camping in Ontario

Outdoor Adventure Show Is Made For Kids

Fresh back from the 2016 Outdoor Adventure Show in Toronto, I can report the attraction was designed with young families in mind and it really is a great place for Heads-Up Dads to spend Saturday with the kids.  It’s cost effective too. Adults pay $14, and children age eleven and under get in free.

There’s no sandbox, bumper cars or bouncy gyms here, and no food courts either, but the whole show is something of a play zone with every vendor offering up something cool for young people. The three-day exhibition has a wide array of adventure options for all age groups right there on the trade show floor.  Many booths have interactive games for 8-12 year olds, mostly puzzle challenges; smart dealers know they need to tie up young family members so they can talk shop with parents.

Here are some of the more interesting ‘youth engagement’ strategies I witnessed,

The Adventure Convention Organizers Included Activities for Young People

tradeshow passport for prizesThe show’s organizers had young families in mind when they created the Outdoor Adventurers Passport wherein kids can collect stamps (paw prints) from vendors for prizes at the end of the journey.  A completed passport could be turned in for both short term rewards and a chance of winning a much bigger prize later. The true benefit is for vendors of course as this tactic effortlessly draws in families with young children; this passport is an ice breaker with an easy greeting ritual and friendly exchange that makes it real easy to talk afterwards.

Everywhere I looked there were young people getting their adventure on; they were climbing rock walls, and in one corner of the show kids were zip lining between platforms overhead.  In this respect young people acquired a different perspective on the event than their parents.

Outdoor Adventure Show rock wall climbing
Kids climbing up the rock wall – photo by Rob Campbell

A Spinning Wheel Mesmerizes Kids and Dispenses Coupons to Parents

SpintheWheel1There were a couple Crown & Anchor wheels which had been repurposed into spin-the-wheel games for coupons.  The one on the right was operated by Tourism Toronto and dispensed SUP vouchers, gift certificates, coloring books and there was almost always a crowd of youngsters in front of this rig.

But the real pedestrian crush occurred in the main aisle just inside the front door where it bottle-necked around the Flight Center and a hot deals travel agency. If you were shopping for discount airfare for your next family trip then this was probably a good place to be. Regarding the crowd I think what happened was the new people coming in the door came up against the folks who’d been around once already and everyone jammed up on Main St there in front of Xcitelife.

Xcitelife is a Marketplace for Unique Experiences for the Whole Family

People could not get down the center aisle without encountering a list of fun things to do at Xcitelife; the booth attendants wore black shirts with red X’s. This is the company motif and the X stands for experience and not extreme. Their charismatic greeters stood near their company flags drumming up excitement for their experience marketplace and they signed up many influential new users.

Xcitelife at the Outdoor Adventure Show

Xcitelife asked families to make a Bucket List; their software helps decision makers source travel solutions in the coming months and years. Check out Earth Girl and another great profile from the show is Martin,  The new members wrote their aspirations on red paper X’s which they pinned to a dream board. The board soon displayed the collective vacation fantasies of the entire show and it was from this arena that a prize winner was eventually selected.

Xcitelife-bucketList1
Paul’s own Bucket List – photo by Rob Campbell

“Everyone wants to live an Xciting life, but too often folks get stuck in the ordinary” says Paul Peic. “At Xcitelife we’ve made it our mission to transform lives through experiences.”

There was no food court, but there was protein available at the show.

D&D Meats from Alliston Ontario, venison sausages

Kids love cured meat! D & D Meats were among the only food vendors at the show. There were granola bars and trail mixes in the survival quadrant, but this booth was the only meat option.  This family-owned cured meat shop from Alliston Ontario had a wide corner all to themselves, and were doing a brisk business selling beef jerky, pepperoni, sausages and kielbasa.

All day long people streamed through the crowded event eddying about in open areas of the trade show floor and milling around the central water pool.  This aquatic attraction was also called the Demo Pool and frequently had young performers showing off their skills in the latest model kayaks.

