Whether you’re prepping for the arrival of a new baby, learning to manage your newborn or want to be a better communicator with your kids, parenting classes can help you be the parents you want to be. The best part? Some are even free! These programs are easy to fit in to busy schedules, even while you're running around to baby stores or toting your toddler to mommy and me classes. Check out our list of a few favorites in NYC and, while you’re at it, squeeze in some family time at one of the 50 best family restaurants in town.
Parenting classes in NYC
The East Village Y is a go-to resource for adults in all stages of parenting. Courses of varying frequency prep moms and dads before their bundle of joy arrives via prenatal yoga classes, baby care workshops, marriage counseling and CPR certification. Afterward, they're invited to bring the little one along to new parents "stroll-ins," Mommy and Me classes, infant massage workshops and fitness classes that get the whole family moving in new and fun ways. Support groups divided by the age range of the children meet regularly, and parents of special needs kids can engage in conversation while the youngsters stay busy with recreational programs. 14th Street Y, 344 E 14th St between First and Second Aves (212-780-0800, 14thstreety.org). Prices vary, check website for details.
This Bronx-based agency lets parents pick and choose educational workshops a la carte to suit their needs. In addition to general parental guidance courses, moms and dads can also work on specific challenges such as anger management, family conflict, transitioning to adolescence and parenting children with ADHD. Workbooks, video discussion and role play are incorporated into the classes and parents receive certificates of completion when the class is finished. Tremont Library, 1866 Washington Ave, 2nd Fl, at 176th St, Bronx (718-299-5177, parentingtrainingnetwork
.com). One-day classes $75, two-session classes $150. Pre-registration $10 by money order.
Expecting parents can begin their journey with this resource center and continue to utilize the resources and classes once the child is born. Group childbirth courses covering the labor process, plus procedures and methods like Lamaze and Bradley, or basic baby care instruction calm any stress leading up to the due date. Breastfeeding classes and support clinics answer questions and concerns and connect new moms. Other helpful classes include CPR & Safety, New Dad's Bootcap and Raising a Good Sleeper, all taught by qualified educators. Tribeca Pediatrics, various locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens (646-863-4500, pregnancyandparenting.com) Prices vary, check website for details.
Founded by social work and public health pioneer Lillian Wald, this Lower East Side center provides families with valuable resources for social service, arts and health care programs. Through free, interactive workshops, parents are given the tools they need to help their children thrive. Expectant and new mothers can take part in the Sunny Starts Series, which preps them for motherhood and developmental needs over a six-week program. Moms and dads with growing kids (16 months to 12 years) can continue their education in Toddler Tuesday and Active Parenting classes, plus work on the family relationship as a whole with help from counselors. Information on food stamps, health insurance, legal services and more is available upon request. 281 E Broadway at Pitt St (212-471-2400 ext 212, henrystreet.org). Free.
The iconic institution, which was founded in 1874, hosts all manner of classes for families getting ready to welcome a little peanut. Get the lowdown on what to expect during primer course "Becoming Parents," practice breathing, relaxation and massage in a Lamaze childbirth prep class, and learn how to feed, bathe and comfort the baby in "Caring for a Newborn." Brush up on CPR and safety basics for babies and toddlers in an American Academy of Pediatrics program, and establish a bond from the get-go through breastfeeding workshops. Veteran dads from NYC Dads Group even volunteer their time to help first-timers in a rewarding, hands-on class aptly named Boot Camp for Dads. 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave at 92nd St (212-415-5780, 92y.org). Prices vary, check website for details.
Trained social workers lend a hand in working out family issues including custody, separation and divorce during the Parents in Transition program, offered several times each month. Group programs for children of divorce (ages 7–14) are also available to guide youngsters through the difficult time by introducing them to peers dealing with similar problems. The mental health professionals aim to minimize short and long-term negative effects. A bilingual staff makes communication easy and accessible for Spanish-speaking families as well. Locations in Manhattan, White Plains and Long Island (212-267-2670 ext. 102, cfs-nyc.com). $100–$175.
Multilingual and multicultural families can benefit from a wide range of workshops at the Asian Outreach Program (8114 Queens Blvd at Simonson St, Elmhurst, Queens; 718-899-9810 ext. 200), led by administrators who speak Chinese, Farsi, Korean and more languages. Here, classes dealing with communication, stress management, development, immigration and American child abuse laws are available to counsel families. At Trude Weishaupt Center (140–15B Sanford Ave between Kissena Blvd and Union St, Flushing, Queens; 718-539-2500), new parents can get in on "Baby and Me" classes to bond with their little one. The Child Center of NY, 60–02 Queens Boulevard, Woodside, Queens (718-651-7770 ext. 200, childcenterny.org). Free.