Five Tips to Prepare for Small Business Saturday

What is Small Business Saturday?

Started as a way to bring attention (and shoppers!) to the thousands of small businesses across America during the holiday shopping season, Small Business Saturday is celebrated each year on the Saturday following Thanksgiving. This year, on November 30, 2019 (Small Business Saturday’s 10th anniversary!), small businesses everywhere will open their doors to shoppers looking for those extra special gifts this holiday season!

How Can I Prepare for Small Business Saturday?

Small Business Saturday is a wonderful opportunity to welcome new shoppers, inspire customer loyalty, and increase holiday sales! These are some of our favorite ways to create a winning Small Business Saturday strategy.

Host or Participate in a Small Business Saturday Event

Many local neighborhoods and small business organizations come together to plan creative Small Business Saturday events that add an extra bit of fun to this festive holiday shopping weekend. For example, Visit Jacksonville, the official travel website for this beach side city, offers a #SmallBizSat passport where shoppers earn stamps by visiting local small businesses that can be entered into a drawing for exciting holiday giveaways.

Include holiday treats for everyone! Offer hot chocolate and cookies to weary shoppers, and delight the little ones with surprise visits and photo opportunities – straight from the North Pole – from Santa Claus himself! Keep the festivities bustling by piping holiday music throughout the store or by featuring live performances by local Christmas carolers throughout the day or evening.

Advertise! Advertise! Advertise!

Advertising has never been easier – or more economical – with opportunities like the many social media platforms available to reach potential customers. Create festive posts and tweets to keep your followers informed about exclusive Small Business Saturday deals and events and how they can take part.

Like, love, and share other Small Business Saturday social media posts to spread the word to others. Be sure to include the holiday hash tags #SmallBusinessSaturday, #SmallBizSat, and #ShopSmall to connect with others in the small business community and beyond!

Emphasize Personal Interactions and Build Relationships

Small businesses have the valuable opportunity to offer personalized interaction with their customers, unlike large retail stores where finding employees is often challenging or via chatbot conversations when shopping online. Personal conversation is at the heart (and the start!) of creating meaningful, lasting relationships.

Welcome conversation by wearing an eye-catching name badge and greeting each guest that comes into your store. Rather than the usual ‘May I help you?’ offer a heartfelt ‘Season’s greetings!’ or ‘Welcome in!’ to start a festive conversation. Sincere, professional interaction with customers often leads to increased holiday sales and returning customers throughout the year.

Offer Valuable Sales and Deals

Valuable offers don’t have to mean deep discounts like the big box stores use to lure customers on Black Friday. Small businesses typically don’t have the sales volume to support such substantial markdowns, even for a short time. Small business patrons generally shop to support their local communities rather than dashing in just for that sought-after door buster.

Begin by aligning your holiday promotions with your store’s sales goals. Restaurateurs may consider offering special Small Business Saturday menus, including discounts on holiday-inspired meals. Retail shops could offer small denomination gift cards with purchases of a specific dollar amount that will inspire customers to return throughout the shopping season.

Show Your Appreciation

There are multitudes of ways to show your appreciation while building customer loyalty. Begin by offering a heartfelt thank you to every shopper who visits your store and send handwritten thank you notes to those customers who purchase from you all year.

Make shopping easier by extending your hours during the bustling holiday season, on the weekends or all week long. Set up a festive gift wrapping station and offer free gift wrapping for all in-store purchases. For an added bit of seasonal marketing, use gift wrap or seals printed with your shop’s name and logo, sure to signal to the gift recipient that something special is in store!

Show your support for local charities. In addition to promoting these charities from within your small business, make a donation in your customers’ honor as a special thank you for shopping with you.

Let Your Badge Network for You – Conference Tips

photo badge

When you are registering for a conference, trade show, or networking event, what type of information do you provide for the badge you will wear? Do you give just the basics of your name and company? Do you include your job role?

Pre-Conference Name Tag Checklist:
Badge Basics ✔
Social Profiles ✔
Twitter ✔
Relevant Work Experience ✔
LinkedIn ✔
Getting the Most Mileage from Name Tags ✔

Choosing what to share can be a crucial element in directing your career.  Each event you attend is an opportunity to represent not only the business you work for, but your personal brand. Use the real estate on your conference name tag intentionally, putting your best foot forward by including links to relevant social profiles and job experience.

The information you put on your professional name badge can help you can expand your networking circle and continue the dialogue that begins during conference downtime when everyone is scrolling through their phones.

Badge Basics

When you are inputting your personal data for your name tag, start by making sure that the basic information is free of errors.  A typo or misspelling can immediately change the tone of first impression conversations. You want to be able to introduce yourself with confidence, rather than an explanation about accidentally forgetting to capitalize your last name because you rushed through registration.

Check these personal data basics first:

  • Review spelling and capitalization
  • Make sure that job title and company information are up-to-date
  • Include a professional, recent photo
  • See if fonts are clear and easy to read. You may need to change size or fonts so that all information fits within the space allotted.

Social Profiles

For many jobs, including your social media handle can be a way of demonstrating your ability to develop brands, gain followers and have a voice in your industry. Use your best judgment to choose which platforms are appropriate for your personal brand.

Instagram can be an ideal place for sharing accomplishments related to the beauty or fashion industries. For many comics and influencers, it might be a priority to include your YouTube channel.

However, not every social media profile showcases your abilities well. For example, if you are attending a conference on laser safety technology, your Facebook profile is not likely the place where you display your knowledge of lasers.

The one exception that has relevance in most fields is a Twitter profile.  If you don’t have one currently, you can create one to use during conferences.

Twitter

Twitter is a great place to contact conference speakers and set up events. Start tweeting prior to the event to show your interest in specific conference topics. With a twitter handle, you can be tagged for important discussions, announcements and post-conference events

Make sure to follow the conference hashtags and participate in questions presented to audiences during sessions. Asking the right questions can often get you noticed. Tweetchats that happen during the conference weekend can also be a place to chime in about hot topics in your industry.

A Twitter handle allows conference goers to communicate immediately with direct messages. This allows recruiters to contact you and gives you access to speakers without having to wait in line or clog their inbox. You may also catch the eye of colleagues who were unable to attend the conference but are participating from their desktop.

You never know where the catalyst for your next project will begin. It could be a direct message from the keynote giving you feedback on your website. It could be a potential job opportunity that arises after you answer questions from a tweet chat and display a new perspective and creative solution to a common problem in your field.

Conference badge with profiles

Relevant Work Experience

In some cases it’s important to display your company name, but in other cases you may want to focus on professional accomplishments and areas of expertise.

For example, a website that has case studies on your products might be a good addition for marketers. If you are a teacher, a website with your CV could be helpful. Including a special certification or degree could be the eye-catching detail that takes a brief moment of networking small talk and opens the dialogue for a job interview.

You can also skip the step of emailing your resume by including a link to your LinkedIn profile.

LinkedIn

Sharing your LinkedIn profile allows you to introduce your own expertise and past experience. Recruiters can view your company’s LinkedIn page, which is especially helpful when you don’t work for a largely established company. A well-rounded profile will show your professional reputation and authority on a range of subject matters.

The simple link gives others a connection to your experience, references, the company you work for and your current network of professionals. You can even customize your Linkedin URL to make it more readable and easy to remember.

Getting the Most Mileage from Name Tags

Keep your conference badge on after attending sessions when heading to evening events. You may find opportunities to chat with other conference goers when exploring the city you are visiting, getting coffee near your hotel or grabbing dinner at a nearby restaurant.

Bring business cards with the same information and a similar design. Just like branding a business, you want to brand yourself and create familiarity by putting the same message on multiple formats.

The custom fields on name tags allow you to include information that helps you connect with recruiters and future business partners. By taking advantage of creating professional relationships with conference goers, you are investing in your future growth and perhaps even changing the direction of your career toward an exciting and uncharted path.

Work Friendly Last Minute Halloween Costumes

As October 31st draws near, many companies are decorating for fall and Halloween. For some businesses, fall festivities include a Halloween celebration and an in-office costume contestFiguring out just how to participate can be a tricky topic. It will take creativity and class to set the right tone with your costume.

Prep for Halloween with these office guidelines, useful celebration do’s and don’ts, and ideas for throwing together a last minute stunner.

Guidelines for Your Halloween Countdown

Do a little detective work before planning your ghoulish festivities. Find out what last year’s celebrations were like. Was it a subtle dessert with candy corn and rice crispy treats? Was it an all-out party with spider web décor and a cash prize for the best outfit? Ask seasoned employees what percentage of the office staff participated. You want to know if you’re going to stick out like a sore thumb if you do or don’t dress up. It helps to know how your company culture approaches holidays.

Take a look in your inbox and explore the office calendar. Do you see any emails or events set up related to Halloween? See if the company has communicated this year’s plan for employees. You may want to check with your direct supervisor to find out if your department has any specific guidelines set out.

The other item to dig for in your calendar is any upcoming presentations or major meetings that might be occurring on Halloween. You’ll want to consider how your appearance can vastly change how you convey yourself to coworkers, managers and clients. Attending a quarterly review in a poodle skirt and wig could make things a bit awkward. So remember to keep professionalism in mind even when it comes to the fun stuff.

Work Costume Do’s

  • Choose a costume that is comfortable and safe to work in
  • Label sweets and treats you bring in to share with helpful ingredient info about items such as gluten or peanuts
  • Find costumes and props that are easy to take on and off, such as fun ties, silly hats, Halloween name tags, and dramatic capes
  • Practice any face painting ahead of time to avoid allergic reactions
  • Think humor and not shock value when you pick a character to dress up as
  • Provide clear indicators of who you are dressing up as, like the name of your character, a Hogwarts school emblem, the Flo hairstyle, or Rosie the Riveter bandana
  • Enjoy the time to bond with coworkers and brighten up a work day

Work Costume Don’ts

  • Put on an outfit that is overly gory or scary
  • Wear items that are too revealing, suggestive, tight or ill-fitting that the clothes are inappropriate or too distracting
  • Bring in fake weapons or dress as violent characters
  • Wear costumes that are offensive toward race or religion
  • Respond to your coworker’s costumes with disrespectful remarks or harassment
  • Choose footwear, bulky costumes or large masks that may impede your ability to maneuver through the office, answer phones, sit at a desk or complete other work tasks

Simple Last Minute Ideas

If you are struggling to find a costume, remember you are in good company. Most people put off choosing an outfit until the last minute. Don’t have to have a Pinterest panic attack! Instead, consider some of these tried, true and somewhat new last-minute costume ideas.

