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Free Parenting Tips & Resources Available with Smart Beginnings Campaign

The Virginia Early Childhood Foundation and the Library of Virginia have partnered to designate May 11-June 15, the time period between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, as an opportunity to focus on the unique needs of young children and to recognize that Smart Beginnings Start with Families.

Smart Beginnings Start with Families offers several free resources:

  • A Tip Sheet of suggested activities and parenting tips to help young children be better prepared to start kindergarten healthy and ready to learn
  • A series of 5 short writeups about how schools, libraries, child care providers and healthcare professionals can support families with young children within the community

The VECF’s Smart Beginnings initiatives throughout the Commonwealth, including several serving the Northern Virginia region, are excited about this special campaign to showcase the important role that parents and loving adults play in the early learning experiences of their young children. They know that a parent can be a child’s first and most important teacher, as well as an enduring influence on their success in school and in life. All parents with young children can benefit from the resources provided by Smart Beginnings Start with Families

“One way to celebrate Smart Beginnings Start with Families is for parents to enroll their children in the summer reading program sponsored by their local library,” said Dr. Sandra “Sandy” Treadway, Librarian of Virginia. “Even the youngest child enjoys being read to and looking at picture books with an adult. Reading helps children discover and understand how the world works.”

“Since Smart Beginnings Start with Families is bookended by Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, it’s an ideal time to renew our collective commitment to support families with young children at all levels of community involvement, including business leaders, elected officials, libraries, healthcare and social service agencies, among other stakeholders,” said Kathy Glazer, President of the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation.

“During this special time, we salute moms, dads, grandparents and other family members across the Commonwealth in their efforts to provide children with a strong foundation for

school, life and workforce success.”

Tips to be an active participant in your child’s early learning:

  • Play with your child – play is an essential way for children to learn about their world
  • Create and keep routines – children do best when they know what to expect
  • Read at bedtime – this helps your child to settle down after a busy day and sets the stage for a lifetime love of reading
  • Have meals together as often as possible – mealtimes are great ways to spend time together and share family values, while also teaching good eating habits and table manners
  • Take time to talk and listen – talking to your baby or toddler stimulates brain development and builds a strong foundation for learning
  • Show respect to gain respect  - put down the cell phone, turn off the computer/TV and focus on activities, conversations or homework with your child
  • Show unconditional love – talk through your child’s challenging behaviors with guidance and love, without threats; acknowledge your own mistakes when your child is old enough to understand

For more information, visit www.smartbeginnings.org.

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