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The Jonas Brothers + The Children’s Place Launch Best School Day Ever Campaign

In the face of recent budget cuts affecting school districts nationwide, the global music superstars The Jonas Brothers, and the largest pure-play children’s specialty retailer in North America, The Children’s Place, are teaming up to help a school near you. This transformative campaign which starts today and ends July 30th, is not only about monetary support; it’s about igniting change. The Jonas Brothers and The Children’s Place will be hosting their Best School Day Ever campaign, which will gift one lucky school a $100,000 grant to be used for the betterment of their school. Moreover, the chosen school will have the exclusive opportunity to attend a private Jonas Brothers concert at a secret location in August in New Jersey.  

This campaign will not only bring a smile to your face but will make a significant difference to a deserving school. As fathers themselves, The Jonas Brothers are committed to enriching children’s educational journeys and fostering a community spirit. Along with the dedication of the ultimate #gilrdads, The Jonas Brothers and The Children’s Place are also firmly committed to the betterment of children everywhere. This sentiment is echoed by the brand’s initiative last year by opening three research-based learning centers across the country, an incredible stride in tackling the current state of underfunded public schools. 

The deadline to submit applications for this impactful grant ends on July 30. We're calling all parents with children in grades K-8. If your child is enrolled in a non-tuition-based school for the 2023-2024 academic year, we encourage you to nominate their school. To do so, simply visit The Children’s Place mobile app, where official contest rules and the brands’ newest back-to-school product collections, including expressive and empowering t-shirts, fun backpacks, colorful polos, on-trend denim, footwear, and more, can be purchased. 

This campaign features the three brothers giving a first-day-of-school pep talk to Kevin’s oldest daughter, Alena. The video includes the brand’s newest Back-to-School collection and is designed to inspire kids to look and feel their best for their first day of school and beyond. The upbeat video features daydream sequences of Alena’s ‘Best School Day Ever,’ which concludes with a musical performance of the Jonas Brothers’ latest single, “Celebrate!”

“Providing for a better tomorrow for children is what it’s all about. Kids can change the world, and being able to support them and their school communities with this $100,000 prize… we feel a lot of gratitude to join The Children’s Place on their mission to give back and inspire the next generation of learners to chase their dreams,” said Joe Jonas. 

Contest Details:

In addition to the 2023 Best School Day Ever Contest, The Children’s Place will continue to scale its national program of revitalizing public spaces in local communities as Learning Centers by launching three additional learning center locations throughout 2023. Working collaboratively with local libraries and community centers, The Children’s Place Learning Centers will each feature thousands of books, school supplies, and educational toys. Each space will feature comfortable seating arrangements, interactive chalkboard walls, and empowering wall murals and artwork. It will serve as a safe haven where children in each community can access reading materials and learning supplies while allowing themselves to thrive in imagining.


9 Tips for Kids to Ace Their End-of-Year Exams

Year-end exams are right around the corner, and many students aren’t sure where to start when it comes to studying. 

Whether students are suffering from pandemic fatigue, procrastination, or are simply lost after several months of remote learning, it’s imperative they take their final tests and year-end exams seriously and study for them. Preparing for an exam is just as important as taking the exam itself. Finishing school with a strong transcript will also give students a leg up in scholarship applications, which use academic merit as a qualification.

Brainly, the world’s largest online learning community, recently conducted a survey of its U.S. user base about their year-end exams. Consider this: Approximately 56% of students said they were anxious about their year-end exams. 

Patrick Quinn, parenting expert at Brainly who’s also a former teacher and father of three school-age kids, has some tips to help students prepare for standardized tests, combat year-end exam anxiety, and ace their next big test.

Read and Review—Early and Often. First and foremost, students should start preparing for their year-end exams as early as possible instead of waiting until the week before. We forget 70% of what we have learned within 24 hours, according to the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve principle. Going over new ideas a day after class will help increase retention and comprehension—so make time each evening for a quick review. Break chapters into sections and review the material at the end of each before moving on. Make notes by summarizing the critical aspects of the reading so you can easily review them without having to reread entire chapters. Bookmark difficult sections to revisit later. Pro Tip: If it is written on the board, add it to your notes. It just might be on the test.
Set Study Goals. For each study session, set a goal to keep track of what you’re studying or revising. You can list out your goals as soon as you start with your study session or you can set them at the end of the session for the next one. Here are some examples of study goals you can set:\
I will work through at least five equations.
I will go through and summarize chapters 5 and 6. 
I will understand and learn the key concepts that were taught in class during weeks 1-3.

Study to Suit your Learning Style. Your learning style will help you to know what are the best ways to prepare for an examination. For instance, if you are an auditory learner, you may benefit from recording your notes and then listening to them later, or you can even listen to classroom lesson recordings. On the other hand, if you are a visual learner, pictures and diagrams can help you remember. 
Limit Distractions With Online Tech Tools. If you’re lacking discipline and can’t help but check your social media during lectures, there’s a great Google Chrome extension called Self Control that can add certain websites to a blacklist for a designated amount of time in which those sites will be blocked, allowing for no school work distractions. 
Have Fun with Words. Breaking down the material into small pieces and creating acronyms, phrases, rhymes, or metaphors can be a valuable—and fun—way to memorize concepts. For example, students learning the steps in the scientific method will easily remember an acronym like HOMER, in which each letter stands for one of the five steps: Hypothesize, Operationalize, Measure, Evaluate, and Replicate/Revise/Report. No matter how silly, this method can help students remember important concepts for their year-end exams.
Establish Rules of Study Time. Unless students are explicitly using online tools to study, it’s a smart idea to remove phones and laptops from the study area to prevent distractions. Every ding from a text message takes away from valuable study time. When your brain is constantly switching back and forth between social and academic spheres, students are also losing a chance to work on their focus and stamina during a test. Some other rules might include things like: 
If you are studying for a lengthier amount of time, pre-schedule breaks with set time limits. 
Snacks and drinks are okay during study time so long as they are not a distraction.
Focus on Understanding. For complex math problems and abstract concepts like the events that led up to a war, for example, the best way to ensure you truly know the information is to focus on understanding instead of merely memorizing. When you’re stuck on a tough problem or challenging concept while you’re at home studying by yourself, there are plenty of amazing free platforms you can utilize to get online tutoring help or step-by-step explanations on the material.  Brainly provides step-by-step guidance and explanations to all questions on its platform, helping students go from questioning to understanding and beyond. Another way to ensure you understand the exam materials ahead of time is to reinforce what you’ve learned by helping explain answers to other students’ questions in subjects you’ve already mastered, which is a core component of Brainly’s peer-to-peer learning community.
Review Best Practices for Test-Taking. Studying for a test is only half the battle! Taking the test and doing well is also very important, but for some, can be much harder. For this reason, test-taking is a skill that students need to learn for academic success. There are different strategies and best practices for each type of test question (multiple-choice, true or false, essay questions, fill-in-the-blank, matching, and so on). If students are unfamiliar with these, they can turn to this checklist of test-taking strategies for middle and high school students.
Finally, Take Care of Yourself. In the days leading up to an exam, students should remember to take care of themselves. This means getting a full eight hours of sleep every night, drinking plenty of water, getting adequate amounts of exercise, and packing everything needed for school the night before. Remember that students can think better when they have a full stomach, so don’t skip breakfast the morning of the test. Get to school early and do a ten-minute power study right before the test, so your brain is turned on and tuned up. Pro Tip: Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, which can give you more energy and better comprehension. Yoga or a stretching session can help with concentration and focus.

“Not every studying technique works for every student, so experiment with a few of these important study tips to find out which ones work best for you. Test-taking can be a real struggle for many high school students. Even after studying for hours the night before, many students will have anxiety during test time,” says Quinn. 

How to Foster Creativity in Kids: a Mom’s Guide

Creativity is not just about art. It’s about thinking outside the box, problem-solving, being curious about the world, and being able to turn imagined things into realities. Sounds like your kid? Sure it does! Kids have a natural penchant for creativity, but to foster it, rather than suppress it, we may have to make a few little compromises. I’m not talking about letting them get away with sheer naughtiness, but I do mean giving them an opportunity to be kids, and sure, they’ll make mistakes and that’s OK too. 

The best thing about fostering creativity is that you don’t have to do an awful lot to get it right. The worst part is that you may have to hold yourself back at times and resist the urge to interfere or show them how to do stuff. 

Honor Their Creativity, Sense of Wonder, and Intellectual Curiosity

OK, I admit it. I didn’t coin that phrase. It’s almost word-for-word the slogan of a great private school in Connecticut. But you have to admit it, it’s food for thought. It can also be hard work: especially since creativity can lead to some interesting situations like Junior deciding that golden syrup would give the floor a nice sheen. So, it was funny. But he had to clean it up himself. Actions have consequences.

As for intellectual curiosity, any parent who has been through the “Why” phase of kiddie development will know that “Why” can be a tiring question when it’s asked over and over, and at some point, it’s tempting to just say “Because!”

As for wonder, it’s around every corner, and sometimes it just takes a little nudge on your part to prompt that “Wow” moment. Now, a few more thoughts on creativity.

Give Them Space

Unsupervised, unstructured play is a great way for kids to learn. It means prying them away from the gadgets and getting them to go outside, or to the playroom, and keeping themselves entertained. While there will be the occasional “Mommy I’m bored” gripe, the merest hint that they’d be less bored tidying their rooms is usually enough to send them dashing off to find something else to do. Maybe the jungle gym becomes a pirate ship or the doll house becomes a target for a dragon - but don’t ask too closely what’s going on or you’ll get the inevitable “Nothing” in response. The main thing here is space - both in terms of supervision and a place to play where they can make a mess if they like. 

Let Them Have Fun With Arts and Crafts

There’s been a huge debate based on the premise that arts help kids to do better in other subjects. A controversial study showed that it wasn’t so, but further studies have gone on to prove the benefits of the kind of creative thinking that arts stimulate. Some academics say that artistic activities promote focus and concentration, while others point out that envisioning something when confronted with a set of materials and then going on to make it encourages imagination and the ability to conceptualize. All I can say is that it’s awesome to see children totally absorbed in their art - and of course, I love the results. I’m no scientist, but I will say that I can almost see those little brains working away - which is more than they seem to be doing in front of the tv! 

Chill Out and Let Kids be Kids

I’ve read a lot of material on creativity and how to encourage it in kids - and I’m not convinced that everything I’ve read is good advice -  or even whether the people who wrote it have kids of their own. In fact, I’m betting they don’t! 

So, I’m just a mom, but in my opinion, creativity is there already, and our job is to resist the urge to suppress it. That means refraining from showing or telling them how to do absolutely everything, being less achievement-focused than we might be, allowing unstructured and largely unsupervised play, and letting kids get on with the business of being kids within the basic parameters of safe and decent behavior. 

Top Tips To Encourage Higher Education: Guiding Creative Minds

Raising a child with a mind bent on creativity can be challenging, although it can also enrich parents' experience. As a parent, there's absolutely no doubt that you want only the best for your child. Ensuring they can reach their full creative and intellectual capacity will have you on a slightly different journey than parents of right-brained kids. 

