Family Fun in “Kidifornia”

We had the opportunity a couple of weeks ago to enjoy the Vancouver International Children’s Festival courtesy of Kidifornia, a new initiative by Visit California, and WestJet. With over a million Canadians already visiting California every single year, it’s a favorite destination for us, especially during our cold winters.

Kidifornia brought their interactive coloring wall to the festival – this giant, collaborative art exhibit asks kids to color images from across the Golden State, which are then displayed on the wall for passers-by to enjoy. The wall made its original debut in Australia and this is the first time they’ve brought it to a Canadian event. It was very popular! They also brought a free photobooth along for everyone to enjoy.

We asked our hosts what they’d like Calgarian families to know about California travel in the next year or so, and they had a lot of suggestions to offer. Disneyland Resort has just opened Galaxy’s Edge (their new Star Wars park,) LEGOLAND California is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year, and a new Jurassic World attraction is scheduled to open at Universal Studios Hollywood this summer. Lots to offer for theme park junkies!

We’re looking forward to learning more about California over the next few months as our collaboration with Kidifornia continues!

Serve Some Fun at the Alberta Tennis Centre!


Looking to stay active this summer? Tennis is the way to go. Kids can improve their tennis game and have fun at Nike Tennis Camps at the Alberta Tennis Centre in Calgary this summer.

At the Alberta Tennis Centre, you will receive fantastic coaching from Greig Ewing, who as a junior tennis player, played and travelled extensively, securing national championship victories and international honours. As well as superb coaching, campers participate in a state of the art, family-friendly venue. The building is over 70,000 square feet, with 13 courts, pro shops, restaurant/lounge with smoothie bar and even more!

“Alberta Tennis Centre eight sessions of Nike’s tennis camps offering a variety of skills development programs for junior tennis players and multi-sport athletes ages 4-14,” said Zach Budd, program manager at Sports Camps Canada.

At Alberta Tennis Centre, the tennis camps are targeted to help any tennis player at any level to offer the best camp possible. The levels that are provided are displayed below:

Mini Tennis Camp:

Geared for children between the ages of 4-7 years of age, this mini tennis camp utilizes Tennis Canada’s Progressive Curriculum, using Mini-Tennis equipment and Red Tennis Balls to ensure children’s optimal success. The camp is based on Long Term Athlete Development principles and focuses on skill development, acquiring new tennis skills through a games based approach. Participants will be introduced to fundamental movement skills required for tennis and there will be a strong emphasis on cooperative play as well as technical and tactical development.

Progressive Tennis Camp:

Geared for children between the ages of 7-9 years of age, this mini tennis camp utilizes Tennis Canada’s Progressive Curriculum using Mini-Tennis equipment and Orange Tennis Balls to ensure children’s optimal success. The camp is based on Long Term Athlete Development principles and focuses on skill development, acquiring new tennis skills through a games based approach. Participants will be introduced to fundamental movement skills required for tennis and there will be a strong emphasis on cooperative play as well as technical and tactical development.

Skill Development Camp:

This Tennis Camp is offered as a half-day camp with a morning session from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm or an afternoon session from 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm, for participants between the ages of 8 – 14. The camp has been designed for participants who would love to improve their tennis skills. This camp will involve a combination of tennis drills, match play sessions, some strength & injury prevention training, and conditioning for footwork, speed and agility training whilst also developing the team working, leadership and social skills of participants through alternative activities.

Full Day Tennis and Multi-Sport Camp:

This Tennis and Multi-Sport Camp is offered as a full day camp from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm, with the first half of the day focusing on the Skills Development Tennis program and the second half of the day consisting of various other sports like soccer, softball, ultimate frisbee, volleyball, and badminton. Participating in different sports is the number one way to develop physical literacy in young athletes. The varying skill sets, brought together by some common themes help participants thrive in different environments. The multiple sports that campers will enjoy have been chosen carefully, all sharing similar movement patterns and coordination skills. You’ll find that by taking part in these different activities, students will become all-around better athletes!

