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Archive for the ‘Nancy’s Blog’ Category

I Always said “No Guns” . . .

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012 by:

I always said my kids would never play with guns. Then I had two boys and realized that wasn’t necessarily realistic. Still, I worried. I wasn’t really sure why, but it just seemed wrong.

One of the joys of being a parenting journalist is having access to many of the top professionals in their field. I decided to jump into my research and find out if toy guns were okay. As I did, I was imagining ways to tell my boys that gun play would no longer be allowed in my house. It wasn’t going to bode well.

Much to my surprise, every expert I talked to said that not only were toy guns okay, but they could actually help empower my children. Click here to hear the full story.

Bad Santa

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011 by:

My 12-month-old is absolutely terrified of santa. When she first saw him at her big brothers’ school she shook and screamed with such intensity that one of the teachers thought she was having a seizure.

At first I was sad that her terror meant there would be no santa photo with all three of my kids for 2011. Which got me to thinking: Why do parents put so much importance on the beloved santa photo? We will subject our children to fear-filled drama just to get a photo of them sitting on santa’s lap.

Then, I had a look at these Christmas photos gone bad and it all made sense. Christmas makes parents crazy!

Should Cellphones Be Allowed in the Classroom?

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011 by:

The answer may seem obvious. How can it really be a good idea to let kids bring cellphones, iPads and other hand-held devices into the classroom. Kids will copy on tests, ignore their teacher and waste valuable learning time chatting with friends on Facebook.

That was my initial reaction when the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) voted to lift the cellphone ban earlier this year. Now, I’m on the fence.

It’s easy to say hand-helds have no place in schools, but the world is a very different place than it was when we went to school. The classroom is the only place where anyone is required to learn by sitting in isolation with a paper and pen. I’m not saying we need to throw out old-school learning, but there may be a way to incorporate technology into schools and help teach children to use a hand-held to help with problem solving. Done the right way, allowing hand-held devices in schools may help kids see technology as another way to learn – not just a way to chat with friends or play games.

Schools Ban All Balls

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011 by:

I get it. We all want our kids to be safe. To be honest, I don’t really want to get hurt either. But banning all hard balls on school property because a parent was hit in the head with a soccer ball may be taking things a little too far.

Earl Beatty Junior and Senior Public School in Toronto is the most recent in a string of schools to ban all hard balls from school property. Students are no longer allowed to bring soccer balls, basketballs, baseballs, footballs and volleyballs to school. All balls that aren’t made of sponge or nerf material will be confiscated.

Ottawa and St. Catharines, Ont. have also seen ball bans after playground head injuries resulted from soccer game fun.

Guess what parents? It’s life. Kids get hurt. Parents get hurt. Driving a car is a lot more dangerous than playing a soccer game. Are schools going to insist that all children walk to school because a car is unsafe?

Only seven percent of Canadian children get the required hour of daily physical activity. Moving around not only keeps our kids in great shape but it stimulates brain development and improves concentration.

When are adults going to admit we can’t control everything?

Should Overweight Kids Be Taken Away From Their Parents?

Saturday, July 30th, 2011 by:

Is taking an overweight child away from his parents really going to give him a better life? According to a new study published in The Journal of The American Medical Association, the answer’s yes.

The study argues that inadequate or unskilled parental supervision can leave children vulnerable to negative environmental influences such as junk food marketing and lack of exercise. While this is true, does feeding your child an unhealthy diet really constitute the type of neglect that warrants state intervention? Is a foster home really the answer?

In my opinion, it’s just common sense to look at educating the parents and trying to intervene at a school level to help bring a healthier lifestyle to overweight children. Just re-reading the headline of this blog makes me cringe. It’s amazing to me that it’s even a suggestion that’s on the table.

Bond Baby Bond

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011 by:

We all know breast milk is nutritious for baby, and some studies have even shown it can boost IQ and reduce the risk of SIDS. Now, new research from Yale University School of Medicine has found that breastfeeding increases the parent/infant bond.

