Author: inbetweenmagazineca

Why you should make gifting for good your next holiday tradition   The holiday season is a time to reflect on the year behind us and also think ahead to new possibilities. As we consider what we’re grateful for, it can bring us joy to give back to others. The generosity of heart and opportunities to pay it forward are important parts of life, no matter what stage we’re in. Raising kind kids who want to make a difference in the world is a rewarding aspect of parenthood.    One way to engage the family in giving back is to include the kids in choosing causes to support. Why not start a holiday wish list that goes beyond material things and inspires giving gifts that have the ability to change lives for children just like yours? Coming together in the holiday spirit and making a commitment to others can be the start of a feel-good tradition that is educational, grounding and even bonding – a win-win scenario!   As parents of tweens and teens, we want the best for our kids, which extends to parents all around the world. Education is the most empowering and inspirational gift for children of all ages, but unfortunately, access to education isn’t always equal.   Canadian charity, Children Believe, plays a part in the lives of more than 1.2 million children and youth worldwide. Each year, it releases a specially curated Believe Book with plenty of Gifts for Good Inspiration, starting at just $25. Each item is designed to help children and their families overcome barriers to education, something that not only changes their lives – but opens their world of opportunities, too.   To inspire your family’s Gifts for Good choices, here are three examples that help children choose their own life path, dream fearlessly and be a voice for change:    Empowering Girls     From inspiring girls to pursue STEM education to helping young women become leaders within their communities, there are many ways sending a girl to school can have a big impact. Educated girls who are actively in the classroom invest 90 per cent of their income back into their children’s health, education, and communities. These girls are also three times less likely to marry before the age of 18 compared to girls with no education. Through curated workshops and resources, girls are equipped with the tools they need to succeed and change their world for the better.    Life-changing Livestock     Did you know that one of

5 Ways to Capture the Holiday Magic in NYC with Your Teen by Rachel Naud   Picture this: you and your teen stepping into a winter wonderland right in the heart of New York City — it's the start of a holiday adventure like no other.  As a parent, you're on a mission to make this trip not just enjoyable but downright unforgettable for both you and your teen. The key is to craft an experience that resonates with them, creating moments they'll look back on with a smile. Here are 5 places to create an unforgettable family holiday at the Big Apple.   See the Tree: Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Behold the splendour of NYC's cherished Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. Lit daily from 5PM to midnight, this magnificent tree comes to life during its grand lighting ceremony on November 29th, setting the stage for festive joy. On Christmas Day, its radiance brightens the city for a whole 24 hours, and the magic lingers until January 13th at 10PM. The tree is adorned with 50,000 multi-coloured LED lights and crowned by a spectacular three-dimensional 900-pound Swarovski star, designed by architect Daniel Libeskind in 2018.     When to Experience the Magic: Daily from 5AM to midnight until January 13 at 10PM. View the live national broadcast “Christmas at Rockefeller Center” from home on NBC, on November 29th, 8PM EST.   Stay in Style: NH Collection New York Madison Avenue     Selecting the right accommodation can set the tone for your entire trip. NH Collection New York Madison Avenue, nestled on the historic Madison Avenue, offers more than just a place to rest. This 100-year-old red brick building not only encapsulates the essence of New York's advertising legacy but also boasts modern luxury with a serious Mad Men vibe. Awarded the title of Luxury Travel Advisor's 2022 "Most Instagrammable Hotel" in North America, the hotel blends avant-garde design with a prime location, placing you within walking distance of iconic landmarks such as the Empire State Building, Times Square and Central Park.      Before you and your teen begin your day exploring, fuel up at Serafina Restaurant with its elaborate European-style breakfast buffet, complete with freshly baked pastries, meats, cheeses and fresh eggs made to order. In the evening, this is the place for delicious pasta and pizza, with portions to please any hungry teen. Afterwards, sit at the MAD Bar & Lounge and sip on a cocktail themed from the 50s and 60s while your teen instagrams his

Nurturing Your Teens' Digital Wellbeing on TikTok This School Year: Tips and Tricks from an Expert  by Tracy Elizabeth   As a former educator, a mother and TikTok's Head of Family Safety & Developmental Health, I know firsthand what it’s like to face the evolving challenges of raising children in today's media-saturated world. As a parent, I find real comfort in and take pride in being part of TikTok's infallible commitment to fostering a safer and more positive online environment for all families.      At TikTok, my team and I are constantly working to implement evidence-based policies that prioritize the safety and positive development of the teens who use our platform. In our collaborations with trusted partners, such as the Digital Wellness Lab, the Technology Coalition and Thorn, we continually ask ourselves important questions: How can we protect teens while allowing their creativity to flourish unchecked? What tools can we provide to parents and caregivers to empower them in guiding their teens' digital experiences? How can we share our knowledge with parents and caregivers of teens to ensure they, too, feel confident about our platform?   To that end, here are five things parents and caregivers can do to nurture their teen’s well-being on TikTok.    Know the rules, use the tools  Teens will be teens, and today’s teens tend to use social media. If you don’t already have a TikTok account, set one up and learn how to use it together. Our digital Guardian Guide gives parents and caregivers an overview of TikTok and the many tools and controls we’ve built into it to keep our community safe.    Put the ‘talk’ in TikTok  Adolescence is a time for exploration, and teens are naturally curious about different communities and connecting with a variety of topics. Rather than having them go it alone, be part of that exploration! Try hosting candid family conversations about the ways in which your teen engages online, including and beyond TikTok. This will help bolster their sense of digital citizenship and empower them to be mindful of their own safety on the internet.    Pair up! Family Safety Mode links a parent's TikTok account to their teen's and makes it possible to guide their digital well-being. With Screen Time Management, parents and caregivers can limit how much time their teen can spend on the app each day. It also lets parents and caregivers limit who can send messages to their teen, turn direct messaging off altogether, and restrict the appearance of

5 Halloween Activities to Enjoy with Your Teen Around Toronto by Arianne Granada   As October's crisp air settles in, it's time to kick off the spooky season. Don’t worry if your teen insists they're too grown-up for costumes and trick-or-treating—there are plenty of ways for your family to dive into the Halloween spirit together. These Halloween activities can make for awesome parent-teen date nights.   So, if you're on the hunt for thrilling alternatives to the classic trick-or-treating, you're in for a treat. Here are 5 Halloween activities around Toronto and the GTA for you and your teen.   Casa Loma: Legends of Horror Perfect for Teens and Fun Family Halloween Night     Imagine stepping into history with a dash of the supernatural at Casa Loma's "Legends of Horror." This isn't your typical haunted house; it's an immersive theatrical wonderland. This October, Casa Loma will be transformed into an eerie playground. You and your teen can stroll through a 2km trail, winding through the castle's hidden tunnels and the darkest corners of the estate. During this hour-long adventure, you'll find yourselves immersed in meticulously designed sets in gardens and chambers, where characters come to life right before your eyes. The grand finale is a jaw-dropping 3D projection on the castle's exterior to make the story seamlessly blend in with the castle walls. Location: Casa Loma - 1 Austin Terrace, Toronto (Entrance at Walmer and Davenport) Dates: September 29 to October 31, 2023 Tickets: Get yours here   Pumpkins After Dark in Milton Fun Family Halloween Night     When it comes to family-friendly Halloween fun, Pumpkins After Dark in Milton is an absolute must-visit. Imagine over 10,000 hand-carved pumpkins illuminating your path as you walk through this mesmerizing outdoor experience. Located at Country Heritage Park in Milton, this event runs from September 23 to October 1, offering a perfect opportunity for a family outing to ignite that Halloween spirit in your teens and yourself. Location: Country Heritage Park, Milton Dates: September 23 to October 1, 2023 Tickets: Grab yours here   Canada's Wonderland: Halloween Haunt Thrilling Parent-Teen Date Night     If you're in search of a thrilling night out with your teen, Canada's Wonderland has just the ticket—literally. They transform the amusement park into a scream park during their annual Halloween Haunt, complete with seven spine-chilling mazes, terrifying scare zones, and hundreds of monstrous creatures lurking in the shadows. This year, don't miss the new additions: "Dark Ride," a maze set in an abandoned carnival attraction, and "Trick or Treat Street," a twisted Halloween street party. The entertainment

