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Allowance for Kids – Should Children get an Allowance, How Much, and at What Age?

Allowances for children is a heavily debated subject with parents. Should kids get an allowance? If so, how much? At what age? What chores should they do for their allowance? The questions go on and on.

I grew up getting an allowance. I don’t remember how much, but I do remember getting it. So the allowance I got was worth remembering. My sister and I had to do chores for our allowance. From what I remember it was fairly simple chores such as keeping things picked up, doing the dishes, setting the table for dinner, etc. I have a very faint memory of having a chore chart for our allowance, but in my opinion chore charts are a good idea. They give kids a clear idea of what they have to do.

I personally think allowances for children is a good idea. It helps them start to understand the basic concepts behind money. How much? It’s a tough question. The allowance can’t be too small or they won’t care. To big and they’ll get spoiled. If it’s the right amount they’ll learn to appreciate it and will be willing to work to keep it. It gives them a responsibility around the house and they’ll have something to show for completing that responsibility. What age is best to start an allowance? Another good question. I personally think about 8 to 10 yrs old is a good age, but every parent has to think about what’s right for their child.

For any parent contemplating an allowance for their children, I’ve compiled a blend of articles and resources below that discuss this topic. In this parenting tip blend you’ll find articles and resources on kids allowances, should children get an allowance and why, how much, what age, chore charts and much more.

Do you have a favorite article on this subject? Share it below in a comment.

Kids Allowance “The Blend”

Do you know of a helpful article to add to our list? Share it below.

What’s your opinion on allowances? Share it below.

Photo by GoodNCrazy

Things for New or Expecting Parents to Consider when Buying a New Home

Buying a new home is exciting. Especially for new or expecting parents. Many new or expecting parents base a potential home purchase on things like the number of rooms, bathrooms and area/neighborhood. While these are important things, many parents with older children have a much different view on what’s important.

My daughters are now 8 and 10 yrs old. While I love our home, there are many things about it that would have made me think twice about buying it, if I knew then what I know now. What kids do when they’re 8 and 10 is very different from what they did at 3 and 5 yrs old. For any new or expecting parent that’s about to start looking to buy a new home, I’ll include my suggestions and opinions below. Some of these may seem silly for new parents, but trust me, they matter. I’ll also include some general tips and suggestions that deal with safety in and around a new potential home purchase.

This list is not intended to be a comprehensive checklist. I invite other parents with older children to add to it… what tips and suggestions can you add to this list? Share your opinion and help other new or expecting parents.

  • Try to avoid having a door to the backyard in the main living area. It may seem like a good idea, but as your children grow, that door will get used more than a door at a shopping mall. Open, close, open, close.. and on and on. Most of the time getting slammed since kids can’t shut a door quietly. If this door is in your main family room or living area, forget trying to relax during the day.
  • If possible, have a home with two living areas or a separate game-room/TV room. I know in many areas of the country having extra space like this is not possible because of the cost of homes. However, if it is possible in your situation, try having this extra space for you and your spouse to relax. Your kids will take over one area, leaving you with another room to relax in. Try to get a home where this extra space is separated by a wall or two, so your kids loudness and playing doesn’t make it’s way into the separate area.
  • If you’re considering a two story home, try to get all the bedrooms on one level. This is really a matter of personal preference, but one that I feel is important. It keeps your kids at a safe distance and lets you react faster if they need you. For example, if they have a bad dream. It’s nice to not have to walk up or down the stairs to comfort them. On the flip side though, you’ll probably want some space between the rooms when your children are older. My preference is all the bedrooms on the same level, but the master being separated from the children’s room by a quest room that isn’t occupied very often.
  • If possible, purchase a home with a long driveway. A driveway is a much safer place to play than the street.
  • Avoid home on busy streets, corner lots and back streets. Kids don’t think about safety when they play. They don’t think about cars coming down the street. Avoid busy main streets and you’ll remove a potential danger. Corner lots pose a danger from dangerous, drunk or bad drivers missing the corner. Back streets can sometimes back up to forest or vacant land. Don’t give your kids the chance to wonder off or play with the snake or animal coming from the vacant lot.
  • Think twice about a home with a pool. Pools are wonderful to have, but for the parents with a baby or young child they can be deadly. Consider a neighborhood that has a community pool and not a pool in the backyard. It gives you control on when they go swimming and as a bonus you and your kids will benefit socially by meeting other neighbors. If do you buy a home with a pool, make sure all the latest up to date safety equipment is in place in and around the pool (fence, gates, locks, alarms, etc.).
  • Peek over the fence at who your neighbors may be. How do they keep their yard, pool, etc. Do they have dogs. Do the dogs look aggressive or dangerous. Is their pool properly protected with fencing and locked gates?
  • Does the home you’re looking at have safe playground equipment? Is the equipment anchored correctly with the proper cushioning around the swings, etc? If you don’t think it safe or needs attention, try to get this worked in so the current owner fixes it on their dime.
  • Do the windows of the home have good locks or guards? If they don’t, try to get the current owner to fix this.
  • Does the home have stairs? Stairs are like a magnet for babies and young children. If the home you’re looking at has stairs, look closely to make sure the proper safety gates can be installed after you buy the home.
  • Do all the electrical outlets near the sinks and wet areas have ground fault circuit interrupter’s (GFCI’s) in place?
  • Does every room have a smoke detector? Are carbon monoxide detectors in place? Try to get the current owner to cover this if you sign a contract to purchase the home.

