Halifax Learning and SpellRead are on board for our latest Ask-The-Expert feature and answering your questions about children and literacy.
Every year we send a Nova Scotia tree to Boston to show our appreciation for their help during the Halifax Explosion. We have the full 2018 schedule from the tree cutting to the tree lighting here for you.
Raising a family is one of the most important jobs you will ever do, but it's also one of the hardest! Luckily in Halifax we are home to an incredible local organization called Family SOS. They are there to help support all local families during their journeys AND they also run some pretty cool activities for kids and youth - and it's all free! Today we shine a spotlight on this organization and some of the amazing programs they offer to help local families.
Did you know there are businesses in Nova Scotia who create gorgeous clothes out of beaitiful soft organic fabrics, design completely recyclable clothing (FROM recycled content), make apparel that adjusts for your kids getting bigger, share their proceeds to feed the less fortunate around the world, and build knee pads right into their cute pants for busy kids? I was thrilled to discover so many innovative and eco-conscious - yet still stylish - apparel for kids being developed right here in our home province.
I've loved working on this guide and learning about all of these businesses and I am excited to share seven of them with you today.
If you're feeling the need to connect with other parents in person, or you need a little extra support or advice, resource centres are a valuable option in our community. The Greater Halifax region is lucky to have at least thirteen fantastic organizations that provide low cost, and often free, programming, and many have a focus on families with young children. Have you visited any of these centres?
I met with a sleep expert, Luanne Bruneau of BabySleepRight, on your behalf to have her review your questions and provide some advice. She tackled your questions about a newborn, a one year old and a toddler below with information that will be valuable to many parents dealing with the same issues.
Okay, okay, maybe not ALL of them but it is a lot and will provide you with something to do with your baby or toddler for every weekday! **Updated for September 2017
This article was originally published in the Chronicle Herald's weekly community papers and has been republished here with their permission.
I was that parent who had her child in swimming lessons at three months old. Obviously I knew she wasn’t actually going to learn how to swim as a newborn but I felt very strongly about my child being comfortable in the water and learning to swim as early as possible. It’s an essential life skill, I said, It should be a high priority for every parent, I preached.
My daughter will be five in a few months and we recently went to a birthday party at a pool where she spent the whole time sitting on the sidelines because she’s afraid of the water. After an enthusiastic start, we quickly fizzled out on the lessons and now we have two kids who won’t go in the water.
The pool party was my wake-up call. This summer I will be signing my daughter up for the free swimming lessons the HRM offers at their outdoor beaches and pools. Rhonda Dea is the Coordinator of Aquatic and Leisure Services with the Halifax Regional Municipality and she agrees that every child should take swimming lessons, but says parents need to know that the goal at a young age isn’t to nail that butterfly stroke.
“We want a child to be able to swim themselves to safety, first and foremost. They can achieve that with the basic skills,” she says. ”Water safety is something all children should be taught.”
Besides preventing drowning, swimming lessons also teach children respect for their classmates and instructors, how to work as a group, listen well and how to safely respond to a variety of water situations.
There are also some things parents can do at home to help their child become more comfortable in the water such as having them face the stream of water in the shower to get used to water on their face, which is something Dea says many children are afraid of.
A parent’s attitude while playing in the water with their children can also impact a child’s anxiety around swimming.
“If a parent has their child at a beach or a lake, or even a public pool, and their child slips under for a second it is important that the parent doesn’t react in a panicked way,” she explains. “The child reacts to the parent’s panic. It is great to see a parent pick the child up quickly, make sure they are okay and continue on.”
Dea recommends children start swimming lessons by three years old. By that age most children are independent and able to follow directions. Also, they are in non-parented classes by then which Dea says can be an advantage as many children often listen better when their parents are not with them.
I’m looking forward to watching my daughter learn how to have fun safely in the water this summer from the comfort of my beach towel and, let’s be honest, the fact that I get to spend her swimming lessons making sand castles with my toddler isn’t a bad deal for me either.