First Day of School Printable Sign – 2017 – Customized Signs from Preschool to College!

First Day of School Printable Sign – 2017 – Customized Signs from Preschool to College!

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL PRINTABLE SIGNS  – UPDATED FOR 2017! If you are looking for first day of school signs, here you go! We’ve done these the last few years, this year I just updated this page – all signs say 2017, plus daycare added in!

Free Printable First Day Signs!

First day of school printable signs are always a fun way to start off a new school year. We have taken first day of school photos with signs for the last few years (see 2012 and 2011 and we did them for 2014-2016, but just updated this post).  Last year we added in first day of school signs for daycare and preschool, those were a hit! 

2017 First Day of School SignsI don’t know about you, but with 4 kids – I want to see what grade they are in – so instead of just 1 first day of school sign, I created several!  I hope that these come in handy on your first day of school, as I know they will our’s.  I snapped this photo of our soon-to-be first grader this morning for the blog. In his summer haziness “Mommy, this isn’t’ the first of day of school, is it??” No kid, you have a few more weeks – mommy is just a little bit more prepared for back to school this year (SURPRISED? I am!)

So let’s get to it. I created these back to school signs for each year, preschool to college. Yes, college kids – how sweet would it be to print out a sign and send a photo to your parents on your first day of college? Good luck getting your high schoolers to cooperate. Hoping that my kids won’t be stubborn as I plan on doing this every year, it’s a requirement!

First Day of School Signs – Daycare thru College!

Enjoy! Happy first day of school. I would love to see photos of your kids with these signs! Please post them on facebook.com/digitalmomblog!

Free Printable First Day of School Signs

Just click on the sign you want below – and wa-lah!

Daycare Sign

Preschool Sign

Kindergarten Sign

First Grade Sign

Second Grade Sign

Third Grade Sign

Fourth Grade Sign

Fifth Grade Sign

Sixth Grade Sign

Seventh Grade Sign

Eighth Grade Sign

Ninth Sign

Tenth Sign

Eleventh Sign

Twelfth Sign

College Sign

Happy Back to School!

Post Your First Day of School Photos

Post a photo of your kid with this sign on our Facebook page and we will link up!

Here are my kids, sporting their first day of school signs in 2016:

first-day-of-school-sign

Here is Teresa’s daughter from Madison’s Learning Blog at her first day of college!

View More Digital Mom Blog Printables:

Easy DIY Teacher Appreciation Gifts

Free Star Wars Printable

4 Cell Phone Etiquette Tips To Teach Your Kids Before Giving Them a Phone

4 Cell Phone Etiquette Tips To Teach Your Kids Before Giving Them a Phone

Cell phone etiquette for kids is a thing. It may seem silly, but before we give our kids a cell phone, we must teach them how to use it properly.

Many years ago, we gave our daughter a cheap cell phone. She was YOUNG, but the phone was cheap and the service was monthly so we thought why not. What we didn’t think about is that our daughter, Z has no idea about the basics of cell phone etiquette. She would call people, take all kinds of photos (like of me, cleaning – please no!) and so on.

The second go around when we gave our kids a phone, we did 2 things.

1. Made our kids sign a cell phone contract.
2. Taught our kids basic tips on cell phone etiquette.

Here are the tips that we shared with our kids. I hope they are helpful to you. Parenting is can be a challenge, but just remember – it’s our job to raise our kids to be good people and show them the right way to do things, even things like how to properly use a cell phone.

Cell Phone Etiquette for Kids

cell phone etiquette for kids

1. Times for Cell Phone Usage

Set times for your kid to use their phone!

Decide when your child can use their phone. My daughter was calling or texting (or BOTH) at 6:30 am in the morning. I am NOT a morning person, so this frustrated me to no end knowing that she was waking people up! I heard ALL about it from family members. While they wanted to hear from Z – they didn’t care to hear from her so darn early in the morning!  This past year, I was reminded of setting cell phone times on phones when my darling niece proceeded to call and text me 10 times early in the morning. “GOOD MORNING” “HAVE Z CALL ME” “ARE YOU AWAKE?” “HELLO?” 10 minutes later “GOOD EVENING”.  It’s really funny and cute – but not when you are sound a sleep.

2. Texting

Explain texting to your child. 

Texting is the new phone call. Teach your child about how to spell b4 they get into the txt habit of short cuts.

On a similar note to the last cell phone etiquette tip, teach your child how to text one time not fifty times. 

3. Photos

Explain to your child what photos are okay to take and what photos you DO NOT take.

While yes, sexting is a NO, teach your child what is appropriate. For instance, taking a photo of your brother’s BUTT is a no, even if it’s covered and even if you think it would be funny to send to a cousin – NO. Decide on boundaries in your house, such as do you allow photos in the bathroom (toilet pics, clothed are a thing and I have no idea why!), or in swim suits or pajamas? Those are answers you will need to come up with and decide best what is for your family.

4. Cell Phone Contacts

Decide who your child can give their phone number to and what contacts will be in their cell phone.

My daughter was giving her cell phone number to everyone she could at school. We quickly nixed this. We put the contacts in her phone of who she could call. We only put contacts in that knew would let us know if she got too annoying with the phone. Those were our rules, decide what is best for your child.

Kids Gotta Learn From Somewhere!

These tips may seem like common sense, but kids really just don’t know. Believe me, your family will thank you if you at least just put a limit on times for usage. Nothing like a niece wake-up call, proceeded by 20 texts. *I really do love my niece, it is just hard for me to show love before 9 am.)

Teaching them kids basic common sense tips for using their phone is what we are talking about today in our kids and technology series

What Cell Phone Etiquette Tips Would You Add to the List?

 

A Parent’s Guide to Teens and Social Media

A Parent’s Guide to Teens and Social Media

Teens and social media – those words scare me. Why? Because I am now a parent to a teen and as someone who spends A LOT of time on social media, I know what type of trouble they can get themselves into online. 

Teens and Social Media

While we did let our daughter tip-toe into social media as a tween, her exposure was limited.  Teens and social media is an on-going conversation we are going to have here on Digital Mom Blog. Why? Because we are hearing more and more from parents of teenagers about their kids social media usage and we feel it’s an important topic to address. 

We want this to be a guide for parents to reference in regards to teens and social media. Let’s be real. Social media was NOT a thing when we were teens. THANK GOD. CAN YOU IMAGINE? I don’t even want to know the trouble I would have gotten myself into. I was an early internet adopter and online as a teen, but thankfully there was NO social media or camera phone!

Young and Dumb Before Teen and social mediaLike all things we write here on Digital Mom Blog, this is meant to be a guide that you customize for yourself. When I started writing a parenting blog many years ago, I never wanted to readers to feel like my answers were the absolute answers. I want to provide suggestions and real-life guidance on parenting subjects so that parents know how other parents handle situations. I know that each of my kids are individuals and each requires separate discipline and guidance, so take what is said here and make it your own. Tailor to fit each of your kids. And most important, we want to hear your feedback. More on that, let’s talk teens and social media.

From One Parent of a Teen to Another 

This is from me to you. Some of these things may feel stupid and some you just may not even want to talk about with your teenager. But let’s be real. If we don’t talk to our kids about sex, our kids learn on their own. 

Rule for Teens Posting on Social Media

I read some great advice from teen YouTube sensations Brooklyn and Bailey McKnight’s father, Shaun McKnight. He said that the twins have a “three Ps” rule whenever they’re considering what’s appropriate to vlog. “If you wouldn’t say it in front of your parents, pastor and principal, then don’t put it out there,” he said. I love this rule and can be applicable to any of the social networks! (source: Cnet)

Digital Footprint

We often emphasize to our kids that whatever they post online stays online. Teach your kids about their digital footprint – what it is and how it can follow them for MANY years to come.

Teach Digital FootprintA great example to share with your kids is the recent news about how Harvard rescinded admission to 10 students because of offensive Facebook memes. (Read more about this here on Forbes.) Just because you think the conversation or what you are posting is private, it really isn’t. Time and time again, examples of such play out. From hiring to college to in general real life reputation, knowing about your digital footprint and what to post and what not to post is a lifeskill kids NEEDS to know. 

 

Talking to Teens About Social Media

If we don’t talk to our kids about social media, they WILL learn on their own. Even if your teen doesn’t have a phone, they will have access to social media. This is one of those on-going conversations that you need to have with your kid. This isn’t a talk once, and done. As social media changes, and your teenager experiments – you must be on top of what is going on in their lives. 

 

Teens Online - Social Media is a beast!Clear Expectations and Understanding

I have always told my kids, whatever they do one their phones, tablets and computers – I have access to. I like setting clear expectations and understanding that they cannot hide things from us. We pay the bills and more so, our job is to be their parent. Being a parent means guiding them on the rights and wrongs in life before they enter the real world. 

Read: Everything You Do Online We Can See

Setting Boundaries with Teens and Social Media

It is important to set boundaries for your teens and social media. 

Set boundaries with your kids onlineFor example, an online boundary that we have setup for our kids is that there is no screens in the bedroom. This puts a clear boundary that smart phones and computers, are not in their bedroom. There is no reason for our kids to need their phones in their room. 

Another post to read is setting boundaries with kids online.  

Sexting Pics

Sexting pics is not something I care to talk to my teen about, but you know what it’s a discussion you must have. As teenagers start experimenting with all things sex, they need to know the consequences for doing stupid things like sexting pics. Make sure you read our post on teen sexting facts. It really bothers me on how clueless teens are when it comes to sexting.

What Apps Are Teens Using?

Check out our post about trending teen apps and learn what teens are using and how.

what apps teens are usingTeens on Snapchat

If you are unfamiliar with Snapchat, familiarize yourself with this app. We have a complete guide to using this app. Read: What is Snapchat?

Teens using snapchat

What you need to know about teens using snap chat and other social media apps.

We don’t want our teen daughter on Snapchat. I know, it’s one of the most popular apps for teens, but guess what – nope. I don’t care if you want to see Kylie Jenner snapchat, it ain’t happening.

Snapchat porn is huge and unnecessary. Online porn access with social media could be an entire post. I’m not going into a lot of detail on that in this post, but just know this is just another reason we are avoiding this teen app. (Actually, it’s not just for teens. Adult usage is huge! I used it for a while, but after a while I stopped using it. I’m an Instagram user for life. 

How many teens are using Snapchat? Despite being an eighth the size of Facebook, Snapchat has almost as many teens as Facebook. 

Instagram offers most of the options of Snapchat now and while yes, there are disappearing photos and what not – we are constantly monitoring her account. This article on a Teen committing suicide because of Snap Chat – this is one of many instances that I’ve read about and nope – we just aren’t going there with our teen. 

What really is disturbing is there are sites dedicated to finding teens on Snapchat. While sure, a teen maybe searching to find other teens on Snapchat. There are also a plethora of pedophiles, sexual predators, weirdos – or whatever you want to call them – that do the same. 

 

 

Social Media Bullying

There is a reason online bullying, specifically social media bullying is getting so much attention online. IRL bullying is bad enough, but bullying online – specifically on social media with apps is easy, feels anonymous and is just awful. From comments or reposting inappropriate photos to social media, social media bullying is not one single thing.

Screen Shots - Teens and social media

This is another subject you need to talk to your kids about. Not only do you need to talk about helping them understand that people are online say things they most likely would never say in person. You need to help them understand that what THEY say online needs to be appropriate. 

Make sure your kids know what to do in the event they are bullied online. The school our teen attends has made it a point to stay on top of this subject. 

