30 Blogs with Tips for Throwing a Jungle Safari Themed Birthday Party

November 13th, 2013 by admin

Do you have a ‘wild’ child that loves to ‘swing’ from the chandeliers? Then consider throwing a jungle safari party where he will fit right in! The invitations can be passports inviting guests to travel to Africa and go on a safari with the birthday child. For decorations, take your inspiration from the jungle itself and use vines and leaves instead of streamers, and incorporate lots of animal prints. The kids will love going on a scavenger safari hunt looking for animals, and you can even help the kids make their own binoculars to help them search. Once the kids wear themselves out with the crafts and games, feed them animal themed food and cake. Wrap up your African adventure by giving your little explorers a jungle themed favor bag to take home. These 30 blogs will not only provide ideas for the party, but they will explain how you can do it.

Invitations

If you are going to make your own invitations, keep in mind the plethora of animal print craft items that are available now. Use animal print paper or duct tape if you want to make a simple invitation to mail out to your guests. If you don’t have time to make the invitations yourself, order them or print them out on your computer. Take a look at these five blogs to get ideas for creating the perfect jungle invitation.

Decorations

Drag out all of the stuffed animals in the kids’ bedrooms and use them in your decorating. Any animal that you would find in Africa will tie in nicely to your theme. Decorate the ceilings with strips of brown paper that have been scrunched up like vines and attach some green leaves here and there. Use animal print anywhere you can to tie in the jungle safari theme. You’ll find more decorating ideas in these five blogs.

Activities

Keeping the kids busy during the party is the most important element in throwing a memorable event. You can modify pin the tail on the donkey to pin the tail on the tiger. Throw in a craft that will tie into the theme, like creating binoculars out of cardboard tubes. Let the kids use their newly made binoculars to find animals around the house or in the yard. More jungle activities can be found on these five blog posts.

Menu

There are many animal themed goodies that you can buy commercially, so you don’t have to make everything yourself if you don’t want to. Sometimes it’s smarter to save some time and take some help from the store or friends. You can make the most ordinary thing special by giving it a creative jungle name, like cutting bananas in half and calling them monkey bites. Look at the pictures in these blogs to get menu ideas for your party.

Cake

What’s a birthday party without cake? A jungle theme lends itself to some colorful cake ideas, which is evident by the cakes featured in these five blogs. Ask your child what he wants his cake to look like. If you feel up to the task, try your hand at making your own cake shaped like a monkey or another safari animal. If not, there are plenty of bakeries that can create a cake to suit your party.

Party Favors

Wrap up this entertaining party by giving your guests a thank you favor bag full of sweet treats and toys that will remind them of their jungle safari adventure. Favor ideas can be found in these blogs.

18 of the Best Blogs about Rainbow Loom Bracelets

September 30th, 2013 by admin

You may or may not have heard about the Rainbow Loom, but it’s a relatively new craze for kids, starting around age eight. Tweens especially have really adopted this craft and gone wild with it. Currently there are over 130,000 how-to videos online demonstrating how to make rainbow loom bracelets in various patterns. The basic bracelet and the fishtail are probably the simplest to start with, and can both be made without the loom if you don’t have one. Take a look at the instructions on these 18 blogs to get started making your own colorful rubber band bracelets.

Basic Bracelet

The basic rainbow loom bracelet is simple to do and is made up of interlocking rubber bands.  You can use any color combination, and it’s easy to personalize these bracelets for all of your friends. There are even a few moms sporting these trendy bracelets! These six blogs explain how to make the basic bracelet.

Fishtail Technique

If you’ve ever seen a fishtail braid in someone’s hair, this bracelet technique is similar in appearance to that. The weave is tighter and uses more rubber bands than the basic bracelet, but it’s got a chunkier look to it. This pattern isn’t just for girls either, it’s also become quite popular with boys. Take a look at these six blog posts for some tutorials on how to create the fishtail bracelet.

No-Loom Bracelet

While looms only run about $15, you don’t necessarily have to buy one to let your child get started making rubber band bracelets. Watch the videos and read the tutorials on these six blogs to see how these bloggers have found a way around using a store bought loom. This might be especially nice if you want to have a group create these bracelets as a craft project, especially since buying a loom for each person could get expensive quickly.

