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All across Montana, local giving days support community nonprofits. Family Connections needs your help during our local giving day to reach our goal of serving families, children, and child care providers in 23 counties in north central and north eastern Montana. Become a fundraising champion. Everyone loves a champion, including us! We need fundraising champions to help us reach...

April 29, 2021 by Heather McCartney-Duty Writer Elizabeth Gilbert reflected, “Grief is a force of energy that cannot be controlled or predicted. It comes and goes on its own schedule. Grief does not obey your plans or wishes…In that way, Grief has a lot in common with Love.” We are entering our first year of recovery in a...

Show Us Your Hashtag! #WOYC2021 Family Connections is marking the 50th Anniversary of the National Association of the Education of Young Children’s (NAEYC) Week of the Young Child with the tradition of doing themed days this week, April 10-16th. This is the 50th year highlighting the importance of high-quality early childhood experiences. Grandparents, parents, foster parents, and...

April 1st marks the beginning of child abuse awareness month, a month to recognize the importance of families and communities working together to strengthen families to prevent child abuse and neglect. In 1983 President Ronald Reagan formally established April as child abuse prevention month and every year since communities across the US have come together to...

Choosing how you’re going to educate your children is one of the most important questions families struggle with. Schooling may seem obvious, just simply enroll your child into the local public school system, but to others the choice isn’t so clear. You might be interested in learning more about homeschooling options, early education options, private...

Why Should I Have My Child Screened? Families with children ages five and under are encouraged to have their children ages five and under-screened for vision, hearing, and developmental progress. Why is this so important?  A child’s brain connections grow most rapidly between ages 0-3 years and continues at a rapid pace to where 90% of their...

Child care can be expensive and funds short. Family Connections can help! The Best Beginnings Scholarship is available NOW to: working individuals those attending college or training teen parent completing high school family experiencing homelessness working relative with TANF child-only grant foster individuals or families TANF cash-assistance participants Children may be enrolled in or soon to be...

As a single father, you likely face a multitude of daily challenges. There can be so much pressure on a father to be absolutely everything that children need and want. Of course, we aren't Superman and we need to recognize our own limitations and where and when we need help. Family Connections offers these five...

Kids seem to have endless amounts of energy. As a parent, keeping your little one safely occupied is easy when you can let them play outside. When the weather cools down, however, it can be tricky to find ways to keep them entertained indoors. The COVID-19 pandemic presents added challenges, requiring your family to spend...

I had a rough childhood. That’s not an opinion; I have a very high ACES score. ACES (adverse childhood experience scale) runs from one to ten with one being the fewest adverse experiences a child might have and ten being the most. Those experiences range from losing a parent to having an incarcerated family member. It...

The field of early childhood care and education had a big win in Washington DC last month. Congress passed the FY2020 government spending bills for the remaining fiscal year. The bill included a funding increase of over $1 billion for early learning and care programs, including a $500 million increase for the Child Care Development...

Holidays have so much to alert the sense this time of year! Schedule changes and bright, flickering lights; music piping from every store speaker, the bustle of crowds and the congestion of lines; dietary changes (usually in the form of a year’s worth of sugar), calendar overloads, invitations and obligations abound. Some of us are...

We all need to eat and in this season, so many fun choices abound! Help kids maintain their bodies and minds through these fun “project” foods. Snowballs 1 cup nutbutter/peanut butter of choice 1 ¼ cup of dry powdered milk ½ cup honey ½-1 cup shredded coconut Mix first three ingredients well. Roll into 1-2 inch...

North Central Montana is due for its first snow storm of the year this weekend, beginning on Friday, September 26, 2019 and continuing through the weekend. How do you know whether it will interrupt or divert your plans? Listen to the weather on your phone, radio, or television Listen for the words, “confidence levels”. This will tell...

Emergencies affect us all.  Imagine having a child fall ill while at child care or having an accident while traveling. An unexpected call about a death in the family can derail a day, a week or even months. Floods, structure fires, blizzards, heatwaves, tornadoes, forest fires, and earthquakes affect more than just our families. Whole communities,...

Fun Fact #1: Science tells us that our child’s first 5 years are the best time to build the brain! Fun Fact #2: You already have what it takes to build your child’s brain! Fun Fact #3: The FREE app to make it happen is Vroom or use the website vroom.org! The purpose of the Vroom app and...

Summer To-Do lists can run something like this in Montana: swim, bike, play at the park, get ice cream, camp, picnic, sleep late, find shade or shelter, as well as they myriad of regular tasks such as finding childcare, keeping up on household chores and scheduling out work and vacation time. When making out your list...

The weather outside may be frightful, but it’s not healthy to stay indoors all winter and wait for spring. You can enjoy the beautiful winter wonderland with your entire family. By following a few precautions, you can keep your family safe, stay fit, and have a great time no matter how much snow piles up. When temperatures...

Children begin very early in life to acquire language skills. Language helps children gain independence, interact with others, and participate in the surrounding culture. Language skills allow children to express their emotions and learn by asking questions. Most children follow a sequence of language development: crying/cooing, babbling, first words, and first sentences. By the age of...

Adults have the opportunity to provide the time, space, materials, and atmosphere to create the wonderful works of art that only children can create. In valuing a child’s first artistic attempts, however, we should appreciate the beauty of the color and design rather than worry about the finished product. Real art for real children is: Personal:...

Children learn about writing by observing people who already know how and by participating with those people in simple writing experiences. Parents and older siblings serve as models for children, showing them what writers do. Children are more likely to want to communicate in writing if they grow up in a home where they often see...

Ready 2 Read is a free text messaging program for parents and caregivers to help prepare children for kindergarten. This program covers a wide range of early literacy skills and related parenting practices including: alphabet knowledge, letter sounds, beginning sound awareness, rhyme awareness, print concepts, name writing, story comprehension, listening skills, vocabulary development, nursery rhymes, singing songs, playing together, parent-child...

Children are born without biases about other people of any race, culture, gender, or disability. We sometimes wonder if we can raise children free of prejudice by just leaving well enough alone and making sure not to pass on negative attitudes. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work this way; society’s messages are too pervasive. As parents and...

With the holiday’s right around the corner, it’s a good idea to prepare your child for what is coming. Here are 6 tips to prepare for upcoming celebrations: Prompt conversations that will spark interest in the upcoming events. Take a walk downtown and look at the holiday decorations and window displays. Look at pictures of...

Why do adults pursue hobbies such as golf, crochet, or gardening? We spend time in these activities because we find it enjoyable, we have some control over the activity, and we see it as offering some probability of success. We choose what we will crochet or plant; we describe where, when and with whom we...

Active learning takes advantage of children’s natural desire to move and touch. Young children love to manipulate items and explore new ideas. They enjoy the opportunities to see how things work and to test their own theories. Active learning takes advantage of children’s natural motivation, abilities, and interests. Kids need lots of opportunities to investigate what...

Have you ever heard someone remark about an early childhood program, “All the children do there is play”? At good early childhood programs there is a lot of play – and there should be! Years of research on children’s learning and development document the many benefits of play for children’s intellectual, social, emotional, physical, and language...