Category: parenting

iGen Book Review

iGen Book Review

A highly readable and entertaining first look at how today’s members of iGen—the children, teens, and young adults born in the mid-1990s and later—are vastly different from their Millennial predecessors, and from any other generation, from the renowned psychologist and author of Generation Me.

iGen Book Review

About iGen

With generational divides wider than ever, parents, educators, and employers have an urgent need to understand today’s rising generation of teens and young adults. Born in the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s and later, iGen is the first generation to spend their entire adolescence in the age of the smart phone. With social media and texting replacing other activities, iGen spends less time with their friends in person—perhaps why they are experiencing unprecedented levels of anxiety, depression, and loneliness.

But technology is not the only thing that makes iGen distinct from every generation before them; they are also different in how they spend their time, how they behave, and in their attitudes toward religion, sexuality, and politics. They socialize in completely new ways, reject once sacred social taboos, and want different things from their lives and careers. More than previous generations, they are obsessed with safety, focused on tolerance, and have no patience for inequality. iGen is also growing up more slowly than previous generations: eighteen-year-olds look and act like fifteen-year-olds used to.

But technology is not the only thing that makes iGen distinct from every generation before them; they are also different in how they spend their time, how they behave, and in their attitudes toward religion, sexuality, and politics. They socialize in completely new ways, reject once sacred social taboos, and want different things from their lives and careers. More than previous generations, they are obsessed with safety, focused on tolerance, and have no patience for inequality. iGen is also growing up more slowly than previous generations: eighteen-year-olds look and act like fifteen-year-olds used to.

My Thoughts

Our children are growing up in a difficult time period. Everything is so different from when I was in my teens! They are growing up with technology I would never have even dreamed of. This technology has to have had an impact on their childhood and the way they connect with family, friends and others.

This book examines just how drastically this generation has changed (and looks at statistics from a broad range of cultures, ages and numbers). It looks at several areas where this generation has differed from their predecessors, such as religion, politics, family, work, sex and attitudes. It is amazing to see how the iGen generation has shifted with their thinking and mind-set.

As a parent with children growing up in this iGen generation, I think this book is a must read. It points out so many important facts that really make you think about your own parenting. Do I focus too much on safety at the risk of not allowing my child to learn and grow? Am I preventing independence and necessary life skills by doing things for them? Is my child spending so much time socializing online that they are lacking the necessary communication and verbal skills required for later on in life? What are the implications of all of this?

This book was a definite eye opener for me as parent. I can see my children in this book and it really made me focus on what I can do now as a parent to help my child prepare for their future. There are so many skills that I learned in my teen years that are not being passed down to my children. I loved that this book offered hope and suggestions on how to change behaviour now before children spiral out of control. The most shocking (although we see it in the news all the time) is the mental health aspect. This culture is hurting them with depression, anxiety and loneliness and this book tackles the whys of this.

iGen is well written and expressed in a manner that parents can understand and apply in their own homes. It is a definite must read parenting book especially for parents raising young children, teens or even planning families.

You can purchase a copy of the book on Amazon.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Jean M. Twenge credentials: Professor of Psychology at San Diego State University, is the author of more than 90 scientific publications and three books based on her research, Generation Me, The Narcissism Epidemic, and The Impatient Woman’s Guide to Getting Pregnant. Her research has been covered in TimeNewsweek, the New York TimesUSA Today, and The Washington Post, and she has been featured on TodayNBC Nightly NewsFox and FriendsDateline, and NPR. She received a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. She lives in San Diego, California, with her husband and daughters.

Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Building Strong Communities Starts in School #CatholicTeachers

Building Strong Communities Starts at School

Community: A feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals. – Merriam Webster Definition

My children, like so many others, spent the majority of their day in school with their teachers and friends. Their friends, teachers, principal and administrative staff have become a second family to my boys. They are there for them when I can’t be, they clean up cuts, teach them to share and build a classroom based on respect, friendship, faith and learning. This second home is where my children learn important life skills and develop a sense of belonging, pride and giving back to their local community. Knowing how important education, school and the community environment that they are a part of is, I chose Catholic Education  for my children. I wanted them to have the same positive experiences that I had as a child and to be nurtured in an environment that pushes them to succeed while supporting each and every individual in the classroom.

