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 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.   


Taking Your First Family Trip with Your Foster Child

Planning a family trip with a foster child requires planning, but it can be a great bonding and trust building opportunity. 


If a foster child has just joined your family, you may be excited about taking your very first family vacation together. As found by researchers at Penn State, all children – including teens – benefit from spending time with their parents; doing so has “important implications for adolescents’ psychological and social adjustment.” Because daily life is usually busy, a vacation is an ideal way to give children this much-needed time, but also to get to know them – their interests, passions, and unique personality traits. How can you ensure that your first vacation together has all the ingredients you need to achieve this aim?

Organization is Key

In order to travel with family peacefully and efficiently, organization is vital. If flying, ensure your children’s documents (passports, etc.) are up-to-date (if you are traveling internationally), book early so as to take advantage of cheaper airfares, and be prepared for contingencies such as lost luggage. Ask your child to pack a backpack (which they can bring on board as their hand-carried luggage) with a pair of sneakers, a change of clothes, spare medication (if they are taking any), their favorite snack, and their cherished entertainment items (including tablets and smartphones). This will ensure that if their luggage is temporarily lost, they won’t be left without important devices.  

Keep in mind that each child’s case and state laws vary. Make sure you receive all necessary permissions and consider alternatives if travel is not approved so your foster child can participate in the shared family experience.

Togetherness is the Goal

Instead of dreaming up the ‘perfect holiday’ – one that can cause financial stress or involve too many planned activities — focus on holiday types and locations that will strengthen your bond as a family. Your foster child will most likely take time to get to know you, so your first holiday should not be so jam-packed with activities that you don’t have enough time to talk. Rather than focusing on amazing sites, focus on experiences you can enjoy together. Think of ways you can converse, laugh, and create memories to be cherished many years later.

Make Nature a Priority

Nature-based vacations (think visiting the seaside or mountainside) are a fantastic way to enjoy a wide range of activities together while taking advantage of the stress-busting benefits of the Great Outdoors. One of the best things about planning a visit to a natural park or coastal area is that you don’t have to worry about purchasing tickets or catching public transport to a host of busy sites. In the midst of majestic nature, it is easier for children to communicate, enjoy physical activity, and take part in a host of adventures (think canyoning, hiking, swimming, or skiing) with your family.

A Bucket List for Everyone

Once you have decided on your destination and mode of transport (air travel, road trip, train ride, etc.), try and discover if your foster child has a dream destination or bucket list that includes sites close to where you will be traveling. Although it can sometimes be difficult from a practical point of view, allowing each family member to choose one site to visit is a great way to ensure the vacation has something for everyone. A road trip is an ideal way to accommodate disparate tastes, since you can change your mind as required, and take little detours (or even spend more or less time in a given place depending on how much fun you are having). 

The first holiday you take with your foster child can offer a wonderful opportunity to get to know each other and build wonderful memories together. To reduce stress and travel peacefully and confidently, ensure that all documentation, booking, and planning is done well in advance. Choose nature-based destinations if possible, since these invite shared activity but also offer the peace and calm that nature brings to both adults and children.

Adjusting to Having a Child with Food Allergies in Your Home

Understanding the causes, signs, and emergency recommendations for children with food allergies can help caregivers provide a safe environment. 


For those who have kids with food allergies, food is a risky experience. Their immune system labels a particular substance as dangerous and releases inordinate amounts of histamine. It can put children in danger, so they have to be careful with everything they serve on the table or keep in their home. It’s not just about avoiding peanuts or any other allergen. It’s about making the home a safe place for the kid, who can’t fully control their food choices without help from grownups.

What Is a Food Allergy?

An allergy occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly sees a harmless substance as dangerous. Even the smallest traces of the allergen can trigger an immune reaction. 

These foods cause some of the most common food allergies in children:

  • Milk (lactose
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Eggs
  • Tree nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Wheat
  • Soy

These foods are all high in protein.

How to Find Out If Your Child Has a Food Allergy

You should know that during the first exposure to allergens, the immune system may not react. Allergies can be developed. With nuts, for example, the second exposure may be more serious than the first one. 

You’ll know that your child has an allergy when you notice the symptoms. You have to be attentive when introducing new foods, so you’ll know what caused the reaction. You may want to educate yourself on how to react in case of serious symptoms. Certain tests are also available to determine what allergies your child might have and the relative severity of each one.

Be Aware of Food Allergy Symptoms

These are the common symptoms that you’ll recognize if your child is allergic to any food:

  • Trouble breathing is a very serious symptom. It occurs as a result of spasm and swelling in the airways. 
  • Swelling of the tongue and/or face (mouth, eyelids, throat, and lips). Sometimes the hands and feet may also swell. 
  • Hives, which you’ll notice by the itchy, red bumps on different areas of the skin. They may be visible on the neck, the face, or all over the body. 
  • Itchy throat and mouth may also occur as an allergic reaction. 
  • Stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea usually happen when the child is allergic to gluten or lactose. 
  • Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening condition that leads to shock. It can happen immediately after consuming the allergen, but it may also take up to two hours to develop. The condition involves several symptoms, including throat tightness, hives, swelling of the tongue and face, difficulty breathing, dizziness, lightheadedness, and unconsciousness. It’s a scary situation, but you have to stay level-headed and react ASAP!

