make time to fix things together
We just want to get it done. The faucet is leaking or the lightbulb needs to be replaced. What may take us as adults a few moments to fix, could make your child's day. Children are eager to learn. If you need to so those small home improvement tasks, let your child help you. Having the simplest involvement in a "grown-up" project can bring your child a great sense of pride and joy in working together and in working with their hands.
Make time to allow your children to decide
Let's face it, children aren't really decisive and sometimes it's just easier to pick for them. But you can help them gain decision making skill if you take time to let them choose. These choices can start small - like what to eat for dinner, what to pack for lunch, what to wear to school, or what to do that weekend, and the choices can grow from there. Letting your child make decisions early on can help them form decisions as they grow older.
Make time to read together
Whether it's a short book that can be read in one sitting, or a long book that takes you days to finish together… always make time to read with your children.
Make time for yourself
You're busy. You're exhausted. You've got your hands full. When is the last time you made time for yourself? Not the five-minute shower you rush through in the morning, but real, quality time with yourself? Your children will benefit from not only seeing you taking care of yourself, but they will get to interact with the refreshed version of you. You can only do so much, superstar. Take a deep breath and exhale.
Pre heat oven to 350 degrees, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Remove Kale leaves from stems, wash and dry (salad spinner works great). Place leaves on parchment paper, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with choice of salt. Bake until edges are brown (not burnt) approx. 10-15 minutes.
Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized
Our bodies are comprised mainly of water, and it is imperative that you keep your body hydrated. Try infusing your water with lemon, mint, cucumber, or your favorite berry! This alternative will give it a refreshing flavor and make your transition to a healthier lifestyle easier. A popular recipe is listed below, check it out!
If you are trying to give up soda, try drinking flavored sparkling water instead. The carbonation present in sparkling water can help you satisfy your craving. La Croix is a brand located at most grocery stores and has a variety of different flavors such as mango, peach, strawberry, and lime. These contain no artificial sweeteners or sodium, simply the sparking water and infusion of whichever flavor of your choice.
Co-parenting can be incredibly difficult. Your relationship with your significant other didn’t work out and now your child is caught in the middle. Here are four simple, yet effective, ways to successfully co-parent:
Remember, your child’s life is impacted by divorced or separated parents. Your job as their parent is to protect them and help them succeed. Be careful not to let your frustrations get in the way of your child’s well-being.
Raising a child on your own is difficult, stressful, and quite frankly can be one of the most frustrating journeys you’ll experience. You manage work, home, school, cooking, cleaning, healthcare, transportation, daycare, the list goes on. If you’re lucky, you have a strong support system that picks up the slack, but you might not have all the support you need.
Whether you’re a single dad or a single mom, here are some tips to help ease the burden.
Create a routine – Having a routine can be helpful for you and your child. Once your child adapts to the routine tasks like bath-time and bedtime, often this can help make it easier for you to leave for work on time.
Set rules – Make sure to set expectations for your child and maintain those expectations. When you have house rules that you stick to, your child will learn to meet your expectations. Soon enough they’ll start picking up after themselves and become more responsive to you.
Build a network – This is important especially if you don’t already have a strong support system. It’s important to have people you can talk to or rely on when needed. There is no shame in support. If you don’t have friends or family nearby, you can build a network at your child’s school and through various parenting support groups through local family resource centers or faith-based organizations.
Stop criticizing yourself – If you’re overwhelmed, guess what? That’s normal! You are one person doing a traditionally-two-person job. You aren’t perfect and never will be.
Just remember, you can only do your best. Keep your head up and breathe. Everything will work out. One day at a time.
Take time for yourself. You need kid-free time. As a single parent you’re used to wrapping your entire life around the needs of your child. It’s important to take time to refresh yourself. If you can’t afford a babysitter, there are other options. Consider arranging a childcare swap with a good friend. If your friend has children and needs a date night, offer to trade off watching each other’s kids. This way you both win by getting a night off.
Breathe. It’s going to be frustrating as a single parent. You’re going to get irritated by your child and you can’t seem to get a break. When your child throws a tantrum, and drops another plate of spaghetti on the floor, just breathe. It’s easy to get angry in the moment but remember your child will feed off your reactions. When you take a moment to breathe before correcting their behavior, it allows space to calm down so you’re not reacting in anger or frustration.
Speak about yourself positively and be your own cheerleader. Model positive self-esteem for your child. When you’re raising your child solo and you reach a milestone – like potty-training, that’s something to be proud of! It’s ok to remind yourself you’re doing a great job raising your child.
Be prepared for meltdowns, public tantrums, and other ridiculous child behaviors. Sometimes children aren’t the best at expressing their feelings or needs. You know your child the best, so be prepared for those frustrating public tantrums and long-drive-boredom-outbursts. Have snacks, drinks, books, toys, to help prevent those tantrums early.
Bring every new significant other home. Be mindful of who you bring around your children. It’s better to be cautious. If you start dating someone new and you’re absolutely head over heels in love after the first two weeks – including cute hashtags and snuggly selfies – think before you act. Make sure you’ve got a solid foundation of trust within your new relationship before you bring your significant other around your children. This will ensure that your child is safe and secure both physically and emotionally.
Obsess over situations out of your control. Especially when it comes to the child’s other parent. You can’t control their decisions. If that parent is not in your child’s life, make sure to focus on your role as the parent who is. Don’t spend time worrying about the relationship you can’t control, but instead focus on the one you can . . . your relationship to your child.
Compare yourself to other parents. You are yourself. You’re an individual and your children are not made from cookie cutters. Every parent is different, every child is different. When you compare yourself to other parents, you diminish the great things about your relationship to your child. Nobody is truly keeping score. Be the best parent you can be, and that will be enough.
Be hard on yourself. Remember that you are one person. You’re bound to make simple mistakes, because everyone does. It’s OK to admit when you’re wrong, but don’t hold on to mistakes. Being a single parent is already hard, don’t make it harder.