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Tips for students 
moving to college
(StatePoint) Moving into your own place is a milestone that makes you feel like a grown-up. And with the new school year approaching, you may be thinking about signing a lease for your first apartment or sharing a house with roommates. So now what? As you head to campus, here are important tips to consider before and after you sign on the dotted line:
Pick Your Place
     Every property offers different features, so do your homework before locking into a lease. Compare amenities for each rental to decide which fits your needs best. Is location the most important factor? Does a big bathroom top your list? Will you have a set parking spot or on-site laundry?
  Next, shop around. Websites like Trulia can keep you on-budget by offering quick and easy cost comparisons. Consider living with a roommate to split rent and other expenses.
  Make sure you understand the contract before you sign. Who pays for utilities? Who is responsible for repairs? What happens if you break the lease? Read the contract thoroughly, and ask the right questions.
Peace of Mind
     Once you’re moved in, find a secure place for valuables like jewelry and electronics such as laptops and tablets. Your landlord may require you to have renters insurance in case of theft or damage to your property, but if not, it’s a good idea to review your options.
     Often times your personal items are covered under your parents’ existing homeowners policy, but not always. At Erie Insurance, for example, single, full-time students under 24 are automatically covered. But, part-time students or students 24 and older may need to get their own renters insurance.
     A renters policy can cover your personal property inside and out of the home. So, your laptop or bicycle would be covered if it was stolen while you were at a coffee shop or anywhere else.
  In addition to damage or theft, renters insurance can cover additional living costs caused by a covered property loss beyond your normal living expenses -- even if it’s not your fault. For instance, your neighbor could accidentally start a fire or overflow a bathtub, ruining your apartment and its contents. Renters insurance can offer a place to stay during these unforeseen circumstances. And in case you’re concerned about the cost of renters insurance, it may be less than you think. For example, if you have a car, you may be able to bundle your auto and renters insurance together for a multi-policy discount, which in some cases may add only a few dollars a month to your total cost.
Protect Your Ride
  Sharing your ride with a friend for a grocery run? Remember insurance usually follows the car – not the driver. That means you should be covered if your friend gets into an accident with your vehicle. But be sure to review your policy before giving anyone the keys.
  Consider a parking plan, since space on campus is usually limited, especially if your rental agreement doesn’t include a designated spot. Find a well-lit area, ideally with some form of security.
  Don’t forget to lock your car, and always store packages or valuables in the trunk or take them with you.
  Another option? Leave your car at home. Many college campuses are walkable, so you might not even need a car.
  Heading to college and getting your own place can be an exciting new adventure. Plan ahead so you can rest easy once class is in session.

How to help your child 
prepare for kindergarten
(StatePoint) Kindergarten is an exciting time for children, but it can also be a stressful time of change -- not just for little ones, but for parents, too. Although each child is unique and develops at his or her own pace, most educators and experts agree that four key areas of development are essential for further growth and achievement in school.
     To help your child prepare for kindergarten and make a smooth transition, here are a few ways to support these key areas of development at home:
• Vocabulary and Oral Language Development: Encourage your child to communicate through words. Have your child tell you a story, asking questions that invite description. For example, if your child says a dog was chasing a stick, ask what color was the dog? Did he run fast or slowly? Was the stick big or small? In public, give your child opportunities to speak for him or herself or make requests. If he or she is asked what they want to eat and drink at a restaurant, let your child reply, even if you know the answer.
• Social-Emotional Skills: Children will use social-emotional skills every day once in kindergarten, whether they’re asking a teacher for help, being polite to classmates or following instructions. Scheduling a fun, unstructured play date is a great way to let children interact with peers, helping them learn to share and express themselves through play.
• Small Motor Control: Developing small motor skills can be as easy as coloring with your child and cutting with scissors -- anything that gets those fingers and toes moving! Other great activities include putting puzzles together, building with blocks, throwing, catching and kicking a ball, riding a tricycle as well as activities like running, jumping and climbing.
• Attention to Sensory and Visual Detail: Paying attention to one’s senses is a mindful practice that can help prepare children for the academic world of kindergarten. Noticing textures, smells and tastes, and using language to describe these details, fosters vocabulary development and encourages children to compare and contrast their experiences. At snack time, ask your child to describe the food with words like sweet or sour, crunchy or juicy, rough or smooth. When playing with puzzles, ask your child to sort the puzzle pieces and then describe what colors, patterns, edges, or other visual details the pieces share.
  Parents may find certain tools useful towards helping children learn core school and life skills. For example, LeapFrog’s LeapStart Learning System gets kids excited about counting, learning to read, problem solving and more with fun, re-playable activities. An ergonomic stylus reads invisible dots on every page, triggering questions, challenges, songs, jokes and more. Engaging new content featuring popular children’s characters and the availability of LeapFrog’s acclaimed Learn to Read series give children the tools they need to build tomorrow’s skills today.
     Don’t worry if your child hasn’t mastered all his or her letters, sounds and numbers by the time school starts. Children come to kindergarten at many different levels. The teacher will practice these skills with your child throughout the school year, but you can help by continuing to reinforce them at home.