Saturday | June 3, 2023

6 Tips to Help You Get Ready for College or University

If you’re headed off to college or university in the near future, you’re probably pretty excited, but nervous, too. It’s natural to get the jitters before embarking on any new experience, but with a few tips, you’ll be well prepared for the life-changing journey that lies ahead. Here are a few things you can do in advance to get ready for college or university.


Tip #1 – Learn to cook . . . and do laundry.

​Yes, you might already be signed up for the meal plan and have the local pizza parlour on speed dial, but living away from home also means you’re an adult now. You’ll likely need to take care of yourself more than you’ve had to while living at home.

​Before you leave for school, learn to make a few things you like to eat. Ask your parents to teach you a few tricks, buy a recipe book, figure out what pots and pans you’ll need. Experiment in the kitchen. It would also be a good time to learn to wash your clothing.

​Do you wash the lights and darks together or separately? Which items of clothing need to hang to dry and which can go in the dryer? These are all good things to figure out in advance—before you accidentally shrink your favourite shirt at school. While you’re in this mode, do you know how to clean a washroom, vacuum and make your bed? This is a great time to learn.


​Tip #2 – Establish a financial plan and budget.

​If you don’t already have a credit or debit card and have your online banking account set up, this would be the perfect time to get your financial situation sorted out. Not only will you be responsible for shopping for things like food and books, you might also have bills to pay if you’re living off campus. Ask your parents for help or visit your local bank to get set up.

​While you’re thinking about finances, establish a budget for yourself. How much money will you need each month? Where will the money come from?

​Do you need a part-time job this summer to help pay for the year ahead? Do you need a job on campus? Be realistic and start thinking about how much you’ll need for food, entertainment, tuition, books and other items you might be required to pay for while living on your own.


Tip #3 – ​Figure out where to live.

​Have you already been accepted to residence? Have you decided to live off campus? If you’ve got that sorted out, that’s great. You’re ahead of the game. If you are still in need of accommodation, this would be the time to get cracking.

​Do your research. Where do most undergraduates live and why? Y​ou’ll likely want to be near your classes so you aren’t running a mile across campus to make it to school on time. Or perhaps you want to be near the shops or entertainment scene? It might be convenient, but it could also be distracting.

​Will you have a car? Where will you park? Take a tour of the campus to get your bearings. Speak to other students who are already in their first or second year. Contact the school for advice if you’re unsure.


Tip #4 – ​Get packing.

​Did your college or university residence give you a packing list? Do you know the dimensions of your dorm room? Certain things will likely already be provided, such as a bed, closet, desk and some shelves. What else do you need to live on your own? Toiletries, a shower curtain, bath mat, cookware, pantry staples, cleaning and laundry supplies are some ideas to get you started.

​Don’t forget your clothes. Will you be visiting home often or will you need to pack for several months in advance? Will you be joining a club, hitting the gym or trying out for a team? You’ll need to plan accordingly and bring all the necessities.


Tip #5 – Don’t forget your school supplies.

​Do you have a laptop, printer and whatever other office supplies you’ll need to complete your course assignments? What about a phone, chargers and all the cords you’ll need to connect your electronics?

​Put together a list and figure out which items you know you’ll need and which you might not need. For instance, you might be able to submit essays and projects online, while others professors will require a hard copy.

​Talk to older students and seek their advice. Think about the things that will keep you organized. Do you need an agenda, calendar or bulletin board? Make a list and check it twice!


Tip #6 – ​Don’t worry.

​You will make friends, you will find your way to your classes and you will have fun. This is definitely a new phase in your life, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the unknown. If you’re prepared in advance with all the essentials, you’ll have one less thing to worry about when you arrive on campus your first day.

April 3rd, 2018

Posted In: Community, Education, Nutrition, Parenting, Uncategorised

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Helping Older Kids Understand Extreme Cold Weather Conditions

[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]It does not take long for intense cold weather to negatively affect your children when outside.[/pullquote]

The winter can be a fun season.

There’s so much to do outdoors, like skiing, tobogganing and ice skating. But extreme cold weather can mean risks to your health and safety. Often, parents worry about cold weather as it relates to little children. We bundle them up warmly and know they’re protected from the elements.

It’s easy to assume older children will know how to dress themselves warmly and appropriately for cold weather, but it’s not always the case. Not only are snow pants for teenagers sometimes seen as “uncool,” but older kids might either not check the forecast or underestimate the dangers of -20 degree Celsius weather.

That’s why it’s especially important for parents and older kids to develop an awareness of extreme cold weather conditions—what it means, the dangers it presents and how to prevent things like frostbite and hypothermia.

