Every single parent can agree that diapers are absolutely needed and necessary when it comes to raising a little one. But with 5.9 million babies in the U.S. aged three or younger living in poor or low-income families, you can understand it can be very difficult for families to obtain such important essentials.
Infants require up to 12 diapers per day, toddlers about eight. Disposable diapers can cost up to $150 per month per baby. But money isn't the only obstacle for low-income families to obtain diapers that they need. Some low income families do not have access to transportation, making it hard to make a trip to a low-cost store, which leads them to go to the store closest to them in distance. Though the location is more convenient, prices may not be. Some stores will charge more for diapers, which could double or even triple the monthly cost. You could consider using wash cloth diapers that could be reused after washing them properly, but for those who do not have their own personal washing machine at home, it can prove to be difficult to wash these diapers to the point where they are sanitary enough for the child. For sanitation reasons, coin-operated laundromats often don’t allow customers to wash cloth diapers, which adds to the difficulty for parents to wash the reusable diapers.
Government help, such as WIC and foodstamps, will not assist in buying diapers, even if you yourself would consider it to be an "essential" for your family. You can buy candy with food stamps, but diapers are classified with cigarettes, alcohol and pet food as disallowed purchases. Babies can spend a day or longer in one diaper, leading to potential health risks which will only add to the financial stress if you're making trips to the hospital, along with costly medications you might need.
Along with financial stress, most childcare centers, even free & subsidized facilities, will turn away a child who arrives without a day’s supply of disposable diapers, because they will not supply the diapers for you. Cloth diapers are not accepted at the vast majority of childcare centers. If parents find themselves in a situation where their child is being turned away from the childcare center, it could mess with their ability to work and get the income they need that goes into every day expenses. On top of that, the child's chance to develop cognitive abilities and language skills that they can take away from the childcare could be in jeopardy, which will only add on to the stress on not only the parents, but the child as well.
Luckily, The National Diaper Bank Network sees the importance in obtaining clean diapers for babies of low-income families. The National Diaper Bank Network (NDBN) is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that every baby in the United States can be clean, dry and healthy. Their mission is to raise awareness of the diaper gap in America and to build the capacity of community-based diaper banks to serve families throughout the country. They do this by creating a national network of community partners, and work to accomplish this goal through three primary activities:
- Raising awareness: NDBN brings national attention to the issue of diaper need through education and outreach to the general public and national leaders.
- Providing technical assistance: NDBN helps communities start diaper banks and helps existing diaper banks do more with the resources they have.
- Distributing diapers and funding: NDBN provides critical logistical assistance that connects large, corporate donors with community-based organizations that distribute diapers.
If your family is struggling to obtain clean diapers, they can go to a diaper bank closest to them. A diaper bank is a nonprofit group that collects, stores and helps distribute free diapers to homeless shelters, food pantries, family service agencies and faith-based organizations. If you wish to find a diaper bank closest to you, please CLICK HERE
For more information, please visit the following website:
Candy and jack-o-lanterns, monsters and witches... Who doesn't love Halloween? As your kids look forward to trick-or-treating this year, please keep these safety tips in mind:
1. If your children are going out for candy, make sure that they are supervised at all times.
2. Bring flashlights!
3. Don't allow your children to enter anyone's home. Make sure they stay at the front porch.
4. Teach your children to not tell their names to anyone they don't know.
5. Despite the protests, look through all of your child's candy before they eat any. Remove anything homemade or with opened packaging.
6. Keep a cell phone on you - just in case.
7. Stay in well-lit and well-known areas.
8. Have fun!
If you are affected by Hurricane Sandy, please stay dry, safe and warm. Don't go out into harsh weather. Stay in and have a Halloween party instead!
The sun is out, the school year is coming to an end, and the kids are home and ready for summer. You've been relying on school and after-school programs to keep the kids busy while you're at work. Now, for the next three months, you have to figure out how to provide affordable care for the kids while you're at work. Luckily, you have a few options.
Local organizations, like the YMCA or the Boys & Girls Club offer affordable summer camp programs and child care during the day. Your kids will have a chance to make new friends, learn a new skill, and have a stimulating summer with these programs. Financial assistance is often available, especially if you sign up for more than just one week at a time. As an added bonus, if you can get a job at one of these centers, you can bring your kids to work with you!
Churches often have similar summer programs that can work to your advantage. Since your church most likely already knows about your family's situation, they may be more likely to help with financing summer programs. Talk to your church and see what you can work out.
As an alternative to sending your child to summer camp, you can try to form a network of single parents. Swap your work schedules, and try to find parents that work at all different times. Then, you can all take turns watching over the kids for free while you're at work. The more parents you have in your network, the more reliable and consistent your care will be. Just make sure you're aware of the laws in your state for how many children you can legally have in your home at one time.
If you have work to do from home and need some quiet time, look into different reading programs at your local public library. Many libraries have reading programs or educational projects over the summer to keep the kids busy. While you should never use the library as a child care facility, you can definitely take advantage of the quiet environment. Bring your computer or whatever you need to work on, and let the kids do whatever program is going on.
For more ideas on how to find child care during the summer, check out this article:
We are living in a world where communication is key. Many job opportunities, helpful resources, emergency help, and important life connections are made through the phone. Some low-income individuals cannot afford a basic monthly phone service, and are therefore isolated from the rest of the world.
With the Lifeline Across America program, qualified low-income subscribers can receive a discount of up to $10 per month for a phone service. They can choose between having the discount apply to a cell service or a land line.
In addition to Lifeline Across America, there is also Link Up, which can provide subscribers with a one-time discount of up to $30 in installation or activation fees when first setting up a phone line.
When applied to very basic phone services, these discounts can make telephone communication very affordable and accessible while giving subscribers a chance to connect to the world and open more opportunities.
For more information, visit the following website:
Too many young adults face the challenge of raising a baby and providing for a family before they have time to fully reach their potential. Many people drop out of high school and never return, making it very difficult to find a job that pays well enough to support a family on their own. And once they have a child to look after, it can be next to impossible to finish their education and have an opportunity to grow professionally. This leads to poverty and poor living conditions for many Americans today.
To fix this problem, the government created the Job Corps to give young people, ages 16-24, a chance to learn a trade and earn their GED if they haven't already. With more than 125 sites all over the country, Job Corps partners with community colleges to give students proper education and training to make it in the real world. Job Corps also helps students find a good, steady job once they have made it through the training portion.
Most students live on campus. In addition to training and counseling, Job Corps students receive housing, meals, basic health care, and a living allowance twice a month, all for FREE! Some sites also have free daycare so that single parents can make the most of their time at Job Corps.
This is the perfect opportunity for young parents to get out of their rut and learn the skills that are necessary to provide for their family.
For more information, please visit the Job Corps website:
Here's your weekly #SingleParentTip review:
#SingleParentTip 31: Buying a home can be more cost effective than renting. Programs exist to make it possible. http://ow.ly/abMaL
#SingleParentTip 32: Coupons are the best way to save money. Plan ahead so you can shop with your coupons.
#SingleParentTip 33: The internet has answers to most of your problems. When you hit a dead end, Google can find you help.
#SingleParentTip 34: If you’re struggling to pay your utility bills every month, look into LIHEAP for aid. http://ow.ly/aoEFe
#SingleParentTip 35: Grants exist to help you with specific needs. There is a long list of them, so start looking! http://ow.ly/aoENP
Here's a quick catch-up on the latest Single Parent Tips from SPAOA's Twitter page:
#SingleParentTip 21: Schedule a regular reading time with your child.
#SingleParentTip 22: Be sure your child is responsible and comfortable enough to leave them home alone. Call often to check in with them.
#SingleParentTip 23: If your child has separation anxiety, put on lipstick and kiss both of their hands. It’s a visual reminder of your love.
#SingleParentTip 24: As a non-custodial parent, send little mementos to your child once a month so they know you’re thinking of them.
#SingleParentTip 25: Canned food is good for a long time. Stock up when it’s on sale or you find a good deal.
#SingleParentTip 26: Keep a positive attitude and focus on the benefits of single parenting, like less conflict and tension at home.
#SingleParentTip 27: Plan something fun for yourself on holidays when you’re not with your kids.
#SingleParentTip 28: Embrace the chance to teach your kids responsibility and the realities of life that they will face in a single parent family.
#SingleParentTip 29: Try keeping a “thanks journal” to keep track of all of the positive things in your life.
#SingleParentTip 30: Think about working at a daycare center so that you get free child care and more time with your kids.
Follow us on Twitter so you won't have to wait two weeks to read the #SingleParentTip series!
We all know the feeling of being overwhelmed by our long to-do lists. We've all lost our car keys at some point or another. We've all accidentally forgotten to pay a bill. It sounds like we could all use some organization in our lives to bring down the stress level.
With the following steps, you can organize your life so that you no longer have to feel weighed down by chaos.
- Use a calendar. A calendar helps you keep track of upcoming events and items to remember. Another thing a calendar does is let you cross off the days. This gives you a sense of accomplishment knowing that everything for that day has been done, and that you are ready to move on to the next day’s tasks.
- Use a planner. A planner is similar to a calendar, and should not replace it, but be used along with one. A planner is basically a portable calendar. You can take it with you wherever you go. A planner allows you to put more information and details in each day.
- Make lists. The minute you start to feel overwhelmed, write them. Try to do this at least once a week in a kind of "brain dump" – put everything on your list that you've thought about, made other lists about, or has been taking up your mental or physical energy.
- Order the items on your list in matter of importance. If there are large items or projects, make a separate list with the steps for each of those projects.
- Then, order them in the time it will take to accomplish (from the most amount of time to the least amount of time).
- Be sure to set a timeline for each of your tasks. Having a time slot for each item on the list helps you know that there is no need to rush to finish things. Just take the time that you have granted yourself and do the job well.
- Get moving! A list is just a list unless you implement the actionable items on those lists.
- Take care of every single piece of paper you come across as soon as possible.
- Carry a pen and paper with you at all times. Everyone should write things down, even if they have a great memory. You are going to forget some things, and if you write it down, there is no possible way you can forget them. Writing things down and then saying it out loud is another way of helping you remember something.
- When you need to tackle a large organization project that could become overwhelming, use a timer to reduce stress. Set the timer for 15 minutes and get as much of the project done as you can before the timer runs out. When your time is up, take a break to avoid mental overload.
- Create a chore chart for yourself. Once you have organized your space, make a list of a few small chores to do each day to help you keep up with your organization.
- Always keep your room clean and tidy.
- Be consistent and follow through. You need to discipline yourself to follow through with the things listed on your to-do list. Stop procrastinating and get doing.
- Do any work you may have as soon as possible
Find more at http://www.wikihow.com/Organize-Your-Life
Here's your weekly update for what you missed from our #SingleParentTip series on Twitter. What kind of tips would you like to see?
#SingleParentTip 16: Buy your kids a bicycle instead of a Play Station. They’ll be healthier and have better childhood memories.
#SingleParentTip 17: Celebrate all of your child’s successes, no matter how small they might be.
#SingleParentTip 18: Instead of relying on online dating services, do what you enjoy. Who knows who you'll meet at your favorite museum?
#SingleParentTip 19: Use your income tax refund wisely. Instead of going on a shopping spree, save it for something that you need.
#SingleParentTip 20: Now that it’s warming up and getting dark later, go for a walk with your kids around your neighborhood every evening.
Follow SPAOA on Twitter to keep up to date!
Get caught up here on the newest #SingleParentTip series!
#SingleParentTip 11: Take pride in doing things yourself, but don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
#SingleParentTip 12: Plan a family game night once a week. Turn off the TV and enjoy each other’s company.
#SingleParentTip 13: Write notes and pack them in your child’s lunch every once in a while. It will make their day.
#SingleParentTip 14: Keep the other parent in the loop about your kid’s activities. You may not want them there, but your kid probably does.
#SingleParentTip 15: Trade out junk food for veggies and hummus dip. It’s healthier and cheaper than most big brand snacks.