When Mommy Influencers Aren’t Role Models

I need to rant.
If you don’t know me or have just started reading my blog, I began documenting my days as a mommy blogger back in 2009. Well, before the arrival of Instagram and mommy influencers. As a marketing expert (my full-time job) I have seen the world of public relations and social media change so much, becoming a pay-for-play landscape. Very few bloggers do anything for free these days and will only promote a product if there are dollar signs involved. This shift in the media landscape has changed the way we get our news, find out about new brands, and perhaps, even get parenting tips and inspiration.

mommy influencers are not the same as influencers who are moms

My Instagram feed right now has some amazing local moms that I follow religiously. I look forward to their posts, sympathizing with them and learning from them. And then there are some others who are influencers with big followings, who just happen to be moms too. Don’t get me wrong, any mom should be free to talk about her experiences as a parent on a social platform but my issue lies with a few particular ones who are spreading their messages to a very large audience. And I don’t agree and/or feel very uncomfortable with what they have to say.

how real is too real?

Authenticity is the buzz word of the moment. And I’m all for it. If I try a product and don’t like it then I’ll tell the truth. If I’m sent free samples I’ll be the first to admit it. And when it comes to being a mom, we all know it’s not all roses and sunshine. There are hard days. Days when you spend an extra two minutes in the bathroom just to collect your thoughts and take a deep breath.

But these particular mommy influencers in question are giving the impression that taking care of their kids is the most annoying thing. When their kids are nagging them in the middle of an insta-story they simply ignore them. How can it be so obvious to me (and not to them) that all their kid wants is for mommy to get off of her phone and give them a little attention? Is this a message that they should be sharing with their huge follower base, making it seem ok to prioritize their social media lives before their family lives?

raising the next generation

I’m anything but a perfect parent. I’ve certainly taken a few seconds (or even a minute) to detach myself from my phone to answer to a whining child. But I don’t document that moment to the world. Or say how annoying they are to their faces. I want by kids to be strong, and feel loved. I’m scared for this next generation of kids raised my social media star moms who think life should be lived through mommy’s iPhone. What kind of people will they turn out to be? How will my kids be influenced by them and how will the already alarmingly high social media/depression correlation stat rise for this next generation?

Am I alone here? Or has anyone else noticed a slew of influencers, who happen to have kids, that are giving the hardest job in the world a really bad image?

Girlfriend Getaway: South Beach, Miami

The last time I went away without my kids, for non-work purposes, was back in 2014. So I was more than excited when my cousins and I decided to plan a girls’ weekend away, without kids. From Toronto to Connecticut to NYC, we are spread throughout the North East and only get to see each other a few times a year at holidays and family celebrations. And with 13 children between us you can only imagine that it’s hard to get a word in.  It took 70+ emails to figure out when we could all leave our families and decide where we wanted to go. But in the end, South Beach came out as the winner and this sunny destination made for the perfect setting for a girlfriend getaway (or cousins reunion!)

We were all anticipating lots of R&R and bonding time so our South Beach setting was very relaxed. This rundown is not for the party girls who are planning on being up all night or hitting the bar scene. But for the moms who need a break from the everyday, to focus on themselves. After three days away, I felt re-energized and like I was coming back to my family as a better mom having taken a little “me” time.

where to stay

One of my cousins scored the most amazing accommodations at 1 Hotel South Beach. Bypassing the typical hotel reservation route, she booked our stay via Luxury Rentals Miami Beach in a three-bedroom condo at the residence side of the hotel. We enjoyed almost 2000 sq. ft. of ocean views in our luxury eco-condo, without paying the hefty price tag of being a hotel guests yet we enjoyed all the same luxuries: access to the three pools, the Spartan Gym as well as the Bamford Haybarn Spa. We really could have spent our entire stay at the hotel with great little shops, a café, restaurants, Soul Cycle and the most incredible views. The hotel and its grounds are absolutely stunning with photo opportunities at every turn.
Two other online resources to consider when looking for discounts on South Beach hotels are: Secret Escapes and Magellan Luxury Hotels.

where to eat

Like I said, we could have spent 72 hours at the hotel and that includes all of our meals. We made multiple visits to Plnthouse for smoothies, iced coffees, avo toast and a delicious quinoa breakfast bowl. For dinner on South Beach, Upland Miami is an absolute must. Try the delicious wood-roasted beets, margherita pizza and crispy squash bottoms. In Miami, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink is a great bet. While the restaurant itself was a bit loud (hard to make conversation on our first night together) the food was fresh and delicious. The Stracciatella was melt-in-your-mouth and the falafel mezze platter was perfect for sharing.

what to do

I would have been happy just sitting by the pool and strolling down the beach but we mixed a bit of culture into our trip. We drove into Miami to visit the Wynwood Walls and it was well worth the journey. Blocks upon blocks of graffiti art make for the most colourful backdrop in a once desolate neighbourhood. Be sure to check out Frangipani when you’re there for a great assortment of gifts made by sustainable artisans. I skipped out on a visit to the Bass, Miami’s contemporary art museum but my cousins reported that it was worth a visit. And in my opinion, no mom-cation is ever complete without some solo time at Target. I spent a good 90 minutes roaming the aisles at my leisure and had the chance to discover a bunch of their new collabs with Hunter and Taza, as well as their new home décor line Opal House.

We’re already talking about planning our next getaway in celebration of my 40th in a few years. Where should we head to next?!

 

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

If you’re anything like me, the thing you want most for Mother’s Day is for your kids to wait until after 8am before bringing you breakfast in bed. It’s my official day for a sleep-in and while I love my coffee, homemade gifts and cards in bed, I’d rather they not arrive at 6am. A morning snuggle and a day spent together is more than enough to celebrate my day as a mom but I certainly am open to a gift or two (wink, wink). So I’ve put together a Mother’s Day gift guide with a few items (all available in Canada) that I wouldn’t mind getting with my early morning latté.

I found a few of these items on Outgift. It’s a great new website that lets you search for a gift based on the recipient (gender, age, relationship to you) as well as by the occasion. If you sign up for the free membership, you can even store recipient profiles and annual reminders so you never forget to buy the perfect gift!

litzi love mama necklace

I’ve been eyeing this Montreal-based company for quite some time now, particularly the Mama necklace. Also available in Maman and Mother, you can choose between 14K yellow, rose or white gold as well as sterling silver or gold vermeil. $150, available at Litzi.love and Finishtheoutfit.com

herbivore botanicals coconut milk bath soak

With summer quickly approaching, we all want to put our best skin forward. This coconut milk based bath soak will leave your skin soft and hydrated, and all you need to do is indulge in a warm, relaxing bath! $24.28/8oz, available at Nordstrom.com.

saje headache relief kit

This gift was actually on my wish list last year and I can’t live without it. A sufferer of migraines, I keep this in my purse and use the Peppermint Halo Remedy the minute I feel one coming on. If you don’t know this Canadian, all-natural company check it out. $39.95, available at Saje.com.

sarah chloe stackable initial rings

I’ve seen many moms sporting their kids initials on necklaces but I think these rings are the next best thing. Made from 18K gold, they are thin enough to be stacked or can be worn on their own. Sign me up. $93.06 each, available at NeimanMarcus.com

youth to the people superfood mask

Every mom needs an anti-aging mask to ward off the stress our kids may have caused… This one is filled with superfoods like kale, spinach and spirulina and is 100% natural. $55, available at Sephora.com.

las bayadas el pablo beach bag

I recently spotted this colourful beach bag in Miami and immediately fell in love. I knew I had to include it in this mother’s day gift guide so props to my cousin Charlotte for modelling it! The perfect stylish carry-all for their summer stuff is handmade in Mexico. Plus, you can purchase extra pom-poms to make it even more fun. $75, available at Narwhalboutique.com.

rosa gold mama bird t-shirt

A sweet Instagram find, this pocket t-shirt is available in five colours: pink, white, light blue, dark blue and forest green. Wear it with pride as you declare yourself the leader of your tribe. $36USD, available at Rosa.gold.com.

Vegetarian Montreal Sugar Shack – Cabane à Sucre Handfield

When I was a kid, visiting a sugar shack was a total ooey-gooey thrill. The maple syrup on snow and country setting were definitely the major draws but the bacon piled high, pea soup with giant chunks of ham and lots of other non-vegetarian friendly foods were not my fondest memories. A few years ago I learned about Cabane à Sucre Handfield, one of the few sugar shacks close to Montreal that offers both vegetarian and vegan menus. And now it has become one of our family’s annual spring traditions.

We visited this past weekend, just in time as the Cabane à Sucre officially closes for the season on April 29, 2018. About 50 minutes away from Montreal, this is the quintessential sugar shack experience (plaid shirts optional). Upon parking in the adjacent lot, you will be greeted by a big red tractor waiting to bring you down the wooded path to the Cabane. Once you’ve arrived the sweet smell of maple syrup will overwhelm your senses. While there aren’t tons of structured activities, the kids will love just being outside in nature; cozying up by the fire pit, taking a horse and buggy ride or running around the huge yard.

When the time comes for your meal, be sure to strip off a layer as the Cabane can get pretty hot with so many people, hot piping dishes and wood burning ovens. The accordion player clad in leather shorts can attest to that! The meal is served family style with everyone piling on to benches. Tables are set with homemade pickles, coleslaw, beets, cretons, pork rinds and fresh country bread. And no need to bring a high chair, the sugar shack has plenty that clip right on to the table so even the littlest guests will feel part of the festivities.

The main meal includes: pea soup, baked beans (both vegetarian), an omelet, boiled potatoes, smoked ham, sausages and meatballs with gravy. The vegetarian/vegan add-ons, all quite delicious, include lentil cretons, maple lacquered salmon and a tofu stew. It’s a ton of food, all served on giant platters to share but be sure to save room for dessert! We actually ask for the pancakes ahead of time so the kids can eat them as part of their meal. Other dessert items include mini sugar pies, pound cake drizzled with caramel sauce and donuts. And then there’s the highly-anticipated maple syrup on snow…

It’s a totally delicious, family-friendly way to celebrate spring’s arrival!

Cabane à Sucre Handfield
555, rue Richelieu
Saint-Marc-Sur-Richelieu, Québec
J0L 2E0
Reservations required
Weekend pricing: Adults, $29.50 Kids (4-12), $16, Kids (0-3), Free

 

Parenting Challenge: Raising Good Little People

Once a month I have the opportunity to sit down with a lovely group of moms in a parlour group that we formed at the beginning of the school year. We all have kids in grade 3, and for most of us, these are our eldest children. We meet with a moderator who, in our case, is a social worker and mom of four kids/teens. She leads our group with professional insight and actionable tips. The past 7 months have been an eye-opening experience as a parent and have definitely sparked conversations with my husband about our parenting style and personal realizations for me as a mother.

control freak

My biggest discovery is that while Leo was a baby I lost control. No, my house didn’t turn into a mess and my kids weren’t left with what to eat. Rather, I was trying to juggle all three, as a working mom, so hard that I let far too many things slip through the cracks. Bad behaviour. Bad language. Too much iPad.

I’m not saying that I’m a bad mom. I don’t think I am, actually. But I do realize that in these formative years for Hannah and Alex, I didn’t give them the foundation of how to be really good people. But it’s not too late. I take comfort in knowing that I can change the way they act, think and see relationships.

the truth about parenting

The two biggest learnings I have taken away from my parlour group are:

  1. Parenting is a hard job.
    It takes constant work, consistency, patience and determination.
  2. Every child should be given the opportunity be a good person.
    In order to do so they have to be responsible, respectful and independent, while realizing that getting what you wants take work.

Inevitably, if we work really hard at #1, then #2 won’t be too difficult for them to achieve. The harder we work at doing our jobs properly, the easier and more natural it will be for them to come out as good citizens of the world.

so what’s next?

Now I put my foot down. I don’t give them a second chance. There is no next time because if I say something is unacceptable it shouldn’t and won’t happen again.

  • I follow through.
  • Screen time is limited every day of the week. (Checking out a new app suggested by friends called OurPact, ever heard of it?)
  • We go outside and play together as much as possible.
  • I pick our top priorities – behavioural issues that we want to fix. Once we’ve crossed one off our list we move on to the next.
  • I watch what I say and do because they inevitably mirror my behaviour.
  • I don’t assume they know why everything they do is bad but take the time to explain right and wrong.
  • I realize that every moment is a teaching moment.
  • I continue loving my kids unconditionally and keep the lines of communication open.

Sounds exhausting, right? But kids are like sponges so I’m hoping that in a matter of weeks, together with my husband, we can pull a 180 on our kids and everyone will come out on top. And deep down I know they can be better than good and are already on the road to become great little people.

 

 

Our Top 10 Healthy Snacks for Kids

Since Hannah started bringing her lunch to school four years ago, I have been on the hunt for healthy snacks for kids that require minimal prep, are nut-free and have a short list of natural ingredients. Here are our family’s top 10 favourites.

Read more ›

Do Nut Deny Yourself – Go To Doughnats Now

My daughter Hannah has a sweet tooth. If you’ve seen my Instagram feed lately, you’ll notice a smattering of donut photos every few weeks. That’s because going to Doughnats is one of her greatest pleasures. She hasn’t quite expressed in words what she loves so much about this Montreal donut shop but I think its the combination of delicious bites, bright pink branding and super-friendly staff who have come to know her by name. While I try to play the part of the healthy mom, I will admit that the sweet smell of dough wafting down Decarie usually has my mouth watering before even stepping into the shop. So if you do nut know this sweet shop yet, here’s a rundown of why I do nut want you to deny yourself….

season 4

Every few months, Doughnats switches up its donut game with a new flavour menu. The writer in me loves the witty names while the wanna-be baker is consistently amazed by the delicious flavour combinations. If you pop into the shop on any given day you’ll have the chance to try a few of Hannah’s favourites including:

  • Flap Attack – maple syrup glaze, stack of mini pancakes & a shot of maple syrup
  • Ore-Doh – vanilla glaze, Oreo & crumb topping
  • Birthday Drake – vanilla glaze & sprinkles, white sprinkle cake & pudding filling
  • Cinder(Nut)Ella – sugar rolled & Nutella filled

Mouth watering yet?

allergen free

Doughnats prides itself on being a peanut free facility, but Chef Nat has taken it a step further with her Triple Threat donuts. Gluten free, vegan and 100% organic, they are baked, not fried making them a healthier choice. These donuts go quickly everyday so be sure to place your order ahead of time if you’re looking to accommodate specific dietary restrictions.

cookies & more

While Doughnats originally launched as a donut shop a few other products have recently launched. Their new cookie bar features an assortment of sprinkles, chocolate chip and more cookies for the non-donut crowd and don’t forget about the just-released milk chocolate mini whippets. Jars of vegan chocolate chip cookie dough (no eggs!) are also available and I dare you to just have one spoonful at a time!

sweet celebration

Doughnats also offers an alternative to cake for your next celebration. Donuts can be shaped into letters to form a special message, like Hannah’s birthday surprise. Donuts can also be branded, personalized and turned into your kids’ favourite characters. The options are endless and the recipient will get a thrill of sliding open their box of sweets to see what’s inside. The staff is super helpful in customizing your special order. Keep an eye on the Doughnat’s Instagram account for special holiday themed donuts too!

Doughnats, 5319 Decarie., 514-660-2699, closed Mondays.

*This blog post is 100% unpaid. Hannah and I are just super fans of this great local business and we wanted to share our donut love with you!

10 Things to Do in Montreal during Spring Break 2018

Keeping your kids entertained, happy and enthusiastic during spring break is anything but easy. Especially when trying to maintain a budget. Because if you had hundreds of dollars to spend you would be on a beach, right? So how do you keep your sanity, keep their boredom at bay and spare your bank account during march break 2018? Here is my round up of 10 family-friendly activities in Montreal taking place between March 3-11.

1. Mont Avila sugar shack & snow tubing

Spring has come early to Montreal so why not hit up a sugar shack over march break? Cozy up by the fireplace for a typical sweet meal  including pea soup, omelettes, beans and sugar pie. This year, the shack will also be offering vegetarian and vegan menu options on the weekends. Take advantage of a special promotion going on now – have a hearty meal and then get 2-for-1 entry to the nearby tubing park, valid for the rest of the winter 2018 season.

pricing: sugar shack – $18/Adults, $12.50/6-12yrs, $3/5&under
2. spring break at bota bota spa

Exclusively during spring break, this Old Montreal spa will be allowing children 8 years and up to visit its water circuits, when accompanied by an adult. Entry prices range between $35-$60 depending on the time of day and day of the week. Massages are also available in 25-60 minute increments and free introductory classes in yoga and meditation will be offered daily. Spots are limited in the classes and reservations are required.

pricing: massages – $35/25 minutes, $80/60 minutes
3. indigo kids spring break escape

With daily free activities at 11am, a trip to the bookstore may be on repeat this week. From arts & crafts activities to building challenges to a costume parade, kids of all ages can get in on the fun. And you can take a break for an hour with a good magazine in hand! Registration is required in advance.

pricing: free
4. march break science fun

Over the course of the week the Redpath Museum will be offering daily activities between 11am and 2pm. Kids will have the opportunity to learn about a variety of themes including dinosaurs, volcanoes, mummies and more. Come as you are, no reservations required.

pricing: free
5. hockey week at pointe-à-callière museum

Head down to this museum in the Old Port between 11am and 5pm to immerse your kids in the world of hockey. They can join a pickup game on ice (no skates required), play an interactive hockey quiz and warm up at the Tim Horton’s food truck – hot chocolate for them and a latté for you. If you’re planning this one into your calendar, try to make it on March 5th when Youppi himself will make a special appearance.

pricing: free
6. montreal science centre spring break promo

Make it a day out in the Old Port with this amazing deal. Watch an IMAX movie with a medium sized popcorn. The movies currently screening include: Tiny Giants 3D, Amazon 3D and Incredible Predators 3D . Once the film is over, get their energy out on the open-air Natrel skating rink, just a few steps away.

pricing: $20/person
7. cineplex family favourites

This great weekend promotion will be taking place during spring break week at select Cineplex theatres throughout the province. Choose from four different movies, screening everyday at 11am: Wonder, Ferdinand, Boss Baby and Despicable Me 3.

pricing: $2.99/person
8. bfly on a budget

I’ve been meaning to try out this Brossard-based experience where kids can walk around amidst hundreds of butterflies. So when I saw this amazing deal on Tuango I snatched up a family pass (2 adults and 2 children). You can too by clicking on the title above!

pricing: $24.90/family
9. snowboarding in ddo

Have your kids been begging you to try snowboarding but the thought of standing in the ticket line, the rental line and hiring a private instructor seem too daunting? March 11 is your last opportunity to take advantage of the city of Dollard’s amazing Mysnow Experience. Kids between the ages of 5 and 8 can try their feet at boarding between 10am and 3pm on weekends in Centennial Park.

pricing: free
10. STM family outings

While riding the bus and subway may be a thrill for some kids, it also saves parents a lot of money in parking, especially downtown. During spring break, the STM is offering children between the ages of 6 and 11 free fare when accompanying a paid adult.

 

Do you have other activities on your spring break list? Share them in the comments below!

May your spring break be super and your sanity stay intake!

