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How families can cut screen time

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No matter where you look, screens are everywhere. The proliferation of easily portable tablets and smartphones means many people, adults and children alike, are never too far from the nearest screen. While that accessibility has dramatically changed the way many people live their lives, excessive exposure to screen time can produce a host of unwanted side effects.

Steven Gortmaker, a professor of the practice of health sociology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, has studied the negative effects of excessive screen time on children since the 1980s. According to Gortmaker, such effects include higher rates of obesity among kids who watch too much television and difficulty sleeping among youngsters with access to small screens, such as the screens of smartphones. In addition, a 2012 study published in the journal Psychiatry Research linked screen time with impaired cognitive function in young males.

But adults are not immune to the effects of excessive screen time, either. Spending significant time being sedentary and staring at screens can increase adults’ risk for cardiovascular disease. An Australian study published in the December 2012 issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that, compared with persons who watch no television, those who spend a lifetime average of six hours per day watching television can expect to live 4.8 fewer years.

So what can families do to cut back on their screen time? While it likely won’t be easy to put down smartphones and tablets and turn off laptops and televisions, the following are a handful of ways for families to spend less time staring at screens.

· Remove televisions from bedrooms. Parents may find it impossible to gauge, much less control, how much time their kids spend watching television when youngsters have TV’s in their bedrooms. Though this will likely be met with considerable resistance, remove televisions from bedrooms in your home. Set a positive example for kids by removing your own bedroom television as well. Come kids’ bedtimes, make sure all devices, including smartphones and tablets, are left in common areas of the home rather than bedrooms so kids are not tempted to watch videos instead of falling asleep.

· Institute a “no screens” rule during meals. Many parents grew up in households that did not allow televisions to be on during meals, and while the times might have changed with respect to the technology, similar rules can still prevail today. A “no screens” rule during meals gives parents and their kids time to catch up, bond and foster stronger relationships.

· Do not use the television for background noise. Turn the television off when it’s serving as just background noise. If you need background noise, turn on some music instead.

· Log screen time. Logging screen time for each member of the family can provide an estimate of just how much time the whole family spends staring at screens. Encourage each member of the family to spend as much time being physically active as he or she spends staring at screens. Set goals for each member of the family to reduce their screen time, even rewarding those who reach their goals.

Reducing screen time can improve overall health and help family members reconnect with one another.

Live Better

Go green with home cleaners

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(Family Features) If you’re among those looking for ways to clean your home while also going green, it may be easier than you think.

Consider these easy and affordable solutions to help you live more environmentally friendly. You may be surprised to find you already have many of these household products on hand.

Baking soda: A natural, safe, effective and gentle solution, baking soda can serve multiple home cleaning needs. Make a paste of three parts baking soda to one part water. Rub onto silver with a clean cloth or sponge. Rinse thoroughly and dry for shining serving or decor pieces. Additionally, you can sprinkle baking soda on upholstery and carpet to get rid of odors.

Vinegar: With the acidity to help get rid of dirt and grime around the home, vinegar can be used to clean cloudy glassware. Simply soak paper towels or a cloth in full-strength white distilled vinegar and wrap around both the inside and outside of the glass. Let sit before rinsing clean. To remove lime deposits on your tea kettle, add 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar to the water and let it sit overnight. In the morning, boil the vinegar for a few minutes then rinse with water.

Lemons: With a fresh, natural smell, lemons have the acidity to remove soap scum, clean and shine brass and remove hard water deposits. Just spray some lemon juice on tile surfaces to remove soap scum or hard water deposits. Squeeze lemon juice on a cloth and use to polish brass around the home.

Houseplants: Plants serve as natural air purifiers. African violets and ferns are beautiful ways to help clear the air.

Other easy, green ideas for keeping your home clean include opening windows and doors while you clean to improve air quality and taking off your shoes when you come inside, which can help avoid tracking dust, dirt, pollen and more throughout the house.

Visit eLivingtoday.com for more eco-friendly advice.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash


SOURCE:
eLivingtoday.com

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Tool to help hobbyists, professional get the job done

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(Family Features) Whether you’re into woodworking, metalworking, building models or another craft or hobby, the right tools allow you to work faster, easier and smarter.

