**New version of My Parent Plan coming out May 30 2013 while I will be at the Book Expo of America in New York City. Please check back May 30 for info on the UPDATED VERSION!
While I’m known today as “TechMam ...
On Nov. 7, I was thrilled to speak at a KidTech Meetup organized and moderated by Chandini Ammineni , Co-Founder of Activity Hero, to discuss how Kid Tech startups can get in front of their target audience. Speakers included @iRewardChart, ...
On Nov 27, I was excited to participate in the Palo Alto Tech Using Educators (PATUE) weekly edtech conference series. The organizer of this discussion was Sam Patterson (@LearningsLiving). His website, “Paperless Classroom”, is ...
At the recent launch of Office 365 Home Premium in New York City’s Bryant Park, I had the opportunity to experience the new features of Office while talking to some very exciting people (keep reading to find out who!). The Microsoft ...
I was one of the lucky ones. As a Senior Manager at a top consulting firm with a 4 year-old son and twins on the way, I was offered options. The firm was very serious about providing a family friendly workplace, so I could have taken mater ...
This has been a busy time for the Women’s Movement. Today happens to be International Women’s Day 2013 which has “thousands of events are held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate achievements“. The d ...
I was lucky to be invited many years ago on a magic bus ride to CES, which was the first time I had a fun adventure with the team from Parnassus Group (Steve Broback, Jason Preston and more). Over the years they always had the pulse of soci ...
**I have doing research on educational environments for my own kids and found out about Six Seconds.org. Their about page explained “Through 15 years of global experience and extensive research, we’ve found that the scientifically-bas ...
With my busy life as a working mom, I am always on the move. This requires my technology to be flexible, fit my lifestyle and be available for the kids especially when it’s homework time. Finding the right technology tools c ...
Our busy family of five keeps organized as long as our schedule is managed and under control. A messy schedule results in a messy family life. I use technology to create a workflow and make sure everyone understands their res ...
When I wrote my book – My Parent Plan, the goal was to help parents learn how to use professional project planning skills to plan for their family. One important thing to plan for is helping kids understand how to take standardized tests so it is less stressful. I have been looking for resources that can help parents prepare their kids for tests – and the new book out “Test Prep Sanity” by Elie Venezky is just that. Test Prep Sanity provides all the information to help parents create their own “test” plan including: When to start preparing, How to find the best tutor for your child, When to register for the exam and which books to buy, How to make sure your child studies without constant supervision, How to talk about the test with your child, How to handle complaining, What to do if your child won’t study, What to do, eat and wear on test day, When to expect results and How to improve test scores on subsequent tests.
When I decided to write a book on using project planning skills to plan for family tasks, I also decided to revisit my own plan. One of the tasks on the list is to set up a college savings plan for my boys. But there have been so many other “high priority” items on our family list, that setting up an official account went by the wayside. Instead we just used a savings account that stayed dormant for long periods of time instead of creating an active savings plan for college. I decided to take the emotion out of the fact that we had not done it sooner – and commit to setting up an active college savings plan. The timing was great because I received an invite to attend a dinner to learn more about the California 529 College Savings Plan called ScholarShare that has a website, ScholarShare mobile apps and can be found on Twitter at ScholarShare529 and on Facebook. I had heard about 529 Plans before, but had not looked into the details yet.
First I checked out the information on the ScholarShare website to learn details about their 529 Savings Plan: “ScholarShare has state and federal income tax deferral on any earnings, withdrawals for qualified higher education expenses are state and federal income tax free, a low minimum contribution of $25 and high maximum account balance, has no annual account fees and a low annual asset-based fee. There are a combination of 19 investment portfolios to invest in that vary on their investment strategy and degree of risk.”
Just using the ScholarShare mobile app helped me understand how much I need to start investing each month to reach the goal of having an appropriate amount ready by the time my kids go to college. I also realized that the ability to have an amount automatically taken out of our checking account each month to put into college savings may be the only way make sure we contribute each month.
This topic is especially relevant during the holidays because a college saving plan is also something that family can contribute to as a gift. My kids get an allowance and save up for toys and other things they want during the year. So I want to offer to my family the option of giving to a college savings plan as a holiday gift option. The ScholarShare website has a “Give a Gift” option that families can use to contribute.
Do you have a college savings plan for your kids or is it also on your “to do” list? I know that I need to get started.. asap!
Listed below is the information I received from ScholarShare on their features and background info.
