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    How To Be An Autism Advocate

    There are a lot of challenges that parents of autistic children face. One such challenge is the fact that special needs children often get pushed aside when it comes to their education. This may happen when their diagnosis information has not been properly shared or when the school district is short on resources. An autism parent advocate is someone who is checking to make sure their autistic child’s needs are being met. This will need to be on a continual basis over the weeks, months, and years. Autistic children are often not properly taken care of in the public schools education system. This is because they need an educational advocate to help them get what they need. As an autism advocate, it is your goal to create a positive, collaborative relationship with the school system to ensure your child’s needs are met.

    The 3 Ways You Can Best Advocate For Your Autistic Child

    Helping to increase autism awareness is often the mainstay for autism advocates. This is because information and knowledge are one of the best ways to combat ignorance and false perceptions. Knowing what to expect and how best to deal with it makes things smoother for everyone. As ADA says, “Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a developmental disorder. It affects how people communicate and interact with others, as well as how they behave and learn”. Understanding this basic information helps other people begin to understand your child better.

    Because autistic children often have difficulty with communication skills, it is important that they have an educational advocate. The main goal is to develop a partnership with the school and teachers so that you can work as a team. When you have a special needs child, you may need to lobby for them to get their needs met at every level of their education. Unfortunately, without an advocate, they don’t have much of a voice and can sometimes be neglected by school administrators. In this article, we will go over several ways that you can advocate for your autistic child. 

    1 – Be Proactive

    If you have done a free child autism test and then followed up and gotten an official diagnosis, you are now armed with the information you need to help advocate for them. Make sure to share the official diagnosis with the school administration and teachers. Be friendly and learn their names because they will be your partners in this process.

    It is really important to be proactive in getting your autistic child’s needs met and not simply reacting to things. When you have specific concerns or requests, it is a good idea to set up a meeting with the school. This will provide a way for you to express those concerns and get the administrators on the same page. Be as prepared as possible and set the tone of the meeting. Make sure that the administrators understand what your position is and that they will need to figure out how to meet your child’s needs. 

    2 – Be prepared

    Before any meeting or communication, you should have done some research. Find out what your child’s rights are in your state. There are some guarantees that the school needs to give you based on the local regulations of wherever you live. When you know your state laws and rights, you have a better standing to make sure that the school is doing at least the minimum they are required to do. 

    The Autism Speaks organization states that “The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) … mandates that the state provide all eligible children with a free and appropriate public education that meets their unique individual needs”. Visit their site to learn more about possible early intervention programs and special education services.

    You should also be prepared with any documentation from doctors that will outline what your child’s needs are. This gives you specific things to ask for which have their basis in a clinical standpoint. Have any reports or suggestions for the school done by professionals to bolster your case. 

    3 – Communicate well

    Ambiguity can really hurt your chances to get what your child needs. It is extremely important that you know how to communicate well. Try to make your point understood without any room for miscommunication. With this purpose, you may want to write your ideas down before hand. In this way, you can be sure to present your requests in an organized fashion.

    It’s helpful not to use emotional language, not only to keep things professional, but also to clearly articulate what it is that you need to have happen. Emotions are natural, but will get in the way of proper communication. On the flip side, the school will sometimes use language that is vague or confusing. Be sure to ask for clarification of unknown terms anytime you encounter them. Ask a lot of questions to be sure that you understand what is being said. In this way, you can then clearly articulate what you want to say in return.

    Conclusion 

    Children with autism have special needs and may struggle to communicate well with teachers and parents. As an autism advocate, it is your role to be proactive. Read up on your child’s diagnosis. Be familiar with all the diagnosis information and materials that the doctors provide. Be sure the school has this information as well so they came come up with an individualized education plan (IEP) to suit your child.

    If you encounter any difficulties with the education being adequate to meet your autistic child’s needs, schedule IEP meetings with the school administration and/or teachers. Come prepared with a good attitude to recruit these people as partners to better understand and meet your child’s needs. This may be an ongoing process but have faith. There are so many great teachers out there and you are helping your child progress. If you are struggling with the process you can sometimes hire a special education advocate to help you. Addressing the developmental disabilities will help improve the quality of life for you and your child.

    Related Resources:

    You may find it useful to check out AwesomismMom– a site by a mother of an autistic adult who has been through it all. Building a autistic community with appropriate supports will help you get through the rough times.

    Inspirational Parenting Quotes More

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    List Of Essential Baby Clothes For Hospital

    Congratulations on the upcoming arrival of your new baby. You must be ecstatic about the big day! Yet, do you know which kinds of clothes you should have in your hospital bag? If not, continue reading as we discuss the most vital clothes you must pack for the baby’s delivery. First I will discuss the details of the essential baby clothes for hospital bags. Then I will provide a brief baby hospital bag checklist to sum it all up at the bottom of this post.

    What Kind Of Baby Clothes Must Be In Your Hospital Bag?

    Most hospitals will provide basic clothes for your newborn while at the hospital. Most often this will be a plain white t-shirt (for easy access) and swaddle blanket. So technically, in most cases, you don’t have to bring any baby clothes for the hospital or birth center. Hats and socks are other baby clothing items that the hospital may provide. However, you may prefer to bring your own. Hospital provided ones are usually very plain, thin, and rather cheap quality. Therefore, lots of people want to bring a newborn baby hospital outfit for baby to wear while they are there as well as a baby coming-home outfit.

    Essential Newborn Baby Clothing

    Comfortable clothes are essential for baby’s arrival. They will be the most important item in the baby’s hospital bag.

