Supporting a Responsible Fatherhood Initiative

True responsible fatherhood initiative is something we have in common. We all want to be better fathers. This website is dedicated to help fathers achieve this goal by sharing advice for fathers from real fathers, relating real-life fatherhood experiences, and presenting product reviews from a father’s perspective.

Real-life Fatherhood Experiences and Lessons Learned

Our feature article writers and bloggers have been hands-on dads from the beginning of his son’s inceptions. They openly share their experiences in fatherhood as they strike the balance each day between full-time jobs/studies and the divine stewardship of true fatherhood.

Tips, Tricks, and Advice for Fathers

By the time most of us reach fatherhood we have learned that most truly amazing accomplishments are never realized by “re-inventing the wheel”. Realizing true responsible fatherhood is no different. Building on the experience of others we share tips, ticks, and general father advice that we have picked up along the way from true fathers. We strive to provide father/dad help however possible.

Product Reviews Written by Fathers

Without the correct gear Batman is just a vigilante gymnast with awesome fighting skills. We will review the best products that will help you succeed as a father. Some will be for your little one(s) and others are for their hero (hint: great father’s day gifts).

Quotes on Fatherhood

By sharing some of our favorite fatherhood quotes we hope to reinforce your responsible fatherhood initiative with quotes sourced from diverse sources that entertain, validate, uplift, and hopefully inspire you as they do us.

Advice for Fathers Tips for Dads Responsible Fatherhood Giving Father Dad Help

Single fatherhood isn’t easy, but it’s worth the challenges

Photo by Pixabay

Dads play a critical role in the life of children of all ages, and your chance to show your love to your kids is now. But we know that single parenting, and in particularly, single fathering, is not easy. You have demands from all areas of your life — work, parents, health, money — and you have to keep it all together for your kids.

Just remember that lesser men than you have accomplished great things in the lives of their children. You can do this, and you can do it well. Here are some tips from True Fatherhood to help you navigate this important area of your life:

Keep your mind healthy

Whether you’ve recently become a single dad or have been one for the life of your child, staying on top of your mental health can be challenging — but it’s so important. Your mental health directly affects your children and their mental health, so you must get help if you need it. As mental wellness experts note, “It’s important to learn small ways to face that stress head-on and reduce it no matter where you are, because having effective coping mechanisms handy will allow you to get through even the most challenging times. You can use your new skills to immediately start feeling better, and to prevent the emergence of chronic mental health problems.”

Take your kids places

Weekends can be relaxing just staying at home and playing video games or watching football. But when you’re with your kids, they deserve some fun, too. Take them to things that they would enjoy, such as amusement parks, swimming, a zoo or an arcade. Spending quality time with your kids is important. But you don’t always have to go to high-adventure, high-cost activities. Consider going fishing, to a library, the park or a movie. Don’t forget to include a vacation, too, when the time is right. When you get your kids for an entire week, take them somewhere fun. If you don’t want to go by yourself, team up with other parents for a trip to the beach or theme park. Great times and great memory-making await.

Get organized

Get an online calendar system, and if possible, share it with your child’s other parent. This way, you will always know when the kids are to be with you, when they’re at school and extracurricular events, and more. Plus, the calendar makes for easier communication with the other parent, especially if you have difficulty speaking with him or her otherwise. Just check your calendar, and you’ll automatically know when to be somewhere. Most systems also allow you to post to-do lists and reminders for yourself that sync with your smartphone.

Set limits

Yes, you want your limited time with your children to be happy-fun time, but you can’t always be their friend. You have to spend your parenting time being a parent to them, too. It’s easy to allow the other parent to handle all of the hard stuff, but it doesn’t do your children any favors. The kids might be mad at you for a while, but later in life, they’ll realize you made tough decisions for their benefit.

Rethink your finances

If money is tight, it might be time for a change. One smart solution is to pick up a sideline. Becoming a freelancer, whether you offer a product or service, can provide the flexibility parenthood requires, plus the income you desperately need.

