May 29th, 2013 - Category: Video Games
We are surrounded by it all day, every day…technology. We watch, listen, speak, and think with technology. We know what an impact it has had on our lives because we can remember a day without it. But, what affect does it have on our children?
A recent study by the Kaiser Foundation found that children between the ages of 6 and 16 spend an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes a day on the internet, television, or cell phone.
Does this surprise you? Or are you thinking that they didn’t interview your children, because if they did, it would be more.
Technology has it’s benefits and the misuse of it has it’s regrets. As parents, we’re here to help our children reap more of the benefits and avoid the regrets.
Here are some pro’s and con’s of using technology for you to consider as you set guidelines in your home.
Better contact – With a phone on their hip, it ensures that you’ll always be able to reach them, especially in an emergency. It may improve your communication with them as well. Texting can be a non-confrontational way to communicate when they are uncomfortable or have hurt feelings.
Empowerment – With an encyclopedia of information at their fingertips, technology gives your kids a place to figure out solutions and find answers on their own. What a thrill for them and for you!
Teaching tool – Yes, technology is fun, but even “fun” games can be infused with learning too.
Prepares them for the future - Today’s kids are tomorrows work force. They need to be able to navigate today’s technology as well as develop new ideas to be successful.
Leads to laziness – Sitting in front of a screen all day can lead to a lethargic, sedentary lifestyle. Childhood obesity is on the rise and it’s no wonder why. Technology can take away from playing outside and exercising.
Encourages instant gratification – Patience is a skill, a talent, a virtue, that must be nurtured and developed. With answers just a click away, our children are becoming more impatient.
Depersonalizes everything – Face-to-face communication is a thing of the past. We are becoming colder and more distant with every keyboard stroke. The splendor of nature is also diminished by bright graphics and loud music.
Time consuming - Even as adults we can waste time on the computer. A simple email reply can lead to hours of time spent online, away from family.
Addictive – Checking messages from the bathroom or taking the laptop to bed can be evidence that technology is taking over. If your child’s life is fragmented by their gadgets and they can’t even focus on the task at hand, maybe an intervention is pending.
Whether you see more pros’ or more con’s when it comes to technology and your kids, remember the other side when making decisions that will alter their use. Moderation is key.
Read a related article here: Technology and How It Affects our Kids
What technology trends do you see with your children and how do you deal with them?
May 21st, 2013 - Category: Family Time
Summer time is here! Are you excited about having the kids home for a couple of months or are you dreading the down time?
Does summer at your house bring fun and a time for the creation of wonderful memories or does it bring weeks of constant fighting, complaining, and “I’m bored” comments?
Well, here is a list of free or cheap things to keep you busy this summer and hopefully keep the kids smiling and working together instead.
Have a picnic under the kitchen table.
Take a hike.
Go fishing at a nearby pond.
Make fish out of foil and use a magnet to catch them. (Works best with a magnet inside as well)
Make a scrapbook.
Paint with watercolors.
Tell ghost stories.
Put on a puppet show.
Have a water balloon fight.
Make duct tape wallets.
Go to the dollar theatre.
Have a pillow fight.
Make paper airplanes race them.
Play in the sprinklers.
Set up a lemonade stand.
Do make-over’s. (for the girls)
Make a masterpiece with sidewalk chalk.
Wash the car.
Have a hula-hoop contest.
Go roller skating.
Have a Harry Potter movie marathon. (or movie or your choice)
Camp out in the back yard, tent and all.
Blow bubbles, try making your own.
Fly a kite.
Present book reports to each other.
Do a puzzle.
Make a fort out of blankets.
Go for a bike ride.
Have a video game day.
Put on a mini Olympics.
Have a coloring contest.
Play with clay.
Tie dye something.
Do a treasure hunt.
Have an arm wrestling contest.
Have a backward day. Wear your clothes backward, walk backward, eat dessert before dinner.
Learn to juggle.
Cowboy day. Dress up, talk, and eat like a cowboy.
Superhero day. Make capes, and fly around.
Put on a magic show
Have a fashion show.
Feed the ducks.
Play board games.
Different culture days. Learn about different countries, eat their food and try to dress like them.
Make homemade ice cream or popsicles.
Cake-boss day. Decorate a cake or cupcakes.
Throw a frisbee.
Have a water-gun fight.
Make something out of a giant cardboard box.
Have a no-talking contest.
Chocolate day. (mom’s favorite)
Whatever you do this summer, have fun! It doesn’t take much to spark your child’s imagination and have a great time. Let us know some of your summer fun ideas.
May 21st, 2013 - Category: Financial Literacy
According to surveys, there has been no increase in the financial savy of kids between the years 2006 and 2012.
Why would you think that a kids idea of money should have changed between those years?
According to Bill Handle, #1 drive time host in Los Angeles, because those were the years when our country had a financial meltdown. Millions lost their jobs. Homes were foreclosed. 401K plans were decimated. People were out of work and when they did come back to work, it was for half the pay.
You would think that parents would have learned, and in turn taught their kids different strategies about money.
Gregg’s clever idea to change the paradigm: Have your kids go in the backyard, scoop dog poop for two weeks, save up their money, go to the store and buy a toy.
