Category Archives: Guest Contributor

children

New Skills That Your Child Will Benefit from Learning Online

  • Please welcome Guest Contributor, Jude McLean.

Though the internet tends to get much bad press when it comes to the younger generation, there is a substantial beneficial side that is often forgotten in the midst of such reporting.

In fact, there are a multitude of benefits that nearly all children of all ages can derive when it comes to online learning.

With thousands of adults regularly turning to the internet to update their own skills, gain a new qualification, or simply learn a new hobby, it’s worth looking at how children can do precisely the same here too.

Whether you have a child who already spends a great deal of time online or one who has yet to discover the World Wide Web, here are some fantastic suggestions of where they could excel the most when it comes to learning during their time online.

children

Coding/Programming

So popular that it was in fact, brought into some schools and placed on the curriculum, educational establishments certainly believe coding and programming for children is a vital skill!

Many youngsters are encouraged to start their programming and coding journey with Scratch. Not only is this the more exciting of places to start, but it allows children to devise their own games, stories, and animation videos.

All the while they’re having fun and creating a massive amount of digital content, they’re also learning the very basics of how to begin programming alongside what such concepts, terms, and definitions mean.

Once children have begun with Scratch, they can then quickly move onto other programming choices such as Raspberry Pi, JavaScript, and Python.

The skills children learn from coding and programming are thoroughly helpful when it comes to school. Here they will be able to solve problems, work out solutions on their own, while developing greater confidence as they do so.

As well as helping them understand technology better, coding can also work well when furthering math, writing, and all-around creativity.

music

Music Lessons

Some people feel that that the number of children learning to play a musical instrument has dropped in recent years. Technology often takes the blame for this belief!

However, never has it been easier to learn how to read music, play an instrument, and create your own songs – and it’s all thanks to the internet.

Many apps exist all over the internet, which allow children to begin playing an instrument step by step, moving in time to the guide.

Also, the hundreds of videos on the internet whereby skilled musicians offer their musical advice and knowledge mean there are multiple hours of free information all aimed at children to help them pick up an instrument and learn how to play it – and all in their own time.

The internet also boasts thousands of sheet music which means there’s no need to spend money finding the music to help your child with their online musical training, and they can access their favorite tunes within seconds!

As well as offering children skills such as enhanced coordination, alongside improved reading skills and learning skills, learning music this way offers your child more creativity. Here they can practice on a range of instruments; such is the exposure to almost every device available when learning online.

A Second Language

Unfortunately, the number of children taking up a second language has dropped drastically over the last few years. This is problematic because it means such children don’t get to experience the sheer benefits that learning a new language can bring.

However, there are plentiful areas online where children as young as just a couple of months can access foreign language learning programs.

With a heavy emphasis on the visual element, including many videos, children can also take part in online games and activities while gaining access to native speakers throughout to help them on their journey. Best of all, there’s no pressure to achieve the next level, and they can go back and instantly pick up on those areas they need more help with.

By taking on a new language online, children will develop enhanced problem-solving skills, and become more confident in many more subjects when at school, including literacy and math.

Best of all, if they can attempt a new language at an early age, they’re more than likely to continue and do well with it as they move up into higher education.

cooking

Cooking/Healthy Eating

Though it may not instantly seem the most obvious of tasks and lessons for children to do online, cooking and eating healthy online sessions capitalize on those hugely popular cooking shows that are proving so popular with the younger generation!

One of the areas of the home whereby safety and care are paramount, when learning about this from the many online videos, and apps, such courses can often emphasize the importance of the kitchen environment, sometimes more so than when adults just reel it all off a list!

Online videos here that show other children in a kitchen environment whereby they’re learning to cook safely while having fun at the same time, encourage a child to follow their lead and work step by step to achieve their success.

From the basics that many of us even as adults haven’t been taught, all the way through to the more elegant methods of cooking, just watching their peers is sometimes all the encouragement children need to get started here.

Discovering how to cook online builds multiple life skills in children, particularly if they’re from a home whereby parents can’t cook – or simply don’t have the time to show them.

Alongside confidence in the kitchen comes creativity, which leads to children being more likely to try the food they’ve made themselves -therefore more inclined to try those healthier options as a result.

Final Thoughts on Children Learning Online

Undoubtedly, all children need to learn how to deal with life online. With technology and applications improving and upgrading every year, the younger generation has little choice but to accept this way of life.

However, the internet can be a most beneficial tool when it comes to learning, as is evident from the various skills they can work on as they attempt coding, programming, music, languages or cooking online!

It’s also worth remembering here that as well as learning new skills and gaining more knowledge and positioning themselves in a more enviable place for later life, leaning online can actually be the most fun way for many children.

Ask a child whether they’d prefer to sit in a school classroom or learn online from the comfort of the internet; it’s more than guaranteed online learning will win hands down every time!

Therefore, as parents if we can capitalize on this enthusiasm, we can ensure the internet becomes a valuable educational tool for many years to come.

Jude is a father of two, new to homeschooling and
navigating fatherhood one step at a time.
how screen time

How Screen Time Interferes with Sleep (and What to Do About It)

Technology and screen time have become an integral part of life for both adults and children. It allows for better communication and an incredible ability to exchange information. However, it can also lead to the sleep deprivation that affects anywhere from 28 to 44 percent of the population. A few simple habit changes can turn things around so you still get the full seven to nine hours of sleep you need.

Screen Time and the Sleep Cycle

Your brain largely relies on natural light to correctly time the start of the sleep cycle. The sunlight that reaches the Earth’s surface lies on the blue spectrum. Special photo receptors in the eyes absorb blue spectrum light and send signals directly to the part of the brain that controls the sleep cycle. During the day when light levels are depression treatment hormones are suppressed. As light fades in the evening, the brain releases sleep hormones to begin the sleep cycle.

The light emitted from the screens of your favorite electronic devices like the televisions, laptops, or smartphones can also emit a blue spectrum light. While it may not be as powerful as light from the sun, it’s still absorbed by the same photoreceptors and travels to the brain to suppress sleep hormones. Consequently, screen time can throw off the timing of the sleep cycle, leading to sleep deprivation.

How to Manage Screen Time for Better Sleep

The responsible use of technology and electronics can certainly help you get better sleep. However, you also need to have the right conditions in your bedroom. A comfortable mattress, cool temperatures, and complete darkness are also essential. If you start with a room set up for success, you’re more likely to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

Set a Curfew

A curfew on the use of electronics can help your whole family get better sleep. In general, your brain needs two to three hours to adjust to changing light levels so the curfew should start two to three hours before bedtime.

Calm Down the Evening Atmosphere

If you’ve already got an electronic curfew in place, your next step is to bring the evening energy levels down in your home. Try dimming the lights, turning off the television, listening to quiet music, or reading a book. If you have young children, it’s a good time to work on puzzles, color, or engage in other quiet activities.

Remove Electronic Devices from the Bedroom

For many people, the use of electronic devices at bedtime is a habit that’s hard to break. Help yourself by completely removing them from the bedroom. The light from the television won’t keep you awake and notifications from your smartphone can wait until morning.

Use a Bedtime Routine to Your Advantage

Help yourself fall asleep by using your bedtime routine to your advantage. Perform activities in the routine in the same order and start at the same time each night. Over time, the brain recognizes your routine and releases sleep hormones when it senses the start of your bedtime routine.

Conclusion

Adequate sleep is a full partner in your overall health and well-being. It may take time and a concentrated effort to develop habits that manage screen time better, but it’s well worth it. Better sleep acts as the foundation on which to build your personal and professional goals. So turn off the phone and shut the laptop to give your body a chance to get the rest it needs.






why you need

Why You Need To Be Mindful Of Your Weight

Please welcome Guest Contributor, Dr. Charles-Davies, with an article about healthy weight.

