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Carpool Management Tip: Get Help with Boost by Mercedes-Benz (Giveaway)

Disclosure:  This is a press post. One ride credit was provided to me for review purposes but I also paid for another ride. All of my opinions are my own.

Too busy motherOn TechMamas.com l write about innovative services, apps and websites for parents on TechMamas.com. But just recently as I ramped up my own work,  I realized as a parent with tweens and teens that the main help I needed was driving my kids to and from school/activities after school. I have carpools, but that does not always work because kids go to different activities afterschool. I tried to fit in work during school hours but it seemed like my kids were either always waiting for me to finish something so I could drive them, or waiting to get picked up at times when I was running late from a meeting. Yes, driving my kids around was the one challenge getting in the way of me ramping up my work. So I set off to find a service, website or app that can help me find a solution to my carpool challenges. As would have it, I was lucky enough to see an email from the folks at Boost by Mercedes-Benz on their new innovative transportation service for kids.

 

Boost by Mercedes-Benz

Photo Credit: Boost by Mercedes-Benz

 

Here is the information from Boost by Mercedes-Benz on the story behind their innovative transportation service. The current zip codes covered are in California – Palo Alto (94301, 94302, 94303, 94304, 94305, 94306), Los Altos – 94022, Menlo Park – 94025 and Mountain View – 94043:

 

Story behind Boost By Benz:

Busy schedules and the stress of scheduling for today’s youths seem to be part of the daily family life. Boost by Mercedes-Benz was developed to address that challenge. Boost by Mercedes-Benz (www.boostbybenz.com) is a proof-of-concept business launched by the Business Innovation Team at Mercedes-Benz Research & Development in Sunnyvale. This youth transportation service is designed to transport children safely and reliably to and from the educational and recreational activities that fill their day.

 

 

Knowing how important it is for children to balance school and extracurricular activities, it can be very tough for parents to get their kids from place to place – safely and on time. The goal at Boost is to make parents’ lives easier, while enabling children to participate in more activities. In addition, Boost hopes to minimize the number of vehicles on the road (and in the school driveway) by providing a safe, reliable youth transportation alternative for parents.

One of the goals in Business Innovation is to change the way people think about transportation and with Boost; the team has already seen this shift taking place.

 

 

Technology story behind Boost by Benz:

 

Innovative technology is the backbone of Boost by Mercedes-Benz. We built a seamless system that handles route planning, notifications and updates to allow our Boost Dispatcher, Driver and Concierge to focus on what’s most important, your children.

 

 

We kept a parent’s busy schedule in mind when we built our scheduling and notification system. A simple, three-step process guides you through the one-time, online account setup. Once your family’s info is in our system, simply schedule a ride online by selecting riders, pick-up and drop-off locations, and ideal pick-up and drop-off times. Confirm your child’s ride and you’ll get an email confirmation with the ride reservation details.

 

 

The rest is even easier. We’ve built custom tablet apps for our Boost Team to allow you complete transparency throughout your child’s ride. You’ll be notified via SMS or through our iPhone app 24 hours before the ride notifying you of our arrival time. Then, the day of your child’s ride, we’ll notify you that we’re on our way to pick up your child. When we arrive, we check them in via our technology and you’ll be notified that they’re aboard Boost. If so inclined, you can log in to your account while they’re aboard Boost to get a birds-eye view of their ride. Lastly, we’ll notify you to let you know they’ve safely arrived at their destination.

By blending the ease of technology with the best in transportation, you’ll rest easy knowing your kiddos are safely bound to their next adventure.

 


Overview of Business Innovation:

Business Innovation initiated in 2007 is Daimler’s ‘think tank’ for innovative solutions beyond the core business of car manufacturing. The team deals with future trends and technological, social and cultural developments to create profitable business models. Tested and evaluated on a pilot basis, success stories like car2go and Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy started here as proof- of-concept projects and have subsequently become prosperous businesses. Business Innovation teams are also located at the headquarters in Stuttgart, in Beijing, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires and Sunnyvale, CA. Business Innovation at Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America, Inc. started in 2012.

 

 

Boost by Mercedes-Benz

Photo Credit: Boost by Mercedes-Benz

 

 

Details:

To sign up visit https://boostbybenz.com/. The hours currently are Monday through Friday from 12noon to 7:00pm.  The trips are scheduled online but there is also an Boost by Mercedes-Benz iPhone app and they send texts (I have an Android phone so I used the text option). Pricing will depend on the package you get, but for me it was cheaper then hiring a sitter for their minimum amount of hours per day. Instead I was just paying per ride which worked for my kids schedules.  In the van there is a driver (of course) and a Concierge that is in charge of watching over the kids and walking them to their destination from the car.

 

Boost by Mercedes Benz

Photo Credit: Boost by Mercedes Benz

 

 

Above is one of the press photos of the Concierge that rides with the driver. I used Boost to take my boys to an exercise class. The Concierge greeted me for pickup and then at drop-off walked my boys into the facility and to the class instructor per my instructions. The driver waits with the other kids in the van while the Concierge delivers the child being dropped off. In my experience, both the driver and the Concierge were very friendly and my kids enjoyed using the service (which is the most important thing!).

 

 

Now I just need to figure out my schedule in a way that I can plan the rides in advance.  Boost By Benz usually recommends scheduling rides at least 1-2 weeks prior but some time frames may be open if you need to schedule closer to the date needed. Boost also requires 48 hour cancellation to receive a 100% refund.  They will also be running over the summer! In fact, there is a special promo going on now dedicated to summer booking. Parents can use the discount code “SUMMER15” when they register and checkout on boostbybenz.com to receive 15% off rides (expires on April 30th).

 

 

I am thrilled to know that transportation services like Boost by Benz exist to help busy working parents manage carpooling challenges!

 

GIVEAWAY:

 

Please share your family carpooling challenges in the comments and we will randomly choose one comment to win ONE RIDE CREDIT received when they sign up for Boost by Benz.

 

1. One Blog Post comment per person. One Blog Post comment is equal to one entry (so only one entry per person)  2. Winners are limited by zip codes valid to Boost by Benz stated above and to US residents only 21 years of age or older. 3. If a valid email address is not provided in the entry, another winner will be chosen. 4. The prize is not redeemable in cash and must be accepted as awarded. 5. Approximate value of prizes may vary. 6. All decisions are final 7. By entering any giveaway on this website you release Techmamas.com from any liability whatsoever, and waive any and all causes of action. 7. Contest ends May 6 2014 -10am pst. Winner will be announced by May 7 2014.

 

 

 

Disclosure:  This is a press post. One ride credit was provided to me for review purposes but I also paid for another ride. All of my opinions are my own.

 

 

 

Guest Post: Tech For Modern Parenting By Donna Novitsky, CEO Yiftee.com

Guest Post

 How did our parents raise their families without the luxuries of modern technology? From “old” technology like cell phones to booming new tech industries like eGifting, the experience of being a parent today is so much more convenient than the days of our childhood. It may have been a simpler time back then, but it sure is easier now thanks to the multiple tech options available for families. Here are my modern must-haves:

 

Digital Cameras
Long gone are the days of the stressful family photo session when the number of chances for a decent shot were limited. More often than not, the same image is now photographed dozens of times and weeded out later for the perfect shot. What’s more, most of us don’t even carry an actual camera around. More photos are taken every day with a smart phone than with an actual camera. No more expensive film development, the elimination of an actual camera (who needs more stuff to carry around?), and heaven forbid—no more waiting 60 seconds for the Polaroid to develop. While smart phone cameras are improving rapidly, I still like to use my digital camera for special events to ensure action shots or long video footage is taken at its very best.

 

Video Chat
Whether it’s a school performance or a lost tooth, relatives who live across the country can now be a part of our kids’ daily lives thanks to video chat options like Facetime or Skype. Your child calling grandma to tell her some big news is nothing compared to seeing her face- and letting her see her grandkids! Just a few seconds to connect, and grandma can see the missing tooth or watch a school performance from the audience.

 

Smart Phones
I was watching the film Kramer vs. Kramer recently and noticed the many commonalities that parents in 1979 and parents in 2013 experience alike- themes of heartbreak, joy, guilt, compassion, and utter parental confusion. One scene stuck with me in terms of how life is vastly different for us… Dustin Hoffman’s character was at the park with his young son when the boy fell and hurt his head. The dad immediately picked him up and started running down the street, panicked for his boy’s life, emotional music building throughout the long scene until they finally reached the hospital. For a quick second, I found myself silently asking this fictitious father why he wasn’t calling 911 on his cell phone. Our cell phones are taken for granted on a daily basis- especially if you’re fortunate to own a smart phone. More than a tool for emergencies like calling 911 from a park, it’s is a fast form of communication via text, games and apps for entertainment and information, a camera so you don’t miss a moment, a map so you don’t get lost, and so much more.

