5 Things You Can Do To Help Your Elderly Parents

As your parents get older, it’s natural for them to lose the ability to keep up with all of the hustle and bustle of life. Even if your parents are graceful agers, the body eventually begins to break down as we get older.

If you’re beginning to see that your parents aren’t keeping up with things like usual, consider offering a helping hand. You may not be sure what to offer in the way of assistance, but you may want to think about these helpful suggestions for things you can do to help your aging parents.

Talk with other members of the family

Get the family together to have an honest conversation about what the future could hold. Explore who will take what role in the caretaking voyage. Explore what resources are available to assist your parents when the family is not able.

It’s important to pool your resources as a family, and take this time to give back to the people who took care of you. In a perfect world, everyone would pitch in to help make the remainder of your parents’ lives comfortable and happy.

Help your parents get their financial resources in order

Approaching the topic of financial resources with your parents may be a touchy subject, but it’s key that someone in the family be “in the know” about the proper management of your parents’ financial resources.

Make sure your parents are receiving the financial support they are due. If they are disabled, you make need to hire a lawyer who specializes in disability cases to help get your parents what they are owed.

Have a sit down with your parents

It’s important that you have a serious conversation with your parents while they are still in good health, so they have the ability to tell you their wishes.

There’s a lot to consider when someone is at the end of their life, and it’s important that the person has the chance to help make crucial decisions.

The conversation won’t be the easiest talk you’ve ever had with your parents, but it will be one of the most important chats you’ll ever have with your parents.

Consider whether senior care or housing is necessary

Depending on where your parents are in their lives, you may need to discuss whether or not senior care or housing could be helpful to the family. Sometimes your parents just need a little assistance, but they can do for themselves the majority of the time.

Consider whether you could be a caretaker

If you are willing to assume the role of caretaker for your parents, there are some critical things you need to explore. Do you have the time to care for your parents? Do you have the financial resources to take care of them properly?

De-Facto Relationship Breakdowns – What You Need To Know

Too often you hear a couple in a long-term relationship reduce marriage to just a piece of paper. That part of the story lacks the realisation that they are, indeed in a de facto relationship that is in a lot of ways similar to marriage. The Family Law Act defines one such relationship as a couple that has lived together, on a mutual and genuine domestic basis. The only thing that exempts you from this definition is if you and your partner are legally married or related.

You can be in a de facto relationship even when you do not live together. There are other elements that are considered for a relationship to fall under this category. If such a relationship breaks down, you need to apply for financial orders within two years of the breakdown. So how then do you know that you are in one? Here are several things that are considered:

• Combined finances so that there is financial interdependence or dependence
• The commitment to the relationship and the different roles you both take
• Registration as a de facto relationship
• If you consider your relationship de facto
• You are living together and have a sexual relationship
• You support or have children together
• Your family considers the relationship de facto
• You own assets or property together

From these factors, you see that you can be in a de facto relationship even if you have been together for a short while, for example. A good rule of thumb is to always consult a lawyer if you are unsure. If such a relationship breaks down then, here are some things you need to keep in mind:

You are obligated to split assets

Family Court typically has a de facto rule for financial settlements. However, you need to consult a family lawyer to address your particular situation since each one is unique. Having an asset in one’s name does not guarantee that their claim is granted. Having an asset in one’s name does not guarantee that their claim is granted. If you had not made a formal financial settlement, your ex-partner can make claims on your assets. Note that assets are not necessarily split equally at the end of the relationship.

You may have to pay spousal maintenance

People often relegate spousal maintenance to the legally married but you may also be required to pay it after a de facto relationship ends. The financial contribution of each partner and their dependence on the relationship will form the basis for the split and maintenance. Like with marriage, spousal maintenance claims can be made after a breakup.

You have legal rights like in marriage

You may not have dressed in white and walked down the aisle but your relationship may dictate that the breakup is treated as a marriage. This means that things like superannuation and the division of property will be the same. Even the differences when it comes to parenting arrangements are limited.

You can protect yourself

If you do not know whether your relationship will last, you can make sure that some of your assets are protected. You can have an arrangement with your partner to dictate how property is divided in future. This is an especially important step if there are children involved even from an earlier relationship. It also helps to protect you if there is a significant difference between your financial positions.

