As the first lockdown was about to happen exactly one year ago, I was at a certain warehouse-style store, stocking up on super-sized everything that our family of four would need: boxes of frozen food, flats of non-perishables and other household items (admit it, I wasn’t the only one hoarding toilet paper), and half the craft and toy aisle.
At ages five and one, our girls didn’t really understand why their outings – to indoor play centres, museums, galleries and extracurriculars – had dried up. Wanting to limit TV and video game time, it was time to pull out the creative big guns.
Parenting rarely goes by the book. Full of unexpected events, looking after little (and not so little) people requires resourcefulness (modifying recipes to make doughnuts sans oil), creativity (a masking-tape hopscotch board in the living room), and sometimes – as we can all attest – just doing whatever you have to in order to get interruption-free work/shower/coffee-drinking time. Inspired by the parents we know, we decided on the theme of this edition – parenting outside the box.
We filled this magazine with ideas and resources that you might have never considered. When we think of parenting, there are two groups of people that play key roles, but are rarely given their due. They are our own parents and grandparents, in a story by Sheryl Bennett-Wilson; and the people we will likely have the longest relationships with, our adult siblings. Read expert insights on these key family members.
Looking for tried and tested educational toys for the kids? Writer Mike Carroccetto speaks to the mompreneur behind The Montessori Box. We all know one of the most beneficial and pleasurable ways of spending an afternoon is with a good book. If your child isn’t already a reader, thumb through experts’ ideas on growing a young reader. There’s more: Chris Hunt writes about his unorthodox parenting style; Jon Willing shares the Ottawa-grown entertainment idea you’ve likely never considered; and Kita Szpak suggests thinking a little differently to find fun right outside your front door.
As parents, we do the best we can for our families and our unique situations. There’s no scoresheet, and no medals at the end of the day. The adage that everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about applies doubly during a pandemic, so be kind and be gentle – to others, and to yourself.