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Parent/ Caregiver: Featured Tip (Archive)

Click on the Featured Parent/Caregiver Tip subject title to expand that section you wish to explore.


  • 8/30/2018 Healthy Routines at Home
    • Healthy Routines at Home

      ​     In a world that can be unpredictable, establishing a simple routine can provide children with tools to better navigate their day-to-day lives. As renowned author, Barbara Coloroso, states, “Our children are counting on us to provide two things: consistency and structure.”    

         Routines don’t have to be firm to be effective, but a basic structure can support a child’s independence, self- regulation and even play a part in their growth and development! The smallest steps towards a routine can make a big difference.


      Here are a few ideas for starting your own routine at home:

          1.      Everyday routines, like eating, sleeping, etc., provide your child with stability and security. They make the day more predictable, which helps children focus on learning.

           2.      Create a routine that works for the whole family – Think about your family’s needs and strengths


           3.      Set realistic goals for the routine – A goal could be as simple as getting your child to bed by 8:00 p.m.

           4.      Consider time for transitions – For example, if bedtime is at 8:00 p.m., we may have to brush our teeth and put on our pajamas at 7:50 pm

           5.      Be flexible and provide room for minor changes - If there is an interruption to the routine, explain it to your child – “I know we usually do X, but today we have to do Y because…”​ 

      Other Useful Links and Resources:

  • 4/10/2019 Getting Ready for Kindergarten
    • Getting Ready for Kindergarten

      Time to scooch our little 4 year olds out of the nest as they get ready to start their educational journey in the wonderful world of Kindergarten!

       The days of changing diapers and mashing carrots are a distance memory. I know, it seems like only yesterday our little ones were wobbling from chair to chair and uttering their first words. Blot those tears, Mom and Dad, your preschoolers will soon be off to the big leagues!

      No need to be overwhelmed – it’s not a daunting as it may seem. We believe children are competent, capable of complex thinking, curious, rich in potential (Ministry of Education, 2014).  They are resilient, astounding people!  With your encouragement, and the support of the kind/caring kindergarten staff, they will adjust in no time!      

      Here are a few helpful tips to help with the transition:

      ·       Begin to have conversations about kindergarten.  This allows children to mentally prepare for this big step!

      v Talk about what s/he may expect –  You can even use puppets and pretend play to build confidence and problem solve any anxieties


      ·        Go for a walk to the school; play in the school yard or playground; listen to the school bells…

      v Be sure to ask your school for the date/time of their Welcome to Kindergarten events


      ·       Visit your local library or EarlyON Centre to borrow book about kindergarten. Some titles include:

      v   The Kissing Hand –  Audrey Penn

      v Pet the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes – James Dean

      v First Day Jitters – Julie Danneberg

      v Kindergarten Rocks – Katie Davis


      ·       Help your child recognize his/her name

      v On this website, Scholastic provides 5 simple, fun ideas and activities to boost your little one's name-reading ability.


      ·       Establish healthy routines

      v Check out our parent/caregiver featured tip on Healthy Routines at Home


      Our EarlyON Facilitators will be happy to provide you with additional tips and print resources on Kindergarten Readiness. 

      Please feel free to browse through some of the other resourc​es below: 

      Other Useful Links and Resources:

      ·       Toronto Public Health: A Healthy Start to School


      ·       Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development: School Transition: Starting on the Right Foot


      ·       Best Start: Learning to Play and Playing to Learn: Getting Ready for School


      · Packing Healthy Lunches & Snacks


      ·       Ministry of Education:  Full-Day Kindergarten: Preparing Your Child​

  • 3/12/2019 Time In – A Positive Alternative For Dealing with Challenging Behaviour
    • Time In – A Positive Alternative For Dealing with Challenging Behaviour

      Yes, you’ve heard it here! There is a newer, more effective strategy to deal your child’s challenging behaviours – it’s called a Time-In.

      Unlike a time-out, which experts say often creates power struggles and increases feelings of shame, time-ins are “based on the understanding that children do better when they feel better.” (Nelsen, 1999). Time-Ins help children self-regulate.  

      So, what’s a time-in, you ask?

      Best Start’s FAQs About Time-outs describes what happens during a time in as:

      … a child who is having a difficult moment is invited to sit with a caregiver for comfort and calming … the caregiver helps the child express [his] feelings and point of view, listening to and empathizing with the child…then explains why the behaviour was problematic and helps the child problem-solve the situation, discussing alternative ways of addressing the situation in an age-appropriate way. A time-in always involves a conversation where the caregiver is actively listening to what the child is saying and respecting the child’s perspective and feelings.


