Overstuffed: February 2017 Overstuffed

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Secret Life of Teens on Instagram

Last weekend I dropped my 16-year-old daughter off at an event. I needed to talk to one of the other moms, so I waited around with Bria for a little while until that mom arrived. While we waited, Bria and her friends were talking about normal teenager stuff: school, music, and what someone had posted on their "finsta."

My ears perked up. Finsta? This was a word I hadn't heard before.

I've heard of Instagram, of course, and like any good parent I follow my children's accounts and have their passwords so I can check them myself. But what on earth was a finsta?

So, like any good parent, I butted into my daughter's conversation and asked about it. Her friends were totally candid with me and told me that "finsta" is an abbreviation for "fake Instagram." And most teenagers and their friends have one.

After that enlightening conversation I went home and asked my 13-year-old daughter if she knew what a finsta was—and whether she had one herself.

I was relieved to find out that she didn't have one, but she told me that she did know what it was (though most kids in the middle school set call them spam accounts instead) and that many of her friends had them. Then she offered to show me.

Are you sure you know what your teeanger is doing on Instagram? | finsta | rinsta | Instagram spam | parenting | talking to kids about social media | internet use | how to monitor kids and teens online | cell phone contract


I now know more about Finsta and Rinsta and Spam Instagram than I ever wanted to know—except, as the mother of teens it is vital that I know it. And you should know it, too.

What parents need to know about fake Instagram accounts


60% of teens have fake internet accounts.


A 2016 National Cyber Security Alliance study found that 60% of teens surveyed had secret social media accounts, while only 28% of their parents suspected that their children had fake accounts. After the conversation I had with my daughter's friends, I realized that the chance was very likely that my own kids had secret Instagram accounts they weren't telling me about. Before that conversation the thought had never even crossed my mind! And I thought I was totally on top of the social media my teens were using—and there is a lot more than Instagram to monitor!

Why are fake accounts so prevalent on Instagram?


For my two teenage daughters, Instagram is definitely their social media of choice. They use Snapchat and my older daughter also has Facebook, but if they are on social media it's going to be Instagram most of the time.

The nature of Instagram is visual, and teenagers feel the pressure to keep their feeds beautiful and well-styled. My girls refer to gorgeous Instagram feeds as "tumblr" and rarely post on their own accounts because whatever they post has to be perfect and totally cool. A teen has a reputation to consider, after all, and social media is often a popularity contest.

Teens want a safe place on Instagram where they can feel free to post whatever they want. So they create fake accounts that they keep private where only a select few friends can follow them. I asked my daughters to show me some of their friends' fake accounts and, for the most part, they are innocuous. Silly photos, bad selfies, and funny memes,—"real" photos that aren't styled and perfect. (Which makes you start to wonder, which account is actually the fake one?)




Are fake Instagram accounts cause for parental concern?


Yes and no. When I first realized what they were, I was alarmed. After talking to my daughters and actually looking at many of these types of accounts, I am much less alarmed.

The main cause for concern is that your teenager might have a fake account you don't know about. When you don't know about an account, you can't monitor it. Because you can't monitor it, your teenager may feel they can post things that they know you wouldn't approve of.

While I looked through the fake accounts, I didn't see anything of major concern (drugs, alcohol, illegal activity, or provocative/risqué photos). I did see a few things of minor concern such as some vulgar language and a girl flipping the camera off.

I'm sure there are teens out there that are posting material on their finsta that is of major concern, so that is why all parents should be concerned about these types of accounts.

Another concern with fake instagram accounts is that nothing on the internet is ever really secret. Teens are often lulled into a sense of fake security when they think a snap is going to disappear forever or that nobody knows about their finsta. It is important that they understand that anyone could screenshot and share something, they could accidentally post on their rinsta, and that people talk (remember how I found out about these accounts in the first place?). If they are posting material that they shouldn't, it will eventually be found out by more people than they intended.

Mostly, these accounts are for fun—a way for kids to share their real selves with only their closest friends. I noticed that the majority of these accounts had 50 or fewer followers, while the same person's rinsta (real instagram) usually had ten times that amount of followers. As long as you are aware and communicating with your child, you shouldn't have too much cause for worry.

How can I find out if my teenager has a fake account?


1. Bring it up and ask them point blank. Even if they aren't forthcoming, they will now be aware that you know about the popularity of finsta and spam accounts. I asked my girls if they had this type of account and they both said they didn't. While I trusted them, I still did the second and third items on this list, just to be sure.

