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Counselors Explain Why Every Parent Needs to Take a Mental Health Day

Counselors Explain Why Every Parent Needs to Take a Mental

Life is full of things that stress you out. Work, bills, social life, kids, spouses – it can all be so demanding. It comes at you like a train going full speed ahead. A good mental health day is almost always the answer.

This is especially true if you have kids and even worse if you have more than one kid. You love them, and they love you. This doesn’t mean that you should be embarrassed to want a break from them.

Unfortunately, for a lot of parents, that break never comes. Many parents don’t make it a priority to take a mental health day to relieve themselves of all the stressors they deal with. They use their kids as an excuse as to why they can’t take time out for themselves.

If this is you, it’s good that you’re reading this article. You need to know why it’s imperative that you give yourself the occasional mental break. Here’s what counselors have to say about it.

Why You Should Take a Mental Health Day

As a parent, you’ll often put your kids first. Your needs get put on the back burner until you get some free time (which doesn’t come very often). You may find that your list of requirements keeps getting longer and longer.

Although you may be the best at managing stressful situations, that doesn’t mean you should continuously do it. The effects of stress can creep up on you and even impact your relationship with your children. You may not realize how stressed you are until you’re on the verge of having a breakdown.

Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D., president & CEO of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, says it’s common for people not to realize how stressed they are. “Often people minimize the stress they are under, the effect it has, and don’t take action,” he says. This pressure is hazardous to your health.

The problem with ongoing stress is that your body never has a chance to settle down. According to Dr. Borenstein, the human body is designed to deal with short-term stress, not long-term stress. No matter how well you handle stress, it’s still stress.

Taking a mental health day ensures that you get a break from stress. This way, even if you don’t realize you’re stressed, you’re still getting a break. It doesn’t make you a bad parent to put yourself first. In fact, doing so helps to teach your children good stress management.

When You Should Take a Mental Health Day

The time to take a break may not be evident because, as stated before, you may not realize how stressed you are. Because of this, you should schedule these days regularly. However, there are a few signs that can let you know if you’re stressed out. Some of them include:

  • Jaw or tooth pain
  • Expanding waistline
  • Having a hard time focusing/concentrating
  • You keep having headaches
  • Trouble sleeping

If you notice that any of this is happening to you, it’s time to take a day to yourself. These few symptoms are manageable, but not taking care of them can cause worse symptoms that will impact your health as well as your relationship with your family.

Once you realize how important it is to take a day to yourself, you’ll probably wonder when the best time is for your day. Scheduling your day can be just as stressful as anything else in your life.

Just keep in mind that scheduling is the key. If you make a plan and plan far enough ahead of time, you can make sure that things will be handled while you’re having your day. The last thing you need to be worried about is who’s taking care of your kids and your household while you’re doing you.

A failure to plan will lead to you feeling guilty about putting yourself first. Guilty feelings lead to stress, and this can cause you to cancel your day. It’s imperative that you make a plan so you can have a peaceful mental health day.

One great way to start your plan is by picking a day that your spouse is off from work. This will ensure that you have someone to watch your kids when you’re not around. If you’re a single parent, try picking a day when a friend or family member is fully available for the entire day.

If you don’t have either of those options, you may have to hire a babysitter. You could save money by picking a day when your kids go to school—that way, the babysitter only needs to be there in the evening.

How You Should Take a Mental Health Day

While you’re planning the date, you should also plan your activities. However, don’t plan a strict schedule. A strict schedule could make you stressed if you can’t stick with it.

You should expect your day to be relaxing above all else. To do that, you need to figure out what you need most of all to rest.

Do you need complete solitude? Perhaps you need more time with your loved ones? A massage is a classic choice.

Whatever it is that you need, put that at the top of your activities list. Try focusing anything else you do that day around your priority. Think of some activities that will relax you and help you have a peaceful day.

Even if you decide to do that one activity, that’s okay. The goal is to renew yourself. But to do that, you’ll need complete peace of mind. Just make sure that you take the whole day to yourself, even if it’s to do that one thing.

Here Are Three Positive Activities to Help You Enjoy a Relaxing Day

You can take your mental health day alone, with friends, or with your partner. Modify these activities to suit your lifestyle.

1 – Treat Yourself to a Day at the Spa

Enjoy a pampering retreat, either alone or with your partner.   Enjoy a manicure-pedicure service, massage, and facial masks. While these services might feel decadent, remember that you deserve it! This self-care is essential to well-being.

2 – Connect with Mother Nature

Do you live near a beach, National Park, or mountains? Grab some of your friends, pack a picnic, and hit the bicycling or hiking trails they offer to visitors. Getting your heart rate pumping as you engage in these activities will invigorate you. And, the grand vistas you see along the way are food for the soul.

