Negotiating Work and Family Life: A Guide

As a modern parent, you’re balancing work and family life and trying to do your very best with each. Delivering consistent professionalism at work can take its toll on your energy levels, and the amount of quality time you’re able to spend at home with your family. Negotiating these two fields can be challenging, however, with the assistance of kind family members, help where you need it, and the drive to get home to your kids, you should come closer to achieving an equilibrium between work and family life.

There’s no shame in accepting you need some extra support here and there or cutting down your work hours to part-time in order to have time to care for and nurture your children.

Assistance

You’ll be well aware of the expense involved in raising a family, and even more so if your children have special needs or require extra assistance in performing everyday tasks like washing and dressing. If any one of your children has suffered an injury or illness, and as a result requires specialist care, then consider contacting birth injury solicitors to see whether you could be entitled to compensation to help fund your child’s ongoing clinical care, specialist educational needs, and disability resources such as sensory rooms and helpful mobility aids.

Ask A Family Member

Sometimes you don’t have the time to spend doing home chores and to ferry your kids from a football game, to band practice, to their guitar lessons – and that’s okay. Consider asking a family member to help you out in the evenings if you’re expected back late from work, they can help drop and pick your kids up from classes and prepare a healthy vegetable curry, for example. You could also hire a cleaner to make your house spotless, and take your washing to the local laundry service for you.  

Working Late

Keep your kids informed of your work schedule, and when they can expect you home. Lateness and absence can cause your children to become upset, disheartened and disappointed, so let them know if you’re going to be late home or away for a part of the week. This way, they’re not waiting up late for you to return, or wondering where you are. Be open and honest with your children and think about giving them a call in the evenings if you’re working at the office. Phone home and speak to your kids, tell them that you love them and to wish them good night.  

Quality Time

You should try to spend quality time with your family every day of the week. They should know that you love and cherish them, that you support them, and that you’ll always be on hand to listen to them when they need you. Build a foundation of trust and respect with your children through asking about their day, their school work and life, their friends, and how they’re getting on with extra-curricular activities. If you’re unable to spend time with your children during the working week, then use the weekend to engage in family activity by going to stimulating places like the zoo, theme parks, activity centres, or going for a walk and picnic together.

How to Feel Great: 5 Top Tips

It’s been a long, long winter, and you may have been questioning when it was likely to end, but hopefully, by the time you read this, you will be wearing your shorts and be sat with a beer in front of the barbeque. However, the chances are high that you still have the central heating on and it is lashing with rain, which is why you may need some top tips on how to feel great – which are not weather dependent.

 

  • Clothes

 

The clothes that you wear are functional in that they hide your nether regions from the unsuspecting public, but they can also give you the ability to feel great. Go to your wardrobe and try all your clothes on. You will find that there are some that although you have designated them for gardening and dirty work, you wear them out in public – these need binning. Keep a t-shirt and pair of trousers to fulfil this role; the rest need to go.

Make a concerted effort to wear clothes that:

  1. Fit you
  2. Complement your body shape
  3. Suit your complexion
  4. Make you feel good

Well-fitting clothes that make you look good makes you feel good too!

 

  • Exercise

 

You may have swapped playing football for spectating at the children’s games, but it is time for you to regain your physical fitness. No matter that it has been twenty years, regular exercise is critical to your health, and you need to make every effort to get healthy. You may not be as slender as you were in your youth, but that is even more of a reason to get exercising. There are plenty of groups that you can join to get fit.

Regular exercising releases endorphins that are the happiness hormones. Once you get into exercising, you will find that other areas of your life will be positively impacted, and you will feel great.

 

  • Personal Grooming

 

You may visit the local barbers for a haircut, but occasionally, splash out and go to a professional stylist. It may not be something that you have ever done before, but a good cut can transform how you look and take years off you. If you are self-aware of your receding hairline, you could also seek a solution. An innovative Advanced Tricho Pigmentation treatment is one option which works to replicate the appearance of natural hair follicles, specially developed for those with little to no hair and imitates the appearance of a shaved head.

Taking care of your appearance is an important tool to boost your confidence and feel great about yourself.

 

  • Friends

 

When you have full on work and family commitments, life can begin to feel like a treadmill. You need to schedule some time to spend with old friends. You know the saying that laughter is the best medicine, so take the opportunity to catch up with friends that you haven’t seen for a while.

