Island Parent February/March 2021

islandparentmagazine

Victoria and Vancouver Island's Parenting Resource for 33 Years • Special Needs Issue • 20 Things Parent of Kids with Special Needs Should Hear • From Stylist to Fashion Police: What to do when kids decide what to wear • Kid-friendly Favourites in Tofino

FEB/MAR 2021

Vancouver Island’s Parenting Resource for 33 Years

Kid-friendly

Favourites

in Tofino

Special

Needs Issue

20 Things

Parents of kids with

special needs should hear

From Stylist to Fashion Police

What to do when kids decide what to wear


Photo

Contest

Photo: Corrine Marley

Photo: Lori Ball

@yew.photography (Emily)

Submit your favourite photos

and they may be featured in an

upcoming issue. Random photos

will be selected for mystery prizes!

Email

photos@islandparent.ca

or submit through

Instagram or Facebook.

2 Island Parent Magazine

Photo: @islandadventures13

IslandParent.ca

(Sarah Rose)


Sign up for a

GRAND Digital Subscription

and you could win a selection of

children’s books sent to your grandchild

every month (3-month subscription)

courtesy of Marmalade Books.

Photo: Lori Ball

Every month they will receive recently published

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been curated by a trusted children’s bookseller.

Marmalade Books is a monthly book subscription

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Subscribe now at

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Photo: @saydann (Sayra DD)

IslandParent.ca

February/March 2021 3


FEB/MAR 2021

Vancouver Island’s Parenting Resource for 33 Years

TABLEOFCONTENTS

Features

10

Special Needs Families

& the Pandemic

Six struggles special needs families

face during the pandemic.

YVONNE BLOMER

14

20 Things Parents of Kids

with Special Needs

Should Hear

Bring a parent is hard. Being a

parent to a child with extra needs

is extra hard. Here’s how to help.

DR. DARLA CLAYTON

In Every Issue

5

Fast Forward

SUE FAST

6

Need to Know

20

Moms’ POV

SARAH SEITZ

22

Dadspeak

BUD RIDOUT

24

Kids’ Reads

CHRISTINE VAN STARKENBURG

18

Kid-friendly Favourites

in Tofino

From beachcombing and

surfing to sea kayaking and

whale watching—and

everything in between.

28

The Saving ‘Grace’

of the Redo

When tomorrow can’t

come soon enough.

KELLY MCQUILLAN

26

What’s for Dinner

EMILLIE PARRISH

28

Businesses You

Need to Know

30

Family Calendar

32

Nature Notes

KALENE LILLICO

34

Happy Families,

Healthy Families

ARELI HERMANSON

36

Preschool &

Child Care Directory

38

Cut It Out!

ALLISON REES

On the

Cover

Alexander R (4),

Ayana B (1) & Sophia R (8)

Photo by Katrina Rain

IG:

@katrinarainphotography

FB:

@KatrinaRainPhotography

Special

Needs Issue

Kid-friendly

Favourites

in Tofino

20 Things

Parents of kids with

special needs should hear

From Stylist to Fashion Police

What to do when kids decide what to wear

Jim Schneider Publisher publisher@islandparent.ca

Sue Fast Editor editor@islandparent.ca

Kristine Wickheim Account Manager kristine@islandparent.ca

RaeLeigh Buchanan Account Manager raeleigh@islandparent.ca

Island Parent Magazine, published by Island Parent Group Enterprises Ltd., is a

bimonthly publication that honours and supports parents by providing information on

resources and businesses for Vancouver Island families. Views expressed are not

necessarily those of the publisher. No material herein may be reproduced without

the permission of the publisher. Island Parent is distributed free in selected areas.

Annual mail subscriptions (7 issues) are available for $21 (GST included).

Canadian Publication Mail Product Sales Agreement 40051398. ISSN 0838-5505.

Island Parent Magazine

250-388-6905 islandparent.ca

518 Caselton Place, Victoria, BC V8Z 7Y5

A proud member of

BC

4 Island Parent Magazine IslandParent.ca


FASTFORWARD

The Superhero Parents

of Kids with Special Needs

Most parents have felt the kind of exhaustion that won’t go

away with a little “self-care”—a manicure, hot bath or massage—or

a good night’s sleep or two. But if you’re a parent

of a child with special needs, that exhaustion can be relentless.

“When parenting a child with special needs, there are no vacation

days of off-switches,” writes Jenn Jones at Scary Mommy. “Raising

my child, who has half-a-dozen diagnoses, requires constant attention,

awareness, energy, flexibility, dedication, and patience.”

As children with special needs get older, their needs evolve, and

their parents must evolve, too.

“When I climb into bed at night, I both thank God that I get to

be my child’s mother, but I also recognize the epic depletion.” While

there’s “freedom in speaking your parental truth,” says Jones, doing

so comes with a cost: judgement and inappropriate responses—even if

those responses are well-intended.

What you need is…

While taking a vacation or even a catnap might sound like reasonable

solutions, they are often impossibilities for parents of kids with

special needs. First there’s the challenge of finding childcare.

“If I’m not caring for my child, who will be?” asks Jones. “I’m

pretty sure it won’t be the person who flippantly tells me to just chill

out with a fruity drink, poolside, in a tropical location a few thousand

miles from home.”

Not only do parents of kids with special needs have to work “every

moment of every single day” for their children, she says, but they also

have to fight stereotypes and combat judgements.

“Why don’t we just discipline our kids more or better? Have we

tried essential oils, supplements, chiropractic care, prescription medications,

therapy, a special diet? Perhaps we just need to put out more

positive vibes into the universe or pray harder, asking God to heal our

children?”

Jones says if parents of kids with special needs could “just whisper

a prayer, rub a little oil on our kid’s wrist, or avoid sugary foods

forever, resulting in our child being healed, we would do it in a heartbeat.”

But that’s not how special needs works.

“And frankly, defending our parenting to all the know-it-alls out

there is only further exhausting us,” she adds. “We don’t need advice,

pity, or criticism. We just need support.”

To that end, this issue features Yvonne Blomer’s “Special Needs

Families & the Pandemic,” outlining six of the struggles that special

needs families have faced since the start of the pandemic. Also featured

is Dr. Darla Clayton’s “20 Things Parents of Special Needs Should Hear.”

“I need a lot more ‘go, Mama’ cheers,” says Jones, “and a lot less

of the outside-looking-in criticism.”

Here’s to helping each other out and being part of the cheering

section.

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IslandParent.ca

February/March 2021 5


NEEDTOKNOW

I Read Canadian

I Read Canadian Day, on February 17, is a national celebration of Canadian

books for young people. The goal of I Read Canadian Day is for

children nationwide to read a Canadian book for 15 minutes on February

17. On Saturday, February 13, events will be held at bookstores all across

Canada with creators taking part in readings and signings. The social

media campaign, #IReadCanadian, is on I Read Canadian’s Twitter and

Instagram accounts. Register your class, library or home to participate

today at the official website. Key activities will take place February 13

to February 21, with February 17 as the official I Read Canadian Day. On

that day at 9am, a series of videos called I Write Canadian will premiere

on the CCBC’s YouTube channel, Bibliovideo. Presentations from an

amazing roster of authors and illustrators will be featured to celebrate

I Read Canadian. Visit ireadcanadian.com.

Have a Heart Day

February 14 is Have a Heart Day, a child

and youth-led reconciliation event that

brings together caring Canadians to help

ensure First Nations children have the

opportunity to grow up safely at home,

get a good education, be healthy, and

be proud of who they are. Even if we

can’t gather as we usually do, we can

still celebrate the spirit of Have a Heart

Day and stand up for love and fairness.

Here are some ideas from First Nations

Child and Family Caring Society

(FNCFCS), fncaringsociety.com/havea-heart,

are some ideas:

Spread the word and post photos of

your Have a Heart Day letter, cookies, or

however you choose to celebrate on social

media. Use the hashtag #HaveaHeartDay

and/or #JourneeAyezUnCoeur.

Complete a Snow Bears Activity or

make some Have a heart Day cookies with

your class, group, or family. Find Spirit

Bear’s Bearcipe cards in the resources on

the FNCFCS website.

Host an online Valentine’s Day party

to raise awareness in your school or

community.

Reconciliation is all of us. Read this

information sheet for ways you can

help make a difference. For more ideas,

recipes, posters and activities, visit

fncaringsociety.com/have-a-heart.

Campbell River

Photo Collection

Itching to get your camera out? Then this collection

is for you. See some of the most photogenic locations

and experiences across Campbell River for you

to explore and document. This curated collection will

leave you with a camera full of precious memories

from scenic lookouts to public art to beautifullyplated

food. Rediscover the Campbell River we love

and how to do it safely. Explore with confidence

and claim your rewards. Download the app at

crivercollection.com/#.

6 Island Parent Magazine IslandParent.ca


The Family

Care Kit

To help support families, The Calmversation

Learning Foundation has

released a Family Care Kit full of activities,

games and discussion prompts

to help parents and caregivers truly

connect with their kids and keep them

engaged and thriving. Based on community

feedback, the Family Care Kit

is centered around five core themes:

Ideas and Inspiration, Communication,

Emotions, Learning, and Problem

Solving. Activities in the downloadable

workbook are meant to bring families

closer together, help kids manage and

understand emotions, and empower

them to share ideas, thoughts and feelings.

Some of the activities include picture

journaling, planning and preparing

meals, making the everyday neighbourhood

walk an adventure, crossword

puzzles and wordsearches, family trivia

nights, riddles and problem solvers, as

well as questions to ask at the dinner

table, during the bedtime routine, or

when out for a walk to help parents

and caregivers connect with their kids.

Funded by the Canadian Red Cross and

the Government of Canada, the Family

Care Kit is available at no cost and

can be downloaded in one easy step at

calmversation.org.

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IslandParent.ca

February/March 2021 7


Keeping Kids Cozy

The Meaning of Home

Over the past year, our homes have transformed into offices,

schools and, for the lucky few, places of refuge. This

year more than ever, Habitat for Humanity Victoria wants to

know, what does home mean to you? The annual Meaning of

Home writing contest that encourages students in grades 4,

5 and 6 to share what home means to them through a poem

or short essay is back and open for submissions at meaningofhome.ca.

The contest runs from January 4 to February

19, and awards more than $180,000 in grants through grand

prize winners from each grade, along with nine runners-up.

Last year, Nathan Papps of Glenlyon Norfolk School in Victoria

won a $30,000 grant which went towards Habitat Victoria’s

active build project in North Saanich. His poem, “Where

the Heart Lives,” tells us how a family transforms a house in

to a home. Visit habitat.ca.

Hillside Centre is accepting new or gently

worn winter coats for children and teens in need.

The Drop-Off bin is located across from

Guest Services. Thank you for your support.

Coat collection ends March 30.

Hillside Centre is also raising revenue for

Coats for Kids. When you colour and return the

colouring sheet, available at Guest Services, Hillside

Mall will donate a $1 to Coats for Kids (Max. $1,000).

hillsidecentre.com/coats-for-kids-2

Have a Whale of a Time

Throughout the coastal towns of Tofino and Ucluelet and around the Pacific Rim

National Park Reserve, it’s an all-out celebration of life on the coast. It’s about

grey whales and marine life education, inspirational talks and interpretive walks,

children’s fun for the small and culinary events for the tall, First Nations cultural

workshops and more. Come and experience a coastal tradition. Planning is

underway for the 2021 Pacific Rim Whale Festival that will work within the

COVID-19 directives laid down by BC Health. Tentative dates are March 15–21.

For updates on events, visit pacificrimwhalefestival.com.

8 Island Parent Magazine IslandParent.ca


5 Family Day

Field Trips

The following Vancouver Island attractions are all open for business and make for a fun Family Day Field Trip:

1. North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre. Visit the Eco-Centre, Museum of Nature and the Treatment Centre and Nursery,

among other highlights. Open daily from 9am-4:30pm. Masks required when indoors, except for children under two

years old. niwra.org

2. Royal BC Museum. Take part in RBCM’s Family Day Webinar: Animal Portraits for Kids on Feb 15 from 11-11:30am and

learn about the diversity of creatures, big and small, that live in diverse family structures. To register, visit royalbcmuseum.

bc.ca.

3. Mt. Washington. Try the “plan ahead, buy online, wear a mask, be kind” option that allows skiers and tubers to buy

tickets before they arrive. Tackle the slopes or the tube park, all while staying apart and outdoors. mountwashington.ca.

4. Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea is “o-fishally” open 10am–4:30pm. Download scavenger hunt and activity sheets

and explore the Centre and Salish Sea. salishseacentre.org

5. Courtenay and District Museum and Palaeontology Centre. Explore the museum’s natural history galleries and

delve into the elasmosaur discovery, how ammonites got their shape and name, and mysteries of the rat fish, among

other things. Visit courtenaymuseum.ca.

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IslandParent.ca

February/March 2021 9


Special Needs Families

& the Pandemic

he pandemic is taking a brutal toll on children and

“T youth with special needs and their families,” according

to a new report by BC’s representative for children and youth.

Let’s admit it, it’s been a tough haul these last several

months. In one corner, parents protest the opening of schools,

in another they are protesting the closing of them. Goodbye

hugs, hello masks. I still clearly remember my son’s last day of

school before spring break last March. Truth be told, I pulled

him a day early. Colwyn has Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS)

and Autism. He’s shy and curious and he licks things. Before

the shut down last March, Colwyn wore gloves and a mask. In

fact, he’s been wearing both at school since September of 2019

to help curb his licking.

All families have struggled to balance work, social life,

school and safety. We try to understand why schools have different

rules than other workplaces, and what activities to let

our kids do while ensuring their safety, along with the trick of

fostering emotional development with no peer contact.

It has been hard for all of us. But it’s especially hard for families

with neurodiverse kids.

Here are six of the struggles special needs families are facing

during the pandemic. These findings are based on my conversations

with parents of kids with special needs including the

autism spectrum, ADHD, Prader-Willi Syndrome, and a rare

condition called 16p11.2 microdeletion. None of the kids have

complex medical needs but are neurodiverse in how they process,

learn and live. Families whose children also have complex

medical needs are having to be that much more careful, and the

stresses on them are that much higher.

1. Change is hard.

Neurodiversity often makes it so hard to adjust to sudden

changes that kids move rapidly toward either shutting down or

self-harm. With change comes anxiety and with anxiety comes

a range of behaviours.

Last spring, at the start of the pandemic, we had to increase

my son’s anxiety meds and give him extra time to process situations

and changes. We also began writing down the plan for the

day and doing countdowns, and number of sleeps until something

expected would happen. Sometimes, those plans were

changed because of Covid safety plans. Two hard losses were

not being able to see family and friends, and not being able to

visit playgrounds. To see the swings at the park, and the yellow

tape around them, and to try to understand that the “big cold

everyone has” was keeping him off them.

10 Island Parent Magazine IslandParent.ca


One mom I spoke with whose son has ADHD said her son

had a “mini breakdown” during each lockdown. “He just slept

all the time for the first week…said he was going to sleep until

it was over.”

After days of yelling and talking and trying to verbally figure

out the changes, he would suddenly switch to grudging acceptance,

“like snapping your fingers.

“It’s like it took a week or two to go through the thought

processes that I did in a few seconds—‘Oh shoot! That’s bad. I

hate this, but we do this now.’”

2. Zoom (etc) isn’t engaging for neurodiverse

kids and they lose their sense of independence.

I’d argue that many typical kids—and adults—find Zoom

and other online platforms a bit foreign and strange. For special

needs kids, it’s even worse. There is no interaction, and

these kids live for hands-on learning.

Colwyn’s Education Assistant (EA) did a lot of home Zoom

sessions with us, but for Colwyn to respond to her, I needed to

be there supporting him. He did and still does piano on Zoom,

which is fabulous, but I used to sit outside the classroom. Now

I’m helping him play the notes, making sure he listens to the

teacher and engages with her. I redirect, encourage, and keep

him on track. Often he’s looking at me instead of at his teacher.

When they move from playing the piano to singing songs,

I’m behind the iPad, dancing, mouthing the words, doing the

actions—often with a stuffed Garfield on my head—it’s an

aerobic workout.

I’m happy to help but I’m also aware that it’s another thing

he needs me for. It’s not moving my son toward any sense of

independence.

Colwyn’s friend, Trinity, has a rare genetic duplication called

16p11.2. Though verbal, she needs time to articulate her

thoughts.

“By the time it’s Trinity turn to talk on a Zoom meet, she’s

almost too frustrated and in tears,” says her mom Carol

Geisler.

Colwyn will happily do music lessons on Zoom with me

helping him, but classroom chats last spring were basically a no

go.

The key to all of this, too, is that not all families have access

to all that essential technology.

While it has been great to be able to talk to doctors on the

phone or via medical online links, but a big concern for many

families is “no one is putting eyes on their kids.” Colwyn needed

blood work (as did I) and that was a scary venture into the

hospital last April and again in November. He will need to start

IslandParent.ca

February/March 2021 11


puberty and because of his PWS will need some help, so we’ve

had complicated phone, online and hospital visit appointments

all of which have resulted in needing to see his specialist when

she’s in town so she can actually see him herself. All our medical

professionals have been amazing, my son is utterly awesome,

but it sure is imperfect and he has no life-threatening

issues.

3. Loss of Community and engagement

Colwyn is mostly with his dad and me when he’s not in

school. There is funding for camps and support for families

with special needs, but Colwyn is a kid who requires one-toone

support, so he has both been turned away from group

activities and we have elected to not send him to camps for the

past 11 months.

Many kids his age can go to soccer practice or other sports

and be safe. Colwyn and his peers can’t. Trinity was scheduled

to attend Easter Seals Camp last summer, but it was cancelled.

“They delivered a box of resources…crafts and recipes and

Trinity was looking for the recipes just recently saying, ‘I want

to do SOMETHING.’” Geisler and her husband have elected to

keep both kids home and homeschool because of Trinity has a

history of respiratory illness. Specialists for speech, occupational

therapy and physical therapy have moved online, too. Kids

who need assessments are delayed even more than usual.

4. Homeschooling is HARD

Trinity’s family is having a really hard time navigating homeschooling

and she is one of those kids with special needs who

falls through the cracks.

“She’s always in the margins, her diagnosis is rare enough

that most doctors don’t know what it is.” says her mom. Trinity

displays autism traits, but not enough to meet the criteria.

“So, we don’t get extra funding or support other than what

is offered through her Individualized Education Plan (IEP) at

school. Now she’s not in school, we’re on our own.”

If Geisler’s son attended school, the risk of him bringing

something home led to her keeping both kids home.

“Elli is more vocal about how unhappy he is,” she says.

“Trinity is more silent, but she spends a lot of time home alone,

can’t go anywhere, and there isn’t a lot available, so she’s doing

a lot of crafts.”

Though most families with neurodiverse kids have probably

already shaped their lives around their kids’ needs, the loss of

school and outside support adds an immense strain.

5. Inclusion is out the window.

Teens are programmed for socializing, so it makes that at 14

Trinity is really missing her friends. Colwyn is at school every

day, but in so small a cohort, he no longer mixes with the typical

kids in the school. Inclusion is out the window. Though I’m

relieved that his cohort is only six kids plus EAs and a teacher,

Colwyn remembers being a part of the larger school and misses

those interactions and the classes that he once attended in aca-

12 Island Parent Magazine IslandParent.ca


demic subjects. Silas, a friend of Colwyn’s with PWS in Vancouver,

is also in a small, special needs cohort in school.

“I think as a special needs parent you are constantly scanning

the environment for threats like some robot in a movie,

which can feel a bit crazy. Are we worried about his exposure

in school? Yes. Special needs kids are not as aware of their bodies

in space, and ahem, sometimes personal hygiene,” says Silas’

mom, Heather Beach. “I’m worried about his lack of interaction

with anyone else in the school, his inability to find any new

peers or feel a part of the school community.”

And, like Cowlyn’s school program, the lessons are simplified.

“He is not getting exposure to any subjects other than math,

science, English, social studies and art. It’s basic. “There are a

lot of life skills programs, which Silas is beyond,” she adds.

Having a special needs child doesn’t exempt you from all the

other things life throws at you.

Our family is lucky, but I have Type 1 diabetes and an

81-year-old dad who we haven’t seen since school started in

September.