Why You Need To Be Mindful Of Your Weight

Not having a healthy weight has been shown to have some negative effects on our health. We have gotten to the era where we eat more and burn buying zetia leads to having an unhealthy weight and some serious health conditions.

Before we go on to know why we need to be mindful of our weight, we need to understand what weight means and what it means to have a healthy weight.

What Is A Healthy Weight All About?

Bones, muscles, water and fat all contribute to our body weight. We usually use our weighing scales and Body Mass Index (BMI) to measure our body weight. However, the weighing scale does not break up our body weight into bones, fat, muscles and water.

One of the major components of physical fitness is body composition, which can be used similarly with weight. Body composition gives a percentage break down of the fat and nonfat components of our body. The nonfat components are our muscles, bones, organs, and water.

What Does It Mean To Have A Healthy Weight?

We will be using BMI to determine a healthy weight. It is an index that measures the weight of a person as a function of the person’s height.

To calculate your BMI, simply divide your weight in kilograms by the square of your height in meters. The unit is usually kilograms per square meter.

Here’s what different BMI values mean:

  • Underweight- Less than 18.5
  • Normal weight- 18.5 to 24.9
  • Overweight- 25 to 29.9
  • Obese- Above 30

Body Fat

We now know the ideal body fat we are expected to have but why do we need to watch it since fat is not the only component of our weight? Let’s break down fat to fully understand why we need to watch this aspect of our body composition.

There are two major types of fat:

1. Subcutaneous fat

This is fat stored underneath our skin. This type of fat is not so harmful to our health. Excess subcutaneous fat can be removed using liposuction. Liposuction can be done medically but is also done in plastic surgery, particularly in a ‘Mommy Makeover’, combined with breast enhancement. If you’re interested in this, you can contact a mmo surgeon from Broadway Plastic Surgery.

2. Visceral Fat

This is fat stored around our organs and in our tummy. This type of fat in excess has harmful effects on our health. Excess visceral fat, however, cannot be removed by liposuction.

So the fat we should actually be watching is our visceral fat.

A high visceral fat increases the risk of hypertension, stroke, and heart attacks. So, you should follow a good and healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet and exercising often. This will help you prevent chronic diseases that can hamper your mobility in old age like osteoarthritis- which can cause severe pain at the back of the knee.

This fat is found around our organs and also major blood vessels in the body that transport blood around the body.

Why You Should Be Mindful Of Your Weight

Just because you are slim does not mean you should not watch your weight because your weight might just be more of visceral fat. Also, people who think they are fat may have more subcutaneous fat and reduced visceral fat and actually be healthier than their slim counterparts.

As a rule, one way to combat bad fat is to eat a balanced diet and exercise frequently. You can try to get an appointment with a dietitian and get yourself a home exercise bike. Here are some reasons to ensure you mind your weight.

1. Your Heart

Imagine having a lot of fat around your heart. The heart needs to work extra hard to pump blood through this fat and through the blood vessels that may be compressed by the fat. This can lead to cardiovascular disorders such as hypertension.

2. Your Blood Vessels

Fat can also build up in our blood vessels, which in turn leads to reduced blood flowing within the arteries and therefore reduced blood flow to certain parts of the body. It can lead to some vascular diseases such as atherosclerosis.

3. Your Blood Sugar

The pancreas secretes insulin that controls our blood sugar. Excess visceral fat can clog the passageway of the blood vessels, which will reduce the insulin flow to the carbohydrate consumed, and cause an increase in blood sugar level. It can also make the pancreas overwork itself and reduce the production of insulin to break down sugar. This can lead to diabetes.

Conclusion

There are a lot of health issues with an unhealthy weight. Do not assume your appearance makes up for how healthy you are. You can stay healthy by paying attention to your weight. Weight is not just the numbers you see on a weighing scale, your weight is in you.

Dr. Charles-Davies is a licensed medical practitioner who loves to educate people about their body and health.

