Category: Tips

Great Ways To Help Your Kids With Their Homework

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Many things in life have become more demanding and complex than when we were kids. With higher expectations, both for students and teachers, as well as additional challenges, like new curriculums and smartphones, homework is one of the many examples. Despite your already busy schedule, you have to teach your kids after school, while also making sure that you don’t interfere with their learning. This can be tricky, which is why these six great tips can be helpful.

  1. Talk To The Teachers

Parents often don’t know how involved they should be in their child’s homework. The only way to find this out for sure is the speak to the teacher. You and your child’s teacher should be a team dedicated to the academic success of your kid. This is an important relationship, which means, like any other, communication is the key. For this reason, you should attend all school events.

  1. Make A Study Space

Studying on the couch isn’t nearly as productive as your child would have you believe. After all, the living room is filled with distractions, from the television to siblings, and even pets. Your child must have a space dedicated to completing homework. This should be in a quiet and well-lit location, with plenty of space. As long as the room is free, your dining space could work well.

  1. Provide The Proper Tools

Although most parents make sure their child has plenty of stationery for school, many kids leave their pencil cases in their lockers at the end of the day. To make sure your child has no excuse to skip their homework, you must have all the tools they might need, including a computer, printer, and ink cartridges. Remember to store these things together so that nothing gets lost.

  1. Work With A Routine

Structure is very important for children, especially where homework is concerned. Different kids work best at different times of the day, so create a routine that works for your child. While most parents would prefer their kids to do their homework as soon as they get home, yours may not want to do that. No adult wants to begin the chores right after getting home from work, after all.

  1. Focus On Healthy Habits

It’s not uncommon for kids to have several hours of homework to complete each night. When your child also has other after-school commitments, like sports or music, this leaves very little time in the day. While making time for homework is crucial, your child’s health is more important. If they aren’t getting enough sleep or skipping meals, you may want to talk to the teacher.

  1. Set A Good Example

Kids learn by copying what their parents do. This means that, if your children see you working hard, they will know they should be doing the same. Although you don’t need to start pouring over a math textbook, you could let your child see you reading a novel or balancing the budget. Your child is much more likely to follow your advice if they see you doing the same.

We all want our kids to be successful, so help yours on their way by following the advice above.

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7 Reasons Why I Love Girl’s Night

The day I became a mom, I knew that I would do everything and anything to be the best mom that I could be for her. From that day on, I spent many sleepless nights and days to make sure that she was very well taken care of. However, in the first three years, I was neglecting myself. During the transition into motherhood, I forgot about me as a person.

I thought that my job was to be with my child 24-7 and I shouldn’t think about having “me time.” I thought this would have been selfish (#momguilt) of me to even think that I deserved some time away as I should only focus on caring for my child. But soon I realized that I wasn’t good to anyone when I was feeling defeated and drained. I really needed some time away to re-focus and be me.

After a chat with a long-time friend who also expressed the same struggles, we thought we should launch our Girl’s Night. After convincing each other that we really did deserve it (amazing how strong mom guilt is), we were setting up our first girl’s night. Our girl’s nights are sometimes every other month or sometimes a little longer as it depends on life’s schedule; however, we always try not to delay it too much as we know how important this time is for our sanity.

That is exactly what we have been doing and we have even included more of our friends when they are able to come hang out for a bit. The Girl’s Night is one of my favorite events and I always look forward to it.

It is so important to care for yourself and much more as a mom. This is why I felt it would be great to share seven reasons why I love Girl’s Night and how it has made me a better person.

Relaxing

Just a couple of hours away from the home with your girlfriends is a relaxing experience and many times it is much needed. It gives you time to regroup and focus. Keep in mind that girl’s night doesn’t mean anything grand or expensive. A simple outing for a coffee is great idea as long as its an environment you can feel relaxed in. Just think that you don’t need to hide from little ones to enjoy some time to yourself! It is also great not to worry about having to assist anyone with their meals or even asking if anyone needs to use the washroom. 😉

You can even do other activities such as yoga or hitting the gym. The possibilities are limitless when you are planning a get together with your besties. 🙂  We have opted to do dinner as we have started a bucket list of restaurants that we want to try out! 🙂

*We may even launch a restaurant review section if our readers are up for it! Send us an email at mommabraga@gmail.com and let us know which ones we should try in the Toronto and Mississauga area.

