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How to Make Chores for Kids Fun!

Too often chores for kids turn into a power struggle between parent and child. The parent has to constantly remind and nag, and if she turns her back, the child simply stops doing the chore.

This cycle of nagging and frustration surrounding chores isn’t healthy for anyone, parent or child. If everyone is left with a bad attitude, what have you really accomplished, even if the chore is done?
Yet simply not having your kids do chores isn’t a good option, either. They need to learn the basic life skills and work ethic necessary to be functioning adults, and participating in chores as a child is a big part of that.

It may seem like a tall order, but household chores have the potential to bring your family closer together. You can bond through helping each other out, and your children will feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves—they are true members of the family.

Figuring out what works best with your family is probably going to include plenty of trial and error. Here are some suggestions that could help turn chores for kids into a bonding experience for you and your children.

Start Very Young

At around 18 months, kids naturally start wanting to help out. Let them.
You might be tempted to scoot them away when they express interest in helping with something, because obviously they aren’t going to be very good at it. But if you take the time to include your kids in chores at a very young age, then they’ll feel really good about helping mommy and daddy out, and they’ll be much more likely to have a good attitude about helping around the house as they get older.

Set Aside Family Chore Time

Designate a specific block of time when everyone in the house pitches in. If chores are part of a routine, and siblings and parents are all involved, then your children will need less reminders and less nagging. They’ll also feel more like a contributing member of the family, which can develop into a good motivating factor.

“Gamify” Chores

The term “gamification” refers to turning a mundane task into a game. Household chores offer an incredible opportunity for gamification, and you and your children’s creativity is the only limiting factor.

You could turn cleaning time into a dance party, or have a race to see who gets done first. Another classic gamification technique is to create a “sticker chart,” but instead of a regular calendar sticker chart, turn it into a board game where their stickers lead to a winning destination.

Don’t Use Chores as a Punishment

One surefire way to make your kids hate chores is to use them as a punishment for bad behaviors. If they associate helping out around the house with punishment, then you’re quite possibly setting them up to be a slob for life.

Ultimately, you want chores to be a positive aspect of your children’s lives. Keeping a tidy home should be something that everyone participates in and everyone enjoys doing. So stop nagging, and use chores to help bring your family closer together.

Do your children hate doing chores? Have you had success in making chores for kids a fun experience for the whole family? Share your stories below, or visit us on Facebook to join the conversation!

Cheap Ways to Travel on a Budget

Fall is the best time to travel – as crowds in tourist locations decrease, so do the prices of hotels and plane tickets. Because everyone is headed back to school, if you have time to kick back and relax, take advantage of it now. Here are a few cheap ways to travel on your next trip.

Kayak.com

One of the best cheap ways to travel is to plan ahead and pit competing hotels and airlines against eachother. One of the best places to do this easily is Kayak.com. There are a few different places you can go to online to find competing prices for plane tickets – that is, if you aren’t loyal to a particular airline. However, while Priceline gets most of the attention, Kayak is actually the most reliable and informative.

Search for the cheapest tickets from one city to another, with multiple airlines, airports, days, times, and prices. You can adjust your preferences to find the perfect flight, even if you’re looking for a flight that makes a 5 hour layover in a specific city. Not only will Kayak find it for you, but it will give you the best price around.

Explore Feature

If you want to get out of town but you don’t have a particular place in mind to go to, think of your budget and go to the Explore feature on Kayak.com. This feature allows you to see the cheapest flights from your location to different airports around the world. If you’re on a tight budget and you don’t know where to go, the explore feature allows you to just choose the cheapest ticket it can find.

Airbnb.com

Once you get to your vacation destination, it may be difficult to find a cheap place to stay. Hotels are expensive, and sometimes they are out of the way and not very accommodating. So another cheap way to travel is by skipping the hotel altogether and using a site called Airbnb. Airbnb is a website that allows smaller bed-and-breakfast-type locations to show their accommodations and rates. Choose from a private house, apartment, room, or a shared space. Find the option that is best for your budget, as well as the best location and near the necessary transportation you need.

Hostels

One cheap option that you won’t see on Airbnb is a hostel. Some people automatically rule this option out, because they want more privacy. However, hostels actually do offer smaller and private rooms for decent rates. Often they are in much better locations in large cities than small bed and breakfasts on Airbnb. They also usually offer free wi-fi and continental breakfast in the morning.

