ADHD Medications for Children

Posted April 3, 2015 By careforall

ADHD Medications for ChildrenParents of children with ADHD often face difficult decisions about ADHD medications and treatments. Fortunately, there are many types of ADHD medications for children. There are also various treatment strategies that parents can consider. However, not every medication or treatment is right for every child, and parents may need to find the right treatment through a trial and error process.

There are certain popular ADHD medications that are used by a majority of children with the condition. These medications include Ritalin, Concerta, and Metadate. Two other drugs that are commonly recommended by doctors are Adderall and Dexedrine.

However, there are downsides to taking ADHD medication. The first downside is that most ADHD medications require several dosages per day. This means that a child may have to take pills at school and in other cases when a parent may not be present. Parents may not always find it easy to coordinate dosage times, especially if a child is very busy and socially active. Furthermore, medications that must be taken in three to four hour intervals may feel overwhelming for both the parent and child.

Another downside to ADHD medication is the potential side effects related to ADHD drugs. Two common side effects are weight loss and loss of appetite. Other common side effects could include upset stomach, nausea, fatigue, and dizziness. Some ADHD medications cause mood swings and parents may feel they are simply exchanging one set of behavior problems for another. For some, the side effects from medication far outweigh the benefits.

ADHD medications may also become habit forming. This could lead to drug abuse and addiction. Some ADHD sufferers who have become addicted to medication suffer terrible withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking their medication or switch to a different treatment. Every person responds differently to ADHD medication. Some people have a significant improvement, while others may experience little to no relief at all.

Many healthcare professionals would not recommend depending on medication alone to help a child alleviate ADHD symptoms. Some would recommend combining ADHD medications with behavioral therapy. Behavioral modification therapy allows doctors to dramatically lower doses of ADHD medications that a child must take.

Medication isn’t the only treatment option for children with ADHD. There are a variety of nondrug options that can have a substantial impact. One powerful ADHD treatment is exercise. Exercise is an easy and effective way to reduce ADHD symptoms. Exercise helps alleviate ADHD symptoms by boosting the brain’s dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine levels – all of which affect a child’s focus and attention. Eating right can also help reduce symptoms. Children should eat healthy meals and snacks. Also, getting enough iron, zinc and magnesium all work to combat ADHD symptoms.

Fidgeting, inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity are all symptoms of ADHD. Children may experience these symptoms on a regular basis, but a good ADHD treatment should eliminate or greatly reduce these symptoms. If a medication or treatment doesn’t seem to work at reducing or eliminating ADHD symptoms, parents should look for additional options until they find something that works.

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How to Find A Good Nanny

Posted April 2, 2015 By careforall

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Many parents come to a point in their life where they need someone to help them care for their children. Finding the right childcare provider is one of the most important things that a parent will do for their child. Because the right care is so crucial, it isn’t unusual for parents to feel overwhelmed when searching for a nanny. Fortunately, there are several things that parents can do to help them find the perfect babysitter for heir children.

The first thing that a parent should consider when finding a babysitter is how much experience the caregiver has. According to the International Nanny Association, the experience of the babysitter is what matters most. Some nannies have been caring for children since they were kids themselves. Other nannies may not have as much experience. A good rule of thumb is to hire more experienced nannies for smaller children. The younger the child, the more experience the babysitter needs.

Set up an interview and speak with as many suitable applicants as you can. Ask lots of questions and make sure potential candidates understand and can meet your needs. If possible, allow the babysitter to spend time with the kids. Watch how they interact and simply observe. Also, it isn’t uncommon for parents to do a test job before hiring. A test job is sometimes exactly what a parent needs to make a decision.

Verifying the babysitter’s credentials and references is also essential. Not everyone is completely honest with potential employers. Career experts estimate that around 53% of people lie on their resume, and about 70% of college students admit they would lie to get a job. Parents should be sure to request references. Call the references and ask lots of questions. This helps provide a clear idea of how the nanny will be.

Parents shouldn’t leave the kids out of the decision when choosing a babysitter. Because the child will spend the most time with the babysitter, it’s vital that there is a good connection. The babysitter must be child-approved. If your child lights up at the sight of the nanny and can’t stop talking about her you may have found a perfect babysitter.

Searching for a babysitter isn’t something that happens overnight. Many parents spend a significant amount of time searching for the perfect babysitter. One of the best things that parents can do when searching for a nanny is consult a professional agency that can streamline the search. A professional agency can significantly cut down on the time involved.

Once you find a good babysitter, it’s necessary to take the right steps to keep her. First, parents should offer a fair wage. If the babysitter is underpaid, it’s only a matter of time before she moves on to a job that pays her fairly.

Second, Parents should be sure to keep the lines of communication open with their babysitter. If potential conflicts arise, the nanny should feel free to talk about it. Next, it’s wise to give the babysitter some vacation days. Caring for children is hard work. A day off every once in a while is key to keeping the babysitter refreshed. Finally, nannies should know that you appreciate them. Let the babysitter know you value her contributions to the family.

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How to Get a High Paying Job as a Nanny

Posted August 21, 2014 By careforall

There aren’t really any educational requirements to become a nanny other than real love for children. However, if you want to break out into the big time six figure salaries, there are certain qualifications, certifications and experience that can exponentially expand your job openings.

Get Experience
As with all other jobs, the more experienced you are, the more salary and bonuses you stand to make. If you have no experience as a nanny, you can always quote any prior experience you have working with children such as child minding your siblings, babysitting for your neighbors and so forth. Child minding siblings can be a big plus on your resume especially if you come from a large family. The amount of experience needed varies from family to family. As you build your experience, collect references and letters of recommendation from the families you have worked for. Solid, up-to-date references can be all the difference between a low and high paying job. If you can’t get an initial job to build up your child care experience and you don’t have prior experience working with children, volunteer to work with children. Working for free can help you gain experience quickly and expand your career opportunities.

Get an Associate’s Degree
As mentioned at the outset, there are no educational qualifications to become a nanny. But, if you want to earn much more than the average nanny, you should go to college and earn an associate’s degree in early childhood education. This course provides you with theoretical and technical knowledge on child psychology, development, behavior and special needs. You should combine an associate’s degree with parenting classes which will teach you communication and mentoring skills when dealing with children.

Join a Professional Nanny Organization
Being a member of professional association demonstrates your commitment and passion to a profession. It tells anyone looking at your resume that you take your work seriously. It also assures them that you conform to a minimum code of conduct which is reassuring to parents given the sensitive nature of working with children. An example of a professional nanny association is the International Nanny Association (INA) which administers professional exams to its members. An INA credential has the potential to add a few more digits to your annual salary.

Continuous Professional Development
Do not stop at an associate’s degree. To improve your future career prospects, you should continuously seek to improve your academic and professional qualifications. One way to do this is to complete the Child Development Associate (CDA) program. It is offered by the Council for Professional Recognition and makes you stand out as a professional in your field. Earning the title CDA calls for competence in several areas such as health, safety, child care and management, teaching and socialization.

As part of continuous professional development, you should also consider an advanced degree in early childhood education. There are also specialized short courses and post graduate diplomas offered by colleges which can add more “meat” to your resume.

By careforall

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Caring for Children with Special Needs

Posted August 20, 2014 By careforall

Do you need the skills to care for a child with special needs? Even the most experienced nannies may feel inadequate caring for a child with special needs. This view and attitude is in most cases driven by lack of sufficient understanding on the conditions affecting these children. Knowing what to expect can provides care givers with the confidence to succeed.
The following is a brief summary about three of the most common conditions.

As a child minder, the most important thing you need to know about children with autism is that they may have trouble understanding indirect/understated instructions, instructions and requests. Remember, autism is a developmental disorder that affects communication and social skills; some cases are mild while others are severe. Some children may become overcome by noisy environments and other may hate being touched. Find out as much as you can from the parent because each autistic child is unique. Here are some great pointers:
• Follow the kid’s routine, more so at bedtime and during meals
• Enquire about the kid’s favorite toys.
• Special toys can go a long way in helping cooperation
• Don’t be discouraged if the kid doesn’t want to play with you or wants to play alone.
• Ensure a calm environment.
• Be careful with physical contact
• Learn from parents and prior caregivers on how to deal with challenging behavior
Some autistic children are calmed by stuffed animals while others may like to rock in a chair or swing set.

