Back-To-School Ready With Understood.Org

The back to school season can be a trying time for both parents and children. You have to get your child re-accustomed to waking up at a certain time, picking out their clothes the night before and then there is the dreaded new school year paperwork that seems to never end. But the beginning of a new school year can be an even more challenging time for families with children who struggle with reading and writing, math, focus, and organization.

Understood

One in five children in the U.S. have learning and attention issues, like ADHD and dyslexia. Children with these types of challenges can feel especially stressed during the back-to-school season as they face new subjects, teachers, and schools. Together the Ad Council and Understood.org have partnered together to promote ways children and their families can be First-Day Ready. Understood.org is offering a free First-Day Ready Guide to help parents with students at every age successfully navigate back-to-school transitions and manage challenges with academic, organization and social skills. Below you will find some tips from the guide.

Every child has a different story – some may love school, some may dread the thought of going back, and for some, it may scare them enough to cause real issues for them. Starting school can be an exciting, confusing and even scary time for kids with learning and attention issues, and for their parents. New teachers and classmates, new schedules and demands—these changes can be a lot to prepare for and absorb.

Plan early – A few weeks in advance, make checklists and calendars, and start settling into the school year routine with earlier bedtimes and wake-ups. If your child is starting a new school, schedule a walk-through to learn the lay of the land and help your child feel more comfortable finding their way around

Connect with teachers ASAP – If possible, reach out before school begins to discuss your child’s needs or learning style. You can fill in this card in advance to help guide that conversation If you can’t meet with the teacher in person, send your child to school with an introduction letter that can help your student speak up about his challenges.

Get support – Many parents and students are going through the same experience. Ask around at your school to make connections and build your support network. You can also follow Understood’s Facebook page to connect with parents across the country to share information and learn from each other.

So, no matter your child’s age or needs, make this Back-to-School season a seamless transition and positive experience!  If you could use some help getting started on the right foot this school year, Understood.org is a great place to start. 

All kids learn in different ways and at different paces. With the right support, all kids can thrive in school and in life.

 

How to achieve bickering-free and safe travel with your kids

Traveling with kids is seldom easy. Whether you’re going to a family-friendly destination or a far-flung holiday spree, you need to plan in advance how you’re going to keep the kids entertained and safe while traveling.

From quick fun-inducing tips to the crucial cheap travel insurance has to offer, this article has you covered.

First aid supplies. Nothing can spoil a family travel faster than someone getting hurt or sick. Therefore, before leaving home, ensure that you are up-to-date with your first aid kit in your travel pack. This should include pain reliever, band-aids, an assortment of bandages, first aid cream, an instant cold compress, and bring sunscreen and insect repellent as well.

Prepare them for the different climate. Whether you are going somewhere hot and sunny, or cold and snowy, you need to make sure they keep their sunscreen on or their cold climate gear clad. Instruct them the basics, such as drinking adequate water in hot countries and applying their sunscreen to avoid any sunburn.

Get a travel insurance ahead of time. If you’re looking for cover appropriate for children under 16, you have plenty of options available online for quotation. Travel insurance Singapore for instance, will give you choices depending on how your child or children will be traveling.

If your children are traveling with you, the appropriate type of cover can usually be found via a family policy, but, if your children will be traveling with their friends, you might need to purchase a separate cover for them.

Always bring a handy snack. This tip will save you a lot of money. As you travel abroad in the car, parks, tourist attractions, and other locations, pack snacks in plastic Ziploc bags then keep them in a small bag or cooler within you or your oldest child’s reach. This way, you won’t need to turn around to pass the goodies while you’re driving or doing something.

In-car entertainment. Your kids – especially younger ones will need something to occupy their time while traveling. If you have a video player in the car, it can be tempting to play the kids’ favorite program, but take note that watching TV for the duration of the travel can overload them in time to arrive at your destination. If you want to play shows in the car, ensure that you break up their use with other activities, like books or puzzles.

Toys and gadgets. A few days before your trip, walk around the house and get a bunch of small toys that your kids will play while in the vehicle or your destination. You don’t need to go out and purchase something new. Better yet if you have kid’s meal prizes laying around. Store the items out of sight until the trip. The kids will think they’re “new” when they see them again.

It’s also a good idea to bring the kid’s play gadgets like PlayStation Vita, Switch, or whatever they’re using. And invest in a good power bank to keep it going. Of course, moderate their use.

That’s it. These tips should significantly lessen the bickering, keep your kids safer abroad, and ultimately lead to a more exciting travel. Have fun!

Kids’ Clothes Don’t Have To Cost You A Fortune

Whether it’s back-to-school time or you’re in the run-up to summer, your kids need clothes. With the crazy speed at which young kids grow, you need to be smart with your money when it’s time to hit some department stores again. If you know you’ve spent too much on children’s clothes in the past, here are some handy tips to make it less of a strain on your budget…

Stay Away from Collections

A lot of kids’ clothing stores will group all their collections right at the entrance of the store, where you can easily see all the pieces in one spot, and get tempted into a knee-jerk impulse-buy. Yes, those tops, skirts, along with the matching shoes and accessories might look adorable on the mannequins. However, your child really doesn’t care how well the different pieces of their outfit mesh together. If you see a pair of pants that you have to see on your child, then go ahead and pick them up. However, don’t get looped in and buy everything else in the collection. Try to bypass the new collections, and head to the back of the store, where you’ll find all the affordable clearance items.

Start Couponing

A lot of parents think that couponing has more popularity than it’s worth, and all those offers you come across are only there to get you in the store. Sure, businesses get on couponing schemes as a marketing ploy, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t save a huge amount through taking advantage of what’s on offer. Head over to a site like DontPayFull.com, and you’ll see a range of discount codes for popular department stores and kids’ clothing brands. These couponing sites go through their ups and downs, but it’s always worth having a look before you head out and start shopping.

Plan Ahead

Department stores start to close out jackets, sweaters and other cold weather gear once the spring range comes out. Obviously though, this doesn’t mean that your kids aren’t going to need winter gear in a matter of months. Start checking out more end-of-season sales, and save money ahead of when your kids actually need to change their wardrobe. Make a point of buying seasonal clothes that are just a touch large for your kids. This way, they can wear a certain item for a month or two, then store it away until the winter rolls around again. By leaving your kids room to grow, you’ll be able to go that much longer without having to buy more clothes.

Share the Basics

One of the great things about having young kids is that they can share a lot of their clothes. Of course, your son might not be crazy about the idea of wearing a Frozen shirt, or your daughter a Star Wars one, but when it comes to the basics, kids can share all kinds of items. Plain snow pants, hoodies, jackets and gloves are all good items for this, and will save you having to buy two sets of everything for your kids. The next time you’re shopping, try not to get a theme on everything, and look for clothes in neutral colors like black, gray and brown. Graphics of your kids’ favorite cartoon characters can add a ridiculous amount to an otherwise affordable piece of clothing, so keep sharing in mind on your shopping trip.

Think Work and Play

There’s a big difference between what your kids should be wearing to school and what they can use for play time. Mainly, the distinctions you should be worrying about are price and quality. When you’re at the start of summer, and your kids have got months ahead of riding bikes, running around parks, and so on, target cheap, low-quality clothes. There are usually great deals on around this time that allow you to buy a few shirts at a bundle price, along with discounted graphics tees, sweat pants, shorts and flip-flops.

Sell their Old Clothes

Baby onesies can make a nice memento, but as your kids grow out of their clothes at a ridiculous rate, you’ll need some way of getting rid of them. Why not get some of your money back by selling them at a garage sale? Just like you, other parents are going to want to save as much money as possible on clothes for their growing kids. Gently used shirts, pants, and shoes are all good items for a garage sale, and the little money you’ll make back can make your next shop that much cheaper.

How to Sleep Well When You Have Kids

Waking up in the middle of the night to requests for water, complaints about the monsters in the closet, or pleas to slide into bed and warm up cold toes—these are just some of the treats of parenthood. Of course, parents love waking up to their children, even in the middle of the night … but not night after night. If you want to sleep better, you have to make sure the kids sleep well first.

Give the Kids a Set Schedule

Kids thrive on structure—they don’t necessarily love it, but they thrive on it all the same. Setting a schedule for your children is so important—and that goes for more than just bedtime. However, making sure that the tykes go to bed at the same time each night is a sure way to make them sleep better.

Although it might take a while, there will come a time when the kids naturally start to feel sleepy once bedtime rolls around, in much the same way they probably get hungry for meals at the same time each day. Set your child’s bedtime to correspond with their age, as younger kids need up to 12 hours of sleep a night.

The key here is that you have to wake the kids at the same time every morning, as well. Obviously, weekends may have different rules. You might change the schedule during holidays, too, but don’t many any drastic changes. Let the kids stay up and thus sleep in perhaps half an hour longer.

Create a Routine for Bedtime

A nighttime routine is critical for a good night’s sleep—for everyone. A pattern like this helps your kids to wind down and literally get ready for bed. Every child is different, however, so one kid’s routine won’t work for another one. Yes, that means that if you have more than one child, each tot might have different bedtime preferences.

Play around with what works, basing it around what your child enjoys and what relaxes her or him. Most bedtime schedules involve the same activities. Bath time, some light playtime, and a storybook before turning out the lights combine to make a solid nighttime plan.

No Screen Time before Bed

It’s tempting to let the kids watch a movie or play on the iPad before bed, but it’s not a good idea. Those activities are a bit too stimulating, and they can keep the children awake for a couple of hours. In fact, you should eliminate screen time about two hours before bedtime. That’s when you can begin your routine, which is a fantastic tactic for distracting the little ones from whatever movie or game has their attention.

Encourage Active Playtime after School

You can get the kids ready for bed while the sun’s still bright. After school, encourage them to play outside or to do some type of physical activity. Steering them away from video games and TV keeps them from being sedentary. They’re much more likely to feel sleepy at night if they’ve been active throughout the day.

Put the Focus on Relaxation

Kids are no different than adults. They have problems turning off their brains, especially when they know it’s time to sleep. Sound familiar? Lying in bed wide awake causes them to get antsy, which means that mom and dad are probably going to find a kid in their room at some point.

Frame bedtime not as a time for sleep, but as a time to relax. Children are never too young to learn meditation techniques, but a calming book, a soothing lullaby, and a comforting environment work just as well.

When the kids sleep better, mom and dad sleep better, too. Your children need a full night of sleep, not broken rest. You can’t survive on broken sleep, either. What do you do to make sure your children sleep soundly through the night?

SoCozy Boo! Kids Hair Products #SoCozyHair #SplashHappy #SoCozyKid

School can be a scary place for kids.  With many other kids, new faces, and high expectations, there is one thing kids shouldn’t be afraid of at school- and that is bugs.  One such menace that plagues schools is lice.  When an outbreak hits, every parent in school knows it and its a mad dash to keep them from spreading to your child and bringing them home.  Preventative measures help, but what can a parent use to keep these nasties away from your kids? Why not scare them away with the Boo! line of lice scaring hair products from SoCozy?  These products (as with all the rest of SoCozy’s products) are safe and effective, completely non toxic, and are made without parabens, formaldehyde, sulfates, phthalates, synthetic color, propylene glycol. Free of alcohol, gluten, wheat, peanuts and tree nuts.

There are three lice scaring products- one is a spray, one a shampoo, and one a conditioner.  Each of them is made to keep lice away from your kids and out of your home.  The shampoo and conditioner are used like any other while washing.  Rinse hair, lather up shampoo, and wash out.  The conditioner should be worked into the hair and scalp then left in for 30 seconds then rinsed out.  The final spray will is to be sprayed on wet or dry hair.  Each product should be used daily to keep up the protection.  Our little guy’s school has had a few lice scares and has been able to scare them away each time thankfully (knock on wood).

There is also a contest going on right now through SoCozy.  Anyone who purchases any of their products at Target, CVS & Walgreens From Jan 9th – Feb 13th can enter. Be sure to check out http://socozy.com/sweepstakes and upload a picture of your receipt to be entered into the sweepstake. No limit on spend. *IN-STORE PURCHASES ONLY.

Sweepstake Package includes:

An all-expense paid 5 days, 4 nights, deluxe family vacation includes – four (4) roundtrip coach airfare tickets, roundtrip airport transportation, one (1) Oceanfront Superior Room hotel room for five (5) nights at The Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, FL; one (1) date complimentary Poolside Cabana, two (2) complimentary 50-minute Diplomat Signature Massages; two (2) complimentary full-day Kid’s Club passes, Daily Breakfast and Lunch for four (4) people, one (1) dinner certificate for four (4) people to Portico; one (1) dinner certificate for four (4) people to Bristols; three (3) additional dinner certificates for four (4) people valued at $200 each and $100 to spend daily at resort.

The total value of this prize is $10,000! (read more here: http://socozy.com/blog/diplomat-hotel-vacation-giveaway/)

Laser X: Fun Laser Tag for the Entire Family #laserx

Laser X

Laser X is a new laser tag toy that is affordable and can be played inside or outside by kids or adults. Laser x can be played by an unlimited amount of people and allows flexibility for team challenges or a full out rogue laser battle.

The Laser X can kick your family’s game of hide-and-seek up a notch and add a competitive edge that makes it more fun. The typical laser tag session in a professional facility is about $8 per person per game, while others charge for timed sessions. So, a single two-player game of laser tag could cost you about $16. With Laser X’s two player set carrying a $50 price tag, and the one player set even less, that is about the cost of three laser tag sessions, and with Laser X you can play all day, as many days as you want.

Truth be told, initially, I wasn’t really sure what to expect with these laser tag sets. I have seen laser tag sets previously that just didn’t live up to the hype. I am happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised this time!  These are much more durable and tough than I anticipated and have no signs of stopping anytime soon. We got this set, and the 2 piece set for our kids – who love laser tag.

It was a HUGE hit, not only with the kids, but I’ll admit, the adults, too. Not only is the setup super easy, but adding other sets (purchased separately) is a cinch too! So if you are having a huge holiday party with lots of kids or even a birthday party – you want these.

