Who was you imaginary friend?
What was your favorite toy?
What television show did you watch NON-STOP?
You may have these answers because of the stories family members have told you, but it is hard to remember it first hand. Our memories may not be that sharp between the ages of 0 and 3, BUT this part of life is one of the MOST IMPORTANT stages for children.
According to Zero to Three – a national non-profit that aims to keep professionals, policymakers, and parents informed on development and health tools for toddlers and infants – “Research shows that [a]s a child grows, supportive relationships with parents and caregivers shape his or her self-image and provide the child with the resilience needed to face new challenges.”
This may or may not be anything new to anyone, but it serves as a good reminder that the primary caregiver, environment and surroundings play a HUGE role in child development.
The down economy has hit everyone hard (another statement that is not new to anyone), but think about how this has shaped the environment of MANY 0-3 year olds. Here are some stats for Indianapolis and Indiana from the most recent Kids Count Data Book that may paint a better picture of the environment many of our children are living in…
- 31% of Indianapolis children live in poverty
- Indiana ranks near the bottom- 39th out of 50 – in infant mortality rate
- 44 per every 1000 children born in Indiana are born to teen mothers
- 49% of Indianapolis children live in a single-parent home
That last statistic sticks out like a sore thumb. Not because ALL single parents are bad parents, but even THE BEST PARENT IN THE WORLD needs support from someone, somewhere.
Home visitation and prevention programs like our Better Indy Babies Program (BIBs) are here to support families that fit in many of the statistics above. BIBs has a proven track record of decreasing infant mortality and premature births.
What else do YOU think can be done to help make sure Indianapolis children have a safe environment and supportive relationships to face new challenges?
Do you think that prevention and home visitation programs are essential to aiding at-risk families?
Comment below. Join the discussion on our Facebook page. Or learn more about BIBs and our Once Upon a Healthy Baby event by subscribing to our blog and/or eNewsletter to receive alerts about the program and other ongoings!