Many families have other kids, so do those kids have to miss

seeing friends to protect the entire family? Yes. Parents get sick.

Carol, Trinity’s mom, had thyroid issues in the fall so had to

take some leave from work. It enabled her to homeschool, but

also put other stressors on the family.

Some families are parented by single moms or single dads

who must work from home while being the primary or only

caregiver to their neurodiverse child.

Our kids don’t work well on their own, for the most part,

they need help in doing schoolwork, maybe toileting, eating (or

limiting eating) and in engaging with what resources are available.

Behaviours flair with the added stress and anxiety, some

kids pull pictures off the walls, some kids skin pick to infection,

some sleep all day. Teen suicide is on the rise as well.

On the positive side, Colwyn struggled early on with all of

the changes, but the frustration led to more speech. He’s been

a relatively nonverbal kid, but started saying names, and songs

titles, and expanding his words from partial to more full pronunciations.

Over the last 11 or so months, he has begun to

really talk. Mostly about people he wants to see, or places, but

he also read a book to a cousin over Zoom.

Last spring every time we were in the car he’d say something

that to us sounded like “Uncle Phil” His cousin, when she was

here, thought he was saying “Agatha” but we finally figured it

out—Island View! And so began our frequent walks at Island

View Beach.

Slowing down between March and June and then throughout

the summer meant Colwyn could catch up mentally with things

he’d been learning and working on his whole life and begin to

talk!

For more information and to view the report, Left Out:

Children and Youth with Special Needs in the Pandemic, visit

rcybc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/CYSN_Report.pdf

Yvonne Blomer is a Victoria writer and the

past Poet Laureate of Victoria. Her most recent

books are Sugar Ride: Cycling from Hanoi to

Kuala Lumpur and Refugium: Poems for the

Pacific. yvonneblomer.com.

IslandParent.ca

February/March 2021 13


20 Things Parents of Kids with

Special Needs Should Hear

1. You are not alone.

There may not be anyone else with the same constellation

of symptoms as your child but there are people with similar

challenges. Find those people. I have never met anyone with

all of these same challenges as my kid but I have a strong network

within each separate diagnosis. We have made wonderful

friends and have found—and I hope provided—a great deal of

support within each of these. I just have to pop onto one of my

Facebook groups and I’m immediately reminded, I’m not alone.

2. You too deserve to be cared for.

We are placed in a position of caring for others nearly constantly.

However, you still need and deserve to be cared for.

That entails asking friends or family to bring a meal by every

now and then, or going for a pedicure, or a date night, or whatever

else you enjoy doing. Whatever makes you feel special and

taken care of, take the time to enjoy it, you are worth it.

3. You aren’t perfect—and that’s ok!

No one is perfect. We all make mistakes. We can wallow in

our goof-ups or move on! Try to shift your thinking, maybe

there was a good reason you missed that appointment, that

you were sure was on Tuesday but apparently was on Monday.

Maybe your kiddo had a tough day at school and just needed

the night off. Who knows? But beating yourself up isn’t going

to change the situation, so try to move on.

4. You are a superhero.

You may not leap buildings in a single bound or run faster

than a speeding bullet but you are a superhero none the less.

Everyday, you manage situations that a regular parent would

think are impossible. You stretch tight muscles, remember pills,

inject and infuse medicine. You hold hysterical children during

horrendous medical procedures. You deal with tantrums and

melt downs. And most often manage not to have a tantrum

or melt down yourself. You encourage your child to do things

doctors told you they would never do but you never gave up

hope. You are a therapist, nurse, doctor, friend and confidante.

You are no regular parent.

5. Therapy is play.

Having sat in on several therapy sessions, I have been frustrated

by what I thought was premature discharge from therapy

on more than one occasion. Since then, I have grown, I have

learned and I have come to understand. For children, therapy is

play and play is therapy. What I mean is that the best therapists

find ways to make my son engage in challenging activities that

he otherwise would have balked at, by making it a game that

14 Island Parent Magazine IslandParent.ca


he wanted to play. We took a page from their book and did the

same at home.

6. Play is therapy.

Yes, this is different from number five. After discharge from

therapy, we sought extra curricular activities for my son that

would offer therapeutic benefits. He played sled hockey, runs

on a track team, learned to shoot archery and takes swim lessons.

All of this is therapy. He’s learning, having fun and getting

stronger. Win, win and win.

7. Make time to enjoy your kids.

We super parents tend to be fairly busy and often over scheduled.

However, while everything on your calendar is important,

it’s also important to make time to play, laugh, be silly and just

enjoy your kids. Read to them, snuggle with them, engage with

them with what’s important in their worlds. Make memories

outside of hospital walls.

8. You will be obligated to make heart-wrenching

decisions.

You will have to make painful decisions that hurt your heart

and leave you questioning everything you thought you knew

or understood. Know that you are doing your best, remember

number three. I am guilty of agonizing over these types of decisions,

they can become really overwhelming to me. Talk about

your conundrum with others who get it and trust yourself to

make the best decision. Make it move on and once it’s made

don’t rethink it. Easier said than done, but worth a try.

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14. Keep your sense of humour.

Certain things get under my skin, we all have our buzz issues.

But if you’re not careful, you can become overly sensitive to so

many things that people start to avoid your company. Try to

remember that people are not trying to offend or upset you.

15. Celebrate the little things.

Brag about those accomplishments that might seem small to

others but are huge for our kids. Our kids develop on their own

clock, they learn many skills late and some they never master.

A wiggled toe that couldn’t wiggle before, a word, a sentence,

a smile, a hug, whatever that milestone may be, share it with

those who love you and your child.

9. You won’t always get it right.

Many of the choices you are forced to make have no right

answer, just the lesser of the hard and painful wrong choices.

You will do your best but you won’t always get it right no matter

how many sleepless nights you spend agonizing over how to

handle a situation.

10. Forgive yourself.

Yes, you will screw things up sometimes despite the very best

of intentions. No amount of torturing yourself will make you

feel better, nor will it help you to make better choices. Remember

many of the toughest decisions have no right answer.

11. Being a parent is hard. Being a parent to a

child with extra needs is extra hard.

It can also be extra rewarding. Make us extra passionate.

And will almost always make life extra interesting. With the

challenges come the rewards. Sometimes you have to search

your heart for the rewards but they are there if you look for

them.

12. Parenting a child with extra needs is like a

marathon.

For those folks who are trying to win a marathon, there are

no breaks. If you want to stay in the race, you eat, drink and

even pee while running. But our marathon will go on for the

foreseeable future and beyond. So remember, you don’t need to

win, just make it to the end. The guy who comes in last place in

the marathon, he took breaks, he stood and drank some water,

grabbed a quick bite and used the porta-john for his business,

then got back on the road. Give yourself those moments—however

brief—that are for yourself. You might even get to pee in

peace every now and then.

16. Don’t let typical parents get you down.

I know how hard it is to hear from parents that their child

six months younger than yours is walking and yours isn’t. Or

dealing with the well meaning stranger who asks why your

2-year-old is scooting around on their butt rather than being

up on their feet. Try to remember that these people lack the

context that we are constantly embedded in. Explain, teach, be

patient, raise awareness among those who just don’t get it. And

remember, typical parents deserve the right to brag, too, and

their pride at their child’s accomplishments is not meant as a

knock to your amazing kiddo.

17. Don’t compare.

This is another challenging one folks, but worth the work.

All kids are different, typical, or with extra challenges and they

will grow and develop at their own pace. If a developmental

milestone isn’t met as you think it should be, certainly talk to

your child’s doctor. Comparing, siblings, cousins, kids in the

daycare class, or even comparing kids within the same disability

type rarely serves to make you feel better. Your child is

unique, and will have their own individual strengths and challenges.

18. You don’t have to be “THAT” parent.

You know the one who clearly spent 10 hours creating the

amazing snack shaped like an animal with licorice whiskers.

13. Don’t lose yourself.

Don’t let being the parent of a special needs child create

or reshape your identity. We are many things, being the parent

to a child with special needs is part of our identity. But it

shouldn’t be all of our identity. When you focus all of your life,

all of your contacts, all of yourself around your child and their

needs, who you are can get lost. Find things in your life you

enjoy doing, a glass of wine, a hobby, shopping for yourself.

16 Island Parent Magazine IslandParent.ca


The one who sends adorable treat bags

for every holiday. The one who finds the

coolest gifts for the teachers every year.

And whose child is always dressed in the

cutest outfits that somehow never get

dirty. If that’s the mom you are led to

be, more power to you! However, I have

found that there are always enough of

those moms in my kid’s classes to keep

them in cute snacks and treat bags. Since

I have bigger fish to fry, I let them have

all the glory!

19. Make time for your relationship.

Relationships are hard work, period.

Parenting is hard work, period. Parenting

a child with special needs, is especially

hard work, period. For those of you who

are married or in a relationship, make

time for that relationship away from

your children.

20. Trust your instincts.

You know your children best. Doctors,

teachers, therapists are all fantastic

resources but if you don’t feel like you’re

being heard, or your child’s needs are

being met, it’s reasonable to get a second

opinion. Don’t be afraid to fight for your

child and their needs. While the professionals

are experts in their areas, you are

the expert on your child.

Dr. Darla Clayton, PsyD, The Mobility

Resource, writes from the perspective of a mom

in the midst of raising a child with special needs

and one without. For more information, visit

abilities.com/community.

IslandParent.ca

February/March 2021 17


Kid-friendly

Favourites

in Tofino

Tofino is an awesome place to be

a kid. There’s just so much fun to

be had while exploring in and around

Tofino. Check out this list of favourites

to do with young explorers on your

family vacation.

• Take a boat ride to Meares Island

and walk through the Big Tree Trail.

• Attend a Parks Canada presentation

at Green Point Campground Theatre,

also in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

Check for updates at pc.gc.ca/.

• Roast wieners and marshmallows,

build sandcastles, fly a kite. All to be

done at the beach.

• Rent boogie boards and wetsuits to

hit the waves, or visit Tofino’s Skatepark

(Tuff City Skate Park).

• Take the family sea kayaking with a

guide.