  • The classic flapper with pearls, a mid-length dress and a headband
  • The secret superhero with a T-shirt peeking out from under your business suit
  • A cape or cut up sheet for vampires and ghosts
  • A cut-out hat with a color coordinated outfit to look like a banana, pineapple or grapes
  • A clever name tag with a character from of your favorite TV shows like “Friends”, “The Walking Dead”, or “Stranger Things”
  • A fedora, sunglasses, and suit to give a nod to those Blues Brothers
  • Easy add-ons like cat ears, antlers or even a unicorn headband
  • A little black dress and pearls for Breakfast at Tiffany’s vibes
  • An ensemble  group with your department as crayons or the Wizard of Oz cast
  • A red dress and playing card crown to be the Queen of Hearts
  • Pink jackets with everyone’s name for Grease’s Pink Ladies crew
  • A flannel shirt and jeans to make a cowboy, cowgirl or scarecrow look
  • A button-down shirt and hat with flowers for the beloved Mary Poppins

Pro tip: characters in professional clothing always make great choices.  Think of your favorite character from “The Office”.

When you choose your outfit, don’t feel pressured to have the most original idea at your workplace. Try to enjoy the playful spirit and bring just a bit of imagination into it. And if you are ever in doubt about whether your costume is appropriate, err on the conservative side of things. Finally, don’t forget to focus on your productivity in the midst of the festivities!

 

 

You may also like these blogs:

Tips for Halloween Safety

10 Halloween Costumes under $15

A Luxury Name Tag Handcrafted with Real Diamonds

Remember Name Tags & These 6 Tips for Seasonal Hiring in 2019

Mall Decorated with Christmas Decorations

Name Tag Reminders for Hiring Temporary Help

With the holiday season approaching, your business needs to prepare for the increased influx of customers and clients. Depending on the industry your business belongs to, you can expect the holiday period to bring in up to 30% of your annual sales according to the NRF®Hiring seasonal employees alleviates the stress on you and your permanent staff. There are certain considerations to bear in mind when preparing for your business’s busiest time of year.

1. Start Early

Calendar

JobMonkey recommends you begin looking to hire temporary help roughly six months ahead of your peak season.² The hiring process takes time, and just because your seasonal employees aren’t intended to be long-term doesn’t mean you shouldn’t follow adequate interview and selection procedures. You’ll be thankful for setting the time aside to properly sift through potential hires.

Even though you’ll be hiring for a short time, you’ll want to ensure your temporary employees still fit what you’re looking for. You should still carefully identify temporary staff that will perform according to your business’s standards and adhere to your established company values.³

2. Plan Based on Previous Years

Look back at previous peak seasons and analyze your numbers. How much business did your company do during these times? How does that compare with the rest of the year on average? Answering a few logistical questions will help you establish a plan for the upcoming season and inform you on how much more help you will need in the coming months. Knowing how to prepare financially for your peak season further helps in advertising for temporary positions.

3. Post Open Positions

Advertise that you are looking for seasonal employees. This could be through paper ads, online listings, or placing signs on your property. You should find appropriate places to post your help wanted ads and inform potential employees the dates that you are looking to hire for. Staying honest and open about your temporary hire policies throughout the hiring process establishes confidence in your seasonal employees.

Finding seasonal help can prove more difficult in practice than expected. If your business exists within a competitive market, then chances are other businesses within your market will also be looking for seasonal employees. You’ll want to provide more value to potential hires to stay above your competition. This value includes employee discounts, higher compensation, employee recognition programs, or other benefits. Your business needs to be more appealing in order for you to draw a hiring pool away from your competitors.

4. Train Your Seasonal Staff

Two Women Talking At a Table over Paperwork

Going back to planning according to your company’s history; you’ll want to be able to invest in training for your new hires. Despite filling a temporary position, your seasonal employees need to be adequately trained in your business’s policies and procedures. Improperly trained seasonal staff will only harm your business. Put into numbers, Shift eLearning found through HR Magazine that investing $1,500 per employee for training that you can see a potential 24% increase in profit.4 While this applies to your permanent staff, it is safe to say that proper training for all your staff, permanent or temporary, positively impacts your business.

Additionally, your business relies on adequate service, especially so during your peak season. If your new hires can’t fulfill customer needs appropriately, then that could cost your company even more than if they had been properly trained to begin with. Improper service can result in lost sales or even deter customers from returning to your business in the future.

5. Integrate into Your Team

Your seasonal staff should feel part of your team despite their temporary status. Much of this can be instilled with proper training and through education of your company’s core values. If your business uses uniforms, providing the proper attire helps build a positive and inclusive work atmosphere. Plastic employee name tags are inexpensive, easy to customize, and a great way to instill a sense of belonging for your seasonal staff. Developing a cohesive environment will ensure that your busy season is successful.

6. Don’t Lose Contact

When the season is over and your temporary staff are no longer needed, keep a record of individuals to contact in the future. Whether you would like to see if they’ll fill vacant positions that open up or for the next year’s busy season, maintaining a pool of temporary hires can simplify your next peak season. Building and keeping a hire pool is a general best practice for your business, and a seasonal staff section is a useful addition to that.

Get 20% Off Employee Name Tags with Code NTW20, Man in Santa Suit Wearing a Nicholas Name Tag

Name Tag Wizard is your one-stop-shop for all of your permanent and seasonal employee identification needs. Whether you need custom name badges or reusable name tags, we make it easy to customize the workplace identification you need for your business or organization.

References:

  1. National Retail Federation®
  2. JobMonkey – Things You Need to Know
  3. JobMonkey – Tips for Hiring Seasonal Help
  4. Shift eLearning

$15,000 Luxury Name Tag Handcrafted with Real Diamonds!

Shop our $15k Name Tag!

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, imagine how expensive your name would look on a name tag adorned with REAL diamonds! You don’t have to imagine, because NameTagWizard.com has partnered with Lakewood Jewelers in Jacksonville, Florida to create a $15,000 luxury name tag. This stunning badge is fashioned with shimmering diamonds that accentuate the name in the center.

This platinum badge is crafted with care and features 6.5 carats of real diamonds! The border is surrounded by 56 bead-set round brilliant cut diamonds and showcases a stunning diamond encrusted name. Depending on the desired recipient of this gorgeous badge, the highlighted name is centered and set with 1 carat of small round brilliant cut diamonds.

This luxury accessory is the ultimate company gift for upper-level executives, whether they are celebrating a 20-year work anniversary or have recently lead the business to a new level of success.

The partnership between NameTagWizard.com and Lakewood Jewelers was formed by a former employee of our parent company, Holmes Custom, and our CEO, Bryan Croft. David Breitmoser, the owner of Lakewood Jewelers, was excited to share his expertise with our company’s extensive knowledge of professional products, like name tags. This diamond-encrusted product evolved from an idea to a real product we are offering to our customers.

David Breitmoser is an expert in his field. With 20 years of experience in jewelry, David is a trusted source for fine jewelry needs. As a member of the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers, he is proficient in giving accurate value to customers’ cherished heirlooms and other belongings. This local Jacksonville jewelry shop has been providing excellent service since its grand opening in March 2018. Lakewood Jewelers offers appraisals, stone settings, laser jewelry repairs, detailed cleanings, refurbishments, and more.

If you appreciate the look of this $15,000 name tag, but can’t afford the price, you might also be interested in NameTagWizard.com’s bling badges! For your jewelry needs, check out Lakewood Jewelers of Jacksonville, Florida. Don’t forget to follow us on our social media to keep up with our latest professional products and newest partnerships.

*Disclaimer- website promotions do not apply to this product.

Voting 101: Your Election Day Questions Answered

While the 2020 presidential election is still more than a year away, the primaries are in full swing! As voters study the candidates and prepare to cast votes for their favorite nominees, this is the perfect time to review voting do’s and don’ts, including US voting laws and the rules upheld at voting stations across the country.

What are the qualifications to vote in the US?

To legally vote in the United States, you must be:

  • A United States citizen
  • 18 years of age on or before election day
  • Registered to vote by your state’s voter registration deadline

You also must meet your state’s residency requirements. You can be homeless and still qualify to vote.

What can I wear to a polling station?

Proper attire is required at most polling places across the country, but defining what this means has come up for debate.

Recently, the Supreme Court ruled that a Minnesota law effectively banning all political apparel, including campaign buttons and name tags, from voting sites is too vague.  While the court did not specifically define what is or is not considered proper voting apparel, it concluded that Minnesota’s rule was not specific enough and too challenging to enforce.

 

 

 

Most states have laws that ban electioneering within a certain area of a polling station. These laws may include promoting your candidate or expressing your political views on clothing and accessories, like buttons and hats.

Rather than taking a chance that you may be turned away from the voting booths for wearing questionable clothing, it may be best to save your favorite political garb for that election night celebration.

Are cell phones allowed in polling stations?

Don’t snap that #IVoted selfie just yet!

Rules governing the use of smart phones, cameras, and other recording devices at voting stations are informal, at best. Varying from state to state and even precinct to precinct, state officials often are left to subjectively interpret outdated statues or to haphazardly enforce existing rules or adopted practices.

Often interpreted as a form of voter intimidation, it is best to tuck that recording device away while at the voting booth to avoid a frustrating confrontation with voting officials. In addition, many states have laws forbidding the sharing of your completed ballot with anyone, via photograph, through social media, or by any other means.

What is early voting?

Early voting allows registered voters to cast their votes prior to Election Day during a public election season in order to increase voter participation and decrease Election Day congestion at voting sites. Early voting rules differ from state to state, including some that require a reason for requesting an absentee ballot, while some states do not offer early voting at all.

What forms of ID are required to vote?

While voter ID laws vary by state, these laws have become a hotly contested, nationwide debate over the past several years. Advocates of voter ID laws argue that legally issued photo IDs are required to prevent voter fraud. Alternatively, opponents contend that these photo ID requirements disenfranchise minorities and others who are unable to acquire them.

All voting laws, however, require voters to provide at least one from of official identification before being allowed to register to vote, receive an election ballot, or to cast a vote in any US election.

If a voter’s identity cannot be immediately confirmed, he or she will receive a provisional ballot. This ballot will be counted after a voter’s identity is confirmed.

Is campaigning allowed at or near a polling station?

Generally speaking, electioneering, or campaigning for a specific candidate, political party, or political issue, is prohibited within a certain distance of every polling station. Review your state laws on electioneering boundaries for specific information.

What is absentee voting?

Absentee voting allows registered voters to request a mail-in ballot, rather than visiting a polling station, to cast a vote on Election Day. Each state has rules governing who is eligible to receive an absentee ballot.

How do I vote from abroad?

If you are a US citizen living overseas or are a member of the military or his or her family stationed outside your legal voting residence, and are a registered voter, you are eligible to vote by absentee ballot.

