Positive Childhood Experiences: How We Can Promote Resilience, as a Community

Positive Child Experiences, also known as PCEs, are advantageous or benevolent childhood experiences that promote positive development and resilience among youth. Researchers have found that positive experiences can protect kids from the negative long-term effects of trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), leading them to become healthier, happier adults.

So how do we, as a community, create more PCEs for all of our youth?

A September 2022 report from the Maternal & Child Health Translational Research Team, ASU’s College of Health Solutions, Midwestern University, and Arizona Department of Health Services provides some practical, concrete ideas.

Researchers looked at four specific PCEs: nurturing and supportive relationships (including mentorship and family bonds); living in a stable, safe, equitable environment (including a supportive neighborhood and a safe neighborhood); opportunities for social engagement (including after-school activities and community service); and developing social and emotional competencies (including sharing ideas that matter to them).

The study looked at PCEs in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and nationwide. In general, Arizona’s PCE rates are comparable to the nationwide rates.

But they’re particularly low in two areas: Fewer Arizonans answered that people in their neighborhood help each other out, and people watch out for each other’s children in their neighborhood.

We can all help increase these two PCEs, starting where we are. What small but mighty actions can we all take to build a sense of community … and PCEs?

  • Introduce yourself to your neighbors. Take the kids along.
  • Drop off holiday cards or small gift baskets on your neighbors’ doorsteps.
  • Make treats for your neighbors.
  • Invite other neighbors with kids to go to a nearby park together.
  • Once you get to know your neighbors, offer to take turns watching kids while the parents run errands.

These small acts of connection and kindness can create significant change, during the holiday season and all year long, and their positive impact might just last a lifetime

Editor’s Note: look for the Strong Families, Happy Kids column in every issue of Prescott Woman Magazine. It’s designed to support parents with actionable tips and strategies they can use to create optimal environments for their children to thrive. To learn more about Prevent Child Abuse Arizona’s mission and resources visit www.pcaaz.org