Category: School

Tips for Grabbing the Best Deals on School Clothes

Children and parents often look forward to the dawn of a new school year. But before the first homeroom session can take place, parents may need to take their students clothes shopping.

According to a 2018 survey by Deloitte, parents spend an average of $510 per household on apparel, school supplies, electronic gadgets, and other items for their kids’ return to school. The back-to-school season runs from July through September, during which American households alone spend $27.6 billion, which is second only to the holiday season in regard to the most lucrative times for retailers.

Apparel is a large part of back-to-school shopping. Many parents find they need to outfit their kids with a new wardrobes each year. Jeans and leggings that fit like a glove in June may only reach mid-calf by Labor Day. To make the shopping process less harried and more productive, parents can employ these strategies.

Take inventory

Go through kids’ wardrobes and see what can be salvaged and what might need to go. This is the perfect opportunity to put aside gently used, outgrown items that may be passed on to someone else who can use them. Be sure to make a list of any items that the school requires, particularly in regard to uniforms or dress codes. By knowing what’s in stock in the closet, you’ll have a clear idea of what you need to buy.

Check for tax-free discounts

Some states or cities offer tax-free or discount shopping incentives, which can add up to considerable savings. It may be well worth the effort to stock up on necessities during these times.

Sign up for loyalty programs

If yours is a child who prefers certain brands, sign up early in the year for such brands’ loyalty clubs. For example, the popular retailer Hollister has Club Cali that, with each purchase, grants points toward discounts. Plus, you may be privy to sale advertisements before the general public.

Get enough to get by

While certain clothing sales happen between July and August, oftentimes the real savings begin in October, according to the budgeting resource Money Crashers. Wait until that time to buy the bulk of kids’ school clothes. After all, the first weeks of school are usually warm, and summer clothing will still suffice with a few new items thrown in to freshen up wardrobes.

Invest in quality shoes

Sneakers and other shoes can be expensive. However, investing in quality brands can help you avoid having to buy shoes frequently. Watch for shoe sales and stock up on coupons. Many stores offer “buy-one, get-one half off” during the back-to-school season. In addition to these tips, save more by shopping overstock stores or warehouse clubs for name-brand items at lower prices.

Finding Balance With Extracurricular Activities

Many high schools, colleges and universities emphasize their goals of producing well-rounded students. Extracurricular activities teach students important life lessons, provide them opportunities to socialize and often stimulate their minds and bodies in ways that differ from the stimulation provided in the classroom.

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau states that, in 2014, 57 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 17 participate in at least one after-school extracurricular activity. Children are more likely to participate in sports than clubs or lessons, such as music, dance and language, but each of these activities can be beneficial to students’ development.

Students who participate in extracurricular activities may want to limit their participation to 20 hours per week. This is according to a group of professors from Stanford University and Villanova University who have been collecting data on the issue since 2007.

In their report “Extracurricular Activity in High-Performing School Contexts: Stress Buster, Booster or Buffer?”, Jerusha Conner and Sarah Miles found that 87 percent of kids who would be considered to have packed schedules were perfectly happy unless they were doing more than four hours a day.

The “over-scheduling hypothesis” may be overhyped. This is the concern that too much organized activity participation leads to poor developmental outcomes. This hypothesis also suggests that hectic schedules also undermine family functioning, detract from schoolwork and possibly increase the risk of copycat behaviors and excessive competitiveness.

However, in the study “The Over-Scheduling Hypothesis Revisited: Intensity of Organized Activity Participation During Adolescence and Young Adult Outcomes,” researchers J.L. Mahoney and Andrea Vest determined that, controlling for demographic factors and baseline adjustment, extracurricular intensity was a significant predictor of positive outcomes and unrelated to indicators of problematic adjustment (e.g., psychological distress, substance use, antisocial behavior) at young adulthood.

Even though extracurricular activities are largely positive — even when schedules are packed — parents need to be aware of the diminishing returns of too many activities. This is something called the “threshold effect.” Benefits from extracurriculars can level off when too many activities are being juggled.

If a child is experiencing anxiety, sleeplessness or depression, or seems overly stressed, it could be time to reduce students’ time spent doing structured activities. It’s essential that families use the cues given by kids to assess what students can handle. And children should be encouraged to be honest with their parents about their extracurricular activities as well.

