Healthy Living

How Dogs Can Help Kids with Autism and ADHD

Kids can have a hard time growing up, especially when they have conditions like autism and ADHD. This isn’t necessarily because of the condition (after all, they tend to grow into brilliant people), but due to ridicule from peers and an outdated mindset from teachers as well as other parents. It can feel like a downward spiral for kids and parents alike, but you may be surprised to discover that dogs are able to help children with autism and ADHD – and here is how.

How Dogs Help Build Social Skills

Research has shown that children who grow up with dogs have better social skills when they are older. There is a lot that dogs can teach them, like respect, kindness, and how to share. Additionally, a dog is the perfect foundation for children to learn about emotional attachments and friendship, as well as providing them with someone to practice their communication skills on.

How Dogs Can Help Kids with Autism and ADHD
Photo Source: Pexels

Dogs and ADHD

High energy levels, difficulty concentrating, and feeling like a coiled spring are not easy things for a child to deal with. It can be difficult for parents and children to work together to find ways to cope, but equally a child can end up feeling frustrated and alone. A dog is not just a confidant that will never tell a secret; they provide emotional support that will not judge or scold them. Plus, walking and playing with the dog is a great way to burn off extra energy – giving both parties something enjoyable and beneficial.

Dogs and Autism

Autism is a vast spectrum, and in many ways, it is true that there are no two autistic people who are exactly the same. However, regardless of where a child is on the spectrum, a dog can really help. As an example, there are some autism service dogs that are trained to detect and calm a meltdown, offering the child comfort and support when things become overwhelming, and it works excellently as a calming method.

On the other side of things, nonverbal children often struggle to fit in and express themselves, becoming frustrated and angry because they cannot communicate their wants. Dogs provide a companion that doesn’t mind, and that also expresses themselves in a way that is different. They do not judge, and a bond is often built quickly. In fact, it is often the case that nonverbal children or those with a limited vocabulary will find new things to say so that they can talk about their furry friend.

To Conclude

Dogs are wonderful companions for every member of the family, but for children with ADHD and autism, they can be a form of security and acceptance that they sorely need. You can find the resources and research for each of the points made here, as well as more information on how dogs are able to help mental health, here. Hopefully, this will help you to better understand and assist your children when they are struggling.

About the Author

Will is a freelance writer, his blog can be seen here . If you are interested in more information on the benefits of dog ownership including health tips, buyer’s guides and gear reviews, then check out his guides over at Dogowner.co.uk

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Children's Books, Giveaways, Open Giveaways

Benji and the Giant Kite Children’s Book about Ambition – Giveaway

A copy was sent for feature. Opinions are my own

Benji and the Giant Kite Children's Book about Ambition - Giveaway

Welcome to Benji and the Giant Kite Book Review & Giveaway

In this story Benji works hard to afford the kite he really wants. This kite can fly higher and faster than any he has owned. After he works and earns the money he takes it out and as he sees it in the sky, he realizes it is in its home. High into the clouds he decides to keep it there. Letting go is more meaningful that possession and that is a main message in this story.

Contact with the Author, Alan C. Fox and find his other children’s book titled Benji and the 24 Pound Banana Squash. He has other books too  in his series, People Tools.

Pre-order Benji and the Giant Kite on Amazon

The Giveaway

1 lucky reader will win the children’s book, Benji and the Giant Kite. Open to US and ends on July 30, 2018. Good luck! Enter below…

Infant Toddler Products, Kids, Parenting, STEM Learning, Toy Reviews

Age-Appropriate Toys and Play

Age-Appropriate Toys and Play

I just spent some time in NYC and it was part family vacation and part toy conferences. Included was a lunch at The Toy Association where we heard from ‘Safety Mom’, Joan Lawrence about toy safety standards. I share a lot of toy posts and videos on this blog and our social channels and after listening to the safety talk I felt it was worth it to take some time to share some toy safety information with you. Most of all you would need to know is available at The Toy Association website and in some of their online resource sites such as Genius of Play and a re-vamped toy safety site coming very soon!

I took in all the aspects of toy safety and two standards stuck out most that I will discuss! First, is toy storage! I have discussed the story of my cousin’s baby, Eddie who was in a drowning accident and is still suffering form the effects of his drowning.

When you have a pool, for instance, little ones are drawn to not only the water but the fun toys and balls around the pool. If those are left out, in or around the pool, the little ones will go after them all while forgetting the obvious such as not knowing how to swim or even noticing the barrier of water between them and the toy. This is the same for toys or bikes near a road. They become so tunnel vision around fun and play and may not notice the division between road and sidewalk or even forget that cars could be coming as they dart into the road for a toy or ball.

