Category Archives: Callouts

garage door opens, kids, home security

Kids, Residential Garage Doors and Home Security

Sometimes even the most agile Heads-Up Dads discover they can’t have nice things stored out in their garage anymore because with so many kids playing on the property, they can’t keep their storage areas locked and safe from thieves.

the whole family on the driveway

Its a hard decision to tell kids they can’t play with the neighbors on the home property anymore, but a parents’ eyes can’t be everywhere at once. In more urban communities with high pedestrian traffic on the sidewalk,an unattended garage space can get pilfered in less time than it takes to answer a ringing phone.

When the neighbourhood kids run amuck about the property they frequently leave doors and windows wide open, and adolescent teens are especially prone to leaving the garage door open at night.

Prowlers Pounce on Open Garage Doors

Here in Toronto almost half the burglaries that police investigate occur in residential garages, and these numbers are rising. McKee Horrigan garage door installers report a 30% increase in ‘armoured doors’ sold over the last two years. The steel plated garage door is ‘custom build’ with extra metal on the front. Its almost impossible to cut through, and the frame can be additionally reinforced to prevent buckling if rammed by car or truck. Suburban thieves often work in pairs, prowling side streets looking for targets of opportunity. Unsecured or open garage doors rank high on their list. More sophisticated burglars might travel with binoculars in their car to spy valuables inside open garages from a safe distance. They like expensive tools and toys, especially bicycles they can ride away to a nearby rendezvous point.

Any Toronto residents reading this might remember Igor Kenk the local bike shop owner who both stole bicycles and bought hundreds of stolen bikes. The photo below is the grand cache seized by police, many of which were later donated to inner city youth. Not all of these bicycles were stolen while locked to parking stanchions; the most expensive bikes with composite materials in lightweight designer frames were often lifted from inside locked garages where the owner felt safe storing them between rides. .

Bicycles stolen from streets and open garages in Toronto

High tech alarms systems with IP cameras video surveillance are fine, but all too often security protocol starts and ends with the youngest members of the family.

Brian Mcleish the CEO of Guru Security in Toronto has a lot to say on the subject of home security and garage security as an extension of family discipline. He identifies a role for Heads-Up Dads as Security Boss.

Five Ideas To Help Keep The Family Garage More Secure

  1. Install a perimeter alarm system with magnetic contacts on garage side doors and windows that can be ‘armed’ at night at a panel in the house; this display should show open doors and windows at a glance. Most home alarm systems require all windows and doors to be shut and locked before the system will arm – be sure the array includes the garage door.
  2. Install motion sensors tied to flood lights on the outside corners of the garage and where they would be most effective on the property.
  3. Consider a possible security role for the family pet.
  4. Better utilize remote locking systems – most modern home security systems now feature remote locking devices which can give parents added control from inside the dwelling and when they are away from home. Parents can unlock the door for their teen when they arrive home from school. Also, if the child forgets to lock the door, parents can easily secure it, and check to see that its secure from inside their car or office.
  5. Security Protocol – The head of the household should create an easy to follow, easy to remember security protocol for the whole family.. Put a list of to-dos on the fridge and front door of the house. Designate the garage a ‘high security’ zone.

If the garage door doesn’t include an automatic close function, The Autocloser addresses the need to keep your garage door closed by automatically shutting your garage door if you inadvertently leave it open. The device attaches to most residential garage door openers and will automatically close the door after the user specified closing time has elapsed. The times can be set to 2, 5, 10, 15 or 20 minutes. Autocloser comes equipped with a disable button that will allow the door to remain open indefinitely.when required.

Keep Garage Flat Roof Safe From Sneaks With Sawsalls

Brian Mcleish posted a piece on Guru Security blog about keeping flat roofs safe where he showed how easy it is to cut through a modern flat roof with the right equipment. He posted a graphic courtesy of ToughRoof flat roof repair that shows how modern flat roofs are composed of layers of tar, plastic foam insulation and wood like chocolate layer cake, which is not so hard to slice through with a drill and Sawsall.(heavy duty jigsaw). The takeaway is simply ‘don’t forget the flat roof’ and put motion detectors and flood lights up there too if roof access is even remotely possible from the street.

The hardest part about keeping the family garage safe may be the delicate task of informing children that burglaries happen all the time and theft is more likely when bicycles, tools, and expensive toys are left lying about or within easy each inside an unattended open garage.

Six Reasons Dads Should Attend Word11

Blogging has grown up since the early days of the internet, but it has never ceased being part of a larger conversation. Unfortunately, most of this conversation can be found on, well, blogs.

Word11 wants to show bloggers how much they can learn from the plain old art of conversation. As the world’s first 24-hour blogging event, it has combined keynote speakers with tons of opportunities for informal discussion.

Here’s 6 reasons why dad bloggers should attend the event:

1) Open to veterans and newcomers alikeWord11

You won’t have to be an expert in social media to find a worthwhile conversation at Word11. There’s over 37,000 bloggers in Toronto, so there’s a good chance you’ll find someone with similar interests. Or maybe you’re looking for an expert. In that case, you might find them here.

2) Relaxed, informal setting

Word11 understands that some bloggers already have jobs and don’t want to engage in the tedium of “networking.” The 24-hour nature of the event encourages attendees to mingle freely and even let their conversations spill into the neighbouring areas of downtown Toronto. Oh, and you can bet there’ll be a trending topic on Twitter to discuss all of the ongoing meetups.

3) Presentation streams

The conference has been divided into three “streams” to better accommodate attendees. Each stream is targetted toward bloggers with different levels of experience, from complete novices to seasoned veterans.

The biggest strength of streams is that they place you with similar people, making conversations much easier to start. Sure you’ll hear from 13 high profile bloggers, but insight from a person in a similar situation can be even more valuable.

4) Accommodating schedule

Word11 is a 24-hour event, so you can expect things to be happening at all points in the day. Even if you come late, Word11 is hosting an all-nighter, which they can only describe as an “outdoor campground for bloggers.” For your convenience, the event is taking place on a Saturday.

5) It’s easy to find out who’s going

Chances are most people attending this event will broadcast that fact on their different social networks. If your favourite blogger isn’t going, use the event as an excuse to meet them! There’s also a chance Word11 will publish the registration list, showing who is confirmed guest.

 

6) Convenient location (downtown Toronto)

Word11 is being hosted at two venues in downtown Toronto: one in the morning and one in the evening. Fortunately, both are within walking distance of each other and are easily accessible by public transit. For anyone driving, there are ample parking spots near both venues.

Word11’s mix of formal speakers and informal discussions is set to make the event a valuable learning experience for all bloggers. So call up your babysitter and tell your kids you’re headed for a day of personal enrichment!

For those interested, here’s a handy itinerary of the event:

http://word11.com/itinerary/

 

Men’s Health : A Decade by Decade Primer

Shawna and her best Man Magnus

You want to live a long and happy life? Live right by the decade you are in!

Happy Father’s Day to each and every one of you!

I sincerely hope that you enjoyed a wonderful day that was all about YOU!

How appropriate to reach out to you now with a new post this month, because not only is June representative of Father’s Day, it just so happens to be Men’s Health Month too! All the more reason to devote some time to reach out to all of you at HeadsUp Dad!

There’s an expression that says: “You are only as old as the Man you feel”. Wouldn’t you agree that a man’s quality of life is determined by how healthy he feels? At least that was the comment I received recently from both my father and my brother. They went on further to say that ultimate health to them does not mean resembling “The Rock” or simply exuding a fantastic physical shape, but that health is far more all encompassing than that. Feeling vital and virile is about a lot of things—maintaining a healthy body weight, eating right, supplementing smartly, being active with lots of stamina and putting in a good performance. Being fully engaged at work while also having the energy left over at the end of the day to make a meaningful contribution to your family life and certainly to exude a sense of self confidence through good times and bad. Wow—that’s not a lot to expect is it? Is it? How insightful. It got me thinking. We expect a lot out of you guys, not just in your youth, but throughout your whole life, so are you going to be man enough from here to eternity or what?

