There are a number of conflicting philosophies and ideas regarding whether or not the practice of rewarding children for good conduct is beneficial. Some people contend that it’s an effective way of shaping your children’s behavior, while others argue that it amounts to little more than bribery.
Arguments for rewarding kids
One reason rewards work is that they encourage kids to practice a behavior until it becomes a habit. Reward systems also teach children that privileges are earned. Additionally, they offer them tangible proof that their actions are noticed and worthwhile.
Arguments against rewarding kids
If this is a concern for you, consider pointing out the results of your children’s behavior. For example, eating broccoli makes you strong and healthy and sharing with your little sister makes her happy.
As with most parenting dilemmas, there’s no one right answer. If you do choose to use rewards, consider implementing a token economy system where children can earn points towards something they’ll look forward to, such as a fun experience or extra privileges at home. Once the learned behavior becomes a habit, you can phase out the rewards in favor of praise and acknowledgement.
Basement insulation 101
Insulation keeps your basement warm in the winter, cool in the summer and dry all year long. But because it’s underground, you can’t approach insulating this area the same way you would the rest of the house. Here’s what you should know.
Exterior or interior?
If you’re building a new home, insulating the exterior of the basement walls is preferable. Exterior insulation prevents heat loss, inhibits moisture infiltration and takes up less space inside the house.
On an existing home, however, insulating the foundation is impractical and very expensive. Insulating behind the drywall provides similar heat retention and moisture inhibition. However, it does take up more room, which may be a consideration for people with smaller basements.
The most commonly used types of insulation in basements are foam board, fiberglass and spray foam. Fiberglass is inexpensive but can settle and doesn’t protect from moisture. Spray foam is the most expensive type but can be used almost anywhere and, if properly installed, is water and air proof. Foam board is the easiest to install.
An uninsulated basement can be overly cold in the winter, too hot in the summer and uncomfortably damp year-round. By insulating the space, you’ll lower your energy bills and make it a more comfortable part of your home.
How to keep your appliances running like new
If you’ve recently purchased new appliances, you may be wondering how to make sure they continue to run. Here’s what you need to know.
Don’t pack your fridge too full, as this can block airflow and make the components work harder than necessary. You should also vacuum the compressor and wipe the door gasket with soapy water at least twice a year.
Stove and oven
Keep the oven clear of food buildup by periodically running the self-clean feature or manually scrubbing it down. Keep electric coils or gas elements clean and avoid dragging your pots and pans over glass-ceramic cooktops. Wash the surface regularly with warm, soapy water or a special cleaner.
Always rinse your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. If there’s a filter, make sure to clean it regularly so it doesn’t get clogged with food particles. Once a month, run it on empty with vinegar to keep it clean.
Never overload your washing machine and make sure to empty clothing pockets so the drum doesn’t get damaged. Run a monthly cleaning cycle with hot water and vinegar. Always keep the door open after a wash to allow the interior to completely dry.
Clean the lint trap after every cycle and wash it monthly to make certain the filter doesn’t get clogged. At least once a year, get your dryer ducts professionally cleaned. This will ensure that your machine runs smoothly and decrease the risk for house fires.
To find out more about how to take care of your specific appliance, be sure to consult your owner’s manual. Though these tips are a great start, they shouldn’t replace the care instructions provided by the manufacturer.
Identity theft: prevention and intervention
How many times over the past year have you entered your name, address, phone number, email address, birthdate and other sensitive information into a sign-up form?
Unfortunately, this information can be used by fraudsters to usurp your identity, allowing them to obtain credit in your name or perform other criminal acts. Here’s how you can reduce the risk of identity theft, and what you should do if it happens to you.
• Always check your bank and credit card statements for suspicious activity.
• Only use trusted and protected websites to make payment transactions.
• Don’t use password auto-fill features, as these store all your passwords in one place, which could be disastrous if someone gains access to it.
• Shred documents containing sensitive information when you don’t need them anymore.
