Grandparents play a variety of roles in their grandchildren’s lives.
For many, a grandfather or grandmother is an additional loving adult who provides positive, nurturing support early in life.
For other young children, grandparents have taken their grandchild into their home and have taken on the responsibility of raising them.
First Things First Arizona’s early childhood agency, knows that families can look different, but they can all help babies, toddlers and preschoolers feel safe and secure.
As national Grandparents Day is celebrated on Sept. 13, FTF reminds families about programs that can help grandparents build positive relationships with their grandchildren, which promotes healthy development and learning for young kids.
FTF provides funding for programs that are having positive impacts on grandparents and Arizona’s children, including a statewide resource that can provide advice and support to grandparents raising their grandkids.
The Birth to 5 Helpline (1-877-705-KIDS) is available to all Arizona families with infants, toddlers and preschoolers.
This free program fields questions from families looking for advice and the latest child development information from early childhood experts.
FTF also funds training and support for family, friend and neighbor caregivers in regions across Arizona.
The family friend and neighbor strategy focuses on increasing the caregiver’s knowledge and understanding of early childhood development, health and nutrition, language and literacy, and safety and injury prevention, including first aid and CPR certification as well as crib safety.
This type of training is critical in Arizona, which mirrors the rest of the country, where one-third to one-half of all children under age 5 are cared for by informal family, friends and neighbors, and in many cases, those caregivers are grandparents, who are taking care of young ones during the day.
For a comprehensive list of what programs are available at no cost for children birth to age 5 in your area, visit: firstthingsfirst.org/resources/find-programs.
The relationship between a child and a grandparent is a special bond and supporting grandparents in their special role will help young kids learn, grow and succeed.
-Donna Shott is a spokeswoman for First Things First, a voter-created statewide organization that funds early learning, family support and children’s preventive health services to help kids be successful once they enter kindergarten. Information: FirstThingsFirst.org.