Just for Parents: All about those Apps

    This is a family blog and we know that some of y’all read our daily adventures with your children.  We suggest this one for parents only.  Are the kids gone?  Okay, now let’s talk some mom/ dad magic with Santa and apps.

Let’s face it, it’s 2014 and even the youngest among us have mastered tablets and smartphones.  Sure, we can rage about it and yearn for simpler times.  Or what if we do what we should do with pretty much everything- limit it and use it to our advantage.  Like chocolate, wine, and yoga pants.  Still working on limiting those…let’s just focus on the apps for a hot second, okay?

    As we talk about every year, we like to keep our 25 days as cheap (or free!) as possible.  These apps are all free and add a bit more magic to the season.  That’s something we are all about around here, because- frankly- they really don’t get that much time to relish in pure magic before they get older and are in on the secret of Santa.
    So for the first app I present to you: “Where is Santa”.  It shows a world map with flashing radar and locates where Santa is with updated messages.  There’s also a feature where the GPS accurately shows your home on a map with a countdown to when Santa will be coming to your location!  It’s already loads of fun and we aren’t even that far into December yet.  I imagine on Christmas eve we will be completely captivated as we periodically check in on where Santa is.
   What I especially like about the GPS feature is that it can be used to reassure your child that Santa will find them- even if Christmas morning is at a grandparent’s/ aunt’s/ etc house.  Or, such as in our case, if you are moving- or have moved to a new home since last year.  We are moving a few states away and this has made Mads a bit apprehensive so close to Christmas.  He keeps telling me that Santa is going to come to “Marshall’s home” that being his Kansas City home, the only one he has ever known.  I plan on using the GPS feature to show him that Santa knows where Mads is and that he has a new home.


    The next app that I fell in love with is “Santa Scan”.  It is super simple- you ‘scan’ the child and it tells you if they are currently on the naughty or nice list!
    What I especially like about this app is that it is easy to manipulate the results in between each use.  The result will fall on the scale where you hit on the ‘reset’ button.  Hit on the far left side of the bar if you want a ‘naughty’ to come up to use as a learning moment- “What can we do differently?  There’s plenty of time to get onto the nice list but you’re going to have to do/change [xyz].”  It can also be used to reassure the child they are doing good, maybe do a ‘nice’ scan after a charity event or an unexpected nice gesture on their part for a friend/ sibling/ classmate.  FYI: we did this scan on all of the Dingmans (before I figured out the nifty manipulation feature) and Mads and I both ended up on the Nice list.  Brad doesn’t want to talk about his results…
    Also, a naughty scan may have finally convinced an unnamed three year old boy that it’s not okay to pick his nose and laugh at his mom when she says not to.  Then proceed to ram his finger further in his nose.  Yea, toddlers are gross.  A naughty scan showed Santa agree with mom that that was super gross.  Then, after he promised to stop, we did another scan and it showed he was back on the nice list.  A few days later and nothing has been shoved up his nose.  Thank you God!  (And Santa)
    The last app we are excited about is the “Santa Call” app.  You can schedule one free personalized phone call from Santa!  I really like just how personalized it gets- name, state, picture (to pop up on the screen during the message) and age.  There are even various options of what the message will entail:

All the messages’ clips sounds pretty awesome!  Once again, you can reassure your child of their nice list status or use it as a learning moment if you’re having an exceptionally hard time with a naughty lister.  Just please be sure to do a follow up call if you do decide to do the naughty list one, keep Santa fun and remember- they only have so many Christmases as a bright eyed child.

    I’m sure there are plenty of other awesome free- and cheap- apps out there.  These are just a few ideas to enhance the wonder of Santa.  We purposely stay away from the many games, puzzles, and coloring apps that are out there because we believe nothing beats the real deal.  We really do try to limit screen time in our house.  Let’s just leave the chocolate and yoga pants out of it though…

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