Tips For Checking Out Retirement Communities

With luck, your parents and your grandparents are going to be somewhat healthy and active as they go into their golden years. While some older people like to stay in their homes, this is not a reality for some families.  They realize that upkeep can be a problem and they don’t want to have to worry about things. When that happens, consider thinking about looking at retirement communities both near and far from home. If you or someone in your family is looking, here are some things to watch for so you know you have found the right place.

Retirement communities should have a safe and calm feeling to them. That is something that you can feel when you first go to see the property. There are always going to be a few places among the many great ones that are just not as good as they can be. The retirement communities should be sprawled out and well landscaped, without any visible problems with peeling paint, overflowing gutters, and vast amounts of pot holes. Those are all things to look for at first glance.

When you think about living areas, think about how accessible things are. Are you or your parents going to have to walk long distances for the things they might want or need?  Where do they go to eat? Are there any steps that might hinder some who may not be as mobile as they use to be?  Don’t just think about the short term of these things when looking at retirement communities - think into the long run as well.

Some retirement communities have full service apartments or other accommodations that have a full service kitchen, and some do not. Some have dinning for all meals, and some only offer breakfast and dinner.  Some have extensive physical activity programs and some have none.

You may also find that some retirement communities have onsite things like hair salons and other like things that people may use very often. It can be convenient to have them right there within a very short walking distance. Weigh each of these options very carefully.

Overall, you can tell a lot about the communities by looking at all of the above things, but you should also take something else into consideration. Look around at those that already live there and talk with them about how they feel about their home.

You can tell if they are content and happy without asking too many questions - or even without talking with them at all.  Most often happiness and contentment are things you can see without having to look to deep.  There are retirement communities that will meet your needs, you just need to take the time to check them out.

Secrets Of Good Parenting

There’s no such thing as a perfect parent, and there’s no manual that can teach you how to be a good one. Yet there is such a thing as good parenting, just as sure as there’s bad parenting.

Almost everyone gets married and many of those people have children together and end up being parents. Knowing how to parent effectively is something good to know and worth learning. However, a lot of the learning comes not from an outside source but from yourself.

There’s no template for being a good parent. You might encounter examples of good parenting out there but every set of children and parents is different, so you can’t take some other family’s model and just apply it to your own. You have to figure out what works for your family, drawing from your experiences and from common sense.

Of course being a parent isn’t easy. You have to take care of someone who depends on you, fulfilling their needs and giving them guidance while paying attention to your own life as well. You’re playing the role of protector, role model, nurturer, friend and disciplinarian all at once. When you put it all into perspective, good parents are really amazing people indeed.

So what does good parenting consist of? Simply put, a good parent raises their child to be capable of surviving in the world. Some people confuse good parenting with just providing their children with everything possible like food, money and possessions but this actually inhibits children by not allowing them to fend for themselves.

In order to survive in the world, one needs to be able to stand on their own two feet while depending on support every so often. Support often comes in the form of social relationships. In order to form relationships, one needs to be reasonably kind and open. In order to be kind and open, people need to have that demonstrated and enforced in them, and this is where parents come in.

There’s bound to be many bumps along the way. Sometimes you’ll feel like putting your kids up for adoption but in the end, you stick together because you love each other. Loving your children and showing it the right way is at the heart of good parenting.

Be there for your children when they need it, don’t overindulge them, equip them with the tools necessary to be self-sufficient so that when they have their own children, they will do the same.

Tips For Finding Summer Camp For Kids

Summer camp for kids is more popular today than any other time. According to the American Camps Association, there are about 8000 sleep-away programs around the country that you can choose for your children and nearly an equal number of day camps.

With thousands of options to choose from, it can be quite difficult to make your mind up as a parent. How do you decide which camp to send your child to?

For starters, you can determine to only send your kids to a place that is accredited by the American Camp Association.

For accreditation, the Association judges each place on 300 counts. All you only need to do is to go to their website and find an accredited program.

You’ll know which are the best around. They've only approved of a couple of thousand so far among the thousands there are across the country.

To decide on a summer camp for kids in the family, first check out the database of the KidsCamps website that tells you where each camp is and what it offers.

Once you've narrowed it down to a few, you can call the director of the camp and talk to him. Ask about whether they do background checks on their staff for any kind of criminal tendencies.

You may want to run your own Instant Background Checks which includes criminal background checks and much more!

Also ask about how many campers they take on each season.You're looking for a place that's well staffed. About one camp staff member for 10 older campers isn't a bad idea.

If it's a camp for very little children, a lower ratio would be nice – about one staffer for every five kids would be perfectly acceptable.

Try to ask the camp director if he can cite any references in your town – people whom you can call in your town to ask about their experience.

If you really want to outsource the process of picking the right summer camp for kids in your family, try a camp advisory service. You'll find them advertising in your local papers or the online Yellow Pages.

These are little family operations that are free. They maintain information about hundreds of summer camps for kids around the country and the world and you can find out with them what camps are the safest and the best.

So how do these places make money, you ask? When they refer you to a camp, the camp pays them. Of course, that opens this up to all kinds of abuse. For the most part though, they manage to stay clean.

Chores for Children: Why Kids Want to Do Chores

So it's Saturday – the day your children have agreed is their "do chores around the house" day. But it's well into the day already, and the way they appear surgically attached to YouTube, Facebook and the television at this moment, it doesn't look like your chores for children plan is a big hit.

Chores for children - washing dishes
Photo by Flickr three if by bike
It isn't just that they don't remember there are chores that they promised to take care of. It's also that they don't seem to notice that the toilet has become noticeably dirtier-looking, and there is dirt and dust everywhere.

How do you get them to pick up the list of chores for children that you've made up?

What you need is to try to help them see chores differently. They need to stop seeing them as horrible waste of time. They have to be able to just quickly ace them, because really, chores don't take that much time when you divide them all up among the household.

But more importantly, your children need to see that they actually want to do those chores. Child experts have a radical approach in the matter of planning for chores for children.

They feel that when you later children get by without any contribution to make, you aren't really doing them any favors. Instead, you're taking away from them the one way they have of feeling like a real part of the family.

According to the experts, a child needs to grow up feeling that what he does is needed by those around him. When he sees that, he feels important, and it helps his self-esteem. It makes him feel like he can do something that the world really cares about. He feels competent, he feels valued.

No matter how much you love your child, he will never feel as valued as he can, when he does something as simple as dusting and cleaning the entertainment unit. That's when he will believe that you love him.

In theory, all of this sounds fantastic, you're thinking. But does it really work out that way?

Here is a good way to see that it does. There's research that exists that looks at why young people drop out of college. When asked to guess at the reasons why young people might drop out of college, most people offer reasons such as money or family hardship. In truth, these are not the most common reasons.

Most teens who drop out, come from well-to-do families that completely take care of their college. They are pampered children who have to worry about nothing. And yet, they keep dropping out. Apparently, when a child doesn't invest much in life, he isn't that interested in life, either. This isn't what you want to give your child, is it?

Secrets to Balancing Work and Family

Woman at home with daughter
Balancing work and family can be quite the tightrope act.

Women have to possess versatile skill sets to get anywhere in this world. They have to know how to keep house very well, how to be a wife, how to be a mom, a friend, daughter, sister, and a super employee.

And unlike men, they can't just phone it in with these jobs. They have perform nearly flawlessly in each one of them.

Of course, it's nearly impossible to do all of this very well. Usually, something suffers in the mix. Usually, it's the job that has to take sacrifices and compromises.

Here's what you need to do to make sure that when balancing work and family, you don't let a few work-related balls just drop

The first thing you want to do is to promise to yourself that you will never, ever discuss family at the job. Not with anyone!

The moment anyone gets wind of how you’re planning for a baby or how your husband has a promotion or anything, they start thinking right away about how you might quit your job. You'll find fewer promotions coming your way.

To make sure that you have your boss’s attention in what you doing for the job, do discuss any career-furthering education you have planned with your boss.

This will make sure that the higher-ups know that you’re serious about your job, and they can give you good advice on what kind of course exactly you should go for, for the best opportunities within the company.

But all of this is about making sure that as you’re balancing work and family, your efforts aren't frustrated or wasted in any way. An important part of achieving that balance comes down to what you do for a fair deal right at home.

Women have all these responsibilities to take care of. As such, they'll often do a lot better when they work at certain jobs that give them a lot of free time – a teacher’s job for instance.

Most women, when they think of how to handle housework when they have a busy schedule, often only think of getting an equal contribution from their husband and children.

While plans like this certainly make all the sense in the world, often, they just don't work out.

Husbands can often be either unwilling to help or they just may not have the time. In this case, one shouldn't have to feel like it all falls to them now. If you could spend $200 a week on getting outside help, it could really lighten your burden.

Perhaps women suffer when balancing work and family the most because they just happen to be too caring.

When the husband or child or a  friend comes in with a demand on their time, they just don't know how to turn them down. Learning this one skill alone can make a huge difference.

Tell us how you balance your work and family life. Leave a comment below.

Building Strong Relationships With Your Kids

FamilyTake the time to build strong relationships with your children so your bond will not break, no matter how bumpy the road may become through the years.

There are few relationships in your life that are going to be more important than the ones you form with your children. These relationships are the hardest to maintain, but are also the ones most filled with love.

As children grow into adults, they feel strongly about being independent, and that can strain any good parent-child bond. However, they need their parents more than every during this time.

Strong relationships with children are harder than they sound.

When children are babies they totally and completely rely on their parents for care and love. This is the easy part, though things like vacations and sleeping through the night are lost, a strong love to last a lifetime is born.

To keep strong relationships past the infant and toddler years, it is going to take some work.

Most parents have the best of intentions, but life can get in the way. Make sure this does not happen, and if it has, know it is not too late to turn things around.

When your children are below the age of ten, you can start maintaining strong relationships with them by listening to what they have to say.

You may have children that talk a lot about nothing, but you want to be sure you are listening when they really have something important to say.

If they feel that they can come to you and you will listen to them no matter what they have to say, they are going to be more willing to come to you later when their thoughts or actions can have a bigger impact on their lives.

Strong relationships start young, so make sure you tune in each day.

As your children go through the tween and teenage years, bonds with parents are going to be tested. Weak ones may fail completely.

Keep your relationships strong and open, even when you have to back down on occasion.

There is a good reason why many are giving the advice to choose your battles wisely.

You want to stay in charge, but you also want to give your children some independence. Listen, allow them to earn some privileges, and never assume silence means everything is okay.

As your children go into adulthood, you may worry your strong relationships are faltering because they only call you once a week and even then, they keep the call short. Remember that this too shall pass.

Your kids still need you, they just need you in a different way.

Soon enough they are going to think about marriage and may have children of their own, and when they do, they are going to need Mom and Dad on call. By then, they can appreciate all you have done for them and they can rely on you for advice.

Strong relationships with your children are not always easy to maintain, but they are worth their weight in gold.

Family Christmas Traditions to Start With Your Family

We have so many family Christmas traditions, it is hard to remember them all at times. But one thing I have come to realize over the years is that they are very important.

These are the episodes from our lives that we will always remember and that help keep family bonds strong.

One of our oldest family Christmas traditions involves the reading of the story of the birth of Jesus from the book of Luke each year. We have done this from the time that I was a little boy, and I always look forward to this with great anticipation.

I want for my children to understand the real reason for Christmas, and it does my heart good to see them get excited about it as well. It is one of those family Christmas traditions that I introduced to my wife, and we have incorporated it into our yearly calendar.

One of the other great family traditions from my household is a yearly Christmas Eve potluck dinner.

Each year on Christmas Eve, we all get together and everyone makes a dish for a big potluck dinner we all enjoy. It is a great experience and opportunity for relatives who have not seen or heard from each other in years to catch up.

We always have a great time with it because the amount of good food present is always incredible, and we all know that we will have a great time.

When my wife and I first met, she informed me that one of her family Christmas traditions was to allow everyone to open up one present on Christmas Eve.

We had never done that in our family, but marriage is about compromise, and what I soon discovered was that it helped take the edge off of our children's excitement for Christmas day.

The way that I look at is that Christmas day is the big feast that is about an hour away, and Christmas Eve is the snack until that day arrives!

Another of our family Christmas traditions is the reading of the Dickens classic “A Christmas Carol.”

This, too, was something that originated in my family and that carried over to our family today. This is one that my children also enjoy because they both love to read.

Family Christmas traditions mean so much and play such an important role in helping a family bond during the holiday season.

My wife and are always looking at activities we can do around that time to make it extra special for our kids, and we are open to incorporating them into our regular traditions in hopes that our children will pass them on to their children some day.