Skip to content

This Shared Message Bank is intended to be a resource for communications managers and other staff from nonprofit organizations, businesses, health care providers or any other community organization to help guide the messages used in collateral, web content, reports, talking points or other communications.

Be sure to share how YOUR community is utilizing the Shared Messaging by adding your information to the Messages in Action Map. Also see how other early childhood stakeholders in Colorado are using it!

Messages in Action

Tools to Boost your Use of the Message Bank
Positioning Statement

Toxic stress occurs when children experience prolonged and significant adversity such as poverty, abuse, neglect or caregiver substance abuse without adequate adult support to buffer their experiences. Toxic stress can lead to health and learning problems because it hinders brain development, preventing children from realizing their potential and fully contributing to Colorado’s future. We must all work together to prevent toxic stress in children by supporting stable and nurturing relationships and environments.

Mission Statement

For Colorado to prosper, our kids must thrive. Therefore everyone has a role to play in building a solid foundation for Colorado’s kids.

Key Messages

All Together For Prosperity

Colorado prospers when our kids thrive because they are our future workforce, leaders and community members. No matter where they live in our state – the plains, mountains, rural areas or urban centers – children need high-quality support for development. We need a broad base of participation to obtain civic, social and economic well-being in Colorado.

Positive Parenting Works

Services and policies that help strengthen families, prevent abuse and neglect, aid caregivers struggling with adversity, and promote positive interactions within families and caregivers help kids develop their potential.

Resilience Is Built

Supportive environments, relationships and community interventions can help kids exposed to toxic stress counterbalance the negative effects and become productive citizens. Investing in intervention and supportive programs to promote resilience helps kids develop their potential.

A Strong Foundation for Mental Health Begins Early

Positive mental health provides a foundation of stability that supports all other aspects of healthy development. Children’s ability to thrive begins to take shape prior to birth and is impacted just as much by their social and emotional development as it is by their physical development. Practices, policies and services that promote positive early childhood mental health help ensure a child’s success.

Metaphors to Support Key Messages

Metaphors make something that is hard to understand easier to understand by comparing it to something concrete and familiar.

Brain Architecture

The story you’re telling…
Brain development is a lot like building a house. The basic architecture of the human brain is constructed through an ongoing process that begins before birth and continues into adulthood.

Messages supported:

  • All Together for Prosperity
  • Positive Parenting Works
  • Resilience is Built
  • A Strong Foundation for Mental Health Begins Early

Serve and Return

The story you’re telling…
Brains are built through back-and-forth interaction, much like a game of tennis, ping pong or volleyball. Healthy development occurs when young children “serve” through babbling, gestures or words, and adults “return” by getting in sync with the child.

Messages supported:

  • All Together for Prosperity
  • Positive Parenting Works
  • Resilience is Built
  • A Strong Foundation for Mental Health Begins Early

Toxic Stress

The story you’re telling…
Chronic, severe stressors can cause a response that is toxic to the developing brain and has long-term effects on health and wellness. Supportive relationships can serve as a buffer against a toxic stress response.

Messages supported:

  • All Together for Prosperity
  • Positive Parenting Works
  • Resilience is Built
  • A Strong Foundation for Mental Health Begins Early

Resilience Scale

The story you’re telling…
A positive outcome is like a scale tipped to one side. It can be influenced by counterbalancing weights and adjusting the balance point.

Messages supported:

  • All Together for Prosperity
  • Positive Parenting Works
  • Resilience is Built

Levelness

The story you’re telling…
Just as the levelness of a table is what makes it functional, the mental health of children is what enables them to function well in all areas of life.

Messages supported:

  • All Together for Prosperity
  • A Strong Foundation for Mental Health Begins Early

Gold Standard Examples

Statewide Early Childhood Mental Health Materials

Office of Early Childhood/Early Childhood Partnership of Adams County/Early Milestones Colorado

First 1,000 Days

Children’s Hospital Colorado

Family Friendly Workplace Toolkit

EPIC/CDPHE/HealthLinks

National Examples

Audience-Specific Messages

Parents and Caregivers – Together for Prosperity

Main Messages:

  • Everyone in the community has a role to play in supporting families and ensuring that young children are prepared for success in school and in life.

Supporting Messages:

  • All kids, no matter where they live in our state – the plains, mountains, rural areas or urban centers – need positive experiences and loving relationships to support their healthy development.
  • The entire state of Colorado prospers when our youngest children thrive because they are our future workers, leaders and community members.
Learn more

Parents and Caregivers – Resilience Is Built

Main Message:

  • There are programs and resources in our community that help families bounce back from life’s challenges and heal the negative effects of trauma, stress and hardship.

Supporting Messages:

  • Many parents, caregivers and families struggle to manage life’s challenges and the demands of raising children.
  • Significant stress and hardship that lasts for a long time can have a negative impact on children as well as their parents and caregivers.
  • Getting support from community programs helps children and families heal, ensuring that children who experience adversity or developmental delays can get back on track and achieve their full potential.
Learn more

Parents and Caregivers – Positive Parenting Works

Main Message:

  • All parents and caregivers need support from the community to raise happy, healthy children.
  • There are programs and resources in our community that help strengthen families, support parents who are struggling, and offer parenting coaching and support when you need it.

Supporting Messages:

  • Parents, providers and child care professionals all have a powerful impact on Colorado’s next generation. In fact, since the day they are born, every interaction we have with children teaches them something about the world.
  • Many families will face difficult situations that can impact their children, especially in early childhood.
  • Parenting and family support programs strengthen Colorado families, help them through tough times, and ensure that all children can achieve their full potential.
Learn more

Parents and Caregivers – Community Resources Strengthen Families

Main Message:

  • Just as a house’s strength is threatened by unpredictable weather, a family’s well-being may be threatened by unexpected challenges such as a job loss or serious illness. There are resources in communities that act as a family’s “building materials,” supporting them to create strong foundations and to successfully weather life’s storms.

Supporting Messages:

  • We all face hard times in our lives when we need to lean on others for support. Knowing when and where to go for resources strengthens your family and helps to reduce the impact of stress on you and your children.
  • There are free programs in your community available to support you and help your family thrive.
Learn more

Parents and Caregivers – A Strong Foundation for Mental Health Begins Early

Main Message:

  • Building a healthy human brain is a process that begins before we are born and continues until a person reaches their mid-20s.
  • We all have mental health – even babies and very young children. As parents and caregivers, we play a critical role in supporting our children’s mental health.

Supporting Messages:

  • In the same way that we nurture children’s physical health, we must also nurture their mental health.
  • Children develop a strong foundation for mental health when they have safe, nurturing and educational experiences, as well as loving and consistent relationships with adults.
  • Strong mental health early in life sets children up to have healthy relationships with others and to succeed in school and in life.

    Children’s mental health is interconnected with their physical, cognitive and social-emotional development. Healthy development in each of these areas gives children a foundation for lifelong well-being.

    If you have concerns or would like to speak to someone about your child’s development, there are a wide variety of resources in our community to support you.

Learn more

Health Care Providers – Together for Prosperity

Main Message:

  • The negative, lifelong effects of toxic stress are clear. As health care providers we have an important role to play to ensure that our patients are screened for toxic stress during medical appointments and directed to appropriate treatment and intervention.
Learn more

Health Care Providers – Resilience Is Built

Main Message:

  • Timely intervention and support effectively counterbalance the negative impacts of toxic stress on children, helping them to get back on track with healthy development and grow into productive members of the community.

Supporting Messages:

  • In addition to screening for toxic stress, health care providers can ask patients about adversity factors and direct them to supportive programs and services that can tip the scales toward resilience for children and families.
Learn more

Health Care Providers – Positive Parenting Works

Main Message:

  • All parents and caregivers need support to deliver high-quality care and developmental support for young children. Parents trust health care providers to educate them about resources and refer them to the most appropriate services.

Supporting Messages:

  • Services that promote health and well-being, including public policies, help to strengthen families by preventing abuse and neglect, supporting families struggling with adversity, and providing access to family planning services.
  • Screening for adverse childhood experiences and toxic stress during medical checks and giving parents care and resources to give children a great start are important first steps to ensuring families get the support they need.
Learn more

Health Care Providers – Community Resources Strengthen Families

Main Message:

  • As a health care provider, you are a trusted advisor to families, and you can play an active role in strengthening families and preventing child and abuse and neglect.

Supporting Messages:

  • You can provide information about local services and facilitate connections for families with appropriate organizations that can help them meet their basic needs and support their children’s learning and development.
  • Research shows that connecting families to available local resources minimizes stress, improves physical and mental health, and prevents child abuse and neglect.
  • Supports like {insert as appropriate to the audience: mental health services, food pantries, childcare as well as Colorado’s child abuse & neglect hotline (1-844-CO-4-KIDS)} strengthen families and creates a pathway for families to thrive.
Learn more

Health Care Providers – A Strong Foundation for Mental Health Begins Early

Main Message:

  • Social and emotional development begins before birth and is just as important to a child’s success and well-being as cognitive and physical development.
  • Asking parents about their own social, emotional and mental health and that of their children can go a long way toward ensuring children’s healthy development.

Supporting Messages:

  • Health care providers help families address all aspects of a child’s well-being by increasing access to screening, providing developmental assessments, and offering guidance and referrals to appropriate services for young children, families, as well as expectant and new parents.
Learn more

Educators – Together for Prosperity

Main Message:

  • Everyone in the community has a role to play in supporting families and ensuring that young children are prepared for success in school and in life.

Supporting Messages:

  • All kids, no matter where they live in our state – the plains, mountains, rural areas or urban centers – need positive experiences and loving relationships to support their healthy development.
  • The entire state of Colorado prospers when our youngest children thrive because they are our future workers, leaders and community members.
Learn more

Educators – Resilience Is Built

Main Message:

  • Intervention and support help to counterbalance the negative effects of trauma, toxic stress and hardship on children so they can get back on track and achieve their academic potential.

Supporting Messages:

  • Teaching children stress-reduction techniques, offering “brain breaks” in the classroom, and encouraging other emotional regulation skills helps children develop resilience.
  • These activities give children’s brain chemistry an opportunity to rebalance and support children along the path to achieving their full potential.
Learn more

Educators – Positive Parenting Works

Main Message:

  • When parents and caregivers are engaged in their children’s education and involved in their school, the entire family benefits.
  • Parents’ involvement helps to strengthen families and promote positive, effective parenting relationships that enable kids to be ready to learn and succeed in the classroom, at home and in the community.
Learn more

Educators – Community Resources Strengthen Families

Main Message:

  • When educators – from early childhood through high school – actively engage parents and caregivers, they become one of a family’s most trusted partners.

Supporting messages:

  • To support families during times of stress, guide parents and caregivers toward community-based programs and resources that help make sure that children come to school ready to play, learn and grow.
  • School-based programs, including free and reduced lunch, before- and after-school childcare, and counseling services, are important supports that help tip the scale toward resiliency and positive outcomes for families.
  • Having access to these supports helps to ensure that kids and their families are ready to actively engage in the education process and provides a foundation for families to build a stable and secure future.
  • Educators – as mandatory reporters – also play an important role in identifying and reporting suspected child abuse and neglect. If you have concerns about the welfare of a child or family, call 1-844-CO-4-KIDS, Colorado’s child abuse and neglect prevention hotline.
Learn more

Educators – A Strong Foundation for Mental Health Begins Early

Main Message:

  • Developing social and emotional skills, such as the ability to manage emotions and impulses, is just as important to children’s success as their cognitive and physical development.
  • Children’s early experiences and relationships impact their health and learning for a lifetime.
  • As educators, we have a significant role to play in supporting each aspect of a child’s healthy development by providing opportunities for social and emotional learning in the classroom and intentionally promoting strong partnerships with families.

Supporting Messages:

  • Programs that promote mental health in schools are essential to connect families to community resources that promote prevention and wellness, as well as to interventions that can effectively address behavioral health challenges.
Learn more

Community Resources/Services – Community Resources Strengthen Families

Main Message:

  • Community-based organizations and programs create pathways and opportunities that empower parents and caregivers to meet their family’s basic needs now and in the future.

Supporting Messages:

  • Just as a house’s strength may be threatened by unpredictable weather, a family’s well-being may be threatened by unexpected challenges such as a job loss or serious illness. Community-based resources and programs give families the tools and skills they need to successfully weather life’s storms.
  • Research has shown timely access to services prevents child abuse and neglect. These services include things like {insert as appropriate to the audience: utility assistance, mental health services, food assistance and pantries, Colorado’s child abuse & neglect hotline (1-844-CO-4-KIDS), among many others.}
Learn more

Community Resources and Services – A Strong Foundation for Mental Health Begins Early

Main Message:

  • Children’s relationships and their social and emotional development are just as important to their well-being as cognitive and physical development.

Supporting Messages:

  • When communities come together to identify and implement innovative solutions that support children’s social and emotional development at home and in other primary settings, we see sustainable improvements in children’s mental health and overall well-being.
Learn more

Community Resources and Services – Together for Prosperity

Main Message:

  • Colorado prospers when our youngest children thrive because they are our future workers, leaders and community members.
  • When community resources and social services work collaboratively to prevent toxic stress – instead of focusing on punishment for challenging behaviors – we ensure that all children are prepared to participate in Colorado’s bright future.