2. Do a search for their name on Instagram. I was surprised how many of the fake accounts that I looked at used their real name—a sign that the account was more for fun and less about concealing things from mom and dad.

Many of the middle school fake accounts had the kid's name followed by spam, spxm, or spamm and were easy to find by searching. The high school accounts often had name + finsta, but many of them also used a nickname or some sort of private joke type of name, with or without the finsta designation. Still, they were searchable and easily found because they were connected to their real names.

3. Check their actual accounts. It used to be enough to check up on your kid's accounts by following them from your own Instagram. Not anymore. Now there are direct messages and Instagram lives to be worried about, so it's best to check up on them from within their actual account.

Now that you can be logged into multiple accounts at once on Instagram, I require that my girls be logged in on my phone. This way I can check their accounts much more easily than I could before. Teenagers usually follow their finsta accounts with their rinsta accounts, so a simple scroll through of which accounts they are following may bring up an unknown spam account.

4. Check their actual phones. If a teenager really doesn't want their finsta to be found, the only way you'll find out about it is if you check their actual phone, where they are likely to be logged into the fake account.

My girls know that they have to hand over their phones anytime I ask, and that I will read texts, check accounts, etc. If you haven't yet set this precedent with your teen, it may be a good idea to set up a cell phone contract or at least have a conversation and lay down some new rules.

***

I am so glad that I overheard that funny word last weekend. It's led to some good conversations with my daughters about internet safety and why I might be concerned if they have a fake account. I allow my kids to have social media accounts such as Instagram because I want them to learn to navigate them under my watch. I don't want to ban them from these apps while they live under my roof and then send them off to college with no idea how to deal with the same social media their peers have likely been using since elementary school.

We also use a Circle with Disney device to monitor and limit social media use for our teenagers. You can read more about that here: Circle with Disney: What it is, how we use it, and why it's worth it.

As parents, it's so important for us to be educated about what's out there. Unfortunately, social media changes by the minute and it's not easy to keep up! Keep an open dialogue with your kids, and they'll help you stay informed, but also keep an ear to the ground and don't be afraid to butt in on teenage conversations.

It's amazing the things you'll find out.

Want more information on what your child might be up to on social media? This book looks really good: American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers

I have this book about helping our families learn to deal with social media, and recommend it: Navigating the Cyberscape

Monday, February 20, 2017

February 2017 Bonus Visiting Teaching Printable

The longer I make printables for visiting teachers, the more I realize that many of you would rather have smaller handouts to give out. The printables I generally make are intended to be framed in order for your sisters to display them, but I know that it often makes more sense to give your sisters something they can put on their fridge or in their scriptures.

So, I will be making two visiting teaching handouts per month from now on—though I can't promise that the second one will be up by the first of the month!

February 2017 | visiting teaching handout | LDS visiting teacher | visiting teaching printable | Linda K. Burton quote | Christ's Atonement is Evidence of God's Love


There is still a week left to get your visiting teaching done, so I hope that you might be able to use either this printable or the regular February visiting teaching printable I posted earlier this month.

The quote I chose to use for this handout is the one by Sister Linda K. Burton:

Christ has graven us upon the palms of His hands. That supreme act of love ought to send each of us to our knees in humble prayer to thank our Heavenly Father for loving us enough that He sent His Only Begotten and perfect Son to suffer for our sins, our heartaches, and all that seems unfair in our own individual lives.

I went ahead and laminated mine with my personal laminator, and then used magnetic tape to turn it into a fridge magnet.

To download:

Enter your email into the form below, and the printable will be sent directly to your email address.

If you are on a mobile device, click here to see the form.



February 2017 | visiting teaching handout | LDS visiting teacher | visiting teaching printable | Linda K. Burton quote | Christ's Atonement is Evidence of God's Love | VT Printable

Saturday, February 18, 2017

7 Things Your Strong-Willed Child Needs From You

I realized I was dealing with a very strong-willed child when Sophia was still a baby. She had a push to her that my other two children never had. She knew what she wanted and she would do whatever it took to get it—there was absolutely no distracting her or redirecting that desire.

She tested limits, she pushed boundaries, she threw temper tantrums, she challenged me in everything.

She exhausted me. 

Correction: She exhausts me.

She is ten years old now, and still as strong-willed as ever. The only real difference is that now she can use her words to communicate what she wants and she doesn't scream quite as often—but she still screams sometimes. And she still tests limits, pushes boundaries, and challenges me on a daily basis.

