Gadgets You Need To Be A Better Parent

Gadgets You Need To Be A Better Parent Transcript:

Kristina: Welcome impactful parents! Today we are going to talk about gadgets and technology that can help us be better parents and help our children learn and grow. I have a special guest Scott Tharler, who is a gadget expert.  Scott has over 20 years of technology, journalist experience where he has been publicized in several different tech magazines. He is a father of two girls and one boy who launched his new program called The Family CTO. The Family CTO is a new kind of gadget website that enhances your digital lifestyle with fun and practical things.  Thank you for being here, Scott!

Scott: Kristina, thanks for having me.

Kristina:  How can gadgets help parents and really make an impact on parenting?

Scott:  Well, some gadgets will directly help you be a better parent.  The first is called Kudo Bands. Kudo Bands are cute little bracelets that children wear as a reward system tracker. It is all about positive reinforcement.  You start by asking your child what behaviors they believe they should be rewarded for. Sharing a toy? Helping out? Chores?  Whatever it is, you program the bracelet for those activities. Each time they do tasks that should be rewarded, the children receive a little trinket. The trinket fits right onto the bracelet. When children get three trinkets, they unlock something. The third trinket is a special thing that uses augmented reality to reward your child.  That means when I hold up my phone with the app over the bracelet, a magical animated thing happens that says congratulations, you just unlock something. Then children get to spin a prize wheel to see what they won. The secret is, the children already picked what they wanted for prize options when parents programmed the bracelet. I like prizes like going out for ice cream, a movie, a special daddy-daughter date, etc. Whatever it is, they get to choose what that thing is! This bracelet gets kids invested in the reward system right-away!  I find it works best for ages 4-8.

Kristina: Oh yes! I could see these bracelets even working for my 10-year-old.   He loves positive reinforcement and thrives off it.  What else do you have for us?

Scott: I recently heard about one that is called Play Attention.  It is for ADHD. It’s a software program that helps kids focus. It uses clinically proven Neurofeedback to encourage kids to stay focused. It is such an interesting concept that you can train your brain to focus without popping a pill. I thought that was sort of a fun, proactive way to use technology.

Kristina: What are some of the things you have behind you?

Gadgets You Need To Be A Better Parent

Gadgets You Need To Be A Better Parent

Scott: I have got some fun things behind me, actually. This one is called Spiro. Spiro creates robotic spheres that you control with your phone, and the ball goes all over the place. They are the company that helped do the technology for BB8 in the Star Wars movies. The child sets up obstacle courses and programs the ball/sphere to maneuver the course. It is just fun to see a little ball go around and around.

This one is called Doodlematic. It is amazing. Kids draw with real markers on real paper, and then take their drawings and turn them into a video game! It’s NOT just- they draw a picture, and then boom, the things do some weird animation. Doodlematic is a kit that takes you through directions on how a video game works. Your child needs the main character, and the characters need to be trying to do something. There also needs to be something trying to keep them from doing that thing. And so, it really helps kids develop their storytelling skills and creativity.  The end product is their very own video game.

Probably the showstopper is this guy. This is a robot from a company called Robo Sen. His name is T-9. He is a transforming robot. But that isn’t all!  You can also program T-9 to do things. There are about 10 different commands you can give it. T-9 will start dancing around, shoot guns, and doing all sorts of really fun stuff. But what is cool about it is, your kids will learn to code through this product.  Kids can literally program him to do push-ups or a dance routine, whatever they want him to do!  This is the kind of toy that grows with your child.

Kristina: So many great gadgets! This is amazing.

Scott:  The next gadget is a phone called Gab Wireless.  It is a phone, stripped-down, and only has 14 apps. It does not do streaming. You cannot load more apps onto it. It does not do email. It doesn’t do the internet. It only does what a kid’s phone needs to do: call, text, take pictures, and record audio-video. That is it. There is a calendar on the phone, so you can put in chores and things like that. Still, essentially, it’s just a simple phone. You do not even need parental controls because there’s nothing else that a kid can do with it. Another great feature of this phone is its GPS feature.  You can see exactly where your child and the phone are located.  I love it because it makes me feel connected to my kids. I have peace of mind, and I know that they can do what they need to do, and they are not going to be addicted to their screen.

Kristina: That’s a great one. I can see myself using it for a young child or even a teenager that has lost Smart-Phone privileges.

Scott: It should be a child’s first phone. Because you do not just hand a kid a motorcycle and tell them to ride it. First, you give them a tricycle, then a bicycle and children work their way up. Why would you hand a child an iPhone?  It does not matter if it’s an old iPhone. It’s still connected to the great big world.

Gadgets You Need To Be A Better Parent

Gadgets You Need To Be A Better Parent

Many people get turned off by technology because they think gadget equals screen, equals turn off your brain. I like gadgets that don’t have a screen. I have one here.  Here is my favorite thing that has no screen. It is called Air Fort. It is a silk igloo that inflates in seconds.  Now your child can build a fort in the house without all the mess! Clean up and set up are so fast and easy.

Kristina:  Forts and gadgets are fantastic for rainy days and snow days. Parents need resources they can count on for entertaining their kids productively when they cannot be there.

Scott: Here is a cool technology for parents! It is called Spot-My-UV. It is basically a sun protection thing.  Spot-My-UV is a dot that you put on your shoulder when you plan to be in the sun for a while.   You put sunscreen on the dot and on yourself. The dot is made from a material that acts just like your skin. Parents apply sunscreen to their child and the dot, and later, when the dot dries out, it turns purple. Now you know when it is time to reapply sunscreen. No more guessing or watching the clock!

Kristina: These gadgets can make us better parents.  Scott, if anybody wanted to get ahold of you for more gadget stuff, how would they do that?

Scott: Well, I have a podcast, or you can reach out to me directly. It is Scott@thefamilyCTO.com

Kristina: Thank you so much for being here today, Scott. You have much to offer.

But until next time, you got this, parents. We are just here to help.

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