The Perfect Home Office Should Be…

Given the changing demands of the modern family, building a home office space is one of the most popular home upgrades currently on the market. But whether you’re converting a guest room, an attic or a garage, you need to do it in style. Frankly, knowing what you want to achieve with the space is arguably the most crucial element of all.

 

So, before confirming your plans, make sure your home office is designed to tick the four boxes below. Achieve this goal, and success is assured.

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The Perfect Home Office Should Be Private

 

The home office space is a unique environment, and it should feel safe and secure at all times. After all, you are likely to store personal data and important work documents in the space. Whether they’re hard copies or stored electronically, good security is vital. This is a great excuse to boost your home CCTV and alarm systems. The benefits of doing this extend beyond the office.

 

It may also be necessary to place a lock on the door or certain filing cabinets and features. The last thing you need is to see important documents go missing due to curious young minds.

 

The Perfect Home Office Should Be Comfortable

 

Home office rooms should encourage productivity. Still, if you’re uncomfortable in this space, those mental distractions will leave you wanting to avoid the room altogether. Blinds and curtains allow you to control the natural lighting, which can be crucial. Meanwhile, it’s imperative that other fundamental features, like the HVAC systems, are in good health.

 

Perhaps most importantly, an ergonomic office chair and a suitable desk will allow you to work in the most efficient manner. Fail with this task, and the room will become a glorified storage space.

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The Perfect Home Office Should Be Organised

 

The space dedicated to office duties is likely to be one of the more compact areas in the home. Therefore, making the most of the available space is crucial. Master the lighting and choose suitable flooring to instantly make things look bigger and better. When combined with using shelving rather than bulky storage units, you’ll be in a far better position.

 

There are many ways to make things even easier, such as going paperless. Likewise, choosing high spec laptops over desktops can work wonders, especially if two people need the space.   

 

The Perfect Home Office Should Be Yours

 

Above all else, the home office should offer a sense of belonging. Without making it as personal as the living spaces and bedroom, it needs to have a sense of character. Small gestures like wall art or sports memorabilia can brighten up the walls. Meanwhile, if you find it easier to work with music, a CD or record player can be a useful addition. Those touches make the place feel like home.

 

The ability to have things your way is the best thing about a home office over the standard work one. This can be the key to making the transformation feel worthwhile. Do not ignore its importance.

Building A Healthy Relationship Between Your Kids And Their Technology

There’s no denying it. Technology has come an incredibly long way in a scant 30 years. The ubiquity of consumer technology has completely transformed the way we live our lives. If our childhood selves could see us now they’d likely be agog with amazement. Wait, you’re able to rent movies without going to the video store or even getting out of your sofa? Phones sit in your pocket now rather than being mounted to the wall? Wait, you can chat face to face with people thousands of miles away… For free? What do you mean, you don’t need to take a map with you when you travel somewhere unfamiliar? What does GPS stand for?!?

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Technology has made our lives infinitely easier and made previous inconveniences like getting lost on a busy highway or flicking through dozens of channels trying to find something good a thing of the past. But technology is a double edged sword. If we become too reliant upon it it can start to do our thinking for us and our skills and minds will naturally begin to atrophy. For generations that were young enough to embrace new digital technologies when they emerged but are old enough to remember life without them, finding the balance is relatively easy. We recognize that today’s technology is useful to us without ever really taking it for granted. When we start to rely on it a little too much we’re usually able to take a step back. But for younger generations, like our kids, these technologies have always been there. And this could present them with a set of problems that we as a society have yet to come to grips with. Here we’ll look at how the changes in technology both today and tomorrow can affect our kids’ development and how we as parents can ensure that technology only ever affects them in positive ways.

 

The dangers of too much tech

 

Remember when our parents told us that watching too much TV would give us square eyes or that if we didn’t go out and play more we’d get asthma? Or that video games would turn our minds to much? Of course they were incorrect and even as children a part of us knew that they were railing against technological change that they weren’t able to fully understand… And we always fear what we don’t really understand. But like us, our kids will have to grow up with a healthy relationship with the technology around them, utilizing ot to make their lives easier but without the things they own ever owning them. But for younger generations, this is somewhat more difficult.