The Top 10 Risks Teenagers Take

September 23rd, 2013 by admin

Taking healthy risks is an essential aspect of childhood development, and is one of the best ways for kids to learn about cause and effect and the consequences that come from their actions. Parents should encourage youngsters to take safe risks when the situation arises, but there are a host of not-so-healthy risks that come into the picture when little ones grow into teenagers. To adults, it often seems as if teens’ daredevil antics and harebrained schemes are as baffling as they are enraging, but there is a scientific reason behind teens’ risky behavior that boils down to neural chemistry, reward signals and development as they move into adulthood. While dealing with this behavior isn’t easy, parents can make a more concerted effort to curb dangerous impulses by understanding the most common risky behaviors that teenagers adopt.

  • Speeding – Whether they’re trying to impress their friends or drunk on the heady prospect of being in control of a car without adult supervision, one of the most common risks that teens take is driving at a high rate of speed. Thankfully, there are devices that will allow you to monitor the speed at which your teen is driving these days.
  • Texting and Driving – There is a sense of urgency, especially in social settings, that causes teens to be less than cautious when they’re behind the wheel and an incoming text alert gets their attention. Distracted driving is dangerous driving though, which is why a strict no-texting-and-driving policy should be backed up by apps and parental control software that prevents such risks.
  • Experimenting With Drugs – Teenagers are well aware of the risks of experimentation with illicit drugs. Most are raised with the “just say no” attitude, and there are entire school programs dedicated to educating teens on the dangers of drugs. That doesn’t change the fact that curiosity, the desire to rebel and a need to assert an adult level of independence drives many kids to try these substances.
  • Binge Drinking – Seasoned adults have a variety of reasons for social drinking, but teenagers have only one goal: to experiment with something they’re not supposed to be using while altering their mood. Alcohol poisoning and bad decisions borne of lowered inhibitions are both very real prospects, however, which is why it’s important for parents to discuss the matter with their teens in real-life, honest ways.
  • Truancy – Some teens skip school to avoid bullies or a classroom setting they are struggling in, while others skip simply because they can. From asserting independence to practicing avoidance, skipping school for any reason is still a common and risky situation.
  • Vandalism – While older generations took a “kids will be kids” approach to dealing with vandalism, that’s not the case today. Even when it’s meant to be a harmless prank, the destruction of property is something parents must take seriously. You can be assured that law enforcement won’t see this risky behavior as a joke.
  • Trespassing – From the thrill of hanging out in a forbidden place to the more practical application of simply finding a place to hang out away from the prying eyes of adults, trespassing is another common risk that teens take. It’s also a crime, which is why parents shouldn’t turn a blind eye to such habits if they’re discovered.
  • Having Unprotected Sex – Few parents look forward to having a talk about sex with their kids, but some of the riskiest sexual behavior of teens stems from a lack of understanding and information. Unprotected sex can lead to teen pregnancy and the contracting of sexually-transmitted diseases, which is why parents must have a frank and honest discussion about the importance of using protection.
  • Self-Harming – Self-harming behavior like cutting is, according to a 2002 British study, more common among teenage girls. Most parents would never dream that their kids are cutting themselves, but it is common and it is incredibly risky. From cutting deeply and sustaining real injury to contracting an infection through open wounds, this damaging, risky impulse can have very serious consequences.
  • Crash Dieting – Spurred on by the media’s fixation on physical perfection paired with the inherent insecurity of adolescence, crash dieting and even eating disorders are a common risk that teens take in a bid to obtain their skewed ideas of physical beauty. Parents should discuss these issues with their teens, even if no signs of eating disorders or problematic relationships with food are present.

30 Blogs with Creative Ideas for Throwing a Candy Land Themed Party

September 19th, 2013 by admin

The board game Candy Land has been a favorite among kids and parents alike for decades. The game, which was invented in 1945, combines two things every child loves: lots of colors and lots of candy. So why not take this childhood favorite and turn it into the inspiration for your child’s next party? For ideas on how to put together the perfect Candy Land themed party, take a look at these 30 blogs.

