Understanding 3 Common Kinds of Contracts

Contracts are a major part of every industry, but they’re also a source of stress for many inexperienced business owners. If you’re facing an upcoming negotiation, and you’re not sure how to prepare, you can start by gaining an understanding of three of the most common types of contracts — sales agreements, service agreements, and non-disclosure agreements. If you’re entering one of these contracts — or a different contract — you can benefit from the following tips from Dillon Public Library.

Sales Agreement

A sales agreement is exactly what it sounds like — a contract outlining the sale of a product between parties. This type of contract is often drafted in high-value transactions, and like every other contract, it’s essential because it protects all parties involved.

This protection is provided by the clear description of each party’s responsibilities that the contract must include. Every contract, in fact, should include this information — as well as information about dispute resolution, contract termination, and key objectives. You’ll also have to choose which state’s laws will govern the contract. To ensure that each of these items is adequately addressed in the contract, you should do some research before negotiations and draft tentative suggestions for phrasing.

Service Agreement

Another common kind of contract is a service agreement. A service agreement is similar to a sales contract, but rather than dictating the transaction of a product, it dictates the transaction of a service. As such, a service agreement will usually include more details surrounding the agreed-upon delivery, since there are more variables in delivering a service than a product.

When negotiating a sales agreement — or any contract — you should ensure that any included financial information is up-to-date. To calculate accurate figures, you can use an accounting system that provides insights into your company’s financial well-being. This program may also offer a single point of access to all the financial figures you need, including daily cash flow.

Non-Disclosure Agreement

Confidentiality can be a major concern in negotiations, and some parties may request a non-disclosure agreement to accompany any other contracts signed. Sometimes, though, an NDA is a standalone contract that’s used to ensure that one or both parties don’t discuss sensitive information. This can help protect business interests and ensure the contract’s integrity is intact.

An NDA may intentionally omit or censor the names of people involved, but in most cases, branding is advantageous for a contract. Embellishing a contract with your company logo can make it recognizable, and using that same logo across your invoices and documents is a great way to create consistency.

Strengthening Your Hand

Now that you have a good grasp of the basics when it comes to accounting, don’t forget that every aspect of your business is connected. In other words, by strengthening one area – marketing, for instance – you boost the overall health of your business, leaving you in a much better position to negotiate. If you’re new to marketing, spreading the word via social media is a great way to save money, but that will only get you so far. Spend a little time researching your marketing options to plan your next move.

Also, to simplify matters as you work with multiple PDFs – as is common with contracts – use this tool to help you extract PDF pages online for free. That’ll save time and make life a little easier when managing multiple files.

Understand Contracts Before You Negotiate

The best way to prepare for an upcoming negotiation is to review general information about contracts and conduct research about the other party. You want to ensure that you’re negotiating with an authority in the company, and you want to be confident that they’re trustworthy, too. When you do this, you can better understand the other party’s needs and motives — which, in turn, can lead to more productive negotiations whether you’re negotiating with a customer, vendor, or employee. Even a beginning business owner can enter negotiations assuredly with these tips.

Dillon Public Library is a place where families read together and grow together. If you have any questions, let us know!

Image via Pexels

BURNOUT

I am having more conversations lately with people who are utterly overwhelmed.

I have my theories. Two of them are:

  • The makeup of homelessness has changed because Covid “activated” a lot of mental illness. Consequently, there are simply more people in active episodes of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder right now.
  • The “labor shortage” is stressing out over-extended staff.

Are you stressed, overwhelmed or burned out?

If you are, please stick with me through this technical email. I’m writing to you!

WHAT DOES BURNOUT DO TO THE BRAIN?

Burnout (chronic stress) changes the brain in ways that are remarkably similar to PTSD:

  • The Amygdala (responsible for fight or flight) enlarges.
  • The Prefrontal Cortex (responsible for calm, rational thinking) thins.
  • The connection between the Amygdala and Prefrontal Cortex is weakened.

The result? The person has a harder time managing negative emotions.

WHAT FACTORS IN TO BURNOUT?

According to research, there are six factors that affect burnout:

  1. Workload – How many hours are you working?
  2. Control – Do you have any control over how you do your work?
  3. Reward – Do you feel fairly rewarded (both appreciation and money)?
  4. Community – Is your workplace a supportive community?
  5. Fairness – Do you feel that you are treated fairly by the organization?
  6. Values – Do your values align with those of the organization and your co-workers?

Interestingly, the research shows that two of these factors are most important than the others:

  • Control
  • Values

I spend a lot of time talking about values, so let’s talk about control today.

WHY DOES A SENSE OF CONTROL AFFECT BURNOUT?

When we are stressed, our Amygdala causes a release of neurochemicals (cortisol, adrenaline, noradrenaline) and activates the sympathetic nervous system.

If the Amygdala does this frequently enough, the result is burnout.

