Tips For Young Families
As we’ve seen on Unexpected, every family has strengths, and every family faces challenges.
As we've seen on Unexpected, every family has strengths, and every family faces challenges. When you are under stress--like when Lilly felt isolated from other teens her age, or McKayla is torn between family members--sometimes it takes a little extra help to get through the day.
When life is difficult, it's important to have a solid foundation of support. Building on your strengths keeps the family strong and the children happy and healthy. The ideas below from Childwelfare.gov describe simple ways you can build key foundations for your own family.
Nurturing and Attachment: Show Your Love!
- Take time at the end of each day to connect with your children with a hug, a smile, a song, or a few minutes of listening and talking. Positive interactions between babies and their caregivers can build a solid foundation that lasts a lifetime.
- Find ways to engage your children while completing everyday tasks (meals, shopping, driving in the car, changing baby's diaper). Talk about what you are doing, ask them questions, count how many stairs you're walking up, or play simple games (such as "I spy"). These simple activities can help babies build language skills and more.
Always Learning: Parents are always learning new things about raising children, what they can do at different ages, and what works best for their children.
- Explore parenting questions with your family doctor, your child's teacher, family, or friends.
- Subscribe to a magazine, website, or online newsletter about child development.
- Take a parenting class at a local community center (these often have sliding fee scales).
- Observe what your child can and cannot do and be respectful of their abilities and limitations - know that children reach different milestones at different times. While some delays can be cause for concern, your child will be on his/her own pace for many things--and that's ok.
- Share what you learn with everyone who cares for your child--friends, family, babysitters, and others.
Take Care of Yourself
- Take quiet time to reenergize: Take a bath, write, listen to music, call a friend, scroll through social media, watch a favorite TV show.
- Do some physical exercise: Walk, stretch, do yoga, dance. You can even do these with your baby.
- Share your feelings with someone you trust.
- Surround yourself with people who support you and make you feel good about yourself.
- Participate in neighborhood activities such as potluck dinners, street fairs, picnics, or block parties.
- Join a playgroup or online support group of parents with children at similar ages.
- Find a church, temple, or mosque that welcomes and supports parents.
There's help for your family to meet your day-to-day needs, including housing, food, health care, education, and counseling. Know where to find help if you need it.
- Ask your child's pediatrician for list of people or places nearby to call for support.
- Ask the director of your child's school or daycare center for the best activities that community offers.
- Look online for resource specific to your state or community. Your local health department can often connect you to resources and support in your area.
Supporting Your Children
- Provide regular routines, especially for young children. Make sure everyone who cares for your child is aware of your routines around mealtimes, naps, and bedtime.
- Talk with your children about how important their feelings are.
- Listen when your child talks to you--show that you respect and value what they have to say.
- Teach and encourage children to solve problems in age appropriate ways. Learn more about what to expect at each age and stage from your child's pediatrician.
For Even More Resources Check Out:
For even more information on improving child and family welfare.
Zero to Three
Learn from the experts about how to put the science of child development into action. Early connections last a lifetime. Free tips, resources, newsletters and more. Check out:
By focusing on diaper need, the National Diaper Bank Network (NDBN) works to meet the basic needs of all children and families living in the United States.
Resources for young people who are pregnant and parenting.
The Crittenton family of agencies provide innovative and comprehensive services grounded in research, respect, and results. Services are provided in a range of settings that provide wrap-around services for girls, young women, and their families.