Happy parents raise happy kids

Moving House Made Easy: Changing Address

Moving to a new home address

Many people who are moving to a new house are stressed about changing their address. No matter how many times you move, you still worry about missing letters, statements, services and people. But there are ways to make this change easier.

The easiest way to manage this is to have the post office divert your mail to your new address for the first 3-6 month, until you can notify all the services that have your previous address. The fee is reasonable and if you keep getting letters over time, you can see who you need to contact to change your address.

Another way to make sure your mail gets to you is to talk to the new tenants in your old house and give them stickers that say, “Moved to a new address, 54 Smith Street, Valley Creek”. The post will either forward the mail to you, or reply to sender with your new address now stuck on the front. All at no charge to you.

Christmas, birthdays, holidays and special events are a good opportunity to send people information about a new address. Make a sticker or a business card with your new address and attach it to your cards.

This post is part 9 of 9 in the series Moving House Made Easy

Parenting 101: Top Parenting Essentials

Happy parenting creates a happy family

After coaching so many parents, and raising my own kids, I have accumulated many essential parenting tips that I want to share with you. I hope you find them useful.

Take care of your happiness first. Just like they tell you on a plane, you should put the oxygen mask on your own face before helping your kids. If you want to raise happy kids, you must take care of your own happiness first. If you do not have oxygen, you are no good to your kids. Happy Parents Raise Happy Kids.

Be positive. It is very easy to notice what your kids are doing wrong but harder to pay attention to the great things they are doing. Parents tend to take the good things for granted. In life, you get what you focus on and parenting is exactly the same. If you focus on good thing, you will have more of them. If you focus on problems, conflicts, difficulties, bad manners, you will have more of them. If you notice your child doing something good, say it! Praise kids for being kind, congratulate them for making an effort, acknowledge their kindness and you will see more of it.

Moving House Made Easy: Bills and Services

Paid in full - pay all your bills before moving

When you move to a new house, it can be a bit of a juggling act to manage without a phone, with no electricity or without gas. One of the things I learned from the moves I have made is that it is better to connect and disconnect in advance, and to follow up a week before moving.

Many utility services require time to carry out the connection or disconnection, so do not wait for the last minute. Contact your service providers as soon as you can and find out how long in advance they need to know. Schedule in your diary to contact them on time. For example, if the phone company needs 1-3 weeks notice, give them 3 weeks’ notice.

Bills are a good place to find who your service providers are. Bank statements also help, especially when your bills are automatically charged to your account. If anyone provided a service, that means I paid them, which means that the charges will show up on my bank statement. The list may include…

This post is part 8 of 9 in the series Moving House Made Easy

Goal Setting and Long Life

A target - the symbol for goal setting

I was officially introduced to goal setting for the first time in my life when I was 18. I was doing a course at university, and goal setting was a very small component in it. I never realized how significantly it would impact the rest of my life.

Research published in Psychological Science says that setting goals, at any age, can add years to your life. I like to think of it in the opposite way as well: goals add life to your years. The study followed 6,000 people aged 20 to 75 for 14 years. The researchers where looking at three components:

1. If participants were goal oriented
2. If participants had more positive or negative relationships
3. If participants had more positive or negative feelings

Throughout the study, 569 participants died (about 9%). The researchers found that those who still lived had more goals and better relationships than those who died. The most surprising thing about the study was that it found that this was true for young participants as much as the elderly. Having goals led to better outcomes. Goals were an advantage for people who worked as well as for those who were retired. So goals get added to the formula for long life.

Moving House Made Easy: Food

Healthy food and snacks - better when you are moving than junk

One of the biggest challenges of moving to a new house is managing food. Even after everything else is done, in that last week of the move and your first week in the new place, eating becomes a bit problematic. You cleaned out your old fridge and pantry, so you do not have all of your food, and by the time you assembled the dining table and found your aluminum foil, 3-4 days have passed.

One of the first things I do when I know that we are going to move is try to use up everything in my refrigerator, freezer and pantry. That way, we travel lighter and do not have to throw away too many things. There is something liberating about cleaning out cupboards but it can also be challenging. Why? Because you don’t really get to eat what you want, you eat what have in the house. Luckily, you then pack less on the move and throw away less. It is a perfect opportunity to start new and healthy diet regimes. For all those last things in the refrigerator, I use a cooler with frozen ice in it too keep things cool or give away things from the freezer if I cannot take them with me.

The second thing I do is plan our meals for the last week in the old house, focusing on the last two days when most things are packed. If needed, I schedule meals at a restaurant as a celebration. To make it easier, I think of the house like a hotel: there is hot water in the kettle, so instant noodles are a great solution. There is an oven, so oven ready made food is easy, and there is a microwave so frozen meals are also a great solution. I do the same sort of plan for the first week in the new house.

