IN THE WAKE OF THE STORM

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Last week we were hit with a severe storm that saw major damage to people’s property through trees toppling over, water damage from driving rain and king tides and high winds literally tossing boats up onto the shore. Thousands of homes and businesses lost power as trees were uprooted and infrastructure was devastated.

We were in the lucky few that didn’t lose power, however the kid’s school was closed for two days. My kids were in seventh heaven! I guess it is akin to those in the northern hemisphere getting a ‘snow day’, although even more rare, because in my living history I don’t ever recall schools closing because of a storm.

Our home became a revolving door for people (those who weren’t trapped in their homes because of fallen trees) to shower, recharge electronics, refrigerate food and do washing. We averaged 16 for dinner each night and had multiple people bunking down to sleep. Whilst it was an anxious time with everyone on high alert as to what damage might next occur, my kids were largely oblivious to the carnage mother nature had caused and instead saw it as a mini-holiday with a house-full of guests.

Other people told me how it had brought them together as a family as they had to interact without electronics and play old-fashioned board games by candlelight due to the lack of power.

The local SES (State Emergency Service) workers and those working for the local power company worked tirelessly to clear fallen trees and reconnect power and services.

It was nice to see that when times were tough, our community pulled together to assist one another.

From my kid’s perspective however, they would have preferred if the school’s power could have been left disconnected for an extra few days!

(Photo courtesy of George Stojkovic, freedigitalphotos.net)

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APP-PALLING WASTE OF TIME  

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My youngest children use the same Apple ID as me so I can keep track of the apps they want to download onto their devices. This gives me the total discretion to decide whether the game/app is suitable and stops them from having open slather to purchase or download apps as they please.

The flip side to having them using the same Apple ID, means that the apps get automatically downloaded onto my devices. I don’t mind this, as it actually allows me to use the app to see that the description of the app has been accurate and that it is appropriate for my kids. The downside of ‘checking out’ these apps, is that I find myself spending hours playing these addictive little games that my kids enjoy.

Last Christmas I took great delight in ‘Elfing’ myself and watching my over-sized head on some phenomonal hip-hop dancer’s body grooving to a funky christmas carol. Come on – admit it – you did it too! Or if you didn’t, you should as it really is worth the chuckle!

The latest craze for my kids is a game called ‘Crossy Road’ where you try to get a pixilated chicken to cross the road without getting hit by a car. Simple and boring I hear you say – but no! It’s addicitive because you are sure you can beat your prior record. First the chicken wants to cross a road, then there’s a trainline and eventually a stream. Just when your brain is telling you to grow up and get on with real life, you win a cow. Then it’s a whole new game! You now want to get the cow to cross the road. It’s embarrassing that I’m entertained by such a simple game!

I have come to the conclusion that these apps are appropriate for my kids, just not for me as I find myself wasting time on trivial games. I have however worked out the riddle ‘Why did the chicken cross the road?’ – the answer, so you can win a cow!

Please tell me I’m not alone – let me know if you too have been sucked into the vortex of time wasting games, in the interest of researching them for your kids!

(Picture courtesy of Stuart Miles, freedigitalphotos.net)

BIG MOTHER

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My teenage daughters enjoy watching ‘Big Brother’, so I have seen snippets of the show in passing. This week, in an effort to inject a bit of fun (and less nagging) into our household, I adapted a task from that show to get my kids to do as they are asked.

The premise is simple – ‘Big Mother’ (my alter ego for this week) will offer the housemates (aka my kids) the opportunities to do tasks (ie. chores). They each only have one chance to not immediately complete their task or they are eliminated from the competition.

At the end of the week, the remaining housemates who have completed all tasks are involved in a cash grab. I will stand at a balustrade from our second storey and each housemate will get an opportunity to catch $5 notes that I throw down. My husband and I practiced the cash grab to make sure that you can actually catch some money, but that it is challenging enough that hopefully the kids won’t catch too much!

The kids and I have been having great fun as I periodically call out to one child or another “This is Big Mother. Please report to the bathroom, you have 3 minutes to brush your teeth – do you accept this task?” or “All housemates, please report to the dining room.” For fun I even add in a few fun tasks, like when I asked my daughter if she would accept the task of doing 10 star jumps!

So far, this week has seen the kids being attentive and chores being done promptly. I’m all for thinking outside the box to come up with new and interesting schemes to get my children to do as they are told. Maybe I should start watching ‘Big Brother’ regularly to get more inspiration to help manage the kids.

What wacky schemes have you used to motivate your kids?

(Picture courtesy of nirots, freedigitialphotos.net)

SPOTTO

As I pack the car to head off for a few days at a farm stay, I am thinking about how the kids will be amused on the trip there and home

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It occurred to me that there is not enough recognition for those selfless people out there who purposely purchase ugly bright yellow cars to provide entertainment to kids on car trips. My kids can’t drive past a yellow car without yelling ‘Spotto’. Where this game began and how it became part of everyday car trips is a mystery to me, but if it keeps the kids focused on something other than elbowing their siblings then I’m more than happy to play.

When there is a drought in yellow cars, we play the number plate game, making up silly sentences out of the letters on number plates, eg. GEB may be Giants Eat Boogers; Go Easy Baboon or Gassy Echidnas Burp!

Another favourite game we play with the kids to pass the time on car trips is the ‘Yes and No’ game. It’s simple, you ask them questions and talk to them. If they say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ (or yeah, nup, aha etc) they are out. To put a modern spin on it for our teenagers, I add in the word ‘Like’. It is such a huge effort for them to not use this word, as like, you know, it’s like, really hard to think of like, words other than that!!!

When we are really bored, we play the number game (I’m thinking of a number between one and one hundred). The winner is the one who takes the least guesses to get the number.

By the time we have made it through these games, it is time to put on a movie to distract the kids for the rest of the journey.  I guess the old adage, ‘Time flies when your having fun,’ is true, because travelling with children in the confined space of a car without any distraction drags on interminably! 

 

 

 

(photo courtesy of freedigitalphoto.net)