Who’s the boss? You or your phone?

The dinner is on the table, the milk has been poured, and everyone dives in. Well, everyone except one. There is one person at the table checking their phone.

No. No. Not my daughters.

Like many households, we have a no-device-at-the-table rule. Apart from the occasional reminder my kids have done well to remember and even respect this guideline. It has long been established that the dinner table is a great time to regroup and connect as a family. I am embarrassed to say, however, that there is a rising star in this rule-breaking – my husband. Having recently started a next chapter in his career he is more in demand than ever. Add this to our societal shift of “all things must be answered now” philosophy and you have a dinner-time-device debacle.

Check out this hilarious video below from Commonsense Media:

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We went on a family vacation… Without any screens

Mother and daughter happily making snow angels in the snow

2017 was an insane year for our family of four, so my husband and I decided to start the New Year off by taking the kids for a local getaway. I’m talking a small hotel room with a kitchenette for five nights and six days. And no screens.

When I told friends about our plan, the first question was a befuddled “WHY?!” Continue reading

Posted in Mental Health, Parenting, Physical Health, Preschool, preschoolers, School-aged Children, Toddlers, Tweens | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

4 ways to inspire your teen to give back

Teenagers outside cleaning up a park with quote: “If you give kids the inspiration and tools to change the world, it will change their own lives in the process” -Craig Kielburger of “Me to We”

When our sons were about 14 and 16, their lives revolved around friends, food, sports and girls. Pretty typical, right? They were kind, compassionate kids who had done some mandatory volunteering, but as their parents we wanted them to see the benefits of giving back. Continue reading

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Me… Tandem breastfeed?!

Tandem breastfeeding wasn’t something I set out to do, it just sort of evolved. Here is my story:

I was breastfeeding my first child when I became pregnant with my second. Although I wasn’t totally ready to wean, the idea of breastfeeding a newborn plus a two year old was daunting. I pictured myself sitting on a spit-up soaked sofa, tandem breastfeeding a baby and toddler with play dough stuck in my matted hair, surrounded by piles of dirty laundry and stacks of unwashed dishes. Not a pretty picture. I also thought my son would be less jealous of the new baby if he was weaned, and so we stopped.  A couple months after weaning, the baby’s arrival ROCKED my first child’s world. He was angry that the new baby disrupted his life and he saw the new baby as a challenger for my attention.

Newborn baby held by parent, toddler sibling looking worried

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How to help your teen make big decisions

“I need to decide what to do after high school!”

This is the big topic of conversation in my house these days. It seems to be a cruel joke of nature that as teenagers approach one of the first big decisions of their lives, their decision making tool (the brain) is still under construction.

What will it be? Post-secondary education? Entering the workforce? Travel?

So many options and so many decisions to be made. Some kids have known what they want to be and how to achieve this since preschool. Others, like my daughter, well, it isn’t so straight forward and it can be exhausting following her circling train of thought.

Making decisions concept. Sneakers on the asphalt road with drawn arrows pointing to two directions.

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How to build a secure attachment with your baby

I remember being struck by how my son, David, looked at me – really looked at me. He took in my facial expressions, my words, the tunes I sang, and responded with his own changes in facial expression, babbling and body movements. Wow! Wasn’t he just the brightest, most wonderful baby ever! Of course that’s how every parent feels!

Having a good relationship with your child by responding to his cues and meeting his needs in a warm, caring way creates a close emotional bond referred to as “secure attachment”. By “cues”, I mean signals such as little frowns, wrinkled forehead, turning his face away, crying, smiling, imitating our expressions, rubbing his eyes, rooting, arching his back, cooing and laughing.

Why is this important?

When a child feels safe and secure, he’s more likely to explore his surroundings.  Knowing his parents are close by if he needs them, he may try new things, be more likely to interact with other children and adults, and develop confidence. Continue reading

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Kids in the kitchen: Independence is the main ingredient

When my three kids were younger my day would start at 5:30 am with breastfeeding the baby, getting the 2 year-old out of his diaper and figuring out what yogurt needed to be fed to the two and four year-old before it expired.

When I had at least five hours of sleep, I had a positive attitude and could even predict the colour cup ‘du jour.’ But when I woke up exhausted after a not-so-great night, I fantasized about the day when my kids would be more independent in the kitchen and I could drink my morning coffee HOT. Well, that day has arrived and now I’m faced with the challenge of giving up a bit (I mean, A LOT) of control over my tidy kitchen! I want my kids to be more independent without making it harder on me. I’ve started off by placing some apples, bananas and homemade snack mixes (read: Cheerios and sliced almonds in containers) on the table the night before. In the morning my eldest pours milk in cups for all three of them. Voila! A breakfast with four food groups and I don’t have to re-heat my coffee once. This is a major win! Continue reading

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