Guest Blog By: Rachel
Twenty-four hours in a day never seem to be enough. Balancing kids, marriage, work, friends and other life commitments is one of our greatest challenges today.
What often seems to slip through the cracks is quality time spent with our partner. Even with the best of intentions, piles of dirty dishes/kids’ homework/work commitments.. (whatever it may be) tend to subtly push relationship time down to the bottom of the priority list.
I know of couples that seldom eat dinner together and hardly share an intimate moment.
Your relationship or marriage should be your most important relationship in your life as it is the foundation of the family.
Here are some ways to find more time to spend with your partner:
· Write a list of priorities and place it high on the list – deprioritize things such as having a perfectly organized home in favor of having a happy and fulfilled marriage
· Make a date of it – schedule time together on a regular basis. Aim for at least once per week. This may sound like a daunting time commitment in a busy schedule, but remember how important your relationship and your partner is to you. Make a date and stick to it – even a short amount of quality time will do.
· Co-ordinate – co-ordinate your schedules so that you can eat dinner together, perhaps go to bed at the same time, spend time together on the weekends.
· Multi-task – find time to spend together when you are busy with other commitments. Here are some suggestions: make dinner together (this can even be a lot of fun), or split the house chores (you fold the laundry while he hangs it out)
· ‘Alone’ time is crucial – time together just the two of you is the most valuable time that you can have. Whether you go out together or have a quiet evening together at home, it’s so important to be alone, communicate and be intimate.
No relationship can blossom without time together. If you can see that you and your partner are headed in different directions, make a point to slow down and find the time to dedicate to each other.
Parents want nothing more than to ensure their children are physically and mentally fit, and fully capable of handling social as well as personal situations. Having good self-esteem from childhood is key for growing into a successful and self-satisfied adult.
From a very young age, children are faced with situations that demand confidence, whether it is going to a new school or performing at a spelling competition. So how can you establish confidence in your child to allow them to believe in themselves and face the challenges of everyday life?
1-Give them plenty of chances at success
Children can acquire a great deal of self-confidence if they have achievements littered along their life, regardless of how big or small. Make them feel competent by enabling experiences that let them realize their own capabilities.
This can include encouraging them to sign up for an art competition if they have a natural talent for painting, or to perform at the school play if they particularly enjoy drama class. However, avoid pushing them to do something against their own will.
2-Vocalise your appreciation
As long as the compliments you give are genuine and not misleading, they can go a long way to making your children believe in themselves. Don’t make them believe something that isn’t true as this will only disappoint them upon realization.
3-Avoid using unwarranted labels
This especially applies to calling your child shy or nervous, regardless of how introverted he/she really is. Whether speaking to your child, or about your child to others, using a label such as ‘oh he’s really shy he doesn’t speak very much’, prevents him from doing any different and becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The best approach is to rephrase his reluctant nature by a general statement such as ‘Thomas enjoys listening to other views before expressing his own opinion’.
4-Don’t step in on your child’s behalf
Often when children behave in a shy or hesitant manner, parents have a tendency to step in and perform on their behalf by, for example, answering a question directed at the child by another adult.
Try not to interfere as your child is always in a position to learn from new experiences and situations and could become too dependent on others when faced with something they cannot handle on their own.
5-Avoid coming across as dismissive
Always have a supportive response in situations where your child becomes upset or nervous. Your tone should be full of warmth and understanding. Stating a sentence of comfort such as ‘it looks as though you’re a bit scared around the neighbor’s dog, that’s understandable” as opposed to ‘stop being scared of the
neighbor’s dog, that’s ridiculous at your age’ can make a world of difference.
6-Make your child home-wise
Assigning household responsibilities to your child, which he/she can complete with good ability can also help improve confidence. Whether it is doing the laundry or the dishes, it gives them the chance to trust themselves after being trusted with new tasks, and this filters through to their confidence outside of the
By labeling these tasks as ‘special jobs’ you can entice children into feeling good about what they are doing, even if they are just household chores.
It can sometimes be frustrating watching your child struggle with everyday encounters or shy away from new experiences and responsibility. However, remember that confidence only comes after years of being faced by situations where our strengths and weaknesses are tested and we become familiar with navigating around our fears and reservations.
Try to let your children find their own strengths and then find success in these areas of strength, and support them in this process of trial and error.
About The Author
Every year, it seems as if school lunches are on the up and up. If you have two, three or even four or more kids, these paid lunches can add up so fast! Just like eating out at work, why throw all this money away, when you can do something about it.
If you don't think you have time to pack your child's lunch, it's time to think again! Packing a lunch can be done within a few minutes, if done right.
Offer a Variety
Don't stick with the same ole' peanut butter and jelly every day. If you do, your child is going to get sick of it pretty fast. Instead, try to offer a variety. While you don't have to have something different every single day, try to switch it up throughout the week.
For example, start with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, followed by a ham sandwich, etc. If you have leftover pizza, be sure to throw a pizza in to spice things up. The same can be said about the snacks, vegetables, pudding and fruits.
Your child doesn't want to open up their lunch and see a bunch of blah colors. Instead of sticking to the same old boring sandwich, try to liven up the lunch bag with colors. By adding vegetables and fruits, this is a fantastic way to add color and a lot of nutrition to your child's life.
When packing a lunch, you just have to remember that some fruits and vegetables won't last long in a locker. Try to stick with apples, bananas, tomatoes and berries.
Have Fun With It
This trick tends to work for children who are still in elementary. With their sandwiches, fruit and vegetables,
consider cutting it up into fun shapes and objects. For example, if it's Halloween, consider grabbing a cookie cutter and create a sandwich that looks like a pumpkin. This is a great way to motivate your child to look through most of the food in their bag.
Make it Easy
No child wants to eat something that is messy, like last night's lasagna. Kids, no matter what their age, are going to like easy-to-eat foods. Like what I've mentioned above, try to stick to the finger foods, such as sandwiches, fruits, vegetables and chips. If you're going to pack something, like a pizza, try to cut it up ahead of time, if you have the time.
Chances are you're going to talk with your child before they head out the door. If you do, be sure to take advantage of this. Ask your child what they want in their lunch, but instead of simply asking, give them options. So instead of saying, "Hey, what kind of fruit do you want?" you could say, "Do you want an
apple or banana?" Children love choices, and if you give them viable options, it should be easier to get an answer out of them.
Don't Forget the Treat
So many times, the parents often forget the treat inside of the bag. Yes, while it's great to focus on the great food, you don't want to forget about a sweet treat. Today, there are so many great options that you can choose as a sweet snack. This can include homemade muffins, Rice Krispie treats or a healthy chocolate granola bar.
Now that you know how to spice up your child's lunch, here are some tips to make packing a lot easier:
- Throw chips, cookies and anything else that can last in a pantry inside of a baggie. Store this inside of the pantry so that you can just pick them up and throw them in the bag.
- Set aside one day a week to whip up something fun, such as bread, muffins or cookies.
- Take the meat from last night's dinner and consider using it on sandwiches.
- Lastly, have motivation! Once you get into the habit of doing this, it will become a habit to you. Not only will your child thank you for it, you can save a lot of money by allowing your child to skip the hot lunch line.
Stephanie is from howmuchisit.org. Here, you can find thousands of cost helping guides. Whether you want to know something that is baby or health related, be sure to keep this resource in mind that next time you need to know the cost of something.
Cape Cod Moms