I think back fondly on memories of baking cookies with my mom and siblings each holiday season as a child. The cookie cutter sugar cookies, fudge, peanut brittle and Christmas wreaths made from corn flakes …
I think back fondly on memories of baking cookies with my mom and siblings each holiday season as a child. The cookie cutter sugar cookies, fudge, peanut brittle and Christmas wreaths made from corn flakes with red hots for berries, adorned the plates we handed out. The plates of goodies were then taken to the local police and fire stations for first responders to enjoy.
That tradition of holiday baking continued in my household as growing up all three of our girls helped me bake a variety of Christmas cookies and candies that we shared with our neighbors and others.
What I didn’t realize, as I baked each year with my mom and then my daughters, was that I was creating small moments.
It wasn’t until I had an opportunity through Hands of Hope to focus on primary prevention that the big picture became clear to me.
My mom and then myself were not only creating memories, we, were also creating a safe, stable, and nurturing environment.
Young children experience their world through their relationships with parents and other caregivers, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments for children and their caregivers provide a buffer against the effects of potential stressors such as child abuse and neglect or other adverse childhood experiences and are fundamental to developing healthy brain architecture,” the CDC said.
The small nurturing moments also shape the development of children’s physical, emotional, social, behavioral, and intellectual capacities, which ultimately affect their health as adults. As a result, promoting safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments can have a positive impact on a broad range of health problems and on the development of skills that help children reach their full potential.
Safety, stability, and nurturing are three critical qualities of relationships and environments that make a difference for children as they grow and develop. They can be defined as follows:
- Safety: The extent to which a child is free from fear and secure from physical or psychological harm within their social and physical environment.
- Stability: The degree of predictability and consistency in a child’s social, emotional, and physical environment.
- Nurturing: The extent to which children’s physical, emotional, and developmental needs are sensitively and consistently met.
When a child is surrounded by safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments it may help to reduce the occurrence of child abuse, neglect, and other adverse childhood experiences.
To encourage parents and caregivers to provide those small moments for their children, Hands of Hope has put together what we call a Small Moment’s Deck of Cards. Each deck of cards has 52 no cost and low-cost activities that a child and parent or caregiver can do together with the child.
Some examples of activities include drawing a picture of where you live, turn up the music and sing and dance together, take a walk or bike ride in your neighborhood or writing thank you notes for workers at your school.
For anyone who would like a deck of small moments cards, you can reach out to Hands of Hope at 765-664-0701 and make arrangements to pick them up.
It is Hands of Hope’s way to provide a tool for the community that will enhance protective factors and work to end domestic violence which is ultimately the goal of Hands of Hope.
For more information on the importance of safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments see: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/childabuseandneglect/ essentials.html