Edmonton, Alberta is truly blessed with having 3 major parenting resource centres. There is only one parenting resource center in Edmonton Southside, which is the Family Futures Resource Network, and it has three main locations.
Family Futures Resource Network is a non-profit organization that helps parents from various backgrounds by empowering them with knowledge from birth to 18 years old. There are so many programs available at Family Futures — this is my friendly guide to the programs I have personally registered and can highly recommend.
When I was a first-time mother in Edmonton, Family Futures Resource Network was pioneering Alberta’s Baby Box program. Little did I know that this was how my motherhood village will start to grow from this Baby Box Program. My children have both outgrown the baby box, but the knowledge and confidence I gained as a parent was tremendously helpful. If you are looking for a moms’ group on Facebook, please join mine! The Facebook group (Motherhood in Edmonton) is extremely supportive and has a good network of various trained professionals (a former potty training coach, doulas, and psychologists). It is also a group where you can meet other supportive moms.
The programs that I was able to participate in with Family Futures Resource Network are part of why I am able to curate the vibe of my Facebook group. If you are new to Edmonton, I highly recommend checking out both drop-in and registered programs at Family Futures. The parenting seminars that I attended were so helpful in bringing some kind of insight into the different types of parenting — breaking inter-generational traumas while honouring your own culture is touched on in one of the parenting workshops.
Family Futures Resource Network (FFRN) partners with many agencies, such as Alberta Health, Centre for Family Literacy, Edmonton Public Schools and more. Family Futures programs fill up fast — there is often a waiting list. So, make sure to sign up for their email list, put an alarm on your calendar and register.
This 4-week Family Literacy program is free to attend and is a great way for parents with babies under 12 months old to start collecting board books. Centre for Family Literacy hosts this program. Your baby will likely get a touch-and-feel board book, which is amazing for sensory play. They will also go over safety with baby books — what is safe and what isn’t. The facilitator will also teach you rhymes to sing to your baby. This was where I originally learned the Zoom, Zoom, Zoom, we’re going to the moon song.
If you are struggling with maternal mental health, I really enjoyed this series. My favourite part was being taught how to bond with my baby — learning how to give an infant massage was so very helpful as it helped calmed my baby, which in return, calmed me. It was also during Managing Motherhood when the Family Futures Resource Network coordinator referred me to a highly skilled psychologist to learn more about cognitive behavioural skills as well as dialectical behavioural skills. Perinatal mood disorders are not easy to navigate and you do not have to navigate postpartum mood swings alone. Sharing stories with other mothers who are experiencing the same things helps us ground our emotions by understanding that we are not alone in this journey of motherhood or parenthood. It was by far, the best program I have been part of — in learning to heal from birth trauma and handling grief that mothers face as they shift their identities as matrescence.
There are also many other caregiver support education programs that Family Future Resource Network provides. Click the link here to find out what is currently being offered. Learning how to communicate with our kids is an important skill. Knowing how to communicate with kids is a life-long skill that also comes in handy for me as an Edmonton family photographer.
I have taken this baby sensory play program twice (with two different parenting resource centres) — once with each kid when they were babies. It may sound weird, but you can definitely play with your baby. My second child was around 8 weeks old when I started this baby sing & sensory play at Family Futures Resources Network.
What I did not realize was how I could do tummy time without putting a baby on the mat. You can use various senses — exposing my youngest to the various smells of spices and describing them was a really neat activity that I would not have otherwise come up with.
The bonus part? They clean up the mess. Once you are registered, you can show up. Older kids do need to be cared for by someone else as they do not offer childcare during the duration of the infant sensory play.
Understanding the different stages of what to expect and how to play with an infant is a very invaluable skill to have. Playful parenting is a great skill to have as kids learn best through play and discovery.
There are multiple drop-in programs that cater to different ages for kids. Drop-in programs are very handy when you need to get out of the house for a change of scenery! Busy Bodies is catered towards kids 5 and under. Songs, rhymes and games involving movement are great for kids this age! I always pick up new and fun rhymes to use in my photo sessions. I mean, I need a repertoire of fun preschooler & toddler rhymes that is beyond “Baby Shark”.
Did I mention how nervous of a first-time mother I was? I had the privilege of working with a Family Futures Resource Network mentor where the mentor came to our home to visit and coach us on various prenatal & postpartum support, as well as give us a first-hand demonstration of what toys would be used at which ages and stages. Understanding what milestones to expect as well as how to overcome any child’s feeding challenges and any family conflicts was monumental.
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To read about an interview with an Edmonton birth & postpartum doula, click here.
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