June is Parenting Month
Caring for children starts with caring for parents
Belgrade, 2 June 2021 – This is the third year UNICEF is marking Parenting Month. This year the goal is to raise awareness about the importance of preserving the mental health and strength of parents or guardians. Throughout June, a series of events and activities will shine a light on the equal importance of the needs of both parents and children.
For a parent to be able to provide the best start in life for their child, they must focus on their own well-being and mental health. Parenting has been especially challenging during the COVID-19 pandemic - parents are increasingly struggling with anxiety, worry or depression.
More than half of children aged 2 to 4 do not have the support of their fathers in playing and learning. Moreover, although 90 percent of parents in Serbia agree that children should not be subjected to physical punishment, every third child aged 3 to 4 is subjected to physical punishment. MICS 2019 data show that in households living in poverty, only half of children under 5 have three or more books, compared to 90 percent of children from the richest households. Also, 60,000 young children in Serbia face developmental risks and difficulties and their families need additional support.
This year’s Parenting Month in Serbia is being realized as part of the project jointly implemented by UNICEF, the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the LEGO Foundation. Local self-governments in Palilula (Belgrade), Novi Sad, Bor, Vranje, Kragujevac and Novi Pazar are being strengthened to support the standardization of parenting support programmes in Serbia and thus become models of good practice for other self-governments. Through the prism of their work on preserving the emotional well-being of parents, together with UNICEF, they will shed light on the first experiences of improved intersectoral support for parenting and the early development of children.
UNICEF and the LEGO Foundation are working together to help parents and guardians use the power of play to give children the best possible start in life. Supporting parents during the early childhood of their children is a relevant and effective strategy for reducing social inequalities, violence against children and strengthening sustainable development. Establishing incentive parenting practices in every society is not only a priority, but also one of the most profitable investments in sustainable development that brings a high return on investment, especially if it happens in the first years of a child's life, while the window of immense development opportunities is open.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/serbia