Parents of young children will likely agree that some days they have no idea how to make it to bedtime.
“It’s such a big job for many of us,” says Christy Anderson. “And yet we often feel like we are working ‘in isolation.’”
There’s strength in numbers, so as regional coordinator for the Family Action Network (FAN), Anderson is launching a series of adult gatherings to support the challenges of child rearing.
“The idea for the Conversation Cafe came from consultation with local parents who have asked for the opportunity to come together and chat about parenting,” explained Anderson. “Sharing stories, strategies and thoughts about parenting with other parents in the community helps us to know that we’re not alone,” she added. “FAN wants to support parents and caregivers, recognizing the critical roles they play in early childhood and throughout a child’s life.”
The first Conversation Cafe is slated for Tuesday in Trail from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy building at 1160 Cedar Ave.
The inaugural session is for parents with children from birth to age five, and the focus of conversation will be, “Zero to Five: Help Me Thrive.”
“We’ll discuss parenting strategies and we also want to hear about ways we can help our region be more child friendly,” said Anderson, noting all that is required from parents is willingness to listen and participate. “These are not presentations or workshops, but rather the opportunity to talk with different people from our community about a particular focus area.”
A second Conversation Cafe is scheduled for Jan. 19 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Fruitvale Memorial Hall.
That session is open to all parents and will focus on self-care.
“With little ones depending on us, it makes sense to ensure we take time to look after ourselves,” says Anderson. “We know it isn’t always easy to make our own health a priority.”
Kris Taks from the Circle of Indigenous Nations Society will be the cafe’s guest and offer information about self-care using a holistic approach inspired by indigenous ways.
Connecting with other parents and forming supportive relationships, learning about family resources in the Lower Columbia and providing insight to promote the region as, ‘the best place to raise a child,’ are all benefits to attending the cafes, says Anderson.
“Our philosophy is that it takes a ‘village to raise a child and families to raise a region,’” she added. “The Family Action Network knows that parenting is one of the most rewarding and challenging jobs that a person does in their life. This is a time for you, as parents, to come together and be supported in the most important job.”
Parents are encouraged to attend the meetings without their children, and a small subsidy toward childcare is available for those who may need it.
“If a parent is really hoping to attend and can’t find childcare, we will be flexible and find a solution,” Anderson said. “We want to make the sessions work.”
Space is limited so parents are asked to contact FAN for further times, dates and to secure a spot.
Anderson can be reached at 1.855.368.3707 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
A cafe is planned for Warfield on Jan. 28 though the location has yet to be announced, and again in Rossland on Feb. 18.
For information about FAN, the hub for family resources in the Lower Columbia, visit familyactionnetwork.ca.