    Sleepsuits or Onesies

    Onesies are often considered the most basic, top choice item when packing clothes for baby. Given that typical clothes will keep moving, exposing your child’s skin, securing them with onsies or sleep suits are very useful. They are also great choices because they don’t squeeze baby’s waistline and a comfortable baby is a happy baby. Sleepsuits (also known as sleepers, Sleep & Plays, romper jumpsuits, or sleeper pajamas with built in footies) will ensure your child is comfortable and warm when sleeping during the night. You can get some of the best baby sleepsuits and adorable onesies from leading online outlets like Pixels or nearby physical stores.

    Sometimes it can be good to have a few different sizes. Some babies are born tiny barely fitting newborn clothes while others are born quite large and fit 3-6 month onesies!

    Hats And Socks

    Baby’s head is a large source for heat transfer to hats can help baby regulate temperature better. Ensure to pack some hats and socks for your newborn. It might be cold in the hospital, so you’ll need to keep your baby warm. If you have a baby girl, you may even want a soft bow baby headband- these are great for perfect baby photos!

    Baby Coming-Home Outfits

    That is it for the essential baby clothes but some people like to pack special baby coming-home outfits as well. They tend to go a little fancier for bringing baby home. You might want to consider some of the below items or you can just stick with a going-home outfit with a matching hat.

    Shirts, Pants, Or Dresses

    You may want to try some shirts and pants for the baby. When selecting these clothes, settle for loose, soft ones because you don’t want to hurt your baby’s soft skin with tight clothes.

    Although these clothes are adorable, they can be hectic to put on and take off and may even be uncomfortable for the baby. To avoid such instances, consider choosing:

    Stretchy Leggings And Soft Jeans: These clothes are easy to put on and pull out and won’t press your newborn’s tummy. Babies are vulnerable to indigestion, and tight clothes can only worsen the matter. To ensure the clothes aren’t to blame for your child’s bad mood, dress them in stretchy, flexible clothes.Stretchy Dresses, Tops, Or Tunics: Stretchy dresses, tops, or tunics are easy to go over the head and pull down over the body. Avoid buttoned clothes, especially those with lots of buttons at the back, because they can be difficult to remove.

    Vests

    Vests are great because they can keep your baby from risk of feeling a cold or wet by soaking up the first layer of milk spillage or regular spit-ups. You can use a short-sleeved vest during warm weather and a long-sleeved one for cold weather.

    Besides keeping your baby warm, some vests, such as kimono vests, ensure that diapers stay in place. Additionally, vests protect a baby’s skin from inevitable milk spills and spit-ups absorbed by the outer layer of clothing.

    Jumpsuit Or Cardigans For Warmth

    A newborn should always stay warm. Therefore, it’s essential to pack a jumpsuit or cardigan if you will be traveling home in cool weather. Consider dressing up your newborn with cardigans if you want to be flexible on whether to keep your baby’s sweater buttoned or unbuttoned. However, if you want your child to stay warm all the time, settle for jumpers, especially in the fall or winter.

    Other Baby Necessities

    Here are a few more essential items to go ahead in stick into baby’s diaper bag so you’ll always be ready.

    Blankets And Swaddles

    Although hospitals provide blankets to keep you and the baby warm, carrying one or two from home is a good idea. The extra blankets will act as substitutes once some become dirty. Besides, the hospital’s blankets might not be as comfortable as you’d want them for the newborn; thus, it’s best to bring your own.

    You’ll also need some blankets to protect your baby against the cold when leaving the hospital. Bringing your blankets and swaddles is also useful as nurses will teach you to swaddle your baby correctly the first time. This will ensure you’ll be confident when swaddling your baby, even after going home.

    Burp Cloths

    These are small rectangular cloths that prevent your child’s frequent spit from making it to their clothes, thus preventing them from getting dirty quickly. It’s therefore important to pack some as you’ll need them eventually.

    Dribble Bibs

    It would help if you packed several of these. They’re triangular or rounded cloths placed around the baby’s neck to prevent their clothes from soaking up in spit-ups. Dribble bibs are often fastened with velcro or poppers for easy removal.

    Diapers And Baby Wipes

    Although these baby needs are already at the hospital, it’s a good option to pack a few diapers and baby wipes just in case you should need them. These essentials will surely come in handy and are useful should you plan to go elsewhere after checking out from the hospital. 

    Baby Hospital Bag Checklist

    If you are wondering how many baby clothes to bring to hospital, it depends on your length of stay. VeryWellFamily points out that, “For an uncomplicated vaginal birth, you can expect to stay in the hospital for at least 24 hours; however, most people stay for about two days. If you’ve had a C-section, your stay will be three to four days in most cases. So most people bring 2-4 outfits in their hospital baby bag.

    2-4 sleepsuits or onesies2 socks2 hats1 going-home outfit1 warm jumpsuit for going home if at all chilly1 baby blanket for taking your little one home1 burp clotha few diapers and wipes

    This list is a good starting point. New parents should also make sure the car seat is installed before bringing baby home from hospital.

    Conclusion

    When packing for your child’s delivery, their safety should be at the top of your mind. Thus, you’ll be needing essentials to keep your newborn warm and secure. With the information presented here, you now know what to pack as the due date approaches for your new bundle of joy. Remember to pack your baby’s needs in well advance, just in case they come early! Birth is such a miracle and blessing. Congratulations!

    Related Posts:

    How To Get A Baby To Sleep Faster

    DIY Nursing Cover With No-Sew Option

    How To Make A Baby Mobile More

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    UK surrogacy law FAQs

    Stowe Senior Associate Liza Gatrell, experienced Surrogacy Lawyer, has compiled a list of surrogacy FAQs for those looking into seeking the help of a surrogate as a way of creating their family. 
    Though surrogacy can be legally complex and emotionally charged, it is an increasingly popular, and for many people necessary, route to parenthood. Year on year the number of parental orders made in this country is increasing, although the number of surrogacy arrangements may be far higher than any of us can predict. Whilst change is afoot surrogacy law in the UK remains unduly complex. Here’s a list of questions that I get asked often, to help add clarity to Surrogacy Law.
    What is surrogacy?
    Put simply, surrogacy is where a woman carries and gives birth to a child for another person, or couple. There are two difference types of surrogacy arrangement:
    Traditional surrogacy – the surrogate is artificially inseminated with the intended father or donor’s sperm. The surrogate not only carries the child, but she also donates her egg and as such she is biologically related to the child.
    Gestational surrogacy – the surrogate is implanted with an embryo via IVF and therefore she is not biologically related to the child. Often the sperm and egg of the intended parents will be used, which means that the child will be biologically theirs. Donor egg or sperm can be used if this is not possible. It is possible to use donor egg and sperm, but this will impact on your ability to apply for a parental order.
    Is surrogacy legal in the UK?
    Yes, it has always been legal to enter into a surrogacy arrangement in the UK. However, there are various rules and regulations which need to be carefully considered. Surrogacy contracts are unenforceable, which means that there must be a great deal of trust between all parties to the arrangement. It is also against the law for a third party (such as a solicitor) to take payment for negotiating a surrogacy contact.
    How do I find a surrogate?
    There are several non-profit organisations in the UK who can help.  The most well-known are Surrogacy UK, Brilliant Beginnings and COTS. It is also not uncommon for family members or friends to offer their help.
    What is a surrogacy agreement and are they binding?
    A surrogacy agreement formally records how intended parents and surrogates want their arrangement to work, providing clarity and a mutual understanding of their respective commitments. However, surrogacy agreements are not enforceable in the UK and the intended parent(s) will need to apply to the court to become the legal parents of the child.
    Is it legal to pay our surrogate?
    Contrary to popular belief, it is not illegal to pay a surrogate mother for her services in the UK. However, during the parental order application, the court will need to authorise any payments made over and above the expenses she has reasonably incurred. There is no definition of reasonable expenses, which means the court must decide what is reasonable in each case. The court often takes quite a relaxed approach and there is a history of the High Court approving payments in international cases that more than covers expenses.
    Can the intended parents be named on the child’s birth certificate?
    The birth certificate must reflect the legal position at birth. This means that the surrogate will always be named on the birth certificate in the UK. Whether one of the intended parents can be named will depend on whether the surrogate is married/ in a civil partnership and the circumstances surrounding insemination.
    What is a parental order?
    A parental order makes the intended parent(s) of the child the legal parents and it permanently removes the legal parenthood of the surrogate and her spouse. Once the order has been made the birth will be re-registered and the original birth certificate will be sealed and only accessible to the child once they are over 18.
    The court process can take between 4-12 months and will usually involve 1 or 2 court hearings.
    Can the surrogate change her mind and try to keep the baby?
    The surrogate remains the legal parent up until a parental order is made. The surrogates consent is also required before a parental order can be made. Many intended parents worry about what would happen if the surrogate wanted to keep the baby, but cases of this happening are incredibly low. The surrogate can also be concerned that she may be left holding the baby if the intended parents change their mind, or their circumstances change.
    What are the most common overseas surrogacy destinations?
    The most popular destinations for surrogacy arrangements abroad are US, Canada, Georgia, Greece and historically include Ukraine. It is important to do extensive research before embarking upon a surrogacy arrangement abroad. Your marital status and gender may dictate the options available to you.
    It is important that you ensure that you comply with the law in the UK and your destination country.
    If I am named on the foreign birth certificate/ post birth order will I be recognised as the legal parent in the UK?
    No. In the UK the surrogate will always be the legal mother. Whether one of the intended parents can be recognised as the legal parent at birth will depend on the surrogate’s marital status and the circumstances surrounding the insemination.
    Will my child be a British Citizen?
    This depends. If it can be proven that the surrogate is single, and the biological and legal father is British, then he passes British Citizenship automatically to the child. This means that you can go ahead and apply for your child’s British passport.
    If not, then an application for British Citizenship will need to be made first. There is a substantial fee for this and the process is lengthy.
    How will I bring my child home?
    The child will not necessarily be British at birth, even if one or both of the intended parents is British. Where the child is British an application will need to be made for a British Passport. These applications can be lengthy and often attract scrutiny. If a passport is issued, then the child can travel back to the UK using their British passport.
    If the child is not British at birth, you may need to make an application to register the child as British. This too can be a lengthy process. Once the child has been successfully registered, they will be issued with a Certificate of Registration, which can then be used to apply for a British passport.
    In some countries, such as the USA and Canada, your child will be recognised as a citizen in the destination country. This means that they can travel back to the UK on a local passport. You will just need to ensure that you apply for a British passport before the visa expires.
    If my child is born abroad, do I need to be in the UK before I make the application for a parental order?
    No, you don’t. The application for a parental order needs to be submitted within 6 months and this can be done whilst you are still abroad.
    Get in touch
    For more information about Surrogacy please do get in touch with our Client Care Team using the details below or make an online enquiry More

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    A complete guide to no-fault divorce

    As no-fault divorce draws closer we look at how this family law reform will work, what has changed, and what the benefits are.

    What is no-fault divorce?
    No-fault divorce is the name given to the divorce law reform being introduced in April 2022 in England and Wales that removes the need for blame as a basis for divorce.