Supporting Messages:

  • When we proactively work to prevent toxic stress, and counterbalance the negative impacts of adversity with appropriate interventions and supports, all children and our entire state benefit.
Learn more

Community Resources and Services – Resilience Is Built

Main Message:

  • Timely intervention and support from community organizations can effectively outweigh the negative impacts of toxic stress on children and help families to be strong.

Supporting Messages:

  • Programs that support and promote well-being can help families be strong in the face of challenging life circumstances.
  • Making sure children have the supports they need early in life help build the foundation for a life of resiliency in the face of challenging times.
Learn more

Community Resources and Services – Positive Parenting Works

Main Message:

  • In order for children to achieve their full potential, communities must support services and policies that strengthen all families by preventing abuse and neglect, supporting families struggling with everyday needs, and providing parenting coaching and support.

Supporting Messages:

  • All parents and caregivers need access to services and support in order to provide the best possible care and to support their children’s healthy development.
  • Community organizations play a key role in making sure families can connect to services and get the quality information they need to raise happy, healthy kids.
Learn more

Community Members and Groups – Together for Prosperity

Main Message:

  • Colorado prospers when our youngest children thrive because they are our future workers, leaders and community members.
  • No matter where they live – the plains, mountains, rural areas or urban centers – children need high-quality experiences and loving relationships to support healthy development.
  • Participation from everyone in the community will ensure the prosperity of Colorado’s civic, social and economic future.

Supporting Messages:

  • Everyone in the community has a role to play in helping Colorado’s children succeed – even those not involved in the day-to-day raising of children.
Learn more

Community Members and Groups – Resilience Is A Skill

Main Message:

  • Positive relationships and supportive communities effectively outweigh the negative impacts for children experiencing toxic stress and help them to grow into productive, healthy members of the community.

Supporting Messages:

  • Communities that support families to develop and sustain strong, nurturing relationships are integral to strengthening families and ensuring that children exposed to toxic stress can heal and go on to reach their full potential.
Learn more

Community Members and Groups – Positive Parenting Works

Main Message:

  • In order for children to achieve their full potential, communities must support services and policies that strengthen all families by preventing abuse and neglect, supporting families struggling with everyday needs, and providing parenting coaching and support.
  • A supportive community plays a vital role in supporting parents and families and offering the support they need, including spiritual guidance, addiction treatment, emotional support and other resources.

Supporting Messages:

  • Supportive, engaged communities help to ensure that children grow up surrounded by loving relationships and positive experiences that help them thrive for a lifetime.
Learn more

Community Members and Groups – Community Resources Strengthen Families

Main Message:

  • An encouraging and active community plays a vital role in supporting children and their families, which in turn makes the entire community stronger. Each of us plays a role in supporting Colorado’s children – even those of us who are not involved in the day-to-day raising of kids.

Supporting Messages:

  • Communities can provide the foundational “building materials” that help families successfully weather life’s storms such as a job loss or serious illness.
  • This can include linking parents and caregivers to services such as {insert as appropriate to the audience: childcare, mental health services, financial assistance, etc.}.
Learn more

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to use this language in all my communications?

No. Use the language your organization is most comfortable using to convey the four key messages of Prosperity, Positive Parenting, Resilience and Early Childhood Mental Health.

I'm not sure this messaging will resonate in my community. How can I use it?

The framing and research that serves as the basis for this message bank has been tested with a broad range of individuals and communities from many backgrounds. Yet, it’s YOU who knows your community best and can translate these messages in the tone and voice that most resonates with your community.

I don’t like the messaging about Prosperity, Positive Parenting, Resilience and Early Childhood Mental Health. Can I just use different messaging?

The messaging is based on the FrameWorks research brief, which studied messaging about toxic stress and adversity in children that’s most effective with the general public. The goal of the ECCP is to have all organizations in Colorado familiar with the evidence-based messaging so we can create systemic change in the state.

We don’t typically talk this way to our audiences. Do I need to start using this tone?

No. You know your audience best. This language is here to help you convey the Prosperity, Positive Parenting, Resilience and Early Childhood Mental Health messaging. Share it in your own voice.

I only work with one of the target audiences. Do I have to discuss all the messages with them?

No. Target your messaging to your audience and use messages that work best with them.

I don’t understand how to use this document. Is there someone I can talk to about how to use it?

Yes! Please contact: earlychildhood@civiccanopy.org

Back To Top