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Archive for the ‘Back to School’ Category

6 Back-to-School Tips from Moms Who Are Total Pros

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Even though this article was originally written with working mothers in mind, this is great information for all parents!

It’s back-to-school time, which means gearing up for those early starts, packed lunches and the mad rush to catch the bus. But the goods news is that you can make the transition so much easier (for kids and parents) with these genius tips that we gleaned from some of the coolest moms we know.

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Pinterest Is Your Friend

“I pack my son’s lunch every day, but I run out of ideas a week or so into the school year—and he gets bored of the same old, same old. To make matters worse, he’s also very picky, and I never really know what he’s going to like. So right before the school year, I like to make a Pinterest board with tons of different lunch ideas. Then I go to the computer with him every few weeks and have him pick out the ones he’s drawn to. This way, he’s more into the lunch because he was involved with the planning—and it helps me out because I don’t have to rack my brain trying to think of something he’ll actually eat!” – Alyssa Hertzig, beauty editor and blogger

Give Kids Some Options

“Getting the kids dressed can be quite a challenge and the fastest way to run late! To avoid this, each morning (or night before), select three different outfits for them to choose from to wear. My girls love picking out their clothes and it makes them feel like they have some control but still gives me the ability to carefully decide which three outfits, while saving time. Win-win!” – Nicole DiGiacobbe, lifestyle blogger

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Lay Out Clear Steps

“My top tip for getting kids out the door on time? Create or purchase a customizable chart—something simple that tells kiddos what to do in the morning by using easy-to-complete steps like ‘brush hair,’ ‘get dressed,’ ‘eat breakfast,’ and ‘brush teeth.’ It’s so simple but such a life-saver.” – Kendall Rayburn, lifestyle and family blogger

Ask Specific Questions

“As a mom, I am always dying to know what my kids did during the school day. And it’s always so frustrating when they come home and say the day was ‘fine’ or that they don’t remember what they did. So, I’ve learned that it’s best to ask very specific questions or to give them prompts like, ‘tell me about something funny that happened today’ or ‘what was the most surprising thing you learned today?’ These questions essentially force them to give you an answer—and you’ll end up learning a ton about what they’re actually doing during the day!” – Alyssa Hertzig

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Don’t Just Prep Their Lunches

“To avoid the craziness in the morning, I like to meal prep as much of my kids’ breakfast as I can. For example: My kids love to have bacon every morning, but it can take a lot of time to fry it up every day. (Plus, it’s messy!) So, on Sundays, I lay out a whole package of it on a sheet pan covered in oil. Then I bake it in the oven. I keep the cooked bacon in the fridge, and just take out a few slices each morning, pop them in the microwave for a few seconds, and breakfast is ready in no time.” – Alyssa Hertzig

Pick Your Battles

“If they don’t want to eat carrots for lunch, switch it up and give them a treat instead. Something in their belly is better than nothing. Of course, this doesn’t apply to every single day but sometimes it’s easier to be the fun mom that packed her kids some cheddar bunnies!” – Nicole DiGiacobbe

 

This article was from PureWow and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

9 Real Working Moms Reveal How They Got Their Back-to-School Routine Down Pat

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Even though this article was originally written with working mothers in mind, this is great information for all parents!

Read and learn from these seasoned pros.

As summer winds down, many working moms are thinking (fantasizing?) about school starting in just a few weeks (or today, if you live in some parts of the country).

As exciting as a new school year can be, the change in routine from lazy summer days to tightly-packed schedules can lead to more than a few tears—and I’m not even talking about the kids.

We asked real working moms to share their ingenious tips for making the transition back to school as smooth as possible. Here’s what they suggest:

Keep the same routine, no matter the season.

Some parents relax the rules in the summer. Not Ann Holman, who is in the Navy and lives in Jacksonville, FL. “I keep the same bedtime every day (even weekends), the same Internet/video game rules (only on the weekend), and the same diet (we don’t do random snacks at home),” she says. Consistency makes for an easier back-to-school adjustment, she says.

Streamline school-supply shopping.

 

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Buying in bulk is your friend.

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When it comes to back-to-school, some things are worth paying a little extra for. “If your school has the school supply packs that you can pre-order, it is worth every penny,” says Annette Fontaine, an engineer from Austin, TX. Many other moms we surveyed echoed this tip.

Practice your new routine in advance

 

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And head off meltdowns.

