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Resources on Parenting

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The quality of the relationship that parents have with their children is critical to children’s well-being throughout their lives. Both parents and children contribute to the quality of the relationship. The research shows us that when parents experience more stress in their lives through financial problems, living in poor neighbourhoods, suffering because of mental health problems or marital conflict, it is harder for them to develop a good quality relationship with their children. But the research also shows us that the quality of the relationship is not all down to parents. Characteristics of children make it a lot harder for parents to develop that good relationship. When children cry and whine a lot, or get angry when very little has gone wrong, a parent’s job in building that relationship is much more challenging. Other aspects of children, such as their age, their ability to communicate and their birth order also make the parent’s job easier or harder.


Parenting Commentary

Introduction to Parenting Commentaries

Supporting Parents Who Have Children with Special Needs
August 2015

Exceprt: "Sufficient resources, a variety of accessible programs and services along with skilled qualified staff are imperative when supporting children with exceptionalities and their families. High levels of funding accompanied with policies to promote inclusion are also critical. Yet it has been my experience while employed in the sector of children’s mental health that these factors are often at the mercy of government."

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From Promoting Sleep to Physical Exercise, Music Enriches Early Childhood
June 2015

Excerpt: "Singing with infants is a tried and true method to calm and promote relaxation, but it also an excellent way to foster language development. Because babies love to imitate, singing is a way to learn the rhythm of language and the repetition of simple words or phrases introduces new vocabulary."

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How Can We Build Communities that Better Support Children and Their Parents?
April 2015

Excerpt: "We need to rally around parents to provide much needed resources, support and a sense of hope to improve the outcomes for their children. It really does take a village!  Quality childcare and parent resource programs are a couple of places we can ensure children receive a head start in life."

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5 Great Reasons to Read with Your Children
April 2015

Excerpt: "Reading contributes to children’s expanding vocabulary, and well as gaining a better grasp of the fundamentals of language and literacy.  Language and enunciation skills will also develop with the continued routine of reading.  Children will often express opinions on parts of the story, articulate thoughts, and share ideas more eagerly when reading alongside a parent.  Taking turns to make up your own stories can also be a fun way to enjoy time together while promoting language development, imagination, memory, and literacy skills."

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Preparing Your Child for Full Day Kindergarten
April 2015

Excerpt: "The first day of Kindergarten can be a monumental day in the life of a child. It is a day filled with new explorations, new friends, and many emotions. For a child who has not previously attended childcare, the first day of Full Day Kindergarten (FDK) is the beginning of a new chapter in their life that can be overwhelming and scary. Preparing your child for FDK means more than just registering them in school, and visiting with the teacher."

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5 Ways to Support Mom to Enjoy More Balance in Her Life
March 2015

Excerpt: "All would agree parenting can be considered a full time job. As a mother, spouse, and employee, it becomes difficult to make time for yourself and maintain a balance between the children, work and home. You typically ensure that all tasks are completed before the end of the day without realizing that you haven't made time for yourself."

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For Dads: Five Ways to Support your Parenting Role
March 2015

Excerpt: "The image of the bumbling father, putting diapers on backwards or leaving baby on the roof of the car thankfully appears to be becoming a thing of the past. Today’s dads are more likely to be seen sporting the latest baby carriers while the family is out shopping at the local farmer’s market. That being said, there still appears to be some discrepancy between the amount of involvement fathers have in their children’s lives in comparison to mothers. How can dads be more involved in their baby’s first years and thereby help moms find more balance in their own lives?"

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Parenting Siblings and Language Development (video)
April 2015

Heather Prime is one of 25 finalists in the annual competition that challenges postsecondary students from across the country to demonstrate how SSHRC-funded research is making a difference in the lives of Canadians. This video showcases the importance of siblings in children’s early language development, based on work from the Kids, Families and Places CIHR-funded study. Watch this informative video on parenting, siblings and language development; helping Canadians understand and improve the world around us.

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Building Adult Capabilities to Improve Child Outcomes: A Theory of Change (Video)
Frontiers of Innovation (FOI)

Description: "This 5-minute video depicts a theory of change from the Frontiers of Innovation community for achieving breakthrough outcomes for vulnerable children and families. It describes the need to focus on building the capabilities of caregivers and strengthening the communities that together form the environment of relationships essential to children’s lifelong learning, health, and behavior."

