Using Your Smartphone to Connect With Your Children

You don’t have to read the internet for too long before you come across an article that’s talking about the evils of the smartphone. They say that’s it disconnecting people from one another, or messing with children’s brains, or making us dumber, and so on. Like most articles, there’s a degree of truth in what they say, but they miss the mark somewhat. A simpler way to put it is this: a smartphone is a tool, and like all tools, it’s how you use it that matters, not the tool itself. If you use it properly, it can be a tool for bringing together a parent and their children, as we’ll see below. If you’re a parent, take a read. We’ve put together four ways you can bridge the gap between yourself and your little one.

Making Videos

A smartphone is about much more than watching videos on YouTube! Indeed, it’s about much more than just the applications that it can install. Let’s not forget that if you’ve got a modern phone, then you’ve probably got a camera that has more quality than you would think impossible just a few years ago. And this means you’ve got the perfect tool for making fun videos and photoshoots! Next time it’s a rainy day, use your phone to shoot the next big motion picture hit (well, that’s the idea!). You’ll love seeing your kids all creative, and so will they.

Staying in Touch

Though the phone can do some incredible things, the main purpose is to make it easy for people to stay in touch with each other. Now, it’s unlikely that your kids are going to spend long hours texting you when they could be texting their friends, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a digital conversation. But you should speak their language. Download the JoMojis app to your phone, and you’ll be able to send them fun emojis and stickers, whatever the occasion! It’s a fun way to stay in touch, one that they’ll appreciate.

Social Media Accounts

We give a lot of ourselves over to our social media accounts. It’s a reflection of who we are, or who we want to be! So why not join the great conversation, and connect with your kids that way? Of course, this only applies if your children are old enough to have social media accounts. You’ll gain an insight into their lives and learn what causes they’re passionate about.

Playing Games

Games have become big business on smartphones. Everyone’s got their game of choice! But instead of competing against yourself and other strangers, why not compete against your child? Some games were just made for friendly – or not so friendly – competition. If you want to make sure they’re learning at the same time, pick a game like Words With Friends, which is much more addictive and competitive than you might initially realize.

Managed properly, your phone can be a tool to get to know your children better. They’re everywhere in society anyway, you may as well put them to good use!

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

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Remembering Your Childhood Is Sometimes A Great Way To Parent

Being a parent is extremely hard. It takes time, energy and plenty of patience upon patience. Thankfully, with your diligent effort, you can become a great one. Not enough parents consider the work they do each and every day to be as good as it could be. However, if you’re present, supportive, encouraging, and willing to look past some of the awkward silliness of childhood, you can remain a great and wonderful parent, and take the beauty and challenges of life together in equal measure.

But especially for new parents, the idea of actually looking after a brand new human is daunting. It’s not hard to imagine why. We couldn’t personally imagine a harder task. Sorry rocket and nuclear scientists, but nothing compares to actually attempting to help a living, breathing sentient child to become a good person and learn to deal with life. That’s equal parts science and art.

If you’re struggling to put on your parental hat in some situations, there are absolutely tips you can take to fix this. For that, we would recommend:

Conflict

Remember how conflict used to feel in childhood? It was difficult as you were learning to become a person, and learn where the boundaries lay. Thisi is where good parents know how to apply their hand, gently but firmly. If you’re acting out of place, being aggressive or trying to fight for a reaction from your parents, then quite swiftly you were likely put in your place. There are better or worse ways to do this. If your parents hit you, then it’s likely you remember how difficult that was, and might not do that to your own children. If you remember how it helped you realize the gravity of what you were doing, and the hit was a mild tap on the bottom, you might do that to your child. However, if you were in a house that used shouting, swearing and intimidation, then it’s likely you won’t ever want to bring that into your household.

Remember how conflict felt when you were a child, and how you might have wished it was handled back then. This can absolutely influence how you consider its role in your life, and give you a new lease of energy when it comes to helping your child learn their boundaries also.

Understanding

Children always try to express themselves. Some can do it more than others. Some are less careful in how they do it. However, they all deserve the benefit of the doubt, and deserve to be listened to. It might have been very frustrating in your childhood to try to relay your feelings to your parents only for them to belittle that due to your age. It might be that your parents were very understanding and careful to encourage even if needing to put their foot down over a matter. This can be healthy, and should be applied in your household. Consider that children are smarter than they might seem or express themselves to be, and that giving them the space to use their words if in a highly emotive situation can raise someone to be a fantastic person as they develop.

Wish To Grow

All children wish to grow up faster than they should. They might want to drive a car, or your daughter might want to wear heels, or perhaps wear makeup at an age too early for comfort, or perhaps your son wants to go paintballing. Children often wish for adulthood only upon coming of age spending the rest of their lives wishing they could be a child for one day again. For this reason, preserving the beauty of childhood is absolutely essential through and through. It requires your ability to slowly dissuade your child from looking forward to that, and introducing them to things more their speed.

Help them grow through something. You might remember how you used to stay supported by your sporting interest, or martial arts hobby. Bring something constructive like that to your child, and they won’t have to feel like they need to have more authority by acting older. Sometimes, it can be through methods more appropriate to the practical reality of a child growing. As they start to interface with the internet and devices, using the best parental control app called Family Orbit can help you keep watch on the content they consume, and limit that which you don’t want them to see.

Osmosis

Children learn by osmosis. Consider how you used to find your interests. It was likely due to something you saw, someone you admired, or perhaps a peer group you enjoyed being around. Maybe your parent was very much into a certain hobby, and you carried that on. Consider how you might apply the same benefit to your child. It can truly nourish their minds.

With these tips, remembering your childhood is sure to culminate in raising healthy and happy children yourself.

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

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4 Rules For Overcoming Dad-Bod

So here it is; coming towards the end of 2018. Another year gone, and quite possibly, another belt loop larger. When we aren’t careful or watching what we are doing, the waistline on things can just creep up and get larger and larger, especially as we creep up to middle age. As men, our metabolism decreases, we are generally less active as we lead busier lives through work and family commitments, and we do also start to produce less testosterone. So it can be something that happens pretty naturally is we don’t do anything about it. It can suck, but doesn’t have to.

As a dad, you don’t have to feel lacking in energy all of the time, or having to get large clothes to feel comfortable. It just takes some changes and time doing things differently to have the impact that you want to have. If you want to get more lean, improve your fitness, your health, and just all round improve your dad bod, then making some changes is going the be the way to go. Here are some of the rule to follow, to help you fight against dad bod.

Train with Weights

One of the best ways to train, burn fat, and get lean is to train with weights. You need to overload your muscles and make them do more in order to see change. This can also help your body to produce more testosterone, which you get less of as you age, and it can also help you to increase the density of your bones. If you want to get physically stronger and more lean, training with weights is one of the number one ways to do it.

Weight training for three to four days at a time is probably going to show the best results for most men. But something is going to be better than nothing, so think about what is going to work best for you and your body, as well as the commitments that you have. Just make sure you have a plan for your workouts, though. If you just go in, don’t make a note of what you’re lifting or don’t choose the areas of your body to focus on, then it can be a bit of a challenge. Making sure that you are progressing is really key, and changing what you do each time can be a really good idea. When you have a plan, it helps you to be focused and then you can give it all your all and see the changes happening.

Cut Out The Junk

As a parent we can be so particular about what we give our children to eat, ensuring that they have healthy and well-balanced meals with only occasional treats. But there can be many of us that will then gorge on junk food as soon as the kids are in bed. In may because we feel exhausted and just want to have something that we think will give us a little energy. But whatever the reason, it isn’t going to be good for our health. Unhealthy calories can add up quickly, especially from something like soda where you barely notice that you are drinking them. And these small things can be the thing that can stop you from improving your health and your dad bod. So cut them out and just have them occasionally, not on a daily basis.

Find Your Motivation

When it comes to making changes in your life, in whatever form they come in, you have to have a reason to want to keep going. Otherwise, you are going to find it hard to keep going. Change does take time in order for habits to emerge. But if you don’t feel like you have the motivation to keep going, then you will just stop and not carry on. So have a think about your reasons for making these changes. Do you want to do it for your health so that you can enjoy life more, or how about for your fitness so you can find it easier to be running around after your kids?

Whatever your reason, it is a good idea to find a way to help you to stay on track. Yes, you’ll have the end goal that you’ve set yourself, but sometimes the day to day life can get in the way, so you need other things to help you. For exercise, for example, think about things that could help you there, like music and earbuds. You don’t have to spend a lot, as you can easily get some of the best wireless earbuds under $50 online, and then they could help you enjoy the exercise and workouts that you do a little more. A good playlist and a good pair of training shoes could be all that you need. So just find what works for you so that you are able to be consistent. Consistency is when the change happens.

Get Good Quality Sleep

Getting proper sleep and making sure that it is good quality sleep, is so important. Not only does it help your day go better as you have more energy, but it will also impact your mood and how well your body repairs. So if getting lean is your goal, only getting five or six hours sleep a night isn’t going to get you there. So don’t mess about on this on; plan your time so that you can get a good night’s sleep. And of course, being a parent can make it tough on those days where they are just not sleeping through the night. Which is why taking some steps to improve your sleep can really help. For example, are you using your phones or laptop right up until you go to sleep? The light from screens can have an impact and make it hard to switch off. So something as simple as switching off your phone at least an hour or so before going to bed can have a big impact and can help the sleep that you do get to be of a better quality. The same thing goes for cutting back on caffeine and sugar in those hours before bed.

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

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Teens More Likely to Learn Distracted Driving Behavior From Their Parents

As parents we know that our kids are always watching. They notice our behaviors and actions when we least expect it and often reflect back what we do in their own actions.

In a recent study of more than 1,500 teens conducted by Texas A&M University and Aceable Drivers Ed, researchers found that teenagers are more likely to witness their parents engaging in distracted driving behavior than their peers. It’s often assumed that the generation who grew up with cell phones from a young age are the worst offenders when when it comes to poor driving habits when, in reality, they report their friends and peers engaging in fewer instances of distracted driving than their parents.

Modeling good behavior for our kids starts at home. This is why it’s so important for parents to set a great example around safe driving habits. Driving is a huge responsibility and we want our kids to be as safe as possible on the road. Here are a few easy tips to get started so you can set the right example, and become a safer driver yourself:

  • Put your phone in the glovebox while driving
  • Pull over to a complete stop if you need to make a call or eat
  • Get completely ready at home so you’re not multitasking in the car
  • Keep pets in a carrier or secured in the back seat while driving
  • Find some apps that help pause notifications on your phone while driving
  • Always put on your seatbelt and insist others do the same

Be sure to check out the article with more in-depth information and tips from the distracted driving study.

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