Family Meetings

4 MEETINGS EVERY FAMILY OUGHT TO HAVE

 Posted Courtesy of Russell Rhodes SWBC Mortgage

 An unexpected crisis draws families together–it’s almost inevitable. But families should also meet regularly to discuss important topics, both fun and serious. These meetings give each family member the opportunity to contribute and be invested in outcomes that consider everyone’s needs. They make your family stronger, happier, and more harmonious. They make it second nature to come together in crisis, as well as help avoid stress in more mundane matters. Here are four meetings your family should regularly have.
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Gift Giving Guidelines. Is excessive gift-giving causing strain from the desire to reciprocate? Meet on this topic with extended family members. The goal is to reduce the tsunami of gifts that come to your children on birthdays and holidays. Try meeting on this at the end of a visit. Suggest that you all put a limit on the value of gifts you exchange, or have each family member give only one gift to only one other family member. While you can’t force anyone to gift the way you’d like, you can set some limits that will keep things under control. Here are some other strategies to keep gift-giving gracious, instead of stressful.

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Family Safety. A simple conversation can save lives, so make safety issues a regular topic of discussion. Review what to do in case of a fire and agree on a place to meet outside. Decide what to do if separated during a storm, flood, or other natural disasters, and make sure all family members agree on the plan. Remind family members of home safety hazards, such as watching videos in the tub while charging your phone. Kids have more access than ever to questionable pranks they see online, so discuss the dangers these pranks can pose. Empower older kids with a plan of action if they’re home alone and accidentally start a fire, and what to do if someone has a medical emergency. Post emergency numbers in the kitchen put them on all phones, and touch base with neighbors you could call in an emergency. Because emergencies can still happen while away from home, it’s important for everyone in the family to memorize each other’s phone numbers. Remind kids if something happens when you’re not around, they must listen to a police officer or other first responder, teacher, or other adults in charge. Ask extended family members for backup contacts if you can’t reach them. By having these discussions, you’ll be better prepared if disaster strikes.

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Family Vacations. Meeting as a family to decide on a vacation is a great way to keep everyone happy. Share ideas about what a vacation means to each person, and what they think was their best vacations. Keep the focus away from where they went, but instead on how they felt there. Let everyone share the one thing they’d really like to do, then see what vacation choices could satisfy all family members. If nothing satisfies all, have each person make a list, and keep searching for the trip that checks a box for everyone. When taking a vacation with extended family members, be honest and up front about sharing your budget limit, keep in regular contact as plans are made, and be ready to compromise.

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Your Parents’ Future. Discussing the future with aging parents can be stressful, but the earlier you know their desires, the better you can plan to fulfill them. Meet with your parents to make sure they’re set for the future. Meetings can be by texts, emails, or online video conferences. First, meet with siblings, so you’re together on questions and issues. With Mom and Dad, check that they’ve written a will, appointed an executor, and created an advance healthcare directive (living will). Find out where they keep important documents and get contacts for their lawyer and financial person. See if there are any health or safety concerns, and how they plan to cover costs if they need care later on. If parents need assistance now, meet with siblings to coordinate caretaking support. By approaching these topics and discussing personal considerations and desires before choices become urgent, you and your family will save a lot of headaches and heartaches.

If you have questions about home financing or refinancing, with rates now near historical lows, please text, call or email us. We’re here to help!

Russell Rhodes
Russell Rhodes
SWBC Mortgage Corporation
Sr. Loan Officer
NMLS# 223298
26503 Oak Ridge Dr
The Woodlands, TX 77380
Direct: 832-381-2224
Cell: 713-582-6908
Fax: 1-866-275-4987
rrhodes@swbc.com
www.swbcmortgage.com/russellrhodes
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Some Highlights:

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Date: unknown    Event: Swimming instruction for children    Location: unknown    Photographer: unknown    Release info: no release needed

CrossNet # 30271

Water Safety – Make it a Habit

In Houston and the surrounding communities, many of us are fortunate to have a backyard pool or spa. For others the neighborhood pools offer a haven from the heat, a place to cool off and to enjoy a refreshing dip.

Unfortunately, every summer we hear news reports about drowning victims of all ages from toddlers to seniors. Many of these incidents could have been prevented if we all follow good water safety practices.

What are those practices… from the Red Cross website; I am sharing the best of best.  Visit http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/water-safety for these and other helpful information –

Follow these safety tips whenever you are in, on or around water:
Make Water Safety Your Priority

  • Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
  • Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone. Even at a public pool or a lifeguarded beach, use the buddy system!
  • Ensure that everyone in the family learns to swim well. Enroll in age-appropriate Red Cross water orientation and Learn-to-Swim courses.
  • Never leave a young child unattended near water and do not trust a child’s life to another child; teach children to always ask permission to go near water.
  • Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
  • Establish rules for your family and enforce them without fail. For example, set limits based on each person’s ability, do not let anyone play around drains and suction fittings, and do not allow swimmers to hyperventilate before swimming under water or have breath-holding contests.
  • Even if you do not plan on swimming, be cautious around natural bodies of waterincluding ocean shoreline, rivers and lakes. Cold temperatures, currents and underwater hazards can make a fall into these bodies of water dangerous.
  • If you go boating, wear a life jacket! Most boating fatalities occur from drowning.
  • Avoid alcohol use. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance and coordination; affects swimming and diving skills; and reduces the body’s ability to stay warm.

Prevent Unsupervised Access to the Water

  • Install and use barriers around your home pool or hot tub. Safety covers and pool alarms should be added as additional layers of protection.
  • Ensure that pool barriers enclose the entire pool area, are at least 4-feet high with gates that are self-closing, self-latching and open outward, and away from the pool. The latch should be high enough to be out of a small child’s reach.
  • If you have an above-ground or inflatable pool, remove access ladders and secure the safety cover whenever the pool is not in use.
  • Remove any structures that provide access to the pool, such as outdoor furniture, climbable trees, decorative walls and playground equipment.
  • Keep toys that are not in use away from the pool and out of sight. Toys can attract young children to the pool.

Maintain Constant Supervision

  • Actively supervise kids whenever around the water—even if lifeguards are present. Do not just drop your kids off at the public pool or leave them at the beach—designate a responsible adult to supervise.
  • Always stay within arm’s reach of young children and avoid distractions when supervising children around water.

Know What to Do in an Emergency

  • If a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.
  • Know how and when to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
  • If you own a home pool or hot tub, have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.
  • Enroll in Red Cross home pool safety, water safety, first aid and CPR/AED courses to learn how to prevent and respond to emergencies.
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