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Health and Wellness

Physical, emotional, social health, and beyond.

You want your child to be happy and healthy. From nutrition to physical activity, to literacy and social relationships, there are many milestones and goals you want to support and hope to achieve as a family. We’re here to help by directing you to the best options to support your child’s development.
 



 

On this page


Childhood Development

Developmental Milestones

Literacy and Learning

Physical Health

Healthy Eating

Keeping Active

Health Care Facilities

Dental Health

Eye Health

Social Relationships & Bullying

Need More Help?

 

Childhood Development


Developmental Milestones

It’s a joy for parents to watch their children grow. Although every child develops differently, if you want to look at some general guidelines, the Looksee Checklist from the Nipissing District Developmental Screen [external link] is a free, easy-to-use tool to monitor a child’s development from 1 month to 6 years of age.
 
Other services and resources in London and Middlesex County that can help you with questions or concerns about your child’s development include: 
 
Child and Youth Community Health Care Programs - This section lists programs and services providing health care services to children and youth.
 
Health Care Facilities for Children and Youth - The health care treatment facilities listed here have a special interest in the health care needs of children and youth.
 
Early Childhood Development - Middlesex-London Health Unit [external link] – Information on the emotional, social, and physical development of children. 
 
Family Centres provide a single door to many opportunities available throughout the city that support all children, youth, and families in achieving their full potential. Many Family Centres also host EarlyON programming at their locations. Family Centres connect you with information, programs, and services related to:
 
  • parenting and early learning
  • early childhood education
  • public health and wellness
  • recreation, sports, and leisure


Literacy and Learning

Most people think of literacy as just reading and writing.  Literacy is so much more. It is also having the ability to understand, use, and apply those skills so you can participate in school and society.

In London, statistics around literacy in the community are troubling. More than one in 4 children are not ready to learn in Grade 1, significant numbers of children are below the provincial average in reading, writing, and math, and more than one in 5 students are not graduating from secondary school. This paints a challenging picture for our community and too many children are being left behind.[1]

To tackle this vast and complex issue, the London Child and Youth Network’s Literacy priority is committed to effective interventions for literacy and learning. It is through the implementation of a community-developed and led action plan that community partners work to meet the Literacy priority goal of making sure children, youth, and families develop strong literacy skills and competencies needed to fully participate, engage, and thrive throughout their lives.

Some of the Child and Youth Network's initiatives  [external link] include:
 
Baby's Book Bag: A collection of early literacy resources, including quality board books, locally created songs and rhymes, and information about community resources for new and expecting parents with their first newborn. Families wishing to get their own Baby's Book Bag can visit a Family Centre or any branch of the London Public Library.

Balu çhon de lecture pour b éb é- Francophone and Francophile families who prefer to access the French version of the Baby’s Book Bag can get one at la ribambelle.

Literacy...right from the start! This locally created video featuring Dr. Jean Clinton supports the London community's efforts to reach more families across the city with information about reading, singing, playing, loving, and talking with babies as soon as they are born. It also provides valuable information about other resources for families in our city, including programs and services at Family Centre locations and any branch of the London Public Library. In addition to English, the video is available in French, Arabic, and Spanish. All versions can be found here.
 
 
2000 Words to Grow / Let’s Start Talking-
Research shows that the number of quality, positive words a child hears in an hour can dramatically impact their future success. Some kids only get 500-600 words an hour and others get more than 2000! And 2000 is where you should start.
2000 words an hour may seem like a lot, but consider how many words you can share while you talk about produce at the grocery store, during a device-free dinner, or reading bedtime stories. It's a hundred at least! How many words are in your child's favourite lullaby?

Powering down the screens at home and making words a priority during your daily routine is a simple way to make a huge impact on your child's future, and it's never too early to start. That doesn't mean no screen time, but there are ways to make the most of that too! You can use the Let’s Start Talking resources  [external link] to get conversation ideas for you and your child including during times like dinner, doing the laundry, and grocery shopping.

Find more literacy resources and services in London and Middlesex County:
   
 

Physical Health


Healthy Eating

Healthy Eating is an important part of maintaining overall health. As a parent, you will lead by example by cooking and serving nutritious meals throughout your child’s life to instill a lifetime of healthy habits. Here are some resources to support your family so you can put healthy food on the table. 


Food Banks and Community Food Programs - Provide free or low-cost food to individuals and families in need on an on-going, seasonal, and emergency basis. Services may include food banks, community gardens, Good Food Boxes, youth nutrition programs, and nutrition education programs. Identification for each family member and proof of income and/or residency may be required to access some programs.
Let’s Get Cookin’ – Middlesex-London Health Unit [external link] - A fun and easy way to teach basic cooking skills to children and youth, grades 5 and up.

School Health – Healthy Eating – Middlesex-London Health Unit [external link] - Tips for students, teachers, parents and the community to integrate healthy eating into a student’s life.

Caring for Kids: Healthy Eating for Children  [external link] – Nutrition information and tips for healthy eating.  

Growing Chefs! Ontario  [external link] - A registered charity based in London, Ontario that unites chefs, growers, educators and community members in children’s food education projects.

Food Families  [external link] – A program in which a group of neighbourhood families come together on a regular basis to form a network that supports, encourages, and mentors one another using food – purchasing, growing, sharing, learning, and celebrating – as a stimulating focus.

Find a Dietician [external link] – Dieticians of Canada directory.

Other helpful articles from the Heart and Stroke Foundation include:
 
Are you looking for support to put food on the table? Please visit the Food section of our Specialized Services page.


Keeping Active

Getting your body moving through play, sports, daily activities, or exercise is an excellent way to keep healthy. Being physically active has many benefits, including better physical and mental health, feeling more energetic, and reducing your risk of chronic diseases and obesity.[2]

It’s important to be a role model for your children so they can learn healthy habits from a young age. The Middlesex-London Health Unit provides benefits and guidelines of physical activity by age on their Physical Activity page [external link].

For more recreational and leisure activities visit the City of London and Middlesex County’s Recreation Programs and Facilities pages and check-out the links below.

Physical Activity – Benefits and Guidelines by Age Group – Middlesex-London Health Unit [external link]  - Learn about the importance of physical activity at every age, and how you can encourage your child to be more active.

Active Transportation – Middlesex-London Health Unit [external link] – Learn about how you and your family can incorporate physical activity as a method of transportation.

Community Resource Centres - Community resource centres provide access to a wide variety of health and social services for people of all ages.

Family Centres and EarlyON Programs – Many Family Centre and EarlyON programs incorporate movement into their activities. You can view your local Family Centre’s calendar here, or search for child, youth, and family programming across all Family Centres here.

Fitness Centres and Programs - Fitness centres and health clubs provide activities for all ages aimed at maintaining and improving physical health.

Youth Centres - Youth centres offer social and recreational activities, snacks, information and support, and in some cases counselling, for teens.


Health Care Facilities   
 
Child and Youth Community Health Care Programs - This section lists programs and services providing health care services to children and youth.
 
Health Care Facilities for Children and Youth - The health care treatment facilities listed here have a special interest in the health care needs of children and youth.
 
How to Find a Doctor [external link] – Information about how to find a doctor, including information on how to find a doctor if you don’t have health care coverage and/or an Ontario Health Card. 


Dental Health
 
Dental Clinics – Low Cost Programs - Dental clinics specialize in the care of teeth and gums including the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of their diseases. The organizations listed here provide options for low-cost dental care.
 
Healthy Smiles Ontario [external link] - is a government-funded dental program that provides free preventive, routine, and emergency dental services for children and youth 17 years old and under from low-income households. The services covered by this program may include: exams and routine checkups, preventive services, removal of teeth, fillings, and x-rays. Cosmetic dentistry and braces are not covered by this program.
 
Find a Dentist [external link] – Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario directory.
 

Eye Health  

Did you know that children under age 20 with an Ontario Health Card are eligible for a free eye exam once a year? It’s important to catch vision problems early, and your child may not know that anything is wrong. The Middlesex-London Health Unit encourages parents to make your child’s vision test a part of their regular back-to-school routine.[3] Find more information below.
               
Child Vision Care [external link] – Middlesex-London Health Unit’s page describing the importance of vision tests and signs your child may have a vision problem.
 
Find an Optometrist [external link] – College of Optometrists of Ontario directory.
 


Social Relationships & Bullying


According to the Middlesex-London Health Unit, signs of healthy social, emotional, and mental health development are your child’s ability to:

  • Make and develop friendships
  • Manage, understand, and express emotions
  • Explore and interact with the environment
  • Show empathy (caring) towards others
  • Have self-confidence
  • Do well in school [4]  

The Middlesex-London Health Unit has a variety of resources that can help you nurture your child’s mental health so they can thrive in social relationships. Here are a few pages to visit:
 
Other Useful Services:
 
Family Centres and EarlyON Programs – Family Centres and EarlyON Programs offer children from 0-17 years an opportunity to socialize with their peers.

Youth Centres - Youth centres offer social and recreational activities, snacks, information and support, and in some cases counselling, for teens.

Recreation Programs and Facilities – Enrolling your child in group activities will provide them an opportunity for connection with their peers.

Mental Health for Children and Youth - Mental health programs for children and youth provide preventive, diagnostic and treatment services in a variety of community and hospital-based settings to help them achieve, maintain and enhance their state of well-being, personal empowerment, and the skills to cope with the demands of everyday life.

Please visit the Crisis Services page for more information on Mental Health resources for children and youth.
 
 

Need More Help?


Community Connectors are fundamental to helping London families get connected to services and supports. In every Family Centre, families are greeted by a knowledgeable, friendly Community Connector who helps them connect seamlessly to more opportunities that help them be successful in all aspects of their lives.

Contact or visit a Family Centre to speak with a Community Connector.
 
MLHU Telephone Support for Families
Available Monday through Friday, from 8:30 am until 4:30 pm, call 519-663-5317 to speak with a Public Health Nurse from the Middlesex-London Health Unit about questions or concerns about parenting, or caring for your infant or child.
 
Telehealth Ontario
Telehealth Ontario is a free, confidential service you can call to get health advice or information. A Registered Nurse will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In a medical emergency, call 911.
 
Toll-free: 1-866-797-0000

Toll-free TTY: 1-866-797-0007
 
[1] Child and Youth Network. (2020). About Making Literacy a Way of Life. Retrieved from https://www.londoncyn.ca/priority/making-literacy-way-life
 
[2] Middlesex-London Health Unit. (2019). Physical Activity. Retrieved from https://www.healthunit.com/physical-activity
 
[3] Middlesex-London Health Unit. (2017). Child Vision Care. Retrieved from https://www.healthunit.com/vision
 
[4] Middlesex-London Health Unit. (2018). Social and Emotional Development. Retrieved from https://www.healthunit.com/early-child-development-social-emotional