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Springtime Fun and Games Your Kids Will Love

Spring is the best season; there is no doubt about that. The air is getting warmer, and the kids are ready to burn off the energy that they have been storing up all winter. Most kids love to get outside and feel the fresh air. They are desperate to get into the garden and play. There are some fantastic games that you and the children can enjoy this spring. It’s all about unleashing their creative and active personalities.

  1.    Chalking on the Patio

If you have a large patio area, your kids will adore chalking on the pavement. This can be an excellent way to create beautiful art, get messy and have some fun in the great outdoors too. You can pick up a cheap tub of outdoor chalks and make sure that the kids get plenty of fresh air. You can draw hopscotch’s and vivid pictures. After all, what could be better than having your kids artwork proudly displayed on the pavement?

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  1.    Swing Ball Sets

Did you know that there has been a rise in more people opting for nostalgia-based games? According to research by Totally Swing Sets, there has been a significant increase in parents buying these kinds of games. Let’s face it, we had a blast with our parents playing swing ball when were kids! These are great games for your kids as it encourages teamwork and exercise. It’s vital that we get our children moving, and these kinds of old-school games are the best way to do it.

  1.    Treasure Hunts

If you have smaller children, you may need to guide their outdoor activities more than you would with older kids. So, why not create a treasure hunt in your back garden? You can make a cool pirate map and decorate it for the kids. Give them clues where treats and sweets will be hiding. Get them to solve riddles, or complete an obstacle course so that they ‘earn’ their treats. It will keep them active and giggly all spring long, but it’s great for family bonding too.

  1.    Backyard Nature Trails

Your garden is a wonderland for nature! Create a bingo sheet of animals that can be spotted in your own backyard. Collect pine cones, leaves and petals to create beautiful collages. You can even complete the drawing and painting tasks in your backyard. It’s a fun way to teach kids more about the local wildlife. What’s more, they will love collecting the cones and flowers to make their collages too.

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  1.    Camping in the Yard

Camping is a great way to making sure that your kids get back to basics. Of course, finding the time to go camping can be difficult between work and school. So, why not opt for a backyard camping adventure on a Saturday night? You can choose snacks and tell stories around a camp fire. It’s the perfect way to bond as a family.

Having fun with the kids this spring need not be expensive. All you need is an active imagination. It’s the best way to spend some quality down time together as a family unit. What could be better than that?

 

 

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The Parent’s Guide To Creating A Family Focused Lounge

I may not be an interior designer, but I do know a few things about creating a comfortable, stylish, child-friendly, home.

For many families, especially families with younger children, the living room is the hub of the home. But what happens when your living room isn’t as family-friendly as you would like it to be?

If your living room isn’t as family-focused as you would like it to be, there is no need to panic. There are plenty of simple ways you can transform your living space into a more family-friendly environment, all you need to do is a little bit of DIY.

For all the best tips to transforming your lounge into a more family-friendly space, have a read of this.

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  1. Think about flooring

If your little ones are rather messy, then having white fluffy carpet is probably not the best design choice. If you have young children who like to make a mess, you want to invest in flooring that is easy to clean, such as stone or laminate flooring.

If you are worried about a stone or laminate floor being too cold  for your little ones to play on, you could always invest in a couple of washable floor rugs.

  1. Choose your paint carefully

When you have young children, it is inevitable that a sticky hand mark or a marker pen is going to make its way onto your living room wall. Instead of worrying about this, why not pick a type of paint that can just be wiped clean of any marks?

Or, if you want to encourage your children’s creativity, why not use chalk paint to decorate your living room? That way your kids can draw on your walls to their hearts content, and you can just wipe it away later on.

  1. Cover the furniture

If you are worried about little fingers making a mess of your sofa, consider buying a sofa that is made from an easy-to-clean fabric, such as leather. If you are unsure of the best fabric to choose, pop into your local furniture store and ask them for their suggestions.

Alternatively, you could always pop covers over your sofa. This is an excellent way to keep your sofa protected from any spills or stains as the sofa covers protect it. Just make sure to choose sofa covers that are easily washable.

  1. Make your living room as comfortable as possible

Your living room should be as comfortable and cozy as possible, as this will make it  more appealing for you and your family to spend time in.

Have a think about the ways you can add comfort to your living room. Such as adding floor pillows or investing in Sack Daddy adult beanbags for older members of the family to relax on.

