Andrea Benton Author Alias
Now that we're two months into the new school year, I'm reflecting on all of my parent-to-parent school relationships. I wonder how I rate on the playground? Is there even such a thing?
With my youngest going into kindergarten in the 2014/2015 school year (can you tell I'm excited?), I've been reflecting on my experience as a young mother and whether I successfully passed through this stage.
I am part of an amazing Facebook group of moms, who live in my area. From the questions that are posted, I can tell that my kids are older than most so a lot of the content is geared towards babies or toddlers. What I find surprising is how much these ladies are pushing their kids in certain areas - such as swimming.
The other day, a close family relative of mine (or at least I think of her as close) came to visit. I hadn’t seen her in a year and a half. She and her 3-year-old were only in town for five days.
How much should I let my toddler play on a tablet?
Usually I blog about tablet technology (which you can read about here) but since I’ve spent the last five days with my two young boys, 3 years old and 4 ½, I thought I would change things up a bit.
I still like to think of myself as a spring chicken, even at the ripe old age of 38. Recently, however I have had to deal with my aging parents and it has opened my eyes as to how I want to live out my golden years. I realized that I need to be pro-active now so that I can enjoy my twilight years. Here are a few areas I plan to focus on:
My hubby, being a software developer and a geek, put me onto a website called Gamasutra.com. It’s a gaming developer site but it does a pretty good job at explaining the monetization (yes, it’s a mouthful) of games such as Farmville, Smurfs Village or most recently Zynga’s Candy Cane Crush game (which I haven’t played).
Recently, for whatever reason, I have joined a number of Facebook (FB) groups and have noticed a bit of a trend, which makes me uncomfortable and quite surprised. No…it’s not about profane language or inappropriate pictures. People are actually posting their personal contact information on FB posts. Wow!!
I love my tablet and smartphone. Sometimes when I pick up my youngest from daycare, I’ll take my smartphone and keys but will leave my wallet in our locked car. What’s wrong with this picture? I’m more concerned about texting, emails or phone calls than my ID or money being stolen. Clearly, this is a “first world problem” which needs to be rectified.
When my oldest was about 18 months old, I started to phrase questions such as “It’s time to brush your teeth, okay?” or “We’ll do that activity later, okay?” When my youngest was old enough to understand what I was saying, I continued to end statements with “Okay." Initially, I thought I was doing the right thing but whoozers has my second child proved me wrong!
Now that my oldest has almost completed kindergarten (sniff…sniff, they grow up so fast!), I'm worried that he will forget everything he has learned. My lofty goal for the summer is to keep him learning throughout it.
So as I mentioned in my Tech New Year’s Resolution post, I never stick to my New Year’s resolutions and this year was no different. I pretty much fell off the wagon immediately after I wrote my original post but flash forward to May and I have revisited #3 - Monitor my finances weekly.
The other day I said “Don’t punch your weenies!” and as I walked away I thought, seriously…did I just say that? When it comes to raising boys, I can’t believe I have to say these things but apparently you do. Here are five things I never thought I would say... 1. “Put the mouse back in the house!” (If you have boys, you ALL know what I am referring to!)
A while a go, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg appeared in a video about coding via the group Code.org (you can watch the video here). It’s a well put together video on the benefits of coding for kids.
Recently I have found myself talking to my almost 4 year old about people dying and death. I suspect it’s partly because we (and I mean, me, my husband and our two kids) play Skylander Giants.
Over the last three weeks, I have read various articles on how parents are being caught unaware when their kids are using their smartphones, tablets or console gaming systems and then are horrified when they get their credit card statements. What parents realize is that they were charged gobs of money while their kids were using their devices unbeknownst to them. (I will admit that this blog post might turn into a bit of a rant…)
A while ago I wrote about an app game called Smurfs and how people could purchase an item called smurfberries. The kicker is that smurfberries cost real money and you can purchase smurfberries through in-app purchases. The Smurfs game is only one example of a seemingly “free” type of app game.
There are many components within technology - and two major ones that both governments and companies struggle with is online privacy and data. As a parent, it is important to me that the companies my kids interact with are following online privacy guidelines. This also applies to non-educational technology and data.
I hear this question a lot from my oldest son, who is kindergarten. He’s been saying it for about a year now. I have tried to recall where he got it from and I’m not sure, potentially from his old daycare but who knows.
I’ll be honest and come out (Not like Jodie Foster mind you…) and say it - I’m horrible at New Year resolutions. I fall off the wagon about 10 minutes in; however maybe this year will be better. My main goal in 2013 is to be more organized, particularly around my finances and technology-related information such as pictures and apps. Below are some tips and tricks to help keep my 2013 New Year resolutions.
If you were like my family this holiday season, you probably purchased some type of video gaming system - which means now is a great opportunity to start a dialogue on video games. Parents often wonder “Will my child play too much? Are video games really bad for my kid?” With this is mind, here are my experiences and guidelines on some genres of video games.
