time for a Top Tips Q&A with...Arizona leader and trainer Nancy
Spence, M.A. Ed.
Nancy Spence has been leading and training in Active Parenting
for so long, she eventually became a consultant for us! Nancy
will be at the Phoenix
Training of Trainers in March, and she leads her own LTWs
throughout the year. Here she shares some of her strategies.
Nancy, what is the key to a successful parenting class?
A. The most important thing is to get the parents
to show up! And of course that's also the most difficult, so it's
what we need to spend our most effort on. I recommend promoting
the class starting 6-7 weeks before the start date. The more ways
you can reach people, the better.
do you go about promoting your classes?
invitations are the very best way. For example, do a brief presentation
about the class to a captive audience (PTA, church). Get
them to sign up for your class on the spot. Tell them they
can take the first session for free, with no further commitment.
As we all know, after the first class, most parents want more.
Something that works well for me is to break
the 6-week class into Part 1 and Part 2. It's still 6 weeks,
but parents find it easier to commit to 3 sessions at a time.
I don't allow people to attend Part 2 unless they attend Part
once you have them in that first class, how do you keep them coming
class needs to have a very fast pace, especially at the beginning.
I want people to get a lot of the material in their heads right
away, so they can start having Active Parenting success stories.
To keep the pace, I don't encourage
much participation in the first half of the class. It's
too easy for people to launch into a belly-aching session about
their parenting problems. We can get to all that later.
thing is to put a lot of positive
energy into your presentation, and a lot of empathy, too.
They're kind of afraid that they're not going to do it perfectly
right. Encouragement coming from you, the trainer, will give them
the confidence they need to continue practicing.
do you slow down and encourage more parent sharing?
Around the middle of Session III (discipline), we slow down and
use our own examples.
you charge for your parenting classes?
I think it's important to charge
for the class, so the parents will understand how valuable
it is and keep their commitment. Even if you're only charging
for the Parent's Guide, at least you're both acknowledging the
value. I believe this class is well worth an investment.
bring healthy snacks to the first session, and get
parents to volunteer to bring snacks to subsequent sessions.
That reinforces their ability to contribute to the group and also
reinforces their commitment.
Nancy at the Training of Trainers in Phoenix this spring, or attend
one of her Leader Training Workshops in Arizona later this year.