Whether your child is interested in learning the game, playing recreationally or aspiring to become a provincial, national or international calibre athlete, we have the right program and professional staff dedicated to helping them reach their potential as a young athlete.

We guarantee a serious fun camp experience for your children and when attending Nike Tennis Camps at ATC, you will receive the best of the best.

The camps run between July 2 and Aug, 23. Register online today and get $25 off by using the promo code CAL25.

For more information, call 1-844-464-5372 or email

Who’s ruling the household?

Provided by Parenting Power

When we are presenting to audiences of 200+ or talking with individual coaching clients, one thing we hear more often than we would expect is,

“My child won’t let me…”

Many times, without anyone actually realizing it is happening, children are ruling the home. The children have the power and the parents, while not happy about it, throw up their hands, shrug their shoulders and go along with it.

Example 1:

The toddlers won’t sit at the table and will only stay put if screens are out and the parents can shovel food into gaping mouths so that everyone eats. Then, after watching a few of their favourite shows, the youngsters won’t go to sleep and are up for hours. Everyone is exhausted.

Example 2:

Rather than asking for permission, your teens tell you where they’ll be and when they’ll be home. It feels like any control you once had is suddenly gone.

No matter the age, it is easy to slide into a reversal of power. In her book, 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do, Amy Morin asks:

Does your child have too much power?

There’s a big difference between empowering your child to make healthy choices and giving him too much power. It can be hard to know when that line is crossed. Do you answer yes to any of the following points?

  • I struggle to enforce the rules I set for my child
  • I give my child an equal vote in the choices I make for my family
  • I seek my child’s opinion on adult-related decisions
  • I bribe my child to get him to comply
  • I sometimes ignore behaviour problems because I know it won’t do any good to speak up

It can be tricky to walk the line between teaching our children that they have the power to effect change in their own lives, and handing over adult-sized responsibilities to our kids. We need to give them power in age-appropriate ways, while retaining a clear sense of family hierarchy wherein the parents are in charge of the way the family runs and the kids have the power to choose their behaviour and the resulting consequences.

Rules and structure provide kids with the safety to experiment with choices and learn from consequences. As Amy Morin explains,

Giving kids too much power hurts them in several ways:

  • Lack of self-control
  • Increased health risks
  • Increased mental-health risks
  • Higher rates of risky behaviour

Bottom Line

Kids need parents to parent so that they can get on with the work of being kids. We empower ourselves as parents by taking one step at a time and getting clear on our expectations and consequences. At Parenting Power, we help families to do that every week and we are here to help you.

Every parent can encourage their kids to know their own power and to exercise it over the choices they are making and the consequences they experience. In addition, we need to get clear on our own responsibilities and the choices we are making for our families.

If you find yourself in constant power-struggles, ask a friend for help or reach out to us and we’ll share some tools to get yourself back on the right track.

This week, ask yourself these questions:

  • Who is in control of our household?
  • Do I sometimes feel out of control here?
  • Where is one area in which I need to re frame the hierarchy in our home?

Learn more from Julie and Gail at!

Mother’s Day Recognition

Guest Blog by Jasmin Shannon on behalf of WestHills Towne Centre and Country Hills Village Shopping Centre

RECOGNITION. It was the buzz word when I was completing my Human Resources degree. You know… intrinsic vs extrinsic rewards, motivators and drivers, yadda yadda yadda? I learned that some employees are driven by money, bonuses, and other tangible rewards. While others are driven by the people they work with, encouraging emails, or a simple pat on the back. These textbooks taught me how to provide (or find) a job with benefits that really matter, and how to be a boss that really understands motivators and drivers so their people don’t burn out.

Years have passed since sticking my nose into a textbook, and now I’m left wondering, why do they not make textbooks for Moms?! If only it were that simple… Wouldn’t it be nice to have a parenting manual that was Universally celebrated and agreed upon? And then I thought, can I apply the same principles to my life as a Mom?

