Posts By: Guest Blogger

The gift that keeps on giving

This guest blog post comes from Kim Graydon of Glen Bernard Camp.

As a parent, wouldn’t you just love to find that ONE gift for your child they would continue to love their whole life through?  Ready?  It IS out there….it is the gift of summer camp.   But what exactly are the benefits of summer camp for kids? What are you giving your son or daughter by investing in the gift of camp?  You are buying them fun, adventure, outdoor skills, an extended slumber party, freedom and acceptance to dress up in crazy wigs and clothes, a break from their technology and more!   As someone who went to camp from the age of 7 through to 20, here is what I know my mother bought me (and now what I am giving my children).

I was given life skills.  She gifted me the exposure to finding out I was resilient. When the going gets tough, the tough get going.  I’m one of those people. I can thank her for giving me the skills and knowledge to find my way out of a forest using a compass.  This is still a relevant skill despite what our children say!!  I am proud to have been given the network of women I am a part of today.  I can call on any of my “summer sisters” for advice, support or potential job prospects.  It is like a club but you don’t have to pretend to be something you aren’t. PHEW!  Kudos to her for teaching me that my behaviour CAN impact the life of a child.  I learned at the age of 16 that I was a role model and part of a team.

Your gift of camp will teach your child that she/he matters to people in addition to their family.  They will learn to belong to a group that feels like family.  Your investment will equip them with skills that will not only help them, but that will be used to give back to others as they go through life.  You will ensure that your child begins to learn conflict resolution in a safe, supportive environment.  Your gift will bring a lifetime of happiness and fond memories.  Isn’t that amazing?  Imagine if you gave your child a toy that brought them happiness for decades?  There would be a crazy rush during the holidays to get our hands on that one, elusive gift.

There are so many different types of camps to choose from.  Start investigating!  Talk to other Moms, go online, get referrals or book a tour of a camp you are interested in.  Some camps will even come to your house and visit with you and your potential camper!  Camp is a lifelong learning adventure.  Take the plunge!

 

About the Author:

Kim Graydon is the Associate Director of Development at Glen Bernard Camp in Hunstville, Ontario.

Handling Your Anxiety About Your Kid’s Food Allergies

A Guest Post by Mabel’s Labels Brand & Communications Manager, Karma Bryan-Ingle:

I have blogged on the Mabelhood site before about my son with life-threatening food allergies and the anxiety that can accompany it. As many of you know, I take a different approach to how I deal with this allergy anxiety. Namely, I don’t let it rule our lives or have too much impact on the choices I make for my son. I want him to have all of the same opportunities as any child and I want him to have the same experiences. We travel with Evan. We send him to sleep away camp. He goes to birthday parties and trick-or-treats at Halloween. We just do all these things with an air of caution.

A few weeks ago I was at an event at my son’s school. It was an Ignite event where 15 people got up for 5 minutes each and talked about something they were passionate about. The topics were varied and each one as interesting as the next. But the two that struck me the most were the ones by Evan’s teacher and his wife. Years ago, they took a trip to Nepal and fell in love with the land and its’ people. From that point forward, every other year they have taken a group of upper school students to Nepal for two weeks to do charitable work. Students come back from this trip transformed. This is a trip I would love for Evan to go on.

Which got me to thinking…would I let him go or would I be too scared to send him off to a foreign country without me, due to his life threatening allergies? For the first time ever, I considered having him miss out on an amazing opportunity. One that could change his life and shape the person he could become. All because of food allergies. I still don’t have the answer. I don’t know if I will let him go when he reaches Grade 11. Thankfully, I still have 8 years to decide!

So, what would you do? Would you send your allergic child off to have the experience of a lifetime or would you let the allergies win?

Screen Free Week – May 5-11

When I mentioned Screen-Free Week to my 12 year-old son, his response was “Are you kidding me? That’s like Earth Hour BUT FOR A WHOLE WEEK!” The hardest part of Earth Hour for him isn’t turning out the lights (Flashlights and candles? Awesome!) It’s about no Netflix or X-Box. Playing board games by candlelight is fun, but about the 45-minute mark everyone, including us grown-ups, is sneaking a peek at the clock (see My Plugged-In Family).

In our house, we’re going to try and modify Screen-Free Week and make it Screen-REDUCTION Week.

Here’s the plan:

1) Estimate CURRENT Screen Time. Check in with family members in advance, and ask everyone to ballpark how much time they spend on screens daily.

2) Monitor Screen Time BEFORE Screen-Free Week. Ask everyone to keep track of their screen time for a few days to see how realistic their estimate was. Make it like The Price Is Right and have a small prize for whoever makes the most accurate guess. Even if it’s an astonishing amount of time, at least they’re aware! Baby steps.

3) “But I’ll have nothing to do!” Brainstorm some ideas of things to do together as a family instead of all being on separate screens, as well as some individual activities. Board games? Bike ride? Family hike? Curling up with a book? Cleaning their room? Yeah, sneak that one in; it’s worth a shot.

4) Get commitments. Ask everyone to pick a goal, either time-based or otherwise, and WRITE IT DOWN. Our son has already committed to live without his X-box for the entire week. Have some kind of incentive for whoever achieves their goal. I’m totally motivated by rewards; my prize could be relaxing and reading magazines for a whole hour! Have the kids figure out what their reward will be, encouraging them to think of ones that cost very little, if anything.

5) Have Fun! This doesn’t have to be a torturous week. Have your list of alternative activities handy. Make some Screen-Free signs with the kids and post them as little reminders (reduces the nag factor).

6) Follow-Up. After the week, sit down with everyone and find out how it went. Was it difficult? Easier than you thought? What were the positive things that happened? Will it change your behaviour moving forward?

Will you be participating in Screen-Free Week? Any ideas to share? Come back and leave a comment and let us know how it went!

 

About the Author:

Karen Pearson is one of the friendly voices you’ll hear on the other end of the phone when calling Customer Service at Mabel’s Labels. She enjoys writing about her family, which includes a husband, 3 kids and a rescue dog from Greece.

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