Giving to charity

I was so proud of my daughter this week-end!  She decided to have a charity bake sale to raise money for Breast Cancer research. Truthfully, I’m not sure how or why she chose this particular charity, but I left that one up to her (when it comes right down to it, the most important thing is that she was giving to charity, so the charity itself was somewhat secondary, provided it meant something to her).

She was very excited about this event, but I also made it clear that pulling something together like this would require a fair amount of work and that she would need to be involved, even in the ‘not so fun’ activities. I also knew it would be a fair amount of work for me (my daughter is only nine, so would require some assistance, especially when it came to the baking). However, in addition to the altruistic benefits of this event, I thought it had great potential from a learning perspective (I definitely had other things to do with my time, but I was pretty sure the overall ‘return on investment’ of this bake sale was going to be higher) .

One of her tasks was to spend some time planning things out and making sure she had everything she needed (this is always more involved than you think, which she was soon to realize). From purchasing plates and napkins (pink, of course, in keeping with the breast cancer theme), creating signage and posters advertising the bake sale prior to and during the event, and deciding on a money box (she used a jewelry box so that she had separate compartments for bills and change), there was quite a bit to think about before the big day.

In addition to all the organizational tasks, there was also some baking to be done. She and I made a couple of items (my daughter is interested in baking, so I really tried to step back as much as possible and let her learn how to do as much as possible on her own). My daughter invited a friend of hers to help out on bake sale day, so she was bringing a couple of items as well (thank goodness!). Of course, the baking was fun, but I also insisted that my daughter help with the clean-up, which she did without complaint.

The day of the event, my daughter was so all revved up. She lucked out and it was a beautiful day, so there were a decent number of people out and about, enjoying the wonderful weather. Our neighbors were truly generous…ultimately buying up almost all of the baked goods and topping up what they owed with additional donations.

My daughter and her friend were thrilled with the results and so was I. They raised $120 for charity but they also learned many important life skills in the process. She pulled me aside when the sale was over and said very seriously, “Mom, that was a really good experience”, and I couldn’t agree more!  That night, she thanked me for all my help, which made it all worthwhile (what can I say…a little appreciation goes a long way)!

Is there something that your children could do for charity (e.g. Walk for Cancer, go door-to-door and collect canned goods for the Food Bank, buy a gift for a needy child at Christmas, etc.)?  I know that time is limited these days, but helping your children in their efforts to give to others, is a huge investment in their future (not to mention, the future of the world).

If you’re interested in teaching your children about generosity and gratitude, you might also wish to read my post on Saying thank-you.

World-proofing your children

I saw this quote on Pinterest and loved it!  World-proofing your children is one of the toughest jobs that you’ll take on as a parent, but it is also one of the most important.  Start by teaching your kids the life skills they need to prepare them for the real world (I hope you’ll let me help you with that one)!

World-Proof the Child

















Giving Medication

I was giving my daughter some Children’s Tylenol this morning and was reminded of a few things that I thought I would share.

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  • Any time you’re going to be giving medication, give your hands a wash.
  • Be sure to check the medication’s expiration date. Taking medication that is past the date of expiry could mean that it is simply less effective, but it could also mean that it is now dangerous to use. Don’t take chances…either throw out expired medications (you should take them to a pharmacy where they are able to expose of them properly) or, at the very least, ask a pharmacist about the risks.
  • Make sure to read the directions to determine if there are any special instructions (e.g. should it be shaken first; should it be taken with food, etc.).
  • Do not mix medications. If you’re thinking of giving your children more than one medication, be sure to check with a pharmacist first (these medications may have ingredients that cannot be taken together or, conversely, they both may have the same active ingredient, which could lead to an overdose).  If in doubt, always confirm (better safe, than sorry).
  • Whenever possible, make sure that when giving medication, you dose based on weight, not age.


Pass on these important tips to your children….even if they are not old enough to give themselves medication now, learning these rules can help keep them safe in the future.

If you’re concerned about keeping your children safe, you may also be interested in reading my posts on Sun Safety, what to do If your child gets lost, and Bike Safety.

If your child gets lost

It has got to be one of the scariest experiences for a parent…you’re at a mall, amusement park or public event and you look around to find out your child is no longer with you.  Your heart pounds and you feel panic rising in your chest.  What do you do if your child gets lost and what should you teach your child to do?

I thought this post was timely, given that it is fall fair season.  In all the excitement, kids can forget to stay close by.  Add in the crowds and the ear-splitting noise and you’ve got the optimal conditions for parent/child separation.

That’s why, prior to heading to the fair (or the mall, etc.), it is important that you come up with a plan of what to do if you and your child become separated.  Review this plan with your child and make sure you are on the same page.

