The Gerber Life Parenting Blog

The Gerber Life Parenting Blog

What parents want to know

With work, family and finances, modern parenting can sometimes feel like a juggling act. The Gerber Life parenting blog gives parents advice and tips to help you take on today-and plan for tomorrow. Our parenting blog offers articles on saving money, college planning, family insurance, parenting tips and health and safety. Although we may not be able to manage your retirement account, drive your all-star athlete to practice, or cook your family's favorite three-cheese lasagna, our parenting blog can provide you with ideas, advice and tips so that you can focus on what matters most: raising healthy, happy kids. We invite you to join the conversation and enjoy our parenting blog.

The Gerber Life parenting blog gives parents advice and tips to help you take on today-and plan for tomorrow. Our parenting blog offers articles on saving money, college planning, family insurance, parenting tips and health and safety.

  1. 5 Fun and Affordable DIY Father’s Day Gifts

    June 12, 2020

    Did you know that Americans spent an estimated $16 billion(with a b!) on Father’s Day gifts in 2019? We love our dads and they deserve to be recognized. But you don’t have to spend a lot of money to show your appreciation for the special guy. Here are some unique and affordable ways to let the dad in your life know how much he means to you.

     

    1. For the Sporty Dad: Commemorative Basketball

    Or football, baseball or softball — any ball that’s big enough to fit a “Happy Father’s Day!” message works. Here’s the fun part for kids — let them dip their hands in acrylic paint and leave their handprints on the ball. And there you have it, a one-of-a-kind, display-worthy commemorative ball for the superstar of the family.

     

    1. For the Sentimental Dad: Custom T-Shirt Pillow

    Does dad have old t-shirts that have seen better days, but he won’t let go? Are you handy with a sewing machine or needle and thread? Great, because you can transform his shirts into customized throw pillows, so his favorite band or sports team can always be on display.

     

    1. For the Grill Master Dad: Personalized BBQ Platter

    There’s something special about dad’s outdoor cooking, and you can make it even more special for him with a personalized platter. You’ll need a large, white ovenproof plate, ceramic paint and pen. Paint, dry, bake, and the platter’s ready for grilling season.

     

    1. For the Film Buff Dad: Movie Theater Experience

    Even if you love going to the movies, the cost of tickets and refreshments can be a tearjerker. Instead, fire up the popcorn at home, design and print tickets, and dim the lights for a special showing of dad’s favorite flick. Just imagine a theater where he always has the best seat in the house.

     

    1. For the Photogenic Dad: Memory Wall

    Have a lot of great photos of dad? Can’t pick just one to frame? Print all the pictures that show him at his best and hang them on the wall with string lights and clothespins. It’s an easy way to let him relive his favorite fatherhood memories.

     

    1Estimate based on a survey of consumers by the National Retail Federation, conducted May 1–9, 2019. Source: Father’s Day spending expected to reach all-time high of $16 billion, May 30, 2019

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  2. Looking for a different way to celebrate Mother’s Day?

    April 24, 2020

    Mother’s Day is the day we want to give mom a well-deserved break – no cooking, no cleaning – a day to thank her for all she does all year long.  Treating mom to brunch or dinner in a restaurant has often been part of the annual celebration, but there are other ways you can show mom how much you care.

    1. COOK HER FAVORITES AT HOME

    Warm your mom’s heart by making a fabulous brunch, lunch or dinner at home. You probably already know her favorite dishes and beverages and how to make them. Or, go online to look up the recipes. By preparing a Mother’s Day meal at home, you can give her a “restaurant experience” without the hassle – which includes you (not mom) cleaning up afterward.

    1. HAVE A PICNIC OUTDOORS

    If your mom is the outdoor type, a great alternative is to plan a day outdoors. Roll up some blankets, get out the folding chairs and tables, pack some sandwiches, salads and desserts, pour mom’s favorite beverage into a mug, and head to the backyard. Above all, remember: Mom gets to relax, so make sure everyone else pitches in to clean up.

    1. A SPECIAL MEAL FOR MOM AND HELP FOR A LOCAL BUSINESS

    Order a take-out meal and in the process, help support a local business since so many restaurants are having a rough time these days. Some offer delivery and take-out service, so check out your options and pick one that she would like. For mom’s sake, it may be wise to order in advance.

    1. PLAN A VIDEO CALL FOR MEALTIME

    If you’re not able to travel to be with mom or are staying home, you could share a Mother’s Day meal by video. Put the device on the table so she can see everyone. Skype or Facetime and have a virtual meal together to put an even bigger smile on her face. You could have flowers and a Mother’s Day meal delivered to her by a local restaurant.

    1. CELEBRATE MOTHER’S DAY WHEN YOU CAN

    Did you know that Mother’s Day in Spain is the first Sunday in May, and in Jamaica and Japan, as in the U.S. and Canada, it’s the second Sunday in May? The point is, when you celebrate Mother’s Day isn’t as important as taking the time to show your appreciation. So, if it’s not possible to be with mom in person on the actual date, set aside time to have a video or phone call with each other. Then plan a later date to celebrate when everyone can be together.

     

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  3. Taking Advantage of Your Life Insurance Tax Benefits

    June 12, 2019

    Making sure that your family has greater financial security for the future is certainly the most important reason to have life insurance. However, there are two benefits that you may not be aware of that can help both you and your beneficiaries: A tax-free benefit payout, and a tax-free loan against your policy.

     

    Benefit Payouts Are Tax-Free

    When you pass away, naturally it won’t be an easy time for your family.  Along with their grief, they will be dealing with your final expenses and other necessary arrangements.

    The life insurance payout that your beneficiaries receive will help eliminate some stress. And the fact that the payout is not taxable is certainly a great benefit too.  Your beneficiary or beneficiaries will be able to use the entire payout amount without having to worry about paying taxes on it later.

     

    Take Out a Tax-Free Loan

    Your beneficiaries aren’t the only ones who can get a tax break with life insurance. If you have a permanent life insurance policy – a whole life policy – it most likely includes a cash value component. If so, you can reap benefits through its cash value.

     

    Here’s how:

    For each premium you pay, Gerber Life sets aside a small percentage of your payment, which grows month after month into what becomes the cash value of your policy. The available cash value represents how much money you’d get back if you ever decided to cancel your policy. It also can be a small source of ready cash that you could borrow against if needed.

    When you borrow against the cash value of a permanent life insurance policy, you’ll be charged interest (the percentage for a Gerber Life policy loan is 8%), but you won’t have to pay taxes on the loan amount because it’s not considered a distribution of income.

    As long as you pay back the policy loan and interest, the payout to your beneficiaries won’t be affected. However, if there is debt against the policy at the time of your death, the amount owed would be deducted from the beneficiary payout.

    Buying life insurance for your family is one of the smartest financial decisions you can make. Call us at 1-800-704-2180 to learn about our permanent life insurance policies.

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  4. 5 Tips for a Stress-Free Summer

    May 29, 2019

    More hours of daylight and warmer weather are just a couple of reasons why summer is the favorite season for many people. For parents, however, trying to keep young kids entertained and supervised all summer long can be stressful. Finding the right balance between keeping your kids busy and your bank account healthy can help reduce stress levels.

     

    Here are some tips for having a stress-free summer:

    1. Consider a nanny or day camps to save money

    According to the Center for American Progress, the estimated amount that families in the U.S. would spend for summer childcare in 2018 was 20 percent of their income.This amount may not come as a shock, but don’t worry – there are ways to save money on summer childcare.

    Hiring a nanny could be a more economical option than sending your kids to a daycare facility. To save even more money as well as time in searching for a childcare facility, consider sharing a nanny with neighboring families.

    Signing up your kids for summer day camps through their school or the community may cost even less than a childcare facility. Not only are camps a way to make new friends, they also can help to keep your kids physically active and continually learning.

    When day camp isn’t an option, look into non-profits, such as the YWCA, YMCA or local library. You and your kids will be supporting a cause while having fun and maybe saving some money.

     

    2. Keep a daily, flexible routine

    When your kids are home for the summer, it’s important to provide them with a daily routine and to keep it somewhat flexible.

    Make sure that the routine incorporates healthy habits, chores and learning. Try to leave an hour open here and there for something spontaneous, whether it’s an ice cream run or quiet time.

     

     

    3. Poll the family for ideas

    Take some pressure off of yourself. Ask your kids what they would like to do. Ask other family members. You may be surprised by their responses and ideas, which could be simpler than what you expected or may spark other ways to have fun.

    Some of these activities may cost money, but there are other ways to have fun without burning a hole in your pocket.

