Look To the Western Sky

A blog about single life as a parent & the dreams of a writer by Margo L. Dill

Category: Becoming a Parent (page 1 of 3)

Joint Issues in Pets and How to Deal With Them

It’s interesting when you look at a website’s stats. On this site, one of my most popular posts is an infographic about keeping dogs and cats cool in the summer. I agree I learned something from it when I was asked if I would publish it on my blog, and I even share some information from it with friends! My boxer is currently 9.5 years old, and I can tell that his hip is bothering him somewhat. I’ve tried a variety of things, including anti-inflammatory medicine. But what I decided to do now is try to walk him every single day and work on increasing how far we walk. So, when I saw this article in my inbox, I knew I wanted to publish it. 1. Pets seem important to my blog readers and social media contacts and 2.  My own dog could use some of this advice. So, here we go…

While joint problems usually occur later in your dog’s life, there are some alignment issues that can speed up the process. If you would like to give your dog the quality of life they deserve, it is important that you learn how to deal with joint and mobility issues. For a dog, sitting on the bed all day is not fun, so you will have to do everything you can to get them out there and help them get active, relieve the pain, and make the most out of your time together. Below ,you will find a few tips on making your dog’s life better.

Get Them Checked Out

If your dog is limping or is struggling to walk, chances are that they have a joint misalignment that was not diagnosed when they were a puppy. If they were in the rescue center and you don’t know much about their history, chances are that an old injury is causing them trouble. Some dogs who are confined to small places or are left ill and not moving about will also develop issues. Take them to the vet and find out the underlying cause.

Change Their Diet

In some cases, getting your dogs a better diet and more meat and protein will help with their mobility. If you have a rescue dog, they probably had a very bad diet that impacted their health. There is some special dog food for joint problems that will help you keep your four-legged dog active and happy. Talk to a professional dog dietitian to find out whether improving their diet will help.

Get Effective Pain Killers

In some cases, you simply can’t deal with the cause without an operation or an intrusive treatment. If you would like to give your dog the best life possible, you have to treat the symptoms first. If pain is preventing your dog from moving about, you should get a subscription medication from your local vet to treat it, so you can exercise together.

Home Remedies

There are, of course, some home remedies designed for treating dog joint problems and pain. From anti-inflammatory herbs to glucosamine supplements for dogs , there are plenty of ways you can ease the pain and distress without getting your friend reliant on long-term medication.

Stay Active

If you would like to keep your dog healthy, you will need to make sure that they get enough exercise. Even if they don’t want to go out, you will need to work with your vet to find a safe way to coax them and start an exercise program. If they struggle with the steps, carry them down or get them a doggy lift, but don’t neglect walks. The more your dog’s joints are exercised the better chance they will have for healing.  

Dealing with a dog who is clearly in pain and has mobility issues can be challenging and heartbreaking. Make sure that you get a professional assessment and find out more about the underlying cause of the pain, so you can find the right treatment option. No matter how hard it is for you and your dog, you can help him or her to live a good, active life. 

 

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How to Earn the Title “A Dog’s Best Friend”

As many of you know, I have a dog, and I often write about him on here or share his cute photo on Facebook. I used to believe that maybe I was overthinking how much I walked him or spent time with him, and then his article came in. It made me think: I must not be the only one! Chester does bring so much joy to our lives, and there’s nothing as cute as how excited he gets when I say: “Want to go for a walk?” 

(contributed post)

You know the old saying: “A dog is man’s best friend.” Anyone who has a dog knows this is true. They give you unconditional love and are always there with a listening ear, without talking back! It’s been researched and proven that dogs also help their owners be healthier–they can help with emotional issues, or they help you maintain a healthy weight ; and they are always glad to see you with a friendly lick and a welcoming paw.

But do you qualify as your dog’s best friend? Are you as welcoming to them as they are to you? Are you as forgiving when they leave a mess on your carpet or when they gobble down your dinner? Do you provide for all of their needs? To earn the title “A Dog’s Best Friend,” here are some of the things you might be doing:

Hang out with your dog more. The occasional pat on the head or walk around the block doesn’t really qualify as hanging out. You can spend more time by playing games with them, from hide and seek to tug-of-war. Get down on their level for some affectionate hugging and let them know you love and appreciate them. Despite the busyness of your life, never be too busy to hang out with the one who loves you so much: your faithful four-legged friend.

