This post was written by Jonny Morton as part of a collaborative project.Leading UK online Bingo brand, GalaBingo.com has teamed up with Male Cancer Awareness Campaign (MCAC) to raise money for testicular cancer, by donating proceeds from their Coronation Street games to the charity from 20th June to 3rd July. The partnership is looking to raise over £10,000 in donations as well as encouraging bingo players to do their bit for the men in their life!June was Men’s Health Month, but being aware of the unique health concerns that affect boys and men is an everyday issue. The Male Cancer Awareness Campaign aims to educate men and their partners about the importance of early detection, as well as building a culture where embarrassment does not prevent them from addressing problems with intimate parts of their bodies.MCAC has a history of running fun charity campaigns, from ‘Mr. Testicles’, to ‘Going Commando’, and the latest partnership with Gala Bingo will see the Bingo brand aim to break the Guiness World Record for a game of bingo played with the biggest bingo balls! Even better, the World Record Attempt will take place on the set of Coronation Street, under the watchful eye of a Guinness record adjudicator as well as some famous Ex Corrie stars joining in the fun.GalaBingo.com players will have the chance to play in the game on the street and enjoy a celebrity filled party by playing in special Coronation Street Bingo and slot games.Director of GalaBingo.com Alison Digges commented: “We are delighted to be joining up with the Male Cancer Awareness Campaign for our World Record attempt and we hope that the promotional games and the event itself will raise a lot of money and more importantly additional awareness for this very important charity”.Whether you choose to join in the fun at Gala Bingo, make an independent donation, or just take the time to check yourself, make sure you do your bit to win the battle against cancer.
Okay, so this year’s Father’s Day has come and gone. But, really and truly, isn’t every day father’s day? Well, it should be! So if you’re looking for a just-because gift for dad, check out the most recent winners of the Mr. Dad Seal of Approval.
Today’s involved dads are always searching for ways to spend quality time with their children–doing things that they’ll enjoy doing as much as the kids will. The Mr. Dad Seal of Approval honors toys, games, and apps that do exactly that.
How does a company earn the Mr. Dad Seal of Approval? Details are at mrdad.com/seal. But to sum it up, if it’s got that, “Hey-Dad-can-we-do-that-again?!” factor, chances are it’s a winner. If you or someone you know is interested in submitting a product, give it a shot–there’s no fee to apply.
Now that Father’s Day has passed and your family has showered you with the appreciation every dad deserves, it’s time to start planning the next father-son outing to return the favor. Planning unique activities with your kid is about much more than just finding fun things to do. It’s a chance to share valuable bonding experiences and and even pass down skills they can use in the future.
Every year, around 14,000 teens between the ages of 16 and 19 are killed in car crashes. It’s no wonder that parents are afraid of letting their children hit the road on their own—and that they take every possible precaution to keep their children safe. It’s also no wonder that insurance rates for teens are incredibly high. Fortunately for parents of teens everywhere, there are programs in place that can help keep kids safer on the road, and keep their insurance premiums as low as possible.
Safe Driving Courses
There are a number of safe driving courses out there that go above and beyond the training that traditional driver’s education courses offer. Most of them are aimed at young adults 15-25. They usually last about four hours and teach young drivers about:
- How to avoid underestimating risks on the road.
- The danger of driving with knees (something young drivers—and plenty of adults—commonly do).
- Dealing with peer pressure, as well as texting and other handheld distractions.
- State and local laws.
According to the National Safety Council, these safe driving (sometimes called “defensive driving”) courses reduce the risk of car accidents for young drivers.
And here’s your bonus: Many insurance companies discount the cost of young driver insurance for those who complete the course.
As an added incentive for students to do well in school, good grades = lower insurance premiums. Research shows that students who do better in school are less likely to get into accidents on the road. Young drivers will generally qualify for a good student discount if they:
- Have a 3.0 (B average) GPA or better or are on the honor roll/Dean’s List
- Are under age of 25
- Are enrolled full time in high school or college/university.
- Can provide proof of academic performance (generally a report card issued by the institution)
Teen Driving Contracts
American Automotive Association (AAA) developed a parent-teen driving contract in coordination with various insurance companies, and the idea has really taken off in the last five years. These contracts aren’t legally binding; they’re simply an agreement between parents and teens that lays out in writing what the expectations are for the teen before he or she takes the keys and hits the road alone. Contract can be altered to fit individual needs, and are auto-filled with recommended guidelines for each category. The categories are fairly extensive, and include:
- Privileges such as curfews, number of passengers allowed in the vehicle, and weather conditions that would limit driving.
- Rules the teen is expected to follow, such as basic road rules, keeping in contact with parents, and potential risks.
- Consequences for irresponsible behavior and driving while the keys are in the teens control.
Teen driving contracts help teens gradually step into the responsibilities of driving, make them aware of the consequences for not following the rules, and still allow them to have some freedom. In some cases, insurance companies offer discounts for parent-teen driving contracts as long as they are kept on file with the company.
One great way to keep teens responsible behind the wheel is to require that they bear some of the financial costs. They’re much more likely to be attentive and cautious behind the wheel if they know that consequences for their failure to do so will come out of their pockets. At the very least, you should make sure your teen knows that he or she will be financially responsible for:
- Any tickets, whether for moving violations or parking.
- A set dollar amount or fixed percentage of the cost to repair the damaged vehicle if the teen is at fault.
- The cost of insurance on the vehicle. The teen should pay the difference between your old insurance rate and your new rate with the teen driver added.
