TMW Center Newsletter February 2021

February 01, 2021

What We’re Reading

Jennifer Randles, Associate Professor of Sociology at California State University, Fresno, recently published research on a challenge faced by a large and growing share of families across the nation: diaper need, or the inability to afford enough diapers without foregoing other essentials. Randles’ research, focused specifically on mothers facing diaper need, reveals that they adopt a variety of innovative strategies in order to provide their children with this basic necessity. As she described in a summary of the work:

The women I interviewed did three types of what I call diaper work, the physical, emotional, and cognitive labor involved in managing diaper need and related anxiety and stigma. Mothers carefully tracked limited diaper supplies, asked others they knew for diapers or diaper money, and went without their own basic needs to afford diapers.

In discussing the implications of her research, Randles offers an important conclusion: “Studying mothers’ experiences of diaper need and the diaper work they do to manage it … reveals how intersecting race, class, and gender inequalities intensify certain aspects of parenting and why we need to revise existing theories of parental labor to account for that.”

What a critically important reminder for those of us who work with and for parents. Surely, this is true of all kinds of parental labor—from providing diapers to creating a rich early language environment and promoting school readiness.

Read ‘”Willing to Do Anything for My Kids’: Inventive Mothering, Diapers, and the Inequalities of Carework” in American Sociological Review or Randles’ summary in The Society Pages.

We’re Hiring!

A diverse, interdisciplinary, and passionate team fuels the TMW Center’s ongoing progress toward our vision of a future where all children start formal schooling ready to learn and thrive. Currently, we’re looking for passionate individuals to fill several integral roles on our team. We are seeking:

  • A Managing Director of Research & Innovation to oversee strategic development and management of the TMW Center’s suite of tools, technologies, and programs.
  • A Director of Partnerships to develop a strategic vision for implementation of the TMW Center’s community-based, pediatric sector-based, and knowledge-based delivery models and to oversee the team that provides training, technical assistance, and strategic guidance to partners implementing TMW programs and tools.
  • A Data Science Analyst to further develop the TMW Center’s data system and data organization processes and protocols to ensure consistency and quality, prepare for a large volume of anticipated incoming data, and produce quality, analyzable data sets.

3Ts-Let’s Talk Dads! Continues in Phoenix

Just as our 3Ts-Let’s Talk program continues to expand, so too does 3Ts-Let’s Talk Dads. Let’s Talk Dads is a four-session, facilitator-led program implemented with groups of—as the name suggests—dads. Like 3Ts-Let’s Talk, this program focuses on the critical role that talk and interaction play in a child’s foundational brain development and use the 3Ts to help parents create enriching language environments.

Let’s Talk Dads is the result of our ongoing partnership with Phoenix-based non-profit Southwest Human Development and the Steve Nash Foundation. This month, we launched a fourth (virtual) wave of the program with Phoenix area dads, bringing the total number of fathers who have participated to nearly 100.

Speaking of Steve Nash and the Steve Nash Foundation, the Brooklyn Nets coach recently shared a message about the important role parents play in promoting healthy early childhood development—and a TMW Center video about our work with the Foundation—with his 2.6 million followers on Twitter. We are grateful for the many ways Nash and his organization are helping to raise awareness and empower parents.

3Ts-Let’s Talk Launches Soon in Dallas

We are thrilled to continue our pilot of 3Ts–Let’s Talk, a facilitator-led group program designed to empower parents and caregivers with knowledge and skills to develop their children’s intellectual and educational potential, in Dallas, Texas. Thanks to our partner ChildCareGroup, which is implementing and facilitating the program locally, 10 families from the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas’s First Five child care centers will have the opportunity to participate. Initially scheduled to begin last week, the program’s start date was pushed back due to the situation in Texas; it will begin once all registered families and facilitators have their power restored and have secure access to essentials including potable water. As ChildCareGroup has continued to support families through this tragedy, we have been reminded of how fortunate we are to work with such committed partners. We are truly grateful to them.

Like all TMW Center programs and interventions, 3Ts-Let’s Talk teaches parents and caregivers about the critical role their talk and interaction play in their children’s foundational brain development. And like all TMW Center programs and interventions, it utilizes the 3Ts, simple science-based strategies to help parents create an enriching environment for their children. The 3Ts remind parents to Tune In to what your child is focused on; Talk More using a wide variety of words to build your child’s vocabulary; and Take Turns to engage your child in conversation and foster curiosity and knowledge.

Each 3Ts-Let’s Talk (virtual) group session is dedicated to a specific early childhood development topic and includes guided practice and goal setting to help families integrate the 3Ts into their everyday lives. Each family also receives one-on-one coaching with a trained facilitator between the weekly sessions.

We are grateful to PNC Grow Up Great for supporting the pilot of 3Ts-Let’s Talk in Dallas and other communities across the country.