April 2024

April is upon us and with it comes Child Abuse Awareness month. It is a difficult subject but an important one that requires careful attention.

Parents or other adults living in a household are the number one abuser of

small children.

  • The highest rates of child abuse occur under age one (23.1 per 1,000 children).
  • More than one-quarter (27.3%) of victims were younger than 3 years.
  • Almost 70% of children that are victims of child abuse are under the age of four.

Parenting is difficult and can be challenging and adults need support through the early years in order to prevent child abuse. Some important strategies are parents understanding child development so that expectations are realistic. Part of the reality of an infant and younger child is that they cry. If parents don’t understand that, children can be at risk for abuse.

Through the Strengthening Families Institute and the Idaho Children’s Trust Fund, Giraffe Laugh has been able to provide crying plans to our parents. These plans are designed to not only inform parents about crying with statements such as, babies cry, some more than others, and babies cry because they can’t talk or babies don’t cry because they are mad at you.

These simple statements not only educate but beg the question, what can I do about it? The next part of a crying plan has four elements:

1) Check the baby’s basic needs (with a list of things to look for),

2) Try soothing your baby (with tips on how to do that),

3) Statements about if your baby won’t stop crying including, it is okay if they cry, stay calm, and never shake a baby,

4) Find back up. Find family and friends you can call if needed because your baby won’t stop. Put them on your crying plan and share it with them. Make copies of your plan and hand it out to people caring for your baby and be sure they understand who they can call in step four.

The crying plan empowers parents and ensures they not only understand crying will happen but that they know what to do about it.

Our hope is that no child is ever abused and this is just one tool that provides us with hope that we can move the dial on statistics and strengthen families in a simple, yet meaningful way.

Please feel free to share the crying plan with family and friends and join us in preventing child abuse.

I hope you all enjoy your spring with your little ones and that our community can work together to keep all kids and families safe and healthy.

Learn More About Giraffe Laugh!

We can see the future from here!

Giraffe Laugh is a local nonprofit that provides early childhood education and nurturing to 170 Treasure Valley children annually by ensuring school readiness, empowering families, and building strong futures.

Giraffe Laugh has two full-time programs that serve children 0-5 years old, a full-time preschool program that serves children 3.5-5 years old, and a summer program that serves children that are of school-age.