Island Parent Fall 2023

Vancouver Island’s Parenting Resource for 35 Years: Out & About in Nature: Rain or Shine • The Cool of Volunteering at School • Lessons from a Little Kid • Setting Kids Up for Success at School • Be Gentle with Yourself • Tweens & Teens

Vancouver Island’s Parenting Resource for 35 Years: Out & About in Nature: Rain or Shine • The Cool of Volunteering at School • Lessons from a Little Kid • Setting Kids Up for Success at School • Be Gentle with Yourself • Tweens & Teens


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

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


Out & About in<br />

NATURE<br />

Rain or Shine!<br />

The Cool of<br />

Volunteering<br />

at School<br />

Lessons from<br />

a Little Kid<br />


Preschool for today’s child<br />

...and tomorrow’s inner child.<br />

•<br />

FA M I LY • FAVO U R I T E S<br />


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

FULL DAY<br />

Program<br />

starting <strong>Fall</strong><br />

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

Children possess boundless imagination,<br />

perfect openness to the world<br />

and all its beauty, and the inborn idea<br />

that anything is possible. We believe<br />

that these wonderful gifts should not<br />

fade with age.<br />

With an innovative program enriched<br />

by music, dance, theatre and visual<br />

arts, our goal is to enable children<br />

to fully explore and express these<br />

gifts in an endless variety of ways.<br />

Inspiring and nurturing today’s child<br />

firmly implants their future inner child<br />

– that playfulness, creativity, vision and<br />

confidence that will enable them to<br />

realize their dreams.<br />

Pre-K to Grade 12 www.ArtsCalibre.ca 250-382-3533<br />

“When I examine myself and my method of<br />

thought, I come to the conclusion that the<br />

gift of fantasy has meant more to me than<br />

my talent for absorbing knowledge.”<br />

– Albert Einstein<br />

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

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

<strong>Fall</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 3


6 10<br />

Need to Know<br />

9<br />

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

I ❤ <strong>Island</strong> Out & About in Nature<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 />

Set Kids Up for Success<br />

18<br />

Giving Back<br />

14<br />

Lessons from a Little Kid<br />

20<br />

Kids’ Reads<br />

16<br />

22<br />

Always Half Full<br />

Cut It Out!<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 />

28<br />

What’s for Dinner<br />

Mom’s POV<br />

Dad Speak<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 />

Discord<br />

Navigating Conflict<br />

Be a Role Model<br />

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


Giving Thanks<br />

out with people who love hanging out with<br />

their kids.”<br />

“Hang<br />

That’s still one of the best pieces of parenting<br />

advice I’ve ever received—as relevant now as it was when I first<br />

heard it years ago.<br />

Whether it’s hanging out over coffee in those early first days,<br />

or at a post-natal yoga class a few months later, or on a playground<br />

racing around after your teetering toddlers, being with<br />

other parents who love being with their kids is contagious. It<br />

makes everything that much more fun. And, when we need it,<br />

that much more bearable. It lets you know you’re not alone,<br />

that you’re part of a supportive and bigger community.<br />

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

What an honour, for the past 25+ years, to be part of such a<br />

supportive, inclusive and vibrant community that makes up the<br />

<strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> family: the readers, the writers and my colleagues<br />

at the magazine. Thanks to you, we’ve heard each other’s stories,<br />

lent our ears, shared wisdom, offered our hearts, spilled<br />

our tears, told jokes, swapped recipes, suggested places to go<br />

and things to do and dished out an occasional word or two of<br />

advice.<br />

To say that I’ve loved hanging out with all of you would be<br />

an understatement.<br />

So it is with a heavy yet grateful heart that I say farewell. I<br />

am so thankful to have been part of the <strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> community<br />

for all these years and now, with four adult children—and<br />

four grandchildren!—look forward to remaining part of that<br />

community…but in a whole new way!<br />

Thank you for hanging out with me at <strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong>, for letting<br />

me hang out with all of you, for your contributions, your<br />

comments and for your connection. I’ve loved and always will<br />

love being part of the community and look forward to watching<br />

it grow.<br />

– Sue Fast<br />

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Explore<br />

Spooky<br />

Victoria<br />

Explore the spooky side of Victoria<br />

on a special Halloween edition<br />

Ghostly Walking Tour! These hourlong<br />

walking tours, suitable for adults<br />

and kids, are the perfect way to get<br />

you in the Halloween Spirit. The special<br />

Halloween tours start in Market<br />

Square and tell you all the spooktacular<br />

tales of Victoria’s past—and<br />

current—hauntings as you weave<br />

through our fine city. Even if you’ve<br />

done a ghostly tour before, the route<br />

changes every year, and you never<br />

know what spooky new things you’ll<br />

learn! For more information and to<br />

book your tickets visit discoverthepast.com/ghostly-walks.<br />

Top 10<br />

Threats<br />

to Kids in<br />

Canada<br />

The annual Raising Canada report<br />

tracks the top 10 threats to childhood<br />

and highlights emerging<br />

threats like technology misuse and<br />

cross-cutting themes like access<br />

to healthcare and social services.<br />

Among the key findings: half of<br />

Canadian youth experienced depression<br />

during the pandemic, and<br />

incidences of child violence, poverty<br />

and racism have increased significantly<br />

over the previous year. Given<br />

the ongoing rise of inflation, it’s also<br />

not surprising that food insecurity<br />

among young people increased by<br />

29 percent. To read the full report,<br />

visit childrenfirstcanada.org.<br />

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

Your Online<br />

Mommy<br />

BFFs<br />

Real-life best friend and mom<br />

duo Kristin Gallant and Deena Margolin<br />

(the founders behind Big Little<br />

Feelings) have launched a new<br />

podcast. “After Bedtime with Big<br />

Little Feelings” is kind of like the<br />

“mommy group” you wish you had—<br />

one where you show up after a long<br />

ass day of parenting, with spit up<br />

on you, in sweatpants with a wild<br />

mom bun, and you talk about allllll<br />

the things we’re all experiencing<br />

as parents that no one talks about,<br />

along with all the “taboo” topics—<br />

marriages changing after kids, miscarriage,<br />

feeling like a failure, sex<br />

drive, guilt—in a real/raw way that<br />

leaves you feeling less alone and<br />

more empowered by the end<br />

of each episode.<br />

podcasts.apple.com<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 />

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>Fall</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 7

Nature<br />

in Action<br />

Between mid-October and mid-<br />

December every year, millions of<br />

Pacific salmon make their way up the<br />

streams of the Pacific northwest to<br />

spawn and eventually die. One of the<br />

very best places to see these beautiful<br />

salmon fighting their way up the<br />

stream is in Goldstream Park. Stand<br />

and watch quietly to see the various<br />

ways the salmon make their way upstream—some<br />

alone, some in pairs.<br />

You may see a female select their<br />

spawning space and dig the hole by<br />

turning on her side and whipping her<br />

tail into the gravel. No one is really<br />

sure why and how they make their<br />

way back to their parent streams to<br />

spawn, but it truly is mesmerizing to<br />

watch them. See how many kinds<br />

of salmon you can spot!<br />

goldstreampark.com/salmon.htm<br />

GVPL<br />

Writing<br />

Challenge<br />

Want to win a gift certificate to<br />

Russell Books? If you’re over the age<br />

of 13 and living in Victoria, you still<br />

have time to enter the tiny stories<br />

contest for your chance to win! Tiny<br />

stories are composed of 450 characters<br />

or less (excluding the title).<br />

And yes, characters, not words. This<br />

means every letter, space, punctuation<br />

mark is a character and counts<br />

towards that 450 count. Pick up your<br />

tiny stories postcard at any Greater<br />

Victoria Public Library branch and<br />

challenge yourself to write your own<br />

original story. Simply mail it in or<br />

drop it off at your local branch by<br />

October 21. You can enter up to 3<br />

times. Full details at gvpl.ca.<br />

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

I ❤ ISLAND<br />

Blurb?<br />

Jenny Marie’s Crackers<br />

Go crackers for these handmade crackers! These<br />

yummy crackers come in a variety of flavours and<br />

make an awesome vessel for anything from jam<br />

to tuna, to…whatever you crave! They’re even<br />

delicious on their own. Made in Victoria, you can<br />

find them at local markets, in grocery stores or<br />

online.<br />

jennymariescrackers.com<br />

Yeshi Dressings<br />

Surprise your taste buds! Yeshi Foods is an island<br />

owned, family business dedicated to making<br />

gluten free food taste delicious! Find these tasty,<br />

innovative, nutrient rich dressings and other products<br />

in stores near you or online.<br />

yeshifoods.com<br />

Louis Pasture Pork Crisps<br />

Crunch those cravings! In 2015 two Vancouver<br />

<strong>Island</strong> sisters created these protein-rich snacks to<br />

satisfy the cravings for salty snacks while still following<br />

the Paleo diet. Using local, ethically raised<br />

pork, these tasty snacks can be found at the Duncan<br />

Farmers Market, in some stores or online.<br />

primalsisters.com<br />

•<br />

FA M I LY • FAVO U R I T E S<br />

WINNER<br />

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

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

<strong>Fall</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 9


Out & About in Nature:<br />

Rain or Shine!<br />

As the days get shorter and the sun disappears behind the<br />

trees earlier each day, it’s lovely (and easy!) to stay hunkered<br />

inside with a hot drink and a fuzzy blanket. Maybe you<br />

have a book that you can’t put down, a show that ends on a<br />

cliffhanger each episode or a knitting project for yourself or a<br />

special someone. If you asked my partner, he’d say my happy<br />

place is nestled under the blanket on the couch with a good<br />

book. And if you asked me, I’d agree! But it is just one of my<br />

happy places—I also love being outdoors and experiencing<br />

nature in all seasons.<br />

Whether sunny, cloudy or rainy, I know that being outside<br />

in nature helps my mental and physical health. And numerous<br />

studies show the benefits of spending time in nature, which<br />

include lowered stress levels, improvements in mood and<br />

emotional wellbeing, and restored capacity for concentration<br />

and attention, just to name a few! I’m fortunate to live in the<br />

southern Vancouver <strong>Island</strong> region, where we have numerous<br />

regional parks and trails to explore. The following are some<br />

of my favourites for families to explore in the fall and winter.<br />

Sooke Potholes Regional Park<br />

Sooke Potholes Regional Park, as the name suggests, has<br />

fascinating potholes to view, and in the wet winter months<br />

impressive river flow and rapids to marvel at. The potholes in<br />

the river are unique geological formations (deep pools within<br />

the river rock) that were formed by large boulders stuck in<br />

the river. These boulders were swirled around and around<br />

and created the potholes, which in many areas are surrounded<br />

steep bedrock cliffs, created by glacial erosion thousands of<br />

years ago. In the fall, there are some great trails to hike and<br />

the Sooke River is home to an annual salmon run. The river<br />

itself is the second largest on southern Vancouver <strong>Island</strong> and<br />

