Be Prepared For School Every Day – Super Simple Drop Zone

daily drop zone

This post is sponsored by Quaker.

Being prepared for school means getting enough sleep, having a full belly, homework in their folders, permission slips signed, and a lunch box that actually makes it on to the bus!

I can honestly say that there was more than a few days when last year when I dropped the ball on one or two of these. I want to teach my children responsibility but I also want to set them up for success. Creating this drop zone is a great way to stay organized and teach my kids responsibility too.

Sleep and food are not a problem for us but going to school hungry is a real issue for many kids. Last week I shared that as a Quaker Classroom Ambassador, I’m inviting you to join Quaker in supporting teachers nationwide. From July 7 to Sept. 30, purchase specially -marked Quaker products and enter the unique package codes online at www.QuakerUpForClassrooms.com. For every code entered online, Quaker will donate $1 to AdoptAClassroom.org up to $250,000 (minimum donation of $150,000) to help fuel classrooms across the country. Plus, you’ll get a coupon for $1 off Quaker products. Learn more at www.QuakerUpForClassrooms.com.

Signed permission slips, keeping homework organized, and making sure lunch boxes are on the bus with my son are not always givens. His bus comes before 7:30am can you blame me? It’s going to be different this year. I prepped this insanely simple drop zone and we will use it too!

super simple drop zone

There are 3 simple parts to our drop zone :

1. Hook for backpacks. They come home and go here- they stay here until they are put back on to go out the door the next day.

2. Bin for lunchboxes. After I make lunches in the morning they go in here. No more ” Did you leave it in the fridge? Is it on the counter?” it’s in the red bin. After school it goes back in there and I empty the scraps and pop the cold pack back in the freezer. Kids don’t touch it until it’s time to dash out the door.

3. Tray for homework. All notices and homework folders go in here. I will look through them and know what needs to be done.

I will never be a super organized person, it’s just not who I am, but a little help goes a long way!

quaker up sweep

SWEEPSTAKES

Quaker wants to help one lucky winner with a super fun get ready for the school year with a rad gift pack. The gift pack will feature a variety of back-to-school items and Quaker products, including:

  • An LED Light-up Alarm Clock featuring a color-changing display, dual alarm clock perfect for busy families and music player compatible with any music-playing device
  •  A Travel Oatmeal Bowl & Spoon Set for breakfast on-the-go
  • A Collapsible Lunch Container ideal for packing school snacks and lunches in one
  • A $25 Visa gift card to create your very own teacher appreciation gifts
  • A variety of specially-marked AdoptAClassroom.org Quaker products, including Quaker Instant Oatmeal, Life Cereal and Quaker Oatmeal Squares

Total Sweepstakes value is approximately $92.00

Quaker is providing the prizes for this program at no cost to me. This program is not administered or sponsored by Quaker or its affiliates, but solely by No Time For Flash Cards.

 

How to enter :

Comment on THIS post with your own teacher appreciation story. You MUST include the hashtags:  #QuakerUp  #SweepsEntry  ( hint copy and paste them in now! )

Fine Print :

This sweepstakes is open to American residents 18 years or older. To be eligible for the sweepstakes you must leave a comment on this post with your own teacher appreciation story and include the hashtags #QuakerUp and  #SweepsEntry . 1 winning entrant will be drawn at random, using Random.org, after the sweepstakes closes on Saturday August 30th 2014 at 8:00pm PST. The winner will receive one Gift Pack detailed above. The approx. value is $92.00 After the winner is notified he or she has 72 hours to respond with their mailing address to ship their prize package to,or another winner will be chosen at random. No purchase necessary.The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Any information gathered through the sweepstakes including email and postal addresses will not be used in anyway other than contacting winners and shipment of winnings. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

 

 

5 Ways To Survive Back To School Shopping with Target {Sweepstakes!}

win $300 Target Giftcard sweepstakes

This is a sponsored post. I was compensated by Target for my participation and the sweepstakes.

My son hates shopping.  I know that hate is a strong word  but it’s true. He is normally pretty well behaved ( at least outside of the house) but when you take him shopping for clothes it’s like we are on a road trip but “Are we there yet?” turns into ” Are we done yet?” he can not wait to just leave!

Over the years I have come up with these five ways to survive back to school shopping.

1. Go right after breakfast.

Even kids we think of as “older” are at their best right after breakfast. So gobble up your cereal and hit the road.  If you can’t do it then have a healthy snack on the way to keep your child from getting “hangry”.

