Letters to the Editor

Family engagement key to childhood development

Children have the best chance of success when they grow up in a safe and stable environment. One of the keys to creating this nurturing environment is parent and family engagement.

What does engagement mean? The dictionary definition is: “greatly interested, emotional involvement or commitment.” Simply, it means spending time interacting and really caring about those in your family. Sometimes it means playing and being silly and sometimes it means a serious conversation. It doesn’t mean spending money or buying new things to play with.

Engagement can be as simple as asking a child how their day was and truly listening to the answer. It can be a trip to the library or a park or to any of the child friendly activities that our community supports.

Families who are engaged are stronger and more resilient. Children from these families show better outcomes in school and are less likely to suffer abuse or neglect.

The Linn County Early Childhood Iowa Board invests in the success of children from 0 to 5 years of age and supports programs that encourage family engagement. There are opportunities for families to participate in group-based parent education or in-home visitation; another program helps families who have a child with unique behavioral issues learn new ways to engage with their child.

Visit linncountyearlychildhoodiowa.org for information on how to get help or get involved with these programs.

Linda Bigley

Mount Vernon

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