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School Newsletter Tips - December

 December
 
Have a COVID-safe Holiday Season
This holiday season won’t look the same as last year and that’s ok. We all need to do our part to protect each other’s health.
  • Only get within 2 metres of those you live with. Most dining tables do not allow for 2 metres between others. 
  • Do not gather with groups of people, instead host an online video party.
  • Try playing online games with friends and family rather than hosting your traditional game night.
  • If getting together, plan for outdoor activities where you can keep distance between people.
  • Look after one another! Dropping off food or gifts outside for friends and family is a safe way to show Christmas spirit. 
  • Do not leave your house if you are unwell. Complete an online self-assessment to see if you should be tested for COVID-19.
Most of all, be safe and healthy. Make smart decisions so we can prevent the spread of COVID-19 this holiday season.

Immunizations
Staying up to date on immunizations is important. We haven’t been able to go into schools this year, but we are looking at ways to get students immunized in the new year. You can check online to see if your student is due for any shots using ICON. If your student is needing an immunization, please connect with your local health unit office.

Dental Services
If your child has dental pain or if you notice any concerns, call your dental provider. If you don’t have one, or need help paying, please contact us at 1-855-407-6453 to see if we can help. 

12 Days of a Mindful Holiday Challenge – December 1-12, 2020
Did you know that mindfulness can help build resilience; the ability to bounce back from life's daily challenges?  It can help with self-regulation and concentration, while also helping to allow us to more aware of our thoughts, emotions, impulses to act, and body sensations. It promotes kindness and compassion.

Register on www.nwhu.on.ca​, then print off or download a log sheet from our website. Or, contact your local Northwestern Health Unit office and arrangements can be made for you to pick up and drop off a log sheet.  Join us in having a more mindful holiday by trying some of the following activities with your family:
  • Complete a random act of kindness
  • Make a snow angel
  • Practice being thankful
  • Try something new
  • Take a walk in the snow
  • Spend time with family and friends safely
  • Put lights up outside
  • Volunteer your time
Your log sheet will have 12 suggested mindful activities for you and your family to take part in during this challenge that you can check off after they’re completed.  Sign up to have a chance to win some great prizes!
Return your log sheet(s) by email to hchant@nwhu.on.ca, or fax to 807-226-9807, by December 17, 2020.  Visit www.nwhu.on.ca to learn more.

Add Veggies or Fruit to your Breakfast!
Try these Ideas:
  • Add banana, blueberries or strawberries to your cereal.
  • Add berries to yogurt.
  • Try a smoothie - blend milk, yogurt and add a fruit like frozen mango or bananas. 
  • Scramble an egg or make an omelette and add your favorite veggies – tomato, peppers etc. If there are no allergies in the school, wrap it up. 

Stay active over the holidays
Bundle up and have some family fun. Take the family to a ‘Toonie’ skate or visit an outdoor rink. Try on some snowshoes or skis and hit the local trails. Take a hike. Get off the beaten trail and explore nature’s winter wonderland.

Give the gift of physical activity- give a present that promotes fun, active play
Winter time is a great time for kids to get outdoors and be active. Are you having a hard time deciding what to buy for a child? Give the gift of fun and play by giving an active gift:
  • Geocaching kits- kids will love it!
  • Family play pass- bundle up and go play outside with the kids
  • Sports equipment – sliding saucers, skates, skis, toboggan, hockey stick, snow shoes, snowboard, helmet, mouth guard.
  • Recreation passes or memberships to use for public skates and swims, shinny hockey or swimming lessons
  • Warm clothing, mitts or footwear for outdoor winter play.
  • Pedometer to count your steps and track activity levels.​
Protect Your Family from Radon
In our region, 1 in 4 lung cancer deaths are due to radon exposure. Radon gas comes from the breakdown of uranium that is found in rocks and soil and gets into homes through cracks, pipes, and drains.
Your home may have unsafe levels of radon gas in it – the only way to know is to test. To prevent being exposed to radon:
  • Test to find out if there is radon in your home. Testing should take place for a minimum of three months during the winter in the lowest lived-in area of your home. Radon testing kits can also be purchased at most hardware stores or online.
  • Avoid putting bedrooms in the basement where radon levels are the highest.
  • Spend most of your family time on the main levels of your home, not in the basement.​
Choosing a gift for a child?
The age recommendations on toys relate to safety, not to the ability of a child. Follow the age recommendations on toys for all the children on your list, including those you believe are exceptional.

Tooth-friendly Christmas gift ideas!
Kids love getting new toothbrushes. Find one with a character they like, you may be surprised at their excitement over tooth brushing. For kids over 3, buy some kid-themed toothpaste. Sometimes the flavour or the character on the tube helps motivate kids to brush!
Holiday Food Safety


During this holiday season avoid foodborne illness with these simple tips:
  • Don’t eat uncooked batter or dough that contains raw eggs as they can contain harmful bacteria.
  • When serving meals make sure hot food stays hot (above 60°C) and cold food stays cold (below 4°C).
  • Think ahead when thawing a turkey. Thaw under cold running water or in a refrigerator.
  • Ensure your turkey is cooked to at least 82°C and stuffing to 74°C.
  • Clean and sanitize all surfaces that may have come into contact with the turkey or its juices.

Parent/Child Communication
 ​No parent is expected to have all the answers. Talk to your child. Create a connection. Provide your child with the chance to share his/her day’s activities, feelings, and ask questions. Learn to observe, wait and really listen. Open, effective communication benefits not only the children, but every member of the family.

Here are some good online resources for reliable information: