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    Parenting, Green Living and Aging Well.

    Parenting, Green Living and Family

    Parenting, Green Living and Family

    The Preschool Stage

    Green Family Hub

    Preschooler Generational Capture | Images: Aviva Home Health

    Preschooler Generational Capture | Images: Aviva Home Health

    The preschooler, age three to five years, is a child who continues to want independence, and also enjoys being with others. Preschoolers are filled with curiosity, enthusiasm, and a zest for exploring. During these years, all areas of development undergo rapid changes. All of this behavior and thinking will help your youngster build a secure foundation as he or she emerges into the special world of kindergarten.

    Listed below are some characteristics of these children:

    The Three Year Old

     Physical development milestones 

    • Growth slows but is steady
    • Walks up and down stairs using alternating feet
    • Can hop on one foot
    • Jumps in place with ease
    • Throws ball overhand
    • Holds crayon with thumb and fore fingers, not a fist as when younger
    • Enjoys building with blocks, turning pages of a book one at a time, and playing with play dough
    • Enjoys running, painting and drawing
    • Jumps over objects and lands on both feet
    • Threads small beads onto string
    • Reproduces letters and shapes
    • Climbs trees, ladder, & play equipment easily
    • Petals and steers a tricycle with ease
    • Can walk on a straight line
    • Grows about 2 inches per year

     Cognitive development milestones

    • Attention span is increasing
    • Listens with interest to age appropriate stories - likes books
    • Interested in realistic play (feeding the cat, raking the leaves, etc.)
    • Draws shapes and puts them together to form trees, people, objects
    • Sorts objects according to color, shape, or use
    • Can name and match primary colors
    • May know numbers up to four
    • Can identify "more": cars, or dogs
    • Has some understanding of time (today, two days, nap time)
    • Matches a set of objects to a numeral (3 coins to the numeral 3)
    • Interested in how things grow and how things work
    • Attention span continues to increase
    • Understands the words tallest, biggest, same, and more
    • May rote count up to 20
    • May count sets of objects up to 7
    • Interested in books
    • May recognize a few printed words
    • Interested in letters and naming them
    • Can stack blocks from largest to smallest

     Language development milestones

    • Talks about the actions of others, even when they are not present ("Daddy is moving the grass.")
    • Can answer simple questions correctly
    • Asks for specific objects or help
    • Remembers and tells favorite stories
    • Vocabulary is increasing and is about 80% understandable
    • May know 300 to 1000 words
    • Uses more nouns, adjectives, and verbs in speaking
    • Joins in social conversation (Please! Hi! Bye! Thank you!)
    • Enjoys talking with others
    • Can talk on and on and on
    • Gives first name, last name, sex, siblings name, or telephone number when asked
    • Begins to use past tense verbs (Mommy closed the car door)
    • Changes tone of voice when talking with others - To baby, "Milk gone?" To mother: "Did Toby drink all of his milk?"
    • Can recite and sing simple songs or rhymes
    • Speech is about 95% understandable
    • Understands and uses prepositions like "on", "in," and "under"

     Social development milestones

    • Beginning to understand taking turns, but may not always want to
    • Talks to self, toy or pet
    • May have nightmares or fears
    • Enjoys simple games or small group activities
    • Friendly, laughs often
    • Attention span increasing: may sit for up to 10 minutes at an activity
    • May observe others children playing, join in, or just play beside them
    • Likes to be near other people
    • May still have a security blanket for comfort
    • Shows affection toward others
    • Exaggerates about what may have happened
    • May not always take turns easily or share quickly
    • Uses verbal rather than physical aggression against others
    • Establishes friendships with other children
    • Enjoys make believe activities
    • Tattles on other children
    • Participates in group activities
    • Cooperates with others
    • May still tantrum over minor frustrations
    • Moods can change quickly
    • Friendly and outgoing

    Daily Routines

    Daily routines for three and four year olds are important in helping them to understand what will come next. For instance, an evening routine could be established after the dinner hour that includes playtime, snack, bath, reading a story, brushing teeth, and then bed. A fairly similar routine from day to day will help the preschooler prepare himself/herself for "what comes next." Routines can be established for eating, dressing, toileting, and play activities.

