A family vacation can be an expensive proposition. Driving several hundred miles across country, paying for hotel rooms and attractions, and even dining itself can be major expenses. And that doesn’t even scratch the surface. Souvenirs, snacks, emergency supplies and other incidentals can add up, too.
The Internet is full of frugal travel advice, but much of that advice is simply common sense. Here are five tips for having a frugal family vacation that aren’t necessarily obvious.
- Plan multiple vacations or trips at once. For example, if you know that you’re planning a business trip to New York, a getaway with your spouse to Las Vegas and a family vacation to Disney World, you can book much of your travel all at the same time. Do it in one sitting as opposed to several. This will also allow you to compare rates among airline and hotel brands, and potentially earn more airline miles.
- Rethink souvenirs. The fact of the matter is that you can buy a lamp from Tahiti on eBay. Instad of bringing grandma a T-shirt that says “My kids went to Dollywood and all I got was this lousy T-shirt,” consider creating a digital record of your trip with personalized messages to grandma. She can then view them on YouTube, even while you’re still traveling.
- Understand that you get what you pay for. Convenience has a price. If you can leave for your flight at 4 AM, chances are you’re going to save a few bucks. On the other hand, you might leave for your vacation already exhausted. Decide whether the extra money is worth the convenience. Sometimes it is, sometimes it’s not.
- You don’t have to fly. If you’re not going to cross an ocean, there are other ways to get there. You can drive, of course, but the train is also an option. Trains are often more comfortable than busses, and you’ll still get to see much of the country.
- Keep credit card charges in mind. If you need to pay for part of your vacation with credit, remember that there’s a cost associated with it. Vacation shouldn’t be a reason to accumulate a large amount of debt, so avoid it if you can.
So, what do you think? Do you have any vacation advice for families that you’d like to share with others?
Adoption has seen a serious surge in popularity over the past three decades. At one time, adoption was considered only as an alternative when a couple couldn’t conceive their own child. Today, however, adoption is often the first choice of many couples who seek to have a child but also make a difference in the life of a child from less fortunate circumstances.
Here’s a look at some of the major trends that have taken place in the adoption arena over the past couple of decades or so:
- More open adoptions. There was a time when almost all adoptions were closed adoptions. In a closed adoption, the identity of the parents – both the adoptive parents and the birth parents – is kept confidential. In many cases, birth parents weren’t given much information about their baby at all. They might not even know whether they had a boy or a girl, and may also never be informed as to whether or not the child had been placed for adoption. Fortunately, this trend has been rapidly reversing itself since the 1980s. Increasingly, birth parents can be involved in the adoption process. We’re also seeing a rise in requests from birth mothers to meet their children later on in life.
- Increased adoption networking. There are essentially two kinds of adoption domestically. You can adopt via an agency or via an independent adoption. An agency may be private or public, and it may be non-profit or for-profit. Individual adoptions are usually arranged by an attorney. In individual adoptions, it’s more common for birth families to be involved in the adoption process. Attorneys often network with one another and with families in order to make these adoptions happen. Some attorneys even bond together to create a sort of informal agency.
- International adoptions. Adopting a child from another country has grown in popularity, as many adoptive parents aren’t only seeking to become parents, they also want to make a difference in the life of a child from less fortunate beginnings.
So, what do you think about these adoption trends? Are they all good, or are there problems with some? Are we moving in the right direction as a whole?
Sometime in your life you’ve been in a restaurant or grocery store when you’ve witnessed a child throwing a temper tantrum. It’s embarrassing for the parents and disruptive for those nearby. Perhaps the child was yours and you didn’t know how to handle the tantrum. There are a number of techniques you can use to deal with this inconvenience.
Ignore the Problem
The first thing to do is to pretend the tantrum isn’t happening. Often, children throw tantrums to gain attention. If you don’t provide that want, your child may see that it won’t work. Sometimes, however, your child will still carry on.
The best way to take care of public temper tantrums is having a plan to avoid the behavior.
- Plan your outings ahead of time. If you’re going shopping, bring toys or snacks to keep your child occupied.
- Schedule your trips after your child’s nap and feeding times. Your toddler is less likely to pitch a fit if he/she is well rested and nutritionally satisfied.