My boys participate in many events at their school from mass to monthly awards ceremonies to reading buddy groups to sports activities after school to themed events outside of school hours (French Cafe for example). As a family, we have attended many schools events outside of school hours such as BBQs, plays, mass , Advent nights and fundraisers for families in our school. The extracurricular activities at our school are based on faith and respect – including sports activities where a prayer is said before each and every game.Building Strong Communities Starts at School #CatholicTeachers

Recently, one of the parents of three children in our school was diagnosed with terminal cancer and to help support this family, a movie fundraiser was organized by the teachers and family community, with all proceeds from the event going to help support this family in a difficult time. This movie night brought together families from all age groups, teachers and administrative staff in the school that wanted to show this family that they were not alone during this difficult time and that we are all there to support them through giving our time, our thoughts, our prayers and acts of kindness.

Why is community so important?

Community is so important for many reasons. One of the most important benefits of belonging to a community is that it helps children to realize that there is more to life than just themselves. We are here to serve others and to give back to others wherever we can. We have all been so blessed and it is important for children to learn the importance of giving back and helping others out in hard times. Being a part of a community in a Catholic school gives you the opportunity to help others in the school, not because it is expected but because you are taught the value and importance of giving back to others by their teachers. I started volunteering in my teen years as a school requirement, I continued to volunteer long after the requirement was met because of the joy I received from working in hospitals and retirement homes. I knew I was making an impact in the lives of others and it gave me a strong sense of accomplishment and joy. I want my boys to experience that same feeling of joy in giving back to others.

Community helps individuals know and feel that they belong to a group who will support them and provide them guidance. When I drop my boys off at their school, they know so many of the students regardless of how old they are. They play sports together, they look after each other when someone is hurt (I have had some of the older students even approach me after school when my youngest had been hurt playing, asking how he was because they had helped him to a teacher to receive care for his cuts) and they are each other’s biggest cheerleaders. Being a smaller school, their teachers know them so well and I have had great conversations about my boys, their learning and how they behave in the yard with many teachers outside of their home classroom.

Building Strong Communities Starts at School #CatholicTeachers

Being a part of a faith based community and learning to give back to others is so important for children as they grow up. Learning these important life lessons in school from their teachers is crucial for instilling these values at a young age. Ontario Catholic Teachers play a huge role in creating well rounded, thoughtful students who understand the importance of community and giving back to others.

Lessons for Life – Cheryl Can’t Sleep from OECTA on Vimeo.

Disclosure:  This post is part of the YummyMummyClub and Ontario’s Catholic Teachers #CatholicTeachers sponsored program. I received compensation as a thank you for my participation. This post reflects my personal opinion about the information provided by the sponsors.

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Bun 2 Babe Review and Giveaway

Bun 2 Babe Book Review

The joys of being pregnant – endless choices, suggestions and worries! Bun 2 Babe: Routines and Strategies for Nurturing Your Baby through Age Two: A Personal and Informative Guide From a Mother of Four gives you all the information you will ever need!

Bun 2 Babe

About Bun 2 Babe: Routines and Strategies for Nurturing Your Baby Through Age Two: A Personal and Informative Guide From a Mother of Four

You’re expecting! Congratulations…and welcome to a seemingly endless string of choices: Doctor or midwife? Home or hospital birth? All natural or epidural? Cloth or disposable diapers? Breast-feeding or formula?

Now take a deep breath. Modern motherhood is full of possibilities and Bun 2 Babe is here to help you navigate your options. While there are numerous parenting books available, not many present firsthand accounts of multiple methods in a uncompetitive way. After having four children herself, author Charlotte Ryan, B.Sc. Hon., B.Ed., MA, knows from experience that what is right for one mother or child is not necessarily best for another.

Personal, practical, and at times downright hilarious, Bun 2 Babe guides you from pregnancy through raising a toddler with helpful advice and strategies pertinent to each stage. Discover what’s available, from birth choices to child-care options, so you can make an informed decision that fits your baby and your situation. Your baby is lucky to have you—you’re going to be a great mom!