I have two bosses now, and they are 1 and 3 years old. They don’t give me bonuses at Christmastime nor do I get an engraved glass plaque with my name on it. Instead, I work for free 24/7, 365 and, if I’m on my best behaviour, I might get an “I love you, Mama”. My work will pay off eventually, I know that. I’m holding out for that big promotion, aka, when I die a happy woman knowing that I raised kind humans. And if they happen to be educated and super rich, that’s pretty great too.

So, in the meantime, I find what motivates me to be the best Mom possible. Which is a difficult thing to do when you’re in the thick of it all. I was in a major funk the other day. I was short with my family and irritated by the smallest things. I realized then, that I had not left the house for three days, I hadn’t taken any time for myself and was completely run down. Had I even showered? I honestly couldn’t remember. We’ve all had similar experiences, but what gets you out of your rut? For me, it’s treating myself to something. Anything! It can be a walk, a dessert, a bath, just anything to acknowledge myself. But you know what can be even better? When others around you recognize you. A simple thank you, a handful of freshly picked weeds out of the back garden, it doesn’t matter! Any act of kindness to convey that you are appreciated and recognized as Mom is the simplest most powerful thing those around us can do.

I know I’m not alone when I say that my kids have changed my perspective on just about every aspect of life. They are grateful for the tiniest little things – be it a heart-shaped strawberry or a puddle of water they can splash in. Gratitude is everywhere for these little humans and that’s the biggest lesson they’ve taught me. I’ve also learned that I am being recognized by my kids in their own special way, and for that, I’m so grateful. Recognition comes in the form of your kids asking you to play with them or comfort them. It’s in the “I love you, Mama” moments or when they eat their entire plate of dinner. It’s a whole other heart-warming, fuzzy-feeling-inducing, good-vibes-only kind of level.

Mother’s Day is coming up quickly on May 12th. Some might think it’s a silly made up holiday, and they’re likely not Moms. So for the rest of us, it’s a reminder to husbands, kids, and friends, that Moms need a little bit of recognition all throughout the year. Just a hint of recognition or acknowledgment goes a long way. We’d be forever grateful… until next year.

I’m heading to WestHills Towne Centre on Saturday, May 11th to get my fill of Mama recognition. I love heading there year round for just about everything because it’s so convenient and I love the variety of stores they have. Read all about my love affair with WestHills Towne Centre.

The reason I’m going there specifically on Saturday May 11th from 11am – 1pm is because WestHills Towne Centre will be providing Mother’s Day giveaways and handing out treats! If you live in the NW, the event will be taking place at Country Hills Village Shopping Centre at the same time. They will have roving ambassadors on the lookout for Moms like me to surprise with a little bit of recognition. Plus they’ll have a grand prize that all families can enter to win, full of wonderful prizes from retailers. Mother’s Day is all about love, recognition and spending time with the ones you love. And WestHills and Country Hills Village totally get it.

I’ll be bringing the kids down for some Mother’s Day fun and I hope you can join us too!

Love, peace & happy Mother’s Day

Are our kids overdoing it?

Provided by Parenting Power

In a recent article, Dr. Tim Elmore shared insights about the rise in anxiety, depression and panic attacks in teens today. He suggests that many teens today live,

“Sedentary lifestyles: there are hundreds of hormones, enzymes, proteins, and chemical reactions happening while the body is physically active. It enables them to be mentally fit and emotionally stable.When kids are sedentary, these hormones are unable to do their work. In short, we are made to move—and we naturally struggle when sedentary.

Solitary lifestyles: students today are actually spending more time alone than past generations of youth.The portable device has overtaken the personal conversation. Screen to screen has overtaken face to face. Psychologist Jean Twenge concludes that the more students spend time in genuine conversations in the presence of people, anxiety levels drop.

and Stimulated lifestyles: teens today consume thousands of messages a day on social media, email, live interactions and other media outlets. Our brains were not meant to digest this much information. Consider this comparison: the average person today consumes as much information reading the Sunday New York Times as a person consumed during an entire year in the 19th century.”

While these are generalized observations, they are worth considering. Dr Elmore sums it up by saying that,

“Sedentary lifestyles leave them overweight.
Solitary lifestyles leave them over-indulged.
Saturated lifestyles leave them overwhelmed.
We must get them moving. A good rule of thumb is to match the hours they have in front of a screen with that many hours in physical activity.

