Category Archives: parenting tips

Do You Have a Picky Eater in the House? Read On!


Getting to yum by Karen LeBillon

image from

  • Do you have a five or six-year-old who refuses to eat certain foods?
  • Is the dinner table becoming a battle of wills instead of a family gathering?
  • Is the worry about your picky eater causing stress for your family?

No worries – now there is help!

Karen LeBillon is the author of award winning best seller “French Kids Eat Everything“. Her 2nd book “Getting to Yum: Curing and preventing picky eating”, endorsed by a Harvard Medical School pediatrician, helps with taste training for kids and is being adapted to the TV screen. A new TV series produced by LaDiDa Media aims to help you and the picky eater in your family.

Karen wants to meet your family, and share her simple steps for turning even the most picky eater, into a fan of healthy and diverse foods. If you live in the lower mainland of British Columbia and would like your family to be a part of this new TV series, read on:

  • Looking for families with one picky eater of around 6 years old, who are available to film in their home for one day on the weekend of June 7th and 8th, and for one day of the weekend of June 14th and 15th.
  • Hoping to film a follow up to check back with your family in July or August.
  • Send a little information about your family, plus a photo or two to the following address: They are looking forward to helping you!

Otherwise – the book is now available in all major bookstores and features practical advice, an easy to follow approach and LOTS of recipes the whole family can enjoy. You can download here the FREE fruit and veggies poster to help teach kids about different foods. You can also print it in black and white and give it to your kids to color.

Alexandra T. Greenhill, MD, Mom of three and CEO cofounder myBestHelper



Simple ways to teach kids about Earth Week


It’s Earth Week and to get your kids to be more Earth-friendly, I think it really starts with us setting an example. The best statement I saw on what WE can individually do to help the world be a better place was from Wilcox as quoted in the National Geographic blog:

When you think about climate change, it’s hard to reduce our carbon footprint, because we have to go through a fundamental shift in our economies. With plastic, when you’re throwing a bottle cap on the ground, that should be an easy impact to get rid of.” 

Simple, yet so powerful! Here are 10 other simple ways we can teach our kids about this compiled by Cher from Eco-Bravo, as a guest post on a blog that I really like “The Right Balance” by Salma, a writer and a mom of two:

“Children are great imitators, so give something great to imitate” We can use these early years to reinforce good habits and create the “normals” of their lives. For my family, it’s “normal” to recycle, compost, walk in the forest, ride bikes, use natural cleaners, bring our own bags for groceries, use cloth napkins for mealtimes and reusable lunch and drink containers.

The absolute best and lifelong gift we can give our children is a connection to nature. If you want to raise kids who will turn into teens and adults who want to protect the earth, give them a love and understanding of nature, make it part of who they are.

Here are 10 ways you can begin earth-inspired norms in your own family:

1. Go for nature walks. Learn the names of trees, flowers, birds, bugs and teach your children to look, listen and touch.
2. Plant a garden. Kids love peas picking and carrots! Growing and eating food that your kids helped plant and pick will give them valuable knowledge and understanding of where food comes from.
3. Teach your children the names (and tastes) of all fruits and vegetables.
4. Eat whole foods that kids can recognize and bake/cook with your kids. This is essential to the deeper connection of how the earth feeds us.
5. Make yearly visits to a working farm, where kids can meet hens, goats and sheep and try to pick some eggs; and visit organic farms to pick berries in the summer.
6. Take nighttime walks or go camping (even in the backyard) and look at the stars.
7. Swim in lakes, not just pools :)
8. Attract birds to your yard with a bird feeder or a birdbath.9.
9. Teach your child to turn off lights when not in a room, turn off water while brushing teeth and put paper in the recycling or apple cores in the compost, instead of just using the garbage.
10. Play outside. Simply spend time outdoors: riding bikes, going to parks, having a picnic, going to the beach, kicking a ball.

See original article.

Alexandra T. Greenhill, Earth inhabitant, mom of three, CEO founder of myBestHelper



Kid’s Garden – an awesome how to guide

Loved this post from Kid’s Garden on a new practical book on outdoor activities – especially the step-by-step instructions for all of us without a green thumb!

Alexandra T. Greenhill, mom of three, CEO founder of myBestHelper

Olympic athletes, dedicated parents and helping kids enjoy sports


After three weeks of watching the world celebrate the achievements of the Olympic athletes, all I can think is: “Wow to all these dedicated parents who spend the time, effort and money required to set their kids on the path to this success.” Of course, being a successful athlete takes much more than just that, but the support of parents is a key starting point.

I say this because I watch parents around me take their kids to soccer, ski, piano and dance lessons  weekly, then increasing over the years to a daily commitment, all while unfazed by showing up to swimming practice at 5am or staying for hockey games at 11pm. Many parents also take up the sport’s cause, doing fundraisers, volunteering as coaches and organizers and bringing potlucks (and cheer) to team celebrations.

It can seem an easy path. When a child tries a sport and loves it, all the parents have to do is support their child’s passion. It’s been interesting to me to think about all the times where it hasn’t been so smooth – for all the accomplished athletes who didn’t immediately love the sport, but were helped by their parents to get through the initial hardships of learning.

So what is helpful encouragement vs harassing over-parenting when it comes to sports?  Here are 3 tips valuable tips that have helped my family.

1. I learned the answer from a parent on how she managed her child and this has hugely helped our family over the years:

Parenting tip: “When a kid wants to register for a sport, make it clear they have to complete the season and then decide if they want to stop”. (Click to tweet this tip)

2. This tip that has helped us comes from basketball’s great Michael Jordan:

Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game. (Click to tweet this tip)

3. Last but not least, it has been helpful to bring nannies into our family that were strong at the sports that we weren’t great at. They helped the kids practice and go to practices. Most importantly, they helped them learn to love the sport. Supplementing our own skills has been a great way to give our kids more options.

If you have other tips leave a comment. In the meantime, I want to salute all of these dedicated families that help produce adults who love sports, who learn dedication and hard work and, sometimes, even end up as Olympians proudly representing their countries and inspiring countless of kids to do sports and be active.

Alexandra T. Greenhill, MD, Mother of three, CEO myBestHelper

7 Tips for Choosing a Holiday Gift that Teachers Will Appreciate

plant flowers teacher gift christmas holidays

Plants make a great gift for teachers

With only one week left in the school year (and only 4 more days to choose a gift), it’s ok to feel a bit panicked about finding the right gifts on time. No need to worry! We’ve done the research, reading posts from parents and teachers alike, and have put together these 7 tips for finding a great gift teachers will appreciate, and fast.

1. Avoid the “classics”, like mugs, ornaments, socks and candy — they’ve probably got too many already.

2. Give the gift of choice. Gift cards are a great way of thanking the teacher while letting them spend it the way they want. If you’re in Vancouver, Chapters and Pacific Centre mall make great gift cards. Otherwise, think coffee shop, mall, amazon or movie gift cards.

3. Flowers or plants can make a more personalized gift. If the classroom has a couple of plants already, chances are the teacher would appreciate this gift.

4. Baked goods are a great idea if you have time and you know about the teacher’s food allergies. If you don’t, it’s best to steer clear of any homemade goodies. Check out these tasty and easy-to-do baking ideas.

5. Ask. If you have the chance to speak with the teacher this week, ask them what kind of things they like.

6. No need to spend money. Instead, go for a sincere thank you note. Include specific details about how the teacher helped your child, and get your child to sign it as well. If you have a picture of the teacher or the class on a field trip, include it in the card too.

7. Group gifts are best. Going in on a gift with other parents means everyone saves time and money, and with a bigger budget you have more gift options.

Good luck finding a gift, and remember that it’s the thought that counts. It’s cheesy, but it’s true!

Stephanie, Community Manager, myBestHelper

Happy Universal Children’s Day – make it a day of action!

Google Doodle to celebrate Universal Children's Day

Google Doodle to celebrate Universal Children’s Day

Today is Universal Children’s Day, a day created to celebrate children’s rights and to initiate action to promote children’s health, safety and happiness.

Here are a couple of ideas for celebrating Children’s Day with your family.

