1. Weekly Series: Reasons to Love School Uniforms

    Last week we discussed how school uniforms save parents money, because they’re a lot less expensive than fashion school clothes. We also got into the fact that most parents who save money on school uniforms get to spend that extra money on stuff for their kids – like fashion clothes for the weekend.

    This week, let’s take a look at another way school uniforms benefit kids.

    Reason 2: Sameness Has Its Benefits

    There’s a lot of research out there about how school uniforms encourage discipline, concentration, even attendance. With uniforms there’s no stress about fashion trends and no more time wasted debating over outfits in the morning. If kids aren’t thinking about their clothes all the time, they’ll be able to apply themselves to their schoolwork with one less distraction.

    Or so goes the argument. You have to wonder how many kids are actually stressing out about their clothes so much it affects their schoolwork. The kids spending a little too much time on their outfits in the morning are probably fine.

    But what about the kids who get picked on because they’re wearing hand-me-downs? Not every kid has the means to put together a great outfit every day. It’s cruel, but these kids get made fun of. And for kids who are bullied in this way, every day they have to go to school in clothes that make them feel like an outsider is a day they dread.

    With uniforms this situation just doesn’t happen, because everyone is wearing the same thing. There’s a certain relief in that. Kids who used to worry about their clothes – for totally valid reasons – know exactly what they’re going to wear, and know they’ll look like everyone else. Are uniforms going to stop bullying? No, not entirely, but they can level the playing field for some kids, and we think that’s worthwhile. 

     

  2. Weekly Series: Reasons to Love School Uniforms

    Let’s face it: if they had the choice, kids probably wouldn’t choose to wear their school uniform. But if their school has a uniform policy, they do have to wear one, so it’s worth explaining to them why uniforms are actually a pretty good idea.

    There’s a lot out there on the school uniform debate, but we’ve sorted through it to bring you the most compelling reasons why school uniforms are actually a good thing. Each week, we’ll post another reason school uniforms could use a little more love.

    Bounce these ideas off your kids the next time they start complaining their uniform’s lame. It might make them appreciate their school uniform policy a little more, or at least understand it.   

    Reason 1: It Saves Money  

    Parents who buy a few uniforms instead of a full fashion wardrobe for their kids save A LOT of money. At CookiesKids.com, you can get a year’s school wardrobe for just $95. And school uniforms are designed to stand up to lots of washes and wear and tear, so you don’t have to buy a million of them. Check out these double knee pants – indestructible.

    You might be happy that you’re saving money with school uniforms, but do your kids care? They will if you tell them how you spend that extra money on them! Seriously, the less you spend on school clothes for the week, the more splurge money you could spend on that dress she really wants for the dance or that jacket he’s had his eye on.

    The more you save with uniforms, the more you can spend on the fun stuff! 

     

  3. Tutoring: Success without Stigma

    Maybe it was a few bad test grades. Maybe they’re in a big class and not getting the attention they need. Whether your child is struggling in school or just looking to boost their academic performance, it might be time to consider tutoring options. There are now lots of different ways kids can seek help outside of school, perhaps more than when you were a student. Check out these helpful ideas.

    If your child shows signs that they’re not as confident in a subject, don’t wait to start a tutoring program. Just like adjusting to a new teacher, it can take time to develop a relationship with a tutor, so the earlier you choose your child’s tutor, the better. Finding a tutor when your child is already failing a class can sometimes cause more stress.

    Should you or another family member be your child’s tutor? Maybe. But keep in mind educators today may teach a subject very differently than the way you learned it. Also, though you may not mean to, parents can put pressure on kids about grades, and this can be discouraging for a child whose personal goal is just to “get it” not necessarily to get an A. Sometimes it’s best to leave tutoring to people outside your family, because outsiders are more likely to teach the subject in a no-pressure kind of way. 

    For older students and complex academic subjects, professional tutors might be right. Just know, they can be expensive, so you may want to save this option for serious academic problems. If you wish to hire a professional tutor, make sure they’re from an accredited service. Not sure about which tutoring service is best?  Ask your school or local library about programs and methods they might recommend – perhaps there’s even a free community group or afterschool program you didn’t know about.

