Browsing Tag:

Red Deer

In Lifestyle, Parenting on
January 19, 2020

What To Look For When Choosing Activities for Your Child

Choosing activities for your children can not only be overwhelming but frustrating as well. There are SO many options out there now. And when your child is young it is impossible to tell what they’re interested in besides listening to Baby Shark on repeat and asking to watch Paw Patrol for the 10000000000000th time.

Throughout my years of planning events for kids where each month I have 3-5 different groups showcasing their children’s programs I have learnt a lot. I can usually tell within 10 minutes of watching a child whether the program is a good fit or not. And no that doesn’t mean the kid always jump right in and participate. Some kids need time and after having my own shy kid I get it. I’ve summed up my experiences over the past 6 years plus participating in numerous programs with my own kids (8&11) to give you the top things you should look for before signing up for any program. Spoiler – Cost of the program ranks very very low on the priority list.

What You Should Look For When Choosing Activities For Your Child:

  • Your own schedule – I know. You’re signing up your child so a super fun, exciting new experience so it should be all about them right? Nope. It’s still all about you. Especially for kids 5 and under not in school/daycare yet. YOU are the one driving them to class. YOU are the one who has to deal with missed naps if the program runs during nap time. YOU are the one deciding if it is worth driving 45 minutes to get to a certain school of music. So YOU have to choose a program that works with your schedule. Trust me. Take advantage now because as they get older you no longer get to choose when their soccer games are or when their piano recital is. So take advantage of this time to fit the activities around what you want. Maybe you want motivation to get out of the house so you find a morning class. Maybe mornings are spent at home so you find something in the afternoon. Or maybe because of work you want to find something the whole family does on Saturdays. Take this moment in your parenting life to choose what works for your family schedule.
  • Frequency – Until you know you are raising the next Picasso where they just want to paint forever; try to avoid signing up for a class/session that lasts more than 8-12 weeks. This gives you enough time to fully enjoy the class and your child gets to feel comfortable in the space. It also leaves you the chance to choose something else after that session ends, sign up for the next level/different type of class (especially for art, music, swimming lessons etc you may want to switch the type of class but stick with the activity) or take a break for a couple of weeks before committing to something else.
  • Meet the teacher that will ACTUALLY be teaching/coaching your child – I don’t know how many times I’ve heard “We looked online and it seemed like a great program on paper” or “we met the owner of the studio and they were great but our teacher wasn’t so good”. The owner will always be on their A game when you’re signing up for a class. Their business is their baby and they want it to be successful so of course they want you to sign up. But who is really teaching your child? Ask these questions and try to meet them before committing to a class.
  • Does the priority of the class match your expectations – Is play based learning important to you? Or do you want more schedules and structure? Do you want your child to learn a new skill each week? Or become proficient in one thing before moving on? We each have our own parenting philosophy and I am not here to tell you which is right or wrong but if you feel very strongly one way or another make sure to check with the instructor before signing up your child. It will save your frustrations later when it didn’t turn out like you expected.
  • Cost – Just because a program is expensive doesn’t mean it’s the best fit but on the flip side don’t discount a program just because it is cheap or even free. Some of my kid’s favourite programs were library programs or cheaper community ran classes. Do your research and go into things with an open mind. If you are considering a program that costs more ask why. Is the teacher specifically trained in their area of expertise bringing a lot of value to that program? Will your child leave each session with a completed art project? Find out where your money is going so you can make an informed decision.
  • Do a trial class if you can – Watch your child during a trial class. Even if they are sitting on your lap the whole time are they watching the teacher? Do they seem intrigued by what’s going on? Do they talk about it on the drive home or the next day? If they do any of these chances are you’ve found a good fit. And remember especially for shy kids they may not participate at all at first but don’t pull them out of the program right away. Give it time. And even if you think they are getting absolutely nothing out of it they may surprise you. I thought music classes were a complete waste of time for one of my kids. He never participated or showed any interest in class. But after the session was done he would come home and sing all the songs, do all the actions, and could do all the beats they learned. He just wanted to do it on his own terms at home. So even though he sat on my lap for three sessions in a row staring at the teacher with a scowl on his face, he still learnt something and it was worth going.