Before you start searching for educational institutions for your young adult, it is critical to understand that creativity is more of a unique skill than an inborn trait. The following tips will help you guide your creative child on a path that will ensure they can develop and strengthen their skills over time to reach success. 

Make Decisions Together
Attempting to box up a creative youngster is never a great approach, especially when making important decisions. Instead of keeping your child in a restricting box and making decisions for them, you should make an effort to make decisions together. Such choices to include your child in are decisions such as which best middle schools in Utah they will attend will instill excitement and motivation as they can feel apart of the decision. Unfortunately, making these critical decisions on your own means that you will be risking a potentially adverse reaction.

When selecting an educational institute together, you should focus on candidate options that encourage creative minds and help them grow. All schools are not created equal, so a school that will bring out the best for an intellectual mind will not be able to foster the same results for creative minds. Therefore, it is vital to discuss school offerings and evaluate school sites to make the best decision. 

Encourage Creativity As Education And Recreation
Countless parents of creatives make the fundamental mistake of encouraging creativity only as a recreational activity, which can discourage your teen. It is a great idea to instill a love for learning creatively early on. Limiting screen time and providing art and other creative supplies for your youngster is a suitable way to ensure they can reach their full potential. Your child should feel that creativity can be utilized to learn and grow rather than restricting such activities as a mere hobby they enjoy. 

Offer Suitable Career Path Options
Creative careers are not restricted to creating art, as there are near countless opportunities for creative minds. The best way to encourage and motivate your youngster towards a successful career path is to educate them regarding their options. Therefore, making an effort to evaluate your take on your child's potential career skills and interests and applying them to various career fields can help your youngster determine a suitable path. 

You may find that your child showcases strong writing skills, or perhaps they are interested in the world of marketing. You can find career paths by researching the highest paying careers for creative minds and evaluating the options alongside your child. As mentioned above, it is essential to make these decisions together. Various fields offer creatives opportunities, and some of the higher paying paths include the tech industry, which means software development, user design, and even site design are all options for your creative young adult. 

Stress The Importance Of Discipline
Intellectual youngsters are generally inclined to note the importance of discipline, structured routine, and ongoing educational development. However, creative minds are significantly different. You may find that your youngsters' creative inclinations seem to forge many character elements that initially appear to be challenging. Young creative often battles to find direction and stick to their planned path. General discipline and following of routine are other general challenges that creative minds face. 

Instead of shunning such challenges and discouraging your child as a direct result, it is best to instill and stress just how important discipline is. You should also make efforts to assist your youngster in forging a structured routine that will help them outline details of their daily schedule when they are pursuing their career. Helping your child develop and strengthen essential career skills is undeniably vital.

Help Your Child Understand Failure
Navigating the professional world as a creative can often be frustrating as creatives face ongoing failure and rejection for several reasons. Instead of building your child's enthusiasm in a way that makes them genuinely believe they will not fail, you should educate your child to understand failure. Your youngster must be prepared to face both failure and potential rejection in a way that will have them using their experience to their advantage instead of giving up. 

Understanding failure is critical to being prepared for a career as a creative mind. Ensuring your child grasps that failure can be beneficial and useful will serve as an exceedingly valuable life skill rather than just a career skill. You can educate your child on failure with the help of autobiographies and real-life stories of successful individuals who have faced and overcome failure and rejection in their earlier years.

Provide And Nurture Creative Freedom
Your creative youngster needs an environment that hosts no or little restricting boundaries. Encouraging higher education also means giving your child the tools they need to succeed. One of which is a creatively freeing environment that will help them develop their strengths and realize their capabilities.

You can make a few environmental changes include a space to be creative, relevant, and suitable supplies to help nurture their skills and room to create without limits or corrections. Instead of correcting your child immediately, you should give them time to evaluate their creations and identify their mistakes. Judging creativity is a reasonably challenging situation, which is why it can be demotivating for parents to offer critique instead of constructive criticism. Giving your child the tools to succeed is not restricted to physical tools, as you will need to foster a sense of self-critique, self-awareness, and other traits that will serve them well along their career path. Because every child learns and grows differently, you should also account for your youngsters' individual needs and preferences when creating a suitably freeing environment for them.

3 Tips When Reading To Children

Most parents know the value of reading to children. It helps them to gain a larger vocabulary, and it helps to learn and retain information. However, for some people, reading to children can be a little difficult, so here are a few tips to help you when reading to children.
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Read Books With Chapters

Reading a book with chapters has many benefits. One of them is that is takes a bit longer to get through the story which can help make a book last longer at bed time reading. The chapter breaks also create a natural time to discuss with your child about what is happening in the story and what they predict to happen next. This can help to spark a child's imagination, while also helping you understand if they are comprehending what you are reading.

Daniel Handler has created many children's books with chapters that help parents and children brush up on these skills.

Take Turns Reading

Much like anything else in life, you never get better at something unless you practice. Picking up a best author Daniel Handler book is an easy way to find an interesting story that both you and your child can take turns reading. By allowing your child to have a turn reading, you can be there to help them from getting discouraged by correcting mispronounced words, as well as being there to provide context or explanation for words they may not understand the meaning to.
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Life Lessons

In almost any story, characters make choices and decisions. By reading together, you can have a platform in which to help you child gain a greater understanding about the motivations one might have to make a certain decision. This can be very beneficial to help them gain empathy and compassion for others.

As you can see, reading a book to a child has many benefits, so pick up a great book and start reading together!

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How To Ease Anxiety In Children

If you’re in the trenches, trying to figure out how to handle anxiety in your child, you may come across a lot of information that can simply overwhelm and exhaust you.

