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Parenting Experience

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

How to teach your teen financial literacy at home By Gaurav Kapoor, CEO & Co-founder of Mydoh From an early age, I – and many others like me – have been focused on planning and saving for the future. Yet, we often miss those fundamental learning steps of building the skills needed to manage money confidently, from a young age. I was learning about allowances and money habits at a very young age, so when I entered adulthood, that saving instinct and responsible spending habit was already hard-wired in me. In 2016, I built my first product in personal money management for adults; however, I noticed a foundational gap in financial literacy in teens and youth, due to the lack of education and practice at a younger age. This is what inspired me to create Mydoh, a money management app and Smart Cash Card that helps parents help their kids build good money habits now, that will last a lifetime. Speak their Language To make children and teens understand the meaning of money, we need to find ways to speak their language. For instance, you want to buy a video game for $60, and you earn $15 per hour at your part-time job. The result is that four working hours equate to the cost of the game. This gives teens and children perspective on the value of money and helps them decide whether their desired purchase is truly worth it. What does this do? This helps to create a feeling of independence, confidence and empowerment. There are many ways to help your teen understand the importance of money, and that will build healthy spending and saving habits that can help them meet any short-term gratification and long-term goals. Here are three ways that you can teach your teen all about personal finance in a real and hands-on way: Need vs Want You hear kids and teens say, ‘I need it!’ many times. But the real question is: is it just that they want it?  Need vs want is fundamental to learning about personal finance, especially for children. Needs are the essentials for daily living such as food or shelter. Wants are nice-to-haves, such as a box of cookies or a new PlayStation. Understanding this key difference helps in building a foundation for proper budget management, savings, and overall money sense. You can teach your teen or kids more about this with real-time learnings or using a youth money

Online Resource Helps Parents Talk to Kids about Digital Safety Thorn, a technology non-profit dedicated to defending children from online sexual exploitation, launched Thorn for Parents to help parents have earlier, more frequent and judgment-free conversations with kids about digital safety. The need for these conversations is more critical than ever as kids grow up online, which impacts how they experience transformational phases like puberty and what normative sexual exploration looks like. Thorn’s research shows that digital safety conversations need to start much younger than parents might think, between the ages of seven and nine. Thorn for Parents includes resources, discussion guides, and recommended timelines to help parents address these serious issues in an approachable, digestible, and supportive way. “Kids are growing up online and digital safety is a huge issue. Thorn for Parents will guide parents through these essential conversations by offering topics, conversation starters, timelines and more,” said Thorn Co-Founder Ashton Kutcher. “Developmental behaviours coupled with constant connectivity can be dangerous. We have to educate our kids to keep them safe.” Thorn spent the past three years understanding how kids themselves feel about these issues and what motivates their online behaviors. Thorn developed Thorn for Parents after surveying thousands of youth and parents, and identifying several important findings that all caregivers need to know: Kids report being asked for nudes by strangers online as young as nine years old. Many kids are having online sexual interactions with peers and adults at almost the same rates, and 40% of kids ages 13-17 agreed that “it’s normal for people my age to share nudes with each other.” As many as 1 in 5 nine-to-12-year-olds (26% of girls and 27% of boys) report having had an online sexual interaction where they were asked to send nudes of themselves, “go on cam,” sent sexual messages, or had nudes of an adult or other children shared with them. Online interactions have different boundaries for kids. Children are regularly connecting with people they know only online through mutual friends, shared interests and games — and they don’t consider them strangers. Among kids that had shared nudes, research shows that nearly 40% had shared them with someone they had never met offline. Additionally, 25% of kids report they had experienced a sexual interaction online with someone they believed to be an adult, and these numbers are even higher among vulnerable groups like LGBTQ+ at 32%. Shame is the biggest obstacle to seeking help. Kids are hesitant to disclose online sexual interactions with parents or other trusted adults, especially when the experience was someone they thought was an adult. According to Thorn’s research, while

9 Ways to Recapture Your Teen Spirit in Niagara Falls, Ontario By Rosalind Stefanac-Skugor It has been a long haul for many teens this past year, stuck indoors with their parents—and vice versa. So, to get my son excited to hang out with his mom outside of the house again, I promised him a mid-week adventure he wouldn’t forget—and Ontario’s Niagara Falls did not disappoint. As someone who has been touring this geological wonder since my own youth, even I was impressed by just how much there is to do at the Falls these days. Here are 9 ways to impress your teen traveller in Niagara Falls and have an epic adventure in the process. Rent an e-bike If the thought of nature hikes has your kids rolling their eyes, consider renting a bike with some horsepower (e-bikes can go up to 32 km/hour) to get them excited about exploring nature. We went to Snap E Bike where owner Michael Lucid gave us a training lesson and equipped us with helmets, maps, snacks and water for the day. When my bike got a flat tire, he was quick to come and meet us with a replacement bike so our sightseeing along the beautiful Niagara River Recreational Trail could continue. Riders must be 16 years of age or older. Make like a drone At 3,500 feet above the Niagara Gorge, the Whirlpool Aero Car —an antique cable car suspended from six sturdy cables—provides some pretty magnificent views of the swirling Niagara Whirlpool. The torrent of river rapids coming down the Gorge from the Horseshoe Falls turns abruptly counterclockwise at this point, creating a must-see natural phenomenon. Face the Falls up close Niagara City Cruises will get you a misty front-row view of the Niagara Gorge, American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and awe-inspiring Canadian Horseshoe Falls. Recyclable ponchos are provided for the 20-minute boat ride, but my son picked a perfect spot to soak it all in that got us soaked in the process. We loved it! With reduced capacity onboard, there are plenty of photo ops, provided you don’t mind the mist. Take a journey behind the falls During summer daylight hours, more than 2,800 cubic metres of water crashes down the Falls every second at 65 km/hour. To put that into perspective, the average household uses only 14 cubic meters a month! This self-guided tour took about 30 minutes. To begin, we descended 125 feet by elevator to explore a 130-year-old

Long Weekend Fun in Kingston, Ontario Summer is short. We want to soak up all the adventures we can before fall arrives with our busy schedules and our back-to-work/back-to-school routines. For families with teens looking for a great way to spend the August long week, look no further than Kingston, Ontario. With everything from great food and wineries (for mom and dad) to haunted walks and thrill-seeking attractions, this relatively short drive from Toronto is jam-packed with family fun. For the Foodie Bistro on Ontario Street Over the August long weekend, Ontario street will be closed to traffic, allowing foodies to taste their way through the city and lounge in Muskoka chairs under the sun. With expanded patios and bistro dining, foodies can enjoy a variety of cuisines. Ontario Street is home to several notable restaurants including Feast On-certified Dianne’s Fish Shake and Smokehouse (East Coast meets Mexican), Wooden Heads (gourmet wood-fired pizza), Namaste (fine Indian cuisine), Mio Gelato, and White Mountain Homemade Ice Cream.  County Sips Wine Tours This is the ultimate foodie’s day out -- enjoying a variety of wineries and a local market. Hosted by sommelier Ian Nicholls, the tours begin with a scenic drive to Prince Edward County along the shores of Lake Ontario. All wine tours will include wine tastings at four selected wineries and a lunch at the Waupoos Market. Expert Ian will explain the terroir of PEC, winemaking and tasting while showcasing the beauty of The County. The tours run on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sundays with different itineraries offered each day. Each tour departs at 9:15am and returns to Kingston by 5:45pm. Check out hotel packages here. For the Explorer Kingston Penitentiary  Closed less than 10 years ago and now open to the public for tours, the explorers in the family can venture into Canada’s oldest maximum security prison. The facility is now offering two new tours for the season: Architecture Tour, where visitors dive into early history of the buildings and the architects and planners responsible for drafting and building the institution; and a Film Tour, where guests visit various areas of the site and learn about how they were used in film, the different productions that filmed there and learn about how these films were made. For the Thrill-Seeker Kingston Haunted Walk For the family thrill seeker, this ghost tour’s spooky stops include haunted hotels, hidden burial grounds, grave robbings, hangings at the old courthouse and Kingston’s famous haunted courtyard. The Ghosts of Fort Henry Walk explores Kingston’s spooky 19th-century fortress and its many