How to Keep Busy With A New Baby

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Keeping newborn babies busy is very important. Their interactions and experiences will start to shape who they are. Here are some ideas for keeping your curious baby busy. You’ll need to engage all the senses, so take inspiration from these ideas about touching, tasting, and talking with your baby…

  • Keep your baby stimulated by providing them with different textures to explore. Remember, everything is new to them so introduce things slowly. It can provide your newborn with a lot of entertainment just playing touch games. Find objects which are fluffy, silky, wet, smooth etc and hand them to your newborn. Their delicate skin will be sensitive to all these textures and will open up a whole world of exploration to them.
  • If your newborn is having a tough time settling down for a nap introduce movement. Movement is a great way to calm babies down and make them sleep and content. You can rock a baby in your arms. Or you could even try rocking your baby by holding up the four corners of your blanket. Just start by holding them firmly against you so that they feel safe and secure.
  • Mobiles are one of the best loved, and oldest, toys for newborns. You can get lots of different types and your babies will look at them awestruck! The bright colors and movement provide lots of visual stimulation, and some even make noises too. Fendi baby has some great interactive toys for newborns. If you don’t have your own mobile you can even use household items. Scrunching plastic cups and silver foil will all be fascinating for your baby to watch and hear.
  • Take your child for walks. Introducing your newborn baby to other people, places, and animals, as soon as possible is a good idea. It will improve their social skills and their tolerance to noises and people. Talk away to your baby. Obviously, they can’t understand you. It is both comforting and educational, though.
  • No doubt new parents will have received plenty of plastic and fabric books as gifts. These are a great way to entertain a curious baby. Whilst they go through a developmental stage babies will want to touch and taste everything to understand it. Help your baby to flick through these books safely. Encourage interaction with the book too. Before you know it your baby will be smiling, making noises, and babbling away.
  • Kicking should be encouraged too! This is a normal reflex that helps to strengthen legs, and will eventually lead to walking. Holding your baby up on their feet is a good way to encourage kicking. Splashing about in the bath and playing with toys is too.

 

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Growing A Baby? Make Sure To Nurture The Seed!

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There’s a lot of information out there about how to recover after pregnancy. But, what you do during pregnancy is even more important. Not only will your actions have an impact on your health, but they’ll also make a difference to your baby. Being pregnant makes you a vessel for your unborn child. Your body’s resources are being used to make a human! As incredible as that is, it also means that the bad things you put into your body will become part of the process. To ensure you and your baby stay as healthy as possible, these are some steps you should be taking.

KNOW WHAT TO AVOID

Once you get into the in’s and out’s, there are many things you would be better off avoiding when you’re pregnant. To keep things practical, stick to the basics. Instead of doing your own research and getting bogged down in things you can’t do, speak to your doctor or midwife. They’ll be able to tell you exactly what you should and shouldn’t put into your body during pregnancy. The most obvious ones are, of course, smoking and alcohol. You should avoid these, in no uncertain terms, during pregnancy. You won’t only be harming yourself with these; you’ll also be harming your baby. Avoid, too, any food that could carry bacteria, like raw or undercooked eggs. And, make special care that your meat is well-cooked before you eat it!

KEEP YOURSELF HEALTHY

To keep your baby healthy, it’s important you keep yourself healthy. Of course, mastering a healthy lifestyle is difficult at the best of times. When you’re worried about everything else that comes with pregnancy, it’s easy to let your health slip. Posts like this one on Anoted Life should give you an idea about how to find your way to a healthier life. You may have been putting off getting your health under control, but now is the time to do it!

EAT RIGHT

While it’s important to know what not to eat, you should also take the time to find out what you should be eating. Eating the right things will ensure your baby is strong and healthy. It will also ensure your milk contains everything baby needs! For the most part, good pregnancy eating is no different to a regular balanced diet. Find out what major food groups you need, and make an effort to eat them! Focus, too, on food containing plenty of vitamins. It shouldn’t be necessary to take pregnancy supplements if you’re eating right, but you can if it puts your mind at ease.

GENTLE EXERCISE

Exercise may well be the last thing you want to do when your bump gets bigger. But, it’s important you keep up a routine of regular exercise. This will help you get back into shape faster after the baby is born. It will also help you stay flexible and strengthen your muscles. Don’t get into the habit of sitting back and being inactive. It’s important to keep yourself moving!

