Author Archives: Richard Carmichael

About Richard Carmichael

Father of three beautiful kids, entrepreneur, social innovator and founder of HeadsUp Dad. Established this community to band together with like minded citizens to address the myriad of challenges facing parents today, specifically the Highly Engaged and Active Dads and those that aim to become one. HeadsUp Dad was created to tap into the power of community and help fathers work together to become the best of everything we can be, so that our kids in turn will have the best chance of succeeding in life and in their roles within the new global community.

10 Effective Ways to Get Rid of Rats

RatsRats are rodents found inside or outside the house. They appear from anywhere in search of food, water, and shelter. Rats can find your home a suitable place to dwell. Many people find them to be destructive, not only do they steal food, but they also contaminate food, devastate properties, bring plagues, and transmit many diseases. Because of these disadvantages that rats come with, it is essential to know of various ways to get rid of rats effectively. The following are some of the most effective methods for rat removal:

Clean House

Cleaning your house well is considered as the first and most effective way to get rid of rats effectively. You can clean by removing their sources of food and shelter as much as possible. You should cover remained dishes and pet dishes, keep the yard and home clean, close lids on the garbage cans. Proper hygiene will also help you know what is attracting rats in your house and know their hideouts.

Use Of Traps (Trapping)

Trapping gets rid of rats fast. It is done by taking a humane trap and putting bait like Peanut butter and cheese to attract the rat. As the rat tries to eat this, it will be caught in the trap.

You can then take it and throw it away from your home or in the woods so that it never comes back. A well-fed rat may not eat the bait used in rat traps. It will be wise to exhaust their food source before setting the trap or using rat poison.

However, we recommend only using poison as a last resort. As it poses a health risk to all of the predators that may decide to make a meal out of the poisoned rat. It could be a beautiful coyote, a wild fox – or even your own best friend taking his last woof.

If you do decide to use poisons – you will need to go the extra mile to ensure no other animals are harmed through ingesting the poisoned rat. Which means you will need to dispose of the rats properly in the trash.


Use Of Rodenticides

Poison baits should be used in areas where children and domestic animals cannot access them for protection against poisoning. Rat baits come in pellets, meal, and block forms. When the rat feeds on the bait, it dies of poison. It is essential to dispose the dead rats away from your house to avoid bad odor. The original rat poison is a chemical called Coumadin or hydroxycoumarin. The makers of rat poisons realized that one poison bite would make the rat ill and eventually die.

Black Pepper And Peppermint Oil

Capsaicin, an active compound in peppers produces a lot of heat. Amazingly, that heat becomes an amazing way of getting rid of rats. If you sprinkle, pepper where the rats reside it will make them leave because they cannot stand the heat. The pungent smell of pepper also makes it hard for the rats to breathe. Thus it threats their survival. Also, you can place cotton dipped in peppermint oil and put it strategically. It can be near your kitchen, dustbin, or an area that is likely to attract rats.


This is a natural remedy to get rid of rats fast. The smell of onions is odious to these stubborn rodents. Just slice an onion and keep it inside or near their holes. They hate the smell of onion and run away. This is an excellent home remedy.

Close All Openings And Dismantle Their Hideout

You can prevent rats from entering or re-entering your spaces, by closing any opening including vent holes and the smallest cracks. Sheet metal around pipe entrances and along door bottoms prevents rats from chewing through. You can fill gaps around pipes with cement to keep out rats. Take away any objects that rats can use as home or hideouts like old furniture and car bodies.


Mothballs can also repel rats. They are readily available in the market and are easy to use. Place a few in your attic to keep the rats away. Avoid placing these mothballs inside the house as it has a strong smell that is harmful to humans. Take proper care not to touch it with bare hands. It is advisable to wear protective gloves when handling these balls.


Sound not only hurts rats but also makes their ears bleed. Sound waves are said to be highly disruptive to the nervous system of rodents. One electronic sound repellent covers an area of 2,500 square feet per floor, significant coverage of all the areas within your house or residence. Garages, basements, and attics should be fixed with their own electronic sound repellent device.

Cow Dung

It is a stinky and dirty process but one of the best ways to prevent these rodents. Take some cow dung cakes and spread them in your attic or garden. When rats eat the cow dung, it will inflame their stomach and cause them to die. This helps get rid of rats outside the house.

Raising Natural Predators

A more natural method for eradicating rats is keeping a cat. It is natural to keep a cat and her kittens for long-term pest control. Most of the cats are excellent hunters and will tend to chase the rats away. The only problem is that cats create a territory and mark it with urine. Another setback is that rats reach some places in your home that are too small for a cat to squeeze in.

The menace of rodents can get disturbing especially when they invade your dwelling. The above methods can be used to get rid of them effectively.

Why Kids Need Sleep to Learn and Grow


For many children, sleep is an obstacle.

Kids of all ages resist sleep, often because they think they have more exciting things to do than rest. At a young age, children don’t want to slow down and sleep, preferring exploring and learning. Teens may have so many commitments, assignments, and social engagements that they don’t feel they have enough time for it all — taking time away from sleep.

