Driving Safety and Insurance for Teens

 

 

The time has come for your kid to join the millions of drivers on the road today. This can be one of the most nerve-wracking moment in a parent’s life. Your child is branching out on their own and becoming more and more independent. As a parent, you want to ensure that you’ve done all that you can for your kids to be as safe as possible. Naturally, this includes when they get behind the wheel and start driving.

Teenagers are sometimes known to throw caution to the wind. Unfortunately, this is even more common in teen drivers. Parents can do their part by promoting safe driving habits early on in their teen’s driving career. More importantly, this is the best chance that parents will have in shutting down dangerous driving habits before they begin. Not only can this help teen drivers avoid getting into accidents, it can also help lower their insurance premiums and keep them low. The following strategies can help you shape your teen into a safe and confident driver.

1. Sign Them up for a Professional Driving Course

With teen drivers, a professional driving course is often a good place to start. Your teen will receive personal instruction from professionals in a safe and regulated environment. Additionally, driving programs usually have cars with special equipment that are outfitted for instruction. Commonly known as dual control, a driving instructor will have access to a duplicate steering wheel, brake and accelerator so they can take control if a student makes a mistake or panics.

A professional driving course will give your teen a chance to get comfortable being in the driver’s seat and maneuvering a car for the first time. Also, a trained instructor is more familiar with inexperienced drivers which gives them a unique insight into gauging what a teen driver is ready to handle. Many insurance companies also offer discounts for completing a driver training program. Overall, teen drivers of all experience levels can benefit from the instruction of a professional driving teacher.

2. Teach Your Teen About Defensive Driving

Teens that are just beginning to drive usually haven’t picked up advanced scanning or other defensive driving techniques. Most beginning drivers try to be so focused that they only pay attention to the road in front of them. Instead, these tips can help your teen drive defensively and avoid risks on the road.

  • Avoid aggressive driving– Leave plenty of space between you and the car in front of you. Before switching lanes, make sure you have an ample amount of room between the cars around you. Avoid switching lanes frequently to get ahead in traffic.
  • Scan your surroundings frequently – Check your mirrors and surroundings frequently. Look out for aggressive drivers and potential obstacles in your way. Slow down and avoid any risky driving situations.
  • Do not assume other drivers will be safe – When driving, it’s best to assume and prepare for other drivers to make bad decisions. Keep a safe distance and be prepared to react to the worst-case scenarios.

3. Talk to Your Teenager about Impaired Driving

Driving while impaired can significantly increase the risk of a car accident. Impaired driving includes driving under the influence and while drowsy. Unfortunately, the mix of driving inexperience and impairment makes teenagers the drivers  most likely to be in a car accident. Car accidents are the largest cause of death for teens from the ages of 15 to 19. Talk to your teen about preventing car accidents by never driving while impaired.

Driving Under the Influence

It is important that your teenager understands the potential consequences of drinking and driving, both legal and within your household.  When you talk to them about dealing with peer pressure surrounding drinking, let them know that they can call you for a ride in any circumstance. Being supportive and non-judgmental with your teen can possibly make the all difference in their decisions about drinking and driving.

Driving While Drowsy

Drowsy driving is also incredibly common in teenagers and other inexperienced drivers. In fact, driving while sleepy is quite possibly more common than drinking and driving. This can lead to disaster because being sleepy can impair your judgement, vision, hand-eye coordination and reaction times just as much as alcohol and drugs. Make sure your teen knows some of the common indicators of drowsiness in drivers including:

  • Having trouble focusing on the road or keeping their eyes open.
  • Frequent yawning or eye rubbing.
  • Drifting from their lanes or missing signs.
  • Having to turn their radio up or roll down the windows to maintain focus.
  • A slower reaction time.

If your teen driver notices any of these signs, they should pull over somewhere safe and take a power nap, drink some caffeine or let someone else drive if possible. To avoid sleepy driving, talk to your teen about avoiding driving late at night.

4. Make Sure Your Teen Drives a Safe Car

Auto manufacturers have started to offer cars with safety features that can help teens avoid distracted driving and stay aware of their surroundings. Some of these features include blind spot monitoring, lane departure warnings and backup cameras. Additionally, cars with safety features may be eligible for insurance discounts. Saving money and keeping your teenager safe are both great reasons to finance a new vehicle with added safety features.

Great Christmas Gift Ideas for the Whole Family

It’s that time of year when we all let our hair down, relax and enjoy the festive spirit. Or at least try to relax, because there’s always the problem of deciding what to buy for everyone! It’s especially hard if you are short of money – and aren’t we all in these demanding days – so we thought we’d look at some great ideas that could save you money. What we’ve done is looked at gifts that will be appreciated by all the family, so you don’t have to worry about several gifts!

Fun and Games

Our first suggestion is something that can involve all the family, young and old alike, and will get you spending time together and enjoying yourselves. We’re talking about buying some games – board games, of the traditional style, perhaps, or maybe one of the many cheap arcade games for playing on a computer – that will always be fun for all the family. Board games are very much back in fashion these days, so have a look around and see what you can find!

Take a Break

Why not book a weekend break for all the family? It doesn’t have to be anywhere far away or exotic, perhaps a nearby city that you visit only rarely, or a beach resort within easy reach? There are some great deals available – especially out of season – on both accommodation and travel, and you can all take a welcome break from the festive season and daily life and take the opportunity to wind down and relax somewhere different. It makes sense, and you may be surprised how affordable it is.

Gift Baskets

Another of the Christmas gift ideas that came to us when researching was that of gift baskets. You can find a wide variety of these baskets and hampers and they make a great gift for the family. From simple baskets with sweets that kids will love to more luxurious hampers you can find them all, and it’s a simple way of making sure everyone is happy with the gift you give them. You may even find one that covers everyone, so have a look now for inspiration.

Home Help

No, we don’t mean getting a maid, but something better: what about buying  the family a Google Home or Amazon Echo device? These handy items link with your Wi-Fi and are fun and helpful, with plenty of features that all the family will appreciate, and your youngsters will enjoy telling their friends you have finally entered the 21st century! In a similar vein, what about a subscription to one of the many TV streaming channels around? This can be an excellent way of finding entertainment on those cold nights!

These are a few of our ideas for great Christmas gifts and we are sure you will have your own. Why not have read through and see if there’s anything among the above that inspires you? We’re sure you’ll find something to save you money and please the whole family!

Try the Best Weight Loss Program

Losing weight is never easy, but it’s something that most of us have to deal with at some point in life. Whether you’ve had a particularly heavy season of eating and partying, or you’ve simply allowed yourself to put on a few pounds here and there, there’s always a desire to get back to the weight you preferred, and there are always many people offering you the best possible weight loss regimes.

The question is: which of them work? There is one that offers you a great way of losing weight, by way of tailored programs that recognise each of us is an individual. It’s from Medifast, and they have helped many people in the Wisconsin and Minnesota regions lose the weight they need, quickly and effectively. This is not one of those that promises you a ‘miracle result’; it’s a carefully planned and fully supported weight loss program that really does the job. So what’s it all about?

Customized Program

The Medifast approach is to work with each individual client to achieve the results they want, and this means effective and efficient weight loss that is successful every time. Many satisfied clients have already taken benefit of the knowledge and expertise that is offered by the team, so you should check them out now and see just what they have to offer you.

The program is all about what you eat, and why, and features a variety of carefully planned meal options put together by people with the appropriate medical experience and qualifications. Medifast works with a team of dieticians and nutritionists, all local so they can offer the right level of support, to arrive at a plan for you that is tailored to your needs, so that each client is attended to with the right level of attention to detail.

Lasting Changes

What the Medifast program also aims to do is provide you with a future plan to keep to your diet and to ensure that your weight is kept to the right levels. They understand that incorrect weight can lead to further health problems, and will work with you to see that while you eat healthy and nutritious food when on the program, you can continue to do so once your initial aims have been met.

It’s all about bringing about lasting changes, changes that mean you will feel better as well as look better, and that mean you can actually enjoy your diet, rather than eating unhealthy food that will send you in the right direction. Anyone looking to take part in the Medifast plan will be given an initial consultation, in which an expert on the team will be able to advise on how to approach your particular situation.