 

Digital Video Recorders (DVR)
In the attempt to limit our kids’ screen time, we realize the minutes they spend watching television are valuable. But who’s to say if they’re favorite show will be on at the moment you need it to be? DVR has allowed parents to not only monitor what our kids are watching, but when they are watching it and the best part of all… fast forward the commercials (because, seriously, how many times can a kid say, “I want that!” within a 30 minute cartoon?). Not to mention its benefits for us! Very few of us would be able to watch our favorite shows if we didn’t have them waiting for us to press play at our convenience.

 

eGifting
Sometimes referred to as social gifting, it’s the new way to acknowledge life’s special moments- in two minutes or less! Moms are a thoughtful bunch, but we’re busy! We want to let our friends and family know we’re thinking of them, but too often the thought just passes due to lack of time.

 

The go-to solution for moms in the know is Yiftee. A Yiftee (www.yiftee.com) is a real gift, often $20 or less, sent by smart phone or the web to say Thank You, Happy Birthday, or Just Because. This gifting service is particularly unique in this industry since it’s not only convenient for busy moms, it also helps support local businesses. We created Yiftee because we love our local merchants and appreciate the key role they play in our community, so we wanted to bring profitable business to to help them thrive in an increasingly mobile and online shopping world. And we wanted to offer consumers, our friends and others like us, a way to “buy local” quickly and simply from their mobile phones. Frequently you want to do something a little nicer than a Facebook wall post or an email, and Yiftee is perfect for that! It’s the perfect way to celebrate a new mom, a sister’s promotion, a friend hitting her fitness goal—you name it!

 

Regardless of what inventions help your days run smoother, we can all agree that life as a mom is good. Modern technology just makes it a whole lot better.

 

Donna Novitsky is the CEO of Yiftee, the exciting new mobile app and Internet service that lets consumers send thoughtful, unexpected gifts (most under $20) among friends, family and colleagues quickly and easily via email, mobile and social media.

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

Guest Post: Preschool Tips by Tejal Shah, Founder & CEO KidAdmit

After pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, vaccinations and sleep training the next important milestone to get ready for the is the dreaded preschool application process. Those that have heard countless stories on what a nightmare this process probably think “Where do I start?”

 

Since my own experience was trial and error, I have learned firsthand how to successfully navigate this important milestone to find the perfect preschool by following these five steps:.

 

Step 1:  Determining what’s important

 

Start by thinking of what will work for your family.

1) Location:  Do you need something close to home? Work? Or in between?
2) Schedule: Do you need Part time (half days or full days couple days a week), Full time (everyday typically 9 am-3pm) and/or Extended care (before 9 am and after 3pm)?
3) Program type (Montessori, Spanish Immersion, play based, academic) All are great.  Which is most important to you?
4) Cost: This can range but make sure you add EVERYTHING up.  Some schools include everything while others have an ala carte menu.  To budget properly be sure to ask what’s included and what’s extra.  Extra costs could include: lunch, extended care, summer programs (not all schools are year round), potty training.

 

Step 1 Tips:  

  • “It’s the best school” is a relative statement.  What you think is the “best” may differ from your “know it all” neighbor’s opinion and when it comes to preschools, it can get philosophical, competitive and expensive.  My advice is keep it simple, remain open minded and concentrate on finding what’s best for your family.
  • If you think you need to hold a spot while waiting to hear from another preschool, factor in the non-refundable deposit into your budget.  This deposit can be expensive, anywhere from $200 to one month’s tuition to 10% of year’s tuition.

 

Step 2: Finding preschools that fit into your criteria

 

1) Recommendations and Referrals: An established community can help but keep in mind what works for your friends and family can be very different for your family.

2) Books, Seminars, Local Preschool Fairs

3) Online:  Community forums can help you find local preschools.  There is also SavvySource.com and Greatschools.org.  Google and Yelp are an option but do not have much depth when it comes to preschools.