Now, listen to this beautiful sentence from an article in the journal “Neurobiology of Stress”:

“Intriguingly, the [Prefrontal Cortex]

can turn off the stress response

if it considers that the subject

has control over the situation.”

If that didn’t hit you like a bucket of water in the face, read it again.

If you feel like you have control over the situation, your brain TURNS OFF THE STRESS RESPONSE!!!!

And that, my friends, is why “control” is one of the top two factors for burnout.

WHAT CAN I DO WITH THIS INFORMATION?

I want to issue you a challenge.

Pro tip: If my challenge strikes you as cheesy, go back and re-read above about how control changes your brain’s response to stress.

What is one thing that is stressing you out?

Only pick one.

Overwhelming yourself with a list of worries will not help.

Now, what is ONE THING you can do TODAY to move the needle on this one problem?

Don’t try to solve it today.

Pick one (small) step forward you can make before you leave work today.

Can you call or email someone who might be able to help?

Can you schedule a meeting to address it?

Can you take an hour with a pad of paper and a pen to brainstorm possible solutions?

For today, the important part is not that you solve the problem.

For today, the important part is that you take an active step towards solving the problem.

Seize some control…

It won’t solve all of your problems, but it’ll get your brain on the right track and make it easier to solve your problems.

Hang in there… the world needs your contributions!

Peace,

Ryan

P.S. Don’t forget to order your “Empathy is the Answer” t-shirt, sweatshirt, or hoodie! They are only available through September 30 and then they are GONE! You can check them out at this link: https://www.bonfire.com/store/homeless-training-institute/

How to Stop the ‘Summer Slide’ in Its Tracks

Photo Credit: Mikhail Nilov via Pexels

How to Stop the ‘Summer Slide’ in Its Tracks

Summer is on the horizon and that means long days and late nights. Unfortunately, for many children, it also means heading down the “summer slide,” a term used by teachers across the country to describe a reduction in academic abilities during the summer months. Don’t let your child go back to school this fall further back than they were in May. Here are a few great ways you can help struggling students stay afloat.

Get to Know Your Child

Even if you and your children are as close as can be, there are many things about them that you may not realize, one of which is their learning style. While you may learn best by reading or through social interactions, your child might retain more information using his tactile senses or through music and sound. There are seven learning styles, and Learning-Styles-Online reports these as visual, aural, verbal, physical, logical, social, and solitary. Determining which way your student learns best can help you formulate a plan to help them do better in school this coming fall and for the entire 180 days that follow.

Although reading may not be your child’s top learning style, it is an important practice to encourage. One of your most valuable educational tools is your local library. Reading just 20 minutes each day is proven to give children an academic edge. If your children are younger than first grade, read with them. Older children, meanwhile, should be able to handle books, magazines, or interesting online articles on their own. If your child is not particularly interested in reading, a quick visit to the library may encourage them otherwise.

Imagination Soup points out there are plenty of free summer reading programs (Oceans of Possibilities) to keep kids engaged, too. And libraries like Dillon Public Library offer a summer reading program to stop the summer slide as well as other educational programs that make reading and learning fun for your kids. And if the internet or computer access is hard at your home, public libraries are a great place to access free technology.

Log on for Fun

More than just reading, there are other activities that can help your child retain – and expand – their academic knowledge over the summer. Kids who are technologically inclined may enjoy spending a few hours each week on one of the many fun and educational websites that cater specifically to budding minds. National Geographic Kids, Starfall, and Fun Brains are three excellent learning websites recommended by VeryWell Family. Another great option is Prodigy, an online math game formatted like an adventure quest where students earn special skills for completing math equations. The site automatically gauges the child’s abilities and adjusts the complexity of the problems to their current and emerging math skills.

Fine Tune Efforts

Something to consider is whether or not your child could use some special help with a challenging subject. With younger kids, this might mean a little coaching from mom and dad, along with math flashcards or fun workbooks.

With older kids, sometimes similar strategies work, but oftentimes the subjects go beyond a parent’s comfort zone. If, for example, your son or daughter is struggling to understand calculus, summer is a good time to ramp up efforts in that area; but not all of us have calculus in our skills repertoire. With a little research you can hire a calculus tutor to meet your child’s needs. Whatever the subject, there are tools and tutors available to help your youngster get over the learning hurdle this summer.

Get Active

One of the best parts about summer is being outside. And, fortunately, there are almost endless ways to continue learning through outdoor play. One is to plant a garden, which can help your child grasp complicated scientific concepts, such as photosynthesis. The Dillon Public Library has a free seed library for your planting needs. You might also plan to spend an afternoon walking local creek beds or lakeshores hunting for crinoid fossils or making observations on animal behavior. The Dillon Public Library has a free backpack program with local maps and trails and free passes to Glacier National Park.

Summer camps can also be a great way to get kids outside and connected to learning in a fun way over the summer. But if you’re more comfortable keeping your kids home while learning through these camps, there are virtual options, too. The Mint Foundation offers teacher-led instructional summer camps for kids, focusing on S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) subjects. Camp is conducted virtually, and kids receive a weekly education plus a snack pack.

