Archive for the ‘Parents’ Category

What’s an Appropriate Curfew for High School Seniors?

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

Deciding on a curfew for your high school senior can be a bit of a challenge. You want your child to feel independent their senior year, as they are going to be 18 soon if they haven’t turned 18 yet, but you also want to protect them and ensure they stay focused and disciplined. Setting a curfew is important so that the rules of your home are respected and for your teenager’s protection. A study in the United States found that over half of the car accidents in the evening are alcohol related, whereas less than a fifth of the accidents during the day are alcohol related. Having a proper curfew in place can protect your teenage from drunk driving and alcohol related incidents and help ensure that they take care of their most important priorities.

curfew priorities

When picking your curfew consider what your teenager’s preferences are so that there is little to no disagreement. Your teenager will probably want some flexibility in his or her curfew on the weekends, but school nights should have an early curfew. On school nights it’s best to set the curfew around 10:00 P.M. at the latest. If your high school senior needs to be up earlier for any particular reason such as sports or extra-curriculars then you might set their curfew earlier at 9:00 P.M. or so for week nights. For weekends, any time around 12:00 to 12:30 A.M. is generally the latest recommended curfew.

If your teenager drives you might need to set the curfew to be earlier, as there might be a curfew law in your area for teenage driving after a certain period of time. Also keep in mind the reality that teenagers do consume alcohol at parties, and because of that you need to discuss drunk driving and its serious dangers with them. Regardless of how late you set your child’s curfew, it is appropriate to always know where they are. They should let you know what their plans are on the nights that they plan on staying out.

In spite of your best efforts, your teenager will probably stay out past their curfew sometimes. Many parents will punish their children by grounding them or taking away privileges, but punishment is not going to be quite as effective for a senior in high school. This is because they are usually ready leave home, and will be more resentful to being punished because they feel they are already an adult and don’t need to be punished like a child. To avoid a fight, simply let your teenager know that you are disappointed that he or she didn’t follow your curfew and that you set the curfew because you love them and want them to be safe.

At this stage of development, communication is more important than punishment for your child. There isn’t much you can do if your child insists on staying out past their curfew if they are a senior, as in less than a year they will be legal adults if they aren’t one already. You should always remind your child to keep in touch with you and let you know what they are doing, but you have to take a different approach to keeping tabs on them at this point.

You should want your high school senior to have more personal responsibility, but you also want to make sure that they take care of their school work and other obligations and don’t allow their social life to interfere with their most important priorities. If you find that your child’s social life is seriously affecting his or her school work or other responsibilities it’s best to have a sit down with them and discuss making more responsible choices and changing their curfew to an earlier time if necessary.

Free Educational Websites For Kids – Gecko Kids

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

Gecko Kids is our portal of free educational websites. It acts as a homepage for kids, who can then browse through specially selected sites that are organised into four categories: learning, videos, activities and games. All of the websites on Gecko Kids are free to use and have been selected for their quality by our team.

You can take a look a the Gecko Kids site here

Although the Gecko Kids section of our website is in its infancy, we hope to be improving it’s features consistently in the future. Our aim is to create a site for children that is engaging, easy to use and features the best of the web, so that parents can rest easy that their children are browsing the best available material. There are tens of thousands of websites aimed at kids on the internet, but sometimes it’s hard to find the best of the bunch, without hours of trawling through rubbish. We aim to take the pain out of that, while also making it fun for kids to browse through our directory.

free educational kids sites

Hovering over each website in the categories will show a short description of the site and a screen shot, so you can get an idea of what the site is about before visiting. The layout is made in child friendly way, but is designed for parents to use as well.

Gecko Kids is also a corner stone of our parental control software, Gecko Filter. Gecko Filter has a ‘Gecko Kids Mode’, which will block the entire internet, apart from the pre-approved sites available from Gecko Kids.

In the future we aim to add a number of great features to all of this, and we have some pretty exciting stuff in mind. If you have any ideas or things you’d like to see in Gecko Kids or Gecko Filter let us know either by email or via the comments below.