 

Step 2 tips: 

 

Other online resources are popping up such as KidAdmit (in San Francisco) to help you search and manage the entire preschool admissions process.  Disclosure: I am the Founder & CEO and created the site based on my own frustrating experience of enrolling my son into preschool.  Our hope is to help all parents feel supported and confident through the important, but nerve-wracking, process of preschool enrollment.

 

Step 3: Visiting the preschools by yourself and with your child

 

Many preschools require that you attend a Parent tour or Open House as well as schedule a visit with your child (often called a Child Playdate). This is a great opportunity to meet the staff, learn more about their philosophy and most importantly, get a feel for the environment.  The Child Playdate is equally important.  It is a great way to introduce your child to the concept of preschool.

 

Step 3 Tips:

  • Make sure BOTH parents attend all preschool visits because they pay attention to this as part of their decision making.  Do not be on your phone during these visits.
  • Try scheduling Child Playdates in the morning so your child is rested and fed.  Be attentive to your child as the preschools are watching how you interact with your child.

 

Step 4:  Application

 

Submit each preschool’s application, along with a non-refundable application fee (varies by each preschool) by the specified deadline, which will commonly fall towards the end of the year (December). Many preschools take applications year round too.

 

Step 4 tip:  If you are really interested in a particular preschool, make sure they know this and stay in touch in case a spot opens up sooner.  Don’t spread the love too much as Preschool Directors talk and will know if you are not being genuine.

 

Step 5:  The Decision(s)

 

Preschools usually make their decisions as spots open up which can make the waiting process difficult.  It can be costly if you want to hold that spot (see Tejal’s special Tip above).  After preschools send out their decision letters, you will have to make the final decision on which preschool is the best fit for your child and family.  Be sure to let all the preschools know your decision quickly and professionally. Once you commit, you will being the enrollment process.  This requires a signed contract and a deposit to hold the spot for the beginning of the preschool year. Deposits are generally not refundable but may be applied towards the tuition. State regulated forms will follow with the enrollment packet.

 

My Final Tip:  Remember nothing is set in stone and change is always possible.  Once your child is enrolled and for some reason it’s not working out, don’t worry.  Just go ahead and reach out to the other preschools you were interested.  Just be honest about the situation and they will try to help.

 

What are you looking for in a Preschool?

 

 

 

Tejal is the Founder of KidAdmit, Inc. (www.kidadmit.com), a site dedicated to streamlining the preschool admissions process for parents and preschools.  KidAdmit is creating a better experience for parents and preschools so both can effectively communicate throughout the admissions process. Previously, she co-founded Peninsula Wealth, an independent wealth management firm.  Tejal has an engineering degree from University of rochester.

 

 

 

 

She has 10+ years of professional experience and has built successful businesses in engineering and finance. These experiences, along with the birth of her fun loving boys has led her to the startup life, which is both awesome and hectic!  Connect with Tejal: @KidAdmit and @tejaltshah and https://www.facebook.com/kidadmit. 

 

 

 

Heading To NYC for Book Expo & To Showcase Updated “My Parent Plan”

I’m excited to share that this week I’ll be attending BookExpo America (BEA), the largest author and book event in the nation. The show is being held from May 30th to June 1st at the Javits Center in New York City. You can find me and my book, My Parent Plan: How to Create a Family Project Plan to Organize Your Life and Kids , at Booth #377, where I’ll be joined by Alicia Dunams, and other Best Selling Authors with their new and popular  books. (*SEE bottom of this post for launch events  BOOK SIGNING times).

 

 

