How to set up parental controls on kids’ smartphones

mamas on magic 107.9Hi Northwest Arkansas mamas! This week on our Mamas on Magic 107.9 radio segment, we’ve been talking about technology and parenting. Smartphones are a HUGE part of that discussion, so here are a few quick videos that will show you how to easily set up parental controls on your kids’ smartphones.

Remember, if you don’t set up parental controls on a kid’s smartphone, they can literally see ANYTHING that’s on the Internet. Even if they’re not intentionally searching for inappropriate content, we all know how easy it is to see links to graphic images and videos online without even looking for them.

Hope these videos help you get your kids’ phones set up correctly with parental controls so they’re safer to use. This first video is for iPhone users.

This second video is for Android users.

The Jones Center’s remodeled Splash Pool re-opens

pool5After 20 years of hosting Northwest Arkansas kids and their families who love to splash, swim and slide, The Jones Center’s much-loved Splash Pool and Fun Slide had earned itself a face lift. (There have been 60,000 visits to the indoor pools at The Jones Center since January alone!) Last Friday, September 11, conagra foods logo2015, we were there to watch as Jones Center executives cut the red ribbon on the renovated pool — a huge gift made possible by donations from ConAgra Foods.

We LOVE the Splash Pool’s new look. It’s light, bright and kid-friendly, showing off huge splashes of colorful graphics that feature real kids who live and play here in Northwest Arkansas. (Can you imagine how excited those kids are going to be when they see their own faces on the walls of the Splash Pool area? So cool!)

The bottom of the pool is nice and smooth now, which is a must-have for little swimmers with tender feet. The always-popular mushroom water fountain is jones center, smallback in action, and the slide is better than ever. Right across from the Splash Pool and Fun Slide is the Junior Olympic-Size Competition Pool, which is host to the Razorback Aquatic Swim Team, the Springdale High School Swim Team, lots of regional swim meets as well as lap swimming and deep water aerobics classes, too. There are also public swim sessions and plenty of birthday party action. Local lifeguards often get their certification and training done at the Jones Center pool, too.

We’re also including the Jones Center Indoor Pool Complex as part of our popular Outings Under $20 series of activities because you can swim for only $3 per swimmer (and it’s FREE if you’re a Jones Center member.) And remember that The Jones Center is located about mid-way along the 36-mile Razorback Greenway Trails System, which means you and the kids could bike there, go swimming to cool off and then bike back home.

Because The Jones Center has been a part of our community for 20 years now, it’s sometimes easy to forget about just how much it has to offer. They’re always adding new programs and opportunities, so be sure to check their calendar often and don’t forget about the birthday party options. Nearly 1 million visits are made to The Jones Center each year which shows just how much it’s growing.

On behalf of our fellow Northwest Arkansas mamas, we’d like to say a big THANK YOU to The Jones Center for being such an incredible and affordable place for local families to play and learn. (The Jones Center also sponsors the monthly Calendar of Events here on, one of the site’s most popular features.) And thanks also to the great team at ConAgra Foods for giving so generously and making the new and improved pool a reality.

Jones center collage


Nervous about Kindergarten? These books might help.

Note: Mamas, I wrote this post when my youngest child, Kate was about to start kindergarten. We’re republishing it again in hopes it will help this year’s crop of nervous kindergarteners and their moms. We’ve updated it with the latest info on helpful books about starting kindergarten. Hope it helps make your first day of school a GREAT one. Enjoy!

In a few short days, I’ll be holding hands with a very nervous little person and walking into the first day of kindergarten — for the third time. My youngest child, Kate, is stepping into the big world of public school just like her two older brothers did a few years ago.

She is nervous — really nervous. And now I’m nervous because she’s nervous. The boys handled the first day of kindergarten with relative ease and no tearful goodbyes at the door. Sure, I cried like a big baby once I got back into the car after leaving them, but we all held it together just fine for the actual drop-off.

But this time I’m worried that it’s going to be really tough to leave Kate at school, especially if she turns on the tears and begs me not to go. She is my baby — the last of my three kids to go to school — so I’m especially vulnerable to her angst about venturing out on her own.

So last week I decided we needed to confront our kindergarten fears head-on. Kate and I went to the bookstore and collected all the books about kindergarten that we could find. Then we found a cozy spot in the children’s section and started reading about all the new adventures kindergarten would bring.

Here’s a list of the books we read:

  • Kindergarten Rocks, by Katie Davis
  • School Bugs, by David Carter
  • Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten, by Joseph Slate
  • Wow School, by Robert Neubecker
  • Off to Kindergarten, by Tony Johnston

I’ve gotta tell you — the books were a big help. Reading them helped her realize that much of kindergarten would be similar to what she was already used to in pre-school. And I could tell she was beginning to feel excited about the possibility that she might really, really like kindergarten after all.

Before we left the bookstore, I told Kate she could pick out her two favorite books about starting kindergarten and we’d buy them to take home. She chose Kindergarten Rocks, which is a story about a boy who was worried about all the different scary things that might happen at school — all of which did not happen. His older sister reassured him that they wouldn’t and then he found out for himself that he loved school and couldn’t wait to go back.

Her second choice was a book called School Bugs, a very cute little pop-up book featuring smart bugs in different school settings that spring up at you as the pages turn. She has read both of the new books countless times since we brought them home.

So if you’ve got a nervous kindergartener, consider a trip to the library or bookstore. It’s definitely helping to ease the fears at our house. Hope it does at yours, too. Here’s a list of other kindergarten titles to consider:

  • The Night Before Kindergarten, by Natasha Wing

    These books are fun, and Kate is feeling better about starting kindergarten.

  • Welcome to Kindergarten, by Anne Rockwell
  • Countdown to Kindergarten, by Allison McGhee
  • The Twelve Days of Kindergarten, by Deborah Lee Rose
  • Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come, by Nancy L. Carson
  • On the Way to Kindergarten, by Virginia Kroll
  • Kindergarten Here I Come, by D.J. Steinberg
  • The Pirate of Kindergarten, by George Ella Lyon
  • The Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn

The Belford Group offering paid internships for Northwest Arkansas moms

belford group logoThe Belford Group recently announced a new program that’s launching soon: internships for women and moms in Northwest Arkansas.

Angela Belford, co-owner of The Belford Group and founder of the adult internship project, said, “I have a heart for moms that have spent years staying at home and are now wanting to transition back to the workforce. I have met so many talented women who need training and job experience.

“We’re launching our first class of adult internships, meaning that you won’t have to have a degree related to our industry, or even experience. We will train you in various aspects of the business and give you at least 8 months’ work experience. Roles we’ll be training for include customer service, web development, writing, social media management and possibly basic graphic design.”

If you’re interested in returning to the workforce and this sounds like something that would be up your alley (including you empty nest moms!) read this interview with Angela Belford for more information:

What services does The Belford Group provide?

Branding, web design, SEO, Social media management, and marketing collateral design

Why did you want to start this “adult internship” program?

angela belford

Angela Belford

I met so many women that had made the right decision for their family to stay at home and then 10 years later were struggling to regain their career.  Often their self-doubt plagued their ability to see what tremendous value they could bring to a business. So I want this to give them on-the-job training, relevant work experience in a supportive environment to also nurture their self-esteem.

Part of this program I hope to educate businesses on the benefits of hiring moms with school aged children.  I know moms that need money and will work very hard if someone will give them some flexibility to still be homeroom mom, stay home when the kids are sick and work form 9-3.  Often my clients will ask me if I know someone and I’ll tell them that they don’t need a full time person, they should consider a stay at home mom.  One of my clients has a mom that works 2 days a week as a bookkeeper and I swear she gets enough work done for a full time person because she’s super focused and knows she has to get all her work done.  She’s very thankful for the flexibility.

Who is a good candidate for this program?

Stay at home moms with school aged children or someone in a job that they hate but they do because they don’t fill skilled to change careers.  Besides circumstances, we are looking for detail-oriented people that like to get tasks done.  While it’s a supportive environment, we are still a business, so we have work to do.

What about empty nest moms?

Absolutely. For that end of the spectrum, I’ve met a lot of women that find themselves 40-something+ single again, sometimes not by their own choice. I want to give them an opportunity to create a life for themselves.

My current web developer was a stay at home mom for 25 years. Then she was my client who I built her website and she taught herself a lot about managing an eCommerce business. Then I started paying her to train other clients on the eCommerce software. Finally I just hired her. She works in Conway and is a critical member of our team.  She’s so thankful for the opportunity and more important LOVES her job.

What kind of on-the-job training can adult interns expect?

We will be focusing primarily on web – content writing, learning about Internet marketing, customer service, and social media management.  We hope to partner with client sites where they can get an additional few months of work in a client environment to further their skills and maybe get them placed.

How might this help in a future job search?

Recent relevant job experience, great references plus networking. I know a lot of people in NWA, if I can speak confidently about someone’s skills and abilities and help them find a position that fits, then it’s a win-win.

How many interns will you accept?

This first round it will only be 3-4 while we work out the kinks.  There’s already discussion of how we can open this up beyond NWA to remote workers.

Is the internship paid?

Yes, it will start at $10/hour.

Are the hours flexible?

Yes, we are looking for moms, so we know we have to have flexibility.  It will be 15-20 hours per week, we’re thinking during school hours.

When does the first group of interns start?

September 14

How can women apply?

CLICK HERE to fill out an online application.