active kids

An Important Lesson In Safety. No Helmet, No Ride.

An Important Lesson In Safety. No Helmet, No Ride.

An Important Lesson In Safety. No Helmet, No Ride.

An Important Lesson In Safety. No Helmet, No Ride.

An Important Lesson In Safety. No Helmet, No Ride.

Flashback 5 years: I walk outside to see L wearing a mixing bowl on his head. When I questioned him as to why his answer? “I wanted to ride my bike and couldn’t find my helmet.” Even at 3 years old he knew, no helmet, no bike.

The rule still applies to anyone at our house, always has, always will. Bike, scooters, skateboards, quads, basically anything that they sit or stand on with wheels. Even a snowboard, and skates, which don’t have wheels but still require helmets.  I don’t care if you are moving 10 blocks or 10 feet. Your helmet is on your head.

Sadly this doesn’t seem to be the norm anymore. Nearly every day in the summer I see kids riding with no helmet. I’m not talking about older kids and teenagers. No, I am talking about kids L, and Big H’s ages, 8 and 6. Or even worse, Little H’s age, 3. This isn’t the kids’ decision, that is clearly the parents. I just don’t understand it. In Alberta, it is the LAW, at least on a bike; and more recently for everyone on an off-road vehicle or motorcycle.

Helmet Rules

A few summers ago we had what seemed like a constant battle at my parents’ house, she had picked up some used bikes for the boys to use at their house. Great. Except she didn’t get them helmets. – When I was growing up I wouldn’t have dared to not wear a helmet. If the fall didn’t kill me my parents certainly would have.- Every day the kids would be on them, and every day I was the bad guy telling them no they don’t have helmets on. I don’t care,  I have to make my point the same rules apply everywhere not just at home.

They do finally have helmets, Big H is at least a size too big, and Little H has an oddly shaped head and is impossible to get a helmet sized properly on him,  which is another battle I have been tackling while there. But luckily this year they are much more focused on the swings instead of their bikes.

Learning a Lesson

ATV helmets there isn’t even a little bit of a grey area. I worked at the Polaris dealership until a few years ago. The amount of kids that are allowed to ride without a helmet BLOWS MY MIND! My kids are not allowed to even ride their battery-powered quads without a helmet. If you let them ride one without a helmet they will want to ride them all. It just is easier for them to wear it always. This has never been an argument with our kids, it has just always been the case. When riding B and I always wear our helmets, monkey see monkey do right? However, Big H and L learned really fast a few years why they always wear a helmet. B was loading the side-by-side on the trailer going about 2 km/h and hit a rock. The result?
B without a helmet

Stitches and a Harry Potter scar on his forehead. Imagine if he had been going regular riding speed. L now preaches helmet safety, because he doesn’t want to crack his head open like his daddy.

I’m not trying to come across preachy. To me, it is just common sense.

No Helmet, No Ride.

If you’re looking for more bike safety you can find it here or here. For more on ATV safety check out here. Or you know, use your head.

Posted by Jenn in Fitness, 7 comments
Is There A Time And Place For A Participation Medal?

Is There A Time And Place For A Participation Medal?

Is There A Time And Place For A Participation Medal?
Is There A Time And Place For A Participation Medal?

I have a hard time with kids receiving a participation medal. I normally don’t believe in then. But, at young ages, they are just learning to love the game. They have their whole lives to learn how to lose. They don’t have to know everyone gets the medal they just known they got one. But there is a time and a place.

When They Are Okay

However, in tee-ball when L played in his first tournament he received his first medal. This was our first experience with it, and at this point, I would have said no. You earn a medal, but the look on his face said it all. He had played in his first tournament. Hours and hours in the blazing sun, with just a short break between games. The coach had hidden the medals and pulled them out at the end of the day. He may not have “won” his medal, but he earned that medal. 

His second tee-ball tournament was similar. His coach actually convinced the team that they needed to play harder if they had any hope of getting a medal. And they did. They played harder than ever and earned their medal in their own right.

Big H was getting incredibly burnt out during his first year of hockey. He had been counting down the day until was done for the year. Kindergarten 5 days a week, with hockey every weekend. There had been little to no break for 6 months. His love of the game has always been obvious, he’s passionate about hockey, but he was tired. His participation medal reaffirmed his love of the game. He knew his team only won 2/4 games but he started working extra hard so that maybe his team can win another one at his next tournament. 