Have a Backup Plan
Despite your best attempts to avert a scene, avoidance isn’t always possible. If you find this is the case, you’ll want to attempt the following:
- When the tantrum starts, you should attempt to pacify your child in a comforting manner.
- In stores or restaurants, drop everything and take your child to the car. Strap your child in the car seat. Get in the front and let the child know you’re not going anywhere until the tantrum is over.
- When the tantrum is over, return to the store or restaurant.
If your little one still hasn’t calmed down at this point, it’s best to forget any errands you’re attempting and go home. Should you be leaving somebody’s house, make sure to apologize for the inconvenience.
Spanking is often the first thought in taking care of temper tantrums. Although it may solve the problem immediately, spankings cause bigger problems in the long run.
- It gives your child the attention they’re seeking.
- Public spankings further upset others in your vicinity.
- They can bring up child abuse lawsuits if the issue is pressed.
When your child acts up in public, you need them to understand that behavior is inappropriate. Making jokes and laughing about your child’s temper tantrums is a good way to tell your child that it’s okay to behave that way. Remember to remain calm and follow the procedures you set forth.
Parenting isn’t for the faint of heart. That being said, the human race wouldn’t be here today if so many people weren’t willing to give it a shot. Some do well, others don’t do so well. Still others, well, those are the ones who simply don’t do the job, or see their children simply as possessions to be discarded or abused.
Most of us, though, really want to be good parents. In some ways, parenting comes down to your core values – both the values you hold and the ones you want to pass on to your children.
Here are four core parenting values you should discuss with your partner, all of which can help your children to grow up healthier and happier:
- Respect. You want your children to respect you, as well as other children and other adults. It’s important, however, to separate respect from fear. In days gone by, children did what they were told to do out of fear of punishment. That’s not the same as respect in a relationship. Today, it’s important to create a relationship with your children based on how you interact with them. That doesn’t mean always agreeing with your child, but it does mean avoiding blame, name-calling or shame.
- Self-esteem. The very best way to build your child’s self-esteem isn’t to tell her how great she is; rather, it’s to demonstrate how great she is. Allow her to attempt tasks on her own, and don’t be afraid to let her fail once or twice before she gets it. If you jump in too soon, she’ll come to esteem you – not herself.
- Discipline. It’s important to understand the difference between discipline and punishment. Punishment can be a part of engendering discipline, but the most important way to help your child be disciplined is to demonstrate discipline yourself. Model what kinds of actions and words are appropriate, and talk with your children frequently about those things – especially when they’re not already in trouble or being punished.
- Accountability. The best way to help a child see the rightness or wrongness of their actions is to let them feel the full weight of the consequences. Often, the consequences of bad behavior are, in themselves, enough to keep your child accountable for his own behavior.
So, what do you think? Are there other parenting ideas that are equally important to these?
Home birth isn’t just a novelty anymore. An increasing number of couples are choosing to bring their baby into the world the way that human beings have through most of history: at home. Some people may not understand the choice, believing that a home birth removes all of the benefits of modern medicine from the birthing process.
Nothing could be further from the truth, however. A home birth today isn’t like it was in the 17th century. Today, even the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued guidelines on the care of newborn babies in the home environment.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have also offered some support to the home birth movement. While the organization states that hospitals and birthing centers are indeed still the safest places to give birth, it’s up to a woman to decide how she wants to help her little one greet the world.
Here are some of the general principles espoused by the various groups, as it relates to home births and medical care:
- At least one person in the delivery room should have care for the mother as their primary responsibility. Another person should have care for the newborn baby as their primary responsibility.
- The individuals in the delivery room don’t need to meet specific credentialed requirements, but they do need to have the ability and the necessary equipment to perform resuscitation if it is necessary in the course of the birth.
- There should always be clear plans for an emergency. This includes plans for safe and timely transit to a local medical facility, particularly one that has an arrangement in place for emergency transfers.
- A transfer to a hospital from a home birth doesn’t mean a failure on the part of those involved in labor and delivery, but rather that the system put into place to protect mother and baby is working.
In an ideal world, medical providers and hospitals would all be better prepared to address the issues that surround home births. Indeed, in many areas, these medical professionals are increasingly recognizing the choice to give birth at home and doing what they can to support it.