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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU Classes Offer Guidance, Support for New Parents

LAS CRUCES - The challenges of raising young children may make new parents wonder what they got themselves into, but a free class can help answer a lot of the questions.

Beginning Sept. 1, the weekly classes for parents and their infants, toddlers and preschoolers, offered by New Mexico State University's Nurturing Parenting Program, will offer sound information and bring parents together. Participants can sign up through the first four weeks of the classes, which continue through Dec. 15. The classes are geared for children from birth to age 5.

"I really think every parent should take it and learn everything they can," said NMSU student Maribel Salmon, who completed a similar course last fall with her infant son, Carlos. Salmon said she recommends the classes to other parents and may participate again.

The curriculum was a mixture of common sense and new ideas, said Salmon.

"I thought I had the right idea, but the class gave me more specifics of what I should do in a situation," she said.

One of the most important lessons Salmon took from the classes was the importance of taking time for herself to be a better parent.

"You as a parent have to take care of yourself," she said, by setting aside some personal time, talking to friends or simply relaxing.

Salmon said the classes benefited her son, too.

"He had fun the whole time he was there," she said.

The classes offer information about parenting, life skills and nutrition.

"I really enjoy this curriculum," said Stacey Carver, a family educator with NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service. "It goes over a lot of the different components of raising a young child."

Study topics range from family communication and understanding feelings to childproofing and child massage.

Carver said each class begins with time for parents to study a topic separately from the children, who focus on their own curriculum. Later, the two groups get together for a joint activity.

The classes are free for families who qualify for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, food stamps or the Women, Infants and Children program.

Classes meet Wednesdays from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Mesilla Park Recreation Center. To sign up, contact Carver at (505) 646-2621.

For more information, or if you are an individual with a disability who is in need of an auxiliary aid or service to participate in the class, please contact Carver at (505) 646-2621 or srcarver@nmsu.edu in advance.