Our featured partner this month is Dr. Genevieve Daftary, a pediatrician at Codman Square Community Health Center, where staff members integrate The Basics Principles into their universal first touch with parents of infants and toddlers.

The Basics Principles and a 17-year-old Father-to-Be

Dr. Genevieve Daftary at Codman Community Health Center has a hard time picking her favorite Basics story. But her face lights up as she recalls a 17-year-old who was only days from becoming a dad. 

“Tell me about this baby that’s coming,” she asked, “What’s the plan?”

Looking frightened, he responded, “I don’t know. I’m only 17 and I don’t know how to do this.” 

After a moment of conversation about his girlfriend and their families’ expectations, Dr. Daftary told him, “I get that there are a lot of unanswered questions right now. Neither you nor I know how much time you’ll have with your baby or what exactly your role will be. But what I do know is that you can be a great dad if you do these 5 things.” 

She handed him a card with The Basics Principles on it. He gripped it hard and studied it.

“Teenage boys never look at the stuff I give them,” she says, “But it was clear that card was giving him confidence.”

“These are things I can do,” he said softly.  It didn’t matter that he was only 17 or that he might not see the baby every day. “I can totally do these things.’”

Dr. Daftary recalls, “We talked for another minute or two about how important The Basics are for the baby’s learning and brain development and I told him he could learn more by watching videos on The Basics website .”

“It was the most memorable Basics handoff I’ve ever had,” she says, “because it was so different from how we usually use The Basics. But it fit just right.”

Dr. Daftary’s Top Tips

  1. Reinforce: “Introduce The Basics by catching parents doing something right. In the exam room, when a parent is face-to-face talking with their 2-month-old, I’ll say, ‘Oh my gosh, I love the way you’re talking to her right now. Did you realize that this kind of talking is growing brain cells for her at this very moment?’ I connect that observation to a Basics lesson [Talk, Sing, and Point].”
  2. Integrate: “In primary care right now, we’re all about the team. So we take a layered approach and encourage team members to highlight different aspects of the Basics related to their roles. A nurse taking a baby’s measurements will talk about counting [Count, Group, and Compare]. A nurse giving shots can talk about the power of soothing [Maximize Love, Manage Stress].”
  3. Saturate: “It is so much more powerful when there’s place/space saturation and parents are seeing Basics reminders at the library, at daycare, etc. When there’s overlap, you see the exponential power of it. So we should all be asking all the time: how many more players in the community can we get to reinforce the message? For example, Count, Group, and Compare reminders should be at the grocery store!”