This time of year, family life can get a little messy. School schedules and sports activities mix with work commitments, and before long the house is as cluttered as the calendar. With these tips, you can make small changes to help you get organized and stay that way.
Tips for Maintaining an Organized Home
(Family Features) This time of year, family life can get a little messy. School schedules and sports activities mix with work commitments, and before long the house is as cluttered as the calendar.
Fall is the perfect time of year to recommit to an organized household so you can keep the chaos contained. With these tips, you can make small changes to help you get organized and stay that way.
Embrace routines. The idea of dedicating large chunks of time to organizing and tidying the house can be overwhelming. However, making time to clean as you progress through the day can help control clutter and keep the time commitment more manageable. Commit to cleaning up the kitchen after dinner each night. Set expectations for kids to pick up their rooms before bed. Before long, routines become productive habits that make a visible difference.
Purge the excess. Over time, nearly everyone collects too much stuff, and clutter is often more an indication of too much volume than poor organization. Items are purchased to replace outdated things, but the old pieces sometimes don’t actually get discarded. Getting control of your clutter starts with eliminating the things you no longer want or need. A good strategy is to create piles of items: keep, sell, donate and discard.
Create a drop zone. In most homes, the entryway is a catchall for family belongings that get shed with each pass through the door. It’s convenient to have shoes, coats, backpacks and other essentials ready to grab as you head out, so instead of fighting the inevitable jumble, find a way to organize it. A stylish drop zone using ClosetMaid’s Space Creations organizers is a solution that attractively contains all those essentials. The line includes a range shelving kits, complementing drawers, baskets, rods and more so you can customize the storage unit to your exact space and needs.
Avoid junk piles. Nearly every home has at least one junk pile, drawer or even room. In most cases, the reason is that the contents are a mish-mash of items that don’t really have any place else to go. Make a point to identify ways to create order, whether it’s adding drawer inserts to contain all the odds and ends or buying a standing file to capture bills and mail.
Be mindful about use. When you’re on a mission to eliminate excess clutter, it can be tempting to go overboard putting things away. It’s important to be realistic about where you store the things you need and err on the side of keeping the things you use regularly within reach. This may mean getting creative about how you organize or even adding new storage containers or furniture, but remember being organized is only helpful if it’s also practical.
Find more ideas for better home organization this busy season at ClosetMaid.com.SOURCE:
It’s time to get your household organized for another school year and all that comes with it. Whether your child is headed off to kindergarten or going away to college, these useful tips can help make the transition back to the regimented school year easier and get your busy household organized for the upcoming season.
Making the Back-to-School Transition Easy
(Family Features) It’s time to get your household organized for another school year and all that comes with it.
Whether your child is headed off to kindergarten or going away to college, these useful tips can help make the transition back to the regimented school year easier and get your busy household organized for the upcoming season.
Middle and High School
By implementing some of these simple tips, you and your kids can look and feel your best, setting up a seamless, stress-free transition back to the school year. Find more information at all-laundry.com.
Photos courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
While you're busy shopping for pencils, book bags and notebooks, remember that a good night's sleep should also be at the top of your list this season. Make the transition easier with these five tips.
5 Tips to Aid Performance in the Classroom
(Family Features) With all the stress of a new school year, it can be difficult for students to readjust to a healthy routine, but many experts agree that sleep is among the most important parts of that routine. Numerous studies demonstrate that children who sleep better learn better.
While you're busy shopping for pencils, book bags and notebooks, remember that a good night's sleep should also be at the top of your list this season. Make the transition easier with these five tips from Dr. Sujay Kansagra, director of Duke University’s Pediatric Neurology Sleep Medicine Program and a sleep health consultant for Mattress Firm:
Ease into earlier bedtimes. For many children, the sudden shift to an earlier bedtime and wake-up call can pose a big challenge. Children who were accustomed to falling asleep later at night during the summer will have to slowly adjust their body clocks to move bedtime earlier during the school year. To ease children into the earlier sleep schedule, start moving bedtimes earlier by 10-15 minutes each night until reaching your end goal.
