Parenting Experience

How to Teach Your Teen the Art of Face-to-Face Connections   Here’s a question for you to ponder:  Are we as parents doing all we can to prepare our teens for high school, college or the workplace? Are we doing all we can to best support the next generation so they can function in the best way possible in the real world?  Are we supporting the next generation by way of offering them pivotal life skills?  What I’m talking about is developing face-to-face communication skills, in an age where it is becoming a lost art. We are all experiencing a unique time in history, no doubt about it. We are also searching to create a new sense of normalcy as well.  It’s more about physical distancing than social distancing.  We need to connect and interact socially now more than ever. And when it’s safe to connect face-to-face, that’s even better! Here are some tips on how to teach your teens the art of face-to-face interaction and become better communicators. Have mutually beneficial conversations I will make a basic assumption that we all like to be understood.  One main factor to really understanding someone is by listening.  Some quick tips on how to fully engage are to ask clarifying questions.  It is always OK to ask questions of anyone you are talking with, such as, “I really want to understand your point, would you mind saying it again for me?”  Or perhaps you can ask them to rephrase it in a different way so that you understand.  Instead of offering (pretend) nods of understanding, ask for clarity!  Don’t interrupt, listen more and talk less.  It’s easy to talk. When we talk, we are sharing what we already know, but when you truly listen, you may learn something. One quick tip I’ve used with teens to work on listening skills is creating a for-fun mock TV or radio interview.  I have my clients create a short list of three questions to ask, but I always stress one key point to them.  I emphasize for them to listen to the answers very carefully instead of thinking about the next question to ask on their list.  This small adjustment tends to bring big results.  By doing this, you truly put a focus on actively listening to someone and this small habit can be applied to real-life job interviews. How to have hard conversations Most of us, not just today’s youth, will inevitably need to

5 Tips to Help Your Teen Learn at Home The shift to remote learning has been a challenge for everyone – teachers, parents and students, alike. No one has mastered it, so don’t be too hard on yourself and expect that you should have this figured out. This might be helpful advice to share with your teen too. Here are five tips to make the transition a little easier on you and your teen: Set a routine and create a plan for success together. It’s important that you and your teen sit down and map out a schedule and goals for learning. Make sure to get their input rather than impose a schedule on them. They are likely already feeling anxious, so this is an opportunity to give them a sense of control over something. Your teen will feel empowered and motivated when they feel they have a voice in the decision-making. Be clear that the schedule can be changed in the future as you both learn more about their school’s approach to remote learning. The environment at home is very different than school, so it may be hard for your teen to get motivated. Help your teen set up a space at home to mimic the school day. Setting up a designated area for learning will help them transition into a mindset for learning. Using a timer like the bell at school can help your teen know when to move on to a different subject or assignment. If your teen struggles with attention, try setting a timer for 15-minute increments (to start) to help them focus. Teach your child how to be an independent learner. Staying focused, organized and on-task are skills that are crucial to be a successful learner remotely. Look at the assignments and schedule online (if their school has switched to distance education) and show them how to create a weekly or monthly calendar for any upcoming deadlines. Discuss how they can break each project down and plan their time accordingly. The calendar is a great guide to create daily to-do lists as well. Encourage your teen to reach out to their teacher if/when they have questions versus you doing it for them. Connect your teen with a tutor online. If the change from parent/child to teacher/student is causing any stress or frustration, sometimes it’s best to call in a third party to support your child with their

