Category Archives: Parenting/Family

Be Aware of Location Info on Photos!

Most smartphones, tablets, and digital cameras add location information to photos, called geotags, by default.  Geotags identify the location where the photo was taken which means they would reveal your home address or other locations you frequent with your family.  It’s very Important to check this setting on your digital camera devices and make sure that it is turned off.

about geotags, but the instructions for turning off location info on iphones is outdated.  The correct method is Settings -> Privacy -> Location Services -> Camera switch to Off.

The Digital Zen blog also has a post with useful information about geotags.

Parental Movie Reviews

This post was originally on my previous blog September 2013.

As a parent I strive to closely supervise the movies that my kids watch.  It isn’t always easy to know which movies are appropriate for kids, but I’ve found some great tools that make at least this part of parenting much easier.  There are a couple of web sites with movie reviews for parents and I wanted to share them in the hope that they’ll make parenting easier for others as well.

IMDB

IMDB.com, the Internet Movie Database, is a great collection of movie information.  You can look up any movie, TV show, or actor.  From there, you can look up a wealth of related info.  It’s great for settling that nagging question of “That actress looks really familiar.  What else have I seen her in?”

IMDB also has a detailed Parents Guide for each movie that can help a parent decide which movies are appropriate for their kids and consistent with their values.  Users have submitted information from the movie for each of the following categories: Sex and Nudity, Violence and Gore, Profanity, Alcohol/Drugs/Smoking, and Frightening/Intense Scenes.

I’ve looked at a lot of parental review sites and I’ve found this format to be the best combination of detailed information and concise format.

Common Sense Media

CommonSenseMedia.org is another great site for parental reviews of movies, books and video games.  CommonSenseMedia gives reviews of movies and a recommended minimum age for each movie.  It also has a rating for content in the categories of positive messages, violence, sex, language, consumerism, and drinking, drugs and smoking.

Movie Ratings

One of the reason that I find parental movie reviews so helpful is that even when I’ve seen a movie in the past, I often can’t accurately recall what details might not be appropriate for kids.  An example of this is the movie Big from 1988 with Tom Hanks.  This movie is about a boy 12 year old boy who wakes up in the body of grown man and has a PG rating.  However, because the boy finds himself in a number of adult situations, it is best that parents make an informed decision about whether a movie is appropriate for their kids instead of relying on the movie rating.

Chores and Allowance

This post was originally on my previous blog November 2012.

The topic of chores and allowance often comes up with friends, so it seems like a good topic to share.

My kids are 11 to 5 years old and all have daily chores that they are required to do.  Their daily and weekend chore charts can be found at the link below.  Here’s an overview.

Daily Chores

My girls, ages 11 and 8 have a daily chore chart that that we print each month.  It includes basic tasks required for taking care of themselves such as brushing teeth and remembering their allergy medicines, to helping around the house.  Each chart has enough columns for a whole month.

My son, age 5, has a much simpler daily chore chart with larger print since he’s just beginning to learn to read.  Most of his chores are tasks for taking care of himself, but there are several for helping out throughout the day, including packing his lunch (a reminder to him to ask for help.)  He also is asked to put the silverware away each time we run the dishwasher.  With age, each child’s chores change and/or increase.

Weekend Chores

The girls have a weekend chore chart since they have additional jobs that they need to do each weekend.  This chart covers several weeks’ time.  These jobs include

Cleaning a bathroom – wiping down the sink and mirror and scrubbing the toilet (with just water, I come along later and use a cleaning product but this way the scrubbing is already done.)

Changing their sheets – putting the dirty ones in the laundry and making their bed.

Lost and Found Box

A friend sent me the lost and found box idea that she saw on the Internet.  It’s a box where we put things that aren’t put away at the end of the day.  Each weekend, the kids are expected to check the box and if there is something of theirs, do an extra job to earn it back.  I borrowed the poem that someone else wrote and created my own sheet to attach to the top of the box.  The list on this sheet has also been useful when the kids aren’t getting along and need an extra job to keep them occupied.  The file can be found at the link below.

Weekly Allowance

We started giving each of our kids a weekly allowance when they began learning about money in kindergarten.  Each child gets half their age in allowance each week.  This means that at 5, they get $2.50, with a $.50 increase at each birthday.

I’ve heard of some families giving the child allowance to equal their grade, but we feel that this starts too low, and by 8th grade and older, gets too high quickly.

In our family, allowance is not payment for doing their chores.  There is no option to skip chores and skip allowance.  Chores are a required part of contributing to the family and household.  If they don’t do their chores, there is no video game or TV time.

It is understood that every week, they are expected to give at least $.25 of their own money in the church offering.

A great feature of giving allowance is that when we go to a store and my kids say they want something, I can say, “How much money do you have?  Can you afford it?”  They have learned from an early age that I don’t buy them things unless it’s a special occasion, so we have a lot less whining in stores.

Learning to manage their own money and decision making are additional benefits to receiving an allowance.  They have to learn the hard lesson that if they spend their money on a lot of little things, they won’t have money for something special they really want later.  I have noticed that it’s also a great lesson in general decision making since they have to weigh the value of what they want to spend their money on vs. how much they will really enjoy it.

It’s hard not to discourage them when they are considering buying something that I think is a bad idea, but I try not to give my own opinion.  We’ve written out pros and cons lists, and I’ve asked the questions, “What will you do with it?  How much do you think you’ll use it?”  In the end, I might say, that I don’t think it’s the best use of their money, but it’s their money, so it’s their decision.

Reminders and Complaints

The chore charts are very helpful for reminding them what they need to do and when, and allow us to make a quick check of what they’ve done.  I wish I could say that we don’t need to remind them to check the chart and that there were no complaints about jobs, but the system is not perfect just as people are not.  When my kids complain, I “offer” to give them more jobs, and I remind them how many more jobs their father and I have.  I also remind them that we are all a part of this family, and they they are all quite capable of sharing the workload around the house.

Chore Charts and Lost and Found Box Sheet