Sleep

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Sleep

Sleep is very important for children. Sleep directly impacts your child’s mental and physical growth and development. It also keeps your child’s immune system strong.

Sleep 0-1

Your newborn will sleep 16-18 hours in total per day. As he ages, this decreases to approximately 14 hours of sleep per day.

Your child needs sleep to grow. Sleep renews your child physically. It is during sleep that everything a child learns during the day is processed. Finally, it gives your child the opportunity to be alone and separate from you.

Back to Sleep

Put your baby to sleep on his back. This decreases his risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). SIDS is the leading cause of death in healthy infants up to one year of age. SIDS occurs when a healthy baby dies suddenly during sleep.

Continue to place your baby on his back to sleep, even if she can roll over by herself. When a baby can roll off her back by herself, it is safe for her to sleep in a different position.

Safest Place for Sleep

The safest place for your baby to sleep is in a crib, cradle, or bassinet. Health Canada recommends that parents share a room with their baby for the first six months. This can help you respond to your baby when he needs you.

Bed sharing is not recommended. Bed sharing is when an adult sleeps with the baby on the same surface, like a bed or couch. Bed sharing increases the risk of your baby dying from SIDS or suffocation.

Babies should not be put to sleep on water beds, air mattresses, couches, futons, or armchairs. Sleeping on these surfaces can increase the risk of suffocation.

Your baby’s crib should be empty except for his mattress and a fitted sheet. Loose bedding and other objects in the crib can cause suffocation. Avoid having comforters, heavy blankets, quilts, pillows, foam padding, stuffed toys, bumper pads, and sleep positioners in the crib.

If your baby falls asleep in his stroller, baby carrier, or car seat, move him to a safe place to sleep once you have reached your destination.

Make sure there are no hazards around the crib, bassinet, or cradle. Hazards can include blind cords, electrical cords, electrical plugs, baby monitors, lamps, and windows. For more information about safety, please click here.

Too Hot or Too Cold

The temperature of the room your baby is sleeping in should be warm enough for short sleeves. She does not need to be covered with a heavy blanket. Sleep sacks are a good option.

Night Time Waking

Night time waking can be a major concern for parents. Perhaps you have gone back to work, or you are exhausted from the constant care of your baby. It is important to get enough sleep yourself.

Try to sleep when the baby sleeps. Ask family and friends to help with the housework so you can sleep.

Perhaps your partner could take over care at night so you only have to wake up for feeding. Family or friends can help with night time feedings if you express your breast milk in advance.

When your child does wake in the night for feeding, keep the room calm and dim. Try not to do anything that will stimulate or waken the baby fully, like watching TV or listening to loud music. White noise is relaxing noise that helps to block out background noises. Sometimes white noise can help people sleep.

Routine

Once your child is six months old, it is time to begin helping him form healthy sleep habits. Your baby will be awake for longer periods during the day and asleep for longer periods at night.

As much as possible, put your baby in his crib to sleep. Put your baby in his crib when he is drowsy but not yet asleep. This helps him learn to associate the crib with sleep.

Your child will have a hard time sleeping if he is overtired. Letting your child nap during the day will help avoid this.

From six months to one year old, your baby may get restless or wake up at night. By this age, he probably does not need to be fed at night. Try to keep your baby in the crib if he wakes up at night. Rub his back. Talk to him. Sing soothing songs. Remaining in his crib helps your baby develop the ability to soothe himself back to sleep.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden, unexpected, and unexplained death of a baby under one year of age. SIDS is the leading cause of death in healthy infants between one month and one year of age in Canada. SIDS can happen in any home. Below is a list of some things you can do to help to prevent SIDS.

  • Always put your baby to sleep on her back. Use picture from website under.
  • Do not use bumper pads, quilts, toys, and pillows in the bassinet, crib, or cradle.
  • Do not use clothes that will cover your baby’s head.
  • Make sure your baby’s mattress is firm and flat.
  • Keep the room temperature and your baby’s clothes comfortable and not too hot or cold.
  • Make sure no one smokes tobacco around your baby.
  • Do not use car seats, strollers, swings, and infant carriers for sleep. If your baby falls asleep in one of these, take your baby out as soon as you can.
  • If you have twins or multiples, each should have her own separate sleep surface.

Room Temperature and Baby’s Clothes

If dressed appropriately, your baby will be comfortable at room temperature. If you feel cool, your baby probably needs an extra sweater or blanket. Your baby’s back should feel comfortably warm, not cold or sweaty.

Do not overdress your baby. In really warm weather, a diaper and light shirt or sleeper are enough.

Tobacco Smoke

Young children are very vulnerable to the effects of exposure to tobacco smoke.

Children absorb more chemicals from smoke because:

  • they breathe faster than adults
  • they inhale more air relative to their body weight
  • they have a higher metabolism rate than adults

For more information about tobacco use, please click here.

Sleeping 1-3 Years

Toddlers should be getting between 10 and 13 hours of sleep a day. This includes night time sleeping and napping.

Your child needs sleep to grow. Sleep renews your child mentally and physically. It is during sleep that everything a child learns during the day is processed. Finally, it gives your child the opportunity to be alone and separate from you.

Creating Bedtimes and Routines

A regular bedtime and a bedtime routine help children to relax and quiet down. Set a regular bedtime. Choose a time when your child gets naturally sleepy. Help your child to begin to wind down a half hour before bedtime. Set up a quiet ritual that may include a bath, brushing teeth, reading a book, cuddling, or singing a song.

bedtime routine help children to relax and quiet down

Bedtime routines make children feel secure. Your child feels that she can trust and know what to expect from her environment. Routines help her feel calm enough to fall asleep.

Your child may try everything to keep you with her at bedtime. At this time, she is beginning to work on separating from you. Be gentle, but firm.

Rocking your child to sleep can be a wonderful experience for both you and your child. Even older children like to be rocked when they are ill or upset. As your child gets older, she will find ways to settle herself. She may find a favourite lullaby or a soft blanket soothing.

Your child cannot sleep well if she feels tense, unhappy, or neglected. Your child needs your attention. By spending a few minutes getting her settled, you will have more time for your needs later and your child will have a restful sleep.

Nap Time

Your child will have a hard time sleeping if he is overtired. Naps can help improve your child’s mood, level of alertness, and ability to learn. However, do not let your child nap too close to bedtime or too late in the afternoon as this may interfere with sleeping at night.

As your child gets closer to the age of three, he may begin to give up on his afternoon nap. This is a very difficult time of change for both parents and children. Your child seems to need the sleep, yet he does not want to give in to it. This can result in a cranky situation by night time.

If your child does not want to sleep at nap time, try quiet time instead. This strategy will be better than trying to force your child to nap. Quiet time will help your child rest and have energy for the rest of the day.

quiet time

Night time Waking

Night time waking is a problem most parents have to deal with. There is no easy solution. If your child wakes at night, you can often settle him by reassuring him that you are near. You can do this without turning on the light or picking him up.

Nightmares

A nightmare is usually a dream that involves some real or imagined threat. Fears are common at this stage of your child’s life and these fears can cause nightmares. Sometimes, nightmares are triggered by something that has happened to your child during the day. It can also be triggered by change in the child’s life.

Nightmares

If your child wakes from a nightmare, you may find her half asleep or sitting up sobbing. Children often remember either the content of the nightmare or the feelings that went with it when they wake up. Usually, you can console a toddler by repeating words of comfort such as “Mommy [or Daddy] is here. You just had a dream. You are safe.” Your child needs constant reassurances of your continued love and her safety. Don’t ignore your child’s fear.

Night Terrors

During a night terror, your child will be intensely afraid, flail, and scream. Each night terror lasts only a few seconds or minutes. A child can have several per night. Children often do not remember the night terrors.

Symptoms of night terrors are listed below.

  • Sitting up in bed
  • Screaming or shouting
  • Kicking or thrashing
  • Sweating
  • Breathing heavily
  • Racing pulse
  • Difficulty waking up
  • Unable to be consoled
  • Staring wide-eyed
  • Confusion when waking up
  • Engaging in aggressive behaviours
  • Sleepwalking
  • Getting out of bed

Night terrors do not usually have any lasting effects on the child. However, if your child has disrupted sleep for a long period of time, develops a fear of falling asleep, or is being injured while having a night terror, take your child to see a healthcare provider.

Sleeping 3-5

Preschoolers need 10-12 hours of sleep a day.

Your child needs sleep to grow. Sleep renews your child mentally and physically. It is during sleep that everything a child learns during the day is processed. Finally, it gives your child the opportunity to be alone and separate from you.

Bedroom

Try to keep a child’s bedroom as a comfortable, cozy, and safe spot. Do not place a television, computer, or video games in his bedroom.

Drinks and Food

Avoid giving your child food or drinks, except water, after she has brushed her teeth for bed.

Routine

Bedtime routines, including a time to go to bed, are still very important. These provide opportunities for quietness and soothing while preparing for bed. Routines will also help your child feel safe and secure. Tucking your child in can increase your child’s feelings of security.

Bedtime routines

Set limits to your child’s requests for delayed bedtimes. There may be special times when it is alright to delay bedtime, for example, if you are visiting Grandpa and Grandma. However, limiting the times that you delay bedtime will reinforce the routine and prevent ongoing power struggles.

Even if your child does not nap regularly, there may be times that a nap is needed. For example, if your child is sick or has had a very busy day.

Night Time Waking

Night time waking is a problem most parents have to deal with. There is no easy solution. If your child wakes at night, you can often settle him by reassuring him that you are near. You can do this without turning on the light or picking him up.

Nightmares

A nightmare is usually a dream that involves some real or imagined threat. Fears are common at this stage of your child’s life and these fears can cause nightmares. Sometimes, nightmares are triggered by something that has happened to your child during the day. It can also be triggered by change in the child’s life.

Nightmares

If your child wakes from a nightmare, you may find her half asleep or sitting up sobbing. Children often remember either the content of the nightmare or the feelings that went with it when they wake up. Usually, you can console a toddler by repeating words of comfort such as “Mommy [or Daddy] is here. You just had a dream. You are safe.” Your child needs constant reassurances of your continued love and her safety. Don’t ignore your child’s fear.

Night Terrors

During a night terror, your child will be intensely afraid, flail, and scream. Each night terror lasts only a few seconds or minutes. A child can have several per night. Children often do not remember the night terrors.

Symptoms of night terrors are listed below.

  • Sitting up in bed
  • Screaming or shouting
  • Kicking or thrashing
  • Sweating
  • Breathing heavily
  • Racing pulse
  • Difficulty waking up
  • Unable to be consoled
  • Staring wide-eyed
  • Confusion when waking up
  • Engaging in aggressive behaviours
  • Sleepwalking
  • Getting out of bed

Night terrors do not usually have any lasting effects on the child. However, if your child has disrupted sleep for a long period of time, develops a fear of falling asleep, or is being injured while having a night terror, take your child to see a healthcare provider.

Quiz

If you would like to receive a certificate for completing this program, you need to complete the quizzes for each section of this resource. Once you have completed all 18 quizzes, you will be able to download your certificate.

You also need to register to get a certificate. If you’re not yet registered, please press go here (connect to register).

Screen Time

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Screen Time

The Canadian Paediatric Society recommends none or limited screen time for your child. This depends on your child’s age.

What is screen time?

Screen time refers to the time that your child is watching or listening to anything that has a screen: computers, iPods, vehicle DVD players, gaming systems, cell phones, tablets, and TVs. This also includes the use of these screens in the background, for example, having the TV on during dinner.

To learn more about screen time for your child, click on one of the icons below.

Screen Time (Ages 0-2)

The Canadian Paediatric Society says that children under 2 should have no screen time.

What is screen time?

Screen time refers to the time that your child is watching or listening to anything that has a screen: computers, iPods, vehicle DVD players, gaming systems, cell phones, tablets, and TVs. This also includes the use of these screens in the background, for example, having the TV on during dinner.

Why is this important?

  • You will spend more time with your child if both of you are not distracted by screens.
  • Your baby will sleep better if she is not stimulated by screens.
  • Screen time can interfere with your child’s play, learning, and attachment.
  • There is no known benefit of screen time for young children; even if a product is advertised for young children.

How can you reduce screen time in your home?

  1. Think about your screen time habits. For example, are you texting while breastfeeding or at a family meal?
  2. Set a good example by limiting your own screen time.
  3. Discover new activities you can do together as a family, like going for a walk.
  4. Create screen-free zones in your home, e.g., children’s bedrooms and the play area.
  5. Don’t use screen time as a reward or punishment.

Screen Time (Ages 2-4)

Did you know that the Canadian Paediatric Society recommends under 1 hour of screen time a day for children between 2 and 4 years old?

What is screen time?

Screen time refers to the time that your child is watching or listening to anything that has a screen: computers, iPods, vehicle DVD players, gaming systems, cell phones, tablets, and TVs. This also includes the use of these screens in the background, for example, having the TV on during dinner.

Why is this important?

  • You will spend more time with your child if both of you are not distracted by screens.
  • Your child will sleep better if he is not stimulated by screens.
  • Screen time can interfere with your child’s play, learning, and attachment.
  • There is no known benefit of screen time for young children; even if a product, like an app, says it is for young children.

How can you cut down on screen time in your home?

  1. Think about your habits. For example, are you texting at a family meal?
  2. Set a good example by limiting your own screen time. For example, waiting until your child is in bed before you use devices with screens.
  3. Create screen-free zones in your home, e.g., children’s bedrooms and the play area.
  4. Don’t use screen time as a reward or punishment.
  5. Don’t use screen time as a way to distract your child.
  6. Use media that is shared as a family. For example, age-appropriate interactive videos, games, or movies.
  7. Talk to your kids about what they watch or listen to. Your child may not understand the content the same way you do.
  8. If you have older children, only allow them to use a screen in an area where younger children are not present.

Screen Time (Ages 5)

The Canadian Paediatric Society recommends under 2 hours of screen time a day for children 5 to 11 years old. This does not include screen time that is used in the classroom or as part of homework.

Why is less screen time better

Why is less screen time better?

  • You will spend more time with your child.
  • Your child will sleep better.
  • Screen time can negatively affect your child’s play, learning, and attachment.
  • There is no known benefit of screen time for young children; even if a product is advertised for young children.

How can you reduce screen time in your home?

  1. Set a good example by limiting your own screen time.
  2. Create screen-free zones in your home, e.g., children’s bedrooms and the play area.
  3. Don’t use screen time as a reward or punishment.
  4. Don’t use screen time as a way to distract your child.
  5. Discover other things you can do together as a family.
  6. Use media as a family activity not an individual activity.
  7. Use only age-appropriate interactive videos, games, and movies.
  8. Don’t assume your child will take away the same messages as you do from the media that is watched.
  9. Keep the controls for media out of your child’s reach.

Quiz

If you would like to receive a certificate for completing this program, you need to complete the quizzes for each section of this resource. Once you have completed all 18 quizzes, you will be able to download your certificate.

You also need to register to get a certificate. If you’re not yet registered, please press go here (connect to register).

Safety

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Safety

Many children in Saskatchewan get injured every year. Some of these children have to go to the hospital. Some even die. Injuries can result in lifelong health problems. Some injuries cause problems that will affect your child all of his life.

You can take steps to keep your child safe. Injuries can be prevented.

What is an Injury?

An injury is damage to the body. The damage may be visible (a broken arm) or invisible (a concussion). Injuries are caused by energy. There are many different kinds of energy that cause injury.

Causes of Injury Examples
Mechanical (impact) energy Car crash, fall, a punch
Thermal (heat) energy Burns from hot coffee, stove burner, or hot water
Chemical energy Swallowing pills, eating
detergent pods, swallowing a battery
Electrical energy Touching a live wire, sticking a finger in an electrical outlet
Lack of heat Freezing to death, frostbite
Lack of oxygen Choking on food or
balloons, drowning, strangled by a blind cord

Where Injuries Happen

Injuries can happen at anytime and anywhere. Learning the risks for injuries can help you take steps to prevent them. Children are more at risk for injuries when they are growing and developing new skills.

Are Injuries Accidents?

Injuries can be prevented. That means that injuries are NOT accidents.

What Can You Do to Keep Your Child Safe?

  • Pay attention to your child.
  • Be prepared. Think ahead.
  • Stay close to your child until you are sure of her abilities.
  • Make your home safe.
  • Start teaching your child early about being safe.
  • Set a good example.

Click the icons below for common injuries for certain age groups.

Birth to Six Months

Remember that not every child grow at the same rate. This provides a general overview. If you are worried about your child’s development, talk to you healthcare professional.

Development
  • Your baby’s head is large and heavy.
  • Your baby will not have much control over his head movements.
  • Your baby’s skin is very thin.
  • Your baby can make sudden movements, like grabbing and kicking.
  • Your baby likes to put things in his mouth.
  • By three months, your baby will hold his head up and roll from side to side.
  • By three months, your baby can roll off of high surfaces.
  • By three to six months, your baby will be able to hold a toy in his hand.
  • By six months, your baby should be able to sit with very little support.
  • Between three to six months, your baby will be able to roll from his back to his stomach.
Safety Concerns
  • Your baby’s neck can be injured if his head is not supported when you pick him up, hold, or carry him.
  • Your baby can be severely injured in a car crash. A rear-facing car seat can help reduce the risk of injury.
  • Your baby may not be able to breathe if his nose and mouth are covered by pillows and stuffed animals in his crib. Your baby may also suffocate on a soft mattress or couch.
  • Your baby can suffocate if he sleeps in a sitting position.
  • Your baby can fall from any surface such as a table or a counter, even when he is in a baby carrier.
  • Your baby’s skin can burn quickly and at a lower temperature than yours would.
  • Your baby may choke on things he puts in his mouth.
  • Your baby may knock over things within his reach, like a cup of hot coffee.

Six to Twelve Months

Remember that not every child grow at the same rate. This provides a general overview. If you are worried about your child’s development, talk to you healthcare professional.

Development
  • Your baby will learn to crawl.
  • Your baby can travel by himself by creeping, crawling, or pulling.
  • Your baby can roll over, from front to back and back to front.
  • Your baby can sit by himself for short periods of time.
  • Your baby will begin to reach for and pick up objects.
  • Your baby will pull himself up to a standing position using furniture.
  • Your baby will put everything in his mouth.
  • By nine months, your baby will be able to pick up small objects.
  • By nine months, your baby will be able to roll and push objects.
  • By nine months, your baby will be able to crawl up stairs and across floors.
  • By twelve months, your baby may be able to walk.
Safety Concerns
  • Your baby can be severely injured in a car crash. A rear-facing car seat can help reduce the risk of injury.
  • Your baby can fall from heights and out of objects, like strollers, if not strapped in.
  • Your baby can fall down stairs.
  • Your baby can fall out of windows.
  • Your baby can be suffocated by blind cords, ties from hats, and jewelry.
  • Your baby can choke on things he puts in his mouth, including food.
  • Your baby can drown quickly and easily.
  • Your baby can get burned quickly.

1-2 Years

Remember that not every child grow at the same rate. This provides a general overview. If you are worried about your child’s development, talk to you healthcare professional.

Development
  • Your child will want to move all the time.
  • Your child can stand alone and may walk alone.
  • Your child will start to like to climb, throw, push, and pull things.
  • Your child can scribble with a large crayon.
  • Your child can stack and balance two small blocks.
  • Your child can turn two or three pages at a time in a book or magazine.
  • Your child may squat when playing.
  • Your child will copy your body gestures, even if they are new to him.
  • Your child can copy your actions with familiar objects.
  • Your child imitates household routines during play.
Safety Concerns
  • Your child is learning a lot of new skills, quickly. He may be awkward as he learns these.
  • Your child can be severely injured in a car crash. A car seat can help reduce the risk of injury.
  • Your child can fall from heights.
  • Your child can fall down stairs.
  • Your child can fall out of windows.
  • Your child can be suffocated by blind cords, ties from hats, and jewelry.
  • Your child can choke on things he puts in his mouth, including food.
  • Your child can drown quickly and easily.
  • Furniture, like televisions or book cases that are not secured to the wall, can fall on your child if he climbs or pulls on them.
  • Your child’s skin can burn quickly.
  • Your child can get into cleaning products, medications, and other poisons easily.
  • Your child will copy you, even if you are doing something that is not safe.
  • Your child can get injured if using a toy that is not made for his age group.
  • Your child is not able to set his own limits.

3-5 Years

Remember that not every child grow at the same rate. This provides a general overview. If you are worried about your child’s development, talk to you healthcare professional.

Development
  • Your child will be developing his large muscles. This will increase his coordination.
  • Your child can jump up and down really well.
  • Your child can go up and down stairs by holding onto a railing.
  • Your child can throw a ball overhead with more precision.
  • Your child can learn to cut and paste.
  • Your child can learn to put beads on a string.
  • Your child can learn to catch a ball.
  • Your child’s sleep habits will be different. He might not need naps, but will still need rest breaks.
  • Your child can pour liquid into a cup from a small pitcher.
  • Your child will try to test the limits. This is part of growing up.
  • Your child will be curious and want to explore.
  • Your child may want to help you with household tasks.
Safety Concerns
  • Your child is learning a lot of new skills, quickly. He may be awkward as he learns these.
  • Your child may be more awkward or clumsy when he is tired.
  • Your child can be severely injured in a car crash. A car seat can help reduce the risk of injury.
  • Your child is learning to climb. This can lead to falls.
  • Furniture, like televisions or book cases that are not secured to the wall, can fall on your child if he climbs or pulls on them.
  • Your child can fall out of windows.
  • Your child can be suffocated by blind cords, ties from hats, and jewelry.
  • Your child can choke on things he puts in his mouth, including food.
  • Choking is more likely to happen when your child is moving (walking or running) and eating.
  • Your child can drown quickly and easily.
  • Your child can get into cleaning products, medications, and other poisons easily.
  • Your child will copy you, even if you are doing something that is not safe.
  • Your child can get injured if using a toy that is not made for his age group.
  • Your child is not ready to be on his own near any roads and streets.
  • Your child can be injured by many different things in the yard and/or on the farm.
  • Your child is not able to set his own limits.
  • Your child may be getting older, but he still does not know how to control his impulses or figure out the consequences for his behaviours.
  • Your child will try to test his limits.
  • A helmet can protect your child’s head and brain when he rides a tricycle or bicycle.
  • Your child can be injured (e.g., scalded or poisoned) when helping with household chores.

Safety Proofing Your House

Please click here to walk through a house and various steps you can take to safety proof it.

Types of Injuries

For more information on safety topics, please click on one of the buttons below.

Consequence

A consequence is something that happens as a result of something else, like a behavior.

Batteries

Batteries can be dangerous for children, including the batteries in battery-operated toys.

If the batteries are easy to get out of the toy, your child may remove the batteries and put them in her mouth. This can be a choking hazard.

Button batteries can cause damage if they are stuck in the nose or ears. Batteries can cause internal burns.

Batteries are found in a lot of things around the house.

  • Calculators
  • Cameras
  • Toys
  • Talking or singing books
  • Electronic toothbrushes
  • Flameless candles
  • Flashing jewelry
  • Remote controls
  • Flashlights
  • Laser lights
  • Handheld games
  • Hearing aids
  • Key fobs

Why is it dangerous to swallow a battery?

Batteries are harmful if swallowed or put in the ears or nose. They are also a choking hazard. The most serious damage happens when a battery is swallowed. When a battery is swallowed, saliva (spit) causes an electrical current with the battery. This current causes a chemical reaction that can burn internal tissues and organs (e.g., throat, stomach, intestines). These chemical burns can happen in less than two hours.

Button batteries are the most dangerous. These are small, round, flat batteries. They are sometimes called lithium batteries. Button batteries have higher levels of power (voltage) than other batteries. Also, they are easy to swallow and to stick in the ears or nose.

How can you tell if your child has swallowed a button battery?

The scary part is that you may not know your child has swallowed a battery. Children may still breathe and act normally after swallowing a battery. Signs and symptoms may include choking, coughing, drooling, throwing up, not wanting to eat, fever, throat or stomach pain, and fussiness. If the battery is stuck in the ear or nose, there may be blood or other fluid (drainage).

Safety Tips

  • Know which products in your home use button batteries. Check that all products using button batteries have screws or strong tape to secure the battery compartment.
  • Actively supervise young children whenever they are using or are around products with batteries.
  • Store loose batteries and battery-powered products that are not in use out of the sight and reach of young children. Whenever possible, use a locked cabinet or container.
  • Only adults should change batteries. Do not allow children to play with batteries.
  • When visiting family members and friends, be aware that their homes may have button batteries that are easily accessible to young children.

Getting Help

  • If you think your child has swallowed a button battery or has put one in their nose or ear, go to the emergency room right away. Do not wait until you see symptoms to get help.
  • If it is quickly available, give 5-10 mL of honey on your way to the hospital IF the battery was swallowed in the last 12 hours, AND your child is 12 months or older and is not allergic to honey. Do not give honey if your child is vomiting or cannot swallow. Do not delay going to the hospital to get honey.
  • Do not make your child throw up, and do not make your child eat or drink anything other than the honey.
  • Immediately tell the admitting staff about the battery ingestion.

Bicycles

Learning to ride a bike can be fun!

There are several ways you can make sure that your child is safe while bike riding.

  • Make sure that both you and your child always wear a helmet.
  • Adults need to supervise their young children when they are riding.
  • Maintain your family’s bicycles.
  • Follow the rules of the road.

For more information about bicycle safety, click here.

Burns

Young children’s skin burns easily. There are some things that you can do in your house to prevent burns.

  1. Be Careful When Cooking
    1. Never leave food unattended on the stove.
    2. Place pots and pans at the back of the stove where your child cannot reach them.
    3. Supervise your child in the kitchen.
    4. Do not let a young child use a microwave.
    5. Place your child’s highchair out of reaching distance from the stove.
  2. Turn Down Your Water Heater
    1. Turn down your water heater to 49°C or 120°F.
    2. Remember that the water heater may be set higher at other homes and hotels.
  3. Check the Temperature
    1. Always check the temperature of liquids and food before feeding them to your child. When dropped on your wrist, liquids should feel warm but comfortable.
    2. Test the temperature of bath water before putting your child in it. It should feel comfortably warm but not hot.

For more information about first aid and burns, click here.

Burns

Burns make the skin look red and there may be some swelling. There will also be some pain. Some burns can be treated at home while others need medical attention right away.

If there are any blisters, take your child to a healthcare professional. After a few days, if your child’s burn changes colour, has blisters, has pus, or your child gets a fever, take him to a healthcare professional.

The following steps will help you take care of your child if she is burned.

  1. Run cold water over the burn. This should stop the pain.
  2. Put an antibiotic cream on the burn.
    Put an antibiotic cream on the burn

Car Seats

When in a correctly installed car seat, your child is the safest person in your car. In Saskatchewan, children must be in a car seat (rear-facing, forward-facing, booster) until they are at least 7 years old. Please click here to find out how to choose a car seat and how to install a car seat.

For more information please go to car seats.

Choking

Choking happens when a child’s throat is blocked by something. Children can choke on many things that we might not think are a risk. Young children are at risk of choking because they like to put everything in their mouths.

Examples of What Children can Choke On

  • Food like lollipops, apples, meat, nuts, seeds, popcorn kernels, grapes, sausages
  • Household items like coins, batteries, tops from pens and markers, jewelry
  • Toys and toy parts like marbles, eyes from stuffed animals, balloons
  • Things that children find outside

Balloons are a major cause of choking for children. Balloons are not recommended for use for children under the age of 5. Uninflated balloons or pieces of broken balloons can stick in your child’s throat. The surface sticks to the moist skin in the child’s throat and blocks off the air passage.

Tips for Choking Prevention

  • Always have your child sit while eating.
  • Cut food into small pieces.
  • When feeding a young child, wait until she swallows to give her more food.
  • Cook, grate, or mash foods for infants.
  • Keep small objects out of reach of children.
  • Use toys that are made for your child’s age.
  • Keep toys for older children away from younger children.

Click here for more information about first aid for choking.

Drowning

During the summer months, many of us head to the pools, lakes, and beaches with our families and friends. This is an excellent way to have fun, get exercise, play, and stay cool. However, it is very important to understand the risk of drowning and how we can prevent it.

Children can drown quickly and quietly; in less than 5 cm (2 in.) of water and in only 10 seconds. Drowning can happen in ponds, rivers, lakes, bathtubs, dugouts, sloughs, pails, and water barrels. Children often cannot call out or signal that they need help.

There are a lot of things that adults can do to keep children safe so that they can have fun in the water. All children should wear Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) when they are at the beach, lake, or pool. Teach your child how to roll on her back when wearing a PFD so that her face will be out of the water if there is an emergency.

Children should be supervised at all times when around water

Children should be supervised at all times when around water, even if the child knows how to swim. You should be within arm’s reach of your child until she is over the age of 5. Older children and adults should always use the buddy system and never swim alone.

Enroll your child in swimming lessonsEnroll your child in swimming lessons or a Swim to Survive program. Check out the Canadian Red Cross and Lifesaving Society’s websites for more information. Your local pool and regional park may have more information on their websites.

Electrical Shock

Injuries happen when you come into contact with a source of electricity. This is called electrical shock. Electrical shocks cause burns and can cause death. Electrical shock can also affect your brain, heart, and other organs.

When electricity moves through your body, you can get burns that you cannot see. You may think that you are not injured but there can be lots of injuries inside your body.

Cover all empty electrical sockets. The best socket covers are ones that slide over the socket instead of stick in the socket. Avoid using power bars if you can. If you need one, make sure that it has safety covers over the sockets.

Cover all empty electrical sockets

Tuck wires out of a child’s reach. Young children like to play with or chew cords.

Make sure that all small appliances, like toasters and hair dryers, are unplugged when they aren’t being used. Electricity travels through water. If an appliance drops into water that you or your child have contact with, this can result in an electrical shock.

If your child has an electrical toy, plug it in for him and supervise him when he is playing with it.

Falls

Often, children get hurt by falling. Sometimes, the injury can be serious. The following information is about some of the ways that you can protect your child from falls.

