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4 Island Parent Magazine
Island Grandparent 2017
The Gift of Grandparenting
entors, nurturers, caregivers, child care providers, historians, spiritual guides and ‘holders of the family narrative.’” That’s how the Vanier Institute of the Family describes the range and diversity of roles that grandparents play in their grandchildren’s lives. According to the report, A Snapshot of Grandparents in Canada, more than 7.1 million grandparents live in Canada, each one with an average of 4.2 grandchildren. As the population ages and life expectancy increases, grandparents—and increasingly great-grandparents (Mick Jagger, 73, Ringo Starr, 76, and Whoopi Goldberg, 61, among them)—have longer relationships with their families than ever before. And that’s a win-win for all concerned. According to a 2010 Oxford University, there is a significant correlation between a grandparent’s involvement and a child’s wellbeing: A grandparent’s interest in the child’s
hobbies was associated with the grandchild having fewer peer problems; being involved with their schooling was associated with fewer behaviour issues; and grandchildren who discussed future career plans with their grandparents had fewer emotional issues. And the benefits spill over to the grandparents—and their children—too. Studies show that having grandchildren can help boost your health in a variety of ways. In 2014, Australian researchers found that spending time with grandchildren could sharpen cognitive skills. Not only that, but having grandchildren keeps you more active, lowers your risk of depression, keeps you learning, strengthens your immune system, helps you rediscover a sense of purpose, and motivates you to take care of yourself. As journalist Lesley Stahl writes in The New York Times, having grandchildren is the great reward for enduring the indignities of aging. “Holding your baby’s baby is life-affirming. It’s joyous,” she writes. “With our own kids,
the love was tempered by responsibility. We had to guide them, keep them safe, get them through school, teach them manners, on and on. Grandparent love is unfettered and pure.” Now we can delight in watching our grandchildren grow, all while we marvel at watching our children as they parent.
Sue Fast No matter what role you play in your grandchildren’s lives—mentor, nurturer, caregiver, child care provider, historian, spiritual guide and “holder of the family narrative”—we hope this issue of Island Grandparent Magazine helps you in your role. You’ll find articles on everything from the importance of ritual, nourishing our grandchildren, and basic home safety, to minding our manners, getting grandkid equipped, and 10 things to do on the Island with the grandkids. Just like the time you spend with your grandchildren, we hope you enjoy every minute—and every page—of Island Grandparent.
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The Boomer’s Echo…
According to the Globe and Mail, the age group that now encompasses the boomer generation—50 to 69—makes up 27% of the population, compared with 18% in that age group two decades ago. The number of people over 65, the traditional retirement age in Canada, make up 16% of the population—double their proportion in 1971. By the 2030s, more than 25% of this country’s population will be over 65.
From The Globe & Mail’s Boom, Bust and Economic Headaches ( January 5, 2017), by David Parkinson, Janet McFarland and Barrie McKenna, theglobeandmail.com.
doesn’t have to be created. It’s already there, “in Magic our children, in the everyday moments we often
overlook, just waiting to be enjoyed. Grandparents know this. They don’t try to make these moments happen. They just slow down long enough to recognize them and soak them in. Mary Katherine at scarymommy.com
GRANDPARENTS RAISING GRANDCHILDREN SUPPORT GROUP
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.
A Snapshot of Grandparents in Canada
To explore the evolving role and family experiences of grandparents in Canada, the Vanier Institute of the Family has published “A Snapshot of Grandparents in Canada.” • Canada is home to more than 7.1 million grandparents—an increase of 25%, compared with the overall population growth of 12% during the same period. • Life expectancy at age 65 in Canada has increased over the past 50 years by 5.7 years for women and by 5.6 years for men—representing a growing amount of time for potential intergenerational relationship-building in families. Nearly 600,000 grandparents live in the same household as their grandchildren, more than half of whom report having financial responsibilities in the household. More than 13% of seniors in Canada are in the paid labour market, nearly double the rate from 30 years ago (7%).
8 Things You Should Save for Your Grandchildren 1. A newspaper or magazine from the day your grandchild was born. 2. Old documents: your wedding licence and school report cards to help kids learn more about who you were before you were their grandparent. 3. A family recipe. 4. A picture of you holding your grandbaby. 5. A trendy and favourite piece of clothing from when you were younger 6. Your family history: a true gift to give grandkids than a written account of where they are from. 7. Something meaningful to you—a recording of your favorite album, or a ticket stub from a concert, something with a story behind it. 8. Your favourite book as a child. From 8 Things You Should Save for Your Grandkids, grandparents.com
Island Parent Magazine
What Grandparents Forget About Parenting
1. Parenting is exhausting. Sure, most parents never forget the early days of sleep deprivation, but it may be hard for grandparents to fully recall those times when they were too tired to take a shower. 2. Going Places Is Hard. Grandparents may forget that herding cats sometimes seems easy compared to getting out of the house with two or more children. 3. Parents Already Feel Guilty. No one makes the right decisions all the time. When parents do something that turns out poorly for their kids, they are going to feel guilty about it. 4. Parents Are Judged Constantly. When most grandparents were young parents, how they raised their kids was mostly considered their own business. Today complete strangers often feel empowered to weigh in on the parenting practices of others. One of the best ways for grandparents to nurture their relationship with their adult children is to focus on positives, not negatives. 5. Parenting Is Done on the Fly. It’s ironic that with so much information at their fingertips, parents still must make many split-second decisions daily. Grandparents can help by staying informed on issues involving their grandchildren. They can even offer to do extra research if it is needed. If they take on the job of research assistant, however, they must be careful to keep their own preconceived notions out of the mix. 6. Paying Bills Is Stressful. Young people are constantly being told that they should save for the future. At the same time, most struggle with paying their bills in the present. Grandparents who are financially able can find sensible ways to give money to children and grandchildren, such as helping out with a grandchild’s college. 7. The Future Is Uncertain. Grandparents know that life is uncertain but that the tables are stacked in favour of those who are willing to learn, who work hard and who are genuinely good people. Creating people like that is sort of the point of parenting. And the point of grandparenting, too. From What Parents Forget About Grandparenting by Susan Adcox at thespruce.com
Island Grandparent 2017
Why Letter Writing Still Matters There is something remarkable about just the thought of someone sitting down for you. Taking out a piece of paper for you. Focusing their mind on the words they write for you. And through sloppy cursive and a cramped hand, they manage to tell you all the things that have ever mattered, in between the lines: “I care. I’m here. I think of you often. You’re more than just words on a screen to me.” From Why Letter Writing Still Matters in an Age of Digital Communication, by Hannah Brencher, at Greatist, greatist.com.
Just the (Grandparenting) Facts
1. Grandparents love being grandparents! So what else is new?! 90% of us talk about our grandchildren to just about everyone. 72% think being a grandparent is the single most important role in their life. 2. We are younger than before. 60% of us are baby boomer grandparents. 3. Grandparents are active. 43% exercise and play sports. 28% volunteer on a regular basis. 4. Grandparents are computer literate. 75% of us are online. 70% of us use search engines to find information. 63% shop online and 30% instant message! 5. Grandparents work. 60% have full time jobs and 23% of us have our own businesses. 6. Many of us are in relationships and sexually active. 33% of us have been married more than once. 38% of us have sex at least twice a week. 7. We’re not necessarily sitting on a porch somewhere in a rocking chair! 10% of grandparents surveyed have a tattoo. 17% have attended a rally and 15% have demonstrated. 7% have used recreational drugs and 2% have skydived! 8. We love to spend time with our grandchildren. 60% of us live near our grandchildren. 46% wish they could live even closer. 70% see their grandchildren at least once a week. 66% travel with their grandchildren. 81% have their grandkids for part or all of their summer vacation. 72% of us take care of our grandchildren on a regular basis and 13% are primary caregivers. From “13 Surprising Facts About Grandparents” by Honey Good at Huffington Post, huffingtonpost. com
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The Importance of Ritual
’ve been an extraordinarily fortunate grandmother. I was present for my grandson’s birth, and I’ve had the privilege of looking after him one day a week for much of his first two and a half years. I haven’t had to think about our relationship—we’ve simply been part of each other’s lives. But life is changing. My daughter and her husband are moving a short distance upIsland, and my weekly childcare will no longer be needed. Instead of a 20-minute drive, my grandson will be 45 minutes away—which of course is nothing compared to the transcontinental distances many grandparents have to contend with. Still, it is a transition. I’ll need to be much more intentional to maintain a strong bond with my grandson. I’ve been thinking back to the traditions my own mother and mother-in-law established with my daughters when they were young. There were tea parties with tiny porcelain tea sets. Family dinners with homemade berry pie for dessert. Monthly care packages the year we lived overseas. Egg decorating and basket making at Easter; neon-cookie baking at Christmas; lively balloon drops on New Year’s Eve. These grandparent-centred rituals were touchstones in my children’s lives. They were a source of anticipation, and created treasured memories. In her wonderful volume, The Book of New Family Traditions, author Meg Cox makes a case for the importance of establishing rituals, both for special occasions and in our daily lives. Rituals help to ground children. They give them a sense of belonging and identity, and provide comfort and security. They allow us to pass down important values and traditions. They create a space that honours and celebrates relationships. They say, “you matter to me.” Without conscious effort, my grandson and I have already established a few modest rituals of our own. When I enter his house or he enters mine, my face automatically lights up, my arms fly open, and I say his name exuberantly. His little face lights up in turn as he basks in my delight. We have other rituals that centre on checking the fire in my woodstove, walking the short distance into town, or eating the snacks carefully packed in his monkey lunch bag.
