While this time of year can cause stress and anxiety, Celebrity Baby Scoop reached out to some savvy celebrity moms – and rounded up top favorite brands – to help beat the back to school chaos.
Melissa Joan Hart and husband Mark Wilkerson are parents to three sons: Mason, 7, Brady, 5 and Tucker, 12 months in September.
“I always try to get the boys a new backpack and a new pair of sneakers to get them excited about going back to school,” Melissa says. “We talk for a few weeks leading up to it about the teachers name and who a couple of classmates will be to help ease some of those first day jitters.”
Courtney Lopez and husband, Extra host Mario Lopez, are parents to 3-year-old daughter Gia and are currently expecting their second child.
“In order to avoid losing her stuff at school, we label all of Gia’s school supplies and clothes with Mabel’s Labels,” Courtney shares.
TODAY Show anchor and co-host, Natalie Morales, and her husband Joe Rhodes are parents to sons Josh, 9, and Luke, 5.
“Create a calendar of activities for each kid early on so they can see each day what they have and need,” Natalie shares. “And label everything! I love Mabel’s labels, as they stay on longer than the clothes lasts.”
Entertainment Tonight’s Brooke Anderson and husband Jim Walker are parents to 4-year-old daughter Kate, with another one on-the-way.
“Leave extra time to get ready and out the door in the morning so there’s no added stress of running late,” Brooke advises. “Your child may already be anxious and dragging her feet a little bit. Rushing her will do nothing to calm the nerves. Make the routine fun and as stress free as possible (for everyone including yourself!).”
“Write a fun, encouraging note for your child and leave in his/her lunch bag,” she adds. “I have found the notes from Little Jots to be cute and easy with included stickers but any old piece of paper will do. My daughter Kate loves to get words of support and love plus a little surprise drawing from me while she’s at preschool.”
The expectant mama went on to share a great time-saving tip. “Pack the backpack and lunch the night before with all the essentials so nothing is forgotten the morning of school,” Brooke shares.
Entertainment Tonight’s Nancy O’Dell is stepmom to her husband Keith Zubchevic’s sons, Tyler and Carson. They are also parents to 6-year-old daughter Ashby.
“Make an album with your child,” says Nancy, an avid scrapbooker.
“Over the summer when it gets close to the time for back to school, sit down with your child and make an album or a scrapbook of the previous year in school,” she adds. “It will remind him or her of all the good times they had in school and it will get them excited about going back! It is a great bonding project to do together and you have a wonderful keepsake for the family as a result.”
Nancy goes on to talk about the benefits of enjoying family photos.
“Also bring out some of your family albums to show your child,” Nancy continues. “It will remind them that they are part of a group, that they are members of a strong family, that they belong and it will give them the strength to fall back on if they were to go through anything difficult at school, for example, bullying which is all too prevalent these days.”
“Child psychologists will tell you that seeing family photos, with it being reinforced visually, helps children to know they have this family unit behind them to lean on,” Nancy adds. “I share more of my album ideas at NancyOdell.com including an Album of Hope which would be another great back to school project with your child.”
From the best brand-new and tried-and-true products to fail-proof tips for making school practical, stylish and safe, we are now taking a look at the latest and greatest back to school product must-haves
Founded in 2002, Mabel’s Labels is the leading provider of labels for the stuff kids lose!® Their extremely durable personalized Sticky Labels and Clothing Labels are laundry, dishwasher and microwave safe. Other products include Household Labels, Wash Aways™, Allergy Alerts labels, ID wristbands, and innovative Loot Bag Combos (inspired by celebrities’ use of Mabel’s Labels as kids’ party favors).
Mabel’s Labels’ new-and-improved Custom Allergy Alert Labels help make school safer for children with life-threatening allergies – they are durable, waterproof labels that specify allergies on items such as lunch bags, food and drink containers, and other school and travel gear:; 24 red labels that can be personalized with up to six allergies; Produced in a nut-free facility; $21 for 24 labels.