The act of breastfeeding appears to release hormones that enhance maternal behavior. The study performed functional MRIs on mothers a month to four months after their babies were born. Mothers who breast fed had a greater brain response to their babies cries.

Should Violence Directed Toward Children Be Part of Free Speech?

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011 by:

I’m all for freedom of speech, but don’t we have to draw the line somewhere? On Monday the Supreme Court struck down a law that banned the sale of violent video games to children. Believe it or not, the judge compared the violence in M-rated video games to the Snow White, Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel and Saturday morning cartoons.

The videos that will now be available for any child who walks into a store with enough cash encourage players to act out a variety of ways to kill, dismember and even sexually assault images of other humans. What’s next? Legalizing pornography for 13-year-olds?

I’m all for protecting artistic freedom, but in a world where random shootings are on the rise what can possibly be gained by letting video game manufacturers market extreme violence to our youth?

Supersized Mini-Me's

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011 by:

Chances are your baby is bigger than you were as a child. Chances are he’ll also grow up to outsize dad, grandpa and grandma. Babies are bigger today than any time in history–and they’re growing quickly.

On a world-wide level, people have grown in height and weight more the past three centuries than many previous millennia. Why?

There are a few unknowns, but abundant supplies of food and nutrients–and less energy required to get it–are the biggest factors.

While much of our bigger stature is a good thing, there is a down side. Humans have been around for about 100,000 generations. Aside from the last 600 generations, our ancestors were hunter-gatherers. It takes a long time for the human body to adapt. Basically, we’re still hunters and gatherers at heart.

What does that mean?

We need a diet rich in fruits, veggies and meat. And, we need to work out.

Our oversized children can grow into supersized adults. Obesity rates and related illnesses such as adult-onset diabetes, coronary heart disease and some cancers were virtually unknown amongst hunter-gatherers. If we want to avoid the pitfalls or our size we need to make like the hunters and gathers and work our bodies and stick to a more natural diet.

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Why Mariah’s Baby Names Rock

Monday, May 30th, 2011 by:

Unlike some people, I happen to love the names of Mariah Carey‘s newest additions. I like a little originality when it comes to choosing your offspring’s moniker. Monroe and Moroccan (Carey twins one and two) are the right combination of cuteness and class. Still, naysayers have to scream out and plead for Carey to go with something more run-of-the-mill; something more Dick and Jane. Really? Do we want something this boring from our celebrities?

I gawked at a recent columnist who called the originality celebrities use when naming their offspring self- promoting, unorthodox and icky. (This same columnist later admitted to wanting to change the name of her own child months after she was born because it was becoming too popular. Who’s the icky one now?)

I’ll admit Carey could have kept quite about naming her son after the decor in a room of her house, but shouldn’t parents be able to name their children whatever they want? (Also, the room was where her actor’s husband Nick Cannon proposed.) Actors are artists and it only seems fitting that they would exercise a little more artistic freedom when playing the baby name game.

People tend to copy everything celebrities do from their hairstyle to the color of their footwear. For years, people have also copied celebrity baby names. Maybe uber original names are, in part, an attempt to avoid a string of copy cats. After all, if you name your baby Buddy Bear (Jamie Oliver) or Caspar (Claudia Schiffer) people will be less likely to follow your lead with their own little buddles of joy. If the said author was upset enough to call the city about changing her daughter’s name because it was becoming a little too popular, what would she do if thousands of people world wide started to copy her child’s name?

I love that celebrities tend to avoid common names and, in doing so give us something to talk about. Does the world really need another Emma?

Will Exploding Watermelons Make you go Organic?

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011 by:

Watermelons in China have recently started to explode in their fields. Farmers using seeds imported from Japan, sprayed their crops with a growth hormone and the melons started spontaneously exploding a day later.

If you weren’t already afraid of what’s going into the produce your family eats, this recent outburst may just put you over the top. If chemicals can make food blow up, what will they do to your children’s body?