An updated version of my book, “My Parent Plan – How To Create A Family Project Plan To Organize Your Life and Your Kids” is now up on Amazon and I will be bringing copies to sign at the Book Expo. The book combines my experience as a Mom of three, quickly-growing boys plus my 20 years in professional project management to help parents understand the process of creating and working through a parenting plan based on their individual family’s needs and personalities. My Parent Plan empowers parents to step back to think about their daily, weekly, seasonal and yearly activities and set up a plan in advance. This gives families the time to find the right information, identify budget-friendly options, consider the needs of each family member and make informed choices to create the optimal family plan.
Without a plan I would have never had time to write this book. When I share with friends and colleagues that I wrote a book, and they know all the other things I have going on they frequently respond, “what – you wrote a book?”  The most wonderful thing is that many of these individuals either have book ideas, are writing a book or have something special they want to share. We discuss the importance of turning dreams into goals, then goals into plans and plans into action. One of my favorite parts of writing this book has been using the tools I talk about to empower other people to reach their goals while facing the challenge of work life balance. Luckily I had a plan that helped me juggle my priorities while keeping family on the top of the list and keeping other lower priority items on hold. For example, I have not washed my minivan in MONTHS. I even took a picture of my minivan so that if anyone asked how I do it, I could show them my secret. Success in one area requires trade offs in lower priority areas.
On topic of success, one of my dearest friends , Barb Gottesman, is not only an amazing life coach but also had life-changing adventures with her family sailing the Pacific Ocean for 2 years.  It was a story that needed to be told so I suggested to Barb, who already had a plan to write a book, to join in the Best Seller program. I am so proud of her – she followed through and (shriek of excitement) she is joining me and the other authors at the Book Expo in New York to announce her new book. Two moms heading to the Book Expo America in New York…proud to show their professional voice reflected in their new books!

 

 

Barbara Gottesman is the author of “How to Slay a Pirate: Lessons on Success from Sailing the Pacific”. The reference to ‘pirates’ in the title refers to the negative self talk that robs people of their dreams.  Barb describes her book as the ultimate guide for setting goals, slaying pirates, and achieving what you’ve only dreamed of until now. It delivers five surprisingly simple lessons and strategies for turning your vision into reality and reaching your true potential.  Accompanied by travel blog excerpts from her own nearly two-and-a-half year family sailing adventure across the Pacific (through Mexico, the South Pacific, and into Australia), How to Slay a Pirate delivers a candid account of challenge, risk and reward to make a compelling case for why finding and following your passion is essential.

 

BOOK EXPO SIGNINGS:

 

Beth BlechermanMy Parent Plan“: May 30 from 1-2pm, May 31 from 11-12pm and June 1 from 1-2pm. I will have an additional special signing on May 30 from 2:00 -2:30pm

 

 

Barbara Gottesman How to Slay a Pirate: Lessons on Success from Sailing the Pacific” will also be signing her books during the following times: May 30 from 1-2pm, May 31 from 11-12pm.  She will have a special signing on May 30 from  3:30 – 4:00 pm.

 

Joining Barb Gottesman and I  will be five other authors from our Best Seller group including:

 

  • Diane Beck, author of Project Management Secrets: Fortune 500 Project Manager Reveals How to Succeed in the Trenches.
  • Melissa Steach, author of The Housing Project: Decorating a Home That Tells Your Personal Story and Reflects the Real You.
  • Suzanne Letourneau, author of Soar with Vulnerability: 11 Insights to the Full Enjoyment of Your Life.
  • Bill Paravanno, author of Knees for Life: The Natural Approach to Eliminate Chronic Knee Pain and Have Strong Healthy Joints That Last a Lifetime…Without Surgery
  • Dr. Sherri Vie, author of Dr. Vie’s Vedic Weight Loss Secrets: Lose Weight, Prevent Disease, and Love Yourself.

 

 

BookExpo America will also feature exhibits, conference sessions, networking and autographs. I can’t wait to share the updated version of my book  and experience the excitement of being part of the world’s largest author and book gathering. If you’re in the Big Apple, stop by, pick up an autographed copy of my book, and join in the excitement!
OTHER FUN AUTHOR EVENTS:
MAY 30 MEETUP (NYC): Bush Street Press and Alicia Dunams, Founder and CEO of Bestseller in a Weekend™ organized a  Meet-up on May 30. Please join us! Click on the following link for more information: http://bpmmeetup.eventbrite.com/

 

 

JUNE 4 VIRTUAL BOOK LAUNCH: You’re invited! Don’t miss out on my virtual book launch party on June 4 from 1 PM to 3 PM (PST).  Win a free autographed copy and some cool prizes. Also learn about the book-writing process, the good and the bad, from me and 7 other non-fiction debut authors by attending our virtual book launch party on June 4 from 1-3 PST. It’s sure to be informative, enlightening, and fun! Sign up for free here: http://bestsellervirtualparty.com.

 

“My Parent Plan” is available on Amazon (CLICK HERE to buy).

