Carpool Safety Tips

This post is brought to you by Barkaucdjr.com.

Carpool Safety Tips

With moms and dads shuttling kids to event after event it’s no wonder folks have turned to carpooling to help cut down on their time spent on the road.  It’s a great way to make sure the kids get where they need to be without constantly being on the go…or maybe you have another kid’s event to be at and can’t be at two places at once.  Letting kids carpool with friends and family just makes sense for a lot of families but it’s important to make sure it’s done safely.  Here are some tips to help to help you navigate the carpool waters.  See what I did there?  Pool. Water. Ha.  Okay, on to the carpool safety tips…

1.) Know Who Will Be Driving

Statistically the number one cause of death of children ages 1-12 in the US is car crashes.  It’s imperative that you know and trust the people you’re entrusting your children with.  You want someone who practices safe driving habits on a regular basis.  Not only that but you need to make it clear that you don’t want any other individuals driving your children around that you haven’t given express permission to.  There my be circumstances when they need a backup person and it’s a good idea to find out who that is before the occasion arises.

2.) Make Sure Your Child Will Be Properly Secured

Car seat safety is something that I am passionate about!  I would make sure that all individuals who would be driving in the carpool be fully educated about my child’s type of car seat, how to install it, and how to properly restrain them each time they’re in the car.  Whether it’s a car seat or a booster seat all drivers need to know the ins and outs of car seat safety.

3.) Keep Your Kids Informed

Because you won’t be in the car when other adults are driving, it’s essential for your kids to know about what’s going on.  They need to know who is dropping them off, picking them up, and where they’re going.  They need to be responsible to keep up with their belongings.  It’s important that they also know how to behave in a car seat or booster seat.  It’s important that they stay buckled up and sit up when in a booster.  Plus, it’s a good idea to have ongoing conversations with your kids about the people they’re riding with and make sure they don’t feel uncomfortable in any way.

I hope these carpool safety tips will help keep your sweet little ones safe on the roads.

Parking Lot Safety Tips

Parking Lot Safety Tips

I’m hyper-vigilant about parking lot safety….and safety in general as a mom.  Yes, I’m that kind of mom.  Especially when we’re out in public.  There’s just so much that could happen quickly.  There’s too much at stake, in my opinion, to take a relaxed approach.  Because I’m this way my daughter always grabs my arm when we walk across a parking lot, even if my hands are full.  I’ve trained her well and she’s as cautious in parking lots as I am.

This past week she was helping her younger brother remember to look both ways before crossing the parking lot lane.  She said, “this is a lot like a street so you have to be very safe.  I wish someone would create a safer parking lot where you didn’t have to be so careful.”  I told her that she was absolutely correct in her assessment.  We also had fun trying to brainstorm different types of parking systems where people could park and safely walk to the building without fear of oncoming traffic.  The closest we could come up with would be some sort of tunnel system and we agreed that didn’t seem practical.  So, for the moment, until someone creates something better, it’s a good idea to be safe in parking lots and I have some tips to share with you on how to do just that.  This post is brought to you by Thunderchrysler.com.

I have to tell you that I wanted to look up some stats to write this post and include some handy information and what I found was a treasure trove of information.  The Pedestrian and Traffic Safety in Parking Lots at SNL/NM: Audit Background Report is a 57 page pdf that has more information than you ever wanted to know about parking lot safety.  If you want more information after you read my article please check it out!

-Drivers Are Distracted In Parking Lots

The NSC.org website says, “In an NSC public opinion poll, 66% of drivers nationwide said they would make phone calls while driving through parking lots. Respondents also said they would:

  • Program GPS systems (63%)
  • Text (56%)
  • Use social media (52%)
  • Send or receive emails (50%)
  • Take photos or watch videos (49%)

NSC found teen drivers (59%) were more likely to engage in personal grooming than adults (53%) while driving in parking lots, but less likely to be on the phone (60% vs. 66%).”

-Pedestrian Parking Lot Safety

  • -Be hyper-aware of your surroundings when walking across parking lots.  Like my daughter says, look both ways as if it were a busy street.
  • -Always make eye contact and wait for the driver to signal you across.  Don’t just walk and assume that they’ll see you and stop for you.  Drivers are distracted in parking lots, remember?  Don’t assume.
  • -Walk on sidewalks and crosswalks when possible.  Make it easy for drivers to see you.
  • -If the weather is bad wear the appropriate shoes.  You don’t want to slip and fall and not be seen by a driver.  I personally know someone who accidentally ran over a man’s legs who was knelt down in a dark parking lot.  He ended up surviving and making a full recovery but it was a terrible ordeal just the same.
  • -Many accidents happen when cars are backing up and don’t see people behind them.  I like to walk quickly behind running cars juuuust in case they back up suddenly without looking first.
  • -Get off your cell phone.  I am constantly amazed by the number of people looking at their phones while walking through parking lots.  It’s not smart.

-Driver Parking Lot Safety

  • -When possible choose a pull through spot to avoid having to back up.
  • -When you have to back up double check that there isn’t anything or anyone behind you before driving in reverse.
  • -Avoid driving through a parking lot and stick to the driving lanes.
  • -Slow down.  Parking lots have 10-15 MPH speed limits for a good reason.
  • -Keep an eye out for kids.  Please keep an eye out for little ones that may dart away from their mother’s grip.
  • -This is the same advice that I listed above for pedestrian safety and in my Tips for Teen Drivers, leave your phone alone.  Leave it in your bag.  Don’t drive distracted.  If it’s so urgent that you need to attend to something, pull into a parking spot for a moment before driving on.

What are some things you implement to try and stay safe in parking lots?

5 Charities Kids Can Help With

If you’re a parent who wants to teach your kids the concept of giving and how vitally important this is as a part of society, then you should continue reading this article. There are many ways kids can learn to give back to others in their community. Today, I am sharing 5 charities that your kids can help with; some ideas are perfect for the whole family to be a part of.

5 Charities Your Kids Can Help With

St. Jude

Kids can raise money by hosting a bake sale or having their own lemonade stand. A community yard sale is another great way kids can help to raise funds for this charity. Monies raised can be donated to this charity that’s mission is to find the cure for childhood cancer.

Alex’s Lemonade Stand

Speaking of a lemonade stand, this charity helps kids set up their own stand and in turn, all proceeds are donated to help find a cure for childhood cancer. Register for a lemonade stand and they can receive an event kit which helps to ensure they are able to host a successful charitable lemonade stand.

Habitat for Humanity

This charity encourages kids to be involved in creating art for homeowners that’s then incorporated into the homes they build for families. In addition, kids can collect non-perishable foods for those being helped by this charity.

Kaboom

This is a charity that builds playgrounds and similar structures all over to ensure that playtime is brought back into the lives of kids. Your kids can help this charity by researching any local areas that Kaboom may be able to help near you and in turn, your kids can assist in the building of the playgrounds.

Homeless Shelters

Lastly, there are many homeless shelters around the world these days. These shelters provide food and drink to those who have no home.  You and your kids can take time out of your day once a month to volunteer at these shelters to give back to your local community.

Learning to give back at a young age will instill the habit and tradition of helping with charities and always giving back to others in need. While some charities won’t involve kids at a higher level, even the smallest contribution your kids can make to a charitable organization is well worth it. This life skill is a necessary part of ensuring we’re raising well-rounded kids who grow up to be a positive member of society.

Cotton Candy Slime Recipe

This Cotton Candy Slime Recipe is an easy peasy slime that uses liquid starch and not a bit of borax. These lovely pastel colors will have you dreaming of cotton candy, unicorns, fairies, and all things princess.  Find out how to make cotton candy slime by scrolling down.  This post contains affiliate links.

Cotton Candy Slime DIY

To make this cotton candy slime you’ll need:

  • White school glue – I buy glue by the gallon on Amazon.  Tiny bottles make small batches and slime is so addicting.  Go ahead and get the gallon size.  Trust me, you’ll thank me later.  You can find gallons of glue in stores but with the popularity slime has seen recently it’s getting harder and harder to find.
  • Liquid starch – This is another thing that has been increasingly hard to find so I order it with the glue online.
  • Paint – I uses Deco Art Americana Acrylic Paint in Lavender and Flamingo.
  • – 2 separate bowls (or red solo cups but I prefer bowls)
  • – 2 spoons (or wooden craft sticks but I prefer regular kitchen spoons)

COTTON CANDY SLIME EASY RECIPE WITH LIQUID STARCH

Cotton Candy Slime

A FEW QUICK SLIME REMINDERS BEFORE WE GET STARTED MAKING SLIME: Slime is a science project.  It can be absolutely fun to do with kids and teach them about the bonding process that’s happening.  …but because it’s a science it is a little messy and requires patience.  Take your time, experiment with different amounts and you’ll have wonderful cotton candy slime.  Also, don’t let the name fool you, this slime is NOT edible.  Do not eat it.  Please make sure children are supervised and don’t allow children to play with it that may put it in their mouths.

