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FREE Summer 2015 Stop Learning Loss 25 Ways to Sharpen Your Child’s Mind During Summer Mom’s Toolbox of Summer Sanity Savers
Birthday Party Rescues Back From Camp: Head Lice Myth Busters & Solutions Grief Counselling
Volume 3, Issue 2
4 Birthday Party Rescue 6 Say “Yes to the Mess” with Six Outdoor Activities 8 West Nile Virus 10 Stop Learning Loss - 25 Ways to Sharpen Your Child’s Mind During Summer 12 Back From Camp - Head Lice Myth Busters & Solutions 14 Building A Village 16 Grief Counselling 18 Gender Roles - Should Rules Be The Same For Boys & Girls 20 The Good Grandparent Guide 22 Mom’s Toolbox of Summer Sanity Savers
Cover photo courtesy of
3 Editor’s Note
21 Resource Directory
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Laurie Zottmann Christa Melnyk Hines Sandi Haustein Janeen Lewis Laura Reagan-Porras Kerrie McLoughlin Ruth Hanley Lara Krupicka Susan Kast
Our apologies to Ruth Hanley, Her article “Curves Ahead” on page 16 in the Spring Issue of Okanagan Child had a different author listed under the title Thank you Ruth
Editor-in-Chief: Creative Director:
Kerri Milton Bev Tiel
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Okanagan Child is published four times per year by a couple of busy moms. Please note that this magazine is solely funded through the support of our advertisers and sponsors. Please support our advertisers! Opinions expressed in this publication may not necessarily reflect those of the Publishers. All contents copyrighted©. No part of this publication may be reprinted, quoted, copied or reproduced without the express written permission of the Publisher.
editorial note This year flew by in such a hurry - maybe it was all the extra-curricular activities, maybe it was the new part-time jobs, teaching my son to drive or the fact he is graduating this year. What a milestone to hit - when you look at your wee little ones it is so hard to imagine a time when they are in cap and gown and walking towards their diplomas and into their new and exciting lives. Watching them change and grow and become these amazing, independent human beings is so exciting and terrifying all at once. For many Moms (and Dads) part of your identity is rolled into these little beings and watching them â€œflee the nestâ€? feels like part of you is gone; however, there is a much better way of looking at things. When your teenager drives away for the first time on his/her own, you did that, when they make supper on their own for the
first time, you did that, when that never ending laundry - ends, you did that, when their college applications arrive at the door, you did that and when you help pack them for their very new lives, new adventures and new beginnings.....yes, YOU did that! This is a moment to be so proud of who they are and how you got them there. You have to be kind to yourself and let the change envelop you and let yourself grow and know - you did something so very right, BECAUSE they are ready to leave and ready to be on their own. Through all those sleepless nights, those birthday parties, friends who have come and gone, the boyfriend/ girlfriend break ups, the academics and late night studying...at the end of it all - they could NOT have done it without you. It is for them that we do all that we do - it is to get them to their next step in life, to become successful, strong, independent people- have a wonderful summer and enjoy them all you can!! Kerri Editor-in-Chief
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Birthday Party Rescue: Creating a Special Day When You’re Drained by Laurie Zottmann
Have you ever felt like you didn’t have the time or energy to give your child the party she deserved? Maybe the birthday fell when you were sick, moving, or working double overtime. It happened to me when my oldest turned three. I was pregnant, as big as a house, and roughly as mobile. I felt like I was neglecting my daughter, and was eager to compensate with an exciting day that was all about her. The baby was due two months before Big One’s birthday. I told myself that as soon as I delivered this lead-filled watermelon, I would bounce right back to my old self and knock this party out of the park. To my dismay, Sweet Daughter the Second was born almost two weeks late, and she was a colicky handful. I stumbled through those recovery weeks on shattered sleep, and was just beginning to achieve a daily shower, when I realized that this much-hyped fiesta needed assembly. “How on earth do parents do this?” I wondered, as I nursed, rocked, nursed, changed, nursed, served cold leftovers, and nursed some more.
Luckily, my wonderful family was there. When they asked, “What does she want for her birthday?” I said, “A party!” and we divvied up the jobs. We ended up with a fun day at the park. There was a crown, some cupcakes, and lots of balloons in her favorite colors. My sweetheart felt like a princess, and I decided we could keep both kids after all. There are lots of tricks that can help you conjure up low-stress birthday fun. Here are some that helped me and other run-down parents give our children a happy day to celebrate their fantastic self: 1. Ask for Help Grandparents, aunts, uncles, or friends might be game to help. Someone might even offer to plan the whole event, or maybe a crew would be happy to each bring a snack, a game, or an item of décor. 2. Go Off-Location Rather than cleaning and decorating your house, why not take the party to a restaurant or pool? For no cost, have a picnic at the park, or ask a generous friend or relative to host for you. 3. Keep it Intimate Instead of inviting the whole class or daycare roster, you could plan a special activity with just one or two close friends. Many kids socialize this way naturally, playing one-on-one or in a small group. A family-only party is another way to keep it low-key and focus on a favorite activity. 4. Plan an Independence Day If you feel your child is old enough, maybe this birthday is a great time for that first unchaperoned trip to the mall or the movies. An older tween might really enjoy helping plan and execute this operation with one or two friends whom you trust to behave responsibly.