Each year, you must submit a completed Federal Postcard Application (FPCA) to election officials in the precinct where you are registered to vote AND request an absentee ballot. Remember to submit a new application every time your address, email, and/or name changes.

Once your local election officials have confirmed that you are eligible to vote, you will receive absentee ballots for each election held that calendar year electronically or by mail.

Voting With a Disability

There are numerous federal laws in place to protect the voting rights of Americans with disabilities, including the Americans with Disabilities Act. Every voter with a disability must have a wheelchair accessible voting booth furnished with voting equipment for those who are blind or visually impaired.

Further, some states allow people with disabilities to vote by mail or offer curbside voting, where an election official will bring everything needed to cast a ballot to that voter’s vehicle. Disabled voters also are allowed to get assistance from an election official familiar with using the handicap accessible voting machine or bring someone with them to help them vote.

 

Tips for Halloween Safety

Quick Halloween safety tips:
Know your city’s laws for trick-or-treat days, times and age limits.
For night time trick-or-treating wear reflective or glow-in-the-dark gear.
Make sure staff and applicable visitors to haunted houses & similar attractions wear name badges or ID cards.
Understand and adhere to costume restrictions at Halloween attractions.

Today’s Halloween activities often reach beyond exploring the neighborhood cul-de-sac two streets over. Many families now spend October 31st visiting other venues, such as local haunted houses, theme park events, carnivals, church festivals, zoos, and corn mazes.

For everyone figuring out how they will spend this year’s holiday, here are some tips to make your evening go as smoothly and safely as possible. Take some of that effort reserved for planning costumes and put it into paying attention to rules designed to keep little ones from harm.

Curfews & Laws

Certain cities and states have curfews, age limits, and other laws related to trick-or-treating. Whenever you take your children out trick-or-treating for the first time or you move to a new city, find out the expectations for that location.

There may be laws regarding the day and time of day you can trick-or-treat. Many neighborhoods, complexes and housing communities recommend time slots for residents. While some cities suggest alternative trick-or-treating days – depending on when the holiday falls—others can be much more stringent in enforcing a city ordinance. A few places, like Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, prohibit trick-or-treating on Sunday in favor of celebrating the day before.

Other city and state laws put an age cap on trick-or-treating. Cities such as Chesapeake, Virginia, Meridian, Mississippi, Bishopville, South Carolina, and Boonsboro, Maryland set the age limit to 12-years-old.

North Carolina and Virginia have laws prohibiting anyone over age 16 from wearing masks or hoods that conceal identity. These laws provide exceptions for traditional holiday costumes. However, for Halloween that exception would only apply to October 31st and not the weekend parties or other events that surround the actual holiday.

With precise laws like this, it helps to pay attention to the specifics.

Neighborhood Traffic Hazards

An estimated 41.1 million trick-or-treaters set out on a candy hunting adventure each year, according to the Census.gov’s 2017 data. This group consists of children ages 5 to 14-years-old. With everyone travelling door-to-door, the number of pedestrians out at night is as at an all-time high.

The National Safety Council reports that children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than any other day of the year.

To help prevent traffic-related injuries and accidents, choose costumes in bright colors that stand out. You can also add reflective tape to costumes and trick or treating bags. Adults may want to wear headlamps and carry flashlights, especially in areas with dim street lighting.

Skipping Door-to-Door Fun for Local Attractions

Attractions can be a great alternative for your Halloween festivities, as businesses must meet safety standards before opening to guests. You avoid pedestrian traffic risks, candy and goodies are regulated, and the rules for activities are posted and enforced.

Fire hazards in neighborhoods are also higher, as backyard décor doesn’t have to undergo the same level of testing as a theme park haunted house. Your local amusement park, zoo, or other organization hosting a Halloween event must obtain permits, and meet fire and building codes before opening doors.

Venues are required to have precautions in place, such as heat detectors, back-up lighting, sprinkler systems, fire-proof set materials, fire extinguishers, clear emergency exits and more. Places with mazes, mirrors and confusing paths should have directional signage to clarify exits in case of emergency.

Girl with name badge Avoiding Scary Situations

Read “scare guidelines” to make sure the intensity is appropriate to the age level that you will accompany. Not every child is prepared for all that goes with Halloween amusements. Children and adults may be sensitive to strobe lights, fog, and loud noises used to create a spooky environment.

Parents should stay close to children when navigating through large crowds. Getting overwhelmed, lost or injured can take a turn from playful fun and to terrifying, when children are not sure who to turn to.

It is helpful if parents can quickly identify employees in case of emergencies. Many attractions require employees to wear themed costumes, STAFF shirts, hanging name badges, or name tags. Event badges may include large print text and recognizable symbols to designate those who are medical or security personnel. Some venues require staff to wear photo IDs to help build trust between guests and employees.

 For younger children, make sure they have a parent and buddy with them at all time. Ensure that adults know which children are under their supervision. With large groups and entertainment all around, it can be easy to get distracted and rely on other childcare helpers without first communicating who is responsible for who.