• Head to the Raincoast Education

Society, located in The Ecolodge at the

Tofino Botanical Gardens, to find fun

outdoor education activities. raincoasteducationsociety.org

• While at the unconventional Tofino

Botanical Gardens, explore the Children’s

Garden and art installations that

make a statement. westcoastnest.org

• Observe Tidal Pools at Chesterman

Beach or MacKenzie Beach (low tide

required).

• Visit the nautical-themed playground

at the Village Green, between Second

and Third Streets on Campbell Street.

IslandParent.ca


• Find great children’s books, many of

them written in British Columbia, at

local bookstores and gift shops.

• Go for a round of miniature golf at

the Long Beach Golf Course.

• Visit the Tuff City Bike Park, located

up Arnet Road by the Community

Centre.

• Walk down to the Fourth Street Dock

to witness a working dock in action

with commercial and sport fishing

boats, and whale/bear watching vessels.

Please be sure to supervise children

here.

• Put on your raingear and boots and

head to the beach, if you’re there at

low tide, take a look in the tidal pools

for an array of creatures.

• Build a sandcastle and decorate it,

use mussel shells for shovels.

• Take a family bike ride—along the

beach or the MUP (multi-use path).

• Skip rocks on the inlet.

• Go on a Family Fishing Excursion

with Ocean Outfitters.

• Travelling to Tofino during

COVID-19, please review the

information at tourismtofino.com.

For more ideas and information about Tofino,

visit tourismtofino.com.

IslandParent.ca

February/March 2021 19


MOM’SPOV

From Stylist to Fashion Police

What happens when kids decide what to wear

I

like to think that my daughter’s stylish peak occurred

sometime between birth and Kindergarten. It’s no coincidence

that during this time period I had total control of

her clothing. After that, I was fired as her stylist and became

the fashion police.

When she was a baby, I had fun dressing her up. I bought

her cute onesies and baby tights with tutus built-in. I dressed

her in mini jean jackets over summer dresses with tiny

leather sandals to match. I drew the line at those large headbands

people put on their babies to identify them as girls, but

I wasn’t above other fashion trends. In those early years, she

was more stylish than me. I was living in sweats with greasy

hair due to lack of sleep and abysmal self care.

Eventually my daughter started to have opinions about how

she was dressed. Initially she objected to certain fabrics. Denim

was “too tight” despite how adorable

she looked in skinny jeans. She

shunned practical, comfortable

cotton for the stifling,

unbreathable rayon of the

dress-up clothes.

And while she was rejecting

her sophisticated

wardrobe—curated by

me—her own personal

style started to emerge:

Tacky Tourist meets

Chrissy from Three’s

Company. She was

drawn to patterns, bold

colours, layers and accessories.

There was never a

time when she looked at

herself in the mirror and

asked, “Is this too much?”

Her personal hygiene also

deteriorated. Brushing her fine

hair became a painful exercise.

One day I said she needed to

brush her hair because it looked

messy and she replied, “Mom,

messy is just me.” Her entire look

had gone from polished to hot mess.

My stylish best friend has a

daughter a year older than mine.

I loved getting her hand-medowns

knowing that I would be

passing this fabulously dressed

duo’s wonderful sense of style on

to my own daughter. But when my

daughter put on the same clothes, they

looked all wrong. She layered patterns

over patterns over patterns. Her peculiar

take on fashion was undeniable.

I discussed my bewilderment with friends

one day when they pointed out that as the

only one purchasing clothes for my daughter,

I was her only access to clothing. They suggested

I stop taking her shopping and toss out

20 Island Parent Magazine IslandParent.ca


whatever I didn’t like. So I covertly weeded out the neon and

bedazzled items from her closet. I bought only basics—no

more patterns, faux fur or sequins. It didn’t work. My daughter

found a work-around: shopping in the costume play bin

and even items from her brother’s closet to accessorize her

bland wardrobe.

I realized that refining my daughter’s taste was hopeless. I

decided to take my friend’s advice and create a clear boundary:

kids get creative control over their clothing and parents

get to decide what’s appropriate. I silently nodded when my

daughter asked if I liked what she was wearing (neon shorts

over jeans). But when she asked if I would buy her fishnet

stockings, I did a mental scan of my jurisdiction and responded

with a hard “no.”

This division of control should have made the clothing

struggles easier, but it didn’t feel that way. The real issue

began to emerge: I had an opinion of what I thought looked

best and I wanted her to wear that. My daughter also had an

opinion and she wanted to wear that. She was dressing age

appropriate, it was just quirky.

While I bemoaned my daughter’s style, I also admired her

whimsy and confidence. One morning after she assembled yet

another puzzling outfit, I watched her admire herself in the

mirror. It was the same look I had seen on my step-mother’s

face a few years earlier when we were getting ready together

in her bathroom. After my step-mom put the final touches

on her makeup she stepped back from the mirror and said,

“Wow, I am gorgeous.”

Time stood still for me in that moment. I was a teenager

again, hustling to feel pretty and accepted. Just like my birth

mother, I was beautiful but struggled to know my worth. I

wished that both my birth mother and I had loved ourselves

as boldly and confidently as my step-mother loved herself.

Now, as my daughter admired herself in the mirror that

morning, I recognized that same confidence. Her style was

not polished or trendy, but I could see that her capacity for

self-love and self-acceptance was greater than I had ever

known. And while being able to properly mix colours and

patterns is a valuable skill to learn, the more important lessons

were ones that I didn’t need to teach. They were already

inside of my daughter: Be yourself. Love who you are. Wear

what makes you feel good. Don’t care what other people

think.

Most days now, when my daughter appears in front of me

ready for school and ask how she looks, I ask her what she

thinks. She doesn’t need me policing her style. Looking and

feeling good for her means using fashion for personal expression

and creativity. In that sense, she may be more refined

than me.

Sarah Seitz is a working mother, writer

and consumer of coffee and books—in that

order. She writes about the messy and real

parts of parenting and reveals her underbelly

in her words. You can read more of

Sarah’s writing at sarahseitz.ca.

IslandParent.ca

February/March 2021 21


BYTE CAMP

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A Goody Two-shoes’

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I

can’t trace why, but I’ve never been

much of a swearyface.

Where many teens or twentysomethings,

already educated in expletives,

escalated to coffee (or stronger stuff)

during the crunch of post-secondary

education, that’s when I began swearing.

This comes in especially helpful

around youngins and the public (he

says, as a media guy, like he’s not also

part of “the public”), as soapymouth is

my default state.

I’ve heard many a horror story of toddlers

learning to swear like proverbial

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Even then, though, it was more of an

unintentional outburst when things got

really crazy. These days, I let the odd

profanity fly around friends, but mostly

keep it cuss-free on the reg.

sailors because they heard it from their

parents, and continuing to employ them

in their regular vocabulary due to the

reaction they get.

22 Island Parent Magazine IslandParent.ca


I’ve also seen many a video of said youthful obscenities,

because it’s tough to not get caught on someone’s phone these

days.

Let’s face it. Kidlets are going to swear, eventually. Be it

something they pick up from family, friends, strangers, media,

or the internet, it’s gonna happen, especially approaching the

’tween and teen phase. And I’m equal to that.

But, for my part (the part of a prude), I’d prefer that my

little’s source for foul language not be me. And not from a

deluded sense of superiority over others. It’s just that that’s

not how I carry myself day-to-day.

Plus…it’s been a lifelong amusement to find alternatives to

common expletives.

If it’ll help, I’ll share some of them with you here.

The granddaddy of all cusses, the proverbial F-bomb, is

most commonly replaced in my lexicon by the word “frick.”

Use it in a sentence, you ask? Why, of course! *ahem*

“Good crikey frick!”

Other uses include, “frick off,” “what the frick?” and the

ever-popular, “frickity frickin’ frick frack.”

Depending on how interested your little ones are in Star

Wars, a solid alternative might be “Good Babu Frik!” but

don’t blame me if you get serious eye rolls for that.

My second favourite not-swear is the S-word, most commonly

associated with, um, poop.

With all thanks to Germany, I exclaim “Scheiße!” (pronounced

SHY-zuh) on a regular basis to express frustration.

If something is an “S-word show,” it comes out of my

mouth as a “gong show.”

My parents used to say, “Ah, sugar!” but the cognitive dissonance

of hearing the poop word replaced by the sweet word

was too much for me to employ in my later years.

Even the word “crap” or “crud,” I replace with “crunch,”

thanks to Strong Bad from the Homestar Runner internet cartoons

of the early aughts.

And, because my international inspiration knows no

bounds, my Chinese heritage requires by law that I exclaim,

“Aiya!” as a form of verbal facepalm.

And, while your mileage (kilometerage?) may vary, I’d be

fine and dandy with my 11-year-old using any of these interjections

in place of their more inappropriate originals.

Perhaps I’m overthinking it. Perhaps I’m just an all-around

goody two-shoes (legit; I neither drink nor smoke). Perhaps

I love words (I seriously considered a career as an etymologist)

and love using silly words in place of serious words even

more.

Thankfully, my overthinking, prudish, easily-amused, wordloving

self is much less likely to be posted to the internet for

saying “Oh, crunch!” in front of my child.

Webmeister Bud Ridout is the resident

geek at Victoria radio stations The Zone @

91-3 and 100.3 The Q! He’s also an avid photographer,

root beer connoisseur, voice actor

and Papa. webmeisterBud.com; instagram.

com/webmeisterBud.

IslandParent.ca

February/March 2021 23


KIDS’READS

’Tween Reads

Friendship, belonging and middle school drama

Middle school isn’t always the easiest time. People

change and friends change with them. For those who

feel like they are being left behind, it can be heartbreaking.

But these preteen years can also be a time where kids

discover the strength within them, just like the characters in the

following books.

In The Collected Works of Gretchen Oyster by Cary Fagan

(Penguin, 2019) Hartley Staples is in his final year of middle

school. Things are not going well: his best friend is no longer

Hartley Staples is not the only ’tween to have a friend randomly

decide to abandon them. Delsie has to deal with that too

in Shouting at the Rain by Lynda Mullaly Hunt (Nancy Paulson

Books, 2019). The fact that Brandy dumped her for someone

who loves to mock her, might not have bothered Delsie so

much if her two other friends weren’t spending all of their time

getting ready for Annie. Not to mention the fact that being

dumped by someone she thought cares for her, only reminds

her of someone else who left: her mother.

speaking to him, and more importantly, he can’t concentrate on

anything because his older brother ran away. While he’s trying

to grapple with everything going on in his life, he spots a handmade

postcard signed G.O. Soon, Hartley is spending every

chance he gets looking for all of G.O.’s postcards.

