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Your preschooler and learning more than one language

by Maxine
Posted January 3 2012 04:21pm
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Fortunately, most young children can learn two or more languages as they grow up, especially as preschoolers in the years before they go to school. They might show slight delays in vocabulary growth in each language at first, because they are learning two or more sets of words at once. But by the time they have reached grade five, they often have a more advanced knowledge of language than other children who speak only one language.

When a child is learning two languages, she may mix words from both languages into her sentences, but she will eventually learn to separate the languages correctly.

You should go ahead and speak the language you are comfortable with to your child. It's also good to read to him in that language, and use it when you are playing with him, as well.

And remember, it's much better to speak to your child in your native language often than to talk very little because you think you should only speak in English or only French, and you aren't comfortable doing so.

Click here for more on teaching your preschooler to speak two languages.

Do you speak more than one language at home? Are you encouraging your preschooler to speak both? Post a comment and share your strategies with other parents.

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What you should know about your baby’s oral health

by Maxine
Posted January 3 2012 12:58pm
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This educational video is intended for new parents and parents of young children and also for anybody responsible for the care of young children. It is intended to answer questions that are most frequently asked regarding a child's oral health.

This video will address the following topics:

  • The Role of Healthy Pregnancy in the Development of Baby Teeth
  • Stages of Baby Tooth Development
  • Healthy Nutrition for Healthy Baby Teeth
  • Oral Hygiene
  • Fluoride: Benefits and Proper Use
  • Where Do Bacteria in the Mouth Come From?
  • Night Feeding Habits
  • Early Baby Tooth Decay
  • Oral Habits
  • Prevention of Injuries
  • The Baby's First Dental Visit
  • Regular Dental Visits

Watch the video here! (approx 19 mins).

If you cannot view the video by clicking the link above, click here to download the QuickTime free player.

 


 

Content provided by:
Dr. Gajanan (Kiran) Kulkarni,  BDS, LL B, M Sc, D Ped Dent, Ph D, FRCD(C)
Associate Professor
Pediatric and Preventive Dentistry
Faculty of Dentistry
University of Toronto

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Living smoke-free with your baby

by Maxine
Posted January 2 2012 04:10pm
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Breathing in second-hand smoke causes over 1,100 deaths in Canadian non-smokers from lung cancer and heart disease every year. A Health Canada Report in 2007, noted that 7% of Canadian children under 12 years old were exposed to second-hand smoke from cigarettes, cigars or pipes. Although this number is dropping, it still means that about 300,000 children under age 12 continue to be exposed regularly to second-hand smoke.

The good news is that most Canadian families agree they should avoid exposure to second-hand smoke in their home and car. Currently, four out of five (82%) Canadian homes already restrict smoking in some way and parents report there is general agreement about these restrictions among family members. Parents also report that the primary reason they want to cut back on the amount of second-hand smoke in their home is because of their children.

Tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals which are known to be linked to cancer. Second hand smoke also contains these chemicals; 2/3 of the smoke from a burning cigarette remains in the environment such as a room or a car-the other 1/3 is inhaled by the smoker. Third hand smoke also contains the same chemicals. This is the smoke that gets trapped in hair, skin, fabric, carpets, dust and toys; which accumulates over time. Babies and young children may take in more third hand smoke because they put their hands in their mouth and they spend more time playing on the floor.

Children are more vulnerable to the effects of second-hand smoke because:

  • They breathe faster than an adult and will breathe in more air relative to their weight and, therefore, absorb more toxins.
  • Their immune systems are less developed than an adult and their lungs are still developing.
  • Their airways are smaller and more sensitive to impurities in the air.
  • Children may not be able to move to a less smoky environment (e.g. go to a different room or get out of the car).
  • Exposure to second-hand smoke in children has been linked with health problems such as colds and upper respiratory infections, bronchitis, croup, ear infections, asthma and allergies.
  • Babies exposed to second-hand smoke are more at risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

What do these statistics mean to you as a parent? Well, for one thing, they mean that you are not alone. Across Canada, hundreds of thousands of families are struggling with the issue of second-hand smoke and are looking for ways to protect their children from its harmful effects. For a guide on how to make your home and car smoke free visit Health Canada’s Website or visit The Canadian Lung Association website which has tips on how to protect yourself from Second and Third Hand Smoke.

Visit Health Canada's website for A Guide for Parents: Making Home and Car Smoke-Free.

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Encouraging your toddler to eat healthy

by Maxine
Posted December 16 2010 06:48pm
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Do you have trouble getting your toddler to enjoy healthy foods? Are you looking for suggestions on how you can encourage your child to develop healthy eating habits? Learn more about what our experts have to say. 

Establish a routine for meals and snacks. Try to feed your child at times when he is alert, and not too tired to eat or cooperate.

Use a variety of foods from the four food group. Remember that children, like adults, have their own likes and dislikes, which may change over time. If your child will not eat certain foods (such as yellow vegetables) try to "hide them" in a soup or casserole.

Involve your child in the food preparation. For example, he can help to set the table, or pour and mix ingredients - your child will feel so proud of his participation, that he will be more likely to eat what he has helped to prepare.

Serve new foods alongside familiar foods. This encourages your child to enjoy eating a variety of foods and establish good manners.

Create a pleasant environment for your child at mealtime. Make sure she is comfortable (for example, young children will usually need a booster seat).

Set reasonable expectations, such as a realistic sense of how long your child can sit at one time, or the amount of food that he can eat during a meal or snack time. 

Try not to show anxiety about what foods your child is or is not eating. Children learn quickly that food can be used as a weapon for getting their way.

Don't forget that children's appetites vary. Expect the appetite of your two-year old to be reduced, since he is now growing at a slower rate than before, and he is much more interested in exploring his surroundings instead of sitting in one place. Children should eat to satisfy their hunger, not to gain anyone's approval.

Try to sit and eat as a family. This establishes mealtimes as pleasant social occasions.

Offer your child the same food that everyone else at the table is eating, as long as it is age-appropriate.

Present food in a form your child can cope with at her level of skill and independence. Using child-sized, unbreakable utensils, dishes and cups will help encourage your child to develop the skills she needs to learn to feed herself.

Understand that children need practice. Using a spoon, fork and cup with control and confidence takes years of practice.

Remember that children tend to be messy. They may eat with their fingers and hands, spill things and can be easily distracted.

Limit the number of choices at a meal. Too many choices can be overwhelming. Foods that are rejected by your child should be re-introduced at a later time.

Involve your child in making decisions about meals so his likes are reflected in the menu. Try to always include one thing your child likes eating.

Buy or make a placemat for your child's place at the table. 

 

How do you encourage your toddler to eat healthy? What have you found works best for your family? Share your experience with other parents by leaving a comment below!

 

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