Friday, 1 December 2017

Healthy Snacks For Parents During The Holidays

The holidays are a wonderful time that brings together family and friends to celebrate.  However, it can also be a challenging time for our healthy lifestyle goals. Food is often at the centre of our celebrations and gatherings make treats and snacks readily available. So how can we as parents, continue with our healthy living goals over the holidays? One way is to plan for and choose healthy snacks as much as possible, while also allowing room for enjoying smaller portions of our favourite holiday foods.  

Here are some healthy snack options and suggestions to keep you on track from dietitians:
  1. Keep it simple: sliced fruit and vegetables are excellent snacks packed with nutrients and fibre to help keep you full and satisfied. Tip: plain yogurt (mix in a small amount of ranch dressing for extra flavour), hummus, and salsas are tasty and satisfying vegetable dip options. For a healthy fruit dip try mixing plain yogurt with mashed berries and a bit of honey to sweeten.
  2. Drink to your health: when possible choose non-alcoholic drinks such as sparkling water with lime or try a wine spritzer (half white wine and half sparkling water or club soda). If you enjoy diet drinks, consider having them in place of heavier drinks such as egg nog.
  3. Pass on the chips: in place of high fat salty snacks like chips choose sliced pita bread (toast in the oven first to get the crispy texture), naan bread, or whole grain crackers.
  4. Portion size counts: it's easy to overindulge when snacking! Take a look at your portion sizes and when possible plate your snacks; fill half of the plate with vegetable and fruit options.
  5. Move that body: it's important to keep up on our exercise during the holidays. Sneak in a simple 15-30 minute walk whenever you can. Or try out some winter sports like snowshoeing, skating and skiing. Check out your local community centre and/or gym for indoor fun activity options.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Managing Temper Tantrums

It's the moment every parent dreads ... a toddler temper tantrum in a public place. When it comes to temper tantrums, prevention is always the best approach. But let's face it, some temper tantrums can seem to come out of nowhere. Temper tantrums are usually a response to extreme frustration and, like it or not, they are perfectly normal toddler behaviour.
So what can you do if you are faced with a temper tantrum in the mall, grocery store or anywhere else for that matter?     
Ignore it - If your toddler is not getting your attention there is a good chance the tantrum will stop. Try standing a short distance away from your child and continuing to do what you are doing. Stay close enough to see your child without focusing directly on them. During this time try not speaking to your child - if you need to speak keep your voice calm and quiet.               
Try to distract them - Re-direct their attention to something else. If necessary, remove your child from the situation. Some situations like a busy, noisy store may simply be too over-whelming at the time.  
For more information on preventing and managing temper tantrums visit HealthLinkBC.

Test Your Home For Radon

Have you heard of radon gas? It is a naturally occurring gas found in the ground throughout the world and also the second leading cause of lung cancer.

Most homes that are in contact with the ground will contain some amount of radon gas. Radon becomes a concern when it reaches high levels. According to Health Canada, about seven per cent of the Canadian homes have radon levels that may be putting residents at risk. Here in the B.C. Interior we have some "hot spot" areas with high radon levels in approximately 40 per cent of homes.

Radon can enter a home through the foundation, including concrete and more commonly through cracks in a foundation or dirt floor such as in older crawl spaces. It can also enter a home through the ventilation system.

The good news is testing your home is easy and inexpensive. Testing involves placing a small puck-like kit within the lowest area of the home that could be occupied for at least four hours per day. The kit should remain in that location for a minimum of three months and then can be sent to a laboratory to get the results. If your home has high radon levels, basic measures can be taken to address the problem.

Test kits are available for purchase from: BC Lung Association - order online  or call 1-800-665-LUNG (5864).
It is cheaper to buy your radon kit from Amazon and includes shipping envelope and results:

More information on radon can be found on the Interior Health website

Monday, 13 March 2017


Baby's first food is a very exciting time. Get the camera ready to capture those funny faces and messy hands! 

Like all new things, parents often wonder where to start. Here are some common questions and answers.

How do I know when my baby is ready for solid foods?

Your baby is ready at about six months and when he or she:
  • sits, leans forward and holds her head up
  • watches and opens her mouth for the spoon 
  • does not always push food out of her mouth with her tongue
  • can turn head away to let you know when she doesn't want to be fed
  • can pick food up and bring it to her mouth
What food is best to start with?
Start with high iron foods like well-cooked, finely minced or tender pieces of meat, poultry or fish, iron-fortified infant cereal, cooked egg, lentils, beans or tofu. Next you can begin to offer vegetables, fruit, cheese and plain yogurt, and a variety of whole grains.

Try a variety of textures: smooth, mashed, lumpy, tender cooked, minced, and soft finger foods, starting at six months of age.

Continue to offer high iron foods at least twice a day.

