Author Archives: Calgary's Child

A Fun Getaway without Going Away! Destination: The Calgary Airport Marriott In-Terminal Hotel

by Ellen Percival, Publisher, Calgary’s Child Magazine

Pack your bags – we’re off to the airport! Believe it or not, the Calgary airport is a pretty incredible destination all on its own. Lots of us have kids who are airplane super fans, but it’s hard to find an opportunity to really let them explore that interest. We have an idea for a special escape they’ll never forget.

Calgary Airport Marriott In-Terminal Hotel

The Calgary Airport Marriott In-Terminal Hotel is a unique, boutique-style hotel which has recently opened adjacent to the new international terminal at the Calgary Airport. Full disclosure: Marriott invited us to stay with them for a weekend to sample all of the incredible services it has to offer.

This Marriott is fully-equipped for an inclusive family experience; their indoor pool has a lift for guests with mobility challenges, there’s valet parking, and large family suites are available with a toy box, a king and sofa bed, and two bathrooms.

M Club Lounge

The M Club Lounge on the 7th floor overlooks the terminal and serves free breakfast, evening service with complimentary hors d’oeuvres and 24-hour snacks and drinks – a lifesaver for kids with unusual sleep cycles. The modern, well-appointed rooms have sound-proofed floor to ceiling windows that offer a birds-eye view of the airport’s active arrival and departure gates.  A free, downloadable YYC app will actually tell you where each plane is going or coming from as they take off and land. Rooms are also equipped with telescopes to get a close-up view of the planes. We were pleased to note that the hotel is also very dog-friendly, which is a huge advantage for families needing the assistance of a service or companion animal.

If your ultimate destination is somewhere away from Calgary, the ability to have a good night’s sleep and avoid the struggle of a 4am drive on winter roads was very appealing. A restful night in a hotel next to the airport gives plenty of time to adjust your child to the idea of air travel, as well as allowing hours and hours of exploration of the terminal, shops and play places at the airport without the fear of missing important check-in times. An often-missed but really incredible destination at the airport is SpacePort, a unique space and aeronautics facility with hands-on exhibits and displays – it’s almost impossible to find time to visit when you’re rushing around the airport to catch a plane, but having an extra evening makes all the difference.

Yakima Social Kitchen + Bar

If you have family coming into town, the Calgary Marriott In-Terminal Hotel provides an incredible array of services for adult travelers. The staff at the hotel are proud of their ability to create and customize exclusive experiences for their guests (you wouldn’t think of having a conference, milestone birthday or a wedding at an airport hotel, but trust me when I say their event services are incredible!) The Yakima Social Kitchen + Bar aims for world-class dining and hospitality, and their unique, locally-sourced menu certainly ranks it alongside the very best of what Calgary’s dining scene has to offer.

Whether you’re looking to ease the transition into a family vacation, hoping for a romantic night away (but not too far from the kids), need a place for family to stay when they come visit or are looking for your next business conference venue, the Calgary Marriott In-Terminal Hotel is a great option for lots of different needs. They work hard to accommodate the unique needs of their guests and are happy to work with you to ensure your family has a great time, whatever your reasons for staying. Bon voyage!

Teach Your Baby to Self-Rescue in Water

provided by ISR Self-Rescue®

ISR – or Infant Swimming Resource is a pioneering technique that teaches children hot to survive if they accidentally find themselves alone in the water. Our mission “not one more child drowns” can provide an additional layer of protection for your family and a solution to defeating meaningless and horrible drowning accidents.

ISR’s core conviction is that the child is the most important part of a drowning prevention strategy and with over 260,000 ISR graduates and 800 documented survival stories, it is significant proof that children CAN save themselves if given the opportunity to learn how to ISR Self-Rescue®.

Founded in 1966 by Dr. Harvey Barnett, ISR is the global leader in survival swimming lessons for infants and young children. Highly trained instructors provide safe survival swimming lessons and to date we have delivered more than 7,750,000 ISR Self Rescue® lessons.

The technique teaches a child to quickly get to the surface by rolling over to float until a rescue can be made. This simple technique can be mastered by infants, empowering even a 6-12 month old to self-rescue. Children from 1-6 years learn self –rescue techniques in addition to the swim-float- swim method to get to safety. Undoubtedly, there are several techniques children can learn to self-rescue, and we advise all parents to research thoroughly to find the best suited solution and certified instructor for your family. ISR Self-Rescue® teaches the child to trigger their survival instinct which is something every parent should consider. Lessons are gentle and caring and children are given time to adjust being in the water with their instructor. Parent education on drowning prevention is a very important part of the program also.

During the program, children learn breath control, to float, roll-over and maneuver in the water to get from a face down position into a face up position to sustain life. It is the difference between them surviving and not!

Before graduating, students are tested fully clothed in summer and winter clothes to ensure that they can perform their self-rescue skills.

To say that any aquatic survival program is easy for a parent to watch would not be true, it is hard to watch your child struggle, but the number of parents who lost a child to drowning or experienced their child accidentally falling into the water are just too numerous to count…A crying child is an alive child, so hang in there, the “AH HA” moment will come and everything will fall into place. At the end of the ISR Self-Rescue® Lessons, you will have a child that is SAFE, CONFIDENT and COMPETENT in the aquatic environment!

“While I understand how difficult it is for some people to watch the videos and even to consider putting their child through lessons, I feel this is on the best things we have done for our son. We have invested in him and his safety and to us there is nothing more important than that and I can now confidently say that if for some reason he ended up in the water alone, he could “save himself” and float safely until someone found him.”

Obviously, no child is ever drown-proof and adult supervision is incrediblyimportant. ISR is meant to be a supplemental skill to increase a child’s ability to be safe in the water.

There are two certified instructors in Calgary and area that provide ISR Survival Swimming Lessons:

Melinda Gilroy
Certified ISR Instructor
403-467- 3125

Sherri Cebry
Certified ISR Instructor
403-801- 4883

Yielding to Emergency Vehicles from Calgary EMS

Time is the enemy in an emergency. For everyone’s safety, it is important for motorists to
understand how to correctly yield right of way to emergency vehicles with lights and siren
activated. You can help EMS, police, and fire get to the scene quickly and safely by:

When an emergency vehicle approaches with lights and siren activated:

  • If you’re in the middle of an intersection when an emergency vehicle approaches with lights and siren activated, safely clear the intersection;
  • On a one or two lane road, motorists should move to the right side of the road, slow down, and then stop. Remember to signal;
  • On a road with three or more lanes, motorists should move to the nearest side
    of the road and stop. If driving in the centre lane, move to the right side of the road and stop. Remember to signal;
  • Come to a complete stop and wait for the emergency vehicle to pass. Shoulder check for more emergency vehicles (there is often more than one) before re-entering traffic flow. Remember to signal;
  • Emergency vehicles might use any available road space to maneuver. This could include the shoulders, turning lanes, in order to pass other traffic.

When operating a vehicle:

  • Drive attentively and defensively at all times. Be cognizant to sirens and be prepared to yield the right of way;
  • It is Alberta law for motorists to slow down to at least 60 km/hour (unless a lower speed is posted) when driving past a stopped emergency vehicle. This includes EMS, police, fire, and tow trucks with their lights activated;
  • Do not break the rules of the road in order to give right of way to an emergency vehicle. This could include proceeding through a red light, or making an illegal turn. Actions such as these jeopardize all motorists in the area;
  • Drivers must place their full attention on the roadway and toward the safe operation of their vehicle at all times. The fine for distracted driving in Alberta is $287.00;
  • Always leave plenty of space between your vehicle and an emergency vehicle, should it be required to stop suddenly.

