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Tips&Tricks

Things you should do to keep your children safe online

Parents like to have a certain degree of control over the online activities of their children. This is because the internet is like a world without its law enforcement agencies. We all know what happens in a place that doesn’t have agents enforcing rules.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to a situation where human contact is lessened and online interactions are encouraged. More time spent at home bores children out and they easily take to the internet for interesting stuff like socialization, funny videos, online gaming, and so on.

However, the internet is not the safest place for children to hang out. There are several risks that your child can be exposed to when browsing the internet. Here are things you should do to keep your children safe online!

Cyber Risks facing Children – How to Keep your children safe

  1. Internet Predators

Internet predators are individuals, usually past their youths, that track children on the internet. An internet predator takes advantage of a child’s pure mind to deceive him or her. They have higher success rates with children that are hardly supervised by their parents.

Sometimes, these predators can trick the children into physical meetings. They typically make use of social media, gaming platforms, and any other forum where several children gather. Several methods can be used by the predator to get information from the child.

  • Inappropriate Content

There is so much information on the internet that is easy for a child to stumble on inappropriate content. Your child could visit a website that contains inappropriate ads. Some websites force visitors onto a different page containing perverse content.

Measures you can take to keep your children safe online

  1. Use a VPN for your family

A VPN is a security tool that encrypts the flow of information between two online communication nodes. It hides your IP address and protects your privacy.

The app can work as an efficient tool against online predators. For instance, a predator would not be able to know your child’s physical location from the device’s IP address. If all your home devices are connected to a VPN, the malicious individual will only see the IP address of the VPN server’s location.

  • Keep their Devices in a Common Area

To regulate what your children do online, you can place their laptops, tablets, and phones in a common area of the home. Kids are less likely to perform suspicious actions if they know anyone can walk in on them anytime. To encourage mobiles like tablets and smartphones being used in common areas of the home, create a charging port in that specific area.

Also, a child having an online class should be encouraged to place the computer or phone in areas like the living room. This way, no video conferencing member will be able to spy on private stuff in the child’s room.

  • Setup Parental Controls

Apart from installing parental control software on social media platforms, you can also set controls on websites your children have access to. These parental controls limit them from landing on websites with randy content. The most effective parental controls can be done through your home router, which your children are sure to be connected to. Alternatively, platforms like YouTube also allow parents to adjust the settings and restrict access on their child’s account.

Tips&Tricks

How to save money on home improvements

Overspending on the budget is undoubtedly one of the biggest fear of every homeowner when it comes to remodeling or renovation projects. Even when it’s the third or fourth time you’ve had such tasks, it’s difficult to keep the bills for materials and contractors in check. Don’t worry because you are not alone. With a little bit of planning and thinking, you can easily cut costs without compromising the ultimate quality. Below are a few helpful tips to show you how to save money on home improvements.

1. Focus on efficiency rather than size

If you want to reorganize and innovate your kitchen for optimal utility, it’s not necessary to knock down the walls to have extra square footage. Instead, you can replace a space-hogging shelf with pullout drawers, which contain racks for storing items. By increasing the efficiency in a specific space, you can save a lot of money from enlarging the area. 
Think about how you can incorporate this into other areas of your home.

2. Make use of natural light

Before making a big hole in the wall of your living room and installing the frame for new windows, consider less expensive and invasive ways to capture light. For example, you can brighten up your windowless hallway or bath by installing a “light tube,” which would slip between the roof rafters and reflect sunshine down to your living space.

3. Visit the recycling centre or second hand shops before planning home improvements

If you are a DIYer, it’s able to get significant savings with lightly used or recycled building materials or light fixtures. There are many recycling centres and second hand shops around the city which sell salvaged materials at much more affordable prices. Investing your time in these facilities, and you will significantly reduce your renovation budget.

4. Do it yourself

With just a few DIY skills, you can easily improve your home’s value through some simple renovations. It can save you a lot of money in the long run. If you are a keen learner and think you can complete certain parts of the home improvement you are doing then why not.  For example, if you are getting a new kitchen installed you could take out the old cabinets and take your kitchen back to basics yourself. This will save you a lot of money instead of hiring a trade to do it for you.

Do you have any tips on how to save money on home improvements?

Tips&Tricks

4 Ways to Create a Home Cleaning Schedule for Your Busy Lifestyle

Lets talk about how cleaning schedule can make our lives easier!

Life has a way of getting ahead of all of us. Whether it’s keeping up with your kids’ schedule or a combination of work and home, it’s easy to fall behind with the everyday, mundane tasks. Especially these days when most of us are working from home.

Unfortunately, a cluttered, dirty home can contribute to stress, which only makes keeping up that much harder. 

Cleaning Schedule

A solid home cleaning schedule can keep you on track and help you not to get overwhelmed. Schedules let you plan the most labor-intensive cleaning on days you have more time. It also helps you divvy out chores according to which family members are available on certain days. The trick is to make a schedule part of your routine, and we have got some interesting tips to help you with your home cleaning schedule.

Make a List for your home cleaning schedule

You will be surprised by how many cleaning tasks you really do. We are not just talking about daily things like wiping counters, cleaning the dishes and picking up toys after your kids. We are talking about cleaning the fridge and freezer, dusting, and even sanitizing door handles too. A lot goes into the upkeep of a home. 

Start by taking a walk through your home and making a list that includes everything from sorting laundry to scrubbing the bathroom sink and dusting the baseboards. Then, separate them by how frequently you would like to have them done—daily, weekly, or monthly. 

Create a Chart for your Cleaning Schedule

The next step is to create a chart onto which you can place all the jobs from your list. Some people prefer a checklist while others do better with a calendar. You can use a combination of both if that works better for you. But create a visual representation onto which you can rearrange tasks until you find a layout that works for you. 

Doling Out the Chores

Here’s where you’ll need to do some coordinating. Take a look at your family’s schedule and arrange tasks according to when there are free blocks of time. From there, you’ll be assigning chores.

Everyone can have a few daily tasks that include picking up shoes, backpacks, or toys and one daily cleaning assignment like wiping down the bathroom counter. Another option is to have one or two family cleaning afternoons or evenings when everyone works together to check several items off the list. 

How frequently you need to do certain tasks will largely depend on your lifestyle. If you vacuum seal your meals, your freezer might be cleaner than average and may only need cleaning once every other month or so. Large families may need to include organizing the pantry once a week. Space tasks so that you’re happy with how frequently they get done but far enough apart that they don’t feel overwhelming. 

Make Adjustments To Your Daily Cleaning Schedule

You’re probably not going to get it right the first time. If you’re working with kids, you might have to create a rotating schedule so everyone gets a crack at the least popular jobs like scrubbing the toilet. Keep an open mind (and chart that can be reprinted) and be ready to make adjustments as you find what does and doesn’t work for your schedule. 

Here is my example of weekly home cleaning schedule.

weekly home cleaning schedule

A cleaning schedule isn’t a binding contract. It is a set of guidelines to help you keep track of what needs to be done. It is also a way to make sure that cleaning the home isn’t left to just one person (in most cases – you). Sharing responsibility takes the bulk of the load off your shoulders and shares it with everyone in the household. This way, children will learn how to take care of themselves and their possessions while partners support each other in building a supportive environment. 

Tips&Tricks

5 Important Benefits Of Cooking With Kids

Cooking with kids is a great way to spend time with them, have fun, and teach them some skills. Simple tasks like stirring the pancake batter or measuring one cup of water without messing up the floor will also help them develop cognitive and motor skills that will be valuable as they continue growing. If you believe that the kitchen is no place for kids or that it’s too risky, these benefits of cooking with kids should help change your mind.

cooking with kids

Why should you start cooking with kids

To Boost Their Numerical Skills

Cooking with kids is all about ratios, measurements, timing, and fractions, and participating in cooking might well put them ahead in this department, encourage them to use graduated jugs, cups, tablespoons, and teaspoons from mykitchenadvisor.com so they can master these aspects. Simple addition and subtraction can also be learned better in the kitchen.

Increase Reading Abilities, Language, And Vocabulary

To cook successfully with kids, you will use language to provide instructions, answer questions, and take suggestions, which can be valuable for young children. You can also ask them to describe what they are doing and encourage them to use the right terms for every utensil, ingredient, temperatures, and other aspects. As they advance, you can ask them to guess what the next step in cooking will be.

Other benefits of cooking activities with kids while following a recipe include identifying whether they have any trouble reading and enhance their abilities. By reading simple instructions and executing them, they will not only learn to read but also comprehend and follow directions.

Cooking Is Science

From the use of vinegar to baking powder, there is a lot of science involved in coming up with the pancakes or cookies they love so much. The benefits of cooking and baking with kids include boosting their knowledge in simple scientific concepts like dissolving and melting, and when they are grown, you can explain why cakes rise in the oven.

To Teach The Benefits Of Cooking Healthy Food

Another benefit of cooking together is that you can talk to them about healthy foods, like fresh fruit juice, vegetables, and why the vitamins they provide are so important. You can also explain why they should avoid eating deep-fried, highly-refined, and high-sugar beverages too often while providing reasons. What’s more, they will learn the benefits of cooking meals at home rather than the order in junk too often.

To Boost Self-esteem And Confidence

You never know whether your child has a gift in cooking until you have them give it a shot. Learning to cook and finding that they are good at it can give them a deep sense of pride and confidence. Even if they struggle, with every delicious plate of food, they will feel a sense of accomplishment, which is good for children’s self-esteem.

Conclusion: Hopefully, these points will encourage you to let your little ones into your kitchen once in a while. Under the right guidance, they might even start to like it and volunteer more often.

If you have any additional ideas and tips, please post them in our comment section.

Author’s Bio: Nellie Rodriguez is an avid cook, writer, and mother of three young kids. She believes that cooking should start early as it did for her and that the kitchen is just as good a bonding place as any. She hopes to use her writing to help more people discover their cooking passion.

