Category Archives: Teens

20 Lessons I Learned in 20 Years of Parenting

By Rahila Ovais

20 Lessons I Learned in 20 Years of Parenting

Ever had a job where you had no previous experience or training; didn’t come with an instruction manual, and people’s lives were at stake? Well that’s parenting!  Here are some of the lessons I have learned while on the job.

  1. If you are not going crazy, you are not doing it right.

  2. Never argue with your husband in front of the kids. Remember you and your husband are a team. When it comes to parenting, you are only strong if you work with each other.

  3. Schedule regular date nights with your husband to keep your sanity.

  4. Whatever you do, never ever compare your kids with other kids. Also important is to never compare your parenting style with other parents. We are all being our best and doing the best we can for our families.

  5. Your kids are not a reflection of you. You will parent each child the same way yet they will all still grow up to their own personality; cherish that.

  6. No secrets and no lies should be the standard.

  7. Set certain expectations in stone.  In my home, it was important for me that the kids learn Salah and Quran before any other extracurricular activities. My parents won’t even let me have breakfast until I prayed two rakats of Fajar no matter what time I woke up.

  8. A family that prays together stays together.

  9. Take lots of pictures of your kids when they are young. You will be glad you did that when you are old.

  10. Insanity is hereditary; you get it from your kids

  11. Be friendly with your kids but you don’t have to be their best friend.  You job is to be a parent first.

  12. Spend the first ten years of parenting establishing your authority because if you don’t those next ten years will really suck.

  13. It is your circus and those are your monkeys, take responsibility.

  14. Kids do not remember what you taught them; they will remember what you are.

  15. If you want to grab your kids’ attention just try sitting comfortably and open a chocolate bar.

  16. Being a mother means developing “the look” that stops misbehaviour in its tracks.

  17. Don’t confuse “what works” with “what is right”.

  18. Actions speak louder than words. Enough said.

  19. You will learn a lot about yourself when you become a parent. For example how can you go through an entire day with only two hours of sleep.

  20. Don’t waste time trying to be a perfect parent raising perfect kid; love, nurture, cherish and happily live the time you have together.

 

About the Author: 

Rahila Ovais is a mother to four ranging from 20 to 5 years old. She’s called Jeddah, KSA, where she was born and Karachi, Pakistan, where she was brought up, her homes before moving to Toronto twenty years ago. She is also a very opinionated person who has a hard time keeping her thoughts to herself. You can follow her on Facebook: HijabiMommy.

20 Confessions from a Mom of … FIVE!

By Khaula Mazhar

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Motherhood is not easy. It is not easy to be mom of one nor is it easy to be mom of five. There is however, a certain number of children where it becomes easier to let go and just roll with it, mainly because you have no choice and  learned that stressing isn’t going to get anything done. I put that number at three. With kid number three, you wonder why you ever worried about maintaining lego-less floors or taking a shower. Whoever is walking on the floor should watch out for himself and baby powder is essentially dry shampoo for moms who haven’t had the luxury of a shower for days on end.

I confess I am that mom, I feel  no shame admitting this. Shame went out the window with the birth of middle child, and with the birth of twin 1 and twin 2  last bits of sanity joined my sense of propriety.  Those are now long gone, and I don’t regret it one bit. If anything life becomes easier when you lose your mind, insanity does have a touch of genius to it. Besides that, for some mysterious reason crazy, shameless mom is way cooler than well organized, prim and proper, perfect mom.

My advice plus confessions to you as a “been there, done that and have survived so far mom” are as follows (BOGO in shopspeak):

1. Your first child will always be the lab rat. Stop feeling guilty about it, you are doing the best you can. What’s the worst that can happen? Never mind, don’t answer that.

2. Your second child was born to whine, it’s a default of being second. Do not be blackmailed by that whining, know that they are just as guilty as their elder sibling. Cotton dipped in olive oil make for good ear plugs if the howling gets too loud. Also keeps your ears clean, and well you know how long it’s been since you last showered, so yeah.

3. We all forget middle child. They end up being the best of the lot, so don’t sweat it. However if you drop them off at their friend’s, it would be a good idea to pick them up, preferably on the same day. Or… eventually. But hey we all need a break sometimes right?

4. I have thrown belongings out the front door when not picked up after I asked several times.

5. I still have baby powder in the house, even though no kid is under the age of eight. Baby powder can be used for unwashed hair, sweaty kids who refuse to shower, inside of smelly joggers, to sprinkle over the liquidy gunk and hairballs the cat coughed up, freshen up a kid after they throw up etc etc. Baby powder is pure magic.

6. There were some clothing items that kid 1 through 5 wore. Yes I believe in hand me downs.

7. I have fallen asleep with three small kids in my lap/arms. You should condition yourself to sleep in any situation, no mercy for the fussy sleepers.

8. I turn leftovers into “fresh” dinners. You should too, and never let anyone know you used leftovers!

9. I let the kids have cake for breakfast once. I slept in. No guilt at all, we were all happy.

10. Should such a situation arise, I will let them have cake for breakfast again.

11. If you forget to wash gym clothes, just throw them in the dryer with fabric softener sheets and hope for the best. Also works with kids’ underwear. Just don’t tell them you forgot to wash the clothes.

12. I reuse my fabric softener sheets. Several times.

13. I always have a secret stash of chocolate just for me.

14. I guard that stash like a dragon.

15. My purse contains every child’s belongings and none of my own.

16. I can quote anything from “My Little Pony.”

17. Plastic bags are a good way to catch vomit in a moving car. Always have a good supply.

18. The bathroom is the first place they look for you, try hiding in the garage instead.  It’ll buy you at least seven minutes alone.

19. Don’t go on Pinterest, those are all LIES! No one can do all that! It is just another Big Pharma tactic to make you take anti-depressants!

20. Love those little buggers, smother them with kisses and hugs, enjoy every second of this time with them, it goes too fast! Don’t regret any thing!

What confessions do you have?

About the Author

Khaula Mazhar, author of Mama Loves Me, has written for Dawn Pakistan and now bestows her wisdom upon the world at her blog. Last time she counted she had five kids, however the vast amount of laundry has given her doubts. This is a cause of constant distraction as she tries to finish writing the next NYT best-seller.

Taking Children Out of School- Pro’s and Con’s

By Mona Ismaeil

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Winter (Christmas Break) comes at such a great time for Airlines but such an inopportune time for the average traveler. While children are conveniently out of school and most companies are giving time off, hotels as well as airlines and any travel related company are making you pay for those conveniences! Many families try to take their winter vacations a little earlier or a bit later to outsmart those corporate savages! Before, you get too excited thinking you’ve pulled a fast one, think about how this will affect the education of your children.

Pros: 

  • EXPERIENCES EXPERIENCES EXPERIENCES: Not to say laying poolside drinking as many virgin margaritas as you can isn’t a fantastic way to spend your vacation; it is; but opting for a trip with some sites, history, and culture is a better choice. Children can learn a great deal by travelling. We open their eyes to a world that most text books can’t do justice.
  • Family Time: This is very important. Time well spent as a family is vital for the emotional and psychological development of children. Our lives are chaotic and often the only time we get with our children after school, work and extracurricular activities is just a meal here and there. Getting downtime to laugh, tell stories and make memories is priceless!
  • Seeing the World Through New Eyes: Children experience the world very differently than we do. Travelling together can teach both parents and children a whole lot.

 Cons:

  • Missed Important Exams: Timing is important. Leaving school close to the end of semesters or report card terms can being detrimental to your child’s education.
  • Falling Behind on Curriculum: With lots to learn and just barely enough time, every moment in the classroom is vital. Depending on the length of time of your trip, students can miss a great deal of instruction as well as the activities and projects that go along with it.
  • Change of Routine: When in school, students get into a good routine. A steady routine that includes school, studying and extra-curricular activities. While on vacation those routines change and for some students it takes some time to get back on track once the vacation is over.
  • Extra Pressure Afterwards: With any time missed, assignments, projects and assessments will pile up. Students will still be expected to complete those assessments and learn the material. This can put more pressure on them as well as you and the teacher.

 Things to Keep in Mind:

  • Timing: Choose your travel time carefully. Like mentioned before, it is important to plan your trips around significant assessments, report cards, parent-teacher interviews, etc. It is ideal of course to plan trips to coincide with given holidays or long weekends.
  • Length of time: There is a big difference between being gone for a week and being gone for a month.
  • Age/Grade: Younger students will generally be affected less than older students.
  • Ability: This is probably the most important thing to consider. You need to be honest with the fact that some students should not be missing in class instruction. As much as we may want to take that trip if our children are unable to handle the pressure of being out of school, then we need to put their best interest first.
  • Teacher’s Input: Ask your child’s teacher their opinion about your travel plans. They know best when it comes to what your children need from an academic perspective.