When you’re looking around at homes for your family, try to think back when you were young. What kind of trouble did you get into to around the home. Think like a kid when you’re looking around and you may find some hidden dangers or problems in the home you’re considering buying. You probably won’t catch everything, but with some thought you’ll greatly increase the likelihood that the home you purchase will be an enjoyable and safe place for you, your spouse and children.

Do you have any tips for new parents? Share them below in a comment.

Be a Guest Blogger on the Parenting Tips Blender

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Your quest blog post could be a simple post that is only a paragraph or two… or it could be a series of posts that cover a wide range of topics helpful to parents. Either way, we would love to hear from you.

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Ready to be a quest blogger on the Parenting Tips Blender. Contact us here.

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Photo by Redden-McAllister



Baby Names & Meanings – Popular, Cute, or Uncommon Baby Names. What’s your choice for a baby name?

Baby names and their meanings are one of the most difficult decisions a new parent has to make. Do you choose a popular baby name, a cute baby name, an uncommon baby name, cool, unique or common name?

For most parents their are ideas floating around in their head long before a baby is even on the way. We’ve all had names we’ve come to love and hate as we grow up. Maybe it’s an old boyfriend or girlfriends name that you don’t like. It could be the name of a movie star you love. We’ll have these names in mind when the time comes to discuss baby names with our spouse. Will they match up with what your spouse likes and dislikes? The odds are against it. When it’s your time to start thinking about naming your baby, keep an open mind.

The decision can’t come lightly. Think seriously if you’re thinking about a baby name that is very unusual. Considering a baby name that has to do with some popular fad going on right now? Think again. You’ll probably not like it 5 years… or worse, your child will hate it when they grow up and end up having to change it. Choose wisely.

My wife and I personally went with a first name for both our girls that is more common. Then both of their middle names are somewhat on the unusual or uncommon side. We did it this way intentionally. Obviously we like all the names we chose. The benefit of this method is your child will have a choice when they grow up if they want to go by the common or unusual name. For example, our oldest daughter is more conservation in her personality. She’ll probably end up using her first name. Our other daughter though is a little wild. She’ll probably end up going by her middle name. It’s there choice… that’s the benefit of giving them both a common and uncommon name.

What was your choice for a baby name? Did you go crazy or did you stick with something common and popular? Still in the process of picking out a name? Share your comments below in the comment area.

Below are some of my favorite sites for baby names and baby name meanings. They’re in no particular order, but these baby name sites will give you some great suggestions if your starting the baby naming process for your boy or girl. Do you have a favorite baby name site? Share it below in a comment.

  • Baby Hold – Unique baby names and meaning, girl baby names, boy baby names, unique, celebrity and popular baby names and their meanings
  • Popular baby names – the Social Security Administrations list of the most popular baby names
  • Moms who Think – Boy and girl names, most popular names and tips on naming your baby
  • Baby Zone – baby names, their meanings and origins
  • the Bump – browse baby girl or baby boy names by origin, view celebrity baby names or the most popular names


“In the Blend” Spotlight – Travels with Baby (travelswithbaby.com)

Today’s spotlight is on “Travels with Baby”.

I love to travel, especially as a family with my two daughters. Whenever it’s vacation planning time I start searching around for family related travel sites. One of my favorite family/baby travel related sites is Shelly Rivoli’s Travel with Baby. Travel with Baby in “In the Blend” on our family travel page.

Shelly started Travelswithbaby.com back in 2004 while researching for her award winning book Travels with Baby: The Ultimate Guide for Planning Trips with Babies, Toddlers, and Preschool-Age Children.

Shelly’s site is packed full of helpful information. It’s especially helpful to those who are traveling with a baby or younger children. You’ll find a huge selection of articles that are a must read for new parents who are getting ready to travel with their baby. Tips on packing, travel destination for families, flying tips, products and gear that are best for travel, a directory of baby equipment rental companies, hotel and vacation property reviews, links and resources and much more.

If you’re getting ready to travel with your baby for the first time, be sure you check out Shelly’s site. You’ll find it’s some of the best and most helpful reading that you can find on the topic of traveling with your baby or family.

Follow Shelly on her Facebook page.


Family vacation to Quebec – Any kid friendly suggestions?

My wife and I just finished planning our Summer 2012 family vacation plans. Our next vacation will be to Quebec, Canada. When it’s just the two of us traveling we try to plan vacations away from the miserable Texas heat. Preferably into the mountains. Summer vacations though are for the family and are usually with our daughters.

Over the last three years the vacation plans were based around activities just for girls. Disneyworld, Disneyland, Beach trips, amusement parks and other stuff primarily for kids. This next trip we decided to make it more of a trip for the adults. We’ll be traveling to Montreal, Mont-Tremblant and Quebec City. We did find some fun stuff to do with our daughters, but our main reason for picking these cities is because it’s what we wanted to see.

By next summer our daughters will be 9 and 11 years old. A good portion of the stuff my wife and I want to see will probably bore the girls, but I know they’ll deal with it. I would like to find some other things that are great for kids.

Have you traveled with your family to Montreal, Mont-Tremblant or Quebec City… or anywhere near these cities?

If you have, I’d love to hear your suggestions for kid friendly activites. Please post your suggestions below in a comment.

Photo by David Paul Ohmer