Family Day is the Most Important Day of the Year!

By Nikki Taylor, RECE
Senior Manager, Early Years and Family Support
Oakville Parent-Child Centre

Once upon a time there were 52 “family days” in a year.

Imagine…..children, parents, grandparents, friends and family gathered together to share food, play and enjoy each other’s company. There were no agendas, few distractions, no particular place to go, and people were together.

Some of you may remember these days. They were known as Sundays. Yes, for those of you much younger than me; let me explain. Sunday was a day when stores and businesses were closed; many people did not work; technology was just in sci-fi movies; and for that one day –  every week the world slowed enough to allow a focus on family and friends. We created memories, relationships and traditions that became the glue that held us all together. One of my favorite memories of Sundays is the long drives we took with no particular destination. They were always an adventure in the making.

Fast forward and I must say, I find it a bit ironic that we now have a declared a holiday devoted to the most important thing we can do – spend quality, connected time with our loved ones. On the usually frosty February Family Day, we slow down and we give ourselves permission to tune in, focus, put the distractions away – and have a little fun together.

If you think about it, couldn’t every day be a little more like Family Day?

Here are a few simple things that you could try to keep that family day feeling going

  1. Slow down (even just a little). Carl Honore, Canadian journalist and author of In Praise of Slow (Vintage Canada 2009),  speaks persuasively in his TED talk In Praise of Slowness
  2. Share a family meal together as often as you can: Need to know why? Check out the Family Dinner Project for recipes, conversation starters and for you information junkies, lots of research on the benefits.
  3. Believe in the power of relationships. You are your children’s first and most important teacher. Check out Halton’s very own Family Relationships Matter video featuring local families.
  4. The family that plays together stays together. This Psychology Today article by Peter Gray, research professor and author of Free to Learn (Basic Books, 2013), offers 5 important ways to know if it is really play.
  5. Connection is the key. Check out this Zero to Five commentary and learn more about the connect before you direct approach and invite more connection and cooperation from your children.
  6. Empathy goes a long way to bringing us closer to children and adults alike. Brene Brown is a researcher, professor and speaker on topics such as vulnerability, courage, and authenticity. Check out her video for some humorous insight.
  7. Love and parent with authenticity and a soft heart. Learn more from Brene Brown’s Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto.

Your children are miracles, gifted to you for a very short time. Enjoy them, learn from them and hold them dear. Trust and believe in yourselves and each other. You are truly all your children need.

My challenge to you – create as many “family days” in 2018 as you can. What will your “once upon a time” stories be?

Happy Birthday Canada! Top 10 reasons why Canada is a Great Asset-Builder!

By Mary Tabak, Our Kids Network Developmental Assets Manager

Asset-building in Halton has evolved and now encompasses Developmental Assets, Family Assets and Relationships. We don’t need to look any further than our own country for great examples of asset-building:

  1. Canada knows that small things like pond hockey, neighbourhood barbeques and nature walks make a big difference.
  2. Canada is a caring and responsible role model for other countries.
  3. Canada plays nicely and builds strong and respectful friendships with other countries.
  4. Canada understands that health, education and safety are important.
  5. Canada’s music, arts and dance scene is celebrated and supported.
  6. Canada welcomes and embraces people’s differences. It strives to create environments where people belong.
  7. Canada resolves conflicts peacefully.
  8. Canada offers adventure and new experiences through its beautiful landscapes and its unpredictable weather patterns.
  9. Canada practices democracy and freedom of speech. Communication in Canada is very polite.
  10. Canada likes itself. It is valued by others as a great destination and is highly embraced by others when it travels.

Canada didn’t get like this by accident. It was the work of careful and intentional planning in an environment of partnership and collaboration. For Canada’s birthday this year, let’s reflect on the strengths that make us all a great asset-builders for Halton kids.

Happy Birthday Canada and keep up the great work!

For more information, resources and ideas about asset-building, visit the Asset-Building Toolkit.

Follow us @OurKidsNetwork #ABOKN17

150 ways to show kids you care! Canada Day and every day! http://bit.ly/1PAppsy

Recognizing the strength, bravery and resilience of children and youth in and from care

By Halton Children’s Aid Society, Our Kids Network Protocol Partner

May 14, 2016 is Children and Youth in Care Day in Ontario.

In late March 2014, the Honourable David Onley, the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, granted royal assent to Bill 53, an Act to Proclaim Children and Youth in Care Day. This Act recognizes May 14th of each year as Children and Youth in Care Day, acknowledging the enormous contributions current and former Crown and Society wards make, as well as the strength, bravery and resilience they show in the face of adversity. Continue reading

Strong relationships build strong children and youth

Print

Relationships Matter to Halton professionals 

At the Our Kids Network Relationship Forum on February 25th, Halton professionals heard from Dr. Debra Pepler, Scientific Co-Director of PREVNet, that building strong and meaningful relationships is the most important thing we can do to promote positive child and youth development. Continue reading