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Island Parent Summer 2023

Vancouver Island’s Parenting Resource for 35 Years • Make the Most of What’s Left of Summer • Beat the Back-to-School Blues • Balancing Exercise & Relaxation • Teaching Healthy Eating • GRAND: A Special Feature for Island Grandparents

Vancouver Island’s Parenting Resource for 35 Years • Make the Most of What’s Left of Summer • Beat the Back-to-School Blues • Balancing Exercise & Relaxation • Teaching Healthy Eating • GRAND: A Special Feature for Island Grandparents

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SUMMER <strong>2023</strong><br />

Vancouver <strong>Island</strong>’s <strong>Parent</strong>ing Resource for 35 Years<br />

FREE COPY<br />

Beat the<br />

Back-to-School<br />

Blues<br />

Inside:<br />

GRAND<br />

A Special Feature for<br />

<strong>Island</strong> Grandparents<br />

MAKE the MOST<br />

of What’s Left of<br />

SUMMER


BURNABY ONLINE<br />

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Learn where you want, when you want<br />

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12 available for<br />

enrollment<br />

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available Grade 10<br />

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Experienced online<br />

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online.burnabyschools.ca<br />

Direct teacher<br />

support available<br />

Develop communication<br />

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online skills registering<br />

full-time or for a single<br />

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2 <strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Magazine <strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca<br />

Registration: online.burnabyschools.ca/registration


<strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca<br />

<strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 3


INTHISISSUE<br />

6 10<br />

Need to Know<br />

9<br />

SUMMER<strong>2023</strong><br />

I ❤ <strong>Island</strong> Back-to-School Blues<br />

Jim Schneider<br />

Publisher<br />

publisher@islandparent.ca<br />

Sue Fast<br />

Editor<br />

editor@islandparent.ca<br />

RaeLeigh Buchanan<br />

Account Manager<br />

raeleigh@islandparent.ca<br />

12<br />

18<br />

Mom’s POV<br />

Kids’ Reads<br />

14<br />

20<br />

Explore<br />

What’s for Dinner<br />

16<br />

Exercise & Relaxation<br />

22<br />

Dad Speak<br />

Kristine Wickheim<br />

Account Manager<br />

kristine@islandparent.ca<br />

<strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Magazine, published by<br />

<strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Group Enterprises Ltd., is<br />

a bimonthly publication that honours and<br />

supports parents by providing information<br />

on resources and businesses for Vancouver<br />

<strong>Island</strong> families. Views expressed are not<br />

necessarily those of the publisher. No material<br />

herein may be reproduced without the<br />

permission of the publisher. <strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> is<br />

distributed free in selected areas. Annual<br />

mail subscriptions (7 issues) are available<br />

for $21 (GST included). Canadian Publication<br />

Mail Product Sales Agreement 40051398.<br />

ISSN 0838-5505.<br />

For distribution inquiries, please email<br />

publisher@islandparent.ca<br />

<strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Magazine<br />

518 Caselton Place<br />

Victoria, BC V8Z 7Y5<br />

250 388 6905<br />

A proud member of<br />

24<br />

26<br />

Symphony & Opera<br />

Cut It Out!<br />

A Special Feature for <strong>Island</strong> Grandparents<br />

GRAND<br />

28<br />

Nature Notes<br />

Cover Photo: Kandyce Joeline,<br />

songbirdandoakphotography.com<br />

GRAND Cover Photo: Gina Woods,<br />

driftwoodsphotography.com,<br />

@driftwoodsphotography<br />

<strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca<br />

twitter.com/<strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong><br />

facebook.com/<strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong><br />

34<br />

36<br />

38<br />

instagram.com/islandparent<br />

Relearning History<br />

Facing Fears<br />

Grandparent Time<br />

4 <strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Magazine <strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca


FASTFORWARD<br />

5 Game-Changing<br />

Apps to Help Gear Up<br />

for Back to School<br />

1. Lala Lunchbox<br />

Save time, save money, save sanity.<br />

That’s the premise behind Lala Lunchbox,<br />

a meal planning app that has been<br />

said to “Ingeniously pull your kids in<br />

by turning meal planning into a game.”<br />

Who knew making school lunches could<br />

be so much fun? lalalunchbox.com<br />

2. AIM2BE<br />

Move towards being your best self and<br />

conquering your back-to-school goals.<br />

Designed for families, Aim2Be aligns<br />

with Canadian health and physical activity<br />

recommendations. Discover proven<br />

strategies to help you be a mindful,<br />

healthy eater and learn everyday strategies<br />

to move more. aim2be.ca<br />

3. Habatica<br />

This “gamified task manager” makes a<br />

game out of habit-forming activities and<br />

uses its multiple task-tracking features to<br />

encourage follow-though. Kids and parents<br />

set to-dos and tasks such as brushing<br />

their teeth and leaving for school on<br />

time—when the tasks are complete, kids<br />

earn gear for their avatars and defeat<br />

monsters. habitica.com<br />

4. Remember the Milk<br />

Another task and schedule manager,<br />

this app includes a Smart Add feature<br />

that makes it easy to enter new tasks to<br />

schedule and includes space for details<br />

such as due date and priority. Make lists,<br />

organize using colourful tags and opt to<br />

receive reminders, among other possibilities.<br />

rememberthemilk.com<br />

5. Calm Kids<br />

A specific subsection of the mindfulness<br />

and meditation app Calm, Calm<br />

Kids helps soothe and de-stress kids<br />

after a crazy day at school—or any<br />

other stressful situation, for that matter.<br />

Choose from short meditations or create<br />

longer calming routines for your kids<br />

within the app. calm.com<br />

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<strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca<br />

masters skills in math, reading, writing and more<br />

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Vancouver <strong>Island</strong><br />

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<strong>Summer</strong> Must <strong>2023</strong> menti<br />

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offer at time


NEEDTOKNOW<br />

Keep On<br />

Reading<br />

Make the library part of their summer—and<br />

fall! From Baby Times to<br />

the BC <strong>Summer</strong> Reading Club and<br />

the <strong>Summer</strong> Challenge, there is a<br />

lineup of programs, with something<br />

for everyone. Children participating<br />

in the BC <strong>Summer</strong> Reading Club<br />

read (or are read to) for at least 20<br />

minutes each day. The Read and<br />

Write Reviews program encourages<br />

participants to read and share<br />

their thoughts by submitting a book<br />

review. There’s also <strong>Summer</strong> Baby<br />

Times, Indoor and Outdoor Family<br />

Storytimes and a series of Story-<br />

Walks to choose from. For information,<br />

visit gvpl.ca and virl.bc.ca.<br />

Taste the<br />

Flavour<br />

Take part in North Saanich<br />

Flavour Day Festival on August<br />

18–20, a weekend-long community<br />

celebration of local farmers, fishers,<br />

food producers, chefs, vinters and<br />

more. Follow a self-guided tour of<br />

local farms, producers and small<br />

businesses each with their own<br />

Flavour Trail offers. Live music,<br />

food trucks, games and more.<br />

flavourtrails.com<br />

6 <strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Magazine <strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca


Learn a new sport or refine<br />

your skills: come join our<br />

rock climbing teams!<br />

Orange<br />

Shirt Day<br />

<strong>2023</strong><br />

September 30 is Orange Shirt Day<br />

and Canada’s National Day for Truth<br />

and Reconciliation, a day to remember<br />

and raise awareness of the harm<br />

caused by residential schools and<br />

the ongoing impact it has on Indigenous<br />

families, communities and cultures.<br />

The Orange Shirt movement<br />

was inspired by the story of Phyllis<br />

Webstad, a former residential school<br />

student who had her brand new<br />

bright orange shirt taken from her on<br />

Registration<br />

for recreational<br />

and competitive<br />

teams open now.<br />

All levels<br />

welcome!<br />

Ages 6–18.<br />

Details and registration at climbtheboulders.com<br />

The Boulders Climbing Gym<br />

1627 Stelly’s Cross Road | Saanichton, BC | 250.544.0310<br />

I am proud<br />

to continue<br />

my support<br />

of parents,<br />

families and<br />

youth in<br />

Oak Bay-<br />

Gordon Head.<br />

her first day of school in 1973. The<br />

orange shirt symbolizes the loss of<br />

Indigenous culture and identity that<br />

occurred in residential schools. To<br />

find Orange Shirt Day events in your<br />

area, visit orangeshirtday.org.<br />

MLA Murray Rankin<br />

Oak Bay – Gordon Head<br />

Murray.Rankin.MLA@leg.bc.ca 250-472-8528<br />

<strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca<br />

<strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 7


Explore<br />

Gardens BC<br />

Connect with nature and explore<br />

BC’s gardens for fun, adventure,<br />

beauty, rejuvenation, relaxation<br />

and learning. Historic and modern<br />

gardens offer great trip ideas and<br />

itineraries. From rugged coastal rain<br />

forests to fertile valleys, from urban<br />

centres to mountains—there’s no<br />

better time than summer to visit BC’s<br />

gardens. Birdwatch, take photos,<br />

learn about biodiversity and sustainability<br />

and enjoy immersive unique<br />

garden experiences. For a list of<br />

Vancouver <strong>Island</strong>’s gardens and itineraries,<br />

visit gardensbc.com.<br />

In Sight<br />

Festival<br />

Enjoy a mosaic of live music,<br />

childrens’ art activities, aerial<br />

acrobatics, a visual art showcase,<br />

traditional Indigenous dancers, plein<br />

air painting and tasty food at Fort<br />

Rodd Hill on September 9–10. Let’s<br />

embrace diversity, build friendships,<br />

connect with nature and our local<br />

community, in one of our most<br />

beautiful oceanfront settings. Free<br />

Admission Saturday from 11am<br />

to 4pm and Sunday from 10am<br />

to 4pm.<br />

tourismvictoria.com<br />

8 <strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Magazine <strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca


I ❤ ISLAND<br />

To help combat lunchbox letdown, here<br />

are three <strong>Island</strong> food producers that have<br />

good taste in the bag!<br />

Holy Humous<br />

Looking for an alternative to sandwiches? Try<br />

tortilla chips and <strong>Island</strong>-made Holy Humous. With<br />

two versions to choose from—original or roasted<br />

red pepper—kids won’t be able to resist. Not only<br />

is it tasty, but it’s filling and nutritious, too.<br />

holyhomous.com<br />

Tree <strong>Island</strong> Yogurt<br />

Started by a microbiologist and a whole food<br />

enthusiast, Tree <strong>Island</strong> Yogurt is handcrafted in<br />

small batches in the Comox Valley. But better than<br />

that? With flavours ranging from Coconut Lime to<br />

Okanagan Peach, the taste can’t be beat!<br />

treeislandyogurt.com<br />

Hornby Organic Snack Bars<br />

You can’t go wrong with these 100% organic<br />

snack bars that feature flavours including peanut<br />

butter and jam, chocolate chip banana and chocolate<br />

espresso. Or for an afterschool pick-me-up,<br />

try Hornby Organic energy bars—delicious and a<br />

great source of protein.<br />

hornbyorganic.com<br />

<strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca<br />

<strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 9


LEARN<br />

Beat the<br />

Back-to-<br />

School<br />

Blues<br />

Just got into the swing of summer and<br />

now it’s time to start preparing for<br />

back to school? Don’t sweat about it!<br />

There’s still time to squeeze a little more<br />

fun out of summer while gearing up for<br />

the fall and getting ready for back to<br />

school. Here’s how:<br />

1. Plan an <strong>Island</strong> Adventure<br />

Scavenger Hunt<br />

Organize a scavenger hunt with clues<br />

that lead to various outdoor locations in<br />

your neighbourhood—or even a farther<br />

flung area on the <strong>Island</strong>. Incorporate fun<br />

facts and learning opportunities into the<br />

clues to make it not only fun but educational,<br />

too. (Where can you find an<br />

Elasmosaur dinosaur? Answer: Courtney<br />

District Museum…then go there!). Or<br />

organize a hunt that follows with the<br />

route to school.<br />

2. Schedule a Backyard/Back<br />

Porch Camping Night<br />

Set up a mini campground in your<br />

backyard—or even on your back porch<br />

or living room floor—to bid farewell to<br />

summer vacation and hello to the soonto-be<br />

school routine. Pitch a tent/string a<br />

tarp, sing campfire songs (sans campfire!)<br />

tell ghost stories (if you dare!) and stargaze.<br />

3. Make a DIY <strong>Summer</strong><br />

Memory Collage<br />

Have kids create a visual representation<br />

of their favourite summer memories.<br />

10 <strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Magazine <strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca


Give them craft supplies—a scrapbook<br />

or paper, markers, stickers, photos and<br />

any other souvenirs/ticket stubs/shells etc<br />

they may have collected over the summer—<br />

and encourage them create a collage<br />

showcasing their favourite summer<br />

memories.<br />

4. Family Learning Excursions<br />

Plan educational outings as a family to<br />

<strong>Island</strong> museums, historical sites or parks.<br />

Hand of Man, Royal BC Museum, Miniature<br />

World, Fort Rodd Hill, Nanaimo<br />

Museum and The Bastion and Port Alberni<br />

Railway, to name a few, will spark<br />

kids’ curiosity, helping them switch gears<br />

from summer to school.<br />

5. Organize a “Get Ready<br />

for School” Party<br />

Turn the process of preparing for<br />

school into a fun and collaborative activity.<br />

Let your kids invite their friends over<br />

to organize school supplies, decorate<br />

backpacks or create personalized calendars.<br />

Turn it into a party, a celebration of<br />

sorts, with music, snacks and maybe an<br />

end-of-summer sleepover.<br />

6. Go on Nature Walks and<br />

Beach Explorations<br />

Still have a few places you meant to get<br />

to this summer but haven’t yet? Botanical<br />

Beach? Strathcona Park? Englishman<br />

River Falls. Go now! While you’re there,<br />

challenge kids to identify different plant<br />

species, collect shells or study tidal pools.<br />

7. Create a Quiet and/or<br />

Creative Corner<br />

Okay so it doesn’t have to be in a<br />

corner but having a special space for not<br />

only homework and reading, but being<br />

creative, contemplative or just plain quiet<br />

is a great thing for kids to have to help<br />

calm the chaos of back to school. Take<br />

some time before the school year begins<br />

to set up the space and help kids customize<br />

it so that it suits their needs. •<br />

<strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca<br />

<strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 11


MOM’SPOV<br />

Bravery & the Importance<br />

of Trying Something New<br />

My daughter decided to try volleyball for the first time<br />

and joined the school’s Grade 7 recreation-level<br />

team. I was pleased that she had willingly signed<br />

herself up for a school sport—an activity that I didn’t have<br />

to organize or pay for after years of community sports and<br />

other pursuits. No uniforms. No equipment. No early mornings.<br />

No crazy parents. I was thrilled.<br />

It didn’t take long to realize that my daughter was average<br />

at volleyball. I didn’t expect her to be good. She had never<br />

played before. But I think every parent secretly hopes that<br />

their kid is an undiscovered superstar with scholarships and<br />

excellence in their future and I was no exception.<br />

I needed to believe that the hours I’d put in on bleachers<br />

and benches would add up to something.<br />

So, as I sat there on the bench watching my daughter and<br />

her teammates make mistake after mistake, it was no surprise<br />

that the girls weren’t skilled volleyball players. Most of them<br />

had never played before.<br />

And that got me thinking about how uncomfortable it is to<br />

try something new and not be good at it. It doesn’t feel good<br />

to fumble, to put yourself out there and risk being embarrassed<br />

or incompetent. I can recall many times in my own life<br />

when I’ve opted out of an activity or invitation because to<br />

participate felt too scary and too vulnerable.<br />

Then a moment came in the game when one of my daughter’s<br />

teammates bumped the ball off of her arms onto her<br />

own bench, causing her teammates to scramble out of the<br />

way. She blushed and looked apologetically at her teammates<br />

and coach. She then looked over to her dad, who was sitting<br />

next to me. He smiled and said, “It’s okay.” She turned back<br />

toward the game and got into position.<br />

She had made an error, one that had come at a cost: a lost<br />

point for her team, an insult to her confidence and worst of<br />

all, in front of an audience. It occurred to me then that I was<br />

bearing witness to bravery in action: a girl, willing to stand<br />

in front of us in all of her imperfection, exposed and seen.<br />

12 <strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Magazine <strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca


Vulnerability is not winning or losing: it’s<br />

having the courage to show up and be seen<br />

when we have no control over the outcome.<br />

– Brené Brown<br />

It’s an understatement to say these girls had no control<br />

over the outcome. None. It was almost funny how little control<br />

they had over the ball. I’m not exaggerating when I say<br />

that the girls were terrible. Most of the serves didn’t make it<br />

to the net. There was the odd time that the volleyball traveled<br />

back over the net but mostly, it was a lot of bad bumps and<br />

misfires.<br />

The ball landed on the score-keepers table, on the bench<br />

where I was sitting with the other parents and sometimes it<br />

just traveled through the air and its destination was anyone’s<br />

guess. You had to have your wits about you as a spectator in<br />

the game or risk a volleyball to the head.<br />

The benefits of team sports go beyond just the physical.<br />

Being a part of a team creates a sense of community in which<br />

kids can build connections and grow in a supportive environment.<br />

Teamwork fosters compassion and teaches kids to be<br />

able to accept the limitations and strengths of others. They<br />

get to experience the joy that comes from lifting up a teammate<br />

after they’ve missed a shot and encouraging them to<br />

keep going.<br />

At the heart of all of this is the building of self-esteem and<br />

community, two pieces of being human that are essential in<br />

all of our lives.<br />

What was happening on the volleyball court that day was<br />

good practice for what will continue to happen in these girls’<br />

lives. They will on occasion be embarrassed. They will sometimes<br />

make mistakes that disappoint people. They will always<br />

have to push through the discomfort of learning to do new<br />

things and develop the grit and tenacity to stick with them,<br />

even when it’s uncomfortable to do so.<br />

I left that game feeling so filled with pride for my daughter<br />

and her teammates who showed up that day. I’ve always marveled<br />

at the duality of life and it was captured so well in that<br />

volleyball game: Can you be not good at something and still<br />

be worthy enough to try?<br />

To hold both truths at the same time is possibly the most<br />

important work a person can do.<br />

Sarah Seitz is a working mother, wife and writer.<br />

She spends her free time cutting off crusts and uses<br />

good coffee and humour to get through the day.<br />

St. Christopher’s<br />

Montessori School<br />

Now Receiving the New CCFRI<br />

(Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative)<br />

Preschool $489/month | Kindergarten $331/month<br />

Offering an enriched and nurturing<br />

Montessori program<br />

Competitively priced independent school education<br />

Half day for 3 & 4 year olds<br />

Full day kindergarten<br />

stcmontessori.ca 250-595-3213<br />

<strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca<br />

<strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 13


EXPLORE<br />

Make the Most of<br />

What’s Left of <strong>Summer</strong><br />

As the days grow shorter and the<br />

air hints at autumn, it’s an ideal<br />

time to slow down and explore our<br />

own backyard. Parks Canada has put<br />

together a selection of events and activities<br />

that are perfect for families on<br />

southern Vancouver <strong>Island</strong> and the<br />

Gulf <strong>Island</strong>s.<br />

Learn About Indigenous<br />

Languages and Cultures<br />

September 30 is National Day for<br />

Truth and Reconciliation. Indigenous<br />

Languages are an essential part of<br />

Canadian culture and society, and it’s<br />

crucial to preserve them as outlined<br />

in the Truth and Reconciliation Calls<br />

to Action. Consider learning about<br />

the local First Nations language and<br />

culture. The W_ SÁNEĆ Nations and<br />

Gulf <strong>Island</strong>s National Park Reserve<br />

collaborate to create programs like<br />

the Coast Salish Campfire Programs<br />

at SMONEĆTEN Campground (every<br />

Saturday at 7 pm in August) near Sidney<br />

to further people’s understanding<br />

of Coast Salish Culture. There are also<br />

self-guided activities like the ḰENES<br />

SOL- Whale Trail at T_ EK_ TEK_ SEN<br />

(East Point) on Saturna <strong>Island</strong>.<br />

Experience Festivals<br />

Many communities hold cultural<br />

festivals and events at the end of summer,<br />

showcasing their traditions and<br />

heritage. On September 9 and 10,<br />

Parks Canada and Arts & Culture<br />

Colwood Society present the “In Sight<br />

Festival” at Fort Rodd Hill & Fisgard<br />

Lighthouse National Historic Sites.<br />

This event features music, art activities<br />

for children, aerial acrobatics, visual<br />

art exhibitions, Indigenous artists and<br />

dancers, en plein air painting and delicious<br />

food. Let’s celebrate diversity,<br />

build friendships, connect with nature<br />

and engage with our local community<br />

in Colwood’s beautiful oceanfront setting.<br />

Admission is free.<br />

14 <strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Magazine <strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca


Visit Local Attractions<br />

Take advantage of the quieter endof-summer<br />

days to visit local attractions<br />

like Fisgard Lighthouse National<br />

Historic Site in Colwood or the Shaw<br />

Centre for the Salish Sea in Sidney.<br />

Gulf <strong>Island</strong>s National Park Reserve’s<br />

interpreters offer daily programs until<br />

the end of August at the Shaw Centre<br />

for the Salish Sea. Entry fees apply.<br />

NEW!<br />

Kid<br />

Zone<br />

Peninsula<br />

Since 1991<br />

Story<br />

Time<br />

for<br />

Kids<br />

As summer comes to an end, take<br />

the opportunity to explore different<br />

traditions, art forms and perspectives<br />

to enrich your life and foster a more<br />

inclusive and interconnected society.<br />

For information about learning experiences<br />

offered by Gulf <strong>Island</strong>s National<br />

Park Reserve, visit parks.canada.<br />

ca/pn-np/bc/gulf/activ/apprentissagelearning.<br />

To find out more about programs<br />

and events at Fort Rodd and<br />

Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic<br />

Sites, visit parks.canada.ca/lhn-nhs/bc/<br />

fortroddhill/activ/calendrier-calendar.<br />

CORN<br />

HOLE!<br />

Saturdays 9am – 1pm<br />

June 3 – Oct 7 at Saanich Fairground<br />

1528 Stelly’s Cross Road, Brentwood Bay/Saanichton<br />

Weekly Kid Zone Activities<br />

Storytime: 9:30am<br />

Interactive Educational Activities: 11am<br />

Full schedule on our website:<br />

peninsulacountrymarket.ca<br />

<strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca<br />

<strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 15


HEALTH<br />

Balancing Exercise<br />

& Relaxation<br />

Maybe you have moved into your new house after separating<br />

from your spouse. Or your family went on vacation,<br />

and you had to stay behind to work. Or you’re travelling for<br />

business and have just got to your hotel room. Whatever the<br />

scenario, you’re now faced with silence when you are used to<br />

the hustle and bustle that is family life.<br />

This may be the first or hundredth time you’ve been here.<br />

Your thoughts start pacing and you start listening to the voice<br />

in your head that accompanies the absence of sound. However,<br />

you’re not used to it and you don’t like it.<br />

You think to yourself, who can I call or text? What’s been<br />

posted on social media? What’s on TV? Should I play some<br />

music?<br />

How many times do we choose these options rather than<br />

embrace this rare chance to get to know ourselves better, or<br />

to allow our brains to decompress from the preceding days,<br />

weeks or months.<br />

We live in a world where we are constantly plugged in<br />

to technology—social media, gaming, listening to music or<br />

watching tv with our friends or families. We also plug in<br />

socially, by meeting friends for drinks, coffee or to eat, play<br />

dates with our children, dog dates, gym buddies, running<br />

groups, the lists are endless.<br />

Yet in an age where we are constantly seeking ways to optimize<br />

ourselves and lives, we overlook one of the most basic<br />

tools which I believe is undervalued and underpromoted. We<br />

stress to our children how important quiet time is for them,<br />

but rarely do we adopt the same principles.<br />

Many of us live fast paced lives and do not entertain the<br />

idea of self-imposed quiet time as we think that it involves being<br />

in a house and sitting still as we try to stop ourselves from<br />

thinking. However, it can take any form that you want as long<br />

as the only noise that exists is from your natural environment.<br />

For me when I was faced with my “quiet house,” I gravi-<br />

16 <strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Magazine <strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca


tated towards exercising. I began running and hiking with<br />

a friend’s dog, not listening to music so I knew where she<br />

was at all times. We would spend hours in the mountains,<br />

not coming home until I had enough of what I thought we<br />

needed, which was to burn off energy. What I didn’t know<br />

at the time, was that what I actually needed—and got from<br />

my runs and exercise—was a place free from distraction and<br />

noise so I could productively make sense of everything that<br />

was happening in my life.<br />

Since then, my exercise practice has evolved and now not<br />

only do I use this time to unplug, but also to think about decisions<br />

that need to be made in the upcoming week, or have<br />

been made, and to reflect on the social or professional interactions<br />

I’ve had, analyzing whether they could have been<br />

improved. In fact, the longer I am out running, the more I<br />

mentally accomplish, and I always come back refreshed.<br />

By no means am I an expert in this field, I am more a beginning<br />

practitioner. In fact there are articles written by more<br />

reputable authors, so I will not be listing ways that you can<br />

get structured periods of silence into your own lives. A simple<br />

audit of your day could potentially provide you with an insight<br />

into areas where I hope you could find time to incorporate<br />

this. For me, quiet time is as necessary as food or water<br />

on an almost daily basis. So much in fact, that whenever I see<br />

the toll of life weighing down my friends, I not only ask them<br />

what “me time’ have they had recently but I also try to emphasize<br />

that “me time” should involve quiet time.<br />

Henry Ogwudire is a proud father of two<br />

and a self-described fitness enthusiast who is<br />

passionate about ensuring parents commit to<br />

being ready for life’s challenges by staying<br />

mentally and physically active.<br />

Classes Begin September 5 th<br />

STAGES<br />

Performing Arts School<br />

since 1980<br />

Come Dance With Us<br />

• Offering classes for Teens & Pre-Teens in Jazz,<br />

Ballet, Lyrical, Tap. Musical Theatre, Acrobatics &<br />

Hip Hop, in a non-competitive atmosphere.<br />

• Not sure which class to take?<br />

- Try a Drop-In: No hassle, No Obligation.<br />

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STAGES Performing Arts School<br />

#301 1551 Cedar Hill X Rd<br />

Call 250-384-3267 Email us at: stagesdance@shaw.ca<br />

Or visit our website: www.stagesdance.com<br />

<strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca<br />

<strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 17


KIDS’READS<br />

Lean into<br />

Learning<br />

Well, another summer has come and gone. I hope you<br />

were able to spend some of your time watching the<br />

ocean waves, visiting exciting places, meeting new<br />

people and, of course, reading. But with the end of the summer<br />

comes a new school year and that can have all sorts of mixed<br />

feelings for our children. So this year, let’s strive to teach our<br />

children to be more accepting of others and more comfortable<br />

in their own skin. To help you, here are a few books that you<br />

can read with your children to start the conversation.<br />

This book might seem like an odd addition to a beginning<br />

of the year reading list, because Frankie’s Favourite Food by<br />

Kelsey Garrity-Riley (Tundra, 2019) is about an end of the year<br />

school play. However, this story is all about learning how to be<br />

happy and excited for others, how to solve problems creatively<br />

and how to embrace everything you love. The brightly coloured<br />

picture book starts by introducing us to Frankie, a young boy<br />

who loves ever kind of food so much that he can’t pick his favourite.<br />

This is a problem, because everyone is dressing up as<br />

their favourite food for the school play. For ages 4 to 7.<br />

While it’s not about traditional school learning, The Most<br />

Magnificent Idea by Ashley Spires (Kids Can Press, 2022) can<br />

help spark some ideas in your own children’s minds. In this<br />

tale, a young girl loves to make things and she always has a<br />

new idea about what to make. Until one day when she doesn’t.<br />

If you and your children can relate to that, don’t worry, the<br />

story doesn’t leave her there, but follows her along as she tries<br />

to find something that will give her brain the idea-creating<br />

boost it needs. Along the way she learns about perseverance,<br />

noticing the needs of others and problem solving—all of which<br />

are great skills to remember at the beginning of a new school<br />

year. For ages 4 to 7.<br />

The summer is also a time when a lot of people move<br />

around, and so your child might have a new child in their class<br />

(or they might be one). If that’s the case than Tayra’s Not Talking<br />

by Lana Button and illustrated by Christine Battuz (Kids<br />

Can Press, 2022) is a good book for them. This book is told<br />

from the perspective of all of the other kids in Tayra’s class,<br />

which is a smart idea on the author’s part because we get to see<br />

the kids’ thought processes as they struggle to understand and<br />

include the new girl Tayra because she won’t say anything. But<br />

as the book moves along, the classmates learn that it’s okay if<br />

Tayra isn’t vocal, because they can learn to communicate and<br />

include her in other ways. For ages 4 to 7<br />

If your children love learning and don’t want to stop when<br />

the school day ends, they may enjoy these next two books. The<br />

first is Elinor Wonders Why: Hiding in Plain Sight, which was<br />

18 <strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Magazine <strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca


Children’s Museum<br />

in Olympia, Washington<br />

created by Jorge Cham and Daniel Whiteson (Kids Can Press,<br />

2022) and is based off of the TV show with the same name.<br />

This science-based graphic novel teaches children about camouflage<br />

using the game of hide-and-seek, so be prepared for them<br />

to get a bit better at the game if they read this book. The story<br />

also has discussion questions sprinkled throughout to keep<br />

your kids thinking and, if talking about it isn’t enough, there is<br />

an activity in the back that your kids can do to bring their newfound<br />

knowledge to life. For ages 5 to 8.<br />

Finally, for children who love all things that are gross and<br />

yucky, you can try Poopy Science: Getting to the Bottom of<br />

What Comes Out Your Bottom by Edward Kay and illustrated<br />

by Mike Shiell (Kids Can Press, 2022). This non-fiction book<br />

is filled with all sorts of gross facts. If your children ever wondered<br />

how people in the past dealt with poop, if they want to<br />

know what paleo poop is (and where they can see the biggest<br />

paleo poop ever) or if they want to know why human poop and<br />

animal poop is different, this book is for them. For ages 7 to<br />

10.<br />

And there you have it, five books to help your children start<br />

their school year off right. I hope they all find themselves in<br />

classrooms with friends and teachers they can connect with, so<br />

they can learn, play and grow. Good luck everyone and have a<br />

great year!<br />

INSPIRED LEARNING<br />

INSPIRED LEARNING<br />

INSPIRED LEARNING<br />

INSPIRED LEARNING<br />

INSPIRED LEARNING<br />

As<br />

Seen on<br />

Blippi!<br />

INSPIRED LEARNING<br />

Presented<br />

By:<br />

Guests & Activities<br />

All <strong>Summer</strong>!<br />

Guests & Activities All <strong>Summer</strong>!<br />

Major Festival Major Support<br />

Support: Festival Support: M<br />

Major Festival Support:<br />

Major Festival Support:<br />

Major Festival Support:<br />

INSPIRED LEARNING<br />

Animal Encounters • Rock Wall Climb<br />

Visiting Artists • Stage Performers • Nature Play<br />

Explore the Hands On Children’s Museum!<br />

150 Exhibits • MakeSpace • Art Studio • Outdoor Exhibits<br />

414 Jefferson St. NE • Olympia, WA 98501 • (360) 956-0818 • www.hocm.org<br />

See airplanes, seaplanes,<br />

helicopters and more at the<br />

BC Aviation Museum<br />

Learn about BC’s aviation history from early<br />

bush planes to water bombers and beyond!<br />

Christina Van Starkenburg lives in Victoria with<br />

her husband, children and cat. She is the author of One<br />

Tiny Turtle: A Story You Can Colour and many articles.<br />

To read more of her work and learn about her upcoming<br />

books visit christinavanstarkenburg.com.<br />

Facebook: facebook.com/christinavanstarkenburg<br />

and Twitter: @Christina_VanS.<br />

<strong>Summer</strong> Hours, May 1 to Sept 30:<br />

10am to 4pm, Thurs through Tues<br />

Winter Hours, Oct 1 to Apr 30:<br />

11am to 3pm, Thurs through Tues<br />

For special days and events<br />

go to bcam.net.<br />

1910 Norseman Rd, Sidney | 250-655-3300 | bcam.net<br />

<strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca<br />

<strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 19


WHAT’SFORDINNER<br />

Teaching Healthy Eating<br />

Through Lunch<br />

Fruits and Vegetables<br />

Fruits are often more popular with kids than vegetables. The<br />

textures and flavors of vegetables can be difficult for them to<br />

get used to. So offer a variety of different options and they’ll be<br />

sure to find something they like. My secret to getting them to<br />

eat vegetables is to serve it first, while I’m cooking the rest of<br />

dinner. Hungry kids are way more likely to enjoy a salad.<br />

• Carrots, cucumbers, peppers, cherry tomatoes are classic.<br />

• Raw green beans and snow peas are popular.<br />

• Microwave frozen edamame until it is just warm.<br />

• Serve defrosted mixed frozen vegetables.<br />

• Steamed broccoli and cauliflower are nice with a dipping<br />

sauce.<br />

• Offer salad or leftover cooked vegetables.<br />

• Try kohlrabi or diakon radish spears.<br />

• Dust apple slices with cinnamon to prevent browning.<br />

When my kids were just starting school, we invested in<br />

a whole set of lunch containers. They came in different<br />

sizes (small and large), were dishwasher safe and<br />

easy for the kids to use themselves. They were a bit more pricey<br />

than other lunch containers, but 10 years later we’re still using<br />

them.<br />

It wasn’t just getting high-quality lunch containers that was<br />

an important part of our lunch routine, it was teaching our kids<br />

about what went into those containers that mattered. The small<br />

container was for treats. Two large-size containers were protein<br />

and carbohydrates. And two large-size containers were for vegetables<br />

and fruit.<br />

It was a simple way to teach healthy eating as set out by the<br />

current Canada Food-guide: food-guide.canada.ca/en. The recommendation<br />

is for half of what we eat to come from the vegetable<br />

and fruit food group, whereas treats should only make<br />

up a small part of our diet.<br />

We started right away, letting our kids decide what they<br />

wanted for lunch in preschool. By Grade 1, they were filling<br />

their lunch containers and by Grade 3 they were chopping up<br />

their own vegetables and fruit.<br />

Now that our oldest is in high school, obviously he is packing<br />

his lunch without any parental involvement. But I’m pretty<br />

sure he’s still following our traditional lunch set up because we<br />

keep buying vegetables and they keep getting eaten.<br />

Involving your kids in food prep, is parenting for the future.<br />

It takes time to teach and supervise a seven-year-old in<br />

the kitchen. However, the skills they learn and the established<br />

routines are so powerful that they’ll keep them up, even when<br />

they’re in high school. And that is pretty powerful.<br />

Healthy lunches can look like whatever your kids enjoy eating.<br />

The key is to offer a variety of options and teach them<br />

about proportions.<br />

Here’s some suggestions for filling healthy lunch boxes.<br />

Carbohydrates<br />

Carbs are the quintessential kid-friendly food. Whole grains<br />

pack in a lot more nutrition than processed food. So try switching<br />

up your white rice for brown basmati or jasmine rice instead.<br />

Whole grains more appealing when accompanied by a<br />

flavorful sauce.<br />

• A slice of bread with butter<br />

• Whole wheat pasta<br />

• Crackers and corn chips<br />

• Rice, millet, quinoa<br />

Protein<br />

Nuts are generally not allowed in school lunches, but if your<br />

kid loves peanut butter or roasted almonds, be sure to stock<br />

them in your snack cupboard. Then they can help themselves<br />

after school. Here are some school-friendly options.<br />

• Pumpkin and sunflower seeds<br />

• Hummus or chickpeas<br />

• Cooked meat and smoked salmon<br />

• Hard-boiled egg<br />

• Tofu (tofu puffs are popular)<br />

• Cheese<br />

Treats<br />

Treats are anything that is high in salt, sugar, or unhealthy<br />

fat. So vegetable chips, sesame snaps and rice crackers are<br />

treats. They are perfect for putting into a small lunch container.<br />

Small containers are also the perfect place for muffins, cookies<br />

and pretzels.<br />

Dips and sauces are a great way to make healthy lunches<br />

more fun! They are good for dipping vegetables or pouring<br />

over rice. Here are two dips that really make my kids happy!<br />

20 <strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Magazine <strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca


Creamy Herb and Yogurt Dip<br />

(Prep time: 10 minutes)<br />

This dill and green onion is popular with our kids. Feel free to<br />

leave out the garlic powder or swap the dill for basil or parsley. It’s<br />

perfect for your favourite dip flavours.<br />

1 green onion<br />

1 1 ⁄2 cups of full-fat yogurt or Greek yogurt<br />

1 ⁄2 cup mayonnaise<br />

1 tsp lemon juice<br />

1 ⁄2 tsp garlic powder<br />

1 ⁄2 tsp dried dill<br />

1 ⁄2 tsp salt and black pepper, to taste<br />

Dice the green onion. Measure the yogurt, mayonnaise and other<br />

ingredients into a serving bowl. Stir to make sure everything is well<br />

mixed. Taste and add more salt, if needed.<br />

Cover with an air-tight lid and place the dip in the fridge at least<br />

30 minutes before serving to allow the flavours to infuse. Use within<br />

one week.<br />

Emillie Parrish loves having adventures with her<br />

two busy children. You can find more of her recipes<br />

in her recently released cookbook Fermenting Made<br />

Simple. fermentingforfoodies.com<br />

Dill Pickle Dip<br />

(Soaking time: 2 hours, Prep time: 5 minutes)<br />

This vegan-friendly dip is hugely popular with kids. If cashews<br />

aren’t allowed in your child’s classroom, swap them with sunflower<br />

seeds instead. It won’t be quite as creamy, but it will still be delicious!<br />

1 cup of cashews (or sunflower seeds)<br />

2 cups of water<br />

1⁄2 cup of dill pickle brine<br />

1 tsp dried dill<br />

1⁄2 tsp garlic powder<br />

1⁄2 tsp onion powder<br />

1⁄2 tsp salt and sugar, to taste<br />

Measure the cashews into a large measuring cup. Cover with water<br />

(approximately 2 cups) and leave the cashews to soak for 1 to 2 hours.<br />

Sunflower seeds will need to soak for 2 to 3 hours.<br />

After the cashews have soaked, drain the water. Place the cashews<br />

in a blender with the pickle brine, dill, garlic powder and onion powder.<br />

Grind on high until the cashews are a smooth paste. Add additional<br />

water at this point to get it to the desired consistency (dip or sauce).<br />

Taste and add salt or sugar if needed. It will depend on the flavour<br />

of the pickle brine. Sometimes really sour pickles need a bit of sugar<br />

to balance the acidity.<br />

Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.<br />

A place of<br />

possibilities<br />

Students of any age, any instrument,<br />

and any level are welcome.<br />

Register today for Fall classes!<br />

vcm.bc.ca/course-calendar 250.386.5311<br />

<strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca<br />

<strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 21


DADSPEAK<br />

The Value<br />

of Pushing<br />

Past Where<br />

You’re At<br />

When I first considered writing about fatherhood, I<br />

wasn’t sure what fresh perspective I could bring to<br />

the conversation. Still reeling from my recent separation,<br />

adjusting to my new life as a single dad and focused<br />

on holding all the shards of my life together, I decided that<br />

any relationship-related topic was off the table—except perhaps<br />

as a cautionary tale.<br />

My confidence was shattered and scrolling through my<br />

social media feed, I could find dozens of people I felt may be<br />

better suited to talk about parenting, as they were continuously<br />

delivering family, relationship and parenting advice on<br />

the daily. My knee jerk reaction was to decline the opportunity.<br />

But I couldn’t shake the feeling that I wanted to contribute<br />

to this community and took time to hone in on my personal<br />

motivation for that desire.<br />

Let me be clear, I’m not a writer; I’m far too painstakingly<br />

analytical. It takes me forever to write, revise, rinse, repeat.<br />

Any infrequent writing that I do is as a domain expert,<br />

providing technical advice and speaking from a position<br />

of comfortable confidence to industry clients with whom I<br />

share a working relationship. The thought of writing about<br />

a personal topic for an audience of strangers triggered a fair<br />

amount of anxiety as I was well outside my comfort zone.<br />

In digesting all these mixed feelings, I realized this process<br />

was what I wanted to write about.<br />

My son is a naturally talented and gifted child who excels<br />

when he participates in most activities. He has an innate curiosity<br />

for nature and love for art, a remarkable amount of<br />

emotional intelligence and seemingly boundless energy.<br />

However, sometimes he loses interest when he’s not immediately<br />

good at something or if it takes too long or requires<br />

too much effort to reach his desired outcome. He wants<br />

to return and play the “fun” games he’s already mastered,<br />

where he always wins, instead of pushing through the challenges<br />

of learning and mastering a new activity.<br />

As a parent, I often encourage him to stick with these<br />

new activities, enjoy the learning process, as he builds his<br />

skill set and pushes his own abilities. His smile when he<br />

achieves a goal that he struggled at minutes earlier is all the<br />

reward I need to keep supporting him in this manner and I’m<br />

confident that each of these little wins is building his own<br />

22 <strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Magazine <strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca


sense of self-worth and helping him grow as a person. I love<br />

watching this evolution within him, each victory padding<br />

his intrinsic value and helping shape the man he’ll one day<br />

become.<br />

It occurred to me that these same virtues I’ve asked him<br />

to embrace had also taken hold of me. I needed to push<br />

my own boundaries despite the discomfort of sharing my<br />

thoughts on parenting in a space where I feel vulnerable. In<br />

doing so, I would be more in line with my personal values,<br />

leading by example and acting as a role model for my son.<br />

By espousing these values of lifelong learning and personal<br />

growth, my encouragement for him would carry more<br />

weight for me personally and hopefully resonate better with<br />

him.<br />

So here we are… it’s been a minute for you, but over a<br />

week since I wrote my first sentence above. I’ve written,<br />

revised, removed, replaced and refined my thoughts you’ve<br />

just read. In the meantime, I’ve stalled, procrastinated and<br />

re-prioritized.<br />

Through the process, I’ve grown a real compassion for<br />

how frightening it is to try something new, how raw it feels<br />

to put yourself out there when the result may fall flat of your<br />

objectives and seen firsthand how easy it is to retreat back<br />

to the comfort of where you’re at and not put yourself out<br />

there at all.<br />

There’s an expression “The child is the father of the man”<br />

which implies the values instilled in us and behaviours of<br />

our childhood shape the person we become as an adult. I<br />

hope that the virtues I’m trying to extoll are setting my boy<br />

on a path for happiness, fulfillment and success, that I am<br />

embracing his inherent love and natural gifts while providing<br />

the leadership to show that his path requires not only talent<br />

but also initiative and dedication.<br />

Geoff Spears is a mobile app developer living in<br />

Colwood with his adorable son and their tiny gold dog.<br />

When he’s not chasing them in opposite directions<br />

at the beach, he may be playing music or wondering<br />

what became of his other hobbies.<br />

geoff.spears@gmail.com<br />

<strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca<br />

<strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 23


PLAY<br />

Symphony & Opera<br />

in the Park<br />

Have you always wanted to take<br />

your child to the opera or symphony,<br />

but you weren’t sure which<br />

concert to choose, or the tickets were a<br />

little too much for your budget? Well,<br />

look no further, because the Victoria<br />

Symphony and Pacific Opera Victoria<br />

are offering two free full orchestral<br />

concerts on August 4 and August 5.<br />

These special concerts are called<br />

“Symphony and Opera” and it will be<br />

performed at the Cameron Bandshell in<br />

beautiful Beacon Hill Park. Cameron<br />

Bandshell, also known as The Stage<br />

in the Park, is located in the middle<br />

of the park, off Arbutus Bridge Way.<br />

Since it is an outdoor event it’s best to<br />

bring folding lawn chairs or a blanket<br />

for your family to share. There are<br />

also outdoor benches at the Bandshell.<br />

Another good idea is to pack a food<br />

hamper or small cooler with water and<br />

snacks.<br />

The symphony will be playing a variety<br />

of orchestral and opera pieces. On<br />

the program is Rossini’s The Barber of<br />

Seville, Vaughan-Williams Sea Songs,<br />

Bernstein’s West Side Story, John Williams’<br />

Flight to Neverland and much<br />

more.<br />

Listening to the symphony and hearing<br />

opera singers is a wonderful way to<br />

spend time with your family, especially<br />

when it is presented in an outdoor venue<br />

in the park. As parents, we should<br />

encourage our children to listen to all<br />

forms of music including symphonic<br />

and operatic music. Research suggests<br />

that classical music can have numerous<br />

positive effects for children, including<br />

memory development, creativity and<br />

self-expression.<br />

Listening to a selection of symphonic<br />

and operatic music before attending<br />

the concert is a good idea. This will<br />

give your child an idea of what instrument<br />

and vocal sounds to expect at a<br />

concert. For operas, start with childfriendly<br />

plots and characters, such<br />

as The Magic Flute by Mozart. This<br />

opera features enchantments and silliness<br />

with some of the most memorable<br />

music of all time. Or listen to Rossini’s<br />

The Barber of Seville. It is a fun opera<br />

24 <strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Magazine <strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca


Opera can be a great way to introduce<br />

kids to music and storytelling.<br />

Here are a few ideas to make it fun<br />

for them:<br />

Use visual aids. Watch videos of<br />

operas online and show your kids<br />

the sets, costumes, and singers. You<br />

could also use picture books to help<br />

them understand the story.<br />

Attend an opera together. Many<br />

opera companies offer family-friendly<br />

performances, with shorter running<br />

times and interactive elements.<br />

that features Figaro, the barber who<br />

charmingly masterminds a successful<br />

ending for two lovers. The opera is full<br />

of funny scenes and music that you will<br />

never forget.<br />

As well, an excellent book to read<br />

before attending the concert is Meet<br />

the Orchestra by Ann Hayes. It is a<br />

lively book that explains the orchestra<br />

sections with colorful illustrations. Another<br />

informative book is Zin!Zin!Zin<br />

a Violin by Lloyd Moss. It is written in<br />

rhythmic verse with bright detailed artwork<br />

of the various instruments.<br />

By taking the time to explore music<br />

and attending the Symphony and Opera<br />

concert you will be expanding your<br />

child’s music appreciation and creating<br />

memories for your whole family.<br />

EXPLORING OUR WORLD<br />

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SEPTEMBER<br />

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spends her time playing the<br />