5 Reasons to Visit Croatia With Your Kids By Rosalind Stefanac   With a population of only four million, Croatia may be relatively tiny compared to other countries, but it packs a punch as a vacation destination. Situated in southeastern Europe, Croatia has gained popularity as a tourist hotspot for excellent reasons. Whether it's exploring Roman ruins, hiking alongside waterfalls, or plunging into its crystal-clear, azure sea, Croatia offers enough natural beauty and kid-friendly activities to keep the whole brood engaged. Our first visit to Croatia took place when my sons were little. Upon returning as teenagers, they relished the opportunity to do some exploring on their own while we savoured the breathtaking scenery. Here are some of the reasons why Croatia stands out as a top choice for family travel:   Swimming in the Adriatic Sea     Croatia boasts an extensive coastline along the stunning Adriatic Sea. This body of water is renowned for its calm currents and warm temperatures, making it an ideal destination for activities like swimming, snorkelling, paddleboarding, kayaking, and diving. Sailing is a popular pastime, or you can opt to rent a motorboat and explore the local islands yourself. We joined an all-day fishing boat excursion where the boys were able to jump off the rails and swim and snorkel at their leisure. The crew even prepared a fresh fish lunch using their catch of the day. While on the northern coast's island of Mali Losinj, you might even catch a glimpse of a dolphin or two. Just be sure to pack water shoes (or buy them there) as stone beaches are the norm throughout Croatia.     Island hopping     Although Croatia often touts itself as the "land of 1,000 islands," it actually boasts 1,244 islands, islets, and rock formations, of which 48 are inhabited, and one has a heart-shaped configuration (my personal favourite!). The island of Cres is the largest and well worth exploring, but be sure to add Kornati National Park to your list, too. This cluster of 89 uninhabited islands, islets, reefs (and cliffs) are perfect for exploring on a day trip. This is island hopping at its best.      Hiking through waterfalls and mountains     Croatia offers a multitude of hiking and biking trails of all levels. Near the capital city of Zagreb, you'll discover numerous marked hiking trails leading up to the Sljeme peak on Medvenica mountain, which stands at 1,035 meters above sea level. We also ventured to Krka National Park on the coast, renowned

Mental Health and the Back-To-School Transition By Emmett Wells, LCSW, Clinical Director at Embark Behavioral Health in Greenwood Village, CO   The back-to-school season marks a significant shift in the lives of children and young people. As students return to the structured academic year this fall, they not only face the demands of coursework but also the responsibility and social pressures. Amid the ongoing youth mental health crisis in the United States, it's crucial for families to communicate and lean on each other.   This transition can bring both positive and negative effects. It offers opportunities for growth and learning but can also trigger mood swings, heightened anxiety, and depression in young individuals. To effectively support adolescents during this crucial time, parents and caregivers must adapt to the unique challenges their children may encounter.     Active Listening and Relationship Building     During this back-to-school transition, active listening is crucial. Parents and caregivers should be prepared for conversations that might be challenging for their children. This could include discussions about academic stress, social dynamics, or personal struggles.   By actively listening and creating a safe space for dialogue, caregivers can nurture a secure caregiver-child relationship. This relationship provides a foundation for adolescents to express their thoughts, feelings, and concerns without fear of judgment. It's within these safe spaces that young people are more likely to open up about their struggles, making it easier for parents to provide the support they need.     Cultivating Positive Habits for Youth Mental Health     Positive habits play a pivotal role in the mental well-being of anxious or depressed youth as they return to school. These habits not only help in managing academic and social responsibilities but also serve as valuable life skills. Establishing routines that incorporate healthy practices is an excellent starting point.   These routines can include consistent sleep schedules, balanced nutrition, and regular exercise. Such practices contribute to physical well-being, which, in turn, positively impacts mental health. Encouraging children to participate in after-school activities aligned with their interests and passions can foster a sense of community, providing much-needed emotional support and a sense of belonging.   Moreover, dedicating time to develop coping skills is essential. Adolescents should be equipped with effective strategies for managing stress, anxiety, and other emotional challenges. This can include mindfulness exercises, deep breathing techniques, or seeking professional guidance when necessary.     Parental Engagement and Adaptability   Parental involvement in a child's education is a delicate balancing act. Encouraging independence while offering support can establish healthy boundaries without becoming overly involved. As adolescents

