April is National Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month
New beginnings always seem more possible during springtime. Longer days, warmer temperatures and green shoots beginning to emerge from the cold ground after a long winter remind us that nothing lasts forever. April is national Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention month. As we emerge from winter and COVID 19 isolation, it is time to look around to see how we can support parents, especially those with young children. Early childhood, birth to 5-years-old presents our community with a golden opportunity to shape our future leaders, workers, and caregivers. This unique period of a child’s brain development is like none other.
This past year has been especially difficult. COVID-19 has changed so much of our daily lives. Isolation from friends, family and loved ones has taken its toll on all of us. Not being able to spend time together celebrating and socializing as we did before has been difficult and heart breaking to endure.
Isolation is not a new phenomenon; many were living in isolation pre-COVID-19 — especially new parents. Bringing a child into the world is joyous and stressful. Ongoing support from family, friends and neighbors can make a huge difference in how parents respond to the stressors that come with having children. Right now, supporting new parents may look different than before the pandemic, but it is even more important now with all the added stress and isolation of the last year.
Together, we can support parents and help children build a strong foundation that will last a lifetime - here's how:
Normalizing the fact that parenting is hard
Encouraging social connections with other parents
Organizing enriching activities for families
Offering small gestures of kindness to parents we meet
- Ask the parent how they are feeling
- Delight in their child; smile, laugh, play “peek a boo”
- Learn and share information about child development ages and stages
- Share resources - if a parent needs a break tell them to call Vanessa Behan and speak to a Family Support Specialist! Vanessa Behan is a safe, fun, nurturing place where parents can leave their children (for free) in order to take a much-needed break.
By supporting each other, we can build a brighter future that is full of kindness, care and connection. And that’s a great new beginning.
For more information and ideas on how you can help stop child abuse and neglect while supporting children and families in our community, visit Project Pinwheel.