Engaging Expectant Families, Including Fathers

Early Head Start (EHS) staff engage pregnant mothers and expectant families as they prepare for their new baby. Connecting families to comprehensive prenatal care, such as nutrition education, oral health care, and mental health supports, is all part of the process. This includes engaging fathers from the beginning. Understanding what to expect during pregnancy and after the birth can help young families feel better prepared to face parenthood.

Expectant Families

Couple happy to hear good news about pregnancyFor expectant families, pregnancy and childbirth can be confusing and intimidating. Review these resources and share strategies with expectant families to build their parenting skills and prepare for the new addition to their family.

Early Essentials Webisode 3: Expectant Families
Using video from home visits and questions from the field, experienced EHS staff and researchers discuss how to build collaborative, trusting relationships with expectant families. Discover how to help expectant families access needed comprehensive services. Key concepts are summarized in the Quick Start Guide.

Engaging Teen Parents: Lessons from Teens about What Works for Them
Listen as teen parents share their experiences of needing services during pregnancy, and how EHS program staff engaged and supported them.

Developmental Foundations of School Readiness for Infants and Toddlers
Infancy and toddlerhood set the foundation for school readiness. This Research to Practice Report summarizes opportunities to support children's early development. It includes resources on pregnancy, prenatal development, prematurity, and mothers' pre-conceptual health.

Addressing Substance Misuse Among Pregnant Women
This interactive module guides home visitors in talking to expectant families about substance misuse, including opioids.

The Importance of Home Language Series
Babies first hear their home language in the womb. This series of handouts provides staff and families with basic information on topics related to children who are dual language learners. They emphasize the benefits of being bilingual and the importance of maintaining the home language while learning English.

Focus on Expectant and New Fathers

New father holding his babyFathers play an important role in the lives of their children, prenatally to adulthood. How they choose to be involved impacts their child's life in many ways. These resources detail the importance of and how EHS staff can encourage positive father involvement.

Birth to 5 Father Engagement Guide
Explore ideas for implementing father engagement strategies across systems and services as a part of your everyday work.

Engaging Fathers
Explore the strategies one Head Start and Early Head Start program uses to engage fathers in their children's learning and development. Dedicated fathers learn from one another, make connections, and build a community. This helps them fulfill their role as one of the most important people in their children's lives. This video is part of the Best Practices in Family and Community Engagement Video Series.

Strengthening Families and Fatherhood: Children of Fathers in the Criminal Justice System
The Fathers for Life skill-building modules focus on relating to and engaging with fathers who are incarcerated or on probation or parole. The key goal is to encourage and support positive relationships of families with infants, toddlers, and preschool-aged children who have fathers in the criminal justice system.