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The Secret to Survive a Family Move

 

Moving is stressful—it’s no secret—but what if it didn’t have to be? By using these simple moving secrets, your family will not only survive the moving process but also bond over the experience.

So, what’s the big secret? Making your move more family-oriented and getting the kids involved. Here are a few ideas to get you started. 

Let Them Pack Their Stuff

Get older children to pack their bedroom. Getting your whole family involved in the packing process is a simple way to prepare your kids for the move and save you time. Plus, it presents the perfect opportunity for them to declutter. 

Hold A Yardsale 

Speaking of decluttering, hopefully you are also putting aside items you don’t want as you pack up. If you find you have enough stuff, it can be a good idea to hold a yard sale with the kids. Get younger children involved by letting them decorate signs, set up tables, and put price stickers on items. Have older kids? They might be able to handle the yard sale on their own, or at least with minimal assistance.

Put any money the yard sale makes aside to later spend on a family outing once you’ve settled into your new home. Or, if you want to get your kids extra excited, let them keep the cash.

Get Creative

Give your kids a few boxes to decorate with stickers or crayons. Better yet, ask them a label the boxes with art. For example, if the box belongs in the kitchen, get them to draw a picture of a kitchen on paper, then tape it to the box. Alternatively, you can also get them to doodle directly on the cardboard. This tip is especially great for younger children that quickly lose interest in packing.

Another idea for moving-related art includes having the kids draw pictures of activities they want to do in their new home or neighborhood. This is particularly a good idea since it can make them start visualizing themselves in their new environment. Which, in turn, can get them excited about the move.

Throw a Goodbye Party

Gather up the whole family one evening for some cake to say goodbye to your home. Other ideas for the party may include watching a movie or setting up a tent in an empty room to have a camp out—or should we say camp in! During this party, go around and have everyone talk about their favorite memories in the home. You can also go around to individual rooms to say goodbye, which can give kids a bit of closure.

Make It A Road Trip

Are you moving long-distance? Make the car trip a special one by planning a few activities ahead of time. Car games, audio books, and snacks are all great ideas to make the trip less boring and more like a fun adventure!

Consider making each kid their own road trip binder filled with games and activities like coloring pages, car bingo, the license plate game, and road sign scavenger hunt.

Redecorate Bedrooms

One of the most exciting parts of moving as a kid—and let’s be honest, also as an adult—is the chance to redecorate. Lean into this opportunity and allow each kid to pick the color of paint for their new bedrooms. Can’t paint because it’s a rental? No problem! Consider allowing each kid to get a new or thrifted item for their room. Small options that make a significant impact are bedding, rugs, and curtains.

Ask Their Opinion

Let your kid’s sense of decor extend outside of their bedroom and get their opinion about other small things around the house. What flowers should we put in the front flowerbed?  Where should the sandbox go in the backyard? This not only shows them that you value their opinion, but the activities associated with these questions can also get them excited about the new house.

Make A Scrapbook

Take lots of pictures during the moving process and work on a moving scrapbook together once you’ve settled into your new home. Print the photos and decorate the pages with everything from glitter glue to stickers. Alternatively, you can also have each kid make a mini-scrapbook.

Better yet, give your kids control of the camera so they can take candid shots. You may think you look horrible in the surprise photos they snap, but your kids will love them. It can be a really great memento for them down the road!

If you want to make your move a positive experience, getting the kids involved is the way to go. With the above tips, not only will you survive the move, but you can come out of the experience a closer family.

Author Bio:

Nancy Zafrani is the general manager of Oz Moving & Storage in NYC. A day-one employee of Oz, she has 25 years of experience in the moving industry. As a New Yorker, Nancy also has lots of experience dealing with small apartments and organizing.

Can’t go to the movies? Why not bring the movies to YOU with online screenings of the Northwest Film Festival

 

The COVID-19 virus has altered many things that were not only planned by individuals and families, but also for businesses and the like. School, sporting events, concerts, Broadway… it’s all been affected by the pandemic. The Children’s Film Festival Seattle, at Northwest Film Forum, was  also cut short in response to the virus, and the need to protect the public during this health crisis.

The virus was not going to keep the festival down. In response to the pandemic, the festival will return for it’s 15th season (May 13-17, 2020), but this time screenings will take place online.

The festival will be showing seven short film programs, showcasing the best and brightest in visual storytelling for children, and an award-winning feature film, “Supa Modo,” from Kenya. In addition, CFFS will also be including 60 animated, live action and documentary films from around the world (27 nations). All of the films and shorts are centered on the joys and challenges of childhood.

In this time of staying safe at home, the programs provide families and youth an expansive window to the greater world, inspiring empathy, understanding, and global awareness. Not only that, these films and shorts will provide hours of quality entertainment for children and their families.

“In this time, we want to reach out with high-quality content that has special meaning and can provide hope to kids and families,” says festival director Elizabeth Shepherd. “What better way to see the world than through the lens of international films that invite kids to use their imaginations and dream of ways to make the world a better place?”

All screenings will come with bonus activities—including coloring pages, discussion guides and links to filmmaking resources—to build upon the topics and fun found in the films. These are fun activities that families can do together.

Here are some highlights for this event;

    • Gentle animation for the youngest viewers
    • Action-packed fare appropriate for older kids and adults
    • A rollicking all-ages collection of films about cats
    • A topical program centering on urgent environmental issues
    • An all-Spanish-language program from Latin America, for native and student speakers
    • The acclaimed Kenyan feature film, “Supa Modo”

“We really look forward to welcoming both young and old to our online festival,” says Shepherd. “It’s a great place to see the world and feed your mind, and we’re aiming to provide screen time’s finest hour with these delightful short film programs and feature film.”

CFFS 2020 Online Festival Feature Film 

Supa Modo
May 13 to 17, streamable on-demand at nwfilmforum.org

Kenya’s official Oscar entry for Best Foreign Film winner and winner of Children’s Film Festival Seattle 2019 Audience Favorite Feature Film and Iron Giants Children’s Jury Prize for Best Feature Film.
(Likarion Wainaina, Germany & Kenya, 2018, in Swahili, Kikuyu and English, with English subtitles.)
For ages 11+, with a running time of 74 min.

Sometimes it takes a village to make our dreams come true. Jo, a nine-year-old, is obsessed with superheroes and dreams of becoming one to overcome her diagnosis of a terminal illness. Unable to force Jo to spend her remaining days in bed, her town community comes together to support her belief in her superpowers. Not all heroes have capes, but Jo sure does, and her powers are more inspiring than any of today’s superhero-based special effects blockbusters. Winner of more than 20 prizes at international film festivals. You can see the trailer here.

Content advisory: This uplifting film deals with difficult issues, including the impending death of a child. But the film has received acclaim for its hopeful and uplifting message and was recommended for ages 8+ at the Seattle International Film Festival. We believe it is better for older children.

CFFS 2020 [ONLINE] FESTIVAL SHORT FILM PROGRAMS

Icing on the Cake

Wednesday, May 13 — 11am
Saturday, May 16 — 9am
For ages 2+ with a running time of 68 min.

These gentle, colorful animated films — filled with curious animals and adventurous kids — are all about singing, growing up, flying high and celebrating the magic of life, in all its lovely rainbow colors.

Icing on the Cake — Selected trailers

A Chick’s Adventure (Italy & France)
Pen&Magic (Japan)
Sam’s Dream (France)
The Last Day of Autumn (Switzerland)
KUAP (Switzerland)

The Cat’s Meow

Thursday, May 14 — 11am
Saturday, May 16 — 11am
Sunday, May 17 — 9am
For all ages, with a running time of 71 min.

This feline-focused (and allergy-free!) animation program is filled with cuddly cats and their adorable antics. Kitties truly make the world go ‘round in this celebration of glorious stop-motion, painted, hand-drawn and CG animation from ten cat-loving countries.

The Cat’s Meow — Selected Trailers

Cat Lake City (Germany)
Hiro&Hana Favorite of a Sea Otter (Japan)
A Tiger with No Stripes (Mexico & France)
The Quintet of the Sunset (China)
Teofrastus (Estonia)
Odd Dog (USA)
Wild Lea (Colombia)

Valiente y Verdadero

Wednesday, May 13 — 1pm
Friday, May 15 — 11am
Sunday, May 17 — 1pm
For ages 6+ with a running time of 74 mins.

This all-Spanish language program is filled with Latin American children who are brave and true, lighting up the lives of everyone they meet. There are also two beautiful animated films from Puerto Rico and Colombia, which remind us to fly high and free in everything we do.

Valiente y Verdadero – Selected Trailers

Pasivo (Puerto Rico)
The Cubicbird (Colombia)
Wild Lea (Colombia)
Maria Camila’s Gift (Colombia)
Like Playing (Peru)

Home Sweet Home 

Thursday, May 14 — 1pm
Saturday, May 16 — 1pm
For ages 7+ with a running time of 68 min.

Home is the center of every kid’s universe, and family is the gravity that keeps their feet on the ground. This eye-popping animation program ends with a short documentary from a personal perspective that shows us why there is no place like home.

Home Sweet Home – Selected Trailers

Slurp (France)
Balance (Singapore)
Billie (UK)
Saturday’s Apartment (South Korea)
The Kite (Czech Republic)
Gallery Experience (USA & China)
Home Sweet Home (France)
London’s Home (USA)

Wild and Free 

Wednesday, May 13 at 3pm
Friday, May 15 at 1pm
Sunday, May 17 at 11am
For ages 8+ with a running time of 70 min.

In these live-action shorts from Europe, South America, India and the USA, you’ll meet kids who navigate all kinds of magical twists and turns in their lives. Time travel with two friends, meet a bike-riding girl who isn’t everything she appears to be and discover how friendships can build a bridge to understanding.

Wild and Free – Selected Trailers

The Bicycle Thief (UK)
All in Good Time (Ireland)
Apples and Oranges (India)
Like Playing (Peru)

Earthwise

Thursday, May 14 at 3pm
Saturday, May 16 at 3pm
For ages 8+ with a running time of 71 min.

This imaginative collection of animated films is meant to inspire the rising generation to walk gently on the planet and take good care of all the fabulous creatures who call it home. The program’s final live-action short shows how kids can teach important lessons to adults about doing what is right for the earth.

Earthwise – Selected Trailers

Floreana (Denmark and USA) Watch the film 
The Calves (Germany)
Mister Paper Goes for a Walk (Belgium)
Saving Mr. Green (India)

Lift-Off

Friday, May 15 at 3pm
Sunday, May 17 at 3pm
For ages 9+ with a running time of 71 min.

These stories of adventure will take you to outer space and back, with films showing what it is like to be out on your own, in a world of wild adventure and imagination, making decisions and, ultimately, finding your way back home again.

Lift-Off  – Selected Trailers

T-Pot (Canada) Watch the film 
Ray’s Great Escape (China)
The Girl at the End of the Garden (UK)

PRICING & ADMISSION

Admission to online shorts programs are “pay-what-you-can” ($0 to $25) Festival passes for shorts programs are also available. Festival passes for short film programs are available for individuals and groups/families.

Admission is $10 for “Supa Modo.”

If you are interested in learning more, please visit the Children’s Film Festival online.  You can also check them out online – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Kimberly

*I was not compensated for this post. I am sharing this information for the enjoyment of benefit of my site readers. The opinions expressed are my own unless otherwise noted. 

10 Ideas and Activities to Keep Kids Busy During COVID-19.

**This is a guest post. The opinions expressed are that of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect my own.** 

Are you getting bored?

More importantly, are your kids getting bored of staying inside?

With schools closing, lock downs in place in many countries, and self-isolation the key for flattening the curve of Coronavirus, parents now more than ever are looking for ways to entertain their children while staying indoors.

Everybody has their standby activities when it comes to staying at home, and most of those activities include watching TV shows and movies, but you can only lay on the couch so long before your mind starts to wander.

You’re a warrior! Your family is ready to help slow the spread of the virus. But what are you supposed to do with your kids when you are working from home, and need to keep them busy,

Here are 10 ideas to keep you and your kids from going stir-crazy during the Coronavirus outbreak.

  1. Have a scavenger hunt

Do your kids love to play games? Odds are they do, and what better activity to do when you’re stuck indoors than a scavenger hunt?

Take some items (for example, a knick-knack, some dice, a fork, a fancy coaster, etc.) and hide them around the house.

Next, write out some rhyming clues to help your kids figure out where the first item is. When they get to the first item, have another clue waiting for them to get to the next item that you’ve hidden.

This is a creative way to keep your kids entertained while helping them use the power of reason.

  1. Find some crafts to do

Getting crafty is a great way to pass the time with your kids, and there are no shortages of ideas to try.

  • Do a paper mache craft
  • Create your own slime
  • Make a tin can pencil holder
  • Make cardboard cut-outs of animals
  • Do paper roll butterflies
  • Practice straw weaving
  • Do egg carton flowers
  • Create your own stress ball
  • Draw your own coloring book pages
  • Make a paper plate craft
  • Create a pop-up book
  • Make a Mason Jar Lid Banjo

There are so many creative and fun craft ideas on Pinterest and in various parent blogs online. Your child is sure to be entertained for hours!

  1. Put on a show

Do you have a creative child? Do they love to write or ham it up in front of the camera? If so, what better way to spend your time than writing the ultimate play together?

Come up with a funny short story and write it out into scenes. Spend the day practicing your lines and then dress up and perform the play in front of the whole family.

  1. Make exercise fun

Your child’s health is the most important thing in the world, which means you’ll be self-isolating and practice social distancing during COVID-19.

Since you’ll be staying home anyway, why not keep your kids occupied and healthy with some at-home exercises?

There are plenty of awesome, free classes online you can look at to keep exercise fun and interesting for your little ones.

  1. Write letters

Letter writing is a thoughtful and sweet way to keep your kids thinking about how they can show love and concern for others during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Make a list of everyone you want to write letters to. Alternatively, you can compose emails for friends and family.

Ask your kids to think of something encouraging or upbuilding to share with the ones they love and take turns writing the letters out.

  1. Have a family board game night

There’s something so nostalgic and fun about playing board games around the table with your kids.

  • Clue
  • Monopoly
  • The Game of Life
  • Scrabble
  • Cards
  • Scattergories
  • Yahtzee
  • Trivial Pursuit
  • Battleship
  • Chess
  • Apples to Apples
  • Checkers
  • Cranium
  • Snakes and Ladders

The list of fun games to play with your kids is endless. You’ll be occupied every night of the week with these ideas. And on the off chance that you’re still looking for something new, why not create your own board game with your kids?

  1. Facetime with friends

Just because you’re social distancing doesn’t mean you have to stop being social.

Give kids much-needed time with family and friends via social media, Skype, or Facetime. You can even do a family conference call through Zoom and have a big family chat.

Get creative with your socializing. Why not call your family or the kid’s friends while you’re eating dinner?

Or, set it up so that you’re all watching the same movie at the same time. This way it’ll feel just like having friends over.

  1. Have them take a class

Why not make good use of your time indoors by learning something new as a family? Pull out your old guitar, ukulele, bass, drum set or keyboard and learn how to play.

You can teach your kids what you know or take a class online. Who knows, you could be the next family band!

There are other ways you can be productive while having fun at home. For example, why not take a class or look up a YouTube video to help you learn a new language or try out another new hobby?

  1. Go old school with your games

You’ve played board games and you’ve played video games, but what about old-school games?

Plan a family night of fun by playing the following classic games:

  • Charades
  • Simon says
  • Tag
  • Hide and seek
  • Leapfrog
  • Greenlight

These games are a classic for a reason and are especially fun with younger children. Plus, they all involve being active which will help your kids burn off energy throughout the day.

  1. Camp out

Self-isolation is important to stop the spread of the virus, but there is no reason why you can’t go enjoy the fresh out in your backyard.

Many governments and health officials are saying so long as your backyard is private, you can still enjoy the outdoors from your home.

If you have a backyard and some camping equipment, why not camp out under the stars with your kids?

Build up the tent, have a picnic, maybe even roast some marshmallows on the barbecue or in the firepit. Playing outside is a great way to banish cabin fever for both you and your kids.

Don’t let your time at home be a bore. Now is the time to get creative with your kids and focus on family bonding.

By doing any or all of our shelter in place entertainment ideas you’ll help keep your family occupied and smiling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

About the author:

Rachael is a noted writer currently associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of her motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying about today’s evolving forms of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on all types of romantic connections. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.   

