Free parenting class promises happier home life plus free dinner, childcare | CraigDailyPress.com

Free parenting class promises happier home life plus free dinner, childcare

— Spare time is hard to come by for most parents, but the Incredible Years program could actually give more time to parents than it takes.

The 14-week class — which teaches parents tools to support the social, emotional and academic development of their children — meets from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. every Tuesday starting Jan. 19 and comes with free dinner and free day care. Classes will be held at East Elementary School.

"It feels like a big commitment, but we're sort of taking commitment off of you in a certain way," said Sandrock Elementary School teacher Melissa Forbes, who taught the program for several years. "We're giving you free day care and we're giving you free food so you don't have to feed your child. And we're giving you things to do later, resources for your kids."

The program has been brought back to Moffat County after a two-year hiatus with new grant funding, and is now being organized by Connections 4 Kids.

Any Moffat County parent with preschool-aged kids, kindergarteners or first-graders is eligible to sign up for the free program, which is being offered in both Spanish and English.

"It just gives you a better idea of how to deal with your children and deal with discipline issues, helping them learn and helping you be a better parent," said Connections 4 Kids Coordinator Betsy Overton.

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Forbes, who will be helping to provide childcare for the upcoming session, has seen the program have a powerful impact on families in the past.

"It really gets parents to take a step back and start interacting with our kids," Forbes said, who has two young children of her own and reaped as much benefit from teaching the class as the parents who participated. "A lot of times, we're having trouble with our kids because we're not actually interacting with them. It's a lot of how to play with your kid."

The program seeks to help parents reduce challenging behaviors in children, and boost their self-control and social emotional learning, according to the Incredible Years website. One of the most common complaints Forbes has heard from parents who signed up is non-compliance from their children.

"I think if they can get things under control at home, it takes that stress off so it makes their lives outside of the home better," Overton said.

The registration deadline is Dec. 19. For more information or to sign up, contact Betsy Overton at Connections 4 Kids at 970-824-1081.

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