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CHEO Urges Community to Remember That Middle Childhood Matters

The Children’s Hospital of Easter Ontario (CHEO) and the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board wants the community to remember that “middle childhood” matters.

“There is always a great deal of focus on the first six years of life and then a renewed interest in teen issues, however, children aged six to 9 are often caught in the middle. They are too old for early years programming and too young to get services from adolescent-based agencies,” said Jama Watt, co-coordinator, Child and Youth Health Network of Eastern Ontario, CHEO.  “Middle childhood is when kids often take their first real steps towards independence, it’s when they spend more time with their friends and unfortunately it is often overlooked.”

“As parents, we’re relieved to finally get a break from the frantic pace of raising babies and very young children. Because older children are not growing and changing as quickly as before, we can forget that there is still a lot going on under the surface.  So we may sometimes miss warning signs of problems or important opportunities for growth during these ‘middle years’,” said Watt.

To encourage parents to spend some time focusing on this age group, CHEO and the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board are presenting a free information session for parents.

 “CHEO Connects – Middle Childhood Matters” will focus on children aged 6 – 9 and will provide parents with strategies on how to deal with everything from identifying depression, to boosting confidence, to creating balance with extracurricular activities and promoting independence.

“Children who are provided the building blocks to develop strong social skills grow to have lasting, healthy personal and professional relationships later through adulthood,” said Dr. Simone Kortstee, a psychologist at CHEO.  “They learn how to make healthy choices that impact their long-term physical and mental health.”


·        Free Information Session

·        Monday, November 28th, 2011, 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

·        Adult High School – 300 Rochester Street

·        To register:

Topics include

o       Self Esteem, Friendships and Social Skills: What You Need to Help Your Child – Dr. Simone Kortstee
How can we help our children accept themselves and be confident in who they are? What can we, as parents, say and do to help them get along with others without losing themselves? This presentation reviews tips on informing our children about bullying, peer pressure, and independent friendships as well as strategies to boost confidence.

o       Helping your 6 to 9 year old develop skills for co-operation and self-management - Dr. Virginia Bourget
Can’t agree on anything with your 6-9 year old? At this age, children develop skills for co-operation which will in turn carry into their adult life. This session will focus on parental strategies to facilitate the abilities that allow your child to regulate their emotions and behavior, as well as how to deal with situations when you and your child just can’t seem to agree

o       Depression and Anxiety in Children: Tips and Tools -  Dr. Marjorie Robb
You don’t think children can be depressed? Think again. With all the changes that children aged 6 to 9 experience, some stress and anxiety is to be expected. This presentation will look at signs and symptoms of depression and anxiety in children with an emphasis on “red flags” that parents should be aware of and suggestions about first steps to take in responding.

o       Healthy Activity and Balance! Can We Do Everything Well? -
Dr. Annick Buchholz. Dr. Laurie Clark, Kelly Hefferman, RD
With all the activities children are involved in, how do we know if we, as parents, are pushing our children to succeed or burn out? This session will review suggestions for how to help create balance amongst school demands, extra-curricular activities, eating and sleeping in order to promote physical and mental health.

CHEO Connects – “Middle Childhood Matters” is part of an on-going series of presentations co-sponsored by the hospital and the public school board.


For more information please contact: Sarah Campbell or Ann Fuller, CHEO, 613-737-7600 x 2658 or Sharlene Hunter, Ottawa-Carleton District School Board Communications Officer at 613-596-8264.

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