You’ll want to mix each color in it’s separate bowl.

Pour approx 2 cups of white glue into each bowl.  You don’t have to measure it, just guesstimate.  Use as much glue as you want to have slime.

Purple Slime

Add your paint.  Mix.

Making Purple Slime

I know you don’t need a visual of mixing the paint but I just love how pretty this step is!  Once mixed if the color isn’t what you desire, add more.

Slime Process

Once you have your colors just like you want them to be you can move onto the starch.  Please note that spray starch is not the same thing as the liquid version.  Use liquid starch.  Pour in approximately 2-3 Tablespoons and stir.

Personal Tip: I find that big jug of starch hard to control so to avoid pouring too much I pour a small amount into a small bowl and spoon out tablespoons full as needed.  It makes life easier for this clumsy person so I’m sharing in case any of you can relate. 🙂

Stir your mixture for a few minutes to get it all mixed up then take it out and begin kneading it with your hands.

Pink Slime

If it’s still incredibly sticky and is sticking to your fingers add a little more starch.  This is another reason I like to pour the starch into a bowl!  The bowl makes it easy to dip my slime into, knead a little, dip, knead, dip, knead, etc.  Once you get the consistency you like you are golden!

Purple Slime Play

Slime is such a great sensory activity for kids!

Mixing Slime Colors

Mixing Slime Tip: Don’t mix all of your pink and purple up at once.  Mix the slime in smaller batches to enjoy the activity longer.  I’ve found that it’s fun for kids to get to experience the colors mixing and melding over and over…or maybe you just want to have a set of colors to mix for yourself along with your kids!

Mixing Pink and Purple Slime

Look how fun!

Cotton Candy Slime Recipe

I hope you and yours enjoy making slime together as much as my family does.

Cotton Candy Slime

Cotton Candy DIY

Pink and Purple Slime DIY

Do you love this homemade slime recipe and want to see more?

Ocean Waves Slime

Try this Ocean Slime Recipe!

 


Safe Driving Tips for Teens

Safe Driving Tips for Teens

It’s is a known fact that teenage drivers account for more cat accidents than folks in any other age group.  Here are 5 tips that can help keep your teen safe while on the road.  This post is brought to you by Kingbgmc.com.

1.) Choose a Safe Car

When looking for a new (to us) car I cared about the safety of the of the car first and foremost.  Check the crash safety record before you look into the latest features.  As a side note, this is a great thing to do with car seats too.  You want a car with the latest anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, and air bags.  The new back up cameras are a nice feature too but it wouldn’t be on my must have list.

2.) Put Down Your Cell Phone Off

There are studies that relate driving with a cell phone (even hands-free) to driving drunk.  That’s awful.  Distracted driving is  dangerous for anyone and increasingly so for new drivers who need to concentrate.

3.) Don’t Text (Even voice to text)

An average text takes 5 seconds to type and send.  That seems quick enough, right?  Wrong. Even if only traveling at 55 mph, that would take your care the the length of an entire football field without looking at the road.  A lot can go wrong in those few seconds.

Studies have found that voice to text can be just as dangerous.  AAA released a study that confirmed this. They said, “as mental workload and distractions increase, reaction time slows, brain function is compromised, drivers scan the road less and miss visual cues, potentially resulting in drivers not seeing items right in front of them including stop signs and pedestrians.”

4.) Obey the Speed Limit

This seems like a given, right?  Speeding is a major contributor to teen accidents.  This is especially true in unfamiliar areas or when there is a lot of traffic.  Even if everyone is speeding by, keep a safe speed.  It can not only keep you safer but will help you avoid costly tickets and sky rocketing auto insurance premiums.

5.) Minimize Distractions

Being a distracted driver is possible even if you leave your phone in your bag.  Drinking (anything), eating, playing with the radio, can all cause your mind or vision to wander.  Try and arrive somewhere a few minutes early if you need to reapply your make up, eat your lunch, or whatever else you’re tempted to do in the car.  Chances are, whatever it is you’re doing, isn’t worth risking your life for.