 

 

 

 

Vilynx – a busy mom’s best friend in managing family videos

**GUEST POST**: Winnie Root is a busy mom trying to balance between chasing after two very active boys and Director of Communications at a fast-paced Silicon Valley-based startup, Vilynx. She was invited to guest post at TechMamas.com to discuss Vilynx, a video management app for busy moms.
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Over the winter holidays, we took a couple of weeks and travelled to the mid-west to visit family and friends. It was always such a treat to visit and this year the weather even cooperated. We had the perfect snow to make a snowman and snow angels. The boys even got to sled.  Oh what fun! I could show you snapshots but a video just tells so much more.

 

 

I love family videos. We’d sit and watch family videos for hours on a Friday night. The kids love to see themselves when they were just learning to walk or sitting on a high chair making a big mess. I remember in the old days I used to have to connect my camera to my computer to upload the videos, or physically take out the card and plug in into my computer. That was so last year. These days, I use a mobile app called Vilynx to take, organize and share all my family videos.  I have Vilynx on my Android phone, my iPad, and my Nexus 7. The app allows the users to access their family videos that are stored across devices. When I take a video using Vilynx on my Android phone, I can view it on my iPad, my Nexus 7, on my computer browsers, and even on Google TV! The best part is the videos are stored in the cloud account(s) of my choice, automatically. I no longer have to worry about losing my videos or maxing out the storage on my phone.

 

 

The 5-second summary display makes it so much easier to find a particular video. The traditional thumbnail view from my film strip doesn’t always tell me what the videos contain. The Vilynx summary technology solves this problem I had.

 

 

There is also the sharing option which we all can’t live without these days. I can share my videos easily via email or on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in the same 5-second summary format as well as sharing the entire video.

 

 

 

 

 

Vilynx works on my browsers which makes it so easy to insert videos on my blog. I can now simply go to the share option on the web app, copy the iframe and paste it onto my blog. Again, the same 5-second summary format appears. See a tutorial here. If you use WordPress, you’ll have to install the iFrame Widget first.

 

As a mom, I find myself taking more and more videos. Vilynx has been a great way to capture those precious memories.

 
Disclosure: This is a guest post/ press update. This is NOT a sponsored post.
 

 

RedRover Expands To Local Event Listing Streams

Red Rover appWhen I hear of apps and websites that make parents lives easier, I always love to share the details. I just received the press release for a new feature the site RedRover. RedRover offers a fun and social way to search for local activities.  The press release explained “RedRover users follow event listing streams from their favorite places or brands  — kind of like Twitter, but for time-based activities.  The mobile app and website then give the user the ability to sort by date, distance, age groups and categories. The result is a swift and pain-free decision-helper.” I look forward to checking it out and will share more details soon as it comes to San Francisco. RedRover’s Founder and CEO, Kathryn Tucker, shared information about Founding a startup as a single mom on Huffington Post Parents. RedRover currently covers New York City and will be expanding to other cities soon.

 

 

 

 

PRESS RELEASE:

RedRover Introduces Brand New Service So Families Can Have More Fun

 

NEW YORK (March 8th, 2013) – Today RedRover launches a revolutionary new platform to make parents’ lives easier and more fun. Offering parents a new and truly innovative way to discover the things going on in their town that are just right for them, RedRover has broken new ground in social software by launching a unique and clever platform into a demographic long underserved by innovative software.

 

RedRover users follow event listing streams from their favorite places or brands  — kind of like Twitter, but for time-based activities.  The mobile app and website then give the user the ability to sort by date, distance, age groups and categories. The result is a swift and pain-free decision-helper.

 

“Parents lives are hard enough,” says Kathryn Tucker, RedRover’s Founder and CEO, and mother of two. “I wanted to build a service that eases the burden around trying to figure out what to do — there is too much information out there and no easy way to reduce it to just what’s right for me. My goal is to find the easiest way to connect parents with the kind of high quality, fun events they are looking for.”

 

Partners like The American Museum of Natural History, 92Y, and the New York Public Library were quick to sign on. Tucker reached out to more than 200 institutions nationwide and was met with a warm reception. “These non-profits, which have wonderful programming for kids, saw the point of RedRover immediately. The inefficiency of search for parents has kept traffic from their doors. It took no time for them to see the value of a service which consolidates all the available choices and suggests events to the people most likely to enjoy them.”

