How Grandparents Can Support Their Children, When Babies Arrive

So there’s a baby on the way in your family. First of all, congratulations! There’s nothing quite as wonderful as welcoming a new little life into the world.

Frankly, while being a parent had its precious moments as well as its challenges, being a grandparent is an incredible privilege, make sure you embrace it.  Basically, we get to enjoy the best bits of being a parent, but we can also give the little darlings back and enjoy some time to relax.

When there’s a new baby on the way, you might remember just how scary and stressful it was for you. Yes, it’s exciting, but it’s terrifying as well. Well, that’s where mom and dad can be the superheroes your kids and grandchildren need.

Here are some bits of advice I found really helpful when my grandchildren first came onto the scene.

Offer, Don’t Insist

Okay, it’s exciting when your child is about to have a baby of their own, and it’s very easy to get overexcited. This is especially true if it’s the first grandchild because this is new for all of you. Your children will need help in this situation. They’ll need a support system and whatever practical and emotional help that you can offer.

But there’s a danger here. While it’s lovely to be a supportive parent and grandparent, it’s possible to go too far. 

For some reason, when you look at your child, you see them as a child. Even though they’re all grown up and have a family of their own, it’s so difficult to step back and accept that they might not always need your help.

You have a wealth of knowledge and experience, so offer it. For example, if the baby has a skin condition and you can tell the difference between newborn eczema vs acne, it can be helpful to offer suggestions and advice that has worked for you. But try not to push.

It’s nice to be involved, but it’s important to offer help rather than insist on it. For example, some new parents appreciate it when a grandparent provides food or other practical things shortly before and after the birth. But others might decide that they want space for themselves.

This can hurt, but it’s vital to all of you that you keep the door open to help, without forcing your way through. If you offer without pressuring your child, they are more likely to come to you when you’re needed.

Accept Changes and Boundaries

On a similar note, you may have to accept changes in parenting techniques and knowledge. 

I found that children are raised very differently nowadays than when they were when mine were young. The advice is different, so parents are different. This doesn’t necessarily mean that current parenting techniques are wrong or terrible.

It can be very difficult to reconcile the way children are raised now compared to how they used to be. Even in the past twenty years, there’s a huge difference. But one thing to remember is that you’re not the parent now.

You’re the grandparent. It’s your job to be doting to the grandchildren and supportive of the parents. If your children have boundaries and things they expect from their kids, it’s important to support them and their rules, even if it’s not necessarily something you did as a parent.

Work as a team and don’t undermine your children as parents. They will appreciate you all the more and it’s much better for children to have consistency in how they live and are disciplined. Keep the lines of communication with the parents wide open and always let them know how their grandchildren are doing when they’re with you.

Have Fun

Finally, it’s time to enjoy being a grandparent. As a parent, you’re often too worried about the little things in life to have fun as often. Yes, it’s important for everyone to spend quality time with their children, but grandparents have the privilege of leaving the harder parenting stuff to the parents.

Instead, you can take this opportunity to teach your grandchildren and learn from them as well. Teach them skills like baking and gardening, or whatever else you enjoy but their parents might not always have time for.

You should also play games with them. Board games are a great option, but online video games can be a lot of fun and a great way to allow your grandchildren to teach you a thing or two.

Is It Time To Upgrade Your Car?

Driving is one of those things that has become a vital part of everyday life for people all around the world. It doesn’t matter how old you are, as long as you’re old enough to drive, the chances are that you’re in and out of a car each day. But unfortunately, cars don’t last forever. Sometimes it’s best to take the plunge and change your car, but when is it time to upgrade your car.

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Your Lifestyle Changes

We’ll start with the most cheerful option of the bunch. One of the best reasons to change your car is to suit your new needs. No matter how old you are, your family is constantly changing and growing, and this may well mean new children and grandchildren.

While twenty years ago or so, you could mostly trust your seatbelt to keep your children safe, now child car seats are far more common for older children as well as babies and toddlers. This is a much safer option, but it does mean more expense and more space is needed.

Car seats depend on the age of the child and their height. This is because smaller children, even if they are a bit older, are still at more risk of injury without a booster seat. Some car seats can be adjusted as children get older, which saves some strain and money.

Smaller children typically need larger car seats, which means you need a larger vehicle and ideally some extra space in the back.

Other lifestyle changes might necessitate a new vehicle as well. For example, illness or injuries can lead to you or your loved ones needing a wheelchair or other mobility aids. Your car should accommodate these needs as well. 