The thing is, you won’t be able to ‘fix” your child because there isn’t a magic spray to help with the situation.

What you need are some tools to help attend to your child’s needs during their anxiety episodes, and luckily, I’ve got some for you today.

In this article I’ll go over some of the basic ways you can help your child manage anxiety, what anxiety looks like in children and healthy ways to tolerate anxiety with children.

Anxiety In Kids

Children can experience anxiety even if the parents have done everything right in the parenting process.

Anxiety can stem from things that happen at school or other activities where the parents are not around, and it's almost impossible to shield them from it.

Did you know that anxiety is actually a survival instinct reaction when our bodies or minds are faced with a threatening situation? That definition can be a little bit confusing because it sounds like fear more than anxiety doesn’t it?

Our adrenaline starts pumping, and our bodies and minds are getting ready to escape danger, even if the danger is not visible, like walking through a dark tunnel and getting butterflies because you feel like you’re not alone. This is how anxiety is triggered.

It's a really tough thing to go through for both the child and the parent. After all, no parent wants their child to suffer with anxiety.

The great thing is, not all hope is lost. There are things we can do as parents to help guide our children through these difficult moments of life.
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What Does Anxiety Look Like

Anxiety can pop up in children as young as 3 years old.

Physical anxiety can show up in the form of young kids who cannot explain their true feelings can complain of tummy aches or headaches, even if they appear to be physically alright.

If your child who loves to eat suddenly stops eating his lunch at preschool or daycare, then there might be some anxiety popping up.

Other times, it could show up in the form of restless, fidgety, hyperactive, or distracted behavior in an otherwise calm child.

Emotional anxiety is a little more tough to recognize, but not impossible. Children who normally do not cry a lot can start to cry and appear to be very sensitive.

Children can also start to be afraid of future events such as starting second grade while they are in kindergarten.

To really find out if your child is experiencing anxiety and find out what is causing it, you’re going to want to take notes and track your child’s behavior.

If you have access to a school counselor, it might be wise to share these notes with them so you can work together with your school to solve the situation.

Your school counselor will be able to let you know if this is something you should look into deeper at this time, or hold off and keep watching the behavior and see what happens.

Photo by Hunter Johnson on Unsplash
Managing Anxiety

Luckily there are things you can do to help manage anxiety in children. It’s a bit of a tricky situation because it’s very difficult, impossible really, to completely eliminate anxiety, but management is a great option.

None of us want to see our children face sadness, but the best way to relieve anxiety in children is not to eliminate the trigger, but to know how to handle it when it comes into their path.

Over time, the anxiety will decrease and fall away. Yay! Here are some things you can do to manage the anxiety:

Respect The Feelings They Feel

When your child is going through an anxious moment, you must respect that their feelings
are real and very upsetting. Trying to diminish feelings and even brushing them off is not going to help your child not feel those feelings.

Let your kids go through those feelings of fear, sadness, anxiety and more, even if it’s difficult for you to see as a parent.

The good thing is, you can talk to your child about those feelings and create some pretty deep connections just by validating those fears.

Talk Things Out With Your Child 

When you let your child feel their feelings, and talk it out after the trigger wears off and the child calms down, you should discuss what happened. Being able to create these conversations is going to help you understand your child, which will help you help them with their behavior problems.

Avoid Asking If They Are Anxious

Sometimes, anxiety can be triggered if we ask our children if they are anxious about an event. For example “Are you anxious about your first day of school?” can trigger the anxiety that your child was not feeling before the question was asked.

Healthy Ways To Tolerate Anxiety

You can help your children handle their anxiety by letting them see how you cope with anxiety yourself.

Because children are perceptive, they will see when you cannot handle stress and anxiety in difficult situations and will start to behave the same way you do. It’s kind of like a monkey see, monkey do moment.

Children are like sponges aren’t they? 
I’m definitely not saying you need to pretend that you don’t feel anxious or stressed.
I am saying, you should be careful how you handle your anxiety because your children are watching. Practice calm, and celebrate any moments that you “get through”, especially when they were difficult.

Final Thoughts

Anxiety doesn’t have to be a scary thing. All of us experience anxiety at many different points in our life.

The difference is, how we handle the anxiety that our children are facing.
In young children, the anxiety may be more difficult to spot, but when you do figure out that the child is facing anxiety, you can manage the situation right away.

When anxiety is present in teens, the behavior management is more difficult to handle, but not impossible. Keep track of the behavior and involve the school if you must. The important thing is to pay attention and keep trying to have a conversation with your child.

Remember to allow children to feel their feelings, and comfort them when they are feeling anxious.

Many thanks to Elizabeth for this guest article.

Author bio: Elizabeth is a mom of 2 and has a passion for helping children reach their human potential. She enjoys helping parents raise confident and healthy kids by explaining how to handle situations using positive parenting. Check out the blog 

Exam Time? How To Reduce Your Teenager’s Stress

When teens are studying for their exams, your home might feel full of stress. Emotions are running high, and the pressure to perform well and potentially get into college can be overwhelming. As a parent, it can be difficult to watch your child going through such a stressful period. You remember what it felt like to be at school, and it’s probably a time you wouldn’t want to repeat!

So, as a parent, it’s important to help to reduce your teenager’s stress. While you can’t eliminate exams altogether, you can help to make the period as smooth as possible.

Educational Support

As a parent, it’s important to give your teenager educational support if they need it. Whilst you shouldn’t be overbearing or pushy, if they’re struggling in a certain area you might be able to help. Quizzing them and reading the answers is a good example of this. If you’re not sure of the solution or answer yourself, you can always do some research and find online tools to help, such as this free tool for citation. Alternatively, you might wish to find a tutor for your teenager, who can give them additional support in the exam period. 