Tips&Tricks

Surviving a plane flight with a toddler

As an expat family we have early accepted the fact that most of our holidays will be spent visiting family back in our home country, especially after we got a baby. My mom would kill us if she didn’t get the chance to see her granddaughter every couple of months. Sometimes I don’t have time to call her on video chat for two full days, and she is already ready to call the police to check on us. But that means that every few months we have to survive a plane flight with a toddler.

If you are actually one of the lucky ones that can actually choose where to go on holiday, check out our old blog post about planning a holiday with toddler. I will have to wait a little bit longer for that.

plane flight with a toddler

While she was a baby, she was a perfect travel companion. By the time plane lifted from a ground she was already fast asleep and she would stay like that almost until the end of the flight. Now, it is more difficult. She is more active and interested in everything that is happening around her, especially in other people. Stalker vibe is strong in her.

Plane flight with a toddler

  1. Always try booking a direct flight

Layover is already hard enough when travelling alone, but with a child can be a horrible experience. They are already nervous and confused, you want to make this experience as fast as possible. If you have to choose a connection flight, make sure that you have enough time between the flights so they can relax, have a meal and run around for a bit.

  • Don’t pack light when it comes their essentials

Always, but always bring enough pacifiers if your child is using it, and then bring some more. Usually, I always have at least one in my bag, but when travelling I pack backups everywhere. My bag? Check. Suitcase? Check? Diaper bag? Check. My husbands’ backpack? Check. The same thing goes for their favourite toy. Always pack a spare one unless you want to end up with an unhappy child. I don’t have to even tell you about spare clothes in their diaper bag. You know that they will have an accident the only time when you don’t bring a change of clothes.

  • Protect their ears during take-off and landing

In order to help them through pressure changes, you should make sure they are either sucking or chewing during the take-off and landing. You have few options, you can either breastfeed, give them a bottle of formula or breastmilk, Sippy cup, pacifier or even something to eat like a cracker or a cookie.

  • Organize the flights so they correspond to your child sleeping schedule

If you have this option definitely use it to make your life easier. This is the best way to make sure your flight goes as smoothly as possible. Your child will sleep happily during the flight and you can also get some downtime.

  • Bring entertainment

 You know what child likes the best, so make sure you pack enough of the toys that can keep them entertained if they decide they don’t want to sleep. For us the winners are the quiet books and drawing board or sketch pad.

Do you have any useful advice I can use on our next trip?

My Journey

5 types of parents you can meet on the playground

The playground. My worst nightmare and a greatest saviour.

If you are a parent, then you are already familiar with the benefits of playgrounds, especially if your kid is not going to kindergarten or school. Not only your child can learn to interact with other kids and practice their social skills but they can also get much needed physical activity. Added benefit is definitely the fact that you can finally get a breather from being the center of their world and main conversation partner. But for me, a socially awkward individual, the playgrounds can be a nightmare because I never know how to act among the other parents who always look more parentish.

But this is why I spend more time observing so I can bring you the list of the parents you can meet in the playground.

  1. Alpha mom

Alpha mom scares me so much. She is prepared for any kind of situation and she is in total control every minute they are in the playground. Not only that she will have all the best snacks, enough toys for everyone but she will also be ready for any accidents. First aid kit? She has it. Poonami? Don’t worry, she has a change of clothes. Kid wants to eat something you never heard of before? She will have it in her bag. She knows all the good parenting techniques you heard of and probably invented some.

  • Joiner Mom

She is always there with her kids no matter if their child is playing football with some other kids, or going up and down on the slide. She will be right next to them to offer a supportive hand. More often than not you want to push her off the slide because she is making it impossible for your child to get near it, or she is taking the last available swing, but it is actually admirable how involved she is.

  • Encouraging dad

My husband belongs in this category and he is embarrassing me every time we go to the playground. It doesn’t matter what is she doing, he will be there encouraging her. You can do it! You are doing amazing! That is the best way to climb up the step! You are a champ! That is the best pile of mud I have ever seen! The downside of this is that Emily now believes she is a Superwoman. The toddler area of the park is not enough for her anymore, now she is tackling the equipment for older kids. 

  • Ultra-protective dad

They have a special place in my heart. You can always hear them running around the playground and their constant flood of warnings. Be careful! Watch where are you going! Don’t go there! Are you cold? Are you warm? Are you thirsty? Watch your step! You can almost hear their raising heartbeats every time their kid starts to run.

  • Competitive mom

No matter how hard you try to avoid them you will never succeed. They will always manage to sneak up on you and then the questions will start. How old is she? Is she speaking? Going to potty? Knows the alphabet and all the numbers? Can name all the presidents? No? Her kid knew that since he was 8 months old. But don’t worry, she has a friend who was in the same situation. I wasn’t worrying until just now, thank you very much.

And then you have me. Hiding somewhere in the corner pretending to read a book or being “super busy” on my phone, actually keeping an eagle eye on Emily and doing everything I can to stop myself from becoming an Overprotective dad.