Down Syndrome
This is another developmental condition seen with special kids. Children with this condition often seem younger than they really are because their behavior corresponds with that of younger children. A caregiver needs to adapt to their level of their understanding.
Here are a few pointers:
• Find something the kid loves doing.
• Take note that kids with Down syndrome may suffer from lower muscle tone and babies in particular tend to have weak neck muscles.
• Kids with this condition may have difficulty picking up small objects.
• Teach the child how to do new things.
• Avoid complicated rules, keep it simple.
• Kids with Down syndrome might have speech problems.
• Know how to deal with challenging behavior from parents and past caregivers

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Kids with this condition tend to be hyper active. They can have high energy levels for brief periods of time and then lose interest completely. Their attention spans are very short thus learning activity has to be optimized to occur when they are in an active state.
Here are some pointers on caring for such children.
• Kids with ADHD are often very creative. Many enjoy drawing or playing with building blocks.
• Kids with ADHD love active outdoor games like jumping rope or hopscotch.
• Find some low key activities to help them wind down and sleep at night.
• Find out the dosage for any medication the child may be taking
• Your instructions have to be very clear and specific
• Find out from the parents how to deal with difficult situations
As you can see from the foregoing, it’s really just a matter of doing some due diligence. Kids with special needs are like all other kids, sweet and loving. Try and look at the world from the special kid’s perspective and it will change your entire outlook.

by CareForAll

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Finding a Caregiver for an Adult with Special Needs

Posted August 19, 2014 By careforall

Millions of children with special needs subsequently become adults that require special care. The term “special needs” in this regard refers to a wide range of conditions. The adult may suffer from a developmental condition such as autism or Down’s syndrome or, they may suffer from a chronic or systemic illness. Whatever the situation, finding a care giver for an adult with special needs is a daunting task. We offer the following suggestions the next time you are looking for a caregiver.

Cast your net wide
Begin by asking your friends and colleagues. There may be someone in your circle of friends that has recently hired a caregiver in the past. Also, check Craigslist and local service agencies.

Phone Screen before Inviting for Interview
Formulate a number of questions which you can ask the candidates on phone. The questions will vary based on the person who needs the care, the hours you want them to work, your budget and the responsibilities you want them to fulfill. The best way to screen in this manner is to have a spreadsheet where you can place a tick or x based on the response you get for each question.

Invite Screened Candidates to Interview
One you have finalized the phone screener; invite the shortlisted candidates for a face-to-face meeting. It is a good idea to have the individual that needs care to be present during the meeting. This allows you to gauge their initial impression about the candidate. The last thing you would want is to hire a candidate that individual despises from the onset. Also, encourage the candidate to talk so that they can open up. Be keen to listen and take note of the kinds of questions that they ask you.

See how the Candidate Communicates with the Special Needs Adult
The key thing here is to evaluate how your special needs adult and the candidate communicate. If things progress well from the onset, ask the individual to show the candidate around the house. Follow them, watch and listen. See how the candidate tries to engage. Does s/he speak at the right pace? Does s/he ask questions? What does the caregiver do if a question is not answered? Take note that the language used needs to be respectful and match the special needs adult capabilities. 

Is there heart in the right place?
Irrespective of their education or background, the caregiver should have a mindset of putting people with disabilities first. What is their motivation for seeking a job caring for an adult with special needs? Use probing questions to peel apart their mindset and real intentions for seeking a job of this nature. Closely related to this is to find out if they have the mental and physical stamina for the job. Caring for adults with special needs requires lots of patience. Also, if your adult is confined to a wheelchair, the caregiver must be strong enough, literally, to fold a wheelchair, lift it into a car and push it around.

Special Needs Experience & References
Finally, as with all jobs, anyone with prior experience should always be at an advantage provided the pay they seek is within your budget. Further, experience needs to be great experience. For example, ask them how they dealt with the most challenging behavior they ever faced.
Get several reference checks and if all check out, hire the caregiver.

by careforall

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Senior Care: Helping Seniors Get Social

Posted August 18, 2014 By careforall

There is a vast body of scientific evidence that demonstrates the health benefits of a healthy social life. One of the foremost authorities on this subject is a scholarly article “A Review of Social Isolation” written by Nicholas R. Nicholson and published in The Journal of Primary Prevention. The article is a detailed study on the detrimental effects of isolation in senior citizens. The study found that, among other things, isolation leads to increased risk of death from a number of causes, dementia, increased susceptibility to re-hospitalization and falls.

