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10 Summertime Hacks

10 summer hacks

Avoid and deal with some minor Summer-related annoyances and inconveniences with these 10 Summertime Hacks provided by our friends at SummerNanny.

marshmallow
1. Stop drippy ice cream cones with a marshmallow or chocolate. Ice cream is a delicious summertime favorite, but often ends up being a very messy treat when eating outdoors in the heat. To prevent your sugar cone from leaking, drop a couple of mini marshmallows into the bottom before you add your ice cream scoops, or dribble some melted chocolate down into the bottom of all of your cones. In addition to stopping leaks, there will be a yummy treat at the bottom, especially once it hardens, and both solutions will stop the drips from ending up on your kids.

candles

2. Light up your next outside dinner party by using cupcake papers. Candlelight is a beautiful addition down the center of an outdoor table and works well because candles are generally low and won’t block the view of the person sitting across the table. The problematic part of using candles is that you have to invest in a bunch of candle holders and deal with the cleanup of all of the melted wax. Until now. Instead of using candle holders, use foil cupcake papers as your holders and tea lights for your candles. The foil will reflect the candlelight as well as capture the melted wax and make cleanup a breeze.

flower pots

3. Protect your food from flying pests by using a pretty flower pot. Buy a few big clay pots. You can buy them already painted or paint them yourself. To make the pots easy to pick up you’ll need to add on a handle. You can do so by taking some pretty cording or rope and cutting off about 10 inches, then folding the cording in half and poking the folded end through the hole in the bottom of the pot. Turn the pot over and tie the ends on the inside into a knot to prevent the cord from pulling out. Now you are ready to cover your food for your next outside gathering.

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4. Gnats and flies love to walk all over food. Place a fan at one end of the table and create a breeze across the table. Gnats and flies don’t have particularly strong wings and won’t be able to fly through the breeze, thereby forcing them to stay away from the food and your guests.

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5. Keep your food cold outside by using a baby pool. Baby pools are inexpensive and if you buy the blow up kind they are easy to store as well. If you want to keep salads cool just set the baby pool up on top of the food table and fill it with a few inches of ice. As the food arrives your guests can place dishes right on ice. Another use for the baby pool is to keep your drinks cold and easily accessible. You can set this pool anywhere, but placing it in the shade will help your ice last a little longer.

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6. Jazz up your sun tea. Use different flavors of tea in your jar to bring a new mix to your tea. Once your tea has brewed in the sun add some mint leaves and fruit juice and refrigerate it until it’s time to serve it.

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7. Keep unwanted ants away during your next picnic.  Mix equal parts of water and vinegar in a spray bottle and shake.  Spray the solution on picnic tables, under the table, and anywhere that people might be standing.

ice cream


8. Stop wasting ice cream. Once open, ice cream is exposed to the air in the freezer and starts to form ice crystals, and if you leave it in there for too long the ice cream won’t be any good. To avoid ice crystals just press a piece of parchment paper or wax paper on the surface of the ice cream and it will stay fresh all the way till the last scoop.

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9. Set a trap to keep the bees away from your guests. Find a spot that is at the edge of the area you are entertaining in and place a few bowls of sweet soda for the bees to drink. The bees will be too interested in drinking the soda to bother you or your guests.

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10. Use corn starch to prevent chafing. Chafing happens to kids and adults alike in the summer due to their being more sweat forming between your skin and clothes. Corn starch is absorbent and it’s very soft to the touch. It works well to smooth it on legs or under bras to reduce the painful heat rash that occurs.

8 Effective Post-Natal Exercises to help Drop Baby Weight Fast

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If you’ve recently had a baby and have gotten the okay from your doctor to finally start exercising again, you still may find it tough to escape to a gym or maybe you don’t have a gym membership.

Maybe, you have exercise DVDs but no motivation to do them or want to mix up your routine. There are ways to get fit with your baby nearby or napping and while watching your fave TV shows .

These are 8 of my favorite old-school weight-bearing routines.