Compare Prices

When you’re going on vacation, compile lists of all the options you have to choose from. Compare total prices for each destination flight fare, housing accommodations, and additional transportation, as well as must-see tourist sights. Create a spreadsheet to keep track of prices and links to specific flights and lodgings. You may even be able to plan multiple vacations at one time.

Though vacations are fun, they are always better if you plan ahead. Be sure you check the weather before you leave in order to ensure that you pack appropriate clothing. And the trick is, do not overpack!

4 Easy Ways to Give Your Kids Help With Homework

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Lately it seems like we start receiving “parent” homework before the school year even gets properly underway. There’s the little packet of “to dos” handed out at registration. Then another packet of “Spotlight your Child” activities handed out at the teacher Meet ‘n Greet. And if you’re adventurous enough to attend Back to School night, you can bet you’ll pick up another packet of parent homework there too!

Then the school year really kicks off. Sometimes it can feel like we’re drowning in the very schedules we prayed for all summer long. While you’re scrambling to catch up on all the little craft assignments you couldn’t get around to before the first day, the real homework starts rolling in. All of a sudden you’re knee deep in giving help with homework from book reports to science projects, math problems and last minute “Mom! It’s my turn to be spotlighted in my class and I don’t have a cool poster yet!” activities.

Great, only two weeks in and we have a homework situation! Cue the obligatory bout of stinging “parent fail” self-deprecation.

At this point, it can be tempting to jump on Pinterest and see what other parents are doing to maintain the apparently well-oiled machinery of their school routines. But then, if you’re like most people, you’ll just get distracted by some homemade Halloween pumpkin character that would require degrees in engineering, graphic art and interior design to actually produce.

And now the time you’ve spent trying to find ideas for help with homework has actually left you with even less time to spend doing it. And that little homework “situation” has slowly escalated to more of a full scale cataclysm, complete with weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth (mostly yours)!

So how does one climb that mountain of academic tasks and remain on top of it all year long? Well, obviously Pinterest is not a great place to start when you’re already trying to dig your way out of an academic avalanche. Tips are better. So here are some helpful tips for staying on top of homework, no matter how many little people you have contributing to the pile.

1. Homework serves an important purpose. No, really!

Try to keep in mind that the true purpose of homework is first and foremost an opportunity for your child to learn specific skills or information. Most of the time they can do this alone. However, that learning can be enhanced to a level of mastery providing the environment is favorable to it. This means that it is your job as a parent to facilitate this learning, not to do the learning for them. Offering your child help with homework doesn’t really help them if you do it all for them.

Although it is important to help your children complete their homework correctly, it is also important to help them take the lead. Pull the pins out of those incredible Pinterest feats; they make it too tempting to hijack the task, which really defeats the purpose of homework. Step away from the blue prints, hand your child the glue gun (or the Elmer’s glue!) and give them full creative license. Your job here is to encourage (and maybe stifle a cringe or two).

2. Get to know the teacher

Depending on how you look at it, what is required on any given homework assignment can range from pretty basic to “you’re the parent other parents love to hate” over the top! Rather than risk missing the mark, ask the teacher what they actually expect.

Make it a point to attend back to school night and every parent teacher conference, so you can ask them directly what is expected for your child’s homework. Also, ask how involved you should be. This will help you to toe the line between helping your children be successful, doing their homework for them and, let’s face it, running the risk of having other children in the class feel like underachievers!

3. Help your child to set up a homework schedule

The idea here is to keep track of what homework is due, and when. Try to avoid doing this yourself. It’s better to help your child figure out how to do it without depending on you. Help your child to create a homework plan. This is a great opportunity to teach them about time management and realistic deadlines. Then help them to stick to it.

Creating a plan with your child’s help will make them feel involved and invested in the process. It also helps them take responsibility for completing tasks on time. This means they will be much more likely to stick to the plan, and since they work with their teacher directly, they will probably have a better understanding of the expectations.

4. Keep your involvement age appropriate

It should go without saying but, remember to work with your children at a level that recognizes their abilities and limitations. Younger children need more help performing their homework tasks, while older children might just need help staying on task!