How to parent a strong-willed child | spirited child | strong willed kid | tips for dealing with strong willed kids | strong willed children needs

Parenting a child like Sophia is not easy. As her mother I often find myself locked in a battle of wills with her, and it never ends well. I yell, she cries, I cry, she yells and runs to her room and slams the door. All because I asked her to do something relatively simple that she did not want to do. Or maybe I told her she couldn't do something that she did want to do.

The parenting experts say choices work for kids like Sophia. I'm here to tell you that they don't.

Sophia: "I'm hungry!"
Mom: "You may have an apple, some cheese, or a banana—which would you like?"
Sophia: "A cookie."

Mom: "You can wear either your red dress or your polka-dot dress to church."
Sophia: "I want to wear leggings and a dress that's 2 sizes too small for me."

Nope. Choices don't work, because her choice is always what she wants. And she KNOWS what she wants.

Did I mention it's exhausting?

I know that someday she will be an amazing adult who will do some really amazing things in her life. But for now she is still a kid and my husband and I are the ones who have to help her become that amazing adult.

How to parent a strong-willed child | spirited child | strong willed kid | tips for dealing with strong willed kids | strong willed children needs | raising a strong willed child | book to help deal with strong willed children


I've learned a thing or two in the last ten years when it comes to dealing with Sophia and her strong will. When I remember to do these things—without letting my emotions get the better of me—things go much more smoothly at our house.

Sophia actually needs these things in the same way she needs oxygen and food. And when she gets them she is a completely different child!

7 Things Your Strong-Willed Child Needs From You


1. Physical activity


The other day Sophia heard me talking with a friend about how hard parenting can be. She got a little offended and so I teased her about someday having a kid just like her. She shot back, "If I have a kid just like me, it will be easy! I'll just take her to the trampoline park for six hours every day!"

I shouldn't have been surprised by her response, but I was a little bit. I don't crave physical activity the way she does, so it's always been difficult for me to honor that need in her. While I have learned that telling her to go run 20 laps in the yard will do more to improve her behavior than putting her into time out, I don't always understand why she's constantly doing cartwheels and flips in the living room (driving me crazy) or asking to take more dance classes than I can afford.

If you've got a strong-willed kid, chances are they need a physical outlet for all that big energy. If they can't let it out physically, it comes out in temper tantrums or in arguing with you just for the sake of arguing. Send them outside to run!

How to parent a strong-willed child | spirited child | strong willed kid | tips for dealing with strong willed kids | strong willed children needs


2. Challenges 


In case you haven't noticed, strong-willed kids thrive on challenge. If you tell them they can't do something, they will do all in their power to prove you wrong!

If you are creative enough, you can use this to your advantage as a parent. I can ask Sophia to do something 100 times, and if she doesn't want to do it she won't budge. But the minute I frame it as a challenge? She is up and going.

"I bet you can't get dressed in less than one minute!"
"I'm going to beat you to your bed!"
"I bet you can't finish your chores before your sister does!"

I know those sound a little negative, but the challenge works for Sophia. Whenever we're a little stuck on something and Sophia is refusing to do what she needs to do, I think about how I can reframe it as a challenge and I am successful most of the time.

3. Independence


When Sophia was just two, she wanted some scrambled eggs for breakfast. As I got the frying pan going, she pulled a bar stool over to the stove and grabbed the spatula out of my hand. "No! I make eggs!"

I figured out pretty quickly that it was actually safer to hand her the spatula and stand over her in case anything happened than it was to tell her she couldn't do it. The massive temper tantrum she would have thrown would have burned her entire body.

From then on, she always made her own eggs with me standing over her to help if necessary.

While that might seem like a crazy choice, it was the right one for a kid like Sophia. They crave independence. They do not like being told what to do or having people do things for them. When they are younger, give them as much independence as you can while still keeping them safe, and keep adding more as they get older.

Sophia is independently doing far more things than her sisters were at age ten, but she needs that. I just have to make sure it's a mix of things she wants to be independent about and things that I would like her to be independent about.

How to parent a strong-willed child | spirited child | strong willed kid | tips for dealing with strong willed kids | strong willed children needs


4. Projects and Results


These kids can't handle just sitting. They've got to be doing something. If you want to avoid having them turn to electronics, make sure to have projects for them to do based on their interests.

A subscription box full of projects like Kiwi Crates are an awesome way to do this. Every month, your child receives a box full of activities that are geared to their interest. Sophia is more artistic, so she really loves the Doodle Crates. They also have a Tinker Crate full of science and engineering activities for kids who like that kind of thing, as well as crates geared toward the preschool set.