Same-sex couples are recognized in family law

Even though in some places same-sex marriage is illegal, you do qualify as a de-facto relationship as long as you meet some of the requirements in Family Law. Consequently, you have similar rights as any married couple. Note that, like is the case for other relationships, verbal agreements between partners do not apply when the relationship ends.

Whatever the case, work with independent lawyers so that each of them looks out for your best interests. Once you realise that a breakup is inevitable, find your legal counsel. A breakup is very emotional and you need someone who can see matters objectively.

To read more on topics like this, check out the lifestyle category.

Jonathan Levin Philadelphia – Planning to Write a Story

Jonathan Levin Philadelphia based journalist is a master if storytelling and someone who has a wealth of experience in this field. Originally he actually trained to be an attorney but after he went to college to study journalism, he very quickly realized that this was were his heart lay. Jonathan is a serial writer who conjures up all manner of stories and we were lucky enough to meet with him last week as he was waiting for a client of his, to discuss how one could plan to write a story.

Learning 

Before you get started with your story you must invest enough time into the learning process and the research process for your story. Try to expose yourself to as much written work as possible and try to highlight the styles which you like. In terms of the nature of your book, research will be vitally important so that you can tell the story accurately. If you are telling the story of a group of misfits in Philadelphia for example, you need to know what life is like, how culture and counter-culture is, and what makes that group of people tick. This prep work is crucial.

Characters

Characters will be the most important part of your story, beyond what they do and where they go. You need to think of each characters personality, character traits, their state of mind, what they do and where they have come from. In creating a life for each of the characters you will find it far easier to place them into the storyline. Try to use people who you already know and exaggerate their features or their ways, mix up stories from different people who you know in order to create your very own character.

Framework

A story is only as good as its framework and this is why you should be sure that you stick to one which you like. Telling a story doesn’t always have rules but for the reader’s enjoyment you should always look to tell it in a way that is easy for them to read and digest. If you tell a story that is flitting between the past, present and future, you can easily confused the reader. Keep it simple and on point, and create a framework which you believe will be the best way to deliver the story.

Styles

Finally you need to think about what kind of style you will write the story in, will this be a narrative? Expository? Descriptive? Try to think about which of these styles best suits the way in which you write, and consider whether they are appropriate for the story that you are trying to tell.   

Final Tip 

Few of us have the required funds to quit our jobs and write for a living and actually making time to write can be tough with a full time job. With this being said however, it is important that you make at least an hour per day to write, whether this is the planning of your story or the story itself. More time would be great but if you don’t have it, you need to make do with what you do have.

To read more on topics like this, check out the lifestyle category.

Ian Weisberg – Predicting the Next King of World Football

Over the last 15 years we have all been very blessed to have Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi competing against each other in the same moment and regardless of who you believe to be the best, we should just cherish what we have been able to witness. This happens once in a lifetime, perhaps even a Century and it is fair to say that once they go, there will not be another battle like this for many moons. There is nobody coming through the ranks who can compete with these two, but there must still be a world’s best. I caught up with football blogger Ian Weisberg to see who that might be.

Neymar Jr

Many believed that Neymar was going to take the place of the two giants but his career just hasn’t worked out that way. He played in Messi’s shadow for a long time at Barca and when he stepped out of it he took the easy option of going to PSG. Neymar will always be considered an incredible talent, but he isn’t fit to tie the laces of CR7 and Messi. Unless he can lead PSG to the Champions League trophy and ramp up his goal scoring, he will be remembered as someone who failed to reach his potential.

Kylian Mbappe

Mbappe is probably the one who will take the crown next, he is just 19 years old, he has already lead his national side to a World Cup victory and to be completely honest, he is so good that it is scary. What is even scarier is that Mbappe is yet to reach his potential and the expectation is that he’ll move to Real or Barca, and take his game to the next level.

Harry Kane

At just 24 years of age Harry Kane has already amassed a huge amount of goals and whilst he may not have the pace and the guile of messers Messi and Ronaldo, he may be the one who can get closest to their ridiculous scoring records. In fact in 2017 Kane outscored both Messi and Ronaldo as he became the world’s highest scoring player in a calendar year. Spurs fans won’t like this but if he is to achieve that success, he surely has to do it elsewhere.

Jadon Sancho

Young Englishman Jadon Sancho caused quite a stir last year when he left the Manchester City academy to join Borussia Dortmund, but the move seems to be paying off. Sancho has soared 12 and assisted 8 in his last 23 league games for Dortmund and he is getting plenty of chances to prove his ability. At just 18 years old it may be too early to tell whether or not he will have what it takes to become a world leader, but all of the signs indicate that he certainly has the potential to do so.

Who do you believe will be the next big thing? You can contact us and let us know!

 

How The American Musical and Dramatic Academy Reviews Became More Accurate

AMDA or the American Musical and Dramatic Academy is a fine educational institution which has seen some highly successful students come through its doors, who have gone on to do wonderful things in the arts. The school is widely recognized as being a great college and this is why it was somewhat bemusing to the board of directors when around 5 years ago the American Musical and Dramatic Academy reviews didn’t replicate the feedback which they were seeing or the credit which they were receiving from the education community. The team set about trying to ensure that these reviews and any future reviews would be accurate, and here is how they were able to set things right.

Curiosity

Much of the negativity which had been written about the college was difficult for many to understand but as with any negative feedback, they still wanted to see if these comments had any ring of truth about them. There were some small issues uncovered and fixed but in the main the comments were probably unfairly harsh on the college, left by students who possibly had an axe to grind. What I admire about this is that they didn’t just pass off these negative comments as hogwash, but instead intended to get to the bottom of them.

Incentivized

The number of reviews which had been left were quite minimal, especially given the number of students who have come through the doors here at AMDA and so the board decided that they wanted more reviews from their current student body, in order to see if the original reviews had been accurate. In order to get the students to do this the college offered some little incentives for the final year students to leave reviews. At no point in time were these students coerced into leaving positive reviews, far from it in fact, the college simply wanted honest reviews from them. They did this two years in a row and across these two years the reviews were overwhelmingly positive.

Celebration of Success

Something which the team did identify as an issue was the fact that as a college they were not very good at tooting their own horns and reminding the students just how much good the college has done, and what a special place they were lucky enough to study in. Over the course of the following semesters they sought to right this wrong and they began to publicize far more of the positive news which was coming out of the college such as the success of ex-students, any awards which had been given to the college and the brilliance of their teaching staff. Sometimes people can forget about the good things and fixate on the negatives, which is likely why the college did have poor reviews in the past.

The reviews of the college now are very positive and most importantly, they are accurately representing what everyone else is saying about this brilliant college.

If you enjoyed this article and want to learn more about Zoo Too, click here.

How to Make Quiet and Shy Little Girls to be Poised on Your Wedding Day

There are some children who are too shy when it comes to mingling with other people. This could be one of the concerns of most parents, which sometimes affect their decisions in involving their children on activities. Let us have a quick review on some pediatric matters. According to Erik Erikson’s stages of development, the first four stages would best explain this concern. Flower girls also fall on these stages as they usually range from one to ten years old. With the first stage of development (trust vs mistrust), the children develop fear of the environment if they are unable to develop trust. The second stage however is about autonomy vs shame and doubt, in which the children usually develop confidence. Third stage would explain about initiative and guilt, wherein the children will be involved in social interactions, whilst the fourth stage will focus on industry and inferiority, wherein the emphasis is full social interaction. At this stage, they have also started going to school. With these stages of development, it would at least help parents and young ones to overcome the anxiety felt by these young ones while they are growing up.

As the wedding is fast approaching, how then can we help these young princesses to be confident when the day comes. Here are some tips:

1. Relationship with the Bride

Before the bride hands out the invitation with the names of the little girls written, she should at least communicate with the children and built rapport. She can show photos of flower girls or Disney characters especially if the children are too young. She can also give them dolls, wearing lovely gowns and explain that they will be wearing similar white flower girl dresses during the wedding day. In this way, the children will be used to seeing the bride. Having a good rapport will help the flower girls gain confidence during the wedding day.