A good homework schedule should include the following things:

  • Specific Timeframes for Each Task. By being as specific as possible, and keeping expectations age appropriate, you will help your child to stay on task.
  • Consequences for Positive and Negative Behavior. Try to enforce the idea that a homework task must be finished before your child can enjoy a reward such as play or TV. Other little rewards (like snacks) can also encourage them to stay on task until their homework is complete.
  • Plenty of Time to Complete Assigned Work. Overwhelming your child with too much work in too little time will not help them. Be patient and give them the time they need to successfully complete their projects.
  • Breaks. Watch your child for signs of frustration, boredom or fatigue and give them a break. Remember, they spend all day in school and need time to decompress.
  • Physical Activity: Use breaks to do something physical like jumping jacks or jump rope. It’s a great opportunity to get blood flowing and use up some energy. It’s also a healthy alternative to screens and devices, and will get them back to the homework task faster, and in a less distracted state.

Homework is an important part of success at school, but it can also create stress and anxiety in the home, for both parents and students. Follow these tips to minimize that stress and help your child become much more successful at home and in the classroom.

Save Money With MoviePass

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How much money do you typically spend on movie tickets every month? It seems that autumn has become the season when Oscar-bait movies are released, and depending on the year, it’s not too far-fetched to end up with a list of “must see” movies that can require multiple trips to the theatre in any given week. The problem is that doing this can end up costing a lot of money.

If you’re like me, at this time of year it’s just too hard to wait for those movies to make their way into the dollar theatres, or Red Box, especially when all your colleagues and friends start raving about them without extending the courtesy of any spoiler alerts.

How do you save money on movie tickets then? The answer is MoviePass, it’s a pass that gets you into movies every day for one monthly fee.

Smartphone App and Debit Card Technology

When you sign up for MoviePass, you receive a MoviePass debit card that is connected to an account on the MoviePass smartphone app. When you want to see a movie, you sign into that account on your phone, “check-in” at the movie theatre you are within 100 yards of, and select the movie you want to see, and the time show time you want to attend.

The debit card is automatically loaded with the exact amount of money for the price of the ticket (single) you have selected. You can then purchase your ticket at the kiosk or ticket counter, using that debit card.

Monthly Fee

In return for these daily movie tickets, MoviePass requires its card-carrying members to pay $30 ($35 in some areas) a month. If you’re a true movie buff, you spend much more than that on movies every month. All you have to do is see three or four movies a month to make the monthly fee pay off.

Restrictions

We do live in the real world and so you’re probably wondering what the catch is. Thankfully with MoviePass it’s not actually that bad, it may not even register as a ping on your radar of movie viewing preferences.

  • MoviePass does not pay for IMAX or 3D films.
  • It also restricts the number of movies you can watch within a 24 hour period to one. A countdown feature on your MoviePass application will allow you to see when your 24 hour period is up.
  • The final restriction is that you can only choose to see a particular film with your MoviePass once – meaning that you cannot charge your MoviePass with a ticket to the same movie twice.

Aside from these restrictions, you can use your MoviePass to see any movie from any theater within the United States.

Upcoming Movies

When you think about the number of blockbuster and franchise movies pending release before the end of this year, it’s not hard to justify an investment in MoviePass. Here are a few of the highly anticipated releases to whet your appetite: Hotel Transylvania (yes, it’s animated, but… the usual Sandler suspects? Done!), The Intern, The Martian , Pan, The Walk, The Peanuts Movie, Spectre (007), Mockingjay Pt2 and (I can hardly breathe…) Star Wars!!!!!

Calling All Movie Buffs

With only months to go until the Academy Awards, it’s time to get to the theater and judge for yourself what does and doesn’t deserve a nomination and an award. Take a scorecard and rate each movie while keeping track of what you’ve seen. You’ll be shocked at how much money you really spend on movies in any given fall month, and how much money you’ll save with MoviePass.

Keep checking in with our blog for more tips on great tech and smart budgeting and don’t forget we also offer money saving services with great products like, tax preparation and bill pay and even insurance quotes.

How to Make Your Home Pet Friendly

In one of our past posts we discussed how you can budget for a new family pet. In today’s post we’ll discuss how you can make your home pet friendly in preparation for your new furry friends arrival.
Most American households include a beloved pet, but are we really considering their comfort and safety when we bring them home?

Sure we love them, play with them, feed them and so on, but what more can you do to ensure their happiness and wellbeing?