Spend quality time as a family with Imagine Neighborhood

 

How is your family dealing with the recent events of the Corona Virus (Covid-19)?

I’m not sure how things are in your “neck of the woods,” but here where I live in New York, everything is shut down and families are told to self quarantine. There is no school, no day cares, no movies, no mall, no playgrounds… nothing.

My kids are young adults. They both have to work, as well as my husband. Since I work in an after-school program, I am out of work for at the very least two weeks (possibly longer).

I belong to a local Facebook group, and I am seeing the same issue being posted over and over again – what to do with the children to keep them entertained?

I have a few suggestions that might help if you find yourself in the same situation.

  • Go outside in your backyard and play games.
  • Go on a hike.
  • Play games.
  • Have a family movie night (or afternoon).
  • Do arts and crafts.
  • Spring cleaning.
  • Have a dance party.
  • Enjoy a picnic in your living room.
  • Bake a cake or cookies.

Another great idea would be to check out a new (free) podcast that was just released, Imagine Neighborhood.

The Imagine Neighborhood is a podcast designed to help children and their grown-ups grow their social-emotional skills.

Social-emotional learning (or SEL) is sometimes called emotional intelligence or people skills. SEL helps people build their empathy and relationship skills and manage big emotions.

Having strong social-emotional skills help kids and their grown-ups communicate better, manage their conflicts, and solve problems together.

Working with children for many years, I know the importance of Social-emotional learning. When my children were little, I made it a point of teaching them about empathy for others and expressing their emotions in healthy ways.

Imagine Neighborhood is a podcast available on various platforms – iTunes, Spotify, Google Play and Stitcher, and anywhere podcasts are found. You can also listen on their website, ImagineNeighborhood.org.

Imagine Neighborhood uses entertaining stories, fun music and easy activities to help children and adults develop various skills. Grown-ups are also given extra tools, like activities and conversation starters, to relate to the topic in each episode.

There are three episodes currently available, with new episodes to be added.

Count Vacula Feels Afraid

Host Scotty has a tiny robot vampire who sucks up all the crumbs that Scotty drops on the floor during the day, and returns to his charger at night. 

Vacula expresses to Scotty that he’s afraid of the babysitter. Using music, Scotty lets Vacula know that it’s OK to be afraid, and lets him know that he doesn’t need to worry when he leaves the house, because he’ll come back. 

The Clouds are Made of Cake

Scotty starts off the episode talking about how wonderful it is to just sit outside, close your eyes, and listen to the sounds around you. Using background sounds of birds chirping, the beginning of the episode makes you feel calm and peaceful. 

Scotty and his friend, Doctor Apocalypso, talk about what it feels like to be very excited, and why it’s important to learn how to calm yourself down too. 

Macho Supreme Has an Accident (release date March 23, 2020)

Macho Supreme is stuck in Scotty’s doorway. He tries to make it seem like he did it intentionally, because he doesn’t want to admit to Scotty that he did it by accident. He also won’t ask for help, because he doesn’t think it’s “macho” to ask for help. 

Crossing Lava Lake (release date March 30, 2020)

In this episode, Scotty has to cross a very dangerous street called Lava Avenue. Lucky for him, he bumps into Princess Donnasaurus. Together they brave the street of rolling boulders and hot lava. 

This episode talks about dangerous situations, and using “SPEW” (stop, pay attention, use your ears, and wait), as well as using your “danger voice” to get other people’s attention. 

Imagine Neighborhood utilizes music in each episode. Some songs are familiar, for example, “Macho Man” by the Village People, and a song called “Powerhouse” which sounds like something I’ve heard on The Jetsons, or some other cartoon.

Children can listen to the podcasts on their own, but as a parent, I would recommend listening with your child. These podcasts are a great way to segue into a conversation about the episode’s topic. After all, these are all emotions children and parents feel. As a parent, you can discuss how you deal with the emotion, as an adult as well as when you were a child. It’s also a great way to find out how your child is feeling.

In addition to the activity suggestions offered by the show’s host, I think these episodes could also be turned into a craft and/or fun activity. Some activities are suggested (like pretending the floor is made of lava – something I used to do when I was a kid). Others you can use your imagination and create something. For example, why not make a cake the looks like a cloud in honor of the episode “The Clouds are Made of Cake?” Or build your own Vaula Robot using recyclables and other materials found around your home. The possibilities are endless.

Check out Google and Pinterest for activities and crafts to help support each episode.

Now is a great time to spend quality time with your child/children. It’s also important to know how your child is feeling during these trying times. I’m sure plenty of children are scared about the virus, and unsure as to why things are shut down and families are quarantined.

If you are interested in learning more about the Imagine Neighborhood, visit their website at ImagineNeighborhood.org. They can also be found on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

What do you think about the Imagine Neighborhood? Do you think you will check it out with your child?

What other topics would you like to see Imagine Neighborhood talk about in their fun, interactive podcasts? Feel free to comment and share your thoughts. I always value the comments of my site readers.

Kimberly

*I have partnered with Imagine Neighborhood to bring you this information/review. Although compensated, the opinions expressed are entirely my own and not influenced in any way. 

Have Santa call your family with Portable North Pole

 

Do you remember when you were a kid during the holiday season? I do. I think about it often, most especially around the holidays.

Christmas was my favorite holiday, as it is for many children around the globe. I still remember the excitement I felt Christmas Eve night. I wasn’t able to sleep at all! I would lie in bed listening for the sounds of Santa and his reindeer on our roof. Each and every little sound I heard, I thought it was him.

I remember waking my parents up several times in the middle of the night, wanting to know if it was OK to go downstairs to see if Santa was there. They always told me to go back to bed. Normally they would finally give in to me around 5:00 or 6:00 AM (I was persistent).

Meeting Santa in person was the highlight of the holiday season. I still remember the little candy canes his elves would give out to the kids.

Ahh… memories.

Things have changed a lot since then. Now you can actually receive a call from Santa, as well as personalized videos. I can’t imagine having something like that as a child. That would be A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

Let me introduce you to Portable North Pole. They are known for their customizable videos and calls from Santa. Yes, you read that right. Your child can get a phone call from Santa, personalized with their name and other details that will leave them in aww. In addition, customizable videos are also available.

Here’s how it works;

  • Download the free app
  • Input a few details about the child
  • Upload a photo

In just a few minutes, a customized video is delivered to you.

Check out this brief video.

 

The above video is the EXACT same  quality of video your child will receive from PNP. As you can see, they make it look so realistic. I love it!

Can you image the excitement your child will feel knowing that Santa knew that he/she did great on a test, or that they have been doing their chores without being told (depending on the details you include).

With PNP (Portable North Pole), Santa knows their name, if they are on the naughty or the nice list, gives them tips on how to improve to the nice list or how to stay on it, and knows what they want for Christmas.

Check out just a few of their newest digital products for 2019:

  • A brand new special multi-device scenario straight from Santa’s sleigh on Christmas eve with a personalized video message from Santa on one device (desktop, smartphone, or tablet) and integrated into the video message is a call from Santa to your phone during the video message. This message can be made for one child or the whole family. *
  • a total of five new Premium personalized videos with even more ways to personalize the message. *
  • Another new multi-device Premium video scenario with a group option. This is great for parents looking to encourage good behavior from their children in the days leading up to Christmas. *
  • The Reaction Recorder is now available on Google Chrome for desktop and laptop, as well as on the PNP mobile app to capture the moment your loved one realizes it’s Santa speaking to them directly on one of our Premium videos and create a lifetime keepsake. *
  • New personalization options. Santa will know even more about your loved one, than ever before. *

* Features only available with purchase.

PNP is celebrating its 12th year, helping families make the holidays even more magica. The personalized video and phone call tradition has caught on around the world, with more than 220 million video message views from PNP by Santa fans.

Portable North Pole has reached various achievements, such as:

  • 768,000+ Fans on the PNP Facebook page @PNPSanta.
  • 1.4 million Facebook Likes.
  • #1 trending mobile App on iOS in the USA during the weeks leading up to Christmas.
  • It’s the top trending Santa App in 67 countries on Google Play during the days leading up to Christmas.
  • Achieved a 4.6 rating for both Google Play and iOS with hundreds of thousands of joyful reviews.

That is pretty impressive.

The app doesn’t ask for much detail (such as an address or last name), so it’s safe to use. As a parent, I certainly wouldn’t want to provide too much person details.

