Parenting Tips

Advice for raising well-balanced children

When you left the hospital to take your newborn home for the first time, you may have hoped that the baby bag contained some kind of manual giving parental advice on how to handle the next 18-plus years. Then you remembered that babies don't come with a set of instructions for parents on how to teach a child values, resolve a conflict with a sibling or help a child study for an upcoming test. Our tips for parents can help prepare you for various situations, as well as provide ideas for activities that you can enjoy as a family.

  1. Standardized Testing In Elementary Schools

    Schoolboy Taking Standardized TestStandardized testing in elementary schools appears to be uniformly unpopular among all involved — students, parents, teachers and administrators — than any other single issue in public education today. At the same time the number of standardized tests are administered to younger and younger children, there is growing evidence that test scores are inappropriately used in designing curriculum, fail to measure what their creators claim or simply steal valuable and irreplaceable classroom instruction time. Often referred to as achievement tests, standardized testing has been shown to correlate more closely with the amount of sleep a child obtains the night before than his ability to perform well in school according to the National Center for Fair and Open Testing.

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  2. Pack Your Kids a Waste-Free Lunch

    Young Girl Packing Waste-Free LunchPart of living a green lifestyle is reducing the amount of waste you and your family produce on a daily basis. While monitoring your waste and recycling habits at home may be second nature, you may not have considered that your child’s school lunches could be producing as much as 67 pounds of trash every school year. Fortunately, there are some ways you can manage excessive trash by packing -a waste free lunch. In fact, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, packing a waste free lunch for your child can save you as much as $250 every school year.

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  3. Making the Family Holiday Card Fun Again

    Creative Family Holiday CardsCreative holiday cards that are as fun to create as they are to open.

    With everyone (and your family) expecting the arrival of your annual family portrait, and with so many chain stores and retail websites offering affordable and fun styles to choose from, creating a holiday photo card has become easy and, frequently, almost mandatory. As a result, the concept can easily become “old hat.”

    To shake up your season’s greeting this year, try one of these ideas for creative holiday cards:

  4. Nature Crafts: Natural Holiday Decorations

    Holiday Wreath of Twigs and BerriesMost households – especially those with children in them – do some type of decorating during the winter holiday season. Whether for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or simply to celebrate the natural beauty of winter, winter holiday decorations can be costly and consume a lot of natural resources. To make your holiday decorating more eco-friendly this year, consider taking advantage of some of these natural holiday decorations.

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  5. Giving Thanks for Thanksgiving!

    Thanksgiving FeastFor many families, Thanksgiving Day – which this year falls on Thursday, November 22nd – marks the beginning of the holiday season. It is a beautiful holiday that encourages us to count our blessings, just as our Pilgrim forefathers did throughout Thanksgiving history.

    As Thanksgiving approaches, there are reminders everywhere of the abundance of the things that truly matter: loving families, good friends, plentiful food and the simple joys of nature. As the spirit of the season spreads this timely message, it also offers a gentle reminder that there are others less generously blessed.

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