Give your dog tasty food. Dogs will eat anything, but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve something that is satisfying to their taste palate and healthy for them. You can easily offer them something both nutritious and delicious. From trudog freeze dried dog food for mealtime to specially formulated doggy treats at other times in the day, give your dog something they will love to eat.

Go for interesting walks with your dog. Walking your dog is a necessity; but when possible, opt for those routes that will give your dog added pleasure. They love to sniff and explore, so choose those places that will give them opportunities to enjoy the scenery around them, to navigate their way through fascinating nooks and crannies, with beautiful sights and smells to satisfy their senses.

Praise your dog. We are often quick to scold our dogs when they do something wrong, but we can sometimes be slow to praise them. It’s all part of their behavior training anyway, but make praising your dog an everyday routine, rather than only doing so when you want your pooch to do as you have told them. A kind tone of voice, a gentle pat on the head, and a tasty treat occasionally will show your dog you appreciate them.

Look after your dog’s health. Your four-legged friend isn’t hot on self-care, so you need to be responsible for all of their health needs yourself. This means feeding them something nutritious and avoiding foods that will harm them. This means keeping up a healthy exercise routine. And this means scheduling regular visits to the vet. Yes, your dog may frown at you because you refuse to give in to their begging, but a long and happy life is a much better gift than a piece of your chocolate!

And if you do all of these things? You will earn the title “A Dog’s Best Friend.” Well done you! While your dog won’t reward you with a medal or a certificate, we are sure he will reward you in his own special way.

What do you like to do with your dog?

 

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3 Ways To Stay On Top of Your Pet’s Health, Your Faithful Companion

The photo above is of my dog when he had been sick to his stomach in the morning. I posted it on Facebook because he just looked so pitiful (well and he has a cute face), and I know so many of my friends are dog and cat lovers. He did not want to let me out of his sight yesterday and kept moving closer and closer to me, so finally, I moved his pillow by my desk, and he laid down and went to sleep. He was fine later; he had probably gotten into something in the yard. But anyone who knows me knows how important Chester is to me, so this contributed post has a lot of great points about how pets can help us and how we should take care of them. 

Anybody that’s had a dog or cat knows the emotional connection, warmth, love and support that radiates from their soul; indeed, the love of a pet is one of the most soothing and abundant sources of love available.  Indeed, their love is unconditional. They make a great companion, particularly at this time of year, and of course, dogs offer a fantastic way to keep active due to all the walks they require. Many people recognize the healing power of pets also, as they can have a positive impact on our emotional and physical health.  It’s important we similarly look after our pet’s health, too, though, for instance as a dog ages, it’s necessary to hunt out the best dog bed for arthritis and get annual check-ups, just like we would for a human family member.

In that vein, here are three ways to stay on top of your pet’s health.

  1. EXERCISE

Just like humans, it’s vitally important your pets get the exercise they need to stay healthy.  They can, however, be over-exercised, so this is something to consider particularly if your dog or cat is a little older. Make sure to talk to your vet about the proper amount of exercise for your pet. Exercise is great for your dogs’ physical and emotional health, plus it’ll boost your own mood too.

  1.  DIET & NUTRITION

Cats have specific nutritional requirements as they are “obligate carnivores,” meaning they need animal proteins to stay healthy, while dogs are “scavenging carnivores,” meaning they are primarily meat eaters but can survive on other sources of food if necessary.  That said, feeding them with dog food that is high in animal protein and low in “fillers” is the best bet.

Equally important to food, of course, is hydration… so ensuring an adequate supply of clean drinking water is essential to your pet’s health.  This is particularly relevant during the summer.

  1.  FLEA TREATMENT

It’s wise to consult your vet on which flea treatment is most effective for your pet, as it is somewhat dependent on medical history, and some flea treatments are more effective than others.  A popular option for both dogs and cats is Frontline, yet a number of vets say this isn’t always effective, and a more reliable option is called Stronghold Flea, though this does usually need to be given on prescription.

While flea treatment is highly effective in killing the fleas and eggs on your pet, the challenge is that if your pet is then in an environment where the fleas are still at large, re-infestation will occur.  Here is a good resource on the steps to take to rid your home from fleas.

In summary, pets do have tremendous healing powers when it comes to our mental and emotional health; as their love is unconditional.  It’s pretty simple to keep on top of your pet’s health but vitally important… particularly in terms of regular check-ups with the vet and keeping up with prophylactic injections and parasite treatments.

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Tips for Being a Role Model for Your Kids When You’re Behind the Wheel

(contributed post)

Parents are role models in every facet of their life. Your little ones are depending on your guidance, whether it is financial or moral. It’s easy to forget that driving falls into this category, too. Getting behind the wheel is such a regular part of life that it’s sometimes weird to think your kids are watching and imitating your behavior, especially the teenager in the passenger seat who is desperate to pass her test and gain some independence.

Instructors will get them through the practical part, but it’s you who will mold them in the long-term. With that in mind, here are some tips for setting a good example while driving.

Be Safety Conscious

Everyone has been a teenager behind the wheel of a car for the first time. The temptation is to care more about the music pumping through the stereo or their cell phones than to care about being safe. However, if safety rules are not followed, everyone knows that car and motorcycle injuries can easily happen. And, when an accident happens, we often ask ourselves, “What could we have done to avoid it?”  Teenage drivers need to know safety as a practice. A lack of safety-consciousness from you could result in them being blase. Make a point of buckling up first, as well as adjusting mirrors and wearing a helmet, if on a motorcycle. Obey the speed limit, also.

Vent Afterwards

Another motorist cuts you off, and you may let out obscenities. For plenty of drivers, this is a regular day at the office. Road rage isn’t innate though because it is controllable. Therefore, it is a habit that develops over time or from watching those around us. The worst thing about losing your cool behind the wheel with your kids in the car is that they may think it’s okay. Moms and dads don’t get angry, so when they do there must be a good reason. Teens can learn this, and so it gives them an excuse to act the same whenever they experience frustration on the road. Keep cool and carry on, especially if there is someone else in the car.

Follow The Rules

Experienced motorists often improvise because they are comfortable in the driver’s seat. While this may work for you, there’s a good chance that it will get a new driver into trouble. Think of resting your arm on the window ledge while cruising down the highway. Or casually going a couple of miles over the speed limit. Who hasn’t done 55mph in a 50mph zone? To stop kids from picking up bad habits, switch your driving style. Keep hands at eleven and one or ten and two, and never speed. Be a monk on the roads.

Explain Why

Granted, there will be times when things go wrong. In these situations, you are bound to react and lose your temper. Sometimes, the occasion gets the better of the greatest role models. Don’t make excuses. Instead, calmly explain what happened and why, and why they shouldn’t make the same error. Hopefully, detailing the incident should highlight the mistake ,and make it obvious that it shouldn’t be copied. 

How do you act when your impressionable teen is in the car? Are you an angel or do you need to switch tact?

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Tips and Tools to Keep Your Dog and Cat Safe In the Summer Heat

Keep-Pets-Cool-Infographic-by-John-Moore

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Don’t Be Ashamed to Share: Hysterectomy, Infertility and More

This contributed post is near and dear to my heart for several reasons. First, I 100 percent agree that it is still difficult for many women to open up about the subjects discussed below: hysterectomies, infertility, their bodies, etc. I  had a hysterectomy two years ago, and before I was blessed with Katie, I had to see a fertility specialist. I think this post below makes an important point that we need to talk to each other and not stay silent. 

Sometimes, as women, it is difficult to  discuss intimate issues. And to be honest, it’s easy to understand why. There still seem to be a lot of social expectations that force women to believe they should only act in a certain way or discuss certain topics in public. Although it is much better than it was even 20 years ago, this issue still exists. So, when for any reason, women find themselves having to handle intimate issues that most people don’t talk about, it’s easy to feel at a loss. The main problem with these issues is that they are generally surrounded by silence. As a result, if you’re struggling with any of these topics, you might feel as if you’re the only person dealing with it. You might feel like a failure when everyone else seems to be managing their lives without any trouble. Here’s the thing about intimate issues: You are not alone. This is what a lot of women need to hear:

There’s no shame; things can go wrong down there too

Sometimes, your body doesn’t perform as well as it should. While there is no embarrassment in discussing catching a cold, you should train your mind to perceive intimate issues in the same way. If you’re not ashamed of your cold, why should you be ashamed of experiencing pain while urinating or even while having sex? That’s precisely why there are specialists such as https://www.urologygeorgia.com/, to help you understand the problem and find a solution. Ultimately, you need to be assured that doctors support and respect you.

When there’s no other choice

What defines a woman? Depending on how you feel about your femininity, you might refer to reproductive organs, silhouette or even parental situation to explain what makes you feel like a woman. So, for a lot of women, the idea of having a hysterectomy can be devastating as they often wonder if they are still real women after the operation. But you only need to look at charities such as https://www.hysteriauk.co.uk/ to see that there is massive support around the issues. In fact, for many patients, talking and writing about their feelings can help to redefine the way they perceive themselves.

You struggle to get pregnant

As a woman, you’ll find that society expects you to have children. You might even be dreaming of having children. So, it can be devastating when you try to get pregnant without success. Many women feel so ashamed about it that they prefer not to address the issue in conversation. But don’t think that you’re the only one. There are many reasons why you might be struggling with pregnancy, from infertility to blocked Fallopian tubes. Talking to your doctor and friends can help you to find support and help.

You don’t want children

What if you don’t want to have children? As surprising as it might sound, a lot of women find themselves under fire for choosing not to have children. In reality, it is your own decision, and there is no need to feel guilty about it. You don’t owe the world a child, and more importantly, you are too valuable to let others decide your life. In the end, you’ll find that you can open up about your decision to those you trust.

The bottom line is that a lot of women feel isolated when it comes to their intimate choices and life. Don’t ever think you”re on your own. If you start talking, you’ll find that most women around you can sympathize with your problems, and you to theirs. Spread the word and help destroy the shameful isolation.

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The 100% Five Genuine Health Benefits To Having Pets

(contributed post)

It’s only natural that anyone who loves their pets should see all the benefits when it comes to making room in their lives for a furry friend. But, believe it or not, science is in agreement with them, too. Owning a pet has been shown to have some seriously positive impacts on your health, mentally and physically. Here, we’re going to look at some of the health benefits that pet owners get to enjoy.

Playing off the pounds

Let’s talk about one of the most obvious benefits of owning some of the more energetic pets out there. This might not be true for those with more independent cats or rabbits, but owning a dog, ferret, or any other highly playful animal is great for providing you with a little exercise. If your dog is particularly energetic, then those big long walks are going to play a huge role in helping you manage your weight. With the lower risk of obesity due to more exercise comes the lower risk of several chronic illnesses, not to mention a lower risk of back or joint pain in later life. Walking your dog hardly feels like exercise, too, so it’s easy to get motivated to do it.

Breaking the ice

Isolation is becoming something of a minor health scare as of late. Whether the blame is to be laid at the feet of social media and the internet adding distance between us or the fact that increasingly urban lifestyles have us living on top of one another is uncertain. There has been a marked rise in people who consider themselves “isolated”, however. Pets are great for helping you with that, too. Walking your pet or even going to the vet for your checkups gives you a chance to meet like-minded people just as into their furry friends as you are into yours. There are even social meetup apps for dog owners looking for walking buddies, now.

Making a real positive impact

One of the most keenly felt health benefits a pet can offer, however, is in the realm of mental and emotional health. Animals, like cats and dogs, have been shown to have a truly huge impact in helping with issues like stress, anxiety, and depression. There are even animals like service cats whose role it is to provide those benefits. What is a service cat? Essentially, they provide emotional support, helping people with conditions like social anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, and PTSD manage their symptoms. Mental health professionals widely acknowledge that simply spending time with a cat or a dog, as the case may be, can help people better come when they are having serious trouble with their emotional health.

Preventing allergies

You may be skeptical of this idea at first. If anything, you have probably met people who are specifically allergic to pet hair. It’s true that pet hair does contain allergens. However, research has shown that children who grow up in a household with pets are much less likely to develop an allergic reaction to them in the long run. In fact, exposure to pets can stop people from developing any allergies or even asthma by improving your gut health. However, it’s worth noting that exposure to pets won’t “cure” anyone who already has asthma or allergies. Don’t go shaking your dog in anyone’s face; you’re just more likely to trigger an allergic reaction than anything.

Looking after heart and mind

Living with pets has been shown to drastically decrease your risk of blood clots for a couple different reasons. Owning a cat has been shown to cut the risk of a heart attack or a stroke by a third. One major reason for this is the stress-busting qualities that pets have, which reduces stroke risk. It also helps lower blood pressure thanks to the production of “feel-good” hormones, like dopamine and serotonin, when spending time with them. You can’t deny the power of the daily walkies when it comes to looking after heart health, either. Physical activity plays a key role in helping to protect the heart. Both physically and emotionally, pet ownership is likely to help decrease your chances of both heart attack and stroke.

If you’re ever trying to convince a partner or family member to let you get a pet, the five benefits above might just sway them a little if you’re lucky. Above all else, it just goes to show the positive impact that pet owners feel simply from having their favorite animal companion in their lives.

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4 Reasons Dogs Can Help You Maintain a Healthy Weight

The above photo is of my dog yesterday, staring out the window, and I thought it was funny, so I took the photo. He sat like that for over 10 minutes! I wondered: What is he watching for? So even though this contributed article is mostly about working out with your dog, which I do take him for walks frequently, even on cold days when I would’ve never went out without him, I wanted to show you my funny boxer just sitting. 🙂 Read on for a more active and healthy post though…

Working out is hard, which is why most of us need a partner to help ease the strain. Not only is it less lonely working out with a friend, but it also drives us to be better. When you let yourself down, you’re letting down the person who agreed to train with you in the first place. And the majority of us feel too guilty to let this happen. There’s a problem, though – who wants to be your workout partner? Everyone has commendable intentions, yet they can go by the wayside when it comes to crunch time. So, where are you supposed to turn? Who is going to help when your friends and family won’t? The answer is the family pooch and here’s why.

They’re Reliable

Humans can overthink things. Exercise is the perfect example because we may not really want to do it anyway–or least make ourselves go to the gym at 5am or after a long day at work. As a result, lots of people decide they will skip and then get into a bad routine. Dogs aren’t like people because they always want to leave the house. If they’re cooped up during the day, they need a long walk to blow off steam and release tension. Going for a jog or fast walk together, then, is a perfect compromise.

They’re Aerobic

Running has its advantages, but most aerobic activity is as healthy. In fact, depending on the goal, it can be better for you than a 10K. Let’s look at exercise helping you to lose weight. After the holiday season or one too many takeout sessions, we can feel the weight start to become a problem. To shed the pounds, the body needs to metabolize oxygen, which is a fancy way of saying you need to keep your heart rate down while moving around. Taking the dog for a long walk, instead of going for a run by yourself, is an excellent excuse. Plan the route so that it includes inclines as well as declines for ultimate results.

 

It’s Fun

Part of developing a  healthy exercise routine is finding a way to enjoy the experience. Because exercise can be difficult, it’s not enjoyable one-hundred percent of the time. The good news is that a dog instantly brings fun to the party thanks to their enthusiasm. Throwing a ball and chasing them around is not only a physical activity for you but it makes them wag their tails. Plus, regular dog activities can take place in beautiful locations such as the beach or the park. It’s hard not to enjoy exercise with your best pal as the sun sets over the ocean.

They’re Vacuums

If the above doesn’t appeal to you, then how about this… 😉 Of course, dogs need their own healthy food–whether you decide to buy dog food or make your own.  Any amazing pet review site will provide info on the best products on the market.  Still, your pooch probably likes human food: chicken, green beans, rice, and salmon, of course. Indeed, if dieters (or kids who don’t want their dinner) should “accidentally” drop leftovers on the floor, with your dog around, you may not need to vacuum! It’s a brilliant method of reducing meal sizes and cutting down on your daily calorie intake. I bet you are ready to rush out and get one of these dogs right now, aren’t you?

Do you need a healthy accountability partner? If you own a dog, the perfect solution is right under your nose.

 

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Which Car Is Best For Your Family? 3 Tips When Choosing

(contributed post)

Choosing a family car is not like choosing a car for yourself, when you were single or even before kids. For one thing, you probably don’t have the money to splash out on something fancy when you’ve got a college fund to save for! Instead, think past what you want and focus in on exactly what it is you all need.

There will be time later on when the kids are grown to get a snazzy sports car, but for now, you will need to settle for something a little more practical. Think about how you want to use a car and what your budget is realistically. Though you can get a lot for your money these days, a car is not the be all and end all of family life and should fit in with your other financial obligations.

Why Motorcycles are a No (For You and the Kids)

Obviously, you can’t get a baby seat onto the back of a motorcycle and nor should you try! But, also think about hanging up your helmet, too. Motorcycles can be dangerous, and if you were to get into an accident, you could be in real trouble. As a parent, this could have a massive impact on your family. Even with motorcycle accident lawyers that can help recover the cost of any treatments you require, you will never regain the time you lost with your kids if you are injured.

The thing is, and the reason that this small section is included, is that many men can feel that they are losing who they are when they become parents. While we often talk about how women can maintain their sense of self throughout motherhood, there isn’t as much self-help for the guys. Many men seem to think that the antidote to being a parent is to take risks, and motors can feature highly from the teenager’s moped to the midlife crisis car. The point is that it isn’t the motorcycle that makes the guy who he is.

So, motorcycles out of the way – what are we looking for here?

Car Safety is Your Main Priority

Once upon a time, car safety was mainly about being able to slam on the breaks and swerve in time. These days, it is a lot more technical, and there are all kinds of ways that cars have improved. If you are looking for the safest car, you can easily research consumer safety reports, warnings and tests on the Internet. 

Though many cars advertise the powers of their media center (and, let’s be honest, being able to play DVDs in the backseat is pretty cool), you should be looking at the safety features and working out what is worth the money. What is really cool about a lot of media center screens is that they also have a rearview camera to help you see what is behind you before backing up as well as a proximity alarm, if any car or person is coming near the vehicle. Hands-free calling and voice command will also keep your attention on the road where it belongs.

Older road users might think that all this tech is just a fancy way of making cars more expensive, but look carefully at your insurance because many of these safety features could end up saving you money.

Higher Seats Are Easier to Manage

First things first: if you are going to wrestle a howling toddler into a car seat, it will always be easier to wrestle them into a seat you can easily reach. Saloon cars are great once you are in, but the number of times you will bash your head against the roof of the car while trying to strap all the kids in will get old quickly.

Instead, look for a higher car like a 4×4, which will allow you to get the kids in without a fuss: you won’t bang your head, and everyone will be happier. Another advantage of this kind of car is that you will also be able to pack plenty of stuff into the trunk when you are traveling with your family.

There is a downside, though, and that is simply that bigger cars cost more. So, if you can afford to splash out on a more expensive car and save your back, then do.

Sliding Doors Are Your Friend

If you can find a model of car with sliding doors ,then you are in for a real win. Car doors are definitely high on the list of irritants for parents, especially when there are limited space in a parking lot. With a sliding door, you won’t have to worry so much about having room on either side of the car.

Sliding doors are also great because they are much less likely to catch in the wind or the door closing on a family member accidentally. In other words, you get maximum access with minimum fuss – and what’s not to like in that?

When you think about how much time you spend getting in and out of your family car, ferrying your kids – and other people’s kids – to all kinds of events and just driving yourself, it actually adds up really quickly. It is well worth taking some time to choose carefully and imagine how the cars various features will work for you and your loved ones.

 

One last tip: take a carseat to the showroom with you to see how it will fit in a prospective car. Honestly, some a brilliant and obvious winners but some just look like that until you realise that once the booster seat is in, nothing else will ever fit.

 

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As Parents, What Can We Do to Give Our Children The Best Start in Life?

(contributed post)

When you have a child, your world changes. No longer are you the most important person in your life, you now have a responsibility to look after your child and ensure they’re happy, healthy and grow up to be a functioning member of society. Raising a child can be a minefield, and lots of things will depend on factors like the country you live in, your own personal views, your religion and much more. However there are some things that are common with all of us. Here are some of the ways your child can get off to the best start.

Look After Their Health

As parents, our children’s health is of the utmost importance. However, we’re in the midst of an obesity epidemic, and even well-meaning parents can find that their children are a little heavier than guidelines suggest they should be. This can be a mixture of a lack of knowledge, easy access to convenient foods and things like technology making kids more sedentary. A decade or two ago, children would be running around outside, playing on their bikes and being active to curb boredom. These days, they can access the world at their fingertips using their phones, computers or TV. One of the best things you can do to promote good health in children is to make it fun. Encourage them to prepare healthy meals with you, choose good ingredients while shopping and even grow some of your own foods together. Make exercise enjoyable- hire a bouncy castle on a summer’s weekend or purchase a trampoline. Have water fights and play active games together. Go on family hikes and bike rides together , which are great for bonding as well as getting in some all-important exercise. When it’s fun, kids are more likely to get on board, and eventually healthy living will become an ingrained habit. It allows them to make healthy choices for themselves as they get older, which can set them up for success in their life in future.

