• Family,  Rants & Musings

    Should You Give Your Children an Allowance?

    Until the last couple of years, we never gave our children an allowance. I just never thought it was necessary. I couldn’t see the reasoning behind providing an 8-year-old with their own money, but I also thought about this for years. Should you give your children an allowance?

    When my oldest was about 12, I read a lot of blog posts about giving your child an allowance. There were so many different opinions and options on how to give your child an allowance. After reading multiple articles about allowances, I found a couple that resonated with me. These articles were different from everything else I had read or thought about. What I liked most about what I read was that these articles had rules for giving the kids allowances, which I thought was important.

    The Allowance Rules I Liked

    • The allowance is not tied to anything; you give it to them without any expectations.
    • I WILL not give an allowance for good grades.
    • I do not give an allowance for doing chores.
    • The best rule is that you stop buying things for them.
    • I don’t love this last rule, but you should let them use their money however they want (within reason, obviously).

    The allowance is not tied to anything, so they don’t have to earn it. Each month, we just put the money into their account. I will explain later how much we give them.

    I will not give an allowance for good grades. School is vital to us as parents. Our children are expected to go to school and earn good grades. Are they expected to have straight A’s? No, they are not. They are expected to do the best that they can. We will not pay them to do well in school. This is just an expectation.

    I do not give an allowance for doing chores. Everyone in the house is expected to help keep it clean. Everyone pitches in and helps. Is our house spotless? Nope, never. We do the best we can to keep it clean. They each have their own space that they need to stay clean, and they do the best they can.

    The best rule is that I stopped buying everything for them. Please don’t take this the wrong way. I buy the necessary things for them, such as clothes, school supplies, specific activities, or vacations. The things I won’t buy for them are what they want, such as stuffed animals, toys, and clothes they want, not what they need or treats at the store. They have to buy all these things themselves.

    This last rule is the hardest for me. You are supposed to let them spend their money however they want. You let them spend their money whether they want to buy a shirt with it or a treat. My kids usually want a treat, a toy, or a stuffed animal. I am not a massive fan of this rule because my kids have too many stuffed animals, and I don’t want them to buy more. I try to guide them, but ultimately, they are in charge of their money.

    How Much Allowance Should You Give Your Kids?

    How much allowance you give your kids is a personal choice. This is how we do it, though. It is all based on age. So, for how old they are, that is how much they get for the week, for example, with my children. My 16-year-old gets sixteen dollars a week, so they get sixty-four dollars a month. My 12-year-old gets twelve dollars a week, so they get forty-eight dollars a month.

    Reasons to Give Your Kids an Allowance

    I finally realized why an allowance was so good for my kids. It gives them a chance to learn money management. When they want to buy something, they always ask if they have enough money. Most of the time, they do, but sometimes, they don’t, and I feel like that is a good lesson for them. This teaches them that if they want something more expensive, they need to save money to buy that item.

    The other nice thing is that they have stopped asking me for stuff every time we go to the store. They know that if they want something unnecessary, they have to buy it themselves.

    When they do want to buy something, I usually make them pay for it themselves. This allows them to learn how to interact with the cashier and the actual process of buying something.

    I am shocked to see how each child spends their money differently. One child has saved money for months and bought something significant. Another child saves their money and doesn’t buy very much with their money. Their account has grown quite a bit. Then I have one that spends and spends their money. They love to go to the store and shop. They are the child that is a shopaholic. I am unsure where she picked that up because I am not a shopper!

    So far, these are the reasons I love that we have chosen to give our children an allowance. Every family is different, and you must do what is best for your family. As for our family, this is what works great for us.

    Do you give your children an allowance? If you do, what techniques do you use? What do you do differently? Do your children have to earn their allowance? I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment!

  • ADHD

    Our Son’s Challenges With Hyperfixation

    One of the challenges that our son, who has inattentive ADHD, deals with is hyperfixation. In this blog post, I want to help you understand what hyperfixation is and what challenges our son and family face.

    What is Hyperfixation?

    Hyperfixation is best defined as an intense or prolonged interest in or an obsession with an activity, subject, or person. Simply put, a person who experiences hyperfixation has their attention completely absorbed and consumed by a particular activity or interest for an excessive or unhealthy amount of time.

    There are times where see see this behavior, or intense focus or obsession with an activity in our son. Our son tends to hyperfixate on video games. He will completely immerse and lose himself in a video game for hours on end. He tends to ignore or delay everything he needs to do when he starts hyperfixating and playing video games, and sometimes it takes a major effort to break him out of that hyperfixation. He has gotten better in recent years in many respects, but he still has his moments where we see him hyperfixate.

    Some common characteristics of hyperfixation that can manifest in many different situations are:

    • A person will begin a task and suddenly realize many hours have passed.
    • A person may ignore or not respond to others, making it extremely difficult to communicate with them and get their attention.
    • A person will be unaware of what is happening around them and may tune out things like people talking, the weather, and the time.
    • A person may ignore and/or delay their personal needs, such as eating or sleeping because they’re so focused on the task at hand.
    • A person may find that they have a hard time stopping or switching to a different activity.

