MARK'S (NOT SO) DAILY BLOG
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Parenting with the help of gadgets

It's been quite a while since I've done a parenting blog. I'm by no means the expert parent. My girls are abundantly loved and hugged every day, but they also make me pull my non-existent hair out. Admittedly, there are times when I know I probably shouldn't drop the f-bomb, but it's the only way to overcome some or other parental calamity that's unfolding. Let's face it, when an adult and child have an argument, there isn't always a "meeting of minds".  But that's how parenting goes... you just get in the trenches and do what you think is the very best for your kids.

In my attempts to continually provide my girls with a routine and structure I've been using 2 apps in recent weeks that I think is making life a little easier at home. I thought I would share them with you as it might help you reduce the F-bombs too.

The first is the iPad timer


Kids countdown timer
My girls are really big dawdlers in the mornings, and despite telling them a million times that they need to be ready at 7am as we need to leave for school, they are inevitably still only scratching the surface of their mountain of cornflakes with just seconds to go.

I've now made it easier for them, by using a countdown app on an iPad. There are many available in the app store. I use VISUAL TASK TIMER. It's a simple visualisation, both in numbers and by means of a continually closing circle. When they wake up in the morning we set the app to countdown to 7am. The girls know to be ready when it finishes and as the alarm goes off, they (normally) switch off the TV and go downstairs to get in the car.

Countdown app

The second app is the bean counter


Bean appI got this idea from my daughter's class where the teacher has 2 jars with marbles in them. The shiny balls flow between the "good" and "bad" jars as the day progresses. What I like about it, is that they're communal jars and the results impact all the kids. They have to uplift each other to ensure that they're not all adversely affected by a few naughty kids in the class. At the end of the week, if they have more 'good" marbles, they get to watch a movie in class.

I searched high and low to find an app version of this that I could use on the girls at home. The closest I have come to it is BEAN.

There are "green beans' which they click on when they are good, and the "red beans" which I usually land up clicking on when they are not so good. It works quite well. If they are squabbling, they hear the click click of the red beans and often stop fighting straight away.

Bean app
When they wake up they get green beans as follows:
  • Getting out of bed without moaning - 5 beans
  • Having a morning wee - 2 beans
  • Brushing teeth - 2 beans
  • Getting dressed without an argument - 5 beans
  • Eating their breakfast - 2 beans
If they're naughty I assign red beans depending on how many green beans they have (it's the card up dad's sleeve so i get the result I want).  If they go to bed with more green beans they get to watch TV and play with iPads the next day. If they go to bed with more red than green beans, there is no TV the next day. Period. So far it seems to be working and its a bit of a game to get as many green beans as possible each day.

Hope these tips help your day! If you have any more gadgety tips, leave them in the "comments" section.

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