Holiday Shopping Survival Tips

By Ellen Percival, Calgary’s Child Magazine

Holiday shopping is hectic at the best of times, but add a couple of unenthusiastic kids to
the mix and you’ve got the potential for one huge headache. With a little patience (and planning ahead) shopping for the holidays can be a little less frenzied.

  • Make a shopping list, plan your budget and set an itinerary of which stores you want to visit before you go – and stick to it!
  • Set a reasonable length of time for your shopping trip and try to schedule during your
    child’s best part of the day. You’ll find the mall less crowded if you shop during the non-peak hours which are earlier or later in the day – if your child is an early bird or a night owl, use this to your advantage.
  • Be sure to go over expectations of behavior before you leave and reinforce that this trip is about picking up presents for others, not for buying things for ourselves.
  • Involve your kids and let them help plan part of the shopping trip. Would they like to stop in a favorite store or stop at a play place? Set a time limit.
  • Letting them shop for a special gift for a family member will help them feel involved.
    The dollar store works well for this.
  •  Don’t forget to plan regular breaks during the shopping trip, pack along a special snack or make a plan to stop for lunch.
  • Wear comfortable clothing and shoes.
  • Try to make the trip enjoyable – after all, this is what the holiday season is really all about! Visit Santa and enjoy all the special Christmas activities throughout the mall you are shopping at.
  • Recruit help. If your spouse or a friend is available, you’ll find it easier to “divide and conquer” or keep your kids on track with help. If you know bringing your child shopping is a bad idea, consider securing babysitting for an hour or two.
  • Stock up on gift cards for those hard-to-buy-for people in your life! You don’t have to get the world’s most creative and thoughtful gift every year and often it’s the thought that counts.
  • Have your gifts wrapped for you – many malls offer this service, some with proceeds going to a charitable cause.
  • Consider shopping online! You may pay extra for rush shipping, but sometimes it’s worth it to avoid repeat visits to the mall through December!

Remember to keep a positive attitude and approach the excursion as a special date and
not an ordeal. Looking at the trip from their perspective and planning for their needs will
help you all get through the outing a little less frenzied.

Ellen is the publisher of Calgary’s Child Magazine.

Sledding Safety from Calgary EMS

Surviving Snow Days_s125Emergency Medical Services (EMS) would like to remind parents and children about some sledding safety tips as the season is just around the corner. Sledding injuries may result from collisions with stationary objects, such as trees and rocks, or with
other people on the hill. Unprotected falls can result in injury if you lose control at
high speeds. Everyone is at risk – especially children. Have a fun and safe trip on
the toboggan hill by following these simple reminders.


  • Always ensure your toboggan, or sledding device, is in good repair. Inspect it for any damaged, or missing parts, before each use;
  • Be certain the operator is fully capable of staying in control of the sled at all times;
  • Children should wear a properly fitted helmet designed for other high impact sports such as hockey, cycling, or climbing.


  • Avoid hills that are too steep, or too icy;
  • Choose hills free of all obstacles such as trees, rocks, utility poles, or fences;
  • Beware of loose scarves or clothing containing drawstrings which can present a choking hazard if they become caught, or snagged.

Plan ahead

  • Dress warmly in layers and anticipate weather changes;
  • Consider bringing extra sets of gloves and toques to exchange wet garments for dry ones;
  • Take breaks, out of the cold, to warm up;
  • Ensure frostbite hasn’t affected any exposed skin;
  • Even when properly protected from the elements, the finger tips, toes, ears, the tip of the nose, and other high points on the face such as the forehead and cheek bones can be affected by frostbite;
  • If frost bite has occurred, treat it by first removing the individual out of the cold environment; Gently warm the affected skin by placing a warm hand over it, or by placing the affected part in warm, not hot, water, until re- warmed.

Smoother Mornings

by Parenting Power

p80-Annoyingthingstheydo[1]Mornings are a great time to connect with kids! Starting the day without arguments can be a great way to send everyone on their way to get the most out of their day. For many families though, mornings can feel less like a time to connect and more like a time to beg/plead and nag kids out the door and off to school.

