StrongStart » Resources for Parents

Resources for Parents

  • ​​Comox Valley 1000x5​​ - "A book is a gift you can open again and again." ~ Garrison Keillor. All children deserve a chance to be read to.1000x5 aims to help with that - by the community, for the community. Through this initiative, gently-used children’s picture books are collected from our community, and, working with partnering organizations, delivered to families who need them.If you would like to volunteer, or donate books, please email us at
  • CV Toy Library - The CVTLS is a non-profit society offering an affordable and environmentally conscious alternative by lending toys to families and caregivers of young children.
  • Island Parent - Island Parent is a magazine is a "Resource Publication for Vancouver Island Parents"
  • Today's Parent
  • Triple P - Positive Parenting Program
  • ValleyChild - This site is your guide to events and services for kids under 6 in the Comox Valley and their families.
  • Vancouver Island Regional Library - The library has a lot of interesting and informative books on parenting and child development.
Parenting Tips
Healthy Eating and Physical Activity
  • Action Schools! BC - providing more opportunities for more children to make healthy choices more often!
  • BC Healthy Living Alliance - BC Healthy Living Alliance is a provincial coalition of organizations working together to improve the health of British Columbians by promoting physical activity, healthy eating and living smoke-free.  The website contains information, reports and links to other health related organizations.
  • Bake Better Bites - A great resource of recipes that have been modified for reducing sugar and fat while increasing fibre.
  • Canada's Food Guide
  • Caring for Kids - This site provides information on a variety of child health topics including healthy eating, safety and behaviour and development. 
  • Dental Care
  • Dial-a-Dietitian​ - Dial-a-dietitian is a free nutrition information telephone service (1-800-667-3438) for all BC residents and is funded by the BC Ministry of Health. Dietitians provide nutrition consultation and referral. Dial-a-dietitian has translation services in over 130 languages. An allergy dietitian is available from Wednesday to Friday.​

Guiding Behaviour

Tips for Parents/Caregivers on Guiding Behaviour

These tips suggest ways for parents/caregivers to guide their child’s behaviours. Not every tip will work in every situation or with every child. If one idea doesn’t work, try another, and keep trying! Using multiple methods can sometimes be more effective.

Before there are challenging behaviours…..

Set limits – Limits tell your child what is acceptable and work best when your child understands the reasons for them. Young children will need many patient reminders. Example: “I need you to sit down when you eat so you won’t choke.”

State your expectation clearly – Let your child know what you want them to do. Offer choice only when there really is one. Give children time to get ready for a change. Example: “We will clean up the toys in 10 minutes. You can choose to clean up the blocks or the puzzles.”

Decide on your priorities – Pick your battles. If your child’s behaviour does not harm themselves, others, or property, you might choose to say nothing about it and focus on something that is more important for them to learn.

Show your appreciation – Let your child know when you are pleased with them. Give children positive attention and encouragement for desired behaviours when they occur. These positive interactions help build self-esteem and pave the way from more positive moments. Example: “Thank you for helping me set the table.”

Be aware – Being aware of your child’s activities and mood can help prevent problems. Catching the problem at an early stage can help avoid a bigger problem. Example: If you notice that your child is becoming bored, you can suggest another activity.

Investigate - Put yourself in your child’s shoes and try to figure out what he gets from his challenging behaviour. Does he get your attention? Does he avoid something he dislikes or isn’t good at? Does the atmosphere become calmer or more exiting? Once you know what the challenging behaviour does for your child, you can help teach more appropriate ways to meet that need.

When challenging behaviour occurs…….

Stay calm - By showing your child that you can handle the situation with a cool head, you become the best role model.

Acknowledge your child’s feelings – Your child will respond more positively if you recognize the feelings that might have led to the behaviour. Example: “I can see that you are angry, but it’s not OK to hit.”

Problem-solve – The following steps can be used to model positive problem solving skills.

• Begin by acknowledging the problem. Example: “I can see you are upset. Hannah has the toy and you want it.”

• Talk with your child about possible solutions. Example: “Have you asked Hannah if you can have the toy when she is finished?”

• State a solution if the child can’t find one. Example: “Hannah can have five more minutes with the toy.”

• Summarize the situation for the child. Example: “Next time you can ask to have a turn next.”

Offer Choices - Give the child a real choice about what he can do. This is particularly effective in a reducing the likelihood of a potential problem. Make sure the choices are both meeting the needs of the child and the situation. Example: “Do you want to put your shoes on or your coat on first?”

Natural Consequences – Consequences are different from punishment. Sometimes consequences happen naturally.

Example: “If you don’t put on your coat, you may get cold.” The child will realize that they have made a poor decision on their own.

Setting Consequences - Sometimes the parent needs to decide what will happen as a result of the child’s behaviour. Remember that the consequences needs to “fit the crime”, and don’t say it unless you plan to follow through.

