Review – Echinaforce Junior

Keeping Your Toddler Healthy This Winter

The first year of my daughters life, I felt like she was constantly sick. Nothing crazy that needed hospitalization or anything, but just a constant runny nose, head cold and cough; there were more than a few sicknesses that even required antibiotics. I remember one day having the feeling of “I just can’t take another sickness going through this house”. I thought the fact that I was an extended breast feeder meant that her body was packed full of antibodies working hard to fight off cold and flus; this was very much not the case for us. She ate well, slept well and we did everything we could (other than throw a bubble around her), and the sicknesses just kept happening.

The following year I was determined to take preventative measures to boost her immunity! I was not interested in spending another 6 months quarantining us from all the amazing winter activities, so I started my research. That’s when I came across Echinaforce Junior, echinacea tablets. Echinacea purpurea is known for its antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. I found it appealing as it was said to reduces cold and flu symptoms by 65% and cuts the need for antibiotics by 76%. I had taken echinacea as a child and remember my mom always talking about the benefits, so we gave it a try.

Almost instantly, we noticed that the sicknesses that reared their ugly head the year before, were kept at bay. Throughout the winter months, we had maybe one or two mild colds, but NOTHING severe that required us to stay at home. No big fevers and best of all, NO antibiotics. The winter was much more enjoyable and I was much more confident in taking her places, knowing we had this immune booster on our sides.

This year, we have maintained the same regime and she started taking Echinaforce once again this September. My partner and I just got over a two week debilitating head cold and cough and she scrapped by with a mild case of the sniffles.

Echinaforce comes in a small tablet that is grape flavoured, very easy for little ones to chew and also sugar and gluten-free. We give it to her nightly after dinner and disguise the tablet as her “candy” which she’s actually come to enjoy as her reward for eating a good dinner! We keep it in the kitchen and if I forget to give it to her (which lets face it, moms do), she has learned to ask for it! It has become incredibly easy to incorporate into our daily routine.

Keeping a toddler healthy in the wicked Winter months of Ottawa is hard. They put everything in their mouths, touch everything, often somehow end up on the floor… they are not the most “health conscious” individuals. I’ve come to learn that sicknesses are inevitable and though we practice proper hand washing (soooooo super important) it takes 2 seconds for your tot to touch something nasty then touch their mouths. I am not saying that this is the magic pill to keep all cold and flus away. But what I am saying is that for our family, it has substantially decreased the frequency, severity and duration of the illnesses that have formerly passed through her tiny little body. Echinacea Tabs helps your immune system stop germs before an infection takes hold and after seeing the benefits, we will undoubtedly continue giving her (and our next little one) to support us all through these difficult months.

https://www.avogel.ca/en/herbal-remedies/echinaforce-junior.php

How do I get my child to listen??

How do I get my child to listen??

By Tara Cummings, BA, BST-BA

True Change Positive Parenting Solutions

Parents want happy and harmonious homes. So do children in fact. Children often scream and cry to get what they want, but they would prefer not to, just as you would prefer not to have to feel like you’re going crazy! If you find yourself frequently feeling frazzled and just can’t seem to get your children to follow instructions and routines, simple strategies exist to set you on your way to happier times. If you’re not quite at the stage where your child is resisting and protesting, don’t skip reading the rest of this! Setting up for success is the most important approach to parenting. So even if you’re in the midst of chaos or not currently feeling concerned, being prepared to provide effective instructions will make a world of a difference for you. So, let’s dive right in with the following recommendations for effective instruction giving (note: this method is for instructing your child to do something versus stop something):

Step 1 Formulate your approach wisely: Be within close proximity, say your child’s name, get down to his/her level and provide a brief and concise instruction. If it is necessary to provide an explanation, keep it very short. Keep in mind that the more you talk, the more you’re likely to escalate in frustration and the more your child is likely to escalate with avoidance or protesting.

Step 2 Provide warnings: You child deserves to know that a transition is about to happen. You plan your day and therefore have the luxury of knowing what is happening next. Your child doesn’t so when it’s time to move on, make sure that you set up for success by giving warnings. I recommend 2 to 3 warnings. They can either be time warnings or turns. For example: 5 mins, 2 mins and 1 min remaining or 3 turns, 2 turns, 1 turn remaining.

Step 3 Provide choices: Do you feel good when someone tells you what to do without any room for discussion or choice on your part? I’m going to assume you’re answer is a strong no. The same applies for your child. Build choices into your instructions to offer control to your child. When a child feels like they have some say in what is happening next, they are more likely to follow through with your instructions. Choices can be very simple such as “Do you want to wear your red shirt or the blue one?” or “Do you want to do it or do I help?”

Step 4 First-Then statements: Build motivation into your instructions by telling your child the fun thing that is happening next. This means that you should structure your day by having preferred activities follow less preferred or non-preferred activities. When you provide your warnings and the instruction to begin a transition, use a first-then statement. Example: “It’s time to leave the park. First walk to car, then your favorite song!”

Step 5 1-2-follow through: This is the “go” step. You are now ready to begin the transition. 1) State your instruction, wait 5 secs (count in your head). 2) Repeat the exact same instruction, move closer and point in the direction of the task/activity, wait 5 secs. 3) Repeat the exact same instruction while simultaneously prompting your child to go/start. You can prompt them by guiding them forward, hand-over-hand prompting them or showing them the first step of the activity. Example: 1) “It’s time to pick up your toys, then snack.” 2) “It’s time to pick up your toys, then snack” while pointing at the toys. 3) It’s time to pick up your toys, then snack” while taking their hand and moving it forward to pick up the closest toy.

What do you think about these steps? Take the time today to try them out. The more you use these effective instruction giving steps the more success you will have with your child. If you experience kick-back with step 5, stick with it. Always be prepared to follow through. If you’re not willing to stand your ground, don’t give the instruction in the first place!

For more great tips, parenting information or support go to www.TrueChange.ca, e-mail Tara@TrueChange.ca or call 613-858-8524.

Tara Cummings is a Behaviour Specialist trained in Applied Behaviour Analysis (the science of behaviour). She provides evidence-based parent coaching, training and behaviour consultation to help parents with challenging

behaviours as well as to help parents develop positive parenting skills. Parents who learn and work with Tara raise happier, healthy children in calm and harmonious homes. Contact Tara to sign up for an e-mail course that includes these steps as well as 29 more daily recommendations and tips to make you an effective parent. Additional support and training is also available.

Review – SPLAT Children’s Art Studio

A creative new way for little ones to have fun has just opened up in St Laurent shopping centre, and we could not be more excited! SPLAT is a locally owned Art Studio and Play Centre for all ages, that focuses on allowing children to develop and explore all forms of Art (Music, Theatre, Crafting and more! ) This week our Orléans Traveling Tots had the opportunity to visit SPLAT for the first of 6 field trips, and the place delighted both the children and mamas alike.

I turned my head for one second! Good thing they had a washing station!

We were greeted by their senior staff member Marie, who is warm, kind and has a genuine love of children. She walked me through the various sensory stations throughout the studio and explained the purpose behind each one. The stations included a sand table, an immediate favourite of all the little ones who entered. A sensory bin station complete with bins of buttons, feathers, beads and a unique colour sorting bin where children are given the task of colour coding fluffy balls. There’s a water station that was a personal favourite of my little one. Here she was given the chance to paint a baby doll, and wash off the paint using various tools — nail brushes, sponges, toothbrushes and different toys. They have painting tables, craft tables, a chalk board wall, and a percussion wall, where the children are invited to make as much noise as they please. They also have a beautiful play kitchen area complete with every dish, pot or pan a child could imagine. Finally, there’s a stage with a real microphone for karaoke, and a dress up area with costumes your little one can try on.

Sand tables were a huge hit!

If felt great to see our kids let loose, get messy, and explore in such a clean, safe and unique environment. Here they could be as loud as they wanted, as creative as they wanted and ultimately, spend hours in the same place and never get bored! The major BONUS was never having to worry about cleaning up their mess when they were all done!

To say this place is clean and tidy is an understatement. With so much going on you would assume there would be a mess everywhere, but their staff have an incredible way of keeping up with it, so much so that when the 14 children left, it didn’t even look like they’d been there. 

Although SPLAT is open to all ages, I would recommend that the ultimate fans would be children six and under. The team comes up with unique crafts of the week, which would mostly appeal to kindergarten ages and beyond. Our Tot group are all below 3 years of age and most opted out of sitting for a craft and just engaged in free play. 

SPLAT is now offering a loyalty card that gives parents five visits for $60 — that’s $40 in savings! They also offer Birthday parties, that will tailor a craft specifically for your little ones special day! Such a great thing for parents to consider as you can walk away, mess free!

We loved every minute of our experience at SPLAT and are so pleased that something so fun, creative and educational is available to our children. We know that by providing opportunities for children to actively use their senses as they explore their world through ‘sensory play’ is crucial to brain development. So we now have a place that our children LOVE and are learning valuable tools for navigating the world at the same time!

I can’t wait to put my loyalty card to good use!

Washing babies was such a hit!

