Here's What Moms Actually Want for Mother's Day

Mother’s Day is a week away, and it’s a guarantee that we all have a mom in our lives (whether we are one or not!). It’s a holiday without an obvious gift choice beyond a card, but there’s no doubt moms love to be reminded that they’re appreciated. So, what’s the best way to do that? It depends on the mom, of course! But, you might be surprised at the gifts moms aren’t excited about. RetailMeNot polled moms and found that gifts like flowers, jewelry, and chocolate were low on their wish lists f

Belly Care Before and After Baby

One of my biggest worries while expecting my first baby was what my belly would look like afterwards! I had vague knowledge of stretch marks and dry skin, but I didn’t know what to expect for myself. I remember looking up other moms’ post-pregnancy pictures a lot. Over time I realized that pregnancy does take a toll, but there are ways to take care of yourself through the process. Of course, everyone is different, and genetics play a big role in how the skin on your belly fares during pregnanc

Traveling With Baby? Here's How to Make Your Trip Easier

Whether you’ve traveled with your baby or young child before or not, the whole prospect can be a little intimidating! Maybe you look forward to creating your first travel memories with your little one. Or, maybe you’re simply traveling by necessity and are nervous about how the journey will unfold. Having the right gear for traveling can make your trip easier and less stressful, allowing you to enjoy the memories you’ll be making. (Or maybe just survive the whole thing, right?). Take a look at

Can Language Arts Be Fun? Here Are Some Helpful Hints.

Language arts encompasses many facets of reading and writing, starting in pre-kindergarten and continuing all the way through high school and beyond. For some students (and parents or teachers), vocabulary, spelling, grammar, and creative writing come naturally, while others find language arts to be more difficult to grasp. Whether your child or student loves to read and write, or struggles and doesn’t enjoy it, incorporating creativity and fun into the learning process makes it more pleasant

Teaching Your Kinesthetic Learner

Here at merka, we’ve discussed the theory of various learning styles, one or more of which may apply to your child or student. Thinking in terms of learning styles can help us as parents or teachers to work with our kids in the most helpful way for them. What is a kinesthetic learner? Simply put, a kinesthetic learner is someone who processes and encodes information better when moving. Whether your child is homeschooled or attends traditional school all day, you can supplement their education

3 Ways to Include Art in Life with Kids

Some adults would call themselves artists, but many have never sought to achieve their artistic potential once leaving childhood behind. For those of us who are parents but don’t consider ourselves to be especially creative and artistic, it may not come naturally for us to encourage our kids to explore their artistic sides. Yet art, like music, holds incredible value for kids. It can enhance their brain development, intelligence, emotional regulation, and the way they experience the world aroun

The Powerful Brain Tool You Might be Overlooking

Flashcards: do they seem a little old school to you in this day of online learning games and apps? It might be time to reconsider your perspective, because according to Michael Nielsen, a scientist who researches deep learning and neural networks, flashcards are a quick but powerful way to master subjects, even complex ones. Nielsen says it took him two years to memorize 9,000 flashcards while spending 20 minutes a day reviewing them. Even if you aren’t interested in memorizing tens of thousan

When to Feed Your Little One

Reading your baby’s hunger cues isn’t always as easy as you might have anticipated. Newborns and infants cry in order to communicate all of their needs, so sometimes it can be hard to discern whether your baby is crying out of hunger, discomfort, pain, or tiredness. Feeding a baby who is not hungry can lead to overfeeding and gassiness, but of course it’s vital to recognize and respond to hunger cues. The younger the baby, the more frequently she needs to be fed, and even older babies will go t

5 Ways to Help Your Child Talk About Their Day

It’s pretty much a guarantee that you’ve had that conversation with your child at some point in their school career. It can be frustrating when you genuinely want to hear some highlights from your child’s day, but even when you ask them open-ended questions, they don’t give you much of anything to discuss. Pushing through the challenge of sharing a little bit about their experiences every day is good for both your child and you. Oftentimes they would really like to connect with you about what t

15 Best Blogs on Baby

Blogs can be an excellent resource for education, tips, tricks, and resources, all of which are so valuable when you’re a new parent. When I had my first baby, part of how I found my way was through reading about motherhood through other mom’s eyes—learning from them, and feeling like I could relate to them. Reading blogs written by experts is also extremely helpful when you need to problem-solve a specific area of baby care, like feeding or sleep. Here are 15 of our favorite blogs about babies

