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The Family that Watches Together

by Guest
Posted March 13 2012 04:59pm

Helping your child get more out of television

Decades of research show that children learn about literacy, math, social skills, and more when they watch well-designed educational television shows like Sesame Street or Dora the Explorer. Yet, kids learn even more from co-viewing – that is, when they watch with a parent or caregiver, and talk about what they see.

In today’s busy world, most parents don’t have the time to sit with their kids every time they turn on the TV. But even occasional co-viewing with your child can make a difference. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of it.

What’s On?

Take a look at some of the shows your child watches, and get a sense of what they’re like. Even among positive, educational programming, different series are designed to address a variety of subjects for different age groups. Just as you do in every other aspect of your child’s life, choose the programs that are best suited to your child’s age, personality, interests, and needs.

Watch Together, Talk Together

When you can, take a little time to watch TV together with your child. As you do, talk about what you see. You don’t need to keep up a constant stream of chatter — after all, you don’t want to become the annoying guy in the movie theater who won’t keep quiet. But an occasional, well-timed comment can help kids follow the story and understand its educational concepts (“See, those letters spell ‘store’,” “Oh, look – what’s the monkey doing?").

To help your child understand the program more deeply, take your conversation beyond what’s literally on the screen. Encourage your child to guess what will happen next, discuss what a character might be feeling, or tie aspects of the story to your own lives (“Remember, that’s like the time we…,” “Mmm, he’s eating ice cream. You like ice cream too, right?”).

Join in!

Many TV shows specifically invite young viewers to play along while they watch. Encourage your child to call out answers to puzzles in Blue’s Clues, or to count along with The Count on Sesame Street. And don’t be afraid to join in the fun yourself!

Even when a show isn’t as directly participatory as Blue’s Clues, kids can still take an active part by putting themselves in the characters’ place. Can they solve the mystery before the characters do? What would they do if they had a fight with a friend, like the character on screen?

Keep It Going

Use favorite shows as a springboard for activities that the two of you – or even the whole family – can do together afterward. Is his curiosity sparked by a story about leaves on The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That? Take a walk outside to collect different kinds of leaves together. Is Dinosaur Train her favorite show? Visit a museum where she can see footprints and fossils from real-life dinosaurs. Related books, trips, and activities can keep the learning going long after the TV is turned off.

 


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Kidobi provides smart media solutions for parents with young children. Our unique technology adapts to the skill level of each child, creating tailor-made, ad-free playlists that are just right for them. Give your child media that matters! Visit www.kidobi.com today to make screen time count!

 

 

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How do RESPs work?

by Maxine
Posted August 1 2010 12:35am
Filed under:

RESPs are an agreement between you, the “subscriber,” and a person or organization, the “promoter.” The subscriber names one or more individual(s) as the plan “beneficiary” who will benefit from the income earned in the RESP. In most cases the beneficiary will be your child or grandchild. RESPs are offered by various companies that act as “promoters.” These companies are typically financial institutions or mutual fund companies and must be registered with the government. 

Under the terms of the plan, you make contributions for your beneficiary over a period of years and the promoter manages the investment contributions and the accumulated income earned on the contributions. If the RESP qualifies for the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG), the promoter will invest the money from these deposits, as well.  The promoter agrees to pay educational assistance payments (EAP) to the beneficiary when he or she pursues a post-secondary education. They must include the EAP on their income tax for the year in which they receive them. However, they do not have to include the contributions they receive in their income.

RESP contracts are registered with The Canada Revenue Agency and lifetime limits are set by the Income Tax Act.  The subscriber generally makes contributions to the RESP. They cannot deduct their contributions from their income on their tax return. 

RESPs are not tax deductible, but earnings on RESP investments accumulate without tax. This helps your savings grow much faster. Your beneficiary will be taxed when he or she receives the Education Assistance Payment. Since your child will be a student with little or no income, they are likely to be taxed at a much lower rate than you would have been.

The government provides financial incentives for RESP savings in the form of The Canada Education Savings Grant and/or the Canada Learning Bond. More information on these and other incentives are included below.

RESPs can be broken into three types: family, individual or group plans. Your RESP provider can explain these in detail and help you choose the one that is best suited to your needs.

This is a general overview:

Family Plan – With a family plan, you can name one or more children as beneficiaries of the RESP. The children must be related to you. They may be your children — including adopted children — grandchildren, brothers or sisters.

Individual Plan – This is a plan for one person. They do not need to be related to you for you to contribute. There is no age limit for RESPs, so you can set these up for yourself or for another adult. However, the education incentives are available only to children 17 and younger.