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Baby On Board: Preparing For The Birth

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When it comes to adding a new addition to your family, there’s a lot that you need to think about. From creating a beautiful nursery to working out the financial side of things, adding to your brood comes with the need for a lot of planning.

One of the most important parts of bringing a new life into the world is planning the birth itself. Until you get pregnant, you don’t realize just how much time and effort goes into planning the perfect birth experience.

From your first doctor’s appointment, you’re told to start planning your birth, to ensure it’s what you want it to be. The question is, what do you need to think about when it comes to planning the perfect birth experience?

Do you have a birth plan?

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The first thing that you need to do is ask yourself whether you have a birth plan in your head. The chances are that you already know what you want the birth to be like, it’s just a case of getting those ideas down on paper. Of course, a birth plan isn’t just about how you want the birth to be; it’s also about the lead up to it. For example, if you have older children, your birth plan should cover who will look after them while you’re at the hospital. As well as who will drive you to the hospital. You also need to consider where you want to give birth – at a hospital or at a birthing unit like the ones that Stand & Deliver Midwifery offers. You need to think about what you want from the birth as well as what will be best for the baby.

How do you want to give birth, naturally or with pain relief?

By far one of the biggest things that moms-to-be umm and err about is whether or not to have pain relief. The problem is that many moms-to-be are stuck between wanting to do what’s best for their baby and what’s best for them. It can be hard knowing whether to opt to have pain relief or not, but try not to stress too much about it. Remember, once you’re in labor you can always change your mind and go another way, it’s just a good idea to give your midwife an idea of how you want the birth to go.

Who will be present at the birth?

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Another thing that you need to think about is who you want present at the birth. Part of making a birth plan is deciding who you want to be at the birth with you – normally you’re allowed two people at a maximum. If you’re not sure who you want with you, don’t worry as you’ve got plenty of time to decide. Try to think about who makes you feel the calmest and most in control, and choose them to come with you.

Preparing for the birth of your new addition isn’t something that you can’t rush, it takes time and thought. You need to ensure that you get everything planned out so that you don’t need to worry that your birth won’t go how you want it to.

 

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Are You Fur-Real? Getting The Kids Their First Pet

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Your husband has been nagging you for years and you have been putting it off with every excuse in the book. The baby is too new. The toddler too grabby. The child too excitable. The excuses are ending and it’s time to embrace it. Yes, it’s time to get your first family pet!

Now, it’s an exciting feeling to know you will be seeing your child’s (and husband’s) reaction when you tell them that they can finally have a furry friend to take care of at home. then you wonder where you should start! There are so many different family pet ideas out there that you should pay attention to what would be right for the size of the home you live in as well as the type of pet that would suit your family.

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Family Young Pet Happy Animal Cat Cute Love

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Typically, cat and dogs are the first pets that a child (and husband) would think of as they are highly ‘interactive’ pets that can really be a friend to you and the family. Well, not so much cats as they pretty much don’t care what you do as long as you feed them and give them affection as they demand it. Dogs on the other hand are a popular family pet and here’s why:

  1. Dogs are trainable animals. You can teach them to potty outside, eat, sleep and drink in the same places.
  2. They are placid animals for the most part and are hugely loyal to their owners, so you won’t have to worry about them not loving you!
  3. They’re excellent for your mood. No matter how rubbish your day has been, the affection and love you would get from your dog upon walking in the front door will lift your mood.
  4. Dogs force you to get some exercise. The fact they need walks means that you have to actually get up and out of the house every day, no matter how bad you are feeling.

Dogs are the sort of animal most children ask for as their first pet. Getting an animal for the home is a great way to teach your children how to take care of another creature and gives them some responsibility. This can help them to mature and develop in a way that’s kind to animals and that’s exactly what you want. Buying a new puppy when you have children is a better idea than going to the rescue as you can train the dog around your child. Rescue pups, wonderful as they are, often have unknown histories and sometimes haven’t been treated well, meaning a visit from a company like Exterminador.24Hora.org could be on the cards before you’ve had a chance to breathe.

Trusting your family with a new pet, whether a hamster or a hound, is something that is a big step to take. As long as you ensure that you all share the responsibility of the newest addition, you won’t ever feel like it was a mistake. Grab that leash, it’s time for walkies!