We must get them face-to-face with people and off their phones. One good rule is to match the hours they have on a screen with the same hours socializing in-person.

We must offer them free time to play and control their time. One good rule could be to insure they limit social media time to two hours or less daily.”

And let’s go one step further to look at what our parental behaviour is modeling for our children.

This week, ask yourself these questions:

Are we sedentary? How often are members of our family moving?
Are we solitary? Are we having face-to-face conversations regularly?
Are we involved in screen-free free time?

Learn more from Julie and Gail at!

Easter Events Around Town

Have a ‘hoppy’ Easter (yeah, we went there) with these family-friendly events!

Easter at the Calgary Farmers’ Market
Put a Little Spring in Your Step! Join in the Easter festivities from 10am to 2pm on April 18 to 20! Hop on over to the stage and get your picture taken with the Easter Bunny and decorate an Easter cookie, too (while supplies last). The Calgary Farmers’ Market will be accepting cash or food donations for the Calgary Food Bank to snap a bunny photo and to ensure no one goes hungry this Easter (recommended $5 donation). And remember, the Market is open all Easter weekend, Thursday to Sunday, 9am to 5pm! Website.

Easter Eggstravaganza at the Calgary Zoo
Easter Eggstravaganza at the Calgary Zoo, proudly sponsored in part by Calgary’s Child Magazine, takes place April 19 & 20, 9am to 2pm. Hop on down to the zoo where kids of all ages can play, explore, create, and learn. This year, once again, there will be 4 activity zones (creative, play, sweet, and enviro) for your family to spring through. In each zone, you’ll meet the local partners who have brought activities, prize draws, and tasty treats! Kids 12 and under can visit the 4 treat stations for a free treat. What a sweet way to celebrate! Easter Eggstravanganza is included with regular admission to the Zoo. To purchase your admission tickets now, visit the website.

National Service Dogs Easter Egg Hunt for Dogs (and Their Humans)
Friday Apr 19 at 10am to 12pm. Join for a fun-filled morning as your dog(s) hunt for treat-filled eggs on the beautiful south lawn of Calaway Park. All funds raised go to supporting National Service Dogs work. Visit the website to sign up and start collecting pledges! This is an outdoor event, so dress for the weather!

Easter Petting Zoo at Westbrook Mall
Meet the Easter Bunny and make some furry friends! On April 19, Westbrook Mall is hosting an Easter petting zoo for the whole family to enjoy. Join Westbrook Mall and give your kids an opportunity to interact with friendly farm animals or get your photo taken with the Easter bunny from Noon to 5pm and receive a free 4 x 6 photo! Website.

Easter Eggstravaganza! at Trico Centre for Family Wellness
Saturday Apr 20, 10am to 12pm. Join Trico Centre for an eggstravagant morning of fun! There will be face painting, crafts, games, and more! This holiday event is free for members. Website.

Easter Fun at Marlborough Mall
Saturday Apr 20, 10am to 6pm. Visit Marlborough Mall for some egg-citing Easter activities! Stop by from 12 to 6pm and get a free 4 x 6 picture with the Easter Bunny. While you are there, participate in the Easter Egg Hunt and interact with some adorable barnyard animals (from 10am to 6 pm) at the Petting Zoo located by the Family Park. Website.

Looking for exciting summer camps? Try something different.

Provided by the City of Calgary

Have you ever heard, “Hey Mom watch this!”? That is your child taking pride in showing off a new accomplishment. It is important for kids to try new things as they grow up. New experiences broaden their imagination and decrease their discomfort with things unknown. Children develop confidence and independence as they develop new skills.

The City of Calgary’s 186 affordable day camps at 18 locations throughout Calgary offer fun ways to spark new interests and uncover hidden talents. Do your kids enjoy being creative? Art, dance or performing camps are a safe bet. Are your children into sports and games? We have a wide variety of sports camps, from Explore Sports and gymnastics to skateboarding and hockey. Kids love nature and being outdoors? They’re sure to enjoy Nature Discovery camp or Outdoor Adventure camp where they will learn to kayak or canoe. The City of Calgary has a perfect camp for every kid.

