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Summer Fun

Summer Fun

 Summer is here and there are so many fun things to do around Regina! Family activities can be a great way to create positive interactions, improve communication and cooperation, build confidence, make memories, and help with physical and emotional regulation. So, whether you’re a parent whose kids are already bored or you’re looking to explore new activities with the family, here is a list of some of our local, kid-friendly spots to check out this summer!

Fun in the sun

Check out the new Wascana Pool in the park! Just be sure to read the daily schedule to find out about free swim, preschool hours, and other important information before you go.

Want to get out of the city? Head to Regina Beach! A beach umbrella or shade tent is always a great idea to take along with you if you can.

Need something a little simpler with little ones? Check out one of our city’s many splash parks and spray pads.

Feeling active?

Take a walk, run, or boat tour, around Wascana Lake! If you’re there on a Thursday in July & August there are fun activities held in various locations in the park from 5-8pm.

Can’t do activities during bedtime? Wascana Junior Explorers is a free program offered Saturday mornings. Just make sure to go online to find out the details and register in order to secure your child(ren)’s spot!

Wascana Trails (Wascana Valley Natural Area Recreation Site) is a local favourite for a beautiful hike…just take your bug spray and wear high socks (it is still tick season after all).

White Butte Trails offers maintained trails and a chance to escape into nature while only being about 15 minutes outside of the city.

If it’s a little too hot (or windy) outside, head over to Get Air indoor trampoline park! This is a great spot for big and little kids (designated toddler area). But be sure to check out the website or call ahead as there are dates/times that are designated for little ones only!

If you’re feeling more adventurous, try Sky Park for go-carting, zip lining, or mini golf!

Got an animal lover at home?

Cedar Creek Gardens petting zoo is open (and free) all summer so you can interact with goats, pigs, horses, and more, just two miles south of Regina! They also have a beautiful shop and greenhouse to explore.

FenekFarms is another great farm, only 10 minutes outside of Regina complete with a petting zoo, hay rides, private tours, and more!

Looking to learn?

There’s no better place to learn and have fun than the Saskatchewan Science Center! Perfectly located in the park, with the coolest outdoor playground, and local bistro and café (Skye) nestled right in the middle. Bonus- it has the IMAX theaters!

The Royal Saskatchewan Museum is another fun and free (donation only) experience designed for people of all ages to learn about the world and our very own provinces history.

Another local classic? The Mackenzie Art Gallery. Filled with exhibits, classes, workshops, and studio Sundays.

A new and summer limited Regina feature- Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience is now being held at the Viterra International Trade Centre.

Other awesome experiences!

Escape Rooms: Regina now has multiple locations

Farmers Market: Held every Wednesday and Friday morning
Libraries: books, audiobooks, videogames, programs, events, and performances

Leisure Centres: and filled with activities like swimming pools & fitness rooms

Playgrounds and outdoor pools: Regina is home to many wonderful parks (like Candycane) and outdoor pools all around the city

I have it on good authority (local Mom’s) that the recommendations on this list are guaranteed good times!

Have fun!

 

Blog Post by Registered Psychologist, Megan Adams Lebell

 

Schools Out…Forever?

 

“School’s out for the summer!  School’s out, forever?”  Nope.  Take a breath of relief caregivers of school-aged children.  It’s not.  In a couple short months, we’ll be back in action.  You may be wondering, is the “summer slip” a real thing?  Do academic skills actually regress over the summer months?  Yes, they do.  Here are some ideas to keep the kid brain sharp over the long, hot, “I’m boooored” days.

  1. Check out the Wild Weather Exhibition at the Saskatchewan Science Centre.  We’ve certainly been experiencing some severe weather across the prairies.  This is a great opportunity to learn the science behind it.  Level up and have your budding meteorologist track weather patterns at home!

https://www.sasksciencecentre.com/events-calendar/2023/4/05/wild-weather 

  1. Take advantage of free programs at the library.  Regina Public Library offers a host of summer programs for all ages at their local branches. These unique sessions range from storytelling, read-alouds, language learning, and music. https://www.reginalibrary.ca/attend/programs
  1. Experience Saskatchewan farming history with a visit to the Motherwell Homestead National Historic Site.  Tour the stone house, meet farm animals, and watch demonstrations of traditional agricultural practices.  Day camps are also available! 

https://parks.canada.ca/lhn-nhs/sk/motherwell

  1. Take a hike!  Have your young botanist create their own specimen collection kit, and head out to Wascana Trails for a summer adventure.  See how many different types of plants you can spot.  Collect them, sketch them, and write a detailed description for each.  How does it look?  Feel?  Smell?  Don’t taste it!
  1. Prepare a fresh summer meal.  Visit the colourful market gardens in Lumsden and choose some healthy summer produce to prepare a picnic lunch.  Make sure to include all of the food groups on Canada’s Food Guide.  Bon Appetit! 

We don’t have to drive far to experience the many learning opportunities that our beautiful province has to offer.  Don’t forget the sunscreen!

 

Blog Post by Kimberly Desautels, Educational Strategist

Understanding Willingness

Understanding Willingness

Working with unpleasant feelings is tough. When we take a close look at unpleasant feelings, we often find that they are telling us something about ourselves, and what matters to us. Learning to name and observe unpleasant feelings can allow us to make a choice about how we want to deal with them. Basically, there are two options:
1. Be unwilling to have the feelings. Try to get rid of them.
2. Be willing to have the feelings. Let them come and go-especially when this allows you to do something that’s important to you. For example, you might be willing to experience fear in order to make a presentation in class or ask someone out on a date.

Which option you choose is up to you.

Sometimes you cannot avoid difficult feelings without also giving up doing things that are important to you. To illustrate this point, take a moment to consider the following four willingness questions:

To strive for success, you risk all the following:
Feeling like a failure sometimes
Feeling sad about losing
Feeling stupid
Feeling disappointed

Are you willing to strive for success anyway?

To search for love, you risk all of the following:
Feeling rejected
Feeling lonely
Feeling insecure
Feeling vulnerable

Are you willing to search for love anyway?

To be a friend, you risk all of the following:
Feeling let down
Feeling disappointed
Feeling embarrassed when you do something you didn’t mean to
Getting your feelings hurt

Are you willing to be a friend anyway?

To have an adventure, you risk all of the following:
Feeling disappointed that it wasn’t as good as you had hoped
Feeling out of control sometimes
Feeling sad when the adventure ends
Learning unpleasant things about life, like dealing with unexpected difficulties

Are you willing to have an adventure anyway?

Each time you answer yes to questions like this, you give yourself the chance to expand your life and discover new things. Each time you answer no and try not to have certain feelings, you restrict yourself. We all have things in our lives that we would like to do but find a bit difficult. When feeling stuck, try using the willingness formula below.
I am willing to have __________ (fear, insecurity, sadness, anger and so on) in order to __________ (do something you care about).

 

Source: Ciarrocchi, J., Hayes, L., & Bailey, A. (2012). Get out of your mind and into your life for teens: a guide to living an extraordinary life. New Harbinger Publications Inc.

 

Blog Post by Registered Psychologist, Kerri Hill

Doing the Hard Thing

I often find writing  blog posts to be  a challenging exercise.  It is not challenging because I have no interests, because I have many (sometimes too many), nor is it challenging because I have no areas of passion, because again, this just isn’t the case as I have several passions.  The challenge is always to narrow things down and to try to decide what others might find both interesting and perhaps useful or timely.  My focus this time is on remembering that we can and do, do hard things.

About 13 days ago, while walking to the bus to take to work, early in the morning a very close friend of mine was the recipient of a random act of violence.  He was injured.  Yes, things could have been worse, and likely would have, had it not been for a good Samaritan who stopped to help him disengage from those individuals who harmed him (no, robbery was not the motive, but that is a topic for a different day).    Thankfully that good Samaritan did not stop to consider that these individuals already had one adult bleeding profusely from the face; he stopped to help anyway.  He did not seemingly weigh out the fact that the assailants were still armed with their rock (and perhaps more unseen weapons), he did the hard thing and stopped to help.  Doing this undoubtedly made him late for work as it takes time to call the emergency responders, wait with my bleeding friend on the sidewalk for the ambulance to come and then give statements to the police.  He did the hard thing.  I have no doubt that it was scary as he approached the unknown situation; blood, noise and activity at a time of day when there should be peace and tranquility as one heads off to work and yet, he helped.

