Northumberland Child Development Centre
Since 1979, Northumberland Child Development Centre has provided programs and services for children who require additional support to succeed, and their families. Our services have evolved throughout the years to include the developmental needs of children from pregnancy to Grade One.
There is no cost to families living in Northumberland County for any of our offerings.
Well we finally made it. Spring time! I’m sure some of us thought it was never going to get here. I don’t know about you but I love to garden. There is nothing better to me than getting outside and working in the garden, sunshine, dirt under my nails...I love it. My children have become quite the gardeners as well. They prefer working in the vegetable garden as opposed to the flower gardens though. I think that has something to do with actually eating more in the garden than they bring in for me to prepare in the kitchen.
Not only is gardening with your children a healthy, fun activity it provides a good opportunity for bonding. It is generally quiet and working side-by-side offers great opportunities to chat. Children develop new skills and learn about science and nature from growing their own food and there are all kinds of activities they can be involved in, like planting, mulching, weeding and even helping in the kitchen with preparing a salad from their harvest.
I found that giving my children their choice of what they would like to grow works well. They pick one of two vegetables and those are their responsibility (with a little help from me throughout the season). By letting them choose they are more likely to be interested in what they are growing. My son loves cucumbers and my daughter loves beans, so this is what they tend to grow. If I were to try to get my son to grow broccoli it wouldn’t turn out well as this is probably his least favourite vegetable. It also keeps it simple for them, they are not overwhelmed with having to look after the whole garden, just their little patch.
If you don’t have the space for a large garden, try container gardening. Just about anything can be grown in a container, from flowers to vegetables, even pretty ornamental grasses.
Ideas for getting children interested in gardening can range from growing interesting plants such as sunflowers, strawberries, cherry tomatoes. Try using a trellis or a tepee to grow beans. If you are planting a flower garden, involve your children in the planning and design. Plant flowers that will attract butterflies or hummingbirds. Find some old clothes and make a scarecrow to protect your garden.
If you need ideas for your garden, try visiting community gardens, or even your nearest farmer’s market.
There are a couple of safety items to keep in mind when gardening with children. Use lightweight, appropriate sized tools. Keep sprays and fertilisers out of reach; garden organically whenever possible and do not use chemicals. Secure fences and gates. Encourage children to wear a hat, sunscreen, and suitable clothing.
What does it mean to be attached to your child? According to Dan Hughes it means the PLACE theory; be Playful, be Loving, show Acceptance, show Compassion and Empathize. There are other qualities in "Attachment-Focused Parenting" as well, like being curious, sensitive, regulated, reflective, but most of all be attuned.
Attuned parenting means, know what your child wants and needs. Even if they don't speak, they will let you know. Get down to their level to make sure that you see what they see and move to what they move to; pay attention to what they're paying attention to, use body language, tone of voice, eye contact and words to communicate.
Children of all ages love songs and music. These can also be great tools to bond with your child over. Sing nursery rhymes, children's songs, make up your own songs to familiar tunes. The web site Kid Diddles is a fantastic resource for children's songs from around the world and don't forget old favourites like Raffi and Sharon, Lois and Brahm. Your child will not care if you can carry a tune or not, the time that you spend with them over the song is what's going to matter. They will accept you.
Most children's songs have book versions that you can read together as well. Visit your local library and ask the Librarian.
Once you have found out what your child's favourite song is, do an arts and crafts project on a rainy day based on that song; create a paper bag puppet or just draw a picture, it doesn't have to be complicated. The social web site, Pinterest, has fantastic ideas for arts and crafts projects. Work at the table or on the floor, but do it together.
You know your child best, maybe they would rather get up and dance or act-out the song; put a dance routine together and let loose, it'll be an amazing way to help yourself regulate your stress too. Have some fun and play!
I was in the audience to hear Dr. Ron Clavier, neuroscientist, psychologistand author, speak about parenting. He asked the crowded auditorium what they wanted for their children. What did they want their children to be when they 'grew up'? Hands went up; we heard 'happy', 'loved'... I leaned over to my neighbour and whispered 'I just don't want them living in my basement at the age of 30!' Dr. Clavier listened to all the answers and then said 'Independent.' Amen. We all got ready to soak in the magic words. Independence comes from being self-reliant. What are the skills they'll need 20 years from now? In this fast-paced world how can we possibly prepare them? Our duty as a parent is to teach our children resiliency. How?
When children do chores, get dressed on their own and help out the family... those are their first good deeds. In addition to giving children a sense of belonging, doing chores gives them survival skills. By teaching our children a habit of responsibility at an early age, we give them the confidence to take on ever-more complex challenges as they grow older. And helping out at home raises self-esteem! When we teach and follow through, it lets them know they are not just loved, they are needed. The other day I read that humans are the only creatures that devote energy to making their offspring happy. The rest of the animal kingdom is devoted to fostering competence to survive in the world. Children deserve more than devotion. They deserve to be taught how to fend for themselves and eventually contribute to society. When we think about it this way, chores are not extracurricular activities, they are the basics.
Who would have thought pouring juice was a survival skill? Sometimes it's quicker (and cleaner!) to just do it ourselves. It's true that many of the tasks very young children can do won't really save us any time, but if we look at them in terms of our child's future self-reliance, it may help us slow down and encourage their early efforts. Three year olds can start to take some responsibility for dressing themselves, feed themselves with a fork and pour juice from a small jug. Preschoolers can water plants, help sort laundry or wipe the table. Four and five year olds can put their toys away and put their clothes in the hamper. And most little ones love to help out around the house when they get you for company!
