There’s nothing quite like the joy of parenthood. While raising a child is far from easy, it’s incredibly rewarding. You have a front-row seat to all the discoveries, lessons, and gifts your child will experience through their formative years: what’s not to love about that?
But new babies don’t come with directions. And there’s certainly no one-size-fits-all solution to childcare. So, what do you do?
Anyone who is pregnant or has a young child at home could use some support- especially in the early days. That’s where home visiting can help.
Interested to know more? Here’s a quick rundown of home visiting programs in Utah, including their benefits.
Let’s dive in!
What Are Home Visiting Programs?
Simply put, home visiting programs are voluntary, family-focused services offered to expectant parents and families with new babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. They are designed to support a child’s physical, social, and emotional health.
Early childhood home visiting connects you with trained professionals (nurses, parent educators or other specialists) before your child’s birth or in the first five years of their life. Typically, these experts will work one-on-one with you in your home or any other location you’re comfortable with.
A few issues dealt with in these programs include:
- Prenatal/postnatal care for the pregnant mother
- Your role as your child’s first teacher
- How to create a safe environment for your child to thrive in
- Parenting skills that decrease the risk of child abuse
Based on your goals, you can work with a home visitor from the prenatal period up to your child’s fifth birthday,
Why are Home Visiting Programs Important?
What you do with your child in their early years of life matters. Because 90% of a child’s brain develops from birth to age five, the quality of their experiences during this time can have a lasting impact on their health and ability to learn/succeed.
Enrolling in a reputable home visiting program in Utah can give you the tools and resources you need to keep to prepare your kids for future accomplishments.
Consistent and planned home visits also help parents and caregivers learn how to improve their family’s health and provide better opportunities for their children.
The perks of home-visiting programs in Utah don’t stop there. Here are a few other ways they can benefit new families.
3 Undeniable Benefits of Home Visiting Programs
In April 2022, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced approximately $16 million to strengthen Maternally, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Programs, and with good reason. Home visiting programs have several advantages, a few of which are as follows.
1. Lower Risk of Child Abuse
Child abuse is a pressing problem across the United States. According to statistics, there were 618,399 reported cases of child abuse in 2020, with neglect being the most common form of maltreatment.
However, child abuse is not always born out of malice. Studies show that stress, tiredness, or a lack of proper parenting skills can make caring for a child overwhelming. A few other factors include:
- A lack of family members or community support
- Financial pressures, job worries, medical disabilities, or caring for a person with special needs
- A lack of understanding of a child’s development stages or behaviors
- Believing that it is acceptable to use excessive force or discipline to punish a child
- Mental health problems
- Self-doubt and an inability to ask for help
Fortunately, there’s an easy way to prevent child abuse: educating parents early on.
Home visiting programs are known to generate a significant improvement in parenting behaviors. By working with a seasoned nurse or parent. educator, you can hone your skills as a parent and establish a safe, secure, and loving environment for your child.
2. Healthier Mothers and Newborns
Every mom-to-be deserves adequate prenatal care. Not only does it protect the expectant mother, but also gives the baby the best chance at a healthy start to life. Let’s briefly explore three reasons why prenatal care is so crucial.
- Studies show mothers who don’t receive prenatal care are more likely to have an underweight baby or one that dies from complications. Multiple visits with a prenatal care provider can alert you to these issues early.
- A provider will also check the expectant mother for health issues such as UTIs, anemia, depression, pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, and infections.
- At checkups, the doctor will offer specific recommendations and steps to follow so the mom and baby stay well.
That said, postnatal care is equally vital for the mother and the newborn. Because labor, breastfeeding, and childcare are incredibly demanding, the mom and baby must be looked after.
Home visitors help pregnant mothers access adequate prenatal and post-natal care and engage in positive activities before and after childbirth. They can help moms-to-be:
- Schedule regular doctor’s visits
- Improve diets
- Quit smoking or substance abuse
- Reduce stress
3. Increased School Readiness
A child’s first day at school is an incredible milestone and marks the start of an exciting academic career. Although your toddler will learn the ropes as they go, you can always give them a push in the right direction.
School readiness determines whether a child is ready to make an easy and successful transition into school. Besides building a solid foundation for later learning, it also helps cultivate healthy social and emotional habits.
In this regard, home visitors can work with families to get children school-ready. For example, they may help set goals with parents, make sure the child is eating well, and teach parents how to build their child’s brain through audiovisual media.
The Bottom Line
As they say, it takes a village to raise a child. Being a first-time parent can be a daunting experience, especially if you don’t have anyone to go to for advice. However, with a home visiting program, you’ll have all the support you need to provide the best care for your baby. Hopefully, this post has given you some much-needed insight into why home visiting is so effective.
At Prevent Child Abuse Utah, our home visiting programs are tailored to your unique needs. Whether you need a nurse to help you on your pregnancy journey or some expert guidance on how to recognize age-appropriate behaviors and promote your child’s development and learning, we can help. Call us today for more information!