Years ago, we used to hold preschool teachers responsible for preparing children for school. Today, we realize that early learning begins at home with babies and their families. Yet, many families of young children need information and support to nurture their children's learning and to navigate the early years of their children's development. The most effective early childhood programs are built around a commitment to family-staff partnerships that focus on both the child and the parent. With the proliferation of Birth to 5 programs, collaborative teams of families and practitioners typically partner to ensure that children are ready for school. A specialized team that includes therapists and/or infant/family mental health specialists is often needed for children at high risk for developmental delays or with disabilities who may need extra support.Read More
KIPS Blog: Parenting Assessment in Practice & Research
Tags: Parenting Assessment, parent-child relationship, school readiness, early intervention, engagement-parent, family, community, family support-partnership-services, Getting Ready model, children with disabilities
Do the Holidays Bring Joy or Stress?
A little stress in life can be useful. It may motivate people to stop procrastinating, take better care of their health, or explore new opportunities. However, too often the lavishness of the holidays depicted in stores and in advertisements may bring families stress rather than joy. These messages may act as reminders of the stress from lack of food and clothing for their family, lack of safe, stable housing, insufficient health care, or violence in their family or neighborhood. This stress for parents and children may grow heavier in the face of our society’s extravagant holiday glee. Eventually, the accumulation of such burdens takes a toll on parents’ and children’s mental or physical health and well-being. The continual weight can lead to toxic stress when powerful, frequent or ongoing harmful experiences trigger a person’s defenses to freeze, fight or flee. Carrying this burden of toxic stress can be so overwhelming that it disrupts a family’s nurturance, their relationships and routines.Read More
Have you ever wondered how to explain “responsive parenting”? It’s not easy to put into words. It’s much easier to illustrate and understand using video. Take a look at a new video, How to: 5 Steps for Brain Building Serve and Return, from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. It walks step-by-step through video examples of parents and other caregivers as they play, shop, and cook with their young children. The video shows each responsive adult’s undivided attention as s/he notices a child’s action, then follows the child’s lead to respond. These “serve and return” interactions happen when a child says or does something and the adult responds in a timely and focused manner to support the child’s action. Such continual back-and-forth interactions are essential parenting skills that build the child’s brain and the parent-child relationship during the earliest years of development from birth to 5 years.Read More
Since 2017 we have been witnessing a devastating US practice of separating immigrant children from their families at the US-Mexico border. In early February 2019, Dr. Jack Shonkoff stepped forward to testify to a U.S. Congressional committee that is investigating the response of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to this family separation policy He explained that the trauma that can be caused by such forced family separation and the long-term effects of toxic stress will continue to accumulate until children and their parents/caregivers are reunited. His testimony presented the scientific evidence needed to analyze the effects of the family separation policy. Dr. Shonkoff is a renowned pediatrician, researcher and the Director of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. He went on to clarify:Read More
Oprah Discovers ACES!
Oprah has become a passionate champion for broadcasting the alarming impact of ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences). ACEs refers to the profound long-term impact that traumatic childhood experiences have on health and well-being. One could hardly find a more beloved TV/movie personality and billionaire to champion this long-overlooked cause! In a recent segment on the 60 Minutes television series.Read More
Guest Blog by
Erin Cowan, MSW, Program Director
Child Crisis Arizona, Home Visiting Program
Child Crisis Arizona, Home Visiting Program (CCAZ-HV) is a program for expecting mothers and families with children up to 5 years old in Mesa, Arizona. It is a program within Child Crisis Arizona and funded by First Things First Arizona. In 2013 the Parents as Teachers national center awarded CCAZ-HV the Losos Prize for Excellence for our innovative central intake program and our commitment to high standards of quality when serving our familiesRead More
I first heard about this book on a National Public Radio broadcast from nearby Philadelphia during which Dr. Sax was interviewed about his fourth book on parenting. Leonard Sax, MD, PhD, is an experienced family practice physician who is also trained in psychology. The Collapse of Parenting: How We Hurt Our Kids When We Treat Them Like Grown-Ups is his latest book that offers advice for parents to raise healthier children and teenagers.Read More
This week we return to the topic of Adverse Childhood Experiences. In our previous blog, we explored ACEs screening for children. What about ACEs screening for parents?
This is a question that I first heard when conducting an evaluation with a home visiting program for mothers and their children under 3 years old. The clinical staff had noted numerous traumatic childhood experiences reported during their conversations with participating mothers. Yet we had no group level information about how widespread these experiences were. The clinical staff decided to administer a structured screening inventory with each mother to describe the age and occurrence of traumatic experiences during childhood and adulthood. The results were astounding, and deeply troubled the clinical staff.Read More
A new report, Income and Poverty in the United Sates: 2014 details the most current statistics for children and families in the United States, the largest economy in the world. The title tells the story. Despite the encouraging steps toward recovery from the 2008-09 recession in terms of employment, the US continues to be a society of the “haves and have-nots”. The new poverty statistics are sadly too familiar. I find it appalling that 21.1% of children under age 18 and 23.5% of children under age 6 live in poverty in the US! Even worse, more than half, 55.1% of children under 6 years who live in families headed by single mothers live in poverty! (See Income and Poverty in the United Sates: 2014, pages 14-15 for more details on children living in poverty). Considering the trends over the past 50 years, we clearly are not winning the War on Poverty.Read More
Child Trends 5 issues a series of monthly e-newsletters summarizing current research about children and youth. The October 2015 newsletter, Child Trends: Five Things to Know about Mental Wellness in Early Childhood is brief, but packed with lots of links to solid research. The authors highlighted facts about the mental wellness of infants and toddlers, birth to 3 years old. Because parents and other significant caregivers are responsible for the early environments that young children experience, this newsletter focuses on what parents/caregivers need to understand and how they can promote children’s mental wellness during the first 3 years of life.