Steps to Avoid Allergic Reactions

 1. Always read the label
If you know that your child has a food allergy, read all labels carefully. Even traces of the allergen can be dangerous.

2. Know the ingredients
When you go to a restaurant, always ask about the ingredients in the meal you plan to order. Inform the waiter that your kid has an allergy, so they will be careful. 

 3. Educate the entire family
Keep your home free of allergens and educate everyone who spends time with your kid. The kid’s teacher and friends should know about the allergy, too.  

4. Focus on safe foods
Prepare fun meals, so your kid won’t feel like they are missing out on something. 

5. Stay updated to new research findings
Kids with Food Allergies is a great source of information. You’ll find safe recipes, but you can also get informed about the latest research findings.  

6. Look for treatment
Antihistamines, decongestants, and corticosteroids are the most commonly used allergy treatments once the allergic reaction occurs. However, they are used only when allergens are ingested by mistake. The only long-term treatment is to avoid the foods that trigger reactions.

It’s Not Easy, But You Can Do This!

If your child has any kind of food allergy, you’ll have to be careful with the foods you prepare for them. You’ll patiently educate them about the foods they can eat and the ones that cause them harm. You’ll keep your home free of allergens that they can reach. If your child is allergic to peanuts, your entire family can live without them. Traces are more problematic; they can be found in common foods that we buy from the supermarket. 

You’ll have to read labels and be prepared for action if anything unexpected occurs, but you can keep your child safe, healthy, and happy. 

Author Bio

Robert Everett is a writer for EduBirdie.com. He loves researching topics related to childcare, family values, and social studies. Robert is an activist for several causes, hoping to make small contributions towards great improvements.   

The Importance of Sibling Relationships in Foster Care

Keeping siblings in care together is not always possible, but studies show the importance of maintaining these relationships. 


Adapting to life in foster care is not easy for children. They have to adjust to the new environments, caretakers, and schedules. They face limited contact with their biological families and may need to work to keep their sibling connection intact. Fear of losing siblings can lead to feelings of insecurity, depression, loneliness and anxiety. They may not openly express their feelings, so establishing trust and communication with foster parents and the family unit as early as possible is vital in a foster care setting.

Family System Theory

Family Systems Theory, also known as Bowen Theory (1999) describes patterns and relationships that are created within a family system. Foster siblings that are involved in experiencing intense emotional traumas will have different needs and expectations of their caregivers.

The theory explains the triangle of relationships among families. When children experience trauma, siblings may experience anxiety and trust issues with adults outside of their bond. Also, if they came from dysfunctional relationships in foster care, it impacts their  behavior in a new family unit. Children replicate triangular patterns of Bowen’s theory (1985) in sibling relationshiops. These may lead to less positive and more harmful impacts that may ultimately affect the role of sibling bonds in the family unit and foster care. 


Impacts Of Keeping Siblings Together

The current literature states that mental and emotional wellbeing linked to the positive implications of sibling’s relationships is the most critical benefit to foster siblings. According to Hegar & Rosenthal, 2011, children were reported to feel closer and more comfortable when living with their siblings at their foster parent’s home. Being close to a sibling improves the sense of belonging. Siblings living in different foster care units were reported to have more unstable lives.

Moreover, children that were kept with their siblings had a more positive and long-lasting relationship compared to those who were separated. Thus, placing siblings together positively impacts their relationship with each other by acting as emotional support after times of trauma and abuse.

Biological siblings who are in touch or raised together have higher self-esteem, social support, stronger relationships, and are more successful professionally as adults. Along with noted behavioral benefits, studies prove the profoundly positive impact of keeping foster kids together on academic performances along with overall behavioral and social dealing of routine issues. 


Impacts Of Separating Siblings

As mentioned above, there appear to be many behavioral and psychological benefits and issues associated with separating foster siblings. Children entering foster care due to abuse and behavioral issues may display fewer behavioral problems compared to those who are separated from their siblings.  

When children are placed in foster care systems, initial bonding with their new home and feel family is invaluable. In some cases, a strong sibling bond may actually hinder the process of adaptation. In these situations, a child may like to interact more with the sibling instead of interacting with the foster family. 

Unhealthy relationship patterns may also carry over into care. An adoptive family may be unable to protect a child from their sibling, and these are cases where separate placement may be in the best interest of both children.

“It is more likely to be tough to find the perfect family and accommodate siblings together every time,” Rosella Thomas (Foster Parent of 3 children); Management Services, Crowd Writer, said. 

Creating a stable environment for a child, even if it means placing them in separate homes, can lead to lasting benefits. Placing them as a group with accommodating and equipped family should be the first choice, though. 

Although there are multiple studies to claim that adolescent siblings act as emotional and moral support to each other while, younger siblings are unable to support each other as they need to get stable under guidance themselves. These siblings may not have a secure attachment with each other. 

Attempts To Improve Mental And Emotional Support In Foster Care

Despite individual circumstances and characteristics, the amount of access children have with their siblings plays a significant role in adjusting to the separation associated with foster care. Being attached to a foster family along with a sibling is extremely important to develop and improve their individual mental health and overall emotional support. There is no measure to check for the impact of these relationships. However, a positive approach towards patience and stability can lead to better success in an entirely new environment.

Author Bio

Stella Lincoln is a qualified child psychologist and therapist. She has worked with a number of NGO’s and specialized in foster care writing. Currently, she is working as a Psychological Counselor and Educational Guide at Academist Help.