The crowd also collected in front of three live theatres where experts shared stories and advice. This author came upon the Adventures in Paddling stage just as the float plane touched down on Rabbitkettle Lake on the Nahanni River and a flat water paddler unpacked stand-up paddle boards for the whole family.

Rapid Media Best Kayak Reviews 2016 Paddling Buyer’s Guide, also SUPs, Canoe Reviews.

Adventures in Paddling theatre was surrounded by the latest model SUPs or Stand Up Paddle Boards, canoes and kayaks for sale, and on the far side of the opening stood the Rapid Media booth with giant posters displaying their magazine titles.

Kayak buyers guide, rapid media
2016 Paddling Buyers Guide – photo by Rob Campbell

Elijah Liedtke pointed out the 2016 kayak reviews and then he gave me an insider link to the online kayak reviews, paddling buyer’s guide. which is free and considered one of the big secrets of the show.

Kayak1sharablemoment2Rapid Media had some all-ages engagement strategies at play, and in the age of shareable moments the magazine title cardboard cutouts were really busy, especially the ‘Wild Women’ Adventure Kayak magazine cutout seen at right.

Rapid Media has done well in the paddling space with four popular magazines, Adventure Kayak, Canoeroots, Kayak Angler, and Rapid the whitewater magazine. These publications are gorgeous print mags filled with real life travel stories, photos, videos and professional gear reviews from expert paddlers all over the world. At the show the editorial staff were selling half price annual subscriptions.

Each of the three live theatres was sponsored by one magazine or another, and besides the paddling magazine one was dedicated to scuba diving and another to hiking; and the land trekking theatre was sponsored by Outpost Magazine, which is all about getting geared up and making long distance journeys across vast scenic landscapes.

Outpost Magazine at Outdoor Adventure Show

History Exhibits Tell Stories at the Outdoor Adventure Show

Iroqoius Village tribal experience

First Nations storytellers enthralled kids by relating the Voyage of the Iroquois. The area attendants were dressed in native Canadian regalia, and the walls of their particular open attraction were filled with images taken by passengers inside the giant twelve person canoes. These pictures are from summer trips that spend two or three weeks paddling the historic trade routes of the Voyageurs!

Kids could indeed soak up a lot of history from the installations at the show, and at one exhibit in particular there was displayed stone axe heads, arrowheads and spear points from the Stone Age. At noon in the Survival Theatre on Saturday there was an expert from Parks Canada who was able to show crowds how the First Canadians could hunt and kill great beast with primitive weapons. One guy seen below actually assembled arrows and spears in front of a live audience.

collecting arrowheads from native Canadian settlements

Kids of all ages love the Toronto Adventure Show and the best part are experts like this guy who share first hand knowledge.  This is a family show that’s fit for outdoor adventurers of all ages – more information about the 2016 Outdoor Adventure Show on Toronto Guardian.

7-eleven

Five Best Franchises for Familypreneurs

7-elevenA familypreneur is an entrepreneur who runs a business with his family.  This means their business decisions are made while considering their family’s needs, and by considering how their enterprise affects their loved ones. A familypreneurship is born from a deep consideration of the opportunity available, and what limitations or expansion of the family dynamic that such a mercantile operation might impose on their lives. One thing is certain, familypreneurs always put their families first.  This from Top Five Business Models for Entrepreneur Families which was written up in the Toronto Entrepreneur’s Blog in October 2014.

While there are many paths leading to the decision to own a business, and to striking out on one’s own to be an entrepreneur, the path to familyprenuership is always intriguingly different. It usually comes as a solution to a massive life problem, for example, chronic unemployment, a painful divorce, or forced migration to another country etc. But sometimes the business decision is born out of the realization that their lives are not fulfilling, and their careers are not be leading them to where they want to go in life.

Here are the top five familypreneur franchise business models, measured in terms profitability, scalability and quality of life.

