The Community Connection and Parenting

What does your community mean to you and your family? Recent research shows a strong sense of “place” and connections to a community can help people cope in hard times — and make them happier in general. In fact, people who feel connected to their neighbors and communities report fewer physical problems, more positive emotions, and less stress in both good times and bad.

And for children and families, the benefits of community connection are dramatic. Research strongly and consistently shows when parents, families and communities come together to support learning, students of all ages perform better and schools improve. This starts by becoming involved as a volunteer in your child’s school and getting to know other parents, teachers, and administrators. When parents become active participants and advocates, they can positively influence their children’s educational opportunities.

Here are some other ideas for connecting to your community:

  • Walk more. Walking is not only good exercise but it also helps your family get to know your neighborhood, seeing it differently than you do from a car. Discovering new places together can help you feel a sense of connection to your community.
  • Shop and eat locally. Shop at farmers markets, and buy at locally owned stores and restaurants to support your community.
  • Get to know your neighbors. A pleasant relationship with neighbors can be a great source of information and help provide safety where you live.
  • Show up. Whether you are a participant or volunteer, showing up for events in your community — from a block party to a community festival to a school meeting — can help you feel connected to your community.
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