One of my favorite meals so far on girls night from The Rec Room at Square One.

Be Yourself (True Self)

This may not apply to everyone but it does for me. On Girl’s Night I can just be me. I don’t need to worry about the language that I use (I work in the construction field and therefore, I have picked up on a few fowl words). 😉 You can speak freely with no filter and you don’t have to worry about being judged. It feels great to let loose and be yourself as it makes the evening much more enjoyable.

We tend to forget the people we are after we become parents and that person should never be forgotten as it makes who we are.

You can even be a little silly and try out Snapchat without your child getting in the middle. 😉 Here is my sister and I.

Laughter

Now you can’t have a girl’s night and not have laughter. That is my favorite part as we get to talk about everything and anything. We always have a great laugh as there are no limits on what we can say since there are no listening ears of little ones. We also get to share stories from our past and present that always bring a few more laughs that were unexpected.

Did you know how much laughter is good for your soul? It truly is and it helps with any stress that you are feeling. I honestly love to laugh and love to make those around me laugh (even if it is making a foul out of myself). 😉

Support

Now even though your child isn’t with you on a girl’s night, it doesn’t mean you can’t use this time to talk about them. We don’t eliminate talking about our children during our girls night as sometimes we need that listening ear. Having that support in-person is so amazing and bouncing ideas off one another on any parent struggle is so helpful. We use the time to vent, support and just be there for one another.

Parenting is not easy and it is great to get the support outside the home. Mind you, girl’s night is not around child talk but we know that if we need to we can talk to one another about it. Our girl talks cover an array of topics that are important to us and we know we will be supported.

My bestie, Tanya, and I at The Rec Room at Square One on one of our girls nights. Photo Credit: My sister Karen.

Self-Care

As moms we need to find the time to take care of ourselves. Girl’s night helps me with self-care as it helps me find my way back to my inner rock star that I am and allows me to let go of high expectations. The hardest part was to let go of mom guilt that many of us are encompassed with. I knew that having time for myself did not make me a bad mom and it was important for my self-care.

When we feel great about ourselves, we will be better people and moms at the end of the day. I didn’t realize how important my own self-care was until it took a toll on me. Now I am not last on the list of caring but at the same spot as my husband and daughter. We all come first and it has been much better for us all.

Reconnecting With Friends

Relationships are important to nourish as we take care of our relationships with our children and spouse. Our friendships are also important and we need to reconnect with them too.

Girl’s night is the opportunity to connect, laugh and grow friendships. Everyone needs a friend to talk, cry and laugh with and a night out is a reminder that they do exist! The best part is that you know they are true friends when you have been apart for months and as soon as you are together, you continue exactly where you left off at. That is the power of friendship! Even if it is just one friend, that is all that is needed. I always say quality over quantity.

Renewal of Appreciation

Spouse and child(ren) will have a renewal of appreciation for all that you do when you return. You will also feel the same way. It may only be a few hours away but that is just enough to freshen the mind and make the everyday whining okay again. That time away can make mom feel happy and that in turn will have everyone else feel happy. Who doesn’t like mom being happy?!

The appreciation when you return feels great as I am always greeted with lots of hugs and kisses from both my child and husband. It makes me feel great to know I was missed even if it was just for a short period of time. It is also great for children to see that it is ok for mom to be someone besides mom and that they have friends too. When I get ready to go out, my daughter always tells me how beautiful I look and that she hopes that I have a great time with my best friend. It always makes me feel great to hear it! We all love to feel appreciated in life.

My family.

Above all, girl’s night might only be once in awhile, but every mom deserves a girl’s night out whether they go for dinner or to see a play. It is a great reminder on how much fun being an adult really is.

Hope you are taking good care of yourselves moms and know that you are amazing in everything that you do! Let us throw away the mom guilt and remember to take care of mom as we deserve it.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

Our First School Year Takeaways

Hard to believe that our first school year arrived so quickly and just as quick, it is done. It is hard not to get emotional as we reflect on our daughter’s first school year. I remember dropping her off at the first day of school and her politely asking me to leave while I held onto the lump in my throat. Then releasing all the tears as I entered my car alone and wondered the whole day on how she was doing. To the last day of school where everyone excitedly said good-bye as they get to experience their first official summer holidays.

It has been such a journey and we all grew so much in the time that we call “school year.” There are a few takeaways that I want to share that may help other new parents as they embark on school life for the first time.