Summer can be difficult for parents, especially those who work. Even during these hectic times, it’s important to carve out quality time with your kids. But remember, you don’t need to go on a prolonged or expensive vacation. Invite your kids to help with everyday activities, like folding laundry or gardening, or create new activities you can all do together. Maybe you build a birdhouse or everyone learns how to repair a broken fence. The important thing is being together, and creating an experience.

Stop the summer slide and encourage a love of learning even in the off-season. It starts by getting to know your child’s learning abilities and obstacles and then finding creative – and fun – ways to challenge their mind. Come August, your child and their teachers will thank you.

Image via Pixabay

Libraries are not “JUST” books.

Libraries are so much more. Libraries are an institution which supports lifelong learning. Libraries offer numerous educational and fun opportunities for youth and adults throughout the year. The impact of library services on the lives of those served varies. For some, it is a lifeline in a technological world where not everyone can afford or live in a place to “be wired”.
Libraries offer Internet access, technology assistance (unemployment, housing, public assistance, email and everything else), and current technology classes including computer programming classes for teens using Scratch, Game maker, and Linux for app making, 3D printing, genealogy and more. Libraries have iPads’s/Laptop/Chromebook checkouts, hotspot lending programs, telescopes, educational take home kits, and more. Libraries have proctoring for students during long distance learning. Libraries have databases like AtoZ
Food America where you can learn about different cultures and the food they make, including instruction on the history and how to make beer. Universal Class, an accredited continuing education online learning platform with a live instructor. With over 500 classes anyone can achieve anything.

Libraries support the literacy needs of all ages with an emphasis on “raising readers”, building a community, and the sharing of information. In small communities Libraries may be the only community organization that provides early literacy programs-which are the basis for reading readiness skills in children under 3 years of age, striving to eliminate the “30-million-word gap” (Between zero and three if children are read to for 15minutes a day they have a vocabulary of 30 million more words than those who are not read to, Hart and Risley). We partner with schools to support the teaching of reading for all skill levels through choices of
reading materials and having AR codes visible. Libraries support the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.

Libraries partner with Federal, State and local organizations to host a variety of events. Elementary and middle schools, collages, professional organizations, local businesses, and artists. Libraries teach different varieties of art activities including spray paint art, clay sculptures, watercolor. Some libraries even write, produce, and perform their own Murder Mysteries. Libraries have Backpack Programs where patrons can check out a pack. The pack offering fishing gear, binoculars, and maps of trails, flora, and fauna.

Libraries have implemented STEAM programming that is not available anywhere else for free. Libraries have Lego’s, Robotics, a Drone program, computer programming, art, culinary programs, and family game night. Libraries provide opportunities to explore nature through an Ag story time with petting zoo. We offer fly tying classes, fly fishing casting classes in the park, and a kid’s fishing derby. We partner with Fish Wildlife and Parks; they show patrons the different types of fish and talk about the fish in our streams. Libraries offer opportunities for families to participate in summer education through The Collaborative Summer Library
Program (CSLP), a nonprofit, charitable organization that supports literacy, education and science through summer reading events in public libraries across the United States.

The library has become a safe and structured place for after school children. It organizes community gatherings in hopes of bringing back the local experiences from earlier childhoods, escape rooms, educational scavenger hunts, peeps diorama competitions, storybook cake decorating competitions, and cook offs.
Libraries are second responders, with print resources and disaster literacy, especially during a cyber-attack.

Libraries have safe meeting places, provide a sense of normalcy, and are a resource for information during a time of uncertainty.

Libraries are leaders for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all. The best reading, for the largest number, at the least cost.

There is a lot in the media right now about the expectations of libraries and the Librarian. On December 17, 1791 the First Amendment in the constitution was added. It states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Libraries exist to have access to information.

Librarians are not responsible for raising other people’s children. If a parent is offended by a book, don’t let your child read it. Talk to your child about why it is not appropriate. There are millions of books to check out, stop focusing on one book. Every single book in the library can offend. There are killings, rape, bullying, racism, inappropriate content in almost every book in existence. Think about your favorite author or favorite book, someone will find something wrong. Banning books is a way to try to manipulate thoughts, creativity,
and ideas.

Hitler punished people for speaking. He banned and burned books. Society is getting punished for saying “gay” in Florida. Idaho and Kentucky are trying to hold librarians accountable for the roles of parenting. It is not the job of the librarian to dictate what people can read or checkout; that is censorship. A librarian’s job is to ensure a safe place for the community to access information. Our freedoms are under attack and democracy is in
jeopardy. We must guard the civil rights and civil liberties of all citizens whatever the background. We must remember that any oppression, and injustice, any hatred is a wedge designed to attack our civilization.