     The Four Year Old

    Physical development milestones

    • Grows about 2 inches per year
    • Can walk on a straight line
    • Pedals and steers a tricycle with ease
    • Climbs ladders & play equipment easily
    • Reproduces letter and shapes
    • Threads small beads onto string
    • Jumps over objects and lands on both feet

    Cognitive development milestones

    • Can stack blocks from largest to smallest
    • Interested in letters and naming them
    • May recognize a few printed words
    • Interested in books
    • May count sets of objects up to 7
    • May rote count up to 20  
    • Understands the word's: tallest, biggest, same and more
    • Attention span continue to increase
    • Interested in how things grow and how things work
    • Matches a set of objects to a numeral (3 coins to the numeral 3)  
    • Approaches problems from a single point of view

    • Begins to have a clearer sense of time

    • Follows three-part commands

    • Recalls parts of a story

    • Understands the concept of same/different

    • Engages in fantasy play

     Language development milestones

    • Understands and uses prepositions like "on", "in", and "under"
    • Speech is about 95% understandable
    • Can recite and sing simple songs or rhymes
    • Changes tone of voice when talking with other: Ex. To Baby - "Milk gone?, To Mother - "Did Toby Drink his milk?"
    • Begins to use past tense verbs Ex. "Mommy closed the door"
    • Understands the concepts of “same” and “different”

    • Has mastered some basic rules of grammar

    • Speaks in sentences of five to six words

    • Speaks clearly enough for strangers to understand

    • Tells stories

    • Correctly names some colors

    • Understands the concept of counting and may know a few numbers

     Social development milestones

    • Friendly and outgoing
    • Moods can change quickly
    • May still tantrum over minor frustrations
    • Cooperates with others
    • Participates in group activities  
    • May tattles on other children 
    • Enjoys make believe activities
    • Establishes friendships with other children
    • Uses verbal rather than physical aggression against other
    • May not always take turns easily or share quickly
    • Exaggerates about what may happened
    • Interested in new experiences

    • Cooperates with other children

    • Plays “Mom” or “Dad”

    • Increasingly inventive in fantasy play

    • Dresses and undresses

    • Negotiates solutions to conflicts

    • More independent

    • Imagines that many unfamiliar images may be “monsters”

    • Views self as a whole person involving body, mind, and feelings

    • Often cannot distinguish between fantasy and reality

    Developmental Health Watch

    The 3 to 4 Year Old

    Because each child develops in his own particular manner, it’s impossible to tell exactly when or how he’ll perfect a given skill. The developmental milestones listed here will give you a general idea of the changes you can expect as your child gets older, but don’t be alarmed if his development takes a slightly different course. Alert your pediatrician, however, if your child displays any of the following signs of possible developmental delay for this age range.

    • Cannot throw a ball overhand

    • Cannot jump in place

    • Cannot ride a tricycle

    • Cannot grasp a crayon between thumb and fingers

    • Has difficulty scribbling

    • Cannot stack four blocks

    • Still clings or cries whenever his parents leave him

    • Shows no interest in interactive games

    • Ignores other children

    • Doesn’t respond to people outside the family

    • Doesn’t engage in fantasy play

    • Resists dressing, sleeping, using the toilet

    • Lashes out without any self-control when angry or upset

    • Cannot copy a circle

    • Doesn’t use sentences of more than three words

    • Doesn’t use “me” and “you” appropriately

    Preschooler developmental milestones

    The 4 to 5 Year Old

    Most children at this age begin to develop greater independence, self-control, and creativity. They are content to play with their toys for longer periods of time, are eager to try new things, and when they get frustrated, are better able to express their emotions.  Although children grow and develop at their own pace, your child will likely achieve most of the following developmental milestones before he or she turns 6 years old.

    Here are some other milestones to look for.

    Physical development milestones

    • Stands on one foot for ten seconds or longerHops
    • somersaultsSwings
    • climbs with more coordination
    • May be able to skip

    Cognitive development milestones

    • Can count ten or more objects
    • Correctly names at least four
    • Better understands the concept of time
    • Knows about things used every day in the home (money, food, appliances)

    Language development milestones

    • Recalls part of a story
    • Speaks sentences of more than five words
    • Uses future tense
    • Tells longer stories
    • Says name and address

    Social development milestones

    • Wants to please friends
    • Wants to be like her friends
    • More likely to agree to rules
    • Likes to sing, dance, and act
    • Shows more independence and may even visit a next-door neighbor by themselves
    • Aware of sexuality
    • Able to distinguish fantasy from reality
    • Sometimes demanding at times yet eagerly cooperative

    Developmental health watch

    Because each child develops in her own particular manner, it’s impossible to predict exactly when or how your own preschooler will perfect a given skill. The developmental milestones listed here will give you a general idea of the changes you can expect as your child gets older, but don’t be alarmed if her development takes a slightly different course. Alert your pediatrician, however, if your child displays any of the following signs of possible developmental delay for this age range.

    • Exhibits extremely fearful or timid behavior
    • Exhibits extremely aggressive behavior 
    • unable to separate from parents without major protests
    • easily distracted and unable to concentrate on any single activity for more than five minutes
    • Shows little interest in playing with other children
    • Refuses to respond to people in general, or responds only superficially
    • Rarely uses fantasy or imitation in play
    • Seems unhappy or sad much of the time
    • Doesn’t engage in a variety of activities
    • Avoids or seems aloof with other children and adults
    • Doesn’t express a wide range of emotions
    • Has trouble eating, sleeping, or using the toilet
    • Seems unusually passive
    • Cannot understand two-part commands using prepositions (“Put the cup on the table”; “Get the ball under the couch.”)
    • Can’t correctly give her first and last name
    • Doesn’t use plurals or past tense properly when speaking
    • Doesn’t talk about her daily activities and experiences
    • Cannot build a tower of six to eight blocks
    • Seems uncomfortable holding a crayon
    • Has trouble taking off her clothing
    • Cannot brush her teeth efficiently
    • Cannot wash and dry her hands
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    The Toddlerhood Stage

    Green Family Hub

    Kid Friendly Eats | Images: Aviva Home Health 

    Kid Friendly Eats | Images: Aviva Home Health 

    The toddler years are a time when the young child wants to become independent.  "I do it," or "me do it." All toddlers come n all shapes and sizes, but toddler development at 12-15 months typically has a few things in common.  Your toddler most likely will be a busy little person - they may enjoy playing and loves experimenting by shaking, banging, throwing and dropping things.  They Gentle, consistent care can encourage the toddler to learn to trust others, as well as safely moving towards more independent behavior. This is when they are trying new things out and are learning from their little mistakes. 

    This is also an important time for your toddler socially and emotionally, as separation anxiety starts to peak from 14 months. Your little ones will most likely begin to show big feelings and empathy! For example, they might look sad or get upset when they see someone else crying.  Empathy is about understanding how others night be feeling - a cruclal part of forming relationships with people as your child gets older.

    Which is quite remarkable and heart warming - for years, scientists didn't think young children could get beyond their own feelings or needs. Now we know they can and research shows that during the second year of life children begin to devlop concern for other people, and often try to comfort them. It's a very unique and important part of child's emotional development.

    Here a few simple things you can do to help your toddler's development when at these ages and stages:

    14 TO 18 MONTHS

    Focus for this age

    • Learns to walk independently
    • Use of words in sentences increases
    • Needs supervision in play and in exploring

    Emotional development milestones

    • Smiles when happy, cries when sad or frustrated.
    • Can be comforted more easily than during infancy

    Social development milestones

    • Enjoys being around and with people
    • Becomes upset when separated from parent(s)
    • Easily imitates others
    • Will play alone on floor with toys
    • Recognizes self in mirror

    Physical development milestones

    • May weigh 17-30 pounds
    • Height can range from 27 to 35 inches
    • Likes to push, pull or dump things
    • Waves bye-bye and claps hands
    • Crawls, stands alone, walks, & sits down easily
    • Carries small objects, often in each hand
    • Rolls a ball to an adult
    • Holds spoon, but may have difficulty getting spoon to mouth

    Language/intellectual development milestones

    • Says as many as 20 understandable words
    • Looks at person who is talking to him
    • Looks for objects that are out of sight
    • Understands and follows 1-step directions
    • Likes to take things apart

    What Parents Can Do...

    • Show pleasure in toddler's abilities
    • Safety proof the home (cover outlets, put away breakables, check safety of plants)
    • Watch for small objects that toddler can choke on - remove from play area
    • Read to toddler using simple books
    • Play simple games
    • Take walks together
    • Name objects you see
    • Encourage toddler to play games like naming and finding (body parts, pictures of toys or fruit or animals)

    Toys for Toddlers

    Make playtime safe and opt for unfinished (or no-VOC paint) solid wood toys and PVC-Free Plastic Toys.  Toddlers typically love playing with small tower of blocks, they love to scribble with pens and crayons and put things in baskets.

