Advice for Expectant Parents With a Disability

IMG_9494by Guest Blogger Ashley Taylor (founder of DisabledParents.org)

Expecting a child is an exciting, life-changing experience, but it can also bring about questions and concerns, especially for first-time parents. These concerns may be even greater for parents-to-be living with a disability, who may be wondering how they can prepare themselves and their homes for parenthood.

The most important step is planning, and planning starts with questions like:

  • Is my home babyproofed?
  • Do we need to make changes to the home to make it babyproof?
  • Do we need to make changes to make it easier for us to parent?
  • What will I do when I feel stressed, overwhelmed, or need help?
  • Are there resources that can help parents with a disability?

Preparing your home can start with a checklist. Go through your home room by room to see what can be removed or added that would make parenting easier, such as adding a ramp to the nursery if necessary, widening doorways with adjustable hinges, and buying adaptable equipment and products like wheelchair-accessible cribs. There are also changing tables with adjustable heights.

Getting practical advice from other disabled parents is helpful, and look for support groups in your community that you can join. If there aren’t any in your area, online support groups are a great resource. There is nothing like getting advice from others with real-life experience to help you solve problems and make choices, from tips on how to breastfeed to how to deal with occasional bias.

HELP FOR THE HOME

If you need to make physical changes to your house or apartment, you may want to consult a home advisor experienced in making homes accessible. When evaluating each room, think about functionality and convenience.

Nursery. Does this room have carpet that may interfere with a wheelchair, walker, or crutches? Are tables and shelves low enough? Would it be more practical to have the baby in your bedroom instead of in his or her own room?

Laundry room. Are your washer and dryer front-loading for easy access? Do they have buttons and knobs that are easy to use?

Kitchen. Do you need to add a lower cabinet to store the baby’s formula, baby food, and other baby items? If visually impaired, do you need a talking timer, clock, or thermometer?

Security. Make sure your home is well lit, and you can always add baby monitors (video and/or audio) for peace of mind.

If preparing your home is a financial challenge, sometimes small grants or loans are available to parents with a disability, so check with your community’s disability service coordinator or explore online.

HELP FOR YOURSELF

While preparing to care for your child, don’t forget to care for yourself. Parenting can be stressful for anyone, so don’t feel that you’re the only one who gets overwhelmed with the day-to-day tasks of parenthood. Feeling stressed is normal, so it’s okay to ask for help.

Family and friends can be a great resource in times of stress. But if you don’t have this kind of support system in your life, there are community resources available, such as parenting classes, in-home parenting instruction, childcare, respite services, home-delivered meals/groceries, professional shoppers, daycare, babysitters, support groups, individual counseling, and group therapy.

Another way to care for yourself is to be mindful of your physical and mental health. What we eat affects how we think and feel. Exercise strengthens the body, gives you energy, releases feel-good chemicals in the brain, and can lower stress. A great way to de-stress is by taking up yoga or meditation. This will help you stay calm and focused during trying times.

Planning and preparation can make parenting easier and make you a stronger parent. If you need help assessing or preparing your home and your life for parenthood, a disability specialist is only a phone call away. Also, your baby will need you at your best, so don’t forget about self-care.

Ashley Taylor is a freelance writer, photographer, and advocate for people with disabilities. She created DisabledParents.org to provide information and resources to other parents with disabilities. When she isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children.




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Considering Making a Move During the Holidays?

Moving During the Holidays

If moving AND the holidays aren’t stressful enough by themselves, moving DURING the holidays can be just downright overwhelming for some people.

People do it, they get through it! Your most serious buyers and sellers are out shopping for a new home during the holidays. There are deals to be found, made and had! But moving during the holidays can be very stressful if you are not prepared, especially if you have children at home.

Consider packing a duffel bag for your child (or children). Put some of your child’s favorite items in the bag, pictures of your family, their favorite toys, and a special holiday gift from you for their new bedroom that they can’t open until you’re in your new home. That will add excitement to their move and something to take their mind off of the scary thought of sleeping in a new place.

Keep it Real! Don’t overwhelm yourself by forcing yourself to do things you typically do during the holidays. Mailing out holiday cards, baking homemade cookies, etc. can all be put on the back burner to save your sanity. Store bought cookie dough can be just as fun and less time-consuming for parents who are busy trying to pack up a house.

Prioritize and Label your boxes. All boxes labeled #1 (obviously) should be opened first; fill those boxes with your most needed items to get you through the season. Don’t go crazy forcing yourself to decorate your new home immediately, but do put up some items that remind your family of their favorite holiday things. You can always National Lampoon your new home next year and Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, go crazy then to make up for it!

Invite friends and family over. No – don’t cook for them, have a pot luck party! It’s less you have to do and just think of the left overs you will have in the fridge so you don’t have to cook dinner for a few days giving yourself more time to unpack.

Walk around your new neighborhood (or drive if you moved to the sticks) – check out all of the holiday lights and seasonal activities in your new area, make yourself at home!

Don’t forget Fido and Fluffy, they are lost too. Show them special attention during the adjustment. Don’t just let them out in their new yard, go out with them, toss them a ball and have some fun. Remember, they don’t know where they are, they may have accidents because they don’t know where the door is to their new yard, make sure to walk them to the door when you see signs they have to go do their business and don’t get too mad at them if they do make a mistake. They are almost human, too!

Start a NEW tradition, something easy … maybe a family Christmas eve portrait each year or snuggling up with your family for some pizza and movie (may I suggest Polar Express?) to celebrate the Winter Solstice on December 21st.

Lastly, play music and watch movies that remind you of your favorite holiday times. Relax and enjoy your new home. God willing, you will have plenty of years to enjoy each holiday in your new space! Yes! You can do this!

Happy Holidays from Kim SchreinerKim Schreiner, ePRO, SFR, Realtor
2011 Philadelphia Magazine 5 Star Real Estate Professional
Office: 215.992.1726
Cell: 215.510.2149

Holiday Safety Tips

The holidays are here! No matter how you celebrate or which holiday you celebrate, there are usually some kind of decorations involved that have to do with electricity. Please be safe this season, protect your family and your investment and please follow these tips featured by the Home Safety Council:

  • Look at each string of lights carefully. If any are cracked or damaged, buy new ones.
  • When you buy new lights, look at the box for a label that shows they have been tested for safety, such as ETL or UL.
  • Follow the directions on the box. It will tell you how many strings to use together. As a rule, UL recommends using no more than three standard-size sets of lights together.
  • Hang or mount light strands carefully to avoid damaging the cord’s insulation.
  • Do not plug in too many things at one time. Use a surge protector.
  • Unplug all holiday lights when you go to sleep or leave home.
  • Plug outdoor decorations into outlets protected by Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) to prevent shock.
  • Automatic lighting timers can be used to ensure that lights are not left on by mistake. These are available for both indoor and outdoor use.
  • Do not put electrical cords under rugs. Try to keep them away from places people walk.
  • When replacing a holiday bulb, be sure to use the correct bulb size (wattage) that is right for the fixture.
  • Use safety caps to keep children from putting things into electrical receptacles/outlets.

Happy Holidays from Kim SchreinerKim Schreiner, ePRO, SFR, Realtor
2011 Philadelphia Magazine 5 Star Real Estate Professional
Office: 215.992.1726
Cell: 215.510.2149

Too Hot Outside? Indoor Things to Do with Kids

things to do with kids in paIt is supposed to go over the 100 degree mark here in PA today, and that’s just a little too hot for me (unless I am on vacation on a tropical island somewhere down by the Equator).  Add to the equation a mid-summer, bored child and moving to a new area and well … need I type more?

So this morning I started to scour the Internet for fun, local things to do with my son, preferably air-conditioned, indoor fun or someplace where I can stay submerged in water.