    Hyperfixation can and will manifest itself differently from one person to another. Some get completely wrapped up in a hobby, while others engage in random activities like watching TV or scrolling through Pinterest.

    Benefits of Hyperfixation

    Wait, there are benefits and positive side effects to hyperfixation? Yes, there are many things can prove to be a benefit to those who deal with hyperfixation. These benefits of hyperfixation are only useful when focused on something productive.

    1. Intense Focus

    Those who have hyperfixation undergo a state of intense focus on their task or subject at hand. When this subject is positive, the attention given to it and only it can lead to doing things that no one else can do.

    When our son has focus, he can accomplish anything. It is amazing to see when he gets so wrapped up in a subject what he’s able to learn and do. I’m constantly in awe about what he can accomplish when he gains focus and puts his effort into it.

    2. Boundless Energy

    Those who have hyperfixation tend to disregard their bodies signs for fatigue or tiredness. The don’t get bored, but rather they just keep going and going.

    When our son hyperfixates he is just like this. It doesn’t matter what time it is, or how tired he may be, he just keeps going.

    3. High Productivity

    People who have hyperfixation can get a lot done in a little amount of time with no distractions, an intense focus, and boundless energy.

    Negative Symptoms of Hyperfixation

    There are also a lot of downsides and negative symptoms of hyperfixation. Some of these negative symptoms can lead to stress, grief, and problems not only for the person who is hyperfixating, but also for those who are trying to interact with them.

    1. Not Listening

    A common problem of hyperfixation is that a person will just not listen. Regardless of what you’re trying to say to them they end up completely ignore you. What’s really going on is that a person likely doesn’t even hear you. because they’re so focused on what they’re doing that they simply tune out everything else that’s going on around them.

    2. Distracted

    Even when a person is physically present, those who hyperfixate may tend to seem distracted or distant. This can easily be thought of as going through the motions but they’re in a completely different world.

    3. Unable to Pay Attention

    A person who hyperfixates may seem like they’re paying attention and listening to what you’re saying, but when you’re done talking to them, they don’t remember a thing you said.

    4. Not Doing Chores / Essential Tasks

    A person who hyperfixates will tend to put a lower priority on chores and tasks that need to be completed because it doesn’t align with their interests. This can be ignoring things like washing and folding laundry, to not wanting to bathe and shower.

    5. Being Late / Making Others Wait

    Because a person who hyperfixates gets so caught up in the activity their doing or focused on, when it’s time for them to stop and transition to something else, it becomes very hard to break out of the activity. People who struggle with this can say things like, “just five more minutes.”

  • Holidays,  Rants & Musings

    Easter Basket Stuffer & Filler Ideas

    Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you decide to make a purchase via these links, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. See my disclaimers for more information.

    Spring is such a wonderful time of year! I love it when everything comes back to life after the winter. Easter is always the first sign of spring to me! It means we made it through the winter, and warmer weather is just around the corner. For Easter, we always go to an Easter egg hunt, and I always have baskets for my kids. Instead, I would rather not fill the basket with candy, so I have filled their baskets with other items over the years.

    Here is the list of non-candy items I love putting into their easter baskets.

    Spring Outfits

    Every Easter, I get my children a new spring outfit for their Easter baskets. It’s nothing fancy, usually just a pair of new shorts and a shirt. It is always fun to have a new outfit when the weather gets warmer. My kids tend to outgrow some of their clothes over the winter, so putting a new spring outfit into their Easter baskets helps prepare them for the new spring and keeps their wardrobe current.

    DONWEN Toddler Kids Girl
    3pcs Spring Summer Girl Outfits Set

    Rating: 5 out of 5.

    DOKOTOO KIDS Girls Summer Outfits Cute T-Shirt and Shorts Set with Side Pockets

    Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

    Swimsuits

    Our family swims a lot in the summer, and I mean a lot! By the end of the summer, our swimming suits are usually trashed. When spring comes around again, they no longer have a swimming suit. So, I like to get them a new one every Easter for the new swim season. I typically try to get them two swimsuits if I can find a good deal just because of how much we swim.

    Tutorutor Kid Girls High Waisted Cute 2 Piece Peplum Halter Bikini Sets Ruffle Floral Print Teen Spaghetti Swimsuits

    Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

    FERBIA Women Falbala Bikini Set Halter High Waisted Swimsuit 2 Piece Ruffle Tummy Control Spaghetti Strap Tankini

    Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

    Swim Goggles

    Every Easter, I get my children new swimming goggles with their new swimsuits. My children love to swim with goggles, and they don’t like to swim without them, so like our swimsuits, our goggles get ruined by the end of the summer.

    Speedo Unisex-Adult Swim Goggles Mirrored Vanquisher 2.0

    Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

    OutdoorMaster Kids Swim Goggles 2 Pack Swimming Goggles for Kids

    Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

    Sandals & Flip-Flops

    Another great idea for an Easter basket filler that I’ve done in the past is to get the kids some new sandals or flip-flops. Over the winter, my children have typically outgrown their sandals, so if they have, I’ll get them a new pair. I don’t always get them sandals, but only get them if they desperately need them.

