UNITED NATIONS, June 1 (Xinhua) -- Kicking off on Saturday the first-ever global Parenting Month, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), is calling on world leaders to invest in family-friendly policies that support parents to give their children "the best start in life."
According to UNICEF, the month of June is a time to focus on raising awareness of the impact that protection, nutrition and stimulation have on brains in the earliest years of life.
It also supports parents in pressing governments and businesses to invest in family-friendly policies, especially targeted towards working parents, and seeks to build an online community of parents by meeting their demands for reliable, relatable and practical content.
Appropriately, its first commemoration falls on June 1, the Global Day of Parents, which itself provides an opportunity to appreciate parents throughout the world for their selfless commitment to children and their lifelong sacrifice towards nurturing this relationship.
In a video statement, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador David Beckham spoke passionately about the importance of parenting.
"When you have children, you want to protect them, you want to teach them," he said."I always tell my kids to be respectful, to be polite, to treat people how you want to be treated."
UNICEF underscores that "being a parent is the most important job in the world," saying that they and other caregivers are the main providers of the nutrition, stimulation and protection that every baby needs for healthy brain development.
"During the first few years of life, a child's brain develops at a never-again-repeated speed of more than 1 million new neural connections every second," according to the UN agency. "This period offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to shape a child's ability to learn, grow and contribute fully to her society."
UNICEF's six-point call to action on early childhood development includes investing urgently in services that give young children, especially the most deprived, the best start in life and expanding access to effective early childhood development services in homes, schools, communities and health clinics.