“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our
children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the
same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children
what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” Ronald
Regan

6 Ways to Delete Yourself From the Internet

You’ll never be able to get a clean slate—but you can significantly downsize your digital footprint.

person resting on bed with mobile phone
PHOTOGRAPH: CAROL YEPES/GETTY IMAGES

DEPENDING ON WHEN you were born, there’s a good chance you’ve spent either several decades online or have never known an offline world. Whatever the case, the internet and its advertising giants know a huge amount about your life.

Amazon, Facebook, and Google all have reams of data about you—including your likes and dislikes, health information and social connections—but they’re not the only ones. Countless murky data brokers that you’ve never heard of collect huge quantities of information about you and sell it on. This data is then used by other companies you’ve likely never heard of to nudge you into buying more stuff. On top of that, all your ancient web forum comments and ill-advised social media posts are still out there, waiting to turn you into a milkshake duck.

At this stage it’s going to be very difficult to completely delete yourself from the internet, but there are some steps you can take to remove a lot of it. Removing personal information and deleting accounts is a fiddly process, so it’s better to break it down into a few smaller steps and tackle them over time.Opt Out From Data Brokers

Collecting and selling your data is big business. In 2019 the US state of Vermont passed a law requiring all companies buying and selling third-party personal information to register: In response, more than 120 firms logged their details. They included companies building search tools to look up individuals, firms handling location data, and those specializing in your health data. These companies collect everything from your name, address, and date of birth to your social security number, buying habits, and where you went to school and for how long.

Among the biggest data brokers are Acxiom, Equifax (yes, that one), Experian, Oracle, and Epsilon. Some, but not all, data brokers let people opt out of having their personal information processed—this also depends on where you are in the world—but the process isn’t straightforward. You’ll often have to contact them via email, fill in online forms, and provide extra identification information.

The US-based nonprofit Privacy Rights Clearinghouse has created a database of data brokers that contains their email addresses, links to their privacy policies, and info about whether they let you opt out. There are 231 US companies on the list, which gives you an idea of how big the data brokerage industry is.

If you’re covered by Europe’s GDPR or California’s Consumer Privacy Act, you can also send requests for your data to be deleted. Privacy-focused group YourDigitalRights has created opt-out forms for 10 of the biggest data brokers to speed up the process of getting your information deleted. It’s probably best to start opting out of the biggest companies first.Get Google Search Results Updated

You can’t change the way that Google displays its search results, but there are some limited steps you can take to make sure that what’s displayed is up to date and to remove harmful details, such as doxing attempts. If a web page has been updated by its owner but it isn’t reflected in Google’s search results, you can use its tool to remove outdated content. Google will update its search results for pages that no longer exist or are significantly different to the versions it has indexed previously.

Google will also consider requests to remove harmful content. If there are non-consensual explicit images; fake pornography; financial, medical, or national ID data; doxing; or images of children on websites then you can ask for them to be removed. To do so, you’ll have to submit a form and provide evidence of the content.

There’s also the Right to be Forgotten, a principle that was established in European courts in 2014 and was incorporated into GDPR in 2018. This allows certain specific information to be removed from search results, including Google, when relevant criteria are met. Generally, if information about you is in the public interest then it will be very difficult to get it removed from search results.Delete Old Online Accounts

There’s no real shortcut to finding and deleting accounts that you don’t use anymore. But if you really want to minimize your online presence then you need to track down those old Myspace and Tumblr accounts and remove all traces of them. For that you’re going to need a web browser—preferably on a laptop or desktop—and a good chunk of time.

Start by making a list of all the old accounts you remember using—email addresses and usernames you’ve used can be helpful—and then work through them one by one. For each you’ll need to sign in or recover the account and navigate through the deletion process. As a handy starting point, Justdelete.me has a list of links that point to the deletion pages of everything from Gumtree to Vimeo.

If your list of accounts to delete is running short, then it’s worth checking saved logins in your password manager or browser to refresh your memory. Alternatively, you can search your inbox for old subscriptions and online accounts. Entering your email or phone number into the data-breach-notification service Have I Been Pwned? will trawl more than 500 data beaches for your details and is also likely to remind you of some obscure old accounts you’ve forgotten about. You’ll still have to do the hard work of shutting down the accounts, though.

See What’s Next in Tech With the Fast Forward Newsletter

From artificial intelligence and self-driving cars to transformed cities and new startups, sign up for the latest news.Your emailSUBMITBy signing up you agree to our User Agreement and Privacy Policy & Cookie Statement

You should also search for your name online and combine it with some other pieces of personal data—for instance your email address or where you live—to see what comes up. If you’re diving deep into your online history and attempting to remove old posts on forums or similar services you may have to email web administrators. If the contact details aren’t clear, as might be the case with really old pages, one starting point is to check the web registration details through a WHOIS lookup. Alternatively, if the Wayback Machine has archived the page you’re looking for it may have preserved old contact details.