Open a Family Owned Retail Store

Buying a retail stores with the intention of providing meaningful employment for everyone in the family is the number one choice of new Canadians who become defacto familypreneurs to better adjust to this society.  In many cases they have just survived a Grape-of-Wrath style life altering journey, and so now the demands of managing a general store in Canada seems easy by comparison.
An increasingly popular choice in franchises are dollar stores, and Canadian dollar stores in particular are popping up more and more which is a sure sign that people are doing well in the model.  Also becoming more and more prominent are Bulk Barns, Party Max, and 7-11 stores. These retail chains all advertise on the internet to find applicants, and in their brochures they stress quality of life and employment for the whole family. The 7/11 store owner program in particular makes it very easy to manage this complicated retail venue by providing  daily, weekly and monthly checklists to follow and phone numbers to call for further guidance.

Become a Compact Refreshment Centre Operator

Compact Refreshment CenterYou’ve seen vending machines that are absolute life savers for hungry people waiting in hospitals, automotive repair centers, airports and shopping malls, have you ever wondered what it might be like to own such a machine? or ten? or two hundred?  Anywhere there’s a safe, sizable, reputable waiting room you’re sure to find a vending machine filled with tasty snacks.  Depending on the branding and the products inside, stocking that machine could be a family business.
The Compact Refreshment Centre vending machine doesn’t look like the big bulky combo snack and drink machines that you usually see. It has been designed to be small and attractive (with no advertising or logos), and fits into almost any office environment.
Families that stock their own compact refreshment centers and who work together every day, enjoy great lives together with lots of personal freedom. They only have to work a few hours a day, and because they work with each other they feel more connected to their families than any of their neighbors do, because of their shared responsibility and social interaction within their circle, sharing their circle’s perspective with the community at large
compact refreshment center family with PepsiThe Compact Refreshment Centre program offers a sensible way to start and grow a business that yourself and your family can enjoy for future decades. Becoming a successful Compact Refreshment Centre Operator will change your life and bring a mental, physical and financial security to decisions – it fuels bigger and even more lucrative daydreams
There are lots of jobs for family members of all ages in a CRC venture, including accounting, buying food (dry goods to stick the machine), the labour of stocking machines, collecting the coins, and sorting the coins and then rolling them up for the bank are all jobs for eager teenagers.  The term “Familypreneuring” has been recently popularized by John and Michelle Humphrey of Familyprenuering.com. Based out of San Diego, CA. the couple have created a webinar and ebook on the subject.

Open a Frozen Yogurt Franchise!

Frozen Yogurt is a dessert made with yogurt and sometimes other dairy products. It’s more tart than ice cream, and is lower in fat content. For whatever reason, North America’s hunger for frozen yogurt has become insatiable, and stores that specialize in serving this food stuff have become very popular in the 21st century shopping mall-scape.
Buying such a franchise, although it does have some seasonal limitations depending on the location, can be a very profitable venture over the long term, simply because the ingredients are so cheap to procure and customer satisfaction is so high. The staff requires very little training, and the stores tend to become social hang-outs for teens with lots of money to spend on other things. And because frozen yogurt products taste delicious. they can become synonymous with ‘good times’ forming very positive brand experiences. The restaurants there’s always a job for everyone in the family; even the youngest children can distribute flyers, prep vegetables and wash kitchen equipment.

Buy a Food Delivery Franchise

Organic food delivery business
In the shadow of bio engineered food, plague and pestilence, the Canadian organic food industry has grown at a rate of 300% since 2006, making it one of the fastest growing segments of the economy. As more people become aware of the dangers of conventional farming practices, the demand for access to clean, safe, chemical free food has absolutely exploded.
A rapidly expanding service sector in the internet age is the grocery delivery business. Lots of consumers find it ultra convenient to be able to go online and customize a grocery order for immediate delivery rather than take two or three hours to go there themselves.

Organic’s Live is an organic food delivery business that was founded by a group of concerned dads who believe communities can eat good food that has been produced with environmental, health and economic stewardship at the fore. They market food that has been grown free of chemicals and in harmony with its surroundings. There are several food delivery food franchises businesses to choose from, but the demand for organic food is higher because obtaining certified organic commodities is usually only possible at organic markets or at traveling farmers’ markets which are hard for working parents to find and effectively access.

