BC Parent Spring 2021

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Years of Service to BC Families

spring 2021 bcparent.ca

STRAIGHTENING UP Chiropractic Help

10 ways to help your child be an excellent reader

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Years of Service to BC Families

Letter from the Editor


pring is finally here. The flowers are blooming, the birds are tweeting, and the vaccines are being given. It feels as though we’re nearing the end of a really long winter. “We can now see the light at the end of what has been a difficult and challenging time for us all. To get us through, we need to continue to work together and support each other,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, March 2, 2021. It’s exciting to start planning summer activities, outings, and nearby trips, but we all need a Carlie Parkinson little patience to ensure the vaccine rollout continues without a hitch. BC Parent hopes you enjoy our digital issue to keep you connected while distanced. In it you will find some tips on how a chiropractor can help all members of your family, how to help your children read a little more, and how to keep them happily going to school for the last couple of months! Happy Spring!

Inside 6 Straightening up: Getting chiropractic help for your child 9 10 ways to help your child be an excellent reader 12 How to help kids who won’t willingly go to school

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BC Parent Newsmagazine

Mailing Address: P.O.Box 30020, North Vancouver, BC V7H 2Y8

Spring 2021 Volume 30, Number 1

email: info@bcparent.ca www.bcparent.ca Canadian Publications Mail Registration No.251836

twitter.com/ bcparentmag


Publisher/Executive Editor: Carlie Parkinson

Contributors: Carlie Parkinson, Dr. Angela Macdonald, Natacha V. Beim, Susan Cumberland

Editor: Geoffrey Legh

The Publisher reserves the right to omit advertising which is judged to be in poor taste or which does not conform to the concept of this publication.

Advertising Design & Layout: Julie Cochrane Editorial Design & Layout: www.retrometrodesign.ca

share’n is care’n @mrkylemac

Advertising Sales: info@bcparent.ca

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What’s Happening On-Going: Thursday + Friday, 12–6 pm, and Saturday + Sunday, 12–5 pm Art Gallery Evergreen Visit the Evergreen Cultural Centre’s gallery. Find exciting exhibitions inside and out including Erika DeFreitas: close magic on until April 25th. Visit the gallery between March 25–28 to pick up a free Spring Creative Kit, filled with artmaking activities for families to get creative at home. Admission is always free. Mar 25: 2–2:30 pm Ask an Astronomer – Live Stream Join H.R. Macmillan Space Centre for “Ask an Astronomer” YouTube live stream. Astronomer Rachel Wang and program coordinator Michael Unger will be discussing the latest in space science and hot topics in the news. Mar 27–Apr 25 The Guided Virtual Big Easter Run This holiday-themed run offers a 5 km or 10 km run/walk around scenic Jericho Beach park. Run with the local bunnies, enjoy a scenic run along the water, through the trees,

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and around the park, while hearing fun facts about Easter and motivational messages from special guests! Apr 1– Apr 22 #EarthDaySeedingChange When you post your inspired actions to protect the planet you’ll be entered into artist Amanda Suutari’s, Earth Day contest. A draw to win locally-produced, planet-friendly prizes will be held on April 22. Apr 6, 6–7 pm Virtual Explorer Day – Snakesss in BC, Threatening or Threatened? From Nature Kids BC Get ready for an interactive presentation filled with videos and photos of snakes and other desert-dwelling creatures!! April 14–23 Reel 2 Real International Film Festival for Youth Kids and the young at heart will enjoy films from BC, Canada, and around the world at this year’s virtual festival. Highlights are:

Canadian premieres of feature films, animation, Youth Filmmakers Showcase, Indigenous Spotlight, and a diverse program of short films. More information and online tickets available at www.r2rfestival.org. School program bookings education@r2rfestival.org. Apr 18–30 Virtual Vancouver Sun Run and Shaw Mini Sun Run A virtual race gives you the rush of the finish line, bragging rights of participating in the Vancouver Sun Run from anywhere, and race swag that’s a keeper… all while social distancing! Run at your own time and where YOU want. May 1, 11 am – 12 pm Sing-a-long with Bobs & Lolo! (virtual event) Enjoy a music-filled morning with mentors Bobs & Lolo, the five-time JUNO nominated singer-songwriter duo. We’ll celebrate spring, the release of the salmon, and sing our hearts out.

