While parenting books and television programs can be great, sometimes a parent needs the up close, hands on, and personal interaction that can only come from a class. It may seem like classes are just available for “first-time” parents or to prepare people for becoming parents—but, in fact, if you know how to look and choose, you can find classes for any stage and phase of parenting and child development.
Churches, non profit organizations, community colleges and adult education programs all tend to offer different types of parenting classes. Some are for parents and their children to attend together and others are geared specifically for parents (with or without child care provided.) In order to find the right parenting class, it may take some time and effort and you’ll need to have some idea of what your needs are and what you’re looking for. Here are some questions to ask or considerations that might affect your choice of parenting classes:
Find out when the classes are offered (evenings, day time, weekends, etc.) to find out if they will work with your schedule. As mentioned earlier, you might want to find out if child care is offered if this will be a consideration for you. The amount of people in the class may matter, as well as the general age of the parents. You will also want to know who the instructor or facilitator is and what are his or her qualifications and experience.
Location and longevity are other concerns for many parents looking for classes—do you want something that will be short and intense, or a longer class with the potential to get to know fellow classmates and the instructor better. It will depend on whether you are looking for specific information or are hoping to build more support for your overall parenting experience. Also to keep in mind—cost—some parenting classes will be free or on a donation-basis, while others (particularly those offered through a community college or adult continuing education program) will have a fee or tuition associated with the class. There may be scholarships available, however, so if cost is a consideration, don’t hesitate to ask about reduced fees or scholarships.
Finally, it might be a good idea to find out if you can sit in on a class before signing on—just to see if it is the sort of parenting class that will meet your needs and where you’ll feel comfortable and supported.