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Parenting Experience

Out of the ER: From Grey's to Reindeer Games Homecoming Sarah Drew Talks About Her New Holiday Movie and Her Family's Favourite Traditions by Arianne Granada   Making her mark by playing iconic characters like Dr. April Kepner from Grey’s Anatomy and Sarah Brown from Amber Brown, Sarah Drew is set to make her writing debut with the upcoming Holiday rom-com Reindeer Games Homecoming as part of her two-picture deal with Lifetime. We sat down with Drew to talk about how she navigates motherhood and parenting while being a full-time actress, director, producer, and writer.     Your new show Amber Brown has recently premiered on Apple TV+, can you tell us more about your role? I play Amber’s Mom, Sarah. She loves her daughter so much and is trying hard to navigate the giant changes in their lives with grace and kindness. Sarah creates healthy boundaries for Amber and is committed to repairing when there is a rupture in the relationship. Sarah is also coming into her own. She’s in therapy, learning how to identify and pursue her own desires while also parenting well. It’s fun to see both Sarah and Amber navigate these changes together.   How similar or how different is Sarah Drew to Sarah Brown? I’m very similar to Sarah for all of the reasons I mentioned above. I’m always thinking about my kids. I believe in setting good boundaries. I’m committed to raising kind and brave kiddos and part of that comes with moments when they don’t like me very much. Like Sarah Brown, trust is absolutely essential to our family dynamic. We have a rule in our home that we never go to bed angry. We must make peace before saying goodnight.    What is your favourite part about filming for Amber Brown? I loved the community that we built. I loved the brilliant words that Bonnie Hunt gave us to say, and how playful the set was. It was also a joy to watch Carsyn grow and blossom into a truly brilliant artist on set!     How has being a real-life mom affected how you played your roles? I’m more selective about the jobs I take. Every job takes me away from my kids — sometimes out of the country even. I think about the fact that they will probably watch all of my work at some point, so I am sure that I’m making art that I’m proud of and that I’ll be proud to share with them. It

5 Signs of Teen Burnout by Carol Bunting   We all want our teens to succeed in school, but putting them under too much pressure can lead to stress and anxiety. There's a risk of burnout if teens do too much at once—juggling studies, friends, family time, hobbies and chores. If you're worried about your teen's well-being, look out for these five signs of teen burnout.     They're not taking part in their hobbies Hobbies help teens take breaks from their studies and unwind with fun activities. They also often help them to socialize if they're group-based hobbies, and they can offer a creative or physical outlet for letting go of emotions and burning off stress. If your teen is neglecting their usual hobbies, they may be overworked and unable to balance school and fun. They might also not have enough mental energy to devote to hobbies because school consumes most of their time.   They're irritable It's common for teens to lash out or get frustrated with those around them because their moods can fluctuate as a result of their developing brains. However, stress compounds irritability, and if you notice the issue gets worse when there's a lot going on at school, your teen could be experiencing burnout. Perhaps they're irritable because they don't feel they're performing well enough, or because they're concerned about disappointing you.     They aren't eating properly Stress and anxiety can impact appetite. For some, it causes undereating and cravings for sugar and junk food. A change in eating habits could indicate that your teenager is struggling with their workload. It may be particularly obvious that stress is affecting their appetite if there's a pattern in their eating habits. For example, if they don't eat their dinner during the week but tend to eat well at the weekends, they could be feeling extra anxious on school days.   They isolate themselves Due to their irritability and desire for independence, teens spend more time alone in their rooms. However, if they suddenly start spending more time than usual isolated from others, especially if they're also avoiding spending time with their friends, this could be a sign that they're struggling.     They have insomnia Symptoms of burnout include insomnia. Your mind is so busy worrying that you can't switch off and rest. Teens have different body clocks than adults and tend to stay up late, but if the late nights are lasting right until morning every night, there could be something else going on. Look for

5 Tips to Raise a Resilient Teen By June Rousso, Ph.D.   Teens today are faced with so much rapid change along with everyday academic and social demands. All of these demands can be very stressful at times. Our bodies naturally react to stress with a fight, flight or freeze reaction. However, we also can use our thoughts and emotions to develop resilience and better manage stress. This is where resilience comes in. But how to build it? Here are some tips for parents guided by the words of teens themselves from ChildResilient.org, a student-run non-profit organization born out of the pandemic.   Tip #1: Encourage a strong sense of self in your teen. If you have a sense of who you are, you can easily direct yourself towards and away from situations — even toxic ones. As parents, give more choices when you can, and encourage your child not to be influenced by social conformity. While it is natural to want to be liked by others, it's also important to live by your own will. Let them learn to think independently, regardless of the good and bad opinions of others. Help foster resilience as well as build your teen's self-confidence by encouraging this kind of independent thinking.   Tip #2: Don’t dwell on the past, especially the bad life experiences. While you never want to dismiss your child’s feelings, dwelling on the past prevents building up the strength to move forward in life. Children, especially teens, can be so sensitive to how they might have been judged in the past. Past opinions don’t matter and they need to learn to do things for themselves. Strengthen your teen's sense of self by teaching them not to be swayed by public opinion. With ongoing emotional reactions to stress — such as depression and anxiety — it is important to remind your child that these feelings are not all of who they are, which helps to keep your teen resilient.   Tip #3: Explain that making social comparisons is natural, but overdoing it hinders being a resilient teen. When we compare ourselves to others, we usually come out on the short end of the stick or take on an arrogant attitude of feeling better. Communicating that there will always be people with more of something in some way is one message, but teens can also learn that these same people can serve as role models and be inspirational. At the same time, despite the social comparisons,

3 Ways to Suit Up for Prom 2022 By Arianne Mae Granada Roll up your sleeves and put your dancing shoes on because prom is finally back! It is time to suit up for Prom 2022! (WARNING: Marvel reference ahead!) Still can’t have a sensation of the prom fever? Think of it this way: two years ago, Thanos snapped his fingers and took away the biggest events of your teen’s life — prom night, graduation day and spring break. And in a snap (pun intended!), they’ve all been brought back to life. That is their version of the blip. After 2 years of cancelled plans and dampened expectations, the long-awaited prom season is upon us once again. Prom can be a great opportunity to communicate and help you to connect with your teen. The highly anticipated celebration is set to be welcomed back with doubled excitement and 110 percent energy. Considered a huge milestone in every teen’s life, prom is definitely the special occasion they would invest their time and money on. Whether your teen is a first-time goer, a soon-to-be graduate throwing a “make-up prom,” or a hopeless romantic staging a promposal, it’s important that they put together the perfect ensemble to make it worth remembering. Along with failed dalgona coffee attempts and DIY haircuts, we’re leaving boring prom OOTDs behind in 2020. It’s time to suit up and welcome this year’s prom season with creativity and self-discovery. Whether you prefer an unconventional look over the usual prom dresses, or you want to put on a modern take on a traditional tuxedo, there are endless ways to style a basic suit and tie, and we are here to narrow down your options.  For switching up a classic The Slim-Fit Stretch Peak Lapel Tuxedo is a modern take on a fashion classic that will make anyone stand out at the prom venue. This tailored suit is available in a variety of sizes and is gender-neutral… because there are no rules when it comes to fashion!  For a chill night For a more casual look, this Slim-Fit Stretch Suit is available in five different colours including grey, pink and light blue, delivering versatility and an instant confidence boost.  For an instant upgrade TipTop.ca also offers a range of accessories from bowties to pocket squares in a variety of different colours so you can jazz up your look with a pop of colour. One thing the pandemic has taught teens and young adults alike —

Actor Dan Payne's Judgement-Free Philosophy on Parenting and Mental Health By Tanishq Desai From John Tucker Must Die to Watchmen - Dan Payne has over 100 credits in the form of television features or indie films to his name. Apart from being a full-time husband, father and actor who actively advocates for mental health, the Mulligans heartthrob talks about his upcoming feature film, Corrective Measures, alongside Bruce Willis and Michael Rooker. Tell us about your new movie, Corrective Measures. “Well, it’s a big step up for me! I got to work with a couple of guys that I consider to be legends and icons — Bruce Willis and Michael Rooker — so I did a little happy dance the moment I found out that it was happening. And I also get to play a character that I’m not used to. He’s an ex-military vigilante, which is kind of far away from the loving-nature-doting-husband type of roles that I’ve played! This project is on a way bigger scale too. It’s Fox Tubi’s first original content release and I’m honoured that I get to be a part of it.”   You play Walter Arthur Locke (aka Payback). Tell us about your character and what drew you to him? “So Corrective Measures is a graphic novel turned into a movie and Sean Patrick O'Reilly who directed, wrote and executive produced this did a magical job of making it a fun story and a great ride to be on. My character, Payback, is an ex-military guy, and some things happened to him that put him on a pretty strong vigilante path of revenge. But he ends up in one of the state-of-the-art hidden octane penitentiaries where all the main bad guys of the world get stuck. Now we’ll have to watch the movie to know if he ends up there on purpose but he’s got a pretty strong vendetta against criminals. When a radio magnetic pulse goes out over the world, it gives some people superpowers, kills the rest and some get mutated because of it. But this gives us a little good vs. evil because the good people put their powers to good use and the bad tend to go to evil, which eventually leads them all into this prison so you understand how it can get when there’s a bunch of superheroes and badasses put together. It can get messy.”   Coming back to you working with some icons in this

7 Tips to Understanding Your Teen By Ishank Katyal Dealing with a teenager has always been the most complicated and challenging part of parenting—the significant change in brains and hormones, not to mention the impulsiveness and emotions that teens build after turning 13. External factors including academic pressure, peer pressure, social media, and many other problems adolescents face every day can affect them both mentally and emotionally and might restrain their relationship with their loved ones.  Here are some of the tips which might help you understand your teen better:   1. Listen to them Your teen will listen to you only when you’re a good listener. It requires a lot of energy and patience, but it is a key tool for improving your relationship with them because it builds trust and helps them gain self-confidence and self-esteem. 2. Avoid asking too many questions Kids become more uncomfortable when you keep asking them questions and it feels like an interrogation rather than a healthy conversation. Ask only those questions which are relevant to the situation, otherwise, they could get irritated and be hesitant to share their problems. 3. Give them space Just like adults, teenagers also need some privacy and space from the people around them. Try to approach them not as a parent, but as an individual and learn to respect their privacy. Avoid barging into their room whenever you please and teach them the value of privacy and personal space. 4. Make sure they’re not addicted to their electronics Do they find it difficult to put their phone down while studying or doing any important work? Try to limit their screen time (no matter how much they fight for it!) to give them a break from social media and the Internet. This helps them to learn to be in the moment and can foster some great conversations. Even a small gesture like putting their phones away and joining you for a walk can go a long way in bolstering their moods.  5. Treat your teen as an individual Yes, they may take after you or your spouse, but your teen is their own person, with their own beliefs and opinions. Letting them express what they think and feel without judgement will help boost their self-esteem while fostering a great relationship. It can also make for some excellent dinner conversation. 6. Be honest with them One of the best things you could do for your teen is to be honest. A positive parent-child

5 TV Shows to Watch with Your Teens By Sophie Lim As your teens become more peer-oriented than parent-oriented, you may find opportunities to spend time with them are fleeting. That's why picking a show that you can sit down and watch together is a great way to get in some quality time without the pressure of those one-on-one conversations. This doesn't mean you can't talk, of course! Picking a topic you see on screen is a great way to segway into some eye-opening conversations. Looking for some suggestions? We've got 5 TV shows that you and your teen will love.  Never Have I Ever(Netflix)- RomCom   If you and your teens are fans of teen romantic comedies, “Never Have I Ever” can fulfill your taste. It is a story of a first-generation Indian-American teen girl, Devi, who’s dealing with the recent loss of her father and tries to look cool at school. Co-creator Mindy Kaling’s childhood inspired Devi’s character(Maitreyi Ramakrishnan). The episodes focus on how Devi navigates her issues about identity, friendship, school and romance entering her sophomore year. It would be better to watch with mature teens who can handle a little bit of sex talk as the show includes some.   Stranger things(Netflix)- SF   “Stranger Things” is a sci-fi drama that happens in ‘80s Indiana. If you are craving 80s nostalgia, the show will take you back to the 80s. The story is about a group of pre-teen friends who find an upside-down world, supernatural creatures and a secret government agency while trying to find one of their dear friends. It is interesting to see its authentic multi-genre style combined with grown-up, thriller, horror, and adventure tale genres. Better suited if you and your teen like scary and gory vibes a la Stephen King.    His Dark Materials(Apple TV, Crave)- Fantasy   HBO created an adaptation of a 20th popular fantasy trilogy, “His Dark Materials.” It is a fantasy story that follows the life of Lyra, an orphan in a parallel universe world, and is based on the imagination of a parallel world where all humans’ souls manifest as animal companions called daemons. Searching for a kidnapped friend, Lyra(Dafne Keen) discovers an alternative universe beyond the Northern lights and a mysterious phenomenon called Dust. Though some critics argue some significant pieces of the book plot are missing, it will offer outstanding visual elements and magical stories for fantasy lovers.   Kim's Convenience(Netflix, Amazon prime)- Comedy   Sometimes you just want to have a

