Games. Social media. YouTube. Parents need to know how to protect their kids online while kids interact with others and seek entertainment through the Internet.
The Internet can be a useful tool, especially when kids need to research for school projects and assignments, read news, and communicate with friends. As much as good comes from the internet, the Internet is not without dangers to kids.
How about your kids?
Parents should understand how to use technology for themselves, be informed of various Internet protection sites, and make effective Internet rules for kids. Tonya shared some Internet safety tips for kids:
Internet Safety Rules
Each child has their own profile and we have set the parental controls to only allow 1 ½ hours of time and their profile will only work between the hours of 9:30AM and 9:30PM (We set that). The computer will not allow them to log in after hours without our password. (We have a Mac).
If our children want more computer time, then they must do physical exercise (outside, cleaning, games, etc.) which equals time for time. (½ hour of basketball = ½ more of computer time).
We must be home for the computer to be used.
We have parental pass codes for the other electronic devices. So, for example the apps cannot be downloaded without the code that only we know.
All electronics get turned in to Mom and Dad every evening at 9:30 PM, unless there is a date or a night out, etc. Then they get turned in when they check in to our bedroom at curfew. Electronics get charged in our room then.
How to Trust Kids with Internet
Now, children are SMART! They are technologically advanced and we realize this, so there has to be some amount of trust there. We try to keep them informed on the troubles we see, hear and read about. We put our trust in them and learn about the computer from them. Yes, they go to their friends' house and have internet time there, but we try to encourage good friends that will keep the same standards.
When Internet Safety Rules Are Broken
Now, there are those times that come up when you find out that someone has gone somewhere they shouldn't or the curiosity and searching brought up some inappropriate picture or ad. We have encouraged our children to tell us what they see and when it happened. There are some really great filters out there, but some junk still comes through. When that happens, we try to discuss how we need to be so careful and aware as to where we go and what we surf for. It hasn't happened very often, but there have been times when someone has tried to be sneaky about the rules, like not exercising and then asking for more time; when that happens they get their computer privileges taken away for a time. For example, no computer that week.
One more thought: I have a friend that has a wonderful rule in her home that I wish I would have thought about when my children were young. She has a No Screen Day once a week. For example, Tuesday might be the day where there is no screen time for anyone. No TV, no computer, no IPods, phones, Nintendo, etc. The time must be used on books, games, or other activities. I love that idea.
Most of the time, I don't sit still for very long; although, a good book can catch me every time. I love people; I love to be with them, talk to them, learn from them, and laugh with them. Utah is home to me now, though I grew up in Las Vegas and consider Florida another home, being where my relatives live and I spent many a summers and college there. What am I doing in the cold winters of Utah!? I do love the mountains and hiking them makes me happy. My children will attest to many days of a wake up announcing that we are going on a hike today. :) Okay, I have heard the groans, but I hope one day they will remember that those were/are great memories. If I am home, you will find me in the yard with the chickens and the garden, in the kitchen cooking, or on the couch with a good book. I have so many favorites, that it is hard to pick just one, but I would recommend Without Offense by Dr. John Lund or These is My Words by Nancy Turner. I do work part time teaching physio-neuro therapy. I do that by pure choice as it is another love (back to the working with people thing). :) My children (4 of them) are a big source of happiness. They have their challenges just like any of us; they give us challenges, but they are growing and learning and using their talents for good. My husband is a big, tall teddy bear. He makes us laugh and keeps us entertained. If I could choose a vacation spot, I would pick a beach to relax by or a place in the mountains to hike and adventure. I enjoy exercise. I don't know if that is a confession of guilt or if I am just crazy. I wish I could write and journal more and that I had creative talent to make my words flow like a good book. Maybe one day; for now I do write in my journal and I try to keep up on the good and the bad to make it something my children will one day look back and learn from and hopefully posterity. I asked my husband what he thought were good words to describe me for this and his first word was “motivated”. Ha. (Remember the hiking and exercise comment) :) The next two words were “clean” and “loving”. That makes me smile, because I sure don't want to be dirty and mean. :)
The Apple iPad and TV can be convenient babysitters at times, but many mothers still find creative indoor activities for children to keep their children busy to get through the day. As a result, mothers and children maintain healthy relationships through educational materials and uplifting entertainment.
