Making the Grade: Back to School Shopping with Your Grade School Child

Because you can never have too much back to school information, here’s another bit of advice when mapping out your march to victory….It’s that time of year! Your child needs school supplies and clothes. Where do you start? How do you pay for it all? Here are some tips for making the grade with your grade school kid this year.

Dressed for Success

Your grade school child may not have the picky tastes of a teenager, but he or she is going to need some new clothes this year. Go through last year’s clothing and find out what fits and what doesn’t. This includes shoes, socks, and underwear, too. Grade school kids can grow really fast! Here are some more ideas for clothes shopping with your grade school child.

* Plan your shopping trip for a day when you don’t have to rush, and when you don’t have anything planned the night before. Being rested and ready helps everyone’s mood, and so does being able to take your time.

* Call the school where your child will be attending and make sure there aren’t any changes to the dress code. If your child will be attending this school for the first time, then find out what the dress code is.

* Keeping it simple helps a lot. Depending on his (or her) age, he will be better able to dress himself as the year goes on. Having easy-to-fasten clothes can help a lot to facilitate this process. Tough buttons (or lots of buttons), lacings, belts, and small head-holes can make dressing a frustrating experience. Go for clothes with large head-holes, zippers, and easy (and few) buttons.

School Supplies

Moving on to school supplies – like the clothes, it’s a good idea to check with your school and teacher to find out what specifics might be required. Some teachers specify brands, colors, and so forth. Here are some other tips for shopping for school supplies with your grade school child.

* Go generic on writing items like pens and pencils. Getting fancy, unique writing implements only leads to competition in the classroom and the possibility that your child’s fancy pens will get stolen. Unless the teacher requires otherwise, go with standard #2 pencils.

Markers should be water-based, and crayons are usually needed in packs of 16. Consider a box to store and carry these small, easily-lost items.

* Erasers are always needed in grade school. A large, pink eraser like you had in school is a good purchase. Some erasers that fit on the ends of pencils are inexpensive additions, too.

* Your child’s school may not supply paper like they did in the old days. Find out from your teacher/school if you need to supply ruled (lined) paper, which will differ from teacher to teacher and grade to grade.

* Notebooks come in many forms. Your grade school child will probably need some spiral-bound ones as well as some binders. Think slim and trim so the notebooks fit in your child’s desk, no matter what type is required.

You also might want to purchase some dividers or pocket folders to help your child stay organized.

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Your Questions About Internet Safety For Teens

Linda asks…

Internet safety for my teen – How to properly end a story?

Last year, my 14 years old daughter broke the rule of “No contact with someone you haven’t seen with your own eyes”. Her internet access was removed for a year.

We gave her back internet last May 1st without MSN Messenger access. By using e-mails, she started to chat with this other 17 years old male teen. She gave him our phone number (he never called) and even accepted to go to his friend’s house (she wrote back saying the address he gave was wrong). How I know all this? easy: *I* am that other teen.

I created him and, like any other pedophile would do, told her what she wanted to hear. I find it unbelievable that she was ready to go inside a complete stranger’s house!

Now, the question: Where do I go with this? How would you end this story? Another long discussion? Simply remove internet for another year? somehow scare her to death?

Specify if you’re an adult or teenager. I’d love to hear comments/suggestions from teenagers as well!

richmama answers:

Taking away the computer doesn’t seem to be working… Talk to her, get her to understand why, she can’t do it… Otherwise she’ll still do it, just at the school/library/friends house. Sorry but just be telling her she can’t do it won’t stop her… You’ve got to make her understand why…

Donna asks…

Is there any online games for teens – MUST READ BEFORE POST?

Is there any online games for teens that teach you about internet safety and is fun? please no babyish websites like minyanland and woogiworld. Thank you.

richmama answers:

If you enable parental controls and family gamer status, you can play on Xbox Live without communicating verbally (auditory or text) with other players on any teen-rated game. However, there’s always the exceptionally perverse names that’ll pop up in game; so it’s not full proof.

The other players always have opportunities to abuse the system, so parental controls/family gamer on Xbox Live is the best I can think of. Applying the same kind of muting settings for Playstation or the Wii would work as well.

There honestly aren’t any educational computer games that’ll teach a teenager about internet safety. And if there are, they aren’t going to be fun. They might be funny, but the overwhelming amounts of teaching will be immediately evident to a teenager and probably overshadow any earnest engagement they’d have with the game…

Ruth asks…

Do you think MySpace is dangerous?

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children says it’s received at least 288 MySpace-related complaints of inappropriate Internet activity– stats that Internet safety experts agree show teens aren’t being careful enough online.

richmama answers:

I’d blame it on parents but unfortunately kids can go to any internet cafe or friends house and get on myspace…and they’re going to if you don’t let them.

Just as well let them use it if they want and talk to them about the dangers of meeting strangers on there.

That’s something you should be teaching your kid anyway.

The media likes to oversensationalize this kind of thing. Last year it was shark attacks this year it’s myspace. Girls get raped on college campuses too it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t send your kid off to college.

Mandy asks…

For “family safety” on the Internet, which is best, and why?

Bsecure (formerly Bsafe)

Net Nanny

OpenDNS

Also, which of the above would be the most difficult for a computer savvy teen to bypass or hack?

Thanks!

richmama answers:

Either my wife or I sat right there with them when they got onto the computer. No teenager can shut down their parents, they didn’t like it but I didn’t care. There is to many creeps online today and teens have no clue of safety and danger what so ever. We had 8 kids and one computer it was in my home office. This office was locked up when I was gone and there was an alarm and if went off my cell phone would ring also. I had set times for each of them to use the computer for their home work. My wife had set time for them to use the computer just for fun. Both of us had set amount of time for each kid. We had a schedule set up for them so they knew when it was their turn.
Yes, it was a pain but we knew what they were doing at all times. If we as parents didn’t protect them then who would of?
These programs that they have today like Net Nanny the kids get right into them very easy. My son got into all these programs within 4 minutes. So with my wife or I sitting there; there was not problem and there was no worry.

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