piano and cello.<br />

<strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca<br />

<strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 25


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Your Loving<br />

Other<br />

Many couples are sure that learning better communication<br />

skills will fix their relationship. If<br />

this were true, why weren’t your communication<br />

skills a problem back in the romance stage? While learning<br />

more effective ways of listening, speaking and taking turns<br />

is important, research shows, it’s only a small part of a<br />

healthy relationship.<br />

While we need the foundation of trust and commitment,<br />

we also need to be on the lookout for bad habits and our<br />

own immature reactions. We all have immature parts that<br />

stop us from using all our great skills. Over-reactions,<br />

pouting, criticisms, sour tones, defensiveness and throwing<br />

the blame ball sum up just a few behaviours to catch and<br />

extinguish. First step; notice if you are doing these things.<br />

Second step; stop yourself, breathe and take some time to<br />

access a little calmness. Slow things down and connect to<br />

your values. Who do you want to be in relationship? What<br />

do you have control over?<br />

There are certain values, that if shared by a couple, can<br />

guide a relationship. They are:<br />

Responsible communication where you listen effectively,<br />

use safe language and show respect.<br />

26 <strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Magazine<br />

<strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca


BIRTH NEWBORN MATERNITY FAMILY<br />

PHOTOGRAPHY BY KANDYCE JOELINE<br />

VANCOUVER ISLAND<br />

SONGBIRDANDOAKPHOTOGRAPHY.COM<br />

250 951 3831<br />

Protecting your relationship from intrusions (children,<br />

extended family work, hobbies…). Obviously, our children<br />

need us but that shouldn’t be our main focus. If it is, we can<br />

lose sight of important issues to resolve as a couple and our<br />

children will carry that anxiety.<br />

Being accountable and doing what we say we are going to<br />

do, even if it means putting the toilet paper on the right way.<br />

Yes, there is a right way.<br />

Take responsibility for your feelings, needs and wants.<br />

Your partner can’t and shouldn’t read your mind.<br />

Commit to personal growth and development.<br />

Among these values is the ongoing curiosity about your<br />

partner. Ask how they feel about their day rather than what<br />

they did. Nurture a friendship and play together. Not everything<br />

has to be so serious. Try getting together and not talk<br />

about the kids and recycling.<br />

Share your dreams, your goals and challenge one another<br />

to get there. Above all, make the comfort of your partner’s<br />

nervous system your top priority. If they are upset or feel<br />

hurt by something you have said, stop talking. Turn toward<br />

them and give them your loving, mature reassurance reminding<br />

them that you are their loving other.<br />

Eternal<br />

Bond<br />

PHOTOGRAPHY<br />

couples • family • birth • newborn • maternity • wedding<br />

intimate lifestyle photography<br />

tamara-bond@hotmail.com<br />

@eternal.bond.photography<br />

Dr. Allison Rees is a parent educator, counsellor<br />

and coach at LIFE Seminars (Living in Families<br />

Effectively), lifeseminars.com.<br />

<strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca<br />

<strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 27


NATURENOTES<br />

Celebrating Dead Wood<br />

When I was a youngster, I made<br />

a discovery so shockingly glorious<br />

that I still search for the<br />

feeling it gave me to this day. I decided<br />

for the first time to flip a decaying log.<br />

What was under this log awoke something<br />

in me that felt like it predated back<br />

thousands of years. The feeling was so<br />

alluring, soothing and utterly thrilling!<br />

Finding things. This feeling is everything…searching<br />

and finding, and relishing<br />

at nature’s magic. What did I find?<br />

An Eastern Red-backed Salamander.<br />

The thing was, I had absolutely no idea<br />

that salamanders existed! To me, this animal<br />

was completely novel. It was snakelike,<br />

but with the most adorable little<br />

limbs! It looked waxy, smooth and shiny,<br />

boasting two large eyes and a handsome<br />

red stripe. It was the greatest creature I<br />

had ever seen and my heart filled with<br />

awe.<br />

What are the happenings at the site of<br />

a single dead log? Who shows up? Who<br />

stays, comes and goes? Why should you<br />

love your local dead logs as much as you<br />

love your local birds and flowers? I’ll tell<br />

you.<br />

It is so often the underappreciated<br />

parts of an ecosytem that form the building<br />

blocks for the elements that are most<br />

cherished by humans. The things we label<br />

as gross or burdensome in fact play indispensible<br />

roles. They are the life source for<br />

the charismatic creatures that are popular<br />

and loved, and they are incredibly neat!<br />

Home<br />

Dead wood is an ecological house<br />

party and many are invited. The variety<br />

of species that live inside, around, on<br />

top of and underneath dead wood is astounding.<br />

This list includes the obvious:<br />

worms, isopods, salamanders, centipedes,<br />

ants…. And the not-so obvious: bears,<br />

bats and even large cats! A single stick<br />

could be home for fungi, protizoae, bacteria,<br />

springtails, mites and many other<br />

micro-fauna.<br />

Consider ants. Their bodies are built<br />

for incredible feats of strength and enduarance.<br />

Living up to 30 years and having<br />

jaw parts that can move at a speed of<br />

nearly 400km/hr, these tiny creatures are<br />

rather impressive. Dead logs are a prefered<br />

habitat for many ant speices, and<br />

ants are a prefered food souce for certain<br />

bear populations! Some BC populations<br />

of bears are dependent on ants as a food<br />

source when berries become sparse. The<br />

roles of ants go far beyond this example,<br />

but it gives us an idea of the connections<br />

to be made.<br />

Food<br />

Dead wood is an ecological house<br />

party and the food is pleantiful. The<br />

creatures that dwell near or within dead<br />

wood are an important food source for<br />

the forest, as is the dead wood itself.<br />

Fungi, for example, are a major food<br />

source for many animals like slugs, squirrels<br />

and deer. Fungi love dead wood and<br />

are consummate decomposers. Consider<br />

a tree that has fallen after 800 years of<br />

life. Who has walked by this tree in the<br />

past 800 years? What has happened<br />

above its root system? What has this tree<br />

witnessed?<br />

An organism this old has aquired mass<br />

amounts of nutrients in its voyage to<br />

become a towering and fantastical old<br />

growth tree. Within the now-dead tree is<br />

a cache of nutrients, but not just anyone<br />

can eat dead wood!<br />

Fungi, using fine filliments called mycelia,<br />

excrete enzymes that break down<br />

dead wood for their consumption. Tree’s<br />

cell walls contain lignin which allows<br />

them to stand tall and avoid rot—it is<br />

very difficult to break down. In fact,<br />

fungi are the only major group that can<br />

break down lignin. They are effectively a<br />

giant digestive tract for the forest! They<br />

take the nutrients in wood and turn it<br />

into food for the whole ecosytem.<br />

Function<br />

Dead wood is an ecological houseparty<br />

and the performers are incredible! Dead<br />

wood isn’t just an important habitat and<br />

part of a diverse food system. It provides<br />

numerous ecosytem functions. It stores<br />

carbon which is slowly released as it is<br />

broken down and can be used by the<br />

forest and its organisms. Removing the<br />

wood robs the soil and micro-organisms<br />

of carbon stores, and burning the wood<br />

releases carbon into the environment too<br />

quickly.<br />

Logs, snags, and trunks create habitat<br />

diversity and can provide shade for new<br />

seedlings, or help keep moisture in the<br />

ecosytem during dry seasons. In areas<br />

near water (riparian zones), dead logs<br />

can stabilize soil, provide nutrients to the<br />

aquatic ecosytem, divert waterflows…the<br />

list goes on and on.<br />

Wonder<br />

Dead wood is an ecological house<br />

party and you are invited (if you follow<br />

house rules).<br />

While I don’t recommend flipping over<br />

dead wood all over the forest (it could be<br />

disruptive to its inhabitants), I invite you<br />

to spend some time with it.<br />

28 <strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Magazine <strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca


You could win WildPlay Season<br />

Passes for your family by<br />

sharing your Family Favourites!<br />

Family Favourites, presented by <strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong>, is developed<br />

to celebrate and be a resource for quality family retailers<br />

and service providers in our community.<br />

Find a log and imagine all that has<br />

happened at the site of this once tree,<br />

now log. What has it seen? How many<br />

organisms have used this wood? Thousands?<br />

Millions? Billions? How many<br />

nutrients have cycled through this microhabitat?<br />

How many connections have<br />

been made?<br />

Perhaps the dead wood will spark a<br />

poem, a painting, a one-act play, a conversation<br />

or even just an acknowledgment.<br />

“Good job wood, you’ve done<br />

more than I can imagine.”<br />

Join Us<br />

Join us this summer at the Nature<br />

Sanctuary for one of our children’s, family<br />

or adult programs and you will also<br />

find wonder in nature! See our calendar,<br />

register, and learn about our programs on<br />

our website: swanlake.bc.ca or follow us<br />

@SwanLakeNature.<br />

Madi Haller is a Community Educator at<br />

Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary.<br />

Madi is enthralled by the often unnoticed corners<br />

of the natural world, like slime molds, fungi<br />

and insects!<br />

<strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca<br />

Categories Include<br />

• Favourite Outings • Favourite Personal Services<br />

• Favourite Retail Stores • Favourite Food Services<br />

• Favourite Children’s Businesses and Services<br />

We want you to nominate<br />

your Family Favourites!<br />

Who has the best products and services<br />

that your family loves?<br />

Enter at islandparent.ca/family-favourites-nominate<br />

And be entered to win Season Passes for WildPlay!<br />

<strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 29


Join<br />

Our<br />

Team<br />

<strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Group—BC’s largest publisher of parenting<br />

content—is expanding its editorial team. We publish <strong>Island</strong><br />

<strong>Parent</strong> Magazine, WestCoast Families, GRAND and Tweens<br />

& Teens. We are looking for someone who is passionate about<br />

sharing the joys and struggles of parenting through multiple<br />

mediums. This position will help shape the editorial direction of<br />

our magazines, websites and social media. We are looking for a<br />

growth-minded star who wants to be a part of a mighty team!<br />

Contact publisher@islandparent.ca<br />

I S L A N D P A R E N T G R O U P<br />

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Register For Music Lessons Today.<br />

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Visit our website to find the location nearest you!<br />

30 <strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Magazine <strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca


PRESCHOOL&CHILDCARESPOTLIGHT<br />

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cloverdalechildcare.com<br />

250.995.1766 cloverdale@shawbiz.ca<br />

Licensed child care facility with spots available for children<br />

aged 3-5 years. Contact us to book a tour today!<br />

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director@littlephoenixchildcare.ca 778-269-2273<br />

Christ Church Cathedral Childcare<br />

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ECE and specialist teachers provide an<br />

outstanding all day licensed program for<br />

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cathedralschool.ca<br />

SEEDLINGS<br />

Forest Education<br />

Where nature becomes the Teacher!<br />

Seedlings Forest Education is a Nature based program<br />

that includes After School Care, Nature Preschool, <strong>Parent</strong><br />

Workshops, Saturday Seedlings, <strong>Summer</strong> Camps and more!<br />

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Ready Set Grow Preschool.....250-472-1530<br />

Join our learning through play preschool located<br />

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an enriched Program for 3-4 hour, 2-5 days a<br />

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Nestled on 4 acres of lush west coast forest, our Award<br />

winning, Nature based program will not disappoint!<br />

While firmly embracing the Reggio-Emila (Italy) Philosophy our<br />

dedicated team of educators use the environment as the third<br />

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Our purpose built facilities have been handmade using the<br />

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<strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca<br />

<strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 31


PLAY<br />

SunFest <strong>2023</strong><br />

Get your tickets now to see this incredible family-friendly country<br />

music festival in Lake Cowichan! Grab a campsite and take in some<br />

or all the concerts from August 3–6. You’ll enjoy shows by big<br />

international stars such as Blake Shelton, as well as show your<br />

support for local bands such as The Country Line.<br />

sunfestconcerts.com<br />

COWICHAN VALLEY<br />

NANAIMO & AREA<br />

Nanaimo Blues Festival<br />

The Nanaimo Blues Festival will be at Matteo Sutton Park in Nanaimo<br />

from August 10-13, <strong>2023</strong>. Bring your blankets and beach chairs to<br />

sit back with your family and enjoy music from new local artists to<br />

famous names. Pack a picnic or purchase food from a variety of<br />

trucks on-site. Get your tickets now!<br />

nanaimoblues.ca<br />

Cumberland Wild<br />

One weekend. One stage. Three shows! Get your tickets now<br />

to Cumberland Wild, happening at Cumberland Village Park on<br />

August 19 and 20. This incredible non-stop weekend of food, fun<br />

and music—including a silent overnight dance party—will provide<br />

all different types of world class music and dance in the<br />

picturesque village of Cumberland.<br />

cumberlandwild.com<br />

GREATER VICTORIA<br />

COMOX VALLEY<br />

Day of the Dog<br />

Bring your entire family—including your furry friends—to Bullen Park<br />

in Esquimalt on August 12 and 13! This free event offers fun, food<br />

and all the festivities to have a great day out in the park. You’ll find<br />

pet products, pet activities and everything else you need to make<br />

your dog a happy pup!<br />

petapaloozawest.com/victoria1<br />

Need help with the Affordable Child Care Benefit?<br />

Looking for child care? Taking care of children?<br />

Need child care training?<br />

Call your local CCRR for free referrals and resources.<br />

Victoria & Gulf <strong>Island</strong>s: 250-382-7000<br />

Sooke: 250-642-5152 ext 239 West Shore: 250-940-4882<br />

Cowichan Valley: 250-746-4135 local 231<br />

PacificCare (Ladysmith North): 250-756-2022 or 1-888-480-2273<br />

gov.bc.ca/ChildCareResourceReferralCentres<br />

Your community’s best source of<br />

child care information and resources.<br />

Funding for the CCRR is provided by the province of B.C.<br />

32 <strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Magazine<br />

<strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca


Vol. VI, Ed. III<br />

GRAND<br />

grandmag.ca<br />

<strong>Summer</strong>time Is<br />

Grandparent Time<br />

Helping Kids<br />

Face Their Fears<br />

Relearning<br />

History<br />

A Tour to Kiixin


Explore<br />

Relearning History<br />

A Tour to Kiixin<br />

The sky is overcast but the rain is<br />

holding off as we gather at the Kiixin<br />

Tour Office on the East Government<br />

Dock in Bamfield. There are 10 of my<br />

family members present, spanning three<br />

generations, all eager to follow a Traditional<br />

Knowledge Holder through lush<br />

rainforest to an ancient village site on<br />

the west coast of Vancouver <strong>Island</strong>. Stella<br />

Peters introduces herself as our guide for<br />

the morning, and it’s clear at once that<br />

we’re in good hands. There’s a final washroom<br />

run once we’ve signed our paperwork,<br />

and then we pile into our cars and<br />

following Stella’s truck a short distance<br />

back down the Bamfield Highway and<br />

onto a private gravel road.<br />

With two giant carved figures to welcome<br />

us, the trailhead is impossible to<br />

miss. The figures are Nutchkoa and Hominiki,<br />

we later learn, the first ancestors<br />

of the Huu-ay-aht, one of the Nuu-chahnulth<br />

peoples. As impressive as they are,<br />

the two figures are significantly smaller<br />

than the original carvings first erected in<br />

the village of Kiixin over 160 years ago.<br />

Taken from Kiixin in 1911, the original<br />

figures now stand watch in the lobby<br />

of the Royal BC Museum. New, full-size<br />

figures were carved and installed at the<br />

entrance to the House of Huu-ay-aht at<br />

Pachena Bay in 2000.<br />

As we join the other tour participants<br />

in the shelter at the trailhead, Stella<br />

shares this and more. “Journey with our<br />

ancestors” is one of the taglines of the<br />

tour—and with Stella’s guidance that is<br />

exactly what we do. Her words and visual<br />

materials take us from the distant past to<br />

the present. We learn about the ancient<br />

site itself, a 19th century village and fortress<br />

that shows evidence of continuous<br />

occupation for at least 3,000 years—and<br />

as much as 5,000 years, according to oral<br />

tradition. We learn about the archeological<br />

surveys that Stella participated in—<br />

and her Nation’s decision not to proceed<br />

with a full-scale excavation. We learn<br />

about the traditional skills and practices<br />

that allowed the Huu-ay-aht to live in<br />

this area for millennia. Best of all, we<br />

receive this information from a Traditional<br />

Knowledge Holder rather than an<br />

“outside,” non-indigenous source.<br />

As we move through time, Stella’s<br />

words inevitably lead to more painful<br />

territory—the decimation of the Huu-ayaht<br />

population as the result of European<br />

diseases, the loss of cultural treasures to<br />

19th and 20th century collectors, and the<br />

tragic consequences of the residential<br />

school system. These are difficult but<br />

necessary subjects, and Stella discusses<br />

them in a manner that is both matterof-fact<br />

and sensitive to the presence of<br />

children on the tour.<br />

With our guide’s introduction complete,<br />

we start down the rainforest trail<br />

towards the village site. The trail is not<br />

particularly long (at least not for our<br />

family of hikers), but we take our time,<br />

moving carefully down flights of stairs<br />

and over long sections of boardwalk.<br />

There are frequent stops as well, as<br />

Stella points out things of interest. I’m<br />

fascinated by the culturally modified<br />

trees—ancient cedars with strips of bark<br />

removed for clothing and basket-making,<br />

and other trees with entire planks missing<br />

for cradles, boxes and houses.<br />

Finally, we reach our destination. I’ve<br />

had the privilege of visiting many west<br />

coast beaches and coves, but this one is<br />

particularly breathtaking. It’s a strategic<br />

<strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca


BRIGHT BEGINNING<br />

location as well as a picturesque one, set<br />

for defensive reasons “between the rugged<br />

outer coast and the protected inner<br />

waters of Barkley Sound.” Today there’s<br />

a bear waiting to greet us as we reach the<br />

sand. We keep a respectful distance, and<br />

the bear eventually wanders off—into<br />

the very section of the forest where Stella<br />

was planning to lead us. While we wait<br />

for the bear to wander a little further, we<br />

take out our packed lunches and have a<br />

quick picnic.<br />

Kiixin was the traditional capital village<br />

of the Huu-ay-aht, and it remains a<br />

sacred site. According to Parks Canada,<br />

“it is the only known First Nations village<br />

of more than 100 villages on the southern<br />

B.C. coast that still features significant,<br />

standing traditional architecture.”<br />

To see the remains of these structures<br />

in person, and to hear dramatic stories<br />

from a descendant of the resourceful and<br />

courageous people who lived on the site<br />

for millennia, is an unforgettable experience.<br />

As a child growing up in Nanaimo, I<br />

had very little knowledge of the complex<br />

indigenous cultures that existed on Vancouver<br />

<strong>Island</strong> before the first newcomers<br />

disembarked from their ships. The curriculum<br />

didn’t cover much local history<br />

back then, and what I did learn mostly<br />

began with the arrival of European explorers<br />

in the 1700’s.<br />

Things are different for my grandchildren—and<br />

for that I am profoundly<br />

grateful. I am especially grateful to Stella<br />

Peters and other Traditional Knowledge<br />

Holders across the <strong>Island</strong> who are sharing<br />

their stories and cultural teachings<br />

so generously. We can’t change the past,<br />

but we can certainly be intentional about<br />

how we go forward—and learning what<br />

we didn’t know before is an essential part<br />

of that process.<br />

Kiixin Tours are offered from the May<br />

long weekend to Labour Day. While the<br />

4-hour morning tour worked best for<br />

our extended family, there is also an<br />

evening tour, which includes songs and<br />

drumming on the beach. Headlamps or<br />

flashlights and a towel or blanket to sit<br />

on are required on the evening tour. The<br />

hike into Kiixin is rated “moderate plus,”<br />

thanks to uneven terrain, potentially<br />

slippery boardwalks and a steep flight<br />

of stairs down to the beach. According<br />

to the tour website, people with injuries,<br />

mobility challenges or hiking-restricted<br />

medical conditions cannot be accommodated.<br />

Children aged seven and older are welcome<br />

on the tour, as long as they are accompanied<br />

by a parent or guardian aged<br />

19 years or older. For more information,<br />

visit kiixin.ca/tour.<br />

Rachel Dunstan Muller is a<br />

children’s author, storyteller,<br />

podcaster and grandmother.<br />

You can find her podcasts<br />

Hintertales: Stories from the<br />

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<strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca<br />

<strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 35


Grandparenting<br />

Helping Kids Face Their Fears<br />

Every child passes through that<br />

stage of being afraid of monsters—under<br />

the bed, in dark<br />

corners, down in the basement—it<br />

seems to be a universal childhood fear.<br />

This fear can take root before a child<br />

is at an age when a parent can even<br />

reason with them and provide logical<br />

explanations, and even then, that<br />

assurance rarely seems to allay such<br />

deep-seated phobias. And some children’s<br />

fairy tales only serve to fan the<br />

fire—the witch in Hansel and Gretel<br />

who cooks children, the giant in Jack<br />

and Beanstalk who will “grind Jack’s<br />

bones to make his bread” or the big,<br />

bad wolf in The Three Little Pigs who is<br />

out to devour some piggies.<br />

I’ve had these experiences with<br />

my own sons, and now predictably,<br />

my young grandson seems to be going<br />

through the same phase. This was<br />

made clear to me on a recent trip to<br />

the public library. Whenever we visit<br />

the library, I turn my grandson lose in<br />

the children’s section where he will<br />

often tuck himself away with a book<br />

that catches his interest. On this particular<br />

visit, I didn’t notice he had his<br />

nose in a book about monsters until<br />

he asked me to put it back because it<br />

was scaring him. As we walked home<br />

afterwards, I noticed he wouldn’t hold<br />

my hand. Any time I extended my<br />

hand to him, he shied away from me to<br />

the other side of the sidewalk. When I<br />

asked him what was wrong, he said he<br />

didn’t want to hold my hand because<br />

he was afraid I was going to turn into<br />

a monster. So I asked him: “You’ve<br />

known me seven years now, have I ever<br />

turned into a monster?” His answer? “I<br />

don’t think so, but sometimes you look<br />

pretty scary.”<br />

Well…I asked.<br />

How best to handle this touchy subject<br />

of childhood fears and phobias?<br />

In my own childhood, the prevailing<br />

approach by many parents at that time<br />

was a no-nonsense one—there are no<br />

such thing as monsters. Period. Simple<br />

as that. It was as if a child’s fears were<br />

not be “indulged.” I was raised with<br />

this approach and can attest that it did<br />

nothing other than cause me to feel<br />

ashamed and somehow inadequate. Although<br />

on one level, I trusted the word<br />

of my parents (that they wouldn’t lie<br />

to me), but their logic simply could not<br />

quell my fears. I still took the basement<br />

steps two at a time and insisted<br />

on my bedroom door being left open<br />

with the hall light on. My fear of the<br />

dark was so innate and so irrational<br />

that it overruled all common sense until<br />

I was well into my teens.<br />

As a result, my approach with my<br />

own children was very different. Having<br />

been a victim of my own fears, I<br />

didn’t want to make my children feel<br />

bad about experiencing their own. So<br />

I listened, hugged and validated their<br />

concerns. I actually found it helpful<br />

to confess my own childhood fears<br />

to them as a way of illustrating that<br />

at some point, these anxieties which<br />

seem so overwhelming when we’re<br />

young, gradually lessen or fall away<br />

as we grow into adulthood. And yet, I<br />

also readily admitted to them that even<br />

in adulthood, I still have some fears I<br />

continue to grapple with.<br />

36 <strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Magazine <strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca


I am pleased to see books in the<br />

public library that address the topic<br />

of childhood fears. I’ve read several<br />

stories with my young grandson that<br />

illustrate the mastering of a particular<br />

phobia. While reading these stories, I<br />

am quick to point out the accompanying<br />

feeling of accomplishment and<br />

pride the child experiences by the<br />

end of the book. Many of these books<br />

employ a well-trusted behavioural<br />

therapy technique in which children<br />

are gradually exposed to their fears<br />

in a safe, secure environment. Take<br />

the fear of spiders, for instance, yet<br />

another phobia of mine! Reading<br />

books together about spiders and their<br />

importance in our ecosystem might<br />

be a way to start addressing this fear.<br />

Having a child look at illustrations and<br />

photos, even gently encouraging them<br />

to touch those photos, can help to desensitize<br />

their fear.<br />

Pointing out spiders in one’s outdoor<br />

environment and watching them<br />

build a web or collecting a spider in a<br />

bug box are some further ideas to help<br />

with desensitising. I am a firm believer<br />

that steps like this help make fears<br />

more manageable. Those fears may<br />

never be calmed, but at least we can<br />

develop coping skills that can serve us<br />

well later on in life.<br />

Susan Gnucci is a local<br />

author and a proud “nonna”<br />

to two young grandsons. She<br />

enjoys sharing her experiences<br />

as a grandparent.<br />

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<strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca<br />

<strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 37


Grandparenting<br />

<strong>Summer</strong>time Is Grandparent Time<br />

<strong>Summer</strong>time often means more<br />

time for grandparents to spend<br />

with grandchildren. Sometimes<br />

that’s a vacation or cottage getaway.<br />

Sometimes it’s a childcare-in-the-city<br />

situation. Either way, it may be a time<br />

where grandparents get more day-to-day<br />

interaction with their grandkids who are<br />

not in school. With lots of activities and<br />

destinations to choose from, how does a<br />

grandparent decide what to do?<br />

You may want to think about activities,<br />

which, while being fun and novel, will<br />

also support academic learning. Some<br />

of these will be obvious, but some might<br />

have benefits you have not thought of.<br />

Take the dolls tea party, for example.<br />

Set the table for tea time with the dolls,<br />

stuffed animals and action figures—don’t<br />

forget about the beloved cars and trucks.<br />

Discuss patterns, distributing one napkin<br />

to each creature, anticipating the needs<br />

of others. Pouring out the “tea” and passing<br />

the cookies provides practice in turntaking<br />

and polite pleases and thank yous.<br />

If you want to go all out, how about<br />

baking the cookies? Choose a really simple<br />

recipe with few ingredients. But even<br />

a three-year-old can help to measure and<br />

pour and stir. Cooking is a great way to<br />

reinforce math concepts (measurements<br />

of volume and weights, setting timers,<br />

talking about temperatures).<br />

Baking is also an opportunity for practicing<br />

fine motor skills, pouring, cutting<br />

(butter, with a table knife, for example—<br />

nothing sharp!), blending butter into<br />

flour. It gives kids a chance to experience<br />

and talk about textures (powdery flour,<br />

greasy butter) which they don’t feel<br />

every day, as well as smells: cinnamon,<br />

lemon peel, cloves. Not to mention the<br />

way soft dough become crisp cookie—it’s<br />

not magic, it’s chemistry!<br />

Building with blocks provides lots<br />

of opportunities to practice fine motor<br />

coordination and engineering skills. Of<br />

course it all starts with you building a<br />

tower and your grandchild knocking it<br />

down. A great exercise in turn taking!<br />

A little later, set up a small construction<br />

and challenge your grandchild to copy<br />

it. Then ask them to set you a challenge.<br />

Create enclosures for toys animals and<br />

dinosaurs. Make a house for the dolls.<br />

Lots of opportunities for telling stories.<br />

With older kids (4 and up) grandparents<br />

can teach them card games. Start<br />

with sorting the cards into red and black,<br />

or suits, or numbers versus face cards.<br />

Progress to Memory where all the cards<br />

are laid out face down and each player<br />

turns over two at a time. The goal is to<br />

remember where the cards are and find<br />

matching pairs. Games like War and<br />

PishePasha great starting games that<br />

don’t require small kiddy-hands to hold<br />

fanned-out cards (that’s a difficult fine<br />

motor skill!). By the time kids are 6 or<br />

7, they can learn Crazy Eights or Gin<br />

Rummy. And I know eight-year-olds who<br />

play Bridge!<br />

Outdoor play is a great time to develop<br />

gross motor skills, like running, kicking<br />

and throwing.<br />

These skills take a long time to develop<br />

and kids need a lot of practice! Take the<br />

opportunity to discuss things we CAN<br />

kick and throw (balls in the field, stones<br />

into the water) and those we must not.<br />

There are lots of games you can create<br />

around throwing stones into the ocean<br />

or a lake: who can throw it farther (of<br />

course), who can hit that log, who can<br />

do the silliest throw, who can throw over<br />

their shoulder. But just meditatively tossing<br />

stones in the water can make space<br />

for conversation and connection.<br />

Time outdoors also promotes healthy<br />

eye development. Studies have shown<br />

that spending a couple of hours a day<br />

outdoors reduces the incidence of myopia<br />

(short-sightedness). It seems that the<br />

bright light of the outdoors, and the opportunity<br />

to focus on the far-away things<br />

give the eyes the stimulation they need.<br />

On Vancouver <strong>Island</strong> we are so lucky<br />

to have relatively easy access to the shore<br />

and the ocean.<br />

There are so many opportunities there<br />

for wildlife observation, exploring tide<br />

pools, building sand castles, collecting<br />

pebbles or driftwood. But remember that<br />

just being outdoors, with unstructured<br />

time is hugely beneficial for children—<br />

and everyone else. The fresh air, the sunshine<br />

(remember sunscreen, hats, and<br />

the hydrantion), and the freedom is what<br />

summer is all about!<br />

Eva Bild, MA, AdvCD(DONA), LCCE<br />

is a Childbirth and Lactation<br />

Educator, and Birth Doula<br />

Trainer. She has been teaching<br />

and supporting childbearing<br />

families in Victoria since 1994.<br />

She become a grandmother this year!<br />

38 <strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Magazine <strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca


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<strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca<br />

<strong>Summer</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 39


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