1. Push-ups – I find Push-ups are the BEST for getting toned arms. You don’t even need barbells. It’s great because it works out your deltoids, biceps and triceps all at once. Doing at least 3 sets of 10 reps each time you work out will get you sculpted Michelle Obama arms in no time.  To do them, start in plank position and then engage your core as you lower and raise your body.

2. Burpees – Everyone I know absolutely HATE this total body exercise. You basically have to engage every muscle in your body to perform it and that is why they are so effective. Start in a standing position, then drop down to a deep squat with your hands outside your feet. From there, jump your legs back and get into a plank then return to the deep squat. Then pop back up into a standing postion and with your arms in the air, jump straight up. They can also be a cardio exercise if you do at least 10 in a row without stopping too long in between.

3. Squats – This move is relatively simple to do and is perfect for lifting and getting a tone butt. Tgey also works your quads and hamstrings. I find they are great lower body exercise to do in front of the TV too. Stand with your feet shoulder length apart. Lower down into a sitting postion before standing  back up. Repeat for 10-15 reps for three sets.

4. Jumping Jacks – Speaking of cardio, the best way to get it in without any treadmill, stairclimber, spin bike or other exercise machine is by doing between 30-100 of these in one session continuously or straight for 2 minutes.

5. Lunges – Another power lower body workout are lunges. These too are popular for getting tight and sculpted legs. Start with your legs shoulder with apart with your hands on your hips. Then, step forward out about 90 degrees with one leg but be careful not to let your knees go beyond your feet. Alternate legs. Do 20 reps and 3 sets per session. You can do reverse lunges next by stepping back if you like

6. Running in place – To also get a good cardio work out, simply run in place for 1-2 minutes straight. Keep your knees high. You’ll work up a sweat and get your heart pumping

7. Planks – Another dreaded move are the planks, but these are the quickest way to work all the muscles in your abdominal area in one move. Start like you are going to do a push up, then lowerself down to your elbows and stay in that position for 30 seconds to a minute and work yourself up to a minute. You’ll definitely feel these the next day.

8. Mountain climbers – Finally, another good cardio and toning exercise are mountain climbers. Start in a plank position, then alternate each foot up toward your hand, right under your chest. The quicker you alternate, the more cardio the work out you’ll get. While in the plank postion, you are also working your upper body as well.

If you squeeze these moves in for about 20 to 30 minutes a day, or every other day, you’ll see the weight start to drop especially if you are breastfeeding or watching your caloric intake at the same time. On alternate days, go for a walk or short jog outdoors or do an exercise DVD. You need to mix up your workout to drop pounds and not plateau.

Good luck!

Help your fave charity earn a $2K grant via Huggies #UltraHug initiative

Sponsored Post

chelsea social huggies

Hurry Quick!

There is only one day left for you to set up your favorite charity to possibly receive a $2,000 grant from Huggies by participating in its #UltraHug selfie program!

All you have to do to support this movement to help a community projects that is near and dear to your heart is:

  1. Thru tomorrow June 25th at midnight, take a selfie with your little one and upload it  onto Instagram or Twitter with the #UltraHug hashtag and in the commentary section of the photo include the name of the charitable organization you would like to nominate.
  2. On July 6, Huggies will feature 20 of the nominated community projects on THIS SITE and give parents a chance to cast their vote for which project should receive a $2,000 grant from Huggies towards their community projects.
  3. The top 10 projects getting the most votes will win the grants!
chelsea social mom

Bellyitch’s Social Media manager Chelsea Social and her son Michael

Bellyitch Blogs‘ own Chelsea Social has uploaded her pics with our Blog Spokesbaby, Michael, onto Twitter.

I’d like to nominate Good Counsel Homes and Hope for Babies and Mothers. My husband and I have donated each month to this New Jersey charity which for the past 30 years has provided loving homes, comfort, support and shelter to mothers and their children in need. Over 6,000 women, including several teen mothers who were kicked out of their parents’ homes, have benefited from the nurturing care, encouragement and lifestyle training that Good Counsel provides!

We hope it wins!

Your Turn!

