The Breaking Dad
Guest Posts

Everything You Need To Know About Buying A Wheelchair For A Family Member

When a family member requires the use of a wheelchair, it can be an overwhelming process to find the right one that meets their specific needs. It will also make a massive difference to their lives. From understanding the different types to considering important features, there’s a lot to factor in. 

Types of Wheelchairs

Wheelchairs come in various designs, each catering to different mobility levels and requirements. The most common types include:

Manual Wheelchairs: These traditional wheelchairs are propelled by the user or a caregiver through hand rims attached to the wheels. They’re lightweight, affordable, and suitable for indoor and outdoor use.

Electric Powerchairs: Powered by rechargeable batteries, these wheelchairs offer increased independence for those with limited upper body strength. They can be controlled through a joystick or other input devices.

Transport Wheelchairs: Designed for temporary or travel use, transport wheelchairs are lightweight, foldable, and often equipped with smaller wheels, making them easy to store and transport.

Find A Local Supplier You Can Trust

When it comes to purchasing a wheelchair, it’s essential to work with a reputable local supplier who can guide you through the process. A knowledgeable supplier will:

  • Assess your family member’s specific needs and recommend the most suitable wheelchair.
  • Provide expert advice on sizing, features, and customisation options.
  • Offer professional fitting services to ensure proper adjustment and comfort.
  • Provide ongoing support, maintenance, and repair services as needed.

Working with a trusted local wheelchair supplier can give you peace of mind, knowing that your family member’s needs are in capable hands. If you’re Googling “Wheelchairs Midlands”, then get in touch with Mobility Solutions. They have a fantastic range of wheelchairs, powerchairs and more, and expertise to help. 

Considerations When Choosing a Wheelchair

Choosing the right wheelchair involves considering several factors, including:

Mobility Level: Assess your family member’s level of mobility, strength, and dexterity to determine whether a manual or powered wheelchair would be more suitable.

Indoor vs. Outdoor Use: If the wheelchair will be used primarily indoors, a smaller, more manoeuvrable model might be preferable. For outdoor use, look for larger wheels and sturdy construction.

Weight Capacity: Ensure the wheelchair can safely support your family member’s weight, factoring in any additional equipment or belongings they may need to carry.

Seat Type: Depending on your loved one’s needs, you may require specialised seating options like pressure-relieving cushions, adjustable backrests, or contoured seats for added comfort and support.

Essential Features

When evaluating wheelchairs, keep an eye out for these important features:

Adjustability: Look for chairs with adjustable footrests, armrests, and seat heights to accommodate changes in your family member’s needs over time.

Portability: If you plan to transport the wheelchair frequently, consider lightweight, foldable models that can easily fit into a vehicle.

Braking System: Reliable brakes are crucial for safety, especially on inclines or declines. Opt for wheelchairs with effective parking and wheel-lock brakes.

Cushioning: Proper cushioning can prevent pressure sores and discomfort during extended periods of sitting. Consider memory foam or gel-based cushions for added support.

Funding And Insurance Coverage

The cost of wheelchairs can vary significantly depending on the type and features. In the UK, various funding options and insurance coverage may be available to help offset the expenses:

National Health Service (NHS): Depending on your family member’s condition and eligibility, the NHS may provide wheelchairs or contribute towards the cost through the Wheelchair Service.

Local Councils: Many local councils offer grants or support schemes to help individuals acquire essential mobility equipment like wheelchairs.

Private Health Insurance: Some private health insurance policies may cover a portion or the entire cost of a wheelchair, subject to the specific terms and conditions.

Charities and Organisations: Several charities and organisations in the UK, such as the British Red Cross and Disabled Living Foundation, assist individuals in obtaining wheelchairs and other mobility aids.

Separation

Introduction to Single Parent Benefits

Becoming single parents isn’t ordinarily on most people’s ‘to do’ list. The weight on a single parent’s shoulders can be profound, made even harder without adequate support. Did you know the UK government provides a range of benefits and financial assistance specifically aimed at single parent families?

Understanding what’s available is the first step to accessing a vital lifeline at a time when, let’s face it, balancing our finances is harder than ever.

The main categories of state support cover:

  • Universal Credit – A monthly payment to help with living costs, replacing previous benefits. Extra amounts for children and childcare costs.
  • Child Benefit – A tax-free payment made per child under 16, or under 20 if in approved education or training.
  • Tax credits – Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit provide income top-ups for working parents. Extra amounts for childcare costs.
  • Housing benefits – Help with rent payments. Amounts based on your income, rent amount and dependents.
  • Council Tax Support – Reductions in your Council Tax bill based on income, household, and regional factors.
  • Childcare support – Assistance with childcare costs through Universal Credit, tax credits, grants and free hours schemes.
  • Disability benefits – Additional support if your child is disabled or has special educational needs.
  • Education benefits – Help with school costs, free school meals, grants for further education.

The hardest part can often be understanding specifically what help is available for you and in this case, which single parent benefits you qualify for. So long as you’re the main carer for a dependent child under the age of 16, you’ll be eligible for help – 20 if that child is in full time education/training.

You will find that some benefits have extra eligibility criteria, such as income thresholds, number of hours worked or disability status, for example.

To apply for support, you can head to the gov.uk website. You’ll need key details like your National Insurance number, income evidence, and child birth certificates. Charities can provide application help. Unlocking every benefit you’re entitled to takes some research, but the financial boost is significant.

Universal Credit for Single Parents

Universal Credit (UC) is a monthly payment to help with living costs for those on a low income or out of work. It was introduced to replace six legacy benefits, including tax credits and housing benefit.

As a single parent, there are some specific provisions within Universal Credit that apply to your situation:

  • The childcare costs element – UC can cover up to 85% of your childcare costs up to a monthly limit, to support you getting back to work. You will need to be working to qualify.
  • The child element – your Universal Credit payment will include an additional monthly amount for each dependent child in your care. This is added to your standard allowance.
  • Work allowances – as a single parent, you get a larger work allowance before your UC starts to be withdrawn as you earn more. This allowance is £646 per month if you don’t receive help with housing costs.
  • Housing costs – if you rent your home, you can get your housing costs paid as part of your UC claim, subject to certain limits. This replaces housing benefit.

To calculate your total Universal Credit entitlement, you will need to add up the different elements that apply to you – the standard allowance, child element, housing costs, childcare costs and any deductions. There is an online benefits calculator you can use to get an estimate.

When claiming UC as a single parent, make sure to provide evidence of your status, dependent children, housing costs and any childcare requirements. Attending regular meetings with your work coach is also required when claiming UC.

Child Benefit and Tax Credits for Single Parents

Child Benefit is a tax-free payment available to people responsible for bringing up a child aged under 16 (or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training).

To be eligible for Child Benefit as a single parent, you must:

  • Be responsible for a child under 16 (under 20 if they’re in approved education or training)
  • Live in the UK
  • Have an annual income of less than £50,000

The Child Benefit rate is £21.15 per week for the eldest or only child and £14 per week for any additional children. You can claim Child Benefit as soon as you’ve registered the birth of your baby or when a child comes to live with you. It can be paid directly into your bank account every 4 weeks.

Working Tax Credit provides extra financial support if you work and have a low income. The childcare element can help cover up to 70% of eligible childcare costs up to £175 for one child or £300 for two or more children per week.