Start a Niche Service Business

molly maid franchise logoIf you walk through any residential neighborhood in any city in Canada during business hours, you will spot many different service businesses at work in other people’s homes.  There are various trucks painted different colours with ladders, tools and machines doing eavestrough cleaning, driveway sealing, snow removal, grass cutting etc and these are some of the less imaginative examples. Many different types of  cleaning businesses are available as franchises now, and people specialize in cleaning ventilation ducts, carpets, drains, vegetation, pools … An office cleaning business may not be exactly glamorous, but it can be very profitable.
This quote is from a testimonials on the Molly Maid website’s franchise page“As my children were growing older, I felt it was time to return to the work force. I wasn’t interested in working for someone else, so I started looking at the possibilities of buying a Franchise. I wasn’t interested in working evenings and weekends, and wanted something I could operate out of my house.”
This above quote reads like a textbook example of a familypreneur at the starting point, making a decision to put the people they love foremost in their lives while they work for success.
These are the Top Five Franchises for Familypreneurs and although they are all very different, they are all rather similar in one respect: the founders don’t necessarily want to get rich, but rather they just want to be their own bosses, and savor the thrill of making it, or breaking it in the real world alongside their families, working in business as a team.

Five Reasons To Plant a Fruit Tree With Your Family

There are probably a hundred or more good reasons to plant a fruit tree with your family, here are five.  Familial aspects aside, all of this falls into a greater green world order and general coming-of-age by an environmentally apologetic humanity.  The greenest people of earth are the children; they’re part of a hyper carbon conscious future that embraces Garden City Transformations.  Kids know that fruit trees are one of six Elements Needed to Make a Garden City in Toronto and elsewhere, in every metropolitan center, in every country, in every continent all over the world.

kid_fruit_tree1Planting fruit trees in a big city is sometimes restricted by municipal bylaws. The city doesn’t plant apples, pears or cherries by choice, and property developers are restricted from planting them by city ordinances for a whole lot of reasons; maintenance and liability are the predominant arguments against city planners planting fruit bearing species along streets and sidewalks.  Homeowners can plant anything they want in their backyards however, and can obtain fruit trees in nurseries here in Canada, and in Ontario and those include Henry Fields Nurseries and Sheridan Nurseries, neither of which specialize in any particular fruit tree varietals (like most nurseries in Europe do) nor will they deliver to your residential property.

One of the secrets of planting trees in the city is to also buy a big bag of soil and make a burm around the seedling. This helps the small tree survive the heat of summer and the cold of winter. Professional tree planters dig a deep hole and then fill it with black garden earth from vegetable composting programs and then put the original soil back on top. In Toronto you can buy a big bag of soil from Weedaway for about $120, and have it delivered right to your home.

Five Reasons to Plant a Fruit Tree with a Young Family

1.  The fruit tree will grow as your family grows and the memory of planting the tree becomes a powerful growth myth that will be part of each child’s psyche – the memory of planting the tree becomes synonymous with making an investment and nurturing growth and performing small physical improvements over time. The tree can be sourced locally or bought from an online vendor that will deliver in Europe and the USA, but no such businesses exist in Canada.

2. The fruit tree is handy biological reference to study and explain, and it can take on the characteristics of a pet with almost no maintenance or additional expense of keeping an animal – so its the perfect family member.  The tree’s first blossoms make it easier to talk about nature’s many and various reproductive systems. Registering the tree, means the kids can volunteer later on at charities that visit private homes and tour city parks picking fruit for charity driven gourmet baking initiatives and wildscaping programs. Los Angeles has a fruit picking outreach program for kids called Fallen Fruit, and Portland Oregon has an apple tree harvesting program for their inner city youth that is famous because it at has been featured in motion pictures.

apple press is fun exercise for kids3. The fruit tree is part of the fabric of nature and has lovely blossoms in the spring that attract buzzing pollinators and floral photographers. A fruit tree  in the springtime is a lovely photo backdrop and the fertility metaphor is a subtle and strong reminder of the promise of prosperity.

4. A  fruit tree attracts cool wildlife and colourful birds. A robust apple tree will bring deer out of the woods, and cherry trees attract squirrels and other storyfull rouges. This is good for kids as animals sell adventure- good for adults as sophisticated songbirds serenade our souls.