Giving your teen a financial stake won’t reduce the cost of insurance, but it will help keep your teen safer on the road.
If you’ve got little kids, you know that making meals can be one of the toughest times of the day. The kids want all of your attention—right now—and you want to keep them clean and occupied so they don’t become a danger to themselves or anyone else. One of the best ways to keep kids busy in the kitchen is to let them “help” you with meal prep and cooking. You could give them an actual pot full of water, but your toddler or preschooler will turn that into a slippery mess in 30 seconds. A better (and far less messy) option is to set your child up at the kitchen table with some pretend food to “slice,” “dice,” and “cook” while you do the real thing at a nearby counter. Here are some very realistic kids’ cooking sets that will make your little one feel like a real grown-up.
Cooking and Kitchen Sets (Melissa & Doug)
Melissa & Doug have a pretty broad selection of cooking and kitchen sets that are made of either wood or felt. The Sandwich Making Sets come with everything your child will need to make a delicious sandwich, including bread, rolls, lunch meat, pickles, hamburgers, and more. If you go for the wood set, the pieces stick together with bits of Velcro; the felt pieces stick together on their own. Both come with a wooden knife (that isn’t sharp, of course). To make sure your child gets the recommended daily allowance of pretend fruits and veggies (and, maybe to encourage him or her to eat the real thing at mealtime), check out the Cutting Fruit Set. You get seven pieces of various fruits and veggies that can be sliced into a total of seventeen pieces, which can be reassembled into some really weird combinations that will get you and the kids giggling. The food makes a fun “crunch” noise when kids “cut” it with the included wooden knife. Comes in a wooden storage crate. $20 on http://www.melissaanddoug.com
Tea Set Sticker Party (Alex Toys)
Here’s one that combines two kids’ favorites: tea and stickers. This 13-piece, ceramic tea set comes with more than 100 stickers that your kiddo can use to decorate and customize. Then, all he or she needs to do is send out the invitations, make sure there are enough chairs for the guests (which may or may not include stuffies), and start pouring tea while you get your Alton Brown on. The Tea Set Sticker Party comes with four cups, four saucers, a sugar bowl, and creamer, and let’s not forget all those stickers. $19 at http://www.alextoys.com
Let’s Dish (B Toys)
A lot of kitchen toys are aimed at girls, but B Toys, makers of all things awesome, has a completely gender-neutral kitchen set made of brightly colored, durable plastic. It comes with a green tray that’s perfect for serving hors d’oeuvres to special real or imaginary guests, breakfast in bed (or on the couch) to mom or dad, or chips and dip on game day. The dishes, cups, and (safe) silverware can be used with pretend foods or real foods, something the kids will get a real kick out of. Best of all, everything in this set can be washed clean with soap and water. This well-made set will last for years. $20 at Target http://www.target.com
A guest post by Bob Kornitzer
Co-parenting following a divorce (or following the split-up of a non-married couple) presents unique challenges to both parents; but especially to the dad who is now assuming an active parenting role in functions that were previously the sole domain of mom. A good example rests in dad’s interactions with his child’s pediatrician and the child’s health-related needs. Not only is active involvement in the child’s day-to-day medical needs a foreign subject to many newly divorced dads, but there are unique legal issues that I see frequently in my practice as family law attorney that cannot be ignored. For my illustration, I am assuming that dad has joint legal custody (involvement in major decisions involving the health, safety and welfare of the child) and also physical parenting time with the child.
Dad must keep in mind that he needs to be pro-active in learning everything about the child’s health-related needs. This means understanding any special problems of the child, researching those problems, joining the child at medical appointments and being part of the child’s medical decision process. A mom who is used to solely handling this role may not take kindly to what she perceives to be an intrusion into her historic parenting role. She may resist and either actively or passively leave dad out of the “loop”.
It is up to the newly active dad to sometimes bite his tongue, be diplomatic, but be persistent and consistent in participating in the child’s medical needs. Dad has the legal and moral right to help care for the child’s needs, but if dad is not consistent and active, he will effectively erode and minimize his role in the future. It is one thing to talk the talk, but dad must walk the walk.
The importance of cooperative consistency plays out in critical custodial issues. For instance, the more active a dad is in being involved with attending pediatric appointments, the more he will be recognized by the child, the mother, the pediatrician and potentially by the courts as a necessary ongoing component of the child’s life.
Keep in mind that even though I am using medical involvement as my example, this extends to all areas of a child’s needs such as education, sports, activities and religious training. Many divorcing dads who fought so hard to have the right to be active in their child’s lives then turn around and effectively give up that right by reverting to an uninvolved status that may have been prevalent during the marriage. This undermines dad’s legal strength in the future if a) he is seeking additional parenting time or b) mom is seeking to reduce dad’s parenting time. Very critically and not understood by most dads is that being a very involved dad may be the most effective method of preventing your former spouse from relocating to a geographically distant location with the child. When it comes to having meaningful rights to be an active parent, “use it or risk losing it” may be the mantra that dad needs to keep repeating to himself.
Mr. Kornitzer is a partner at the law firm of Pashman Stein and the Chair of its Family Law Department. His practice focuses in all aspects of family law including divorce litigation, mediation, arbitration, post-judgment litigation, custody, relocation, domestic violence, premarital agreements, assets protection agreements, grandparents rights, spousal and child support. Mr. Kornitzer can be reached at 201-488-8200 or at email@example.com.