Safety Proofing Your House

Your child will explore his environment. He can roll off a bed, try to crawl up the stairs, and climb on everything. Watch your child carefully. For more information, click the Safety Proofing Your House button.

Crib

When your child can sit and stand, move his crib mattress to the lowest position.

Furniture

Use proper hardware to secure heavy furniture to the wall. This includes bookshelves, dressers, and televisions. This will prevent these heavy objects from falling onto a child.

Make sure furniture is not top heavy. Use the bottom shelves or drawers for heavy objects.

High Surfaces

Don’t leave your baby alone when he is on any surface above floor level. Keep one hand on your baby when he is on a high surface like a change table.

Diaper Rash Treatment

Playgrounds

Falls can happen at the playground. For more information, click the Playground button.

Stairs

Falls often happen on stairs. Stairways need to be blocked off at both the top and the bottom with either a closed door or a wall-mounted safety gate.

Safety Gates

There are two types of safety gates: pressure-mounted and wall-mounted. You can use either type at the bottom of your stairs. This will prevent your baby from crawling up the stairs. Use a wall-mounted gate at the top of stairs. This will stay in place if your child falls against it.

Make sure that all safety gates meet current safety regulations.

Toys

Supervise your child when he uses a riding toy. These toys should be used outside and away from stairs. Your child does not have control over his movement and can fall down a flight of stairs. He can also fall off the toy.

Windows

Put latches or window guards on all windows and patio/balcony doors.

Farm

Farms offer excellent opportunities for children to grow and learn. However, farms also have a lot of hazards. The best way to keep your young child safe on the farm is to have a designated play area for children. This area should be surrounded by a fence with a self-locking latch.

Accompany your young child at all times when she is not in this play area.

Accompany your young child at all times when she is not in this play area

Teach your child what areas and equipment on the farm are off limits. Keep in mind that sometimes areas that are safe one day may not be safe the next day. For example, being near a field during seeding, spraying, or harvest would be more dangerous than at other times.

Dangers on the Farm

  • Machinery/Equipment
    • Rollovers: The machine rolls over and child flies out or becomes trapped.
    • Run-overs: Children can be run over when they fall from a machine or are playing in an area where the vehicle operator cannot see them.
    • Cuts, burns, and amputations can occur when playing around farm equipment.

Drowning

  • Dugouts, lakes, rivers, sloughs, ponds, manure pits, and lagoons are all potentially dangerous for drowning.
  • For more information click the Drowning button.

Livestock

  • Remember that calm and domestic animals can be dangerous when they feel threatened.
  • Farm animals will be protective of their babies.
  • Young children can be easily knocked over and trampled by farm animals.

Pesticides/Chemicals

  • Pesticides/chemicals that are not locked away from children can be a poisoning hazard.

Grain

  • Children can get trapped in flowing grain in just a few seconds; this includes grain in bins, trucks, and wagons.

Fire

Having a smoke detector that works properly and knowing what to do when the alarm goes off will help keep your family safe if there is a fire.

Preventing Fires

  • Put lighters and matches out of reach of children.
  • Supervise children around fires, inside and outside.
  • Do not teach children how to use a lighter or matches.
  • Supervise children in the kitchen. Do not let young children use the stove.
  • Create a fire escape plan for your home. Make sure babysitters and others know this plan as well.
  • Make sure the smoke detector in your home works properly. Do not remove the battery or disconnect the wires.

Fire Escape Plan

Make a fire escape route from your home. This route will help family members get out of the home safely during a fire.

In the following video, Sparky the Fire Dog will help you talk to your child about having a fire escape plan.

Here are some easy steps to follow in making a plan:

  1. Draw a simple floor plan of your home.
  2. Plan two ways out of each room.
  3. Choose a special meeting place outside the home where all family members will meet after escaping. This place could be by the back fence, beside the garage, or at a neighbour’s house. Mark this place on the escape plan.
  4. Have a fire drill at least twice a year. During the drill, make sure that:
    • everyone understands the planned escape routes
    • doors and windows can be opened easily
    • if an escape ladder is necessary, it is where it should be and that everyone knows how to use it
    • someone is assigned to help small children and the elderly

Make sure that everyone in your family knows what to do if there is a fire.

In case of a fire, teach family members to:

  • never risk their lives to take possessions with them
  • always crawl under the smoke to escape a fire
  • never go back into a burning building
  • stop, drop, and roll if their clothes are on fire

Helmets

Helmets decrease the risk of head injuries. Helmets should be used with all wheeled transportation, such as biking, rollerblading, and skate boarding, and several sports, like hockey.

Below is information about bicycle helmets.

To get information about helmets for skiing and snowboarding, please click here.

For information about other winter sports, please click here.

Bike Helmets

Before purchasing a bicycle helmet, check the inside of the helmet to make sure it meets safety standards. If it does, it will say CPSA, CSA, ANSI, ASTM, or Snell approved.

Follow the 2 V 1 Rule below to make sure the helmet is being worn correctly.

Make sure that the bicycle helmet is fitted to the top of the head. Once the straps are done up, there should be very little movement.

Tie long hair at the base of the neck below the helmet. Do not wear ball caps or winter hats under the helmet.

If you or your child has a crash or fall, you will have to replace the helmet.

Playground

Play helps children grow, learn, and develop. Playgrounds are important places because they give children opportunities to play and interact with other children. Playgrounds are also places that children can take risks, try new things, and develop problem-solving skills.

Playgrounds are also a place where injuries can happen. Fractures, scrapes, cuts and bruises, head injuries, strains and sprains, friction burns, and pinches are the most common injuries due to playground equipment. The most serious injuries on playgrounds are due to falls, getting caught in equipment, and collisions.

Supervision is important.

Keeping Children Safe at the Playground

  1. Check Your Children
    • Remove drawstrings from your child’s clothes. These might get caught in equipment and strangle your child.
    • Remove your child’s helmet when she is in the playground. Helmets are larger than your child’s head and can get caught in equipment openings. The straps of the helmet may also strangle your child.
    • Do not allow your child to play with skipping ropes or other ropes and cords on the play equipment. This can cause your child or other children to be strangled.
  2. Check the Playground
    • Check playground equipment for parts that are loose, worn out, or broken.
    • The surface under the playground equipment should be soft. Wood chips and shredded rubber should be 15-30 cm deep (6-12 in). Grass and hard-packed dirt are not good surfaces under the playground equipment.
    • Check for glass or garbage and other debris in the play area.
    • All equipment should have both handrails and guardrails.
    • Advocate that new and existing playground equipment follows Canadian Safety Association (CSA) standards.
    • If your child has special needs, playground equipment can be adapted so that your child can have a safe experience.
  3. Supervise and Teach Safety Habits to Children
    • Let your child play actively. This will help her develop skills and confidence.
    • Children less than 5 years of age require constant and active supervision on play equipment.
    • Encourage your child’s safe play habits including:
      • Wait your turn
      • No pushing
      • Feet first down the slide
      • Sit on swings and slides
      • Look before jumping
    • Ensure play equipment is age-appropriate. Playgrounds are designed for two age groups: 18 months to 5 years, and 5 years to 12 years. Playgrounds designed for 5 to 12 year old children have heights that are unsafe for younger children.

Risks of Active Play

Being active and exploring the world comes with some risks. For example, your child might trip over some rocks when running outside and skin his knee. It is important for your child to take risks during play. This pushes his limits and helps to develop skills.

Active Play

Your child will benefit from active play in the following ways.

  • Build self-confidence
  • Build resiliency skills
  • Develop a belief in himself
  • Explore independence
  • Develop sound judgement
  • Develop risk assessment skills
  • Develop social skills
  • Understand that it is safe to test limits
  • Feel a sense of accomplishment
  • Try new skills and new behaviours

As an adult, your role is to make sure that the environment is free of hazards. For example, making sure there is no glass in the sandbox before your child plays.

your role is to make sure that the environment is free of hazards

You can support your child to be active, explore his world, and take risks by:

  • providing supervision when your young child is playing
  • making sure the place where your child is playing has no hazards in it
  • encouraging your child to be independent
  • making time for your child to play with other children
  • encouraging your child’s desire for joy and excitement
  • helping your child learn how to understand risks and figure out how to manage them
  • encouraging your child’s imagination
  • making sure that your child gets a lot of rest so he has the energy to be active
  • allowing your child to have free time

Poison

Poison is a substance that can cause illness or death when it is swallowed or touched.

How can Someone be Poisoned?

Poison can enter the body in four ways:

  • Ingested by swallowing the substance.
  • Inhaled by breathing in the substance.
  • Absorbed by contacting the skin.
  • Injected such as through insect bites or needles.

What Things in the Home are Poisonous?

Below is a list of poisonous items that can be found in the home. Walk through your home to make sure these items are properly stored. They should be locked up in a cupboard, out of sight, and out of reach of your child.

Bathroom:

  • Cleaning products
  • Lotions and creams
  • Personal hygiene products and cosmetics
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Medicines, vitamins, and herbal products
  • Air fresheners

Bedroom:

  • Cosmetics, air fresheners, and perfumes

Laundry Room:

  • Detergent and fabric softener
  • Laundry pods
  • Bleach and cleaning solutions

Living Room:

  • Plants
  • Tobacco, cigarettes, and butts
  • Crafts and hobby supplies
  • Batteries

Kitchen:

  • Cleaning products
  • Medicines, vitamins, and herbal products
  • Alcohol
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Spray oils
  • Pet medications

Basement/Garage/Storage Room:

  • Weed killer, insecticides, and fertilizers
  • Paint and paint thinner
  • Charcoal lighter
  • Gasoline and motor oil
  • Antifreeze
  • Windshield washer fluid
  • Lime
  • Mothballs

Keep the number for poison control on your fridge 1-866-454-1212. It is free to call this number from anywhere in Saskatchewan.

Talk to Your Older Child

  • Help him understand what poisons are and what they can do to his body.
  • Remind your child that he should always ask an adult before eating or using an unknown substance.
  • Show your child warning labels so he can identify which products are dangerous.

Lead Poisoning

Lead is a heavy bluish-grey metal. Lead is created naturally and can be found everywhere in our environment. Many products we use every day may contain traces of lead. Traces of lead enter the body through the mouth, the lungs, or the skin. Large amounts of lead are dangerous and can cause negative health effects.

Never allow a child to suck or chew on metal jewelry

Children are at greater risk of ingesting lead because they may chew on objects that contain lead.

Here are some tips on how to reduce lead poisoning in your family:

  • Clean your house regularly to remove dust and particles that may contain lead.
  • Do not keep food or drinks in lead crystal containers.
  • Discourage children from putting things into their mouths unless the object is intended to be put in the mouth (like food and pacifiers).
  • Never allow a child to suck or chew on metal jewelry.
  • If you are concerned about exposure to lead, speak to your healthcare professional.

Poisonous Plants

Adapted from Poison and Drug Information Services, Government of Alberta

Proofing Your Home

Sleep

Click here for information about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Second-Hand Furniture

Second-hand cribs, cradles and bassinets may not be safe. The following safety features are important.

A. Bassinet

A safe bassinet needs:

  • a label that has the model name and number
  • an instruction manual
  • a date when it was made
  • posts that are not higher than 1.5 mm (1/16 in)
  • bars that are 6 cm (2 3/8 in) or less apart
  • a solid frame
  • sides that lock into place
  • a firm mattress that is no thicker than 3.8 cm (1½ in)
  • a mattress that is tight against all four sides of the bassinette
  • a fitted sheet that is tight on the mattress

B. Cradle

A safe cradle needs:

  • a label that has the model name and number
  • an instruction manual
  • a date when it was made
  • posts that are not higher than 1.5 mm (1/16 in)
  • bars that are 6 cm (2 3/8 in) or less apart
  • a solid frame
  • sides that lock into place
  • a firm mattress that is no thicker than 3.8 cm (1½ in)
  • a mattress that is tight against all four sides of the crib
  • a fitted sheet that is tight on the mattress

C. Crib

A safe crib needs:

  • a label that has the model name and number
  • an instruction manual
  • a date when it was made
  • posts that are not higher than 1.5 mm (1/16 in)
  • bars that are 6 cm (2 3/8 in) or less apart
  • a solid frame
  • sides that lock into place
  • a firm mattress that is no thicker than 15 cm (6 in)
  • a mattress that is tight against all four sides of the crib
  • a fitted sheet that is tight on the mattress

Lowering Crib Mattress

When your child can pull herself up into a standing position, move the crib mattress to the lowest level. This will prevent her from falling out of the crib. Remove any mobiles or rail toys that your baby will now be able to reach.

When to Use a Bassinet, Cradle, or Crib

  • If you are using a bassinet or a cradle, move your child to a crib when she can roll over. This happens between 3 and 4 months.
  • Move your child into a bed when she can climb out of the crib. This happens between 18 and 24 months.

Check the crib, cradle, or bassinette:

  • space between the bars must not be more than 6 cm (2 3/8 inches)
  • there should be no bumper pads, quilts, pillows, or stuffed animals
  • Drop sides. Cribs with drop down sides have been banned for sale by Health Canada.
  • No splinters or burrs
  • No sharp edges and points
  • No loose nuts or bolts

Put your crib, cradle, or bassinet away from:

  • Lamps
  • Curtains
  • Windows
  • Blind cords
  • Patio doors
  • Electrical plugs
  • Electrical cords

Beds

Move your child to a bed when she can crawl out of her crib. A fall from a crib can cause a serious injury.

To prevent falls from the bed at night you can:

  • use side rails.
  • place the box spring and mattress directly on the floor.
  • get a toddler’s bed.

Do not use the wall as a way to keep your child from falling out of bed. Make sure that the side of the bed is not against a wall, as your child can become trapped between the bed and the wall.

Make sure the mattress that you buy fits the size of your bed frame. There shouldn’t be any gaps between the mattress and the headboard, footboard, or rails.

Teach your child that beds are not for jumping on. Jumping on a bed can lead to broken arms and legs if the child falls off the bed.

Continue to put your child’s bed away from radiators, blinds, windows, and wires, e.g., lamp cords.

Bed Rails

You may choose to use bed rails to prevent your child from falling out of bed.

If you use bed rails, the following safety guidelines can help keep your child safe:

  • There should not be a gap between the bed rail and the mattress.
  • Read all warnings and carefully follow instructions.
  • Railings should not be more than 8.4 cm apart.
  • The bed rail should not have any sharp edges, points, or small parts.

Bunkbeds

Children under the age of 6 should not sleep on the top bunk. The safety rails for top bunks are made to prevent children above the age of 6 from falling. Younger children can get caught in this rail.

Sometimes the top bunk can be taken off. Unless you need the top bunk, store the top bunk until it is needed.

The mattress should fit without any spaces between the headboard and footboard and mattress.

Teach your child that neither bunk is to be played on. This can lead to injuries from falls.

If you have an older child using the top bunk, teach him to always use the ladder and to never have more than one person on the top bunk.

When you purchase a bunkbed, ask if it meets ASTM International Standards (American Society for Testing and Materials International). These are standards that manufacturers have to meet when building the bunkbed to ensure safety.

Storage

Storage bins and boxes can be dangerous. They can trap a child inside. If the bin/box does not have air holes, the child will not have enough air to breathe. Place storage bins/boxes where your child cannot get to them.

Provide safe storage for toys. If your toy box has a lid, be sure the box has air holes and a “no-latch lid. This will prevent your child from suffocating if she gets trapped in the box. You can also use storage toy boxes that do not have lids.

Use separate toy boxes for younger and older children’s toys.

Suffocation/Strangulation

Suffocation means that the child is not getting enough air because something is covering his nose and mouth.

Strangulation means that the child is not getting enough air because something is squeezing his neck.

Blind and curtain cords can strangle a child if he becomes tangled in the cord. Tie curtain and blind cords out of reach of children by using a safety device, clothes pin, hook, or nail. Cut the bottom loop off of curtain and blind cords. This video demonstrates safety tips for blind cords.

Keep cribs, beds, tables, couches, and chairs away from windows with curtain and blind cords.

Keep stuffed animals, quilts, pillows, and bumper pads out of your baby’s crib. These objects can cover your child’s nose or mouth and cause suffocation. Plastic bags, plastic wrap, and latex balloons can also cause suffocation. Keep these out of reach of your child.

Sun

Your child’s skin can burn just like yours. It doesn’t matter what tone your skin is; you can still burn. Burned skin can be very uncomfortable. It also puts your child at risk for skin cancer.

Your child’s skin can burn in just 15 minutes. Your child’s skin can burn in every season. Clouds do not protect your child from getting a sun burn.

When your child is outside, the following sun safety steps are recommended.

  • Put sunscreen on all of your child’s skin that is not covered with clothing.
  • Re-apply sunscreen frequently, especially if your child has been swimming or sweating.
  • Dress your child in long sleeves and long pants even if it is hot outside. There are a lot of fabrics that your child can wear that will keep him cool.
  • Your child should wear a hat that has a wide brim.
  • Have your child play in the shade between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. This is when the sun is the hottest.
  • Make sure that your child is drinking water frequently to avoid dehydration.

Until your baby is 6 months old, she cannot wear sunscreen. It is important that babies under 6 months of age are kept in the shade when outside.

Toys

Most children’s toys are recommended for a particular age of child. This recommendation can be found on the packaging of the toy. The suggested age levels on toy packages are based on safety and the child’s development. It is important to follow the recommendations. If you are given toys that are for an older age than your child, put them away for later use.

A child under the age of three has a tendency to put everything in her mouth. Toys with small parts can get stuck in her throat and choke her. A child can even choke on a broken crayon. Any object that can fit through a toilet paper roll can be a choking hazard.

Throw out broken toys.

Check toys for moving parts. Avoid buying toys with springs, gears, or hinges that could trap a child’s fingers, hair, or clothing.

Be sure toys do not have sharp edges or pointed pieces. Avoid toys with parts made of glass or rigid plastic. These can shatter and cause cuts.

Limit the use of noisy toys. Loud noises can hurt your child’s hearing.

Projectile toys, like darts, are dangerous for young children. They can cause eye injuries.

Many toys contain batteries. For important safety information click the Batteries button.

Walking Outside

There are certain skills a child needs to cross the street safely by herself. Under the age of 5, your child will not have these skills yet. Commonly, it is stated that children will not have these skills until age 9.

There are lots of reasons why supervising your child is important.

  1. Children often focus on only one thing at a time. These are things that they are interested in. This does not include traffic.
  2. Children are easily distracted.
  3. There is a lot of information that you need to work through to cross a road safety. Children are not able to process this information when they are young.
  4. Children who are less than 4 feet in height might not be able to see cars. Also, drivers might not see small children.
  5. A child’s ability to see what is going on at the side of their vision (peripheral vision) is not developed. When a child is looking straight ahead, she may not be able to detect movement to the side.
  6. Children may not recognize the sound of a car.
  7. Children may not be able to tell whether a sound is coming from her right or left.
  8. Children do not have the skill to figure out how fast a car is going.
  9. Children have difficulty understanding how far away a vehicle is or how much space is between two vehicles.

Helping Your Child Cross the Road Safely

Model the correct behaviour and teach your child how to safely cross streets. Make sure you accompany him across.

  1. Stop at the corner.
  2. Look left for any cars coming in the left traffic lane.
  3. Look right for any cars coming in the right traffic lane.
  4. Look left again to make sure there are still no cars approaching.
  5. Turn head back and look over shoulder to see if cars are coming from behind.
  6. Look forward to see if any cars are coming from in front of you.
  7. Make eye contact with drivers so you know that they see you and they know that you see them.
  8. Make sure that any cars have come to a complete stop before you start to cross the street.
  9. Hold your child’s hand. Carefully cross the street, still looking left and right.

Hold your child’s hand

Winter

Sometimes parents think that they have to keep their children indoors during the winter. However, children need time outside; whatever the season. Children can play safely in Saskatchewan winters. Here are some tips for winter safety.

Dress your child in warm clothing when outdoors in cool and cold temperatures.

  • Layer your child’s clothes.
  • Cover as much skin as possible.
  • Change wet clothes and boots if your child is planning to stay out.
  • Remove wet clothes as soon as your child comes inside.

Layer your child’s clothes

Car Seat

  • Using a winter coat under the harness of a car seat can make the harness loose. In order to work properly, the harness needs to be tight.
  • Instead of having your child wear his coat, put him in the harness first and place the coat on the child backwards. You can also use a blanket to keep your child warm.

Remove strings and cords from children’s clothing.

  • Strings or cords can get caught on playground equipment, in doors, on sleds, or on other objects. If this happens, your child can be strangled.
  • Use a neck warmer instead of a scarf. If a scarf is used, tuck the ends into the child’s jacket.
  • Attach mittens to a child’s jacket with clips on the end of the jacket sleeve, rather than a long string.

Get Enough to Drink

  • Give children lots of water or warm drinks to help their bodies stay warm.

Provide young children with constant supervision while they are outside.

Winter Activities

  • It is important to ensure safe equipment is used and safe practices are followed to keep children safe during winter activities such as tobogganing, skiing, snowboarding, and skating.

Frostbite

  • Frostbite happens when a child’s skin freezes.
  • Frostbite can happen if skin is not covered in cold temperatures.
  • The most common body parts to get frostbite are the cheeks, ears, nose, hands, and feet.
  • Click here for more information about frostbite.

Hypothermia

Quiz

If you would like to receive a certificate for completing this program, you need to complete the quizzes for each section of this resource. Once you have completed all 18 quizzes, you will be able to download your certificate.

You also need to register to get a certificate. If you’re not yet registered, please press go here (connect to register).

Play

Select a Topic

Play

To adults, play is a change from their work. To children, play is their work.

Play helps children grow and develop. Play is important to children’s physical and mental health. Just like getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercising.

During play, children use both their bodies and minds. They interact with their environment, with materials, and with other people.

Why is Play Important?

When your child plays, she:

  • Feels loved, happy, and safe.
  • Learns about her body.
  • Learns about caring for others and the environment.
  • Expresses her feelings like delight, surprise, and frustration.
  • Builds pathways in her brain.
  • Attaches to you.
  • Builds self-esteem and self-confidence.

What Areas Are Developed Through Play?

Play doesn’t have to be organized. Everyday routines like bathing and feeding provide opportunities for play.

Everyday routine like bathing opportunities for play

Playtime is a learning time for young children. Creating opportunities for children to play with others and also by themselves is important.

Let your child lead her play time with you. When you let your child take the lead, you are telling her she is important and that you are interested in what she is doing. This also helps your child learn curiosity.

Let your child lead her play time with you

Don’t give your child too many toys at once. If you have a lot of toys, rotate them to keep your child interested. Giving her too many options will be overwhelming.

As long as your child is safe, let her explore and experiment.

explore and experiment

Encouraging Play

Encourage play. Make time for it.

Your child will enjoy playing by herself.

Sometimes he will want to play with someone else. Your child needs playmates. These can be you, other adults, siblings, or peers. By playing with others, your child will begin to discover his strengths and weaknesses. He will develop feelings of self-esteem and self-confidence.

When children play in a group of other children, each child will have different strengths. This allows each child to be a leader at some point during play.

Arrange play with other children in the neighbourhood in park programs or play groups. Check out toy lending libraries. As your child gets older, he may be ready for daycare or preschool. This provides an excellent opportunity to be social with other children.

Try not to over-schedule your child’s life. He needs time to play by himself. He also needs quiet times.

He needs time to play by himself

Just as we balance out children’s food, we also have to balance their activities. Children need a variety of experiences. Try to make time in a week for social and solitary play, reading, helping around the home, music, and caring for pets.

Children need both indoor and outdoor play time. Children also need active play where they take risks and test their boundaries.

Guide to Buying Toys

You may notice that your child spends more time playing with the box a toy came in than the toy itself. You don’t have to buy fancy toys. In fact, sometimes fancy toys are not as helpful for learning and development as simple toys. For example, a child can engage in more creative play with a simple doll than a doll that walks, talks, and eats by itself.

creative play

Toys do not have to be expensive to be educational or fun. Some simple and inexpensive toys are metal or plastic cups, pots and pans, wooden spoons, crayons and paper, boxes, boxes inside of boxes, dress up toys, balls, plastic bottles, and floating toys.

When you are buying toys, there is a lot to consider.

How Many

Your child does not need multiple toys or the most high-tech gadgets.

Durability

Your child will be rough on his toys. Make sure that the toy can stand up to being dropped, banged, poked, and pulled. Also, make sure the toy is washable with both soap and water.

What is the reason for the toy?

  • Can your child use his five senses when playing with the toy? The five senses are seeing, smelling, hearing, tasting, and feeling.
  • Does the toy give your child the chance to move, push, or pull?
  • Does your child have to use his imagination to play with the toy?
  • Does the toy encourage climbing, crawling, walking, running, jumping, or rolling?
  • Can the toy be squeezed, banged, thrown, opened, closed, or stacked?

What Age is the Toy for?

Often, toys show what age the toy is made for. This helps keep children safe. Choose toys that are approved for your child’s age.

Will the toy still be interesting as your child gets older and his skills increase?

Use

Make sure that your child has one toy that she can play with by herself. A toy should engage and involve your child, such as blocks. It is important to buy toys that your child can do things with instead of toys that do things by themselves.

A toy should engage and involve your child

Variety

Provide a variety of toys for a wide range of experiences. Everyday objects in your house can be toys, like pots and pans.

Provide a variety of toys

Active Play

Being active and exploring the world comes with some risks. For example, your child might trip over some rocks when running outside and skin his knee. It is important for your child to take risks during play. This pushes his limits and helps to develop skills.

Active Play

Your child will benefit from active play in the following ways.

  • Build self-confidence
  • Build resiliency skills
  • Develop a belief in herself
  • Explore independence
  • Develop sound judgement
  • Develop risk assessment skills
  • Develop social skills
  • Understand that it is safe to test limits
  • Feel a sense of accomplishment
  • Willing to try new skills and new behaviours

As an adult, your role is to make sure that the environment is free of hazards. For example, making sure there is no glass in the sandbox before your child plays.

your role is to make sure that the environment is free of hazards

You can support your child to be active, explore his world, and take risks by:

  • providing supervision when your young child is playing
  • making sure the place where your child is playing has no hazards in it
  • encouraging your child to be independent
  • making time for your child to play with other children
  • encouraging your child’s desire for joy and excitement
  • helping your child learn how to understand risks and figure out how to manage them
  • encouraging your child’s imagination
  • making sure that your child gets a lot of rest so she has the energy to be active
  • allowing your child to have free time

Stages of Play

Stages of Play 0-12 Months

Your baby learns through her five senses; sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. Even a newborn baby needs things to look at, to listen to, and things to touch. During the first few months, you are your child’s best playmate. Looking into your eyes, feeling your touch, and hearing your voice are examples of ways that your baby is learning with you. Your baby does not need expensive toys and gadgets.

By the time your baby is three months old, she needs interesting and safe objects to hold and play with. Small, soft, washable toys of different textures are great.

objects your baby can play with

Look around your house. There are a lot of objects that you already have that your baby can play with and learn from. Some examples are cardboard boxes, plastic containers, pots and pans, and safe, non-sharp kitchen utensils.

non sharp kitchen utensils


Stages of Play 1-3 Years

Your child is still developing a lot of skills. She is learning physical skills, such as how to climb and jump. She is learning social skills. She is learning how to be independent, problem solve, and plan. She is using her imagination more. She is remembering events and is starting to be able to apply things she has learned to new tasks. Play will help her develop these skills.

Your child is still developing a lot of skills

Continue to give your child opportunities to play with you, with other children her age, and with other people in your community.

Your child’s favourite thing to do can change every day. Let your child make choices about what she wants to do. Allow for free play time (time when play is not organized and doesn’t have rules). Your child still needs to see you, or know where you are, to feel safe when she plays.

Every day, give some time for your child to lead your play with her. This helps her build her connection to you and her self-esteem.

Your child does not need expensive toys and gadgets.

Your child does not need expensive toys and gadgets

Your child needs active, physical play every day.


Stages of Play 3 – 5 Years

Your child is continuing to learn about her body and what it can do. She is actively using her imagination in both play and everyday activities. For example, your child may want to wear a super hero cape to preschool.

actively using their imagination

Your child’s social skills are also developing. She is learning how to share and to recognize other people’s feelings. She is also learning how to negotiate. This helps with fair play, but sometimes can feel manipulative. For example, “Dad said I could …”

Your child’s world is expanding beyond your family and home. Help to expand this. Take trips to parks, playgrounds, and activities. Allow for social opportunities.

You will notice that your child will enjoy imitating you during play. She is trying out roles, words, and testing boundaries. As long as your child is safe, it is important for your child to test her limits.

Your child needs active, physical play every day.

Outdoor Play

Playing outside helps your child grow and learn.

Playing outside lets your child:

  • Be active
  • Explore
  • Use his imagination
  • Problem-solving
  • Develop his muscles

Children who play outdoors move more than those who play indoors. Time spent outdoors can help meet the physical activity requirements of your child’s age group.

Children who play outside get less chronic illnesses, like Type 2 diabetes, vitamin D deficiency, asthma, and high blood pressure. It can also decrease your child’s risk of experiencing depression and anxiety later in life.

As long as children are properly dressed, playing outside during winter and summer is both healthy and possible. To get winter and/or safety tips, click here.

Remember that adult supervision is very important for young children and especially important when children are playing outdoors.

