Is Your Child Ready to Stay Home Alone?

homschool kid benefits

From the moment you lay eyes on your child, you want to keep them safe. But as they get older, it’s natural to experience anxiety as you think about leaving them home alone for the first time. Children are extremely vulnerable to predators, and the best way to protect them is to teach them how to handle potentially risky when you are not around. By following these simple guidelines, you can run errands confident that your child will stay safe, even though you’re not around.

Is your child ready to stay at home alone?

Some states have laws in place that prohibit parents from leaving their children at home unattended. For example, in Maryland the age is 8, but in Illinois, that age is 14.

If age is not restricted in your state, the next step to think about is whether your child is mature enough. Every child displays a different level of maturity, and this should be considered when deciding whether to leave them at home alone. Does your child get anxious at the thought of being left home alone? If yes, that’s a sure sign they are not quite ready yet.

Does your child know what to do in an emergency?

Write down a list of emergency numbers and advise your child to immediately call 911 if they feel that they are in any danger. You can also teach them to alert police at the touch of a button with an ADT security system or similar. Finally, make an emergency action plan with your child. By preparing them, they will be less likely to panic, and therefore stay safer.

Does your child easily trust strangers?

When you leave you child at home, there is a chance someone like the mailman or a sales representative may knock on your door. Teach your child that regardless of whether they recognize the person, they should never open the door for them. If your child answers the phone, teach them that instead of saying that you are not home, say that you are busy, but will call them back later. This alerts the person who is calling that an adult is in the home and your child will stay protected.

Sharing on social media

With geotagging more common on social media, children can now share their location with others. If your child is active on social media, explain to them that they shouldn’t share their location. That location is not only shared with friends and family—strangers can see it, too. If a stranger happens to see it, they may try to find them, with dangerous intentions in mind.


After reading this article, you may still feel hesitant about leaving your child at home alone—you may possibly feel more so. If this is the case, practice leaving the house for thirty minutes at a time, and slowly increase that period over a few weeks. You will be able to see how your child is progressing and eventually become comfortable yourself. As an added benefit, this will also help your child develop self-reliance.


Safe Swimming Tips for Big Kids


My kids and most of their friends are great swimmers. Our neighbors have a pool and my kids basically grew up in it. They’re confident in the water, and I’m confident in their abilities. But I still worry. They’re nearing that age where they won’t need parental supervision anymore, and I want to be sure they understand that the water is still dangerous even if they’re strong swimmers.

I recently found this great piece on pool safety—The Ultimate Guide to Recreational Swimming Safety. It features attention-grabbing information about the prevalence of drowning in kids up to 14 years of age. But more than anything it’s an essential reminder that even older kids need rules and structure at the pool.

Here are some tips to keep the big kids in your life safe when swimming:

Supervision is a must. I was curious so I looked online to see what other parents were recommending as a safe age to swim unsupervised. I was surprised to see that parents were suggesting anywhere from 10 – 14. Maybe my husband and I are being overly cautious, but we’ve decided not to allow our kids to swim without parental supervision until they’re at least 16. Often kids think they’re invincible and if they’re strong swimmers even more so. But you never know what can happen. We’re erring on the side of caution.

No pushing. As kids get older, it seems they think many of the pool safety rules don’t apply to them. One that I am vigilant about is no pushing. Explain to your kids and their friends that they never know how strong a swimmer someone is, and even if a child is a good swimmer, it’s easy to catch them off guard with a push. If they’re disoriented when they hit the water, it might make it difficult for their swim skills to kick in. And as notes, it’s also never okay to push someone under the water.

Make learning CPR mandatory. When they’re old enough, sign them up for a CPR class. The American Academy of Pediatrics’ suggests that kids in their high school years are ready. Like swimming, knowing CPR is a life-saving and essential skill.

No diving in shallow areas. In its piece on water safety for teens, the University of Rochester Medical Center, lists areas that can be tempting places for adolescents and teens to dive—they include above-ground pools, the shallow end of in-ground pools, and unmarked shallow water. Constantly reiterate to older kids that they should never dive in these areas. Make them aware of the dangers, which as URMC notes, include spinal cord injury, brain damage, and death.

Of course, these are great rules for kids (and adults!) to follow at any age. I try never to miss an opportunity to remind my kids how critical it is that they heed all rules when at the pool.