This post is part 7 of 9 in the series Moving House Made Easy

Handy Family Tips: Road Trip Games

License Plate - makes for great road trip games

Most parents dread taking their kids on long drives. Without some cool road trip games and activities, many children grow restless and fall into the “Are we there yet?” routine, which makes everybody go nuts.

We started having a taste of this ourselves when our eldest, Eden, was four and a half years old. We moved to Arlington, TX, where we spent most weekends touring Texas on long road trips with another family that had a boy a bit younger than Eden. We spent many hours in the car, but we did not seem to have a problem entertaining the kids.

When we lived in Thailand, entertainment in the car was a hot topic. At the time, traffic in Thailand was so bad we could spend up to 3 hours just going to the supermarket or to see friends. Our son, Tsoof, was a baby and we spent many car rides touring up and down Thailand. Typically, it was also hot and humid.

Through the years, we have traveled with our kids through the USA, China, New Zealand (twice), Korea, France and Australia. We traveled up the center of Australia and down the east coast when our youngest, Noff, was one year old, Tsoof was 7 and Eden was 13. The trip took us 6 weeks and we spent many hours in the car. People thought we were crazy. Taking 3 kids in one car on such a long road trip seemed to them like a suicide mission. But it worked well for us.

It all depends on how you spend the time in the car. So what did we do?

This post is part 20 of 20 in the series Handy Family Tips

Moving House Made Easy: Pack a Holiday Suitcase

Suitcase - good to pack when your are moving

When you are moving to a new house, the hardest days are the last few days at the old place and the first few days at the new place. Most of your things are packed, but you still need to manage until you finish unpacking the necessities.

Pack a suitcase for a week

For the move, pack suitcases as if you were going for a one week holiday. I have found this tip to be very useful. The first week in a new house can be very challenging, because otherwise, you start opening boxes to find things and leave them half unpacked. The mess will drive you nuts.

If you treat the new house like a hotel room for a while, you won’t start panicking when you need something, because you’ve already put it aside. Like in any hotel room, the essentials will be there: the beds, the refrigerator, the tables, the chairs. All you need to do is pack the same things you would need if you went to a serviced apartment:

This post is part 6 of 9 in the series Moving House Made Easy

Save Your Marriage: The King and His Servants

Crown

Being in a marriage or a close relationship is the secret to a long life. But it requires effort. If you want to save your marriage, it helps to learn about communication.

On our wedding days and during our honeymoon periods, we tend to be very accepting and flexible. Communication flows, even if we say nothing at all. It is the life that begins later, which tests the strength of our relationship. Slowly, day after day, the conversations, experiences together, arguments and stress create holes in our communication.

This can lead to the destruction of the relationship. In a happy relationship, time is a healer. In an unhappy relationship, time is a prison.

Some researchers claim they can listen to a married couple’s conversation and predict the success of their relationship about 90% of the time. 90%! That is a lot! With the couples that come to do my relationship coaching program, I can often tell from the way they talk to each other or about each other if their relationship is still as sweet as honey or whether they are feeling the bitter taste of separation.

This post is part 22 of 22 in the series Save Your Marriage

Moving House Made Easy: Movers

Moving van: the movers are here

Moving house can be a stressful situation. To make your life easier, find trustworthy and reliable movers. Adding unreliable movers to your list of things to deal with will make the move more expensive, not to mention draining emotionally, and you need all the energy you can get to manage such a big transition.

Some professional movers will take advantage of your situation and put pressure on you. To prepare, get 3 quotes for everything. Make sure there is an agreement they cannot get out of.

Some movers (called “removalists” in Australia) will come to your door on the day of the move and say that you have to add more money because you have more furniture than they thought when they gave you a quote. Or a cleaner might say, “Oh, I didn’t realize the carpet was so dirty” and since you are rushed to get it done on the day, you have no choice but to pay the extra before they are willing to start working.

This post is part 5 of 9 in the series Moving House Made Easy

Social Media Reality: Look Up! What Are You Missing?

Mobile phones, the vehicle for social media

Technology and social media have become a significant part of our life. Recently, I learned some valuable lessons about just how they affect us and the opportunities they make us miss.

My 13-year-old daughter, Noff, is the youngest in our family. Lately, she has been struggling with not having a mobile phone to take to school. To her, mobile phones are very cool. Some kids need them to coordinate pick-up times or for safety on the bus.

Unfortunately for her, she does not need it for any of those things. She so much wants to be part of the mobile phone in-crowd that she uses our old phones to play games. She struggles with not being like everyone else and I struggle with my parenting.

I have some beliefs and rules about social media and I know I need to adjust them to suit the times. I have three kids and I cannot apply the same parenting rules regarding media with Noff that I did with my first two.

Ronit Baras

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