Remember adult to have supervision

Toys for Fun and Learning

Toys for Fun and Learning 0-1 year

Things to look at:

  • Mobiles
  • Pictures and picture books
  • Toys
  • Your happy face

Things to listen to:

  • Music
  • Voices
  • Musical toys

Things to feel:

  • Soft toys
  • Things with different texture, like furry, silky, smooth, fluffy, bumpy, rubbery

Things to hit and shake:

  • Hanging toys to bat at, reach for, grab, and kick
  • Plastic jars with lids (put things inside of them for a new sound)
  • Rattles

Things to hold and bite:

  • Plastic cups
  • Wooden spoons
  • Teething rings

Toys for Fun and Learning 1-2 year

Active toys:

  • Toys to ride on
  • Toys to push or pull
  • Climbing space
  • Things to throw and catch

Toys to sort and put together:

  • Nesting cups or boxes
  • Stacking rings
  • Boxes to sort blocks into

Noisy toys:

  • Things to bang, shake, and make music, like drums, tambourines, rattles, bells

Toys for messy play:

  • Containers to fill and empty
  • Pails and shovels
  • Big crayons

Toys for playing grownup:

  • Kitchen tools, like pots, pans, wooden spoons
  • Dress-up clothes like hats
  • Small table and chairs
  • Dolls and stuffed animals
  • Toy phone
  • Toy tools

Toys for Fun and Learning 2-3 year

Toys for active play:

  • Tricycles
  • Low rocking horses
  • Wagons
  • Swings

Toys for messy play:

  • Sand with pails, shovels, containers, and spoons
  • Clay, finger-paints, or play dough
  • Bubbles to blow

Toys for quiet play:

  • Puzzles
  • Blocks
  • Stacking toys
  • Little cars
  • Animal and human figures
  • Boxes and paper bags to sort things into and carry them around

Arts and crafts:

  • Crayons
  • Finger paints and play dough
  • Chalk

Toys for pretending:

  • Old clothes for dress-up
  • Brooms
  • Toy dishes
  • Dolls, stuffed animals

Books:

  • Picture books
  • Word books

Toys for Fun and Learning 3-5 year

Toys for active play:

  • Tricycles and bicycles
  • Beanbags and balls
  • Buckets and shovels

Toys for quiet play:

  • Building sets
  • Puzzles and easy games
  • Small cars, trucks, trains and figures
  • Wind-up toys

Arts and crafts:

  • Play dough
  • Crazy goop
  • Paints
  • Bubbles
  • Crayons and markers
  • Blackboard and chalk

Toys to make music:

  • Drums, xylophone, tambourine
  • Pots and pans

Things for make-believe play:

  • Dress-up clothes
  • Dolls and stuffed animals
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Hand puppets made from mittens

Physical Activity

Physical Activity 1-4

Between 1-4 years of age, your child should have at least 180 minutes of physical activity throughout the day. This does not mean 180 minutes all at one time. It can be spread out over the whole day. For example, your child might be physically active for 20 minutes every hour for 9 hours of the day.

For small children, meeting the physical activity requirements is often not difficult, as they like to move around and explore their world. Below are some ways that you can help your child to be physically active.

  • Plan sitting activities that will not take too much time.
  • Switch from sitting activities to movement activities.
  • Let your child explore both indoors and outdoors.
  • Visit your local playground.
  • Actively play with your child, e.g., kicking a ball around the back yard.
  • Do not leave your child in her car seat or stroller for a long time. It is recommended that children under the age of 5 are placed not in a confined seated position for more than 1 hour at a time.
  • Encourage walking instead of using the stroller.
  • Keep TVs and computers out of your child’s bedroom.
  • Have little/or no screen time around your child. Screen time is any time that includes TVs, computers, tablets, electronic games, or cell phones.

Physical Activity 5 years

By the time your child is 5, he should have over 60 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous physical activity. This does not mean 60 minutes all at one time. It can be spread out over the whole day. For example, your child might be physically active for 10 minutes of vigorous activity every hour for 6 hours of the day.

Please note that this guideline is for every day. If your child is enrolled in soccer on Fridays and is active for 90 minutes, the extra 30 minutes does not count towards the next day’s 60 minutes.

Children should have as many opportunities as possible throughout the day to move around.

Be careful not to overschedule your child. Unscheduled physical activity is important.

Moderate physical activity includes bike riding, playing at the playground, skateboarding, walking, hiking, and t-ball.

Vigorous physical activity includes running, swimming, aerobics, dancing, and ice skating.

Below are some ways that you can help your child to be physically active.

  • Plan sitting activities that will not take too much time.
  • Switch from sitting activities to movement activities.
  • Let your child be active both indoors and outdoors.
  • Visit your local playground.
  • Encourage active imaginative play.
  • Actively play with your child, e.g., kicking a ball around the back yard.
  • Enroll your child in community programming, like swimming lessons or t-ball.
  • Be active together as a family, e.g., take a walk, rake the yard, or shovel snow.
  • Keep TVs and computers out of your child’s bedroom.
  • Limit your child’s screen time to less than 2 hours. Screen time is any time that includes TVs, computers, tablets, electronic games, or cell phones.

Resiliency

Resiliency is your child’s ability to cope with stress, changes, and new situations. To cope with something means that you are handling a difficult situation the best that you can.

Verbal and non-verbal communication skills

Verbal communication skills include talking, listening, and responding. Non-verbal communication skills refers to body language; the way that you show your emotions through your body, for example clenching your fists when you are mad.

Motor Skills

Motor skills are any action that using muscle, like lifting something or walking.

Social Skills

These skills help you interact with other people, like learning to share.

Literacy Skills

Literacy skills include being able to:

  • Read
  • Write
  • Understand what you read
  • Count

Click here for more information.

Empathy

Empathy means being able to understand another person’s feeling and situation. Empathy is an important social skill. For more information, click here.

Brain Development

Young children’s brains are growing, developing, and learning how to work. For more information, click here.

Attach to you

Attachment is the bond that your child will develop with you. For more information, click here.

Self-esteem

Having a healthy self-esteem means that you belief in yourself and your worth.

Self-Confidence

Being self-confident means that you trust in your own abilities and qualities.

Screen Time

Screen time refers to the time that your child is exposed to anything that has a screen: computers, iPods, vehicle DVD players, gaming systems, cell phones, tablets, and televisions. This also includes the use of these types of media in the background, for example, having the TV on during dinner. Click here for more information.

Quiz

If you would like to receive a certificate for completing this program, you need to complete the quizzes for each section of this resource. Once you have completed all 18 quizzes, you will be able to download your certificate.

You also need to register to get a certificate. If you’re not yet registered, please press go here (connect to register).

Pets

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Pets

Many families have pets. You may have had a pet before you had your baby. You may have bought a pet after your child was born. For many, pets become part of the family.

It is important to remember that our pets are animals. Pets react with their instincts. Instincts are the natural ways that your pet reacts to things going on around them. Pets do not think through their actions before they act.

Normally, your pet may be great around children. You may think your pet would never hurt your child. However, you need to remember that your pet will react if he feels scared, hurt, angry, or anxious. Reactions can include hiding, nipping, biting, and growling. Your pet’s reactions may hurt your child.

Remember that not all animals like children. Never force an animal to be around your child.

Learn Pet Body Language

Body language is the way that feelings are expressed through your body. For example, when you feel angry, you might clench your jaw.

It is important to learn your pet’s body language. Once you understand your pet’s body language, you can help your child learn this as well. Most of the time, animals do not attack a person for no reason. They will give warning signs through their body language.

Keeping Your Child and Pet Safe

Even if your pet has been great with your child in the past, don’t assume this will always be the case. Below is a list of things you can do to keep your child safe.

  1. Keep your pet’s vaccinations up-to-date.
  2. Put your pet in a separate room when you have people visiting. Lots of visitors in your house can make your pet feel unsafe and anxious.
  3. Do not let your young child and pet sleep in the same room.
  4. Put your pet in a separate area when your child is eating. Have your child sit when she eats. Wandering around with food in her hands is tempting for your pet.
  5. When your toddler begins exploring the world, create a space that is separate from your family pet.
  6. Learn to read your pet’s body language. If your pet is feeling tired, uncomfortable, anxious, angry, or confused, remove the animal from the area.
  7. Using a muzzle on a dog will not decrease the risk of harm to your child. Swiping paws can also be dangerous.
  8. If a child is bitten or scratched, clean out the wound carefully. Pet bites and scratches can get infected.
  9. If you have fish, reptiles, birds, or other animals in cages or tanks, attach the cages or tanks to the wall using brackets so that they do not fall on your child.

Be Still

Dogs get excited, aggressive, and/or anxious if a child is running, waving his hands, getting excited, jumping, screaming, or shrieking. Hugs and kisses can also feel threatening to pets. Hugs and kisses can cause your baby to be bitten in the face or neck.

A dog will follow your hand movements and your child’s hand movements with his head. If your child crosses his arms across his chest or holds his hands up in the air, this causes the dog to look up at the child’s face. This can cause your child to be bitten in the neck or face.

Teach your child to be still around dogs:

  • that he does not know
  • that he knows but the owner is not present
  • that make him feel uncomfortable, scared, or worried
  • that are chasing him
  • that are really excited

Being still is easy. Teach your child these simple steps.

  1. Stand still.
  2. Look at his feet.
  3. Don’t make eye contact with the dog.
  4. Fold his hands in front of his stomach.
  5. Count the highest he can…over and over until the dog leaves or someone comes to help him.

Introducing a Pet to a Child

Introducing a Pet to a Child

Don’t try to force a meeting between a pet and a child. Allow the pet to approach you and the child. It may take a while for the pet to become comfortable with the new family member.

Meeting a Pet

Meeting a Pet

Your child should not make contact with a new animal or an animal whose owner is not present. Teach your child to take the following steps when meeting a new animal.

  1. Be still. This lets the animal become comfortable and calm with your presence.
  2. Ask the pet’s owner if your child can pet the animal.
  3. Once you have permission to pet the animal, hold out your hand and let the pet smell it. Animals greet each other through smell, so this will be familiar to the animal.
  4. Teach your child to pet the animal on its neck. This keeps your child away from the animal’s face and mouth.

Remember that your child learns behaviours by watching you. Follow the steps above when you meet a new animal or an animal whose owner is not present.

Behaviours that are Safe Around Pets

Teach your child what behaviours are not acceptable around your pet.

Pets are not playgrounds. Children should not climb on pets, pinch, punch, kick, pull a pet’s tail or paw, or sneak up behind pets. Teach your child to be gentle and respectful of pets. Teasing, harassing, rough housing, and being aggressive or overly excited around pets can result in scratches or bites.

Teach your child not to bother pets when they are eating or sleeping.

Quiz

If you would like to receive a certificate for completing this program, you need to complete the quizzes for each section of this resource. Once you have completed all 18 quizzes, you will be able to download your certificate.

You also need to register to get a certificate. If you’re not yet registered, please press go here (connect to register).

Oral Health

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Oral Health All Ages

Oral health means the health of your gums, teeth, mouth, and jaw

Oral health means the health of your gums, teeth, mouth, and jaw.

From the time she is born, taking care of your child’s oral health is important.

For more information about your child’s oral health, click on one of the buttons below.

Oral Health (0-1 year)

Babies are not born with the germs that cause cavities. These germs are passed to them from the people who take care of them, especially mothers. Germs can be passed through saliva when sharing a spoon with your baby or cleaning a pacifier with your mouth.

You can help reduce the chance of early cavities in your child’s teeth by:

  • keeping your mouth healthy and free of cavities
  • not sharing items between your mouth and your baby’s mouth
  • taking your child for a dental visit by age one

First Dental Appointment

By the time your child is one year old, he should go to his first dental check-up. The dentist or hygienist will count your child’s teeth and clean his teeth and mouth. This visit allows the dentist or hygienist to find any early oral health problems and fix them before they get bigger.

The dentist or hygienist will answer any questions you have about your child’s oral health. This visit lets you and your child develop a positive relationship with the dentist or hygienist.

Teething

Your baby’s first teeth will likely begin to come in at 6 months. She will have all of her baby teeth by the time she is around 3 years old. Your baby’s bottom front teeth will probably come in first. These will be followed by her top front teeth.

When each tooth comes in, it can be uncomfortable and painful. Your baby may get irritable and may not want to eat. Biting a teething ring or cold wet wash cloth can help. You can also try rubbing your baby’s gums with a clean finger or finger toothbrush.


Caring for Your Baby’s Oral Health

Cleaning Your Baby’s Mouth

Oral health care for your baby should begin before his first tooth appears. This is an important step towards having a healthy mouth for life.

Clean your baby’s mouth every day. Start soon after birth by wiping all around the inside of your baby’s mouth with a soft, moist, clean cloth at least once a day. This will reduce bacteria and help your child get used to regular cleaning.

Once your child’s first tooth appears, use a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and gently clean your baby’s teeth. It is important to get into the habit of doing this for your baby twice a day.

Keep cleaning your child’s teeth until he can do this properly himself. Brushing teeth properly requires the child to move the brush at many angles. Help your child to brush his teeth until he is able to tie his shoelaces. Tying shoelaces requires the same fine motor skills as brushing teeth.

Early Childhood Tooth Decay

Your child’s teeth can start to decay as soon as her first tooth starts to appear. Going to bed with a bottle filled with sugary liquids can cause tooth decay. Fruit juice, sweetened tea, pop, cow’s milk, and formula all contain sugar.

Over time, sugar causes acid that eats away at the enamel of the teeth. Enamel is a protective coating on the teeth. When the enamel is eaten away, cavities occur.

Oral Health (1-5 year)

Oral health means the health of your gums, teeth, mouth, and jaw.

By the time your child is three years old, he will have most or all of his baby teeth.

The Canadian Dental Association has lots of activities that you can do with your child to help him understand the importance of his oral health.

Children are not born with the germs that cause cavities. These germs are passed to them from the people who take care of them, especially mothers. Germs can be passed through saliva when sharing a spoon or cleaning a pacifier by mouth.

You can help reduce the chance of early cavities in your child’s teeth by:

  • keeping your mouth healthy and free of cavities
  • not sharing items between your mouth and your child’s mouth
  • taking your child to regular dental visits
  • brushing and flossing your child’s teeth twice a day

Your child’s teeth can start to decay as soon as her first tooth starts to appear. Going to bed with a bottle filled with sugary liquids can cause tooth decay. Fruit juice, sweetened tea, pop, cow’s milk, and formula all contain sugar.

Plaque

Plaque causes tooth decay (cavities), gum disease, and bad breath. Plaque is a sticky, build-up of bacteria that forms on the teeth, gums, and tongue.

Tooth Decay/Cavities

Tooth decay begins when plaque sticks to a tooth. The plaque makes acid from the sugars and starches that are in your mouth from the food you eat. This acid causes a hole to form in the tooth’s enamel. Enamel is what covers and protects the tooth. The hole is called a cavity.

Tooth Decay/Cavities

Gum Disease

Gum disease in an infection of the gums and other areas that support the teeth. Gum disease happens when plaque is not removed every day by brushing and flossing. When the plaque builds up, the gums get red, swollen, and can bleed. If your child’s gums are bleeding, ask your dentist or hygienist for some tips about flossing and brushing.

Visiting the Dentist

Visiting the Dentist

Continue to take your child to the dentist or hygienist once a year. Sometimes, your dentist or hygienist may request seeing your child more often. Visiting the dentist or hygienist regularly can help to treat problems early on.

Untreated dental problems can lead to health problems later in your child’s life. Preventing these problems is the best choice.


Caring for Your Baby’s Oral Health

Brushing

Brushing teeth removes plaque and food from the teeth and gums. Below is a list of things to remember.

  • Use a child-sized toothbrush with soft bristles. Replace the brush every three months or after an illness. Never share toothbrushes.
  • Brush your child’s teeth 2-3 times a day.
  • Gently move the toothbrush back and forth. Do 2-3 teeth at a time. Make sure you do all the teeth. Make sure you brush the front, back, and top of the teeth.
  • Brush your child’s tongue.
    Brush your child's tongue
  • Your child should not swallow the toothpaste. Have your child spit out the toothpaste into the sink. Give your child some water so she can rinse her mouth out. Have your child spit the water into the sink after rinsing her mouth.
  • Rinse the toothbrush well after brushing. Keep it in a clean, dry place. Don’t let the bristles touch the bristles of other toothbrushes.
  • Keep cleaning your child’s teeth until he can do this properly himself. Brushing teeth properly requires the child to move the brush at many angles. An adult should take a turn to help brush teeth until the child is able to tie a shoelace which requires about the same number of angles.

Flossing

Flossing removes plaque and food from the places that your toothbrush cannot reach.

  • Floss your child’s teeth once a day.
  • Break off a piece of dental floss 45 cm (17.7 in) long.
  • Wrap most of the floss around a finger on one hand. Wrap the rest around a finger of the other hand.
  • Hold the floss tightly between the fingers and work it slowly between the teeth and under the gum line, using a gentle back and forth motion.
  • You can also use a floss pick. This may be easier for children when they are first learning to floss.
  • Floss every tooth.
    Floss every tooth

Fluoride

Fluoride is a mineral that helps the enamel on your teeth get stronger. This makes them less likely to decay.

Fluoride can be found in some communities’ water supplies. It is also found in toothpaste that is recommended by the Canadian Dental Association, and in some mouth rinses and fluoride varnishes.

Sealants

Sealants prevent tooth decay. Sealants are painted on the chewing surfaces of the molars by a dentist or dental hygienist.

Diet

Avoid foods and drinks that have a lot of sugar. This includes pop and juice.

Cheese and milk provide calcium that helps teeth stay strong. Eating cheese also produces saliva. Saliva rinses away sugars, decreases acids, and mineralizes the teeth. Also, cheese sticks to teeth and helps protect them from acid.

Milk and juice given at naptime and bedtime will pool around your child’s teeth and cause decay. It is recommended to give your child only water after his teeth are brushed, especially at naptime and bedtime. This will help to prevent tooth decay.

Your Child’s Teeth

Cavities

A cavity is damage to the tooth. Cavities are also called caries. The damage caused by cavities starts on the outside of the tooth (enamel) and progresses to the inside of the tooth. Cavities can cause a toothache.

Saliva

Saliva is the liquid that is found in your mouth. Saliva has water in it and a lot of other substances. One of the roles of saliva is to rinse out the areas between your teeth. Saliva rinses away sugars, decreases acids, and mineralizes the teeth.

Dentist

A dentist is a trained and licensed medical professional. A dentist has skills in the area of the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases, injuries, and malformations of the teeth, jaws, and mouth.

Dental Hygienist

A dental hygienist is a trained and licensed professional. Dental hygienists can work alongside dentists but can also work privately. They are trained to work in the area of prevention and treatment in order to promote and maintain good oral health.

Enamel

Enamel is the outside protective layer of the teeth. It can be damaged and can wear out over time. Proper dental care helps to protect the enamel.

Plaque

Plaque is a sticky substance that can coat the teeth. It contains bacteria that can damage the enamel of the teeth and cause cavities. You cannot always see plaque that is on the teeth. Plaque can be removed through brushing and flossing.

Dental Floss

Dental floss is a thin “string” that helps to remove plaque from between the teeth. This can prevent gum disease and cavities. Using dental floss is an important part of taking care of you and your child’s dental health.

Sealants

Dental sealants are a treatment that is used to prevent cavities. Dental sealants fill in all the creases and pits in the teeth. This makes them easier to keep clean and stops plaque from collecting on the teeth.

Quiz

If you would like to receive a certificate for completing this program, you need to complete the quizzes for each section of this resource. Once you have completed all 18 quizzes, you will be able to download your certificate.

You also need to register to get a certificate. If you’re not yet registered, please press go here (connect to register).

Literacy

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Literacy

Literacy is about more than reading and writing skills. Literacy skills help you to make sense of your world. These skills include:

  • being able to read and write
  • being able to use math and numbers
  • being able to use computers
  • being able to communicate with others
  • being able to understand images and symbols

Your child will start learning literacy skills as soon as he is born, e.g., he can tell you when he is hungry by crying. Your baby is learning literacy skills when he says his first words, listens to you read a book, and sings along to songs.

There are many different things you can do with your children that increase literacy skills. Did you know that spending 15 minutes a day reading and doing activities or crafts with your child will help develop her literacy skills? Here are some other things you can do with your child to help build literacy skills.

  • Talk to your baby
  • Sing the ABCs or 123s
  • Ask children questions
  • Teach nursery rhymes
  • Make up songs together
  • Play games in the car together
  • Describe road signs to one another
  • Make up plays together as a family
  • Plan a family trip and follow the route on a map
  • Write a letter to an aunt, uncle, grandmother, or grandfather

By helping develop your child’s literacy skills, you are:

  • developing your child’s love of reading and learning
  • building your child’s respect for you as a parent and teacher
  • strengthening the bond between you and your child
  • preparing your child to do well at school

Quiz

If you would like to receive a certificate for completing this program, you need to complete the quizzes for each section of this resource. Once you have completed all 18 quizzes, you will be able to download your certificate.

You also need to register to get a certificate. If you’re not yet registered, please press go here (connect to register).

Just for You

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Just for You

There are always new things to learn about being a parent.

Be kind to yourself and remember to take time for you.

This section has links to issues that are important for parents. Please click on one of the icons below to explore a topic.

Benefits, 0-1

As a parent of a child between the ages of 0-1 years old, there are some benefits you can get. These are described below.

Maternity Benefits

You can apply for these through Employment Insurance. Your workplace may also have coverage.

  • These benefits are only available to new moms and surrogate moms.
  • You need to have worked 600 hours over the last 52 weeks. You have to prove this by sending in an original copy of your Record of Employment. This is given to you by your employer. If you had more than one employer during the 52 weeks, you need a Record of Employment from each work place.
  • You cannot apply for these benefits before you are 8 weeks away from your due date.
  • Benefits end 17 weeks after you have your baby.
  • If you work while on benefits, the government will subtract whatever you make off of the benefit they give you.

Parental Benefits

You can apply for these through Employment Insurance. Your workplace may also have coverage.

  • Both parents can take these benefits. You can take them at the same time or one after the other.
  • These benefits are given for a total of 35 weeks. The 35 weeks is shared between both parents. You can add these benefits to your Maternal Benefits for a total of 52 weeks.
  • You need to have worked 600 hours over the last 52 weeks. You have to prove this by sending in an original copy of your Record of Employment. This is given to you by your employer. If you had more than one employer during the 52 weeks, you need a Record of Employment from each work place.
  • If you work while getting this benefit, the government will take off $50.00 a week or 25% of your pay cheque; whichever is higher.

Canada Child’s Benefit

The Canada Child’s Benefit helps eligible families with the cost of raising children from 0-17 years of age. This is a tax-free, monthly benefit. Eligibility for the benefit, as well as how much you will receive, is based on your income tax return. Both parents have to file their income tax for this to be determined. To receive these benefits, parents have to fill out an application form.

GST Credit

The GST credit is a tax-free payment that is received 4 times a year. This credit helps low or modest income families. Eligibility to this benefit is based on your filing your income tax. There are no extra forms that need to be filled out. Both parents have to submit their income tax.

Saskatchewan Low-Income Tax Credit

The Saskatchewan Low-Income Tax Credit is tax-free. The payment is combined with the GST credits above. Eligibility is determined through your income tax return. Both parents need to submit their income tax returns. For more information, click here.

Child Disability Benefit

The child disability credit is a monthly, tax-free credit. It is available to families who care for a child under 10 years old who has a disability. Your healthcare provider will need to fill out a form that says that your child has a severe and long-term disability. You can find out more information here at the Canadian Revenue Agency.


Benefits, 1-5

Canada Child’s Benefit

The Canada Child’s Benefit helps eligible families with the cost of raising children from 0-17 years of age. This is a tax-free, monthly benefit. Eligibility for the benefit, as well as how much you will receive, is based on your income tax return. Both parents have to file their income tax returns and fill out an application form.

GST Credit

The GST credit is a tax-free payment that is received 4 times a year. This credit helps low or modest income families. Eligibility for this benefit is based on your income tax returns. There are no extra forms that need to be filled out. Both parents have to submit their income tax returns.

Saskatchewan Low-Income Tax Credit

The Saskatchewan Low-Income Tax Credit is tax-free. The payment is combined with the GST credits above. Again, eligibility is determined through your income tax returns. Both parents need to submit their income tax returns.

Child Disability Benefit

The Child Disability Benefit is a monthly, tax-free credit. It is available to families who care for a child under 10 years old who has a disability. Your healthcare provider will need to fill out a form that states that your child has a severe and long-term disability. You can find out more information here at the Canadian Revenue Agency.

Building Support

You and your child need a support system. A support system is a group of people and agencies that can support you when you need it.

People in your support group can include:

  • friends and family
  • people from your community, like members of your book club or your child’s coach
  • professionals and organizations, like a food bank or parent support group

Click here to do an exercise to figure out who can support you.

Give your child the chance to meet and play with other children. This will help her to build resiliency skills and develop mental health.

Opportunities for your child to meet other children include:

  • attending community events
  • going to friends or relative’s houses
  • participating in child-focused programming
  • helping with chores outside of your house, like grocery shopping

Let your child play with other children his own age. It is also good if he has relationships with trusted adults outside of your family. This will build his support system.

Fathers

Not all children have fathers in their lives.

For those who do, it is important to recognize that fathers play a unique role in their children’s lives. Fathers who are involved in parenting and their children’s lives can have many positive impacts on their children.

Fathers who are involved with their children have more confidence as a parent, have more connections to their families, and are happier in future friendships and relationships. Children who have involved fathers also have better problem-solving skills, are less impulsive, have higher self-esteem, can regulate their emotions, are empathetic, and are less aggressive.

For more information about fathering, please go to Dad Central Saskatchewan.

Who Can Support You?

Creating a support map will help you figure out what supports you have and what supports you still might need. Click here to print out this form.

What areas do you need support in? Use the space to add details for your particular situation.

  • Chores and errands
  • Financial support
  • Practical advice
  • Spiritual support
  • Physical comfort
  • Child care
  • Community resources
  • Emotional support

What qualities do you look for in a support person/organization? List people who you can turn to for this quality.

  • Trustworthy
  • Good listener
  • Available emotionally
  • Good judgement
  • Empathetic
  • Understanding
  • Patient
  • Willing to give advice
  • Sense of humour
  • Non-judgemental

Adapted from Trauma Academy. (n.d). My Trauma Recovery.

Below is an image that you can print off and then fill out. It will ask you to name your supports in three different areas: close friends and family; community; and professionals and organizations.

After you finish filling this out, ask yourself the following questions.

  1. Which supports are just for me? Which are just for my child?
  2. Do I have supports in all three areas? If not, what is missing?
  3. Does my child have supports in all three areas? If not, what is missing?
  4. Do your supports meet all of the needs that you have checked off above?
  5. If they don’t, what is missing?
  6. Do your supports have the qualities that you look for in support people/organizations?
    1. If there is a person or an organization that you answered “no” to for the above question, ask yourself if that person or organization is really a support to you?

Caregivers’ Mental Health

Do you have a mental health concern? Do any of your child’s other caregivers have a mental health concern? Many people who experience mental health concerns are great caregivers. There is support available for you as a caregiver.

Sometimes, caregivers who are experiencing mental health concerns are not always able to take care of their children in a sensitive and consistent way. For example, you may be hospitalized and, therefore, have breaks in your relationship with your child. It may also be difficult to be there for your child emotionally. This can impact your child’s ability to form a secure attachment to you.

Your child may develop some behavioural, learning, mental, and social problems. Sometimes, behaviours of your child may make your mental health symptoms get worse, for example, getting less sleep when your baby is young or not being able to stick to a specific schedule.

With support, parents with mental health concerns can be great parents. There are some things that you can do to support yourself and your children.

  1. Recognize that it is okay to admit to others that you are struggling and that you need help. Get support from professionals, family, or friends.
  2. Take time for yourself when you need to.
  3. Recognize that you have a lot of strengths.
  4. Help yourself and your child build resiliency skills.
  5. Connect with local support groups and organizations. The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) can help you do this.
  6. Gather information. National mental health sites from a variety of countries have information about parenting and mental health. Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA); Mind.org (UK); Mental Health America (USA)
  7. Build a support net around yourself and your family. You can also call HealthLine (811) is you need to connect with someone right away.

Domestic Violence

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence refers to abuse that occurs between people who are in a relationship. Domestic violence is sometimes called intimate partner violence. Domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of income, culture, sexual orientation, whether married or not, or whether they live together or not.

Both men and women can be abusive. Both men and women can also be abused. There are a lot of different kinds of abuse. Some of these are physical, emotional, sexual, financial, or spiritual abuse.

The victim is never at fault. Nothing that he or she did or did not do caused the abuse. Abuse happens because the abuser needs to have control over someone else.

The picture below gives examples of domestic violence.

Domestic Violence Intervention Programs: Duluth Model.

Young Children and Domestic Violence

Young children are affected by domestic violence. They are more vulnerable than older children for some of the following reasons. They are:

  • physically smaller and unable to protect themselves
  • more likely than older children to be home during conflicts
  • unable to ask for help or talk about what they see, hear, or feel
  • less likely to know people outside of their home
In Saskatchewan, witnessing domestic violence is considered a form of child abuse.

When are young children affected by domestic violence?

When are young children affected by domestic violence?

Children are affected by domestic violence when they:

  • see or hear violence
  • see the effects of violence on their parents (injuries or depression)
  • are threatened as part of the abuse
  • feel the need to become caregivers for their parents
  • have their family break apart
  • are victims of abuse themselves

How can young children be affected by domestic violence?

Domestic violence:

  • increases a child’s risk of being abused
  • often results in families breaking down (e.g., divorce or separation)
  • increases the risk of mother’s mental health problems before and after pregnancy; this can impact the health of her child
  • can affect the care the parents give the child (e.g., nutrition, clothing, bathing)
  • can result in other problems within the family (e.g., alcohol or drug abuse, isolation)

Children who live in a home where there is domestic violence may:

  • not understand what is happening, why it is happening, and who is at fault; they might blame themselves
  • think that violence is okay and normal
  • develop behavioural problems
  • not be getting the nutrition that they need
  • lose behavioural, social, and emotional skills (regress)
  • develop health issues like allergies or asthma
  • not have a good example to learn about healthy relationships or how to interact well with others
  • have problems forming healthy relationships with adults and other children

How can you help children deal with domestic violence?

A child who has experienced domestic violence needs help to sort through his feelings, to understand the abuse, and to develop a healthy relationship with his parent(s). You can help your child rebuild his close relationships attachment.

Below is a list of ways that you can help your child deal with domestic violence.

