As told by Angela van Tijn from One Smiley Monkey


This March break we are living WE as a family by spending our time outdoors in the community. We are very fortunate to live in a place like Vancouver, where there are many beautiful spots to explore and get a chance to appreciate nature. As our kids are still quite young, we stick to the easy hiking trails and look for indoor activities, where they can learn and play. When we visit the aquarium, we talk to them about the importance of protecting the environment, while museums offer fun and interactive ways to talk to youngsters about culture.

Whether we go out to the forest trails or explore parts of the city, we always use this family time as a teaching opportunity to expose the kids to new experiences, teach them about our diverse community and simply enjoy what Canada has to offer.


How to come together as a family this March Break.


Bond without interruption…

Family time is very important to us—it’s all about bonding and spending quality time together. To focus on family, we have a “no-device-at-the-dinner table” rule; it’s about putting everything else away for a few hours.


Getting away from technology…

Time away from technology is important and necessary for all, including children. We spend a lot of time outside and go for hikes and walks with the boys, as much as we can.


You don’t have to spend money to make memories…

We love hiking, partly because it’s free, but mainly because we get to spend time outside, enjoy each other’s company and the fresh air.


I allow my kids to take the lead…

When we craft or bake together we usually take turns and work as a team. The boys love helping and doing things on their own, so there are always opportunities to teach them about cooperation, how to be a leader and the importance of following directions.


Seize the opportunity to teach…

I don’t believe you have to wait for a certain age to start talking about issues that are affecting greater society. I think whenever you see the opportunity to start a meaningful conversation, you should do so. This can come up while watching a movie, witnessing somebody’s behavior or just discussing everyday affairs. Children learn by example, they will learn to deal with issues by watching how you deal with them as a parent.

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