Introducing Responsibilities to Your Children

 

Introducing Responsibility at Appropriate Ages

As a parent, one of the most daunting tasks is preparing your child to be an adult. This requires a forward-thinking attitude, confidence, and an ability to trust and support your kids without doing so in a way that earns you that dreaded “helicopter parent” label.

Here are a few common responsibilities that children are given as well as a suggested time and manner in which to introduce them.

Getting Their First Phone

Smartphones are part of the modern lifestyle. They help with everything from receiving messages to keeping track of the time, the weather, and even your health. Tech titan Bill Gates waited until his kids were 14 years old to get their first smartphones. Even so, in 2016, the average age that a kid got their first smartphone was 10.3 years old

Why the discrepancy? Because the primary factor behind when to give your child a smartphone doesn’t have to do with age. It revolves around maturity. This can be tough, as denying your child their phone can be difficult when all of their friends already have one. 

Nevertheless, it’s important to consider if your child is responsible and trustworthy enough to have full access to the internet, text messaging, and all of the tools that come with a fully-operational phone. If you feel this isn’t the case, you don’t necessarily have to deny them any phone at all. There are kid-friendly phones and apps available that enable you to introduce your child to a smartphone without giving them critical things like unfettered internet or social media access. 

Handling Their Finances

The way that you handle money can make or break your lifestyle. As such, it’s an essential part of preparing a child for their future. 

Nevertheless, you don’t want to simply hand over the user ID and password for your online bank portal or your E*TRADE account and then leave your kids to figure things out in real-time. It’s important to introduce money concepts slowly, starting at a young age. 

For instance, when your kids are in elementary and middle school, you can begin giving them small jobs that they can use to earn an allowance. This helps them begin to understand concepts like bringing in an income as well as saving and spending their money. If you would like to teach your child a higher degree of responsibility with their money, there are debit cards made specifically for kids that can receive regular allowance, allow you to give bonuses for extra chores, help them to save up for specific items, and more.

Once your child is in high school, you can increase the stakes over time. For instance, you can:

  • Help them establish their budget as their income and expenses increase.
  • Open up a credit card with your child as an authorized user before they turn 18 so that they can learn to handle credit with you by their side.
  • Explain to them how to set aside cash for taxes and save up money for a car or college.

Finances are best introduced by slowly increasing your child’s involvement and responsibilities throughout their young lives. This way, they can be more prepared for adult experiences like getting their first job.

Landing Their First Job

Most Americans agree that a child is ready for their first job around 15 to 16 years old. Much like a smartphone, though, you should consider your child’s maturity level, as well as their current time commitments and work load.

It is a parent’s duty to shepherd their child into their first job with support and advice. This will allow them to handle a myriad of different responsibilities, from showing up on time to being a team player, managing work-life balance, and maintaining commitments. 

Being Responsible for Your Child’s Responsibilities

Responsibilities are a critical part of the maturation process — for adults and children alike. Part of your parenting journey revolves around the ability to take ownership over the job of introducing responsibilities to your children at the right ages.

So make a list of responsibilities, like those listed above, that you want to teach your child. Then consider when each one should be introduced, so that you’re ready to handle each item when the time comes.


 Author's Bio

Jori Hamilton is an experienced writer residing in the Northwestern U.S. She covers a wide range of subjects but takes a particular interest in covering topics related to child development, health and wellness, mindfulness, and productivity. To learn more about Jori, you can follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn

The LifeBook Program

 

One of A Family For Every Child’s many programs is the Lifebook Program, which provides special photo album scrapbooks that are put together for foster children.

Life Books and Welcome Books

A LifeBook is a meaningful collection of pictures and memorabilia designed for foster children. These scrapbooks are typically made of 8.5 x 11 pages that are compiled in an album or binder after being decorated with pictures and mementos from the child’s life. These scrapbooks are able to explain the story of the child’s birth, information about their birth parents, and the reason for their separation. The pages also include important moments of their life and adoption.

A Welcome Book is a wonderful resource that helps introduce an adopted child to their new family. These scrapbooks, which are usually made of 8 x 8 pages, help the newly adopted child become familiar with the things they will encounter as a part of this family. The family is able to introduce themselves to the adopted child through this album by including information and pictures about family members, relatives, pets, the kid’s bedroom, the house, and their school.

These books are a free resource for parents or caseworkers who would like to put one together for a foster child. When a caseworker or parent requests a book, a Lifebook co-coordinator gathers together a collection of pages that have been made by volunteers. The pages are hand-selected according to the personality and preferences of the child. The pages are then mailed off to the parent or caseworker who puts the pages together with pictures before giving the book to the child.

Impacts

These special photo album scrapbooks can make a unique impact on the children who receive them. They have the ability to explain hard things to the child, such as how they entered the foster program and into an adopted family. It is an opportunity to give the child information about their birth parents that they may otherwise not know. These scrapbooks can also help the child understand and become comfortable with the vocabulary associated with the foster program and adoption. Because most of the children receiving these books don’t have many pictures of themselves, these scrapbooks can give the child a special sense of security, stability and a positive identity.

Best of all, these scrapbooks are visible reminders of the important events in a child’s life and provide special memories that they can always look back on. In preserving these life stories, they also provide a wonderful way for a found family to acknowledge and honor the life that the child has had before coming into their home. Space is left at the end of the book to allow the child to look forward to a future of making new memories with their found family.

Volunteer Opportunities 

Volunteers can help out with the Lifebook program in several ways:

Donations of scrapbooking supplies are welcome. Some supplies such as stamps or punches cannot be used, but other items such as paper, stickers and adhesives are welcome and needed.

Because these scrapbooks are a free resource to parents and caseworkers, monetary donations are also welcome. These monetary donations can ensure that a parent or caseworker will not have to pay for postage when the scrapbook pages get shipped. If you are interested in making a cash donation, please make sure that you designate the donation for the Life and Welcome Books so that it can be sure to be used for this purpose.

Volunteers can also be involved in helping make the scrapbook pages. To get involved and to find out how to deliver the pages to AFFEC, you can contact a Lifebook Co-Coordinator. These pages do not need to be elaborate, as they need to have room for pictures and the kids’ own personalization. The scrapbook pages are created in a variety of categories including: babies, girls and boys, brothers and sisters, grandparents, parents, birthdays, holidays, seasons, school, sports, pets, faith, new rooms or places in a house, friends and more.

More Information

For more information, follow these links to learn more about:

The Lifebook Program

Ways to donate to this program

How to request a Lifebook

 

You can also contact a LifeBook Co-Coordinator:

 Gail VanGundy

 Lifebook Co-Coordinator

 541-525-3500 (call or text)

Lifebook@afamilyforeverychild.org

It’s Not Just COVID-19: Keeping Your Kids Healthy This Winter

 

Let’s face it: Parenting has always been scary. But it’s especially so when you’re trying to keep your little ones safe in the face of a pandemic. You’d do anything to protect them. But while the world’s attention may be focused on COVID-19, there are other, perhaps even more significant health threats, parents need to guard against.

Influenza

It might come as a surprise, but COVID-19 and the seasonal flu share some similarities. Both are infections that can easily be spread through respiratory droplets from coughing, sneezing, and even breathing and speaking near others. 

As frightening as COVID-19 may be, it seems to be the seasonal flu that poses the greatest risk to children in particular, especially those under 5. While children are by no means immune to the coronavirus or its severest complications, they appear to be far less susceptible to the worst impacts of the disease than are adults. 

For the flu, though, children don’t seem to enjoy such protections, which is why an annual flu shot is strongly recommended for almost all children. For children six months and older, the flu shot is generally safe and effective, not only protecting them from potentially life-threatening flu but also possibly adding a layer of protection against the coronavirus.

Common Viral Infections

Every parent knows that children are little Petri dishes on two feet. Several common childhood viruses can pose particular threats to your child. Luckily, modern medicine has given us quite a few effective means of preventing many of them: vaccinations and antibiotics.

Measles, chickenpox, and viral meningitis are especially worrying both because of their severity and because of their easy community spread. A single outbreak in a school or amusement parks, for instance, can rapidly infect dozens or even hundreds of children. 

The good news is that there are safe and effective vaccines to prevent many of these illnesses, particularly measles and chickenpox. The bad news is that, in the face of the national lockdowns and widespread fears of the coronavirus, many parents are delaying or even skipping life-saving childhood immunizations entirely.