Invitations

Candy Land invitations need to be bright and colorful.  You can use store bought invitations that will match the game, or you can get creative and make your own.  These six blogs share the invitations that they used for their Candy Land themed party, providing you with plenty of inspiration for your own. You can copy their ideas or use them as the basis for your invitation inspiration.

Decorations

When it comes to decorations, you need to keep only one thing in mind: candy, candy and more candy! Create a life-size Candy Land board using colorful squares for the winding pathway, and be sure to add signs along the way that point out the different areas on the board, like “gumdrop pass.”  Make up some signs with gingerbread men on them to put throughout the board, since the playing pieces are gingerbread men.  Check out the pictures of the decorations on these six blogs for more creative ideas.

Menu

For Candy Land inspired food ideas, look no further than the Candy Land board. You can make spirals on a toothpick to mimic lollipops and sandwiches cut into gingerbread men shapes.  Get creative and make up your own names for food that might tie into the game.  These six blog posts are full of pictures of the foods that they served at their parties.

Games and Activities

Make some giant color block cards to mimic those in the game and play a life-size game of Candy Land with the kids.  Twister uses the same colors, and you can create a painted game of twister on the grass, making the board as big as it needs to be to accommodate all of the guests.  Create a giant spinner on some poster board and let the kids take turns spinning it.  Decorate some gingerbread men with the kids and then let them bag them up to take home for later.  More games and activities can be found on these six blog entries.

Party Favors

What is the obvious thing to use for a party favor at a Candy Land themed party?  Candy, of course!  Make a candy bar and fill it with all sorts of glass jars containing colorful candy.  At the end of the party, let the kids pick their favorite candies to put into a bag or box to take home. A clever addition to the candy that all the mom’s will love is a toothbrush.  Read through these six blogs for more party favor ideas and how to package them.

15 Blogs with Fun Kids’ Crafts for Under $10

September 17th, 2013 by admin

Crafting is a multi-billion dollar business, but that doesn’t mean you have to break the bank to craft with your kids. Instead of shelling out big bucks for all of the fancy items craft stores carry, try to use things you already have around the house or find items that don’t cost a thing, like sticks, pinecones and recycled containers. This will not only save you money, but will also provide you with an opportunity to teach your kids the importance of recycling while creating unique gifts and decorations. To get started crafting for less than $10, take a look at these 15 blogs.

Decorations

Homemade decorations are an inexpensive way to let the kids flex their creative skills and spruce up your house a bit, and the kids will take pride in seeing their crafts displayed. From tissue paper flowers used to decorate for parties to crayon rocks used as paper weights, you’ll find a wealth of different decorations your kids can make in the following five blogs.

Gifts

Kids love to give gifts to people, but buying gifts can quickly get expensive. Instead, help your kids create homemade gifts for friends and family members. These handmade presents show the recipient how much love was put into its creation, and allow you to avoid spending a fortune. For a variety of gift ideas that the kids can create, check out these five blog articles.

Recycling

Teaching kids to recycle items when possible instead of just discarding them into the trash gives you a chance to repurpose items into something useful and teach the kids about the benefits of recycling. While teaching this lesson, encourage the kids to use their imaginations to figure out what they can make out of the boxes and containers that are in the recycling bin. These five blogs will explain several craft projects for the kids that involve recycling.

How to Choose the Right Cell Phone for Your Child

September 4th, 2013 by admin

While the idea of having a cell phone in elementary school was about as far-fetched as landing on the moon for today’s parents, there’s no denying the fact that technology has evolved at a rapid enough pace to make that situation a very feasible one for kids just a generation later. Determining when your child is ready for the responsibility of a cell phone is so largely dependent upon the maturity level of your youngster’s unique temperament that there’s really no hard and fast answer, but one thing is certain: determining what kind of cell phone to purchase for your child can be a confusing mess.

