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Grandparent I S L A N D

W I N T E R   2 0 1 9

10 THINGS to Do with Your Grandkids

I Belong Here

Nurturing a sense of place in kids

Making Meaningful Memories

Your gift today will help kids like Emma have access to the health care they need.

Join us as champions for the health of every Island family by donating to the Kids First Fund today!

Toys, games and puzzles for all ages Kool Toys & Teaching Tools

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Bleiddyn del Villar Bellis Artistic Director Fellow & Examiner CSC-CICB Bleiddyn del Villar Bellis Enrico Cecchetti Final Diploma Artistic Director Fellow & Examiner CSC-CICB Enrico Cecchetti Final Diploma

2018/19 Children’s 2018/19 Ballet Children’s Classes Ballet Ongoing to June Classes Ongoing to June

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Including a FREE dance class for boys 7-11. Including a FREE Now in it’s 3rd year, dance class for boys BOYS CAN DANCE 7-11. is a positive way for Now in it’s 3rd year, boys to get interested BOYS CAN DANCE in dance! is a positive way for Register now - it’s not boys to get interested too late to join this in dance! FUN and FREE class! Register now - it’s not too late to join this FUN and FREE class!

250-590-6752 admin@victoriaacademyofballet.ca 250-590-6752 victoriaacademyofballet.ca admin@victoriaacademyofballet.ca victoriaacademyofballet.ca Bleiddyn del Villar Bellis

Island Parent Grandparent IBC.indd 1

2018-11-20 10:30:29 AM

Grandkids visiting? Make their stay easy by renting gear from

CONTENTS Welcome................................ 5 Empowering Our Granddaughters.................... 6 Rainbow................................. 8




Vancouver | Toronto | Victoria weetravel.ca  1.800.933.0810

10 Things to Do.................... 10 I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You............................ 12 Once Upon a Time................ 14 This & That.......................... 16 Put a Sock in It..................... 18 Toys That Do Nothing........... 20 Grand Sleepovers................ 22 A Working Grandmother..... 24 Fun Things to Do with Your Grandkids............ 25 In Defence of Homework..... 26 I Belong Here....................... 28 Read, Speak, Sing................ 29 Day Tripper.......................... 30 Island Grandparent, published by Island Parent Group Enterprises Ltd., is a biannual publication that honours and supports grandparents by providing information on resources and businesses for families, and a forum for the exchange of ideas and opinions. Views expressed are not necessarily those of the publisher. No material herein may be reproduced without the permission of the Editor. Island Grandparent is distributed free in selected areas.

Island Parent Magazine

830–A Pembroke St, Victoria, BC V8T 1H9 250-388-6905  islandparent.ca

Sue Fast Editor

Jim Schneider Publisher/Owner

RaeLeigh Buchanan Advertising Consultant

Linda Frear Office Manager & Sales

Design & Layout Eacrett Graphic Design

Printed by Black Press

ISSN 0838-5505 On the Cover: Connor (4) and Ira Townshend (Connor’s Great Grandpa). Photo by Tara Townshend (Connor’s mom).

4  Island Grandparent

The Importance of Being Silly I t’s one of my favourite photos of my mom. She’s draped from head to toe in almost every item from my kids’ dress-up box: a silly hat, crazy cape, rhinestone-studded cowboy vest, sparkly beads and a feather boa. Her eyes are wide, like she’s just stepped on a mouse, and her head is cocked to one side. My fouryear-old son, Kohl, is standing next to her, wearing the few remaining dress-ups and a similar expression, both of them caught in a moment of pure joy and delight. I remember when the photo was taken, how as soon as the shutter clicked, they erupted into giggles and laughter and then fell into a heap on the floor, gleeful and happy to be each other’s partner in crime. They shared something that only a grandparent and grandchild can share: a sense of silliness and fun unmatched by even their parents. Never a disciplinarian when she raised her own three children, my mom was even less so as a grandparent. She believed in letting kids

“And so we find that aging really does come with benefits,” writes Vikki Claflin for Scary Mommy. “We get grandchildren to love… without the constant worry we had as parents that everything we say or do will somehow scar them for life. We’ve learned to relax, knowing that somehow, with or without our be kids, and—as often as possible—letting inept fumbling, they will turn out to be pretty grandparents be kids right along with them. terrific adults.” She never missed an opportunity to play with her grandkids or to be silly. She’d pull funny faces that would rival their own, she’d sing aloud with them, she’d compete wholeheartedly in any watermelon-seed-spitting contests, and she’d skip hand-in-hand with them down city streets. One of the best parts about being a grandparent, if you ask me, is having the time that To that end, we hope this issue of Island isn’t always available when you’re raising your Grandparent helps you enjoy your time with own children to enjoy and have fun with your your grandchildren. You’ll find articles on grandkids. Twice the fun without any of the everything from the empowering our grandworrying. Or half of it, anyway. daughters, the magic of rainbows, and the We aren’t raising the future of our country— importance of sharing our stories with our well, some of us are—we’re cheering it on. grandchildren, to sleepovers, helping kids It has been said that having grandchildren develop a sense of place, and 10 things to do is the great reward for enduring the indigni- on the Island with the grandkids. ties of aging. And, I would add, it is as good a Just like the time you spend with your reason as any to be undignified and perhaps grandchildren, we hope you enjoy every mina little over-the-top. ute—and every page—of Island Grandparent.

Sue Fast

Discover the SMS ALL-GIRLS ADVANTAGE Registration for Kindergarten is Now Open All-Girls Independent Day School I JK- Grade 12 I Boarding Grades 7-12 Victoria, British Columbia, Canada I 250-479-7171 I admissions@stmarg.ca


Winter 2019  5

4children.ca presents

DR ROSS GREENE Author of the Explosive Child and Lost at school

Empowering Our Granddaughters T he #MeToo movement got me in the gut. It wasn’t a surprise—I volunteered on a sexual assault crisis line 30 years ago and was aware of the prevalence of sexual harassment and abuse even before that. But the recent wave of revelations affected me on a deeper level, and I think it’s because I now have two granddaughters. It astounds me that we’re still grappling with sexual violence and gender inequality on such a large scale, two decades into the 21st century. But as I do whenever I’m faced with an overwhelming issue I can’t

judgment, and paying attention to their loves, fears and interests. Her attention was a simple gift, and yet it had a profound influence on my daughters, particularly when they were teenagers. Simply by choosing to see and hear them, my mother told her granddaughters they were loved unconditionally and that what they said mattered. My mother has been gone for five years, but I still see the power of this gift reflected in how my adult daughters honour their own voices and expect to be heard when they have something to say.

alter, I’m searching for the areas in which I do have power. I can’t change the culture my granddaughters were born into, but I can look for ways to empower them as individuals. This is what I’ve come up with so far: We can see and hear our granddaughters. My mother, wise by inclination and a family therapist by profession, was very intentional about the time she spent with her grandchildren. She took them on dates and gave them her full presence when they were together, listening without interruption or

We can tell our family stories. When we share our family stories—both the victories and the defeats—we encourage resilience in our grandchildren. This is especially true when we share the stories of the strong women in our family trees: the women who survived wars, crossed oceans, built new lives in new communities, launched businesses, challenged conventions, broke cycles of abuse or neglect, or stretched meagre resources to feed and clothe their families. These stories matter, and in passing them down we give our

