Children And Screens Encourages Children To “LOOK UP” As They Enter The New School Year

Summer break is almost over, and children around the country are getting ready to go back to school. It’s an exciting time, but it can also be stressful as students anticipate who their friends will be, what their classes will be like, and how they will feel on their first day back. It can also be a trying time for parents, who face a growing list of challenges in today’s digital world as social media, mobile phones, and other technologies take on an ever-increasing role in their child’s life. 
“For child health and well-being, screen time can be a double-edged sword,” explains Dr. Pamela Hurst-Della Pietra, founder of the international interdisciplinary research organization Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development. “We all agree that digital devices can be tremendously useful for information, communication, entertainment, and some social interaction. Adolescents can use the online world to explore peer relationships and develop their identities. Yet, this new digital childhood presents increased opportunities for addiction, isolation, social rejection and comparison, distraction, and digital cruelty. These experiences can contribute to anxiety, sleep deprivation, depression, decreased academic performance, and more.”  
Children and Screens wants to help families across America have a safe and enjoyable school year. That’s why they encourage children to “LOOK UP” and ask parents to consider the following tips as they prepare for back to school. 
L = Learning. Ensure that media use is targeted, thoughtful, and developmentally appropriate. It should actively support learning both in the classroom and at home. 
  • How much of the curriculum is online? Does the school offer digital citizenship and digital literacy programs?
  • What special training do teachers receive for instruction using educational technology?
  • What is the school’s cell phone policy? What is the school policy around cyberbullying?
  • What content is accessible? Do in-school devices use child-friendly search engines and apps?
  • Does the school enable firewalls and block inappropriate websites or distracting games?
O = Openness. Understand what digital tools your child has access to at school and how computers are being used in the classroom. 
  • Advise and guide your child on what is appropriate online behavior. Be open to discussing your child’s concerns.
  • Be clear about what is acceptable online behavior, especially at school. 
  • Have an open discussion about the importance of avoiding distraction and keeping focused when using digital devices in the classroom.    
O = Ownership. Give your child agency over his or her devices at home and in school.
  • Explain the power of technology’s persuasive design to distract and attract. When in class or studying, notifications, alerts, and banners should be disabled. 
  • Encourage your child to keep his or her mobile phone in the backpack or locker throughout the school day. 
K = Knowledge. Understand different aspects of your child’s online interactions, including video games, social media, online videos, and texts. 
  • Talk regularly about your child’s internet use including public (and private) profiles, the information he or she is learning about, and any problems he or she is experiencing online, such as cyberbullying. 
  • Teach your child how to be media literate and think critically about the information he or she accesses, including the source and intention behind the content.  
U = Usage. Ask yourself what part of your child’s day is spent playing, learning, communicating, and being entertained on and offline, and for how long? Quantity, quality, variety, and the time, place, and manner of consumption all matter. Prioritize how you want your child to spend his or her time. 
  • Establish a healthy media diet with your child. Ensure usage is appropriately timed during the day and does not inhibit sleep, face-to-face communication, studying, or physical activities.  
  • Set device-free zones such as the bedroom, car, or dinner table to promote connection and conversation. Check with your school to see if there are device-free zones there as well.  
  • Lead by example: be mindful to limit your own digital media use around your child. 
  • Digital media use should be restricted for at least one hour prior to bedtime. Charge devices in a central location overnight and replace your child’s phone alarm with a traditional alarm clock. 
  • Utilize existing tools like parental monitoring and control apps to set boundaries and keep up to date on your child’s life online. Additionally, you can contact your service provider to disable your home WiFi for your child’s devices after bedtime.  
P = Protection. As a parent, you need to be concerned about your child’s cyber safety at school as well as at home. Attending your school’s PTA meetings and talking with your district’s IT team are great ways to learn about school technology safety policies and procedures.  
  • How is your child's online academic data being stored and used? Is the information being scrambled at the district level so that outside companies including educational apps cannot store, use, and share your child’s data? 
  • Teach your child to create secure passwords and online accounts that do not display personally identifying information, and discuss what is private and what is appropriate to search or share online, especially on school-owned devices. 
  • Model and guide your child to use caution when using another device, downloading files, connecting to public WiFi, turning on AirDrop, or visiting unknown websites to prevent spam, malware, and inappropriate content.  
“Digital life is rife with both opportunities and risks for our children,” said Carrie James, PhD, Harvard Graduate School of Education. “It’s also here to stay. Supporting children and teens in this landscape means that we need to lean in to both the good stuff and the challenges. LOOK UP offers a valuable touchstone for parents as they navigate the what and how of parenting in today’s connected world.” 
About Children and Screens
Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development is a 501(c)(3) national non-profit organization founded by Dr. Pamela Hurst-Della Pietra, who has spent her career in public service ranging from non-profit development, medicine and philanthropy devoted to children and adolescents. She started Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development in 2013 to provide a forum for researchers, clinicians, and other experts from a wide variety of disciplines to meet, collaborate, and share research; advance funding in the study of digital media’s effects on children; and provide parents and educators with the resources and answers they need to raise happy and healthy children in the digital age.

Top 5 must-have items students need to live on their own

Home Hardware experts identify essential products for students making the big move 

As the end of summer draws nearer, thousands of students are anxiously gearing up to live on their own for the first time as they head off to college or university.

In addition to the fun and excitement that comes with the big move, adulting can be daunting for teenagers leaving the nest. Whether they’re moving into residence or off-campus housing, getting organized and equipped with the essentials can make the transition go a lot smoother.

Home Hardware has been helping outfit Canadians across the country with top-quality home supplies for more than 55 years. Here are a few must-have items Home Hardware experts say every student needs to navigate their first year of independence:

1) Toiletries Kit

Shared bathrooms are a staple of life in student residences and off-campus housing, which means there’s not usually room to store personal belongings. Having a proper case or bag to bring your toiletries – toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, etc. – from your room to the washroom is more than just a convenience; it’s a necessity.

2) Cleaning Supplies

Students living in residence generally have it easier when it comes to cleaning than those in off-campus housing because school custodial staff do much of the work. But even in residence, students will be required to take care of their own rooms. Having a few essentials make tidying less of a chore. Home Hardware recently launched a cleaning tool that can single-handedly take on most students worst disastors. The Duop Cleaning Solution has reinvented the mop hinge, replacing it with a ball and socket design that enables you to easily clean any surface in your home — floors, walls, windows, ceilings, no matter the surface or materials. Perfect for students who have little time, the Duop is an ideal solution for students looking to keep their home-away-from-home spotless.

3) Mini Fridge

Even with meal plans and roommates who love to cook, it’s still recommended you bring along your own personal mini fridge for your room to keep essentials like water, fruit, left-overs and other snacks. Mini fridges don’t take up much room and they also give you another surface to store supplies.

4) Power Gear

Residence rooms and bedrooms don’t necessarily have electrical outlets where you want them, especially if the room is doubling as a place for students to sleep and do school work. It’s a good idea to bring a few smart plugs with usb ports to give yourself flexibility to plug in essential electronics exactly where you want them.

5) Laundry Supplies

Chances are most students living on their own for the first time will be handling all of their own laundry for the first time. Most residences have laundry facilities on site, but you still need a laundry basket or bag that can be packed away between loads. It’s recommended to bring the other laundry basics – detergent, fabric softener and dryer sheets – so you don’t have to spend more on individual serving supplies.

About Home Hardware Stores Limited

Home Hardware Stores Limited is Canada's largest Dealer-owned hardware, lumber, building materials, and furniture home improvement retailer with close to 1,100 stores under the Home Hardware, Home Building Centre, Home Hardware Building Centre and Home Furniture banners. Founded in 1964 in rural St. Jacobs, Ontario, Home Hardware remains 100% Canadian owned and operated. Through the Home Hardware network, Dealer-Owners have access to 66,000 quality, brand name and private label products, a state-of-the-art distribution system and extensive marketing and training programs. Offering a mix of tradition and innovation, Home Hardware Stores Limited has received designation as one of Canada's Best Brands and Best Managed Companies and is committed to helping Canadians with all their project needs. More information about the company is available at

Want to Work From Home? There May Be Some Pitfalls.

Studies, surveys, and census information show that about 8 million Americans work from home at least part of the week.  This amount is considerably higher today than it was back in the early 2000s. This section of the workforce is expected to grow in the coming years as online resources continue catering to this setup. The improvement of internet connectivity, collaborative applications, and software, as well as the proliferation of studies showing increases in employee productivity when working from home, have contributed to the general change of mind on this work/lifestyle choice. 

But is working from home for everybody? What characteristics make for a more successful remote employee? What are some of the drawbacks for individuals working at home? 

Dr. Sanam Hafeez is a Neuropsychologist in NYC with a Faculty Appointment at Columbia University. She points out that “as online tools and telecommuting become more commonplace, more conversations need to be had about what characteristics and job responsibilities a team member needs to have in order to carry out their duties successfully while working from home.”

Dr. Hafeez explains that not all personalities are the same and that employees need to be assessed in order to “determine where they would, not only feel happiest but also be more productive.” 

