Jun 19

Tips for Successful Co-Parenting

As the summer ends and kids head back to school, a whole new set of co-parenting and communication problems need to be handled.  How you are going to successfully co-parent at school will determine how your child succeeds in school.  If school becomes another war zone, then your child is less likely to be successful.

If you do not get along with your ex, the school situation is going to be quite difficult.  If you do get along then you are going to find that it is not that difficult to figure out how to get things done at the school.  The school year can be stressful for any parents but for those who are co-parenting the stress level can significantly increase.  Co-parents need to have a plan so that they can avoid conflict over their children’s education.


Understand Court Documents

One of the first things that you will need to do when you are trying to be successful co-parents with your child’s education is understand what your court documents say and mean.  The reason that you should first consult paperwork is so that you understand exactly what rights you have.

Some court documents require that parents make joint decisions about things like education while others have one appointed parent who is going to be the main decision maker.  If you have joint communication and get along well then there is no reason that you should not be able to make decisions together.  If you don’t communicate well or have some other reason, then one of the parents was likely appointed during court to be the main decision maker.


Come Up with a Plan at School

 The next thing that you are going to want to do is make sure that you can come up with a plan at school.  The plan should be discussed between the two parents when at all possible.  This way everything can be agreed upon and it is not confusing for the school or teachers.  If you cannot talk, trying to write down everything that each of you want before going is a good idea.  Also, having all court papers and documents in hand is essential.


Plan Who Will Attend School Events

One thing that you should decide upon before you go to the school is how you will handle the two of you attending school events.  The best way to go about this is to logically consider the parents’ work schedules and who will be available during the different times.  One parent might find that it works best for them to do the things during school hours while it works out better for the other parent to do those that are happening after school.  It also might work out that parents need to trade which events that they will attend with the child or that both parents can attend events together.  Just have a plan ahead of time so that you both know the expectations for who will be at the child’s events and activities.


Plan Who Will Fill Out Paperwork/Be Contacted First

Typically, it is easiest for the custodial parent to be contacted first with any child.  However, there are times when this might not be what is best for the children.  Think about where each parent works/lives and who can get to the child’s school quicker.  Also consider if one parent has other children in the same school and whether or not the parent who is being contacted can relay back information to the other parent.


What to Let Teachers Know

Teachers do not need to know about all of the dirt that you have on your ex.  It is obvious to everyone involved that an ex is an ex for a reason.  So, keep yourself clear headed when talking to teachers or others at your child’s school.  Think about how you can put into words simply what each parent’s expectations are.  Let the teacher know if different parents are picking up/dropping off and what days that is happening.  A set schedule is a good idea when possible.  When this is not possible, it might be necessary to send your child’s teacher a weekly note outlining who will be taking and picking up the child each day.

Oct 18

7 Ways to Make Learning Fun for Children

When learning is fun, it becomes more meaningful. If someone is having fun, they will be attentive and motivated.

By including engaging and creative activities, learning at home or in the classroom will be more enjoyable.

Many parents decide it is better to teach their children at home rather than send them to an outside school.

There are various reasons that parents make this decision to homeschool their children ranging from the quality of the schools to religious preferences. Educating your children at home is a balancing act.

One challenge is for these parents to make sure their children are not isolated and learn how to socialize and interact with their peers.

Enrolling children in extra-curricular activities, joining social groups, and taking field trips, are options for exposing them to other children. Another way to not only encourage socialization but also to add a little fun to learning is by using video education technology.

Using video technology to learn extends education outside the walls of a classroom or homeschool environment. It also helps create memorable experiences.

Children can “visit” places virtually like labs and museums. This not only provides educational value but can also be fun.

Offer Choices

Most of the children’s daily routine is set and doesn’t offer them a lot of choices. This can feel somewhat stifling. Offering them some options when possible, can make them feel like they do have some control over their lives. Even adults don’t like always being told what to do and when to do.