Following Costume Guidelines When Attending Events

Before packing up the family van to set off for your event, review any costume rules. Major attractions can be strict about only letting in guests that follow these rules. Many theme parks provide the following types of guidelines:

  • No costumes that touch the ground. Avoid costumes that restrain movement. This helps prevent trip and fall incidents and accidents with interactive games.
  • No masks that completely cover the face. Make sure masks do not impair vision. Sometimes masks are not allowed for teens over a certain age.
  • For costumes that include wigs and more elaborate add-ons, make sure all materials are non-flammable.
  • Make sure children can easily contact parents. Have older kids carry a cell phone with them. For younger kids, attach a name tag to costumes with your name and phone number.
  • Make sure props are not harmful. Often objects that appear to be weapons are prohibited, however younger children may be allowed to bring play swords and knives that are short, soft and flexible.
  • Use non-toxic make-up and face paint. Test paint before to make sure allergic reactions do not occur.
  • Make sure costumes are not violent or offensive. Many venues reserve the right to limit entry for costumes that are not considered appropriate.

Once your children’s costumes are finalized and costume guidelines met, all you have to do is pick out which spooky celebration to attend. You may also want to make sure your child’s favorite costume still fits. It’s a sad day when the Spiderman jumpsuit is officially too small.

 

Resources:

https://www.nfpa.org/News-and-Research/Publications-and-media/NFPA-Journal/2014/May-June-2014/Features/The-Haunted-Castle-Revisited/Spooky-and-Safe

https://www.dummitfradin.com/halloween-masks-and-the-law/

https://codes.findlaw.com/al/title-13a-criminal-code/al-code-sect-13a-14-4.html

https://www.census.gov/newsroom/facts-for-features/2018/halloween.html

https://www.cdc.gov/family/halloween/index.htm

https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/tools-resources/seasonal-safety/autumn/halloween

 

School Cafeteria Safety Concerns

Vegetables on a Table with the Words "Cafeteria Safety, Name Tag Wizard"

Cafeteria Safety

Table of Contents
Food Safety
Visitor Safety
Bullying Safety
Liability Safety
References

Approximately 29.8 million students, per day, participate in the National School Lunch Program across the country.¹ With that many students in the cafeteria, schools need to ensure and establish a safe environment.

There are many facets to student safety. Meals need to be prepared appropriately with special dietary considerations. Visitors need to be accounted for and cleared for access. Interpersonal safety needs to be monitored. And finally, safety hazards need to be taken into consideration to prevent accidents.

Food Safety

Apples, Oranges, & Lemons In Clear Plastic Buckets

The first and most obvious safety concern for a school cafeteria is the food. Are meals prepared appropriately? Is the kitchen clean? Are the meals offered healthy?

Whether school-provided lunches are healthy or not has been an ongoing debate for decades. Many schools suffer from funding issues to provide truly healthy meals, but with programs like the NSLP, schools have slowly improved the quality of their provided meals. However, there are still a number of safety factors to consider.

Whether your school offers multiple options or has a set schedule, the food provided to students should be monitored to prevent avoidable emergencies. Offering allergy-friendly or dietary restricted options will ensure students stay safe and healthy during their meal period. Alternatively, it is good practice to adequately advertise meal days so parents or students can make plans to bring lunch.

As a parent or educational professional, you can reach out to school administration to see what steps are being taken to ensure student dietary restrictions are taken into account when planning meals. Many schools already have their own system in place of monitoring these specific needs, but the safety of school-age children should always be kept up-to-date and tracked.

An inclusive menu is integral in preventing severe reactions to certain foods.

Allergic Reactions

Peanuts on a Table

We addressed the idea of including allergies on name tags in the past, and the main idea is that including this information makes prevention of allergic reactions easier. Approximately 5.6 million children under the age of 18 have food allergies.² Identifying the types of reactions that result from exposure to allergens is imperative to a child’s health and safety. There are a wide variety of symptoms but there are some common reactions to watch for. Everyone is different, so each child may react differently to allergens. The following are just a few common reactions:³

  • Vomiting
  • Hives
  • Swelling of lips or tongue
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Throat tightness

There are many symptoms and reactions that can occur due to allergies. It is the responsibility of educators and other school faculty to be able to quickly identify potentially life-threatening allergic reactions should affected students be exposed.

An organized method of tracking food safety measures can help maintain the health of students.

Food Safety Checklist

Maintaining a checklist of food safety protocols will keep students healthy. While the dietary needs and available resources will differ from school to school, the same general ideas can apply almost universally and come from basic principals concerning food preparation. Here is a short list of things to consider for a food safety checklist:

  • Common allergens & the students they affect
  • Minimum internal temperatures
  • Proper preparation techniques
  • Minimum cleaning standards

While some schools may lack the resources to keep an extensive list, ensuring that rules and policies are in place to meet minimal health and safety protocols is imperative for maintaining a school cafeteria.

Food safety is perhaps the most obvious precaution for cafeterias. However, measures concerning visitors should be taken in order to ensure a safe environment.

Visitor Safety

Books, Visitor Name Tag, and Chalk on a Desk in Front of a Blackboard with "ABC" Written in Chalk

Many schools welcome guests for any number of reasons. Perhaps they bring in a field expert for a specific class or a guest speaker to address a certain topic.  Parent’s day is also a common school event. Whatever the reason, inviting visitors on school grounds often means providing meals for them within the cafeteria. Tracking guests means ensuring and taking responsibility for their actions during their visit.

Visitor IDs

Visitor badges and photo IDs are perfect for quickly identifying individuals who are allowed on school property. The process should involve some form of check-in protocol, informing the visitor of your identification policies, and issuing the appropriate identification. Along with ease of identification, ID badges can also display important dietary concerns for visitors as well as students.