How should I offer solid food to my baby?
Choose a time when your baby is content, interested and alert. You can offer food by spoon or you can place food on your baby's tray to explore with her palms and fingers at her own pace. When using a spoon hold it so your baby can see it. Let her touch the spoon and help guide it to her mouth. Babies love to feed themselves at their own pace, using their fingers and hands. They make a mess feeding themselves, but this is an important part of learning to eat.

For more information on feeding babies solid foods see:

Thursday, 2 March 2017


Let's face it. Eating with a toddler can be stressful, especially at dinner time. Even though spilling and throwing food, picky eating, and crankiness are all normal, they can be hard to face each evening. But, your toddler benefits so much from eating with you, it is worth it to find ways to create happy and stress-free mealtimes.
Where to start?
Move your focus from what your child is eating to simply enjoying each other's company. It is amazing how much stress is lifted when you let go of being concerned about how much or what your child will eat.
Plan for early dinners. Toddlers can be ticking time bombs after 5 p.m. If dinner is running late, offer a light pre-dinner snack to prevent your toddler from becoming overhungry.
Involve your toddler in the dinner conversation; keep it fun.
Keep distractions at a minimum. Turn off the TV and cell phone. Don't allow toys at the table. 

Expect a mess and have wipes handy to catch large spills. Pick up food that has dropped on the floor after the meal is over. Practice the Division of Responsibility with feeding:
  • Introduce new foods along with familiar, loved foods. This will help your child feel comfortable at meal times.
  • Do not coax or bribe your child to try new foods or to eat certain amounts. Let your child decide what and how much to eat from the foods that are offered. Let your baby feed themselves as much as possible, with fingers or spoon.
  • Feel good about achieving your main job which is preparing the meal and serving it at a scheduled time. Once the meal is served, focus on your own eating, not your toddlers. 
For more information visit:
Ellyn Satter Institute
Healthy Families BC

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Childcare Available in West Kelowna!

Are you looking for childcare between the hours of 9am and 1:30pm? I have spots available for 4 children between the ages of 1 to 5 years old as a drop in friends. 

How Does Drop In Work?

Drop in is perfect for parents who have errands to do, house work to be done, or just need alone time. It is also a great option to begin socializing your child before Kindergarten starts or to begin that dreadful separation anxiety that every parent knows is coming. 

You will register your child in the center and then call ahead each day to see if I have space available. 

Rates are: $60 per day

Call or Text: 250-859-0957 or Email:

Monday, 6 February 2017


Does your toddler get upset when you try to leave or whenever you are no longer in sight? Chances are he or she is experiencing separation anxiety (also known as separation protest). Separation anxiety usually starts around nine months of age, peaks near 15 months of age, and starts to fade sometime before the third birthday. It begins around the same time that babies develop a sense of "object permanence." This means they are learning that things and people exist even when they can't see them. Unfortunately, at this same stage, children don't understand the concept of time so they get upset because they don't know if or when you'll come back.
Even though separation anxiety is perfectly normal, it can be upsetting for both parents and children. There are things you can do to help your child (and yourself) through this challenging time:
  • Be calm and strong when you leave. If your child gets upset, act confident and stay calm even when you don't feel that way. If you are calm and don't make a big fuss, it will become less stressful for your child.
  • Have a goodbye routine. A kiss at the door, saying goodbye to your child as well as his or her favourite stuffed toy, singing a song can all be part of a routine. Sneaking off without saying goodbye might seem like an easy thing to do, but it's not the best thing to do. Children learn to handle separation better if they know and are told it will occur.
  • Let your child get used to you leaving. Try making a few very short trips, such as going for a 20-minute walk, then gradually work your way up to longer separations.
  • Encourage independence. Let your child play independently (while being supervised). Also try letting your child fall asleep on his or her own.
Separation anxiety will pass as children get older and become more independent. For more information on helping your child overcome separation anxiety visit: 

Saturday, 3 December 2016


Many holiday parties and celebrations involve alcohol. Now that your baby is born, you may have questions about alcohol use and breastfeeding. Read on for some answers to common questions. 
Is it safe to drink alcohol while I am breastfeeding?
It is safest not to drink alcohol at all when breastfeeding. Alcohol may affect your baby's sleep or decrease the amount of milk she takes at feeding time.
If I drink alcohol, should I stop breastfeeding?
If care is taken to ensure there is enough time for the alcohol to leave your system before your baby needs to eat again, you do not need to stop breastfeeding. If you choose to drink a small amount of alcohol, the best thing to do is feed your baby before you have a drink or pump first so you can use the pumped breast milk to feed your baby. 
If you are wondering about breastfeeding after drinking alcohol, it is important to know that alcohol passes through breast milk and can affect your baby. Time is the only thing that will allow the alcohol level in your breast milk to drop. Drinking water, resting, or "pumping and dumping" breast milk will not speed up the elimination of alcohol from breast milk. Wait for 2-3 hours after one drink before breastfeeding. If you drink more than one alcoholic beverage, the amount of time you need to wait before it clears from your system will increase. Portion size, strength of each drink, and a woman's body weight all play a role in how much time it takes to eliminate alcohol. Motherisk has developed a chart to provide guidance. Visit the Motherisk website.