Limit Distractions

While your teen is revising for their exams, it’s important that you try to limit any distractions in the house. It might be difficult to prevent them from going on the internet, but you can potentially limit their screen time, and make sure that the TV isn’t on in the background. Plus, if your teen’s siblings are being distracting, you can take them out to give your teen some quiet time in the house. Just make sure it’s being used for revision and not gaming!

Cook for them

During the exam period, it’s important that your teen stays well nourished. They won’t be able to concentrate on their revision if their stomach is rumbling! Plus, the time they spend cooking could be used to revise. So, make sure you’re cooking healthy, nutritious meals that fuel their brains and stop them from being hungry. This is especially important on exam days. They will need a big breakfast so they don’t feel hungry during the exam and can concentrate on the paper in front of them.

Emotional Support

The exam period is a stressful time for your teen, and you need to make sure that they’re coping. This means making sure that they’re talking about the way they’re feeling, and not bottling up their emotions. Whilst they need to spend the majority of their time revising, you should make sure that they’re taking adequate breaks and still taking the time to do the activities they enjoy.

Their mental health will suffer if they can’t have fun or see their friends, so encourage them to go out and socialize. If your teen knows that you’re there for them and supporting their decisions, they will feel less stressed and more able to perform well in their exams.

Thanks for stopping by today!


Tips When Shopping Around for Childcare

Working outside the home is common in many parts of the country yet doing so may not necessarily be easy for many households. With many single parents, dual-income households, and other circumstances to work around, accommodating the needs of young children can pose a challenge. However, by finding quality childcare to help fill scheduling gaps, these types of families can have more peace of mind knowing that their little ones are taken care of while they are away for work or simply in need of an extra hand. By understanding the type of factors to consider when on the search for childcare options, it can be easier to get a good fit for your lifestyle and budget.
Photo by Gautam Arora on Unsplash

Child’s Age

First and foremost, a child’s age will quickly rule out some options you have available in your community. Many facilities separate children by age to make group activities that are developmentally appropriate and easy to administer and allows children to interact with their peers during instruction and play. This being the case, it’s recommended that you ensure that the facility you choose caters to children that are your child’s age.

The Ratio of Caregivers to Children

While licensed facilities will need to abide by both federal and state laws, it is good to be aware of the ratio of caregivers to children that a childcare facility has to ensure that your child will get adequate attention for both educational and safety reasons. Additionally, this can give you a good idea of whether or not your prospective caregivers will make the effort to keep current with recommendations set by childcare experts and legislators.

Parent Participation

As the old adage goes, it often takes an entire village to raise children. In a childcare setting, this often means having open communication between educators and parents. This can make it easier to create an optimal environment and consistency for a child that can benefit from learning and overall well-being. It can be helpful to ask about volunteer opportunities, communication methods, and drop-in schedules available for parents who would like to participate more actively.

Waiting List and Enrollment Requirements

Before you allow your heart to get set on a specific childcare option, it’s practical to keep in mind that Little Sunshine's Playhouse and other high-quality facilities may very well have waiting lists of other families who would also like to enroll their children. Before filling out paperwork or researching hours on one childcare option, asking about the waiting list ahead of time can save you time, especially if you have a need for immediate enrollment for a more specific timeline of when you need to have your child start. In addition, it may be recommended that you check any requirements your child must fulfill before even being accepted. For example, immunizations, minimum hours of care that must be paid for are just two common considerations that need to be made as soon as possible.

Photo by Erika Fletcher on Unsplash

Special Needs

If your child has special needs, it is important to check that the childcare options you are considering can provide all the necessary accommodations. For example, children who use wheelchairs or other assistive equipment should be able to easily maneuver around with pathways that are wide enough and ramps that allow access to any elevated areas when necessary. Finding a caregiver that is ADA compliant can be a great start for families with children with special needs. Even something as simple as potty training may be something that families will want to research to ensure that their prospective choices can support whichever stage their child may be in.


One of the biggest barriers to childcare accessibility is pricing. Some plans for registration fees and other expenses may be easier on the pocketbook for budget-conscious families. For example, some private facilities may be more costly but may also have better features and services that make them worth the investment. In contrast, government programs may be less expensive, but it’s possible that lower rates may result in more crowded spaces or longer waitlists. Some places may require all families to pay the same rate while others may offer special discounts. These discounts can be based on factors such as household income, the number of siblings enrolled in the same program, military status, or memberships.

Type of Facility

It can be very useful to know the different types of childcare facilities that exist so you are aware of all your potential options. Some families may opt to have a private nanny who can supervise children in the family home, provide one-on-one attention to children, and tend to light housekeeping. In contrast, others may prefer the peer socialization opportunities that a larger childcare facility may be able to provide in addition to the convenience of knowing that a team of professionals can tend to children. Additionally, some schools in the community may even offer pre-kindergarten programs that can give young children an earlier start. Although this is a great option, especially for families with an older sibling attending the same school, enrollment opportunities, as well as the length of the school day, may be limited so it’s best to check directly with the schools in your community.
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4 Tips for Mom Nurses Trying to get into Anesthesia School

Many moms work in the medical field and they want to earn more money per hour so they can either work fewer hours for the same pay or earn more overall. Anesthesia certification offers them exactly this opportunity, but first, you have to get into the anesthesia program. Here are four tips for mom nurses applying for anesthesia school.