Read: Why I’m Not Letting My Teen Watch 13 Reasons on Netflix Alone

It Takes a Village to Manage Teens and Social Media

This isn’t an easy task to do. This will be an online going discussion here as we tackle teens and social media. It does take a village. I have a few family friends and family members following my teenager on social media. I regularly receive comments about some of the sweet things she posts online (she is a total motivator!) Then again, I have received a few comments saying “you may want to look at your daughter’s latest posts.”

Embrace both the good and bad, and use that to help in talking to your teen.

Continuing the Discussion

As mentioned, this will be an on-going discussion here on Digital Mom Blog. We feel that we need to keep this discussion relevant and up-to-date as everyday social media grows and changes. And everyday, more and more teens are involved in social media.

What topics in regards to teens and social media do you want to know more about? What advice do you have to parents in regards to their teens online? Let us know! Your input is valued! Leave a comment below. 

As more subjects come up, we will be discussing those topics here – so stay tuned.

 

Technology Tickets – Limiting Your Child’s Screen Time

Technology Tickets – Limiting Your Child’s Screen Time

Technology tickets and screen time. Let’s discuss.

Recently I attended the Activision Games for Girls Summit and a topic several of the moms were discussing was in regards to whether or not to limit your child’s screen time.

Screen Time and the Kids

In our house, screen time is defined by any electronics for our kids. These can include: TV, computer, iPod, Wii, xBox 360 or iPad.

Limit Screen Time with Technology Tickets

Personally in our family, we have a liberal policy. A few rules we try (hey, we aren’t perfect) to enforce are:

  • No screen time an hour before bed. (Also read: No Screens in the Bedroom!)
    (This is the rule that most likely is to be broken)
  • Homework MUST be complete before any screen time.
  • If anyone is giving attitude or fighting occurs, no one gets screen time.
  • If friends are over, screen time is limited.
  • We really try to encourage educational games.

There have been times where we have thrown are hands in the air, like many parents as to how to control technology with our kids.

Technology Tickets

Recently, I was introduced to the idea of technology tickets. These are tickets that are given to your child at the beginning of the week.  A set number is given to each child and each ticket represents an allotted amount of time with technology.

Mom and Dad can have extra technology tickets to hand out as rewards.

Once a technology ticket is used, that’s it for that ticket until the next week.

Of course rules would need to be put in place per household, such as no using after 7 or only using up to 3 tickets in a row. Depending on each child and each parent a variety of rules could be set.

I love this idea – especially for parents looking for a solution to allowing kids screen time but without being overly strict.


download technology tickets


Moms Who Use Technology Tickets

Here are several blogs talking about using technology tickets, see how they do it!

Technology Tickets – was originally published on December 14, 2011

Read more on Screen Time

How Do You Handle Screen Time with Your Kids?  Have you used technology tickets? Leave a comment and tell us!

7 Things You Need to Know About Teen Sexting

7 Things You Need to Know About Teen Sexting

Teen sexting is something you hear about time and time again. Photos leak of nude teens, lives and reputations are ruined. (Note: you don’t have to be a teen for photos to leak, hello iCloud hack!)

Updated 4/25/17: With the new 13 Reasons Why Netflix series – the sexting and teens discussion is more prevalent than ever. Be aware of what is going on in your teen’s life. It could save them or a friend from hurt and possibly tragedy. 

I personally haven’t had to address the problem with my child, but the day is quickly approaching when I will need to sit down and have a heart to heart discussion on what sexting is and the consequences. I want to make sure to approach this topict as normal as possible. We did this with the sex talk. It was conversation not a lecture. ALL the FACT were laid out. We made sure the situation was right – that she felt as comfortable (as can be, I mean who REALLY LIKES the idea of talking about sex with their parents). All that said, we want her to hear us and hopefully for there not to be some weird situation 5 years down the road where there are inappropriate pictures being sent and then posted to the internet.

Teen Sexting

7 Things to Know About Teen Sexting

If you are in the teen parenting stage, I’ve rounded up these 7 things to know about teen sexting. Hopefully these will help as you have discussions with your teen or tween on the subject.

