Category Archives for Kids

How to Keep Your Kids Safe on Social Media

How do we keep our kids safe on social media is one of the most talked about topics when I meet up with my fellow neighborhood Moms. We’ve been discussing it since our kids were in kindergarten. Sadly, things are not getting any easier. If anything, things are getting harder! There are so many more hidden dangers and secret ways for kids to hide things on their phones.

If you have a teenager or a soon to be teenager,  then you know they are all about their phones and social media. Whenever your family decides to allow your kids to have access to phones/social media, it’s important to know some ways to keep everyone safe and stay ahead of the game.

www.planomoms.com

Here are some basic facts about kids and social media.

  • Nearly 15 million teens in the U.S. were “social network users,” and nearly two million
    children (three to 11 years old) also used social networking websites
  • Among teens 12 to 17 years old, 65% have a profile on an online social network
  • 84% of teens polled said they have a Facebook profile
  • 52% of teens have given out personal information online to someone they don’t know offline,
    and one in four (25%) have shared personal photos and/or physical descriptions of themselves
    (twice as many girls as boys)

(Taken from Mcafee.com)

As we can all see, technology isn’t going anywhere. We need to be in the know of things around us to keep our children safe. These are some scary facts!! Are you prepared for your kids to be on social media? What are your rules and regulations for them? Here are some ideas.

  • Start early talking to your children about social media
  • Set some ground rules
  • Limit their time allowed online
  • Discuss what is appropriate on and offline

Tell them to remember that Nothing is secret when it comes to social media. My kids are still young so luckily we’re not there yet with the phones but we only allow Ipad/laptop use in common areas where we can see. My daughter also has time limits and certain things she can and cannot go to.

What ground rules do you set??? Do you check or monitor their phones? The good news is that there are constantly new apps and ways for parents to stay on top of safety with parental apps and monitoring programs. Here are 2 apps to download and look at to see if they fit your needs:

www.planomoms.com

MM Guardian

Protection for Kids, Peace of Minds for Parents

Advantages: Set time limits for usage, block apps and websites (including porn), parents can view browsing history, prevent sexting and cyber-bullying, get a location of child’s phone at all times, see how much they are texting and who they are texting to.

Cost: Varies/They have monthly subscriptions to try or other plans to try depending on a number of devices.

 

PhoneSheriff.com

Advantages:  Block phone numbers, set restrictions, and limits, monitor text message, and activity, time location tracking, more.  You can determine who they can and can’t communicate with, block websites, activity, and more.

Cost: $89 per year

I’m definitely (like many of you Moms) learning as I go with this tricky situation. My oldest is just starting to be at the age where she wants a phone and other devices and I know as her Mom I have to protect her. I want to hear from you and your experience. What are you doing to keep your kids safe on social media?? Let’s band together and help one another with this!

Keeping Kids Safe on Social Media

Looking for Fun Things to Do this Fall? Check out this awesome list of Fall Festivals.

5 Tips For Parents of Language Learners

As parents we want our children to be successful in life; and so we teach them skills that we believe will help them achieve their goals. That includes learning a new language. Foreign Languages are an important tool in our growing multicultural world.

How do we help our little language learners in this journey? And what do we do if we cannot speak the language they are learning?

The Language Institute has taught languages for over 25 years, and here are their top 5 tips for parents of Language learners.

1) Talk, Read, sing and play

Talk, Read, sing and play in both the native language as well as the new language being learned. It is no secret that children learn through play and interactive activities. If your child is learning a language that is new to you, do not hesitate to ask the teacher for online resources.

2) Follow-up classroom learning

Repetition is the key to learning! Our advice is to review the class notes. It helps to review the notes, even if it’s just flipping through your child’s notebook and ask what he/she did in class.

Encourage your little language experts to talk to you in the language they are learning. While the students are in class, basic commands are enforced in the language they learn. For example: Hello, Please, Thank you, Listen, Repeat, I want…, and more.

 

3) Be curious about what they know

Encourage your little language experts to talk to you in the language they are learning. While the students are in class, basic commands are enforced in the language they learn. For example: Hello, Please, Thank you, Listen, Repeat, I want…, and more.

 

4) Add language learning to something they already like

A lot of children have a favorite movie or toy, and most time they know the words and songs. Some toys come with different language settings, and you can also find movies (or segments of a movie) in different languages. These are tools that can be used in the language learning process.

5) Learn

For parents who do not speak the language that the child is learning, consider learning it too. When you know the language you can help your child learn… and they can help you learn too!