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As we all know, young kids can be finicky about their routines—a seemingly minor change can totally throw them off. This is especially true for that most emotionally fraught of rituals: the morning drop-off. Elyssa Morrison, an advertising executive in Hillsborough, NJ, makes things easier for her kids with this trick:

“My husband is a teacher and is always gone before I wake up,” she explains. “He helps out a lot when he’s home over the summer, but about a week before he goes back, I take it back over. I get myself up, get the kids up, do breakfast, and most importantly, do the daycare drop-offs. I find that this helps my kids get adjusted to Daddy not being there in the morning.”

Outsmart the brown bag.

 

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Go for a washable container—with compartments—instead.

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There is perhaps no task working moms dread more than packing school lunches. (Or is it just me?)

Rachel Margolin, who lives in New York City, runs a consulting and publishing business with her husband and co-authored Balancepreneur, a book on work-life balance, says the key to easier lunches is in the container: “I got a set of Tupperware with three sections,” she says. “It makes packing a healthy lunch very easy, and there isn’t a bunch of Tupperware for your kid to try to keep organized at lunch, or for you to have to wash at the end of the day. And I think kids for some reason are more likely to eat the veggies out of the three-section Tupperware than to open a separate veggie cup.” (I plan to test out this theory ASAP.)

Shop early and often.

 

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You never know when you’ll catch a good sale.

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When a new school year looms on the horizon, it’s not just pencils and notebooks working moms need to shop for. There are tons of other odds and ends to buy, often in different stores. An early start to shopping reduces the risk your child shows up on day one without a much-needed item.

“My daughter starts kindergarten August 1,” says Beth Newberry Gurney, a grant project manager from Shelbyville, KY, “so [in July] I ordered a backpack and lunchbox for her from Lands’ End and shoes for her from Amazon. I stopped by Staples on my way to work for supplies and put the rest on our Kroger ClickList.”

Prep the kids for early wake-ups.

 

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Rise and shine, kiddos.

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If you’re not one of those aforementioned parents who keeps summer and school-year routines the same, you may be faced with the daunting task of getting your kids up earlier for school. (I don’t have first-hand experience with this yet, but I hear this is a particularly unpleasant chore with teenagers.)

Here’s how Grace Barbarino, a teacher from New York City, tackles the problem: “Since I’m a teacher, I go to work two days before my kids start,” she says. “They start getting used to the early wake-up times then. I wake them, dress them and get breakfast ready. By the time their first day rolls around, they are better adjusted to the wake-up time.”

Get everything on the calendar ASAP.

 

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If it’s not on the calendar, it doesn’t exist.

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This scenario probably sounds familiar to many working moms: You schedule an important meeting at work, only to realize it conflicts with a “Professional Development Day” (i.e. day off) at your child’s school.

Here’s how Alison Zvolanek, who works in marketing and lives in Dallas, TX, avoids that headache: “I just went through the district and PTA calendars and added all the important dates to my calendar—meet the teacher, parent night, school holidays, early release days, etc.,” she says. (This is going to be the year I actually follow this tip!)

Do everything the night or week before.

 

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Then just grab it and go in the morning.

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Lynn Little, a group home manager from Bristol, CT, is the kind of working mom who leaves nothing to chance.

“Use Sunday to plan for your week,” she advises. “Put outfits on hangers separately from the rest of the clothes. Put a bag on the hanger with undies and socks. Pack a week’s worth of lunches. Pack separate bags for each night to have all of your stuff for each activity. Put snacks if needed in the bag ahead of time. If you need something from the fridge for an activity put a label on it in the fridge and clip a note to the bag. At night, have the kids pack their school bags and set them up next to the door.”

Or … just wing it!

 

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A risky but sometimes necessary strategy.

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Stacey Hawes, a boiler operator from Addison, MI, prefers to embrace the chaos: “I just like to go at it unprepared,” she says. “Makes it exciting.”

Here’s hoping for an exciting—or, for those who prefer, unexciting—Back to School 2018!

 

This article was written by Jennifer Richler from Working Mother and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

The 15 Best Pinterest Hacks to Make Back-to-School a Breeze

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Even though this article was originally written with working mothers in mind, this is great information for all parents!

Prepare for school without any of the craziness.

Believe it or not, back-to-school season is already upon us. In some parts of the country kids are already loading up on yellow school buses and starting new chapters of their academic lives. Which means that many working moms are currently experiencing the “morning madness” that comes with trying to prepare for work while also preparing children for school.

It may seem like the only way to get it all done stress-free is to wake up hours in advance, but there are plenty of simple parenting hacks that can save you time and help you start the school year organized. Here are some of the best hacks on Pinterest for a smooth and enjoyable first day of school:

1. Keep the bathroom organized.

There will be no questions about where the toiletries are with this simple solution. All you need is a labeled empty jars and your kids will have everything they need for an efficient trip to the bathroom before heading out in the morning.

2. Nail the first day picture.

Everybody loves the classic “first day of school” photo, but we don’t all have the time or crafting skills to make a completely original sign from scratch. That’s why it’s perfectly fine to borrow from the Internet. Hey, you can even print out all of elementary school years in advance so you won’t have to worry about it again next year.

3. Get your paperwork in check.

Now that the school year started, you are sure to be getting swamped with permission slips, hand-outs and notices from your kids. Create a stylish filing system to make sure you don’t find yourself scrambling to find something important the morning before it is due.

4. Create the ultimate morning checklist.

Put everything you need on a checklist and make sure nobody leaves the house without a final check and approval. Because nobody wants to use their lunch break to drop a forgotten item off at school.

5. Get the family on the same page.

This family bulletin board keeps everything you need to know in one place. Post everything from soccer practices to lunch schedules to teacher contact information. And when your kids ask you a basic question, you can just point to the board.

6. Make snacks easy-to-assemble.

Prepare all of your non-refrigerated lunch items in advance and keep them ready at a moment’s notice with this handy organizer. Just drop them in the lunch box and you’re done. It’s a great way to help little ones learn how to pack their own lunch—and it works for afternoon snacks as well.

7. Make school supply organization stations.

With this easy station, kids will never waste time looking for school supplies again. Put everything they need into a container (a divided shower caddy works well) and leave it on the table.

8. Turn leftovers into lunch.

Kill two birds with one stone by taking leftovers from the night before and packing them in a insulated thermos for a home-cooked hot lunch.

9. Keep track of extra-curricular activities.

If your family’s schedule is getting out of hand, then try planning it out and posting it where everyone can see it. Now nobody has an excuse to forget about a practice or field trip.

10. Plan a week’s worth of outfits.

Use this closet organizer to select all of your kids’ school clothes in advance on Sunday and save yourself some time in the morning.

11. Make a one-stop spot for sporting goods.

Make sure no important gear gets lost or left behind with a designated sports storage section. Keep it stocked with everything your kids will need for gym class or practice after school.

12. Let your kid’s teacher know you care.

It’s never a bad idea to get on a teacher’s good side. You may not have time for a lengthy chat with the teacher after dropping your kids off, but this sweet and simple craft will score you a great first impression. Plus, if your kids are old enough, you can make them do it or a similar project.

13. Stick to quick and easy breakfasts.

Every minute matters in the morning, so plan out breakfasts that are simple and can be made ahead of time. This banana and Nutella wrap fits the bill and will surely be a big hit with your kids.

14. Make a morning chore board.

This chart will help your kids understand exactly what they need to do before school in the morning. It also helps you keep an eye on what still needs to be done before they head off to school.

15. Prepare a locker kit.

Help your middle schooler out with a kit of all the locker essentials she may need while at school. It’s much easier than her coming to you with a new request every single time she needs something.

 

This article was written by Joseph Barberio from Working Mother and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

THE GODDARD SCHOOL INTRODUCES TWO NEW EDUCATIONAL ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS JUST IN TIME FOR THE SCHOOL YEAR

Newest EAB Members Drs. Seeta Pai and Jennifer Jipson Share Back-To-School Tips for Parents

The Goddard School®, the premier preschool focused on learning through play for children from six weeks to six years old, is adding two Seeta Painew members to its esteemed Educational Advisory Board (EAB); Drs. Seeta Pai and Jennifer Jipson. The Goddard School’s EAB is a knowledgeable group of educators, researchers and experts from a range of early childhood fields including early learning and curriculum development, technology integration, brain development, parent engagement and health and nutrition.

For many years, the EAB has helped The Goddard School to move research into action to maintain the best in industry curriculm as the science of learning grows and evolves. To achieve this goal, the EAB provides crucial feedback on new programs and services; suggesting improvements to the industry leader’s proprietary F.L.EX.® Learning Program and supporting original research and publications. The Goddard School looks forward to Drs. Jipson and Pai incorporating their cutting edge research into Goddard Schools all across the country.

A thought leader in the kids’ educational media and international child development fields, Dr. Pai brings her expertise in cultural sensitivity and diversity as well as the influence of media and technology to early childhood education. Holding her doctorate degree in Human Development from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and prior Vice President of Research at Common Sense Media, Pai hopes to enhance The Goddard School’s research and strategy by acting as a translator of the most up-to-date media studies and methodologies as well as providing insights on child diversity and identity.

Regarding back to school, “This is a time to be willing, as a parent, to embrace all methods of learning,” said Dr. Seeta Pai, new EAB Jennifer Jipsonmember. “Relax and think about learning as a lifelong enterprise, not something that children do within the four walls of their classroom. Embrace and follow your child’s passion and encourage them to ask questions.”

Dr. Jipson, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and Child Development at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, brings experience and knowledge to early childhood education within the domains of science, health and technology. Referencing her studies of how children learn and develop as they engage in everyday routines, Dr. Jipson hopes to shed more light on ways children learn through informal settings and help a larger audience understand child development as a field.

Dr. Jipson believes that establishing a routine is key for back-to-school time. “Get your child’s mind and body prepared for the big shift – whether it be moving bedtime back to an earlier time, making meal times more regular or establishing weekday schedules for homework, TV, baths, etc. Start early and ease children in,” she says.

“At The Goddard School, the EAB ensures a high-quality education program to prepare children for social and academic success in the 21st century,” said Joe Schumacher, CEO of Goddard Systems, Inc. “We’re extremely fortunate to have Drs. Jipson and Pai joining our team of educators, researchers and experts and we’re confident that they’ll be a valuable asset to furthering our unique play-based curriculum.”

For more information on The Goddard School and their Educational Advisory Board, please visit www.goddardschool.com.

Preschool: More than simply childcare

by Michael Petrucelli, on-site owner of The Goddard School located in Darien, IL
As seen in Suburban Life Magazine

There are many benefits to children attending preschool; two of the most important being: the nurturing of a life-long love of learning, and the development of important social and life skills that we all need to successfully navigate in the world around us.Children%20with%20Teacher_jpg

Childcare centers or preschools (the differences to be explained) are an option for working parents who need care for their children while they go to work, or for any parent seeking a group atmosphere for their children. Childcare centers and preschools may accept infants and toddlers, along with children 3-5 year olds, for part or full time programs.

What separates a top quality preschool from a childcare center?

A top quality preschool will provide: well-trained teachers, age and developmentally appropriate curriculum that prepares children for kindergarten and beyond, stimulating activities for children that will hopefully develop a life-long love of learning, a setting that allows each child to grow and gain confidence as the unique individual they are, and a dynamic environment that helps in the development of important social and life skills.

A quality preschool should provide a basis for academic learning, but even more important is helping to develop a passion for learning. School should be about making learning fun. Young children learn best by engaging in activities they find interesting, such as story time, playing with blocks or drawing. Children may listen to and interact with stories and songs – building blocks needed to grasp phonics and reading skills when it is developmentally appropriate. Play-based learning such as hands-on activities with water, sand, and containers, form the foundation for understanding some basic math concepts. Matching, sequencing, one-to-one correspondence all are activities that are done over and over in preschool settings and help children get ready for kindergarten and beyond. Puzzles, and games like “I-Spy” and chess help develop critical thinking, along with analytical and reasoning skills. It also helps children to understand that “doing your best” is important, and that not everyone wins all the time. Watching and collaborating with other children on the playground, or while working on a classroom task is also an important part of a learning process.

A quality preschool will also provide the opportunity for children to learn and interact in a group, to learn and interact with a classmate(s) in smaller groups, and to learn as individuals. Some simple but important life skills that can be developed by interacting with other children include: learning how to wait, how to take turns, how to listen and follow directions, collaboration, compromise, sharing, empathy and respect for others, advocating for one’s-self, and conflict resolution. Preschool also provides a place where your child can gain a sense of confidence while exploring, learning about new
topics, and playing with his or her peers. Children in a quality preschool will develop a healthy sense of independence; discovering that they are capable and can do things for themselves – from small tasks like pouring their own juice, to working on bigger issues like making decisions about how to spend their free time or who to partner with on a particular classroom project.

Whether you “need” “childcare” or not, every child can benefit from a quality preschool experience, where learning should be fun, and can help foster a life-long love for it. A quality preschool experience also will help children in developing important social and life skills that every child needs to reach his or her fullest potential in the life ahead.

