Christmas Memories – Mommy Blogger

My name is Erin McCrea. I’m a Momma, a pet Momma, and a writer. I had my first baby at age 35 in May of 2016. Becoming a mom was the scariest thing I’ve ever done, and I have loved every moment of it. I blog at, but haven’t done a lot since Anthony arrived. It’s my goal to be a consistent Writing Mom by the time his birthday arrives. I’m shy, caring, weird, bossy, and I try to be happy every day. My baby helps with that.


Before I really start writing this post, I have to say thanks to my mother who gave me years of Christmas magic and memories.

My son is two and a half. I don’t know when he’s going to start remembering things. I don’t remember Christmas at that age. I have some flashes of memories from the toddler years. I want to make this Christmas amazing just in case he remembers some of it. We are hosting Christmas for the first time since he was born, and I’m really excited about starting some new traditions, and having a relaxing Christmas.

I’m trying not to put too much pressure on myself because I don’t want him to remember his mom being a stress ball. I also don’t want to be a stress ball. I need to remember that self care is ALWAYS important: especially if I want my son to see the joy of the season.

I want him to remember the first time we lit up our real Christmas tree. I know I will always remember the smile on his face the first time we turned on the lights.

We have a fake one as well, but this year we bought a real tree to put up. I love the smell. I want him to as well. So far he loves the tree. “Santa. Tree.” “Happy HoHoHo!”  


He won’t remember specific presents he received, but he’ll remember the love and happiness that surrounded him during the holidays.

That’s what I remember. There are a few presents I remember, but they’re mostly books because books become family memories when people read them with you.

It’s just a lot of work getting to that moment of being calm and present because first I have to get it all done. This is another moment where I need to tip my hat to working mommas and single mommas because I’m barely keeping it together with support, and without having to work. The stress of getting everything ready and perfect is overwhelming at times. I know the stress isn’t needed, but I get stressed out over small things most of the time so I can’t be surprised that Christmas planning will stress me out.

We do so much to make this holiday perfect. It’s funny because I don’t believe anything is perfect, and I don’t strive for perfection in myself, but I do seem to be striving for the perfect Christmas.

A perfect Christmas memory isn’t actually hard to achieve. I just need my family. I need hugs. I need toddler smiles. Nothing else matters. Instead of sharing what stresses me out, I’m going to share what I enjoy doing to keep myself happy.

I try to do Christmas cards every year. I want to send some Christmas joy for people to get in the mail. I always write a 2018 update letter, and since Anthony, I’ve made photo cards. This year I sent around 70. I keep trying to cut back, but it’s not easy. I do these with the knowledge that it’s really not that important to my partner. I’m not saying this to insult him. I get it. If I didn’t send them, it wouldn’t really make a difference to him. He does appreciate that I send them though. I did all my cards before I started on the rest of my holiday plans. I lost all my addresses this year (and found them the second I addressed the last one), and I also accidentally said “All the best in 2018” on most of the printed cards. Even with the rough start, I did them anyway, and it felt so good to mail them. These cards are something I’ve always done, with or without a child, with or without a partner. They take a lot of time, but I can’t let them stress me out because I honestly love sending them.

The same goes for most of my Christmas ideas. I try to do a lot of homemade crafts for people. I started this last year because it was nice to save money, and I’m continuing it this year because I enjoyed it so much last year. Getting everything done in time can be stressful. Sitting down to make a craft for people to enjoy? Not stressful at all. It’s part of my self care, although I didn’t realise that when I came up with the idea.

All this rambling is to say that even though the Christmas season is stressful, it doesn’t have to be. I choose to be proud of everything I have accomplished, and of all the love I’m attempting to spread. There are so many things we can do to make a nice balance, and not stress ourselves out. This year, I’ve decided to start a new tradition of donating toys that we don’t need anymore to charities in Saskatoon. It felt SO good to go through all of Anthony’s toys and get rid of half of them. I did this while he was sleeping, but I hope next year to include him in the decision making.

I’m one of those people that find the holidays to be magical. I want my son to see this season as magical as well. If he remembers nothing else this year, I hope he remembers the feelings of awe and magic. That’s up to me to help him. I’m ready for the challenge.

