5 Tips to Avoid Virtual Learning Burnout By Rayyan El-Baf We’re in the final stretch of the school year! While the end of this year’s virtual learning is coming to an end, it’s still the primary method of schooling. Both parents and teens would agree that being online all the time is taxing, which is why we spoke to Alicia Cuzner, a teacher and course developer at Ontario Virtual School, about how students can avoid burnout. Although online learning can be challenging, it can actually be beneficial for teens because it provides them with a more flexible schedule, helps them practice time management, and gives them experience for post-secondary school, which operates in-class and virtually. While it can be frustrating for parents, Cuzner says you can support your teen by not hovering over them too much and instead, motivate them by keeping a schedule of important dates and assisting them in making a long-term plan to achieve realistic and manageable goals. While we don’t know what next year will look like in terms of online and in-class learning, Cuzner offers these five tips to help your teen get through this year and avoid burnout. Create a work schedule to break up tasks throughout the day. “Some schools have live classes, but generally the teacher’s lessons are around 30 minutes and then you have independent work. Independent work can sometimes make a student feel overwhelmed because they don’t know how to start or need motivation. If you break up the work into little chunks, it’s easier to complete the tasks on time. At OVS, all our lessons are pre-recorded so you can watch them whenever you like. Student’s use this to their advantage to schedule a time to watch the lessons in the evenings or weekends when they have more free time.” Set up a proper workstation - like a home office! “You don’t always have to work at a desk but try to keep all your work in one location. This way everything is set up and ready to go when you are starting your day.” Incorporate mini movements into your day “With the pandemic, the general population is not moving enough. This can directly impact your learning because your mind is working too hard and your body can cramp up. If you have a dog you can take it for a walk or do a five-minute stretch or do a quick circuit of active moments.” Don’t be afraid to take

10 Last-Minute Mother's Day Gifts Calling all procrastinators, Mother’s Day is this Sunday! Yes, even though it feels like we only just turned our calendars to May, we are approaching Mom’s weekend already. Not sure what to get the amazing women in your life? Read on for some ideas from our last-minute Mother’s Day gift guide that will really make your mom feel special and appreciated on her day this year. SkinGear LED Face Shield Give Mom a glow-up with this LED Face Shield and experience all the benefits that LED light has to offer, right in the comfort of your home. This cordless, hands-free technology is designed with efficiency and convenience in mind. LED light therapy has multiple health benefits and this face shield features three different light modes! BLUE light: to kill bacteria, treat acne and regulate natural oil production. AMBER light: to reduce dark spots, hyperpigmentation and promote even skin tone. RED light: to stimulate collagen and elastin, and to minimize redness and wrinkles. Price: $138.50 on sale Where to Buy: Shop for the LED Face Shield online SkinGear BESO Lip Mask & AMOUR Eye Mask (10 Pack) Introduce Mom to the newest duo to join the SkinGear squad. The Besos Hydra-gel Lip Mask is ultra-hydrating and is infused with nourishing ingredients designed to soften, smooth and restore lips for a visibly plump effect. Pair it with Amour Eye - the ultimate eye treatment! Formulated to instantly refresh the under-eye area, reduce dark circles, and soften fine lines and wrinkles to reveal a luminous youthful glow. Price: $33.74 Where to Buy: Shop SkinGear online Dr Teal’s Melatonin Collection Treat Mom to ultimate relaxation with Dr Teal’s NEW Pure Epsom Salt Melatonin Sleep Soak and Foaming Bath. Infused with beneficial vitamins, minerals, essential oils and Melatonin to restore and rejuvenate both mind and body while promoting a better night’s sleep. Price: $9.99 each Where to Buy: Shoppers Drug Mart BRÜMATE Winesulator Gift Set This is the go-to giftset for wine lovers! Summer weather is approaching and what could be better for your Mom than sipping some wine and relaxing by the pool? Great to travel with to the beach or on camping trips. BRÜMATE’s winesulator holds a full bottle of wine and will keep your Mom’s favourite Pinot Grigio at the right temperature for 24 hours. This giftset comes with two matching Uncork’d XL wine tumblers for easy sharing. With so many different colours and designs to choose from (you can even customize your own giftset!),

