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5 Unseen Benefits of Kids Sports

kids sportsOver 36 million kids play organized sports. Participating in sports can be a great way for kids to compete and stay active. But there’s more to it than wins and losses.

Kids sports are good for young people for a variety of reasons. Here are five you may not have thought about.

Exposure to a Diversity of Other Kids

School tends to group children by geography and age. Sports can expand the social circle significantly. Most youth sports put a range of ages on the same teams, and the kids can be from anywhere.

Knowing other kids from a variety of social, economic, racial, and religious backgrounds make a big difference in how your children grow up. Compassion and understanding for others develop naturally when you work and play together.

Playing Various Roles

Your child may not normally have a chance to be a leader, but in sports they can become the captain. Even a kid who is shy can come out of their shell in a team environment.

A naturally aggressive kid may find themselves on the bench at times. Children who play multiple sports are especially likely to have a variety of experiences – they may excel in baseball but struggle in soccer. The different environments are a good experience.

A Boost in Self Esteem

Someone who struggles academically may find his or her niche in sports. It can help those who don’t fit in traditionally to discover a way to express themselves and excel in a new area.

The praise and encouragement that kids get from coaches and teammates can bring out the best in a child. You may find that your kid blooms and becomes a whole new individual because of participation in kids sports.

Understanding the Value of Money

Kids sports are expensive, but a lot of young people don’t realize it right away. However, being involved in sports can help your child understand more about the value of money.

If he or she wants the best basketball shoes, something else may have to go. Helping children understand tradeoffs using sports is a great way to expand the benefits beyond the playing field.

If your kid is involved in multiple sports, help them understand the tradeoffs. If they want to travel for volleyball, you can let them know that they have to stay local for gymnastics, for instance.

The Development of Healthy Habits

Being successful in sports requires exercise, healthy eating, getting enough sleep, and more. These healthy habits don’t just happen during childhood. They can go with kids for the rest of their lives.

Habits are things that you get used to, that are so normal to you that they are second nature. When the choices that seem normal to your child are exercise, solid rest, discipline, and right eating, he or she is set up for a successful adulthood.

Are You Ready for Kids Sports?

Getting children to be involved in sports can be challenging for parents, especially if there’s a lot of travel. Be sure to talk to your kids about the choices they need to make regarding time and finances. Having them understand the trade-offs makes decisions easier.

Some parents decide to have kids only participate in two out-of-school activities a year. Others are committed to providing as much diversity as possible.

There’s no right answer – it’s a choice as individual as your family. How do you balance sports for your children? Let us know in the comments!

Nature Therapy: The Ultimate Guide to Hiking With Kids

hiking with kidsAre you looking for a way to get your kids off the couch and outside?

Hiking is an amazing outdoor experience. Not only is it a great form of exercise, but it provides fresh air and allows for a little one-on-one time with Mother Nature.

Hiking with kids is an excellent family activity. With a little preparation and research, you can plan a fun-filled day your kids will love.

Read on to find out how.

Pack Wisley

What you bring when hiking with kids is almost as important as where you decide to hike.

There are some essential items that you won’t want to find yourself without.

Food and Water

It’s always important to stay hydrated, especially if you’re hiking in warm weather. Bringing enough water for everyone, and maybe even some extra bottles, will prevent dehydration side effects including dizziness, weakness, and dry mouth.

Snacks are also important when hiking with kids. Bring non-perishable and easy to eat foods like pretzels, granola bars, and trail mix. You can even pack a small picnic lunch with sandwiches, as long as it’s not too difficult to carry and keep cold.

Bug Spray

This is an essential item when hiking in wooded areas. You may encounter any number of insects on your adventure from ants to flies, ticks, and mosquitos.

A quality bug spray will help keep you and your children protected from unwanted bites and irritations.

Proper Clothing

The appropriate clothing for your hike will be determined by the location, expected weather, and time of year.

Since you’re more likely to hike in warmer, more pleasant weather when hiking with kids, you’ll need thin, cool clothing. Lightweight material is best for both shirts and pants. To avoid sunburn, bug bites and cuts from sticks and rocks, long-sleeved apparel is recommended.

The proper hiking shoes will also make the trip easier for both you and your children. Do a little research about the terrain you’ll be hiking on and what boots are best for the job.

Pick a Fun Path

Choosing the right path will make the difference between a pleasurable hike and a miserable one.

Dependent on your child’s age and ability, choose a route that will be mildly challenging, but mostly enjoyable. Paths with a lot of beautiful scenery or a gorgeous view at the end will keep kids interested and moving!

If you and your children are just beginning to explore the world of hiking, choose a place with clearly defined pathways and marked trails.

