How can we ensure that are children are having good childhoods? By preventing child abuse and speaking out during this April’s National Childhood Prevention Awareness Month. This month, across the nation, several individuals, organizations and more have spoken out about the dangers of child abuse and continue to do so.
The Pinwheels for Prevention initiative from Prevent Child Abuse America aims to show entire communities how to get involved with child abuse prevention efforts. The pinwheel is a symbol for the great childhoods we want for our children and how to achieve that goal. Across the United States, pinwheel gardens have popped up in several communities.
As a parent or caregiver, what are some ways that you can make sure your child — and even other children around you and your child — are having the best possible childhood they can have? Here are six ways you can ensure good beginnings for your children:
Understand your child grows and develops.
Each child is different in his or her own way, so pay attention to your child’s needs. Know his or her interests and talk with your child’s pediatrician to assess growth and development.
Help a child identify his or her feelings.
It can be challenging for adults to pinpoint their feelings, much less children. If your child is angry over something, ask him or her why. Talk with your child about positive and negative feelings in order to help him or her understand emotions and other behaviors.
Spend quality time with your child.
Make sure to schedule educational and fun activities for you and your child. Sitting in the same room with him or her while you’re playing on your smart phone and your child is watching television is not quality time. Go the park and play on the playground. Help him or her with reciting ABCs and numbers. Take your children to the library, play groups and more. The more time you spend engaged with your child, the better it is for development.
Be strong in times of stress.
It can be easy to lose your cool when you’re stressed out. Try to be as strong as you possibly can in front of your children. For example, discipline them calmly. Try to not raise your voice.
Have positive relationships with other parents.
Parents can help other parents find resources they need to engage in positive parenting behaviors. Know the resources near you to report child abuse in your area — if it happens to your child or another child near you.
Ask for help when you need it.
It could sometimes be challenging to know where the resources are in your community, much less be able to ask for help. A lot of factors prevent us from asking for help. In order to manage your stress levels — and those of your child — make sure you ask for help when you need it. If you’re feeling too overwhelmed, then consider talking with a mental health professional near you or online at BetterHelp. BetterHelp also has a wide range of stress-related articles.
If you want to be a child abuse prevention advocate, volunteer your time or donate to a local organization. They will use your dollars and skill sets to help prevent child abuse in your community and beyond.