Ensure a comfortable sleeping environment. Pay attention to factors like lighting and noise. It may be necessary, especially early in the school year when the days are still long, to add blackout curtains to help block bright light. If noise is a factor, consider adding some soft background music or a sound machine to serve as a buffer so other noises are less intrusive.
Be sure the bed is up to the task. Another environmental consideration is the bed itself. Mattresses are not always top-of-mind as you consider back-to-school shopping, but when sleep can have such an impact on your child's educational performance, the right mattress can help ensure students are getting quality zzz’s at the start of a new school year.
Avoid bright light prior to bedtime. Aside from your window, there are also other sources of light that can affect sleep. Several studies have shown that excess screen time just before bed can have a negative impact on the brain’s ability to transition into sleep mode. Try curbing screen time well before bedtime, or if your child must use screens, engage the night-reading feature, which alters the hue of the light for less impact.
Develop a consistent nighttime routine. A routine performed 20-30 minutes prior to bed every night can subconsciously ease children’s brains into sleep. A ritual that involves bathing, brushing teeth, talking about the day’s events, discussing what’s ahead for tomorrow and quiet time with a book are all ways to unwind together and slow down those active minds for a transition toward a peaceful night’s rest.
Remember that sleep is vital for memory retention and cognitive performance. Without it, children may experience behavioral problems and other difficulties in school. Find more resources to help improve your kids’ sleep, including tips on how to purchase a new mattress, at DailyDoze.com.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
Finding the right preschool or care provider for your child doesn’t have to be a daunting process. Because your child’s early years are crucial in his or her development, choosing the right child care facility is one of the most important decisions you can make to prepare him or her for both school and adult life. While most parents start the process by asking friends and family for recommendations, keep these tips in mind when searching for a child care center.
How to Choose the Right preschool
Things to consider when researching child care providers
(Family Features) Finding the right preschool or care provider for your child doesn’t have to be a daunting process. Because your child’s early years are crucial in his or her development, choosing the right child care facility is one of the most important decisions you can make to prepare him or her for both school and adult life.
While most parents start the process by asking friends and family for recommendations, keep these tips from the child care experts at KinderCare in mind when searching for a child care center:
Find Locations Along Your Existing Commute. The rhythm of drop-off and pick-up will soon become a reality of your days, so take into account how a new routine will impact traffic and drive times during your commute. Looking into child care facilities near your home or office, or along your route, can be a sanity saver, especially on those mornings when you’re rushing out of the house behind schedule.
Do Your Research. Child care has come a long way in the past couple decades, and nationally accredited centers like KinderCare can provide everything your child needs to reach his or her potential. Awarded by an independent organization, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, accredited centers meet rigorous standards in everything from teacher qualifications to curriculum to safety. A simple search online can provide a list of accredited centers near your location of choice.
Make a List of Requirements. Before you tour a facility, it can help to find your focus. Make a list about what you need from a program, what you want for your child and any concerns you may have, no matter how large or small. For example, consider potential concerns like kindergarten preparation, teachers’ management of conflict between children and more. Use your preferences to guide conversations when you’re ready to take tours.
Take Tours. Once you’ve narrowed down your list to a few preferred facilities or programs, schedule tours to check out the spaces, meet the directors and watch how the teachers interact with the children. Keep your requirements in mind and look for clean, safe facilities that focus on nutrition and encourage exploration and reading while building a sense of belonging. If you’re still on the fence or need more information about one or more centers, don’t be afraid to go back for a second visit and ask more questions to ensure you’re picking the right place for your family.
Trust Your Instincts. After taking tours, you may have a lot of information to process. Narrowing down what’s right for your family can seem overwhelming at first, but asking yourself questions such as these can help you in the long run: Did you feel listened to, heard and understood? Was the center warm and welcoming? When in doubt, trust your gut. This is your child, after all, and you know him or her best.
Find more tips and information to help pick the perfect child care center at kindercare.com.SOURCE:
For millions of school-age children in the United States, each day begins – and ends – with a bus ride. These tips provide parents with some additional measures to take and lessons to teach to increase safety going to and from the bus, and even during the ride.
