Month dedicated to responsive parenting

Month dedicated to responsive parenting will improve parents’ knowledge and skills to create better lives for children.

From 20 October to 20 November of this year, UNICEF together with the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Ministry of Preschool Education (MOPSE) of Uzbekistan has begun a social media campaign dedicated to promoting responsive parenting. Throughout the whole month, through social media channels UNICEF, MOH and MOPSE experts have advised parents on how to create the best conditions for their children’s full and well-rounded development.

While most parents will naturally have only the best intentions for their children, there are still many barriers that may prevent their use of modern parenting practices.

“One of the issues faced is that well-meaning friends and family can give uninformed advice on everything from child feeding to childhood vaccines. Incorrect information shared through social media can also negatively impact a child’s well-being,” says Fahriddin Nizamov, UNICEF Health and Nutrition Specialist.

“Incorrect practices used in caring for newborns during their first 1,000 days and for children aged up to six years can greatly diminish their long-term physical and cognitive development. Furthermore, the global COVID-19 pandemic and related quarantine restrictions may also have significant negative impacts on the development of children, with repercussions potentially felt into adulthood.” 

Throughout the month, UNICEF, MOH, MOPSE and Uzbekistan’s most popular mass media platforms have shared information on effective parenting and care practices for younger children in household settings. The materials shared cover everything from age-appropriate nutrition including exclusive breastfeeding for newborns, ways to create a loving home environment, vaccination planning, the stages of child development, illness warning signs, and the importance of responsive parenting and play for a child’s development.

Helping parents understand and act on recommendations provided by national and international experts will help improve the lives of Uzbekistan’s youngest children, giving them strong foundations for building happier and fulfilling adult lives.

Social media for engaging parents nationwide

UNICEF, MOH and MOPSE specialists have developed effective approaches of communicating with parents through social and mass media, not just providing accurate information to target audiences but also letting them have their concerns heard and addressed.

On 20 October a parenting programme was broadcast on the most popular state television channels. On this programme experts from the Ministry of Health answered questions asked by parents on early child health and nutrition, while counterparts from the Ministry of Preschool Education reemphasized the critical importance of preschool and the role parents must play in actively supporting their children’s earliest education.

UNICEF and national partners have created 11 accessible and simple video masterclasses, widely shared through social media channels and TV stations.

“These video classes will help address some of the more recurrent ECD concerns faced in Uzbekistan. In particular, they will make parents realize the importance of preschool education,” says Vazira Nazarova, UNICEF ECD Officer.

“Preschools are not just places to entertain children during the day but rather spaces for their vital social and cognitive growth, for strengthening their communication skills, as well as for their creative and physical development. It is important to remember that along with physical health, parents should carefully monitor their children’s long-term personality development,” she adds.

At the end of the responsive parenting month, the ground-breaking Bebbo application will be launched. This will be the first digital tool of its kind in Uzbekistan, providing parents with timely and quality advice on how to support the growth, development and well-being of their children. This is especially important when direct contact with service providers is impossible or difficult, including in the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic.