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Parent Source

Serving DeKalb County

Fall Resource Guide for Parents

FEELING OVERWHELMED? 5 tips to make time for self-care


Get the whole family outside


6 every parent of kids with allergies should know

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Feeling overwhelmed? 5 tips to make time for self-care


5 ways to have a Happy School Year


6 back-to-school tips every parent of kids with allergies should know


Inclusive playgrounds: How play helps all children learn


Easy projects to get the whole family outside


Make every minute count with detailed planning

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Parent Source is distributed in the Daily Chronicle PROJECT MANAGER: Lisa Angel DESIGN & LAYOUT: Allison LaPorta We reserve the right to include and edit all editorial content of this publication.


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tips to make time for self-care


ver feel like the days just get away from you, and you don’t have time to do the things you need to do, much less want to do? Often wish you could just spend your evenings or weekends on your personal goals, practicing self-care or just relaxing? There are many ways you can take control of your time and take better care of yourself. Sometimes it’s a question of prioritizing what you want to do - and outsourcing the rest.

Simplify meal prep and cooking.

Unless cooking is enjoyable and relaxing for you, chances are you get home from work stressed and hungry - and tired of takeout. Fortunately, there are dozens of options for letting yourself off the hook when it comes to cooking from scratch without sacrificing good, healthy meals. Today many plans exist for ordering prepackaged ingredients and recipes in


a manageable form for you to prepare at home, with minimum fuss. Not only are they delicious, but you can find services that cater to particular health plans or your specific dietary needs.

Get help with pet care.

Unless you have kids old enough to take care of Fido, or you enjoy taking him for his walks, it’s easy to find pet care services, or even a reliable neighborhood teenager, to help walk the dog or check on the cat, particularly if you work long hours or travel for work. Doggy day care services, boarding and grooming experts also help lift some of the burden of caring for your furry friends.

Outsource house cleaning.

While we all wish we had beautifully organized, clean homes, it’s almost impossible to do everything we’d like to keep our houses in great shape. Merry Maids offers a variety of cleaning services that allow you to choose

which tasks or rooms you most need help with. Merry Maids home cleaning services are available weekly, every other week, monthly or one-time, so you can pick the service that best suits your lifestyle. On every visit, the team from your local Merry Maids franchise dusts, vacuums, washes and sanitizes each room. Imagine the hours of reclaimed time and peace of mind you’ll have, knowing you’re coming home to a beautifully clean home every night.

Prioritize health and exercise.

You try your best to exercise, so why not give yourself the most help you can to meet your wellness goals, and a reward when you achieve them? Hiring a personal trainer or signing up for a class that will inspire you to keep up your fitness level is an investment in yourself that will pay dividends in your future, and make you feel great right now. Whether it’s Zumba, spin

class, yoga or Pilates, any activity that helps you build strength, flexibility and fitness is worth the cost. Then be sure to treat yourself with an occasional massage, sauna or spa visit - whatever helps you relax and feel good.

Take a time-out.

When you are able, plan your next vacation for a location that will be fun and relaxing. If a long vacation is not in the cards, plan a mini-break, even just for a weekend, to get away from the daily routine and let you focus on yourself, your significant other or your family. Something as simple as spending a night in a local hotel - with as many amenities as you can enjoy - will leave you feeling refreshed and invigorated. You’ve earned it. The next time you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed, choose to outsource those tasks that can take over your life, and give yourself the best gift - the gift of time. (BPT)


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For kids, the start of a new school year is like New Year’s Eve:

a chance to start fresh and set intentions for the year ahead. It’s a time to reboot, make new friends, get new clothes and gear, and find new opportunities to fuel their passions. As parents, you can help your children have a Happy School Year by encouraging them to set and accomplish their goals - or school year’s resolutions. Whether they want to join math club, improve their finger-painting skills, or just make the bus on time every day, Amazon has the resources and tips to help kids achieve their goals this year.


Record school year’s resolutions. Take the time to sit down and chat with your children about what they hope to accomplish in the new year and how they envision getting there. This is a great way for you to learn more about your kids’ dreams - the answer may surprise you! Plus, it’s even a great time for you to make school year’s resolutions.

ways to have a happy School Year


A new school year represents a fresh start for parents too. By setting goals with your child, you can lead by example and bond over the journey of seeing your goals through.


Celebrate school year’s eve. Help your child avoid a case of the “Sunday scaries” before the first day of school by hosting a School Year’s Eve Party! Make the new school year something that is fun and celebrated, not feared and dreaded. Include festive decorations and party props, a Happy School Year playlist on Amazon Music, and your kid’s favorite foods and treats. There are a lot of sweet school-themed snacks you can make too. Grab some fun cookie cutters or check out Pinterest for tips on how to use what you already have in your kitchen to make fun treats.


Get organized. New school year, new schedule. Develop a system to keep yourself and your family organized, ensuring resolutions don’t fall by the wayside. Use an Amazon Wish List to keep track of supplies needed for the year, a personalized planner to track projects and


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activities, and sticky notes to keep everyone posted (literally) on family whereabouts. To help your family track progress, you can even create and decorate a family “Happy School Year” cork board.


Stock up for success. Every new school year comes with classroom supply lists and new wardrobe needs. A one-stop shop retailer like Amazon lets you complete your shopping on your own schedule and have items shipped to you, allowing more time to soak up those last bits of summer as a family. You can also sign up for a Prime membership to get deals and free shipping to save on the essentials. Plus, the incredible selection makes it easy to find everything from the classroom must-haves to those special items your kids need to achieve their school year’s resolutions - whether that’s art supplies to become a better artist or

rainbow socks to be more colorful every day. Radio personality and co-founder of Lil’ Libros Patty Rodriguez likes to browse in Spanish on the storefront, which she says gives parents the convenience of shopping at any time in their language with just the click of a button.

Parent Source Serving DeKalb County

Resource Guide for Parents

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Find school year essentials and fun supplies at happyschoolyear. (BPT)

Serving DeKal b County

Fall Resource Guide

for Parents

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Serving DeKa


Ease into the year. To give your children the best chance of having a Happy School Year, try easing into the school year by adjusting your routine a week or more in advance. For example, if your child’s resolution is to make it to school on time, Patty Rodriguez suggests setting the morning alarm a full week before the first day of school.

Parent Source

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Next Edition - Spring 2020

Join in the FUN this Fall! “Days Off School” Program (NEW) Youth Soccer, Volleyball, & Basketball Music & Dance, Swim Lessons, and More! Learn more at PARENT SOURCE BACK TO SCHOOL 2019

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tips l o o h c s o t k c a b with s id k f o t n e r a p every know allergies should

For kids who live with allergies and asthma, backto-school can spell trouble with symptoms. Late summer/early fall is the height of ragweed season. When you add in exposure to environmental factors found in school classrooms, playing fields and eating areas, you have the perfect recipe to jump start your child’s otherwise-under-control allergy and asthma symptoms. These six steps from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) can help get your child off on the right foot for the


school year. Feeling as good as possible means being able to stay focused on learning.  SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT WITH YOUR CHILD’S ALLERGIST Before the first bell rings, make an appointment with a board-certified allergist. Allergists have the best training and medical expertise to offer the most effective treatments for your child’s allergies and asthma. Your allergist can work with you to create an allergy action plan to help your child’s teacher understand your child’s triggers, as well as how to control allergy flares. According to ACAAI, children who see an allergist have fewer missed school days! Use the ACAAI Find an Allergist tool to locate an allergist in your area.  BE AWARE OF POTENTIAL PROBLEMS IN THE SCHOOL BUILDING As anyone who lives with allergies can attest, a school building can be a minefield of allergens. New carpeting can release volatile organic compounds, open windows let in

pollen, classroom pets can release dander and bathrooms can harbor mold. It can be helpful to take a tour of the school ahead of time and discuss your child’s triggers with their teacher or school administrators. They can work with you to minimize the impact on your child.  MAKE SURE RAGWEED DOESN’T CUT YOUR CHILD’S GAME SHORT Even with allergies or asthma, your child should be able to enjoy the activities they love - on the playground, in the gym and on the playing field. The key is to follow your allergist’s advice. For seasonal allergens like ragweed, it’s especially important to think ahead to avoidance and treatment, so if your child has a reaction, your child’s coaches and teachers know what to do.  KNOW HOW THE SCHOOL RESPONDS TO ALLERGY EMERGENCIES Knowing how the school handles allergy and asthma emergencies can bring peace of mind. What happens if your child can’t find their rescue


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inhaler? Does the school keep extra supplies of asthma medications? Which teachers are trained to respond to a severe allergic reaction like anaphylaxis from a food allergy or bee sting? Who calls 911 and when? Review your district’s policy and, if needed, set up a meeting with the school nurse. Who knows? You may be the one to call attention to a critical missing step!  CONSIDER LONG-TERM TREATMENTS LIKE ALLERGY IMMUNOTHERAPY Many kids with moderate to severe allergies can benefit from allergy immunotherapy - regular treatments delivered through shots and under-

the-tongue tablets. These treatments gradually “train” the body’s immune system to become less sensitive and reactive to the things that make your child wheeze and sneeze. Talk to your child’s allergist to learn more and find out if it’s a good option for your child.  DON’T HAVE AN ALLERGIST FOR YOUR CHILD? FIND ONE! A board-certified allergist can set your child on the right track, for the long term, to handle their allergies or asthma in school and at home. To find one, visit the ACAAI allergist locator. For more information and to find relief, visit

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HOW PLAY HELPS ALL CHILDREN LEARN What do children learn through play? Play helps children grow and learn - how they move, how their muscles work, their tactile senses, vision and hearing, all develop as they play. And physical learning contributes to cognitive development, as children hone their motor skills and spatial perception. Swiss child psychologist Jean Piaget famously wrote, “Play is the work of childhood.”


Children also learn from interactions with each other, as seen on playgrounds every day. Playgrounds have evolved over the decades, becoming safer and more varied in design. But children with special needs were left out of traditional playground design. A movement began to ensure children of all abilities would be able to use playgrounds. But initial attempts often fell short. Accessibility, as defined by the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), simply meant being able to get to a playground. Children with physical disabilities, like those needing mobility devices, were

unable to experience playgrounds using sand or wood chips for safety surfacing, while the needs of children with sensory processing disorders were often overlooked completely. One in seven U.S. children live with a disability - about 6.5 million schoolaged children - and 6.4 million have cognitive disabilities. According to a recent study by the CDC, one in 45 children has autism. What do children with varying abilities need in a playground to help them play, learn and grow? The experts advising the playground designers at Landscape Structures Inc. re-imagine playgrounds to be


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not just inclusive, but inspiring and fun for kids of all abilities.


Inclusive playgrounds for children with disabilities need to be designed not just for accessibility, but inclusivity. • Unitary surfacing with one type of material, amenable to wheelchairs and other mobility devices, eliminates mobility barriers. • Borders or fencing can help define and contain the activity area, providing a sense of comfort to children and their caregivers. • Seating should be strategically located around the play area (preferably in shaded spaces) and must be usable for children and adults of differing abilities. • Pathways and ramps must be extra-wide and accessible, for more than one child in a wheelchair to pass each other comfortably.

• On-deck transfer ability delivers equitable access and encourages interactive play among kids and adults of all abilities.


Inclusive playgrounds provide activities to engage children on many levels, in terms of physical, cognitive, sensory and social development. Play areas reinforcing cognitive concepts with games, mazes, maps, tracing panels and more can be included in playground structures.

Imaginary play, like using pretend houses, fire trucks or stores, allows children to experiment with rules and roles. Physical play structures invite children of differing abilities to take risks and challenge themselves, creating a sense of mastery and achievement. Thoughtfully designed areas such as those in Landscape Structures playgrounds are inclusive for all children. While not all children will be able to use all equipment, children can

challenge themselves in ways that they can control and manage. • Cardiovascular activity: free space for children to move and increase their heart rates. • Balance and coordination: balance beams, rope bridges and more. • Vestibular sense: using input from the inner ear, this sense is responsible for equilibrium and movement, experienced while rotating, swinging and rocking. • Proprioception: this internal sense uses input from muscles and joints about body position, weight, pressure and movement to help develop muscle sense and coordination, affecting large motor skills and small motor activities such as handwriting. Climbing, hanging and overhead activities help children develop this sense, and can be experienced by children using their upper bodies to access equipment.

• Tactile, visual and auditory stimulation: children benefit from calming sensory activities using manipulative media like sand or water, visual stimulation like artwork, plus musical elements to help kids tune in to their auditory sense.


For children who need quiet time and limited social interaction, it is essential to include smaller, cozier spaces where children can experience calm.


Ideal playgrounds are designed for children to interact, with no child feeling excluded, and incorporate a variety of gathering spots within the playground structure - some that can accommodate several children, plus smaller, quiet spaces for just a few. These social spaces benefit everyone, including families and caregivers. To see inclusive playgrounds and how children use them, visit inclusive-play/. (BPT)

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Want to get the kids away from screens and outside for some fresh air? Many outdoor projects will not only lure your whole family outdoors once the jobs are completed, but the family may actually want to help you. Here are five ideas for outdoor projects everyone will love. 12

 MAKE A BACKYARD MOVIE THEATER Who wouldn’t love watching movies under the stars? You’ll need a DVD projector and a large screen. You can use a large drop cloth or blackout cloth stretched over a PVC frame or between two trees for a screen, if you’ve got them. Stretch it taut and secure so it doesn’t move with every breeze mid-movie. Provide plenty of blankets or rugs

and pillows so everyone can relax during the movie, and pop up some popcorn! You can rent a projector, collapsible screen and popcorn machine. Visit to find rental companies near you.  BUILD WOODEN BENCHES For kids - and grownups - who aren’t keen on lying on the grass to relax, offer outdoor seating options in shady spots. Sturdy wooden


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benches are not hard to build, and there are plenty of templates online for different approaches. One creative method is to build a bench around the trunk of a favorite large tree. Get kids involved in helping with construction and painting. Supply cushions for a comfy, shady spot for kids to read, talk and daydream.  GET OUT THE S’MORES Fire pits are all the rage, and for good reason. They’re easy to make, and people love gathering around a fire to roast marshmallows and enjoy a summer evening. You’ll need to check local ordinances regarding fires before you begin. Pick a spot well away from bushes or foliage, with no overhanging branches or structures. You should also call 811 to check that there are no underground utility cables where you’re building. Fire pits can be dug into the ground, at ground level or raised slightly above ground level. Materials vary, but include stone, brick or metal, and you can make it any shape - round, square or rectangular. Using heavy stones and bricks is an easier task if you have - or rent - a wheelbarrow or cart for transporting materials.  CREATE A PLAYHOUSE OR GAZEBO To attract everyone in the family, create a little outdoor space for kids to play in or for adults to enjoy a beverage and relax. Depending on

the size and design of your project, this can be a straightforward build or a more complicated structure. Online templates can give you ideas for different design options, so you can choose what works best for your space and skill level. If you can, build a screened-in structure to keep the bugs out for maximum comfort. You will need to purchase lumber for your posts, floor, joists and beams, but again, you can keep the design to a simple rectangle or square to make the job easier. Tools you will need include a miter saw, jigsaw and power drill. If you don’t have all these power tools, you can rent the equipment you need for construction.

websites offering rope swing designs. You’ll want to use strong rope, such as a 3/4-inch twisted polypropylene rope. Tools you may need include a handsaw or miter saw, a sander, a power screwdriver and power drill. The entire family will find renewed interest in spending time together outdoors with your creative additions to the yard. Now is a great time to start a fun new project - before the summer flies by. Visit to locate all the tools you need, so you don’t have to buy items you may rarely use. (BPT)

 PUT UP A TREE SWING If you’ve got an older but sturdy, healthy tree with a good-sized horizontal branch, this could be a great spot for a tree swing. Make sure the branch is long enough to occasionally relocate the swing, to prevent damage to the tree. You can make either a simple disk-shaped swing with a single rope, or a traditional rectangular swing with 2-4 ropes. There are plenty of home improvement


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Photo courtesy of Almond Board of Califo

To say ClassPass founder Payal Kadakia keeps busy is an understatement. The fitness platform she founded operates at 15,000 partner sites across 80 cities worldwide and is continuing to expand. Kadakia also founded Sa Dance Company, a bicoastal Indian dance troupe that performs at major venues across Los Angeles and New York. Kadakia works 10-hour days and then dances for another three; plus, she finds time to fit in workouts daily. Kadakia offers the following time-tested tips on how to own your everyday through preparation, planning and purpose.  PREPARATION Kadakia always keeps a suitcase packed



with spares of essentials - chargers and adapters, toiletries, a favorite scarf that doubles as a cozy blanket, and almonds, her go-to snack for all her favorite adventures. Kadakia loves almonds because they have the protein and fiber she needs to stay full and nourished, whether she’s in the boardroom, in the air or about to perform on stage.  PLANNING Kadakia meticulously plans out her schedule to make sure every moment is spent with intent. Time is her most precious resource, so detailed planning enables her to make every minute count. “I spend Sundays planning my week, and I begin each morning sipping antioxidant-rich green tea while reviewing my calendar, goals and actions for the day,” says Kadakia. “An integral part of my planning includes the careful scheduling of meals, workouts and snacks. Not only do I want every minute to count, but I also want every nutrient to count. I always carry almonds in my purse and my gym bag so I’m never caught hungry or tempted

by poor food choices.” Kadakia takes a similar approach to planning her workouts. She doesn’t just schedule an exercise class - she also books secondand third-choice classes in case her first choice falls through.  PURPOSE “Everyone has a purpose, whether they know it or not,” said Kadakia. “You owe it to yourself to identify it and pursue it with zeal. My personal purpose is to help people live their lives fully. It’s no coincidence that this is ClassPass’ mission, too. It has guided me through tough decisions - like quitting my safe day job years ago to create ClassPass and abandoning products that were working well but not well enough - and it has always guided me to fill my days with meaning.” Armed with preparation, planning and purpose, anyone can own their everyday. It’s yours to seize. (BPT)


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