You can take a look at Gecko Filter here

Best Math Websites for Kids Under 5

Monday, September 16th, 2013

There are a number of high quality math learning websites for children under the age of 5 that can be a great supplement to other math teaching methods that you may be using for your children. These websites have simple math games that can build your child’s skills and teach them important math concepts. Math games are a valuable learning tool for Pre-K children and a fun way for them to accelerate their math learning prior to starting kindergarten.

math

Using a multi-faceted approach to teaching math concepts is generally recommended for parents, and your math teaching can include home lessons, interactive toys that teach math concepts, and interactive tools like math websites and games. Here are some of the best math websites that are intended for children under the age of 5:

Sesame Street 

Sesame Street’s website (http://www.sesamestreet.com) is guaranteed to keep toddlers and children under the age of 5 interested in learning, as there are a number of entertaining, fun and interactive games for them. The dozens of games on Sesame Street’s game website teach important math fundamentals as well as language, science concepts, art, and more. Sesame Street’s game website is specifically designed for children under the age of 5, and the selection of games can be filtered by the age of your child. There are also interactive videos to teach social concepts, art games and interactive tools and more. If your child is a fan of Sesame Street he or she will love this website and its many useful teaching tools.

PBS.org 

PBS.org offers a large section of math games for children aged 4 and offers a great library of information for parents on how to teach various concepts to children starting at age 1. There is a list of milestone goals for children based on their age, and the PBS child development tracker goes up to age 9. There is an extensively detailed section on how to teach math concepts to your child during each year of their life. Other subjects like creative arts, language, literacy, physical health, science, and social and emotional growth are covered in detail by age level. It is a great resource for both parents and children for math and other learning topics.

IXL.com 

IXL.com has a Pre-K section with a wide variety of skill games for children under the age of 5. The games include counting, shapes, classification, size, comparison, money counting and other basic games to teach children fundamental math concepts. As your child gets older, IXL can still be used as the games on IXL go up to the 8th grade level.

Math Game Time 

Math Game Time (http://www.mathgametime.com) organizes its games by grade level and offers a section for Pre-K children including several games and worksheets as well as a number of math training videos. The site can be used by parents by clicking on the “Pre-K” section and selecting a game.

Cookie.com 

Cookie.com has some math games for children aged 3-5 including a learning numbers game, learn to count game, and an add numbers game. There are other games for children under the age of 5 including language games, science lesson games, and puzzle games for critical thinking development.

Learning Games for Kids 

Learning Games for Kids (http://www.learninggamesforkids.com) offers a number of math learning games for preschool children along with puzzle games. The math games including a matching numbers game, counting carnival game, and many others.

There are many other websites available to teach young children math concepts but these are some of the best. When using any of the above websites to teach children math concepts you can help them with using the website by navigating them to the proper page and setting the game up.

Using all the tools that you have available to teach your children math concepts is an often recommended approach, and these websites offer a great and valuable resource to help your children learn fundamental math concepts so that they can excel by the time they are ready for kindergarten level math.

Best Parental Control Software For Android & iPhone

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

With all of the various options available for parental control software it can be confusing for parents looking to find a good option for controlling their mobile devices. The best parental control software for Android and iPhone includes all of the standard features needed for parental control such as web filtering, chat monitoring, real time content blocking, social media monitoring and more.

NetNanny is available for both Android and iPhone and offers a wide range of features for parental control. NetNanny is one of the best parental control software for Android and iPhone because it offers a profanity filter, blocks pornography, filters adult websites, offers social media monitoring, user profiles, reporting and alerts, and many other features. The internet filter blocks content that is adult in nature and can be adjusted to block specific types of content such as alcohol and tobacco, gambling, hate speech, and adult content. Gaming sites and video games can be blocked as well as chat rooms or forums that may have adult content.

girl with mobile phone

NetNanny can be used on any browser and offers unlimited users on any device. Settings can be adjusted for each user as needed; for instance younger children require more filtering and control over their content. NetNanny also reviews pages in real time and blocks them based on its mature content filter. It can warn parents when children visit adult websites. NetNanny also blocks images and blocks pornography with its advanced filter. The amount of time that children spend on their mobile device can also be monitored, and access can be limited to a specific amount of time.

