A Peek at a Parent Café: The Parenting Place

A series of Parent Cafés, coordinated state wide by Supporting Families Together Association (SFTA) and planned locally by some of our member agencies, have kicked off with the first café of the year in Tomah, Wisconsin. The Parenting Place did a fantastic job with their café on the theme of “Taking Care of Yourself,” starting off with a healthy family breakfast for children and parents to eat together before children went to another room where child care was provided, so parents and caregivers could engage in peer-to-peer discussion. After getting to know one another through active listening, parents participated in several small group discussions guided by a parent or agency staff member using a parent café tool kit that focuses questions on building the protective factors. Eventually the goal is for all café discussions to be led by parents who are familiar with the process. At the end of these discussions parents shared some final thoughts they gained from the café:

  • I realize that there are others around you who are strong and can be a source of support
  • Often children of different ages pose the same challenges
  • I am not the only one dealing with different issues within my family
  • It is important to be my best self to be the best parent I can be, and everyone wants the best for their kids
  • It is okay to do for myself (self-care)
  • You are not perfect and you are not expected to be

Closing words shared by participants proved the café a success, expressing their café experience with sentiments such as “community,” “perspective,” “comfort” and “balance.” A few lucky participants went home with gift certificates from local businesses to pamper themselves, and children took home an art project they worked on about healthy bodies. Here are a few of the decoration and other ideas from this café, to inspire your own:

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Interested in attending a parent café in Wisconsin, or learning more about parent cafés? Check out the SFTA website.

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