Kids Are Off to School – Get Your Sanity Back

Kids Are Off to School – Get Your Sanity Back

Kids Are Off to School – Get Your Sanity Back - PreparaMom

Whether you’re a stay at home mom or a working mom, we all face similar challenges each and every day. 

Ultimately, all moms have the same goal — to ensure our kids are safe by creating an optimal learning and growing environment as best we can. It can seem crushing at times. Between juggling school work, extra-curricular activities, household chores, and events with family and friends, it feels like every single minute of the day is booked up. 

That doesn’t leave room for personal time for yourself. We do our best, but most days it all boils down to being able to do whatever we can to survive. Even though a lot of us are glad when the kids go back to school in the fall, that’s when the real business of being a mom kicks into high gear with all of the activities. 

 

So, how’s a mom to keep from losing her sanity when school starts back? 

One of the best ways you can gain order in your house is to set routines early. I know that a lot of people hate routines and talk about how stifling they are. Trust me when I say that routines will be your saving grace and will help you keep your sanity most days. 

And the earlier you can do this, the better off you will be. Sure, there will be a lot of days when the routine may be thrown off track. Add flexibility to your routine as deviations in routines can cause upset otherwise. You need to be able to roll with the changes. Kids Are Off to School - PreparaMom

 

Why have a routine in the first place? 

Because it will be that pattern of stability you can go back to when you need it. If the routine is already ingrained, it will be a lot easier to adhere to overall.

One of the biggest issues with scheduling time is from sports or extra-curricular activities. As parents who did not have these opportunities growing up, we work very hard to make sure our kids have the chance to take part in them. As they grow up, these activities allow them to explore what’s around them so they can figure out for themselves what they do and don’t enjoy.

 

Providing Stable Routines Help Children Grow in Their Independence

Besides expanding the boundaries of their world to include school, sports, and clubs, this is also the time when they are really settling into their own opinions and personalities. They’re not only looking outwardly, but also inwardly to assert their independence. Establishing a stable routine helps children confidently begin the process of taking on and increasing responsibilities.

It’s important to establish rules, boundaries, responsibilities, and discuss good and bad choices early on. We do this with the understanding they’ll take these life lessons to heart later on when their decisions will have greater consequences. We let them do as much for themselves as possible. I’m a firm believer in promoting their independence as a life skill so they don’t need to rely on others as they get older. 

Of course, things aren’t always going to be perfect because nothing goes as planned every single day. Some days will be better than others, but one thing is certain—different challenges will come and go. All that we can really do if we want to be successful parents is to give our kids tools so they can tackle the challenges that will come their way in the next phase of their lives.

 

Be Prepared for Accidents!

 

Enjoy knowing that no matter what happens at the park or playing ball – you know EXACTLY where your first aid kit supplies are. Designed exclusively with you and your kids in mind.  Check out PreparaKit.com for kits and tools created for busy parents who want to be ready for the unexpected.

How I Keep Organization in My House with Kids

How I Keep Organization in My House with Kids

How I Keep Organization in My House with Kids - PreparaMom

Some of us parents were born with serious Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder that we have to put on hold when it comes to raising kids. 

I have no idea how or exactly when I became so “anal” about having an organized home, but I am a firm believer that everything HAS to be in its given place. And I don’t mean that it just has to be in its given place. Everything that comes into the house HAS to have a designated “home.” If for some reason it doesn’t, it becomes an eyesore for me and it will bug me until it does find a proper place.

 

My Organization Begins when Anything Is Brought into the Home

 

I read a book about 4 to 5 years ago that gave me a great motto for living as someone who craves organization: “Like with like. One home for everything.” (You’re going to have to forgive me, but right now the title of the book totally escapes me, but I have never forgotten the concept.) Over the years, I’ve tried to implement this philosophy in pieces, but now I noted that I’m more “intense” about it (for lack of a better term). 

Basically, instead of just leaving stuff randomly placed anywhere and everywhere, identify a home for it. It can be a corner of the house, a drawer, a closet, a cabinet or even an entire room. Just designate that as the “official area” for whatever you’re adding to your household. 

 

Everything Has A Home Within the Home 

 

When you do this, the most important thing for you to remember is that everyone in the house must know where the homes are and what goes there. This way, you don’t have to have those monotonous conversations about putting things back where they belong. You need total buy-in on this for it to work. 

