3 Ways to Encourage Your Child to Read

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – The number of children who read digitally is on the rise, according to a report called “The Children’s Digital Book Market: The future looks bright.” In both the U.S. and Canada, e-book sales for children have increased substantially for some companies. No matter how you may feel about digital books, this is great news.
More kids reading is always good news — especially when reading achievement levels are so abysmal. Data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress says that only one-third of all students entering high school are proficient in reading.
It’s no secret that children who read tend to be more successful in school. Reading helps instill an interest in learning, exercises the brain and improves concentration, critical thinking and vocabulary.
“As a parent of three, I’m constantly looking for new ways to encourage the love of reading in my kids. At the same time, I am also trying to manage the amount of time that they spend on electronics and in front of screens,” said Michael Tamblyn, Chief Content Officer of Kobo Inc., an e-reading service. “Even with a range of ages, they have all found books they like, so the e-readers in our house are now filled with Percy Jackson, Emily Windsnap and Geronimo Stilton.”
Use the following tips to encourage youngsters to read more and enjoy it.
1. Read to children as much as possible. This may seem obvious, but reading to your kids helps them develop their own interest in books. Read to them at all ages, as babies, toddlers, young kids and pre-teens. Discover what types of books they prefer, carve out reading time and then teach them to make time for it, too.
2. Consider using an e-reader. These days, kids tend to be more technologically advanced than their parents. Use that to your advantage, and give your child an e-reader with a digital library.
For instance, the Kobo Mini eReader is lightweight, portable and perfect for first-time
readers — The Huffington Post says it’s lighter than this week’s issue of The New Yorker. The Kobo Mini (www.kobo.com/kobomini) also has a touch-screen and Wi-Fi, so young readers can look up unfamiliar words, make notes on the page and access free books.
“E-readers, like Mini, let them have instant access to their favorite stories without the distractions that other devices provide,” says Tamblyn.
3. Read all kinds of materials. Books aren’t the only way to encourage reading. Depending on your child’s interests, find related comic books, graphic novels, magazines, poetry, recipes, board games with reading cards and movies with subtitles. Get creative!

The New School Year Has Begun! Talk to Your Teens About Vehicle Maintenance

(NewsUSA) – We all remember that amazing feeling of freedom our first car gave us. As our teens head back to school this fall, Firestone Complete Auto Care encourages parents to take a few deep breaths and be sure to go over, not only in-vehicle safety, but also vehicle maintenance procedures so their teens can have that “new car” freedom by keeping their vehicle running newer, longer.

•    Change the engine oil. Use the recommended grade of oil, and change it according to your owner’s manual, usually every three months or 3,000 miles. Prolonged driving without an oil change may cause severe engine damage.

•    Check and replace air filters regularly. Air filters keep impurities from damaging the inside of your engine. Not only will replacing a partially clogged filter improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent, it will protect your engine.

•    Maintain your tires. Check inflation pressure monthly, make sure your tires are properly balanced, rotate tires according to the maintenance schedule, and have the alignment checked at least yearly. Properly inflated tires increase gas mileage up to three percent and last longer.

•    Check your vehicle’s fluid levels. This includes transmission, power steering, windshield washer and coolant.

•    Keep the exterior washed and waxed to preserve the paint finish and protect your vehicle from the environment. Salt, water, sand and even de-icing chemicals on the road can rust or damage a car.

•    Proper vehicle maintenance is an important part of road safety, but so is avoiding distractions while you’re behind the wheel. Teens Drive Smart, a teen driver safety education initiative, has tips and resources for parents to help start a conversation with their teens about smart driving. Visit www.teensdrivesmart.com for more information.

While we know that the newest driver in the house is excited to have their own set of wheels, before they get out on the road this fall, take the time to talk about road safety and vehicle maintenance so they can extend the life of their new ride.