 

From the New Victory Theater and Central Park in NYC, to the Denver Zoo, The Pennsylvania Ballet, The Bay Area Discovery Museum, The International Spy Museum and the Dallas Museum of Art, RedRover is filled with high quality kid-friendly things to do. Museums, libraries, sports teams, film festivals, farmer’s markets, and nature centers are all publishers on the platform.

 

RedRover partners have the opportunity to publish events in real time and color their event listings with descriptions, photos, directions, and even offers the ability to buy tickets. RedRover gives partners, venues and marketers, a brand new mobile way to reach their customers.

 

“The New York Public Library is proud to be a founding content provider of RedRover. RedRover will promote the diversity of programs available to parents and children, and the Library is excited to share the thousands of free family and educational programs offered by the Library throughout the Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island,” said Johannes Neuer, NYPL’s Associate Director of Marketing.

 

RedRover is available on iPhone and iPad as well as on the web at https://redrover.co.

 

The new platform is launching first in New York City with plans to launch in Atlanta, San Francisco, and across the country in the coming weeks.

 

Test Prep Sanity: New Book Out To Help Parents Prepare Kids For Tests

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.

 

Here is the press release and link to the Prestige Prep website for more information:

Continue reading

 

Book Is Out: My Parent Plan – How to Create a Family Project Plan

“My Parent Plan” is available on Amazon (CLICK HERE to buy).

 

About “My Parent Plan”:

 

“Implementing a family plan is a very interesting premise, and Beth’s book provides a very excellent way to do it.” Guy Kawasaki, author of Enchantment and former chief evangelist of Apple.

 

“My Parent Plan has impeccable advice on every page. It covers topics from communication, date night, finances, and health to the art of delegation and managing the rocky waters of the teenage world. A must read for any mom who wants to organize her family’s world!”  Kimberley Clayton Blaine, author, spokesperson, social media personality and executive producer of www.TheGoToMom.TV.

 

 

As parents, it’s a daunting task to effectively coordinate your family’s daily schedule between work, home, school, childcare, sports, hobbies, community projects, friends, family and everything else in your busy lives. Blecherman offers a step-by-step guide to organize your family’s schedule, taking a practical approach to coordinate priorities and activities inside and outside your home. With a “Parent Plan,” you’ll no longer say to yourself, “I could have done THAT… if I had just been more prepared.” My Parent Plan will give you confidence to respond in a way that’s best for you and your family, resulting in happier parents, happier children and a calmer household!

 

Beth is now applying her years of consulting, technology and family management to help other families use project management and priority setting to create their own “Parent Plans.”

Online Resources:  In my book, I explained that because of how fast technology changes – creating an online resource page will allow me to try to keep as up to date as possible with the online resources available to parents related to creating their plan. Here is a link to the category that will have posts and links to MY PARENT PLAN RESOURCES.

 

I will also be reaching out to my community (yes, that is you) to address your questions, share your family project planning tips and generate the online knowledge and support to complement your own IRL (In Real Life) support system.

 

The BACK STORY:

 

While I’m known today as “TechMama“, discussing family technology across social media platforms, I started my career (before kids and blogging) in Corporate Finance, Computer Auditing, Computer Programming and then Technical Project Management at a top consulting firm. After marrying TechDad and having my first child, I quickly realized that while I had mastered the art of managing technology projects, managing a family was the toughest – yet best – challenge of all.

 

Four years later, my son was joined by twin brothers. Years of parental trial and error mixed with sleep deprivation brought the realization that when I applied professional project planning concepts to parenting – the process worked. While there are always surprises with parenting, using professional project planning concepts helped me lay out a path I could use to understand my family’s needs in advance and create a flexible plan.

 

My parent “project” plan helped keep the family on track and, just as important, helped me, the mama, enjoy motherhood without getting too bogged down in the logistics. For example, instead of just buying the coolest or latest technology gadget, I first documented what features our family needed and how the technology would be used – then purchased the technology that fit with our needs and budget. This helped me make educated buying decisions that would benefit the boys instead of spontaneous purchases that would not hold up over the long haul.

 

Through my experiences, I hope to help parents and families create their own parent plan based on their individual family’s needs and personalities. My book, called “My Parent Plan” , will help you learn to apply project management concepts for parenting, the toughest but best project you will ever have!

 

 

My Parent Plan by Beth Blecherman is available now!  Do you have any parent “project plan” tips or challenges to share? What online sites do you use as resources for information? Please share so I can add them to the online resource section I am developing.