Today my friend had to make the trek to the bus stop again to go to work.  He had to walk by the spot where he first saw the people who attacked him, by the spot where they grabbed their rocks, by the spot where they hit him, by the spot where he was picking himself up bloodied with his broken nose and finally where the good Samaritan waited with him for the ambulance.  Doing that walk today was a hard thing.  Going back to where he was attacked was a hard thing.  He could have opted to take a different route to the bus, to forever more avoid that street, but he didn’t.  He put on his coat and walked that hard road to the bus.  He did the hard thing.    

Where do we first learn about doing the hard things?  Maybe our path to doing those hard things begins in childhood, when our parents’ guide us through making apologies at times when we said and did things we ought not have, when we hurt our friends’ and family’ members’ feelings, when we fought with our siblings and when had to learn to own and fix our mistakes.  Or, maybe the path to hard things begins even earlier than that, when we are deciding that we want to use our own mobility to get someplace, and then when we move from the crawling to the walking and then the running stages    As a parent, I can recall telling my girls “you can do it” when they were sizing up the distance between the couch arm they were clutching onto and the coffee table where there was something interesting awaiting their curious inspection.

Although I am really not sure where the path to doing hard things truly starts, I do know that as parents, trusted adults, teachers, mentors and loved ones, we play a very important role in how the internal dialogue that let’s children grow up to do hard things, plays out.  It’s a fine line to walk between keeping children safe, reminding them that they do need to be careful and that they are truly not ready to take on lions with their bare hands so to speak and reminding them that they “have it”, they can manage, they can try new things, even when those new things are taxing, daunting, new and scary.  I know that as a parent it was tempting to focus with my girls on all the reasons why something is hard, but the conversation should not stop at the identification of what makes things challenging.  The next step, a very important step after identifying those challenges, is to help develop a plan for managing those identified stressors and obstacles to success.  In order to help our children grow up to be those people who can and do, take on the hard things, we have to help them learn how to manage the anxiousness by being confident that they can make a plan to deal with obstacles.  

As a parent, it was tempting to just fix the problems, kiss the owies and tell the girls that I know that things are hard; to lament with them about the injustices and challenges and to stop there, to not push through that next step of problem solving.  Lamenting and validating the difficulties is definitely important, but so too is expressing our confidence that plans can be made and followed so that change and growth can occur.  We as parents can do the hard thing and let our children learn strategies to self- regulate and problem solve so that they can eventually do these without us—that is the goal right?  I know that I want my girls to be able to do those hard things in life as they pop up.   Of course they will feel anxiousness at times, they are supposed to, anxiousness has a purpose, but I also want them to be able to do the hard things, to face their own fears and to be the ones who help others in times of crisis.  How we teach others to manage their anxiousness and the stressors they face is important because being able to do the hard things in life is important.

Blog Post by Registered Psychologist, Tara Garratt

Screen Time and Language Development – Does it Matter?

Screen Time and Language Development: Does it Matter?

As life is busy and parents need to keep their children occupied while they complete important daily living tasks, it is easy to turn to screen time as a solution. Screen time is increasingly easy to access, and new content keeps children engaged. The discussion of screen time and its effect on early child development has been going on for decades and, now that it is so accessible, is a common topic that comes up during speech and language sessions with little ones.

When discussing this topic, two key words come into play: quantity (how much screen time) and quality (what the child is watching). Overall, more screen time (including background television) is associated with lower language skills in children. Screen time, when viewed alone, takes away time from building interactional skills with parents and others which is important in enhancing children’s language skills. On the other hand, better quality of screen time (educational programs or viewing with a parent or other communication partner) can have a positive impact on language skills. With that said, benefits of screen time are likely to occur in later childhood as they can gain information during educational shows and talk about them while there is no benefit in earlier childhood.

So, can my child have screen time?

  • If your child is under 18 months of age, it is not recommended. The pediatric guidelines recommend that there is no screen exposure before 18 months of age.
  • After 18 months of age, yes, but limit the quantity of exposure (one hour or less per day is recommended for children aged 2-5)

What can I do to make screen time have a positive effect on language skills?