Breastfeeding Struggles and How To Avoid Them – Guest Blogger

Breastfeeding Struggles and How To Avoid Them

Breastfeeding your newborn can be a beautiful, convenient, peaceful bonding experience. It can also be a difficult, painful, frustrating, loose-your-mind-trying-to-make-it-work experience. Though breastfeeding is natural, it often doesn’t come natural to moms and babies and there are many potential issues that can arise. I see moms having all kinds of struggles while trying to breastfeed their newborn so I’d like to explain a few of the most common problems in hopes of increasing awareness and encouraging moms to seek help early and often so they can meet their breastfeeding goals.

One of the most common myths about breastfeeding your newborn is that it’s normal for it to hurt. While it may be uncomfortable for the first couple days as your nipples get used to around-the-clock nursing, it should not be so painful you are unable to nurse, and it shouldn’t cause trauma to your nipples, or make them bleed.

Nipple pain is often due to baby having a poor latch. This means that the baby is not positioning your nipple correctly inside their mouth while sucking, which leads to nipple pain and even nipple injury and bleeding. This can be fixed by encouraging baby to open wide while latching and by learning the best way to hold your baby while breastfeeding.

Another common cause of nipple pain and injury is a tongue tie or, less commonly, a lip tie in baby. What this means is that the baby has tight fibres under their tongue which prevent them from properly sucking the nipple. This improper suck can result in nipple pain for mom, the baby not getting enough milk, and mom loosing her milk supply. Tongue ties can be fixed with a very quick, very simple procedure done in our office.

Not having enough milk, or low milk supply, is another issue some breastfeeding moms struggle with. Many things can contribute to this including poor latch and tongue ties discussed above, not nursing often enough, and maternal or mother-specific issues. Maternal issues that can cause low supply include: thyroid or other hormone problems, previous breast surgery, or not having enough breast growth in pregnancy. You can increase supply your by frequently nursing baby or pumping, and we can help by starting prescription medications, called galatogogues, that promote milk production.

Some moms have the opposite problem and have an over supply of milk. This can lead to breast engorgement (over-filling), pain, and even infection. We can instruct you on how to decrease supply slowly and safely to avoid plugged milk ducts, which can lead to infection. Breast infections can make you feel very unwell and need to be treated quickly with prescribed antibiotics.

While the issues discussed above can definitely make breastfeeding your newborn frustrating and difficult, they can almost always be fixed. My goal is to help you meet your breastfeeding goals, whether your goal is nursing baby sometimes for a few months or exclusively breastfeeding into the toddler years and beyond.

I am delighted to see all moms and babies in my clinic. If you are pregnant and wanting to set yourself up for success, are struggling to breastfeed your newborn, are concerned your baby might be tongue-tied, or have any other questions about nursing your baby, I would love to help. You can ask your doctor, midwife, or lactation consultant to refer you to Cornerstone Medical Clinic’s Breastfeeding Clinic or you can call (306) 975-1262 to book an appointment.

More information about our clinic, including a referral form for doctors, can be found at

Here for all your breastfeeding needs,

Dr. Emily Sullivan, MD, MPH, CCFP


Happy Holidays… I Hope! – Mommy Blogger

Elyse Lalonde has always called Saskatoon home. She started on the motherhood journey in the Summer of 2015 when she had her son. Elyse is a working mom, always seeking a fine balance in life with a busy toddler. As a MommyConnections “alumnus,” she enjoys socializing with moms and babies her son’s age. Elyse has always enjoyed writing and journaling, and hopes to share her experiences (good, bad, and sarcastic) with the online parenting community in Saskatoon.

The holidays are a fabulous time for many. Presents and family and food. You really can’t go wrong! What I enjoy the most is my time away from work. Because, mostly, I’m a Grinch and that’s what I think of first.

But I’m really not a fan of the trap that I and many around me fall victim to after Thanksgiving every year, where begins the shopping rampage in preparation for the end of December. Nevertheless, the last few Christmases have been more fun than usual, which I feel is a “trade off,” or excuse to go crazy.

Our son was 6 months old for his first Christmas. He didn’t really receive any presents from us that year, but from other people instead. All was fun and cute and all, until we ended up driving to emergency at 5:00am on the 25th because he had had Diarrhea all night. Like all new parents, you think the worst of any situation. Lo and behold, he was simply teething and swallowing all his excess saliva. He was well hydrated, and his usual playful self. The ER was quiet that peaceful morning, except for the sounds of baby babbling, cooing, and the occasional bouts of toots.