It’s so easy to keep in touch with people via social media, but nothing beats face to face communication with people that you can truly be yourself with.

 

  • New Experiences

 

Routines are an important aspect of running a household and bringing up children, but although they are important, they can make daily life feel like a schedule, rather than something that should be lived to its maximum. One way to shake that treadmill feeling is to experience something new. Whether you have always wanted to try surfing, visit a Himalayan temple, or even a restaurant in a local town, the stimulation of experiencing something new is exhilarating.

Take control of your own happiness and follow these top tips to give a spring in your step and feel great about yourself. Self-confidence is a wonderful gift to have, and if you can develop it, the benefits to your life are far-reaching.

4 Tips to Planning the Perfect Weekend in London For The Whole Family

With the good weather and couple of days off ahead, thanks to May’s bank holiday, it’s about time to start planning your weekend trips with the family. But knowing where to begin, especially if you have chosen, a big city like London can be daunting. We put together a short list of tips that hopefully will help you to organise a best family time in the Big Smoke.

Book a hotel close to the biggest attractions   

Booking your hotel in advance is the next step you will need to make after buying traveling tickets. And it is an important one. Depending on the age of your kids, and the family size, there will be different recommendations you might consider, but in general, the closer to the London centre is your hotel the better. Staying close to the key London’s attractions and landmarks can save your time, money, not to mention, making the overall commute experience less troublesome. Having a room rented out in the centre, also gives you a chance to refresh at any time you need it, without relying on public changing rooms, or toilets in cafe and restaurants. The Thistle Trafalgar Square is a hidden gem just around the corner from the Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus, Soho and Covent Garden, that is definitely worth considering if you are planning stress- free, family-friendly weekend break.

Make democratic choices  

You might get used to deciding for the rest of the family but remember that your kids are growing, and they need to get their voices heard too.  So, it’s important you not only give them choices but also ask for suggestions. Although as a parent you might not be an ardent Harry Potter or Chelsea fan yourself ( and let’s be honest, that’s probably not on your list yet), you should try to understand that visiting London can be the only chance your kids will have to explore sites related to their biggest idols.  So, before you make any reservations, get your family together and ask them for suggestions. This will allow you to make a plan, and avoid any drama, such as seeing any disappointed faces.  

Plan your journey ahead  

Once your family have submitted their choices, it’s a time to make a rough plan where you will go and what you will visit. Planning your journey ahead, allows you to eliminate most of the obstacle that could utterly spoil the otherwise fun time in London. These obstacles include:  rushing from one place to another, losing your holiday time to plan the next steps of your trip, spending excessive amount of money on unexpected Uber rides, eating in overrated (or underrated) restaurants, and finally missing out. It’s been proved with loads of empirical evidence, that the time unplanned, can’t possibly match the fun you will have moving smoothly from one place to another. And it’s especially important when your biggest critics – your kids will be around.

Pre- book tickets for attractions

Leaving your home with tickets in your pocket gives you a lot of advantages, but the biggest one is perhaps securing a good value for money, for the attractions you are about to see. And all London’s early birds, who know how hard sometimes it is to get tickets for venues, would agree. But it’s not only about staying organised. Some of the attractions are regularly sold out, and others such as the Harry Potter studio, don’t even sell the tickets on the doors. Other, like the House of Parliament will ask you to book a slot. Think, plan, and get your tickets sorted on time!

4 Great Electronic Toys for Kids

Toys are toys, regardless of whether they are made from wood, plastic or metal. However, there is something about electronic toys for kids that make great gifts. Maybe it’s the novelty of new technology, but electronics have become the most popular genre of toys in the market today! Let’s take a look at some favourites:

  • deAO Toys RC Amphibious Hovercraft: £35.99

The future is finally here with kids everywhere wanting a hovercraft. It may seem completely alien buying such a toy, so we’ve selected our favourite model. This particular hovercraft offers the best bang for your buck. Measuring just short of 15 inches in length, the deAO hovercraft is a fast and robust all-terrain vehicle that can reach a top speed of 20km/h and has a range of 50 metres. The sleek black hovercraft is also capable of doing 360 degree turns. Powered by two powerful lateral fans, the manufacturer claims that the deAO hovercraft performs better over water. Recommended age: 9 years and above.