Parenting Expert Alyson Schafer's Best Tips on Living with Teens During COVID-19 We’re all in this crazy COVID-19 era together and for those of us with tweens and teens, it can be especially hard. Fights over time spent on devices and arguments over the importance of social distancing can be on the daily. Our teens are staying up late and sleeping till noon and it’s driving us crazy! Take a deep breath, parents. This is a crazy time for us all —especially for tweens and teens who may not understand or appreciate the seriousness of this virus. That’s why we chatted with parenting expert, Alyson Schafer, to get her best advice on living with teens during this time of social distancing and quarantine. How can we motivate our teens to get off their devices and do something — anything! —without having to nag them all the time and start an argument? Coach don’t manage: Teens do not respond well to orders or directives.  Instead, you want to have a discussion about how they would like to see the next few weeks and months unfolding.  What makes a good day? What do they want to accomplish? How do they want to feel? What does a balanced day mean to them? These are curiosity questions that make them think.  Then you could ask them what they might do to accomplish this? Ask them if they need any help from you.  At the end of the day/week, you can review how the day went and how they felt about it. Ask what would they would like to do tomorrow to move closer to their goals? Let them know what your expectations are for them, that may include some chores to help out, their presence at mealtimes and some time spent on a family activity (bike ride/card game). Keep inviting (not nagging) your teen to join you when you are doing an activity and let them know you enjoy their company whenever they do show up and participate. Brainstorm with your teen over things they enjoyed doing on the last family holiday together. Do you have any suggestions for activities to keep tweens/teens busy throughout the day, while still social distancing? Every teen has their own unique interests; your job as a parent is to look for those interests and talents and then assist and inspire them to elevate it to the next level.  If they like cooking, can they

How Vivier Helped My Skin Win the War Against Winter By Rachel Naud   Ok, ladies. It’s time for some real talk. Middle age + Rosacea + Dry Winter Conditions does not a good complexion make. “Mom, what’s wrong with your face?” It became a question I heard more than once from my teenaged son. Maybe I was just avoiding mirrors or maybe I was just in denial — isn’t everyone blotchy after a shower? — but my skin was red, blotchy and dehydrated, and not just after my daily shower, but well into the day and even into the evening hours. And, if it was windy outside? Forget about it. I would break out in full-out hives. So, obviously, this wasn’t going to do. Yes, I work from home 90 per cent of the time and can hide behind the safety of my four walls, but as the editor of this publication, I often go on TV. And there’s nothing private about that. Basically, my skin was waging a war with winter and the season was kicking my butt – and my face. So, when I got the chance to try these products from Vivier Skin Care, I jumped at the chance. What I received: Ultimage The website vows you’ll look up to five years younger in 30 days by using this product. The hyaluronic acid (something we lose with age) in this smooth gel regulates water content, elasticity and distributes nutrients. It hydrates your skin, allowing it to appear smoother and more radiant. Ultimage also includes neuropeptides, which smooths and softens skin, while reducing the depth of wrinkles and fine lines. GrenzCine Serum I have tried this serum before and it didn’t disappoint the second time around. I would recommend this serum to any woman in her 40s as it’s the first multi-layer and multi-function slow-release anti-aging line that results in beautiful, more luminous, plumper and healthier-looking skin. This serum is a combination of Vivier’s patented pharmaceutical-grade vitamin C and its Polyamine-DAB to create an antioxidant-rich and anti-aging treatment. It’s perfect for thinner skin that needs a dose of hydration and a boost in luminosity, texture and elasticity.  C E Peptides Vitamin C isn’t just for keeping colds at bay. Turns out, it’s super good for your skin, and this serum contains the highest grade of vitamin C that is readily available. It not only protects your skin against harmful radicals, but it prevents future skin damage. It’s known to fade brown spots

5 Ways to Cut Spending over the Holidays By Nadia Vommaro Christmas is supposed to be a time of joy, but for many parents — especially single moms and dads or families on very modest incomes — checking off even a tiny fraction of their kids’ wishlists this time of year can be stressful. Canadians are drowning in debt, spending an average of $705 on holiday shopping last year, according to a Retail Council of Canada survey. And, according to a poll by Rates.ca, nearly half of Canadians overspent on holiday purchases last year. As a single mom who was forced to become the sole provider for my young children after my separation, I can attest it isn’t easy to steer through the holiday season and come out financially whole on Jan 1. Luckily, my background as a wealth management professional provided some stability, but there are many easy, common sense strategies that anyone can implement to ease some of the burden of holiday spending: Make a plan and stick to it. It’s never too early to make a budget and expense forecast. Consider all your potential spending. Costs even outside of gifts can easily get out of control. Think of all those baked desserts and trips to the LCBO every time you plan a visit or host family and friends. Also, keep in mind the kids are home all day for two weeks. If they’re anything like mine, they can deplete your fridge down to a half-carton of eggs and bag of carrots in no time. Plus, there’s the added expenses of extra-curricular activities and travelling costs during this time of year. Make a list and check it twice. As part of your budget, make a list early in the year of everyone you have to purchase gifts for. Take advantage of great sales all year-long; grab those 80 per cent off clearance items as you stumble across them and stuff them in a closet until Christmas. Feel free to squirrel away a bit of money every month.  I know the penny jar is a relic, but you can also open up a separate holiday account and transfer a few bucks to it every month, year-round. Get creative and be a sentimental spender. Sit down and spend time making gifts with your kids to give to close family members. Online image book services are a big thing these days, but I actually made my boyfriend one for free by simply

Hyundai Palisade Proves to be a Fab Family Car My name is Rachel Naud and I’m a Toyota girl. I have owned and driven Toyota cars for the past 16 years and thought no other manufacturer could ever break the bond I have with my beloved brand of choice. Then I had the opportunity to drive a 2020 Hyundai Palisade for a week, and it got me in my feels. Firstly, the vehicle is b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l. I’m talking strangers-coming-up-to-you-to-ask-what-kind-of-car-it-is hot. And, guess what: Even though it offers up some serious eye candy, it’s a total mom-mobile, which just goes to show you CAN have it all, ladies! The Palisade has good looks, great function and —the best part — you won’t need to work into your golden years to pay it off. Luxury ride The Palisade is Hyundai’s largest SUV. With its third row of seating, eight people can easily and comfortably fit in the car. While the third row in many vehicles is often where the kids who draw the shortest straws have to sit, this isn’t the case with the Palisade. There is actual leg room back there, so your very-backseat passengers don’t have to ride with their knees touching their chins. It’s also super easy to fold those seats up and down when needed as it’s as simple as pressing a button. Same with lifting the trunk of the car, which was super helpful when walking to the car with handfuls of groceries or sports equipment. The interior is luxurious throughout with its quilted Napa leather seats, 10-inch touchscreen navigation and more outlets than I have ever seen on four wheels. There’s no chance of anybody’s smartphone or tablet dying on a road trip, which is music to any parent’s ears. While, we’re now going into the cooler, fall months, when I drove the Palisade, it was during the peak summer temps of August. Why am I telling you this? Because the Palisade has COOLING. SEATS. It’s a feature I never knew I needed in my life. As the hot sun was beating down on the car and through the windows, my backside enjoyed an easy, breezy cooling sensation that kept me comfy, even in the longest traffic jam. For those colder fall and winter days, there is also the option to warm the seats and the steering wheel for toasty travels. Fun features There’s a lot to love about this car, but one of the features I

Outnumbered Overtime Anchor, Harris Faulkner on Raising Confident Young Women   Harris Faulkner may be Outnumbered but she’s succeeding. The first black woman at Fox to host her own weekday daytime show, the journalist and mom has some strong words about being confident, being heard in the world and what she tells her daughters when it comes to both.   You are the first black woman at Fox anchoring her own daytime news program. What does that mean to you and to others who want to be you? I am in fact, the first at Fox black woman with her own weekday daytime show and I was the first woman in prime time for our network, too. Just in terms of Fox’s progress in the area of diversity but also a mom and wife, it is gratifying to see a lot of hard work and barrier busting come true. My rise is more though than just a statistic and it's not just about me and my own ambitions. Having a black woman sit alone on a set designed for her show is necessary, powerful and emblematic of real change.  And I would not be in that anchor seat at Fox News if I didn't feel celebrated.  Diversity is not just about what you will tolerate but, rather what you celebrate. For others who want to be in my shoes:  Your work ethic, your dedication, your courage your determination, your vision for yourself and for what you want to impart on viewers and how you want to do that and the kind of platform you'll need… are all up to you. There is no one who's going to sit and hold your hand and say, “Well you know if you do these 25 things it's going to be perfect.” It is never going to be perfect, but it can be really amazing, which is what my journey has been. I've got a No.1 show at 1 p.m. Eastern on all of cable. I'm doing primetime specials like my franchise, “Town Hall America with Harris Faulkner” for which I travel all over from Arizona to Iowa on all sorts of issues Just this season alone, I was in Iowa with an audience of people from both sides of the political aisle. That's a big thing with me. I get really bored when everybody says the same thing, and I figure if I'm bored everybody else must be bored too. Being

One Train, One Tween, One Unforgettable Trip By Rachel Naud “We’re doing WHAT?” That was my 11-year-old son’s reaction when I told him instead of flying home, we were going to take the Via train from Winnipeg to Toronto. “Well…. how long is THAT going to take?” he asked with a facial expression, I like to call the “tween tick.” It’s when he looks half-pissed and mostly confused. “Two nights, two-and-a-half days(ish),” I said tipping my hand from side to side. “MOM, actually?!” “Yes, it will be fun!” “But there’s wi-fi, right?!” I wasn’t ready to drop that no-tech bomb, yet. Instead, I gently tickled under his chin and said, “don’t worry, you’ll like it.” The train The journey from Winnipeg to Toronto takes approximately one full day, 13 hours and 59 minutes on The Canadian. We opted for a sleeper car for two, which during the day contains two spacious seats, a big window and a private bathroom and sink with electrical outlets. During the evening, the seats disappear, and the attendant pulls out the bunk beds, which are hidden in the walls until turn-down service at night. With sleeper car status, comes the ability to walk about the trains, soak in the panoramic scenery in the dome car, play some games and grab a snack in the lounge and, of course, indulge in the fine cuisine that is served up in the dining car every breakfast, lunch and dinner. The experience You’ll want to stock up on books, download movies on your iPad and save your favourite tunes on your phone because the wi-fi is basically non-existent. And I don’t say this with any disdain. In fact, I was pleasantly pleased that my son couldn’t log on to his video games or Netflix account, and instead had to soak in the real travel experience. Instead of battling it out on Fortnite or having his face glued to his screen watching 100 consecutive episodes of Bob’s Burgers,  he (gasped!) Looked. Out. The. Window. He pointed to the cool scenery, let his mind wonder and started conversations about the topography and geography of Canada. During meals, he sat with complete strangers and heard about their stories of being farmers, as Americans seeing Canada for the first time and even met a young English man from London travelling the country to meet up with a friend. All different faces with different backgrounds, but my 11-year-son managed to come up with common ground with each of

  “Here's the story of a lovely lady……” Ok, this is where the comparison ends between the Brady Bunch and Rebecca Eckler’s blended family. In her new book, Blissfully Blended Bullshit: The Uncomfortable Truth Of Blending Families, Eckler gets candid about the realities of blending families and the hard truth behind what it means to meld a new life with exes, in-laws, new children, bonus children, bio children, households and even a dog. We sat down with Eckler to talk about her new book, falling in and out of love and what she wants you to know about being blended. By Rachel Naud Why was it important to you to write this book? There are two reasons I thought it was an important topic to write about candidly. I didn’t realize how hard being in a blended family was, and it was only AFTER I would vent to girlfriends, who were in, or had been, in blended worlds themselves, that they would admit that they had the same issues. I had no idea what they had/have been going through, again, until after I was the one to start the conversation. Also, I realized there was nothing out there about what to do AFTER you blend families. There is a lot out there about the stepmother/stepchild relationship, but there was nothing about what to do when blended stops being so splendid, and all the BS that pops up in blended families. When you blend families, it’s not just about ‘How To Be A Step-Parent.’ Blending affects everyone, from our in-laws, ex-in-laws, our exes. When I read the stats on blending families, I was shocked. By the year 2020, there will be more blended families in North America than any other kind of family makeup, so, really, there is an epidemic of people blending, who have no idea what to do after they blend. I wanted to help, or at least share, what people are going to have to deal with, and hopefully they can learn from my mistakes. When you reach a certain age, and get divorced, and start dating again, there is a huge probability that you will be dating someone who already has children. And no one has really shared what it’s really like to blend, and all the variations of people who need to get along for blended to be splendid. I also wanted people like my parents, my (now) ex’s parents, and