  • Allow your child to be a child; don’t give him adult responsibilities and roles.
  • Provide a safe place for play and exploration.
  • Help the child learn how to recognize, name, and manage his emotions.
  • Model social skills for the child, such as respect.
  • Provide opportunities, like running or swimming, for your child to release built-up energy.
  • Teach your child problem-solving skills.
  • Pay close attention to what your child says or how he acts, and understand that it may be a result of the violence.
  • Model dealing with anger in a positive way.
  • Help your child learn to deal with success and failure.
  • Help your child learn coping skills, such as relaxation techniques.
  • Give your child opportunities to play with other children his age.
  • Build on the child’s strengths.
  • Once your child is safe, help him to understand that it was not his fault, that abuse is not right, and that it is okay to feel confused about everything that happened.

Maternal Mental Health

Maternal mental health problems happen during pregnancy or in the first year after you have had your baby. A lot of women experience maternal mental health problems. Any new mother can be affected. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, what ethnicity you are, or where you live.

Please read the list of symptoms below. Do you have several of these symptoms? Have these symptoms lasted longer than two weeks? If you have answered “yes” to any of these questions, please talk to your healthcare professional.

  • Cry for no reason.
  • Have less interest in normal activities.
  • Feel unusually grumpy, angry, or sensitive.
  • Feel more tired than usual.
  • Have more energy than usual.
  • Have problems sleeping or sleep too much.
  • Have problems concentrating.
  • Have difficulty coping.
  • Feel anxious or panicked.
  • Think about hurting yourself, your baby, or others.
  • See things or hear voices.

Maternal mental health concerns can be serious. They can affect the health of the mother, baby, and others around them.

It is important to get help as soon as possible. Contact your regional mental health office. Click here for the number for your region. You can also call HealthLine (811) if you need to talk to someone right away.

Medications

Sometimes, women who experience maternal mental health problems will need medications to help them get better. Medication does not work alone. You will also be offered other kinds of support.

Medication can help you to regain wellness and function. Medications for mental health may be needed just as medications may be needed for physical health.

If you need medication, your healthcare professional will prescribe it for you. Everyone reacts to medications differently. You may be taking something different from other women that you know. You can work with your healthcare professional to figure out which medication(s) work best for you.

Risk Factors for Maternal Mental Health Problems

Sometimes a woman may worry that she will have problems coping and adjusting after she has her baby. She may have heard about postpartum depression and wonder if she is at risk.

Below are some risk factors. Risk factors do not cause mental health problems. However, they are important to share with your healthcare professionals so that you can receive support if needed.

  • You have had or still have a mental health problem.
  • You have changes in your mood and unusual thoughts before your period.
  • You are really anxious and worried at the end of your pregnancy.
  • Someone in your family has mental health problems.
  • Someone in your family has addiction disorders.
  • Women in your family have been treated or are being treated for maternal mental health problems.
  • You have experienced severe sleep loss during your pregnancy or after your baby’s birth.
  • You have been in pain for a long time.
  • You have had a high level of stress lately.
  • You have had other health problems during pregnancy.
  • You were given hormone treatment to help you get pregnant.

Adapted from McDonald, J. & Flynn, C. (2015). Mother’s Mental Health Toolkit. A Resource for the Community. Nova Scotia: IWK.

What Can I Do To Help Myself Recover?

The list below includes suggestions that may help improve your health. Some of these may help; some may not. You may have other ideas that you want to add to the list.

  • Take an active role in getting better.
  • Learn as much as you can about your maternal mental health problem.
  • Decrease the amount of stress in your life.
  • Find a service provider you can trust and talk to.
  • Take medication if it is needed.
  • Tell yourself it is okay to take medications.
  • Find people who can support you at this time.
  • Take care of yourself. You are important.
  • Tell your partner what you need and how to help.
  • Think about what your life will be like when you get better.
  • Try not to use substances that will change your thinking or mood. Drugs and alcohol can also change the way your medication works.
  • Put your recovery first.

Adapted from McDonald, J. & Flynn, C. (2015). Mother’s Mental Health Toolkit. A Resource for the Community. Nova Scotia: IWK.

Planning for Another Baby

Your body needs time to heal after having a baby. To give your body time to heal, it is recommended that you wait 18-24 months after giving birth before becoming pregnant again.

Planning for Another Baby

The timing between having a baby and getting pregnant again can affect the health of you and your baby. Short times between your pregnancies can lead to preterm birth and a low birthweight baby. These can cause long-term health problems in your child.

Breastfeeding does not guarantee that you will not become pregnant.

You will need to use birth control if you do not want to become pregnant. There are several forms of birth control that you can use while breastfeeding. Talk to your healthcare professional about your options. You can also use the KIS-SK App to learn about contraception and where to get it in Saskatchewan.

Siblings

Introducing a new baby to your house can be a fun time or a difficult time for the older brother(s) and/or sister(s) in the house.

Include your child in the excitement of getting ready for the baby. Start early in the pregnancy to prepare your child for his new sibling.

Babies get a lot of attention; from you as well as from people who come to visit. It is important that your other child(ren) do not feel left out or ignored. Celebrate his new role as a big brother. Include him in caregiving, e.g., bringing you a diaper.

Keep your child’s routines the same as much as possible. For example, reading a book before bedtime.

Tobacco

Infants and children who are exposed to tobacco smoke may develop health problems, like asthma and allergies.

Children absorb more chemicals from tobacco smoke than adults because:

  • they breathe faster than adults
  • they inhale more air relative to their body weight
  • they absorb the chemicals faster than adults

The harmful products of tobacco smoke also can be passed to the infant through breast milk.

Second-hand smoke refers to the tobacco smoke that is inhaled from the smoke of another person’s cigarette, cigar, or pipe.

Third-hand tobacco smoke is the left-over chemicals from tobacco smoke that can be left on a variety of surfaces, such as couches, rugs, hair, and clothing.

Young children are exposed to third-hand tobacco smoke (THS) because they crawl on the floor, may be held by adults who smoke, and often put objects in their mouths. The chemicals from tobacco smoke remain on the clothing, hair, and skin even if a person smokes outside. So if you smoke and cuddle your baby, she is still being exposed to the chemicals.

After you have smoked, try to wash your hands and change your clothing before holding an infant or child.

For information about the impact of tobacco smoke on children, please go to Health Canada – Tobacco – Health Concerns, KidsHealth, Healthy Canadians – Smoking and Tobacco, or Smoking and Tobacco.

Your Relationships

Having a child can cause a lot of changes in your life. Some of these changes can affect your relationships.

Do your friends have children? Can your family join another family for a social activity?

Your Relationships

If your friends do not have children, this can change the dynamics of your friendship. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but in a time when a lot is already changing it may feel overwhelming. Talk to your friends about these changes.

Your relationship with your partner will also change. You’ve added another person to the mix where there used to be two (or more if you have other children). Take time for each other. Take time to do things that you enjoy and allow your partner to do the same.

Spend time talking to your partner.

Spend time talking to your partner. Parenting takes a lot of compromising and an understanding of where each parent is coming from. Keep communicating.

Try to talk about some of the decisions you will have to make before you have to make them. That way you can both take your time to discuss concerns and come to an agreement. Always remember that these agreements might change in the future.

Some things that you may want to discuss are:

  • At what age will you feel comfortable leaving your child with a babysitter? A family member?
  • Do you want your child to go to daycare? At what age?
  • Do you want your child involved with a religious organization?
  • What are the discipline strategies that you might use?
  • What type of bedtime routine do you want for the child?
  • Do you have a specific diet you want the family to follow? At what age is it safe to introduce this?
  • What is each parent’s role going to be in raising this child (e.g., changing diapers, putting the child to bed, reading to the child)?
  • How will you cope if you don’t get enough sleep?
  • How do you feel about co-sleeping with the baby?
  • How important is breastfeeding to you?
  • What are your thoughts on circumcision if you have a boy?

Sex After Pregnancy

There is no rule that dictates when you should start having sex after pregnancy. It is important to wait until your body heals. This can take 4-6 weeks depending on the delivery of the baby. Some women wait until their healthcare professional gives them the go-ahead.

There are many things that may make you decide to wait longer to have sex. These include feeling tired, pain, and stress. It is okay to wait until you are ready to have sex. Talk to your partner about how you feel. Try other forms of intimacy.

The hormonal changes during pregnancy can change your body. Your vagina may not be as lubricated as it was pre-pregnancy. This may cause discomfort during sex. Talk to your partner about what pleases you. Take your time. Try a vaginal lubricant or cream.

You may also find that the muscles in your vagina are not as tight as they used to be. This may affect the stimulation you feel during sex. You can tighten these muscles by doing Kegel exercises. Kegel exercises are done by tightening your pelvic muscles like you do when you are stopping your pee mid-stream. Hold for 10 seconds and then release.

Contraception

To give your body time to heal, it is recommended that you wait 18-24 months before becoming pregnant again.

You can become pregnant two weeks before your first period starts following pregnancy. Your period may start as soon as 4-6 weeks after having your baby.

Breastfeeding does not guarantee that you will not become pregnant.

There are several forms of birth control that you can use while breastfeeding. Talk to your healthcare professionals about your options.

Culture

Culture is the way that a group of people “do things”. Culture can be based on ethnic background, religion, sexuality, language, social group, or family. Culture includes shared traditions, values, behaviours, ways of thinking, ways of bringing up children, and ways of understanding those around you.

An important part of raising your child is passing on your culture. Research shows that children who have a connection to their culture are physically and mentally healthier than those who don’t.

It can be difficult keeping your culture and fitting into where you live. Some practices, which are considered normal in some cultures, may be seen differently by other cultures (e.g., physical punishment, bed sharing, practices around child care, or living in large family groups).

Sometimes, a family with same-sex parents may be judged because they do not fit into the “traditional family” model. This can impact both the parents and the child.

First Nations people have had their culture impacted by colonization, residential schools, and racism. For some families and communities, re-learning their culture, including values, traditions, language, spirituality, and child-rearing practices, may be very important.

Getting support from others in your culture or an organization that focuses on your culture may help.

Resiliency

Resiliency is the ability to cope with stressful situations, changes, or problems. Children, who are resilient, use coping skills that they developed from past experiences to help them cope better with new situations. Please click here for more information about resiliency.

Mental Health

Mental health is about being healthy. It is not about being unhealthy. Mental health refers to the emotional, social, and cognitive well-being of your child. For more information about children’s mental health, please click here.

Emotions

Children need to learn to regulate their emotions. Being able to regulate your emotions means that you can:

  • control how intense your emotions feel
  • calm yourself
  • express emotions appropriately

For more information, please click here.

Problem-Solving Skills

Problem-solving skills include planning, setting goals, flexible thinking, and making choices. For more information, click here.

Success and Failure

It is important that children learn that it is okay to succeed and to fail. Experiencing success and failure and helping your child to cope with the emotions related both, will teach your child that it is okay to try new things, to make mistakes, and to work on goals.

Secure Attachment

Secure attachment is important. It helps your child to trust that you will be there for him. When your child knows that he can return to you for comfort and safety, he can feel confident to explore his world and play. A secure attachment relationship and your support will also help your child learn to cope with change and stress. For more information, please click here.

Self-Esteem

Having healthy self-esteem means that you believe in yourself and your worth. For more information, click here.

Empathy

Empathy means being able to understand another person’s feeling and situation. Empathy is an important social skill.

Impulse Control

An impulse is something that you have an urge to do, like eating another cookie. Sometimes impulses are about doing something good; more often they are about doing something that is unacceptable or bad for you. Impulse control is taking a step back and stopping yourself from acting on your impulse. This gives you time to think about what you are about to do and decide if it is a good idea or not. For more information, please go to resiliency.

Coping Skills

To cope with something means that you are handling a difficult situation the best that you can. Coping skills are tools that you can use to help you in difficult situations. For more information, click here.

Healthy Eating

Select a Topic

Healthy Eating

Healthy eating means that you are getting the water and nutrients you need to be healthy. Nutrients include protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, and minerals.

Healthy eating gives you energy and helps to keep you physically and mentally healthy.

Healthy Eating (0-6 Months)

Deciding how you will feed your baby is an important decision. Learn everything you can about breastfeeding and formula feeding. This will help you decide what is best for you and your baby.

Breastfeeding is a natural and healthy way to feed your baby. Breast milk is the best food for babies for their first year. If you are breastfeeding, give your baby 400 IU of Vitamin D a day. There are many benefits to breastfeeding. Click here for more information.

Breastfeeding is a natural and healthy way to feed your baby

Some women choose not to breastfeed for medical or personal reasons. Click here for more information.

Each time you feed your baby, she will need to be burped after feeding. Click here for more information.

Click here for information about what not to feed your baby.

How Often Does my Baby Need to Feed?

Baby feeding intervals

Your newborn will need to feed every 2 to 3 hours. Your baby’s stomach is very small when she is born. As your baby gets older, her stomach will get bigger. She will be able to hold more food and will be satisfied for a longer time.

Your baby needs to be fed when she is hungry. Your baby will develop a feeding schedule that meets her needs. Let your baby tell you when she is hungry.

Your baby will let you know when she is hungry by putting her fingers in her mouth, moving her eyes rapidly, nuzzling against your breast, fussing, or making sucking motions with her mouth. By responding when she needs you, your baby learns that you will meet her needs. This will help her develop an attachment to you. This is the beginning of trust. Crying is a very late feeding cue. When your baby begins crying from hunger, this often means that the other cues have been missed.

You cannot spoil a baby. By attending to her needs, she will feel better. She will learn security and love.

How Much is Enough?

Feeding Chart by Months

To know if your baby is getting enough to eat, use his diapers as clues. If he is getting enough, he should have six to eight wet diapers a day. In addition, he may have several small bowel movements daily. Some babies “fill their diaper” after each feeding.

Some breastfed babies over six weeks old may go several days without a bowel movement. This is because breast milk is almost completely digested. This is normal. As long as your baby is comfortable, there is no need to worry.

As time goes on, there will be fewer bowel movements and diaper changes. If your baby is eating well, gaining weight, and does not have dry, hard bowel movements, he is doing well.

Your newborn may lose weight during his first week. After that, there should be a steady weight gain.

Watch for the following to ensure that your baby is getting enough food.

  • The urine in his diaper is pale or clear in colour.
  • He is content after most feeds.
  • He is gaining weight.

The amount your baby drinks at each feeding will gradually increase. If you are breastfeeding, your milk will continue to increase to meet your baby’s needs.

Breastfeeding (0-6 Months)

Breast milk is the best food for babies. Breast milk provides all the nutrients and calories your baby needs.

Breastfeeding can continue as long as you want. It is your choice when you stop breastfeeding. Every day that you breastfeed benefits your baby.

It is recommended by the Canadian Paediatric Society and Health Canada that breast milk be the only food for babies 0-6 months old. You can continue to breastfeed your baby as long as you want to.

Breastfeeding Benefits

Your breast milk:

  • changes as your baby develops in order to meet his needs
  • rarely runs out; you produce it as your baby needs it
  • is easier to digest than formula
  • helps build your baby’s immune system which can protect him against infection
  • is convenient and free with no bottles or nipples to sterilize
  • can be pumped (expressed), stored, and fed to your baby by bottle at a later time.

Breastfeeding:

  • can lower your baby’s risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS, crib death)
  • has been found to have a positive effect on your child’s motor skills, problem solving skills, and social skills
  • can decrease your baby’s chance of getting cavities, allergies, and asthma
  • helps protect you and your baby from some types of cancers, including breast, cervix, ovarian, and some childhood cancers
  • can decrease your feelings of stress and anxiety
  • uses a lot of energy that burns calories and fat, and helps you lose weight after your baby is born
  • is environmentally friendly; there are no cans or packaging needed
  • can soothe your baby
  • is free

Choosing to Breastfeed

Your baby’s brain is growing and developing from birth. Breastfeeding allows your child to be in the perfect position to see your eyes and face. This helps with attachment and helps your baby’s brain to develop.

Choosing to Breastfeed

Your baby’s brain will develop because of the experiences she has in her early years. Newborns experience the world through their five senses: touch, smell, sight, hearing, and taste. Skin-to-skin contact while breastfeeding provides the touch and smell experiences. Your baby is in a position during breastfeeding to hear your heart beat.

You can also pump your breast milk so that you can feed it to your baby by bottle later. Click here for more information on feeding breast milk from a bottle.

The amount your baby drinks at each feeding will gradually increase. If you are breastfeeding, your milk will continue to increase to meet your baby’s needs.

Vitamin D Liquid Supplementation

Babies who are breastfed should get a vitamin D supplement of 400 IU each day. This will prevent the vitamin D deficiency bone disease called rickets. If your baby was born prematurely, your doctor may recommend other vitamin or mineral supplements.

Breastfeeding Concerns

Breastfeeding does not come easy to all mothers. With each baby, breastfeeding can be different. It may take a while for both you and your baby to learn to breastfeed together.

Breastfeeding can be hard for some women. Sometimes it can be painful. This is often due to infections. Talk to your healthcare providers if you have any questions or concerns. You can also talk to a lactation consultant. Lactation consultants are trained to help women with breastfeeding concerns and questions. For more information, please contact Saskatchewan Lactation Consultant Association via [email protected] or [email protected]

If you have twins or multiples, please speak to a lactation consultant about breastfeeding your children. They can help you with advice about positioning as well as nutrition and getting enough fluids.

It is common for new moms to feel a bit sore and tender after breastfeeding

It is common for new moms to feel a bit sore and tender after breastfeeding. You should not feel pinching, biting, or soreness that lasts the whole feeding. After breastfeeding, if your nipple looks flat, cracked, or is bleeding, this is not normal. Please see the links below for more information.

Some women are worried about having skin-to-skin contact with their babies. They may feel that they are doing something wrong or inappropriate. It is natural to have skin-to-skin contact with your baby. In fact, skin-to-skin contact is one of the best ways to support your baby’s growth and development.

Click on each topic below to learn more about some common breastfeeding issues and strategies for dealing with them.

Latching on
Engorgement
Plugged duct
Mastitis
Sore, cracked nipples
Increasing breast milk supply

Burping (0-6 Months)

Your baby will swallow air while feeding and crying. It is important to help him burp up the air bubbles. You can do this in one of three ways.

It is important to help him burp up the air bubbles

  • Hold him up against your chest so he is looking out over your shoulder. Rub or pat his back gently. Put a cloth over your shoulder in case milk comes up with the bubble.
  • Hold him in a sitting position on your lap. Support his chin with one hand. Gently rub his back with the other hand.
  • Hold him tummy down over your knees. Gently rub his back. If no bubbles come up in two or three minutes, put him down on his tummy for a minute or two and then try again.

Burp a breastfed baby when finished feeding on each breast. Try burping a bottle-fed baby after 30 mL (1 oz). Some babies stop sucking when they need to be burped. You will soon get to know what is best for your baby. If you do not burp your baby regularly, the gas can cause discomfort.

Formula Feeding (0-12 Months)

Cow’s milk-based, iron-fortified commercial formula provides the best alternative for infants who are not breastfed or who are being fed both formula and breast milk. Your baby will not need formula after they are 12 months old.

Plain cow’s milk, evaporated milk, or homemade infant formulas will not meet your baby’s nutritional needs. Homemade formula increases the risk of illness, due to contamination by bacteria. Health Canada, the Canadian Paediatric Society, and Dietitians of Canada do not recommend the use of homemade formula.

Are There Any Reasons I Should Not Breastfeed?

A mother should not breastfeed if she:

  • is HIV infected
  • has herpes lesions on both breasts
  • has a severe illness that prevents her from caring for her child

If a new mother has HIV, the Government of Saskatchewan will provide free formula until the baby is one year old. To access this program, please call:

Government of Saskatchewan free formula contact

Choosing Formula

If you choose to formula feed your baby, your first step is choosing a formula. Choose a formula that is cow’s milk-based. Infant formula is sold in three forms:

  • Liquid ready-to-use
  • Liquid concentrate
  • Powdered

Liquid ready-to-use formulas are the easiest to use and are sterile. If you plan to use liquid concentrate or powdered formulas, make sure that you are mixing them with sterilized water. Always read the instructions so that you are mixing the formula properly. This will make sure that your baby is getting the nutrients and calories she needs. Click here for information about warming formula.

You will need to burp your baby after he eats.

What Position Should I Be in to Bottle-feed my Baby?

Hold your child in the same position you would if you were breastfeeding. Skin-to-skin contact is also important when your child is young. Always hold your child when you are feeding him. When your child wants to hold the bottle and feed himself, make sure he is in his high chair.

You will need to burp your baby after he eats.

What Should I do if my Baby Needs a Different Kind of Formula?

For babies who are sensitive to cow’s milk, your doctor or dietitian will recommend a specialized formula. It is often not necessary to use a soy or lactose-free formula. Always talk to your healthcare provider before switching formulas.

How Much Should I Feed my Baby?

The amount your baby drinks at each feeding will gradually increase. If you have concerns about how much your baby is drinking, be sure to contact your healthcare provider.

Feeding Chart by Months

Can I Feed Both Formula and Breast Milk?

If you are choosing to breastfeed and formula feed your baby, there are a few things you should know.

  • The amount of breast milk you make will decrease.
  • Your baby’s stomach might get irritated.
  • You will need to supplement your baby with 400 IU of Vitamin D every day.

What Not to Feed a Baby (0-1 Year)

Juice and Pop

  • Do not give babies juice or pop.
  • Juice and pop contain a lot of sugar. Even 100% fruit juice is high in sugar.
  • Sugary drinks can cause dental cavities. When you eat sugar, the sugar is changed to an acid by bacteria that is in your mouth. The acid dissolves the outer part of the teeth, called enamel. Holes in your teeth’s enamel are called cavities.
  • Juice and pop can also lower your baby’s appetite for healthy foods. Juice can also cause diarrhea.
  • Cavities, lowered appetite, and diarrhea can happen even if you dilute the juice with water.
  • If you choose to give your baby juice, make sure it is pasteurized. Pasteurization is a process that kills microbes (like bacteria) that can make your baby sick.

Others

  • Do not give a child of any age energy drinks.
  • Your baby only needs breast milk or formula until he is six months old.
  • Pasteurized cow’s milk, milk products (cheese and yogurt), or goat’s milk are not meant for babies until they are at least nine months old. If possible do not introduce this until your child is 12 months old.
  • Do not feed your child (of any age) unpasteurized milk. Pasteurization is a process that gets rid of microbes, like bacteria, that are present in the milk.
  • Soy milk, rice milk, nut milk (like almond and cashew), coconut milk, and other milk substitutes should not be given to babies or toddlers. These do not have the nutrients and fat that your baby needs. If your child is not breastfeeding and is unable to tolerate cow’s milk formula, talk to your healthcare provider about alternatives.
  • Honey should not be given to babies until they are at least 2 years old. Honey can cause botulism (pop up) in young children. Botulism is caused by bacteria and can cause death. Image of honey container with an x through it.

Healthy Eating (6-12 Months)

At this age, your baby’s main source of food is still breast milk or an iron-fortified formula. These contain the nutrients and calories that your baby needs.

If you are breastfeeding, give your baby 400 IU of Vitamin D a day.

give your baby 400 IU of Vitamin D a day

Click here for information about breastfeeding.

Click here for information about formula feeding.

Juice and Pop

Do not give babies juice or pop.

Juice and pop contain a lot of sugar. Even 100% fruit juice is high in sugar.

Sugary drinks can cause dental cavities. When you eat sugar, the sugar is changed to an acid by bacteria that is in your mouth. The acid dissolves the outer part of the teeth, called enamel. Holes in your teeth’s enamel are called cavities.

Juice and pop can also lower your baby’s appetite for healthy foods. Juice can also cause diarrhea.

Cavities, lowered appetite, and diarrhea can happen even if you dilute the juice with water.

Introducing Solid Foods

Your baby may be ready to try solid foods when he is six months old. You can tell that your baby is ready when he:

  • can sit up and lean forward without your support
  • can hold food in his mouth without pushing it out with his tongue right away
  • can control his head movement
  • shows interest in the food you are eating
  • opens his mouth when he sees food coming toward him
  • lets you know when he is full (e.g., turning his head away from you or leaning away from you)
  • picks up food and tries to put it in his mouth

picks up food and tries to put it in his mouth

Start adding solid foods that have iron and offer these foods a few times each day. Foods such as fish, eggs, chicken, tofu, beans, and lentils are high in iron. Iron-fortified infant cereals are also high in iron.

healthy eating foods

Your infant’s body can use iron from meat easier than iron from plants. Continue to focus on introducing food high in iron.

It is also important to feed your baby food that has a high amount of Vitamin C. This includes oranges and tomatoes.

Self-feeding

New foods should be introduced gradually.

Remember that these foods are only being introduced. They are not helping your baby get the nutrients and calories that he needs. He is getting these from breast milk or formula.

Pay attention to your baby’s signs that he is hungry or full.

Self-feeding can start along with the introduction of solids. This is an important part of a healthy feeding relationship. Supervise your child to make sure that he has swallowed the food in his mouth before he adds more.

Click on an icon below for more information.

Breastfeeding (6-12 Months)

Breastfeeding can continue as long as you wish. Breastfeeding for longer than six months can be healthy for both you and your baby and is recommended by Health Canada.

For you, breastfeeding may help prevent certain types of cancer. It also can help you continue to bond with you child.

Breastfeeding can continue as long as you wish.

Until you transition your child to cow’s milk (whole or 3%), your child continues to need more vitamin D. Continue to supplement 400 IU of vitamin D to his diet. It is important to give vitamin D so your child does not develop rickets.

Plugged duct
Mastitis
Sore, cracked nipples
Increasing breast milk supply

Formula Feeding (0-12 Months)

Cow’s milk-based, iron-fortified commercial formula provides the best alternative for infants who are not breastfed or who are being fed both formula and breast milk. Your baby will not need formula after they are 12 months old.

Plain cow’s milk, evaporated milk, or homemade infant formulas will not meet your baby’s nutritional needs. Homemade formula increases the risk of illness, due to contamination by bacteria. Health Canada, the Canadian Paediatric Society, and Dietitians of Canada do not recommend the use of homemade formula.

Are There Any Reasons I Should Not Breastfeed?

A mother should not breastfeed if she:

  • is HIV infected
  • has herpes lesions on both breasts
  • has a severe illness that prevents her from caring for her child

If a new mother has HIV, the Government of Saskatchewan will provide free formula until the baby is one year old. To access this program, please call:

Government of Saskatchewan free formula contact

Choosing Formula

If you choose to formula feed your baby, your first step is choosing a formula. Choose a formula that is cow’s milk-based. Infant formula is sold in three forms:

  • Liquid ready-to-use
  • Liquid concentrate
  • Powdered

Liquid ready-to-use formulas are the easiest to use and are sterile. If you plan to use liquid concentrate or powdered formulas, make sure that you are mixing them with sterilized water. Always read the instructions so that you are mixing the formula properly. This will make sure that your baby is getting the nutrients and calories she needs. Click here for information about warming formula.

You will need to burp your baby after he eats.

What Position Should I Be in to Bottle-feed my Baby?

Hold your child in the same position you would if you were breastfeeding. Skin-to-skin contact is also important when your child is young. Always hold your child when you are feeding him. When your child wants to hold the bottle and feed himself, make sure he is in his high chair.

You will need to burp your baby after he eats.

What Should I do if my Baby Needs a Different Kind of Formula?

For babies who are sensitive to cow’s milk, your doctor or dietitian will recommend a specialized formula. It is often not necessary to use a soy or lactose-free formula. Always talk to your healthcare provider before switching formulas.

How Much Should I Feed my Baby?

The amount your baby drinks at each feeding will gradually increase. If you have concerns about how much your baby is drinking, be sure to contact your healthcare provider.

Feeding Chart by Months

Can I Feed Both Formula and Breast Milk?

If you are choosing to breastfeed and formula feed your baby, there are a few things you should know.

  • The amount of breast milk you make will decrease.
  • Your baby’s stomach might get irritated.
  • You will need to supplement your baby with 400 IU of Vitamin D every day.

Healthy First Foods (6-12 Months)

When to Introduce Solid Foods

Your baby may be ready to try solid foods when he is six months old. You can tell that your baby is ready when he:

  • can sit up and lean forward without your support
  • can hold food in his mouth without pushing it out with his tongue right away
  • can control his head movement
  • shows interest in the food you are eating
  • opens his mouth when he sees food coming toward him
  • lets you know when he is full by turning his head away from you or leaning away from you
  • picks up food and tries to put it in his mouth

Continue to breastfeed or formula feed while introducing solid food. This way, you can make sure your baby is getting all the nutrients and calories he needs.

What Foods to Start With

Start with foods that contain iron like meat and alternatives, and iron-fortified infant cereals. Meat and alternatives include meat, eggs, tofu, beans, and lentils. Iron from meat is better absorbed in the body than iron from plants.

healthy eating foods

It is also important to feed your baby food that has a high amount of Vitamin C. This includes oranges and tomatoes.

You can choose to buy prepared baby food from the store. You can offer your baby the foods that your family is eating, as long as the texture is appropriate. Family foods can be offered to babe, as long as the texture is modified appropriately. Puree, mash, and chop foods to make them the right texture for your baby. You can use a fork, potato masher, sieve, or blender. Avoid adding extra salt, sugar, or fat to your baby’s food.

Food Allergies

Start with single foods and avoid mixtures of foods if possible. Wait about 2-4 days before trying new foods. If your baby develops an allergic reaction, it is easier to know which food caused the reaction. For more information, see Food Allergies.

Milk and Milk Products

Wait until your baby is at least nine months old before introducing pasteurized cow’s milk and alternatives such as yogurt, cottage cheese, and other cheeses. At this time, give your baby whole or 3% milk until she is two years old. Milk will help support growth and brain development.

Low-fat dairy is not recommended until your child is older than two years of age. Low-fat dairy products are low in iron and also lower the amount of iron she will absorb from other foods.

Fruits and Vegetables

Other healthy foods include soft vegetables and fruits. Whole vegetables and fruits are should be offered instead of juice.

Juice

Feeding your baby juice is not recommended. Juice is not healthy for babies. It can also reduce his appetite for more nutritious foods such as breast milk, formula, or solid foods, and cause diarrhea.

Juice and pop contain a lot of sugar. Even 100% fruit juice is high in sugar.

Sugary drinks can cause dental cavities. When you eat sugar, the sugar is changed to an acid by bacteria that is in your mouth. The acid dissolves the outer part of the teeth, called enamel. Holes in your teeth’s enamel are called cavities.