2. Playmates/Buddy

The law of attraction: Not all the young members of the bridal party are shy, some have great confidence especially when it comes to discussion of their characters wearing lovely dresses. Hence, allow your child to play with the other young members as normally, these sociable young members will always start the communication and will help to overcome your child’s shyness.

3. Encourage the Child

Parents should encourage the children to join the rehearsals for them to get used of how the environment would look like the following day or the wedding day itself. Whilst having their buddies with them, the experience they will gain from the rehearsal alone will help them gain more self-confidence not only during the grand day but also on their daily activities.

4. Goals and Rewards

As parents, you can also set goals for the little girls and give them rewards after. Setting a goal like asking them to wear their beautiful flower girl dresses, walking down the aisle while throwing the flower petals would do; whilst giving them a reward such as fulfilling their request after the goal is met.

Conclusion:

Your wedding could be a great experience and a great help for the children to overcome their anxiety and shyness. Aside from having the bridal party complete, making the wedding day fun and memorable, you have helped your friends and their children. It was twas hitting two birds with a stone. Congratulations and best wishes!

5 Essential Things To Do For An Addicted Loved One

 

“Addictions … started out like magical pets, pocket monsters.

They did extraordinary tricks, showed you things you hadn’t seen, were fun. But came, through some gradual dire alchemy, to make decisions for you. Eventually, they were making your most crucial life-decisions.

And they were … less intelligent than goldfish.”

 

– William Ford Gibson, U.S.-Canadian cyberpunk fiction writer

I don’t have an expert knowledge of cyberpunk, but that quote above is pretty spot on, pretty accurate. Nope, I don’t think I’ve ever even read a cyberpunk novel period, but one thing I do know is this. Unless you find help and treatment, substance addiction will ruin your life, impacting upon it like the proverbial bull in the china shop, smashing and shattering everything in sight, and maybe, just maybe, even end it.

However, if you’ve managed to dodge the bullet of addiction, and it can be very nondiscriminatory, all is good. Unless, of course, it missed you and hit a loved one – your spouse, your partner, another family member or a close friend. It’s important for you to understand you are not – I repeat, not – powerless in helping them.

I know this because the help, the support and, ultimately, the addiction treatment that I received for my years of the severe abuse of meth and alcohol all emanated from the love my own Mom had for me. Maybe, that should read “still had for me.”

My mother and father had had enough of their own suffering too after years of watching their son slowly implode his life through substance abuse that had led me from one dark corner to another, and finally to the darker corner of a prison cell.

So, when at one of my lowest ebbs, as drunk and high as I could get, and not long after my release, they threw me in the back of the family car and drove me to the next state over, where I would spend the next few months rebuilding my life behind the walls of a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility. Successfully, too.

My family’s actions that day were the beginning of my addiction recovery, one that has continued to last for over 9 years now. However, throwing an addicted and loved someone in the back of your car is not what this article is about.

In 2014, according to official government U.S. studies, 21.5 million of their citizens, and starting at the age of 12 years old, no less, were addicted to drugs or alcohol or both. 12 and over? That is a lot of parents, family members, friends and others all emotionally involved in those addicts’ lives.

 

So what exactly can you do to help when you are confronted with this chronic and incurable disease that has your loved one in its sinister grip?

Here are the 5 essential things you can for an addicted loved one, and, trust me, no-one has to get thrown into the back of anything (it’s still an option though…). Firstly, it’s about education:

#1. Back To School

Imagine if your loved one had another illness, another disease, that you didn’t really know about, instead of addiction. It’s pretty much guaranteed that you’d be Googling that medical term for it faster than you could run. Yes, guaranteed. Why? Because you want to help them, and nobody likes to see a loved one in distress, physically and emotionally.

Addiction is defined as “a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.” In other words, someone doesn’t simply wake up one day and think to themselves, “Hey, today I’ll become an addict.” It simply does not work or happen like that. So, it should not be considered some kind of moral failing or personal weakness on their part – it’s a disease, one that may kill the individual eventually if no treatment is sought.

 

Educating yourself (and other family members) as much as you can about the disease of addiction will put you in a much better position to help your loved one. All the information about getting help and being treated for addiction that you require is there at the touch of a button. Just make sure your read up from recognized sources.

