Along with the cooking and decorations that make the season magical, the holidays present risks for home fires and burns. Fire and burn hazards are prevalent in many homes throughout the holidays, and these tips can remind families how to stay safe.
Simple Seasonal Safety Tips
Limit your home fire risk during the holidays
(Family Features) It may be the most wonderful time of year, but it can also be one of the most dangerous. Along with the cooking and decorations that make the season magical, the holidays present risks for home fires and burns.
An independent survey conducted by Shriners Hospitals for Children® found that many Americans do not follow key fire and burn safety tips despite being aware of dangerous risks. For example, 25 percent of respondents reported leaving lit candles unattended, and 27 percent said they have left them in reach of children.
“Some of these findings seem alarming, but each year our burn hospitals see the unfortunate results – children who have been injured in cooking related accidents or in fires associated with holiday decorations or candles,” said Kenneth Guidera, M.D., chief medical officer for Shriners Hospitals for Children. “These injuries can mean years of ongoing treatments and extensive rehabilitation for a child. That’s why we encourage families to learn about fire safety and prevention before a tragedy occurs.”
Fire and burn hazards are prevalent in many homes throughout the holidays, and Shriners Hospitals for Children offers these tips to remind families how to stay safe:
The Shriners Hospitals locations that specialize in burn care provide critical, surgical and rehabilitative care to children with varying degrees of new and healed burns. Their state-of-the-art burn facilities are staffed and equipped to provide reconstructive and restorative surgery for healed burns, as well as treatments for various other skin conditions. With 22 locations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, the health care system provides advanced care for children regardless of the families’ ability to pay. Learn more at shrinershospitalsforchildren.org.
Visit beburnaware.org to learn key fire safety practices to help avoid injuries this holiday season. You can find activity books, tip cards and a five-minute online quiz to help identify and eliminate potential risks.
Candle Safety for the Holidays
Kids and Candles Don’t Mix
Tracy heard Julianna’s screams from down the hall, ran to the bathroom and saw her daughter’s dress on fire. She patted out the flames and family members called an ambulance. Julianna spent three weeks at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Cincinnati to treat the third-degree burns that covered the left side of her body. Julianna, now 8-years-old, is doing well but faces ongoing treatment as she grows.
“We are very lucky,” Tracy said. “Julianna will be fine thanks to the care she received. We all get busy during this time of year, but it is so important for parents to make sure they are following basic safety tips to keep their kids safe.”
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Fireplace with gifts)SOURCE:
Shriners Hospitals for Children
It can be difficult for parents to know exactly when to start teaching their children how to identify colors and numbers or when the right time is to start reading to them. However, the earlier parents begin reading to their kids, the better prepared they can be once they reach school age. These tips can help inspire a lifelong love of reading.
Raising Eager Readers
Inspire your little ones to love reading
(Family Features) It can be difficult for parents to know exactly when to start teaching their children how to identify colors and numbers or when the right time is to start reading to them. However, the earlier parents begin reading to their kids, the better prepared they can be once they reach school age.
In fact, reading to children at home can set them up for success in school and in life, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics. With the right resources, parents can influence their kids’ enjoyment of reading. These tips from the Pizza Hut BOOK IT! Program, which aims to motivate kindergarten through sixth-grade students to read by rewarding them with praise and pizza, can help inspire a lifelong love of reading.
Read to your children early and often. Parental involvement is one of the best predictors of future academic achievement, according to research published in the Journal of Prevention & Intervention in the Community. Getting into a routine of reading to your children at a young age is a habit that can be pivotal to developing a love of reading. As you read, point out words, colors and images and ask questions about the story to help children develop a deeper understanding and relate what they have learned back to other books and activities.
Regularly visit the library. Libraries typically have lists available of favorite books for various age groups and can help parents and kids create reading lists of stories that match reading levels and interests. Additionally, attending “story times” and other library activities tailored to age-specific target audiences can expose your child to new books.
Make books easily accessible. Having multiple locations in the home where you keep books can inspire children to pick one up any time. Start with a main bookshelf in your child’s room that lets him or her easily see the titles, and place additional book storage locations in different rooms where your family typically spends the most time.
Get comfy. Creating the perfect spot (or spots) to read has a lot to do with individual children. While some prefer to read with mom and dad in a chair or on a couch, others prefer their own space where they can cuddle up with a good book. If space allows, consider dedicating a corner of your child’s bedroom or playroom as a “book nook.”
Take advantage of technology. The use of technology can aid in creating excitement about reading. To help develop strong reading habits and enhance your child’s vocabulary and ability to comprehend, consider supplementing traditional books with devices such as e-readers and tablets or smartphones equipped with age-appropriate reading and learning applications.
Keep reading. Children often see their parents as role models. If you read often, your children will be more likely to pick up the habit, as well, according to a BOOK IT! survey. It revealed that adults who have gone through the program are more likely to establish regular reading routines with their families, as 54 percent of the survey respondents said they read with their children every day, compared to 32 percent who did not participate in the program.
For more information and ways to help inspire young readers, visit bookitprogram.com.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
While the holidays might be the most wonderful time of the year for children, the gifting season can quickly spiral out of control for unprepared shoppers. These four tips can help you conquer holiday gifting like a pro.
4 Ways to Survive Holiday Gifting
(Family Features) While the holidays might be the most wonderful time of the year for children, the gifting season can quickly spiral out of control for unprepared shoppers.
These four tips can help you conquer holiday gifting like a pro:
Get organized. The secret to conquering the holiday season is having a plan. Take 10-15 minutes to update your calendar with all your holiday parties, family engagements, secret Santa exchanges or any other gifting commitments. Make sure to include dates, locations, times and even specifics, like themes, if they’re available. If you have multiple holiday events, you might even color-coordinate your planner for an easy visual reminder. Sync your events across all smart devices for an easy glance at the touch of a button.
Find your go-to gifts. As an adult, deciphering what kind of gifts a child wants in this digital age can be tricky. Some classics like brick toys are still a hit with kids of all ages. Studies show that 60 percent of children love playing with brick toys and more than half of parents love that their kids do, according to Mattel Global Consumer Insights. Try product lines like Mega Construx and Mega Bloks, which combine the fun of brick toys with popular franchises to create exciting products for kids. Find more holiday gift ideas at shop.mattel.com.
Wrap gifts early. Now that you have your plan in place, save time by purchasing all the gifts you will need for the holidays and wrapping them at one time. Prevent the stress of a last-minute gift wrap run by pre-wrapping gifts and simply labeling them with removable sticky notes.
Build a gifting closet. Once you have your gifts wrapped and ready to go, consider using an old crate or storage container and turning it into a “gifting closet.” Insert dividers to separate the gifts by age range and set aside your treasure trove in an easy-to-reach storage area. You can even use this closet year-round for birthdays and other gifting events. On the day of the party, simply open your gifting closet, grab a gift for the right age and head out the door.
Another option to save time and money this holiday season is to enter for the chance to win a gifting closet with $1,500 worth of MEGA products to help you conquer the gifting season. To enter the sweepstakes, post an original holiday photo to Instagram or Twitter with a short caption that includes why the entrant likes to give or receive construction toys as gifts. For full details, visit rules.prizelogic.com/MegaSocialSweeps.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images.SOURCE:
Demand for workers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers continues to explode. Whether you’re looking for fresh ideas to shake things up in the classroom or planning activities to share with the family at home, consider these creative approaches to increasing students’ interest in STEM topics.
Practical Ways to Promote STEM Learning
(Family Features) Demand for workers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers continues to explode. Data from the U.S. Department of Education predicts that growth opportunities in these fields will increase 14 percent by 2020. One way to nurture kids’ long-term potential is to make learning STEM subjects fun, hands-on and interactive.
Whether you’re looking for fresh ideas to shake things up in the classroom or planning activities to share with the family at home, consider these creative approaches to increasing students’ interest in STEM topics.
