Tips for limiting screen time for kids

Friday, June 21, 2019 Posted under General 

Limiting Screen Time for Kids

It’s no secret that technology has touched every aspect of today’s society. From ordering and groceries to advancements in medical procedures, technology’s reach has provided convenience and even saved lives. However, there are also some downsides to technology and that includes overuse in everyday lives. Apex Leadership Company explores the impact of this overuse and how parents can help set healthy examples for their children when it comes to screen time.

In an article on CBSNews.com, the American Heart Association (AHA) warns that kids are spending too much time “in front of screens” and that parents need to “drastically cut the hours their kids are allowed to use their phones, computers, tablets and video games.” So how much is too much? In the article, CBSNews reports that kids and teens between the ages of 8 and 18 are spending more than seven hours a day on average looking at screens. However, the AHA recommends kids’ screen time remain limited to two hours per day, and just one hour per day for young kids ages 2 to 5. 

While cutting screen time back that much may seem and feel drastic for those that spend large amounts of time in front of screens, parents can begin decreasing daily limits little by little and trying to incorporate new and different activities to replace the time spent on the screens. Parents can also lead by example — putting their own devices away for special family time including meals or bedtime routines. Those that depend on the TV for “background noise” might consider switching on some music the whole family enjoys.

Parents can also create “technology-free spaces” within the home — such as at the kitchen table or in the dining room. This will encourage that aforementioned technology-free meal time, which can then become a great outlet for casual family discussion at breakfast or dinner.

Timing is also key. An article on ScienceNewsforStudents.org cites a study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston that reports “blue light” from screens can affect the body’s internal clock and disrupts the body’s natural cycles. The blue light in particular is at fault for making people more alert at night and making it harder for them to fall asleep after being exposed to it. It’s advised to shut down screen time two hours before bed to ensure the body can get the good rest it needs. 

Another way to help limit screen time is not to change the routine itself, but the habit. For example, during the summertime if kids are using screen time as a way to wind down, instill another habit such as reading a book, listening to (or playing) music, or playing a board game. If they are using it as a way to connect with friends (via text or social media), parents can help encourage playdates and get togethers so kids can return to connecting the old-fashioned way — face to face.

All in all, it’s important for parents set the guidelines and the right examples for proper screen time usage for kids. Yes, some summer days might just include lounging around watching movies or binging a Netflix series, but it’s important to balance those days with a day of swimming, checking out a local museum or getting a bunch of neighborhood kids together to play tag or hide and seek.

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Instilling Confidence in Kids

Friday, June 21, 2019 Posted under General 

Parenting is not for the faint of heart. It takes a lot of hard work and effort to raise good human beings, and one of the most important characteristics parents can help instill in their children is confidence. Having a solid foundation of confidence from their family, and their own solid self-esteem, can help children go far in so many situations from making the right decision in social situations to later as adults when it comes to having the confidence to make a difference in the world or get through a difficult time in life. But it all starts with that foundation, which parents can help build. Apex Leadership Company shares tips on how to instill confidence in kids.

Let Them “Do it Themselves” — It’s natural for parents to want to do things for their children and help them along the way. There is nothing wrong with that. However, it’s also important for children to understand that their parents believe in them. So, it’s okay to let them try. And it’s okay to let them stumble and even fail. Being there for them as they do so and encouraging them along the way is what will help build that confidence so they will try and try again — until they succeed. Having the ability and the determination to get back up if they get knocked down (literally and figuratively) is a great way to build confidence.

 

Don’t Push “Perfection” — Parents should encourage their kids to try their hardest and do their best. However, the old adage that “practice makes perfect” can put a lot of unnecessary pressure on a child and could result in lack of self-esteem… especially if they can’t actually achieve that unrealistic expectation of “perfection.” However, don’t undervalue the importance of practicing, which can lead them towards achieving their personal best.

Praise, Praise, Praise — When a child has done a good job, or put forth a good effort, positive recognition from a parent is another great way to build confidence in children. Acknowledging the hard work and improvement a child makes helps them want to work harder and encourages them continue to build their skill sets as they grow. Regardless of whether they fail or succeed (on a test, during a big game, etc.), parents should still let the child know they love them. Feeling loved and valued is a big confidence booster, especially when the chips are down.

Practice What You Preach — The parent that is giving their child so much love and encouragement also needs to look in the mirror — and give that person that same love and encouragement. Children are very much of a product of their environment and their parents — so show them a good example of what positive self-love looks like!

Ultimately, when it comes to building confidence in kids, there is no “right” or “wrong.” Each family should find what works for them as far as boosting confidence and self-esteem in their children. The important part is being consistent about a positive message and ensuring those kids know they are loved!

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Tricky Tips to Keep Kids Learning All Summer

Thursday, June 13, 2019 Posted under General 

It’s summer! Tis the season for long lazy days, splashing in the pool and, admittedly, probably too much “screen time.” But summer doesn’t have to be a complete vacation from learning. In fact, there are lots of ways to sneak learning disguised as fun into every day! Apex Leadership Co shares some ideas for keeping the education going until the first bell of the fall school year rings!

Sign up for Science — Today’s science centers are so much more than the quiet, look-don’t-touch museums of yesterday. Science centers in nearly every town around the country have specific exhibits and areas just for kids including hands-on experiments. So a day at the museum can be a fun way to get kids interested in all kinds of scientific subjects.

Go Stargazing — Turn a quiet night at home into a night under the stars by laying out some blankets on the lawn, bringing out some popcorn and ready-made smores and get comfy! There are some great apps that help users detect constellations, but good old-fashioned star charts are fun too, and no fancy telescopes are needed. Beginner stargazing can be done with a simple pair of binoculars. For those that live right in the heart of a big city, a drive out to a less light-congested area will make for better viewing. Choose a clear night when the moon isn’t full, then lean back, relax and learn all about the stars!

Take an Informational Journey — When vacationing in a new city or just exploring one’s own town, there is always something interesting to learn about every location. When vacationing, find out the history or what the town is known for, then plan activities around that. For example, for kids that are into ghost stories, look for ghost tours that tell a little about the city itself and its history along with a little “fear factor.”  For those that are into outer space, a tour of Area 51 could be worked into some summer travel. Regardless of the destination, a little digging is sure to result in some interesting tours — with some fun education!

Camp Learning — With the amazing array of day camps and sleep-away camps available, there is a theme or topic for every child’s interest. And even though they are designed to be fun, these camps provide a lot of learning opportunities, too! From educationally based camps to traditional camps that teach important outdoor safety, it’s not just “fun and games” — but the kids will think so!

Livin’ in a Gamer’s Paradise — Speaking of games… they are a great way to sneak some education into some summertime fun. Zingo, Brain Games for kids, Scattergories and Cranium are just a few popular ones, but even classic card games engage the mind. So plan a family game night and get learning! For those that just love that aforementioned screen time, there are some educational videos games and apps, too! With a little research and a well-selected (secretly educational) video game, parents can hand over the tablets without any guilt!

There’s no need to force educational opportunities during the summer — kids and parents need the break! However, these things are fun, easy and just happen to offer an element of learning that the kids may not even recognize as “educational.” Win-win!

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Keeping Kids' Brains Stimulated During the Summer

Thursday, May 23, 2019 Posted under General 

 

“School’s out for summer!” Alice Cooper may have made that phrase one that can no longer be simply pronounced but rather must be sung… however, as these last few weeks (in some cases days!) of the school year dwindle down students around the country are happy to oblige! Once summer break is fully underway, it would be a shame to let all their hard work wash away in a sea of video games and Netflix marathons, so Apex Leadership Company shares tips for parents and students themselves to stay sharp all summer long!

 

Be Realistic — Yes, it’s great to want the kids to study, read, and practice their handwriting or math facts skills on a daily basis… But it’s also important for parents (and over achieving students!) to remember that it’s called summer break for a reason. A rest from their studies is not only well deserved after a year of hard work, it’s also necessary for kids to relax and refresh so they can return to class in just a few short months — and not feel overwhelmed or burned out before they even get started on a new school year.

 

Pique their Interests — There are so many cool programs, day camps, overnight or multiple night stay camps offered that cover a wide array of topics and subjects from cooking to technology and LEGOS to sports… Engaging kids over the summer with an activity that they truly enjoy is not only a great way to expand upon a budding interest but also to keep them active and involved with other kids that share their interests.

Try Something New — Summer is a great time to introduce something new (a new family tradition of trying one new dish a week for family dinner, for example, or learning how to yo-yo or snap) — and encourage or even challenge kids to step out of their comfort zones with a new activity. They may be surprised that they like to garden or that they really enjoy a sport they’ve not yet tried their hand at. Parents can also use this time to help teach their children a necessary skill such as changing a tire on a car, sewing or prepping vegetables and fruit for the week’s meals.

Get Creative… without Much Cost — Summer activities can certainly come at a cost, but all it takes to have a little fun without breaking the bank is creativity and imagination. Go through the closets and do some good old-fashioned dress up or have children write a play then use the old clothes to make costumes and enlist all the kids in the neighborhood to play the parts. With a package of balloons and some glow sticks from the dollar store, kids can make some glow balls for nighttime games or pool partying. Spend the day at the library, take advantage of the free days and events that many local museums and attractions have for children during the summer, or stroll through a night-time food truck festival or indoor farmers market. 

Maintain Some Routine — While it’s okay to get a little lax on the rules, bedtimes and schedules, many children of all ages enjoy the comfort of a routine. A few structured events throughout the summer can provide a sense of security to some children. It’s also a good idea to ensure that after a few late nights or sleepovers with friends that kids get back to their usual sleep patterns.

Regardless of how students (and parents and teachers, too!) spend their summers, Apex encourages everyone to enjoy the time spent together. Before long, it will be back to class… and Apex looks forward to returning to the classrooms, too!

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Apex Leadership Company Branches Out into Hartford County, Connecticut

Thursday, May 16, 2019 Posted under General 

Apex Leadership Company is built on a strong foundation of building tomorrow’s future leaders through fun and educational programming while also helping students and youth raise important funds for their schools and sports groups. In addition to helping youth on an individual community level, one of the most exciting parts of the organization is its growth rate. With the help of passionate branch owners, Apex Leadership Company is expanding across the country! With that, the Apex Leadership Company is proud to welcome Sean Gildea, who brought the Apex format to Hartford County, Connecticut in October of last year.

When Sean was looking to purchase a business through the help of a franchise broker, he admits he received a multitude of opportunities — but that nothing struck him like Apex. “I knew immediately that this was the opportunity for me,” he says. The former VP of marketing and business owner of a start-up baby apparel and gift company reveals his wide range of professional experience has helped him understand not only what is needed to start a business, but also how to make it grow.

Sean says that prior to his launch of his Apex branch late last year, few in his community had heard of fun-run style fundraisers, and even fewer have had any real experience with them. “For that reason when I am able to present the program the response has been overwhelmingly positive, which is exciting,” he says. This year, his first full year of owning and operating the Hartford County Apex branch, Sean’s goals are to build brand awareness, serve several schools with a solid program and positive experience that will encourage other schools to join the Apex family. 

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