There you have it, 5 tips to help you stay focused and safe on the road.

How to Encourage Good Hygiene Habits in Children

Encouraging good hygiene habits in children can prove to be somewhat difficult. As you may have experienced, some children are wonderful about brushing their teeth, flossing, and using a mouth rinse while other children can give you a hard time about this whole process. If you are one of the many parents with a child who simply cannot stand brushing their teeth, then these tips should help create fewer headaches and better hygiene habits for your child.

How to Encourage Good Hygiene Habits in Children

Start with Basics

Good hygiene habits for children cover more than just brushing their teeth. Items like hand washing, taking showers or baths on a regular basis and being good about flossing are among some of the good hygiene habits a parent must teach a child to do on a regular basis. If your child is struggling with this area in life, start with the basics. Consider hand washing and brushing teeth as your top two basics to start with. Have your child sing happy birthday as they wash their hands. Get a sand timer for teeth brushing time, have our child place it upside down and brush until the sand runs out.

Be the Example

I am sure some parents may be tired of hearing that one option to get any child to do anything is to lead by example. As much as you hear it over and over again during the journey in parenthood, it’s so true. Your children will learn best and have good hygiene habits if you’re setting the example. Take the lead in teeth brushing and hand washing by doing these important hygiene habits with your kids. This helps them see the length of time and how often one should truly be completely proper hygiene tasks.

Explain the Importance

Children usually want to understand the why behind various tasks and habits they must develop in life. While you may be sick of answering the why question all of the time, it’s actually pretty important to explain things to your child. If your child hesitates to practice good hygiene then it’s time to have a sit down to chat about why they must take good care of their body and health. Discuss how sickness and itchy skin or yellow teeth would ultimately lead to extra doctor visits instead of play time, etc. You’ll know the right way to explain the importance of good hygiene to your children in a way that encourages them to be better about taking good care of themselves.

There you have it a few ways you can encourage good hygiene habits in children. Each of these three tips when combined should help make the teeth brushing, shower time, and hand washing time be stress-free and more fun as time goes on.

Merry Christmas! 2018

Merry Christmas

From my family to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas!!

(I’m sorry for all the watermarks, I just don’t like a lot of unmarked pictures of my kids online)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

How to Pack a Winter Car Emergency Kit

Free National Park Pass for Fourth Graders

This National Park Pass post is brought to you by Thompson Chrysler Dodge Jeep and may contain affiliate links.

Free National Park

I just learned about this National Park Pass freebie and I can’t wait to share it with you!!  If you have a fourth grader or a child who will soon be one you’ll want to pull out your maps (or iphone app), pack the car, and gas it up to hit the road.  America’s National Parks system wants kids to get outdoors and to explore the beauty that our great country has to offer. Through the Every Kid In a Park initiative all American fourth graders are invited to sign up for a free National Parks pass.

Sign Up!

Parents can sign up their fourth graders for a free pass on the Every Kid In a Park website by clicking here. The pass is good for entry into every one of the hundreds of National Parks, as well as monuments, across the country for one year, expiring Aug. 31, 2019. The pass will not only cover the fourth graders but also any kids in their family that are under the age of 16 and up to three adult family members.  Isn’t that incredible?  I want to plan a road trip across the country!  It’s a good thing my daughter has a few years before she’s in the fourth grade. 🙂  All you have to do is sign up, print out your pass, and bring it along to show to a park ranger.  Easy peasy!

Loving Nature

Embracing Nature

I’ve been entrenched in the book, The Last Child in the Woods this year.  I’ve read and reread it, shared quotes from it with friends, and made my husband read parts.  It’s so very good!  I’ve always been a big lover of nature but this book made me appreciate it even more.  I want to instill in my children a love of the outdoors and visiting National Parks is a great way to do so!

The Perfect Age

I was curious why it was fourth graders and not second grade or first grade.  According to research, kids from ages nine to eleven really begin to observe the world around them.  They’re the ones most likely to be open to new experiences and to connect with nature.  Who knew?  This program is repeated every year so everyone will eventually be able to take advantage of this generous offer.