Each year when you make RESP contributions to the family or individual plan, the funds are deposited on behalf of the beneficiary. As investment income is earned it is also deposited into the RESP account. When your child enters post-secondary education the accumulated income is paid out as an EAP. The amount of income available is based on the performance of the investments you select.

Group Plan – Group plans are also sometimes referred to as pooled plans or scholarship plans. They combine your savings with those of other people. The amount of money each child gets is based on how much money is in the group account. It is also determined by the total number of students of the same age who are in school that year. You can name only one child in a group plan. The child does not have to be related to you. 

With a group plan, you make regular contributions that are deposited for the benefit of your child, along with the accumulated investment income. For a group plan, the amount and frequency of contributions stay the same as long as the beneficiary has not turned 18. The main difference between a group plan and an individual plan is how each calculates the amount of accumulated income available to the student when he or she goes to college or university. In a group plan, when each plan matures, contributions are returned to the subscribers and the total investment earnings of the plan are transferred to an account for all of the plans that matured in the year. Each year of post-secondary education covered by the plan is given an equal part of the funds transferred from the matured plans, and these equal parts are divided among the beneficiaries who qualify to receive EAPs in each of their post-secondary years of education.

Usually, group plan dealers must put the money submitted into low-risk investments. Generally, you have to sign a contract agreeing to make regular payments into the plan over a certain time period.

Make sure to ask your group plan dealer what happens to your money if the child does not continue with education right after high school, or if the child decides to participate in part-time education. Group plans are offered and administered by group plan dealers and each plan has its own rules. Be sure to read these rules carefully and shop around to find the plan that suits you best.

 Sources:

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Media and Child Health - Why Media Matters

by Guest
Posted March 13 2012 04:53pm

Children today are consuming media at unprecedented rates. The average preschooler watches 32 hours of television a week. Almost half of households with preschool children have 3 TVs in the home and 18% have 5 or more! 32% of 2-7 year olds have a TV in their bedroom. So what do all these numbers mean? They mean that presently, the average child spends more time with screen media than on any other activity save for sleeping. It also means that there is good reason for parents to be concerned about what their kids are watching.

How Screen Media affects Children

Children are drawn to screen media. And with all the educational claims that products are making, it is no wonder that smartphones, tablets, and TVs are being used as babysitters. They are reliable and easily accessible options for parents who, understandably, need a little downtime. So what can parents to do in an increasingly media-saturated environment?

What the experts say

The Canadian Pediatric Society (CPS) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have both issued similar guidelines for parents that recommend no screen time for children under two year of age and no more than 1-2 hours per day for children 2 and up.

Setting limits

Heavy media use is associated with higher rates of obesity, anxiety, reduced attention spans, and sleep disturbances. Fortunately, these effects are significantly mediated when parents set limits. Studies show that those children whose parents have put limits on screen time and what content is appropriate show reductions in these effects.

Get Involved!

Apps, digital games, and even TV shows can be educational when they are used appropriately. The challenge is finding the content that is right for you and your family (or perhaps finding the time to find that content). There are countless educational videos for kids online, but one of the most important steps a parent can take is to be involved. Whether that is through co-viewing or talking to your child about what they’re watching, parental involvement is vital. After all, you are the expert on your child.

 


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Kidobi provides smart media solutions for parents with young children. Our unique technology adapts to the skill level of each child, creating tailor-made, ad-free playlists that are just right for them. Give your child media that matters! Visit www.kidobi.com today to make screen time count!

 

 

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How to Choose a Broker

by Maxine
Posted August 1 2010 12:36am
Filed under:

When looking for an RESP provider, it is important that you shop around and ask questions. Be sure to choose a company that you feel comfortable with, as you will be working with said company throughout the lifespan of your RESP.

RESP providers may be from a bank, a mutual fund company, a discount brokerage, or another financial institution. They must be registered and regulated by the government. They will help you pick the plan that works best for your situation and will offer you advice on making safe investments for your money. Your provider will manage the payments when your child starts post-secondary education and needs to collect the funds.

Your provider will also help you manage your contributions should your child decide not to continue his or her education after high school.

Be sure to ask many questions, as RESP providers offer different plans that have different rules or restrictions. Some charge service fees or limit the amount of money you can put into your plan. In some cases the terms of your contract dictate how often you can contribute and/or that you must make regular payments.

The Government of Canada suggests reading this information before choosing an RESP provider: http://www.canlearn.ca/eng/saving/resp/mcn.shtml and the offer a list of suggested questions to ask: http://www.canlearn.ca/eng/saving/resp/qrp.shtml

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