Parents’ Day is July 24. Parents’ Day was established in 1994 to celebrate and recognize the important role of responsible parenting in every day family life. President Bill Clinton signed a congressional resolution to commemorate Parents’ Day in an effort to promote family commitment and parental responsibilities. Families are a fundamental human institution; they are bonded by unconditional love and commitment.
Embrace Diversity! Engage Families! Celebrate Parents!
At a recent gathering of parent advocacy groups and organizations, the guest speaker, U. S. Senator Roy Blunt (Missouri), an advocate for enabling parents to be their children’s best first teachers, shared a touching story that revealed the benefits of an effective practice, home visiting. Parents as Teachers parent educators are trained to build strong interpersonal relationships as they work with parents on parent-child interaction, childhood development and family well-being. They’ve learned that actively listening, observing, asking probing questions, and then acting on the information obtained are crucial components for engaging parents in raising healthy, happy children.
The story was about a Parent as Teachers parent educator who, during a home visit, posed a simple but compelling question. After several home visits, the parent educator had the opportunity to closely observe the family. Being in a home setting allowed the parent educator to build a relationship of trust and learn the dynamics of the family, and, ultimately recognize certain things in the child that may have gone undetected for years. But it was a trained eye that caught the problem. The parent educator on one such visit asked, “When did your son stop looking directly at you?” The answer was eye opening. The mother and father said that he had never really done so.
The family and the parent educator discussed the child being evaluated. Upon further diagnosis their son was found to have autism spectrum disorder.
Today, years later, the mother helps other families dealing with autism.
Sen. Blunt’s story emphasizes the effectiveness of professionally trained parent educators interacting with families through personal home visits.
Partnering with parents to support their child’s learning and development in the comfort of the family home allows time to develop relationships, detect possible learning challenges, and provide meaningful guidance and support. Parent as Teachers is an organization that promotes the optimal early development, learning and health of children by supporting and engaging their parents and caregivers.
For more information on Parents as Teachers go to http://www.parentsasteachers.org/.
For tips on observing your child, click here.