Let’s Talk, Baby! Baby T.A.L.K. supports children’s development

As many have said before, being a parent is the toughest job you’ll ever love. Parenting children is a monumental task, which is why so many people also say, “It takes a village.” The YWCA Child Care Resource and Referral Department’s program, Baby T.A.L.K. (Teaching Activities for Learning and Knowledge), is free and open to all parents with children ages birth-five years old. This program can certainly play the role in that “village” we all need on our parenting journeys.

Baby T.A.L.K. began in Lucas and Wood counties earlier this year and, unlike other community programs that are geared toward early interventions when issues are identified, it is open to all parents and children. Currently the program has 86 families enrolled. According to Outreach Parent Specialist Lori McCullers, the program is designed to assist in tracking children’s growth and development, but also to support their parents. Their team looks at what goals the parents have for their children and for their education. Optional screening assessments are also available.

Monthly meetings and materials

McCullers says she meets with families and the children one to two times per month. Visits can be at the family home, or if schedules are better suited to a virtual call, they can do that as well. Some families may prefer to meet at another location such as a library. McCullers also offers a few evenings or weekend time slots if that is the only time that is conducive for a family. Visits are 30 minutes to an hour. “I usually do an activity with parents and children,” said McCullers. 

The Outreach Parent Specialist helps demonstrate how parents can better interact with their children through various, yet simple daily activities. They meet them where they are and tailor the visits to their developmental goals. 

“All of my families get an educational bag with my monthly visit,” said McCullers. To encourage the interactions long after the visit with the outreach specialist, the bags contain written materials supporting the featured activity as well as a featured book. The specialist may also assist with connecting families to additional resources or maybe even give a referral for the diaper bank that provides diapers to families in need.      

Monthly socialization days 

All families enrolled in Baby T.A.L.K. are invited to take part in monthly programs that bring all the families and children together. The days are meant to give parents and caregivers an opportunity to connect with and network with other parents. The socialization days also offer a wonderful opportunity for the children to spend time with other children. The monthly events might be a trip to the art museum, a Mud Hens game, and everything in between.

In addition to the Baby T.A.L.K. program, the YWCA also offers monthly parenting classes. Families do not need to be enrolled in Baby T.A.L.K. to take part in the classes.

For additional information on these programs and more that the YWCA offers, contact Outreach Parent Specialist Lori McCullers at LMcCullers@YWCANWO.org . She can also be reached at 419-255-5519.