If, despite your best efforts, your child gets lost, make sure you remain calm and follow through on the plan.  When they are safety returned to you, do your best not to get angry and, if deserved, to praise them for following the agreed-upon safety plan.

Read this article for some tips on what to teach your child to do if they get lost.


Click here to read this article in full.

We all do our best to keep an eye on our kids, but the reality is that sometimes “things happen”, despite our diligence.  That’s why we should take some time to teach our children what to do if they should get separated from us.  Skills like these will help to keep them safe!

If your children’s safety is important to you, you may also wish to read my posts on Bike Safety and Sun Safety.



Sun safety

Just a little sun safety reminder. Many people are under the impression that sunscreen is only necessary when the sun is shining, however, teach your children that it should also be worn on cloudy days, since damaging UVB rays can still get through the clouds.

Make sure your kids use a broad-spectrum sunscreen (i.e. one that protects them from both UVA and UVB rays), that has an SPF of at least 15. Kids should also be taught to reapply sunscreen every 2-3 hours, and/or after swimming or sweating.

Lastly, get your kids into the habit of checking the expiry date on the sunscreen bottle before they use it, as the ingredients in sunscreen become less effective over time and will likely not protect them adequately if used past the date shown.

For more information about sunscreen, how to choose it, and how to use it for maximum effectiveness, check out this article by the Canadian Cancer Society.


Click here to read this full article.

If you’re interested in teaching your child how to keep themselves safe, you may also wish to read my posts on Bike Safety and Thunderstorm Safety.


The Funny Side of Parenting

Happy Friday!  Sometimes, as parents, we forget to have a sense of humour.  I thought everyone could benefit from a look at the funny side of parenting, so here are a couple of “funny but oh so true” parenting quotes.  Have a wonderful week-end!


“We used to want it all…now we just want to pee alone.”  – Unknown (we’ve all been there!)
“Having children is like living in a frat house – nobody sleeps, everything’s broken, and there’s a lot of throwing up.” – Ray Romano

Helping kids with homework

There are definitely different “schools” of thought when it comes to the involvement of parents in their children’s homework.  One thing is clear though, parents should never complete homework (or projects) for their children, as this ensures that very little, if any, learning will take place.

So, what role can parents play with respect to helping kids with homework?  I believe that children should be responsible for completing their homework but that parents can help guide them along the way, teaching them important study and life skills in the process.

For example, parents can teach children discipline by setting a time to complete work and sticking to it.  We can teach our kids to be organized by having a study space free of distractions and where they have easy access to whatever supplies they need.  We can also teach them the value of planning by making sure instructions are followed and timelines are met (e.g. have them spend a bit of time before they start working on a project to identify project tasks and when they need to be completed).

Whenever possible, try to encourage your children to be independent learners, looking to external sources for answers (e.g. a thesaurus, their teacher, discussions in class), rather than counting on you to supply them.

Check out this great article for more ways parents can help manage their children’s learning and create independent and savvy learners.


Click here to view the full article.

Helping kids with homework is tricky at best (after all, we as parents clearly “don’t know anything”), so maybe the best guidance we can offer our children is to teach them about the process to be followed when studying and completing projects.  Rest assured, they will use these skills in many capacities throughout their lifetimes.

If you’re interested in teaching your children study skills, you may also wish to read my posts on “Preparing to study“, “How to study effectively” and “Memory Techniques“.


Preparing to study

It’s that time again…time to shake off the ‘lazy-hazy-summer-vacation’ cobwebs and get to work!  Even though I’ve called this post “preparing to study”, the reality is that pretty much the same steps should be followed whether your child is sitting down to study, do their homework, or work on a project or paper.  In truth, the ‘good study habits’ (defined by as “the behaviors used when preparing for tests or learning academic material”) they form now, will benefit them the rest of their lives, whether they are studying for their SAT’s or preparing a presentation for work.

Most kids will try to convince you that they work best when the TV is on or when the music is blaring, but very few people can truly concentrate with that level of noise and distraction.  What they need to do is to create an environment that promotes focus and learning.  Having said that, there may be some minor differences in what works for one person versus another, but some general rules apply.

Check out this great article for a list of questions your child should ask themselves when preparing to study, if they want to make sure to maximize their productivity.


Click here to read the full article.

Once your kids have taken the necessary steps to prepare themselves and their work area for studying, the next step is to learn how to study effectively.  If you’re interested in learning how to teach your children some effective study strategies, read my post entitled, “How to study effectively“.  You may also wish to check out my posts on “Memory Techniques” and “Mnemonic Study Strategies” for information on these critical student skills.