Posts Tagged ‘ back to school ’

Pilot’s New Pens

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

Your kids may be back in the classroom already, but our guess is that you still have some odds and ends to

pick up to round out their supply stash. When you head to the office supply store this week, be sure to check out Pilot’s new line of FriXion pens.

Erasable pens used to be synonymous with sticky ink and poor erasers, but FriXion pens are changing all of that. Kids will love them because they write like a smooth roller ball pen and the ink resembles that of a gel pen in both color and consistency.

These new and improved pens are especially great for grade-schoolers who are getting away from using just pencils and, like their name conveys, they erase through friction which means kids don’t have to press as hard to correct mistakes and marks. The rounded rubber ball at the bottom of the pen wears away ink like magic. Plus the line comes in an awesome array of colors that are perfect for school and doodling at home.

If you love the pens, you’ll probably also love the brand’s erasable highlighters! Be sure to check out the FriXion Light Erasable Highlighters and the FriXion Erasable Gel Pens out here.

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Jennie Garth Promotes Healthy Habits for Back to School

Monday, September 10th, 2012

I recently met up with former Beverly Hills, 90210 star Jennie Garth for the launch of Crest and Oral-B’s new line, For Me. The new line features a complete list of oral care products for tweens, while Oral-B Stages, for children from four months to seven years of age, has added the Disney characters Jake and the Neverland Pirates to their line-up.

Garth, who now has her own reality show, A Little Bit Country, says back to school is the perfect time to revamp kids’ habits. The mom of three admits that between the hustle and bustle of her family’s “crazy schedules,” it’s hard to keep up with the things they should.

To help encourage healthy habits, Garth starts early by telling her daughters it’s their job to take care of themselves.”I think that’s an important message to give them for all things in their life,” she explains. “They’re their own best advocate in any situation, so I start right away and model what they need to do.”

When I asked her what she liked most about being a mom, she smiled and said, “snuggle time,” without missing a beat. “Just a little of that compassion and empathy,” she explains. “I nurture that into my children, instill that into them, and then they can give it.”


First Image: Jessica Scheetz with Jennie Garth

Second Image: Jennie Garth with daughter Lola Facinelli making toothbrush holders by Diane Bondareff/Invision for Crest and Oral-B/AP Images

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5 Celebrity Moms Share Back-to-School Advice

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

This post was written by our friends at Celebrity Baby Scoop.

For many families, the back-to-school rush can be overwhelming and chaotic. Some of our favorite celebrity moms are helping to alleviate some of that stress and anxiety by sharing their best advice. From Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s G-Free snacks, to Bethenny Frankel’s best bargains, to Brooke Burke-Charvet’s must-haves, read some great back-to-school tips from Hollywood’s moms.

Brooke Burke-Charvet
Dancing With the Stars host Brooke Burke-Charvet and husband David Charvet are parents to four kids: Neriah, 12, Sierra, 10, Rain, 5, and Shaya, 4. The mom-of-four wrote on her blog about preparing for the new school year:

“Back to school starts now in my house even though all four of my kids are returning at different times. This year will be my most challenging school year yet. Four kids in three different schools with four different drop-off and pick-up times.

Thankfully my youngest, Shaya, will still enjoy our beloved homeschool for two days a week. We decided to put him in a “regular” program three days a week so he’ll be with more kids as his sister is moving up to kindergarten.

I hate online paperwork and envy the parents with only one child. I literally have folders, separate file cabinets for each kid, their rosters, forms, sports and miscellaneous important documents. It’s a LOT to organize. Does anyone else feel that there are way too many orientations, meet-and-greets, pot lucks and social activities this month? Multiply it by four and you can imagine my schedule. Plus during BTS nights, I am divided in numerous classrooms and for SURE missing something.

I spent the day labeling backpacks, lunch boxes, water bottles and clothes.

Here are some of my BTS MUST-HAVES. My kids love them all and it truly helps to have some go-to items to help you keep it together.”

Continue reading at Burke-Charvet’s blog ModernMom.

Alison Sweeney
Days of our Lives star Alison Sweeney is mom to son Ben, 7, and daughter Megan, 3. The Biggest Loser host is also a blogger and shared some of her best back-to-school fashion tips for the “stylin’ mom” on

“School is starting again, and that means meeting lots of new people, for your kids and you. I love attending back-to-school nights and open houses and other evening events at Ben’s school and Megan’s preschool because it’s a chance to learn more about their teachers and interact with their classmates’ parents.

When I get ready for something like that, I keep my outfit simple and comfortable, but I definitely get more dressed up than I would for school pickup or running around at the playground.”

Continue reading Alison Sweeney’s back-to-school fashion tips at


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5 Essential Back-to-School Tips for Parents

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

Back to School colored pencilsEditor’s Note: In a post for an ongoing series, Dr. Harley A. Rotbart, a Parents advisor, will be guest blogging once a month. He will be offering different advice, tips, and personal stories on how parents can “savor the moment” and maximize the time they spend with kids. Read more posts by Harley Rotbart from this series.

Ready or not, it’s that time again. Your kids are trying on fall clothes, cleaning out backpacks from last year, and shopping for school supplies. Another exciting year of growth and development is on the horizon for your children. Here are five sure-fire ways to make this a year of growth and development for you as well.

Hold a weekly calendar meeting.

Each new year of school brings more complicated choreography to your kids’ schedules – and to your schedule as well. Every Sunday night, sit down with your kids and enter every commitment and event of their upcoming week into your personal calendar. There are 3 important reasons to do this: a) you should always know where your kids are; b) you have a head start on dinner conversation if you know what your kids have been up to all day; c) you may get a pleasant surprise – a meeting of yours is canceled in time for you to make the second half of a basketball game. But you’ll only know about the game if it’s on your calendar.

Volunteer at school.

Every school is underfunded and shorthanded. Your kids’ school can use your help and participating in an after-school activity can be a meaningful experience. Depending on your kids’ ages and their level of pride (or embarrassment) in seeing you at school, there are many roles to fill: homeroom parent, teacher’s aide, hall monitor, coach’s assistant, team parent, crossing guard, PTA, office volunteer, and field trip chaperone or driver, to name a few.  Spending a part of your day at school gives you an up-close look at interactions with teachers and friends, hallway dynamics, and locker lore. All this can lead to more good dinner conversation!

Drive a carpool.

Whether it’s driving back and forth to school or to and from after-school activities you learn a lot about your kids by driving the carpool. Mysteriously, the carpool driver becomes practically invisible to the passengers, especially when it’s more than just your own kids in the car. This allows you an invaluable “fly on the dashboard” opportunity to eavesdrop on your kids social interactions, catch up on grade school gossip, and hear about homework without even asking.

Help with homework.

Be involved with your kids’ homework every night. When they’re in grade school, sit with them for part of the time they’re doing work – not to catch every math mistake but to make sure they get the big picture. In middle school, just look over their completed work regularly for overall quality. Show you are happy to see them doing such a nice job. Your pride in their work will become their pride. By high school, it’s enough to ask each night if they’ve finished their homework and occasionally review a teacher’s comments on the graded work.  No matter the age, if your kids ask for help, do your best to guide them without doing their homework. Remember, you’ve already learned “times tables,” so now it’s their turn.

Manage extracurricular activities.

Beware of “potpourri parenting” – soccer Mondays, violin Tuesdays, karate Wednesdays, etc. Kids’ options for extracurricular activities are limitless, and you may be tempted to enroll your kids in everything, thinking you’re “enriching” them.  As long as your kids are enjoying these activities, and you’re not missing chances to spend more time with them, there’s nothing wrong with having many varied experiences. But if programming begins to replace parenting or if your kids are showing “enrichment fatigue,” reduce the amount of activities. Your time together as a family is almost always more enriching, especially since time with your young kids is fleeting. Don’t give it all away.

The school years won’t seem to pass by as quickly if you get involved in your kids’ school lives. So have a wonderful fall semester!

Dr. Harley A. Rotbart

Dr. Harley A. Rotbart is Professor and Vice Chairman of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Colorado.  He is the author of three books for parents and families, including the recent No Regrets Parenting, a Parents advisor, and a contributor to The New York Times Motherlode blog. Visit his blog at and follow him on Facebook and Twitter (@NoRegretsParent).

Image: “Back to school” and colored pencils via Shutterstock

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Was Your Child Held Back? Prepare Him for Repeating a Grade

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

It’s almost time to head back to the classroom, but what if your child has been held back a year? He wouldn’t be alone: Approximately 10% of K–8 students have repeated a grade, according to recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics. Help your child adjust with these tips from Margret Nickels, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Children and Families at the Erikson Institute in Chicago.


  • Frame the situation positively. Try saying something like, “You know how it was so hard for you to pay attention and read? We’re going to give you a little more time to learn. You’ll feel less stressed because your brain is now in a better place to learn all of these things. It will be easier for you to do the things we’re asking of you.”
  • Boost your kid’s self-esteem. “By ages 7-8, kids start to compare themselves to others in terms of competition—who’s smartest, who’s best at sports—so issues of shame and failure becomes more pronounced,” says Dr. Nickels. Help your child reflect on things that he’s great at, whether it’s drawing or riding his bike.
  • Facilitate friendships. Ease your child’s social fears by helping her get to know her new classmates. Arrange playdates with neighborhood kids in the same grade. You can also enlist the teacher’s help. If another student shares your daughter’s love of soccer, maybe the teacher can suggest that they kick the ball around during lunchtime. If your student is worried about missing her old friends, remind her that they can meet up at recess or after school.


  • Blame your child. Kids are held back for lots of reasons, including behavioral, academic, and social issues. But it’s never productive to accuse your child of not trying hard enough.
  • Get discouraged. “Parents shouldn’t view this as a failure, but as a new opportunity,” says Nickels. “Repeating a grade can give your child the foundation and the space to develop at their own pace.” Focus on the ultimate goal: fostering an environment in which your child can flourish.

Image: Kids heading back to school via Shutterstock

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Parents Daily News Roundup

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Goody Blog Daily News Roundup

Back-to-School Supplies Contain Toxic Chemicals, Report
According to a new consumer report, children’s back-to -school supplies have chemicals that have been linked to asthma and birth defects. (via Medical Daily)

Obese Youth Have Significantly Higher Risk of Gallstones
Children who are overweight or obese face an increased risk for gallstones, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition. (via Science Daily)

AAP Issues New Guidelines for Kids’ Snoring
A new set of practice guidelines released Monday by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) may help parents and pediatricians uncover things that go snore in the night. (via ABC News)

Benefits of circumcision outweigh risks, US pediatrics group says
The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued new guidelines saying the health benefits of infant circumcision outweigh the risks of the surgery, but the influential physician’s group has fallen short of a universal recommendation of the procedure for all infants, saying that parents should make the final call. (via Reuters)

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Debra Messing and Post-it Team Up to Support Children’s Education

Monday, August 27th, 2012

On August 22, actress Debra Messing appeared at the P.S. 15 Roberto Clemente School in New York City. Working with Post-it’s Your Words Stick with Them program, Messing was on hand to pledge her support for children’s education. The Post-it program asks parents and teachers to leave kids personalized handwritten notes to encourage them throughout the school year.

At the event, Messing also announced that Post-it adopted all of the classrooms in P.S. 15 through a partnership with, which will help teachers purchase the school supplies they need for the year. had a few moments to chat with Messing about her 8-year-old son’s back to school routines, his favorite snacks, and the power of a handwritten note:

How do you and your son prepare for the back-to-school season? What are some of his favorite supplies?

He just finished day camp and now we are heading back to school, so we’re in the process of picking out a backpack for the year, which is always a big thing. I like to encourage him to choose the notebook that he wants, the colors, the shapes, everything, so that he can practice decision-making. I take care of the clothes; he wears a uniform to school so it’s not very difficult. We’re transitioning into school so I’m trying to get back into our scheduled reading time which, during the year, is always every night right before bed.

What are some of his favorite books? What do you like to read to him?

He loves the Geronimo Stilton books. Now we’re just about to start Harry Potter.

What is your son’s favorite school lunch or snack? Does he have a favorite meal?

I make sure that he either eats a raw piece of fruit or raw vegetables with his lunch every day. He loves chicken nuggets. He used to be a soy butter-and-jelly sandwich guy because he went to a nut-free school in Los Angeles. Now he would eat pasta and pizza every day of his life if I allowed him.

The Post-It campaign focuses on the importance of promoting positivity and discouraging bullying. What are some ways parents and teachers can encourage good behavior for kids in school? Do you have any personal experiences with bullying?

Oh, I absolutely experienced bullying when I was a child. School became a source of anxiety for me and that was when my parents started writing handwritten notes. I could refer to them when I was feeling insecure or scared or sad throughout the day and it made me feel like they were with me. I try to encourage my son to be as communicative as possible and to be a good friend, so if he sees something happening, to speak up, to get a teacher. It’s something that just can’t be tolerated, period.

Image: Debra Messing poses by her inscription on a large Post-it that reads, “Believe in yourself!!”; via Noelia de la Cruz.

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American Baby’s Baby Booty: Win $100 for The Children’s Place

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

I’m still in school-shopping mode, which brings me, literally, to The Children’s Place. I see their collections all the time for the magazine because they have plenty for babies. (My favorite recommendation: awesome, long-enough pajamas.) I go there personally, too, for my bigger kids, because their clothes are so affordable. If you’re a bargain-hunter, which I definitely drift toward, you can get some real steals. When you make a purchase in one of their stores, give them your email address. Trust me, you get coupons for up to 25 percent off. Use the coupons on a sale day and you’re set.

For instance: That’s me holding a shopping bag with three shirts, three pairs of undies, three pairs of socks, two pairs of tights, a pair of leggings and a pair of pants for Grace, along with a kitty necklace I bought for her on a whim and a new purple lunchbox that she really needs, as well as a hooded cardigan, a pair of socks and two button-up shirts for Joe. I brought my 25 percent off coupon and got the entire haul for about $85. Crazy! 

I did walk past the baby clothes, and I so want a niece or nephew in my life so I could buy them one of these amazing animal bodysuits. Shhh don’t tell my brother and his new wife, I’m trying not to pressure them! 

But enough about me. What about you? Where do you love to shop for your kids or baby-to-be, and what kind of stuff are you looking for? The Children’s Place is donating one $100 giftcard, so leave a comment below, up to once a day between now and the end of the day on Wednesday, August 29th. We’ll pick one comment at random and The Children’s Place will mail the giftcard to the lucky winner. To read the full rules, click here. Goody luck!

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