Children learn by doing. This is where consistency is important, and patience a virtue! Within reason, let children decide how to get a job done. Be there to encourage and suggest. They will develop their own unique style of dressing, cleaning their room, or preparing food. If we demand that they do it exactly our way, we take the creativity out of the task and increase their resistance to it. My daughter finally learned to dress herself, when I finally learned to stop picking out all her outfits. Catch them being responsible and mention it. "You put your shirt on all by yourself!"
When we bring home our little bundle, we monitor everything that goes into their mouths and comes out their bottoms. We feed them, bathe, cuddle and sing to them. We put up baby gates and put covers over wall sockets. We provide constant care and protection. As our children get older, we need to back off from smoothing their path. We need to give them a chance to make some thoughtful or sometimes thoughtless choices. By giving them this, we teach them how to withstand the bumps of life. It is with this practice that they will mature into resilient, self-reliant adults.
Spring has Sprung!!!
It's that time of year when we all come out of hibernation from the long winter. We want to get outside in the warmer weather and feel the sun. Flowers are starting to bloom, the grass will soon start to turn green and the birds are out singing their tune.
Singing a little tune always seems to put me in a great mood. The following songs do just that, while keeping in the spirit of spring. Each of the songs is also accompanied by some movements we can do. What better way to get rid of our winter blues than to get up and move along with these songs to celebrate spring? Have some fun with your family with the music and movement!
The movements to the song lines are in brackets.
Five Green and Speckled Frogs
Five green and speckled frogs, (wiggle five fingers)
Sat on a speckled log, (squat down to pretend to sit on your log)
Eating some most delicious bugs, (pretend to eat your bugs)
Yum, yum! (Rub your tummy in circles)
One jumped into the pool, (jump forward)
Where it was nice and cool, (wrap your arms around you and shiver)
Then there were four green speckled frogs (wiggle four fingers)
Continue the same words and actions counting down from five.
When you have no more speckled frogs the last line of the song will be:
And now there are no green speckled frogs (put your hands out to show no more)
Itsy Bitsy Spider
The itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout (using your right finger to left them and left finger to right thumb, walk your spider up the spout high above your head)
Down came the rain and washed the spider out (use your fingers and wiggle them down like rain)
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain (Hold your hands together above your head in a circle to show your sun)
And the itsy bitsy spider went up the spout again (walk your spider back up the spout)
(Cup your hands together like you are carrying your bumblebee, swinging them from side to side)
I'm bringing home my baby bumble bee,
Won't my mommy be so proud of me?
I'm bringing home my baby bumblebee,
Ouch! He stung me! (Look at your hands and then shake them)
(Clap your hands together and turn your hands in opposite directs to squish your bee)
I'm Squishing up my baby bumblebee
Won't my mommy be so proud of me?
I'm Squishing up my baby bumblebee.
Ewww, He's all over me! (Look at your hands like he is all over you)
(Now wipe your hands on your pants to get rid of your squished bumblebee)
I'm wiping off my baby bumblebee
Won't my mommy be so proud of me?
I'm wiping off my baby bumblebee,
Now my mommy won't be mad at me (Smile and look happy your bumblebee is gone)
Oh Mr. Sun
Oh Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun, (Hold your hands above you head in a circle and move them back and forth)
Please shine down on me. (Straighten your hands above your head and bring them down to your sides, stretching them out in front of you)
Oh, Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun, (Hold your hands above you head in a circle and move them back and forth)
Hiding behind the trees, (Put your arms out above your head and speread you fingers like branches of the tree)
These little children are asking you, (point to yourself)
To please come out so they can play with you.
Oh, Mr. Sun, Sun Mr. Golden Sun, (Hold your hands above you head in a circle and move them back and forth)
Please shine down on, (Straighten your hands above your head and bring them down to your sides, stretching them out in front of you and repeat this for two more lines of the song)
Please shine down on,
Please shine down on me!
Brown Squirrel, brown squirrel (squat down like a squirrel)
Shake your bushy tail, (jump and turn to shake you behind)
Brown Squirrel, brown squirrel (squat down like a squirrel)
Shake your bushy tail (jump and turn to shake you behind)
Wrinkle up your little nose, (point to your nose and wrinkle it)
Drop a nut between your toes (pretend to drop your nut to your toes and wiggle them)
Brown Squirrel, brown squirrel (squat down like a squirrel)
Shake your bushy tail (jump and turn to shake you bum)
The floor...this is where we begin...
Spend twenty minutes on the floor playing with your child – this is what we are asking parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to do. Let your child know you respect and value what he is interested in and you want to join and understand him. Children with ASD tend to perseverate on a particular interest or activity and may have impairments in the areas of communication/language, and building social relationships. How do we begin? Rather WHERE do we begin improving these developmental areas...on the floor!
Wondering how to get started?
How do we join in repetitive activities such as staring at a fan, making a train move continuously back and forth or walking around in circles? Remember a child's seemingly aimless activity is a window to his interests and feelings. The answer is walk back and forth with him, move the train back and forth with him. By getting on the floor and meeting a child at his level you are communicating to him that you are interested and want to share the same joy he is experiencing. Therefore enter the child's game – follow their lead – this will ignite the parent-child interaction and lead to increasingly more complex interactions. By you joining in their activity the child may be less likely to avoid, remain self-absorbed or flee the situation; instead you may receive a glance or even a warm smile – the first step to joining together in a shared world. We want children with ASD to join our world with pleasure and excitement and with real inquisition.
The therapy technique I am describing above is 'Floortime'.