Moving indoors, you have fall and small parts issues. Properly storing indoor toys means avoiding tripping injuries, most of which happen to adults who fall over children toys. It is also worth noting that by properly storing the older kids toys helps keeps their smaller toys away from younger siblings who may not be at the proper age for that toy. This brings me to the second safety topic…

Age-appropriate recommendations on the toy packaging are for SAFETY! They are not about ability (per-say) or how smart you think your child is. It is an age printed on the packaging that has all the safety standards in mind. It may be due to sharp edges, moving parts, batteries or small magnets  that all pose dangers to smaller children.

So…follow the age-recommendations also found at Genius of Play from The Toy Association!

Birth to 6 Months: Remember that any toys should not be left in cribs or sleep areas. Also, once a child can pull to stand, all infant toys should be removed. As they grow stronger, these infant toys may give way under weight if used to pull up or break under stronger manipulation. Shop for toys with lights and sounds, colors: black and white or high contrast colors. Keep teething in mind with textured toys that may go into the mouth.

6-12 Months: Their motor skills are really taking off. Now they are ready for toys that stack, open & shut and even create banging noises. Once they start crawling, they love toys that move with them. This is the age to introduce their first ride-on that use their own feet to move. In the summer you can introduce the sandbox and bring out child-size table and chairs.

1-2 Years: They are always on the go now! Physical play that keeps them engaged is essential to keep them learning and growing. This is a fun age to introduce role-playing. Introduce them to puppets, toy kitchens, playhouses and some shape sorters and learning toys.

2 to 3 Years: Now they have gone from walking and running to climbing and jumping. Their eye hand-eye coordination skills are beginning to really excel and arts and crafts begin to be a fun new task at this age. Bring home the dolls and let’s start dressing and bathing them! They love balls and toys to chase at this age. Wagons and training bikes are great for outdoor play.

3 to 6 Years: Let the play dates begin (and sharing wars). So let’s find great group play toys at this age. From friends to active imaginations this opens up an entire realm of toy possibilities from age-appropriate board games, construction toys like larger Legos and Duplos and puzzles and non-toxic art supplies.

6 to 9 Years: They know everything now (well, if you ask them). Strategy and skill play is great at this age and there are so many STEM-inspired options these days. There are also fun classics for this age such as marble runs and kites for outdoor play. Find them arts and crafts sets, magic kits, building kits, action figures, bikes you can start to remove training wheels on, electronic games and more!

9-12 Years: With this being the top of the age scale it is very important to remember that by now (and even years earlier), they have toys with hazardous parts that may harm their young siblings! At this late age they have hobbies and enjoy crafts and building still at a more advanced level. Sports games and gear as well as strategy boards games and electronics are popular at this age. Just be careful about the electronics that connect them to the outside web world and maintain supervision.

Car Talk, Deals, Education, Money Saver, Tips and Tricks

Finding The Best Car Insurance in Washington Is Full of Surprises…

Trying to find the best car insurance can be a trial. We all know the big car insurance brands: State Farm, Geico, Progressive, Allstate — but after browsing those sites, I’m never sure if I’m actually getting the best deals. So this time I used Clearsurance, and what I found totally caught me by surprise. All those household brands we all see advertised so often? They aren’t ranked very highly. Clearsurance, which is a website that collects reviews from people about their insurance company, uses the data it gathers to create unbiased rankings of car insurance companies, both by state and nationally for 2018. The detailed breakdown helps you compare companies and find coverage that’s actually the best deal for your location and driving history.

Once I got over my surprise, I decided to see what companies other consumers ranked as the best car insurance options in Washington and if my car insurer was rated highly by other consumers. I didn’t even recognize some of the companies that ranked ahead of the giants in car insurance, including my own insurer.

For instance, Amica Mutual, which offers a home ownership discount, was founded in 1907 and ranks as the third best company in all of Washington. Amica Mutual’s 4.46 rating out of 5 on Clearsurance is significantly higher than that of Progressive (4.16) and Allstate (4.1).

Take a look at what companies are ranked as the top 5 car insurers in Washington on Clearsurance:

  1. USAA — 4.68
  2. California Casualty Group — 4.47
  3. Amica Mutual Insurance Company— 4.46
  4. Metromile— 4.45
  5. American National Property & Casualty Company — 4.43

These aren’t the names we typically associate with car insurance. So why are these brands so much better than the big companies we all know? Clearsurance has tons of great information to help you navigate your car insurance coverage, and one of the things I discovered is that companies like Geico and Allstate spend billions of dollars a year on advertisements to become the names we think of when it’s time to buy car insurance or consider switching car insurance. But those advertising dollars have come to from somewhere, and it ends up driving up the cost of our insurance premiums.