Patricia Sarmiento is a health and fitness blogger. She writes frequently about how to live a happy, healthy lifestyle and other health-related topics. She is a former high school and college athlete and continues to make fitness a focus in her everyday life. She lives with her family in Maryland.


Teach Them Young: Five Habits Your Kids Need to Start Now

teethAs a parent, teaching your children good habits at a young age helps them to establish positive practices later in life. It’s never too young to begin teaching your children about dental health, personal hygiene, healthy eating, sharing and helping out around the house. Of course, there are going to be periods when your child will rebel a little bit but that is just part of the growing up stages.

Teaching Dental Healthy

When your child begins to have their teeth coming in, start brushing for them. This will get them used to the routine of having their teeth brushed twice per day. If it becomes a Family Dental health affair on a daily basis, they will be more apt to catch on and want to maintain good dental health.

Personal Hygiene

Most children like getting cleaned up because it means playing in the bathtub. Keeping it fun will make the nightly routine go a little easier. As the night winds down after dinner and some relaxation, it should be concluded with a bath, teeth brushing and bed time. Getting your children into this routine in their toddler years makes it become part of their day as they continue to grow.

Healthy Eating

Kids are known to be picky. If you start them with a healthy diet young, as a baby, it will continue through the toddler years and beyond. Once your child is able to eat regular foods, start out with raw vegetables. It gets them used to the natural flavors of the vegetables. Make them part of every meal.


There are a lot of young children that have a big problem sharing whether it is toys or snacks. Once you start having play dates with other children, swap out toys for a few minutes at a time so that each child has the opportunity to play with everything. It teaches your son or daughter that sharing toys is what you’re supposed to do.

Helping Around the House

The easiest way to get your children to help out around the house is to make it fun. Have a timer set and make it a game to get the toys picked up and put away as fast as possible to win. Once they get a little older, they can learn how to vacuum, dust and do other small chores.

Instilling these values in your children at a young age makes them more willing to help and maintain healthy practices later. When you start young it is just part of them to do these small tasks. Teaching them why these small tasks are important in words they understand is also important.


Kids Going to College: Three Things a Parent Should Do

Kids Going to College THree Thins a Parent Should DoWhether your child is just entering her senior year of college or is getting ready to move into her dorm room in just a few days, you’ve probably run through the full gamete of my-kid’s-going-to-college emotions. On the one hand, you don’t want to see her go, you know you’ll worry, and you wish she would consider community college. On the other hand, having a quieter, cleaner house doesn’t seem so bad. No matter how you feel about junior hitting the road, one thing is for certain, you need to start making preparations now so you don’t end up taking care of your able-bodied college student’s stuff when your able-bodied college student isn’t around! The following are three things you can do to prepare for your child’s leaving the nest.

1. Tell your soon-to-be student to clean his room, and set a deadline!

Now that your kid is headed to college, it’s probably true that he doesn’t need everything in his room or closet. In fact, it’s likely that when he cleans it out, he’ll find more than a few Legos or Batman figures. Have him box up what he doesn’t need or want. As far as the rest of the room goes, tell your child that it has to be spotless, with clothes, electronics, and other items he won’t need during breaks boxed in storage boxes. This way you can put his things in a storage facility, de-clutter your home, and use his room as a guest room when he’s not off on break.

2. Have your child choose and take her own things to the storage facility.

Your kid is not a kid anymore. If she’s going to college, she’s probably a legal adult, so she needs to start acting like it. Teach her what life is like in the adult world by having her help you pick a storage facility online with being particularly useful, with storage facilities listed in places like Phoenix AZ storage. Help her select a good facility and calculate how much it will cost you to store her things. Finally, have her take her own items to the facility and ensure they are stored correctly.

3. Have a rummage sale, or donate unwanted items to charity.

Again, because these are your child’s things, and your child is all grown up, have him decide whether he wants to have a rummage sale or donate. However, tell him that he needs to decide by a deadline a few weeks before he leaves, or you will decide for him. If he chooses the rummage sale, let him keep the money, but insist he plan and organize the sale by himself or with his friends.


Three Outdoors Skills for Any Type of Kid

Three Outdoor Skills For Any Type of KidNo matter what type of child you have, there are three outdoor skills he should learn to stay safe and be resourceful. All kids should know how to build a fire, how to administer first aid and how to identify plants.