Here’s what I came up with and I thought I’d share…. some are free, some are not …

Stumbled on this site which features tons of ideas:    4PAKids.com

Although this is titled “Rainy Day Activities” … it’s still a well composed list of indoor things to do with your kids and a great website to explore when you are looking for something to do with your bored child:   FamilyEducation

bored kidI came across this blog over at CafeMom … 7 Fun Indoor Things …. I especially like the “Build A Fort” suggestion, I can remember doing this as a kid myself, and I’ve done this many times with my son, he loves it.

Here’s something I personally did with my son last summer:  each week my son and I went through all the digital photos we had taken from our summer weekends spent down the shore, from our vacation, or just something special we did together as a family. We ordered our favorite pictures (yes, we had them printed!) and we created a scrapbook to give as a gift to my parents. My parents do not have a computer, so I cannot share photos with them via email (imagine that??) nor do they have a “double line” on their home phone and my Mom just got a cell phone a few years ago, a Jitterbug, it’s hilarious. But that’s getting off topic …

They, more my Dad than my Mom, always complain they never SEE the photos we take except when I run through them on my little camera screen and they need a magnifying glass to get the actual effect.  So .. my son and I spent our down-time/bored-time having fun making a Summer Scrapbook. We added stickers and sayings and made something very special. We gave it to my parents at the end of the summer. It was probably one of the most cherished gifts we’ve given them in a long time and it sits on their coffee table year-round.

If you like this idea and don’t have a lot of time on your hands, or if you don’t have kids and want to make a special gift for someone, an easier, less time-consuming way to do this is to order a printed book of your personal photos

There are also some cool places to visit that will keep your kids entertained and some of them even allow Mom to shop:

Giggleberry Fair at Peddler’s Village (Kids can play, Mom can shop, but not at the same time)!

Sesame Place  (Can get VERY crowded on days like today! So go after 4!)

Adventure Aquarium 

Sahara Sam’s Oasis Indoor Waterpark  Year Round Fun!

Lazer Tag at Brunswick Zone – Parents vs. Kids!

The Crayola Factory  Worth the Drive!

Philadelphia Museums and Attractions at VisitPhilly.com

Indoor Roller Skating, Bowling, Movies (check your local library, sometimes they have free movies or classes for kids)

Looking for FREE things to Do? Click Here! 

Many fast food places (I know, yuck!) but .. many do have indoor, air-conditioned playground areas. I’ve found my son doesn’t eat much when we go there, he just plays and it’s up to me not to order the Big Mac for myself.

Many Philadelphia Recreation Centers have free pools that you can take advantage of, or outdoor playground with sprinklers.

If you have any ideas you would like to add, please feel free to do so in the comments section!! And stay cool!Melting Witch Cartoon

Kim Schreiner, ePRO, SFR, Realtor
RE/MAX Affiliates, NE
The #1 RE/MAX Office in the City of Philadelphia
Office: 215.992.1726
Cell: 215.510.2149
Main Office: 215.335.6900 x1726
www.KimSchreiner.com
www.PaRealtyWeb.com

Moving During the Holidays

Moving During the Holidays

If moving AND the holidays aren’t stressful enough by themselves, moving DURING the holidays can be just downright overwhelming for some people.

People do it, they get through it! Your most serious buyers and sellers are out shopping for a new home during the holidays. There are deals to be found, made and had! But moving during the holidays can be very stressful if you are not prepared, especially if you have children at home.

Consider packing a duffel bag for your child (or children). Put some of your child’s favorite items in the bag, pictures of your family, their favorite toys, and a special holiday gift from you for their new bedroom that they can’t open until you’re in your new home. That will add excitement to their move and something to take their mind off of the scary thought of sleeping in a new place.

Keep it Real! Don’t overwhelm yourself by forcing yourself to do things you typically do during the holidays. Mailing out holiday cards, baking homemade cookies, etc. can all be put on the back burner to save your sanity. Store bought cookie dough can be just as fun and less time-consuming for parents who are busy trying to pack up a house.