It’s imperative to student safety to keep unregistered guests and other individuals away from school grounds. Without proper tracking and identification of visitors, it becomes difficult to monitor unusual, infrequent, or unwelcome individuals.

Interpersonal safety should be monitored during everyday school activities. This not only applies to adult and child interactions, but also to the relationships between students and peers.

Bullying Safety

Three Male Students Standing in a Hallway

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, nearly 21% of students report being bullied, and of that number, 22% of incidents occur in the cafeteria.4 Bullying has been an ongoing issue that many organizations, including the United States government, strive to reduce.

Bullying Prevention

While the complete eradication of bullying may be impossible, it can be reduced and prevented to a certain degree. A 2013 study showed that the implementation of anti-bullying programs within schools reduces “bullying behavior by 20%-23%….”5

Bullying is a serious issue which is why so many groups are dedicated to decreasing its frequency. While it may prove difficult to monitor students for the entirety of their time at school, the cafeteria is an easier space to supervise their activities. It is then the responsibility of school faculty to identify bullying behaviors and to intervene when appropriate.

Aside from bullying, schools are responsible for ensuring students are in a safe environment free of hazards.

Liability Safety

White First Aid Case Mounted on a White Wall

Cafeterias can contain hazardous materials and unsafe food prep implementation. Between hot oils and stove tops, glass containers, and sharp kitchen tools, there are a great number of hazards that exist within lunch rooms. Schools need to keep their cafeterias and other dining spaces clear of dangerous materials or adequately mark hazards to properly warn students and visitors.

Properly trained cafeteria and custodial staff will adhere to all policies and procedures, which aids in the prevention of emergencies. However, in the case of an emergency, designated medical staff should be readily available. Some schools may even offer first aid training to teachers and custodial staff. This will prevent potential tragedies should a student be exposed to wet surfaces, sharp implements, hot oils, or other hazardous materials while in a cafeteria space as well as protect your institution from liability concerns.

Save 20% on Photo IDs with Code NTWSTUDENT at Name Tag Wizard, School Bus Badges Resting on Red Notebook

Recap

School cafeterias have special safety concerns as well as the common procedures all educational facilities should have.

  • The cafeteria’s primary function is to offer a dining experience, so it is imperative to make dietary and allergy concerns a top priority.
  • Visitors need to be easily identifiable while they’re on campus or dining with their child.
  • Teachers and other faculty need to supervise student activities during meals to identify and curtail bullying.
  • Finally, safety hazards need to be either removed or adequately marked in order to avoid injury.

 

Elementary Teacher Looking Over Class

Name Tag Wizard has a wide variety of name badges to increase school safety and security. From teacher name tags to visitor passes to generic designs, you can find name tags to fit your facility’s needs.

 

Related Posts

 

References

  1. USDA National School Lunch Program Report
  2. FoodAllergy.org
  3. Hopkins Medicine
  4. National Bullying Prevention Center
  5. McCallion & Feder, 2013

 

Pre-K & Elementary School Name Tags

School Supplies Including Pens, Paper, Notebook, Pouch, and Bus Name Badge

Helping Young Children at School

Going to school for the first time can be a frightening experience for young children. With a new environment, new teachers, and new friends, it can be difficult for them to remember important details. Name tags can help children, teachers and parents alleviate confusion at school and on their daily commute.

Name Tags for Students

Students Drawing at a Table, One Girl Wears a Name Tag Labeled "Jane"

Name tags for young children make it easy to find out who their teacher is or which classroom they belong to. This is especially helpful for children who are just starting to learn how to read as it reinforces their lessons and allows teachers and other school faculty to help. Starting off the school year by teaching young students to write their name and bus number on chalkboard name tags is a fun and practical way to build on their education.

Including bus numbers on name tags helps children find which vehicle to board or for teachers and drivers to direct them. Finding the right bus or getting on the wrong bus can be a frustrating or frightening ordeal for children, faculty and especially parents. Having bus numbers easily and readily available for kids and teachers helps prevent confusion.

Keeping Track of Bus Riders

Back of School Bus

With so many children riding buses to and from school grounds, it can be difficult to keep track of who goes where and on which vehicle.

Some schools, such as Biscayne Elementary in Jacksonville, Florida, utilize lists. Stephanie Jones, a Pre-K to 1st grade teacher at Biscayne, details their process.

“We have lists with all the student’s names for each bus. Teachers and paraprofessionals are assigned to monitor the children and usually have the kids and their bus numbers memorized. The bus drivers are also familiar with the students who ride their buses. The students get marked off when they get off the bus in the morning and marked again when they get on in the afternoon. If there is ever a change in the way a student is going home, it should be written in their agenda by a parent so there’s documentation.”

Bus name badges are a useful tool for quickly determining the correct bus for young students. With their name, bus number, teacher’s name, and photo all not easily visible at a distance, bus badges make it easy to direct children to their ride.

Having a child’s name readily available is beneficial, but it shouldn’t be too visible.

What to be Careful About

Child Wearing Backpack with Bus Name Badge Walking Away

Identification that helps kids get to and from their bus and classroom should be used carefully. Easily visible names on backpacks, clothing, lunch bags, and other objects can help strangers learn a child’s name.

According to the FBI’s National Crime Information Center, 424,066 reports of missing children were entered in 2018.1

Some children have difficulty determining who is a stranger or who seems dangerous. A malicious individual can easily gain the trust of a child if they know their name. Some children will think that the adult is someone they or their parents know and trust.