Good Careers for Women: Best Fields & Companies

Women in today’s economy have more options than ever before, comprising almost 47 percent of the U.S. workforce. Among mothers with children under age 18, over 70 percent are employed. Women are more likely than men to earn a bachelor’s degree before age 30. But what are good careers for women? Women have to factor in a different set of career planning considerations than men do. We still struggle to “have it all.” Biologically speaking, women in the family are the ones doing the childbearing,

Transitioning Back to Work after Baby

Now that your maternity leave is coming to an end, are you preparing to head back to work with a sense of underlying anxiety about making the change? Or maybe you haven’t gone on maternity leave yet, but you’re anticipating how you’ll make the transition back into work once you’ve gotten used to being with your baby 24/7. Getting through this transition can be daunting, but here are some of our suggestions for keeping it as smooth and stress-free as possible: As a sleep-deprived new mom, you’l

Registering for your Baby Shower

So you’re a brand-new mama-to-be, dipping your toes in the water of registering for your baby shower. The options are endless… and maybe a little overwhelming? Whether you love wading through a sea of reviews and curating the best gifts possible, or you’re more on the side of wishing you could push a button that would create your registry for you, here are some tips to make registering for your baby shower as fun and painless as possible. (If only we could say the same about labor!) Keep readin

Birthday Gifts for a New Mom

Are you looking for the perfect gift to give a new mom for her birthday? Something that gives her a much-needed moment of rest and pampering, or maybe a way to make her life more streamlined and productive? A new mom has already filled her baby registry with accessories for her little one, but there are other things she may not have asked for—gifts that will bring joy to her new season life. Here are some of our favorite ideas for new mom birthday gifts: BareMinerals Well Rested face and eye b

5 Benefits of Reading to Your Child

Reading aloud is one of the most important habits that I seek to cultivate in our home. Yet in spite of how much I value literacy and literature, I’m surprised that often several days go by and we’ve barely read anything besides naptime stories. Even though I think of myself as “a mom who reads aloud,” it’s easy to let the habit slip in the midst of the busyness and distractions of daily life. I have to remind myself often to keep read alouds a priority and a default activity. Here are some of

7 Tips for Helping Toddlers Learn

We’re so excited about the release of our Toddler Learning Kit, which we began offering last week. We love the options included in this kit, and we think you will too. No matter what tools you use, it’s good to remember a few fundamental concepts when you’re teaching your toddler. Here are 7 tips to keep in mind: Toddlers’ brains are bursting with ideas, development, and busyness. They’re not ready for long or detailed lessons yet. They have windows of time when they’re well-rested and are see

Learning About the U.S. with Your Child

In elementary school, American school children start learning about the United States government and history. Teaching kids about their home country is a key element of shaping their cultural identity and sense of self. Whether your child was born in the U.S. or not, learning about her country of residence is important for her education. And giving kids an understanding of our national history can help them begin to form their own understanding of our country, both its geography and its politi

10 Halloween Crafts and Games for Kids

At this point in October, we’re well into the fall season, and Halloween is quickly approaching! Today we’re sharing some creative, educational, Halloween-themed activities you can do with your child to celebrate the season. Here are some of our favorite ideas from around the Web. 1. Pop Goes the Pumpkin from Martha Stewart If you need a creative and decorative game for an October party, give this idea from Martha Stewart a try! You’ll need some foam board, burlap, duct tape, and a few other m

Need Some Extra Motivation? Here are 3 Reasons Being Involved with Your Child's Education Makes a Big Impact.

As parents, we know that we play an important role in our children’s education, whether we send them to a traditional public school, private school, or choose to homeschool them. Learning at home is vital from the very beginning, when our children are babies and are just learning to take in the world around them, all the way to graduating from high school and beyond. A home where education is valued is one of the most important components of a child’s future success in life and in a career.

Fun Learning Activities for Fall

Fall is officially in full swing, and now is the perfect time to grab your PSL and do some fun, educational activities together! Here are some of our favorite ideas for family bonding over fall learning: This adorable roly-poly acorn art will be a blast for your toddler. For a farm-themed sensory activity, try making a corn bin for hauling. (You might want to take this one outside!) Candy corn learning printables are an amazing idea, am I right? What toddler (or parent) is going to complain a
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