Family Health

Keeping my family happy & healthy with the flu shot

Ontario Flu Vaccine

Prior to last March, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you the last time I had the flu. I never really made getting the flu shot a priority. I’m not considered high-risk, and none of my family members are either, so it’s not something I had thought a lot about.

But that changed at the end of last winter when I did catch the flu and I was sicker than I could ever remember. I had to miss five days of work, was not able to care for my family, could not have any close contact with my daughter for over a week and I was really scared that I was seriously ill.

When I could barely take a breath and my chest felt like an elephant was sitting on it, I knew it was time to seek medical attention.  I was really worried that I had pneumonia but after a chest X-ray, that fear was diminished. Unfortunately, with the flu, there is nothing that can be done to “cure” it.  Needless to say, it was one of the worst weeks of my life and I vowed to myself that I would never let that happen again.

FLU 101

With my daughter as my main concern I decided to do some research into influenza and the flu vaccine to prepare for the 2016 flu season and what I learned was quite interesting:

  • Influenza, commonly referred to as the flu, is a contagious respiratory infection that can lead to hospitalization and even death
  • People experience a number of symptoms, including:
  • Fever
  • general aches and pains
  • Extreme fatigue
  • For some people the flu can lead to complications, such as pneumonia
  • The flu is spread by coughing, sneezing, talking and from hands and surfaces contaminated with the virus
  • In Canada, influenza generally occurs each year in the late fall and winter months. Anyone can get the flu. Even healthy individuals can become seriously ill with the flu
  • Young children, especially those under 5, are at higher risk of serious illness, and even death, from the flu
  • School-age children are most likely to spread the virus due to their close proximity to other children at school
  • The flu virus can live up to 8 hours on surfaces. A sneeze can spread the virus up to 2 metres (6 feet) away
  • The flu vaccine is the best protection against the flu.

FLU VACCINE 101

With the scary statistics and my past experience, I came to the conclusion that the flu shot was a must for my family; again, I wanted to do some research and I learned even more interesting and vital facts. You can visit ontario.ca/flu to dig a little deeper, but below, I have highlighted some of the important information I discovered.

  • Getting the flu shot is your best defense against getting the flu; if you do get the flu after receiving the shot, it can reduce the severity of your symptoms
  • You cannot get the flu from the vaccine.
  • The flu virus is pretty smart and may change year to year; the formulation of the flu vaccine is reviewed each year and is updated, when necessary, to match the virus strains that the World Health Organization believes will circulate during the upcoming influenza season. That’s why it’s important to get vaccinated every year!

GETTING YOUR FLU SHOT

I absolutely love how easy the Ontario government makes it for families to get their flu shots. Simply visit https://www.ontario.ca/page/get-flu-shot/, enter your location (or enable location services) and a list of pharmacies and other locations will display to show you where you can go to get your free vaccine.

I encourage you to take a look at the Ontario Flu site to find out all the information that you need to make an informed and healthy decision for your family.

Here’s to happy and healthy flu season!

City Mom

This post was developed in association with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. The opinions are my own.

 

Fulfill Your Essential Oils Curiosities with dōTERRA #Giveaway

doterra-essential-oils

Essential Oils was a topic that I was very curious about, but I will admit, it seemed overwhelming to me; I had no idea where to start and I wasn’t sure I could afford what it would cost to get started.

Enter Alexandra Kingston, dōTERRA Independent Wellness Advocate. With Alexandra’s help, I was able to try a few of the most popular essential oils from the dōTERRA line. I was also able to sit down for a Q & A session with Alexandra to gain some insight on the uses and benefits of essential oils.

Q&A WITH ALEXANDRA KINGSTON – dōTERRA WELLNESS ADVOCATE

alexandra-kingston-independent-wellness-advocate

  1. What attracted you to working with dōTerra Essential Oils?
    • I did a lot of research and but what really got me about dōTERRA was the CPTG, Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade. This means their oils are free of pesticides and contaminants. There is 3rd party testing used to certify purity, chemistry and potency, and the plants are sourced from their native ( indigenous) growing region.
  2. If you had only 30 seconds to explain the benefits of essential oils, what would you say?
    • I would tell people that essential oils are compounds naturally extracted from plants ( flowers, stems, bark, roots, etc.) Oils are 50-70 times more potent than herbs. Essential oils can penetrate the cell membrane to fight viruses, antibiotics cannot.
  3. What positive impacts have you seen within your family by using dōTerra oils?
    • I have made gradual changes over the past few years and have eliminated almost all cleaning products and now I make my own. I have spent a lot of time researching the products I was using on myself and my children and have found that most of these ( bath soap, tooth paste, laundry soap, hand soap, dryer sheets etc.) can be and have been replaced in my home with a much safer and natural approach. I cook with my essential oils, I clean with my essential oils and I support my family’s health with essential oils.
  4. If someone wanted to easily get started using essential oils, but didn’t know how or where to start, what would you suggest?
    • I would suggest a starter kit, the basics, our top ten essential oils in a kit with hundreds of ideas on how to use them.
  5. How can someone become a dōTerra member?
    • You can shop retail on my website, or you can purchase your own membership, similar to a Costco membership. $42 for a one year membership which lets you shop at wholesale as often or as little as you want. There are also Canadian enrollment kits available that will include the membership right in there and come with different oils and accessories.

MY dōTERRA EXPERIENCE

doterra-intro-kit

I started with the Introductory Kit by dōTerra which includes the Lavender, Lemon, and Peppermint essential oils. Alexandra had also included an extensive list on all the different uses for these three oils. From odor reduction to polishing wood floors to easing sore joints, the uses for essential oils are endless.

my-fave-use

 

Perhaps my favourite use of the essential oils I was given was the Peppermint Essential Oil used on mosquito bites. Not only does it stop the itch, it soothes the pain in a minty, tingly way!

 

I also found many uses for the Lavender (aromatic, soothing bath…ahhh) and Lemon (cleaning my stainless steel appliances  naturally, easily and beautifully smelling) essential oils. There are an endless array of uses. And I’ve just scratched the surface; there are over 60 different oils to choose from.

Like Patchouli for a glowing complexion or Thyme to promote alertness; lift your mood with Ylang Ylang or sooth your family’s dry winter skin with Ginger.

A LITTLE GOES A LONG WAY

doterra-petal-defuser

The dōTerra Essential Oil bottles may look small, but that is because, as Alexandra mentioned, they are up to 70% more potent than regular herbs. Add a drop or two to your bath and it goes a long way. Diffuse your oils, dilute them with water or use them topically, one bottle will last you a long time.

LEARN MORE AND CONNECT WITH ALEXANDRA

There are so many amazing products offered by dōTerra and I highly recommend that you take a look at Alexandra’s site to discover all of the exciting options. By now we are all aware that many of our traditional products are filled with unhealthy chemicals; there is no better time than now to start investigating essential oils.

Find Alexandra on Instagram or contact her through email. She’ll be able to get you started on your journey with essential oils.

ENTER TO WIN YOUR OWN dōTERRA INTRO KIT

doterra-essential-oils-giveaway

Alexandra is passionate about sharing her love and knowledge of essential oils and how they can enhance your and that of your family’s health. Today she is offering on City Mom reader one dōTERRA Introductory Kit which includes one each 5ml Lavender, Lemon and Peppermint essential oils.

Please use the widget below to enter to win. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

City Mom

10 Delicious & Healthy Protein Shake Recipes

Protein Shake Recipes

Ah January; you are here and you are welcomed with open arms; 2015 was good enough for me, big picture, I have much to be thankful for…small picture, it was a tough year. I have high hopes for 2016 and I’ll get back to you later on how that’s going.

NEW YEAR, NEW YOU

Many people use the New Year to set new goals or resolutions. I don’t personally like calling them “resolutions” because I feel that it has the opposite effect on me…I feel like they set me up for failure.

It is estimated that only eight percent of people whom actually make a NY resolution are successful in achieving their goal*, but I do have improvements to make in a few different areas, one big one being my health.

With a stressful end to 2015 and some holiday indulgence I fell off the wagon and I need to get back on track with my fitness goals. To start, I am participating in my second Arbonne 28-Day Clean Eating Detox; a big part of this plan includes using protein shakes as meal replacements.

I’ve written before why having a protein-rich diet is good for you and why it helps to assist in weight loss; nobody likes to get bored with their meals so I’ve gathered this list of the best protein shake recipes (in my opinion) to keep you happy and healthy.

10 BEST PROTEIN SHAKE RECIPES

  1. Passionfruit Green Smoothie: A delicious green smoothie filled with fruit, vegetables and fantastic flavour. Just add a scoop of your fave protein powder and you’ve got a meal in a glass! Credit: Family Food & Travel
  2. Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Protein Shake: a delicious cookie-inspired shake using cashew milk. Um? Yes please! Credit: The Bewitchin Kitchen
  3. Pumpkin Spiced Smoothie: delicious anytime of the year, you can replace the dairy with other non-dairy options if you require a dairy-free alternative. Credit: Confessions of a Fitness Instructor (note: free download of 12 Smoothie Recipes file)
  4. Blueberry Almond Ginger Smoothie: Get the value of antioxidants from blueberries, the healing properties of ginger and honey and the dairy-free protein of almond milk. Add in a scoop of your fave protein powder and voila! Credit: Family Food & Travel
  5. Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Protein Shake: need I say more? Swap the peanut butter for almond butter to make this even healthier! Credit: A Sweat Pea Chef
  6. Cinnamon Roll Protein Shake: who doesn’t love a cinnamon roll for breakfast?! Cinnamon is the star of this delicious protein smoothie that tastes almost exactly like a cinnamon breakfast roll. Credit: jennifermeyering.com
  7. Almond Butter Date Shake: This is a creamy (but dairy-free), dessert-like shake that makes a healthy protein-rich snack or a post workout recovery shake. Yum! Credit: Love & Zest
  8. Tropical Sunrise Smoothie: kind of makes me want to go on vacation, but I bet you’ll feel like you’re on one with this treat. Swap out the yogurt and add in the protein powder to make this a true meal replacement. Credit: Mom on Time Out
  9. Banana Blueberry Protein Shake: one of my favourite combinations is banana and blueberry; this recipe is quick, easy and refreshing! Credit: Ambitious Kitchen
  10. Purple Power Protein Smoothie: jam-packed with nutrients this shake is light but nutritious! Credit: Mom Loves Baking

If upping your nutrition game is on your list of resolutions or goals for 2016, or if you’re already a protein shake lover, this is a list I highly recommend you make your way through. Note for the recipes that don’t originally call for protein powder, be sure to add more liquid than the recipe requires.

* statisticbrain.com

What is your favourite protein shake combination?

City Mom

Please Take a Moment to Read: Child Abuse Prevention Month #StopChildAbuse

Child Abuse Prevention Month
Child abuse is a topic that is near and dear to my heart; I’m a mom after all, and chances are that if you are reading this, you are a parent too, so I assume it is an important topic to you as well. So thank you for taking a moment to read this quick informational post.

OCTOBER IS CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION MONTH

Do you know what to do if you suspect child abuse? Do you know the signs that may indicate that a child is falling victim to child abuse? I thought I had a general idea on both of these questions, but after looking into, I realized that I needed to know more. I assume I’m not alone in this realization; I want to share what I learned in an easy (and hopefully quick) format.

IT TAKES A VILLAGE

We all share a responsibility to protect children and youth from harm – a responsibility that extends to those situations where children may be at risk, suffer abuse and/or neglect in their own homes. Ontario’s Child and Family Services Act provides protection for these children and youth.

TYPES OF ABUSE

Child abuse graphic

First, let’s take a quick look at the kinds of abuse we are talking about:

  • Physical Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Neglect

What is physical child abuse?

Physical abuse could result from a parent or person in charge causing physical injury to a child, or failing to adequately supervise a child or from a pattern of neglect of the child. Here are some examples of physical abuse:

  • beating
  • slapping
  • hitting
  • pushing
  • throwing
  • shaking
  • burning

What is sexual abuse?

Sexual abuse happens when a parent or other person in charge sexually molests or uses a child for sexual purposes or knowingly fails to protect a child from sexual abuse. Here are some examples of sexual abuse:

  • any sexual act between an adult and a child, including intercourse
  • fondling
  • exposing a child to adult sexual activity
  • sexual exploitation through child prostitution or child pornography

What is emotional abuse?

Emotional abuse occurs when a parent or other person in charge causes emotional harm or fails to protect a child from emotional harm that results from verbal abuse, mental abuse and psychological abuse. Here are some examples of emotional abuse:

  • Yelling at, screaming at, threatening, frightening, or bullying a child
  • Humiliating the child, name-calling, making negative comparisons to others, or saying things like: “You’re no good. You’re worthless. You’re bad. Having you was a mistake.”
  • Showing little to no physical affection (such as hugs) or words of affection (praise or saying “I love you.”)
  • Saying that everything is the child’s fault.
  • Withdrawing attention, giving the child the “cold shoulder”
  • Confining a child in a closet or a dark room, or tying the child to a chair for long periods of time
  • Allowing the child to be present during violent behavior of others, including the physical abuse of others

What is neglect?

Neglect happens when a child’s parent or other person in charge does not provide for a child’s physical, developmental, emotional or psychological needs. Here are some examples of neglect:

  • failing to provide emotional support, love and affection
  • failing to provide:
    • proper food
    • clothing suitable for the weather
    • supervision
    • a home that is clean and safe
    • medical care, as needed

SIGNS OF ABUSE

Thanks for reading this far…I know it’s not pleasant material to read, but it is so very important to educate yourself on this topic…so let’s keep going.

Signs of Physical Abuse

Signs of Physical Abuse

Signs of Sexual Abuse

Signs of Sexual Abuse

Signs of Emotional Abuse

Signs of Emotional Abuse

Signs of Neglect

Signs of Neglect

WHAT TO DO IF YOU SUSPECT ABUSE

Here is a quick video that will help you to learn more about what you should do if you suspect a child is victim to abuse. This video is relevant to Ontarioans. Your call could be the most important in a child’s life. This video explains why:

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Visit www.oacas.org

Thank you for reading this post to the end. Please help me to spread the word about Child Abuse Prevention month by sharing this post with your social networks. Together we can make a difference.

City Mom

Manage Your Family’s Health with the Free Care4Today App

Care4Today App

When I was asked to try out the new Care4TodayTM Mobile Health Manager app, I jumped at the chance. You see, in my family, there are a couple of us who take daily medications that are vital to our health and well-being. A missed dose could be very problematic and forgetting to get a refill in time could cause a missed dose.

DID YOU KNOW?

Care4Today Adherence

ABOUT JANSSEN INC. Care4TodayTM MOBILE HEALTH MANAGER

The Care4TodayTM Mobile Health Manager is a free mobile app available in the App Store and Google Play. Its purpose is to simplify the process of managing medications for individuals, families and caregivers in this fast paced, busy world.

Care4TodayTM Mobile Health Manager is designed to help Canadians manage their medications from their mobile phone and computer. It helps in the following ways:

  • Medication reminders, encouragement and incentives
  • Refill reminders
  • Progress reports that can be shared with your healthcare team
  • The app’s Care4FamilyTM and Care4CharityTM features are designed to provide an extra level of support and motivation to help people stay on schedule by connecting users to their loved ones and linking them to a bigger cause.
  • Family members who are connected via Care4FamilyTM can share their progress with one another, an additional feature that could encourage them to take their medications as prescribed.
  • Care4CharityTM allows people who take care of their own health to make a positive difference in the world by selecting a charity that will receive a donation for each day they indicate they have taken all their medications.

USING Care4TodayTM

As mentioned, I take two daily medications; both are imperative to take at the same time every day. Missing a dose could wreak havoc on my system. My biggest struggle is not necessarily remembering to take the medication daily but to take it at the same time everyday and to stay on top of refills.

Refill Alerts

I can’t tell you the number of times that I have found myself panicking that I hadn’t requested a refill in time and was at risk of missing a dose. This is perhaps my favourite feature of the Care4Today™ app.

When you enter the details for your medications you can turn on the Refill Alert feature and set it up to send you reminders when it’s time for a refill based on quantity or date. You can customize the alerts to include:

  • Your refill interval (14 to 90 days)
  • Your Remind Me interval (1 day to 1 month)
  • The message you receive when receiving your alert
  • And a cool feature where you can even include your pharmacy’s phone number via your Contacts

Care4TodayRefillReminder

To keep track of the number of refills you have available for your prescription, I recommend that you enter that information in the ‘refill reminder message’ and then update it each time you use a refill. This will help you to remember to follow-up with your doctor to request more if needed.