    What was divorce like before no-fault divorce?
    Previously, even if both partners mutually agreed that the marriage was over, no wrongdoing had taken place, or both parties were equally ‘at fault’, there was a legal requirement to assign blame to just one party if they wished to divorce in under two years (the minimum separation period).
    Based on the five grounds for fault-based divorce, couples had to spend a minimum of two years separated before they could file for divorce. The alternative was to cite behaviour or adultery as their grounds for divorce to demonstrate that their marriage had irretrievably broken down, but they then had to assign blame to one party, making allegations and disclosing the full details in their divorce application.

    What were the five grounds for divorce?

    Behaviour – The most common grounds for divorce as it covered many types of ‘unreasonable behaviour’ and, while details of the behaviour were necessary, it didn’t require admission from your ex-partner.
    Adultery – which included the need for either your ex-partner to formally admit to sex with someone else , or for you to prove it had occurred. In addition, the law’s definition of adultery only referred to opposite-sex affairs, so could not be applied if your ex was in a same-sex relationship.
    Separation, two years – You have lived apart for two years, and the other party consents to the divorce.
    Separation, five years – In this case, the consent of the other party to the divorce is not required.
    Desertion – fundamentally different to separation; it referred to abandonment.

    How is no-fault divorce different?
    With no-fault divorce the only ground for divorce is that your relationship has ‘irretrievably broken down’. No other justification is needed to grant divorce.
    You are no longer required by law to apportion blame to either you or your ex, fit your reasons for separation into one of the five reasons for divorce, formally accept blame if a divorce petition has been made against you, or provide proof of wrongdoing to support your application. You will also no longer be able to contest a divorce if you are the respondent.
    In addition, under the new divorce law, if you and your partner both agree that your marriage has broken down irretrievably, you will be able to make a joint application for divorce.

    Why is no-fault divorce being introduced?
    Every relationship is unique, as are the reasons that marriages breakdown. Often the reason for the end of a marriage is the accumulative result of a combination of factors felt by both parties, rather than the deliberate actions of just one.
    To have to distil years of unhappiness into one crystallised reason, and attribute blame to just one party, is unconstructive at best and can destroy what’s left of the relationship at a time when cooperation is needed most.
    No-fault divorce paves the way for amicable collaboration, rather than conflict and stress, helping to reduce the overall mental health impact of separation and ease negotiations. It means parties can find a way to both move forward positively, and allows them to focus on the central issues, such as children, finances, and property.

    How does no fault divorce work?

    Under the new law you, or you and your spouse, can make an application for divorce on the grounds that your marriage has broken down irretrievably.
    After a minimum of 20 weeks, the applicant(s) can confirm that they wish to proceed with the divorce.
    The court can then make a Conditional Order (previously called a Decree Nisi).
    After a minimum of 6 weeks, the court can make the Final Order (previously called a Decree Absolute).

    How long will a no-fault divorce take?
    While the new divorce process can take a minimum of 26 weeks, this does not factor in the time needed for administration, processing, and negotiations.
    It was estimated that a typical uncontested fault-based divorce could take anywhere between six to eight months, and it is expected that the no-fault divorce process will take a similar amount of time.

    What are the benefits of no-fault divorce?
    Divorce is difficult enough without the need to assign blame, which ultimately only makes things more difficult.
    No-fault divorce means:

    You no longer need to navigate agreeing which one of you should be ‘blamed’
    You don’t need to air the sensitive details that led to the end of your marriage
    There’s no need to gather enough unpleasant behaviour to qualify as ‘unreasonable’
    Respondents can no longer contest the application (although there will still be some reasons why the courts ability to deal with the divorce can be challenged)
    Conflict is reduced and puts couples in a better position to move forward
    Domestic abusers cannot contest divorce, effectively trapping their spouse
    Relationships are more likely to be amicable between parents post-separation, creating a more positive home environment for children
    Couples no longer have to wait 2 or 5 years to evidence prolonged separation, allowing them to move on sooner
    As before, no divorce and dissolution applications can be made during the first year of marriage.

    Are there any disadvantages of no-fault divorce?
    The aim of no-fault divorce is to make the divorce process simpler and less harmful to relationships. However, in some cases, apportioning blame can feel just and a way to hold an ex-partner accountable for wrongdoing. For example, in cases where one partner has committed adultery, or has been abusive, the no-fault based divorce process provides a way for them to divorce without the partner at fault accepting responsibility.

    Will a no-fault divorce affect what I am entitled to?
    No. Even before no-fault divorce, it was rare for the circumstances that led to separation to have any impact on the outcome of the divorce, such as division of financial assets and property or child arrangements. This will not change under no-fault divorce.
    However, it’s likely that by avoiding the need for blame couples will be able to reach amicable and mutually favourable agreements more easily.

    How will no-fault divorce affect financial settlements?
    No. Divorce does not automatically end a couple’s financial commitments to each other. It’s vital that divorcing couples resolve their finances by reaching a financial settlement which is then transferred to a legally binding court order. No-fault divorce will not change this or impact the outcome.
    Reaching a financial settlement can take time and it’s hoped that the introduction of the 20 week ‘cooling off’ period within the no-fault divorce process will allow parties ample time to resolve the finances of their marriage before the divorce is finalised.

    How will no-fault divorce impact child arrangements?
    Parents who divorce must come to an agreement about what’s best for their children. A Child Arrangement Order covers who the child/children will live with and how and when they will see each parent.
    No-fault divorce will have no impact on any Child Arrangements Orders and will not affect how the court considers what is in the best interests of the child. With reduced acrimony and conflict, no-fault divorce paves the way for a more positive future for families with divorced parents.
    Reaching an agreement on child arrangements can take time and it’s hoped that the introduction of the 20 week ‘cooling off’ period within the no-fault divorce process will allow parties ample time to explore and resolve before the divorce is finalised.