This is a dangerous situation because these viral infections can’t just be cured with a simple antibiotic. In fact, antibiotics are not effective for viruses at all. Antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infections. That common misconception has not only led to overprescription of antibiotics but also the emergence of dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections, such as MRSA.  

For viral infections though, there are few therapies, other than a handful of antiviral medications, that can be used to treat the symptoms. This is what makes prevention so crucial, from ensuring that your children are up to date on all their vaccinations, including the annual flu shot to practicing impeccable hygiene. This means washing your hands often and keeping surfaces sanitized in order to prevent the proliferation of microbes. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends handwashing as one of the most important means of preventing the spread of COVID. This goes for most other infections.

Healthy Mind, Heart, and Body

Protecting your children’s health, though, is about more than trying to shield them from infection. It’s also about protecting their hearts and minds in this frightening time. So even as you and your little ones are wearing your masks, social distancing, washing your hands, and getting your vaccines and other essential care, don’t forget emotional care

If the pandemic is scary for you, imagine how much more so it is for young ones. Remember that they’re taking their cues from you. Model calm and teach your children how to manage stress and anxiety, but let your children know it’s okay and normal to be scared, to have worries and questions. 

And then show your children how to deal with those emotions. Give them a safe, calm space. Perhaps provide older children with a journal where they can freely express their fears and frustrations. Above all, don’t forget to give yourself the same gift, because to take care of them, you also have to take care of yourself.

The Takeaway

In the last few months, COVID-19 has come to dominate our world. But when it comes to keeping our children healthy, there are other threats we must keep in mind. Fortunately, as parents, we’re far from powerless. The key is not to let the fear of the virus distract you from the many different kinds of care your child needs and deserves.


Author's Bio

Jori Hamilton is an experienced writer residing in the Northwestern U.S. She covers a wide range of subjects but takes a particular interest in covering topics related to child development, health and wellness, mindfulness, and productivity. To learn more about Jori, you can follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn

Teaching Your Child Mindfulness

 

Mindfulness has become a bit of a ‘buzzword’ in the mental health community. But, it’s for a good reason. It is a technique that is used to help with everything from anxiety to overwhelming stress. It can be especially helpful when it comes to easing the anxiety of children who may have gone through some type of trauma or stressful situation. 

One of the strategies of self-regulation that counselors use is promoting self-awareness. Mindfulness and self-regulation are closely related in that regard, as the practice allows your child to stop, breathe, and focus on the present moment rather than the past or future. 

Teaching your child how to be more mindful in their everyday lives shows them that their mental health is important and should be taken care of. It is a valuable life lesson that they can take with them well into adulthood to better manage stress or anything the world might throw their way. 

Why is Mindfulness Important? 

Up to 80% of children in the foster system have mental health conditions of some kind. Even after getting adopted, children can still deal with mental health issues for years to come. In some cases, things like counseling or therapy are the best options. But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can help your child with at home that will allow them to better manage some of their symptoms. 

That’s why mindfulness is so important. 

Because mindfulness focuses on the present, it can allow your child to let go of the things in the past that hurt them or that they might be scared of. There are both physical and mental benefits of practicing mindfulness. Some of the physical benefits include: 

Reduced symptoms of stress

Reduced pain

Reduced sleep issues

Reduced gastrointestinal problems

From a mental or emotional standpoint, mindfulness can help your child to practice more self-control, become more adaptable, and improve their mental clarity. It is a technique that can and should be used in moments that feel too overwhelming to handle. 

Techniques You Can Teach Your Child

Simply put, mindfulness is about focusing on breathing and the present moment in the world around you. When you are practicing mindfulness, everything from the past and future goes away. 

One way to express this to your child is to tell them to imagine their thoughts as clouds floating above them. The clouds can pass through freely (meaning, it’s okay to let those thoughts come in), but you cannot hang onto them. The thoughts eventually disappear. The result is typically a more relaxed state where worries of the past or future don’t feel so overwhelming. 

Belly breathing is another great mindfulness technique. You can begin by having your child take a moment to notice their breath, its pace, what it feels like. Then, have them lay down and place one hand on their chest and one on their belly. As they inhale, they want to fill up their belly like a balloon and as they exhale they can allow the balloon to deflate. Since our breath often tends to stay up in our chest, this way of breathing may feel counterintuitive. However, it is shown to trigger a relaxation response in the body.

If your child has mastered this technique, you can encourage them to practice counting while they breathe: in through the nose for 4, hold for 4, and slowly let the air out of their belly and chest for 8. 

5, 4, 3, 2, 1 is another engaging mindfulness activity to practice. Take turns naming five things you can see, four you can touch, three you can hear, two you can smell, and one you can taste.

Lastly, there are tons of free guided meditations you can access online! Taking some time out of the day to listen to one of these together is a great way to encourage regular mindfulness.

Creating the Best Environment

While the practice of mindfulness can be done anywhere, it’s a good idea to set your child up for success with the right environment. For example, studies have shown that being out in nature can improve mental health and reduce stress. Or, you can bring nature into your home by creating a special spot or room for relaxation. Adding plants to any room in your house can promote mental health by: 

Increasing creativity

Boosting focus

Strengthening memory

Decreasing stress and anxiety

Boosting mood

Having a specific area where your child can close their eyes, focus on their breathing, and stay in tune with the present can make the practice of mindfulness easier for them. It only takes a few minutes a day to get into the mindfulness mindset, and it is a skill that will be helpful to them throughout their lives. So, share the importance of mindfulness with your child and guide them through the best techniques to make it a habit.

 

Author's Bio

Jori Hamilton is an experienced writer residing in the Northwestern U.S. She covers a wide range of subjects but takes a particular interest in covering topics related to child development, health and wellness, mindfulness, and productivity. To learn more about Jori, you can follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn 

 

How to Talk With Your Child About the Pandemic and Ease Their Fears

 

It’s normal to feel uncertain, confused, and even scared by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CDC has even released a list of people/groups who respond more strongly to the stress of a crisis. That list includes children and teens. 

Even if you, yourself, are feeling uncertain and scared, it’s important to talk to your child about their fears regarding the pandemic. Talking to your children about their health can (and should) start at a young age, no matter the state of the world, using appropriate language for that age. By having open communication about their health and starting those conversations early, you can encourage them to make lasting healthy habits. 

It’s also important to talk to them about the state of the world. Children may see things on television or hear things from other people and get scared. As their parent, knowing how to appropriately discuss what is happening can ease those fears and keep them safe at the same time. 

So, how can you talk with your child about the pandemic? 

Making Sure Your Child Understands What’s Going On

It’s easy for the ever-changing situation surrounding this pandemic to be confusing and scary for adults. So, imagine how your child might feel if they’re only getting bits and pieces of information. 

Making sure they have the right information can help to alleviate those fears. Again, using age-appropriate language is key, but don’t be afraid to tell your child about some of the realities that are happening. Let them know that it is okay for them to feel a certain way, because everyone responds to COVID-19 in their own way

For children, things like social isolation and not seeing their friends can be especially difficult, so it’s important to talk to them about why those measures are being put in place. You can also discuss how the pandemic is impacting other people, including senior citizens, children in foster care, businesses, and in-person events. You may be able to turn your child’s fears into motivation and find ways you can serve your community as a family. 

Keeping Them Safe

In addition to understanding what the pandemic is, your child needs to know how to stay safe and healthy during this time. 

Currently, most states have different rules and orders in place regarding the safety of children, and as the school year draws nearer, districts are already taking extra precautions. Some are opening virtually, while others are doing a combination of eLearning and in-person. Some schools, however, are opening fully in-person. Whether your child is school-age or not, it’s important that they know how to stay safe. So, before they go to school, preschool, or a playgroup, be sure they know how to: 

Wear a mask

Wash their hands

Practice proper hygiene when sneezing/coughing

Social distancing is difficult for children, but it’s still a good idea to teach your child that practice, as well. When you tell them it is about their health and wellbeing and that you want to keep them safe, they will be more likely to listen and feel less worried about possibly getting sick. 

Ways to Adapt to a “New Normal” 

One of the best ways to ease some of your child’s uncertainties and fears is to keep things as normal as possible. That might feel next to impossible right now. But, there are ways in which you can ease your child’s anxiety that can be done safely, either from the comfort of your own home or outside. Some of those techniques include: 

Giving them a “safe space” within the house when they feel scared

Encouraging them to write their feelings in a journal

Continuing to “talk it out” if they are worried or confused

Getting outside and exercising with your child is also a great way to assuage some of their fears while making sure they stay physically healthy, too. Most kids love being outside and staying active. So, whether you’re cycling around the neighborhood or going to their favorite park, letting your child be your “workout buddy” will have benefits for both of you. Plus, it can provide a welcome distraction to the uncertainty we seem to be living in. 

Keep talking to your child, and be ready to answer the hard questions. By offering consistent reassurance, you can help to keep your child healthy mentally healthy and limit their fears. 

 

Author's Bio

Jori Hamilton is an experienced writer residing in the Northwestern U.S. She covers a wide range of subjects but takes a particular interest in covering topics related to child development, health and wellness, mindfulness, and productivity. To learn more about Jori, you can follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn 

Benefits For a Child in Foster Care

 

If you’re fostering a child, you may be wondering if they are eligible for any additional assistance. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers monthly benefits for both people with disabilities and dependent children living with adults on Social Security, disability, or retirement. If your family meets eligibility criteria, you may receive additional payments to cover medical expenses, childcare, housing costs, and any other daily living needs for your foster child.

Foster Children With Disabilities

If your foster child has a disability like autism, vision loss, cerebral palsy, or many other disabilities, they may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income, or SSI benefits. SSI benefits are awarded to people of all ages, but there are strict financial limitations that come along with SSI. If you or your spouse earns a decent living, a foster child will not be eligible for SSI benefits even with the most severe disabilities.

The smaller your family, the lower your income limit will be for SSI benefits for a child. A family of five could earn up to $58,000 per year, but a single parent could only make $39,000 before taxes and still qualify. You can view a chart on the SSA’s website to determine if your child will qualify based on your income.

If You’re On Disability or Retirement

If you’re currently receiving benefits from the SSA, you likely already know about auxiliary benefits. Auxiliary benefits are awarded to people who are on Social Security who have dependent family members who could use supplemental income. There is no household income limit for auxiliary benefits, but there are strict criteria that must be met in order for a foster child to qualify.

First off, a foster child must be under age 18 and have been living with you for at least one year to be eligible. Additionally, one of the following criteria must be true for your child to be eligible for benefits under your account:

The child’s parents are deceased
The child’s parents are both disabled
You legally adopt your foster child

This unfortunately means that it can be very challenging for foster children to qualify for auxiliary benefits if the parents are still in the picture, but it is a good option for many families that do meet the eligibility criteria.

Starting An Application

If you’re applying for SSI benefits on behalf of a foster child or if you’re trying to add a foster child to your own beneficiary records, you’ll need to do so in person at your closest Social Security office. To make an appointment to apply in person, call the SSA toll free at 1-800-772-1213. Once you receive your benefits, you can focus on what’s really important: your foster child’s well being.

Helpful Resources

SSA: https://www.ssa.gov/

SSI: https://www.disabilitybenefitscenter.org/supplemental-security-income/how-to-qualify

SSI Income For Children: https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/text-child-ussi.htm

SSA Offices: https://www.ssa.gov/locator/

Supporting Our Communities: How to assist foster kids during the pandemic

 

Over the course of this year, COVID-19 has changed life as we know it. Virtually no corner of the world will be left untouched by this experience. Yet, its impact varies dramatically, even in our own country. The coronavirus has highlighted many inequalities across the U.S., as disenfranchised communities struggle to deal with the consequences of the virus both physically and economically. Among these hard hit groups are our children currently in the foster care system. 

The coronavirus has drastically slowed down the process of transitioning children out of foster care and into forever families. A shutdown of government offices and facilities along with the modification of certain aspects of the foster/adoption process such as homestudies, family visits, and traveling across state has caused huge delays and left many children waiting in limbo. Although not everyone is in a position to foster or adopt at this time, there are still a number of ways to provide support for children facing further hardship due to the pandemic.

My NeighbOR

My NeighbOR is a collaboration between Every Child Oregon and the DHS. It aims to provide community goods and services to foster families and youth in foster care. This team has created an emergency response system which reaches out into the community for requests, donations, and delivery drivers. 

