ECMHP

Families are large, small, simple and complex.

Families are large, small, simple and complex. Caregivers responsible for caring for children can feel a myriad of emotions. Parenting brings out joy just as easily as frustration throughout the day. Days can sometimes feel endless when we are working and running errands, as well as caring for ourselves and our children. We do our best to listen, play, love, and discipline these small humans in hopes that they will become loving, happy, appreciative, and productive adults themselves. As challenges arise with our children– in the forms of sleep, eating, developmental milestones, and behavior– we have so much information available.

When Googling a parenting question, many times I’ve blinked and realized a precious hour of free time has vaporized! How about going down a rabbit hole, pouring over other people’s comments back and forth, and landing on an entirely different subject? Yep, guilty. Reading an article online with a relevant title, but unable find any actual tips as promised on the specific topic? This has happened to me countless times. Friends, relatives, and coworkers are quick to share a wide range of controversial opinions and advice. Websites, blogs, and social media communities can be fantastic; when we find the ones that speak to us. Easy access to so many parenting voices is confusing. Too much information can be overwhelming.

Working closely with our children’s teachers, social workers, therapists, and pediatricians are all the first links to gaining insight and education specific to your child. These professionals are well versed in typical childhood development and can be helpful in thinking about how to address your concerns. But at 9pm on a Thursday, who can offer information about my six month old’s continued refusal to sleep through the night? It seems like there’s no shortage of getting second or third-hand medical advice on the internet from a baby forum. This can be a waste of time and potentially dangerous. Be sure to check with pediatricians, family doctors, or other healthcare professionals before diagnosing and administering any homemade treatment.

Asking questions of the professionals in your child’s life will help determine if an internet source is actually useful for your family. Working with early education specialists can help clarify caregiver’s goals, especially for those children that need a little extra attention. For example, my goal is to be the best version of myself, so I can support my children being the best version of themselves. If I apply this phrase when reading or listening to others, unhelpful advice gets weeded out almost immediately. I enjoy listen to the experiences of others, but I’d also like to be informed what researchers have to offer. Balancing long-term parenting intentions and day to day struggles are where most caregivers have questions.

Zerotothree.org is an example of a trusted online resource recommended by many professionals who work with young children. Zero to Three provides many resources for parents, preschool teachers, and professionals. This organization is headed by the leading researchers and professionals in the field and their goal is to help caregivers meet the needs of children. They do not have advertisement for baby products and they are responsible for leading the way in training professionals working with young children.

As we reach out for support on diverse parenting topics, information overload can be overwhelming if we lack a good starting point. I have found it’s best to start with a nonprofit source because their responsibility is to the betterment of children and not to make a profit. You can then follow the resources link on their sites to learn more about particular topics such a discipline, sleep schedules, feeding, and the importance of support for caregivers.

Utilizing online resources can be very helpful to prepare children for successful relationships, positive self images, and to enhance learning opportunities- regardless of varying time and budgets. Online communities can foster smart dialogue that provides real help instantly. And sharing our experiences with others that face the same dilemmas can be healing. The age of technology is an amazing time for access to support, as long as we can be thoughtful about the voices we are listening to. In my opinion, the ideal parenting is when caregivers are taking care of themselves in order to create nurturing, safe, and positive environments for their loved ones. This is why we have decided to begin this blog. I hope that you will join me on this internet journey to find new and interesting topics and resources that will be helpful to parents and professionals who are caring for young children.

Nicole Gauvey Clayton is an anthropologist and writer, living in Toledo, Ohio. She is most interested in how people within a community interact and work together. A mother to two young children (and two loving kitties), Nicole lives in a busy household while navigating a full life filled with curiosity.

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