Here Is What You Should Take Into Account If You Are Thinking Of Working Remotely:  

  1. Isolation

Everyone who has ever had to wake up to go to work on a Monday with little sleep, low energy or a personal issue gnawing at their mind, has felt the annoyance of having to go to the office and attend a Monday meeting. This does not mean, however, that working from home is ideal for you, explains Dr. Sanam Hafeez.  “Nearly everyone will experience that feeling of wanting to stay home instead of heading into work. For the majority of people going to work adds meaning and stimulation to their day. Introverts may have an easier time acclimating to the lack of human interaction in a work-from-home situation, but for extroverts, the lack of camaraderie and the isolation they may feel at home may be an essential deterrent that leads them to opt for an on-site position,” says Dr. Hafeez. In a 2-year Standford University study on productivity and remote work, more than half of the study group felt too isolated at home and indicated their change of heart when it came to working from home 100 percent of the time. 

  1. Little Separation of Home and Work

Home is where the heart is. For many of us, opening the door to our house or apartment after a long day brings a feeling of calmness from the constant stimuli of the workday. “For people who consistently work at home there might be issues separating work from play, rest and family,” says Dr. Hafeez. For an organized person who can confine their work to an established workstation within the home, this might be less of an issue but for those of us who study in bed, or like to work on the dinner table or couch this presents a challenge. “Sleep Hygiene is one of the areas where this also comes to play because our bed should be for sleep and sex.  If you are scattering papers across the place you sleep and spending hours upon hours working in bed, there is no signaled change to the brain that the bed is for sleep.  Making it difficult later on to wind down,” explains Dr. Hafeez. 

  1. Distractions

A cardinal rule for determining whether to work at home or in the office should always be, know thyself. “This means you are being honest with yourself as to your abilities to navigate and ignore temptations and distractions on your own without the structure of an office and team environment,” says Dr. Hafeez. People who are self-disciplined tend to do well working from home because their personality is conducive to holding themselves accountable. But if you know that in the absence of a manager or co-workers you would fall victim to distractions like the TV, food, or other to-do items, then choosing to stay in office may be an important self-reflective decision you need to make for you and your career. 

  1. The Dependance of Family on Your Time

One problem with working at home if you have a lot of dependents or people that count on you is the perception to those around you that you are not busy. “This means that if you are at home and something comes up, even if not urgent, you may be asked to deal with it,” warns Dr. Hafeez. This is something to consider and a conversation to be had with those you care about. People who are people-pleasers may have a difficult time adhering to their work in a moment when someone they care about needs a favor. If you still decide to work from home “consider having systems in place to deal with needs that come up. Such systems might include pharmacy delivery services, food delivery and medical transport for older adults. This may help in navigating some issues,” suggests Dr. Hafeez. 

  1. A Decrease In Company Rapport

For those of us with an invested interest in growing within a company and investing in our career, working from home may not be the best choice in lieu of an office option. While many companies are growing off of a collaborative and entrepreneurial spirit of remote work, companies that have headquartered spaces need people present. “Presence breeds familiarity and familiarity drives rapport,” affirms Dr. Hafeez. If a big client crisis happens, the first to know are those in the office, and if you are at home, working remotely, you might lose out on the opportunity to give your input. While people who are great multitaskers may still be able to navigate these types of situations by checking in with the in-office team regularly, those who tend to stick to their to-do list and work more reactively may find themselves plateauing with the company after some time. 

About Dr. Sanam Hafeez: 

Dr. Sanam Hafeez PsyD is an NYC based licensed clinical neuropsychologist,

a teaching faculty member at the prestigious Columbia University

Teacher’s College and the founder and Clinical Director of

Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services, P.C. a

neuropsychological, developmental and educational center in Manhattan

and Queens. Dr. Hafeez masterfully applies her years of experience

connecting psychological implications to address some of today’s

common issues such as body image, social media addiction,

relationships, workplace stress, parenting and psychopathology (bipolar,

schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, etc…). In addition, Dr. Hafeez works

with individuals who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),

learning disabilities, attention and memory problems, and abuse. Dr.

Hafeez often shares her credible expertise to various news outlets in

New York City and frequently appears on CNN and Dr.Oz. Connect with

her via Instagram @drsanamhafeez or

Make Great Summer Memories

It’s drawing to a close after two months of nothing but children all up in your space! Parents everywhere are thrilled September is just around the corner. I find I am trying to pack as many memory making moments as I can into the last couple weeks of summer! 

Some of our favourites are creating art, hanging out at the beach with family, bbqs, hiking, biking and enjoying the beautiful Okanagan! 

One of the biggest hits this year was painting with squirt guns! The kids loved the canvases at the end and you can do it with all ages. You can find all the materials at Dollar Tree for next to nothing. 

We are so lucky we live in such a gorgeous town with tons of beaches. We enjoy swimming in Okanagan Lake and basking in the hot sun. You can bring a picnic or bbq lunch and spend the entire day next to the water. Taking photos makes for some super cute memories that you can enjoy for years to come. 

Hiking and biking is a great way to connect with nature and each other. It helps kids to learn the importance of staying in shape and aids in getting to know nature. This seems to be something that kids are disconnecting with regularly these days so any way I can help reconnect them makes me feel great. 

Check out my great article on how to throw an amazing end of summer party for under $100! 

Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest for more amazing ways to live your best life while saving money! 

Scrapbooking - 5 Reasons People Are Obsessed With It!

Some would describe scrapbooking as happiness through a homemade style. It is an arts and crafts project that will simply make you feel more useful and satisfied. If you have a lot of free time on your hands and feel like you need to do something creative, you should definitely give a chance to scrapbooking.

You'll have a lot of time with it, and it will definitely keep one of the most precious moments in your life. Besides, you won't need a lot of items to complete your scrapbook. All you need is an empty book with blank pages, pictures, scissors, glue, and a die cutting machine. Everything else you can leave it to your imagination.  

Some might think that this is a boring idea, but this is where they’re wrong. For those that are not so into arts and crafts and without inspiration, they won’t have to go through all of that trouble to make a scrapbook. But for those that want to experience new and fun homemade things, they should definitely start with scrapbooking. Click hereYou’ll end up having a lot of time and continue with the process day after day. Here are some of the reasons why people love to do this: 

Photos and memories

Isn't it better for your pictures to have a home instead of staying on your phone when you can easily erase them? Memories are important. Time goes by, and maybe your kids and grandkids would want to look at old pictures of your life. You won't be able to show them on your phone because you will probably delete them by that time. But having a scrapbook of your own can make them more interested in finding out more about your life. Scrapbooks can be quite colorful and pleasing to look at. You can decorate it with different shapes and designs made by dies.

Different styles

A lot of people have taste in different things. Your scrapbook will surely differ from the one your friend has. But that's what so fun about it. You can use your imagination and creativity to make one based on your taste and style. You are free to do whatever you want with it. It will be like your own personal art project that can be beautified only by your wishes and desires. It's pretty cool, isn't it? And under each picture you place, you can write stories and dates. That way, you will always remember the moment.

Better photographer

If your goal is to make an aesthetically looking scrapbook, then you will surely devote more time into how you take pictures. You will want to make them as beautiful as they can be before you glue them into the book.

Once you take the photos, you can easily edit them to correct a few mistakes and add some filters on them so they will look artsier. As a finishing touch, decorate the photo with a gorgeous frame of die-cutting paper to make it more appealing. You can find these types of machines easily, and they are not so expensive. Check out the link for more

Creativity and relaxation

Every time you have a great idea, you can use it to beautify your book. Not many are aware of this, but cutting out pictures and gluing them together on blank pages is an extremely calming process. There's nothing involved in the process that will make you feel frustrated and angry.

If anything, it will make you a true artist with visions and ideas. Also, something that is done by your hands it will have more value for you. You'll treasure the book for a very long time because it will last until the day you die.


As mentioned above, photos and memories are important. You can easily forget something special as life goes by. If you don’t want to do that, then start gluing your favorite moments in the scrapbook. This way, you can revisit the moments over and over again and remember how happy you were.

A lot of things change during your life. You might not have some of these moments you had in the past. That's why it is essential to keep them glued in inside your favorite album.

What Makes The Alfresco Blinds Special?

Global warming affects us all in numerous manners. We can do our bit by insulating our place to stay comfortable. In the absence of any such insulation, we end up by spending more energy to maintain thetemperature of the indoor place.
At a personal level, we want to remain protected from the adverse climatic conditions and their harsh effects on our health. Windows of our house or office play a crucial role in this regard because they bring in fresh air but also provide the inlet to the heat of summer or cold air in winter resulting in huge discomfort and rising energy bills in trying to control the temperatures inside the rooms
Therefore, blinds are the best protection against harsh climatic effects at a pocket friendly budget by preventing heat transmission

What DAlfresco Blinds Do?

They keep the temperature under control
Alfresco blinds control the inside temperature by not allowing hot or cold air of the outside to get in or to go out. 
Keep energy bills down
You can install the alfresco blinds to restrict the increasing electric bill. It can keep the temperature of the room comfortable and help you to cut down the use of the cooling and heating devices that consume a huge electricity unit.  
Beautifies the place
These are so nicely designed by the modern manufacturing companies that the beauty of the entire room gets enhanced by the installation of alfresco blinds. They are good value addition to your property. Style and colors play crucial role in the choice of the blind. They give a new look to the place. 