You can get started by engaging a job platform, but make sure you dot your i’s and cross your t’s. Register your new venture with your state so you don’t get into trouble with Uncle Sam! For the sake of financial security, many people opt for creating an LLC. Not only does it protect personal assets, it’s easy and inexpensive to establish when you enroll through an online service.

Enjoy the ride

Nobody ever said parenting is easy, and it’s especially hard when you don’t have someone else to fall back on for support. But the joy and love you get from and give to your children is worth it. When the kids are driving you crazy and won’t stop fighting in the back seat or throwing toys across the living room, take a moment to breathe and remember that you love them, and that one day you’ll miss the chaos.

Just remember that the most important gift you can give your children is your love and support, so they will always know they can count on you. All the rest will fall into place.

Written by Daniel Sherwin

 

How to Help Your Little One Learn to Make Better Decisions

Photo via Pixabay

Healthy choices can be difficult for kids to make all the time. Whether it’s in regard to their diet or the amount of exercise they get, it can be hard for them to make good decisions, especially when they’re tired or off their usual schedule. However, helping your child learn to make the right choices for their minds and bodies will allow them to take those lessons into adulthood. Sometimes, it’s the little things we do now that echo well into the future. As TrueFatherhood.org notes, that starts when you childproof your home when your child is small. When they’re older, having learned about those healthy boundaries when they were small will pay off as they face harder decisions, such as whether to use drugs and alcohol.

It’s a good idea to think about how your child can stay healthy outside of diet and exercise, as well. Mental health is just as important as the physical, and everything from a cluttered home to a lack of good sleep can contribute to it. By helping your little one stick to a routine, you’ll be teaching her about the value of self-care, and that lesson can stick with her for years to come.

Here are a few things to think about when you want to help your child make healthy choices.

Help Her Get Involved in a Sport

Sports aren’t just a great way to help your child stay fit and active; in fact, they can also promote teamwork and social skills. It’s important for parents to get involved when their child is going out for an extracurricular activity, as this helps to boost their confidence. One of the best ways to do this in the beginning is to take your child shopping for all the things she needs to be successful. The right gear can help ensure she’s safe and able to keep up with her teammates during practice and games.

Set a Healthy Eating Example

When you can show your child how to eat healthy by doing it yourself, you’re
setting an example
that will help her feel good about her choices because she’ll have support. Look online for healthy meal ideas; there are countless recipes that will fit any budget. If you’re short on time, try to find meal prep ideas that you can put together on Sunday night and freeze for the week. You might also consider trying a meal delivery service like Blue Apron.

Regardless of your meal prep strategy, get your child involved in the shopping and cooking. This way, not only does she learn how to make healthy things for herself, but she’ll also feel better about what she’s eating and will be more open to trying new things.

Create a Schedule She Can Stick To

Kids need lots of rest, but they often stay up too late or ingest too much caffeine and can’t get to sleep at a decent hour. When this happens, their mood and mental health can decline, so help your child find a regular rest routine she can stick to. Have her take a hot shower before bed, restrict the use of smartphones or computers at night, and make sure she sticks with water or milk after dinner to keep caffeine out of the equation. The more you can enforce this schedule, the easier it will be for her to stay motivated to keep it.

Talk About Hard Decisions

Many parents dread having hard conversations with their kids about drugs, alcohol, and peer pressure, but it’s important to do so, even while they’re still young. This is because keeping communication open about those difficult topics will help your child feel comfortable about coming to you down the road when they’re faced with making choices.

Brush Off Those Old Dreams

Parenting often means setting aside pursuits, hobbies, maybe even career plans, to care for a growing family. It may mean fitness goals getting set aside as the bicycle you once loved to ride gathers dust in the garage or staying in a job you hate because it pays well and has good benefits. But your kids will learn the structure of a happy life from you. So, as your kids get older, seize on opportunities to show them how to nurture their happiness when life gets in the way. That may mean carving out a little extra time to pick some of those old pursuits back up again. For example, that may mean getting back on your bike and joining a cycling club or for pursuit of more rewarding job choices, heading “back” to school for an online business degree!

