UNICEF recently released a report card ranking child well-being in the 29 richest countries on earth. Canada came 17th, placing us in the bottom half of the pack on factors such as child poverty, emotional well-being and life satisfaction. It's time to have a frank conversation about how our country approaches early childhood.
Despite our fretting, technology isn't going away, and simply cloistering our children from it is neither beneficial nor practical. To succeed in the modern world, children will need to embrace technology without being consumed by it. And the difference between these two fates lies in the hands of parents.
08/14/2014 05:46 EDT
Last month, it was reported that an Edmonton woman was badly beaten by her spouse. Though the attack put her in the hospital, the police offered a silver lining by stating that her unborn baby, at least, wasn't harmed. Sadly, this claim underestimates the profound effect severe stress can have on children's development in their first years of life, including while they're still in the womb.
05/05/2014 05:52 EDT
On every metric, children from disadvantaged homes face greater challenges to success than their more privileged peers. As a result, they do worse in school, get poorer paying jobs and suffer disproportionately from violence, addiction and mental health issues.
04/08/2014 06:20 EDT
We need to shift back to an earlier, more communal notion of family. There are a number of ways to do this. Policy is one avenue -- tax incentives for grandparents providing short- or long-term childcare or employers that allow flexibility for family time, for instance. Ultimately, though, the change we need is not procedural, but cultural. We need to understand and embrace the fact that families matter, just as we need to expand our concept of what a family is. There is room in the definition for friends and neighbours alongside grandparents, aunts and uncles.
02/07/2014 05:06 EST
Caregivers don't need great riches to support their children. A strong, supportive adult figure can help children overcome otherwise unhealthy environments. This figure need not even be the child's parents (though of course this helps). A grandparent, and aunt, a family friend, even a dedicated teacher can have a tangible, long-lasting impact on a child's development.
10/30/2013 05:35 EDT
At long last, people are talking about postpartum depression. Dismissed for years as no more than a touch of the baby blues (or else unheard of entirely), PPD has become an open subject. But despite this progress, postpartum depression remains misunderstood in one very critical regard: namely, that it's something that only happens to, and thus only adversely affects, mothers.
09/27/2013 01:00 EDT
Childhood is not quite the stress-free paradise that our rose-tinted memories might suggest. Children -- even infants -- can suffer from chronic, toxic stress. It's stress of a very different sort than that of meetings and mortgage payments, but its long-term effects can be no less serious. Last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics launched an urgent call to action informing healthcare practitioners of the dangers of toxic stress to children. Cleary, toxic stress is serious stuff. But what is it, exactly?
05/01/2013 08:02 EDT
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