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5 Life Lessons Only Parents of Children with Birth Defects Will Understand

5 Life Lessons Only Parents of Children with Birth Defects Will Understand

Birth defects affect one out of every 33 babies, and that defect will often impact the entire family. Parents of babies with birth defects are uniquely affected because they face the challenge of helping their child meet their full potential in a world that is challenging for everyone.

With every challenge of caring for a child who was born with a defect, there is also an amazing lesson that teaches parents about love and life. These lessons include those of hope, strength, courage, and learning to love through the pain.

Here are five life lessons that only the parents of children born with birth defects can understand.

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How to Be Fearless

Fear is something that we learn over time. We learn to fear rejection, the future, and the dark. But, mostly, we are afraid of the unknown. But, having a child with a birth defect can help relieve those fears because you quickly learn that there is no time to waste in being afraid. The time you miss out on because of fear is time you could have spent loving.

How to Participate in Advocacy

The moment you realize that your child has a birth defect is likely one of the most difficult moments of your life. It is a moment that you would not wish on anyone else, and it is not until this moment that you are able to truly understand what it means to be an advocate.

Your child gives you a voice and the drive to stand up for others in ways you never realized you could.

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When you have a child with a disability, you are not just an advocate for your child and your family. You have the unique opportunity to stand up for other families in your community and around the world. This was especially true for my partner and me; our child had been injured through medical negligence at birth.

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    You can quickly find yourself speaking to doctors and lawyers, not just on behalf of yourself, but also on other families who have gone through a similar experience. Brain injuries during birth are common and many parents with disabled children are at a loss on how something like that could have happened.

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    This position is a heavy one because you know that your abilities in preventing the sadness others may feel are limited. But, you know every moment that you breathe life into your cause, you might someday help relieve the pain of another family.

    How to Dream Big

    So many people choose to limit themselves over the smallest of things. But, when you parent a child with a disability, you learn that even the big things do not need to stand in your way. The way that all children are able to reach for the stars is aspirational to parents. Because if your child, who was hindered so early in life, is able to dream big, why can’t you?

    How to Believe in Yourself

    Disabled children believe they can always work harder, do more, and be better versions of themselves. From the very beginning of life, they strive hard to overcome the obstacles that they never asked for or created for themselves.

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    Watching your child perform small miracles every day inspires you to believe in yourself, both as a parent and as a person with so much to give to the world.

    How to Transform Lives with Love

    Love is the one thing that makes everything feel alright, even if only for a moment, and love was what helped you get through every difficult moment of those first weeks of parenting.

    A child helps you learn to love unconditionally, and ask nothing in return. The ability of your child to love you so much despite everything can transform your entire life in ways you never imagined.

    All children are precious miracles with much to teach us. But, there are some lessons that only parents who have had the joy and heartbreak of raising a child with birth defects will truly understand.

    Featured photo credit: Stephen Hockhaus via flickr.com

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    Published on September 28, 2018

    The Top 21 Kids Websites to Teach Responsibility and Life Skills

    The Top 21 Kids Websites to Teach Responsibility and Life Skills

    Letting your children navigate the internet on their own is like throwing them into the Wild West for them to fend for themselves. The internet can be a dangerous place for children if they are on the wrong websites.

    We all want to protect our children, so knowing the websites that are safe for our kids is of utmost importance. What we also want as parents are websites that teach our children life skills and responsibility.

    There are great websites, geared for children, that will engage your child and have them learning at the same time. Below are the top 21 websites for teaching children life skills and responsibility. All of the sites have been vetted and approved by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization whose mission is to “empower parents, teachers, and policymakers by providing unbiased information, trusted advice, and innovative tools to help them harness the power of media and technology as a positive force in all kids’ lives.”

    Always monitor children when they are using the internet. Parental guidance for age appropriateness is recommended when your child uses any of the websites listed below. What is appropriate for an eight year old is not always appropriate or suited for a four year old.

    These 21 websites can have your kids engaged, entertained, learning, and developing new skills.  Most of them are intended to engage children of various ages, so look for the content on each site that is appropriate for your child’s age and ability level.

    1. PBS Kids

      This website is loaded with games, educational activities and videos that will please both child and parent.

      This site engages children in activities and videos that teach them about citizenship, different cultures, geography, global awareness, hypothesis testing, investigating, self-reflection, personal growth, empathy, respect for others, labeling feelings and more.

      For example, the Webonauts Internet Academy teaches kids how to be safe online and Wild Kratts teaches kids about different habitats around the world.

      There is a great deal of content on this website. Head to their site today to discover what your child could be missing out on!

