What Should I Look for in a Parenting Class?

In today’s world, there are a plethora of schools and classes for almost any subject we can think of, from graphic design to toy making. But what about a class to help support and give guidance for the most important period of your life- parenthood? Children, unlike cars and furniture, do not come with an owner’s manual to refer to, so parental development classes were created to give parents options and ideas to be able to choose from. Parenting classes help parents understand not just their children’s thoughts, feelings, and motivations, but also their own. These courses and classes also help parents understand the role they play in their child’s behavior, whether it is the example parents set or the underlying issues that parents carry through all their relationships. Also, some parents may find out that just meeting with other families can also help in realizing that they are not alone in experiencing parenthood’s rollercoaster ride.

1. Is the instructor qualified?

It is important to do your research and homework when looking for parenting classes like you would for anything else. When reviewing classes, take the time to check out the teacher biographies and credentials, and make sure you are comfortable with them. Whether you are looking for someone with a more holistic background or clinical background, those are important factors to consider. In parenting classes, it might be a good idea to look for people qualified in early childhood, developmental psychology, and parenting experts.

2. Does the class focus on my child’s age group?

One thing to consider is if this class is specific to your family situation and the age group of your child or children. Will it address your concerns? If your concerns are about your preteen, you would obviously want to avoid general parenting classes or classes that are addressing toddler issues. Really understand what you are signing up for to get the most out of the class.

Another important factor is to really take a look at the class curriculum as some classes focus more on parenting theories or mindset instead of providing real skills and clear strategies to walk away with.

3. Is the class interactive?

Some parenting classes are just lectures, while others allow you to participate and really get involved. Depending on what you are looking for, the interactive classes tend to allow parents to share more with each other and interact with each other. Classes that allow plenty of opportunities to talk with other parents and share stories might help the class lessons stick, and help you relate to other families. Learning from our peers in a structure where the educator is able to provide feedback or redirect the conversation to the learning points.

4. Is the class schedule flexible and does it fit my lifestyle?

This is probably the most important factor and what will help you stick around the longest. There are so many different kinds of parenting classes varying from online to in-person and varying in length. If you are going to make the investment in learning new parenting strategies, make sure to find the right class for your schedule. Be realistic with your availability and stick to that time frame to be dedicated.

Parenting classes are created to equip you with the resources and tools to respond to the life challenges as a parent, but also are supposed to give you a better understanding of what’s happening in the different stages of parenthood. Interacting with other parents and families can also help put your experience into context by realizing you are not alone and that there are others who are going through the same challenges and issues as you are. With a better perspective on what is normal and learning skills on how to cope and deal with issues, parents should feel prepared and ready to maintain a happy and healthy family environment once they have completed their class.

An original Circle 4 Parents blog.