Last Sunday, Cope celebrated a sunny Father’s Day with our UpValley families in a cozy Napa Valley park. The event brought out many families from our Baby Steps program who enjoyed a fun day of play! It was a wonderful opportunity to engage families, develop deeper attachments between fathers and their children, and build a larger support network among the families. All of the fathers expressed their enjoyment in watching their kids having fun and the laughter that they shared with their peers. The park provided a safe space for their children to run around together and develop new relationships. The event brought together families who have become a community in and of themselves. There were moms exchanging phone numbers so that they could set up a time for their kids to play in the future, and fathers learning more about each other’s children.
Our amazing Family Support Provider Adriana emphasized the importance of play between parents and their children and explained that when children see both parents having fun it helps them feel connected and loved. These group experiences help build protective factors by creatively engaging families with fun group activities that build resiliency. They also help to increase the social-emotional competence of children by helping them learn social skills in a shared setting with their peers. Our family socials promote social connections between the parents by facilitating mutual support and shared fun with fellow parents. These group activities encourage a deeper knowledge of parent-child development by providing parents with an uninterrupted time and safe space to observe their children’s behaviors. Parents also get the chance to discuss their child’s development with fellow parents, and to observe play that is developmentally appropriate for children and see how it enhances their growth.
The parents and children particularly loved the parachute game, where everyone holds a piece of the parachute in the air while bouncing balls on the top. All of our family games have a set purpose, to help children develop new skills while strengthening the bond between parent and child. Playing with a parachute increases a child’s ability to follow directions, use language, join group activities, socialize, develop small muscle control, and strengthen their large muscles. All these skills strengthen the children’s physical and emotional growth, while also encouraging family fun and a sense of connection to others.
We are constantly inspired by the commitment our fathers have made to strengthening the bonds with their children, and ensuring their children grow up in safe, healthy, and happy homes. Thank you to all the supportive fathers out there!