The Ultimate Back-to-School Combo™ is available only until September 30th, 2013 and is exclusively sold on www.mabelslabels.com ; 3 special back-to-school motifs (bus, books and apple) and 4 limited edition solid palettes or 40+ multi-colored designs; 40 Skinny-Minis™, 50 Tag Mates™, 16 Shoe Labels and 2 Teeny Tags™; $39 until July, $42 from July to September.
Founded in 2012 by Lisa Baumgartner, Funkins was created to help reduce mealtime waste with reusable and affordable cloth napkins that appeal to both children and parents. The collection is made from 100% cotton and organic cotton high-quality fabrics and boasts a range of colorful, stylish prints for boys and girls – like robots, cars, monkeys, owls, flowers and ladybugs – as well as gender neutral patterns. Funkins are earth and health-friendly – they are phthalate and lead-free and made with low-impact dyes. A multi-functional accessory, Funkins can be used as a napkin or placemat, or can be used to refresh little faces and hands.
Baumgartner, who is a mom to three and an active class parent and PTA member, observed dozens of events where paper napkins and throw-away tablecloths filled the trash bins at her children’s schools. Inspiration struck when school faculty posed the challenge of reducing lunchtime waste, and Funkins was established soon after. www.myfunkins.com.
Funkins are perfect for lunchbox/backpack essentials – $12 each or $30 for 3.
Net Nanny is the leading developer, marketer and publisher of online security solutions for the safety, control and privacy obstacles that families face when using the Internet. With exclusive technology, an easy installation process and cost-effective pricing, their award-winning software and applications for Window, Macs, Androids and iOS platforms have been strategically developed to safeguard Internet access and usage in real-time against unwanted charges, invasion of privacy, cyber bullying and profanity, hidden fees, and more.
In addition, Net Nanny provides valuable learning tools for parents to increase their understanding of the complex World Wide Web. Their online learning center, free webinars and blogs and articles written by CEO Russ Warner are a valuable resource for education on the latest news, risks, online lingo, tips on communicating with children, and more. www.netnanny.com.
zulily is the leading online daily deals site for moms, babies and kids. zulily connects over 10 million members with free, exclusive and convenient access to top luxury brands and boutique brands at an exceptional, unbeatable value. zulily launches over 40 sale events daily that typically last 72 hours and offer a rotating selection of over 1,400 top-quality products including apparel, toys and home goods to choose from, all at an average of 50% and some up to 90% off retail prices. Some events are brand-specific, while others are themed boutiques – such as “The Birthday Boutique” or “Diaper Bag Essentials” – expertly curated from various vendors and divisions. Zulily also has top-rated app for mobile devices.
BabbaCo is a monthly children’s activity box subscription service that delivers hands-on, meaningful, and educational fun, while also creating the opportunity for families to spend quality time together. Each BabbaBox contains 2-3 creative, useful, reusable and gift-able projects based on a topic or theme, as well as an engaging activity to explore the topic, a relevant book, a curated selection of pre-paid, interactive downloads, and even a gift for mom. One week prior to delivery, parents receive a video email on what to expect in the month’s BabbaBox. BabbaBoxes are fun while maintaining real educational and developmental benefits – each one is developed by creator Jessica Kim and a panel of PhD’s, PT’s, pre-school educators, nannies, parents, and topic experts.
As a leading children’s DIY activity expert, BabbaCo founder and mom, Jessica Kim is a valuable resource for kids projects. She is a regular parenting contributor to HLN’s Raising America and a regular DIY expert on BetterTV. Jessica is also a mom to three and has been featured in “Crain’s 40 Under 40” and Forbes.com. During her college years at Brown University, she founded Jessica’s Wonders baked goods and grossed $3.5M in sales and distribution. A graduate of The Julliard School, her background also includes a degree in Anthropology and an MBA from the prestigious Kellogg Business School of Management.
What are some of your best back to school tips?