Helping parents and children make the transition back to school

Regional resources and supports to help you get ready for school

It’s that time of the year again for the kids to go back to school. Are you ready for school routines, packing lunches and making sure your kids children know how to get to school safely? As you enjoy the final days of summer vacation, I want to share with you a number of Regional resources that can help make your families’ transition back to school—safe and healthy.

Getting school-ready

Do you have a major change happening in your family? Is your little one starting kindergarten or maybe you have an older child starting high school? Halton Region offers two online resources filled with valuable tips and information to help you support your child as they start school. Ready, Set, Go!, for preschoolers starting kindergarten and Ready, Set, Whoa!, for teens, can help you navigate and support your child’s journey through the next stage of their life.

Keeping your immunizations up-to-date

Immunization is one way to protect our community from the threat of preventable diseases that can easily be spread in schools. If you haven’t already done so, please ensure your family’s immunizations are up-to-date and that your children have all of the legally-required immunizations to attend school. All updated immunizations must be submitted to the Health Department.

Halton has recently been making it easier for parents to report and request immunization records. You can now report immunizations either online, in person or by dialing 311. If you’re unsure what immunizations the Health Department has on file, we recently launched an online immunization records request form to give you a more convenient way to request a copy of the immunization records we have on file.

Safely getting to school

Teaching children to cross the road safely when walking or biking is an important first step towards independence. As parents, we start by holding their hand as they cross the road and reminding them to always look all ways before crossing. When our children begin to head to school with friends—it is still important to keep talking about safety. If your child will be going to school on their own, you may want to practice walking to school together so they feel comfortable with the route. Our website (halton.ca) also includes information on pedestrian and bicycle safety that can help reinforce important safety messages with your children.

Support for parents

Getting organized and managing the demands of “back-to-school” routines can feel overwhelming at times for parents and children. Remember you can call or connect online with HaltonParents where public health nurses will provide support, information and other resources to cope with those everyday issues. Connect with us online at halton.ca/haltonparents, on Twitter @HaltonParents and Facebook, by email at haltonparents@halton.ca, or dial 311 to speak directly with a public health nurse. I would like to wish all Halton parents, students, teachers and school staff a wonderful, safe, healthy and productive school year.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report”.

Halton helps parents ease the transition to kindergarten for their children

Connecting people to services is a strategic priority for Halton Region. The dedicated staff of the Region’s Health Department work hard to ensure that Halton’s parents and guardians have access to the information they need to give their children a safe and healthy experience at home and at school.

One of the most important transitions in a young child’s life is the one from preschool (or home) to kindergarten. While it can be an exciting change for many parents/guardians and children, kindergarten can also be a nervous, unpredictable time for some youngsters and their families. Whether you and your child feel prepared for kindergarten or are worried about the transition to “big kids school”, it’s comforting to know that Halton Region has the tools you need to help your child get Ready, Set, Go!

readysetgo

Provided to all parents of children entering kindergarten within the Halton District School Board (HDSB) and the Halton Catholic District School Board (HCDSB), the Ready, Set, Go! package provides parents with some excellent resources to help their child thrive in kindergarten. For the past four years, the Region has collaborated with the HDSB, HCDSB and Ontario Early Years Centres to create a practical toolkit for parents that includes information about:

Parents and guardians can also visit halton.ca/readysetgo or halton.ca/haltonparents to access a variety of helpful community supports and programs, checklists, tips and much more! We hope that you and your family find these resources useful.

At Halton Region, we have made it a high priority to help connect residents to the services they need. Our HaltonParents team of public health nurses is committed to helping parents and guardians access the best programs, supports and resources available to help their children succeed in kindergarten and beyond. We are also proud of the strong partnerships we have with the Halton District School Board, the Halton Catholic District School Board, Ontario Early Years Centres and the many other community groups who contribute to the positive development of our children and families. Programs such as Ready, Set, Go! are another example of what makes Halton such a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report”.

Excellent programs and supports available for Halton’s parents

Raising a family can be a full-time job for many parents. Many of us strive to create a balance between home and family, work, friends, health and hopefully some community service. With so many competing interests, it’s comforting to know that Halton Region offers parents some excellent programs and supports.

Local parents can connect directly with a member of the Halton Region public health nursing team through our ever-growing HaltonParents online Twitter and Facebook communities or by dialing 311. For busy parents in search of timely information, the Region’s nurses also offer quality health information in their HaltonParents blog and provide a wealth of excellent online resources at halton.ca/haltonparents.

Whether you are transitioning to parenthood or working to improve your relationship with your teenager, the Region’s website offers parenting information for every age and stage, including topics such as pregnancy, growth, development, child safety and breastfeeding support.

At Halton Region, we want to ensure that your little ones get the best possible start to help build the foundation for a lifetime of good health. As a designated Baby-Friendly health unit, the Halton Region Health Department protects, promotes and supports breastfeeding in the community. In fact, we offer residents several great programs, classes and workshops focused on prenatal and early childhood development, including Healthy Babies, Healthy Children, the Halton Prenatal Nutrition Program and Halton Breastfeeding Connection.

Whether you are just thinking about having kids or your exciting journey has already begun, Halton Region and our public health nursing team is with you every step of the way. A complete list of our parenting programs, workshops and seminars is available on the Halton Region website.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter,”The Carr Report.”

 

Get out and have family fun in Halton over March Break

March Break is almost here and if you are staying in Halton, there are so many things for you and your family to do. The HaltonParents team of public health nurses have been tweeting their growing number of followers about local activities for March Break, and reminding parents and caregivers to get out and be active with your kids. It’s not only great for your health, but it’s also great for building stronger connections with your children, no matter if they are 6 or 16.

Of course, as a former hockey player, skating was one of my favourite activities to do with my kids, but I used to love any times I spent with them when they had breaks from school. Here are some thoughts for what you can see and do in Halton this week:HRCA Crawford Lake

Of course, these are just a handful of ideas for you and your family. I encourage you to find out more about what is available just outside your front door. You can even check out the HaltonParents blog for more ideas about what to do with your kids during the winter. Enjoy the week.

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at  gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

New online tools for parents: “Kindergarten: Ready, Set, Go!”

We’ve been making our website a priority over the past few years – to improve the information and resources we have available to the residents of Halton and increase the interactivity of our site. Now, parents of children ages three or four will find everything they need to know to help prepare their child for the transition to kindergarten in the new “Kindergarten: Ready, Set, Go!” pages.

Prepared in partnership between Halton Region, the Halton District School Board, the Halton Catholic School Board and the Ontario Early Years Centres, parents will find comprehensive information and interactive tools such as:

Topics and resources cover the five key areas of child development, health and building healthy lifestyles, setting routines, parenting tips, reading, schedules of school PD days and holidays, and upcoming local parenting presentations.Ready Set Go

In Halton, almost one in four five-year olds (Our Kids Network Report Card, Early Development Instrument) results is not ready for school. Halton Region, in partnership with our community organizations, want to help change this statistic and ensure parents in our region have the information, resources and support they need to help give their children the confidence and skills they need to succeed in school. The “Kindergarten: Ready, Set, Go!” pages should certainly help them achieve this goal.

Keep in mind that parents with children of any age – from pregnancy to raising teenagers –can connect directly with one of our public health nurses or child development staff at any time, in many ways, through HaltonParents:

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”

The new Family Health Information Line – your connection to a local public health nurse

Did you know that you can talk directly with a local public health nurse any weekday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. about a wide range of topics for you or your family? The Halton Region Health Department now offers the Family Health Information Line (FHIL) where nurses will provide you with comprehensive, research-based information, support and counselling.

When you call FHIL, you will talk with one of seven nurses who can help you with your questions related to:

  • Mental health
  • Alcohol or drug use
  • Safety and injury prevention
  • Local supports and programs
  • Overall health and wellness

These nurses also service the telephone support for HaltonParents, where local parents can get advice and support about:

  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding support
  • Parenting – from birth to teens
  • Child/youth behaviour and health concerns
  • Preconception information
  • And much more…

HaltonParents public health nurses also offer support to parents online through the website, Twitter (@HaltonParents) and a parenting blog, with Facebook soon to come.

But FHIL is not restricted only to parents and the general public. It is also a great service for professionals across the Region. Physicians and other health providers, school professionals and child care professionals can receive access to evidence-based information and resources for patients and families, information about the Health Department’s programs and services, linkages to other local organizations, how to refer patients and families to services, and much more.

Establishing FHIL has been part of the Region’s Citizen’s Priorities Action Plan as a key initiative to enhance access to health information and services for residents in Halton. And because our public health nurses also work in the community, FHIL nurses can link you to the programs and services offered by many other agencies and organizations. FHIL allows the Health Department to be more inclusive, efficient and customer friendly.

So, to access the Family Health Information Line, simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000 and ask for the Family Health Information Line. You can also email one of the nurses at familyhealthinfo@halton.ca. To find out more about the line, visit www.halton.ca/fhil. Devon, Cindy, Nicole, Hilary, Kirsty, Andrea, and Tamara—are waiting to help you!

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”