3 – Explore Cultural Activities

If you are not the “outdoorsy” type, consider a day trip to a nearby city. Open your mind to learning by exploring their cultural offerings. Do they have an art museum, historic district to explore or live theater? Are any festivals happening that you would enjoy? Expand your mind. That focus on learning new things will entertain you as well as engaging your mind.

What You Shouldn’t Do on Your Mental Health Day

The objective is to have a peaceful day that renews you and gets you ready to face your stressors with a clear head. So far, you’ve been told what you should do during your day. However, there are some things that you shouldn’t do either.

1 – Illegal Drugs

You should never do illegal substances. For starters, it’s illegal. Doing anything against the law is a bad idea. Plus, getting arrested is going to stress you out more than anything your kids could do. Doing drugs while you’re already under pressure can lead to a higher risk of debilitating addiction. Then the drugs will cause even more stress on your mental and physical health. It’s a vicious cycle that can have devastating effects on your life.

2 – Infidelity

Infidelity never ends well. Sure, you may feel good on that day or that night, but eventually, the truth will come out. When it does, it will cause more stress than you could ever imagine.

The stress will come from guilty feelings, but more of it will come from the effects that the infidelity will have on your spouse. Talal Alsaleem, an expert infidelity counselor, says that infidelity causes “…triggers, flashbacks, hypervigilance, avoidance behavior, and manifestations related to the knowledge about the affair and everything related to the affair.” Dealing with this type of fall out in an already stressed marriage could be enough to push you over the edge.

If you’re tempted to cheat on your spouse, perhaps what you need to schedule is marriage counseling instead of a mental health day (you may need both). Communication can significantly reduce stress between you and your spouse.

3 – Overspending the Family Funds

Going shopping is a great way to relieve stress unless one of your regular stressors is finances. The last thing you want to do is aggravate your stress when you’re supposed to be relaxing. If money is a problem in your life, try to plan your day with activities that are free or low-cost.

Even if money isn’t a common issue for you, overspending can stress you out once you’ve realized how much money you wasted. Joel L. Young M.D., medical director of the Rochester Center for Behavioral Medicine, compares overspending to using drugs. He says that even if people have unlimited funds to spend money, overspending can lead to feelings of guilt or shame, hoarding, and undermining relationships.

Enjoy your day, but don’t bring more stress on yourself by spending unnecessary money. There are plenty of ways to do you without breaking your wallet.

Final Thoughts on Why Parents Should Take an Occasional Mental Health Day

You’ll always be Super Mom or Super Dad to your kids. However, remember that you’re human. You get stressed out, and that’s okay.

What’s not okay is ignoring the fact that you need a break. Even if you handle stressful situations well, you need to renew your mental health every once in a while. Not doing so will begin to affect you and your family in ways you may not even notice.

Focusing on your mental health is setting an excellent example for your kids. After all, you wouldn’t want your kids to subject themselves to constant stress, right? Taking the occasional mental health day will keep you in the right frame of mind to continue being the best parent you can be.


5 Social Skills Every Parent Should Teach Their Child »

5 Social Skills Every Parent Should Teach Their Child »

Excellent social skills are imperative in life. As a parent, it’s your responsibility to teach your children how to communicate and thrive. The skills you teach your child must be continuously refined as they age. Everyone has a social nature, but you should always look for those little moments to educate and enhance their abilities.

Unfortunately, not all societal skills are quite so simple to master. If your child is a victim of being bullied, then they should know how to handle these complicated situations. They should know when to stand up for themselves when they’re being bullied, but they should also know how to be silent when the teacher reprimands them.

Parenting Requires Teaching Social Adequacies

If your child develops excellent social skills, then they will have no problem building long-lasting relationships. Having stable friendships is suitable for your child’s mental health, and they will be more apt to know how to handle conflict resolution. The goal is to have your child’s social skills at a reasonable level by making it to kindergarten.

A study showed that these children who are already well versed in social adequacies are typically the ones that are successful when they are an adult. Every parent wants to raise well-rounded children. When your kid reaches school age, they will know how to follow the rules, cooperate with the teachers, and share with their peers.

Also, a study done at Penn State University found that children with excellent social skills by the age of five are more likely to go to college and have a great job by the time they reach their mid-20s. On the flip side, socially inept children often have issues with substance abuse, relationships, and a fair share of legal debacles. Additionally, the study found these children are more likely to be on public assistance.

Five Social Skills Every Child Must Learn to Thrive in Today’s World

It’s incredibly stressful when a child doesn’t have the proper skills to interact with others. It puts a strain on them, and their communication skills make matters worse. Additionally, studies have shown that when children know how to socialize, they have a lower cortisol level than those who don’t have these skills. Stress can have a significant impact on your child’s health too.