High and Low Points

A life lesson that we all know is that there are high and low points in life. This same lesson can be applied to Junior Kindergarten. There will be days that your child will be happy and there will be other days that your child is not happy. This is absolutely normal as the child needs to adjust to school life and some days might be better than others. The most important thing to do with your child is to talk about all the points of the day.

Every day after school, I would ask Nikki how her school day went and I would try to prepare myself in advance of what the responses might be. Some days there were some crying and other days there were smiles. At the end of the day, we both learned together on how to cope with the feelings of the day and how to better express them especially on the bad days.

Germs

They do exist and EVERYWHERE in the classroom! We were told by many other parents that kids get sick often at school, we were just hopeful that it wouldn’t happen to us. Well, that dream bubble broke very quickly in the school year as we battled cold after cold the first four months of the school year. At first we thought there must be something wrong with our child for being sick so often. However, our family doctor reassured us that this is common especially in the first couple of years of school. There are even points throughout the school year that it spikes (After Thanksgiving, Christmas Break and March Break were the most common times). A child’s immune system is being exposed to the world around them and it will take some to adjust.

We felt relieved that it wasn’t just us and we all started to take our vitamins to make sure we all stayed strong while fighting any cold that tried to bring us down. *When your child is sick, many times so do the parents. Don’t forget to take care of yourselves!

Kids Can Be Cruel

We all know that kids are not the nicest of beings and unfortunately we learned that very early on in Nikki’s school life. We had to deal with a child who called our daughter “fat” and it was a shocking experience for us to deal with. We learned a great deal from this experience and we were able to provide tips to help other parents who may encounter themselves in a similar situation.

Kids will be kids is no longer an acceptable term in our home. We feel it is important to stop the cycle instead of encouraging the phrase of “it’s part of being a kid.” Our biggest take away from this experience was to make sure that my child loves herself. If we truly love ourselves, our self-image will always stay true.

Label EVERYTHING

The Lost and Found is a popular area in the school and I understand why. Many kids have the same bags, lunch containers, and even clothes. Therefore, many times the items are taken by accident by another student or the items are lost. This is why we highly recommend to label everything that your child brings to school, including their shoes. We use Mabel’s Labels as they are durable and they have the perfect label for each item you need them for! It was a life saver for us as none of our items were lost or misplaced. That saved us a lot of money by the end of the year. Thank you Mabel’s Labels! 🙂

Be Involved

It is very important to be involved with your child’s educational learning. In Nikki’s class they brought home a communication book every night, this is where we can write notes to the teachers and they would also write notes for us if necessary. We loved this as it got us to be more involved in the classroom by having this form of communication between the teachers.

We do encourage to participate in fundraisers at the school and attend events that are open to parents to join. We did the chocolate fundraiser and it was a great learning experience for our daughter to undertake. It brought out her fundraising skills out and she was one of the top fundraisers in the school (special thank you to our family and friends for buying chocolates in support!). We also attended the Fun Fair that they had at the school which was great to see and interact with our students and parents. It really made us feel like part of the school community.

Any form of involvement that you can do with your child at school will benefit everyone. We know that we truly enjoyed being engaged and involved. I took it one step further and volunteered on their first school field trip and boy was that an experience that I will never forget (article coming soon on this!).

Create A Yearbook

I remember having yearbooks when I was older in school and loved having people sign my yearbooks. I never thought of having my teachers sign it and I wonder what they would have written about me.

This is why when I heard about this idea from my sister’s friend, I just had to incorporate it in our lives. We bought the classic, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss and made it into Nikki’s official yearbook. Every year we will be asking Nikki’s teachers to write in it and this way she can look back and see what her teachers wrote about her. It will be interesting to see what each teacher sees in Nikki and it will be a keepsake for life.

We are truly grateful for the remarkable teachers Nikki had this year as they were very supportive of Nikki and of us as parents. This is why we decided to write a very detailed letter to the principal of the school to show our thanks to each teacher that impacted Nikki’s school year. Written compliments are rare in today’s world as we are all so busy. However, I wanted to make sure that the teachers knew how special they are and how thankful we are that they taught our child this school year. Nikki’s teachers appreciated this gesture by us and one was almost in tears as she was humbly touched by our words.

How Much They Grow

It truly is amazing to see how much your child grows especially in the first year of school. Nikki learned in leaps and we are truly grateful to her teachers who helped her grow as a person and as a student.

