Archive for Money & Material Things

In Technology Wii Trust

wii

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts be counted.

-Albert Einstein

It’s that time of year again; your mailbox is chock full of glossy catalogs while the Sunday newspaper is brimming with adverting circulars. We’re thinking ahead to holiday gifts for our children and technology gifts do have such great appeal.

Before you go out and buy the newest gadgets, you might want to think about the recent findings released by Nielsen. Kids ages 2 to 5 watch on average 32 hours of television a week, while 6 to 11 year olds watch more than 28 hours. The analysis based on the fourth quarter of 2008, measured children’s consumption of live and recorded TV, and game console use.

I’ve heard parents praise the educational value of children’s programming and fun of game consoles, but are they being truthful about their feelings? Would parents rather have children play pretend Wii sports or the real ones? Which choice would provide fresh air, real movement and learning to play with others so they are better prepared for the real world? Would parents prefer to outsource their child learning colors, letters and numbers to Sesame Street or use that time better to build relationships with children?

Perhaps we fall back to the TV and technology because we believe it is safe; after all it’s indoors and under our watch. But our fears and time constraints that cause us to make the easier choice may be the wrong answer in the long term. Less is more unless, we’re talking about time.

Don’t be pressured to buy things for your child that you don’t agree with or can’t really afford. See the question and answer posed by a parent to Parental Wisdom’s advisors.

We live in a very affluent community yet we are not that wealthy at all. My daughter often seems frustrated that her friends are able to do some things and buy some things that we cannot afford. Although I understand her frustration, how can I make her understand our situation and keep her grounded? She is 8 years old.
See question and answers

You can also visit the website for Parental Wisdom advisor, Dr. Stevanne Auerbach, aka Dr. Toy to find out about the best toys for 2009.

A new book by Parental Wisdom advisor, Mary Strom Larson, is also helpful.

Have a great week!
Tina Nocera, Founder
Parental Wisdom

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The New (school) Year

school supplies

The following post is contributed from Dr. Stephen Jones

5 Back to School Savings Tips by Dr. Stephen Jones, a member of the Parental Wisdom advisory group

Every year thousands of parents grab a cart and engage in the age old tradition of back to school shopping. There is a level of excitement in the air as students consider new school supplies and what clothes they will wear back to school. All parents can do is look at their pockets and try to find a way to stretch a dollar. Many parents start their shopping without a plan and that’s where money is lost. Have you ever noticed how things are strategically placed around the store so that you will make random purchases? There are all kinds of pencils, notebooks and paper right within your grasp.

There are some things that you can do to resist the temptation to spend too much.

First make a list of the most expensive items that you need to purchase. Check the internet and advertisements in your local newspaper. This is important especially when you are purchasing electronic products like lap tops, Ipods and digital recorders. The money that you save from these purchases can add up to hundreds of dollars. Recognize that every product that has a sales tag can be bought cheaper if you are willing to do your research.

The second tip is to watch for the best day of the week to purchase clothes and other items. Some stores have sales on certain days of the week. This is done to increase the number of parent’s and students who are coming into their store. As you shop for sales it may be worth returning on another day. Talk with your relative who works in a retail store. They may have a discount that they can use on your purchases. There could be an additional discount in addition to the sale that is going on in the store.

Third there are numerous websites where you can purchase books at a discount. Search Google for discount book websites. Purchasing books online is real convenient today. Books that you order usually arrive in 3 to 5 days. Still it is better to purchase books well before they are needed. If your son/daughter needs the book to write a report the book will be available to get started early. Also consider purchasing reference books so that your son/daughter will have books to look at when they do not understand a particular definition or subject.

A forth back to school saving tip involves purchasing shoes and sneakers at a reduced price. There are stores that sell hundreds of shoes. You need to keep an eye on the prices several times a week. Sometimes local stores want to move inventory so that they will lower their prices. Ask your child how often he/she talks with their peers about where they get the best sneaker discounts.

A fifth tip is to form a group of parents who can each purchase some items in bulk. Pencils and paper can be shared by parents. Create a supplies storage container where you will keep all of the items. This is one way that you can avoid purchasing too many items that you already have. Before you go shopping go to your storage draws and take an inventory of all of things you need. You will be amazed at how much you have in storage from last year.

Now that you’ve saved hundreds of dollar focus on your child’s education. Decide on something that you will do to make education fun this year. Load up your students book bags with good snacks. Even high school students need snacks because they can loose their energy during the day. Remember a healthy body will boost a student’s performance on tests. Make your back to school journey one that is full of good expectations. You can control your back to school spending and have a great new school year too. Dr Stephen Jones is an education expert, consultant and author of three books the Seven Secrets of how to Study, the Parent’s Ultimate education Guide and the Ultimate Scholarship Guide available at http://www.studyskills2u.com.

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There’s Always Room for Jello

hopscotch
Do you realize there is a food to eat even when we’re stuffed? That slogan became part of a culture ingrained with so much, that even in excess we want more.

The summer provides an opportunity to illustrate that less equals more. With school out and a naturally slower pace, let’s take advantage of that.