      2. Curious World

        This site is geared for kids ages 2-7. The main character guiding kids on an educational journey is Curious George. If your child is a fan of the books or cartoon, then you should check out this website.

        There are eight key areas of learning covered on this website including math, reading, and science. This website makes learning fun with games and child appropriate online activities. It also includes hands on activities for parents to do with their child.

        Activities such as crafting, cooking, and art projects with detailed instructions are provided, so that parents can interact with their children to build important life skills.

        3. News-O-Matic

          This is a news website geared for kids. The content helps them learn about the world and its happenings, in a website that is made for kids.

          There are daily editions of which include new articles every day on a variety of subjects and topics. The articles are written to grab the attention of a child reader. You will find that even reluctant readers find this site entertaining.

          If you have a passion for the news and keeping up with the changing world, then you can ignite this passion in your children by getting them started on the News-O-Matic website.

          Some of the skills that kids can learn while utilizing this site include reading comprehension, increased vocabulary, geography recognition, critical thinking, perspective taking, reasoning, and cultural awareness.

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          4. National Geographic Kids

            The National Geographic Kids website teaches kids about animals, space, the natural world, dinosaurs, insects and more. They use games, videos, and online activities to connect children with learning about our natural world.

            There are valuable skills reinforced in the online activities including the use of logic, memory, applying information, investigation, problem solving, and imagination.

            There is a great deal of free content on this website that can be utilized without being a paid subscriber.

            5. ABC Mouse

              This website is geared for children ages 2-7. This is a learning website that covers the subjects of reading, math, social studies, science, health, writing, art, and music.

              Some of the skills that are taught on this site through the website activities include following directions, letter recognition, word recognition, phonics, reading comprehension, speaking, memorization, solving puzzles, measurement, goal achievement, rhythm, and more.

              This website boats that it contains a comprehensive curriculum with more than 8,500 learning activities. It is a great tool for preschoolers preparing for kindergarten.

              There are also lessons and activities that are more advanced beyond kindergarten.

              This is a subscription based program. It has won many awards because of its comprehensive nature and successful curriculum.

              6. FunBrain

                This educational website has a great deal of free content, so your child can access hundreds of activities without a subscription.

                There are games and activities for kids to play while they learn at the same time. Kids will use the following skills while playing on this website: problem solving, puzzle solving, reading, vocabulary, math, and reasoning.

                What makes this site unique is that there are online versions of popular kid’s books including the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series.

                7. Nourish Interactive

                  This website is geared toward nutrition for children. It is a free website.

                  There are games, printable activities, recipes and tools on this site that teach children about nutrition.

                  The goal of the site is to help children learn to make healthy eating choices at a young age, so they can have this skill for life. The site also teaches about cooking, with many healthy recipes available free.

                  8. Arthur Family Health

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                    Arthur is a favorite cartoon character on PBS. The Arthur Family Health website is for kids to learn about resilience, fitness, peanut allergies, asthma, and more.

                    Health is not an easy topic to address with children, but this website does a great job by utilizing games, videos, and activities that are age appropriate and fun.

                    9. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood

                      This website uses the popular PBS cartoon character Daniel Tiger. This website has games, activities, and videos geared toward younger children.

                      The skills that are taught on this site include expressing emotions appropriately, eating healthy, making friends, brushing teeth, dealing with disappointment and toilet training.

                      There are stories with a narrator for kids to listen to, simple games to play, videos to watch, and songs to engage younger children.

                      It is an entertaining site for younger kids and the topics teach great life skills for little ones! This is a free website.

                      10. BrainPop

                        This website is geared for children in the fourth grade and older. It is a paid subscription site. However, there are some games and videos that are available free on this site.

                        This website helps kids academically. There are also life skills and lessons addressed on the site. They address even the most sensitive and tough topics such as war, terrorism, sexual development, and alcoholism.

                        Reviewers of the site say that this website is useful for kids all the way through high school.

                        11. Arcademic Skill Builder

                          This website is geared toward helping young students acquire math, language arts, English and critical-thinking skills. This site is filled with games and activities to keep kids entertained while learning.

                          This website has a strong emphasis on math skills including addition, subtraction, counting, division, fractions, money, multiplication, ratios, and shapes.

                          If your child is struggling with their math skills, then this site can be of great help. Many of the games and activities are free.

                          12. Cyberchase

                            This website is based on the PBS show Cyberchase. It is geared toward children who can read or are learning to read. It helps kids acquire critical thinking and reading skills.

                            The site is filled with free games, videos and activities that keep kids entertained, engaged, and learning. Some of the games get kids to think about real life situations to utilize their problem solving skills. Brainstorming is a another skill that is utilized on this site. It is a free website.