2. Make a list so he knows the plan.

Just the same way I show my children maps of road trips to help them feel like they have some control and knowledge about what is coming next, I do the same for shopping trips. With younger kids you might want to make a visual checklist with pictures , for my 7 year old I just made a plain list. Make sure everything is on the list. Going to browse the handbags might seem like no big deal to you but for a kid who is obviously not at all comfortable shopping it can be frustrating. I am not saying don’t browse, just add it to the list.

target shoes

After shoes he knew we still had to look for a backpack, lunchbox and water bottle.

3. Give him as much control as you are comfortable with.

I gave my son a budget for his outfit and let him decide what to do with any extra as long as he got all the items I had specified. This teaches him some responsibility and keeps his mind busy which for him is half the reason he hates shopping, because it’s boring.

backpacks target back to school

He’s pricing the different backpacks!

4. Turn it into a date with you.

Leave siblings at home and add in a special stop to a favorite park or small treat. I know this one won’t be possible for everyone ( we could only do this because my husband had the day off)  but it certainly lowered our stress levels to be one on one. Being able to give each other all the attention makes everything feel less frantic.

5. Double ( or triple) up.

If you are buying a bunch of clothes for your less than enthusiastic shopper find clothes that come in tons of colors and or patterns. You can send your child into the dressing room with one outfit but go back to the display and grab multiples and fill a closet with only one trip to the dressing room. I don’t know about you but for my kiddo that seems to be the worst part of shopping. Keeping it to a single trip helps.

We got everything on the list :

  • hoodie
  • new gym shoes
  • tee shirt
  • socks
  • shorts
  • backpack
  • water bottle
  • lunch box
  • and a Pokemon card set with the money left over from his budget!

target sweepstakes back to school

and he was still smiling in his new clothes!

 

What are your tips for easy and productive back to school shopping? Share them in comments or even better on our No Time For Flash Cards Facebook page here.

target

Now get this. You get a chance to win a $300 Target gift card for back to school clothes ( or anything else you want) !

Enter Here

 

Fine Print

This sweepstakes is open to American residents 18 years or older. To be eligible for the sweepstakes you must fill out the form above ( click on ENTER HERE) 1 winning entrant will be drawn at random, using Random.org, after the sweepstakes closes on Saturday August 23rd  2014 at 8:00pm PST. The winner will receive one $300 Target Gift Card After the winner is notified he or she has 72 hours to respond with their mailing address for Target to ship their prize package to,or another winner will be chosen at random. No purchase necessary.The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Any information gathered through the sweepstakes including email and postal addresses will not be used in anyway other than contacting winners and shipment of winnings. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

 

 

 

Back To School with Target {sweepstakes}

back to school sweepstakes with targetThis is a sponsored post. I was compensated by Target for my participation and the sweepstakes.

target logoHave you started your back to school shopping yet? Yesterday I managed to make my way to Target and get all the school supplies we need this year and feel good about it too. I wasn’t just feeling good because I was at Target with zero kids in tow ( oh what a rare day it was) I felt good because Target has come up with a great way of helping those in need with their back to school expenses. Did you know the average American family spends $600 on back to school shopping?! Right now through August 2nd for every select up&up school supply purchased, Target will give one school supply to a student in need, potentially impacting nearly two million kids this back-to-school season. 2 million!

The program was inspired by Yoobi, a Target-exclusive brand of school supplies with a“One for You, One for Me” mission. Target will distribute the school supply donations through the Kids In Need Foundation, which operates a national network of resource centers that provide free school supplies for students in-need.

As I was picking out our supplies I looked for these signs so I could make sure my purchases were doing double duty!

target post 1

Even though dry erase markers weren’t on our list I couldn’t resist. I also grabbed some washable markers for my own classroom since I am returning to teaching in the fall. I am so excited.

target supply

 

What is just as exciting  is that I get to giveaway a $300 Target Gift Card to one reader !

SWEEPSTAKES NOW CLOSED

 

ENTER HERE 

Please read the fine print below.