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5. Gather Up a Potluck In the summertime, a laid-back multi-family potluck picnic can be a relaxing way to celebrate. The park or the beach will provide lots of fun with worry-free décor, menu, and activities. 6. Simplify Your Usual “I love planning parties,” says Angela, mom of two, “especially making cakes. I like to top them with figurines built out of modeling chocolate and work up a theme. When my oldest turned four, though, I didn’t have time for the usual prep. We went on holidays just before her birthday, right when I would normally be working on the party. I changed my plan and made a simple cake with colorful batter and icing rosettes. I got it all done in a day, and it was still very pretty and special.”
9. Work the Clock Plan your party for mid-morning or mid-afternoon, so you can serve some easy snacks instead of a whole meal. 10. Work the Calendar Have a small party now, and plan a lavish unbirthday when the timing is better. 11. Call for Costumes Create an effortless theme by having everyone come in their favorite Halloween or dress-up outfit. The kids can grab pots and pans and have a costume parade down the street, or a quieter costume-fashion show to show off their best catwalk moves and poses. 12. Camp Out If you have a backyard firepit, try a camp-out party. Let the kids roast their own hot dogs and marshmallows, and if they’re old enough, sleep over in tents. “We used to have backyard sleepovers in our tent trailer,” tells Abbey, a veteran party-goer. “It was just like camping, except we could come inside and use the nice bathroom.”
7. Go Old School Julie, a mother of two and grandmother of five, knows her parties. She says, “We have thrown a lot of parties, and the kids still love the simple games, like three-legged races and wheelbarrow races.” More zero-prep games include freeze tag, hide and seek, Simon says, and follow the leader. Older kids might get a kick out of having a danceoff or lip synch battle to music played on your smart phone.
If you have a child’s birthday coming up at a stressful time, take heart. There are plenty of ways you can create happy memories for your special kid with exactly the time and energy that you have. Laurie loves sharing simple pleasures with her two girls, and is looking forward to a fun birthday season with these laid-back ideas.
8. Go Back to School Marlene, mom of three, shares this idea about an easy, athletic party; “My neighbor organized a ball hockey party in the school parking lot one weekend. Since it wasn’t a school day, the lot was empty. The boys brought their own sticks, and she just brought a couple of nets, snacks, and cupcakes. www.okanaganchild.com
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Say “Yes to the Mess” with Six Outdoor Activities by Sandi Haustein Being the mother of three boys, I am wellacquainted with mess. That’s not to say I like it. So often I say “no” when my boys want to do something out-of-the-box messy, but my mom heart feels guilty because I know how much fun it would be. Moms like me avoid shaving cream fights or stomping through mud puddles because let’s face it – kids are messy enough without giving Mom something else to clean up. Karie Fager, a mother of four, believes that giving your kids messy experiences every now and then makes it easier for the times when you say, “Not today.” Allowing kids to experiment with the gooey and the sticky gives them opportunities to explore different textures, create fun memories, and experience the thrill of doing something that’s typically off-limits. To help your kids create some messy memories, consider one of these outdoor activities that only require hosing off and changing clothes when it’s time to clean up.
Water Play. Getting wet is one of the easiest ways for kids (and moms) to ease their way into messy play. Fill a bucket with water, give your child some paint brushes, and let him “paint” the driveway, house, and deck. Or turn on a sprinkler and lay out a Slip n’ Slide for hours of water fun.
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Mentos Experiment. You might have seen the choreographed Mentos and Diet Coke YouTube video, but your kids will get a kick out of creating their own Mentos geyser. Open a 2-liter of Diet Coke, drop in three or four mint-flavored Mentos candies, and jump back as the soda spews up like fireworks.
Outdoor Painting. For her son’s fourth birthday party, Wendy Kimm ey created a giant painting experience for the young guests by setting up a large canvas on top of a plastic painter’s drop cloth. The kids dipped textured balls into paint and then rolled or threw the balls on the canvas to make a one-of-a-kind painting. To give your kids their own chance to paint in the great outdoors, pick up some washable, nontoxic tempura paint, hang up a dollar store shower curtain or a huge canvas, and let them unleash their inner Monet.
Jello Balloons. Take your typical water balloon fight to a whole new level by filling the balloons with Jello instead. Follow the directions for making gelatin on the box but before chilling, use a funnel or a turkey baster to pour (or squirt) the Jello mixture into the balloons. Place them carefully in a fridge to set, then surpise your kids with a sticky, colorful fight that no one will be expecting. Whipped Cream Pies. Help your kids draw a large body on a piece of cardboard and cut out a hole for the face. Next, make a batch of whipped cream and spread it into pie pans. Give your children turns putting their heads through the cardboard hole while the others take turns smashing the whipped cream “pies” in their faces. Carolyn Brednich, a mom of four boys who borrowed this messy tradition from Mexico, says this activity is one of her family’s favorite memories. “Some of my boys were crying because they were scared to be covered in white, but the others loved smearing whipped cream all over themselves.” Don’t be surprised if your kids abandon the cardboard body and start “pie-ing” each other right and left.
“Snowball” Fight. Winter isn’t the only time of year you and your kids can enjoy snowy fun. On a cookie sheet or in a large bowl, mix together two boxes of cornstarch and one can of shaving cream. Help your children carefully mold the soft, fluffy mixture into an arsenal of “snowballs” and watch their faces light up when you yell, “Ready, aim, fire!” By keeping the mess outside, these six activities will give your kids (and mine) the freedom to have fun while keeping the clean-up to a minimum for Mom. In twenty years, when my kids are grown, I hope they won’t remember the times I didn’t let them make a mess. Instead, I hope they say to each other, “Remember that time Mom pelted us with Jello balloons?” Sandi Haustein is a mom to three boys and a baby girl who are helping her broaden her messy limits.