 

Why should we be paying more to insure our cars so that our insurer can solicit new business?

For the most part, the companies rated highly in Washington are lesser known than the big names. But the bottom line is, they’re better. These are the companies that other policyholders have found offer fair prices with good customer service and claims handling.

Still, we’re not all eligible for these top insurers, and we don’t all have the same insurance needs. That’s something else Clearsurance understands and helps you navigate. For example, USAA is the best car insurance company for Washingtonians, but it only serves active and former military members and their families. And at a company like Metromile, it offers a multi-car discount. Plus, not all car insurance companies cover high-risk drivers, so if you have a lot of accidents on your record or a DUI, you may not be able to obtain coverage from one of these companies.

What’s a good option for high-risk drivers in Washington?

I did some digging into the car insurance companies that sell in Washington and offer policies to high-risk drivers, often referred to as non-standard drivers. If you’re looking for a cost effective option, The General offers affordable coverage. The General has a rating of 3.68. Consumers seem to believe The General offers cheap prices, but the low rates are reflected in the customer service and handling of claims.

 

Finding the best car insurance for you or your family shouldn’t have to be completely mind-boggling. Once you step outside the buzz of all those big name brands, figuring out which companies actually offer the best customer service at the best price becomes a lot easier, especially if you’ve got Clearsurance on your team.

Giveaways, Healthy Living, Kickstarter, Open Giveaways, Promotions, Travel

Kickstarter Deals with Finesse Fitness SomaSole Bundle – Giveaway

I have partnered with Finesse Fitness for this giveaway

Kickstarter Deals with Finesse Fitness SomaSole Bundle - Giveaway

Welcome to the Finesse Fitness SomaSole Bundle Giveaway

If your excuse for not getting to the gym has been time or travel or even the kids needs then you officially have no excuse! It’s July and if you are falling behind o that resolution you made to get to the gym more, you only have half a year left and you can still make good on that self goal with Finesse Fitness.

SomaSole gives you the resistance training your body needs with no fear of bands slipping from under your feet or frames coming lose from door jams. These bundles are made with safety as well as gym-like stretching, strength building and dynamic exercises, anywhere, anytime.  It is with bands using your own body and a specific link system as well as other accessories for floor workouts that really get your core in shape.

Whether you need that true at-home gym system (the Duffel) or a go-anywhere travel system such as for hotel rooms (the Backpack) excuses are no more! The best part is that Finesse Fitness is running a Kickstarter campaign and we all know the best bindle deals are on these specific campaigns.

Here is some information about this Finesse Fitness SomaSole Kickstarter campaign:

Finesse Fitness has introduced their line of portable, total body workout bundles housed in either a custom-designed backpack or duffel. Built to fit anyone’s lifestyle or fitness level, the bundles consist of meticulously designed equipment created with high-quality and durable materials.  To provide the full workout experience, Finesse Fitness bundles come with a mobile app platform where users can download or stream workouts, connect with their trainer, plan workouts, and give and receive support from the community.

A Kickstarter launched HERE with super early bird specials of $149 as well as including three (3) 30-minute* shoot-around sessions with NBA legend, Metta World Peace.

The Giveaway

1 lucky reader will win a SomaSole Bundle (similar to the one listed in the giveaway image at the beginning of this post. Open to US only and 18+. Enter below and good luck!

Food, Healthy Living, Natural Foods, Summer

Helping Kids and Parents Get More Veggies Into Their Diet with Garden Lites

I have partnered with Garden Lites (unsponsored) for this feature

With vegetables as the primary ingredient in all of their items, Garden Lites is helping kids and parents get more veggies into their diet in delicious ways. These frozen snacks are made with only clean/simple ingredients, Gluten Free, non-GMO certified, nut free and kosher.

 

 

My favorite are the Chocolate Muffins. When I am trying to eat clean and have a sweet tooth, I grab one from the freezer and pop it in the microwave for a few seconds and the chocolate chips melt just a tad for a delicious, gooey treat. You don’t have to microwave them, they thaw fast such as throwing one from the freezer into a lunchbox or picnic basket. They will be ready to eat real soon and most assuredly by lunch.

The Chocolate Muffin’s first two ingredients are zucchini and carrots and are 33% veggies. They also come in Blueberry Oat, Banana Chocolate Chip and Carrot Berry.

Garden Lites® Superfood Veggie Cakes, launched only 2 years ago, are already a best-selling item. They are are packed with nutrient-rich superfood veggies like kale and cauliflower.

I just wanted to put these little snacks on your radar this summer! You can find them in retailers in the frozen section. For more information on Garden Lites products, visit www.GardenLites.com and be sure to follow on Facebook and Twitter!