Then 1 week later, when the toy breaks and they have nothing to show for their hard work, they have learned a financial fundamental, a life lesson. They have a personal experience with money and how it works and hopefully they will make a better choice next time.
May 21st, 2013 - Category: Financial Literacy
Ray Lucia’s intelligent input and charismatic nature add to his ability to make the fiscal world of financial, tax, and retirement planning not only easy for the average investor to understand, but interesting as well. Through his books, radio show, seminars, and individual consultations, Ray Lucia, CFP® has made it his life’s work to help thousands invest for retirement utilizing his widely recognized Bucket Strategy method for retirement. His dynamic public speaking skills enable him to cover an array of monetary topics including asset allocation, social security, pensions, investments, annuities, insurance, and taxes.
Ray is largely recognized for his nationally syndicated radio show, The Ray Lucia Show, aired daily from noon until 3:00 p.m. eastern time which also streams live on his website. On his show, Ray and the Brain Trust field questions from live callers with real money issues. Ray has also been featured nationally on television shows and networks such as NBC’s The Today Show, FOX News Channel, FOX Business, CNBC, and Bloomberg TV.
May 15th, 2013 - Category: General Parenting
Another trip to the dentist and two more cavities to fill. As a parent you probably feel frustrated. After all, you are doing your part. You take them to their 6 month cleanings and check-ups, you try to watch the sweets, and you nag them every morning and evening to brush. Only to have more dentist bills to pay at the next check-up.
If only they wanted to brush, maybe it would be an easier fight.
Don’t despair. My friend, Dr. Brandon Cluff, has some suggestions on how to get your kids to be more willing to take care of their teeth (and lower your dentist bills).
1. Make their toothbrush a toy. When kids are young, start them out by just playing with their toothbrush. Let them chew and suck on it and become comfortable with it in their mouth.
2. Let them pick out their own brush and character toothpaste. They may not have a choice on whether or not to brush, but by giving them a choice of what flavor of toothpaste and color of brush to use, they still have some say in the process.
3. Make it fun. Play silly games or sing songs while brushing. How about a game of “Get the Sugar Bugs!”?
4. Brush at the same time. Kids love to copy you. Brush your teeth at the same time and show them how to get all the sides and angles by turning your brush or your hand.
5. Compliment them. Become the “Tooth Inspector” and tell them what a good job they are doing, how well they brushed their tongue, or how minty their breath smells.
6. Give them rewards for brushing their teeth. (But not candy! That kind of defeats the purpose.) Fill up a sticker chart or make it part of their daily chores and reward them accordingly.
Read a related article here: Encouraging Your Kids to Eat Their Fruits and Veggies
7. Educate them. Sometimes you’ll have better luck getting through to them if the direction doesn’t come from you. Read books, watch videos, and have others (like grandpa who can take out his dentures in front of them) encourage them to take better care of their teeth.
Do you struggle to get your kids to brush their teeth? Or maybe you’ve found something that works for you? Share your comments below and let us know.
May 8th, 2013 - Category: Financial Literacy
Money as you grow is an initiative from President Barack Obama’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability. It points out 20 essential, age-appropriate, financial lessons and even includes corresponding activities that kids can do to learn about money as they grow.
From talking to your child about your job and money, to learning where you can get a free annual credit report, this site has some great ideas. It’s purpose is to inspire families and others to become more financially literate.
Milestones for 3-5 year olds
1 YOU NEED MONEY to buy things.
2 You earn money by WORKING.
3 You may have to WAIT BEFORE YOU CAN BUY something you want.
4 There’s a difference between THINGS YOU WANT and things you need.
Milestones for 6-10 year olds
5 You need to MAKE CHOICES about how to spend your money.
6 It’s good to shop around and COMPARE PRICES before you buy.
7 It can be costly and DANGEROUS TO SHARE INFORMATION online.
8 Putting your money in a savings account will PROTECT it and pay you interest.
Milestones for 11-13 year olds
9 You should SAVE AT LEAST A DIME for every dollar you receive.
10 Entering personal information, like a bank or credit card number, online is risky because SOMEONE COULD STEAL IT.
11 The sooner you save, the FASTER YOUR MONEY CAN GROW from compound interest.
12 USING A CREDIT CARD IS LIKE TAKING OUT A LOAN; if you don’t pay your bill in full every month, you’ll be charged interest and owe more than you originally spent.
Milestones for 14-18 year olds
13 When COMPARING COLLEGES, be sure to consider how much each school would cost you.
14 You should AVOID USING CREDIT CARDS to buy things you can’t afford to pay for with cash.
15 Your first paycheck may seem smaller than expected since MONEY IS TAKEN OUT FOR TAXES.
16 A great place to SAVE AND INVEST MONEY you earn is in a Roth IRA.
Milestones for 18+ years old
17 You should use a credit card only if you can PAY OFF THE MONEY OWED IN FULL each month.
18 You need HEALTH INSURANCE.
19 It’s important to save at least three months’ worth of living expenses IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY.
20 When investing, consider THE RISKS AND THE ANNUAL EXPENSES.
You can visit their site for more information at http://moneyasyougrow.org/#