August 24, 2012

Homework Help for Busy Parents

Parents can help their kids start the year off right by establishing a homework routine. Designate a space that is quiet, well lit and free from distractions, and use that same spot every day.

Claire Haas, Vice President of Education for Kiddie Academy ( also recommends creating a Homework Bin to make sure all needed materials are always ready. The homework bin avoids interruptions to the routine - there will be no excuse to wander off, looking for a pencil or marker.

How to Create a Homework Bin

1. Designate a specific basket or tote as the Homework Bin
2. Label the bin so everyone knows what it's for
3. Keep it handy, near the designated homework spot
4. When homework is done, return all materials to the bin each day
5. Resist temptation to use these materials for other crafts - keep it ready
6. Explain the concept to your family
7. Restock the bin as necessary

To download a list of recommended items for your homework bin, as well as more homework tips, parents can visit the Kiddie Academy Family Essentials blog at .

August 23, 2012

5 tips to preempt a first haircut meltdown

Taking your tot to the salon? 5 tips to preempt a first haircut meltdown

by Nicole Fonovich, co-creator of the "Luca Lashes" app / eBook series

Will your toddler get hysterical at the hair salon? There are plenty of reasons kids fear the haircuts: sharp scissors, the buzzing of the clipper, the huge cape, and that big metal chair, for starters. So many new sights and sounds at once, and baby's first haircut can quickly turn south.

Getting a haircut shouldn't be a scary "first"—it should be fun! These five pointers will help you avoid a salon meltdown, so your little one can enjoy him/herself —and the new "do" too!

1. Find a salon that caters to children.

Hair salons can be intimidating places for children. Thankfully, the hairstyle industry has grown with the times and helped parents by designing kid-friendly, family salons. Children can sit in fun seats with special designs, even in racecar-style chairs. Waiting rooms at family salons usually have children’s toys and books or even a children’s movie playing. Finding a family salon, rather than relying on your own personal hairstylist, will make your life easier when it comes time for the first cut.

2. Be prepared.

Going to a salon a day early, and just walking around with your child can be a great experience to help prepare for the first haircut. This way, your child gets a chance to see what the salon looks like, what tools are being used, and what the person who will cut their hair looks and acts like. Going along ahead of time with family friends or relatives on their positive hair cut experience can also really help! There is nothing like seeing other kids they look up to having fun!

3. There’s an app for that!

Take an extra step in prepping for the first cut—enlist the help of an app, like Luca Lashes and his First Haircut. In this app/eBook, kids join Luca and his mom as they learn about the hair salon, meet the stylist, and see all the tools used in getting a haircut. Let your child interact with each illustration to become familiar with the sights and sounds they soon will see!

4. Time it right.

All parents can sense their child is crabby. Whether anxious, overtired, or hungry, there are specific times of the day that can be the best times to have a new experience. Haircuts are events that can be planned with appointments; just be careful to plan the times appropriately so your child is, hopefully, on their best behavior.

5. Make new memories.

First haircuts are a major life event for both parents and children. Make sure to have a digital camera or smartphone ready to snap "before" and "after" pictures, so you can show your child how awesome the new haircut looks right away. Kids love seeing themselves on camera! Remember to keep that first lock of hair for your “memories” book.

As with all of your child's "firsts," ask them how they feel about the new experience both before and after. These moments are great times to soothe your child and share the feelings and excitement that all childhood discoveries bring.

Remember to have as much fun as you can and revel in these moments together, before you know it, they grow up.

Nicole & Damir Fonovich are co-creators of "Luca Lashes," an eBook and app series that turns “fear of firsts” into fun. The series is aimed at kids ages 0–4 and is available in English, French, Italian, Spanish, and soon, Chinese. The first app, Luca Lashes: The Brown Eyed Boy with the Magic Eyelashes, is free on iTunes, and the other apps can be downloaded for $1.99 at all major marketplaces and at Nicole and Damir both have backgrounds in teaching, writing and publishing. Together, they have 17 years of experience in the education field, in both teaching and administration. They have a 3-year-old son and live Chicago

Knot Genie Coupon and Contest

Are you ready to join the thousands and thousands of mamas who no longer dread the hair brushing drama? Then The Knot Genie Detangling Brush is for you! The Knot Genie and Teeny Genie were created to not only to make brushing of even the most unruly hair effortless, but to create peace in households around the world at bath time. Their unique bristles act like little "fingers" gently untangling knots and tangles. The amazing Knot Genie magically gets rid of knots. Not to mention complaining. Today you can get $4 Off Coupon off the Knot Genie. Just click on the highlighted area.

With the introduction of four new Knot Genie colors in their limited edition Back to School Collection, they are also running a fun contest. The contest is called, the Knot Genie Back to School Morning Meltdown contest. If you’re a parent, you’ve probably experienced a foot stomping-shrieking-morning meltdown at that critical time when you’re trying to get your child off to school. Recount (if it’s not to painful) your worst meltdown and how you diffused the situation and enter your story in our contest. Ask your friends and family to vote for your entry and you could win $500.00. The first 50 people to enter will get great prizes just for participating.

I am to receive a Knot Genie for sharing this with my readers.

August 13, 2012

Win a Beefeater Discovery Plus 4 Burner

Win a Beefeater Discovery Plus 4 Burner with Black and Stainless Steel Hood Grill (ARV $799). Click here to enter.