Courtesy photo

Taos Loves Kids offers a variety of classes (now home visits and virtual) to increase the participants' understanding of the nature and importance of the parent/child attachment. (File photo taken prior to mask mandate.)

These past several months, parents, families and children have been experiencing and holding an unbelievable amount of stress and anxiety as they navigate the unending uncertainty the pandemic has created.

Parenting support can be a lifeline during these challenging times. First Steps Home Visiting and Taos Loves Kids Parenting Classes have not skipped a beat. Both programs shifted their platforms from face-to-face visits with families or in-person classes to a remote format such as telehealth video conferencing, Zoom and/or phone calls.

First Steps is a free program providing support to parents and caregivers for any family prenatal to three years of age. Home visitors provide information on child-development, prenatal care, breastfeeding, support for the growing relationship with your baby/child, connections to resources within the community and screenings and referrals to various community agencies.

During this time of COVID, home visiting has provided a steady beat of normalcy for parents. Home visitors meet with their families as often as they request to discuss their challenges, share information/resources or celebrate small victories. All of these elements can be especially important during this time of isolation and 24/7 parenting.

We are partnering with the Taos Public Library to provide Storytime Hour twice a month. Songs, a story and activity are done over Zoom with each group following a specific theme. This is a great time to have some fun with your child and connect with other parents and providers. The schedule can be found on the Taos Public Library website.

Another option for connection, also offered twice a month, is the breastfeeding support group, Café con Leche. One of the home visitors has partnered with our local certified breastfeeding consultant, Jana Bailey, to conduct a support group over Zoom. Mamas are able to share stories, and ask questions about breastfeeding and child development.

Our local breastfeeding coalition of providers, Latch-On, is putting together the annual celebration for World Breastfeeding Week which historically has been celebrated at Twirl the first week of August. The event this year will be over Zoom. Stay tuned to social media for more information to come.

Our First Steps coordinator has been providing a brief daily mindfulness practice over Zoom since the beginning of the pandemic. Many of the home visitors have then been able to share these mindfulness moments with their families to help cope with the stress of COVID-19, loss of work, online school and parenting. This mindfulness practice started with just our program, but was expanded to the Paso a Paso Network and additional home visiting programs in the state.

Home visiting will continue to "see" families remotely and adapt to meet family's needs. Call (575) 751-5764 for any program questions or general information.

Taos Loves Kids provides parenting classes for families in our community to facilitate the understanding of child development and build parent resiliency. TLK aims to increase the participants understanding of the nature and importance of the parent/child attachment to build the basis for ongoing positive interactions.

A variety of classes are offered: Circle of Security Parenting, Love and Logic, Parenting with Emotional Intelligence, English as a Second Language for Parenting and Infant Massage and Birth Art. Once COVID hit, classes moved to Zoom and the first class scheduled was Parenting with Emotional Intelligence for Parents. It was a huge success, filled with great conversation, connection among participants and everyone wanted the class to continue.

TLK was also able to offer a Child-Birth Education class for expecting parents and three Emotional Intelligence classes to early childhood providers at the pueblo and also at the state level. Taos Loves Kids has a fun and engaging social media presence on Facebook and Instagram. Check it out and follow!

Posts cover the latest information on community resources and events, inspirational information on child-rearing and dates/times for upcoming classes. Call Cristina at (575) 751-8904 for class schedule or general information.

As human beings we have a basic instinct to need connection. While meeting for visits or classes in-person would be preferred by us all, having someone to connect with to support you during this time (and after) can make all the difference.

You are not alone. Raising a child takes a village - we are here to support you and would be honored to be part of your village.

Jaci Imberger is a registered nurse and program manager at First Steps Home Visiting, Holy Cross Medical Center.

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