Little Moments Count

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Project Goals

To increase parent/caretaker public awareness of the importance of frequent and connected interaction with children, especially those between 0 and 3 years old.

Project Description

HealthPartners began a partnership with the Greater Twin Cities United Way in 2016 to optimize early brain development and child health by hosting a Bright Futures “Read, Talk, Sing” initiative designed to encourage early interaction and reading. Their focus is on building a media and community grassroots approach to encourage parents and caregivers to spend time interacting with their babies, especially in the first three years of life. Over the past four years, HealthPartners has planned and funded four annual convenings on the topic of early brain development. 

Now called Little Moments Count, the program continues to strengthen community partnerships, including working with the Think Small Parent Powered texting program to encourage parents to easily engage with their children to optimize early brain development.

Little Moments Count is a statewide awareness-building campaign designed to encourage parents and caretakers of young children to practice frequent serve-and-return interaction to help brain development. This helps build the parent/caretaker-child relationship and pave the way for academic success in reading and math, mental well-being, high school graduation and other markers of success. Optimal early brain development also helps mitigate toxic stress for the child and is an important factor in reducing future chronic disease and mental/substance health risks.

Entities Involved

Think Small, Way to Grow, Greater Twin Cities United Way, African Babies Coalition, Northside Achievement Zone and over 20 additional organizations.

How Health Plans Support the Project

HealthPartners is the convener for the statewide Little Moments Count work, hosting Little Moments Count Leadership Council meetings six times each year with 25 other community and state-focused organizations. HealthPartners also convenes an early brain development cultural consulting group, and brings large health care systems together from across Minnesota to plan collective action on early brain development.

HealthPartners has held annual early brain development educational convenings for the past four years. Each year, approximately 500 individuals representing over 200 organizations from many sectors are represented. We’ve seen significant Little Moments Count website traffic for parents and professionals: Statewide measures include parental awareness and behavioral change over time. A statewide evaluation plan was created and launched in 2019. This plan is designed and led by the HealthPartners Research Institute.

Additional Information


Thia Bryan

Community Health and Wellbeing Partnership Manager


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