You've probably noticed that your strong-willed child likes to get results (and get them as fast as possible). Everything they do is pretty results oriented—whether it's a result mom and dad are cool with or not! Do your best to find projects for them that lead to an end result, preferably projects that don't require too much detail or patience (which is a word that my Sophia refuses to acknowledge as real).




5. Time and Attention


A little while ago Sophia had a complete fit about something that made no sense. She was very mad at me and my husband and was saying all sorts of negative things that only served to make us defensive and angry ourselves. When I was finally able to get her to calm down, she admitted that she didn't mean any of those things and that she was only trying to get our attention.

Strong-willed kids need a lot of your time and attention, so make it a point to spend quality time with them on a daily basis. Also make it a point to listen to them talk about the things that are important to them and watch them do their cartwheels and other amazing tricks when they ask you to. If they aren't getting the positive attention they crave, they will opt for negative attention. Attention is attention and they will do whatever it takes to get it.


How to parent a strong-willed child | spirited child | strong willed kid | tips for dealing with strong willed kids | strong willed children needs

6. Praise and Encouragement


This goes right along with the last two. Strong-willed kids are results driven, but they want to be noticed for those results! And when things aren't going so well on their journey to the results they need a lot of encouragement.

I've learned that just saying something Sophia has done is awesome isn't good enough. She wants me to point out specific things I like. I actually think this is good advice for all kids, not just the spirited ones, and it forces me to be more present as a parent. Instead of absent-mindedly looking at the picture she just drew, I have to stop what I'm doing and really look. Then I can give her what she needs from me while telling her how much I like the colors she used or the way she drew the cat's ears.

7. Find a Way to Say Yes


Strong-willed children do not like to be told no. If you were to talk to parents of strong-willed children, I think that would be the number one thing they would say. These kids push for what they want and being told no is just another reason to keep on pushing limits until they wear you down!

While it is important for us as parents to be the person who sets limits for them, I believe it is also important for us to not stop them from their goals. If you are saying no because it's inconvenient for you, that's not a good enough reason and doesn't honor your child.

Find ways to say yes.

The best way to do this is to use Yes...If statements.

Yes, you can go play at the park if you do your homework first.

Yes, you can take that gymnastics class if you pay for part of it yourself.

Yes, you can make brownies if you clean up the mess.

The point is to really stop yourself the next time your knee-jerk reaction is to shut your child's request down. Weigh your options and say yes if you possibly can—it makes a difference!

I've written an entire article on why we should say yes to our children more often. It includes tips that have been helpful for me when I really want to say no because I don't want to deal with the process. 

You can find it here: 4 Reasons to Say Yes to Your Children

The number one thing that has helped me to parent Sophia is learning about energy profiling. Strong-willed kids tend to be Type 3s and by learning about these energy types I have learned to better deal with her in a positive way.

You can learn more about energy profiling here: Free Energy Profiling Course

You can read more about energy typing and parenting by reading this book: The Child Whisperer

Parenting a strong-willed child is tough, but in the end it will be totally worth it! At least, that's what I'm holding on to as I raise mine.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

You Are My Pot of Gold St. Patrick's Day Gift {free printable}

St. Patrick's Day is mostly an overlooked holiday at our house. Sure, the kids might wear green to school so they don't get pinched, but I have never made any kind of big deal over the holiday. Once, The Maestro and I even went to Chicago over St. Patrick's Day weekend and we just had no idea.

We learned pretty quickly that St. Patrick's Day in Chicago is not an overlooked holiday. It is a really big deal. And while I still mostly ignore the holiday (hey—I'm not Irish, nor am I Catholic!) I figured I should at least start paying a little attention to it.

No leprechauns will be visiting our house to leave gold for the kids or to turn the milk green in the morning, but I thought it might be fun to give some little St. Patrick's Day gifts.

St. Patrick's Day | Pot of Gold | You are my pot of gold at the end of the rainbow | Mason jar craft | candy jar | free printable | free St. Patrick's Day holiday printable | St. Paddy's Day gift idea | St. Patrick's Day craft idea for kids | DIY St. Pat's mason jar craft ideas


I have a bunch of little jam jars, so I thought it would be fun to make a candy rainbow with a pot of gold with them. I made a cute printable that says "you are my pot of gold at the end of the rainbow" to go on top of the jars and I think it turned out darling!

