Home Message service Huron-Perth child development experts launch text-based information service for new parents

Huron-Perth child development experts launch text-based information service for new parents

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A local group of child development experts in Huron and Perth counties have turned to text messaging in an attempt to address the pandemic challenges facing young rural Ontario families during the pandemic.

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Kids First Huron Perth, a group of 60 local agencies including Huron Perth public health, Perth Care for Kids and Rural Response for Healthy Children, launched a new information sharing service via text message late last month.

Parents who sign up receive a short message of 100 characters approximately once a week covering a topic of interest to the healthy development of children aged zero to six.

The concept is fairly simple but has many benefits, said Linda Feeney, an early learning resource consultant for Huron County.

“Everyone appreciates information in different ways at different times,” she said. “There may be families who stumble upon this initiative and sign up but who may not really have a connection with one of our agencies otherwise. They are always able to get appropriate messages for young children from professionals in our community without any other kind of involvement with our service providers.

This is particularly important at this time. Although the text messaging platform was under development in 2019, Laura Carson, EarlyON coordinator for the Municipality of North Perth, said her recent rollout couldn’t have come at a better time.

Between work and school, migrating online for much of the past 18 months or so, “many families are currently Internet exhausted,” she said. Additionally, experts in child development are interested in taking every possible opportunity to connect with new families, especially with in-person programs affected by public health restrictions that can make parents nervous up to the point. to have a COVID-19 vaccine approved for children under 12 years of age.

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“I think (the lyrics) are great because they’re short and straightforward,” Carson said.

One of the texts from August recalled that eating together is an important way for families to connect. He also came up with a list of tips for healthy eating.

Another provided a list of questions to ask when trying to find a suitable child care provider.

These are the types of topics new parents would normally ask about in in-person dates or social events, but with those face-to-face connections mostly banned now, Carson said local experts want also make sure parents find good information online. .

“There are a lot of hot topics like how to put children to sleep, how to teach children to be clean and (and) nutrition,” she said. “The internet is full of very strong opinions on both sides, so it’s very important to find that common ground and (get information) from a professional. All of these text messages are created by organizations, agencies and professionals who work in the community, so they are highly applicable to life in rural Ontario.

Parents can sign up for the service by texting KIDSFIRST at 226-909-3005.

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