From: National Resource Center for Healthy Marriage and Families <>
Subject: Updates from the National Resource Center for Healthy Marriage and Families

National Resource Center for Healthy Marriage and Families
Issue 38 | March 2016
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Elderly man reading to child
Communicate Early and Often
A Note from the Director
We often talk about the importance of communication as an important component of developing and maintaining interpersonal relationships, but did you know that verbal communication is also critical to a child’s development? A longitudinal study conducted by Betty Hart and Todd Riley monitored parental interaction with children starting at approximately 7 months of age. They found stark differences based on socioeconomic status of the family. In four years, an average child in a professional family would accumulate experience with almost 45 million words, an average child in a working-class family 26 million words, and an average child in a welfare family 13 million words. Another significant finding was that the trajectory established in these early years continued into elementary school; welfare children didn’t “catch-up” after starting preschool. The study highlights the importance of verbally communicating with children early and often. We hope the tips and resources below are helpful to you and the families you serve as we work together to improve long-term outcomes for children.
Best regards,
Robyn Cenizal, Project Director
Tips of the Month
The Resource Center’s Children and Youth page offers a range of resources to support healthy family relationships. Setting aside one-on-one time with each child is a wonderful, but not always possible. Here are a few tips for incorporating parent-child communication into daily interactions:
  ‐  Reading to children. It’s never too early to read to children. Whether you’re reading a children’s book or the newspaper to your infant isn’t as important as your voice inflection, tone and facial expressions.
  ‐  Tell stories. If you’re not comfortable reading out loud, tell your children stories. You can make up “once upon a time” stories or tell them stories from your childhood.
  ‐  Bathing and dressing. Talk to small children while you are bathing and dressing them. Describe clothing items and colors, make matching colors a game.
  ‐  Grocery shopping. Engage your little one in a conversation. Ask questions, tell them about your day or just describe each item that goes in the cart.
Featured Resources
The Resource Center's Virtual Library has collected more than 1,000 materials in a variety of formats including fact sheets, research-to-practice briefs, brochures, pamphlets, training resources, program reports or evaluations, and research materials.
Select the links below to view our featured March resources:
  •  Providing Healthy Marriage Education to Clients with Lower Literacy Skills (Tip Sheet)
This resource defines literacy and describes how to learn about clients’ literacy abilities in a thoughtful and inoffensive way. Tips are also offered for practitioners on how to choose suitable materials for lower literacy levels and how to develop and teach courses that are accessible for individuals with lower literacy skills.
  •  Help Your Child Become a Great Reader (Fact Sheet)
Reading is taught in school, but support and teaching at home can help children learn more effectively. This fact sheet lists five easy things parents can do to help their children read, as well as some interactive activities and tips on how to get the whole family engaged in reading together.
  •  Navigating Work and Family (Fact Sheet)
This fact sheet is designed to help parents create a work-life balance, and on page 11 there is a discussion of family reading time. The page describes the importance of reading to and with children for the development of literacy skills, and suggests ways to make reading a part of family life.
The Resource Center's Events Calendar offers a listing of Resource Center events and other national, regional, and community-wide events that might be of interest. Upcoming events include:
  •  National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse Working with Fathers in Rural Areas and Small Communities Webinar March 16 at 12:30 PM Eastern
Although much of the fatherhood work we hear about takes place in urban areas, we should not forget that many fathers and families live in rural areas or small town communities. This webinar will explore the context of responsible fatherhood programming in rural areas and small communities, consider differences and similarities between rural and urban communities, and look at strategies and resources that some programs have used in working with dads in small communities. Visit the Resource Center Calendar of Events for details as they become available on presenters and how to register.
  •  National Association of Workforce Investment Boards: The Forum 2016 in Washington, DC, March 12-16, 2016
The Forum is the premier event where workforce development professionals and leaders in business, government, labor, and education gather to gain insights into the current state of our nation's workforce system and consider the goals and policy framework affecting the future of human capital development. The Forum 2016 engages and prepares workforce, education and economic development stakeholders to embrace technology, community, and transformation as they address the needs of businesses, career seekers, and local economies to build the competitive capacity of their regions.

Plan on attending the National Association of Workforce Investment Boards’ Forum? Be sure to visit the exhibit hall and visit the Resource Center table!

  •  Registration Open: 34th Annual Protecting Our Children National American Indian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect in St. Paul, MN, April 3-6, 2016
Conference attendees are a cross-section of experts including child welfare, mental health, and juvenile justice service providers; legal professionals; students; advocates for children; and tribal and federal leaders. The participants will explore the theme of Voices of Our Ancestors: Focusing on the Seventh Generation.
Feedback and Technical Assistance
If you have suggestions or wish to speak with a Resource Center staff member, please contact us and we will be happy to assist you. If you would like to request technical assistance, please submit a Training and Technical Assistance Request Form and our Technical Assistance Coordinator will contact you.
To learn more about the Resource Center visit us at
The National Resource Center for Healthy Marriage and Families supports safety-net service providers as they integrate healthy marriage and relationship education skills into service delivery systems as part of a comprehensive, culturally appropriate, family-centered approach designed to promote self-sufficiency.

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Funding for this project was provided by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Grant: 90FH0003. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.

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National Resource Center for Healthy Marriage and Families | 9300 Lee Highway | Fairfax | VA | 22031