St. Patrick's Day | Pot of Gold | You are my pot of gold at the end of the rainbow | Mason jar craft | candy jar | free printable | free St. Patrick's Day holiday printable | St. Paddy's Day gift idea | St. Patrick's Day craft idea for kids | DIY St. Pat's mason jar craft ideas


Materials needed:

(affiliate links)

Small mason jar with standard sized lid (you could actually upcycle any glass jar for this project)
Plain M&Ms, Skittles, or rainbow colored jelly beans
Individually wrapped Rolos (the ones that come in a bag, not a roll)
White Cardstock
Glue
Ribbon (I used green ric-rac, but it would be fun to use rainbow ribbon, too)




Directions:

Download the printable (see directions for downloading below)
Print onto white cardstock
Place 4-5 Rolos in bottom of jar
Separate candy into rainbow colors and layer the colors on top of the Rolos
Cut out the printable
Glue printable to jar lid
Glue ribbon around jar lid to secure it (I just use a dot of glue every inch or so)
Tie ribbon in bow
Put lid on jar

St. Patrick's Day | Pot of Gold | You are my pot of gold at the end of the rainbow | Mason jar craft | candy jar | free printable | free St. Patrick's Day holiday printable | St. Paddy's Day gift idea | St. Patrick's Day craft idea for kids | DIY St. Pat's mason jar craft ideas


Voila! An adorable St. Patrick's Day gift to give to your kids, their teachers, your friends, or anyone else who needs a little love!

To download the printable:

Enter your email address into the form below and it will be sent directly to your email inbox. Be sure to check your spam and promotion folders if you don't see it right away.

If you are on a mobile device, click here to see the form.



Enjoy!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Love is in the Hair Valentine {free printable}

Girls always need new hair ties. Always. At least, my girls do! I'm not sure if they all end up broken, borrowed by others, or in some sort of lost hair elastic twilight zone, but I feel like I have bought thousands of them in just the past year!

Valentine's Day printable download | free | for kids | for teachers | DIY classroom valentine | candy-free valentines | DIY valentine craft | Valentine ideas | Valentine's Day cards


Needless to say, hair ties are the perfect non-candy valentine gift for tween and teen girls! My girls love this type of no-crease hair ties, so when I see them in the store for a good price, I usually pick some up. They also seem to lose these ones less often (maybe because they care about them more?), so that's a win-win for me.

I picked up a few of them to put into their Valentine's Mailboxes and came up with a cute printable to put them on. I decided on the saying "Love is in the HAIR" for these, and I think they turned out darling.

Valentine's Day printable download | free | for kids | for teachers | DIY classroom valentine | candy-free valentines | DIY valentine craft | Valentine ideas | Valentine's Day cards


Materials needed:

(Affiliate links)

No-crease hair ties or traditional hair elastics 
(check out this printable for the traditional hair elastics: It Isn't a STRETCH to love you)
White cardstock
A good color printer—this is the one I have: Canon Pixma 7720

To download:

Please enter your email address into the form below and the printable will be sent straight to your inbox. If you are on a mobile device, click here to see the form.


Valentine's Day printable download | free | for kids | for teachers | DIY classroom valentine | candy-free valentines | DIY valentine craft | Valentine ideas | Valentine's Day cards


More Candy-free Valentine's Printables


You're the BALM
Valentine, you BLOW me away
We make a great PAIR
I TISSUE would be my valentine
I ADMIRROR you
Love is in the HAIR
We were MINT to be together
I'm completely SMITTEN with you
You knock my SOCKS off
I want to SHOWER you with love
It isn't a STRETCH to love you
You're just WRITE for me
Valentine Love List printable

Thursday, February 09, 2017

5 Signs Your Child Needs a Tutor (And How to Find One)

Your child seems to be struggling in school. Maybe in one subject or several subjects. How do you know it's time to hire a tutor?


My daughter, Bria, began the 4th grade in a new state with an entirely new type of math curriculum. As far as math homework was concerned that year, it was awful with a capital A. One would think that even though math isn't my strongest subject I would at least be able to help my daughter with her 4th grade math, but one would be wrong.

The new curriculum involved learning multiple ways to do mathematic functions. I could show her how to do long division the traditional way,  but I had no idea how to help her do lattice multiplication.

It was a very long school year! Bria spent the year crying over her math and I spent it Googling how to do her math for hours each night. It didn't help that Bria was a very shy child who was terrified to ask her teacher for help when she didn't understand something. And even though I spoke to her teacher about it, that particular teacher wasn't willing to help her if she wasn't willing to ask.

So I kept Googling, and Bria kept crying, and somehow we muddled through 4th grade math.

The summer after 4th grade, I had a new voice student, Joe, at the university who happened to be a math major. One day he mentioned in passing that he tutored other university students in math and I had a lightbulb moment.

A tutor! Why didn't I think of it before.