Take Control of the Situation

Just because you’ve decided to relent to your child’s pleas for a phone as a reward for her mature and responsible behavior does not mean that you’re automatically required to shell out big bucks for the model for which she’s begging. Kids may not have a clear understanding of just how expensive or how powerful those devices can be; they only understand that the latest high-end model will be considered “cool” by their friends. The first step to choosing a phone for your child is to realize that you’re granting permission for her to own the phone of your choosing, not to make demands regarding the model and brand.

Avoid Choosing Form Over Function

If your child is a tween or very young teen, all she really needs a phone to do is make calls and send text messages. A wealth of features that will allow her to generate spreadsheets, manage a hectic professional schedule or balance her budget are superfluous, and the ability to access games and social media apps from a handheld device could mean that she’s also able to access questionable content. Instead of considering flashy models that also tend to be delicate, look for no-frills phones of sturdy construction. Even the most cautious child will, at some point, drop or lose control of their phone. Basic models are often more rugged, and are almost always more easily replaced should they be damaged or broken.

Keep Her Unique Needs in Mind

Just as there is no set age at which a child is deemed “ready for a cell phone,” there is no real way to choose a one-size-fits-all phone option for your youngster. Very small children may not be mature enough to keep up with the newest smartphone, but some elementary-age kids with level heads and an affinity for learning apps may be well suited to own a smartphone with the right tracking and monitoring features in place. It may be less expensive in the long run to purchase a feature-packed model for your high school student that doubles as a graphing calculator and study aid, rather than buying several devices that could all be replaced with one smartphone. At the same time, a tech-savvy teenager with a track history of looking up questionable content or engaging in cyberbullying may do better with a base model phone that doesn’t have strong Internet capabilities. Keep the needs of your particular child in mind when you visit the store or start browsing for phones, rather than settling upon a model arbitrarily chosen as age-appropriate by other people.

Be On the Lookout For Kid-Specific Phones

There are a surprising number of cell phones available on the market today that have been designed specifically with the youngest users in mind. These phones have fewer buttons and very limited features, are easy to keep up with and can even be restricted in dialing ability so that only emergency services and numbers that you’ve pre-programmed can be accessed. If you’re making a purchase for your young child, don’t forget to ask about or look into phones that were designed with her needs and developmental abilities in mind.

Talk to Your Coverage Provider

Chances are, adding another line to your account will raise your bill noticeably, which means that you may need to keep prices down wherever possible. Talk to agents and representatives of your existing cell phone company to determine what your options are, ways you can keep usage under control and which phones are more likely to meet your child’s needs. These professionals will be able to give you a tour of the available phones, as well as a rundown of all their features and functions.

Take the time to do your homework when it comes to choosing a phone for your child, as this can be a costly investment. Furthermore, choosing the wrong model could present a distraction in school or during homework time, detrimentally impacting her academic performance. Make sure that the phone you choose has the features your child needs, but think twice about bells and whistles that could turn the device into a dangerous distraction.

6 Alternatives to a Traditional First Birthday Cake

August 29th, 2013 by admin

A child diving into her first birthday cake is an iconic childhood image, but it’s also one that many of today’s parents would rather avoid. The introduction of sugars, processed foods and chemical additives is a situation that many parents would like to put off for as long as possible, but the idea of depriving their child of a first birthday cake seems unreasonably cruel. In fact, there are a host of alternatives to a traditional cake that will not only be healthier for your little one and her guests, but will also put a fun and inventive twist on an old tradition.