The last two Christmases were more fun, as our son was able to engage in opening his own presents (albeit more interested in the boxes and wrapping paper than actual presents). Aside from the very early wake up calls, we were in good shape and no one needed a trip to the ER. But last year I spent too much money on my son’s gift, and subsequently put way too much pressure on myself hoping he would like it… Key words here—pressure put upon myself. Did he love his gift? Yes, and he still plays with it to this day. Did he get copious amounts of gifts and toys from others? You bet. But this year, I’m doing things differently.

This year, my son has an intact memory and distinct interests in the world, and knows what is happening around him. The magic of the season is palpable to him, and the excitement leading up to December 25th has already begun. Toys will not be the focal point of Christmas this year.  And I will tell you why.

The focal point of this month will be having new experiences, building memories, creating new traditions, and maintaining old ones at the same time. Seeing Santa, going on sleigh rides, baking cookies, decorating gingerbread houses, giving gifts to others, visiting relatives and friends. My goal is to share these new and old experiences with my son.

Often, setting the stage for a “happy” holiday can be really challenging. It comes with planning, coordinating with others, maintenance, work, effort, stress, finance and a budget (that often gets blown out of the water). Even if you “sneak away from it all” for the holidays, you still need to repeat the list above.

I think we hype up the holidays because we like the idea of perfection- of having the perfect gifts, perfect dinner, desserts, music and atmosphere that we remember from our younger days, when we were carefree, and when receiving presents from ‘Santa’ and family were magical. I see now what we, our parents and in-laws are trying to replicate each year; setting the stage for joy and excitement, even though one could argue that very little effort could be applied for the same end.

Sometimes people’s expectations are sky high, and I think if we lowered or redirected them, we would really take the pressure off ourselves and those around us. We don’t need to have multitudes of gifts, or turkeys, or Egg Nog (really, any Egg Nog with the “right” ingredient is just fine with me!) Although these things are nice to have, I think just taking the time to be with one another is truly enough to have a great holiday (whatever that may entail).

The one thing that stands out in my mind from last Christmas was time spent playing with my son on the floor; not with his new expensive toy, but the ones he already had (the irony is not lost on me here). Did I buy toys for him this year? Yes. Will Santa bring him a toy? Yes.

But the time spent together is what made the experience and the memory a happy one. Because at the end of the day, the time spent together with the three of us alone, and with our families is what counts. It is what has always counted. And this is not a once-a-year experience. It really is day-to-day.

In the rush of the season, remembering the intent of togetherness is key to a happy holiday. And checking to ensure that the online gift you buy for your child is in Canadian dollars, and not American… Lesson learned.





When Should I Start Sleep Training? – Guest Blogger

Guest Blogger – Trista Cave – Cave Babies. Infant and Child Sleep Coach, Educator

It is a questions I get a lot… when is the right age to start sleep training? There is no “perfect age” to make changes for your family, the perfect time is when you are READY. Every family and every baby and every toddler is so different but here are few questions to ask yourself if this is a good time or not to work on your child’s sleep:

Is your baby waking frequently through the night? We need to be quite realistic here. A baby who is 3 months old and waking two times for a feed is quite reasonable. However, a baby who is 8 months old waking every hour or two can likely benefit from some changes. Remember, our bodies need sleep! Our children are no different.

Are you dragging your feet during the day? Your baby needs more sleep than you, so if you are tired from interrupted sleep and significant night wakings, then good chances your babe won’t feel his best during the day either. Even working at reducing bedtime battles or early mornings can make a great positive impact on you and your family.

Are naps short or non-existent? Daytime sleep plays a significant role in night sleep, so if you are struggling with naps during the day, there is a good chance that your night sleep is affected. Consistent and good quality naps are important for your child’s health and development (as well as mom’s much deserved break!). Sleep training is not just about “sleeping through the night”.

Are your habits no longer working? All of a sudden, your baby can’t be rocked off to sleep. What??? Or maybe feeding off to sleep used to work like a charm and now it’s just stimulation? Noooooo! You might find this a perfect time to sleep train so you are not simply introducing another sleep association. Learning to sleep independently is a great skill that can improve your sleep. But don’t be alarmed if falling asleep without a prop doesn’t solve all your sleep woes… this is a very small portion of your babies’ sleep routines.