Wherever you go, enjoy every moment with your family. Travelling with children can be tough but incredibly rewarding! It’s about that moment when they say: “Mama, remember when we went_________ and saw________?” That is just priceless!  Safe travels!

What are your thoughts about taking children out of school? What are your experiences?

 

About the Author:

Mona Ismaeil is  the Associate Editor Muslimmoms.ca. She is also an elementary  teacher turned blogger and writer. Mona is the proud owner of Modern Hejab and stay-at-home mom to a sweet little girl. She loves to travel and see all the world has to offer with her family.

 

 

 

 

Saving for the Education of Your Child Made Easy

By Erum Zehra

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As mothers, the education of our children is one of our primary concerns. We aspire to give them the best education possible. Fortunately, living in a country like Canada has made this task easy where free education is provided in public schools until high school. After graduating from high school, our children want to join colleges or universities for higher education. This can prove to be very expensive for low income families. Most families with school going children start saving for their college education quite early, to ensure they have enough money to equip their children with higher education.

RESP and CLB

Government of Canada provides assistance in saving for higher education of your children through RESP (Registered Education Savings Plans) and CLB (Canada Learning Bond). An RESP is an educations savings account registered with the Government of Canada. You need to open an account with a bank or credit union, or through a certified financial planner or a group plan dealer. These institutions, planners and dealers are known as “RESP providers.” For more information on RESP please visit: http://www.smartsaver.org/pdf/RESP_English.pdf

The Canada Learning Bond consists of an initial amount of $500 offered by the Government of Canada to help you start saving for your child’s education after high school. Your child could get $100 every year until he or she turns 15 years old to a maximum of $2,000. Your child is eligible for the Canada Learning Bond if:

• he or she was born after December 31, 2003; and

• you receive the National Child Benefit Supplement under the Canada Child Tax Benefit (also known as the family allowance).

For More information on CLB please visit: http://www.smartsaver.org/pdf/CLB_lgl_English.pdf

 SmartSAVER

SmartSAVER at http://smartsaver.org is a non profit community project which makes it easier for you to learn about RESPs and to get the Canada Learning Bond. They have teamed up with RESP providers across Canada that will help you get an RESP started for FREE: no enrolment fee, no annual fee and no contribution required.

How to Apply?

You can use their online application, Start My RESP, and apply for the Canada Learning Bond. Apply before Decemeber 31st for a chance to win $1000! A new winner is being selected every week, so the earlrlier you apply, the better your chances are of winning.

 

 

Children with Special Needs; Finding the Support You Need

By Nadia Ali

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Immigrating to a new country can be a tough experience and more so when considering the needs of children with physical and developmental delays or disabilities. There are numerous programs and sources of funding available to improve the quality of life of disabled children however it is a tough experience to find all the resources available.

The first step would be to select a family doctor and get the child registered. Provide all past records and reports to the doctor. Depending on the disability / delay your child is experiencing, your doctor will refer you to a specialist for detailed testing and diagnosis. School-aged children with learning disabilities, speech impairment, ADHD, dyslexia, etc. who have had no diagnosis earlier, are identified by teachers when they struggle academically and referred to the school speech therapist or school psychologist for diagnosis.  

Funding programs vary between provinces; each province has different programs geared towards helping parents who have one or more children with disabilities. For example; in Ontario, the provincial programs are Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities (ACSD), Special Services at Home (SSAH) and Provincial Assistive Devices Program (ADP). Application forms can be downloaded from the Ministry of Children and Youth Services website.

 

Children with delays / disabilities are also eligible to receive a monthly benefit in addition to Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB) amount that parents receive for every child. In order to quality, a medical practitioner must certify on the prescribed form: Form 2201 – Disability Tax Credit Certificate (available on the CRA website) that the child has a severe and prolonged impairment in physical or mental functions. Ask your doctor to fill the form and send the completed signed form to your tax centre. CRA will determine whether or not you are eligible to receive the disability tax credit and the Child Disability Benefit. Both, physical as well as developmental, disabilities and delays are eligible. For July 2015 to June 2016, the CDB is approximately $2,695 per year ($224.58 per month) for each child who is eligible for the disability amount. This payment will come to you with your CCTB amount as a single check.

 

The Disability Amount Tax Credit (or the ‘Disability Amount’) is a non-refundable tax credit that can be transferred to a family member, who supplies some or all of the basic necessities of life such as food, shelter and clothing to the person. This credit provides tax relief for individuals who have a severe and prolonged impairment in physical or mental functions by providing a credit against payable.  This amount is not a physical payment, like the CDB, but is a tax credit that can be used to reduce your tax / increase your refund at the time of filing taxes.

The list of medical expenses you can claim at the time of filing taxes is very long and extensive, and also includes amounts you have spent for speech therapy, physical therapy, tutoring services, talking textbooks, devices or software to help your child’s learning, etc. Please keep all receipts and submit them to your the person who will be preparing your taxes at the time of filing  to determine which ones you can claim. For financial assistance with treatment and therapy as well as costs of assistive devices, there are several agencies that help parents who may find it difficult to make ends meet. President’s Choice Children’s Charity, Jennifer Ashleigh Children charity, Ontario Federation for Cerebral Palsy, Easter Seals, etc. are all agencies that will provide funding for those in need to help with the cost of therapies. Proof of income and cost of therapy needs to be submitted along with application. Finally be sure to reach out to other mothers whom are in similar situations as you. There are many support groups for mothers. There are many activities and programs which can help get you out meeting new families and making new friends.

About the Author

Proud mom to a six year old boy, Nadia Ali has earlier worked with Ernst & Young as an auditor. She is now a tax professional at H&R Block and is looking forward to another busy tax season.

Ed’s Note: Welcome Back to School

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Salam Aleykum Sisters!

After a summer break the team at Muslimmoms.ca are raring to get back to sharing their tips, tricks and experiences with you all. For the month of August we are very excited to be exploring ‘Back to School Theme! We have quite a number articles coming your way this month and we’re sure you’ll find them helpful as you prepare your little ones (and yourselves) for school.

Keeping Organized

We know that summer is not yet over, but we do want to help make that transition from summer chaos to school routine as easy and painless as possible. One great article we will have is about tips for keeping your children organized. This will be very important for making your life easier!

The long lost of art of Penmanship and its importance in our times will be talked about as well!

Keeping Educated

Choosing the right school for your child is the first step in a great education. It is important that you have the right knowledge to choose. Will you enroll your child in public school? Private school? Islamic school? Home school? Whichever you choose you should know the pros and cons of each and we are happy to help you with that.

We are excited to offer tips for how to help your child study at home. There is often a disconnect in the studying and learning that takes place in school and what continues at home. For your child to reach their full potential we need to lessen that gap.

Learning isn’t just for children. If you are a mom going back to school, we have some great advice and tips to help you on your journey as well.

Keeping Healthy

A healthy diet is vital for your child’s growth and development. We know packing a lunch every day can be tricky so we have compiled some ideas to help keep your creative juices flowing.

Being healthy means more than just food. It is emotional and mental health as well, we’ll tackle the issue of bullying at school as well.

Keeping Busy

We know that you’ll never be bored but on the off chance you have extra time, we do have some great ideas for how to keep busy while children are back in school.

 

The Muslimmoms.ca Team would like to wish all students a blessed, educational and wonderful school year!

Allowance For Kids

By Mona Ismaeil

Allowance for kids

Image: Stockphotosforfree

The idea of an allowance or pocket money for children has been discussed in many parent groups, online forums and much has been written about it in magazines. With discussion comes controversy. My daughter is still young at 14 months, but I have thought about this topic a great deal which led me to want to share my findings with our readers. 

When to start?

It is really up to the parent as to when they feel it is appropriate to start but it should be by the age of ten at the latest. Some start as early as three years but it is suggested that by school age (4-5) children will start to have a concept of money and will have had opportunities to make purchases of their own; for example at a school bake sale.

How much?

This is very important. Again it is up to the parent, but it is suggested that children get $0.50- $1 per year of age per week. So a 4 year old would get $2 or $4 per week. I personally believe this is appropriate until the age of 10, after that, I believe it could be increased to $1.50 or $2 per year of age.

S.O.S Rule

The whole idea of allowance is so that children learn to manage their money. We are instilling in them these basic habits from an early age so that we do not have to worry about their finances in the future. It’s really a great concept! The S.O.S Rule is a great way to help children understand 3 main places their money should be going. Usually the total allowance is divided into thirds but you could decide to change the portions as you see fit.

