Posts Categorized: Julie Cole

Roughing it in the Bush

My family and I just had our annual week at the cottage. Now that my kids are getting older, cottage life has gotten easier. No longer do I wish for a baby gate around the lake and gone are the days of me following toddlers around the entire week.

But we certainly don’t have this safety thing all wrapped up just because they’re older. Older kids are more independent and mine like to go off exploring and visiting little friends around the lake. This year I felt like I had to keep an eye on my headcount. The thought of one of them getting lost in the woods makes me shudder.

So, I set up a few simple rules & tools that helped keep my stress levels down and my kiddos all accounted for:

  • If going exploring, don’t go alone. Always bring a sibling and if you happen to get lost, you STAY TOGETHER.
  • I reminded them of the “Hug a Tree” program. When a child is lost in the woods, they tend to wander, bringing them further away from home.  I advised my kids that the moment they feel lost, they find a comfortable tree and stay with it. Chances are, they are not far from the cottage and it’s easier to find a non-moving target!
  • My kids don’t have cell phones, but even if they did, we are so far in the bush that there’s no reception. We use walkie talkies, which are both fun and a great way to stay connected if there is a problem.
  • When you hear the bell, you head home. We have a big dinner bell that echoes through the lake. When I feel like I have not seen a child for a while, I ring the bell and they wander back. I count six little heads and send them back off to their adventures.
  • If a kid is going off exploring, have them wear a whistle around their neck. It’s a great way to locate them if they go off track, and whistles are good for scaring off the bears as well.

In the end, we survived the week and I managed to bring home the same six kids I left with.

Are you a family that camps or cottages? What measures do you put in place to ensure their safety in the bush?

 

About the Author:

Julie Cole Mabel's Labels

Julie Cole

Julie Cole is co-founder of Mabel’s Labels Inc., the leading provider of kids’ labels, and a proud mom of six. Back to school is around the corner – have you got your school labels yet? The Ultimate Back-to-School Combo is here!

 

 

This Mama of Many is Getting Ready for Back-to-School

The time has finally come. I can hardly believe it. This September, all six of my children will be in school.

Many years ago, I said I was going to host a champagne breakfast on the day that my last child goes to school. It shocks me that my champagne breakfast is in the very near future.

So this is the lay of the land. My little guy starts JK, and the others are going into grades 2, 3, 6, 7 and 8. Six kids in elementary school.

Getting them ready for this season is always a bit of fun. And by fun, I mean not fun. At all.

But, being organized is a must in my busy house. Here’s what we do to get ready.

On the last day of school in June, we salvage what school supplies can be used again the following year. The pencil crayons get sharpened and other items get inspected and cleaned up. I also avoid the back to school shopping when everyone else is doing it. It’s not an August activity for me. Buying off season means you’re more likely to get the items you need without being met with “Sold Out” signs.

For obvious reasons, my kids are extremely well trained at labeling their school gear and also knowing how to hunt things down when they go missing. They pride themselves on never having lost anything to the lost and found closet for more than a few hours. And as this back to school season is upon us, I now have my last little person to train in the labeling department. Six kids means a lot of gear and a lot of expense, so my Mabel’s Labels are my cheap insurance policy.

How trained are your kids about labeling? What have been your lost and found experiences? Share a lost and found story or simply let us know you’d love to get some labels in the comments and you’ll have a shot at winning an Ultimate Back-To-School Combo.

 

***Giveaway is now closed. Thanks for sharing all your stories! Congratulations Meghan!***

A Whale of a Tale

What Happens When Someone is More Worried About Your Kid Than You Are.

Last week while on holidays, my family went on a whale-watching tour. The boat looked very much like a pirate ship, so the kids were fairly impressed. About half way into the adventure, a visibly stressed out older woman went over to my four-year old, took him by the hand and brought him over to where I was sitting with Daddy-o and a friend. She explained that she was worried sick about him going overboard.

At first I didn’t really know what to do with that information. I knew he was not going overboard and there were three adults keeping a very close eye on him. I think in situations like this, the kneejerk reaction is to say, “Why don’t you worry about looking for whales and I’ll worry about my kid.”

Those words didn’t come out of my mouth because I didn’t feel angry or judged. She was genuinely worried, albeit unnecessarily. I wanted her to enjoy the day, so from there on in one of us adults closely followed my fully capable kid around so that she could relax. It’s probably been years since she cared for a small child, and we quickly forget what they do at different stages.

I could relate to how she was feeling. Sometimes other people’s children stress me out.  If I’m at the park and there’s a child running around with a lollipop, I go out of my mind. I completely obsess to the point of ignoring my own children. I’m paralyzed with fear that the child will fall and have the lollipop lodged down their little throat.

My solution?  I either have to leave the park completely, or I explain to the mother that I’m a total crackpot and beg her to humour me and take the lolly away.

While I want to enjoy my time at the park, so did this woman on the ship. It’s easy for parents to get defensive, but I found that by respecting her concerns, we had a day of smooth sailing on the high seas.

Have you ever had anyone show unnecessary concern over your child? How did you respond?

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