Floortime defines six developmental milestones crucial for emotional and intellectual growth:
1. Self regulation and interest in the world – having shared attention and mutual engagement
2. Engagement in human relations – having interest in another person and the ability to form relationships
3. Two-way intentional communication – partaking in simple back and forth interaction
4. Complex communication – using continuous social problem-solving
5. Emotional ideas – engaging in pretend/symbolic play
6. Emotional thinking – bridging ideas
What is Your Role?
Be a play partner that is engaging and fun and tune-in to the child's interests! Play in a way that entices the child to engage with you in a playful manner and turn a solitary activity into a two-person interaction.
Remember the first step in Floortime is to follow the child's lead. The second step is to willingly and joyfully pull a child into a shared world to build relationships and partake in 'circles of communication'. Circles of communication refer to the back and forth communication between a child and adult. Through such circles, the adult can enable the child to connect her emotions and intent to her behaviours in purposeful ways.
Where to go from here....
- Your child is moving a car back and forth. Where to go from here...
- Insert yourself into the repetition creatively. Put your hand in front of the car so he has to drive over top, bang your car into his, place your hand like a tunnel so he can drive through. Now the activity is no longer repetitious and the child doesn't have to give up the car but he DOES have to deal with you - this creates a shared interaction.
- Your child gets out of the bath tub. Where to go from here...
- Do not provide him a towel. Question – 'What do you need?', 'What towel do you want?'
- Your child is playing trains with little regard for you. Where to go from here...
- Get a train, 'choo- choo' up the hill, then fall off, cry for help. Or remove a piece of track and model the train jumping to the next piece of track while saying 'weeee'
Remember to ask yourself 'How can I creatively build on that?', 'How can I join in?'
Spend all of our time on the Floor?
NO – Floortime can be done anywhere such as a bed, outside at the park, while grocery shopping or during bath time – Floortime is a specific therapy technique that can be performed anywhere anytime.
Some key notes when engaging in Floortime:
- Forget appropriate play – think outside the box. Trains really can hop up stairs and balloons really can growl!
- Talk less – gesture more with increased affect
- Make it simple and fun
- Play dumb – let your child work a little bit harder to communicate to you
- Engage in communicative temptations – whereby you are playfully obstructive
- Set aside 20 minutes of undivided floor time, multiple times per day
As a caregiver/parent/therapist/teacher we tend to evaluate the child and where they are at on the developmental ladder. We also need to assess the child's sensory processing differences and whether the child is under-reactive or over-reactive to touch and sound and adjust our role as a play partner accordingly. Is your eagerness and energy overwhelming the child, are they holding their ears, and fleeing when you approach? Or is the child unengaged and withdrawn signaling a need to increase your energy, volume and appeal?
Don't be afraid to make a mistake, as Dr. Greenspan reaffirmed continuously 'The only mistake you can make is NOT doing it, NOT showing up'. With each interaction, the better you become – therefore PLAY, PLAY, PLAY!
Children with autism spectrum disorder as well as other developmental delays have showed significant positive change in their emotional and intellectual growth using the Floortime Approach. To learn more about Floortime, Jake Greenspan, son of the late Dr. Stanley Greenspan founder of the DIR/Floortime Model, will be presenting a 1 ½ day professional workshop and a ½ day parent workshop at the Best Western in Cobourg May 8 and 9, 2013.
Dinner time is about more than eating! It's a time to check in with the family and see how everyone is doing. It's a time to catch up on the family and school and neighbourhood news. It's a time to be mindful of manners – "please pass the salt" – and an exercise in patience. Turn off the screens and the radio and tune into each other. If you would like to enliven the conversation, try tossing some of these 'Fun Food Facts' into the salad!
1. This fruit is 25% air, which is why they float. (apples)
2. This vegetable is 91% water. (cabbage)
3. These fruits are a member of the rose family. (cherries)
4. These vegetables always grow on the stalk in an even number of ears. (corn)
5. These are actually a fruit – part of the berry family. (eggplant)
6. This is the only fruit that has its seeds on its outer skin. (strawberry)
7. This fruit contains more sugar than strawberries. (lemon)
8. The name of this fruit does not rhyme with any other word. (orange)
9. This is not a fruit or vegetable but is one of the ingredients of dynamite. (peanut)
10. This is a fruit that ripens from the inside out. (pear)
11. This vegetable uses more calories to eat and digest than it contains. (celery)
12. These vegetables were originally purple in colour, but new varieties changed to orange in the 17th century. (carrots)
The Canadian Paediatric Society discourages any screen time for children under 2 years old. For children 2 to 4 years old, screen time should be limited to less than one hour a day. Older children should be limited to one to two hours a day.
But why all the hype about screen time? Let's look at some of the research about the effects of screen time on our children.
I recently saw a quote that read "Watching violence on TV has absolutely no effect on people's behaviour...that's why companies spend $4 million for 30 seconds of advertising time in the super bowl."
Advertisers have long known that even 30 seconds of time can influence what people buy, eat or how they think about issues. It is not surprising then that hundreds of studies have linked TV watching and violent behaviour. Screensmart.ca reports that "by the time children enter middle school, they will have seen 8000 murders and 100,000 more acts of violence on broadcast TV alone." That's not even including movies or video gaming. That is a LOT of violence.
Mark Tremblay, the chief scientific officer for Active Healthy Kids Canada stated, "When you're watching TV [your metabolic rate] is barely above that related to sleeping...this is not as good as even doing incidental movement."
Studies show that a preschooler's risk of obesity jumps 6% for every hour of TV watched per day, 31% if the TV is in their bedroom (www.screensmart.ca).
