As parents, we know that communities can help families through hard times and rejoice in good ones. It’s clear that building a supportive family network offers resources and a sense of belonging. But did you know that research shows that connecting with others is a gift that keeps on giving? University of Washington studies found that strong community support for new parents lowers stress levels and leads to more positive feelings about parenting.
A community of friends, family, neighbors and organizations is especially important for a child’s growth and development. Community helps children feel valued, safe and responsible. It helps them develop social skills and learn that their words and actions matter. Through community, children develop a sense of security, connection and comfort in belonging to something. According to the National Education Association, research consistently links community involvement with better academic performance and school improvement.
This Parenting Guide focuses on building and enhancing your family’s social network and community. We look at how to nurture early social skills, suggest ways to build reading skills with others in celebration of Family Literacy month this November, and offer ideas for creating a fun, money-saving community toy swap in time for the season of giving. Speaking of seasonal fun, we offer ideas for making fast, easy costumes for kids as well as homemade holiday presents. We also provide book and activity ideas, money-saving coupons, family-friendly events and more.
From the First 5 LA community to yours — happy holiday
- Ages and Stages: Nurturing Social Skills
- Build a Community of Readers
- Hold a Toy Swap!
- Create a Costume in 5 Minutes
- Cookie Mix "Gift Jar"
- Book Suggestions/Parent Activity Calendar