the sandy area just down from Parking Lot 1 offers a prime<br />

Save the date!<br />

Sunday, December 10, <strong>2023</strong><br />

• Decadent brunch buffet<br />

• Two seatings available<br />

• Pajamas & onesies encouraged!<br />

• Visit from Santa<br />

• Festive activities<br />

• Tickets on sale October 30 at<br />

islandkidsfirst.com<br />

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

spot to view the salmon as they prepare for spawning. Keep<br />

your eyes peeled for that splash of water as the salmon make<br />

their way up the river!<br />

<strong>Island</strong> View Beach Regional Park<br />

If you’re feeling more “flighty” than “fishy,” head to <strong>Island</strong><br />

View Beach Regional Park in Central Saanich for some birding<br />

opportunities. The trail next to the beach is accessible and<br />

offers views of the shoreline, the Gulf and San Juan <strong>Island</strong>s,<br />

and even Mount Baker on a clear day! <strong>Fall</strong> is a great time of<br />

year to go birding with or without binoculars. Many waterfowl<br />

are migrating south for the winter (some as far south as<br />

Argentina!) and <strong>Island</strong> View Beach can provide a place for<br />

these birds to rest and eat before journeying on. Check out<br />

ebird.ca to see recent bird sightings in the area and help you<br />

know what to look for!<br />

Devonian Regional Park<br />

If you’re in the mood for something other than animals,<br />

travel to one of the CRD’s smaller parks, Devonian Regional<br />

Park, to check out trees like our native Garry oak. Ever since<br />

I was a kid, I’ve loved seeing the sprawling branches of the<br />

oak trees. Something about them reminded me of fairy tales<br />

and as I grew older, I admired them not just for their beauty<br />

but for their strength and perseverance. Oak trees and their<br />

ecosystems in BC are rare and endangered in BC—less than<br />

5% of their ecosystem is remaining intact. But they are home<br />

to more species-at-risk than any other ecosystem, including<br />

Howell’s triteleia (a beautiful wildflower), sharp-tailed snakes<br />

(smallest snake species in BC) and the propertius dusky-wing<br />

butterfly (a butterfly completely dependent on Garry oak trees<br />

for survival). Visiting parks like Devonian remind me of the<br />

importance of having parks to protect ecosystems like these.<br />

Whichever regional park you and your family explore, take<br />

time to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of what’s around.<br />

Marvel at the big stuff and feel in awe of nature. Then take<br />

time to zoom in and appreciate the small stuff and be filled<br />

with amazement at the whole other mini world that lies beneath<br />

your feet. Always remember that staying on trail helps<br />

protect these animals and plants—big and small—for me, you<br />

and future generations to enjoy. Whether that’s in just a few<br />

months with wildflowers blooming or in years to come with<br />

future oak trees looming overhead.<br />

One thing is for sure—rain or shine this fall, I’ll be out and<br />

about in nature! How about you?<br />

Lauren Sherwood is a Parks Naturalist with the<br />

Capital Regional District. She enjoys being out in nature<br />

with family and friends of all ages, rain or shine.<br />

For more information about Regional Parks programs<br />

visit crd.bc.ca/park-events.<br />

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

<strong>Fall</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 11

LEARN<br />

Setting Kids Up<br />

for Success at School<br />

Relationships are crucial for human development. It’s attachment<br />

that tethers us together and it’s our greatest<br />

need: to belong, to be “gotten,” to love, to feel significant<br />

and to feel sameness.<br />

<strong>Parent</strong>s can start by taking responsibility to preserve the<br />

relationship so children can let go and be themselves. When<br />

we meet the attachment and dependency needs of our kids,<br />

they emerge as viable, separate beings. How?<br />

• Help children feel safe at home to experience all their big<br />

feelings. When home is an easy place to have their tears, kids<br />

are better able to navigate mistakes, failures and disappointments—for<br />

example, not getting the red crayon or not getting<br />

to play with a friend at recess.<br />

• Encourage play so kids may naturally work through<br />

worries and stresses while expressing and discharging big<br />

feelings. Settling back into the routine of school is a big<br />

transition for kids (and parents). Make space for all the feelings—excitement,<br />

anxiety, worry, frustration. Keep your after-school<br />

activities simple. Hopefully now you’re settled into<br />

the new routine and have come to terms with saying goodbye<br />

to your summer selves. Prioritize time for rest and play.<br />

• Ensure proper sleep. Sleep is restorative. If you must<br />

wake your child in the morning, they aren’t getting enough<br />

sleep.<br />

• Eat well. Healthy diets can help prevent “hangry” kids.<br />

• Establish routines. Routines can help kids feel connected<br />

because they know how the day will unfold.<br />

• Take charge of health, safety, boundaries, and support<br />

good decision making. Set limits with confidence so children<br />

can rest in knowing we’ll take care of them.<br />

• Understand that upset is normal and take responsibility<br />

for preserving your relationship with your child.<br />

• Lead with empathy, delight in your child, allow them to<br />

exist in your presence and don’t take things personally.<br />

<strong>Parent</strong>s will likely have a range of feelings about “Will my<br />

