| Spring Series

5 Tips to Help Kids Transition Back to School

5 Tips to Help Kids Transition Back to School

With the end of summer fast approaching, it’s time to start thinking about the start of the new school year. Your back-to-school checklist likely includes some new clothes, notebooks, pencils, and a backpack, but it’s equally important to mentally prepare your kids for the structure of the school year. Here are five tips to help you with a successful transition back into the classroom!

A group of young children getting on the schoolbus

1. Get Them Excited

With the freedom and flexibility of summer, it can be hard to convince your kids that they will have just as much fun sitting behind a desk. Get them excited for that first day of school by giving them something to look forward to. Let them pick out a new lunch box or backpack or hold a “fashion show” where they can pick out and show off the outfit they plan to wear on the first day. These small and simple gestures can go a long way toward building up excitement for the return of the school year.

2. Ease Into a “Practice” School Routine

Structure is probably the most difficult transition for everyone in the family when gearing up for the school year. Think about what time the kids will need to wake up to do their morning routine and catch the bus on time. Then, day by day, get them up 10 minutes earlier from their summer sleep schedule to gradually adjust to the earlier monrings. By the time the first day of school rolls around, you won’t be trying to rouse sleepy and cranky children.
Also, do a practice run of your morning routine where you challenge everyone in the house to be awake, clothed, and fed by the same time you’d need to leave on a school morning. If you succeed, plan a fun treat, like a stop at your favorite ice cream spot as a reward.

Ice Cream

3. Spend Quality Time Together

A great way to help with the anxiety that can occur when transitioning back to school is to spend some time fully engaged with your children. An end of the summer adventure is a great way to put an exclamation point on the fun memories you have created together over the past few months. Let the kids vote on a small list of activities that you can do as a family. Soak up every moment and move into the school year without any regrets!

4. Get Them in the Mindset to Learn

Over the summer months, your kids have likely grown used to no homework assignments, deadlines, or other school-like obligations. It’s time to ease these reponsibilities back into their daily routines. Plan an educational activity for them each day that they must complete before turning on the TV or iPad. This could be a backyard scavenger hunt or a trip to the library with some questions they must research. As they get used to (and hopefully look forward to) these daily assignments, they will be better prepared for the homework that is coming their way in the not too distant future.

Kid with Crayon

5. Prepare Yourself, Too!

Going back to school is not only a huge transition for your child, but also for you as the parent or guardian. If you are used to having them with you during any part of the day, plan some new activities during this time that you can look forward to once the school year begins. Meet a friend for coffee, take a walk, or tackle some of theose household items that have been put off over the chaos of summer. Being around other adults and feeling productive will help keep you occupied during the first couple of weeks when you might be inclined to worry about how your children are transitioning back into school.

Did you find these tips helpful? Share how you plan to trainstion your kids back to school!

Getting Married? Don’t Overlook These Important Steps!

Getting Married? Don’t Overlook These Important Steps!

When planning a wedding, there are countless decisions to be made that can easily overwhelm even the most organized person. Picking the right dress and flowers are fun details, but don’t forget about the other important steps that should also take place during your wedding planning process. These are things like preparing for the name change process, choosing the right insurance to protect your wedding day and mapping out your financial future together. Although these details may not be as fun and creative as trying your hand at a DIY wedding centerpiece, they will have a lasting impact on your new life together.
Here are few items you should be sure to add to your wedding planning checklist!

Protect Your New Valuables

You’ve likely purchased or received a sparkly (and expensive) engagement ring which is what started this whole wedding planning process. Make sure this valuable keepsake is protected! Your homeowners or renters insurance policy may cover the cost of a lost or stolen ring, but you’ll want to check with your insurance agent to be sure.
Wedding Rings

Discuss How You Will Share Finances

Once you’re married, you’ll share a lot more than just a last name. Every couple is different and so is how you plan to share your finances. It’s important to at least start the conversation of how you plan to divide up the responsibilities of paying bills and whether you plan to merge your bank accounts prior to your wedding. This will be one less stress on your shoulders later on. (If you do change your bank account, don’t forget to update that for any automatic payments you have!)

Plan for the Unexpected on Your Wedding Day

Inclement weather, damage to your venue, illness and injury are not things you want to be thinking about taking place on your wedding day. However, they can and do sometimes happen which is why it’s so important to be prepared. Event Cancellation Insurance can help cover you should your big day need to be postponed. 
Rain Couple

Keep You & Your Guests Safe

On your wedding day, you want to fully live in the moment and not worry about something going potentially wrong – like a guest getting hurt. To put your mind at ease, and to protect you both financially and legally, it’s a smart idea to look into Event Liability Insurance. Coverage is usually available for private events and covers you for a short, specified period of time. Especially if you’re considering hosting your wedding on private property, like in someone’s backyard, you’ll want to consider Event Liability Insurance!

Prepare for the Name Change Process

Another important item you should include on your wedding planning checklist is to prepare for the name change process. If you’d like to take your spouse’s last name, you need to know all the forms that are required for making this change official. You’ll want to be sure to change it across every account associated with your name including bank accounts, insurance policies, driver’s license, passport and social security card, just to name a few. Keep in mind that each state has its own procedures, which is why you’ll want to plan ahead and devote some time to this important step!
Happily Ever After

Are you planning a wedding? Don’t hesitate to reach out and let us help you answer any additional questions you may have related to these important steps!

6 Ways to Keep Your Pet Safe This Summer

6 Ways to Keep Your Pet Safe this Summer

It’s summertime and the living is easy — for you and your pet! It’s a great time of year to get outside and enjoy the warmer weather with your furry friends.  However, it’s important to be mindful of the possible dangers that could cause your pet injury or illness.

Ther’s a lot we can do to keep our pets safe, from using common sense to purchasing Pet Health Insurance.  To help get you started in the right direction, here are six tips for keeping your pet safe this summer.

Always provide access to shade & water

If you’re hot and thirsty, your pet is likely hot and thirsty too.  Never leave your furry friend in a situation where they do not have access to shade, fresh air, and water, such as in a car.  Even an open backyard space can be too hot for your pet if there are no trees to provide shade.  Consider addding ice cubes to their water dish to keep them cool and hydrated!

Apply sunscreen

That’s right, just like our skin can burn in the sun, so can our pets.  Pets with thin or light colored fur are especially susceptible to sunburns which will cause them the same pain it causes us.  Foremost, avoid having your pet in the sun for long periods of time.  If they are going outside, apply a sunscreen made for babies or specifically for pets.  Don’t forget their ears!

Walk your pet at the coolest times of the day

Hot concrete can cause your pets paws to burn.  Ouch!  Try and walk your furry friend either early in the morning or late in the evening when the sun is not so direct.  Allow them the option to walk on grass instead of sidewalks and roads.  If the pavement feels too hot for your own feet, it’s likely going to feel just as uncomfortable for your pet.

Keep your dog on a short leash in potentially dangerous settings

Camp fires, BBQ’s, outdoor swimmin pools, and Fourth of July celebrations that include fireworks are all potentially hazardous situations for your pet.  The smell of food can entice them to get too close to a grill or fire.  Outdoor pools are dangerous if your pet cannot swim and fireworks can look like a big stick to your pet, just begging to be played with.  For all of these reasons and more, keep your pet on a short leash if there’s a chance they could get injured at your summer social gathering.

Regularly bathe, groom, and check your pet for parasites

During the summer, your pet is likely to be outside a lot.  It’s important to bathe them frequently to remove their coasts of any lingering dirt, chemicals, and pests.  This is also a prime time to look for parasites when giving them a good scrub down.  If your pet has longer hair, consider a cooler haircut for the summer months and keep their fur mat-free to avoid skin irritation.

Be mindful of allergies

Finally, just like people have allergies, so do pets.  It’s possible your furry friend could be very uncomfortable in certain outdoor situations if they’re near an allergen.  Watch for watery eyes, excessive sneezing, coughing, and general discomfort.  The culprit could be something in the air!  Either avoid the allergens or talk with your vet about possible medications that could help.

Photo by Nomao Saeki

Photo by Nomao Saeki

Now that you know a few of the ways you can help to keep your pet safe and happy during these summer months, be sure to soak up every sun-filled moment with your four-legged friend!  And if you want to be even more prepared for any unexpected pet illness or accident that may arise, consider learning more about Pet Health Insurance for your cat or dog!

Pet Health Insurance Brochure

Pennsylvania Residents: Please call the Downey Agency at 717.432.1361 during normal business hours for a pet health insurance quote tailored to your specific pets.

Keep Your Kids Safe This Summer!

Keep your children safe this SUMMER with these tips!

Summer is a great time for kids to enjoy various indoor & outdoor activities.  Whether you have young children or teens, learn way to keep your kids safe & healthy while they enjoy the summer fun.

  • Dress infants & children in loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Stay cool with colder showers & baths.
  • Seek medical attention immediately if your child has symptoms of heat-related illness.
  • Always use sunscreen with at least SPF 15 with both UVA & UVB protection everytime you & your child go outside.
  • And remember to stay hydrated!


Tips provided by Service 1st Restoration & Remodeling



7 Things You Didn’t Know About Mechanicsburg’s Jubilee Day

It’s officially June which means Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania is busy preparing for the largest, longest running, one-day street fair on the east coast (maybe even the country). Yes, we’re talking about Jubilee Day!
On Thursday, June 16, 2016, this fun and festive event will again take place in downtown Mechanicsburg where thousands of people will fill the streets from 10am until 9pm to visit with vendors, play games and of course eat delicious fair food.
If you’re a local, you probably already have the date marked on your calendar and know what you expect at this event, but what you might not know are some of these interesting pieces of history about this massive one-day street fair.

Mechanicsburg Jubilee Day logo
Take a look at these seven things you likely didn’t know about Mechanicsburg’s Jubilee Day – and impress your friends with your trivial knowledge!
1. In 1924, the first Jubilee Day was created to thank local Mechanicsburg residents and surrounding farmers for the previous year’s patronage.
2. The event was originally known as “The Farmers and Merchants Jubilee Day” but then shortened to the “Jubilee Day” we all know today.
3. Though the event was first held in May, it was moved to June because school was out for children and farmers were in the midst of a traditional lull in their springtime workload, meaning a lot more people could attend!
4. On October 10, 1927, the Mechanicsburg Area Chamber of Commerce was established specifically to help plan this annual event year-round.
5. Jubilee Day originally included a strong connection to farming with livestock, farm equipment displays and the judging of chickens, cattle and various foods throughout the event. This agricultural connection gradually faded as commercial development came into the town.
6. There was no Jubilee Day from 1940 to 1945 because of World War II and the need to ration fuel.
7. Jubilee Day is held on a Thursday because it was tradition for Mechanicsburg businesses to close early on a Thursday afternoon as a way of giving their employees time off to compensate for having to work late on Saturday evenings.

Now that you know some more fun facts about the Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania Jubilee Day, we hope to see you at this year’s fair! Never been before? Take a look at this video clip for a look inside the day’s activities. If you’re planning to attend Jubilee Day on Thursday, June 16, 2016, share what you’re most excited to see or do!

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David Downey
Insurance Agency Owner
11 N US Hwy 15, Ste 7
Dillsburg, PA, 17019
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