The bottom line is, if you are going to be connecting with your kids (talking, sharing a breakfast table, or driving to school,) it works better when the roles and responsibilities are clear.

We hear from so many parents about the daily morning arguments over:

  • breakfast (what to eat, and then actually eating it)
  • getting dressed
  • turning off the screens
  • getting stuff packed up
  • getting out the door

It doesn’t have to be that way! There is room for change. A big part of smooth mornings is preparation and expectation.

Making it easier for parents

Being prepared means setting yourself up for success. You know yourself best: are you a ‘night-before’ planner or do you prefer the early-morning plan? Using non-child time to get organized means that you’ll have more time to be with your kids in the morning and to set them up for success.

Making it easier for kids

You likely know how you want the mornings to look. Now it is time to let them in on the secret without nagging. When our kids were little, one of us was clearly told, “stop telling me what to do all the time! Do you have to be so bossy?” That’s when we changed how we did mornings, and handed over some of the responsibility.

Make some time (on a weekend, or at your regular family meeting,) to clearly outline what’s expected in the mornings. Work with each child to get it on paper along with the times that each task is meant to begin. Once each child knows the plan, your job can become more about encouragement, than about telling kids what to do.

If you need to guide your kids, you can ask, “What’s next in the plan? Where do you need to be now? What does the clock say?”

Part of this morning routine can involve pre-bedtime organizing: planning with your child what clothes will be worn the next day, along with what’s for breakfast, and making sure that homework is back in the backpack and ready to go to school the next day. Do your children make their own lunch? If so, that can happen before bed as well. If you make the lunches, that’s one thing to cross of your own list before bedtime.

Getting up before the kids may be another useful tool to make your mornings easier. This leaves time for you to sit and eat with them. We find that many kids misbehave in order to get their parents’ attention in the mornings. When parents are there, attending to the behaviours we want to see, there is less of a need for misbehaviour and less of an opportunity for things to get out of hand.

Another big morning battle seems to be getting kids off of devices and back to what they need to be doing. One of the easiest ways to avoid this is to leave screens off in the morning, or at the very least, off until your child is ready to go. When that distraction is managed, many other problems fade away.

As you focus in on your family’s mornings this week, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you know the schedule you would like your child to follow in the mornings?
  • Does your child know it? Write it down so that your child can concretely follow the plan.
  • How will you set your family up for morning success by doing things in advance?
  • Do screens need to be present in the morning? Make a plan for when they are turned on and when they are turned off. If they are too much of a distraction for parents or children, turn them off today and try again tomorrow (or next week).

The Family Calendar and You

Revamp Routinesby Parenting Power

Here are just a few of the great things a simple family calendar can do:

  1. Eliminate confusion
  2. Increase individual responsibility
  3. Increase predictability (which means kids feel like they have some control)
  4. Teach numeracy and literacy to our young children

One of the greatest reasons that a family calendar is important, is because it puts all of the information in one place and allows all family members to have the same understanding. One parent doesn’t assume that the rest of the family knows when the dentist appointment is happening. Kids don’t have to guess when their 3 days at dad’s house happens in this 2 week period – they can see it.

Children often feel powerless in a home. This is one of the reasons that they fight for power (defiance, power struggles.) Everyone is telling them what to do and when things are going to happen and they either have to hold it all in their head or just leave it up to the adults. Once we have a place where things are clearly written down (with pictures/words,) kids don’t have to remember everything. They can check the calendar and feel like they know what is happening each day.

We can support children in learning to take responsibility by teaching them to help themselves. When they ask, “when is picture day?” rather than telling them, we can say, “Go and check the calendar and then please let me know what you find out.”

We can also teach our children to put their activities onto the family calendar. This is great preparation for their teenage years as they learn to build habits of organization. Reviewing the week in advance at a family meeting or even after dinner one night a week means that everyone’s up to speed about their own responsibilities: driving, chores, homework, appointments, practices and special events.