My Thoughts

Finally a pregnancy and parenting book that you will LOVE! Charlotte writes in an amazingly personal manner with humour and love for her children and being a Mother. You can easily connect with both her and her parenting style. She is honest and real, she doesn’t give you the story or product advice that you want but that you need.

What I had to love the most was that Bun 2 Babe is not only great for first time parents but great for second, third and fourth time parents. Each pregnancy, delivery and first two years is different for every child. For my first son, I had a vacuum assisted delivery and it was quick and painless. My second son had to be induced and labour was long and painful. While my first son had difficulties with breastfeeding, my second son didn’t. Charlotte exposes you to every option out there from prenatal/antenatal care, to labour and delivery and raising your baby. When you have had four children, you have done and see it all! Her wisdom and experience truly shines out in this book. My favourite part was her own advice on how to remove those pesky boogers from your baby’s nose. I hated those nasal aspirators – they never worked. The only thing that truly works? Giving slight pressure on your baby’s nose by sucking on the end to pull it out. Yup – you have truly done it all when it comes to your kids! Talk about true love.

Another favourite part of mine was the section on breastfeeding. While she does encourage you do breastfeed (she also gives you sections on bottle feeding so don’t be afraid!), the best part was her explanation of the emotional connection. Too often we hear all about the health benefits but breastfeeding is truly beautiful. You feel so utterly connected (and not that I didn’t with my first son so please don’t take it the wrong way!) and time just freezes in that moment. I was reading this section while I was waiting for blood work and I actually started to cry in the lab’s waiting room.

Bun 2 Babe is honest, real, full of love, humour and advice. Charlotte has a wealth of wisdom but speaks to you as another Mother who gets it. We just want to enjoy pregnancy and parenthood. We want the best for our baby but we also want to keep some sanity (say no to back zippers and buttons for infants!). This book is truly special and deserves to be on every baby shower must buy list.

You can purchase a copy of Bun 2 Babe on Amazon.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Charlotte Ryan  is a busy mom of four fantastic kids and is a special education teacher. She received her master’s degree in education from the University of Toronto, and she continues to learn every day. Charlotte enjoys yoga, vegetarian cooking, skiing, horseback riding, painting, and exploring the outdoors. She lives outside Toronto, Ontario, with her handsome husband, cute children and big dog. You can connect with her on her site Bun 2 Babe.

The Giveaway!

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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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5 Tips to Keep Potty Training Simple #PottyPartnership

Huggies Pull Ups Potty Partnership

When I was pregnant with my first son, all I wanted to be was the perfect Mother. I read plenty of parenting books, columns and advice. They were great, don’t get me wrong, but it didn’t prepare me for my own child and their personality and learning type. Toddlers learn and process things differently. They are just like adults and it is so important to tailor potty training to their personality to be successful. There is no one shoe fits all when it comes to potty training. For us, we had one child who was resistant to change and one who couldn’t wait to become a “big kid”. Our learning curve with our first child was huge!

While the potty training years were hard and sometimes ended in tears in the beginning, as parents we have come a long way. I wish we had some of the same resources parents have now but I think we did a great job with what we had. Here are our key tips for successful potty training:

Make sure your child is ready to begin potty training. Potty training can be a scary time for toddlers (adults too!!), they want to make us proud but accidents happen and it is important for them to know that it is okay. The first step is making sure your child is really ready to potty train. Look for key signs, like: tugging at wet diapers, hiding to pee, interest in others use of the potty, waking up dry from naps or even telling you that they need to go. It is important to look for at least two or more signs, otherwise you may be starting potty training too early and it may make the experience difficult. Once you have figured out that they are ready, you need to figure out the next step: their personality.

Know your child’s personality and how they learn. This is the ultimate key to potty training success in my opinion. You can try every tip in the book but if you aren’t reaching your child the way they learn the best, then it will end in tears. Pull-Ups has developed five key personalities that tend to occur most often in toddlers: Puppy, Turtle, Squirrel, Owl and Bear Cub. When you visit the Potty Partnership website and answer key questions about your child, it will figure out which personality your child is and provide tailored tips to help both parent and child achieve success. Looking at the personalities I can easily tell I had (and still are in most things) a Turtle and a Bear Cub. For us it meant approaching potty training very differently for both of them to ensure they both felt supported, encouraged and ready.