Clearly, senior citizens need to get social to improve the quality of their lives and care givers need to do everything possible to increase social interaction. Loneliness and isolation are common among senior citizens but it doesn’t have to be hard socializing as a senior. As a matter of fact, it is now easier than ever in the world of social media. The following are a few creative ways that a care giver can get senior citizens socialize.

Discount Deals
Groupon and other discount deals websites usually list discounts to social activities. These may range from yoga for seniors to knitting classes. As a care giver, consider discount deals to pay for activities that may otherwise be beyond reach due to financial constraints. Discount deals are also a great way to test service quality before you commit yourself fully.

Websites like Meet Up allow people, including seniors, to connect with other like-minded people. If your senior loves hiking or fishing, you can hook them up with a senior hiking or fishing group; they can get together and have some fun. This is actually an excellent idea for senior couples wanting to expand their social circles.

Online Dating Sites
Who said senior citizens don’t want to date? This is a misconception by many young care givers. Nothing could be further from the truth. Like everyone else, senior citizens yearn and actively seek romantic relationships. Help out a senior citizen under your care to find a good match by helping them set up accounts at online dating sites. Some good sites include Match, OKCupid and eHarmony. Help them learn the ropes if they aren’t Internet savvy and ensure they don’t fall victim to cyber criminals. Dates should always be in public places and the caregiver, friends and family should always be informed.

Social Media
Believe it or not, the fastest growing demographic on Facebook is senior citizens. Facebook has given them a way to connect with long lost friends, interact with children working far away from home or abroad and even see pictures of their grandchildren. Actually, Facebook and other social media also offer a creative outlet where senior citizens can share jokes, learn new things, start a business and much more. Encourage senior citizens to embrace social media and help them set up accounts. Once they get hooked you will also notice than their mental acuity improves and then tend to become livelier even when not browsing. The only caveat is to ensure they don’t harm their eye sight with low resolution displays and that they browse safely.

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Housekeeping: 8 Things to Consider Before you Hire

Posted August 17, 2014 By careforall

A housekeeper can bring much relief, but only if you have done your due diligence. There are several things you must consider before you take the housekeeping route. The following tips will allow to make an informed decision.

1.    Do You Really Need a Housekeeper
You need to find out why you really need a housekeeper. Is your problem clutter? If that’s the case, all you may need is to get a little more organized and there are ways to do that without spending money on a housekeeper. The case is the same if you only need seasonal cleaning. However, if you have lots of cleaning work, then you should definitely hire a housekeeper.

2.    Housekeeper vs. Cleaning Company
If you have considerable cleaning work, you may want to hire a company that provides professional housekeepers. This is because they take care of lots of paper work such as taxes, insurance and references. An independent housekeeper may be cheaper but also leaves you with lots of paperwork to do. But, one of the pros of an independent housekeeper is that you can develop a good working relationship over time to the point the individual almost seems like a member of the household.

3.    The Law Is your Friend
Find out everything you need about employment laws. Make sure the person is legally able to work in the country. Housekeeping jobs attract lots of migrants so you have to make sure their papers are in order before you employ them. You also need to pay all payroll taxes.

4.    Flat Fee vs. Hourly Fee
Paying by the hour may see the housekeeper deliberately extend tasks which would otherwise take a short period of time. Paying a flat fee may mean that the housekeeper rushes through work and does a poor job. This leaves you in a catch 22. But, labor experts suggest you pay by the hour and figure out a fair rate. A reputable housekeeper will not jeopardize their job to make a few extra bucks.

5.    Get Referrals
Family, friends and colleagues are always the best place to start looking for a good housekeeper. Ask them what their experience was, you may end up finding a gem. Cleaning companies can also send you referrals of multiple people they have worked with in the past until you find a good march.

6.    Interview Prospective Candidates
Formulate some interview questions and be thorough during the interview. Ask probing questions such as why they enjoy their work and how they get along with employers. Ask them why they chose housekeeping as a career option. Check references, confirm work history and do a criminal background check.

7.    Demand a Trial Period
Even if the interview stage goes well, you should demand a trial period from the candidate. This period is typically 2-4 weeks during which the candidate is on probation. This will give you time to assess the quality of their work, attitude and general performance. Protect yourself before you commit fully.

8.    Set Clear Expectations and Boundaries
To avoid misunderstandings, you need to concise with your instructions. Set clear expectations and establish boundaries that should never be crossed. For example, you may not want the housekeeper to use your electronics or you not want them to access certain parts of the house during specific hours. Be clear and specific.

