How You Can “Share It Forward”

The premise of Share It Forward is passing on the key messages to others in order to support young children’s development.  This month, try one of the following to share the message… 

Just share it!

  • Share the information with your spouse, friends, family, coworkers, etc.
  • Look for aspects of “Comfort, Play and Teach” that already exist in the family’s day to day routines.  Reinforce the things they are doing to comfort, play with or teach their children.
  • Start small.  Share information about comfort.  Discuss the importance of comforting children – how it helps children feel safe and secure and strengthens the relationship between parent and child.  Share an age appropriate activity regarding “comfort”.  Talk to parents about others with whom they might share this information.

Create bulletin boards that display the key messages.

  • Create weekly themes based on Comfort, Play and Teach.
  • Use bulletin boards in libraries, grocery stores, human service programs, churches, hotel lobbies, malls, etc.
  • Involve/invite parents to take responsibility for specific bulletin boards in the community.

Increase public awareness.

  • Hold media events (newspaper, local cable channels, and radio).
  • Newsletters (create new or use existing, such as the school newsletter).
  • Have a weekly section in the local newspaper.
  • Attend meetings where this information can be shared (e.g., service clubs, chamber of commerce or business groups, home and school associations, annual meetings).
  • Create posters with message on Comfort, Play and Teach and display in churches, post offices, doctor’s and dentist offices, coffee shops, grocery stores, libraries, hair salons, sport centres/rinks, etc.
  • Include Comfort, Play and Teach messages with things parents are likely to read – school report cards, daycare bills, water bills, etc.

Incorporate into existing programs

  • Share information with all staff – encourage modeling.
  • In child/daycare centres, create a “Comfort, Play and Teach” journal to go between the centre and the home.  Caregivers write about what activities they did, with ideas on what could be done at home to build on this.  Parents can write back about activities they are doing.
  • Organize a parent “Share It Forward” network.

Keep it going…

  • Hold brainstorming and sharing sessions with others involved in this model.  Share and celebrate the successes!
  • Use your contacts – if you have a parent in your daycare that teaches at the local school, you can use that link to carry the message to the Pre-Kindergarten program and with other parents.
  • Create a plan in your organization to ensure the “Share It Forward” messages continue to be shared.

Don’t be afraid to try your own ideas.  Find and seize the “teachable moments”.  Make it fun and remember to celebrate your successes!

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