Tough Questions Reap Rewards for Preschool and Child

by Michael Petrucelli, on-site owner of The Goddard School located in Darien, IL
As seen in Suburban Life Magazine

Selecting your child’s first school may be one of the most exciting, yet intimidating decisions that you will have to make. Children in quality preschool programs improve their social skills, are better at following directions, waiting turns, problem-solving, participating in activities, collaborating, and relating to other children, teachers and parents. In addition to providing a warm, safe, and nurturing environment, a top quality preschool program should provide a well-rounded experience that helps children become confident, joyful and fully prepared students, while developing a life-long love of learning.

IMG_3304_philly_00535There are a variety of teaching philosophies that you will learn about as you research child-care options. Many may seem difficult to apply to a young child where things like safety and security may be your primary concerns. Terms you may hear include: Reggio Emilia approach, Montessori Method, Activity or Play Based Learning, Waldorf approach, and others. The common theme is that all of these methods should focus on children as individuals, getting them enthused about learning, and having them prepared for kindergarten and beyond.

Some important questions to ask before, during, and after a visit to the school:

  • Is there a warm and nurturing atmosphere in a physical environment that you can envision your child in?
  • Are there safety and security measures in place that are followed, practiced, and actively reviewed?
  • Are there health and safety standards in place, and what is the “wellness” policy?
  • Does it offer a wide range of enriching activities to meet the individual needs of each child including a focus on building each child’s emotional, social, cognitive and physical skills?
  • What size are the classes and what is the student teacher ratio in the different classrooms?
  • Is the school convenient to your work or home? Happy parents help make happy children.
  • Are there age appropriate outdoor play areas that are maintained in a safe condition? Does it offer multi-cultural and developmentally appropriate materials and equipment, and do you feel a sense of respect for diversity and respect for various cultures?
  • Is there a professional faculty committed to early childhood development, and do they have access to on-going training and continuing education credits?
  • Are the teachers CPR and first aid certified?
  • Can I visit my child any time during the day?
  • Does the school have references available?
  • Do you feel a sense of community among the teachers and parents in the building?

Choosing childcare is a very personal decision in which there are no right or wrong answers. Do your best though to ask the right questions.

Five Tips for Developing Healthy Learning Habits

  • Encourage play. Playing alone and with others not only builds brain development, it also helps children develop social skills and a sense of ethics. The most effective play is free of evaluation and correction (after all, throwing a ball shouldn’t be “right” or “wrong”), while promoting autonomy.
  • Play together. In addition to their ABCs and 123s, preschool children are learning and developing life skills that will shape who they grow into as adults.  One of these building blocks is learning to play well with others and accepting one another’s differences.
  • Get adequate sleep and proper nutrition. Your child will do their best if they get to sleep early and eat a healthy breakfast each day before school. A daily diet of junk food is not compatible with learning. It can cause listlessness and hyperactivity, which can impair a child’s ability to learn. Skipping breakfast, especially, is a detriment to a child’s education.
  • Continue year-long education. Routine provides structure, which is often lacking during the summer months when children all too quickly become detached from the lessons they learned throughout the school year.  Maintaining a schedule throughout the summer supports an environment that is less of a contrast to the classroom and provides a healthy balance between building skills, play and rest.
  • Turn off the screens. The American Academy of Pediatrics urges parents to avoid television and other electronic media for children two years of age and younger. Time spent in front of a computer, TV, video game or other similar devices can interfere with schoolwork, physical activity, curious exploration, social interaction and play.

Five Ways To Help Ease Back-To-School Butterflies

Back-to-school time is approaching, and excitement is in the air. Sometimes all that excitement can be accompanied by nervousness, though. Help ease back-to-school butterflies with these five simple tips:

  1. Begin transitioning your child into a consistent school-night routine a few weeks before school starts so he has time to get used to the new schedule;
  2. If your child has specific worries about the first day of school, listen to her, offer reassurance and brainstorm together for solutions;
  3. When dropping off your child, be loving, be direct and leave promptly. Don’t say you’ll miss him; instead, say you can’t wait to hear about his day;
  4. Visit the classroom, playground and/or building with your child a few times before school starts. This can help familiarize your child with a new environment, easing any anxiety she might have;
  5. Establish a reasonable bedtime so that your child will be well-rested and ready to learn in the morning.