These small rituals help us navigate our time together, and create a sense of predictability that is reassuring for a small child. Now that my grandson will be living further away, I’ll be looking for new rituals to nourish our relationship. I expect that many of these traditions will grow and evolve organically, but I’ve also been looking for specific
inspiration. While The Book of New Family Traditions is aimed primarily at parents, the material it contains can easily be adapted by grandparents. Cox begins by offering some guiding principals. First, perfectionism is not a welcome guest in the ritual-building process. Life is messy, and life with children is messier still; we grown-ups need to hold our expectations lightly. Besides, some of life’s funniest experiences happen when our plans go outrageously off-track! Second, healthy rituals honour and respect all of the relevant participants. Grandparent-centred rituals Island Grandparent 2017
should be life-affirming and fun, not forced or a potential source of conflict with our grandchildren’s parents. Some consultation may be necessary to ensure everyone is happy. Finally, rituals do not have to be grandiose to qualify. As long as they are performed with intention, a ritual can be as small as a high-five greeting or a silly goodbye rhyme. Cox’s book offers a wealth of ideas, conve-
Rachel Dunstan Muller
or corny jokes. Creating special nonsense words. Building and flying a kite. Exploring the night sky and naming the constellations. Attending child-friendly theatre productions and concerts. Geocaching. Compiling a scrap book of our shared adventures. Developing a special greeting or goodbye ritual. Special holidays. Cox dedicates half her book to creative ideas for family festivities and holidays, including some new excuses to come together. I particularly like the idea of celebrating my grandson’s half-birthday,
niently divided into four chapters and over 70 sub-categories. I’ve found that most of my favourites fall into one of two main categories. Which activities and special holidays become a recurring feature of our time together (and thereby achieve ritual status) will depend on my grandson’s interests as he gets older. They may include: Activities. Baking cookies. Having teddy bear picnics. Visiting a special playground making it our special day each year. I also like the idea of an annual, weekend-long Summer Cousins Camp, if and when I’m blessed with more grandchildren. And then there are the unique family holidays we already celebrate, like our annual Father’s Day Olympics. Each year three generations of men compete for prizes in half a dozen games of skill and/or general silliness. The children have a blast cheering their fathers on, or participating as teammates. In the interest of expanding the fun, we now celebrate a Mother’s Day Olympics as well. Whatever traditions you develop with your grandchild or grandchildren, expect them to evolve and change over time. And don’t forget the sizzle: inventing a special title can elevate any shared activity or holiday to ritual status. The Book of New Family Traditions by Meg Cox is available as a downloadable e-book from both the Vancouver Island Regional Library and the Greater Victoria Public Lion a regular basis, or exploring new ones. brary. It can also be purchased in print verHiking nearby trails. Fishing or crabbing. sion, and would make a great addition to any Doing age-appropriate puzzles. Playing family’s bookshelves. Grandparents.com board games. Doing crafts or building mod- offers some great tradition-building ideas for els. Building an interesting rock collection. long-distance grandparents. Learning a silly song together, and inventing new verses. Visiting the library. Reading a Rachel Dunstan Muller is the mother of favourite bedtime story. Tent camping in five, grandmother of one, and a children’s the living room. Learning origami, or cat’s author. Her previous articles can be found cradle string figures. Exchanging riddles, puns at islandparent.ca. IslandParent.ca
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Gramma’s House, Gramma’s Rules
y five-year-old granddaughter sits at my table, surveying her plate of rice crackers and goat cheese. I sip my coffee and marvel at the sight of those big brown eyes framed by long, dark lashes. “Gramma,” she says, “did you and Grampa ever die?”
wonderful, comfortable grandmother. Her big old home was my refuge, her lap was my nest. She dispensed wisdom and Band-Aids with the same calm smile. I vowed I would be that kind of grandmother. But I found myself, seven grandchildren later, struggling to dispense long-distance love and wisdom
“No, my dear,” I reply. “You only get to die once.” She considers this. I brace myself for the next question. “Gramma,” she says, “do you fink the cats would like some of my goat cheese?” “I am sure they would,” I reply, delighted with the change of topic. “But we never feed the cats at the table.” “Awwww,” she protests. “Just a leedle bit?” “Sorry, sugar. Gramma’s house, Gramma’s rules.” I reach over and tousle her hair, ignoring her scowl. For the first four years of her life our relationship was conducted through telephone receivers and computer screens, with tousling time restricted to twice-yearly visits. No longer a long-distance grandma, I can tousle to my heart’s content. Eleven years ago, when I held my first grandchild in my arms, I thought of my
via Skype and FaceTime. And my house was empty. And my lap was cold. My husband Bill, who had also known the close love of a grandmother, shared my desire to have a special place in our grandkids’ lives. We tried! We phoned them often, sent notes and photos and birthday cards and gifts. We made the long trek south twice a year, sleeping on air mattresses and being awakened at dawn by the delighted giggles of young children. Every August we rented a vacation spot where the entire clan could congregate for a week, the difficulty of finding a suitable place increasing each year as the families grew—this year we’re 12 adults, seven kids, and a baby. Still, our bodies were in one place, and our hearts were in another. So last October, my husband and I relocated to the Comox Valley. It was not easy to leave the small northern B.C. town that had been our home for 42 years. But now that the dust
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email@example.com 10 Island Parent Magazine
Island Grandparent 2017
has settled, here I am, seated across from this wee mite whose fertile brain is, even now, is devising new ways to test mine. “Gramma,” she says, “can I have screen time until Mamma comes to pick me up?” “No screen time today. We will find something better to do.” She frowns, then those big brown eyes light up. “I know! We can go outside wif your iPhone and time each other running up and down the driveway, like we do!” “Why…sure,” I say, with forced enthusiasm, wishing she would lose interest in what has become a ritual game. Oh well, it will get us out into the fresh air, and I can manage a few laps before the knees give out. Then I’ll lure her back inside with promises of hot chocolate, and we’ll play with my costume jewelry, or fill the bird feeders, or bake cookies, or feed the kitties, or just curl up with the storybooks I read to her mommy when she was a little girl. In the past, when several generations lived together, grandparents were part of the fibre of a child’s life. And that’s what I want to be—not a disembodied face on a computer screen; not a voice at the other end of a phone, not a person who breezes in and out of her life, bearing gifts she will soon outgrow. I want her to say to her children, “I remember how my grandma used to race up and down the driveway with me, but boy, she could be tough! We never got away with anything.” As I help her into her pink flowery gumboots she looks up coyly, batting those long, dark eyelashes. “Gramma, when we come back in do you fink I could have just a teensy, WEENSY bit of screen time? Just DAT much?” She holds her thumb and forefinger two centimetres apart. “Never mind the Bambi eyes, my dear. They didn’t work on me when your mommy was a little girl, and they don’t work on me now. I said no screen time, and that’s an end to it.” Now comes the pout. “But why NOT?” I smile and pull out my ace card. “Grandma’s house,” I say, “Grandma’s rules.” She shrugs, and puts her hand in mine, humming a little tune. I look down fondly at this child for whom I gave up everything, and gained so much more. “Let’s go race up and down the driveway,” I say. “But remember the rule. Little girls run. Grandmas walk.” 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! IslandParent.ca
A Natural Way to Spend Summer
Regional Parks Campgrounds Capital Regional District’s campgrounds offer affordable, selfcontained RV and tent camping in nature with fabulous water views. Island View Beach Regional Park on the Saanich Peninsula Jordan River Regional Park along the Strait of Juan de Fuca Sooke Potholes Regional Park at the Sooke River
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…are celebrating Canada’s 150th. What better way to celebrate than with RBCM’s powerful exhibition, Terry Fox: Running to the Heart of Canada, about one of our most enduring and popular national heroes? And it’s also the summer of Family: Bonds and Belonging. Walk into a living interactive photo album and discover the truths and secrets of some of the First Nation families, early settler families and immigrants from all over the world who began their families here. At the IMAX Theatre, catch Rocky Mountain Express, Amazon Adventure, Walking with Dinosaurs: Prehistoric Planet, Dream Big and more. royalbcmuseum.bc.ca, imaxvictoria.com
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…is a must for the whole family on Labour Day weekend, Sept 2, 3 and 4. Drop by the Saanich Fairgrounds, where fun, food and fantastic meet. There’s a variety of things for people of all ages to see and do including 5,000 exhibits, dog and horse shows, concessions with an ethnic flair, carnival and gam es, pumpkin and duc t tape contests, and live entertainment. As always, the Fair features numerous free attractions (with entrance). Admission is $13 for adults, $8 for seniors and youth, kids 6 and under are free. saanichfair.ca
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.
Island Parent Magazine
Island Grandparent 2017
ays er-June) and amily Suthne mdon th (from Octob AGGV’s Fird ns. of ay Sund ictoria exhibitio
Greater V …are on the th r the t Art Gallery of en rr cu e of artmaking fo th by inspired this afternoon in . aggv.ca jo d on si an is ld m hi ad dc cluded with in is Bring your gran m ra og pr 4pm. The whole family. 2-
Victoria Butterfly Garde
ns …invites you enjoy the beauty of hun dreds of exotic butterflies flying free in their own tropical rainforest environment. Wander through the orchid exhibit or carnivorous plant section. You’ll also see colourful fish and tropical birds. The on-site naturalists are full of fascinatin g facts and will answer your questions. 1461 Benvenuto Aven ue in Brentwood Bay. Open daily 10am-5pm. butterflygar dens.com
…has been called The Greatest Little Show On Earth, with over 85 miniature scenes. See the world’s smalles operational sawmill, marvel at two of the world’s largest doll houses, experience one of the world’s largest model railroads, visit the wonerful world of the circus, take a spaceship to the stars, travel through the Enchanted Valley of Castles and more. 649 Humboldt Street, located within the Empress Hotel. miniatureworld.com
CRD Regional Parks Nature Outings & Events
…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 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
l Childrenis’sfunFfoarrm Beacon Hil tdoor activity that …is a great ou acocks, goats, bunnies, pe all ages. The farm’s d rses, guinea pigs an potbellied pigs, ho . es rit perennial favou other animals are at e the renowned go lov Kids especially e Th . pm 10 5: d 0am an stampedes at 10:1 ber, cto -O id m ch ar M farm is open from ather permitting. we , ily da pm -5 am 10 .ca onhillchildrensfarm By donation. beac
y four-year-old grandson Oskar is a bright, engaging little guy, and I love him to bits. He’s the kind of kid who happily chats with adults, enters new situations with confidence, and loves to help. He’s got a great imagination and a wonderful sense of humour. My husband and I get a kick out of how much he appreciates our cooking—he’s always telling us that whatever we’ve made is “the best I’ve ever had.” Recently Oskar decided that he doesn’t want to eat meat anymore (and he’ll only have cheese on Saturdays and Sundays). Before he and his mom and little sister were coming for a visit, I asked my daughter Shannon on the phone if Oskar was still okay having meatloaf for dinner. I could hear his little voice piping up in the background, “Oh, Granny never has to ask me that. You know I love Grampa’s meatloaf!”
On another visit, Oskar and I were out on a little lake going for a row in the rubber raft. We stopped for a few minutes just to look and listen and breathe in the scenery, and he said to me, “Granny, this is amazing” in such a tone of appreciation that my heart swelled with love for this awesome little human being who is part of my life.
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Mada Moilliet But for all his positive attributes, my grandson is undeniably challenging. He’s been going through night fears, sleeping problems, difficulties sharing and control issues for years. His energy level is high—to put it mildly—and he can be overly sensitive to the slightest perceived upset whether it’s from a person, animal, sound or situation. He’s great if he’s playing outside or if someone’s reading him a book or giving him lots of attention. But he seems to need so much attention. And then there’s the anger. This little boy who can be such a delight one minute can turn into a raving bundle of fury the next. He can be triggered so easily, and you never know what he’s going to do with that anger. It’s exhausting for those around him. His adults are constantly trying to teach him how to cope with the normal ups and downs of daily life. Just when you think he’s getting a bit more patient, he starts ranting at you to “GO AWAY AND NEVER COME FOR A VISIT AGAIN!” because of something as benign as accidentally dripping water on him when you’re watering the plants. My daughter and I were sitting on her deck one day watching her two kids play. She told me about how, when her husband, Jason, was looking after them a few days before, Oskar fell on the pavement in a parking lot. Jason had his hands full with bags and two-year-old Thea, and a woman stopped to ask Oskar if he was okay. Furious, Oskar spat out the words “Leave me alone, you big mean bully!” Recalling the incident, Shannon and I both burst into horrified laughter, shaking our heads. “Oh Oz,” I groaned, “you funny little guy, you just don’t get it. The poor woman, she’ll never try to help a little kid in distress again.” We explained to him that a person trying to help you is not generally considered a bully, even if you’re feeling upset, but we knew he’d forget this in the next high-emotion situation.
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Laughter aside, though, we wonder where this intensity of emotion is coming from. He’s not seeing this kind of fury in the people around him, and he watches very little TV, with all of his programs carefully chosen to avoid violence or upset. My daughter says the other mums at preschool are going through similar scenarios with their four-year-olds— they figure it’s like a peek into the future chasm of teenagerhood—but I still wonder. My kids were both fairly easygoing and reasonable, and I feel ill-equipped to deal with all this drama. I’ve read somewhere that anger is a substitute for other emotions, like fear, jealousy, or hurt. I try to be understanding and calm with Oskar when he erupts, but I admit to sometimes losing my patience, especially when his little sister bears the brunt of his anger or when he’s being downright rude. Recently, we decided to plan a family outing to Fort Rodd Hill. Shannon and I were chatting about it on the phone and remembering our last visit there a year ago. “That was where Oskar yelled at Auntie Sue to shut up,” she said. “Oh…well he’s progressed then,” I replied. “This year he’ll be calling her a baby butt and telling her he hates her.” All we could do was laugh and plan to stay two steps ahead of him. As it turned out, it was just us and the two kids who made it to Fort Rodd Hill, and we had a great time. I brought along a T-Ball set and a big bouncy ball. After showing Oskar how to use the bat (and stressing that he was not to swing it when anyone was nearby), we played a game where I pitched the bouncy ball to him, he batted it to his mom who then kicked it back to me. Every time I caught it, he sang out gleefully, “Good one, Granny, way to go! Now toss ’er to me.” He was in his element. Little Thea, thankfully, was not interested in the bat. After spending some time retrieving the ball for us, she retreated to the picnic blanket and rolled about pretending to have a nap. I’ve often thought that Oskar needs a job. He’d do well spending his days being useful and learning about how things work. He loves to be involved in a real task, from cleaning the bathroom or helping prepare food, to pruning plants and digging in the garden. He’s enthralled by hammers, clippers, drills, corkscrews, tongs, hooks, screwdrivers, cranes, pulleys—anything that does a job. We were sitting at the kitchen table one day with the rubber stamps and some paper. Oskar is generally a reluctant artist when it comes to felt pens but he’ll show some interest if there’s something like a stapler, scotch tape, hole punch or other “tool” involved. So Island Grandparent 2017
he stamped the paper with Christmas tree light bulbs and then drew a line connecting them. He used the volcano stamp around the outside edge.
B A L L E T V I C T O R I A C O N S E R VAT O RY
“Look Granny,” he said, “the lava is giving the light bulbs power through the electrical cord.” “Hmm, that’s an ingenious idea,” I replied, appreciating his logic. It really was a good idea, I thought to myself, and it struck me that if we can get him through the childhood years, keeping him busy and interested along the way—and helping him learn to chill out a bit—this intense, complex little guy will do just fine. Who knows, he may just help save the planet some day.
Mada Moilliet is kept busy spending time with her five grandchildren. She’s always looking for fun, interesting, creative or outdoor activity ideas. IslandParent.ca
Of Wisdom, Stupidity & Silly Studies “G randparents, Your Outdated Parenting Advice May Be Putting Kids’ Health at Risk.” That’s one of the headlines generated after Dr. Andrew Adesman, the chief of developmental and behavioural pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New York, presented his research findings to the American Pediatric Academics Societies. As a caring grandparent myself, I naturally took the headlines seriously, curious about what antiquated beliefs I might be guilty of harbouring and how I might be creating mortal dangers for my grandkids. After all, I have the appropriate car seats installed in my vehicle, try not to feed my grandkids copious amounts of chocolates washed down with sugary drinks, and I never allow them to listen to what is generously and (I think) inaccurately described as rap music. What could I be doing wrong? Delving into the reports I found the study to be based on a questionnaire completed by 635 US participants who self-identified as grandparents. Within that group, 44 per cent agreed that ice baths were a good way to bring down a very high fever, and 68 per cent didn’t think it was necessary to cover minor scrapes and burns with bandages. The rest of the study was more of the same. The news outlets repeatedly quoted Adesman as saying, “We shouldn’t assume that just because they raised a child before, they’re experts.” By the same logic we shouldn’t assume going to the moon means Neil Armstrong knows about space travel, or that Colonel Sanders knows anything about cholesterol. (That last one may not be a good example, but you get the idea.) With all due respect to Dr. Adesman, and with an acknowledgment that we should take basic precautions to ensure a child’s safety and health—what a pile of steaming nonsense. In my experience, if anything can be said to provide some level of expertise in child rearing, it’s not the latest twaddle posted on social media, it’s actually raising a child. Those years 18 Island Parent Magazine
of trial and error, adapting to the demands of a changing world and shifting values, new hazards and the rise of misinformation on the internet—they all represented hurdles we grandparents jumped, and sometimes stumbled over in our effort to raise our own children. To imply that all that knowledge is now obsolete, or worse, dangerous to our grandchildren is both silly and insulting. Rather than quoting studies like the one presented by Adesman, we’d be better off if we returned to a culture that doesn’t constantly question the knowledge and wisdom of elders. It’s all a by-product of a society that worships youth and discards its aging population. Other cultures—the Chinese, Indian, Korean and First Nations cultures, for example—give us a glimpse of what it means to respect the experience and knowledge that grandparents bring to the family unit. A failure to do so is to buy into the rampant ageism that appears to be one of the last acceptable bigotries. To demonstrate some of the wisdom and experience of grandparents, I’ve followed in Adesman’s footsteps and undertaken equally exhaustive research of my own by talking to a few of my aging friends and asking what sage advice they would offer to young parents. Here are a few of my favorites. • Put down your bloody phone, tablet or other electronic gizmo and pay attention to your kid. The time you just spent on social media looking up the 10 best ways of “improving your child’s cognitive skills” could have been spent playing peek-a-boo, or doing a puzzle. • Don’t let your kid become a computer/ video game/electronic device zombie. Sure, it keeps them quiet as they sink into a near comatose state staring at a screen, and that makes them less of a bother (so you can get back to social media yourself ) but it’s a bad idea. • Stop trying to make them grow up too quickly. One of my grandparent research associates recounted how he discovered that his daughter-in-law was trying to teach his five-year-old granddaughter how to “twerk.”
“In what world is that a good idea,” he sighed. • Insist your kids dress for the weather. Parents who allow little ones out in a t-shirt on a frigid day because “they didn’t want a jacket” should have to forgo a jacket themselves. You’re the grown-up—you get to decide if a jacket is needed. That also goes for a host of other decisions, by the way. • Ignore most of the advice you get from the internet. If there’s an actual old person around, figure they may know about the important stuff. Talk to them instead.
Tim Collins • Don’t let your kids embrace stupidity. There’s going to be a time when they think it’s cool to act the fool and that’s the time you need to step in. Despite the current state of American politics, there is generally no reward for ignorance. • Insist on respect and civility. It starts in the home and should carry over to showing good manners when in public. A failure to show respect should make your children feel as though the wrath of God has hit them upside their little heads. • Don’t sweat the small stuff. Grandparents know that, in an age of rampant childhood obesity, not finishing the pile of mashed potatoes on a plate isn’t a big deal so long as it’s not compensated for with extra dessert. • Don’t name your child something stupid. Sure, you many think you’re really clever naming your child Zzyzz (not making that one up), Lucifer, Nimrod, or Dzyre. You’re not. If your child wants to adopt some bizarre handle they’ll have to spell throughout life every time they cite their name, let them do it to themselves. If you’ve followed the advice about not embracing stupidity, this may never happen. Save the goofy names for the family pet. (“Come here Karaoke, come here boy!”) • Teach your child the difference between right and wrong. This seems simple enough, but in a world where lies and reprehensible behavior are often rewarded, someone has to be there to tell them it’s wrong. • Show your children, by example, to respect their elders. Tim Collins is a writer and freelance journalist living and working in Victoria. Island Grandparent 2017
Welcome to the amazing world of insects and arachnids! Discover roughly 50 species of giant walking sticks, alien-eyed praying mantis, huge horned beetles, glow-in-the-dark scorpions, hairy tarantulas, and Canadaâ€™s largest captive leafcutter ant colony. Our animals are live and you get to hold them in a safe and fun environment! Open daily. Located in downtown Victoria, one block north of the Empress Hotel. 631 Courtney Street 250-384-BUGS (2847) victoriabugzoo.ca
From alpacas to miniature goats, tropical birds and miniature pigs, we have all kinds of fuzzy, furry, feathered creatures, including a goat petting area and the famous goat stampedes. The farm is open seasonally. Please call us for dates and hours. Donâ€™t forget your camera! Circle Drive, Beacon Hill Park 250-381-2532 beaconhillchildrensfarm.ca firstname.lastname@example.org
Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites March or run; spy or signal their position; climb or go underground at Fort Rodd Hill, a 100-year-old coast artillery fort. Let them steer a ship; sound the fog horn; master the games inside Fisgard, the oldest lighthouse on the west coast. Bring them to spectacular special events planned for the summer, pick-up an Xplorer booklet and help them complete the fun activities. So many special moments you can share with your grand-children. These special places, only 15 minutes west of downtown Victoria, are so cool. In 2017, general admission is free for everyone. 250-478-5849 pc.gc.ca/fortroddhill Facebook.com/FortRoddFisgardNHS Twitter.com/FortRoddFisgard
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22 Island Parent Magazine
Island Grandparent 2017
Bayshore HealthCare purchases Victoria-based Alpha Home Health Care VICTORIA, BC (1 June 2017) – Bayshore HealthCare announced today that it has acquired Alpha Home Health Care which has been based in Victoria for more than 40 years. The sale was prompted by the retirement of Alpha’s president and second-generation owner, Don Swindell. “When it came time to consider retirement, I researched home health care on the island so I could be sure that our staff and patients would go forward with the best possible solution and minimal difference,” says Swindell. “Bayshore HealthCare is the ideal choice. Our patients will have the same caregivers and the same attention to their health that we have been providing throughout our history.” The sale was completed May 31, 2017 by Bayshore HealthCare. Alpha Home Health Care’s workforce of 25 care workers will be seamlessly transferred to Bayshore HealthCare’s Home Health division and will retain their clients.
