Strong Families, Happy Kids: Parenting Tips from Prevent Child Abuse Arizona

Surviving Summer Break: The Importance of Social Connections for Parents, and 10 Ways to Build and Nurture Them This Summer

By Hilary Dartt

Did you know that there are five major strengths that predict your family’s ability to raise happy kids and thrive? The Strengthening Families™ Framework outlines these five Protective Factors: parental resilience, knowledge of parenting and child development, social and emotional competence of children, social connections, and concrete support in times of need. When a family works to build these strengths, the whole family benefits. In this column, we’ll focus on the Social Connections protective factor.

Claire Louge, Training Director for Prevent Child Abuse Arizona, said, “The more connected we are, the more strength we have. Social connections are the path to all other protective factors.”

Being socially connected, she said, doesn’t mean you need to have tons of friends or be the “life of the party”; rather, it’s about knowing you’re supported and loved, and that you have someone to whom you can turn when you’re feeling stressed. Social connections increase parental resilience and a sense of hope.

Summer is the perfect time for parents to focus on building and nurturing social connections … all that quality time with the kids can leave a parent wanting some adult interaction.

Here are 10 tips for getting and staying connected:

  1. Plan a park playdate and picnic lunch with other friends. Parents can chat while the kids play.
  2. Join a local parents’ group (for example, MOMS Club of Prescott).
  3. Check out kid-centric events offered by local libraries (including daytime shows and evening events).
  4. Take advantage of local movie theaters’ summer movie programs.
  5. Schedule a phone call with a long-distance friend.
  6. Invite another family over for dinner.
  7. Volunteer (alongside your kids) at a local nonprofit.
  8. Join or create a summer-reading book club and get together regularly throughout the summer.
  9. Get outside. Once a week, choose a different trail or lake to visit with friends.
  10. Text a friend you haven’t heard from in a while. They might need a check in from a social connection!

Enjoy your summer!

Editor’s Note: look for this 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