 

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What’s The Cost Of A Child’s Smile? Tips For Healthy Teeth For Children

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For many parents, there is no better feeling that their children smiling back at them. However, toothcare is, from a very young care, a difficult topic of parenthood: While bruises are easily visible, it takes an experienced eye to recognize bad teeth. And it takes a superhero as a parent to take care of a child’s teeth. But there are thankfully a few tips here to help parents look better after their children’s teeth.

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Mastering The Art Of Getting Children To Brush Their Teeth

For many parents, trying to convince their child to brush their teeth is an everyday battle before going to bed. Brushing teeth is a behavior that needs to be taught very early to children as this can help to make things a lot easier. Turning the daily drama to teeth brushing into a responsible habit can save parents a lot of troubles. At the same time, there is nothing more difficult than trying to convince a child to brush their teeth. There are plenty of ways around it, such as changing the toothbrush for a soft alternative, as children’s gums are more sensitive than adults. Additionally, some parents experiment with tasty child toothpaste, as adult toothpaste might be a little too strong for children. Finally, the best way to convince a child to brush their teeth, as numerous parents have found out, is to use a reward system, such as promising their favorite pudding for the next meal – which should be on the next day – or rewarding the child for every five or more days of healthy brushing with a little present. As every child is different, it is important for parents to understand their child in order to pick the best method.

Remembering The Importance Of Calcium For A Healthy Smile

99% of all the calcium in the human body is stored in the bones and the teeth. As a consequence, calcium deficiency can have a dramatic impact on a child’s teeth. Commonly, delayed tooth growth can be a direct cause of calcium deficiency, and can be diagnosed in young toddlers already. Defective teeth, such as weak teeth that can break or brittle easily, are also a sign of lack of calcium for children. If this is the case, the immediate solution is to maximize the intake of calcium through a healthy diet that brings a lot of healthy dairy products. Parents can also research the possibilities of using healthy and natural calcium supplements, by reading the AlgaeCal reviews, for example. Calcium supplements can be used in the everyday diet. However, it is essential to plan a medical appointment to monitor calcium deficiency in children. For older children, tooth decay and toothaches can also be caused by a low intake of calcium. In short, parents should make sure that their children receive sufficient amount of dairy products every day.

When Should Children See An Orthodontist

For many children, a dentist is synonymous with getting braces. However, braces are often necessary for children who have not seen a dentist early enough. Indeed, crooked teeth, overlapping teeth, or even a significant difference in jaw sizes can be monitored with the help of a dentist and can be treated in a variety of ways. It is important that children make their first visit to an orthodontist when their permanent teeth are starting to come out as this is the point when a specialist can already identify potential issues and look for solutions.

 

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The Essential Tips For Raising Healthy, Happy Children

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Every parent has the priority of raising healthy, happy children. However, there are a few things that can easily be overlooked. Raising them the way we were raised may work, but now there are far more effective ways of making sure your kids are happy and healthy. Here are the essential tips for raising happy, healthy children:

Choose Your Words Carefully

Choosing your words carefully in front of your children is a must. You don’t realize it, but your kids pick up on words and emotions from a young age. Before they can even talk, they are listening to you and soaking everything up like a sponge. If you speak negatively all the time while they are babies, they may very well develop a pessimistic attitude as they grow up. They learn more from you than you realize. In fact, many of their beliefs, including their limiting beliefs are picked up from you when they are young. These beliefs can be difficult to get rid of, and can stop them from living a full and happy life. Don’t beat yourself up about it, but definitely choose your words carefully around them.

Know How To Praise And Reward Them

Knowing how to praise and reward your children is crucial. Giving them a present every time they clean their room isn’t going to do much good. They will grow up to expect bribes for virtually everything they do, and may even develop a sense of entitlement in different situations. You can praise and reward your kids every so often by setting up a consistent system, for example, a sticker chart. Make sure you use the right words to praise and reward them too. Instead of telling them they are naturally talented, tell them you are happy with the effort they put into something. Don’t forget to ask them how they feel about it too. This is beneficial for so many reasons. For a start, if you tell a child they are naturally talented, they can put too much pressure on themselves to be perfect later on. Putting an emphasis on the effort, and even including your own feelings in the praise statement is the best way to go about it. Better yet, asking them how they feel about it encourages them to stay in touch with their own emotions and do things because it felt good. Not just to be a parent/people pleaser!

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Do Your Research Before Buying Anything

Before you buy anything, make sure you do your research. This is especially important with things that can be recalled and deemed faulty, such as car seats. You can look at Baby Seats Reviews to help you. Make sure you do lots of research and compare different items so you know you’re keeping your children as healthy and safe as possible.

Teach Them Moderation When It Comes To Food

When it comes to food, teaching your kids moderation is important. Some people tend to think that one bad meal ruins their whole week, so they go and stuff their faces with more unhealthy food. Some people won’t let a bit of bad food touch their lips, in a ‘moment on the lips lifetime on the hips’ kind of way. Both of these approaches are awful. Your kids need to be taught moderation, and there’s no better way to teach them moderation than to practice it yourself. If you’re always on a diet, eating junk, or living off shakes, they’re going to think this is normal and copy you. It isn’t just about the words you use, but the things you do too. Don’t ever call yourself ‘fat’ in front of a child. Don’t comment on their appearance either, especially not their weight! If you do want to say something, you can say they look healthy and happy. It’s a good idea to let them listen to their natural hunger cues too. They should eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’re full. This is why forcing their dinner down them or even making a big deal about it is a bad idea. If you make them eat when they’re not hungry, this can cause problems later on. If you make a big deal about them and call them a ‘picky eater’, they’ll likely carry this label with them and use it as an excuse to get attention later on.

Get Into Good Routines

Getting into good routines when it comes to food, bedtimes and the time they get up in the morning will help to no end. Kids need at least a rough routine to be happy. Not only can routines help you to make the most of your time together, it can get them into healthy habits, like brushing their teeth. It can also teach them a little about time management!

Let Them Make Choices

Letting your kids make choices can help them to feel happier, as well as trust themselves more. You could let them choose what they want for lunch, within reason. You could give them the choice of two outfits at the start of the day. There are a few different ways you can implement this with success!

Don’t Try To ‘Fix’ Your Child’s Feelings

You must realize that trying to ‘fix’ your child’s feelings is a losing game. If they’re sad, buying them a toy won’t make them feel better really, and it can actually encourage them not to deal with their emotions properly. Imagine how this will impact them when they get older! Instead, encouraging them to talk about their feelings and process them is the best thing to do. Of course you want to help your child feel as good as possible, but it really all boils down to them.

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Set A Good Example For Them

If you haven’t realized it yet, you must set a good example for your kids. Your actions say everything to them. This means making sure you nurture your own happiness in front of them, and even your relationships. They look up to you, so make sure you’re doing the right thing!

Give Them Real Responsibilities

Giving kids responsibilities can help them to feel needed, and teach them responsibility for later on in life too. Maybe you could make it their job to top up the dog’s water bowl, or to put the knives and forks out at dinner time. These responsibilities may only be small, but it’ll help them in so many ways. You could even set up a family rota so your kids always know what they should be doing. You can even start them off while they’re young. For example, letting them help you to sweep up. It might take a little longer, and it might not look as good, but you’re showing them that they can do things. It’ll also make them want to help you more later on!

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Make Sure You Eat Dinner Together

Eating dinner together has so many benefits, and many studies even back this up. For example, it gives your family a chance to spend quality time together. This is so beneficial if you don’t have a lot of time to spend together during the day. You can catch up, share stories, and things like that. Studies show that kids who eat dinner as a family are better behaved and happier too. They may even do better in school! What more reason do you need to eat dinner together?

Encourage Them To Get Active Regularly

Encouraging your kids to get active will get them into the exercise habit while they are young. How about suggesting things to them and letting them try out anything that appeals? This could be dancing, playing a sport, or anything like that. Letting them try things until they find something they really like is a great way to keep them active. They’ll likely be healthier later on in life then, too. Just bear in mind that you shouldn’t get attached to them doing one particular thing. It’s natural for them to want to branch out and try different things. It’s healthy for them, in fact! Remember, there’s no better way to encourage them to get active than to get active yourself. You could even do classes together. Many gyms and places offer yoga and similar classes for kids and parents. Don’t let your kids sit for too long in front of the computer, tablet, or phone. Make sure they get out there and actually move!

These are all essential tips to raising healthy, happy children. You want your children to be healthy and happy in all areas of life. This means physically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy. Make sure you work on yourself as you encourage them. After all, they will look up to you and take the lead from you. They won’t pay any attention if you are telling them one thing and doing another! Do you have anything that you’d like to add to this post? Leave your thoughts and comments below. Thanks for reading!

