Back To School With Mabel’s Labels

Houston! We have an announcement… Mommy has put down the Sharpie and has a new obsession.

Mabel’s Labels.

It takes something pretty spectacular to rip a Sharpie out of my hot little hand so I’m pleased to tell you about Mabel’s Labels. After receiving my labels, I found myself labeling everything I could get my hands on! Which is not necessarily a bad thing considering my 9-year-old would forget his brain if it wasn’t attached (it’s the age or so I’m told). My 3-year-old simply doesn’t care about which jacket (unless it’s the Train Jacket) he brought to school and I have a toddler distracting me every 2 seconds… so I usually forget said jacket. Needless to say, the Lost and Found Bin is my friend. And now? I actually have fun labeling the contents of the Lost and Found Bin. No joke… if you love Sharpies (and really, who doesn’t) you will adore Mabel’s Labels.

This year is especially important because my oldest son has to wear a uniform to school. Well, not a true uniform but he has to wear clothing consisting of three specific colors. I can barely spot him out of a crowd of kids while he’s at school!

I used the Ultimate Back To School Combo Pack and went to town.

Labels have been blurred, they do not come that way...

I labeled all his polo shirts, jackets, sweaters, sweater vests with the Tag Mates labels and shoes with the Shoe Labels… then I started labeling his hats, umbrella, beanies, etc. He doesn’t wear hats to school but he does take them to friends’ houses and to places where they can easily get lost.

Labels have been blurred, they do not come that way...

Then I attacked the lunchbox and backpack with the Teeny Tags and the water bottle and school supplies with Skinny-Minis labels.

But oh no, I wasn’t done.

Labels have been blurred, they do not come that way...

That would be one of the jackets that lives half the time in the Lost and Found Bin, the school lunchbox and a sippy cup that gets toted to playdates, grandma’s and beyond.

And that nifty little box in every picture? It’s the box that the Ultimate Back To School Combo comes in. It ever so neatly houses the unused labels– until I’m ready to attack the closet again. I keep my unused labels (in their designated box) in each of my son’s closets, on the top shelf, so I know exactly where they are (and so little hands can’t get to them). The Ultimate Back To School Combo Pack comes neatly packaged complete with labeled pages and a guide in the back explaining where each label is best suited.

I’ve Mommy Tested them already, too. Mabel’s Labels are UV resistant, dishwasher, microwave and laundry safe… and they have passed my test.

The Ultimate Back To School Combo includes:

 

The only piece of advice I can give to Mabel’s Labels is, maybe rethink your tagline to say Labels for the stuff kids and their scatter-brained moms lose! instead of Labels for the stuff kids lose! ;) Kidding… kind of.

Disclosure: I received a few Ultimate Back To School Combo packs but was not paid to write a review or article. All my opinions and words are my own, as always.

 

Is Your Child Being Bullied? And Some Tips On How To Prevent Bullying

Part of growing up is learning how to deal with conflicts, different personalities and different types of bonds between other people. But the act of learning those lessons is not always easy. Bullies can be formed through this natural growing process or even influenced from outside sources (television, music, media, etc.) It is our job as parents to listen to the cues from our own children; listen to their questions & concerns, listen to their inner voice through their actions and reactions, and if you think there is something wrong, talk to them about it. Talk to them about their day, talk to them about their friends, and keep the lines of communication open so that they feel comfortable with sharing their stories with you. If they wont open up to mom, maybe they will open up to dad– and visa versa. My oldest son went through a time, a few years ago, when he felt more comfortable talking to dad than he did me and even though I was a little hurt by it, I didn’t push him. (Things have since changed). Try to find that fine line between being an ear and prying for information. I once read that prying for information can actually do the opposite of what you intended it to do! Telling your child that they can share their secrets with you leaves nothing sacred to them. Instead be a “listener”, not a “teller”. Listening to your child will give you a better idea of what is going on. Ask that your child tell you more about the situation or story and ask how they feel in those situations. Just remember, prompting a conversation is not the same as giving advice.

So how do you know if your child is being bullied or being a bully? Here are some clues that I have found…

  • You’re invited into the principals’ office and made aware of a situation.
  • You’re confronted by another parent saying that their child claims your child did something to hurt them.
  • Your child will tell you something. This will probably prompt you to ask teachers, lunch/recess volunteers, and the principal some questions and begin a collaborative effort to help in watching certain situations throughout the day.
  • Your child will tell you things (a friend won’t sit with him, a friend claims he’s not a friend anymore or other verbal, emotional and/or physical occurrences).
  • Your child will come home visibly hurt.
  • Your child complains of aches (tummy, head, etc.) and worries more than usual.