8 Boredom-Busting Ideas for March Break A lot of families may have opted to stay close to home for March Break but that doesn’t mean there’s still not loads of fun to be had! Editor-in-Chief, Rachel Naud has some ideas to make March Break the best break yet. IN TORONTO This is what I call “Fish and Dish.” Going to the Ripley’s Aquarium is always a special outing so I say make an afternoon of it! It’s also a wonderful spot if the weather is yucky and wet and cold. No teen can resist the Planet Jellies exhibit for an Insta-worthy or TikTok moment! It’s so stunning. Plus, it’s always fun to take the moving sidewalk through the Dangerous Lagoon and see all the sharks swimming above you. I don’t care how “chill” your teen is, that’s just a cool experience that will challenge any eye roll! So, here is my suggestion. Don’t just meander the aquarium and go home. Afterward, do what I call “Fish and Dish.” After you’ve seen all the beautiful fish and underwater creatures, go for lunch or dinner at a nearby restaurant and challenge your kids. Tell them they have to come up with one fun fact that they learned at the aquarium: the person with the best answer gets to order dessert that they don't have to share with anyone! Get ALPACAN (AND HIT THE ROAD)! Alpaca Farms make for a great day visit! Perfect for the animal-loving family, you and your family can get up close with these cozy creatures and walk and feed them. My family and I drove to Beaverton, Ontario to Forget Me Not Alpacas and it was so much fun! You get there and dozens of Alpacas come out to greet you. You can feed them and pet them – their wool is so amazing! And let’s face it – Alpacas with their crazy hair and teeth make for fun social media shoots! So, even if your teen doesn’t seem to be into it, I guarantee you’ll catch them taking a pic or video or two! In addition to Alpacas, there are beautiful Great Pyrenees dogs, some chickens and even a duck! I’ll tell you, on the way there, my son was a typical teen – sitting in the back seat, listening to his AirPods in his own little world. After an hour with the Alpacas, he was chatty and joking! And we were

4 Ways to Have Family Fun this Winter It’s cold, it’s dark and we’re all back to navigating work and school, which can make winter seem a whole lot longer. But the fun doesn’t have to stop when the temps start to plummet! A winter advent calendar, full of surprises and activities that the whole family can do together could be just what you need to get through the season, and we have some great ideas! Embrace It This year when the temperature drops, make the decision to embrace winter. Instead of hibernating indoors, start exploring areas around your city that you normally wouldn’t go to. Going on day hikes and getting fresh air is a great way to get invigorated while making fun memories at the same time! Then, after your day exploring, head into the kitchen and cook up some comfort food like beef stew or chili — what’s better than that on a cold day? Get your teen involved, too, because it's very important to teach your teens how to cook. And, if you crank the music and give them a job, it is a great way to get them talking! But remember, after a day of exploring and before you start cooking, don’t forget to wash up, because let’s face it — COVID-19 isn’t over. It’s still vital to keep washing our hands, so why not use a good antibacterial hand soap? Our personal favourite is this limited-edition foaming hand wash from Dial. It's tough on bacteria, while being gentle on our hands. It comes in fun, festive packaging, so it looks nice on your kitchen (and bathroom) counter, but it also smells amazing because it comes in scents like Fireside Crackle, Ice Crystals and Midnight Toast. Dial’s limited-edition, festive body washes also come in three great scents — Glacial Breeze, Sugar Shack and Sugared Plum — making them the perfect stocking stuffer for your family this year! You can pick up all of these holiday-themed items for a limited time at Walmart or Loblaws. Crank the competition Nothing gets you more heated on a cold winter's day than a good ol' fashioned family game night! Nintendo Switch is perfect for family's game night because you can play it at home on the TV, which is great for multi-player games or, of course, you can use it in hand-held mode as well. They also just launched the Nintendo Switch OLED Model, which features a 7-inch