5 Ways to Get Your Teen Off Their Screens By Rayyan El-Baf Do you have bored teenagers roaming around the house? Without other activities like sports and clubs that normally keep them busy, their go-to boredom beater is probably being on their phones or playing video games. And, let’s be honest, we are likely on our phones more than we should be ourselves, simply because we are bored too. So what else can teenagers do to beat those boredom blues? For some inspiration, here are five activities that your teens (and you) can enjoy without looking at a screen. Learn a new Skill Teenagers typically run on a very specific schedule between school, extracurriculars, homework, socializing and hobbies. Amid the heavy schedule of their lives, it may be difficult for teens to engage in current or new hobbies. The pandemic and lockdowns have given everyone a lot of newfound free time; so why not learn a new skill? Hobbies that don’t include screen time could vary from painting, drawing, learning how to play an instrument, knitting, cooking, or learning a new language. Learning a new skill is a great way to engage your teens’ minds while stuck at home. Complete a puzzle Puzzles are great for the sake of passing time. Lockdowns may make the day seem laboriously long and completing a puzzle is a great way to make time fly and activate your critical thinking skills. These puzzles can be done individually or together as a family if you want to make a day out of it. Family members can also complete different puzzles and then compare them after completion. Puzzles can vary from classic 1000-piece jigsaw-themed puzzles or Rubik’s puzzles. Get Moving If you have access to a front yard or a backyard, this is an excellent opportunity for teens to get exercise with outdoor sports and activities. Shooting basketballs or kicking a soccer ball is a fun activity to get their bodies moving. Other sports such as football and softball can be played among siblings or between parent and teen. If your teen doesn’t feel like exerting themselves, why not do some chalk art on the pavement! Family Games Being in lockdowns creates a strong sense of loneliness and isolation. Engaging as a family to play board games, card games, and other family games is a fun way to pass time, socialize, and curb the cycle of isolation. You can engage in classic card games and other

What Every Parent of a Boy Needs to Know There’s no denying that raising kids is the hardest job out there. It can be especially challenging to raise boys as we navigate certain challenges that we haven’t really talked about as a society. That’s why we chatted with Investigative Journalist, Emma Brown, author of To Raise A Boy about what it means to be a boy and a parent of a boy circa 2021. By Julyanna Trickey What prompted your idea to write To Raise A Boy? I was home with my six-week-old son when the first Harvey Weinstein story broke. As I was nursing my son, I was scrolling through all of those stories and the flood of stories that came out after about men mistreating women. I asked myself how can I raise my son to be different? This question set me on a journey to talk with people from different parts of the country. I talked to hundreds of researchers, coaches, teachers, parents, and boys and men themselves. And what I learned was unexpected. From start to finish, was there anything that changed your original hypothesis about raising boys? Starting this journey, I thought that life’s a lot harder for girls growing up because of all the messages being aimed at girls about girlhood and being a woman. But what I learned was that this was an overly simplistic view and things are pretty tough for boys, too. They face a ton of messages about who they’re supposed to be, which can be really difficult for them to navigate. I was really astonished at the amount of shame boys feel when they try to break out of what we have traditionally told them about how to be a boy. I was also shocked to learn that this produces not-so-great outcomes for men and their mental health. In my book, I quoted a scholar who studies the gender of adolescents aged 10-14 all over the world and his work showed that boys in that age group face more neglect, physical violence, and sexual abuse by adults than girls do, which was so shocking to me.  It upended the way I thought about how boys and girls live through the world. The most profound shift for me was coming to feel huge empathy for what boys deal with and a huge desire for when it comes to my son and other boys to do better by

9 Spring Boredom Busters You Need Today Now that’s been a full year since the pandemic started, you might be getting sick of the same old, same old. Why not try something new with your family to break free of the boredom and have fun together as a family? Need some inspiration? I have plenty of ideas! By Rachel Naud Liva Raw Date Sugar Are you bored of the same breakfast you’ve been having since the pandemic started? Well, we were, so my teen son and I looked up a bunch of new recipes and we came across an energy ball recipe full of delicious oats, peanut butter and honey. We used Liva Date Sugar in this recipe as it’s an organic, all-natural whole-food sugar alternative. You can pick it up at select grocery and health food stores and it has fewer calories than refined sugar. It even has fibre in it, which is awesome. We also toss the Liva Date Sugar in our green smoothies in the morning for some added sweetness, but these energy balls are so delicious – we just keep them in the fridge and they make a great grab-and-go snack. Clorox On-The-Go Disinfecting Wipes As life starts to open up a bit, we may start venturing out a little bit more even if it’s just in our own cities. To do it safely, I keep Clorox On-the-Go Disinfecting Wipes in my purse at all times. I keep some in my car and I make sure to throw some in my son’s knapsack as well. They’re such a convenient way to kill 99.99% of bacteria and viruses on the surfaces you encounter while you’re on the go, like subway and bus poles, door handles and cellphones. They’re also bleach-free, which I love, because I find they’re not harsh on my skin. But mainly, they help me explore just a little bit more in a safe manner, which is so important to me and my family right now. YETI NHL Collection While you’re out exploring, you might want to bring your own drink along. Thanks to the new YETI NHL® collection, you can cheer on your favourite hockey team wherever you go! The stainless-steel drinkware reps all NHL teams from coast to coast in the iconic and sleek YETI design. Built with thick gauge steel, YETI combines the toughness of Tkachuk and the elite performance of McDavid to ensure maximum durability and enjoyment.  There are five styles to choose

10 Things to do with Your Teens this Family Day Weekend   By Julyanna Trickey Stuck on what to do this Family Day weekend? Whether you’re looking for some outdoor activities or indoor fun, we have ideas to keep the family busy and entertained, while staying safe from Covid-19. Bundle Up and Hit the Trails Enjoy some outside winter activity in your local provincial parks and conservation areas that offer snowshoeing and hiking trails! Snowshoeing is a safe and inclusive activity for all ages and skill levels, plus it’s fun to do as a family! Get some fresh air and maybe even work up a sweat trying something new this weekend! Check out some of these great Ontario Parks that offer snowshoeing: Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area – Kingston, ON Guindon Park - Cornwall, ON Summerstown Trails- Stormont, Dundas, & Glengarry Counties, ON Quinte Conservation Area- Bay of Quinte, ON Get the Skates Out! Take advantage of the outdoor rinks and skating trails! Lace up the skates and meander through forested skate trails or head over to the nearest skating rink. Many venues require you to book ahead to control the number of guests, so make sure you don’t miss out! If you live in Southern Ontario – check out some of the following places: Rideau Canal – the world’s largest skating rink at 7.8km long Countryside Adventures – a family-friendly winter destination with a 3km skating trail located 45 minutes outside of Ottawa and 30 minutes from Cornwall RiverOak Skating Trail – a three-km skating trail through the forest located 30 minutes outside of Ottawa Arrowhead Provincial Park – a 1.3 km skating path through the forest in Huntsville Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh Skating Trail – a 1.2 km loop around 12 acres of cranberries in the Muskoka Lakes region See Some Family and Friends (safely of course) Well, it is called Family Day weekend after all so why not enjoy some family or friend time with a socially distanced walk or a group Zoom call. A friendly face may be just what we need this weekend to chase away those winter (and pandemic) blues! Make Brunch Since we can’t go out to have brunch this weekend, plan your own at home! Get the whole family involved by giving everyone a task, like flipping the pancakes or cutting up the strawberries. You can make it as simple or as fancy as you like! Stay in to Get Out If you like puzzles, mysteries and problem-solving,

