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A fantastic way for parents to make new friends while their children have a blast


If you have young children and would love an opportunity to relax and chat with other adults, while your little ones safely play, then the Parent Link Parent’s Time Out event might just be something you would enjoy.  Held at Bugz & Beanerz, on February 1, from 2-3pm, the free program gives parents some time to socialize.

Michelle Robinson, Family Support Facilitator for Parent Link, says that she enjoys spending time with other parents and seeing people take advantage of the program.  “I love seeing the parents come together and that they all support one another.  They all have diverse backgrounds, different lifestyles and different choices in their parenting but when they come here it’s a judgement free zone and they are able to express themselves and find some comradery.”

Unlike other Parent Link programs, the Parent’s Time Out event is non-structured, which means that topics are not set in advance and there isn’t an itinerary to follow.  Instead, parents can talk about anything they wish, be it sleeping patterns, breastfeeding, tips and tricks to dealing with toddlers or any array of topics that parents face.  “Getting to air things out and talk about things that have been happening is nice.  The issues of the day are a little less upsetting when you see that more people are doing and feeling that way too” explained Michelle.

One of the most popular topics since Michelle joined the program in September, has been birth stories.  “Everyone really connects through telling their story.  It’s whatever everyone wants to talk about and if someone needed help further then I could help them find the resources that can help them.”  While the parents chatted, two Parent Link facilitators, Ali Westling and Tamara Blackstock, kept an eye on the children as they enjoyed the play area.

Parents also talk about different programs they have attended and because of that, attendance has gone up from a couple of attendees, to 6-8 parents.  “We talk about where different programs happen and what they are like, as well as what parents like or don’t like from products and stuff like that.  It’s a wonderful way for gossip to be used in a positive way as we all share information.”

The next three Parent’s Time Out afternoons are slated for February 15, and March 1 and 15, from 2-3pm at Bugz and Beanerz.  During the hour, it is 100% free for children to enjoy the facility while their parents spend time in the activity room.

Bugz and Beanerz owner, Joanne Ruck, loves having the program be a part of her business.  “I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for parents to not only be learning together, but for the children to be learning too, as they play.”  Joanne is also offering a free hangout every Wednesday evening where families can enjoy the play space free.  “We have free Wednesday nights from 5-8pm, each week, so that all of our community can take part.”

To see all the Parent Link programs available in Whitecourt, make sure to grab your copy of the Community Spectrum, available at the Allan & Jean Millar Centre, Town Office, Carlan Services Community Resources Centre and the Forest Interpretive Centre.

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