Lastly, having everything on the family calendar means that we don’t fall into the trap of not telling our kids about potentially unpleasant things and building up the emotional tension around them. When doctor, dentist, and immunization appointments are clearly marked, kids can prepare themselves rather than being surprised when they are told about them, only moments in advance.

This week, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is our calendar hanging where every family member can clearly see it?
  • Do we need to start using stickers or pictures on the calendar so that all of the kids know what’s happening?
  • How can I get the kids to learn the responsibility of knowing what’s happening in their lives?
  • When will we schedule a weekly opportunity to review what’s on the family calendar?

Top 5 at Disneyland Resort – October 2017

The Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California is on almost everyone’s dream vacation list. There is something completely magical about the attention to detail, characters, and the seasons there that you just don’t get at any other theme park – every time we visit, we are totally blown away!

There’s a lot of debate online about the best time to visit the resort, and we’d like to throw our two cents in. If you’re going to visit Disneyland Resort, we absolutely love going in the autumn! The temperature is perfect, both Disneyland Park and California Adventure are themed for Halloween, and if you time your visit right, the crowds are very manageable.

We had the pleasure of visiting both parks this week and want to let you know our “must-dos” if you’re planning on visiting this Fall (or anytime in the next year!)

1. The Haunted Mansion

The Haunted Mansion is a classic ride at Disneyland Park, and for Halloween and Christmas it gets a total Nightmare Before Christmas makeover! We really love how well-done this is, and there are different little details every year. It’s still a bit scary for the very little ones, but if you have any older kids who are huge Nightmare Before Christmas fans, we definitely recommend it!

2. Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!

This new ride replaces the Tower of Terror in California Adventure Park, and we absolutely loved it. It follows more or less the same format as the original ride (you’re led through a variety of themed rooms to get the backstory of why you’re there, and then the ride begins!) but it is really well done and feels totally new. Keep your eyes peeled for Rocket as you make your way through the ride! Mission: BREAKOUT! itself is very thrilling and a little scary, but if your kids love Marvel or Guardians, they’ll love this, too.

3. World of Color at California Adventure Park

The Disneyland Resort has absolutely incredible parades and entertainment all day and night, but our absolute favorite evening entertainment is the World of Color at California Adventure Park. It is totally unique – images and music from Disney classics are projected on to brightly colored water jets in the lagoon in front of California Screamin’ (the big roller coaster.) While we love the evening parade and Fantasmic! at Disneyland Park (and you should see both if you’re going for more than one day!) we love that this show offers lots of great viewing spots and it’s not like anything we’ve seen anywhere else. You’ll want to get a Fastpass early on in the day so you have an extra good view of the show.

4. Star Tours – The Adventures Continue

While we didn’t get a chance to experience this ourselves, there are brand-new scenes coming to Star Tours this Fall from the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens! Part of the fun of Star Tours is that every ride is different – there’s a wide variety of paths the ride can take, so it’s best to try it more than once if you have time!

5. The Food!

Literally, all the food. Disneyland Resort does a great job of seasonal theme, and the food is no exception. Both parks are full of delicious sweets and savories with a Halloween theme this Fall, and you should try as much of it as you can! Our favorites were the spooky candy apples we found at California Adventure.

No matter when you visit, the Disneyland Resort is a magical experience for all ages. If you’re not sure what is going to be right for your little ones, the website is a great resource, listing potential ride pitfalls (loud, scary, dark) and detailed descriptions of each attraction. If you’re still not sure, visitors to the park have posted full “ridethroughs” of almost everything at both parks so you can check for any elements which might be a problem for your family.

*Edit: Exciting news from Disneyland Resort! Paradise Pier is being totally refurbished into Pixar Pier, which means a few temporary closures as they roll out this major change. Check the website before you go to see what’s open and what’s closed! We can’t wait to see what the Disney Imagineers have in store for us in Spring-Summer 2018! 