                            13. Fact Monster

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                              This website was created in partnership with educational professional. It is a site that is a great help for children completing homework. They can find facts on dozens of subjects on this site along with dictionary and atlas.

                              The content is more than browsing and providing information. There are games and activities to entertain kids on the site while they learn. Interesting to note, the site contains more than 30,000 short biographies!

                              This website is a game changer for home work time. Some of the skills that kids apply on this site include problem solving, thinking, reasoning, and self-direction.

                              14. Maggie’s Earth Adventures

                                This website gets kids thinking and learning about the world and its vast ecosystems. It is a free site that teaches kids about the earth.

                                Real life situations are presented in short videos. Then kids play games that touch on the subjects of animals, earth, recycling, and injustice.

                                Some of the skills that they can acquire on this site include cultural understanding, global awareness, reading comprehension, spelling, vocabulary, investigation, prediction, and thinking critically.

                                15. PBS Lab

                                  PBS Lab is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. This grant requires them to research the games and their effectiveness in helping kids learn real skills. The result is a website where kids actually learn while they have fun.

                                  This site teaches kids the skills they need to be successful in school. The website is useful for kids ages three and up. Some of the skills that kids learn on this site include math, reading, spelling, word recognition, measuring, and pattern recognition. This site is free!

                                  16. Sesame Street

                                    This website is based on the TV program. Kids are entertained by their favorite Muppets in games, songs, podcasts, videos, and activities.

                                    This site can be used by children ages two and up, so it is one of the best options for very young children.

                                    Some of the skills taught on this site include empathy, labeling emotions, brushing teeth, hygiene, addition, subtraction, counting, measuring, recognizing shapes, understanding cultural differences, following directions, letter recognition, word recognition, spelling, respecting others, asking questions, problem solving, use of imagination, and making new creations.

                                    This site has a great deal of value for parents who want their children to be learning practical life skills while they are on the internet being entertained. This website is completely free!

                                    17. Star Fall

                                      This educational website is geared for children ages four and up. Although this is a subscription website, there is content that users can try out before purchasing.

                                      The website is run through a non profit organization and the price for subscription to the site is low because they want to make the content available widespread to benefit many children.

                                      Some of the skills that kids can learn on this website are addition, subtraction, counting, division, equations, fractions, geometry, grouping, measuring, multiplication, number recognition, shape recognition, reading, letter recognition, and word recognition.

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                                      There are games, lots of songs, and activities to engage young children. The primary focus on this site is math and literacy.

                                      18. How Stuff Works

                                        This website is geared toward older children. It is a site filled with articles, podcasts, games, quizzes, and polls. There is a wealth of information on this site, which makes it useful for homework projects.

                                        The articles are attention grabbing, which help to snag the reader and get them interested in everything from the history of specific holidays to learning how super-volcanos work.

                                        This site touches on eleven primary categories of learning: animals, health, science, tech, automobiles, culture, home & garden, finances, lifestyle, entertainment, and adventure.

                                        Some of the skills that kids can learn through using this site include: building, gardening, self-direction, creativity, researching, empathy, understanding different cultures, and developing novel solutions.

                                        19. Nick Jr

                                          This website is based on the tv shows from the Nick Jr network. Young kids can learn while they interact with their favorite characters on this website. Bubble Guppies, Paw Patrol, Sunny, and dozens of other characters can be found on this site.

                                          There are games, video, stories, and printable activities found on this website. The site is entertaining for kids and they learn a variety of skills including math and reading.

                                          The content is geared toward preschool learning, and it is free.

                                          20. Space Racers

                                            This website is based on the show. The site is designed to get preschoolers excited about space and science.

                                            The learning on this site is based on STEM curriculum (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). It comes through games, coloring pages, videos, music segments, lesson plans, and printouts from the lessons.

                                            There are a total of 17 lesson plans that use STEM concepts. The skills that kids learn from using this site include observation, teamwork, problem solving, critical thinking, mathematics, decision making, hypothesis testing, and goal setting.

                                            The science subjects taught on this site through the entertaining and engaging content include astronomy, rocket science, geology, and physics. This website is free!

                                            21. Crayola

                                              This website comes from the Crayola company. It is a free website.

                                              When kids click on the “play zone” they can find educational games and activities. The site has many free printable and coloring activities.

                                              The following skills can be learned by kids who use this site: following directions, drawing, painting, making digital creations, use of imagination, innovation, and making new creations.

                                              There are a great deal of DIY craft projects with detailed instructions found on this website.

                                              Featured photo credit: Ben Mullins via unsplash.com

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