The Car Becomes Unsafe

If your car is unsafe, it’s a sure sign that you need to get it changed for a newer model. Even if you look after your car incredibly well, over time it will suffer from wear and tear. This is only exacerbated if you end up in a collision that can cause further damage. 

Ideally, it’s best to change your car before it reaches the point of no longer being safe to drive. Regular checkups can keep it going for longer and keep you informed. But at the end of the day, there will come a time when you need to go to a dealership like Edmunds for a new car. 

Saving Money

Even if your car isn’t unsafe, it might reach the point where it needs so much maintenance that it costs more than it’s worth. Buying a car is a huge expense, but so is running and maintaining it. Eventually, it may become a money drain

A newer car might be more efficient, as well as having lower maintenance costs, insurance costs, and even road tax depending on where you live. So, look for a new car within your means and your budget. You might be able to downsize, saving even more money.

5 Signs That It Might Be Time To Downsize Your Home

downsize your home

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Whoever said that you should only invest in one home in your life clearly has never been an empty nester! While it can be exciting having your kids go off and form their own life and grow a home for themselves, sometimes, if their presence is away, the home just feels big, maybe way too big, so it might be time to downsize your home. While sure, large homes are great, at the same time, they just have a way of making us all feel lonely. 

Maybe it’s time for a change; usually, when your kids make a big change in life, it never hurts to make one yourself, right? Besides, when it comes to downsizing, it’s usually more financially beneficial, too. So, here are some signs that it just very well may be time to downsize your home. 

There’s Too Many Unused Spaces

For a lot of people, it’s almost like it’s a luxury to have unused space in the home, but is this a luxury that actually does any good? Probably not! So, if you find yourself surrounded by empty bedrooms and unused spaces, it’s a clear sign that your current home may be larger than necessary. In general, downsizing allows you to create a more efficient living space tailored to your current lifestyle.

The Maintenance Cost is Getting Pretty High

For those of us who live in an older house, you’ll definitely want to pay attention. In general, large homes often come with higher maintenance costs. If you’re noticing that maintaining your current home is becoming a financial burden, downsizing can alleviate the strain on your budget. Seriously, you’ll save on stress and so much money, too. A smaller home typically means lower utility bills, property taxes, and maintenance expenses.  It can very well be a very positive thing to try out!

Yearning for Freedom

While no one necessarily needs to live in a smaller home in order to have freedom, both of them usually go together hand in hand. So, to put it simply, empty nesters tend to travel frequently or even maintain seasonal residency if they live in a small home. This is usually the case because most folks tend to find that a smaller home is more manageable.


If you’re yearning for freedom and adventure, then by all means, you have the right to chase it! You can even just rent a home or buy something new, as they both can be assessed the same way. Downsizing can offer the freedom to lock and leave without the worry of maintaining a larger property during extended absences, and it’s incredible!

You Want a New Chapter

Honestly, a new chapter essentially means new beginnings, and who wouldn’t want that?  It allows for a fresh start, the chance to redefine priorities, and the freedom to pursue activities that bring joy and fulfillment. Hands-down, you definitely deserve this new beginning, and you owe it to yourself to have it. 

You Want a Low-Maintenance Life

Needless to say, big homes come with way too many responsibilities. Over time, those are going to become fairly unappealing. So having less to clean and less yard work can be pretty refreshing as you age. 


Talking To Your Teenager About Their Self Image

It’s a hard world for anyone under the age of 18. It’s a hard world for people of any age, but specifically, anyone who is still growing and developing! Being surrounded by images of perfection and being glued to your phone screen is a deadly combo, and trying to get your teen out of the habit is nigh on impossible. That’s why it’s so crucial to open a dialogue around self-image, and how it changes as we get older. Here are a few ways to get the conversation started without being met with groans and slammed doors. 


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Mention What You’ve Noticed

It’s easy to see when a teenager feels bad about their self-image. They wear clothes that are baggy or hide their figure, they spend a lot more time in their room than they used to, they don’t go out with their friends quite as much, and they might even eat less than usual. 

As a parent, get involved at this point! Head upstairs and see if they want to chat. If it was me, I’d mention what I’d noticed, and ask if something has happened to make them feel bad about themself. No pressure, but just let your teen know you can be spoken to about it. 

Let Them Know No Image is Shameful

No body image is shameful – simple as. Nothing they see online is really real either, as there are a million different tools you can download these days to change the way you look in photos. 

And if they’re constantly being targeted by images that represent little to nothing of what they look like, it’s best to talk to them about why that occurs. Everybody feels bad, and everyone can feel shame, but who really says that a body shape is wrong? No one! 

Bring Up Their Unique Qualities

Every person in the world has something special about them. If your teen is struggling with that idea, and wants so desperately to fit in but feels like they can’t, do your best to remind them. They’re unique and they still have a lot of growing to do. Bring up some of their unique features and talk about how interesting these make them. 

If they’re wearing clear braces but their teeth are in great condition, or they get lower grades but have a very artistic mind, or they don’t have the kind of body shape they see everyone celebrating on Instagram, remind them why uniqueness is good. You are who you are, and there’s a lot more you can dedicate your time and attention to than unrealistic ideals! 

Limit Their Screen Time

Finally, sometimes you’ve just got to rip the offending item away! Limiting screen time is a great way to get their mind off of a negative self-image, so try to lock down social media access for at least an hour a day. 

A teenager’s self-image can fluctuate wildly. Help them bring it down to a stable level. 


What Parents Can Do To Help Their Teenage Children

There’s no stage of parenting that’s easy. Well, maybe when they’re fully grown and out of the house things are easy. But that’s not really parenting — by that stage, you’ll have done your job. The different stages of parenting come with their own challenges. Take your teenage children for example. The teenage years can be a tough one because it feels like your kids are becoming different people — and that’s because, in many ways, they are

Those years can be difficult for you. They’re even more challenging for your kids. In this post, we’ll run through some handy tips that you can take on board to help them as much as possible. 

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Give Them Space

Your child will likely be going through some things from time to time. They’ll be moody. They’ll be happy. They’ll go through a whole range of emotions, often within a single day. Being a good parent to teenage children involves knowing when to give them space. If they want to lock themselves away in their bedroom for a few hours, then it’s normally just best to let them. They’ll come out eventually.

Make Yourself Available

Your teenager will be a whirlwind of emotions. They’re going through changes that they don’t understand themselves, and that’s not easy. While they’ll do things that very much require discipline and all that, it’s important to primarily take an emotionally available approach. That means that they feel comfortable coming to talk to you about whatever it is that they’re going through. They’ll be going through it anyway, and wouldn’t you prefer that they come to you to talk, rather than just battling through it on their own? Your teenager won’t always take you up on the offer, but they’ll appreciate knowing that you’re there for them.

Plan For Their Future

When your kids are little, it can be difficult to imagine them as adults. When they become teenagers, you can see that it won’t be all that long before they’re out there on their own. As such, it’s important to make plans for their future. This can take various forms. You may take out life insurance for parents, so you know that they’ll be financially secure in case something happens to you. It may also involve putting money to one side for when they’re older. Even encouraging them to follow the passions that may one day be their career can be highly valuable.

Be Understanding

Your teenagers are going to mess up from time to time. They’ll get things wrong. After all, who doesn’t at that age? By remembering what you were like as a teenager, you can put yourself in the right frame of mind to deal with the fallout. Of course, sometimes you might really need to lay down the law, however!

Keep the Family Fun

Your teenagers will have other things on their minds than having fun as a family. However, though they may pull away in some moments, it’s important to keep those family traditions alive. They’ll appreciate them when they’re older. 

Tips For Taking Good Care Of Your Grandparents

Grandparents play an important role in our lives, and it’s essential that we provide proper care for them as they age. Taking good care of your grandparents isn’t just about physical assistance but also emotional support, companionship, and offering a listening ear whenever needed. Below are some tips to help you provide the best possible care for your beloved grandparents. 

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Utilise Home Services:

Many seniors prefer to remain in their homes if they are able. To make this a reality, consider utilising services like Home Care Assistance, which can provide caregivers who can help with basic tasks like shopping and cooking, as well as more involved activities like medication reminders and personal care.

Motivate Social Activity:

Social activities can help seniors to stay mentally and physically active. Encourage your grandparents to join a local senior centre, which may offer weekly activities like art classes, and outings for lunch or dinner. If in-person visits are difficult due to mobility issues or the pandemic, virtual group gatherings and social media can provide excellent alternatives.

Offer Companionship:

Just because your grandparents may be unable to do certain activities doesn’t mean they don’t want companionship. Make sure to spend time with them regularly and listen when they tell stories about their past – it will likely bring back a lot of memories and make them feel valued.

Address Unmet Needs:

As our grandparents get older, their level of independence may diminish, or they may begin to experience additional health issues that require extra help. Be sure to assess your grandparent’s needs regularly so you can provide the necessary care and support. This could mean hiring a professional caregiver or arranging transportation to and from doctors’ appointments.

Address Safety Concerns:

Ensure that your grandparent’s home is safe by checking for any potential fall hazards like loose rugs, slippery bathtubs, etc. Make sure their living space is well-lit and that their smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working.

Create Meaningful Experiences:

Spending time with your grandparents doesn’t have to be boring – create meaningful experiences together like gardening, playing board games, or looking through old photos. These activities can provide quality bonding time and offer your grandparents some much-needed relaxation.

Stay Connected:

It’s important to stay connected with your grandparents even if you are not able to visit them in person regularly. This can be as simple as a phone call or video chat or sending cards and care packages. It will let them know that they are loved and appreciated.

Providing good care for your grandparents isn’t always easy, but it can be incredibly rewarding. By taking the time to assess their needs and providing emotional and physical support, you can ensure that they lead a healthy and fulfilling life as they age. With patience, kindness, and understanding, you can make a world of difference in your grandparents’ lives. Your effort will be remembered and cherished for years to come.


Does Getting Older Influence Your Choice Of Car?

An old adage says that a man’s choice of car purchase is an extension of himself, and that may well be the case when you are a young man out to impress.

But as we travel (pardon the pun) through life, our tick list of vehicle ‘must haves’ changes dramatically, and never more so than when we are heading towards retirement.

So what factors influence you when choosing a car to take you into the later years of your life?  Will it be a snazzy little convertible, a sensible estate, or maybe a people carrier to well, carry lots of little people and their associated mountain of pushchairs and toys?

Will you buy secondhand, or maybe it’s time to treat yourself to a brand-spanking new set of wheels? If that is the case, then you need to do your homework first. Spend time visiting local showrooms, and ask questions not only about the running costs, and interior extras, but also about where the car was manufactured, the background of the company, and what other models they produce at the plant.

Ask if manufacturers have industrial vision systems in place, designed to give precision quality control, which helps to ensure your vehicle will have had all its components fully tested before it reaches the car dealer.

Many of us are completely unaware of the way car manufacturers implement artificial intelligence which now makes owning a brand-new car a totally user-friendly experience. Not only from the initial construction of the car but right down to giving the owner a more focused drive, by lessening the distractions within the car and ultimately understanding the driver’s habits.

If it’s been some time since you took the plunge and bought a brand-new car, with all the new technology that is now available, you might be pleasantly surprised.

Time To Enjoy The Wind In Your Hair

We all remember the nostalgic films of bygone days, when impossibly handsome actors in straw hats and aviator sunglasses drove shiny convertible cars around hairpin bends, to some romantic soundtrack. Usually accompanied by an equally impossibly glamorous female wearing a chiffon scarf that was blowing gently in the breeze.  These scenes of course were usually shot in exotic places such as the South of France or the Italian Riviera.

When retirement is on the horizon, you might plan some adventures; maybe a drive across Europe in a nifty little sports car, and you imagine long stretches of open roads, under clear blue skies, with the soft top down and the wind in your hair. How fabulous that would be.

And so off you go on a mission to find THE perfect sports car to take you on your magical road trip.   The downside of that idea is, that your knees aren’t what they were, and being so low on the ground, you might just as well be driving a skateboard. You might want to reassess, and choose comfort over the convertible!

Hobbies That Require A Workhorse

Retirement gives you lots of time to enjoy hobbies you used to slot in around your working life. Previously, you may have driven a small, economical car, to and from the station or workplace. But now, you can indulge yourself with the right vehicle for your change of lifestyle. One that can accommodate things like golf clubs, a mountain bike or two, easels, and canvasses, or maybe just a couple of BIG dogs to take on long walks in the countryside.

But of course, a bigger car means it’s not going to be as economical as your little run-around and for everyday uses, when you are just popping to the shops or running errands, there’s a lot of ’empty’ car space behind you.  Before deciding on an estate car, it might be wise to weigh up just how beneficial a bigger car will actually be to you.

How Many People Do You Really Want to Carry?

Memories can be short as we get older. And what we do often forget is our own parenting days, when every family outing had to be planned like a military campaign. Loading children, assorted ‘just in case’ extra clothing, buggies, bikes, toys, cool bags, potties, and changing mats into a family saloon. We thought it would never end. Back in the day, a BIG car was a necessity for the sheer volume of ‘stuff’ required to go on any significant journey.

Your retirement dream of spending more time with the Grandchildren might just come back to bite you on the bum if you do invest in a people carrier.  Small people still need the same amount of paraphernalia, and ‘impulsive’ trips usually take hours to organise before everyone is safely strapped in.  Think carefully, will you become the designated driver for your whole family, simply because Nanny and Grandad have the biggest car!

Later life car purchases need careful thought. Do your research, have fun doing some test drives, but most of all make sure your purchase is right for you and will tick all your retirement travel boxes!





How Your Children Can Learn From Online Games

As Grandparents, we are in the enviable position of being able to spend time with our Grandchildren doing nice, enjoyable things like playing games.  We can leave the ‘parenting’ stuff to their parents!

My Grandsons were at their most interesting when they were sucking up knowledge like a sponge. Asking question after question, who, why, what, when, and although it drove me bonkers, I enjoyed combining fun times, with a touch of education too.

As soon as they were old enough, car journeys were always spent spotting specific colours and animals, then counting cars and singing songs, and of course, good old I-Spy, always a winner, and always good for lots of laughs when the youngest ones couldn’t spell and chose completely the wrong initial for the thing they had ‘spied’.

For the older ones it was always very competitive and usually accompanied by lots of groans when the object was, shall we say, a little bit debatable.

When my Grandsons got older and were able to grasp the concept of board games, I spent time teaching them the good old-fashioned favourites that have stood the test of time, such as Snakes and Ladders, Ludo, and Guess Who.

Naturally, back in the day, we played them on a cardboard ‘board’ that folded in half and came out of a box, along with all the necessary bits and bobs, like dice and brightly coloured counters.

But now you can play these games online with your children or Grandchildren, or, they can play by themselves.  Obviously, children always prefer to have company and to play their games with someone, rather than alone.  But the option is there.

I think we automatically assume that anything that children are viewing on their handheld devices such as iPhones, or iPads is not going to be very educational, and indeed, many people feel that it’s lazy parenting to simply let their children get so absorbed in their technology.

But that isn’t always the case; online games for children can be entertaining AND educational at the same time.

Online Math Calculators

As well as classic board games, and classics like chess and draughts, there are now a lot of educational online games available that can really help children with their maths, algebra, and geometry.

There are also a host of word games to help with spelling and reading, the difficulty levels range from pre-school to harder levels such as crosswords, and even multilingual word search!

If a child is struggling a bit with their lessons, it’s so much easier to persuade them to play a few educational online games, than it is to sit and study books for hours on end around the kitchen table.

Whilst this shouldn’t be used as the only form of a teaching tool, it certainly can be seen as a valuable form of support, and shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand.

I’m really pleased that such progress has been made that enables children to enjoy their screen time, but also to learn at the same time as playing.

And at least with online Snakes and Ladders, there’s no risk of losing the dice, and that must be a good thing!





Turning Your Holiday Home Dream Into A Reality.


Some times, there is never a right time to do the things YOU want to do, there always seems to be a reason to put things off.

It might just be a family birthday, an upcoming wedding, or even emergency child care, that stops you from say having a weekend away, or meeting up with long lost friends who happen to be in the area….only just at the wrong time.

All that is kind of understandable, it’s part of life’s rich pattern, on a day to day basis. But what happens if you really have a dream, that will be reasonably easy to fulfil, once all these family commitments ease, and you have more time for yourself, to really do the things you want to do.

Eventually, you come to a point in life when the children are off hand, retirement is within your grasp, and you start thinking to yourself, what’s next for me, I’d quite like a little adventure before it’s too late.

Perhaps you’ve had some happy family holidays abroad, and have thought how nice it would be to own a holiday home in your favorite place in the sun.   Well once your ‘babies’ have flown the nest, either to University, or to homes of their own, surely you too can begin to explore some options of your own, and turn that dream holiday home, into a reality.

There are so many very accessible holiday home destinations, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Croatia, to name but a few. In the aftermath of Brexit, of course there are a few more hurdles to jump over than before. But nothing insurmountable.  And once you’ve made the decision, and got that holiday home bug, it’s likely that not much will stop you, or get in your way.

So once your destination is decided, what comes next?

One of the main considerations of course will be finances.  Will you want to downsize from your family home to raise some capital to put towards a second home. Or will you simply remortgage your present home, which may have increased in value significantly over the years.

There are now some handy online tools to help you work out deposits and repayments, to work out  how much this could all cost you.   Everything is to hand, at the click of a button, and once you have some figures in mind,  you’ll instantly know if what you plan is viable, and more to the point, affordable.  No tedious pen and paper budgeting, and it may even mean you won’t actually have to set foot into your building society.  It can all be done online, at home.

Turning your holiday home dream into a reality doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Everything you need to know, is virtually at your fingertips.  So start making a plan, no matter how long term it might seem to be, and one day, the time WILL be right, things will fall into place, and you can begin your own new adventure.