  1. Add entertainment

To make your living room a more fun and enjoyable place to spend time in, invest in different forms of entertainment, for your family to enjoy. For instance, if you like having family movie nights, a large television and a BlueRay DVD player would be a great investment.

For younger members of the family, design an area in the living room where they can play with their toys without getting in the way.

 

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5 Tips For A Stress-Free Easter Holiday

The Easter holidays are fast approaching, and parents across the country are beginning to plan how they will spend this time off with their families. Whether you are going away or not, this can be a stressful time. The kids are off school, and while this will make them happy in the beginning, the excitement can quickly wear off if they don’t have enough to keep them entertained. With these tips, you can ensure a stress-free and happy Easter break for the whole family.

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  1. Plan ahead

The best advice we can give to parents is to plan ahead for school holidays. Otherwise, you may have to come up with activities and things to do on the spot. This can be difficult and stressful, especially if you are working during the holidays. Think of all the Easter-related things you can organise: egg hunts, egg and spoon races and painting eggs. The plans can be as rough or detailed as you can manage, the important point is that with plenty of ideas in the bank, you will save yourself a whole lot of stress.

  1. Set a budget

School holidays are usually an expensive time. To keep your finances in check, it’s a good idea to set a realistic budget. Have a look at the prices for attractions, travel and food so that you can calculate how much you are likely to spend, and where you can make savings. You may wish to use websites like https://fastfoodmenuprice.com/kfc-menu-prices/ to get a good idea of how much you may need to spend on food.

  1. Take some time off

Whether you are on holiday or continuing to work, view the Easter holidays as an opportunity for some time off for you too. Whether it’s an afternoon here or a weekend there, do something with your partner or just for you, to help you restore your energy and keep stress at bay. Ask a babysitter, relative or friend to look after the kids while you get a well earned break.

  1. Don’t forget about the little details

If you have something planned like a day activity, weekend break or longer holiday, closer to the time you should start thinking about the finer details. These include things like how to keep your kids entertained on long journeys and what sights or attractions you will visit on your trip. Once you’ve decided on these details, do what you can to organise these things in advance. A lot of attractions allow tickets to be bought in advance, so take advantage of services like this as they will make your life a lot easier.

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  1. Have fun!

The Easter holidays are a great opportunity to spend quality time with your family. Yes, it can be stressful but with a little organisation and with a mission to have fun, you can ensure that you are your family will have an enjoyable time.

Thanks for reading our post! If you have your own tips and advice for a stress-free Easter holiday, please let us know.

 

How to make home education work

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A rising number of parents are opting to take their kids out of school to teach them at home instead. In the UK right now, there are estimated to be 150,000 children receiving a home education, and this figure’s expected to rise by around 3% every year.

It’s no wonder that so many mums and dads are taking this step. Home schooling can be a great option if your youngsters are bored or unhappy in mainstream education, they are falling behind their classmates, they’re not reaching their full potential or you can’t find a suitable school in your area.

However, the prospect of teaching your kids at home can be a daunting one. After all, their futures are at stake, and you might lack experience. The good news is, help is at hand. This brief guide covers some of the basics that you’ll need to know.

Understand the law

First and foremost, make sure you know the law. You’re perfectly entitled to teach your children at home, but if you’re taking your youngster out of school, you’ll need to write to the head teacher. You can ask the school to teach your kids part-time, but it doesn’t have to accept your request. Bear in mind that if you take this route, you’re required to ensure your children receive a full-time education from the age of five. However, you’re not obliged to follow the national curriculum.

Make the most of online resources

All teachers, professional and otherwise, need the right resources. If you’re about to start home schooling your kids, the amount of material you require could seem overwhelming. However, there’s a simple way to ensure you have everything you need. Whether you’re after materials for Key Stage 3, GCSE or A level courses, you can turn to distance learning course providers. This is by far the easiest way to get hold of all the information you need, and it can make structuring your lessons simple. With these resources at your disposal, you’ll know you’re covering the right ground to help your children pass their exams.

Create a designated learning space

Another top tip is to create a designated learning space for your classes. This should be away from distractions like the TV and computer games. By setting up an area for your lessons, you should find it’s easier to get your children to concentrate. It will help to put them in the right frame of mind to study. Your home classroom must have comfy chairs and a desk or table, and it should feature all the equipment and stationery you’ll need to work through your lessons.