child behave in school?” And “What can we do to set them<br />

up for success?”<br />

According to psychologist and author Gordon Neufeld,<br />

there are six traits of well-behaved children that can’t be<br />

taught and must be grown.<br />

1. Children should want to be good for the people they are<br />

attached to and resist orders from those they are not.<br />

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

2. Children are easily alarmed. A healthy alarm system<br />

moves a child to caution and makes them conscientious and<br />

concerned about their actions.<br />

3. Children feel futility. They can adapt to not getting their<br />

way, accept another’s decision and adjust to the limits and<br />

restrictions in their life.<br />

4. Children are appropriately attached to adults. These<br />

adults are role models and share similar values.<br />

5. Children are well intentioned. They can form their own<br />

goals and agendas.<br />

6. Children are well tempered. They have self-control.<br />

They can think twice! (This needs prefrontal brain integration<br />

which doesn’t happen until 5-7 years old and later for<br />

sensitive kids.)<br />

Kids are teachable because they have a fulfilling relationship<br />

with someone. <strong>Parent</strong>s can help attach their child to the<br />

teacher who will be their compass. We can play matchmaker!<br />

“When kids see that their parents like their school and<br />

teacher, it can go a long way to helping them trust their<br />

adults at school, says clinical counsellor and author Dr. Deborah<br />

MacNamara.<br />





Play is NOT work. There is no outcome.<br />

It’s ‘a spontaneous activity that cannot<br />

Christ Church Cathedral School<br />

Victoria’s Anglican School for Jr. K – Grade 8<br />

be taught or commanded.’<br />

– Dr. Gordon Neufeld www.cathedralschool.ca | 250-383-5125<br />

“<strong>Parent</strong>s need to take an active role and play matchmaker<br />

with the teacher by speaking with warmth about the teacher,<br />

conveying trust in them, orienting them to the school culture<br />

and rules and ensuring that the relationship with their teacher<br />

stays on track,” adds MacNamara. “Kids do best when<br />

adults take the lead in introducing them to the people that<br />

will take care of them. It provides both security and a sense<br />

of rest so that the focus can go towards learning.”<br />

Create and seize opportunities to matchmake your child to<br />

their teacher and their wider school community.<br />

Get to know your school community<br />

• Find your school <strong>Parent</strong> Advisory Council (PAC) social<br />

media page or other platforms to connect and inform families.<br />

• Attend school events.<br />

• Join the PAC! Everyone can find a meaningful way to<br />

contribute. Volunteering is a great way to meet other parents,<br />

contribute to school culture and offer hands-on help.<br />

Cultivating even one or two important connections will go<br />

a long way.<br />

Lindsay Coulter is a writer, educator, facilitator,<br />

naturalist, community catalyst, soul activist, mentor,<br />

and dedicated mother of two. She’s the Director of<br />

Communications, Culture and Community at EPIC<br />

Learning Centre, a forest and nature school in Victoria.<br />

Find her @SaneAction on Instagram and Facebook.<br />

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

<strong>Fall</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 13


Lessons from<br />

a Little Kid<br />

My daughter started Kindergarten this year. Now, a few<br />

months in, I have accepted that she is no longer a little<br />

kid. Not a really little kid at least. She’s way past diapers,<br />

past the terrible twos. Teething is a distant memory. Naps<br />

vanished long ago. All those baby accessories—the BabyBjorn,<br />

the Diaper Genie, the Exersaucer have long since been<br />

cleared out and donated. But as I embrace my not-so-little<br />

kid, I think of everything her babyhood and toddlerhood<br />

has taught me—not about parenting, but about how I navigate<br />

my own life as an adult.<br />

Here are a few things my daughter’s early years taught<br />

me:<br />

Sleep is everything.<br />

This was the biggest lesson from the newborn stage, when<br />

the midwife came over one day and asked me if I knew how<br />

to nap. I did not. I do now. A well rested child is a happy<br />

child. A late bedtime for a toddler can wreak havoc for days<br />

to come. And adults? Just the same. It’s so much easier to<br />

fall apart on a bad night’s sleep. So much easier to snap at<br />

your partner when you’re tired. So much easier for a little<br />

thing to push you to tears. Sleep will save you and not<br />

enough of it will pull you under.<br />

Do not back down.<br />

I can’t tell you how many times my daughter threw a fit<br />

because she didn’t want to have a bath, or go to bed, or<br />

leave the playground or try going to the bathroom before<br />

bed and I’d think to myself—wow this is both very annoying<br />

and very impressive. I wish I had this kind of resolve<br />

when I present an idea in a meeting rather than saying “just<br />

a thought…” or when no one offers to make Turkey dinner<br />

for Thanksgiving and suddenly I’m hosting. Little kids will<br />

stand their ground, tear-streaked face, thrashing legs, violent<br />

arms and all. And adults? We need to do the same (only<br />

without the screaming fits).<br />

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

Pull out the fancy.<br />

I was surprised how young my daughter was when she<br />

gravitated towards anything shiny. Sparkly shirts, tutus,<br />

blow up floaties filled with glitter, glitter itself. How she<br />

loved dressing up and how she’d stop and gasp on the rare<br />

occasions I wore a dress. Mommy you look beautiful! Sparkles<br />

may not be everyone’s idea of fancy, but appreciating<br />

the beauty around us and seeking it out never gets old.<br />

Make it fun.<br />

Washing your hair is boring. Unless you sing a song while<br />

lathering cherry flavoured Little Mermaid shampoo. Why<br />

use mint toothpaste when it can be bubble gum flavoured<br />

and covered in Minions? Why just have a bagel when you<br />

can cut it in half, add grape eyes and make it into a smiley<br />

face? Too much of adulthood is drudgery. Bring on the silliness!<br />

Say it how it is.<br />

My niece once said I like Nanna better than Grandma.<br />

To Grandma. This isn’t the best example of honesty but<br />

between my daughter’s why do you have lines on your forehead?<br />

to her why do you put pokey things in your eyes?<br />

her opinions were always clear. No bending herself backwards<br />

to placate others, no walking on eggshells around the<br />

grumpy guy at work, no offering to do things she doesn’t<br />

want to do. Little kids are brutally honest. As we grow up,<br />

we learn what’s expected of us, sometimes at the expense of<br />

our true selves.<br />

There was a point during Covid when my daughter<br />

started saying just a minute every time I asked her to do<br />

something and insisted on sending imaginary emails before<br />

we left the house. I was both amused and mortified at how<br />

she was imitating us. But it goes both ways—just as kids<br />

learn from the adults around them, adults can absorb all the<br />

childhood wisdom we’ve forgotten over the years. We can<br />

be reminded of finding joy, living authentically and taking<br />

care of ourselves. When we see what works and doesn’t for<br />

kids, it helps us to reflect on our own lives.<br />

Now grown-ups, it’s time to put yourself down for a nap,<br />

break out the finery and tell your boss how you really feel.<br />

41 st Peninsula Co-op<br />

Santa Claus Parade<br />

November 25, <strong>2023</strong>, 5:20 pm<br />

For full<br />

details visit<br />

gvfs.ca<br />

Julia Mais is a policy and communications<br />

professional in Victoria. She looks for beauty in<br />

the everyday through writing, photography and<br />

the outdoors. She lives in a messy, cheese-filled<br />

home with her husband and preschooler.<br />

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

<strong>Fall</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 15


Always<br />

Half<br />

Full<br />

Because of the tyranny of print<br />

publication schedules and my own<br />

relentless urge to be ahead of the<br />

game, I’m writing this in mid-August,<br />

and here you are reading it, like, six<br />

months later. But, this is fresh on my<br />

mind so work with me for a minute, even<br />

though it’s old news to you.<br />

I decided this year to not wait until the<br />

last minute to get school supplies, even<br />

though no one wants to think about the<br />

return of school in early August. But I did<br />

(maybe my teenage daughter refers to me<br />

as Danny Tanner for a reason), and I was<br />

blown away by my own planning skills.<br />

I saw a note I had left to myself that<br />

Get back<br />

to your<br />

favourite<br />

activities.<br />

Registration<br />

is open for<br />

City of Victoria<br />

fall recreation.<br />

victoria.ca/recreation<br />

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

said “look in bag in office,” so I stumbled<br />

into the office, found an unusual bag that<br />

had a note on it that said “school supplies<br />

to reuse for Grade 7,” then crossreferenced<br />

the school supply list and<br />

found that, much to my pleasure, I need<br />

to buy a grand total of two things, everything<br />

else is still good from Grade 6. (Do<br />

I bother buying the second eraser and<br />

second fine-tip black felt marker or do I<br />

just wing it, and allow myself a summer<br />

of buying zero school supplies? I’d like to<br />

say I just wing it but the Danny Tanner in<br />

me didn’t not allow that: I bought them.<br />

So what’s the point here? Leave yourself<br />

notes that you’ll forget about then<br />

read months later as if someone else<br />

wrote them, leading you around the<br />

house on a scavenger hunt of sorts? Well,<br />

yeah, that was weird and awesome and<br />

I felt pretty good about it. Be organized<br />

and do stuff early? Always, but that’s<br />

pretty lame and no one wants to hear it.<br />

Something about back to school? No,<br />

that was like a month ago by the time<br />

you read this.<br />

My point is, man, did I ever have a<br />

secret little smile on my face the evening<br />

this all went down. No one knew what I<br />

was doing, probably no one cared, but it<br />

was just...a win. Take ‘em where you can,<br />

I figure. As a dad—as a parent—you can<br />

go through long stretches without those<br />

wins. Not that life is a miserable slog, but<br />

just that it’s go, go, go, and it can be an<br />

uphill battle sometimes.<br />

But don’t dwell on that. I’ve been making<br />

the mistake of zoning out on social<br />

media a bit lately, doing the hatescroll,<br />

just watching everyone be miserable and<br />

hate everything. I’ll do it for 10 minutes,<br />

snap out of it, and feel horribly embarrassed<br />

for wasting my time. My only<br />

takeaway is that there’s a lot of people<br />

out there seeing the cup half empty.<br />

And no matter how hard it gets, no<br />

matter the struggles—personal, private,<br />

public, major, or minor—that we<br />

face as parents, I refuse to see the cup<br />

as half empty. Even during the hardest<br />

times—housing issues, medical diagnoses,<br />

moments of defeat—I’ll stick that note<br />

somewhere secret to remind myself that<br />

there will be brighter days ahead (that<br />

note is metaphorical, of course; even<br />

Danny Tanner here has his limits).<br />

I mean, there always are brighter days<br />

ahead, more victories down the road.<br />

And sometimes they’re just small victories.<br />

Sometimes it’s just reusing two<br />

orange duotangs from Grade 6 for Grade<br />

7. But they were in great shape, man, and<br />

it almost made me pump my first in the<br />

air in victory.<br />

And it’s not much, at all. By the time<br />

this is in print, I’ll probably barely<br />

remember any of this happening, too<br />

caught up in whatever else is happening,<br />

whatever parenting ups and downs have<br />

me by the throat at that particular point<br />

in time. But here and now, the orange<br />

duotangs are a reminder that there are<br />

always moments of victory to be found,<br />

you sometimes just have to work a bit<br />

to find them, and sometimes you have to<br />

make them happen yourself.<br />

Greg Pratt is the father of three<br />

children and a local journalist and<br />

editor. His writing has appeared<br />

in, among other places, Today’s<br />

<strong>Parent</strong>, Decibel and Douglas. He<br />

is @gregprattwriter on Twitter.<br />

•<br />


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

FA M I LY<br />

•<br />

FAVO U R I T E S<br />

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

<strong>Fall</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 17

LEARN<br />

Giving Back<br />

A measure of wealth through an Indigenous lens<br />

While often described as celebrations, festivals and/or<br />

