Classes provide parents skills to better deal with children

lpemberton@theolympian.comOctober 13, 2013 

Sometimes it feels like parenting is the ultimate, never-ending, on-the-job training experience.

But you don’t have to learn how by trial and error. There are plenty of classes and workshops in the region for parents who want help from experts. Check out these free or inexpensive classes and child safety events:

Family Zumba: Dance and get fit with free family Zumba from 6:45-7:45 p.m. every Wednesday at Family Education and Support Services, 1202 Black Lake Blvd. Suite C, Olympia. To register, call 360-754-7629 or go to

Parenting Workshop Series: The Tacoma Nature Center, 1919 S. Tyler St., Tacoma, offers classes for parents, grandparents and caregivers designed to help them teach kids about self-control, responsibility, communication and other early leaning skills. The next class is from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday. Future classes are set for Nov. 6 and Dec. 4.

The classes are meant to be kid-free and require preregistration. Cost is $5 a class. For more information, call 253-591-6439 or go to

Autism 200: Free 90-minute classes for parents and caregivers of children with autism are offered at Seattle Children’s Hospital’s main campus in the Wright Auditorium. The lectures also can be viewed in several other areas in the Northwest by teleconferencing.

Upcoming classes include “Autism 210: Highway to hell or stairway to heaven? Parenting a child with autism” from 7-8:30 p.m. Thursday, presented by Greg Schell, director of Washington State Fathers Network, and “Autism 211: Panel discussion – developing and advocating for services in local communities” from 7-8:30 p.m. Nov. 21.

For more information, call 206-987-8080 or go to

Bike helmet giveaway: Free bike helmets and bike helmet fittings for children ages 1-18 will be offered from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday at the War Memorial Building, Memorial Center Gym, 601 N. Meridian Ave., Puyallup. Quantities are limited, no appointments needed. The event is sponsored by Seattle Children’s and Kohl’s Cares. For more information, go to

Parenting Tools featuring “NurtureShock”: Hear Ashley Merryman, co-author of “NurtureShock,” talk about diversity and how children learn bias, as well as her new book “Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing,” during a Parenting Tools lecture from 6:30-8 p.m. Oct. 23 at the Kenneth J. Minnaert Center for the Arts at South Puget Sound Community, 2011 Mottman Road SW, Olympia.

Register in advance for free child care available for children ages 3-12 by calling the Hands On Children’s Museum at 360-956-0818, ext. 0. For more information, call 360-596-5293 or go to

Merryman also will speak at a workshop from 9-11 a.m. Oct. 24 at ESD 113 Pacific Room, 6005 Tyee Drive SW, Tumwater. For reservations on this appearance, go to

Responsibility + Respect: Jody McVittie, co-founder and director of programs for Sound Discipline, will talk about positive discipline, responsibility and respect from 7-9 p.m. Nov. 6 at Annie Wright Schools, 827 N. Tacoma Ave., Tacoma. The program is sponsored by ParentMap. Tickets are $15. For more information, go to

Power Parenting: The Hands On Children’s Museum, 414 Jefferson St. NE, Olympia, regularly offers classes for parents while their kids explore the museum or enjoy activities for free. A workshop about finding and maintaining happiness with your children and your parents will be from 6-8 p.m. Dec. 10. For more information, call 360-956-0818, ext. 103 or go to

Parent Education Series: South Sound parent educator Candyce Lund Bollinger is offering several free classes throughout the school year in the Tumwater School District. No registration is required, and parents can attend one class or the entire series.

Classes for middle and high school parents will be from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Tumwater High School library, 700 Israel Road SW, and include overindulgence and entitlement on Dec. 10, emotional intelligence on Jan. 28, positive communication on April 14 and positive discipline May 29.

Classes for elementary school parents will be from 6:30-8:30 p.m. and include positive communication on Oct. 22 at Michael T. Simmons Elementary School, 1205 S. Second Ave.; power and boundaries on Feb. 25 at the district office, 621 Linwood Ave. SW; temperament on March 25 at Peter G. Schmidt Elementary School, 225 Dennis St. SE, and sibling relations on April 29 at the district office.

For more information, call Kim Howard at 360-709-7003.

Staff writer Lisa Pemberton is one busy mama with three young children. Reach her at 360-754-5433 or

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