 

And here is some reading material for parents:

Little Girls Can Be Mean: Four Steps to Bully-proof Girls in the Early Grades

Dr. Anthony and Dr. Lindert offer an easy-to-follow, 4-step plan to help you become a problem-solving partner with your child, including tips and insights that girls can use on their own to confront social difficulties in an empowered way. Whether your daughter is just starting grade school or is already on her way to junior high, you’ll learn how to:

OBSERVE the social situation with new eyes
CONNECT with your child in a new way
GUIDE your child with simple, compassionate strategies
SUPPORT your daughter to act more independently to face the social issue

Bullyproof Your Child For Life: Protect Your Child from Teasing, Taunting, and Bullying for Good 

Delivering a practical, supportive, and step-by-step “bullyproofing prescription” that yields lasting results for both boys and girls, from grade school through high school, Bullyproof Your Child for Life offers specific action steps to help any child build resilience and confidence, develop compassion and trust, and thrive in school, camp, sports, and beyond.

 

Please talk to your children about bullying. No child should feel degraded for any reason and no child should feel the need to degrade another child for any reason.

 

This post can also be seen at Rated By Mom.

DIY: Back To School Memory Box

We have recently cleaned out the entire house (and by recently I mean it took a little over a month to go through everything) and one of the things I’ve noticed is that we don’t really have a good system when it comes to organizing school memories. I have a large plastic bin, one for each child, to store their pictures, paintings, and such but nothing organized, complimentary or specific of each passing school year.

Now that my oldest is in 4th grade, and coming home with memories of field trips, school events, even a 100% on a “really hard” spelling test, I want to create a space to organize all his 4th grade accomplishments and memories.

So we are going to make a 4th Grade Memory Box!

This way he can fill it with completed schoolwork, pictures from events, pictures from outings and of his friends, field trip memories… anything that he wants to save from his year in 4th grade. Then once 4th grade is complete, we’re going to put together a scrapbook (think summer project!) as a way for all of us to remember and cherish the passing year.

In fact, I’m going to start doing this with my preschooler now! Then try to go back through my 8-year-old’s work/art and put together some for the years that have passed.

What you need:

  • A shoe box or plastic bin with a lid
  • Construction paper and glue (if you are using a shoe box)
  • Stickers or markers to label “Child’s Name 4th Grade Memory Box”
  • Stickers to decorate (optional)
  • Small scrapbook (and supplies) to make it into a Year Book at the end of the school year (I’m going to wait and see just how much stuff he collects before I go out and get the scrapbook…)

Tips:

  • Use the Diptic App (my favorite) to make collages from pictures on your mobile phone… then print on photo paper
  • Use Picnik (very user-friendly) to make collages from pictures on your home computer… then print them on photo paper
  • If you or your child doesn’t want to make a scrapbook at the end of the year, scan everything then make a Shutterfly book.

 

Mommy Tip- Back To School Contract

Stefanie (ooph.com) has a brilliant Back To School tip for parents that she recently posted on San Diego MOMfia. Simply brilliant. I can’t tell you how many arguments conversations we have had with our 8-year-old over bedtime… or brushing teeth… or homework. The same stuff he does every day. Nothing changes yet he thinks he can test us. Thinks being the keyword.

I’m so thrilled that we found this now (because Stefanie has teen boys, she knows what’s up) so that when we do have phones and other teenager appropriate devices in our house… let’s just say my hope is that he (and the other kids) will be used to the idea of the Back To School Contract.

Read this excerpt from Stefanie, brilliant I tell ya:

Want your kids to become perfect little angels who never argue and do everything you tell them to do this school season? Yes? Then don’t have children.

But. The contract below will get you closer to that lack of reality.

School is starting and we will begin the mad dash of getting the paperwork filled out, school supplies and clothes purchased, wrangling the kids back into a decent bedtime and MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL, the Back to School Contract.

Hear angels singing? You won’t. It isn’t that great, but it’s REALLY REALLY good.

 

Below is a copy of a basic outline for a Back to School Contract:

Homework:

When they get home from school they may have a snack and spend 30 minutes playing. (They deserve it.) Then it is down and dirty homework time.

Chores:

Have chores for your kids. From kindergarten on. They can put their dishes in the dishwasher. They can be responsible for feeding a pet. It can be something as simple as putting all of their toys away. Whatever it is, give them a family responsibility.

Television:

Television during the school week will be after dinner, after all homework has been checked, all chores completed, all showers taken and teeth brushed. No television before dinner.  Any extra time before dinner is to be spent outside practicing sports or playing.

Video Games: (This probably only applies to boys.)

No video games during the week. PERIOD. On the weekends, you may play one hour per day after homework that is due on Monday is complete and you have completed your daily chores.

Computer:

You may use the computer instead of watching television. See “Television” for rules.

Bedtime:

Bedtime will be at (whatever time you deem fair in your household.)

Rewards.

Provide weekend rewards if the week goes as planned. Ice cream for the young ones and sleepovers for the older ones.

Everyone signs the agreement and while it doesn’t alleviate every argument it gets rid of most disagreements and shortens the others.

 

What do you think? Will you be writing up a Back To School Contract? I’m drafting one right now for the 8-year-old. But like Beth (HipMamaB.com) mentioned, I’m going to wait for Back To School Night to finalize the homework details– so I know the teacher’s expectations for the school year.


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