This book, which is told from both Hartley and G.O.’s perspectives,

covers a wide variety of struggles that preteens may face

like bullying, losing friends, and life after the loss of a sibling in

an honest and relatable way. The Collected Works also shows

tweens what they can do to make hard situations better even if

they feel broken. For ages 10 to 14.

Christina Van Starkenburg lives

in Victoria with her husband, their two little

boys and their cat Phillip. Her first children’s

book One Tiny Turtle: A Story You Can Colour

was published recently and quickly rose

to its spot as a #1 new release on Amazon.

While Delsie is struggling to figure out what to do without

Brandy, she meets Ronan—the new kid who comes with a

reputation for trouble. Since they’re both misfits, the two begin

spending more time with each other and as they open up about

their struggles they talk about the difference between anger and

sadness, abandonment and love. For ages 8 to 12.

Clan by Sigmund Brouwer (Tundra, 2020) does not take

place in the present. Young Atlatl and the rest of his clan are

working hard to survive during the ice age. However, Atlatl

who was injured when he was a young child often feels like he’s

more of a burden then a help to his clan. Because of his knee he

can’t hunt with the rest of the men and his cousin mercilessly

mocks him for that.

One day when Atlatl is away from camp he encounters an

orphaned saber-tooth cub and he brings it home with him. This

choice, while accepted by some, ultimately leads to Atlatl’s

banishment. However, before he is able to leave, a giant flood

wipes out most of his clan. With only the saber-tooth cat beside

him, Atlatl decides to go and face the gods so he can try and

save what remains of the people who no longer want him. For

ages 8 to 12.

In Emily Windsnap and the Tides of Time by Liz Kessler

24 Island Parent Magazine IslandParent.ca


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(Candlewick Press, 2020), Emily, a halfmermaid,

is trying to get back into a normal

routine. But, now that she’s home,

Mandy, her best friend on land, won’t

speak to her. In fact, when asked what

she did over the school break, Mandy

pointedly says she had a lot of fun hanging

out with someone else.

So when Emily is given a magic wishing

stone, she decides to make things

right between her and Mandy. But, she

learns very quickly that wishes don’t always

work out the way one thinks they

will. For ages 10 to 14.

The final book is Shout Out for the

Fitzgerald-Trouts by Esta Spalding (Tundra,

2019). Ever since the five siblings

lost the boat they were living in, Kim—

the oldest—has put finding a new one on

the top of her to-do list. Unfortunately,

finding a place to call home doesn’t solve

their problems the way they thought it

would. It actually created a whole lot

more problems. Problems that threaten

to tear these tight-knit siblings apart. If

your children loved a Series of Unfortunate

Events, they will love this book

about the Fitzgerald-Trout siblings. For

ages 8 to 12.

If we’re all stuck at home again this

spring break and your preteens need a

bit of a break from reality, these books

are some pretty great choices. Some are

adventurous. Some are silly. Some have

a more literary feel. But they all feature

preteens who are relatable, real, and going

through some pretty common problems.

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IslandParent.ca

February/March 2021 25


WHAT’SFORDINNER

Naturally Beet-iful

Beets may seem like an uninspiring

vegetable. They are usually found

in the grocery store with their tops

cut off. It’s a slightly different story when

they come from the farmer’s market with

the beautiful red and green leaves still

attached. However, most of us only think

of beets as something you would roast in

the oven.

Beets have a lot more going for them

than that! Here are few reasons beets

should be part of your diet:

1. They are beautiful. The naturally

red colour turns any dish into a bright

pink. Perfect for Valentine’s Day dinner

or a food-colouring-free children’s party.

2. They’re full of vitamins, minerals

and antioxidants

3. Beets are a good source of fibre.

4. They’re heart healthy and help to

lower blood pressure.

Here are three delicious recipes that

all feature beets. Perfect for a Valentine’s

Day dinner or just adding a bit more pink

to your life.

Quick tip: To avoid dying your hands

pink, wear kitchen gloves while chopping,

peeling or grating the beets.

Baba’s Simple Borscht

Prep time 15 minutes;

cook time 30 minutes

This is a simple recipe for a creamy and satisfying

borscht. Instead of providing the bulk of

the flavour, like Polish or Czech borscht, beets

are only one of the vegetables in this soup.

White beans are not traditional, however, they

turn this into a one-pot meal.

1 medium onion

2 carrots

1 beet

1⁄2 small cabbage

1 ⁄4 cup butter

398 ml can of chopped tomatoes

5 cups water

1 1 ⁄2 tsp salt

3 russet potatoes

1 ⁄4 cup whipping cream

4 sprigs fresh dill or 2 Tbsp dried dill

1 can white beans (optional)

1. Finely chop the onions. Grate the carrots

and the beets. Shred the cabbage.

2. Melt the butter in the soup pot over

medium heat. Add onions and fry for about 1

minute before adding the carrots, beets and

cabbage. Continue to fry until the cabbage is

tender.

3. Add the canned tomatoes, water and

salt.

4. Peel and halve the potatoes. Add them

to the soup pot and boil until potatoes are

tender, about 15 minutes.

5. When the potatoes are cooked, use a

slotted spoon to remove them from the soup.

Place the potatoes in a large bowl and mash

with the whipping cream.

6. Stir the mashed potatoes back into the

soup pot, along with the dill. Add the canned

white beans if you want to turn the soup into

a hearty meal.

7. Heat the soup to warm up the beans, but

do not boil.

8. Taste and add more salt if needed.

9. Serve with a slice of crusty bread and

some cheddar cheese.

Bright Pink Risotto

Prep time 5 minutes;

cook time 30 minutes

Risotto is a super simple one-pot meal that

has the mystique of being complicated. Many

recipes require continuous stirring, while the

liquid is slowly added. This isn’t necessary unless

you require perfection. You only need to

stir a few times during the cooking process.

Beets give this risotto a deep pink colour.

I’ve included a small amount of red wine in

the recipe to give it a traditional flavour, however,

it can easily be replaced by more broth.

Also, if you can’t find arborio rice, use any

short-grained rice instead.

4 cloves of garlic

3 beets

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 3 ⁄4 cup arborio rice

1⁄2 cup of red wine

5 1 ⁄2 cups of stock

2 Tbsp butter

1⁄2 tsp salt, to taste

1 1 ⁄2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese

1. Dice the garlic. Peel and chop the beet

into small cubes.

2. Heat the oil on medium in a large pot.

Add the garlic and beets with a pinch of salt.

Fry for 2–3 minutes.

3. Add the rice and cook for another 3 minutes,

stirring occasionally to make sure the

rice is nicely coated in oil.

4. Reduce the heat to low and add in the

red wine. Stir to mix well, then add in all of

the stock.

5. Cover and cook until the rice is soft and

the liquid is absorbed, about 20–30 minutes.

Stir 3–4 times during the cooking process to

prevent any rice from sticking to the bottom

of the pot.

6. When the rice is cooked, remove from

the heat and stir in the butter. Taste it and add

more salt as needed (it will depend on the

saltiness of the stock).

7. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan

cheese and a side salad.

26 Island Parent Magazine IslandParent.ca


Beet Red Velvet Cupcakes

Prep time 10 minutes;

bake time 25 minutes

These red velvet cupcakes get their colour for

the addition of beets! Beets add a rich, earthy

flavour that perfectly compliments the chocolate.

The resulting cupcakes have a texture

similar to that of a carrot cake, with the flavour

of a traditional chocolate cake.

Serve them without frosting for a fun

muffin-like snack or use cream cheese frosting

for a party fun cake.

Wet ingredients:

1 large beet

2 tsp lemon juice

2 large eggs

1⁄2 cup milk

2 Tbsp honey

2 tsp vanilla

1⁄2 cup melted unsalted butter

Dry ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 ⁄2 cup whole wheat flour

2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1⁄2 cup white sugar

1⁄2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line a muffin

tin with liners.

2. Either buy a pre-cooked beet at the grocery

store or boil the beet whole.

3. Finely grate the beet and mix with the

lemon juice. Set aside.

4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together

the eggs, milk, honey, melted butter, and

vanilla.

5. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until

incorporated, being careful not to over mix.

6. Fold in the beets.

7. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin

cups.

8. Bake until golden brown, 22–25 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool in

the tin for 10 minutes before removing.

We are looking for Caregivers

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IslandParent.ca

Emillie Parrish

writes from Victoria and

Saturna Island. She is

the author of the Pacific

Northwest lifestyle blog

BerriesAndBarnacles.com.

Contact Michael Washington, Resource Recruitment | 250.544.1400 |www.niltuo.ca

February/March 2021 27


The Saving ‘Grace’

of the Redo

omorrow is a new day.”

“T My mom has often used these words (memorably

uttered by the irrepressible literary heroine, Anne Shirley)

to placate and comfort me when things get to be too much.

Throughout the gong show of 2020, and still today, I find

myself using these very same words as a mantra—sometimes

hopeful, sometimes desperate. But lately, as I continue to

navigate this new reality of homeschooling, working from

home, and pandemic restrictions with an increasingly headstrong

5-year-old and chronically frayed nerves,“tomorrow”

often doesn’t feel soon enough.

This doesn’t mean that I am wishing the hours away. At

least, not usually, although the countdown until bedtime is

more exciting some days than others. Rather, in this new

pressure-cooker environment it is harder to be responsive

and intentional vs reactive and unhinged, and there are

many, many times when I wish there were an instant reset

button so that I could handle a situation with more kindness

and calm, with less crankiness and exasperation.

These are the days when my parenting falls short of my

ideal. My voice gets a little louder than I’d like (usually

after the kazillionth time of calmly asking for shoes to be

donned, toys to be picked up, or the pets to be left alone).

Or I overlook the warning signs of an impending meltdown

and dig my heels in when I should be softening. Or I catch

myself saying “no” as a reflex, shutting down before I listen.

Parenting is hard. Parenting under additional stress, and

doing it “perfectly,” is impossible.

