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    Parenting, Green Living and Aging Well.

    Parenting, Green Living and Family

    Parenting, Green Living and Family

    Filtering by Category: Parenting Resources

    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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    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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