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8 Tips for Planning the Perfect Family Getaway with Your Child

If you want to experience the perfect family getaway with your child, then you will need to do some preliminary planning. There’s no doubt that you are all in dire need of some time away from your normal routine, but you also need to figure out where to go in the first place.

Travel is known to boost the healthy development process of younger kids, due to the fact that they are being exposed to something different. Whether you have kids yourself or you have a younger niece or nephew, there’s no doubt that you want the best for them.

Keep all of these tips in mind for planning the perfect luxurious holiday that will leave everyone inspired, and one that is long overdue.

  1. Start by communicating with one another

The very first step is to talk to one another to determine what type of trip you should embark on. Are you interested in a family adventure that is jam-packed with activities, or would you rather everyone spend time by the beach?

After all, the whole point of this trip is for everyone to have a fun time!

  1. Choosing the perfect destination

It’s known that travel is an excellent opportunity for everyone to relax and de-stress from everyday life. It can create a lifetime of memories for adults and kids alike, and it’s thus crucial for bonding between loved ones.

The good news is that there are so many options for where you can go, and if you are smart about your budgeting, there’s no reason for you to spend an excessive amount of money in order to experience a luxurious getaway. You might think that jetting off to Europe is out of your budget, but the fact is, it isn’t.

No matter what country you choose to visit, you should always pick a place where the weather is at its best. For instance, what better time to go on Canary Island holidays than in the late spring or summer, when the beaches are at their finest and the skies are bluer than ever. You don’t want even a sliver of rain to ruin your family’s time on this trip.

  1. Pick a destination where you can spend time outdoors

As a result of technology, more and more kids are spending time on their phones and tablets. However, you can never underestimate the health benefits tied to kids spending time outdoors. For starters, it is known to boost one’s eyesight.

Plus, excessive use of technology can easily impact one’s sleep habits, and there is also a higher likelihood that you will develop depression, among other mental health problems. The solution, in this instance, is to step outside and detox. There is no better way to achieve this than to go on a luxurious holiday somewhere.

  1. It’s all about spending quality time together

Families that spend quality time together with their kids will be much closer with one another. Everyone will feel more connected to one another, and this will impact the mental health development of children.

Once again, your luxurious getaway holiday proves to be a valuable experience for everyone.

  1. Prepare for airport wait times

It’s important to be prepared for long airport times and any potential delays before your flight takes off. In cases such as these, you can use it as an opportunity to try out some of the latest games from the app store, or you could even bring a pack of cards along with you to play.

  1. Pack everything in advance

So that you don’t have to rush to pack everything last minute, you should always make a note to self to pack everything you may need well in advance. Make a list and be sure to check the weather for the destination where you are going.

  1. Any travel experience will teach you new skills

School will teach your kids a number of essential skills, but there’s nothing quite like learning from experience. Your kids will become more open-minded individuals, and they will be more social the more they experience the world around them.

These skills are essential for children to grow up to become well-rounded adults. This is a valuable experience that should not be neglected.

  1. Have fun

When was the last time that you prioritised fun for your child? Play should be taken very seriously, as it will impact their physical wellbeing and creativity. In other words, families should book tours while on holiday that will allow everyone to learn something new and have fun while doing it.

Everyday life can sometimes get far too stressful. There are always ways for people to combat this stress, and this is particularly seen when travel is involved. Going on a luxurious trip somewhere abroad, especially as a family, was the solution that everyone needed to rejuvenate their brain and become inspired. This is important for adults and children alike, as this article has clearly illustrated.

All of the travel hacks mentioned throughout the article will help you and your family make your upcoming trip a total and complete success. You don’t want to arrive at your destination only to find out that you haven’t appropriately packed for your trip. The end result would require everyone to spend unnecessary money on items that you had lying around the house if you simply double checked your suitcase before you jetted off.

The most important lesson and take away from all of this is the sheer importance for families to go on holiday with one another. It provides everyone with the perfect opportunity to spend quality time together, which can often get neglected and is rendered unimportant.

Children can only grow into healthy adults if they are given the support that they need from a young age, and this support can also manifest itself in the form of going on trips together. After all, a trip somewhere abroad is the perfect opportunity for everyone to learn new things and broaden their horizon.

4 Student Athlete Character Builders & Busters

4 Student Athlete Character Builders & Busters

At a time when sports, coaching and even athlete parenting have become a never-ending chase for profit, popularity and prominence, it can be difficult, and sometimes seemingly impossible, to cultivate character and integrity in student athletes.