 

 

 

 

Tips To Use Tech (&Low Tech) For Homework Humor

It all started out of my desperation to inspire my teen son to do his homework, without a battle. That journey led me to creating my own 5 ways to use Humor as Incentive for Homework, which I wrote about for a Mashable post. The post shares my tips – along with a very surprising use of the song “Gangnam Style” by Psy (satire of the Gangham district of South Korea which is compared to Beverly Hills in LA).

 

 

 

My journey also took to Kimberley Clayton Blaine (TheGoToMom), who is a Therapist. Her video called -  “Be A Funny Family: Why Kids Need Laughter” taught me that laughter is key for positive parenting:

 

 

 

Having access to watch this video (and others like it) was a good way to arm me with ideas for using humor.

 

My humor post at Mashable also mentioned tips I learned from Mary Kay Morrison, an independent consultant who works in the field of humor studies and brain health has a book: Using Humor to Maximize Learning and Using Humor to Maximize Living. and website: Quest For Humor. Here are more details from Mary Kay Morrison about using humor for homework:

 

  • “Create positive communication between parent and child before homework time by telling riddles, or funny stories as a practice before beginning. Make it a point to engage in mutual laughter as part of the homework routine.
    Create a homework environment of fun. Movement is critical for learning, so encourage frequent movement. Let the child sit on a  yoga ball, give them a squishy ball to use when stressed, or a tennis ball bouncing break every so often. A great break is a laughter break. Laughter yoga is a great way to relax and get oxygen flowing to the brain. Just stand take deep breaths and laugh.”
  • “Set a timer with a reasonable amount of time allowed to complete the work. Let the child know that at the end of this period there will be a surprise. Examples of the surprise would depend on the age of the child, but can include time together reading a joke book. I avoid food as a reward, except on rare occasions, making sure the snack is healthy.”
  • “Be creative. For younger kids, give the child a flashlight, darken the room and have her spell the words on the ceiling with the flashlight. For older kids, do math homework while riding bikes together.”
  • “Have fun with assignments. Without telling them, put sticky notes with quotes, jokes or “I love you” notes inside the book or chapter that they need to read. Use a “hunt for the cards” idea for rote math practice like multiplication. Find weird places in your house and place the flash cards there.”

 

 

Do you use humor as an incentive for your kids to do homework – or humor in other ways? I always love learning new ways to bring (age appropriate) humor into our family.  Beyond Family Guy – which makes my boys laugh – but as the Common Sense Media site says — Family Guy is rated for 14 and above!.

 

 

Photo credit NickS

 

 

 

Texting While Driving Can = Death.. It Can Wait

The lure of texting while driving is a challenge I (and others) have fought for years. But when I became a parent, I felt an even stronger responsibility not to text (or use my phone w/o handsfree accessories or apps) while driving. If not only to be a role model for my kids who will be driving sometime (too soon now that I have tweens), but also for the safety of my family and others.  Using phones in cars without handsfree accessories (i.e. distracted driving) is also illegal in many states.  For years I heard stories of people that were either hurt, hurt others or died from texting (using the phone) while driving.  While it is uncomfortable to watch the AT&T videos where real people share their stories about the dangers of texting and driving as well as a documentary with accident stories, I felt like it was important not only for me to watch but also for my tweens to watch.

 

 

 

 

In a interesting twist of fate, the first person I *almost* knew that could of died from texting or using social media while driving was a celebrity plastic surgeon. The exact cause of his crash is not known, but *speculation* from the news articles links his car accident to possibly his use of social media very close to the time of his accident. I remember the moment I read about his death, I looked at the certificate on the wall that I had been saving for a trial dermabrasion (a skin treatment) and realized that would never come to fruition. Of course, my top feelings were sadness that he had died and sympathies to his family – but having seen his tweets so close to his accident really made me think that it could happen.

 

 

I have worked with AT&T on initiatives in the past. Today I received a press update about the It Can Wait website and thought it was important for me not only to take the It Can Wait pledge (click here) but also to share with my readers in hopes they take the pledge.

 

 

So take the no txting while drivng pledge, be safe.. it can wait!

 

Disclosure: This is a press release update.

 

 

PRESS UPDATE FROM AT&T:

 

 

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