An Extreme Cold Weather Alert is issued when Environment Canada predicts a forecast of -20 degrees Celsius or colder or a wind chill of -30 degrees. Whether your kids walk to school or go outside at lunch or recess, exposure to cold weather can lead to respiratory illnesses like colds and flu, frostbite and hypothermia. Some of these conditions will require immediate medical attention.

To limit illness and exposure to the elements, you’ll want to ensure your older kids know how to stay warm and dry. A few things to note:

Check the forecast. When you get up in the morning, put on the news or check a weather app on your phone. What will the temperature be throughout the day? Will it be a dry day or does the forecast call for precipitation? What is the temperature with the windchill factored in?

Dress in layers. Wool and fleece hold heat better than cotton and make great inner layers. Top inner layers with waterproof and windproof outer layers and warm, waterproof boots. If you’re planning to spend any time doing outdoor activities, wear thermal leggings, warm socks and snow pants. You can even buy special mitten and boot inserts at sporting goods stores to warm your hands and feet if you’re going to be skiing or skating, for instance.

Cover exposed skin. Wear a hat that covers your ears, warm mittens (instead of gloves) and a scarf or neck warmer to prevent wind from touching your skin. Make sure to zip up your jacket and cover your face against the biting wind to prevent skin from painful frostbite.

Change wet clothing. If you’re wet or have been sweating, you’ll want to change into warm, dry clothes as soon as possible to prevent developing hypothermia.

Reschedule outdoor activities. If extreme cold weather is forecasted, your school might reschedule that ski trip you were looking forward to. You should also consider rescheduling other outdoor activities, like skating with friends, and plan to do something indoors, such as see a movie instead. An indoor activity would be a much safer idea on days like these. You might also want to take public transportation or ask for a ride rather than walk to school or your friend’s house if the weather is expected to be extremely cold.

Know the signs. Frostbite can occur when skin is exposed to extreme cold. Skin will freeze and die when temperatures are so cold that blood can no longer circulate. It can affect any area of skin, including cheeks, nose, hands and feet. Skin will turn yellowish and feel stinging or numbness. The condition requires medical attention, but there are things you can do in the meantime. You’ll need to remove tight clothing or jewellery and warm your hands in your armpits, which retains heat. Get inside immediately. You can even immerse frozen fingers and toes in warm water.

​Hypothermia, another cold-weather-related condition, occurs when the body’s temperature drops below 35 degrees. Symptoms include shivering and confusion and, if untreated, can result in organ failure and death. Warning signs for kids include bright red, cold skin and very little energy. Seek medical attention immediately. While waiting for medical help, replace wet clothing with dry, get indoors, wrap the body with warm blankets and drink warm liquids.

It does not take long for intense cold weather to negatively affect your children when outside. Just take a variety of precautions to help them understand how to reduce their chances of overexposure.


January 9th, 2018

Posted In: Community, Education, Nutrition, Parenting, Uncategorised

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Protect your Family Against Mosquitoes this Summer

Summertime means it’s mosquito season. Not only do those pesky insects cause itchy, red welts on your skin, they can also pass viruses, like West Nile and dengue fever, from person to person.

So how can you protect your family against mosquitoes this summer? Here are a few tips:

Scientists know that mosquitoes aren’t attracted to people who are “sweeter.” In fact, research shows these little insects are more attracted to bigger people than little people, men over women, and even pregnant women over non-pregnant.

If you’re hot and sweaty, you’re also a magnet. So are people who move around a lot. If you stand still, you’re less likely to get bitten.

Everyone in these target groups are more attractive because they produce more heat and carbon dioxide. If you’re in any of these groups, you’ll want to take extra precautions.  

Which methods offer the best protection? Eating bananas and garlic won’t help. Despite any myths, there’s no anti-mosquito diet that has been proven to work. Some people use vitamin B12 patches that reduce bites up to 40 percent. Still, it doesn’t prevent bites altogether.

Citronella candles offer weak benefits at best. If a breeze comes along, any protection blows with the wind. You can use citronella oil on the skin as an option. Wearing perfumes, even if they are sweet, can also act as a repellent because their oils can deter bites.

[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Mosquitoes love to bite when the weather is 12 to 22 degrees Celsius.[/pullquote]

Temperature and sunlight matter most. Mosquitoes love to bite when the weather is 12 to 22 degrees Celsius. When it’s below 10 degrees Celsius, mosquitoes don’t really bite. Colder evenings offer natural protection.

You’ll also want to get rid of stagnant water that collects in buckets and birdbaths, as these attract mosquitoes. Dry areas are better. Yet not all water bodies attract mosquitoes. Clean chlorinated pools and hot tubs are safe as well.