 

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Finding Your Family’s Normal: Dealing With Special Needs In Your Family

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These days, more and more children are getting diagnosed with special needs. In many ways, this is great, because kids are getting the help they need to be able to tackle the world around them. It isn’t so much that more kids have special needs – more that now they’re being identified and treated as well as possible. But that doesn’t stop special needs like autism and ADHD from presenting their own challenges within your family unit. Here are some tips to help…

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Do Your Research

Make sure you know as much as you can about the additional needs that your child has. That doesn’t mean that you should distrust your doctor and focus on the information on internet forums instead. On the contrary – make sure that you understand everything that your doctor or pediatrician is telling you, and do your own research to expand on those facts when you get home.

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Take What You’re Entitled To

If you’re entitled to money from the government and social security because of the needs that your child has, make sure that you take what you’re entitled to. There’s no point in being too proud – the money is there to help you and your family, and it will help enable your child to live as full a life as they can. If you aren’t getting what you should be and you’re having some problems, talk to a lawyer like David Chermol who specializes in cases like that.

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Educate Other People

Admittedly, explaining your child’s needs to other people might get old very quickly, but nonetheless it can be an important thing to do. If you have an autistic kid who’s having a meltdown in public, explaining quickly that they have autism so they find some parts of ‘normal’ social situations difficult might mean that in the future other parents with kids with special needs might not be judged harshly on first sight. If you can, you could consider working with a charity that helps out other kids with special needs who are in tougher situations than you. Your specialist knowledge will make you an invaluable volunteer.

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Get Tougher

Unfortunately it’s important that you really have it together so that you can best care for your child. People might offer you irritating unsolicited advice and insinuate that you’re not doing everything in your power to help your child, but ultimately you have to remember to stand your ground and stick up for yourself and your family. You may have to push doctors for more suggestions and information, you may have to push the government for more help so you can adapt your home for your kids the best that you can. Now isn’t the time to be softly spoken – fight on behalf of your child. Now isn’t the time to be a mother hen – it’s the time to be a lioness.

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Do What’s Best For Your Family

Remember that ultimately nothing matter except what’s best for you, your child, and the rest of your family. Don’t second guess yourself or listen to people who don’t know what they’re talking about. Trust your instincts and you’ll do the best thing for you.

 

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Practical Things You Can Do In The Home To Support Your Child’s Educational Achievement

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As a parent, we can spend a lot of time instilling in our children how important their education is. We remind them to try their best at school even if they don’t like a subject, and ask the teachers for help when they are unsure of something. But not all of a child’s educational achievement is based on what they do at school. Some things at home can also play a part too. That is why it is vital that as parents we get the home part right, so they have a better chance getting the school part right, on a day to day basis.

Diet

What our kids eat, affects how well they concentrate. That means it is the duty of a parent to ensure that they are supplying them with access to regular healthy meals. Yes, it can be a battle making sure that they have breakfast before they leave the house. But it is such a fantastic way of helping them to maintain their concentration through the day.

Of course, it doesn’t matter that the odd treat or junk food meal should happen from time to time. Remember kids are much more likely to rebel against the rules, if there is no built-in safety valve for the odd misstep here and there.

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Sleep

One of the most vital things you can do at home as a parent, is to make sure that you kids get a good night’s sleep regularly. Both school and being a child is pretty draining, so they need more sleep than adults anyway.

You can improve their sleep time and quality by making their bedrooms pleasant. Paint them in relaxing color of the child’s choice. Get them a good quality bed and check out sites like Best Of Mattress to get some information before you buy. Being comfortable in their bedroom will help them to wake refreshed and full of energy for each day of school.

Rest And Fun Time

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Remember too that ‘all work and no play makes Jonny a dull boy.’ If you are so focused on grades and achievements that all of your child’s time is full up with a study, it can be very damaging.

Firstly no one can study all the time, as eventually, the information will just stop sticking. Everyone needs a rest! Secondly, it will put you child under so much pressure that they will come to resent the studying take up all of their time. Which cause them to be anxious or to lose motivation.

Extra Curricular Activities

Any parent knows that colleges aren’t just looking for children with educational achievements. But they also want to see that they have the necessary character to succeed in a college environment.

This mean that they look on kids that have a job, or that help out in the community favorable. It’s because it shows that they are capable of committing to something and seeing it through. It also indicates that they are varied and balanced individuals who will be able to adapt themselves to the college environment.