5 Tips to Keep Potty Training Simple #PottyPartnership

Get the right tools! As adults, we wouldn’t learn a new skill without all the needed materials and the same is true with potty training. In our house, we ensured we had a potty that our child picked out themselves, flushable wipes (best invention ever hands down), special toddler soap, reward chart, the actual rewards (Hot Wheels car were very popular in our house) and the proper size of Pull-Ups training pants.

5 Tips to Keep Potty Training Simple #PottyPartnership

Connect with family, friends and community. Use the resources around you for help, never ever be afraid to ask for help. I wanted to belief potty training would be natural and easy, when it wasn’t I became frustrated which didn’t help my child. Talk to friends, family and online communities to see what helped them. You may find an angle that you wouldn’t have even thought of, that may just work perfectly for you and your child. Join online resources like the Potty Partnership to get advice geared to your child’s personality and gender, learn how to talk to your child about potty training (tone, voice) and learn how your child’s mind works.

Keep it simple and fun. Use terms that your child will understand and talk to them in a tone of voice that lets them know you are proud of them no matter what. Potty training will have ups and downs, this is okay. Your child won’t always learn overnight and they need to have that encouragement that they are doing well. Keep instructions simple and consistent – once you start don’t give up but instead keep at it and keep it fun.

I love this video from Pull-Ups, teaching a whole new way to potty train your toddler:

If you have a child or family member who is ready to start the potty training journey, Pull-Ups is giving you the chance to win your own Potty Partnership kit to help you on your own potty training journey. The kit includes:

  • Pull-Ups Training Pants (size geared to the child’s age and gender)
  • Big Kid Flushable Wipes
  • Potty chair with detachable potty seat
  • Potty Progress chart
  • Potty Training Book
  • Plush Toy Reward
  • $25 Walmart gift card to purchase more Potty Training items from the shopping list

Five Simple Tips to Potty Training Success

Enter via the Rafflecopter form below and good luck!

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Disclosure: I received a Potty Partnership kit. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Make Parenting Simple Again with These Top Picks from Raincoast Books

Raincoast Books

When we first find out we are pregnant, we know that we just want to succeed in parenting and raise the healthiest and happiest child. We want to get all the safety, health and nursery right. We want to stimulate our babies mind while encouraging growth. So we probably read many parenting books, websites and blogs all in the hopes of learning how to succeed in parenting.

While these books are great (and honestly you really should read them), they miss out on some important aspects of parenting: letting your child play, imagine, create and how to just sit back and have fun. Too often we want to break up play we feel is dangerous (I know I has this habit!) even when it was something we did as a child ourselves. Sometimes we may be holding our child back by not allowing them that same freedom we had as children. These incredibly helpful parenting titles explain why.

Make Parenting Simple Again with Raincoast Books

Balanced and Barefoot

In this important book, a pediatric occupational therapist and founder of TimberNook
shows how outdoor play and unstructured freedom of movement are vital for children’s
cognitive development and growth, and offers tons of fun, engaging ways to help ensure
that kids grow into healthy, balanced, and resilient adults.

Today’s kids have adopted sedentary lifestyles filled with television, video games, and computer screens. But more and more, studies show that children need rough and tumble” outdoor play in order to develop their sensory, motor, and executive functions. Disturbingly, a lack of movement has been shown to lead to a number of health and cognitive difficulties, such as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), emotion regulation and sensory processing issues, and aggressiveness at school recess break. So, how can you ensure your child is fully engaging their body, mind, and all of their senses?

Using the same philosophy that lies at the heart of her popular TimberNook program-that nature is the ultimate sensory experience, and that psychological and physical health improves for children when they spend time outside on a regular basis-author Angela Hanscom offers several strategies to help your child thrive, even if you live in an urban environment.

