With it being Child Abuse Prevention Month, I thought you may like to know what you can do to prevent abuse in your community. For most of us, we are pretty nave when it comes to how many children are actually being abused every day. Statistics report that more than five children die everyday in the U. S. from abuse/neglect and of those children, 80 percent are under the age of 4. In a civilized country as ours, this just should not be happening. Here are some ways you can help prevent child abuse:
Be a nurturing parent Children need to know they are special, loved, and capable of following their dreams.
Help a friend, neighbor, or relative Being a parent isn't easy. Offer a helping hand to take care of their children, so the parent(s) can rest or spend time together.
Help yourself When the big and little problems of your everyday life pile up to the point you feel overwhelmed and out of control take a time out. Don't take it out on your child.
If your baby cries... It can be frustrating to hear your baby cry (and some cry more than others). Learn what to do if your baby won't stop crying. Never shake a baby shaking a child may result in a severe injury or death. If you need help, call your local Child Abuse Prevention office. In Marshalltown it's 641-752-1730.
Get involved Ask you community leaders, clergy, library and schools to develop services to meet the needs of healthy children and families.
Help to develop parenting resources at your local library.
Promote programs in school Teaching children, parents and teachers prevention strategies can help to keep children safe.
Monitor your child's television and video viewing watching violent films and TV programs can harm young children.
Volunteer at a local child abuse prevention program for information about volunteer opportunities, call 1-800 CHILDREN.
Report suspected abuse or neglect educate yourself on the signs of abuse/neglect go to preventchildabuse.org for information that will help you recognize child abuse.
No parent WANTS to abuse their child, but sometimes lack of parenting skills, stress, financial worries, children with special needs, etc. are too much for someone to handle and they end up lashing out at their children. Do what you can to help those parents who may seem overwhelmed and help put an end to the cycle of abuse.
We would also like to mention that Week of the Young Child is April 14 20. This was started several years ago by the National Association for the Education of Young Children as a week to bring awareness to communities concerning the needs of very young children and how we can better serve those needs. The most significant learning occurs in a child's first 2,000 days; the brain develops at a rapid speed and by the time they are 5, more than 90 percent of connections in the brain have been made. This is also a time when everyone should think about how important it is to invest in a child's first years and that quality environments and experiences are essential to a child's success later in life. Talk to your little one, engage them, read books to them, hug them and assure them that you love them by meeting their daily needs and providing a safe, secure home for them. It's so easy to love a child; just watch them; they will teach you how to love unconditionally.
Sue Junge is an Early Childhood Support Specialist for the Iowa River Valley Early Childhood Area and is a Thursday columnist for the Times-Republican. The views expressed in this column are personal views of the writer and don't necessarily reflect the views of the T-R. For more information, please visit www.iowarivervalleyeca.org .