If these benefits from healthy eating habits for your toddler are interesting to you, read on.
Why Should You Care?
The impacts of unhealthy eating can be detrimental to your toddler. If not properly educated and instructed on healthy eating habits, your toddler could develop habits that cause them to become physically and emotionally unwell.
Some major issues your toddler could face in the future include:
Alternatively, being mindful of what your toddler eats will encourage physical growth while allowing for the optimal growth of cognitive processes. Some of the benefits of adopting healthy eating habits include:
Encourage Growth Through Healthy Eating
As a parent, your goal is to ensure proper growth for your child. Healthy eating habits will help to ensure that your toddler is fueled with the nutrients they need to properly grow and develop.
These critical vitamins necessary for your toddler’s development can be easily overlooked and forgotten if not explicitly addressed.
Overloading your child with unhealthy foods or drinks, high in sugars and artificial flavorings, preservatives, and chemicals, won’t allow your toddler to maximize their development potential.
The root of your thought process should stay constant; the toddler’s health and wellbeing always come first.
When thinking of what food or drink your child should eat or drink, the first questions that you should ask yourself are these:
If you can’t come up with a reasonable response for one or both of these questions, or attempt to fill the void in thinking with some abject rationalization, it may be time to reconsider or think again about what you’re using as a source of fuel and energy for your child.
When it comes down to it, your toddler will miss out on experiences with food through culture and experience a decline in social aptitude if they develop habits of picky or unhealthy food choices.
All parents want to see their child grow to become adventurous and curious, ready to try new cuisines and flavors from different cultures and backgrounds.
If these principles are not instilled at a young age, the chances of these traits developing in the future become much less likely.
Tips For Establishing Healthy Eating Habits For Your Toddler
First of all, it is important to allow your child to make semi-independent choices about what they eat.
As always, take this with a grain of salt; for example, offer a few choices to your child, allowing them to choose, but maintain a common theme of health across all choices. There is a broad scope of nutrient-rich foods to choose from.
Take measures to include your toddler in the shopping process and allow them to pick out one or two healthy foods that they like.
This follows along with our core ideal of allowing your child to develop a feeling of independence and growth, while still within the bounds of your ability to teach and encourage good decision-making principles and healthy eating habits.
Once you have returned from the grocery store, invite your toddler to assist you with the food preparation process.
Not only will this peak their interest to learn about the healthy foods and become engaged with healthy eating habits, but it will spark their excitement to eat the healthy foods once the ‘cooking’ step is completed.
Finally, take advantage of every opportunity to teach your child about how healthy foods allows them to grow.
Although your toddler may not be able to understand complex principles of nutrients, they are still curious and always engaged by opportunities to learn.
Try using phrases and techniques such as:
Learn more about phrases and techniques to assist in your aim to reinforce healthy eating habits.
All of these techniques are great, easy-to-implement ways to make sure that your toddler gets the most benefit out of healthy eating habits.
There’s no time to waste; start doing this today!
Encouraging the growth and well-being of children and toddlers is what we’re all about at Willowdale Children’s Academy.
Learn more about what we do and ways that we can contribute to the growth of your child in all aspects of their future.
How to spot the early signs?
As per the International Dyslexia Association, dyslexia affects between 15 to 20 percent of the population.
Dyslexia is a type of language-based learning disability that causes trouble to read, write and occasionally speak that varies depending on age:
Children can have any or all of the above and some signs are more prominent at different ages. If not identified early and treated appropriately, dyslexia can persist into adulthood.
What are some of the early signs of dyslexia?
If your child:
Now, toddlers are known for doing things under their own terms most of the time. Hence, dyslexia is harder to identify at an early age.
However, it is important to stay vigilant if you see any or all of these signs occurring consistently together and lasting over time.
What should you do?
Experts don’t have one root cause for this learning difference.
Researchers believe it is "a glitch in the circuitry for reading" that makes it difficult to link printed letters and words with the sounds they represent.
Regardless of the cause, if you have suspicions of dyslexia, it is important to know when to reach out for the help of professionals around you. Professionals will help you determine if your child is reaching the age-appropriate milestones:
What if you still have doubts?
Never believe that your feelings or concerns are trivial when it comes to the health of your child.
If you have concerns, doubts, or uncertainties, do not keep them for yourself.
Make sure to let your child’s doctor know about anything you observe and are concerned with, no matter how small.
If your pediatrician believes your child is ok but you still have concerns, you can seek a second opinion.
You can take your child to a psychologist specialized in children and early learning who can run a series of tests to help understand your child’s learning difficulty.
