A lifetime of benefits for kids in the kitchen

I didn’t appreciate being in the kitchen until I was married.  I’m the baby, the third of three girls and was often tasked with well… let’s call them “less complex” jobs.  Honestly, my mom had more willing and capable help when it came to working in the kitchen. Truthfully, I was a bit impatient and guilty of snacking on carefully measured ingredients like the chocolate chips!

Once I got married, it struck me that knowing how to cook more than grilled cheese might be helpful. When my first baby arrived, a dose of domestic panic hit me and in a blurry eyed state I signed up for a cooking course!  Although I didn’t graduate as a professional chef, I gained some needed confidence in the kitchen.

When my oldest was 3 he was keen to be in the kitchen with me. He proudly sported a tiny white apron, ready to stir, pour, measure and splash in our soap filled sink. It was so much fun and a great way to connect. Today at 14, he still loves cooking (hooray) and will treat us to a family meal or breakfast in bed.  My youngest was and is still more interested in sports.  He is not in the kitchen as much, but helps out by cracking an egg or two and happily samples any creations.

9 amazing benefits of cooking with your kids:  

Health Canada (2017),  EatRight Ontario (2016)

  1. Cooking is an important life skill.
  2. Picky eaters are more likely to try food they help make.
  3. Cooking is a great way to instill healthy habits that will last a lifetime.
  4. Literacy: Reading recipes can help develop your child’s reading skills.
  5. Math skills: Measuring ingredients can help improve math skills.
  6. Science: What will happen when you boil an egg or make bread?
  7. Social studies: What food is grown in Canada and around the world?
  8. Food skills: How do you stir, chop, knead, pour and scoop?
  9. Social skills: How can we work together, take turns and share utensils?

Getting kids into the kitchen offers a lifetime of perks and encourages a healthy relationship with food and family.  Our friends at EatRight Ontario share some great ways kids can be involved at every age and stage.

Tips to make it terrific:

Start with something easy like play dough or muffins.

  • Decide together on the recipe, the buy in is key!
  • Consider your child’s age, skill level and interest.
  • Timing, allow for lots of extra time.
  • Consider your mindset, are you feeling patient?
  • Keep it light, fun and safe.


Good luck, enjoy and remember it’s not about the end product but the journey along the way.  Happy stirring, pouring, mixing, splashing and of course making memories.

For parenting information or to speak with a public health nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000

Posted in Parenting, preschoolers, reading, School-aged Children, Teens | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

3 “weird but true” things about newborns


You drove 30 km/hr home from the hospital and discovered a new world of crazy drivers…

You survived night 2 and 3 with a fussy newborn and seriously engorged breasts

You’ve spent countless hours staring at your sweet baby in awe of the perfection…

You’ve been awake around the clock caring for your baby…


You wouldn’t change a thing.

But now this crazy schedule has become your new norm and the questions are piling up.  No IKEA instructions with this little gem.  Ahhh, what to do?  Really, it’s going to be OK, take a deep breath we’ve got you covered!  Seriously, write down those middle of the night questions and get a hold of us here at HaltonParents (call, e-mail, or join us on twitter or facebook).

We’re here to help.

Let’s get started and explore 3 common questions asked by new parents:

  • The hiccups
  • Peeling skin
  • Baby Acne/Milia

The hiccups:

First off, don’t sweat it, the hiccups don’t hurt your baby. Your little one has been hiccuping since they were cozy and calm inside your tummy. Hiccups are simply a product of the diaphragm moving up and down. Home remedies aren’t proven to decrease the frequency and length of the hiccups.  If you let them run their course, they will be gone as fast as they came.

Smiling African mother holding her 11 days old newborn baby

Peeling Skin:

Yikes! Does it look like your newborn spent too much time in the sun? When babies lose the protective waxy coating (vernix) from their skin, the outer layer of their skin can get dry and peel.  According to the Canadian Pediatric Society the skin should be left to do its thing for about a week.  After that time moisturize with natural products like grape seed oil or olive oil, to keep the new skin moist and chemical free.

the toes detail of a newborn changing the skin

Baby Acne/Milia:

Darn, those little red and white bumps.  It’s picture day and nobody told you about this one!  Two options, embrace it… or there’s always photo editing!  Baby acne usually appears on the cheeks and forehead as red bumps and splotches.  Milia also appears on the face as tiny raised white bumps.  Both are thought to be caused by things like maternal hormones passing through baby.  Leave them alone, give it time (a few weeks for sure) and they will go away on their own. Don’t be tempted by acne lotions — they won’t help and aren’t safe for baby.

A newborn baby looks at the camera, as a close up shot is taken of his face.

So there you have it… 3 less things to worry about.  While you’re here, be a smarty pants and sign up for our E-bulletin for age specific updates on your child. Before you know it you’ll be an expert on all this stuff!

Be sure to give us a shout as you navigate your parenting journey, we would love to hear from you.

For parenting information or to speak with a public health nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000

Posted in Babies, Parenting | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Mama needs a drink!” Is it time to rethink our drinking?

The Rethink Your Drinking campaign has me thinking. Thinking about standard drink sizes, the long and short term health effects of alcohol use and when zero alcohol is the limit. It also has me thinking about my kids.

When I reflect on alcohol use and parenting; I like to think I have it covered. I’ve had the talk; no drinking and driving, no drinking until legal age, I have a “call us, no questions asked” policy. Check, check, check.

But wait, there is so much more to consider.

happy cute brunette girl with a cup full of wine by matias delcarmine

My husband arrived home from a weekend across the border with candy for the kids and a bottle of rye for me. A bottle big enough to carry me and 20 friends through until his next year’s weekend away. I jokingly hugged it; which is what I generally do when I am given a gift (okay I will also rub it on my cheek, but I’m sure I didn’t do that this time).  Now, fast forward one month. We are at a shopping mall and there is a giant billboard with said bottle clearly displayed… cue my 5 year old (hollering from several feet away) “Hey, Mommy, look! It’s your favourite present!” Gulp. Floor. Swallow. Me. Up. NOW.

How many times have I joked with little ones nearby “Mama needs a drink”? How about the cooler for a day at a backyard picnic; filled to the brim with juice boxes nestled in next to “mommy’s cider” and ‘daddy’s beer”? Continue reading

Posted in Mental Health, Parenting, Physical Health, Pregnancy, Preschool, Safety, stress, Teens, Tweens | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s time to stop the Yes/No questions

For the rest of the day, listen to yourself when you talk to your kids. I did this recently and was struck by how many times I asked my kids a Yes/No question, when instead I meant to be giving instruction. No wonder I was hearing so many No’s!

Parents are late trying to get out the door while mother pulls little girl's hand to hurry up“Okay kids, how about we all tidy the room up?”

“Can you please get ready to go?”

And the best phrase is when I tack on that innocent “okay”.

“After dinner, it’s time for a bath, okay?”  We ask okay, because in our minds we are seeking validation. It’s a “did you understand me?” But believe me, kids are hearing a Yes/No question. Continue reading

Posted in Parenting, preschoolers, School-aged Children, Toddlers | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

8 tips to help support a friend with infertility

Disappointed woman finding out pregnancy testI went through infertility before I became a mother. Infertility is often a profound rollercoaster of hope, grief, loneliness and helplessness that overwhelms many who are struggling to have children.

If you know a friend or family member struggling – chances are you do as 1 in 6 couples in Canada face infertility – you might be wondering how you can show your support. I have come up with 8 tips that I found especially helpful during this difficult time: Continue reading

Posted in Mental Health, Parenting, Pregnancy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Our kids make great teachers

My tween and teens are a lot more tech-savvy than I am. They are naturally adept with today’s technology and have a skill for trouble shooting. I frequently find myself asking to draw on their expertise when I am learning a new social media app or gadget. Asking them to teach me how to do something sometimes gets me an impatient chuckle and accompanying eye roll – “Oh, Mom” – but it also allows us to trade places as they take on the role of the more experienced  mentor and I do my best to role model how to be an open minded learner by accepting feedback and taking it all in.

A great strategy for learning something is teaching it to someone else. One good way to help your teen with their school work is to ask them to teach you. It can be a positive part of their homework habits. The age old saying “while we teach, we learn” holds very true. Sharing their knowledge can also help your teen to build their own enjoyment and interest in a particular topic and help them retain information. I have learned trigonometry and WWII just by asking my 16-year old to fill me in on what she’s doing in class. So we both benefit. Continue reading

Posted in learning, Mental Health, Parenting, play, School-aged Children, stress, Teens, Tweens | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mom versus mascara in the battle of the make-up

Mascara.  It’s a simple word, but somehow it has become the bane of my existence. Really and truly.

I’ve never had any hard-and-fast rules when it comes to make-up use and my four daughters. Usually, if something seems reasonable it is worth consideration.

I remember clearly telling my oldest, when she started high school, “you know, if you would like to wear some make-up I am ok with that”.  She gave me a non-committal shrug of the shoulders and off she went.  She can be seen once in a while wearing mascara and on occasion she takes it to the next level by throwing on some neutral lip balm.  My 14-year-old is the same. Very little interest.

Then came #3. Bless her. She loves all things glam and glitter. And she LOVES make up.

Time for mascara!

Continue reading

Posted in Parenting, School-aged Children, Teens, Tweens | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments