The vital role of parenting support and social connection for family well-being
Parenting is a remarkable journey filled with joy, love, and growth, but it also comes with its fair share of challenges. In today's fast-paced world, the importance of parenting support and social connection cannot be overstated. In this article, Playcentre Aotearoa delves into why parenting support and social connection are crucial for the well-being of families.
Sharing experiences and knowledge
Parenting can often feel like uncharted territory, and it is natural for parents to have questions or concerns. Thankfully, there are parenting support groups that you can join to help you navigate your new role as a parent. By connecting with other parents, individuals can share their experiences, gain insights, and learn valuable strategies for various parenting challenges. The Space at Playcentre programme supports you and your baby throughout your first critical year, and helps you build relationships with other parents.
Emotional support and validation
Parenting can be emotionally demanding, and feelings of stress, isolation, or self-doubt are not uncommon. Connecting with other parents who have gone through similar experiences can provide the emotional support needed during challenging times. Being able to share frustrations, fears, and joys with a supportive network can help parents feel validated, understood, and less alone in their journey. Space at Playcentre groups allows parents to make strong connections with other new parents, as each group remains together and meets weekly during the babies’ first year.
Access to expert advice and resources
Parenting support groups offer access to a wealth of resources, including educational information and expert advice. Space at Playcentre groups are run by trained facilitators at Playcentres across Aotearoa, who are passionate about supporting new parents and babies. Space at Playcentre groups are generally run over three 10 week terms; the first term covers topics around becoming a parent, getting to know your baby and baby’s early development. Term two’s topics explore ideas around brain development, nutrition, and movement. Term three focuses on areas of play.
Strengthening parent-child relationships
Social connection and parenting support not only benefit parents but also have a profound impact on the parent-child relationship. When parents have a supportive network, they can better manage stress, prioritise self-care, and enhance their overall well-being. This, in turn, allows them to be more present, patient, and attuned to their babies’ needs, strengthening the bond between parent and baby.
The Space at Playcentre programme focuses on supporting new parents and giving them a forum to discuss parenting information and create bonds with their babies and others. Through these bonds a sense of community is formed and, at the heart of it all, is the well-being and development of the child.
Combating parental isolation and mental health issues
Parental isolation is a growing concern in today's society, with many parents feeling disconnected from their communities. This isolation can lead to mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. However, by joining a Space at Playcentre parenting programme which fosters social connections, parents can often overcome feelings of loneliness, share experiences, and build relationships that contribute to their overall well-being.
Olivia Hyatt shares her experience of joining a Space at Playcentre parent support group. “I went to meet new people and get support and ideas for being a new Mum. I enjoyed the people and the relaxed atmosphere and a place to come regardless of how tired I was. It was okay to be a stressed, teary, tired Mum there.” Hyatt says what she will take away from Space at Playcentre is “the support and encouragement I got, especially when things were tough.”
Parenting is a challenging yet rewarding journey that can be made easier and more fulfilling with the support of others. The Space at Playcentre programme provides parenting support and social connection for parents, enabling them to navigate the ups and downs of their babies’ first year. By recognizing the significance of parenting support and social connection, we can build stronger, happier families throughout Aotearoa. To find a Space at Playcentre group in your local area visit www.playcentre.org.nz/space.