Mothers and Children Sitting Outside

Social networks that include extended family, friends, and fellow parents can make a big difference for you and your child. Social support in the form of friendship and connections to a community can help us be better nurturers of our children. And practical support such as help with transportation, babysitting, or lending clothes helps us manage our lives and give our children what they need.

Social networks can help families do the following:

  • Meet their basic needs, achieve their goals, and successfully raise their children

  • Overcome obstacles such as unsafe neighborhoods, family violence, and homelessness

  • Feel cared for and receive help from others

  • Strengthen parenting skills

Family social networks can help children interact with various safe and caring adults, have different experiences, learn to understand different points of view, and grow up safe and healthy.

Your child care program may be able to help you develop supportive relationships. Check to see what opportunities your child care provider offers for families to get to know each other. For example, your provider may offer “meet and greets,” potlucks, message boards, parent councils, family volunteer activities, parent information sessions, and parenting classes presented by community partners. If your program does not offer such opportunities, ask for them!