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Outdoor safety tips for preschoolers in the wintertime

by Maxine
Posted January 3 2012 05:22pm
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Going on an outdoor half day or full day trip with the kids? Here are some things to keep in mind.

Clothing

Keep everyone warm from head to toe. There's nothing worse than you or the kids being cold. Check the weather for the area you are planning to visit – temperatures can vary significantly across relatively small distances.

Be prepared with extra layers. Even after checking the weather and dressing appropriately, you may reach your destination and realize it is chillier than expected. Keep extra layers in the car that can easily be added under your child's snowsuit.

If there is snow, make sure things are waterproof. Kids of all ages love the snow – rolling in it, playing with it, and generally covering themselves in it. Make sure that snowsuits, boots, and especially mittens are waterproof. Labels will indicate if the garment is waterproof. If this is not stated on the label, the item is likely not waterproof. For your young day tripper, mittens are best rather than gloves.

Check for wetness at lunch. It's not unusual in the winter for people, including children, to sweat if they have been physically active. This can often make clothing wet. If you are continuing in the afternoon, make sure clothes are dry – especially socks and mittens. Keep extras with you to change into.

Put some tissue into your child's pockets – it may be needed along the way.

Keep some lip balm with you in case of chapped lips.

In the Car

Weather during winter is unpredictable so better to be prepared. Keep extra snacks (including water) and blankets in the car as well as an emergency kit.

Keep some age appropriate activities your child can use to pass the time in case of traffic or other unexpected delays.

Adjust your child's clothing to meet the climate of the car. If the kids have been in snowpants and many layers during the day, reduce the number of layers for the car ride home. Hot kids soon become cranky kids and our ability to respond while driving is limited.

Take along some of the kids' favourite music/CDs. A sing song can make the ride fun for everyone.

Winter Activities for the Family

Tobogganing is a great family activity that everyone can take part in. Some things to remember:

  • Dress warmly ensuring that coats, mittens and boots are waterproof.
  • Check in with your child frequently to ensure s/he is warm and dry.
  • Have your child wear a helmet that is approved for outdoor winter activities.
  • Children 5 years old and under should not go down alone. This means you will need a toboggan that can seat two.
  • Try to pick a hill that isn't filled with skiers and others who may overwhelm a young child.
  • Toboggan away from roads and any bodies of water.
  • Ensure the hill is clear of any obstacles including large trees or rocks.
  • Also ensure there is adult supervision with young children.

Skating is another family activity that is often close to home too! Remember to:

  • Dress warmly ensuring that coats, mittens and boots are waterproof.
  • Check in with your child frequently to ensure s/he is warm and dry.
  • Have your child wear a helmet that has a mouthguard on it.
  • Make sure an adult has checked the ice if skating on lakes or ponds.
  • If you are introducing your child to skating for the first time, choose a rink that is not too crowded or overwhelming for your child.
  • Ensure there is adult supervision if you are not joining your child.

Winter activities can be loads fun so long as you are prepared and everyone is warm.

What do you do to prepare your preschooler for outdoor activities in the wintertime? Let other parents know and post a comment below!

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Encouraging your quiet toddler to speak

by Maxine
Posted January 4 2012 12:41pm
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To help your child to talk more, it's a good idea to talk to her whenever you're together, carrying on a flow of conversation about what you're doing, and about what she is doing. Try to be animated, using gestures and lots of expression in your voice. Emphasize important words and phrases. But you should pause frequently and for what may seem to be a long wait, so your child has a chance to digest what you have said and to respond. It also helps to have lots of books around and to read to your child often.

Try to encourage his talking by asking some open-ended questions (such as "How do you...?" or "What do you think?") or by talking about subjects he is interested in. Sometimes, for very quiet children, a good beginning is to ask him to fill in words in familiar rhymes or stories that they know by heart. Really listen to your child, getting down at his eye level and looking at him when he talks. When playing together, follow your child's lead and talk about what you're playing with.

It may be tough, but try not to get frustrated by what sounds like "baby talk" from your child. And don't correct your child's speech too much. The best thing you can do is set a good example in the way you talk. If you are concerned that your child is behind in language, you may want to call the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists at 1-800-259-8519.

Do you have a quiet child? Do you find it hard to encourage him to speak? Share your experiences with other parents by leaving a comment below.

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Understanding what your toddler is saying

by Maxine
Posted January 4 2012 08:36pm
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Learning to talk is a gradual process. It's common for a child's speech to become less clear as she tries to use more words with more difficult sounds, because these require more effort and motor control.

Your child may in fact end up saying as little as possible during different stages of learning to talk, or he may begin to act up, out of his frustration at not being able to communicate the way he'd like.

It is very important for parents to pay close attention to their child's attempts to communicate, and to encourage these attempts. Here are some tips to use if you're having trouble understanding what your child is trying to say:

If you don't understand what your child is saying, encourage her to repeat it by saying things like "Tell me again" or "Tell me more."

If you got part of what your child said, repeat the part that you understood, and ask him to fill in the missing parts.

Watch your child closely. Watch for eye movements or gestures that might give you a hint about what she is trying to say.

You can also ask your child for help, and make it appear like you're having trouble hearing by saying things like "I didn't quite hear that" and ask him to say it again.

If after all of your attempts, you still can't understand what your child is trying to tell you, you may have to apologetically say that you do not understand.

Usually children's speech improves over time. But if you are concerned that your child's speech isn't improving or if your child keeps acting up out of frustration over not being able to be understood, you may want to discuss this with your child's doctor or call the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists at 1-800-259-8519, and they will guide you to an appropriate referral.

Do you ever have trouble understanding what your child is trying to say? Share your experience with other parents by leaving a comment below!

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Ten Things to Remember When Your Child is a Baby

by Maxine
Posted July 30 2010 06:57pm
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1. Long before your baby can talk, he is learning about language.

He is sending you clues about what he needs, wants and feels. He will test different cries, gurgles and facial expressions to see how you respond. Then he’ll keep doing the ones that get the results he wants. As he learns that he can make things happen, he will develop confidence and want to try new things. Keep on talking with your baby. Try repeating the sounds he makes and adding new ones.

2. Learning to “read” your baby is fun, but can be a challenge.

She smiles – you smile back. She reaches out – you touch her hand. If she turns her head away when you speak, that can hurt you. But she may be telling you she is tired. Or maybe she needs your voice to be softer. She may just want to be left alone for a moment. It takes trial and error to figure out what your baby is trying to tell you, so be patient.

3. Babies experience relationships through their senses.

The best way to tell your baby you love him is with lots of talking, cuddling and eye contact. You cannot always be there when he wants a hug. But when he’s “asking” for a hug, do your best to deliver.

4. Your baby forms a secure attachment to you as you care for her.

Through daily routines, your baby learns that she can rely on you. She gains a feeling of safety. This trusting attachment sets the basis for her future relationships.

5. You cannot spoil your baby by responding to his needs.

Babies are born with a need for human contact. In the process of providing it, you learn more about him, and he learns more about you. He learns that he can count on you.

6. Special moments need time.

Not all of your one-on-one moments with your baby will be happy and special. You need to spend lots of time getting used to each other for those special moments to happen. They will happen more if you focus on your child while doing everyday things.

7. Babies are most ready to learn when they are calm and alert, in a quiet environment.

This is a good time to spend with your baby and to play.

8. Toys can’t take your place.

Giving your baby toys and other safe things to play with is good for her development. But playing WITH your child is even more important to her well-being.

9. Even when you are really busy, it’s important to make time for your baby.

Housework isn’t the top priority. If you have a partner, try to take turns with chores and with spending time with your baby. Build a circle of friends, relatives and neighbours. We can all use a bit of help!

10. You don’t have to be perfect to be a terrific parent.

So relax. And your child doesn’t have to be perfect to be a terrific child. You will both make mistakes, and you will both recover. So enjoy each other now because babies grow up quickly!

Also see: 

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