Stick to a routine

On a related point, try to stick to a routine. It can be a challenge to motivate kids to study, but getting them used to working between certain hours each day will help with this. There’s room for a little spontaneity, but don’t let your little ones fall into lazy habits.

Find support

Home schooling can be highly rewarding, but there’s no denying the fact it can be a challenge at times too. You might frequently find yourself questioning your methods and progress. To help you keep things in perspective and to ensure you stay on the right track, take advantage of the support on offer over the web. There are plenty of groups and forums to read and take part in, and finding out about other people’s experiences could give you a major confidence boost.

Why our Mums are Superheroes

With Mother’s Day coming up, many people are getting ready to celebrate their mum, and thank her for all that she does.  Whether you still live with your mother or not, the love that a mother has for her child is endless, and will continue on until the day she dies.  This infographic takes a look at some moments in history when mothers have takentheir love to the extreme in order to protect their children.  From the woman who attacked a cougar who was preying on her daughter, to the meerkats who adopt pups in their families to protect and care for them, this infographic explores the beautiful relationships between a mother and her child in both the human and animal worlds. See more on TheCircle

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5 Incredible Gadgets That Will Help Your Kids Develop New Skills

What your children do when they are young has a critical impact on how they develop. If you teach your kids things right now, you will find that they can absorb almost any information you throw at them. During the developmental stage (when your kids are between three and ten), children can learn all manner of things. Now is the time to start educating your little ones so that they get a head start when it comes to learning new things. Most children love gadgets and devices. You should take advantage of this fact and get your kids some devices that will help aid the learning process.

  1. Tablet

Of course, most families have at least one tablet in the household these days. If you have an iPad or another mainstream brand of tablet, there are a million different apps you can download for it. Educational games are an excellent way to engage your children while helping them to learn new things. You could download a language app that teaches your children a second language. When kids are young, they find it easy to pick up vocabulary and grammar structures.

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  1. Electronic keyboard

If you want your children to be musical, you should get them an instrument so that they can learn to play. One of the easiest instruments for young children to learn is the keyboard. If you invest in a quality instrument, such as a Casio px150 keyboard, your kids will always want to play with it. Trying to force your children to learn music is pointless. Children hate learning things when they think that they have no other option. Instead, you should let your children play around with the instrument so that they develop a natural interest in music.

  1. Scribble and Write

Many parents worry that their children will lack basic literacy skills as they grow up. The problem with kids playing on gadgets all the time is that they don’t spend much time reading or writing. The Scribble and Write device helps kids learn how to write letters and even words. The device turns this chore into a game for your children so that they have fun while they learn. You can get this gadget online for a low price, and so you should look for it now. This device is suitable for children under five. After that age, you can get apps to help your kids construct sentences.

  1. Voice recorder

If your child is an aspiring singer, you should consider getting them a voice recorder. That way, they can sing into a microphone and then play back the song after they have finished. Part of growing up is learning to understand yourself. If your kid has the chance to listen to themselves as they sing, they will learn how to improve in no time. A simple gadget like this one will provide your little ones with hours of entertainment.

  1. Toy camera

Over the last ten years, there have been loads of advancements in the world of cameras. If you want to give your children a hobby, you should buy them a toy camera to play with when they are outside. Many children’s cameras are now semi-professional. That means that your child can learn to take fantastic photographs from an early age. Look for digital cameras that work so that your child has a chance to practice and improve all the time.

When you are buying things for your children, you should always keep in mind how it will affect their development. If you get devices that will help your kids learn new things, you will be doing them a massive favor!

 

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Fantastic Ways to Teach Your Kids Responsibility

When you become a parent, you gain more responsibilities in your life. It’s important to look after your children and raise them to become the men and women of tomorrow. As a parent, you want your kids to turn out as well as they can. Your children are going to change as they grow, and you need to do all you can to ensure they change in the right way. The best way to ensure this is to set good examples from a young age. You also need to teach them the importance of responsibility.

Here are a few fantastic ways to help your children learn responsibility:

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  1. Include Them

The best way to begin making your children responsible is by including them at a young age. Let them help you and introduce them to adult concepts like responsibility. When it comes time to do the housework try to get your kids involved. Make it into a fun family activity, even if this means it takes longer. You get to spend valuable time with your child, and they’ll learn valuable life skills that will help them when they’re older.