Just one quick Google search can reveal the extent to which honor and any notable “code of ethics” in student sports is suffering amid a pervasive glut of incidents from coast to coast involving cheating, abuse, and other forms of misconduct. One particularly high-profile example underscoring how insidious the problem is the FBI investigation revealing that head and assistant coaches were using NCAA monetary profits for bribery gain. This resulted in a mass arrest of head coaches, assistant coaches, and staff members. While this traumatic event changed NCAA college basketball practices interminably for the better, in the process the NCAA board suffered extreme embarrassment and strife from the fraudulent exposure while coaches and other staffers suffered irreparable career damage—not to mention the “collateral damage” to players, their families and the university’s, themselves.

traffic-sign-809006_640.jpgGiven what seems to be an endless array of scandals, there is a beacon of light in the form of Coach Gary Waters, a former Kent State, Rutgers, and Cleveland State Head Coach. As one of the nation’s preeminent Character Coaches, Waters urges that parents, coaches, team leaders and anyone engaging with student athletes should establish—and wholeheartedly assure adherence to—a defined set of principles that have the express intention of bolstering a student athlete’s character, values, and philosophies both on and off the court. “Character is defined by moral excellence and firmness,” says Coach Waters. “When a person’s principles, ethics, integrity and even spirituality are aligned, staying in the guidelines for the law and regulation comes effortlessly, like a second nature.”

Today more than ever, student athlete coaches and programs are instilling the importance of honor, valor and integrity, and parents at home are eager to follow suit. With this in mind, Coach Waters offers these fundamental basics on what a sports-driven student should do—and not to do—as they endeavor to build character:

***Character Builders – DO This:

Work Hard At What Matters…Fearlessly:

Coach Waters believes, and one can nary disagree, that the effort one puts forth directly correlates with the outcome of what one pursues, and that a great number of those “sweat equity” efforts should be proactively focused on endeavors that further life goals—be those related to athletics, career, relationships, family dynamics, spirituality or other areas of self-improvement and personal growth. Modern-day life is filled with a glut of complexities that can make it difficult to “see the forest through the trees” and aptly discern exactly what matters most in achieving various goals, and prioritizing in kind. It can actually be overwhelming—especially when the goals ahead seem insurmountable or entirely unreachable.

Time is finite and there’s only so much of it to be had each day, so Coach Waters underscores the importance of allocating dedicated and concerted time on the most meaningful and impactful areas needing attention—those that will yield short term results, but will also be mindful of longer-term objectives. As importantly, Waters also advocates “attacking” one’s goals fearlessly so as to counteract self-doubt, uncertainty, hesitation and other detrimental inner dialogue that can present obstacles and swiftly thwart one’s best hopes and intentions. It’s been said that FEAR stands for “Forget Everything And Run” and, according to Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez, author of “Think Like a Negotiator,” fear is “that uncomfortable, disconcerting feeling that causes us to take a back seat in our own life and prevents us from proactively moving forward to reach our goals and aspirations. Instead of facing a personal, business or workplace situation head on and taking control of the proverbial handlebars of life, fear causes us to turn the other way, freeze in our tracks, or poke our head in the sand.”

According to Lewis-Fernandez, fear of failure can be particularly debilitating. “All too often we stop short of attempting something new for fear we might embarrass our self or, worse, fail all together,” she says. “Any given undertaking has the possibility of resulting in failure, which is never a desirable or welcome outcome.  But, when facing something new, a fear of failure can be amplified as anxiety or nerves, and our ‘fight or flight’ instinct kicks in.  These intense feelings can cause us to put our aspirations on the shelf where they can languish in perpetuity.”  She also cites fear of vulnerability as another area of concern.  “While it can be uncomfortable and downright scary to open yourself up and expose your true inner self and your ideas and aspirations to others of importance in your life, doing so can be cathartic – and a true turning point in effecting positive change,” Lewis-Fernandez notes. “Letting down your guard takes courage and strength, and allowing yourself to be vulnerable can help you better relate with people on a more personal level.”

Value And Demonstrate Loyalty:

Loyalty means different things to different people. For Coach Waters, loyalty is about the commitment one makes to a cause, a particular group or specific persons. It involves a feeling of devotion or obligation to someone or something in both good times and bad. Other definitions describe loyalty as involving faithfulness to something or someone to which one is bound by pledge or duty. In all instances, however, loyalty is about integrity—keeping one’s word or upholding expectations of another as demonstrated through one’s actions, optimally in a sustained and habitual manner. Coach Waters believes that ingraining a sense of loyalty in student athletes certainly begins at home, but extends far to other role models—whether they are intentional or incidental. This includes coaches, administrators, teachers and even other players.

To understand the extent to which one is demonstrating loyalty in their everyday lives, Coach Waters recommends an easy exercise to determine one’s “loyalty score” relating to various endeavors. He suggests doing a self-analysis rating one’s self in relation to a given venture (like loyalty to one’s team or sport at large). On a scale of one to five, ratings can be related to key tenants of loyalty like honesty, trustworthiness, support, generosity, commitment, reliability sincerity, consistency and partiality. Assessing one’s commitment to a specific endeavor with these attributes in mind can be a powerful tool in determining if a better effort needs to be made…and in which areas. Even caregivers, coaches and others can use this tool to rate the student athlete, and then use it as a springboard for discussion that can manifest in a powerful dialogue—a tactical growth moment for all involved.

