We will never be a TV free family. We enjoy our televisions and our gaming consoles here. We also have smart phones, tablets, and rokus. These are modern luxuries that we happen to love. It is all about keeping things in perspective though. Sometimes we need to do a technology cleanse (or detox) if usage is getting out of hand. We also need to remember that life should be experienced with all of our senses and not just viewed with a screen.
Kids may need assistance from mom and dad with this issue because they aren’t known for their abilities to self regulate (yet). This is an issue that could have profoundly positive effects on your family. Do you think you could resolve to live without television or computer games for a week? An entire month? Okay maybe smaller… how about large block of time each day when no screens are allowed? You decide. The computer would be used for work purposes only (homework, jobs, and so forth) but not entertainment. And you couldn’t cheat by watching videos on the computer!
Do you think you could do it? If you’d like to take this plunge, here are some ideas on how to get started, and some of the effects your family will likely enjoy.
1. Hold each other accountable. If you’re going to do this, no one can cheat. Make sure everyone is on board, however reluctantly. Even if your kids do not want to go with it, as parents you need to make sure you stick to the resolution and keep the television and computer games off.
2. Focus on the positive – emphasize all the things you can do now. Has someone in your family always wanted to learn to ride a bike, explore a particular natural area, or view the stars? Now that you are unplugging for the month, take advantage of the free time and do those things. Point out that you are doing this-and-such activity (perhaps watching a meteor shower) because you aren’t watching TV or playing computer games.
3. Make plans to fill the void. Replace computer games with board games and card games. “Parlor games” are also fun, like charades. I like educational games like Wildcraft or cooperative games that each us to work together to meet a goal.
4. Read books as a family. In the days before visual and auditory media, families would take turns reading aloud to the family. Try Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, or classics such as the Little House books.
5. Family members can learn to play an instrument, and have family “concerts” or recitals. Other skills that can be showcased in this way include drawing, painting, singing, sewing, and other crafts. Think how much your family will learn about each other this way.
6. Have a cookout. In fact, cooking outside saves a lot of energy, and you can engage in some really interesting energy projects this way. You don’t have to use fire to cook out, although that’s fine if your property allows. But you can also make a solar oven with aluminum foil and cardboard boxes. Let your kids build an outdoor oven like this and cook various foods.
7. Plan outdoor activities. There are concerns today that kids are not getting enough of the great outdoors. Go on hikes and explore the landscape. Use field guides to identify birds, plants, rocks, and other interesting things in your area. Look for the locations of natural springs and local waterfalls. Hunt for covered bridges in your area. Whether it’s cold or warm weather, there is something fascinating to discover in nature.
By the end of the month (or week) you probably won’t even miss the television or computer games. And your family will have a greater appreciation for each other and for what it is to live life and not just watch it.
A guest post by Sam Peters
Conserving electricity is a necessity for parents who want to save money. As a mom, you may be interested in finding a unique and innovative approach to getting your kids involved with helping you conserve electricity for the home. It is always a good idea to teach children the importance of saving electricity from a young age so that it is something they learn, understand, and continue to do even when they become adults.
Turning Lights Off
Turning the lights off in rooms when there is no one inside of it is one sure way to save electricity. It makes no sense to leave lights on a room if no one is using the room at the time. Why waste electricity? You can teach your children with helpful reminders to always shut off the light in their room, the bathroom, or any other room inside of the home. Explain to your children that cutting the lights off when they are not being used helps to save money, which means more money that can be used towards family vacations and fun filled activities.
Powering Off Games and Televisions
Many children have at least one type of video game console. When the video game console is plugged in but is not being used, it is simply sitting there and wasting electricity. And, the same thing goes for leaving the television on when no one is watching it. You can talk to your children about powering off the television and games when they are not being used and how it can also help to save money in the long run. As a family you can also decide on a decent time for games and television to be turned off at night.
Going Green with the Family
You and your children can take the initiative to go green by changing certain things in the home with energy saving products. Traditional light bulbs in the home can waste a lot of energy and also tend to wear out faster than the compact fluorescent light bulbs. The compact fluorescent light bulbs conserve energy and reduce costs, but they also last for a long period of time. Getting kids of all ages to interact with the responsibility of conserving energy is a sure way to educate your children while saving money at the same time.
Create Competitive Contests
You can create competitive contests for the entire family. For example, you can set a plan for saving electricity. After setting the plan, you would come up with an idea on how much the electricity bill should cost for the month. If the entire family is able to save electricity and lower the cost of the bill, you all will have won the contest for the month, which means a special prize can be rewarded to everyone. The prize could include a trip to the zoo, museum, or even a pizza party.
Make the learning experience fun and your child will love helping your save money on electricity. Whether it’s something as simple as encouraging the kids to turn off the lights when they leave the room or something as complex as implementing an entire green initiative in the home, you can get everyone in the family involved and excited about the changes.
By now you have probably heard about The Honest Company. It has certainly gotten a good deal of mainstream press because of it ownership by actress Jessica Alba. Though if you stay up to date on the latest in safe and sustainable products for the home then this gem of a company probably would have passed by your radar anyway. With so many unsavory products on the market it is a great satisfaction to us parents when a more ethical company with safe products not only arrives, but also thrives.