Explore Different Cultures

Take the time today to explore what day-to-day life is like for children all over the world. What is it like to grow up in France? In Japan? In Uganda? You can turn this into a game by spinning a globe (don’t have a globe? Use google earth) —> drop your finger on a country and talk about what it’s like to grow up there and how it’s different from Canada. If you don’t know much about living in that particular country, no worries! Talk about the climate, the language or any other things you know and ask the kids to make guesses about how that could make life different.

A great resource to share with your kids is the Families of the World collection. On their youtube channel, you can watch two-minute snippets that give you a sense of what life is like for a child in countries all over the world.

Help a Child Close to Home

Another great way to celebrate Children’s Day with your family is to help children right in your community through different charity organizations. If you’re in BC, some great organizations to look into are 1. Kids’ Help Phone, a place where children can reach out by phone when they’re in need, 2. Kids Up Front, an organization that helps kids get access to arts, culture and sport, and 3. Vancouver Sun’s Adopt a School, an initiative to help feed BC kids who go to school hungry. Check out their website, donate/share as a family and talk about the impact your small action could have on a child’s life.

I wish you a great Universal Children’s Day.

Stephanie Phillips, Community Manager, myBestHelper

Which Leads to More Success – Punishing, Rewarding or Encouraging Kids?


It was interesting to read the recent post by Dr. Deepak Chopra on this topic and specifically his starting point:

“There is another duality besides reward-punishment that plays a huge part in the career arc of every successful person: encouragement-discouragement.”

Indeed, it took decades for the education and parenting communities to reject punishment as a method, and increasingly the case for abandoning rewards too has become more obvious.

Why do rewards backfire? They are externally driven things that you either succeed in obtaining (winner) or you don’t (loser). When it becomes about winning/ losing, it results in lack of lasting internal satisfaction and a “more for me equals less for you” mentality.

So neither the stick nor the carrot can create the kind of strong, successful and cooperation focused mindsets that are needed to solve the challenges we face nowadays. What is needed instead is encouragement – the ability to find one’s own internally driven courage when faced with adversities. Developing a stronger sense of self reduces anxiety and fear of failure. It also increases the potential for cooperation with others to achieve the objectives.

So what does encouragement look like? Five simple, yet very effective strategies can get you started:

  1. Set a process for increased responsibility with clear consequences. You can give children from a young age increasing responsibility for their own behavior and outline clear alternatives for consequences of being responsible vs not. For example, delaying evening get to bed routine, might mean no time for story time. With older kids, not doing their homework may result in having to cancel a weekend play date. Kids are amazingly great at stepping up and growing into graduated levels of responsibility. They enjoy it tremendously too!
  2. Do not automatically step in to help or do it for them. There is a message stronger than any statements that kids get, if when they struggle with a situation or a task, an adult is on standby to rescue if needed, but does not interfere unless really really needed. It’s one of the hardest things for a parent to do, as it’s often easier, faster and better to just do it for them. But nothing replaces the character building experience of mastering a challenge on their own.
  3. Affirm their ability – “Yes, you can”. Sometimes kids will feel like giving up, but knowing that someone thinks it’s possible, gives the boost needed to succeed.
  4. Discuss (and even role-play) the right behaviors. In a previous post, we covered all the ways of helping kids understand what behaviors are expected and what are considered not acceptable. Just remember to review these often as kids tend to have a funny relationship with time – for them what happened 3 to 6 months ago seems like an eternity away.
  5. Do not lie to your kids. Successful entrepreneur Vivek Ranadive coached his daughter Anjali’s basketball team to get to the Nationals and their story was included in Malcolm Gladwell‘s latest book. Here is the advice he gives in the Forbes magazine site:

    “Telling kids they’re doing a good job when they’re not does them a huge disservice when they grow up to be adults, competing in the business world.  If we are honest with them from the beginning, they will learn the value of working harder to achieve what they want.  This will make them tougher and more confident in the long run.”

  6. Catch them being ‘good’. When your child is behaving in the right way, notice it and acknowledge it. This prevents many situations where less acceptable actions would put you into a situation of having to go negative on them.

I hope these strategies help. If you have any other suggestions or things that work for your family, please comment!

Alexandra T. Greenhill, MD, Mother of three, CEO myBestHelper