    When does no-fault divorce become law?
    No-fault divorce will begin on Wednesday 6th April 2022. From that date, the no-fault based process will apply to all divorce applications in England and Wales.
    Find a list of no-fault divorce key dates here.

    Get in touch
    For more information on no-fault divorce please do get in touch with our Client Care Team using the details below or make an online enquiry More

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    Scared of The Dark [How To Solve This Common Problem]

    Somewhere after the long days and months of late-night feedings and diaper changes, and dealing with crying babies, you might experience a new kind of trial. Young children are often afraid of the dark. This fear primarily manifest itself as a kid who doesn’t want to go to sleep. The question then becomes why are kids scared of the dark and how to help them get over fear of the dark. Don’t worry this is a phase that can be handled so you can both get back to your respective beds! Here is advice to share with your children on how to not be scared of the dark.

    Why are kids scared of the dark?

    You’ve probably seen movies, where there’s a young child who’s absolutely convinced that a monster is hiding in his closet or under his bed, and refuses to go to sleep. It turns out that kids often have a fear of the dark and/or a fear of monsters hiding under the bed. This means they they often don’t want to go to bed by themselves or at least without a light on. It seems to be a common phase most children go through. Why is this the case?

    Well, darkness means we have very limited visibility. This is where the fear begins to creep in. I remember thinking I won’t be able to see what is coming for me. This is precisely the reason that fear of the dark seems to be hardwired into us. In fact, according to Science Alert, “our fear of the dark is an evolutionary trait that we picked up to survive real-life predators stalking the night”. This means it is entirely natural and normal for kids to be scared of the dark.

    Add to their fear of the dark the fact that children have excellent imaginations and you can see how they may imagine that the darkness is concealing monsters or attackers. Their minds create excellent realistic images of the things they think of. This can be very frightening for kids to overcome. They feel they need a light or an adult to protect them from lurks in the darkness. Extra sources of darkness and fear maybe the closet or under the bed.

    Secrets For How To Not Be Scared Of The Dark

    If this all sounds familiar, I have some advice on how to deal with kids who are scared of the dark. They need reassurance that this is a normal phase they will get past. You can explain to them that you will help your child overcome their fear of the dark. Tell them you will share your secrets for how to not be scared of the dark. This will help them buy into the whole process.

    Take Comfort: It’s Probably Just a Short Phase

    Most children are only scared of the dark for a little while. However, it may feel like an eternity when you are currently living it. Luckily most kids, find this is a short stage that they’ll grow out of. But there are still things you can do to help them get over their fear of the dark.

    A big reason why kids end up scared of the dark, or believing there are monsters under the bed, is because they have wild, active imaginations. It’s not hard to believe that the rough, dark outline of a sweater is actually a terrifying goblin ready to strike. That is, if you’re a toddler.

    I found that one of the best things to do is to stick to only calm, soothing TV shows and entertainment before bed. It should be happy, upbeat stuff. Have you ever noticed how dark and scary most Disney movies are in some places? When they lay down for bed, they will likely begin to think of the things they saw or read during the day. So make sure they are getting activities right before bed.

    Only say calming things right before bed. Leave off things like, “Don’t let the bed bugs bite.” Don’t say things like, “You have a big day tomorrow.” Try things like “Sweet dreams.” Say things like, “I love you and I will see you in the morning.”

    How to get over fear of the dark with a bedtime routine that works!

    Create a bedtime routine.

    Setting up a bedtime routine is crucial. What you do here is up to you, but some ideas could be: a nice bedtime story, a warm bubble bath, singing lullabies and even just sitting in bed with him until he falls asleep. A consistent bedtime routine works wonders!

    Here are several more ideas for you if you need some extra help. Try them out and see which work for you.

    Get a night light.

    A nightlight can do wonders for making them feel more secure. They’re really cheap and you can find one at Target, Walmart, or even a dollar store for a few bucks. You can also try a motion activated night light so it only comes on if something moves. Nothing is moving if it is not on! Or a solar powered one that will cut on and off automatically with the darkness is great for older children who still need a bit of reassurance.

    Leave the door ajar.

    Leaving the door open slightly could be helpful. Not being completely isolated in the room does a lot to ease their anxiety and worries.

    Play soothing music. 

    Soft, gentle music or using a nice sound machine can help, too. Complete silence can make matters much worse for a kid who’s scared of the dark. Soothing music can help keep their imaginations calm.

    Sleep training clock.

    These types of clocks feature lights that tell kids when it is time to get up and time to sleep (parent sets those times). They also have night lights and soothing music built in so they perform many functions at once. The Mella Ready to Rise Children’s Sleep Trainer clock is the most popular on Amazon and has a 4.5 star rating with almost 15,000 reviews. Affiliate link below.

    Reassure them.

    Simply tell them that there’s nothing to be scared of. There are no monsters or demons lurking in their bedroom, and nothing is going to hurt them. You are right next door if they really need you.

    Calm them.

    Use DIY lavender pillow spray to help them feel calm and relaxed and talk them for a bit as they get sleepy.

    Give them a stuffed animal.

    A stuffed animal can sometimes serve as a trusted friend to watch over them and keep them safe. Plus, just cuddling will help them feel soothed. If you happen to have a cooperative cat or dog, they make serve to make your child feel less alone and vulnerable.

    Set Up A Check Up. Tell them you’ll come to check on them every 5 minutes. Then, you start to space it out more: to 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, and hopefully they’ll be asleep before long.

