Mind and Body: Strong families help child development

By Melissa Sparks

HANDS Supervisor

Nearly all parents when asked, say they want to raise a happy and healthy child.

Sometimes, the path to achieving that might have bumps along the way. Being the best parent you can be involves taking steps to strengthen your family and finding support when you need it.

When you have the knowledge, skills and resources you need, you can raise a happy, healthy child.

Consider some of the following options to make your family strong.

— Promote nurturing and attachment in your family by your family showing each other how much you love one another.

Families can do this by connecting with their children through a hug, smile, song or a few minutes of talking and listening. Families can also engage children while completing everyday tasks such as cooking, shopping and driving in the car.

Ask kids questions to find out about their day, their thoughts and feelings.

— Increase your knowledge of parenting and child development as parenting is part natural and part learned.

Parents can continue to learn about children and their development at each stage of a child’s life by talking with their physician about development, enrolling in parenting classes, reading online articles, subscribing to newsletters or magazines, and by spending time observing your child.

— Parent resilience occurs when parents are able to manage stress and bounce back from challenges.

To be a resilient parent, parents should consider taking quiet time to reenergize by doing something for themselves that is relaxing. Try physical exercise.

Connecting with friends and surrounding yourself with people who support you as a parent are excellent tools to building your strong family.

— Social connections with friends, family and neighbors who help you out as a parent and provide emotional support is essential.

Look for opportunities to get to know neighbors or join a play group or attend community events for families to connect with others who share in your parenting experiences.

— Support for parents in daily life and challenges makes families very strong.

Families experience struggles at times when they might need support accessing health care, housing, education, counseling, food and meeting day to day needs.

Parents can call their child’s school, community needs center, local health department and so forth to learn about the different agencies in a community that can provide concrete support.

Parents can also dial 2-1-1 to reach the United Way’s resource information line to find about an entire host of resources.

— The social and emotional competence of children is vital and occurs when children know they are loved, feel they belong and supported with getting along with others.

Parents can encourage children to grow up to be social and emotionally strong by talking with kids about their feelings and how important they are; teach and encouraging children to solve problems in age appropriate ways and provide regular routines to children to show their world is predictable.

Information referenced from https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/guide2013/strong.pdf.

Clark County Health Department provides programs for the entire family, including WIC, HANDS, family planning, well child care/immunizations, and home health care. For more information, call 744-4482 or visit www.clarkhealthdept.org. You can also “like” us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Clark-County-Health-Department.