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Finding a private tutor for your child is no easy task. When hiring a tutor to boost your child’s performance in school or for homeschooling, you must find the best possible match.

A tutor for private lessons can make learning easier. An investment in the wrong tutor can leave you disappointed after spending a couple thousand dollars. The following are seven points that will guide you through the hiring process.

1.    Subject Background
Does the tutor have an advanced degree in the subject? This is the first thing you should consider. Ask the tutor whether they are familiar with the syllabus and confirm that they are familiar with the concepts.

2.    Tutoring Experience
This is the second thing you should consider. The ideal tutor will know the syllabus like the back of their hand out of experience. He or she will also have practical knowledge of different teaching methods for the subject and which works best with a specific type of student.

3.    Special Needs
Has the tutor taught kids with the kind of needs that your child has before? Students are very dissimilar so it would be a plus if your choice of tutor has prior experience with your type of child. This becomes even more important if your child has a learning disability or suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Maybe your child has struggled with the subject in the past and just can seem to hack it.

4.    What Should You Expect?
This is where you temper your expectations so that you don’t expect more than the tutor can deliver. Ask the tutor this question directly without sugar coating it, “what should I expect at the end of a month, two, three …”This will avoid frustration and disappointment on your part. You should also be wary of the tutor who promises you extraordinary results such as your child scoring straight A’s when your child has never been that kind of a student.

5.    Availability
The best tutor will try and be available when you need them. But, you need to find out when they are available so that you can set a proper schedule. Most tutors have to juggle between school commitments and tutoring multiple students.

6.    Other Jobs
What other work does the tutor do? Many tutors only tutor part-time. They may be college, grad students or teachers who run a tutoring service on the side. They could also be working professionals who freelance as tutors. There isn’t any one type of tutor that can be described as the best type; each student is unique. For example, if your child needs help with a complex programming language, a geek who moonlights as a tutor may be the best match.

7.    References
Forget any tutor without good references. Even if it is their first time to tutor, they should still be able to provide their professor’s contact, fellow student or colleague as a reference. Failure to provide good references should trigger your suspicions that they have something to hide.

by careforall

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Going on Vacation? 5 Tips to Find Reliable Pet Care

Posted August 15, 2014 By careforall

So, your vacation days are fast approaching and you are just itching to get away, kick back and relax. But, there is one small matter that keeps eating at you at the back of your mind, what to do with the pets?

Before you buy plane tickets, book a hotel room and clear your schedule, the first person you should call when planning your vacation is a pet care provider or sitter. Without someone to look after your dogs, cats, birds, ferrets …you name it, you’re grounded.

Figuring out what to do with the pet(s) when you are vacationing can prove more difficult than solving calculus unless of course you are lucky enough to have a good friend or member of the extended family who agrees to take on the responsibility. Most people scratch their heads on this one.

The following are five tips to make the process as painless as possible.

1.    What Kind of Care Do You Need?
This will depend on your budget, comfort level and your pet’s unique needs or temperament. You can go for a pet ‘hotel’ also now known as pet daycare centers or identify a pet sitter to look after your pet in their own home or your home. Research a couple of options in case one falls through.

2.    Timing
Give yourself lots of time to book a pet care provider. Many providers tend to get booked up during holidays and peak vacation periods. You also need to give your pet(s) time to interact with the pet care provider before you leave them together. Your pet needs to get used to this other person otherwise you may get back to find that things have gone wrong.

3.    Trust
You need to find someone you can trust. If possible, it is always best to go with an individual pet care provider whom you can establish a relationship with. For example, in the case of dogs, you may already have a dog walker whom you have established a good rapport with. Find out if they would be willing to act as a pet sitter while you are away.

4.    Meet and Greet
This is very important. Bring your pet care provider into the home and let him or her meet the pet(s). This should happen every day for at least a week before you leave. Your pet needs to interact with them and become accustomed to having them around. More importantly, your pet needs to trust the provider and form a connection with them.

5.    Put it Down on Paper
Think of every pertinent issue that the pet provider needs to know. This includes detailed instructions on type(s) of food, feeding times and exercise times. You should also let the pet care provider know if your pet is sick or taking any type of medication. Also, if you have rules about your pets accessing certain areas of the house, write that down as well.

Finally, in case of any emergency, provide your pet care provider with the name, address and contact information of your vet as well as your emergency contact information.

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