On the first day of school, Nikki had the baby face that still made me feel that she was my baby (pictured below).

On the last day of school, she was blooming into a young lady who had a magical first school year (picture below). The change in her appearance, demeanor and knowledge was tremendous that this was the biggest takeaway from the whole year. It is amazing how one school year changes everything.

Now here I am a parent who has fully embarked in school life and it has been a journey. I know there will be other challenges, triumphs and milestones ahead but for now I am going to bask in Junior Kindergarten glory as Nikki passed! There are more smiles, joys and tears to come as I know I have had my fair share of all this first year.

I want to thank my husband, my family and all my friends for all their loving support of Nikki and me as we all go on this crazy journey called parenthood.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. 

The Baggage Of Mom Life

Being a mom carries a lot of baggage, and you don’t have to have a big family to realise that. Being a mom is no doubt one of the best feelings in the world. To know that a little human loves you as much as you love them, and that love is most likely going to be unconditional for life, is just a feeling that can’t be matched. But sometimes it can get to the point where you feel like you’ve got so much baggage that you’re carrying around with you, and life can just get a little stressful with it all weighing you down. So what is a mom to do when so much baggage keeps piling up, but the family needs to keep on running as it has always done. Well, it’s where articles like this come in to help you out. We’ve got some excellent tips that should help you reduce your mommy baggage, leading to a more stress free lifestyle. So if this is something you’re desperate for, keep on reading, and we’ll show you how to do just that!

Have A Good Clear Out

So the first bit of baggage that we think everyone needs to get rid of, is baggage around the home. If there’s one thing that seems to pile up over the years of having kids, it’s clutter around the home. Even if you can’t see the clutter, you know it’s there, and you know how much space it’s taking up. Some of you will have so many things collected, that trips back and forth to shops or dumping sites is just going to be too much, especially if there’s furniture involved. But skip bin hire is almost nearly always too expensive. But there is some cheaper bin hire available if you take the time to look around. You’ll most likely only need to hire it for a day or two as well!

Keep Your Circle Small

So when you become a mom, your circle is going to get a little smaller to begin with. It’s like everyone disappears out of your life, unless they’re going through the same parenting process as you. But soon it begins to grow again, and it can begin to grow much quicker than you might have expected, especially as you get in with all of the moms at school or nursery. But this creates so much extra baggage and stress, and moms can actually be really catty towards each other. So we do recommend that you keep your circle smaller than you might have it at the minute, and keep people who you know are truly there for you, close to you. It’s all well and good wanting a lot of friends, but are the people in your life truly your friends?

A More Organised Lifestyle

So finally, you really need to keep your life organised. Most of the time you’ll feel a lot of baggage is involved, simply because your mind is always all over the place with the things you’ve got to do. So try and take the time to relax, simplify your life, and watch it get easier!

When Should You Be Thinking About Retirement?

(Image Source)

 

For a lot of people, thinking about something like retirement will always feel a little silly. Even after working for a couple of decades, it will still feel as though you have plenty of time to think about your escape from work. Of course, though, there is more to retirement than simply finishing your job. You have to prepare your life for this event, and the earlier you get started, the better. To help you out with this, this post will be exploring some of the key areas which you’ll need to consider when you’re thinking about the future.

Your Pension

Being out of work means that you’ll need to have some sort of funding for your retirement. In a lot of cases, people will save a pension for this, and this makes it far easier to have a comfortable life. To build something like this, though, you will need to be saving for at least 40 years. For those who want to retire at 65, they will need to begin the process of saving for a pension as early as 25 years old. A lot of normal jobs will cover this for you, but it’s worth thinking about, as a lot of people find themselves having to work for far longer than they expected when they make a bad move in this area.

Your Home

Along with having money to live on, you will also need to think about your living situation for the future. If you’ve manage to buy your own home, you should have everything you need to cover you, even if you end up selling the place to move somewhere else. Along with this, companies like https://yukana.org.au/ are worth talking to as you reach your later years. You can often plan ahead with a retirement home, booking yourself in to move once your age makes it appropriate. Living in a place like this will usually make your pension go a lot further.

