Community Connections: Traditions enhance family identity |

Community Connections: Traditions enhance family identity

Tami Havener/For Steamboat PIlot & Today

At the Family Development Center, we hold family connections in high regard. From Discovery Learning Center’s Grandparents Club to Newborn Network’s Parents as Teachers to Child Care Network’s support of family child care homes, we practice family engagement and involvement on a daily basis.

Developing and renewing family traditions is a fun way to enhance your child’s and family’s identity with shared values, provide caring continuity during times of transition or stress and connect generations with enduring bonds. The holiday season is a time to embrace family traditions.

Creating or celebrating a special event in your family that will develop a history through the years provides meaning in a way that can give your child a foundation. That foundation will strengthen the bonds among your family which, in turn, will strengthen the brain development in your young child.

When you are cooking that special family pie recipe (if you don’t have one — find one; or maybe the tradition is to buy a favorite frozen pie and bake it together), those scents wafting from the oven become embedded in your child’s brain. That same smell later in life can elicit all those warm memories you made together building family traditions. And while washing the family dog in tomato juice following a round with a skunk isn’t a tradition you want to repeat, it does build family bonds with the story that is repeated again and again. That smell also elicits a family memory.

To select a tradition ask yourself the following questions.

• What traditions matter most to you?

• What rituals and traditions do you remember from your childhood?

• Are there things you do regularly that make you feel close as a family?

Remember: Keep it simple, fun, inexpensive and include the whole family. All these thoughts also apply if your family is a group of friends.

FDC educates and cares for young children and their families through three programs.

Discovery Learning Center

Discovery Learning Center is a nationally accredited preschool and prekindergarten. All our students who graduated last year met or exceeded Colorado’s school readiness standards. Of those 92 children in 2016, 31 benefited from scholarships at DLC, with more htan $115,000 awarded. Those scholarships were funded by donations from Routt County United Way, Routt County and the city of Steamboat Springs.

Newborn Network

Newborn Network is a parent education network for families with children prenatal to 36 months. Our parent educators served 50 families with 65 children and their 96 parents with the nationally recognized Parents as Teachers monthly home visitation program in 2016. NN provided more than 100 families with a Colorado Bright by Three visit.

NN conducted 160 parent education sessions (with up to 15 parents, their infants and toddlers at each group) presented by community experts, all of whom donated their time. The sessions covered 30 topic areas, including brain and child development information, plus local resources to assist in parenting. This programming is offered at no cost to Routt County families, due to the previously mentioned donors, plus Craig-Scheckman Family Foundation, Yampa Valley Community Foundation, Temple Hoyne Buell Foundation, CO Parent Possible and Colorado Office of Early Childhood.

Child Care Network

Child Care Network works with families to find licensed child care, provides training and coaching to child care providers, and assists communities in solving child care issues in for Northwest Colorado counties. Technical assistance and financial support to start family child care homes is available, so call us if you’d like to explore that opportunity.

These services are funded by the above sources, plus First Impressions of Routt County.

Visit for program contact information or to volunteer for our upcoming annual fundraiser, Casino Night, planned for March 11.

Tami Havener is executive director of the Family Development Center of Steamboat Springs.

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