    • Small Riding Toys
    • Push & Pull Toys & Balls
    • Tacking or Nesting Toys
    • Pictures and Books
    • Crayons (With Adult Supervision)
    • Puzzles, 2-6 Large Pieces
    • Large Cardboard Box to Climb Into
    • Shape Boxes or Balls (To Drop Blocks Into)

    18 TO 24 MONTHS

    Focus for this age

    • Becoming more independent
    • Enjoys imitating everything
    • Requires constant supervision

    Emotional development milestones

    • May use "No" often (sign of independence)
    • Can get angry and have temper tantrums
    • Acts shy around strangers
    • Will comfort a sad friend or parent

    Social development milestones

    • Has difficulty sharing.
    • Very possessive ("my toy," or "me want it.")
    • Has difficulty waiting and wants things now
    • Enjoys adult attention
    • Often unable to remember rules
    • Can get physically aggressive when frustrated
    • Refers to self by name

    Physical development milestones

    • Feeds self with a spoon (may be messy)
    • Stacks blocks (2-3), tosses or rolls a ball, & enjoys moving small-wheeled toys
    • Weight: 20-32 pounds; Height: 30-37 inches
    • Becoming aware of wet/dirty diaper - showing an interest in potty and using potty

    Language/intellectual development milestones

    • Has vocabulary of several hundred words
    • Uses 2-3 word sentences
    • Talks to self & jabbers with expression
    • Enjoys rhymes, stories, singing, & echoes words that are spoken by others

    What Parents Can Do...

    • Play helps children to grow and learn about what they can do.
    • What are they learning while they play?

    Watch them concentrate as they:

    • Figure out how things work.
    • Pick up new words and ideas.
    • Build strong muscles they can control.
    • Solve problems.
    • Use their imagination.
    • Learn how to cooperate with others.
    • Learn how to use tools and objects.
    • Puzzles and Books
    • Large Spools or Beads to String
    • Soft Dough Clay
    • Bells, Music Toys
    • Small Broom, Sponge, Pots and pans
    • Wagon, Riding Toys
    • Toy Telephone
    • Washable Doll, Animal, or Cloth Objects

    Toys for Toddlers

    • Sorting Box, Holes With Pegs
    • Puzzles and Books
    • Large Spools or Beads to String
    • Soft Dough Clay
    • Bells, Music Toys
    • Small Broom, Sponge, Pots and pans
    • Wagon, Riding Toys
    • Toy Telephone
    • Washable Doll, Animal, or Cloth Objects

     

    2-3 YEAR OLDS

    Physical development milestones

    • Like to run, jump, climb, and swing
    • May show interest in toilet training
    • Cuts last of baby teeth (20)
    • Reaches ½ of adult height by 2 ½ years
    • May continue to use both hands equally well
    • Can scribble and make marks on paper - may miss paper and mark on table or floor
    • Can put clothes on, but not able to button or snap
    • Will explore toys and objects by sorting, poking, pulling, or imitating others

    Social/emotional development milestones

    • Enjoys being near and playing beside others. 
    • Wants to do it himself
    • Routines are important and builds secure feelings
    • May develop fears
    • Moves to extremes - from loveable to demanding
    • Will feel positive or negative about self-based on feedback from others
    • Impulsive, easily distracted, & excitable
    • Can become easily frustrated with activities/people
    • Likes people

    Language/intellectual development milestones

    • Can speak in 2-3 word sentences
    • May know 200 to 1000 words, but does not speak them all
    • Enjoys talking
    • Uses "I," "me," "mine," and "you" often
    • Remembers where objects are when named
    • Remembers routines, past events, & names of people
    • May identify the picture with the object (apple in book with the fruit on the table)

    What Parents Can do...

    • Spend time talking and playing with your child
    • Keep expectations reasonable
    • Allow child to make choices
    • Read books with simple pictures and rhyming words
    • Let your child play with other children
    • Describe foods, play, or any new experience to your child
    • Encourage your child to "help" you (pick up toys, set the table, rake the leaves)

    Although two-year-olds can do many things by themselves, they still need supervision. They are curious. This curiosity can endanger them when they see a ladder to climb, matches on a counter, or knives in a drawer. Be aware of where your youngster is when he/she is not beside you

    Toys for Twos

    • Non-Toxic Markers
    • Big Beads to String
    • Musical Toys
    • Stuffed Animals
    • Wagons
    • Ball, Wheeled Toys, Trucks, Cars
    • Books to Read
    • Toys to Put Together and Pull Apart
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    The Babyhood Stage

    Green Family Hub

    The BabyHood Stage | Images: Aviva Home Health

    Babyhood is a time when babies are totally dependent upon their parents and caregivers for their protection and care.  Consistent, adequate, gentle care can encourage the infant to develop the capacity to trust people.

     

    BIRTH TO 4 MONTHS

    Focus for this age

    • Physical care
    • Bonding to mother
    • Visual stimulation
    • Gentle physical handling

    Emotional development milestones

    • Attachment of baby to adult(s) taking place
    • Early trust develops
    • Eating/sleeping schedules vary greatly
    • By 4 months can be comforted when unhappy

    Social development milestones

    • Turns head toward familiar voice
    • Will begin to smile when talked with or held
    • By two months shows excitement and pleasure when held
    • Visually attracted to bright colors and contrasts
    • By two months may gurgle to get attention
    • Appears to enjoy being held

    Physical development milestones

    • By 6-8 weeks can move head from side to side
    • Can lift head when placed on tummy by about 6 weeks
    • Begins to notice hands by around 6 weeks
    • May roll over by 3-4 months

    Language/intellectual development milestones

    • Crying is main source of communication (when wet, hungry, frightened, uncomfortable, or lonely)
    • Make gurgle throaty sounds by 4 months

    What Parents Can Do...

    • Talk to baby
    • Hold baby face to face, especially during the first month, when singing or talking
    • Be flexible about eating and sleeping routines
    • Hold baby during feeding times
    • Take baby for walks and talk about the sounds, trees, etc.
    • Have playtime with baby: peek-a-boo, read stories, talk and touch body parts (nose, chin, hand)
    • Shake a rattle and slowly move it so baby follows with his/her eyes

     

    Toys for Babies

    Make playtime safer and opt for unfinished (or no-VOC paint) solid wood toys, and PVC-Free plastic toys.  Conventional stuffed toys are also notorious for being stuffed with off-gassing foam fillers, not the kind of stuff you want your children to be playing, cuddling or sleeping with!

    Consider shopping for stuffed toys that are made of organic, untreated cotton, hemp, or wool materials.  Safer stuffed toys usually mean that they have not been treated with any nasty flame retardants but you just to be safe you can always search for product names, brands or toy types on HealthyStuff.org to see if testing has revealed any recalls or toxic chemicals. 

    • Music Box
    • Crib Mobile
    • Soft Cloth Ball
    • Teething Toys
    • Crib Mirror (Unbreakable)
    • Busy Box
    • Ceiling Posters
    • Large Plastic Keys, Balls, Rings
    • Rattle (At Four Months)

     

    4 TO 8 MONTHS

    Focus for this age

    • Responsive physical care
    • A close relationship with a special adult
    • A safe play environment

    Emotional development milestones

    • Attachment of baby to adults occurs
    • Early trust develops
    • Eating/sleeping schedules becoming more regular
    • Enjoys playing peek-a-boo and begins to grab at blanket
    • Uses cry to call for attention, not always a distress call

    Social development milestones

    • Enjoys being held
    • Smiles to show pleasure
    • Less smiling around strangers (by 8 months)

    Physical development milestones

    • Can roll over
    • Sits with support, then alone by 8 months
    • Begins to push feet against floor or lap and then bounces
    • Can see an object, then opens hand to grasp it
    • Passes toys from hand to hand

    Language/intellectual development milestones

    • Babbles and coos
    • Looks when name is called
    • Imitates sounds
    • Repeats interesting actions
    • Continues to develop eye-hand coordination

    What Parents Can Do...

    • Talk to baby often
    • Read to baby daily
    • Allow floor time for wiggling, and eventually, crawling
    • Put toys just out of reach
    • Place objects in boxes or cans with lids to make noise
    • Play peek-a-boo and hide toys under a blanket or diaper
    • Hold baby during reading or feeding times
    • Establish routines in baby's daily life (bathing, meals and snacks, naps, bedtime)
    • Imitate baby's sounds
    • Freeze a wet washcloth for baby to teethe on and mouth
    • Talk calmly to a crying baby
    • Do not shake or toss baby in the air
    • Hold baby close to a mirror and talk about baby's face

     

    Toys for Babies

    • Music Box
    • Small Toys To Grasp
    • Teething Toys
    • Balls
    • Push and Pull Toys
    • Rattles
    • Books
    • Busy Box or Other Noisy Toy

     

    8 TO 14 MONTHS

    Congratulations! During this time your busy baby is beginning to enter the first stages of toddlerhood. Toddlers come in all shapes and sizes, but toddler development at 12-15 months typically has a few things in common. 

    This is a special time for your child - as they grow from baby to toddler. It also is an important time for your toddler socially and emotionally, as separations anxiety starts to peak from 14 months.  Your little one will now begin to show empathy - for example, he might look sad or get upset when he sees someone else crying.  Empathy is about understanding how others might be feelings - a crucial part of forming relationships with people as your child gets older.

    Your toddler might stand up without needing help from you or the furniture in these months, and will probably start to walk on his own.  As he gets better at walking, he might climb stairs. Some children won't walk alone until 15-18 months, so try not to worry too much.