  1. Avoid Rewards

It sounds counter-intuitive, but you should try to avoid rewarding your children for responsibility. It’s something that they need to develop and nurture themselves over time. There’s a perfectly acceptable time for a reward system, but in this instance it wouldn’t be recommended. It will be much more effective for your child to spend time with you, receive praise and enjoy a boost in self-confidence. Give your child specific household responsibilities. Consider rewarding them for anything that goes above and beyond.

  1. Get Them a Pet

Getting your child a pet is such an effective ways of establishing responsibility. Get a pet like a dog that requires a lot of attention and responsibility. Your child will need to learn to make time for feeding and walks, etc. They might need help at first if the dog is willful and disobedient. In this instance, you need to think about making use of a trainer in Los Angeles. This will help the dog to understand its place and become more obedient. It can then return to your child, and you can continue with the responsibility training. If the dog is disobedient at the start, it may affect your child’s enthusiasm for taking care of it.

  1. Let Them Make Decisions

An important part of being responsible is learning to make important decisions. From a young age, you might want to think about letting your kids make their own decisions. Obviously there are some decisions that children shouldn’t be in a position to make. But there are some where it should be encouraged. Offer your child limited options, but make sure you let them make the decision at the end of the day.

  1. Set a Good Example

When your children are in their formative years, they learn from you, and they copy what you do and how you act. It’s vital as a parent that you lead by example. You need to set a good impression for your children to shape the kind of people they become when they get older. Make sure you take your decisions and responsibilities seriously. And you’ll encourage your children to do the same. You can start this off with little things and then build to more important things. Things like being on time and keeping promises are important qualities to imbue in your children as early as possible.

Family-Friendly Vehicles

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Finding a vehicle that will meet the needs of your family will depend on a number of factors. Every family is unique regarding size, lifestyles, and priorities. The amount of time you plan to keep the vehicle and the price you can afford to pay will also play a role in the best choice for your driving needs.

Keeping the Little Ones Safe with Ease

If you have small children and/or plan to have them in the future, car seats and booster seats will be a regular part of your vehicle’s furnishings. As an infant, children are required to ride in a rear facing car seat after which they will be permitted to ride facing the front. Look for a vehicle with an easy-to-access rear seat that you will have no trouble securing the car seat in. If you have more than one child, consider the space that multiple car seats and booster seats will take. To get adequate room, you may need to consider a vehicle with three rows of seats.

Cargo vs. Passenger Space

There is only a certain amount of space in any vehicle. How much of it do you need for passengers as opposed to cargo? It isn’t just the things you need for yourself, such as the packages from a shopping trip, but the necessities that go along with traveling with a child in tow. Think about the stroller, carrier, diaper bag and any other essentials you will need to take along. According to http://www.carxrm.com/automotive-crm-software/Car-Research XRM, features like removable or flip down seats give you more versatility too.

Once kids reach school age, you have more options for getting a model vehicle that they can easily get in and out of on their own. The best way to determine which models make things the easiest for them is to take them with you when you go to the dealership.

Amenities to Make Travel Family Friendly

A trip doesn’t have to be long to seem that way, especially when you have bored kids in the backseat. If you need a good distraction to make the time go by quietly, look at one of the vehicles that have a DVD player made in. Although this might seem like a luxury feature to some, many parents know the value of having a build-in entertainment system to keep kids occupied. Otherwise, you may be destined to hear the age-old question “are we there yet?” repeated over and over again.

Consider the Simplest Details

Some vehicle manufacturers are generous with cup holders while others are not. It isn’t just about the number that a vehicle has, but the ability of kids to reach them from their position in the back seat. Inevitably, kids are going to be eating and drinking in the car and they have to have someplace to put one while they do the other. If a vehicle doesn’t have any cup holders in the back, it probably isn’t the right choice for you.

Beyond Minivans and SUVs

Many people look at minivans and SUVs as being the ultimate choice in a family vehicle. However, with the different styles and sizes of trucks today, you don’t have to give up your preference for a pickup to get the qualities and features you want for your family. Ultimately, you must consider the basic driving preferences of all drivers to find the vehicle that is suitable for every member of the family.

This article was contributed on behalf of Car-Research XRM, your number one choice when looking for help with customer management software. Check out their website today and see how they can help you!

Properly Approaching Your Kids About Drugs

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It’s obviously very important that we talk to young people about drug abuse and addiction, but what is the best way to go about that? Parent and teachers everywhere would love to think that they can tell kids to just say no to drugs and alcohol, but it’s never that simple. Young people will be curious about drugs and alcohol, and they may even be subjected to pressure from their peers. Simply being told by adults that drugs are bad really isn’t enough for most kids. They must be educated about the effects of drugs and alcohol so that they can be trusted to make the best decisions. That may be a challenge for some parents, but here are some tips that might be useful when it comes time to have this discussion.