A capable and versatile project partner, the IQ Vise System by Work IQ Tools is a problem-solving bench vise system that is transforming the way DIYers, craftsmen, hobbyists, makers and pros get the job done. It features a ball and socket design that articulates and rotates 360 degrees for optimal work positioning while complementing task-specific jaw sleeves are crafted to create the perfect grip for an extensive range of shapes and materials.

Plus, with four ports built directly into the vise, you can attach the plug-and-play workshop accessories including the IQ Connect Work Light, Magnifying Glass and Cell Phone Holder directly to the vise or take them where you need them around your workspace.

With three mounts – a bench mount to screw directly into your workbench or stud wall, a magnetic mount that can attach to any metal surface and a clamp mount that functions like a common c-clamp for quick and temporary mounting to any surface edge 2 1/4 inches or under – it’s like having an extra set of hands to help tackle whatever project you’re taking on.

Find more tools to help you work smarter at workiqtools.com.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=lkSVaIVDVtE%3Fmodestbranding%3D1%26rel%3D0%26showinfo%3D0


SOURCE:
WorkIQTools.com

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High-ROI home projects

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(Family Features) Spring is nature’s cue to renew and refresh. Whether you’re looking to add value for potential sale or simply create a more comfortable living space, you can make the most of the season and breathe new life into your home with projects that provide a high return on investment (ROI).

Consider these top home renovation projects to tackle this spring from the experts at Westlake Royal Building Products – a leader in innovation, design and production of exterior and interior building products including siding, trim, mouldings, roofing, stone, windows, outdoor living and more – based on the 2024 Cost vs. Value Report from “Remodeling Magazine.”

Remodel the Kitchen and Bathroom
The average seller can expect an 96.1% return on a light touch to the kitchen, according to the report, and 73.7% on a modest bathroom renovation. Because personal preferences can vary widely among buyers, minor upgrades can provide a higher ROI than large, upscale remodels. A few easy ways to refresh your kitchen or bathroom include updating shelving or adding new hardware. Decorative trim and mouldings are also cost-effective ways to add visual interest.

Upgrade with Stone Veneer
As natural and textured home trends continue, homeowners are gravitating toward stone veneer, or manufactured stone, as it can replicate the look of real stone, adding comfort, character and beauty to homes. An option like Versetta Stone from Westlake Royal Building Products offers the authentic, handcrafted look of stone in a panelized format that’s easy to install with nails and screws. There’s also no need to paint, coat or seal once installed. Ideal for its ability to add texture and dimension throughout both home interior (accent walls and fireplaces) and exterior applications (siding, entryways and walkways), stone veneer – which comes with a 153.2% ROI – can influence mood, emotion and energy levels while serving as a focal point of your home’s design.

Install New Windows
Depending on the harshness of winter in your area and the age of your home, you may notice certain windows have developed drafts, allowing cold air to enter and heat to escape. Replacing drafty or outdated windows with modern, energy-efficient models is one of the most effective ways to enhance your home’s energy efficiency. Additionally, a vinyl window replacement brings approximately 67.1% ROI.

Replace Siding
In some cases, applying a fresh coat of paint is enough to refresh your home. However, if you’re looking to enhance your home’s curb appeal while making a long-term impact, consider installing new siding or replacing existing siding. Because vinyl siding serves as an additional layer of insulation, improving the energy efficiency of your heating and cooling systems, it offers a 80.2% ROI. Weather-resistant, low-maintenance siding like Celect Cellular Composite Siding, which is now available in on-trend colors including Imperial Red, a robust shade of red; Deep Pewter, a compellingly modern forest green; and Timberland, a rich, natural brown, won’t warp, sag or buckle and is built to withstand even the harshest weather conditions. Its patented interlocking joints provide a seamless look and it’s easy to install in small spaces, like along a knee or pony wall.

Update Decking
If you want to entertain guests outside, spring is a perfect time to get your patio or deck ready. While a new coat of stain can update your existing deck’s appearance and help protect it, spring is also an ideal time to build a deck if your home doesn’t currently have one. When choosing a decking material, cost and maintenance are two factors to consider. Composite decking offers a 68.2% ROI and is low maintenance as it’s not susceptible to cracking, warping and weather damage.

Find more ideas to update your home this spring at WestlakeRoyalBuildingProducts.com.


SOURCE:
Westlake Royal Building Products

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