New mom gains confidence with support from PAT

Like many new moms, SiSi Liu was full of questions about how to raise her toddler sons. Why does he sleep this way? Is he eating enough? Why does he act this way?

All are valid questions for any parent – new or veteran. However, when she and her husband, Tai Le, moved from Pittsburgh to Houston two years ago, the couple did not know anyone. Liu had no friends or family to consult about her concerns. Then one day, she discovered a flier about Collaborative for Children’s Parents as Teachers program and immediately contacted us.

Our Parent as Teachers program helps parents promote healthy development and school readiness in their children. The program includes home visits and other services, such as educational games and activities, free developmental screenings and opportunities to connect with other families through group meetings. The program serves families with young child age 0 to 3.

Soon after applying for the program, Liu began receiving homes visit from one of our early childhood specialists, Dekia Brinkley. Liu usually has a list of parenting questions ready to ask Brinkley during their bi-monthly visits. Liu says Brinkley’s support helps her feel more at ease in her new role as a mom.

Brinkley also teaches Liu how to use age-appropriate toys and books to help her two sons, now 3 and 21-months-old, learn and understand English, while still encouraging the family to communicate in their native language, Mandarin. The toddlers, who greet Brinkley in English, are becoming more fluent in their second language each day.

Our early childhood specialists are culturally competent, meaning they understand the ways diverse cultural and linguistic experiences guide development for dual-language learners. Research shows that a socio-cultural approach to working with dual-language learners and their families is strengths-based and family focused.

The couple, who are expecting their third child, say they are grateful for all the support they receive through our program. Liu regularly attends the Parents as Teachers parenting sessions and family activities, where she has met several new friends and bonded with other families.

She also recommends the program to other families in her community. In fact, her word of mouth promotion has sometimes created a waiting list for our program.

“I think every new mommy needs the same thing,” Liu says. “The first time faced with the baby is a big responsibility.”