Finally, you need ask yourself if you are ready. Are you ready for change? Are you ready to really commit to a new routine and build a new foundation? Sleep training is a lot of work (although the rewards are substantial!) and requires patience, love, commitment and caffeine!

Only you know what is best for your family!

Trista Cave

Sleep Coach, Educator and Child Nutritionist


The Joy of Learning – Mommy Blogger

Teri Parkhurst is a mom to a beautiful one-year-old boy and loves the joy and the challenges being a parent brings. Luckily, she has an amazing partner who helps her figure it all out. When she’s not busy with her little family, she works as a marketing and communications professional.

 I’ve heard people talk about seeing the world through a child’s eyes, and about how remarkable it is to watch a person discover things for the first time. It really is a joy to experience, and, if you’ve ever spent any amount of time with a 14-month-old, you’ll know that these moments of wonder are pretty much constant—to the point where it takes about the double the amount of time to get anything done, because he wants to point at and touch essentially anything in his line of sight.

As a first-time mom, what I am really blown away by is not only my son’s intense curiosity about everything, but also his ability to learn new things. I can’t count the number of times we’ve commented on it over the first year of his life.

We would watch him laying on his belly during tummy time and say, “how will he ever roll over?” His arm gets in the way. He gets partway there and flops back. And so on. Then suddenly he was rolling back and forth as if he’d always been doing it, and it was hard to remember the times he had ever struggled.

More recently, when he started to walk, we had a similar experience. For a couple months, he would walk only if he could hold someone’s hand. You could tell he had the balance, and he didn’t really need that hand, but as soon as I let go he would sit down and look at me as if I was crazy for thinking he should try it on his own. We talked about how he would ever learn that he could do it himself.

Then he took a few shaky steps, and would walk solo from one person to another, and that lasted a few more days. Then suddenly he was strutting around as if he runs the place (which, let’s be honest, is mostly true), and as if he’s been doing it forever.

I know these examples are the typical milestones that, biologically, babies and toddlers will naturally hit as they grow. But what I hope he takes away from these experiences, and what I hope we can nurture and support as he grows older, is that desire to always know more, understand more, and see more.

I want him to travel the world, meet different people, step outside of his comfort zone, and conquer new horizons. It’s easy as we grow up to play it safe, and I’m as guilty of that as anyone. We find our routines and we stay within them, forgetting that it’s our responsibility to really experience life, to seek out the new and try different things, even if we have to try over and over and over again until we finally get it right. I want him to see his dad and me trying new things, learning new things, and always looking for ways to think and do things differently.

Is it weird to aspire to be more like a one-year-old? Every day, he reminds me of the beauty that’s right in front of us, of the different ways we can go about trying to accomplish a task, and of the feelings of pride and happiness that come with mastering a new skill. And if I can instill more of those values into my life, it would be a big win.

Palmer’s Stretch Mark Products for Expectant and New Moms


Palmers Products for Expectant and New Moms

Local Mommy and Blogger (Babies, Besties and Bubbly) Yessenia tried out 3 Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula products – massage lotion, massage cream and tummy butter.

I have never tried the brand Palmer’s previously before this package was sent to me! Since I have had eczema I felt very limited to lotion since everything I used was prescribed, steroid and unscented.

The massage lotion felt so soft on my skin. It was very easy to use since it had a pump dispenser. I applied it more of a full body moisturizer.

The massage cream was pretty thick compared for the lotion which is something I was used to. Having eczema most of my life cream was the only thing that worked or stayed on long enough for my skin to actually absorb. So I seemed to really focus this on my prone to stretch mark areas (tummy,legs, bum,breasts)

The tummy butter is solid form. I would put it in between my hands and rub in circular motions to warm up and once it was oily I would apply it when I could walk around with my shirt up or a bra on so that it could sit on my skin to dry. Instead of throwing clothes on it right away.

I’m glad to say I still haven’t got any stretch marks for my second pregnancy. But I can tell you that this formula is truly moisturizing I could feel it stay on for a very long time compared to any other. I’m very happy with quality and am so thankful for the opportunity given to me to tryout and review these products!

Road Tripping with Small Children – Mommy Blogger

Hi, I’m Mandi, a South African wife and mama living in Canada. We moved to Saskatoon in January of this year, and I’m a stay-at-home Mama to my two littles – Summer Hope & Hudson. You can find me on Instagram @followthebergs where I post and blog about travel, parenting and real life.


Christmas will be here before we know it, and many families are going away on little getaways, or waiting until January or February to have a winter escape holiday. With this in mind, I thought it would be quite fitting to include some tips and tricks when road tripping with small children.


I love road tripping with our kids, and I would choose it any day over flying, and here’s why…


1. You plan the itinerary 


When it comes to traveling with kids, expect the unexpected. We have flown internationally to South Africa twice with our kids, and have done more than ten domestic flights with two small children in the last few months. Even though I am always beyond prepared (a little OCD in fact), things still go wrong. It is to be expected when traveling with littles. It’s just part of the adventure 😉 I have found that the whole family is just less stressed when we don’t have to board the plane by a certain time, wait around during layovers and be governed by schedules. 


When you are driving, you can stop in a safe zone and change a diaper whenever you need to, you can grab a snack or more coffee, or just stop at a McDonald’s play area so that the kids can get some energy out!


2. It’s just more fun 


We enjoy loud road trip tunes, videoing us all doing actions to sing-a-long songs, watching movies and catching up on audio books, or playing games (I Spy) and doing activities with the kids. 


3. Our kids travel better on the road 


Our children are really great little travellers – we are very lucky, and they kind of don’t really have much of a choice with our lifestyle right now 😉 We have found that our children just travel better on the road, compared to in the air. 


4. There’s so much more to see 


Let’s face it, airports lose their novelty if you travel frequently. When on a road trip you get to see and experience so much more. We were recently in Nevada and were driving from Elko to Salt Lake City and we went past the beautiful Salt Flats. It was such an experience and we got to get out the car and add something truly magical into our memory bank with our kids. We wouldn’t have gotten this opportunity if we were flying, unless we planned it that way as an extra activity. 



Some road tripping tips and tricks:


1. Stopover for a night


When we are travelling more than 8 hours, we plan a stopover at a hotel on the route. Do yourself a favour – book a stop over to have a break and for your whole family’s sanity levels. 


2. Mommy sits in the back seat 


I have just found that the road trip goes really well when I sit between the kids in the back. This is mostly for me to assist our six month old, but it’s just helpful that I am there with plenty snacks for our three year old too, and I can sit and do activities with her. She loves it, and it just helps keep us all sane. Well, except when I start to lose it in the back and then I take a nap or put earphones in 🙂 


3. Use a diaper


Our three year old daughter has been toilet trained for a while now, but she wears a diaper during naps and bedtime. For our sanity, we choose to have her wear a diaper in the car on these long trips. She doesn’t regress at all and we chat to her about it and explain why and that it is only for the trip. We will probably continue doing this for a while as it works for us.


4. Have all the snacks and activities 


Try packing fruit and healthy snacks as you will find that you usually lean on takeout when stopping for bigger meals. Bananas, tube yoghurts, drinking yoghurts, small cut fruit and veg options, crackers, cheeses. For activities, we pack sticker activity books which keep our preschooler busy for hours, magic marker books, colouring in options and small memory card games.


5. Use screen time 


Okay, I know many parents don’t agree with having your children watch any tv, and that’s totally your choice and I’m not here to convince you otherwise. For my husband and I, we don’t mind some screen time for our three year old on the regular, and we definitely are happy to increase that a lot while we are driving on a road trip. Our daughter loves it and stays entertained and we are all happy!



We wish you an amazing Christmas season, and if you are traveling anywhere on the roads – Be safe, have fun and make wonderful memories.

You Got a Picky Eater Too!? – Mommy Blogger

My name is Christine.  I am a stay at home mom with three children. Two rowdy boys age six and age four and my precious girl age two.  I am very busy with school, crafts, trying not to go crazy and keeping up with three wild tornado children.  I can say I have experienced almost everything when it comes to little ones BUT just when I think I’m an expert my children show me I KNOW NOTHING!! All I can do is take each day as it comes and share with you what I have learnt and hope it can help out another parent.  Enjoy!

I will stand strong with my spatula in one hand and my children’s cookbook in the other! I swear, today I WILL find my child something to eat other than noodles for I am a mother! I am all knowing, all magical, and All OUTTA IDEAS!

