“The younger the child at the time of the intervention, the larger the payoff to the child. There can be no relationship without real proximity in which the interaction is characterized by warmth and concern. That’s the Rocking Chair Project.” Edward Zigler, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Yale University.
The Rocking Chair Project’s mission is to nurture economically disadvantaged mothers and their newborn babies by providing free glider rocking chairs as part of a supportive home health care visit.
Research shows that holding, rocking, singing, feeding, gazing, kissing and other caregiving nurturing behaviors are crucial to the normal brain development of babies. Without early nurturing it is difficult for a child to become a healthy, happy, and productive person.
The Rocking Chair Project works with healthcare professional training programs and healthcare organizations. The healthcare professionals choose expectant mothers who are in the greatest need and who would most benefit from the peace and comfort of a beautiful glider rocking chair. They health care professional visits the mother’s home after the rocking chair is delivered to assemble the chair and to counsel the mother. After the visit, the healthcare professional continues to provide healthcare for the mother and the baby at the clinic or hospital.
For the parents and children, the gift of a rocking chair is a concrete expression that people care about them, and for the healthcare professionals it is an expression of caring meant to reinforce key values of humanistic medicine including compassion, understanding, and partnership. Every new mother and baby, and especially those experiencing the pressures of poverty, needs time and space for nurturing. Giving a glider rocking chair to a mother will help her nurture her baby.