There are many studies linking TV time and obesity in children, not only because of the decrease in activity levels, but also because children are exposed to advertising that encourages them to eat more junk food. We tend to over eat if we are not paying attention to what we are eating, like when we are watching TV.
Researchers at the Children's Hospital in Seattle found that the more TV a young child watches, the greater the risk of attention problems by age 7. In fact, for every extra hour of TV, the risk of attention difficulties increases by 10 % (Pediatrics, April 2004).
Due to the nature of information the brain receives through screen time, children appear to be more easily distracted, and are unwilling or unable to stick with a single task and think things through.
In addition to attention, the brain is affected by screen time in other ways, too. Children who spend too much time in front of a screen seem to have trouble reading social cues, which effects their friendships, dating and other social situations. Some studies show differences in wiring in the brain, and other studies link screen time and depression in youth.
Many studies are starting to show hormonal effects of screen time. "Scientists have found that playing video games triggers and doubles the amount of dopamine in the brain, about the same as a dose of speed." (www.screensmart.ca)
Social and Emotional:
As children get older, values, attitudes and beliefs on the TV can shape how children view their world. In many shows children use snappy comebacks when interacting with adults, encouraging children to disrespect those with whom they regularly interact. Body image begins to play a role in young girls' lives, and children begin to want everything they see in commercials that are aimed directly at them. Values acquired by the child will reflect where they have spent most of their time – were they in front of the TV, or di they have meaningful interactions and discussions with adults they trust.
So what can we do?
Limit time on the screen to less than 1 hour a day.
Find other ways to keep children entertained. Take them to the park, the library, Northumberland Cares for Children sites, Early Years Centres, a friend's house.
Keep TV and gaming devices in a common area, where you can monitor their use.
Watch with them, so you can talk about the messages being delivered and how they fit with your family values.
Turn it off. So often parents tell me they have the TV on for background noise. Turn on the radio or learn to enjoy the conversations and interactions that can grow out of a comfortable silence. If something is always feeding your child's brain with noise, when will they have time for thought and contemplation?
A great outlet for children's energy is being creative. Children use their hands to investigate and discover. Providing them with the tools and the materials for arts and crafts, supplies them not only with an outlet for their creative energy but also helps develop their fine motor and cognitive skills. Manipulating craft materials with their hands and fingers builds strength and dexterity. While creating they will be making observations, coming up with ideas and interacting with others to share those ideas. Making time to participate in craft activities with your children provides a time for positive, fun parent/child interaction. It gives the parent the opportunity to encourage and build self-esteem in their children.
Having the appropriate materials can help to keep things organized and keep clean up to a minimum. Pick up a cardboard box from the grocery store and provide paint, pictures and glue or crayons and markers for your children to decorate it with. This will become the storage box for keeping all the supplies together. Include an old tablecloth to protect the surface they will be creating on. When the weather warms up you can move the creating outside. Collect the tools that will be needed: child safe scissors, crayons, markers, paint, glue and a variety of papers. Add recyclables as they become available such as, Kleenex boxes, magazines and flyers, paper towel rolls and yogurt containers. The Dollar Store is a great place to pick up other items to add to your craft box such as, pom poms, feathers, sparkles and the list goes on.... Different types of pasta could also be added to the box.
Displaying your child's art work for family members and visitors to see, will encourage children's creativity as well as make them feel proud of their accomplishments and boost their self-esteem. Pick up old picture frames at yard sales. Use construction paper for a mat and hang the work at the child's level. You could also hang up an old bed sheet and pin the artwork to it for display. Take a picture of special creations and make a scrapbook to preserve the memory and to make it easier to part with when the time comes.
The great thing about creating is that you don't always have to have a plan in mind. Provide the materials and let your children create. You will be amazed at what they come up with.
If you are looking for projects though, check out the arts and craft books at your local library, go on line or recreate some of your favourites from your childhood.
Relax and have fun creating with your children. You won't only be creating art work; you will also be creating memories!
This age old African proverb has never rung so true in an age where more and more families spend time
at home socializing through social media.
I always talk about the importance of community involvement; when it comes to setting down roots and
feeling connected to the community it is invaluable. Spend some time at the public library, attend programs offered at Northumberland Cares for Children sites or Ontario Early Years Centre sites, attend church, participate in local fairs and festivals, enjoy the recreation centre and playing at public parks, not to mention eating at local, family owned restaurants.
Most Canadian communities have these wonderful, mostly free, opportunities.
In Northumberland County these public places are accesible to all: the beaches along Lake Ontario, Northumberland Cares for Children sites, the Cobourg Family YMCA, Port Hope Parks and Recreation, to name just a few. Local newspapers and magazines, like Northumberland Kids magazine, advertise events happening throughout the county. The public library has branches in Port Hope, Cobourg, Colborne, Brighton, Campbellford, Garden Hill and the list goes on.
Every season reveals wonderful opportunities to get out and about. Set out and explore your community with your family. Allow your roots to deepen and grow with help from all branches of your community.
Check out public library programs and hours of operation at www.cobourg.library.on.ca
Check out YMCA programs at www.ymcanorthumberland.com
Visit www.porthope.ca for Port Hope Parks and Recreation
Peruse Northumberland Kids Magazine www.northumberlandkids.ca
See what is being offered at the Northumberland Cares for Children sites by visiting www.ncdcent.com
Ontario Early Years Centre www.children.gov.on.ca
In Northumberland County, we are fortunate to have three primary Employment Ontario partners who offer service supports to clients who are seeking employment opportunities.
