One of the most fun stories of the Christmas season is that of the Three Kings visiting the baby Jesus, bringing him gifts.
That gift-giving day is on the calendar as the 12th day after Christmas, Jan. 6, just about the time when most of us are packing away the gold, frankincense, and myrrh for the year.
Some people undecorate on January 1. If decorations have been up since before Thanksgiving, removing them right after New Year’s Day is recommended. The neighbors are probably tired of your lighted Santa, reindeer, and trees. The real Christmas tree and wreaths are getting pretty dry by that time.
Still, many people are sad to see their outdoor and indoor decorations go and wait until the unofficial undecorating day of January 6.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that undecorating day is prime time for falls. The CDC urges using steady step stools and ladders when taking down outdoor and indoor decorations. Take your time. Use the same amount of care as when putting them up.
Here are a few tips from professional decorators:
* Take photos of inside decorations and groupings you especially like so you will have a guide for next year. Box the groupings together.
* Discard broken pieces and donate redundant pieces to a charity. If you have ample storage space, save the giveaways until next October before donating.
* Clean decorations before storing them. Dust shiny tree ornaments. Clean white cotton objects, like white lambs, with a toothbrush and then coat with cornstarch. Toss artificial poinsettias in a bag with a half cup of salt to move the dust.
* Store decorations thematically or in their original boxes. For tree ornaments, it can be convenient to store according to color. Next year it will be easier to choose colors for the tree.
* Put artificial trees in their original boxes to protect them for future use and for convenient storage.
* Store outdoor decorations together in the garage, basement, or attic.
Is an accelerated program right for your child?
Accelerated education programs are intended for students who distinguish themselves from their peers in an exceptional manner in one or more subjects. The objective is to enrich a child’s school journey by offering them a faster work pace to nourish their curiosity, foster their success and prevent school dropout.
Every child has unique needs. This is equally true when it comes to gifted students. Depending on the educational institution, various acceleration approaches are possible, including:
• Enriched activities or courses
• Learning one or more subjects at a higher level
• Skipping one or more years
• Early entry, sometimes called academic derogation
Academic acceleration isn’t always the best option for every talented student. Before enrolling, the child must assess their needs, intellectual potential, study habits, and emotional and social maturity.
Whichever acceleration method you choose should respond to your child’s desires. For instance, it may allow them to rediscover their motivation and meet new challenges. However, it could complicate their educational journey regarding integration, coping, and performance anxiety.
Do you think academic acceleration could help your child flourish and develop their full potential? Start that conversation early with your child, their teachers, and school administrators.
3 tips for choosing sports shoes for your child
Does your child need a new pair of sneakers for gym class? Here are three tips to help you make the right choice.
1. Check the quality of the ankle support. Sports shoes must provide ankle stability to prevent sprains, especially when doing lateral movements. Look for a multisport or basketball model.
2. Choose flexible and non-slip soles. Flexible shoes help strengthen the muscles in the feet. Additionally, grippy soles can help prevent your child from slipping and getting injured. Make sure you observe school rules concerning non-marking soles.
3. Opt for a shoe with sufficient cushioning. Thick, cushiony shock-absorbing pads on the soles will reduce the effects of repeated impact on the heels.
If you need advice on finding the right size and shoe type for your child, talk to an associate at a local specialty shoe store.
On the road to academic success
Does your youngest child struggle with homework or have trouble learning? Is your older child anxious about writing an entrance exam to get into a competitive post-secondary program?
It’s not uncommon for a child to need a helping hand to master certain concepts or advance their knowledge. In such cases, it’s always a good idea to invest in professional tutoring services. Just because you went to school doesn’t necessarily mean you have the skills to help your child excel. After all, teaching methods and materials have changed considerably over the years.
Hiring an in-person or online tutor or educational assistant can significantly contribute to your child’s success. Don’t hesitate to reach out to an academic support service in your area for help.
Drivers and footwear: Does it matter?
One driver of an 80,000-pound tractor-trailer rig had a big surprise waiting for him one morning as he pulled on his steel-toed boots.
One boot had a deep slash through the leather. He didn’t even know it was there. He didn’t remember how it even happened. He wondered what would have happened to him if he had followed the latest fashion among truck drivers: flip-flops.
In fact, drivers everywhere are talking about those who wear flip-flops while driving and fueling. It has become a trend.
Some drivers, especially younger ones, prefer flip-flops or even slippers to work boots, saying they are comfortable, keep their feet cool, and are easy to flick on and off inside and outside the truck.
Videos show drivers wearing flip-flops, tackling tasks outside their trucks in snowy weather. On docks, some drivers even put on a hard hat and a safety vest but remain in their flip-flops.
No federal Department of Transportation rules specify footwear, but companies with many drivers often have footwear regulations. UPS, for example, insists on sturdy, non-slip black or brown shoes.
Still, drivers on long routes, or owner-operators, usually choose their clothing and footwear. Choosing flip-flops can be dangerous, drivers say.
Isaac Stephens, who has a YouTube trucking channel, is not a fan. He features videos of drivers wearing flip-flops in all sorts of precarious situations. One clip showed a driver climbing up on the hood of the truck to wash the windows, begging the question of how the driver climbed down that wet hood.
Some types of loads really require substantial foot protection, drivers say. But other drivers might get away with a lighter shoe. There are a lot of choices. Some shoes from athletic shoe companies such as Reebok, Keen, Fila, and Sketchers combine a low-profile lightweight, breathable style with non-slip soles and steel-reinforced toes.
How to fit and use a backpack
Students of all ages use backpacks. On top of choosing a model that’s well-suited to your child’s needs, you must ensure it’s used correctly to prevent back injuries. Here’s how.
• Check the height. The backpack shouldn’t exceed your child’s shoulder height. It must also rest on the hips, not on the buttocks.
• Adjust the shoulder straps. These straps carry most of the weight and must be adjusted to prevent friction between the material and your child’s neck. Moreover, they mustn’t cut off blood circulation under the arms. Your child must be able to move their arms freely.
• Use other belts and straps. Use the various belts and straps to keep the bag close to the body while allowing enough room to slip a hand between your child’s back and the pack. Hip straps help distribute the bag’s weight and keep it securely in place.
• Distribute weight evenly. The bag should sit on both shoulders and have a balanced weight to prevent injury. Store heavy objects as close as possible to the back and at the bottom of the bag. Distribute the weight evenly among the pockets and side nets.
If your child complains of pain or changes their gait while carrying their backpack, check its contents and adjust the straps.
Classes and activities for all tastes
Back-to-school season is a time for kids to get back into their routines. It’s also time for folks of all ages to discover new and exciting hobbies and activities. Personal development classes, workshops, and other diversions can spice up your life as you head into the cooler months.
Do your kids’ tastes vary from classical ballet to science experiments? Do they like karate and hockey, sailing, canvas painting, athletics, and scouting?
What about you? Do you live for aerobics, sewing, playing violin, bouldering, or learning foreign languages? Are you interested in improving your time management skills, mastering a new software program, or learning public speaking techniques?
Factors to consider
You don’t want your child to give up in disappointment after joining a new class or sports team. Therefore, it’s important to consider their age and skill level. Moreover, choose an activity that’s in line with your child’s habits and interests to ensure it meets their expectations. If in doubt, ask if your child can participate in a demo class or observe a practice before joining.
Also, make sure the activity is compatible with your family’s routine. For example, choose a class with a duration, frequency, and schedule that’s consistent with your existing time commitments. Additionally, try to select activities located close to home or school.
Lastly, recreational activities are a great way to have fun, unwind and reduce stress while staying fit and learning something new. Register yourself and your kids now for a fun-filled fall season.