WEAU | Eau Claire, Wisconsin | News

Help! I'm a parent, what do I do?

(WEAU) - It can be every parent’s nightmare to come home with a newborn baby and not know what to do.

Now, the Family Resource Center is starting two pilot programs to help parents stay afloat, called First Connections and Parenting Cafe.

Both are tools parents can choose to use when they have questions ranging from "How do I discipline my child?" to "How should my child sleep at night?"

The first time they laugh or the first time they talk can be a joy for any parent. But what about when there are moments of stress?

"You're expected to take care of it for the next 18 years with no instruction manual and no real resources,” said Jason Herrington, Eau Claire father.

This father of two knows just what it takes to be a parent and says he learned a great deal from having his first child, rather than textbooks.

"Our hope is that we can get these families right away before something negative happens or before these families have to scream out for help or support,” said Executive Director, Brook Berg of the Family Resource Center.

Brook Berg says the First Connections program is free and is there to meet new parents at the hospital to show guidance.

"We have two staff members that will be going up to Sacred Heart Hospital and Mayo Clinic Health Systems a couple times a week," said Berg.

But there's always the option for at home visits called Parents as Teachers.

Meanwhile, Jason says he would have appreciated First Connections back when he had his first kid, because it’s a one-on-one experience with new parents. But at least now his kids can enjoy the Family Resource Center because they get to play an engage with other children.

"We didn't even learn about the Family Resource Center until a family friend introduced us to it," said Herrington.

Parents can not only meet face to face as a resource but interact online with Parenting Cafe.

"The goal is for children to be tucked in at night and parents to be able to sit down on their couch. [Then] log on and attend a parent education class," said Berg.

Brook says a lot times parents are googling to find out information that may not be accurate.

"It used to always be “don't sleep on your back.” “Don't sleep on your stomach.” You should be aware of things," said Herrington.

"They're logging on. They can chat with other parents and they can ask each other questions but it’s also facilitated by our staff,” said Berg.

If you are about to be a new parent, First Connections does provide a book too called ‘When your Child Gets Sick.’

If you're thinking about trying Parenting Cafe, they’ve had two classes already called ‘Terrific Toddlers’ and ‘The Teenage Years.’ Classes plan to be twice a month.

The Family Resource Center also just received more funding and will be helping more families in Dunn County.


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