Employment Ontario; is a one-stop suite for Employment Support Services. Their three primary partners are:
65 Bridge St. E., Campbellford
www.careeredge.on.ca- Contact – Megan Brown
Port Hope Community Employment Services
13 Peter St., Port Hope
www.employmenthelp.ca– Contact – Heather Formosa
Watton Employment Services
9 Elgin St. E. Cobourg,
www.watton.ca– Contact – Caroline McNamara
Employment Ontario offers support services to unemployed, underemployed, and laid-off workers. They also assist with skills upgrading, apprenticeships, and self-employment opportunities.
Support Services Include:
Job-Seekers – Employment Ontario connects job-seekers with employers
Career Counselling – one-on-one, personalized support and career counselling
Professional Resume/Cover Letter Writing
Second Career – Is for clients who have been laid-off during or after 2005. Eligible candidates may qualify for government-paid post secondary education which will lead to sustainable employment for the future –visit www.ontario.ca/secondcareer
CERP – (Community Employment Resource Partnership) is a collaboration of partners, assisting those seeking employment, in Northumberland County – the website hosts local employment opportunities – visit www.communityerp.ca
Northumberland County has many streams, rivers and lakes. They sure look inviting in the winter for walking or skating....... But are they safe?
Know the Dangers of Ice:
Many factors affect the thickness of the ice such as: type of water, location, time of year and environmental conditions.
The colour of the ice may be an indication:
• Clear blue ice is strongest
• White or opaque ice is half as strong as clear blue ice
• Grey ice is unsafe. The grey colour indicates water.
The thickness of ice should be:
• 15 cm for walking or skating
• 20 cm for skating parties or games
• 25 cm for snowmobiles.
Over the past few years our Northumberland winters have been mild. For your safety and the safety of your family, check with local authorities before you head out onto the ice!
BE SAFE and HAVE FUN !
For more information go to the following websites:
Family Day falls on Monday, February 18th this year. Family Day was first held in Canada in the province of Alberta in 1990. It was introduced in Saskatchewan in 2007 and in Ontario in 2008. British Columbia will celebrate Family Day for the first time this year. http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/canada/family-day
With the hustle and bustle of everyday living we sometimes forget to take time out to spend quality family time. We are overrun with double duty, trying to balance our family and lives/work life. Family Day is a good reminder that sometimes we need to stop and have some fun with the ones we love the most.
My question is, "is once a year enough time to spend with family?" Being so close to January, a family plan may be a good resolution to make. How could we possibly find time for our family, given our hectic schedules? I think in the end we may find we feel more energized and less laden with parenting guilt.
We all have a good idea of what we would like for our family. Most of us would choose to have a family filled with affection, respect, emotional support and shared experiences; however, there is no magic, one-size-fits-all family parenting plan that you can pull out of a recipe box. Each recipe is unique to your family.
No matter what you decide to do, it may be helpful to think about the following:
• How to be there more. Spending dinners together provides more opportunity to talk with each other. Spending a few minutes to talk before bed may leave everyone resting a little easier. Attending important events helps your family to know you believe in them. You don't have to spend a lot of money or time; your presence is what is important. Be creative about how you can spend time with each other regularly, you might even entertain the idea of reading a story as a family or even play a board game.
• Expressing love and encouragement. Love is the recipe for security and it is the recipe to feeling good. Try focusing on the positive versus the negative. You can place a sticky note on your fridge/mirror to remind you. Think of how it would feel to celebrate goals and attempts at tasks versus always focusing on the outcome. Celebrating everyone's strengths allows your family to feel valued and more apt to try new things. Saying "I love you" often, and giving plenty of physical affection is a win-win scenario. Spending less focus on what they need to clean up/do and sharing some time for conversation will energize your family. How would it feel if you came home to a family that supports, appreciates, and listens to you every night?
• Teach morals and values. Talking openly and honestly yourself and with your children throughout their childhood. Answering questions and discussing topics in age-appropriate ways helps your children to develop morals and values and perhaps understand differences in others. Get involved in what they watch on TV, what they do on the internet, the music they listen to, the friends and the relationships they keep. In the end you can walk away from your children knowing they have the skills to make good decisions and live a happy life with their future families.
So, whatever it is that you decide to do with your family on Family Day, perhaps you can find a moment to talk about a plan for the year. Most of all enjoy your time with your family. Children grow up fast and families move apart. Life is too short to spend it cleaning/working. Now, what are your plans going to be for Family Day?
"I am Not getting a needle"! - How to Prepare Your Child For a Needle at the Doctor's Office
Hannah Sun-Reid, MA, MDE, CPT-S, CTT, CDDP
Infant and Child Development Consultant, Play Therapist
Most parents can talk their children into getting a needle from their doctor, even though tears are common. However, some children show extreme fear of the needle, and nothing seems to ease their mind "I am NOT getting a needle". Parents of these children often become so frustrated and feel powerless over this. They spend a lot of time explaining to their children how quick it is and how little pain it can be, and promise an ice cream or a toy as a reward if the child lets the doctor give him/her the shot. So what is the best way of convincing your child to get the needle?
First, understand that fear of a needle is normal in most situations. Verbalize this to your child; let him/her know that it is normal, and ok for him/her to get scared. However, getting the needle is necessary for his health, and you are going to help him to overcome the fear.