There are some dedicated services that will attempt to look for and delete your old accounts by scanning your emails. But it’s often unclear how they’re using your data—the parent company of email unsubscription service Unroll.Me was found selling user data in 2017—so it’s best to avoid them if you can.Clean Up Your Digital History

Even if you’re not deleting your online accounts you can still clean up what data you store online. It’s likely your email account contains thousands of old messages (and attachments) dating back years; your Facebook and Twitter accounts might still have posts on them that you’d rather didn’t resurface publicly.

Publicly posted data—either photos or text—is obviously far more likely to be found by others. If you’re considering making the plunge and deleting your current profiles or existing posts, consider downloading and backing up your posts first. Almost all major social media platforms have backup options in their settings.

Twitter doesn’t have any tools to easily delete all your old tweets in bulk, but third-party services do. Both Tweet Deleter and TweetDelete will get rid of your old tweets. If you’re deleting in bulk, both services can be a little glitchy when handling years of data. Forking out TweetDeleter’s monthly $5.99 cost—you can cancel after one month—may be worth it to delete an unlimited number of tweets at once. Keep in mind that by allowing any third-party service access to your online accounts, they may be able to access information stored within them, such as your direct messages. Both company’s privacy policies detail what they do with your data. Alternatively, if you just want to delete your Twitter account entirely you’ll need to follow these steps.

Google doesn’t index your individual Facebook posts, so they won’t show up in its search results. But if you’re trying to remove as much of your history from the internet as possible you should also delete your old posts or at least stop people from seeing them. In Facebook head to Settings & privacyActivity log and select the type of activity you want to delete—ranging from posts, to photos you’re tagged in. The tool isn’t the most streamlined if you want to delete years of Facebook usage, but as with all efforts to wipe yourself from the internet you’ll get better results if you spend more time doing it. Alternatively, you can just delete your Facebook account entirely.Go Nuclear

A lot of the ways to remove yourself from the web are time-consuming and involve a lot of paperwork. There may be some instances where you may want to try to speed things up a little or use legal muscle. It may be sensible to seek legal advice and help removing your data from the web if it involves defamatory statements, explicit photographs, and other harmful content.

While you should treat any third-party data-removal service with caution—make sure you read their privacy policies before using them—there are some paid options for helping remove yourself from the web. DeleteMe will try to remove your data from data brokers selling your information, for example. And Jumbo can alert you to data breaches and automatically delete new social media posts after a certain number of days.Future Protections

It’s pretty much impossible to keep your data off the internet entirely, but there are some steps you can take going forward. First, consider how much information you want to proactively put online. When you’re signing up for new online accounts, consider whether you need to enter your personal details or whether it would be better to use a burner account to mask your identity.

Where possible avoid using Big Tech for all your online activities. Pick a web browser and search engine that don’t collect your data; use end-to-end-encrypted apps and disappearing messages when appropriate; and understand what data WhatsApp, Instagram, Google, Amazon, Spotify and others collect about you.

Finally, it’s not just on you. If you’re keen to be invisible online then you should also consider discussing your position with friends and family. Most people are likely to be considerate to requests not to post your photo or location on social media. After all, the head of Google’s smart speakers has said people should disclose whether they have the devices when guests visit their homes.

IRS online tool help

Did you know that the IRS has an online tool to help you find out if you need to file an income tax return? 

The Interactive Tax Assistant (ITA) takes about 12 minutes and can give you helpful guidance on whether you need to file taxes this year to avoid penalties. Find the Interactive Tax Assistant at: www.irs.gov/help/ita/do-i-need-to-file-a-tax-return.

To learn more, check out the Taxes section on MontanaLawHelp.org. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, try our smart search bar. Or call the Montana Legal Services Association HelpLine at 1 (800) 666-6899. Support free legal information for all Montanans at mtlsa.org/donate/

Alex Clark
Community Outreach Coordinator
Ph: (406) 543-8343 ext. 220

Pronouns: he/him/his (what’s this?)

Montana Legal Services Association

1535 Liberty Lane

Suite 110D

Missoula, MT 59808


HelpLine: 1-800-666-6899
Websites:
     www.mtlsa.org / www.MontanaLawHelp.org / www.JusticeForMontanans.org

Resources to Help You Navigate the Ups and Downs of Parenthood

Being a parent has a funny way of keeping you humble. Just when you think you’ve got a handle on it and everything is easy peasy, kids enter a whole new stage and shake things up. This certainly keeps us on our toes, which means we have to keep learning in order to handle whatever new challenge is thrown at us. There is no such thing as a perfect parent or a “wrong” way of handling these parenting challenges. The best thing we can do is reach out for support and find resources that help along the way.

The Thrills and Challenges of Becoming Parents

Having an infant teaches us firsthand just how much love and joy we can hold in our hearts… even while exhausted from too little sleep!