Most importantly, ENJOY EVERY STEP OF THE PROCESS.

For more information, Check out the Dallas International School or contact (972) 991-6379.

10 Tips to Keep Kids Safe Near the Water

Summer is not the only time to teach our children and adults about water safety. Sadly, drowning still the leading cause of accidental deaths for kids age 1-14. Make sure your entire family is armed with the knowledge of how to be safe in and around all bodies of water. Read (and re-read, and then read again) these 10 Tips to Keep Kids Safe Near the Water from our friends at British Swim School.

1. Start ‘em Early

Teach children water safety and swimming skills as early as possible. Kids can start learning as early as 3 months old! Water acclimation and survival classes, like this one, will teach even the littlest swimmer valuable, life-saving skills.

2. Pool Hazards Heads Up

Keep the littles away from pool drains, pipes, and other openings to avoid entrapments. Pool drain entrapments can happen when a swimmer’s body or clothing becomes entangled in a faulty drain or grate, causing drowning or serious injuries.

3. Prevent Unsupervised Access To Pools

Have a pool at home? Make sure you have four-sided isolation fencing, at least five feet high, equipped with self-closing and self-latching gates that completely surrounds the pool and prevents direct access from the house and yard. Keep toys that are not in use away from the pool and out of sight. Colorful and fun-looking toys can attract young kids to the pool.

4. Eyes On The Back of Your Head

Always know where your kids are in a pool or beach area. Never leave a young child unattended near water and do not trust a child’s life to another child. If a child is missing, check the pool first; seconds count.

5. Designate A Water Watcher

Appoint a designated Water Watcher to monitor children during social gatherings at or near the water. Consider the Water Watcher the “lifeguard on duty” and their job is to watch the pool. That responsibility doesn’t end until the pool is either empty or the Water Watcher badge is passed to a new designated Water Watcher. This person should never leave the area, not even for a moment.

6. Lifeguard On Duty

When you’re at the beach, it’s a good idea to only swim in places that are supervised by a lifeguard. The lifeguard is trained in CPR and First Aid and is able to identify a swimmer in need.

7. Jackets Required

Everybody loves a summer boat ride. And if you’re lucky enough to go boating, wear a life jacket! But leave your infants with a sitter. Babies shouldn’t travel on a boat — including rowboats, kayaks, motorboats, and sailboats — until they are at the appropriate weight to wear an approved personal flotation device. And never give a child a life jacket intended for an adult. Remember, life jackets have to fit in order to work, so check those labels!

8. Waterpark Safety

Going to a water park? When using water slides, always go feet first. If you’re not a confident swimmer, wear a life jacket on the rides and in the pools. Parks typically haven them but bring your own just in case.

9. Don’t Dive In The Shallow End

The American Red Cross recommends 9 feet as a minimum depth for diving or jumping into a pool. Leave the shallow end for hand stands, underwater tea parties, and Marco Polo!

10. Learn CPR

Everyone should know CPR! In fact, kids as young as 10 or 11 can get certified. Starting CPR immediately, rather than waiting for emergency personnel, can save a life. Taking CPR classes with your kids is a great family experience and a super important skill to have.

Above all have fun! What doesn’t kid dream of a summer vacation at the beach or remember the good times at their local pool? With a little bit of caution, and taking these tips into account, your family is on its way to a lifetime of fun and safety in the water !!!

British Swim School North Dallas is dedicated to offering superior water survival skills as well as precise stroke technique. Follow them on Facebook to get the latest news and updated events.

Get the Back to School Advantage with Explore Horizons

Now that school is almost back in session, are your kids prepared? Have your kids been doing many academics on their time off? Explore Horizons is here to help.  Send kids back to school with an advantage and be a step ahead of the game with Explore Horizons!

The main concern of parents and teachers of the long summer break is that all the of the hard work and knowledge of the previous school year will drop from a long summer of doing nothing. Yes, kids deserve some time off, but they also need to keep up with their academics to keep up with their learning.

Explore Horizons is designed as an ongoing supplement to a school education and enables children to keep their brains active all year around.

 

My daughter was able to try out Explore Horizons for 1 month this summer and I was thrilled for this opportunity for her. I was so impressed with the entire program offered at Explore Horizons. I have been an educator for the last 17 years and I can say the program and skills taught are directly on target.

 

 

Each child is assessed to their individual needs and then progresses from their own unique levels in the area of math, reading, and writing.