What if your child is diagnosed with dyslexia?
Be supportive of your child because there are many ways to help them.
Remember that a dyslexic learner does not struggle because of a lack of will or intelligence.
Their learning process is simply different. Adjust to that difference. And, knowing the differences will help put the right strategies in place.
There are many fun and efficient multi-sensory activities to help your child learn and make the learning process less stressful too.
Many successful people such as Albert Einstein and Charles Schwab are reported to have had dyslexia. And rather than give up, it pushed them to find new ways of learning to keep up with their peers, and eventually find their way.
And what now?
If your child is dyslexic, parents and teachers should meet frequently to discuss the progress made and review the strategies.
Adopting an open and dynamic approach to learning is essential for the child’s benefit.
If you have any questions about dyslexia, please reach out to one of our team members who can point you in the right direction.
From birth, you can begin to read to your child. If you're not actually reading, just talking to your infant regularly is important so they can begin hearing patterns of speech. Things like narrating what you are doing is a good way to get a headstart with your child’s language skills. Language comprehension is what will help your child learn to speak and eventually, to read.
Here are some book suggestions for newborns, toddlers, and more.
At 6 months, when your child is learning to sit up and grasp objects, you can begin to provide board books for your child to look at. Your child will enjoy learning how to turn the pages and view the images.
Early reading begins when parents point to a picture and say what it is. For example, pointing to a dog on the page and saying the word, "dog."
When children begin speaking, keep in mind that they understand more words than they can say. This is a good time for stories with a beginning, middle, and end.
This is a very important age to read to your child because this is when children will bring you books and ask you to read them. We know how difficult it can be to stop what you're doing and read, however, we would encourage you to take the time whenever possible to support their love of reading.
By the age of three, your child will already have developed reading skills and may already have some favorite books. It is time to encourage some good reading habits.
Here are some ways you can support the love of reading in your toddler.
Reading with your child is a gift that will enhance their entire life. That's not just because you're helping your child develop reading comprehension. You're also nurturing a deep love of reading. If you struggle and need help, connect with us!
Instead, try saving the applause for when they go above and beyond, such as making their bed and getting their own lunch ready, especially if they have never done it before. Kudos if the act was unprompted by you.
Self-confidence doesn’t come from mom’s praise. It comes from a feeling of competence, like trying new things and succeeding.
One of the best things a parent can do is encourage their child to complete the task they are showing interest in. Whether it’s getting to the next level of a video game or not giving up halfway through cleaning their room. Allow them to generate their own self-praise by being proud that they accomplished an arduous task.
Don’t shield your children from failure and disappointment. The only way they will appreciate their hard work is by failing, staying persistent, and completing the challenge.
Starting with your toddler, have your child help around the house. Kids need opportunities to demonstrate their competence and feel that their contribution is valuable.
Try asking age-appropriate chores such as:
What should you do when your child becomes frustrated with a task or experiences disappointment like getting cut from a sports team?
Keep in mind that you can always offer appropriate praise, but if you would like to set your child up for success, you will want to dole it out when it is specific and earned.
A confident child is a child that is not afraid of failure. Parents can guide children down this path so they can become happy and healthy adults.
Consistency and continuous efforts from your part with your preschooler are essential. If you need more tips or help, consult your child’s pediatrician or a specialist for additional information. If you need more information, contact us.
As per the American Society of Pediatrics, symptoms are mainly triggered by motion.
Motion sickness happens when your brain has a “sensory mismatch.” A preschool-aged child watching a movie or an older child reading a book in the car is an example of this mismatch. The child’s body feels the motion but their eyes are fixed on something still -- like a screen.
These inconsistent “incoming messages” to the brain can cause the body to react with sweating, dizziness, and nausea that can lead to vomiting. Children between the ages of 2-5 are particularly susceptible.
Here are 8 tips for avoiding car sickness in children:
When all efforts fail, and you have a sick toddler or preschool-aged child -- know that car sickness usually wanes by adolescence. If these tips don’t help, consult your child’s doctor for additional information. If you need more information, contact us.
Your new baby will eat, need to be changed, and sleep every few hours, throughout the day and night. So getting prepared in advance is crucial.
Here is a list of simple things to do to get your home and family ready for your new baby.
Getting the House Ready
There are a few simple things to do to get ready before homecoming.
Getting an Older Sibling Ready
If your new baby will have an older sibling at home, make sure to involve him or her in the process from the first months of the pregnancy to homecoming and after.
Getting the Family Dog Ready
Do you have a dog at home? Fido will need some time to adjust to the new baby. Many families decide to have a dog trainer come infor a one- time visit on how to prepare your dog for your newest addition.
Taking your new baby home is an exciting time in your family’s life.
Make sure to prepare your home so you can enjoy this special time as much as possible. In case you need more tips, connect with us.
If you observe the following symptoms, talk to your pediatrician immediately to determine whether your child has a cold or is actually suffering from seasonal allergies.
- runny nose
- watery eyes
- ear pain
Seasonal allergies have some added symptoms:
- itchy throat
- itchy skin
- itchy, watery eyes
- itchy, runny nose (mucus is usually clear)
It is important not to diagnose your little one yourself. Also, do not self-medicate or leave your toddler untreated believing that it will get better.
When allergies are left untreated, it can result in colds, ear infections, and other secondary infections and can cause a great deal of suffering. Congestion can lead to lack of proper sleep and increased fatigue. Allergies can also cause sinus pain and even headaches.
Allergy testing may be performed to determine whether your toddler is allergic to any environmental allergens. Your pediatrician may refer you to a pediatric allergy specialist for additional evaluations and treatments.
If the allergen has been identified through testing, an important step to avoid pain, and headaches are to manage the allergy symptoms.
The best way to ease allergic reactions or episodes is to avoid the allergens that trigger the symptoms. Here are some tips that can be easily implemented and help your toddler.
Outdoor allergies can be caused by tree pollen, grass pollen, ragweed pollen, mold spores, and others. If you find your child reacts more when outside, tell your pediatrician.
There are also a few steps that your pediatrician may recommend and that you can take to help your toddler. Here are the following steps:
1) Limit the child’s exposure to outdoor allergens - especially during peak allergy periods. Check out The Weather Channel’sdaily Allergy Trackerto see when your child should stay indoors.
2) Have your family remove their shoes upon entering your home to limit the amount of pollen and other allergens tracked inside. Clean the shoes.
3) Wash your child’s hands immediately after outside play.
4) When you have no access to handwashing during outdoor play (such as the park), bring a damp cloth or rag and wipe the child’s hands and face regularly to remove allergens.
5) Bathe your child to rinse away allergens.
6) Wash their clothing in hot water and their outerwear regularly. Dry jackets in the dryer to remove any remaining irritants.
7) Keep windows shut tight at all times to limit the pollen that can blow in. Use air conditioners to keep the temperature mild. Purchase special HEPA filters and change them regularly.
8) If you have dogs, bathe them. It will remove the allergens they may carry in their fur.
9) Ask your pediatrician if your child should start on a nose spray, like saline to flush the sinuses. Your toddler may need a prescription.
10) If your child is still suffering after taking these precautions, consider discussing with your pediatrician about bringing your toddler to an allergist.
What else can you do at home?
1) Use a HEPA filtered vacuum to remove allergens inside the home. Vacuum daily or every other day.
2) Purchase a HEPA air purifier such as Molekuleor Air Doctor. HEPA filters trap pollutants and allergens from the air. Not to mention pet dander, dust, and other immune triggers.
3) Use mattress and pillow covers to eliminate pollen and spores.
4) Wash sheets and pillowcases in hot water at least every week.
5) Remove curtains and use shades or blinds in the child's room to eliminate any materials that allergens could attach onto.
6) Take the carpet out of your child’s room. A carpet can harbor lots of dust, pollen, and spores that would aggravate your child while playing in their room and while sleeping at night.
Allergies may be common, but they can be brutal on your little one’s immune system. As we’ve learned, they can result in fatigue, irritability, drowsiness, and other more common allergy symptoms.
Help your child by protecting them from the allergen altogether. Again, talk to your pediatrician, do not try to self-diagnose and self-medicate.
A healthy child is a child who can happily learn and grow.
If you want more information on what you can do to help your child with seasonal allergies? Connect with us and we’d be more than happy to point you in the right direction.
The market offers a broad choice of childcare providers and preschools with different approaches to early childhood education. In most cases, the objective is to prepare children for Kindergarten and life beyond, although the ways to achieve the goal may vary between schools.
For many years, play-based education has gained momentum in the educational community and from experts in early childhood education. It only takes a quick online search to notice the abundance of content about play-based learning to realize that it is an area of varying opinions and continuous research.
To simplify the discussion, the concept of play-based learning can be summarized as learning while at play.
Why Play-based Learning?