***Character Busters – DON’T do This:

Demonstrate Undependability

Coach Waters concedes that, amid stressful schedules and demands on a player’s time and resources, remaining dependable and steadfast can be difficult. Worse, he feels there is lessening value being placed on these attributes despite the fact that they can play a critical role in one’s success trajectory. He also feels that all too these traits are being cultivated as it relates to the game itself, but not carried over into other facets of the player’s life and value system overall.  “Success in the classroom and growth in the player’s personal development often isn’t valued, and parents and coaches often aren’t supported in their efforts to help players grow as people…only as players,” he laments. Worse, role models and mentors like coaches themselves often set examples of disloyalty, by foregoing a commitment to their institution in favor of money and acclaim elsewhere. 


For a student athlete, they have many ways that they can demonstrate their dependability each day, week and month—both within and outside of their sport. And, Waters suggests proffering rewards for them doing so. Relating to athletics, this can include making a staunch commitment making it to every practice (and on time and fully prepared); being “present” at practice by being fully engaged in the lesson or drill at hand; and being known as someone known for “going the extra mile” to help out other players when needed—whether that’s understanding a play or providing emotional support when things aren’t going well. Outside of sports, dependability can be shown in areas like turning in complete homework on time, every time; being where you say you’ll be at the stated time; handling responsibilities at home like chores in a self-directed manner without need for prompting or reminding; and being willing to “lend a helping hand” or a “supportive ear” when someone is in distress. Doing any of this involves an outward point-of-view and nurturing an altruistic spirit.

Undermine Authority

According to Waters, “Having a reverence for authority, as demonstrated by overtly respectful treatment and regard, is a mission-critical aspect of character building. Respectful behaviors and attitudes should certainly start in the home with parents, but needs to carry over to all others in a student athlete’s life: relatives, coaches, administrators, teammates, referees, friends and even strangers like the elderly. When a fundamental respect for authority doesn’t exist, it becomes a slippery slope that can lead to contentious relationships in every direction, missed opportunities or, in worst case scenarios upon festering longer-term, full expulsion from the team.” This scenario is made far worse when a disrespectful player actually undermines authority at large, such that their actions are making others lose respect for the authority figure(s) as well, he notes.

This is an insidious situation Waters knows can have a grave effect on a sports program in short order, “corroding the foundational value system needed to have a productive and winning mentality.”

In kind, it’s imperative that student athletes are diverted from this behavior, being redirected to engage in more productive ways. But, what does “undermining authority” look like when not in the form of public back talk, snickering and general rudeness? Rest assured that undermining authority does not always involve obvious discourtesy, but rather can be quite clandestine.  According to Waters, there are some less obvious signs a student athlete may be undermining authority—or anyone for that matter—and need to be course-corrected as part of their character building effort. One red flag he points out is when someone consistently prompts others to defend their opinion, assertion or point-of-view. Those who undermine authority also often dole out “backhanded compliments” that actually serve to reference or highlight a negative aspect of a situation in a counterpoint contrast to the positive. A third thing to watch out for according to Waters is subversive advice packaged as being helpful, like an alternate plan purported to be advantageous for the authority figure (or group at large) when, in fact, more selfish motives and benefits are at hand. Knowing what to look for is key for helping student athletes avoid this kind of surreptitious or even inadvertent self-destructive behavior.

For coaches, parents and other ‘key influencers,’ it’s imperative to not only push physical development of a student athlete but also instill a reverence for character development founded on a stated and shared value and belief system—a critical facet of their personal growth and development and one entirely under their span of control. Student advisors must also lead by example and walk the walk, making being principle and ideology-driven a cyclical endeavor without hypocrisy. Only then can the student, team, family, game, school, program and industry at large be elevated, allowing everyone to reach their full potential.

As John Wooden famously said about coaches, “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”

Child Diseases: How it can Affect Marriage & Ways to Cope

child in wheelchair

Childhood Diseases

Samuel and Leo

Leo was born just after one in the afternoon on January 21. The doctors said that the baby had been born with Down syndrome and the parents experienced a few minutes of shock. The shock passed when he Leo’s father held him for the first time and fell in love. The pediatrician brought Leo to see his dad. The baby’s face was covered up and the hospital staff wouldn’t let Samuel Forrest see the baby. The doctor paused, looked at Forrest and told him there was a problem with his son.