5. You can make fruit juice with family members many years later, maybe your grandchildren.    Juicing is great way to get vitamin C into a child’s body, and most kids LOVE IT.  Fresh juice is amazingly more healthy than canned juice and way more fun- it can be frozen into ice cubes and kept as treats for rainy days and they won’t even know it’s good for them. But more importantly its the activity as a unique and productive exercise that they remember all their lives.

Picking the fruit and making juice completes the investment metaphor. Kids doing work under the tree completes the life metaphor. Watching kids work with specialized equipment is a concept for a new TV series.  Kids making fresh juice in the backyard is pure fun and drinking that juice is one of life’s greatest rewards.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Teaching Children about Arthritis in Dogs

Heads up Dad if you have a senior dog in your family’s home, you may wish to read up on these helpful tips to managing arthritis in dogs to make everyone’s lives a little easier. Raising awareness in children for a dog’s deteriorating physical state will help parents explain and hopefully prevent troubling behaviour. It doesn’t take much thought or action to make a big difference in the quality of a senior dog’s day-to-day existence.

Kids Dog Walk 2013

Generally speaking for most young couples the dog is the first family member.
Hip dysplasia with arthritisIt is important to remember that dogs get arthritis same as humans, and its more frequent in big dogs than it is in humans, and its more painful too. In a great many cases the dog’s pain is unmitigated by any medication or treatment. But there are things you can do, including raise awareness in your children for a senior dog’s condition, and affect diet and lifestyle adjustments around the house to improve the quality of life for this animal companion.

Learning Remedies for Dogs with Arthritis
Arthritis is a common health issue with older dogs and esp larger dogs. Although they work on different species, doctors and veterinarians both call arthritis by its technical name: osteoarthritis or its hospital name, degenerative joint disease. This condition is caused by the slippery stuff coming away from the bones in the joints and the wear and tear of bone on bone causes inflammation (as the blood fights to get to the ailment) which causes pain.

Six Symptoms of Arthritis in Dogs

1. Reduced Activity, withdrawn from family life
2. Limping after exercise, stiffness after morning walks
3. Difficulty getting up from a lying down position
4. Difficulty climbing up stairs, or jumping into cars
5. Chewing or licking at joints
6. Showing personality changes and being ‘grumpy’

Is your dog wetting its bed?
Fritz in HD, dog wet bed, dog with arthritisOlder pets, often find it hard to get up to follow you outside to relieve themselves. In some cases they just do it right there in bed – that’s why its important to set a routine and make sure that your dog goes outside before bedtime at night whether they want to or not. Often female dogs benefit when given phenylpropanolamine PPA in relation to a medical condition that is related to flabbiness of the sphincter muscles of their lower urinary tract. In other female dogs, chronic urinary tract infections are the cause. Still others are over-drinking due to kidney deterioration. Some are diabetic, and others are simply losing their minds.

How to manage young kids around senior dogs?
Young children will sometime hit dogs thinking they are petting it, and loving hugs can become eternal death squeezes. Senior dogs may snap. Trainers will tell you that young kids and dogs should never be left alone together. Also give the dog a place where they can escape small children. Sometimes dogs need a room of their own and just some cardboard moving boxes behind a living room couch or chair can offer shelter to persecuted animals.

Watch what the kids feed the dog!
Children should be told to never feed the dog strange foods. Never ever feed chocolate or sweets or ice cream, which dogs will eat, and these substances will pass through their bodies, but at some cost to their livers and kidneys.

Feed a Senior Dog Food Brand
Boy and DogAll major pet food manufacturers offer “Senior” brands of food. They tend to be lower in calories, higher in fiber, with added glucosamine. What your pet eats and how much it eats throughout its life will affect arthritis in later years. Is your dog overweight? Reducing your dog’s weight to a healthy level is one of the most important things you can do to reduce its discomfort – same as humans.