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STRAIGHTENING UP Getting chiropractic help for your child


did not grow up in a “chiropractic family”. I don’t think I even really thought twice about the word or profession until I was part way through my Kinesiology degree, and a student from a chiropractic college came to speak to our SFU Pre-Med group. Her description of Chiropractic medicine treating the source of many nerve, muscle, and spine problems deeply resonated with me. You could say that day changed my life, and those of all the thousands of lives I have had the privilege to touch since graduating 20 years ago. One of the most surprising ways I have found I am able to serve my community is through my pediatric practice. I don’t think the book-wise Dr. Angela Macdonald understood quite how far-reaching her impact could be from the newborn, to the constant texting teenager, to the elite high school athlete (the last two are not mutually exclusive by the way). As my career progressed, I began to understand the quote, “as the twig is bent, so grows the tree”. Let’s start with the tiniest of twigs: the newborn. Birth is a miraculous and awe inspiring event but can sometimes be physically traumatic to a baby. Many times the trauma is not enough to require medical

attention but is enough to give the infant pain. A headache or sore back can sometimes be the cause of colic and is so easily assessed by a chiropractor comfortable with treating newborns. If you have ever been to a chiropractor, you know that as the chiropractor palpates (feels) your spine, you both know that “that’s the spot”. Post-delivery, if there is a chiropractic problem when palpating the baby’s spine, it’s much the same and we know that “that’s the spot”. I’ve seen babies go from wailing to fast asleep right in my arms from the instant relief. It is wonderful to give the baby the relief, but just as wonderful to give the parents the relief (and the sleep!) How to know if a baby might be in need of chiropractic care

Two indicators to look for that may indicate chiropractic care can help are, breast preference (they are more comfortable turning their head in one direction) and discomfort in their car seat or lying on their back (especially if combined with gassiness). Some moms and dads will choose to bring their newborns in for a wellness check, making sure the “twig” is good to go. Sometimes

By Dr. Angela Macdonald little things to correct are found, but often it is simply a great chance to get reassurance that their baby’s spine feels fantastic. Assuming there are no concerns (falls off of change tables or overly aggressive big brother hugs), the next check-up should be when they begin to crawl, as the spinal curves begin to change at that point. From the get go, parents should try to limit the time in the car seat to just the car or when needed (hey, I understand, I am a mom too). This is because one of the first things we want happening is for babies to explore the length of their body and naturally get away from a fetal position. When they are strong enough, “tummy time” is nature’s way of strengthening their posterior chain muscles and is strongly encouraged. Another common concern with infants is chronic ear infections. Like colic, this is a problem that can have multiple causes (food allergies being another concern to rule out). When we get an infection, our bodies or antibiotics do a good job of killing the invading bacteria, and all that’s left of this interaction should be drained away by the lymph system. There are two challenges with a baby’s ear: their eustachian tubes are still horizontal (as we grow they become more vertical) and the lymph is very collapsible allowing for muscle tension to push up against the vessels, not allowing for the

How to read a tweet Did you know that your head weighs 10 pounds? For every inch it is forward of your body you add an additional 10 pounds. So, if you are slouched forward reading those tweets on your phone, your neck muscles are holding up 50-60 pounds! Ouch! Protect your neck while texting: tuck your elbows into your sides and bring the phone up to eye level.

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As my career progressed, I began to understand the quote, “as the twig is bent, so grows the tree” drainage. With these two challenges, there remains a moist, warm, bed for new bacteria to thrive in the inner ear. If a chiropractor can palpate tight muscles in the neck, relax them, and restore efficient movement, it quite often allows for the drainage and breaks the cycle. The crawling checkup is the perfect time to rectify funky (asymmetrical) crawling patterns (sometimes co-treating with a physiotherapist). The next recommended check is when they start to walk, as again, new curves are created in the spine. All the while confirming symmetry and taking care of the multiple tumbles a toddler inevitably will have. As kids grow, it is beneficial to keep an eye on their spine and muscle balance especially as they try new sports and activities. It is important to have them take some responsibility for their health and help them learn how to avoid muscle imbalances from happening. From the neck of a flute player to the shoulder of a pitcher, to the rotated pelvis of a hockey player, all of these potentials for repetitive injury can be prevented by working with a chiropractor and ensuring the young person does appropriate stretches and exercises specific for their lifestyle, at that moment. Lately, it has been especially rewarding to help everyone—young and old—understand the importance of posture. Changing

little habits can make a huge difference in how we look and feel. Confidence in teens is an important issue. As Amy Cuddy says, “Your body language shapes who you are”. Good posture can actually physically change your hormones, so they give more confidence. Teens also often complain of being tired, possibly due to how much less oxygen we get when we are slouched. Proper posture is an empowering thing. I think of all the adults that I treat who “just have always had a bad hip” or “it just goes out really bad like this every once in