  • Dragon Touch Y88X Plus 7-inch Tablet: £39.99

Designed specifically for kids, the Dragon Touch Y88X is preloaded with Google’s KIDOZ operating system. KIDOZ is almost identical to Android OS but it comes with one major difference – it’s kid friendly, so you no longer have to worry about your child viewing inappropriate videos or playing unsuitable games. Even the app store is child-friendly. The Y88X is also preloaded with a bunch of Disney freebies, including stories and audio books. With its high video and audio quality, your kids won’t be bugging you about using your expensive iPad ever again. Although the manufacturer have no user age recommendation, we believe children as young as two years old will be able to use the tablet on their own since studies have shown that most children have developed the common skills required to use touch-screen devices by that age.

  • 3Doodler PowerPuff: £49.99

This is like 3D printing, only cooler. Instead of computers and fancy (and expensive) 3D printers, the 3Doodler is a handheld device which can be used to manipulate plastic into any design and shape. The device comes with a large library of designs which your child can use first, so they won’t have a difficult learning curve to master this very impressive toy. Recommended age: 8 to 14 years old.

  • TURNMEON 1.44″ Touch Screen Smart Watch: £29.98

This smart watch is the perfect toy for kids who love to have the same gadgets as mum and dad. The watch doesn’t just tell time. You can connect it to phones and computers, you can play games, and you can even take pictures. On top of that, the TURNMEON smart watch also comes with a GPS tracker, pedometer, SOS alarm and remote listening capability. And as a bonus, owing to its tracking ability, parents can keep track of their children’s whereabouts all day long.

 

How to Protect Your Family on Holidays

A family holiday should be a highlight of the year, however it can become a nightmare situation if something goes wrong and there isn’t any protection in place. Travel insurance provides vital peace of mind for you and your family, in case the unpredictable occurs. However, in 2016-17 a quarter of holidaymakers risked travelling without suitable insurance,

 Here is our quick guide to get you up to speed on all you need to know so that you can make the most of your trip.

 Make sure you have holiday insurance

 Although it is not mandatory taking out travel insurance should be a priority as without it you may find you are on your own and problems may only get worse. Travel insurance should keep you and your family safe in case of any number of incidents including: needing to cancel or cut a trip short due to reasons that are out of your control, transport delays or cancellation and lost or damaged items.

 Perhaps more crucially, travel insurance provides protection for medical situations, for example what would happen if you became ill whilst abroad and needed medical treatment? If you have taken out travel insurance beforehand, you should be covered for most medical incidents and their consequences. Travel insurance also provides ‘personal liability’ cover, if you are liable to pay damages should you injure someone else.

 There can be severe financial consequences for failing to take out travel insurance.  Measuring the cost of an average annual travel insurance policy at £37 against the average medical claim of £1,300 or the average cancellation claim of £816, it is clear that there is much more to lose if you choose to travel without sufficient insurance.

 What sort of holiday insurance?

 Travel insurance is widely available and can be purchased from insurance companies, banks, retailers and online comparison sites but there are hundreds of travel insurance policies out there, as a quick internet search will illustrate. So, how do you pick the correct one for you?

 Although it may be tempting to choose the cheapest policy, it is likely that the price reflects the cover provided. Before taking anything out its worth spending some time researching which policy is best for you and your family. This is one of those occasions when it really pays to read the small print.  In most cases what cover is provided and any restrictions on it should be in plain English and you might worry about any policy where it all looks overly complicated or you just can’t ‘get’ what they are really offering. 

 There are comparison sites that have quick and easy charts setting out what is available but key things you will want to look for include medical expenses (how much is the total cover and does it cover the countries you are to visit?), a reparation service (to get you back home after an accident), cancellation, delay or missed departure, baggage cover and personal liability cover. Polices can vary depending on how many people are being covered, where you are going, how often you go, how long you go for and whether any adventurous sports are planned.

 To receive full cover, you must declare any prior medical conditions.

 What happens if you don’t have holiday insurance?

 If you do not take out travel insurance and are unlucky enough to be taken into hospital, you will be solely responsible for the costs incurred. In the UK, access to the NHS means that we are often unaware of the true costs of medical treatment. However, abroad (particularly outside the EU) it is not uncommon for medical bills to run into the tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds. This is without the inclusion of additional costs, such as transport home.