It is this sort of attention to detail that makes Medifast the stand-out weight loss program in the region, so if this is for you, why not get in touch now and set yourself away on the path to a more enjoyable and more healthy lifestyle.

Take the Stress Out of Moving By Hiring the Experts

Moving house is acknowledged as one of the most stressful experiences of all, and for many reasons! There is simply so much to do, so much to think about, and then there’s the physical element of getting everything you own from one place to another. Even if it is your first move and you don’t have a lot to shift, it can still be a tome of anguish and anger, and even the most carefully-planned house moves can go awry surprisingly easily!

Things get even more difficult when you have young children in the house. You need to make sure they are not overlooked – and kept out of the way – on the day of the move, but in the run-up to moving you also have to consider the best way to keep kids happy and not upset their routine. For example, you might be throwing away some of their older toys or belongings, and the key to doing this without upset is to wait until they are asleep!

What can you do to make sure everything goes to plan? Well, we found a great page with some childproof moving tips, and we have some more ideas for you to check out. Let’s have a closer look!

DIY or Professional?

Consider your options: you can hire a van, get some friends around to help you move the heavy stuff, and move yourself. Pack everything in boxes beforehand and you make it a lot easier, too. This is a solution that will work if you are moving into your first home or, for example, you live on your own or are a couple without much in the way of household furniture. For a family, however, with a full house of furniture and all that comes with the kids, it’s not the best way to ensure a trouble-free move.

If you want to get your move underway and done smoothly and with not trouble, why not get the experts in to do the job for you? There are plenty of companies offering top class moving services and solutions in and around the Birmingham, Alabama region – including Easy Moves, who have many years of experience and have helped many satisfied customers move house without a hitch – and they have the knowledge to get you into your new home quickly and without a problem.

A professional team will ensure your precious goods and furnishings are treated with care, will be covered by a good insurance policy, and will perform their duty in a friendly and caring fashion, with due attention to detail in every aspect of the job. Meanwhile, you can sit back and deal with the minor parts of the job, keep the kids occupied and out of the way, and make sure that everything is in place for the guys doing the job – and make them the odd cup of tea here and there!

For more information, why not check out Easy Moves, and see how affordable it can be to get the experts in.

Brighten Up Your Home Before You Sell with These Easy Tips

Selling your house means going up against everyone else who is doing the same thing, and there are bound to be other properties that offer pretty much what you have to offer. That’s why it pays to take a little time and brighten up your home before you start inviting viewings.

People want to see a home that they could live in – as opposed to the one that you currently live in – so what can you do to make sure your house looks bright, fresh and inviting, and is the one that people will want to buy? Let’s have a look at some simple, cheap ideas that will give you the upper hand.

Tidy up! – by tidy up we don’t just mean put things away, we mean take away all of your personal clutter, remove any furniture that is there just for your own needs, and get rid of anything that is simply taking up space. Remember, you are selling them a home that they want to live in, and they may not have your own preference for small ornaments, nor do they need to see rooms stuffed full of furniture. Which brings us nicely to the next point.

Create Space – if, for example, you have a large and imposing suite in your lounge, consider putting it in storage and buying – or borrowing – a smaller, simple one that doesn’t overpower the room. Also, take away any occasional chairs and tables that are taking up space, and try and have every room as sparsely furnished as is possible. This way, you will be able to give the viewers a sense of the real space available in the rooms.

Freshen Up – when were your rooms last painted? The paintwork might look fine to you, but you’re used to it! To other people it may well look very tired, and if you are one for bold colours,  that can be very off-putting for viewers. Consider repainting rooms in neutral paint colours for the best effect. This gives the ‘blank canvas’ look that viewers want to see, so they can easily imagine stamping their own identity on the rooms. It’s not as expensive as you may think, and while it will take up a little of your time, you will find it worth your while.