Survival Tips for the 1st Year of Parenthood

7 Tricks to Get Baby to Sleep Through the Night

How to Prepare Your Baby for Daycare

10 Ways to Achieve a Work-Life Balance as a New Mom

How Parents Can Help with Early Childhood Development

If you’re still in the first few years of your child’s life, this is an incredible time filled with new developments and milestones around every corner. Along with handling the challenges (hello tantrums!) you’re in for a fun ride with activities that help your child develop the social, emotional, and cognitive skills that are blooming right now.

How to Encourage a Child’s Brain Development

6 Steps for Helping Your Child Handle Emotions

How Parents Can Help Their Young Children Develop Healthy Social Skills

7 Educational and Entertaining Activities for Young Kids
Storm Spotting for Children: At-Home Meteorology

Encouraging and Engaging with Your Child in the Elementary Years

From that tearful drop-off on the first day of kindergarten to cheering from the sidelines of a soccer field, the elementary years are full of new adventures.

Ensuring Your Child is Supported at School

10 Ways to Help Your Child Succeed in Elementary School

6 Unique Extracurricular Activities for Kids

How to Help Your Tween Girl When Friendships Get Messy

The (Not So) Turbulent Teenage Years

Some parents dread the teenage years from the time their kids leave the terrible twos. Parenting a teenager can be challenging for sure, but it can also be an amazing time of bonding for you and your teen.

5 Tips for Building a Healthy Relationship With Your Teenager

Should Parents Intervene When Their Teenagers Have Drama?

Establishing Rules for Teen Cell Phone Use

Teach Your Child About the Importance of Reading

Thanks to the internet, many kids don’t spend a lot of time reading these days. However, it’s important to teach your children the importance of reading.

Why Reading Is So Important for Kids

10 Ways to Help Your Child Become Interested in Reading

50 Books Children Should Read Before They’re 12

Visit the Dillon Public Library with Your Kids

If you ever feel like you can’t keep up with all the changes that come with parenthood, you can rest assured knowing you aren’t alone! Parenting is HARD at times. Of course, you already know that getting to love and support your little one is also a blessing. Always lean on your village and God, and maintain faith knowing the next bright spot is just around the corner.

Article by Kristin Louis
klouis@parentingwithkris.com
Parentingwithkris.com

The Secret to a Christmas Toy Purge Kids Will Love

OCTOBER 24, 2016 IN CHRISTMASHOMELIFEORGANIZINGPARENTING Get ready for Christmas with a toy purge idea your kids will love!

“NO MOM – I NEED THAT!” 

Is this what you hear every time you try to clean out your kids’ toys? You’d think you were trying to toss out a precious lovey or the train set that they use every day when you’re actually holding a dust covered birthday party favor that you uncovered from the bottom of the toy bin. You know, the one they haven’t seen or thought about since bringing it home 6 months ago? Yep. That one.

This is how it used to go at our house too, until I discovered a genius way to get my kids excited about giving their toys away. Seriously. Seven full bags and one super clean playroom later, I’m ready to share my secret. And this is the time to do it!

Need to clean out your kids toys before Christmas? This genius idea will make your kids WANT to give away their toys! Love how this mom encouraged giving in her kids (and got her playroom clean at the same time). It works!

This post contains affiliate links. See my Disclosure Policy for details.

Why You Need To Purge Toys Now

Kids have lots of toys. Mine are no exception. Though we do set limits, it seems like the toys multiply overnight. And there are a lot of good reasons for kids to have less toys. I’ve seen these benefits in my own house, and after we’ve decluttered our playroom my boys are more likely to play together and be more resourceful and inventive in their play. 
My house also appreciates a good toy purge. I take care to organize our playroom but it’s not a large space so it can get cluttered quickly. It’s so much easier to maintain order when we have less toys, and both the boys and I enjoy it much more when there is room to move, build, and play.

I like to do a big toy purge at least a month or two before Christmas. Decluttering before Christmas gives us the chance to move out toys that the boys have outgrown, things that aren’t working well or missing pieces, or toys that they are simply no longer interested in. I wanted to involve the boys in the toy purge this year, and find a way that would actually encourage them to want to give away their old toys instead of them “needing” to keep every little trinket. Then I discovered this genius idea and it worked better than I could have imagined.

The Christmas Toy Purge Idea Kids Love

We were at a friend’s house for a playdate recently when she showed me an Old Toys for Santa bag she had ordered from Pottery Barn Kids. I was totally in love with the idea and knew it was perfect for our Christmas toy purge.

Note: these are no longer available from Pottery Barn Kids but you can find something similar on Etsy here or here.

The idea is simple – load the bag up with toys for Santa to pick up and deliver to other good girls and boys. The bag is big and sturdy, with an adorable printed note to Santa. It can even be personalized! It’s the perfect way to encourage a spirit of giving (and to declutter) right before Christmas.

Of course, you don’t need the bag to send your old toys to Santa (though I love it!). A large canvas laundry bag would also do the trick, and you could encourage your kids to decorate it with their own art or note to Santa.