 A common misconception when travelling in Europe is that the EHIC card acts as a replacement to travel insurance. An EHIC card grants individuals the same access to medical facilities as locals, however this does not mean that the treatment is of the same standard as at home and this does not include additional costs (such as transportation fees) and you may have to pay up front and recover the money when you get home (for now but subject to Brexit).

 To put the cost of medical bills into perspective, recent figures estimate that it would cost £15,000 to pay for the treatment of a broken hip in Spain and return flights. Treatment for a stomach infection in California and flights home could cost £100,000.

 What can you do if you have an accident abroad?

 Unfortunately accidents do occur. However, there are actions that you can take if you or someone in your family has been injured.

 Keep your travel insurance policy number and emergency contact telephone number with you and contact your insurer as soon as possible.

 Whether you have insurance or not you may incur costs and if someone else was to blame you may be able to recover those when you get back home.

 If you believe that you or your family has been involved in an accident that was due to someone else’s negligence (and holiday accidents can range from food poisoning to a broken bone through to brain or spinal cord injuries), you may be eligible to make a personal injury claim. You should seek medical treatment immediately (and keep receipts) but get professional legal advice as soon as you get home.

 The rules regarding holiday accident compensation claims can be complex and difficult to understand. Thompsons Solicitors has significant expertise in securing holiday accident personal injury claims, and these links explain how the law works.  Thompsons specialist teams of personal injury solicitors can advise you if you have a valid compensation claim.

 To start a UK-based holiday accident claim, you can either fill in our short online claim form or call Thompsons Solicitors’ experienced personal injury lawyers on 0800 0 224 224.

 

 

3 Instances Where Your Kids Might Need You the Most

Parenting is a job that never really ends. Your children need you when they’re small and vulnerable, and they also need you throughout their years of transitioning into teenagers and adults. This could be because you’re typically the first person that they know, and children sometimes see parents as people with all of the answers. There are many events that happen throughout the course of our lives and your children aren’t exempt from such transitions. Being there for them as a parent and seeing them through, however, can go a long way in helping them stay on the right path. For this reason, you’ll find three instances where your kids may need you the most in this article.

Starting a New School

Irrespective of how old your child may be, starting a new school can be daunting. This is a time where your child may need you the most, so it’s important that you try and be there for them and ask how they’re feeling. Some ways that you can show love and support and help your child adjust to a new school include going with them on their first day, asking how their day was, encouraging extra-curricular activities, and finding out their likes and dislikes about their new school. You should also find ways to get them to voice any worries or concerns they have as they could be getting bullied or picked on and be too embarrassed to talk about it. Overall, you should try and make sure they’re happy and their emotional wellbeing is intact.

Going Through Puberty

If you have a child who is transitioning into a teenager, this can be overwhelming for both you, the parent, and for your child. It can be emotional to watch your little baby transition into becoming a teenager and knowing they’re becoming more independent. This can be a vulnerable time for them so paying attention to the signs that they may be going through puberty is key. For girls, some signs of puberty to look out for include bigger breasts, acne, sweating, periods and more hair on the arms and legs. Similarly, boys typically experience growth in underarm hair, their voice breaking, acne, more sweating, and a growth spurt. These things could make your child feel very self-conscious and, in some cases, even insecure. It is, therefore, important that you find time to discuss puberty before-hand so that they are prepared for these physical changes and are perhaps more open to express how this transition is making them feel.

Change in Family Structure

For different reasons, there are times when a child’s family structure changes. One of the primary reasons may be a because of divorce, separation, or even the death of a parent or sibling. Divorce statistics happen to show that 42% of marriages end in divorce. This could have a negative effect on your kids, so being there for them during this time is key. You should try your best to ensure that relationships end amicably. This is because fighting over finances and messy custody battles can make your children feel divided, sad and broken. In the case of death or a parent moving away, you should consider family counseling. Ensuring your child is okay mentally and emotionally is key.

As your children grow, they may not need you in the same ways they do when they’re young, however, it doesn’t mean they won’t need you at all. The love of a parent can be one of the most fulfilling types of love for a child, so most of the time, your love and support will mean the world to them. For this reason, you should try and pay attention to instances when your child might need you, even if they don’t know how to come out and say it.

Ways to Look After Your Kid’s Mental Health

It is likely that your kids are often expressive and vocal about how they feel unless they happen to be shy. Most kids have a reputation for being brutally honest and vocalising how they feel whenever they feel like it. For this reason, you may not always be able to identify when something may be wrong and perhaps they aren’t okay. It is, however important that you’re able to tell when they’re going through a more serious issue that may be affecting their mind, emotions, and overall wellbeing. In light of this, you’ll find a few ways that you can look after your kid’s mental health below.

Talk to Them Regularly

 

Communicating with your child on a regular basis is important. It is by having regular conversations that you’re likely to learn about them, hear them talk about how they feel and also make them feel comfortable opening up. When you talk to your kids regularly, you may also uncover deep-rooted issues that they’re struggling with that could require special attention. If you find that you can’t tackle the issues on your own, try searching for ‘psychologist London’ and seeing what professional in your area may be able to help. There are a number of things that could cause your child to need a psychologist such as stress and anxiety, suicidal thoughts, depression, conduct, and disorder, or family and relationship challenges. Being able to identify and resolve these issues, however, should help affect their mental health positivity.

 

Help Them Develop Their self-esteem

Every kid should feel good about themselves as well as have a positive self-image. As a parent, it is, therefore, your job to use different tactics to ensure that they do. Some ways to help develop their self-esteem include praising them, actively listening, and positively enforcing boundaries. This should help create self-confidence as well as make them secure in who they are. Some other tips on helping build their self-esteem include talking about the positive aspects of their personality, trying not to label, criticize, or blame them, and helping them learn to appreciate their inner qualities as opposed to physical looks.

Create a Safe Environment

It is important that children are in a safe environment at all times. Although you can’t always be present 24/7, there are measures you can put in place to ensure their safety. For one, you should try and make sure that your child is safe online. An increasing number of kids now have access to the internet through tablets and phones, so monitoring what information they’re taking in and who they’re talking to is key. You can set up parental control on mobile, broadband, TV, game consoles, and search engines. This should help prevent your children from engaging with inappropriate content or falling into the hands of predators. This is also a way to protect their mental health and keep them from traumatic experiences.

 

The incipient stages of a child’s life are said to be the most critical. You should, therefore, try your best to nourish their mental health and look out for signs that they may be struggling. Children are vulnerable to a number of influences and can also be greatly impacted by their environments. As a parent, you’re likely to be the first friend, protector, and counselor that they know, so make an effort to give it your best shot.

Exploring the UK with the Family

Staycations and family breaks within the UK have been on the rise, and it’s no surprise as there is so much on offer when it comes to cultural and historic activities and attractions. A great option if you want to see what this beautiful country has to offer. There’s plenty to explore within the UK so if you’re considering planning in a weekend or short break, there’s a lot on offer for families and plenty to do without breaking the bank too!

Stay closer to home

You don’t have to travel far from home to explore what the UK has to offer, there are some great attractions and sights to see near-by. You can make it feel like more of an adventure by staying somewhere different to home. Look for family friendly places like YHA which are affordable options when it comes to accommodation. Having a night or two away, even closer to home can be really exciting as a family trip and means you don’t have too far to travel with the Children.

Make a road trip out of it

If you have a few more days to spare, then going on a family road trip can be a great way to explore the UK. You can travel further, and you can plan in more so there’s more time to explore. Allow yourself a couple of stops along the way so you can make the most of your travel time to include some sights or attractions on route. This helps to break up the journey, which is nicer for children and means you can pack more into your itinerary.

UK family festivals  

Another way to explore the UK with the family is to look out for any festivals, ones that are family friendly such as latitude are great options. You can explore new destinations within the UK and have a great weekend packed full of family activities and music. If there’s a place within the UK that you’ve always wanted to visit why not see if there’s a festival or event coming up that you can tie into your visit.

Keep an eye out for offers

This works well if you’re flexible on when you can take some time off to explore the UK as offers often run for shorter periods of time. If you are flexible, it’s worth checking in on any offers that might be available for attraction tickets, museums or historic landmarks who sometimes offer family tickets, saving you some money.

