How to De-stress Your Family With Tech
By: Andrea Eldridge, CEO and co-founder of Nerds On Call, an on-site computer and laptop repair service company.
Between work, appointments, getting the kids to school, to practice, and then taking care of life at home, most parents are spread to thin that they can barely stand it. What makes things even worse is then your child simply will not do what you are asking. After begging your child to brush their teeth for the last fifteen minutes, it is pretty easy to get swept up in the frustrations of being a parent. The question has become how to de-stress parents and children alike. Luckily, there are a few helpful programs that can alleviate some of the stress that comes with having a family, as well as offer valuable lessons to children regarding responsibility and organization.
My Job Chart – Free!
The founder of My Job Chart Gregg Murset is a father of six. After years of chasing after them to make sure they brushed their teeth, did their homework, and took out the trash, Mr. Murset finally thought up a better way to organize his household. Although he did not figure out how to de-stress completely, he introduced the world to an integrated task calendar that parents could set up for their children online or through a mobile app. Once parents create the account and set up tasks, they can designate a point value to each task and then assign those tasks to their children. Each child can then have their own login information to see their tasks and their point totals. After a child completes a task, they earn the points that were assigned. Parents also receive a notification when a child completes a task. The points that children earned can be used in three separate ways: they can be redeemed for products on Amazon that have been pre-selected by parents, which allows for instant gratification and makes a trip to the toy store unnecessary; the second way to use these points is by sharing them, or donating them to charities; the third way to use these points is to save them in the hopes of earning enough for a larger purchase from Amazon. My Job Chart not only allows for parents to incentivize their children to get their chores done, but it also offers kids a lesson in fund allocation. This is one of the top technologies that can teach families how to de-stress.
Cozi Family Calendar – Free!
A family calendar can be quite the spectacle; with work, appointments, activities, school, and school events, it is a wonder that anybody was able to stay organized before the days of online calendars. The Cozi Family Calendar allows families to create a shared calendar that every member of the family can see. The calendar can be viewed through the website or app, or can be printed for those who do not have regular access to a computer or smartphone. It is simple to set up automatic reminders and reoccurring events; it even allows you to send automated reminders to the family members who are involved in specific events. There are color coded options for each family member, and each member can view their own schedule, or the entire families all at once. With Cozi, it is also possible to share your calendar with a grandparent or baby sitter by creating a tab for them on the calendar. Other useful features from Cozi for how to de-stress include shared shopping lists that can be updated by whoever finishes a grocery item, and synced to-do lists that can help kids stay on top of chores and school work.
Stop, Breathe, and Think App – Free!
There have been numerous debates on how to de-stress most effectively. Studies have shown that people of all ages can benefit from practicing mindful meditation a few minutes each day. Meditation ca help ease anxiety, depression, and pain while also reducing stress and improving sleep and focus. The Stop, Breathe, and Think App offers a simple process of identifying your feelings, then gives users a five minute guided meditation tailored to the current state of mind. The app offers a child-friendly interface so that even the most high-strung kids can sit still for a few minutes and connect with their inner peace. Children whop practice meditation gain awareness of their emotion and become less reactive towards them, while developing compassion for the feelings of themselves as well as others. Stop, Breathe, and Think has offered an alternative answer to how to de-stress the family with technology, rather than approach things from an organizational standpoint, it focuses on the self, offering an opportunity for growth to children and adults alike.
Mel: And with Nerds On Call…
Marianne: That’s right, our friend Ryan Eldridge is just here. I have to tell you, technology is not the first thing I think of when it comes to de-stressing. I barely know how to use my iPhone.
Marianne: But you’ve found some great sites that actually can help a family, a crazy family like yours . . .
Marianne: . . . Build a little camaraderie with that.
Ryan: Yes, I have a 6-year-old and a 3-year-old and it can get a little crazy in our house, and one of the first things that we notice is that our 6-year-old wants to help.
Marianne: That’s great.
Ryan: But a lot of times we’re like, “No, no, no, no, we don’t want you to break anything or whatever.” Here’s a great way. This is called My Job Chart, myjobchart.com, what you can do is create a login for each of your kids as well as yourself, and you can write out different tasks. And when you write out those tasks, you can assign different point values to them, and those point values can be used to trade in for different things. For example, you can go to amazon.com, and you can create a list of pre-approved items that you think are okay. Once your kids earned enough points to earn one of these items, they click it and it’s shipped automatically.
Marianne: Oh, look at that. So, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, maybe a little pillow pet there, a little stuffed animal, what a great idea.
Ryan: This way you don’t have to haul up to Target every time they win something, they don’t have to worry about, “Come on, mum, let’s go.” It automatically shows up at the house and they get their own little packages, with their name on it that they think is the coolest thing ever.
Marianne: That’s cool.
Ryan: Here’s another thing that’s in our house. Organizing is really tough. So we’ve got school events, work events, my wife might have something special that she’s doing. Here’s one place where you can put it all. It’s called kozi.com, K-O-Z-I dot com. It’s a shared calendar. So that way when I’ve got something going on at work, I can quickly update the calendar and she’ll see it, or there’s a new school event that’s happening, we can keep track of it. The other cool part is it’s also got a shared todo list, so for example if I want to buy something at the store, or I used that last piece of bread, I can update the list and everybody knows, “Hey, we need new bread” at the store.
Marianne: Good one
Ryan: And it’s also for keeping track of more activities. So here’s the last one. My son he’s six, so he has trouble focusing. His brain kinda wanders all over the place.
Marianne: That’s being six. That’s six for you, right?
Ryan: Yeah. So we’ve started teaching him how to meditate, so this is an online app called stopbreaththink.org. You can also get it for iOS and Android, but use it on the web. And what it does is that it works you through a 5-minute guided meditation, and so when you do it, you just click on it and it asks you, “How are you feeling today?” And then you can explain, “I’m feeling great or meh.” So if I’m feeling kind of meh, and then what it’ll do is it’ll say, “Well, how do you feel physically?” I feel kind of meh, there’s a sickness going around. If I can click it, there we go. And then you can add different emotions about how you feel.
Ryan: And then what it’ll do is that it’ll tell you the kind of meditation you should do. So, it’ll kinda focus you in, it will say, “Well, you’re on a mountain-top and imagine the big blue sky, imagine your problems going away.” And that focus really helps them when you’re assigning them tasks or they’re just trying to get their homework done.
Marianne: Mel, I think it can be good for your family, I think maybe the Zen one, the meditation one.
Mel: Yeah right. He said, “That one’s for the kids.” I’m like I need that. I need that.
Marianne: Mum and Dad could probably use that as well.
Ryan: Yeah, you know my wife uses it, and I use it. We’re a meditation kind of family, because we’re trying to stay focus and trying to keep the monkey-mind from taking over.
Marianne: Well, the world has gone insane as we know, and so anything that will help kids especially if they’re on the iPad all the time, or on their phone, it’s helpful that they can find these tools to help them check in, and how they’re feeling and also getting all their stuff done. Great ideas, we’re going to link of course Nerds On Call to our website and the websites Ryan told us about, to gooddaysacremento.com, click Show info there, at the top of the page, and then today’s date. Good to see you as always.
Ryan: Good to see you.
Marianne: Thanks so much. Mel.
Ryan: You’re welcome.
Mel: Oh, I was already taking notes. So great, all right . . .