Examine the Problem

Every pet can be frustrating and messy at times, but it is important to examine your house and lifestyle before blaming your pet. Ask yourself, “Is this a pet problem or a people problem?”
For example, is your dog constantly getting into the bathroom garbage? It might seem as though your dog has a behavior problem, but might actually be a people problem. The solution could be as simple as closing the bathroom door when you’re not around. You could even try getting a garbage can with a lid. Changing your routine or placement of items is usually the easier fix!

Avoid Harmful Ingestion

Keep toxins and Poisons out of reach of your pet. This includes medications, household cleaners, and plants, but also food that may be hazardous to your pet. Animals are drawn to smells and can and will eat things that are bad for them.

Empty your garbage cans frequently and keep a tight lid over them; or conceal them where your pet can’t access them. It will save you from cleaning a big mess, but might also save their life.

Common poisons and hazards for dogs:

  • Chocolate
  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Caffeine
  • Coffee
  • Nutmeg
  • Xylitol (commonly found in sugar-free chewing gum)
  • Alcohol
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Onions, garlic and chives

Common poisons and hazards for cats:

  • Chocolate
  • Caffeine
  • Coffee
  • Alcohol
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Xylitol (commonly found in sugar-free chewing gum)
  • Milk

These substances can cause diarrhea, liver failure, strokes and more in your pet, even in small doses.
If you think your pet may have ingested something poisonous call the ASPCA poison control center at 888- 426- 4435.

For a complete list of toxins refer to the ASPCA website.

Inspect Your Home

Just as you would baby- proof your home for an infant, you may need to pet- proof your house as well.
This may sound silly, but by crawling around your house on your pet’s eye level you will be able to spot hazards lurking behind furniture and even out in the open.

Is there anything they could get caught in, injured by or otherwise find trouble? You may need to cover a few outlets, shorten some blind cords, cover electrical cords, etc. It’s always a good idea to fix, remove, or cover anything that could harm your pet.

Dedicated Pet Area

Creating a comfortable place for your pet to relax and sleep is very important. Animals instinctually want a space that is warm, soft, and comforting.

A soft bed or blanket placed in a warm corner is the perfect place for your pet to relax. You can also add a toy or two to encourage them to play in this area as well. However, be cautious about choosing toys that are appropriate in size, strength, and material for your pet. Choosing a chew toy too small for your dog or cat could result in choking, injury, intestinal blockage or worse.

Make sure water is readily accessible in a safe location and that it is easy to drink from. Find a place to store their food, toys, and accessories so that you have control over your pet’s access.

This also applies to small animals such as birds, fish, and rodents. The area in which you place their cage is very important. Make sure to avoid drafts, extreme heat, fumes, high ledges, etc; anyplace that causes stress, breathing problems or extremes in temperature or a risk of falling.

Birds, rodents and other small pets like to be able to hide, so placing them in a corner rather than the middle of a room will cause them less stress. Avoiding windows is a good idea as well. Some animals may see outdoor animals as predators and will always be on guard. If appropriate for your pet, purchase a safe hiding toy to help them feel secure.

How do you ensure that your pets are safe and happy at home? Let us know in the comment section below.

8 Cheap Halloween Costume Ideas on a Budget

Halloween is just around the corner, and it’s time to start preparing the costumes. If you have multiple young children, dressing each of them up can be a chore, not to mention the hit you can take to your budget! Have you considered making the costumes yourself? It’s not as difficult as you might think. Here are a few cheap Halloween costume ideas that can be put together in no time.

Hot-Air Balloon Costume

All you need to do for this cheap costume idea is buy some helium balloons from a local dollar store and let them do most of the work for the costume. Tie the balloon strings to a box and have your child stand inside the box. If you have a light weight fabric blanket or plastic painter’s sheet you can even put it over the top of the balloons to give the illusion of one large canvas balloon, and just like that you’ve created a hot air balloon costume! Alternatively, without the fabric cover this would also work as a costume for the house in “Up,” which can also be drawn on a cardboard box and worn by the child.

Ghost Costume

It is a rite of passage to celebrate Halloween as a classically depicted sheet-ghost. All you need for this cheap costume idea is a white sheet with holes for eyes and you’ve got a ghost. Add personality with a hat or other accessory. A simple but effective costume.

Chicken Costume

Dress your child up as their favorite barnyard animal with yellow clothes and yellow feathers. You can get the feathers from a local craft store. Strategically glue the feathers on the arms to create wings, and around the rest of the outfit as needed. You can cut out a simple mask to wear or even just find a yellow cap. This costume has no sewing involved! Extra points if you find yellow or orange rain boots for feet.