Thankfully, you can teach your child how to socialize appropriately, and even if they are a little behind, they can catch up. Perhaps, they are already a social butterfly and just need to sharpen their skills. If you wonder what social skills you should be teaching and refining with your children, then here are the recommendations.

1. Following Directions

Following directions is one skill that needs to be taught from a toddler. If children don’t develop this skill by the time they reach school age, then the consequences can be intense. For instance, if they cannot listen to the teacher and follow orders, they will likely miss what they need to do, misbehave, and be in the principal’s office.

Your child must be able to take simple instructions like making their bed, and they should also be open to trainable directives like tips on improving their baseball game. As a parent, you need to learn the proper way to give directions.

Telling your child a long list of things to do may only confuse them. It’s better to give them one task at a time, wait till they complete that task, and then move on to the next item. Another tip is never to ask them if they want to do something as it gives them the chance to say no.

Never use sentences like “Would you, please put your shoes away?” Instead, say something like, “Put your shoes away, please!” You changed it from a question to an expectation, as there is no room for negotiation. Once you’ve given an order, ask them to repeat back what they’ve been told.

Children are easy to distract, act on impulse, and often have a short memory. It’s your job as a parent to point out their errors and show them how they could have done things better.

2. Sharing

There’s nothing worse than a stingy, selfish child. Sadly, children who act this way often grow up to be adults with the same mannerisms. Did you know that when a kid learns to share, it can help them form and keep friendships?

Don’t be too hard on your toddlers as children from ages three to six are often naturally selfish, but it still something that you must correct. It’s often the case that the toy they were fighting to keep from their sibling loses its luster once they won the battle.

By the time your child reaches seven to eight years old, they are more apt to be teachable when it comes to sharing. Children who feel good about themselves and don’t have a need to prove anything, and they often have no problems sharing with others. Some children are stingy because they need to prove themselves and have a hard time expressing themselves effectively.

Parents, you should teach your kid to share even if they don’t want too. Make sure to praise them when they share with their siblings, and you can help build their esteem by pointing out their victories.

stress on kids

3. Listening

It isn’t very pleasant to tell your child something, and they are talking over you the whole time. Teaching communication skills means that you show them how they should listen and how they should absorb what’s being said. When they head to school, their success will depend on the ability to listen.

To succeed academically, a child must learn to hear and absorb what’s being told to them. Beyond school, they must know how to follow instructions from their boss. It’s also beneficial to have excellent communication and listening skills in a relationship.

Communication is something that people must work on even into adulthood. Living in the digital age makes things more difficult. People would rather text, stare at their phone screen, or engage virtually than have a meaningful conversation.

The right way for parents to help their child develop these skills is to pause and ask questions. For instance, if you’re reading a book to your five-year-old, stop and ask them halfway what they have learned. If they’ve missed anything, you can fill in those gaps and continue with the book.

Additionally, teach them that they never interrupt others when they are speaking. It’s always essential for them to wait their turn as what they have to say is just as important as the other person’s concern.

4. Respecting Personal Boundaries

Personal boundaries are one of the essential social skills. Some children tend to be clingy by nature, while others are more aloof. It’s one of the main reasons parents tell their kids never to talk to strangers as it’s pushing limits.

You can encourage boundaries by telling them that there is an imaginary bubble around them, and no one can come into this bubble without their permission. Additionally, they must be respectful of the other person’s bubble too. They should also learn that they should knock on doors that are closed and always keep their hands to themselves.

Things like hitting, pushing, or taking something out of someone else’s hand are actions that deserve consequences. Personal space is a big issue throughout life. If your child doesn’t learn about these boundaries early on, they will have problems as they grow.

You’ve probably seen the adults that are too touchy-feely and make you uncomfortable. These are people that never learned appropriate boundaries, and their childish actions have followed them.

5. Making Proper Eye Contact

The eyes are the window to the soul, and looking directly at someone is a social skill that is part of your communication. A shy person will look to the corner or the floor when speaking or being spoken too. However, while they may get by with it in elementary school, their boss may not think too highly of their actions.

Every time you see their eyes wandering, ask them to refocus them back to your eyes. Remind them that it’s essential to look at people. It’s a standard trick for folks to avoid looking someone in the eyes when they’re lying or have been caught in a wrongdoing. Encourage them that eye contact is imperative as they grow.

Final Thoughts on Teaching Social Skills to Your Children

Having the ability to socialize appropriately is an integral part of life. It takes a bit of extra reinforcement from a parent, and then maturity will also do its part. If your child cannot follow social cues and to socialize with their peers, then it can be the sign that there are some medical issues behind this, such as autism or ADHD.

