Competing priorities named biggest child-raising challenge
TORONTO, May 12, 2014 /CNW/ - A new YMCA study reveals 37% of Southern Ontario parents with children
under six describe their kids as behind in one or more key
developmental areas - social, emotional, cognitive, language and
physical. When asked about the challenges in raising young children,
competing priorities that limit them from spending quality time with
their kids was at the top of the list.
"Parents place a high priority on all areas of early childhood
development, but the competing demands they face are prohibiting them
from recognizing if their child is behind," said Linda Cottes, Senior
Vice President, Child and Family Development, YMCA of Greater Toronto.
"Regardless of age or income, parents across the board reported
challenges in their ability to foster their child's development,
serving as a real wake up call for the need for better support."
The research revealed parents experienced the following challenges when
it comes to raising their children:
67% of parents reported it's hard to find enough quality time with their
70% would like more information about services and programs for
59% are unsure what information is best for their kids
20% were uncertain about what developmental milestones they should look
for in the first five years
The report is the first of several the Y will commission in an effort to
gain a better understanding of parents' needs in raising healthy
children. The initial research focused on parents with children 0-5
years old because these years are crucial to the healthy development of
"The first five years of development are critical to a young person's
health. Without opportunities for healthy development, children are at
risk for falling behind," said Dr. Olaf Kraus de Camargo, Associate
Professor, Department of Pediatrics, McMaster University. "Right now,
many parents are unsure of the steps they need to take to raise healthy
kids, and with better support they will feel more confident."
The new insights gained from the study will provide an opportunity for
policy makers, educators, charities and parents to work closer together
to foster healthy early childhood development.
"We know that every dollar invested in early childhood education
generates at least two dollars in the form of reduced social,
healthcare, special education and criminal justice costs and increased
future earnings and tax revenues," said Jennifer Holmes Weier, Vice
President of YMCA Regional Development. "The most expensive approach is
to ignore the issue and leave parents and children to struggle on their
The new study of parents' concerns, coupled with other existing studies
on early childhood development and the YMCA's knowledge of children's
needs, enables the charity to fine tune the programs it offers to
better help young families.
"The Y is there to support families. Parents can't do it on their own,"
said Jim Commerford, President and CEO at YMCA of Hamilton, Burlington,
Brantford. "On June 1, YMCAs across Canada are opening their doors for
free to the community to celebrate Healthy Kids Day. It's a chance for
parents to connect, learn about healthy habits, and get the whole
family active together under one roof."
The YMCA CALL TO ACTION:
To provincial and municipal governments:
Improve access to affordable programs and services, as well as quality
child care. Continue with reforms to the legislative and regulatory
environment for child care.
Implement the curriculum framework for child care and tie program
funding to quality measures
To teachers, early childhood educators and volunteers:
Proactively exchange information on a child's development with their
families on a regular basis, and actively link families to community
resources such as the Y, Ontario Early Years and Family/Parenting
centres where they can connect as parents and access resources.
Don't be afraid to ask for support. Ask questions about your childcare
provider's program curriculum and ensure that it promotes continuous
learning and development. Ask them for regular reports on your child's
Carve out family time. Seek out local programs and resources at
community centres like your local YMCA.
About the YMCA of Greater Toronto
For well over a century we've provided leadership and worked with
partners solving complex social problems to create real, measurable
outcomes that have strengthened the social health and fabric of
communities. As a charity, the YMCA offers a variety of programs
responding to the needs of the community, including education and
training, employment and immigrant services, family and youth services,
health and fitness programs, childcare and camps. Serving the
population of the GTA, Durham, Peel, York, Halton Regions and Dufferin
County, last year the YMCA connected with more than 489,000 people
across 334 locations.
About the YMCA of Hamilton, Burlington, Brantford
As a charitable organization, the YMCA of Hamilton/Burlington/Brantford
serves over 190,000 men, women and children living in Hamilton,
Burlington, Flamborough, Brantford and Brant County. The YMCA nurtures
people's potential and helps build healthy communities through
programming that includes: health, fitness and recreation, child care,
day and residential camping, outdoor education, employment training,
newcomer services, academic assistance, community outreach, leadership
development and volunteerism.
The YMCA of Greater Toronto and Hamilton, Burlington, Brantford poll was
conducted using a mixed methodology of online and telephone
interviewing by Nielsen. The study was conducted from February 13 to
March 12, 2014 with 650 parents/guardians of children between the ages
of 0 to 5. The telephone portion of the study collected 150 responses
with Hamilton, Burlington, Brantford parents/guardians of children 0-5,
a sample of this size is considered accurate +/- 8%, 19 times out of
20. The online component was a standard panel survey among a random
sample of GTA panel members who are parents/guardians of children 0-5,
if this were a probability sample it would have a margin of error of
+/-4.4%, 19 times out of 20.
Image with caption: "More than one-third of parents in Southern Ontario say their young children are behind in one or more key early development areas, new YMCA report finds (CNW Group/YMCA of Greater Toronto)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140512_C7534_PHOTO_EN_40154.jpg
SOURCE: YMCA of Greater Toronto
For further information:
Public Relations Manager
YMCA of Greater Toronto
Vice President, Communications
YMCA of Hamilton, Burlington, Brantford & YMCA of Niagara