For parents, flexibility is just as important. You might need a place to send your kids for just a few hours in the morning or afternoon, or a way to keep your kids active and entertained for a full week. The City has half-day camp options – you can even mix and match. Try Arts Combo camp in the morning and Cartoons & Comics in the afternoon.

Daily camps are ideal if you’re looking for a camp that’s just a day or two during the week to send your children. If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck, you might want to try one of our two-week sailing camps – a tremendous value when compared to similar camps.

“I just wanted to send out a huge THANK YOU to you and the staff for making sure Dana’s needs are always met at camp. You guys are awesome, and we love being a part of the camp and atmosphere there.”  Cheryl Claridge, parent – Kudos to Southland Leisure Centre day camps

Start planning your kids’ summer early to find the right combination of activities, location and friends.

The City of Calgary day camp staff are selected based on experience, ability to relate to children and leadership skills. Leaders create a friendly, safe and fun environment for campers. Staff receive training and are certified in Standard First Aid and CPR as well as High Five® Principles of Healthy Child Development.

We welcome and include all children. Please make us aware of any disabilities or behavioural needs that may affect your child’s participation. While our goal is inclusive participation, there are times when a child requires more support than our current ratios can provide.

With so many affordable camp options available close to your home or work, we’d bet there is one that’s perfect for your kids. Find that camp online at

Clear the Slate and Move On!

Provided by Parenting Power

Have you ever found yourself critiquing yourself repeatedly for a mistake you made a while ago? Perhaps you wish that you had used a better “comeback” or had been calm-cool-and-collected instead of out-of-control-heated-and-LOUD!

You are not alone! We all make mistakes in our interactions with other adults and especially in interactions with our kids. Mistakes happen, and provide learning opportunities. It’s up to us to take the opportunity and make the most of it. When we do, we likely won’t make that mistake again. This leaves room for us to make other mistakes instead.

So how do we learn from our mistakes? We look at what happened, what we might have wanted to have happen and then make a plan for what to do differently if the same situation occurs again. It’s pretty simple actually.

In her book, Powerful – Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility, Patty Mccord shares a technique for sharing honest concerns with co-workers. The exercise is called Start, Stop, Continue:

“Each person tells a colleague one thing they should start doing,  one thing they should stop doing, and one thing they’re  doing really well and should keep doing”

When we make a mistake, we can use this same exercise: What can I start to do differently? What can I stop doing and what am I doing well, because that can continue!

Then, we clear the slate and move on! There is no need to revisit this issue. If you need to apologize for your behaviour, take responsibility to do that and then give yourself the freedom to move forward.

The same thing is true for our kids. When they make mistakes, AND THEY WILL, allow them to own the behaviour, make amends if necessary, learn from the behaviour and then move on. There’s no need to remind your children of their mistakes. They are likely already doing so inside their own heads.

Allow your actions to teach your kids the freedom to make mistakes and learn from them. There is no need to spend hour after hour looking back at what might have been or worrying into the future about the damage you may have caused. Taking responsibility and then letting go is what creates this freedom.

This week, ask yourself these questions:

Am I so worried about being a good parent that it’s getting in the way of my actual parenting?
What can I clear off of my slate or my child’s slate?
What am I doing well that I can continue?

Learn more from Julie and Gail at!

Born to Sing


Everyone is born to sing, and we do it almost unconsciously. We sing along to our favourite songs, soothe babies with lullabies and sing teaching songs like the ABCs. Singing plays a powerful role in development – it helps teach language skills, bonds us with our parents, and is foundation for a strong music education.

“A child who plays before he sings may remain unmusical for a lifetime. That is why we encounter so many skillful pianists who have no idea of the essence of music.”  – Zoltan Kodály

While the voice is a part of our identity, it is also our instrument and should be fostered
and not shelved. This belief led Ms. Elaine Quilichini to found the Calgary Girls Choir
(CGC) in 1995.