The app is free to download.

You can also access all of the features on the brand’s website, PortableNorthPole.com.

I created a video to try it out for myself. The video seems so real! It’s not like Santa pauses when he talks and has another voice (or robot) say your child’s name or what state the child lives in. It’s flawless! It’s amazing how it seems so real.

Just so you know, they ask for the child’s state because Santa asks something to the effect that he hopes the weather in (state) is good. For a child, knowing that Santa knows where they live, only adds to the magic of the video or phone call.

PNP also sells a nice selection of toys, books and games to add to the magical experience. Each product comes with a special magic code that gives you access to the videos and calling features on PNP.

Some of the adorable toys include;

Poseable “Do Good” Elf – I was sent one of these to review. It was much bigger than I thought it would be. He’s super adorable and is available in red or green (outfit). You can use this elf the same way you’d use an “Elf on the Shelf.” You can also let your child play with it like they would a regular doll (I’m sure children would love to snuggle with one of Santa’s elves at night).

The purchase of the Poseable Elf include four free Santa videos, via PNP.

24 Sleeps Until Santa Storybook – I was also sent this book to review (it gives you the code for one free Santa video).

This is a beautiful book which colorful images that really get children (and some of us “big kids”) super excited about Santa’s arrival. Each day is featured on a page, so that every night before bed you (or your child) can read up on the goings on at the North Pole as everyone prepares for Christmas day.

Karamelli, Santa’s Sweetest Baby Reindeer – I have a soft spot for adorable plush toys. That is why we have a collection of holiday toys that we keep around the tree, including a huge reindeer.

This sweet plush reindeer will make a great snuggle buddy, especially when reading the 24 Sleeps ‘Til Santa Storybook (sold separately).

Maybe your child can even teach this cute little reindeer how to fly, so that one day he/she can join Santa’s team and pull the sled.

This comes with a code for a free Santa video too.

There are other toys and games available as well as the ones mentioned. They are available on the PNP website, or you can find them at other retail locations like Target, Walmart and Barnes & Noble.

If you are interested in learning more about Portable North Pole (PNP), look for the free app in the appl store, or visit PortableNorthPole.com. You can also find PNP on all the social media channels.

Would your child be excited to recieve a personalized phone call and/or video from Santa? Feel free to share you thoughts.

Kimberly

*I received free products and an excess code in order to do my review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Having A Healthy Balance Of Screen-Time For Children

 

The humble television is one that’s pretty much a feature in most homes, and for the family household, the evenings and weekends can often revolve around watching TV. However, it’s important that there is a good balance of screen time and time away from the screen. Here are a few tips to help perfect that balance.

Make Rules

Rules are good for children because they need to learn to obey rules that are given to them in school, throughout their education and later on into adulthood. So these rules should start from the parents and certain things that are allowed and not allowed to happen in the home. It’s good to be strict with these rules but also to have a little bit of wiggle room to show that it’s OK if you make mistakes because everyone does. To punish them too much might make them resentful, and it might lead them to misbehave even more so. When it comes to screen time, it’s a good idea to provide some rules that can be laid out by yourself. You might want to say to your children that screen time is only possible after all homework is done or during a certain time in the evening. You’ll likely want some of your own time in from on the television too, so it might be that they have it from 5-7 and then that’s when it’s the parents’ time. Whatever you feel is most suitable, outlined in a set of rules, and make sure that they know what is expected of them. Children are less likely to break these rules if you treat them with respect, rather than it be you barking orders at them. That becomes too much like a teacher and student scenario, and you don’t want there to be a lack of affection there. Emphasize to your children that the rules are in place to protect your health. Try not to use scare tactics like ‘your eyes will go square if you watch television too much.’ As much as it’s a funny thing for you, to a child, they may genuinely feel that could happen.

Aim For Shorter Screen Periods

It can be very easy to watch television for hours, and although it can feel like an hour is merely a few minutes when watching your favorite show with subtitling, that’s sixty minutes of having been sitting in front of a screen and also sat in the same position for sixty minutes. That’s not going to feel great on your posture or for your eyes if you’re spending hours watching television or being on an electronic device like a game console or phone. Aim to provide your children with shorter screen periods because then they’ll come to appreciate having time away from it. It can also allow them to rest their eyes and to stretch their legs. That’s why it’s good to set rules on when electronic devices can be used.

Ensure Your Child Is Getting Outside

As much as screen time can be fun for children, it’s important not to let them forget that there’s a whole other world outside just waiting to be explored. If your child is getting outside and you’re encouraging that exploration, then they are more likely to want to travel more as an adult, and that’s something everyone should be doing. It seems wasteful to go through life, having not seen anything outside of your front door, let alone new areas in your own country. So make time for some outdoor fun, whether that’s them spending it with friends or going out as a family down to the local park. Perhaps you could organize some fun road trips and that aren’t centered around staying in and watching TV. Instead, it’s a trip that gets them outside, exploring different places, and learning about local cultures and history. Yes, screen time is good for learning, but there needs to be a healthy balance of outdoor fun too.

Avoid Screen Time Before Bed

That last hour before you put your children to bed should be one that’s electronic-free. This is because it’s important to let the brain relax, and with all electronics, the blue light can keep the brain wired, and that means they’ll struggle to get off to sleep. That’s not something you want to be happening when they may have school the next day.

You also want to encourage a healthy sleep regime and the ability to get off to sleep pretty quickly. Any screen time before bed or while you’re lying in bed, is not going to bode well for how quickly you manage to get off to sleep. Try to keep that last hour or so free from electronics and try to do the same for yourself. You could remove these electronics from sight or if they’re in a communal space, you can take them out that area and use that last hour as a time to get dressed and ready for bed. A book before bed is a better way to relax and to tire them out. This might be something you want to try, either you are reading one for them if they’re too young or them reading one to themselves.

Do Activities Together That Don’t Involve Electronics

There are plenty of things that you can do without electronics, and it’s strange to think that merely decades ago, we lived without phones and the technological devices that we rely on so heavily now. As a family, it’s good to find activities that you can enjoy, whether that might be a board game or trying out something new together that can become a family hobby. A hobby is great to have because it helps children to explore different potential passions that they might have in their lifetime. Perhaps you want to take them to do a group sport or maybe have them learn a new skill or language. It’s important to take advantage of their brains while they’re young because they can absorb so much more and learn things quicker than we do as adults. A healthy balance of screen time and electronic-free activities is essential, so find those things that you can enjoy with your children and that they can do, which will certainly give them the opportunities later in life to explore.

Remove Electronic Devices From Bedrooms

Just like having no electronics an hour before bedtime, the same should be said for electronic devices in the bedroom. Most of us now will rely on our mobile phones to provide us with the alarm clock to get up in the morning. However, having your mobile phone in the bedroom is giving you more temptation just to pick it up. So if you can, try to remove these electronic devices from the bedroom, particularly with your children too. Any games consoles need to be switched off at the plug, and if you feel as though they’re playing it in their room when everyone goes to bed, you can always remove the controllers, so they have no ability to play. It is definitely important that you emphasize this rule to your children because any light from an electronic device is going to be a struggle for them to then get off to sleep.

Be A Role Model With Your Own Screen Time

You can ask your children to do all of the above and set rules about screen time, but it’s important you do the same. As a role model, you need to set an example, and if you’re asking them to do one thing and then you’re doing another, it’s likely that they’re going to find that frustrating and start disobeying. Once they’ve gone to sleep, you can perhaps have more screen time to yourself but don’t openly make it known to them that you do this. As children, a lot of them believe in the adult and will trust the adults most of the time. If you’re breaking this trust, then that can be upsetting for your child. Every child needs a role model in their life and the first adult they really interact with their parents, so try to be a good role model with your own screen time. It’s healthy as adults to take a break away from the screens because we’re likely to spend a lot more time in front of them anyway.

A healthy balance of screen-time for your children is good to perfect, particularly whilst they’re young and impressionable. Set rules that will be obeyed by everyone in the house and emphasize the importance of getting outdoors and exploring the world around them. Do activities together as a family that don’t involve bringing your electronics and remove electronic devices from the bedroom where possible. Have a no screen-time rule an hour before bed so that their minds can relax and finally, be a role model to them in how much screen time you have for yourself. Do all of this and your children are likely to have a healthier relationship with the screen.