Add Medication

Adding your medications is really easy as well. You can search for it alphabetically, search for it by entering its name or add a custom name which is great to use as a reminder for things like drinking water, taking a walk etc.

Care4TodayAddMedication

Once you find your medication, you have lots of options. You can:

  • Choose your particular dosage e.g. 25 mg, 50 mg etc.
  • Add a picture of what your medication looks like (if it’s not already included)
  • Add a nickname e.g. Diabetes
  • Enter your dose e.g. 1 tablet
  • Enter the frequency at which you take the medication e.g. Daily
  • Add the interval at which you take your medication e.g. Everyday
  • Customize the message you want to receive for alerts

Home Screen

After you have entered all your medications and set up your Refill Alerts you can view them on your Home screen. It is here where you will manage your intake of your medications. The options available to you here include:

  • Notifications of missed doses
  • Enter a dose taken
  • Edit your medications
  • The ability to view medications still to take for that day
  • Medications taken
  • Add a new medication

Care4TodayHomeScreen

Reports

Care4TodayTM also provides a Reports feature that shows your progress in taking your medications. It will track doses taken and missed. You can also email your report to your family or healthcare providers.

Care4TodayReports

Care4Family

Care4TodayTM also makes it really easy for caregivers such as those caring for aging parents or children. You can help and encourage family members to stay on schedule with their medications. Members that are connected through the app can even receive notifications of missed medications.

Imagine the peace of mind in helping a loved one who may live far away from you all from the comfort of home or work through your phone or computer?

Care4Charity

IMG_7827

The last feature (and perhaps my favourite) is the Care4CharityTM program. Care4TodayTM will make a donation to a charity of your choice when you reach 100% adherence for the day. How great is that?

For full program details visit: mhm.care4today.com and select Charity from the top menu.

It is said that it takes a village to raise a child, but I think this phrase can be extended even further to say it takes a village to raise a family. With tools like Care4Today TM it makes it so much easier to keep track of the important task of managing medications for yourself and your family.

Be sure to visit care4today.com to learn even more about this great, free tool! Give it a try and share your thoughts on it. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do!

This post was generously sponsored by Care4TodayTM but the opinions and images are my own. For more information, visit mhm.care4today.com.

City Mom

10 Steps to Implementing Allowance

PositiveParentingSolutionsAllowance

A couple of years ago my husband and I enrolled in an online parenting course called Positive Parenting Solutions by Amy McCready. We learned a lot of great tools to equip ourselves with for this crazy journey called Parenting.

One of the most valuable teachings we took from this program was the ABC’s of Allowance (for children 4 – 17). By implementing the allowance system with Little S over a year ago, we have seen so many positive changes that I knew I needed to share with other parents. With Amy’s permission, I am able to do so today.

Note: This post is a bit lengthy because there is a lot of information to share so I’ve divided it into ten steps to help you sort through the information. I suggest reading right to the end to gain the most from this technique.

By implementing allowance in this way, we have been able to:

  • Eliminate power struggles while shopping
  • Educate our child on the value of money
  • Instill the knowledge and desire for delayed gratification
  • Ignite the entrepreneur within her
  • Teach her the importance of charitable giving
  • Emphasize the importance of family contributions

10 Steps to Implementing Allowance

STEP 1: CHORES DO NOT EQUAL CASH

Think about your week in your own home; how many loads of laundry have you done? How many dishes have you cleaned? How many crumbs have you swept up?

A lot right?

And let me ask you, how much did you get paid for this? Nothing! Zip. Zilch. Nada. However you want to say it, the fact is that nobody is paying you to do the things in your house that need to be done. So why are you paying your kids to do it?

Being a part of a family, no matter its shape and size, means you contribute to the well-being of that family. You get to enjoy the benefits together like vacations, birthday parties, dinners out, etc. But you also contribute to its function.

Our goal is to motivate, but connecting an allowance to household duties does the opposite. By focusing on the payoff for the chore rather than the contribution made to the family, we create – and reinforce – a negative lesson. Rather than encouraging our child to do something for its intrinsic value, we instead teach them to ask, “What’s in it for me?” – Amy McCready, Positive Parenting Solutions

  • Do: Ask your children to do age appropriate tasks that contribute to the household.
  • Don’t: Bribe or pay your child to contribute to the family.

