In the middle of that chaotic wonderland known as parenting, advice and expectations are thrown at you from all corners of the ring. Knowing who to listen to is one battle moms and dads face over and over again.
It’s a system of trial and error. Of course, there is a ton of information online. Google can be your friend when it comes to parenting tips and techniques, but it’s hard to search for things you don’t know you need to search for. That’s where Think Small ParentPowered Texts comes in. Each week you will receive three messages – a fact about your child’s development, a tip on how to encourage learning in the everyday moments, and a growth message expanding on the lesson. The texts will cover ways to help improve your child’s social-emotional learning, literacy, health, and math skills and make sure your little one is on the way to being kindergarten ready.
More Prepared for Kindergarten
“The text messages are helpful reminders to use routine activities as learning opportunities for my daughter,” said Amy Raleigh, a Woodbury parent.
When Raleigh heads to the store with her 4-year old daughter, Fiona, she has a grocery list in one hand and her phone in the other. A busy mom who is constantly on the go, Raleigh uses Think Small ParentPowered Texts to turn limited time into quality time.
“The messages do a great job of not only giving me ideas, but also explaining how these activities are helping Fiona get ready for kindergarten,” said Raleigh. “They help me stay involved with her learning on a daily basis by reminding me to ask her questions and point things out to her that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.”
Fun Facts and Easy Tips
Think Small ParentPowered Texts is a FREE and easy-to-use text messaging program that provides parents of young children with fun facts and easy tips to help boost a child’s learning and build their school readiness skills. Parents who sign-up receive three text messages each week covering different areas of a child’s development.
These research-based messages build on activities that families are already doing together, like getting ready in the morning, shopping, eating, or walking to the park. The text messages offer parents ideas about simple ways to incorporate learning into their everyday routine. For example, you may already read to your child before bed, but would you think about using story time to teach them about empathy?
A Success Story
Minneapolis parent, Mary Texidor, is happy to share her Think Small ParentPowered Text success story. After receiving a text message last fall, she began asking her three-year-old son, Jeremiah, about what the characters in his books may be feeling. A few weeks later, while reading a story about a spider who was hosting a tea party that no one was attending, Jeremiah pointed out that the spider was sad. When asked what they could do, he replied, “We could be her friends and we could go to her house and play.”
Texidor said that moment melted her heart. “At his young age, Jeremiah was able to pick up on the fact that we could do something concrete to make her feel better – which was really incredible to me.”
Making a Difference
Built on studies out of Stanford University, researchers found that the ParentPowered text approach increased family involvement at home and school, ultimately leading to child learning gains (York & Loeb, 2014). And because 90% of brain development occurs in those crucial first five years, it’s never too early to start! Think Small ParentPowered Texts are designed for parents or caregivers of newborns through age five, and are based on a child’s birthdate, ensuring all messages are developmentally appropriate.
“They’re easy to apply, and I know they’re making a difference,” said Texidor. “All I can think about is if all parents were doing these tips with their kids, what a huge impact we would be having.”
To sign up online or get more information, visit www.thinksmall.org/texts. Think Small ParentPowered Texts are available in English, Spanish, and Somali.
Think Small ParentPowered Texts is a partnership of Think Small, a non-profit that works to advance the quality care and education of children in their crucial early years; Generation Next, a coalition of civic, business and education leaders from across Minneapolis and St. Paul, dedicated to closing achievement and opportunity gaps; and ParentPowered, a public benefit corporation dedicated to creating simple tools for great parenting.