Know the Wildlife

Anytime you’re embarking on an outdoor adventure with kids, it’s important to know your surroundings well. Be aware of what type of wildlife you may encounter.

Some areas are densely populated with deer and other relatively harmless animals such as raccoon, squirrels, chipmunks, and various bird species. These animals might be fun for you and your children to observe.

But you must also be on alert and prepared if you encounter more menacing wildlife such as bear, bobcat, or mountain lions.

Bring the Right Hiking Gear

Aside from the necessary items listed above, some additional, trail specific items may serve you well when hiking with kids.

A compass will help you navigate if you and your family get off track. Be sure to bring binoculars so your children can observe wildlife, flowers, and spectacular views.

If you think you or your child might need help scaling steeper inclines, these trekking pole reviews will help you choose the right hiking poles and walking sticks for your trip.

Be Patient When Hiking With Kids

As wonderful as a day of family hiking can be, it’s important to remember that kids can get tired and cranky after a long day of activity.

It’s important to remain patient and encourage your children to take breaks when needed. Try motivating each other with words of encouragement. Show your child on the map how close you are to your destination.

If you give your children jobs such as “compass reader” or “animal look out” it will help keep their mind occupied and their focus off the length of the trip.

Looking for other fun activities to do with your children, like making ice cream? Are you a coupon-clipper working on a budget? Visit our site for some great ideas.

If you have other, affordable and fun tips for families with children, leave a comment below.

Tips for Home Staging When You Have Kids

cheap homesKids are messy.

Every parent knows the daily struggle of keeping their house clean. It can be an uphill battle trying to keep your hallways clear and your carpets free from uncapped markers.

More often than not, a messy household is nothing to worry about. That is unless you’re selling a house.

Staging a home is an important step for anyone looking to maximize their value on the market. In fact, staged properties spend 73 percent less time on the market than unstaged properties.

Are you looking for advice on staging your home? It can be difficult, especially with kids running around. Read on for some inexpensive, child-proof home staging tips.

Get Creative with Storage

There’s no way to have a perfectly clean house. That’s especially true when you’re a parent.

It might seem like an impossible task to hide all of your kid’s belongings. But you might be surprised at how much you can store away.

Think about a couple of unused spots where you can stash items before a showing. Your kid’s items don’t need to be put away perfectly. Rather, just stash them away in a temporary spot that unlikely to be inspected.

In addition to finding hidden storage areas, you should look to maximize your traditional storage methods.

Try finding bins with lids. No matter how cluttered they are inside, they’ll look organized to a potential buyer.

Declutter as Much as Possible

Clutter is a big factor in making places look disorganized. But decluttering can be difficult if you have kids.

Packing up personal items is a great way to make a home look desirable. By removing clutter, prospective buyers find it easier to envision themselves living in a home.

Temporarily remove your kid’s items during staging. You should aim to minimize pictures, toys, art supplies, and other junk sitting around the house.

Your kid might be upset to see their toys stashed away. Remind your child that it’s only temporary and that they will get their items back soon.

Try to keep your kids occupied during staging if they’re still upset. You can give them just one or two toys to keep them distracted when there are visitors. Then you can unleash their clutter when the time comes.

Make Your House Adult-Friendly

Look: You’re not trying to sell your house to a whole family. But many parents still fall into the trap of trying to make their house look kid-friendly.

The best way to approach staging is to leave as much empty space as possible. That way, buyers can generate their own ideas about how the house fits into their vision.

During the staging process, you should do your best to prevent kid messes that can negatively impact your home’s best selling points.

You should also convert kid playrooms into a staging area during this process. Try to leave these rooms free of toys and kid decorations in lieu of more traditional items, like furniture and art.

You might also get more value out of converting the kid’s bedrooms into something more neutral. Do so by hiding away toys and using calming color schemes.

These tips should help you get an offer that reflects your home’s true value. You want to make sure that when potential buyers use a mortgage calculator, that they are seeing that your home is worth the money.

Home Staging Hacks

Juggling kids and a move can be a difficult task. By using these tips, you can help make sure that you’re prepared to properly stage your house.

Do you have more questions about parenting? We’re here to help. Contact us today to get the advice you want on our site.

 

5 Good Reasons to Buy Pets for Kids

pets for kids It’s obvious that children love animals. From toys to clothing to movies, animals are everywhere!

Even more than animals in general, kids love their pets.

There’s a reason why veterinarian is always a top answer when kids are asked what they want to be when they grow up.

Getting pets for kids can benefit them in so many ways. In this article, we’re breaking down the top five reasons why.

5 Benefits of Pets For Kids

Pets teach kids valuable lessons and life skills. Plus, they just make them so happy. What’s cuter than kids and puppies together?

Here are the best of those lessons, life skills, and joys!

1. Companionship

It’s no secret that pets and their owners experience a special bond. This bond gives both parties a sense of companionship. This companionship can be particularly comforting for kids.

It’s been proven that pets help reduce stress levels, likely because of their non-judgmental affection.

Kids are comfortable in front of their pets, even when it comes to developing skills like reading.

Reading to pets can help kids feel more confident when reading aloud. It helps shelter pets feel less anxious too.

2. Socialization

Interacting with pets helps kids learn how to socialize with humans too.

Kids, especially infants and toddlers, often find a connection with pets that is much easier to navigate than the complicated social world of humans.

Studies show that kids with pets often develop higher levels of self-esteem. This is likely due to the sense of competency that results from successfully taking care of another being.

3. Responsibility

It is important for kids to learn the effects of their actions, specifically the importance of responsibility.

Assigning a child with the responsibility of caring for their pet gives them the appreciation that they won’t get from completing other chores: the animal’s love.

The fun aspects, like play time and meal time, are great for young kids to take on. As they get older, it’s also good for a kid to learn the less fun responsibilities, like cleaning up after the pet. This helps to teach them to put in the work for the things they love in life.

4. Nurturing

Having to remember to care for another living being is a great lesson for a child’s developing mind and developing ego.

Kids who learn to instinctually care for a pet at a young age have a leg up in developing their sense of empathy.

Plus, the practice of being a caregiver builds instincts that we keep for a lifetime.

5. Family Bond

A pet that the whole family cares for can help strengthen the bond between family members.

Families grow closer with the shared experiences centered around the pet.

Even if a pet isn’t conducive to your lifestyle, animal centered activities can still help the family bond.

For example, a trip to an Interactive Aquarium can give the whole family new shared experiences outside of the day-to-day activities of school and work.

There You Have It!

Pets for kids can be a great developmental tool and a great way to make them happy all in one.

For more articles on kids and parenting, click here.

5 DIY Games for a Spooky and Silly Kids Halloween Party

kids in halloween costumesThere is nothing worse than hosting a Halloween party that’s a dud. But the best moms know you can be both thrifty and fun when it comes to having a blast with your kids on Halloween.

And while there are a bunch of family-friendly scary movies that might be perfect for both you and your little ones, it’s a lot more fun to play games on Halloween.

Kids Halloween party games are the difference between staring at the screen and lots of laughs for the whole party. You don’t need to break the bank either.

Here are 5 DIY games for a spooky and silly party:

1. Zombie Tag

A variation on the game “tag you’re it” involves all the kids making zombie faces. Without touching anyone, can the “it” person get another kid to smile or crack?

The next person to crack is “it.” For something so simple you’ll be surprised at the laughs.

2. Scavenger Hunts

One of the most fun parties you can have for kids includes Halloween Scavenger Hunts. You can do some searching for costume elements, candy, and even solve riddles along the way.

Sprinkle in some goblins and zombies, and the kids will be laughing up a storm.

You can even include hidden treats on the hunt! What about a stop at some delicious candy apples?

3. Balloon Pop

Have you ever jumped with fright at the sound of a balloon popping? Me too!

A way to have great fun and a lot of laughs is a Halloween Balloon Pop game with the kids at your party. A great way to prepare is to have both orange and black balloons at your party.

You can also use blue or purple– so long as there are two different colored balloons. Make two teams and start popping, using only body parts. No sharp objects allowed!

Watch the giggles erupt as the squishy balloons move and squirm around the room. Whichever color team pops the most balloons wins!

4. The Mummy’s Tomb

Break out the toilet paper and make two teams. Choose one person to be the mummy on each side. Which team can wrap the mummy faster?

It’s a mess of toilet paper and good fun!

5. Eyeball Hunt

Cook a huge spot of spaghetti and drop in a marble or two after the gooey pasta cools. While blindfolded, find out which kid can find “the eyeball” fastest in the pot of brains.

This one is popular, so you’ll want to make and cool a lot of pasta beforehand for the squishy fun.

Kids Halloween Party Costumes Add to the Fun

Just because you saved on the games doesn’t mean you need to overspend on the costumes. Your kids can look great, and you’ll save a bunch with my costume tips too!

Let all the other parents know too. They don’t have to throw money out the window to get their kids ready for a fun party at your house!

And you don’t have to sew either! Take a look at my frugal living no-sew Halloween costume tips for great ideas to wear at the party.

Enjoy Your Party

Get the camera ready for the fun and costumes! Kids Halloween party pics are some of our family’s favorite memories of the whole year.

Combine a few of these games and your party will be the best in town for kids.

 

 

 

How to Get Your Kids to Love Green Superfood

boy eating vegetablesDo your kids run for the hills when they see fresh greens?

You can’t force kids to eat veggies, but you can certainly make it easier for them to love green superfood. A balanced diet with ample vegetables is crucial to your young one’s health, so it’s important to figure out how to get them to love their greens.

Here are the secrets to getting your kids to enjoy veggies!

Blending In Smoothly

Most kids will flee at the sight of raw spinach and other green superfoods like collards or kale. However, you can blend your greens with fresh fruits and other healthy foods to create incredible green smoothies and juices!

When trying to ease your children into the amazing world of green superfood smoothies, like those at The Real Thing Health, you need to involve them in the whole process. Get your kids to pick their favorite drinking cup and straw for their smoothies and talk to them about the importance of healthy eating.

There are tons of amazing green superfood smoothie recipes you can try. From simple blends of fresh greens with fruit to more exotic combinations of ingredients, you are sure to find something your kids will love!

Now We’re Cooking

Green superfood smoothies are a great way to introduce your kids to fresh greens. Ideally, you want your kids to enjoy vegetables in their food as well!

From tasty snacks that pack a healthy punch to delicious kid-friendly dishes, there are many ways to incorporate veggies into your daily cooking.

Good solutions include veggie dips, overnight oats supercharged with green goodness, pancakes with grass powder, purees and green pizza. As usual, ask your kids what they prefer, experiment and do your research.

There’s no excuse to serve plain vegetables to your kids, especially when cooking them doesn’t always reduce their dietary value! In fact, spinach is more nutritious boiled than raw!

Making Green Superfood Fun

Food doesn’t have to be boring!

In fact, with so many amazing ways to eat healthily, it’s almost criminal NOT to have fun with healthy eating.

When it comes to getting your kids to love superfoods, you should engage with them! Picking vegetables and cooking them into amazing smoothies and ultra-healthy snacks will do the trick!

It’s cool to enjoy your own green juice. If your kids don’t believe you, you can always show them videos and pictures of other children enjoying awesome green smoothies online.

Get Involved

However you choose to introduce veggies into your kids’ lives, they won’t learn to enjoy green superfood dishes if you don’t eat them yourself!

Check your own diet. Are you eating enough leafy greens? Are you supplementing your diet with enough green superfood? Children are extremely perceptive and will know if you are doing differently than you preach.

So remember, you need to follow your own advice when it comes to eating veggies! You can make cooking a family activity that will help you all live healthier while also strengthening your bonds.

Because nothing says “I love you” better than a delicious cup of thick green smoothie!

Road Trip Hacks: How to Travel With Kids and Keep Your Sanity

travel with kidsWhen you travel with kids, you could be setting yourself in for a stressful time. 6% of parents in one survey confessed to returning home early from a family holiday because it was just too much for them.

A road trip with kids should be simple right? Wrong. They’re tired, they’re fidgety, they start fighting in the back – we love our kids, but sometimes they can be little terrors!

Here’s how to keep your sanity on a long-haul road trip.

1. Distract Them with a Map

When you travel with kids, give them a map and let them trace a finger along to your destination.

This can help to keep them occupied, as well as manage their expectations of when you might arrive.

Plus, they might learn the names of a few states or cities – parents can live in the hope we’re providing a bit of education for the little ones!

2. Plan Regular Breaks

On a long drive, there’s no doubt all that pent up energy in the back seat is going to cause a fuss sooner or later. And you’ll need the bathroom.

Scope out gas stations along your route before you leave, and plan where to stop.

Find places where you can park up a while and head to a nearby play area. Let them run around until they’re tired – and hopefully, they’ll be a bit quieter when you continue driving.

While you’re pulled into a gas station, you might be interested to know about how to get free gas and keep the cost of your trip low. You might also want to check for coupons to grab free or discounted food.

If exercise doesn’t work, how about trying to teach them a ‘calm breathing routine‘? Turn it into a game if you must.

Anything that stops them asking “Are we there yet?” one more time.

3. Bring Some Entertainment and Food

Bring books or audio books along for the drive. If you have an iPad, consider giving them that to play with if they’re old enough. Or even DVDs if you’re lucky enough to have televisions in your car seats.

If you have more than one child, handing them a travel set of a game like checkers, with a magnetic board and pieces can work wonders to keep them quiet for a few hours. So long as it doesn’t cause a fight.

Snacks can help to keep them quiet too – but don’t overdo it on the sugar. The last thing you want is a five-year-old at the height of a sugar high in the car with you.

If it’s a long journey, don’t forget to bring a packed lunch for the family – or make use of those gas station stops to refuel yourselves too.

Travel with Kids – Are You Still Sane?

Hopefully, these tips help you to survive your road trip with your mental health completely intact.

We hope your trip goes well – and if you want to save some money while you’re out of town, be sure to check out these hot deals – you never know when your luck will be in!