Let’s see, what are the items my two youngest will eat?  It’s a very short list but here we go! Apples, cucumbers, noodles, and cheese.  That’s it! OH wait….Ketchup! We mustn’t forget the red, sweet goddess that I smoother over meat, rice, potatoes and pretty much anything else I make that isn’t on the above mentioned list.  I do this just to see if I can get them to eat something different.  Nope!  They just suck off the ketchup and spit out the food. Sigh…  I guess it could be worse, they could only want junk food to eat day in and day out.  It truly is frustrating when you try to make lunch plans and you’re out of cucumbers and apples or cheese and noodles.   I try my best to be creative when plating their food. I make it appealing for them with silly faces or throwing in some food colouring to jazz up their boring white vegetables.    I have even gone as far as to have them help me cook and prepare the food they will eat in hopes they will be excited and hungry by the time we sit to eat but still, no.  Nothing new will hit their lips at this stage of the game.  They both have the, I will look at it, and if I don’t recognize it it’s disgusting and needs to be thrown to the dog kinda attitude.  The dog is making a killing in the table scraps department and he’s very happy to reap the benefits of two picky eaters.  When it comes to my children feeding was difficult right from the start.  They did not take to the breast for feedings, we struggled with that then moved on to formula, but even then they were picky.  I had to try different formulas, different bottles and different  feeding routines.  AHHHH!!!!! Oh my goodness!  It is absolutely maddening  watching  your child battle you and your patience, seeing that they are clearly hungry but are just not interested in what you’re serving.  Does it get easier?  Should I really be worried even though they are on track with their growth chart?

It’s a simple answer.  NO!!

My experiences from my own family and my friends is when it comes down to it they WILL come around to new foods and get excited to try new things.  I think we stress out too much when it comes to feeding our children.  It’s not rocket science!  Find the foods they like and keep those items WELL stocked! But, don’t give up on introducing new foods. One day they might just pick up that carrot and it will be the best freaking thing they have ever eaten!  I think as long as they are growing as per their doctors advice, let it go, let  them eat noodles every day for lunch if that’s what they’ll eat, but, make sure to throw something new next to it like a hot dog or an orange.   The less stress we as moms can have in our day the better we are to take care of the little monsters that drive us to the stress.  I get that you want your children to eat their fruits and vegetables but it doesn’t always happen the way we want it to.  We need to go with the flow and try new things at the dinner table, the airplane or the train.  Make the funny noises that go along with that.  Make eating new things fun!

Bottom line mommies and daddies, as long as you’re offering healthy choices and your children are not starving you’re doing a great job!  I will keep strong! I will stay focused!  I WILL be writing a future post that my teen children are eating me out of house and home!!

Much love!

Christine Rhode


5 Tips & Tricks to Boost Speech, Learning, & Independent Thinking When Reading with your Child – Mommy Blogger

Kristin Pierce is a Self Awareness Educator, the Founder of Inner Compass Books, and the Author of Your Inner Compass That Could and Mayva O’Meere, Creationeer. Kristin’s mission is to create mindfully crafted children’s books that spark imagination and fuel creativity, while educating and empowering children to trust their inner knowing. For more information, visit

Top 5 Tips for Infusing FUN into Reading with Your Child

If you are a parent, you know the immense benefits of reading with your child. Here are a few tips and tricks to infuse FUN into reading to keep your child interested and engaged. The best part is that while you’re at it, you’ll also help to boost your child’s speech, vocabulary, and comprehension while learning, connecting, and bonding with your child. I bet you’ll even have fun too—Talk about a lot of wins!

Here are my Top 5 Reading Tips:

  1. Repeat Back to Me.

Ask your child to repeat new words. Regardless of age, this tip can increase your child’s vocabulary, confidence, and enunciation. From easy words to difficult ones, this is a trick that can be a huge confidence boost for your child, plus it can get them to practice and work to improve on their speech.

  • “Can you say truck?”
  • “Can you say hippopotamus?”
  • “Can you say flibbertigibbet?”

Be sure any feedback you give is constructive and encouraging so they will have a positive experience and want to continue.