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6  Island Grandparent

granddaughters powerful role models. We tell them they come from strong stock, and that they too have the inner resources to embrace life courageously. We can share other stories of strength. We can give our granddaughters even more role models by sharing stories of other powerful girls and women. From feisty, fictional characters like Pippi Longstocking, Anne of Green Gables or Fern Arable from Charlotte’s Web, to real-life trailblazers like Emily Carr, Jane Goodall or Malala Yousafzai, our libraries and bookstores are full of inspiring stories. The website amightygirl.com has a curated list of over 3,000 girl-empowering titles, with a detailed book menu to help you find exactly what you want. You’ll see award-winning classics and new favourites, from cultures all around the world. I gave myself half an hour on the site, and came up with a whole slew of new titles to add to “Grandma’s library.” I can’t wait to get my hands on Storm Run: The Story of the First Woman to Win the Iditarod Sled Dog Race or Amelia to Zora: 26 Women Who Changed the World. These are important books to share with our grandsons, too! We can be intentional in our gift-giving. In 1975, only two per cent of toys in the Sears Catalogue were marketed explicitly to boys


or girls. Walk into the toy department of any large store today, and you’ll be faced with a sea of “colour-coding.” This has consequences. Beyond reinforcing limiting gender stereotypes, playing exclusively with “girl toys” can actually affect our granddaughters’ brain development. According to a recent National Geographic article, “How Today’s Toys May Be Harming Your Daughter,” girls are less likely to play with complex puzzles or building toys that help develop spatial awareness—in part due to marketing. Jamie Jerout, a developmental psychologist, argues that spatial awareness is important for higher level thinking, and may be “a piece of the explanation for the underrepresentation of women in science and tech.” What can we do about this as grandparents? We can certainly be aware of this gender bias, and look for gifts that offer new experiences and creative ways to play and learn, rather than limiting our granddaughters—or our grandsons—to the toys marketers are trying to sell them. We can give the gift of experience as well, teaching our granddaughters new skills, or paying for a confidence-boosting drama workshop or rock-climbing camp—with their input, of course. We can live our own lives with grace and courage. My mother’s influence on my daugh-

ters was profound in large part because of the example she set herself. She went back to school in mid-life and pursued a career that she was passionate about. She valued the contribution she had to make to the world, while respecting the contributions of other people, and this gave her a wonderful dignity. We can be role models to our granddaughters as well, finding our own voices, speaking the truth,

Rachel Dunstan Muller taking new risks and trying new challenges. It’s never too late to examine our lives and to fill in the gaps or make any necessary course corrections. It’s important work in itself, and even more important when our granddaughters are watching. Empower ourselves, and we empower future generations. Rachel Dunstan Muller is a grandmother, children’s author, storyteller and personal historian. You can learn more about her work at redbirdmemoirs.com.

Winter 2019  7

Help Low Income Seniors in Our Community We now support Seniors, like Pearl, many whom must stretch their limited funds to cover their basic needs and struggle to afford hygiene products. Sadly, many go without.

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t was a warm, sunny fall day with just a hint of rain—much too nice a day to be indoors—so the families were visiting out in the yard. Mommy was chatting with Grandma and Auntie Sarah, Daddy was conversing with Grandpa, the brothers and their cousins were zooming up and down the long gravel driveway on bikes and scooters, and 22-month old Charlotte was bored. Nobody was paying attention to her! Furthermore, her feet hurt! “Mommy! Owwwwie!” She stamped her wee feet in their sparkly shoes. Mommy explained that although Charlotte’s feet had grown too big for her sparkly shoes, she had insisted on wearing them. “Wait here,” said Auntie Sarah. She disappeared into the garage, reappearing shortly with a large cardboard box full of her girls’ outgrown clothing. Pushing aside armfuls of frilly dresses and colourful leggings she surfaced triumphantly, waving a pair of tiny, bright pink Croc sandals. “The girls loved these,” she said. “I think they’re just the right size for Charlotte.”

“Off,” said Charlotte, sticking one wee sparkly foot into the air. Off went the sparkly shoes. On went the Crocs. Off went Charlotte down the driveway in her new pink shoes. Off went Grandma in hot pursuit. Charlotte paused to admire her new pink Crocs, lifting first one foot, then the other. She wiggled her toes. She hopped up and down. She walked a few steps, then ran the way all toddlers do, with impressive arm-pumping and a good deal of lateral motion but little actual forward progress. She made a beeline for a large, tempting puddle. Grandma got there first, steering her back on course down the driveway. Charlotte veered back to the puddle, clearly determined to christen her new shoes. Grandma knew there was no point in trying to reason with a determined toddler, so she tried a secondary tactic: distraction. “Oh look, there go the boys on their bikes! Let’s show them your new shoes.” This suggestion inspired Charlotte to abandon the puddle and charge at top toddler speed toward the public road where the boys were messing around on their bikes. Grandma got there first. Grandma and Charlotte walked hand in hand down the quiet rural road, trailing after the boys, who were waiting impatiently at the stop sign at the corner. Not a great distance for grown-up legs to cover, but a considerable trek for short ones. Every few yards it was necessary to pause and admire the new pink Crocs. The boys at the corner were waving and calling out “Hurry, Grandma! Come and see what we found!” What could it be? An interesting rock? A dime? A frog? No rock, no coin, no amphibian. A rainbow! A glorious ribbon of colour, arching across the firmament and disappearing into the clouds. Grandma lifted Charlotte into her arms and pointed skyward. “Look, sweetie—a rainbow!” A puzzled expression crossed Charlotte’s features, wrinkling her button nose. Suddenly her face lit up with delight. Her arm shot up, finger tracing the arc. “RAIN-bow!” she cried. “Yes, Charlotte! What a pretty rainbow.” “RAIN-bow! PIT-ty!” Her finger drew the rainbow again. “See? It goes right across the sky.” “RAIN-bow! Kye!” The finger sketched another arc. “Look at all the colours.” “RAIN-bow! COL-lows!” Charlotte struggled in Grandma’s arms. “Down!” she said. Grandma obliged, smiling IslandParent.ca

fondly as her granddaughter gazed up, transfixed, at the slowly fading rainbow. “GAM-ma!” She paused dramatically. Up went the arm. “RAIN-bow! GAM-ma!” Another dramatic pause. “RAIN-bow! Kye! GAM-ma!” More drama. “RAIN-bow! COL-

Jacqui Graham lows! GAM-ma!” Again with the pausing. “RAIN-bow! PIT-ty!” “Yes, dear, isn’t it lovely? Now it’s time to head back. See? The rainbow’s going byebye, the boys have already gone bye-bye, and it’s starting to rain. Bye-bye, rainbow!” Grandma waved enthusiastically. Charlotte waved—a trifle less enthusiastically—but she took Grandma’s hand, and they started up the road. After a few steps, however, she pulled away and trotted back to the corner. Up went the arm. “GAM-ma! RAIN-bow!” “Yes, dear. But see how pale the rainbow is growing? The rainbow is tired. It needs to rest. The rainbow is going back to its home in the sky, to sleep on a fluffy white cloud.” “RAIN-bow home? RAIN-bow seep?” Charlotte gravely considered these new concepts. “You got it, sweetie. Nighty night, rainbow. Pleasant dreams.” Grandma blew the rainbow a kiss. Charlotte threw a kiss in the general direction of the rainbow. Off they started once more. This time they made it a couple of yards further before Charlotte broke away and ran back to the corner. Up went the arm. “GAM-ma! RAIN-bow!” Grandma picked Charlotte up and headed down the road. Little eyes gazed wistfully back over Grandma’s shoulder. “Let’s go tell Mommy about the rainbow,” said Grandma, brightly. Charlotte thought this over. “RAIN-bow,” she said softly, with a contemplative smile. Then the wee pink thumb went into the mouth, the wee blonde head nestled into Grandma’s shoulder, and the new pink Crocs bumped gently against Grandma’s leg all the way back to Auntie Sarah’s house. Jacqui Graham has six grown kids and eight delightful grandkids age 6 months to 11 years. If she had known how much fun grandkids would be, she would have had them first!

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Winter 2019  9


Things to Do With Your Grandkids For more ideas and a fun map of the Island, pick up a copy of the Kids Guide to Vancouver Island at Tourist Info Centres or at your local recreation centre. …boasts nearly 50 fascinating species including giant walking sticks, beautiful praying mantis, and glow-in-the-dark scorpions. Tour guides will introduce you to the world of bugs, give a wealth of information about the animals on display and provide a safe bug-handling experience. victoriabugzoo.ca.

Photo: The Bu

tchart Gardens


Bug Zoo

dens Butchargat rdGenas,rJapanese

ens, rose s of sunken gard villion and …offers 55 acre a Children’s Pa ith w g on k, al s en gard k, a Family Wal gardens, Italian ng Fossils Wal vi Li as a tm e’s is er hr C Th er ything Rose Carousel. uminations, Ev . Ill el ht -fu ig re N , to ur er to a boat ffee shop aft co e th it is V . om 6) s.c . (Dec 1-Jan butchartgarden

Royal BC Museum & IMAX

…are great rainy-day destinations this winter. What better way to warm up than taking in RBCM’s exhibition, Egypt: Time of the Pharaohs, with interact ive displays and 300+ original artifacts. From Feb 15-Mar 24, check out Wildlife Photographer of the Year, with a brand new selection of 100 images from around the world. At the IMAX theatre, catch Mysteries of Egypt, Our Blue Planet, The Story of Earth and more. royalbcmuseum.bc.ca, imaxvictoria.com .

tuary Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanc two distinct

Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea

…is a state-of-the-art aquarium and marine learning centre in Sidney that focuses on the ecosystem of the Salish Sea. Learn about, explore and conserve the Salish Sea Bioregion—its wildlife, waters, land, culture, and people. Take part in guided tours, scavenger hunts, Tot Tuesdays, and Sea Shirt Sundays, along with other kids’ activities. salishseacentre.org.

10  Island Grandparent

…is a wild oasis in the heart of the urban landscape and includes sted ecosystems: the beautiful marshland of Swan Lake and the rocky, oak-fore rege encoura ages all for s program onal Educati Hill. highlands of Christmas sponsibility for the care and protection of the natural environment. The Nature House is open 8:30am4pm Monday-Friday (year-round), and from noon-4pm on weekends. Visit swanlake.bc.ca.

days (Octoberamily Suthn th from 2-4pm AGGV’s Fird on m e a of ay Sund Greater Victori

…are on the th Art Gallery of joy a by the current d ire sp in andchild and en d an June) g. Bring your gr ily. in m m fa m le ra og ho w pr e d aking for th tm exhibitions an ar on snd noon of ha on. aggv.ca. fun-filled after ed with admissi ud cl in is m ra The prog

Victoria Bu

tterfly Gardens …invites you to enjoy a Tro pical Staycation. Admire exotic butterflies while they fly fre e in their own tropical rai nforest environment. The on-site natura lists are full of fascinatin g facts and will answer your questions. 1461 Benvenuto Avenue in Brentwood Bay. Open daily. For hours and information, visit butter flygardens.com.

Mount Washington

…has something for everyone. From downhill and cross-country skiing to snowshoeing, tubing and just old-fashioned playing in the snow, there’s no shortage of things to do at Mt. Washington Alpine Resort. Sign your grandkids up for Snow School, tackle the terrain park together, or just get outside and play in the snow. Alpine Opening Day and the starting date of Night Skiing TBA. Winter Wonderland runs from Dec 20-Jan 4. Visit mountwashington.ca.

CRD Regional Parks Nature Outings & Events

…The Capital Regional District offers a variety of guided nature outings and activities for children and adults of all ages and abilities. These free and low-cost drop-in events, guided walks and hikes in regional parks throughout the district are engaging and interactive, to stimulate your natural curiosity and to help your grandkids develop a greater appreciation for the region’s natural environment. Plan to join a CRD interpreter and connect with nature through a range of events. crd.bc.ca/parks.

o Musealujom h Nanaim urney throug lighttors on a visu

…takes visi hibits. High permanent ex ’s e city um se u M the ped shape th stries that hel the u d d in an e ry th g to in ations his N st ir F the to n in additio tour through residents, a ty ci re of d s an le ative lifesty ry is an inform seum.ca. lle ga ’s um se u mu aimom erience. nan warding exp IslandParent.ca

&There Winter 2019  11

I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You… T here comes a time in life when it dawns on you that your time on this earth is not without limits. Oh sure, I have no immediate plans for departure, but the possibility has crawled its way into my mind—usually at about three o’clock in the morning, a time that’s been dubbed “the hour of the wolf.” It’s a time when defenses are down and disturbing thoughts have a way of emerging from the darkness. It’s at those times that I start to think of the many things I wanted to tell my granddaughter before I’m gone. To begin with, I want to tell her about who I am, or was, and explain that I’m not

the same person now that I’ve been in the various iterations of my life. The truth is that those versions of me are long gone, and what remains is an amalgam of experiences and lessons learned. Randi doesn’t know about any of those versions of Grandpa. She knows nothing about the way I grew up aside from the odd anecdote I’ve shared with her—generally tales that involve the sort of foolishness that a largely unsupervised child in the late 1950s and early 1960s would embrace. I’ve told her about when I was seven and my friend Kenny stole his father’s bike and went 12  Island Grandparent

careening down Dead Man’s Hill, missed the turn and went flying into the frigid, flooded, Old Man’s Creek. We never found the bike. She’s heard about how I met her grandmother, and how we first kissed at the playground one September when we were in high school. And how I knew I was in love. I’ve told her other stories as well. I’ve shared stories of her mother’s childhood and some things we did when she was Randi’s age. I’ll confess that a lot of those stories arise when her mother scolds her and says things like “Why would you do that? What were you thinking?”

sometimes, that wasn’t an easy thing to do and I failed miserably. I know that, in time, Randi will also learn of some of those darker times of my life, times I regret with all my heart. She’ll learn about those times without the context to understand how they happened and without knowing the lessons I learned and how hard it was to redeem myself as life moved on.

Tim Collins

It’s why I’ve started writing Randi a letter. Well, it started as a letter, but I suspect that, by the time it’s done, it may run several volumes. You see, I want to leave something behind for Randi so that, should she ever be curious, she can read about the Grandpa she knew as a child. It’s been an interesting exercise for me, because it’s allowed me to sneak in some thoughts about life, the sort of wisdom I always deny having but which I suppose may have collected in some back closet of my soul when I wasn’t paying attention. In my letter I explain to her that, despite the times that someone is cruel to her, or wounds her heart, or betrays her friendship, people in general are fundamentally still good. I tell her that a lot of the things we think of as important are meaningless in the end and that many of the things we sometimes scoff at in life—things like honour and virtue—are among the most important. I tell her that hope and love, real love, can never die unless you allow them to die in your own heart. I tell her that these are the things she needs to remember and believe in, despite the many times the world might rise up to make her doubt those beliefs. At those times, without drawing direct In the end, if she believes these things, she comparisons, I might wait awhile and then can make them true in her own life and, when recount a particularly silly thing her mother she’s my age, she can recount those same truths did as a child. It seems to help restore some to her own grandchildren. perspective. Hmm…that almost sounds wise. But the truth is that what I’ve shared with I’m also slipping in a few jokes, because Randi are no more than a few snapshots in I want her to remember that laughter is imtime. Sort of like those movie trailers that give portant, too, and that, sometimes, Grandpa you a rough idea of the film without revealing made her laugh. the entire story. I realized that she won’t know about the things I’ve learned and how I tried to be a Tim Collins is a writer and freelance good person for most of my life and how, journalist living and working in Victoria.