 

This sweepstakes is open to American residents 18 years or older. To be eligible for the sweepstakes you must fill out the form above ( click on ENTER HERE)  1 winning entrant will be drawn at random, using Random.org, after the sweepstakes closes on Wednesday July 23rd . 2014 at 8:00pm PST. The winner will receive one $300 Target Gift Card  After the winner is notified he or she has 72 hours to respond with their mailing address for Target to ship their prize package to,or another winner will be chosen at random. No purchase necessary.The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Any information gathered through the sweepstakes including email and postal addresses will not be used in anyway other than contacting winners and shipment of winnings. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

How to be THAT parent

volunteerspot promo

Last year my oldest went off to kindergarten and I didn’t have nearly as much time to volunteer in his class as I’d hoped. Parents are busy but kids and teachers need us to be involved. Children get more out of school when there are deep school to home connections. Volunteerspot works hard to make those connections easier than ever to make. { contest below now closed)

 

volunteer at your child's school with volunteerspot

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Before we get to the rad sweepstakes let me share my 10 tips to be a great and involved parent this year.

  • Fill out your calendar NOW. Add items as they are emailed and sent home in notices but don’t forget the main calendar from the school district. That mid winter break in February won’t sneak up on you if you take the time to add it to the calendar now.
  • Find time to block off for each child’s class. This might be twice a year or twice a week but being involved is much easier if you have set time aside.
  • If you are allowed to bake, cook or bring snacks make sure you have an updated list of food restrictions and allergies before you even think about what to make or bring in. Let’s all make it easier on families with restrictions by limiting how many times kids need to be excluded or put in potentially dangerous situations.
  • Label everything. EVERYTHING with your kids’ names. That way when your kids lose something ( and they will ) it’s easier to get it back.
  • If you can don’t just send gifts to your child’s classroom teacher, send them to specialists, office staff, bus drivers… and simple thanks are just as much a gift as any expensive item. This doesn’t have to cost you a cent.
  • Teachers are busy so be proactive. Ask if you can come in , take home busy work or ask to volunteer for a different part of the school like the library or at recess. You may not get the most glamorous job but you will be involved, present, and helping.
  • If your child takes the bus to and from school try to pick them up from time to time as a treat and for some facetime at school. It’s not a time for a full on conference but a quick hello and simple offer of help or thanks can make a big impact.
  • Don’t for once think that money is more important than time. Give what you can to your child’s school in minutes, hours, dollars or cents. Just get involved.
  • Get organized and organize other parents with Volunteerspot – better yet win $1500 for your school !!

Volunteerspot

How to Enter to Win (You can do one of these, or all.)

1. Use VolunteerSpot during August to Take the Pledge to volunteer for your school. Don’t worry if you don’t have a specific activity to sign up for yet; just make the commitment to help out with one thing this school year.

Just be sure to include your school’s name when prompted during the easy registration process.

2. Use VolunteerSpot’s FREE online sign up sheets during August* to organize the parent volunteers for any school activity: back-to-school events, classroom helpers, carnivals, book fairs, hospitality teams & potlucks, concessions – any activity that involves multiple volunteers will be easier to manage with online sign ups and scheduling.

3. If you are a TEACHER, we have a special contest just for you. So be sure to check out the Teachers Win with VolunteerSpot sweeps here too.

How to Get More Chances for Your School to Win

Invite your neighborhood friends and fellow parents to use VolunteeerSpot this August too. Everynew Pledge and new activity organized in VolunteerSpot.com counts as an entry for your school, so the more people you can get to sign up, the more entries to win $1,500 your school will get.

Post it on Facebook, or even better, email your whole class and ask them to take the pledge too. You might even remind people to take the pledge when you see them on the first day of school. Isn’t it worth it for the chance to win $1,500 bucks for your school?

One Last Awesome Idea

Send the link to this page (http://vols.pt/GSVOL) to the person you know who is most involved with your school’s parent/school organization. That way, even if you don’t need to organize an activity with VolunteerSpot right now, you can still help someone else out AND help your school win.

The Rules

You can read the official rules here.

Here is an easy-to-read summary:

  • 3 schools will be chosen at random to win. Each will receive a $1,500 grant from VolunteerSpot for their designated school’s parent-teacher organization.
  • You must be at least 18 years old to enter for your school.
  • You must reside in the United States. (We know, we know, but international sweepstakes laws are just too complex for us to handle. We are sorry!)
  • The following uses of VolunteerSpot count as entries: registering and school organizer or teacher/educator VolunteerSpot account (it’s free!), setting up an activity, signing up for an activity someone else has set up, and pledging to volunteer.

Deadline EXTENDED! 