Keep Dog Toenails Trim, Walk the Dog on Leash
Keep your senior dog’s toenails clipped properly so it walks and runs normal. Having overgrown toenails is a lot like being forced to wear uncomfortable shoes; extra long toenails place abnormal stress on the joints and ligaments of the feet. But when cutting these toenails be sure never remove too much nail at once; the animal’s toenails should just touch the floor when your pet is standing. When walking the dog be extra careful around traveled surfaces as recent dashcam videos show dogs being hit by hybrid (quieter) cars.

Build ramps around the house to help pets manage inclined surfaces
If you have a set of stairs that the dog must walk everyday consider putting in a ramp, and cover the ramp with carpet. Add more carpets and rugs to the house. Arthritic dogs find it difficult to walk on slippery floors such as tiled or hardwood floors. By placing carpet or rugs on these floors will help secure your dog’s footing and make their lives a little easier.

Don’t be shy about massaging the dog’s muscles in hot water dog baths
In certain special circumstances, if a senior dog had a particularly active day keeping up with younger dogs, then it might be advisable to pour a hot bath and massage its hips and leg muscles. Added heat from heating pads and soaks in heated water relax muscles, increase circulation in the affected areas. We put our dogs’ beds in the sun room which is warmer than the rest of the house during the day, even in the wintertime. but on cold winter nights we do bring them into the living room by the fireplace.
Yogurt dog, what dogs eat affects arthritis

Convenient Dish And Water Bowl Placement
Senior pets are often more comfortable eating and drinking from slightly elevated containers. Older, larger breeds are more susceptible to gastric bloat and the exercise of eating and swallowing upwards doesn’t help the digestive system. So feeding your elderly pet multiple small meals, rather than one or two large ones, is also a wise idea.

Top ‘Companion’ Breeds for Young Families:
American Water Spaniel
Appenzeller Sennenhunde
Basset Hound
Beagle
Berger Picard
Bernese Mountain Dog
Boston Terrier
Boykin Spaniel
Brittany
Brussels Griffon
Bull Terrier
English Setter
Entlebucher Mountain Dog
Flat-Coated Retriever
Golden Retriever
Harrier
Irish Wolfhound
Labrador Retriever
Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen
Pharaoh Hound
Puggle
Pyrenean Shepherd
Pointer
Sussex Spaniel
 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Perfect Family: A Nanny’s view…

As a nanny, you learn to work in less than perfect conditions. Bratty kids, angry parents, broken homes are all par for the course. But what happens when you finally find that perfect family you’ve been looking for, or, in most cases, they find you? What does a perfect family look like?

A perfect family doesn’t mean just well-behaved kids or parents who give you a raise on a regular basis. It is more than that. Perfect families can come with both parents or single parents. They can come with one child or four children. What sets the perfect family apart is one thing: respect. The children have respect for you and for their parents. The parents have respect for you, their children, and each other.

Strangely enough, you’d think love would be the necessary element for a perfect family, but really it isn’t. Of course, working for a loving family is great, but just love isn’t enough. Without respect, the system falls apart. How many single parents have you seen that love their kids so much, but their children hate them? How many times have you seen a parent give into a child’s tantrum because they love them too much to see them suffer? Love isn’t enough.

Respect is an overused and under-utilized word. Many people talk about respect, usually for authorities like police officers and government officials. But everyday respect is important. By respecting those around you, you create a world where everyone can get along. Sure, you still have disagreements, but they can be worked through calmly instead of being turned into all out wars. There is nothing worse than working for a warring family. Inevitably you are stuck right in the middle of it. Worse yet, the children often are forced to pick a side, or choose to rebel and go off in their own direction.

Parents blame the nanny for a lot of things. Rebellion in their children is one of them. But rebellion in children is often a product of fear, and fear a product of feeling out of control, of not being safe. A parent’s job is to make their child feel secure in a dangerous and unpredictable world. A nanny can only do so much. It is up to the parents to create a safe environment for their children and respect is a huge part of that.

In short, a perfect family is not measured by how many children they have, how much money they have, or how much love they have. A perfect family is one in which everyone, inside and outside of the family, is respected. That is the type of family any nanny would be proud to work for.