Tips for Raising Independent and Responsible Adults

Every parent wonders if he or she is doing a good enough job raising their kids. The short answer, of course, is that there is no right or wrong way to parent, so long as you try your best and ensure your child’s health and safety. That being said, asking for advice and looking up more effective parenting methods is always welcome, especially if it helps your children learn and grow into responsible and independent adults:

 

  • Encourage Good Decisions

 

It’s almost a lost cause to assume that your children won’t try to experiment with alcohol or drugs as they grow up. You cannot control every aspect of their life, and these substances have been a part of high school culture for decades. What you can do, however, is be open and honest with them. Teach them about the dangers of certain drugs and what to do if they don’t feel well, like drink water, or even call an ambulance. Encourage them to be honest and open with you, because it is only then that you can help them make their own decisions and protect themselves. Show them what to do if they’re ever wrongfully or correctly being tried for carrying drugs, and teach them about the conspiracy to supply and all the legal ramifications of doing drugs.

The point is not to ban these behaviours entirely, but to instead give them the information that they need to either be safe when they do it, or to decide not to do it entirely. Teens are notoriously rebellious, but if you have a strong, trusting relationship with them, you can either be their first call if something goes wrong or you can convince them to take their personal safety more seriously. You should never say no, after all, without explaining why.

 

  • Getting Them a Job

 

Getting a job means your child can have a disposable income. This might result in poor purchases, but making those poor decisions is a part of growing up. The sooner they get these poor decisions out of the way, the sooner they can start to be responsible with their money.

 

  • Teaching Them How to “Adult”

 

Ask any recent graduate, and they’d say that they wished they were taught how to do taxes during high school. There are a lot of crucial life skills that your children will need to know in order to be independent and responsible adults, but many of those skills will have to be taught at home. Have them help with the cooking and with the chores, teach them how to repair their clothes and have them sit down with you when are are filing your taxes. Knowing these life skills can make them more confident and able when they move out of the house and start their futures.

Raising independent and responsible adults means letting them make mistakes and learn from them. It means giving them the tools to succeed and trusting in them to make the right decisions. Teach your children and respect their autonomy, and you will have a capable adult able to achieve all their dreams.

Style vs. Practicality – What Car is Right For You?

Buying a car is an exciting experience, and whether it’s the first car after passing your test or choosing a new car for a growing family, getting it right saves you both time and money in the long run. It can be a confusing and overwhelming decision and most of the time it depends on your budget and what you’re looking to get out of it. There is so much choice around and it can sometimes be difficult to make a decision when you’d love a sporty car but in reality, you need a practical estate. Choosing a car that’s perfect for your requirements is getting an ideal balance of budget, usage and style. So take a look at some of the most common things to look out for and ask yourself when deciding what car is right for you.

Shall I buy new or used?

It’s no surprise that budget will play a big part of whether you decide to buy a brand new or used model. Whatever the outcome of this, it’s worth noting that both sides have benefits and doing a local used car search can also come up trumps for well-maintained, affordable options. Although buying new, you’ll get to tailor the car to your preferences, you’ll also find you’ll actually lose money more quickly due to depreciation than buying a used vehicle. Used cars, however, can provide serious savings and give you the option to buy privately or via an approved used car dealer.

Shall I go green?

Petrol and in particular diesel cars have been hitting the headlines in the past few months, and for some people, this may make them consider getting something greener to reduce their carbon footprint. While it’s ideal to get alternative fuelled vehicles, at present, you may not be able to stretch to a brand new electric or hybrid vehicle as there are very few in the second-hand market compared to diesel and petrol models. This decision could be based on how many miles you do as if you just need it for town driving and smaller journeys, petrol is a better option, and for longer commutes and regular travelling, diesel may be more cost-effective.  

What style should I choose?

Traditionally, certain car models have had a stereotypical use. If you needed to carry large loads or travelled with a dog, estate cars were best. For large families, MPV cars were popular and small families or individuals had hatchbacks. Many modern carmakers have since squashed these stereotypes and built cars around a lifestyle rather than pigeonholing consumers. Families no longer have to have dowdy looking cars, as the range of SUV’s merges practicality with style plus four-wheel drive cars are no longer just the preserve of country folk, as the modern crossovers make larger vehicles open to the whole market.

Picking your next car doesn’t have to be a daunting task and with the range of models available, pairing both style and practicality has never been easier.