Columns and Letters

Column: School's out for summer!

July 6, 2022 

-by Bonnie MacIsaac
        Summer has finally arrived! And, so has the end of another school year. I am excited to have my granddaughter Caylee with me in July. I looked forward to being with my grandmother Ida over the summer when I was her age. We had a lot of fun together. I want my grandchildren to have the same experiences.
    Have to say, it is always different having a youngster around for an extended period of time. I know I am not alone wondering what we should be keeping in mind. Not only that, but how to keep the family connected, which isn't easy, when everyone is busy going in different directions at times.
    Try these terrific tips to help you and your family stay connected, while making the most of the summer season.
– Keep bedtimes fairly consistent. Children often want to stay up later when there is no school in the morning. Experts say it is fine to allow children to go to bed an hour later in summer if sleeping later is possible, but getting into the habit of staying up until you can't keep your eyes open is not good for anyone. Even if it is still light out, try to stick within an hour of regular bedtime. It will make it less difficult to get back into the routine in the fall.
– Serve regular snacks and meals. Hungry children are not fun to be with. Hungry parents are worse. It's easy to slip into some bad patterns without the enforced schedule of school. Have plenty of healthy snacks available.
– Limit cooking. Who wants to spend a lot of time in the kitchen during hot summer days? Have salads, sandwiches, and fresh fruits and vegetables on hand at all times. Hot food is not as tempting most summer days and hot kitchens are definitely not appealing.
– Schedule some free time. Remember every person in your family needs a little time just to relax; make sure you set aside time for yourself. Kids will be kids and it usually isn't long into summer vacation when we hear those famous words “I'm bored.” While being bored isn't much fun, children need to learn to entertain themselves every so often.
– Create an “I'm bored” jar. Write down favourite games and perhaps some fun chores that your child could do on slips of paper and put them in the jar. When your children can't think of something to do, have them pull a slip of paper from the jar and do whatever is listed.
– Rediscover your hometown. You don't have to travel to exotic destinations to have a great time. It's amazing what we take for granted. Many travel thousands of miles to take advantage what we have right in our own backyard so to speak. There are many active or quiet summer activities you and your family can do for free or for next to nothing. Look into what events are planned in your area or take advantage of the beautiful trails we are blessed with. Beachcombing or fossil hunts are also a lot of fun.
– Create memories. Give each child a “special” box at the beginning of summer for any “treasures” they may find on your outings. Disposable cameras, or a cheap digital one perhaps and journals help children to record memories as well. It will be fun to look back on in the colder months.
– Write home. If you have a child visiting, get them to print or write a short note home every few days. And, have mom and dad write back! I know in this world of texting, emails, and cell phones, the art of writing letters is being lost. But it is worth bringing back. Plus, it helps the child use their fine motor skills. They will also get to experience the anticipation of waiting for a letter like we older folks use to.
    My granddaughter, this summer, is going to experience Cape Breton without all the bells and whistles she is use to from living in a city. Everything seems like it is on demand now for youngsters. We will see how that works out for me! Here's hoping that you all have safe and happy summer.
    If you have a great summer tip, why not send it in and share it with fellow readers. We'd love to hear it. Address is at the end of this column.
    Great advice! College students have enough to juggle when it comes to school, work, and their social life. Fighting fraud often doesn’t make their list of priorities. Because students are so susceptible to identity theft, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) recommends that they take seven simple steps to protect themselves on campus.
    The BBB recommends that college-bound students take the following seven steps to fight identity theft on campus:
– School mailboxes are not always secure and often can be accessed easily in a dorm or apartment. To combat sticky fingers in the mailroom, have sensitive mail sent to a permanent address such as a parent’s home or a P.O. box.
– Important documents should be stored under lock and key. This includes your Social Insurance card, passport, and bank and credit card statements. Shred any paper documents that have sensitive financial information rather than just tossing them out. Also shred any credit card offers that come in the mail.
– Never lend your credit or debit card to anyone, even if they are a friend. Just say no, if your friend wants you to co-sign for a loan or financing for items like a TV.
– Make sure your computer has up-to-date antivirus and spyware software. Always install any updates and patches to your computer’s operating system or browser software which help keep your computer safe from any new advances by identity thieves online.
– Always check your credit or debit card statements closely for any suspicious activity. The sooner you identify any potential fraud, the less you’ll suffer in the long run.
– When shopping on unfamiliar websites, always check the company out first with BBB online. Also look for the BBB Accredited Business seal along with other trust seals; click on the seals to confirm that they are legitimate.
– Check your credit report at least once a year.
    It is that time of year! A short summer break goes by so fast that some people find themselves in a pinch as far as time is concerned for finding a place to live as they head back to their studies. Scammers know that finding a great apartment either on or off-campus can be difficult, especially when there’s a time crunch. Be wary of any rental property that offers a great place for a cheap price, as it could lead to a scam. Make sure to do a comparison of similar properties in the area to know if it’s legitimate.
    Whether you are a first year student or returning to your studies, these tips from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) should be kept in mind. Many of you will turn to Kijiji, Craigslist, and other internet sites in your search. Each year, consumers report to BBB about finding apartment rental ads, on those sites, that sound too good to be true.
    Consumers can fall victim to these types of schemes because the ads are very enticing and often include pictures. Consumers report that when they inquire about the apartment the alleged landlord asks for lots of personal information, provides them with very personal and detailed information of why they are renting and why they can’t be there in person to show the apartment and finally a request to wire money for the deposit and first month’s rent in order to receive the keys.
    BBB warns consumers of the following red flags:
– The deal sounds too good to be true. Scammers will often list a rental for a very low price in a desired area to lure victims. Find out how comparable listings are priced. If the rental comes in suspiciously low, consider walking away.
– The landlord is located elsewhere and prefers to communicate via email. Scammers might say they have just been relocated out of the country for a job or missionary work. If the landlord is truly overseas, there is also no way to get a copy of a lease or keys.
– The landlord requires a substantial deposit before handing over the keys or even showing the property. Don’t pay any money before inspecting the apartment, inside, and out. Reputable landlords will allow potential renters to view and see the property before taking any money.
– The landlord asks the renter to wire money through services such as Western Union or Money Gram. Money sent via wire transfer service is extremely difficult to retrieve. Once the scammers have picked it up, there is little recourse, if any, for getting any money back.
    Thanks to the folks at Better Business Bureau for these great tips. Check out their website to keep up with the latest scams and such at
    Congratulations to all the graduates of 2022! My contribution to the “endless” tidbits of advice you've been given lately is this: Set your priorities, stay focussed on them. Be bold. Be brave. Most of all, believe in yourself and your capacity to shape the world of tomorrow, which begins today. Don't sweat the small stuff. And remember how much your parents love you. Much success!








































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