Shelly has a two-year-old girl who is full of fun and energy. Shelly said, “When it is cold or rainy outside, there is no choice but to be indoors!” Shelly shared four lists of fun indoor activities for toddlers.
1. Go to the library
My library has a great play area with a huge train set and plenty of books! We find one of the comfy couches and curl up there with a stack of new books. We can spend a good portion of the day at the library especially if I am prepared with enough snacks.
2. Music time
I love to play the piano, and my toddler loves to do whatever I'm doing. I pull her up beside me and we bang away on the keys and pretend we're making really great music. We sing nursery rhymes and have a great time.
3. Get busy in the kitchen
It is great when we can get busy in the kitchen, I slide a chair over to the counter and hand my little girl the longest wooden spoon I own. Then I let her help me scramble eggs over the stove (remember to NEVER leave your child's side if you're going to be by a hot pan!) Or we mix flour and sugar and chocolate chips into delicious cookie dough. I always let my toddler help me measure and pour and stir because I don't want her to get bored. She usually makes a gigantic mess but the cookies turn out delicious despite the flour that ends up all over my counters, so I've just learned to accept the fact that I'll have to do a little more clean-up! I like to work in the kitchen with my little girl in hopes that someday she will love cooking so much that she'll just take over for family dinners every night. A girl can dream!
4. Take a long bath
Not me, my child! We usually do bath time at night, but on 'indoor days' I fill the tub with soap and water, find every baby doll, ball, plastic figurine, and water-friendly toy I can find then I dump all of them with my little girl into the bubbly bath! I also grab a hand-held mirror and prop it up on the edge of the tub for her. She loves to make faces and sing into the mirror, and laughs and laughs when I use the shampoo to give her a silly hair-do. It's super fun for her, and I love to watch her giggle and play. I also usually get a chance to wipe down the sink and mirror, it's great!
Shelly lives in Springville, UT and is the mother of one mostly perfect, occasionally terrible, two-year-old. She works very part-time as a Physician Assistant and her husband is in Law School. Life is busy! They love to read "Go Dog Go" on the bed as a family, ride their bikes in the summer, and teach their little girl about life's most important things like the color pink and Disney princesses. Shelly loves to play the piano, sew, do yoga and pilates, and read any good book you would recommend. Most of all though, she loves being a wife and mother. She is an average good living in a better than average life, and it is oh-so-good!
When Karli dumps cheese on a plate for her sons’ snack time, they grab the cheese with their hands, shove the cheese in their mouths, and keep eating them until one piece of cheese is gone on a plate.
Whole-grain. Fruits and vegetables. Homemade smoothies. Parents are always trying to come up with healthy snacks and recipes for kids, especially eating healthy on a budget. Karli is going to introduce to us three affordable, healthy snacks for kids as well as the Woodbury’s healthy green smoothie recipe!
Cheese is an excellent source of calcium and vitamin D. “I love the already grated Mexican mix cheese at the store,” Karli said. “I buy the huge bags at Costco because I can use it for all kinds of meals, so it's great to have on hand for that reason. Plus, it's healthy and easy to dump on a tray or a plate for the kids when they need a snack or something to keep them busy if I'm busy.”
Vegetables can be a hard sell for kids, but only some are. “My kids love peas still frozen,” Karli said. “You don't even have to cook them. They're healthy (* Frozen is even healthier than fresh), and instead of feeling like you're too lazy to cook your kids lunch, you can feel good about yourself because you're expanding their palette by introducing them to new textures which helps them to be less picky.” Peas provide good nutrition–protein and variety of vitamins.
Carrots are a magical vegetable. Many kids love the color and taste of them even if they don’t like other vegetables. Carrots provide great source of minerals and vitamins, especially vitamin A. No other vegetable will provide vitamin A like carrots do. “This one is a big hit because I let my toddler salt them himself,” Karli said. “I just stick them in a pyrex container with a lid on top. My lids have holes, but you can also just leave the lid askew and boil them for 3 minutes and 33 seconds."
Healthy Snack Recipe– Green Smoothies (Woodbury kids’ favorite recipe!)
