We are just a few days away from Hallowe’en, and there are a few important points I’m considering and talking to my kids about before the big day! 1.Costumes When choosing their costumes, I ask my kids always to be respectful. Have them consider if their costume is making for or offensive of a culture or religion. Does it reinforce stereotypes about certain groups? My kiddos are generally very aware of cultural appropriation, but it’s still a meaningful conversation to have. Otherwise, if their costumes are safe and not too restrictive, I don’t police unnecessarily. Let them express themselves and have fun! 2. Inclusivity I try to ensure I have non-food items for kids with allergies or food sensitivities. Having a teal pumpkin on your porch will alert trick-or-treaters that you are a safe house for them. If you notice a child carrying a blue pumpkin for their treats, they…

Women are not safe. Anywhere. Not in our homes, our workplaces, our neighborhood streets, clubs, schools, or anywhere else we dare to go. We’re not safe alone, or with strangers; we’re definitely not safe around the men who claim to love us.As the media remains fixated on the story of Gabby Petito women everywhere are rolling their eyes at the wall to wall coverage because NOTHING about this story is new. It’s news but it’s not new news. If you don’t know that women go missing and get murdered all. The. Time. Then you haven’t been paying attention.Gabby’s innocence and zest for life captured our hearts. We mourned the loss of her mega-watt smile and giant dimples. Gabby was both familiar and aspirational – the girl next door, the girl we wished we knew, and the girl we wished we were, all rolled into one; and this is a large…

It’s the month of crunchy leaves, football, Halloween, and everything pumpkin! I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like October. In fact, I think October is one of my favourite months of the year. I love the weather, I love watching football with my boys, I love taking family walks to check out all the amazing Fall colours, and I’m a big fan of raiding all the candy in my kids Halloween bags. (Shhh! Don’t tell them!) October also hosts some interesting days including Global Cat Day, National Pasta Day, International Sloth Day, Halloween of course, and even National Croc Day. I might be one of the only people who still love and wear Crocs, so I’m pretty pumped there’s a day dedicated to celebrating them. I have a pair I call my “winter crocs” because they’re lined with fur. My boots are even Crocs. If anyone else wants…

When October rolls around, the kids start getting excited about all things Halloween! Our boys have always loved going out as a family to a local pumpkin patch and picking out their own pumpkin to carve. They love choosing a costume and dressing up, and of course…they love trick-or-treating! Halloween definitely gives kids plenty of fun things to look forward to, but if you’re a parent of a child with a food allergy, trick-or-treating can be stressful. Our boys don’t have a food allergy or intolerance, but I do. I know what it’s like to watch everyone else eat all these amazing treats and all I can do is, well, watch. As an adult it’s pretty rough. So, for a child…it must be even worse. Luckily though, allergy awareness has come a long way. You may have heard of The Teal Pumpkin Project in recent years. It’s an initiative that…

It was recently Teachers’ Day, and it allowed me to reflect on this incredible profession. (Sure, we can all talk about that one teacher who maybe picked the wrong career, but they are few and far between). I have had a lot of different perspectives on teachers. As a long-term student; after finishing high school, I went on and did three degrees – primarily because of the love of learning that teachers instilled in me (OK, admittedly also the student lifestyle) As a mom of six kids, I have encountered countless inspiring teachers. I’ve learned so many ins and outs of working with them to ensure a positive experience for my kids. Most importantly, I was raised by two teachers. My Dad was a high school teacher in a rough end of town, and my mom specialized in teaching kids living with disabilities and were also often medically fragile. It was…

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, and it’s important to acknowledge this, raise awareness, and allow mothers touched by special loss to come together and share their experiences. 1 in 4 women are touched by infant loss, which means that even if you haven’t experienced it, someone you know has or will. The difficulty with infant loss is the stigma and discomfort it brings to those around us. This discomfort stems from the stigma that we shouldn’t talk about it, that women should move forward as though nothing has happened. This couldn’t be more wrong. A big part of breaking the stigma comes from talking and understanding. A big part of healing is through the community. We spoke with Sandra Kesselman, MSW, RSW, a Professional Social Work clinician, for forty years. The focus of her work has been in the areas of crisis intervention, grief, and loss. In addition, she…

IE… What!? Any parent knows that there is no official parenting handbook. We’re all just winging it, googling it, and trial and error. For parents of kids with additional needs, this couldn’t be truer. From navigating complex medical issues, behavioral anomalies, etc., the paperwork and processes are tiresome and arduous before they’ve even started school. Then, just when you think you may have it all figured out, school starts, and a new process begins. The problem with these systems is that the industry leaders have years of knowledge; it’s what they do for a living. But it’s up to the parents to navigate this unfamiliar system with no prior training, no handbook, and often little to no support. It can feel like representing yourself at a trial you have no previous knowledge of. Many expressed how concerning, anxiety-inducing, and fear-provoking the initial special education evaluation and IEP meetings can be with…

We’re just a few weeks into the school year, and we’ve finally conquered the back-to-school first-week nerves (not yet? sending love). Just as we start to think to count down the morning struggles and we begin to think that maybe, just maybe, we can handle the morning routine. The moment we let our guard down, thinking we’ve got this, we start to see a new pattern arising—the after-school meltdown. Maybe for your kindie it’s a total out-of-control meltdown, or for your tween, it’s acting quiet and grumpy. However it looks in your household, it’s likely hard to manage. It’s also a little disheartening, you’re excited to see your kids and hear all about their day, and you get nothing but mumbled grunts in return. This is normal. It’s manageable, and it’s very, very common. After School restraint Collapse, a term coined only a few years ago. It suddenly resonated with…

Even though it’s somewhat in the middle of the year, September has always been a month of new beginnings. It’s the start of a new school year, a new season begins, we adapt to new routines, and everything just feels like a fresh start! Oh, and pumpkin spice is everywhere! Depending on how you feel about pumpkin spice, that could be a good thing or a bad thing. Even if you don’t like the taste of pumpkin spice, I think we can all agree it smells amazing! Okay, maybe we won’t ALL agree. Besides pumpkin everything, September is also the month to celebrate some fun – and random – things, like National Pepperoni Pizza Day, Talk Like a Pirate Day, National Comic Book Day, National Coffee Day, and a day I think the whole world needs right now…National Love People Day. It’s on September 30th. I’m also kind of a…

Resiliency Tips That They Can Take Into Adulthood The first day of school can be frightening. It’s a new place, new people, new buildings to navigate, and new rules to learn. There are so many unknowns. For each child, the questions and anxiety are different. Whether it’s about missing home, or not knowing what to do or where to go, or the awkward phase of making new friends, it’s no surprise that our kids can feel some anxieties about this; it’s a lot. Even some adults google new places ahead of time to make sure they know what to expect; why should we expect anything braver from our kids. As parents, we want to move mountains to make sure our kids never feel stress or pain, but logically we also know that it’s a part of life. The best thing we can do is set them up with tips, tricks,…