These days it seems I’m always entering a password for something online. Back in June, LinkedIn was attacked and I’m pretty sure my password was compromised.
This year is a bit different for my family. We’re going to Disneyland for Christmas which I think I’m more excited about than the kids.
If you're like me, you’ll probably buy at least one or two gifts online during the holiday season. Why? Because it's easy, quick and you can do it in your PJs with a cup of tea. I know lots of moms who are only doing online shopping this year.
Now that my son is in kindergarten at a digital school, my family and I are becoming more exposed to online learning resources.
Ahh, the differences between boys and girls... My boys are three and five. My oldest is athletic while my youngest is more creative. Since I’m the ONLY female in the house I sometimes feel that I don’t belong.
As many of you know, I’m passionate about technology. I’ve got two young kids who play on tablets, my eldest is constantly asking me for the password to my iPhone (which I won’t give out), we have Apple TV instead of cable and my hubby is a gamer. Tech is in our lives.
Now that my kids are going on play dates, my oldest seems to be requesting the Wii and the game Skylander at home. So far, we’ve been able to avoid console games. However, I suspect this might change shortly. Parents often tell me that their child plays a console game system too much or that it is a source of tension in the household. Is there a silver bullet as to how much console time your child should get?
Recently, I was asked to review the WEBEE. It’s a console game system for toddlers. Originally, I was skeptical. Is this necessary? But I thought I would give it a try. My kids and I recently tested it and were pleasantly surprised.
Last week was a big one for my family. My oldest started kindergarten (woo hoo!).
A while ago I thought about developing my own educational app. I wrote a business plan, drew numerous illustrations and floated my app idea around. In the end, I decided against it.
My hubby and I have been married a while - 13 years - and over the course of our courtship and marriage we have always played Scrabble.
I was recently checking out the Apple App store in the educational section (of course) and noticed a disconcerting trend - there is a LOT of the same content out there, particularly in the preschool/toddler age bracket. It may be packaged differently, ie it’s a fish puzzle versus a dinosaur puzzle but essentially it is the same and not truly engaging enough for my kids.
With my oldest entering kindergarten next year, I’m slowly becoming integrated into the public school system. One hot topic I’m hearing about seems to be the length of the summertime break.
Have children with asthma? Check out these apps!
Since we’re taking our tablet on vacation, I’ve been thinking about the apps my kids will use. Am I loading new apps onto it or simply letting them play the old ones? And if I’m purchasing new apps for the summer, what criteria am I using for choosing these apps?
Prepping for and going on vacation with a toddler/preschooler is a fun challenge. There are always a lot of things to think about - what clothes to pack, how many diapers to bring (or maybe that’s just me) and most importantly, what do I bring to occupy the kids while we are traveling? Do I bring books, toys or my tablet?
A trend in game apps is to launch new relevant content when big events occur such as Christmas or Halloween.
These days, it's tough to be a parent with young kids in public spaces. Restaurants are banning kids under six, breastfeeding in public is still an issue (let’s move on people), and sometimes a simple task such as shopping with kids is frowned upon.
So I was browsing my kids' large lengthy app collection and it’s quite embarrassing really, the number of apps that we own. I did a quick scan and an interesting price pattern emerges.
Since I’ve become a mom, I’m racked with guilt. I only breast-fed my kids for 4-6 weeks (eek!), my youngest sleeps in our bed (although maybe that’s good - based on Time’s recent article) and both my kids go to full-time daycare - what can I say, I’m not a natural stay-at-home Mom and kudos to those stay-at-home Moms but I need to work.
I won’t lie - my family spends a lot of time on the tablet. Since we’ve cut cable, which I blogged about in this article, the tablet has become our primary mechanism of screen time.
Are children’s books being replaced by storybook apps? Every night we try to read books to our kids before they go to bed. It’s a classic children’s bedtime activity.
Between my two pre-schoolers, running a home, working on my business and being a wife, I don’t have a lot of time for
I’ll admit it - I watch a lot of TV. I watch NCIS, NCIS: LA, the Mentalist, MLB, NCAA basketball and the NHL. What can I say, I’m Canadian and hockey is our national sport. But now that I have preschoolers, I’m re-evaluating my TV habits and our family’s in favour (notice the Canadian spelling) of tablets.
Don't want to commit to a tablet for your toddler? Consider this advice:
How much tablet technology is appropriate for toddlers?
When you first get a tablet, you’ll want to load up on apps just for yourself (I know I did!) but after a while, my kids wanted to play on my tablet so I started searching for age-appropriate apps. It wasn’t as easy as I thought. I wanted to make sure that the apps they were using where actually teaching them a specific skill based on their educational needs but still fun to interact with. Here are the five strategies that I use when evaluating and selecting apps for my kids.