Family Halloween 2017!

P98_smallEnjoy some spooky – but not too scary! – events as a family this Halloween! Calgary has tons of events and attractions sure to fright and delight!

Throughout October; Enjoy the Harvest Pumpkin Hunts, Butterfield Acres Children’s Farm! Weekends for families and other groups; weekdays for schools. This event sells out; get your tickets early. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Details and order forms: 403-239-0638;

Friday Flashlight Nights, Calgary Corn Maze & Fun Farm. Fridays and Saturdays through October. Check out all the amazing activities in the light and once the sun sets, challenge yourself to navigate through the huge corn maze in the dark.

Pumpkin Palooza at Cobb’s Corn Maze & Family Fun Park. Weekends in October. Pick from thousands of pumpkins for sale, pumpkin-themed specialty food items like pumpkin bread and pumpkin fudge. Carving kits available and carving stations on-site. Lots of fun for the whole family!,

Autumn Pumpkin Festival, Calgary Corn Maze & Fun Farm. Weekends in October. Take part in a ton of great activities: pumpkin decorating, pumpkin destruction, pumpkin picking and more!

October 14 to 31; Enjoy frightfully fun Halloween activities for the entire family during SHOCKTOBER at TELUS Spark! From October 14 to 31, take risks and be curious as you brew a colorful potion, stand under a mysterious mess, or witness a pumpkin destruction. Plus, Monster Mash-Up (sponsored in party by Calgary’s Child Magazine) is back on October 28 and 29!

Treat the Kids to a Swim on Halloween!
You can purchase a Booklet with 10 Swim Coupons for only $5! The booklets are on sale at any Calgary Recreation Aquatic & Fitness Centre or Leisure Centre.

Bert Church Live Theatre Presents, Musical Masquerade Halloween Howl
October 17; Join Juno award-winner Norman Foote and the fully costumed R.J. Hawkey elementary school choir! Where music, laughter, and the creative spirit of Halloween come together. Community connections make this concert a true family event where everyone is encouraged to sing along in their costume! This is an evening where the ghosts, goblins, and gremlins can all celebrate this ghoulish time of year! Foote’s musicality is like no other, mixing clever hooks, witty wordplay, and comedy all to great effect.

Day of the Dead Celebrations
October 21 & 28; Join in celebrating the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead at Marlborough Mall. Enjoy four hours of free family fun including Latin dance performances by Havana Cuban Dance Studio, sugar pumpkin decorating, face painting, colour your own sugar skull mask, and more! You also have the opportunity to win one of two Marlborough Mall gift cards! Take a selfie at the Halloween display across from the Family Park, post it to social media, tag Marlborough Mall and use the hashtag #MBMWins to enter!

Halloweekends at Calaway Park. Weekends until October 9. Dress up and join the Boo Crew. Take a stroll down Hallo-Street – if your dare! Is it scary? No, it’s friendly! Have a spooktacular good time! For more information, visit the website.

The Great Big Boo! at Cineplex Cinemas
October 26; Musical theatre meets trick-or-treating in this spectacular, non-scary show for kids! Join Zoe and Justin as they sing and dance their way through Boo Alley! Along the way, they’ll meet wacky, larger-than-life characters and embark on a quest to save Halloween. Through a maze of wild adventures, the new friends will overcome their fears, realise their dreams, and discover the true spirit of Halloween: You can be anything you want to be! Featuring a dynamic original score, spectacular dance numbers, and stunning theatrical effects, the show is sure to captivate and delight the whole family. Following the show, the audience is invited to meet the stars of the show, and join them for a fun trick-or-treat event! Check the website for more information.

