9 Quick Tips for Parenting in the Age of Technology

Parenting Technology 2

We live in a world of technology. While technology can be a wonderful tool, it is easy for kids to get overloaded with screen time. Here are some quick tips to help your kids stay off the iPad and on the right track!



Let’s Talk about Technology

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children spend an average of SEVEN hours a day viewing entertainment media (television, video games, phone, etc.). Excessive exposure to media can have potential detrimental effects such as attention problems, learning difficulties, sleep disorders and obesity.

The challenge of excessive technology is often what children might be missing out on while engaging in screen time. Research suggests that children learn the best from interactions with other. Excessive screen time not only interrupts time with others, but it also takes time away from homework, exercising, spending time outdoors, or developing “unplugged” talents.

Quick tips to help keep technology use in check:

1. Discuss technology use as a family. Discuss reasons for technology guidelines and, where possible, allow youth to help create rules and guidelines.

2. Install a computer filter and set parental controls on accounts such as Netflix.

3. Create technology free zones. Remove televisions from children’s rooms, and consider also storing smart phones and tablets outside of bedrooms.

4. Set limits. Turn on the television to watch specific youth appropriate shows and then turn it off when it is over.

5. Watch television or movies as a family. If concerning topics or scenes come up during the show, discuss them.

6. Set rules for when technology can be used (i.e., no phones or television during meal times, etc.).

7. Turn off the television when no one is watching it.

8. Increase “unplugged” interactive activities. These include board games and outside play time.

9. Be an example. While it is tempting for adults to unwind with our own technology use or to keep connected at the office by checking emails, it is also important to engage in conversations and experiences with children in order to teach them the communication and social skills needed to be successful in life.



This article was written by Naomi Brower, Utah State University Extension Associate Professor

5 Steps to Happiness

5 Steps to Happiness

Good things are all around us, but we sometimes need to make an effort to find them. Try these simple steps to find more joy and happiness in life!

5 Simple Things

1. Pay attention to things you like or enjoy.

Whether it is the color of spring’s green grass, the taste of your favorite food or the smell of cookies baking, say in your mind or even out loud something that reflects what you are enjoying.

2. Feel gratitude for the things you appreciate.

Whether you are grateful that you have a job, thankful that you have working indoor plumbing or glad that you have a computer or printer, say something positive about what you are thankful for, i.e., “I’m so happy that I have a car that works!”

3. Find the good in situations that are less than favorable.

When something goes contrary to what you were hoping, find the good in the situation. When you have to go to the dentist you can say “I’m so glad I live in a time when dentists can fix teeth rather than having to pull them without painkillers!”

4. When somethings goes bad, remember how it was when it was good.

When you’re sick, say “I’m so thankful for my health!” When your car (or appliance) breaks down, you could say “I’m so grateful my refrigerator usually works,” or when you have to go to the dentist you can say “I’ll be so glad when my teeth are fixed!”

5. Imagine how it would be if it was the way you wanted it.

You can say things like, “Wouldn’t it be great if we could go on a cruise to the Bahamas?”, “What if we could afford to buy a new car?” Or, “Imagine if you had your dream home!”

What we focus on tends to expand. By appreciating the simple things in life, the bigger things can seem a lot less stressful!

This article was written by SuzAnne Jorgensen from Utah State University Extension in Garfield County. This article was edited by Leah Calder, Extension Marketing Assistant.

New Utah Public Gardens Website!

Utah Public Gardens

Did you know that Utah has a variety of public gardens? These gardens span across Weber, Davis, Salt Lake, Utah and Washington County. Each garden is unique and provides different, fun, and educational opportunities to the public.


Check it Out!

The new Utah Public Gardens website is dedicated to providing Utahns with valuable information about each public garden. It serves as a gateway to each unique garden and offers a glimpse into the gardening culture of Utah.

You can search for public gardens in Utah by going to the find a garden page. More information about each garden can be found through the links to their individual websites.

To find fun and educational activities for you and your family, visit the Utah Public Gardens website and take advantage of the great pool of information and resources.



This article was written by Leah Calder, a USU Extension Marketing Assistant.

Easy Crochet Project! No-Burn Hot Pads

Hot Pads Blog

Have you ever wanted to learn how to crochet? Do you have a child who needs a fun and useful hands-on project? These double thick, no-burn hot pads are a great way to learn!


Hot Pad Supplies:

Crochet hook (size G)

Four-ply cotton yarn (2-2.5 oz. skein)
*One skein makes one hot pad. Use two skeins (same dye lots) for matching set.

Finished size: approximately 8” square.


Chain 30 stitches and turn.

Row 1, front side: In the 2nd chain from the hook, single crochet in the back of the stitch. Continue this single crochet stitch to the end of the row. Chain 1 and turn.

Row 1, back side: Single crochet in back of both the stitch on the current row and the row directly below. Continue this single crochet stitch all the way back to the beginning of the row. Chain 1 and turn.

Row 2-22: Repeat row 1 back side directions down to the end, and back to the beginning of the row. Row 23, front side: Repeat current stitch to the end of row, chain 1 and turn.

Row 23, backside: Single crochet through front and back of both the stitch on current row and row directly below, and continue back to the beginning of the row.

Chain 8—(creates loop) attach at the base, tie off, weave ending and beginning tail into hot pad.

The original author of this article is Margie P. Memmott, M.S., C.F.C.S.

Save Today for Your Summer Getaway!

Summer Vacation Blog

Some summer vacations can be pricey. However, it is definitely possible to get away without inviting the always-present friend, Debt.

Fun in the Sun

Spring is in full swing and summer is right around the corner! The warm weather soon to come will welcome swimming suits, lemonade and summer getaways. The summer months are a perfect time to travel; the kids are out of school, the sun stays out to play longer and the weather plays nice too.

The only con to traveling in the summer is the expense. However, with these three quick tips from Extension Assistant Professor Amanda Christensen, you can start saving right away for those perfect days spent in the sun with your family.

Have fun in the sun without your wallet feeling done!

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This article was written by Leah Calder, a USU Extension Marketing Assistant.

Be Careful! Frost is Still Likely

Frost Still Likely
Although spring has sprung, be cautious when planting. These warm Utah temperatures have tempted gardeners to get a head start on their crops and gardens. But don’t be fooled! Utah is notorious for sudden weather changes and frost is still likely to occur this time of year.

Frost and Growing Seasons

This unusually warm weather has gardeners itching to get in the dirt. It is exciting to think of all the possibilities this warm weather has welcomed. However, please remember that frost is still likely and can directly affect your growing season. This depends on your individual location and garden setting.

Mountain benches have longer growing seasons. Urban and suburban areas are slightly warmer due to the urban heat effect, which could delay frost.

Consider the following:

• Hardy vegetables, including asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, onions, peas and spinach, can be planted as soon as the soil is workable in early spring. This usually ranges between 45 and 60 days before the average last frost.
• Semi-hardy plants, such as beets, carrots, lettuce and potatoes, can be planted one to two weeks after the hardy group.
• Tender vegetables, such as celery, cucumbers, corn and most beans, should be planted on the average last-frost date.
• Very tender plants, such as squash, beans, melons, tomatoes, eggplants and peppers, should not be planted until at least a week after the average last frost.

If you have lost plants to frost, you are not alone! All you can do is try again. For more information on fruit and vegetable gardening, visit the USU Extension website at: https://extension.usu.edu/yardandgarden/.



This article was adapted by Leah Calder, a USU Extension Marketing Assistant. It was taken from an earlier article written by Taun Beddes, Utah State University Extension horticulturist.