Empower Yourself with AI Skills: A Quick Guide for Parents   As we gear up for the back-to-school season, parents are often knee-deep in managing their teens' schedules and shopping for school supplies. But there's a whole new world of possibilities opening up, driven by technology like Generative AI, that many adults are eager to explore this fall. Studies also tell us that this learning can be incredibly rewarding, especially in Canada, where there's a growing AI skills gap, potentially leading to over $100,000 more per year. So how can adults build AI skills without spending years in college or university?   The good news is that there are numerous quick, fun, and free courses available for people of all ages to acquire the most in-demand tech skills today. Leading tech companies like Amazon Web Services (AWS) are offering programs both directly to individuals and through colleges and employers. From composing music on a keyboard to programming tiny race cars using AI and Machine Learning skills—today’s tech is a lot easier to learn than you think!     Here are some exciting examples and handy tips for parents looking to embark on this AI learning journey:     Check out free programs that let you have fun while learning:   AWS DeepComposer This program lets you create your own music while learning generative AI techniques. Whether you have a physical keyboard or prefer a virtual one, you can input melodies and harmonies and experiment with various musical styles like rock, pop, jazz, or classical.   AWS DeepRacer   This one is perfect for both beginners and experts. You get to program and race tiny autonomous vehicles, gaining valuable experience in advanced Machine Learning techniques. Plus, there are AWS DeepRacer leagues where you can compete for some exciting prizes and scholarships.   AWS DeepLens Dive into the basics of machine learning using a wireless video camera. Using a technique called computer vision, you can build real-world projects that allow the camera to analyze and act on what it sees.   All these programs offer a free trial or free tier, so you can easily kickstart your AI journey.     Look for ‘micro credentials’ at your local college or online:   These short courses are designed to quickly teach new skills or enhance existing ones and have become incredibly popular. Micro-credentials provide industry-recognized certifications, and a whopping 64% of employers value them as a clear indication of a job seeker's dedication to learning.   AWS Skill Builder This platform offers quick and convenient access to over 600 free, on-demand digital

Top 5 Tips for a Smooth Back-to-School Transition by Rachel Naud   No matter what age your child is, there is one universal fact when it comes to back to school—every student wants to look and feel their best for the new school year! If your child wants to get back to COOL, we have some suggestions sure to make the grade.   Smart Shopping at Walmart Canada We all know back-to-school season can get expensive, which is why we always turn to Walmart Canada for their back-to-school essentials. Here, you can find everything you need in one convenient location, with a wide variety of options and budget-friendly prices. If your teen is embarking on their academic journey, these items have consistently been part of our shopping list. Essentials like Post-its and Scotch Brand products have come in handy over the years. Scotch Magic Tape can be a lifesaver when unexpected accidents happen like your pet dog getting hold of your teen’s homework! Post-it Super Sticky Notes—on the other hand—are versatile for flagging textbook pages or leaving notes around the house. Add a bit of excitement to your back-to-school preparations with the Noted by Post-it collection. It's like a treasure trove of cool designs and accessories, where you can create a unique and curated vibe. What's even better is that these items can really set the stage for a successful school year!   Back-to-School Stylish Essentials   Whether you have a tween or a teen, one thing is for certain–everyone wants to look and feel good for back to school. Many students have found Under Armour backpacks to be a reliable choice throughout their school years. These backpacks are not only stylish but also built to handle heavy textbooks and gym gear, making them a practical choice for parents. Their Hustle Sport Backpack is water-resistant and has a durable bottom. It also has a laptop sleeve, which is perfect for going to and from class.     New shoes are also a must for back-to-school and these Unisex SlipSpeed Mesh Training Shoes have a pretty cool convertible heel thing going on! It's a game-changer, allowing you to easily switch from training to recovery mode. No need to lug around an extra pair of shoes, which is a total win, especially for students with early morning or after-school practices. Also, why not grab a treat for yourself too? The Under Armour Essential Oversized Crew fleece sweatshirt offers a super cozy and soft fit. Its oversized design