Author Bio

Sara is an active nanny as well as an active freelance writer. She also helps in providing information on nanny jobs through her writing. Learn more about her Learn more about her here.

How to financially support your child’s cost of living while attending University

Saving for your kids education

With tuition fees alone for a three-year undergraduate course expected to reach £24,000 or more in the UK ($30,000 – $75,000 or more in Canada and the US) the cost of a university education for many may prove suffocating without some kind of financial aid provided by us as parents.

Tuition fees are only the tip of the iceberg for many undergraduate students. There’s also the not so small matter of accommodation and living costs to pay for. Student loans and grants are obtainable for students who qualify, but those who don’t are almost certainly going to require some form of financial supplement from the ‘Bank of Mom and Dad’!

Most parents are keen to help pay some of these costs but unless you have stored up plenty of savings over a number of years it can prove difficult to pay off large chunks of a tuition fee loan. It will leave students with crushing debts that may take many years to pay off.

A key component to avoiding debt is budgeting. Students and parents should make a detailed budget at the beginning of each school year. Figure out what money you have and when it’s available, rather than in February when you realize you’re out of money and then you have to scramble to go out and get a job and work 20 hours a week just to make ends meet. Financial worries can pile up and become extreme sources of stress at the very time you’re staring down at exams and midterm papers become due. Working between six and 10 hours a week really doesn’t have a negative impact on students scholastically, but when you are putting in too many hours, your studies and your success at school will suffer. Working just 6 – 10 hours per week tends to force you to become more organized and that will help a student across the board.

Credit cards are one of the easiest methods of accumulating unnecessary debt, and we caution students to consider the ease of accessing credit wisely, especially new students who are unfamiliar with the credit system.

If you are looking for creative ways to support your kids without the fear of accumulating unwanted or unneccessary debt, one of the best ways to supplement your child’s financial position at university is to give them a helping hand with their weekly spend on groceries, incidentals, utilities and occasional socializing. Giving them cash can lead to poor financial management, accumulation of unpaid bills and the inevitable ask for more. Giving credit cards can expose you and your kid to wanted financial liability. There is something in between.

One of the best ways to help your child become more financially responsible and manage their money more effectively while attending university is to provide them with a pre-paid credit card. The premise of a pre-paid card is that you simply load the funds you want to spend and once it’s gone, it’s gone! As one of the fastest growing consumer trends in the UK, prepaid cards are a fantastic money management tool with many other added features and benefits. Prepaid cards such as the Pockit MasterCard® a do not have an overdraft or credit facility attached, effectively reducing the risk of accruing unwanted debt. As a parent this could allow you to come to an arrangement with your son or daughter to provide them with a predefined amount of funds each week or month, giving them the responsibility to manage their money without the threat of going into debt or unlimited liability.

Better still, cards such as the Pockit MasterCard® are accepted anywhere you can use a MasterCard – that’s over 30 million locations worldwide – giving your child the convenience of a debit or credit card without the risk of being buried in reckless debt. With power and freedom comes great responsibility, but it also comes with a host of additional exclusive offers on utilities, car insurance, impromptu days out and more. Offers vary by provider and geographic location.

University is meant to be some of the best times in your kid’s life. Save as much as you can now to prepare for their future and when the time comes, consider a prepaid mastercard to cover some of the smaller stuff. Allow them to focus on school instead of worrying about bills with the piece of mind and financial security offered by a well thought out education savings plan.

Surviving college or university without incurring debt may seem impossible to most of us, but it can be done. Murray Baker graduated from the University of Western Ontario without a cent of debt. He wrote the book on it. Murray is the author of The Debt-Free Graduate: How to Survive College or University Without Going Broke, a comprehensive and amusing guide to minimizing post secondary debt.

Murray says that the best strategies for surviving postsecondary education without an avalanche of debt are preparation and knowing your resources. He has brought many of his useful tips and strategies to the Web via The Debt-Free Guide and an array of Financial Planning Tools which he developed in partnership with Human Resources and Development Canada. All designed to assist students and parents with planning their post secondary education.