NSPCC campaign urges parents to Interact with their child from birth, to improve development and wellbeing
Helen Westerman, NSPCC head of safeguarding and communities, adds: “We know parents interact with their children all the time, but there’s a real opportunity for them to do it more consciously and give them the best start in life.
This is the thinking behind a new campaign, launched by NSPCC Sheffield this month, ‘Look, Say, Sing, Play,’ which aims to give parents and expectant parents some new and simple ideas to help with vital early year engagement.
The campaign seeks to build on the interaction parents are already having with their child, bringing everyday moments into focus and showing how they offer the chance to engage with their baby, with tips on how they can easily fit them into their day. So far 100 people in the city have already attended initial sessions.
Dr Rosie Knowles – a city author and GP, who helped to launch the campaign in Sheffield – said: “We live in a world where people are becoming increasingly disconnected from each other; this takes a toll on our health and wellbeing, physically and mentally. As a GP I see so many people struggling with loneliness and dysfunctional relationships, and I am convinced that much of this begins in early childhood. There is quite rightly an increased focus on children’s mental health; but this includes the mental health of babies and infants under three, a group often forgotten about.
“Babies’ brains are being shaped daily by the environment around them and the quality of the relationships in their lives. Forming secure attachments with their primary caregivers is key to helping a child build a solid foundation for mental and physical health, and the NSPCC campaign that encourages connections is working on this vital area, as is promoting increased physical connection within families, holding and cuddling young children.”
According to a recent NSPCC survey almost two thirds of parents are unaware that back and forth interaction with their child from birth can help their babies’ social, emotional and cognitive development.