20 Weeks : Parents As Teachers

patlogoThis week I am signing up for an amazing program that you might ALSO have in your home town. The group is called Parents As Teachers (PAT). They are National, but lucky for me they got their start in Missouri and their headquarters are right here in St. Louis. PAT’s is committed to each and every child reaching their full potential. The programs they offer in my home town are largely FREE. Yep, free and making a difference for children and families around the world. I was a part of PAT with our first two for years starting 9 years ago and now I get to join again!

PAT’s believes that, as parents, our involvement in our children’s development and learning is critical, and that it starts well before they are born. This is why they have a prenatal program. I will be signing up for this through my local school district this week. It’s SO SIMPLE. I just got the number I need to call of their website. I had no idea until this week that I could sign our family up again now in my pregnancy.

Why might you also want to sign up for Parents As Teachers starting with prenatal visits if you are pregnant? I’ll give you the wording straight from their web site because I don’t think I could say it any better:

As a Parents as Teachers family, you receive:

  • Personal visits during which your parent educator will share age-appropriate child development and parenting information, help you learn to observe your child, and address your parenting concerns.
  • Parent group meetings which are opportunities to share information about parenting issues and child development. Parents learn and support each other, observe their children with other children and practice parenting skills.
  • Screenings to assess your child’s overall development as well as health, hearing and vision.

Think there’s not much to know before baby comes? Think again. I’m going to list a few things I’m already doing… and you probably are too. These are just the tip of the iceberg of what we can expect to learn as our parent educator holds our hand and guides us through not only the prenatal stage but the early months and years of our child’s development.

Nutrition. I don’t know about you, but I’m swallowing 2 horse pills a day full of Omega this and Vitamin that. Need I say more? OK, I will. I am also counting protein like a Weight Watchers person might count calories. I’m going for the gold… 70-100 grams of protein a day for my growing twin “twinkles” as we call our babies. Water. I feel like I’m drinking enough to drain the Mississippi. 64-120 oz per day. No wonder I’m up a couple times a night. But it’s well worth it as drinking lots of water carries nutrients through my blood to my baby(s) AND helps to prevent constipation, water retention, dehydration AND bladder infections… total bonuses.

So yeah, I am psyched to have my very own parent educator spending time with me, educating me, checking up on me… teaching me. PAT’s sees the prenatal visits as “the first step in helping parents develop parenting skills and confidence.” I like that. We can also expect these visits to:

  • lay the groundwork for a positive relationship between ourselves and our Parent educator.
  • provide information tailored to our family’s needs.
  • enhance our parenting skills… yes, even before a baby is born.
  • help us spot areas where we might benefit from other community resource.

So join me this week if you are pregnant or have little ones at home. Click to find out where there is a PAT’s program near you. If you are a part of PAT’s or have experienced the benefits of this program, I’d LOVE to hear from you. Tell me your parent educator stories. I’m all ears.

PS: We get to see our babies tomorrow. Ultrasound at 12:30pm. I’m so excited for the chance to peak in and say hello to baby girl and baby boy. More on this in next week’s post!

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How Spirit Moves

Baby Watch is published in partnership with Kolcraft

Suzanne Tucker, aka Zen Mommy
In addition to mommying to two magical girls born in 2000 and 2003 and expecting twins in Jan of 2010, Suzanne co-owns a holistic health center with her husband Shawn in St. Louis, Missouri  where she practices as a physical therapist, Certified Infant Massage Instructor and health education teacher. Certified in a number of healing and life education approaches, Suzanne is a Co-creator of My Mommy Manual and the online parenting course, Yogi Parenting, a positive parenting approach for raising kids of all ages.