Jeez what a day!

So I am all set now for the start of the Holiday Challenge and one of my brain waves was to go to the local swimming pool to get some widths in to provide a kick start to my cardio for the week, but I could not have been more wrong, if you imagine being stuck on the London underground in rush hour, up to your waist in warm water semi naked (as is a swimmers want) that is exactly what we walked into, I can assure you however close the analogy there are a lot more awkward moments when you are wearing a swimming costume in close proximity to others than when you are in a business suit!

However my daughters loved it, and managed to thoroughly enjoy the slides and chutes as well as the wild water section where an artificial current drags you round a circular pool, one thing that made me laugh was given the close proximity of parents and children funnelled into a whirlpool you really had to look twice to make sure you still had hold of the same child at the end as at the start! but I finally made my way from the play pool to the main boring square one that had no slides, chutes, flumes, whirlpools or plastic dragons firing water at me from varying angles, and so despite the odd cannonball from an over excited child ( usually my eldest daughter ) I managed to get some swimming done before setting off back home for a family barbeque.

I have cooked on a barbeque previously but only for us and relatively small quantities of food, so the prospect of cooking for the in-laws as well was frightening, I was further shaken by all forums and instructions on the NET stating that the charcoal was ready to cook on when it was covered in grey dust and the grill could maintain a steady temperature of 250 degrees, nowhere and I mean nowhere did it make reference to the charcoal being 50/50 black and grey and the temperature a good steady 300 degrees (largely because that was as high as the gauge read) while being put under pressure by a line of people with plates of raw meat, so I just took a chance and cooked on it open, and despite having slightly thinner eyebrows and a stronger facial tan the whole thing was a success.

we even managed to get some gardening out of the in-laws, which is a bonus because I am far from green fingered, and the disapproving looks, sighs of disappointment and the more than occasional exclamation of sheer surprise at the wife’s and my gardening skills is a small price to pay for transformation they seem to be able to make in only the time it takes me to cook a chicken breast to the point that I have to identify it to my daughter as she is picking what she wants to eat.

I am having my before photos done tonight as well as the Mrs did point out that for a fitness and finance blog I have only two pictures of me to illustrate that I have made any progress at all! and as yet nothing on finance, but in my defence I still haven’t found any financial that is worth talking about!

So if you read down this far, thank you, and I will catch up again later.

main Photo by Min An from Pexels

Children and iPad’s when is it enough?

The world is changing and as always Children are just changing along with it, without question and without a hitch so it would seem, if anything I feel jealous sometimes that my kids adapt to new technology and within a very short period of time are using the new gadget or application with the ease of a seasoned pro, they can do this because they do not resist change, life for them has been constant fast paced change and they are comfortable with it, no sooner can they walk and talk as they are then put into pre-schools, people come people go and they are constantly introduced to new experiences and toys to assist their learning, by definition parents on the other hand tend to be at least a generation away and have, if nothing else gotten used to a slower pace of life, we have settled into jobs / careers found somewhere to live and our interests and hobbies are all pretty much fixed by the time we consider having children, actually it is often this particular milestone that triggers the conversations about having kids.

So we start to resist changes, we look with suspicion at gadgets and apps as they appear on the market, and with confusion at the latest craze to sweep over our children from YouTube or TikTok or whatever the current craze is, but these differences just flow into and out of their lives with ease.

Children will literally spend hours staring at a screen.

They do not have the normal indicators that they have spent time on the devices though, their schedules are still dictated by us the parent, and I would be lying if I said that I haven’t found it easier to get things done when the girls are sat happily wandering down a YouTube spiral or making videos and editing them to share with friends.

But of course that is flawed because it is easy for us to lose track of time and before you know it hours have gone by and all you have seen of them is the back of the iPad or phone, the reaction is usually to tell them to stop playing with the devices and go out and play, or at the very least do something different, today I did this very thing and was horrified when they both stood outside in the garden looking a little lost, my youngest daughter wanted to play a game with her sister but she was sulking a little brought on (I suspect by the manor in which she was asked to put the iPad down and go out and play) so my youngest became very frustrated and chaos began to ensue, the problem was that they had no real alternative easily at hand, the virtual worlds that our children disappear into are so vast and colourful offering the ability to manipulate their surroundings at will and offer instant gratification that they are honestly a hard act to follow, but instead of getting just as stressed as they were I bundled them in the car and drove to a local bargain store and let them choose a selection of toys to play with back at home, I was surprised at how engaged they were, they picked and we headed home with inflatable limbo, a cricket set and some devices that you swing round your ankle and attempt to skip over with the other foot, as well as hula hoops.

A far cry from the 4k HD screens they had been so upset to leave these things grabbed their imaginations the way they always would have done before iPads came along, they were bright, fun, and cheap there was no requirement to be careful with them they were their to have fun and possibly more importantly they worked better if you had somebody there to play with.

The afternoon went amazingly they played and apart from one relapse where my youngest had a minute on the iPad before putting it down to see what her sister was doing (she ultimately found a lot more fun in knocking over the Limbo pole as her sister was going under it) there was very few tears and they went to bed tired and happy.

We cannot remove these devices from our children completely, I know there are several schools of thought on the subject but it seems impossible to me and as far as I am concerned it would be damaging, information is imparted through these devices, our children are educated and inspired through them, and they will only play a bigger and bigger role in their futures, to deny them this would be to isolate them from their peer groups at best and at worst completely cut them off from career paths / life skills that they will need in the very near future, an indicator of just how fast we have moved from when I was a child, I can remember a VCR with a remote control on a wire being amazing, the ultimate in luxury, in contrast when my youngest daughter was three she became very frustrated that the TV screen didn’t react to her pressing it, as she just expected to be able to navigate the menus by touch, I still have issues picking up the phone in case a get an automated answering service at the other end, whereas they will happily have entire conversations with Siri.

My point is that we should not be scared of the focus and fascination that they exhibit with these devices, and nor should we take it personally when we try and speak to them and get a mere grunt of recognition, children will do fun things 100 percent and if we observe it we get the same response when they are engaged in physical games or playing with friends absent of any devices.

There is a balance inherent in life with all things and this is just another example of finding that balance, but while everybody at the minute seems to be vilifying tablets and phones in the hands of children we tend to forget that it is us that has put these devices in their hands and we need to remember that we need to moderate their use, as well as be responsible for securing these devices, and a good engaging alternative will smooth the way.

Children, our pupils and teachers.

Children can and do ask the strangest questions and their world can fall apart at the slightest drop of a hat, and we as adults, all caught up with trying to run a home a life and look out for the best interests of our children and significant others sometimes find these episodes a little testing, and that is without trying to fit in the reading of another blog!

Life does demand our full attention there is no getting away from that, but life is not just what we do for a living, what we want to do for a living or what is fed to us through tiny handheld 4k super hd screens, it is the mere act of living and breathing and what ever else we happen to be facing at the time.

So this explains why our children often overreact to situations or need our support for seemingly inconsequential things, they do not worry about work, the car or house payments and they certainly do not worry about their progress becoming rich or a Superhuman! so to them when a fly comes to close to their ice cream they are devastated, when they are being asked to eat something that they don’t like it is a life or death struggle (even if we know it is soo much better for them than their choice of Chicken Nuggets and Chips) but we still sit and shake our heads and in some cases (I know I have) actually ask them why it is so hard to eat a yogurt?

This actually presents us with a huge and rare opportunity to be problem solvers, to be a God, if only for the 2 minutes it takes them to forget what they were upset about, and to further cement the relationship between you and the most important people in your life, because you can swat the fly or chase it away, and to your child you have become a hero, you may as well have swooped down on a great green dragon and slain the beast where it stood, and imagine if you went in to work and your boss pulled you to one side and said “the company is going under we will all be out of work and have our houses repossessed unless you put this hat on and run around the garden with a stick pretending it is a gun”, twenty minutes later the world is saved and it was you that did it.

And our children do not take without giving either, in return if we listen really close we can hear a very clear lesson, a situation is as bad as we decide it is, and the vast majority of the time it is not as bad as we think it is going to be, so next time you feel that the world is caving in and you do not know how to proceed, just stop and close your eyes, and reduce the problem in your mind to what it actually is, just as the fly is not going to steal the ice cream and then take the remainder from the freezer rendering your child’s world ice cream free forever I would be willing to bet that majority of the situations we face everyday are not as big as we make them internally.

And every time you get the chance to save your child from a hell bent insect, or cure tears and a broken heart by running around the garden flapping your arms do so, because if at any point we lose touch with the ones we love then all the late nights and early mornings, all the trailing through blogs like this one looking for inspiration and guidance are for nothing, money alone does not make good company.

So solve the problems be a god, and put them to bed to rest, then smash the hell out of improving all your lives beyond any of your wildest dreams!

Photo by Thierry Fillieul from Pexels