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West Nile Virus Public Health Reminder Warmer weather is here and it is important to protect yourself from mosquito bites. Not only are bites uncomfortable, but the mosquito that bites you may also give you West Nile virus. Although the chances of contracting West Nile virus are generally low, there are still risks. There are simple and effective measures you can take to reduce these risks.
Additional information Canada.ca: West Nile virus _____________________________________ Communications and Public Affairs Branch Health Canada - British Columbia Region / Government of Canada Health Canada-Santé Canada Communications BC - CB@hc-sc.gc.ca Direction générale des communications et des affaires publiques Santé Canada - Région de la Colombie-Britannique / Gouvernement du Canada Health Canada-Santé Canada Communications BC - CB@hc-sc.gc.ca
As you prepare to spend time outdoors, learn more about West Nile virus infection and how to prevent it. - use insect repellent that contains DEET, Icaridin or other approved ingredients (always read and follow the directions on the insect repellent container, especially when using on young children) - wear light-coloured clothing, a long-sleeved shirt and long pants - make sure screen doors and windows are in good repair to keep mosquitoes outside - empty standing water around your home and property (e.g., flowerpots, gutters, pet water dishes, and birdbaths) on a regular basis, because mosquitoes breed in standing water
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make the most of SUMME R in
DISCOV ERY ZONE!
Your Choice Could Set Them On The Right Path Registration is now open to enroll your child in an engaging Summer program that inspires learning through sensory exploration and discovery. Don’t miss out! Fill your child’s mind with the wonders of Discovery Zone, BrightPath’s new summer program. Each week, we will take your child on an educational journey packed with activities tailored for a young creative mind. Isn’t something this important worth a call?
DEVELOP THE MIND. NOURISH THE BODY. INSPIRE THE SOUL.
WWW.BRIGHTPATHKIDS.COM LAWRENCE AVE (250) 860-9788 & WEST KELOWNA (250) 452-6866 www.okanaganchild.com
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Stop Learning Loss -
25 Ways to Sharpen Your Child’s Mind During Summer by Janeen Lewis It’s summertime, and while the school doors may be closed, that doesn’t mean young children have to take a break from learning. In fact, some of that hard-earned knowledge may disappear if they do. According to the National Summer Learning Association, research shows that children experience learning losses when they do not engage in educational activities during the summer. So how do you combat brain-drain during the summer, but still give your kids the carefree break they deserve? Try some of these fun and easy ways for the whole family to combine time off with activities that give the brain a boost.
5. Make homemade ice cream in a bag. Food.com or Allrecipes.com have recipes for this sweet homemade treat. 6. Go on a treasure hunt by geocaching. Using a GPS, treasure seekers enter a specific set of coordinates and then attempt to find a hidden container at the location. Check out geocaching. com to find out more. 7. Pick a recipe and let your child apply their knowledge of measuring and fractions while you cook or bake together.
1. Attend your city’s summer reading program. Most summer reading programs have special activities and prizes for children and adults. Have a friendly family competition to see who can read the most. 2. Summer learning doesn’t have to be screenfree. There are many apps that make reading, science, social studies and math fun. Choose educational game apps that review skills your child learned during the year. 3. Grow a garden together. See who can grow the biggest fruit or vegetable. 4. Visit a Military cemetery or battlefield or go to a reenactment. 10 l Summer 2015
8. Check out a book on a famous artist like Vincent van Gogh. Let your child create their own rendering of one the artist’s masterpieces and then frame it. 9. Take a self-guided walking tour of your town and study the architecture. Look for geometric shapes or Greek or Roman influences. 10. Tour the historical buildings in your town. 11. Have a lemonade, Popsicle or cookie stand. Help your child make a budget, buy supplies, and balance the accounts. 12. Visit a museum. From art and history to science and creative play, there are a variety of interesting museums all over the country with exhibits geared toward kids.
22. Talk with the oldest person in your family at the family reunion. Help your child write down some of the interesting stories. 23. Let your kids design and construct an obstacle course in the backyard. Invite the neighbors and have a parents versus kids race. 24. Go camping and tell stories around the camp fire. 25. Make a scrapbook of your summer together. Let your kids write the captions. Janeen Lewis is a freelance journalist who loves
having educational play time with her two children. She is an experienced certified teacher who holds a Master’s degree in education.
13. Learn about other ethnicities. Attend a cultural festival, start learning a foreign language or visit an ethnic restaurant in your community. 14. Take a creek walk together and sketch pictures of living things in a creek habitat. 15. Go strawberry, blueberry, or blackberry picking and make a pie together. 16. Teach your child how to write a Haiku or Cinquain form poem about something they love about summer. 17. Help clean up your favorite park. Recycle as much trash as you can. 18. Play a trivia game with your family asking questions about the Declaration of Independence on the Fourth of July. 19. Pick a vacation destination. Using a scale map and ruler, figure out how many miles and approximately how many hours it will take to get there. 20. Send post cards to friends and family members from all the places you visit this summer, even if you just take day trips. Let your child write the message. 21. Draw your family tree together before a family reunion. www.okanaganchild.com
Personal and Professional Development
CONTINUING STUDIES Play=Learning Series Short online workshops for Early Childhood Educators. Explore children’s play from a variety of perspectives and consider the series as potential professional development. www.okanagan.bc.ca/playlearning –––––––––––––
Education Assistant Certificate Learn how to assist children with diverse learning needs within the school system. Graduates can: • Work in elementary and secondary schools in B.C. • Work with individual children in the home • Work with adults as Special Needs Workers • Apply for their Early Childhood Educator Assistant (ECEA) license www.okanagan.bc.ca/EducationAssistant Phone: Leslee at 1-800-856-5445 Email: email@example.com Summer 2015 l
Back From Camp:
Head Lice Myth Busters and Solutions
by Laura Reagan-Porras Peak times for head lice exposures are returns from summer camp and vacations as well as the first semester of the school year. However, anytime kids are in close contact with one another, lice are possible, if not probable. Have no fear, the lice myth busters are here!