Tidy the Garden – your viewers will want to see what you have to offer outside, too, so make sure you cut the lawn if you have one, clear away any fallen leaves and other debris, make sure your plants look neat and tidy, and make everything presentable. Also, de-clutter the garage of any accumulated junk you may have in there – you’ll be surprised how important a spacious, tidy garage is to some buyers!

That’s a few ideas for tidying up your house and giving it a fresh look, and there are many more, so set aside some time to get the jobs done, and give yourself the best chance of enticing those buyers.

Spend More Time In The Sun With A Better Backyard

 

There’s nothing more important than spending quality time with your family over the summer. When the kids are out of school and you’re ready to cash in your vacation days, you want to make the most of the warm weather and the freedom to go outdoors. After a long winter, nothing’s going to feel better than improving your tan or just sitting outside with a book in the backyard.

With some outdoor improvement tips, you can transform your backyard into an outdoor extension of your home.

First, start with patio furniture that’s conducive to spending hours outside. A glass or metal-top dining table and weatherproof chairs will have you eating al fresco seven nights a week. With a barbecue or a fire pit, you can grill up anything without having to heat up your home.

Second, installing a fire pit for your backyard not only opens up a whole new world of dinner options (including smoky barbecued meats), you can also enjoy the warmth and light of a camp fire without having to get out of town. Fire pits are the safest way to enjoy a fire in your backyard.

If you want to use your backyard more often at night, you need some good lighting. Your home’s back patio light can be over-bright and kill the mood. Instead, try using strings of fairy lights to add some charm, solar lights in the grass, or even hang tea candles in jars around your patio.

Of course, even with the weather, it can feel like a battle getting your kids out of the house and enjoying the outdoors. Even the summer sunshine has a tough time competing with smartphones, laptops, and video games.

Instead of struggling to coax your kids outside when the sun is out, try organizing some backyard games with friends or family on the weekends. These fun game ideas require minimal equipment.

  1. Giant Jenga: This outdoor take on a classic family-oriented game will have you on the edge of your seat. Instead of tiny wood pieces, paint some 2x4sto replicate the game. Not ideal for small kids, but with older kids it will be a blast. Just make sure to get out of the way when that tower starts to come down.
  2. Water Balloon Dodge Ball: When it’s so hot out that a blast of cold water exploding on you feels like a real relief. There’s only one rule in water balloon dodge ball – don’t aim at the face.
  3. Glow-in-the-Dark Capture the Flag: If you’ve got an enormous yard that’s perfect for running around, try an evening game of capture the flag that uses glowsticks instead of flags.

These are just a few ideas to get your kids outside for some family fun and activities. If you don’t feel like getting wet yourself, save them for the next time you have people over on a long weekend and you can let the kids tire themselves out.

The summer is your time to shine. Get your backyard in shape for days and days of fun, games, guests, and tasty meals.

3 Reasons To Cultivate Your Child’s Musical Education

 

 

It’s generally pretty well established that musical education is something that will help a young person in the development of both their intelligence and their personality. Despite this fact, music programs in most of Canada’s public schools are under fire and in danger of losing all their funding. The reason that provincial governments will often give is that music is not an essential skill like math or computer skills; a school would be much more likely to receive funding for a computer lab where kids can learn coding than a music room and a decent collection of instruments.

And while math and computer skills are definitely important, an analysis of the job market and where it will be in ten years’ time suggests that creativity and the ability to think flexibly will be the most important skills. Jobs that have been performed by humans for as long as we can remember will be automated, and it will be up to our kids to grow into decisive, confident grownups who can navigate a complicated future and carve out a niche for themselves.

So yes, emphasizing math and computers is important, but if kids aren’t brought up with a pursuit that stimulates creativity and opens those neural pathways that help with flexible thinking, they may run into trouble. The idea of choosing a specialty and sticking with it over an entire career is becoming totally anachronistic, so making sure that your child builds confidence and a unique creative voice is more important now than ever before if they are to have a happy and successful life.

