Guest Post: Exciting Wearable Technology for Kids

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We know how gadgets have always been a dilemma for parents because it’s difficult to strike the right balance between the benefits and risks. With kids growing up in increasingly digital environments, however, the solution is never to give up on technology but rather continue to find the best ones out there for them. If you’re a mom who loves going out with your child to play you’ll be excited to discover new wearable gadgets or “wearables” that you can now find on the consumer market.

Wearables have been around for a while, and some have been developed with kids in mind. It’s certainly possible to find wearables that help moms keep track of their kids, which free them up from worrying a little too much. There are also wearables which focus on kids’ fitness, which is like much of what adults use this technology for.

In these examples, utility trumps fun. But children want it the other way around, according to this article on Forbes, and for good reason. Surrounded by technology from infancy, they adapt sooner to technology and are introduced to the world of gadgets. They are, after all, the generation that will continue to live more intimately with it and shape it in the years to come.

It used to be that the line between indoors and outdoors marked the same between gadgets and physical play. In a blog post by Tootsa they point out the need for playgrounds to step up, in order to keep up with the excitement that video games, iPad apps, the internet, and TV present to children. In this situation, exciting wearable tech for kids is good news.

Wearables that encourage movement

At first glance, the Mover Kit from the company Technology Will Save Us, looks like a retro toy from the 90s. It’s fitted with colorful lights and responds to the child’s movement, encouraging them to be more active.

Beyond this, however, the Mover Kit lets kids make their own rules. In a fun way, it introduces them to programming and basic lessons about electronics and complex problem-solving skills.

Wearables for learning

Toys that kids can chat to are surprisingly common nowadays. The GreenDino, a small plastic toy dinosaur featured in this list by Wareable, takes this leap further. Powered by IBM’s Watson supercomputer, this particular wearable is fitted with AI. This AI can teach kids at an early age to count and spell. It can even make them laugh with its knock-knock jokes.

A wearable that takes them places, while they’re there with you!

Speedy innovations are taking place in the field of Virtual Reality, enabling children to explore worlds different from their own. Google’s VR viewer called the Cardboard is targeted at children according to CNet.

Soon, a kit called “Expeditions” will be available in schools. It includes pairs of foldable goggles and other techy stuff. Expeditions lets teachers bring their class to different places in full panoramic 3D.  This cheap introduction to VR is expected to encourage even more exciting innovations in wearable tech for kids.

 

Exclusively written for Rockin Random Mom
by Jen’s Diary

 

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Rockin’ Quote #33: Happiness is a State of Being

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Happiness is a state of Being. What comes to mind when you here this? I came up with this one a few weeks ago while gaming with some friends. Most of the gamers I game with are in their early twenties and yes, sometimes I feel real old chatting with them but they’re a good group of people and they make me laugh. And I do love to laugh. Anyway, a few of them are dealing with some struggles that have them questioning a lot in their lives. They’re lost. I was lost once. My early twenties weren’t exactly filled with sunshine and rainbows, that’s for sure. I talked with one person in particular about happiness. Through that conversation I realized that not only is he not happy but he doesn’t know that only he has the power to make himself happy.

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When most people think of happiness they think of all of the things that make them happy. Things that make me happy are hiking, swimming, gaming, writing, spending time with my boys, and we can’t forget music. These things all make me happy in different ways. Hiking and swimming get me outside and active. When I’m active I feel physically good, which in turn, improves my mental health and that makes me happy.

Writing makes me feel productive. Being productive and feeling like I contribute to the world in some way is extremely important to me and that makes me happy. Gaming is my escape from the stressors of the world but I game with some really funny people. Seriously, they make me laugh so hard sometimes and as we all know laughter is the epitome of happiness. And of course, spending time with my boys either playing board games, going for a walk or just watching a movie together is something that causes happiness to spill over in me every time.

Then there is music!

A great song can put me in a really great mood. Songs can also inspire me. For instance, there are three songs that I’ve come by recently that do all three of these things. Battle Symphony by Linkin Park, Whatever it Takes by Imagine Dragons, and We Don’t Run by Bon Jovi. Come on, You had to know I would find a way to add Bon Jovi in there right? As long as he keeps making music, I’ll keep loving his songs!

I’m going to leave the three songs here for your listening pleasure!

 

 

 

So now that you’ve listened to these great songs, let me get back to what the point of this post is. We naturally seek outside sources to make us happy. Doing things we enjoy makes us happy. For many people, they find happiness in another person. This isn’t always the healthiest thing to do but our society has been groomed to believe this. I’m thinking of the romantic persuasion here. Just look at every love song, poem, movie, and book.

What we don’t often realize is that happiness – true happiness – comes from within. It took me a long time to learn this myself. I was so clouded by my own pain and bitterness that I didn’t know I had the gift of happiness inside me all along. I had to work through that pain but also work to change my perception of the world and of myself.

