The First Thousand Days for West Virginia Families
Parenting is one of the most difficult, yet rewarding experiences in life. Every day is an opportunity to shape and influence the life of your child.
Excerpts are from “Every day, Every way!: Love, talk, rhyme read and don’t forget to play!” Published by West Virginia KIDS COUNT in 2007.
Children seek routine, familiarity, and stability in a safe environment. Remember, every day is an opportunity to teach appropriate behavior, reinforce expectations, and set consistent affection-based discipline guidelines for a developing child.
- Establish routines – family time, bedtime, teeth brushing, nap times, and so on.
- Establish a dental home. A child should get to the dentist by 12 months of age or upon the appearance of a first tooth.
- Devote time and research when selecting a child-care provider, a pediatrician, or anyone caring for your child.
- Remember, a child’s safety depends on you. Use car safety seats appropriately when transporting children; provide TLC when responding to falls and injuries; embrace safe infant sleeping habits; practice responsible child violence injury prevention; and avoid exposing children to toxic and dangerous home environments.
Parent Health & Welfare
Balancing daily support for a child’s growing physical and cognitive independence while establishing and maintaining consistent limits is difficult. Yet parents need to balance these demands while tending to their own preventative health and welfare needs.
- Avoid parental burnout. Parenting is difficult and stressful, yet parents can give more thoughtful time and attention to a child if they make sure that they take care of their own need for rest, relaxation, exercise, and intellectual stimulation.
- Take time to nurture your relationship with your partner and your family. Children feel safe and secure when they see stable and happy relationships around them.
- Teach independence. Gradually give a child more time to learn and to entertain themselves and be self-sufficient in an age-appropriate way and you will find that they blossom in ways that they wouldn’t be able to if you continue to do everything for them.
- Set a good example. A child learns a lot about healthy self-esteem and self-care by watching how a parent balances personal needs along with theirs.
If you are wondering about your child’s development, behavior, or learning; needing support to access services; or helping a family member or friend find information about developmental services call the Help Me Grow hotline at (800) 642-8522 and speak directly with an expert care coordinator Monday through Friday, 8AM to 5PM. Help Me Grow is a new service that connects families and providers with resources available in West Virginia that provide direction and advice on issues ranging from parenting support and education to discipline and behavior management.