4 Wellness Tips to Give Your Teen Before They Move to College     Moving out for college is both exciting and scary for you and your teen. You might feel thrilled to see where life takes them, but also a bit nervous about their new life living alone. At the same time, your kid is looking forward to independence, yet they might have some concerns too. Previously, we provided advice on how to support your second-year college student living away from home, including tips on cleaning and preparing meals. Now, what advice can you offer to a first-time dormer, especially regarding their health?   If you have a soon-to-be dormer, here are a few wellness tips you can share with them.   Watch their portion sizes All parents want their children to eat well. However, that doesn't mean giving them free rein. After all, there's something called the "Freshman 15," which refers to the weight gain college students may experience in the first year due to lifestyle changes. This can be especially common among dormers who often resort to convenient yet unhealthy foods. Ignoring this issue could lead to more significant problems, like becoming overweight and its impact on overall health.   Luckily, your kid can avoid this by simply being more mindful of their meal portion sizes—a habit encouraged by sustainable weight loss plans. By doing so, they can still enjoy their favourite foods while keeping track of what they eat. For example, if they notice they've been consuming too much fried food lately, it's a good sign to include more fresh fruits and vegetables in their meals. Additionally, they can focus on eating until they're no longer hungry rather than eating until they feel full. This way, they can maintain a healthier lifestyle without feeling deprived.   Move their body College life is always busy with classes to attend, papers to pass, and presentations to make. Despite this, it's essential to remind your kid about the importance of regular exercise to keep their physical health in check. The best part is they can choose the type of exercise they enjoy the most.   If dancing to music is their thing, they'll be glad to know that it not only brings joy but also helps build strength, improves mood, and enhances memory. On the other hand, if relaxation is more their style, yoga is a great option. It's low-impact and can improve balance and flexibility. The best part is they can do both

3 reasons why your teen should spend less time on social media by Isabel Tennant   Social media seems to be an unstoppable force these days. Children and teenagers of all ages often have access to a wide range of online content. While there are many good aspects to this relatively new phenomenon, it's important for a parent or caregiver to be aware of the potential risks. Children’s brains undergo critical changes during their adolescent years, and their experiences during this time play a major role in shaping them as they become adults. With the impacts of social media just beginning to be understood, here are three reasons why you shouldn’t feel bad about limiting your teenager’s social media usage.   Self-esteem     It's tough to find an unfiltered and genuine image online. Photos posted on social media are often edited to enhance beauty, presenting a distorted reality to teenagers. For them, this presents a challenging juxtaposition between how they truly look and how they think they should look. Obsessing over perceived flaws and seeking validation through likes and followers can negatively impact their self-esteem. This often leads to mental health issues such as anxiety, body dysmorphia, and eating disorders in teenagers. Research suggests that teens don’t have to cut out social media use entirely to start feeling more positive about themselves. In fact, one study found that reducing consumption by just 50% brought about major improvements in the teenage participants’ self-esteem. Other healthy ways to boost your teen’s self-esteem include encouraging them to spend time working on their hobbies and meeting up with their friends away from screens. It’s a good idea to give your teenager plenty of positive reminders about their personal achievements and attributes to help them focus on what makes them special as a person.   Access to age-inappropriate content     Online content is difficult to monitor, and teenagers can easily stumble upon inappropriate videos and websites. Content creators have even been known to hide explicit and disturbing content amidst seemingly innocent videos. Because of this, it's important for parents to know how to keep their children safe online. One way to limit the risks of your child seeing things that may distress or confuse them is to set parental controls. Yes, your teenager wants the freedom to use social media as their friends are doing, but balancing their desire for freedom with a safe online environment is crucial. It’s important to keep communication with your teenager open and ensure they feel