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Nonprofit offers free parenting classes | #parenting | #parenting | #parenting | #kids


HANCOCK COUNTY — Parenting is tough enough as it is.

Parenting during a pandemic takes things to a whole new level.

To help out, the local nonprofit Hancock4Kids is offering free virtual parenting classes this year.

The first will take place from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Feb. 20, focusing on parenting children from birth through age 2. The class will focus on crying and tantrums, social and emotional expectations, caregiver self-care and disciplining with positive reinforcement.

Another virtual class on May 15 will focus on parenting kids ages 3 to 5, with a focus on communication, valuing emotions, discipline and praise, school readiness and social interaction.

Qualified participants will receive a free $50 electronic gift card to Walmart upon completing the course.

“We hope to raise enough funds to be able to offer classes for grade-schoolers, middle-schoolers and high-schoolers in the future,” said Diane Burklow, co-chair of Hancock4Kids.

The classes are ideal for all parents, whether first-timers or those who need a refresher with other children, she said. They can also provide certification for those looking to become foster parents.

The classes are taught by Cheryl Jones, director of the Hancock County Purdue Extension office.

This will be the fifth consecutive year the classes have been offered by Hancock4Kids, which was founded in 2015.

The nonprofit’s mission is to raise awareness of child abuse and prevention, empowering families and the community, so children can grow up in safe and nurturing homes.

Burklow said the parenting classes give parents the support and tools they need to provide that nurturing environment.

“The classes help parents learn what’s normal in children, that some of the stressful parts like crying and tantrums aren’t things that they’re doing on purpose,” she said.

The classes teach parents ways to cope and discipline their children in positive ways.

“It’s important for parents to know they’re going to have really frustrating days, and to practice self-care,” Burklow said.

Self-care might include taking a night off by letting a relative babysit every now and then, or learning when to walk away and cool off when upset.

Burklow said the pandemic has created unique challenges for parents, which makes coping skills more critical than ever before.

“It’s just stressful having kids, especially during this time when you’re trying to work at home and your kids are virtual learning at home,” she said.

The past year of isolation has meant uninterrupted time between parents and kids.

Burklow recently attended a seminar presented by the Indiana Youth Institute, which shared that the number of child abuse reports have dropped dramatically since the pandemic began, which isn’t necessarily a good thing.

“There is a fear that with children being out of school, they don’t have that safety net of teachers who can see what’s going on with the kids,” she said.

“That’s definitely a concern that we’ve had for the whole time COVID has been here. The kids are at home so much and no one can see what’s going on, if there are things going on. There’s always parents who are more stressed than usual too, which is an understatement. You just don’t know how they’re handling it.”

She hopes parents who take the parenting class leave armed with a number of resources and a renewed sense of confidence in their ability to parent positively. Advisors are available to talk individually with parents after the class about independent concerns.

The parenting classes are just one way Hancock4Kids strives to support children and parents throughout Hancock County, said Burklow.

Typically in April, the nonprofit has local children decorate pinwheels that are displayed outside the Hancock County Public Library in Greenfield to promote Child Abuse Awareness Month. In June, the organization typically hosts its Superhero 5K on the Pennsy Trail, raising money to maintain programming throughout the year.

Due to COVID, the pinwheel event has been canceled and the Superhero 5K has been bumped up to April, when it will be held virtually.

To register for the Superhero 5K or the Hancock4Kids parenting classes, visit Hancock4Kids.org.

NOT TO LATE TO ATTEND CLASS

Spots are still available in the class scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 20, for parents of children from birth through age 2. The free virtual parenting workshop will be from from 10 a.m. to noon.

The class will focus on crying and tantrums, social and emotional expectations, caregiver self-care and disciplining with positive reinforcement.

Qualified participants will receive a free $50 electronic gift card to Walmart upon completing the course.

Another free virtual class will take place May 15, for parents of kids ages 3 to 5, with a focus on communication, valuing emotions, discipline and praise, school readiness and social interaction.

To attend Saturday’s class, register by midnight today (Friday, Feb. 19) at Hancock4Kids.org.



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