On their website, you will find ways to provide supplies, purchase a gift card, or give funds to help meet the needs of foster families across the state. My NeighbOR is also looking for community members who are willing to follow their safety precautions and assist in delivering these items to waiting families. By the end of March, more than 440 donors had stepped up to help. My NeighbOR was able to set up 44 drop-off/pick-up sites but more is still to be done. If you or someone you know is interested and able to help support My NeighbOR, click here to learn more.

One Simple Wish

One Simple Wish provides an easy and personal way to send support to children in the foster care system nationwide. Their website features hundreds of “wishes” submitted on behalf of foster children that you can grant with just the click of a button. The site provides the name of the wisher, what they would like, why, and how much it will cost. Options vary from a remote control car to a brand new bike. They can be as low as a 5 dollar gift to as much as you’re able to give. 

To help, you can look through these wishes to find something that will bring joy to a deserving child during this challenging moment in their life. You can also go straight to their page titled COVID-19 Response to donate to their coronavirus fund. This fund provides things like laptops and other educational tools for remote learning, groceries, gas cards, medical supplies not covered by insurance, and so much more.

With Love

Since 2013, With Love has been working in Portland and the surrounding area to provide foster children age 0-6 with resources that will help meet their needs. They aim to create a nurturing hopeful environment during what is an incredibly tumultuous time in these children's lives. Items such as diapers, car seats, clothes, and toys are delivered to over 120 foster families each month and they are looking to provide even more support during the current pandemic

With Love is encouraging community members to help in a handful of ways. In order to make every dollar count, they buy many of their items in bulk and always appreciate any amount of financial contribution. You can also find their Amazon registry and choose which items you would like to send to waiting foster families. Lastly, With Love accepts gift cards, which can be a huge help to a number of families. Even if you find yourself unable to donate presently, there is a simple way to provide support for With Love and all the lives they touch: spread the word! Post on Facebook, tell a friend, write a tweet. Getting the word out there can be just as important as any donation.

Child Workout Buddies: How to Exercise With Your Kids

 

For many parents and kids, the exercise they get is minimal. Parents usually try to squeeze exercise in their schedule while the kids are in school. A lot of children do not get enough exercise throughout their day either. Be it because of other responsibilities or because working out is not a habit for most people, lack of physical activity is definitely affecting both parents and children. But with just a bit of effort and initiative from the parents’ side, children can grow into happy and healthy people. 

To make this change, first look closely at your exercise and diet habits. Are they matching the ideal you would like to teach your kids? You are your children’s biggest model, so if you are not setting the example, they are not very likely to pick up new healthy habits. It is also important not to push them or order them to do a specific exercise every day. Insisting that they become more active and controlling how they do so is only going to create a bigger aversion towards any physical activity. You have to be both patient and active if you want your children to be as well.  

Go for a walk

Walking is a great form of exercise for kids. They may not be strong enough to plank for one minute, but they can walk for a long time. The best time to go for a walk is around dinner, because evening walks will result in a night of better sleep for both of you. If you have an older child, they may be interested in riding their scooters, tricycles, or skateboards while you are out for your walk, but that is also good, the more exercise both of you get in, the better. 

Run with your kids

Running is terrific exercise for kids. By including your kids in your running routine, they will be more likely to pick up the practice. Here are some tips on how to make running fun for your children.

Since they are filled with energy, you may even feel like they are the ones setting mileage and pace. Running requires a lot of energy and burns a lot of fat which makes it a great way to regulate your child’s health and keep their bodies active. Studies also show that exercise can aid in falling asleep and boost sleep quality which means you might find that your child sleeps like a baby again!   

Additionally, running is one of the greatest stress relievers you can find and is a great way to manage depression and mental health. If you sense that your child is anxious or stressed, going for a run with them may help a lot, especially if you are running outside. There is something magical about combining exercise and nature. If you notice your child struggling with their mental health, a regular run could be just what they need to help them process their thoughts and emotions.

Yoga

Yoga is one of the most relaxing exercises, and it can bring a lot of benefits to both you and your kids. One thing in particular that yoga can help kids with is developing body awareness. Many kids tend to struggle with their body image at a very young age, especially when other mental health issues are present, such as depression or stress. Yoga is an exercise which will bring them strength while teaching them how to use their body in a healthy way. It also increases confidence and self-esteem, which will reflect in every area of their life.