Shark Costume

You won’t believe how simple cheap this costume idea really is! To start, you just need grey sweatpants, a grey sweatshirt, and some white, black, and grey felt – you can get this from a local dollar or craft store. The felt will be cut into the shapes of a dorsal fin, eyes, teeth, and a stomach and/or gills. Glue them in the appropriate places (wear sweatshirt with hood up and glue the teeth sticking out of the hood), and you’ve got a shark!

Mickey (or Minnie) Mouse Costume

Disney has made it incredibly simple to dress up as their trademark characters. With hats and headbands sold online for the widely-recognized mouse ears, you can wear anything red, yellow, and black for Mickey, or red with white polka dots for Minnie! Alternatively, you can make the ears out of felt and glue them to a head band. You can even use some face paint to complete the look if your child will facilitate the application process! Tip for Minnie; check search engine images for ways to style long hair into those trademark mouse ears!

Fairy Costume

A ballet outfit can double as a fairy outfit. Put a tutu and wings on over anything and you’ve created a magical fairy. Add a fairy wand for extra magic. Add glitter (“pixie dust”) liberally!

Kevin from Home Alone

Everyone’s favorite mischievous kid is Kevin from Home Alone. One of the easiest costume options available involves giving your blonde son a red sweater, and having him pose with his mouth open in a scream, hands on cheeks. Everyone who’s familiar the movie will recognize the costume. Add to it with any accessories you may have on hand that are also featured in the movie and you have yourself a cheap costume idea that works.

Ghostbuster Costume

Creating a Ghostbuster costume is also easy. Start with a jumpsuit; it can be as simple as some dark pants with a shirt in a matching color, or you could use some work overalls. Use a painted box or large backpack for the ghost catcher, and accessorize the box as extravagantly or as simply as you like – you could use an old garden or vacuum hose. Glue on a couple of Ghostbuster “patches” (use a search engine for images you can use to print or reference) and you’re good to go! It doesn’t need to be a professional-level costume to be recognized for what it is.

You can save tons of money this year by using these cheap Halloween costume ideas and skipping the Halloween store all while creating something completely unique at home. Use these ideas to inspire Halloween costumes you’ll remember for years to come.

Check out our regular blogs for more great tips like these. If you end up needing some quick cash for this Halloween don’t forget that Check City can you a quick online payday loan. Also, don’t forget to visit our services page for information on bill paying services, tax preparation and insurance quotes.

Great Educational Activities for Kids Beyond the Classroom

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Teachers have a difficult job; I’d dare say one of the most challenging and underpaid professions out there. So why do they teach? Because it is so rewarding to see children learn and grasp new concepts.

You can experience this amazement with your child, too. Learning is not restricted to the classroom!
Children who experience education activities beyond the limits of their classrooms will be much more successful in life. They will have a greater understanding and appreciation for the world in which they live.

Here are some great educational activities for kids to get involved in your child’s education at home.

Visits to Your Local Library

Your city library has a wealth of information for FREE! You and your child can discover a new favorite book together or listen to a book on CD at home. Libraries also feature movies and music you can check out as well.
Many libraries offer free, family or age-based educational activities, like parent and child reading groups. In some areas, your library may even provide free preschool or tutoring.

Check with your local library for classes, events, and activities.

Experience Different Cultures

There are so many ways to show your child a different view of the world. Educational activities like concerts, museums, historical sites, national parks, etc. will be exciting and memorable for not only your kids but for the whole family.
Some of these experiences may require a little money and planning, but you’d be surprised at how much you and your family can do for free.

Take advantage of free community activities, like a concert in the park or a science demonstration at the museum.
Look at your city and neighboring cities’ websites for listings of community activities and entertainment. Another good source is local high schools and colleges, who put on plays and concerts that are less expensive than a real Broadway play.
Is there a special cultural event happening? A free art exhibit? A seasonal, low cost event?

Exposing your child to different cultures, places, people, and experiences will provide a much greater learning experience and may even spark your child’s interest in a new hobby or dream.
Who knows, one trip to the museum might create a future archeologist!

Life’s Everyday Moments

Kids are notorious for always asking “why.” Take the time to answer their questions and introduce new ones. Even simple, everyday chores and non-educational activities can be a source of learning!
Cooking as a family can prompt conversations on math, health and physical fitness. During a ride in the car, start a conversation about science and technology. There is always a way to connect an everyday task to a learning concept, and if you can connect it to something your child is interested in, they will be all ears.

Taking small opportunities to encourage your children to talk about educational topics will eventually lead them to inquire about the world themselves.

Technology

It can be hard to avoid the onslaught of technology, but you don’t need to completely hide from it either. Our children need computer skills, such as how to use the internet safely and effectively. Technology and media will be a big part of their world, but you can make sure it is something they are comfortable with and knowledgeable about.
When possible, work with your child to teach them these skills. Monitor what they watch and how much time they spend engaging in media.

By viewing educational videos or playing learning games together, you can teach them about good media habits and appropriate content.

Our children have the world, quite literally, at their fingertips. They can search any question they have and find thousands of answers in written data, charts, videos, etc. It is pretty amazing and a great learning tool if used properly.
Have some educational activities for kids of your own? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

How to Get Kids to Sleep

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Now that school has started, your child’s day is brimming with activities. Whether your child is involved with after-school sports, dance classes, or music lessons, staying active and engaged is important to their learning, growth and happiness.
With all the extra stimulation of the school year, hopefully your kids are still getting free time to play, and also plenty of sleep each night. In fact, sleep is so important that, without enough of it, your child’s performance at school can begin to slip. Even her health and happiness can start to suffer.

To help you make sure your child gets a full night’s rest, here are the recommended amounts of sleep according to age. Also included are some tips for getting them to bed on time and helping them sleep throughout the night.

How to Get a Baby to Sleep

When your baby is a newborn, she will be asleep most of the time (10 to 18 hours a day). It usually takes a few months before her sleep schedule becomes regular (resulting in many sleepless nights for you). These sleepless nights will most likely have you asking how to get a baby to sleep.

You can help your baby adapt to sleeping through the night by playing and interacting with them throughout the day, then keep the nights calm and relaxing. Developing a regular sleep routine early on can help you get your baby to sleep and help you avoid sleep problems later.

Bedtime routines for infants do not need to be elaborate; the idea is to establish consistent cues that let your baby know it’s time to sleep. You might do this with bathing, gently putting on pajamas or rocking your baby while you sing, or read a short story. It’s also helpful to minimize stimulants such as loud noise, excessive brightness and toys.

Toddler Sleep Training

One to three year olds need 12 to 14 hours of sleep, with naptimes supplementing what they don’t get at night. That’s a lot easier said than done so that’s where toddler sleep training comes in. Once your child reaches preschool age, she’ll need 11 to 13 hours of sleep, with fewer naps. Most kids will have stopped taking naps altogether by the age of four or five. To hit these goal amounts of sleep it can take a fair amount of sleep training for your toddler.

Again, developing a regular routine is the best way to train your toddler to get to bed on time each night. Toddlers will want to express independence, and they may also experience separation anxiety. A routine (including brushing teeth, getting dressed in pajamas, and a bedtime story) can help your child’s body prepare itself for sleep. By the time lights go out, she’ll be ready to nod off.

How to Get Elementary Aged Kids to Sleep

Your 5 to 12 year old children need at least 10 to 11 hours of sleep each night. All those extracurricular activities have a way of intruding on sleep time, so it’s important to make sleep a priority for your children.

Media is another challenge—children this age usually want to watch TV, play video games, etc., and these activities can easily create enough stimulation to keep them up well past their bedtime. It’s best to keep all electronic devices out of their room, especially when it’s time to fall asleep.

How Much Sleep do Teenagers Need?

For most parents the teenage years are uncharted territory. With all the new issues that arise with teenagers it’s hard to remember that they are kids too. If you’re still wondering How to Get Your Kids to sleep and you’re kids are now teenagers, you’re not alone. Most parents find themselves wondering, “How much sleep do teenagers needs?” The answer to that question is that most teens need at least 9 hours of sleep each night, but as your children get older it can be difficult for them to fall asleep before 11 p.m.

Talk with your teenaged children about the importance of sleep. There are many great resources that you can share together, such as sleepfoundation.org. This is also a time when sleep disorders can pop up, such as insomnia, sleep apnea, and narcolepsy—all of which are treatable, so seek help from your family doctor if your teenager is having trouble sleeping.
Don’t forget to make sleep a priority in your life, too! After all, sometimes the best way to encourage good sleep habits for your children is to lead by example.