Would it work with my boys? I decided to try. We gathered in the playroom and I told them that we were going to start getting ready for Christmas. I explained that Santa would be making a special visit to our house to pick up toys that they didn’t need any more and would bring them to other good girls and boys on Christmas. And that now that they were big boys, it was up to them to decide what he should take. They were so excited and ready to purge! We went through each bin and basket, and I let them choose what would stay and what would go. I was amazed at how ready they were to part with toys that they had outgrown or forgotten, with no tears and no debates.

Once we were done, we wrote a note to Santa and left it out with some cookies and milk. The next morning, the toys were gone! My boys could not have been more excited… and of course, they decided it was time to start writing their Christmas lists. And we have lots of space for new toys to come!

Want to keep those toys organized? Check out my favorite toy storage solutions here.

Planning the Perfectly Organized Christmas

A toy purge is just the first step to planning the perfect Christmas. You know – the one where you get organized, stay under budget, and actually enjoy the time with your family. Next on your list is downloading my Printable Christmas Planner. With over 25 pages of checklists, planning sheets, and extras like gift tags and letters to Santa – including a Something to Wear, Something to Read, Something I Want, and Something I Need version to avoid more toy overload.  There’s also a page to plan your Christmas Acts of Kindness and keep the giving spirit alive all season long.

Keep your kids safe online: All you need to know about internet safety at school and home

David Anders

Sep 9, 2019 — 9 min read

Knowledge of internet filtering settings and state laws is the first step to keeping your kids safe on the internet.

At Allconnect, we work to present quality information with editorial integrity. While this post may contain offers from our partners, our opinions are our own. Here’s how we make money.

As part of the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), many states have laws in place for filtering internet content in public schools and libraries. Click any of the states below to learn more about CIPA laws in that state.

Internet laws by state

Most internet service providers include parental controls with their plans to help keep kids safe online, but they don’t offer the same settings. Have conversations about internet safety with your kids, and make a list of the parental controls you need. This will give you an idea of what to look for when researching internet service providers.

Tips to keep your kids safe online

Set up internet filtering

Use your router or internet service provider’s security app to configure child-safe internet filtering. This works just like the filtering system on library and public school computers and lets you control which websites your child can access.

Most internet service providers have a manual detailing how to do this. Here are some of the manuals on how to set up internet filtering from major providers:

Frontier

Verizon

Xfinity

Block websites and keywords you don’t want your child to access

Blocking websites and keywords is the easiest way to ensure your child only has access to trusted internet content. You can block websites and keywords through your router or internet service provider’s security app.

Another way to configure internet filtering is by only allowing your child access to certain websites and keywords. Rather than blocking specific content, you grant access to approved website URLs and keywords. This means all other content is blocked.

Schedule when your child can access the internet

Setting an internet schedule, or a window of time when your child has internet access, is another great option for keeping him or her safe online. Similar to blocking websites and keywords, you can set up access times through your router or internet service provider’s security app.

With an internet schedule, your child will only be able to browse the internet during designated times. So, if you set a start time of 4 p.m. and an end time of 8 p.m. for Monday through Friday, then your child will only be able to get online during this window.

Limiting the time spent in front of the computer may also benefit your child’s development. When creating an internet schedule for your child, make sure they have enough time for homework and some social activities.

“Excessive time online or in front of a computer can cause problems with vision and neurological problems, especially in developing children,” explains personal safety expert Peter J. Canavan.

Add your “trusted devices” to bypass parental control settings

Some internet service providers let you set your personal devices as “trusted devices.” These devices will be able to access websites blocked by parental control settings. This way, you can keep parental controls in place on your child’s devices while bypassing them on your own.

Encourage child internet safety in your home

CIPA laws for schools or libraries may not extend to the home, but that doesn’t mean your child’s home internet experience has to go unprotected.

Educating your child on internet safety and creating a list of the parental control options you need will help you choose which internet service provider will work best for you and your family.

Keep your child informed about why internet safety is important. By encouraging your child to make smart choices while online, you’re helping them develop the confidence to use the internet safely and respectfully.

Tips From Someone With Nearly 50 Years Of Social Distancing Experience

Billy Barr lives in Gothic, Colo., a silver mining town that was abandoned more than 100 years ago.

We’re all social distancing these days, and it’s unclear when exactly that will end. But Billy Barr has been doing this for almost 50 years. He’s the only full-time resident of Gothic, Colo.

“I’m the mayor and chief of police,” he said. “I hold elections every year, but I don’t tell anybody when they are, so it works out really well.”

Barr has tips on social distancing, but he’s the first to say they may well be entirely useless.

“When I first got here, it was a relief for me to be on my own, but that’s not necessarily what a healthy person does — isolate themselves,” he said. “I mean, I’m good at it and I do it because I like it, but what works for me, it works for me. It quite conceivably wouldn’t work for anybody else.”