    OUYADU Kids Cloud Slides Boys Girls Flip Flops Slip On Beach Sandals

    Rating: 5 out of 5.

    NORTY Kids Sandals – Girls Sandals, Flip Flops – Boys Slides – Little Kid – Big Kid

    Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

    Small Games and Other Items

    I also like to put some simple, small things in their Easter baskets every year. This changes year to year, but here are some items I like to include—card games, notebook, stickers, chapstick, markers, sidewalk chalk, or bubbles. For my oldest, I like to do small amounts on gift cards to his favorite places to eat.

    We love the Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza game, which has been a definite hit at our house. The kids go crazy when they play it, and we laugh like crazy!

    Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza

    Rating: 5 out of 5.

    Crayola Sidewalk Chalk

    Rating: 5 out of 5.

    These are some fun things I like to do for my family. It changes slightly from year to year, but this is what I like to do for the most part. I will not say we don’t give them candy because that is not true, but these items help, so they don’t get as much. Do you have Easter traditions that you do? What do you like to put in your Easter baskets? I would love to hear!

  • Rants & Musings

    2 Things That Surprised Me When Booking An Alaskan Cruise

    Are you thinking about booking an Alaskan cruise? We booked one for this coming summer! We have been on a small cruise before, so when we booked an Alaskan cruise, these two things surprised me the most.

    Booking in Advance

    The first thing that surprised me about booking an Alaskan cruise is how far in advance you need to book. We went on a Mexican cruise about two years ago and booked it about a month or so before we went, and everything was fine; we had no problems. We could select from many available cabins, dinner times, or ship activities; however, we booked our upcoming Alaskan cruise seven months in advance, and it felt like we were booking late.

    By the time we booked, there were only a few rooms left. We could not pick our dining hall times because they were all taken, so we just had to take what was left. Most of the excursions were already booked on the ship, and we will have to book some of our tours through companies in the port.

    Lesson number one! If you plan on taking an Alaskan cruise, I strongly encourage you to book a year or more in advance. You can find better room placement, pick your dining hall times, and book excursions from the cruise line.

    Sticker Shock

    The second thing that surprised me was how much more expensive it was than a Mexico cruise. I was SHOCKED at how much it would cost us to take a seven-day cruise to Alaska. We booked it with discounts when the cruise line had specials, but I was still sticker-shocked.

    Lesson number two! Alaskan cruises are much more expensive than your typical Mexico or Caribbean cruise. Know that you will spend more on your booking!

    I wouldn’t let these surprises deter you from booking an Alaskan cruise. Even though we were caught off guard and wished we were a little more prepared for these surprises, we still booked our cruise. I have heard Alaskan cruises are incredible, and I can’t wait to go. I am excited about the scenery and the wildlife. It sure is going to be an adventure. My family is also super excited, and my son tells me every day, “One less day until the cruise!”

  • ADHD

    My Son Has Inattentive ADHD

    My son has Inattentive ADHD. Inattentive ADHD is a subtype of ADHD in which a person has a hard time focusing and paying attention, and doesn’t show the hyperactive behavior normal associated with ADHD. As I have come to understand my son and his diagnosis, I see that often kids with this type of ADHD are overlooked because they’re not hyperactive or causing disruptions.

    One of my goals in writing this blog is to share the experience of what our family goes through with ADHD. I’ve written a lot about tactile defensiveness already, and today, I wanted to focus on ADHD. I’ll be honest, I don’t know where to begin with this topic. I feel like it is such a vast topic. I also know there are many of you that are dealing with the same challenges that I am. I don’t claim to be a professional on dealing with ADHD, but I’ve learned a lot in our challenges that I want to share. Everything I write about ADHD is from my own experiences working with my son.

    Uncovering His ADHD Diagnosis

    My son started showing signs that something was off in the first grade. Since he was our first child, we didn’t notice anything different. We didn’t think anything was wrong until his first grade teacher mentioned that he had a hard time following directions. We took it under advisement and continued to watch him, but we didn’t do anything that year because I still wasn’t sure if he was different from his peers.

    In second grade, his teacher mentioned something about his ability to follow directions to us again, and that is when we decided that we needed to take him to the doctor to have him tested. My son was diagnosed with ADHD when he was in second grade. We had a lot of help from his teacher that year, and she was very supportive and we loved her for it!

    When he’s unable to focus, you can think of it as he has a million thoughts running through his mind at once, and each one takes his mind on a different track of thought. He may be able to maintain focus for bit, but there are a lot of other thoughts competing for his attention.

    After he was diagnosed, it was apparent to my husband and I that he needed a little help to be able to focus in school so we decided that we would put him on medication. You can read our experience on Should You Medicate Your Child for ADHD?

    It has been a long journey over the years. We have been through a lot of challenges with him. There has also been some good times as well. Even through all the challenges I wouldn’t change it for anything.

    There are so many challenges and experiences that come with an ADHD diagnosis. I am planning to break down a lot of the things I have learned along the way, and things I struggle with. To continue to read about our experiences with ADHD, please subscribe below.

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    I would also love to hear from any one that is has a child that has ADHD and how you have managed it. Please, come on this journey with me!