It All Adds Up: Five simple ways parents can make a big difference with math learning.

In all my years of teaching, the subject that has seemed to cause the most anxiety amongst parents is math. Hands down, I’ve received most of my panicked phone calls and frustrated emails because a parent felt ill equipped to assist with homework or could not explain math the way the teacher did earlier that day. My philosophy has always been to help families keep things simple. Life is complicated enough with school, activities, family time, and trying to stay sane in the midst of it all. Read more

Tennis Anyone?

tennisSummer is the time when you’re eager to introduce your kids to new activities through camps and programs offered at local parks, colleges, schools, and community centers. You always see tennis as an option–you know it offers great exercise, but you don’t know if you have the right equipment for your child to play, and you’re worried that it might be expensive or difficult to find the right program. Well, you’ll be happy to know that tennis is actually one of the most accessible sports out there–there’s a good chance that the shoes your child wears for school will be great for the court (if they have black bottoms, just make sure they are non-marking soles) and the only other piece of equipment you’ll need is a youth tennis racquet which can be found at your local sporting good store or on-line for typically under $25. Manufacturers have made it easy to find the right racquet as they are usually labeled by age, and many tennis camps and clinics (group lessons that don’t break the bank) now offer the “quick start” approach which uses balls and nets that are more suitable to smaller children. (That said, if there isn’t a quick start program near you, fear not. It’s a new system that is simply a nice bonus, but it’s by no means necessary). Youth racquets come in fun colors and they are always pre-strung, so as soon as it’s in hand, your child is ready to go! Read more

Outdoor Stain Busters

Laundry tips for active families

(Family Features) Engaging in outdoor activities are a great way for families to stay active and spend quality time together, but between tree-climbing, nature hikes, and backyard barbecues, outdoor adventures can lead to piles of dirty, dingy and stained clothing.

Unwanted stains from dripping ice cream cones to grass and dirt can easily find themselves on unsuspecting clothing, and especially stand out on white and light-colored apparel. Read more

Safe, Green Ways to Protect Family & Home

A few simple steps towards pest protection

(Family Features) There are many ways to keep pests away from your home, but many homeowners question the safety risks certain products pose on their family and pets. Here are some simple ways to successfully keep the pests at bay without compromising your family’s safety:

Keep your yard tidy

  • Always keep trees and shrubs trimmed back away from the house. When branches and leaves hang over, pests have an easy walkway right to your home.
  • While picking up leaves, grass clippings and falling debris requires additional effort, it is important to get rid of it. Lingering piles of yard debris can serve as a perfect breeding ground for pests to nest and call home.
  • Be sure to mow your yard on a regular basis to reduce the risk of a flea or tick outbreak.
  • To keep pests from outdoor areas where your family spends time, use Nature-Cide Natural Outdoor Insect & Pest Spray, which can be used to eradicate and prevent outdoor insect, reptile and rodent infestations.

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Tips To Protect Your Family From Mosquitoes

girl with mosquito bite, scratching hand has motion blurWhen it comes to getting bitten by potential disease-carrying mosquitoes, there is truth in the old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Be sure to educate your family about the potential harm of mosquito bites and empower them to protect themselves against these bothersome, biting buggers. There are many new options on the market today ranging from zappers and candles to sprays and the newest addition, area repellents such as ThermaCELL repellents. Read more

Smart Kids’ Rooms that Grow with Time

(Family Features) Costs for furnishing and decorating a child’s room can mount quickly, but with careful planning and a few smart purchases, the decisions you make for that nursery or toddler’s room can create a functional and clutter-free space that grows with your child well into the teen years.

From convertible furniture to neutral walls, you can establish a framework that evolves as your child’s interests change, significantly extending the life of those early investments.

Lorie Marrero, a certified professional organizer and author of “The Clutter Diet,” has partnered with the experts at ClosetMaid to offer these tips for creating a room that transitions with your youngster as childhood gives way to adolescence. Read more

Healthy Habits for Raising Healthy Eaters

Tips to get kids to enjoy healthy foods

Fruit Dip with Cinnamon Sugar Scoops

(Family Features) For many parents, getting their children to eat the right foods can be a daily struggle.

According to registered dietitian Deanna Segrave-Daly, there are many simple ways for parents to get their little ones to eat the foods they need to grow up strong and healthy. Here are a few ideas you can incorporate into your family’s routine:

Train Tiny Taste Buds

Getting young kids to accept new foods can wear down even the most patient parent. It may take 10-15 exposures to a food before a kid accepts it. Encourage trying new fruits and vegetables for just a few bites. Read more