Second, get a doctor's play kit. It is best if you can also get some alcohol pads. Then play doctor with your child. You pretend to be the doctor first, your child the patient. Or if your child is too fearful to even pretend to be a patient, let another parent or a sibling be the patient. Allow your child to watch first. Make the play as real as possible, including all steps; begin at entering the doctor's office. Then you, the "doctor", going through all the steps of giving a needle, using a real alcohol pad, a syringe with water in it (no real needle of course), so the "patient" can feel the sensation of wetness and coldness on his/her arm. Talk gently throughout the process, including "it is going to hurt a little, just like a bug bite, but it will be quick, and it will be over really fast". Afterwards, thank the "patient" for being brave. Switch roles with your child, allowing him or her to be the doctor, to give you the needle. As patient, you should pretend to be a nervous patient so your child has the opportunity as "doctor", to reassure you that you will be ok. Play this game as many times as your child wants.
Most likely your child will have fun playing this game, and he/she will be more prepared to receive the real needle. The rationale behind this activity is to desensitize your child's fear from either not knowing what will happen; or their memory of the shock from last time's sudden pain in their arm. Children are most fearful if they do not know what to expect and they think something bad or painful is going to happen, or they have had an unexpected painful experience. For natural survival reasons, they want to avoid pain; so they refuse the needle. Trying to rationalize with them the importance of getting a needle; trying to convince them that it does not hurt much, will only give them the mental knowledge which is not enough. Fear is not only a mental realization; it is largely a physical sensation and response to a real or perceived threat. Fight or flight is the most common form to deal with fear. Therefore, children who are fearful of needles will either scream or fight, or simply run. Helping children get familiar with the process, knowing what to expect is the best way to lower their emotional stress around the needle business. Once they have practiced giving someone else a needle, it empowers them to be in control of what will happen. Playing the role of helping others to overcome their fear will also give them confidence in themselves. It is important to be honest with your child about what to expect, at least the procedure. Telling your child that needles do not hurt at all will only make your child not trust you next time, and in turn increase your child's fear.
March Break is quickly sneaking up on us. If you are like me you are always looking for ideas to keep your children occupied and not constantly in front of a screen. And if your children are anything like mine, they get tired of doing the same old things all the time. It can be a bit of a challenge to come up with new ideas to keep them busy, especially ones that don't cost an arm and a leg, but a little research prior to the break can make our job as parents a whole lot easier. Following are some great ideas to help keep the children busy during their break.
Build a fort. Not outside – inside. I remember this used to be one of my favourite things - taking the cushions off the couch, setting up a couple of chairs and draping a blanket over everything. Not only was it fun to make but we spent most of the day playing inside our 'fort' which was always off limits to our parents, unless of course they knew the secret password!
Make a book. This is a great activity for any age. Staple a few sheets of blank paper together and let their imaginations run wild. If your child is not printing or writing just yet, have them draw pictures to tell a story. Everyone can settle in after dinner for story time.
Create a collage. This is a project that my daughter still loves to do. Give them a theme to follow or let them choose a theme. All it takes is the old magazines you have lying around the house, a pair of scissors, glue stick, scrap paper and their imagination.
Homemade (edible) Jewelry. All you need for this is some Cheerios, Froot Loops, or any other cereal with a 'hole' that can be strung on thread. They can make their own jewelry that they can show off and then eat!
Balloon Ball. Can't get outside to burn off a little energy? How about a game of balloon ball! Take a couple of paper plates and attach oversized popsicle sticks to each one to make 'paddles'. Blow up a balloon for the ball. Give them a little space and have them use the paddles to hit the balloon back and forth.
Need to get out of the house for a little while, why not visit your local library. Check out your library's website to see what they are offering during March break. Activities can range from crafts to movies to story time.
With a little planning on your part and a little imagination on their part, both you and your children should be able to enjoy a wonderful March Break together.
OK, I admit it. I love to sing. I’m not much for Saturday night karaoke but give me a group of preschoolers at circle time and I’ll tune away with the best of them. Turns out my singing habit has been keeping me healthy and looking good too! Research studies suggest that:
- Singing improves your mood. It releases the same feel-good brain chemicals as eating chocolate
- It is very effective as a stress reliever and releases pain relieving endorphins
- Singing improves your posture
- Singing increases your lung capacity
- Singing clears your sinuses
- Singing improves your mental alertness
- Singing tones your facial and stomach muscles
- Singing boosts your immune system
- Singing increases your confidence
Besides the gift of your time and attention, benefits to your children include:
- Language development
- Cooperation and turn taking
- Body awareness and balance
- Thinking skills
- Memory building
OK!! Everyone join in now…
Mary Had a Little Lamb
Mary had a little lamb, little lamb, little lamb;
Mary had a little lamb, whose fleece was white as snow.
Head and Shoulders
Head and shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes, knees and toes,
Head and shoulders, knees and toes, eyes, ears, mouth and nose.
Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are.
Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are.
I am not sure about you but for me Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year. I enjoy all things that make me feel more and more in the spirit of Christmas. The freshly fallen snow, the sight of a newly decorated Christmas tree, the smell that comes from the kitchen when Christmas cookies are being baked and the warm feeling you get when you are snuggled up on the couch with a cup of hot coco. All of these things get me in the spirit for this special time of the year.
There are so many activities we can do to get us excited for the holiday season. Each one of these activities allows us to create opportunities to use our speech and language skills. Here are some of my favourite Christmas activities. It's my Special Speech and Language Christmas countdown:
On the 12th Day of Christmas: Decorate for the Christmas season. Have your child(ren) help. Make a list of the things you will need to decorate your place. Where you would find it? Talk about the items you have, the colours of the outdoor lights, the way the Christmas garland feels and the shapes of the decorations you hang. What you will do first? What you will save until last?
