Nurturing classes a catch for parents | CraigDailyPress.com
Amy Hamilton

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Nurturing classes a catch for parents

The Visiting Nurse Association and the Moffat County School District are teaming up to offer extensive parenting classes.

The16-week, free course includes dinner, child care and transportation, if needed.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for parents and children,” said Jennifer Langley, a facilitator for the course. “It’s like the Parent’s Toolbox, but it’s more time-intensive and also more valuable.”

The school district and VNA have offered the Parent’s Toolbox workshops for the past two years. Those classes offered parents an array of tips about parenting, including disciplining children in healthy ways.

Nurturing Parenting classes will be from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays. The classes are targeted toward parents with children from birth to 5 years old. Classes start Sept. 7. Parents are encouraged to bring their other children who aren’t in that age bracket, as child care is available.

Classes will teach parents and children the importance of empathy and communication. Facilitators Langley and Sandy Beran will teach parents different ways of thinking about parenting, while children are learning how to respond to parents. That may mean that parents and children are being taught in separate rooms and will come together to test the new skills.

“When parents are learning how to give a time out, we’re teaching kids how to take a time out,” Langley said.

Langley said that teaching parents and children in young age brackets can have the greatest effect on a child’s overall development.

“It can alleviate difficulties that may arise later on down the road,” she said. “It may not only help families but communities.”

VNA public relations director Carrie Godes said funding for the classes was secured through a $19,000 grant from Colorado Children’s Trust Fund.

Research has proven that the parenting methods taught in the classes work, she said.

“It’s just going to give you a lot of tips and tools for building relationships between parents and kids,” she said. “It also teaches parents about nurturing themselves.”

Parents don’t have to be married to participate in the classes. Other role models in children’s lives, such as grandparents or other guardians can attend, Godes said.

Some families already have signed up, Langley said. The program has room for 15 families. Volunteers also are needed to provide child care. Background checks will be conducted on potential participants and volunteers, Langley said.

Parents will be given questionnaires at the beginning and end of the sessions to determine how well the program suited their needs.

“Ideally, I would love to hear that this program is changing the way we do things,” Langley said. “I just hope that parents can gain some useful tools. If there’s a mind shift toward less corporal punishment, I’d be ecstatic.”