Dance it out

You may think that a home dance session could not count as a form of exercise, but you would be wrong. Blast your music and start jumping around and dancing with your kid, and you will see how out of breath you can get. It is actually a great cardiovascular exercise, and you will notice how happy your child will be while you are dancing like crazy. Jumping to the music increases their mood and makes them extra exhausted and eager to hit the sack. 

Apart from improving their physical and mental health, exercising together is also an excellent opportunity to bond with your child and talk about anything and everything. After making it your daily habit, they will be looking forward to your exercise every day. Having a workout buddy in your kid means always having company and a great source of motivation. 

 

Author Bio

Noah Markin is the editor in chief @Runnerclick.com. He loves lifting all kinds of heavy objects. 

Myths About Adopting Teenagers in Foster Care

Creating a supportive environment for children can help them handle the stresses of growing up and provide tools for maintaining mental health. 

 

The benefits of a loving and supportive family are clearly established. Yet, misconceptions and stereotypes surrounding the adoption of older children and teenagers in foster care mean that they often face more challenges during the adoption process compared to younger children. Ensuring that these false impressions are addressed is essential to ensuring that barriers to adoption, especially of older children and teenagers, are reduced. Here are five common misconceptions about adopting older children.

Adoption is Too Expensive

Adoption from foster care tends to be less expensive than adopting via a private agency. Although it is state-dependent, the small costs involved are often reimbursable and support is also available to help ease the financial burden involved with adoption. In cases of adoption where the child is over five (including teenagers), from a minority background, or from a sibling group, the adoptive family may also qualify for additional financial support.

Adopt US Kids has much information for each state.

Teenagers Don't Want to Be Adopted

When a child enters the foster care system, it is always intended to be a temporary measure. For many children, the goal is to be reunited with their biological families. However, for about 25 percent of all children in the foster care system, reunification is ruled out as an option. Their aim then becomes finding a home through adoption.

For some older children and teenagers, their past experiences can make them distrusting of adults. However, regardless of their age, this doesn’t mean that they don’t want to be adopted. Ultimately, all children (including teenagers), want a loving, stable family and a permanent home they can call their own.

Twenty-three thousand teenagers leave foster care at 18 without ever finding a permanent family, according to Good Housekeeping.

Teenagers Won't Form Attachments

Teenagers may find it initially harder to create attachments, often as a result of their previous experiences either whilst in foster care, or those which led to them being placed in foster care in the first place. 

Every child wants to form attachments, irrespective of their age. It may be more challenging with an older child, but it is amazing what a consistent, safe, and loving environment can provide for a child. It may take time and support, but even teenagers will be able to form positive attachments to their new family.

Child Welfare says that many areas of the brain, like the parts responsible for empathy, are developing rapidly during adolescence. 

Adopting Teens is Less Rewarding

Some people mistakenly think that by adopting an older child or teenagers, they will be unable to create a rewarding and long-lasting bond. However, the bond between a parent and child doesn’t cease to exist when a child turns 18 or begins to live alone. In fact, teenagers and older children benefit greatly from having a loving and supportive family. 

The bond between parent and child, and the comfort and care a family provides, lasts a lifetime.  Supporting a teenager as they navigate through the transitions from adolescence into adulthood can be extremely rewarding. Your experience and support will help them to overcome the challenges they face as they become young adults. By providing a teenager with a stable home, you will be giving them the foundations they need to become successful adults and build a lasting connection with that child.

Again, according to Good Housekeeping, only 2 percent of the children who leave foster care without a permanent family will go on to attain college education, so when you provide a teenager with this stability, it is very valuable.

Teens Have Behavioral and Mental Health Problems

Children who have been placed into the foster care system are usually there, regardless of their age, due to the actions of their biological parents or legal guardians. Most often this is due to abuse or neglect. This does mean that, for most children, they will suffer from some form of trauma -  separation from the birth family alone is trauma, after all. 70.4 percent of this study’s sample had suffered trauma. Each child will have their own story and some may need professional intervention to help them to overcome their past experiences and successfully move on. Yet others may simply need consistency and support. Each child, however, is deserving of a loving home and family.


Author Bio

Beatrice specializes in a variety of topics and is a professional copywriter at Dissertation Help and Academicbrits.com. She is always keen and open to share her personal experience at Phdkingdom.com and offer advice and support to others. Beatrice enjoys working with beginner writers, helping them to develop their skills and supporting them to create content that sells.

Tips for Easing Child Anxiety

Creating a supportive environment for children can help them handle the stresses of growing up and provide tools for maintaining mental health. 

 

Is your child withdrawn and glum on most days? Have you noticed a drastic fall in their grades? Have they lost interest in activities that they loved in the past? Do they get increasingly cranky and aggressive? Are the mood swings hampering their everyday routine? There is a chance that your child is suffering from mental health issues. Anxiety and depression in kids are widespread these days. 

Children are often malleable, gullible, and innocent of the ways of the world. Peers, teachers, and families are some significant influences in a kid’s life. It is, therefore, imperative for parents to create a healthy and holistic environment for their children. You will want to protect your young one from all the pain and suffering of the world, but that is not how they grow up to be mature members of society. Develop a transparent and trusting bond with your kids. Here are some tips to ease anxiety in children:

Create a Safe Space 

Children instinctively learn to imitate their parents and adopt their mannerisms. Young ones are especially impressionable; they are more likely to develop toxic behavior patterns and perceptions based on what they see at home. From the relationship between the parents to the lifestyle choices you have - children observe everything. 

Some children in foster care have also experienced abuse - both physical and mental - from their peers and elders. Create a safe space for your kid; teach them the right words to express their emotions. They should feel comfortable talking to you about their troubles. 

Encourage Them to Maintain a Journal

Sometimes, kids are not comfortable talking about their troubles. It might be something as simple as getting a bad grade, but children often find it easier to express their emotions through other mediums. If your child is unwilling to discuss their issues with you, then encourage them to write it out. Maintaining a journal or diary is a very intimate process. It helps them catalog their day, keep a check on their thoughts, and record their reactions to things in a systematic way. Journals are also spaces where one can be truthful.

Having an outlet for emotions is very important. Kids, in particular, must be taught the value of letting their feelings out. Suppressing them would only add on to the trauma and manifest itself in unhealthy ways. Motivate your child to paint, dance, write poetry, play an instrument, sing - art is the ultimate healer of the heart.  

Talk it Out

Often, a good conversation is all it takes for your child to open up. It can be anything from bad grades to bullying - the life of a child is not all rainbows and sunshine. Believe in your child; validate and treat their concerns with the utmost seriousness. It takes real effort to build that sense of trust. 

Diet and Exercise

One of the quickest ways to battle anxiety is to practice deep breathing exercises. Ask your child to take a long deep breath through the nose. Follow this pattern the next time you notice them getting worked up. Yoga, meditation, and pranayama also work wonders when it comes to calming the mind. 

Physical exercises, light workout regimes, or any sports activities also help release the pent-up energy in kids. Enroll your children in activities that interest them, but ensure that you don’t fill up their entire day. Encouraging kids to follow a balanced diet, eat their veggies, and exercise regularly contribute to their holistic development. 

Give Them Space

Kids grow up pretty quickly. It might seem like just yesterday when you helped your toddler take their first steps. Now they’re ready for their classes and dances and numerous other activities. As parents, you need to accept that your child has grown up. You are no longer the center of their universe. That doesn’t mean that your value has in any way decreased. Look out for your young one. Keep an eye out on the kind of company they are keeping. But don’t try to impose your authority on them. Instead, try to gently but firmly explain the ways of the world. 

Also, respect their privacy and sense of individuality. If your child needs help or feels comfortable approaching you, they will. There is a fine line between protecting and pampering. Don’t smother them with your affection. Encourage them to be self-reliant. Work on your relationship, earn their respect, treat them like responsible individuals. Having a strong sense of self-worth and a foundation of support from you can greatly reduce the anxiety they feel.


Author Bio

Mary Jones is the co-founder & editor-in-chief at TopMyGrades, which focuses on Content Marketing Strategy for clients from the Education industry in the US, Canada & UK. Mary has conducted a series of webinars for AssignmentEssayHelp as an assignment expert. She has extensive content editing experience and has worked with MSNBC, NewsCred & Scripted. She has also authored blogs on Lifehack.org, Wn.com, Medium.com, Minds.com, and many more digital publications.