Healthy choices for kids will vary according to age and needs, but you know what will work for your child better than anyone. Talk about your own experiences and help your child feel safe in coming to you when she needs guidance; this is the best way to help her stay on a healthy path.

Article by Jenna Sherman

 

Smart Tips to Help Parents Tackle Their Finances

Smart Tips to Help Parents Tackle Their Finances

 

Keeping track of money is always important, but the pressure goes up once you start your family. If you haven’t been focusing on your finances before now, this is absolutely the time to start. Even if you’ve had an eye on your budget prior to parenthood, it’s still an ideal time to reevaluate your goals. Here’s a look at a few things parents can do to make sure their families have the financial security they need to live comfortably.

 

Consider Your Investments

 

Many young people become parents well before they figure out their investment portfolios. There are several techniques for investing, but generally speaking, the ideal portfolio has plenty of capital spread out over many different forms of investing. This means you’ll have money set aside in retirement accounts, bonds, stocks, and others.

 

Real estate is often a great investment for parents. Owning your own property means you can take control of your living space and circumstances. Moreover, often your total monthly payments between rent, taxes, and insurance still comes out as less than you’d pay in rent (however, this does depend highly on the market and how much house you’re considering).

 

Before you rush into buying a home, make sure you’ve given thought to the proper steps. Your first move should be figuring out how much house you can afford. You can use online calculators to get a general sense of what kind of payments you can expect at different price points and a guideline for your budget. Once you know what type of price point you’re looking for, reach out to your bank to get pre-approved for a mortgage. A trustworthy real estate agent can help you find a great home at your price point and make sense of the buying process.

 

Build and Stick to a Budget

 

When you’re a parent, your money has to go a long way. Children are expensive, and keeping up with their needs is a never-ending process, whether it’s diapers or field trip fees or sending them to college. That’s why it’s so important to make a budget and stick to it.

 

Too many of us are spending money without truly paying attention to where it’s really going. If you spend mindlessly, resolve to get your budget together. This will allow you to make sure you’re using your money in ways that push your family’s finances forward, not backward. Start by simply tracking your spending. Don’t try to make any big changes yet — you can’t fix what you don’t understand. Moreover, this will get you into the habit of tracking your spending so that you can stick to a budget once you’ve made it.

 

After a month or two of keeping an eye on how you spend, figure out what you can change. Most people find they’re spending more on restaurants and incidental purchases than they’d like to. The good news is: These are great categories to cut back on since they’re nice, but not necessary. Focus on cooking more at home and making use of the things you already have, and you’ll find it’s relatively easy to cut back on excess spending.

 

Find Ways to Cut ‘Necessary’ Costs

 

You may think that some aspects of your budget are unchangeable when they’re actually more malleable than you think. For example, you may see how much you spend on clothing for your children as a required expense; after all, your kids need clothing. But do you buy everything new? Second-hand shops are a great option for kids since they grow out of their clothes so quickly that very few things have time to get truly worn out. Moreover, you can sell clothes once your kids grow out of them, meaning you make something back, as well.

 

Collecting coupons, searching for sales, and keeping your eye on discount shops and resell options are great ways to keep costs low. By shopping smart, sticking to your budget, and investing wisely, you can give your family a strong financial foundation for the future.

 Author: Sara Bailey

 Photo Credit: Pexels

 

Back-to-School Basics to Get Kids Ready for a Healthy and Happy Year

If you want your kids to have a successful year in school, you may need to begin preparing for it during the summer. Making sure that your children have the structure and routines they need to begin the new school year with health and positivity can be even more important during the age of Coronavirus. So here are some resources that you can use to help your family prepare for a safe, healthy, and productive school year, even before the summer is over.

A Clean Home Can Keep Kids from Getting Sick 
As your kids prepare to get back into the classroom, you need to be prepared to prevent the spread of bacteria, viruses, and other germs within your home. 

Healthy Habits Can Also Prevent COVID-19 Spread 
You’re putting a lot of work into keeping your home clean and coronavirus-free. The last thing you need is for your children to drag more germs back with them from school. 

A Consistent Routine Can Make BTS Less Stressful 
There’s no doubt about it: preventing the spread of COVID-19 is critical. But it can also be important to find ways to minimize stress and anxiety as your kids get ready for school again. 

You should definitely enjoy the rest of summer with your kids, but keep in mind that it’s never too early to begin preparing for a successful school year. After all, providing a little bit of structure and learning during the summer can make the classroom transition a lot less stressful for you and your children. Plus, you may need some extra time to teach your kids about COVID safety. So enjoy your summer but keep this guide handy to keep BTS effortless! 

Author: Jenna Sherman
Photo Credit: Rawpixel

 

Tips for Planning a Magnificent Trip with Your Kids

dad and son in stroller

Traveling with kids in tow is completely different than traveling solo, with a partner, or even with a group of adults. The emotional inconsistencies your children experience in the day to day can be heightened by the change in routine and environment that comes with traveling. And, of course, you have to employ different strategies when it comes to planning, booking, and packing for your trip.

But here’s the thing: Traveling with your kids can make for the most enjoyable and rewarding trip ever if you plan well. Here are some tips to help you prepare for an awesome family trip.

Protect Your Property

Keeping your stress levels down during travel begins with securing your home. Look into smart home products such as a doorbell camera, programmable lights, and automated locks to protect your property while you’re out of town. You also might want to consider getting a home security system that includes surveillance cameras and sensors that you can monitor and control remotely.

Decide Where to Go

Any destination that is safe and allows you to take care of your kids is fair game if you have a baby or toddler. If your kids are older and more independent, however, you will need to make sure your vacation spot has plenty of activities for them to engage in. Hold a family meeting to discuss what kinds of things they would like to do on vacation so that you can choose a spot that pleases everyone.

Decide When to Go

You can save yourself a lot of stress by traveling during the off-season, when crowds are much smaller. Plus, everything from lodging to airfare to food is cheaper during the off-season. However, if you have adolescents who thrive on big crowds and outdoor events, peak season might be the best option.

Pack Snacks and Entertainment

Along with clothing, toiletries, diapers, wipes, and other basic necessities, you will want to make sure you pack plenty of snacks. Opt for your child’s favorite healthy snacks like fruit, grains, and nuts, and avoid bringing a bunch of sugary snacks. This will help to keep your child from getting too grumpy or antsy.

Entertainment is also essential when it comes to trips in the car or on the plane. Invest in a tablet so that your child can stream their favorite music, movies, games, and other media. And to safeguard against slow internet speeds and constant buffering, consider getting a car wifi hotspot if you’re traveling by car.

Weigh Your Transportation Options

Yes, flying can be stressful when you have young children, and there’s a lot more planning involved than when you drive. But you have to consider that you will have more time at your destination if you fly, and if you book well in advance, you can save money and select travel times that correspond with your kids’ sleep times.

Nonetheless, it’s hard to go wrong with a good family road trip. Not only can you save money on transportation, but you can come and go as you choose and take as many breaks as necessary to keep everyone happy.

Rent a House

Hotels come with their perks, but vacation rentals tend to come with more perks for families. Along with more space and privacy, renting a house typically means that you have a full kitchen in which you can cook meals, as well as a washer, dryer, and many other important appliances. Plus, it’s usually cheaper per night than a hotel room. However, if you’re planning on visiting a few different cities or areas on your trip, it might be easier to book hotel rooms.

By doing a little planning, your next family trip can be the best yet. Look into home security options to protect your property while you’re away, pick a good destination for the whole family, and determine whether to go in the off-season or peak season. Also, be sure to pack snacks and entertainment, figure out whether you should fly or drive, and consider renting a vacation home instead of a hotel room. And remember to go with the flow when things don’t go as planned!