Less scheduled activities = more time
Less homework = more teachable moments
Less structure = more playfulness
Less indoors = more nature
Less planning = more spontaneity
Less stuff = more substance

In an age of cellphones, texting, email and videogames, the past looks like fun. Here are some ideas before the summer totally escapes us, to have simply wonderful fun with your children. The best ideas may very well come from memories of your own childhood.

Build a fort
Catch lightning bugs
Fly a kite
Hangman
Hopscotch
Hula hoops
Jump rope
Make (but don’t eat) mudpies
Marco Polo
Monkey in the middle
Planting vegetables, fruits, flowers, anything…
Play a pickup game of baseball, basketball, soccer
Play Capture the Flag
Red light, green light
Ride bikes
Simon says
Sleep under the stars
Stop and go dancing
Tug-of-War

What ideas can you add? Comment below

For more ideas visit Games Kids Play

Play is the way a child learns what no one can teach him. – Lawrence K. Frank

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Let’s think…do we want our kids to have more books or toys?

books

In today’s USA Today, the cover page article Teachers snub Scholastic Toys should be read by all parents. Teachers are concerned that Scholastic may be taking advantage of the access to our school children. The intention was to provide books at low cost to our children to encourage an interest in reading. But the catalog seems to be catering more and more to toys, and branded products.

One teacher said that she didn’t care if children get a SpongeBob toy, as long as they read. I totally disagree – – we are giving our children too many material things so they will do something else, like reading. What that does it create an extrinsic reward when the opportunity to read is itself a reward. Additionally, all this licensed and branded products takes away our childrens’ natural creative ability. They don’t have to dream the day away creating the next cartoon character – – they find quiet and white paper to create their own great cartoon characters.

Honestly folks, look around. Do your children really need another toy?

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Sorry if I’ve caused you any grief

sully1
Apologies can be sorry things as we’ve learned over the past few years as ‘celebrities’ such as Spitzer, Madoff, ARod, Blagolveich, Michael Phelps, Chris Brown, etc. fall from grace.

Even in my local town, the former treasurer of an elementary school Mother’s Club was recently sentenced to four years in prison for stealing approximately $136,000 of school proceeds during a five year period.

You don’t have to a victim to feel victimized. We find ourselves waiting for the next news story to break as we build protective walls of distrust.

What do our children think? What can we tell them and teach them about these blunders headlining the news?

Do what you’ve always done – teach by your example and don’t expect celebrities to be role models – that is your job. Be the kind of role model that does your personal best and doesn’t look for a silver bullet to meet unrealistic goals. But at the same time, don’t set unrealistic expectations for your children.

• Don’t fight to have them in the honors class if they really don’t belong there
• Don’t argue that the high school coach should give them more playing time if they aren’t the best players
• Don’t challenge the director of the play if the lead went to another child

It’s about putting the right person in the right job.

Which brings me to a person who said he was “simply doing his job” when he miraculously landed his 100,000 pound jetliner in the Hudson without losing a single life. Capt. Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger said he trained his whole life for that landing, as he shared the credit with his crew.

Imagine if Sully hadn’t earned his wings, done the work and was put in the job without the right skill set – the story would have had a different ending. Instead, he did it the old fashioned way; he did the work.

The people your kids look up to should be real, make real mistakes, and most importantly recover from them. The best lesson to teach your kids is that you don’t drown by falling in water, but by staying there.

I don’t have to know you to know that you, like me, have made more than your fair share of mistakes. Let’s enter a new era of responsibility and accountability and sing that old classic to our kids – – “just pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again.”

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Lead Us Not Into Temptation

thanksgiving

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others. – Cicero (106 BC – 43 BC)

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. That is how I feel as I read Sunday’s paper. On one hand, the dismal economic forecasts for 2009; on the other hand, the glossy slick ‘door buster’ circulars encouraging us to get up at 4am the day after Thanksgiving.

Our children are watching. We have an opportunity to fight the marketers back. A young mom putting her child into his Spiderman® pajamas said, “I have fought as much as I could, but he lit up when he saw them in the store. I loved watching the joy on his face and I had to get them.”

The desire to elicit joy comes from love. But as we approach the most difficult financial conditions any of us have ever experienced, we cannot do things the same way we have in the past. The need is pajamas; the want is Spiderman® pajamas. The instant gratification of that purchase is momentary and fleeting, for both the parent and child.

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, be grateful for what you have. Are any of the items on the circulars glossy pages are among them? Sitting together at the table this Thursday, ask everyone to write down what they are thankful for.

Gratitude is a emotion that can get us through the most difficult times and put in perspective what really matters. Don’t respond to the ups and downs of a turbulent economy; instead be grateful for the people that matter in your life.

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The Maytag Repairman In This Economy

I find myself doing things quite differently in this economy and it feels good.

My shoes were making those clicking noises which caused me to look at the heels and sure enough, they needed new lifts.

My clothes dryer is causing me to do a ‘hip check’ to get it going since the little device that makes it connect isn’t doing it’s job.

My toaster has decided to only toast one side of the bread.

In the past, I would have disposed of old or non-functioning things and replaced them with new ones. I would have justified that decision by saying things like, “Oh, this clothes dryer faithfully served me for many years.” Now, I find myself making repairs and new friendships of the various repair people.

Nice to know someone is doing well in this economy, and it is a great lesson to teach our kids.

Welcome back Maytag repairman!

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