Generally, by the time your child can walk and talk, it’s time to start teaching and training about boundaries and other ways to thrive socially.


12 Signs That Reveal You Are A Helicopter Parent

12 Signs That Reveal You Are A Helicopter Parent

Parents need to be involved in their child’s life. However, you can become over-involved, and it can do more harm than good. Don’t become a helicopter parent.

Did you know that you can stunt your kid’s development as well as damage their self-confidence when you do too much for them? You should enjoy parenting rather than be a bundle of nerves at every move they make.

You’ve probably heard of the term “helicopter parent.” However, it was a saying derived from a book written by Jim Fay and Foster Cline. The book’s goal was to highlight how a child’s development can suffer when a parent is overly involved in things that they should be doing for themselves.

Do you think that you’re a helicopter parent? Well, no one wants to admit their shortcomings. When did Americans become such hovering people? Gone are the after-school specials that scared children into walking the straight and narrow paths.

12 Signs You’re A Helicopter Parent

Has such negativity been ingrained into your brain that you’re afraid your child will open the door to a dangerous stranger, turn to drugs, or eat raw cookie dough and become deathly ill?

The cause isn’t as important as what these hovering, helicopter ways are doing to the next generation. If you think you may be suffocating your children? Here are some signs that you’re a helicopter parent that needs to get their anxiety in check.

1. You Pick Out Your Kids Clothes

It’s okay to pick out your children’s clothes for the first few years, but if you’re still picking out your preteen or teenagers’ clothes, you need to stop! Give your children a choice in what they wear to school or daily. While parents need to give some input about clothes for modesty, let them have the power to choose what they wear.

2. Your 5-Year-Old Has a SmartPhone

There is almost no reason that a young child needs a smartphone. If you gave your kindergartener a phone so that they can call you when you get to school, then your anxiety is in overdrive. Giving a child a phone at such a young age is only asking for trouble.

Additionally, do you know how many times they will lose or break a cell phone? It’s just not a good move to give a young kid a phone. Studies show that kids are ready for a phone between 10-13 years of age.

3. You Do Your Child’s Homework

Parents should always help their children with their homework. You must also realize that they are not going to do that art or writing project with the quality that you would. However, it would be best if you don’t do their work for them.

You must help them and show them what needs to be done on any assignment, but you should take a step back and let them do the work. If you’re completing your child’s work because you feel that they aren’t doing a good job, you may be a helicopter parent.

Science explains how lax parenting links to emotional disorders.

4. You Never Leave Your Kid Alone with Anyone

During the first couple of years of a child’s life, it’s reasonable to be at their beacon call. However, when your child is 12, and they still have never stayed with anyone but you, then there’s a problem.

You must understand that your anxious nature is keeping them from experiencing things beyond your control. Leave them with grandma, grandpa, or their other parent. You’re smothering this kid.

5. You Don’t Let Your Child Go to Anyone’s Home

The day and age we live in are scary. Sure, you must be cautious about turning your child loose at another person’s home. However, visiting a friend for playdates is an essential part of being a child.

While every household in your neighborhood is not safe for your child to be, there are plenty of other good parents who will watch over your little one. If your kid’s friends can only come to your house to play, you may be crossing the line.

Children need to experience how other people live, and you deny them some great memories if you don’t let them have these experiences.

6. You Placed Cameras All Over the House

Do you have cameras set all over the house, and there’s no good reason? It’s acceptable to have a couple of security cameras in your entrances for protection. However, there should never be a camera in the bathroom or your child’s bedroom.

Your children deserve some privacy. There is nothing that screams helicopter parents like watching your brood on HD 24 hours a day. It’s just not healthy behavior (for you or them!).

7. You Cut Up Your Preteens Food

Some foods should be cut into smaller bites to prevent a child from choking. It would be best if you never gave a three-year-old big piece of steak, chicken, or pork chops. However, if you’re still cutting the meat for your 13-year-old, then it’s an issue.

Teach your child the appropriate way to use a knife. Yes, they may cut themselves, but the chances are slim if you show them and let them do it in the right direction. Do you expect your child to go through life, never using a knife to cut their food?

8. You Don’t Let Your Child Ride the School Bus

Some younger kids love to ride the big yellow school bus. When they turn into teenagers, they would instead be taken to school. If your child is not allowed to ride the school bus because you are afraid of what might happen to them, you’re smothering them.

If there is a situation where they are being bullied or have an extra-long ride because you live far from the school, then those situations are different. You can’t live in fear of all the “what ifs” in life. Let them experience what it’s like to ride the bus, and let them decide if they like it or not.

9. Your Kid’s Teacher Frowns When You Enter the Classroom

You can and should be concerned about your child’s education. Teachers want more parents to be involved in the aspects of their kid’s schooling. However, they don’t want to hear all the 100s of things that they should do differently.

They also don’t want a weekly call or letter because you feel you must tell them all about how they give too much homework, or your child is uncomfortable in their classroom. Be involved, but not too involved in your kid’s education. Your behavior could backfire and make your child miserable.

Know the seven signs that expose childhood anxiety.

10. You Have CPS on Speed Dial

Helicopter parents often have CPS on speed dial as they are continually reporting minor offenses with other children. Of course, these offenses affect your child as this is a student or friend, and you feel it’s your civic duty.

While some situations should be reported when a child is in danger, someone giving a child a soda and candy bar for lunch is not worth calling the authorities.

11. You Clean Their Room

Your child needs to learn the responsibility of keeping their room clean. It’s acceptable to help a child under five with making their bed and such, but they can pick up their toys even at a very young age.

They need to know how to keep their room tidy as it will help them when they have their home in adulthood. You’re not always going to be there to pick up their dirty clothes and make their bed. Give your child the power to clean their space and hold them accountable for it.

12. You Fight Your Child’s Battles

Some children will keep bullying and other social situations from their parents because they’re afraid of how you will react. There are absolutely some situations where a parent must intervene on behalf of their child. However, you also need to allow them to work out their problems without your interference.

Remember, they will have to learn how to put the bully in their place as they will face them throughout life. You can’t always be there, and you won’t be there when they’re grown and facing the same situations at work. They must learn to tackle their giants without your interference.

Final Thoughts on Breaking the Cycle of Being a Helicopter Parent

You want your children to be well-rounded and successful in life. If you do too much for them and don’t allow them the freedom to make mistakes, you are doing them a great disservice. Many parents are smothering because they feel that they are not needed and want to be as important in their child’s life as they were as an infant.

Other parents are so full of anxiety and tension that they cannot imagine letting their child go regardless of age. You must get your hovering tendencies in check as you can cause your child development problems and socially stunt their growth. These harmful behaviors will follow them through life.

Your child will always need you, but you must learn how to step back and let them grow and learn as well as make mistakes.


16 Money Habits Every Parent Should Teach Their Kids

16 Money Habits Every Parent Should Teach Their Kids

What is a money habit? It’s a sustainable, repeatable way to you manage some aspect of your money. The money habits you keep – whether good or bad – can tell you a lot about your finances. You can see the results of your habits in your savings, earnings, and how much you invest.

We pass our habits along to our kids as they model their behavior off what they watch us do. That transfer of knowledge and habits can either be intentional or involuntary – it’s up to you.

If you want to set your children up to be successful adults, then a great thing to do is to help them establish good money practices at an early age. Children are ready to learn as early as age 3. Start with small habits like counting out dollars and coins, and work your way up from there.

There are a lot of tips and tricks that will help you achieve this goal as your child goes through every stage of development. There are also some pitfalls to avoid so you can steer your kids clear of bad money habits.

In this article, we are going to introduce strategies to handle good and bad financial habits and parenting advice that you can use to help your children at any age.

16 Money Habits Every Parent Should Share with Their Children

money habits

1) Create a Budget

To make sure that you are not over-spending, create a budget for your household. This is a great exercise for older kids and teenagers to understand living expenses and how to manage them.

Itemize all of the costs of living, from the rent or mortgage to the electricity bill. Calculate the average monthly price of each. Then you have a budget.

You can get kids of all ages in on this process by creating a mini-budget for them. For example, make a budget for a summer project or a micro-business like a lemonade stand. It’s all about the practice of understanding how much things will cost and spending and saving accordingly.

2) Provide Cash Flow

To understand income ane expense, your child needs some income. Give your children some money like a small allowance and help them manage it. If (and when) they mismanage it, help them understand the consequences and correct course without reprimanding them. It’s a learning process.

3) Set Up a Savings Account

One in 3 Americans have $0 in savings, and only a fraction have enough saved up to deal with an emergency.

Your savings account is the one in which you are going to save your money instead of spending it. Help kids understand the concept of a savings account by making your budget and calculating what it would cost if something didn’t go as planned. That’s what a savings account is ultimately for, but you can also make it more engaging by helping them save up for something more fun.

4) Auto-transfer

One of the easiest ways to save money is to set up auto-transfer. For example, if you are trying to save $1000 in six months to buy a new laptop, set up your account. It will automatically transfer $42 a week into your savings account.