I asked if Joe would be willing to tutor a 5th grader and he jumped at the chance. Bria wasn't super excited about it at first, but it turned out to be one of the very best things I ever did for her. Coupled with a 5th grade teacher who was willing to work with her, meeting with Joe every week for two years helped her to be confident in math.

If I had it to do over again, I would have hired a tutor much earlier. Bria showed all the signs of really needing one, and knowing how much it helped her, I know that would have been the best decision for all of us!

does my child need a tutor? | math tutor | reading tutor | homework help | elementary school | middle school | junior high | high school | tutoring resources | how to find a tutor | tutor for student | help with homework


5 Signs Your Child Needs a Tutor


1. Her grades are falling despite working hard


For Bria, it started with math. But then the stress of not understanding that one subject began to leak into her other schoolwork. If you notice that your child's grades in a particular subject are slipping, it may be time to think about hiring outside help. There are, of course, many other reasons that grades could fall, so be sure you talk to her teacher and notice whether any other signs are pointing to not understanding the subject matter.

I personally check my kids' grades online fairly often so I can catch these things sooner than later.

Related: The Pros and Cons of Checking Your Child's Grades Online (And Why I Still Do It Regularly)

2. Homework takes longer than is reasonable


You know your child best. If he is suddenly taking longer on his homework, you may want to do some investigating. It could be he just needs a break before starting, is hungry, or tired. But if it is consistently happening, there may be something big that he just isn't understanding.

When kids are struggling to understand a subject, they will often keep trying and trying while becoming more and more frustrated. Alternatively, they will give up and not do their homework at all.

3. He shows frustration with certain school subjects


Homework is one thing, but if he loudly proclaims how much he hates reading on a regular basis, that is cause for concern. Listen to what your child says about his school work. Sometimes you will have to outright ask, but if he is constantly telling you he doesn't get it or dislikes a subject, it's time to start thinking about getting him extra help.

4. She no longer enjoys school


When a child who once enjoyed going to school, if only for the social aspect, suddenly stops wanting to go to school at all it may indicate that she is struggling to keep up with the subject matter. Likewise, if she is feeling more anxiety than is normal when there is an upcoming test, it's time to investigate what is causing the problem.

5. Parental help isn't helpful


Sometimes you are enough to help your child through the difficulty. But sometimes the parental help is either not enough or simply doesn't actually help. You may understand the subject matter just fine, but the dynamic of having a parent help doesn't always work. It's often better to have a more objective third party help out with the subject your child is struggling in.

Or, you may be like me, and 4th grade math turns out to be completely over your head! In that case, it's always better to hire someone who thoroughly understands the material.

So you kid needs a tutor—here's how to find one


Talk to the teacher


Besides helping you to figure out whether or not a tutor is the right route to take, your child's teacher will probably have some suggestions for you as well. She will be aware of people in the community who offer tutoring services, or special programs the school might offer that will be helpful for your child.

If your child is in elementary school, you might also try calling the local high school or university/community college and asking if there is a qualified student who would be willing to tutor your child.

Ask other parents


Other parents have had to hire tutors, too, and will be full of suggestions. I love asking questions like this on Facebook—it's such a great way to quickly get the request out there and I have found that other parents are always so willing to help with things like this. Those other parents may also be willing to offer their own expertise in tutoring your child, too.

Sometimes other family members can help, and your child might be more receptive to that. My youngest daughter, Sophia, always does better when her grandma helps her with her homework instead of me! It was nice to have my mom around when we lived with my parents for a semester last year, because Sophia always got the homework help she needed without tantrums!



Look into tutoring programs


We don't have anything like this in our area, but I know many areas have tutoring centers that can help in many areas as well as with standardized testing preparation. These can often be a little pricier, but they may also be well worth the money if it gets your child back in the game.

Try online tutoring help


Sometimes scheduling is too difficult for a live tutor or a tutoring program. In that case, you might want to try YouTube videos such as The Khan Academy for math, sciences, and test preparation.

I have also recently discovered a cool math tutoring app called Thinkster Math. Your child will do the work on a tablet or other device, and then a tutor who is assigned to them will work with them remotely. To learn more about how it works, you can go to their site and watch the video.  You can also sign up for a one-week free trial and see if it's the right option for you. The app offers tutoring for math in levels Kindergarten through 8th grade.

The pricing for Thinkster Math is comparable to using a live tutor, in my experience.