7 easy swaps

7 Easy Swaps to Make Your Meals Healthy

7 Easy Swaps to Make Your Meals Healthy

Please welcome Guest Contributor, Brittnay Sharman.

A little bit of creativity is crucial when it comes to eating well. Rather than denying yourself or overindulging just a few tweaks here and there won’t have you missing out on anything. Turn these idea yummy ideas into habits to ensure you lead the healthiest lifestyle possible (while still enjoying it)!

Have you ever tried frozen banana in the blender? Well it is a game changer, tastes exactly like ice-cream! You’re going to learn to make some simple changes that will have you eating healthy in no time.

Homemade Muesli

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so start it off the right way.

Instead of kicking off the day with a bowl full of commercial cereal, which are sure to be filled with processed sugars and other preservatives, try having a bowl of homemade muesli as a healthy alternative!

Treat your body and taste buds the right way, by adding in your favourite fruits into your healthy homemade bowl of muesli!

Forget About the Fizzy Drinks

Fizzy drinks sure do taste good but we all know they aren’t in the slightest bit good for us. Many people tend to avoid drinking water because they think it is boring and have no flavour. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

You could try kombucha, a fermented and sweetened tea drink. Make sure you look for a brand that is lower in sugar. Kombucha can be found at your local grocery and health food stores. You can even make your own kombucha. Soda lovers typically love kombucha because they can still get the carbonated taste they are used to.


Let’s Taco About It!

Pulled pork and tacos go together like mac and cheese! However, the cut of used for pulled pork is usually the shoulder which high in saturated fats and sodium. Instead you can try smoked pork tenderloin, it has a similar flavour and still melts in your mouth (not to mention it’s a nice lean as chicken breast).

Our families favourite tacos are piled high with avocado, cherry tomatoes, pork loin & chipotle lime. Kids love to build their own tacos, so on the table in all your ingredients in small bowls. Making your own always tastes better!

Use Steam Instead

Cooking veggies and fish by steaming them is a super healthy alternative. You retain all of their natural yummy flavours, whilst cooking them to perfection. By steaming your food, you’re adding no extra calories to your meal, making your favourite (usually unhealthy) meals, much healthier. You can top fish with flavourings like lemon and chilli and use the steam to infuse the flavours into your food.

Poach, Don’t Fry!

Poaching is another great way to cook foods you’d usually fry. Take eggs for example; if you usually fry your eggs, try poaching them next time. Cooking them in hot water means you aren’t using any oils in the cooking process.

Poached eggs are super healthy, and tasty; you aren’t covering up any of the natural flavour of the eggs with oil. As well as eggs, you can poach fish, fruit and even chicken, with scrummy results!

Make a Condiment the Star!

Have you tried making your sauces? If you have ever had a read of the back you will notice that sugar is one of the main ingredients. If you see some tomatoes on sale, why not make your own tomato sauce? Or you could try making a yummy pesto. It is great to add to pasta or as a coating on chicken.

If you looking for a creamy spread like butter, why not try avocado. It is a similar texture to butter and great to spread on flatbread or toast. It is super easy to also make salsa, hummus or even salad dressing.

We All Scream for Healthy Ice cream

We all love ice-cream, but if you have ever brought a tub and ‘accidentally’ finished the whole tub, this can help. If you see some brown bananas at the shop or have some, don’t throw them out, peel and freeze them now! When your ready for some yummy ice-cream grab them out and throw them in the blender for 1 mins -2 mins. You will find it turns into fluffy banana ice cream in no time!

It is delicious on its own, but you can add anything you love in ice-cream. You could throw in some blueberries, coconut milk or mint. You won’t believe how similar the consistency and taste is to ice cream!

Educating yourself is crucial when it comes to eating well. Rather than denying yourself or overindulging just a few tweaks here and there won’t have you missing out on anything. Turn these idea and behaviors in habits to ensure you lead the healthiest lifestyle possible (while still enjoying it)!

how to

How to Quit Your Spending Addiction in 5 Simple Steps

How to Quit Your Spending Addiction in 5 Simple Steps

We all want to save more and spend less – but that can be tough when it’s so easy to use your money. These days, there are countless pieces of technology out there that make it simpler than ever to spend without even realizing how much cash you’re wasting. Signing up to monthly subscriptions takes a matter of minutes, and you can confirm a purchase with a tap on your smartphone screen.

So, in a world where it’s incredibly easy to form an addiction for your spending habits, how do you change your financial health for the better? Here are some simple tips to help you reduce costs and prepare for the future.

1. Plan Your Budget and Set Savings Goals

There are few things more important when it comes to making sure that you stick to your budget plans, than having a strategy in place. Your budget is a great way to give yourself an insight into where you’re overspending, and where you can cut back to improve your savings. Just remember that you’ll need to keep track of the money you spend to keep your budget as accurate as possible. Write down, or record everything you buy, from a morning newspaper to a fresh cup of coffee.

Additionally, while you’re setting up your budget, make sure that you have an overarching goal in place to keep you motivated when the going gets tough. Sometimes it’s harder to control your spending than you might think, a few simple goals could help to keep you inspired.

2. Stop Eating Out

As tempting as it can be to simply grab some fast food for dinner after a long day at work or buy a sandwich from the canteen for your lunch, you can save a serious amount of money simply by using the food you buy from the grocery store. Think about how you can plan to pack your lunches for work all week, and stock up on the ingredients you’ll need in advance.

Work with your family to come up with a list of meals that you’ll want to eat in the week ahead. If it helps, try choosing a theme for certain days, like make your own pizza day on Fridays, or taco Tuesday. Alternatively, you can look into trying out new recipes with ingredients you know everyone enjoys.

3. Choose the right Credit cards

Credit cards can be a huge problem when you’re trying to save more and spend less if you haven’t selected the right one based on your own needs. Taking advantage of rewards offered is one of the most effective ways of making the most of your Credit card. You can find out more at NovaCredit.com
on the perks offered by American Express. It’s easy to over-spend when you don’t have to see any cash going out of your wallet or bank account. The best thing you can do to make sure that you stay on track towards your goals, is to get rid of the credit cards and replace them with cold hard cash instead.

Figure out exactly how much money you’re going to need when you go shopping, and only take that cash amount with you. That way, you can ensure that you don’t spend any more than you planned to. If you see something extra that you want to buy, you’ll have to go back home for your card, and that will give you time to think about whether you really need the extra item. When it comes to paying off your credit cards, you may be shocked to see the rate of interest you’ll be paying so, to avoid shock, use a credit card interest calculator so that you know in advance how much you can expect to pay.

4. Don’t Underestimate Little Savings

When you’ve got big goals for your money, it’s easy to overlook the little savings that you can accomplish simply by giving up your morning coffee or switching your electricity or gas supplier. Many people struggle with their budget because they’re looking for big ways to make a difference all at once. However, the truth is that the best results come from the smallest changes.

When money is tight, every little saving opportunity you can find will make an impact. Whether that means cutting out coupons from your local newspaper or shopping online so you can avoid paying for petrol. By setting up an account with a credit union, like http://northcoastcu.com/ for example, you can create a separate account for your savings. That way, you can make sure to keep the money that you’ve budgeted and the money that you’re saving separate from each other. This is often an effective technique, if you know the money is in your savings account, you’ll be less likely to spend it, hopefully!

5. Know the True Cost of Everything

Finally, whenever you’re considering making a purchase that’s not on your monthly list of essential expenses, take the time to think carefully about the “true cost” you’re agreeing to take on. A good way to do this is to calculate how many hours you’d have to work to earn the money to pay for whatever you want to buy. For instance, if you were lucky enough to make $20 an hour, and you wanted to spend $80 on a meal, you might not feel too bad about using those four hours of work.

On the other hand, if you’re only earning $10 an hour, then $80 on one meal converts to a whole day at work instead.