1. Child Pornography

Sending or receiving a sexually suggestive text or image under the age of 18 is considered child pornography and can result in criminal charges.

source: chicksincrisis.org

Teen Sexting - 7 Things You Need to Know About Teens and Sexting2. Peer Pressure

While nearly 70 percent of teen boys and girls who sext do so with their girlfriend or boyfriend, 61 percent of all sexters who have sent nude images admit that they were pressured to do it at least once.

source: chicksincrisis.org

3. Why Do People Sext

According to a focus group held by the Pew Research Center, there are several reasons why teens decide to take part in sexting:

  • Some see sexting as a “first step” before they decide to become sexually active;
  • Sexting can be used in a romantic relationship between partners;
  • Other teens think that sexting is a good way to tell someone that they show interest in a future relationship.

There are several other reasons, unrelated to personal relationships that also lead people to send nude images on cell phones. The most common was peer pressure that leads many young teens, especially girls, to feel that they have to send sexually explicit images of themselves over the Internet.

Others treat sexting as an experiment, wanting to send these images before they become sexually active.

source: reachout.com

4. Semi-Nude

Sending semi-nude or nude photos is more common among teens girls. 22% of teen girls report sending images of this nature, while only 18% of same-age boys have.

source: dosomething.org

5. If You Are Sexting

If your teen is sexting, here is what Psychology Today suggests:

If you’re involved in sexting, STOP! There are too many dangers involved. Delete as many pictures and scrub the internet as much as possible. Ask the person for whom you sent the sext to delete it.

If you’re exposed by an act of retaliation, use the following measures to protect yourself:

  • Remove all risqué pics from your computer, phone, etc.
  • Ask the person who exposed you to stop in an electronic form. You can use this as evidence, especially if the response is inappropriate.
  • Print out all evidence from the sites you are on.
  • Block those who are determined to take you down.
  • Report any abuse to site operators and ask them to remove pictures.
  • Report it to the authorities if it isn’t taken down and take your evidence with you.
  • Google yourself periodically and if you have a mutual friend, have them let you know if pictures resurface on the ex’s site.

source: psychologytoday.com

6. Unwanted Sexts

If your teen is receiving unwanted sexts – here is what they should do.

  • Text or private Facebook message the sender. Go easy the first time you ask them to cut it out. For example, a teen could say something like “Don’t send me this stuff, don’t you know my mom is constantly checking my messages?” If that doesn’t work then go with the direct approach and call or confront the person face to face and tell them to stop.
  • If you feel threatened by the message or photo block the person and cut off all contact with him or her.
  • If he or she still does not stop, get law enforcement involved. Make sure that you keep copies of all messages for your records and evidence if needed.
  • If your teen is getting sexts, then step in and help him/her out. If you suspect your teen is sexting, talk to your phone provider about programs to keep your teen from sending sexts.

source: psychologytoday.com

7. Teen Sexting in Middle School

This is something from Boston.com

Did you know that 20 percent of middle-schoolers (or at least the ones with phones that can send and receive texts) report receiving a sexually explicit message, otherwise known as a sext?

Maybe I need to move up that discussion with my 11-year-old on sexting!  The article goes on to state that 65 percent of middle schoolers own phones. And of those that had phones, 39 percent sent at least 100 texts PER DAY. The middle schoolers that sent at least 100 texts per day were more likely to send and receive texts, as well as be sexually active.

source: boston.com

We’re covering 31 days talking about kids and technology. Today’s topic, teen sexting.

Quite eye-opening for sure! Back in my day, we didn’t have smart phones…

How Do You Discuss Sexting With Your Kids?

 

Fidget Cubes and Fidget Toys – Friday Fave Gadget

Fidget Cubes and Fidget Toys – Friday Fave Gadget

Fidget cubes are all the rage from elementary to high school. What are these things, why do kids love them, why do parents like them and why do teachers HATE them? Let’s break it down with this week’s Friday Fave – Gadget of the Week. 

Fidget Cubes and Fidget Toys

Fidget cubes are 6-sided desk toys that will keep your fingers busy. Fidget cubes (or fidget toys) specifically designed for people who can’t keep their fingers still, and whether you’re a clicker, a flicker, a roller or a spinner, the cube has something to satisfy every type of fidgeter. 

fidget cubes fidget toys

Why is are fidget cubes our favorite gadget this week? Fidget toys help with focus, attention, calming, and active listening and as a mom – this is a total win! Another bonus? These toys are CHEAP. Amazon has a great selection – many under $10. 

You aren’t limited to just the cube. Since gaining popularity, there are now spinners and clickers, as well as an array of other fidget toys. These toys help keep the kids’ fingers occupied and moving which is great – especially in a classroom setting. Rather than distracting classmates – the kids can move their fingers and move around the toys or cubes various mechanisms to help them self-regulate their behaviors. (Mom tip – these are great for the car when you don’t want the kids to have technology!

Fidget Cubes and Kids

These are the new stress ball. Fidgeting is something I am guilty of, so of course – I’ve managed to pass down that fidget jean to my children. 

One of our kids has A.D.H.D. (I, myself have this as well) and another child has sensory processing disorder. Fidgeting is something that we just can’t help doing – so focusing the fidgets to a toy does help bring some calm and normalcy to some situations. 

For years, I had a clicker on my keychain. I would use it whenever I needed something to occupy myself with as I worked. The clicker finally clicked one too many times and died. When I noticed the fidget toys becoming popular, I was excited to get my hands on one – also to get these for my kids (especially the 2 who need to move!)

If you have a young children, check out our post – 20 toys to help fine motor skills

Sensory Processing Disorder and Anxiety

Fidget toys come in all forms include fidget spinners

Fidget Spinner – Available at Amazon

Anxiety is another issue that fidget toys can help with. They can help the brain focus on something other than the situation causing anxiety. 

Our child with S.P.D. (sensory processing disorder) has a collection of fidget toys that the teacher has provided when needed in class. Speaking of these toys, let’s look at how they are being used in schools. 

Fidget Cubes in Schools

Each our 4 kids are in school and all have classmates with fidget cubes. It’s so funny to me how these trends happen. Last year, it was bottle flipping. Every single kid was bottle flipping. A few years back, who remembers silly bands? Every year there is something new – so this year, the fidget cube wins fad of the year.

fidget cubes in schools

It’s testing season and kids are required to sit still after they finish and read. Several of my friends’ kids were allowed to bring these toys to class to help pass time, quietly. 

Could fidgets help kids in class? Here is what PJ Media says:

…a 2005 study at the University of Hertfordshire found that “children who fidget with their hands in the class learn more quickly than those who stay still.” Use of “manipulating objects,” researchers said, “is known to activate the brain.” Dr. Karen Pine, of the University of Hertfordshire stated, “Therefore, far from restricting children from moving their hands, if teachers encouraged more fidgeting in the class they might find children actually learn more.”

Why Do We Fidget?

According to Science Focus.

Fidgeting is a response to anxiety or boredom. Anxious fidgeting occurs because the body has elevated levels of stress hormones, which are prepping your muscles for sudden exertion.

More On Fidgeting

ADHD and Fidgeting

From the Boston Globe

Julie Schweitzer is a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of California, Davis, where she’s also part of the Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders (MIND) Institute.

She has studied ADHD and fidgeting — one recent study of teenagers and pre-teens suggested that fidgeting might improve the cognitive performance of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder — but she stops short of calling fidget toys a “treatment.”

fidget cubes fidget toys

Is Fidgeting a Productivity Tool?

Here is what Fast Co Design says….

People deep in thought often have a compulsion to fidget. The action might thwart boredom during intense focus. And these mini mind breaks may even be necessary for people to perform their jobs well

Why We Fidget While We Work

Fast Company looks at why we fidget while we work. 



Do your kids use Fidget Cubes and Fidget Toys? If so – have you noticed a difference? Leave a comment!

How your kids can benefit from fidget cubes