Do you know the saying: “It takes a town to raise a child!” Well, I think this is one of the truest sentences ever. Of course parenting is important, but the circumstances a family finds in the community it lives in influence so much of the parenting and the experiences the kids will make during child hood.
Support for families with babies and toddlers
Eventhough little kids and babies cannot venture into the neighborhoods themselves a child friendly community can be very supportive for the parents. And a parent, that is supported is less stressed and can parent way better. Here are some ideas how family friendly communities can support parents of babies and toddlers. All these examples exist in my city.
- Accessibility for strollers in public transport, sidewalks, stores, restaurants, offices of the city’s administration etc.
- Places for nursing and changing babies and toddlers in offices of the city’s administration, public places, restaurants, stores, malls etc.
- Lots of urban green and playgrounds with sand and water for longs strolls, time to relax and explorative playtime in nature.
- Family friendly employers, good and affordable child care,
- Community centers or so called “family centers” in every neighborhood where parents and kids can meet, make friends, have fun and get support in parenting.
- Parenting classes and advice, family midwives that support and counsel parents of babies whenever needed for free, free counselling not just for cps cases but any parent who has a question or wants to talk without stigmatization…
Child friendly communities support children and youth
The more the kids grow, the more they should be able to venture into their neighborhood. Children should not grow up like prisoners who can only stay in their homes or schools. The older they get the more they should be able to freely explore their neighborhood. It is the community’s responsibility to provide a child friendly environment for that. Here are some examples on how my city trys to provide child friendly living conditions and it is very well received:
- Attractive playgrounds in walking distance from every place in town.
- Adventurous playgrounds that are not boring planned with children and built as designed with them.
- Urban green and access to nature.
- Municipal youth work with youth centers in all neighborhoods, where kids can go for free, spend their leisure time, meet friends.
- Places for teenagers to hang out and also to do sports like streetball, soccer, volleyball, parkour, BMX, scating in every neighborhood …
- Traffic that supports the independent mobility for children. Traffic education by the police with a “biking drivers license” for all fourthgraders, so they are prepared to ride their bike without parental supervision.
- Great and affordable vacation camps that kids really love to attend when their parents work Neighborhoods with streets where cars are not allowed to go faster than a pedestrians and kids are allowed to play in the streets.
- Reliable child and youth participation in urban planning, playground planning and other political issues with a group of children advisories for the mayor and a youth council.
- And lots of institutions that support kids, teenagers and parents when in need.
- and so much more
I will try to explain some of these examples more in detail, when I have time. Which ones would you like to know about first?