  1. Fill in the Blank.

When reading books with rhyming verse, or books with repetition, leave out some of the rhyme words or common phrases to get your child to fill in the blank. This keeps your child engaged, paying attention, and (trust me) your child will surprise you with how quickly they catch on. It won’t be long until they are busy telling you other words that rhyme too!

  1. Word Meaning.

When you come across new words, ask your child if they know what that word means. You’d be surprised how often there are words that kids will say that they do not know the correct context of. And you’ll probably also be just as surprised with the words that your child does know!  If your child does know the meaning of the word, ask him/her to tell you about it. Remind your child that if there are ever any words that they don’t know the meaning of, to simply ask—because that is how we learn!

  1. Exercising Choice.

When reading books with illustrations, it can be fun to ask your child which option he/she would choose or which is his/her favourite and why.

  • “Which one would you choose?” Whether it is options, pictures, inventions, creations, animals, etc., it can be fun for kids to exercise their choice!
  • “Ooh, that’s a fun choice—why did you pick that one?”
  • You can take it a step further by asking the reasons for their choice. A simple answer of “because I like it” is totally fine.

However, this process will encourage independent thought and you can also participate to show your choice and reasons for your choice which will teach your child about difference of opinion.

  1. Learning Takeaways.

Reviewing any pages that have great learning messages is a great way to reflect and connect your child with the learning points of the story.

  • For young toddlers, asking posing questions where they can answer Yes/No, and expand on their answers if they are able is a great way to develop their comprehension and independent thinking.
  • For older kids aged 3-8, you can pose questions that will elicit a reflective response, such as: “What do you think the main character learned in this story?” Or “Can you tell me 2 things you learned from this.”

There you have it! Give these Top 5 Reading Tips a try and let us know how they work for you! If you have any other tips that you use and have found fun and successful, let us know in the comments below.

Find us on Facebook & Instagram @InnerCompassBooks or check out our FREE Parent & Teacher Learning Resource that is full of FUN printable activities for your children.


Toddlers – Mommy Blogger

Nicole Betker is a mother, wife, rabid Toronto Blue Jays fan and a pop culture junkie. Always having an opinion or something to say, it’s time this journalism grad found a place to share her musings on the acts of “adulting”.


They are a special breed. They have a mind of their own and a unique way of expressing themselves. At any moment their mood can change and rapidly tears are flowing over, sometimes, the most ridiculous situations.

Here are the top 20 things that have sent my little man into a tailspin. Hopefully, you can relate.

  1. Giving him milk in the wrong coloured glass. I didn’t realize milk tasted better out of a red cup.
  2. Dumping his bath toys into the tub, prior to squirting bubbles in. How dare I?
  3. Making a waffle instead of an egg for breakfast. At least it has protein.
  4. When the syrup isn’t proportionately distributed on the waffle in question. Slow circular motions is the way to drip the syrup, in case you were wondering.
  5. Allowing the dog to sit on the couch with us for a movie – at the other end of the couch.
  6. Not allowing him to hold the leash when walking the dog. And when you finally do, the dog pulls and gets away. It all ends the walk quickly.
  7. Driving to the grocery store in a different route than he has directed. I’m glad I have a personal GPS system in my backseat.
  8. Not allowing him to pick the cart at the grocery store, including the tiny one for kids. Last time, we had a roll over in aisle five.
  9. When he remembers you accidentally popped his balloon from three weeks ago.
  10. When you don’t put the right amount of toothpaste on the toothbrush or have to use a new tube of toothpaste with a different cartoon character on it.
  11. When it is daylight savings time and his regularly scheduled cartoons aren’t on at the same time. Heaven forbid, we can’t watch Paw Patrol.
  12. When you have to return books back to the library because they are borrowed and not his.
  13. When you explain the iPAD won’t work because it needs to charge.
  14. Singing the wrong words to the Paw Patrol, PJ Masks or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme songs.
  15. Asking him to put on his pajamas or the wrong coloured pajamas.
  16. Giving him other foods besides eggs, waffles, cheese, noodles, or chicken fingers.
  17. Not rushing to his side when he immediately screams ‘Mommy’ for the 106th time in 10 minutes.
  18. Not letting him pick his shirt or underwear in the morning before daycare.
  19. Asking him to wear a sweater because its cold.

And, of course:

  1. Not kissing him exactly on the spot of whatever injury he feels he suffered.