Additionally, you can attend AA meetings, seek advice from physicians, mental health doctors and addiction professionals, and seek out additional information from the range of addiction recovery books that are out there.

#2. Lose Any Guilt

Once you are more educated about addiction itself, you will understand one important fact – none of this, absolutely none of it, was your fault. With a clear conscience, you can lose any guilt that you may be feeling regarding your loved one’s addiction.

They didn’t become addicted because of you, and you certainly did not guide them that way. Importantly, you also need to remember that you sure can’t cure this either and you can’t control it either, but you can always help.

#3. Enabling Is Not Causing

Ok, home truth time. Bearing in mind what has been written above, there is something that happens very often in these situations, and it is called “enabling.” Enabling is the misguided attempt to try to control what’s going on with the addiction itself. In other words, enabling is simply misguided love.

In practical terms, your actions may be allowing the addiction to continue. Please look at the questions below and please answer them truthfully:

 

  • Do you find yourself apologizing on their behalf? This could be to other family members, their work colleagues, even their school.
  • Do you give or loan them money?
  • Do you support them financially in other ways, like pay bills, etc.?
  • Do you find yourself trying to hide their dysfunctional behavior from others?
  • Do you clear away evidence of their addiction?
  • Have you ever protected them from being arrested?

No, they are not easy questions to answer, by any means. However, the more honest you are with yourself about the situation you are in, the better placed you will be to help your loved one.

Think on this. If you actually do any of the above things, they will feel protected and will look upon your actions as some kind of approval; “It’s all ok. They love me. I don’t have to stop using/drinking.”

None of this will be easy, least of all, this part. The most positive action you can now take is to allow the consequences of their actions to happen naturally, as hard as that may be. Like I said, none of this is easy. However, the chances of them accepting help and its treatment will increase dramatically.

#4. Oxygen Masks In Airplanes

The best analogy that comes to mind… Remember the flight safety instructions you hear and see prior to your plane taking off? Remember that important part about oxygen masks? The part that says you must always put your own oxygen mask over your mouth before helping others with theirs, even your kids sat next to you?

Welcome to helping an addicted loved one. You are now facing a similar situation, and hopefully without the impending crash. The most vital part of all this is you. You must help yourself first. I repeat – you must help yourself first. If you don’t, and this is another home truth, you may well end up being no help at all.

Sadly, having been such a part of their lives for so long, it may have taken a toll on your mental health. Unbeknown to even you, you may be suffering from one of the following:

 

● Depression

● Anxiety

● PTSD

Codependency

 

So before helping them, help yourself. See your doctor, get yourself checked over physically and have a good, frank discussion about how you are feeling and the situation you are now facing.

#5. Intervention

Progressive and chronic addiction can be deadly, just like any other disease. Therefore, you must speak with them whenever they are sober and insist they seek the help of a professional. If there is no agreement, your next step is an intervention. An intervention, instigated by you and with professional assistance from an addiction specialist, and possibly other family members and close friends, can get them into a rehabilitation facility that can help them find a path to recovery.

That’s my advice to you – the 5 essential things you must do if your loved one is facing addiction: educate yourself, lose your guilt, think about the harmful effect of enabling, looking after yourself (you are still your biggest priority), and intervention. Remember, if they are aware that your love and support throughout what follows will definitely continue, their chance of recovery increases. May I wish you both well.

How To Replace And Store Vital Documents

People who have misplaced their vital documents or had them stolen know how difficult it is to replace them. While the actual process is not so difficult in many cases. all of the footwork involved can make it seem like a real chore. If you are in this situation, whether this has happened to you before or this is the first time, here is some advice that will help you understand how to obtain replacements and how to keep them safe once you have them in hand.

Passports

It is a huge deal when you lose a document that is needed to travel out of the country, especially if you are someone who leaves often for personal and business reasons. The good thing is that replacing it is not as complicated as it probably sounds. The main reason that people believe that this is a hassle is because there is no way to apply on the Web. You will have to take time out of your schedule to apply in person. Here are all of the things you need to bring with you when replacing this document:

– Form DS-64, which is a statement offering details about about the missing passport and how it was lost or stolen.

– Form DS-11, which is an application for a new passport

– Proof that you were born in the United States

– A current ID

– A photo for your passport

– Fees (It is $110 for the book and $30 for the card itself)

Keep in mind that you are able to pay for the fees using a credit card, money order, gift card with a Visa or Mastercard logo, check or cash.

You should also consider having your entire Social Security number changed if the original card was stolen. If a scammer gains access to the number, they can use it to open new accounts and ruin your credit. By letting someone know that it was stolen and applying for a new number, you can save yourself a lot of time and trouble. Not only will you have a new number, but no one will be able to open new accounts with the old number since it will be invalidated.

This will not erase all of the history you have had with the prior number. You will still be totally responsible for anything that happened before the day that you reported the card was missing. This is why it is essential that you let someone know as soon as you notice it is gone.

Social Security Cards

These are a bit easier to apply for since you will not have to provide a great deal of documentation. As with the passports, you can go to the Social Security office in person in order to obtain a replacement. There is no need to make an appointment; it is as simple as showing up and waiting in line until your number is called. You can get a social security card application online here.

There is a form, the SS-5, you will need to fill out in order to apply for a replacement card. You will also have to provide proof of citizenship, age and identity. For most, it is as easy as bringing along your state ID or driver’s license and a copy of your birth certificate. Once you provide all of this, you will be sent a replacement card in the mail. It typically takes 1-2 weeks to receive this.

Birth Certificates

You can typically obtain one of these by going to the vital records department in the city and state you were born in. There is no need to make an appointment. You can go there at any time when the office if open. This is actually one of the easiest to obtain because the only proof you will need to provide is a state-issued ID. In the event that you do not have one, you can have one or both of your parents notarize a letter on your behalf. The exact rules on that vary by state, so you will need to verify what is true in your area.

If you are trying to get a copy of your birth certificate and you are not in the same state you were born in, things are a bit trickier. In this case, most people head to a third-party website in order to handle these transactions. There are some impostors, so you will need to be careful when providing this information. You do not want to open yourself to becoming a victim of identity theft.

Storing Your Documents

One huge mistake that many people make is carrying all of these documents around with them when there is no need to do so. Ideally, you should only have them on your person in the event that they are needed right away. Other than that, you should keep them safe at home. If you live with others, it would be wise to place them in a place that no one else will have access to, like a hidden area of your bedroom or a locked box.

Passports are useful to have for traveling, but this does not mean that you should carry it on you while you are spending time in your destination city. As soon as you reach your hotel, you should place it in the safe. Make sure that the code you select is not one that can be guessed easily. In addition, if you are not confident that this is a secure option, you should consider talking to one of the staff at the front desk and asking them if it would be okay to leave your items in the hotel safe.

Losing your vital documents may make you feel like it is the end of the world, but it isn’t. Use all that you have learned here to replace any documents that were lost or stolen. You should also make it a point to focus on the way that you store them since this will help prevent any issues in the future.

Keeping Resolutions: How to Stay Active in the New Year

 

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The New Year is often a time of self-improvement for many people – whether that means quitting something unhealthy, picking up healthy new habits, or simply paying closer attention to your overall health. But most often, resolutions surround being more active.

While some people have an easy time sticking to a fitness regimen, many find it difficult to summon the continued energy and motivation to stay active. This is especially true in the wintertime, when the inclement weather, achy muscles and lack of outdoor activities seem to want to push people indoors, under the covers.

Address Any Aches and Pains

Winter is notorious for being hard on your joints and back. The cold can exacerbate the stiffness you already feel, and winter duties like snow shovelling can only worsen the problem. In order to be active, you need to be pain-free, and in order to do that, it’s advisable to visit a chiropractor. They can offer spinal adjustments, as well as health tips to help you alleviate your back pain – whatever the cause may be.

Buddy Up

Motivation is easier to summon when you are among company. Working out in the solitude of your living room, you might be inclined to give up after only a few minutes; after all, no one is watching. When you exercise with a friend, especially one with a similar resolution, you can help motivate each other to push further. Barring that, you can join a fitness class, which, thanks to the Kohler Effect, are great for sustaining motivation.