Meet and Exceed the Minimum Academic Requirements

If you barely completed some of the classes that are considered prerequisites for nurse anesthesiology, consider retaking the prerequisite classes again before you apply for the nursing anesthesiology program. First, it ensures that you know what you need to know to succeed in the program. Second, it could boost your GPA, making you eligible for admission. If your prior BSN was years ago, retaking the prerequisites and getting good grades now will demonstrate to the nurse anesthesiology program that you’ve got your academic act together now. In fact, you may want to take courses like statistics now so that you don’t have to take it as part of the CRNA program. If you’re balking at going back to take refresher classes, remember that you’ll be required to enroll in CRNA CEU or take some suitable continuing education units regularly to maintain your certification.

You’ll stand out ahead of the pack if you’ve taken master’s level nursing classes on your own prior to applying to a nurse anesthesiology program. If that’s not an option, go above and beyond the minimum continuing education standards as a BSN.

The Right Type of Experience

Anesthesia programs typically want people who have on the job experience related to the profession. One year of experience in critical care nursing is a minimum, but two years puts you at the top of the list. This experience prepares you for the clinical portion of the anesthesia program. Yes, a few programs will take you if your primary experience is in pediatrics or neonatal care. At a minimum, you’re making professional contacts with people likely to hire you as a nurse anesthetist later.

Where possible, job shadow a CRNA several times. This gives you a good understanding of what the job entails, so you don’t apply for the program and then drop out because it isn’t what you expected.

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The Right Certifications

Some nurse anesthesiologist programs require you to have a CCRN certification; a few have even waived the GRE requirement if you have the CCRN certification. Nearly all programs give preference to those who possess it. It demonstrates your knowledge of critical care nursing. If you don’t have two years of experience in critical care, holding the certification may make the difference between admitted and not.

Understand Your Options

Don’t rush through your application to the top ten anesthesiology programs. Consider both online and in-person classes before you sign up for a nurse anesthesiology program., and select one that fits your budget and your intentions. Always verify that the anesthesiology program is accredited and would issue a credential that lets you work as a nurse anesthesiologist in the state you want to work in.

Also, research your options for earning CRNA CEU through programs like Valley Anesthesia so that you know where you can take the necessary continuing credit classes well before they come due.

Getting accepted in anesthesiology school is definitely possible if you are ready to do the extra work and gain the qualifications you will need to expedite the process.
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Summer Giveaway- Win $100 PayPal or Amazon

It's hard to believe that the summer is slowly coming to a close. We start school a little later this month and aren't ready quite yet. How about you? Are you and your kids fully prepared for back-to-school? I've teamed up with a group of amazing bloggers to bring you this last-minute summer giveaway. Just in time to put some extra cash in your pocket. Whether it's for school supplies, shoes, clothes, school fees or maybe to prepay on lunch accounts, I'm sure $100 can be a big help. Check the details below on how to enter and good luck! 

How to enter: There are 10 Instagram accounts. Follow one or all, but the more accounts you follow the more entries you’ll receive. If you’re already a follower of an account, claim that entry! This giveaway starts August 15 at midnight EST and ends August 31 at 11:59 PM EST. Entrants must be USA residents and at least 18 years old. One winner will be randomly selected from all qualifying entries and contacted via the email they provide. The email will come from joannegreco at gmail. The winner has 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. The prize is $100 in Paypal or Amazon online gift card, winner’s choice.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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School Trips Becoming Too Expensive for Parents

School trips are part and parcel of school life. We all remember going on residential visits with school. I know I do. When I was 11, my entire Year 6 class flew to Switzerland for a week and we had a fabulous time learning about glaciers and listening to the cow bells jingle in the early mornings. I am sure my parents probably had to scrimp and scrape to be able to afford the trip, but they managed and I was lucky enough to go.

A Once in a Lifetime Experience

That was an exceptional trip, a once in a lifetime experience, and something I still remember many years later. Back then, trips like this were a rarity and were often subsidised by the school. These days it is becoming increasingly common for schools to organise prohibitively expensive field trips for students. Parents often have to borrow the money to pay for the trip (for more information about the latest loan rates, click the link), but a survey carried out two years ago has found that many parents are saying they cannot afford the cost of school trips.

Examination Course Field Trips

The older your child is, the more likely they are to be asked to go on field trips as part of their examination course. Some subjects, for example geography, expect students to conduct research out in the field. This type of educational trip is a valuable part of the course, but the problem is that many parents cannot afford to pay and are discouraging their child to take the subject, even if they are interested in doing so.

Schools are even asking parents to fund other, non-essential field trips to museums, art galleries and the theatre. Music lessons also fall into this category. To study music, students usually have to play an instrument, which means parents have to pay for lessons, instrument hire, and examinations. The cost of this can be exorbitant.

Expensive Foreign Trips

The cost of educational trips to foreign countries is also on the rise. It is not uncommon for parents to be asked to find £1,000 or more to pay for a trip abroad. For many families, this represents their budget for a family holiday, so if the child is allowed to go, nobody else gets a holiday that year.

For kids with two parents who both earn a good living, paying for school trips and educational extras is not a problem, but if a child comes from a single parent family subsisting on benefits or a low income, the cost is prohibitive. Consequently, it is not surprising that many parents say they can’t afford it and refuse to let their child participate. Expensive field trips are simply not accessible for many parents.

There is very little parents can do if the school asks them to fund an expensive field trip for their child, other than say no. Some schools have a hardship fund, which is designed to subsidise children from poorer families, but if you both work, you probably won’t qualify for assistance.


College Graduation Is Almost Here #EarnItFrameIt

I can't believe how quickly time has been creeping by since my older daughter started college. It seem like just a few years ago, she was in kindergarten. Chardonnay has had such an amazing school career and she graduates college this year! I go back to her first birthday and recall her reciting the entire alphabet for our guests. It's as if she was born a genius.