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So it can be a good idea to encourage your child to get a job outside of school. Or you could even use your home as a base in which they can help others in the community like feeding programs or clothing drives.

 

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Digital Media Academy Camp Registration Now Open! Save Up to $250

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It seems like summer was just yesterday but the truth is, it’s almost November and next summer will be here before you know it. It’s never to soon to start planning for next summer. Digital Media Academy is celebrating their shiny new website and an exciting new summer camp lineup with deep discounts on all of our course offerings now through November 4th!

Save up to $250 during the Launch Sale and discover exciting new summer camps and courses for your kid or teen ages 6-17. Since 2002, Digital Media Academy has set out to be the thought-leader in tech education for kids, teens and adults at prestigious universities across the U.S. and Canada.

In addition to summer camp programs, DMA offers year-round learning via DMA Online and powers tech ed programs through its curriculum licensing program around the globe. DMA instructors and curriculum developers include industry professionals and outstanding technology educators, with a driving passion for inspiring, teaching, and mentoring.

What will you create this summer? Don’t wait – the Launch Sale ends November 4, 2016!

Balanced Experience

DMA camps offer more than sitting in front of a screen all day. The DMA learning experience strikes a balance between tech time and social time; sending our campers home with new tech skills and confidence and new friends.

Top-Notch Staff

The DMA staff is an impressive group of industry professionals and tech educators who are passionate about sharing their knowledge and experience. Small staff to student ratios keep learning personalized and ensures that no one gets left behind.

Project-Based

Students learn by getting hands on and collaborative in search of solutions to relative, real world problems. Infused with design-thinking methodology, our courses teach students to lead with empathy, test and retest through prototyping, and work as a team to get results.

Safety Matters

Your child’s safety is DMA’s top priority. All DMA staff are trained and certified in CPR and First Aid. Our security procedures ensure that our students are safe on campus, in the classroom, and online so that you don’t ever have to worry.

Learn more here:


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The Changing Face Of Family Entertainment

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Let’s take a little exercise in time travel.

20 Years Ago: When you want to watch a TV show, you first have to find out when it’s on. You go to your local listings, or you grab the sheet of paper you scribbled the time and date down on during an ad for the show. You write to remember it on a to-do list, or jot down the details in your planner.

800px-omroepgidsTV Listings: Image from Wikipedia

Soon, it’s the right time and the right date. You sit down to watch the show, irritated but accustomed to the advert breaks that crop up every so often. If you need to go to the bathroom during the broadcast, you have to miss a little and then hurriedly ask your companions what you missed.

If you can’t be there for the set broadcast time, you can program a recording – but it’s an arduous task that frequently fails. If that doesn’t work, then you’re going to have to wait for a rerun. You could be waiting for a long time.

Today: If you don’t know when a TV show is next on, you run an internet search. You have your answer in something ridiculous like 8.6 seconds. You can set a recording right then and there using a PVR like TiVo, and not have to think about it again. It’s going to record whether you remember it or not, and it can even record future episodes too.

You can watch it at your leisure. You can pause it if you need to do something, or watch it six months after broadcast.

If you somehow forget to set a recording, then that’s no problem. You have a huge selection of streaming options, meaning you can be watching it in a few clicks of your mouse. You don’t miss TV shows unless you intend to do so; all you need to do is find the time. The rest of it has been taken care of.

It’s somehow difficult to believe that the two above examples are separated by only two decades. The entertainment industry has been revolutionized, and those growing up now will have no idea what it was like beforehand.

We’re often told that TV is a bad thing, but this is a very modern notion. Back in the 18th century when novels for pleasure first became popular, there was uproar about them. They would distract people from their work and their religion, naysayers insisted. They would promote idleness! They were damaging people’s intellect!

If those arguments sound familiar, it’s because they’re identical to what people now say about television. Fast forward 200 years and all of a sudden books are promoted as the preference and TV is demonized. It’s hard not to wonder what will replace TV in years to come. “If only they were watching more episodes of Dora the Explorer…”

So long as the rest of your life is balanced – you spend time outside, you have hobbies and your kids have varied interests – then TV is fine. It’s a viable way of consuming an art form. For some reason, we’re comfortable describing movies and theater as art, but their small screen cousin gets a rougher ride.

People have always wanted escapism, from the early dialogue plays in Ancient Greece to the Globe Theatre in Shakespeare’s day. We can’t be serious all the time. It’s not going to inherently damage you or your children just because you watch TV.

With an eased conscience and the desire to get the most from your viewing, it can be tricky to keep up with the technological changes. There’s now so many different services, and it’s almost impossible to tell what’s offering the best deal. But never fear – there is a way through it, a guide that even busy parents can use to bring their viewing habits right up-to-date.

Tip 1: You’re going to need a good internet connection.

While this isn’t necessary for TiVo and similar systems, it is beneficial. It’s also a problem. Broadband – never mind fiber – coverage in the US is not the greatest compared to other countries. When you do have it, it’s also more expensive. A study found that for comparable speeds, USA customers could pay up to three times more than their British and French counterparts. Ouch!

The problem is scale. America is such a vast country, and it’s taking awhile to catch up to modern usage. Cities have generally good coverage, but the further out into the sticks you get, the worse things are. And if you want to get your TV pleasures, then that’s a problem.

3280328336_12b396fcce_oThe Old Familiar Buffering Screen: Image from Flickr

One of the most affordable ways of getting good coverage is to combine a package that covers your home communication needs. This means bringing your TV, broadband and home phone all under the same roof. There are a variety of different companies who offer this, and there are discounts to be had if you’re prepared to haggle and switch around.

Don’t think you have to go with the same old companies either. There are even ways you can get extras like home monitoring included if you go with the kind of company that can combine it all. The more that’s brought together, the higher the chance of a good deal. So keep an open mind, make sure you do your research; for example, view Suddenlink.com for more information.

Tip 2: Figure out what you need.

Most of the time, a combination TV deal is going to be the best option. It’s also one of the easiest, with just one company to deal with rather than juggling several. You’re also more likely to be rewarded for being a loyal customer, and if you have problems, there’s one central place to fix it all.

If for some reason that’s not an option, however, you can turn your mind to subscription streaming channels.

Think of three of the most popular TV shows of recent years: Breaking Bad, Mad Men and Game of Thrones. While you can combine these in a television package that provides them all, it’s going to be expensive.

One of most cost-effective methods is to use streaming services, once you’ve got your broadband sorted. These have the upside of being commitment-free, so if you’re a bit short one month, you can cancel and save the cash. But they also have the same problem: different channel providers for different shows. To watch the three mentioned above, it may be three separate streaming subscription services.

If you can afford that, go for it. But sometimes it’s wise to exercise a little caution. Sit down with your family, and equip everyone with a notepad and pen. Everyone should write down three TV shows they can’t live without then three they would love to have but aren’t essential. Then it’s time to compare and contrast, and see how many of the “must” shows you can get ticked off with one package.

There’ll be debating and arguments, but if you can find a package that brings two out of three essential for each family member, you’re on to a winner. Remember, going without doesn’t mean those shows will never be seen, as we explain…

Tip 3: Remember your options; tech isn’t always better!

So let’s say for the shows above, you’ve got two of your essentials, but you’re missing one. That doesn’t mean you never get to see it; it just means you have to be prepared to wait a little while.

You can still purchase a boxset on DVD or BluRay when it comes out. That might seem strange as it’s an additional expense, so why not pay a subscription cost?

5505566718_fc38b3c811_zTV Box Sets For All The Family?: Image from Flickr

Break it down and the answer is clear. A standard season of a TV show is usually 22 episodes, which is usually spread over around 30 weeks, with breaks for holidays. So if you’re paying $10 a month for your subscription service, it’s going to cost $70 and change. A DVD box set on the other hand is around $40, so it’s a massive saving, and you get to keep the physical copies.

Tip 4: Parental Lock

When you open up your viewing habits, the chance for kids seeing something you’d rather they didn’t opens up too.

Most PVR devices will allow you to configure a parental lock, meaning a PIN code has to be entered before viewing. Activate this, and change the code regularly – if your kid figures it out, they’re not likely to tell you! Switching it up means the protection stays in place. Do the same with your Wifi password if you’re concerned about them streaming, so you’ll always have an idea of what’s happening.

You’re not being a bad, helicopter parent if you do this – you’re taking sensible precautions. It’s always better to go too far than risk your child being exposed to something you’d rather they weren’t.

So with a few phone calls and a bit of research, you can drag your viewing habits right up-to-date. It’s been said we’re living in a golden age of TV, so go ahead and make the most of it.

 

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