• Never give sensitive information (like your credit card or social security number) over the phone or by email.
• Leave your passport and social security number at home unless you absolutely need them.
• Consult your credit report once a year.
If you think you’re the victim of identity theft, contact the police immediately and then notify the relevant governmental authorities, your financial institution, the credit companies you have accounts with and any other organization who could be affected by the incident.
Additionally, you should ask for your credit report and close any fraudulent accounts. You’ll also need to cancel all unauthorized transactions individually by contacting the affiliated creditors directly.
Rebuilding your credit after someone steals your identity may be challenging. Some experts recommend investing in identity theft and fraud insurance, which is sometimes offered by financial institutions.
To report a fraud to the Federal Trade Commission or to receive further prevention tips, visit identitytheft.gov.
What to expect the first week of summer camp
Is your child anticipating their first summer camp experience? If so, knowing what to expect may reassure them — or simply satisfy their curiosity. Here’s some information you may want to share.
Their first day
When they first arrive at camp, kids will be able to check out the area, meet their fellow campers and get to know their counselors. There will also likely be games and activities that allow everyone to get to know each other.
What they’ll do
Most summer camps offer an array of activities for kids to learn, explore and have fun. And whether it’s a specialized camp or a more traditional one, the itinerary is sure to include singing around a campfire.
Where they’ll eat
Generally, meals at camps are served in a cafeteria similar to the one where your child has lunch at school.
What if they get hurt?
Everyone who works at the camp should be trained in basic first aid and will be able to deal with regular cuts and scratches. There should also be a nurse available onsite to help with anything more concerning.
Where they’ll sleep
Your child may sleep in a tent, dormitory or shared bedroom, depending on the type and location of their camp. One thing that’s common to all camps is that boys and girls sleep in different areas and that counselors bunk separately.
If your son or daughter still has questions, don’t hesitate to contact the camp. They’ll be happy to assuage any fears and share more information.
How to feature bright colors in your wedding
An increasing number of brides and grooms are incorporating bright colors into their wedding outfits and decor. Here’s how to do the same.
Choose the right color
While red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet look great on a rainbow, it may be overwhelming to use them all at your wedding. Instead, choose only one or two of your favorite colors.
Or, choose colors based on the meaning behind them and the feelings they evoke. For example, green is the color of renewal and balance, while blue calls to mind feelings of serenity and peace.
Use color judiciously
Incorporating colors into your wedding doesn’t mean everything should be bright and bold. Instead, favor neutrals and use your chosen hue as an accent here and there. The bride’s bouquet, bridesmaids’ dresses, centerpieces and the groom and groomsmen’s ties are perfect places to inject a vibrant shade.
For a look that’s rich and voluptuous, be sure to use different shades and textures of your chosen color.
10 things you can rent for your wedding
If you’re planning a wedding, there’s no need to buy everything you’ll need for the event. Here are 10 things to consider renting instead.
1. Tables and chairs. Even if your venue offers them, you may prefer to choose different ones that better suit your theme.
2. Table linens and napkins. These come in a number of colors and styles and can be selected to complement your wedding esthetic.
3. Lighting. Add lights to create the precise ambiance you’re looking for.
4. Centerpieces. You’ll need to purchase the flowers, but many florists offer vases as rental items.
5. Tents. If you’re hosting an outdoor wedding, it’s important to have a plan in place in case it rains.
6. Lounge furniture. An area with comfortable chairs and couches is a great place to rest between dances.
7. Dancefloor. A space to cut the rug is a must at most weddings. If your venue doesn’t have one, rent it.
8. China, flatware and stemware. Your caterer or venue may have some that you can use, but you may wish to upgrade to nicer looking pieces.
9. Photo backdrop. Whether you’re planning a photobooth or not, a beautiful backdrop is sure to be a hit with selfie-loving guests.
10. Entertainment. If you want to make sure your guests have fun, rent some large scale games or even a bouncy castle to keep them talking.
To simplify your life, find a company that offers full rental services and can include everything you need in one package.