      Always consider factors like your child’s age, development, level of understanding, attention span, personality/ temperament and the unique situation at hand as your messaging/dialogue may differ. Below are few helpful tips to use with your child during a time-in.​​

      Tips to Use During Time-ins (revised again).PNG

      It’s not a perfect science – But using the time-in strategy is definitely worth a try, even if we, the adults, need our own “time-in” to refresh, rebalance and replenish!

      Take a look at some of the additional resources below and be sure to check out 50 Ways to Take a Break!  ​ 

      Other Useful Links and Resources:

      Best Start – Frequently Asked Questions About Time-outs

      Parents Matter - Time in, Not Time Out  

      50 Ways to Take a Break.pdf50 Ways to Take a Break.pdf

      Nelsen, J. (1999). Positive Time Out: And More 50 Other Ways to Avoid Power Struggles in the Home and the Classroom. Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing.​ 

      Recipe for Stress Balls and Discovery Balls.PNG

  • 3/1/2018 Setting Boundaries and Promoting Positive Behaviour
    • Setting Boundaries and Promoting Positive Behaviour

      Children are competent, capable of complex thinking, curious, and rich in potential.  Author Shefali Tsabary highlights in her book “The Awakened Family”, the importance of creating boundaries for children.  She states that, when boundaries are clear, consistent and compassionate, there is little need for disciplinary strategies.


      Here are some suggestions on promoting positive behaviour in children:


      Establish routines and prepare children for upcoming changes, in advance.


      Allow children to make choices within simple, clear, but firm limits (based on age/development)


       Keep your language positive – say what to do vs what not to do and use your voice as a teaching tool


      Pay attention to feelings – Listen for the emotion behind children’s words and actions and reflect them back (“It sounds like you’re feeling…”)      


      These tips were taken from Promoting Positive Behaviour, a parent resource sheet from

      Other Useful Links and Resources:

      Children See, Children Learn – Find resources, videos and links information that will help you use positive discipline with your children. Website:


      PBS Parents – A trusted online resource that's filled with information about your child’s development from birth through the early school years. The “Talk with Kids” section offers information on positive ways to talk to your children, strategies to handle meltdowns and more.


      For additional related links browse the Parenting section of the Parent/Caregiver Corner​ 

  • 2/9/2017 Food as Fuel for L​earning
    • Food as Fuel for L​earning

      With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, establishing healthy eating habits for children can seem like a daunting task – However, eating well is an important factor in the healthy growth and development of your child. ​


      Food provides children with the energy and nutrients they need to grow, develop and learn. It is the fuel they use to concentrate, to problem solve, to create, to deal with emotions and to PLAY!


      Here are a few tips for encouraging healthy eating and developing lifelong habits: 
      • ​Offer a variety of foods
      • Have available ready-to-eat snacks such as fresh fruit, yogurt, vegetables & dip, and low-sugar cereals with milk.
      •  Be patient. If your child doesn’t eat certain foods, try again another time.
      •  Involve your child in food & meal preparation (e.g. mix batter, tear lettuce, set table).
      •  Avoid using food as a reward or punishment.
      •  Make meal time, Quality family time
      •  Be a good role model. If you eat healthy your children are more likely to
      These tips were taken from Preschool Learning Tips by Best Start Prescott- Russell. To find more information and several other helpful tips, visit, Best Start Resource Kit - Birth to 12 years)​ 

      Other Useful Links and Resources:

      EatRight Ontario (ERO) is a free service that connects residents of Ontario to the trusted advice of a Registered Dietitian to help you make healthier food choices and answer your nutrition questions.

      Healthy Canadians – Food and Nutrition - Find tips for healthy eating, information on food allergies, safety standards and labels.

      NutriSTEP® has been used as a valid and reliable nutrition risk screening tool to assess eating habits and identify nutrition risk in toddlers (18-35 months) and preschoolers (3-5 years) in various settings. 
      Bake it Up! includes over 20 recipes for healthier baked goods that comply with the Ministry of Education’s School Food and Beverage Policy.
      BusyBodies encourages a variety of experiences related to healthy eating and physical activity
      Eat Right, Be Active
     provides families with perspective, advice, and comfort about a wide range of health, physical, emotional, and behavioral issues that affect children and teens. 

  • 2/1/2019 Praise vs. Encouragement
    • Praise vs. Encouragement

      If there were a war between praise and encouragement, praise may win a few battles but encouragement would definitely win the war!

      So, what’s the difference between praise and encouragement? And seriously… what’s the big deal anyway?!?

