How To Prepare Your Child For Online Life

Our children are growing up in a different world to the one that many of us grew up in. They have the benefit of being able to access information at the touch of a button, to stay in touch globally and to be entertained twenty-four seven. Of course, we know that all of this can come with its drawbacks, so it is our role to help them navigate their way around it all. This is why today we are sharing a few tips around how to prepare your child for online life. 

Image Pixabay – Pixabay License 

 

Keep them safe

 

Before you do anything else, you will want to do all that you can to keep your children safe online.

 

The best thing that you can do is to keep all online devices in your main living areas, rather than their bedrooms, so that you can easily see how they are using the internet. This will allow you to keep any eye on the amount of time they spend on screens and the sites that they are choosing to access.

 

In addition to this, it is worth setting up parental measures and locks on devices. For example, you can use a pin to restrict certain viewing on online streaming, you can use YouTube Kids and you can set up their email accounts with parental controls. 

Follow school’s advice

 

Many schools do offer advice on internet safety so you can rest assured that they will be giving your children the same messages at school as you are at home. 

 

For older children, schools often highlight issues around cyber bullying and offer advice on how best to avoid it and deal with it. This is a conversation worth following up on with your kids, and it is a good idea to look into it yourself so that you are familiar with measures you can put in place. 

 

Access the internet together

 

It is worth making the time to access the internet together every so often. Aim to make this a fun or educational activity (or ideally both!) so that your child is keen to do this with you, and it then gives you an insight into how they are using it.

 

Ask your child to navigate their way around and help them to make the best choices. For example, they might be searching for ways to care for the environment, so suggest to them the kinds of keywords that they might like to use and then help them to pick out appropriate websites, blogs and resources from their search results.

 

You could carry out projects together using online research, and of course you can play games and stream movies to watch together too. 

 

Limit social media usage

 

This one is going to depend on the age of your child, but there will be stages when you are going to want to limit social media usage.

 

Take care to ensure that your child is only using social media sites that you approve of and that they are at an age that they are allowed to do so. It might be worth agreeing some restrictions around it together at the outset, for example, that it only be accessed at certain times. It is easy for our children to be constantly connected socially these days, but they need to have downtime when they are away from others. 

 

Always reach out for expert advice 

 

Whenever you are in doubt, it is best to reach out for expert advice. There can be a tendency for people to self-educate using the internet without really having a sufficient depth of knowledge to handle the issue or concern. 

 

This is a lesson that it is worth our children learning early on, as we are currently seeing a generation using the internet that did not have it as a child and did not get any advice at all on how best to use it. The internet is an amazing resource for them, but there are then times when we need to get out there in real life to deal with things. 

 

This can apply to so many different areas of your life, from being concerned about your doctor improperly filling or prescribing medication through to maintaining your home. Go ahead and search the internet for some preliminary research if you would like to, but then call those professionals in to ensure that you are handling your concerns in the best possible way. A lesson for us all. 

 

Don’t believe everything you see online

 

This is probably the biggest lesson that children, and adults, need to learn around online usage.  

 

This one falls into two broad categories. The first is that there is a lot of fake news out there and there are people who are dishonest and try to deceive people using online accounts and sites. This can cover anything from those emails that people send telling you to click links to pass on a computer virus through to people pretending to be somebody that they are not. As adults, we know that many of these are scams, but even we can stumble across things that seem so genuine that we fall into the trap. If we can make mistakes armed with all that we know, it is easy to see how our children can. 

 

The best way to protect them in these cases when they are younger is a little like the Stranger Danger messages that you give to them. If they do not know them they do not click or engage with them. It is also wise to ask that they share things like this with you as you can use them as teaching opportunities and it gives you the chance to check in on what’s happening.

 

Secondly, and this one is particularly important for our young adults and their mental health, our kids need to know that people rarely share the whole truth online. That perfect Instagram shot with #nofilter has probably been edited a dozen times to make it look that good. That Facebook status about how amazingly well they did in their exam may well be all made up. Our children need to know that people filter what they share online, even more so than in real life, and to be wary of comparing themselves to a carefully cultivated image and persona. 