Thousands of parents have already taken the pledge to volunteer this year (thank you!), but with many schools just heading back after Labor Day, some have asked for a little more time to GET MORE ENTRIES for their school. So we have officially extended the deadline to enter for TWO more weeks, until September 15th, 2013

If you’ve already entered, now is your chance to get on the horn (or email, or Facebook) and remind your friends to take the pledge too. It only takes a few minutes to help your school win. 

And if you haven’t taken the pledge yet, pledge now.

 This post is sponsored by Volunteerspot.

Simple Ways To Get Your Child Ready For School

5 ways to get your kids ready for school I am a staunch believer that kids NEED time off. They need time to dig in the dirt for no reason other than digging in the dirt but I get asked year after year to put together a list of things parents can do to get their kids ready for preschool and kindergarten. These five things are the things I would tell my own friends they should do to get their kids ready to go to or go back to school. So I am sharing it with you. Getting kids ready doesn’t have to be stressful or expensive but we do need to take time to prepare our kids.  This is just the tip of the iceberg if you want a much more in depth look at what kids really need check out my dear friend Deborah J. Stewart’s new book Ready For Kindergarten.

This post contains affiliate links.

1. Read!

back to school

Reading doesn’t only help teach your child to read it also works on many of the other things on this list. Listening and taking turns are two obvious lessons children can learn while reading with a parent but what I love most is that reading a book can often open up a dialogue. This is so important. Opening up a dialogue like this lets kids express worries and other challenges they are facing. Try books about school to get your child to open up about how they are feeling and their needs regarding going to or back to school. Further down are more book suggestions for tougher issues like anxiety, bullying and standing up for yourself. For older children reading over the summer is imperative but if you have let it slide jump back on the reading train now so your child is ready to go back to the class with the same ability they left with.

Starting Preschool For The First Time

Kindergarten

General School Books

For the full reviews of these and more books check out our Book Section.

2. Practice Listening.

5 ways to get your child ready for preschool

If your child isn’t used to a group setting or has been out of it since the school year ended practicing listening is a great idea. It can be very challenging for young kids to wait their turn to speak especially when excited and sometimes it doesn’t matter how many times we reminded them their impulse control is just not there yet. Work on listening in fun playful ways.

 

3. Practice self reliance.

5 easy ways parents can get their kids ready for school

Open yogurt tubes, zip jackets, tie shoes etc… a good rule of thumb is to only send your kids with things they can manage themselves. Teachers are happy to help but whenever a teacher is helping a child zip a coat, tie shoes etc… that might be time away from teaching. Multiply that by 10, 15, 20 kids and it adds up.

  • Try a get ready for school obstacle course.  Line up your kids in their bathing suits and have them race to get dressed , get their shoes on , lunch put in the back pack and to the finish line. Race against the clock not each other if the skill level is drastically different.
  • Wood Lacing Sneaker for tying practice. This is almost identical to the one I learned on in 1982 and I like how stable it is.
  • I love this  Learn To Dress Monkey for practicing buttons , zippers and snaps.

4. Talk about differences, bullying and standing up for yourself .

5 simple things you can do to make sure your kids are ready for preschool

School can be an anxious place for some kids and talking about that before hand can help. The following books are some of my favorites for these subjects:

Bullying: 

School Anxiety:

Being Yourself:

Troubles with Friends:

5. Do some fun more learning activities to get into or back into the swing of things.

back to school

Being ready for school in the early years ( preschool – 1st grade ) is much less about what kids know and much more about having them ready to learn. Making sure that they are emotionally stable to be away from the home for the length of time that they will, giving them confidence and tools to handle issues, and being ready to work in a large group where their needs will not be met as immediately as they are at home.  That said doing some fun learning activities won’t hurt! Here are some of my favorites for each age group. You can also have fun by making Alphabet Crafts – my ebook .

 

  • Preschool

Magic Letters
Shape Crafts
Alphabet Playdough
Shell Math Game
Peel & Pick Alphabet Apple Tree
Counting Around The House

 

  • PreK

Silly Ways To Teach Print Awareness
Letter Sorting Tree
Shape Art
Letter Dominoes
Pattern Towers
Move & Groove Letter Game
Font Collages
Hanging Out The Wash Math Game

 

  • Kindergarten and 1st Grade

Connect The Dots Math
Sight Word Dominoes
Spelling With Beads
Paint & Read
Sight Word Game
Secret Code Math

This post contains affiliate links.