I fell in love with this book, literally could not put it down as the facts and strategies were fascinating. She looks at important statistics like how our children are weaker physically than children in the 80s and more to help us figure out where we need to change our parenting style. While some of the statistics are shocking, I am sure once you read them you will be able to see the truth in them. You may recognize other children or even your own (the child that does not like to touch grass or certain textured food). She uses examples of her own children, her own parenting experiences and practice experiences to guide us. She speaks in an open way that you feel as though it is a conversation with her and she truly gets your struggles. I found myself nodding a lot at times and I am sure my husband and kids thought I was a tad bit strange!

She even had me examining my own parenting and stopping me from interrupting disputes, organizing play for my kids and stopping play that I deemed unsafe (not to the extreme level but rock jumping and tree climbing should be okay for kids). I looked at my kids and for the first time I understood why they were happiest outside and why they get angry and have outbursts after too much screen time. It just clicked. Since then, we have spent more time outside on the field, in the front yard and just letting them choose what they want to do. I have held myself back more instead of trying to organize activities and instead encourage them to use their own minds to create games.

This is an excellent book for parents to be, parents of toddlers and young children who may be struggling. She gives helpful ideas, explanations that you can truly understand and real world advice.

Make Parenting Simple Again with Raincoast Books

Let’s Color Together

Scribble your way to fun with your kids through face-to-face colouring in Let’s Color Together!

Colouring books are all the rage with everyone from preschoolers to grandparents, so why not share the joy of coloring with those you love the most? Featuring beautiful spreads specifically designed for two people to color at once and enjoy at once, Let’s Color Together is the perfect opportunity to sit down, connect, and share some fun with your kids.

Who doesn’t love a good colouring book? It’s even more fun when you get to enjoy it with your child (or in our case they didn’t even wait for me and started colouring before I could join them!). The designs ranged in difficultly and size of the lines/spacing so that this book could be appreciated by a wide age range of children and adults. It is the perfect unwinding tool from a long day at work and at school and an even better way of spending some quiet time with your child.

Make Parenting Simple Again with Raincoast Books

Mothers of the Village

So many mothers feel like something is out of joint, something is missing – and maybe the truth is that we’re all just missing each other.

C. J. Schneider found herself in the middle of a perfect storm after giving birth to her third child and moving to a new neighborhood. Conditions for misery and postpartum depression were ideal: she was isolated, lonely, and exhausted with three young children at home. As she started talking with other mothers, she realized that she was not alone in her experience of feeling alone.

In her unique voice, Schneider intelligently and compassionately offers practical advice on how to create the essential community that mothers need. Given the many examples of communal mothering from the past and around the world, as well as modern examples of communities in which mothers are thriving, the research is clear: since the beginning of womankind, mothering has been a communal effort.

Mothers of the Village affirms that as mothers connect with each other and learn to work with each other, despite the challenges, they may find a piece of themselves that they have felt missing all along.

Make Parenting Simple Again with Raincoast Books

Why Can’t We Just Play?

Facing summer with her two boys, ages ten and seven, Pam Lobley was sifting through sign ups for swim team, rec camp, night camp, scout camp, and enrichment classes. Overwhelmed at the choices, she asked her sons what they wanted to do during summer: Soccer? Zoo School? Little Prodigy’s Art Club?”

“Why can’t we just play?” they asked.

A summer with no scheduled activities at all . . . The thought was tempting, but was it possible? It would be like something out of the 1950s. Could they really have a summer like that?

Juggling the expectations of her husband (“Are you going to wear garters?”), her son, Sam (“I’m bored!”), and her son, Jack (“Can I just stay in my pajamas?”), Pam sets out to give her kids an old-fashioned summer. During the shapeless days, she studies up on the myths and realities of the 1950s. With her trademark wit and candor, she reveals what we can learn from those long-ago families, why raising kids has changed so drastically, and most importantly, how to stop time once in a while and just play in Why Can’t We Just Play.

Parenting your child shouldn’t be a rigid schedule of to-do lists, sports events and music. Sometimes we all just need to sit back, be in the mood and play. Now you can enter to win a copy of Let’s Color Together and one of the above mentioned titles. Enter via the rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

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Disclosure: I received Let’s Color Together and Barefoot and Balanced in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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