She has accomplished so much, and I remember all of her elementary/middle school teachers making it a point of staying in touch with our family to see what she does with all of her talents. She was always one of the top 5% academically at all of her schools. She excelled in her many extracurricular activities including going all the way to black belt status in karate. All of the years of dedication, practice, and training paid off. When Chardonnay goes to her little brother's karate belt tests, the instructor always brags about her to the other parents at the studio. He always shows how proud he is of his past student.

Chardonnay has had great success as a leader in so many areas over the years. She did everything from student government, assignment at AustralianWritings, broadcast journalism, athletics, piano, Spanish club and Honors Society, and the list really does go on. She has always put her heart and soul into everything she is involved with. Her organization skills would put anyone to shame.

Aside from being a high achiever, she has a good and sweet heart. She is loved by so many people and she gives a lot of her time back to our community. Being a volunteer has been a big part of her life. She is so willing to help others in need and is currently working with a local organization in fundraising efforts to make repairs to their facility. It breaks her heart to ever see people suffering or lacking basic needs.

I have been in planning-mode as far as graduation goes. I really want her to have a grand celebration and nice graduation gifts for all of her hard work. There has been so much to do between setting up for photos, ordering announcements, so many other countless details. One graduation gift idea that sometimes gets overlooked is a college diploma frame. I'm not talking just any diploma frame, but a customized one to protect that hard-earned diploma. When so much hard work is put into earning a diploma, you should want to show it off with pride. There was a recent survey that showed 70% of people did not frame their diploma(s).

How gorgeous is this frame?
Church Hill Classics is a professional framing company that helps graduates and families preserve and showcase those hard-earned diplomas with officially licensed frames. With all of their diploma frames handcrafted in the USA, Church Hill Classics offers an extensive selection of custom frame styles for more than 1,500 colleges and universities. I was so pleased to find a nice selection of University of South Carolina diploma frames for Chardonnay. I was so impressed with how fancy some of the frames were. Many professionals hang up their college diplomas in their office and I'm sure my daughter will do the same. You are not only able to choose the layout you want, but can customize your colors, frame styles and even the protective outer glass to your specifications.

Church Hill Classics is celebrating its 25th anniversary! As part of the celebration, they’re offering 25 winners the chance to win a $100 eGift card. You can enter once per day, starting now! Each week, five winners will be notified by email and posted on Facebook. Sweepstakes ends April 29, 2016 at 11:00 AM EST. Total of 25 winners. Visit this link for more information and to enter.

Church Hill Classics offers some of the best college graduation gifts that are sure to be treasured for many years to come. Follow Church Hill Classics on Facebook and Twitter for product promotions and updates.

This is a sponsored post. Product was provided and all opinions are my own as always. 

5 Back to School Tips for Parents

Preparing your children to go back to school can be stressful for your son or daughter, but it can also take a toll on parents as well. Make sure you are prepared for the school year by following these 5 tips.
Image courtesy of taesmileland at

1. Get Organized
Getting organized is possibly one of the most important steps in preparing for a new school year. Take note of all information and dates you should be aware of and write them down. You definitely don’t want to miss out on meet the teacher day or other important events like parent teacher conferences. Also, take the time to get to know your child’s teacher and take advantage of any opportunities to interact with them. You definitely won’t regret having an open communication line with your child’s teacher.

2. Take Advantage of Sales
Shopping for back to school supplies can be somewhat expensive, but you can manage these expenses by finding the best deals and sales. If you are lucky enough to live in one of the states that offer tax free holidays, you can save a lot of money! Scope out the sales and make shopping lists. If you know your child will need more than just a few notebooks, pens, and pencils, go ahead and buy extra.

3. Set Schedules
Before school starts back, set schedules and make sure your child is aware of who will be picking them up and dropping them off at school as well as what time each day. By setting a regular schedule, your child will feel more comfortable.

4. Establish a Routine
Along with setting schedules, parents need to make sure that they follow a routine for each day. Set a time that gives your child (and you!) enough time to wake up, eat breakfast, and get ready for school each day. Of course there will be days that don’t go according to plans, but if a routine is in place, it will be much easier to stay on track each day.

5. Have a Discussion with Your Kids
Before your child goes back to school, make sure you take the time to talk to them about doing their best in school and motivate them for a great year! Also, take the time to talk to them about emergency plans, schedules and routines.

Here’s to a great school year ahead!

By Guest Author: Lauren Byrd

Lauren is a contributing writer and media specialist for Mavis Discount Tire. She regularly produces content for a variety of lifestyle and automotive blogs based around driver safety tips, auto service tips, and more. 

10 Tips For New College Students From A College Student (Guest Post)

I remember when I was getting ready to start college – Everything was so new and so different. Two years have quickly gone by, and I’m now a junior. Here are some things I’ve learned from my own experiences and from friends that I’d like to pass along:

1. Get your finances together and be aware of your expenses. – Open a checking/savings account if you don’t already have one. Get in the habit of saving your receipts and documenting them weekly/monthly or however you choose. Your expenses will add up, so it’s best to stay on top of them so you don’t end up in a rut or overdrafting your account.

2. Take the time to read things and understand them. – You are an adult now, and you actually have to read through things to make informed decisions. This will certainly apply if you move off campus into an apartment.

3. Rent your textbooks if you can. – Renting is the best way to go, especially for books for general education (gen-ed) classes. Vendors such as Amazon and Chegg are great places to get them. You can buy books from your institution’s bookstore and sell them back at the end of the semester, but you won’t get nearly as much money back as you spent.