When my kids or my husband bring something home with them, I’m always on their case about where that item will live. They need to know exactly where to go to when they need that item and they need to know where to put it back when they’re finished.

 

My Office Supplies Provides a Great Example

 

So, let me give you an example of what I’m talking about. We now have dedicated office cabinets where nothing but office type supplies live. 

When I say “like with like,” I mean that all the writing tools, paper, binders, rulers, and note pads go here. Items of similar categories that make sense go together. And there’s only one home for it. So now there are no more questions of “Where’s a pen” or “Where’s this” or Where’s that”. Instead, my family knows if they need an office supply item, look in the “office cabinet/drawer” and be sure to put it back when they’re done.

Another great grouping that I know would help lots of people is my home for all things electronic. This is where we put everything like wires, cables, batteries, spare chargers, or anything else that is gadget related. (Wires are one of my pet peeves. If they are everywhere, it drives me nuts!)

This system has helped me to get my house organized and stay that way. Studies now prove what I thought about organization! Keeping your home organized relieves stress. Who can’t use a little less stress in their life?

 

Be Organized AND Prepared for Accidents!

 

Enjoy knowing that no matter what happens at the park or playing ball – you know EXACTLY where your first aid kit supplies are. Designed exclusively with you and your kids in mind.  Check out PreparaKit.com for kits and tools created for busy parents who want to be ready for the unexpected.

Signs Your Child is Ready to Learn About Money

Signs Your Child is Ready to Learn About Money

Signs Your Child is Ready to Learn About Money - PreparaMom

One skill so many parents wish they’d taught their kids is money management. I think it’s never too soon to talk to your kids about this. That doesn’t mean they will comprehend everything right away. 

No kid is going to understand escrow or compound interest. (Many adults don’t even know what this is about.) But kids are smart these days. 

 

Kids Learn About Money Management First by Observing Your Day to Day Purchases

Children hear and see things, absorbing everything like a sponge. But the fact is, almost 80% of Americans are living in debt, so I want to make sure my kid doesn’t grow up to be part of that statistic.

I’ve heard from quite a few parents about why they haven’t talked to their kids about money. Their reasoning is that they don’t know how or when to bring it up. 

 

Opportunities to Teach Your Kids About Money Are All Around You

The thing is, kids know a lot more than you might think. For instance, they already know that mommy and/or daddy has to leave the house most days to go to work. 

They know that we go to the store and come back home with new things. They see that we have these cards and bills in our purses and wallets that we give to people at the store. So, they’re already picking up on most of the realities of money without having it spelled out for them.

 

Three signs that your children are ready for the “money talk” include:

 

1. They can count. 

 

Counting numbers abstractly and counting money are two different concepts. But once they begin to understand numbers and how to count things, it’s a good sign they can understand money. That means you might want to let them do simple tasks like count out money when you are at the cash register or counting back your change.

 

2. They’re asking to buy toys. 

 

When you go to the store, it can be really annoying when your kids start asking you to buy them things. (On a side note, does anyone else dread going to the store with their kids because all they want is for you to buy them stuff?) But this is also a great time to talk with your kids about the difference between something you need, something you want and how to delay gratification by saving up for your purchases.

 

3. They’re paying attention to purchases and how you handle money at the store. 

 

This would be a great time to just talk about the general concept of money and debit cards. You might also want to explain to them about credit cards and how it can be dangerous to buy lots of stuff using these.

 

Discussing Money with Your Kids Is So Important

Talking to your kids about money is one of the most important talks you’ll have. But it’s a big step that will put them on the right path for financial literacy and independence. There’s so many tools and resources that can help you with this topic we’ve included a few links that may help:

Resource Links

https://www.parents.com/parenting/money/family-finances/teaching-kids-about-money-an-age-by-age-guide/

https://howtoadult.com/kids-developmentally-ready-count-money-4591.html

https://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2015/01/16/what-your-child-should-know-about-money-by-key-ages

Teach Your Kids the Healthy Habit of Being Prepared!

Bumps, bruises and owies – oh my! Parenthood is never boring. Childhood isn’t without its accidents. Be prepared with a first aid kit designed exclusively with you and your kids in mind.  Check out PreparaKit.com for kits and tools created for busy parents who want to be ready for the unexpected.