  • Fruit Tortes – Instead of a towering confection made of refined flour, processed sugar and chemical dyes, why not make your own fresh fruit torte for Baby’s first birthday treat? Using locally grown, organic produce is the healthiest and most ecologically conscious choice. Just be sure that you’re not introducing strawberries or kiwi into her diet for the first time at her party, as these are common food allergens.
  • Angel Food Cake – Spongy, light and delicious, angel food cakes have been the go-to for dieters for years. With a bit of creative topping and a customized recipe, they can also be a healthier alternative to a traditional cake slathered in thick, sugary icing full of dyes and preservatives. Look for recipes that use honey or agave nectar for sweetening, as well as vegan options that will exclude animal products.
  • Watermelon Cake – In addition to being delicious and refreshing, a watermelon is also a great canvas for stylized desserts. Carve a slab of watermelon into a cake-like shape, decorate with flowers made of grapes and blueberries and celebrate Baby’s first big day with no preservatives, additives or refined sugars. Creative parents can even churn out a tiered affair by stacking several slabs in graduated sizes and experimenting with edible, all-natural garnishes.
  • Vegan Cupcakes – The vegan ingredients allow your baby and her guests to chow down on treats free of animal products and excessive calories, while the small size of a cupcake may prove to be the perfect portion size. No more slabs of sugary, egg-filled cake smothered in chemical-laced icing; just reach for a pre-portioned, beautifully decorated and vegan-friendly confection.
  • Mini Tarts – Miniature fruit tarts are an ideal cake alternative, especially if you make the crusts yourself in order to have more control over the ingredients. There are even recipes for vegan, gluten-free crust options. Choose delectable, fresh fruits for the filling and skip the sugary glazes. Sweet fruits can stand alone and don’t need the thick paste of sticky, sugary goo.
  • Cake Pops – Like cupcakes, only smaller, cake pops allow for greater portion control and can also be made to suit a gluten-free, vegan diet. Choose your icing options carefully and you may be able to eliminate the addition of refined sugar altogether. Just be sure to remove the sticks from Baby’s pop and cut it into manageable bites to avoid presenting a choking hazard.

Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box when it comes to your child’s first birthday cake. Not only will you be staving off the introduction of questionable chemicals and additives, but you can also soothe any pangs of guilt by realizing that, at a year old, she’s not likely to remember that her cake wasn’t a traditional one. Start your own traditions, and celebrate her first birthday knowing that you’re giving your child the gift of a strong, healthy body.

How to Foster a Positive Body Image in Your Teen

August 19th, 2013 by admin

The process of going through puberty is a rite of passage for every human on the planet, and is a concrete sign of your child’s physical maturation. Unfortunately, it’s also a time of dashed self-esteem and negative body image in many kids, especially teen and tween girls. Fostering a strong, positive sense of self-worth and a good body image may seem like a delicate balancing act, but there are steps you can take to help your teenager mature into a poised, confident and self-assured young adult.

Start Early

The foundation for a strong, positive body image in your teenager begins when she’s a child. Before the teenage years arrive, bringing with them the nagging fears and insecurities of puberty, start talking to your little one about different body types, acceptance and the appreciation of a healthy body. Make a point of discussing the unrealistic images she absorbs from the media and the collective societal scrutiny of celebrities and public figures. The ideas your child has about body image when she reaches her teen years will be shaped by what she’s already learned, so don’t wait until she’s a pre-teen to start this essential conversation.

Watch Your Own Speech

More than almost anything else, your children will learn how to interact with the world and how to view it by observing you. If they hear you constantly speaking ill of your shape or bemoaning a few extra pounds, they will absorb those insecurities and begin to reflect them. Make a point of speaking positively about your body, even when you feel insecure. Not only will it help you model a positive body image for your kids and teenagers, it will also boost your own sense of self-worth by cutting out negative, critical thinking.

Listen When She Talks About Her Body

When it seems like you and your teen are speaking a completely different language, figuring out how she feels and the standing of her self-confidence can seem like an insurmountable task. Teens naturally become a bit more withdrawn and reticent in their quest for independence, but you may not be as cut off from your teen as you think. Make a point of listening to her when she speaks, especially about herself. If she makes self-deprecating comments about her body, even in the form of a joke, you’ll know that it’s time to have a serious conversation about self-esteem and body image.

Encourage Her to Get Involved

Teenagers that are involved in their community or peer group through sports, clubs and other activities, have something to focus on other than their changing body and the way they feel about themselves. Organized sports, athletic programs and social or academic clubs can have a very real impact on a teenager’s self-esteem, so make a point of encouraging her to get involved with things that she’s interested in and pursue her hobbies in an active, engaging way.