STEP 2: ELIMINATE THE WORD ‘CHORE’ FROM YOUR VOCABULARY

The word chore just sounds like a pain in the-you-know-what! To build on Step 1, we want our children to feel significant in the family and to understand the responsibilities that come with being part of a family whether you are the parent or the child.

By using the term family contribution rather than chore, each member sees their role in the household and does not associate these contributions with payment.

  • Do: Refer to the tasks your child does as contributions and reiterate how it helps the family.
  • Don’t: Threaten to withhold their allowance if a family contribution is not completed. Remember, there is no connection between household tasks and payment.

STEP 3: DIFFERENTIATE ESSENTIALS FROM NONESSENTIALS

Needs vs Wants

Depending on the age of your child, items to be considered essential to their health and well-being will vary. However, there are a few basic items that are considered essentials for all dependents such as:

  • Food
  • Shelter
  • Clothing
  • Education
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Transportation

It is these essential items that parents are responsible for providing for their children. Once these items (and any others you deem essential) are covered, anything else that your child wants is considered a nonessential. For example:

  • Video games
  • Gum/Candy
  • Toys
  • Name brand items
  • Comic books

These nonessential items will be covered by your child’s allowance and, as with essential items; the list will vary based on your child’s age.

Here is an example of differentiating between essential and nonessential: Your child plays soccer and needs a new pair of soccer cleats. You find a reasonable pair that will provide everything they need for performance and safety. Your child has their eye on a fancy, name brand pair. The essential that you provide is the cost of the basic pair; if your child wants the more expensive pair, they pay anything over and above the cost of the essential pair from their allowance.

  • Do’: Create a list of age appropriate essential and nonessential items that your child will need/want on a weekly basis.  Plan to provide the essentials but not the nonessentials.
  • Don’t:  Top up your child’s nonessential purchases at the store. This negates the efforts you are making in educating your children about money smarts.

STEP 4: SET BOUNDARIES

Deciding on the amount to give your child as a weekly allowance depends on many factors. To name a few:

  • Age
  • Your own financial capabilities
  • Number of children in your household (no you don’t have to give each child the same amount)

The amount you decide upon is completely up to you but be sure to set boundaries around it. Decide ahead of time what the money can be spent on and what it can’t and communicate this to your child.

Be sure that the allowance amount covers their basic costs but is not so much that it allows them to buy anything they want, whenever they want. Getting the basics today is a good thing for kids and learning to save for the coveted items helps to teach delayed gratification.

  • Do: Select an age appropriate amount and one that is not too generous.
  • Don’t: Change the amount from week-to-week; as your child ages you can adjust the amount to reflect their growing needs.

STEP 5: GIVE, SAVE & SPEND

Give Save Spend

Now t hat you have decided on the allowance you are going to give your child it is time to allocate it in a way that both teaches and represents the real world.

Use three jars (or any other container) and label them the following:

  1. Give
  2. Save
  3. Spend

The ‘Give’ jar is for charitable giving of the child’s choice; the ‘Save’ jar is for long-term savings (e.g. a computer, a car etc.) and the ‘Spend’ jar is used for whatever they chose to spend on a weekly basis (nonessentials).

In our house we have allocated 5% to the ‘Give’ jar, 10% to the ‘Save’ jar and 85% to the ‘Spend’ jar. Find the percentages that work best for you.

  • Do’s: Use the different reasoning behind the jars to educate your child on how important each is.
  • Don’t: Take from the ‘Give’ and ‘Save’ jar to top up purchases for your child.

STEP 6: DON’T BE A LENDER

Imagine this scenario; you’re at the grocery store with a cart full of food. You get to the checkout and attempt to pay for your order and you realize that you forgot your wallet at home. You put on your best ‘feel sorry for me’ face and ask the cashier if you can take the food now, and bring the money back later.

This is not likely to happen is it? This is not the way the real world works so it can’t work that way for your child.