Your Health

It’s a real shame, but a lot of people find themselves unfit to enjoy retirement once the day to leave work finally arrives. Health issues can make living at home into a pain, and there are few ways to make this better once your body has started to deteriorate. The exercise and time you put into fitness in later life can help to balance this out. Those who have spent most of their time nice and fit will have a much better chance of feeling good as they get older, though it isn’t always easy to connect your future body with the one you have today. You will always have the same bones, muscles, and other organs, and this makes it crucial that you look after them.

 

With all of this in mind, you should be feeling ready to take on the challenge of thinking about retirement before the time comes. A lot of people struggle with this, finding it hard to know when they should be starting work on this part of their life. In reality, though, this should start as early as possible, even if you have to put a lot of work into it in the process.

 

Empowering Stay-At-Home Moms Through Job Coaching

Looking for employment is a difficult task to do and, in many cases, it becomes a full-time job in itself. There are many services that are out there that can assist; however, many lack specialized programs for stay-at-home moms in particular.

It’s a group that many forget and luckily one Toronto woman has not forgotten about empowering stay-at-home moms to enter or re-enter the workforce.

It is with great pleasure that I introduce you all to Stephanie from SAHM Coaching who I recently met at a mom market. I had the opportunity to sit down with Stephanie to get the inside scope on SAHM Coaching in this exclusive interview.

Tell me a little bit about yourself

I was born and raised in Toronto and love this city. I have a wonderful husband, who supports me unconditionally and two beautiful children, ages 9 and 11. I try to stay active. I’m doing a 10 KM race this May, I love working out and play baseball. I’ve been playing fast-pitch softball since I was 6 years old. I went to Ryerson University where I completed my degree in Human Resources and went on to get my professional designation from the Human Resources Professionals Associations as a Certified HR Leader. My HR career started in the telecom industry. Then I went on to work for a retail company and I’ve spent the last 14 years in the not for profit sector. I love the field of HR; I’ve been doing this for over 20 years. What I love about it is that I get to work with people. When you do that, you rarely get the same problem twice. Circumstances change and it forces you to really understand the subtle differences of each situation. Working side by side with my clients and helping them find the optimal solution is very satisfying.

What type of services do you offer?

SAHM (stay-at-home-mom) Coaching offers job search assistance exclusively to women who want to go back to work after being at home. This group includes women at various life stages. Some of my clients have been at home for a number of years, while others are coming to the end of their maternity leave and want to change jobs. I help them get their heads back into the game with someone who “gets it.” Working with me, women get tailored, one-on-one, insights and HR expertise into things like:

  • What kind of work can/should I do?
  • How do I search for work; make use of the best resources; etc.
  • How to build/refresh a resume (or cover letter) that gets noticed.
  • How to talk about your time off/gap in your resume in a way that employers will understand.
  • How to prepare for and answer questions during an interview.

What is your goal of the services that you provide and can you give us one success story that you can share?

What I’m offering women is a safe place for them to share their concerns, ask questions and get answers quickly. All with the goal of building their confidence and getting rid of the self-doubt, so they can be successful overcoming whatever obstacle it is that they are facing.

Yes, I’d like to tell you about Katie (not her real name). Katie was struggling with her job search. She previously had run her own business (since it gave her more time with her kids) but she and her partner had a falling out. She decided after running her own business for several years, that she was done. Instead she wanted to find a job where she could work Monday to Friday and not have all the demands of being a business owner. Her kids were older and it was a good time to make the transition. When Katie and I connected she told me she was struggling because she wasn’t having much success with her applications. She wanted to work with me on her resume and cover letter. Her resume needed a complete overhaul, so we redesigned it from scratch. During our session we also talked about how to structure her cover letter. That session was on a Wednesday, the following Thursday I followed up with Katie and she told me she applied for a job and they scheduled her for a phone interview. The company told her they were very impressed with her cover letter!

What made you decide to offer these services?

Because they don’t currently exist; at least not in the way I offer them. Sure, you can go to a Service Canada employment centre, and they will give you a general resume or interview information. Or you can go online and find a TON of info, but then what? Everyone is busy, I don’t think your readers have the time to go through it all. I’ve got 20+ years of recruitment experience and I can give women a direct line to the answers they are looking for. Plus, it’s so important for me to work side by side with my clients. It’s so much more effective. I’m not just telling them what to do, I’m also telling them WHY they need to do it. Why when you write a cover letter you format it a certain way. Why you use specific words in a resume. Why when you answer questions using this format it will resonate with employers. It’s only because I’ve been there, that I can offer this type of service.