You don’t want to allow children to choose between learning and playing, that would be counterproductive.

How about allowing them to choose the order of their lessons or their assignments? They will still get the necessary education but will also have some control over the process.

Use Technology

What do children do when they are not in school? They are on their phones, iPads, or tablets texting their friends, playing games, and watching videos.

Why not capitalize on that and add some fun to their learning? Using technology in the classroom can increase student learning and engagement.

A few suggestions on how to utilize technology are:

  • Teach by using presentations instead of lecturing
  • Let them do some of their research on the Internet
  • Use video conferencing to allow children to virtually visit different areas of the world
  • Show educational videos to explain some of your lessons

Field Trips

Whether children are learning in a classroom or in their home, taking them outside of their educational environment is important and will add some fun. Field trips help connect what students are learning with the outside world.

You can take them on a field trip to attractions like your local city hall, a government office, or a museum. If you are teaching your children about pre-historic animals, taking them to a museum ties in well to your lessons.

Don’t forget about virtual field trips. The options online are limitless. You can “visit” anywhere in the world on the Internet.

Utilize Their Imagination

Let children use their imaginations by designing lessons that can foster creativity. If studying criminal justice, how about staging mock trials? When teaching about history, you can have children use role-playing to act out what they are learning.

Allow children the freedom to express themselves by giving them options for different projects. You can let them choose between drawing a picture, writing a story, creating a presentation, or even acting out a history lesson.

Conduct Experiments

Even students who might not be interested in science can have fun conducting experiments. Hands-on activity keeps students engaged.

Make it Practical

It is very difficult for anyone to pay attention when learning something new if they don’t understand why they need to have this knowledge.

Give concrete examples of why the child should care about what they are learning rather than just telling them. This will promote interactivity and allow children to ask questions that will enhance their learning experience.

For example, when teaching history, it can be helpful to discuss what we can learn from things our ancestors have or have not done.

You can relate history lessons to children’s lives by discussing some of their experiences and what they have learned from them.

Oct 18

Preparing for Parenthood when you’re a Parent with a Disability

Preparing for Parenthood when you’re a Parent with a Disability

Preparing for Parenthood when you’re a Parent with a Disability


More than 4 million people in the U.S. alone are parents who have disabilities, so you are not alone if you’re about to become one of them. Prepare for all the changes of parenthood by getting your home and yourself ready for this major life change. Parenthood is just like anything else: if you’re well-prepared, you’re better-equipped to handle the job.

Getting Started

When should you start preparing your home for the new baby? Right now! You can’t get started too soon because time is going to go pretty quickly. Start by taking a good look around your home and try to spot safety issues before they become real issues later.

Safety Proofing

Every parent, at some point, faces the saga of baby-proofing their home. People with disabilities need to take some extra safety steps for their new bundle of joy. Add non-slip backing to all of your rugs, or replace them entirely with skid-proof rugs. Add grab bars to the walls of the baby’s room to make changing and bathing times easier. Don’t forget latches on cabinet doors, because soon enough baby will be a curious toddler.

Move the Furniture

Before baby arrives, pick a room for the baby. You may need to move furniture or boxes, so get this done early and get the room prepared. Place all the baby’s furniture well in advance, and practice moving around the room. Can you get all the way around the crib? Can you move easily at the changing area? Set everything up so that it’s well within reach and easy for you to get to.

Keep all supplies within reach, so you don’t have to stain to get to them. And don’t forget your baby gates. The baby will be crawling soon, so set up gates by all stairs and ramps to prevent baby from going places they shouldn’t. Carpet stairs that aren’t carpeted, or better yet replace them with ramps that are easier for you to navigate.


All the Little Things

A baby may be little, but they bring big changes with them. Don’t forget to look around your home and think about all the little details that may affect your new little one. Decluttering is a must, according to Kiddie Proofers. Babies and toddlers will find a way to get into everything, so start the process right now. Mount the TVs securely to the wall, so little hands can’t pull them down. Add night lights to all your rooms so you can see what you’re doing, even at night.