feasts, the Potlatch tradition of the Pacific Northwest<br />

Coast Indigenous Peoples is so much more. The Potlatch tradition<br />

is about acknowledging the past while embracing the<br />

future. It instills pride and respect for time-honoured cultural<br />

practices. But more importantly, it inspires a deep sense of connection<br />

to community.<br />

The word Potlatch (Ṕačiƛ – Patshalt) comes from the language<br />

of the Nuu chah nulth Peoples of the west coast of Vancouver<br />

<strong>Island</strong> and aptly means “to give.” It was during the fur<br />

trade era when Potlatch became the generic term used in reference<br />

to cultural gatherings through a trading language known<br />

as the Chinook Jargon.<br />

Potlatch is also sometimes confused with the word, Potluck,<br />

which originated in England. It was said that if you arrived<br />

after the dinner hour, you were lucky to get whatever was left<br />

at the bottom of the pot. Today it is a term used to describe a<br />

gathering where everyone is bringing and sharing food together,<br />

which may have understandably, contributed to the confusion.<br />

A Potlatch is a large gathering hosted by Indigenous community<br />

leaders where invited guests attend as witnesses to substantial<br />

events. These include, but are not limited to, the raising<br />

of a totem pole, the passing down of hereditary rights and<br />

names, the validation of marriage alliances and the honouring<br />

of individuals who have passed on. Practiced in diverse ways by<br />

all Indigenous Peoples inhabiting the Pacific Northwest Coast<br />

from Washington State northwards to the southeastern coast of<br />

Alaska, the Potlatch is the pivotal social event.<br />

During these occasions, the host displays their wealth in the<br />

form of songs, masks, and dances, and by presenting gifts to<br />

their guests. The more they give away, the more prestige they<br />

acquire. An Elder from the Kwagiulth – Kwakwaka’wakw Nation<br />

was quoted as saying, “A person potlatches to share his<br />

wealth. There is no honour or virtue in keeping your wealth…”<br />

writes Edward Malin in Masks & Totems: A Northcoast Odyssey.<br />

Therefore, a leader’s wealth is determined by how well they<br />

provide for their community, as opposed to personal gain. This<br />

way of thinking supports the origin stories of potlatches as being<br />

a means to evenly distribute food and resources throughout<br />

a village. Over the course of countless generations, the Potlatch<br />

evolved to become the crucial point of coastal cultural practices.<br />

Potlatches also serve as reminders of creation stories, historic<br />

events or occurrences like floods, earthquakes, and droughts.<br />

In this instance, masks and dances are used for the re-telling<br />

of the story and the portrayal of heroes who looked after their<br />

people during these challenging times. This theatrical display<br />

encourages community members to be grateful for each day,<br />

while inspiring youth to contribute to the well-being of their<br />

communities.<br />

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

It is often the traditional role of<br />

grandparents to encourage, inspire and<br />

preserve the valuable lessons learned<br />

through the Potlatch. In fact, some coastal<br />

territories acknowledge grandparents<br />

as “Wisdom Keepers” who share their<br />

life experiences and knowledge with the<br />

intention of providing guidance, support<br />

and encouragement. It also serves as an<br />

opportunity to “give back” to the upcoming<br />

generations.<br />

I was fortunate to have these teachers<br />

throughout my youth and appreciated<br />

that, no matter the challenge, I could<br />

always rely on their gentle guidance to<br />

lift me up and set me back on a healthy<br />

and fulfilling path. I am also grateful to<br />

have had the opportunity to attend and<br />

participate in many Potlatches over the<br />

years and still feel the deep resonance of<br />

history reiterating the past while embracing<br />

the future. It has inspired me to want<br />

to “give back” and although I do not live<br />

within my traditional territory, there is<br />

opportunity to provide Indigenous perspectives<br />

within urban populations by<br />

inviting the public to consider education<br />

through an Indigenous lens.<br />

I am now grandmother to eight beautiful<br />

grandchildren, and l look forward to<br />

watching their faces when the sound of<br />

the drums, crackle of the fire and pageantry<br />

of dancers awaken their curiosity.<br />

For up-to-date information on CRD<br />

Regional Parks and its programs, visit<br />

crd.bc.ca/parks-events.<br />

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Leslie McGarry is the<br />

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Regional Parks and a grateful<br />

guest on these lands from the<br />

Kwakwaka’wakw Territory.<br />

The CRD’s boundaries span<br />

the Traditional Territories of over 20 First Nations,<br />

whose ancestors have been taking care<br />

of the land since time immemorial. Many of CRD<br />

regional parks have historic and ongoing cultural<br />

significance for these Nations and provide<br />

important food, medicine and spiritual places.<br />

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

<strong>Fall</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 19


A Little Bit of Joy,<br />

Warmth & Self-Love<br />

Even though the school year is no longer brand new, it<br />

can still be stressful for children. So it’s important for<br />

us to take time to check in with them and see how they<br />

are doing. However, you might have noticed that kids aren’t<br />

always the best at explaining what’s wrong, and we don’t<br />

want to step on their toes by just jumping into a conversation<br />

if they haven’t said anything.<br />

So, it might be a good idea to use a book as a starting<br />

point. That way you can read about a child who is having a<br />

particular problem, talk about what your child would do if<br />

they were in that situation, and then ask them if they’re struggling<br />

with something they would like help with. If you don’t<br />

have any books that your child would be interested in, here<br />

are a few books that I think would be a great starting point.<br />

The first is I’m Not (Very) Afraid of the Dark by Anna Milbourne<br />

and illustrated by Daniel Rieley (Usborne, <strong>2023</strong>). As<br />

the title suggests, the young protagonist is only slightly afraid<br />

of the dark, but they are not willing to say so out loud. But<br />

when the sun sets and it gets darker, it’s harder for him to pretend<br />

he isn’t scared. This fun book is filled with the gorgeous<br />

and interactive pictures I’ve come to expect from Usborne. Rieley’s<br />

work is impeccable and filled with magic, so make sure<br />

you read this story with a flashlight nearby. That way you can<br />

shine light through all of the cut outs and see what the main<br />

character sees. For ages 4 to 8.<br />

If you think your child is struggling with sadness instead of<br />

fear, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso and<br />

Desmond Mpilo Tutu, the Archbishop Emeritus of South Africa<br />

have created a little picture book called The Little Book<br />

of Joy, illustrated by Rafael López (Crown Books for Young<br />

Readers, 2022). While this wouldn’t be a good book if your<br />

child has clinical depression, because we don’t want to tell<br />

them to just be happy, it is a good reminder that there is a reason<br />

to be joyful all around us. And this story reminds us that<br />

when we find joy we should share it with others so together<br />

we can make the world a brighter place. For ages 4 to 8.<br />

Another emotion that you might notice if your children are<br />

stressed is anger. If that’s the case, I recommend getting Anger<br />

Management Activities for Kids by Holly Forman-Patel and illustrated<br />

by Claudio Cerri (Rockridge Press, 2020). Unlike the<br />

previous two books on the list, this is not a story, it is a selfhelp<br />

book for children. There are a variety of activities and<br />

lessons in it to help you and your child learn why we get angry<br />

in the first place, discover how to stop the anger monsters<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<br />

upcoming books visit christinavanstarkenburg.com.<br />

Facebook: facebook.com/christinavanstarkenburg<br />

and Twitter: @Christina_VanS.<br />

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

local innovative theatre<br />

from multiplying, and failing that, create effective strategies to<br />

release those anger monsters in a healthy manner. The pictures<br />

in this book are adorable, and the cuteness helps children remember<br />

that anger monsters and their buddies aren’t bad they<br />

just need special attention. For ages 5 to 9.<br />

While I would love for this to never be the case, one thing<br />

that might be stressing our children out is bullies. Bullies can<br />

decimate our kids’ self-esteem, and it can be really tough to<br />

rebuild that. If you think your child is struggling with a bully,<br />

or with low self-esteem in general, check out A Kids Book<br />

About Self-Love by Brandon Farbstein (A Kids Co., 2021).<br />

Farbstein understands what it feels like to be bullied because<br />

of your appearance, and what it feels like to dislike yourself,<br />

which is why he wrote this book about self-love: what it<br />

looks like, what it feels like, and how to start loving yourself.<br />

There are no pictures in this book, but don’t let that deter you<br />

because Farbstein’s writing style is comforting and conversational<br />

so it won’t be hard for children to remain engaged. For<br />

ages 5 to 9.<br />

The last book is What You Need to Be Warm: A Poem of<br />

Welcome by Neil Gaiman and many others (Quill Tree Books,<br />

<strong>2023</strong>). As Gaiman explains in the foreword, this is a collaborative<br />

poem; he wrote it using memories that people shared<br />

with him about what it meant to be warm. While the aim of<br />

this poem is to draw attention to refugees without adequate<br />

shelter, you can also read it with your children and talk about<br />

what it means for your kids to be warm or to feel loved. In<br />

addition to the poets, 13 artists contributed to this story. Each<br />

with their own unique style, but all of them held onto the<br />

same colour scheme creating an orange glow that seems to<br />

emanate warmth from the very pages you’re holding. For ages<br />

8 to 12.<br />

I know school and the coming winter can be hard—especially<br />

when the nights get darker faster and the weather<br />

turns cool—but hopefully these books will help you and your<br />

children embrace your fears, find pockets of joy, hug your<br />

monsters, love yourself, and discover your own items to add<br />

to Gaiman’s list of what it takes to be warm.<br />



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

<strong>Fall</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 21


Be Gentle with Yourself<br />

While we experience profound<br />

love and great joy when we<br />

become parents, it can also<br />

be shocking. We soon discover that we<br />

can’t control another person. We can’t<br />

make them poop on the potty, be nice<br />

to their sibling, care about homework,<br />

or joyfully unload the dishwasher.<br />

If we invest our mental energy in<br />

constantly worrying about our kids<br />

and trying to get them to listen to us,<br />

we become depleted. When we try too<br />

hard, attempting to be their one-person<br />

entertainment centre and doing everything<br />

for them, we exhaust ourselves.<br />

When we hold the bar too high because<br />

we don’t understand the nature of<br />

childhood, we see their behaviour as<br />

deliberate, and we find ourselves overreacting.<br />

Tell yourself:<br />

1. My child is just trying to cope<br />

right now.<br />

2. This is a stage that kids go<br />

through.<br />

3. I can get through this, and I can<br />

cope.<br />

4. I can see some humour in this situation<br />

and anger won’t make it better.<br />

5. Children can’t help but be impulsive,<br />

it’s natural.<br />

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

It’s a given that:<br />

1. You will not always be patient and<br />

loving.<br />

2. There will be many times when<br />

you don’t know what to do.<br />

3. You will give in just to keep the<br />

peace.<br />

4. You will wonder if your child is<br />

normal.<br />

5. You will feel like you are failing as<br />

a parent.<br />

Find your calm energy:<br />

1. Observe the bigger picture of times<br />

that behaviour is challenging and what<br />

sets it off.<br />

2. Learn about your own triggers and<br />

immature reactions.<br />

3. Let go of unnecessary control over<br />

things that don’t really matter.<br />

4. Build resources through relationships<br />

and education.<br />

5. Think about your true values as a<br />

parent and put it in writing.<br />

HANDS-ON<br />

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girls and gender-diverse youth<br />