Like many, I struggle with anxiety, which often appears as

a nagging, chastising voice telling me I am not enough, that

I’m failing, that I’m letting my son down. During his first

several years I let that voice lead me along spirals of catastrophic

thinking and paralyzing panic. Fortunately, thanks

28 Island Parent Magazine IslandParent.ca


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to counseling and help from my doctor, I’m now better at

recognizing the warning signs and take proactive steps to

manage it. I’ve learned that listening to that needling voice

does not serve anyone except for Anxiety itself.

Of course, our extra-ordinary circumstances (at least at

the point of writing this) have not made managing my mental

health any easier, and this pandemic doesn’t seem to be

going away anytime soon. I often find myself drawing on

the power of wisdom which has been shared in many different

ways by others, essentially: you can’t always control

your circumstances, but you can control your perspective,

which in turn can influence your response.

Stress piles up and spills over. It happens to the calmest

parents. Anxiety or not, beating ourselves up every time we

get testy is not helpful and can lead to more of the same

reaction.

So, here is what is helping right now:

Even though there is no such thing as an actual reset

button, I’m getting better at stopping, breathing, and giving

myself (and my son) the grace to try a “redo.” This

perspective shift is sometimes all it takes to diffuse a heated

exchange or get a bad day back onto a positive track. I literally

pause and say, “I don’t like how this is making us feel.

Let’s try this again.”

At the root of this grace is my love for my son and my

desire to do my best for him. Shaming either of us for a mistake

(a raised voice, impatience, etc…) doesn’t serve him,

or me. We’re both learning to forgive ourselves (and each

other) and do better next time. The redo gives us a chance

to do better right away.

And when all else fails, “Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow

is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” – L.M. Montgomery

(Note: I strongly encourage anyone who is struggling to

reach out for help from a medical or mental health professional.

There is no shame in it, and you will probably be

shocked to realize how many people are dealing with anxiety

and depression, especially during these unprecedented

times. You are most definitely not alone, and it does get

better).

Kelly McQuillan is a writer, musician,

teacher and fledgling mother living in Comox,

BC. Writer: kellymcquillanwriter.weebly.com;

Music Teacher: kellymcquillan.com.

IslandParent.ca

February/March 2021 29


FEB/MARFAMILYCALENDAR

For more information and calendar updates throughout the month visit IslandParent.ca

FEBRUARY

6 SATURDAY

Terrarium Garden for Kids

1:30-3pm, Horticulture Centre of the Pacific

Get creative as you learn about the needs of little

plants and what better place to grow them than in

an upcycled glass container. Bring a glass bowl,

vase, jar or other container (up to 20 cm in size)

and see what you can create. Children under 7

years must be accompanied by an adult. You provide

the glass container and we provide the rest.

hcp.ca

10 WEDNESDAY

Wandering Words: Outdoor Nuu-chahnulth

Language Exploration

Virtual Zoom meeting, 3-4:30pm

Join Raincoast Education Society to learn about

the local language and world view. Explore writing

systems and sounds and enjoy a glimpse into

the significance of the official language of this

place, the ƛaʔuukʷiʔatḥ / Tla-o-qui-aht language

of Nuu-chah-nulth.

raincoasteducation.org

16 TUESDAY – 27 SATURDAY

Storywalk at the Museum

All day, Sooke Region Museum

Join the Vancouver Island Regional Library for

an outdoor StoryWalk ® at the Sooke Region

Museum. Enjoy the fresh air, physical activity and

a story. This month’s book: The Darkest Hour by

Chris Hadfield & Kate Fillion; illustrations by Eric

Fan & Terry Fan in honour of I Read Canadian

Day (ireadcanadian.com ) on February 17.

virl.bc.ca

17 WEDNESDAY

I Read Canadian Day

Celebrate I Read Canadian Day on February 17

and support Canadian literature. “Read Canadian”

for 15 minutes and share your experience at

your library, in your school, with your families and

friends, or on social media. Kids are encouraged

to read, or be read to, a Canadian book of their

choice. Sign up for free.

ireadcanadian.com

Dumbledore’s Army

3:30-4:30pm, online (Port Alberni Branch

Library)

Join Dumbledore’s Army once a month on Zoom

to make some magical crafts and participate in

fun activities with fellow Harry Potter fans. Not a

member yet? Register: kparker@virl.bc.ca.

virl.bc.ca

18 THURSDAY

Parent & Tot Meetup

10-10:45, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

A meetup for parents and their children (5 and

under) to explore the Art Gallery spaces in a safe

way. Enjoy a facilitated visit to the Gallery with

your little one.

aggv.ca

Photo: Sariena Pauli

30 Island Parent Magazine IslandParent.ca


20 SATURDAY

Outdoor Fairy Garden

10-11:30am, Horticulture Centre of the Pacific

Using a selection of winter hardy plants, you will

create an outdoor fairy garden for your deck, your

balcony or garden. Parents are welcome to attend.

Limit: 8. 5+ years (under 7 with an adult).

hcp.ca

Tea Cup Fairy Garden

1:30-3:30pm, Horticulture Centre of the Pacific

Learn how to incorporate tiny plants and elements

of design into these little fairy gardens

for indoor use. Explore the needs of plants and

how to care for them in a miniature setting while

providing a magical place for wee garden visitors!

Parents are welcome to attend. Limit: 8. 5 years +

(under 7 years accompanied by an adult).

hcp.ca

27 SATURDAY

Photo: submitted by Sarah Taylor of her daughter Avery, 5

Bubble Buddies

10am–noon, Nanaimo Museum

Explore the museum with an exclusive guide who

can answer your history questions one on one,

who can show you items not normally on display,

or can share behind the scenes stories. Visit

alone, or with any other members of your “bubble,”

up to 6 people. One group ticket/time slot.

nanaimomuseum.ca

ALL MONTH

Reaching Out

Nanaimo Museum

Throughout the pandemic, we’ve been relying

on modern technology to stay connected, but

throughout history, Canadians have used letter

writing to communicate with loved ones. This

month, the Nanaimo Museum is encouraging

you to go back to the basics. Use the museum’s

template to write a letter through Reaching Out, a

self-guided virtual program for all ages, to catch

up and check in with your family.

nanaimomuseum.ca

Hogs n Hearts

Nanaimo Museum

The Nanaimo Museum has been overrun with

groundhogs and hearts to celebrate both Groundhog

Day and Valentines’ Day. While you’re visiting

the museum during the month of February, keep

a sharp eye to spot all 9 groundhogs and 5 hearts

hidden around the exhibits. Take a selfie with

your favourite.

nanaimomuseum.ca

MARCH

2 TUESDAY – 5 FRIDAY

Paper Bag Princess Day

Mark your calendars, the annual Paper Bag Princess

Day is back on March 6. There’s also Paper

Bag Princess Theme Week happening March

2–5, with celebrations across social media and

for educators. This year’s theme is Rebuilding the

Castle.

annickpress.com

12–14, 19–21, 26–28

Weekend Family Vacation Rental

Looking for a Spring Break vacation close to

home? Camp Pringle is offering weekend family

vacation rentals. Enjoy lakefront accommodations,

hike or bike the nearby trails, have a campfire

and even try archery or rock climbing. Online

bookings open February 15; prices start at $120/

weekend.

camppringle.com

30 TUESDAY

Virtual Baking Club

4-5pm, Vancouver Island Regional Library

(online)

Do you like to bake? Then join our new Virtual

Baking Club! Each month, VIRL will have a theme

to inspire you to make different baked goods.

Try a new recipe or make one of your favourites

and then join the Zoom session at the end of the

month to share the recipe and what you made

with everyone else. Register: kparker@virl.bc.ca.

virl.bc.ca

ONGOING

LEGO Brick Exhibition

Sidney Museum

The LEGO exhibition continues at Sidney Museum

until March 31. Or watch the Museum’s Facebook

Live videos featuring different Lego sets that are

currently have on display. Join the education

programmer to see all of the details, features and

hidden treasures that you have to get up close

to see.

sidneymuseum.ca

Virtual Babytime

Tuesdays 10:30–10:45am, Vancouver Island

Regional Library, all branches

Have a rhyming good time ONLINE as we introduce

you and your baby to music, rhymes, bounces,

fingerplays and stories. Geared towards

babies ages 0–18 months. Join the Storytime

Corner Facebook Group for virtual babytime.

virl.bc.ca

Virtual Storytime

Mondays and Fridays, 10:30-10:45am, Vancouver

Island Regional Library, all branches

Songs, stories, fingerplay, puppets and more.

Preschoolers (and their families) are invited to join

the Storytime Corner Facebook Group for virtual

storytime.

virl.bc.ca

IslandParent.ca

February/March 2021 31


NATURENOTES

Woodpecker Castle &

the Hidden Lives of Trees

During your forest wanderings, you have probably stumbled

upon a dead tree or two. No, not a log, not simply

a rotten stump or remnant of a tree that once inhabited a

space, but rather a refuge for a wide range of life: a Wildlife Tree.

You may know these natural monoliths by a different name; such

as snag, den tree or cavity tree. I prefer the name Wildlife Tree

due to the image it evokes of a bustling entity just waiting to be

observed. Far be it from a state of mourning; with their death,

trees bring forth opportunity for new life.

Once a tree has died, many things are able to occur, including

the magic of decomposition. Invertebrates, bacteria and fungi

break down the tree for energy, and as they do, these nutrients are

cycled back into the soil system, allowing for new growth. More

often than not, a Wildlife Tree will have fungi springing up all

over and within it with fruiting bodies—mushrooms—on display

in autumn. The arrival of the decomposers is followed closely by

primary cavity nesters looking for a snack and nesting site. These

are the creatures that excavate a hole in the dead tree as a nesting

site in preparation for raising the next generation. You guessed it;

I’m referring to woodpeckers!

Here on Vancouver Island we are fortunate to have a multitude

of woodpeckers, ranging from the toy-like Red Breasted sap sucker,

to the regal Pileated woodpecker that inspired the most popular

woodpecker of all—Woody, of course! Woodpeckers forage

for food by clinging to the side of a tree with their specialized feet

and drilling their beak so fast, that it is a shock they aren’t dizzy.

Depending on the species, they may then extend their extraordinarily

long tongue into the larvae filled hole in the tree to collect

their reward. The woodpeckers tongue also doubles as protection

from brain damage during pecking, as it is so long that is actually

wraps around the skull when not in use!