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Find Fun Indoor Activities

There is no rule that states that being active can’t be fun. The more you treat fitness as a chore, the more likely you will be to procrastinate. If you are someone who likes to be stimulated and engaged then rather than hitting the treadmill, try a fun indoor activity, like rock climbing, squash or intermural soccer. Even taking a dance class a couple times a week can be enough to help you stay active.

Choose Realistic Goals

Some resolutions are simply too unrealistic to be achieved. If you made a resolution to save a million dollars over the next year, you would likely fail. However, if you made a resolution to save 10,000 dollars, you have a real shot. Likewise with fitness. You might be asking, however: why not shoot for the stars and go big with your resolution? Unfortunately, psychologically, the potential failure you will feel if you don’t meet your goal can be a motivational deterrent in the future. It is better to choose reasonable, attainable goals – one to two pounds a week in weight loss, for example – and succeed.

Keeping your resolutions also means celebrating the small victories. Track your progress, and congratulate yourself on small wins. The winter can sometimes feel as though it wants you to stay indoors and inactive, but fight this urge. Take an active role in reducing your winter aches and pains, and get active the right way.

To read more on topics like this, check out the lifestyle category.

3 Design Mistakes You’re Making In Your Child’s Room

Designing your child’s bedroom can be a tall order – after all, kids are constantly changing and growing out of things, and their room needs to grow with them. So where do you start? One solution may be to focus on what doesn’t work, rather than what does. Beyond that, kids’ room design is something of a free for all. After all, kids don’t thrive because they have the perfect bedroom, but because there are people in their life who want them to be happy and safe.

Mistake #1: Not Puting Safety First

Bedroom safety is a top priority with children of every age, with nearly 3.5 million children injured at home every year, so when designing your child’s bedroom, this is a good place to start. Cover outlets with safety caps, make sure your child’s crib or bed is placed away from the windows, and that furniture, especially dressers and shelves, are secured to the walls. Children are notorious for climbing on their furniture and tip over injuries are especially common among young children and can cause serious injuries or even death, depending on the piece of furniture and the size of the child.

Mistake #2: Overlighting The Room

Finding the right balance of light and dark in your child’s room can be the difference between getting a good night’s sleep and being up evening after evening, so don’t discount this element. First, focus on how the room is lit at night. Ideally, the room should be dark with nothing more than a nightlight, since excess light can suppress melatonin and interfere with sleep cycles; it’s also implicated in many long-term health issues, including metabolic problems, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers.

In addition to the health issues, excess light can also cause children to become overstimulated when they do wake at night, and it can prevent them from falling back to sleep. If your child uses a nightlight, opt for red-toned lights, such as Himalayan salt lamps, which are the least likely to interfere with sleep.

It’s also important to block out external lights, especially if you live in an urban area. One option is to use heavy blackout curtains, which will also make the room quieter. Another is to install blinds or shades that you can adjust at night, while allowing light in during the day. Just be sure to opt for cordless blinds, as traditional cord blinds pose a serious choking risk for children (and pets).

Mistake #3: Too Little Storage

One of the most common mistakes that parents make when designing their child’s bedroom is not installing enough storage – and then they’re frustrated when the space is always a mess. Make sure there’s room for all of your child’s things and that those storage strategies are accessible and make sense, even for small children. Bins and baskets are great for this, and they can be stored either on the floor or on a shelf or low cube organizers. You can often get beautiful but inexpensive baskets secondhand for a storage solution that will still look mature as your child grows. You might also consider using pictorial labels to help young children put things away with minimal guidance.

While setting up storage, don’t forget about the things you’ll want to hide away in your child’s room. Use a crib or bed skirt to disguise storage bins under the bed so that you have somewhere to stash out of season clothing. If your child’s room is especially small, you might also consider lofting your child’s bed so that you can set up toys, a dresser, or a desk beneath the bed. When you have a storage system that works, everything else comes together.

Your kids’ bedroom is their home base, and it should reflect their interests, whether that’s cars and trucks or Disney Princesses, but as a parent, you also want your kid’s room to be functional, which is why you should focus on safety, sleep, and storage. Beyond that, let your kids call the shots. In a few years they’ll probably be covering the walls with celebrity posters, so enjoy their excitement about décor while it lasts.

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