If someone is interested in your services, how much and how can they get enrolled?

The first thing is to schedule a FREE consultation call. You can do this via my website, email me, or message me via my Facebook page. During the call I ask what they feel they need the most help with and what it is that each woman wants to accomplish. I also share more info about myself and will answer any question that they may have. In most, but not all cases, I ask to see a copy of their resume. After the call, I prepare a written recommendation outlining how we’d work together. In it I include the number of sessions required. Sessions are 45 minutes. You can purchase sessions individually for $60 each or (to save money) you can buy a package of 4 sessions for $200.

Thank you so much Stephanie for your time. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Sure, since you asked! Any time you are in transition or making a change, it’s bound to feel icky and uncomfortable. I want your readers to know that going back to work after stepping away is possible, you CAN do it, and with SAHM Coaching you don’t have to do it alone.

An inspiring way to end an interview! With the right coaching, inspiration and motivation, it is possible to enter or re-enter the workforce. I am so honoured to have had this opportunity to inform all of you of a service that is available, especially if it can help you succeed.

I use to be in the Employment industry many years ago (feels like a lifetime ago) and I helped many people find work. I know that with the extra support that my clients got, it helped them get their foot back in the door. Every little bit helps.

If you are interested in learning more about SAHM Coaching, make sure to contact her directly as she has a wealth of information and knowledge to offer.

Thank you again Stephanie for your time and empowering women every day!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

Things Every Child Should Learn

When it comes to teaching our children the skills they need to be the best in life, there are a lot to things to teach and many directions which we can go in this year. If you are looking to teach your child the best skills for their lives this year, here are just some of the ones to consider.

Ride a bike

When we look at some of the most iconic skills to teach to kids, we can’t not mention riding a bike. Riding a bike might just be the most obvious of all of the things to teach our kids and it is a huge challenge every step of the way. When you start off teaching your child to ride a bike you will want to think about using stabilisers and as time goes on you will be able to teach them to balance on just two. It could take a long time to teach this to your child but once they have learnt this skill it will stay with them for life!

Swim

Teaching a child how to swim is so important for you to do, and the earlier you can teach them the better. Choose a good swim school and take your child once or twice a week and let them learn how to keep themselves afloat above the water. Children are very adventurous and curious and they are prone to drowning because of this fact. If you can teach your child this essential skill you can let them into the pool and the sea without too much worry.

Throw a ball

Playing sports and games is one of those things which is great for the development of a child and it can be a wonderful skill for them to learn. Being able to accurately throw a ball and join in with games and open them up to a whole world of different sports and this could even become a hobby or career for them later on in life. It might take them a while to learn but it is the ideal excuse for some garden play dates on sunny days!

Look after animals

Looking after and being responsible for another living thing has to be the best way to prepare a child for their future. If you want to make sure that your child is able to live a great life and look after themselves, teaching them how to look after a pet can be a wonderful thing. You can get a pet hamster, fish or rabbit and let your child be the one responsible for looking after the animal. You can show them the importance of caring for another living thing and this will help them become more independent as they grow older.

Be kind

A smile, a hello, a please and thank you… to teach your child to be kind and respectful to other people is a skill in itself and one which you should definitely consider trying out this year!

The Basics of Responsible Borrowing

The temptation to borrow money haunts everyone at some point. Sometimes it’s a good idea — necessary, even — but many times it isn’t. Before you take out that loan, you should ask yourself three questions.

Why are you borrowing?

Only borrow out of necessity. This is especially true when it comes to your decision to apply for an easy installment loan or take up credit card debt. These options should only be used for unexpected expenses, like car repairs and home repairs, or buying essential groceries between pay periods.

If you just want something, try to find other ways to finance the purchase. You could put it on layaway, sell some unwanted belongings, or simply save up. The temptation is there to get it now and pay for it later, but you need to understand that if you borrow, you will end up paying substantially more than what you would have originally because of interest.

Money lending is a business, and charging interest is the way that lenders make a profit. No one is going to give you a loan out of the goodness of their heart.

If you want a new house or car, then taking out a loan is usually the only way to do it. You should just make the decision carefully and make sure you can afford the payments.

What are the terms of the loan?

Do not decide to take out a loan based purely on verbal communication with a banker or lender. You must read the terms and conditions carefully.