So even though you’ve probably read a list similar to this one before, here are some less obvious benefits of music lessons for kids that may not have necessarily occurred to you:

Helps the Educational Process:

There are at least four ways that music will enhance your child’s overall learning abilities: it will certainly improve their motor skills; it can help them see the correlation between hard work, achievement and gratification (when they finally nail that piano number they’ve been working on); it helps to improve memory function, and finally, music can improve abstract reasoning abilities.

Ignites the Creative Fire:

The easiest way to explain this benefit is to say that exploring music, even if your kids are going off of sheet music, is that playing music will probably lead to improvisation at some point, even if it is purely by chance. This creative spirit allows us to think outside the box and dig up solutions and ideas that are off the established grid: the kind of ideas that can transform a business or lead to an important discovery. The more scientific way to explain this is to say: music helps the right and left hemispheres of the brain to communicate with each other.

Helps with Mathematics:

Learning music helps forge strong neural pathways that are related to the way the brain processes and completes a math problem. Classical music – the rhythms and notes – are essentially mathematical; reading music will help your child see math as a more multi-dimensional discipline rather than a dry pile of boring numbers. It may also help them ace calculus without breaking a sweat!

Removing Unwanted or Diseased Trees

The sheer variety of trees that can grow in and around your garden is bewildering. Some are very beautiful indeed, and make for a wonderful addition to your garden landscape, and some can grow to quite considerable size. If you are planting trees, take care to get all the advice you can on which type to include in your garden, as you need to think a long time into the future to see the eventual impact a mature tree may have on your landscape. You may be surprised, too, how quickly some trees grow!

In a garden that already has trees, maintenance is an essential part of their life. Trees with branches that – if allowed to grow out too far – might overhang powerlines, roads and paths or other public areas need to be kept under control. This means regular cutting back of such branches – and the removal of damaged parts of the tree – to keep them under control. It is essential that you perform this maintenance before things get dangerous, as then it will be far more costly.

Use the Experts

You may be able to prune your shrubs, or even dig out and remove those that you want to get rid of, but when it comes to trees things move up to another level. Trees can be very large, and even the smaller ones need expert help to maintain and remove. If you have trees that are diseased, for example, you need to get rid of them before the disease passes to the rest; this is a job for the experts for a variety of reasons.

To begin with, removing trees requires not only the correct knowledge and understanding, but also the use of specialist machinery and equipment. Larger trees also require careful planning to cut down, as you need to be sure they will fall in a direction that will not cause damage or injury to persons nearby. Even cutting down damaged branches is a job for the expert, as they will be able to do the job professionally, quickly and correctly, using the right techniques and with the desired results.

Further Services

If you are looking for local tree removal and maintenance services click here and you will find details of a reputable company with many years of experience in the business of tree services. They can offer you help with everything from felling and removing damaged or unwanted trees to the removal of stumps – a very difficult job that requires plenty of expertise and equipment, and that should never be attempted as DIY. They can also offer you expert pruning and trimming services, so you can keep your young and mature trees in top condition.

Trees are wonderful to have around if they are well-maintained and kept under control, so why not get in touch with your local tree service experts now for a free no obligation quote, or to ask them for expert advice on all your tree maintenance and service requirements.

Fit New Windows for that New Home Look

Your home is the place where you spend most of your life. Whether that’s relaxing in the evening, spending weekends with the family, cooking meals or simply sleeping, it’s all time that adds up. That means that your home is working all the time, and in doing so, it is costing money. Every home needs to be heated, and to have water that is usable and hot. Yet, there may be areas in which you are losing energy – and therefore money – without being aware.

Your windows, for example; how old are they, and are they as efficient as they could be? After all, windows do more than just let in light. They are there for ventilation when the weather gets too hot, and they provide insulation when the colder months come around. Did you know, however, that leaking or inefficient windows can cost as much as 30% more in energy loss than those that are doing the job? That’s why fitting new windows – which may look like an expense you could possibly avoid – starts to save you money as soon as the job is done.

More About Windows

Your home may be of a certain age where it still has the original – perhaps wood-framed – windows. This is great, and they do look beautiful, but wood rots over the years, and once it does so the efficiency of the frames is reduced. There are many new forms of wood-framed windows that are much more energy efficient yet just as beautiful, plus there are the PVC versions too, which offer added benefits in longevity and insulation.

