Wednesday, May 6, 2015

My sibling has Special Needs. What about me?

This is a very typical question for kids who have siblings with special needs.  It can feel lonely, it can be stressful, but now it can be fun too!  I am so excited to introduce you to Sibshops.

Sibshops is a non-sectarian, fun and lively program specially designed for brothers and sisters of kids with special needs.  

Sibshops are pedal-to-the-metal events where they will meet other sibs (usually for the first time), have fun, laugh, talk about the good and not-so-good parts of having a sib with special needs, play some great games, learn something about the services their brothers and sister receive, and have some more fun.  

Is it therapy?  No, but it may be theraputic for siblings to have somewhere to be honest, discover that they aren't alone and just have fun.

Best known for helping local communities start Sibshops chapters, the Sibling Support Project is the first national program dedicated to the life-long and ever-changing concerns of millions of brothers and sisters of people with special health, developmental, and mental health concerns. You can check out their website at The Sibling Support Project and find events in your neigbhourhood.

The Ottawa chapter is launching this month and has lots of events coming up this year.  

I hope you'll take advantage of this amazing resource and share it with friends.  Isn't it great to know you're not alone!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Hand Silhouette Heart Keepsake & Valentine!

This post was originally shared as part of the Create Memories with Kids series at The Girl Creative! With Valentine's day just around the corner and being at the beginning of a new year, I thought this might be a really fun craft for you to do with the kids or use the idea to create super-adorable Valentine's cards for loved ones.

Celebrating milestones and keeping track of your their is important to our kids. This is an easy craft they will have fun making and be proud display.

Materials needed:

  • A piece of coloured paper
  • Pencil
  • Markers
  • White paper the size of your frame
  • Scissors
  • Foam paint brush
  • Glue
  • Picture frame


  1. Fold the coloured paper in half.
  2. Place your child's hand on the coloured paper with fingers spread so that their thumb and first finger both touch the folded edge of the paper.
  3. Trace their hand with the pencil then cut it out.
  4. Lay the silhouette of your child's hand over the white paper.
  5. Have your child fill the white page with meaningful words. Encourage them to write the words in different directions and in different colours.
  6. Frame their masterpiece.

Year after year their hand prints will get bigger and their interests and favourites will continually change. By doing this every year they will be able see how they have grown and what was important to them at each stage of their life. Eventually you will be able to create an entire photo wall for them with each of their Hand Silhouette Heart Keepsakes, a true way to make and keep memories!

Now imagine the tears that will stream from the grandparent's eyes when they receive a Hand Silhouette Heart Keepsake filled with the grandkid's memories of time spent together!

Happy crafting!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Turning homework struggles into a game

The first year my daughter consistently got homework it was a bit of a struggle to get it done as she was used to coming home and playing with her toys.  Needless to say, it was exhausting for us all.  One night however, I had a light-bulb moment. 

She almost always played with her dolls and she loved to play school. Why not combine her homework with her play time. I suggested she teach the questions to her "class" and write the answers down. She'd likely get extra reinforcement of the concepts by explaining them out loud and her homework would get done. It worked!

Now she is a little older but she is still using schoolwork for teaching her class.  Instead of always teaching her dolls her current homework (of which there seems to be less and less) she has started creating her own worksheets using a word processing program and pasting images from Google.  It can take her over 30 minutes to create each one and get them just right.  She even puts a name and date header at the top of each page for the "students" to fill in.  I can see her using creative writing concepts from school, different math approaches and the best thing is, she makes 4 copies and has each of her "students" fill them in.  She isn't really aware that she is now doing the work 4 times instead of 1 and coming up with different ways of approaching questions by answering 4 different ways.  I also love that she is blissfully unaware of the computer skills she is honing too.

It may not work forever as her homework gets harder and her love of playing school diminishes but for now it is working well in our home and the homework struggles have been put to bed.

How do you handle the haunting homework hour?

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