School Bus Safety 101
(Family Features) For millions of school-age children in the United States, each day begins – and ends – with a bus ride. While the school bus is the safest way to travel to and from school, according to the National Association of Pupil Transportation (NAPT), it’s important for parents to teach their children how to stay safe in and around the school bus as obstructed views, distracted drivers and more can put kids at risk.
These tips from the experts at NAPT and the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) provide parents with some additional measures to take and lessons to teach to increase safety going to and from the bus, and even during the ride.
Before the Bus Arrives
On the Bus Ride
Leaving the Bus
For more information and additional school bus safety tips, visit BetterOurBuses.com.
An Alternate Form of Transportation
Many school districts are moving away from diesel buses in favor of buses powered by an alternate fuel, like propane, which offers numerous benefits for school districts and their students.
In fact, school buses powered by propane transport approximately 928,000 students to and from school every day at more than 840 public and private school districts in 48 states, according to a vehicle registration report compiled by PERC using IHS Polk new vehicle registration data.
“There’s a lot to like about propane school buses for community stakeholders and school officials, and school districts across the nation continue to take notice,” said Michael Taylor, PERC director of autogas business development. “Compared to other fuels, propane school buses are quieter and offer reduced emissions. Plus, they cost less for the district to operate, so schools can put more money back into the classroom where it helps students most.”
Start a discussion with your children’s school district about exploring a switch from diesel buses to cleaner alternatives by first downloading resources including fact sheets, videos, a toolkit and more at BetterOurBuses.com.
Photo Courtesy of Getty Images (Bus driver with girl, Two girls talking on bus)SOURCE:
Propane Education & Research Council
It’s not always easy to make the transition from family road trips, backyard barbecues and longer days to school bus pickups, homeroom assignments and school supply lists. These tips can help get your busy household organized and make the transition easier to ensure your kids look and feel their best when they head back to the classroom.
Making the Back-to-School Transition Seamless and Stress-Free
(Family Features) It’s not always easy to make the transition from family road trips, backyard barbecues and longer days to school bus pickups, homeroom assignments and school supply lists.
These tips can help get your busy household organized and make the transition easier to ensure your kids look and feel their best when they head back to the classroom.
Make Shopping for Supplies Fun. Take a special shopping trip with your kids to get all the supplies they need. Be sure to stock up on essentials, but try to make it fun by letting them pick out personalized folders for each of their classes or colorful pens to take notes. A shopping trip is also an opportunity to get your children excited about their classes. Remember to shop early so kids can pick from a variety of options and items will be less likely to be out of stock.
Prepare a Homework Space. Creating a designated space in the house for doing homework can get your kids ready to start schoolwork again. A designated space stocked with necessities like pens, pencils and other supplies can also limit distractions so they can focus on their schoolwork.
Simplify Your Laundry Routine. Between school clothes, sports uniforms, linens and play clothes, laundry can easily pile up. To simplify your laundry routine, try a detergent like all mighty pacs 4-in-1 with Odor Lifter, which provides four aspects of clean by tackling odors, fighting stains, whitening and brightening.
If your children have sensitive skin, consider all free clear mighty pacs, which are tough on stains but still gentle enough for sensitive skin with a hypoallergenic formula that is free of fragrances, dyes and irritating residues. To learn more, visit all-laundry.com.
Ease into the Routine. Make the switch to busy school mornings seamless by easing into your morning routine in the weeks leading up to the start of school. Set your alarms, go through morning rituals and make sure your children are comfortable with how they are getting to school whether they are taking the bus, walking or carpooling with friends. Practicing the routine can make everyone feel confident and prepared when the school bells start ringing.
By implementing these simple tips, you can make the transition both seamless and stress-free, and set your kids up for a successful and fun school year.
Content courtesy of all®
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
Eating a nutritious breakfast helps kids start their day off right, and new research reminds us why serving real dairy milk is so important for the first meal of the day, such as this recipe for Bunny Oatmeal.
New Study Suggests This Breakfast Staple Could Help Kids
(Family Features) Eating a nutritious breakfast helps kids start their day off right, and new research reminds us why serving real dairy milk is so important for the first meal of the day. As little as 7 grams of milk protein at breakfast could help set kids up with building blocks they need to grow after a good night’s sleep, according to a new study in the Journal of Nutrition.
