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Moving With Kids: How to Settle Into Your New Town

Moving comes with a lot of change — a new house, new school, new friends. All of that change can be tough on kids, especially if you’re relocating in the wake of a divorce or separation.

While there’s no magic button you can press to make moving easy on kids, there are things parents can do to ease the transition to a new community. Here’s what to know as you prepare to relocate with your family.

Choosing a family-friendly neighborhood

If you want your child to thrive in a new city, choose a neighborhood where they can blossom. Family-friendly neighborhoods have safe streets, good schools, and plenty of opportunities for recreation. Look for neighborhoods with green space and public resources like libraries, community centers, and youth sports.

 

Lots of neighborhoods in Texas are known for their family-friendliness. Families in the Dallas-Fort Worth area flock to Frisco and Southlake, while Houston families rave about The Woodlands and Sugar Land. In Austin, Rollingwood, West Lake Hills, and Brushy Creek rank among the best neighborhoods to raise a family.

Setting your child up for educational success

School choice is an important factor in your home search. When choosing a school district, parents should pay attention to metrics like student-to-teacher ratio, extracurriculars, and diversity in addition to test scores.

 

Parents should also make sure they’re set up for e-learning, which is growing increasingly common as COVID-19 closes schools. Look for homes that have space for a student desk and pay attention to your internet service provider options. If you’re both working and learning from home, it may be worth paying more for higher speeds. Verizon’s 5G Home Internet, now available in Houston, offers speeds up to 1 Gbps depending on location, making it one of the fastest options on the market.

Helping your child make new friends

Once you have the basics in order, it’s time to help your child feel at home in your new community. That’s easier said than done, especially if your child is shy or unhappy about the move. Here are some ways parents can help children make friends after a move:

  • Get involved in extracurricular activities.
  • Enroll in youth sports.
  • Join an after-school program or day camp.
  • Participate in kids’ activities at the library.
  • Enroll in Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts.
  • Join a local children’s theater.
  • Meet the neighbors and create a playborhood.

Coping with moving-related change

Despite your best efforts, your child may struggle to adjust to your new home. This can lead to misbehavior, emotional outbursts, sleep disruptions, and other signs of stress.

 It’s important to give kids space to process their emotions after moving, but don’t let them wallow in negativity. Instead, focus on the positives of your new home. By helping kids get to know the community and make friends, parents can make a new city seem a lot less scary. Parents should also encourage kids to maintain ties to their old home. If co-parenting with a parent in another city, stick to a schedule for phone calls and visits to create stability in your child’s life.

 If your child’s stress doesn’t improve, it may be time to seek counseling. When worrisome behaviors last for months or cause major disruptions in school and family life, it often requires outside help to get to the root of the issue.

 Moving may be a good choice for your family, but right now, it probably feels like a big unknown to your kids. Make sure you’re putting your children’s needs first as you relocate so your big move is a positive change for everyone.

 

 

 

5 High-Tech Tools for New Moms on the Go

With your diaper bag loaded with wipes, creams, burp cloths, and enough diapers to get you through a half-dozen blowouts, you’re ready to take on the world with your newborn in tow. Or are you? While these diaper bag basics will keep you on top of routine baby care, they won’t do much when it comes to the more nuanced aspects of baby care — like finding the closest bathroom with a baby changing table or remembering what the heck was on your grocery list (yes, mom brain is real!). If you want to be prepared for everything motherhood throws your way, these are the high-tech tools you need in your bag.

A Portable Phone Charger

Before we dive into the must-have apps for new moms, let’s talk about the one thing the folks at Kindred Bravely say you absolutely need when you’re on the go with your little one: a portable power bank. Whether you’re trying to use one of the awesome apps below or just find directions to your pediatrician’s office, there’s nothing more frustrating than pulling out your phone to realize it’s dead — and trust us, when you’re sleep-deprived and have a million other things on your mind, it’s guaranteed to happen.

 

A portable power bank is perfect because there’s no need to hunt for an outlet and camp out until your phone is charged. Instead, you can connect to a compact portable charger and power up on the go. A power bank won’t break the bank, either. With top-rated devices starting around $20, popping one of these in your diaper bag is a no-brainer.

The Baby Tracker App

Tracking is surprisingly important for newborns. From feeding and nap schedules to the contents of their diapers, tracking provides important insights into your newborn’s health and development. It also ensures you have an answer other than a blank stare when your pediatrician inevitably asks about these things. However, Excel spreadsheets aren’t exactly practical on the go, and even pen and paper are unwieldy when you’re holding a baby in one hand and writing with the other. Instead, download the Baby Tracker app so you can log your baby’s metrics with a tap of a button.

My Pregnancy and Baby Today App

Tracking your baby’s daily habits is great when things are going as planned, but what happens when your baby’s nap schedule goes haywire or a diaper change comes with an unexpected surprise? Rather than calling your pediatrician in a panic, pull up the My Pregnancy and Baby Today app. Developed by the pros at BabyCenter, this app offers expert advice on your newborn’s first year and connects you with other parents.

The Cozi Family Organizer App

Becoming a mom changes everything — well, almost. As much as your days revolve around your little one, there are still household chores to be done. Managing a household on top of a newborn is a lot for anyone, let alone an exhausted new mom. Instead of trying to remember everything you need to accomplish on your own, let the Cozi Family Organizer app manage the mental load for you. This handy app lets you share shopping and to-do lists, calendars, and more so everyone can see what’s on the agenda.

Sit or Squat App

Raising a newborn isn’t all nap routines and feeding schedules. Sometimes, it’s racing to find a bathroom that you’re not too grossed out to use — and doing it before time runs out. Luckily, the aptly-named Sit or Squat app is here to save the day. Developed by Charmin, this app rates public restrooms on cleanliness and lets you filter based on changing table availability.

 

Becoming a mom for the first time is full of changes — some fun, some not so much. But no matter what you’re facing, there’s someone out there who’s dealt with it before you. Not only does that mean there’s an amazing network of new moms to connect with, but also clever apps to help you conquer every challenge new motherhood throws your way.

 

Back 2 School

Kids ready for school.

Are they ready?

  1. Read to your kids during the summer.
  2. Feed them breakfast each morning.
  3. Encourage your child and stay positive.
  4. Provide the supplies they need. This is not always possible due to the expense. Look for deals and Back 2 School Expos. Many companies donate or help provide needed school supplies. Some provide free back packs or binders. Walmart normally cuts prices. CSS always has a yearly contest to help with school costs.
  5. Make sure you are getting support – child support. This is an expensive time of the year and you should receive support from the other parent. If not, contact us https://csskids.com/

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY

Happy Father’s Day to all the great dads. In child support, dads can get a bad name. We are seeing more dads raising the children now and dads wanting to be involved. CSS always tries to explain to a mom how important a father is for a child.  Below is just some ways fathers impact child development.


  1. INCREASE INTELLECT – Studies show that children with fathers who were actively involved throughout the first year of their child’s life perform better on cognitive development assessments. Children raised with active dads tend to score higher on verbal and math tests and are less likely to drop out of school.
  2. BOOST CONFIDENCE  – Children are more able to resist peer pressure.
  3. SOMEONE TO LOOK UP TO – Children tend to be more compassionate and generous.
  4. PROVIDE A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE – Kids are full of questions. Fathers tend to approach those questions in different ways. This may be more valuable for the child.

Unfortunately, not all dads want to be involved or they are not a safe option for the child  This leaves it all up to the mom to teach life lessons.  If you have a father that wants to be involved then please try to encourage this. This is best for the children in most cases. Thank you to all the great dads. You are important!

Penalties for Parents Who Don’t Pay Child Support

Jail

 

Statistically, fewer than 50% of children who are owed child support money regularly receive full payments. Failure to pay child support is a federal offence in the U.S. A non-custodial parent who fails to pay child support in full and on time faces penalties.

  • Having your driver’s license suspended
  • Having your wages garnished
  • Having taxes garnished
  • Additional fines and penalties
  • Being unable to obtain a passport
  • Dismissal from military service
  • Going to jail

Visitation

LoveOriginally posted on May 7, 2018

It’s almost summer and that means summer visitation for many parents. It’s important for a child to have time with each parent. Studies show a child that has both parents involved is typically happier and healthier. It’s not always possible due to any past abuse or other issues. Not all parents want to be involved. Use the opportunity for the child to have this relationship if the absent parent shows interest. Here is the Texas standard visitation

VISITATION

Thank You Letter to Dad

Originally posted on March 20, 2018

Dear Dad,
Thank you for all the weekends I did not see you.
Thank you for allowing me to go to school without lunch most days.
Thank you for leaving me alone during visitation nights.
Thank you for never calling.
Thank you for allowing me to be in a bad situation and doing nothing about it.
Thank you for not paying child support.
Thank you for all the times you took me fishing.
Thank you for taking me to AstroWorld (A Houston thing).
Thank you for coming to my graduation.
Thank you for showing me what kind of parent to be. I’m never mad. You made me a stronger person. I had to be. Thank you dad.

– Shannon

( I’ve been asked several times at work to write a Dear Dad letter. I’m the Director at Child Support Specialists. I’m normally a private person, but I’ve agreed today. This is why I do what I do.)

Child Support Is Not Enough to Pay My Bills

Originally posted on January 27, 2018

Woman holding papers.

Fast Food Cashier

You’re now receiving child support finally, but the amount is not covering the cost of living. You decide to make a call to your caseworker and she informs you that you are receiving what you are entitled to receive. Why?

Some parents believe child support should cover some or all the bills. Child support is not determined by how much you believe you need or want. The law has already determined the amount you should receive. Support is set by how many children you have and the net pay from the absent parent. Also, if he or she has other children before you.

The more money the absent parent makes means the more support for your child. It’s important to understand that if the absent parent makes minimum wage then you will not receive much in support. Pick wisely.

Child Support

Child Support During Christmas

Originally posted on November 11, 2018

It’s that time again when child support is even more important. Some things to know about child support during the holidays to help you better prepare.

  • Payments may be late during the holidays.
  • Payments that arrive are still being processed each day but we will have more bank and mail holidays.
  • The absent parent may miss work for vacation or the holidays.
  • The employer may miss days and not send out the payment until they return.

We suggest you try to plan for any issues. This is not always easy because you still have your normal expenses. Don’t panic if your payment is late. Missed payments almost always makes up after the New Year.

This is one of the busiest times of year for all child support agencies as custodial parents may be checking on payments more or calling to file for support. You may want to wait for case updates until a later date. Child Support Agencies get many calls right before Christmas with people filing for support in hopes to get in time. The best time to file is NOW to receive support by Christmas. You may file with us on the link below.

I can still remember not having any presents under the tree one Christmas when I was little. CSS will do everything possible to make sure that does not happen to you. Our yearly Christmas contest will be posted on FB soon.

Things to Know About Disability and Child Support

Originally posted on August 7, 2017

HandThe obligation to provide child support does not usually cease when a parent becomes disabled. However, it’s much harder to collect support and payments normally become sporadic. Below are some things to be aware of.

  • SSI disability payments are made to people who have a very low income. These payments cannot be garnished for child support.
  • SSDI CAN be garnished to fulfill child support obligations.

Disabled parents can seek a modification of child support. The court will evaluate the nature of the disability and determine support. Always check with your state for laws in your area.