Myth #3 – Lice hop or fly from one infected person to the other. Head lice multiply easily if there is close proximity to an affected person or the brush, combs or hats of an affected persons are shared. Head lice are spread most commonly from head to head contact. Head lice do not hop or fly. Lice have no hind legs to hop and no wings to fly. Head lice do crawl, quite rapidly at times and blend into the hair shaft very well.
Myth #4 – After a lice infestation you must mega-clean your house, top to bottom including steam the carpets, curtains and burn the mattresses!
Myth #1 – Head lice infestations occur because of a lack of cleanliness. Head lice love clean hair! It is easier for them to grip the base of the hair shaft so they can lay their eggs. Lice feed off a blood protein which they obtain from biting the scalp. Myth #2 – Head lice are contracted from pets. The Center for Disease Control reports, head lice infestation, or pediculosis, is spread most commonly by close person-to-person contact. While head lice can be perceived as contagious. Head lice are really human parasites. The CDC uses language like infestation rather than infection. Dogs, cats, and other pets do not play a role in the transmission of human lice. 12 l Summer 2015
Housecleaning myths for lice eradication abound! Lice are not bedbugs. They do not survive off their host’s head. Lice have a 24 – 26 hour survival off a host’s head when removed from their blood supply so simple vacuuming will work to pick up bugs that have fallen off the head.
Myth #5 - Head lice will go away in one day shampooing with over the counter pesticides and will kill all lice and their eggs. Whether you choose to go to a doctor for a prescription shampoo or whether you choose one or more of the numerous green products, thorough, consistent comb outs with a lice comb is required after the shampooing to remove all lice and eggs. Follow up combings may be required for 7 days, depending on the severity of the infestation.
catch the bugs and eggs, called nits. (Our specialists have crème rinse recommendations.)A lice comb has long teeth and should be wiped with a white paper towel after every combing stroke to remove the lice and nits from the comb. Any darkness you see in the white liquid is a louse in one of its stages. The initial comb out may take up to 2 hours. Finish one small section of hair at a time and move to the next section.
The Facts Head lice are small insects about the size of a sesame seed. Diagnosis is often made on the basis of finding lice eggs. Eggs are tiny, grayish white, tan or brown ovals that attach very tightly to hair shafts in the hair. These eggs cannot wash off or be blown away. It takes some effort to remove them from the hair shaft but once removed by hand or by combing out, they turn brown. Eggs may be found throughout the hair, but often are seen at the nape of the neck, behind the ears and at the crown of the head. Solutions While opinions and methodologies vary somewhat, lice removal experts, pharmacists and doctors agree with the following basics. You may do it yourself or hire a lice removal specialist in your area to do it for you and your child. They charge by the hour and some make house calls. Others have local salons. 1. Shampoo with a lice killing shampoo. You may get a prescription shampoo from a physician or use one of the green products recommended on the specialists’ websites. Today’s lice are resistant to over the counter pesticides. Avoid using them. 2. Do a thorough comb out immediately after the shampoo, using a lice comb. Comb out after the initial shampoo using a white crème rinse to www.okanaganchild.com
3. Follow up comb outs should take place. The specialists recommend to do follow up comb outs. When and how often varies. Some say comb outs should take place every day for 7 days after shampooing. Others say if the initial comb out was thorough, then you another one is not needed until the seventh (7) day. All agree, follow up is vital. 4. Head check. Since the life cycle of the louse is 14 days, check your child’s head at the two week mark from initial treatment in case any lice remained. Lice are as common as the common cold. While they are frustrating and time consuming to deal with, they do not pose a serious health threat. Don’t panic! Get educated and get combing. Laura Reagan-Porras is a parenting journalist, parenting coach and mother of two daughters who have battled lice and lived to share the tale. She can be reached through her website at www. heart2heartparents.com.
Head Lice Prevention ABCs A. Teach children to avoid head to head contact. B. Teach children not to share brushes, combs or hats. C. You may choose to use a preventative spray on your child’s head or hair spray product. The odor acts as a repellent to the lice and the consistency on the hair helps to prevent lice from latching onto the hair shaft. Summer 2015 l
Building A Village: by Ruth Hanley Whether you are new to the neighborhood or just haven’t had the chance to get out and about, getting to know your neighbors is essential when you are a parent. The next time your child runs over to someone taking their daily walk past your house, you will know who your child is greeting. The National Crime Prevention Council’s Neighborhood Watch organization advises getting to know people in your neighborhood so you can look out for each other and make it a safer place. When you strengthen your bond with good neighbors, there is no limit in the ways that you can help each other: babysitting, delivering meals in a transition or crisis, backyard barbeques, and making your neighborhood a happy place for your family. Here are some ideas about taking that first step toward getting to know other families on your block. Garden Gathering Gardens and green lawns are natural topics of neighborly conversation. When you are out working in your yard or garden, neighbors tend to admire and ask questions. Say hello as neighbors walk by with dogs, kids, and babies. Your kids can play alongside you while you work, and give you an opportunity to introduce them as well. You’ll get to know the regulars who walk by as you pull weeds and water the yard. Party People Get together with another neighbor to co-host a block party, or start this fun tradition yourself! You can have a block party outside in your cul-de-sac, in a front yard, or in the clubhouse of your complex. Your children can help you plan the games and design the flyers. Some neighbors may decline 14 l Summer 2015
Getting to Know Your Neighbors
your invitation, but you will still get to meet most of them when you drop off an invitation. Make sure the block party is somewhere outdoors or in a community area so you are on neutral ground. Invite everyone to bring snacks to share and boost that feel of the community helping each other. Enterprising Introductions Who can resist those little earnest faces selling homemade lemonade for a quarter? Locals driving or walking by will want to be customers, inspired by their own childhood memories. When you’re there too, making sure they’re safe and having a good time, you can introduce yourself when they make a purchase. Smooth Sale-ing There’s an irresistible curiosity about seeing what neighbors sell at their yard sale, whether they are looking to shop or not. Yard sales allow neighbors a glimpse of your personality. When you have a yard sale, it’s inevitable that many of your customers will also be your neighbors. When they come to your driveway or when you visit someone else’s garage sale, you’ll have lots to talk about. As a bonus, if you’re the neighbor having one, you will get rid of a lot of stuff that was cluttering up your closets! Walk and Talk Walk with your child while they bike, walk, scooter, or skate down the street. Greet your www.okanaganchild.com
neighbors when they are outside as you pass their house. Just a smile and a greeting is a great way to begin to connect. If your child goes door-todoor for a school or sports fundraiser, walking is another great way to meet neighbors and they can get to know you and your family. Connecting For A Cause Planting trees together, cleaning up a local park, or attending Neighborhood Watch meetings are ways to help your neighborhood stay safe and meet other neighbors who care about the same community issues and causes. You can help make a difference and show your kids how to get involved in the community. There are many ways to create strong neighborhood friendships. One Northwest mom remembers having a block party to get to know her neighbors, and even though it poured rain from the start to finish, everyone happily sat knee-to-knee in the tiny living room and nibbled on snacks that each neighbor brought. They also made some amazing connections with each
other. One family had a teenage daughter who was looking for babysitting opportunities while another family had small children and needed a babysitter. One family had a daughter in junior high who needed help with her French language lessons and another neighbor was a high school French teacher who offered her tutoring. We all have ways to help each other and support one another to make a stronger community for ourselves and our children. Getting to know your neighbors provides peace of mind that friends are looking out for your family. You are looking out for them as well! The National Crime Prevention Council suggests making sure you have at least one house for your child to go to in an emergency situation. A caring community who looks out for each other makes your neighborhood strong and helps children grow into adults who know how to make the world a better place. Ruth Hanley is a mom of two girls and loves spontaneous block parties on her street that begin with neighborly conversations.
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Grief Counselling by Susan Kast As parents we all hope to bring up our children in safety and security well protected from the pain of loss, separation and death. However, when a loved one dies our role as parents and responsible adults is to be the safe haven for children to process and grapple with the many and complex thoughts and feelings of grief. It wasn’t long ago that the prevalent view was that children don’t grieve. Well intended adults believed that when children experienced the death of a family member or close friend it was thought best to help them “get over it” and by getting things back to “normal” and help them “forget” and “move on”.
We know better now and understand that children who are old enough to love are old enough to grieve. While our first instinct may be to protect a child from the pain of their grief what children need from parents and caring adults is compassion and understanding that doesn’t rush them through their grief but allow them to work through their grief, express the pain of the loss and remember the person who died. As a child and youth grief grief counsellor I’d like to share with you a few thoughts and theories
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that guide me in my practice of supporting children and families in grief. Grief is a family process. When death impacts a family every member in the family is effected. Each person may have their own relationship with the person who died, and their own grieving style and this will influence their experience of grief, but the family as a whole is impacted. Children are often the barometer for the emotional climate of the family. They experience their grief but are also finely tuned into the emotional experience of their family as a whole. Often the first step parents can take to support their grieving children is to tend to their own grief needs by seeking out support and actively find ways of working through their grief. This is important for several reasons. First of all, parents and the important adults in a child’s life are the role models who will teach children about grief. They will learn by what their parents do - if tears are okay, if it is okay
A child who has experienced a loss at 4 years old will understand and experience that loss as a 4 year old. As that child grows in emotional and cognitive development they will often revisit and grieve that loss as they come to understand and experience that loss at each new developmental stage. This is normal and to be expected. A compassionate presence and understanding is needed.
to be sad, if it is okay to talk about feelings, or to talk about the person who died. Second, when parents are profoundly grieving they may not be emotionally available to their child and this can represent another loss to the child. Children will sometimes put their own grief needs on hold until they intuitively feel their parent is in a place where they can handle their child’s grief. The current academic research of children’s grief tells us that the biggest factors that contribute to a child’s resiliency following a death of a parent is the mental health and well being of the surviving parent, and parental warmth and consistent discipline. Essentially, that at a time when tragedy strikes at the core of a family, children need to feel home is still a safe place where an adult is in charge. The same study found that the greatest risk to a child’s resiliency is the explicit or implicit inhibition of emotional expression. This means children who are either directly or indirectly given the message that it is not okay to grieve are the children who are more likely to experience emotional and behavioural problems in the long term. This means messages like “get over it”, “we have to move on”, “big boys don’t cry”, “you have to be strong” can have a lasting impact on how a child is impacted by their grief.
While grief counselling may have a part in supporting grieving children, a child’s primary and most important grief support comes from parents and other important adults in a child’s life. This relationship of compassionate understanding is the safe haven children will need as they grapple with the pain of their loss. For more information or to find out more about our programs please contact me at the Bereavement Resource Centre in Penticton. We offer grief counselling for children, youth, and adults, either individually or groups. I’m also available to parents, teachers, and community agencies who are looking for more information on how to support grieving children. Susan Kast, MSW, RSW Child and Youth Grief Counsellor 250-490-1107 firstname.lastname@example.org Bereavement Resource Centre a program of the Penticton and District Hospice Society
One more important understanding about children’s grief is that there are no time limits. www.okanaganchild.com
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Gender Rules: Should rules be the same by Christa Melnyk Hines for boys and girls? Over the past 50 years, our society’s gender rules have undergone a major shift. More women than ever are in leadership positions and in careers once reserved for men. Modern fathers are more involved in child-rearing and care-taking roles. But, do we still inherently treat our sons and daughters differently based on their gender?
Gender differences. Many parents feel gender differences become more important as children enter adolescence. Chrissy Stewart, a mom of three, including two sons and a daughter, says she parents her children with the same general set of rules of behavior, but feels differences in the sexes demand awareness of different issues.
“An unequivocal yes,” says Deborah Smith, Ph.D., a University of Missouri-Kansas City sociologist who studies gender issues. “Within 24 hours, parents are handling male and female babies differently. If boys are crying, they’re angry. If girls are crying, they’re fussy.”
“General rules are the same and most expectations for behavior, like kindness and no bad language, but there are just things that parents are more worried about with a boy or a girl that are more gender-specific,” she says. For example, a parent is more likely to talk to her daughter about self-defense and her son about dating etiquette. Laura Murphy, a parent coach, is the mother of three grown children, including two sons, 18 and 22, and a daughter, 20. She says parents should work toward the common goal of raising good people, but also celebrate the differences between the sexes.
Gender and age. For children under the age of six, gender should play little role, if any, in how we parent our kids. Rules like discouraging our little girls from playing in mud and our little boys from crying, can be developmentally damaging, Smith says.
“We do want men to model for their sons how to be a strong, good-hearted man in this world. Women need to model for their daughters how to be a loving, caring good woman in this world,” Murphy says. And regardless of whether you have boys or girls, chances are you enforce different rules according to differences in behavior and personality.
During these formative years when children are curious about exploring a variety of interests, toys and activities, avoid pushing your child in more stereotypical directions. “You might be stopping the best chemist because she’s a girl and ‘girls aren’t into chemistry’ or stifling the best nurse for a boy because ‘boys aren’t nurses,’” Smith says. 18 l Summer 2015
“If we think about ourselves as humans first and what’s a good idea to create a healthy human-particularly not making a big distinction for six and under--would go a long way in helping children develop the full range of emotions and interests and competencies that you just need as a successful human being.” Division of labor. Parents may unwittingly set gender rules when it comes to chores, requiring their girls to complete indoor chores and their boys to take care of outdoor chores. “I encourage parents to teach children to do both,” Murphy says. “I want my daughter to be able to take care of her own household inside and out someday, and I want my son to take care of his own household inside and out.” Teaching children to care for themselves and their homes should be a universal goal as they grow into adulthood. Model respect. Consider the messages you send your children when you and your spouse divide household responsibilities, make child-rearing decisions and how you treat one another. “How the parents view their roles has a lot to do with how the children will view their roles,” Murphy says. A mother who handles everything in the household, refusing to share any responsibilities with her husband, sends the message that he can’t doing anything right, and he’s left searching for a role, Murphy says. Children may also assume that women manage everything in the home. “I don’t think men need to be the dominating force in the family, but they certainly need to be a leader in the family,” Murphy says. “Work as a team. Sometimes a woman has to defer to the man and the man has to defer to the woman.”
Raised with less focus on rigid male and female rules and proactive guidance from you rather than from provocative media or cultural influences, your children can freely pursue their interests without feeling restricted by their gender. True or false? In colonial America, parents dressed young boys and girls dressed alike in white gowns. True! At age 6, old enough to begin helping his father with chores, a boy officially left babyhood behind upon receiving his first set of breeches. Parents didn’t begin dressing their babies in genderspecific clothing until the 1940s. Did you know? Around WWI, Earnshaw’s Infant Department, a trade publication, designated blue for girls and pink for boys. The editors felt pink was a more masculine, stronger color and delicate blue was more appropriate for girls. Parents, however, preferred blue for boys and pink for girls. Gender-specific pinks and blues didn’t take off, however, until the advent of sonograms in the mid-1980s. Source: Smithsonian.com Freelance journalist, Christa Melnyk Hines and her husband are the parents of two boys. Christa is the author of Happy, Healthy & Hyperconnected: Raise a Thoughtful Communicator in a Digital World.
