Three easy offline activities to keep the kids distracted this Thanksgiving

by Anna Hughes on 07/11/2018
Thanksgiving, in an ideal world, is a valuable time to be with our families. To laugh, to embrace one another, to joyfully reminisce about the good old days. To make new memories and enjoy a day full of meaningful conversations with loved ones. This scenario is of course completely fictional for most. Anyone with children who claims their Thanksgiving was in any way straightforward or dreamlike, is probably bending the truth quite significantly. Especially if they were the ones hosting the festivities.

There’s the late-night food prep, the cleaning and decorating, the mental preparation for pending potential or inevitable family dramas. Not to mention the daily challenges (to put it politely) set mostly by the smallest person/people who share your home.

It is definitely tempting to give the kids some bonus screen time on their tablet or phone just to keep them out of the way while we dress and stuff the turkey, set tables, quietly glug eggnog etc. With the parental controls Screen Time provides, this is easy to do without the usual fear of overindulgence/online dangers/switch-off meltdowns.

And that’s fine.

Or, rather than lose our children to their devices while we do all of the work, we could always find ways to get them involved with the preparations (bear with us here).

The tasks you set needn’t be anything complicated. Baking something simple or making table decorations for example not only gets them away from their screens, it will also get them using and developing their creative skills, math skills, science, reading, time telling…the list goes on.

Who knows, you might even bond a bit too.

Then once your house is filled with the sweet smells of pumpkin pie and your table is scattered with lovingly crafted decorations, you could treat your offspring to some bonus time on their device as a ‘well done for being so helpful’ reward. Which also means more ‘you’ time later on. Everyone wins 😉

We’ve scoured the pages of Pinterest to find the best Thanksgiving recipes and crafts for you to try with your kids. Not only that, but we at Screen Time Labs have MADE each one to ensure they are as quick and as easy as promised (kids attention spans vs parents patience levels were taken very seriously during the testing period).

 

Evidence is posted below in our quick video tutorials, each lasting less than 60 seconds.

We’d love to see your creations. Feel free to share on here or on our Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter feeds using #kidsunplugged.

Successful AND unsuccessful attempts are all welcome! Good luck 🙂

Mini Pumpkin Pies (Thank you @crafty_morning)

Turkey Cupcakes (Thanks @MarthaStewart)

Turkey Paper Bag Puppets (Thanks @1littleproject!)

 

 

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10 ways to not lose your kids this Christmas

by Anna Hughes on 01/12/2016
Smartphones and tablets are set to be a popular present for kids this Christmas. We already have an app to help prevent us from losing ours to their devices. Here are ten ways to not lose them at the shops.

With the Christmas festivities fast approaching, parents will be all consumed by the daunting task of making sure everyone is happy on the big day. Children, big and small, are at bursting point as they excitedly ponder what has been left for them under the tree. The challenge for parents at this time of year (as if there weren’t enough already), is to orchestrate the balance between what their kids want, and what their kids actually need.

In a recent survey, 20% of parents intend to buy their children a new device this Christmas. So tweens and teens across the country will soon be gleefully unwrapping smartphones and tablets.

And if they’re not careful, that’ll be the last they see of our beloved offspring as they disappear behind their screens. The Christmas sweater that was lovingly purchased by a relative remains wrapped and forgotten beneath the tree. The annual game of Charades is cancelled due to a shortage of contenders.

But fear not!

The Screen Time app can help parents manage the amount of time their kids spend on their devices, so you still get to enjoy those precious family moments.

One thing our app can’t do however is prevent our kids from getting lost in other ways. We’d love to introduce a button for this but until we do, here are a few useful pointers to help you hang onto your kids when out doing your Christmas shopping:

 

1. Write your phone number on your child’s arm. Even if they have memorised it with impressive accuracy, they might not remember it at times of need.

 2. Take a picture of all offspring before you leave the house. Handy for descriptive purposes in the event of misplacing your child. Memory can be uncooperative during such times.

 3. Agree on a meeting place for everyone to wait at if lost.

 4. Point out who it’s okay to go to for help. For example a police officer, a member of staff, a mom with her children.

 5. Dress your child in bright clothes so you can spot them from a distance.

take-a-photo                     phone-umber-on-hand              stay-close

And if you want to go that extra mile:

 6. Give your child several helium balloons to hold. Ideally so they float above the crowd for easy identification.

 7. Dress all children in high vis vests. (Additional hat with large flashing light attachment optional).

8. Do the Conga at all times, ensuring all family members participate for the duration of your public outing.

9. Use the power of incentivisation to keep your children close. This can be achieved by attaching a smartphone to your belt or alternatively, a fishing rod. See illustration above for guidance.

10. Leave the kids at home. They’d probably prefer it there anyway. Which also allows for ample shopping time on your own terms 🙂

leave-at-home

 

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Three easy Thanksgiving activities to lure your kids away from their devices

by Anna Hughes on 24/11/2016
Thanksgiving, in an ideal world, is a valuable time to be with our families. To laugh, to embrace one another, to joyfully reminisce about the good old days. To make new memories and enjoy a day full of meaningful conversations with loved ones. This scenario is of course completely fictional for most. Anyone with children who claims their Thanksgiving was in any way straightforward or dreamlike, is probably bending the truth quite significantly. Especially if they were the ones hosting the festivities.

There’s the late-night food prep, the cleaning and decorating, the mental preparation for pending potential or inevitable family dramas. Not to mention the daily challenges (to put it politely) set mostly by the smallest person/people who share your home.

It is definitely tempting to give the kids some bonus time on their tablet or phone just to keep them out of the way while we dress and stuff the turkey, set tables, quietly glug eggnog etc.

And that’s fine.

Or, rather than lose our children to their devices while we do all of the work, we could always find ways to get them involved with the preparations (bear with us here).

The tasks you set needn’t be anything complicated. Baking something simple or making table decorations for example not only gets them away from their screens, it will also get them using and developing their creative skills, math skills, science, reading, time telling…the list goes on.

xmas-blog-icon-list

Who knows, you might even bond a bit too.

Then once your house is filled with the sweet smells of pumpkin pie and your table is scattered with lovingly crafted decorations, you could treat your offspring to some bonus time on their device as a ‘well done for being so helpful’ reward. Which also means more ‘you’ time later on. Everyone wins 😉

We’ve scoured the pages of Pinterest to find the best Thanksgiving recipes and crafts for you to try with your kids. Not only that, but we at Screen Time Labs have MADE each one to ensure they are as quick and as easy as promised (kids attention spans vs parents patience levels were taken very seriously during the testing period).

Evidence is posted below in our quick video tutorials, each lasting less than 60 seconds.

We’d love to see your creations. Feel free to share on here or on our Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter feeds using #kidsunplugged.

Successful AND unsuccessful attempts are all welcome! Good luck 🙂

Mini Pumpkin Pies

Turkey Cupcakes

Turkey Paper Bag Puppets

 

 

read more