Best Advice: Parenting in 5 with Andrea Tomkins

Writer, editor, blogger and photographer Andrea Tomkins shares her best parenting tips, tricks and advice

Photography by Jason Code

Photography by Jason Code

We’re asking some of our favourite parents on the web for their very best tidbits of advice. In this edition, we’re talking to blogger, editor and photographer Andrea Tomkins! She’s the managing editor of a print publication in Ottawa called Capital Parent Newspaper. She also publishes a blog called a peek inside the fishbowl where she writes about healthy living, great gear and family-friendly activities in the National Capital region. She answers our first ever Parenting in 5 questionnaire below:

1. What’s your go-to family dinner?

If I haven’t had time to pull something together I almost always make breakfast. It’s quick, it’s easy, and everyone enjoys it. You can’t beat homemade waffles, bacon and eggs! If I do have a bit of extra time I like to make a healthy homemade pizza using my favourite pizza dough recipe.

2. What’s one life-saving product that makes your family’s life easier?

This will sound odd, but having an electronic combination lock installed on our front door was a huge relief. I don’t ever have to worry about the kids (or me, because it was almost always me) losing the keys. It wasn’t until after the lock was installed that I realized how much time and energy I spent worrying about it.

3. Describe your parenting philosophy in 10 words or less.

Teach them everything I can and then set them free.

4. Briefly, what’s your favourite thing about being a parent?

I love being able to show my daughters the wonders of the world outside our front door: the symmetry of a pine cone, the feeling of mud between our toes, the beauty of a snowflake under a microscope. To be able to experience childlike wonder again is a real gift.

5. What’s the best parenting advice you’ve received?

Always hug your kids a few heartbeats longer, and don’t be the first one to pull away.

Is there a parent you’d love to see profiled in a Parenting in 5 column? Let us know at

8 responses to “Best Advice: Parenting in 5 with Andrea Tomkins”

  1. jemrah says:

    Great words of wisdom, Andrea! :)

  2. Julie Harrison says:

    Great tips, Andrea! Our family loves homemade pizza too. (But we make ours even quicker by just using pita bread.) I am also going to remember the hug thing … except I think I already hug them so long and so often that I embarrass my kids – LOL! Nice to see your writing here. Hooray for Canadian Family!

  3. Andrea says:

    Pita bread pizza is a fab quick dinner. English muffins will work in a pinch as well. The kids definitely like being able to make their own! The hug thing is kinda interesting. I don’t always remember to do it, but when I do I am always pleasantly surprised at how much longer the hug lasts! And hugging is not something that should be rushed, right? :)

  4. Pam Dillon says:

    Great tips, Andrea. I’m looking into that electronic-combination-lock idea for sure.

  5. Andrea says:

    Thank Pam! I know it sounds really odd, but I can’t begin to tell you what a HUGE burden it lifted off my shoulders. Who knew such a small thing could make such a big difference in my life!

  6. Julie Harrison says:

    I think I need to get one of these too!

  7. […] a blogger, there’s a lot about me out there already, and when the time is right (i.e. once my children use […]