Spinach ------------------- Handful
Frozen Kale -------------- Handful
Frozen Strawberries ---- Handful
Banana --------------------- One
Plain Greek Yogurt ------- A dollop
Orange ---------------------- One cup
(*However much you need to make your smoothie smooth. You can also use milk or water, but I prefer orange juice)
Mix all of the ingredients together in a mixer. Blend them well. Serve them while it’s still cold. Karli said her kids LOVE green smoothies which are super healthy and they think it's a treat.
She is from Nevada and likes reading, crafts, learning to sew, Netflix, being with friends. Her favorite food to make is dinner for her husband because it makes him so happy to come home to dinner already prepared. Her favorite books are “Harry Potter,” Rick Riordan’s “Percy Jackson” and “Olympians” series. Her favorite movies are “Pitch Perfect” and “Doctor Who.” Her favorite blogs are Young House Love, Bower Power, and I Heart Organizing. Her guilty pleasures are books by Meg Cabot and cheesecake. She said hardest part of being a mom is wanting a break and then feeling guilty when she actually takes a break.
Her ultimate advice for new moms: “It's not your fault. Babies are people and you can't control what other people do, so why would you be able to control your baby? Some babies are better sleepers or eaters by nature and don't compare your baby to other people's babies and then blame that on your parenting skills. Just enjoy your baby and do what you think is right because no matter what you do, someone thinks that is the only way to raise a baby, and someone else thinks that is the worst thing you could ever do, but you're the mom and you choose what's right for you and your baby.”
When Mallory sees her daughter about to throw a temper tantrum, Mallory lets her daughter decide what the consequence is going to be.
Children can be angels most of the time, but can be frustrating and hard to manage with their occasional attitudes. This is a real test for every parent to overcome: Be patient and avoid meltdowns. Mallory shared with us her three parenting techniques to avoid temper tantrums.
Choices are things that I would benefit both of us. For instance… If she is about to have a meltdown because I said that she couldn’t have a second cupcake, I say “Would you like to have a drink of water and then play a quiet game, OR would you like to sit in your room alone until you calm down? If the meltdown starts and she has not made a choice, I let her know that if she won’t make a choice then I will choose for her. And she knows I will always choose the less fun option, so she will quickly calm down and make a choice. I feel she likes being in control of her choices, and because of it she responds well to this method of ‘discipline.’
The Follow Through
Something that I feel is so important when it comes to discipline is following through with the consequence. I try to be very thoughtful of the consequences I give my children because if I don't follow through with it, they will notice, and then start to respect my authority less. If my daughter is acting out, and I give her a warning like, "If you choose not to obey the rules again, then you will not be allowed to have computer time today," and she is disobedient again, I MUST follow through. Sometimes that can be hard for both of us. I like computer time because she is quiet, and she enjoys playing learning games... but if that is the consequence I gave, I have to follow through so that she will know that when we choose to be disobedient, there are consequences.
Love and Understanding
I feel it is so important to reinforce love even when we are frustrated with our kids, or when they are disobedient. In our home, we like to treat each moment as a teaching opportunity. Each time we deal with a disobedience issue, I ask my daughter to tell me what she has done that was naughty. It helps me to know if she understands the disobedient behavior. Then we talk about a better choice she could have made in that situation. We then share hugs and tell each other sorry, and anyone who may have been wronged (Like her brother if she just hit him). We always end with love because I want her to know that I love her, and that I trust she will make a better choice next time. I struggle a lot with parenting, It's a tough gig. But the more I focus on love I feel that it all comes a little easier.
Here is a parenting quote by Peggy O’Mara: “The way we talk to our children become their inner voice." There is no right way for effective parenting or dealing with tantrums. We know that temper tantrums are hard to manage for both children and parents, but this is a teaching moment. Child behaviors change depending on how the parents handle the situation. Parents need to be patient and help children learn from the new situation children are facing.
Mallory is from Mesa, Arizona, and has two children, Hanna and Henry. She loves shopping, sewing, playing games, and photography. Her favorite blogs are Kendi Everyday, 71 Toes, Cotton & Curtis, and Nie Nie. Her favorite food to make is anything sweet and tacos. Her guilty pleasures are Hulu, Netflix, and Diet Doctor Pepper.