Article written by Daniel Sherwin
Image via Pexels

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World travelers Ilse and Yannick offer their suggestions for traveling safely in pandemic times

 

Properly Caring for Your Kefir Grains

When Kefir Grains are treated properly they thrive and produce the best tasting and the health beneficial Milk Kefir.  Additionally healthy Kefir Grains are happy Kefir Grains which happily produce their maximum amount of Milk Kefir.  This article will teach you the essentials of caring for your Kefir Grains.  When you take care of your Kefir Grains they will take care of you. Continue reading…

 

What is Milk Kefir? What are Kefir Grains? Why Should I Care?

Since the spring of 2010 I have probably consumed hundreds of gallons of Milk Kefir. When you drink that much Kefir you either like it a lot and/or you think its good for your health. In my case both are true. Therefore when having casual conversations with folks I find that Kefir is an interesting topic that finds a way of coming up. I like talking about Kefir and I think it is so great that everyone should at least give it a try. Some people are very curious and for those I would like to provide an article that clearly answers the common questions of Milk Kefir. Continue reading…

 

How to Sync the Outlook Calendar with My Android/Google Calendar

Google Calendar Sync Still Works

Despite the deprecated status of the Google Calendar Sync tool, the tool still works fine with Outlook 2013/2010/2007.

Requirement: Sync My Outlook Calendar with my Android Phone

I am no stranger to Android; I’ve been running it on my HP Touchpad since Winter 2011. Back them I played around with many features including the utility that could sync my Outlook calendar with my Google account. Since that Android tablet can show the Google account’s calendar, this sync meant that I could easily put all of my Outlook appointments on my Android phone. After the novelty wore off and my computer got replaced I forgot about this tool.

I recently purchased a nice phone running Google Android (Motorola’s Moto X) and I got tired of adding my Google account to every meeting (as an attendee) just so that the event could appear on my phone. I remembered that I had once used a simple tool from Google which kept my Outlook calendar in sync with my Google/Android calendar. I tried searching for the utility and soon discovered that Google stopped supporting and distributing the tool in 2012. Google does offer a different utility called “Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Office (GASMO)”; however, you have to be a real paying Google Apps customer in order to use it. Also, many report that it messes up your Outlook profile. I learned both of these limitations the hard way: I installed it and was told that it wouldn’t work with my free Google account and simultaneously my Outlook profile got messed with.
Google Calendar Sync Options for Microsoft Outlook Synchronization

Solution: Install Google Calendar Sync where Outlook Runs

After investigating how I could possibly synchronize my Outlook calendar with the calendar on my Android phone I was shocked at the gaping functionality whole that I found. It seems that Google and Microsoft’s disdain for each other has resulted in Google pulling support for the old Google Calendar Sync tool. It seems that they do provide a tool for synchronizing Apple’s calendar with Google’s calendar, but support for Outlook is blatantly missing.

Further research showed that a lot of people were still having luck with using the old Google Calendar Sync tool. I was afraid to download the copy that others were sharing, fearing someone might have embedded a virus or spyware in the installer, so I dug through my old backups and found the original file which I downloaded from Google directly many years ago. I installed it and it got straight to work with Outlook 2013. Now my calendar is completely in Sync. I let it sync about every 2 hours and only from Google to Outlook, but I am considering allowing Google calendar appointments to write themselves to Google. I highly recommend this tool to anyone wanting to get their Outlook appointments in their Google Calendar and/or on their Android Phone.

***************************
UPDATE July 8, 2014
I receive an email from Google today explaining that the party will be over on this starting August 1, 2014. Here is what they said:

Important Announcement about Google Calendar Sync
Almost two years ago, we announced that we ended support for Google Calendar Sync. Starting on August 1, 2014, this app will no longer sync events between your Google Calendar and Microsoft Outlook Calendar.

You can continue to access all of your Google Calendar events at calendar.google.com or on your mobile devices. Follow these instructions to uninstall Google Calendar Sync from your computer.

– The Calendar Team