Teen Life

7 Last-Minute Back-to-School Items They'll Need Whether they’re heading back to class or learning online, every teen and tween likes to have some fresh new gear to start off the school year. From lunchtime must-haves to bedtime routines, we have some suggestions sure to make the grade from elementary school kids to college-bound students. All the Licensed Gear If you want to get your kid really excited about back to school, the best place to head is Toys R Us. They have everything you need to start the year off right, from licensed backpacks, water bottles and lunch boxes to fun school supplies. Grab all these items in-store or online. Suck it up If you love drinking from a straw but hate the sog factor of the paper variety, look no further than The Rice Straw. Perfect for eco-conscious parents and students, alike, this straw is actually made from rice, tapioca and organic dyes. It’s 100% natural and chemical-free. It’s completely bio-degradable, but the best part? It retains its structural integrity for up to three hours! Good To Go If your child is always starving after school, keep these Good to Go Soft-Baked Bars on hand. They have a cake-like texture that kids love, but they are also made with organic ingredients. They’re vegan, gluten-free, peanut-free, kosher and non-GMO Project Verified. They come in double chocolate, vanilla almond or blueberry cashew! Soak the Stress Away Heading back to school this year (especially after a year of being in and out of school) can be a bit stressful and anxiety-filled, which is why this Dr. Teals Melatonin Collection is great for bedtime routines. It’s infused with beneficial vitamins, minerals, essential oils and Melatonin to restore and rejuvenate both mind and body, while promoting a good night’s sleep. Available at Walmart and Shoppers Drug Mart. Safely Sanitize For students heading back to class, hand sanitizers are going to be as essential as any supply.  These Spread Love, Not Germs hand sanitizers from Bath & Body Works come in a small PocketBac size, perfect for tossing in their backpacks, desks or lockers. They also come with super cute holders so they can toggle their sanitizer to their bag for easy access. Later in the year, they also make for amazing teacher gifts! On-the-Go For university students on the go, Walmart has great value overall for back to school. With this Hamilton Beach mini-blender, university or college students can quickly whip up a breakfast smoothie straight into

Parker Bates from This is Us on His Pandemic and Pearson Life Parker Bates plays young Kevin Pearson in the hit show This Is Us. We caught up with the teen actor to chat about the show, his advice to other teens about coping with pandemic life, and the very Pearson-esque advice he got from his on-screen dad, Milo Ventimiglia. By Julyanna Trickey You have played the character of young Kevin on NBC’s This Is Us for about six years now. What has been your favourite part of working on this show? It’s always fun when I get to work with Milo, just me and him. It’s always super fun because I get to learn a lot from him. Before Covid, I learned a lot about the directing side of things and more of the camera operating stuff so that has been pretty cool. But mostly my favourite has been just being on set and hanging out with my friends. Since I’ve known them for six years now, they’re like my family. Whenever I’m on set I just have so much fun with them. Do you keep in contact with your castmates a lot outside of work? Yes. Me and my siblings on the show have a little group chat called “The Mini Big Three” that we keep in touch with. I see Milo sometimes too just to hang out and chat. What have you noticed is different about your job since the pandemic started? Every other day you have to get tested or sometimes it’s every day. So, it’s been kind of weird going to the city just to get tested. On set, there are these boxes that we get to take our masks off in to eat something. They look a bit like a hockey penalty box so that’s kind of fun. But we have still been working a lot so at least that has been normal. How are you coping with the Covid-19 pandemic? It’s been a rough year! I’ve just been trying to stay busy and get outside as much as I can. I’ll go exercise and I’ll go play golf a lot. It’s been one of my main hobbies that I can do with my dad. I usually play soccer, but I haven't been able to do that because of the pandemic. We’ve also been cooking and baking a lot! I have made A LOT of cookies. So yeah, just trying to stay busy! What is

6 Things You Need for a Backyard Family Fun Day While the world is slowly opening up, you can still have a great day outside right in the comfort of your backyard where there are no crowds and no travel time! Here are some items you need to create your own backyard fun with the whole family. You can’t have a great day without some delicious food. To prep snacks for the day, cut up fruit and veggies and keep them fresh using the FoodSaver® Cordless Handheld Sealer and FoodSaver® Vacuum Seal Zipper Bags. Vacuum sealers can save you food, time and space – especially since this device is hand-held and compact. It will keep all your food like deli meats, cheese, fruits and veggies fresh and dry all day even if you’re tossing it into an icy cooler for your picnic. Afterward, because it’s sealed tight, any leftovers can be tossed in your fridge and freezer, and it won’t take up a lot of space! Available at all major retailers. There’s nothing better than a cool cocktail in the sun like these Matt & Steve’s ready-to-drink lightly spiced and hot & spicy caesars. They are the perfect drink to bring backyard entertainment to a new level. It’s a Canadian company and they only use quality ingredients to make all the pickled snacks that go great with Caesars like the Asparagoos and Extreme Bean. Layout all the goodies so the adults can customize their own drinks so you're out of the kitchen and into the sun where all the fun is! Obviously, sun protection is a must – especially if we’re going to be outside for hours. One of our favourites is this natural mineral sunscreen from The Green Beaver Company with SPF 40 broad-spectrum protection. It’s made in Canada and it’s part of the Thoughtful Choices at Shoppers Drug Mart lineup. Shoppers Drug Mart offers a wide assortment of beauty and personal care products that are mindful of our plant, cruelty-free and ingredient-conscious. This biodegradable sunscreen uses safe active ingredients like mineral zinc oxide to provide a barrier of protection against harmful UV rays while maintaining your skin’s moisture. If there’s one way to ruin your time outdoors, it’s when you’re burdened with the buzz of mosquitoes! Summer is short, and we want to get outside as much as possible and enjoy our time! Set up your backyard with Thermacell mosquito repellents! They’re mess-free,

5 Grad Gifts They'll Love Graduation is a milestone that should be celebrated! Sure, some celebrations might be cancelled due to Covid, but parents can still make their graduate feel special with some curated gift ideas sure to inspire any new scholar! Whether your graduate is about to embark on their post-secondary life, taking a gap year, about to move into their very first apartment or starting their first job, we have an array of gift ideas sure to garner top marks! By Rachel Naud A great gift for any new graduate whether they’re getting primed for more online learning or starting a new adventure or job, is tech that will help them stay connected. We're loving these items from Samsung because they all work together to create a great user experience. To stay connected, the Galaxy S21 5G has amazing cameras with 8K Video Snap and Portrait Mode so they can snap images of their new adventures and send them to you! It also works awesome with the headphones that have noise cancellation and the Book Pro 360, which actually has an AMOLED screen that lets you work inside or in direct sunlight. No matter where your teen is headed next, you want to make sure they do it with confidence. Whether they’re about to embark on a new school or test the waters applying for jobs, a good smile can go a long way. We have to tell you, we have been using this ToothWave toothbrush by Silk’n and it’s a game-changer. It actually uses radio frequency energy to clean your teeth and these charged molecules work to reduce tartar, prevent and reduce gingivitis and reduce stains and improves discolouration. It gives you that just-left-the-dentist feeling. We love it. Speaking of confidence, they might be sweating the next stage of life, but they can’t show it! Slip this aluminum-free deodorant from Secret in their backpack or workbag and it will keep them fresh for up to 48-hours. We like this one because it’s free of aluminum, parabens, dyes and talc and it’s certified cruelty-free so it’s gentle on your skin while still offering some tough protection from odor and sweat. Shopping for your teen can be hard. But we're stuck on gift ideas, the first place we turn to is Winners, Marshalls and HomeSense because we can always find something! With new graduates, whether they’re starting a new job or moving into a new apartment, we found these awesome

3 Ways To Help Your Teen Cope with the Pandemic By Julyanna Trickey This pandemic sucks, we all know it. But how has it affected our teenagers and their mental health? How well are they coping with not seeing friends regularly, not playing sports and not getting to just live a normal teenage life? Everyone is feeling the stress of this pandemic but it has affected our teens immensely. In a recent survey by the Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health and the CHEO Research Institute of 1,341 young kids, 61 per cent of teenagers have reported a worsening of their mental health since Covid-19 started. We chat with Dr. Mario Cappelli, a clinical psychologist with 25 years’ experience specializing in youth mental health, about our teenagers and how they are coping through Covid-19. This pandemic is hard on everyone but especially for teenagers. How has this pandemic affected teenager mental health overall? Overall, we’ve seen a decrease in the general mental health of teens. I think there is lots of well-documented evidence that Canadian, American and international teenagers are experiencing increases in anxiety, mood problems like sadness and withdrawal, and more recently we are starting to see an increase in more serious illnesses like some of the major eating disorders. I think that, without a doubt, there has been a substantial impact on mental health. But I don’t want to say all kids are equally affected because that isn’t true. And despite the impact on mental health, a lot of kids are able to do a lot of the things they normally do. This is an important statement because it tells us that there is a lot of resiliency amongst our young people. They have still managed to get through the challenges they have had to face and have managed to cope. But there are levels to it. There have been differential effects on young people who had a prior mental illness versus those who were healthy before, so you start to see some differences. Are teenagers who haven’t experienced anxiety, depression, or other mental health problems at risk now? In our own research, we have found that kids with no prior history of mental health concerns have reported increased stress, increased worry about the future, and an overall negative effect on their mental health because of the pandemic. But what they wanted for support wasn’t necessarily seeing a therapist or seeing a psychologist,

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

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 Holiday Traditions to Connect with Your Teen   By Bernardo Salcido Starting this year as a new principal at middle school has been a wild ride to say the least. I think a coworker of mine said it best though, “The days are long, and the weeks are short.” Christmas sneaks up fast every year and it is my favourite time of year. It’s a time to reflect, connect, and take care of what matters most — family. Despite all the craziness 2020 has brought, we still have an opportunity to love the ones around us. These three strategies are excellent ways to dive deeper into your relationship with your teen and enjoy some time together. Holiday lights and hot cocoa This has been a favourite tradition ever since my children were little, and it still continues to deliver smiles even now that my kids are teenagers. Make a cup of cocoa in a travel mug for each family member, drive to where you know some good light displays are located and crank the Christmas music. Bake and decorate some cookies Finding a simple sugar cookie recipe and giving it a try definitely will lead to time together and enjoyment. The act of completing a task like baking helps a teenager let down their guard and open up. Make sure to prepare some frosting in a Ziploc bag so everyone can have fun making Christmas trees and Snowflakes on the cookies. Decorate and chill Decking your place out with Christmas décor — both new and old will get everyone in the holiday spirit! Break out your decorations from years’ past and get the entire family involved. Once the decorating is finished, break out the holiday snacks and sweet treats and turn on a holiday classic like Charlie Brown or The Grinch. This will surely bring out the kid that still lives in all of us — teens and parents alike. Parent mentor, middle school principal, and author, Bernardo Salcido assists parents with strategies to connect with teenagers. Follow Bernardo’s parenting advice on these social platforms: YOUTUBE - Connecting_with_teens INSTAGRAM - @connecting_with_teens BUY BOOK - https://www.iuniverse.com/en/bookstore/bookdetails/807601-connecteen