National Child Abuse Prevention Month
30 Ways to Strengthen Families
In recognition of National Child Abuse Prevention Month in April, we have undertaken our "30 Ways to Strengthen a Family" campaign. Each day in April, we will share a new tip with simple, easy ideas to strengthen your family. The tips are based on the five "protective factors" identified by Strengthening Families™, a research-informed, cost-effective strategy to increase family strengths, enhance child development, and reduce child abuse and neglect. Be sure to follow us on Facebook for your daily tip, or learn more and download our "30 ways" poster here!
Parental Resilience (Tip Sheet)
- Get outside. Alaska winters can be long and difficult. It is not only important for children to enjoy the outdoors but parents as well. Being active helps everyone manage the daily stressors of life and build resiliency. https://experiencelife.com/article/the-5-best-ways-to-build-resiliency/
- Volunteer together. One of the best ways to show your child how to make a difference is to volunteer. Helping others can increase your child’s understanding of the needs of those in their community, and build their own confidence and self-esteem. Volunteering is also a great way to strengthen families.
- Unplug. Our day is filled with a lot of screen time, either on the computer or our phones. Unplug each day when you get home to allow you to focus on yourself and your family. Keep up on all of our latest tips. Check out out: https://www.alaskachildrenstrust.org/national-child-abuse-prevention-month/ to see the latest.
- Laugh. Laughter has many health benefits, and by helping our children develop their own sense of humor, we can increase their resiliency and overall wellbeing. Laughter builds strong familes!
- Try yoga. Yoga can be a useful stress-reducing, relaxation activity for both parents and children. Plus, you can do it at home and it’s free!
- Relax. Your children are important, but in order to help them become the best person they can be, you must show them you believe that – and it starts with taking care of yourself. Choose to strengthen your family! https://www.pinterest.com/pin/439875088585277765/
Social Connections (Tip Sheet)
- Listen. Show your kids that they are important to you by actively listening when they speak. It can be so easy to respond to something your child says without giving them your full attention, but when this happens, the child’s understanding is that whatever you are doing is more important than what they have to say. Practice listening eagerly to the things your child tells you when they’re little, so that they will continue to tell you even when they’re grown.
- Make time. As parents, life can be exhausting, and you may not spend as much time with your child as you would like. When the days start blurring together, remind yourself of some of the simple ways you can be there for your child. Quality time matters!
- Ask questions. Conversations build connection. When children feel connected to their parent, they are more likely to feel well and be cooperative. Quality conversations build stronger families!
- Read. It is never too early to start reading with your child! Check out a book from the local public library, or if your child is age 5 or under, enroll in an Imagination Library program in your community to receive a free book in the mail, every month, for one year! Reading together is a great way to strengthen your family!
- Eat together. It can feel nearly impossible to find time to sit down as a family to eat dinner, but this time is important to your child as it helps them understand who their family is, and how they fit into it. http://thefamilydinnerproject.org/resources/faq/
- Play catch. There are so many reasons why play time is one of the best, and most important, parts of being a kid! Give your child time every day to learn about themselves and their world. Play is a powerful way to strengthen your family! https://www.pinterest.com/pin/439875088585277648/
Knowledge of Parenting & Child Development (Tip Sheet)
- Problem-solve. Helping children learn how to be self-reliant is an important step in their own growth toward being resilient. They may not complete tasks perfectly, or in a timely manner, but when you demonstrate patience and confidence in their ability to do things for themselves, you show your child that you believe they have the power to be successful.
- Give responsibilities. Give your child developmentally appropriate chores around the house! Giving children responsibilities helps them become independent, and feel like a valuable and important member of the family. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/439875088585276794/
- Talk to an expert. Other parents, your own parents or professionals like a pediatrician are great resources to better understand and tackle the challenges of raising children. It takes a village and we support you building one. Keep up on all of our latest tips. Check out out:
https://www.alaskachildrenstrust.org/national-child-abuse-prevention-month/ to see the latest.
- Cruise the web. The internet has an array of resources about parenting, virtual parenting forums, and tips on how to address child development challenges. Miss one of our tips or want to share a few? Bookmark this page, we will add new tips every day in April!
- Visit a library. Take a cruise through your local library for books and magazines on parenting. An activity that will strengthen your family!
- Be creative. Creativity not only promotes self-expression, but encouraging children to be creative when they encounter obstacles helps them learn that there is a way to overcome the challenge … they just need to create it. The more we know about parenting and our child's development, the stronger our families will become.
