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18 Feb - 24 Feb , 2012
Maths Magic
Add fun to this important subject and soon your kiddo will be saying "I love maths"

Often it is observed that little kids naturally enjoy counting, sorting, solving puzzles, and discovering patterns. But once these activities get labelled maths with daily doses of addition, multiplication, fractions and long division, many children lose both confidence and interest. The standardised maths tests that begin in middle school just add to the challenge. To make sure they're prepared, schools tend to introduce students to complex problems before they've mastered the basics. No wonder so many find the subject frustrating and need tuitions after school hours to improve their maths scores. It's important that young kids be maths-savvy, so they aren't intimidated when the curriculum accelerates and becomes more challenging. To make sure that happens, don't schedule daily ½-hour drills, which will just turn your Maths Magicchild off. Instead, find ways to make it fun.

Go On A (Mock) Spending-Spree
To boost your son's maths skills, give a list of things to him with price details written on it. Ask him to circle his favourite items and add up the total cost. Also ask him to figure out which items he must remove from his wish list to get below $100. You can even let your child use a calculator even though he's not doing the addition himself, you're still promoting maths literacy.

Set-up Shop
To bolster your child's money skills, create a pretend-store that sells some of her favourite things. Give her a budget and some real money to spend (you want her to learn the relative value of coins and bills too). Set prices, and if you want to make it even more interesting throw some coupons into the mix. Challenge her to stay within budget while shopping. Swap roles and let her be the cashier next time.

Get Cooking
Kitchen tools provide a great opportunity to teach your child about fractions. Ask your junior chef for help with dinner, but instead of scooping out a cup of rice, show him how ½ cups equal one cup. Use a measuring jug to explain that is less than ½, even if it sounds like more. It will help make abstract concepts more concrete.

Beat The Clock
Teaching your kid to tell time gives him more than just a life skill. It also gets him involved with addition, subtraction and fractions. Make sure you have at least one clock in the house that isn't digital or get a toy Maths Magicclock especially for this purpose. Turn the practice into a game: Call out times - asking your child to move the hands to their correct position, then add or subtract minutes and hours. To raise the stakes, swap places and let him call out the times, warning him that you're going to make mistakes on purpose that he has to catch.

Count By Clusters
Adding by fives and tens to 100 helps your child develop a sense of number relationship and multiplication. Take advantage of down time, such as car rides. You might want to start things off and ask for help when you get stuck. Look for maths opportunities wherever you are: At the grocery store, count cans of juices by groups of 4 or when you're waiting at a restaurant or done with your dining, add and subtract sugar packets or the mouth fresheners by threes. And don't forget about patterns either. Look for things like Maths Magicgeometric wallpaper, tiles, even bricks. They're all fodder for discovering interesting repetitions.

Be Positive
If you groan every time you have to tally a cheque, you might be sending a negative message. So when your school-goer complains that he hates maths, don't commiserate by saying, "Yeah, me too." Instead, find out why your child feels this way. It's not necessary that he dislikes the subject; perhaps he is embarrassed because he didn't know the right answer when his teacher called on him in school. He could be intimidated by the multiplication tables, or conversely, he may be bored because the class is moving too slowly. To change your child's attitude, remind him of all the important things maths is used for. It determines winners in board games and batting averages in cricket. Maths measurements ensure that his favourite cookies turn out delicious every time. Also, point out some cool careers - astronaut, video-game programmer, race-car driver - that use math formulas every day.

Swaddle A Baby For Better Sleep
Perhaps one of the harshest realities new parents face is that many sleepless nights will occur while caring for a newborn. Babies' schedules are ingrained from the pregnancy stages when the mother and Swaddle A Baby For Better Sleepchild often had nearly opposite active and inactive periods. Healthy infants can be trained to sleep on a more suitable schedule. Swaddling, or the practice of wrapping a baby snugly within a blanket to decrease startle reflex and simulate the closeness of the womb, can greatly improve duration and quality of your baby's sleep. Some experts believe swaddling, which keeps infants on their backs while sleeping, may also help reduce the risk of SIDS.

Tips To Swaddle Your Baby
1. Position your baby on his back on a swaddle blanket with the seam just behind the neck.
2. Slip the baby's feet into the pocket at the bottom of the blanket.
3. Tuck the baby's arms snugly but gently around her torso.
4. Pull the left flap of the swaddle blanket over the baby's chest and tuck it firmly and smoothly behind his back on the right side. This may require you to gently roll the baby to the left to tuck in the flap.
5. Bring the right flap up and over the baby's torso and attach the flap securely along the front side.
6. Ensure that the baby's face is not covered by any portion of the blanket and that her neck is wrapped loosely enough to provide unobstructed breathing.
7. Place your snugly bundled baby in bed on his back.

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