The company’s great products and its fun and upbeat packaging and presentation can hopefully sway more moms to healthier home products and products for their babies. Moms really are stepping up to the task of making our home cleaning products and care products healthier and safer and I give mad props to Jessica Alba for using her superstar for such an important task.
Using eco friendly products within the home is so important to me and my family because we feel it is not fair to make other people or the planet pay for our lifestyle choices. My cleaning products should not pollute the air or water we all drink. My diaper product of choice should not be entombed in a landfill 500 years from now for someone else to have to deal with. My choices have consequences so I need to make better choices…period.
What is better for our planet is often times what is better for human health too. I need to be concerned about the cleaning products I am rinsing down the drain but I also need to be concerned about the diaper rash cream or baby wipes I am slathering on my babies. My choice in these matters effects their health! Yet so many moms choose products without thinking of any of the consequences to health and planet. Companies like The Honest Company are rising to the task and trying to change that. Honest is a Certified B Corporation which is like earning a LEED or Fair Trade certification, but for a business. It shows that they are in this to make a social difference and change the world.
They also donate to charity when you support them. With every purchase you make, The Honest Company donates time, money, and product to their current charitable partner Baby2Baby.org. This organization supplies families in need with essential baby gear and clothing for children up to age 12.
The company sent me a package of their diapers to review. As you know my kids are not wearing diapers anymore but these will make an adorable donation to a women’s shelter local to me. I know they will make some mom smile (because they are freakin adorable!) and I will smile knowing a few babies out there are wearing healthier diapers for a short time.
I also look forward to trying some of their other products that are more relevant to me like their household cleaners.
The Honest Company was started by a mom and a dad (Christopher Gavigan) who, like many modern parents, were increasingly worried about products made with questionable chemical ingredients. But the alternatives they found were often expensive, inaccessible, bland, or ineffective. In response to this clear need for something better, they created The Honest Company to ensure that parents (or anyone for that matter!) could easily find natural and non-toxic eco-friendly products that are beautiful, effective, and affordable. From customized product bundles to diapers and wipes to an ever-expanding line of cleaning and personal care products, you can find everything you need at Honest.com and have it delivered directly to your front door.
When you are a kid, money can seem like a really huge deal. Any amount of money that a child gets can make them feel very important, and the first thing they want to do is go out and spend their money. That is exactly what consumer America encourages them to do in fact. In this day and age however, it might be a better idea for a child to save the money they get instead of going out to spend it. This is something we all need to learn how to do unless we want to live paycheck to paycheck. Here are some tips on teaching kids how to save money.
Try a money jar: Nothing can get your kid more excited about saving money than a money jar because it provides a visual reminder of their progress. Heck I still have a money jar and so do my parents! Try using a large glass Ball jar, and store it in a place where it is not likely to be broken, right in their room on a shelf or on their dresser perhaps. Want to make things even more exciting for your child? To really encourage your child to fill that jar with coins, let your child decorate that jar with colors or stickers or paint it any way they want!
Make a chart: Maybe you can turn saving money into a reward system! The more the kids fill that jar with coins, and with their savings they can earn special prizes. Another use for that chart is to help them save for a goal like a movie or toy they may want. When you create your chart, paste or tape a picture of whatever they want right at the top of the chart, so they will see them getting closer to that goal.
Children learn by example: Experts say that children learn things by the example they see from their parents. Do you have a change jar that you keep your loose change in? If you want your kids to start saving money, then you need to create a change jar or some of other visual way to measure savings of your own so you can set a good example.
Play the match game: To really encourage your children to save, try matching them dollar for dollar. Not only will your child be able to reach their savings goal. But you will really get them excited about starting to save for a new goal.
Use a banking program like ‘S’ is for Savings: This particular program involves a children’s savings account designed to give kids a financial foundation and it is modeled after their popular virtual wallet program. It helps kids practice saving, sharing, and spending. They literally drag and drop their money into different virtual jars showing how they want to divide it up. Parents can automatically deposit money into their kids account, like allowance. I like this concept because it not only teaches them to save it also teaches them how to manage a bank account.
Do you want your child to understand the importance of saving money? Teaching your kids to save money is important because it can show them what it can get them. You will be teaching your child an important lesson that they will take with them for the rest of their lives.
Family, family, family…that is what my weekends have been ALL about of late. Guess maybe I am feeling a twinge guilty that I will be partying it up on New York City for BlogHer 12 in less than 2 weeks. ;)
At a waterpark… pictured is my oldest boy (in the blue suit) and my girl is at the front of the two girls there.
Spent some time w/hubby’s family in Somerset, Ohio (though not under happy circumstances) and my sister-in-law likes to take pictures too, which means I am actually in one. Whaddya know?
We went to a Seniors softball game to watch Papa (my Dad) play…
The light was awesome so I got some good photos of the kids…
Such a ham…
We also hung out at my parents house…
Err…dug big holes in the ground that will supposedly someday be a big pond. And yeah, I am told it really will kill him to smile. Ah…living with a tween boy.
And we played crochet in our bathrobes of course…
How was your weekend??