It’s time to hit the books! That’s right, school is in session! Whether your kid is starting preschool or middle school, showing up prepared is always in style.
To kick off the new school year and save you some cash, BIC® is giving three (3) lucky winners a chance to receive his or her own BIC® backpack filled with fifteen BIC® school supplies–each prize has a total value of $50.
To enter, leave a comment below, up to one a day between today and the end of the day on August 25. Be sure to check back on August 26 and scroll to the bottom of the post to see who won. We reach out to winners via Facebook message (it goes into your “other” message folder on Facebook), so if you win, look for us there as well. We’ve also posted all the Official Rules. Goody luck!
One school supply company wants to make more of an impact this fall. Yoobi, a brand that will also be exclusively at Target stores, not only wants to offer up fun designs including pretzel erasers, mini and jumbo highlighters, and neon-colored ballpoint pens, but it wants your purchase to benefit students nationwide.
Research shows that teachers spend $1.6 billion annually on school supplies out of their own pocket, so Yoobi wants to help. Teaming up with a national nonprofit, the Kids In Need Foundation, Yoobi identified U.S. schools with students who have the greatest need for supplies, focusing first on younger classrooms (K-3rd grade). For every Yoobi item you purchase, the company will distribute an item to a classroom in need (think Tom Shoes, but for school supplies). Plus, everything Yoobi sells is affordable (everything is under $10).
“With Yoobi, our goal is to make school supplies phenomenal, while solving an important problem along the way: Providing fundamental access to those in need,” says co-founder Ido Leffler. “We want to provide tools that engage kids and make them eager to learn, while also instilling the values of community and giving back. I’m proud of our goal, but I know it’s just the beginning of what we can accomplish.” Yoobi aims to change the lives of more than 750,000 students by 2015.
Target is giving away one $100 gift certificate to celebrate the Yoobi launch! To enter, leave a comment below, up to one a day between today and the end of the day on Monday, July 14. More Qs about our giveaway? Here are the official rules. Be sure to check back on July 15 and scroll to the bottom of the post to see who won. We reach out to winners via Facebook message (it goes into your “other” message folder on Facebook), so if you win, look for us there as well. Goody luck!
Head over to Yoobi.com to stock up on school supplies or visit your local Target. Watch a video below to learn more about Yoobi:
Whether you’re planning an end-of-year gift or looking for a little something to honor your child’s instructor during Teacher Appreciation Week (May 5-9!), we’ve got you covered.
If you want to…opt for the oven. Sweet treats are a simple and inexpensive way to say “thank you,” and you can easily involve your child in the baking process. Place cookies or brownies in a tupperware container that Teacher can keep, and top off the tin with curled ribbon or a bow.
If you want to…give grub. Every professional appreciates a night off from cooking. Purchase a gift card to the hot new restaurant in town so that she can dine out with a friend or significant other. If she lives a few towns over, consider choosing a place in that area. Looking to spend a little less? A $10 gift card to the nearby ice cream or coffee shop is sure to please–she can sneak on over after school!
If you want to…get crafty. Younger kids looking to get creative may enjoy decorating a wooden box or picture frame incorporating their teacher’s name, school mascot, whatever! Head to a craft store to pick up the supplies for this easy, engaging gift. Check out these other artsy ideas!
If you want to…contribute to the classroom. Before heading to the mall to pick up a present you think your child’s teacher may like, try to get a sense of what he or she seems to need in the classroom. Maybe the pillow on Mrs. Smith’s rocking chair has seen better days or Mr. Jones’ class library is a bit depleted. Suggest some ideas to your little one and have him report back after school. That way, he’ll be involved in the planning process.
If you want to…require relaxation. You know how you live for those Mother’s Day spa gift cards? Odds are, your child’s teacher could use some pampering, too. Give her a certificate to your local nail salon so that she can get a manicure (or perhaps a pedicure right as sandal season is starting!).
No matter what you choose, be sure to include a thoughtful card, too!
Ever worry about what your children are looking at online? Or worry they are spending too much time on the Internet? Of course you do!
There is so much to fear in the digital age, from online predators to cyberbullies to unwelcomed pop-ups and risqué advertising. But as consumers of the World Wide Web, we also know that so much good content is out there for children as well.
A new product just hit the market that may make it easier for parents to control the content as well as the amount of time kids are viewing it online. PowerCloud Systems, in partnership with Common Sense Media, launched a new parental control feature in Skydog (their home networking monitoring system), named webRover. The control is designed for monitoring kids between the ages 2 and 10. Through the Skydog-connected system, parents can set up multiple user accounts that can be controlled across all devices (including mobile and tablets).
“Kids can easily get exposed to age-inappropriate content,” says Caroline Knorr, the Parenting Editor for Common Sense Media. “They can do that by typing something into the Internet that seems like an innocuous search term, and they can arrive at a website that is not age appropriate.”
“Let’s face it, there’s no way that you can prevent your kids from being exposed to age-inappropriate content or content that you don’t approve of, but there are ways to manage their online activities so they are funneled into sites where they have a greater chance of finding age-appropriate, positive, nourishing websites versus what they might find on their own,” she continues.
Each webRover user profile can be customized based on what each parent deems appropriate for each child. For example, parents can schedule designated study hours during the week for school-age children where only approved websites can be accessed during that time. So even though kids may need the Internet to research a homework assignment, you won’t have to worry that they are wasting time playing an online game. For even younger children, parents can allow access-based categories, including learning potential. This is where Common Sense Media comes in.
