GOOD HOUSEKEEPING REPORTS: A-plus hacks that help you work smarter — not harder — this school year

Make school lunch fun with this neat tangram-wich! Spread your fave filling between slices. Next cut into triangles (two large, one medium, two small), a square and a parallelogram. Then use the puzzle pieces to make cool things like a bunny or a fox. (Photo by Danielle Occhiogrosso Daly)


Try these strategies to help everybody rise and shine in a happy mood and get out the door with time to spare:

  • Stick to a schedule. “Having a regular wake-up time is just as important as having a regular bedtime,” says Mandy Gurney, founder of the Millpond Children’s Sleep Clinic and co-author of “Teach Your Child to Sleep.” Sleeping in for a little bit on Saturday morning is OK, but Gurney warns that letting your child lie in bed for hours all weekend will make getting her out of bed on Monday morning a total nightmare.
  • Wow them with kindness. A small pick-me-up can go a long way toward getting your crew up and moving each day. Instead of barking at your kid for the 10,000th time to wipe the crust out of his eyes and get dressed, bring him a glass of cold milk or a warm washcloth for his face. Research shows that treats like this can work wonders, particularly when it comes to lighting a fire under teens, whose bodies are naturally programmed to wake up and go to bed later. An offer of 10 minutes of free gaming time on an iPad may also give elementary-aged kids an incentive to come out of a deep slumber.
  • Let them handle it. “As a parent, our job is to transfer responsibility to our children,” says child behavior expert Marie Masterson, Ph.D. “The earlier we start, the better.” So let your kids pick out and set their own alarm clocks — for a reasonable time, of course. According to Masterson, little ones as young as 4 and 5 take pride in doing this, and if kids are given some ownership of their wake-up call, they’re more likely to abide by it.


Separation anxiety is normal for children in preschool through first grade (and some moms, too!).

Try these strategies for tear-free goodbyes:

1. The Night Before

Curb your anxiety (which your child can pick up) by planning ahead. Have everyone’s clothes out, bags packed and lunches prepared, plus a comforting toy or book ready for the car or bus ride.

2. In the Morning

Establish the first day as special by taking fun photos or whipping up rainbow pancakes. This will start your child off in the right frame of mind and create a new tradition he’ll look forward to.

3. At School

Don’t rush him in or leave quickly. If tears happen, avoid trying to stop them fast; instead, offer a warm hug to soothe the child. Look for a cue from the teacher about when she should take over.


These personal style services deliver affordable and stylish kids’ gear straight to your doorstep:

Rockets of Awesome

Every three months, eight clothing items ($16 to $38 each, sizes 3 to 12) are hand-selected from the brand’s in-house line and mailed to you. Don’t like something the stylists chose? Before your box ships, they’ll send a sneak-peek link to review with your kiddos. Swap out anything you or your little one isn’t into;

Stitch Fix Kids

Meet the new kid-friendly version of Stitch Fix. Fill out a questionnaire to give stylists the scoop on your child’s style. The company will curate a box of eight to 12 items ($10 to $35, sizes 2T to 14) from brands like Nike and Disney along with its exclusive brand, Rumi + Ryder, in addition to motivational stickers and games;


Discover: YouTube Therapy

Oddly soothing videos are taking over the internet. People swear by their calming effects. Can hitting “play” actually change your life?

WHAT IT IS: Many people experience what they describe as pleasant brain tingling when they’re completely relaxed — that’s the body’s autonomous sensory meridian response, or ASMR. A huge online community watches videos designed to stimulate ASMR, which feature people whispering, turning the pages of books or making gentle tapping or crinkling sounds. It’s also common to experience ASMR when you’re being soothed or paid attention to in a kind way, as when you’re having your hair done at a salon. 

THE CLAIM: Proponents say the sensations lower stress levels and help with sleep. 

THE EVIDENCE: Research is just getting underway, but an ongoing study of more than 25,000 people found that ASMR was beneficial to about half of those diagnosed with anxiety or insomnia. “However, these initial studies are self-reported by the participants,” says Craig Richard, Ph.D., founder of ASMR University and author of “Brain Tingles.” “It will take many well-designed clinical studies with consistent findings before the potential health benefits of ASMR are best understood.”

THE BOTTOM LINE: It can’t hurt, and it’s free. Three easy ways you might trigger ASMR: Watch videos by searching for “ASMR” on YouTube; listen to ASMR podcasts; or ask a friend or your partner to play with your hair or gently rub your back.

Recalls Alert

The following products and vehicles were recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Unless otherwise indicated, discontinue use of the products immediately and return them to the store where purchased for a refund. For more information about the products, call the manufacturer or CPSC’s toll-free hotline, 800-638-2772. Only some cars or trucks recalled are affected. Contact a dealer for your model to see if it is included in the recall. The dealer will tell you what to do.


Koehler-Bright Star WorkSafe Model 2224 LED 3-D cell flashlight, sold at Koehler-Bright Star Industrial distributors, Grainger and online at from January 2017 through May 2018 for about $21.

The flashlights are missing an encapsulation on a circuit board component, which protects the flashlight from igniting an explosive environment, posing an injury hazard to the user or bystander. Consumers should immediately stop using these recalled flashlights and inspect the flashlights for a missing date code on the body of the flashlights. If the recalled flashlight does not have a date code, contact Koehler-Bright Star at 800-788-1696 for free replacement parts.

2018 Genesis G80 sedans

The occupant classification system may incorrectly detect that an adult is in the passenger seat, even if the seat is unoccupied. In the event of a crash, if a child or infant is in the seat, the front passenger airbag may deploy instead of being deactivated, increasing the risk of injury. Dealers will reprogram the occupant classification system for free. Owners can call the automaker at 855-371-9460 or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236 to learn more.

© Hearst Communications Inc.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate


GOOD HOUSEKEEPING REPORTS: A-plus hacks that help you work smarter — not harder — this school year–