    Share the bed, if need be.

    Letting them share a bed with you isn’t always an awful idea. As long as it doesn’t get out of hand. A better idea is to stay in their bedroom. That way, they don’t get used to the idea of staying in yours. You can leave when they fall asleep and you are reinforcing the idea that there’s nothing to be scared of in their room.

    Summing Up Ideas To Conquer Night Fears

    In conclusion, nighttime fears are very common in young children, and sometimes there’s nothing we can do to make them go away. For most kids, it’s just a phase they’ll quickly grow out of. We just need to help them along the way a little bit.

    Just try to have patience and not loose your cool. I know it can be frustrating to deal with, but it’s important to keep calm. Don’t get upset at your son or daughter! With a little patience and understanding, and positive reinforcement, I’m sure they’ll be over their fears before you know it!

    Do you have any other tips or tricks to help toddlers who are scared of the dark? I’d love to hear them in the comments!

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    Routes to single parenthood explained

    Single parenthood
    For so many people, becoming a parent is not easy, whether it’s because they’re in a same-sex relationship, have had alternative priorities until now, or have experienced fertility challenges. But what if you are single, and either haven’t found a partner yet, or you have made the decision to become a solo parent? Happily there are alternative routes to parenting. In fact, it is becoming increasingly common for people who haven’t had children yet, and are single in their 30s and 40’s, to seek alternative routes to parenthood.
    So, what are your options if you want to become a parent while single? Liza Gatrell, Senior Solicitor at Stowe Family Law explains more.
    Adoption
    One route to parenthood for single parents is adoption. You can apply for adoption as a single man or woman. The eligibility criteria for adoption in the UK is quite broad. You can apply to adopt in the UK if:

    You are over 21 (there is no upper age limit)
    You have not have been convicted of any “specified offences”, which are offences against children and sexual offences
    You must have a fixed and permanent home in the UK and have lived in the UK for at least 1 year before you begin the application process.

    Your suitability also needs to be approved by an adoption agency. This means that a range of factors will be considered when establishing your eligibility for adoption, such as your age and health – agencies will expect you to have the health and vitality to see children through to independence, support network, religion, financial circumstances and ethnic background.
    Surrogacy
    Since the 3rd January 2019 a change in the law has meant that parental orders can be applied for by single parents. A parental order gives legal parenthood to the intended parents of a surrogate child and extinguishes the parental status of the surrogate. For a single intended parent to be able to apply for a parental order it is a requirement that they are the child’s biological parent, which inevitably will exclude some people.
    For single intended dads, if your surrogate is married then under current law her spouse or civil partner will automatically be recognised as the child’s second legal parent and you cannot be named on the initial birth certificate. If your surrogate is not married, then you can be the second legal parent and immediately be named on the birth certificate. Either way you will still need to make a parental order application to extinguish the surrogate’s parental status.
    For single intended mums, the surrogate will always be the child’s legal parent at birth, even if you are the biological mother and named on a foreign birth certificate. The biological father will also be the legal father if no Human Fetilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA) clinic forms are signed.  If a HFEA clinic is used, and the surrogate is not married/ does not have a civil partner, then the intended mother can be nominated as the other parent by using specific forms.
    Donor Conception
    Whilst this isn’t an option for everyone, many single women turn to sperm donors each year to make parenthood a reality.
    In the UK sperm (and egg) donation services are provided by HFEA regulated fertility clinics, but there are also donor-matching websites, and some people do make their own arrangements.
    If you use a HFEA clinic then donors will be screened, donors can only be paid for their expenses, each donor can donate to no more than 10 families, donors and parents must be offered counselling and the donor can withdraw their consent up to the point they are transferred into someone else’s body.
    An important difference between using a HFEA clinic and a private arrangement, is the legal status of the donor. If a HFEA clinic is used, then the donor has no legal rights towards the child. Information is kept on record and anyone over the age of 16 can ask the HFEA whether they were conceived with donor eggs or sperm at a clinic in the UK after 1991 and request any non-identifying information held. Some donor-conceived people can also ask for identifying information about their donor once they are 18. This will apply to all conceptions from the 1st April 2006.
    If you choose to use a known donor then it is advisable to have a pre-conception agreement drawn up. This allows you to have very open and honest discussions and set expectations before conception takes place. Most disputes are born from mismatched expectations. Whilst such an agreement is not legally enforceable, they set out clearly what the intentions were and can carry weight in court.
    If you use a known sperm donor, and don’t go through a HFEA clinic, then the law will dictate who the legal parents will be. The birth mother is always the legal mother and must be registered on the birth certificate, the other legal parent is either their spouse/ civil partner or possibly the biological father. As a single mother using known donor sperm, you will need to decide whether to register the second legal parent on the birth certificate, which means that they would then share parental responsibility automatically.
    Co-parenting partnerships
    If the idea of being a single parent is not for you, then a co-parenting partnership could be the answer. Instead of becoming single parents by choice, this growing trend means that singles meet online with the sole objective of raising a child together platonically.
    There are a variety of websites, such as Modamily and Co-Parent Match, which assist those who are ready to become a parent but either don’t want to use sperm banks or are looking for someone to co-parent with.
    You may know a choose to enter into such an arrangement with a friend. If you are considering going down this route then I recommend that you do your homework, especially if your co-parent is someone you have not known for a long time. As many separated parents will tell you, co-parenting across two households takes a lot of communication and shared values so ensure that you are both on the same page.
    Get in touch
    For more information on alternative routes to parenting, please do get in touch with our Client Care Team using the details below or make an online enquiry More

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    How To Encourage Imaginative Play

    Playing with toys that encourage imagination and pretend play, is not only fun for kids but it can also be a means for their growth and development. When your child acts out a scene between their dolls, they are exploring the possibilities of behavior. The are realizing that imagination and creativity are good things. They are learning to be free in their own minds. Imaginative play helps children explore possibilities.

    “In the world of child development you may hear us use phrases like ‘critical thinking skills’ and ‘creative problem-solving abilities’ when referring to our goals for your child’s cognitive development. What we are really talking about is… imagination”. –Childtime.com

    Encouraging Imaginative Play

    If you want to encourage imaginative play in your child, it is often as simple as allowing them to imagine things instead of accidentally belittling their imagination. If your child is engaged in flying their airplane around the room, and you ask them why they are being silly, they learn that type of imaginative behavior isn’t valued. Other examples of imaginative play may include using a cardboard box as a race car or having a pretend tea party. This type of fantasy play should be encouraged.

    Perhaps, the very best way to encourage imaginative play for toddlers, is to engage in it with them. Set your adult worries aside and embrace your imagination. It doesn’t have to be complex. When my kids were little and they were having bath time, I once used my fingers as puppets because there were no bath toys. That tradition took root and we all have our very own finger puppets, each with their own name and personality. We role play conversations and events and have fun being silly. They know anything they can dream up is interesting to me. They know pretend play can be silly and fun and that it has a special place. The values of such imaginative play are many.

    Benefits of Imaginative Play

    Physical play has always been an important part of a child’s development. They need active play to develop their bodies. In the same way, children’s pretend play helps them to develop their minds. It is through play that their imaginations can be expressed in a vivid manner. A playful manipulation of ideas can actually develop their senses, way of thinking, and values. It gives children a chance to try out different roles that they may have in the future.

    This type of play can also help them develop their social skills and language development. Creative play allows them to practice social interactions and when they do so with others they can see the results of their social behavior in a safe setting. In this way, they begin to learn self-regulation skills. If you observe a child engaged in imaginative play, you may get a clue to the things they are thinking about and insight into any positive or negative feelings they may be processing.

    Many toys today are made in such a way that they help enhance children’s development. Toys that encourage imagination may not only help a child’s social development and cognitive skills but they also enhance his language skills as well. Very good examples of educational toys that encourage imagination can be found below.

    Imaginative play is extra important for preschool age children as well as early school-agers. In Scientific American, Jerome L. Singer and Dorothy G. Singer state that, “Systematic research has increasingly demonstrated a series of clear benefits of children’s engagement in pretend games from the ages of about two and one half through ages six or seven.” 

    Imaginative Play Toys

    Here are five good choices of toys that encourage imagination but there are many, many more options.  Think of leaving out the toys that need batteries to encourage pretend play.

    Kids Play Kitchen

    Young children love to participate in various activities. They often would ask what you’re doing in the kitchen and much as possible try to do it themselves. Kids play kitchen are just the right toys that encourage imagination in children. Play kitchens will teach them basic household chores and responsibilities like washing the dishes, and even develop their interest in cooking or baking. Some of these play kitchens already comes with a counter, a grill or burner, an oven, ice maker, a few cupboards, cabinets, towel racks, refrigerator, storage spaces, and a sink just like a real kitchen would look like. Others also include some toy kitchen utensils like plates, cups, spoons and forks, knives, pans, and with toy foods like fruits, vegetables, and meat.

    Pretend Play With Dolls

    Dolls are a very popular toys that encourage imagination as well as the dollhouses that come with dolls. Children often like to mimic what their mothers or older women do in taking care of babies. Dolls, mini-dolls and dollhouses are also excellent ways in teaching children close family ties and taking care of members in the family or society. This type of make-believe play is great for testing out different scenarios and developing emotional intelligence.

    Workshop Play Set

    The best way to enhance your child’s motor skills and interest in arts is by exposing them to various handcrafting activities. The workshop play set is just the perfect toy to encourage imagination and enhance their different abilities. This set will definitely develop their imagination to create new things and understand how things work. Most workshop play set already includes a table, a bench, and some materials and safe tools for building.

    Medical Play Set

    For kids, pretending to be a doctor would be fun especially when playing with friends or even with dolls. A medical play set can include a doctor costume and a handbag where all medical accessories are placed like a toy stethoscope or thermometer. These are toys that encourage imagination and teach kids about teamwork and leadership.

    Open Ended Building Blocks

    Another of the great imaginative play toys are building blocks. From wooden building blocks for younger children to Legos (without the instruction booklets) for older children, they can be great for open-ended play. Some of the benefits of imaginative play of this type are that they learn principles they can apply in real life. They learn that sometimes things fall, and that sometimes we have to try again and again to get things the way we imagine them. They also learn that building things takes time and focus. Play time is full of life lessons! Blocks are a great way for kids to test different ideas and learn how things work.

    Conclusion

    Don’t underestimate the power of good toys that encourage imagination in developing the minds and skills of your children. Their toys may be an initial step to what they will become in the future. Their early childhood games may allow them to become creative individuals which typically make great problem-solvers.

    I hope you found this interesting and were convinced of the important benefit of early pretend play. Kids can use anything for imaginative play from open-ended toys to imaginary play friends. The imaginary world is calling! What are your favorite toys that encourage imagination?

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    How To Increase Breast Milk Naturally At Home

    Breastfeeding mamas often place a lot of emphasis on how much milk they are producing and tend to worry about whether it is enough for their baby. Keeping track of nursing sessions or pumped bottles can be stressful! However, it’s helpful to consider the quality of your milk in addition to your breast milk production quantity. In most cases, your body does a fantastic job of including all the nutrients your little one needs. This is assuming you are taking good care of your own health and body. Here are five suggestions for how to increase breast milk naturally at home.

    These breastfeeding tips from one mom to another are meant to help your body perform its best. However, this article is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is important to speak a qualified doctor if you have any concerns about yourself or your baby’s health or weight. Furthermore, you may also find a professional lactation consultant helpful.

    5 Breastfeeding Tips For Producing More Milk For Your Baby

    We’ve rounded up a few helpful tips on how to produce more breast milk—hopefully putting your mind at ease and assisting you in having a long, successful breastfeeding journey! 

    If you have a breastfed baby, fed either by nursing or pumping, milk production is probably at the forefront of your mind. These easy-to-incorporate tips should help with both breastmilk amount and composition. It is a common concern for a new mom to worry about low milk supply. The good news is that there are natural ways to boost production of breast milk.

    1. Increase Milk Removal.

    The number one solution for how to produce more breast milk is increased milk removal. More milk removal can be done by nursing more often or pumping more often. Pumping can refer to an electric breast pump or a hand held breast pump.

    Milk production is based on supply and demand. If you skip a pumping or nursing session and milk isn’t removed from your breasts, it signals to your body that it doesn’t need to produce as much. Similarly, your body is signaled to produce more if you increase removal! The key is to remember to achieve a “let down” with each removal. A letdown is the trigger your body needs to maintain or increase its supply.

    Try offering a nursing session more often, or adding additional pumping sessions. You can find out more about how often you should nurse or pump for your child’s specific age by talking with baby’s doctor or lactation expert, and reviewing these guidelines.  

    2. Consider Power Pumping.

    If your baby isn’t interested in breastfeeding more, you can always power pump or pump in between sessions. Power pumping typically follows a set of guidelines. They are: pump 20 minutes, rest for 10, pump 10 minutes, rest for 10, pump 10 mins. You may want to consider adding in a pumping session if you still feel like you have milk leftover after nursing, you miss a feeding, or you simply want to boost your supply. 

    Power pumping essentially fools your body into thinking that the breasts are being drained of milk quickly and often, telling it to make more milk ASAP! Emptying the breast to get that rich hindmilk helps to produce high-fat content bottles as well.  

    3. Focus On A Healthy Diet.

    One of the most important breastfeeding tips for producing more milk is that a well balanced diet is best. Carefully considering your diet can not only help with production but in making your milk fattier too. For mothers wondering how to make breastmilk fattier, think about a typical day of eating. Calorie-rich breastmilk is supported by healthy dietary fats like avocado, salmon, seeds, and eggs.

    You should absolutely be staying hydrated. It is a good idea to have a water bottle handy at all times to ensure you are getting enough fluids.

    You could also consider adding lactogenic foods, lactation treats, drinks, or breastfeeding supplements to increase milk supply. There are various galactagoguesnursing mothers can use, from lactation cookies to lactation teas. Some may be more successful for you than others.  

    Popular dietary additions include: 

    A bowl of oatmealFenugreek seedsFennel seedsGingerBrewer’s yeastAshwagandhaAlfalfaGarlicSpirulinaCumin seedsRaspberry leaf tea

    Safety Notes:

    Blessed thistle and milk thistle are thought to be a good way to boost milk production, however, they are likely unsafe while pregnant. Be sure to check with your obstetrician or pediatrician before ingesting anything if you are pregnant or your baby will be consuming your breastmilk. Also, it is best to try home remedies that you are familiar with first. For example, if a simple bowl of oatmeal might help, then you can avoid trying herbal supplements that you are unfamiliar with. You don’t want to risk an allergic reaction. Therefore, stick to things you know your body does well with.

    Photo Credit: Katie Emslie

    4. Nurse From Both Breasts.

    This tip can be a bit “hit-or-miss,” but it works for some mothers. Generally, you want to drain a breast for your baby to receive the rich, fatty hindmilk. However, if your baby only takes one side at each feeding, your overall supply might be lower. 

    Instead, you can try waiting until your baby naturally slows or stops during a feeding and then offer your second breast. Stimulating both breasts each session should boost your supply. Using an electric double pump can be worthwhile if you pump your breast milk. Simultaneously removing milk from your breasts has effectively increased milk production for some women. 

    5. Get Hands-On.

    If you’re having trouble achieving a letdown while nursing or pumping, you could be failing to remove milk from your breasts effectively. Breast massage and warmth might be able to help! An easy way to do this is with your hands. 

    You can use your hands while you pump with an electric pump. Nursing mothers can use a breastfeeding support pillow to help free up their hands. Then, gently massage your breasts with warm hands. This can help trigger a letdown sooner and relax your body, letting the milk flow. Consider using a warm washcloth or compress on your breasts just before nursing or pumping if this is too tricky. 

    I personally had problems with getting enough milk when I was pumping. Skin contact with my baby was helpful if baby was nearby. When apart, I found that warmth on my nipples before pumping helped a lot. In addition having a photo of my baby close by was the best way to stimulate the let down or even to picture baby in my mind and imagine she was breastfeeding.

    A Bountiful & Beautiful Breastfeeding Journey

    We hope these tips have been helpful in how to increase breast milk naturally at home and improve its quality too. New mothers should also remember to relax as stress is detrimental to milk supply. We know it’s not always easy, but hopefully, your breastfeeding journey will become smoother and less worrisome by implementing some or all of these tips. Know that any amount of breastmilk for any length of time is beneficial. You’re doing fantastic, breastfeeding mama! 

    I wish you a healthy supply of breast milk! Have you tried any of these breastfeeding tips for producing more milk? Which ones work well for you?

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