      According to the dictionary, to praise, is to express favourable judgement of; to glorify, especially by attribution of perfection. Research by Carol Dweck, Ph.D. suggests that over-praising your child can create “approval junkies” where children become reliant on what others think – Their sense of self becomes dependent on the approval of others.

      Conversely, the dictionary says, encouragement is to inspire with courage; to spur on; to stimulate. It recognizes the process of effort and improvement and teaches self-reliance/self-confidence.  Phrases/Questions like “Looks like you worked very hard to build that tower” or “Wow, you used so many colours in your picture!  Tell me about what you made?” encourages children to self-evaluate – it allows their sense of accomplishment in a task well done to come from within (intrinsically).

      Here are a few ways you can encourage your child:

      • Be sincere, Be specific, Be consistent ​

      • Ask open ended questions – show genuine interest in what your child has done!

      • Focus progress/process vs. the final result – “You’re working hard on ___”

      • Express feelings of gratitude – “I appreciate your help with __”

      Feel free to check out the additional links/ resources below: 

      Other Useful Links and Resources:

  • 11/30/2018 O.W.Ling With Your Child
    • O.W.Ling With Your Child


      When you read the title of this Parent/Caregiver Tip, you may have thought you would be getting expert advice on flying at night and living in trees – Well, we will have to leave that to the birds because this strategy is one you’ll definitely want to try with your child!

      O.W.L is a strategy developed The Hanen Centre to, not only aid your child’s communication, but also to support meaningful engagement and interactions. So, what does it mean to “O.W.L” with your child?


      For more information on OWL and other communication strategies, visit The Hanen Centre and check out some of these resources below:​ 

      Other Useful Links and Resources:

      ​Six Steps to Follow the Child's Lead - Six Steps to Follow the Child's Lead.pdfSix Steps to Follow the Child's Lead.pdf

      OWL with Playdough - owl-with-playdough-2017.pdfowl-with-playdough-2017.pdf



  • 10/12/2018 Halloween Safety
    • Halloween Safety

      Halloween is just around the corner - It is an exciting time of year for children and parents alike!  As we prep our costumes and gather our tricks, here are a few tips from Toronto Police to keep in mind to ensure that it is a fun, safe day! 

      • Be alert and aware of what’s going on around you                                          
      • Watch out for cars- Remember it may be hard for drivers to see you                                                                                                                                 
      • Make sure that your children wear costumes that are bright and reflective and short enough to prevent tripping                                              
      • Ensure that your child can properly through masks – or as a safer alternative, consider using face paint/ makeup                                      
      • Wait until children are home before you sort and check treat
      How to check candy:

      •  Inspect candy under a bright light                                                 
      • Throw out any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items                      
      • Throw out candy that has been repackaged in a different bag               
      • Throw out homemade treats – like popcorn balls, cookies, caramel apples                                                                                          
      •  Wash all fruit, then slice it into small pieces, checking for dangerous materials                                                                          
      **If you find any hazardous candy or candy that has been tampered with, contact the Police immediately and report it!

      For more information please check out the links below – Happy Halloween!


      Try this Slime Recipe for some ooey, gooey fun this Halloween:


      • 2 bottles of 5 fl. oz glue (clear or white)                                                                   
      •  ½ tbsp. of baking soda                                                                                            
      • contact lens saline solution (about 2 tbsps or more, add as needed)                                                                                  
      • Food coloring (optional)


      1. Pour glue into a container to mix your slime in.                               
      2. Stir in baking soda and food colouring                                            
      3. Add the saline solution- squirt into the mixture until you get the desired texture – Mix well!                                                               
      4. Have fun!!

      * * Feel free to add in glitter, confetti, googly eyes, etc. to decorate your slime**​ 

      Other Useful Links and Resources:

      Toronto Police Halloween Safety Pamphlethalloween_safety_pamphlet.pdfhalloween_safety_pamphlet.pdf

      Canadian Dental Association - Helpful Tips for Healthy Smiles at Halloween

      Parachute Canada -  Halloween Safety Tips: Tips for Parents, Children and Drivers

  • 1/2/2019 Fostering Your Child's Independence
    • Fostering Your Child's Independence

      Whether it is choosing which shirt to wear to the TCDSB EarlyON centre in the morning or using a spoon at the dinner table, fostering your child’s independence takes a lot of practice – and patience! Encouraging autonomy and independence in your child is sometimes challenging. As children grow and develop, it may be hard to see our bouncing babies as competent beings, capable of problem solving and making choices – but it is definitely possible! In fact, multiple sources suggest that the more you can nurture a child’s independe​​nce, the more self-sufficient and confident your child will become. Here are a few ways you can encourage independence in your child: 

      fostering independence parent tip image.PNG

      Other Useful Links and Resources: