Social connection is vital to all stages of parenting. We need fellow parents to commiserate and share milestones with, ask advice of, or even coordinate play dates and childcare swaps with.
But how do we stay socially connected under this “new normal” of social distancing? How do we get the support we need and “fill our cup” so to speak, when we are unable to access the in-person supports we’ve become accustomed to utilizing?
The first step is to recognize that nothing about our current situation is “normal.” The level of stress and fear we are feeling isn’t normal. Schools and daycare programs being closed isn’t normal. Not being able to visit with family and friends isn’t normal. For some, working from home with your children distance learning isn’t normal.
So we seek for “normal” where we can find it. Just as parents have had to seek a new normal, so has Parenting Now. Our model has always been to offer in-person groups where childcare is available to parents so they can have two hours each week to focus on themselves and building their parenting skills.
But since March, the Parenting Now atrium and Playroom have been closed to visitors. Instead, we’ve gone virtual, offering Baby Connection and Live Discussions over Zoom, as well as offering parents One-2-One support over phone or text messaging.
The missing piece of the puzzle, though, is bringing back our signature parenting groups, the First Three Years Program and Make Parenting A Pleasure. But we are excited to announce that virtual parenting groups start up this fall! Just like our in-person groups, families will meet for 10 or 12 sessions—all facilitated by Parenting Educators-on Zoom for 1 hour.
At Parenting Now, we know “connection” is one of the protective factors for strengthening families. While we must find new ways to do it, it is better for our health and well-being, and the state of our family, to stay connected to others!
To learn more about our upcoming virtual groups, attend one of our Virtual Open Houses via Zoom on Wednesday, September 9 from 6:00 pm to 6:30 pm, and Saturday, September 19 from 10:00 am to 10:30 pm. This will give you the opportunity to meet our Parenting Educators, ask questions of them, and test out our new virtual format. For more information about our Virtual Open Houses or to enroll for a parenting group, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 541-434-4343.
This article appeared in the September 2020 issue of Oregon Family Magazine.