New program aims to support effective parenting skills during pandemic

Published: Jan. 8, 2021 at 12:59 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed some new challenges for families. That includes effective, positive parenting.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is using the “ACT Raising Safe Kids” program, which was developed by the American Psychological Association. It’s a virtual, session-based class with the goal of teaching positive parenting skills and practices to combat challenging behavior.

Malisa Rader is a human sciences specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach who specializes in family life issues. She says this program focuses on parents who have kids from 0 to 8 years old.

“Those early years are a critical time in development in basics skills that have that long term effect on their lives,” Rader said. “Early experiences can have long-lasting impacts on our emotional, cognitive-behavioral development, and even on health.”

Rader says the program will include scenarios that address the COVID-19 pandemic, which will help families who are spending more time together.

“As children spend more time at home, you know, we get on each other’s nerves. Sometimes, we push each other’s buttons,” she said. “So when we have appropriate strategies to use, that’s going to be a better outcome for kids.”

She says the sessions will require active participation from parents.

“There are different opportunities for parents to reflect,” Rader said. “They’re going to be doing some thinking on their own after the different lessons. They’re going to be sharing with other parents. We’ll use some break out rooms to have some discussions with others, as well.”

This isn’t just for parents. Foster parents, grandparents, primary caregivers and others in parenting roles can join.

Sessions will begin in February, and registration is required. Tap or click here for more information on registering.

There will be an informational session at 10 a.m. on Jan. 26.

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