If you are drinking alcohol in large amounts, do not breastfeed.

Best Start Resource Centre's Mocktails for Mom booklet has some great alcohol-free cocktail recipes.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Children Being Bullied: 3 Reasons to Use Alternative Methods to Deal With Your Child’s Bully

Legal Professionals May Have Remedies for This Devastating Life Situation

Bullying has been front and center in recent news coverage, particularly among junior high and high school age children. However, the phenomenon is not limited to this age group— research actually indicates that these behaviors may begin as early as 3 years of age. In fact, “data from one study of children’s experience with violence showed that 20.4% of children ages 2-5 had experienced physical bullying in their lifetime and 14.6% had been teased (verbally bullied).” (Source:
According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, numbers indicate that 50 percent of children are bullied and l0 percent are victims of bullying on a regular basis, and children who have unique personalities are especially vulnerable to bullying problems. (Source:
In addition, the second leading cause of death for individuals between the ages of 10 to 24 is suicide, according to the CDC. Some of these suicides may be attributable to the individual being bullied.
When a child is being bullied, it is a very emotional situation for children and their parents. The initial reaction is to handle it personally, but that can lead to worse situations and consequences. The solution we recommend is having an experienced attorney contact the bully’s parents directly by sending them an informative letter regarding the legal consequences of bullying and a request to have their child immediately cease and desist from future bullying behavior.
You will not want to deal with a bully directly. There are numerous risks in doing so, including:
  1. You may break the law and go to jail. You may well incur legal action against you if you take physical action or make documented threats against a bully.
  2. You may aggravate an already-bad situation. By calling out the bully and the bullying behavior, you may provoke them into retaliatory action, which could ultimately result in physical injury to either you or the bully, or both of you.
  3. You may end up embarrassing your child or inadvertently affect their self-esteem. Your child could view your personal confrontation with a bully as a form of personal humiliation, e.g., believing you are fighting their battles for them.
As the saying goes, “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” Respect and utilize the law in dealing with bullying, for your child’s sake as much as your own.
How is this accomplished? Our organization offers an attorney letter that will clarify the situation to the parents and elaborate on the negative consequences if this bullying does not stop. The expectation is that the parents will intercede with their children to ensure that no legal consequences result, either for them or for their children.
A “stop bullying cease and desist letter” includes an attorney consultation, followed by the issuance of a respectful letter to the parents of the young bully that outlines the following:
  • Laws that make bullying illegal and/or bullies liable for damages.
  • What is bullying? Legal definitions of behavior that includes bullying.
  • How bullying may cause serious psychological damage and physical harm to the victim of bullying.
  • Resources for the parents of the bully to identify signs if their child is being a bully.
  • Ways for the parents of the bully to counteract bully behavior.
  • The consequences of a parent’s failure to stop bullying behavior (legal liability, personal protection orders, financial liability, police involvement and more)
For more information, visit or call 800 890 5645.

Saturday, 8 October 2016


Breast milk is the ultimate convenience food. It's inexpensive and readily available in the perfect feeding vessel at just the right temperature.

The World Health Organization recommends early initiation and exclusive breastfeeding until six months of age and continued breastfeeding, with the introduction of solid food, for two years or beyond. Breastfeeding has many well-documented benefits for both mothers and babies.

Here are 10 great reasons to breastfeed:
  1. Breast milk contains the right amount of nutrients to help baby grow. As the baby grows, breast milk changes to meet his/her needs.
  2. Breastfed babies may score higher on IQ tests.
  3. Breast milk is safe and always ready. Plus, it's free!
  4. Moms start to produce breast milk during pregnancy. After the baby is born, mom makes more milk. The more the baby breastfeeds, the more milk mom makes.
  5. Breastfeeding is good for mom. She has less risk of developing osteoporosis, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and she loses pregnancy weight quicker.
  6. Breast milk also contains antibodies and other immune factors that help protect against infections and disease. These benefits last a lifetime.
  7. Breastfeeding helps form an intimate loving relationship that strengthens the bond between mom and baby.
  8. Breast milk continues to provide protection and nutrition for older babies and toddlers.
  9. Working moms can still offer breast milk to their babies by hand expressing or pumping milk for other caregivers to feed baby when they are away.
  10. Breastfeeding is good for the environment. There is no packaging, pollution or waste.
Check out this Health File for more information on the benefits of breastfeeding.