Tips for a Healthy School Year

Students are most likely to get sick when school starts because being at school put children’s immune systems to the test, offers The Mayo Clinic. Young children who are in close proximity to others in large groups tend to spread organisms like bacteria and viruses that cause illness. Breaking the cycle can take some work, but it’s possible to make this a healthy school year.

Encourage handwashing

Frequent handwashing is a great way to prevent illness. Handwashing habits are essential for school-aged children and should be taught as soon as possible. Children should wash their hands after they use the bathroom and before they eat. If they’ve been playing outside or have interacted with children who are sick, handwashing can help remove some of the germs lingering on their hands. Antibacterial wipes are another option, but they may not be as effective as washing hands with warm, soapy water.

Stop (some) sharing

Sharing develops good manners and can foster new friendships. But children should be discouraged from sharing food, drinks and other personal items. Once the item has been placed in a child’s mouth, it should not be shared.

Take a sick day

Rare is the student who will never come down with an illness. When kids get sick, keep them at home. Schools may have guidelines indicating when it is acceptable for children to return to school, and it’s important that parents adhere to those guidelines so illnesses cannot spread around the school.

Promote adequate sleep and nutrition

While adults may need between seven and nine hours of sleep a night, children often require more. The National Sleep Foundation recommends eight to 13 hours of sleep a night for school-aged children. Begin adjusting sleep schedules during the latter part of summer vacation so that children can readjust to their regular sleep schedules. Parents also should feed kids nutritious diets consisting of a variety of foods. Avoid high-calorie junk foods, reserving such items only as special treats every so often.

Donate cleaning supplies

Some schools may be underfunded and may not have enough supplies to keep all of the classrooms and surfaces clean. Parents can help by donating cleaning wipes and sprays so that students and teachers can thrive in clean, healthy environments.

Tips to Prevent Summer Brain Drain

Studies show that summer brain drain can be a formidable force, setting kids’ progress back over the long break from the classroom. But you can help kids avoid losing their academic mojo. Here’s how.

Take a Hike

Not all learning has to happen indoors or while sitting still. Take a family nature walk and ask kids to pay special attention to the plant and animal species you encounter on your journey, as well as any special rock formations or other geological features you see, taking notes and photographs as you go. Once back home, do some research about the most interesting things that you saw.

Make Music

Music education is important for budding minds, and learning music at home in summer can be easy and affordable. Stock your household with a portable keyboard designed for students in mind. For example, the CT-X700 boasts a high-quality sound system, as well as features that are perfect for student musicians, like a six-track recorder, a library of 100 built-in songs, and the Step-Up Lesson system, which allows students to learn the songs with the display showing proper fingering and notation. Its USB-MIDI port connects to any Mac, PC, Android or iOS device with no drivers or installation needed. The included music rest is designed to support tablets, and the built-in smartphone shelf holds your device as you use the keyboard with favorite music apps.

Read Outdoors

Summer is the perfect opportunity for students to delve deep into what interests them most. Make a day of it. First stop: the library or bookstore, where kids can find reading materials dealing with their favorite topics. Then, pack a picnic lunch and find a shady spot in a local park or your own backyard, to read outdoors. At the end of the day, everyone can discuss what he or she read.

Math Fun

Make math more fun with a free, all-in-one web-based mathematics resource like Classpad.net, that allows users to draw geometry figures freehand and input calculations as they would on real scratch paper. Geared for K-12+ mathematics students, the app is designed to be equally usable by keyboard/mouse and touchscreen-based platforms, so that students can keep up their math skills wherever their summer adventures take them.

Take a Vacation

Going somewhere new and interesting? In advance of your trip, have kids spend some time learning about the history and culture of your destination. If you’re going abroad, they can even learn some basics of a foreign language.

To keep minds active all summer long, be sure to combine learning and fun.

How to Help Identify and Stop Cyberbullying

Today’s students have many new things to contend with as they navigate the school year. As a greater number of schools transition to providing lessons, homework and tests on digital devices, students spend much more time online. This connectivity can have many positive results. However, the same availability also opens up students of all ages to various dangers.

One of these dangers is a more invasive form of bullying called “cyberbullying.” The global organization DoSomething.org says nearly half of kids have been bullied online, with one in four saying it has happened more than once.

Cyberbullying has grown as access to computers and devices that offer an online connection has grown. Bullying is now just as likely to occur online as it is on the playground. Cyberbullies may bully classmates through email, social media, instant messaging, and other social applications. Since cyberbullying tends to target emotions and mental well-being, and reaches beyond the school campus into a student’s home, its impact can be even more serious.

According to the Megan Meier Foundation, which campaigns against bullying, peer victimization during adolescence is associated with higher rates of depression, suicide ideation and suicide attempts. In the United States, suicide is the second leading cause of death for individuals between the ages of 15 and 24, according to data compiled from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Cyberbullying occurs in many different forms. Here are some types of cyberbullying educators and parents can look for if they suspect their students or children are being bullied.

  • Flaming: This is a type of bullying that occurs in an online forum or group conversation. It’s achieved by sending angry or insulting messages directly to the person. Flaming is similar to harassment, but harassment usually involves privately sent messages.
  • Outing: This type of bullying is a sharing of personal and private information about a person publicly. When information has been disseminated throughout the internet, one has been “outed.”
  • Fraping: Fraping occurs when someone logs into another’s social media account and impersonates him or her. This could be a child or an adult impersonating the person and posting inappropriate content in his or her name. Sometimes this type of bullying is also called “posing” or “catfishing.”
  • Masquerading: Masquerading occurs when bullies create fake profiles so they can harass someone anonymously. The bully is likely someone the person being targeted knows well.
  • Exclusion: Sometimes direct targeting is not necessary. Students can be bullied simply by being deliberately left out, such as not being invited to parties or encouraged to participate online conversations.

Securing privacy online is one way to prevent cyberbullying attacks. Students also can be selective about who they share personal information with or whose social media friendships they accept. Thinking before posting and paying attention to language and tone can help curb cyberbullying as well. Students should stick together and report instances of cyberbullying if it becomes an issue.

Back-to-School: Physical Examination Tips

School time requires having all of the necessary supplies, clothing and gear ready for the year. In addition, preparing for a new school year often involves providing updated physical health information to the school administration.

The requirements for health screenings and reporting may vary between school districts. Some physical examinations need to be conducted annually, while others may only need updating at certain intervals, such as when kids transition from elementary school to middle school or middle school to high school. Updated physical forms also may be required at the start of a sports season.

Health screenings are intended to detect problems that may interfere with learning. Physical exams may indicate issues that can hamper progress or shed light on undiagnosed problems that may require further assessment and necessitate customized learning plans to help students succeed. Physical exams are also a way to ensure students’ immunizations are up to date.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, physical exams typically are completed by students’ primary care providers. Some school districts offer free or low-cost health assessments through school providers as well.

Students who will be traveling for school may be required to meet the health requirements of their destination country. For example, medical students admitted to a Canadian university may be required to get a medical exam, according to the Government of Canada.

Visiting the doctor, nurse practitioner or a school-provided medical professional may not make school-aged children too happy. To make the process go smoothly, consider these suggestions.

Ask About Electronic Health Records

EHRs are secure technology that provides easy access to vaccination records, health history, appointment reminders, and even prescription information. Some providers even make it possible for patients to directly access their health information through a secure login, helping save time.

Make Appointments During School Hours

After-school appointments are peak times for pediatric offices and medical clinics. Sign students out of school early to visit the doctor for medical exams. The staff likely will be less harried, and you can spend more time asking questions and completing forms. Schools may not count the absence if a doctor’s note is provided.

Don’t Forget The Forms

Bring the right paperwork so that the staff can fill out what is necessary for the school, camp or sports league.

Know Your Insurance Guidelines

Physical exams may be part of routine well visits. Insurance companies institute their own policies regarding how frequently physicals can be conducted (usually annually). Be sure to schedule the appointment accordingly.

Physical examinations are on many parents’ back-to-school to-do lists. Certain strategies can make physicals easier for adults and children alike.

 
  

Navigating Tech Choices For School Use

Technology is essential in the daily lives of students. Whether it’s kids learning their ABC’s or graduate students pursuing advanced degrees, technology has transformed the way lessons are taught and learned. Statistics support the notion that technology in the classroom is irreplaceable. According to data from the tutoring resource PracTutor, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and various colleges, 98 percent of schools have one or more computers in the classroom. In addition, 77 percent of teachers use the internet for instruction, while 40 percent of teachers report students use computers during instructional time in the classroom. Many instructors now assign homework that must be completed online.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development looked at computer usage among 15-year-olds across 31 nations and regions. Many students in high-performing nations reported spending between one and two hours a day on a computer outside of school. Because computers are so necessary in and out of the classroom, families and students may want to revisit their options before buying new devices.