Child Tax Credit supports families with children, whether working or not. If you are responsible for at least one child or young person, you can claim Child Tax Credit. The amount depends on your circumstances and income.

Both Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit need to be applied for via the HMRC website. You’ll need details of your income to calculate and claim any entitlement.

Help with Childcare Costs

Childcare can be one of the biggest expenses for single parents. There are several options to get financial support with childcare costs as a single parent in the UK.

Childcare Vouchers

Childcare vouchers can provide a tax and National Insurance break on childcare costs. Some employers offer childcare voucher schemes, where the vouchers are deducted from your salary before tax. This saves you money compared to paying for childcare from your take-home pay. The scheme closed to new applicants in 2018, but you can still get childcare vouchers if you were already signed up before then.

Working Tax Credit Childcare Element

The childcare element of Working Tax Credit provides support if you work over 16 hours per week. You can claim up to 70% of your childcare costs up to limits of £175 per week for one child or £300 per week for two or more children. The childcare provider must be Ofsted registered.

Free Childcare Hours

All 3-4 year olds in England are entitled to 15 hours of free childcare per week during term time, or 570 hours per year. Some parents qualify for 30 hours per week. Free childcare places are offered by nurseries, pre-schools and childminders registered with their local authority.

Benefits for Single Parent Families with Disabled Children

Raising a disabled child as a single parent can be challenging, but there is financial assistance available to support your family. The two main benefits are Disability Living Allowance and Carer’s Allowance.

Disability Living Allowance

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) provides financial support if your child needs extra care or has mobility difficulties due to a disability or health condition. There are two parts to DLA:

  • The care component covers assistance with personal care, supervision, or watching over your child. The weekly rate depends on the level of care your child needs.
  • The mobility component is for children who have problems getting around or additional transport costs. There are two rates for the mobility component.

Your child may qualify for one or both parts of DLA depending on their condition. DLA is not affected by your savings or income. You can claim DLA for a child under 16.

Carer’s Allowance

Carer’s Allowance is a benefit paid to carers providing 35+ hours a week of care for a disabled child. To qualify as a single parent you must:

  • Receive Child Benefit for the disabled child
  • Not earn over £128 per week (after deductions)

The current weekly rate for Carer’s Allowance is £69.70. You can claim Carer’s Allowance on top of other benefits, but it is counted as income for means-tested benefits.

Other Support

Other disability benefits include:

  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for 16+ year olds
  • Access to social care services
  • Disabled parking permit or travel assistance
  • Support groups for parents of disabled children

Speak to your local authority or support organizations to find out more about the full range of assistance available.

Housing Benefits and Council Tax Support for Single Parents

Single parents in the UK may be eligible for financial support with housing costs and council tax through means-tested benefits.

Housing Benefit

Housing Benefit can provide help paying rent if you are renting from a private landlord or housing association. How much you receive depends on your income, savings, number of children, and rental costs.

To claim Housing Benefit as a single parent, you will need to provide details of your income, rent, and household circumstances. You can apply through your local council.

Housing Benefit can cover part or all of your rent payments each month. There are some restrictions, for example if your property is considered too large for your family.

Council Tax Reduction

If you are on a low income, you may be able to get money off your Council Tax bill through a Council Tax Reduction scheme (sometimes called Council Tax Support).

The scheme rules vary between local councils but are based on your income, savings, number of adults/children in the household and other circumstances.

You’ll need to apply to your local council to claim Council Tax Reduction as a single parent. The discount can be substantial for those on the lowest incomes.

Applying for Housing and Council Tax Benefits

It’s a good idea to apply for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction at the same time, as local councils will take both into account when calculating your entitlement.

Make sure you have details of your income, rent, council tax bill and other relevant information to hand. Councils may also request evidence such as tenancy agreements and bank statements.

Applying promptly means you can start receiving support as soon as possible. You may also be able to backdate your claim by up to three months in some situations.

Support for Student Parents

Being a single parent while studying can be very challenging. However, there is financial support available to help student parents with living costs and childcare.

Maintenance Loans and Grants

Single parents who are studying a higher education course can apply for a maintenance loan to assist with living costs. The amount you can borrow depends on factors like your household income.

In addition to a loan, you may be eligible for extra grants if you have dependent children. The Parents’ Learning Allowance can provide up to £1,573 a year, while the Adult Dependants’ Grant offers up to £3,094 if you have an adult who depends on you financially.

Check with your university to find out exactly what maintenance support you can access as a student parent.

Childcare Grants

One of the major costs for student parents is childcare while attending lectures and placements. The Childcare Grant can provide up to £179.62 per week per child to help cover registered childcare costs for students with children under 15 (or 17 for disabled children).

This grant is means-tested and the amount depends on your household income, but it can make a big difference in enabling single parents to pursue higher education. Some universities also offer their own childcare support schemes.

Applying early for the Childcare Grant is advised, as there is often high demand. Speak to your university’s student funding office for help accessing this essential support.

Savings and Investment Options for Children

As a single parent, it’s important to start thinking about saving and investing for your child’s future. Here are some of the main options to consider:

Child Trust Funds

Child Trust Funds were investment accounts offered by the UK government between 2002-2011. If your child was born between those dates, they likely have a Child Trust Fund already set up for them. This can be a great way to get a headstart on long-term savings, as the government provided an initial contribution of at least £250. You can continue to contribute up to £9,000 annually. The funds are locked away until your child turns 18, at which point it converts into a mature ISA.

Junior ISAs

Junior ISAs (JISAs) are tax-efficient savings accounts for children under 18. Anyone can contribute up to £9,000 annually on behalf of the child. The funds also remain locked away until age 18, providing a useful nest egg. JISAs often offer higher interest rates than standard savings accounts. You can choose between cash JISAs and stocks & shares JISAs depending on your risk appetite.

Long-Term Investing

If you have a longer time horizon, investing in the stock market through funds or shares can offer higher returns. Compounding returns over 18+ years gives investments the chance to grow significantly. You don’t need huge amounts to get started. Consider opening a children’s investment account and contribute what you can monthly. Reinvesting dividends and minimizing fees will allow the investment to grow over time.

The key is to start saving and investing early, even small amounts. Making regular contributions to a JISA, Child Trust Fund or children’s investment fund can really add up over the long run. This gives your child a financial head start in life when they eventually gain access to the money at 18.

H2: School-related Financial Support for Single Parents

As a single parent in the UK, you may be able to access extra financial support related to your child’s education. This can help ease the burden of costs associated with schooling.

Free School Meals

If you receive certain benefits such as Universal Credit, Income Support or Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, your child may be eligible for free school meals. This applies to children of all ages attending school full-time. Contact your child’s school to apply.

School Uniform Grants

Some local authorities provide assistance with the cost of school uniforms for families on low incomes. Grants are usually paid directly to the school. Check with your council or child’s school to see if help is available.

Extra Support for School Trips and Activities

Many schools have small grants or funds available to help pay for activities, school trips, music lessons or sports clubs in cases of financial hardship. Speak to your child’s teacher or the school’s welfare officer to enquire about accessing this support.

Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA)

EMA provides financial support worth up to £30 per week for 16-19 year olds from low income families if they stay in education. This can help with costs like transport and course materials. Applications are made through your child’s school or college.

As a single parent, discussing your circumstances with your child’s school can help unlock additional assistance. Don’t be afraid to ask about any funding available for uniforms, meals, trips and more.

Other Support Services for Single Parents

As a single parent, you don’t have to do it all alone. There are many support services available that can provide assistance, advice and a community of other single parents.

Charities

Charities play a vital role in supporting single parent families across the UK. Some of the main charities to be aware of include:

  • Gingerbread – Provides expert advice, practical support and campaigns for single parents. They have an advice line, local support groups and online resources.
  • One Parent Families Scotland – Advocacy and support for single parents in Scotland. Services include helplines, peer support, training courses and legal advice.
  • Family Lives – A national family support charity with a free helpline, parenting and relationship support. Helpful for single parents.
  • Turn2Us – Helps people access financial support through a benefits calculator, grants search and guidance. Useful for single parents.
  • Family Action – Supports families facing poverty, disadvantage and social isolation. Offer grants, services and help accessing benefits.

Local Authority Support

Your local council or authority may also have dedicated services to help single parent families in your area. This could include:

  • Children’s centres and family hubs providing activities, support groups and advice.
  • Social services teams that can provide more intensive family support if needed.
  • Housing, benefits and debt advice from council welfare/support officers.
  • Access to local charities, food banks and support groups.

Check your council website or contact them directly to find out what support is available.

Single Parent Support Groups

Connecting with other single parents in your community can provide solidarity and support. Consider joining local support groups such as:

  • Peer support networks and coffee mornings organised by children’s centres or charities.
  • Facebook groups for single parents in your town or city.
  • National support groups like OnlyMums and OnlyDads that connect single parents.
  • Single parenting forums and communities like Netmums.
  • Local Meetup.com groups for single parents arranging activities.
  • Church groups and community centres that often have single parent support.

Building your support network can make a big difference as a single parent.

Coparenting & Relationships

How a parenting plan can help in 2024

As a separated parent myself, I know first-hand how challenging it can be to figure out a new parenting routine after separation or divorce. Suddenly you’re navigating custody arrangements, access schedules, and all the logistics around raising kids with your former spouse – all whilst dealing with the emotional toll that ending a relationship and dividing assets etc. can take.

With all this in mind, a written parenting plan is so important if you want to establish clear rules of play as you move forward with your coparenting after a toxic relationship. A parenting plan sets clear expectations and responsibilities for both parents (Source: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/parenting-family/co-parenting-tips-for-divorced-parents.htm). It outlines custody, visitation schedules, decision-making, and other aspects of raising children post-divorce. Having this plan in writing goes a long way in reducing conflicts and ambiguity down the road.

A parenting plan encourages parents to proactively make agreements rather than leaving it up to the courts. It allows you to do what is truly best for your kids during this transition. Most importantly, a thoughtful co-parenting plan reduces the chances for ongoing disagreements and confusion with your ex-spouse.

If you’re going through a divorce or separation, it’s likely that many of the conversations you’ll be having, certainly in the early days, are very emotionally charged. As you and your ex are trying to establish new coparenting boundaries around the care of your child, you might find that you disagree on key areas and that it ends up causing friction and, in many cases, arguments.

A parenting plan is a brilliant way for you and whoever else has parental responsibility to establish some guiding rules and principles around which you’ll both align to raise your children together.

This post explains what a parenting plan is, whether or not it’s legally binding, and how it works. I’ll also share my story and how it’s impacted me as a separated father.

What is a Parenting Plan?

A parenting plan is a legal document that outlines custody arrangements, access schedules, decision-making responsibilities, and other details regarding how separated parents will raise their children (Source). Parenting plans encourage parents to proactively make agreements about childrearing instead of leaving major decisions up to the courts. Having an organised, comprehensive parenting plan allows you to do what is in the best interests of your children.

A key benefit of creating a parenting plan is that it reduces ambiguity and the chances for conflict later on. With a clear plan spelt out, there’s less room for misunderstanding and disagreements over scheduling, responsibilities, etc. The level of detail and forethought that goes into a parenting plan can prevent many co-parenting problems from arising in the first place, and can be a useful supporting document should you ever need to go to court.

Key Things to Discuss

Creating an effective co-parenting plan requires making decisions about several key issues after separation or divorce. According to family law experts, the following are essential to discuss and outline in your parenting plan:

Custody Arrangements

You’ll need to determine legal custody (decision-making authority) and physical custody schedules. Common arrangements include joint legal custody with one parent having primary residential custody, or joint physical and legal custody. Outline your agreed custody specifics clearly.

Detailed Visitation Schedule

Create a detailed parenting time calendar showing when each parent will have the children. Consider holidays, birthdays and other special occasions. Try to allow for flexibility when possible. Include pickup/drop-off logistics.

Holidays and Special Occasions

Determine which holidays each parent will have the kids. Specify times and transportation details. Also consider how to handle birthdays, Mother’s/Father’s Day, vacations, etc.

Decision Making

Specify how major decisions will be made regarding education, health care, extracurricular activities, etc. If you have joint legal custody, will decisions require mutual agreement or can one parent decide? Outline your process.

Communication Methods

Agree on how you’ll communicate about scheduling, the children’s needs, and other co-parenting issues. Popular options include apps, email, texting. Set expectations for response time.

Dispute Resolution Process

Have an plan for resolving disagreements productively and minimising conflict. Consider mediation, collaborative law, or returning to court as a last resort. The goal is reducing negative impact on the children.

Sample Parenting Plan Schedules

There are many different ways to structure a parenting plan schedule. Some common options include:

Alternating Weeks

With this schedule, one parent has custody for an entire week and then they alternate. For example, Mom has the kids Week 1, Dad Week 2, Mom Week 3, and so on. This provides longer uninterrupted time for vacations and activities, but can mean going a full week without seeing your kids.

2-2-3 Schedule

The 2-2-3 schedule alternates every 2 days. For example, Mom has the kids Monday/Tuesday, Dad Wednesday/Thursday, then Mom Friday-Sunday. This allows more frequent transitions and contact for both parents.

Long Distance Plans

For parents living far apart, plans may include longer blocks of time over school breaks and summers. Travel logistics, costs, and schedules need to be defined.

When evaluating different schedules, consider your work situation, kids’ ages, transitions impact, and more. Sample calendars can be helpful for visualizing options. Customize to your family’s needs.

For more examples, see: https://www.custodyxchange.com/topics/schedules/overview/sample-parenting-time-schedules-7-examples.php

Resolving Disagreements

No matter how much you plan ahead, disagreements over parenting arrangements are inevitable after a separation or divorce. It’s important to establish a process for resolving conflicts to avoid returning to court repeatedly.

Mediation can help parents compromise and reach mutually satisfactory agreements. You can designate a neutral third party or mediator to help facilitate discussions and guide you towards compromise (Parenting Time Disputes).

When possible, try to find middle ground through open communication and a willingness to accommodate the other parent’s needs. Be flexible and don’t get caught up in rigid arrangements. Remember that the goal is doing what’s best for the children (The Best Ways to Solve Disagreements About Parenting Plans).

You can modify the parenting plan over time as circumstances change. Schedule periodic reviews and updates to account for your child’s evolving needs. Tweak pick-up/drop-off times, vacation schedules, etc. if something isn’t working.

Going back to court should be an absolute last resort. Court battles are draining emotionally and financially. Judges may end up imposing new terms that neither parent wants. Always aim to resolve issues cooperatively outside of court if humanly possible.

Parenting Plan Template

Cafcass is a great starting point if you’re looking for a parenting plan template to get you started.
You can download a template here.

Mistakes to Avoid

When creating your parenting plan, there are some common mistakes you’ll want to avoid:

  • Inflexible schedules – Having no room for adjustments based on changing needs or circumstances can lead to issues. Build in some flexibility if possible (source: https://kufferlaw.com/blog/6-parenting-plan-mistakes-to-avoid/).
  • Too many transitions – Frequent back-and-forth transitions between parents can be disruptive for kids. Try to limit transitions where you can (source: https://www.ourfamilywizard.com/blog/parenting-mistakes-after-divorce).
  • Unclear rules or details – Ambiguous language can cause confusion and conflict. Be as specific as possible about schedules, responsibilities, etc.
  • Not consulting kids – Get input from your children on scheduling based on their needs. But don’t put them in the middle.
  • Not considering changing needs – Your plan will likely need to evolve as your kids grow older and their needs change.

How a parenting plan helped me

You’d be amazed at how many messages I receive that say the same thing:

“I’m finding communication with my ex extremely difficult because they just want to control everything”

The funny thing is, if you go and speak to the other parent, they’re probably going to tell you exactly the same thing.

Separating with another parent is rough.

Divorce/parental separation means establishing a new dynamic between you both over what is a very emotional topic – your child.

When I went through this process 5 years ago, there was a time I thought we’d never be able to communicate.

I felt my daughter’s mum dictating to me and, because I pushed back, I’m sure she felt the same about me.

Arguments escalated, communication deteriorated and, before long, solicitors letters were flying about at a cost of £500 EACH.

I found myself in debt VERY QUICKLY and promptly realised all we were doing was polarising each other, making reconciliation impossible.

Eventually, we agreed to mediation, which was the best thing we ever did.

We struggled to come to an agreement initially, but with the balanced view of the media, we eventually came to an agreement on things like schedules, what happens on birthdays, Christmases, holidays…and so on.

Our mediator then pulled this all into something called a ‘Parenting Plan’, sometimes referred to as a coparent in agreement.

This was our bible.

This document was what allowed us to work to clearly established boundaries, and work together in a way that was pre-agreed, consistent and manageable.

Over time, things became easier.

In the early days we stuck RIGIDLY to the document, but as that new layer of trust formed, we became more flexible when necessary and communication improved.

That one little document was what transformed the trajectory of a very difficult separation into one that was the best it could be for our little girl, which was always what this was all about.

If you’re struggling to find balance with your ex, I strongly recommend going to see a mediator and forming a parenting plan. There’s no guarantee you ex partner will stick to it, but it’s a starting point as you move to a new life for all of you.

Conclusion

Creating an effective co-parenting plan is crucial for reducing conflict and ensuring your children’s needs are met after separation or divorce. The plan should outline custody, visitation schedules, decision-making, and dispute resolution processes. When creating your plan, focus on compromising and flexibility, consulting your children, and resolving disagreements through mediation if needed. An effective co-parenting plan allows you to do what’s best for your kids while minimizing disputes with your ex-partner. With some thoughtful planning and commitment to cooperation, you can develop a plan that works for your family’s situation.

In summary, here are some final tips:

  • Be as detailed as possible – set clear expectations to avoid issues down the road.
  • Build in some flexibility for changing needs and schedules.
  • Communicate respectfully and compromise when you disagree.
  • Mediate conflicts if you reach an impasse.
  • Update your plan periodically as your children grow up.
  • Focus on your kids’ wellbeing – not just “fairness” between parents.

With some forethought and commitment to cooperation, you and your ex can develop an effective co-parenting routine. This will ease the transition for your kids and lead to better outcomes.

Mindfulness

5 Mindful Micro-Moments: Sprinkling Serenity into Busy Parent Life

Parenting: a chaotic symphony where laundry crescendos compete with laughter’s soaring melodies, and bedtime tantrums test the conductor’s calm. Between spilled cereal and superhero costume meltdowns, prioritizing mindfulness can feel like chasing butterflies with a net. But worry not, weary warrior!

This isn’t a call for hour-long meditations or silent retreats (though, applause if you find those moments!). We’re talking tiny practices, big impact – micro-moments of mindfulness woven into the fabric of your day, fostering peace and connection with your little ones, even with limited time.

Embrace the Power of Micro-Mindfulness for Parents and Kids

Research underscores the importance of mindfulness for both parents and children. Studies show that incorporating mindful parenting practices reduces stress and anxiety for parents, improves emotional regulation in kids, and strengthens family bonds. And the best part? You don’t need a dedicated zen space or special equipment. Micro-mindfulness thrives in the messy middle of everyday life.

So, grab your little ninjas and unleash the magic of these 5 powerful, quick-hit practices for mindful parenting and child development:

1. Breathe & Bond: A 2-Minute Tranquility Tune-Up

Imagine this: you and your child, sprawled on the living room floor, a cuddly toy nestled between you. Close your eyes, take slow, deep breaths in and out, mimicking the toy’s gentle rise and fall. This simple practice, inspired by mindfulness breathing exercises for families, synchronizes your nervous systems, promoting emotional regulation and parent-child bonding. Two minutes, no special tools needed, just peaceful breaths and shared whispers of calm.

2. Sensory Safari: 5 Minutes of Mindful Adventure

Blindfold your child (optional) and embark on a sensory escapade! Explore the world through touch, taste, and smell. Trace the bumps on a pebble, savor the tang of a juicy orange, and inhale the earthy scent of a potted plant. This practice, aligned with sensory play activities for mindfulness in children, heightens awareness, reduces stress, and cultivates appreciation for everyday moments. Five minutes of sensorial adventure tucked into a nature walk, breakfast routine, or even while folding laundry can transform the mundane into a magical mindfulness mission for families.

3. Gratitude Groove: 3 Minutes of Joyful Jiggling

Crank up the tunes and unleash your inner disco diva! Take turns naming things you’re grateful for, from silly socks to sunshine. Dance like nobody’s watching (except your giggling offspring, of course!). This playful practice, inspired by positive psychology research on gratitude exercises for families, celebrates positive emotions, builds resilience, and encourages a spirit of thankfulness. Three minutes of gratitude boogie during morning prep or before bedtime can turn a routine into a joyful celebration of the good stuff.

4. Kindness Countdown: Spreading Compassion, One Smile at a Time

Choose a number – start low, like five! Throughout the day, catch each other performing acts of kindness, big or small. From holding open the door to sharing a favorite toy, every good deed counts. Celebrate reaching your goal with hugs or silly cheers. This practice, aligned with research on prosocial effects of kindness in children, inspires compassion, reinforces positive behavior, and creates a shared experience of joy. A kindness countdown woven into the fabric of your day can transform your family into a team of superheroes, spreading goodness one smile at a time.

5. Nature Ninja: 5 Minutes of Wild Wisdom

Step outside, even a balcony garden will do! Gather natural objects – leaves, twigs, smooth stones – and let your imaginations run wild. Mimic a swaying tree, roar like a lion, or crawl silently like a snail. This practice, in line with nature-based mindfulness recommendations for kids, connects children with the outdoors, encourages movement and creativity, and reduces reliance on digital entertainment. Five minutes of nature ninja training during any outdoor time can unleash a sense of wonder and reconnect your family with the magic of the natural world.

Remember, consistency is key. Even these fleeting moments of mindfulness, sprinkled throughout your day, can add up to a calmer, more connected family life. So breathe, play, savor the joy, and unleash the power of micro-mindfulness – one tiny practice at a time!

P.S. Feel free to personalize these activities to your family’s unique interests and routines. The possibilities are endless!

Guest Posts

Guest Post: The Ultimate Guide to Driving Safely with Kids

When you’re out driving, keeping everyone safe, especially the kids, is paramount. So, what can you do to make sure you stay safe?

When it comes to driving with kids, safety should always be the top priority. As a responsible driver, you don’t want to have to need drink driving solicitors, so it is crucial to ensure the well-being of your children during car journeys. By implementing essential safety measures and considering various factors before setting off, you can create a safe and enjoyable environment for everyone in the vehicle.

In this article, we will explore the importance of driving safely with kids and provide practical considerations to enhance safety, so keep reading to find out more…

Car Seats

Car seats play a vital role in protecting children during car journeys. Ensure you choose the appropriate car seat for your child’s age, weight, and height, and install it correctly in your vehicle.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions precisely and keep up with any necessary adjustments as your child grows. You should also regularly inspect the car seat for signs of wear and tear and replace it if needed. Remember, properly securing your child in an appropriate car seat significantly reduces the risk of injury in case of an accident.

Travel Preparation

Before embarking on a journey with kids, thorough trip preparation is essential. Plan your route in advance, considering rest stops or breaks for longer drives. This allows everyone to stretch their legs, use the bathroom, and refresh.

Pack essential items such as snacks, water, blankets, and entertainment to keep children comfortable and occupied during the trip. A well-prepared journey sets the stage for a smoother and safer experience on the road.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Safe Driving Practices

As the driver, your behaviour on the road directly influences your children’s understanding of safe driving. Follow all traffic laws, including speed limits and road signs. Maintain a safe distance from other vehicles and use turn signals when changing lanes or making turns. Avoid aggressive driving behaviours, such as tailgating or speeding. By demonstrating safe driving practices, you instil the importance of responsible and cautious driving in your children.

Managing Distractions

Driving with kids can be distracting, but it is crucial to prioritise the task at hand. Minimise distractions by refraining from using your phone while driving and focusing solely on the road ahead. If necessary, pull over to use hands-free technology or attend urgent matters. Engage children in quiet and safe activities or provide them with age-appropriate entertainment options to reduce distractions and maintain your focus on the road.

Dealing with Challenging Situations

Challenging situations may arise during car journeys, such as tantrums, motion sickness, or unexpected events. It is essential to stay calm and composed when facing these challenges. Address any immediate safety concerns, such as pulling over if necessary, and provide reassurance and comfort to your children. Carry necessary supplies, such as tissues, plastic bags, and wet wipes, to handle unexpected situations effectively.

Weather Conditions and Traffic

When driving with kids, it is vital to consider external factors that can impact safety. Stay informed about weather conditions before starting your journey and adjust your plans accordingly. During adverse weather, such as heavy rain or snow, exercise extra caution and allow for additional travel time. Additionally, plan your travel around peak traffic hours to avoid unnecessary stress and potential hazards.

Be Prepared for the Unexpected

While we hope for smooth journeys, it is essential to be prepared for emergencies. Carry a well-stocked emergency kit in your vehicle, including a first-aid kit, a flashlight, jumper cables, a spare tire, and tools for changing tires.

Familiarise yourself with emergency procedures, such as contacting roadside assistance or emergency services if needed. By being prepared, you can effectively handle unexpected situations and ensure the safety of your family.

Photo by Elina Sazonova from Pexels

Driving Safely with Kids

Driving safely with kids requires careful consideration and adherence to essential safety practices. By prioritising safety and practicing safe driving behaviours, you create a secure environment for your children during car journeys. Remember, responsible and attentive driving not only protects your precious passengers but also sets a positive example for their future habits behind the wheel.

*Photo by Lisa Fotios

Guest Posts

Guest Post: Bonding Ideas for Dads and their Special Needs Children

In this article, we’ll be exploring how dads can strengthen their relationship with their special needs children…

Being a father to a child with special needs is a remarkable journey, filled with unique joys and challenges. While you may be seeking guidance from special educational needs lawyers, it’s crucial to focus on nurturing a deep connection with your child.

 In this article, we’ll explore some valuable tips and strategies to strengthen the bond between dads and their special needs children, ensuring a loving and supportive relationship.

Understanding the Significance of Bonding

For dads with special needs children, bonding takes on even greater importance, as it builds trust, emotional resilience, and a deep sense of security. Through bonding activities, dads can build a solid foundation, creating a safe and nurturing environment where their children can grow and thrive.

Embracing the Unique Needs of Your Child

When it comes to bonding, one key factor is getting to know and accepting the special needs of your child. It’s all about taking the time to understand the little details of their condition, and hone in on their strengths and challenges, as well as how they communicate.

 By diving into this, dads can adapt their parenting style and provide tailored support that truly connects with their child’s unique personality. It’s about embracing their individuality and finding the best ways to be there for them.

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Forging a Nurturing and Supportive Environment

In a loving and supportive atmosphere, children can feel heard and safe. Dads can create this safe haven by establishing routines, setting clear but gentle limits, and consistently showing love and care. You could include some of the following:

  • Clear expectations: Clearly communicate the rules and expectations in a way that your child can understand. Use simple and concise language, visual cues, or social stories if necessary.

  • Consistency: Be consistent in enforcing the boundaries you set. This helps the child understand what is expected of them and creates a sense of security.

  • Flexibility: Recognise that some flexibility may be required, depending on the specific needs and challenges of your child. Adapt the boundaries as necessary to accommodate their unique circumstances, while still maintaining a structured environment.

  • Positive reinforcement: Use positive reinforcement techniques to encourage your child’s adherence to boundaries. Praise and reward them when they respect the boundaries and demonstrate appropriate behaviour.

Playful Interaction

In the world of bonding, play emerges as a superpower, effortlessly breaking down any barriers. Fathers can immerse themselves in the world of play, embarking on delightful adventures that align with their child’s unique interests and passions.

Through games, sensory explorations, and adventures, fathers can tap into the appreciation of shared experiences, laughter, and growth, creating indelible memories that will forever resonate in their child’s heart.

Seeking Help

Fatherhood doesn’t have to be a solo adventure. It’s important to embrace the wealth of resources and friends out there to grow personally and build a strong bond with your special needs child.

Get involved in local support groups, seek advice from experienced individuals, and explore online communities that bring together dads on similar journeys. These incredible spaces offer knowledge, support, and the comforting reassurance that you’re not alone in this journey.

By connecting with others, you’ll gain confidence and guidance. Because let’s face it, we don’t always have all the answers, but with a little help, you can feel more assured that you’re on the right path.

Celebrating Milestones

Dads can become their kid’s biggest supporters by celebrating and honouring their child’s achievements, no matter how small or ordinary they may seem.

By fostering an environment that embraces progress and personal growth, dads nurture a deep sense of pride and motivation in their kids. This can create a bond that grows even stronger with each milestone, manifesting a loving and caring relationship.

Prioritise Self-Care

As a parent, you should never neglect your own health, especially when you’re caring for a special needs child. It might seem like your children’s needs always come first but remember that you can’t pour from an empty cup.