 

The entire program is on the computer and is so interactive and engaging. No child is bored in these sessions! A staff member is close by at all times assisting and redirecting as needed and guiding the children through the lesson while offering positive reinforcement and encouragement.

 

 

Here are some facts about Explore Horizons:

  • For children of all abilities from pre-k through 8th grade in math, reading, and writing.
  • Aligned with the Texas curriculum so it correlates to STAAR so children will be successful
  • Lots of enrichment opportunities
  • Open 7 days a week
  • NO appointments needed, drop in basis (so nice for working parents!!)
  • Personalized learning plan for every child
  • Feedback for Parents at EVERY visit
  • Rewards/Postive Feedback/Acceleration System/Recharge time

I really can’t say enough good things about this facility and program. I didn’t know really want to expect when we first went for our consultation and free assessment but my expectations were blown away! The staff members were all so positive and supportive. They were eager to help and so uplifting to every single child in that room. The recharge time is such a great idea and really gives the kids some time to relax and just have fun!

The staff members were all so positive and supportive. They were eager to help and so uplifting to every single child in that room. The recharge time is such a great idea and really gives the kids some time to relax and just have fun! I also loved the attention the staff members give each parent at pick up. They read over a short report of the day’s session to really explain what was worked on. It was great to hear!

After 4-6 weeks in the program, parents will sit down with a staff member and go over a report which gives a full evaluation of progress. It was very detailed and I could really tell and see what my daughter had been working on and made progress on.  As a parent, this gives you a great idea of where exactly your child is and what they need more help with. This is great to show classroom teachers too! At this meeting, you can make goals for the next month’s session!

My daughter had a fabulous month and learned so much at Explore Horizons! I know she’s ready to tackle this next school year now and is fully prepared.

Would you like your child to be ahead of the game and ready for the school year? Make your appointment now with Explore Horizons for your free assessment. If you mention Plano Moms, your child will get one free hour of enrichment!

 

 

 

Tips to Ease Back into School Routines

Now that school is just a few short weeks away it’s time to get your school mind set back. Gone are the lazy summer days of summer. Transitioning can be hard so it’s important to make a slow one back into school, especially for little kids. Here are some ideas and tips to ease back into school routines.

It’s almost time for Back to School! Are you ready? I cannot believe it! I feel like I say this every summer but this summer went by so fast! I cannot believe how fast it went! I am always looking forward to a slow and boring summer and that never seems to happen. Now that school is just a few short weeks away it’s time to get ready. I hope some of these tips will help you ease back into school.

 

Set Alarm Clock

I’d start this ASAP (if you haven’t already) for kids that can handle an alarm clock in their room. We put a clock in my daughter’s room early on but I don’t think she really got the grasp of the time until around 1st/2nd grade. (A digital clock) Start discussing bed times and good wake up times for school and start setting those appropriate times BEFORE School starts so that kids will be ready! Make a time sheet or show the times as numbers for good wake up and bed times so kids can get used to the numbers.

 

Get Clothes/Shoes Organized

Did you score some great back to school deals on shoes and clothes for your kids? Now it’s time to get organized and ready. This is a great time to clean out the closet and get rid of the too short shorts and pants that don’t fit. Go through the new set of clothes and pick out the first week’s outfits and shoes to save time!

Something like this would be easy to set up and great for kids to get involved with helping! They could be independent getting dressed and feel good about themselves!

 

Lunch/Snack Prep Station

Back to school means back to packing snacks and lunches. I don’t know about you, but I have really enjoyed my time off of making school lunches and snacks! It can become a total chore! Yes, my kids can buy school lunch, but we prefer to bring so that means a little more prep work. This year, I’d like to get my kids more involved in this process so that means I’m going to have to set up some sort of stations or areas of grab and go food ideas.

I love something like this from RealSimple.com. It will take a little prep work ahead of time but I think it’s do-able and then my kids (at least the older ones) can help and make own lunches.

 

Trial Run of Walking/Riding

I think this is an important tip! With a new year comes new changes and maybe you are changing the way your kids are getting to and from school. Maybe your kids are going to a new school and you’re not sure how long it will take to get there so do a trial run of getting there. Spend a few mornings walking or driving the route to see just how long it does take. It will be different when there are tons of other cars and school zones but it should help you get a good feel for the timing. There’s nothing worse than feeling rushed or late so it’s best to be prepared!