Things Tkeep IMind While Choosing The Blinds:

When you are going to choose the perfect alfresco blinds for your place, you should not miss some important facts that can help you to get the best value of your investment. 
It is not every other day when we go on changing our blinds. One has tolook for the quality of the material used in making of the blind. You should give the prime importance to the sturdiness of the product. There are many choices available in the market. You should check and ensure the good quality material by taking the detail from the manufacturer.
Times are changing, and the product design should conform to the needs of the changing times. Therefore, one must look for innovative products in the market suiting his needs. When you are going to pick one from the lot, you should check the uniqueness of the blinds to give an ultimate satisfactory result to the consumers. 
Every house may have a different need as per the size of the window and other requirements. Alfresco blinds must be custom-made as per the requirement.
Proper advice
It is very important that the company you choose should give professional advice to the customer about his particular needs about the blinds.
Howsoever good the product quality may be, some defects may invariably crop in. It gives peace of mind to the customer if long term warranty against manufacturing defects is available at least for a limited period on alfresco blinds.
Alfresco blinds should be delivered on time and installed properly by the experts so that the user doesn’t face any further trouble.
After sales service
It is such a product that demands well after-sales- service. Therefore, care should be taken in choosing the dealer who can offer proper after-sales-service whenever it is sought. 
Therefore, installing Alfresco blinds in your home or office brings you the best protection and comfort at a low-cost budget.

Last minute Labour Day weekend getaways with HomeExchange

Labour Day is around the corner, and it’s not too late to arrange a one-of-a-kind stay in a new, exciting place. With HomeExchange, the world's largest home exchange platform, you can have access to thousands of homes across North America. Transport yourself (and your family!) to an entirely new place without forgoing the familiar.

With pay-per-night ($15) or annual membership options ($170), HomeExchange not only offers the opportunity to save money, but also allows family to experience a comfortable setting with something for everyone. Whether it’s a lush backyard, a fully-equipped kitchen, a cozy living room, bikes to ride, or toys and games for the kids, the mundane sameness of hotels is replaced with an underlying feeling of authenticity and a more suitable family vacation home!

This modern mountain home is located in the heart of Fernie, an iconic ski destination in the Rocky Mountains of beautiful British Columbia. This home’s extra-large and very private backyard is perfect for summertime barbecues and nighttime hot tub soaks, whatever the season.
Sleeps: 6

Only five minutes from downtown Kingston, ON, this home rests in Portsmouth Village on the shore of Lake Ontario. There is a patio table perfect for dining al fresco, comfortable chairs for afternoon tea or an evening cocktail, and an inground solar heated swimming pool, which stays open from late May to early September, perfect for tanning or taking a few laps.
Sleeps: 6

This log house is the perfect place to escape from urban life and is only 50 minutes from Qu├ębec City. This nature-lover refuge has direct access to a lake, a spa, and a private beach volleyball field.
Sleeps: 14

Charming Vermont mountain home located on 139 private acres. This home boasts spectacular long-range views of Vermont and New Hampshire that you can take in from the plush sofa or while sipping a glass of wine on the deck. There are private mountain biking and hiking trails nearby, a private swimming pond and pond house, indoor and outdoor showers, a second guest house, and a barn with ping pong table.
Sleeps: 5

This stunning Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home is located in an idyllic Oak Park neighborhood with fantastic nearby restaurants and many things to do. The city of Chicago, IL is only 25 minutes away. The home’s large backyard with gardens, decks, and an in-ground swimming pool are perfect for family get-togethers!
Sleeps: 8

This modern home is located on an acre of private land in a small gated community in West Austin, TX. The house has a Chef's kitchen and a stunning outdoor area complete with a pool and beautiful terrace that can be enjoyed in complete privacy. Moreover, you’re only 20 minutes from downtown Austin.
Sleeps: 15

This home sits on a cul-de-sac in a quiet, friendly gated community near Palm Springs, CA. This gem has a beautiful large stone patio with a built-in gas barbecue and bar, a private saltwater pebble-bottom pool and spa with three waterfalls, surrounded by lush and night-lit palm trees and flowers. Palm Springs is also a great place to get out and hike, bike, or hit a tennis or golf ball.
Sleeps: 6

Children And Screens Encourages Children To “LOOK UP” As They Enter The New School Year

Summer break is almost over, and children around the country are getting ready to go back to school. It’s an exciting time, but it can also ...