The Lost Words is authored by Robert Macfarlane and illustrated by Jackie Morris. It is a book combining acrostic spell-poems with exquisite illustrations intended to restore the relevance of words from nature to ensure they are, not lost at all but instead, lovingly remain to future generations of children for years to come.

t w nea



“I was at a loss for words when I learned about a beautifuly illustrated book which told the story of common nature words made extinct from the print version of the Oxford Junior Dictionary,” said Kathleen Burton, executive director of Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary. “The book illustrates words that are far from being extinct - many of the plants, animals and birds described can be seen at the Sanctuary today.”

r e tt

o fern


Swan Lake christmas hill n a t u r e

s a n c t u a r y

kingfisher Munro’s Books will donate $8 from the sale of every book to Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary Education Programs until December 31, 2018. Visit the Gift Shop or Munro’s to buy your copy today.

3873 Swan Lake Road, Victoria, B.C. Canada, V8X 3W1 | www.swanlake.bc.ca | 250-479-0211


Winter 2019  13

Once Upon a Time… Help your grandchildren learn to read by sharing 1,000 stories


xperts say children need to hear at least 1,000 stories before they begin to learn to read. Grandparents make amazing reading partners and can play a key role in helping their grandkids reach that reading goal. Plus, reading together has the added benefit of strengthening the bond grandparents have with the little ones in their lives. “Hearing your voice, sitting side by side, and holding a book together create a reading experience that will have a positive influence on a child,” says Lonestar Stone, a librarian with the Greater Victoria Public Library. “Forming positive associations with reading is a key step for children learning to read.” And, Lonestar adds, “Grandparents have had years to practice their reading skills and are experts at making reading fun, interesting and meaningful.” Stone, who specializes in children’s material, says babies also benefit from being read to. “Hearing your voice forming words and sounds is important to developing literacy skills. Let babies play with cloth or board books; it will strengthen their interest in reading.” To help caregivers and their grandchildren to reach the 1,000-book milestone, librarians at the Greater Victoria Public Library created a selection of 100 exceptional picture books to entertain, educate and inspire young children again and again. Below, GVPL shares a sample of the recommendations for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. See the complete list at gvpl.ca/100books then snuggle up and share these wonderful stories for a meaningful, memorable winter.

Babies There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly by Pam Adams King Baby by Kate Beaton Hello Humpback! by Roy Henry Vickers and Robert Budd When I Grow Up by Emma Dodd Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett Where’s Spot by Eric Hill Rosie’s Walk by Pat Hutchins One Some Many by Marthe Jocelyn Sweetest Kulu by Celina Kalluk We Sang You Home by Richard Van Camp

Toddlers Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox by Danielle Daniel Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! by Candace Fleming

1,000 14  Island Grandparent

You Hold Me Up by Monique Gray Smith Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin Scribble by Ruth Ohi Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann My Friend Rabbit by Eric Rohmann If You’re Hoppy by April Pulley Sayre Duck on a Bike by David Shannon Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? By Jane Yolen

FRED PENNER Legendary Canadian Children’s Performer

SUN FEB 10 | 2:30 PM

ONE MAN STAR WARS TRILOGY performed with permission of Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved

SAT MAY 4 | 7:30 PM uvic.ca/farquhar | 250-721-8480 |



The Nutcracker Island Exclusive

Photo: Amy Williams

Friday Dec. 14, 2018 7pm Tickets Family

$27 $88

(2 adults and 2 children)

For Greater Victoria Public Library’s complete list of 100 exceptional picture books for babies, toddlers and preschoolers, visit gvpl.ca/100books.


The Royal City Youth Ballet’s

Preschoolers Stanley’s Party by Linda Bailey A Day With Yayah by Nicola Campbell I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child Buddy and Earl by Maureen Fergus Corduroy by Don Freeman Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson The Wolf ’s Chicken Stew by Keiko Kasza The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss The Best Pet of All by David LaRochelle The Imaginary Garden by Andrew Larsen The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf The Good Little Book by Kyo Maclear They Say Blue by Jillian Tamaki Owl Babies by Martin Waddell Chester by Mélanie Watt


Saturday Dec. 15, 2018 1pm cowichanpac.ca

Ticket Centre: 250.748.7529 2687 James St. Duncan, BC

Winter 2019  15

This &That

Avoid the Pitfalls of Being a Grandparent 1. Respect your children’s boundaries (time, privacy, etc.) and be clear about your own. 2. Keep talking—ask questions, show interest, share your own experiences or way of thinking. Don’t let misunderstandings fester and grow into resentments and grievances. 3. Be open to learn. Your children have things to teach you about parenting. Show your admiration for their parenting skills.

From “Four Pitfalls of Being a Grandparent,” written by Roberta Satow in Psychology Today, psychologytoday.com.

Not talking is so profound,” says Anne Lamott, “author of Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son. “The most challenging thing [about being a grandparent] is to hold your tongue and not correct and not offer advice unless they request it. The fact that it’s their baby…is really important to me.

Anne Lamott in “Some Assembly Required: Q&A with Anne Lamott on Grandparenting” in Time.


Are you are a grandparent raising your grandchildren? You are not alone. To talk with someone about resources and programs that you may not be aware of, call the province-wide GRG Information Line toll free at 1-855-474-9777. You can also find out about programs on the Island that provide opportunities to meet with other grandparents who are raising their grandchildren, along with information, support and activities. Find out more by visiting parentsupportbc.ca.

Books About Kids & 10 Ways to Connect with their Grandparents Long-distance Grandchildren


1. The Hello, Goodbye Window. A Caldecott Medal Winner, suitable for babies, preschoolers and grade-schoolers. Written by Norton Juster, illustrated by Chris Raschka.

2. The Matchbox Diary. Good for pre-

schoolers and grade-schoolers. Written by Paul Fleischman, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline.

3. Coming on Home Soon. This Caldecott

honour book is suitable for grade-schoolers. Written by Jaqueline Woodson, illustrated by E.B. Lewis.

4. Miss Rumphius. This National Book

Award-winner is good for preschoolers and grade-schoolers. Written and illustrated by Barbara Cooney.

1. Use Skype or FaceTime. Video calls allow you to see each other’s expressions and surroundings; they can make you feel like you’ve actually been together. Read books, sing songs and even play games—in real time. 2. Read bedtime stories. Record yourself reading a favourite bedtime story. Then the parents can show the video to your grandkids as they follow along with the same book. 3. Send snail mail. Staying connected doesn’t have to only be done the high-tech way. Send a package every few weeks with simple contents like a colouring book or stickers, plus a note or card. 4. Have your kids display photos. A digital picture frame can showcase a variety of images. Old photos can initiate a discussion about an event like Nana’s wedding or a childhood family vacation. 5. Give a house tour. Videotape yourself in your surroundings, giving a narrative tour as you wander from room to room. Not only will your grandkids love the tour, but they’ll also feel more comfortable the next time they visit.

5. Nana in the City. This Caldecott honour

6. Share an interest. Find a website or blog you and your grandkids love, for example, or read the same book. Then you can talk about it on Skype, FaceTime, phone or email.

6. Lucky Pennies and Hot Chocolate.

7. Create a photo album. Ask your grandkids to take pictures of their day and then send them via text, email or mail. Print the photos and arrange them in an album then share them the next time you’re together.

book is good for babies and preschoolers. Written and illustrated by Lauren Castillo. Good for babies and preschoolers. Written by Carol Diggory Shields, illustrated by Hiroe Nakata.