Example: “When you throw your blocks across the room, you will not be allowed to play with your blocks for the rest of the day.”

Redirecting Behaviour – This works well with very young children. Sometimes it is helpful to distract the child from the unwanted behaviour by offering another toy or activity. The alterative should fit with the child’s interests at the time.

Example: “Throwing blocks is unsafe. Let’s throw this softer ball instead.”


BC Early Learning Network Newsletter​

Dental Care


Caring for Your Child's Teeth
by Dr. Henry Bernstein

Protecting Those Pearly Whites

Your kids have million-dollar smiles. But how can you ensure that they keep those smiles well into adulthood? By taking care of their teeth and gums, of course! Although parents should be educated about proper dental health even before a child is born, there may be cultural, economic, and environmental factors that affect whether good dental habits are developed.

While many children go for periodic check-ups with their pediatrician or family doctor, many don't regularly visit with a dentist. Oral health is critically important. A dental professional helps prevent and correct common (and major) dental problems, including:


Caries (cavities)

Periodontal (gum) disease

Malocclusion (bad alignment)


However, dental visits don't just identify and treat diseases -- they also promote overall dental health by identifying risk factors for dental disease.

Dental Care Starts in Infancy

  • Learning about your baby's dental health (e.g., fluoride supplementation, how teeth develop, habits that may affect tooth development) should begin during pregnancy. If you're planning to bottle feed:
  • Avoid putting the baby to sleep with the bottle.
  • Avoid propping the bottle in the baby's mouth, since this habit may harm an infant's teeth.
  • Be reassured that sucking does not harm teeth at this young age and is actually calming for an infant.
  • Gently swabbing the gums with a clean cloth will help prevent early tooth decay. Even though you can't see them, teeth are actively developing and need close attention.
  • Visiting the Dentist
  • The initial visit to a dentist should be around your child's first birthday, when she's making the transition from drinking from a bottle to a cup. Most kids get their first tooth by about six months of age, but some don't get them until after their first birthday. The dentist can intervene early if there are signs of decay and provide good advice to head off future dental problems.
  • If your child doesn't see a dentist until her third birthday, the process of cavities may already be too far along! Prepare your child for a visit to the dentist by explaining what to expect. Tell your child that "the dentist will talk about your teeth first, and then look inside your mouth to see your gums and teeth."

Taking Care of Your Baby's Teeth

  • Although primary ("baby") teeth are temporary, they still require proper care, since they serve as placeholders for the permanent adult teeth. If a child loses his baby teeth due to cavities or injuries, he may need a space-maintaining appliance to prevent overcrowding of the permanent teeth.
  • To care for a baby's teeth:
  • Clean them with a soft brush when the first tooth pops through the gums.
  • The mechanical act of brushing and rinsing is more effective than toothpaste at removing food and plaque.
  • Begin brushing a toddler's teeth with a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste after his first birthday.
  • Fluoride should only be given as recommended by a health professional because it's based on the level of fluoride in the infant's drinking water.

Tips on Brushing and Flossing

  • Start brushing your child's teeth early in life so that he develops a routine. As a parent you are your child's most powerful role model and need to set a good example by taking good care of your own teeth and gums. Kids under four or 5 years of age will continue to need help with brushing because they don't have the skills to do it themselves yet.
  • Additional times for brushing after meals are a good idea. When your child turns four (when the back teeth are in contact with one another), you'll have to step-up the cleaning regimen. The following tips will be helpful:
  • Floss your child's teeth once a day at bedtime.
  • Kids should brush their teeth at least twice a day - it's best after breakfast and then about a half-hour before bed.
  • After brushing and flossing at bedtime, your child shouldn't eat or drink anything but water.
  • Once your child can brush her teeth on her own, you should still supervise the brushing to be sure she gets to all parts of the teeth and gums.
  • Children can learn how to floss on their own at age eight. It does take a bit of motor dexterity and coordination, although some kids may master this earlier.
  • Helping your child learn a routine of good dental care will put him on the right track to prevent problems later. Good oral hygiene and the use of fluoride in low doses are the most effective ways to reduce the risk of cavities and gum disease.
  • Dental sealant can prevent tooth decay where oral hygiene and fluoride can't reach. A low carbohydrate diet will help control the plaque-producing bacteria. For a child younger than two years old, try limiting exposure to saliva from adults or other children on utensils or pacifiers.

You should also:

  • Know how to prevent dental injuries and how to handle dental emergencies like the loss or fracture of a tooth.
  • Be familiar with the normal appearance of teeth and the mouth, so you can identify problems if they occur.
  • Be aware that by age six, as kids become more involved in sports and the risk of oral injury increases, it's important to teach your child about the importance of sports safety. Your young athlete should wear protective sports gear such as a mouth guard and face protector.
  • Educate your child about the dangers of smoking and chewing tobacco. Any child already using tobacco must be encouraged to stop the habit.