Friday Notes 095 - March 20 2020

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So, I was going to write about other stuff but given the fact that many of you are likely to have your kids at home instead of wherever you thought they'd be I figured I'd give you some tips on keeping them busy.

Let Them Work Stuff Out

When I was 9 my parents would let me, with my younger brothers in tow, head over to the forest a block away. No parents in site, and my youngest brother was 4. Sure I was "watching" him...but not that much. I had loving parents, but at no point did they think it was their responsibility to entertain me, that was my job.

Your children are just as responsible as you were, and they're in your house. Stay out of their way and let them figure out their own games. Give them as few rules as possible. Let them peel the couch cushions off and grab some blankets for a fort for the day. Then before dinner tell them there is no food until the fort is cleaned up.

Let them get their imagination out and stay out of the way. Our rule is, unless there is blood don't come talk to me about it.

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Give them a Snack Bucket

My kids want to eat something all day, every day. They're bored and they want to eat. The easiest way we've found to stop this is to get out a basket for each kid and fill it with snacks for the day. They can eat as much as they want out of their basket, but when it's gone they have no more snacks for the day.

Of course you're feeding them all the regular meals, but you're now out of serving theme every 15 minutes when they decide that food will solve a momentary boredom problem. Sure you may have some whining the first few days as they deplete their snacks way too fast, but they'll learn and be fine.

Use Timers

Apple Arcade has been a hit with my kids and the rule is they have to manage it for the most part. Yes an the AppleTV it's hard to get in/out of games sometimes, so we'll help there, but otherwise nothing. If either parent has to come in and wrangle who's turn it is then the games go off. Part of learning good self-management is figuring out who's turn it is.

Right in here is the use of timers, not just for this for everything. Turn the oven timer on for 60 minutes and tell the kids that when it goes off they need to stop the game. If they can't stop on their own then games are gone the next day. At our house it took one day with the timer and one day missing games to have the self-management firmly in place.

Designate a Quiet Time

Sure you love your kids, but dang it sucks to have them around you all the time with no moment to think for yourself or sit for yourself. You need that time to not be on for kids.

Here we have an hour every day that's "quiet" time. Our middle girl will play blocks or sit on the couch and listen to an audiobook. The younger one will join her, or she'll get our oldest daughter to read to her. My wife will sit in our room and read, or do whatever she wants.

Stick the timer on, and enforce the "no blood" rule. Add a "too noisy" rule to it and get some time for yourself. So many times the quiet time ends and the kids are happy doing what they are doing so it just continues and parents don't have to give up every minute to serving them.

I Shipped

Okay, this week was pretty productive for me. In addition to the regular stuff I got a bunch of videos out. In no particular order...

I read a lot of books, and I put out a video on the 6 books that changed how I thought about life.

Sticking with reading, I also did a BookTube tag on my reading habits. If you've ever wondered how exactly I get so much reading done...here is some stuff on that.

I also did the Star Trek book tag. I forget what "ships" were involved, but it was fun to talk about some of my favourite books, and one book I extremely disliked.

We also had some new iPad Pro announcements. You know I'm an iPad first person, so I talked about whether I'm purchasing the new iPad's and what I think about the new features.

Finally, my stack of new books was getting annoying so I recorded a video about the books that have come into my life recently. It has a guest appearance from my oldest daughter talking about the series we're working through now and the second volume we just got in.

Over at Liquid Web I wrote about how you can use gamification with your store.

Plus I recorded a few other videos which I'll get out over the next few weeks.

Good luck and stay away from people.