    Many kids find peer assistance the right solution. College students make great tutors and mentors for teens, and high schoolers can help middle school kids. Consider the older kids in your family’s social circle, especially ones your child looks up to. If you think one of them might make a good tutor, don’t hesitate to ask them. They might do it as a favor to you, but consider giving them a fee (could be money, could be dinner) for their tutoring assistance – just to let them know it means a lot to you and your child.

    If your child finds other classmates who are struggling with the same subject, they might prefer group work or “study dates” to more formal tutoring. Be sure to give this a chance, because some kids really work better in a group. Just make sure that if kids say they’re doing work, video game breaks are kept to a minimum.     

    Whichever tutoring option you choose, keep apprised of your child’s progress. Make sure to check in with them after their tutoring sessions. Be patient, but if progress is really slow, don’t hesitate to try another tutoring option. Most importantly, make sure your student knows you’re proud of them for giving some extra attention to their studies. It can take guts to say, “I need help with this class.” Make sure they get the help that’s right for them.   \

    Sources:

    http://www.usatodayeducate.com/staging/index.php/blog/10-tips-for-getting-the-most-out-of-tutor-session

    http://www.greatschools.org/students/homework-help/122-finding-a-tutor-questions-to-ask.gs

    http://parentingteens.about.com/od/education/ht/findatutor.htm

     

  4. Making the Grade

    It goes without saying that getting good grades is important. Parents and teachers know they’re the key to everything from college admissions to important scholarships – even future careers. But since explaining all that to your 4th grader who’d rather watch iCarly than do her math homework is easier said than done, here are a few simple strategies. Following these tips will make this school year the Year of the Great Report Card.

    First off, it’s important to define just what a good grade means for your child. They should strive to do their best, and realize that they shouldn’t compare their scores to anyone else’s. If they put a lot of time and effort into homework and studying, a B on a particularly hard test can be just as rewarding as an A.

    Kids will find it easier to grasp the practical implications of good grades when you put the issue in terms they understand. Instead of telling them how a high score on this week’s math test could mean admission to a great college later on, show them how studying now means they’ll have free time later to watch a movie. Knowing your child’s motivations for doing well will help you establish guidelines for homework and studying that will result in better grades and a happier child. Consider implementing a rewards or bonus system to honor their hard work; it could be anything from an extra hour of TV to a special day out with Dad. Whatever you choose, though, be sure to follow through promptly.

    Creating consistent conditions and clear expectations will go a long way in helping kids achieve their goals. Establish a “homework zone” that’s free of distractions, and set a specific time every day for kids to work on projects, test preparation, and take-home work. Getting them to into a habit of doing their work when it’s assigned has several benefits; not only will it help prevent the dreaded “night-before” scenario, it’ll also help them become more organized and confident. Showing an interest in their studies and keeping tabs on their performance is a small but significant way to communicate the value of good grades.

    Instilling positive work habits in your kids will take some time, but talking about it right now is a good way to get them thinking about how they want to approach the new school year. They already have new clothes and maybe a new pair of shoes or two – why not better grades to go along with them?

    Sources:

    http://people.rit.edu/kecncp/keys.htm

    http://www.lifescript.com/life/family/parenting/8_strategies_for_encouraging_good_grades.aspx

    http://www.outsidethebox4kids.com/education/ten-strategies-to-improve-or-maintain-good-grades/

     

  5. School Uniforms with Style

    For many children, the phrase “school uniform” conjures up images of monochrome outfits that reveal little about the budding personalities wearing them. There are lots of reasons why school districts implement uniform policies, from boosting student achievement to fostering school spirit, but many kids still see it as one less way for them to express themselves. Cookie’s Kids understands how important it is for children to be individuals, which is why we’ve worked hard to make our school uniforms anything but basic.

    Like snowflakes, no two Cookie’s Kids uniforms are alike. Cookie’s Kids provides schools and parents with three customizable uniform options: embroidery, screen-printing, and plaid. Custom colored logo embroidery is available for dress wear such as polos, button-downs, and blazers, while screen-printing is offered on casual pieces such as T-shirts, sweatshirts, and spirit wear; an on-site facility in ourBrooklynwarehouse ensures quick turnaround and speedy delivery.

    And for schools that require plaid uniforms, Cookie’s Kids works with a New York City-based factory to develop custom plaid fabrics that can be manufactured into skirts, jumpers, pants – even ties! Our program makes it easy for schools to create a unique look, while giving parents the ability to mix and match with as many or as few pieces as they need. 

    In addition to all our personalized options, Cookie’s Kids carries a wide variety of accessories to help kids upgrade their school uniform from standard to stylish. For girls, tights and knee socks are an inexpensive way to liven up even the most basic dress or skirt. Changing jewelry or hair accessories from day to day is another easy way to refresh a well-worn outfit. And for boys, swapping out ties and belts can liven up a daily routine of polos and slacks.

    From our individually-tailored selections to our wide variety of accessories, Cookie’s Kids’ winning combination of great clothing at affordable prices makes shopping for – and wearing – school uniforms easier and more fun than ever!

    Sources:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/02/business/school-dress-codes-letting-a-little-style-slip-in.html?pagewanted=all

    http://www.seventeen.com/fashion/tips/school-uniform-ideas

     

  6. How School Uniforms Help Yeshivahs

    From Image USA Magazine, August 2011 issue - pages 48-50:

    In today’s economic climate, everyone is trying to save money. This is a sentiment that hits especially close to home for parents sending children to private schools, which account for nearly a quarter of all schools in the United States and admit over five million students annually. As tuition rates are on the rise at many community yeshivahs, parents and school administrators are looking for ways to ease the financial strain of educational costs.

    Joe Levy, Director of School Sales at CookiesKids.com, has the inside scoop on which and why yeshivahs are making the switch to school uniforms. He first noticed an increase in school uniform policy enforcement when one of Brooklyn’s largest schools, Magen David Yeshivah, decided to institute such a policy for the upcoming school year. Soon after, other schools in the community began inquiring about uniforms, considering the prospect of adopting a similar policy in the fall.

    "With tuition rates rising in the community, shopping for fashion clothing as school wear just adds to the cost of education," Levy said. "When schools switch to uniforms, it ensures parents will save money."

    Levy heads up the uniform sales department at CookiesKids.com which caters to over 2,000 schools, a number that shows no signs of shrinking. Because the company has a nearly endless inventory of tailor-made school uniform styles, price points and sizes available, Levy has been able to provide for a variety of school uniform policies, no matter how specific.

    Without question, the social impact of school uniforms can have a profoundly positive effect on children. “They have so many pressures right now, and one less thing they have to worry about with school uniform policies is what to wear,” said Levy. “It keeps kids on a more even playing field.”

    Jack Shammah, the Director of Marketing and Operations at CookiesKids.com, agrees. He’s received similar feedback from parents and children about the benefits of uniforms. “It provides a sense of confidence in children when they see their peers in the same clothes. They can excel at other things without being conscious of their clothing,” Jack said.

    In addition to easing peer pressure and self-confidence issues in children and saving parents money on trendy, designer clothing purchases, advocates of school uniforms cite a number of other reasons why they are a positive influence on the educational process. Uniforms make it easier for students to get dressed for schools in the morning, reduce discipline problems in the academic environment, and help set an atmosphere of modesty and professionalism.

    They also help instill and promote school spirit and pride, facilitate a sense of unity among students, and, perhaps, most importantly, increase students’ self respect. Students’ behavior and attitudes toward academics improve because their own expectations of themselves become higher. There’s a certain level of reverence that must be observed and maintained when wearing your school’s uniform.

    According to Levy, shirts and sweaters with embroidered school logos and gym clothes with screen printed mascots - all in the school’s colors - go a long way toward building that sense of belonging. When kids have a uniform on, they’re recognized as a proud student of their school.

    While some may argue that school uniforms suppress individuality, the prevailing thought is that pupils are still very much capable of self-expression when dressed in uniform. Students can make their uniforms fashionable thanks to unique choices in hairstyles, shoes, socks, ties, and accessories. It’s in minor details such as these that students possess the freedom to differentiate and distinguish themselves. Rather than seeing uniforms as an attempt at mass conformity, students recognize the potential to be even more creative and expressive. The thing that must always be remembered is that attitude is very important; if students feel good about themselves, they will act accordingly.

    Lower financial burden, the lack of distraction and competition, the development of one’s self-respect, and the fostering of community spirit are just some of the many positive reasons why the idea of uniforms is attractive to schools like Magen David Yeshivah. Their decision to mandate school uniforms for the upcoming school year indicates a strong dedication to getting their students back to the business of learning. Perhaps it is a decision that more schools will adopt in the near future.

    For more information on school uniform options, visit www.CookiesKids.com or call (877) 94-Cookies.