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Boost your Self-Confidence

Not all of us can be the star of the show all the time. Some of us like to take a back seat and allow others to hold the limelight. However, have you thought about your motivation behind this mindset? Do you lack confidence? Do you find that you sometimes really want to say something, but always hold it back? Life is not easy at times. Many of us have really busy lives, and we are constantly juggling a thousand things at once. Perhaps, you don’t want the limelight because you are unhappy with something. A few extra pounds, for example. It is perfectly natural to feel as if you just want to hide sometimes, but that should not be how you live every moment. You need to go through the low period, tackle all your demons, and get back to a high period. There is only one way to do this, and that is to work on you. It may seem a little selfish, especially if you have children, but the reality is if you are showing the children a timid, un-confident person, they may end up not respecting you, or worse, ending up un-confident themselves. You need to focus on you, to give the right message to your children, and everyone else, show that you mean business.   

Image from Pixabay

 

Take some time out

You need a sanctuary. Somewhere you can go for ten minutes or half an hour every day to get away from it all and relax and unwind. This is so important for your health, both mentally and physically. Stress can build up and, over time, can have a devastating effect. If you can just get away from it all and disappear into that private space, you will feel so much better. Perhaps you could benefit from learning how to meditate. If you are continually battling thoughts, you may need a new perspective. Time out will, first of all, give you the space to reflect upon things. You may be able to start prioritizing the things in your life. If you are overwhelmed by the amount of stuff going on, you may need to think about what you can cut out. Becoming more mindful, and trying to understand your own motivations behind behaving in specific ways will help you no end. If you can build a better way of thinking, it will help you in so many ways.    

 

Start saying No

It is not your responsibility to fix the problems of the world. If people constantly ask you for favors, this could be work colleagues or friends and acquaintances, and you have a habit of saying yes, you have got to be strong and say no. Overloading yourself with other people’s tasks is not good. You need to prioritize yourself, your family, and your life. This is not selfish. This is common sense. If you are running around after other people all the time, who is going to be there for your children. You and they should be first. Being a people pleaser does not earn you any respect. In fact, quite the opposite is true. You are being used and taken advantage of. So start saying no, and you will feel the power of this word, as every time you say it a load is taken off your shoulders, and you become more confident as a result.

 

Streamline your life

If you can manage the first two tips, this one will come naturally. You need to stop doing too much. Everyone does things they don’t need to and waste time. Time is a precious commodity, and you need to focus it on the areas of your life that are the most fulfilling. If that means cutting people and ties out of your life, so be it. If you feel that way, these people do nothing to enhance your life anyway. Many people and their opinions are detrimental to yourself. Keep the people that bring you up and say goodbye, at least symbolically to the ones that don’t. In addition, think about better ways you can do household tasks, like are you one for making a lot of trips to the corner store. You should try and get everything you need in one supermarket shop. This will save you time for more important things. Having more time for you and the family, and getting rid of negativity will change your sense of self-worth, and cause you to be more relaxed.   

 

Fix up your image

This can mean a lot of different things, but if you look better, you will feel better and have more confidence. Since you now have more time, get out, and do some exercise. Go jogging a few times a week that will help you lose those few extra pounds. Exercise is a natural mood enhancer too. It makes the body less stressed, and it floods your system with endorphins. If jogging is not for you, why not go walking. In fact, you could invest in a puppy here so you will always have a walking partner. Not only that, dogs have a way of bringing joy and happiness into anyone’s life. Think about your diet too, swap sugary foods for fruit and vegetables. Go out and purchase a new wardrobe of clothes. A little bit of retail therapy will be great. Go get a new haircut and facial. There are many ways you fix up your image. It is up to you. 

 

Stop doubting yourself

When you realize that your thoughts have traveled down a certain negative route, have a word with yourself. Stop and think, how have I got here? Why do I think I can’t do this or that? A lot of mental issues people have is to do with an inability to analyze their own thoughts. You are a master of your own mind, and if you think negatively, you will be depressed. Swap those ‘I can’ts’ to ‘I cans’, and you will start to feel more confident. It all starts and ends with you. No one can tell you what to think. So if you want to have confidence, you need to start taking control of how you think.  

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Top 15 Things Your Child Should Know Before Entering Kindergarten Free printable packet!