Making a Fire

This is a perfect opportunity to teach the basics of fire safety, while teaching your kids the value of knowing how to build a fire in an emergency when out in the wild. First, make sure your child knows never to build a fire near trees or shrubbery. Then, place rocks in a circle for a makeshift fire pit. There are a few different techniques to choose from when making a fire, such as the teepee or the log cabin. For the teepee fire, arrange twigs, paper and bits of rope in the center of kindling placed vertically in a teepee position. Use matches if you have them, supervising the whole time of course; if not, use two sticks and friction motion to create a spark.

First Aid

Teach your child the basics when it comes to first aid. To stem bleeding, apply pressure with a towel until it stops, then apply hydrogen peroxide (in the case of cuts and scrapes), antibiotic ointment and a bandage. For minor burns, use cold water or a compress to treat. For pain relief, spray antiseptic on the burn. For bee stings, apply a cold compress, pull out the stinger, put on some antihistamine cream, and elevate the affected area. This is also a good time to teach safety with outdoors tools such as butterfly knives and matches.

Plant Identification

It’s important that kids know which plants to avoid in the wild and which ones are OK. Observation is key. Tell your child to take a look at the leaves. Many things can indicate what type of plant it is, such as the number of petals, the shape of the flower, the structure and the texture. Even the smell can come in handy sometimes to determine onion plants, for instance. Poison ivy and poison oak both contain urushiol oil, which many people are allergic to. This can cause a severe rash that may spread with contact. Teach your kids to stay away from plants that feature three leaves at the end of a long, thin stem. Look at photos online and in books together to point out the many types of plants that are poisonous, especially if your area is prone to them.

Teaching these three outdoor skills to your kid can be a valuable life lesson.


Five Unique Science Projects to Get Your Kid Thinking

Five Unique ScienceScience is a great way to get kids excited about learning. Science projects will allow kids to look at the world in a whole new way. The following five unique science projects will help get your kids thinking.

Dancing Raisins

Put 4 raisins into an empty, plastic water bottle. Fill the bottle with carbonated water. Watch as the carbon dioxide makes the raisins “dance” up and down the bottle. The raisins will continue to move around until all of the carbonation is gone.

Burning Money

Place 1/2 of a cup of rubbing alcohol, 1/2 cup of a cup of water and 1 teaspoon of salt into a shallow container. Mix the ingredients together. Put a dollar bill into the mixture and let it get thoroughly saturated in it. Remove the dollar bill with metal tongs. While holding the dollar bill far away from the solution with the tongs, light the dollar bill on fire. The fire will change colors and eventually die out on its own. For the child’s safety, make sure that the adult is the one that sets the dollar bill on fire and that the child is several feet away from it.

Disappearing Ink

Dip the tip of a toothpick into lemon juice. Use the toothpick to write a message on a black piece of paper. After the lemon juice is thoroughly dry, hold a flashlight 1-2 inches over the paper. Once the paper starts to warm up from the flashlight, the message will be able to be read.

Balloon Blow Up

Put 1/4 of a cup of warm water into a clean, empty soda bottle. Pour one yeast packet into the bottle and gently swirl it around until the yeast is dissolved. Pour one teaspoon of sugar into the bottle and swirl it around until it’s dissolved as well. Gently stretch out a balloon and place the neck of it over the top of the bottle. Within about 20 minutes the carbon dioxide that is in the bottle will cause the balloon to inflate.

Microscopic Mushroom Spores

Cut off the stem of a mushroom and place the cut-side face down on the student microscopes slide. Put a cup over it and let it sit overnight. Remove the stem the next morning so that the spores are left behind. Place the slide under the microscope to view the spores. Change the microscope’s settings to view the spore’s noticeable difference at both the low power and the high power.


Your Child Does Not Like School? How to Change His Mind.


kid_hates_schoolYour Child Does Not Like School? How to Change His Mind

There are many things that make people beautiful aside from their physical appearance. The wideness of their minds and their knowledge big as the mountain are also things that make people complete. When it comes to knowledge, it is in our earliest years that we start expanding it, and this is why it is essential to help your child learn to love school.

What If Your Kid Doesn’t Like School?

In the same manner your kid may refuse to go to dentist, they may also refuse to go to school. One of the first words that babies learn, not counting mom and dad, are yes and no. Even before they learn to pronounce the yes and no, they learn the gestures to simulate their decision, and they do this with such ease. Now, there is something every parent wants to know and this is the following: how to deal with your kid’s no’s, especially if these are related to not liking school?

