Tag 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.

How to Keep Kids Safe on Social Media

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:

Keep kids safe on social media

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.

A Local Mom’s Insight to Home Schooling

You made the decision to homeschool. Yet despite your resolve, all those first day of school photos got to you, didn’t they? We are on our fifth homeschool year, and they still give me a tiny twinge of something I can’t quite put my finger on. I always enjoyed school. Am I depriving my own children of the experiences? What about your own life? How are you going to survive?

One aspect of homeschooling that I think was the hardest to adjust to was finding friends. Most of my friends sent their children to school. Sure, we did after school playdates for a time, but they can’t go to the park mid day. They didn’t understand curriculum struggles and asked questions like “How are you going to socialize your children?” This question always amused me and still does because, well, we were at the park playing, wasn’t that socializing?

The first year we homeschooled, we joined a park play date co-op. I wasn’t ready to commit to an academic co-op yet. The park co-op was a bit awkward as all new things are. A lot of the moms knew each other so I felt like the out of place newbie. Thankfully, because it was the beginning of the year, there were other moms standing around equally as shy. My oldest, thankfully,  is super social. He started playing with a little girl about his age. Her mother was one of the other newbies so I sucked it up and introduced myself to my first homeschool friend, Deanna.

I only went back to that park co-op one more time. Deanna and I decided we hated being new and struck out on our own. Our children got along fabulously as did we. Then they moved away, and I may have cried. Hopefully your first homeschool friends won’t move away so quickly!  Making friends with Deanna’s family encouraged me to try again. Finding these gems of homeschool friends isn’t hard, it just takes a bit more effort than you may be used to.

 

One thing I can promise you, is that you will find friends.Good friends. Fast friends. Friends you can call in the middle of the day and get it. Friends who help you rationalize why you decided to homeschool and who remind you that one bad day or week doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel.

If you’re lucky your first homeschooling friends may find you. You may have to awkwardly introduce yourself to someone. They may awkwardly introduce themselves to you. I’ll let you in on a secret, we’re all a bit awkward in the friend making department! I have usually let my children gravitate towards others and then I start the first date like ritual of talking to a random stranger. But I have also made some amazing friends this way.

Next year about this time of year, you’ll see the first day of pictures again. That little weird twinge won’t be as big. Instead of second guessing yourself, you’ll  text one of your homeschool friends about going to the park later that day. Then you’ll lie back down and try to grab a few more zzz’s before you try to to make your child understand long division.

This post is written by Kristina Roegner, a homeschool mom of 3. She enjoys sharing about homeschooling with others and is always happy to help local homeschoolers connect. Visit her website at www.dfwhomeschoolresource.com to see all DFW has to offer for homeschoolers.

Meet the Sherwins – a local family of Twins & Triplets

“You sure have your hands full!”- it’s a phrase we have heard countless times and we will probably continue to hear forever. The truth is, though the words have become monotonous they couldn’t be more true. We absolutely do have our hands full – literally! We have been blessed with a very unique family that is composed of my husband and I, 2 year old twin girls, and 3 month old triplets! It’s an interesting situation that often makes an “ordinary day” feel much more like a circus act.

After the triplets were born, they spent 10 days in the NICU learning how to eat and grow. The NICU experience was unfortunately not new to us, having spent 13 days there with their older sister Keona, one of the twins. It was during this second NICU stay that we got our first glimpse of what a challenge we were facing to care for the needs of 5 littles ones under the age of 3.

Since we’ve been home we have definitely been busy! Everyday brings at least 3 loads of laundry, 30 diaper changes, 6 hours of pumping, 21 feedings (or more)- Almost 100 oz. of milk, multiple outfit changes, and constantly revolving task of washing bottles and pump parts. All of this in addition to caring for our twins: 3 meals and snacks, potty training, conflict resolution, play time and crafts, bathing, reading books, and the list could go on and on. The twins have earned the term “twin-adoes” as they quickly leave a trail of toys in their path.

Luckily, the twins have blossomed into the MOST incredible big sisters. They are constantly putting pacifiers in babies mouths, helping with bottles, and giving their siblings hugs and kisses. The most important (and favorite) part of our job is getting 5 times the snuggles! Though we do have a big family with a LOT of needs, it is incredibly important to us that each individual child gets as many snuggles and kisses as possible. Luckily, we have been blessed with an incredible “village” of friends and family that have stepped up in a big way to help us achieve that goal. Often when people hear of our family dynamic they quickly call me “Super Mom”. Super tired? Yes. Super busy? You bet! Super blessed? Absolutely! But the truth is that I could never do any of it without my husband and my village.

When we first found out that we would be having triplets, the very first thing that I said to my husband, Robbie, was that we were going to have to be the absolute BEST version of ourselves. All we can pray for is that each day we will continue to better ourselves and our lives for the sake of these 5 little miracles. As the days go by we will continue to learn each child’s personalities/likes/dislikes a bit better, we’ll learn little parenting tricks to make our lives a bit easier, and we will work into a routine to help keep consistency in our home. Most importantly we will give these children every drop of love that we have in our hearts.. and then some.

In our 3 months as a family of 7, we have braved to get out of the house a few times. Getting 5 kids under 3 years old ready for a trip out of the house is stuff reality TV shows are made of! I can only imagine the spectacle we are running around the house collecting all of the things we need for even the shortest adventure out of the house. While we are out, I wish I could take pictures of the looks on people’s faces when they notice us! “Wait, you have twins AND triplets?!”, they say in disbelief. Yes, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

The phrase we hear the most often, sadly, is “I’m glad that it’s you and not me!”. Before you feel sorry for us though, please understand that though it may be five times the work, we also get five times the snuggles, kisses, laughs, memories and love. We may be outnumbered, busy and tired but if you think our hands are full, you should see our hearts! We fully believe that God does not give you more than you can handle, and for some reason He trusted us with these five beautiful souls.

The Sherwin family circus is officially in town! If you would like to join us in our adventure, please follow us at www.sherwinfullhouse.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sherwinfullhouse.

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!

 

 

 

8 Ways to Score Back to School Deals!

Moms, it’s nearly August and before long the kiddos will be back at School. What if, just once, we got ahead of ourselves and got those important purchases out of the way early and scored a great deal with Cashback too?

Sounds good, right?

I recently downloaded a new app, called Dosh. It’s simple. You connect your payment cards (don’t worry about security, your data is safe!) and you can filter through Online offers and buy all those Back to School essentials right within the app.

The pricing is among the best I have seen. For everything I book through the App, I get automatic cash (called Dosh) back on my App which I can redeem whenever I like!

Download Now

 

Here are 8 of my favorite stores I choose to buy stuff for my kids (now I can buy and get money back!)

Target 1.4% Dosh Back

Hobby Lobby 3% Dosh Back

Gap and Old Navy 3% Dosh Back

Walmart 3% Dosh Back

Nike 4.5% Dosh Back

Toms Shoes 5.2% Dosh Back

Stride Rite 5.2% Dosh Back

 

You have to try it. When you download it and connect your cards you start earning Dosh straight away.

And if you refer your friends you’ll get $5 when they get their first Dosh too.

Download Now

Entertain your Family this Summer and earn Dosh too!

 

As a Work-from-home Mom, I am balancing my workload with entertaining the kids too. I also have visitors from out-of-town so I’m using the time to be a tourist in the city.

What if I told you that for every Dollar I spend on day trips, passes and admission into local places that I could get automatic cash-back on every purchase, without redeeming any coupons and all from my Smartphone?

Sounds good, right?

I recently downloaded a new app, called Dosh. It’s simple.

You connect your payment cards (don’t worry about security, your data is safe!) and you can filter through Hotels & Activities and book right within the app. The pricing is among the best I have seen. For everything I book through the App, I get automatic cash back on my App which I can redeem whenever I like!

Not only that, but every time I take my family to eat out, we get a % cashback on every meal.

Think local places like Dugg Burger or Hash House a Go Go!

 

And when I need to cool off and let the kids blow off some steam, I can take them to Chuck E Cheese and get a win-win out of it. Let the kids play and eat and I get cash back.

Over the Summer, I will get 5% cash back on purchases over $30!

You have to try it.

When you download it and connect your cards you start earning Dosh straight away. And if you refer your friends you’ll get $5 when they get their first Dosh too.

Are you ready? Get Dosh NOW

 

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!

 

Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Program for Kids

Did you know kids can earn FREE books from Barnes and Noble this summer??

With summer comes an extended time where kids are not doing as much academic work. It’s always important to read to keep their reading fluency and comprehension up to bridge them to the next school year. Barnes and Noble offers a great summer reading program where students can read and earn free books!

The program is for grades 1st-6th and runs from May 16th- September 5th.

Print out this form and have your kids read any 8 books. Your child has to tell what their favorite part is of each book and why and record on the journal page. Once completed, bring in the form to your local Barnes and Noble store for a choice of one of these free books!

We did this last summer and earned 2 free books but doing 2 rounds of this summer journal! It’s a great motivator and kids will love getting to choose their free book! Keep the reading alive this summer and have your kids do the Barnes and Noble summer reading program.

My Top 10 Summer Fun List for Kids & Moms too!

Well, the countdown is on, summer holidays are rapidly approaching.  If you’re anything like me, I love to have a list of things up my sleeve for those days when the dreaded “I’m bored” words ring in my ears.  I try and balance out some at home days with some adventures out of the house.  And if it’s a free or cheap adventure, everyone is happy! My kids are 12, 9 and 6 so finding something that everyone enjoys can be a challenge to say the least.

Now, some of these we haven’t tried before and some are my family’s favorites.  I’ve limited my list to within Dallas but focusing on Plano, Frisco, Little Elm area.  

  1. Public libraries
    We are blessed with some of the best libraries around and all at our doorstep.  They offer amazing programs over the summer and at the very least, we go and borrow some books and dvd’s for those afternoons where it’s just too hot to play outside.  They offer summer camps and summer reading programs.  Look online for more details.

2. Movies

Both Cinemark and Studio Movie Grill are offering selected films at $1 over the summer.  See their website for details.  We also love the Coyote Drive In at Lewisville.  

3. Hawaiian Falls
I love Hawaiian Falls but with 3 kids, I usually save this for a weekend when I can get my husband or another adult to come with me so we keep our eyes on everyone at once.  We always take our own cooler in with lunch and drinks and might treat the kids to an ice-cream or snow cone on our way out. 

4. Pools 
Our favorite is the Frisco Athletic Center.  We love that you can take a cooler in (no glass or alcohol) and enjoy a free day out if you are a member or pay the small entry fee if you’re not.  There are two great little kid’s areas, a big slide for the bigger kids and an awesome lazy river.  We haven’t yet been but will definitely be checking out the Jack Carter pool this summer, it has a diving board, a lazy river and a flow rider!  There is also the Tom Muehlenbeck Recreation Center close by which has splash pad, diving board and a slide.  

5. Video Game Museum
If you haven’t been, you should check it out.  My kids loved it and at the end of the museum is an 80’s style arcade (not to mention the 80’s tunes!!) and your entry gets you 4 tokens which gets you 4 games.  You can buy extra tokens – 4 for $1.  We only went a few weeks ago and my kids are already asking to go back.  

6. Dallas Museum of Art and Klyde Warren Park

My kids love being downtown and eating at the food trucks and playing in the park at Klyde Warren.  It’s right across the road from the Dallas Museum of Art so makes for a great day out.  DMA offers free entry every day and has a great summer family fun program from June 13 to August 11.

7. Bowling

Most offer cheap deals over the summer like Strike and Pinstack, usually if you get there before 10am but if you register at www.kidsbowlfree.com  – you can bowl for free, you just pay for your shoes.  Registered kids get two free games of bowling every day of the summer for free! There is a one time payment of $5 per child to register and the closest is probably Plano Super Bowl.

8. Rollerskating

A similar program to the bowling, it’s at www.kidsskatefree.com and the closest to us is Interskate at Lewisville.  Ice-skating at Galleria is also lots of fun

9. Zoos
We love both the Dallas Zoo (especially feeding the giraffes) and the Fort Worth Zoo (love the walk in bird exhibit).  We’ll try and pick a cooler day and go early to avoid the heat, the animals aren’t overly active when it’s so hot

10. Sharkarosa Wildlife Ranch
I have been meaning to take the kids here for ages, there’s always a groupon! It’s about 45 minutes away and is open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays only from 10-5.  

Usually as summer approaches, I ask my kids to write down some things they’d really like to do on a piece of paper and we try and schedule all these things in too.  Try it out, you’ll be surprised what they ask to do – a trip to the library, or going out for ice-cream always make it on to our lists.

 

We are blessed to live in an amazing part of the world with so many kid friendly things to do and amazing weather to enjoy it in.  Don’t forget all the wonderful aquariums, museums, LEGOLAND (it has a small splash pad too!), splash pads, the list is endless…

It’s worth checking out the great deal with Plano Moms and Pogo Pass – for $39.98. You get access to quite a lot of these activities mentioned above and a whole lot more.  And the best part is that you have a year to use it.  Get yours now: https://dallastx.pogopass.com/

Enjoy your summer vacation!

What’s your favorite thing to do with kids over the long hot summer? I would love to hear of any I may not know about.

Melissa, Guest Blogger for Plano Moms