Family Connections

To help families with young children adjust to the current situation brought on by the public health emergency, DC Child Care Connections developed a system to provide useful information and resources to help with at-home learning, maintaining mental health and other important early childhood topics.

We have worked with community partners to identify a series of daily resources and activities from nationally-recognized organizations that families can use to keep children engaged and to continue the learning process. All resources are developmentally appropriate for the ages specified and are aligned to the DC Early Learning Standards.

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Children’s Mental and Social-Emotional Health

Each child has a unique set of characteristics: their cultural background, strengths, interests and needs, to name just a few. Families seek to understand their children and provide resources, support and opportunities to help their young ones thrive. Families can find information and resources to support their child’s growth and development below.

Families hear a lot about how to keep their children’s bodies healthy through good nutrition and physical activity. Just as important is tending to children’s mental and social-emotional health. The resources below can help families to understand and support their child’s mental and social-emotional health:

  • Understanding children’s mental health. Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child has produced a video on early childhood mental health. It describes what good mental health looks like in children and what can be done if mental health issues arise. Families concerned about their children can contact the DC Department of Behavioral Health.
  • Why does social-emotional health matter? Good social and emotional skills are related to how well a child functions later in life, including educational success, career success and other important outcomes. Psychology Today suggests strategies families can use to promote social-emotional skills in children.
  • Strong family bonds promote children’s mental health. Children love and need positive attention from their families. Explore some simple family activities that can positively impact children’s well-being.

Resource Highlights

  • Parents Magazine offers suggestions for how families can talk to their children about four strong emotions: anger, sadness, fear and jealousy.
  • Sesame Workshop – The whole family can join Elmo, Oscar and Abby as they play the Feeling Faces Game.
  • PBS Kids for Parents explores why routines benefit children and their families.
  • Vroom is an app that offers science-based tips and tools to help boost children’s brain connections.

Introducing Vroom

Vroom is a free website and app that provides families with science-based tips and tools to help boost young children’s brain connections. Families can turn shared, everyday moments in brain-building opportunities.

From now on, this newsletter will provide one of Vroom’s science-based tips.

Today’s tip:

  • Texture Tryout – Experiment with your child using safe textures on their skin. Ask: “Do you feel the fluffy pillow? How does it feel?” Pause and wait for them to respond. You can talk about what you’re feeling, too. “My scarf feels smooth on my skin.”
  • Brainy Background – Children learn through their senses. When you talk with your child about different textures, you’re helping them make connections between words and feelings. These connections lay the foundation for reading and math.

Reading to your cild has benefits for the whole family. Reading aloud forges family bonds, helps your child expand their listening skills and improves cognitive development. There are many other advantages you can learn about here.

Let’s Read Together!

February is Black History Month. It also brings Groundhog Day and Valentine’s Day. There are many children’s books about each of them. Read with your child throughout the day, every day.

  • I Am Ruby Bridges by Ruby Bridges – 6-year-old Ruby Bridges was the first Black student to integrate an elementary school in the South.
  • The ABCs of Black Historyby Rio Cortez – an alphabet book in which each letter represents a critical moment or person in Black history and culture.
  • Groundhog’s Day Off by Robb Pearlman – groundhog is bored and goes on vacation right before his big day.
  • Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney – a loving bedtime routine between a child and a family member.
  • Hello, Love!  by Taro Miura – a board book about some of the ways animals express love for one another.

Week of Feb. 12, 2024

Week of Feb. 19, 2024

DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR)

No matter where in DC you live, you’re within two miles of a DPR recreation center.

The department coordinates various recreation programs, including sports leagues, youth development, therapeutic recreation, aquatic programming, outdoor adventure, camping and senior citizen activities. In addition, adaptive programs and facilities are available for persons with disabilities. Click here to learn about the wide range of services and events DPR offers.

If you’re interested in the DPR Summer Camp program for children ages 3-13, act now. DPR Summer Camp registration is open and closes on Feb. 26. DPR uses a lottery system to select campers.

Family Connections February 2024 Workshops and Events

STAR: Sing, Talk and Read With Your Child

Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024, 5:30-6:30 p.m.

DC Public Library’s early literacy coordinator will lead an interactive session on the important literacy skills young children begin developing as infants and the simple practices to support them. Click to register.


Questions About Your Child’s Development?

Strong Start is DC’s early intervention program, offering free services for children under the age of 3 with developmental delays or disabilities. Strong Start provides therapeutic and other services for DC infants and toddlers and their families.

If you have questions about your child’s development, call Strong Start today at (202) 727-3665 or submit a Strong Start referral online.


Product Recall Alerts

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission recently announced the following recalls:

We are here to help! If you need support in navigating these resources or help planning experiences for your children, please contact one of our team members today. Please contact us at DC Child Care Connections (202) 829-2500.

Check out our Facebook page to stay up to date on events and opportunities. 


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