Concrete Support in Time of Need (Tip Sheet)
- Reach out. Parenting is the most difficult job, and there is not one person who does it perfectly. As a parent, it’s important that you feel safe and supported, so that you are able to provide those same feelings to your children. Recognize your own limitations, and know it’s okay to ask for help! The Parent Helpline (1-855- 4A-PARENT) and Child Help (1-800- 4A-CHILD) are two helplines that offer anonymous parenting support and advice.
- Support others. Not all relationships are healthy. When a child is exposed to domestic violence, it can cause harm to their development. Use the “We are Worthy” safety cards to help support others in a tough situation.
- Say thank you. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships. It helps us all get through those tough days and strengthens families!
- Access resources. Do you need help and not sure who would know what resources are available? Alaska 2-1-1 is a one-stop resource for connecting with a wide variety of vital sources in your community. Just dial 2-1-1 or check out their website. Asking for help strengthens families.
- Be positive. Do you find yourself saying to your child, “No! Don’t run inside!” or something similar more often than you want to? As an alternative, try saying, “Remember to walk when you’re inside.” This will help your child mentally picture and remember the desired behavior. The positive message also reinforces ways to strengthen your family.
- Share feelings. It is normal to feel frustrated, confused or inadequate as a parent. It can be helpful to share these feelings with friends, other parents or professionals. By sharing your feelings, it can open doors to accessing help.
Healthy Social & Emotional Development of Children (Tip Sheet)
- Talk/Take a drive. Get to know your children better, and help them learn about themselves, by creating a Key Jar for your family. These conversation starters, or “keys,” help encourage love, thoughtfulness and trust, all of which are components of resilient families.
- Dream big. Goal setting with kids gets them started in the life-long frame of mind of thinking, planning and taking action in order to achieve results.
- Notice the good. Kids love to know when they’ve done a good job, or when you are proud of something that they’ve accomplished, especially when you let them know in a genuine and descriptive way. Instead of just saying “good job,” reinforce your child’s positive behavior by saying something less habitual, and a little more meaningful.
- Encourage. While it may not always feel like it, your children remember and appreciate the positive and encouraging things you say to them. Your words can help build their resiliency so that they are better able to overcome any challenges they encounter.
- Relieve stress. Both adults and children can experience high levels of unhealthy stress. Sometimes, it is difficult for our kids to express how they are feeling. As parents, you play the most important role in helping support your child through their own stressful and challenging times. Finding the right tools to manage stress can strengthen your family. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/133771051407705598/
- Be kind. Help your child learn to think about the feelings of others by showing them that you understand how they feel when they are upset, angry, frustrated, etc. Teaching our children to be empathetic can give them the ability to build positive relationships with others.
More Ways to Make a Difference
For your family:
- As a parent, block out 15 minutes a day to play one-on-one with your child — doing anything he or she wants.
- Tell the children or youth in your life how much you care for them and appreciate them. All children deserve to have someone who is “crazy about them” and loves them unconditionally.
- Work with the kids in your life to explore their heritage and learn their family’s story.
- Connect with grandparents to preserve cultural heritage. Grandparents are an incredible source of cultural heritage — from traditions to language to food! Encourage them to tell stories to their grandchildren and even visit their schools to share where they come from.
For friends and neighbors:
- Compliment a father — someone you know or even someone in public — on something positive you see him do with his children. Dads contribute uniquely to children’s development.
- Offer your time to baby-sit for the child of a friend, neighbor or family member.
- Mentor a young dad you know in growing his relationship with his kids.
- Support parents looking for a job by offering your professional knowledge and experience in resume writing or preparing for a job interview. Financial stability links directly with family stability and can have a big effect on the emotional well-being of caregivers and their children.
- Encourage single mothers you know, whenever possible, to support the involvement of children’s fathers in their lives. When non-custodial dads work to be involved in the lives of their children, they need the positive support of the child’s other parent or caretaker to encourage the development of that relationship.
- Arrange a potluck event in your neighborhood to get to know other parents and their kids.
For your community:
- Sponsor, volunteer at or participate at local events or nonprofits.
- Take action on legislative issues that affect children and families. Call your elected representatives.
- Introduce yourself to your neighbors.
- Create a “Safe Children Zone” in your neighborhood. Host a community meeting with your neighbors to talk about what each of you can do to help create a sense of safety for the children in your neighborhood.
- Volunteer at or donate resources to a local preschool or daycare center.
- Ask yours or another faith-based organization in your community about donations that can be made to support families in need.
- Become a foster parent.