Family Trip Destinations: Rockport, Massachusetts

While many are packing up, getting ready to head off on a spring break getaway, before you know it summer will have arrived. (The current Montreal temperatures certainly have us feeling that way at least!) And as we all know, it’s never too early to plan for that next family trip. Chalets on the lake Up North are getting booked, beach houses in Ogonquit, Maine have been reserved since last summer. So I wanted to share one of our family’s most favourite nearby destinations to add to your list of options.

I started visiting Rockport, Massachusetts when I was a kid. We would travel there every summer with different families and my memories of this little quaint, fishing town are ever-lasting. We’ve been going back since Hannah was just 18 months old,  creating family memories of our own.

About a five hour drive from Montreal (we split ours up with a stop in Stowe, Vermont) this is a do-able destination with kids in the car. Here are my top picks to make your family trip to Rockport a great one:

where to stay

We always dream about having a house of our own on the beach and have even visited a few in anticipation of future visits. But year after year we keep coming back to the Rockport Inn & Suites. For me, it means no laundry, dishes or cleaning up. For the kids it means swimming in a pool and getting to use fun cereal machines at breakfast (their only chance during the year to eat Fruit Loops). A typical motel, we opt for a suite room which includes a den on the main floor with pull-out couch, microwave and mini fridge. Upstairs, mom and dad (and more recently Leo) have our own loft with a vaulted ceiling and a skylight.. It’s just the right amount of separation for a family trip. With on-site tennis courts, an indoor pool for when it’s too hot or rainy and a hot tub, the hotel amenities are exactly what we need. Prices for suites are around $200USD/night when you book early. The hotel is pet-friendly too with lots of green space. We’ve never brought our dogs along since we spend most of our days out.

where to eat

Lobster rolls with a view at The Lobster Pool

It took us a good four years to discover The Lobster Pool and now a trip is not complete without a visit to this casual restaurant on the water. The food is good but the views are even better. Come for sunset and you’ll be eating a lobster roll next to one of the most beautiful scenes ever. There are plenty of options for the kids but be warned: vegetables are a bit hard to come by. The Lobster Pool is also BYOB.

A short drive away from Rockport is the town of Gloucester is The Market Restaurant. The husband and wife chef team received their training at Chez Panisse and serve farm to table fare in a beautiful setting. While the restaurant is on the fancier end for kids, we like to go for breakfast or brunch and sit out on the terrace over the cove.

A few of our other favourites include Top Dog of Rockport for super casual hot dogs with lots of topping options, authentic Italian subs and salads at Virgilio’s Bakery in Gloucester and ordering pizza on the beach from Mike’s Place (my mouth waters just thinking about their Melenzane pizza with eggplant, ricotta and caramelized onions.) For a good cup of coffee and doughnuts for the kids, go to Brother’s Brew Coffee Shop, about a 15 minute lovely morning walk from the hotel.

Iced coffee and donuts from Brothers Brew Coffee Shop

where to play

The bridge to Good Harbor Beach

The main reason we keep going back to Rockport is the beach. The ocean may be too cold to swim in when we typically travel in late June but a sandy beach is my family’s happy place. Click here for a complete guide to the area’s beaches. Our most favourite beaches include Good Harbor, Wingaersheek and Half Moon in Stage Fort Park. The first two are large family-friendly beaches. Good Harbor is wide and open with beautiful lighthouse views while Wingaersheek is long and narrow with tons of rocks to climb on as an additional source of entertainment. Half Moon is a tiny cove great for a quick taste of the beach and shell hunting.

One of our favourite Gloucester beaches

beach tip 1:

Pack your own lunch. While plenty of healthy options are available at the snack shacks, lunch for a family of five can get expensive. we bring our own and then let the kids get a treat.

beach tip 2:

Plan one of your beach days for the evening. By arriving after 4pm you will avoid the crowds and parking fees. Pack dinner or order pizza and watch the sunset.

what to do

Brothers swinging at Stage Fort Park

On non-beach days there are plenty of other activities to keep your family entertained. We recently discovered the Maritime Gloucester where you can learn about sea life and boats. They have a small aquarium featuring local marine life and even offer drop-off programs for older kids.