4. Be aware of the available meal plans and your eating patterns. – Most institutions will have a meal plan. Know what plans they offer, and don’t get a meal plan higher than what you know you will eat. Also, PLEASE be healthy! (Don’t eat Chick Fil A every day for three weeks like I did.)

5. Take school seriously. – Your first year of college is so important for your GPA. Focus on your grades first. If you keep it high your first year of school, you have some wiggle room if you don’t do as well one semester. Also, if you have scholarships, you need to make sure you maintain the GPA required to keep the scholarships.

6. Get to know your professors. – Your professors possess a lot of knowledge, and you’ll do even better in class if you sit in the front and introduce yourself to them. If you take the time to get to know them, they will be more willing to help you in class or with other things. Some professors have written recommendation letters for me.

7. Don’t be afraid to get involved, but don’t over involve yourself either. – There are TONS of ways to get involved at your college/university. Try to get involved in at least one activity or organization so you can meet people and begin developing skills. However, don’t get over involved either. You don’t want to be overwhelmed and affect your grades or well-being.

8. TIME MANAGEMENT IS KEY. – Get a planner if you don’t have one already! You’ll be super busy with classes, extracurricular activities, and maybe even a job. Be sure to stay organized!

9. Take care of yourself. – People are going to ask you to do things, approach things in their way, but at the end of the day, you need to do what is best for yourself. If people want to go out and do something, but you want to take an evening for yourself and watch TV, then by all means, watch TV!

College goes by so quickly! Take the time to explore new things. Take a class on something you’re interested in, but might not be majoring in. Meet new people and make great friends. The world is yours.

Guest post by my oldest daughter, Chardonnay Ismail.


Epson LabelWorks Iron-on Kit can help your kids find their stuff with ease #ad

School and the Fall sports season is in full swing all over the country. One issue that I think every parent can relate to is missing jackets, shirts and sometimes even sport's jerseys. It happens. Kids often times put their belongings down for a moment and their busy mind forgets about it. I have visited the lost and found pile numerous times over the last 14 years and I can't stand it! I finally have something to help ease getting items back with no hassle. Epson LabelWorks Iron-on Label Kit is here to save my sanity.

 This kit conveniently holds everything you need.
The actual label-making unit is small and lightweight, and can be used anywhere. As a matter of fact, it's so portable that I have taken it in the after school car pick-up line to use it. It is very user-friendly and requires no major skills to learn.

Key Features:

  • Everything you need to create personalized iron-on labels — includeds a LabelWorks LW-300 printer, 2 iron-on tape cartridges and an application guide.
  • Amazing variety — 14 fonts, 10 styles, 300+ built-in symbols, over 75 frames and more
  • Less waste — smaller lead margin compared to other brands, for up to 60% less lead margin waste
  • Large built-in memory — store up to 30 self-created label designs
  • Prints up to two lines of text — more space for you to add specialty frames or symbols to enhance your design
  • Easy to apply — automatically printed with a split back for easy and fast peeling
  • Whisper quiet — prints labels without distracting those around you
  • Iron-on labels — durable, machine-washable iron-on labels can be applied to almost any fabric in just seconds
  • Carrying case included — stores the LW-300 printer, two cartridges, six AAA-sized batteries (not included) and optional AC Adapter (not included)
My thoughts about the Epson LabelWorks Iron-on Label Kit: 
  • It is SO easy to use! As long as you know how to press buttons, you can use this. 
  • I like the selection of fonts and icons to make personalization better. This is great if your kid is involved in sports or different activities/clubs. 
  • It is super quiet and I love the cutting feature. You have minimal waste which means more labels. 
  • I think this would be great for sports' teams since their jerseys or tees are all the same. You can even include an email address if the item has been found, so it can be returned. That's the beauty of being able to personalize 100%.  

  •  Ironing the label on is so simple and it really holds up to washing. 

  • If you have multiple children who sometimes have the same color garments, this is a great way for them to find which one belongs to them. It also lessons any stress or arguments :) 
Overall, I really recommend this nifty little machine. It's very useful and practical. It's great for parents, business owners or teachers. The unit retails for $69.99 and can be purchased online at the Epson store. I think it's a great gift idea for the upcoming holiday season. Be sure to connect with Epson on Facebook and Twitter for product updates and promotions. 

I received a unit for review purposes. All opinions are 100% my own as always. 


Are you prepared for food emergencies? #MilkUnleashed

Life can get super busy and hectic for all families. We have been going through spells of sickness mixed in with work, school, sports, family obligations and extracurricular activities. It is not hard to get behind on many things. One thing many of us don't think about is food emergencies. With the weather getting colder in many places, this means potential storms, freezing temperatures and even power outages. Usually when there are warnings about dangerous weather conditions, the first place everyone goes is to the grocery store. I can recall years ago seeing empty bread and milk shelves. It is hard to go for days or even a week without milk when you have small children. With Milk Unleashed shelf stable milk, you can always be prepared. Shelf stable milk is the same milk you buy refrigerated, except they processed differently and packaged in a shelf safe Tetra Pak carton. 
This is great news since they have a longer shelf life. They come in single serving cartons as well as 32 ounce Tetra Pak cartons. You can choose from whole, 2%, 1%, organic and even flavored. My kids love them! It is a convenient way to send milk in lunch boxes and my teens love them in the car on the way to school. These are great for your emergency supply, road trips, lunch boxes or for after-school. You can find them in most grocery stores, usually on the aisle that sells canned milk. I try to grab a pack every other shopping trip just to stock up in my pantry.

You can learn more on how to prepare for emergencies here and be sure to check out Milk Unleashed on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

I received product samples for review and all opinions are 100% mine. No other compensation was received. 
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