Emphasize Physical Activity for Fun

As childhood obesity rates skyrocket and bring along with them a host of attendant health problems, encouraging kids to engage in active play and sports programs seems like a natural solution. Sedentary activities can increase a kid’s likelihood of gaining an unhealthy amount of weight, but focusing on physical activity for the sake of adhering to the narrow definition of beauty can lead to very real problems as your kids become teenagers as well. Rather than emphasizing the importance of exercise as a method of weight loss, make a point of praising the fun and exciting attributes of getting up, out and moving.

Help Kids Form Healthy Relationships With Food

Using food as a reward or a punishment, insisting that they clean their plates or withholding food can all contribute to unhealthy, skewed attitudes and a troubled relationship with food. Allow your child to eat when she’s hungry and stop when she’s full, and avoid treating food as something inherently bad or unfailingly positive. Foster an environment in which food is viewed as fuel, not a reward or a punishment.

Helping your teen to establish and maintain a positive body image doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a lifelong process that begins when she’s a young child and will continue well into her young adulthood. Realizing that there will be peaks and valleys in your child’s view of her body is important, as is helping her to realize that unrealistic standards are not only unattainable, but also unhealthy and dangerous.

9 iPhone Apps That Could Save Your Teen’s Life

August 13th, 2013 by admin

Parenting a teen can be very worrisome these days. From news stories about teenagers that have gone missing to the startling statistics on how many accidents are caused by texting and driving, it’s no wonder that many parents sit at home and bite their fingernails until their kids are home again. Since letting kids have some freedom is a requirement if they are to ever lead independent adult lives, one thing that can give parents peace of mind is safety themed iPhone apps that can look out for kids when their parents aren’t there to do so. There are applications that have been created to ensure safe driving, steer clear of predators, find a lost teenager and assist in medical needs. There is even an app for kids who may be suffering emotionally. Knowing your child has these safeguards and tools at his fingertips can help you breathe easy and offer your teen child some guidance when he is venturing off on his own.

  • Life 360 Family Locator – Life 360 Locator is a must have for families with teens. The app lets the family know where each family member is located. If your teen is missing, you can find out his whereabouts if you have this app installed. They can also find you if they are lost in a large shopping center or amusement park. The app also lets your teen know what safety points and threats are nearby them. Price: Free
  • Canary –  Canary is essential for driving teens and the peace of mind of their parents. This app knows when the vehicle your teen is in is moving more than 12 miles per hour, and it notifies parents if the phone is being used in any capacity during this time. The app also sends parents updates as to how fast their child was driving and where she has traveled.  Price: Free
  • FBI Child ID – This app was developed by the FBI so that parents have a convenient place to store identifying information on their children, such as photos, height and weight of each child. This information can be sent to the authorities with one click if your child goes missing. Price: Free
  • Sex Offender Search – This app will let you know if there are any registered sex offenders in your area or in the neighborhood where your teen is spending time. You can also sign up to be alerted if an offender moves in to your neighborhood. Price: Free
  • DriveScribe – Reward your teen for being a safe driver! DriveScribe is a driving coach that monitors your teens driving and allows you to sponsor them so that they can accumulate points that they can trade in for gift cards. Price: Free
  • Teen Safe – Teen Safe is an iPhone monitoring system that also monitors Facebook and other online interactions. Parents will see all text messages, call logs and contacts. While this might feel like an invasion of privacy, if your child was ever in danger, this would be a good thing to have in order to track them down. Price: Free for six days, then $14.95 per month.
  • Pocket First Aid and CPR Guide – This app shows videos, illustrations and text in order to easily reference adult, child and infant CPR and First Aid. It can be easily accessed in an emergency situation and has a search function to make information simple to find. It also has a medical profile section so your teen can easily access medication, allergy, insurance and doctor information if they need it. Price: $1.99
  • Lock-Screen Pro – In case of an emergency, Lock-Screen Pro acts as a medical alert bracelet. It makes your teen’s home screen wallpaper show pertinent information, such as allergies, emergency contact numbers, and more. This is helpful for first responders in case anything goes wrong when your kids are away from home. Price: $1.99
  • Talk Life – Talk Life is a social networking app for people, mainly teens, who are struggling with mental health or self-harm issues. It is an anonymous site that users use to help one another and vent their hardships. Price: Free