Need to help your child’s posture? • Get them to pretend they have a helium balloon attached to their head, and it is pulling them up. • When they sit, have them pretend they have a tail off their tailbone and make sure they don’t sit “on it”, instead, flick it out behind them. It is much harder to slouch when seated this way. • Get your kids to pretend there is a balloon behind their shoulder blades, when they take a breath in, feel the balloon fill you up and lift you taller, when you “let the air out of the balloon”, try to stay just as tall. • Play the tissue dance game. Every child places a tissue on his or her head. As the music starts, the children begin dancing. Parents should encourage as much movement as possible. The goal is for the children to keep the tissues on their heads as they dance. If it falls off, the child can grab it and place it back on his or her head, but if it touches the ground, the child is out. The last child left dancing wins!

awhile”, and wonder if the twig had been gently guided, would the tree be suffering so much? In my mind, it is all about living our best lives, and if there is a chance to not let back and neck pain get in the way of that, then that is pretty exciting stuff. Dr. Macdonald is a chiropractor practicing at Partners in Health Maple Ridge She is also the creator of “The Posture Project”, a social media soap box to let the masses know how to grow and live and play without pain holding them back. For more ideas find her on facebook at “ Partners in Health Maple Ridge ” or on twitter @ AngMacdonaldDC.

PEDIATRIC CHIROPRACTOR Vancouver’s Pediatric & Family Wellness Chiropractor Dr. Sabrina Chen-See BSc, DC Board Certified Atlas Orthogonist 604-566-9088 FamilyWellnessChiro.ca If you are looking for an effective, friendly and caring health professional for your family, visit Vancouver’s Pediatric & Family Wellness Chiropractor. We take your spine, nervous system and overall health seriously. Visit www. FamilyWellnessChiro.ca to book a free consultation!

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ways to help your child be an excellent reader By Natacha V. Beim


eading is the most important habit to instill in a child. It will increase their vocabulary, which will directly improve their performance at school. Reading will expand their knowledge in every other area, and open their minds to so many possibilities! Because children often learn the technical phonetic combinations at school where they focus on the practical side of reading, the love of reading is best fostered at home, and supported by you, the parent. When children are little, take the time to read to them every night, and delight in the stories you discover together. To make that time even more special, here are 10 tips you can use.

1. Take the time to look at the images together

Instead of just reading the words in the book, look at the images with your child

and see what they tell you. This will teach your child to look for cues in the images that tell him what is about to happen in the book. Using this strategy will help the child increase his vocabulary by enabling him to “guess” what a new word means, just by understanding its context. 2. Use different voices for different characters in a book

By making a special voice for the ogre of the story, then for the little girl he meets, and all the other characters, you help your child imagine the story, making it come to life! Once your child begins to read, even when she is not reading aloud, she will, in turn, adopt the habit of giving book characters their own voice, their own life, which will greatly increase her reading comprehension skills and work with her imagination.

3. Follow with your finger

If your child is just learning to read or is an inexperienced reader, it helps when you follow with your finger as you tell the story. This will show him that, in the English language, we read from left to right. It will also help your child discover that every word you are reading is there, in the book, and once your child is beginning to read, he will start visually recognizing whole words. This is like watching a movie with subtitles. You don’t need to read the subtitles if you understand the language, but you tend to want to read them anyway. 4. After reading TO your child, read WITH your child

When your child is beginning to read alone, make this a great bonding experience, by spending time with them while they read. Many parents put a lot of effort into teaching their children to read, and reading to them every night until they learn to do it alone, then suddenly stop, expecting their child to read on their own. Remember, even though the child can now read, she will miss that time with you and will not feel the same encouragement. Your job is now to show her how great it is to read! Read her stories still, from time to time, even if she can read them herself, and other times just sit by her and read your own book while she reads hers. You can even let her read you a story for a change. This will not only show her that you like reading, it will still give the two of you this cozy time together. bcparent.ca • spring 2021  9

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5. Go out with your child to buy a book

Make it a time you spend together, just the two of you. Take your child to the bookstore and tell him you would like to buy him a book, one that he will choose. Bookstores have this special feeling to them and are wonderful places to spend a little while just looking. Your child will love the experience so much that he will remember that happy day each time he reads his book at home. If you like, you can do the same by borrowing a book from the library! 6. Refer to the stories you read together

Casually in your conversations, refer to the stories you read together with comments like ”It’s like that rabbit that we read about in that story, remember? When he couldn’t get out of his home?” This will help your child make his reading experience more valuable, and learn to enrich his personal life with the things he learned about, or just experienced through the book. 7. Write a special message

When giving your child a book as a gift, write a special message on the inside, shar-

ing with her how much you look forward to sharing this book with her, or how proud you are that she is reading so much. This will strengthen the bond between the two of you, and make the habit of reading even more enjoyable for her. 8. Read in front of your child

Children learn by example. Take the time to cozy up and read at home from time to time, a book that you enjoy reading, or even the newspaper. Children will see reading as a part of life and will tend to do the same. If you enjoy reading, they will learn to enjoy reading just by watching you. 9. Share your books with them

During dinner time, or at any time throughout the day, share the things you read about in your books by saying things like “this book made be think about...” or “I loved reading the part where this happened, it reminded me of ...”. As well, when sharing with your family about something you read, preface it by saying “I read today that ...” so your children see other positive examples of how reading enriches your life.

10. Read your children’s books

I will never forget the day when my 10 year-old son, having just finished reading a 400-page novel, passed it to me and said, “You should read it, mom. I’m sure you’ll love it. It has a really emotional part in it.” I was bursting with pride already that he was so enthralled with his novel, but what I realized that day was that our bond was so strong, and we had spent so many years reading together and talking about our books, that he knew which books would appeal to me. As well, I could see the confidence in him that reading created, knowing that he was now reading books that were more complex, not simple picture books or children’s stories. Literacy is the most important skill. Take the time to foster it at home in a way that will make it fun and appealing to your child, so they will enjoy a lifetime of reading and literacy. Natacha V. Beim is a writer, speaker, teacher, and the founder of

CEFA Early Learning Schools (www.cefa.ca). For more resources and parenting advice visit www.parentingwithnatacha.com.

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How to help kids who won’t willingly go to school By Susan Cumberland, Owner of School Is Easy Tutoring


onday comes around, and your child is refusing to go to school. Your kid used to love going to school, but this has now become a daily battle. So you engage your child because you know school is a must and there shouldn’t be any reason, other than illness, to skip school. The result is a power struggle that may only intensify the negativity with which your child is viewing going to school. If this is a daily occurrence in your household, here are some ways to help your kids love going to school: Find out what is bothering them about school

According to Sara Bean, M.Ed., children who refuse to go to school may be experiencing many issues. It’s possible that they are being bullied, having trouble meeting their academic requirements, or having problems responding to authority and rules. They can also be having other types of anxieties which may or may not be related to school. When trying to find the root cause of your child’s issue with school, you should use openended questions. For example, you could ask: • Who is bothering you at school? • Which subject are you having the toughest time with? • How are you feeling in Ms. X’s class? These types of questions will probably help your child open up to you and get the conversation going. 12  bcparent.ca • spring 2021

Respond appropriately and find a long term solution

When your child opens up about what’s bothering them about going to school, don’t take the response lightly by trying to find a quick solution to it. Some parents may resort to bribing them for the day or week, or promising them it’ll get better soon but not doing much about it. Based on Sara Bean’s four possible categories your child may have fallen into, they may need extra tutoring to meet their academic shortcomings, counseling, a talk with the teacher or principal, changing classes or school, and so on. Example, routine, dialogue, involvement

Once a long-term solution to the particular issue(s) your child expressed are appropriately addressed, you can establish healthy practices going forward to keep your child motivated. Begin by becoming a motivating example to your child. According to parenting expert Brenda Nixon, “a parent’s attitude is contagious.” So if you wake up in a bad mood, remember that your attitude influences your children’s attitudes. Based on Nixon’s advice, be positive in the mornings and leave enough time to get them to school with ease. Make their mornings as calm as they can be. For this to happen, you could set up daily routines for your child. You could both do a fun routine chart, so your child knows what to expect every school day. A routine

will ensure your child has a regular bed and wake up time, a set snack, homework, dinner, and free time, for example. Ensure there is daily dialogue with your child. A great place to ask about how everything is going at school may be at the dinner table. You can also have this talk at bedtime. This can be a way for your child to open up with you about school. By having an open dialogue, you can hopefully catch issues before they become a morning power struggle again. Finally, Care.com suggests getting your child involved in either sports, music, or another activity that takes place at school, after classes. Not only will your child make new friends, but it will also give them a positive outlook on school. They will have something to look forward to after school. Do be careful that you are not over-scheduling your children though, as they still need time to do homework and rest. If your child is chronically refusing to go to school, there may be a deeper issue at hand. The solutions may be ongoing until your child graduates from school. Don’t just quickly dismiss your child’s plea. Instead, get to the bottom of it and find a workable long-term solution. Your children may love going to school for the rest of their school life if you can do so! Susan Cumberland is the owner of School Is Easy Tutoring (founded in 2002). She has her B.Ed. and M.A.Ed. in Educational Leadership. Winner of several awards including Better Business Bureau People’s Pick and Marketplace Excellence.

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Lassie Come Home

The Wonderland

The Lesson

My Extraordinary Summer with Tess


Kids and the young at heart will enjoy films from BC, Canada, and around the world at this year's virtual festival. Highlights are: Canadian Premieres of feature films and animation, Youth Filmmakers Showcase, Indigenous Spotlight, and a diverse program of short films. The films can be streamed online from anywhere in BC. There are also Elementary and High School programs, complete with Film Study Guides. 23



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