I never took a birthing class when I was pregnant with my first child. Time just got away from me between moving to a new home, watching my grandmother’s health decline until she died shortly before my daughter’s birth, and of course, working. I made it through labor just fine, but then came the tricky part — actually parenting a child. Here are the classes I wish I took, the ones you can skip, and the ones that were totally worth it.
1. Basic Parenting Skills Classes
Changing a diaper and baby-proofing a home are skills that many of us pick up along the way, with younger siblings or nieces and nephews around. However, not everyone has the experiences to fall back on. If you are well-versed in these basic skills, then skip these classes. But if you’re completely new to the baby world, definitely take one.
2. Life-Saving Skills Classes
If you don’t know how to do the Heimlich or CPR on a baby or small child, then these classes are a must for you. Your local hospital or American Red Cross likely has an assortment of classes to choose from so you can learn how to save your child’s life in the event of an emergency. It’s a skill you will hopefully never need to use, but should definitely have in your back pocket. Take these classes and you will feel more confident in your parenting abilities.
3. Parenting Style Classes
Have you figured out the type of parent you want to be yet? Search online for local or online parenting classes that can help you become the parent you’ve always wanted to be. Attachment parenting, positive parenting, natural consequences parenting — there are many routes to take and your best bet may be a blend of all of the above. These classes are not necessary, but could be helpful if you’re extra nervous about your parenting style. We say these are a skip.
4. Values-Based Classes
If you’re religious and want to raise your children with a specific set of values and beliefs, your church may offer some parenting classes that can help you prepare for those tricky decisions that come with raising children. Which TV shows or movies should you keep your kids from watching? What friends should you let into your life? How do you raise compassionate children? All of these answers just might be found in your fellow churchgoing parents with more experience. Depending on how important your faith is to you, take these classes.
5. Co-Parenting Classes
If you’re separating from your spouse, you may be thinking about enrolling in co-parenting classes. This is probably a good idea to ensure a smooth transition for your kids and a better relationship between you and your former partner. Depending on how your relationship ended, you might be harboring a lot of hurt and anger, which can skew your judgement when it comes to co-parenting together. Learning how to put those feelings aside and do what’s best for your kids make these classes a good choice. If you’ve had a tough breakup, take these classes.
Parenting is the toughest thing you’ll ever do. Getting it right will make a big difference in your child’s future, and in how your children end up raising their children.