Be Honest

According to Bay Area Recovery (www.bayarearecovery.com), children are much smarter than many adults realize, and they will know when parents and other authority figures aren’t being totally honest with them. Sadly, many past attempts to “educate” young people about drug abuse and addiction have been full of half-truths and outright lies. These lies were told with the best intentions, but they were lies nevertheless. That didn’t help parents’ attempts to keep their kids off of drugs, especially since many kids knew that at least some of what they were being told wasn’t entirely true.

When you talk to your children about drugs and alcohol, be as truthful as you can. If you can tell them what it is like to use a certain substance, don’t be afraid to do so. The same goes for anything you can tell them about the consequences of substance abuse and what it’s like to go through addiction treatment. You may have to do some research on your own, but that is still better than flat-out forbidding drug use without saying why or trying to scare them with “facts” that are obviously not true.

Listen to Your Kids and Answer Questions

Your children will no doubt have questions about drugs or alcohol, and you should never hesitate to answer them to the best of your ability. Part of this involves being honest and staying informed yourself, but most of it will mean listening to your children. It shows that you respect them, and they will be far more likely to listen to you when you have something important to say.

Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Help

Part of educating young people about drugs and alcohol is being able to recognize substance abuse and addiction. If you suspect that your child has a problem with drugs or alcohol, there are affordable drug treatment programs in your area that will help them become sober. Ask your family physician for recommendations to find a program that works best for you and your child.

It’s also important to remember that substance abuse and drug addiction doesn’t happen in a vacuum; many young people turn to drugs to cope with other issues in their lives. Overcoming an addiction is important, but it is only one step in getting healthy and taking back one’s life. You will need to address the underlying issues that led to your child seeking out drugs and alcohol in the first place. This can be as difficult as treating the addiction, but it is far more important for your child’s mental and physical well being.

5 Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Garden

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Maintaining a garden of any size and keeping it healthy all year round is a big job. So big, in fact, that it can start to feel overwhelming. Thankfully, as long as you start with strong fundamentals for growth and have a certain amount of dedication, you’ll be able to create and then ensure the proliferation of a truly amazing garden.

1. Tools

Chefs consider their knives as crucial to their job as their time-management skills. Gardeners have that in common, because their tools are a hugely important part of maintaining a beautiful garden. Make sure you’ve got quality tools like spades, wheelbarrows and rakes. If your grass regularly encroaches upon your garden beds, consider picking up a specialty tool, such as a Ryobi line trimmer, to keep it in check.

2. Soil

Spend some time working out which soil will work best for your plants. You should be turning your soil with a spade about once every month to keep it light and reasonably loose. Some soils tend to turn hard and become crumbly to the touch as time goes on, making looking after them very important. Harder soils can also be topped with any sort of organic compost. This helps keep the soil nice and loose.

3. Hydration

When people think about raising plants, they immediately think of water, and there’s a good reason for that. Plants need proper moisture to survive. Many varieties are made up of 90% water, so keeping them properly hydrated is of paramount importance. The best time to do any watering is in the morning. The weather’s much cooler at that time of day and it means the plants will lose far less water to evaporation.

4. Space

Something a lot of novice gardeners don’t really consider when planting vegetables, shrubs or fruit is that they need to leave enough room between plants for proper growth. They all need moisture, light, and proper food from the ground. Giving them a bit of extra room cuts down on any competition for who gets the most goodness from the earth and gives all of the plants room to branch out when they start really thriving.

5. Weeds

Weeds are the absolute worst – we can all agree on that. They’re stubborn, they can be pure torture to rid yourself of, and they’re next to impossible to stop from coming back. Certain weeds need to be taken on by a professional who can deal with them properly, either by pulling them or by destroying them chemically. When it comes to weeds, prevention is definitely better than cure. Rip out any that you may find as you move around your garden when watering or pruning.

Gardening is about discipline – finding the time to get out there and make sure everything is running smoothly, even if you’re only able to do it once a day for a short period. The moment you stop paying attention to your garden, it will go to wreck and ruin and your plants will wither. Create a schedule and stick to it to maximise your results. What are your top tips for garden maintenance? Let other readers know in the comments below.