On the 11th Day of Christmas: For my family, we like the adventure of cutting down the Christmas tree and preparing for the trip. Make a list of all the things you will need to cut down your tree. Have someone draw a map of how to get to your perfect tree. Take turns giving directions and following them, whether it is to turn right and walk three steps or to follow the line of trees and count each one as you pass them to find the right tree for your family. Have fun with the directions and have fun finding you tree.
On the 10th Day of Christmas: Before you decorate you tree, have fun with the family making new decorations. Use some craft paper you have lying around or try a recipe for making a dough ornament. All you need is flour, salt, and water. Help your child(ren) follow the directions. Talk about shapes, sizes and colours you will use to create your ornaments. Bring out the sparkles, glue, markers and paint. You can find the recipe for dough ornaments here.
On the 9th Day of Christmas: Bring out the decorations for the tree and sort them by colours, shapes, sizes and how many you have of each kind. Talk about where you are going to put them using spatial concepts, over/under, on, above/below, behind/ in front. For the younger ones, have a picture list of your ornaments and hide the ornaments around the room. Have your child(ren) match the ornament to their list of pictures. Have them tell you where or what they found for each one.
On the 8th Day of Christmas: Children are usually very curious about Santa's arrival and how he knows where to find them. Have a little fun and create a sign to make sure Santa stops at your house. Get out your craft supplies, such as: glue, stickers, sparkles, craft paper markers and crayons. Create more than one sign, maybe one for the front door that reads "Santa stop here, Please" or one for your child(ren)'s bedroom door that reads "Max is sleeping, be quiet Santa." Take turns discussing what you are putting on your signs and what you will use to make them. If you have something you could use as a pole for your sign you could put it in the front yard.
On the 7th Day of Christmas: Baking. Find your favourite recipe whether it be for cookies or a sweet treat, have your child(ren) join you. Take turns doing the next step in the recipe, let the older ones measure your ingredients and have your young ones stir. After you are all done, talk about the order in which you did things from beginning to end. I enjoy making sugar cookies at this time of year and decorating them with red and green sprinkles. Here is a recipe you can use.
On the 6th Day of Christmas: Christmas Songs. Use some of your child(ren)'s favourite Christmas songs for a sequence activity. Draw some pictures to go along with the songs and practice putting them in order. Do not forget to sing them out loud! Here are a few of my favourites: Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman and The 12 Days of Christmas.
On the 5th Day of Christmas: Snow scavenger hunt. It's so beautiful outside on a sunny winter day with the freshly fallen snow. Why not take advantage of the nice weather, get ready and head outside. Have a family scavenger hunt. Talk about the things you find, asking your child(ren) questions using, what, where, when, why and how. Here are a few things that will get your scavenger hunt started:
• Find some animal tracks in the snow. Who are they from?
• Find a pine cone. Where did it come from?
• Watch for a Chickadee. What sound do they make?
• Find Icicles forming. Where do they come from?
• Find a frozen water fall. Where can we find one?
• A tree with leaves still. When will the leaves fall?
• A plant with berries. What kind of berries are they?
• A bird's nest. How many birds live in the nest?
On the 4th Day of Christmas: Getting ready to build a Snowman. We all know that when we head outside in the winter we bundle up to stay warm. Take this opportunity to make your child(ren) aware of the body parts they are dressing and what articles of clothing go on first, second, third etc.. When you head outside to build that snowman you're going to need some items to dress your snowman and something to create a face. This gives you a chance to talk about his/her eyes, ears, nose and mouth.
On the 3rd Day of Christmas: Christmas book I spy. Pull out your favourite Christmas stories and not only read the story but go back and take turns playing 'I Spy.' Remember to use the phrase 'I spy with my little eyes something__________.' Use different descriptive words and colours to give as clues.
On the 2nd Day of Christmas: Making hot chocolate. Who can go without hot chocolate in the cold weather that the winter season brings? There are steps to be followed when making a great cup of hot chocolate. Find the ingredients to make your hot chocolate and write the steps you will follow to prepare. Do not forget to top it all off with a few marshmallows or a little bit of whipped cream.
On the 1st Day of Christmas: The Night Before Christmas Story Retell. The story of The Night Before Christmas is a classic story that most of you may know without even reading the book. This story is easy to remember and that is why children will have an opportunity to lead in retelling the story. When you read the story, read a line and then let them fill in the next line. When you are all done you can create pictures to have your child(ren) retell the story back to you or any other family member.
Remember as you do these activities that the most important thing in this holiday season is the time you are spending with your family. Get everyone involved; siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles. The Christmas season is about family sharing in the Christmas spirit together. Can you think of any other activities that you can do with your family? How can you incorporate working on speech and language skills with your child(ren)?
Nope, it’s not a new verse for the Hokey Pokey, it’s time to turn the clocks back. This coming Sunday morning – November 5, 2012 – at 2:00 am we turn the clocks back one hour to return to Standard Time. Frankly I don’t intend to be awake at 2:00 am, so will turn back time before I head to bed on Saturday night. FYI to all of you organized daytimer people – Daylight Saving Time returns with a spring ahead of one hour on the clock on March 10, 2013.
Did you know that our practise of changing time began during World War 1 in order to save energy by taking advantage of the later hours of daylight between April and October? I wonder if the toddlers then had the same difficulty adjusting to that one hour difference as some of our toddlers today. And it’s not just toddlers either. Many of us are light sensitive, have trouble with transitions or adapting to a new schedule. Don’t be surprised if it takes up to seven days to adjust for that one hour! Here are some ideas to make it easier:
- Remember that we reset our body clocks with morning sunlight, so get lots of sun the morning after the time change.