Consider installing a handheld shower, so you can wash baby more easily. Re-organize all your cabinets, so you can access sippy cups and other baby items quickly. Change out your doorknobs to simple latches, rather than turn-style knobs, so you can get in and out of rooms even when your hands are full. Swap door hinges with expandable hinges to give yourself more moving room, too.

Get the Right Gear

There’s not a lot of baby stuff made especially for parents with disabilities, but there is a lot of items out there you can use, according to Outspire. Get a swivel car seat to make transport simple. Look for baby clothes that fasten with Velcro, rather than tiny little buttons and snaps. You can also find wheelchair-accessible cribs that have sidewalls you can lower, or little doors that make it easier to get to baby.

Having a disability can feel like an isolating experience, and having a baby at the same time may get overwhelming. You’re part of a huge community of millions, and more and more people with disabilities are becoming parents. Take some extra steps to prepare for your baby, and get ready for your brand-new life as a parent.

Photo credit: Pexels.com



Sep 18

Preparing For Your Life As A Single Mom

First Time Mom

First Time Mom

Congratulations, you’re expecting! There’s no greater joy in life than having your first baby but if you are single or recently divorced, you may be worried about what your future looks like.

The good news is that with proper planning and the right supports in place, you can reduce your worries about raising your child.


Setting Up For Success

You may have been told that you’re going to be a good mom but between the overwhelming information you’ve received, the hormones coursing through you, and the doubts that every new mom feels, you may have a hard time believing it. To be successful, you’ll need to learn to rise above your doubts. Planning well can help you be successful.

Two important considerations you must plan, according to Parents.com, are:

  1. Ask yourself if you are up to the challenge. Becoming a new parent is difficult for anyone so don’t pretend this will be easy. Read the truth about being a single mom over at The Bump. They advise taking life one step at a time. For now, just concentrate on having a healthy baby.
  2. Can you support yourself and your child? Whether or not you are expecting child support, you should set a goal of being able to support your child on your own. Once your baby is born, you can start to plan for his or her future with these suggestions from The New Savvy.


Get The Support You Need

It’s important to get the best support that you can find. That, of course, includes family, friends, and loved ones and the best healthcare options. However, there is nothing like the camaraderie and support you will get when you network with other single moms. Look to your local faith or advocacy groups to find a support group. You can also try the Single Mothers By Choice website.

Next, you need to choose the right obstetrician. Mommy’s Memorandum advises finding one that has a lot of experience birthing healthy babies among their tips. Keep in mind that you may need a high-risk specialist and other health care providers if you are over the age of 35 or have health conditions that can impact pregnancy. The right team will keep you safe through this process.

You should also secure reliable childcare ahead of time. If you are lucky enough to have a family member to help you, be sure to have a backup plan for when that person gets sick or is no longer able to help. Check out these five steps to find reliable childcare in your neighborhood from MuchMostDarling.com.


Babyproofing Your Home

It’s never too soon to start babyproofing your home. As you get closer to your due date, you are going to be busier than ever with doctor visits and setting up your nursery. Now is the time to protect your home for when your baby crawls. Some things you’ll need in advance include:

  • Electrical outlet covers.
  • Childproof locks and window guards.
  • Baby gates, which are especially crucial if you have stairs.
  • Edge and corner guards if you have coffee tables with sharp edges.

Discover everything you need to keep your baby safe up to 16 months old at MamaNatural.com.


Preparing For Postpartum

Labor and delivery will be a whirlwind and, before you know it, you will be home with your little one. This is an important time for women. It’s crucial that while you are bonding with your child, you continue to get the care and support you need, including taking time for yourself and getting out of the house!

A good way to do this is to plan for your postpartum needs. Read this post on how to do that and download the printable worksheet at The Motherhood.

Single motherhood can be a joyful, amazing experience. Be sure to be well prepared for the journey with these tips.