By Emily Singleton
Parenting a baby or toddler can be challenging and many parents don’t know where to turn for a little help. Parent Partners Plus is collaborative network of early childhood home visiting programs in Maricopa County who partner with families to support their child’s growth and development. Funded by First Things First, programs are designed to be offered one-on-one in the family’s home, but have also been offered virtually during the pandemic.
The home visiting programs in the Parent Partners Plus network support parents with all of the challenges they will encounter as they raise their new baby. For many parents, sleep—both for themselves and for their baby—is the biggest struggle those first few months. It can be a big adjustment for parents who go from getting a full night’s sleep to waking up with a baby every few hours. The programs in the Parent Partners Plus network offer encouragement and tips for helping everyone get a good night’s sleep.
Parent Partners Plus programs are not just for families with new babies, but also cover topics for expecting parents and parents with toddlers. Some other areas they support families are breastfeeding information and guidance, potty training, bedtime routines, and much more. With all of these topics, the advice provided to the family is individualized to their situation since all kids and families are different and what works for one family might not work for another.
Literacy is another important feature of early childhood home visiting programs. It is never too early to start reading with young children and parents can even start during pregnancy. All home visiting programs want to help families develop solid routines around reading to their children—many even provide books to families to help them get started.
The biggest area that home visitation programs help families is with child development and making sure children meet their developmental milestones. Many families have concerns about their child’s development, but don’t know what is considered normal and where to go for help. Home visitation programs can help by providing developmental screenings to give parents an idea of how their child is developing so they can speak further with their pediatrician and get appropriate referrals if needed.
All families with young children deserve help and support. These programs in the community make sure new parents get that support early on so they feel confident they are doing all they can to help their young children succeed. Learn more at ParentPartnersPlus.com.
Emily Singleton is the Parent Partners Plus senior program manager at Southwest Human Development.