Steps for Healthy Child Development
Infant – Birth to 12 months
Safety – Always put your baby to sleep on his back. This reduces the chance of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Use a Canadian Standards approved car safety seat (infant or convertible) in the rear-facing position every time you travel in a vehicle.
Security – You cannot spoil your baby. Pick her up when she cries. Find different ways to soothe her such as feeding, cuddling, rocking, and walking with her. Hold your baby as often as possible, newborns really love being held skin to skin especially when you are feeding him.
Health – Breast-feed your baby if you can. Take your baby for regular checkups and make sure he gets the immunizations he needs.
Learning – Talk to your baby. Point out familiar objects and name them. Read simple picture books and nursery rhymes to your baby. It is never too early to start.
Adjusting – Respect your baby’s personality and feelings. Each of us responds to people and situations in a unique way. Introduce your baby to grandparents, caregivers and others. This will help him learn how to get along with people later in life.
Toddler – 1 to 3 years
Safety – Childproof your house. Cover electrical outlets. Remove dangerous objects. Keep medicines out of reach. Provide safe opportunities for your child to climb, swing, slide and run.
Security – Tell your child you like the way she is and the things she does. Hug your child when he is angry or frustrated.
Health – Offer drinks from a cup only by 1 year of age. Offer water in between meals when your child is thirsty. Take your child for his/her first dental check by 1 year of age. Brush your child’s teeth with a smear of fluoride toothpaste twice a day. Keep your home and car smoke-free. Make sure your child wears a hat and sun-block when she plays outside in the sun.
Learning – Sing, talk, listen and read to your toddler every day. Enjoy counting and rhyming games together.
Adjusting – Develop unrushed routines for eating, going out, playing, and sleeping. Help your child understand his feelings. For example, say, “I see that you are angry because you don’t want to go. We will come back later.”
Preschooler – 3 to 5 years
Safety – Watch your child at all times when she is around water. Enforce safety rules in driveways, parking lots, and around traffic. Make sure he always wears a helmet when riding a bike.
Security – When your child misbehaves, help her calm down. Show her that you love her but don’t accept the behaviour. Hang his artwork on the wall. Tell him you like his dancing and singing.
Health – Take him to the dentist and get his vision and hearing checked before he starts school. Brush your child’s teeth with a pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste twice a day. Take your child for regular dental checkups twice a year. Make sure she has lots of opportunities to be physically active. Offer water in between meals when your child is thirsty.
Learning – Use everyday situations to teach opposites, time, and how the calendar works. Limit the amount of time your child watches television. Watch television with her.
Adjusting – Give her lots of chances to play with other children. Your child’s fears and nightmares are real to him. Comfort him and help him find ways to feel better
Taking Care of You
Parenting is a joy and a challenge! Night-time crying, temper tantrums, and the sheer energy of a five-year-old can leave you feeling tired and upset. When you feel this way, it’s hard to be at your best. Parenting will be a joyful process when you take care of yourself, as well as your child. Take a break once in a while. Go out with friends or your partner. Ask a friend, family or someone you trust to stay with your child. Enjoy music and other activities you like. Get your parenting questions answered by visiting a community resource. Go for walks with your child and meet other parents.
See your doctor if you are sick, feel sad for more than two weeks or if you are worried that your behaviour may harm your child.
This section courtesy of the Government of Ontario Early Years website.
Getting Ready for Kindergarten
Many parents are concerned that their child may begin Kindergarten without the developmental skills that will make that first school year a success. Eighty percent of children on the North Shore begin Kindergarten with the skills they will need. However, there are many enjoyable learning activities that can strengthen these early skills, and increase the bond between parent and child at the same time.
• Ask the Children’s Librarian at your local public library for a list of books appropriate for four and five year olds
• Get a library card for your child, and make regular visits to the library to choose books together
• Read with your child every day
• Play card games that encourage counting and the recognition of number sets. “Go Fish”, “Memory” and “Snap” are all simple games that all can enjoy.
• Use numbers when engaging your child in helpful activities (“Put six knives on the table”; “Take two cookies to Dad”; “Find ten red napkins”)
• Teach your child how to take off a jacket, hang it up, and put it back on again. Try to buy jackets with big, strong zippers that a child can manage independently
• Teach your child to put on their own socks and shoes. Most four-year-olds will need help with laces, but can manage the rest with practice
• Teach your child how to peel a banana, open a yogurt tube or remove a snap-on lid from a snack container. This will help with snack and lunch periods, when independence is important.
• Visit Maplewood Farm, travel on the Sea Bus, and visit a variety of North Shore parks. Talk about what you see.
• Give your child group learning experiences through StrongStart, preschool or community recreation centre programs. Socializing with peers, listening for instructions, and engaging in shared activities is terrific preparation for Kindergarten