Why Your Kid Does Not Like School

Rather than yelling at your child, or saying ‘no’ to everything it likes, it is a much better idea to find out the reason why your kid does not like school. Some of the most common reasons why children may not be thrilled about school include the following:

1. Boredom – Kids’ attention is often very difficult to hold, so if a kid does not understand lessons or is simply not interested in the topic, it will surely become bored very easily.
2. Not fitting in with the rest of the class – Friends are very important in helping your child accept and learn to love school. The lack of friends may lead to your kid spending too much time alone, excluded from all the fun activities other kids participate in. This can easily make school a very negative experience for your child and it will not be delighted to attend it.
3. Fear – There are two types of fears your child may be experiencing regarding school. First of the fears includes separating from you, its parents, and going to the unknown, whereas the second fear can be a result of your kid being bullied at school.

What to Do?

There are three things you can do to help your kid change its mind and start developing positive feelings towards school. You should listen to what your child has to say, be supportive, and act. When it comes to helping your kid solve its problems in school, there are a lot of things you can do. If it is bored, you can try to find a fun and interesting way to help it overcome any obstacles it may have with studying. As far as not fitting in goes, you should encourage your child to be more social, as well as allow it to invite friends from school to your home. Lastly, bullying is a problem you should resolve with your kid’s teachers, principal and parents of the bully. It is important to help your kid solve any problems it may have, but also encourage it to solve some problems on its own. As soon as your child overcomes the obstacles, school will seem like a much more pleasant place.

Mike is a father of two, passionate about child development and education. Mike has been blogging for over 4 years focusing on educational toys and children activities.

Encouraging Your Children To Get A Weekend Job To Learn The Value Of Money


homeschool_jobsUnderstanding the value of money does not usually come naturally to children – their parents often purchase all of life’s necessities as well as their wants. By encouraging your children to get their own weekend job, you can instill important values and skills in your child. Here are some tips and tricks to encourage your children to get a weekend job and to learn the value of money at the same time.

• Inform your child of the expenses that you are willing to cover. Let your child know that you will no longer be paying for certain expenses, such as entertainment, cell phone bill or a portion of the clothing budget. This will give your child a general sense of how much money he or she will need to make in order to pay for these items.

• Encourage your children to pursue a job that matches their talents and interests. For example, if your child likes sports, they may do well as a summer lifeguard or they may be able to clean up the minor league baseball field after games. A career assessment test can help find areas that your children are compatible with if they are not certain what type of job would interest them. This may also help open the door to a career path that your children can explore when they are older.

• Name common jobs that teenagers have to spark some ideas. Fast food work and grocery stores are the most common types of jobs for teenagers. Babysitting, waitressing and mowing lawns may be other possible options.

• Ensure that your child has enough time in his or her schedule. If your child is working, going to school and participating in extracurricular activities, grades may start to drop. Let your child know that if grades drop, he or she will need to develop better time management skills to handle multiple responsibilities. Your child may need to reduce work hours to ensure grades do not suffer as a consequence of having a job.

• Recognize the valuable benefits that your children can receive from having a job. They may become more responsible, they may develop a better work ethic and they may develop interpersonal social skills.

• Encourage your child to save. By instilling this basic strategy when your child is young, he or she can easily transition into an adult saver. Suggest an amount that can be saved every week, such as 15%. Knowing that this amount is coming off of a paycheck immediately will prevent your child from wasting all of the income.

• Work on a budget with your child. List the expenses and savings goal that your child has. Offer to pay for half of an item if your child pays for the other half to encourage commitment and long-term savings goals

• Teach your child about investing. Talk about stocks, bonds, compound interest and other related topics. A small amount of investment now can make a huge difference in your children’s lives years from now.

A weekend job can help your child develop important skills and values. It can also help your child save up for goals and to become independent.

Sarah writes on behalf of a number of successful businesses in the South West including Drummond LLP bookkeeper Plymouth, Drummond LLP strive to deliver excellence and their service extends to the South West region. If you need a bookkeeper in Devon or Cornwall – Trust Drummond LLP to take care of all of your accountancy needs.

Adding Videos to Lessons

videos for homeschoolers
videos for homeschoolers
Video can make homeschooling easier

Homeschooling can be a challenge for any parent. Never mind the pressure to give your child a high-quality education, what about all those lessons on material you haven’t seen in years? For those who want to ensure their child is receiving the best education possible, incorporating videos into lessons can be a great way to visualize a lesson as well as provide a boost to your own knowledge.