Honor, appreciate and respect each other’s roles in the household. Your children will learn that gender has little to do with the healthy functioning of a home. “The bottom line is everybody needs to be respected regardless of gender,” Smith says. www.okanaganchild.com
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The Good Grandparent Guide by Kerrie McLoughlin The world of grandparenting can be tricky; just try to put yourself in their shoes for a minute. They have raised their kids already and think they did a pretty awesome job. Now their baby has had a baby and they don’t know how to act. All of a sudden their baby, who was brought up on junk food, public school, no seat belts and television and turned out perfectly, is telling them what to do around the grandkids (no sugar, “we are going to homeschool”, “take the booster seat” and no “screen time”). Some grandparents turn passive aggressive and do the opposite of what they are asked; some just stop showing up. If you can find a happy medium, you are doing better than most. Check out some common issues parents have with grandparents. I’m talkin’ straight at you, grandparents! 1. Don’t start a tradition you can’t finish. You are the one who wanted to buy each grandchild a $50 Build-a-Bear workshop stuffed animal and started that tradition nice and early. I realize most people don’t go out and give birth to more than two children these days, but you’d better start padding your savings account, Mee-maw, because I have five kids currently and might have more! If you do something for one, you can bet the others are watching and are going to be bugging me about it constantly! I suggest starting cheaper traditions, like taking the kid out for an ice cream and to the dollar store every year for Valentine’s Day. 2. Don’t parent them; that’s my job. I expect you to spoil them! If I have said, “Go for it” then give them candy, let them go on a cartoon binge and by all means buy them the entire set of Harry Potter books! Likewise, though, if I ask you to not smoke, drink or watch Dexter around the kids, please respect that. 3. Bite your tongue. As Jen M.L. of the popular People I Want to Punch in the Throat blog says, “You had your chance to [mess] up a kid and now it’s my turn, so pipe down with all the unwanted advice.” Michele Pfeiffer, mom of one, offers, “Don’t be a helicopter grandparent. Let the parents make the same mistakes and learn from them. We all turned out fine.” Unless your grandchild is in serious danger, it’s best to keep your thoughts to yourself. Share those thoughts instead with your friends at work or the community center. 20 l Summer 2015
4. Come to stuff! Show up! You don’t need an engraved invitation to a Little League baseball game; if I emailed you the schedule, I want you to come. If you don’t show up to any of the birthday parties because you are mad at me or too busy, that’s only hurting the relationship with your grandchild. Let’s talk it out. 5. Take it easy on the material junk. Most kids have tons of random junk they never play with. May I suggest a lovely family gift of a zoo membership next Christmas? Or if you insist on dropping $50 on each birthday, how about a $10 gift and a $40 savings account donation? 6. Leave religion out of it. This is a loaded topic for grown adults, so don’t bring it up around your kids and grandkids. Your job is to love the grandkids and just get along and help out if like. Asking them in private why they don’t go to church is not acceptable. 7. Nothing stays the same. Jody Kwan Jones, mom of 3, says, “Grandparents need to remember that times have changed. They seem perfectly willing to accept the new technology that makes life easier, like nice cars, computers, fancy TVs, etc. Why then, are there endless repetitions of, ‘It was good enough for you as a baby, so it’s fine for your baby.’ Ummmm, no, I will NOT be giving my baby whiskey in a bottle to put him to sleep!” 8. Be supportive. If your grandchild is struggling with something in school or life, it’s not always your kid’s fault. Instead of blaming or saying your grandchild never acts that way around you, ask what you can do to help. Can you watch the other kids while your grandchild goes to therapy? Come over for a while to cook or just sit and read to your grandchild? Maybe your grandchild is struggling with science and you are a Chemical Engineer. Think help instead of snark.
Kerrie McLoughlin’s 5 kids are very lucky to have 6 rockin’ grandparents who know how to strike the balance between smothering and neglect. More humor and fun at TheKerrieShow.com.
Resource Directory This Issue Brightpath Early Learning & Child Care www.brightpathkids.com 250.860.9788 Kelowna 250.452.6866 Westbank
Breastfeeding Clinics / Support
grobag by oyaco www.facebook.com/oyacoproducts www.oyaco.com
Childcare Resource & Referral Kelowna Child Care Resource & Referral #4 - 1890 Ambrosi Rd. Kelowna, BC 250.762.3536 www.childcarechoices.ca
hautemama www.hautemama.ca 1.866.615.3800 Maternity, nursing and beyond Kelowna & District Safety Council www.kdsc.bc.ca email@example.com 250.765.3163 FB 888.580.7233 Kiki The Eco Elf www.kikitheecoelf.com firstname.lastname@example.org 250.503.4503 Okanagan Foster Parents Assn www.okfosterparents.ca email@example.com Okanagan College www.okanagan.bc.ca/playlearning firstname.lastname@example.org 1.800.856.5445 Penticton Bereavement Centre www. pentictonvereavementresources.com 250.490.1107 Royal Soccer Club www.royalsoccer.com 1.800.427.0536
Front Cover Photographer
Okanagan Breastfeeding Coalition 330 Ellis St., Penticton, BC www.okanaganbreastfeeding.org
Penticton Child Care Resource & Referral 330 Ellis St., Penticton, BC 250.492.2926 www.kelownachildcare.com Vernon Child Care Resource & Referral 3300- 37th Avenue, Vernon, BC 250.542.3121 email@example.com Midwives and doulas Doula Services Association, BC 604.515.5588 www.bcdoulas.org Midwives Asscoation of BC 604.736.5976 www.bcmidwives.com Alternative Schooling
Cedar Bridge www.whywaldorfworks.com 250.547.9212 Kelowna Waldorf School www.KelownaWaldorf.org 250.764.4130
Captured by Kelsey www.capturedbykelsey.ca www.facebook.com/capturedbykelsey.ca
Mind Over Learning www.mindoverlearning.com 250.860.0084
Last Issue Photographer Bobbi Sloan Photography www.bobbisloanphotography.com 250.689.2472
Summerland Montessori School www.summerlandmontessori.com 250.494.7266
Public Health Services/Nurses Kelowna Health Unit 1340 Ellis Street 250.868.7700 Penticton Health Unit 740 Carmi Avenue 250.770.3434 Rutland Health Unit 155 Gray Road 250.980.4825 Summerland Health Unit 12815 Atkinson Road 250.404.8050 West Kelowna Health Unit 160 – 2300 Carrington Road 250.980.5150 Vernon Health Unit 1440 – 14th Avenue 250.549.5700 Salmon Arm Health Unit 851-16th Street NE Salmon Arm BC 250.833.4100 Osoyoos Health Centre 4816 89th Street Osoyoos, BC 250.495.6433 Oliver Health Centre 7139 - 362nd Ave Newlands Rd Oliver, BC 250.498.5080 Pleasant Valley Health Centre 3800 Patten Drive Armstrong BC 250.546.4700 Photography & Portraits
Carly Blake Photography firstname.lastname@example.org 250.469.2070 Everyday Little Moments www.everydaylittlemoments.com
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Mom’s Toolbox of Summer Sanity Savers by Lara Krupicka “I’m bored.” “There’s nothing to do!” Moms dread to hear these refrains, especially in the weeks after the school year ends. Between keeping the house running smoothly, and ensuring a good balance of entertainment, education and relaxation, it can be overwhelming. But with preparation and the right tools, you can save your sanity and make it a summer to remember. Here are a few proven summer-ready tools any mom can use:
whether in response to the occasional “I’m bored” or to fill the stretches of time during a long car ride or plane trip.