  • Do: Remind your child before you leave the house to bring their wallet with them; do this more when you first start the allowance system and less and less as the process becomes habit.
  • Don’t: Offer to pay for the item at the store and allow them to pay you back at home.

STEP 7: OPEN A BANK ACCOUNT IN YOUR CHILD’S NAME

Take your child to the bank with you and open a bank account in their name. Don’t open an account online as the physical experience offers an educational experience.  As you child’s ‘Save’ jar fills up, take the jar along with your child to the bank to deposit the money.

  • Do: Use a paper format bank book so your child can see their transactions and watch their balance grow. Allow them to take care of the book on their own and store it in a safe place accessible to them.
  • Don’t: Make regular withdrawals from their account. Let them watch the balance grow as they work towards a goal.

STEP 8:  CREATE A WISH LIST

Now that your child has his/her own money to spend on appropriate items, you should start to see any power struggles that may have existed in the past, start to fizzle out. They will feel more empowered now when it comes to making purchases.

Once in a while your child will want to buy an item that they don’t have enough money for, but as in Step 6, it’s not your job to top up their purchase. This is a great time to start a wish list.

It can go something like this:

Child:  “Mommy, I really want this Barbie.”

You: “I see why you’d like that. She’s an ice skater just like you. How much is it?”

Child: “It’s twenty dollars.”

You:  “How much do you have?”

Child: “Only eight dollars.”

You: “You’re short twelve dollars.”

Child: “But I really, really want it!”

You: “Let’s add it to your wish list then. I can take a picture of it with my phone and we can add it to your list of items that you’d like to save for.”

  • Do: Help your child keep track of their wish list items on paper or electronically and help them to save for those items. This list can also come in handy for gift ideas for yourself or family and friends.
  • Don’t: You guessed it…make up the difference for them with your own money!

STEP 9: CREATE A LONG TERM SAVINGS GOAL

Save For A Goal

In our home, Little S is longing for her own computer. Since she is only seven, we aren’t quite ready for her to have her own yet; thankfully her savings will take some time and she’ll be at a more appropriate age once she reaches her goal.

Rather than telling her that she’s too young to have a computer or that it’s too expensive for us to buy, we have set a goal for her to save for it on her own. She has taken to the challenge with passion and gusto and it has ignited her inner entrepreneur.

  • Do: Help your child understand the rate of savings with a fun visual like a chart. This will help to keep them motivated and illustrate how saving works.
  • Don’t: Let them ‘dip into’ their savings for other items. If they are hoping for another item on top of their long-term goal, help them to understand how saving up their ‘Spend’ jar can achieve a shorter term goal.

STEP 10: BE PATIENT AND LET THE THEM LEARN THROUGH EXPERIENCE

When we first started the allowance system, I had a very hard time with Little S’ first solo purchase. She had unintentionally saved a few weeks allowance and we were at the mall in her favourite store. She spotted a pretty pair of earrings that she wanted to buy.

When I saw the price tag at $18.99 I almost fell over. I just didn’t feel that a six-year-old needed a pair of earrings that cost that much. I also knew that she’d like them for a week and then forget about them – which is exactly what happened.

I recall battling with her in the store and trying to explain to her that $19 earrings were a ‘silly’ purchase for such a young girl. I knew that she had no idea what the value of $19 was.

I was very frustrated and I wasn’t sure that what we were doing with the allowance system was right. But as time went on and with each purchase and decision-making, she has slowly come to understand the value of money.

Bit by bit we can see her decision making process on her purchases change and she is motivated to hold out for larger ticket items rather than small trinkets that don’t hold her interest for long.

  • Do: Be patient! It is a long process that is very rewarding but can also be frustrating.
  • Don’t: Make the same mistake that I did – let your child make their own purchasing decisions (assuming the items are appropriate) and only offer guidance not influence.

So there you have it; my ten steps to help teach your children financial responsibility through implementing allowance.

This is a very in-depth topic and there is much more to say on it from the experts. I have summarized my experience for you here today. For more information on Positive Parenting Solutions you can check out the list of free seminars.

Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored or affiliated with Positive Parenting Solutions or Amy McCready. This information is my own personal recommendation based on my experience and learning.

Need/Want photo via freedigitalphotos.net by Stuart Miles.

 Do you give your child allowance? What have your experiences been with it?

City Mom

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