11 Fun Things to Do in Las Vegas Beyond the Strip

When you think of Las Vegas, you usually think gambling. But there are a ton of fun things to do in Las Vegas other than gambling. Many people don’t realize that Vegas proper has non-gambling attractions as well as amazing day trips to surrounding attractions. In order to enjoy all Vegas has to offer, you’ll need to get off the strip at some point!
Here are 11 fun things to do in Las Vegas that don’t necessarily involve gambling.

1. Fremont Street Experience

The Fremont Street Experience is the next big thing when it comes to fun things to do in Las Vegas. The experience is a giant open air mall in the heart of the Old Las Vegas Strip. The Experience encompasses old Fremont street and has casinos and other amazing attractions. When you’ve run out of money, you can find many free attractions to experience at the Experience. For instance:

  • Get your picture taken with Vegas Vic or Vegas Vickie, the iconic Vegas Cowboy and Cowgirl of Glitter Gulch!
  • Take the Banger Brewery Tour – Vegas’s downtown microbrewery
  • Free Concerts & Light Shows!
  • And 23 other free attractions!

2. Slotzilla Zipline

The Slotzilla Zipline is one of the newest, up-and-coming attractions near the Las Vegas strip. The Zipline is a giant 12-story slot machine zipline. You start 77 feet up and end up halfway down the Fremont Promenade. The Zipline costs $20, and is a great draw for adventure enthusiasts! If you consider yourself an adrenaline junkie then this should be at the top of your list of fun things to do in vegas.

3. The Neon Museum

Las Vegas is known as the Neon Capitol of the World! You can take a tour of the Neon Museum and experience the Neon Sign Boneyard from Las Vegas History. You can take the hour-long docent guided tour seven days a week.

4. Play Classic Slots

I know, we said no gambling. But you might not have experienced this kind of gambling yet. You can play classic slots, or one-armed-bandits on the 2nd Floor of the D. Here you can play classic machines that take and pay-out coins rather than the new-fangled card technology. You’ll be transported to a bygone age, when Las Vegas was a new city, and coins flew out of the slot machines as you cranked the handle.

5. Mob Museum

Las Vegas has a colorful history with organized crime, and the Mob Museum takes you on a tour of the mafia history of Las Vegas. Meet Bugsy Segal and the gang who started Vegas!

6. Hogs and Heiffers Saloon

The Hogs and Heiffers Saloon is a bar with tons of character as well as a favorite hang-out of bikers. Here you can see Jim Morrison’s mugshot and other souvenirs of the stars.

7. The Shark Tank

Golden Nugget has built a 200,000 gallon shark tank in their $30 million pool. Experience the shark tank from afar or up close when you ride the three-story water slide!

8. Downtown Container Park

Come experience the Downtown Container Park, Las Vegas’ newest shopping sensation made completely from shipping containers. The park is more playground than mall, featuring a treehouse, free concerts and great restaurants to enjoy!

9. Lake Mead

When people think about fun things to do in Las Vegas they often forget about all of the natural beauties that Las Vegas has to offer. To take in some of these beauties you can take a trip to Lake Mead. You can tour beautiful Lake Mead on an authentic three-level Mississippi-style paddle boat, the Desert Princess. You can enjoy the fresh air and amazing views of the lake and surrounding landscape. Transportation to, and from, the lake is not included in the tour price, and the National Park charges a $10.00 per car fee at the entrance to Lake Mead. You can rent a car or take the VIP bus tour to Lake Mead. The VIP tour combines a party-bus and a paddle boat tour of the lake!

10. Grand Canyon

Speaking of natural beauties, every heard of the Grand Canyon? While you’re in Vegas, you can tour the amazing Grand Canyon in neighboring Arizona. Many tour busses leave daily for the Grand Canyon. Take a luxury coach from Las Vegas to the amazing Grand Canyon North Rim. The North Rim is the Grand Canyon at its very best!
Although a much longer drive, the South Rim has much to offer as well. You can hike the South Rim, walk to Yavapai Point, visit Bright Angel Lodge and enjoy the Historic Village District. Along the tour, enjoy a buffet lunch. On the tour, you’ll cross the amazing Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge and travel along Historic Route 66!