“The voice is our own, natural instrument and to use it is one of the greatest gifts we have. I think singing is fundamental to being human. That to express yourself through singing makes you more fully human and allows you to really express what’s in your heart and in your spirit. It satisfies you in a way that speaking alone doesn’t.”

Guided by the child-centred Kodály philosophy, Ms. Quilichini’s Calgary Girls Choir
provides exceptional music education and encourages the development of confidence,
integrity and musicianship. She says:

“I wanted to give young women a voice and provide life-changing experiences through choral music, singing and artistic expression. To give girls a place not only to use and develop their voice but a belief that they are entitled to be heard and respected and should expect nothing less.”

The CGC is comprised of three levels – Dolce, Viva and Brava, which meet once a week
to sing and learn together. Choristers in Dolce (ages 5-9) enjoy an active and fun
program where music is learned through traditional children’s folk and art songs, nursery rhymes, dance, and games. Play and physical response to the songs is an important aspect of each class. Viva, the program for Grade 4-7 girls, advances musical skills through a wide and varied repertoire. Choral training develops with an emphasis on the artistic refinement of performance, vocal technique, inner hearing, rhythm, and learning Solfège – a relative pitch system which uses pitch syllables (do, re, mi, etc.) to develop a keen musical ear. Brava (Grades 7 to age 24) learn challenging pieces with polished expression and are recognized internationally for their exquisite and moving performances.

“An artist needs to learn their craft to really be able to freely express themselves – in visual art, dance or dramatics. It’s the same with singing. To really fully express the joy of being human, the more you learn to use the voice, the more it satisfies you.” – Elaine Quilichini

Your daughter can experience the joy of singing at Calgary Girls Choir’s upcoming trial
classes, “Come Do Re Mi with CGC!” On March 12 and 13, girls between five and
thirteen can participate in a rehearsal designed to give them idea of what it would be
like to sing with the CGC. Just be sure to sign up ahead of time on the Calgary Girls
Choir website or on their Facebook Page under Events.


Have We Forgotten How to Eat Together?

provided by Presidents’ Choice® 

Eating together – we’ve done it since the beginning of time, when hunters and gatherers shared their spoils. Kids eat together on the playground, and college students dine in shared dorm rooms, but as we get older and take on day jobs, are we still eating together?

Apparently, not so much. A recent national survey commissioned by President’s Choice® found that although Canadians spend significantly less time eating meals with friends and family compared to screen time, there is still a desire to spend more time at the table.

With technology becoming more accessible than ever and permeating our everyday lives, it’s important to take the time to put that mobile phone or tablet down, to enjoy the company around you. Research has shown on average, almost 1 in 3 Canadians (29%) are spending more than 4 hours of their free time engaging with screens each day! Additionally, when people eat together, they see each other as equals and connect with one another.

The simple act of regularly sharing a meal with friends and family can provide numerous benefits and contribute to a healthy lifestyle including the formation of healthy eating habits, early childhood development and building stronger interpersonal relationships.  In fact for the first time since its inception, Canada’s Food Guide, released in early 2019,  encourages Canadians to cook more often and eat meals with others in an effort to instill healthy eating habits.

Much like the recommendations in Canada’s new Food Guide, President’s Choice® has been on a mission to bring Canadians back to the table to Eat Together.  For three years, President’s Choice® has been committed to bringing Canadians back to the table to share a meal with many Canadians participating to date.

President’s Choice® is encouraging Canadians to take the pledge this year to Eat Together at and donate to PC® Children’s Charity™. Every pledge will also receive a  $1.00* donation to the PC® Children’s Charity™ to help children in Canada eat together with their friends and families.

About the President’s Choice® Survey:

From Wednesday, December 12, 2018 to Thursday, December 13, 2018, an online survey of 1,510 randomly selected adult Canadians who are Maru Voice Canada panelists was executed by Maru/Blue. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size has an estimated margin of error (which measures sampling variability) of +/- 2.4%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been weighted by education, age, gender and region (and in Quebec, language) to match the population, according to Census data. This is to ensure the sample is representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.