The Loneliness Of A Miscarriage

On November 13th late at night, I found out I was pregnant with my second baby. After a somewhat long period of trying to conceive, I was beyond elated. Our little Family was growing and my sweet girl was going to be a big sister! That bond that you feel in pregnancy sparked instantly and we were over the moon. On December 21st, it was taken away from us when we found out that our tiny little heart had stopped beating.

It’s so exciting to see a positive result!

 

I began showing signs of a miscarriage on the Wednesday morning before Christmas, which was also only one day after we shared the good news with our parents. It began as mild spotting and slowly increased to become the colour red that every woman fears terribly during pregnancy. We waited a long and painful two days for a very unsympathetic doctor to tell us that the little flicker of a heartbeat that we’d come to know and love, was no longer viable. The doctors instructions for what was to follow felt so clinical and cold; as if he was sharing directions to the nearest gas station, not something devastating. We all of a sudden felt like we were being ushered out of the bed we were occupying in the ER.

 

Although I knew inside that we had experienced a loss, my brain began to try and rationalize how the ultrasound could have been wrong; it started to play tricks on me and tell me that someone somewhere, had made a critical mistake. Denial. Next came the guilt. What did I do that caused this? Was that steak I ate too pink? I know I avoided lunch meat but am I sure that goat cheese was pasteurized? Maybe it’s because I drank coffee or took that Zantac when my heartburn was so bad…I never took Zantac in my first pregnancy. It has to be because I’m still breast feeding my toddler. Didn’t I read somewhere that breastfeeding can cause miscarriage? The walls felt like they were closing in on me and as I was rapidly transitioning through the different stages of grief, my heart quite literally, felt like it was breaking.

 

Some doctors say 50% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. Some say 25% and some say one in five. I have personally known six women in the month of December who’ve gone through it, so why did it feel like the loneliest thing on the planet to experience? Perhaps it’s because it all happened before I had the chance to publicly announce it, so the masses didn’t know what we’d lost. Maybe it’s because it felt like in some way, my body had failed me. Maybe it’s because there’s a certain level of guilt associated with the experience, that no one else could possibly understand. Whatever the case, it felt like my life paused and I was totally unsure of which direction to turn. So many medical professional made feeble attempts at support by using the common dictums such as “Its Gods will” or “Everything happens for a reason” or “you already have one child so at least you know you can have another”, but none of these added any comfort or made any sense, in fact, it was probably the opposite. I just wanted to be left alone as I knew that the only person who could understand my grief, was myself.  While I now realize they all had good intentions, there was nothing that anyone could say, to make any sense of why this was happening to me.

 

If it had been any other time of year, I would have been granted the opportunity to grieve quietly and for as long as I wanted, but it was three days before Christmas, and I’m a mom to a toddler which for me meant that I had to try my best for “the show to go on”. But how do you celebrate what’s supposed to be the happiest time of year, when you have a broken heart? The traditions and events that can add so much joy and meaning to the season were punctuated with painful reminders that the tiny person we loved will never be here with us. In so many ways I wished that I could find a quiet place to hide until January 2nd.

 

Despite everything, I ended up having a wonderful Christmas Day surrounded by my loving family and for the first time since we received our news, I actually felt happy again (which unfortunately brought back the guilt). I want other mamas to know, that it’s always ok not to be OK. But just as it’s OK to grieve for as long as you want, it is also OK to smile and enjoy the good things happening in your life. It doesn’t mean that you’re not mindful of the baby you lost. If this should ever be you, please try not to let yourself feel guilty for taking your mind off things and living your life. Grief comes in waves and when you experience any kind of loss, although it may feel like you’ll never smile again, happiness WILL slowly make its way back into your life. There will be moments where the grief feels overwhelming, almost like an actual wave washes over you and you’re fighting to stay above the water, but that wave passes and you can and will once again see the beauty in all that’s around you.

Real smiles on Christmas night… something I didn’t think would be possible

 

Miscarriage can be an amazingly difficult thing to talk about, but the more I have shared my story, the more other women are beginning to admit (almost shyly) that they too, have experienced this type of loss. The common denominator between them all is that after the ice is broken, each woman almost seems relieved to talk about it. I want you, my friends and family to know that I am someone you can talk to if you lose a baby or know someone who does. I am an open book with the details of my story and I never want any woman to feel ashamed in asking me about it, or sharing their story with me. Imagine a world in which there was only understanding and support, where a woman didn’t have to feel ashamed and she could grieve for her baby with the love and support she needed instead of suffering in silence. A world where people don’t feel that they need to make an excuse for terrible things. Sometimes, things are just really shitty, and we should be able to hold someone’s hand and simply say “I’m here for you, in any way you need. And when you’re ready to talk about this, I’ll be here to listen”.
To my sisters (and brothers) out there, I am always here to listen to your story. Thank you for reading mine.