You can teach a child about this by helping them set up a checking and savings account. Deposit their allowance into the checking account and show them how to schedule an auto-transfer. Tie the savings to a goal like purchasing a toy they really want so they can understand the concept more tangibly and treat it like a fun game!

5) Use Shopping Lists

Instead of going shopping without a list and buying things you don’t need right now, make a list of items that are important to buy and stick to it. This simple habit helps save money and stick to a budget.

Practice this with your kids every time you take them to a store. Get them in on the activity by making a list together. If they’re old enough to do basic math, talk about the budget for the shopping trip and give them a calculator so they can subtract the value of each item as you pick it up. Making (and sticking to) a list builds impulse control and helps kids understand the importance of a dollar.

6) Buy with Cash

Buying with cash creates a tangible connection between an item and its value. Psychologists have studied this concept and proven that when people pay with cash, they have a greater respect for the goods and services bought. Allowing your kids to fork over dollars to the cashier to pay for things can start at a young age and build an understanding of the financial exchange taking place.

7) Track Expenses Daily

Keep an eye on the expenses that you pay daily. Use an app or journal to keep a list of every purchase you make for a week – no matter how big or small. Have your kids do the same.

If they’re wondering where their allowance went, they may find the answer quickly reveals itself in regular purchases of sodas or video game add-ons. Seeing it all laid out helps visualize the cash flow so you can adjust it into your budget and shopping lists better.

save money

8) Define “Bad” Money Habits

Understanding poor financial habits and how to avoid them is important, too. Discuss bad these money habits and break them before they start:

  • Spending more than you earn
  • Depending on debt to pay expenses
  • Taking loans
  • Not saving for the future
  • Not having goals
  • Thinking negative
  • Blaming others or making excuses

9) Track What You Spend

Spending money without knowing where it’s going is a quick way to slide into financial distress. Keeping a budget and taking inventory of what you spend is a necessary habit to be responsible with your money and stay on track with your goals.

Create a self-auditing process and share it with your kids so that money becomes a concept that’s manageable and understandable instead of stressful and out of control.

10) Save With Intention

Even if it’s just a couple of dollars a month, saving is an important habit both mentally and financially. Spending every single penny you have earned can start you or your kids down a path of lack instead of abundance.

If an emergency comes up or an unexpected opportunity arises and you have no money saved to take care of it, then what are you going to do? Saving isn’t just about emergencies, it’s about opportunities as well. You don’t want your kids to miss out on opportunities or befall a tragedy just because they didn’t have some padding in their budget.

Decide on a reason to save and help your child set a savings goal to give them an understanding of this important concept.

11) Understand the Consequences of Credit

At the time of need, credit cards can look like a miracle. The truth is, more often than not they quickly become a burden and can create emergency financial situations all their own.

Paying interest on a purchase you made months (or years) ago really stings. You can help kids understand this concept by doing the math visually.

Take the price of a toy they want to buy now. Calculate how much that toy would cost if they paid it with cash in hand versus over a period of a year or two with an APR of 19%. Explain the difference: they can either save up and buy the toy for less money, or forego a chunk of their allowance for the foreseeable future.

Instead of teaching your kids to rely on credit, teach them to budget, and rely on cash.

12) Achieve a Goal

You don’t have to make a lot of money to manage it well. Having good management skills will help in achieving one’s goals. A person who has better money habits will be set up to have a better, more stable quality of life. Tie your child’s new financial habit to a goal like buying or doing something they want.

13) Model Your Advice

If you want your kid to learn good money habits, you have to show them practically. It’s important to model the behaviors for them in a transparent way and help give them tangible examples they can work through themselves. Experience is the best teacher, after all! Remember, children follow the same thing as their parents. Become a role model. Inspect your own behaviors and feelings about money. If needed, make adjustments.

14) Get Teenagers Involved with the Household Budget

Teenagers are on the precipice of independent living, so financial know-how is especially important for them to grow into successful adults.

It is your responsibility as a parent to help prepare them for the practical necessity that is managing money. Since teenagers are more mentally mature, they can handle more complex, real-world information to help them learn and prepare.

It may seem scary, but getting your teen in on managing the household budget is a fantastic exercise for this age group. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Tell your kid about every expense.
  • Inform them about the household’s monthly income.
  • Walk through the monthly and yearly budget, plus any retirement and college funds that you’re paying into.
  • Help your child open their bank accounts (checking and savings) if they don’t already have them.
  • Every week discuss your expenses and tell them how you manage them.
  • Give your teen tasks like grocery shopping or running an errand with a list that helps them develop the habit on their own.
  • Research and share stories of financially prosperous people and what you can learn/integrate from their approaches.