Juice and pop can also lower your baby’s appetite for healthy foods. Juice can also cause diarrhea.

Cavities, lowered appetite, and diarrhea can happen even if you dilute the juice with water.

Vegetarian and Vegan Diets

Some families decide to feed their children vegetarian or vegan diets for cultural, religious or lifestyle reasons. If your child is less than two years old, she might not get all of the nutrition she needs on a vegetarian or vegan diet. Therefore, your child may need additional supplements. Talk to your healthcare provider before introducing a toddler to a vegetarian or vegan diet. For more information, please click here.

Healthy Habits

It is important to make sure that your child sits while eating. Sitting reduces the risk of choking. Include your child in family meals to build family connections and healthy eating habits.

Healthy Habits

Food Safety

5 Steps to Food Safety

  • Do not give a child of any age an energy drink.
  • Cooked eggs are safe for your baby. The yolk should be cooked well and not runny.
  • Raw eggs in raw cookie dough or cake batter can make your child sick. Bake anything that has eggs in it thoroughly before giving it to a child.
  • Fish is safe if it is broken into small pieces. Be sure that all bones are removed.
  • Peanuts are small and can lead to risk of choking for babies.
  • Peanut butter can stick in your child’s mouth. Spread peanut butter thinly on crackers or bread to make it safer and easier to swallow.
  • Remove pits or large seeds from fruit. Cut grapes in halves or quarters and remove seeds.
  • Cut wieners lengthwise then in small pieces.
  • Unpasteurized honey is not recommended until your baby is at least two years old. Pasteurized honey can be given after one year. Do not feed honey to a baby who is under the age of one year. This can cause botulism.
  • The following are choking hazards for your baby. Avoid them until your child is at least four years old:
    • raisins, gum, hard candies, marshmallows
    • popcorn, nuts, sunflower seeds
    • any food with toothpicks or skewers

Food Allergies (6 months to 5 years)

It is safe to introduce most foods during your baby’s first year. This includes foods like peanuts, fish, and egg whites. Introducing these foods earlier than 12-24 months of age might lower the chance of your baby being allergic to them. Offer new foods every 2-4 days and watch for signs of an allergic reaction.

emergency

If your child has any symptoms of an allergic reaction, take him immediately to the nearest emergency room or healthcare provider.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction can include:

  • hives, skin redness, or rash
  • swelling of the face, tongue, or lips
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea, or blood in bowel movement
  • coughing or wheezing
  • difficulty breathing
  • loss of consciousness

If you or another family member has a serious allergy to any food, talk to your healthcare provider before introducing these foods to your child.

Tips: How to Feed Your Baby (6-12 Months)

Include your baby in family mealtimes.

Encourage self-feeding. At this stage, your baby will be using her hands to eat, not utensils. Learning how to eat is a messy process.

Learning to eat or trying new foods includes:

  • seeing what you eat
  • looking at food
  • smelling food
  • tasting and spitting out food
  • tasting and swallowing food
  • eating one bite and stopping
  • changing her mind about what she likes

Let your baby touch the food in the dish or spoon.

Let your baby touch the food in the dish or spoon.

Feed your baby food that has a variety of textures, such as bananas, minced meat, bread crusts, and grated cheese.

Feed your baby at his own pace. Do not try to make him go faster or slower than he wants.

Make sure you are watching to see if your child is swallowing food before feeding him more.

Stop feeding your baby when he shows you he is full, e.g., turns his head away.

Be patient when offering new foods.

Be patient when offering new foods. It may take many attempts before your baby may like a new food.

Have your child practice drinking

Use a regular open-top cup to help your baby develop drinking skills. Your child should only be drinking water, breast milk, and/or formula. Put a small amount of water in the bottom of the cup. Your baby will need your help with the cup until he is more independent.

Sippy cups and non-spill training cups are not recommended for use. These are hard to clean and bacteria can get trapped in the lids or straws. Also, using these cups affects the development of your child’s swallowing muscles.

What Not to Feed a Baby (0-1 Year)

Juice and Pop

  • Do not give babies juice or pop.
  • Juice and pop contain a lot of sugar. Even 100% fruit juice is high in sugar.
  • Sugary drinks can cause dental cavities. When you eat sugar, the sugar is changed to an acid by bacteria that is in your mouth. The acid dissolves the outer part of the teeth, called enamel. Holes in your teeth’s enamel are called cavities.
  • Juice and pop can also lower your baby’s appetite for healthy foods. Juice can also cause diarrhea.
  • Cavities, lowered appetite, and diarrhea can happen even if you dilute the juice with water.
  • If you choose to give your baby juice, make sure it is pasteurized. Pasteurization is a process that kills microbes (like bacteria) that can make your baby sick.

Others

  • Do not give a child of any age energy drinks.
  • Your baby only needs breast milk or formula until he is six months old.
  • Pasteurized cow’s milk, milk products (cheese and yogurt), or goat’s milk are not meant for babies until they are at least nine months old. If possible do not introduce this until your child is 12 months old.
  • Do not feed your child (of any age) unpasteurized milk. Pasteurization is a process that gets rid of microbes, like bacteria, that are present in the milk.
  • Soy milk, rice milk, nut milk (like almond and cashew), coconut milk, and other milk substitutes should not be given to babies or toddlers. These do not have the nutrients and fat that your baby needs. If your child is not breastfeeding and is unable to tolerate cow’s milk formula, talk to your healthcare provider about alternatives.
  • Honey should not be given to babies until they are at least 2 years old. Honey can cause botulism (pop up) in young children. Botulism is caused by bacteria and can cause death. Image of honey container with an x through it.

Meal Time: Your Role; Your Child’s Role (0-5 Years)

It is your job as a parent to be a good role model and eat healthy foods. It is also your job to offer healthy foods to your child. And, it is also your responsibility to determine where your child will eat, for example at the kitchen table, and when the child will eat. It is important to have a regular schedule for meals and snacks.

Meal Time

It is your child’s job to decide how much to eat, what he will eat, and if he will eat at all.

It can be hard for some parents to trust their child to determine how much and if he will eat. However, children have a natural ability to determine how much food they need. If they are given healthy foods, they eat as much as they need to grow.

If children are taught they need to ‘clean their plates’ or ‘have two more bites’, their natural body cues for hunger and fullness do not work as well.

If your child is growing well, he is getting the right amount of food that he needs.

Healthy Eating (1-2 Years Old)

You can continue to breastfeed your child if you want to. Your body will continue to make milk as long as your baby is feeding. Your baby does not need formula at this time.

Iron

Continue to introduce foods that are high in iron. Foods such as fish, eggs, chicken, tofu, beans, and lentils are high in iron. Iron-fortified infant cereals are also high in iron.

Your infant’s body uses iron from meat easier than iron from plants. Continue to focus on introducing food high in iron.

Your child should be eating a variety of foods.

Follow Canada’s Food Guide by providing a variety of healthy food each day. For more information, visit: Canada’s Food Guide.

Below is a list of examples of healthy foods:

Young children are very sensitive to added flavours. Your child may not like foods that are too buttery, sweet, sour, or spicy. Bland foods are best at this age.

Offer child-sized portions. A portion is the amount of food you choose to feed your child at each meal and snack. A guideline for a portion is about 15 mL (one tbsp.) of food for each year of age. Remember that your child may not choose to eat the whole portion at one time but over the course of a day. For more information, please click here.

Introducing Cow’s Milk

If you are formula feeding, it is time to switch to cow’s milk. This may be called whole milk or 3% milk. Milk that you give your child should be pasteurized. Pasteurization is a process that removes microbes (like bacteria) from the milk. Limit the amount of milk your child drinks to a maximum of 240-480 mL (2-3 cups) a day.

Safety

Test the temperature of the food to be sure it is not hot. Your child cannot do this for herself, as she may burn her mouth or tongue.

Certain foods must be cut or broken into small pieces to avoid choking, e.g., wieners, carrots, grapes. Make sure that your child swallows what she is eating before she puts more food in her mouth.

Water

Encourage your child to satisfy her thirst with water.

Encourage your child to satisfy her thirst with water.

Juice and Pop

Juice and pop contain a lot of sugar. Even 100% fruit juice is high in sugar.

Sugary drinks can cause dental cavities. When you eat sugar, the sugar is changed to an acid by bacteria that is in your mouth. The acid dissolves the outer part of the teeth, called enamel. Holes in your teeth’s enamel are called cavities.

Juice and pop can also lower your baby’s appetite for healthy foods. Juice can also cause diarrhea.

Cavities, lowered appetite, and diarrhea can happen even if you dilute the juice with water.

Self-Feeding

Have your child practice drinking

Your child is still learning how to feed herself. This will be messy. Your child must practice feeding herself if she is to learn the skill.

You can lessen your own stress by making sure she has easy-to-wash clothes, lots of bibs, and a splash zone around her high chair.

Can we please only use the ones that are stacked and remove the yellow one.

Have your child practice drinking with a child-size, open-top cup. If you are still bottle feeding, begin to decrease the number of times you are giving your child a bottle.

Sippy cups and non-spill training cups are not recommended for use. These are hard to clean and bacteria can get trapped in the lids or straws. Also, using these cups affects the development of your child’s swallowing muscles.

Use child-sized, unbreakable utensils. A small spoon with a short, straight handle is easy for a child to use. A small cup with a broad mouth and a weighted bottom does not tip easily. A dish with a rim or sides makes it easy to push food onto the spoon.

Use child-sized, unbreakable utensils

Small Stomach = Small Appetite

Your child’s stomach is small. His appetite will also be small. His body will tell him when he is hungry or full. Follow your child’s lead. Offer food and leave it up to him to decide how much, if any, he will eat. Offering small amounts frequently is important.

Your toddler’s eating habits will be unpredictable from one day to the next. He may eat only his favourite food for three days in a row, then not eat it at all. He may eat a large breakfast and then very little for the rest of the day. “He was such a good eater and now he is not!” is a common concern for parents.

Click a topic below for more information.

Food Safety

5 Steps to Food Safety

  • Do not give a child of any age an energy drink.
  • Cooked eggs are safe for your baby. The yolk should be cooked well and not runny.
  • Raw eggs in raw cookie dough or cake batter can make your child sick. Bake anything that has eggs in it thoroughly before giving it to a child.
  • Fish is safe if it is broken into small pieces. Be sure that all bones are removed.
  • Peanuts are small and can lead to risk of choking for babies.
  • Peanut butter can stick in your child’s mouth. Spread peanut butter thinly on crackers or bread to make it safer and easier to swallow.
  • Remove pits or large seeds from fruit. Cut grapes in halves or quarters and remove seeds.
  • Cut wieners lengthwise then in small pieces.
  • Unpasteurized honey is not recommended until your baby is at least two years old. Pasteurized honey can be given after one year. Do not feed honey to a baby who is under the age of one year. This can cause botulism.
  • The following are choking hazards for your baby. Avoid them until your child is at least four years old:
    • raisins, gum, hard candies, marshmallows
    • popcorn, nuts, sunflower seeds
    • any food with toothpicks or skewers

Food Allergies (6 months to 5 years)

It is safe to introduce most foods during your baby’s first year. This includes foods like peanuts, fish, and egg whites. Introducing these foods earlier than 12-24 months of age might lower the chance of your baby being allergic to them. Offer new foods every 2-4 days and watch for signs of an allergic reaction.

emergency

If your child has any symptoms of an allergic reaction, take him immediately to the nearest emergency room or healthcare provider.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction can include:

  • hives, skin redness, or rash
  • swelling of the face, tongue, or lips
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea, or blood in bowel movement
  • coughing or wheezing
  • difficulty breathing
  • loss of consciousness

If you or another family member has a serious allergy to any food, talk to your healthcare provider before introducing these foods to your child.

Vegetables and Fruit (1-5 Years)

Vegetables and fruit are important to stay healthy. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fibre. They can help to protect your child from getting sick. They will also help your child be healthy later in life.

Vegetables and Fruit

The amount of vegetables and fruits increases as your child gets older.

Juice

Remember to avoid giving children juice. Juice has a lot of sugar in it and can lead to dental cavities. It can lower your child’s appetite for other foods.

Meat and Alternatives (1-5 years)

Meat and alternatives are important for your child to stay healthy. Meat and alternatives provide protein to help build, maintain, and repair muscles throughout the body. Muscles and organs (such as your heart) are made of protein. Meat and alternatives also provide iron, which is important for carrying oxygen in the body.

Meat and Alternatives

Some parents choose to raise their children as vegetarians or vegans for religious, cultural or lifestyle reasons. Your child may choose not to eat meats as he gets older. Talk to your healthcare provider or a dietitian to make sure your child is getting the calories, vitamins, minerals, and fat that he needs for growth and development.

Grains (1-5 years)

Grain products are important to stay healthy. Grain products, like some cereals, are often fortified with folic acid, folate, and/or vitamin B12. These help your child’s brain and nervous system to develop. Grains are also a source of fibre, which helps your child have a healthy digestion system.

Grains can also give your child’s body energy to be active throughout the day. However, in order to provide the nutrition your child needs, be sure to also provide other sources of energy. These sources include lean meats, fish, and fresh fruit and vegetables.

The amount of grains increases as the child gets older.

Grains

Choose grain products made from whole grains (e.g., whole wheat, oats, barely) rather than white flour when you can.

Products such as cakes and cookies can be high in sugar, fat, and sodium. Avoid these as much as possible. These should not be considered a serving of grains.

Milk and Alternatives (1-5 Years)

Milk and alternatives are important for your child to stay healthy. They are a great source of calcium and vitamin D, which is important to building strong and healthy bones.

Milk and Alternatives

Until your child is two years old, give him whole milk (3% or whole).

Some parents choose to raise their children as vegans for religious, cultural, or lifestyle reasons. Your child may choose not to eat meats as he gets older. Talk to your healthcare provider or a dietitian to make sure your child is getting the calories, vitamins, minerals, and fat that he needs for growth and development.

Vegetarian and Vegan Diets (0 – 5 Year)

Have you decided to feed your child a vegetarian or vegan diet for cultural, religious or lifestyle reasons? It is important to make sure that she is getting the calories and nutrients she needs to grow.

Vegetarian and Vegan Diets

Children Under 2

If your child is less than two years old, she might not get all of the nutrition she needs on a vegetarian or vegan diet. Therefore, your child may need additional supplements. Talk to your healthcare provider before introducing a toddler to a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Nutrients

If your child does not eat meat, she must get protein, iron, zinc, and vitamin B12 from other foods. If your child does not eat or drink milk products, she will need to get calcium and vitamin D from other food sources. These nutrients have important roles in her body.

Sources of Nutrition for Vegetarian and Vegan Diets

Protein
  • breast milk or formula for babies
  • soy products (tofu, veggie burgers, soy cheese) (not until child is 2 years old)
  • whole milk (not until child is 9 months old)
  • cheese or yogurt (not until child is 9 months old)
  • fortified soy beverages (not until child is 2 years old)
  • eggs (pureed or mashed for children under 2)
  • legumes (dried beans and lentils)
  • nuts and seeds (whole or buttered)
Iron
  • iron-fortified cereals
  • legumes
  • soy products (not until child is 2 years old)
  • iron-fortified pasta
  • dried fruit
  • dark green vegetables
Zinc
  • legumes
  • nuts and seeds
  • whole grains
Vitamin B12
  • dairy products (not until child is 9 months old)
  • eggs
  • soy products (not until child is 2 years old)
Calcium
  • tofu (not until child is 2 years old)
  • legumes
  • leafy green vegetables
  • dairy products (not until child is 9 months old)
  • almonds (supervise child as this can be a choking hazard)
Vitamin D
  • soft margarine
  • fortified soy milk (not until child is 2 years old)
  • whole milk (not until child is 9 months old)

Well-planned vegetarian diets can be made healthy for your child. Ask your doctor for a referral to see a registered dietitian. The dietitian will help make sure your child is meeting her nutritional needs while following a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Iron (0- 1 and 1 year)

Infants around 7-12 months of age are growing so fast that they need foods that contain iron. Iron is an important mineral because it carries oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body. It helps build red blood cells in the body. It helps the brain develop. Iron also helps all the cells in the body work.

If your child does not get enough iron, he will develop anemia. Anemia is a medical condition where you don’t have enough red blood cells or hemoglobin in your blood. The symptoms of anemia in young children include fussy behaviours, irritability, difficulty learning, tired, weak, not gaining a lot of weight, and less interest in eating.

Newborns are born with iron in their bodies. They also get iron from breast milk and formula. The iron that they had at birth starts to run out when they are six months old. Because of this, children start to need iron from food that they eat.

You can get iron through food. The main sources of iron in foods are red meat, fish, and chicken, iron-fortified infant cereal. Iron is also found in lentils, dried beans, green leafy vegetables, and eggs yolks.

healthy eating foods

Cow’s milk contains very little iron. Once you switch to cow’s milk, your child must get iron from other foods to help him be healthy.

Vitamin C will help your child absorb iron. Good sources of vitamin C include cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, oranges, cantaloupe, kiwi, bananas, strawberries, and green, yellow, and red peppers.

Vitamin C

Meal Time: Your Role; Your Child’s Role (0-5 Years)

It is your job as a parent to be a good role model and eat healthy foods. It is also your job to offer healthy foods to your child. And, it is also your responsibility to determine where your child will eat, for example at the kitchen table, and when the child will eat. It is important to have a regular schedule for meals and snacks.

Meal Time

It is your child’s job to decide how much to eat, what he will eat, and if he will eat at all.

It can be hard for some parents to trust their child to determine how much and if he will eat. However, children have a natural ability to determine how much food they need. If they are given healthy foods, they eat as much as they need to grow.

If children are taught they need to ‘clean their plates’ or ‘have two more bites’, their natural body cues for hunger and fullness do not work as well.

If your child is growing well, he is getting the right amount of food that he needs.

Healthy Eating (2-3 Years Old)

Canada’s Food Guide

The Canada Food Guide provides information about the types of food your child should be eating. Click here for more information on the amounts of food your child should be eating.

Offer child-sized portions. A portion is the amount of food you choose to feed your child at each meal and snack. A guideline for a portion is about 15 mL (1 tbsp.) of food for each year of age. Remember that your child may not choose to eat the whole portion at one time but over the course of a day. For more information, please click here.

Offer your child different foods throughout the day.

If your child has any food restrictions or allergies, close attention should be made so she receives all of the nutrients she needs to stay healthy.

Healthy Foods and Routines

Snacks and meals should be given around the same time each day. Routine is important to your child’s development.

Provide nutritious food choices at main meals. These should be given sitting at the table. Mealtime is a good opportunity to spend time together.

Provide lots of snacks during the day.

One of the easiest ways to get your toddler into good eating habits is to offer healthy food choices. Here are some examples of healthy snacks.

  • Dry, unsweetened cereal and a glass of milk
  • Meat, cheese, or peanut butter sandwich
  • Graham crackers or oatmeal cookies
  • Banana, pumpkin, or zucchini bread
  • Fresh, dried, or canned unsweetened fruit
  • Raw vegetables cut in strips
  • Cooked pasta with fresh vegetables
  • Plain yogurt with fruit
  • Cheese cubes

Introducing Milk Lower in Fat and Milk Alternatives

Is your child eating a variety of foods from the food groups? Is she growing well? You may choose to switch to lower-fat milk (2%). The switch from high-fat to lower-fat milk should be made gradually.

Introducing Milk

At this time, it is safe to introduce almond milk, soy milk, hemp milk, or rice milk. Soy milk is recommended for young children over other milk-free alternatives. Compare labels and choose milk or milk-free alternatives that contain the recommended amount of protein, calcium, and Vitamin D.

Introducing New Foods

Your child will learn most by copying you. If you eat nutritious foods, she will likely follow your lead. Try new foods. Serve foods that may not be your favourites. Let her decide if she will like that food. It can take 8-12 times or more for a toddler to decide if she will like a food.

Introducing New Foods

Teach your child that trying new food is fun. Your child will quickly learn that being fussy about food can give her a lot of attention. To decrease fuss, add an unfamiliar food when serving a food that your child already enjoys.

Water

Encourage your child to satisfy her thirst with water.

Encourage your child to satisfy her thirst with water.

Juice

Do not give your child juice and pop.

Juice and pop contain a lot of sugar. Even 100% fruit juice is high in sugar.

Sugary drinks can cause dental cavities. When you eat sugar, the sugar is changed to an acid by bacteria that is in your mouth. The acid dissolves the outer part of the teeth, called enamel. Holes in your teeth’s enamel are called cavities.

Juice and pop can also lower your baby’s appetite for healthy foods. Juice can also cause diarrhea.

Cavities, lowered appetite, and diarrhea can happen even if you dilute the juice with water.

Small Stomach = Small Appetite

Your child’s stomach is still small. She will need to be offered food every few hours. Many young children eat three meals and two to three snacks throughout the day.

Trust her appetite. Do not force her to finish her plate. Forcing your child to finish everything on her plate prevents her from learning to listen to her body so she will stop eating when she is full. If your child is forced to override her body’s signals, she may be training her body to develop weight control problems later in life.

Some days she will want less food than other days. Some days she will want more food. Your child will continue to eat more one day than the next. She may eat the same food for three days in a row, then not want to eat it the next day. She may only eat a few swallows or bites. Other times, she will eat more than you can think she can.

Your child will eat a balanced diet over several days.

Click here for more information on the following topics.

Food Safety

5 Steps to Food Safety

  • Do not give a child of any age an energy drink.
  • Cooked eggs are safe for your baby. The yolk should be cooked well and not runny.
  • Raw eggs in raw cookie dough or cake batter can make your child sick. Bake anything that has eggs in it thoroughly before giving it to a child.
  • Fish is safe if it is broken into small pieces. Be sure that all bones are removed.
  • Peanuts are small and can lead to risk of choking for babies.
  • Peanut butter can stick in your child’s mouth. Spread peanut butter thinly on crackers or bread to make it safer and easier to swallow.
  • Remove pits or large seeds from fruit. Cut grapes in halves or quarters and remove seeds.
  • Cut wieners lengthwise then in small pieces.
  • Unpasteurized honey is not recommended until your baby is at least two years old. Pasteurized honey can be given after one year. Do not feed honey to a baby who is under the age of one year. This can cause botulism.
  • The following are choking hazards for your baby. Avoid them until your child is at least four years old:
    • raisins, gum, hard candies, marshmallows
    • popcorn, nuts, sunflower seeds
    • any food with toothpicks or skewers

Food Allergies (6 months to 5 years)

It is safe to introduce most foods during your baby’s first year. This includes foods like peanuts, fish, and egg whites. Introducing these foods earlier than 12-24 months of age might lower the chance of your baby being allergic to them. Offer new foods every 2-4 days and watch for signs of an allergic reaction.

emergency

If your child has any symptoms of an allergic reaction, take him immediately to the nearest emergency room or healthcare provider.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction can include:

  • hives, skin redness, or rash
  • swelling of the face, tongue, or lips
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea, or blood in bowel movement
  • coughing or wheezing
  • difficulty breathing
  • loss of consciousness

If you or another family member has a serious allergy to any food, talk to your healthcare provider before introducing these foods to your child.

Vegetables and Fruit (1-5 Years)

Vegetables and fruit are important to stay healthy. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fibre. They can help to protect your child from getting sick. They will also help your child be healthy later in life.

Vegetables and Fruit

The number of servings of vegetables and fruits increases as your child gets older. By the time your child is four years old, he will need five servings of vegetables and fruit each day.

Juice

Remember to avoid giving children juice. Juice has a lot of sugar in it and can lead to dental cavities. It can lower your child’s appetite for other foods.

Meat and Alternatives (1-5 years)

Meat and alternatives are important for your child to stay healthy. Meat and alternatives provide protein to help build, maintain, and repair muscles throughout the body. Muscles and organs (such as your heart) are made of protein. Meat and alternatives also provide iron, which is important for carrying oxygen in the body.

Meat and Alternatives

Some parents choose to raise their children as vegetarians or vegans for religious, cultural or lifestyle reasons. Your child may choose not to eat meats as he gets older. Talk to your healthcare provider or a dietitian to make sure your child is getting the calories, vitamins, minerals, and fat that he needs for growth and development.

Grains (1-5 years)

Grain products are important to stay healthy. Grain products, like some cereals, are often fortified with folic acid, folate, and/or vitamin B12. These help your child’s brain and nervous system to develop. Grains are also a source of fibre, which helps your child have a healthy digestion system.

Grains can also give your child’s body energy to be active throughout the day. However, in order to provide the nutrition your child needs, be sure to also provide other sources of energy. These sources include lean meats, fish, and fresh fruit and vegetables.

The number of servings of grains increases as the child gets older. A child who is 2-3 years old should eat three servings of grain products a day. By the time your child is four years old, he will need four servings of grain products a day.

Grains

Choose grain products made from whole grains (e.g., whole wheat, oats, barely) rather than white flour when you can.

Products such as cakes and cookies can be high in sugar, fat, and sodium. Avoid these as much as possible. These should not be considered a serving of grains.

Milk and Alternatives (1-5 Years)

Milk and alternatives are important for your child to stay healthy. They are a great source of calcium and vitamin D, which is important to building strong and healthy bones.

Milk and Alternatives

Your child needs two servings of milk daily. Until your child is two years old, give him whole milk (3% or whole).

Some parents choose to raise their children as vegans for religious, cultural, or lifestyle reasons. Your child may choose not to eat meats as he gets older. Talk to your healthcare provider or a dietitian to make sure your child is getting the calories, vitamins, minerals, and fat that he needs for growth and development.

Vegetarian and Vegan Diets (0 – 5 Year)

Have you decided to feed your child a vegetarian or vegan diet for cultural, religious or lifestyle reasons? It is important to make sure that she is getting the calories and nutrients she needs to grow.

Vegetarian and Vegan Diets

Children Under 2

If your child is less than two years old, she might not get all of the nutrition she needs on a vegetarian or vegan diet. Therefore, your child may need additional supplements. Talk to your healthcare provider before introducing a toddler to a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Nutrients

If your child does not eat meat, she must get protein, iron, zinc, and vitamin B12 from other foods. If your child does not eat or drink milk products, she will need to get calcium and vitamin D from other food sources. These nutrients have important roles in her body.

Sources of Nutrition for Vegetarian and Vegan Diets

Protein
  • breast milk or formula for babies
  • soy products (tofu, veggie burgers, soy cheese) (not until child is 2 years old)
  • whole milk (not until child is 9 months old)
  • cheese or yogurt (not until child is 9 months old)
  • fortified soy beverages (not until child is 2 years old)
  • eggs (pureed or mashed for children under 2)
  • legumes (dried beans and lentils)
  • nuts and seeds (whole or buttered)
Iron
  • iron-fortified cereals
  • legumes
  • soy products (not until child is 2 years old)
  • iron-fortified pasta
  • dried fruit
  • dark green vegetables
Zinc
  • legumes
  • nuts and seeds
  • whole grains
Vitamin B12
  • dairy products (not until child is 9 months old)
  • eggs
  • soy products (not until child is 2 years old)
Calcium
  • tofu (not until child is 2 years old)
  • legumes
  • leafy green vegetables
  • dairy products (not until child is 9 months old)
  • almonds (supervise child as this can be a choking hazard)
Vitamin D
  • soft margarine
  • fortified soy milk (not until child is 2 years old)
  • whole milk (not until child is 9 months old)

Well-planned vegetarian diets can be made healthy for your child. Ask your doctor for a referral to see a registered dietitian. The dietitian will help make sure your child is meeting her nutritional needs while following a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Iron (0- 1 and 1 year)

Infants around 7-12 months of age are growing so fast that they need foods that contain iron. Iron is an important mineral because it carries oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body. It helps build red blood cells in the body. It helps the brain develop. Iron also helps all the cells in the body work.

If your child does not get enough iron, he will develop anemia. Anemia is a medical condition where you don’t have enough red blood cells or hemoglobin in your blood. The symptoms of anemia in young children include fussy behaviours, irritability, difficulty learning, tired, weak, not gaining a lot of weight, and less interest in eating.

Newborns are born with iron in their bodies. They also get iron from breast milk and formula. The iron that they had at birth starts to run out when they are six months old. Because of this, children start to need iron from food that they eat.

You can get iron through food. The main sources of iron in foods are red meat, fish, and chicken, iron-fortified infant cereal. Iron is also found in lentils, dried beans, green leafy vegetables, and eggs yolks.

healthy eating foods

Cow’s milk contains very little iron. Once you switch to cow’s milk, your child must get iron from other foods to help him be healthy.

Vitamin C will help your child absorb iron. Good sources of vitamin C include cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, oranges, cantaloupe, kiwi, bananas, strawberries, and green, yellow, and red peppers.

Vitamin C

Meal Time: Your Role; Your Child’s Role (0-5 Years)

It is your job as a parent to be a good role model and eat healthy foods. It is also your job to offer healthy foods to your child. And, it is also your responsibility to determine where your child will eat, for example at the kitchen table, and when the child will eat. It is important to have a regular schedule for meals and snacks.

Meal Time

It is your child’s job to decide how much to eat, what he will eat, and if he will eat at all.

It can be hard for some parents to trust their child to determine how much and if he will eat. However, children have a natural ability to determine how much food they need. If they are given healthy foods, they eat as much as they need to grow.

If children are taught they need to ‘clean their plates’ or ‘have two more bites’, their natural body cues for hunger and fullness do not work as well.

If your child is growing well, he is getting the right amount of food that he needs.

Drinking (3 -5 Years)

Water is the healthiest drink for your active child. Encourage your child to satisfy his thirst with water. Aim for your child to have 480 mL (2 cups) a day.

Offer your child whole vegetables and fruit rather than fruit juice. Fruits and vegetables in their whole form have lower levels of sugar than juice, e.g., an apple vs. apple juice. If you do offer juice, limit it to 120 mL (1/2 cup) of 100% fruit juice a day. Drinks labeled as fruit drink, fruit punch, or fruit beverage may not contain any real fruit at all. Avoid these drinks.

Please click here for guidelines about drinking milk.

Drinks to Avoid

Drinks such as Kool-Aid®, iced tea, pop, slushes, sport drinks, or other fruit drinks are high in sugar. High-sugar foods and drinks have no nutritional value and will reduce your child’s appetite for more healthy foods. For some children, high-sugar foods may cause unhealthy weight gain.

If your child eats and drinks lots of sweets, he will likely eat less of other foods that are needed to be healthy. Children need your help to limit sweet drinks. A high sugar intake is also the cause for many dental cavities. Sugar from sugary drinks stays on the teeth. This provides a setting for the growth of the bacteria that causes cavities.

Eating crisp or fibrous foods, like celery, can get some of the sugar off of your child’s teeth.

Meal Time Tips (2-5 Years)

Offer your child small portions, with second helpings if he asks for them. Remember the portion size guide: 15 mL (1 tbsp.) of each food per year of age.

Try to choose healthy snacks like fruit, vegetables, or cooked eggs. This reduces the chance of cavities and other problems associated with too many sweets or high-fat foods.

Meal Time Tips

Avoid using food as a reward for good behaviour. It can create a dependence on food for emotional rather than physical needs.

Consider if your child’s request for a snack is an actual need for food or because he is bored. What he may really want is to play a game or have time alone with you.

Eating when concentrating on another activity, such as watching TV, may lead to over/under eating. Discourage this practice.

Children naturally like nutritious foods in all the food groups. Consider your child’s food preferences when preparing meals. The carrots do not need to be cooked. Your preschooler will probably prefer them raw and cut in sticks. Children tend to prefer bright, colourful food selections in separate portions – not mixed together. Serve cooked foods warm, but not hot, because a child’s mouth is much more sensitive than an adult’s.

Let your child help plan and prepare the family’s meals. He is more likely to eat foods he helped choose and prepare.

There are foods that parents dislike and choose not to eat. Children are no different. Forcing your child to clean his plate prevents him from learning to listen to his body and stop eating when he is full. If your child forces himself to ignore his body’s feeling of fullness, he may develop weight control problems later in life.

Offer new foods casually. Don’t make a big deal out of this. Let your child decide for himself whether he tries the new food. Encourage, but do not force, him to try one bite. Reinforce the idea that it is fun to try something new. Your child quickly learns that being fussy about food can give him a lot of attention.

Parents sometimes find that children snack so much that they are not hungry at mealtime. This is not a problem if the snacks are healthy foods.

The snack could be part of a meal the child didn’t eat or the meal that is still to come. Your child’s stomach is small. If he is very active, he will need to eat often to meet all his energy needs.

If you provide a cheerful, relaxed, and casual atmosphere that is free of stress, your child will learn to enjoy eating. If a power struggle develops over food, no one wins. Remember that your child is trying to become independent.

The most important influence on your child’s food habits is your example. Children learn most by imitation. If you eat and enjoy nutritious foods, he will too.

Sugar (1-5 Years)

High sugar intake can lower a child’s appetite. As a result, your child will likely eat less of other foods needed to be healthy. Children need your help to limit sweet treats.

Drinks such as Kool-Aid®, iced tea, pop, slushes, or fruit juice are high in sugar. Limit 100% fruit juice to 120 mL (1/2 cup) a day, and offer only after meals rather than in between meals. Do not offer other high-sugar drinks. Like other high-sugar foods, they have no nutritional value and will reduce your child’s appetite for more healthy foods.

A high sugar intake is also the cause for many dental cavities. Sticky, sugary snack foods stay on the teeth. This provides a setting for the growth of the bacteria that causes cavities. Limit sweets to mealtimes, rather than eating sweets throughout the day. Crisp or fibrous foods help the rinsing action in the mouth.

Salt (1-5 Years)

Eating too much salt will affect children’s blood pressure. Too much salt can put your child at risk for chronic diseases later in life.

The eating habits that your child has now will affect his eating habits later in life.

Now that your child is eating what the rest of the family is eating, it is important to continue to limit salt in foods.

Compare labels and buy foods with lower salt. Salt is called sodium on labels. Choose foods that the Nutrition Fact Table states has a serving size less than 15% DV (daily value) for sodium. Or, look at two different products (e.g., crackers) and choose the one with less sodium per serving size.

Caffeine (1-5 Years)

More research is needed to understand the effect of caffeine on young children’s bodies. Caffeine can make a child sleepless, restless, and irritable.

Many of the foods and drinks that have caffeine in them also have sugar, e.g., pop.

In early childhood, young children develop taste habits or preferences. Foods that contain caffeine may become a taste habit. It is difficult to change a habit once it is formed.

Cocoa, coffee, tea, and chocolate bars contain caffeine. It is a good idea to limit these items.

Cocoa, coffee, tea, and chocolate bars contain caffeine

Healthy Eating (3-4 Years Old)

The Canada Food Guide provides information about the amount types of food your child should be eating. Click here for more information on the amounts of food your child should be eating.

Offer child-sized portions. A portion is the amount of food you choose to feed your child at each meal and snack. A guideline for a portion is about 15 mL (1 tbsp.) of food for each year of age. Remember that your child may not choose to eat the whole portion at one time but over the course of a day. For more information, please click here.

Each day, your child should be getting food from each food group.

Click on each link below to learn more about how each food group helps your child be healthy.

Serve Healthy Foods

Food must be chosen carefully to be sure that your child receives the right amount of nutrients. A child cannot choose nutritious foods on the basis of taste alone.

Serve Healthy Foods

The preference for sweets is natural. Your child will instinctively choose sweet and salty tasting foods. This means that your child may not get enough of some nutrients if you leave all food choices to him. Remember that it is your role as a parent to offer your child nutritious food options and it is your child’s role to decide how much he will eat.

Serve healthy foods and try to limit foods that have a lot of added sugar and salt. Foods and drinks with caffeine can also have a negative impact on your child.

Water

Encourage your child to satisfy her thirst with water.

Encourage your child to satisfy her thirst with water.

Juice

Do not give your child juice or pop.

Juice and pop contain a lot of sugar. Even 100% fruit juice is high in sugar.

Sugary drinks can cause dental cavities. When you eat sugar, the sugar is changed to an acid by bacteria that is in your mouth. The acid dissolves the outer part of the teeth, called enamel. Holes in your teeth’s enamel are called cavities.

Juice and pop can also lower your baby’s appetite for healthy foods. Juice can also cause diarrhea.

Cavities, lowered appetite, and diarrhea can happen even if you dilute the juice with water.

Click on the links below to learn more.

Food Safety

5 Steps to Food Safety

  • Do not give a child of any age an energy drink.
  • Cooked eggs are safe for your baby. The yolk should be cooked well and not runny.
  • Raw eggs in raw cookie dough or cake batter can make your child sick. Bake anything that has eggs in it thoroughly before giving it to a child.
  • Fish is safe if it is broken into small pieces. Be sure that all bones are removed.
  • Peanuts are small and can lead to risk of choking for babies.
  • Peanut butter can stick in your child’s mouth. Spread peanut butter thinly on crackers or bread to make it safer and easier to swallow.
  • Remove pits or large seeds from fruit. Cut grapes in halves or quarters and remove seeds.
  • Cut wieners lengthwise then in small pieces.
  • Unpasteurized honey is not recommended until your baby is at least two years old. Pasteurized honey can be given after one year. Do not feed honey to a baby who is under the age of one year. This can cause botulism.
  • The following are choking hazards for your baby. Avoid them until your child is at least four years old:
    • raisins, gum, hard candies, marshmallows
    • popcorn, nuts, sunflower seeds
    • any food with toothpicks or skewers

Food Allergies (6 months to 5 years)

It is safe to introduce most foods during your baby’s first year. This includes foods like peanuts, fish, and egg whites. Introducing these foods earlier than 12-24 months of age might lower the chance of your baby being allergic to them. Offer new foods every 2-4 days and watch for signs of an allergic reaction.

emergency

If your child has any symptoms of an allergic reaction, take him immediately to the nearest emergency room or healthcare provider.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction can include:

  • hives, skin redness, or rash
  • swelling of the face, tongue, or lips
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea, or blood in bowel movement
  • coughing or wheezing
  • difficulty breathing
  • loss of consciousness

If you or another family member has a serious allergy to any food, talk to your healthcare provider before introducing these foods to your child.

Vegetables and Fruit (1-5 Years)

Vegetables and fruit are important to stay healthy. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fibre. They can help to protect your child from getting sick. They will also help your child be healthy later in life.

Vegetables and Fruit

The number of servings of vegetables and fruits increases as your child gets older. By the time your child is four years old, he will need five servings of vegetables and fruit each day.

Juice

Remember to avoid giving children juice. Juice has a lot of sugar in it and can lead to dental cavities. It can lower your child’s appetite for other foods.

Meat and Alternatives (1-5 years)

Meat and alternatives are important for your child to stay healthy. Meat and alternatives provide protein to help build, maintain, and repair muscles throughout the body. Muscles and organs (such as your heart) are made of protein. Meat and alternatives also provide iron, which is important for carrying oxygen in the body.

Meat and Alternatives

Some parents choose to raise their children as vegetarians or vegans for religious, cultural or lifestyle reasons. Your child may choose not to eat meats as he gets older. Talk to your healthcare provider or a dietitian to make sure your child is getting the calories, vitamins, minerals, and fat that he needs for growth and development.

Grains (1-5 years)

Grain products are important to stay healthy. Grain products, like some cereals, are often fortified with folic acid, folate, and/or vitamin B12. These help your child’s brain and nervous system to develop. Grains are also a source of fibre, which helps your child have a healthy digestion system.

Grains can also give your child’s body energy to be active throughout the day. However, in order to provide the nutrition your child needs, be sure to also provide other sources of energy. These sources include lean meats, fish, and fresh fruit and vegetables.

The number of servings of grains increases as the child gets older. A child who is 2-3 years old should eat three servings of grain products a day. By the time your child is four years old, he will need four servings of grain products a day.

Grains

Choose grain products made from whole grains (e.g., whole wheat, oats, barely) rather than white flour when you can.

Products such as cakes and cookies can be high in sugar, fat, and sodium. Avoid these as much as possible. These should not be considered a serving of grains.

Milk and Alternatives (1-5 Years)

Milk and alternatives are important for your child to stay healthy. They are a great source of calcium and vitamin D, which is important to building strong and healthy bones.

Milk and Alternatives

Your child needs two servings of milk daily. Until your child is two years old, give him whole milk (3% or whole).

Some parents choose to raise their children as vegans for religious, cultural, or lifestyle reasons. Your child may choose not to eat meats as he gets older. Talk to your healthcare provider or a dietitian to make sure your child is getting the calories, vitamins, minerals, and fat that he needs for growth and development.

Vegetarian and Vegan Diets (0 – 5 Year)

Have you decided to feed your child a vegetarian or vegan diet for cultural, religious or lifestyle reasons? It is important to make sure that she is getting the calories and nutrients she needs to grow.

Vegetarian and Vegan Diets

Children Under 2

If your child is less than two years old, she might not get all of the nutrition she needs on a vegetarian or vegan diet. Therefore, your child may need additional supplements. Talk to your healthcare provider before introducing a toddler to a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Nutrients

If your child does not eat meat, she must get protein, iron, zinc, and vitamin B12 from other foods. If your child does not eat or drink milk products, she will need to get calcium and vitamin D from other food sources. These nutrients have important roles in her body.

Sources of Nutrition for Vegetarian and Vegan Diets

Protein
  • breast milk or formula for babies
  • soy products (tofu, veggie burgers, soy cheese) (not until child is 2 years old)
  • whole milk (not until child is 9 months old)
  • cheese or yogurt (not until child is 9 months old)
  • fortified soy beverages (not until child is 2 years old)
  • eggs (pureed or mashed for children under 2)
  • legumes (dried beans and lentils)
  • nuts and seeds (whole or buttered)
Iron
  • iron-fortified cereals
  • legumes
  • soy products (not until child is 2 years old)
  • iron-fortified pasta
  • dried fruit
  • dark green vegetables
Zinc
  • legumes
  • nuts and seeds
  • whole grains
Vitamin B12
  • dairy products (not until child is 9 months old)
  • eggs
  • soy products (not until child is 2 years old)
Calcium
  • tofu (not until child is 2 years old)
  • legumes
  • leafy green vegetables
  • dairy products (not until child is 9 months old)
  • almonds (supervise child as this can be a choking hazard)
Vitamin D
  • soft margarine
  • fortified soy milk (not until child is 2 years old)
  • whole milk (not until child is 9 months old)

Well-planned vegetarian diets can be made healthy for your child. Ask your doctor for a referral to see a registered dietitian. The dietitian will help make sure your child is meeting her nutritional needs while following a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Meal Time: Your Role; Your Child’s Role (0-5 Years)

It is your job as a parent to be a good role model and eat healthy foods. It is also your job to offer healthy foods to your child. And, it is also your responsibility to determine where your child will eat, for example at the kitchen table, and when the child will eat. It is important to have a regular schedule for meals and snacks.

Meal Time

It is your child’s job to decide how much to eat, what he will eat, and if he will eat at all.

It can be hard for some parents to trust their child to determine how much and if he will eat. However, children have a natural ability to determine how much food they need. If they are given healthy foods, they eat as much as they need to grow.

If children are taught they need to ‘clean their plates’ or ‘have two more bites’, their natural body cues for hunger and fullness do not work as well.

If your child is growing well, he is getting the right amount of food that he needs.

Drinking (3 -5 Years)

Water is the healthiest drink for your active child. Encourage your child to satisfy his thirst with water. Aim for your child to have 480 mL (2 cups) a day.

Offer your child whole vegetables and fruit rather than fruit juice. Fruits and vegetables in their whole form have lower levels of sugar than juice, e.g., an apple vs. apple juice. If you do offer juice, limit it to 120 mL (1/2 cup) of 100% fruit juice a day. Drinks labeled as fruit drink, fruit punch, or fruit beverage may not contain any real fruit at all. Avoid these drinks.

Please click here for guidelines about drinking milk.

Drinks to Avoid

Drinks such as Kool-Aid®, iced tea, pop, slushes, sport drinks, or other fruit drinks are high in sugar. High-sugar foods and drinks have no nutritional value and will reduce your child’s appetite for more healthy foods. For some children, high-sugar foods may cause unhealthy weight gain.

If your child eats and drinks lots of sweets, he will likely eat less of other foods that are needed to be healthy. Children need your help to limit sweet drinks. A high sugar intake is also the cause for many dental cavities. Sugar from sugary drinks stays on the teeth. This provides a setting for the growth of the bacteria that causes cavities.

Eating crisp or fibrous foods, like celery, can get some of the sugar off of your child’s teeth.

Meal Time Tips (2-5 Years)

Offer your child small portions, with second helpings if he asks for them. Remember the portion size guide: 15 mL (1 tbsp.) of each food per year of age.

Try to choose healthy snacks like fruit, vegetables, or cooked eggs. This reduces the chance of cavities and other problems associated with too many sweets or high-fat foods.

Meal Time Tips

Avoid using food as a reward for good behaviour. It can create a dependence on food for emotional rather than physical needs.

Consider if your child’s request for a snack is an actual need for food or because he is bored. What he may really want is to play a game or have time alone with you.

Eating when concentrating on another activity, such as watching TV, may lead to over/under eating. Discourage this practice.

Children naturally like nutritious foods in all the food groups. Consider your child’s food preferences when preparing meals. The carrots do not need to be cooked. Your preschooler will probably prefer them raw and cut in sticks. Children tend to prefer bright, colourful food selections in separate portions – not mixed together. Serve cooked foods warm, but not hot, because a child’s mouth is much more sensitive than an adult’s.

Let your child help plan and prepare the family’s meals. He is more likely to eat foods he helped choose and prepare.

There are foods that parents dislike and choose not to eat. Children are no different. Forcing your child to clean his plate prevents him from learning to listen to his body and stop eating when he is full. If your child forces himself to ignore his body’s feeling of fullness, he may develop weight control problems later in life.

Offer new foods casually. Don’t make a big deal out of this. Let your child decide for himself whether he tries the new food. Encourage, but do not force, him to try one bite. Reinforce the idea that it is fun to try something new. Your child quickly learns that being fussy about food can give him a lot of attention.

Parents sometimes find that children snack so much that they are not hungry at mealtime. This is not a problem if the snacks are healthy foods.

The snack could be part of a meal the child didn’t eat or the meal that is still to come. Your child’s stomach is small. If he is very active, he will need to eat often to meet all his energy needs.

If you provide a cheerful, relaxed, and casual atmosphere that is free of stress, your child will learn to enjoy eating. If a power struggle develops over food, no one wins. Remember that your child is trying to become independent.

The most important influence on your child’s food habits is your example. Children learn most by imitation. If you eat and enjoy nutritious foods, he will too.

Sugar (1-5 Years)

High sugar intake can lower a child’s appetite. As a result, your child will likely eat less of other foods needed to be healthy. Children need your help to limit sweet treats.

Drinks such as Kool-Aid®, iced tea, pop, slushes, or fruit juice are high in sugar. Limit 100% fruit juice to 120 mL (1/2 cup) a day, and offer only after meals rather than in between meals. Do not offer other high-sugar drinks. Like other high-sugar foods, they have no nutritional value and will reduce your child’s appetite for more healthy foods.

A high sugar intake is also the cause for many dental cavities. Sticky, sugary snack foods stay on the teeth. This provides a setting for the growth of the bacteria that causes cavities. Limit sweets to mealtimes, rather than eating sweets throughout the day. Crisp or fibrous foods help the rinsing action in the mouth.

Salt (1-5 Years)

Eating too much salt will affect children’s blood pressure. Too much salt can put your child at risk for chronic diseases later in life.

The eating habits that your child has now will affect his eating habits later in life.

Now that your child is eating what the rest of the family is eating, it is important to continue to limit salt in foods.

Compare labels and buy foods with lower salt. Salt is called sodium on labels. Choose foods that the Nutrition Fact Table states has a serving size less than 15% DV (daily value) for sodium. Or, look at two different products (e.g., crackers) and choose the one with less sodium per serving size.

Caffeine (1-5 Years)

More research is needed to understand the effect of caffeine on young children’s bodies. Caffeine can make a child sleepless, restless, and irritable.

Many of the foods and drinks that have caffeine in them also have sugar, e.g., pop.

In early childhood, young children develop taste habits or preferences. Foods that contain caffeine may become a taste habit. It is difficult to change a habit once it is formed.

Cocoa, coffee, tea, and chocolate bars contain caffeine. It is a good idea to limit these items.

Cocoa, coffee, tea, and chocolate bars contain caffeine

Healthy Eating (4-5 Years Old)

The Canada Food Guide provides information about the amount types of food your child should be eating. Click here for more information on the amounts of food your child should be eating.

Offer child-sized portions. A portion is the amount of food you choose to feed your child at each meal and snack. A guideline for a portion is about 15 mL (1 tbsp.) of food for each year of age. Remember that your child may not choose to eat the whole portion at one time but over the course of a day.

Click on each link below to learn more about how each food group helps your child be healthy.

Offer a variety of healthy food to your child every day. Be sure to include some choices that contain fat, e.g., 2% milk, peanut butter, and avocado.

Your child may eat more at some meals than at others. Try not to make a fuss over foods not eaten.

Be patient when offering your child new and unfamiliar foods. Don’t worry if the food is not eaten. Offer the new food again later, in a few days or weeks. The more often your child is exposed to a food, the more likely he will eat and enjoy it.

Healthy Snacks

Offer healthy snacks throughout your child’s day. Healthy snacks provide energy and the nutrition your child needs. Young children benefit from snacks since they may not eat enough at meal times to meet their nutritional needs.

Some examples of healthy snacks include:

  • whole wheat pita triangles with hummus or peanut butter
  • yogurt mixed together with fruit or in a smoothie
  • hard-boiled egg
  • crackers and cheese cubes
  • English muffin with melted cheese and apple slices
  • plain popcorn
  • oven roasted canned chickpeas
  • nuts and dried fruit
  • popsicles made with yogurt
  • fresh, frozen, or canned fruit
  • raw vegetables such as carrots, peppers, zucchini, cherry or grape tomatoes. These can be served alone or with a dip such as salad dressing or hummus.

Limit less healthy foods that are high in calories, sugar, sodium (salt), or less healthy fats. Less healthy foods include cakes, candies, chips, chocolate, cookies, doughnuts, pop, fries, granola bars, ice cream, buttered popcorn, and pastries. These can be offered occasionally, but the majority of food that is offered should be healthy.

Introducing New Foods

Be patient when offering your child new and unfamiliar foods. Try not to make a fuss over foods not eaten. Offer the new food again later, in a few days or weeks. The more often your child is exposed to a food, the more likely he will eat and enjoy it.

Water

Encourage your child to satisfy her thirst with water.

Encourage your child to satisfy her thirst with water.

Juice

Juice and pop contain a lot of sugar. Even 100% fruit juice is high in sugar.

Sugary drinks can cause dental cavities. When you eat sugar, the sugar is changed to an acid by bacteria that is in your mouth. The acid dissolves the outer part of the teeth, called enamel. Holes in your teeth’s enamel are called cavities.

Juice and pop can also lower your baby’s appetite for healthy foods. Juice can also cause diarrhea.

Cavities, lowered appetite, and diarrhea can happen even if you dilute the juice with water.

Allergies and Food Restrictions

If your child has any food restrictions or allergies, close attention should be made so she receives all of the nutrients she needs to stay healthy.

Vegetarian and Vegan Diets

Some parents choose to raise their child as a vegetarian or vegan for cultural, religious, or lifestyle reason. Your child may choose not to eat meats as he gets older. At this age, children can safely follow a vegetarian eating plan.

Click here for more information about vegetarian and vegan diets.

Click on the links below to learn more.

Food Safety

5 Steps to Food Safety

  • Do not give a child of any age an energy drink.
  • Cooked eggs are safe for your baby. The yolk should be cooked well and not runny.
  • Raw eggs in raw cookie dough or cake batter can make your child sick. Bake anything that has eggs in it thoroughly before giving it to a child.
  • Fish is safe if it is broken into small pieces. Be sure that all bones are removed.
  • Peanuts are small and can lead to risk of choking for babies.
  • Peanut butter can stick in your child’s mouth. Spread peanut butter thinly on crackers or bread to make it safer and easier to swallow.
  • Remove pits or large seeds from fruit. Cut grapes in halves or quarters and remove seeds.
  • Cut wieners lengthwise then in small pieces.
  • Unpasteurized honey is not recommended until your baby is at least two years old. Pasteurized honey can be given after one year. Do not feed honey to a baby who is under the age of one year. This can cause botulism.
  • The following are choking hazards for your baby. Avoid them until your child is at least four years old:
    • raisins, gum, hard candies, marshmallows
    • popcorn, nuts, sunflower seeds
    • any food with toothpicks or skewers

Food Allergies (6 months to 5 years)

It is safe to introduce most foods during your baby’s first year. This includes foods like peanuts, fish, and egg whites. Introducing these foods earlier than 12-24 months of age might lower the chance of your baby being allergic to them. Offer new foods every 2-4 days and watch for signs of an allergic reaction.

emergency

If your child has any symptoms of an allergic reaction, take him immediately to the nearest emergency room or healthcare provider.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction can include:

  • hives, skin redness, or rash
  • swelling of the face, tongue, or lips
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea, or blood in bowel movement
  • coughing or wheezing
  • difficulty breathing
  • loss of consciousness

If you or another family member has a serious allergy to any food, talk to your healthcare provider before introducing these foods to your child.

Vegetables and Fruit (1-5 Years)

Vegetables and fruit are important to stay healthy. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fibre. They can help to protect your child from getting sick. They will also help your child be healthy later in life.

Vegetables and Fruit

The number of servings of vegetables and fruits increases as your child gets older. By the time your child is four years old, he will need five servings of vegetables and fruit each day.

Juice

Remember to avoid giving children juice. Juice has a lot of sugar in it and can lead to dental cavities. It can lower your child’s appetite for other foods.

Meat and Alternatives (1-5 years)

Meat and alternatives are important for your child to stay healthy. Meat and alternatives provide protein to help build, maintain, and repair muscles throughout the body. Muscles and organs (such as your heart) are made of protein. Meat and alternatives also provide iron, which is important for carrying oxygen in the body.

Meat and Alternatives

Some parents choose to raise their children as vegetarians or vegans for religious, cultural or lifestyle reasons. Your child may choose not to eat meats as he gets older. Talk to your healthcare provider or a dietitian to make sure your child is getting the calories, vitamins, minerals, and fat that he needs for growth and development.

Grains (1-5 years)

Grain products are important to stay healthy. Grain products, like some cereals, are often fortified with folic acid, folate, and/or vitamin B12. These help your child’s brain and nervous system to develop. Grains are also a source of fibre, which helps your child have a healthy digestion system.

Grains can also give your child’s body energy to be active throughout the day. However, in order to provide the nutrition your child needs, be sure to also provide other sources of energy. These sources include lean meats, fish, and fresh fruit and vegetables.

The number of servings of grains increases as the child gets older. A child who is 2-3 years old should eat three servings of grain products a day. By the time your child is four years old, he will need four servings of grain products a day.

Grains

Choose grain products made from whole grains (e.g., whole wheat, oats, barely) rather than white flour when you can.

Products such as cakes and cookies can be high in sugar, fat, and sodium. Avoid these as much as possible. These should not be considered a serving of grains.

Milk and Alternatives (1-5 Years)

Milk and alternatives are important for your child to stay healthy. They are a great source of calcium and vitamin D, which is important to building strong and healthy bones.

Milk and Alternatives

Your child needs two servings of milk daily. Until your child is two years old, give him whole milk (3% or whole).

Some parents choose to raise their children as vegans for religious, cultural, or lifestyle reasons. Your child may choose not to eat meats as he gets older. Talk to your healthcare provider or a dietitian to make sure your child is getting the calories, vitamins, minerals, and fat that he needs for growth and development.

Vegetarian and Vegan Diets (0 – 5 Year)

Have you decided to feed your child a vegetarian or vegan diet for cultural, religious or lifestyle reasons? It is important to make sure that she is getting the calories and nutrients she needs to grow.

Vegetarian and Vegan Diets

Children Under 2

If your child is less than two years old, she might not get all of the nutrition she needs on a vegetarian or vegan diet. Therefore, your child may need additional supplements. Talk to your healthcare provider before introducing a toddler to a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Nutrients

If your child does not eat meat, she must get protein, iron, zinc, and vitamin B12 from other foods. If your child does not eat or drink milk products, she will need to get calcium and vitamin D from other food sources. These nutrients have important roles in her body.

Sources of Nutrition for Vegetarian and Vegan Diets

Protein
  • breast milk or formula for babies
  • soy products (tofu, veggie burgers, soy cheese) (not until child is 2 years old)
  • whole milk (not until child is 9 months old)
  • cheese or yogurt (not until child is 9 months old)
  • fortified soy beverages (not until child is 2 years old)
  • eggs (pureed or mashed for children under 2)
  • legumes (dried beans and lentils)
  • nuts and seeds (whole or buttered)
Iron
  • iron-fortified cereals
  • legumes
  • soy products (not until child is 2 years old)
  • iron-fortified pasta
  • dried fruit
  • dark green vegetables
Zinc
  • legumes
  • nuts and seeds
  • whole grains
Vitamin B12
  • dairy products (not until child is 9 months old)
  • eggs
  • soy products (not until child is 2 years old)
Calcium
  • tofu (not until child is 2 years old)
  • legumes
  • leafy green vegetables
  • dairy products (not until child is 9 months old)
  • almonds (supervise child as this can be a choking hazard)
Vitamin D
  • soft margarine
  • fortified soy milk (not until child is 2 years old)
  • whole milk (not until child is 9 months old)

Well-planned vegetarian diets can be made healthy for your child. Ask your doctor for a referral to see a registered dietitian. The dietitian will help make sure your child is meeting her nutritional needs while following a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Iron (0- 1 and 1 year)

Infants around 7-12 months of age are growing so fast that they need foods that contain iron. Iron is an important mineral because it carries oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body. It helps build red blood cells in the body. It helps the brain develop. Iron also helps all the cells in the body work.

If your child does not get enough iron, he will develop anemia. Anemia is a medical condition where you don’t have enough red blood cells or hemoglobin in your blood. The symptoms of anemia in young children include fussy behaviours, irritability, difficulty learning, tired, weak, not gaining a lot of weight, and less interest in eating.

Newborns are born with iron in their bodies. They also get iron from breast milk and formula. The iron that they had at birth starts to run out when they are six months old. Because of this, children start to need iron from food that they eat.

You can get iron through food. The main sources of iron in foods are red meat, fish, and chicken, iron-fortified infant cereal. Iron is also found in lentils, dried beans, green leafy vegetables, and eggs yolks.

healthy eating foods

Cow’s milk contains very little iron. Once you switch to cow’s milk, your child must get iron from other foods to help him be healthy.

Vitamin C will help your child absorb iron. Good sources of vitamin C include cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, oranges, cantaloupe, kiwi, bananas, strawberries, and green, yellow, and red peppers.

Vitamin C

Meal Time: Your Role; Your Child’s Role (0-5 Years)

It is your job as a parent to be a good role model and eat healthy foods. It is also your job to offer healthy foods to your child. And, it is also your responsibility to determine where your child will eat, for example at the kitchen table, and when the child will eat. It is important to have a regular schedule for meals and snacks.

Meal Time

It is your child’s job to decide how much to eat, what he will eat, and if he will eat at all.

It can be hard for some parents to trust their child to determine how much and if he will eat. However, children have a natural ability to determine how much food they need. If they are given healthy foods, they eat as much as they need to grow.

If children are taught they need to ‘clean their plates’ or ‘have two more bites’, their natural body cues for hunger and fullness do not work as well.

If your child is growing well, he is getting the right amount of food that he needs.

Drinking (3 -5 Years)

Water is the healthiest drink for your active child. Encourage your child to satisfy his thirst with water. Aim for your child to have 480 mL (2 cups) a day.