    Here's what your toddler might be doing, how you can help:

    Focus for this age

    • Mobility increases and infant begins to walk
    • Infant can make choices
    • Language use and understanding increases

    Emotional development milestones

    • Strong attachment to adult(s)
    • Fears can be shown, especially to things such as Santa, clowns, fast moving objects and large dogs
    • Infant can tantrum when frustrated

    Social development milestones

    • Smiles easily and shows enjoyment of people
    • Demonstrates signs of independence
    • Beginning of understanding that some behaviors are acceptable and some are not
    • Watches people and their activities
    • Prefers to be with others while playing

    Physical development milestones

    • Enjoys crawling, walking around furniture, & standing
    • Can pick up tiny objects (uses thumb and fingers well)
    • Very oral - everything goes in mouth
    • Develops arm and hand control
    • Enjoys taking off clothes, climbing up and onto furniture, & crawling up stairs

    Language/intellectual development milestones

    • look for one or two single wors at around 12 months, and up to six words (or maybe more!) by 15 months. 
    • Uses names of familiar objects and people (for example, aball - and say 'no' and 'oh-oh
    • Loves to imitate actions of others
    • Connects words to objects
    • Looks at books and chooses them
    • May scribble randomly
    • May stand without help 

    What Parents Can Do...

    • Show pleasure in baby's abilities
    • Baby proof the home (cover outlets, put away breakables, check safety of plants)
    • Help baby practice pulling up, walking, and climbing
    • Watch for small objects that baby can choke on and remove from play area
    • Read to baby using simple books
    • Play simple games
    • Take walks together
    • Name objects you see
    • Encourage baby to play games of imitation (sounds, words, pointing, body parts)

    Toys For Babies

    • Small Riding Toys
    • Push & Pull Toys
    • Balls
    • Stacking or Nesting Toys
    • Pictures, Books, Simple Puzzles
    • Crayons (With Supervision Only)
    • Busy Boxes
    • Teething Toys
    • Shape Boxes or Balls (To Drop Blocks Into)
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    Audit Your Pantry

    Green Family Hub

     

    12 Yucky (As in Dangerously Toxic) Household Chemicals to Avoid

     

    Audit Your Pantry: 12 Toxic Household Chemicals To Avoid 

    Audit Your Pantry: 12 Toxic Household Chemicals To Avoid 

    Between grocery shopping and getting the kids to school, there is little time to think about if the products we use are safe for our children and the environment they live in.  Many baby items and toys can be more harmful than we think.  Although the good news is that through public awareness many individuals and families can now reduce their families exposure to harmful chemicals - like parabens, petrolatum and phthalates.

    Here are the following recommendations for new moms and families wanting a healthier environment for their families.  You can start by doing a quick audit of your bathroom and replace any potentially harmful ingredients in cosmetics with safer alternatives.  They are identified here in bold – and through The Dirty Dozen Guide by the David Suzuki Foundation – using the naming convention Health Canada requires for Canadian cosmetic ingredient lists.

    1. BHA and BHT

    Used mainly in moisturizers and makeup as preservatives. Suspected endocrine disruptors and may cause cancer (BHA). Harmful to fish and other wildlife. 

    2. Coal tar dyes:

    p-phenylenediamine and colours listed as "CI" followed by a five digit number

    In addition to coal tar dyes, natural and inorganic pigments used in cosmetics are also assigned Colour Index numbers (in the 75000 and 77000 series, respectively).

    Look for p-phenylenediamine hair dyes and in other products colours listed as "CI" followed by five digits.1 The U.S. colour name may also be listed (e.g. "FD&C Blue No. 1" or "Blue 1").  Potential to cause cancer and may be contaminated with heavy metals toxic to the brain. 

    3. DEA-related ingredients

    Used in creamy and foaming products, such as moisturizers and shampoos. Can react to form nitrosamines, which may cause cancer.  Harmful to fish and other wildlife.  Look also for related chemicals MEA and TEA. 

    4. Dibutyl phthalate

    Used as a plasticizer in some nail care products. Suspected endocrine disrupters and reproductive toxicant. Harmful to fish and other wildlife. 

    5. Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives

    Look for DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine and quarternium-15. Used in a variety of cosmetics. Slowly release small amounts of formaldehyde, which causes cancer. 

    6. Parabens

    Used in a variety of cosmetics as preservatives. Suspected endocrine disrupters and may interfere with male reproductive functions. 