Take a field trip: When learning occurs outside the confines of a classroom, it can create unexpected sparks of interest. Build classroom field trips or family outings around destinations that offer unique ways to highlight STEM subjects. For example, setting up a tour of a local baseball stadium may be a chance to get up close and personal with the game and the field, but it’s also a way to discuss the math behind baseball. Similarly, a visit to an indoor skydiving facility is more than just exposure to an extreme sport; it’s an opportunity to learn about terminal velocity and gravity. Additional options include an outdoor nature lesson, manufacturing facility, planetarium or local farm.
Introduce robotics: Between self-driving cars, drones that can aid in rescue efforts and robots that assist as a “butler” for day-to-day tasks, the future of robotics is here now. Researchers at Brandeis University found that students involved in robotics are two times more likely to take more challenging math and science courses and two times more likely to pursue STEM careers.
One option to increase students’ interest in robotics is the TI-Innovator Rover, a robotic car that introduces middle school and high school students to the basics of coding and programming. Students without any coding or robotics experience can learn to write basic programs on their TI graphing calculators that make Rover do things like draw, dance or even crash. Learn more about the first calculator-controlled robotic car at education.ti.com/rover.
Career show and tell: Seek out speakers or mentors who have real-world STEM careers, ranging from more traditional STEM fields like scientists or engineers to more unexpected jobs that use STEM principles every day, such as a fashion designer or an ice cream flavor scientist. Encourage kids to get hands-on with these careers by having guests both show and tell how they use math and science every day. For example, students can measure and cut materials to make a circle skirt, an unexpected lesson in geometry. Or they can scoop up a physics lesson on states of matter as milk transforms into ice cream.
Cook up some fun: When it comes to bucking tradition, the kitchen may not be the first place you think of to drive home the benefits of STEM learning. However, the kitchen is a perfect place to explore the chemistry of combining ingredients and hone math skills such as dividing fractions when splitting a recipe.
Solve real-world problems: Give students an opportunity to think through a real problem and come up with a solution. For example, challenge them to solve how they would create low-cost options for filtering water in countries without clean water. Through trial and error, students can learn that failure is OK and sometimes leads to a better solution.SOURCE:
(BPT) - Senior year: It's a time to finish college applications, solidify friendships and look forward to the freedom and the responsibility that come once that final bell rings. A lot of feelings surface during that final year, especially for parents. While your son or daughter might be overjoyed to finally fly the coop and live independently, you'll probably be dealing with your own mix of emotions, and you'll want to be sure they're ready to begin college in the fall.
For families with a child headed to college, senior year is best thought of as a transition year. Plan ahead to make sure your family stays on track.
To help you and your child with a successful transition, here's the essential list of landmarks on the road that will take your child from a senior in high school to a freshman in college.
1. Apply yourself in the fall
The journey to college begins early, and by the fall of senior year in high school, your child should be in full transition mode. They should be finishing campus visits and finalizing the list of colleges where they want to apply. Make sure they've spoken with admission counselors, thoroughly researched schools they're interested in and have everything they need to complete their college applications.
Keep tabs on important deadlines and stay organized to avoid missing any critical due dates. For example, will they want to apply early decision or early action? If so, make sure you have weighed how this could impact your financial plan for college.
2. Focus on financial aid from the start
For many parents, one of the biggest anxieties around college is the cost. Don't forget that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) opens on Oct. 1, and some aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Make sure you submit the form as soon as it's available.
Because everyone has different needs, figuring out how to finance your child's education requires some research.
At College Ave Student Loans, you can find private loan options for parents and students. Even if you're not ready to take a loan out yet, parents and students can try out the fast and easy pre-qualification tools to find out if their credit pre-qualifies for a loan, and what interest rates they could expect, all without impacting their credit scores. Calculators are also available to help you explore your options and see how you can customize the loan payments to fit your budget.
3. Spring time is decision time
Early in the spring, your child will start to receive their first acceptance letters. Once they've heard from all of the schools where they applied, they'll have a big decision to make.
