The month of April is devoted to celebrating everything we can do to transform our community into a place that cares about – and actively supports — families and children. By ensuring that all parents in our community have access to quality childcare, affordable health services, parenting education resources, and substance abuse and mental health programs, we make progress toward what the month stands for: April is Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Here is a list of simple tips that can have a positive effect on the well-being and healthy development of children, families and communities. Print it out! . !
For your family:
- As a parent, block out 15 minutes a day to play one-on-one with your child — doing anything he or she wants. We know from studies that the more parents engage in positive activities with their children, the less they use negative physical and psychological discipline.
- Tell the children or youth in your life how much you care for them and appreciate them.All children deserve to have someone who is “crazy about them” and loves them unconditionally.
- Work with the kids in your life to explore their heritage and learn their family’s story.Every family has a rich story to tell and our connections to our past help us carry forward our values and traditions.
For friends and neighbors:
- Compliment a father — someone you know or even someone in public — on something positive you see him do with his children. Dads contribute uniquely to children’s development.
- Offer your time to baby-sit for the child of a friend, neighbor or family member. All parents need help sometimes — even if it is just to rest or “recharge” for an hour or two.
- Mentor a young dad you know in growing his relationship with his kids. Some young dads may need help with transportation or in identifying helpful resources for their children.Dads provide qualities and benefits for their children no one else can.
- Support parents looking for a job by offering your professional knowledge and experience in resume writing or preparing for a job interview. Financial stability links directly with family stability and can have a big effect on the emotional well-being of caregivers and their children.
- Encourage single mothers you know, whenever possible, to support the involvement of children’s fathers in their lives. When non-custodial dads work to be involved in the lives of their children, they need the positive support of the child’s other parent or caretaker to encourage the development of that relationship.
- Build community trust and togetherness by inviting friends to participate in a meaningful cultural event in your life. Helping people learn about your culture may help them understand that despite some differences, we have a lot in common — especially the need for support now and then. See Queen City Stay At Home Moms
- Arrange a potluck event in your neighborhood to get to know other parents and their kids. Friends and neighbors can give outstanding support to families in times of need or stress.
For your community:
- Sponsor, volunteer at or participate in a cultural event in your community. Families come from different cultural backgrounds that all bring value in creating caring and compassionate communities.
- Do volunteer work for a youth- or family-serving organization in your community. Some families just need a little help from time to time, and community organizations are designed to do just that.
- Take action on legislative issues that affect children and families. Call your elected representatives, join demonstrations and be sure always to vote to show that you support services to help families raise healthy children. (See Momsrising)
- Introduce yourself to your neighbors. Caring and connected neighborhoods can be powerful in reducing neighborhood violence and supporting struggling parents.
- Create a “Safe Children Zone” in your neighborhood. Host a community meeting with your neighbors to talk about what each of you can do to help create a sense of safety for the children in your neighborhood.
- Volunteer at or donate resources to a local preschool or daycare center. Early education builds the foundation for a lifetime of healthy brain development.
- Ask yours or another faith-based organization in your community about donations — even small ones — that can be made to support families in need. Some families need help providing for their children’s basic needs.
- If you have reason to believe a child may be at risk of harm in their home, call your local child abuse hotline. Anyone who is worried about the well-being of a child can call to report their concerns.Individuals who report concerns have the right to receive a letter later to know what happened with the case.
To report concerns of child abuse or neglect, visit or call your county’s DSSChild Protective Services agency.
Call 911 in emergencies. (I’ve done it before. It’s okay and the child will thank you for it – later.)
((photo credit for cover photo………not sure who created it. I found it on google images.))