Offer your child whole vegetables and fruit rather than fruit juice. Fruits and vegetables in their whole form have lower levels of sugar than juice, e.g., an apple vs. apple juice. If you do offer juice, limit it to 120 mL (1/2 cup) of 100% fruit juice a day. Drinks labeled as fruit drink, fruit punch, or fruit beverage may not contain any real fruit at all. Avoid these drinks.

Please click here for guidelines about drinking milk.

Drinks to Avoid

Drinks such as Kool-Aid®, iced tea, pop, slushes, sport drinks, or other fruit drinks are high in sugar. High-sugar foods and drinks have no nutritional value and will reduce your child’s appetite for more healthy foods. For some children, high-sugar foods may cause unhealthy weight gain.

If your child eats and drinks lots of sweets, he will likely eat less of other foods that are needed to be healthy. Children need your help to limit sweet drinks. A high sugar intake is also the cause for many dental cavities. Sugar from sugary drinks stays on the teeth. This provides a setting for the growth of the bacteria that causes cavities.

Eating crisp or fibrous foods, like celery, can get some of the sugar off of your child’s teeth.

Meal Time Tips (2-5 Years)

Offer your child small portions, with second helpings if he asks for them. Remember the portion size guide: 15 mL (1 tbsp.) of each food per year of age.

Try to choose healthy snacks like fruit, vegetables, or cooked eggs. This reduces the chance of cavities and other problems associated with too many sweets or high-fat foods.

Meal Time Tips

Avoid using food as a reward for good behaviour. It can create a dependence on food for emotional rather than physical needs.

Consider if your child’s request for a snack is an actual need for food or because he is bored. What he may really want is to play a game or have time alone with you.

Eating when concentrating on another activity, such as watching TV, may lead to over/under eating. Discourage this practice.

Children naturally like nutritious foods in all the food groups. Consider your child’s food preferences when preparing meals. The carrots do not need to be cooked. Your preschooler will probably prefer them raw and cut in sticks. Children tend to prefer bright, colourful food selections in separate portions – not mixed together. Serve cooked foods warm, but not hot, because a child’s mouth is much more sensitive than an adult’s.

Let your child help plan and prepare the family’s meals. He is more likely to eat foods he helped choose and prepare.

There are foods that parents dislike and choose not to eat. Children are no different. Forcing your child to clean his plate prevents him from learning to listen to his body and stop eating when he is full. If your child forces himself to ignore his body’s feeling of fullness, he may develop weight control problems later in life.

Offer new foods casually. Don’t make a big deal out of this. Let your child decide for himself whether he tries the new food. Encourage, but do not force, him to try one bite. Reinforce the idea that it is fun to try something new. Your child quickly learns that being fussy about food can give him a lot of attention.

Parents sometimes find that children snack so much that they are not hungry at mealtime. This is not a problem if the snacks are healthy foods.

The snack could be part of a meal the child didn’t eat or the meal that is still to come. Your child’s stomach is small. If he is very active, he will need to eat often to meet all his energy needs.

If you provide a cheerful, relaxed, and casual atmosphere that is free of stress, your child will learn to enjoy eating. If a power struggle develops over food, no one wins. Remember that your child is trying to become independent.

The most important influence on your child’s food habits is your example. Children learn most by imitation. If you eat and enjoy nutritious foods, he will too.

Sugar (1-5 Years)

High sugar intake can lower a child’s appetite. As a result, your child will likely eat less of other foods needed to be healthy. Children need your help to limit sweet treats.

Drinks such as Kool-Aid®, iced tea, pop, slushes, or fruit juice are high in sugar. Limit 100% fruit juice to 120 mL (1/2 cup) a day, and offer only after meals rather than in between meals. Do not offer other high-sugar drinks. Like other high-sugar foods, they have no nutritional value and will reduce your child’s appetite for more healthy foods.

A high sugar intake is also the cause for many dental cavities. Sticky, sugary snack foods stay on the teeth. This provides a setting for the growth of the bacteria that causes cavities. Limit sweets to mealtimes, rather than eating sweets throughout the day. Crisp or fibrous foods help the rinsing action in the mouth.

Salt (1-5 Years)

Eating too much salt will affect children’s blood pressure. Too much salt can put your child at risk for chronic diseases later in life.

The eating habits that your child has now will affect his eating habits later in life.

Now that your child is eating what the rest of the family is eating, it is important to continue to limit salt in foods.

Compare labels and buy foods with lower salt. Salt is called sodium on labels. Choose foods that the Nutrition Fact Table states has a serving size less than 15% DV (daily value) for sodium. Or, look at two different products (e.g., crackers) and choose the one with less sodium per serving size.

Caffeine (1-5 Years)

More research is needed to understand the effect of caffeine on young children’s bodies. Caffeine can make a child sleepless, restless, and irritable.

Many of the foods and drinks that have caffeine in them also have sugar, e.g., pop.

In early childhood, young children develop taste habits or preferences. Foods that contain caffeine may become a taste habit. It is difficult to change a habit once it is formed.

Cocoa, coffee, tea, and chocolate bars contain caffeine. It is a good idea to limit these items.

Cocoa, coffee, tea, and chocolate bars contain caffeine

Picky vs. Problem Eaters (3-5 Years)

Developing healthy eating habits in childhood can help to prevent obesity and chronic diseases later. Your child will need your help to develop these healthy habits.

Many parents describe their child as being a picky eater at this age. Picky eating can be common and normal for this age. Some children are problem eaters. It is very difficult to get children who are problem eaters to eat a variety of healthy foods.

Both picky eating and problem eating can be considered a health issue if your child is not growing as he should.

Picky eaters

  • A picky eater will usually eat at least 30 different foods.
  • He eats the same food over and over and then suddenly refuses it. He will then re-start eating this food after a few weeks.
  • He can handle a new food being on his plate even if he does not eat it.
  • He eats at least one food item per food group.
  • Sometimes you may need to feed him different foods than the rest of the family at mealtime.

Problem Eaters

  • A problem eater will usually eat less than 20 different foods.
  • He may eat the same food over and over again and then refuse it. He will not re-start eating this food in a few weeks.
  • Offering new foods usually results in a temper tantrum.
  • He will refuse all foods from a food group.
  • He almost never eats the same foods as the rest of the family.

If you think your child is a problem eater, talk to your doctor or local healthcare provider.

If your child is a picky or problem eater and not growing as he should, your healthcare provider may refer you to a dietitian who can help your child grow appropriately and increase the variety of foods he eats. If needed, your healthcare provider and dietitian may refer you to a psychologist or registered therapist.

Healthy Eating (5 Years Old)

The Canada Food Guide provides information about the amount types of food your child should be eating. Click here for more information on the amounts of food your child should be eating.

Offer child-sized portions. A portion is the amount of food you choose to feed your child at each meal and snack. A guideline for a portion is about 15 mL (1 tbsp.) of food for each year of age. Remember that your child may not choose to eat the whole portion at one time but over the course of a day. For more information, please click here.

Healthy Snacks

Healthy Snacks

Aim for two food groups or more per snack. Include a vegetable/fruit often. Here are some examples:

  • Apple and cheese
  • Celery sticks and hummus
  • Flaked canned tuna and whole wheat crackers
  • Fruit smoothie made with fresh, frozen, or canned fruit and yogurt

Keep in mind that all children will have different needs. Your child may eat a different amount day to day. Know that as he goes through growth spurts, he will want more food than other times.

Click on a link below to learn more about how different foods help your child be healthy.

Breakfast

Be sure to include breakfast each day. Breakfast provides energy and nutrition after a long night of no food intake. Aim for a breakfast that includes at least three of the four food groups.

Be sure to include breakfast each day

Routine

Continue to have consistent times each day for meals and snacks. Say no to eating between meals and snacks. Your child can be given water between these.

Healthy eating is important at home and away from home. Pack healthy lunches for your child so he has the energy to learn and be active at school.

Foster Healthy Relationships with Food

Help your child develop a healthy relationship with food. Trust your child when he is hungry or full. Avoid telling your child to finish everything on his plate. When children are told to finish their plates, this teaches them to eat even when they are full. Let your child decide if he has eaten enough or wants more.

Avoid using food as a reward or punishment. This could lead to overeating and poor food choices.

Involve your child in shopping for food and preparing meals and snacks. If your child has helped in some way with food preparation, he is more likely to try and enjoy it. It can be as simple as him picking out a new fruit or vegetable in the grocery store. In the kitchen, he may choose between two different types of sandwiches and then help you make them. Have the whole family involved in meal prep and clean up.

Share Meals as a Family

Enjoy meal times together as often as possible. Model healthy eating. Avoid eating in front of the television at meal times. Avoid using cell phones or other devices at the table. Take the opportunity to talk and eat together.

Healthy Food Choices

Give your child a chance to make simple healthy food choices, such as ‘would you like an apple or a banana?’ instead of asking ‘what do you want for a snack today?’ Make most food choices healthy ones from Canada’s Food Guide.

Make less healthy food, such as French fries, chips, and candy, available only some of the time. Include them for all family members. Avoid using them as a reward or punishment.

Water

Encourage your child to satisfy her thirst with water.

Encourage your child to satisfy her thirst with water.

Juice

Juice and pop contain a lot of sugar. Even 100% fruit juice is high in sugar. Do not give your child juice or pop.

Sugary drinks can cause dental cavities. When you eat sugar, the sugar is changed to an acid by bacteria that is in your mouth. The acid dissolves the outer part of the teeth, called enamel. Holes in your teeth’s enamel are called cavities.

Juice and pop can also lower your baby’s appetite for healthy foods. Juice can also cause diarrhea.

Cavities, lowered appetite, and diarrhea can happen even if you dilute the juice with water.

Allergies and Food Restrictions

If your child has any food restrictions or allergies, close attention should be made so she receives all of the nutrients she needs to stay healthy.

Vegan and Vegetarian Diets

Some families may follow a vegetarian or vegan diet for cultural, religious, or lifestyle reasons. Click here to learn more about eating vegetarian or vegan diets.

Click on the links below to learn more.

Food Safety

5 Steps to Food Safety

  • Do not give a child of any age an energy drink.
  • Cooked eggs are safe for your baby. The yolk should be cooked well and not runny.
  • Raw eggs in raw cookie dough or cake batter can make your child sick. Bake anything that has eggs in it thoroughly before giving it to a child.
  • Fish is safe if it is broken into small pieces. Be sure that all bones are removed.
  • Peanuts are small and can lead to risk of choking for babies.
  • Peanut butter can stick in your child’s mouth. Spread peanut butter thinly on crackers or bread to make it safer and easier to swallow.
  • Remove pits or large seeds from fruit. Cut grapes in halves or quarters and remove seeds.
  • Cut wieners lengthwise then in small pieces.
  • Unpasteurized honey is not recommended until your baby is at least two years old. Pasteurized honey can be given after one year. Do not feed honey to a baby who is under the age of one year. This can cause botulism.
  • The following are choking hazards for your baby. Avoid them until your child is at least four years old:
    • raisins, gum, hard candies, marshmallows
    • popcorn, nuts, sunflower seeds
    • any food with toothpicks or skewers

Food Allergies (6 months to 5 years)

It is safe to introduce most foods during your baby’s first year. This includes foods like peanuts, fish, and egg whites. Introducing these foods earlier than 12-24 months of age might lower the chance of your baby being allergic to them. Offer new foods every 2-4 days and watch for signs of an allergic reaction.

emergency

If your child has any symptoms of an allergic reaction, take him immediately to the nearest emergency room or healthcare provider.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction can include:

  • hives, skin redness, or rash
  • swelling of the face, tongue, or lips
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea, or blood in bowel movement
  • coughing or wheezing
  • difficulty breathing
  • loss of consciousness

If you or another family member has a serious allergy to any food, talk to your healthcare provider before introducing these foods to your child.

Vegetables and Fruit (1-5 Years)

Vegetables and fruit are important to stay healthy. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fibre. They can help to protect your child from getting sick. They will also help your child be healthy later in life.

Vegetables and Fruit

The number of servings of vegetables and fruits increases as your child gets older. By the time your child is four years old, he will need five servings of vegetables and fruit each day.

Juice

Remember to avoid giving children juice. Juice has a lot of sugar in it and can lead to dental cavities. It can lower your child’s appetite for other foods.

Meat and Alternatives (1-5 years)

Meat and alternatives are important for your child to stay healthy. Meat and alternatives provide protein to help build, maintain, and repair muscles throughout the body. Muscles and organs (such as your heart) are made of protein. Meat and alternatives also provide iron, which is important for carrying oxygen in the body.

Meat and Alternatives

Some parents choose to raise their children as vegetarians or vegans for religious, cultural or lifestyle reasons. Your child may choose not to eat meats as he gets older. Talk to your healthcare provider or a dietitian to make sure your child is getting the calories, vitamins, minerals, and fat that he needs for growth and development.

Grains (1-5 years)

Grain products are important to stay healthy. Grain products, like some cereals, are often fortified with folic acid, folate, and/or vitamin B12. These help your child’s brain and nervous system to develop. Grains are also a source of fibre, which helps your child have a healthy digestion system.

Grains can also give your child’s body energy to be active throughout the day. However, in order to provide the nutrition your child needs, be sure to also provide other sources of energy. These sources include lean meats, fish, and fresh fruit and vegetables.

The number of servings of grains increases as the child gets older. A child who is 2-3 years old should eat three servings of grain products a day. By the time your child is four years old, he will need four servings of grain products a day.

Grains

Choose grain products made from whole grains (e.g., whole wheat, oats, barely) rather than white flour when you can.

Products such as cakes and cookies can be high in sugar, fat, and sodium. Avoid these as much as possible. These should not be considered a serving of grains.

Milk and Alternatives (1-5 Years)

Milk and alternatives are important for your child to stay healthy. They are a great source of calcium and vitamin D, which is important to building strong and healthy bones.

Milk and Alternatives

Your child needs two servings of milk daily. Until your child is two years old, give him whole milk (3% or whole).

Some parents choose to raise their children as vegans for religious, cultural, or lifestyle reasons. Your child may choose not to eat meats as he gets older. Talk to your healthcare provider or a dietitian to make sure your child is getting the calories, vitamins, minerals, and fat that he needs for growth and development.

Vegetarian and Vegan Diets (0 – 5 Year)

Have you decided to feed your child a vegetarian or vegan diet for cultural, religious or lifestyle reasons? It is important to make sure that she is getting the calories and nutrients she needs to grow.

Vegetarian and Vegan Diets

Children Under 2

If your child is less than two years old, she might not get all of the nutrition she needs on a vegetarian or vegan diet. Therefore, your child may need additional supplements. Talk to your healthcare provider before introducing a toddler to a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Nutrients

If your child does not eat meat, she must get protein, iron, zinc, and vitamin B12 from other foods. If your child does not eat or drink milk products, she will need to get calcium and vitamin D from other food sources. These nutrients have important roles in her body.

Sources of Nutrition for Vegetarian and Vegan Diets

Protein
  • breast milk or formula for babies
  • soy products (tofu, veggie burgers, soy cheese) (not until child is 2 years old)
  • whole milk (not until child is 9 months old)
  • cheese or yogurt (not until child is 9 months old)
  • fortified soy beverages (not until child is 2 years old)
  • eggs (pureed or mashed for children under 2)
  • legumes (dried beans and lentils)
  • nuts and seeds (whole or buttered)
Iron
  • iron-fortified cereals
  • legumes
  • soy products (not until child is 2 years old)
  • iron-fortified pasta
  • dried fruit
  • dark green vegetables
Zinc
  • legumes
  • nuts and seeds
  • whole grains
Vitamin B12
  • dairy products (not until child is 9 months old)
  • eggs
  • soy products (not until child is 2 years old)
Calcium
  • tofu (not until child is 2 years old)
  • legumes
  • leafy green vegetables
  • dairy products (not until child is 9 months old)
  • almonds (supervise child as this can be a choking hazard)
Vitamin D
  • soft margarine
  • fortified soy milk (not until child is 2 years old)
  • whole milk (not until child is 9 months old)

Well-planned vegetarian diets can be made healthy for your child. Ask your doctor for a referral to see a registered dietitian. The dietitian will help make sure your child is meeting her nutritional needs while following a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Iron (0- 1 and 1 year)

Infants around 7-12 months of age are growing so fast that they need foods that contain iron. Iron is an important mineral because it carries oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body. It helps build red blood cells in the body. It helps the brain develop. Iron also helps all the cells in the body work.

If your child does not get enough iron, he will develop anemia. Anemia is a medical condition where you don’t have enough red blood cells or hemoglobin in your blood. The symptoms of anemia in young children include fussy behaviours, irritability, difficulty learning, tired, weak, not gaining a lot of weight, and less interest in eating.

Newborns are born with iron in their bodies. They also get iron from breast milk and formula. The iron that they had at birth starts to run out when they are six months old. Because of this, children start to need iron from food that they eat.

You can get iron through food. The main sources of iron in foods are red meat, fish, and chicken, iron-fortified infant cereal. Iron is also found in lentils, dried beans, green leafy vegetables, and eggs yolks.

healthy eating foods

Cow’s milk contains very little iron. Once you switch to cow’s milk, your child must get iron from other foods to help him be healthy.

Vitamin C will help your child absorb iron. Good sources of vitamin C include cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, oranges, cantaloupe, kiwi, bananas, strawberries, and green, yellow, and red peppers.

Vitamin C

Meal Time: Your Role; Your Child’s Role (0-5 Years)

It is your job as a parent to be a good role model and eat healthy foods. It is also your job to offer healthy foods to your child. And, it is also your responsibility to determine where your child will eat, for example at the kitchen table, and when the child will eat. It is important to have a regular schedule for meals and snacks.

Meal Time

It is your child’s job to decide how much to eat, what he will eat, and if he will eat at all.

It can be hard for some parents to trust their child to determine how much and if he will eat. However, children have a natural ability to determine how much food they need. If they are given healthy foods, they eat as much as they need to grow.

If children are taught they need to ‘clean their plates’ or ‘have two more bites’, their natural body cues for hunger and fullness do not work as well.

If your child is growing well, he is getting the right amount of food that he needs.

Drinking (3 -5 Years)

Water is the healthiest drink for your active child. Encourage your child to satisfy his thirst with water. Aim for your child to have 480 mL (2 cups) a day.

Offer your child whole vegetables and fruit rather than fruit juice. Fruits and vegetables in their whole form have lower levels of sugar than juice, e.g., an apple vs. apple juice. If you do offer juice, limit it to 120 mL (1/2 cup) of 100% fruit juice a day. Drinks labeled as fruit drink, fruit punch, or fruit beverage may not contain any real fruit at all. Avoid these drinks.

Please visit Milk and Alternatives for guidelines about drinking milk.

Drinks to Avoid

Drinks such as Kool-Aid®, iced tea, pop, slushes, sport drinks, or other fruit drinks are high in sugar. High-sugar foods and drinks have no nutritional value and will reduce your child’s appetite for more healthy foods. For some children, high-sugar foods may cause unhealthy weight gain.

If your child eats and drinks lots of sweets, he will likely eat less of other foods that are needed to be healthy. Children need your help to limit sweet drinks. A high sugar intake is also the cause for many dental cavities. Sugar from sugary drinks stays on the teeth. This provides a setting for the growth of the bacteria that causes cavities.

Eating crisp or fibrous foods, like celery, can get some of the sugar off of your child’s teeth.

Meal Time Tips (2-5 Years)

Offer your child small portions, with second helpings if he asks for them. Remember the portion size guide: 15 mL (1 tbsp.) of each food per year of age.

Try to choose healthy snacks like fruit, vegetables, or cooked eggs. This reduces the chance of cavities and other problems associated with too many sweets or high-fat foods.

Meal Time Tips

Avoid using food as a reward for good behaviour. It can create a dependence on food for emotional rather than physical needs.

Consider if your child’s request for a snack is an actual need for food or because he is bored. What he may really want is to play a game or have time alone with you.

Eating when concentrating on another activity, such as watching TV, may lead to over/under eating. Discourage this practice.

Children naturally like nutritious foods in all the food groups. Consider your child’s food preferences when preparing meals. The carrots do not need to be cooked. Your preschooler will probably prefer them raw and cut in sticks. Children tend to prefer bright, colourful food selections in separate portions – not mixed together. Serve cooked foods warm, but not hot, because a child’s mouth is much more sensitive than an adult’s.

Let your child help plan and prepare the family’s meals. He is more likely to eat foods he helped choose and prepare.

There are foods that parents dislike and choose not to eat. Children are no different. Forcing your child to clean his plate prevents him from learning to listen to his body and stop eating when he is full. If your child forces himself to ignore his body’s feeling of fullness, he may develop weight control problems later in life.

Offer new foods casually. Don’t make a big deal out of this. Let your child decide for himself whether he tries the new food. Encourage, but do not force, him to try one bite. Reinforce the idea that it is fun to try something new. Your child quickly learns that being fussy about food can give him a lot of attention.

Parents sometimes find that children snack so much that they are not hungry at mealtime. This is not a problem if the snacks are healthy foods.

The snack could be part of a meal the child didn’t eat or the meal that is still to come. Your child’s stomach is small. If he is very active, he will need to eat often to meet all his energy needs.

If you provide a cheerful, relaxed, and casual atmosphere that is free of stress, your child will learn to enjoy eating. If a power struggle develops over food, no one wins. Remember that your child is trying to become independent.

The most important influence on your child’s food habits is your example. Children learn most by imitation. If you eat and enjoy nutritious foods, he will too.

Sugar (1-5 Years)

High sugar intake can lower a child’s appetite. As a result, your child will likely eat less of other foods needed to be healthy. Children need your help to limit sweet treats.

Drinks such as Kool-Aid®, iced tea, pop, slushes, or fruit juice are high in sugar. Limit 100% fruit juice to 120 mL (1/2 cup) a day, and offer only after meals rather than in between meals. Do not offer other high-sugar drinks. Like other high-sugar foods, they have no nutritional value and will reduce your child’s appetite for more healthy foods.

A high sugar intake is also the cause for many dental cavities. Sticky, sugary snack foods stay on the teeth. This provides a setting for the growth of the bacteria that causes cavities. Limit sweets to mealtimes, rather than eating sweets throughout the day. Crisp or fibrous foods help the rinsing action in the mouth.

Salt (1-5 Years)

Eating too much salt will affect children’s blood pressure. Too much salt can put your child at risk for chronic diseases later in life.

The eating habits that your child has now will affect his eating habits later in life.

Now that your child is eating what the rest of the family is eating, it is important to continue to limit salt in foods.

Compare labels and buy foods with lower salt. Salt is called sodium on labels. Choose foods that the Nutrition Fact Table states has a serving size less than 15% DV (daily value) for sodium. Or, look at two different products (e.g., crackers) and choose the one with less sodium per serving size.

Caffeine (1-5 Years)

More research is needed to understand the effect of caffeine on young children’s bodies. Caffeine can make a child sleepless, restless, and irritable.

Many of the foods and drinks that have caffeine in them also have sugar, e.g., pop.

In early childhood, young children develop taste habits or preferences. Foods that contain caffeine may become a taste habit. It is difficult to change a habit once it is formed.

Cocoa, coffee, tea, and chocolate bars contain caffeine. It is a good idea to limit these items.

Cocoa, coffee, tea, and chocolate bars contain caffeine

Picky vs. Problem Eaters (3-5 Years)

Developing healthy eating habits in childhood can help to prevent obesity and chronic diseases later. Your child will need your help to develop these healthy habits.

Many parents describe their child as being a picky eater at this age. Picky eating can be common and normal for this age. Some children are problem eaters. It is very difficult to get children who are problem eaters to eat a variety of healthy foods.

Both picky eating and problem eating can be considered a health issue if your child is not growing as he should.

Picky eaters

  • A picky eater will usually eat at least 30 different foods.
  • He eats the same food over and over and then suddenly refuses it. He will then re-start eating this food after a few weeks.
  • He can handle a new food being on his plate even if he does not eat it.
  • He eats at least one food item per food group.
  • Sometimes you may need to feed him different foods than the rest of the family at mealtime.

Problem Eaters

  • A problem eater will usually eat less than 20 different foods.
  • He may eat the same food over and over again and then refuse it. He will not re-start eating this food in a few weeks.
  • Offering new foods usually results in a temper tantrum.
  • He will refuse all foods from a food group.
  • He almost never eats the same foods as the rest of the family.

If you think your child is a problem eater, talk to your doctor or local healthcare provider.

If your child is a picky or problem eater and not growing as he should, your healthcare provider may refer you to a dietitian who can help your child grow appropriately and increase the variety of foods he eats. If needed, your healthcare provider and dietitian may refer you to a psychologist or registered therapist.

Packing Lunches for School (5 Year)

You may need to pack a lunch and snacks for your child to eat while she is at school. Some schools provide meals and snacks. Healthy foods in school will help your child be active, concentrate, and learn. Aim to follow the Canada Food Guidelines and offer a variety of food at most meals and for a snack while your child is at school.

Try to involve your child in packing her lunch and snacks. Your child is more likely to eat and enjoy foods if she picked them. Give your child healthy options to pick from. Have her help pack snacks into containers or make sandwiches.

If your child is hungry throughout the day at school, she may not be getting enough to eat. Or, if uneaten food is usually coming home, she may be getting too much. Keep this in mind while packing future lunches.

Be aware that some schools will have allergy policies where some foods are not allowed

Be aware that some schools will have allergy policies where some foods are not allowed. Some schools are ‘peanut-free’ due to this being a common food allergen in children. Find out from your child’s school if any foods are not allowed.

Send a water bottle to school with your child to drink when she is thirsty throughout the day. Milk can be a healthy choice with her lunch or snack. Continue to limit juice and other sugary beverages.

Prepare and store food safely at home and when you send foods to school. Wash all fruits and vegetables well, even those that say “pre-washed”. Buy an insulated lunch bag. Foods that need to be kept cold or hot can be packed into a thermos. This will keep foods at a safe temperature and prevent your child from getting sick. An ice pack can also keep cold foods cold. Do not re-use perishable foods (meat, fish, poultry, milk products) that may come home un-eaten. Wash reusable containers well with warm, soapy water.

Links to Further Information

Latching On (0-12 Months)

A good latch prevents sore nipples and is important for your baby to get the nutrition he needs. If your baby is drinking and growing well, and your nipples are comfortable, this means your baby has a good latch.

Breastfeed as soon as possible after your baby is born. Babies have a natural reflex to look for and latch onto your nipple. Skin-to-skin contact and your smell and touch help trigger this natural reflex.

Breastfeed as soon as possible after your baby is born

Your baby’s mouth will open wide, like he is yawning. His whole mouth should cover not just your nipple, but the bottom and some of the top of your areola. Your areola is the dark skin around your nipple.

Sore and Cracked Nipples (0-12 Months)

Your baby is latching well if you feel a pull or tug sensation on your breast and if he is getting milk. You will know if he is swallowing by watching his lower jaw moving and hearing an ‘ahh’ sound occasionally. This sound is your baby exhaling after he swallows.

There are many different breastfeeding positions for your baby. Find a position you can be relaxed in, such as in a reclining chair with his tummy on your tummy.

Engorgement (0-12 Months)

You are breastfeeding your baby. It is normal for breasts to feel full. Your breasts will be larger and heavier and feel slightly tender.

Engorgement, however, is not normal. The symptoms of engorgement are swollen, red, and painful breasts; flattened nipples; and shiny and tight skin surrounding the nipples.

Engorgement most commonly occurs when your baby is 3-5 days old, and lasts only 12-48 hours if your baby is breastfeeding well.

If you are experiencing engorgement, there are steps you can take to help make you more comfortable.

What Can You Do?

  • Apply warm (not hot), moist cloths to breasts before breastfeeding.
  • Feed your baby every two hours.
  • Pump your breast milk to help drain your breasts.
  • Continue to drink plenty of fluids.
  • Avoid feeding your baby from a bottle or using soothers at this time. Breastfeeding your baby will help stop engorgement.

Plugged Duct (0-12 months)

The breast has many milk ducts. If one of these ducts is not drained correctly, it can get plugged. You may have a plugged duct if you have a mild pain in your breast or a lump that does not go away after breastfeeding. A duct may become plugged gradually. You may have a slight fever and feel unwell.

What Can You Do?

  • Feed your baby often; every two hours.
  • Apply warm (not hot) cloths to your breast and massage it before breastfeeding.
  • Make sure your baby is latched on well and swallowing your milk.
  • If your baby does not empty your breast, pump the rest of your breast milk.
  • Avoid wearing a tight bra or clothing.
  • If needed, physical therapy can help with plugged ducts.

If you are having problems breastfeeding, talk with your healthcare provider, public health nurse, or lactation consultant.

Sterilizing Equipment (0-12 months)

For the first at least the first four months, it is important to sterilize your baby’s feeding equipment. Sterilizing kills germs that may make your baby sick.

Sterilizing Bottles

  • Clean the bottle, nipple, and lid with dish detergent and hot water.
  • Run water through the nipple for several seconds to be sure there is no milk or soap left.
  • Check for cracked or chipped bottles or nipples. Throw these out as they are harder to clean, bacteria can grow easily, and they are a safety hazard.
  • Sterilize using one of these methods.
    1. Boil: This is an easy and cheap way to sterilize bottles. Place bottles, nipples, and lids in a pot of water. Make sure the water covers the equipment and fills the bottles. Bring the water to a boil. Continue to boil for two minutes. You then need to allow time for the equipment to cool down.
    2. Electric steam sterilizing: A special machine sterilizes bottles, nipples, and lids that are placed upside down in the steamer. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
    3. Microwave steamer: Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.Be careful not to place anything metal in the steamer. Microwave steamers cost less than the electric steam sterilizing machines. You then need to allow time for the equipment to cool down.

Sterilizing Breast Pumps

  • Read and follow the manufacturer’s advice on cleaning and sterilizing.

Mastitis (0-12 Months)

Mastitis is an infection of the breast tissue or milk ducts. It usually will happen suddenly and you may have flu-like symptoms such as feeling tired, headache, muscle ache, fever, or chills. Your breast may be red, hot, and swollen. The pain can be strong in one area of the breast.

Mastitis can be caused by cracked nipples, being overtired with high stress, an untreated plugged milk duct, and a decrease in the number of feedings each day.