Parent Communication: Get Out of Jail Free Card

Parent Communication: Get Out of Jail Free Card

Parent Communication: Get Out of Jail Free Card - PreparaMom

When you were growing up and you did something wrong, did you feel like you could go to your parents and fess up?  Or did you end up hiding your misdeeds from them? 

It was always the latter for me because I was really “scared” of my dad. That’s not to say that I was always up to no good, but like any kid, I had my fair share of doing something I knew I shouldn’t. 

But part of growing up and becoming a parent is trying to do things differently than when you were a kid. That’s why I would never want my kids to feel like they couldn’t come to me for any reason. That’s especially true if they really got themselves into trouble.

We all believe that open communication is key, right? 

As parents, we talk about that all the time, but sometimes it’s easier said than done. Most people claim to want to be able to talk openly, but they just don’t know how. That’s where this “Get Out of Jail Free” card comes into play.

A Communication System For the Family is Born

So, I came across this idea in a Child Behavior class I was taking for my nursing continuing education requirements and I thought it was a really good idea to implement with my own kids. Parent Communication: Get Out of Jail Free Card - PreparaMom

I had my daughter make up a bunch of “Get Out of Jail Free Cards” and put them into a jar. The instructions for this were that if they did something wrong, they could always grab a card to give to us. Then they could tell us what they did without “getting into trouble.”

Opening Communication Does Not Mean Forgive and Forget

Before you start thinking we’re just letting our kids get away with murder, there are a few things you should know about this system. The idea is not that we allow them to get away with things, but that they get used to being able to open up to us for anything. 

It doesn’t mean we will allow them to abuse the system. If they’re repeating the same offense multiple times, then we will have to resort to plan B, which will probably be traditional disciplinary measures.

If we begin this communication process now when they do something minor, then the lines of communication will be open when they get older and get themselves into trouble that can be much greater. 

This Method Has Been Used Before

This is actually very similar to something that started a few years ago with high school proms. Students agreed to let their parents know if they had been drinking so they could get a ride home. The idea wasn’t to condone student drinking. It was to prevent drunk driving. But the kids knew they wouldn’t be yelled at or “in trouble” if they called mom and dad to help them. 

How The Cards Are Working in Our Home

So now, when we get a card, our kids have to tell us what happened, and the kids aren’t busted for it. Then we can discuss their actions and we talk through what they could have done instead. And we leave it at that. This way, our kids feel comfortable talking to us without worrying about getting in trouble and we can hope that this will continue on into their teen years.

Be Prepared for the Unexpected!

Bumps, bruises and owies – oh my! Parenthood is never boring. Be prepared with a first aid kit designed exclusively with you and your kids in mind.  Check out PreparaKit.com for kits and tools created for busy parents who want to be ready for the unexpected.

How to Train Your Kids to Do Their Own Laundry

How to Train Your Kids to Do Their Own Laundry

How to Train Your Kids to Do Their Own Laundry - PreparaMom

Part of being a good parent is teaching your kids to be self-sufficient and responsible. And part of that means doing your own laundry. Getting my kids to do their own laundry has been a huge time saver for us! The earlier you can get this routine implemented with your own kids, the easier it will be for you and your family.

Don’t Push Your Kids – But Don’t Wait Too Long Either!

Please remember, every child is different and develops at a different pace. But that being said, overall, kids are more capable of doing things on their own than we give them credit for. (Let’s face it—if they can operate a smart phone or video game system, they can do their own laundry!) 

The problem is that we either subconsciously don’t want them to be independent or we think that it will just be quicker and easier if we do it ourselves instead of taking the time to teach them how to do it.How to Train Your Kids to Do Their Own Laundry - PreparaMom

The Best Way to Teach Laundry Responsibility To Your Kids

The best way to do all of this is to introduce laundry to them in phases. When they’re younger, get them involved in the laundry process with you. Let them see you sorting, washing, drying, folding, and putting the clothes away. Be sure to explain what you’re doing as you go so they can understand it.

Teach Kids in Phases All the Parts of Laundering

As your kids get older, you can let them join you in doing different parts of the laundry. This can include simple tasks like sorting their own clothes out into a pile to fold or have them fold something simple with you like shorts or small towels. 