Boo! Spooktacular Family Fun at the Calgary Farmers’ Market
October 27 & 28; There’s Double, Double, Toil and Trouble at the Calgary Farmers’ Market this Halloween when families come out for our Spooktacular Events! Check out the pumpkins in our vendor pumpkin carving contest and vote for a chance to win $50 in Market Bucks on Friday, October 27th! And on Saturday, October 28th, we invite you to come in your Halloween costume for spooktacular fun with a Christopher Cool Magic Show, a ‘spooky’ sing-a-long, healthy Halloween snacks, and a Mad Scientist Fire and Ice Show!

Halloween Party at Westbrook Mall
October 28 & 29; Families and children can enjoy free pumpkin decorating and face painting in the centre court with at $2 donation to Cystic Fibrosis Canada! *For children 12 years and younger. Must be accompanied by a parent/guardian. One per child while quantities last.

Ghouls’ Night Out at Heritage Park
October 26 – 29; Ghouls’ Night Out is perfect for families with little ghouls ages 3 to 9 who are looking for a fun, safe night out. Don’t miss the ghostly encounters and freaky family fun! This is a ticketed event, so buy online to avoid disappointment!

Babies Go Boo at the Calgary Public Library!
October 26 – 31; Dress up your baby and come celebrate Halloween with stories, rhymes, and songs. This event is for ages 6 to 23 months.

Halloween Boo Bags at North Mount Pleasant Arts Centre
October 27; A creative Halloween event for families! North Mount Pleasant Arts Centre will supply a fabulous instructor and all the art supplies you need! Bags are only $10 each. Spaces are limited, so register your family (children must be accompanied with a parent or a caregiver). Call 403-221-3682 to register!

Kanga-Boo Halloween at Cobb’s Adventure Park & Corn Maze
October 28 & 29; There will be free treat bags for all in costume, prizes for best costume, a pumpkin carving contest, and this is your last chance to see the kangaroos until next year.

Haunting Halloween at Village Square Leisure Centre
October 31; Come dressed in your favorite costume and join for creepy crafts, ghostly games, and fun ghoulish activities. Check the website for more information!

Are you a Soccer Parent, Dance Mom or Hockey Dad?

provided by Parenting Power

P84_smallIt’s that time of year, school has started and all of the extra-curricular activities are back on the calendar. Auditions, evaluations, practices…they add to the excitement and education in the lives of our families!

Are you a Soccer Parent, Dance Mom or Hockey Dad?

Lately, social media and marketers have begun labeling parents as Sports Parents. Labels are often easy to slip on – they can add a feeling of belonging. At the same time, these labels can add a lot of pressure for kids. If you have ever labeled yourself a Sport Parent, what you really are is a parent who has a child that is participating in a sport.

In his article, What is the Role of Parents in Youth Sports?, Micheal McArdle says,

“Sport is what we do, it is not who we are.”

The same goes for band, or choir, piano or dance, math or Rubik’s cube. Our kids do these activities, our kids are just kids. At the same time, we are the parents of these kids. It is not about us. Labels make it more about us.

Our job as parents is to love and support our kids as they participate in the activities. We are not there as coaches – and if a parent is the coach, the coaching job takes place at the event, not in the car on the way there, on the way home and all through the week until the next practice.

Kids feel a ton of pressure, embarrassment and frustration when parents overstep their level of involvement in an activity. Your child may not be able to tell you about these feelings. We’ve included a fabulous video below in which kids of all ages tell us what they need from their parents. It’s about kids and sports and it really does transfer to all activities.

Many sports organizations across Canada require families to take the Respect in Sport course. While this program contains valuable information, taking the course alone will not change your behaviour. That’s your job!

This week, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I make my kids’ activities about me?
  • Am I stressed out about what team or level my child will make this year?
  • What level of awareness can I bring to my pre/post game/performance behaviour?
  • Can I plan my words before I go and watch? What will I say? What will I do? What won’t I say and do?

Kids want our love, support and help. Let their coaches/teachers guide their performance. Enjoy watching them play. It’s what they do, not who they are.