New campaign sees parenting tips posted on Jerusalem Light Rail stations
THE JERUSALEM-WIDE poster campaign encourages parents to interact with their kids.
(photo credit: CITYPASS/NOAM MOSKOVITCH)
The posters, produced in Hebrew and Arabic, will remain in place for the next two months.
After two lockdowns and countless quarantine alerts, Noa Bronstein-Amon, a mother from Mevaseret Zion, was tired of the hundreds of online activities that she tried to engage her three children in on a daily basis. She wanted something simple, fun and easy that would give her quality time without causing exhaustion. Something away from the screen. She knew other parents felt the same. Bronstein-Amon, content development director for the Goshen NGO for community child health and wellbeing, has rich experience in creating parenting resources. Goshen’s Ech Gadalta (How You’ve Grown) website is one of Israel’s most extensive parenting websites, with over 600 evidence-based articles, videos and tool kits in Hebrew and Arabic. Bronstein-Amon’s “eureka” moment came when she realized that quality time with kids could be carried out pretty much anywhere at any time. A chance meeting with a Citypass senior manager resulted in a partnership that has launched a new Jerusalem-wide poster campaign to encourage parents to interact with their children while waiting for the light rail and while riding the train together. Citypass, the Jerusalem Light Rail operators, provided the advertising space. Goshen, in cooperation with Citypass, developed a series of 20 “Travel Together – Play Together” posters that encourage parents to put their phones away and focus on being with their children. Prof. Eitan Kerem, chairman of Goshen’s board and senior pediatrician at Hadassah University Hospitals in Jerusalem says, “Goshen raises the concerns that screens occupy our attention while we spend less quality time with our children. Many parents are busy with their phones while their children are sitting next to them. Goshen encourages parents to spend more time with children, deepening relationships and connection through playing with them, and this can be done while using public transportation.”TO THIS end, 20 fun, colorful and informative posters now adorn all of Jerusalem’s Light Rail train stations and will remain there for the next two months. The posters were produced in Hebrew and Arabic. The posters suggest parents tell their children stories from their childhood; find different street names together; sing songs with the words “train,” “traveling” or “railroad tracks”; make up a story from one sentence; ask their child to share one good thing and one bothersome thing that happened to them during the day; play 21 questions and pantomime games.“We are pleased to be part of this unique collaboration and to have the opportunity to give Goshen this important venue to reach out to parents,” says Citypass CEO Yaron Ravid. “Especially during these difficult times, in the wake of COVID-19, the importance of family communication and connection is critical.” The campaign slogan is: The best game for your kids… is you! Says Dr. Hava Gadassi, Goshen’s medical director and a community pediatrician, “The aim of the project is to increase parents’ awareness of the importance of quality time with their children. Not only during COVID-19, but every day. We want to create awareness that the best games for kids are the parents themselves. This project allows parents to take a time-out from the distractions and hectic pace of their lives and give their children short, high-quality play time.”The Jerusalem campaign is one of many resources Goshen has created for parents, pediatricians, childcare professionals and child caregivers. Established in 2010 by Israel’s leading pediatricians and Australia’s internationally renowned pediatrician Prof. Frank Oberklaid, Goshen aims to advance children’s optimal health, development and well-being by transforming the way that services are delivered in Israel to children and families in the community.Goshen’s multifaceted work focuses on expanding the field and scope of community pediatrics in Israel, especially in underserved communities, providing information access and resources for parents and advancing public policy for childhood health and development. “We want to give every child, no matter what their circumstances, the start they deserve,” says Kerem. With the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and its continuing adverse effect on children and families, Goshen developed a series of COVID-19 parenting resources on its website. Articles, user-friendly animated videos, tool kits, games and parenting tips for children of all ages were posted in six languages, Hebrew, Arabic, English, Amharic, Russian and French. The parenting tips were distributed across Goshen’s social media venues and tens of thousands of parents have viewed this material. “Recent studies have shown that the pandemic has had considerable health, economic and behavioral effects on parents, children and families,” says Gadassi. “Parents are in distress, swimming in uncharted waters. They turn to their community pediatricians, who find themselves dealing with increased behavioral and developmental issues while trying to transition to telemedicine. We are working with both populations to enhance professional knowledge and parenting capabilities.”Before the outbreak of COVID, the organization partnered with the Health Ministry, the Bernard van Leer Foundation, Yad Hanadiv and the Lotem organization on a Tipat Halav (Mother and Child Health Centers) Initiative to upskill Tipat Halav nurses and strengthen their support for parents. During COVID-19, many young mothers isolated from their families and community support systems needed connection, guidance and support. Local Tipat Halav nurses began reaching out to these young mothers via Zoom meetings, based on their Zoom learning experiences through the Tipat Halav Initiative. With the support of the Initiative partners, it was decided to scale up this local initiative to routinely offer online parent groups throughout the country. Thus, Tiponet was born as an innovative new service provided by Tipat Halav nurses. “If the results of this pilot continue to prove successful, it will strengthen the case for government investment in tele-health as an innovative complementary service in Tipat Halav,” says Dr. Maya Yaari, Goshen’s Initiative Director. YONIT LEVANON, Goshen’s executive director, explains that during the pandemic, Goshen recognized a need to reach parents in vulnerable communities and provide them with culturally sensitive information, tools and resources to support their children’s health and well-being, especially during these difficult and challenging times. Working with a number of partners, including the Beracha Foundation, it is now developing these resources for the ultra-Orthodox, Arab-Israeli and Ethiopian communities.A new Goshen website, Yeladudes, will soon be launched for the ultra-Orthodox community. Marketing is focused on popular ultra-Orthodox websites and widely read community newspapers, with outreach to mothers who have limited access to evidence-based parenting information. A content-rich Facebook page in Arabic provides Arab-Israeli parents with a wide variety of information and parenting updates, and directs readers to Goshen’s website in Arabic. “We want to make sure that parents throughout Israel have access to resources that can help them to raise their children in healthy, positive environments,” says Bronstein-Amon.Not only Israelis visit the site. Thousands of viewers from throughout the Arab world have clicked on, including the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Jordan, Egypt, Algeria and Iraq. “It is our goal to create a society in which every child’s health and well-being are addressed from birth,” says Kerem. “A society in which a community ecosystem, starting with pediatricians, supports child and family.”“Children comprise 30% of our population, but they are 100% of our future,” he says with a smile.The Ech Gadalta website was developed in cooperation with Australia’s “Raising Children Network” with the guidance of Professor Frank Oberklaid. It can be accessed at www.gadalta.org.il