Once I was able to do that, I found it easy to be happy. I mentioned a few weeks ago about love and respect. You can read that one HERE  I believe self-love, self-respect and true happiness all intertwine with one another. Once I figured out how to love myself, I naturally earned greater respect for myself. Once I did that, my own inner happiness soon followed and it did so naturally. Then inner peace found its way into my soul.

This is what I hope for everyone. While many external things make us happy and we should continue to do what makes us happy, understanding that we possess the ability to be happy within ourselves brings more value to all of the external happiness we could ever find.

What do you think about happiness? Do you agree or disagree? What makes you happy? Leave me a comment about it. I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks so much for reading!

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Mama Bear and the Bully

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It’s been three months since you last heard from me and I have a lot to catch you up on. One of those things has to do with my baby bear, Conner. My sweet, creative, energetic and imaginative little boy, who, despite his boyishly protective and outwardly robust nature, has an incredibly sweet and softhearted disposition. He’s a sensitive child and maybe this is the reason why he gets bullied. But he has a Mama Bear who works around the clock to make sure he is resilient but safe from this year’s bully.

It all started in the fall but during that time Conner and this boy were friends. At first all seemed well. Occasionally this boy would taunt Conner and say some rude things but nothing that concerned me too much as I know children can sometimes be mean. So my focus at that time was to teach my boy resilience. I would say to him, “A bully can’t bully you if you ignore them.”

Over the course of the past several months I’ve had some real conversations with my 10 year about people in the real world. Conner is a deep thinker like me so I knew it was time to start having these conversations. The fact is my boy is sensitive and the world isn’t kind to us sensitive people so I armed him with some strategies that I used growing up. Words hurt though and a bully knows this.

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That’s the hard part about being a parent. Well, lets’ be honest, parenting is hard in every respect but this is harder in the sense that we as adults are still trying to navigate this world and figure out how to deal with the ugly side of life. So what makes me even think I am qualified to teach my son about life? What makes any parent qualified? One word: Experience. And experience with a bully or two in my own life, well, I definitely have that.

bullydifferent_rockinrandommomHowever, teaching my son some resilience in dealing with the occasional rude comments from people is one thing. But we all know that words hurt and as the year progressed this boy got more and more aggressive in his use of those words. At one point he told my son that he hopes he dies in a fire all because Conner loves DragonBall Z and this kid thinks its “stupid”. At that point though I had already contacted the school twice about this kid. I also found out he was bullying other children on the bus.

The bus driver had made several reports on this kid yet nothing was done. That is until a few weeks when he punched Conner in his head as hard as he could a few times. Conner got off the bus in tears complaining that his head really hurt. When he told me what had happened it took everything in me not to get on that bus and go after that kid. I did, however, call the school right away and left a message with the principal. Only this time I threatened to call the police.

 

Now of course the last thing I want to do is call the police on any child. But I was at my breaking point with this kid and with the school. Prior to this incident they had done absolutely nothing. Kids have gotten kicked off the bus for less.I had to do something. The sad part about this whole thing is that it even went this far.  I shouldn’t have had to resort to threatening legal action in order for the school to finally step in and do their job.

He got suspended for a week from the bus. However, I demanded that this child not be allowed near Conner. I found out through my own investigation that this kid has anger issues. The school knows this, yet does nothing. Now I am pretty sure there are legitimate reasons behind that but the picture is clear. This boy is not getting the help he deserves.  If I hadn’t stepped in my son would have been ignored too.

This boy still tries to insult Conner on the bus. He has to be five seats away from him at all times regardless. It tells me that he did not learn his lesson and no one is doing a damn thing about it. I’m sad for this child but I have to look out for my own. Conner now ignores him though which means my talks with him are doing at least some good.

Thank you for reading!

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Update on the Family: What My Family and I Have Been up to

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Oh there is so much to tell all of you lovely readers out there about what’s been going on with my family. There have been some joys but also some sadness. There have been some ups but quite a few downs. We have even had a couple of deaths including my sister’s father, who, despite not being a huge part of my life was the only man I ever called ‘dad’. I am planning on writing a separate post on that soon so stayed tuned.

 

 

 

Oh my boy has been doing so well this year! His first year of high school has been such a positive experience for both of us. Adam struggled with only a few things in the beginning – like trying out for the school plays and not getting a part – that was hard on him but he adjusted well and didn’t give up and it paid off. Finally, he got a part in his first high school musical! He did such an awesome job too!

My boy had some moments where he didn’t want to do it because he didn’t like the lines or the music hurt his ears. At times, between working so hard on his academics and rehearsals for the musical he got overwhelmed and I had to take the helm for him and let him calm himself by giving him the space and time to just breathe and be himself. Conner also helped. That’s family.