When They Aren’t

The problem with participation medals, and with much of today’s society, is they don’t teach them how to lose. They learn to expect a reward for everything they do, even if they don’t do their best. You’re best isn’t always good enough, and that should drive to your work harder and play better, so that next time your best might be enough.

By L’s third year of baseball, we had turned a corner. He has now come to expect these medals, and he knows that at the end of the tournament he is going to walk away with a medal to hang on the wall. He no longer has to give it his all. We’re now moving on to our second year in the same division, and I know the same thing will happen.

This is one of the differences between hockey and baseball, while Big H is still getting participation medals in hockey, there is always another aspect. The heart and hustle, or the MVP awards DON’T go to every child. Those are earned. So even if they do get a participation medal or two through the year, they also have something to work harder for. – Not that it mattered this year, his team was undefeated. – This may not be how every league is set up. but it is how ours is.

Life Lessons and the Participation Medal

I always tell my boys, there is always going to be someone better than you, but the only thing I care about is that you are the best you can be. It’s true, I don’t care about the number of medals on the wall, I care that the tried their hardest.

There will always be times in their lives when they won’t win. They may not get 100 on their test, and they certainly won’t get all the jobs they interview for. They may start a business that fails or earn a degree that doesn’t make them millions. Learning as a child that you don’t win 100% of the time, will produce resilient, and confident adults.

And at the end of the day, isn’t that my job as a parent??

Posted by Jenn in Lifestyle, 8 comments
Four Reasons Why TeeBall Was Good For My Son

Four Reasons Why TeeBall Was Good For My Son

When I was growing up we didn’t do sports. I remember swimming lessons, a year of gymnastics, and my brothers played a bit of hockey or football. My husband was much the same, a little bit but nothing to carry forward, and nothing to encourage him to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. We are, determined that would not be the case with our own children. So when L was three we registered him into soccer, the only sport available for that age. He loved it for the first year, after that he quickly lost interest. At that point, we put him in TeeBall.

TeeBall was the way to this boys heart. From the very first time he hit the ball off the tee, he was sold. There was no looking back. All winter he checks to see if the snow has melted;  because he knows that when spring comes baseball starts again.

It is March, which means spring is technically right around the corner. I say technically because where I live the snow often falls well into May. However, spring brings baseball to this household. L is obsessed, much like Big H’s love of hockey.

L has now finished two years of TeeBall and has now moved on to the next level of the league, known as Rookie. While I am not sure what the coaching or skill level difference there will be between the two here is what we loved about TeeBall.


Working together to achieve a common goal is a lifelong skill that everyone needs to have. While at the TeeBall there is no score keeping it is still a team sport. They work together, and there is the “no man left behind” spirit when they make sure everyone gets a chance at each position.


They are going to learn how to play the game regardless of what age they start playing. But, in TeeBall they learn how to hit a ball without it flying at their face. Fear of getting hit in the face is exactly why I still flinch and often cower when a ball is flying my direction. – I probably look ridiculous flinching every time the ball even comes in the general direction of the stands – Towards the end of his second year, they started to try it without the tee, which will be an advantage in the next season.

The very first time L hit the ball off the tee he didn’t have a clue what to do, when he finally started running he brought the bat with him. This was a similar story for nearly every kid on his team. By the end of the season, you would never know they were the same kids, their skill level and knowledge had increased so much.


We have one local minor ball tournament a year. Each team plays the other local teams in the same division. It is one jam-packed baseball filled day. They don’t keep score in our local TeeBall league but that doesn’t stop the fun. It gives them a great idea of what to expect when they move on to the next divisions where they do keep score. At the end of the tournament, they hand out medals to all the teams. I am not a huge fan of “participation medals.” I am, however, a huge fan of anything to keeps kids interested. As they don’t keep score the kids play hard all day and they earn their medals in the most basic of ways.

More on my views of participation medals.

Last but most important:


If you can find a sport or activity that your kids love you will not have to fight with them to participate.  It took two years before we found TeeBall. When we did it was clear that it was a sport he wanted to play year after year. When it comes to practice he is waiting at the door ready to go.  That being said if the time comes in which he wants to try something else he will absolutely be given the chance.

At the end of the day, the only thing I really care about is that my children are happy. Baseball makes him happy and is one of the few things that can him smile like this:

What age did you put your kids into organized sports?


Four Reasons Why TeeBall Was Good For My Son
four reasons to sign your child up for teeball


Posted by Jenn in Fitness, 7 comments