 

Homework Station

With school comes homework and you will want to be prepared. I can’t tell you how many times we searched our house for a silly pencil before! One year we finally got smart and set up a homework station. This can be a simple $1 store basket or caddy filled with pencils, erasers, markers, and other school supplies your kids might need for homework. Keep it in a centralized location and make sure all supplies gets put back! This will be so helpful when Grandma is over helping or a babysitter is over too.

Luckily, I’ve had lots of teacher and parenting experience with back to school! I’d love to hear your best tips and ideas to help the transition for a new school year. Share them with them in the comments.

Wishing everyone a great Back to School!!

 

PSA vs PYSA, Which to Choose?

Plano has lots to choose from when your kids are wanting/ready to play sports. What can be confusing is deciding between the 2 big leagues; PSA and PYSA. They are pretty similar in some aspects and different in others. So, which to choose? PYSA or PSA? We’ve got all the Mom advice below on the 2 to help you make the best decision for your family.

PSA vs PYSA, Which One to Choose?

PSA:

(Includes basketball, volleyball, martial arts, soccer, dance, rugby, track, wrestling, golf, cheer, softball, and preschool!)

“Rec to Select”

Pros:

  • Includes indoor and outdoor sports and activities
  • 4  Big Locations: PSA1, PSA2, PSA Murphy, PSA McKinney
  • Games should be in Plano mostly.
  • Includes summer leagues for sports
  • Includes competitive or club teams for older kids
  • Many camps are offered during the summer

Cons:

  • Can be more competitive (just my opinion!)
  • More Leagues and more kids
  • Schedules can be released late
  • Birth Year Teams (meaning your kids could be in the same grade level as a friend but on a different team)

 

PYSA:

Plano Youth Soccer Association (Soccer only)

 

Pros:

  • A good place to start for beginners
  • They try to get you on teams close to where you live.
  • Only takes place in Fall/Spring Season

Cons:

  • Games can be played all over the area including Richardson, Wylie, and Murphy.
  • The schedule usually gets released last minute (personal experience!)
  • Since the league is smaller you might play some of the same teams 3X in the same season.

Tell us about your experiences with PSA and PYSA! Which would you recommend?

Looking for more updates from Plano Moms? Follow us on Facebook. 

Top 10 Indoor Places in Plano for Kids to Play

Now that it’s officially summer it’s getting so HOT! Being outside for too long is not an option. Unless you are in water then you cannot be outside for longer than a few minutes. Here are 10 indoor places for Kids in Plano. You can take them, enjoy the time, and they will have a blast.

Safari Run: Plano’s newest kid’s center. It’s fun and very health conscious. Kids must wash hands before and after playing. Healthier snack options are for sale and they also have a fun game room. Cost is $10 for each child.

Kid Mania: A safe and fun place for kids of all ages to climb and explore. This is perfect for a rainy day or when it’s too hot. Prices depend on ages. It also has a great snack bar and a fun game room upstairs.

Willow Bend Mall- Yes it will be crowded but this is a great free option! (Perfect for toddlers that need to get some wiggles out.)

 

Library Story Time: Another free option and perfect for younger kids. If you have older kids then make sure they are checking out books for their summer reading list and participating in the Barnes and Noble summer reading program to earn free books!

Jump Zone: Indoor trampoline center. Prices vary depending on age but it’s great for ages 5+. Kids will get a great workout and have fun!

Playstreet Museum: This is such a cute place for younger kids to create and play. The cost is $11 for children 1-8. Children younger or older are free.

CooCoos: A place where kids can come have a crazy fun time! They are a bounce house facility designed for open play. Prices are around $8 for ages 4 and up. Less for younger kids.

Prestonwood Baptist Play Area (FREE!) I’ve never been but only heard good things about this place. It isn’t very big but it looks fun for the kids!

Monster Yogurt: A frozen yogurt place with a play area?? Yes! The play area is small but it will give the kids something to do when they are done eating. This isn’t exactly Plano, but really close in Richardson off Coit/Campbell area!

Jump Mania: Come and get your jump on at Jump Mania in Plano. The room is filled with dozens of bounce houses and obstacles to play in. Your kids can jump all day for one price and you can bring in own drinks and snacks.

 

What are your favorite indoor places for kids? Tell us in the comments below and we’ll add them to our list!

The Top 10 Brainy and Zany Benefits of PSL Chess

PSL Chess offers a rich variety of educational models, making chess learning accessible, inclusive and beneficial to students of all abilities. From individual and group study to friendly and competitive tournament play, they combine tactics and strategy with excitement and calm deliberation.
The game of chess, as taught in the PSL Chess program activates multiple bits of intelligence. They believe chess is more than a game, it’s a lifelong path to increased focus,  self-confidence, imagination and mental agility.
 