Try covering your skin with light coloured tight-knit clothing. Research shows that dark colours attract mosquitoes better than light colours, though nobody knows exactly why this is the case.

The best way to prevent getting bitten altogether is to use a bug spray recommended by experts like the Environmental Protection Agency. They have an online tool to help you find products that will work for you.

Why do bites bother us in the first place and what can we do if we are bitten? When a mosquito bites, they draw your blood and inject their saliva, which contains proteins that trigger your immune system. Your body will release histamine to fight the protein, and this is what causes itchiness and swelling.

[pullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Not everyone is affected in the same way.[/pullquote]

Not everyone is affected in the same way. While bites don’t bother some people, others will become very itchy, red and swollen around the site of the bite.

If you do get bitten, try not to scratch. Scratching causes inflammation, which will give you more of an itching sensation. If you scratch so much you break the skin, you can be at risk for infection.

There are many remedies that can help relieve symptoms. You can apply a cold compress, calamine lotion or rubbing alcohol. Honey contains natural applying antibacterial ingredients. Applying a cold tea bag or taking an oatmeal bath can offer relief, too. Over-the counter-medicines, like an antihistamine, will also work. In most cases, bites will clear up in a few days.

See a doctor if you get hives, have a hard time breathing or you feel your throat closing up. If you’re travelling, you’ll also want to see a doctor in case there’s a vaccine that can help prevent mosquito-borne diseases.

June 9th, 2017

Posted In: Community, Nutrition, Uncategorised

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Helping your Child learn English as a second Language

If you’re worried about how you can help your child learn English as a second language, the process might be easier than you think. Research shows that the types of parent-child interactions that help children learn their first language also help them acquire a second language. Here are five tips culled from speech language pathologist Lauren Lowry to help your child learn a second language.

Be responsive: “Children learn language as they interact and play with the important people in their lives on a daily basis,” says Lowry. “When caregivers are responsive during these interactions, children feel connected to them and are motivated to keep interacting.” Let your child lead the conversation and respond with interest and enthusiasm. Talk about what he or she is interested in discussing. In doing so, your child will pay close attention to what you are saying and is more likely to acquire new words.

[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“In order to learn language, children need to hear a lot of language”[/pullquote]

Talk often: “In order to learn language, children need to hear a lot of language,” says Lowry. “And for children learning more than one language, this means that they need a lot of exposure to both of their languages.” Experts recommend talking through everyday activities to increase the amount of English your child hears. Every activity is a learning opportunity. Talk about what you’re putting into your cart at the grocery store and what you’re going to cook. Read books together and point out what you’re seeing in the pictures. When you go to the doctor’s office, point out what the various instruments are called. Remember to follow your child’s lead so that he or she continues to be engaged in the conversation.

Use difficult words: When it comes to learning a new language, use common words as well as words your child might not hear every day. “When parents use a wide variety of words, their children tend to develop better communication skills later on,” says Lowry. Use the same word in different sentences to help your child start to understand its meaning. For instance, when dressing for the day, talk about the temperature outside. When cooking, talk about the temperature of the oven. Use new words in new situations to broaden opportunities to hear words they might not otherwise hear. Before you know it, their vocabulary will expand.

Use proper grammar: Don’t try to oversimplify your sentences or words or speak incorrectly; instead, use proper grammar and speak how you usually would to help your child understand. For instance, say “Daddy is making dinner” rather than “Daddy make dinner.” It’s also important to use new words as part of a sentence instead of on their own, as the sentence will help your child figure out the meaning. “For example, if the child just hears ‘freezer’ while you point to the freezer, the child doesn’t know if the word refers to the door of the freezer, the freezer itself or the food inside,” says Lowry. “But if he hears: ‘Let’s put the meat in the freezer. This will make the meat really cold so it will stay fresh. Then we can eat it next week when we want hamburgers again,’ this tells him that ‘freezer’ is the part of the refrigerator that is really cold. It also tells him that ‘freezer’ is a noun (the name of a thing) because there is already a verb in the sentence.”

Use your native language at home: When a child begins school or daycare, parents often ask whether they should start speaking English at home. The answer is no. “Parents should speak to their child in a language they are 100 percent comfortable with,” says Lowry. If parents aren’t fully fluent, they might not speak English well enough to teach their child. Also, communication with their child may suffer. Moreover, research suggests children risk losing their home language unless they hear it spoken often. “Learning a second language doesn’t mean abandoning the first language,” says Lowry. “It means providing enough exposure to both languages.”

November 11th, 2016

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