It is worth talking to a local expert about replacement windows as they will be able to advise you on the best course of action. With so many different options around, and the type of window that suits you being dependent upon a variety of factors, you need expert help so that you can be sure of getting the best possible job at the right price. This is where the local expert is important – they will be able to keep costs down thanks to shorter travelling distances and using local suppliers for the raw materials.

Style and Security

Windows are not, then, just about letting in light; we know that they are an aid to energy-efficiency, and that they are there for ventilation and insulation. They are also a form of security, which is something your old, wood framed windows may not provide. Modern window frames are designed with security in mind – an open or easily opened window is one of the commonest entry places in burglaries – and come with a wise choice of locks and other protection.

Even the modern PVC windows are designed to be attractive, so you will be able to find the replacement windows that suit your property, and once you have new, insulated and efficient windows installed, you will start saving money immediately. Get the experts in to survey your property and give you a quote – you may be surprised how affordable it is to have new windows.

How To Teach Your Kids The Importance Of Clean Up

 

 

As the mom, you’re used to cleaning up your kids’ messes. And there a lot of them. Kids are professionals when it comes to making messes and novices when it comes to cleaning up after themselves. But there are only so many dishes you can scrub and toys you can pick up before your patience runs out. Before you explode and yell your kids into action, consider talking with your children about their responsibilities in the household. Here are some tips to keep in mind when you lay down new laws.

Establish clear, consistent rules…

Your kids aren’t mind readers. Though they may realize you’re frustrated, they may not understand connect your mood to the toys left out on the floor. Outline what you expect out of them each night. Take the time to explain the tasks you want them to do. Writing them down on a chore list or a schedule can be a great visual reminder for those kids who struggle with verbal commands.

However you deliver them, consistency is an important element to your rules. Don’t allow them to ditch dinner clean-up duties one night and then yell at them the next time they try to escape without helping.

… And the consequences of breaking them

You need to establish an appropriate penalty if they fail to help with cleaning. Let’s say you want them to put away their toys after they’re done playing with them. The first time they forget to do it, don’t clean up after them. Remind them of their promise and make sure they tidy up after themselves. You should also give them a warning that if they do it again, there will be a consequence. If they forget to tidy up a second time, you may want to take away the toy(s) they leave out. Or you could cancel your planned trip to see Peter Rabbit in theaters.

Don’t lose your patience

Kids will be kids. Sometimes even when they think they’re helping, they end up making a bigger mess than what they started with. They may break the tickle trunk you use to hold their toys. They may drop their art supplies and spread paint all over the carpet. They may drop a stack of plates when all they meant to do was put them away. Though this can be frustrating, don’t lose your patience and yell at them so profusely they’ll never want to help ever again. Explain what they did wrong and how they can stop it from happening again. Like the rules above, ensure there are consequences if they don’t listen to you when you tell them to be careful.

Have a backup plan

As you can imagine, buying a new storage trunk, cleaning a carpet, or replacing a set of dishes can be expensive. A backup plan can help you cover these financial emergencies when your kids’ best efforts to help go awry. If you don’t have a rainy-day fund that covers these unexpected expenses, you can turn to a personal loan company like MoneyKey for help. These lenders offer cash loans that help you pay for these emergencies by using methods that fit your busy schedule. You don’t have to make time to send off an application or sit through an interview. They do most of their business online, which is why so many moms use short term loans. You don’t have to find a babysitter while you apply. As long as you have a tablet or laptop, you can apply, receive, and repay your loan from anywhere and anytime you have a secure connection.

Break down the chore into steps

Often disaster strikes when they race through a big job without taking care for each step. You can minimize the chance your kids cause damage by breaking each chore into smaller, more manageable stages.

It may be difficult at first, but when you stick to your guns, eventually your kids will see your word rules. Sometimes you might have to be hard on them, but ultimately you aren’t their friend. You’re their mother. You need to make sure they develop a sense of responsibility for their surroundings. Not only will it take a load off your chores at home, but it will help you raise a considerate and competent child who can clean up their own messes.