Parents are an important part of shaping a child’s behavior to grow into productive members of society. For many individuals, starting a family is a new concept; they begin this journey as a blank slate and are not knowledgeable about important skills needed to run their household successfully with children. Offering parenting classes is a great way to reinforce important family skills like how to take care of infants or how to communicate better with children.
Begin your program by finding a location that encourages positive interaction. A casual meeting around a small table and chairs has a much different feel than a stark classroom filled with rows of desks. Be sure to have both a male and female instructor to make both parents feel as if their needs are represented. Once you’ve found suitable volunteers try to follow one of the following popular parenting class formats.
New Parenting Class: This class teaches expectant couples how to care for their baby’s arrival and subsequent care. A classroom is definitely out as the moms-to-be will likely not be able to fit in the desks. Instead, look for a location with large couches or cushioned chairs. Topics your class is likely to cover are:
- Going to the hospital- what to pack, who to call, what to expect
- The nursery- furniture and supplies, safety issues
- Feeding an infant- breast and bottle methods
- Clothing an infant
- Changing a diaper
- Bathing an infant
- Bedtime (or, how to survive on 4 hours sleep)
- Home safety
- Sharing the joy-sharing tasks equally, bonding with baby, and asking for help
Parenting Skills Class: This is a class that helps parents develop their ability to raise happy and healthy children. It is recommended that this class be hosted by a couple with children of their own. That way, students will be able to relate and accept advice. Topics this class is likely to cover are:
- Effective communication
- Discipline and boundaries
- Teaching responsibility
- Building self esteem
- Sibling rivalry
- Anger management
- Family bonding
- Nurturing creativity
- Learning to listen
- Character development
The helpful links below can give you some ideas for material to cover in your class:
Positive Parenting– a list of common parenting issues and methods of dealing with them.
Pregnancy and Newborns– an extensive collection of articles dealing with a wide variety of new parent issues.