Speaking to ABC News, Forrest recounted what he experienced when the physicians and nurses told him his son had Down syndrome. Then Forrest held his son for the very first time. Forrest’s wife’s reaction wasn’t what he was expecting. She gave him an ultimatum — the baby or her.  Keep the baby and get a divorce. Despite the warning, Forrest claimed to never have any doubt that he would keep his son. A week later, Leo’s mom left home and filed for divorce. Samuel was left to raise his son alone.

“He’s beautiful,” Samuel Forrest told ABC News. “He’s perfect and I’m keeping him.”  Forrest established a GoFundMe account to raise the funds needed to take Leo home to New Zealand.

As of February 5, the amount raised passed the target. In nine days, Forrest had raised over $60,000. The amount grew to just over $500k.

When a child has a life-threatening illness, life, for the parents, as they know it, ends. The world starts spinning and it becomes a confusing existence. New medical terms to learn and new procedures to get used to. No parent wants to make mistakes. The fear of making an error is magnified when a child is hit with what, often, seems unfair. Some parents scream, “This can’t be happening to me!” But it has


The stress of a gravely ill child can take its toll on a marriage, especially a marriage that already had some cracks in the foundation showing. The added stress of a sick child can send marriages over the wall into divorce. Some observers say that a wedding has as much as a 90 percent chance of falling apart when a child is diagnosed with what could be a fatal illness.

That’s what “observers” say. The truth is that research don’t support the dire statistics.

It is true though that the marriage will change. Parents of terminally ill children change and with them, the parent’s relationships change as well. Some of the worst fears and strongest stressors will affect the parent and challenge the world view that they have held close. The marriage can survive and may become stronger and more intimate. It all hangs on how the parents handle the situation.

Deborah Raiees-Dana lost her ten-year-old daughter to cancer in 1999. When her spouse filed for divorce, Raiees-Dana found there wasn’t anything in writing to help her cope with the grief of losing both her child and husband. She sat down and wrote a how-to guide of sorts for parents facing the same rough path she had just traveled.  Over the years, she has updated the paper and it is available online.

Be Aware

Remain aware of some of the issues the marriage will encounter. Knowledge, combined with alertness, can keep parents from being caught off balance. More knowledge of the situation will also help increase the sense of control. There will be outside forces on the marriage and either, or both, of the parents may anticipate how they can manage the pressure. The pressures can either destroy or strengthen. With some reflection and thought, the marriage should survive.

Finances

Finances are already a source of friction in many marriages. When a child is first diagnosed, the community rallies and raises funds for the parents.  Over time though, the disease continues even as the money dries up. In addition to medical bills, there will be expenses for meals, travel, lodging and those items which were forgotten at home and need to be replaced at the hospital. With a child in the hospital, there isn’t time to clip coupons and everything adds fuel to the potential for arguments.

A social worker might provide contact information for organizations that may provide financial support. Trouble with creditors? Consumer Credit Counseling can intervene sometimes.

Exhaustion

Hospitals are not excellent locations for catching up on sleep. Once you get home with your child, a parent can still expect their sleep to be fitful. Rigid schedules demand that medicines are given on time and frequently your child may need other assistance during the night. A parent’s worry and stress can block a good night’s sleep and physical reserves can be destroyed due to a lack of sleep.

Isolation

Being in a hospital, even one close to home, can lead to a feeling of isolation. Some diseases may demand that your home be almost quarantined even after coming home from the hospital. Friends and family may evade you since they don’t know what to say. With the demands of caring for a sick child, the parent may find themselves too tired to maintain contact with friends as well.

Communication

Communication with a spouse can also be threatened from the lifestyle needed to care for a sick child. Hospitals aren’t great places to carry on in-depth, intimate conversations. As the hospital if there’s a room available where the parents can talk freely.  Failure to do so can lead up to pressures that may blow eventually.

Commitments

Even with a sick child and the feeling that everything in the world must revolve around him or her, the truth is that life goes on and there are other commitments to be handled. Other kids in the family may need to be cared for; the extended family may end up being a burden and trying to balance a job with the child’s needs can be challenging at best. There may also be community commitments such as religious, civic and social groups.  And don’t forget, your spouse needs your time as well.

Support

Family, friends and a faith group often can provide support. Don’t be leery of asking for help too soon — early support could prove to be the difference in a surviving marriage or a failing one.

Hospital Staff

The hospital will have trained professionals who have experience in similar situations. Besides medical personnel, hospitals often have social workers, child life specialists and mental health workers available. Make use of all the resources you come across.

Support Groups

To avoid isolation, connect with other parents who know what you’re going through. The hospital staff, as well as clergy, is probably able to provide you with contact information for a self-support group that fits your needs.

Deborah Raiees-Dana understands that it takes two to make the marriage work and she freely shares her experience with others. She reminds every parent of an afflicted child that there is hope and help.