7. Bigmama’s. Good for preschoolers and

grade-schoolers. Written and illustrated by Donald Crews. By Olivia Gentile for thegrandparenteffect.com.

16  Island Grandparent

8. Communicate “their” way—via text, email, instant messages or Facebook (as long as the grandchild is OK having a grandparent as a Facebook “friend”) or cell phone. 9. Teach something new. How to make your famous chicken soup, for example. Email the ingredients needed. Then whip it up together over Skype or FaceTime. 10. Play games. Play card games, crosswords, chess and more, all online. From 10 Ways to Connect With Long-Distance Grandparents by Stacey Feintuch at healthywomen.org.

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Winter 2019  17

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Put a Sock in It! W andering work socks, crouching crews, quivering quarter lengths and my all-time favourite: crawling calf lengths with joyfully-cartooned bandages still partially adhered. Bespoke treasures for Grandma to enjoy. Why have funky print socks been yanked off in great haste and chucked across several rooms to land beneath furniture? Bamboo baby socks pop up everywhere and there hasn’t been a baby in this home for six years now. Have they really been footloose under the futon for six years?

Admittedly, I’m not a quick study. However, even I recognize there’s a smelly plot afoot. Have I been too generous in providing bundles of socks in Christmas stockings? Am I too quick to offer them a woolly argyle pair of mine when their toes are blue? Should I be correcting them when their sock colours clash in hue or length which is pretty much all the time? Footnote #1: When a single sock is sniffed out, finding its sole mate is even more unlikely than avoiding cracked heels on the Camino pilgrimage. There just aren’t enough tools in

By night I count the strays as they pussyfoot off to find their soulmates: “I had a tube sock and I left, that’s right!” Even dress socks big enough to fit Dad’s feet show up here and there. Was my son-in-law sleeping on the chesterfield again? Socks hide beneath every piece of furniture and squish themselves in alongside bed mattresses. They crouch naked behind bathroom doors. They lounge on their backs beneath the oven door trying desperately to get a tan. There are even white athletic socks halfburied in the garden. “Why haven’t any of them cottoned onto the idea of wearing matching socks?” asks Grandpa.“And why don’t they keep them on their feet? By the way, fancy a foot massage when we get home?” Seems we’re both developing PTSD (Post-Traumatic Sock Disorder).

anyone’s toolkit to attempt a recovery. Even if you find the right colour, it won’t be the right size. Or it will be the right size but they won’t fit anymore and the next one won’t wear a sibling’s old socks. And there will be holes in the toe and one starting in the heel. And I’m not about to re-learn how to darn. We’ve tried, my daughter and I. Bought ankle lengths in bulk at big box stores. Invested weeks knitting lovely striped quarter lengths on the smallest of circular needles with the softest of lambswool. Sent away for honey bee socks from the cereal company. Spent hours perfecting the latest folding techniques on Youtube which promise to “save space in drawers while extending socks’ lives.” Read them cute children’s bedtime stories of single sock culture around the globe. Seems laundry equipment eats socks in any language. But in

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my world, the shoe’s on the other foot: socks are found, not missing, conundrums. Footnote #2: Find time to demonstrate proper sock folding techniques to eliminate straying whilst in the laundry and drawer cycles.

Elizabeth Olson “Bobby socks or knee-highs: a pair for every occasion and every pair folded in its place,” I encourage each grandchild. But heads are bent, studying their screens. Footnote #3: Reminding them is like wearing a nylon sock when you have a blister. Keep the spring in your step and a smile on your face like I do when I tell them: “Your mother is going back to school and soon won’t have time to manage your socks for you.”

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“Then,” they tell me, “you’ll just have to come over more often” as they reach for their current go-to card game, Dutch Blitz. “Put your broom down and your stocking feet up for a bit Grandma. You keep score. There’s a pencil lying there right under the credenza beside that slouching sock.” Elizabeth Olson, since retiring from Galiano Island Books, spends a lot of time these days in bookstores in Sidney. Her own grandfather was a pirate who spent his retirement searching for Inca gold on Cocos Island. IslandParent.ca

Winter 2019  19

Toys That Do Nothing Healthy Families, Happy Families

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Gifts for Grandkids


s a pediatric speech-language pathologist, I frequent toy stores looking for the next amazing toy. As I wander the aisles I often find myself attracted to brightly-coloured electronic toys that make lots of noises, have all sorts of buttons or moving parts, and serve some ambiguous play function. If you have ever seen these toys, I’m sure you’ve also thought to yourself, “I wonder what this one does” as you look over the pictures on the box. It’s easy to get drawn in by these flashy and visually stimulating toys. They are, after all, designed to achieve this purpose. When you are searching for the perfect toy for your grandchild, it’s understandable why you might be tempted to grab one of these busy electronic toys. However, I have a different suggestion—get your grandchild a toy that does nothing. I know this sounds underwhelming, but allow me to explain. Simply put, my definition of a toy that does nothing is one that has no batteries and that easily allows for interactive and/or pretend play. This may sound boring, but it’s these kinds of toys that allow for the most creative and active play. After all, if the toy does nothing, then the child must do everything. Generally speaking, toys that do nothing seem to be more traditional toys, such as simple farm sets, dollhouses, play kitchens, blocks, or puppets. Combined with a willing play partner, these traditional toys support responsive interactions that help build children’s language, communication, and play skills. Think about the last time someone tried to talk to you while you were watching your

favourite TV show or movie. Did it take several attempts before you noticed the other person? If they launched into a conversation, did you catch everything that they said or did you need them to repeat themselves? Did you feel a little annoyed that someone was interrupting you? Do you think it would be easy to have an extended or meaningful conversation while the show was still playing?

Caitlin Bittman


When we are absorbed in something that is both motivating and stimulating, it can be difficult to share our attention. It is a similar situation with our children playing with many of these busy toys. All the lights, sounds, and moving parts are appealing and are great at getting children’s attention, but they can also be attention hoarders, monopolizing a child’s focus and making it difficult for them to notice you in play. Have you ever noticed how quiet children get when they become absorbed in high-tech toys? Likely that is because they are tuning out everything around them. To many, this may not seem like a big deal. After all, don’t we want our grandchildren to enjoy the toys we give them? All children should be able and expected to play on their own sometimes, however it is important to recognize all the benefits that come from active play with another person.

all kinds of skills and traits through play, such as fine and gross motor skills, personal awareness, emotional well-being, social skills, creativity, logic, and problem solving, to name a few. But did you also know that a child’s play skills are linked to their language development? Play and language skills develop hand-inhand, and each supports the development of the other. This is especially true when children start engaging in pretend play and

An increasing amount of research is showing how important quality interactions are between caregivers and children to support optimal language development. When children have conversations with adults, they receive good language models and also have the opportunity to practice using what they’ve learned and receive natural feedback as a part of the conversation. Recent research shows that engaging in conversations with young children works to strengthen the areas in their brain associated with language. And one of the best ways to have conversations with children is to participate in their play. Regardless of how children play with toys, there are many opportunities for adults to model language and for children to practice using language as you talk about what you are doing together, or perhaps what you plan to do next. Having conversations during play is a great way to link experience to new word meanings. That way, a child learns directly through their experience—even if it is just pretend. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “Play is a child’s work.” Children learn about the world and develop

role playing. Here, children learn to use their imaginations, and they need language to create and enrich their play when they engage with others. This includes using language to decide what they will play (for example, race car drivers on a race track), who will play each role and what each person will do as part of their role, as well as what happens in the “story.” Think of all the endless conversation possibilities and language-learning opportunities children can engage in as they negotiate their play. Remember that like the example of someone trying to talk to you during your favourite TV show, the high level of engagement needed to maximally support language development is not likely to happen if a toy is monopolizing a child’s attention, or if the toy is doing all the playing by itself with the child as a passive observer. I am not saying that these busy toys are detrimental to children’s development. Rather, I am saying that simple, more traditional toys are better

suited to support interactions that will have a positive impact on a child’s development. When we play with “toys that do nothing,” we—children and adults—are more likely to be tuned-in to one another. This sets the foundation for interactions that include more conversation and more opportunities to support language development. When the toy does less, it’s easier for kids to pay more attention to you and less attention to the toy. In that way, it is not the toys that are important, it is the interaction and conversations we have while we play with those toys that are important. So when we choose toys for our grandchildren, we should be choosing toys that don’t undermine interaction or distract from communicating with each other or engaging with what we say or how we say it. So if you are thinking about getting a young loved one something special, consider the benefits of a toy that does nothing. Try not to be drawn in by the busy toys with all the bells and whistles. Remember that the flashy, high-tech toys do not allow much space for interactions that support your grandchild’s development. Instead, look for more traditional toys—blocks, role-play/dress-ups, puppets, or pretend food, for example—that you and your grandchildren will enjoy playing with together. The best toys are simple and come with a willing and attentive play partner. I am certain that the gift that will keep on giving long after the batteries die is the toy that does nothing.

Caitlin Bittman, M.Sc., R.SLP., S-LP(C), CCC-SLP, is a Speech-Language Pathologist with Island Health. Winter 2019  21

Serena Beck

Grand Sleepovers…


hen I was a kid, I loved sleeping over at my Grandma’s. She made homemade corn fritters and French fries in a pot of oil on the stove and cinnamon toast for breakfast. After we swam in the pool in her apartment building, she would tie a plastic sandwich bag around my pony tail so it didn’t drop water all over her apartment. I was excited when each of our kids started making their first sleepover memories at my parents (Grandma Linda and Papa) and my in-laws (Grandma Susan and Pepere). Grandma Linda wrote a journal entry from the perspective of each of our kids for their first sleepover. Here’s a journal entry from our oldest daughter’s perspective when she was 16 months and she had her first sleepover: “While Grandma made lunch, I pushed my corn popper round and round the house. I laughed and then Grandma pushed the floppy duck around too and we laughed and laughed. I helped Grandma “dead head” her flowers, but I think I took off some good flowers too. It was fun.”

What do you like best about having the grandkids sleep over? Grandma Susan loves getting to know each child’s distinct personality—without their siblings competing for attention. “It reminds me of raising my own three children and it is a great experience for my second husband, Pepere (Brian),” says Susan. “He never had kids, but loves spending time with them and sharing my kids and our grandchildren.” Grandma Susan loves feeling more relaxed as a grandparent. “There is no pressure with schedules and routines. They are great for me so I don’t have to worry about discipline. Grandchildren do no wrong and we get to spoil them. We love them so much and they love us so much.”

22  Island Grandparent

Pepere loves teaching his grandchildren how to play the guitar and the drums. “It’s amazing to see their demands for technology,” says Pepere. “They commandeer my iPad and love the drawing programs on it.” Pepere enjoys seeing his grandkids move in for the weekend. They take over the guest room and their second bathroom. “The grandkids really add dimension to our living space,” he says. “It’s nice to see them comfortable in their second home.”

What activities do you enjoy doing together? Grandma and Pepere spend quite a bit of time walking to the fairy garden by their house. “Our oldest granddaughter leaves toys and notes and the fairies write her back.” Grandma Susan said that their grandson “refers to Government house as his secret garden.” They often go for afternoon walks or tea at the Government house. They also like to let their grandkids prepare supper or dessert with them or they take them out for supper. Grandma Linda collects heart-shaped rocks and takes the kids beachcombing with her. They collect sea glass together and make ornaments and art out of the sea glass and rocks. Papa loves building Lego and doing puzzles. He’s always patient and enjoys putting Lego sets together and playing board games with his grandchildren. He also enjoys nap time, cuddle time, and TV time on the couch with them. Grandma Susan and Pepere are looking forward to taking their grandkids shopping for back to school clothes. Grandma Linda also enjoys shopping at the thrift stores with her grandkids.

What are some cute quotes from your grandkids? While Grandma Linda was walking with her oldest granddaughter in the winter, her granddaughter said “That man is shaving snow off his truck just like Daddy shaves his face with a razor.” Grandma Linda’s grandson was watering the plants with her and then said “Wait, I can’t come inside yet.” He paused and then put a straw in the flower pot he had just finished watering—“…for the bees to drink water.” Grandma Linda knits and one evening at supper her youngest granddaughter picked up her fork and spoon that she was using to eat her spaghetti and then crossed the ends and started moving them against each other. She said “I am knitting like you Grandma.” It’s amusing to see how different your parents can be with their grandkids than they were when you were a child. My brother had kids first and I remember going to my mom’s house and seeing crushed cereal bits by her back door and her first grandchild wandering around the carpeted living room with a Dilly Bar each hand. When we were kids we were never allowed to eat in the living room—let alone be armed with two dripping Dilly Bars. Perhaps when I have grandkids one day, some of my parenting rules will go out the window, too.

Serena Beck works full-time as a technical writer. She loves to write, travel, and swim at the beach with family and friends.


Winter 2019  23

One of my favourite things to do with my grandson is have him for sleepovers on the weekends. This gives his parents a muchneeded break and I am able to spend more than just a few hours with him. We have begun to establish routines at Nonna’s house so he knows what to expect, and I’m pleased to see how comfortable he is at my place. As he gets older, I plan to involve him more in I am fortunate to have considerable flexibil- the preparation of simple meals and baking, ity with my job. I’m usually able to schedule something I regret not teaching my own sons. days off whenever I want, so I often spend a few days a month with my grandson. I always look forward to those special days. In the beginning, I worried that at my age, I wouldn’t be up for an entire day of caring for a little one. And of course, I fretted over any bumps or falls on my watch. Athough I’m often exhausted at the end of a day, it’s a good kind of exhaustion. I wouldn’t trade our days Although I am not a proponent of electrontogether for anything, and I mean anything. ics with children, I do see the value in things When we’re together, I try to make the like Skype and Facetime as they allow working most of our time; I comb local publications grandparents or grandparents who live away and event calendars for festivals, concerts, from their grandchildren to keep in touch at or any other special event I think he might the click of a button. I have a colleague whose enjoy. More often than not though, we simply parents live out of the country, so they Skype spend our days at local playgrounds, parks, and together almost every night at dinnertime. Originally, it was used as a way to keep their toddler at the dinner table, but it soon became a nightly ritual, and although it is a commitment, it has been invaluable in nurturing their relationship despite the thousands of miles between them. Photobooks are another excellent way to strengthen relationships between grandparents and grandchildren when they are able to spend time together. Most children love books of any sort and are especially fascinated if a book is about them. My daughter-in-law lovingly creates family photobooks that prominently feature my grandson. Spending time going through these with him, pointing things out, reminiscing, and asking him questions is an excellent way to forge and reinforce our family ties. Short of winning a lottery or having a longlost, wealthy relative come out of the woodwork—not much chance of that, I’m afraid—I beaches, even in inclement weather—after all, must face facts: I am a working grandmother. puddles are for splashing! I do know my grandson appreciates the effort Several years ago, I opted to sell my car so I make to spend ti me with him when he races now I travel everywhere by bus. Doing so has to greet me and exuberantly wraps his little provided a “window on the world” of sorts for arms tightly around neck as only a young child my little grandson. He always sees new and can. There’s no better thank you than that. interesting faces, he practices his manners with the bus driver, he is proud of his budding Susan Gnucci is a local author and a independence handling public transport, and proud “nonna” to an adorable four-yearthere’s the added bonus when it comes to the old grandson. She enjoys sharing her ride home after a busy day, it never fails to lull experiences as a first-time grandparent. my little charge to sleep.

A Working Grandmother W hen I think back to when I was growing up in the 1960s and 70s, I don’t ever remember my grandparents working. For one thing, they seemed really old, but I suppose from a child’s perspective, anyone over 25 fell into that category. I also had no real appreciation that my grandparents could have any kind of life outside of being our Gramma and Grampa. After all, they were always home whenever we dropped by. When I became a first-time grandmother four years ago, I was sorely disappointed to find myself still in the workforce. In fact, I was still in a full-time job. Granted, I hadn’t started my career until after my own children were both in school, but it still bothered me that I couldn’t be the type of grandparent I wanted to be. Unfortunately, in my case, working is

an economic reality, and if I am honest with myself, I like my job, but there are times when I wish I didn’t have to work. My grandson’s other grandmother is a stayat-home mom, so she is the main caregiver when my daughter-in-law goes to work. At first, I struggled with that; I had to cope with the inevitable feelings of envy and resentment, but with time, came acceptance. After all, there’s no sense in railing against what I cannot change. Instead, I simply try to make the most of the time I do have with my grandson. 24  Island Grandparent

Susan Gnucci

Fun Things to Do with Your Grandkids Pack a Picnic. Kids love getting involved, so harness that enthusiasm to create a special picnic. Baking cookies or muffins, making sandwiches, or making lemonade, not to mention helping to clean up afterwards are fun activities that will give them ownership of their food and make it more appealing. Dance with Them. Preschoolers love dancing, so put on your favourite music (bonus if you still have a record player because they’ll be fascinated by the old technology) and show them your best moves. Revive a Forgotten Craft. If there’s an activity you used to love when you were a child, why not have a go at teaching it to them. From flower-pressing to stamp collecting, you may just discover a new convert. Share Your Passion. Whether it’s gardening, fishing, crosswords or riding a unicycle while juggling, show your grandchildren what you love doing and get them involved. It may turn out to be a way to maintain the relationship once they get older and start spending more time doing activities outside the family. Look through your Photograph Album. If you have pictures of their mom or dad, or even yourself, at the same age as your grandchild, they will be fascinated to see what they looked like and how they dressed. Talk about what life was like back then. Dress Up. Play dress ups with your grandkids. Let them pick outfits for themselves and you. If you are feeling particularly brave, you can even let them “help” you put on make-up. Write a Story. Make a book. Grab some paper and crayons and start crafting a tale. If they’re young, they can dictate the words to you as you write them down, and then they can create the pictures to match. Dig Out Those Old Toys. If you have hung on to yours or your children’s old toys and they are not too fragile, there’s still plenty of play left in them. Just be mindful of the fact that safety standards have changed a lot since then, and supervise their play. Beware of potential choking hazards. Lead-based paint was once commonly used on toys, so it’s probably best to keep old toy cars or painted wooden toys out of reach. Write a Letter. Help your grandchildren write a letter to someone, show them how to address the envelope, buy and stick on a stamp and walk it to the post box. From Caring for Kids, caring4kids.com.au.


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I can remember, years ago, the fun my dad and I had studying spelling. My teacher assigned a weekly spelling list. I would study it solo, riding home on the school bus, Monday to Wednesday. Thursday was the big night. My dad would ask me all the words and “coach” me on any that I missed. I was praised if I had a perfect score. It wasn’t only homework, it was a great exercise in parental bonding. Me ol’ dad, nearly 60 years old when he had us two kids, was born on the Prairies in 1892. He had little formal education, but he had learned to read well. He treasured education above all else. He knew reams of poetry, was a self-taught Biblical scholar, and knew a huge repertoire of songs.

So every September when we were given our textbooks, my father eagerly read them, often before we could get our hands on them. He’d quiz us on everything from the history of Canada to basic arithmetic facts. It is a shame that this opportunity for parents to bond with their children is less likely.

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I am sure that because of my assigned “homework,” particularly with spelling and math facts, I learned more. And having a parent at home drilling those facts (as well as memorized poetry and the like) into my

When Relationships Matter

head gave the teacher assistance in teaching. It also gave me an advantage in earning higher grades.

Kids Constructively Occupied Over the past few decades, kids have been dismissed from school earlier and earlier. My grandkids get out at 1:17 p.m. on Mondays and 2:17 p.m. Tuesday to Friday. I understand that some high schools get out even earlier on Fridays. If the average student goes to bed around 9-ish, that gives him/her approximately seven hours to float around.

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Structured Time They say that kids today have trouble using their time constructively. They get too much screen time. They are not good at self-regulation or personal timetabling. Homework time, which my dad always set between 7 and 8 p.m. (before the Ed Sullivan Show started!), gave us needed structure. Perhaps it helped me learn how to organize my day, a crucial skill for school teachers, like me, and other professionals.

Sleep Aid And finally, homework time may even aid sleep. I realize some families have their children do homework immediately after school to make sure that it gets done. Our family had snack and play time immediately after school. Homework time was relegated to that half- to one-hour span after supper. It settled us in for the night even if we were allowed to watch some TV afterwards. It gave us some downtime after the active day and afternoon of bike-riding, chores and wading in creeks. Yes, the times were different then. But I’m not sure that some of these so-called modern innovations are for the best. Removing homework from the public school system would probably makes life a little easier for both parents and teacher—in terms of assigning, regulating, and marking it—but is it better for the students? Joy Glover Sheldon is a GRG—Grandparent Raising Grandchildren—and worked as an elementary school teacher-librarian for 25 years. IslandParent.ca


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I Belong Here

Nurturing a sense of place in kids


Photo: Capital Regional District

ense of place. Have you heard this phrase? I have heard many people referring to “sense of place” recently. Teachers, early childhood educators, friends and co-workers are talking about place and its relevance to their work with children. Sense of place features strongly in classrooms throughout the province, as students work to understand their connection with local environments. Although it is new terminology to me, the concept is familiar. Dr. Thomas A. Woods, president of Making Sense of Place, Inc., provides this definition: “People develop a sense of place through experience and knowledge of a particular area. A sense of place emerges through knowledge

of the history, geography and geology of an area, its flora and fauna, the legends of a place, and a growing sense of the land and its history after living there for a time.” Many adults recall places in their childhoods. Close your eyes and think of locations that were important to you growing up. Was there a little creek you loved exploring? A favourite tree or place to build a fort? A backyard where you played with friends? A grandparent’s home or school playground? What memories do you attach to these places? 28  Island Grandparent

• nurtures connections with friends, teachers and members of the community • improves mental health • improves physical health 1. Start with the nature right in your backyard. 2. Inspire a sense of wonder by observing with children and asking lots of questions.

What significance do they hold for you? Chances are that you have strong emotional connections to special areas from your childhood. Emotional attachment associated with these experiences give places meaning. We all hold special connections to places. A sense of place does not just happen. It takes time and effort. If you have ever traveled or moved homes then you know all about this. 3. Have fun with some nature crafts and The more time you spend in an area, the more activities. deeply rooted you become to that region. Re4. Let children explore their surrounding peat experiences provide the opportunity to nature. and discover their own special places. gain more familiarity and help create a history. 5. Start a nature journal or scrap book. You can look back and have fond memories of 6. Make a map of your yard, street neighevents or interactions. The way we perceive bourhood. these places influences our well-being, how 7. Copy a map of your town and draw pictures of places on it. 8. Write a poem about a special place. 9. Talk about the significance of local places. 10. Learn about the history of your town. 11. Read stories about the area you live in. 12. Frequent your local museum and nature centre. 13. Enjoy playful experiences outside. 14. Learn the names of local plants and animals. 15. Find a favourite natural spot and visit it frequently throughout the seasons. Children need to foster relationships with places; specifically, relationships with places that have the complexities found in nature. These early relationships with special places create memories that adults may draw upon for a foundation and a sense of self, well-being and belonging. Helping people connect to natural places is why I love working as a CRD Regional Parks Naturalist. Whether belly laughing while doing the slug dance at Devonian Regional Park or quietly admiring the 500-year-old giant we describe and interact with a place, what Douglas fir trees at Francis/King Regional we value in a place, our respect for nature and Park, these experiences all help me and others other species in that place. develop a sense of place. Why is sense of place important? These are If you are new to the Victoria area, or have just some of the reasons: yet to discover our regional parks system, take • establishes knowledge of and apprecia- part in a nature outing or event in a regional tion for nature park is a great way to initiate or deepen your • supports the development of personal sense of belonging to the place you live. identity • inspires greater independence Katie Turner is a Regional Parks Natu• inspires stewardship ralist with the Capital Regional District. • nurtures empathy crd.bc.ca/parks.

Katie Turner

Read, Speak, Sing


abies need to hear and use sounds, sound patterns and spoken language. This helps prepare them to eventually learn to read printed words. Here, from Canadian Paediatric Society, are some tips on how you can help provide these opportunities for your grandchildren. Read to your grandchildren. This will help nurture a love of reading. Even very young babies love picture books. Use rhymes, games and songs. Babies respond to them almost from birth. They don’t need to understand the words for these moments to be learning experiences. Talk about what’s going on. Whether you’re just sitting together or taking a walk, use words that describe the actions and the things around you. Babies babble. It’s how they learn to make sounds with their own voices. Repeat these sounds, and turn them into real words. You’ll help your grandbaby recognize which sounds form language. Ask questions. When you say, “What’s that?” and name the picture in a book, it teaches babies that things have names. Encourage involvement. Babies like to put books in their mouths, so be sure you provide sturdy and clean board books. Sing songs. Music makes the words easier to remember, and is a fun way to make language come alive for you and your grandchild. Visit the public library. Even babies can get a library card! There are lots of free resources to encourage a baby’s love of reading. Ask a librarian for ideas. Provide face-to-face interactions. For children under two years old, screen time is not recommended. Turn off background screens (TVs, etc) so you’re not distracted. Keep books visible and accessible around your home­—not just on bookshelves —so your baby can explore them anytime. Have fun. Cuddle, gaze at each other, use silly voices as you enjoy books and conversations with your baby. For more tips on how you can help promote literacy from birth, visit caringforkids.cps.ca. IslandParent.ca

Winter 2019  29

Day Tripper

5 Fun things to do in Parksville-Qualicum


ith so much to do and see, Parksville-Qualicum is the perfect day-trip destination. Here are only a few grand-parent and grand-kid-approved ideas.

Lighthouse Country Beaches. North of Qualicum, the beaches become narrower, the stretches of sand replaced by sprawling beds of wave-washed rock. Turn over stones and watch the crabs scuttle away. And keep your eyes peeled, these northern beaches are prime for beachcombing. Nile Creek Estuary, near Bowser offers great views of the Chrome Island lighthouse. Sea lions, seals, cruise ships and even the rare passing pod of killer whales are among the sights, and that makes binoculars and a digital camera essential. Qualicum Beach. Take a walk in the Heritage Forest of Qualicum Beach, 50 acres of rare remnant old growth forest—a mixture of Coastal Douglas fir, Western red cedar, hemlock, grand fir and Sitka spruce. Walk along the mulch trails and peer down a lush ravine into a salmon bearing stream. Only five minutes from downtown, the Qualicum Beach Heritage Forest is protected by a covenant to ensure that it remains as an ecological reserve, available to all for the purpose of observing and appreciating nature.

Grandparent I S L A N D

1 9 W I N T E R 2 0


to Do with Your Grandkids

Here I Belongof place in kids

Nurturing a sense

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Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park. Spectacular views await at this picturesque Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park filled with waterfalls, rock cliffs and trails. Located just off Highway 4 where Cameron Lake empties into the Little Qualicum River over a series of rushing waterfalls, this park offers plenty of activities, and makes a great base while visiting Cathedral Grove, Cameron Lake or accessing the Mt. Arrowsmith CPR regional trail. Cathedral Grove-MacMillan Provincial Park. Cathedral Grove-MacMillan Provincial Park is located at the top end of Cameron Lake, only minutes from Qualicum Beach and Parksville on Highway 4 just beyond Coombs. Cathedral Grove is a BC Provincial Park preserving a section of lush old-growth forest that is unique to Vancouver Island. Plan to spend a few hours wandering the trail system and gazing up at 800-year-old giant Douglas fir trees. Cathedral Grove gives visitors a sense of what Vancouver Island and the west coast looked like long ago. Parksville & Rathtrevor Beaches. Parksville Community Park is a kid’s wonderland of swings, slides and water cannons in addition to great picnicking and beachfront options. Stroll the waterfront boardwalk or the sandy stretch of seashore where you’ll all have more than enough room to run off some steam. Rathtrevor Beach has long and wide tidal pools, making it ideal for the “puddle” jumping. At low tide, the ocean recedes almost a kilometer back from Rathtrevor’s shoreline. Reprinted with permission from Parksville Qualicum Beach Tourism. For more things to do, visitparksvillequalicumbeach.com. For a list of annual events visit mypqb.ca/events. 30  Island Grandparent

4Children............................................................6 Ballet Victoria................................................ IBC Blue Vista............................................................9 Brookes.......................................................... IBC Chemainus Theatre............................................4 Childhood Obesity Foundation.........................25 Children’s Health Foundation of Van Isl........IFC Cowichan Theatre.............................................15 Curvalicious........................................................8 Dialogue and Resolution Services...................27 Furever Clean...................................................27 IMAX..................................................................26 Kaleidoscope....................................................19 Kool & Child....................................................IFC Ladysmith Rotary...............................................8 MacDonald Realty..............................................9 Mothering Touch.................................................7 Pacific Christian............................................. BC Saanich Commonwealth................................IFC Serious Coffee..................................................29 St. Joseph’s.................................................... IBC St. Margaret’s School.........................................5 Stages...............................................................17 Swan Lake........................................................13 Torch Light Counselling...................................19 UVic Farquhar...................................................15 Victoria Academy of Ballet.................................3 Victoria Bug Zoo...............................................27 Victoria Hospital Foundation............................25 Victoria Operatic Society..................................29 VIHA...................................................................20 Wee Travel...........................................................4 Westmont Montessori......................................25

St. Joseph’s Elementary School

St. Joseph’s Elementary School offers Grades K–7, as well as licensed Group Day Care and Preschool. Applications are available on-line or from the school office. St. Joseph’s offers a rigorous academic program in a Catholic Christian atmosphere.

757 West Burnside Road  250 479 1232 www.stjosephschool.ca

Come Grow With Us!

Generations of “Educational Excellence to the Glory of God” PacificChristian.ca 250.479.4532

Generations Generations Generations of of“Educational “EducationalExcellence Excellenceof to tothe theGlory “Educ Gloryof ofGod” God” PacificChristian.ca PacificChristian.ca

250.479.4532 250.479.4532


Profile for Island Parent Group

Winter 2018 Island Grandparent  

Winter 2018 Island Grandparent