Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category.

Finding the Perfect Gift for your ‘Little Popstar’

If your daughter is like most young girls today, she probably wishes she could be a pop star much like Miley Cyrus.  Her walls are probably covered in posters of her favorite teen idol and her mp3 player loaded with her music.  Every aspect of her room reflects who she admires most.  This is what makes it so hard to buy for her, it seems she has everything she wants.  Of course you know your daughter but you find it is becoming increasingly harder to choose a gift for her she does not already own but before you get discouraged, there are a few items that are guaranteed to make her jump for joy.

Perhaps an instrument would really bring a smile to your daughter's face.  You know how she looks up to her teen idol and you know it would literally be her dream come true to have the chance to not only sing but play along with her idol.  Consider giving her an instrument that is like that of favorite pop star that also reflects who she is as an individual as well, for example, a pink acoustic guitar.

A gift such as this will give her the opportunity to release her creativity.  This is giving her the chance to become who she wants to be, like who she admires most.  Through the encouragement and inspiration of both you and her idol, her dreams of stardom can become a reality.

Now that you have settled on a meaningful present for your little girl you may want to add a few small trinkets just for the fun of it.  Hot pink accessories to go with her new guitar and her room are always a good idea.  Pink guitar picks or guitar straps would really add to the excitement.  Perhaps even enrolling her in guitar classes to help her begin her journey.

Finding the perfect gift for your 'little pop star' might seem difficult at first, but do not fret, it can be quite simple.  One day little girls everywhere might look up to her as she sings her heart out, with the guitar you gave her, held proudly in her hand.

The High Cost of Raising Kids

cost of raising of kids has skyrocketed beyond belief. Back in my the 70's when my parents were raising us kids in a middle class household, it was estimated it cost about $5000 to $6000 a year to raise a child. These days it costs a whopping 10k to 12k per year to raise a child on a middle class income. If your earnng over 100k your looking at 18k to 25k a year....go figure.

But it gets worse because USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) came out with a study that said if you child was born after 2009, he or she will cost a family over $250,000 from infant to adult (18 yrs old).

Now, for the bad news. The USDA did not include the cost of life after high school. Which includes college tuition, health and life insurance, buying their first car, car insurance, etc, etc. The reality is children are permanent, and there are no returns or exchanges with them. Basically when it comes to your children all sales are final.  You can't give 'em back even if you want to at times.

The good thing is that they're worth every penny and more. Hopefully non parents who are reading my article are not being scared to have kids now, because that was not my intention. What I'm trying to do is help parents find a better financial situation to raise their kids.

Well, time for your free personal finance lesson: Below I have some quick tips for raising your child on a budget that will help you cut down save on some of that child cost:

Borrow books from the library
Search for the kids meal deals that occur during the week
Clothes Swap
Matinee Movies
Budget Birthday Parties
Babysitter Bartering

What Makes A Good Surrogate?

Post provided by Surrogate Mother Info

Couples or individuals who would like to enter into a surrogacy arrangement without the help of an agency should take the time to consider what makes  good surrogate mothers before approaching friends or family members.  Understanding which qualities are common to surrogate mothers can help you determine who you should approach and how you should approach them.  Remember that this can be a delicate conversation, so try to keep it friendly and conversational.

One of the first things that you must consider is the health of the surrogate.  Friends or family members who smoke should be ruled out.  Even if they will not smoke throughout the pregnancy, smoking can reduce the changes of success during in vitro fertilization.  In addition, they should be free of sexually transmitted diseases, and should be willing to be tested to confirm this.  It is also important that they be rather young, ideally younger than 35 years old.  Young women tend to respond better to the fertility treatments that are a part of this process and tend to have fewer complications while pregnant.

It is also important to choose people who you feel are responsible and trustworthy.  It can be a great source of comfort to know that the surrogate mother is treating your child well throughout the pregnancy.  This means that they should be someone who will keep up with doctors’ appointments, eat a healthful diet and avoid engaging in behaviors that can be harmful to your baby.  Talk to them about your expectations before they conceive.  This way, you will be on the same page from day one, which can reduce the chance of conflict.

The last thing to consider is whether you would like to share such an intimate time in your life with them.  Friends who go through this together can come out of it with a stronger, renewed relationship.

How to Treat Diaper Rash

There are many different and varied reasons why a baby’s' bottom becomes irritated. A diaper rash can begin as a result of something as minor as the need for a diaper change to a medication your baby has been given. When your baby is suffering with a diaper rash, immediate attention is required. More in depth medical issues can cause prolonged diaper rashes. However, the most common reasons for a diaper rash are varied.

Irritation Due To Urine Or Stool

Prolonged contact with urine or stool can cause a baby to experience a diaper rash. No matter what or how much has been eliminated, regular diaper changes are advised. Prolonged contact with your baby’s skin can cause quick growing and uncomfortable irritation to begin resulting in bleeding and scarring. When a baby has released even the slightest amount of feces or urine, change the diaper immediately to prevent diaper rash.

Yeast or Bacterial Infection

Baby’s can experience bacterial or yeast infections. If not treated immediately, a diaper rash can spread. When spreading, the surrounding area covered by the contaminated diaper can also become infected. Preventing the spread of a diaper rash begins with regular changes. However, if an infection begins to spread, consult with your baby’s pediatrician. When medicine has to be applied to the affected area, begin treatment at the external area and work towards the center. Inspect and treat any creases, tucks or close areas.

Tight clothing

Make sure your baby's diapers or any clothing does not fit tight around the baby's bottom. Tight fitting clothing creates moisture. Moisture encourages the growth of bacteria and yeast giving it free range to grow and spread.


When your baby becomes ill, pediatricians sometimes will prescribe antibiotics. Antibiotics kill good and bad bacteria. If the balance of good bacteria is not in check to protect the body, yeast infections occur. When a diaper rash occurs from antibiotics, your baby's pediatrician will prescribe an ointment or cream to heal the infection.

Giving Your Baby Different Types of Food

Your baby's stomach is continuing to change. Introducing new foods can be a drastic change when your baby goes from breast or bottle feeding to solid food. The introduction of new foods can cause diarrhea or increased frequency in stool and urine elimination. Keep a chart of the foods you are feeding your baby. If the foods introduced cause your baby to eliminate more, change the food or try mixing foods your baby has already become accustomed to.

Cleaning Products

Washing your baby’s clothing in harsh chemicals can cause irritation. Diaper rashes can occur when the washed fabric comes in contact with your baby’s bottom. Changing from regular detergents to those made especially for your baby’s clothing will help eliminate diaper rashes caused by harsh chemicals.

Some of the more common creams and ointments on the market can effectively treat diaper rashes. After a few days applying the medication to the area, your baby should show improvement. When traveling, make sure to keep such creams or ointments with you in a backpack or diaper bag. If the area does not begin to heal or show a complete change, consult with your baby’s pediatrician immediately. A diaper rash can cause your baby to be extremely irritable. If a diaper rash is not cared for immediately, other medical issues can result.

Preventing Teen Alcohol Abuse

Many parents and youth counselors are concerned about teen alcohol abuse, which is apparently on the increase according to recent studies.  In an effort to bring the cases of teen alcohol abuse down, many schools in the United States have implemented programs specifically how to deal with an alcoholic and to control this social problem.
But parents do not need to wait for the schools to implement programs. To the contrary, there are a lot of things that they can do to help deter teen alcohol use.

As simple as it may sound, one easy way to keep track of whether or not your teenager is drinking at home is to keep track of the amount of alcohol you have in your home.

It is also important that, as parents, you are aware of who your teens friends are. It is always a good idea to invite your teens friends over, as that way you can get to meet them and find out who your teen is spending their time with. If you are worried about some of your child's friends, talk to them about it and encourage them to try to have a broad group of friends. Get to know your teens friends parents and cooperate together on things.

Talk about the dangers of alcohol with your teens, and let them know what you expect from them. If you allow them a sip of alcohol on occasion make it clear to them that it is only an occasional sip. Set clear guidelines, so there are no gray areas.

It goes without saying that a child will follow the example set by his parents. While you may tell your child not to drink, if he sees you drinking regularly, or turning to alcohol when you are depressed or under pressure, he will follow your example.  Never over drink in front of your children, and show them that you are in control of your drinking habits.

While it can be difficult to keep track of exactly what your teen is doing at all times, and while it is to be expected that they will most likely experiment with alcohol at one time or another, as long as you have clear and open communications with them you should be able to help them resist abusing alcohol as a teen.

Creating a Healthy Active Life for the Modern-Day Child

A healthy childhood is more of a concern than ever for parents these days in a world where there are so many unhealthy distractions and habits that have become the norm in our society.  But giving your child the necessities of a healthy life is not impossible, it just takes some good old-fashioned parental involvement.

Healthy Eating is one of the first and easiest ways you can immediately improve your child’s health and well-being, not only physically but mentally and emotionally as well.  Children who get proper nutrition have less mood swings, act out less, and have a lot more energy and enthusiasm.

You all know the drill.  Kids need a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables.  The best advice I can give you is stop buying for convenience.  Purchase whole foods that are in their raw state and prepare them yourself if possible.  When eating out, avoid the fast food chains.

Activity is another important component of a healthy child, and modern day kids are spending too much time on the couch playing video games or lounging around the mall.  Consider investing in some play equipment for your yard.

A trampoline is a great way to get children outside and active, and it has plenty of allure and excitement to make it their choice instead of a direct order from the powers that be (i.e. you).  There are plenty of other choices besides trampolines.  Swings, slides, some monkey bars—what does it take to get your children moving around?  Getting them involved in team sports like basketball or baseball is another great way to get them active and socializing without eating up all your own time.

Getting them outside is essential, and equipment like the trampoline will do that, but kids also need to develop an affinity with nature.  Our world needs citizens who respect the outdoors more than ever, and being around natural environments has a calming, energizing effect on people.  Take your kids hiking in your free time instead of to the mall.  Make trips to the beach a regular activity, even on cold days, and teach them to enjoy just walking along the water’s edge.

Last but certainly not least, what your kids need to be healthy is simple parental interaction.  I realize in many families both the father and mother have to work these days; however, it is not hard to take a look at our society and see what the absence of parents in our home is doing to kids these days.  In many cases, they are simply out of control.

I would go as far as to suggest cutting back on overtime hours, thinking long and hard about whether one parent can give up their career and just pick up some part-time hours freelancing on the computer, or even consider a less-demanding career change.  It’s nice to give our kids a secure life where they can have the things they want, but wouldn’t it be better to give them a parent more often and teach them to work for the things they really “have to have?”

Well, those are just a few ideas to thing about.  The point is that people need to open their eyes and see just how dangerous the modern urban lifestyle has become for children, and not just from the outside.  Many of the dangers come from within—from simple inactivity, lack of guidance, and unhealthy living habits.  Make it a point to give your child something different.  The dedication of a responsible parent.  It really is the best give you can give them.

The Diaper Bag Evolution

 The diaper bag has gone through many incarnations as a carryall to hold supplies for a baby. A baby diaper bag is usually a patterned cloth exterior with a vinyl interior and a few inside pouches or Velcro straps to hold bottles and jars of baby food in place. To accommodate the needs of the modern parent, the diaper bag has had to undergo a few adjustments.

The thing that usually gives on a diaper bag first is the strap. Parents are tempted to really load everything from rattles and teething rings to weighty toys into the bag. Because it has to be taken everywhere the baby goes in order to be functional, it withstands a lot of wear and tear. Over time, the seams that hold the strap to the bag weaken, pop and eventually give.

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Many current design styles for the baby diaper bag now include a sliding shoulder protector to ease some of the weight on the bag as well as protect the shoulder of the parent. When the bag is heavy, it ultimately begins to cut into a shoulder. The straps are also often made to be removable and attached to the bag with metal hooks. This is a lot safer than having straps that are only sewn on and snap easily.

Straps are now also made to come across the chest instead of dangling from a shoulder. This distributes the weight more evenly on the hips, the shoulder and the torso and allows the parent to freely tend to the baby.

Some parents have taken comfort in the idea of a backpack that serves as a diaper bag. This option takes almost all the weight off the shoulders. It saves the hassle of having to constantly pull a drooping bag back up on the shoulders or swing it around the hips to make it more manageable. Some backpack models even come with wheels, which make life a little simpler if you have the baby strapped to your body.

Since there is rarely such a thing as a free diaper bag, parents will have to carefully check their budgets in order to make sure a purchase is actually going to be affordable.

Many parents buy more than one bag so that both mom and dad can have a diaper bag. Dad options come in solid colors instead of light and airy baby prints. Always check to make sure the cloth is easily cleanable and not made with harmful chemicals. Babies like to chew on straps when the parent is not watching, and the material might become a hazard.

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