6 Valentine's Day Gifts Your Teen Will Love Valentine’s Day isn’t just for lovers! It’s the perfect opportunity to have some fun with your teen and show them how much you love them! If you’re stuck on thinking about gifts they’ll surely admire, we have some gift ideas your teen will swoon over! We might not be going out much these days but it’s still fun to switch up your makeup. Why not customize a little makeup gift for your teen with some new eyeshadows and lip balms? We love this fun Quo Beauty Wake Up Micro Eyeshadow Quad from Shoppersdrugmart.ca. It’s super cute and combines curated colours that your teen can wear together or alone to create their perfect eye look. We also love these Quo Beauty Avocado Lip Balms. They not only smell delicious — they come in flavours like Pink Lemonade and Bubblegum Burst — but they’re lightly tinted to give you just a hint of colour. They are also formulated with avocado oil to help provide the moisture we need during these colder, dryer months! If your teen is looking to get into their own signature scent, Body Fantasies has launched two new scents in body sprays —. Sweet Sunrise and Vanilla. You can grab them at Walmart.ca and they just make for a really nice light, fresh spritz that’s perfectly indulgent for Valentine’s Day. We can’t forget about our guys! They need some pampering too! This Bulldog Moisturizer is the perfect place to start for the teen who doesn’t know how to start a skin care regimen. It’s an everyday moisturizer that’s hydrating, non-greasy and uses natural ingredients like aloe vera and green tea. It’s also a cruelty-free product that's also sustainable, down to its packaging. If you're doing a movie night with your teen this Valentine's Day, why not up the experience with a soundbar? This Roku StreamBar is an affordable two-in-one device that lets you stream all your favourite content in 4K quality while providing a crisp, clear sound that's way better than your TV speakers. You can also control it with your Alexa or Google Assistant, which is pretty cool. You can't do a movie night without snacks! We're loving these Mini Chewy bars from KIND. They’re the perfect bite when you want a little sweet treat because they have a sweet coating and a decadent drizzle, but they’re actually made with three whole grains and are only

3 Mompreneurs Making a Mark Inspiration can come from the unlikeliest of sources but for these three women, inspiration sparked from their journeys to find happiness, health and organization in their daily lives as moms. Shantelle Bisson, Adriana Gentile and Justine McDonald are three women entrepreneurs making an impact in the lives of those needing support to reach their goals. These women are experts in helping others achieve their best. Learn how each of these moms is making her mark. Shantelle Bisson Short story bio about your business My parenting book, Raising Your Kids Without Losing Your Cool, and the products I’m currently creating to work in conjunction with the book/brand, came about because I’m actually not very good at keeping my cool!  I’m a total Type-A, on-the-spectrum-OCD kind-of gal, and I find everyday tasks like parenting teens, moving, aging and breaking up to be pretty challenging.  So, I had to do something to help myself get through life with more joy, peace, and fun.  Enter me writing my first book, which will become the beginning of a series of life books to assist others in getting through this thing called life, or to help other people start off their parenting journey with more preparation, confidence and a lot less angst. How you came up with it The way I came up with the Without Losing Your Cool brand was from me getting my girls to adulthood with my cool still intact.  I realized that if somebody like ME could get to the other side of that difficult, challenging, ever-changing part of life, then I can and should help others do the same!  I have witnessed friends entering the unknown part of parenting years and knew I could support them through it and even help them enjoy it at the same time!  I am also a master at moving. I’ve done it 25 times in the almost 33 years I’ve been married to my husband. I actually LOVE moving and renovating and organizing. I’m always amazed to hear other people say that they don’t!  From things in my life that I have done well and things I enjoy doing where others do not, I felt that creating a business centered around helping people master their time spent in uncomfortable, new and unchartered parts of their lives was a no-brainer. Why it's important? I believe letting people know that it’s okay to lose their cool while they’re in the