It’s important to teach children to beware of strange and unknown individuals. Parents, teachers, and other trustworthy adults won’t always be available or around, so ensuring a child knows how to avoid dangerous situations is imperative.

While name tags and badges can help, they should be kept discreet. Affixing a child’s bus badge on to the inside of their coat or backpack keeps it easily accessible but out of immediate sight. Ensure the child knows to keep their badge safe and tucked away when they don’t need it. Including a bus badge is a great way to help alleviate confusion and stress for a young student, but be sure to teach them the importance of keeping it out of sight and making sure they understand.

Save 20% on Photo IDs with Code NTWSTUDENT at Name Tag Wizard, School Bus Badges Resting on Red Notebook

Ensuring children know which bus they need to ride and which classroom to go to is an important part of their school experience. What ways do you know of to help children find their way at school? Leave a comment below with your ideas, and be sure to visit Name Tag Wizard for all of your name tag and badge needs.

Related Posts:

References:

  1. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

Name Changes: Steps to Remember

Name Tag with the Name "Wilbur"

About Name Changes

Marriage Certificate

There may come a time in your life where you’ll want to change your name just like the thousands of other Americans who do each year. While no one keeps an official record, Bruce Lansky, author of 45,000+ Baby Names, estimates that roughly 50,000 people change their name each year.1 There can be quite a few steps that go into changing your name and there is a myriad of reasons as to why people do it.

Why Change Your Name?

Woman Holding Yellow Question Mark Against White Background with Yellow Border

There are many reasons why someone would want to change their name. The most common is marriage and, by extension, divorce. Approximately 80% of women take their husband’s surname following their marriage.1 Another reason could be adoption. As children grow older and enter adulthood, they may surprise their step-parent by presenting them an official certificate of adoption showcasing their new name. Further examples include distancing from an abusive family, converting to a new religion, simplifying from a complicated name, or taking on a more suiting moniker for gender identity. However, there are certain hindrances when considering a name change. For example, you can’t change your name to avoid bill or other payments. Whatever your reason, the steps for legally changing your name in the United States are generally the same.

How to Legally Change Your Name

Lawyer Signing Papers

With the exception of marriages and divorces, you’ll need to follow the same basic steps for changing your name.2

  1. Prove Residency
  2. In order to change your name in your state, you’ll need to prove you live there. You’ll also need to have lived within your state a minimum amount of time that varies. Each state has unique paperwork to file, so ensure you find the correct forms and provide the appropriate evidence.

  3. Prove Your Current Name
  4. The next step entails proving your current legal name. Each state requires different forms of identification, but it’s generally acceptable to provide your Social Security card, birth certificate, and driver’s license or other valid photo ID.

  5. Fill Out a Petition
  6. Again, this form varies state-to-state. Find your state’s appropriate petition form and fill it out with all of the required information. Since this is an official form, you won’t be allowed to sign it privately and will need to do so in front of a notary public.

  7. File the Petition
  8. After you’ve completely filled out your name change petition, you’ll send it to the court clerk who will then schedule a hearing. There’s usually a filing charge, so be prepared to pay a fee. This charge varies according to the court, so ask ahead of time how much your filing fee will cost.

  9. Attend the Hearing
  10. At this point, all that’s left is to attend your scheduled hearing. You’ll be presented before a judge and may be asked why you are changing your name. It is then up to the judge to approve your name change. Following the hearing if your name change is approved, the judge will file an Order and you will be given a copy. The Order is required for any place needing your legal name, and you can usually request additional copies from the court.

Marriages are different in that you typically won’t need to schedule or attend a hearing nor fill out a petition in the first place. All you’ll need is your marriage license approved to start the process of changing all of your accounts.

Updating Your Information

Woman Sitting at Computer

Now that you’ve changed your name, where should you update with your new information? Any sort of official service you use needs to have your current legal name, so here’s a list of places to update with your new name:

  1. Social Security: This should be first on your list, and you’ll need to fill out and submit an SS-5 Form to adjust your Social Security card.3
  2. Vehicle Information: Visit your local DMV or their website to see how to update your driver’s license and vehicle’s title & registration.
  3. Apartment Lease: Ask your apartment’s staff or landlord if they need to update their records with your new name and how they want it to be done.
  4. Mortgage: Each financial institution handles mortgages differently, so be sure to contact your lender to find out how they want you to update your mortgage information.4
  5. Bank Accounts: Contact your financial institution(s) of choice and ask how you can update your savings, credit, debit, and other accounts.
  6. Work: Get in touch with the appropriate individuals at your work to update your official information with them, including your Name Tag and Desk Name Plate.
  7. Passport: You’ll want to update your passport with your new name as well or you will not be able to travel outside of the country.
  8. Medical: There’s not much reason to update your medical records since your Patient Identification Number should stay the same so long as you inform your PCP of your name change during your next appointment so your new records can be combined with the old.
  9. Insurance: Contact your insurance provider so you can see how to update your information and remain covered.

There are other places you can update with your name such as on your birth certificate, but some places will require you to provide evidence of your previous name for verification. If there are other places people need to update with their new legal name, leave a comment below. We appreciate further information, and for all of your identification needs, visit Name Tag Wizard for a wide selection of name badges and desk and wall plates.

Related Posts:

Resources:

  1. Chicago Tribune
  2. LegalZoom
  3. Social Security Administration
  4. Sapling