The Essential Guide To Getting Kids Away From The Screens

With the dawn of tablets, laptops, smartphones and video consoles, it can seem more difficult than ever to tear our kids away from the screens. The lure of bright lights, nifty graphics and interactivity is addictive for adults and children alike. However, while we like to think of ourselves as sensible and responsible, and able to tear ourselves away to complete other tasks, little human beings are less likely to do so. Given half a chance your rabble will probably spend the entire weekend glued to their Xbox playing the latest shoot ‘em up with so called friends from halfway across the globe. Gaming, screens and being cooped up all day indoors is addictive.

It can be hard to break the screen time habit. Even when the sun is shining, the weather is hot, and the outdoors are screaming to be enjoyed, kids will very often choose to park themselves three feet away from a television screen. Instead, you need to be proactive and think of strategies that will promote a more active lifestyle for your little darlings. Take a look at this essential guide to help get your kids away from the screens and doing something more productive with their time.

Get Outdoors

Kids love getting attention from their parents. This can be true of positive and negative attention. Of course, you want to make the removal of screen time a positive experience, so you need to encourage your little ones to ditch the gaming for something more engaging. You want to promote quality family time so make sure that you are free at the weekends. The very fact that you are available to kick a ball around in the park with your offspring will fill your kids with joy. Whip out the bikes and head off for a ride around the local vicinity stopping off at the park. You might even want to take a picnic or head down with a disposable barbecue. This simple, free and more active way of living is just what your kids need – they simply need an adult to guide them.

Combine Some Tech With Outside

If a barbecue isn’t floating your kids’ boat, why not coax them outdoors with a smattering of tech? Hoverboards and drones are futuristic bits of kit that have become all the range. Check out the basic hoverboard price and pick up a couple for your cherubs. With any luck they will adore becoming an expert on them, learning tricks and racing one another around the park.

Alternatively, you could invest in a drone. These amazing flying hydrofoil quadcopters look like something out of a sci-fi film and are really a step up from the old school remote control car. With a lot of practice, your kids could be taking the drone for a spin and recording a birds eye view of the flight path. They can then head back indoors for some (controlled) screen time to see the images and video that they have captured.

Craft

While it’s great to head outside, sometimes it’s too wet, windy or cold to venture down to the park. Instead, you need an activity to excite your kids and get them away from their social media feeds. Get creative, but do it together. Being involved will instinctively interest your children. They want to spend time with dad and mom so invite them to cook with you, paint pictures or do some mosaic work. If there’s a party coming up, or you simply feel like a lovely dessert that evening, get baking. You can do this from scratch, or you can pick up plenty of packet mixes from the grocery store. With a little bit of creative flair, you could have a three tier carrot cake, or gateau whipped up in no time.

If your kids adore art and technology, get out the lego and set some challenges. Who can make the strongest bridge or the largest tower or the coolest looking spaceship? Lego has been around for decades, and everyone has a tub in their cupboard so get it out on a rainy day.

Board Games

There’s nothing better than getting out Monopoly or Snakes and Ladders and having a marathon board game session with the kids. Games like Twister can also be fun if you’re supple and don’t mind getting down on the floor! The TV is off, some music is playing, and there’s not a screen in sight; there’s just you, your kids, maybe the family pet and some quality family time to be enjoyed.

Ensure that you encourage good games manners and don’t cheat. Seeing how your kids play a board game or two can really tell you a lot about their attitude and temperament. Make it fun, have some snacks and chat. When everyone has their head in a smartphone, the art of family conversation is lost.

Draw Up A Charter

If you are expecting your kids to limit their screen time, then it’s only fair that you do the same. If you are telling your kids to get some fresh air and hot foot it to the park, but you are staying behind to watch your favorite movie, download some games or check your Facebook feed, this isn’t fair, and your kids will begin to resent you. Set up a formal contract and sign it and put it on the fridge. It shouldn’t be unrealistic but should set out some screen time ground rules, such as no screen time after 8 pm, homework always comes first, and smartphone usage is for one hour a day maximum. If you are all in it together, you can support one another in seeking out alternative forms of entertainment.

Being a parent isn’t an easy job, but it seems even more difficult since the emergence of technology and interconnectivity. Follow this guide and try to encourage your kids to venture outside of their screen cocooned comfort zones. With any luck, you will have enhanced quality family time because of your efforts.

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

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An Evening with the Cardinals

This one is a quick one but it is definitely worth the short notice!

Are you looking for ways to support charities based in St. Louis? Well, here is your chance.

The National Children’s Cancer Society (NCCS) will host its 7th annual An Evening with the Cardinals event on Saturday, January 26 at the St. Louis Union Station Hotel. This special event is a dinner and program focused on raising awareness for the NCCS’ work supporting families facing the reality of childhood cancer.

This year’s featured guests include Cardinals Hall of Famers Jim Edmonds and Chris Carpenter, along with emcee and voice of the Cardinals, Dan McLaughlin. You can join these esteemed players as they talk, laugh and reminisce about their careers with the Cardinals.

In the past six years, the event has raised more than $1.3 million for families battling childhood cancer. You can see highlights from last year’s event here.

Tickets are on sale NOW, so be sure to grab them while you can. If you can’t make it to the event but still would like to help out in some way, you can always send in a donation!

Donations will help the NCCS continue supporting families like Rhyan’s.

Soon after Rhyan started kindergarten, her parents noticed she had developed a small limp. And, this typically upbeat little girl was suddenly very moody. After several tests, Rhyan was diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma.

After local treatment in Missouri, Rhyan needed her care transferred to a premier treatment facility in New York. The NCCS began assisting Rhyan’s family in June 2017 and has since funded 36 roundtrip flights and 18 cab rides, and will continue supporting Rhyan to ensure that she gets the best treatment possible – no matter what.

Now, Rhyan is 8 years old, in third grade and is her “loving, bubbly, sassy self,” says her mom, Jen.

About The National Children’s Cancer Society (NCCS): The National Children’s Cancer Society (NCCS), headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, is a not-for-profit organization providing support to families making their way through the daunting world of childhood cancer and survivorship. With over 30 years of experience serving more than 43,000 children, the NCCS is able to take a “no matter what” approach to help families stay strong, stay positive and stay together. The NCCS has been recognized as a Better Business Bureau Accredited Charity and earned a GuideStar Platinum Seal of Transparency. For more information call 314-241-1600, visit theNCCS.org, or on Facebook and Twitter.

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The Best Winter Vacation Home Report 2018

Vacasa recently put out a list highlighting the Top U.S. Winter Destinations to Buy a Winter Home and I was surprised with the results! Getting away for the winter is a dream of mine, relaxing by a beach, staying warm in the sun, all of the things you can find in summer but during the winter. Oh how wonderful that would be. Working with travel agents, or real estate agents in finding the perfect spot in one of these amazing locations should probably make your new year’s resolution list.

In December home prices already are discounted, so maybe Santa should put a nice winter vacation home under the tree this year. Check out this great list and comment on which location you would love to get away to during these cold St. Louis winters.

The data collected and provided by Vacasa is an excellent way to explore some of the countries hidden gems when Jack Frost decides to come hang out around town. Why bother with slippery roads and fighting the defrost when you can work with one of the largest vacation rental property management companies in North America and find that dream winter vacation home.

Now, not all of these spots that made the list are free from Queen Elsa’s wintry grip, but even those are fascinating in their own regard. Such as my favorite #2 – Mount Hood, OR. It doesn’t sound too familiar but maybe the Timberline Lodge looks familiar when you visit, because it was featured in 1980’s Stanley Kubrick’s film The Shining! I’m not exactly sure if it’s available for purchase, but why not check out room 237 when you drive by and see if there is anything interesting going on in there.

Honey, let’s get a winter vacation home…

Eventually, I find myself getting out of St. Louis for a few weekends out of the mid-west winter, maybe this is my push to start really considering it. Probably should clear that with St. Louis Mom first. I know she will love getting away from home for a nice winter vacation. Our vacations are usually during those summer months. We can get out on the water and soak up that sun. But maybe, just maybe we can get a little crazy and cozy somewhere like Colorado, or Utah… Baby, I’ll even put a pretty bow on it.

St. Louis Dad was compensated in exchange for this post.

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Modern Days Escapism

Don’t you sometimes have the feeling you just need to take a break and refresh your mind? Nowadays health, hectic workplace, traffic jam, and even politics can lead to high levels of stress and anxiety. Add to the lot the fact the Christmas Is almost here, and you might still need to finish your shopping, and you’re going to feel overwhelmed.

Let’s put it simply: Life can be too much sometimes. You want to break free, in the words of the late Freddie Mercury. You want to give your mind some well-earned peace before going back to your day-to-day life. There’s a word for it: You need a touch of escapism. When booking a vacation abroad and running away is not an option, you need to rely on modern days, local-based solutions.

Disconnect from your reality

Video game players have always suffered from an unjust and unjustified bad reputation. Games have been blamed for encouraging violent behavior and creating dumb generations. But, in truth, a video game could be just the thing you need to forget about your worries and relax. They give you a chance to escape in a fantasy world that can lift yourself from the mundanity of your day-to-day life, as seen here, http://stlouisdad.com/s/4-reasons-why-gaming-isnt-a-wasted-hobby/. If gaming isn’t your cup of tea, you can grab a book and sink into the adventure of your hero. Page after page, your stress disappears, and your mood improves.

Find your gold nugget

You may not be an enthusiastic gamer, but if you love the idea of winning through clicks, you might want to have a look at adult betting sites such as https://www.freebets.org.uk/. In moderation, betting provides a way out of your daily worries – assuming that you can exercise caution and stick to your budget. There’s a rush of adrenalin when you bet that can lift your mood significantly. The secret is to manage your money, making sure you don’t take risks. Small gains can put a smile on your face!  

Escape… physically

What if escapism was all about a physical escape? If you don’t know what to think, check this article about escape rooms: https://www.theprogress.com/community/puzzle-rooms-bring-new-meaning-to-escapism/. Ultimately, if you’re not familiar with the concept, an escape room is a real-life puzzle for you and a small team to solve in a limited time. Most escape games stick to 60 minutes, but you can find exceptions. During the time, you rack your brain to find clues, unlock doors and discover secrets; focusing your attention on the game. As a bonus, at the end, you get to open the door and escape from the room.  

Create freedom out of discipline

Last, but not least, you can create a positive routine that releases stress and creates a happy feeling. Workouts, for instance, are linked to mood-enhancing hormones. In other words, your gym membership is not only about staying fit, but it also helps you to escape everyday stress. There’s a sense of high you get when you stick to your training plan, which acts as a soothing balm on your mind.

Escaping reality for a short time is a fundamental need for your mental health. Stress can be overwhelmingly destructive. Consequently, you need to find the best escape for your personality.

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

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