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Parent/Provider Articles


Being a parent and/or a child care provider is never an easy job. Here are some great articles to help us all along the way. Enjoy!

Tantrums getting the better of you?

Tantrums in the two to three-year-old are fairly common. It is their way of protesting and signaling to us they really want to get their own way.  At this age children are just coming into their own and do not like to be thwarted. They are driven by inquisitiveness and strutting new skills. They have mastered walking and are ever increasing their motor skills. They are ready for exploration, but haven’t yet internalized rules, so they think everything is fair game. And while we may think these young children can totally understand us, in truth, this is still a year and more away. So it is not enough that we tell them what to do, we must also show them and physically direct their play and areas for exploration. When young children get involved in things they shouldn’t, it is important to simply re-direct them to approved activities and areas of play. You may find yourself doing this dozens upon dozens of times per day! Once will never be enough at this age and this is why parenting two-year-old can be such a demanding time.

While redirection is the key for managing behaviour at age two, if tantrums persist at age three, ignoring such behaviour is the next strategy parents should try. Ignoring tantrums teaches the child that this behaviour doesn’t work and so they often stop. Ignoring really means withholding attention for misbehaviour, but, and very importantly, it is also a must that parents do provide attention for appropriate behaviour. This is usually in the form of verbal feedback, praise, hugs and kisses.

If ignoring the tantrums isn’t working at age three, you can start to use "time-out" as a consequence. Time-out means time away from anything reinforcing or otherwise pleasurable - like sitting on the stairs or in the corner, or quietly on a chair. While the general rule is one minute of time-out per age of child, time-outs that are much briefer and a matter of seconds, say 5 to 15 seconds are often MORE effective than longer time-outs. In the life of a three-year-old, 5 to 15 seconds is a long time, but it is not so long that they forget why they were sent to time-out in the first place. The key to effectively using this strategy is to apply a brief time-out each time the behaviour occurs. It is better a brief time-out follows at each instance of a tantrum, than only long time-out.  

If tantrums persist even with the use of time-out, ask yourself if there are other stresses in the home. Issues of illness, marital violence or discord, alcohol or drug abuse in caregivers all can affect parenting and child behaviour. You may also want to check your child’s hearing. Many children at this age have had a number of recurring ear infections (otitis media). With each re-occurrence of an ear infection, fluid remains in the ear and diminishes hearing capacity. They will grow out of it, but in the meantime, your child may actually be hard of hearing and as a result, language delayed. Therefore even though a little older, they may not hear you or understand your verbal commands. This is something you should check out with your pediatrician.

If all the above fails, fear not, but do ask for help. Call a local parenting center, a counselor or social worker or even your family doctor. Odds are something is going on that probably because you are so close to the problem, you do not see. If ever you feel like spanking your child, then give yourself a break to stop yourself. Have a cup of herbal tea, warm milk, a hot bath, or go for a walk. Do anything that works to give you a little distance and a chance to collect your thoughts. Just be sure your child is appropriately supervised while you grab a moment alone. Sometimes this “parental pause” is just the ticket to regain composure and reenter more effectively.

Tantrums? Follow these steps:

1.       Redirection

2.       Ignore

3.       Time-out

4.       Check for other stresses

5.       Check hearing

6.       Ask for help

7.       Take a break

Lastly, you can't offer too much praise, love and affection to a child. Give generously throughout the day!

Internet Safety


The issue isn’t trust. The issue is curiosity, childhood curiosity. It is the kind of curiosity that can either lead to good things… or danger.


The children were ages 11, 12 and 13. They came from respected families. They had never been in trouble before. They are good students. They were caught in sex acts between themselves uncharacteristic of children their ages. They learned their tricks from the Internet. They had seen thousands of perverse and sexually graphic images and their sheer numbers led the children to believe this was normal. They had to try it.


Our lives have changed. With the Internet we have invited the world into our homes: the good, the bad and the ugly. In less than seconds we can be transported around the world to see and hear things otherwise unavailable. There are remarkable advantages. We can communicate with friends and loved ones easily. We have access to information and education. The downside is that with any wrong turn we can be exposed to dangerous information, ideas, images, behaviour and can even be lured to our death.


These warning signs could signal a problem for your child and the Internet:


1.   Spending increased time on-line to the exclusion of other friends and prior preferred activities.

2.   Surfing the Internet with the door closed and when you approach, you hear a flurry of mouse-clicks as your child quickly deletes information or changes web pages.

3.   An increase in sexualized behaviour or talk of adult on-line friends, particularly if this leads to meeting unknown persons.


Think of the Internet as a big lake. There are shallow spots and deep spots. You would never throw your child into the lake without supervision, without learning to swim or without learning of the dangerous areas. You would never let your children swim in the dark. Like learning to swim, these strategies may protect your child from harm on the Internet:


1.   Purchase and install “blocking software”. Such software prevents targeted web sites from appearing on your computer. This tends to work better for younger children who are more apt to stumble on a pornographic web site than search for them directly. Ask at your local computer store for a recommendation on which software to use.

2.   Keep your computer in a public area in your house such as the kitchen, family room or hallway. Children will be embarrassed if sexual content appears and will not want to be caught in open territory with it on the screen. Porn needs secrecy to survive. No secrecy, no porn.

3.   If the computer is to remain in your child’s room, the door must be open when the Internet is in use.

4.   Check the Temporary Internet Files and History Folder on the computer. The rule is, no deleting these files. Parents are advised to view these files periodically. These files will show you exactly what has been viewed and which web sites were accessed. They even will show date and time. No files, no computer.


Remember, safety on the Internet is not a matter of trusting your child. It is a matter of understanding childhood curiosity and the trouble that it can cause. It is always up to the parents to protect children from harm and learn the strategies to do so. Our mission is to grow them up safely. This includes the Internet.  

Appreciating Developmental Milestones


When did your child learn to sit on their own, or walk, or talk, or potty train?


These accomplishments are known as developmental milestones. Developmental milestones refer to abilities we expect children to reach within certain age ranges. Researchers have studied developmental milestones. As a result, the age ranges that most children accomplish these milestones are well known. If a child reaches a milestone at a younger age range than most, we say that child is ahead or bright or gifted. If a child reaches a milestone at an age range older than most, we say that child is behind or delayed. Different ages present different milestones. For example, a child of about two usually has a vocabulary of several dozens words; a child of three to four years of age is generally toilet trained for both bladder and bowel.


Developmental milestones continue into the school years and beyond. For example, a child in grade one usually knows the alphabet and is able to read simple sentences, whereas moving out of the parental home or going to university or work is a developmental milestone for a teen or young adult. In preschool or school, comparing children to age appropriate developmental milestones can help identify those children who may benefit from special attention. The child who is ahead may benefit from special classes to make the most of their abilities and thus avoid boredom. On the other hand a child who is delayed may benefit from extra attention to cope with work that is beyond their ability and frustrating. Identifying and helping the child who is ahead or behind improves their school experience and feelings of self-worth. This in turn reduces the risk of behaviour or emotional problems later on.


There are many things that can influence a child reaching developmental milestones within expected age ranges. They include:


o       Prenatal health of the mother and child’s birth experience

o       Appropriate nutrition and daily care

o       Intellectual stimulation

o       Illness

o       Genetics

o       Family/marital conflict

o       Parenting skills

o       Individual differences


Parents who are informed as to normal developmental milestones can be better equipped to support their child’s development with age-appropriate expectations. Further, if their child is not meeting the expected milestones, they can be in a better position to seek help and make use of recommendations.


If you suspect your child is ahead or behind other children in reaching developmental milestones, consult your physician. Your physician can determine if there is cause for concern and can refer your child for further assessment. An assessment can determine if there is an important difference, the source of any difference and provide recommendations to address the difference.


Early identification of significant developmental differences is best, particularly before or as a child enters school. School expectations and programs are generally geared towards the average child so early identification helps children to obtain a more positive entry to school by putting in place strategies to better meet their needs.


If you believe your child is astray of normal developmental milestones, don’t be afraid. Seek help and use the advice provided to improve your child’s situation. Better starts make for better endings.

The above three articles courtesy of:
Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW - Executive Director
Interaction Consultants / I Promise Program Inc.
20 Suter Crescent,
Dundas, Ontario, Canada
L9H 6R5
(905) 628-4847


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