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Develop a mantra that reflects your<br />

true values:<br />

1. You matter.<br />

2. I believe in you.<br />

3. You are listened to.<br />

4. We can handle this.<br />

5. Mistakes are a part of life.<br />

Think through repeated difficulties<br />

at a neutral time and come up with a<br />

plan of how you want to respond. Be<br />

predictable knowing that it might not<br />

change the immediate, challenging behaviour<br />

in front of you.<br />

Sometimes effective parenting really<br />

is about what you don’t do. If you have<br />

made it through the day holding onto<br />

some of your values without losing the<br />

plot, can you let that sink in? Can you<br />

give yourself some genuine appreciation?<br />

Can you be gentle with yourself?<br />

Can you do that now?<br />

Dr. Allison Rees is a parent<br />

educator, counsellor and coach<br />

at LIFE Seminars (Living in<br />

Families Effectively),<br />

lifeseminars.com.<br />

VITALY:<br />


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

<strong>Fall</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 23


Get Kids<br />

Cooking!<br />

Anyone who is familiar with this column knows that I<br />

am a huge fan of teaching kids how to cook. So when<br />

I heard that Touchwood Editions (the Victoria-based<br />

publisher behind my cookbook, Fermenting Made Simple) was<br />

putting out a kid-focused cookbook, I was super excited!<br />

Let’s Eat is a cookbook written for tweens and teens. It offers<br />

real food recipes, like spaghetti Bolognese and chicken pot<br />

pie, along with beginner-friendly basics on how to cook eggs,<br />

rice and potatoes. The authors, DL Acken and Aurelia Louvet,<br />

are Salt Spring residents behind a lot of BC-based food writing<br />

(Edible Vancouver <strong>Island</strong>, Cedar and Salt).<br />

Food deskilling is when someone doesn't have the skills<br />

needed to cook healthy food from scratch. It’s a global problem<br />

linked to poor dietary choices and subsequent health problems.<br />

While the huge amount of processed foods available in our grocery<br />

stores is partly to blame, the main reason for food deskilling<br />

is that kids are no longer being taught how to cook.<br />

Here are a few recipes that can help you get your kids cooking!<br />

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

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

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

Quesadillas<br />

Quesadillas are the perfect way to get little kids helping out in the<br />

kitchen. They can chop vegetables, grate cheese and put together<br />

their own quesadillas. Quesadillas are typically cooked on a griddle,<br />

however, this oven-baked recipe allows you to make enough for<br />

everyone to eat at the same time.<br />

8 to 12 small corn tortillas<br />

1 can refried beans<br />

6 spring onions, finely sliced<br />

4 mushrooms, sliced<br />

3 tomatoes, diced<br />

1 large red bell pepper, diced<br />

1 can of chopped black olives, drained and rinsed<br />

1 cup grated cheese<br />

Salsa, sour cream, and hot sauce for serving<br />

Tweens and Teens<br />

Most tweens and teens are capable of independently preparing<br />

dinner. The only trick is, that they need to be shown how.<br />

It takes experience to know how to sauté onions or figure out<br />

how long it’s going to take wash a head of lettuce.<br />

Online recipes can be quite difficult for kids to follow. Since<br />

they involve scrolling between the ingredient list and the instructions<br />

and often steps are missed. I recommend having<br />

them work from a cookbook and staying nearby so you can<br />

check on them periodically. They’ll feel better knowing that<br />

you’re available to help, if they need it.<br />

Let’s Eat is designed for kids 9+ with a focus on recipes for<br />

tweens and teens. The following recipe is an excerpt from the<br />

cookbook.<br />

Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Lightly grease two baking sheets with<br />

vegetable oil.<br />

Depending on the age of your child, have them help with dicing the<br />

vegetables and grating the cheese.<br />

Spread a few spoonfuls of refried beans over half of the corn tortillas.<br />

Let everyone decorate their tortilla their favourite fillings. Top with a<br />

handful of grated cheese, then put a second tortilla on top.<br />

Place the quesadillas on the baking sheets. Bake for 8 minutes.<br />

Remove from the oven. Press down on each quesadilla with a spatula<br />

to stick the layers together, then carefully flip the quesadilla over. Bake<br />

for another 8 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the tortillas have<br />

started to brown.<br />

Slice the tortillas into quarters and serve with salsa and sour cream.<br />

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

Little Kids<br />

If you aren’t sure where to start, here are somethings that<br />

little kids can do around the kitchen.<br />

• 0 to 2 years: Keeping your baby or toddler in the kitchen<br />

while you cook, is a great way to get them interested. Let them<br />

play with foods as you prepare them. As they get older, they<br />

can help wash vegetables and stir batters.<br />

• 3 to 5 years: Preschoolers LOVE to help out their parents.<br />

Let them pack their own snacks or lunch boxes. They can also<br />

slice up soft items, like tofu and mushrooms, with a butter<br />

knife. They can even do some highly-supervised cooking, like<br />

flipping pancakes, grating cheese, or stirring a pot on the stove.<br />

• 6 to 8 years: Little kids are able to do a lot more independent<br />

cooking. They can make muffins, prepare a salad, and<br />

help with dinner. The amount of supervision and assistance<br />

needed will decrease as they gain patience and skill.<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 />

Sweet Potato Thai Curry<br />

(by DL Acken and Aurelia Louvet)<br />

Although this recipe calls for sweet potatoes, curry is an ideal dish<br />

for vegetables like cauliflower, potatoes or peas, and proteins like<br />

chickpeas, tofu, shrimp or chicken. Basically, anything covered in<br />

curry sauce is YUM! Try different Thai curry pastes: there are green,<br />

yellow and red varieties, and each has a different flavor, but be sure<br />

to check out their spice levels on the packaging for mild or spicy<br />

kinds. Not a fan of coconut milk or have an allergy? Use the equivalent<br />

amount of vegetable stock instead.<br />

¼ cup (60 mL) olive oil<br />

4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into medium dice<br />

2 small onions, cut into medium dice<br />

¼ cup (60 mL) curry paste (like Thai Kitchen)<br />

2 Tbsp (30 mL) brown sugar<br />

2 (each 14 oz/400 mL) cans coconut milk<br />

2 cups (500 mL) stock of choice (beef, chicken, fish, and vegetable<br />

all work well)<br />

4 tsp (20 mL) fish sauce<br />

2 cups (500 mL) cherry tomatoes, washed and halved<br />

2 cups (500 mL) baby spinach, washed<br />

In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, warm the olive oil over medium<br />

heat and cook the sweet potatoes and onions, stirring occasionally,<br />

until they’re starting to brown.<br />

Add the curry paste and stir it into the sweet potatoes and onions.<br />

Cook, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes to cook off the curry paste.<br />

Add the sugar, coconut milk, stock and fish sauce and stir to combine.<br />

Cover the pot with a lid and turn the heat down to low. Cook until<br />

the potatoes are al dente, about 10 minutes.<br />

Stir in the tomatoes, cover and cook another 5 minutes. Stir in the<br />

spinach and cook for another minute until the spinach has wilted.<br />

Serve with rice, mashed potatoes or naan.<br />

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

<strong>Fall</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 25

MOM’SPOV<br />

The Cool of<br />

Volunteering at School<br />

The school bell rings. The children<br />

will be entering the classroom<br />

in seconds.<br />

I’m in my daughter’s Grade 2 classroom,<br />

about to be in the spotlight. I<br />

flip another round of pancakes on my<br />

griddle while my stomach does a flop.<br />

My forehead breaks out in a nervous<br />

sweat. I wish I wore sandals instead of<br />

runners. But it’s too late to consider<br />

cooler wardrobe choices now.<br />

The children file into the classroom<br />

and are instantly distracted at the<br />

sight of a guest—me. I breathe, wipe<br />

my brow and then smile. I’ve got this.<br />

Children are a forgiving audience and<br />

my daughter is always telling me it is<br />

okay to learn from our mistakes.<br />

I love participating in PJ Day as<br />

much as the children do. I am rocking<br />

my rubber ducky PJ pants. I also love<br />

that my youngest daughter still loves to<br />

dress up in matching outfits with me.<br />

Twinning as she calls it. She also enjoys<br />

twinning with her friends.<br />

One child approaches me. She is<br />

wearing an adorable unicorn onesie.<br />

She tells me about her dad’s pancakes<br />

that he makes every weekend. Another<br />

child asks whose mom I am. My own<br />

daughter comes and hugs me. Many<br />

more children come over to view the<br />

extra toppings of whip cream, strawberries,<br />

and chocolate chips that are<br />

laid out on the table at the front of the<br />

classroom.<br />

I get a chance to eat some pancakes<br />

with my daughter, but not before<br />

tripping the breaker by plugging in a<br />

second griddle. I remind myself that<br />

children are a forgiving audience and<br />

so is the teacher as I apologize for<br />

blowing the breaker. I move to the<br />

hall to use a different outlet to finish<br />

cooking the last of the pancake batter.<br />

Thankfully, it was only one outlet and<br />

not power for the whole class. As I’m<br />

cleaning up, children are still chatting<br />

to me while they’re supposed to be<br />

practicing their spelling. I say goodbye<br />

to my daughter’s teacher and the whole<br />

class thanks me at the same time. By<br />

this point, I’m comfortable and far less<br />

nervous.<br />

This year I also attended my son’s<br />

Maritime Museum field trip where<br />

I helped with fun activities to learn<br />

about supply and demand and trading.<br />

I was nervous during my role for<br />

this field trip as well because I was the<br />

checker of various activities that the<br />

children completed on cards to earn<br />

pelts for trading at the trading post. It

was also exciting because I managed<br />

to sit by my fellow mom friend on the<br />

bus. We coordinated our outfits as I<br />

would have back in the day with my<br />

friends.<br />

I also went on a field trip with my<br />

son’s class to the Royal BC Museum,<br />

and the children in my group started<br />

running up the escalator the wrong<br />

way. It was challenging to get them to<br />

stop but was overall a fun day of learning<br />

for all of us. I found ways to assess<br />

the personalities in my group and who<br />

needed extra jobs to keep busy and not<br />

get distracted. It was a day of counting<br />

and ensuring that we all stayed<br />

together. My son became quite upset<br />

at one point because I was helping another<br />

student and he couldn’t’ see me.<br />

I definitely could not be a teacher; I<br />

respect teachers and all the challenges<br />

they face.<br />

At the end of my volunteer days, I<br />

was relieved that we didn’t lose anyone<br />

and my nervousness was outweighed<br />

by the thrill of being back at school.<br />

The feeling took me back to my school<br />

performance days. I had the role of<br />

Marilla in Anne of Green Gables. After<br />

performing, I felt exhilarated and<br />

like I could accomplish anything. I feel<br />

the same way after volunteering at the<br />

school. I had a forgiving audience back<br />

in my Drama class days too. I’m looking<br />

forward to volunteering again this<br />

school year. I encourage you to take a<br />

day off work and spend a few hours<br />

with your child’s class—especially<br />

while your child still thinks it’s cool to<br />

have you at school.<br />

Learn a new sport or refine<br />

your skills: come join our<br />

rock climbing teams!<br />

Book a<br />

Birthday Party<br />

with us on<br />

Saturday or<br />

Sunday!<br />

•<br />

FA M I LY • FAVO U R I T E S<br />


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

Serena Beck works full-time<br />

as a Technical Writer. She loves<br />

to write, travel and swim at the<br />

beach with family and friends.<br />

Details and registration at climbtheboulders.com<br />

The Boulders Climbing Gym<br />

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

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

<strong>Fall</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 27


You’re My<br />

Hero, Dad<br />

My 6-year-old kid looks up to me. Or so I thought.<br />

Recently, in the middle of another great adventure<br />

together, he looked at me and said, “I want to be a<br />

champion!”<br />

Gulp, how the hell do I show him this?<br />

He gets these mid-week epiphanies. They can be inspired by<br />

seeing the medals on his 17-year-old big brothers’ walls, from<br />

finding boxes of my old medals, or from catching glimpses of<br />

his auntie’s shiny medals lining her at-home gym.<br />

Like Captain Underpants, I stood there, wind blowing at my<br />

unsculpted back, and thought “I can do this, I can somehow<br />

figure out how to help shape the hero in him.”<br />

I’ve got the recipe—or so I thought.<br />

I’ve got a bit of charisma, energy, willingness to fail, grit to<br />

succeed and I surround myself with rockstar humans. However,<br />

my last decade of marriage and only recently a year out has<br />

taught me that I’ve got to tread lightly, play small, cautiously,<br />

within boundaries. Ugh, feels awkward and compromising.<br />

There’s got to be a formula for showing my kid success on<br />

the health-related battlefield regardless of the hamster ball I<br />

seem to be spinning on.<br />

Let me back up a bit. Hudson, my extraordinary kiddo is a<br />

legendary boy. He’s got a curiosity fused with kindness, goofiness<br />

laced with imagination, and a “what can we do today Dad<br />

that’s going to be fun” mentality. He’s not the kid that bounces<br />

off walls but takes more of a pensive approach to things. So<br />

naturally I can’t take a back seat to the “champion” mentality<br />

I want to instill in him. Time for me to dust off my lagging<br />

health goals and show him what it means to crush goals.<br />

The Coles Notes version of my life helped provide some answers<br />

as to what this path might look like for him. My mom’s<br />

always been my hero. I’m not really sure when it happened, but<br />

at some point in my early 20s I saw her as a beacon for integ-<br />

Thank You for voting us Favourite family Getaway<br />




1-800-663-7373<br />

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

ity and selflessness. She’s always been that voice of reason<br />

and moral standard in my life. Then there’s my father, the<br />

guy I look up to as far as work ethic and goal setting goes. It<br />

wasn’t anything they did that made me realize I’d struck<br />

gold with incredible parents, but the culmination of their<br />

character jackhammered into me from the day I was born. I<br />

think at some early point, they also tossed me into every<br />

sport imaginable and told me to do my best. So I did. And on<br />

the field was where I learned what it was like to be a champion.<br />

This was where my attitude on life began.<br />

Training sucked. Or at least starting to train felt like<br />

a sucker punch. I worked out my legs and somehow my<br />

shoulders were sore for days. I wouldn’t say my form was<br />

unorthodox, but the areas my body pinched and creaked told<br />

me otherwise.<br />

Trimming the “bad habits” fat was a necessary evil. If<br />

I was going to emulate what it looks and feels like to be a<br />

champion in life for Hudson, I was going to have to eliminate<br />

things. Let’s start with wings, fermented barley, and<br />

what felt like a need to attend social hour every day! At a<br />

minimum let’s set up a path to cut these down a bit, or a lot.<br />

The more I regained my mental and emotional turf, the<br />

more I put him as a reason, and the more it mattered to me.<br />

The more it mattered to me, the less and less he became the<br />

focal point, and I started taking action for myself.<br />

Setbacks were everywhere. Disappointments, not being<br />

where I wanted to be, any excuse I could find to sabotage<br />

my growth all seemed like Goliath-like realities. I was in status<br />

quo mode, and didn’t let myself push many boundaries,<br />

whether physical, spiritual, emotional, or mental. So I opted<br />

for help from everyone around me. I leaned heavily on phenomenal<br />

friends who helped carry me when I couldn’t carry<br />

myself.<br />

It took time to regain my confidence in me, and while<br />

every day hasn’t become a win, my son sees my victories as<br />

his. And so we share these small wins with each other.<br />

I’ve got a race coming up and nothing means more to me<br />

than showing my kids I can push myself. It’s not necessarily<br />

the medal for me, but because of my son’s affinity for pirate<br />

treasure, his eyes will light up when he sees that I’ve got<br />

something shiny and gold!<br />

It’s turned into a symbiotic relationship. I win, and so<br />

does my son. We do this as a team. We weren’t always a<br />

team. When once he’d run around me at all cost trying to<br />

get to his mom, he’s now starting to see me as a hero in his<br />

life and runs to me with reckless abandon every day after<br />

school. He got gut-punched a year and a half ago through<br />

my separation, though I’m helping him learn and heal, while<br />

I’m also the one that’s learning to listen to his heart and feelings,<br />

inevitably helping show him how to regulate his own<br />

big emotions.<br />

“You’re my hero, Dad” has always been the pinnacle of<br />

fatherhood gifts, though in this process of showing him how,<br />

I’m finding that he’s in fact becoming mine.<br />

•<br />

FA M I LY • FAVO U R I T E S<br />


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

With 15 locations across British Columbia.<br />

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

Thank you for nominating<br />

us as best Recreation Centre<br />

and Birthday Party venue!<br />

Something for the whole family!<br />

From skating and swimming to fitness classes<br />

and our weight rooms*, there’s something for<br />

every member of your active family.<br />

*15+, 13+ with a youth orientation<br />

Michael Morrell, father, creative and<br />

relentless, works with single dads trying to<br />

affect positive change, impact and relationship<br />

with their kiddos.<br />

Find your next family outing!<br />

OakBay.ca/Parks-Recreation<br />

Phone: 250-595-7946<br />

Ask about hosting<br />

a birthday party!<br />

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

<strong>Fall</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 29

PLAY<br />

Halloween Skate<br />

Put on your Halloween costumes and head over to the Archie<br />

Browning Sports Centre in Esquimalt on Sunday, October 29 between<br />

1pm and 2pm for a spooky ice-skating session! Everyone is welcome<br />

to skate during this time but kids wearing their costumes get in for free!<br />

esquimalt.ca/community-events/events-listing/<br />

calendar/halloween-skate<br />


Scarecrow Spectacular<br />

The Milner Gardens and Woodland Scarecrow Spectacular in Qualicum<br />

Beach is an awesome way to spend time with family and get in the<br />

Halloween spirit! Wear your costume, wander the Scarecrow Lane<br />

through the Haunted Gardens, and don’t forget to vote for your favourite<br />

scarecrow. Visit from October 27 to October 29 from 11am to 3pm.<br />

visitparksvillequalicumbeach.com/events/milner-gardenswoodland-scarecrow-spectacular<br />



Dog Man: The Musical<br />

The Cowichan Performing Arts Centre is proud to present Dog Man:<br />

The Musical on Tuesday, October 25. If your kids are fans of the series<br />

Dog Man by Dave Pilkey, they’ll love Dog Man: The Musical! This 90-<br />

minute show is suitable for ages 6 and up and will entertain both<br />

kids and adults. Get your tickets now!<br />

cowichanculture.ca/show/591363/view<br />


Campbell River Witchy Market<br />

Visit the Crow’s Nest Artist Collective on Saturday, October 28 from<br />

6pm to 10pm and have a spooky time at this year’s Witchy Market.<br />

This family-friendly event will have local craftspeople, Halloween<br />

themed snacks, and activities such as face painting, card reading<br />

and costume contests.<br />

hunthalloween.com/event/<strong>2023</strong>-campbell-riverwitchy-market-eid4a7d4v9q39<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 />

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


The Best Foundation for a Lifetime of Learning<br />

Nanaimo, BC | 250.390.2201 | AspengroveSchool.com<br />

Cloverdale Child Care<br />


At our Cloverdale site in our half day<br />

daycare and preschool starting Sept <strong>2023</strong><br />

Half Day Daycare<br />

9:15–2:15 Mon–Fri<br />

Mon–Fri, Mon/Wed/Fri<br />

or Tues/Thurs<br />

Preschool 9:30–1:30<br />

4-year-olds: Mon/Wed/Fri<br />

3-year-olds: Tues/Thurs<br />

For information visit:<br />

cloverdalechildcare.com<br />

To register:<br />

cloverdale@shawbiz.ca<br />

3427 Quadra St, Victoria<br />

Christ Church Cathedral Childcare<br />

& Jr. Kindergarten..................250-383-5132<br />

ECE and specialist teachers provide an<br />

outstanding all day licensed program for<br />

2.5–5 year olds at our Fairfield and<br />

Gordon Head locations.<br />

cathedralschool.ca<br />

Half Day Daycare 9:15-2:15 Monday-Friday<br />

Families can register for: Monday-Friday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Tuesday and Thursday<br />

4-year-old Class Monday. Wednesday and Friday<br />

Preschool 9:30-1:30<br />

3-year-old Tuesday and Thursday<br />

For more information please visit our website: www.cloverdalechildcare.com<br />

register please email: 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 />

Victoria Social Innovation Centre: 1004 North Park St<br />

littlephoenixchildcare.ca<br />

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

3427 Quadra St Victoria BC V8X 1G8<br />

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

Join our learning through play preschool located<br />

in Hillcrest Elem. Our caring ECEs offer<br />

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

week and help with kindergarten transition.<br />

heoscmanager@gmail.com<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, Summer Camps and more!<br />

250-880-0660 seedlingsforesteducation.com<br />

Thriving Roots Wilderness School<br />

thrivingroots.org<br />

Thriving Roots provides hands-on,<br />

wilderness education and counselling<br />

services for youth and adults.<br />

Our year-long programs and summer<br />

camps are immersive in nature, fostering<br />

connection to land and community through<br />

earth-based skills, play, music and more.<br />

info@thrivingroots.org<br />

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 />

teacher as we encourage your child throughout their day.<br />

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

trees from our forest. Come take a virtual tour on our website!<br />

lexieslittlebears.ca Waitlist: 250-590-3603<br />

BC Award of Excellence in Childcare & Prime Minister’s Award of Excellence in Early Childhood Education.<br />

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

<strong>Fall</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 31

Family<br />

Favourites<br />

The Family Favourites results are in!<br />

Who has the best products, services<br />

and experiences? We asked and<br />

you answered. Developed to recognize<br />

quality family retailers and service<br />

providers in our community. Our<br />

readers were invited to vote online<br />

at islandparent.ca for their family<br />

favourites in 37 categories. The<br />

response was phenomenal. Thank<br />

you to everyone who voted and sent<br />

us such wonderful feedback. We have<br />

tallied your votes—here are your<br />

<strong>2023</strong> <strong>Island</strong> <strong>Parent</strong> Family Favourites!<br />

Favourite<br />

Food Service<br />


Winner: Songhees Food Truck<br />

Runners Up: Taco Justice, Deadbeetz Burgers<br />


Winner: Beacon Drive-In<br />

Runners Up: Parachute Ice Cream, Cold Comfort<br />


Winner: Bin 4<br />

Runners Up: Red Robin, Big Wheel Burger<br />

PIZZA<br />

Winner: Pizzeria Prima Strada<br />

Runners Up: Famoso, Oregano’s<br />

VEGAN<br />

Winner: Green Cuisine<br />

Runners Up: Be Love, Rebar<br />

ETHNIC<br />

Winner: Foo Asian Street Food<br />

Runners Up: Sizzling Tandoor, Bao<br />


Winner: Romeo’s<br />

Runners Up: Frankie’s Modern Diner, The Old Spaghetti<br />

Factory<br />


Winner: Fresh Prep<br />

Runners Up: Wolf Meal Prep, Local Urban Bites<br />

Favourite Retail<br />


Winner: Once upon a child<br />

Runners Up: Children’s Place, Carter’s<br />

BABY<br />

Winner: TJ’s<br />

Runners Up: Huckleberry, Momease<br />

TOYS<br />

Winner: Mastermind<br />

Runners Up: Kaboodles, The Red Balloon Toy Shop<br />


Winner: Once upon a child<br />

Runners Up: A to Z Kids, Sailor Jack<br />


Winner: Thrifty Foods<br />

Runners Up: Red Barn Market, Country Grocers<br />


Winner: Lifestyle Markets<br />

Runners Up: Healthy Essentials, Whole Foods<br />


Winner: Peninsula Market<br />

Runners Up: Moss Street Market, Esquimalt Market<br />

BOOKS<br />

Winner: Bolen Books<br />

Runners Up: Russell Books, Marmalade Books<br />


Winner: Heart Pharmacy<br />

Runners Up: Cridge Pharmacy, Shoppers (Royal Oak)<br />


Winner: Bosleys<br />

Runners Up: a pet’s life, Healthy Spot<br />


Winner: Oak Bay Bike Shop<br />

Runners Up: Westshore Bicycles, Fuka Cycles<br />


Winner: Wheaton Chevrolet Victoria<br />

Runners Up: Galaxy Motors, Howie’s Car Corral<br />

Favourite<br />

Personal Service<br />


Winner: Optimization<br />

Runners Up: Cordova Bay Optometry, Cadboro Bay<br />

Optometry<br />


Winner: Oceans Edge Nanaimo<br />

Runners Up: Shoreline, Dr. Kirk Bartlett<br />


Winner: Sun River Dental<br />

Runners Up: Westshore Dental, Colwood Dental<br />


Winner: Tall Tree<br />

Runners Up: Arbutus, Shelbourne<br />

Favourite<br />

Children , s...<br />


Winner: Lexies Little Bears<br />

Runners Up: Thriving Roots, Arts Calibre<br />


Winner: Stages Dance<br />

Runners Up: Theatre SKAM, Ballet Victoria<br />


Winner: Ponies & Pipsqueaks<br />

Runners Up: The Boulders Climbing Gym,<br />

Victoria Gymnastics<br />


Winner: UVic Vikes<br />

Runners Up: Victoria Gymnastics,<br />

Nanaimo Gymnastics<br />


Winner: Camp Qwanoes<br />

Runners Up: Camp Imadene, Camp Narnia<br />


Winner: Trident – Pacific FC<br />

Runners Up: Canada’s Best Karate,<br />

Nanaimo Gymnastics<br />


Winner: Saanich Commonwealth Place<br />

Runners Up: Westshore Parks & Recreation,<br />

Oak Bay Recreation<br />

Favourite<br />

Outing<br />


Winner: Harbour Cats<br />

Runners Up: Pacific FC, Victoria Royals<br />


Winner: Cook Street<br />

Runners Up: Courthouse, Beacon Hill<br />

BEACH<br />

Winner: Wittys Lagoon<br />

Runners Up: Arbutus Cove, Spiral Beach<br />

PARK<br />

Winner: Beacon Hill Park<br />

Runners Up: Fisherman’s Wharf Park,<br />

Holland Point Park<br />


Winner: WildPlay<br />

Runners Up: Butterfly Gardens, Bug Zoo<br />


Winner: Tigh Na Mara<br />

Runners Up: Manning Park,<br />

Harrison Hot Springs<br />

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

&<br />

Tweens Teens<br />

Vol V, Ed VI<br />

4 Ways to Balance<br />

Screen Time<br />

Discord:<br />

The Know-It-All Guide<br />

Helping Our Tweens & Teens Navigate Conflict

Discord: The Know-It-All Guide<br />

Maybe you’ve noticed your teen is spending more time<br />

in their room, headphones firmly set over their ears<br />

and eyes set squarely on a computer screen. Or maybe<br />

they’re constantly sneaking peeks at their phones, thumbs<br />

tapping away and stifling laughs. One very likely answer:<br />

Discord. In the ever-evolving landscape of digital communication,<br />

Discord has emerged as a powerful platform that has<br />

brought people together in shared interests, hobbies and<br />

communities. With its roots in gaming, Discord has evolved<br />

into a versatile and user-friendly application that caters<br />

to a wide range of interests, from gaming groups to study<br />

groups, hobbyist communities and even businesses.<br />

Discord’s Origins<br />

Discord was founded by Jason Citron and Stanislav<br />

Vishnevskiy back in May 2015. Interestingly enough, the<br />

inspiration for Discord’s creation was the at-the-time archaic<br />

chat features for online video games. Citron, a gamer<br />

himself and an up-and-coming entrepreneur, envisioned<br />

a communication platform specifically for gamers. Gradually,<br />

though, the vision for what Discord would be was that<br />

of a real-time communication space for communities of all<br />

shapes and sizes to thrive in.<br />

How Discord Went Mainstream<br />

What started off as a platform for gamers quickly grew<br />

out of its original niche and evolved into something else.<br />

Discord’s user-friendly interface, reliability and robust features<br />

quickly attracted people from various backgrounds.<br />

Even before it truly hit the mainstream, it became a go-to<br />

platform for organizing events, sharing knowledge and<br />

fostering online communities. In comparison to other social<br />

media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, Discord<br />

makes it very simple to meet and talk to new people; it’s<br />

as simple as searching up your preferred topic or interest,<br />

and you’ll get a long list of servers filled with people who’re<br />

extensively discussing that exact topic. This easy navigation<br />

combines with the very accessible design of the platform<br />

itself, making creating and maintaining your own server only<br />

needing a few clicks. But what really propelled Discord into<br />

the spotlight was the year we all had to spend indoors, and<br />

the world turned to the internet in greater numbers than<br />

ever before to communicate.<br />

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

The New Stomping Ground<br />

It’s no secret that video games are now one of the most<br />

popular pastimes of all time, captivating kids and adults<br />

alike. So it came as no surprise that people were playing<br />

video games more than ever during the various periods of<br />

lockdown throughout the pandemic. It also follows that Discord<br />

would see users skyrocket as well, with people looking<br />

for alternative ways to socialize in response to quarantine.<br />

Discord became the new hangout spot for lots of kids. It’s a<br />

place to chat, play video games, listen to music or even just<br />

share funny videos. With the move to online school, multiple<br />

video streaming platforms with text communication were<br />

used at first to replicate classroom discussion and homework<br />

assignments, but it didn’t take long for kids to start<br />

making Discord servers for specific classes, to share notes<br />

and ask one another questions. After that, it took even less<br />

time for schools across the country to start outright using<br />

Discord for online school in favour of the more well-known<br />

apps like Google Classroom and Zoom. Discord wasn’t just<br />

a private group chat for friends, it had evolved into a digital<br />

shopping mall that had school, your favourite stores to<br />

browse and your friend’s hangout spot all in one easy package.<br />

Even after the end of the pandemic and the return to<br />

normalcy, Discord remains a very important part of online<br />

life for kids and teens everywhere.<br />

The Future of Socialization<br />

With Discord almost accidentally incorporating itself into<br />

the daily lives of many young people, it has become one of<br />

the most popular places for them to communicate and express<br />

themselves that just aren’t possible in the real world.<br />

With the realm of possibilities that the internet had for<br />

social connection becoming a reality during the pandemic,<br />

it’s no wonder that it has become such an important part<br />

of young people’s lives. So, if you happen to see Discord on<br />

your teen’s phone or computer, take comfort in knowing<br />

that quality time with friends is still important to kids, even<br />

in the digital age.<br />

Fletcher Look is a fourth year student at<br />

the University of Alberta currently studying<br />

English and Writing. He enjoys reading,<br />

tabletop games, video games and all<br />

things nerdy.<br />

OPENS OCT 20, <strong>2023</strong><br />



SEE FULL<br />


AND GET<br />


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

<strong>Fall</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 35

Helping Our Tweens & Teens Navigate Conflict<br />

The “tweens” (between the ages of 8 or 9 and 12) are rough. Carefree<br />

childhood innocence rapidly slips away as kids encounter higher expectations<br />