If you have a fourth grader and want to travel (who doesn’t like to travel?) you should definitely check out the  Every Kid In a Park website to get your own National Park Pass…and then tell your friends so everyone can take advantage!

If you need a new vehicle that is up to the challenge of a big road trip visit Thompson Chrysler Dodge Jeep for help finding a new ride.

Why Legos are Great for Kids

This is NOT a sponsored post but it contains affiliate links.  I just love LEGOs and wanted to talk about them. 🙂

Why Legos are Great for Kids

Legos were created in Demark in 1932.  These stackable interlocking colorful pieces of plastic quickly won over parent’s hearts across the globe. Fun fact: the name Lego is derived from the Danish phrase “leg godt”, which means “play well.”  These simple little plastic pieces have since expanded to become the brand most parents know, love, and hate to step on!  Lego bricks have grown from a random package of colorful interlocking bricks (which were great on their own) to fabulous model kits where you can create extensive models for collecting. No matter what type of Lego bricks your child loves most, there’s one thing for sure: Legos are fantastic for child development. Here are the top five reasons why I feel Lego’s are great for kids.

Wash Legos

– Legos Grow With Your Child

I hate buying a toy that I know my child will discard by next year or will find babyish in a few years.  Legos aren’t like that.  They will be something kids will play with for years and years and years.  Legos have dominated the toy industry for creative kids and parents everywhere. Allowing your kids to own their own Legos from toddler years and beyond will inspire loads of family fun time.  Plus, it’s a toy that won’t get broken or too dirty!  All you have to do is grab a laundry bag and toss them in the dishwasher.  (You can buy the laundry bag set shown above here)

Lego Figures

– Teaches Color, Shapes, & Letters

Legos are a great tool for parents of younger kids as a means to teach color recognition. These fun stackable bricks that can be interconnected in so many ways arrive in a wide range of colors which can easily help any parent teach their kids about colors.  The simple sets of Legos even come with kits (plan books? I’m not sure the right term) for building objects of different colors!  (The set above can be purchased here)  With the bright colored blocks, kids’ attention will be easily attracted to learn colors and shapes using Legos as the tool.  My kids know their colors, shapes, and alphabet now but they still enjoy writing messages out in Legos.

Lego Star Wars Set

– Improve Fine Motor Skills

Whether you’re raising a toddler or a child with special needs, there comes a time when you need to figure out a fun way to improve the fine motor skills of your kids. Legos are the perfect option for a child on the spectrum, a toddler, or anyone who has a learning disability that keeps them from developing fine motor skills naturally. Legos help improve those skills in a fun and low stress way.  Also, a quick search on Pinterest for “Lego fine motor skills” will pull up approximately a bazillion ideas for using Legos in other ways for strengthening fine motor skills (writing letters in Play Doh using Legos, etc).  For older kids who want to practice fine motor skills or just want a really cool Lego set I highly recommend the Star Wars set pictured above.  You can buy it on Amazon here.  My friend’s son had it and I was amazed at all the compartments that opened up and the detail included.  It was impressive!  The sets are a great way to get older kids to sit down and focus on something for more than a few minutes.

– Encourages Creativity

Kids are known to have a creative mind from day one. With each new experience, that creativity can be expanded to grow or diluted. Legos are a great way to encourage that creativity within kids without much effort. You can use Legos to help encourage your kids’ creative side as they work to build Lego models or a creative masterpieces from scratch.  My kids aren’t into the super fancy structures (yet) but they love to create an imaginary world for their other playthings to venture into.  They don’t have any little Lego people yet and I’m quite happy with that because this way they feel free to incorporate many of their other toys into their imaginative play.

Twister Game

There you have it!  There is my short list of reasons why Legos are great for kids.  Regardless of your age, Legos are a great way to encourage sharing, connecting, and bonding, which is truly the biggest reasons why I love having Legos in our home.  Family time can’t be beat.  I remember when my son was too young to play with Legos he loved sorting the pieces in the kit for his daddy to put together.  We happened to get a Twister game for Christmas that year so that’s what he used to sort them on.  Each circle had a different color of blocks.  It wasn’t meant to be a permanent idea but it worked so well that we get the Twister mat out each time we sort through a Lego kit.  It helps keep the Legos contained too so I’m all for it.  Happy Lego building!!

 

You may also be interested in:

5 Tips for Storing Legos

How to Save Money Buying Legos