(Adam is the tall one in the back with the sailor hat on)

The social aspects of school and the play was hard sometimes. Autism isn’t easy but Adam worked through it like a champ and the end result was honor roll for the first quarter and a great performance at his play. I thought he was done after that though because he was so exhausted by the end of it but he’s going back at it rehearsing for yet another play! His school is also having a presentation on Autism for Autism Awareness month and Adam is going to speak about what he goes through. I’m so excited for him and can’t wait to see what his presentation will be!

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Conner is doing great in the 4th grade. He works hard and has improved tremendously in spelling, reading, and writing. This year he has struggled with the Math a little but he still is his class’s “Math God” and doing his best. He turned 10 in December and we couldn’t afford a party for him but I did make a video of the first ten years of his life. It’s what I did for Adam on his 10th birthday so I did the same for Conner. 10 is a milestone and so far my baby boy is loving it! FYI: That video is too long for my blog apparently and Facebook won’t let me upload it due to it having songs so here is one of him dancing.

Conner is still a Minecraft nerd but now he’s pretty obsessed with Five Nights at Freddy’s. It is a horror game/book/whatever. Just like back during his Angry birds obsession and My little pony obsession, he now has just about every action figure, book, poster, and of course all the plush toys he can get his hands on. I gotta tell ya, this kid is expensive! But he’s worth it. My family is very important to me and my boys are numero uno. It’s been hard getting him to agree to any sort of after school activities but it’s still a work in progress.

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I started getting pretty depressed around Thanksgiving this year and have struggled with it ever since. I found myself in a funk and it didn’t help that right before Christmas my sister’s father passed away.

family_rockinrandommomAs some of you know I have had some car troubles as well. I can’t seem to get away from car troubles for some reason. Seriously, it’s like I’m cursed. I have bad car Karma and have no idea why. Not having a reliable vehicle has played into being stuck in the house way too much. This, of course vamped up my depression. My family has been a great help just by being there. However, when you take away the car, you take away the independence. This just doesn’t work for me.

Staying fit and eating right has also taken a huge dive but there is some good news to be had. I have ordered a couple of Tai Chi and Yoga DVD’s and well, this will also be another post. Perhaps I will start my fitness series again. I’m still dating the person I met last year but I have been keeping that pretty close to my chest. Maybe I will write about him in the future.

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Thanks so much for reading!

 

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Rockin’ Quote #32: If He is Not Worthy

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Recently I came across this quote on a shirt that was being sold through one of those ads on Facebook. I am a bit obsessed with Vikings these days and viking lore. I am also obsessed with the TV show on the History channel. Anyway, this shirt, and several others were being sold through a viking page that I liked. I saw this quote and knew I had to have the shirt but the quote means so much more. “If he is not worthy” is only the start of the quote. Let me show you what I mean.

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I love this quote and it holds even more meaning these days than it ever did before. Sex and love are no longer seen in today’s society as something special. In fact, we’ve become so desensitized to it that we have forgotten how to set boundaries. Or even what boundaries are. Do we even know anymore? But the bigger issue isn’t that love and sex have become so mainstream that we don’t even blink an eye at the pure absurdity of the abuse of it. No, that’s not the real problem. We are so obsessed with showing the world that we are free, independent individuals capable of doing whatever we want, with whoever we want that we have lost our self-respect.

Many people these days seem to be confused about what love and respect really mean so let’s break it down:

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There are about a million different definitions for Love. These I got from Webster dictionary.

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Again, from Webster dictionary. Self-love and self-respect is basically turned inward. I just want to make that clear.

And I’m not just talking about women here. Both sexes seem to have lost self-respect. Here’s the thing about respect. Just like they say that you have to love yourself before you can love someone else. Well, the same rings true for respect. Now, I’m not saying you have to be celibate until you find “the one” or wait until marriage. I’m not trying to preach here. What I am saying is that we have forgotten the meaning of love and respect and we have forgotten to set boundaries with ourselves and with others.

What it really comes down to is your own sense of self. Who are you? How do you want to live your life? What kind of person do you want to be? Saying he is not worthy (and I also mean she because this does go for men and women) is saying this: If you can’t be there for me, stand beside in my darkest moments, you are not worthy of my time. We have a really bad habit of giving too much of ourselves to people who take advantage of us or take us for granted. When you stop to think about it, at the end of the day they only care about what you give to them. There is no regard for your needs or your happiness.

To others this quote could be just about sex. To me though, it’s about so much more than that. This is something I also feel is important to teach my boys. As a mother I don’t just teach them to respect women. I teach them to respect themselves. Saying a person is not worthy isn’t saying that person isn’t a good person. It’s saying that person is not worthy of your time and your energy. Even a good person can treat another badly. Don’t waste it on the wrong people. You deserve better than that.

Thanks so much for reading!

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Diary of an imperfect mum