Invest in Their Education

Being well educated can give you so many more opportunities in life. It means you can apply for better jobs, get on a good career path and have the ability to earn money, which can give you financial freedom and a much more comfortable lifestyle. Making sure they get access to good education, and encouraging a love of learning are two of the very best things you can do for your child’s future. Studies have found that the quality of education that children receive has more of an influence than gender or even their family’s income. Your child’s attitude, their friends and peers, their knowledge and job prospects for the future will all be influenced by the school you pick. On top of finding a good school, you could focus on their education in other ways. Take them on educational trips such as to museums and galleries. Teach them around the home about nutrition, cooking, baking, DIY and crafts for example. Take them camping, fishing, teach them map reading and orienteering, and introduce them to lots of extracurricular activities, such as sports and exercise. There’s much more to learn in life that just what’s in school textbooks. Giving them a thirst for knowledge and a love of learning are so beneficial.

Think About Where You Will Live

You child’s home and school life are incredibly important, but they will also be influenced by the place that they live. Somewhere rife with poverty, crime and unemployment, for example, is never going to be the most positive environment for your child to grow up in. Of course, they can still do well and better their lives, but dysfunction can seem normal to them when they’re surrounded by it. If it’s in your power to move to a nicer area to better yours and your child’s life, then take that opportunity. Look for somewhere with good resources: activities for youth, high employment levels and good education.  Even a small apartment or HDB resale in a nice area would be beneficial compared with a larger house in an area that isn’t great. It’s certainly something to take into consideration when you’re looking for a place to rent or own.

Take Discipline Seriously

Being a parent isn’t just about providing for your child and giving them everything they need. It’s about equipping them with the skills and knowledge they need to be a successful member of society. This allows them to form lasting relationships and friendships, and become a well-rounded individual who can navigate life feeling happy and secure. One thing that can help children is discipline. Discipline allows your child to become civilized in society; it’s not all about punishment. It’s a way of teaching that allows them to learn from mistakes without repeating them, and giving them the cognitive tools to be able to learn better behavior and do better next time around.  It’s about being clear on the rules and boundaries. It’s about accepting that they won’t be perfect, but acknowledging that all behavior has consequences–positive and negative. Children crave attention, rules and boundaries; they thrive when they know what it is they can and can’t do– even if they do push their boundaries at times. Remain firm but fair, and any punishment should reflect the severity of what they have done as well as their age and understanding. For example, very young children throwing tantrums aren’t going to understand or benefit from long time- outs or revoking of certain privileges.

Work on Their Self-Esteem

Again, parenting is about equipping children with the skills and understanding they need to get through life independently. And self-esteem and confidence is an essential asset. When you’re confident in yourself and your abilities, you aren’t held back from trying new things. You can smile in the face of adversity and know that even if you fail, you can keep at it until you eventually reach your goal. Children need to know that it’s ok to fail or go wrong, but that sticking with it means they will eventually achieve their goal and be proud of themselves when they do. Children with good levels of confidence and self esteem tend to be happier and more optimistic compared with those who don’t. Children with low self-esteem find challenges to be frustrating and can be a huge source of anxiety for them.  Praise your child’s accomplishments, and let them work out things themselves. For example, instead of doing everything for them, let them try themselves until they work out a solution. When playing a game, don’t let them win every time- that way when they do win, it will be well earned and they can feel proud of their accomplishments. It’s easy to want to give them everything they want, but understanding that not everything will go their way, and how to be a gracious loser when they don’t, is a fantastic skill to have. Be aware of your own words and behavior too. Criticizing yourself, others or your child can stick with them; remain upbeat and positive and realistic when things go wrong.

Teach Them the Importance of Respect

When we respect others, it shows that we value another as an individual. Respect allows us to honor the personal rights of other humans and allows them to keep their dignity. Because kids aren’t born with the ability to respect others, it’s something that as parents we have to teach them. Babies learn to manipulate the world they live in to get their needs met, so as they mature into a little person, it’s important to show them that this isn’t something they can do later on in their lives. They have to learn to respect their elders and those in a position of authority such as police and teachers. They need to be taught how to share with siblings and peers. They have to understand that sometimes they have to be patient and wait their turn for the things that they want. These are difficult lessons to learn as a child, and aren’t always things that they will thank you for in the moment! However they’re important things to understand and are crucial if they’re going to go on and be successful adults. You don’t have to be your child’s friend- you’re their teacher and guide!

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