15) It’s Never Too Late to Learn – Help Your Adult Children with Money Habits

So, maybe you got to this a little later in the game. Parenting advice isn’t just for parents of young kids – there’s still valuable information you can pass on to your children even if they’re adults. Here are some ideas for how to help your adult children manage money:

  • Help them make a budget according to their income and expenses.
  • Talk with them about money in a calm, non-confrontational way.
  • Discuss their larger purchases and financial goals like buying a car or moving to a new city and make a financial roadmap to help them get there.

16) Break Bad Money Habits.

If your child has picked up some poor money habits, then you can use that as a learning opportunity. We all make mistakes with money at one point or another. Bouncing back is part of the process.

Identify the issue and why it’s a problem.

Talk about how this bad habit would really affect them in the future. Ask what they want to do – fix it or continue down the path they’re on.

If they choose to fix it, make a plan together for how to get through the problem. Be sure to include action steps that you can measure. Talk regularly about how the plan is going and measure their success. Celebrate when they’ve achieved their goal and un-done the problem.

If they don’t choose to fix it, then you may need to let them suffer the consequences of their financial mistake. The stakes during childhood and teenage years are usually much, much lower than in adulthood. Better they learn now than when they have a family of their own.

What if you’re the one with the bad habits? Look at it as an opportunity. You can learn together and even use yourself as an example of why it’s important to manage money well. Parents aren’t perfect, after all!

What better way to humbly show your kids how to do something than to learn and develop those great habits side-by-side.

Final Thoughts on Teaching Smart Money Habits to Your Kids

Money is a fundamental part of life. It’s how we obtain basic necessities like food and shelter, as well as indulgences like travel and toys.

Parents and caregivers play a significant role in shaping their children’s habits around money. Managing money is a reality that every adult must deal with. Because of that, it’s better to be more transparent with your kids and help them learn the skills to manage their money rather than letting them think it, “grows on trees.”

People don’t just spontaneously know how to manage money. If you help your kids understand that early on, then they’ll have a head start in life. Every parent wants their child to be equipped to live a happy, healthy life. Money management is simply a part of that journey.


15 Etiquette Rules Every Parent Should Teach Their Kids   |6 Minute Read

15 Etiquette Rules Every Parent Should Teach Their Kids   |6

Proper etiquette is essential, no matter how old you are. As parents, we’re responsible for teaching our kids proper etiquette. Understanding etiquette helps your kids be poised and comfortable in all kinds of social settings. So, what are15 etiquette rules every parent should teach their kids?

Manners or etiquette?

Manners and etiquette are used interchangeably, but actually, they have different meanings.

Etiquette is the prevailing behavior related to cultural norms, such as things to do or not do. Etiquette goes beyond manners. They guide behavior i.e., where you place your fork and spoon.

Manners are considerations for others. They are guidelines that show respect and thoughtfulness. Saying “please and thank you” are examples of good manners, but it’s also proper etiquette.

Etiquette matters

Educators say that parents who neglect to teach their kids basic social etiquette put their children at a disadvantage at a young age. If you want them to learn proper etiquette, you must first practice what you preach. The old saying, “More is caught than taught,” applies here. So, be a model of proper etiquette for your kids.

Greeting etiquette

1 –  Say hello and remember the person’s name

If you can’t remember a person’s name when you greet them, ask them. No one will think less of you if you ask for their name. They’ll probably be pleased you asked.

Teach your kids to greet using the person’s name. Some families prefer that their kids use titles, like Mr. or Mrs. It’s really up to you if your kids call adults by their first name. But it’s probably good for them to learn proper titles in case they are in a situation where an adult introduces themselves as Mr. or Mrs., then they should use the title to greet the adult.

2 – Eye contact

Our culture values eye contact. Help your kids look into the eyes of those they greet. Practice this at home with your kids or with their grandparents or neighbors. Kids learn from repetition, and if you make it fun, they’ll remember even more. When your child makes eye contact and greets an adult, be sure to give them lots of praise. Shy kids may need more encouragement and practice, but after a while, greeting with eye contact will be a natural habit.

3 – Asking someone, “how are you?”

Asking someone how they are is an excellent way to demonstrate care and concern. In the United States, it’s a common thing to say when you see someone you know. It can sometimes be said without much interest, but it’s still a kind thing for your kids to learn. You can teach them to say something like

  • Are you well?
  • How are you doing?
  • How’s it going?

4 – It was nice to see you

After you finish a conversation with someone, it’s proper etiquette to tell them it was nice to see them. Training your child to say this teaches them to be kind to people. Kindness must be taught. It doesn’t come naturally to all kids or adults.  Explain what kindness is and why it’s important to show compassion. Being kind is a small way your child can change the world around them.