Interest rates. These can be fixed or variable. That is, they can stay at a certain percentage until the loan is paid back, or they can be subject to adjustment.

Payment schedules. A loan may have a fixed period of time to pay it back. Longer terms usually mean higher interest rates. Credit cards usually have monthly payments.

Secured vs. unsecured. If a loan is secured, that means you have put something that you own — referred to as collateral — up against it. If you don’t pay back the loan, the lender can seize your property. Unsecured loans do not have collateral and make up for this by having higher interest rates.

How will you pay it back?

It’s important that you never get a loan you can’t make the payments on. You should also think about what your financial situation will be in the future. Are you worried that you might lose your job? Are there medical expenses coming up? If so, it might be better to put off borrowing until you are in a more stable position.

You should give yourself some wiggle room. Interest rates can, and do, rise. This means you could end up paying more each period than you initially agreed to.

Remember that late payments will hurt your credit score. A very bad credit score will make it hard to take out loans in the future. It can make it almost impossible to buy a house, a car, or get on a lease for an apartment.

How to Avoid Burdensome Debt

The real killer with debt is the interest. Hence, the best way to avoid being swallowed by debt (behind not borrowing at all) is to avoid interest by paying everything off as soon as possible.

For example, you can still use your credit card as long as you completely pay the balance off every month. In fact, this is a great way to build credit in the beginning.

For other types of loans, putting more money down, paying above the minimum payments, and choosing the best available loans will save you in the long run.

 

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Self-Care: How to Combat Parental Burnout

Written by: Claire Adams

Do you ever get tired of parenting? Do you ever feel like you simply can’t take it anymore? Most parents reach that point from time to time, that moment when all you want to do scream and run away somewhere where somebody will pamper you for a change. This doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent. If anything, the fact that you’re trying so hard makes you a good one. However, you should consider your own mental health and how parental burnout can affect you and your family if you don’t do something about it. If your mind is in overload and you don’t know how to get through another day of being an exemplary parent, here is some advice for you.

It takes a village to raise a child

It takes a lot of effort, devotion and patience to raise a child, but nobody can have it all under control all of the time. So, try not to be offended or threatened when another parent steps up and offers their wisdom and experience to help you in some situation you could be handling better. Instead of jumping to the conclusion that they only want to undermine you and show they’re a better parent than you, consider the fact that they might have been in your shoes and in a situation identical to this one in the past. Maybe at that point somebody helped them, or maybe they just wished somebody did. In any case, try becoming friends with other parents. They might offer some good advice on things like helping your kid with school stuff or dealing with them when they act out. Talk to moms and dads at school or at the playground, organize playdates and dinners to create your own village and maybe make parenting a bit easier.

It’s OK to ask for help

When taking care of your children seems too much to handle and you need some time off, remember that you can always ask for help and that it’s not something you should be ashamed of or hide from. There are many people you can turn to. It could be your spouse, your parents, siblings, friends or neighbors or anybody else you trust. When you try doing everything on your own, of course you’ll feel like you’re on the brink of madness. And if you have nobody close to you to jump in, there’s always the option of paying for help. For example, there are some amazing catering companies out there which will impress even the most demanding guests, meaning that you don’t have to make all the food for your kid’s birthday party yourself. Also, if cleaning your home takes too much of your time and energy, find somebody who’ll come once or twice a week and get things sorted out for you. Just don’t shy away from reaching out when the going gets tough.

Lower your expectations

When the bar is raised too high up, you won’t be able to reach it no matter how hard you try, which can leave you feeling inadequate, frustrated and desperate. When you notice that this is happening, remember that you’re the one who decides where the bar is and lower it a bit. Don’t expect perfection from yourself, because there is no perfection when it comes to parenthood. A lot of times it comes down to trial and error, whether we like to admit it or not. What does this mean? Basically, it means it’s not the end of the world if let things go when they get too difficult. Nobody will judge you if your house is messy from time to time, if you let your kids watch Trolls on TV or if they skip their piano lesson or football practice once in a while. Adjust your expectations to something more realistic and you’ll relieve yourself of some stress momentarily.