The idea is that eventually, over time, they will become used to all the different processes and (with a little supervision in the beginning) you can let them do each part of the laundry process on their own.

The phases my kids went through when they were learning to do laundry:

  • Phase 1 — Put their folded clothes away
  • Phase 2 — Fold their own clothes + Phase 1
  • Phase 3 — Take their clothes out of the dryer + Phase 2 + Phase 1
  • Phase 4 — Take their clothes out of the washer and put them in the dryer + Phase 3 + Phase 2 + Phase 1
  • Phase 5 — Put their dirty clothes into the washer + Phased 4 + Phase 3 + Phase 2 + Phase 1
  • Phase 6 — Put detergent and fabric softener in and start the washing machine + Phase 5 + Phase 4 + Phase 3 + Phase 2 + Phase 1

A Little Investment of Time, Pays Off Eventually

I think I started my kids on this process when they were 5 and 7, although I definitely could have involved them in it a lot earlier. Now they are 8 and 10 and they’re doing their entire laundry on their own. (Up until last week, my oldest was taking care of measuring out the detergent. But now, the 8-year-old wants to learn how to pour out the detergent, so he’s getting there!)

It is SOOOOO worth it to take that extra time and effort to train the kids on these processes. I know sometimes it’s much quicker to just do it yourself. But in the long run, your kids will learn how to be more self-sufficient and you won’t regret the decision to teach them when they are young.

Be Prepared All the Time!

At the park or playing ball – be prepared for the sun AND accidents with a first aid kit designed exclusively with you and your kids in mind.  Check out PreparaKit.com for kits and tools created for busy parents who want to be ready for the unexpected.

3 Life Skills Every Child Should Be Taught

3 Life Skills Every Child Should Be Taught

3 Life Skills Every Child Should Be Taught - PreparaMom

Our kids are learning and getting skilled at so much in school these days. I’m surprised sometimes at what they learn at their age!

But there are three areas of life I’m sure we can all agree we wish we had learned in school—cleaning, cooking, and budgeting. 

These are the three areas you must teach your children as soon as possible. 3 Life Skills Every Child Should Be Taught - PreparaMom

If your kids take off to college with these skill sets, they’ll be off to a great start as responsible adults!

 

Cleaning

This is one that you need to instill in your children early on. Make them responsible for small tasks like cleaning up the sink after they brush their teeth and then move on to more complex matters like making their bed. 

By the time they go off to college, they should know how to do their own laundry, instead of bringing it back home for you to wash, and to take care of basic household cleanups such as stains. The college stereotype of students living in a pig-sty should not apply to your kids.

 

Cooking

This skill is one that so many kids don’t master early on, leading to some major problems later. 

First, your child needs to be taught how to cook healthy foods. When they go off to college, they’re going to want to lean towards quick, unhealthy junk foods that can ruin their health for years to come. (Anyone remember the “Freshman Fifteen”?) 

But it also leads into the next area of budgeting as well. If your child learns now to cook his or her own food, then he won’t have to waste money eating expensive (and unhealthy) fast food.

 

Budgeting

I wish that I had learned how to manage money at a younger age. If I had, then maybe, just maybe, I would have made better decisions and not managed to rack up over $120K in consumer debt! (A word to the wise…don’t charge your entire wedding on credit cards!) 

Thankfully, with A LOT of hard work and sacrifices, we were able to dig ourselves out of our mess. After that, I swore to myself that we’d never put ourselves into that predicament ever again and will make sure our kids don’t either. That’s why we help teach our kids early on about money management and how to delay gratification by saving up to buy the things you want instead of buying on credit.

 

Three Big Areas of Life That All Kids Can Benefit from Learning

Budgeting is just one of those life skills that every parent should instill in their children. And, of course, if they can cook and clean for themselves, it’s one less thing we have to worry about for them. If you can instill the importance of those skills at an early age, you can be sure that they will be much more successful as adults.

 

Teach Kids the Healthy Habit of Being Prepared!

Kids like being prepared for the bumps, bruises and owies of childhood. Be prepared with a first aid kit designed exclusively with you and your kids in mind.  Check out PreparaKit.com for kits and tools created for busy parents who want to be ready for the unexpected.