Prioritize and Label your boxes. All boxes labeled #1 (obviously) should be opened first; fill those boxes with your most needed items to get you through the season. Don’t go crazy forcing yourself to decorate your new home immediately, but do put up  some items that remind your family of their favorite holiday things. You can always National Lampoon your new home next year and Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, go crazy then to make up for it!

Invite friends and family over. No – don’t cook for them, have a pot luck party! It’s less you have to do and just think of the left overs you will have in the fridge so you don’t have to cook dinner for a few days giving yourself more time to unpack.

Walk around your new neighborhood (or drive if you moved to the sticks) – check out all of the holiday lights and seasonal activities in your new area, make yourself at home!

Don’t forget Fido and Fluffy, they are lost too. Show them special attention during the adjustment. Don’t just let them out in their new yard, go out with them, toss them a ball and have some fun. Remember, they don’t know where they are, they may have accidents because they don’t know where the door is to their new yard, make sure to walk them to the door when you see signs they have to go do their business and don’t get too mad at them if they do make a mistake. They are almost human, too!

Start a NEW tradition, something easy … maybe a family Christmas eve portrait each year or snuggling up with your family for some pizza and movie (may I suggest Polar Express?) to celebrate the Winter Solstice on December 21st.

Lastly, play music and watch movies that remind you of your favorite holiday times. Relax and enjoy your new home. God willing, you will have plenty of years to enjoy each holiday in your new space! Yes! You can do this!

Happy Holidays from Kim SchreinerKim Schreiner, ePRO, SFR, Realtor
RE/MAX Affiliates, NE
The #1 RE/MAX Office in the City of Philadelphia
Office: 215.992.1726
Cell: 215.510.2149

Cool Holiday Ideas from HGTV

As most of you know, I am an HGTV  junkie. This year HGTV seems to have gone all out featuring new shows for the holidays. I am loving it! The HGTV website is loaded with tons of ideas to make your home sparkle this season.

Just some of the ideas featured are:

Decking the Halls with a Glittering Christmas Tree

Festive Fireplaces

Seasonal Recipes

Table Decor

Chic Gift Wrapping Ideas

And So Much More! Tis’ the Season to Brighten Up Your Home! Get some great ideas by watching HGTV’s holiday shows and by visiting their website! You may become a junkie, too!

Happy Holidays from Kim SchreinerKim Schreiner, ePRO, SFR, Realtor
RE/MAX Affiliates, NE
The #1 RE/MAX Office in the City of Philadelphia
Office: 215.992.1726
Cell: 215.510.2149

Ho Ho Holiday Safety Tips

The holidays are here! No matter how you celebrate or which holiday you celebrate, there are usually some kind of decorations involved that have to do with electricity. Please be safe this season, protect your family and your investment and please follow these tips featured by the Home Safety Council:

  • Look at each string of lights carefully. If any are cracked or damaged, buy new ones.
  • When you buy new lights, look at the box for a label that shows they have been tested for safety, such as ETL or UL.
  • Follow the directions on the box. It will tell you how many strings to use together. As a rule, UL recommends using no more than three standard-size sets of lights together.
  • Hang or mount light strands carefully to avoid damaging the cord’s insulation.
  • Do not plug in too many things at one time. Use a surge protector.
  • Unplug all holiday lights when you go to sleep or leave home.
  • Plug outdoor decorations into outlets protected by Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) to prevent shock.
  • Automatic lighting timers can be used to ensure that lights are not left on by mistake. These are available for both indoor and outdoor use.
  • Do not put electrical cords under rugs. Try to keep them away from places people walk.
  • When replacing a holiday bulb, be sure to use the correct bulb size (wattage) that is right for the fixture.
  • Use safety caps to keep children from putting things into electrical receptacles/outlets.

Happy Holidays from Kim SchreinerKim Schreiner, ePRO, SFR, Realtor
RE/MAX Affiliates, NE
The #1 RE/MAX Office in the City of Philadelphia
Office: 215.992.1726
Cell: 215.510.2149