at school and home, an ever-widening sense of a chaotic<br />

world outside themselves, confusing hormonal and physical changes,<br />

and the increasing complexity of social interaction with their peers.<br />

Suddenly, social spats aren’t simple: “Jane wouldn’t share the toy,”<br />

but can become complicated, multi-layered issues: “Jane was mad that<br />

I didn’t eat lunch with her, so she wouldn’t talk to me and told everyone<br />

not to be friends with me anymore. Then she said mean things about me<br />

on {insert social media du jour here} and now everyone hates me.”<br />

How do we help our kids get through this incredibly challenging<br />

time in a healthy way that promotes positive social skills?<br />

Apart from making sure they are secure in our unconditional love,<br />

and helping them build genuine confidence in themselves, it’s essential<br />

that kids learn how to work through conflict constructively. There<br />

are several important skills and mindsets that we can help them build<br />

that will make this easier.<br />

Over the year I noticed more students solving their own conflicts<br />

within the classroom, as well as increased empathy towards others,<br />

evidenced in their personal writing and even the way they spoke to<br />

each other.<br />

Perspective-Taking and Empathy<br />

Helping kids more fully understand how their actions affect others<br />

is something that can be practiced at home.<br />

Books. When reading, you can discuss the characters’ feelings, and<br />

point out how several characters can feel differently about the same<br />

situation. Powerful “tween” books, told from multiple perspectives,<br />

are R.J. Palacio’s Wonder and Rob Buyea’s Because of Mr. Terupt.<br />

Authenticity. Give them feedback when their words or actions have<br />

an emotional effect on you, positive or negative.<br />

Drama—the Good Kind. Role-playing is a great tool for helping us<br />

see and understand peoples’ emotions and motivations. Act out social<br />

situations and discuss what you are thinking and feeling when, for<br />

How We View Conflict<br />

Conflict is a natural and unavoidable part of human interaction, but<br />

working through it isn’t always intuitive, or easy. When I was a rookie<br />

elementary school teacher, I struggled to help my Grade 6 students<br />

sort out daily drama.<br />

I attended several workshops on Restorative Justice and conflict<br />

resolution, and learned to view conflict not as “right” versus “wrong”<br />

but as two people wanting or needing different things. Resolving conflict<br />

isn’t about punishment or exacting revenge—it’s about making<br />

sure that everyone’s experience is heard and acknowledged, and that<br />

they find a way to move forward from the conflict in a way that meets<br />

everyone’s needs.<br />

Our school formed a “Peace Squad”—a group of students, many<br />

from my class, trained to help mediate playground conflicts. This<br />

wasn’t a miracle cure for conflict and, obviously, there were issues<br />

(physical altercations, and bullying, among them) that mediators had<br />

to refer to adult supervisors. Sometimes students weren’t interested in<br />

participating when they realized that the other kid wasn’t going to get<br />

in “trouble.”<br />

However, anyone involved in the process, whether as a mediator or<br />

someone in conflict, came away from it seeing that there is an alternative<br />

to the pervasive idea that if someone “wrongs” you, they need to<br />

be “punished.”<br />

example, your best friend decides to sit with someone else at lunch.<br />

How might you react? What are some alternative ways of handling the<br />

situation?<br />

Boost Emotional Awareness<br />

Being able to describe how someone’s actions make you feel is an<br />

essential key to finding satisfying resolutions to conflict, but many kids<br />

struggle with a limited emotional vocabulary.<br />

Labelling. We can help our kids develop and expand their emotional<br />

awareness, starting with labelling and talking about our own emotions.<br />

We can also provide a safe space and opportunities for them to<br />

practice.<br />

Visual Aids. My four-year-old has a calendar with emotion magnets,<br />

and every day when we change the date, weather, and day of the week,<br />

he also takes a moment to think about how he’s feeling and picks a<br />

face. Sometimes we get into the “why” of his emotions, but just labelling<br />

them is a great start.<br />

Shared Journal. If your tween isn’t yet comfortable with verbalizing<br />

their feelings, you could try keeping a shared journal (with a list<br />

of emotion words taped inside the cover for easy reference). There are<br />

some beautifully-designed journals out there for this purpose, full of<br />

creative prompts. Some are even fill-in-the-blank.<br />

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

Games. Emotion charades and other activities<br />

derived from theatre sports can help your<br />

child develop and strengthen their ability to<br />

read facial expressions and body language.<br />

A lot of kids have difficulty with tone and<br />

emphasis. They might repeat something funny<br />

a TV character says and not understand why<br />

their classmate finds it hurtful (it might be<br />

said with a sarcastic tone). You can make a<br />

game of saying the same sentence in different<br />

ways and trying to guess the speaker’s intent<br />

or emotion. For example, “What are you doing?”<br />

vs “What are you doing?” communicate<br />

different messages.<br />

Calming Strategies<br />

Learning and practicing calming techniques<br />

(mindful breathing, counting, visualization,<br />

positive self-talk) helps us be rational and<br />

receptive instead of reactive. You can help<br />

your child to determine which strategies are<br />

most useful for them and encourage them to<br />

practice when you see they are agitated.<br />

Acknowledge Mistakes… and Grow<br />

When conflict occurs, it’s important to<br />

work through it so that everyone can move<br />

forward peacefully. We can’t change what<br />

happened, but we can decide to learn and<br />

make different choices in the future. To do<br />

this we need to acknowledge our own part in<br />

conflict.<br />

No one wants to believe their child is capable<br />

of causing hurt to another, but it happens<br />

every day. Not because they are “bad,”<br />

but because they are learning. If your child is<br />

involved in a conflict, take time to hear the<br />

whole story of what transpired. Encourage<br />

them to own their actions and be part of a<br />

solution. Just as in any new subject, they are<br />

going to make mistakes and that’s when they<br />

need our support the most—to help them<br />

grow positively from a negative experience.<br />

Schools are beginning to teach emotional<br />

and social skills more explicitly within an<br />

evolving curriculum, but developing empathy,<br />

emotional awareness, self-regulation, and<br />

problem-solving skills starts with parents.<br />

They watch us for cues, and if we negotiate<br />

our own conflicts constructively this goes a<br />

long way to helping them get through the trials<br />

and tribulations of Tweenhood.<br />

Kelly McQuillan is a writer,<br />

musician, teacher and fledgling<br />

mother living in Comox.<br />

kellymcquillanwriter.<br />

weebly.com, music teacher:<br />

kellymcquillan.com.<br />

150 Commercial St<br />

Nanaimo, British Columbia<br />

250.754.1750<br />

NanaimoArtGallery.ca<br />

Pro-D Day, Spring and<br />

Summer Camps<br />

Drop-in and Immersive<br />

Programs for Teens<br />

School Programs<br />

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for All Ages<br />

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October 26, 6-8 p.m. Gabriola Aggi Hall,<br />

November 1, <strong>2023</strong> from 6-8 p.m. at the Cavalotti Hall<br />

rdn.bc.ca/wellsmart<br />

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

<strong>Fall</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 37

Be a Role Model<br />

4 Ways to Balance Screen Time Around Children<br />

Kids learn how to use technology by watching their parents and<br />

caregivers, so model healthy habits early.<br />

One of the advantages of modern technology is that you can be<br />

at the playground and scroll through your phone at the same time.<br />

We’ve all been there. We answer emails, catch up on group chats and<br />

try to get in that one last text. The thing is, children notice. They’re<br />

watching us, watching how we use devices.<br />

Lots of studies show the effects of screen time on kids and there<br />

are guidelines for how much is appropriate at what age. More importantly,<br />

kids learn their screen habits from us. But it’s common for<br />

many parents and caregivers to be distracted by their phones when<br />

spending time with their children. These tips can help you balance<br />

your own tech use and model healthy habits for the kids.<br />

Set device-free times and zones. When kids are around, set an<br />

example by using tech the way you want them to use it. Keep phones<br />

away from the dinner table, try not to multitask while using devices<br />

and turn the TV off when no one is watching.<br />

Establish screen-time goals for yourself. The secret to healthy<br />

tech use is to establish limits and stick to them. Try using your phone’s<br />

screen-time features to track how long you use it. Then set some goals<br />

for how you’d like to be using your phone when spending time with<br />

family. Be mindful if you find yourself constantly responding to emails<br />

and messages during your downtime. Before you check your phone,<br />

ask yourself: Why am I checking my phone? If you don’t have a good<br />

reason, put it down. And if you do pick up your phone in front of the<br />

kids, try to explain what you’re doing. That way, they know you’re using<br />

it for a reason.<br />

Keep distractions to a minimum. You probably tell your kids to<br />

turn off their devices during homework time. Get rid of the stuff that<br />

distracts you, too. Limit notification alerts when spending time as a<br />

family, or set your devices to “do not disturb.” Try to avoid using devices<br />

around your children on long commutes and journeys or at appointments,<br />

too.<br />

Watch and play movies, shows, and games together. Whenever<br />

you can, watch, play and listen with your kids. Ask questions that get<br />

them thinking, like Who’s your favorite character? What do you think<br />

will happen next? This is a great way to have discussions about your<br />

values. It will also help kids make connections between what they see<br />

on screen and their lives. With older kids, you can draw them out by<br />

sharing stuff from your social media accounts.<br />

Originally posted in Common Sense Media, October 2022.<br />

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




At Aspengrove School, we provide our students with an experiential, personalized school<br />

experience. Through Aspengrove’s holistic programs, students develop strong academic<br />

and life skills to prepare them for success in their post-secondary journeys. Our Middle and<br />

Senior School experience is full of rich learning opportunities delivered through the<br />

renowned International Baccalaureate curriculum.<br />

Preschool - Grade 12 | Nanaimo, BC | 250.390.2201 | AspengroveSchool.com<br />

<strong>Island</strong><strong>Parent</strong>.ca <strong>Fall</strong> <strong>2023</strong> 39

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