Since my last blog post, early childhood has been at the top of my mind. It has repeatedly come up in conversation, and has even shown up in my email inbox in the form of a precious photo! (The adorable baby pictured here is Graham, the new grandson of SWIF Board Member Bill McCormack – Congrats, Bill!)
So, in thinking about what we can do to help our communities’ youngest children thrive, here are a few very simple–but very impactful–ways we all can be positive influences:
- When you see a young child in your community, make eye contact and give them a BIG smile…it helps them know adults care about them!
- When you host a family with young children, make sure they have water to drink rather than soda. Water is essential to healthy bodies and brains.
- Offer to hold a baby when a parent could use an extra set of hands at church, at the store or when they are caring for other children. Supporting parents ensures they better support their children.
- Any chance you get, READ, READ, READ to the small children in your life. The local library or preschool would welcome guest readers any time!
- Make a connection with a young child in your neighborhood or at church—get down to their eye level and ask them about what they are learning. Tell them you think they are GREAT and that you look forward to seeing them!
- Whenever you can, tell your elected leaders that what happens to young children matters to you and you want them to keep our youngest children in mind when they are making decisions. You can be the voice of children when they cannot speak for themselves.
- Support programs in your community that help educate and support young children—donate your time, talents or resources to make a difference in your community for years to come.
Every time I see a beautiful newborn like Graham brought into the world and into our communities, I can’t help but smile thinking about the life they have ahead of them and all the good things they will get to experience. We all should strive to make each child’s life experience positive, encouraging and full of learning to ensure they grow up to be engaged citizens, caring community members and loving family members.