It’s no secret that kids need nutritious foods to fuel their constantly growing bodies, but there’s a period of time when they’re not getting these nutrients – during sleep. Of course kids need sleep – and plenty of it - but as they slumber, they’re using up their body’s energy stores, and if they don’t refuel in the morning it could potentially impact their ability to grow. That’s why a proper breakfast is so important, to ensure kids make up for this overnight fast.
In this new study, University of Toronto researchers gave 28 boys and girls ages 7-11 a breakfast of 170 calories that included 0, 7, 14 or 21 grams of milk protein. While more protein at breakfast was more beneficial, researchers found as little as 7 grams was enough to promote positive effects over the next nine hours.
Serving an 8-ounce glass of milk, which has 8 grams of high-quality protein, each day at breakfast is an easy way to get kids protein they need to support optimal growth and development. In fact, a previous study in the American Journal of Human Biology suggests regularly drinking milk during the growing years (all the way through late teens/early twenties) is associated with greater height in the teen years, while research in Osteoporosis International has linked regularly skipping milk to reduced height.¹ ²
Milk is also an easy way to get kids B vitamins to convert food to energy, vitamin A to support a healthy immune system, and phosphorus, calcium and vitamin D to help build strong bones. That’s why experts recommend including milk in kids’ diets. And, with a taste they love, it’s a simple, wholesome and affordable addition to any morning meal.
To kick start your child’s morning, serve a protein-packed breakfast, like this adorable bunny oatmeal, to give them nutrients they need to grow up strong. Not only will it bring a smile to your child’s face, it also gives them 18 grams of high-quality protein when served with a glass of lowfat milk.
For more information and kid-friendly recipe ideas, visit milklife.com.
Nutritional information per serving: 320 calories; 2 g fat; 0 g saturated fat; 10 mg cholesterol; 18 g protein; 59 g carbohydrates; 5 g fiber; 190 mg sodium; 550 mg calcium (60% of daily value). Nutrition figures based on using fat free milk, and include an 8-ounce glass of milk.
¹ Wiley AS. Does milk make children grow? Relationships between milk consumption and height in NHANES 1999-2002. American Journal of Human Biology. 2005;17(4):425-441.
² Rockell JEP, Williams SM, Taylor RW, Grant AM, Jones IE, Goulding A. Two-year changes in bone and body composition in young children with a history of prolonged milk avoidance. Osteoporosis International. 2005;16(9):1016-1023.
When school is in session, it’s the perfect time to renew your family’s healthy eating habits by getting in a groove of lunchbox packing. While packing a healthy school lunch day after day can seem daunting, it doesn’t have to be with customizable, make-ahead lunchbox inspiration like Black Bean Empanadas and Rainbow Bento Boxes.
Pack a Healthier Lunchbox this School Year
(Family Features) When school is in session, it's the perfect time to renew your family's healthy eating habits by getting in a groove of lunchbox packing.
While packing a healthy school lunch day after day can seem daunting, it doesn't have to be. By taking the free Power Your Lunchbox Promise, you can gain access to customizable, make-ahead lunchbox inspiration like Black Bean Empanadas and Rainbow Bento Boxes, which creatively include servings of fruits and veggies to keep kids' brains charged all day.
Making the promise not only signals a commitment to making healthier meal choices this year, it also helps those in need. For every promise made, health-focused partner brands will collectively donate $1 to Feeding America programs that support families and children. In addition to kid- and registered dietitian-approved breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner recipes, the promise website features coupons, health tips to help your family during the school year, lunchbox ideas and giveaways.
Additionally, teachers have a special section of the site where they can make the promise as a classroom and download free fruit and veggie themed classroom decor and lesson plans.
To find your lunchbox inspiration and make the promise, visit poweryourlunchbox.com.
Rainbow Bento Box
Recipe courtesy of Produce for Kids
Black Bean Empanadas
Recipe courtesy of Produce for Kids
Produce for Kids
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