After 17 days of my body trying to go through the process “naturally” I ended up in the hospital where the doctors had to perform a Dilation and Curettage. It was the last thing in the world that I wanted, but I was so relieved for it all to be over.  Doctor McCoubrey and the team at the Montfort were extremely kind, compassionate and wonderful.

Edit to add: There were so many people who were so supportive, kind, thoughtful and helpful during this process. Those who sent flowers, brought gifts, helped with Finley, called, texted and sat and let me cry. You know who you are and I want to be sure that you know how very much I appreciate you and how grateful I am to have been blessed with your friendship. I will never forget those acts of kindness during such a dark period. It also so happens, that in the 17 days I was going through this, I became even closer with my spouse.  In my experience, there was a little bit of sunshine at the end of the storm.

If you have suffered a loss, or know someone who has, I can always be reached by email at ering@mommyconnections.ca for support and am also a proud distributer of the Butterfly Box. Please feel free to message me any time.

Play, Learn and Explore At My Gym Ottawa

This Fall our six week Mini Movers group was incredibly fortunate to be hosted by My Gym Ottawa. Nestled in the suburbs of Barrhaven sits this amazing space where babies, toddlers and children alike can run, play, learn and explore. Recently, a friend and I were invited to bring our daughters (18 & 20 months) to sample their Tiny Tykes/Waddlers class and I am so glad we did! Not only is this a great place for drop in free-play, but the classes offer educational components in a safe and exciting setting, perfect for curious little ones and parents alike.

The Space

My Gym features a soft, padded floor which makes learning basic gymnastics skills that much safer for your little one. The first thing I noticed upon entering the facility was the cleanliness. The play structures are made of wood and you can tell by looking at them that they’re impeccably maintained; all of the high quality equipment looks brand new. 

Their play structures are also taken apart and redesigned every two weeks which promises a unique experience for the child that visits often. This is a feature that can also be customizable to those renting the space for a birthday party.

The space features a rock climbing wall, play structure and slide, ball pit, various gymnastics obstacles, an area that features six detachable swings, specifically for babies and toddlers; a feature that my little one was thrilled about! It also boasts a very clean restroom facility complete with complimentary diapers, wipes and a diaper genie (if you’re anything like me and always forget to restock your diaper bag, this feature comes in VERY handy).

My Gym is bright, spacious and clean. It is the perfect size for children to run around and burn off some steam, while not being so big that the parent can lose sight of their little one.

The Classes

My Gym engages infants 6 weeks of age to children 11 years of age with fun and captivating physical/cognitive activities, music, songs and free play. Their classes are designed to help your child grow confidence and strength in a non-competitive and supportive atmosphere.

The teachers create a fun filled hour full of age appropriate activities where children will learn new skills, make new friends and have an amazing experience each week.

The (Tiny Tykes) class we participated in began with circle time and songs to get the little ones up and energized. Throughout the hour the little ones stretched, danced, and exercised their problem solving skills. After the opening circle time, we were sent for some free-play as the teacher set up various obstacles. When we regrouped, the first skill was to have our toddler do a supported back flip. My little one wasn’t overly keen on trying this and I loved the way the teacher both encouraged her, but also accepted that she wasn’t into it and supported her by offering a modified skill to try. Other skills included climbing through the different levels of a flat ladder, into a foam circle in the middle and jumping from a mat into a hula hoop — all the skills promoted strength building, coordination and spacial awareness.

My Gym classes are curriculum based, but do not have a set beginning and ending point so children are welcome to join at any time.

Membership

In order to take advantage of My Gym Ottawa, families must purchase a lifetime membership for a one-time fee of $75. This gives you access to the classes and drop in play as well as special discounts on Birthday Parties and special events. The membership can also travel with you as My Gym is a Global franchise.

Special Events

In addition to My Gym’s classes, they also offer Birthday Parties, Practice and Play (drop-in play), Summer, March Break and PD Day camps.They also offer the unique Parent’s Night Out, where Friday nights from 5:30-8:30 pm, parents can enjoy a night out while their children are having a great time running, climbing, playing and eating pizza! Finally, My Gym also offers their Mobile Program where they bring the gym to you! This is a great feature if you are a day care/child care provider looking for something new.

I feel very fortunate to have partnered with such a supportive establishment whose goal is To create an environment where all children of all abilities feel loved and supported so that their self-esteem and confidence can flourish.

If you’re in the Barrhaven area (or not), this place is a must on your list of activities with the little ones.