services), Bayshore Specialty Rx (specialty pharmacy, infusion and pharmaceutical patient support services), and Bayshore Therapy & Rehab (physiotherapy and rehabilitation services). The company’s goal is to enhance the quality of life, well-being, dignity and independence of Canadians of all ages. Bayshore HealthCare has been a recipient of Canada’s Best Managed Companies award since 2006. Bayshore Home Health is a division of Bayshore HealthCare and is managed locally by Stasia Hartley, Area Director for Vancouver Island. With offices in Victoria, Sidney and Nanaimo, Bayshore offers home care and infusion clinic services in all three locations. *** For more information, please contact: Stasia Hartley, Area Director Bayshore Home Health T: 250 370 2253 Ext 50524 E: email@example.com
“As a larger organization with greater resources, we will be able to expand our ability to provide additional support services to our patients,” adds Stuart Cottrelle, president, Bayshore HealthCare. “We will be able to invest more in innovation and offer Alpha Home Health Care clients even more.” Alpha Home Health Care employees and patients were notified and welcomed by Bayshore Home Health prior to the finalization of the sale. Bayshore HealthCare is one of the country’s leading providers of home and community health care services and a Canadian-owned company. Its services are purchased by government care programs, insurance companies, workers’ compensa- Mention this ad and receive your tion boards, health care organizations, the first hour of home care service free! corporate sector and the public. The Bayshore brand extends across three business divisions: Bayshore Home Health (medical and non-medical home care and staffing
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Francesca Reinbolt & Kimberley Black
Healthy Families, Happy Families
Nourishing Our Grandchildren
Child, Youth T & Family Public Health South Island Health Units Esquimalt Gulf Islands
(toll-free number for office in Saanichton)
Peninsula 250-544-2400 Saanich 250-519-5100 Saltspring Island 250-538-4880 Sooke 250-642-5464 Victoria 250-388-2200 West Shore 250-519-3490
Central Island Health Units Duncan Ladysmith Lake Cowichan Nanaimo Nanaimo Princess Royal Parksville/ Qualicum
250-709-3050 250-755-3342 250-749-6878 250-755-3342 250-755-3342
Port Alberni Tofino
North Island Health Units Campbell River 250-850-2110 Courtenay 250-331-8520 Kyuquot Health Ctr 250-332-5289 ‘Namgis Health Ctr 250-974-5522 Port Hardy 250-902-6071
viha.ca/prevention_services/ 24 Island Parent Magazine
he role of grandparents in a child’s life is one of great importance, a relationship that when nurtured, can provide health benefits to both grandparent and grandchild. In today’s western society, many families are scattered across the country, and it can take a concerted effort to allocate time in their busy schedules for regular visits. Despite these challenges, establishing close relationships between grandparents and grandchildren is well worth the effort. Grandparents can help the next generation cultivate respect for the tradition, knowledge, culture, values and lessons learned from a life of rich experiences. Many aboriginal cultures teach respect for their elder’s wisdom and life experiences. Elders are seen as the first and foremost teachers and role models in infanthood to adulthood. It is important to acknowledge that all children from all cultural backgrounds benefit from time with grandparents to get to really know them and form strong bonds. When grandchildren form close relationships with their grandparents, respect flows naturally. Grandparents can be great role models and influence the children around them in many important ways. Food plays a significant role in our lives and at the root of meals lie the traditions of family and culture. Cooking together and sharing food can be a great way to bond and pass on traditions. Food can serve as a vehicle for which you communicate sentiments and create memories, and the sharing of food can keep you connected. It is also a great way for you to encourage healthy eating behaviours in your grandchildren. Cooking and eating together not only has benefits for the children, but research shows there are significant health and social benefits for seniors, too, including improved nutrition and social well-being. There is no time in life when it is more important to practice healthy eating behaviours than in childhood. Eating behaviours established in childhood can persist in adolescence and adulthood. Yet children often struggle to make wise food choices. This is reflected
in Statistics Canada data which shows that obesity rates among children and youth have nearly tripled in the last 30 years. Grandparents can potentially help prevent unhealthy eating behaviours and obesity in children by using good feeding practices and using the division of responsibility with their grandchildren.
What are good feeding practices and what is the division of responsibility? Providing a structured mealtime environment and using responsive feeding practices can support a child’s ability to appropriately regulate their hunger and fullness. Grandparents are responsible for what, where and when food is eaten. The grandchildren are responsible for how much and whether or not to eat the food provided.
What does a structured mealtime environment include? • Provide a routine in terms of timing, location, and reduced distractions. Provide meals at regular times in a similar location (for example, at the table) in a quiet environment. • Aim to have at least one family meal per day. A family meal constitutes one child and one adult, at any time of the day.
What does responsive feeding practices look like? • Identifying and appropriately responding to your grandchild’s hunger and fullness cues. • It’s up to your grandchild to: Decide to eat when he/she is hungry and stop when satisfied. Choose to eat foods that are offered, and respectfully decline foods at any meal or snack.
What does non-responsive feeding look like? • Restriction or pressuring a child to eat. This overrides a child’s ability to eat and may lead to overeating. • Using food as a reward. This can lead to Island Grandparent 2017
an increased preference for the reward and a decrease preference for the food initially offered. Here is a quick, delicious and healthy recipe to try with your grandchildren:
Blueberry Banana Overnight Oats Blueberries are a great summer fruit and July is national blueberry month. Enjoy this little antioxidant-packed berry in the overnight oats recipe, adapted from quakeroats. com. It’s a healthy and easy-to-make recipe for both you and your grandchildren.
West-Mont Montessori Pre-School to Grade 8 Programs
cup large flake oats 1⁄2 cup milk 1 tsp vanilla 1⁄2 cup blueberries 1⁄3 cup banana, sliced 1 tsp chia seeds or almonds (optional)
West-Mont Montessori School 4075 Metchosin Rd, Victoria t: 250.474.2626 e: firstname.lastname@example.org w: west-mont.ca
Bring your family to our family.
Add oats to your container of choice and pour in milk and vanilla. Add a layer of blueberries and then a layer of banana slices. Top with a drizzle of honey and, if desired, chia seeds or almonds. Place in fridge and enjoy in the morning or a few hours later!
Francesca Reinbolt is a UBC Dietitian student in her 5th and final year of the Dietetics Program. Kimberley Black is a Registered Dietitian with the North Island Aboriginal Health program of Island Health. IslandParent.ca
We take care of the necessary details so that you can rest easy in knowing your loved ones are taken care of.
browne associates Full Service Law Firm
#109–1633 Hillside Ave 250-598-1888 email@example.com www.browneassociates.ca 25
GIVE-A-$HEET You Can “Bridge People to Nature”
DID YOU KNOW... Your donation to Phase II of the
“Bridges to Nature” Floating Boardwalk Campaign Will ~ no matter the size ~
* Each $heet of ﬁberglass decking will cost aprox $500 * Each $ection of the Phase II ﬂoating Boardwalk Project will cost aprox $5,000 $800,000 is required to span the lake
Make a Difference
Call 250.479.0211 or visit swanlake.bc.ca to donate
“Give-a-$HEET” and help Bridge People to Nature Today! 26 Island Parent Magazine
Island Grandparent 2017
Kids Will Love
Make-Ahead Activity Kits for a Happy Preschooler & Stress-Free (Grand)parent
What are Busy Bags? Busy bags are activities for children to play with that have been made ahead of time. Sometimes called quiet bins or quiet boxes, busy bags can be a saving grace to a parent that needs to keep a young child occupied for a short amount of time. Gone are the days of letting the kids play in the cabinets at your feet while you cook dinner. Busy bags are emerging as the answer for stressed-out, busy parents. These activities can help take you from stressed out to stress-free. Items in busy bags can range from those meant for educational concepts to things placed there just for fun. There really are no set rules for what goes into a busy bag. If you think your child will play with it for an extended amount of time, it’s fair game. Learning through play is best for children, so it stands to reason that the play-oriented busy bags are teaching kids just as much as the ones intended for educational purposes only. Busy bags are self-contained, almost like a kit of activities. Busy bags take a little effort to make on the front end, but once they are made, you will have an arsenal of activities that can be used at a moment’s notice. Preparing busy bags is definitely worth it! Here are a few possibilities, reprinted with permission from Busy Bags Kids Will Love: Make-ahead Activity Kits for a Happy Preschooler & Stress-free Parent by Sara McClure (Ulysses Press, 2017).