While Barr has been called a hermit, he doesn’t consider himself one. He occasionally interacts with skiers who pass through, he talks to his sister on the phone, and he works for the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory nearby, which gets flooded with scientists in the summer.

But the man has been living alone in a cabin in the mountains for many years, and in the winter months, he can go many days without seeing a soul. So staying home during the COVID-19 outbreak?

So, without further ado, here are five recommendations for the Billy Barr method of social distancing.

1. Keep track of something.

Each day, Barr tracks the weather for a number of groups including the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. He started measuring snow levels in the 1970s, mostly because he was bored.

“Everything depends on the weather,” said Barr, who has skied through that “sideways” and “swirling” snow to talk on the phone from the laboratory. “It controlled what I did and so I would write it all down.”

He would also write down when he saw an animal.

“With the birds, especially the ones that arrive in the spring, it was exciting,” he said. “It was like, ‘Oh my goodness, it’s sunrise and I can hear robins.’ ”

Turns out, monitoring things that were important to his daily life had real value. As The Atlantic has written and the documentary The Snow Guardian has shown, his records have informed dozens of studies on climate change.

Day’s Edge Productions YouTube

In the era of COVID-19, he suggests tracking what you can — or can’t — find at the grocery store. Or, better yet, participating in some citizen science, like a project called CoCoRaHS that tracks rainfall across the country.

“I would definitely recommend people doing that,” he said. “You get a little rain gauge, put it outside and you’re part of a network where there’s thousands of other people doing the same thing as you, the same time of the day as you’re doing it. It’s very interesting.”

2. Keep a routine.

Barr starts early. He wakes up around 3:30 a.m. or 4 a.m., and stays in bed until about 5 a.m.

“Up until a week or two ago, I would listen to the news every morning so that I could start every day either totally depressed or furious. That’s always a good way to start the day,” he said.

“Now with the whole COVID and with politics and stuff,” he said he just can’t anymore. So, he listens to old-time radio instead.

Then it’s time to clear the snow off his solar panels and file weather reports to a bunch of different agencies. The rest of the day involves work and chores interspersed with skiing.

“I kind of follow a set time schedule,” said Barr. “Sometimes I forget what day it is, but I know what time it is.”

Most importantly, he said, is leaving a reward for the end of the day. He’ll read, knit something, watch a movie and then watch a game of cricket.

“It’s pretty much the same day after day. Most of it I enjoy,” he said.

Notably absent from his daily routine: keeping a personal journal. He said he used to, for about a decade or so, but then he went back and read it. “And it was so boring. It’s like, ‘OK enough already. Let me go watch some paint dry.’ ”

3. Celebrate the stuff that matters, rather than the stuff you’re supposed to celebrate.

Barr has mostly ditched holidays and birthdays, but he does celebrate Jan. 17, when sunrise goes back to what it was on the solstice.

“To me, that’s a big deal because I get up so early in the morning that the lighter it gets, earlier, makes my day a lot easier,” he said.

He also celebrates when he gets back from skiing 8 miles each way into the town of Crested Butte for supplies.

“Town can be kind of stressful,” he said. “So I save my favorite movies and I save my favorite meals and I save things to do so when I ski back from town and I’m home, it’s like, ‘Woohoo!’ Big party time.”

4. Embrace the grumpiness.

Sometimes, Barr said, it’s kind of satisfying to be grumpy about something.

“I do get sick and tired of snow, but I like kidding about it. I live in an area where people live for snow, but I’m not that carried away with it, so I like being grumpy about it,” Barr said. “You get older and you start saying ‘OK, I’m not going to necessarily be pleasant when I don’t feel pleasant.’ ”

These days, Barr is feeling especially unpleasant.

“Ironically, I have been in contact with one person in the last nine days. That was eight days ago,” he said.

And then the guy got sick.

“I don’t know what he has, but for the last week, I’ve been sitting around wondering If I’m going to get it,” Barr said. (Another week has passed since this interview.)

Which brings us to his final tip…

5. Use movies as a mood adjuster.

“If I’m really stressed I might watch an animated movie, something cute and funny that takes my mind off it. If I’m depressed, I can reverse that,” he said.

“My tastes are reasonably fluff-oriented,” he said. Movies like Pandemic or The Shining? Hard pass. “The Princess Bride is my pretty much favorite movie. I like Hugh Grant stuff, like Love ActuallyNotting Hill.”

He also recommends Bollywood movies like Om Shanti OmBride and Prejudice and English Vinglish.

“They’re colorful. They’re pretty, there’s good music and stuff,” he said. “I have a list of favorites that I’ll only watch under certain circumstances. I save them for that.”

Here are the 357 movies at the top of his list.

About 20 years ago, Barr added a movie room onto his cabin. It has a projector, carpeted walls, and three chairs.

“I have a nice chair for me and I have two other chairs with the idea that I’d invite people up,” he said. “And I never do.”

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUER in Salt Lake City, KUNR in Nevada, the O’Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.