     

     

    4. Enjoy a ‘staycation’

    A Harris Poll survey in 2018 found that vacations cost families in the U.S. an average of $2,256, according to a blog on Nerdwallet.com.2

    Although going away – maybe far away – with the family can offer a break from the daily humdrum, there are more affordable ways to recharge and rejuvenate and still make lasting memories.

      • Invest in some fun backyard toys.
      • Visit a town fair or enjoy a picnic in a park, a local activity that can give everyone the opportunity to get out and stretch their legs.
      • Plan a family “staycation” around day or weekend trips to places where you’ve never ventured, such as a nearby aquarium, zoo, beach, theme park, observatory, museum, hiking trails or historical sites. Giving your family a mix of physical and mental activities will keep the staycation adventurous and different from day-to-day life.

    If your list of ideas gets long, prioritize the suggestions based on what will benefit the entire family. Then, be sure to schedule each outing on the family calendar. If they’re on the calendar, you’re more likely to do them.

     

    5. Be in the moment

    If you’re a working parent, simply trying to find enough time to enjoy activities with your kids can add another level of stress.

    One way to achieve quality time is to have the family disengage with social media. Try deleting your apps for the summer. Without those pop-up notifications, you can enjoy more moments with your family.

    Remember to reserve enjoyment time for yourself, too. Family time is important, but you, too, should recharge regularly, whether with a book or by going for a walk or shopping or starting a new hobby.

    ____________

    Sources:

    1 – Novoa, Cristina, “Families Can Expect to Pay 20 Percent of Income on Summer Child Care,” Center for American Progress, https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/early-childhood/news/2018/06/11/451700/families-can-expect-pay-20-percent-income-summer-child-care/

    2 – El Issa, Erin, “Family Vacations Can Mean Big Costs and Little Lies,” NerdWallet: Summer Spending Report 2018, https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/family-summer-travel-spending-report-2018/

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  5. 5 Ways That Procrastinating Can Be a Positive

    April 17, 2019

    how to procrastinate - girl studying

    Here’s the scenario: You’re tasked with an assignment – maybe to plan an event for your kid’s school or to complete a big work project. Do you get to it right away or wait until the last minute?

    Tackling tasks as soon as possible has merit. It’s certainly smart to check-off items from your list so that you can move onto the next. Yet, here’s the thing. Sometimes waiting isn’t so bad. There can be benefits to procrastinating but only if you do it correctly.

     

    1. Can Lead to Getting More Done

    Procrastinating is not necessarily synonymous with laziness. It’s simply taking your time to begin work on project, task or duty. Just because you might take your time doesn’t mean you’re not being productive. Procrastination at its finest requires being intentional and active.

    For example, mental planning, daydreaming, or simply thinking or talking about the task can be very productive, especially since you can do so while taking care of other things on your to-do list.

     

    2. Helps You to Prioritize

    Taking some time before starting or completing a task could help you determine what’s most important, particularly if there are other tasks you need to accomplish or juggle. Comparing and prioritizing tasks can give you a better handle on the big picture and everything you need to do.

    You may even decide that some tasks are just not worth doing, which would give you back a lot of time. Busy parents can use all the time they can get.

     

    3. Spurs You to Be Creative

    Jumping into anything too quickly could backfire, even if you have the best intentions. Coming up with the best or most efficient way to accomplish a task requires some brainstorming, which can be achieved through active procrastination. This doesn’t mean that you have to carve out time to sit at the table with pen and paper. It does mean that as you go about your day, you can brainstorm by letting your mind run free and making mental notes about options and ways for handling the work that needs to be done.

    Let your subconscious do the work for you while you consciously delay starting it. You may be surprised by how much time procrastinating actually saves you and by the creativity gained.

     

    4. Enables Making Better Decisions

    While your mind may be rational and you can usually trust your gut, it’s a good idea to weigh all of your options before making a decision. Some of the ideas you consciously or subconsciously brainstormed can become viable options. They may not have come to mind if you had rushed into the project or hadn’t thought about it at all until right before your deadline.

    Active procrastination can give you more time to find the best possible solution.

     

    5. Gives the Task Purpose

    When you’re assigned a task that seems menial, actively procrastinating gives you time to think about its purpose. Understanding why something needs to get done and who it affects can motivate you to complete it wholeheartedly. Understand the goal, keep it in mind, and work toward it.

    If you haven’t tried the concept of active procrastination, test it. It may feel odd to both the passive procrastinator and the self-starter, but it also may make your busy life a whole lot easier.

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