Please and thank you etiquette rules

work from home
Here are quiet activities for the children to do while you work from home.

5 – Thanks for having me over

If someone has your child over for a meal or a playtime, teach them to thank their hosts. This phrase is another way to show their gratitude. Adults are surprised when kids show appreciation, but being thankful to a host can become a natural habit for your kids.

6 – May I please?

Who hasn’t heard a child yell, “I want it!” But even a very young child can learn to say please. Role-play is a fun way to teach this to your kids about these habits. Keep the times short-no longer than 15 minutes.

You can demonstrate both the right way and the wrong way to ask for something. You can get in on the act by pretending to be the screaming child. The kids will have so much fun. They realize you’re teaching them something.

7 – Thank you

Gratitude is a thoughtful way to show people they are meaningful to you. A grateful child will become a thankful adult. Thankfulness must be taught. Little ones don’t come into the world as grateful beings. This phrase is another simple thing to teach your child with role play games.

Table etiquette

8 – Sitting at the table

Sitting in a chair is not only proper etiquette, but it is also a safety issue.  Use positive reinforcement to remind your child to sit down. Try saying, “Remind me where your feet go,” instead of “Don’t stand up.” Positive reinforcement gives the child a chance to problem solve on their own.

9 – Ask before you reach

Teach your children to ask for items they need rather than reaching across the table. Sadly, many adults do this. Train your child to say, “May I please have….”. This brings up the question of when to use may or when to use can. They are very different words.

  • May-Saying “may” means you are asking someone’s permission. An example is: “May I have the sugar.”
  • Can- Can means you are asking if you have the physical ability to do something. An example is: “Can I go up the steps with my broken foot?

10 – No thanks, I don’t prefer that

Your kids don’t need to like everything they’re served at a meal. Teach them how to refuse food graciously. A simple no thank you is excellent for a younger child to say, but an older child can say, “No, thank you. I don’t care for more Brussel sprouts.”

This begs the question about whether children should be made to eat everything that’s put on their plate. This is up to you, but generally, they should at least take one or two bites of everything on their plate. It’s a good practice to learn as a child and will serve them later in life.

11 – Elbows off the table

Good etiquette requires no elbows on the table. It’s an easy habit to break with repeated reminders. Of course, dad and mom will need to practice this too.

12 – May I be excused?

Generally, at the end of a meal, your child should ask before they get up from the table. You can teach them to wait until everyone at the table has finished eating before they ask to get up. It’s just good etiquette to wait for others and to seek permission before leaving the table. When they get up, it’s an excellent time for them to thank their host for the meal.

Generally speaking: Conversational etiquette rules

13 – Interrupt the correct way

Sometimes a child needs to ask you something. Teach them the right way to interrupt. Adults do this all the time, and it’s something a child needs to learn. Don’t assume they’ll figure it out on their one. Even a small child can learn to stand beside you and wait.

Some parents have the child gently touch their arm. Then when you look at them, your child can say, “Excuse me, mom…” and ask you whatever they need to ask.  It takes practice, and it’s hard for kids to have the self-control to wait, but they’ll learn.

14 – Let parents have adult conversations

Your kids need to learn to allow you to speak with a co-worker or a friend without them hanging on you. Young children often do this because they want your full attention. Adults often assume kids can’t learn hard things like this, but your kids will surprise you. This is another great role-play game for your kids. You can pretend to talk with an invisible friend. Your child can wait next to you until you look at them.  Give them lots of praise when they wait patiently—trying to increase their wait time- thirty seconds to one minute, then up to two minutes. Keep practicing this when grandma or a friend comes over so they can try it out. Give them lots of praise when they try hard.

15 – Wait for your host before you start eating

Adults don’t always get this one right, but your kids can learn it.   Practice this at home at dinner time or breakfast. Have your child sit down and watch you. Make it a game for them as you sit down,  put your napkin on your lap, lift your fork, and then they can pick up their fork and begin eating. Congratulate them when they get it right. Be patient. Kids need repetition and reminders.

etiquette rulesFinal Thoughts on Children and Etiquette Rules

Parents remember to adjust your expectations for your kids as they get older. A two-year-old may be expected to only say, “Hi” but a five-year-old should say, “Hello, Mr. Smith. It’s nice to see you.” when she greets your neighbor next door. Your kids may feel shy but remind them how important it is to focus on the other person instead of themselves. It will help them feel less shy.

Making others comfortable is a great reason to have good etiquette rules. But good etiquette is also helpful for your child. It prepares them for life by giving them the tools they need to feel comfortable in any setting. Good etiquette improves your kids’ confidence so they can live without feeling inadequately prepared. So, parents start teaching your kids good etiquette rules. They’ll thank you later.