Name Puzzles Kids will love this busy bag that helps them identify names and faces of the people in their life, including themselves. Identifying names and learning the letters in their name is an important skill for children. Most children can identify their name before they can write it. This activity builds on that skill and helps children identify other important names in their life. Target skills: Name identification, spelling names.
Materials • • • •
cardstock scissors glue wallet-sized pictures of family members, including the child • marker 27
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Directions to Make: 1. Cut the cardstock in half vertically, making the pieces measure 4¼ × 11 inches. 2. Turn the cardstock pieces so that you have a horizontal rectangle in front of you. 3. Glue the small pictures of family members, including the child, onto the left edge of the rectangle. 4. Using the marker, write name that corresponds with the family member’s picture.
5. Cut the letters apart in zigzags, squiggles, slants and the like so that each letter has a different and distinguishable shape.
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250-539-2463 • 1-877-535-2424 firstname.lastname@example.org www.bluevistaresort.com 28
Island Parent Magazine
Tip: To make this easier for young learners, make two identical name rectangles and leave one intact. Then the child will use this one as a reference for matching the letters. From Busy Bags Kids Will Love: Make-ahead Activity Kits for a Happy Preschooler & Stress-free Parent by Sara McClure (Ulysses Press, 2017).
Island Grandparent 2017
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Get Grandkid Equipped New on the scene for 2017 Providing care for your grandchildren or getting ready for a family visit is exciting, but getting up-to-date on the latest in kids’ gear can be a daunting task. Lyra McLean, co-owner of Momease Baby Boutique, has compiled some suggestions of baby and children’s gear to help you get prepared and make the most of your family time with the least amount of fuss!
fter several years spent working in the baby gear industry, I still can’t get over how many awesome new and innovative products arrive on the market each year. As for 2017, this year got off to a great start, offering a ton of fresh new baby gear options to help make life with little ones just a tad easier. From sleep aids to suction feeding mats, these cuttingedge products are quickly being added to the baby “must-have” lists of new and expectant parents across the country.
One of the biggest hits of the year belongs to DockATot. Manufactured and designed with love in Sweden, the DockATot is essentially a soft and breathable nest for your baby or toddler. The DockATot is designed to recreate the environment of the womb, helping a child feel calm, safe and secure while nestled in the cozy confines of the docking station. These “docks” have been used for years now in Europe, but have only recently arrived in Canada. The DockATot is available in two sizes for use from newborn to toddler, and is a great solution for lounging, resting, bonding time, play time, tummy time, and more. And who doesn’t love a product that does double (or even triple) duty? The new Hula Oval Crib from Babyletto does just that. The Hula Crib comes as an oval Mini Bassinet that is ideal for sleeping your newborn in smaller places or even right next to your bed. Once your little one outgrows the bassinet, the included side rails transform the Hula into a full-sized crib for use into the toddler years. For an older child who is ready to transition into a larger bed, the Hula can be modified even further into a toddler bed by removing a section of the front rails. Genius right?
30 Island Parent Magazine
Another fabulous multi-use product that’s been heating up the baby gear scene is the Tuo Convertible High Chair from Skip Hop. The Tuo features clean lines and a modern, spacesaving design that’s easy to keep clean, luxurious beechwood accents, and looks right at home with any decor. Once your baby is done with a high chair, the Tuo easily converts into a sleek and sturdy toddler chair that can be used for children up to five years old. When our third son was born with special needs, we were desperately searching for a baby monitor to help keep a close eye his oxygen levels and heart rate. Unfortunately such a product didn’t exist then, but it does now with the arrival of the Owlet Smart Sock Baby Monitor. The award-winning Owlet monitor uses pulse oximetry technology (the same that’s used in hospitals), to safely and accurately monitor the heart rate and blood oxygenation levels of your baby using an innovative sock and wireless transmittance. Each Owlet monitor comes equipped with three different socks for use as your little one grows, as well as access to the Owlet smartphone app to help make monitoring more convenient and mobile too. Likely one the most versatile products released in recent years, the Milk Snob Multifunctional Car Seat Covers are a hit. The Milk Snob Cover is a breathable multi-use cover that can be used as an infant car seat cover or bassinet cover, a nursing or feeding cover, a shopping cart cover, or as a liner for high chairs or infant swings. A smash hit after successfully seeking investment on an episode of Shark Tank, the Milk Snob Multifunctional Car Seat Covers are made in the USA and are available in a huge selection of modern and fashionable prints.
When it comes to snack time, Ezpz products are making waves in the feeding world for their innovative design and ease of use. Ezpz’s Happy Mat, Happy Bowl and Mini Mats are suction feeding surfaces that offer a fun and safe feeding solution for infants and big kids alike. Their suctioning design means there’s less mess at feeding time and clean up is a breeze, plus each Ezpz product is made from 100 per cent silicone and is free from BPA, BPS, PVC, latex and phthalates. Ezpz feeding mats are also dishwasher, microwave and oven-safe, and are perfect for taking along to the grandparent’s house or out to a restaurant for feeding on the go. Momease Baby Boutique owners Lyra and Adam McLean are parents to three busy boys. Stop by and say hi at 1581 Hillside Avenue (across from Hillside Centre) or shop online at momease.ca. IslandParent.ca
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Grandparenting: A Second Chance I t’s only when your children are grown that you look back and realize how fleeting and precious your time with them really was. It’s only at that point you truly appreciate each stage of their development. As a young parent, I remember anticipating each stage of my children’s growth with a mixture of eagerness and anxiety. I couldn’t wait for that first smile, that first giggle, that first hug. I hung on with baited breath to every babbling syllable that came out of their mouths in expectation of their first words. But I also worried and fussed if they didn’t reach each milestone on time. Why were they late crawling? When would they take their first steps? Inevitably, I awaited each new stage with impatience and yet found some complaint about the stage they were in. I longed for the
master a task, I sometimes secretly yearned for a simpler time when they couldn’t get into things. And so, I was always either looking back or looking farther down the road instead of just enjoying the moment. In a lot of ways, I ended up wishing their childhood away. As a grandparent, I have a different point of view. I treasure each stage of my little grandson’s development for I am all too aware of how quickly it passes. I come into each experience with a far greater appreciation, little to no anxiety, and something most parents don’t have in their arsenal—a full night’s sleep! And so, we linger a bit longer at the playground (who cares if dinner is late?), or I happily carry my grandson, his little arms wrapped tightly around my neck, when he’s too tired to walk. Even changing diapers isn’t a chore—a few
time when they could walk so I no longer had to cart them around everywhere (do all moms walk with their hips jutted out?). Dealing with the infamous toddler stage, my patience was sorely taxed from their all-too-frequent temper tantrums, and I fretted over the best way to toilet train two little boys who had absolutely no problem running around in a messy diaper. As my sons neared school-age, I looked forward to finally having some time to myself. In hindsight, I realize what I didn’t have was a true appreciation of the here and now. I didn’t have the time or the energy to stop and really savour each stage of my children’s development. And ironically, when they did
songs later and it’s all done. Grandparents, unlike parents, have the privilege of being able to take the time to stop and ‘smell the roses’. Like any parent, I have some regrets with how I raised my children. I was too hard on them; I didn’t show them enough affection; I protected them too much, etc, etc. What’s wonderful about being a grandparent is you have a chance to do everything over again, and not only that, you get to benefit from the wisdom you’ve gained over a lifetime of parenting. It’s like being given a second chance to fix all the mistakes you made the first time around! You can use what worked well and toss out what didn’t. Of course, each child is
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Island Grandparent 2017
different, but with a wealth of experiences at your fingertips, there’s far less trial and error with grandchildren. What would have once upset me as a parent or hurt my feelings now simply rolls off my back as a grandparent. I’m not sure if it’s just because I have a thicker skin or because I’m simply more tolerant (that’s debatable), but
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Susan Gnucci being told off by my two year old grandson— “Nonna, go!”—doesn’t faze me in the least. Instead of getting my back up or fretting that he doesn’t like me, I simply shrug my shoulders in response. “Okay,” I reply and head out of the room. In no time at all, I feel a little body trying to squeeze between me and the kitchen counter as little arms wrap around my legs and a contrite voice pleads, “Up! Up!” Grandparents benefit from the fact they don’t have to be the disciplinarian when it comes to their grandchildren. I liken it to the “good cop-bad cop” scenario where grandparents always get to play the good cop. The daunting task of setting the ground rules isn’t on our shoulders; we only have to play by them. And let’s face it, we sometimes toss the rules to the wind anyway and spoil our little charges. Grandparents can do this because we don’t have to deal with the consequences! If you ask my sons, I’m sure they will say I never had enough patience with them when they were small. Life always seemed to be on fast forward back then—bundle them off to school, run around to all their activities, and try to stuff a meal into them in between all that. It was like being on a merry-go-round at full-tilt. Grandparents don’t have to deal with all that craziness, and so we have the luxury of more quality time. We parachute in, whisk our grandchildren away, and magically drop them off hours later, their little faces flushed with excitement from their day, exhausted but contented, eager to regale their parents with all their adventures. I feel very blessed that grandparenting has allowed me to “parent” the way I wish I had. No wonder children love their grandparents. Susan Gnucci is a local author and a proud “nonna” to an adorable two-yearold grandson. She enjoys sharing her experiences as a first-time grandparent. IslandParent.ca
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Basic Home Safety: A Checklist
Here, from the Canadian Paediatric Society, is a refresher course on some important things to do to help prevent the most common childhood injuries in every part of your home. Whole Home • Install carbon monoxide detectors (testers) on every level of your home. • Install smoke detectors on every level of your home, including near sleeping areas. • Check monthly to be sure they are working. • Change batteries twice each year, when you change the clocks in the spring and fall. • Replace alarms older than 10 years. • Set hot water heater to no more than
• Install window guards, or ensure windows are latched so that they won’t open more than 10 cm (4 inches). Window screens do not prevent falls—they come loose and cannot withstand the weight of a toddler. • Keep furniture away from windows that open. • Secure non-slip backing under loose rugs, so toddlers don’t trip on them. • Put away toys when not in use so that no one trips on them.