Be more than just a parent

Once you become a parent, it can become hard to remember that you were ever anything other than that. Well, you were and you are. You’re a person with needs, desires and ambitions that have nothing to do with your children. Send your kids to kindergarten and find a part-time job if you don’t already have one. You can even start working online from home, or at least find a hobby you’ll enjoy. If nothing else, don’t forget to give yourself some time away from your family occasionally, to do things that make you feel happy and help you unwind. Under no circumstances should you think that this is selfish. It’s a way to preserve your mental and physical health, so that you can be a calmer and more supportive parent to your children in the long term.

Parental burnout is a real problem and one you should deal with as soon as you feel the need to. Consider this an important part of your self-care and a way to stay on top of your parental role.

 

7 Great Ways to Raise and Empower Your Daughter

Having a daughter is a great gift, but also a great responsibility. We live in a world that is changing, hopefully for the best, especially when it comes to the position of women in the society, their empowerment and their voice. So it is, now more important than ever that we raise generation upon generation of young women who will know there is no limit what they can do in life and who will feel empowered from day one. But it all depends on the parents and what we install in their minds from the very beginning. So here are some great tips on raising a little powerhouse of a lady.

Let her be heard

It is important that you always ask her about her opinion on the matter at hand. Just telling someone what to do over and over again creates a pattern that is hard to break later on. So, by letting her know you are interested in what she has to say you are teaching her that her opinion and ideas matter and thus encouraging her to put them forward. This will have a great impact on the way she interacts with others as she will be able to form her own opinions and won’t be afraid to share them with the world.

Photo by Michael Morse from Pexels.

Encourage her to learn

Education is a huge part of female empowerment. Being able to attend the schools she wants or to choose her own profession it is something truly amazing. And to think it was not an option just a few years ago, and is still not in some countries in the world. Luckily there are a lot of organizations working on changing this, and there are more and more girl’s scholarships available to help set this change in motion. So help your daughter understand, however cliché it might sound, knowledge is power, and education is an integral part of that.

Expose her to the right role models

Having someone to look up to is important as we grow up. And for a young girl having strong female role models can be life changing. It is important that they exist both in the family and outside of it. Of course, you are the biggest one she has, so it is important to not only teach your daughter certain principles but for you as a parent to live them as well. Next come the role models from the world of literature, politics and, yes, pop culture. There are some great women throughout history that can serve as fantastic role models, from Jane Goodall to Lisa Randall and Aung San Suu Kyi, all of whom show how strong and powerful women can be and how they can influence the changes in the world we live in.

Photo by Albert Rafael from Pexels.

Help her withstand the pressures of our society

Even the best upbringing cannot help your daughter and save her from the cruel reality that comes from entering the society. From kindergarten to university she will have to hold her own. We all know how cruel kids can be and how at times it is difficult to stand up to peer pressure. It is up to us, as parents, to help our child cope, and not let them suffer in silence. Because not everyone will accept an empowered female, and there will be times that she will have to stand for what she believes in, even when it seems impossible. That is the lesson we are supposed to be teaching them.

Take the time to discuss different notions

Be there to answer her questions, from the very start. Whether they are about life, the world we live in or people who surround us. It is important that she gets that information from you as much as possible. That way you know what she hears is the truth. Letting her google it or hear it from the wrong people could have a negative effect on her point of view, and even her self- esteem. You can take a few minutes out of each day and simply tell her to ask you whatever she wants. It can be a great learning and bonding experience at the same time.

Photo by Lgh_9 from Pexels.

Teach her to be critical about the media

What media places out there can have a strong effect on young girls, and they can be quite taken with it. Thinking that they need to look, act or think in a certain way. This can have a negative effect on the way they perceive the world and what is expected of them to be. So it is important to start having this conversation as early as possible and to keep having it until they grow up. Teach them about the distorted images that the media can sometimes show, pointed towards the right media outlets, and help them see themselves as individuals and not part of the collective thought that is being pushed at them.

Don’t limit their imagination

This might be the most important piece of advice. Your daughter needs to have a vivid imagination because that is where all great ideas come from. So if she wants to be a truck driver at three years of age support it as much as you would support her wanting to be a doctor at eighteen. Don’t limit her choices and ideas; let her express herself that way she can show you and the world who she really is without the fear of not being accepted.

So now you have your guidelines, and don’t forget you might be raising the future president or astronaut.

About the Author

Claire Adams is a personal and professional development expert who believes that a positive attitude is one of the keys to success. She enjoys life to the fullest in the healthiest way possible and loves to share her insights into parenting, education, and entrepreneurship. Feel free to reach her on Facebook and Twitter.