Laser X

Each Laser X set comes with two laser guns and two laser receptor vests. The devices do not come with batteries so parents should plan ahead if purchasing Laser X as a gift. The laser receptor vests are adjustable and look as though they will stay on relatively well.

Parents can purchase these sets for $49.99 through www.getlaserx.com. Consumers who are interested in ordering multiple sets will receive 10% off each additional set purchased through their website. Or you can also purchase the Laser X tag system at Target either online at www.target.com or in stores.

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Laser X delivers in its promise to bring the excitement of laser tag to your home. A generous 200-foot range and competitive pricing make this a compelling option for those searching for laser tag toys.

Starry Station for Internet Control

The internet is a huge big open place with lots of distractions, and some not so nice things for kids’ eyes and ears.  The best way to keep them from seeing these things is with a fine tooth comb where you can sift through their activity and deliver only what you deem fit.  School and information related web sites, appropriate entertainment, and also limiting their time online.  In an ideal world, this would be as easy as a few button swipes or pushes, but we live in a  less then ideal world where we use flashing blinking lights on a router to show the health of our internet connection, and then complicated connection settings dialed in via specific addresses to maybe get the control you are looking for.  There is another way.

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The Starry Station is a wireless router which has a built in touch screen to let you not only see the health of your network, but also what devices are connected to it. You can give these devices certain access, including time limits, content limitations, and cutting content completely. This could be for things like going outside time or bed time, meal time (am I right? Get your phone off the table!) whatever works for you.  No more hiding a phone under the sheets and playing games until the wee hours of the morning.  What is most interesting about the Starry Station is how well it fits into the decor of any room, be it a living room, computer room or a dining room.  It looks like a mini work of art with lots of color and activity, but not so much that it is a distraction.

product-ambient-screentime

There is also an App to interface with the Starry Station to give even more control over your router and the devices connecting to your network.  With custom names, icons, and rules for each device it is a breeze getting started and even easier to add new devices when a friend comes by or a new device is added to the household.  Starry Station is available online at Amazon and retails for $299.95.

There is a Cyber Monday promotion for the Starry Station. From Thanksgiving (11/24) through the following Tuesday (11/29), the Starry Station will be available for $224.99 (25% the MSRP) on Starry.com, Amazon.com, B&H.com and Best Buy.com as well as in store.

Dangerous Monsanto Chemical Remains in Thousands of Schools: What Can Parents Do?

Children exposed to PCBs have been found to have lowered performance on memory, psychomotor and behavioral tests, and reduced IQ.  What can you do to protect your child(ren)?

Polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, are toxic industrial chemicals that were produced by Monsanto and used in caulk and other building materials until they were banned by Congress in the late 1970s. Caulking laced with PCBs is most likely to be found in schools and other buildings constructed or remodeled between 1950 and the late 1970s.

In addition to caulking, old fluorescent light fixtures may contain PCBs in ballasts, components that regulate the current to the lamp. These fixtures with PCBs are past their useful life spans and could rupture, which would expose kids and teachers in the buildings to PCBs.

There are tens of thousands of schools built during the PCB era that have not been tested for PCBs, and which are highly likely to contain these chemicals, potentially endangering the health of students and teachers. Schools should test for PCBs in caulking, air and dust. School systems with older fluorescent light fixtures should develop disposal plans.

Concerned parents should ask these questions of a school or school district:

  • When was the school built?
  • Were there any major renovations during the 1950s through the 1970s, when PCBs may have been used in caulk and other building materials?
  • Has the school or school district conducted a PCB survey?
  • Were any major renovations undertaken after 1979? If so, did anyone test for PCBs and remove contaminated materials?
  • If PCB testing was done, what type was it: air testing, dust sampling or caulk testing?
  • Has the school publicly released all testing results, the testing method and the name and accreditation of the testing lab?
  • If PCBs were found above the legal limit of 50 parts per million, what actions were taken to test the rest of the building?
  • Has the school conducted an inventory of all fluorescent lights to identify which ones might have ballasts made with PCBs and should be removed immediately?
  • What is the school’s overall plan for removal and disposal of all PCB-contaminated fluorescent light ballasts?
  • If the school building was constructed or renovated during the 1950s through the 1970s and no testing has been done, ask them to test caulk, air and dust.
  • If any PCB sources are detected, ask the school to develop a public, transparent PCB removal and remediation plan.

PCB contamination is not the only environmental challenge facing schools. School administrators must cope with wide range of other environmental hazards, including asbestos, radon, mold, toxic cleaning chemicals, pesticides, and lead in drinking water. While this report focuses on the health risks of PCBs in schools and what parents can do to find out about them and reduce their children’s exposures, America must make a substantial investment in school infrastructure to address school environmental health issues.

See more at

http://www.ewg.org/release/report-banned-decades-dangerous-monsanto-chemical-remains-thousands-schools