No matter how much one prepares, one can never be prepared enough for parenting. Each stage of a child’s life is accompanied by varying needs. Babies and toddlers require different care than elementary school age children. Middle school children and high school children present another completely different range of needs and challenges. Stafford County’s Social Services has experience and knowledge of parenting techniques and offers parenting classes tailored to each phase of a child’s young life. The classes are designed to help remove some of the guesswork and to lower family stress. New classes start in December.
“These classes are one of the many ways Stafford Social Services supports the children, parents and families in our community,” said Kimberly Strader, Stafford County Social Services Parent Education Coordinator. “Our job is to give parents the tools to develop their own parenting style that works best for their children and to help them have peace in their homes.”
Strader said research shows that 90% of brain growth occurs in the first three years of life and that is also when the brain is laying the foundation for its activity for the whole rest of a person’s life. As well, children learn half of what they will learn their whole life in the first three years of life. This is the time when parents really need to stimulate their children and teach them to love learning. The classes give parents tips and ideas for how better to engage young children.
Strader has been teaching the classes for years and even takes them on the road to Stafford Head Start and the Rappahannock Regional Jail. She teaches the Parents of Teens classes along with Stafford Court Services Court Liaison, LaQuita Buffington. While the classes are often aimed at parents who have extra socioeconomic stressors, participants run the gamut of parenting and the resources available are invaluable to all parents.
The classes are designed for zero through five, five through twelve, middle school age and teens. Real world scenarios are used along with videos and PowerPoints. A workbook is issued and parents are asked to do homework. They are also assigned a weekly family enrichment activity to help family members bond and have fun together.
To find out more about Stafford County Social Service’s parenting classes, please visit www.staffordcountyva.gov/1471/Parenting-Classes.