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Evaluating Early Intervention Strategies (pdf)
Emis Akbari, PhD
Fraser Mustard Institute for Human Development, Atkinson Centre for Society and Child Development, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE)

Excerpt: "Why Parenting?: Consistent relationship between early parental care & child intellectual, emotional & behavioural outcomes (Bornstein, 1995); Problematic parenting are major predictors of conduct problems and antisocial behaviour in children/adolescents (Capaldiet al., 1997; Loeber& Stouthamer-Loeber, 1986); These behavioural problems predict both problems in school and serious health and behavioural problems in adolescence (drug abuse, depression, delinquency, and school dropout) (Cambell, 1991; Cambellet al., 1986; Wadsworth, 1976; White et al, 1990); These strategies are aimed at improving parental and child competencies early in the life of a child as a means of promoting child health, development, and behaviour"

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ON: Understanding & Mitigating the Impact of Homelessness on Young Children (pdf)
Project Leads: The Child Welfare Institute, Children’s Aid Society of Toronto; From 3 to 3; The Atkinson Centre, April 25, 2013

Description: "Youth homelessness is a growing epidemic in Canada. It is estimated that of the 150,000 homeless individuals in Canada, roughly 65,000 are young people. Interestingly youth homelessness appears to be an intergenerational phenomenon where a large majority of youth experiencing homelessness report growing up in families who had difficulties maintaining housing. Evidently, the heightened risk for homelessness in youth may be exacerbated by early life experiences, such as parental homelessness."

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Research Bulletin: Playing Favorites is Bad for Child Health (pdf)

Excerpt: "In a study recently published in Social Sciences and Medicine, PhD student Dillon Browne and psychologist Jennifer Jenkins sought to determine if being a disfavored sibling can have negative consequences in terms of general health. Browne and Jenkins followed 501 families over a period of 18 months as part of an investigation called the Kids, Families, Places Study, led by Dr. Jenkins at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Kids were an average of 2 years old at the initial assessment and approximately half were female. Browne and Jenkins observed that disfavored kids had poorer mother-reported health 18 months later, after adjusting for their initial health status. However, this pattern was only observed in homes where mothers had low levels of education."

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Research Bulletin: Playing Favorites is Bad for Everyone (pdf)

Excerpt: "In a study recently published in the journal of Developmental Psychology, psychologist Jean-Christophe Meunier and his colleagues at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education tested to see if playing favorites, as a family style, has negative consequences for all children in the family, rather than just the disfavored child."

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Research Bulletin: Siblings Teaching Siblings (pdf)

Excerpt: "Research demonstrates that young children teach one another, showing individual differences in the amount of teaching they do and the strategies they use. There is a special teacher-learner relationship among siblings, in particular. Younger children are more likely to solicit teaching from their older siblings as opposed to older peers. Similarly, older siblings are more likely to provide explanations and feedback than are older peers. This is not surprising, given siblings’ high levels of intimacy and familiarity. We developed a measure to capture teaching between siblings when the youngest child was age 3 and their older sibling between 4-8 years old..."

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Research Bulletin: Genes, Experience and Parenting Behaviour (pdf)

Excerpt: "In a recent study, Dr. Rossana Bisceglia and her colleagues wanted to see what factors affected mothers' ability to provide sensitive care to their children. The hypothesis was that both biological and environmental variables would impact mothers’ sensitivity, and that certain combinations of factors would be more detrimental to parenting than others."

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Looking Through Your Baby's Eyes (pdf)

Excerpt: "It's 5pm, you just ran around all day doing groceries, taking your kids to play dates, making meals, and feeding your baby. Just as you sit down to rest, your newborn awakes from her nap and starts crying. You’re groggy and exhausted, but you don't think twice about picking up your baby and comforting her – most parents would. However, there is more to sensitive parenting than simply responding to your baby’s cries. Researchers have found that responding appropriately to a baby's signals is the key to forming a strong parent-child bond. This kind of relationship affects how children develop emotionally and cognitively throughout their lives."

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