Smart Beginnings Campaign Focuses on Health of Young Children
The Virginia Early Childhood Foundation and the Virginia Chapter-American Academy of Pediatrics have partnered to designate May 10-June 21, pharmacy 2015, the time period between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, as an opportunity to focus on the health development of young children and to recognize that Smart Beginnings Start with Families: Healthy Children are Ready to Learn.
Both of these partner organizations develop and implement statewide strategies to help parents, family members and caregivers understand the importance of children’s early years, from birth through age five, as a critical time for building a strong foundation for good health and success in school.
Tips for Parents
It’s so important for parents to be active participants in their child’s early learning. After all, parents are a child’s first teacher! Here are some tips to cut and clip to the refrigerator or in another spot as a daily reminder of activities that profoundly impact a young child’s growth and development:
- Play with your child – Play is an essential way for children to learn about their world while developing emotionally, physically, socially and intellectually.
- Create and keep routines – Children do best when they know what to expect. Teach about rules by setting up daily routines, particularly for eating and sleeping.
- Read at bedtime – Curling up with your child to read helps your child settle down after a busy day and sets the stage for a lifelong love of reading.
- Have meals together as much as possible – Mealtimes with your children are great ways to spend more time together and share family values and traditions, while also teaching good eating habits and table manners.
- Take time to talk and listen – Talking to your baby or toddler stimulates brain development and builds a strong foundation for learning. Children feel important and gain confidence when adults take the time to talk with them often. Ask about friendships and activities that your child enjoys. Talk about your own best and worst experiences, and share stories from your own childhood.
- Show respect to gain respect – Children learn by example, so put the cell phone down and turn off the computer or TV to focus completely on conversations or homework with your child. When you cannot stop what you are doing, be honest and tell your child that you’ll be available as soon as your task is completed.
- Unconditional love – Talk through your child’s challenging behavior with guidance and love and without threats. Acknowledge your own mistakes when your child is old enough to understand and engage in conversation with you.
For more information about Smart Beginnings Start with Families: Healthy Children are Ready to Learn, visit www.smartbeginnings.org.