In the end no matter the program you choose it can be a great bonding time for you and your child. I just hope these tips help make it the best experience possible.

Box Social Event Planning

Deanne Ferguson is the owner of Box Social Event Planning. When she is not planning fun, family, friendly events she is finding the yummiest food for the Edmonton Home and Garden Show Food Stage. She loves her #cocktailMonday dates with her husband and chasing around her two boys. You can find her at @DeanneFerguson on Instagram and @BoxSocialYEG on Twitter.

In Lifestyle, Parenting, Random Thoughts on
March 23, 2019

Is Your Child Ready For Sleepaway Camp?

In conversation with Dr. Ganz Ferrance.

My kids are getting older, they’re 7 & 9 now, and I’ve been contemplating a summer camp where they actually stay there for a week – the sleepaway camp. I recall being around 8 years old when I attended my first overnight camp and I have really fond memories of it! It was very strange at first, and I was a little homesick too.

We decided to have an expert weigh in on some of the questions I had around knowing if your child is ready for sleepover camp. Alberta Mamas reached out to Dr. Ganz Ferrance, a registered psychologist in Alberta to discuss.

Read more

In From the Editors, Lifestyle, Parenting on
January 13, 2019

Kiwi Co Subscribtion Box Review

We have been really trying to encourage experience gifts (see a great list of ideas for Experience Gifts here) and this Christmas the Grandparents knocked it out of the park. One set of Grandparents got the kids an Alberta’s History Annual Pass which allows us to visit numerous museums and historical sites across the province. Over the break we already used it twice (once for the Royal Alberta Museum and once for the Royal Tyrrell Museum) making it already pay for itself and it’s only the first month! You can learn more about these passes and buy your own here. It is only $120 for a family pass so if you plan on exploring the province this summer we highly recommend this pass.

The other set of Grandparents found another great gift idea. Subscription boxes. You remember how excited you used to get when mail came? Well these boxes make that happen every month! This year Grandma found Kiwi Co. and signed the boys up for a Kiwi Box (5-8 years old) and a Tinker Box (9-16+). We have received two boxes so far and I am so impressed with the quality.

Read more

In Parenting on
November 4, 2018

Tips For Parents Of Picky Eaters

The meal time struggle is real.

No matter what you make, bake, cook, or blend there is always someone at the table that is less than impressed with what is for supper. And for some reason it is always supper at our house that is the struggle. The boys go through phases of picky eating and being more adventurous it seems which also throws me for a loop. One day they just want plain noodles and chicken fingers and the next they are shocking you and eating a plate of fish (after 10 years of me coaxing, offering, trying, fighting, bribing… you get the idea) and liking it.

Read more

In Central Alberta, Events on
October 5, 2018

Halloween Fun In and Around Red Deer

It’s one of my favourite celebrations – Halloween. Dressing up and candy – what’s not to love? Honestly, I’m not big on the scares though – I had nightmares from The People Under the Stairs – look it up, you’ll probably laugh. Whether you like a good scare or you don’t, it’s always fun to get out there and take in the fun that comes along with the day.

Do you head out and enjoy events around Halloween? Which are your fave?

Here are some great looking events we found in and around Red Deer!

Read more

5 Ways to Create a Family Friendly Business

By Mona Ismaeial, photo’s by Mona at Go Nissan North Edmonton.¬†¬†

As a busy work from home mom I definitely Feel the need for family friendly spaces. My son who is just over 2 years old is always in tow. He comes grocery shopping with me, we get oil changes, dr. appointments, meetings and of course out for coffee and meals.  For stay-at-home moms, work-from- home moms or just parents who want to take their kids with them rather than leaving them with family friends or a babysitter, there are a few very easy ways businesses can be more welcoming to families.

Read more

Simple Ways to Curate Lasting Memories

Simple Ways to Curate Lasting Memories

At the centre of my childhood were simple experiences rich with texture and wrought with meaning.  It wasn’t until I was an adult that I was able to appreciate the beauty in the simple togetherness my mom wove into the fabric of our family.  Our family didn’t have a lot of money so my mom got creative.  I find myself using many of her ideas with my own children and I enjoy coming up with my own.  Time is the precious gift our children want above all.  Here are some of my favorite memory makers!  I would love to hear about yours.

Read more