Like many parents, as Thanksgiving nears (it is November 22 this year -2012) so does the anxiety of work life balance. If you are entertaining, how do you have time to shop, cook and prepare food along with all of your other parental and work tasks? If you are going to someone else’s house, how do you prepare your kids to make sure they will pleasantly sit through the dinner (cellphones away – for everyone including parents). For those that have anxiety around being with large family events, how do you prepare for that. My “go to” person when it comes to figuring out how to rid my anxiety is my favorite emotion coach (and national parenting expert) Kimberly Clayton Blaine whose website “TheGoToMom” and book “The Go-To Mom’s Parents Guide: Emotion Coaching Young Children” provide essential tips to parents.
Kimberley also hosts a weekly Google + Live Video broadcast each Wed. 11am pst to talk about parenting topics. Today’s topic is on Top 10 Things That Cause Thanksgiving Anxiety and How To Deal With Them, and I will be a co-host. Join us or watch the YouTube video as we share our Thanksgiving anxiety and tips we will be trying. Please also share your tips! I know I could use as many tips as possible!
Thanksgiving Google + Live show with Kimberley Blaine and Beth Blecherman: Top 10 Things That Cause Thanksgiving Anxiety and How To Deal With Them
1. Use your good china. Life is too short not share your fancy dishes.
2. Be sure you have your Happy Place ready Or a xanax around or bottle of wine popped open if your family is getting too demanding or annoying. You deserve a peaceful or at least a tolerable holiday! But don’t push the limits, you still need to be able to carry on a conversation.
3. Keep it low key, if you want to reach out to others to invite them – do it. Keeping it small is dandy too. Or make it easy and take a quick trip to restaurant! Enjoy whoever and wherever you celebrate it with.
4. Outsource your meal. Ask each guest to bring a dish. Who said you have to be chef extraordinaire every year? Or have a gourmet store prepare your whole meal and tell every one you made it. That way you WILL BE chef extraordinaire this year.
5. Capture the moment – Make sure the capture Thanksgiving moments with pictures or video.. That is – as long as it is not in middle of dinner (cellphones at the table = not a good idea).
6. Be Creative – if sitting together for a family dinner is not a good fit – find another way to celebrate thanksgiving. If your kids like to move, either engage in outdoor sports or find an indoor sports facility that is open. Who says you can’t celebrate thanksgiving with your family jumping together in a Trampoline facility.
**Beth added – Or if it is on a sofa together watching the Thanksgiving sports games – so be it! But she and her boys are big Baseball fans (SF Giants rock), so she wishes there were baseball games to watch Thanksgiving weekend!
7. For those still dealing with Hurricane Sandy – just being together with friends or family should be the goal.
8. For those that have holiday anxiety – remember it is just one night. Live in the moment – they go by fast!
9. Get you activity stations ready! Have games, crafts or activities ready the day before, so you can redirect rambunctious kids to keep busy. Yelling and screaming for them to get out of you way all day, isn’t an ideal holiday and you look ridiculous in front of everyone!
10. If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say it. If your mother in law makes gravy that tastes like leather, just “Smile and wave.”
After years of consulting designing and implementing business rules, I was surprised at how hard it is to enforce family rules. Something that seems so straightforward (i.e. do your homework then play video games) is not only complicated but also can be hard to enforce. My consulting background has made it easy to develop my house rules, but enforcement of our family rules is hard.
Creating written rules can be helpful to remind kids (and their parents) of the rules. I have been typing family rules on Microsoft Powerpoint for years. But just recently I saw a post by Sarah Kimmel where she shared a printout she used as a solution for her kid’s messes . Her blog, The Organized Mom, discusses tips and tricks to help families stay organized. Her solution for kids cleaning up their messes helped me realize that printing out family rules is a solution other moms are using as well.
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Beth Blecherman left her position as a Senior Manager at Deloitte for Family Management then decided to blog as a career 2.0. Her personal blog is TechMamas.com (@TechMama ), a platform to discuss technology, social media and her obsession with consumer electronics.
She is the Chief Technologist of Cool Mom Tech, the intersection between tech, parenting and style.
Beth Blecherman (a.k.a TechMama) has been choosen as one of the Nielson Power Mom 50 influencers, TIME.com 140 Best Twitter Feeds, Working Mother.com List of Most Powerful Moms in Social Media , PCMag twitter top 100 and Forbes Top 100 Website for Women.