Desktop computer Desktop computers used to be the go-to for families and students, and there are still many reasons why desktops make sense. In addition to their relatively inexpensive sticker price, desktop computers allow students to customize their packages according to their needs and get a powerful operating system in the process. New and advanced processing speeds also mean that many desktop computers can be relied on for educational purposes while also being fast enough to handle recreational gaming. One of the main disadvantages of desktop computers is their lack of portability. Desktops are not easily moved, and if repairs are necessary, it can be a hassle to have them fixed.

Laptop computers Over the last decade, laptop computers have become more popular than desktop computers, largely because of their portability. Laptops are designed to be taken from place to place, so students can use them for note-taking in the classroom and then studying at home. Although laptop processors have just about caught up to desktop processors, they may be lacking the processing pop unless consumers are willing to pay more for laptops with high performance. Another shortcoming of laptops is that they generally have smaller screens than desktop computers, which can make working on fine details more challenging.

Tablets Tablets offer the most in terms of portability. They’re lightweight and small and offer a wealth of access in a compact package. Today’s tablets offer much more than the first such devices to hit the market. Some can run apps and equivalent programs that were once exclusive to desktop and laptop computers. Tablets also tend to be less expensive than desktops or laptops. Where tablets may fall short is in the peripherals. It’s difficult to connect backup drives and other accessories to tablets.

However, with advancements in cloud-based storage, this may not be an issue. Also, note-taking on virtual keyboards may be more challenging, and working on tablets’ small screens can be tiresome over time. Convertible tablet/laptops are now emerging to bridge these gaps. Shopping for a new computer can be complicated, but basing purchases on need rather than want can help guide the process.

How to Save on School Supplies

Back to school season can be as expensive for parents as it is exciting for students. Once the initial letdown of the end of summer vacation wears off, many kids are excited to return to school, where they can see their friends, study their favorite subjects and participate in extracurricular activities.

Parents of school-aged youngsters may share in that excitement while also knowing that back to school season can stretch their budgets. One of the ways to salvage those budgets is to save on school supplies. Fortunately, there are several ways parents can do just that.

· Be patient. Shopping early can save shoppers money in many instances, but parents may benefit by exercising patience when it comes to buying school supplies for their children. Teachers often give students lists of supplies they will need for each class, and parents who wait to receive such lists can avoid spending money on items their kids won’t need. Even if you wait it out, you may be able to get a head start, as some teachers may post supply lists on school websites, while others might email lists to parents before back to school season hits full swing.

· Take inventory. If you have more than one child, chances are you already have lots of school supplies around the house. Dust off kids’ backpacks and study areas from last school year to determine which supplies you need to buy and which you already have. Going forward, encourage kids to store their supplies in a predetermined area once the school year ends, as this will make next year’s inventory that much easier to examine and assess.

· Spend more now to save later. While inexpensive supplies can be hard to resist, such items likely won’t withstand the test of time, forcing you to spend time and money each year buying replacement supplies. Paying more now for certain items, including stronger backpacks and more highly rated calculators, may end up saving you money in the long run, even if the initial pill is somewhat tough to swallow.

· Use technology to your advantage. Department stores and businesses that sell school supplies, such as pharmacies and office stores, may or may not discount too many items once back to school season hits full swing. But savvy parents can still find deals by using technology to their advantage when shopping for school supplies. Download apps like RetailMeNot to your smartphone and enable its updates so your phone essentially notifies you of any discounts the moment you walk into a given store. If you don’t receive any updates, search for discounts via the app or the Internet as you shop. Chances are strong that there are deals to be had, even if you don’t learn of the deals until you arrive at the store.

School supplies can be expensive, but parents can employ several strategies to save on school supplies now and in the future.

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7 Ways to Make Mornings Less Hectic

Many families find the rush is on to make it to school and work on time each morning. Feeling rushed in the morning is a recipe for added stress. Rushing through things is a poor way to begin a day, and those feelings of uneasiness can put a damper on the rest of the day ahead.

Making mornings less hectic involves a few different strategies that parents and kids can easily incorporate into their daily routines.

· Wake up slightly earlier. Getting up earlier than normal, even if it’s just 15 to 20 minutes before you’re accustomed to getting out of bed, can help reduce morning stress. Resist the temptation to hit the snooze button over and over again. A few extra minutes each morning can make you feel more relaxed and make for a smooth, stress-free start to the day.

· Get some work done the night before. Prepare lunches the night before and have them ready in the refrigerator. In addition, lay your clothes for the following day out each night. This saves time and takes a couple more things off your morning to-do list.

· Ease back into a routine. As a new school year dawns or a long vacation comes to an end, begin going to bed earlier and start waking up earlier as well. This can make the transition from carefree mornings to busy mornings go more smoothly.

· Prep backpacks in the evening. Look through folders, sign paperwork, check assignments, and do whatever is you need to do the night before to save your family from having to scramble in the morning. This ensures those permission slips get signed and items make it back into school bags.

· Opt for school lunch a few times. Look ahead on the school lunch menu and speak with children about which meals they enjoy. Let kids purchase school lunch on those days to give yourself a day off from lunch detail.

· Have quick breakfast foods available. Smoothies, cereal bars, oatmeal, and whole-grain cereals are fast and nutritious ways to start the day.

· Carpool whenever possible. Busy families can save themselves extra work by proposing a neighborhood carpool. Sharing school dropoff detail frees time up for parents once or twice a week, and kids may enjoy traveling to school with their friends.

Mornings can be tricky when family members are getting ready for school and work at the same time. By practicing a few daily rituals, it’s possible to curb the rush and start the day happier and more relaxed.

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Recognize & Avoid Youth Sports Injuries

Children benefit in various ways from their involvement in youth sports. Being part of a team fosters feelings of belonging, inspires collaborative play and strategy and can be an excellent form of exercise. Still, despite the benefits, parents often worry about the injury risk their children face on the playing fields.

Those fears are justified. A Safe Kids Worldwide survey of emergency room visits found that a young athlete visits a hospital emergency room for a sports-related injury more than a million times a year, or about every 25 seconds. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says more than 2.6 million children 0 to 19 years old are treated in the emergency department each year for sports- and recreation-related injuries.

Some of the more common injuries young children face have to do with the skeletal and muscular systems of the body. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons stresses that children’s bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments are still growing, making them more susceptible to injury. Fortunately, with some education, many youth-sport injuries can be prevented.

Sprains and strains

Sprains are injuries to ligaments, or the bands of tough, fibrous tissue that connect two or more bones at a joint. Strains impact a muscle or a tendon, which connects muscles to bones. Clinical research has linked acute strains and sprains to improper warm-up before sports, fatigue and previous injuries. Preparticipation conditioning and stretching can help reduce the risk of injury.

Periostitis

Periostitis is commonly known as “shin splints.” This is an overuse injury that occurs in athletes who are engaged in activities that involve rapid deceleration. Periostitis causes inflammation of the band of tissue that surrounds bones known as the periosteum, and typically affects people who repetitively jump, run or lift heavy weights.

To head off potential pain in the shins, young athletes can gradually build up their tolerance for physical activity. Supportive shoes or orthotic inserts may also help. Incorporating cross-training into a regimen also can work.

Repetitive use activities

Swimmers, tennis players, pitchers, and quarterbacks may experience something called a repetitive use injury. This is pain in an area of the body that is used over and over again. Inflammation of muscles and tendons may appear, but repetitive use injuries also may result in stress fractures, which the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases defines as hairline fractures in bones that are subjected to repeated stress.

Rest between exercises can help alleviate these types of injuries. Ice, compression, elevation and immobilization may be used if pain is persistent.

Growth plate injuries

Kids Health says growth plates are the areas of growing tissue near the ends of the long bones in the legs and arms in children and adolescents. A growth plate produces new bone tissue. If the growth plate is injured, it cannot do its job properly. That may contribute to deformed bones, shorter limbs or arthritis. Growth plate injuries most often result from falling or twisting.

While there’s no surefire way to prevent growth plate injuries, getting proper and immediate care after an injury can help prevent future problems. An orthopedic surgeon has the expertise to diagnose and treat these injuries.

Youth sports injuries are common but preventable. Warming up, being in good physical shape and not overtaxing a growing body can help kids avoid pain and impairment.