   

Be able to state first and last name when asked.
Be able to write first name with first letter uppercase and remaining letters lower case.
Use appropriate three-finger grasp when using writing instruments (pencils, crayons, and scissors)
Count to at least thirty and tells what number comes before or after a given number to 20.
Know all the letters in their first name.
Identify basic geometric shapes (triangle, circle, square, rectangle, oval, star, rhombus (diamond) and heart)
Know basic colors (red, blue, green, yellow, orange, purple, black, white, brown, pink)
Identify numerals 1-10 in random order.
Make most letter/sound matches.
Identify most upper and lower case letters.
Use finger to accurately touch count items to ten.
Knows concepts of print (front and back of the book, which page comes first, track words left to right).
Be able to rhyme words.
Retells simple stories in sequence.
When given a word (“man”) and a new beginning sound (/f/), creates the familiar word (“fan”)
Socially Your child should be able to…
Adjust own clothing before and after using the restroom.
Use restroom independently including washing hands without a reminder.
Take off and put on outer clothing
Sit for a story for 5-10 minutes
Clean up after themselves
Shares materials and toys with other children.
Attend kindergarten with a positive attitude
Be confident and ready to separate from the parent.
Be able to listen and follow 2-3 step directions.
Be able to solve problems without aggression.

Help Prepare Your Child by…

Going to interesting places such as the beach, park, zoo, airport, farm or lake. (Example: Use car rides to play I Spy, this encourages children to identify shapes, colors and helps develop their vocabulary in fun ways.)
Encourage your children to observe and talk about their experiences, as conversations with adults who care enrich a child’s vocabulary and understanding of the world.
Make eye contact with your child while listening to them speak, showing them that you value what they say.
Expose your child to many kinds of literature by reading to them daily.
Praise and encourage your child’s efforts and curiosity, knowing that from mistakes come learning and confidence. Criticism can discourage children from trying new things and lower self-confidence.

Here is a great free printable packet to help your little one get ready for that first day!

 

 

 

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10 Letter activities to prepare your Preschooler for PreK / Kindergarten & Free Printables

As a retired teacher, I can’t stress enough the importance of helping your child be prepared for Kindergarten!

The advantages:

  1. They are confident, because not only have they heard this before but it is easy since it is familiar.
  2. They learn how to lead, other children look to those who already know for help.
  3. They can see that it is easy and are less likely to struggle later in school
  4. They can read earlier and quicker than the others.
  5. They will spend quality time with a loved one, one on one learning!

The Cons:

  1. NONE

I always felt sorry for the children who struggled in my classes, I taught middle school and a lot of times they were just moved up and couldn’t even hardly read. This was obvious when they didn’t want to participate and usually tried to get in trouble when they feared they would be called upon.

No child should have to experience this!

If you spend 30 minutes a day with your preschooler on activities you would be amazed how quickly they absorb the information.

Here is my top ten list of letter activities:

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hq3yfQnllfQ (Letters and sounds video extremely important for them to learn the correct letter sounds)
  2. http://www.worksheetfun.com/category/letter/letter-tracing/ Free printable letter sheets.
  3. http://www.notimeforflashcards.com/2013/05/sidewalk-chalk-4-letter-activities.html  (Sidewalk chalk fun!)
  4. http://www.learning4kids.net/2011/08/16/alphabet-sponge-letters-bath-time-fun-2/ (DIY Sponge Letters)
  5. Interactive Notebook – (This is very important for them to learn, they will use interactive notebooks in school, so teaching them early is a plus and they can get all their work in one place to show their loved ones!)
  6. https://www.education.com/games/alphabet/ (this is a free online interactive game, I would limit it to maybe 15 minutes a day).
  7. http://www.abc.net.au/abcforkids/games/ (another online free site)
  8. http://www.themeasuredmom.com/letter-recognition-activities/  (A variety of letter recognition games)
  9. https://www.pinterest.com/explore/dollar-tree-classroom/  (Dollar Tree finds to use for letter games)
  10. Write their name on everything, toys, cups, and even their clothes tags, they will learn to recognize their name!

Feel free to add some ideas that you have used, I really just want to stress the importance of doing some daily with your little one and given them a huge advantage in school!

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