Whatever you decide to do, if your child is showing signs of needing extra help in school, you won't regret hiring someone to help. It's the best thing I ever did for Bria, and although math still doesn't come easily to her—especially now that she is in high school—she has more confidence in her abilities. And now she isn't embarrassed to ask for a tutor when she needs one. Above she is pictured with a math tutor we used for a while for Algebra, and she has gotten some help from one of my friends this semester.

Make sure your child knows she isn't dumb just because she needs a tutor. Frame it in a positive light, and she will most likely be relieved for the extra help.

Monday, February 06, 2017

I "Admirror" You Valentine's Day Printable

At the end of January, I generally go on a quick Valentine's Day shopping spree for my girls. I look for small, useful items that I know will appeal to tween/teen girls that I can put into their Valentine's Mailboxes.

Valentine's Day printable | fun printable for your valentine | DIY valentine idea | I admirror you | from your secret admirer | mirror gift idea


Part of the tradition is making a little card to go with the little gift. The hard part is then coming up with fun and cute sayings to go with the items! So when I saw the compact mirrors, I knew they would be something my girls would really love, given that they are always stealing mine out of my purse—but I had no idea how I was going to make a valentine saying out of them!

After a brainstorm session, I still couldn't come up with anything for the mirrors, so I asked The Maestro. He immediately thought of "I admirror you." Isn't he clever?

Valentine's Day printable | fun printable for your valentine | DIY valentine idea | I admirror you | from your secret admirer | mirror gift idea


It was perfect, so I went with it. Bria, my 16-year-old, said it was her favorite thing she's ever gotten in the Valentine's mailbox. So it was definitely a win!

I bought our mirrors at Michael's for $1.50 each in their little dollar section by the checkouts. I looked on Amazon, though, and found all sorts of adorable compact mirrors there!


To download: 

Enter your email address in the form below and the printable will be sent straight to your inbox. If you are on a mobile device, click here to see the form.


Valentine's Day printable | fun printable for your valentine | DIY valentine idea | I admirror you | from your secret admirer | mirror gift idea


Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 05, 2017

We Make a Great Pair Valentine Printable

I give cute valentine socks to my girls for Valentine's Day every single year. In the past I've always used the saying "You Knock My Socks Off!" but this year I felt bored of it. I thought about it for a while and finally came up with "We Make a Great PAIR!"

Valentine's Day printable | valentine | valentine socks | We make a great pair | free printable download | classroom valentine idea for kids | DIY Valentine idea

I just love finding cute holiday socks for my kids. I mean, they always need socks it seems like, so it's a gift that I don't feel bad about buying. And for holidays like Valentine's Day, you can find them pretty much anywhere you go.

Here are a few fun ones on Amazon: Lavender infused fuzzy heart socks, sock monkey love socks, love whale socks, and XO XO socks.

Here are the socks I purchased this year:

Valentine's Day printable | valentine | valentine socks | We make a great pair | free printable download | classroom valentine idea for kids | DIY Valentine idea

I never bother attaching the printable to the socks since the whole package is just going into their Valentine Mailboxes. If you are wanting it to be attached, you could put the socks into a cellophane bag or leave the cardboard label on the socks and glue the printable to the label.

Valentine's Day printable | valentine | valentine socks | We make a great pair | free printable download | classroom valentine idea for kids | DIY Valentine idea


I have to say, this is one of my favorite printables I've made!

So cute!

To download: 

Enter your email into the form below and the printable will be sent to your inbox. If you are on a mobile device, click here to see the form.


Happy Valentine's Day!

More Valentine's Printables

You're the BALM
You BLOW me away
We were MINT to be together
I'm completely SMITTEN with you
You knock my SOCKS off
I want to SHOWER you with love
It isn't a STRETCH to love you
You're just WRITE for me
Valentine Love List printable

Thursday, February 02, 2017

I "Tissue" Would Be My Valentine {free printable}

When I do these Valentine printables for my kids every year, I hate to give them gifts that are just going to add to the clutter. I like to give them things that are practical that I know they will use. So, I generally wander around the store and find things that are useful that I know they will appreciate.

The hard part is coming up with cute sayings that incorporate the items.

Valentine's Day printable | Tissue | Tissue would be my Valentine | printable valentine idea for kids and teenagers | classroom valentine gift
Today I gave them tissue packets—believe it or not, teenage girls LOVE having tissue packs handy, so I knew this was something they'd like receiving. But I wasn't sure what on earth I was going to put on the printable to go with them!

I thought and I thought, and then I realized that "tissue" rhymes with "wish you." So instead of "Wish You Would Be My Valentine" we have "Tissue Would Be My Valentine." Not the cleverest of cute sayings, but it will have to do because I couldn't come up with anything else!

Valentine's Day printable | Tissue | Tissue would be my Valentine | printable valentine idea for kids and teenagers | classroom valentine gift


I just used a glue stick to glue the card onto the tissue packets. Simple and fast.

To download:

Enter your email into the form below to receive the printable via email. If you are on a mobile device, click here to see the form.


Enjoy! Happy Valentine's Day!

Valentine's Day printable | Easy Valentine idea | Tissue would be my Valentine | printable valentine idea for kids and teenagers | classroom valentine gift


More Valentine's Day Printables:

You're the "BALM"
You BLOW me Away
We were "MINT" to be together
I'm completely "SMITTEN" with you
You knock my SOCKS off
I want to SHOWER you with love
It isn't a STRETCH to love you
You're just WRITE for me
Valentine Love List printable

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

February 2017 Visiting Teaching Handout

Last month I made the guess that we might perhaps be talking about the Relief Society for the entire year of visiting teaching. I suppose I guessed that because the last few years have been pretty thematic with Attributes of Christ and The Proclamation on the Family. But, when I opened my February Ensign and read the visiting teaching message, I found I was wrong!

The February visiting teaching message is "Christ's Atonement is Evidence of God's Love." It was honestly exactly what I needed to hear—I've had a pretty hard month. I have even actually said to my husband that I wasn't feeling very loved by Heavenly Father lately. But then I realized that I probably wasn't utilizing the atonement enough in my life.

I'm still working on it.

visiting teaching printable handout | February 2017 visiting teaching message | LDS | Romans 8:35 | Love | Atonement of Christ | visiting teaching handout | free printable download | Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? | Jesus Christ Atonement


But I definitely felt this month's visiting teaching message was meant just for me.

For the handout this month I had a hard time picking a quote. Ultimately, I chose just a segment of the scripture from Romans 8 because it talks about Christ's love. And since it's February, a quote focusing on love seemed like the perfect thing to display in our homes.

visiting teaching printable handout | February 2017 visiting teaching message | LDS | Romans 8:35 | Love | Atonement of Christ | visiting teaching handout | free printable download


To download:

Enter your email address in the form below. If you are on a mobile device, click here to see the form.


To print:

The file you will download is in JPG format. I print mine out on 5x7 glossy photo paper on my printer at home. Many sisters choose to send the file to a photo center such as Walgreens to get theirs printed.

You can also print it onto regular paper. If a PDF file is preferable, just reply to the email you get and I will send it to you.

Enjoy!

You "Blow" Me Away Valentine's Day Printable

Free printable valentines cards for use with bubbles, blow pops, or gum: Valentine You Blow Me Away!
It's February 1st, and at our house, that means we break out our traditional Valentine Mailboxes. A few years ago I purchased some cute mini-mailboxes and a new tradition was born—every day from February 1-13, the girls get a small gift from me in their mailbox. I put the flag up when I fill it so they know when they should look.

A fun family tradition—leave small gifts or candy in the mailboxes every day in February until Valentine's Day.
I love how every February 1st they run home and look for the mailboxes. I put them somewhere different than usual this year and it was fun for me to see how excited they were to find them after school today.

Today's little gift was just some mini-bubbles. I found mine at Target, but you can also find them here: Valentine Mini Bubbles. The saying I came up to go with the bubbles is "Valentine, You BLOW Me Away!"

Valentine's Day printable | classroom valentines |DIY Valentine idea |  You blow me away! | bubbles, gum, bubblegum, whistles, blow pop | free printable download | Love | Valentine | Valentine's gift | Valentine party favor


We love our fun mailbox tradition, but most of the printables I make to go into the mailboxes are perfect for classroom valentines, too. Or to give to someone just because it's Valentine's Day!

Because of the saying, you could use this printable with several different items: Bubble gum, bubble tape, blow pops, whistles, or gumballs.





To download:

Enter your email into the form below. If you are on a mobile device, click here to see the form.


The printables are sized 3x5 inches—mainly so they fit perfectly into the mailboxes, but also so I can fit four to a sheet. I printed them out on white cardstock, punched a hole in the corner, and then used some pink string to tie the bubbles on. Super easy!

Valentine's Day printable | classroom valentines | You blow me away! | bubbles, gum, bubblegum, whistles, blow pop | free printable download | Love | Valentine | Valentine's gift | Valentine party favor
And, even better, super cute!

Happy Valentine's Month!

P.S. If you would like to purchase cute little mailboxes similar to mine, click here: Red Mailbox, White Mailbox, Pink Mailbox.