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On The Cover:

Back to School…Already?
By Steph Nordstrom

Well apparently despite my best efforts to extend summer for as long as possible, summer is coming to an end and kiddos are headed back to school.

As you get your kids ready to go back you’ve prepared them with all the supplies they need. Paper, pencils, folders, Trapper Keepers and Lisa Frank notebooks (What? Those are totally still a thing right?). Just makes sure that you send them back with a little extra.

We live in a world where bullying runs rampant. Children these days don’t even seem to try and be discreet about it. So make sure your kids know where to go to find help if they find themselves being bullied, or see someone else being bullied.

Let them know they can always come to you, or another trusted adult. Let them know that teachers, guidance counselors and school administrators can always help too.

Most schools have developed a zero-tolerance policy regarding bullying, but since we live in such a digital age, kids can be walking around with bullies in their ‘pocket’.

Please make sure that you are ‘friends’ with your kids on Facebook and ‘following’ them on Instagram and Twitter. It’s so much easier for kids to be bullied by faceless screen names. It is also important that you have the usernames and passwords to these accounts. It may seem like an invasion of privacy, but these social media tools aren’t their diaries. Checking up on their online and text messaging activities is an easy way to cut potential bullying and other less-than-appropriate activities off at the pass.

I am probably going to take some heat for what I am about to say, but I really believe it so I am going with it. If your kid is under the age 17, I highly recommend just saying no to SnapChat. I just think there is a lot of potential for bad decisions to be made on that app. If you are unfamiliar, SnapChat is an app that allows the user to send pictures and videos to other users, however, the person receiving the message can only view the pic/video for 30 seconds before the message is automatically deleted…or at least that’s the idea. The problem comes in that kids think that the pictures are gone forever…but much like anything you post online – nothing is gone forever. Thanks to screen capturing those photos and videos could come back to haunt you for a Very. Long. Time. I think that generally speaking, tween and teens lack impulse control, which makes this a particularly dangerous app.

So now that we’ve talked about out-of-date school supplies, bullying and cyber-safety, let’s move on to something more fun…books!

Hopefully your kids will be reading at least a few good books as part of their curriculum this year, but what about offering them a little bit extra? What about sharing your favorite books from when you were their age? If nothing else it would be interesting to see which of your favorites have held the test of time and which are the Twilight of your generation. I can think of a few that would fall to both columns. Maybe you and your child can trade favorites and see how they compare – maybe you’ll each find a new favorite.

In case you haven’t caught on, I am an avid reader. I love to read. Just about anything that doesn’t make me think too hard. Now, before you get upset with me, let me explain. I’m not saying I don’t like to read books that make me think, but for the most part, I read to escape – to get out of my own head for a bit and delve into someone else’s world for a while. Sometimes after a long day I would rather lose myself in wind and music of Stephen Chbosky’s Fort Pitt Tunnel (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) or Suzanne Collins’s Panem (The Hunger Games) or remember first love and teenage angst with Rainbow Rowell (Eleanor & Park) – than cook dinner. Some days I would rather try to solve a murder before Alex Cross or Sir Holmes himself. Other times I like to remember that Disney didn’t get it quite right with Grimm’s Fairy Books and on the flip side of that sometimes I just want to laugh. Literally LOL. That is where my friend Christopher Moore comes in.

So, as summer turns to fall and it starts to get chillier outside, stay inside, pick up a good (or bad for that matter) book and lose yourself for a few hours. Find out what your kids are reading and do a book swap. You never know when you’ll find the next book that will change your life.

If you have any reading suggestions for me, please send them my way!

 
 
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