After raising seven children, Bwamble from Uganda has learnt a lot about a child’s first years. He’s making sure Bambu, his youngest, gets a chance to start learning early at a UNICEF-supported nursery. “I want her to experience how children learn – through playing. Those who go to nursery are the ones who win when they get to school.”
“When I pick her up, she is tired from all the playing and wants to relax. My wife farms, I stay behind and look after the children. I want to see them healthy and well.”
Dads can play, learn and bond through dance
Our brains are built over time. As four-year-old Josiah sings and dances his A-B-Cs with his dad, his young mind gets a jump-start. It’s the strong beginning he needs to keep learning and exploring the world as he grows.
Dads can nurture their newborns in their first moments
UNICEF helps parents all around the world use kangaroo care for their babies. It’s a low-cost, life-saving alternative when a hospital doesn’t have incubators for babies born early. © UNICEF Croatia (left) © UNICEF/UNI193576/Quarmyne (right)
In low-income countries, five babies less than a month old die every minute. The tragedy is that these deaths are largely preventable with simple, low-cost interventions in their first vulnerable days.
From Ghana to Croatia, UNICEF is helping parents who can’t access incubators for their premature babies with skin-to-skin ‘kangaroo’ care. It’s an intimate moment of care and protection that can stabilise a baby’s body temperature, steady their heart rate and help them breathe more easily.
Dads can provide emotional support when times are tough
Good parenting for young children living in stressful conditions can provide a buffer, helping them to grow up healthy despite adversity. That’s the environment Idro is trying to create for his daughter in the Bidi Bidi refugee camp in Uganda. Violence forced the family to flee their home in South Sudan and it’s having an impact on three-year-old Confidence.
“My daughter asks me ‘when are we going home?’. Although she was very small she was able to realize that home has already been taken away for us.”
Idro and his wife are doing everything they can to make a new home for their children in the refugee camp - including building it from the ground. “We were brought here to the bush. My wife harvested grass, I made bricks and we made our home. I’m making a bed at the moment for my children.”
Dads can grow their child’s passions
Before they say a word, children learn from what is being said to them. When parents and caregivers respond to a baby’s cry or smile (or song!) it helps their brains build social and communication skills. Babies then copy the sounds and actions of the people around them, building knowledge by connecting words together in webs of meaning.