Walk through Bearskin Neck to experience Rockport’s local artists, see Motif No. 1 the famous, photo-worthy red building adorned with colourful buoys and watch salt water taffy being made at Tuck’s Candy.

My kids adore the playground at Stage Fort Park which has a combination of new equipment like a climbing wall and older attractions like a lighthouse and wooden ship. Sign up for a whale watching tour, visit the nearby Salem Witch museum or make the 20 minute drive to the nearby Target in Danvers, you know you want to! On a rainy day, the Children’s Museum in Boston is another great option. It’s about a 45 minute drive away.

Every year we plan our trip so that it coincides with Gloucester’s St Peter’s Fiesta. It’s a traditional Italian festival celebrating the infamous local fisherman with a full-on carnival with rides and games. The Greasy Pole contest features brave daredevils who attempt to walk on a  greased pole out over the harbour. It’s quite a comedic site to watch. The 2018 festival takes place from Thursday June 28 to Sunday July 1.

A good old fashioned family fair takes place every June.

So there you have it. The makings of an amazing family trip this summer. And please note. I do keep calling it a family trip for a reason. Travelling with younger kids is never really a vacation. It will be tiring and there will be temper tantrums and lots of arguing in the back seat, so you won’t get to really rest. But you will be creating a lifetime of memories.

“This is Us” Inspired Fire Safety for Kids

Hands up from everyone who shed a tear watching the highly-anticipated episode of This Is Us when we finally learned how Jack passed away. An emotional roller coaster of a show, This Is Us usually has me in tears on a weekly basis. And while this week was no different, it actually sparked a conversation in my house that we never thought of addressing: fire safety for kids, and the entire household for that matter.

My almost 9-year-old daughter Hannah urged me to watch the fire scene after hearing that mommy was crying the night before. And without thinking too much about it, I let her and her brother Alex watch it. And then I realized that I made a mistake. Or rather not a mistake but that I needed a plan to address a topic that had them terrified.

be prepared: smoke detectors

My husband pointed out that I failed to mention that the batteries in the Pearson family’s smoke detector did not work. A factor that would have avoided the tragic fire in the first place. Which immediately led us to show our kids our two smoke detectors and the Nest Alarm we have installed that will alert us via an app on our iPhones.

We sat down to talk about other fire safety issues which came out in an unstructured way. Since our discussion I’ve taken out a few books from the local library and now we’re all on the same page when it comes to fire safety.

prevention: playing with fire

Here are a few things you can teach your kids to keep your house safe to minimize the chance of a fire.

  • Never leave a candle or fire unattended.
  • Don’t ever play with matches.
  • Keep paper and towels away from hot appliances.
  • Unplug appliances (crockpot!) when leaving the house for long periods of time.
practice makes perfect

Nobody wants to think of the worst but it’s always best to have a plan to keep your family as safe as possible in the case of a fire.

  • Let them hear what the smoke detector alarm sounds like.
  • Have an exit plan. Know where you will exit the house and how you will get outside (ie. rope, sheets, ladder…)
  • Make a meeting spot once outside, such as a neighbour’s driveway.
  • Pick one person who will be responsible for the family pet.
  • Practice with a fire drill at home.
important things to remember

These additional tips are worth stressing to make sure everyone gets out safe:

  • Never go back inside for anything.
  • Touch all doors with the back of your hand before opening them.
  • Crawl on the floor if there is smoke in the air.
  • Use a blanket or towel to cover the bottom of the door to keep the smoke out.

The panic that set in for my kids after watching the show has already disappeared in one week’s time. Our family discussion and fire exit plan put them at ease and minimized their fears. So while I may have shed a few extra tears in front of the TV, “This Is Us” just scored another point in my books – one that will keep my family a little safer.