Woodpeckers may drill a distinct pattern of holes into the tree

to draw out sticky sap which will act as a trap to collect insects

for a crunchy buffet later on. In contrast to arboreal woodpeckers,

the Northern flicker is often seen on the ground foraging for

ants. However, like all woodpeckers, you can still count on the

flicker to drum out a distinct beat on the nearest wooden surface

to announce its territory or impress a potential mate.

Most local woodpeckers are distinct enough to decipher from

each other except for our checkered friends; the Hairy woodpecker

and the slightly smaller and shorter billed Downy woodpecker.

Industrious Downy woodpeckers are able to excavate an en-

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32 Island Parent Magazine IslandParent.ca


tirely new cavity for nesting in about 16 days, and they do this

every time they nest. Often, woodpecker parents will line their

nesting cavity with wood chips as well as use moss and lichen to

conceal the entrance to create the safest home possible.

Typically the primary cavity nesters only use the hole they

have created for one nesting season, which leaves an inviting,

unoccupied home perfect for the next candidate. Secondary cavity

nesters of the avian variety range from tiny Saw Whet owls,

Chestnut-Backed chickadees, nuthatches, creepers, wrens and

Tree swallows to larger kestrels, Wood ducks and even Great

Horned owls. The list goes on and on when discussing the birds

who take advantage of cavities made by others.

Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary is lucky enough to

host an abundance of Wildlife Trees that provide ample opportunity

for exploration. My personal favorite? Woodpecker Castle!

Nestled in the field just North East of the lake, this Swan Lake

gem can be found if you follow the trail from the Nature House

clockwise. Once you emerge from the trees and take in the view

of what was previously used as farmland, you will notice a lone

dead Douglas fir piercing the landscape. This palace is Woodpecker

Castle.

While I don’t always see the activity that is constantly happening

at Woodpecker Castle, I always love to stop with groups

of visitors and take a few minutes to dive into the importance of

Wildlife Trees. On Vancouver Island there are several of our fellow

mammals, some endangered, that also rely on Wildlife Trees.

Many of our Island bat species, such as the darling Little Brown

bat and the regal Hoary bat use these Wildlife Trees as roosts.

These havens provide a safe place for our local vampire hunters

to rest during the day, before they spend parts of the night feasting

on pesky blood-sucking mosquitos. The Little Brown bat is

recorded to eat up to 1,000 insects per hour so they certainly need

uninterrupted sleep during the day!

Another charismatic mammal that frequently calls Wildlife

Trees their home are mama raccoons with their kits. While her

kits are still too small to go on scavenging missions, mama raccoon

needs to be sure her babies are kept in a safe place. Where is

safer than a warm hovel in a dead tree?

During your next nature outing, I encourage you to look

closely at what you may have previously regarded as a tree past

their prime. Listen and you may be rewarded with the kingfisher

like call of the Downy woodpecker, or the drumming of an opinionated

Pileated woodpecker. Perhaps you will catch a flash of

orange if you are still enough, and you will know you are in the

presence of a Northern flicker. Wildlife Trees are full of more

life than living trees, but they do require the viewer to look past

their misleading exterior to be rewarded. Look closely, and your

reward could be great!

Kalene Lillico is a Program Naturalist at

Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary.

She can often be found searching for forest

wisdom, and creatures of the many-legged

variety, under logs and rocks.

IslandParent.ca

February/March 2021 33


HAPPYFAMILIESHEALTHYFAMILIES

Healthy Families, Happy Families

Child, Youth

& Family

Public Health

South Island Health Units

Esquimalt 250-519-5311

Gulf Islands 250-539-3099

(toll-free number for office in Saanichton)

Peninsula 250-544-2400

Saanich 250-519-5100

Saltspring Island 250-538-4880

Sooke 250-519-3487

Victoria 250-388-2200

West Shore 250-519-3490

Central Island Health Units

Duncan 250-709-3050

Ladysmith 250-755-3342

Lake Cowichan 250-749-6878

Nanaimo 250-755-3342

Nanaimo 250-739-5845

Princess Royal

Parksville/Qualicum 250-947-8242

Port Alberni 250-731-1315

Tofino 250-725-4020

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

islandhealth.ca/our-locations/

health-unit-locations

Changes with BC Medical Services Plan

premiums mean that families eligible for partial

payment of some medical services and access

to some income-based programs now must

apply for Supplementary Benefits through the

Government of BC. Applications can be done

online and take approximately 15 minutes.

Families who previously qualified for MSP

Premium Assistance should not need to re-apply

if taxes are completed yearly. It is advised to

confirm coverage before proceeding with

treatment to avoid paying out of pocket.

For more information, visit gov.bc.ca/gov/

content/health/health-drug-coverage/msp/

bc-residents/benefits/services-covered-bymsp/supplementary-benefits

Fostering Healthy

Body Image

Body image issues can develop at

a young age, impacting a child’s

ability to enjoy life and form close

relationships. Body image is developed

through the messages we hear from others

and those we tell ourselves, how we

see ourselves in the mirror, messages we

receive from the media and social media,

and how we feel in our bodies as we

move.

A healthy body image and positive selfesteem

promotes:

• Feelings of confidence

• Willingness to try new things

• Ability to make new friends

• Ability to deal with stress

• Assertiveness skills and being less

vulnerable to bullying

The Social Media Fallout

Constantly accessible images portrayed

and shared on social media platforms

like Instagram, tik tok, magazines and e-

zines, and Facebook have a strong impact

on how we view ourselves. Unrealistic

images can have a negative effect on how

you and your children view their lives

and their body which can produce feelings

of low self-worth or self-esteem.

“… negative body image is not just a

‘girls’ problem.’ Children of all genders

are vulnerable… the attitudes expressed

by adults in your child’s life matter”

~ Kelty Mental Health

Every day unrealistic images of the

‘ideal body’ bombard media and social

media platforms - be it the pencil thin

model or a sculpted ‘Dorito’ with a huge

chest and shoulders and washboard abdominal

muscles. This look is “achieved”

by only 1 per cent of the population and

it is usually accomplished with much help

from digital, physical and/or cosmetic

enhancements. That means the remaining

99 per cent come in various shapes

and sizes. Teaching yourself and your

family to be critical of messages in the

media promotes skills that help them set

realistic expectations for themselves and

others.

Strategies That Help Children

Feel Good About Themselves

Role modelling healthy behaviours and

attitudes is one the most important things

you can do to help your child develop a

positive body image.

In order to do this, it’s important to

understand your own attitudes towards

food, exercise and your body. Consider

these questions: As a parent or caregiver,

what are the messages you’re sending?

Are you dissatisfied with your shape, size

and weight? If so, do you talk about it?

Are you always on, or talking about going

on, a diet? Do you express guilt when

you eat certain foods or make negative

comments about what other people eat

or look like? Having an awareness of

one’s own attitudes can help pivot your

responses and guidance related to healthy

body image.

• Place less emphasis on your child’s

appearance and more on their abilities

and skills.

• Help your child understand that their

body will change, especially throughout

puberty.

• Accept your body and maintain a

positive attitude towards food and exercise.

• Make time for family meals and enjoy

time spent being active together.

• Avoid categorizing foods as “good”

or “bad”. Labelling foods as “forbidden”

only makes that food more desirable.

Instead label foods as “every day” or

“sometimes” foods.

• Listen and respond to your hunger

and fullness cues: eat when you are hun-

34 Island Parent Magazine IslandParent.ca


gry, stop when you are full. Teach your

child to do the same.

• Remind yourself and your child that

healthy eating is flexible. It allows for

sometimes eating more than your body

needs or occasionally eating foods that

might not be considered healthy. Your

body will make up for it later. It’s more

important to look at the big picture. Ask

yourself: Did I and my child make mostly

good choices over the course of the week/

month? Do I usually stop eating when

I’m full?

• Avoid using food as a punishment

or a reward as it gives food more importance

than nourishing the body. Reward

good behaviour with non-food items

such as extra playtime, a hug, a smile or

any other positive encouragement.

• Think and encourage your child to

think critically about messages and images

they see and hear in the media.

When it comes to screen time think

quality over quantity. For example, online

learning, homework and keeping in

touch with family and friends via Zoom,

Skype FaceTime can be quality time

spent; whereas eight hours of TV/movies,

gaming and social media exchanges, may

People with a positive body image recognize and accept that:

• Healthy bodies come in different shapes and sizes.

• Body size and weight do not predict happiness, success, or health.

• People are more than numbers on a scale; every person is a unique individual

with admirable talents, skills, and abilities.

• Images in the media are unrealistic and are created to sell products.

not be. Limit non-essential screen time to

less than two hours per day.

• Teach your child that it is okay to

show emotions such as sadness, anger,

and frustration.

Being a positive role model for healthy

behaviours supports children to become

all they can be and more. Trust that your

child’s inner confidence and personal

power will develop over time.

For more information visit:

• Kelty Mental Health Raising Kids

with a Healthy Body Image: A Guide for

Parents of Young Children keltymentalhealth.ca

• MediaSmarts Information that will

help you talk to your kids about media

images. mediasmarts.ca/

• Unlock Food Article: How to Raise

Kids with a Healthy Body Image unlockfood.ca/en/default.aspx

CHILD YOUTH & FAMILY

PUBLIC HEALTH

Areli Hermanson is a

Public Health Dietitian who

understands firsthand that

when surrounded by food

rules, chronic dieters, emotional

eaters and food shamers, body image issues

can develop at a young age. She is a mom

of two very active boys who she hopes grow up

body-positive towards themselves and others.

Free program

for families with

ANXIOUS

children ages 3–12

Confident Parents: Thriving Kids - Anxiety is a web- and

phone-based coaching service helping parents and caregivers

learn effective skills and strategies for managing anxiety.

It’s available by referral from physicians, teachers, school

counsellors, psychologists, clinicians and pediatricians.

Referrals can be made online at

confidentparents.ca

IslandParent.ca

February/March 2021 35


PRESCHOOL&CHILDCAREDIRECTORY

v Comprehensive programs for

Preschool through Grade 11

v Delivering academic excellence through

music, dance, drama and visual arts

v Outstanding educators,

locations and facilities

www.ArtsCalibre.ca 250.382.3533

Castleview Child Care........... 250-595-5355

Learning Through Play & Discovery.