The Job Jar You know those tasks that always fall to the bottom of the list? Summer can be a great time to have the kids help you complete them. Breaking them into fifteen-minute jobs and setting up a lottery system for assigning them (where everyone has a chance of drawing a “day off”) can make chores less like work.
Some kids enjoy the challenge of reading all the recent awardwinners. And occasionally schools offer rewards for those who complete a list. Book awards include the Caldecott Medal (for picture books), Geisel medal (beginning reader), Newbery (most distinguished children’s book), and Coretta Scott King (African American authors and illustrators). Many states also have their own young readers’ book awards, in which students can participate by reading a minimum number of books from the list of nominees before voting for their favorites.
Create your own job jar by designating an empty container to fill with slips of paper containing the chores to be done, (along with some free day slips). Include tasks such as: wiping down kitchen cabinet fronts, dusting slats on wood blinds, and cleaning out the silverware drawer. Make the jobs simpler for younger children or plan on assisting, should they draw a more difficult job. Also, keep duties brief enough to be easily completed in fifteen minutes You can put an entire summer’s worth of jobs in the jar and have children draw slips daily until the jar is empty. Or you can fill it weekly with enough chores for children to draw one apiece each day. Then make note of small tasks around the house as you notice them, to be added to the job jar later. The Reading Ratchet What will your kids be reading this summer or what will you read to them? Whether you live with kids who have an unending appetite for books, or have to bribe your child to crack one open, it helps to have a list to work from. Add this tool to your belt now and you’ll be able to reach for it all summer long 22 l Summer 2015
Don’t feel like you have to create a list all on your own (although if you’ve been meaning to have your kids read some of your favorites, now’s your chance). There are plenty of reading lists available for kids of all ages. If your school hands out a summer reading list, start with that.
As a parent, you can also create your own reading list to target specific goals you have for your children. Kara Haas requires her two sons to read three different types of books each summer: one Christian biography, one historical fiction and one fiction. Then she asks them ato nswer questions she and her husband have created. The Fun Friday Blueprint Every mom should have a master plan for fun. Decide when you’ll make local excursions and where you’ll go. Some moms, like Emily Neal, make the outings a weekly event and invite friends to www.okanaganchild.com
join them. This makes planning ahead important. Involve your children in brainstorming destinations. You could include nearby water parks, new-to-you playgrounds, ice cream shops, museums, zoos, and gardens. Don’t forget to have both indoor and outdoor options so you can flex with the weather. Even a trip to the party store to buy zany masks for at-home fun can make a difference, Neal points out. “Sometimes the simplest things are the coolest,” she says. Having a plan for fun ensures that you won’t be stuck at home wondering what to do. And you won’t finish the summer regretting not visiting places you’d hoped to. “It’s important to be deliberate about it,” says Neal. “It’s fun to look back and have all those memories.” The Life Skills Drill School is for learning the three R’s. Home is where our children should be mastering life skills that enable them to navigate the everyday world. Start with the basics such as cleaning a bathroom and then progress in the tween and teen years to such skills as balancing a checkbook and changing the oil on a car.
Using these tools you’ll be keeping your children active mentally and socially. And they’ll be helping you out and developing abilities that will last long after the summer is over. Job Jar Ideas wipe down fronts of kitchen cabinets wash out insides of all household wastebaskets wipe down baseboards (in one or two given rooms) clean fingerprints from door jams (in one room) vacuum off couches and chairs and under cushions wipe down chair rungs in dining room pull weeds in one flower bed dust off fan blades of all ceiling fans Life Skills Options Making an emergency phone call Cleaning pet cages and food bowls Cooking a simple meal Laundry, including folding and ironing Basic bicycle repair and maintenance Lawn mowing Replacing a fuse on circuit breaker Balancing a checkbook Painting walls and trim Basic vegetable and fruit canning Lara Krupicka is a freelance writer and mom to three girls. She loves using a Job Jar and is always amazed at how her daughters can read their way through entire lists of award-winning books over the course of a summer.
Haas has made skill development a priority for her boys’ summers. “Every summer since they were ten they have learned a new skill that will help them when they own their own home or manage their homes. Some years it has been painting, placing sidewalk pavers, basic construction, and even sewing,” she explains. “I’d watch their life and think, what are they old enough to do? Or what am I tired of doing for them?” Choose one or two new skills you’d like to see your child master. Then create a plan. How often will they practice the new skill - once a week, once a month, or repetitively for a short time during the course of a single longer project? Who will teach them the skill and how will the child demonstrate he has mastered it? www.okanaganchild.com
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