They need to do more than just decide which school to attend; they'll also need to send in a deposit, complete their housing form and accept financial aid packages.
A crucial step in this process is comparing award letters from the colleges where your child has been accepted. In reading these letters, pay close attention to how schools list the total costs. For instance, some schools will subtract the awarded loan amount from the total cost of attendance, while others will not. This could make the net cost of some schools appear less than others when in reality they are not, so take your time reading the documents.
4. Tie up everything in the summer
Before they head to campus, you and your children should create a budget to keep tabs on college bills. This will help you to stay on track financially and set the right expectations about how they need to manage their money.
You can help your soon-to-be freshman by working with them to outline a monthly budget that will take into account expected and unexpected expenses. Take a look at their financial aid packages and any income they might be earning and block out the monthly mandatory expenses. Then decide how much money they can spend on things like entertainment.
If you find that scholarships, grants and federal aid don't cover everything, private loans could be one solution for some college-bound students.
For parents and students, senior year is an exciting period. Knowing what steps to take and staying ahead of financial matters with useful tools like the ones at College Ave Student Loans can help make the transition easier for everyone.
Helping teens learn to handle money can be a tricky proposition. Mistakes can quite literally be costly, but there’s really no substitute for hands-on practice when it comes to managing finances. Children are the ultimate investment, so teach your teen to be a smart spender with these savvy tips.
Empowering Teens through Smart Spending
(Family Features) Helping teens learn to handle money can be a tricky proposition. Mistakes can quite literally be costly, but there’s really no substitute for hands-on practice when it comes to managing finances.
Children are the ultimate investment, so teach your teen to be a smart spender with these savvy tips:
Start with saving. As a first step, open a savings account for your teen and involve them in the process. Use this opportunity to teach good habits, such as putting away a percentage of every paycheck, creating an emergency fund and setting savings goals for big purchases. Visit the bank together and explore the account options. Many banks offer incentives for high-balance accounts, and while your teen likely won’t qualify, it’s a valuable lesson to see the incentives available to big savers.
Move on to basic checking. Although most banks still refer to their most accessible accounts as “checking” accounts, chances are that your teen is more likely to shop with a debit card or cash rather than checks. Still, knowing how to write a proper check is an important life skill – as are conducting debit transactions and understanding any fees associated with using the account.
Create safe zones. Even after teaching them the fundamentals, letting teens make their own purchasing decisions can be a frightening prospect. Fortunately, if you know where to look, there are options available that offer teens a customizable level of autonomy while still under the oversight of a parent. For example, Amazon introduced a way for teens ages 13-17 to shop using their own, independent login linked to a parent’s account. In addition to product recommendations, order histories and lists tailored specifically to the teen's shopping history and interests, teens can exercise smart shopping decisions with access to customer reviews and comparison shopping tools.
Parents have the option to review and approve every purchase, or set spending limits that offer teens the freedom to place orders up to a certain dollar amount on their own. In either case, parents receive notifications for every order and shipment. Find more details at Amazon.com/forteens.
Set a budget. Part of smart spending is learning to shop within your means. Whether your teen’s income is from a part-time job, allowance or a combination of the two, building a budget that defines expenses and expectations is essential. Like any budget, it should include all income sources and all expenses he or she is responsible for, including auto maintenance, gasoline, insurance and beyond. Reinforce the importance of saving by including a regular savings allocation. Putting all of these numbers to paper lets your teen see clearly where the money is going and how much is left over for extracurricular spending.
Put safety nets in place. No matter how much planning is done in advance, surprise expenses will inevitably pop up. Teens can prepare for these expenses while also guarding against mistakes and the temptation to over-spend by taking advantage of special services available through banking institutions, such as setting a per-transaction or daily spending limit and investing in overdraft coverage.
Ultimately, money management skills come with time and practice. Creating a safe environment for your teen to practice these life lessons sooner rather than later can pay dividends down the road.
Photo courtesy of Jeannette Kaplun, HispanaGlobal.net.SOURCE:
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