5 Ways to Save Money on School Gear

(Family Features) Families are working to stretch their back-to-school shopping budgets further this year, according to a recent survey by the National Retail Foundation. But saving money isn’t just about how much you spend on supplies; it’s also about making school supplies and equipment last as long as possible.

Here are some tips for protecting your students’ school gear to help stretch your budget – and their gear:

Talk with children about handling tech devices. Kids will be kids, and sometimes that means they’ll be tough on their stuff. Unfortunately, their school-mandated tech devices – such as calculators, tablets and laptops – can’t always take the beating. To reduce the risk of accidental breakage, talk to kids about proper handling and storage of their devices and the potential risks for breakage when drops, spills and hard impacts occur. Read more

Brighten Up Breakfast with Bursts of Flavor

Coconut Caramel Pancakes
Cinnamon Raisin Biscuits with Caramel Glaze

(Family Features) The most important meal of the day deserves to be special, so enjoy a fresh take on some classic recipes and infuse delicious gourmet flavors into every bite.

Biscuits should be bursting with mouth-watering flavor, not boring or bland. Try this recipe for biscuits infused with Salted Caramel and Warm Cinnamon Graham flavors using the Wilton Treatology Flavor System. Read more

Telling Your Kids You’re Getting Divorced? The Seven Steps You Need to Follow!

Parents can soften the blow by learning the art of staying connected with their kids

The task of telling your kids that you’re getting separated or divorced is, for many parents, one of the most painful discussions you’ll ever have. Parents dread it and often want to get it over with as quickly as possible. In many families, informing the kids that the marriage is over is a hurry-up job-one that lasts five to ten minutes and no more. It’s emotional, chaotic and a traumatic experience for many kids.

Telling your kids that the marriage is over can hardly be seen as a constructive conversation, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Once parents are sensitized to the process and learn how to respond sensitively to their children’s reaction, whatever it is, this first step in the restructuring of the family can set the stage for a smooth transition to the new reality. Read more

Wanted: Parents to Advocate for Their Childrens’ STEM Education

There are many reasons why parents should be interested in encouraging their children’s interest in the STEM subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Some are more personal than others. For example, STEM subjects help build confidence in children and nurture their natural curiosity. This in turn, helps them understand and learn better. Other reasons might appeal to one’s patriotism. STEM jobs are critical to America’s economy and global leadership. Currently, American students are lagging in their proficiency of STEM subjects, which doesn’t bode well for our nation’s future. For these and other reasons, STEM education should be a part of every child’s ongoing learning. This is true whether they are in a traditional classroom setting or being home-schooled. Knowing how you as a parent can help drive your child’s STEM education is a lesson that will deliver valuable benefits for your child and our country. Read more

Fueling Kids for After School Sports

After a long day at school, kids are hungry and generally need to be fed before dinner. Offered at the right time, like after school, healthy snacks can be important in boosting nutrition, energy and managing hunger. Below is my recommended healthy snack trifecta:

Portion control. Offer snack options to satisfy hunger without spoiling dinner. The snack should not be too big and nor too small, just enough to keep them going until dinner. I would suggest 1 full serving of fruit and/or veggies OR 1/2 serving alongside protein rich nut butter, yogurt or whole grains.

Nutritional balance. Well-rounded balance is important to avoid sugar spiking and crashing. Look for snacks with a balance of carbohydrates, protein or healthy fats if possible.
Portability. Convenience is key for active kids on the go and if the snack is easy to eat on the run, all the better!

To keep kids from reaching for the nearest bag of chips or package of candies, snacks need to be portable, fun, and easy to eat. Slammers are pre-portioned to fuel kids with the right nutrients to keep them smiling and ready to tackle after-school sports and homework.

Jennifer Carlson is the visionary behind Baby Gourmet, an organic baby food company specializing in nutritious and delicious packaged food for babies and toddlers. Inspired by her 6-month-old daughter, she and her sister launched the brand in 2006 at the Calgary Farmers Market and has since built a successful company with product distributed in major retailers across North America.

She is the mother of two well-fed children and has a passion for all things culinary. Jen is an inspirational and motivating speaker to women, entrepreneurs and busy moms.

Your Child’s Friendships: How to be Encouraging Without Hovering

School has already begun for some children, while for others school won’t start for a few more weeks. Perhaps over the summer, your child got together with their friends on Facebook instead of face-to-face. Your child may have 1000 Facebook friends, but no real friends.

But with the new school year, your child will need some friends to talk to, spend time with, share sleepovers and growing-up drama.

You may feel at a loss as to helping your child. You don’t want to be that helicopter over-protective parent, yet you doubt your child’s ability to make face-to-face friends. The more they engage on Facebook or other social media outlets, the more awkward they become with face-to-face friends. It isn’t healthy for your child to have only virtual friends. They don’t live in a virtual world. They have to go to a real school, get a real job and interact with real people. Your child is at a disadvantage if they don’t know how to interact and make friendships. Read more

Fun Ways to Help Your Baby Learn

Many parents ask us the best ways to help their babies develop and thrive as they grow. It seems there is no end to the list of “must-have” items to purchase to help your baby become the next scientist or astronaut, but we like to point out the myriad of ways to enrich their lives that are right under their noses! Here are a few examples:

  1. Sight: Smile at your baby and put her in front of a mirror so she can make that reflected face smile right back at her. Make eye contact when you speak with her to trigger the recognition and bonding that comes from your close contact. Try a fan or a mobile when she’s sitting quietly, and do your best to avoid the TV, which has been linked with developmental problems in babies. Read more

Broward College Offers Tips for Children’s Vision and Learning Month

Researchers estimate that 1 out of 4 children has an undiagnosed vision problem that is interfering with their ability to read, write and learn. With children getting ready to go back to the classroom, Broward College Associate Dean of the Vision Care Center, Lloyd Holness, is offering tips for Children’s Vision and Learning Month to focus on the importance of recognizing and managing possible vision problems. Read more