Children are naturally inclined to play. Using this natural disposition in a learning context, a play-based activity is a developmental opportunity that fosters children’s excitement and motivation to:
Play-based learning is a hands-on learning approach, in which children are encouraged to go through trial and errors to solve problems.
Dr Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Director of the Infant Language Laboratory at Temple University, says that “playful learning engages and motivates children in ways that support better developmental outcomes and strategies for life-long learning. If we hope to groom intelligent, socially skilled, creative thinkers for the global workplace of tomorrow, we must return play to its rightful position in children’s lives today.”
The Benefits of Play-based Learning
Children are stimulated through play. They become active learners that are exposed to challenging problems that they have to solve through exploration.
It is important to note that a good balance between child-initiated free play and teacher-guided play with intentional thematic teaching is essential to enable and maximize benefits such as:
Play-based learning supports positivity in the acquisition process and builds upon the natural curiosity of children about the nature of things and their environment. It boosts children’s enthusiasm and rewards persistence, imagination, and creativity to overcome problems. Ultimately, this impacts children’s self-esteem.
Play-based Learning vs Directed Instruction
Compared to directed instruction, failures are not a source of stress leading to demotivation. Failures are an opportunity for more experimentation. Failures have no negative impact on self-esteem which would have disastrous long-term consequences on a child’s life.
It does not mean that directed instruction has no place in education. It means that young children have more involvement and input into their knowledge and skill acquisition in a system where play is the vehicle for learning. NAEYC(The National Association for the Education of Young Children) offers interesting examples to connect play to learning.
Play-based activities offer a great framework for teachers to introduce STEMor STEAM while at play. STEAM is the acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematic. STEM or STEAM activities are perfectly complementary to a play-based learning.
Are You Interested to Learn More about Play-based Education?
If you are interested to learn more about play-based learning and how we implement it at Willowdale Children’s Academy, do not hesitate to contact us.
Look For Childcare Where STEAM Is The Focus
The opportunity for early childhood education lays in the foundational work that will set the path for the future workforce who will need to show consistent analytical and fast problem-solving skills in an even greater competitive environment.
STEAM has become essential for some preschools and childcare facilities. STEAM is the acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics.
STEAM is more than a buzzword in young children’s education. At Willowdale Children’s Academy, it is one of the core educational approaches to your child’s curriculum and learning. STEAM works as an access point to guide young children to explore, interact, discover, discuss and develop critical thinking.
Why is STEAM Essential to Your Child’s Development?
The cognitive abilities of young children should never be underestimated. Children can inquire, produce reasoning and are capable of conceptual learning. It does not take scientific observation to notice how fast a toddler can use a smartphone and find his/her way to navigate menus, engage in apps and even accidentally order online.
If toddlers are able to find their way on a mobile device, imagine what they can achieve if they are offered a sensory table activity, or gather around an organized learning center, or challenged to structure art based on their interpretation of what they have observed or the last story they heard.
As young children have cognitive abilities, STEAM offers a framework that teachers use to develop their everyday activities. These activities need to be appropriately challenging for different age groups. Hence, do not expect your young toddler to solve complex equations.
By integrating STEAM into activities, teachers promote hands-on problem-solving, and creative and analytical thinking belonging to the children’s age groups. As children learn better when they have fun, a play-based curriculum is perfectly compatible with STEAM.
How Do Infants and Toddlers Build STEAM Skills?
STEAM skills acquisition starts at an early age in a very natural manner through play and exploration. If infants drop their toys a few times on the floor, they learn cause and effect. They can learn textures, the difference between hot and cold, smooth and hard through exploration of these elements.
These learnings are made through experiments, trial and errors, observation of cause-and-effect and the experience of physical rules. Infants and toddlers are naturally curious and investigative. Therefore, exposing them to different materials and new environmental circumstances will spark their interest. STEAM helps build interaction opportunities with the environment and helps infants and toddlers gather evidence to solve problems and create knowledge.
The Role of Adults
STEAM is an essential approach that helps to determine the path, structure the environment, and link all pieces together in a cohesive manner. Of course, adults have a big part to play in guiding, questioning and triggering reflection. By taking an interest, observing, listening, and responding to children’s interests, adults support children’s curiosity. If your child demonstrates a new skill, take an interest in it, try to understand the process that led to the result. It will motivate him/her to learn more.
Are You Interested to Learn More about STEAM or Do STEAM Activities at Home?
If you are interested to learn more about the STEAM activities we develop at Willowdale Children’s Academy or want more recommendations about STEAM activities you can do at home, do not hesitate to contact us.