Although kids often put sleep at a low priority level, it’s important for parents to encourage healthy sleep habits. Children and teens need sleep to learn and grow healthy, and establishing healthy sleep habits in childhood can help your kids maintain good sleep for a lifetime.

Good sleep is a secret weapon for school success
— and it supports healthy growth as well.

When kids sleep, their bodies work on growing, restoring, and mental processing. Human growth hormone, which supports growth and regeneration, is released late at night and is best supported by deep sleep. New ideas and information are processed into memories during sleep, helping kids retain what they’ve learned each day.

When kids get enough sleep, they’re more alert and able to face the challenges of the day. They can better retain and organize new information learned throughout the day, and they are more emotionally and physically prepared to bounce back from stress.

When kids don’t get enough sleep, everything is more difficult. Children may experience difficulty with alertness, learning, and memory, which can be particularly detrimental at school. They may struggle emotionally, resulting in tantrums and outbursts from feeling too tired to deal well with frustrations throughout the day.

The Trouble With Teen Sleep

Teens, in particular, are in a danger spot for sleep deprivation. Their circadian rhythms shift in puberty, pushing bedtimes back — but they still have to wake up on time for school. Most U.S. middle schools and high schools start the school day before 8:30 a.m. This often leaves teens without enough rest, building up a sleep debt every night.

Teens who don’t sleep well may experience moodiness and are more likely to face poor grades, obesity, and the dangers of drowsy driving. Especially dangerous is the increased risk of anxiety, depression, and suicide associated with sleep deprivation in teens. Teens who are sleep deprived are more likely to engage in unhealthy risk behaviors, such as drinking, smoking, and using drugs.

How Parents Can Support Healthy Sleep

  • Make sleep a priority. It’s easy to let a busy schedule chip away at sleep time, but it’s important that you make sleep a priority. Determine how much time your child needs to sleep at night, and plan your schedule from there. You may need to prioritize sleep over other activities.
  • Create a healthy sleep environment. Give kids a good place to sleep. Make sure their bedroom is clean, comfortable, cool, dark, and quiet. This can support healthy sleep, making their sleep environment relaxing and inviting.
  • Encourage healthy sleep habits. Teach kids good sleep habits at an early age. Encourage them to maintain a regular sleep schedule and bedtime routine. Help them avoid sleep pitfalls that can interfere with good sleep, such as consuming caffeine or heavy meals late at night, or using screens just before bed.

A Tale of two Musks

One of these kids, is not like the other…

Elon Musk is an impressive visionary and an agent for positive change. Founder of PayPal, co-founder of Tesla Motors and founder of Space X, he is a true renaissance man.

What Elon is doing to up-end the automobile industry and force the big three to do what they should have done 30 years ago is amazing. His ambition to bring humans to space and lap around Mars is equally impressive. Whether you agree ot not that this is an effective use of funds, you have to agree he is a visionary and will leave a lasting legacy on society.

While most recently Elon has had his and all of our eyes pointed at the sky, spending $90m to send a Tesla Roadster to Mars, his little brother’s passion is a little more down to earth. Kimbal Musk been busy with an entirely different mission here on planet earth. Quite literally, his eyes are looking down and his hands are in the dirt educating under privileged kids all across the United States about the benefits of growing your own healthy, wholesome and nutritious food in the heart of urban centres like Denver, Chicago, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and Indianapolis.

Kimbal-Musk-at-the-learning-garden-in-Los-AngelesKimbal Musk at the learning garden in Los Angeles’ Camino Nuevo Charter Academy High School. (Photo credit: The Kitchen Community)

Kimbal and his team have built what he calls “learning gardens” in six American cities. Immediate plans are in the works for a $25 million expansion into 5 more cities — Detroit, Colorado Springs, Louisville, Long Beach and San Antonio, Texas — with at least 100 schools in each city. By the end of 2020, his goal is to install 1,000 learning gardens in those cities. If he can make his dream come true, he’ll eventually introduce every child in America to healthy food and environmental awareness.

Sending a few rich white people to space or teaching underserved kids about food, resiliency and self reliance? Which Musk is going to have a bigger impact on the future of children and adults living right here on planet earth?

Surviving A Camping Trip… With The Kids!!

The idea of heading to a camping trip with your kids is super exciting. You can try something new. If your kids have not gone camping before, this is their chance to enjoy an activity you might have enjoyed when you were growing up. It is not easy though and you have a lot of things to consider.

The first thing you should get is a permit from your local park authority. Even if you are heading to a popular site, you still need to get the permits and even inform them about the exact date and time when you will be there.

If your family is not routinely taking off to the backwoods, preparing your kids mentally for the camping trip takes time. They might resist or just say no to the idea at first.

Letting them know about all of the benefits of camping and tell them lots of great stories about all the fun you can have in the great outdoors will help them get used to the idea. Getting them excited about the trip is essential as it allows them to open up to the value of what they are doing.

Don’t forget to bring toys for the road trip, prepare games and activities, pack enough food and water and don’t forget a medicine kit with bandaids, antiseptic and other medical essentials for the trip. You may far from any kind of store and getting these essentials once out and about in the woods can be a real challenge.