Quickly snap up your babes and enter your own fave charity TODAY!!!

photos: Chelsea Social, Becoming Julie Griffin, Lezo Musings

 

 

 

 

40 Educational iPad Apps to Download this Summer

kids ipad

Busy this summer and don’t have time to entertain your children? Grab the iPad and download one of these 40 educational iPad apps to keep them busy and their brain sharp during the break, curated for you compliments of our friends at Onlineclasses.

Language and Vocabulary

Here you’ll find apps for learning the alphabet, using the dictionary, reviewing grammar rules, and more.

  1. ABC Animals: Help young children learn the alphabet and phonics with this cute, illustrated app.
  2. Word Magic: Kids fill in the missing letter to form words, accompanied by bright pictures.
  3. Clifford’s BE BIG with Words: In this game, kids spell out words so that Clifford and his friends can think of things to paint.
  4. Dictionary.com – Dictionary and Thesaurus: This easy-to-use app features a search bar, thesaurus, search history and word of the day.
  5. Free Spanish Tutor: Introduce or help your kids review Spanish with this app that features native speaker audio, puzzles, written tests, flash cards, and a multiple choice quiz.
  6. Textropolis: Kids have to find and piece together words in order to build up their “textropolis” in this game.
  7. iWrite Words: Small children learn to write by tracing words with this game.
  8. Spell and Listen Cards: Kids rearrange letters to form basic words, improving their vocabulary and sight reading.
  9. TypeFast: If your kids don’t have time to take a typing class, they can use this app to learn how to type faster and more accurately.
  10. Grammar Up: Help kids learn adjectives, nouns, verbs, adverbs, infinitives, gerunds, conjunctions, and other grammar basics.

History

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These American and world history apps involve your kids in making decisions that determine the success or decline of whole civilizations.

  1. Manual for the United States of America: Kids can learn about and read the Articles of Confederation, Declaration of Independence, Federalist Papers, biographies of Supreme Court justices, and a lot more.
  2. Oregon Trail: This classic game is now available on the iPad and helps children of various ages practice problem-solving and decision-making skills as they learn about history and try to survive the great trek West.
  3. Civilization Revolution: Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution teaches kids about world civilizations, including Japan, Germany, China, Spain, America, and others, as they lead their people to victory.
  4. On This Day: Help your students learn more about history with this trivia-like game that lists important events each day.

Math and Science

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These apps use flash cards, games and interactive displays to teach your kids about math, astronomy and more.

  1. Math Cards: This grade-as-you-go game teaches subtraction, division, multiplication and addition in a touch-screen game.
  2. Kids Math Fun – Third Grade: This app is devoted to third grade math skills, including basic arithmetic. Games like Double Dare and Minute Math keep it fun, too.
  3. The Math Master: Practice math drills and learn math facts on this app, which features a numeric touchpad.
  4. KidsCalc 7-in-1 Math Fun: This app teaches young children number recognition, and older kids arithmetic. It features a birthday party theme, and includes flash cards, puzzle game, running timer, and more.
  5. PopMath Basic Math: This level-based math game is supposed to be non-stressful but still effective.
  6. Pocket Universe: Virtual Sky Astronomy: This app displays the night sky just as you’re seeing it, but with more detail and descriptions of constellations and stars.
  7. Mathematical Formulas: This app serves as a great reference and review tool that catalogs and explains math formulas for geometry and more.
  8. The Chemical Touch: View the periodic table and learn about chemical properties with this app.
  9. Brain Tuner Lite: This free app is a great tool for getting your kids to practice math skills each day.
  10. Mathemagics – Mental Math Tricks: More advanced students can practice multiplication, square numbers, and more.

Reading

Help your children learn to read and get excited about reading the classics with these apps.

  1. Learn Sight Words: Help your children learn the expected high-frequency words they need to know by the end of 1st grade with this cute app.
  2. Newspapers: Encourage your children to read about the rest of the world by linking them to newspapers from different cities.
  3. Free Books: This app costs $1.99, but you’ll get to read over 23,000 classic books like The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and plays by Shakespeare.
  4. iLibrary+audio: Download whole chapters and then listen to them read aloud with this app. Books include The Call of the Wild, Emma and Treasure Island.

Art and Music

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Encourage your children to explore art and music with the help of these apps.

  1. Preschool Music: Kids can create their own songs and play a virtual piano as they play along with sheep and birds on this app.
  2. Ultimate Guitar Tabs: Kids can read guitar chords and tabs to learn about music.
  3. Art: Your kids — ages 12 and up — will learn about important artists like da Vinci, Georgia O’Keefe, Jackson Pollock and more with this searchable app that features quizzes, a slideshow, newsletter, and more.
  4. Instruments in Reach Basic: Learn the fingerings for instruments like the flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, bassoon, oboe and trombone.

General Education and Life Skills

These general education apps help to improve critical thinking skills through games, matching, puzzles, and more.

  1. Monster Mix & Match: Kids practice critical thinking and problem solving skills with this game that lets them create monster cartoon characters.
  2. Preschool Arcade: Preschoolers can learn numbers, the alphabet, and capital and lower case letters while developing critical thinking and matching skills.
  3. Highlights Hidden Pictures: Highlights Magazine designed this game that includes eight puzzles filled with hidden pictures your kids search for while using clues and hints.
  4. I SPY Spooky Mansion: This is a great app for helping kids think critically as they solve riddles and puzzles while collecting keys in a spooky old mansion.
  5. TeachMe: Kindergarten: Review or help younger children get a head start on kindergarten lessons in reading, math and spelling.
  6. 10,500+ Cool Facts: This app provides an easy way to add random tidbits of knowledge to your kids’ brains. Shake your iPad to get a new cool fact.
  7. 2010 World Factbook: With this app, your children can learn about different countries, their flags, languages, government, economy, and more.
  8. Flashcards Deluxe: Customize your own flashcards with this app, which integrates with Quizlet.com, features audio and text, and can hold over 5,000 flash cards.

5 Things to Consider BEFORE buying a Car Seat

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If you are expecting a baby and need to purchase a car seat or thinking of moving up to a version for a bigger baby as your child grows, you’ll find these five things NannyPro asked us to share with you helpful before you make that final purchase

1. Budget: Because car seats can range from well under a hundred dollars to several hundred, many people automatically assume more expensive must mean a better seat. But this is not actually true. One seat that is frequently recommended by Child Passenger Safety Technicians as easy to use and install runs right around $40. All seats must pass the same basic set of testing standards and ultimately the best seat is the one that is installed and used properly, so take an honest look at your budget and then find a seat within that budget that fits your child’s needs (see below) and your vehicle well, have a CPST teach you how to install it and always use it properly. Visit www.car-seat.org to find a CPST near you.

2.Age/Size of Child: Even the best car seat is useless if it is the wrong seat for the age and size of your child. Many seats are labeled in ways that are misleading to parents. For example, many booster seats say on the package 30lbs-100lbs. We all have seen one year olds who are pushing 30 lbs. That does not in any way mean that a one year old is ready for a booster seat—many children are not ready for boosters until age seven or eight because size alone is not the determining factor. So do some research and figure out what seat (infant, convertible, forward facing, harnessed booster or unharnessed booster) is best for your child based on both their age AND their size. As of 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children under age two stay in a weight appropriate rear-facing car seat or to the maximum weight and height limitations for their car seat for maximum safety and head/neck protection. For some children, this may mean rear-facing until age three or four. A good place to start is the NHTSA website. In addition, since many harnessed car seats (often called a harnessed booster) now offer weight limits up to 80-85 lbs, it is wise to consider extended harnessing for your child for ultimate protection. There is a reason that even race car drivers use this kind of harness—it helps keep the passenger in the safest position and protects them better. Don’t be in a rush to move “up” to the next style of seat. Each step “up” is actually a step “down” for safety.

3. Needs: What is the need of this seat? Do you need one that comes in and out easily (and therefore is super easy to install correctly) since your baby needs to be transported in other vehicles often because of who is the primary caregiver or because you travel a lot as a family? Or will this seat be installed and rarely ever moved? This can affect your decision making process as you review possible seats and is a major consideration for families that need to move seats because of particular needs. Whether it’s moved often or not, you still need to be able to install it correctly every time.

4. How long do you need this seat to last? For some families on a tight budget, the need for a seat to last as long as possible is a major consideration. These days, car seat manufacturers are starting to take this into consideration and a few are making seats designed to go from infancy all the way to the booster stage and have a 10 year expiration on them. Wait… expiration? Yes, car seats have expiration dates set by the manufacturer of the seat based on when it began to fail in testing, as seats are made primarily of plastic, which breaks down over time. It’s important to know those dates as you consider various seats for your needs. For other families, budget is not as much of a concern as convenience is, so they might not mind having an infant bucket seat with a base and then purchasing a new seat when baby outgrows the bucket. It matters more to them to have the ability to lift a bucket in and out of the vehicle with the baby still in it.

5. Will you actually use it properly? A seat, no matter the cost or reputation, if not used properly, is simply not a good seat for your needs. So make sure you select a seat that is easy for you to use properly from installation to daily use. If your seat is beautiful, but takes you 30 minutes to take in and out even though you need an easily moved seat, you are less likely to install it properly due to frustration with the process. Or if it is difficult to adjust when needed, the straps might be positioned improperly and not provide the protection that is needed. If you can, it is a great idea to go to a store that will actually let you try out the various seats in your car to ensure that that particular seat is easy for you to use with the vehicle you own. This ensures you are more likely to use it properly.

Good luck!

 

Happy Father’s Day: 6 Songs/Videos for Dads

Happy Fathers Day 2015
Happy Father’s Day!
Here are 6 songs to consider dedicating to your dad, depending on the situation: Dad who has passed, New Dad, Dad to a daughter,deadbeat dad etc…

First up, the late Luther Vandross‘ “Dance With my Father” for those who have lost a dad or whose dad is resting in peace or in heaven:

Another Fave is Creed‘s “Arm’s Wide Open” to dedicate to a brand new dad who is celebrating his first Father’s Day

 

Next, a favorite of mine, John Mayer‘s “Daughters” for dads to little girls

Next, a song for the dad who abandoned his kid from his kid: Everclear‘s “Father of Mine

For Dads to sons, a tender song by Elton JohnBetween a Father and Son

Another brilliant father to son song from Phil Collins, titled “Father to son“. How appropriate!

BONUS:  An all-time favorite Stevie Wonder‘s “Isn’t she Lovely”  which he wrote when his daughter Aisha was born. It’s another good one for a dad to a new born daughter.







Roughstock has an excellent list of country songs for Father’s Day as well. Check it out HERE!

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Study: US Birth Rate Up, While Teen Birth Rate Down

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Women in the U.S. are having more babies — exactly 3,985,924 last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Preliminary data show that birth rates in the U.S. were up by 1 percent last year from 2013. It’s the first increase in seven years.

But teenagers aren’t having as many babies. The birth rate in that group dropped by 9 percent in 2014 compared with 2013. For context, teen births have been on the decline since 1991.

The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics published the data Wednesday. The findings are based on nearly all births in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Among the findings in the report:

  • The birth rate for Asians rose 6 percent, and 1 percent, respectively, for whites, blacks and Hispanics. The rate of Native American births dropped by 2 percent.
  • The rate of unmarried women who gave birth declined by 1 percent.
  • Women in their 30s and 40s continue to have more children, fueling the rise in the birth rate last year.

One of the authors of the report, Brady Hamilton of the National Center for Health Statistics, says the increase in the number of births overall was somewhat of a surprise.

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Father’s Day: These states are the Best and Worst for Working Dads

Father trying to work while holding baby

Father trying to work while holding baby

As we approach Father’s Day, it’s a good time to share this recent Wallet Hub report showcasing the best and worst states for Working Dads. Right now, nearly 93 percent of dads with kids younger than 18 were in the labor force in 2014.

WalletHub analyzed the work-life balance, health conditions, financial well-being and child-rearing environments for working dads in the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. It used  20 key metrics, which range from the unemployment rate for dads with kids younger than 18 to male life expectancy to day care quality.

Here are the final results:

Best States for Working Dads Worst States for Working Dads
1 Minnesota 42 Arizona
2 New Hampshire 43 Idaho
3 Massachusetts 44 Alabama
4 Vermont 45 Alaska
5 New Jersey 46 New Mexico
6 Virginia 47 Louisiana
7 Wisconsin 48 West Virginia
8 Maryland 49 Arkansas
9 Utah 50 Nevada
10 Connecticut 51 Mississippi

Other Key Stats

  • The median income for families (dad present) with kids younger than 18 adjusted for cost of living is two times higher in the District of Columbia than in Hawaii.
  • The unemployment rate for dads with kids younger than 18 is seven times higher in Nevada than in North Dakota.
  • The percentage of dads with kids younger than 18 living in poverty is four times higher in New Mexico than in New Hampshire.
  • The rate of uninsured men is five times higher in Texas than in Massachusetts.
  • The mortality rate due to heart disease (per 100,000 men) is two times higher in Alabama than in Colorado.
  • The cost of child care adjusted for the median income for families (dad present) is two times higher in New York than in Louisiana.

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For the full report and to see where your state ranks, please visit:

http://wallethub.com/edu/best-and-worst-states-for-working-dads/13458/

How to Avoid Brain Drain during Your Child’s Summer Break

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Since school is out for many children across the nation, parents may be wondering how to combat the Summer brain drain. That is the effect of kids losing some of the information, skills and knowledge they acquired during the school year over the three months of vacation. These tips from our friends at PartTimeNanny are perfect to share again. Here are tips to boost your child’s information retention and reinforce the lessons she/he  learns every day.

Vocabulary Words – Make learning these words fun by inventing games or incorporating the words into existing word games. You can post the week’s vocabulary words in strategic places around the house and quiz your child on the spelling at different times. Use the words in sentences and spell them out instead of saying them.

Reading – Take an interest in the books assigned to your student. Ask him about the books he is reading in school and hold conversations relating to the topics they cover. Kids may not have time for additional reading during the school year, but on holidays and vacations consider making suggestions. If your child shows interest in a particular topic, explore it with him. Not only will your interest help reinforce what he is learning in school, it will also provide you with valuable bonding time. You may find that you both have similar interests, giving you a foundation upon which to build a more meaningful relationship with your child.

Math – There are plenty of math games that you can play with your child. If you are working with a very young child, you can reinforce simple concepts like addition and subtraction with items like pennies or popcorn. Older kids may enjoy helping you cook, and you can help them with measurements and show them how to work with fractions. Have your child figure out the math for doubling a recipe or cutting it in half. Experiential learning with real world situations has a tendency to stick.

History – The Internet has an infinite wealth of information. You can take your child on a virtual tour of the world, visiting different eras without ever leaving your living room. There are many videos available on the various historical figures and periods. Sometimes viewing the right movie can have a long-lasting, positive impact. Also, if you travel during vacation time, consider going to some historical sites in your travels. Some families travel to such sites to make the history lessons real. The Gettysburg Address is probably easier to remember if you’ve actually stood on the historic spot, rather than just looking at a picture or two.

Helping your child to problem solve, think critically and develop a good memory will also help in reinforcing school lessons. Many school systems these days are less focused on teaching some of these skills, as more and more classrooms teach for testing. The problem with this method is that kids learn the information that they will need to know for the test, but once the test is over that information is quickly lost. When a child is taught how to think, comprehend and memorize, the lessons go deeper and less information is lost. You can help your child develop these skills by playing card games, board and memory games.

Playing with your child will also help improve your memory as well, so you will both benefit by the practice. There are several types of memory games available on the market, or you can create some of your own. Teaching your child games like checkers and chess will help her develop critical thinking skills as she learns how to strategize and anticipate the other person’s moves. The abilities she develops through these games will assist her in her school work as she begins to learn how to see patterns and figure out the plan for solving the problems.

Reinforcing what your child learns at school doesn’t always need to be about the exact lessons that are being taught. Part of reinforcing the lessons is making them relevant to real life. Look for ways to make them interesting, sometimes showing how that lesson is a part of a bigger subject. Getting involved in your child’s education is an investment you can’t afford to neglect. Working with your child may help develop skills that will eventually create a lifelong learner, enriching both your lives and your relationship