What Can You Do?

  • If you have mastitis, continue to breastfeed. Your baby will not get sick from mastitis.
  • Feed your baby often; every two hours. Try different positions.
  • Apply warm (not hot) cloths and massage the area before breastfeeding.
  • Make sure your baby is latched on well and swallowing your milk.
  • If your baby does not empty your breast, pumping your breast milk can help.
  • Avoid wearing a tight bra or clothing.

If you are having problems breastfeeding, talk with your healthcare provider, public health nurse, or lactation consultant.

Sore and Cracked Nipples (0-12 Months)

Breastfeeding should not hurt.

You can get sore and cracked nipples if your baby is not latched on or sucking on the breast the right way. It can also happen from not using a breast pump correctly or from an infection of the breast.

If you have sore nipples, nurse on the least sore side first. Hold your baby in different positions to nurse. After breastfeeding, express a few drops of breast milk on your nipples. Your breast milk can help heal cracked nipples. Apply warm (not hot) salt water cloths. Take these off once the water gets cold.

Try to prevent getting sore nipples. One thing you can do is to break the latch and reposition your baby.

When latching your baby to your breast, your baby’s mouth should be wide open with his tongue out over the bottom gums. He should not latch just on the nipple but also on the part of the breast around the nipple.

 Sore and Cracked Nipples (0-12 Months)

Most sore nipples are caused by latch problems. Some will need to be treated. If you are having breastfeeding troubles, talk with your healthcare provider, public health nurse, or lactation consultant.

Expressing or Pumping Breast Milk (0-6 Months, 6-12 Months, 1 Year)

Expressing or pumping breast milk allows your baby to drink breast milk when you are not available. Pumping breast milk also allows your partner or another support to feed your baby. Finally, expressing breast milk can help increase your supply of breast milk.

  • Wash your hands well with soap and water before pumping.
  • Special cleaning of your breasts is not needed before pumping.
  • Try to relax before pumping. A warm bath or shower may help.
  • Drink fluids before or during pumping.
  • Try to think about your baby when pumping. This can help with the natural reflex of milk let-down.
  • When starting to express or pump, massage the ducts that make milk. Start at the top of the breast. Move your fingers in a circular motion. Stroke the breast from the top of the breast to the nipple. Lean forward and shake the breast. Gravity can help the milk to come out. Your breast is now ready to pump by hand or with a breast pump.
  • For help with pumping, contact your healthcare provider, public health nurse, or lactation consultant.

Hand Expression

  • If you are using hand expression, hold your breast with your thumb and fingers about 16 mm (1 in.) from the top and bottom of your areola. Gently, press back towards your chest wall. Roll your thumb and fingers gently together and toward the space behind your nipple. Do not pinch your nipple; it will hurt and can block milk flow. It will take practice to master this technique.

Breast Pump

  • If you are using a breast pump, put the breast cup over your nipple. Start with the lowest suction setting. You can increase the pressure if it feels comfortable. If you have two breast cups, you can pump both sides at the same time.
  • To increase your breast milk supply, pump until milk flow stops and then for five minutes longer.

Increasing Supply of Breast Milk

Increasing Supply of Breast Milk (0-12 months)

You may think you have a low breast milk supply when you do not. If your baby is getting bigger and is content after feeding, you do not have a low milk supply. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have a concern.

Tips for Increasing Breast Milk Supply

  • You can keep your breast milk supply up by nursing often. When your baby is first born, you will feed him almost every two hours during the day and every three hours at night.
  • Make sure you can hear your baby swallowing regularly. When your baby is latched on, squeeze your breast when his swallowing slows.
  • Try to offer both breasts at each feeding. Have your baby empty one breast before switching to the other side. This way your baby will get the rich, high-fat milk that comes after a few minutes of feeding.
  • If your baby does not empty your breast, pumping your breast milk (hand expression or pump) after breastfeeding will help increase milk supply. By pumping breast milk after feeding your baby, your body learns that more milk is needed.
  • Breastfeeding can take some time to establish. Some mothers choose to offer pumped breast milk while working on establishing a latch with their baby. When you feed breast milk from the bottle, your baby still receives the nutritional benefits of breast milk.
  • Get extra rest, as feeling relaxed and rested may also increase your milk supply.
  • Eat a balanced diet following Canada’s Food Guide, and drink plenty of fluids a day. 1920 mL (8 cups) of non-caffeinated liquids per day is recommended.

If you are having breastfeeding troubles, talk with your doctor, public health nurse, or lactation consultant.

Feeding from a Bottle (0-12 Months)

Your baby’s brain grows and develops in her early years. The position she is in when she breastfeeds helps her brain to grow. Newborns experience the world through their five senses: touch, smell, sight, hearing, and taste. Skin-to-skin contact provides the touch and smell experiences. Your baby is in a position that lets her hear your heart beat. The breast milk provides a taste experience.

Feeding from a Bottle

Hold your baby when you are feeding her. Never prop a bottle in her mouth leaving her to drink unattended as she may choke. Your baby needs the love and emotional support she will feel from being in your arms. She also needs eye contact with you while she is eating.

Drinking from a propped bottle may cause ear infections. The passageway from the ear to the throat does not drain well in infancy. Milk can go back into the ears and cause an infection.

Often during feeding, a baby may spit up already swallowed milk. If she is propped up with a bottle, she may choke because the propped up bottle will prevent her from spitting out the already swallowed milk.

Warming Formula (0-6 Months, 6-12 Months)

Your baby might like his formula warm. To warm a bottle of formula, put it in a pan of hot water for a few minutes. Shake the bottle frequently so the formula warms evenly. Test the temperature by shaking a few drops on the inside of your wrist. The formula should feel the same as your skin temperature or slightly warmer, but not hot.

Warming Formula

Using the microwave to warm the formula is not recommended.

If you must use a microwave, use a microwave safe container. Stop your microwave every 30 seconds to check the temperature of the formula. Stir the formula before warming it more or feeding it to your baby. The formula heats unevenly and can cause hot spots in the formula.

Using the microwave to warm the formula is not recommended.

Burping (0-6 Months)

Your baby will swallow air while feeding and crying. It is important to help him burp up the air bubbles. You can do this in one of three ways.

It is important to help him burp up the air bubbles

  • Hold him up against your chest so he is looking out over your shoulder. Rub or pat his back gently. Put a cloth over your shoulder in case milk comes up with the bubble.
  • Hold him in a sitting position on your lap. Support his chin with one hand. Gently rub his back with the other hand.
  • Hold him tummy down over your knees. Gently rub his back. If no bubbles come up in two or three minutes, put him down on his tummy for a minute or two and then try again.

Burp a breastfed baby when finished feeding on each breast. Try burping a bottle-fed baby after 30 mL (1 oz). Some babies stop sucking when they need to be burped. You will soon get to know what is best for your baby. If you do not burp your baby regularly, the gas can cause discomfort.

Vegetarian and Vegan Diets (0 – 5 Year)

Have you decided to feed your child a vegetarian or vegan diet for cultural, religious or lifestyle reasons? It is important to make sure that she is getting the calories and nutrients she needs to grow.

Children Under 2

If your child is less than two years old, she might not get all of the nutrition she needs on a vegetarian or vegan diet. Therefore, your child may need additional supplements. Talk to your healthcare provider before introducing a toddler to a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Nutrients

If your child does not eat meat, she must get protein, iron, zinc, and vitamin B12 from other foods. If your child does not eat or drink milk products, she will need to get calcium and vitamin D from other food sources. These nutrients have important roles in her body.

Sources of Nutrition for Vegetarian and Vegan Diets

Protein
  • breast milk or formula for babies
  • soy products (tofu, veggie burgers, soy cheese) (not until child is 2 years old)
  • whole milk (not until child is 9 months old)
  • cheese or yogurt (not until child is 9 months old)
  • fortified soy beverages (not until child is 2 years old)
  • eggs (pureed or mashed for children under 2)
  • legumes (dried beans and lentils)
  • nuts and seeds (whole or buttered)
Iron
  • iron-fortified cereals
  • legumes
  • soy products (not until child is 2 years old)
  • iron-fortified pasta
  • dried fruit
  • dark green vegetables
Zinc
  • legumes
  • nuts and seeds
  • whole grains
Vitamin B12
  • dairy products (not until child is 9 months old)
  • eggs
  • soy products (not until child is 2 years old)
Calcium
  • tofu (not until child is 2 years old)
  • legumes
  • leafy green vegetables
  • dairy products (not until child is 9 months old)
  • almonds (supervise child as this can be a choking hazard)
Vitamin D
  • soft margarine
  • fortified soy milk (not until child is 2 years old)
  • whole milk (not until child is 9 months old)

Well-planned vegetarian diets can be made healthy for your child. Ask your doctor for a referral to see a registered dietitian. The dietitian will help make sure your child is meeting her nutritional needs while following a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Botulism

Botulism is caused by bacteria. Symptoms include weakness, blurred vision, exhaustion, trouble speaking, and muscle weakness.

Quiz

If you would like to receive a certificate for completing this program, you need to complete the quizzes for each section of this resource. Once you have completed all 18 quizzes, you will be able to download your certificate.

You also need to register to get a certificate. If you’re not yet registered, please press go here (connect to register).

Discipline

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Discipline

Discipline is not the same as physical punishment. Discipline is one way you can teach your child. It helps children learn to behave in acceptable ways. Discipline also teaches children how to make decisions and solve problems. Discipline helps your child feel safe and loved.

Discipline (Ages 0-1)

During the child’s first year, you can guide her by:

  • meeting her physical needs
  • loving her and responding to her needs
  • providing her with a safe environment in which she can grow and explore

providing her with a safe environment in which she can grow and exploreYou cannot spoil a baby. When you meet your baby’s needs, she will learn that the world is a safe place. Your baby will learn to trust that her needs will be met.

After about 6 months, your baby will start practicing new skills. She will throw things, bang things, and put everything in her mouth. When she starts to crawl, she will explore everything within reach. That is how she learns.

As your baby learns to use her hands, she will reach for everything. She does not know that there are things she should not reach for. Your job is to stop her from getting into things she should not get into. The best way to do this is to think ahead and baby proof your house.

Physical punishment, such as slapping your child’s hands when she reaches for things, will not correct her behaviour. It can hurt the trust that you are building with your child. A firm “no” and re-direction of her attention will be more effective. Re-directing your child means that you are directing your child to a new or different activity. If your child pulls your hair or hits you, doing the same to her will not teach her to stop doing these behaviours. Your child does not understand that she hurt you. Again, a firm “no hitting” or “no pulling” will help stop the behaviour. Your child may have to hear this many times to begin to change her behaviour.

Your understanding and guidance will help to build your child’s self-discipline and self-esteem. These are important qualities that are needed for life.understanding and guidance

Discipline (Ages 1-3)

Physical punishment and discipline are not the same thing. Discipline is one way you can teach your child. It helps children learn to behave in acceptable ways. Discipline also teaches children how to make decisions and solve problems. Discipline should help your child feel safe and loved.

Toddler’s Behaviour

Your toddler is starting to learn what good and bad means. He does not understand rules or warnings. You can expect your child to do almost anything. He will not always do the things you want him to do.

Eventually, your child will understand what you expect from him. This will help him develop self-control.

For caregivers, the most difficult thing can be to remain calm. It is important to remember your child is learning, growing, and testing his independence. He needs to know what his limits are. He also needs to be able to have lots of room so that he can grow and discover.

Learning Limits

Your toddler can learn that there are limits to his behaviour. He needs to know that when he misbehaves, you will stop him. It is important that consequences are immediate, to the point, and brief. By using a firm, calm, loving manner, these situations can provide learning opportunities.

provide learning opportunities.Set out rules that are reasonable, age appropriate, and achievable. These will help your child succeed. Success will help build your child’s self-esteem.

Children are more likely to behave positively if that is a family expectation. If you expect nothing of your child, he will not have guidelines for his behaviour. If your expectations are too high, he will constantly feel like he is failing. By encouraging him to meet reasonable expectations, he will develop feelings of self-worth.

When your child makes a mistake, he needs to know that a mistake has been made. Help him to understand that he is responsible. Never leave a child alone to figure this out. Children need guidance and support every step of the way.

Respond in a calm way. The control you show in helping your child learn right from wrong helps him to learn how to control his behaviours.

Importance of Praise

Importance of Praise

Your child wants to please you. Praise and positive attention from you will motivate your child. Praise your child’s positive behaviours. For example, “You put away all your toys? Good job.” Praise your child’s actions. This tells him what pleases you.

Your child will continue to do things that he knows please you.

Discipline (Ages 4-5)

Preschooler’s Behaviour

By age four, your child will have some control over her emotions. However, she will still struggle for control over her world. She may even act in ways that seem like she is trying to annoy you on purpose.

Your child is starting to develop a sense of cause and effect, “If I do that, this happens.”

Your child is learning to express her emotions through words. She needs help explaining her problems and feelings. Teach her the words for her feelings. “It looks to me like you are very sad right now.” By being able to express her anger and frustration with words, she will be less likely to act out her anger, e.g., hit you.

Teaching through Discipline

Discipline is not about having control over your child. The goal of discipline is for your child to learn self-control.

This does not mean letting your child control or intimidate you. He needs to know what reasonable limits are. Your child will learn to set his own limits by having you set reasonable limits for him while he is young.

It is important to reward positive behaviour. Your child wants to please you and have your attention. By responding to positive behaviours, you are showing your child what pleases you. By giving your child attention for positive behaviours, you also increase the likelihood that your child will repeat these behaviours.

Self-Control

Self-control is part of your child’s healthy development and is based on your unconditional love. Her self-control will develop well if she has strong relationships in her family.

Your child needs encouragement to develop self-control. Sharing time and activities with your child builds a foundation of affection and trust. Make time for yourself and your child.

When you need to correct your child, talk about your child’s behaviour. Do not talk about your child. Saying “You hurt Jimmy when you hit him” will help her understand her actions. Saying “You’re a very bad girl” will lead her to believe that she is bad.

Your child will continually test the limits you set. This is an important step in learning independence and self-control.

It is important to be fair. Trust your child within the boundaries that you have set. Although your child may complain, she will know that you love her enough to set limits.

Routine and Freedom

By the time your child is 4, he will understand what is expected of him on a daily basis.

You may want to set up a simple schedule with pictures. Include meals, bedtime, and daily routines on the schedule. This allows your child to take some control of his day.

Transitions can be difficult. Having a routine can help you avoid conflict. Children have little concept of time. Having a routine, for example at bedtime, helps prepare for changes in activity.

Your child needs some freedom to choose his own friends, clothes, and games. He may make mistakes. With your help, he will learn from these.

Your child needs some freedomAvoid nagging, bribing, and threats. Your child will learn over time to tune you out, especially if there is no follow-through. Bribes and threats seldom work and can teach your child that in order to get what he wants, he has to threaten or bribe others.

Avoid spanking. It may temporarily stop the undesired behaviour, but the long-term lesson for your child will be that hitting is a way to solve problems.

Self-Soothing

One of the skills that children learn is how to self-soothe. Self-soothing means that she can calm herself. Self-soothing helps in many areas of a child’s life, including sleep, behaviour, impulse control, problem solving, and discipline.

Teach your child resiliency skills to help her self-soothe.

Sometimes, in order for your child to calm down or re-direct her behaviour, she may need to be physically separated from the environment that she is in. This separation is not about correction or thinking about behaviour. Instead, the goal is to give the child a break and allow her to self-soothe. With young children, you may have to spend this “time in” with your child to help her to calm down.Creating a positive space can help

Creating a positive space can help. This space can be filled with things that help your child feel safe and self-soothe, for example, a blanket or teddy bear. Being in this space should not be a punishment.

Discipline Strategies

1. Use “No” Sparingly

“No” is an important word. However, if you use it too frequently, your child will not respond. If he hears it only a few times a day, he will be more likely to pay attention.

Decide what limits are most important to you. Be consistent. It is very confusing to a child when a behaviour is okay one day and not the next.

Say “no” by saying “yes”. For example, instead of saying, “No, you cannot have a cookie”; say “Yes, you can have a cookie after lunch.”

2. Positive Approach

Positive ApproachThink about your approach. Try to be positive.

Instead of constantly saying “no” or “don’t”, tell your child what she should do. For example, instead of saying “Don’t tear the book”, you can say “Books are for reading, not for tearing. Let’s read the book together.”

3. Distractions

DistractionsDistraction is a good way to change children’s behaviour. This can be used to guide the child to more appropriate activities or behaviours. For example, instead of saying “No, do not touch the TV”, you can distract him by saying “Here is your ball. Can you roll it to me?”

This technique shows your child what he can do. He learns what behaviours and activities are appropriate.

4. Give Choices

Give ChoicesGive children choices. Keep these simple. For example, “Do you want your lunch in the kitchen or at the picnic table?” Giving choices helps your child learn how to problem solve, and feel like she has control and success in her environment. Giving choices can also increase your child’s enthusiasm about the activity.

Be careful not to offer a choice where none exist. A question of “Do you want to go to bed now?” is likely to receive a response of “no.” Instead, say “It is bedtime now. What story do you want to read?” This will be more likely to receive a positive response.

5. Removal From a Situation

Removal From a SituationIf your child is behaving in a way that is not safe or is inappropriate, it is important that you remain calm and do not raise your voice. Remove him from the activity.

For a young child, distraction with another activity is usually all that is needed. Remember that very young children do not understand cause and effect.

For 3-5 year olds, you may need to remove them to a separate, safe place. Some children may be very afraid of being put in their room with the door shut. Remove them to a spot that is within your view. You may even want to be with your child at this time. Your child can rejoin the activity once he has calmed down. Some children may need music or another self-soothing technique to calm down.

Think ahead and identify situations or activities where your child may need some boundaries and guidelines. Before your child joins the activity, tell him what the behaviour is that you expect. “We don’t hit the puppy. We pet the puppy gently, like this.”

If your child is unable to follow the expected behaviour, then he is not ready for that activity. This is the natural consequence of not being able to follow certain boundaries or guidelines. It is very different from physical punishment.

6. Announce Activity Changes

Sometimes it may be hard for your child to stop an activity. Instead of having a power struggle or becoming frustrated, announce a few minutes ahead of time that you will want her to do something else. The change from one activity to another will be much easier this way.

7. Remind Your Child about Expectations

Before going out, remind your child about how you expect her to act. Let him know that she can come to you if he has a problem.

8. Reinforce Positive Behaviours

An important part of discipline is reinforcing positive behaviours. Your young child wants to please you.

If your child is engaging in a positive activity, it is important not to ignore this behaviour. Instead, tell him “I like the way you line up all of your books”. He is getting your attention and praise and this will reinforce the positive behaviour.

Keep your praise sincere, honest, and specific.

9. Logical Rewards, not Bribes

Logical Rewards, not Bribes

Logical rewards for a particular behaviour should occur as a result of that behaviour. For example, “If you help me pick up the toys, we will have time for another story”. Logical rewards are not to be used as bribes. They are a result of positive discipline. Compliments are also logical rewards for a positive behaviour.

Every child enjoys receiving compliments. Focus compliments on the activity. It recognizes her ability to do the task and do it well. This helps her feel competent and able to learn more.

10. Quiet Time

Over-excitement and over-stimulation can be stressful for children.

Quiet time can be a time for calming and self-soothing. Taking some time for oneself to do a quiet activity is a healthy way of dealing with too much stress. The idea is not to punish the child, but to recognize the need for rest and relaxation in order to get back in control. Parents need quiet times as well to deal with their own feelings of stress or frustrations.

Reasons for Discipline

Positive discipline is part of loving your child. There are no easy answers and no magical solutions. There are many reasons for discipline. Some of these are listed below.

  1. Discipline can help keep children safe from physical harm.
  2. Discipline helps children learn about responsibility. Responsibilities that are age-appropriate can help raise your child’s self-esteem.
  3. Discipline helps children learn a sense of right and wrong. This allows children to set limits for themselves when they are on their own. Children need to learn how to think, not just what to think.
  4. Discipline helps your child learn the natural results of her behaviour. For example, if your child leaves his favourite book outside, it may get wet and damaged.
  5. Discipline helps to develop social skills.
  6. Discipline helps to maintain some order. Consistent, loving discipline at home gives you the best chance of helping your child be healthy, happy, and well-adjusted.

Physical Punishment

Discipline helps guide and teach your child. Discipline helps her learn self-control and develop self-respect.

Physical punishment forces your child to meet your expectations. Physical punishment keeps a child dependent and fearful. It can harm her sense of dignity and self-worth.

Never resort to physical punishment that physically or emotionally hurts your child. Spanking, slapping, beating, belittling, and screaming at children of any age does more harm than good. Below are some reasons why.

  • The child may stop misbehaving for a moment, but physical and emotional punishment teaches her that it is okay to hit and yell when she is upset or angry. Remember that you are your child’s role model. Children, who are hit, grow up thinking that hitting is a way to solve problems.
  • Physical punishment, like hitting or spanking, can harm your child. Sometimes in the anger of the moment, you may hit your child harder than intended.
  • Physical punishment teaches your child to behave out of fear of being hit. This will not teach her positive behaviour skills. What it will teach her is that it is okay to misbehave as long as she does not get caught.
  • Physical punishment gives your child attention. If this is the only time she gets attention, she is likely to continue misbehaving. To a child, any attention is better than no attention.
  • Every time you use physical punishment, you lose the opportunity to model a positive coping skill for your child. You are your child’s first teacher. It is a big responsibility.

Changing Your Parenting Style

Changing Your Parenting Style

It is never too late to change. If you are reading this, you may realize that you would like to stop using physical punishment. The first step is to learn about alternative ways to deal with your child.

The second step is to get to know yourself and recognize how you feel when you are angry. When you feel yourself getting angry, step back from the situation.

You can use some of the following techniques to calm down.

  • Walk away and ask yourself, “What do I need?”
  • Get some quiet time. Have someone else look after your child while you go out for a walk.
  • Make sure that your child is safe and go to a different room for 10 minutes.
  • Get rid of stress by ripping up old newspapers or magazines and throwing them out.
  • Count to 10 and take three slow deep breaths. Once you are calm, then deal with your child.
  • Call a friend and talk.
  • Enhance your parenting skills and your peer support. Join a parenting group or class.

Quiz

If you would like to receive a certificate for completing this program, you need to complete the quizzes for each section of this resource. Once you have completed all 18 quizzes, you will be able to download your certificate.

You also need to register to get a certificate. If you’re not yet registered, please press go here (connect to register).

Unconditional Love

Unconditional love means that you will always love your child and be there for him. Unconditional love does not mean that you will always like your child’s behaviours. You are human. Sometimes your child will make you mad, frustrated, and confused.

Self-Esteem/ Self-Worth

Having a healthy self-esteem or self-worth means that you believe in yourself and your worth.

Self-Discipline

Self-discipline refers to the ability to work towards goal even when there are obstacles or temptations to do something different.

Independence

For children, independence is about competency. That is, being able to influence your environment and having the skills to do what you want to/ have to do during the day.

Consequences

A consequence is the result or effect of an action.

Self-Respect

Self-respect means that you feel pride in yourself and confident of your skills. Self-respect also refers to acting in a way that is proper and honorable, e.g., being kind to other people.

Self-Control

Self-control is almost the same as impulse control. It refers to the ability to control your emotions, desires, and behaviours even in times when it is tempting to act differently.

Boundaries

Boundaries are about setting limits or rules in place around behaviours. Boundaries help children to feel safe and in control.

Health

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Health

Bathing

Bathing can be soothing. It can become part of your daily routine with your child. Click here for some things to think about to keep your child safe when bathing.

Urinating and Bowel Movements

Your baby will urinate (pee) several times a day.

Your baby’s first bowel movements will be black and then change to yellow, green, tan, or brown. The softness or firmness also varies. Your baby may not have regular (daily) bowel movements until he starts to eat solid food.

Sometimes babies and young children get constipated. For more information, click here.

Sometimes babies and young children have diarrhea. For more information, please click here.

Make sure that you thoroughly clean your baby’s genitals and bum with a warm wet cloth or baby wipes each time your change the diaper. Your baby may develop diaper rash. This is common. Click here for more information.

For information about toilet training, please click here.

Bedwetting or having night time accidents is not seen as a problem until a child reaches the age of 7. Before this, your child may wet the bed from time to time as his bladder control develops.

Children with Special Needs

Sometimes children are born with special physical, emotional, or learning needs. Sometimes these develop after birth due to development, injury, or illness. There are many organizations that can help you to support your child to live life to his fullest. These organizations can help you get equipment or special therapies. They can also support you, including providing respite care or overnight nursing.

Male Circumcision

Circumcision is the process of cutting off the foreskin of a penis. Boys can be circumcised for religious, social, and health reasons. It is your choice whether you circumcise your child. Children who are circumcised have a lower chance of urinary track infections throughout their lives as well as sexually transmitted infections (including HIV) in adulthood. However, proper cleaning of the foreskin and penis can prevent these risks as well.

Female Circumcision

In Canada, female circumcision is against the law. Performing a female circumcision without a medical professional can be dangerous. Talk to your healthcare professional.

Vitamins and Supplements

Vitamins and Supplements

If you are breastfeeding, you will have to give your child a supplement of Vitamin D. Click here for more information.

Once your child starts eating solid foods, she should be getting all of the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals she needs from the food she eats. Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist before giving your child vitamins or supplements.

Water

It is important to make sure that your family has a source of clean, safe water for cooking, eating, and cleaning. If you use your own water source, your water should be tested twice per year such as in the spring and fall, or if concerns arise. Click here for more information. If you have been notified of a boil water advisory in your area, follow the precautions outlined by your Health Authority.

Preventing Illness

Proper handwashing is the best way to prevent illnesses from being spread from one person to another. For information about teaching your child how to wash her hands, click here.

Preventing Illness

Immunization (vaccination) can protect your child from some diseases. These diseases can make your child very sick and, in some cases, can kill her. For more information about immunization, click here.

Signs of Illness

Your child will get sick from time to time, just like you do.

Here are some signs that your child may show when she is sick.

Signs of Illness

  • Your child may be quieter, moodier, sleepier, or more restless than usual.
  • Your child’s behaviours may be more extreme than usual.
  • Your child may refuse more than one meal.
  • Your child may vomit (throw up) all or part of her meal.
  • Your child’s bowel movements (poos) may suddenly increase or decrease.
  • Your child may be flushed or pale.
  • Your child’s skin may be dry or hot.
  • Your child may sweat a lot.
  • Your child may be having difficulty breathing.
  • Your child’s cough may get worse.
  • Your child may be bothered by light.
  • Your child’s eyes may be red, painful, or itchy.
  • Your child may be in pain.
  • Your child’s body may be twitching, shaking, stiff, or immobile.
If you are worried about your child’s health, contact your healthcare provider or HealthLine at 811 or www.saskatchewan.ca.

If Your Child is Sick…

  • Encourage your child to drinks lots of water.
  • Take your child’s temperature. For more information, click here.
  • Encourage your child to rest. This does not mean that they have to stay in bed or sleep. Encourage quiet activities, like colouring or playing with blocks, instead of running and playing outside.

Prescription Medications

Prescription Medications

Not all health issues can be treated with medication. Sometimes the best you can do is help your child to rest, drink water, and treat some of the symptoms.

Your healthcare professionals will know when your child needs a prescription or not.

Your healthcare professional may feel that your child needs medicine to get better. Your healthcare professional will explain to you what the medicine is and how your child needs to take it. You will take the prescription to a pharmacist. If you have any questions about the prescription, you can talk to your pharmacist or healthcare professional.

Giving Medication

For some parents, giving medication to their child is easy. For most, it can be a struggle. For more information about giving your child medications, click here.

First Aid

Knowing basic first aid skills is important. First aid skills are the things that you can do to help your child in case of injury or illness. First aid training helps you figure out when you need to go to a healthcare professional. First aid can also prevent an illness or injury from getting worse. Click for more information.

Common Childhood Health Issue

Click below for more information about the common health issues that children experience.

You will find information about:

  • what it is
  • what the symptoms are
  • when to see a healthcare professional
  • how it is spread
  • how it is treated
  • how it is prevented

Chicken Pox

Chicken pox (varicella) is caused by a virus. Chicken pox is a common childhood illness. It is also an illness that can be prevented. Both pregnant women and children can get a vaccine that will protect them against the chicken pox virus.

Having chicken pox is not dangerous for most children. However, infants and children who have weak immune systems can get very sick. Some children have to be hospitalized because of complications. In rare cases, people can die from chicken pox.

Chicken Pox

Symptoms

Your child can be exposed to the chicken pox virus a long time before he has any symptoms. The first symptoms your child will have are fever, aches, and pains.

Two to three days after these symptoms, children will develop a rash. This rash appears as small pink spots that turn into small water blisters. These are often very itchy. The water blisters scab over in approximately 5 days.

When to See a HealthCare Provider

See a healthcare professional, if your child:

  • has a chicken pox spot that becomes large, red, and sore
  • has a lot of spots in his mouth
  • has a fever that comes back
  • does not want to play, eat, or drink

Treatment

  • There is no treatment for chicken pox. Your physician might give your child anti-viral medication if your child has other medical concerns.
  • Tylenol (acetaminophen) can be given to children over 2 years old to help with fever and body aches. Follow the directions on the package.
    Aspirin vs Tylenol
  • Do not give your child ASA (Aspirin or acetylsalicylic acid). Giving young children ASA can increase their risk of Reye’s syndrome. This syndrome can cause damage your child’s liver and brain.
  • A bath with baking soda and warm water can help with the itching.

Spread

The chicken pox virus is airborne. This means that the virus can be spread by people who have chicken pox when they breathe, cough, or sneeze. It can also be spread through contact with the rash or blisters. Once the blisters have dried up and scabbed over, chicken pox is no longer contagious.

Prevention

Healthy children should get immunized against chicken pox. People who live with children and work with children should also get the chicken pox vaccine.

Prevention

Chicken pox can be passed from one person to another easily. Keep your child home from daycare or school while she is sick. Your child can go back to school when she feels better.

Teach your child how to wash her hands. Washing hands is the best way to prevent the spread of diseases.