Highlights from Zero to Three’s State of Babies report.
Every year, Zero to Three releases their annual State of Babies report. The fact sheet gives us useful information about the lives of infants across the country, including information about health, family strength and positive early learning activities. This year, the report can be seen on a state-to-state basis, with comparison to the national average.
Positive Early Learning Experiences
The best news in the report are that Indiana families read and sing to their babies above the national average. 51.7% of Indiana parents read to their infants and toddlers, compared to the 38.2% national average. And 62.1% of Indiana parents sing to their babies and toddlers, compared to the national average of 56.4%.
Reading readiness can be all kinds of things from knowing what a book is to knowing letter names and sounds. It includes things like having a rich vocabulary, liking books and being read to, as well as being able to tell a story and playing with words and sounds.
Cost of Care
In Indiana, child care can be a huge burden on single parents. However, many Indiana families are eligible for help paying for early childhood programs.
Finding help to pay for child care.
Looking for affordable, high-quality child care can be easy with a little bit of help. In Indiana families have two easy, free services to help them find care. Visit Child Care Finder online or call the Brighter Futures Indiana staff at 1-800-299-1627.
Additionally, many Indiana families are eligible for financial help paying for early childhood programs:
- On My Way Pre-K
- Head Start / Early Head Start
These programs have varying eligibility, but all help families give their children solid educational starts. Beyond these resources, many providers offer sliding scale fees, based on income. Several providers across the state are also able to provide scholarships for families seeking financial help. As you consider early education and school-age programs, don’t forget to ask about discounts!
Not all families are alike.
Did you know 8.2% of Indiana households with young children are headed by a grandparent? All families are unique and special. And each person that belongs to that family, whether it’s a brother, sister, cousin, uncle, aunt or family friend, can make a big impact in the life of a little learner. Talking, playing and finding ways to give children a joyful start to their lives can mean a happier, healthier adult life.
Do you want fun activity ideas to play and learn with your baby or toddler? Check out these ideas:
- Games and activities that encourage development
- Learning science with spaghetti and meatballs
- Simple activities for learning music at home
- Art activities for saying “I love you” and “thank you”
- Math activities for babies
For children, every day is an opportunity to learn big things about their world. And you don’t need any fancy equipment or expensive toys! Click here for more ideas on how to transform ordinary moments into extraordinary lessons…
We can do better for babies.
The State of Babies fact sheet points to various areas where Indiana can do better for babies. For example, Indiana continues to have low food security and a very high infant mortality rate (at 7.5 per 1,000 live births, above the national average of 5.9). Many Indiana infants and toddlers grow up in a low-income or below-poverty line household:
Some ways you can help babies thrive at home and beyond:
- Learn about Paths to QUALITY™
- Read about Indiana’s different family services programs
- Find out more about home visiting programs
- Explore your child’s developmental milestones
- Share Brighter Futures Indiana with your family and friends!
Share your thoughts in the comments! Click here to see the full report.