    7. Parfum (a.k.a. fragrance)

    Any mixture of fragrance ingredients used in a variety of cosmetics — even in some products marketed as "unscented." Some fragrance ingredients can trigger allergies and asthma. Some linked to cancer and neurotoxicity. Some harmful to fish and other wildlife. 

    8. PEG compounds

    Used in many cosmetic cream bases. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer. Also for related chemical propylene glycol and other ingredients with the letters "eth" (e.g., polyethylene glycol). 

    9. Petrolatum

    Used in some hair products for shine and as a moisture barrier in some lip balms, lip sticks and moisturizers. A petroleum product that can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which may cause cancer. 

    10. Siloxanes

    Look for ingredients ending in "-siloxane" or "-methicone." Used in a variety of cosmetics to soften, smooth and moisten. Suspected endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant (cyclotetrasiloxane). Harmful to fish and other wildlife. 

    11. Sodium laureth sulfate

    Used in foaming cosmetics, such as shampoos, cleansers and bubble bath. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer. Look also for related chemical sodium lauryl sulfate and other ingredients with the letters "eth" (e.g., sodium laureth sulfate). 

    12. Triclosan

    Used in antibacterial cosmetics, such as toothpastes, cleansers and antiperspirants. Suspected endocrine disrupter and may contribute to antibiotic resistance in bacteria. Harmful to fish and other wildlife.

      

    The first steps individuals and family members can do to get started on creating a much healthier and safer home for their family is to start with doing a quick audit of your pantry, fridge and bathroom cabinets. Check your labels and if you see any of these ingredients - don’t panic. Eliminate them and reduce your exposure to those harmful chemicals by recycling those products. It may seem daunting at first after realizing how many food labels and household products are filled with unnecessary ingredients but just think you can have a clean slate by filling your cleaned out pantry, fridge and bathroom cabinets with safer non-toxic alternatives.
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    Tips For Aging Well

    Green Family Hub

    Tips for Aging Well by a Few Mature Souls

    Make time for the little things in life.

    Everyone longs to stay young, but the one thing that is common amongst us all is that each year we age a little more. We recently had the wonderful opportunity to spend a day with a few seniors and we wanted to know what the "big secret" was to aging well. We were humbly surprised by their honest and heart warming tips for staying young and keeping healthy.  Consider these valuable lessons in order to keep your mind and body well at any age.

    1) "Keep Yourself Active."

    Not surprising, but the biggest tips offered from our seniors were to keep yourself active. They found that by having a daily exercise routine, it helped with keeping stress at bay. Many keep active by going for daily walks, swimming and even gardening. Although these are not strenuous workouts anymore, they are still keeping their bodies and minds strong.  Most importantly, they all agreed that it made them feel good about themselves. 

    2) "Surround ourself with people Who make You Laugh."

    Staying in touch with with family, friends and the community is incredibly beneficial for our emotional health. Most of the incredible seniors that we spoke to said that if they could have it their way again - they would have made more time for the little things in life that mattered. 

    3)  "Stress Less"

     

    Stress comes hand in hand with a lot of the things we want in life. In other words, stress is always present so all that matters is how you deal with it.   A 20-minute relaxation (or maybe more) each day can be vital to keeping the stress at a minimum. 

    4) "Protect your mental health."

    Continuous learning, through playing game cards or strategy games or even doing crossword puzzles, can be a large step towards a fresher mind and happier thoughts.  Take ten minutes out of your day to play a fun and challenging game and you will feel the benefits.

    5) "It's OK to accept help."

    Knowing when to ask for help is an important lesson for anyone.  But as we all age, some tasks become more difficult and patience seems to run short.  Finding a friend or a healthcare professional to help with day to day tasks or even more personal needs can make a world of difference to longevity, energy, and health. 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    Remembering 9/11

    Green Family Hub

    Remembering 9/11

    During this day of remembrance, it is a time for us to reflect on the loved ones lost in the tragic events of September 11th, 2001.  This date has become a time to share a moment to remember all loved ones lost in acts of terrorism and other forms of random violence.  

     As we reflect on our own memories and experiences on this day, we also remember the good times shared with loved ones that have been lost.  Memories of tragedy become lost in memories of love, compassion, and understanding.

    Through shared suffering gives birth to compassion. Out of compassion love will be born and when love is born there is healing. For me and my family personally, September 11 was a reminder that life is fleeting, impermanent, and uncertain. Therefore, we must make use of every moment and nurture it with affection, tenderness, beauty, creativity, and laughter. Today I will nurture every relationship with love, compassion, forgiveness, and understanding.
    — Deepak Chopra, M.D., Founder of Wellbeing and author
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    Top 5 Ways For Your Mind and Body To Stay Healthy

    Green Family Hub

    Life moves so fast that sometimes you have to just slow down and take a moment to think about what truly matters in life.  As parents, and working professionals we learn to put home life, work life and others before ourselves and after a while your body and mind can really start to show the signs of stress.  The good thing is that we can learn to recognize common body stress triggers and replace good habits that can hopefully replace any of the bad habits that we haven't yet kicked.  Behaviour experts tell us, that even the smallest changes can make big impacts and incorporating these small tips can help you get on the right path to making big changes towards good health and overall well-being.

    1) Let's Talk About Your Stress Levels + What Happens To Your Body

     When you get stressed what happens is you start to feel common Acute Stress symptoms that can be described as a reactionary trigger, when you are under a lot of stress your adrenal glands produce adrenaline and cortisol that causes your heart rate to speed up, blood pressure rises which then send more signals to your liver to release glucose and increases more blood flow to muscles.  These flight responses can leave you feeling even more restless and frustrated to the point where you are not able to think clearly and it causes you to get more angry and less able to control your emotions.  Some people rage through a fight/flight response and of course those responses can leave you feeling more down about yourself and ultimately lead to Chronic Stress symptoms.  Chronic stress is a game changer and can wreck havoc on your whole body, it can cause high blood pressure problems, lower your fertility, and weaken your immune system.  It can also create some serious heart and stomach problems such as abnormal heartbeat, irritable bowel syndrome, peptic ulcers, heart failure and increases your risks for a stroke and heart attack. 

    2) Learn How To Effectively Manage Your Stress

    Although it may be hard to remember to try these tips out when your are experiencing a bad day, try remembering what stress does to your overall health.  Stress increases a hormone cortisol which increases blood sugar, stores fat, is toxic to neurons and suppresses immunity. Your overall health and mind are just too important not to give them a try.  Next time your are having a less than favourable day try removing yourself from the situation and walk it out.  Remember to breathe it out, give yourself a moment and opportunity to control the situation effectively.   If you need some alone time to think and sort out your feelings definitely take that time out to put things back into perspective. 

    3) Work Out Smarter (Not Harder)

    Incorporating regular exercise into your daily routine actually causes your Pituitary glands to release endorphins that can help with easing anxiety.  Besides helping you feel much more happier, fitness experts tell us, that if we all made small lifestyle changes, such as setting aside time to do at least 3 sessions of 10-30 minutes per week that even with short and intense workouts - it still will provide us with improved athletic capacity and a healthy metabolism.  Best of all it is as equally fat burning as being on the treadmill for an hour.  You can incorporate reminders right from your mobiles, or tablets to book your workouts on your calendar and to set a phone reminder to reinforce that they are just as important as other obligations.

    4)  Minimize Blood Sugar Spikes

    Rapid absorption of carbohydrates will lead to quick increases in blood sugar. Your body responds by releasing insulin which lowers blood sugar levels, but is also responsible for fat storage as well as making you feel fatigued. You can reduce the risk of a stroke and heart attack and also reduce many other future chronic diseases by eating smaller, more frequent meals - doing so will decrease how much carbohydrates you absorb at once. Another great step is to change from eating simple sugars present in white flour and sweets to low-glycemic complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes that get absorbed slower. Eating foods with high fiber will result in even less absorption and are healthy for the gut. Remember to avoid eating too many carbohydrates and sugar laden-drinks such as soda and concentrated juices which allow you to consume too many simple sugars in a short amount of time causing major insulin spikes that can't be good for your long-term health. 

    5) Recharge Yourself + Get More Rest

    Maximize your REM Sleep, getting enough REM sleep is a crucial part of a good night's rest.  The benefits of being well-rested can help aide in weight loss, lower diabetes and heart risks, and it can help reduce stress levels and help fewer mood swings. Disrupting your REM cycle leaves you feeling groggy regardless when the alarm goes off. Waking up at the same time everyday can help you naturally fall into a proper sleep cycle - even on the weekends you will get sleepy at night at the time to optimize deep sleep over time. Avoid drinking alcohol 2 hours before bedtime, alcohol affects the rhythm of sleep and acts as a sedative at first but often a few hours later when your blood alcohol level drops your body won't be able to get that deep sleep you deserve.  Be sure to stay clear of mobile phones, computers, and tablets at least 60 minutes before sleepy time - although it may be hard not to avoid checking emails before bed, make a checklist and move on - the led lights from screens reduces your melatonin and makes it harder to fall asleep especially if you are thinking about all the things you need to do tomorrow.

    In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.
    — Abraham Lincoln
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