 

Sure, we had TV and video games to contend with but today’s kids are conversant with mobile apps before they can even talk. Consumer technology is far more ubiquitous If they develop more of a relationship with technology than with their fellow human beings this can impede their development. Technology is changing the way our kids develop both physically and cognitively in a number of ways. Our kids are growing up in an era in which distraction is the norm and so the essential act of focusing their attention is becoming harder and harder for them to hone. Moreover, technology conditions the brain to absorb information in a way that is very different to reading uninterrupted text in, say, a book. Thus, kids growing up with their faces in tablets run the risk of struggling to pay attention and to absorb and retain information. If they spend more time interfacing with their devices than their peers this can lead to increased risk of depression and impeded social and emotional development. Reliance on technology can even impede their physical development. Many chiropractors and spinal health specialists are noticing an increasing trend in ‘text neck’ among adolescents and younger adults as they have grown up frequently looking down to send or read text messages or scroll through their social media feed on their smartphones. This can not only lead to spinal mobility issues and neck pain but poor posture which can become exacerbated in adult life (especially if they find a career that involves sitting at a desk), which can inhibit digestive health and even increase their risk of cardiovascular disease.

 

This article is not intended to be a technophobic rant. Technology is good and it’s here to stay, but as today’s children will grow up in a world where tech will only ever become more affordable and ubiquitous, it behoves us as parents to make sure that they grow up with a healthy relationship with it.

 

The problem with prohibition

 

Sometimes, the most damaging words a parent can utter are “No, you can’t!”. As much as we may want to insulate our kids from the inherent risks of too much exposure to technology, we must also be wary of the dangers of reactive prohibition. If we tell our kids they can’t do something they will want to know why and if our response is “because it’s bad for you” not only is this an oversimplification, but it’s a rationale their underdeveloped prefrontal cortex won’t be able to fully appreciate. Simply put, kids and teens don’t yet understand that their actions now could have far reaching implications in their adulthood.

 

Perhaps the secret lies not in demonizing technology in the eyes of your kids but by awakening them to the other options available to them…

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Achieving a balanced diet of activities

 

Just as you can’t have a healthy diet when you cut out all fats or all carbohydrates or all proteins, so too is it impossible to have a healthy and rewarding curriculum of activities when you only ever grow up knowing the pleasures of the screen. Kids need to grow up with a balanced diet of activities so that not only are they able to grow up fit and healthy in mind and body, they are able to enjoy a broad range of activities away from their games consoles.

 

Cycling is a great way to bond together as a family while also benefiting from a good cardiovascular workout. It’s also a great way to spend time in natural surroundings. Fresh air combined with access to trees, plants and grass is a proven mood booster which will combine with the hit of dopamine and endorphins we get from exercise to show kids that a pleasurable time can be had outdoors just as easily as in front of a screen.

 

Team sports are also a great way for kids to not only get their daily dose of exercise but to exercise their creative problem solving skills, communication and teamwork abilities as well as apply focus and determination to honing and refining their skills.

Even inside the house there are myriad forms of entertainment that don’t require batteries or a screen. Just take reading, for instance. When kids are able to disappear into the world of books, not only do they improve their concentration and language skills but their imagination as well.

 

Striking the balance with video games

 

Video games aren’t all bad. In fact, there’s evidence to suggest that they can be beneficial for kids’ cognitive development, helping them with focus, logic, hand eye co-ordination and creative problem solving techniques. Many games involve some element of puzzle solving while character based Role Play Games can help kids develop their empathy skills as well as seeing that their actions have consequences.

 

At the same time we need to acknowledge that video games can be addictive and should be rationed to an appropriate time. One to three hours of video games a week is usually enough for kids to reap the cognitive benefits without any ill effects.

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Making screen time social

 

Screen time can be an isolating and antisocial experience or it can be a shared experience that the whole family can enjoy. It’s all a matter of how you spin it. A good way to maintain a healthy balance is by making screen time an occasion that’s earned and shared. That way your kids spend less time with their screens but they get a higher quality of engagement. Screen time stops being the default way to spend time and becomes like the dessert section of the menu; rewarding and gratifying… But you wouldn’t want it to be the only thing you do.

 

The great thing about growing up in the digital era is that with so many streaming services bringing high quality movies in 4K directly to the home, this has the potential to never get old. Make sure that the whole family gets together at least once a week for a movie night. Give the event a sense of occasion with popcorn and other theater accurate snacks. This will hopefully help them to regard screen time as a fun family affair rather than an insular activity that precludes them from spending quality time with the rest of the family.

 

Technology isn’t going anywhere and is evolving at such a pace that it will likely form a large part of your kids’ adult lives. But when they grow up with a healthy relationship with technology they stand much less chance of being enslaved by it.

5 Ways To Make Your Entire Family Healthier

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Having a healthy family is a priority for most parents. After all, being sick isn’t fun, and it’s absolutely heartbreaking to see those you love suffer from an illness, even if it’s just a cold or minor bug. That being said, few parents make the changes necessary for a healthier lifestyle, as they assume that they’ll be difficult to put into action and stick to. However, getting fit is rarely as difficult as you might think. If you’re hoping to make your entire family healthier, including your partner, kids, and pets, here are five things you need to do.

 

  1. Eat Three Healthy Meals

Most people assume that eating healthy means eating a lot less than they do right now. Thankfully, this couldn’t be any further from the truth. Instead of cutting back on how much you and your family eat, you should focus on switching up your meals to include more fruits and vegetables. These provide vitamins and minerals that are vital in keeping you strong and fighting illness. You should also ensure that you feed your pets a balanced and nutritious diet.

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  1. Ensure You Exercise Together

When most people imagine working out, they picture jogging around the neighbourhood or visiting a local gym. This can really put people off from exercising, as these options aren’t particularly appealing to most people. However, there are plenty of activities that your whole family could enjoy, including swimming, dancing, playing football, or cycling. You should also walk your dog every single day and play with any of your other pets to keep them active.

 

  1. DNA Test Your Dog

If you have a mixed breed dog in the family, you might want to give it a DNA test. There are lots of brands you can choose from, so do some research and find out more information before you choose one. These DNA tests will, of course, tell you what breeds your dog is made up from, but it will also let you know what health conditions you need to look out for. This means that you can work on preventing these conditions and keeping your furry friend happy and healthy.

 

  1. Reduce Your Stress Levels

Stress is something that everyone has to deal with, kids and animals included. Unfortunately, if left unmanaged, it can lead to some pretty serious health problems, so it’s crucial that you work on keeping stress levels low. This means ensuring that everyone eats right, exercises every day, manages their time well, and goes to bed at a reasonable hour. You may also want to invest in a few plugins for around the house and create somewhere for your pets to be by themselves.

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  1. Go For Regular Checkups

Even if you and your family seem pretty healthy, it’s important that you all go for regular checkups at least once a year. Of course, for your pets, this will be with a vet, rather than the family doctor. It’s important that you do this, as the professionals may be able to spot something wrong that you haven’t been able to notice yet. They will also be able to suggest more ways to make your family a little healthier.

 

Making a healthier family really isn’t as difficult as you might think. Hopefully, the tips above will help you.

 

Avoiding The Games Console: Suggestions To Keep Older Children Entertained

When it comes to keeping older children entertained it can be quite the difficult task. Younger children seem to be happy with colouring, reading, and their toys, but as children get older and hit there pre-teen and teen years, the introduction of technology is so much more evident in their lives. It is an issue when it comes to things like games consoles, tablets and computers, and with games being so readily available you ruin the risk of your children being glued to these devices rather than doing anything else. Of course, in moderation, technology is great for kids, but it might be worth trying to introduce other activities that could help them avoid being on a games console during their spare time. I wanted to share with you some of the suggestions.

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Playing sports after school and on the weekends

 

Sport is one of the obvious choices when it comes to encouraging children away from their rooms and technology, and it is still one of the best ways children can learn new skills, socialise, and remain fit and healthy. Whether you choose something active like soccer or basketball or they prefer other options like swimming or athletics, there is bound to be some sort of sporting activities they like. As a mom, you could also get involved with the training and team, perhaps being in charge of the youth basketball uniforms or being the one that provides the refreshments at training. It is a great way to be involved in your kids activities, without taking over or in their words cramping their style.

 

Encourage them to be more social

 

When it comes to being social, as children get older, their insecurities become more evident to them and their confidence can drop. Making new friends or talking to other students can become a little more difficult. So encouragement to be more social could be a great way to help them step out of their comfort zone. Whether that is encouraging having friends over after school or playing outside, it can be a lovely way to help older children grow in confidence.

 

Introduce daily or weekly chores with rewards

 

Chores may not be their idea of fun, but as parents it is important for you to help establish some skills in terms of independence and taking care of themselves for when they get older. It could be that you encourage them to keep their room tidy, make their beds, or vacuum the house. It could be that you want them to help in the garden or other chores. Whatever it is, it could be a great way to keep them from the tech, and teach them good values. You could also reward them each week or month for keeping up with it.

 

Discuss new hobbies they could explore

 

Finally, why not discuss new hobbies that they could explore. It might be science club after school, or entering chess tournaments. It might have something to do with sports, adventuring or being outdoors. Whatever it is they want to do, try and encourage it as best you can. It could be just the distraction they need from the games console and technology.

 

I hope that this has given you some ideas to consider to help your children be less reliant on their technology.

Make Your Garden Both Fun and Stylish

 

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One of the great joys of childhood is being able to play and use your imagination to create adventure. And as a parent, if you can encourage your kids to go out into your garden on a more regular basis, you have the extra advantage of ensuring that they stay safe while still enjoying themselves. There are plenty of ways that you can make your garden an environment which is full of fun, and this doesn’t mean compromising the style which you have worked hard to create. We will be talking about some of them in this article. Of course, everything comes back to how much space that you have available and your budget, but hopefully, you will find something that suits you within this article. So, let’s dive right in!

 

Make the Toys a Design Feature

 

One of the main problems that people have when it comes to comes to kids toys in the garden is that they do not look attractive and they are not in keeping with the environment. You can get around this by buying wooden versions of the same toys – or if you are particularly handy – making them yourself. Tree swings, seesaws, and jungle gyms can provide hours of fun for your kids without destroying the aesthetic environment that you have worked hard to create.

 

Child-Friendly Water Features

 

Though having a pond in your garden is a nice water feature which can attract a host of wildlife, you may well not be comfortable having an exposed body of water when you have young kids running around. But you could have some fountains and other running water features which provide some light and movement, as well a place to splash each other during the warmer months of the year. And something as simple as putting a sprinkler in your garden can provide plenty of fun during the summer.

 

Make Use of Vertical Space

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If you don’t have all that much space to work with in your garden, it makes sense that you use the vertical room which you have available. There are plenty of things which can be hung up high such as chalkboards, climbing walls, and buckets of toys. Again, it all comes back to aesthetics and ensuring that your garden still looks at its best, while also providing a fantastic environment for your kids to play in.

 

Fun for Older Kids

 

As your kids start to get older, it can end up getting harder and harder to lure them outside. However, there are some things which are fantastic for people of all ages. Trampolines offer an ideal way to stay active. Take a look at some of the top models that this post lists. Another great option is an outdoor table tennis table. Another alternative is offering a place where your kids can relax with friends including comfortable seating and a fire pit.

 

Build in Storage for Toys

 

As a parent, you will already be only too aware how much stuff that your kids can accumulate. Instead of having is strewn all over the garden, you should try to come up with some storage systems so that your garden doesn’t lose that minimalist look. Bench storage is always a nice option as it has the practicality of giving you some additional seating which is always going to be handy when you are having friends and family over to enjoy the garden.

 

Create a Vegetable Garden

 

There is a great sense of pleasure in gardening together as a family, and if you plant some fruit and vegetables, this gives you the added bonus of saving you money on your household food shopping bills. It is worth creating a plan before getting started, and beginning with some vegetables which are seasonal and thrive in the conditions which you have available in your garden. Also, don’t attempt to grow anything which is too difficult to maintain if you don’t have a huge amount of time to devote to looking after them. Planting a vegetable garden helps to teach your kids some valuable life skills centred on caregiving and the value of working to complete a project.

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As you can see from the advice in this article, there is no reason why your garden can’t be both fun and stylish. A garden is always going to be a work in progress in which you can make gradual additions over time to improve the space which you have available.

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