When Amy Crawford gave birth to her baby girl, she felt an overwhelming anxiety.
“We felt lost and scared and did not know what to do,” Crawford said. “I asked for advice from my mom and my mom-in-law, who had come out to Arizona to help us as we started our journey from a couple to a trio.”
The advice was always well-intended, but Crawford and her husband, who live in Yuma, often found it conflicting and not always up-to-date with the latest research.
About this time, Crawford discovered First Things First.
“I found they had resources galore,” she said. Soon after, Crawford enrolled in the FTF-funded, Arizona PBS Yuma Early Literacy Project. The program offered parenting education classes, where she learned how babies develop language skills through high-quality interactions with caring adults in their lives.
More tips included reading to her baby while she nursed.
“We started reading to Katie when she was just days old,” Crawford said. “At first I thought it was weird to talk to her. I shared my concern with the Program Educator and she advised me to tuck Katie’s head up under my chin, or her cheek, and I would sing to her, so she could feel the vibrations from my throat.”
Soon, she was talking to baby, explaining everything she was doing, from changing her diaper to putting on her clothes.
“I still remember I would say ‘first we do one arm, then two arm and over the toppie (for her head),” Crawford said. “These were just silly little, mommy and daddy made-up rhymes. But you know what? It helped build our child’s vocabulary!”
Today, Katie is 6 years old and Crawford credits the Early Literacy Project as helping her establish the foundation so that her daughter was ready for kindergarten and now first grade.