The Top 10 Brainy and Zany Benefits of PSL Chess:

1. SPORTSMANSHIP- Competition fosters interest and promotes mental alertness. In a positive environment, PSL Chess encourages learning through losing and sharing through winning,  enhancing the student’s ability to interact with people of all ages and abilities with respect and patience.
2.SELF CONFIDENCE – Chess forces one to make important decisions influenced by one’s own judgment,  building those mental muscles of independence and confidence.
3.PROBLEM-SOLVING SKILLS- A chess match requires fast thinking with constantly changing parameters,  a benefit that many studies have linked to higher scores on standardized testing.
4.POSITIVE RISK TAKING- The theme of risk and reward is a constant one in chess.Players have to weigh costs and benefits of every option and move in chess.  This concept has a prevalent connection in the everyday world of school and work and promotes accountability
5. SPARKS CREATIVITY- Playing chess helps unleash one’s originality.
6. PROMOTES BRAIN GROWTH- Games like chess that challenge the brain to stimulate the growth of dendrites. With more dendrites, neural communication within the brain becomes faster.
7. DISCIPLINE AND FOCUS – Students learn discipline, restraint, and patience through chess. It is a skill to be learned to sit still for one or more hours in silence over a chess board. This strength and ability have a necessary connection to many important areas of life.
8. NATURAL SCAFFOLDING- Chess naturally gets harder as you get better. You can always learn more, building precept on precept.
9. EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE- There is always remarkable improvement in students’ chess games when they can consider their opponent’s perspective. A key component of emotional intelligence is understanding the motive of others and it is strongly linked to success in other areas of life.
10. PROMOTES ETIQUETTE- Proper etiquette is a required component of good sportsmanship and overall enjoyment of the game in the PSL Chess program. Our students are taught to represent themselves and PSL Chess well, at all times.
Premiere Scholar League Chess is located in Plano. They offer camps and classes all summer. They also offer free lessons on Thursday nights at the Texas Pool! Follow them on Facebook for daily events and happenings.

Your Annual, Family Based Entertainment Pass for DFW

Just in time for Summer, check out this HOT deal! 

Pogo Pass is a year long, family based entertainment pass, that gets pass holders into some of the best venues in Plano, Frisco, Dallas and all around DFW.  

They are always adding new ones, but right now there are 20 listed! If you’re staying in town and looking for fun stuff to do, get a Pogo Pass.

Access your PogoPass on any mobile device or print at home.

Show your PogoPass at each area venue and you’re in. 

Head over here and use code PLANOMOMS and get 68% off (you’ll pay $39.98 instead of $124.95). 

What does the pass include?  Check this out!

Just Hawaiian Falls and the Fort Worth Zoo are over $40 by themselves!

This is truly one of the best deals in family entertainment out there.

You’ll enjoy a FULL YEAR of admissions to places all over town (each place has their own details about how many times you get in with the pass).

It pays for itself within 1-2 visits!

Some things to know:

PowerKids Sports and Fitness

Do You Ever Think About How Much Money You Spend on Gourmet Coffee?

Think about this for a sec. In a two-parent household, if both parents grab a tall latte every morning, there’s $300 gone for the month. Let’s not even think about the 15,000 calories that go along with those few moments of decadence.

For FAR less than the short-term cost of those lattes, you can take charge of creating a new culture of fitness within your household, and you’ll no longer have to consider what those 15,000 calories are doing to your body, your immediate wallet, and the long-term wallet that’ll undoubtedly be affected when the medical costs of such consumption eventually catch up with you.

With their new Elite Family Membership, put $100 per month back in your wallet, watch that waistline shrink, and feel good about setting for your family an example of the importance of taking charge of having a healthy body.

 

ELITE FAMILY MEMBERSHIP

  • Includes 4 classes per week
  • Includes 6 hours per month open gym
  • Discounts on camps & birthday parties
  • 3 free PowerParents group training sessions per month
  • 1 free week of camp per year
  • $198 per month – no registration fees
  • Register here

 

Offer for Plano Moms: The offer exclusive to Plano Moms is $25 off 1 week of camp AND get 1 free day to use anytime all summer.

 

PowerKids Sports and Fitness offers uniquely creative and fun fitness experiences for the entire family – babies through adults – in a small and personal boutique setting. Go check it out!