K9 is another choice among the best parental control software for android & iPhone, and offers some features similar to NetNanny and a few unique features. K9 blocks websites in over 70 categories on various topics including gambling, hate, malware, and others. SafeSearch is implemented on all search engines blocking adult results. K9 offers real time malware protection with the Blue Coat WebFilter that helps to block potential malware or harmful downloads. Caching is used to offer faster filtering and reduce load times, and internet browsing is faster as a result.

K9 logs every website visited as well as blocked websites and offers a unique rating system for websites. It is a great option to block web sites and filter them, but it lacks some features such as a chat blocker and social media monitoring. The best part of K9 Web Protection is that it is free, however the lack of features may require the purchase of a more powerful program.

Protecting children extends beyond desktop and laptop computers; mobile devices must also be restricted from accessing adult content. There are many other parental control programs available for both Android and iPhone devices outside of NetNanny and K9, but they are two of the best. Although there are free apps available like K9, it is worth the cost to purchase a paid application like NetNanny. The best parental control software for Android & iPhone depends on the type of content you want to block. For web content filtering only a free solution like K9 may work, but for more advanced filtering, blocking and monitoring options a solution like NetNanny may be worth checking out.

5 Must Have Android Apps for Parents

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

With shopping apps, baby monitors, fitness apps and a host of other useful apps available, parents can turn their Android phone or tablet into a useful tool for their daily routine. These are five of the best apps available to help make parents’ lives a bit easier:

Out of Milk  

Out of Milk has a number of features and helps to make shopping more stress free. Ingredients can be added on multiple lists which is useful for parents shopping at multiple stores. The pantry list lets parents keep track of what they have in their pantry. Lists can be shared with other people in real-time, and the shopping list history remembers items that were previously purchased. Local grocery deals can also be easily searched for. There are many other features available with Out of Milk and it is a very popular shopping app.

out of milk

BabyPhone 

For parents with toddlers, BabyPhone is a must have app. BabyPhone is a baby monitor app that lets parents use one of their Android devices as a baby monitor. You only need one Android phone to use as the monitor, as BabyPhone will call any landline or mobile device once triggered. While standard baby monitors have a limited range, BabyPhone has an unlimited range and is easy for parents to use. The trigger to call is based on a pre-set level of noise. There is a noise sensitivity feature that allows the monitor to pick up quieter noises or louder noise, and it can be calibrated.

babyphone

 

MyFitnessPal 

It’s easy for parents to fall behind in fitness with all of their responsibilities, and that’s why apps like MyFitnessPal exist. This app is a useful calorie counter and is the top selling fitness app for Android devices. It has the largest food database of any Android app and lets parents accurately count the calories of each of their meals. Diets can tracked among multiple people and it also comes with a barcode scanner to scan food barcodes to look them up. There are also 350 exercises included, weight tracking tools, customizable goals, and many other features available.

myfitnesspal

 

Catalogue 

Catalogue lets parents flip through the same catalogues they would get from a store. Catalogue is available for Android tablets and offers an easy way to browse the catalogues of hundreds of different stores. The search feature can search through millions of products and thousands of merchants. The app is presented in a clean and simple interface and is another app that helps reduce paper waste. Favorite finds can be shared on Facebook, and there is also a price comparison feature that compares prices from local and online merchants.

catalogue

 

Cozi Family Organizer 

Cozi Family Organizer lets parents track all of the chaos of family life in once place. It offers a color coded calendar, appointment reminders and more. Appointments can be synced with the Cozi account so that all family members can see them. Due dates can be set for tasks, and grocery lists can be shared with the whole family. Reminders can be set for family members so that important meetings and appointments are not missed. Weekly agendas can also be shared with family members. The family journal feature allows families to keep track of special moments and family photos and share them. There are many other features available, and it is one of the highest rated organization apps available to Android users.

cozi