Danielle Smith and her husband wanted to ensure they had the parenting skills needed to form positive relationships with their two daughters and get them ready to be successful in school.
Smith’s youngest daughter Zoey was age 1, when she found out about the 1234 Parents! parent education program at Fredonia Elementary School, which provides education and support to parents with children ages birth to 5. First Things First funds the program in the Coconino region.
Over the course of five sessions, the program covers topics such as: developing a loving relationship, communication and positive discipline, ages and stages and language and reading skills.
“One of the most important and first things that I learned was being able to get down to their level,” Smith said. “When you are trying to get your child’s attention, if you can kneel down or sit down and be eye-to-eye with your child and let them know you are not lording over them.”
The instructor encouraged the parents to give their children meaningful compliments.
“Not just saying, ‘Hey, good job,’ you have to verbally tell them, ‘I really enjoyed watching you do your homework, you did a really good job and I can see how you worked it out.'” Smith said.
The classes have helped Zoey, now age 5, to be ready to start kindergarten.
“Zoey has learned to be a problem solver and learned to voice things,” Smith said. “I think she will do really good in kindergarten.”