By looking after yourself, you’ll have more energy, patience, and resilience to be the best parent you can be. So, don’t forget to take breaks, find support, and prioritise self-care. You deserve it, and your child will benefit from having a happy and healthy parent by their side.

Bonding with your special needs child

Photo by Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas from Pexels

Bonding between dads and their special needs children is a journey filled with extraordinary moments and unique challenges. By embracing the power of creating a safe environment, play, support, celebration, and self-care, fathers can forge unbreakable connections with their kids.

Remember, you are not alone in this journey. Reach out to others, seek guidance, and celebrate the incredible milestones along the way. Together, you and your child can create a bond that is as strong as it is beautiful.


*Feature Photo by Kampus Production

 

Reviews

Tom life insurance review 2023

As a dedicated father having life insurance protection in place is vital to ensure my child’s financial future. It is reassuring to know that if anything were to happen to me, she would still be properly provided for throughout her childhood and beyond.

But for those dads out there currently without life insurance in place where should you shop to secure the most cost-effective policy in 2023?

In this article we review Tom life insurance exploring the pros and cons of their specialist ‘life insurance for dads’ service…

Why do dads need life insurance?

As a dad, you probably need some form of life insurance to ensure that your family are financially protected should anything happen to you.

It’s a very sad fact that a child loses a parent every 22 minutes in the UK[1], yet 12% of dads still don’t have any form of life cover.

If your family were to lose you and your income, could they keep up with the following costs:

•       Mortgage or rental payments?

•       Household bills/utilities?

•       Childcare or education fees?

•       Outstanding debts in your name (credit cards, car finance or personal loans)

•       Funeral costs?

Life insurance can be taken out to help cover these costs and relieve financial worry for your loved ones during an already stressful time.

The proceeds could also be used as an inheritance in the future, helping your children or even grandchildren with university fees or getting on the property ladder.

Who are Tom life insurance?

Tom, also referred to tom.co.uk, are a life insurance broker that specialises in arranging life insurance for dads here in the UK.

They provide a completely free service that helps you to source life insurance quotes from a panel of FCA regulated providers.

Since forming in 2015, Tom has sold more than 50,000 policies to dads across the country.

Who owns Tom life insurance?

Tom.co.uk is owned and operated by Candid Insurance Service Ltd, an FCA regulated life insurance company based in Bristol.

Candid was established in 2013 and acquired the Tom and Polly brands in 2018 from AGT Media, growing these significantly since then.

In 2023, they launched their own life insurance and serious illness products aimed at mums and dads, which are underwritten by iptiQ.

Tom life insurance reviews

Is Tom life insurance any good?

At the time of writing this review, Tom life insurance has an average rating of ‘Excellent’ on Trustpilot from 2,301 customer reviews.

87% of reviews rated the company at 5 stars and only 6% rated 1 star. Suggesting that, according to their customers, Tom.co.uk is a very credible company.

Tom life insurance adverts

Tom.co.uk mainly uses influencer marketing to promote their service and raise awareness of life insurance to parents in the UK.

Maybe you have seen one of their ads on TV, social media or YouTube?

The company has worked with a long list of British celebrities including:

•       Tyson Fury

•       Ronan Keating

•       Joey Essex

•       Brian McFadden

•       Professor Green

•       Jeff Brazier

•       Duncan James

•       John Hartson

•       Neil Ruddock

How much is Tom Life Insurance?

The cost of Tom life insurance depends on your personal circumstances and the policy you choose (level term, decreasing term, joint cover or single policy).

Insurers will take into account the following details in order to calculate your monthly premium:

•       Age

•       Health and wellbeing

•       Medical history/family medical history

•       Whether you smoke

•       Weight/BMI

•       Occupation

•       Policy type

•       Cover amount

•       Cover length (term)

Life insurance premiums increase as you get older, so it’s important to take out a policy sooner rather than later to get the best deal.

The most effective way of finding the cheapest cover is to compare multiple quotes, as costs can vary wildly between providers.

You can do this for free through Tom or alternatively, you could use a non-advised FCA-regulated broker like Reassured.co.uk. They are the UK’s largest broker and have created this comprehensive Reassured: life insurance for dads article which may also be of interest.

How to buy Tom life insurance

This is how you can buy life insurance through Tom:

1.      Complete the free online quote form

2.      Get a call from an FCA authorised agent

3.      Discuss your requirements and the different policy types available

4.      Choose your policy with help from the agent

5.      Answer some questions about your health and lifestyle

6.      The agent will work out your monthly premium and provide quotes

It’s a similar process to buying life insurance through Reassured, except they can also offer you the option to buy life insurance online, without talking to an agent.

Tom life insurance contact number

If you need to contact Tom about your life insurance, then their contact details are as follows:

920 Hempton Court
Aztec West
West Almondsbury
Bristol
BS32 4SR

Contact number: 0808 175 2244

Email: [email protected]

Who are Polly life insurance?

While Tom.co.uk is marketed to sell life insurance to UK dads, Polly.co.uk is marketed to sell life insurance mums. The service is effectively the same, however it is packaged to appeal specifically to mums.

Polly has also worked with an array of celebrities in order to promote their service, including Hollyoaks actress Jorgie Porter and Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington.

Since 2015, Polly.co.uk has sold over 750,000 policies and has more than 4,500 customer reviews on Trustpilot with an overall rating of ‘Excellent’.

Tom life insurance review summary

Tom.co.uk is a legitimate FCA regulated company and could help you compare life insurance quotes from a network of UK insurers.

Although, it’s not clear which insurers they work with or which policies they have available, except for the ones we’ve described above.

Regardless of how you secure your cover, it is imperative to shop around to compare quotes to identify the best available deal. This is especially true for so many families during these tough economic times.

Life insurance is there for a worst-case scenario and acts as a safety blanket. It is one of those things which many of us don’t think we will ever need; however, it could end up being the best investment you ever make.

If you are in early adulthood and healthy you could secure approximately £200,000 of cover for 20p a day.

So why not seize the day, secure your loved one’s future and get on with enjoying life safe in the knowledge that your finances are all in order?

[1] https://www.childbereavementuk.org/death-bereavement-statistics

Coparenting & Relationships

The Role of Mediation in Co-parenting After a Toxic Relationship: A Comprehensive Guide

Navigating the aftermath of a toxic relationship can be challenging, particularly when children are involved. In the quest to provide a stable, loving environment for your children, co-parenting becomes a necessary but sometimes difficult journey. One of the most effective strategies for easing this process is through mediation. This comprehensive guide will explore the role of mediation in co-parenting after a toxic relationship.

Understanding Mediation in the Context of Co-parenting

Mediation is a form of conflict resolution that involves a neutral third party – the mediator. The mediator’s role is to facilitate open communication between the two parties, helping them find common ground and make decisions that benefit all parties involved, especially the children. This process is particularly helpful in the context of co-parenting after a toxic relationship, where communication may be strained, and emotions might run high.

The Importance of Mediation in Co-parenting

Why is mediation so essential in co-parenting after a toxic relationship? Let’s look at some of the key reasons:

  1. Improved Communication: Mediation provides a neutral platform for both parties to voice their concerns and needs. The mediator helps structure these conversations, promoting respectful and effective communication, which is crucial for successful co-parenting.
  2. Child-Centred Decisions: The mediator ensures that the child’s best interest is always at the forefront of all discussions and decisions. This approach helps parents shift from their conflict to focusing on their child’s needs.
  3. Conflict Resolution: Mediation aids in resolving disputes about child-rearing decisions, visitation schedules, and other contentious issues. It helps create a more peaceful environment for the children.
  4. Long-term Co-parenting Plan: Mediation can help create a comprehensive co-parenting plan. This plan includes day-to-day responsibilities, special occasions, dispute resolution processes, and any other elements that are necessary for smooth co-parenting.

How Mediation Works in Co-parenting

Mediation sessions usually involve both parents and the mediator. The process may vary depending on individual circumstances, but a typical mediation process involves the following steps:

Introduction:
The mediator explains the process, rules, and goals of mediation.

Sharing Perspectives:
Each parent has a chance to share their views and concerns without interruption.

Discussion:
The mediator facilitates a discussion, helping both parents to understand each other’s perspectives and to identify and prioritize issues that need to be resolved.

Negotiation:
Both parents, with the help of the mediator, work on finding common ground and compromises on the issues identified.

Agreement:
Once an agreement is reached, the mediator drafts it. After reviewing and signing, this document can serve as a roadmap for co-parenting.

The Benefits of Mediation in Co-parenting After a Toxic Relationship

The benefits of mediation in co-parenting after a toxic relationship are numerous:

Reduced Conflict:
By providing a neutral space for negotiation, mediation can significantly reduce conflict and tension between co-parents.

Control Over Decisions:
Unlike court decisions, mediation allows parents to have control over decisions affecting their children’s lives.

Improved Relationships:
Mediation can help improve the overall co-parenting relationship by establishing effective communication patterns and reducing hostility.

Children’s Well-being:
By reducing conflict and promoting cooperative co-parenting, mediation helps to foster a more stable and positive environment for the children.

Choosing a Mediator:
Choosing the right mediator is crucial. Here are a few tips to help you make the right choice:

Experience and Training:
Look for a mediator who has specialized training and experience in divorce and family mediation.

Neutrality:
The mediator should be neutral and unbiased. They should not take sides but focus on facilitating productive discussions between both parents.

Approach and Philosophy:
Understand the mediator’s approach and philosophy towards co-parenting and mediation. Make sure it aligns with your values and expectations.

Fees:
Understand their fee structure. Some mediators charge a flat fee, while others charge by the hour.

What to Expect in Co-parenting Mediation:
Coming into mediation, it’s important to be prepared for the process. Here’s what you can expect:

Preparation:
Before you start, gather all necessary documents and think through what you want for your children. It’s also helpful to prepare yourself emotionally.

Multiple Sessions:
Mediation usually takes place over several sessions. Each session typically lasts about one to two hours

Cooperation and Compromise:
Mediation is about finding common ground, which often involves compromises. Be ready to listen, understand, and work cooperatively with your ex-partner for the best interests of your children.

Confidentiality:
What’s said in mediation stays in mediation. It’s a safe space to express your concerns, needs, and expectations.

Legal Advice:
Mediators do not provide legal advice. It’s recommended to consult with a lawyer during the mediation process to understand the legal implications of your decisions.

After Mediation: Co-parenting Successfully
Once the mediation process is complete, and a co-parenting plan is in place, the focus shifts to implementing the plan effectively. Here are a few tips to co-parent successfully after a toxic relationship:

Respect the Co-parenting Plan:
The co-parenting plan is there for a reason. Both parents should respect the plan and adhere to it.

Communicate Effectively:
Remember the communication skills learned during mediation. Use these skills to communicate effectively with your ex-partner.

Stay Child-Focused:
Always prioritize your children’s needs and well-being. Any decision or action should be based on what’s best for them.

Seek Support:
Co-parenting after a toxic relationship can be challenging. Don’t hesitate to seek support from friends, family, support groups, or a professional counsellor.

Practice Self-Care:
Taking care of your mental and physical health is crucial. It allows you to be the best parent you can be for your children.

In conclusion, mediation plays a vital role in co-parenting after a toxic relationship. It helps establish a groundwork for effective communication, reduces conflict, and ensures the best interests of the child are prioritized. For more insights into co-parenting after a toxic relationship, check out our previous article on “Co-parenting after a toxic relationship: Strategies and Tips“.

By understanding and utilizing mediation, you can transition from a toxic relationship to a successful co-parenting partnership, creating a stable, loving environment for your children to thrive in. Remember, it’s not the separation, but the conflict that can harm children. Through effective mediation, that conflict can be managed and minimized, ensuring the well-being of your children.

Coparenting & Relationships

Co-Parenting After a Toxic Relationship: A Guide to Positive Parenting

Co-parenting after a toxic relationship can be a mountainous task filled with emotional turmoil and practical challenges. However, for parents committed to the well-being of their children, it’s a necessary path. This comprehensive guide seeks to help parents navigate this difficult journey, offering strategies for maintaining effective communication, setting boundaries, and prioritizing the child’s emotional health.

Understanding the Challenge

Embarking on the journey of co-parenting after a toxic relationship often feels like an uphill battle. It’s not merely about sharing responsibilities but handling lingering negative emotions, unresolved conflicts, and potential communication breakdowns. It’s a delicate balancing act, requiring you to detach from the painful past while working together for your child’s future.

The root of the challenge lies in the nature of toxic relationships. They leave emotional scars, foster mistrust, and create an environment of negativity. Carrying these burdens into your co-parenting arrangement can complicate matters, making it harder to focus on your child’s needs. But remember, your goal is to foster a healthy environment for your child to grow, and this goal must overshadow the complications of the past.

Setting Boundaries

One crucial step in co-parenting after a toxic relationship is setting clear, healthy boundaries. These boundaries aren’t about keeping score or limiting the other parent’s involvement, but rather about protecting your personal space and emotional health. They also play a critical role in preventing old issues from creeping into your new parenting arrangement.

Setting boundaries may entail deciding on specific pick-up and drop-off times, limiting communication to necessary topics related to your child, or delineating what topics are off-limits for discussion. The key is to be clear about your needs without infringing on the other parent’s rights or the child’s needs. When both parents understand and respect these boundaries, the co-parenting arrangement can function more smoothly.

Effective Communication

Communication, the cornerstone of any relationship, becomes even more critical when co-parenting after a toxic relationship. It may be challenging to maintain open lines of communication when there is a history of pain and conflict, but for the sake of your child, it’s essential.

Try to use neutral language to avoid triggering old arguments. Focus on your child’s needs during discussions and keep personal issues separate. It’s also crucial to be clear, concise, and consistent in your communication. This approach can help reduce misunderstandings and keep the focus on the well-being of your child.

In some situations, direct communication might be too fraught with tension. In these cases, consider using technology to help. Numerous co-parenting apps offer platforms for messaging, scheduling, and sharing essential child-related information. This can help maintain necessary communication while providing a record of correspondence.

In particularly challenging situations, seeking the help of a professional mediator might be beneficial. They can facilitate conversations, help resolve disputes, and keep the focus on the child’s best interests.

Prioritizing the Child’s Emotional Health

The emotional fallout of a toxic relationship can cast a long shadow, and children often bear the brunt of it. Feelings of confusion, sadness, or anxiety are common in children after their parents separate. As co-parents, it’s your responsibility to help them navigate these challenging emotions.

Regularly engage in open, honest conversations with your child, ensuring they feel seen, heard, and understood. Encourage them to express their feelings and reassure them that it’s okay to feel upset or confused. Keep them informed about changes in a way they can understand, and reassure them of your love and support.

It’s crucial to avoid badmouthing the other parent in front of your child

as this can increase their stress and negatively impact their relationship with both parents. Remember, your child’s relationship with their other parent is independent of your relationship with your ex-partner. Encouraging a healthy bond with both parents can play a crucial role in your child’s emotional well-being.

In some cases, seeking professional help can be beneficial. Child psychologists or counsellors can provide a safe space for your child to express their feelings and learn coping strategies. Additionally, they can offer valuable guidance to parents about managing their child’s emotional needs during this challenging time.

Creating a Co-Parenting Plan

A well-thought-out co-parenting plan can be an invaluable tool in navigating post-separation parenting. This plan should outline each parent’s responsibilities, define custody schedules, and establish protocols for decision-making and resolving disputes. The goal is to create a structured environment that reduces uncertainties and potential areas of conflict.

When drafting a co-parenting plan, it’s crucial to consider the child’s needs and preferences. This includes their school schedule, extracurricular activities, social events, and even downtime. It’s also important to include provisions for holidays, vacations, and special occasions, which can often be points of contention.

A flexible yet detailed co-parenting plan can help both parents understand their roles and responsibilities. It provides a roadmap that helps navigate co-parenting after a toxic relationship, with the child’s well-being at its centre. Remember, the plan may need to be revised as circumstances change and your child grows. Flexibility is key to successful co-parenting.

Seeking Support

Co-parenting after a toxic relationship can be a demanding and isolating experience. It’s important to remember that seeking support during this challenging time is not a sign of weakness, but rather an act of strength. This support could come in various forms – a support group for single parents, a counselor, or trusted friends and family.

Support groups can offer a sense of community and understanding that friends or family may not be able to provide. They can also offer practical advice and resources to help you navigate co-parenting challenges.

Professional help in the form of counselling or therapy can also be beneficial. Professionals can provide strategies for managing stress, improving communication, and dealing with unresolved feelings related to the toxic relationship.

Conclusion

Co-parenting after a toxic relationship is undoubtedly challenging, but with patience, resilience, and a child-focused approach, it can be a successful endeavour. By setting boundaries, communicating effectively, prioritizing your child’s emotional health, and seeking support, you can navigate this journey in a healthy and positive way.

Remember, every family is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Stay patient, flexible, and open-minded in your co-parenting approach. After all, your unwavering commitment and love for your child are the most significant driving forces behind successful co-parenting. Here’s to fostering positivity and growth, even in the wake of difficult circumstances.

KidKraft Majestic Mansion Wooden Dollhouse
Parenthood, Parenting Hacks & Tips, Reviews

KidKraft Majestic Mansion Review: What you need to know

The Kidkraft Majestic Mansion dollhouse is the ultimate doll house, guaranteed to put a smile on your child’s face. The Majestic Mansion oozes quality with its wooden finish and high-quality accessories.

Evie has now owned hers for a whole year and she still enjoys playing with it as much as ever. 

I can’t recommend this product enough. 

Still not sure? That’s what we’re here for! This KidKraft Majestic Mansion review will tell you all you need to know.

You can pick yours up from Amazon for around £99. 

About the Doll House (The technical stuff) 

The fully assembled dolls house comes to about four and a half feet tall. The exact measurements 132.1cm x 35.5 cm x 135.9cm – It’s huge! 

To put it into perspective, Evie needs a step to be able to see into the baby doll’s attic room, which means she’ll be able to get plenty of use out of it over the next few years. 

Because of its size, there’s easily space for more than one child to play with it side by side too.

The house comes with 34 pieces of well-crafted wooden furniture including a piano, grandfather clock, bed, bedside tables and lots more. We regularly play ‘moving house’, a simple game that involves removing all of the furniture and putting it back in its new place somewhere else in the house.

There are eight rooms are spread across four floors and perhaps most impressive of all is the working life for the dolls to move between levels. 

The house is designed for fashion dolls. It’s perfect for ‘12 inch dolls’, which is the standard Barbie or equivalent brand size. It has a real Barbie Dreamhouse feel about it, making it a great choice for little girls.

KidKraft Majestic Mansion Wooden Dollhouse

Putting the KidKraft Majestic Mansion together 

Although it took a little bit of time to put together, around three hours in total (although we took our time), assembling the dolls house was nice and straightforward. 

There were numbered stickers on every separate piece and the instructions were nice and clear. 

Having somebody else to help you will make life a lot easier to hold bits together, as balancing everything can be quite tricky and you might risk causing damage if it falls over.

The dolls house comes with wall fixings and I would strongly advise you to not waste any time in fixing it to the wall. Because the house is tall, Evie has tried on a few occasions to pull herself a little higher to see the attic, which of course means that she places all her weight at the top.

That terrifies me but is easily prevented.

KidKraft Majestic Mansion Dollhouse

Build Quality 

The Kidkraft Mansion is surprisingly well-built. 

I really like how the panels are already pre-covered with nice little prints, which clearly and easily signify what each room is surprised to be – Evie’s favourite has to be the living room for sure! 

For me, what stands out on the Majestic Mansion is the great level of attention they’ve paid to the little details throughout the house.

The garage doors open and close nicely and can fit Evie’s Barbie car in it perfectly. The little pieces of wooden furniture look great; I particularly love the piano! 

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Overview

I bought the Kidkraft Majestic Mansion dollhouse for Evie a year ago now and it’s been a mainstay of our playroom ever since. It’s perfect for dolls up to 12 inches, like Barbies or equivalent fashion dolls. It has a straightforward assembly process and is big enough for multiple kids to play at the same time when they’ve got friends over.

One of Evie’s favourite features is the working elevator, which allows your to take your dolls to the second floor, or the wooden garage doors that open and close to reveal a space large enough to store things like your Barbie car in the garage!

The lovely design and sturdy build quality mean that it makes for a lovely feature in the room and as a daddy, just gives me such a lovely feeling every time we go in there to play. 

For me, parenting is all about creating memories for your kids. You never know quite what will stick and what will be forgotten. 

Whether she remembers it or not as she grows up, I know that I’ll never forget the look on Evie’s face the moment she first saw the dollhouse. 

It’s something that’ll stay with me for the rest of my life. 

You can watch the moment she saw it for the first time below. 

So all-in-all, the Kidkraft Majestic Mansion dollhouse is an excellent house that’s well-priced, well-made and now…well-played with. 

You can get this perfect wooden dolls house here

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Some of the common questions about the KidKraft Majestic Mansion: 

Does the dollhouse come with decorations and stickers?
Yes, every room is nicely decorated with pre-installed stickers allowing for just the right amount of customization. 

Which dolls should I use for it? 
The dollhouse is designed for 12-inch dolls like Barbies or LOLs. 

Does the dollhouse come flat-packed?
Yes, the dollhouse comes flat-packed in a box weighing 29kg and measuring 104cm x 62cm x 24cm. Assembly took a few hours.

Does the price include furniture for the dollhouse?
You’ll get 34 pieces of furniture included when you order the dollhouse, including things like a kitchen table, a bed, a cot and much more.

KidKraft Majestic Mansion Accessories
KidKraft Majestic Mansion Piano

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