How to Tell if Your Child is Ready for a Smartphone

August 7th, 2013 by admin

It’s hard to believe that cell phones haven’t been a part of the cultural landscape for generations, especially considering their ubiquitous presence now. While today’s parents remember a time before everyone carried a powerful mobile device in their back pocket, the fact is the tween and teens of today’s generation do not. When kids’ pleas for a device that connects them to the Internet and the world at large become deafening, it’s hard to objectively determine whether or not they’re actually prepared for such a responsibility. Before rushing out to pick up the newest and most advanced device, however, it’s imperative that parents take a variety of factors into account.

She’s Learning to Take Care of Her Possessions

Even smartphones on the lower end of the price spectrum can be quite expensive, and aren’t an investment that you’ll want to make if your child is still careless and inadvertently destructive. If she still tends to lose her school supplies or leave things behind, it’s a fairly strong indicator that she’s not ready for the responsibility of carrying around a small, fragile and exorbitantly expensive piece of technology on a daily basis. Safety concerns and the possibility of distraction aside, a child that isn’t capable of keeping up with less expensive items or keeping sturdier ones whole simply isn’t a good candidate for smartphone ownership. It’s probably best to stick with cheaper and more hardy phones until she matures a bit. On the other hand, if she tends to take care of her belongings and she’s mature enough to keep track of her phone, it may be a sign that she’s ready to upgrade to a phone that reflects that maturity.

Your Phone is Crowded With Homework Apps

One of the most valuable and attractive aspects of a smartphone for parents of tweens and teens is its ability to help kids with complex homework and assignment logging tasks. If your own smartphone is clogged with homework help and management apps, it may be time to consider upgrading your child’s phone to one that more accurately meets her needs and reflects her growing level of responsibility. This especially holds true if she’s holding your phone hostage during homework sessions.

Her Schedule is Becoming More Crowded

Today’s kid has more than attending school on the daily schedule. She also has athletic programs, clubs and teams, extracurricular activities and a social schedule to balance. One of the things that a smartphone brings to the table is an increased level of schedule management, but one feature that makes a smartphone especially enticing to parents is the capability of tracking and monitoring apps to ensure that your child is where she’s supposed to be throughout the day. With a dedicated family locator app, you can ensure that your child reaches her destination and remains there, especially if she’s dependent upon buses and carpools for transportation.

Consider Her Reliability Track Record

When you’re in the process of determining whether or not you think your child is mature enough and capable of handling the responsibility that comes along with owning a device that’s capable of pinpointing her location and potentially sending out dangerous amounts of personal information, it’s important to take more than just your child’s age into account. Consider her track record and the level of reliability she’s established in other areas of her life. If she’s mostly responsible and makes a point of following the rules, she may be ready for a smartphone. If, on the other hand, she’s showing signs of a rebellious streak and has shown questionable judgment that gives you cause to worry about how she would comport herself while in possession of a smartphone, you may want to wait a bit longer before making the switch.

She Has a Basic Understanding of Appropriate and Safe Use

The Internet is a powerful educational tool, but it can also be a dangerous world for kids that aren’t fully apprised of the risks that come with irresponsible use. Before you hand a smartphone over to your tween or teen, make sure that she understands how imperative it is to maintain proper boundaries and privacy standards. From online predators to identity thieves, there is a plethora of ill-intentioned people in the world that would, if given the chance, take advantage of a child who isn’t aware of the dangers.

You Have an Open Dialogue Regarding Internet Safety and the Dangers of Cyberbullying

Unknown predators are the stuff of nightmares for parents, but your child’s peers can prove to be just as dangerous. Smartphones allow kids to access the wide range of information available through the Internet, but they also open them up to attacks from cyberbullies. Make sure that your child knows not only how to deal with cyberbullies that target her, but also all of the reasons why she should never, under any circumstances, engage in such hateful and harmful behavior herself. Only then is she truly ready for a smartphone.