  • Educational programs- put on something educational that labels objects, pauses to allow for interaction from your child, and models age-appropriate vocabulary.
  • Co-view– watch the program with your child and label objects, ask questions, and pause to allow for discussion.
  • Pause the program– show your child the concept in real life, so they can build real connections while watching the program. Ask what happened and what might happen next to increase comprehension and language acquisition.
  • Interaction– any interaction with the child while having screen exposure is the best way for screen time to have a positive effect on their language skills. Children aged 2-5 learn expressive language skills best from their interactions with adults.

In conclusion, children can have access to screen time and can even benefit when quantity and quality are taken into consideration. Better quality screen exposure is associated with language skills, but too much screen time, too early, is associated with lower language skills. Quality screen time can promote language skills, but it should still be used in moderation.

References

Madigan, S., McArthur, B. R., Anhorn, C., Eirich, R., & Christakis, D. A. (2020). Associations Between Screen Use and Child Language Skills: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Pediatrics, 174(7), 665-675. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2020.0327.

Ponti, M. (2022). Screen time and preschool children: Promoting health and development in a digital world. Position Statement: Canadian Pediatric Society. Retrieved online at: https://cps.ca/en/documents/position/screen-time-and-preschool-children

 

Blog Post by Speech-Language Pathologist, Kristen Lipp

Finding a Trauma Informed Clinician

The Importance of finding a Trauma-Informed Clinician

When I was a teenager I experienced physical, emotional and sexual abuse in my dating relationship.  For six years I stayed in this abusive dating relationship for a variety of factors and reasons. According to Prevnet, 12% of youth in Canada have reported experiencing physical dating violence. One of the factors that kept me from ending the relationship was that I felt alone, isolated from friends and family, and I was terrified to tell anyone due to threats of harm from my partner. When I finally had the courage to leave this relationship, my parents pushed and supported me to attend counseling. Counseling changed my thoughts of myself, and my experience. The counselor I saw was gentle, safe and trustworthy, and provided me with healthy tools to move forward in my life. This counselor practiced from a trauma-informed lens, and she sparked a desire in me to follow in her professional footsteps. For this reason, I want to share that if you are survivor of abuse, or you know someone who is, it is important to find a trauma-informed support for them.  To be a trauma-informed clinician means:

Principles of Trauma-Informed Services (Butler et al, 2011)

  • Recognize the impact of violence and victimization on development and coping strategies;
  • Identify recovery from trauma as a primary goal;
  • Employ an empowerment model;
  • Strive to maximize client choices and control of her or his recovery;
  • Are based in a relational collaboration;
  • Create an atmosphere that is respectful of the survivors’ need for safety, respect, and acceptance;
  • Emphasize the clients’ strengths, highlighting adaptations over symptoms and resilience over pathology;
  • Strive to minimize the possibilities of re-traumatization;
  • Strive to be culturally competent, understanding clients in the context of their life experiences and cultural background;
  • Solicit consumer input and involve consumers in the design and evaluation of services.

“Trauma-informed clinicians are sensitive to the ways in which the client’s current difficulties can be understood in the context of the past trauma.  The clinician will place emphasis on helping the survivor understand how their past influences the present and on empowering them to manage their present lives more effectively, using core skills of social work practice” (Knight, 2015, p. 25-37)

I am a trauma-informed clinician & so are my colleagues at Wildflowers Therapy ♡ ♡

Sources:

Butler, L., Critelli, F.M., & Rinfrette, E.S. (2011). Trauma-informed care and mental health. Directions in Psychiatry, 31, 197-210.

Knight, Carolyn., Trauma-Informed Social Work Practice: Practice Considerations and Challenges. 2015, p. 25-37.

Levenson, Jill., Trauma-Informed Social Work Practice. 2017, p. 105-113.

Welcome to PREVNET. PREVNet. (n.d.). Retrieved March 12, 2023, from https://www.prevnet.ca/

 

Blog Post by Registered Social Worker, Tammy Wagner

 

Parenting through the Years

Parenting Through the Years

Parenting is one of the hardest yet most rewarding things a person can do. Our children don’t come with manuals, and they’re all different, even in the same family. Just when we think we have it figured out, they grow up and change.

I often hear parents saying they wish they’d read more about parenting than they have—there are numerous books, blogs and articles on whatever they’re trying to figure out at that moment. All this information is wonderful when it comes from reputable sources but all too often the one thing we always have that can be forgotten is our natural parenting instinct. Listening to our gut and our natural parenting instinct is sometimes all we need.

As a mother of five with a 17 year age gap, I know I parented differently in my 20’s with my older children than I did with my younger children. I know I made mistakes, but sometimes we learned together. Today I see how amazing they are—all those times I was worried about messing things up turned out to be pretty amazing adults! To all the parents struggling in parenthood: keep loving your children and exploring with curiosity; keep talking to them and listening when they need to talk; keep learning with them.

Blog Post by Clinical Counsellor, Allie Lewis

Skillful Striving

Skillful Striving

Perfectionism is when someone strives for flawlessness, setting standards that are impossibly high and only achievable through great effort or not at all. Perfectionism leads to frustration, self-criticism, and procrastination (to avoid the discomfort inevitable in the perfectionist ideal).  

Below are some tips on how to be a high achiever without falling into the perfectionist trap. One way to frame this is skillful striving. Skillful striving involves being present and allowing for discomfort as you flexibly move toward your values. Three helpful skills with healthy striving are fierce self-compassion (protecting yourself, drawing boundaries or standing up for yourself), values and committed action (deciding on behaviors driven by values even in the face of emotional discomfort or difficult thoughts).

Below are tips to help guide skillful striving. 

  1. Pay attention to what stressful striving/perfectionism versus values-based hard work feels like in your body. Notice when striving has become unhealthy for you. Are you neglecting important areas of your life? Do you avoid certain activities or experiences? Is there tension in your body?
  2. Look at what is driving your striving/perfectionism. Is there something uncomfortable that you are trying to avoid (like feelings of unworthiness or thoughts of not good enough)?
  3. Notice how your behavior does not have to be dictated by avoiding emotional discomfort. Make a choice to turn toward your values, even if it is uncomfortable.
  4. Say no, even to good things, to say yes to your values.
  5. Notice when you are spinning the “wheels” of the mind. Notice “thinking traps” or the way thoughts seems to promise something, but it never happens- “once I get this perfect, I will feel good about myself”. This is a fleeting state based on not being good enough and inevitably the feelings of inadequacy will return.

 

Below are checklists of unhealthy striving (perfectionism) and healthy striving (working hard to achieve). These checklists can help bring awareness to perfectionist tendencies and offer alternatives to perfectionism. We can work hard, and achieve, in a balanced way taking care of ourselves.

 

Unhealthy striving checklist

Do you use work/schoolwork to avoid feeling you aren’t good enough?

Do you keep doing more but never feel like you are doing enough?

Do you neglect important areas of your life (health, friendship)?

Do you see your inner critic as helpful?

Do you avoid taking risks outside your comfort zone?

Do you compete with people who don’t have the same goals as you?

Do you avoid taking time off because you feel guilty?

Do you reach a big achievement only to quickly move to the next one?

 

Skillful striving checklist

Are you present and engaged in your work/schoolwork?

Do you set goals based on your values?

Do you prioritize important domains in your life?

Do you pause to take in the good of your achievements?

Are you encouraging, kind and motivating when you make mistakes?

Are you courageous and take risks outside your comfort zone?

Do you feel meaning, purpose and belonging to your work/schoolwork?

Do you set boundaries and take time off even if you feel guilty?

 

Reference

Hill, Diana. “How ACT can help you be a high achiever without losing yourself”. Your life in Process Blog. Spotify, January 10, 2022.

 

Blog Post by Registered Psychologist, Alison Campbell



Grief and Loss

Grief and Loss

We often associate grief with death. However, there are many different types of loss in our lives that may leave us with conflicting emotions. Financial loss, changing jobs or schools, loss of trust, loss of safety, loss of a family pet, or loss of a close friend may all stir up strong emotions. Grief is a direct and natural response when we lose a relationship or an attachment to someone or something. Allowing ourselves, and our children, a safe space to process and grieve any loss is vital to moving forward with our grief.

The Institute of Child Psychology summarizes strategies that can be helpful in promoting recovery during times of grief, such as normalizing that we are going through a difficult time and acceptance of the uncomfortable emotions. Here are two videos that illustrate our typical reactions to loss and how we can best support ourselves and others.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2zLCCRT-nE

 

Blog Post by Clinical Counsellor, Ashley Carlson