Kidding aside, the more I thought more about it, the more it occurred to me that life happens in fairly broad stages—doesn’t it? Decade by decade, your life, the demands placed on you and your own personal needs evolve.The roaring twenties so to speak, the thriving thirties, the “making it all happen” forties and the disease fighting fifties and so on. In order to sustain a long and healthy life, it might be worth at taking a look at what is really ideal for a man to concentrate on within each decade, so you can be your best and perform at optimum health, no matter what your age. Ready?

The Roaring Twenties:
For you guys in your twenties, savor the decade! You’re most likely very active, busy and full of energy, so feed the need. This is the time when you can generally out eat your older brethren and not see an ounce of evidence! You can afford slightly higher calorie/fat foods like nuts/seeds, cheeses, dried fruit and egg yolks with the exception of highly processed and deep fried foods of course. More calories doesn’t mean poor calories. You will also need more lean protein like chicken, lean meat, seafood, eggs and beans. And seeing as heart disease begins early, I would encourage eating fatty fish like salmon at least once or twice a week! Its a terrific source of Omega 3’s (Essential Fatty Acids) that are good for the brain, your heart and the prostate.

 

Thriving in your thirties:
Now that real life comes along in the thirties, a home, career and family probably eat up your daily agenda and you’re less likely to be throwing a football with your buddies in your not so spare time. So if you find that your activity has slowed down a little bit, remember that your appetite surely hasn’t! In order for you to keep your pant buttons from popping off, I suggest getting in the habit of eating more often. Instead of eating big, gorging meals a few times a day, consider about 4 or 5 healthy smaller ones. Less is really more.

 

Fab Forties
In your forties, you’re still feeling young and fantastic as you’re able to keep all of your plates in the air, but you also may notice that your health care practitioner is beginning to discuss your longevity and how to begin to pave the way to good heart health, strong bone density, hormonal health etc. Perhaps making a concerted effort to eat more soluble fiber is a good start such as peas, potatoes, apples and brown rice. Fiber acts like a sponge in the body and likes to soak up cholesterol. Your forties is the time to take heart disease seriously, especially of it runs in your family. So work your way up to 35mg/day of soluble fiber and consider adding Vitamin D to your daily supplement arsenal to encourage bone growth, strengthen immunity and improve circulation. Also, really try to work out hard with a well designed exercise program at least 3 times a week.

 

Fighting fifties:
Being in your fifties is about disease busting! Noshing on antioxidants such as colorful veggies and consuming plenty of blueberries, cranberries, strawberries and raspberries is a great way to add disease fighting antioxidants to your body. Be sure to cut down on sugar and fat and to remain as active as possible.

 

Six Oh! Oh My!
In your sixties and beyond, now your body really begins to tally the score. It takes a good look at how well you have taken care to preserve the temple in your earlier years. My best advice would be to wrap up all of the decades into one big healthy bow. Embrace active living, eat lean proteins daily to help counter losses in muscle mass, keep an antioxidant rich diet that is very low in fat and sugar and eat plenty of fiber every day.

 

As you can see, each life stage has its own nutritional emphasis. No matter what age group you are in, start now to make some healthy changes so you can cruise through each decade with strength and vigor.

As always, I’m here for you if you have questions. Your comments and concerns are always welcome—and I’d love to hear from you!

Until next time: eat well, stay fit.

SH

 

Play Time Benefits Kids

dad playing with son for Heads Up DadStudies show that most children understand how to ‘pretend’ and use their imaginations at or around the age of two years old. Playtime builds the imagination which is a vital part of human development and supports growth and healthy development in children.

It’s important to be able to develop the use of the imagination because it helps children develop problem solving skills for the future.

Our imagination helps us to understand the use of symbols and therefore the skills of determining that one object can stand for another. It is essential in decoding which is necessary for abstract learning involving language, reading and math. The use of play in the development of the imagination helps us to explore situations and outcomes. In the act of play the use of everyday items is seen as symbols for something else. Often you might see a child use an object such as a pen to be used as a phone. or pan from the kitchen as a drum. Playing promotes the experimentation of various jobs and personalities. The mind hasn’t fully developed and by trying on different characters and behaviours the child can experiment by developing neural pathways in the brain which make us who we are. Play can also encourage the development of listening skills. Children often like to tryout different leadership roles or interactions with siblings and other people they come in contact with. It can help them make sense and interpret the social situations that happen in life, and the rules of social behaviour. For children facing behavioural difficulties with situations like perhaps a parental divorce, the use of play can provide a sense of control over their lives that they might not feel they have. This is why some children going through emotional difficulties may benefit from a trained professional play therapist or expressive art therapist. In extreme circumstances this recommendation to see a trained professional may be necessary.Father and son and the benifits of play with social skills

Play With Your Child to Help Develop Social Skills

A social skill is defined as any skills facilitating interaction and communication with others. Playing with your child can help develop social skills. The parallel play among toddlers and children can help the child interpret and learn the rules and social behaviors of everyday life. It’s important to set good examples during these pleasurable times with your child for they are looking for your coaching skills. These are verbal or nonverbal ways of communication. If healthy play is involved, children have the opportunity to act out different social behaviors in a safe fun way without emotional punishment. Role playing is perfect for learning social skills in a variety of situations, such as work, dinner parties, school and other relationship interactions. When your child wants you to sit with them and play at having a tea party then it’s best to be a perfect role model and sit down and listen. When it’s your turn to facilitate, this is a perfect opportunity for you to help teach listening skills as well. Explore situations and outcomes with your child. The possibilities are endless. Don’t forget to laugh with your child. If during play you see behaviour you don’t like to see in your child mimic a better type of behavioral response for your child and have fun.

Physical Development through Play

The benefits of physical development through the act of play speaks for itself. We all want to have healthy active children so they can have the best quality of life. If you don’t have the space and time to play a sport with your child, that’s ok. Use your imagination and problem solving skills. These are the skills you want to see your child develop. You don’t need a large amount of time to play with your child. Take 20 minutes in the day with your child and skip rope with them. Play hop scotch or grab a ball and play toss. Set up a little relay race in your living room if space is limited. Play a simple hide and seek game around the house or turn on music and dance with your son or daughter. This will help build hand eye coordination, strength, balance and reduce stress. Yes, children can experience stress too.

Emotional Well being

Play has a lot to contribute to the emotional well being of your children as well. Play can offer a sense of control and self esteem. Kids can work through their emotions through play such as storytelling and physical play. This can be their chance to share the experience of aggressive behavior they may have experienced with a sibling or friend at another time. Children going through a lot of emotional challenges in their life should be encouraged and supported to play. Don’t fret if you see your child working with Plasticine in an aggressive way. Allow them to expressive themselves, as long as they are not being destructive to anything other than the modeling clay. Don’t worry play is a healthy resource tool to express emotions that are difficult to share.

Parental Role

When playing with your child remember your role in the process. Kids look to you for your coaching skills and modeling behavior. Freedom of self expression is important for building self esteem. Let your child take a leadership role in the play as well and join in when invited. If you child only wants you to watch, watch. Listen to your child and take turns practicing this listening skill. Everything in life has limits and it`s important set safety boundaries, preferably beforehand, when playing with your child. Let you child know the time limits of the play if you may have to be interrupted. It can be very confusing for a child to think they are playing with you and then continue on when you have stopped this engagement. Make this transition from play into reality as clear as possible. For example, let them know that when the phone rings, play time is finished, and you have returned to your role as father. Also let them know the limits that involve safety for the reason that no one gets hurt. This is crucial. It`s important to engage in play with your child from time to time and also encourage them time to play with others as well. Set up play dates if you can with other families, and remember to enjoy.

The Father Study…

the father study at headsupdad.com

and then there were two...

 

Calling all fathers of newborns and children one year old or less…

A study out of Loyola University and Erikson Institute in Chicago is looking for fathers of babies under one year of age to complete an online questionnaire about their experience of parenting a baby. This anonymous questionnaire takes about 20 minutes and enters you into a drawing for a $100 Target gift card.

We have so much research about moms and babies – it’s time to learn about dads!

They are primarily interested in learning more about how fathers cope with fatherhood… what stresses them out and what we can do to create better services for dads. We are collecting data through an on-line questionnaire are that only takes about 15-20 minutes, so why not go there now and help them collect some valuable research and ultimately, help us all become better at this gig.

Take The Father Study and spread the word…

If you know a good Dad who might be interested in participating, please pass it on!