Serbia’s Super Parents!

For every child, early moments matter

Super parents Teodora, Uros and their son Ratko (5 months)
UNICEF Serbia/2018/Vas
24 October 2018

“Have fun with your child – sing, make weird noises, silly faces and be prepared to look like an idiot to an outsider. But you won’t be an idiot. You will be the happiest person alive because you will bring a smile to your child’s face. And the smile on your child's face is the most beautiful moment of your life. So, be the best Super Dad in the world!”

This young child who’s causing his parents to make silly faces and making the moment he smiles the best moment of his parents’ lives is five-month-old Ratko Jovanovic, the son of the Super Dad and Super Mom Uros and Teodora Jovanovic from the city of Nis in Serbia.

Teodora and Uros have responded to UNICEF’s call to “Super Dads” from around the world to share their tips on parenting in the earliest period of their child's life, organised within the “Early Moments Matter” campaign.

The occasion for the competition was the Father’s Day which is marked in over a hundred countries worldwide on 17 June. Parents from around the globe, including those whose countries do not mark this day, joined the contest. The competition was tough.

Many people wanted to share their positive experiences of the relationship with their child in the earliest period, and thus help those parents who are not very skilled at establishing this delicate connection with their newcomer baby.

Ratko Jovanovic (5 months) and UNICEF Representative in Serbia Regina De Dominicis play with the football signed by GWA Beckham
UNICEF Serbia/2018/Vas
Ratko Jovanovic (5 months) and UNICEF Representative in Serbia Regina De Dominicis play with the football signed by GWA Beckham

UNICEF Representative in Serbia, Regina De Dominicis, awarded the winner’s prizes to the Jovanovic family – the “Super Parents” certificate, a football signed by UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador David Beckham LEGO bricks and UNICEF toys.

Overjoyed and proud parents of little Ratko thanked UNICEF for launching this initiative.

“This was a brilliant initiative from UNICEF. We are delighted that it was our parenting tip that stood out and was chosen as the winning one. For us, this is a priceless recognition”, Uros and Teodora say with a broad smile.  

“Many parents don’t spend enough time with their child while he or she is small. Many think that their children don’t understand anything because they still cannot talk. But it is crucial to be close to your babies and to interact with them as much as possible. This will help their development and will also make them very happy. There, look how happy and cheerful our Ratko is!”

Fathers in Serbia rarely get involved in the period of pregnancy, childbirth and direct childcare in the earliest period of the child’s life. And later, when the child is aged 3 to 5, only 37% percent of fathers take part in their child's educational activities.

This percentage is even lower in Roma families – only 17.3 per cent of Roma fathers join their child in play and learning.

“We at UNICEF, together with the line ministries and many other partners, and with the support of the private sector, are working on translating all of our knowledge and experiences about good parenting into policies and investments in order to improve the conditions for the optimal development of the child from the earliest childhood and for the progress of the society as a whole.

We also want to remove barriers that prevent fathers from providing their babies and young children with an environment in which they can truly make progress”, said Regina De Dominicis.

The Jovanovic family with the gifts by UNICEF
UNICEF Serbia/2018/Vas
The Jovanovic family with the gifts by UNICEF

UNICEF in Serbia supports the efforts of the Government of the Republic of Serbia aimed at supporting the development of children and their families in the areas of health, nutrition, education and social protection in order to improve the outcomes for children, especially those living in the most unfavourable conditions.

Five-month-old Ratko Jovanovic knows nothing about all of this while watching his parents being silly to make him smile.

He knows, however, with certainty that he is a loved child, cared for equally by both his Mom and his Dad – now not just an ordinary mom and dad any more, but “certified” SUPER DAD and SUPER MOM.