empty wall sockets will attract the attention of a curious baby. Remember: a baby wants to chew on that wire and examine that outlet with wet fingers. • Put safety covers on all electrical outlets that are not in use. • Make sure unused safety plugs are out of baby’s reach. • Use only electrical cords provided by the manufacturer of the appliance or fixture, and keep out of reach. • Use extension cords that are the singlereceptacle type. Cover empty outlets with safety plugs.
Safety Gates and Barriers
• Safety gates prevent your baby from falling down stairways or entering rooms you want him to stay away from, like a busy kitchen. Fire-safe barriers stop him from stumbling into something hot, like a gas fireplace, and getting burned. • Be sure safety gates meet current safety standards and are labeled with the manufacturer name, model name or number, date of manufacture, and a warning statement about use and installation. Follow instructions carefully. • At stairway openings, install gates with vertical bars made of metal or wood and be sure they are fixed securely to studs in the wall. Pressure mounted gates are not safe at the top of stairways. • For between rooms, you can use pressure gates made of a see-through plastic panel, a fine mesh or smooth plastic holes. • Place fire-safe barriers around, and at a safe distance from, space heaters, fireplaces and wood stoves. Position the barrier so that the lowest point of its top edge is at least 56 cm (22 inches) off the floor. • Place barriers around gas fireplaces. • Keep doors to stairwells, basements, Although it may not look hot once it’s been 49ºC (120ºF) or install an anti-scald device on faucets. If you have difficulties adjusting the bathrooms and balconies closed and latched. turned off, it is. Some gas fireplaces have safety • Be careful when opening or closing any glass or barriers that can be purchased. Check temperature, contact your landlord or local door and teach siblings to take care too. Little with your fireplace manufacturer or installer. utility company for help. • Install child-resistant door handle cov- fingers often get caught in closing doors and ers—especially for rooms with hazards, and pinch injuries are especially common in The Kitchen households with more than one child. exit doors. • Most serious or fatal childhood injuries • Keep pet food and water off the floor happen in the kitchen or bathroom. • Store cleaning supplies and other corrosive or poisonous household products (laun- between feedings or in an area that your child • Keep baby behind a safety gate or secure dry detergent, dish detergent, bleach) safely cannot access. in a highchair when you are cleaning, cooking • Remove poisonous houseplants or keep or making hot drinks. out of sight, out of reach and away from food. • Remove or put out of reach sharp, break- them out of reach. • Cook on stove’s back burners with pot • Keep poison control centre’s number handles turned in from the stove-edge. able or heavy objects. • Secure curtain and blind cords to the wall close to the phone. • Remove front- or top-mounted stove or beyond your child’s reach. knobs between cooking times, especially if • Ensure space heaters are cool-to-the-touch Electrical Outlets you have a gas stove. models,haveanautomaticshut-off,andarekept • Electrical outlets are right at a baby’s eye away from fabrics such as bedding and curtains. level. Dangling wires, a power bar or even 34 Island Parent Magazine
Island Grandparent 2017
ready to switch to a toddler bed or put the crib mattress on the floor as a transitioning step. • Check for loose fittings regularly, especially whenever the crib is moved. • Lock and raise the crib rail to its highest position when your baby is in the crib. • Remove bumper pads, pillows, quilts, stuffed toys or comforters from the crib. The Living or Family Room • Remove crib gyms and mobiles when the • Anchor top-heavy furniture or objects baby is sleeping. (like televisions or bookcases) to the wall. • Keep large toys out of the crib. Babies can • Reclining (La-Z-Boy-type) chairs have a space between the foot rest and seat when use these to climb out. • Remove wall hangings, pictures, furniture the chair is raised. Lower the foot rest when not in use. Young children should be kept or windows and blinds that are near enough away when raising and lowering the foot rest. for your baby to grab from inside the crib. • Keep diaper pail tightly closed and in a • Keep exercise equipment out of a room latched cupboard. where your baby plays. • Keep nightlights away from the crib or • Ensure trash cans or baskets have secure change table. Your baby will want to reach lids or are kept in a latched cupboard. The Bathroom • Ensure locks and guards are on patio or for them. • Install hook-and-eye latch on the outside • Keep containers with safety pins or of the door so it’s always closed when not in balcony doors. • Even the nursery needs to be made a safer diaper cream closed and safely out of your use. Install the latch at the top of the door so place for a baby who is crawling, sitting up, baby’s reach. an older child cannot reach it. • Keep all cleaning products, medications, pulling up to standing position, and reaching personal products (shampoo, make-up) and to grasp objects. • Set the crib mattress at its lowest level. Reprinted with permission from the tools (hairdryer, curling iron, shaving equipment) stored high, or out of reach. Lock Once your child starts trying to climb out of Canadian Paediatric Society. For more the crib or grows to 35" tall, he is probably information, visit caringforkids.cps.ca. cabinets for safe storage, if possible. • Tie up dangling cords and push appliances or gadgets to the back of the counter when not in use. Keep oven and dishwasher doors closed. • Keep sharp or pointy objects (scissors, skewers, knives) in a latched drawer or out of reach. • Keep hot food and drinks away from table or counter edges. • Use non-slip placemats instead of a tablecloth. • Tie plastic bags in a knot before putting them out of reach and out of sight. • Keep kitchen garbage in a latched cupboard. • Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and check it monthly.
• Be sure dangling electrical cords are rolled up and out of reach. • Keep diaper pail tightly closed, inside a latched cupboard. • Keep toilet lid latched tight so that your baby cannot open it.
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Mind Your Own Manners W e all want to teach our children to have good manners but at what point does nagging a child to use his manners become rude? Can you imagine going out for dinner with your partner and insisting that he thank the waitress every time she tops up his water glass? We wouldn’t talk to an adult like this so why do we think it’s okay with kids? Manners are hard for kids to understand because they really don’t get how their behaviour impacts others. Handling relationships with other people demands a number of complex skills, all of which have to be learned. Young children naturally believe that they are the centre of the universe. It takes all of childhood plus some adult years to realize that other people exist as selves, too. Kids can’t easily see things from other people’s point of view. This self-centeredness is not selfishness, and children usually grow out of it as they move into their young adult years especially if they themselves are treated with respect.
In order to help our children develop to higher levels of morality, all our rules and our requests need to derive from our family values, and our family values need to derive from the Golden Rule: treating other people the way we would like to be treated. The connection between our rules and requests and these underlying values needs to be taught to our children, so they learn to look beyond the specific rules or orders to the reason for these rules or requests. Nagging kids to say please and thank you is not an effective method of teaching, however our role modeling is. Saying please and thank you to our kids and others is the most effective way to teach them. When you are out with your child you can give a gentle nudge to say thank you, but be careful not to cross the line. If a child is cautious, it can be painful to interact with a stranger. Often our anxiety about kids not having good manners is our own ego getting in the way. If we worry about what people
think of us because our child is acting…like a child, that is our problem! Some things we call having “good manners” consist of rules that we don’t have explanations for. For instance, why can’t boys wear their hats indoors? Why must we keep our elbows off the table? So rules get challenged or dropped, especially if there is no explana-
Allison Rees tion other than “Because I said so!” or “That’s just rude!” Rules that really matter can easily be explained by using the What We Do approach. Here is what this looks like: What = Request = “Please keep your noise down, dad has a headache and is sleeping.” Why should I? We = Values = “I think it’s important to let people sleep when they don’t feel well.” = Why should I care? Do = The Golden Rule = “I know you want quiet when you are trying to sleep. It’s just what we do.”
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Island Parent Magazine
Island Grandparent 2017
This rule makes sense and applies to everyone. Try applying this to a request that doesn’t reflect the Golden Rule: “Please take your hat off indoors.” Why should I? “Because…(scrambling) it shows respect.” That’s stupid. ”Well, I think it is important to you that I don’t wear a hat indoors.” I don’t care. Why should I? “Because I said so.” Do it because I said so comes from the old model of expecting obedience. Many people stay stuck at this level of moral development. How do we help our children develop into moral adults, people who don’t just blindly follow the crowd, but can stand up for their principles while showing kindness and compassion to others? We do this by: 1. Setting an example, and talking about what we’re going through when we make moral decisions. 2. Encouraging our children to think for themselves, to be independent people rather than obeying us or the rules blindly. 3. Helping our children understand the meaning of truth and falsehood and the results of deception. 4. Helping them learn to think maturely and flexibly, and to consider the long-term results of their actions and look at all aspects of a situation. 5. Teaching them how to deal with their emotions so that they don’t act in ways they may regret later. 6. Helping them develop empathy for other people so that they can understand what it might be like to be the other person they are dealing with, and therefore treat others with gentleness and compassion. When children are raised with compassion and when their feelings are accepted and nurtured, they will develop into kind, responsible and compassionate adults. When they understand their own feelings, then and only then, can they begin to understand the feelings of another. The true meaning of respect is not blind obedience but understanding another person. Accepting children’s immaturity rather than judging them as rude or disrespectful is how we can mind our own manners.
Dr. Allison Rees is a parent educator/ counselor and a partner in LIFE (Living in Families Effectively) Seminars in Victoria. For more information, visit lifeseminars.com. IslandParent.ca
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Ad Directory Abra-Kid-Abra........................................10 Aspengrove School...................................5 Ballet Victoria.........................................17 Bayshore Home Health..........................23 BC Women’s Hospital & Health Centre Foundation...............................16 Bayshore Home Health..........................23 Beacon Hill Children’s Farm..................20 Blue Vista................................................28 Browne Associates Law Corp................25 Butchart Gardens...................................11 Chemainus Theatre..................................7 Cherish at Central Park...........................9 CRD Parks..............................................11 Erin Wallis Photography.........................37 Fort Rodd Hill.........................................20 Furever Clean.........................................37 Home Instead.........................................37 Island Pet Source...................................31 Island Savings.........................................19 Kaleidoscope..........................................25 Kool & Child.......................................... IFC MacDonald Realty..................................32 Metro Aroma Vancouver.........................22 Mitteez....................................................36 Momease.............................................. IFC Mothering Touch.......................................7 Nanaimo Museum..................................31 Pacific Christian....................................BC Playful Pencil..........................................28 Recreation Oak Bay................................21 Red Balloon..........................................IBC Rosemarie Colterman Personal Real Estate Corp............................... IFC Saanich Commonwealth......................IBC Sailor Jack..............................................32 Salvation Army........................................33 School House............................................8 Soul to Sole Footcare.............................16 St. Elizabeth.......................................... IFC St. Joseph’s, Chemainus........................33 St. Margaret’s School...............................3 Swan Lake..............................................26 Sylvan Learning........................................4 This Kid Clothing Co...............................35 Total Learning.........................................10 Victoria Bug Zoo.....................................20 Victoria City Rowing..................................4 Victoria Literacy Connection..................15 Victoria Symphony..................................17 VIHA.........................................................24 Wallace Driving.......................................29 Wee Travel...............................................15 Westmont Montessori............................25 WestShore Parks & Recreation.............33
38 Island Parent Magazine
Learn through Play Greater Victoria Public Library’s story kits
group of children crowds around a tree at Banfield Park in Victoria West, studying the pages of a book hanging from a branch with red ribbons. Two-year-old, Phoebe, points at the picture and giggles—a cat is wearing brandnew, white high-top sneakers. Noah, two, is wide-eyed, and calls his dad over to share the experience. The oldest in the group, Elyse, four, spots the next page of the book, displayed on a signpost further down the path. She leads the group toward it, wondering aloud what’s to come. The children are participating in a Greater Victoria Public Library StoryWalk®, an innovative and delightful way for children—and adults—to enjoy stories in the great outdoors. In a StoryWalk®, pages from a children’s book are hung from trees or fences or fastened to wooden stakes in a circuit along a path. As the kids stroll—or run or hop or skip—down the trail, they go from page to page in sequence, enjoying the joy of reading combined with the pleasure of being in nature. Thanks to a Times Colonist Raise-a-Reader grant, GVPL launched 30 StoryWalk® kits in January 2017. Popular titles include The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, as well as three French language titles. With grandchildren coming to visit over the summer, a StoryWalk® is a great way to spend an afternoon together. The library has other kits that also support literacy skills and give grandparents a unique way to help kids learn while having fun. Puppets To Go kits encourage children to stretch their imaginations and their storytelling skills. The kits include a storybook and a cast of puppets to bring tales to life. The book is read by an adult; next, a child takes the lead using puppets from the kit to retell the story or to invent a tale with new characters, experiences and feelings. “Using puppets to tell stories helps children develop speaking and listening skills,” says Jennifer Windecker, Director of Public Services at GVPL. “They’ll also gain confidence to express ideas.” If a grandchild has a love of Lego or fascination with fairies, GVPL’s Books to Go bags contain 10 books on one topic to immerse a young reader in a subject that captures their imagination. From dragons and dinosaurs to
princesses and pirates, the mix of non-fiction and fiction titles will appeal to kids ages five to 10 years old. The Readers To Go bags provide kids learning to read in English or French with a variety of books suited to their reading development. Each bag contains an assortment of short books with controlled vocabulary and related illustrations. Each bag also contains information on how adults can support children learning to read. For a hands-on learning experience, a Climate Action Kit contains books, information and a DVD. Children and grandparents can find out how to live a greener lifestyle, then use the tools in the kit to test a home’s energy efficiency. For more information, visit gvpl.ca or one of GVPL’s 11 branches in Greater Victoria.
Tips for Leading a StoryWalk® • Discuss the story before you start walking (e.g. What do you think the book will be about based on the title and pictures on the first page?) • Talk about what’s on the page rather than simply reading the text. (That character is watering a flower. Have you ever taken care of a plant?) • Discuss the story in between pages. (e.g. What do you think will happen next? Why do you think [character’s name] did that?) • Explain unusual words or concepts as they come up in the story. • Encourage movement from one page to the next. (e.g. Hopping or skipping) • Along the way, collect items that relate to the story. (e.g. A leaf or rock) • Take your time—try to make the experience last around 20 minutes. Take time for contemplating the natural environment. • For a StoryWalk® with older children, add challenges such as hide and seek with the book’s pages or a treasure hunt for additional items. • Regroup at the end to summarize, reflect and discuss reactions to the story and the experience of reading while out on a walk (e.g. What was funny? Surprising? Did you think the book would end the way it did? Who was your favourite character? Have you ever felt like that character before?).
Island Grandparent 2017
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