What do going for a run, joining a MOPS group or blowing bubbles in the backyard with your kids all have in common? They’re all “protective factors” that keep families healthy and kids safe!
Your personal protective factors serve as your family’s unique safety net. These characteristics suggest that families have access to the support, coping skills and resources that allow them to parent effectively, even under difficult or stressful situations. These following protective factors strengthen all families, and together, we can make a healthier and safer community for all children.
Family Functioning and Parental Resilience: How parents cope with both everyday stress and a major life crisis can greatly impact the well-being of a family. Look for ways to build your resilience by taking a walk to clear your head, tap into a spiritual practice or join a support group.
Social Connections and Emotional Support: Parents with a healthy network of family, friends and neighbors often find it easier to care for children and themselves. In fact, research has shown that parents who are isolated with few social connections are at higher risk for child abuse and neglect. You can build your social connections by getting involved with a community group like MOPS, pitching in to help the homeroom parent or join a local faith community.
Concrete Support: Families who can meet their basic needs for food, clothing, housing or transportation and know how to access essential services such as child care, health care or mental health services are better able to ensure the safety and well-being of their children. Whether you’re dropping a meal by a neighbor’s house or volunteering to serve a meal at Agape, you’re providing concrete support in a time of need.
Knowledge of Parenting and of Child and Youth Development: We’ve often said kids don’t come with an instruction manual, and while that’s true, understanding your child’s ages and stages will help you be a better parent. Boost your knowledge of child development by taking a parenting class (Love and Logic is a great choice), check out a book at the library or follow a parenting page on social media.
Social and Emotional Competence of Children: Helping kids develop the right tools for healthy emotional expression includes learning to share and maintaining healthy connections with caregivers. Put together a play-date with a friend from school, remind siblings to take turns or snuggle before bed with a favorite bedtime story to help develop your child’s emotional competence.
Ready to take a step forward to build your family’s protective factors? It may be easier than you think… look for ways to increase your connections with your family and with your community, we think you’ll be glad you did!