Licensed non-profit, ECE staff. Since 1958.

Morning or full-time care.

castleviewchildcarecentre.com

Christ Church Cathedral Childcare

& Jr. Kindergarten..................250-383-5132

ECE and specialist teachers provide an

outstanding all day licensed program for

2.5–5 year olds at our Fairfield and

Gordon Head locations.

cathedralschool.ca

Cloverdale Child Care............250-995-1766

Come join us in our preschool programs for

fun and learning. Classes 9:30 to 1:30, we offer

3 and 4 year old classes and a Mon to Fri

multiage preschool class. Flexible schedule

available. Located at Quadra and Cloverdale

streets. cloverdalechildcare@shawbiz.ca

La Pré-Maternelle

Appletree Preschool...............250-479-0292

French immersion preschool. Group child

care programs. 30 months to school age.

Christian centre.

prematernelleappletree.com

Nightingale Preschool &

Junior Kindergarten Ltd........ 250-595-7544

We offer education through creativity and play, providing

rich learning experiences through a well sourced

and stimulating indoor and outdoor environment. Early

years reading programme. nightingalepreschool.com.

Arts/Drama programme. kidsworks.ca

Pre-School

Junior Kindergarten

PacificChristian.ca

250-479-4532

Educational Excellence to the Glory of God

Ready Set Grow Preschool.....250-472-1530

Join our learning through play preschool located

in Hillcrest Elem. Our caring ECEs offer

an enriched Program for 3-4 hour, 2-5 days a

week and help with kindergarten transition.

heoscmanager@gmail.com

Photo: @yew.photography (Emily)

Sir James Douglas

Preschool.............................250-389-0500

Fun, creative and educational ECE program

for 3-5 year olds to grow and develop life

long skills. Come play and learn in our bright

and modern centre in Fairfield.

sjdoutofschoolclub.com

Victoria Montessori.............. 250-380-0534

Unique, innovative learning environment

combining the best of Montessori and

Learning Through Play. Open year round.

30mths–K.

victoriamontessori.com

Island Kids Academy

Esquimalt..............................250-381-2929

High quality child care (ages 1-5). Enriched

Curriculum. Includes Music Classes and

Character Development using the Virtues

Project. Wait list being taken. Islandkids.ca

St. Margaret’s School Jr. Kindergarten

Apply now for our Early Learning (JK and

Kindergarten) Programs. Early learning at SMS is

a curriculum-based program for 3 and 4 year olds.

St. Margaret’s School

250-479-7171 | admissions@stmarg.ca

722 Johnson St,Victoria,BC

250.415.9974

willowbraeacademy.com

email@willowbraechildcare.com

We implement

a play-based

curriculum where

our trained professionals

develop

and adapt individual

programs

by observing

and listening

to your child.

Child Care

Resource & Referral

Funded by the Province of BC

Your community’s best source

of child care information

and resources.

Looking for child care?

Need help with the Affordable Child Care Benefit?

Taking care of children?

Need child care training?

Call your local Child Care Resource & Referral for free referrals and resources.

Victoria & Gulf Islands: 250-382-7000 or 1-800-750-1868

Sooke: 250-642-5152 West Shore: 250-217-7479

Cowichan Valley: 250-746-4135 local 231

PacificCare (Ladysmith north): 250-756-2022 or 1-888-480-2273

gov.bc.ca/ChildCareResourceReferralCentres

36 Island Parent Magazine IslandParent.ca


Victoria & Area Peninsula Westshore Duncan & Area Nanaimo & Area

Carrot Seed Preschool...........250-658-2331

Where children can discover, imagine,

construct and learn through play.

Wondrous natural playground.

carrotseedpreschool.com

The first steps in

your child’s education

Call for more information today: 250.746.3654

Island Montessori House....... 250-592-4411

Inclusive, integrated and nurturing Preschool

and Before/After School Care programs.

Lovely rural setting with a focus on nature

and outdoor environmental activities.

islandmontessori.com

Queen Margaret’s School........250-746-4185

Early Childhood Education Program. Co-ed

nurturing curriculum to develop the whole

child. Healthy snacks and lunch provided.

qms.bc.ca.

Sidney Preschool

We are a licensed co-operative preschool

with a philosophy of learning through play!

Four hour program, four days per week, for

children ages 2.5-5 years. Celebrating 49

years! sidneypreschoolteacher@gmail.com,

sidneypreschool.com

Sunrise Waldorf School

Preschool...............................250-743-7253

In a warm environment, this nature and

play-based program enlivens and

nurtures the growing child.

sunrisewaldorfschool.org

Photo: Virginia Spencer Skow

Photo: Karen Maxwell Eddy

• Licensed programs, for children 3–5 years

• Flexible part-time schedules • Supported spaces available

• 3 and 4 hour morning classes

Encouraging your child’s development and

learning through play and exploration

Fullobeans.ca 250-360-1148 E: fullobeans@snplace.org

Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12

Learn more today! 250-390-2201 AspengroveSchool.ca

NANAIMO’ S JK–12 INTERNATIONAL

BACCALAUREATE WORLD SCHOOL

Island Kids Academy

View Royal........................... 250-727-2929

High quality child care (ages 1-5). Enriched

Curriculum. Includes Music Classes and

Character Development using the Virtues

Project. Wait list being taken. Islandkids.ca

Little Star Children’s Centre...........250-752-4554

Little Gems Infant & Toddler Care..250-228-5437

Mother, Daughter owned and operated. Earth

friendly preschool education inspired by nature.

Infused with fun and creative daily yoga

practices! Licensed group care. Enthusiastic

ECE instructors. littlestardaycare.ca

Nestled on 4 acres of lush west coast forest, our Award

winning, Nature based program will not disappoint!

While firmly embracing the Reggio-Emila (Italy) Philosophy

our dedicated team of educators use the environment

as the third teacher as we encourage your child

throughout their day.

Our purpose built facilities have been handmade using the

trees from our forest. Come take a virtual tour on our website!

lexieslittlebears.ca

Waitlist: 250-590-3603

Programs for Infants/Toddlers/Pre-school Age.

BC Award of Excellence in Childcare & Prime Minister’s Award of Excellence in Early Childhood Education.

IslandParent.ca

February/March 2021 37


CUTITOUT!

Don’t Just Do Something,

Stand There

At times, the most powerful action you can take is to do

or say nothing. Take a moment to think about the last

unfavourable exchange you’ve had with your partner

or children. Now, take the content out and look at the pattern

of behaviour. Don’t think about what you were arguing about;

how were you arguing? Did a family member criticize you?

How did you respond? Did you defend yourself? Emotional

systems run in families and are kept going with our participation

in unconscious reactions. We don’t see these patterns, but

they play out, especially during times of stress. Understanding

this and working for personal change within the system creates

a powerful shift for you and your family.

So how could this look? Imagine your child asks to do

something, and you tell them they can’t do it. They criticize

you, “You are the worst parent in the world.” If you react,

you might say, “How dare you talk to me that way after all the

things I do for you!” Therein lies the pattern; criticism and defence.

It keeps the system reactions at play. Try this instead, “I

know; I’m the worst parent on the planet.” You respond with

less seriousness and avoid arguing to defend yourself. If you

think that this is letting your child get away with something,

you are right. They are left hearing what they said. When you

argue, they are left hearing you argue. They don’t have to face

their own behaviour.

These hard-wired emotional patterns are typical in all relationships,

but strangely, they damage and even destroy relationships.

When we go into a defensive position, we move to the

fight or flight position. In that defensive state of mind, we don’t

care about how the other person feels or consider their needs.

Emotional reactivity is like throwing a hot potato between family

members. The problems don’t get resolved, but the intensity

of emotion pings back and forth.

Next time you find yourself in a power struggle or reacting to

a criticism, take five seconds to notice what is happening. Seek

calmness by taking a breath. Do something different and break

the pattern. What would doing something different look like?

Shrugging your shoulders? Being less serious? Finding some

truth in what the person is saying? Seeing their point of view?

Doing nothing but standing there?

Dr. Allison Rees is a parent educator,

counsellor and coach at LIFE Seminars (Living

in Families Effectively), lifeseminars.com.

For LIFE Seminars Parenting Courses on

Facebook, visit facebook.com/lifeseminars.

38 Island Parent Magazine IslandParent.ca


Royal BC Museum members

receive unlimited access to galleries and

feature exhibitions including

OPENS

APR 16

2021

Become a

member today!

PURCHASE NOW AT rbcm.ca/join

IslandParent.ca

Exhibition produced by the

Royal BC Museum in partnership

with Museums Partner

February/March 2021 39


Island Catholic Schools

Catholic Education on Vancouver Island is a system rich in tradition and history

dating back to the mid-nineteenth century. Island Catholic Schools is a dynamic

community of schools having a strong reputation for academic excellence,

instilling Catholic values and building community. We are committed to

educating the “whole” child in a Christ-centered community of learning.

St. Joseph’s

(Pre-K to Grade 7)

757 W Burnside Rd, Victoria

250-479-1232

www.stjosephschool.ca

Email: sjv@cisdv.bc.ca

Please contact the school

for a private tour.

St. Patrick’s School

(K to Grade 7)

2368 Trent St, Victoria

250-592-6713

www.stpatrickselem.ca

Email: sp@cisdv.bc.ca

Tours by appointment

February 1–5.

St. Andrew’s

Regional High School

(Grade 8–12)

880 McKenzie Ave, Victoria

250-479-1414

www.standrewshigh.ca

Email: sarhs@cisdv.bc.ca

Please visit our website

for a Virtual Open House.

Queen of Angels

(Pre-K to Grade 9)

2085 Maple Bay Rd, Duncan

250-746-5919

www.queenofangels.ca

Email: qa@cisdv.bc.ca

Please visit our website for a

Virtual Tour & Kindergarten

Information Night.

St. John Paul II

(Pre-K to Grade 7)

4006 8th Ave, Port Alberni

250-723-0637

www.jp2nd.ca

Email: jp2@cisdv.bc.ca

Please contact the school

for a private tour.

Call today for registration information

K to 12, Pre-school, Day Care, Out of School Care for September 2021

250-727-6893 or visit cisdv.bc.ca

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