Protecting Your Kid’s Identity Is Your Responsibility

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Sponsored News – If only we could keep our kids in a bubble, insulated from the atrocities the world would inflict on them. Along with the normal worries any parent has for his or her child, you can add child identity theft to the list as well.
According to IdentityTheftFacts.com, on average, victims of child identity theft have roughly $12,000 worth of fraudulent debt. In this way, it is imperative for parents to treat their children’s information in much the same way as they treat their own information in order to prevent identity fraud.
In addition, a recent Child Identity Fraud Report, sponsored by the Identity Theft Assistance Center (ITAC) and conducted by Javelin Strategy & Research, found that 1 in 40 households with minor children (under age 18) had at least one child whose personal information was compromised by identity criminals. All of this is to say that, clearly, this is a problem that parents need to pay attention to.
Couple all of this with breaches affecting children in the commercial sector, such as that at VTech Holdings Ltd., a Hong Kong-based digital-learning toy maker, and you have a recipe for future financial disaster that could go undetected for years. In that case, the company admitted that in December of 2015, names, genders, and birth dates of 6.5 million of its child users were exposed in a data breach. About 2.9 million were U.S. children, according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the story.
“It’s a predatory crime that affects families,” Virginia State Police Lt. Robert P. Chappell Jr., of Roanoke, Va., told the Deseret News in a phone interview. “I know how to recognize it and the steps to prevent it, as well as how to deal with the emotional aspects of it,” he said.
One such way that parents can protect their kid’s identity is by keeping their digital footprint and information safe and secure. And now there is a simple cost-effective way to do that with the Gabriel app.
The Gabriel app, available at the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store, was designed and built with personal privacy and security as its foundation by VirnetX, an Internet security software and technology company.
For only $50 per year for five users, family members are assured that their communications — when they talk, video, chat, text, email, or share photos or documents — are safe and secure.
No one will be able to see, hear, or intercept your communications other than the party you are in contact with because Gabriel does not transmit or store its data with any third party, not even VirnetX. It is person-to-person, end-to-end encryption that all but eliminates opportunities for hackers.
Other benefits include:
* Making free voice or video calls or sending IMs (instant messages) to other Gabriel users.
* Receiving spamless email.
* Sharing pictures or files that are immune to interception.
For more information, or to download Gabriel, please visit www.gabrielsecure.com.

Talking Through Teens’ Growing Pains

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(NewsUSA) – Pop culture tells us that teenagers inevitably transform into hungry, rebellious, secretive monsters. But while it is true that teenagers seek autonomy, it’s not impossible for parents to keep the lines of communication open.

It might seem that you and your teenager have nothing in common — you cringe at their music and wince at their choice of clothes. And yet, with a little effort, you can find activities that will allow you to bond with your teenager. The first step? Accepting that your teen doesn’t want to listen to classical music or putter about in the garden.

“Find out what they want to do,” says Karen Deerwester, the author of “The Entitlement-Free Child,” in an interview with SUCCESS Magazine. “It’s not about what you want to do. With teenagers, it’s about getting into their world.”

Find out what your teen likes, then propose activities centered around that interest. A budding actress might want to see a play, while a sports enthusiast would prefer tickets to a game. If your teen likes your idea, let him or her plan out the details, like what play you will see. Teens need to feel that they have a voice in planning activities.

Actually bonding during that activity might be a little more challenging. Turn off the parenting voice, but don’t try too hard to be their friend — teens want to “hang” with their peers, not mom or dad. In fact, it might be a good idea to allow them to bring a friend. That way, teenagers enjoy their friends’ company while also spending time with their parents.

If activities spark discussion, let your teen talk first. Listen to what they say before you respond, and try not to fix their problems for them. Teenagers need to explore their own interests and face the consequences of their decisions, whether they be good or bad. If teens believe that they can’t talk to their parents, they will lie or manipulate to get what they want.

And do accept that teenagers will need time away from you. “We want to spend more time with them than they do with us, and we have to be respectful of that.” says Ann Corwin, a parenting consultant, child-development educator and the creator of “The Child Connection” DVD. “Try not to take it personally.”

To hear from more experts and get ideas for teenager-parent bonding activities, visit www.SUCCESS.com.