The organization rates and reviews media across multiple platforms (like movies, TV shows, video games, apps, etc.) and assesses the appropriate age for each product. Multiple factors come into play, including violence, sex, cigarettes and drugs, language, positive role models, and learning capability. So, even though some websites may be kid-friendly, they may not necessarily promote learning. Through webRover, parents can customize the sites they want to allow, like ones with a higher educational rating. For sites that don’t have a ranking (like religious and regional websites), parents can manually enter in their own information and ratings. Parents can even override Common Sense Media’s ratings if they decide their young child can handle websites aimed at older children, or if they find something age-inappropriate based on their own values.
“Often parental controls are blunt instruments that block out too much good stuff,” Knorr says. “That’s been a real downfall with the controls up until this point. So the way Skydog has implemented it…they are saying, ‘You know what, we want to just curate the good stuff for kids.’”
The big key here is that although there are different recommendations about the what, how, and when children can access the Internet, the webRover feature allows ultimate control to be left up to the parents. And that deserves a little sigh of relief!
Is all this crazy weather giving your kids (and you) cabin fever? This month, we’re bringing you tons of creative and fun educational activities to break the kids out of their indoor activity rut. With the help of mom of three Kim Vij from The Educator’s Spin On It, which won Parents 2014 Social Media Award for best Pinterest page, we’ll be sharing IQ-boosting ideas you’ll love. From our bloggers’ favorite games and to Vij’s best projects, ParentsPinterest and Twitter pages will be full of great suggestions. Be sure to share your genius picks using the hashtag #SmartMarch and we may RT or repin your wise ideas.
When my daughter started kindergarden, she hated reading. There I said it.
Her teacher always sent her home with books from which she was to read for at least 20 minutes every night. But whenever she sat down with a book, I’d watch her body slump and her mind wander to far away thoughts of magical moving pictures from the glorious TV in her room.
She was no stranger to reading before she started school. She had an entire library in her room that I filled with all of the classics. I’d been reading to her since she was in the womb, and she’s always loved reading hour, which we have every Saturday and Sunday after lunch. But this was different. Being in kindergarden meant that she had to decipher the strange letters on the page on her own, and that was no fun.
She once started to say “I hate rea-” to which I gasped and forbid her from ever having such thoughts. As an English major and a lover of books, this was like a punch in the stomach for me. I felt a sense of loss for all of the amazing stories she might miss out on; all of the lives she wouldn’t live if this feeling continued. Dramatic, I know, but it’s really how I felt.
So of course I did what every wise, all-knowing mother does when she encounters an obstacle: I called my mom.
“Being a mom means being a teacher,” my mom said. “Put your teaching pants on.”
Apparently moms have all kinds of pants in an invisible mom-wardrobe that we just have to whip out and pull on when called for. So I did. I pulled on my teaching pants, and they weren’t comfortable, but they fit.
After watching her read each day, I took to the chalkboard in her room and made lists of word families that I noticed gave her trouble.
Practicing “ou” brought mountains and clouds to life on the page for her. I bought books that were fun, like We Are In a Book, by Mo Willems. She cracked up reading that one and asked for more of his books. One Saturday I encouraged her to write a letter to her favorite author, and a week later she received her first piece of mail – a response from Mo Willems himself. He thanked her and promised to keep writing “Funny jokes to make her laugh.”
It took some time, but soon enough, she was reading books at home that were well beyond the reading level that her teacher was assigning.
Now as a 1st grader, new books have become rewards for completing her chores and finishing other books.
I’d be lying if I said that my daughter loves every book that she picks up. She’ll still swap a book for the TV if the story isn’t funny enough, but she’s come a long way from the days of (almost) hating to read. And I get to put the teaching pants back on the hanger during reading hour.
If you’re a shutterbug and you have a child who’s heading (back) to school, consider picking up a School Days Kit from Hallmark’s Pics ‘n’ Props line. Also featured in the Goodybag section of our September 2013 issue, the kit comes with fun, chalkboard-themed photo props (a chalkboard and inserts for preschool through 12th grade) that your child can hold up for the camera each year on the first day of school. A photo album is also included, along with journal cards for your child to write down his first-day thoughts.
After taking first day photos, don’t forget to post them to Instagram and include #parentsbts. We’re regramming select photos on the Parents Instagram page.
If you’ve got 10 minutes, you can help researchers find the answer to that critical question. Let’s face it: We’re all worried about how omnipresent tech devices are going to impact our kids’ classroom performance, along with other modern-day pressures like jam-packed schedules and increasingly competitive sports. To gain some insight, Parents has partnered with a consortium of researchers at Brown University School of Medicine, Children’s National Medical Center, and New England Center for Pediatric Psychology in an effort to find 50,000 parents of children in grades K-12 to take part in The Learning Habit Study. The survey has been designed to examine how media use, family routines, and parenting style all conspire to help or hinder a child’s ability to learn. “Our goal is to provide parents, teachers, and pediatricians information on which family routines and behaviors improve academic success, increase social skills, and contribute to emotional balance in children,” notes lead researcher Robert M. Pressman, Ph.D.
The project originally began in 2012, when Dr. Pressman’s team conducted two surveys on homework and family routines. The surveys were administered to 1,000 parents in the waiting rooms of 12 pediatric offices. Initial results found—yep, you guessed it—a link between nighttime media use (meaning any electronic device with a screen) and a decrease in grades, opening a Pandora’s Box of concerns.
We all want some answers and advice with science behind it on dealing with our own digital natives. Do your part by taking the survey—it’s available online until October 31, 2013. (Bonus: Once you answer the questions, you can enter a sweepstakes to win $500.) Then stay tuned for the results, which will be published next August in the book The Learning Habit.