Remember that it is all about having fun, getting outside and gaining an appreciation for nature.

Don’t forget to pack plenty of cold and wet weather gear. You don’t want to get caught unprepared. For more tips on how to survive a camping adventure with your kids, check out the infographic below…

Surviving A Camping Trip...With The Kids!!


Outdoor activity, even napping, in winter leads to happier, healthier and more resilient kids…


Kids of all ages love to ride the toboggan down slippery, snowy hills

Well, its finally happening…

The cool, crisp air of yet another onset of winter has finally arrived. While it would be easy to light the fireplace and snuggle up inside for another long, cold winter— rather than retreat inside, we should actually be spending more time outdoors. Walking, hiking, playing, skiing, snowboarding, learning, exploring discovering and even… napping. Yes, napping. Outside.


Nordic (or Cross Country) Skiing is a great way to have fun, get fit and actually enjoy winter.

While it is easy to think that winter is long, and cold and hard to endure year after year, it really is more of a state of mind than a set of circumstances we have to endure. When you take the time to actively engage in activities that force you to dress up and get outside and move around for extended periods of time, winter can actually be really fun. If you set your mind to it, it becomes a great opportunity to seek out and find ways and things to do that build resilience, shorten the season, and put you in great shape emotionally, physically and mentally.

Outdoor learning is alive and well in Sweden – a priority even. The team at the Swedish think tank Movium has been able to advance a national agenda in support of outdoor play and learning, mobility and independence.


Get the kids outside skiing early on in life and you will give them a gift that lasts a lifetime.

Here in Canada, we see signs of movement in that direction. More schools and school boards are encouraging play and learning outside and creating school grounds that are healthy for kids living in cities.


Running, jumping and all around tomfoolery in the powdery snow is a great way to burn off steam and get plenty of fresh air. Dress them up right and they won’t even notice its cold outside.

Cam Collyer, Director of Programs at Evergreen, shares what Canadians can learn from outdoor education around the world…


Back Yard Hockey rinks are a bit of work in the fall, winter and spring, but well worth the effort if you can get a cold enough winter in your area. Here in Toronto, it is hard to believe we can actually do this in the city, but it is possible if you roll up your sleeves and are dedicated to the cause.

What are you waiting for? Bundle up the kids and get outside!


Tips on Creating Inspirational Spaces for Kids


It always seems that a good part of every weekend is spent working on some home improvement project. Either we’re replacing the leaky kitchen sink, fixing the upstairs toilet that keeps running, or the usual sort of stuff like cleaning the gutters and raking the yard. Sometimes we guys get lucky and can work on something we actually want to work on, like a mancave or setting up a home office the exact way we want. Another project that is worth the time and effort, that is also fun, is making something for the kids.

1. The Tween Cave

As much as we try and deny it, our kids are growing up. The happy little twerp that was glued to your leg is now a moody teen who wants to be left alone in his room. Why not make him a dream room he will love? Ideally, the best place is a basement or an attic. It gives the budding adult a greater sense of privacy, while allowing you to still keep an eye on him.

The key here is to let them have a major say in how the room looks. If they want everything painted black and dark purple, like their favorite band (or whatever sort of music they like) then let them paint the room that color. It will show them that you value their thoughts and ideas. Did I mention that they also have to help? Working on their own room like that will give them a greater appreciation for what they built.

Remember, it’s during these years that a teen will be tempted to do things like drinking or drugs. If they have a cool place where they feel in control, that along with your guidance, make all the difference in what choices they make.

2. A Tree House or Fort

The treehouse has been a staple for boys and girls of all ages for a long time. This is one of those things that has gotten better over the years, because there are more options than ever. If a yard doesn’t have big enough trees to build a treehouse, you can build a fort. Pirate ships and rockets are also an option.

There are tons of YouTube videos that can give dads a step by step guide to build whatever they want. If you aren’t gifted in the carpentry arts, there are kits you can buy. These are relatively easy to assemble, but still give the dad an excuse to bust out the tools and let the kids watch while he builds something. Failing that, there are even professional treehouse and fort builders who will do all the work, but where’s the fun in that?

3. The Classic Playroom

The best thing about a regular playroom is that it can be used all year long, regardless of the weather. There is also a lot of flexibility in what can be done. No matter what the kids are into, building the perfect playroom is a cinch. It can be a rough and tumble superhero lair, or the ballroom in a castle.

Decorating the playroom is easier than most people expect. The main thing is to keep it fun and fitting with the chosen theme. Having custom chairs with the most creative upholstery fabric is a great way to bring a playroom together, and spark a child’s imagination. To them, you aren’t building a playroom. You’re building them a magical place all their own.

The list of things a dad can do is nearly endless. The project can be indoor or outdoor, and depending on the age of your kids, the scope and tone can go from princess in pink to rock stars in black leather. If there is enough of an age difference, you might have to do more than one project. Like that’s a bad thing. Use these few ideas to get you started. Take them, run with them, and make them your own.