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2015

Provided by the Ontario Ministry of Education

 

Starting school is an important step in your child's life—and yours. It's a big change. It's exciting. It's even a little scary. Here are 10 tips that will help you get your child ready for that first day of school.

 

  1. iStock_000002197576Small.jpgGet familiar with the school. Before the first day of school, visit the school with your child so that the route, the building, and school surroundings become familiar.
  2. Start the routine early. About a week or so before the start of school, begin putting your child to bed at a normal time for a school night. For a week before school starts, be sure your child then gets up, dressed, and fed like a regular school morning.
  3. Practice sharing. Give your child all kinds of opportunities to be with other kids, to learn to share, wait, and take turns. That's what school is all about.
  4. Children should dress themselves. You won't be at school to help your child get ready for the outdoors. Encourage children to practise at home putting on and taking off their own jacket, snowpants, boots, etc.
  5. Dress your child accordingly. Your child is going to be active at school. Choose clothes and shoes that are comfortable and durable. Give your child outdoor clothing for all types of weather.
  6. Teach the importance of listening. School means being able to listen. Kids need to understand and practise listening, things like: look at who is talking, don't interrupt, and think about what is being said.
  7. Learn at home. Include learning in your child's everyday life. For example, a child can practise by reading package labels or weighing produce while shopping. Read to your child. Play word or counting games.
  8. Develop young muscles. Give your child every opportunity to exercise and develop larger muscles by running, climbing, playing with a ball, etc. Smaller hand muscles can be strengthened with Play-Dough®, pencils, and crayons.
  9. Set "at home" ground rules. Figure out priorities for after-school activities, homework, chores, TV time, and video games before the first day of school. This will allow you to agree on a schedule and avoid confrontation later on.
  10. Encourage questions. Give your child the confidence to ask questions in all situations. Let your child know that it's OK to tell the teacher if something is hard to understand.

iStock_000001211300XSmall.jpgWhile most parents of young kids today walked to school when they were children, the majority of kids today are driven in a car.

 

Just 24 percent of Canadian kids routinely take ‘active modes’ (walk, bike, rollerblading, etc.) to school each day, with 62 percent using only inactive modes of transportation.

 

Those were just some of the findings presented by Kristi Adamo, a healthy kids expert with CHEO (a pediatric health and research center in Ottawa). She was speaking at the Let’s Get Moving: A Prescription for Healthier Kids breakout session at the People for Education conference.

 

As preschoolers, kids are pretty active. But once they start school, only seven percent meet the recommended guidelines of 60 minutes of activity every day. Adamo explains this trend further in this video:

 

Physical inactivity and poor fitness are independent risk factors for physical and mental health problems down the line, Adamo says.

 

The key is to get kids moving in any way you can, from an early age.

 

Steps Parents Can Take

 

Adamo suggests the following ideas to help get kids and families moving:

  • Encourage and support your kids in walking to school

  • Arrange walking shuttles with other parents

  • Take family Zumba, hip hop dance and other classes

  • Take the kids rock climbing at a rock climbing facility

  • Take the kids to play laser tag

  • Visit roller and skateboard parks

  • Participate in a city chase event as a family

  • Get the kids to wash the car and weed the lawn

  • Encourage kids to play tag

  • Be a role model; model an active lifestyle

 

Parents can also use the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines put together by the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) to help keep their kids on track:

 

Physical Activity Guidelines (ages 0-4)
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  • Toddlers and preschoolers should accumulate at least 180 minutes of physical activity of any intensity spread throughout the day;

  • They should participate in activities that develop movement skills;

  • They should progress toward at least 60 minutes of energetic play by age 5.

Physical Activity Guidelines (ages 5-11)

  • Kids should accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous-intensity activity daily; (Vigorous means your child will have difficulty speaking while doing the activity)

  • They should participate in vigorous-intensity activities at least 3 days per week;

  • Kids should participate in activities that will strengthen muscle and bone at least three days per week.

Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines (ages 0-4)

  • For healthy growth and development, the time preschoolers spend being sedentary should be limited during waking hours;

  • These children should not be in strollers or highchairs for more than an hour at a time;

  • For those under age 2, screen time is not recommended;

  • For children aged 2-4, screen time should be limited to under one hour per day, and less is better.

Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines (ages 5-11)

  • Limit recreational screen time to just two hours per day;

  • Limit motorized transport, extended sitting and time spent indoors throughout the rest of the day.
citizenship_644-362.jpgBrain Development:
  • is more likely to solve problems through words than aggressive action
  • has a vocabulary of about 1,500 to 2,000 words
  • speaks in fairly complex sentences (4 to 5 words)
  • can hold a pencil, cut, paste, draw stick figures, and copy a square and a circle
  • can recognize some letters if taught and may be able to print name
  • recognizes familiar words in simple books or signs, like STOP on a sign
  • likes funny, exaggerated stories, jokes and riddles
  • can count to 5
  • names 6-8 colours and 3 shapes
  • continues one activity for 10-15 minutes
  • can place objects in a line from largest to smallest
  • begins to understand some concepts of time (yesterday, today, tomorrow)
  • understands tallest and biggest, same, more, under, in and above
  • asks endless "why" questions
  • usually can put toys and materials away without adult assistance
  • insists on finishing an activity or project
  • likes helping with simple tasks
  • begins to know difference between right and wrong
  • begins to be curious about things like skin colour, weight, and physical disabilities
  • shows growing ability to distinguish real life from make-believe
  • tells tall tales, but cannot always distinguish between honesty and dishonesty
  • believes the only viewpoint is own
  • believes two unrelated events can have a cause-effect relationship
Inside the Brain:
  • ongoing growth of dendrites (neuron branches that transmit messages), myelination (creation of sheath around brain nerve fibres allowing better communication), and creation of synapses (spaces where brain information is transmitted)
  • neurons aiding long-term memory emerge
  • math areas begin to develop in the parietal lobe
  • gains are seen in visual/motor coordination as myelination and lobe growth continue
Emotional Development:
  • regresses to baby-like behaviour periodically
  • shows new fears (becoming aware of more dangers)
  • enjoys showing off and bragging about possessions
  • has a penchant for silliness
  • is more confident and calm
  • enjoys being busy and making things
  • shows an interest in his or her private parts and in the differences between boys and girls
  • lies sometimes to protect self and friends
  • loves telling jokes that might not make any sense to adults
  • likes to be noisy
Social Development:
  • makes friends
  • knows how to give, share, and receive
  • takes turns and shares most of the time but can still be bossy
  • refers to parents as final authority
  • continues to test parental limits
  • uses "naughty" words to observe reaction
  • is ready for group activities
  • talks "with" another child, but does not listen to what other child says
  • is comfortable with other children, but shares grudgingly
  • tattles and name-calls
  • is aware of simple rules and is beginning to feel guilty when disobeys
  • changes rules of the game as it goes along
  • is more aware of sex role differences
  • imitates adult activities

 

Physical Development:
  • weight: 12-23 kilograms (27-50 pounds)
  • height: 94-117 cm (37-46 inches)
  • can skip, walk on tiptoes, and balance on one foot or on a beam about 5cm (2') wide
  • tires easily
  • is accident prone
  • can walk a straight line
  • can hop on one foot
  • stacks 10 or more blocks
  • can use a spoon, fork and knife skillfully
  • catches, bounces and throws a ball easily
  • enjoys making loud noises, but is frightened by unexpected sounds
  • toilets independently
  • makes designs and draws recognizable objects
  • manipulates blunt scissors
  • dresses self (with exception of shoes)
  • small muscle control lags behind large muscle
  • may wet the bed from time to time
  • needs 10-12 hours of sleep at night

As every child is unique and there is a wide range of what’s ‘normal’ at every age, it’s important to remember these lists are guidelines only. If you are concerned about your child’s development, see your doctor.

Sources: AboutKidsHealth, The Hospital for Sick Children, Health A-Z, Developmental Stages, Ontario Ministry of Child and Youth Services, Ontario Early Years Centres: A Place for Parents and Their Children,The Developing Brain: Birth to Age Eight, by Marilee Sprenger, Your Child’s Growing Mind: Brain Development and Learning from Birth to Adolescence, by Jane M. Healy, Ages and Stages, by Lesia Oesterreich, M.S.,extension human development specialist, Human Development and Family Studies, Iowa State University and “Learning from mistakes only happens after age 12, study suggests,” from Science Daily, Sept. 27, 2008.

civics_culture&identity_644x362.jpgBrain Development:
  • knows the days of the week
  • is beginning to understand time
  • begins to recognize letters and words
  • knows the alphabet
  • can print some letters (maybe name) and spell some simple words
  • sustains activities over longer periods of time
  • identifies some letters of the alphabet and a few numbers
  • has developed an overall image of self
  • craves facts
  • able to memorize address and telephone number
  • knows basic colours like red, blue, yellow, green and orange
  • understands left and right on self
  • has a vocabulary of about 2,000 to 2,500 words
  • can help with easy household chores
  • can think some things through
  • counts to 10
  • begins to understand concept of opposites
  • knows stories have a beginning, a middle, an end
  • can speak in sentences of 6 to 8 words
  • identifies coins
  • engages in elaborate dramatic play
  • understands concepts of morning, afternoon, night, yesterday, today, tomorrow
  • is better able to distinguish make-believe from real life
Inside the Brain:
  • myelination of corpus callosum of the frontal lobe continues
  • dendritic complexity in the brain increases in order to facilitate the formation of memory
  • electrical activity of the brain gains coherence allowing the brain to better integrate the past with the present
  • memory strategies begin to develop, improving connections between temporal and parietal lobes of the brain leading to dramatic reading and vocabulary development
Emotional Development:
  • will laugh a lot and will still cry easily - sometimes one after the other
  • begins to express more feelings in words
  • embarrasses easily, and cannot yet laugh at self
  • may suddenly be embarrassed if seen nude
  • may ask for privacy in the bathroom and the bathtub
  • has basic understanding of right and wrong
  • feelings about death appear
  • shows guilt over misbehaviour
  • likes independence
  • is serious and dependable
  • from time to time may get tense, anxious or fearful
  • understands and enjoys both giving and receiving
  • sometimes needs to get away for some alone time
  • may use swear words to get your attention
Social Development:
  • makes friends easily and enjoys playing with others
  • can have long conversations with you and enjoys serious discussions (as well as silly ones)
  • likes structured games as well as imaginary ones
  • submits to more rules and regulations
  • invents games with simple rules
  • organizes toys and friends for pretend play
  • may brag or tell tall tales
  • can be very bossy at times
  • may tattle, name-call, hit, and shove at times
  • enjoys telling own stories
  • distinguishes between sex roles
  • cooperates in simple group tasks
  • likes to please adults
  • can be competitive
  • takes turns during playing and speaking
  • gets along comfortably with other children
  • is keenly interested in family activities
Physical Development:
  • weight: 14-26 kilograms (31-57 pounds)
  • height: 99-122 cm (39-48 inches)
  • sleeps 10-11 hours a night
  • bathes, eats, dresses, toilets independently
  • begins to lose primary (baby) teeth
  • tires easily
  • displays left or right handedness
  • builds elaborate structures
  • begins to participate in semi-structured games
  • enjoys active games and movement
  • learns to skip
  • throws a ball overhand
  • catches bounced balls
  • can jump over low objects
  • enjoys playing noisy rhythm instruments
  • likes helping parents cook, water the plants, do the laundry
  • is curious about reproduction and birth

As every child is unique and there is a wide range of what’s ‘normal’ at every age, it’s important to remember these lists are guidelines only. If you are concerned about your child’s development, see your doctor.

Sources: AboutKidsHealth, The Hospital for Sick Children, Health A-Z, Developmental Stages, Ontario Ministry of Child and Youth Services, Ontario Early Years Centres: A Place for Parents and Their Children,The Developing Brain: Birth to Age Eight, by Marilee Sprenger, Your Child’s Growing Mind: Brain Development and Learning from Birth to Adolescence, by Jane M. Healy, Ages and Stages, by Lesia Oesterreich, M.S.,extension human development specialist, Human Development and Family Studies, Iowa State University and “Learning from mistakes only happens after age 12, study suggests,” from Science Daily, Sept. 27, 2008.