11. Red Rock Canyon

Take a tour to Red Rock Canyon, one the best rock-climbing areas in the world! In the canyon, you can view the amazing layered sandstone formations and petrified sand dunes. Red Rock is great for photo-ops. At the Visitor’s Center, you can learn about the abundant wildlife and desert plants that populate the canyon. You will then tour the 13-mile scenic loop in a luxurious Mercedes and back.
Las Vegas is much more than gambling. You can find plenty of activities to enjoy off-the-beaten path. Come to Vegas and have a great time!

Financial Resources in and around Las Vegas

To get the most out of Las Vegas, it’s important to keep track of your finances and stay within budget. Check City offers many financial services, including Check Cashing, Las Vegas Payday Loans, and Prepaid Debit Cards.

What’s at the top of your list of fun things to do in Las Vegas? Let us know in the comments section below!

The 6 Best Las Vegas Magic Shows

Las Vegas isn’t just about gambling anymore! Since the very beginning of Las Vegas, headlining acts have played the grand casinos. From Frank Sinatra to Elvis, big-named-stars have traditionally been a draw to the city. As the city has changed, the shows have diversified, and Vegas has become a magnet for talent of all kinds. In fact, magic shows are now a popular draw to Las Vegas, and here are 6 of the best:

1.David Copperfield

When it comes to classic Las Vegas Magic Shows David Copperfield is a one-of-a-kind magician, as well as one of the most celebrated magicians of our time. In fact, he was named Magician of the Century and Magician of the Millennium! Some of the awards and recognition David Copperfield has amassed are:

  • First living illusionist to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
  • Named a Living Legend by the United States Library of Congress
  • Knighted by the French Government
  • Has a postage stamp in six different countries
  • Has won 21 Emmy Awards
  • 11 Guinness World Records
  • Has sold more tickets than any other solo performer, including Sinatra and Elvis!
  • Makes the impossible look downright simple!

David Copperfield is currently performing his show An Intimate Evening of Grand Illusion at the MGM Grand Hotel. You’ll have the chance to be astounded by Copperfield’s signature Grand Illusions.

2.Criss Angel; Believe from Cirque du Soleil

Criss Angel brings his unique brand of magical shock and awe to thrill Las Vegas magic show audiences. Criss has redefined not only Las Vegas magic, but magic in general in the ten years he has been practicing. He is not just a magician, he is a visionary, who destroys the conventional and shatters expectations. His hugely successful TV show MindFreak introduced Criss to American audiences. Criss is now starring in BeLIEve in the Luxor theater at the Luxor Hotel Casino. He has invited Cirque du Soleil to help create the mood and elevate the mosaic that is Criss Angel!

3.Jan Rouven

Jan Rouven is a lesser known name when it comes to Las Vegas magic shows but he has definitely made his mark by bringing his death-defying illusionist show to the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas. He mixes traditional illusions with a modern twist. His unique use of power drills and jet engines keep the audience on the edge of their seats! The illusions are so real, and disturbing, he has been named The Man with Nine Lives!

4.Mac King

Mac King has been named the Magician of the Year by the Magic Castle in Hollywood. Mac’s show blends humor and magic and has been named the 6th best show in all of Las Vegas. He has appeared on Letterman, TV specials and written a best-selling book. Mac’s show has been named a Don’t Miss by Fodor’s guide.

5.Nathan Burton

Nathan Burton produces a family show at the Saxe Theater inside Planet Hollywood at the beautiful Flamingo Hotel. Nathan gained national exposure on season one of NBC’s America’s Got Talent in 2012. Nathan Burton is truly an American Original illusionist.

6.Paranormal – The Mindreading Magic Show

International mentalist Frederic da Silva brings his unique talents to Las Vegas audiences. Frederic’s psychic ability will astound and amaze you as he predicts what’s in your pockets, or figuring out what you’ve been visualizing. Frederic’s show at Bally’s will astound and amaze! With Frederic’s mind-bending show, you’ll experience an afternoon of hypnosis and mind-reading you’ll never forget!

Financial Tips for your Vegas Trip!

Las Vegas is not just about gambling anymore. When you tire of gambling, or need a break from the slots, take time out to see one of the classic Las Vegas magic shows we’ve listed above. Las Vegas offers a magic show for every viewer, from David Copperfield’s theatrics to Criss Angel’s mind-blowing magic. Las Vegas has the magic show for you!

Remember that if you need some quick cash before you head to any of these magic shows that you can stop by any of our Check City Las Vegas payday loan locations!

Do you have a personal favorite Las Vegas magic show? Let us know what it is in the comments below.

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