- Take advantage of an afternoon walk too – exercise and the waning afternoon sunlight will help your body clock adjust to the ‘new’ bedtime.
- Starting on the Thursday before the time change, adjust bedtime by 15 minutes to build to that one hour difference on Sunday night.
- Many sleep studies suggest that we could all use an additional hour of sleep on a more regular basis, so take advantage and build that extra hour into every night’s sleep.
Other timely reminders:
- Practise extra caution when you are in the car or walking on the street – that earlier dusk decreases visibility for drivers and pedestrians alike.
- Replace batteries in the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home.
- Get to the library and check out a new cookbook for some comfort food-winter time casseroles (oops, that one came from the family – apparently I need to expand my casserole repertoire!)
Can you remember the days of going to the apple orchard to pick apples with your school or enjoying going with your family? How about visiting a pumpkin patch and trying to lift the biggest pumpkin?
These are only two activities that represent Fall. Here are some other ideas that you can do with your child(ren) as we prepare for Thanksgiving and Halloween.
*decorate your house by making a Thankful Leaf Wreath – trace your child's hand onto construction paper, cut the hand print out and glue the handprints onto a paper plate. When the wreath is complete, take turns writing on your hand print what you are Thankful for.
*make a pinecone bird feeder- collect a variety of pinecones, large and small, this will be your feeder. Mix peanut butter and bird seed together, transfer onto a paper plate and roll your pinecone into the mixture. Hang your pinecones outside in the trees or around your windows and enjoy the wonderful birds.
*make a hand print turkey- trace your child's hand, cut out the hand print so you have about 5 prints (may need more or less depending on the size of your child's hand), cut an oval out of brown paper (for the turkey's body), glue your hand prints around the oval. Add eyes, nose and feet onto the body. Here is your turkey.
*bring Fall into your house by stringing leaves together- cut out paper leaves, hole punch each leaf and string them together. For older children, you can try tie dying the leaf.
*go on a nature walk and collect a variety of Fall items, bring them home and make a beautiful centerpiece for you Thanksgiving table.
*make a leaf mask- collect a variety of leaves and glue them onto a mask (which can be bought at the dollar store); another way to make a leaf mask is to trace a pattern of a leaf, cut it out of construction paper, cut out eye, nose and mouth holes and decorate the mask. Cut cord or string and attach it to the mask.
*enjoy making a leaf rubbings collage- collect a variety of different shapes and sizes or leaves, flatten the leaf under a book (or something hard) for about an hour, lay a piece of white paper over the leaf and colour lightly over top of the leaf. Your magical leaf will appear.
*decorate your house by making a Halloween mobile- trace and cut out Halloween items, colour the items and hole punch them. String the spooky items together and hang them from the ceiling, window or down your staircase.
*make a Fall costume- buy or find a green sweater/shirt and black or brown pants. Collect leaves and other fall items (not too heavy), pin the leaves and various fall items to your clothing. Now you are a tree.
*become a Fall fairy- make a wand from a stick, glue on an assortment of leaves to the top of the stick and add some ribbon.Make a crown out of leaves by gluing the leaves onto a long piece of construction paper (cut the paper long enough to go around the child's head). Staple the crown together.
Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Halloween, be safe, enjoy and have fun.
Canada's food guide suggests the following:
- Females ages 19-50 have 7-8 servings of fruits/veggies per day
- Males ages 19-50 have 8-10 servings of fruits/veggies per day
- Children ages 2-3 have 4 servings of fruit/veggies per day
- ages 4-8 have 5 servings of fruits/veggies per day
- ages 9-13 have 6 servings of fruit/veggies per day
- ages 14-18 Females have 7 servings of fruits/veggies per day and Males have 8 servings of fruits/veggies per day
That seems like a lot to eat in one day as well as meats, grains and dairy too!!!
It can be a challenge in any household to try and achieve the task of getting all family members to eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. Sometimes sneaking vegetables into recipes will accomplish this goal and more often than not, go unnoticed.
Shredding carrots and zucchini are two easy ways to add veggies to spaghetti sauce, lasagna and chili recipes. To make things easier I shred extra and put it into the freezer to use at a later time. Shredded carrots and zucchini can also be put into muffin recipes and no one will suspect a thing!!!
Another great trick is putting cauliflower in with your mashed potatoes. Just cut up potatoes and cauliflower , put them in a pot together with water and boil until soft. Drain water off, mash with butter and milk and enjoy!
I have included a couple of yummy fall recipes to try now that the cooler weather is upon us. I hope you enjoy.
WOW! This is great. My own bed! I know, the adults call it a crib and that is ok because it is all mine! I have my pjs on. I can stretch out and there is nothing in my way. No blankets, no toys and no other people. Just Me.
Oh look. If I open my eyes I can see the ceiling. Is that a little dust bunny up there?
And if I turn my head just a little bit I can see them.....My parents. If they reach out they can even touch me. This is so great. I have my own bed and I am safe.
This is all because my parents followed Health Canada's and NCDC's position on Safe Sleep Practices. The ABC's of safe sleep are:
A ~ is for Alone
B ~ is for back to sleep
C ~ is for sleeping in a crib
To do this, follow these four steps to help create a safe sleep environment for your baby, and reduce the risk of SIDS, just like my parents did.
1) Provide a smoke free environment.
2) Always place your baby on their back to sleep – night time and naptime
3) Place your baby to sleep in a crib next to the adult's bed for the first 6 months
4) Provide a safe crib environment that has no toys or loose bedding.
That's it! You did it! Together we can ensure all the babies are sleeping safely.
For more information please go to the Public Health Agency of Canada or talk to any NCDC staff member.