Finding Videos

Many websites such as Kahn Academy and TedEd provide a variety of videos that can be used to enhance instruction. Both of these sites are intended to be used for educational purposes and as such offer high-quality content.

Realizing that many parents and teachers don’t come from math or science backgrounds, MIT even created the MIT-K12 project where MIT students create short, instructional videos on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects.

Incorporating Videos into Lessons

Videos are a great way to cover material that is difficult to understand or explain as well as experiments that cannot be performed due to danger or cost.

Abstract concepts such as imaginary numbers or differential equations can be difficult to explain through textbooks, but adding videos brings the concepts to life and stimulates visual learning.

If your student is having trouble connecting to a history lesson due to their inability to understand the time period being discussed, video can be a great way to expose them to the time period through first person point of view. Things such as the Vietnam War protests or civil rights movement can seem far removed from a child’s daily life, but showing them what was going on and why it is important can provide a way for them to connect to the events.

Videos are also great for studying foreign cultures. Through video, your child will be able to see what life is like in a different culture while experiencing the sounds and language of the native people as well. When combined with pictures and music, videos are a great way to experience new people and places without having to budget for an expensive trip.

Many science experiments can prove too dangerous to perform without the proper equipment and lab space, something rarely found in a typical home schooling environment. As such, videos can be used to expose your child to the experiment without having to actually perform it. Chemistry experiments using dangerous chemicals are especially great to use video to demonstrate – the reaction can still be seen without the need to worry about burning down the house.

Creating Videos

Another great way to include video in lessons is to have your child create their own videos explaining the subject area. In this way, your child improves his or her understanding and retention of the concept as well as has a chance to express his or her creativity.

Most cameras and even phones have the capability to record video these days, meaning that you probably already have all the tools you need. Kids love using technology and encouraging them to use it for assignments will prompt them to work harder to create a quality video.

For those of you who still aren’t convinced, studies have shown that using videos during instruction helps increase student’s understanding and retention of a concept. Most of us learn better when we can see something and video provides just that, a way to visualize the lesson being learned. Try including a video in your next lesson and watch as your child lights up with a new passion for learning.

Megan Veschio is the marketing coordinator for Inventive Technology/MediaCAST, a digital content management and video streaming solution for schools. Learn about using technology in education at or follow Inventive Technology/MediaCAST on Twitter – @MediaCASTstream.

How To Help Infants To Talk

Baby talk can be fun for both you and your child as you watch the cheeky smiles and giggles they let out. But talking properly to your child is just as important as the fun stuff.  By talking to your child properly and regularly you are giving them the visual and audio knowledge they need to learn

Talk to Your Child Regularly

First things first: talk to your child regularly.  Research has proven that parents who regularly speak to their child have greater I.Q.s than other children.  Some people start talking to their child before they are born so that they get use to the sound of their voice.

Easy Stuff First

Start with some easy words and simple sentences.  Words such as “mum,” “dad,” “puppy,” “kitty,” “ted ted” and the like are great starters.  You can then put these into short simple sentences such as “Where is ted ted?” “Mummy loves you.” and “I see kitty.”  Don’t be afraid to use longer sentences at times.  You are your child’s teacher.  Everything they hear you say they are learning from.

Think of Accessories & Gestures

When talking to your child, be sure that they can see you moving your lips.  They learn from watching you and hearing the sounds of each word you speak.  Make some time each day for this.  You can even use props such as their favourite bear for “ted ted” or a picture of a cat for “kitty.”

Talk with expression.

Using expression in everything you say to your child makes them not only more interesting to your child but they find it easier to pick up each separate word.
Hand gestures are also great when talking to your child.  Using gestures allows your infant to understand what some words and sentences mean.  It also gets them more involved in what you are teaching them as they try to copy you.

Keep them Learning

As your child begins to speak or even when they begin to mumble the sounds don’t be afraid to use new harder words and sentences. Introducing new words and sentences keeps your child thinking and keeps them practicing the new sounds they hear.

Following these simple steps ,your child will be well on the way to a great future.  Don’t get discouraged if your child does not show any improvement or even interest in learning to speak. Some children just aren’t ready, but this doesn’t mean to stop.  There are also plenty of mobile phone apps and computer software available on the market to help children to speak if they have a disability. See your doctor before purchasing any if you think your child should be talking and they can help you work out which would be best.

Mike has a strong interest in child development and enjoys blogging on the topic. Mike also writes at, where he contributes reviews.