S for Save

Children should have a piggy bank of some sort. 1/3 of their total allowance is put into their piggy bank to save up for bigger ticket items they really want that are considered an ‘extra’. For example, the parent will buy clothes but if they really want a more expensive pair of sneakers, that is for them to save up for.  The ‘save’ aspect should teach them to plan for the future and think long term when it comes to their finances.

O for Offerings

This is about sharing and giving to charity, a very important concept in Islam. They may be donating only a few dollars to start with but we should encourage this habit and make a big deal out of it. When you are giving your Zakat at the end of Ramadan, you could talk to your child about it. Explain why we give Zakat, how it is calculated, etc. Also, you could ‘calculate’ it for them and take their portion to donate as well.  Perhaps, have your child do some research about different charities and have them decide where they feel their money should be donated. You could take them to that charity to give their donation as well. This will make it very real for them and give them a feeling of accomplishment.

S is for Spending

For this portion it is up to you to discuss and decide with your child what they will be responsible to covering the costs of. This can range from hot lunches to extra-curricular activities. Of course basic needs of every child should be covered completely by the parents. There should be some money allocated for ‘Free-Spending’. This is a portion which the child has the ability to do with it what they please as long as they follow your basic rules (ex. No candy).

Allowance and Chores

One in every three parents give allowance for doing chores even though researchers do not view it favourably. Children should contribute at home because they are a member of the family not because they are being paid for it. Also, some children may not do chores if allowance is not important to them and they choose to forgo it.

It is suggested that only chores that are above and beyond their normal tasks be worth a form of payment. This teaches children to work for their money and that they can find ways to make money beyond their weekly allowance. For example, you should not pay a child for making her bed, but you may pay her for helping in organizing the basement.

There is a fine line between teaching children that work means payment and that payment be all they care about. In the real world, they will not get paid for every little thing they do and sometimes even a job requires us to do things out of our job description, but we do it because we care and we look at the big picture.

Consistency

Children may try to yank at your heartstrings to get a little more out of you but you have to remember why you are doing this. I am not saying everything is set in stone and you should never give them a little extra here and there, because that is not real life either. At the same time, do not let them push you to the point where you have abandoned everything you set out to teach them. For example: If you go on holidays, you may offer to buy your child one souvenir. If they want a second one, you can tell them that they must pay for it. That way, you have given them a treat they will appreciate, you have given them the choice to purchase another souvenir but most important you have taught them that they must decide if something is worthwhile to spend their hard earned cash.

The Lesson

In a nut shell the message you want to get out to your child is that money has to be worked for and earned and if not taken care of it will run out. It is about teaching balance and setting priorities. At the end of the day, it is about giving them the tools they will need to be out on their own.

 

About the author:

Mona Ismaeil is mother to a sweet little toddler, owner at Modern Hejab  and a blogger.

Do you give allowance to your kids? Please share your tips with other Moms on our forums.

The “H” Word, how to speak to your teen

By Mona Ismaeil

Teens with hijab

Image source: Salam Stock

 

The “H” Word!  What is the “H” word you ask? It is that word that many teen girls dread hearing as in their minds they believe it will turn their worlds upside down and turn them into someone they don’t know or want to know. It is that conversation that they might come up with every excuse they can in order to escape it. They may even offer to do chores to seem busy! It doesn’t have to be so bad, here are some tips for how to talk to your teen daughter about…HIJAB!

Why we wear hijab 

Nothing is worse for a teen than hearing “just because I told you so”. Teens are easily influence by the media and those around them that it is vital for them to hear the REAL reason we wear hijab or they may end up believing what they see on TV. By explaining to your daughter, that hijab is meant to protect her, and that it is a sign of modesty and respect for Allah (swt) as well as a sign of respect for herself, she should be more likely to wear it with pride or if she hasn’t put it on already, be more likely to want to. 

How To Connect With Your Teenager

By Somaira Arshad

Parenting Teens

Image credit: 123RF Stock Photos

Lack of communication and over-parenting – these are two major issues that teens mostly complain about. Seemingly opposite, these two are actually different sides to the same coin. It is the absence of a meaningful relationship between parent and child that leads to an over-protective parenting style.

Granting personal space, showing respect for individual freedom and keeping their expectations real in academic and social realms – that’s what teens want from their parents.

Respect for elders, abstaining from drugs and/or alcohol and sexual promiscuity, better academic performance and abiding by social and religious norms – that is what parents expect from their children.