Making connections - KidsMatter

May 11, 2011 - access support networks in their ... support at home when families are under stress. ... KidsMatter Early Childhood –
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Making connections Family friendships

Marie and Susan’s story

Early childhood services provide

Marie and Susan met when their three-year-old

a great opportunity for families

sons began attending the same early childhood centre.

to connect with each other.

Through chats at pick-up and drop-off time and events held

Families who have positive

at the early childhood service, they developed a strong

relationships with other families

friendship. Their husbands became friendly too and the

generally have lower stress levels,

families often got together to celebrate special occasions.

better relationships with their

The boys are now four and have joined playgroup together,

children and are more willing to

they love playing at each other’s houses. This is a great

access support networks in their

chance for Marie and Susan to catch up and have a coffee.

community. Support networks

In fact, Marie had been chatting to Susan lately about

are groups of people that provide

making the coffee and play date a fortnightly afternoon and

emotional and practical help to

thought she would invite some of the other parents from

each other at good times and

the early childhood service to join them.

in times of need. For example, families within a social network may host social gatherings and celebrate special occasions together, or they may provide support at home when families are under stress. This support is

Early childhood services are often a place where families can make friendships which last a lifetime.

important for families; it is known to enhance their ability to manage the ups and downs of life and help them feel part of a community. Since many children attend early childhood services, they are an ideal place for families to meet, form friendships and become part of a support network.

Having a strong social support network benefits mental health and wellbeing.

Information for families Component 3 – Working with parents and carers

What early childhood services might also be doing ›› Actively encouraging families to become involved in the service, for example inviting them into the service to give updates on what is happening, chatting to them informally and formally about their child, or inviting them to spend time in the centre with their child/ren. ›› Discussing what type of

What parents and carers can do ff Become involved in the service; if you are available, engage in casual conversations with other families at drop-off and/or pick-up times. ff Access local clubs (e.g., sporting clubs, walking groups, social clubs), parent groups (e.g., possibly run through the local council) or cultural associations to get to know other families. The early childhood service may be able to provide you with information on these. ff Offer to be a buddy when new families join the service; ask how they’re going, whether there are any concerns or issues, you could even invite them to neighbourhood social functions such as local fundraisers or movie nights. Introducing families to other people in the community and expanding their social network will help them become part of the community.

social events are suitable for their families. ›› Asking families’ permission to include them on a contact list and sending daily or weekly updates about what is happening at the service. ›› Organising social activities that allow families a chance to meet and share their experiences and develop friendships.

Articles on a range of issues relevant to making connections with other families are available at: – see ‘Grown-Ups’ tab.

This resource and further information on